PDA

View Full Version : Why is the 3.5 skill system so disliked? And why is complexity in a game system bad?



newbDM
2008-12-26, 03:01 AM
This has been bugging me for quite some time. Can the people who are not fans of the 3.5 skill system please tell me why it is so disliked? I have always loved it, and carefully selecting a character's skills has always been my favorite part of writing up a new character, and later leveling them up. For some it is gear/magic items, for others it is the class or race, but for me it has always been skills.

With the 3.5 skill system you can make a character of the same class and race into completely different things/concepts. You can turn a rogue from a stealthy thief, to a sharp tongued diplomat, to a crafter, to a trickster, to a Jack-of-All-Trades, etc. And you would be surprised at how well it works for even classes with much less skill points, such as a psion (my reoccurring favorite psion PC has been everything from a noblish diplomat, to a craft monkey).


Anyway, am I strange for liking having multiple mechanics for different things like grapple, bullrush, etc? I constantly hear that this is why 3.5 was "archaic", and why 4.0's simplification (although I tend to think of it as oversimplification) was such a great "move forward".

Ricky S
2008-12-26, 03:08 AM
What are you talking about? The 3.5 system is generally the most liked system out of all of them. I personally hate 4e cause I think it fails and takes away the novelty of dnd. PLus 1st levels are too powerful and all those new things u get one use of a day things are crap. Wtf is the point of healing surges? Why do we even need clerics? oh well my opinion only but i prefer 3.5

SurlySeraph
2008-12-26, 03:11 AM
My understanding is that people don't like the 3.5 skill system because it takes too long to assign your skill points to all of the different skills, and because the number of skills mean that you can have some improbable gaps in your abilities, such as being a master of climbing, tumbling, jumping, and escape artistry, and yet having no sense of balance.

I like the 3.5 system overall, but assigning skill points for a high level Rogue or any other character with a ton of skill points is a pain in the ass.

Trizap
2008-12-26, 03:16 AM
My understanding is that people don't like the 3.5 skill system because it takes too long to assign your skill points to all of the different skills, and because the number of skills mean that you can have some improbable gaps in your abilities, such as being a master of climbing, tumbling, jumping, and escape artistry, and yet having no sense of balance.

I like the 3.5 system overall, but assigning skill points for a high level Rogue or any other character with a ton of skill points is a pain in the ass.

I never had any problem with it, I simply look at what is vital to the character,
make sure that my rogue has a good Int score, and divide my skill points equally between all of them.

AmberVael
2008-12-26, 03:17 AM
I don't hate the skill system, but I DO think it could be streamlined, simplified, and generally improved. I think a few skills should be combined (disable device and open lock, at the very least), and others might need to be a bit enhanced.

Also, I think people should just get more skill points in general.

Starsinger
2008-12-26, 03:21 AM
I don't hate the skill system, but I DO think it could be streamlined, simplified, and generally improved. I think a few skills should be combined (disable device and open lock, at the very least), and others might need to be a bit enhanced.

Also, I think people should just get more skill points in general.

My understanding is that people don't like the 3.5 skill system because it takes too long to assign your skill points to all of the different skills, and because the number of skills mean that you can have some improbable gaps in your abilities, such as being a master of climbing, tumbling, jumping, and escape artistry, and yet having no sense of balance.

These. Between the ridiculousness of class skills "Sorry, Sorcerers can't be inherently good at swimming" and the fact that a lot of classes don't get enough skill points to be worth a damn, the 3.5 skill system lacks.

I'd rather personally give everyone 6 points/level and eliminate class skills, then it'd still be kinda bad but not as bad.

Tempest Fennac
2008-12-26, 03:23 AM
I agree that the system can lead to it taking ages to assign skills, but I think it works fine as it is (one problem that I have with combining some skills is that they can be different enough for it not to make sense; for instance, Jump and Climb (and possibly Swim) could be grouped under athletics, but if they were, it would mean that someone with good leg strength and poor upper-body strength would be as good at climbing as they are at jumping. to be fair, this view is more relevant to real life due to D&D not differentiating between upper and lower body strength).


EDIT responding to Starsinger: Do you think letting people pick their own class skills within reason would be wise? The idea of giving Sorcerers more skills points and class skills came up on another forum: http://forum.mydndgame.com/index.php/topic,118.0.html .

Starsinger
2008-12-26, 03:31 AM
EDIT responding to Starsinger: Do you think letting people pick their own class skills within reason would be wise? The idea of giving Sorcerers more skills points and class skills came up on another forum: http://forum.mydndgame.com/index.php/topic,118.0.html .

Back when I ran 3.5, I made everything a class skill and everyone got at least 4 (although that's still a bit few) skill points. But I played with reasonable people who didn't immediately nab UMD and Diplomacy because they're "the best".

Tempest Fennac
2008-12-26, 03:39 AM
I'd forgotten about UMD. I tend to pick skills which fit the character to be honest (this Bard, http://mydndgame.com/?action=character-sheet&character=146 , originally had maxed out Balance and Tumble because I wanted him to be athletic, but I swapped those for Hide and Move Silently because the game I was going to use him in never happened, so I'm planning on using him for teaching my mum and sister how to play. I didn't bother with UMD because he doesn't have much interest in magic).

Behold_the_Void
2008-12-26, 03:44 AM
It has a number of flaws, as mentioned above, but it's not a bad system overall. Although the disrepencies between skills you focus on and skills you don't is staggering, which can be either a plus or a minus depending on your preference.

bosssmiley
2008-12-26, 03:47 AM
I think it's the 'illusion of precision' that puts some people off 3E skill system as written. On the one hand the 3E skills system is far too fiddly (Search and Spot are separate skills, as are Disable Device and Pick Lock, Tumble and Balance, etc.), whereas on the other hand a lot of what you actually want characters to be capable of is glossed over as 'Profession(Whatever)'. Even the BECMI skills system had the sense to break things down into 60-70 physical, knowledge and/or professional skills, rather than the ~40 3E tries to fob us off with. :smallannoyed:

And then there's the garbage of 'trained only' skills. As if having skills capped at the cross-class limit isn't going to preserve role exclusivity sufficiently. Belt-and-braces nerfing much?

Oh, and skills do nothing useful after about 5th level. They're entirely superceded by cheap magic items (skill boosters, items of invisibility, etc.) or mid-level spells (legend lore, detect x, identify, levitate, etc.). You can't even double up the damage that alchemical items do until you reach epic levels(!); by which time no-one cares about alchemist's whatever doing 2d6 damage per vial. Scaling alchemical damage by level; yet another thing that 4E did right despite itself.:smallwink:

I'm going to be re-writing the skills system to my own satisfaction when I've finished playtesting skill bonus limits. First up: the quasi-Marxian b0rkedness of Crafting as written ("Only labour expended produces *real* value comrade").

Bosh
2008-12-26, 04:22 AM
Try DMing a campaign in which the party fights a decent number of opponents with class levels.

Superglucose
2008-12-26, 04:31 AM
Skills in 3.5 are awesome... except I've always thought class skills was really dumb. Especially when it came to traps.

Yes, I get that Wizards are already one of the (if not the) most powerful classes there are. Yet, who's making all these high level traps you find lying around? Barbarians? No, Wizards are the guys setting these traps.

Yet despite the fact that Wizards are the most likely suspect for "OMG DC 40 to find trap, that dude is CRAAAAFTY," they can't find traps to save their life since a) they are apparently inherently bad at searching for things and b) aren't even allowed to find traps with a search DC higher than 25.

No, seriously. What?

And btw, sorcerers? Those monomaniacal ronin spellcasters? Oh, no, they don't know how to be diplomatic, intimidate people with their 'phenominal cosmic power', preform for an audience, or gather information. That's a set of skills I'd expect from a wanderer.

The 3.5 skill system works well if you take it, by itself (have a certain number of ranks, have max ranks, add mods, synergies, and ability bonus), and use it to roam about the world. It just kind of falls apart when you look at the concepts of 'class skills' and which classes get which skills.

Oh, and one more thing: the synergy system sucks. Once you get five ranks in Tumble you're better at balancing. And that's it. No matter how amazing you get at tumbling, you never get any better at balancing?

The fix my GM used was that you get a +2 synergy for every 5 ranks in the synergized skill. That might be a little high, and you may want to go with a +2/+1/+2/+1... synergy instead, but the idea's on: I'm really, REALLY good at tumbling around, and through it I've picked up a better sense of balance.

Curmudgeon
2008-12-26, 04:45 AM
Yet, who's making all these high level traps you find lying around? Barbarians? No, Wizards are the guys setting these traps.

Yet despite the fact that Wizards are the most likely suspect for "OMG DC 40 to find trap, that dude is CRAAAAFTY," they can't find traps to save their life since a) they are apparently inherently bad at searching for things and b) aren't even allowed to find traps with a search DC higher than 25. You're mixing up two completely different things. An ordinance engineer designs land mines. But that engineer has no field experience with finding and disarming explosives.

Wizards may be making traps (though, frankly, nobody would make traps with 3.5 rules -- it's just ridiculously (unrealistically) time consuming), but finding somebody else's traps? Not their thing at all.

Kurald Galain
2008-12-26, 05:07 AM
Can the people who are not fans of the 3.5 skill system please tell me why it is so disliked?
I am unaware that it is "so disliked".

It does, however, have numerous flaws. Aside from what has already been pointed out here, a major problem with skill checks is that the spread on the dice (1-20) is much bigger than the spread on the skill ranks (0-8, at low levels). This means that (1) far too often, you get things like the friendly bard rolling a 3 on his bluff, while the antisocial barbarian rolls a 19; and (2) it is not possible to set a DC for anything that is both easy to an expert and hard to a beginner.

Better skill systems are found in skill-based RPGs, obviously/



I constantly hear that this is why 3.5 was "archaic", and why 4.0's simplification (although I tend to think of it as oversimplification) was such a great "move forward".
Okay, I'm not going to touch that one, except to point out that if you "constantly hear that", rest assured that there are other people who "constantly hear" the exact opposite.

Arcane_Snowman
2008-12-26, 05:09 AM
I think a lot of the reasons as to why 3.5's skill system leaves something to be desired, that and the ridiculous fact that there are a number of skills that have the "got a problem? Magic'll solve it", but that isn't as much skills as the game in general.
Another things that bugs me is the straight DCs out there: like Diplomacy, Tumble and Use Magic Device, where you just have to get a certain amount of ranks and you don't have to bother.

Lentava-Heppa
2008-12-26, 05:27 AM
Complexity isn't a bad thing. I dislike a lot of simplifications in 4e. Unnecessary complexity for the sake of itself is a bad thing.

There is no point in the complexity of 3.5 skill system and it does NOT allow customization of characters to any degree. Honestly. It doesn't even make sense.

The amount of complexity: You gain 4x skill points on first level. Your max ranks are always level +3. Except for cross class skills that have half that. And CC cost twice as much. Assigning skill points is pretty much the most time taking part of character creation when you are at mid levels and creating that Bard/Ranger/rogue of yours and trying to remember which were class skills at which time.

It doesn't make sense: If I have a rogue and take levels in fighter, most of my class skills stop being such and my max ranks drop. For example, rogue 4 can raise move silently to 7 ranks. If he only rised it to 5 and took a level of fighter to become rog4/fgt1 his max ranks drop below 5. He no longer can raise his skill to the level he would have been able to get a week ago.

Not just that his max ranks don't raise (which would have been logical enough) but he actually loses the capability to raise his skill to existing max ranks. But it isn't that he would have stopped doing those and his abilities in them would have gone down. (which is only imaginable logic behind it) I mean, that 7 ranks in sleight of hand haven't taken any penalties.

Why the complexity is needless: How many people decide to put just 3 ranks to something and leave it at that? I know a lot of you think "I've had many characters like that..." but honestly, most characters max or nearly max (a few ranks away from max) their most important skills and leave others at pretty low. And really, one rank doesn't matter. As first level rogue you can get nearly all skills trained (one rank)? So what. If DC is 13 and without the rank you would have succeeded on 13+ now you succeed on 12+. The difference between you and someone without rank is so minimal that you can't even roleplay it meaningfully. The game system requires you to take max ranks to get meaningful results so having 24 skill points at first level is needless if you still need all of them to max out the 6 skills.

Why there is no customization: In 3.5 any class can try any skills... Not. Honestly, try to make a fighter that is somewhat decent in conversation. I don't mean that he would need to compete with bards as the party's primary face. Of course he shouldn't be able to do that. But to be somewhat decent with some skills related to it. You can't. If we forget the lack of synergy in abilities (cha and wis) and look at the skills... A bare minimum for someone to be in conversations is semi decent diplomacy and sense motive (both cross class). Even a fifth level fighter is only likely to get modifiers of about +5 to these by spending all of their points. It only rivals the first level expert that spends very small portition of their points. This isn't just about fighters and diplomacy. Stealth needs two skills, being aware needs two skills... Any classes without loads of class skills just can't succeed on anything despite spending all of their points to that. 3.5 system doesn't allow customization.

Even classes with a lot of skillpoints need to spend most just to do one thing. In order to fill a simple concept of being agile a rogue should have balance, tumble, jump, climb...

How to fix it: In Paizo's Pathfinder RPG (modified 3.5, beta available for free in the internet) they have removed the 4x points from first level. Your max ranks for any skill are your level. You get +3 in skills in which you have ranks and that are class skills for any of your classes. Quicker, more logical, lets you customize more.... It just works a lot better. (and yeah, they've combined spot and listen to perception, hide and move silently to stealth, some skills to athletics, other skills to acrobatics...)

From the playtesting experice that I have had, you lose nothing but gain a lot in game with this.

ken-do-nim
2008-12-26, 05:45 AM
As a player, I discovered that for role-playing purposes I wanted to spend points on my character's background (like profession farming), but I didn't spend more than 1 point because skill points are needed for in-game stuff. You shouldn't have to make that choice. Next time I DM I'm thinking of giving each character 5 extra skill points to spend on background fluff.

As a DM, I discovered that running an NPC heavy campaign takes a while because spreading out skill points is a royal pain. I tried just picking a minimal amount of skills and saying that they are maxed out, but I found in play that I kept missing important ones entirely. Sounds like Pathfinder has it right putting some of these skills together.

Edit: I also just think some things shouldn't vary so much. I don't like the jump skill for instance. Vary by movement rate? Sure. By strength? Of course. But a 20th level individual with the same movement rate and strength as a 1st shouldn't be able to jump much farther than a 1st.

Curmudgeon
2008-12-26, 06:05 AM
It doesn't make sense: If I have a rogue and take levels in fighter, most of my class skills stop being such and my max ranks drop. This is just wrong.
Regardless of whether a skill is purchased as a class skill or a cross-class skill, if it is a class skill for any of your classes, your maximum rank equals your total character level + 3.

Lentava-Heppa
2008-12-26, 06:10 AM
This is just wrong.

...I've played this game quite a lot. And DMed it in nice amounts. And am generally considered a rules lawyer to some extent in any system that I delve into. And I have never noticed that.

Please excuse me. If you need me, I'll be in my room crying.

Arcane_Snowman
2008-12-26, 06:10 AM
Got ninja'ed

Heliomance
2008-12-26, 06:13 AM
It doesn't make sense: If I have a rogue and take levels in fighter, most of my class skills stop being such and my max ranks drop. For example, rogue 4 can raise move silently to 7 ranks. If he only rised it to 5 and took a level of fighter to become rog4/fgt1 his max ranks drop below 5. He no longer can raise his skill to the level he would have been able to get a week ago.

Not just that his max ranks don't raise (which would have been logical enough) but he actually loses the capability to raise his skill to existing max ranks. But it isn't that he would have stopped doing those and his abilities in them would have gone down. (which is only imaginable logic behind it) I mean, that 7 ranks in sleight of hand haven't taken any penalties.


Uh, no Not sure where you got that from, but skills that are class skills for any of your classes have max ranks as level+3. If it's not a class skill for your current class then it costs 2 points per rank, but the cap doesn't drop.

Eldariel
2008-12-26, 06:22 AM
The only thing that annoys me is that:
1) Skills are too easy to boost (see Glibness et al); there should only be one-two synergies per skill, they shouldn't stack that high, you shouldn't be able to get over +5 with magic items and skills should be limited to one bonus type for spells, magic items and mundane items.

As a consequence, this issue makes skill-derived class features completely broken in the sense that they're either too high and not worth the effort (see: Truenamer), or way too easy to max out and do insane stuff (see: Artificer, Incantatrix).

2) Some skills have set DCs, some of which are too low. Tumble difficulty should definitely depend on your opponent's skill and Diplomacy shouldn't be allowed to convert anyone at all into your friend with no chance of resisting it (other than being PC...).

3) There are simply too few skillpoints per class. You have no chance of making a stealthy, glib, acrobatic Rogue while all those should be standard issues for the class. Nobody ever puts points into tons of Knowledges except for Wizards simply because they are unaffordable, and I haven't exactly seen Forgery or Appraise being used to great extent. I did a test: I gave every class 4 extra skill points per level. Yes, that means that the Rogue had 12+Int+Hum. It still felt like a bit too low, especially for the Factotum who had to be both, the trapmonkey and the diplomat.

As a consequence, many skills simply don't recieve points. Oh, and I agree with Vael that some skills should be rolled together. I generally disagree with everyone on the number; people want to combine Spot and Listen into Perception (which I find completely unnecessary; if someone is eagle-eyed but focuses on visual detection, he shouldn't have to homebrew a flaw to get rid of his hearing), Hide and Move Silently into Stealth (which I could agree with, but it again seems a tad unnecessary as they are clearly different areas of expertise), etc. I'd mostly be happy with Balance rolled into Acrobatics of some sort and the physical modes of movement rolled into one (because Flying obsoletes all but Swimming anyways).


Short version:
1) Too easy to boost, impossible to set reasonable DCs.
2) Set DCs for skills that should depend on the opponent(s).
3) Too few skill points per level for all classes to support this skill system.

Kiero
2008-12-26, 07:30 AM
1) Because all that accounting is boring.
2) It's highly error-prone.
3) There are simply too many skills (Spot and Listen?).
4) It leads to absurdities, like guards (who must be Fighters) who can't actually go on watch because they don't have access to vital skills.
5) Pointless add-crunch, like those stupid Feats that just add +2 to two Skills.

Saga Edition's take (originally from Blue Rose/True20) with a simple "Untrained, Trained or Focus" on a short list of skills is much better. No accouting, much less chance of making mistakes, fewer absurdities.

Greg
2008-12-26, 07:42 AM
It makes DMing a lot harder when making up enemies with class skills. I often skip skills that won't be used by me in combat when DMing.

Tehnar
2008-12-26, 08:07 AM
I really like the skill system of 3.x, and my primary dislike of 4e is the lack of it.

That is not to say there are no flaws.

- static DCs (mostly noticed for tumble)
- semi useful skills (appraise and such)
- magic items that boost skills
- some classes have a poor amount of skill points, poor choice of class skills


However assigning skills to NPCs is easy. Just pick a number of skills equal to the number of skill points they receive per level, those skills are maxed. Bingo and 30 seconds of work. Sure if you want more customization or have a NPC with 5 different classes it will take more time.

And always promote the take 10 rule. Especially in diplomatic encounters. Unless you are bargaining for your life you should be able to take 10 on bluff, diplomacy, etc.

Arcane_Snowman
2008-12-26, 08:25 AM
- static DCs (mostly noticed for Diplomacy)
Fixed it, Diplomacy is the most notable skill, which uses a static DC, simply because with the amount of items/feats/abilities out there, it is frustratingly easy to make the right DCs.

kalt
2008-12-26, 09:12 AM
I'd tend to think it is because it is hard to tell what exactly is useful and what isn't within your campaign. If you have a good DM he will probably be able to tell you what skills might be useful and what won't. The complexity I actually tend to favor and that is a big reason why I enjoyed 2nd edition a little over 3.5(this edition though is the one I usually play) and just flat out won't play 4th edition.

Talya
2008-12-26, 09:21 AM
I love 3.5 as a system, overall. I love the complexity, and the options that the complexity opens up.

That said, I dislike the 3.5 skill system because it forces specialization, and unless you're playing a rogue, you're going to suck at most simple things. Few people can swim, jump, climb, or tumble. The average level 20 wizard/fighter/cleric is myopic and can't spot a house 10 feet away from him. I also dislike that there are so many skills, and so few skill points to spend on them.

I prefer something more like the Star Wars Saga Edition skill system, where you're either trained or not, and regardless of whether you're trained, experience improves you. A level 20 noble without trained perception still has a better spot check roll than a level 1 scout with trained perception.

Tempest Fennac
2008-12-26, 09:40 AM
It sounds a lot like this alternatvie 3.5 skill system: http://www.d20srd.org/srd/variant/buildingCharacters/alternativeSkillSystems.htm#maximumRanksLimitedCho ices .

kalt
2008-12-26, 09:42 AM
you can use pathfinders, which streamlines the skills down a bit.

Talya
2008-12-26, 09:45 AM
It sounds a lot like this alternatvie 3.5 skill system: http://www.d20srd.org/srd/variant/buildingCharacters/alternativeSkillSystems.htm#maximumRanksLimitedCho ices .

Yes, except for this line:


A character is considered to have the maximum number of ranks allowable in any skill known to that character, and no ranks in any skill unknown to that character.

That actually exacerbates my issue with 3.5's skill system.

Saga Edition's skill system works this way -

Your base skill ranks in any skill is your heroic (character) level divided by 2.

So a level 1 character has base ranks of 0, a level 10 character has base ranks of 5, and a level 20 character has base ranks of 10.

Skill Training adds +5 to your ranks in that skill.
Skill Focus adds another +5 to your ranks in that skill.

So at most, a super specialist trained character has only 10 more ranks in a skill than an untrained one of the same level. At level 1, this actually can create issues, but at level 20, it's far better.

Tempest Fennac
2008-12-26, 09:54 AM
I forgot about that (that restriction would be a problem with some PrCs).

Kiero
2008-12-26, 10:05 AM
Saga Edition's skill system works this way -

Your base skill ranks in any skill is your heroic (character) level divided by 2.

So a level 1 character has base ranks of 0, a level 10 character has base ranks of 5, and a level 20 character has base ranks of 10.

Skill Training adds +5 to your ranks in that skill.
Skill Focus adds another +5 to your ranks in that skill.

So at most, a super specialist trained character has only 10 more ranks in a skill than an untrained one of the same level. At level 1, this actually can create issues, but at level 20, it's far better.

It also merges and simplifies a lot of skills; there's just a Perception Skill, a Stealth Skill. They do retain Climb, Jump and Swim for some reason, but a lot of people merge them into a single "Athletics" skill.

Because let's face it hardly anyone in a sci-fi setting would be burning skill slots for those individually. Most characters can make do without having any of them trained ever, so at least that way there's an incentive for someone to get physical skills at all. My GM merged them, I got it for my Scout/Jedi character.

Tequila Sunrise
2008-12-26, 11:00 AM
This has been bugging me for quite some time. Can the people who are not fans of the 3.5 skill system please tell me why it is so disliked? I have always loved it, and carefully selecting a character's skills has always been my favorite part of writing up a new character, and later leveling them up. For some it is gear/magic items, for others it is the class or race, but for me it has always been skills.

With the 3.5 skill system you can make a character of the same class and race into completely different things/concepts. You can turn a rogue from a stealthy thief, to a sharp tongued diplomat, to a crafter, to a trickster, to a Jack-of-All-Trades, etc. And you would be surprised at how well it works for even classes with much less skill points, such as a psion (my reoccurring favorite psion PC has been everything from a noblish diplomat, to a craft monkey).
My biggest beefs with 3e skills are:

1. It pretends to be this awesomely versatile system for customization, but cross class skills say "screw that, only DM fiat can give you that!" Really, there's no reason for cross-class skills to exist. Any skill can be justified for any character, period. If a certain ability is so important to a certain class' identity, like say Hide/MS for the rogue, it should be a basic class stat like BAB is. 'Cause that's really what BAB is, a skill in the form of a basic game stat.

2. Skill points might be exciting for others, but they just bore me. For every character I've ever created, my practice is to assign max points to a minimum number of skills so that all I have to do at each level is add 1 to each. I hate how Int-based characters end up with a few useless skill points.

3. I hate that certain skills encourage you to only put enough in to make a non-that-high DC. If a skill has such a limited application, it should be part of another skill. All skills should encourage you to max them out at every level.

4. And yeah, a lot of skills like Hide and MS should really be one skill. Any character who has one will have the other, so what's the point of differentiation?

5. Craft, Perform and Profession. Not a problem for character creation, 'cause I can just ignore them, but they feed into the misconception that 3e is some kind of reality simulator and that anything a character might possibly do has to have a rule.


Anyway, am I strange for liking having multiple mechanics for different things like grapple, bullrush, etc? I constantly hear that this is why 3.5 was "archaic", and why 4.0's simplification (although I tend to think of it as oversimplification) was such a great "move forward".
A certain amount of game complexity is good, but too much of anything is a bad thing. Turn Undead was always a sore spot for me, being a single left-over needlessly byzantine 2e mechanic.

TS

Pronounceable
2008-12-26, 11:05 AM
There's also the matter of not being able to master a skill without also becoming unfeasibly hard to kill. Mainly trouble for a DM who (for some unfathomable reason) doesn't want to exercise rule0. The greatest baker in the world can stand there and shrug off blow after blow from a bloodthirsty orc with a huge axe. How can he do that? Why, he spent years making all kinds of pastry products of course. How ELSE?

arguskos
2008-12-26, 11:08 AM
There's also the matter of not being able to master a skill without also becoming unfeasibly hard to kill. Mainly trouble for a DM who (for some unfathomable reason) doesn't want to exercise rule0. The greatest baker in the world can stand there and shrug off blow after blow from a bloodthirsty orc with a huge axe. How can he do that? Why, he spent years making all kinds of pastry products of course. How ELSE?
See, that's just hilarious.

"RAWRGH, WHY WON'T YOU DIE?!?!?"
"Because of my delicious pastries! Feel the power of light and fluffy apple pies!" /whacks with an apple pie
"NOOOO! My one weakness!!" /dies

Tehnar
2008-12-26, 11:10 AM
Right on the diplomacy, didnt think of it since I use the Giants variant diplomacy rules for a while now.

Other houserules I use in regards to the skill system:
- appraise is used for identifying magic items (spells just give a temporary bonus to the skill)
- tumble gives a dodge bonus to AC vs AoO provoked by movement, bonus dependant on how well you roll
- certain spells modified, to give more value to skill classes
- certain classes had their skills per level and class skills expanded (fighter, sorcerer)
- open lock merged into disable device
- diplomacy uses Giant variant rules, with an added twist that your charisma may change the initial attitude of an NPC (a sort of "first impression" rule), this tends to make charisma a valuable stat.


I very much dislike that all skills improve as you level, as 4th E does things. Im not too familiar with SW rules. I feel that with 3.5 skill ruleset you can make NPCs just as quickly as in 4th E, but if you want more customised characters you can take the time to develop it. I allways feel puzzled by when someone says that character creation is to hard/long for 3.5 for a player. I dont understand that because if you cant afford the time to create a character in more then 5 mins, what is that saying to the DM who probably prepared for more then 2 hours for the upcoming session, or even longer in developing a world in which you play.

UserClone
2008-12-26, 11:13 AM
The only reason I can see (if it hasn't yet been mentioned) for Cross-class skills to exist is to put an artificial level requirement onto PrC entry requirements, especially for the "doubly classes" like Fochlucan Lyrist or Daggerspell Mage/Shaper. I say if you're going to do that to yourself anyway, eliminate cross-class skills and just bluntly say "Requirements: Character level X".:smallyuk:

Flickerdart
2008-12-26, 11:39 AM
- appraise is used for identifying magic items (spells just give a temporary bonus to the skill)
Shouldn't Knowledge skills also have an effect on that, and in fact be more important? "Oh, there's a jewel that's worth 1000gp on that amulet" isn't quite as useful as "Say, that there is a gem of seeing." Appraise doesn't really help if you don't know what it does.


The only reason I can see (if it hasn't yet been mentioned) for Cross-class skills to exist is to put an artificial level requirement onto PrC entry requirements, especially for the "doubly classes" like Fochlucan Lyrist or Daggerspell Mage/Shaper. I say if you're going to do that to yourself anyway, eliminate cross-class skills and just bluntly say "Requirements: Character level X".:smallyuk:
Because there will always be a crafty optimizer who can get there a level or two sooner.

Zeful
2008-12-26, 11:47 AM
The average level 20 wizard/fighter/cleric is myopic and can't spot a house 10 feet away from him.
+1dc from being 10ft away. -12 Dc from being Gargantuan (my house is 25x22ft which is small for a house). So the Spot DC to find a small house is -11, I'm sure a fighter could find it.

UserClone
2008-12-26, 11:49 AM
I understand that an optimizer will optimize, and I encourage players to play however they are the happiest (assuming it doesn't interfere with another's enjoyment of the game). However, my gripe is with the design of the game. The skill point requirements put a hard level prerequisite on the PrCs as it stands, so why not get rid of the CCS/CS distinction and just say, "Okay, you need 10 ranks of UMD, and you have a minimum Character Level of 10 to get in," since that was the intent of "UMD: 10 ranks/Casts 2nd-level Divine Spells," or whatever? Why bother skirting around saying "Nth Level," if that was clearly the intent anyhow? If you do it with a level requirement instead, it frees any class member to take the skill they want (or take the ones for their PrC prereqs) and not be unduly penalized.

Tehnar
2008-12-26, 11:50 AM
I used appraise without much meddling in regards to other skills. You could always add other modifiers as you see fit, but I decided against it to keep the skill simple. Ill spoiler it for any who want to read it:


APPRAISE (INT)
Use this skill to tell an antique from old junk, a sword thatís old and fancy from an elven heirloom, and high-quality jewelry from cheap stuff made to look good. Advanced appraiser's can even indentify magic items.

Check: You can appraise common or well-known objects with a DC 12 Appraise check. Failure means that you estimate the value at 50% to 80%. The DM secretly rolls a 1d4+4, multiplies the result by 10%, multiplies the actual value by that percentage, then tells you the resulting value for the item.

Appraising a rare or exotic item requires a successful check against DC 15, 20, or higher. If the check is successful, you estimate the value correctly; failure means you cannot
estimate the itemís value.

A magnifying glass (page 130) gives you a +2 circumstance bonus on Appraise checks involving any item that is small or highly
detailed, such as a gem.

A merchantís scale (page 130) gives you a +2 circumstance bonus on
Appraise checks involving any items that are valued by weight, including anything made of precious metals. These bonuses stack.

Appraising gems:
Istead of finding the value of a gem, you determine its value (in carat's)

The DC is 15+(the worth of a gem in carat's [round up]). If you fail the check, you estimate the value of 50% to 80% the actual worth (in carat's)

Identifying magic items:
You can use the appraise skill to identify magic items. The DC is 20 + 1/5000g the magic item is worth (round down). If the check is successful you understand the basic function of the item (such as a +1 sword is better at attacking). If you beat the check by 5 or more, you understand all the properties of a item. If you use detect magic while trying to appraise a magic item you get a +2 bonus on the check. If you fail to appraise a magic item, you don't gain any useful information. You need at least 5 ranks in appraise to identify magic items, unless you employ spells such as identify.

At DM's discretion certain magic items might be harder to appraise, or even give wrong information on a failed check.

Action: Appraising an item takes 1 minute (ten consecutive full-round
actions). You can try to appraise a item as a full round action but you take a -10 penalty to your check.

Try Again: No. You cannot try again on the same object, regardless of success.

Special: A dwarf gets a +2 racial bonus on Appraise checks that are related to stone or metal items because dwarves are familiar with valuable items of all kinds (especially those made of stone or metal).
The master of a raven familiar (see the Familiars sidebar, page 52) gains a +3 bonus on Appraise checks.
A character with the Diligent feat gets a +2 bonus on Appraise checks.
Synergy: If you have 5 ranks in any Craft skill, you gain a +2
bonus on Appraise checks related to items made with that Craft skill
(see Craft, page 70).
A identify spell gives you a +20 circumstance bonus to the appraise check to indentify magic items (for one item only).
A analyze dweomer spell gives you a bonus of 15+caster level on your appraise checks to identify a magic item while the spell lasts,
and you can identify a magic item once per round (without penalty).

Untrained: You can only attempt to appraise items of DC 15 and lower.

You can take 10 on this check (but you cant take 20). You also cant take 10 if you are performing this check as a full round action. The DM secretly makes the rolls for you if you don't chose to take 10.

Talya
2008-12-26, 12:36 PM
+1dc from being 10ft away. -12 Dc from being Gargantuan (my house is 25x22ft which is small for a house). So the Spot DC to find a small house is -11, I'm sure a fighter could find it.

You don't need to do the math on an exaggeration.

Leewei
2008-12-26, 01:12 PM
There's also the matter of not being able to master a skill without also becoming unfeasibly hard to kill. Mainly trouble for a DM who (for some unfathomable reason) doesn't want to exercise rule0. The greatest baker in the world can stand there and shrug off blow after blow from a bloodthirsty orc with a huge axe. How can he do that? Why, he spent years making all kinds of pastry products of course. How ELSE?

The Iron Chef PrC grants DR 10/Adamantine, of course.

Zeful
2008-12-26, 01:14 PM
If you beat the check by 5 or more, you understand all the properties of a item.That's just broken, if it was an additional property it might not be so bad. Still the wrong skill entirely. Including Magic item identification under Appraise makes an assumption about magic items, they all have identifying features that say [insert item description here] in really small text somewhere on the item. Spellcraft or Knowledge (Arcane) might be better choices, as they represent general (Knowlege skill) and specialized (Spellcraft) knowledge of magic.


The DC is 20 + 1/5000g the magic item is worth (round down). If the check is successful you understand the basic function of the item (such as a +1 sword is better at attacking).
1/5000 the GP price? that seems a little extreme. That makes Universal Solvent (50gp) and a +1 Dagger (2,002gp) a Dc20 check. A +10 equivalent Dagger (200,002gp) is a Dc60 check. Okay so that's not too bad.


You don't need to do the math on an exaggeration.
I can't tell when someone's being sarcastic on the internet.


There's also the matter of not being able to master a skill without also becoming unfeasibly hard to kill. Mainly trouble for a DM who (for some unfathomable reason) doesn't want to exercise rule0. The greatest baker in the world can stand there and shrug off blow after blow from a bloodthirsty orc with a huge axe. How can he do that? Why, he spent years making all kinds of pastry products of course. How ELSE?He spent a couple of years baking pies in hell.

Fax Celestis
2008-12-26, 01:20 PM
That's a set of skills I'd expect from a wanderer.

...you just gave me an epic idea.

*flits away to wiki (http://tinyurl.com/faxwiki) to start editing up the epic idea.*

Philistine
2008-12-26, 01:24 PM
I haven't seen this mentioned in the thread yet, but many classes receive very few skill points and/or have a poor selection of class skills. As a result the only useful thing they can do with their skill points is distribute them as PrC prerequisites. That's just bad design.

Rogues have their own problems, despite their 8+Int SP/level, because of the large number of archetypal Rogue abilities that are split out into multiple skills. It takes 8 SP/level just to keep up with stealth, scouting, and basic thieving skills - the bare minimum for any Thief-descended class. And that still leaves out Rogueish abilities like Appraise, Bluff, Tumble, etc. Yet this is supposed to be a "skillful" class? The skillful class? Again, poor design.

The skill system in 3.5 is an abomination, and needs to be nuked from orbit. It's the only way to be sure.

EDIT: And I forgot to mention some of the absurd ability modifiers on skills. CHA is the only ability that modifies Intimidate, for example? Yeah, right - so a 9' tall, 500 lb Troll isn't scary, because he only has a 4 CHA. I don't know what the guy who came up with that was smoking, but I want some.

UserClone
2008-12-26, 01:31 PM
IIRC, doesn't your BAB affect demoralize checks, or is that only the opponent's check?

Talya
2008-12-26, 01:34 PM
I believe there's a feat or class feature or something somewhere that lets intimidate be moved from Charisma to Strength.

Zeful
2008-12-26, 01:40 PM
EDIT: And I forgot to mention some of the absurd ability modifiers on skills. CHA is the only ability that modifies Intimidate, for example? Yeah, right - so a 9' tall, 500 lb Troll isn't scary, because he only has a 4 CHA. I don't know what the guy who came up with that was smoking, but I want some.

So the huge guy that stutters in public is more scary then guy whose words chill you to the bone. Riiiiiiiiiight. Bering and poise is more frightening than just dumb muscle. I'm not afraid of a 9' tall 500lb troll, because it has to catch me to be dangerous. The 4' halfling 98lb crime boss just has to see my face.

UserClone
2008-12-26, 01:43 PM
Athough, to be fair, that is downright ENORMOUS for a Halfling.:smallwink:

Talya
2008-12-26, 01:50 PM
The 4' halfling 98lb crime boss just has to see my face.

I'd be terrified. That's like the biggest halfling ever.

http://www.d20srd.org/srd/description.htm

Zeful
2008-12-26, 01:56 PM
Fine it's a Dwarf.

Talya
2008-12-26, 01:58 PM
Fine it's a Dwarf.

An anemic, fragile waif of a dwarf at that!

ericgrau
2008-12-26, 01:59 PM
I think the skill system is awesome, but I rarely if ever see players who know the skill rules, let alone DM's who pay attention to the applications in the dungeon and wilderness sections of the DMG. I think it's the complication that keeps most people from using it, and for them the 4e system is better. I think that's unfortunate and it would be better if players understood and used the 3.5e skill system.

There are a lot of consolidated skill systems out there that make choosing your skills easier, but the players and DM should still know the skill rules. To make things even easier, I have my own consolidated skill systems with in-game cheat sheets for the players here (http://www.geocities.com/pleasespamme2004/dnd/tangibles/quick_reference_sheets_with_consolidated_skill_sys tem.zip). But it's still up to the DM to make decent dungeons and wilderness. Maybe I'll get cracking on the DM side of things later. Besides consolidating the skills, the skill rules are almost exactly the same as the standard skill rules. I had other cheat sheets that use the normal skill system, but they need updating so I'm going to hold off before I upload them. The cheat sheets apply to all rules you might run into during a game session except spells, not just skills. That should save some PHB flipping.

As for supposed "problems" with half skill ranks at higher levels or using untrained skills at higher levels, I strongly disagree with this. Most skill checks are against set DCs; i.e., they do not increase with level. It is the farthest thing from a waste to only put a few ranks in some skill regardless of character level. And the ones that are opposed checks need not be handled by everyone in the party, or become moot against monsters who face the same cross-class problems as the PCs (I'm looking at you: DM who arbitrarily increases search and spot DCs at higher levels even when the monster isn't a ninja type).

Pathfinder only consolidates some skills, and adds as much complication as it removes.

Philistine
2008-12-26, 02:10 PM
So the huge guy that stutters in public is more scary then guy whose words chill you to the bone. Riiiiiiiiiight. Bering and poise is more frightening than just dumb muscle. I'm not afraid of a 9' tall 500lb troll, because it has to catch me to be dangerous. The 4' halfling 98lb crime boss just has to see my face.

Oh, puh-leeze. First off, talking ain't that scary. Lots of people talk, without having the ability (or resolve) to actually do the things they threaten. It's just a bunch of hot air unless and until proven otherwise. The "dumb muscle" certainly has at least the ability to follow through, and is likely to have the resolve as well.

Second, the troll is not likely to be receptive to argument, reasoning, or pleading, and it's not looking to cut a deal. For the crime boss, it's just business - and making deals is how business gets done. So I'm less afraid of the crime boss because I know he can be bought.

ericgrau
2008-12-26, 02:12 PM
Not that I necessarily agree with it, but in 3.5e rules you get a +4 to intimidate checks for each size category.

And getting someone to fight or run from you b/c of might is easy. Manipulating them to do exactly what you want instead b/c of such requires cha & skill.

Artanis
2008-12-26, 02:13 PM
Second, the troll is not likely to be receptive to argument, reasoning, or pleading, and it's not looking to cut a deal. For the crime boss, it's just business - and making deals is how business gets done. So I'm less afraid of the crime boss because I know he can be bought.
If this is the case, then why would the Troll bother with trying to intimidate you? He'd just start eating you.



Edit: Addendum, thought up a good reply to the other part of the post

Oh, puh-leeze. First off, talking ain't that scary. Lots of people talk, without having the ability (or resolve) to actually do the things they threaten. It's just a bunch of hot air unless and until proven otherwise. The "dumb muscle" certainly has at least the ability to follow through, and is likely to have the resolve as well.
If you go after a troll, the troll will try to eat you. If you go after the halfling mafia boss, the two trolls chained next to his desk will eat you. And if you survive that, they'll delay you long enough for the halfling to escape while the army of heavily-armed guards take you down. And if you survive THAT, the city guard will beat you to a pulp and throw you in jail with a Minotaur Frenzied Berserker who thinks you got purty eyes. And if you get out of THAT, nobody within a hundred miles will sell you food, much less items, because if they do their families will be murdered. And if you get around THAT, there's the army of assassins who will try to stab you to death in your sleep every single night for the rest of your life.

UserClone
2008-12-26, 02:17 PM
I'm with Artanis on this one. What sort of Troll even bothers with small-talk? For one, they are not incredibly intelligent. For another, they are well aware of their immunity to most types of physical damage, so why would they bother with Intimidation when they can just kick the crap out of you and have your heart as a snack?:smallconfused:

Fax Celestis
2008-12-26, 02:32 PM
...you just gave me an epic idea.

*flits away to wiki (http://tinyurl.com/faxwiki) to start editing up the epic idea.*

*posts epic idea.*

arguskos
2008-12-26, 02:34 PM
Dead link is dead Fax.

Fax Celestis
2008-12-26, 02:36 PM
Dead link is dead Fax.

Fixededededed.

Zeful
2008-12-26, 02:43 PM
An anemic, fragile waif of a dwarf at that!

My point was that poise has a greater effect on scariness than size. I'm 5' 10" and top out at 130lbs after a big meal, and I'm scarier than a 300lb linebacker, because I'm not afraid to talk about how much blood goes through which easily accessible arteries, or what pieces of cartilage can cause almost irreparable to your circulatory system. Then their's the fact that I had to learn to make people leave me the hell alone in school. There's a hierarchy to it Skill>Poise>Size.

Philistine
2008-12-26, 04:04 PM
My point was that poise has a greater effect on scariness than size. I'm 5' 10" and top out at 130lbs after a big meal, and I'm scarier than a 300lb linebacker, because I'm not afraid to talk about how much blood goes through which easily accessible arteries, or what pieces of cartilage can cause almost irreparable to your circulatory system. Then their's the fact that I had to learn to make people leave me the hell alone in school. There's a hierarchy to it Skill>Poise>Size.
There's a critical point here which you need to remember: Talk. Is. Cheap. It doesn't matter what you say, unless and until you prove you're willing and able to back it up. I've known some scary people; I've even scared a few people myself, one time or another. It's not a matter of grossing people out, it's a matter of convincing people that you can, and very soon will, inflict serious injury upon them. The muscle guys clearly have the ability; and if they truly are "dumb muscle" (an assumption which frankly tells more about you than about them) then they're not likely to have any moral qualms either. "Morbid little creeps" on the other hand can talk about blood and gore all they want, but it's not intimidating if nobody believes they can actually do the things they talk about.

So. Scarier than a linebacker more than twice your size? I find that... doubtful. When people don't want to be around you, the least likely reason is that they're scared of you; from what you've said here, it really sounds like you're confusing disgust with fear.

UserClone
2008-12-26, 04:43 PM
I'm going to have to diasgree with you on that, Philistine, at least to some degree. Look at the Joker in TDK. Not a physically imposing specimen by any means, but when he kills a guy with a pencil for no reason out of nowhere, you learn to respect this guy. Similarly, if a small, plain-looking fellow flips open an enormous knife and begins to slice himself with it while explaining how he is going to use it to scoop your eyeball out of your skull and feed it to you, you'll listen. Well, or get the hell out of there.

chiasaur11
2008-12-26, 05:01 PM
On the other hand, we've got your average Adam Baldwin character.
On one hand, no way this guy is a leader of men (Canton notwithstanding).
On the other, if one was told to do something by one of them "or else"...

Well, being at least a tad intimidated seems fair enough.

Zeful
2008-12-26, 05:02 PM
There's a critical point here which you need to remember: Talk. Is. Cheap. It doesn't matter what you say, unless and until you prove you're willing and able to back it up. I've known some scary people; I've even scared a few people myself, one time or another. It's not a matter of grossing people out, it's a matter of convincing people that you can, and very soon will, inflict serious injury upon them. The muscle guys clearly have the ability; and if they truly are "dumb muscle" (an assumption which frankly tells more about you than about them) then they're not likely to have any moral qualms either. "Morbid little creeps" on the other hand can talk about blood and gore all they want, but it's not intimidating if nobody believes they can actually do the things they talk about. I use the phrase dumb muscle because both Cha and Int are dump stats for fighters and barbarians (two classes that would benefit from Str to Intimidate which have it as class skills). Their not going to be very high, ever (short of rolling all 18s). They are going to be strong, and that's about it. And it's true that most talk is cheep, unless you know how to talk. You can shift your voice through a very large range of tones, some of them are very scary to listen to. You could talk of nothing but sunshine and rainbows and still scare people with the right tone of voice. Words work when you have something to lose


So. Scarier than a linebacker more than twice your size? I find that... doubtful. When people don't want to be around you, the least likely reason is that they're scared of you; from what you've said here, it really sounds like you're confusing disgust with fear.
Yes how dare I confuse the words "you're scaring me," with "you disgust me" they sound ever so much alike. The reason I know I scare people is because they've told me so. I had to be scarier than a linebacker nearly twice times my size, otherwise I was bullied relentlessly. And I'm not like that all the time, just when people think they can push me around 'cause I'm thin.

Talya
2008-12-26, 05:03 PM
On the other hand, we've got your average Adam Baldwin character.
On one hand, no way this guy is a leader of men (Canton notwithstanding).
On the other, if one was told to do something by one of them "or else"...

Well, being at least a tad intimidated seems fair enough.

Oh, just come right out and say Jayne Cobb. Because Adam Baldwin plays some pretty diverse character types!

chiasaur11
2008-12-26, 05:09 PM
Oh, just come right out and say Jayne Cobb. Because Adam Baldwin plays some pretty diverse character types!

Well, to be fair, I was also thinking of John Casey and Animal lover from Full Metal Jacket.

I was just looking him up on IMDB. I am still shocked that he was in Ordinary People.

Bosh
2008-12-27, 12:26 AM
Well as far as intimidation goes, it doesn't have too much to do with strength.

For example, I'm probably about 50 pounds heavier than my brother in-law and can definitely lift a good bit more weight than him (although he is VERY strong for his size), but I'm not a dangerous person and its not hard to figure that out. He was in lots of fights when he's a construction worker and now he's a ware house manager who can make threats about getting a bunch of teamsters together to beat people up that at least sound credible. If I try to look scary, I just look like I'm squinting, he can actually pull it off.

For example he was able to get a bunch of back pay from my old boss that he was trying to screw me out of when I'd failed to do so, despite my old boss being a good foot taller than my brother in-law.

However, students being scary because they know how to talk about arteries. Yeah, I don't really buy that either...

kjones
2008-12-27, 01:38 AM
I'm not sure anyone has explicitly brought this up yet, but it's a pain to assign skill points to high-ish level, multiclass characters. You have two things to worry about at the same time. First, the number of skill points per level changes. Second, and more obnoxiously, the list of class skills changes. It can be done, but it's needlessly complicated, and has led me to contemplate doing away with class skills altogether.

BobVosh
2008-12-27, 01:50 AM
*posts epic idea.*

I like it.


I'm not sure anyone has explicitly brought this up yet, but it's a pain to assign skill points to high-ish level, multiclass characters. You have two things to worry about at the same time. First, the number of skill points per level changes. Second, and more obnoxiously, the list of class skills changes. It can be done, but it's needlessly complicated, and has led me to contemplate doing away with class skills altogether.
People actually don't always use the houserule of "once a classskill, always a class skill?

I like pathfinders version of class skills. Also how skill focus in pathfinder basically means +1 class skill.

Dervag
2008-12-27, 03:12 AM
And it's true that most talk is cheep, unless you know how to talk. You can shift your voice through a very large range of tones, some of them are very scary to listen to. You could talk of nothing but sunshine and rainbows and still scare people with the right tone of voice. Words work when you have something to lose.On the other hand, if a flippin' huge guy stood so close to me that he blocked out the sun and started talking of sunshine and rainbows, I'd get pretty unnerved.

Physical size and brawn really do help with intimidation. They're not a trump card, but they're definitely useful. On the other hand, being very strong for your apparent size and brawniness doesn't help you much. And since D&D doesn't have a stat that tracks physical size and the appearance of strength, it's probably not a good idea to link Intimidate directly to the Strength bonus.
_______


Yes how dare I confuse the words "you're scaring me," with "you disgust me" they sound ever so much alike. The reason I know I scare people is because they've told me so. I had to be scarier than a linebacker nearly twice times my size, otherwise I was bullied relentlessly. And I'm not like that all the time, just when people think they can push me around 'cause I'm thin.Many people, when seriously creeped out by what you're saying, will say "you're scaring me" rather than "you disgust me" or "you are creepy." Most people aren't precisionists, so when someone creates a feeling of disgust in them they may not analyze it enough to say "you are disgusting" rather than "you are scary."

Now, you can scare people by disgusting them, and never let anyone tell you different. But for it to work, you must not only disgust them but convince them that you're about to dump a big pile of disgusting on their doorstep. So as Philistine says, talk doesn't help unless it's backed up by credibility.

The wiry little dude who talks about arteries all the time might be scary, disgusting, or both; it's all a question of technique. Any of the three can have a fairly similar effect on high school students, too, so it's hard to tell which you're using.

Tempest Fennac
2008-12-27, 03:27 AM
I suppose another idea is just to let people pick class skills in the same way that Generic classes pick them (I'd get rid of the need for some skills to always be in-class, though). As far as Intimidate goes, I'd be tempted to use either Str or Cha for those checks depending on which class the character is.

Kurald Galain
2008-12-27, 05:11 AM
I'm not sure anyone has explicitly brought this up yet, but it's a pain to assign skill points to high-ish level, multiclass characters.

Yes. I suspect that the 3.0 design team did not take into account that many people would start a campaign at (substantially) higher level than first.

JMobius
2008-12-27, 12:00 PM
On the subject of intimidation:

I find that the truth about effective intimidation is somewhere inbetween the two sides being raised here. Someone whom you find physically imposing is, by definition, someone rather scary and someone you don't want beating you up. However, I find it a bit silly to so easily dismiss the effectiveness of verbal intimidation. What they might lack in obvious threatening factors can usually be made up for by effective delivery. In a potential conflict situation, it can be extraordinarily unnerving to have someone calmly and confidently describe your soon-to-be eviscerations. Its worth noting, however, that the confident delivery is worth far more than simple brutal talk.

Furthermore, intimidation is a broader idea than simply imposing imminent fear for one's physical well being. Threats against loved ones (as we all know, helpless commoners with only a d4 hit die -- it doesn't take much) or other forms of torture, social posturing in politics and business, could all be defined as forms of intimidation. Many of these forms tend to require more skill and understanding of effective delivery than they do simply being scary looking.

On the subject of 3.5 skills:

Hate the system with a passion, for pretty much all reasons stated in this thread. The worst skill system I've seen in a game.

Heliomance
2008-12-27, 02:14 PM
Physical mass isn't that important to intimidate checks. This, (http://uk.youtube.com/watch?v=cH_iDlCdL60) starting at about 1:10, is a textbook example of a successful intimidate check, made by someone not terribly imposing who was utterly unable to carry out his threats. The man's raw charisma made it work.

Neithan
2008-12-27, 02:27 PM
I really like the skill system of 3.x, and my primary dislike of 4e is the lack of it.

Well said. :smallbiggrin:

PurinaDragonCho
2008-12-27, 03:44 PM
This has been bugging me for quite some time. Can the people who are not fans of the 3.5 skill system please tell me why it is so disliked? I have always loved it, and carefully selecting a character's skills has always been my favorite part of writing up a new character, and later leveling them up. For some it is gear/magic items, for others it is the class or race, but for me it has always been skills.

With the 3.5 skill system you can make a character of the same class and race into completely different things/concepts. You can turn a rogue from a stealthy thief, to a sharp tongued diplomat, to a crafter, to a trickster, to a Jack-of-All-Trades, etc. And you would be surprised at how well it works for even classes with much less skill points, such as a psion (my reoccurring favorite psion PC has been everything from a noblish diplomat, to a craft monkey).


Anyway, am I strange for liking having multiple mechanics for different things like grapple, bullrush, etc? I constantly hear that this is why 3.5 was "archaic", and why 4.0's simplification (although I tend to think of it as oversimplification) was such a great "move forward".

From my point of view, there was nothing wrong with the 3.5 skill system that couldn't be fixed with a few minor tweaks. In my game, every character gets to pick one skill that isn't on their list and make it a class skill for that character at every level. That allows every character a degree of uniqueness.

I also have no problem with the degree of complexity - different rules for bull rush, disarm, what have you.

This is honestly a matter of personal preference, and I would add that I think some people also get tired of the same thing and want something new. So people get bored with a system and want to try one that does things differently. I haven't reached that stage with 3.5 yet.

lisiecki
2008-12-28, 03:14 PM
This has been bugging me for quite some time. Can the people who are not fans of the 3.5 skill system please tell me why it is so disliked? I have always loved it, and carefully selecting a character's skills has always been my favorite part of writing up a new character, and later leveling them up. For some it is gear/magic items, for others it is the class or race, but for me it has always been skills.

Honestly, I don't like it because its not complex enough.
I prefer something like GURPS where you can show EXACTLY what your character knows, and get massive benefits for it.
Honestly, isn't the 3.X system fairly simple?
EVERY starting level human rogue with 18 int has the same number of skill points, as opposed to making a character weigh the benefits of more skills against other aspects of the character.

Oslecamo
2008-12-28, 03:30 PM
Honestly, isn't the 3.X system fairly simple?
EVERY starting level human rogue with 18 int has the same number of skill points, as opposed to making a character weigh the benefits of more skills against other aspects of the character.

There's a feat for gaining extra skill points, and then there's feats for geting bonuses to skills. And then you can choose to be a feat rogue to get more feats and thus more skills, instead of sneack attack.

Then you could burn your money in skill enanching stuff.

And then you can pick flaws for moar feats, aka skill points.

And be an human for even moar skill points.

What else could you sacrifice? Your BAB is already medium, and d6 for life is pretty low, and you must have at least one good save.

Want more complexity?

lisiecki
2008-12-28, 03:36 PM
There's a feat for gaining extra skill points, and then there's feats for geting bonuses to skills. And then you can choose to be a feat rogue to get more feats and thus more skills, instead of sneack attack.
Then you could burn your money in skill enanching stuff.
And then you can pick flaws for moar feats, aka skill points.
And be an human for even moar skill points.
What else could you sacrifice? Your BAB is already medium, and d6 for life is pretty low, and you must have at least one good save.
Want more complexity?

Well im not sure how much of an enhancement you can get at 1st level
Or how you can be some sort of double human
Flaws are something i've never dealt with as we only use the core book and such.

What I am saying is that the 3.x skill system isn't very complex as skill systems in RPG's go.

Oslecamo
2008-12-28, 03:46 PM
Well im not sure how much of an enhancement you can get at 1st level
Or how you can be some sort of double human
Flaws are something i've never dealt with as we only use the core book and such.

What I am saying is that the 3.x skill system isn't very complex as skill systems in RPG's go.

Well, if you don't have the patience to dig inside the rules, then you can't complain they aren't complex enough. Flaws can be found for free in the online srd.

Also, in comparison with other RPGs, you need to remember that they have a diferent definition of "skills" than D&D.

For example in BESM everything works on skills wich are indeed pretty complex...But there's no such thing as class features and feats.

So for example the rogue will develop good reflex saves, evasion, uncanny dodge and other "agile stuff". Those are all stuff that represent the rogue being really "agile", even if you don't have any "agile" skills like jump or tumble or profession(acrobat).

So if you want to make a truly agile character, you can't rely just on skills, you need to combine them with the right class features and feats.

In other RPGs "skills" are the bread and butter of your character, but in D&D "skills" represent a little niche of capacities, and what would go as "skills" on the other RPGs passes by class features and feats in D&D.

So, other RPGs may indeed have more complex "skill" systems, but they don't have the class features/feats/racials complexity that D&D has, but wich also represent "skills" in the end.

lisiecki
2008-12-28, 03:53 PM
Well, if you don't have the patience to dig inside the rules, then you can't complain they aren't complex enough. Flaws can be found for free in the online srd.

Yes, it is completely, and utterly one hundred percent my fault, due to my inability to read the rules the right way, that i think that other role playing games have more complex skill systems.
Not that other rule systems actually are more complex.
How silly of me


Also, in comparison with other RPGs, you need to remember that they have a diferent definition of "skills" than D&D.


For example in BESM everything works on skills wich are indeed pretty complex...But there's no such thing as class features and feats.

Very few games other than D20 games have class features and feats.


So for example the rogue will develop good reflex saves, evasion, uncanny dodge and other "agile stuff". Those are all stuff that represent the rogue being really "agile", even if you don't have any "agile" skills like jump or tumble or profession(acrobat).

Nothing to say here really



In other RPGs "skills" are the bread and butter of your character, but in D&D "skills" represent a little niche of capacities, and what would go as "skills" on the other RPGs passes by class features and feats in D&D.

Yes, and there also skill systems. To say that D&D skill system is complex, it imply's to me that other systems are simple.

In most other games Skills refer to EVERYTHING your character can do.
I would think that a point buy system such as Shadow Run or GURP's were you decide how to prioritize your skills vs your attributes, and your skills determine what your character can and can't do is more complex than the d20 system

If d20 is the only skill system that one is alowed to compare the d20 skill system to, yes, it is indeed complex

Oslecamo
2008-12-28, 04:04 PM
In most other games Skills refer to EVERYTHING your character can do.
I would think that a point buy system such as Shadow Run or GURP's were you decide how to prioritize your skills vs your attributes, and your skills determine what your character can and can't do is more complex than the d20 system

If d20 is the only skill system that one is alowed to compare the d20 skill system to, yes, it is indeed complex

Ok, let me put it like this:

D20
-Classes
-Skills
-Feats
-Ability scores

Non d20
-Skills
-Atributes

How exactly is having less things to worry about more complex? D20 has double the variables for you to worry about, so I guess it would be more complex than having just two variables instead of four. Care explaining how having less variables makes it more complex?

Specially because the skill part can be augment by all the other parts. Feats, class features and ability scores can influence your feats, while in nond20 only atributes can influence your skills.

lisiecki
2008-12-28, 04:16 PM
Ok, let me put it like this:
D20
-Classes
-Skills
-Feats
-Ability scores
Non d20
-Skills
-Atributes
How exactly is having less things to worry about more complex? D20 has double the variables for you to worry about, so I guess it would be more complex than having just two variables instead of four. Care explaining how having less variables makes it more complex?
Specially because the skill part can be augment by all the other parts. Feats, class features and ability scores can influence your feats, while in nond20 only atributes can influence your skills.

3.X has what 30 skills?
Each level you receive X skill points automatically (and yes there are any number of ways that you can get more)
Also you receive your class features every level (or however often a specific class gets its specific features)

At first level a human rogue using a point buy system gets X number of points for attributes and X number for skills.


On the other hand if some one wanted to make a theif for GURPS or Shadow run they have to balance the attributes they buy against the skills they want to have.


Also in a game system like the current white wolf system, each time you want to take an action you have to decide what attribute to link to what skill

This is my bad, i haven't looked at the SRD, in DandD each skill is still linked to a specific attribute right?

Also in the WW system, one, when getting XP will have to balance the importance of More Skills V More attributes V more of the power stat (Im guessing that WW power stats would be roughly fill the same roll as class features)

Oslecamo
2008-12-28, 04:28 PM
On the other hand if some one wanted to make a theif for GURPS or Shadow run they have to balance the attributes they buy against the skills they want to have.

True, but this also happens in d20. Do I put more stats in INT to get more skills, or in some other score to help me with other stuff? Is it worth it to burn my feats to boost my skills or do I use them for something else? Would rogue or factotum fit my thief concept better? Ect ect.



Also in a game system like the current white wolf system, each time you want to take an action you have to decide what attribute to link to what skill

This is my bad, i haven't looked at the SRD, in DandD each skill is still linked to a specific attribute right?

Well, in D&D each skill is indeed linked to an atribute.



Also in the WW system, one, when getting XP will have to balance the importance of More Skills V More attributes V more of the power stat (Im guessing that WW power stats would be roughly fill the same roll as class features)

And in D&D we get this wonderfull thing called multiclassing. Don't want more
skills? Pick a fighter level. Want more skills? Keep being a rogue. Want magic? Pick a caster class. Ect ect.

lisiecki
2008-12-28, 04:47 PM
True, but this also happens in d20. Do I put more stats in INT to get more skills, or in some other score to help me with other stuff? Is it worth it to burn my feats to boost my skills or do I use them for something else? Would rogue or factotum fit my thief concept better? Ect ect. Well, in D&D each skill is indeed linked to an atribute.
And in D&D we get this wonderfull thing called multiclassing. Don't want more
skills? Pick a fighter level. Want more skills? Keep being a rogue. Want magic? Pick a caster class. Ect ect.

Yes, White Wolf, the system I've played the most also has wonderful things called Bloodlines or what have you for each specific game.
ShadowRun, WW and Gurps also all offer ways to improve your self via magical weapons and what have you.

Also According to things that are actually in the book's
D20
-Classes
-Skills
-Feats
-Ability scores

White Wolf
Skills
Attributes
Power Stat
Merits

GURPS Character Sheet
Attributes
Skills
Advantages/Disadvantages

Shadow Run
Skills
Attributes
Feat's

Oslecamo
2008-12-28, 05:10 PM
Yes, White Wolf, the system I've played the most also has wonderful things called Bloodlines or what have you for each specific game.
ShadowRun, WW and Gurps also all offer ways to improve your self via magical weapons and what have you.


Wait you're joking in that last point right? If we're talking about equipment, then D&D winds hands down. EVERYTHING can be obtained with equipment in D&D. Stats, skills, magic, pointy stuff, cohorts, just name it. I just didn't use it before because I tought it would be cheesy.

And ironically, there's also bloodline rules in D&D, altough it's in a splatbook.



Also According to things that are actually in the book's
D20
-Classes
-Skills
-Feats
-Ability scores


You forgot races there. Plus the srd also has traits.

lisiecki
2008-12-28, 05:21 PM
Wait you're joking in that last point right? If we're talking about equipment, then D&D winds hands down. EVERYTHING can be obtained with equipment in D&D. Stats, skills, magic, pointy stuff, cohorts, just name it. I just didn't use it before because I tought it would be cheesy.
And ironically, there's also bloodline rules in D&D, altough it's in a splatbook.
You forgot races there. Plus the srd also has traits.

Same for Shadowrun and GURPS at least. I was commenting on one of your earlier posts, but forgot to qoute it properly
that's my bad.

The Bloodlines, Houses, Lodges adn such in the current white wolf books, fit the role of P Classes (kinda sorta a little bit maybe)

Honestly I just don't find the DandD system all that complex. At least not MORE complex than the other three systems i mentioned

Curmudgeon
2008-12-28, 05:37 PM
D&D's skill system is simpler than RuneQuest (versions 1-3) and Serenity. The cost of improving a D&D skill is always either 1 or 2 skill points. RuneQuest requires you to keep track of which skills you use, then roll percentile dice to see how much (if any) you advance them; or you could get training, which takes progressively more time and money, and then just stops being available. Serenity's cost to advance each skill a step is dependent on how far you've advanced a skill already, and progress is in groups before you specialize; plus skills use varying attributes depending on the situation.

I mostly like the D&D skill system because of the breadth of skills used, and the basic simplicity of it.

AslanCross
2008-12-28, 05:53 PM
I don't hate the skill system, but I DO think it could be streamlined, simplified, and generally improved. I think a few skills should be combined (disable device and open lock, at the very least), and others might need to be a bit enhanced.

Also, I think people should just get more skill points in general.

This. I think some of the skills should be combined like they were in 4E (Athletics, Acrobatics, Perception, Stealth). I did that in my own campaign, but I don't really mind using the skill system as it is.

Artanis
2008-12-28, 06:07 PM
Ok, let me put it like this:

D20
-Classes
-Skills
-Feats
-Ability scores

Non d20
-Skills
-Atributes

How exactly is having less things to worry about more complex? D20 has double the variables for you to worry about, so I guess it would be more complex than having just two variables instead of four. Care explaining how having less variables makes it more complex?
1) It isn't two variables vs. four variables. Those are categories of variables, not the variables themselves. In non-d20 systems, they simply happen to be covered by the same heading ("Skills" in this case) much of the time, rather than separated. Being able to balance on a tightrope would be a skill, being able to reduce to-hit in exchange for more damage would be a skill, and "class" would have to be made from scratch with those sorts of skills, as opposed to being handed to you in a nice, neat table.

2) Those sorts of things aren't the only part of how complex a system is. Go ahead and look at Heavy Gear's rolling system and try to tell me that it's simpler than d20. Or the vehicle creation rules (which are half the point of the game), which make 3.5's item creation system look like a first grade homework assignment.

horseboy
2008-12-28, 06:27 PM
As Miyagi would put it: "3.x skill system walk down middle of road. Squash, like grape." At it's heart it tries to be a "quick, and free wheeling" kind of system, hence why there's not much emphasis placed on it (Only 2 skill points for most core classes, magic and gear quickly making it obsolete) but it then tries to force you to take is seriously, like you would in a skill heavy system. Stir in the abysmally bad play testing and you get the CF that is, well, most of 3.x. The skill system's only real saving grace is that it is so quickly rendered superfluous so you don't have to worry about anything but the really broken skills. At least until someone brings of The Alexandrian's BS about how "realistic" it is.

As far as complexity goes, well, I'm a Rolemaster player. I wouldn't really call D&D complex, more like Byzantine. It's complicated solely for the sake of complexity. Personally, I find that gets old fast.

lisiecki
2008-12-29, 11:10 AM
Wait you're joking in that last point right? If we're talking about equipment, then D&D winds hands down. EVERYTHING can be obtained with equipment in D&D. Stats, skills, magic, pointy stuff, cohorts, just name it. I just didn't use it before because I tought it would be cheesy.

And ironically, there's also bloodline rules in D&D, altough it's in a splatbook.



You forgot races there. Plus the srd also has traits.

yes...

All three of those systems also have races...

And I'm happy for the SRD however, for the sake of simplicity, im just including the things that come in the core books.