PDA

View Full Version : Variant: All Skills are Class Skills



Merk
2010-10-13, 07:52 PM
Skills are my favorite part of the d20 system and a large reason I play 3.5 edition and pathfinder. But I disliked the distinction between class skills and cross-class skills, because it artificially restricts concept and penalizes people who want to make characters with unique qualities. God forbid I want my fighter to be knowledgeable about dragons (knowledge arcana) if his title is "Gerrick the Dragonslayer". If I want him to do that, I have to buy ranks at a penalty.

Pathfinder improves on this -- your cross-class skills are at the same cost and same limit, just without a +3 class bonus to the check. But if I want, say, a fencer (modeled as a fighter), I'd like acrobatics as a class skill. Saying acrobatics shouldn't be a class skill for me because fighters don't train in acrobatics is silly, because my fighter did clearly train in acrobatics.

Let's say that we separate Use Magic Device (and other clearly high-powered skills like Autohypnosis and Iaijutsu Focus) from the skill list and instead make it a class feature of rogues, bards, etc. or make it a feat. Then what would you think of this rule?

BeholderSlayer
2010-10-13, 07:57 PM
To be perfectly honest, I just literally double the skill points obtained per level of all classes. It allows more versatility and character definition, in my opinion.

I'm sure I'll get a ton of protests about this, but it's how I do things and it works fine for me. YMMV.

The Dark Fiddler
2010-10-13, 08:11 PM
I did this for the game I'm DMing for my friends, along with increasing skill points for every class by two or four per level. It's working pretty well, but my group isn't exactly high optimization.

Jack_Simth
2010-10-13, 08:11 PM
Let's say that we separate Use Magic Device (and other clearly high-powered skills like Autohypnosis and Iaijutsu Focus) from the skill list and instead make it a class feature of rogues, bards, etc. or make it a feat. Then what would you think of this rule?
It makes certain PrC's much easier to enter - anything skill-based that forces you to either multiclass (and thus lose caster levels) or wait a much longer time now lets you take things earlier - which may or may not be a good thing, depending on the specific PrC. Won't usually impact much, though.

Chambers
2010-10-13, 08:17 PM
I'm a fan of more skill points as well.

I'm just starting a RL game of gamers new to 3.5 and am pretty much hacking the system apart to make it do what I want. It's fun - because the players aren't experience with 3.5, they don't react against the changes. Also, it gives them more fun things, so they're happy.

I'm running it like the Generic Class variant, so the characters choose which skills are class skills. And I'm being liberal with how many they get to choose. I gave the Expert 8 skills known, and then let the player add the characters Intelligence modifier to the number of skills known. So she's got 13 class skills and has 13 skill points per level. Same deal for the other classes. You get a base number of skills known, then add your Int mod in extra skills known. Choose whichever you want, and those are the skills you have max ranks in.

It made choosing skills way simpler during character creation and let players have those niche skills for their characters without having to ignore the basic skills (spot, hide, etc).

Susano-wo
2010-10-13, 08:18 PM
my only issue is, if you are still playing with classes, then to be a more agile fighter, you should take a level in a class that has acrobatics in its concept. I'm not opposes t ocustimization by any means, and under a more restrictive ssytem I would definitely allow you to rework your class skills (if not remove man yof the cross class restrictions altogether. But Pathfinder makes is perfectly viable to be an acrobatic fighter, but gives an edge for classes that are specificly acrobatic, like the monk and the rogue, so I would just leave it as is ^ ^

lsfreak
2010-10-13, 09:05 PM
I've considered two different systems:

One is to up everyone's skill points drastically (wizards the lowest at 4/lvl, most melee 8/lvl, rogues highest at 16/lvl). Skill Focus now also turns that skill into a class skill across any class the character takes.

The other is splitting all skills into skill groups. Every level, a character chooses a number of skill groups to automatically give full ranks to, plus gets an extra number of skill points to spend as normal. So take a rogue, who chooses up gain a rank in Social Knowledge (Nobility, Geography, Local, and History) and two ranks in Perception (Spot, Listen, Search). He then gets 6 skill points to spend on any skill - extra in those he already put ranks in (to the normal maximum), in other class skill groups, other class skills (from Skill Focus), or cross-class skills.

Eldariel
2010-10-13, 09:08 PM
To be perfectly honest, I just literally double the skill points obtained per level of all classes. It allows more versatility and character definition, in my opinion.

I'm sure I'll get a ton of protests about this, but it's how I do things and it works fine for me. YMMV.

I do this a bit differently; I just grant everyone flat 6 or 8 extra points depending on the class and greatly expand "class skill" list (mostly just excluding "restricted skills" from 3.0 like Spellcraft, Use Magic Device, etc.). Rogues with base 16 skills tend to have a lot larger pool of interesting abilities than one with 8.

Crossblade
2010-10-13, 10:00 PM
I'm going to agree with Susano-wo on this one. If you want to be more of something else... multi-class. A more nimble fighter? That's the PrC Duelist. Pretty easy to get into it; especially for straight fighters.

Alternatively, a class is just a title. You could be a kukre wielding monk with max skills in perform (comedy), be from the south pole, son of the village chief, and say you're the towns strongest remaining Fighter. (Wait for it...) If you're in PF, just try not to follow any bald guys around with your Elemental (water) blood-lined sorcerer sister. (Ok, now you can shoot me)

If you want to be a jumpy, tumble-y agile "fighter", be a rogue. If you want to be a bulk of a warrior that doesn't wear armor but still can take a train to the face and laugh it off, be a barbarian. You can still call yourself a fighter, just be a different class for the mechanics.

Dimers
2010-10-13, 10:20 PM
The solution I prefer comes from the Black Company sourcebook that Green Ronin Publishing put out (not a bad purchase if you like the novels). The main impetus for the change was that every PC would be human, so some differentiation was needed.

They call the mechanic "backgrounds". You pick one background that suits your character concept, like "urchin" or "merchant" or "apprentice" or "nobility". Your pick gives you one special ability, a choice between two feats, and four skills that are always class skills for you. Your human skill-point-per-level has to go into one of those four skills. For example, an adventurer who used to be an urchin might have a special way to use Gather Info, have a choice between Stealthy and Dodge for their extra human feat, and have Sleight Of Hand, Hide, Gather Info and Listen become class skills forever.

Coidzor
2010-10-13, 10:28 PM
I'm going to agree with Susano-wo on this one. If you want to be more of something else... multi-class. A more nimble fighter? That's the PrC Duelist. Pretty easy to get into it; especially for straight fighters.


Because spending three feats to get into a class you can only enter after 6th level at the earliest (later if one, y'know, multiclasses like you suggested) is such an elegant and obviously superior solution compared to giving characters more skillpoints to begin with. :smalltongue:

Curmudgeon
2010-10-13, 10:45 PM
If you want flexibility in D&D you really need to leverage what the system provides. While there may seem to be a lot of skills, the number of classes and feats is about an order of magnitude greater.

If you want a knowledgeable dragon fighter, a Cloistered Cleric with the Knowledge and Dragon domains can be either your single class for this job, or part of a multiclass dragonslaying build.

If you still want to change the skill system I suggest exercising restraint with your house rules, or you'll end up penalizing the classes which have skills as one of their main characteristics. (Nobody's complaining that Scouts and Rogues are overpowered, so please try to avoid making them even weaker compared to the skill-poor Tier 1 classes.) I might suggest boosting class skills by , so Wizards get INT mod + 2 or 3 points (4 x INT mod +10 points at 1st level, then +2, +3, +2, +3 ...), Monks get +5 skill points, Rangers +7 or +8 alternating, and Rogues +10. For flexibility you could allow each character to pick one skill that's a class skill for all their classes. Even that change will enable some shenanigans involving PrC entry, so I suggest trying this sort of small variant before you go crazy and make Wizards great with skills as well as magic. :smallfrown:

Coidzor
2010-10-13, 10:49 PM
It's not like the game's not already easily breakable by a tier 1 that wants to do so anyway though.

Curmudgeon
2010-10-13, 11:03 PM
It's not like the game's not already easily breakable by a tier 1 that wants to do so anyway though.
Yeah, I've seen that as justification for just letting them dominate all aspects of the game. And yet I don't think that argument is any more helpful than suggesting reduced prison terms for gang members because they're going to commit crimes in prison as well as on the streets. :smalltongue:

Aran Banks
2010-10-13, 11:19 PM
I dropped skills in general and just let everyone use (level + mod) for all their checks. Then, if you had expertise in an area (You'd get expertise in a number of areas as you would skill point at a certain level. A wizard with 18 Int would therefore have 6 skill expertises), you'd add 4 to that skill when you made checks.

Other than making everyone amazing at abuse magic device, it also let everyone use acrobatics (but some people were significantly better than others), and everyone could swim decently and hide well. Definitely more equality among players, without preventing people with specialization from stepping out.

dobu
2010-10-14, 04:45 AM
zugschef and me tried an alternative skill system (skill groups) a while ago. unfortunately never tested it in game, but we tried to crunch some numbers. It should be fairly stable in regards to numbers (and usable as a drop-in replacement), and provides more skill points and flexibility.

http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showthread.php?t=160004

*shameless plug* :smallbiggrin:

Mystic Muse
2010-10-14, 04:49 AM
In my experience, it works well enough. Hasn't broken anything.

BeholderSlayer
2010-10-14, 08:29 AM
The reason I boost the number of skills available to characters by such a large number (I kinda like Eldariel's fix though, mine didn't require much thought OTOH) is that it allows players to build characters that can do what they are expected to do, as well as add some "flavor" skills. Instead of a typical rogue having to choose between having max ranks in their "dungeoneering" skills (Spot, Hide, MS, Search, Disable, OL, Tumble, UMD, etc) they can have max ranks in both dungeoneering skills and conversational skills, or acrobatic skills, etc. It allows a player more flexibility in choice, and allows them to be able to do both what is expected of them, and also what they want to be able to do.

I might switch over to Eldariel's system, as even under my system low-skill low-int characters like Fighters and Paladins still have comparatively little versatility.

Gametime
2010-10-14, 11:38 AM
If you still want to change the skill system I suggest exercising restraint with your house rules, or you'll end up penalizing the classes which have skills as one of their main characteristics. (Nobody's complaining that Scouts and Rogues are overpowered, so please try to avoid making them even weaker compared to the skill-poor Tier 1 classes.) I might suggest boosting class skills by , so Wizards get INT mod + 2 or 3 points (4 x INT mod +10 points at 1st level, then +2, +3, +2, +3 ...), Monks get +5 skill points, Rangers +7 or +8 alternating, and Rogues +10. For flexibility you could allow each character to pick one skill that's a class skill for all their classes. Even that change will enable some shenanigans involving PrC entry, so I suggest trying this sort of small variant before you go crazy and make Wizards great with skills as well as magic. :smallfrown:

I think a better solution is to be generous in handing out skill points to the classes that seems like they should be more skillful. Rogues and scouts get lots of skill points, on the order of 12 or 14 per level. Fighters and paladins get more skill points than they do now - maybe 6 or 8 per level. Rangers and monks get somewhere between the amount fighters and rogues get - perhaps 10 per level. Casters all get 2 per level.

Increasing the skill points available doesn't necessarily have to include casters. I've always thought someone trained at fighting or other physical activity would naturally pick up a lot of physical skills, in addition to the social and knowledge skills any reasonably well-rounded person is expected to have. Someone who spends all their time studying spells isn't going to get that field experience.

Greenish
2010-10-14, 12:01 PM
The reason I boost the number of skills available to characters by such a large number"Such a large number"? :smalltongue:

Tyndmyr
2010-10-14, 12:35 PM
The solution I prefer comes from the Black Company sourcebook that Green Ronin Publishing put out (not a bad purchase if you like the novels). The main impetus for the change was that every PC would be human, so some differentiation was needed.

They call the mechanic "backgrounds". You pick one background that suits your character concept, like "urchin" or "merchant" or "apprentice" or "nobility". Your pick gives you one special ability, a choice between two feats, and four skills that are always class skills for you. Your human skill-point-per-level has to go into one of those four skills. For example, an adventurer who used to be an urchin might have a special way to use Gather Info, have a choice between Stealthy and Dodge for their extra human feat, and have Sleight Of Hand, Hide, Gather Info and Listen become class skills forever.

D20 uses this exact system. It works out quite well.

D&D also tends to have a lot of skills compared to the skill points you get. An extra 2 points at every level, regardless of class, would not go amiss.

valadil
2010-10-14, 01:22 PM
Personally I like class skills. I come from MERP where class skills are taken even further. You get weapon skills, movement skills, stealth, etc. Each class gets a different number of points in those skill groups. 3.5's class and non-class skills seems like an oversimplification.

However I agree that people should be able to play the character as they see them. If you want a dextrous fighter, taking acrobatics should be reasonable. You shouldn't have to take swashbuckler instead of fighter. Soooo....

Instead of making everything a class skill why not just say that each character gets one or two skills automatically make into class skills? It's kind of like a less formalized version of the backgrounds idea already mentioned.

The other idea I've used is to state that anything that has ever been a class skill remains a class skill. So if you take a level in rogue and then 19 levels in fighter, you can still put points in the rogue skills as though they were class. This was done to simplify multiclassing, but it ought to work for your purposes too.

Duke of URL
2010-10-14, 01:29 PM
The richness of the skill system in D&D 3.5 is a strength, however, the use of skill points as described in the SRD leads to the problem of too many skills, not enough skill points. Players will maximize a subset of skills to the extent their skill points will allow, but then are little better (if that) than a commoner at everything else, even those skills that are commonly strong points for members of their class.

Adding skill points makes things better, but does not solve the problem. It just means that characters will have a few more maxed-out skills. Grouping the skills into a smaller number is the same solution applied in reverse, but with the added drawback of reducing the richness of the skill system.

While admittedly I'm biased, the focused, familiar, and foreign system (http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showthread.php?t=81778) (use the "Variant" listed, as it's simpler and integrates into regular play better; this was incorporated in Boundless Horizons, as well) solves the problem from a different tack. It keeps the full richness of the system, while allowing a class-based means of improving skills (since we are talking about a class-based game, after all).

From an alternate tack at solving the same problem, SweetRein's mechanically fluffy (http://wiki.faxcelestis.net/index.php?title=Mechanically_Fluffy) provides extra skill points specifically for the non-combat skills, allowing characters to be more fleshed out without sacrificing power.

Dimers
2010-10-14, 01:38 PM
D20 uses this exact system. It works out quite well.

Eh? :smallconfused: The Black Company book is made for 'the D20 system', but it doesn't sound like you're referring to that.


D&D also tends to have a lot of skills compared to the skill points you get. An extra 2 points at every level, regardless of class, would not go amiss.

No kiddin'. Almost all of the Black Company classes get more skill points, too.

Mystic Muse
2010-10-14, 01:40 PM
I dropped skills in general and just let everyone use (level + mod) for all their checks. Then, if you had expertise in an area (You'd get expertise in a number of areas as you would skill point at a certain level. A wizard with 18 Int would therefore have 6 skill expertises), you'd add 4 to that skill when you made checks.

Other than making everyone amazing at abuse magic device, it also let everyone use acrobatics (but some people were significantly better than others), and everyone could swim decently and hide well. Definitely more equality among players, without preventing people with specialization from stepping out.

I just might have to try this out next game I run. Thanks!

Greenish
2010-10-14, 01:40 PM
Eh? :smallconfused: The Black Company book is made for 'the D20 system', but it doesn't sound like you're referring to that.I think he meant D20 Rebirth (http://wiki.faxcelestis.net/index.php?title=D20_Rebirth) (D20r) which uses skill sets (http://wiki.faxcelestis.net/index.php?title=D20r:Skill_Sets).

Susano-wo
2010-10-14, 02:25 PM
I've heard a variant on the skill group system that I liked. Basically you got skill groups for your class, and each rank in one of your class skill groups got you a rank in each of those individual skills, and then the other skills you could by ithout restriction, but individually. (though at least uping 2 skill rank classes to 4 skill would not hurt anyone)

Tyndmyr
2010-10-14, 03:06 PM
Eh? :smallconfused: The Black Company book is made for 'the D20 system', but it doesn't sound like you're referring to that.



No kiddin'. Almost all of the Black Company classes get more skill points, too.

Apologies, D20 modern. Afraid I was a bit unspecific there.

kestrel404
2010-10-14, 03:59 PM
Just use the Pathfinder skill system. It's effectively this, except that if a skill is considdered a 'class skill' for any of your classes, you get a +3 bonus to it. Otherwise, all skills cost 1 point and max out at equal to HD.

Tyndmyr
2010-10-14, 04:01 PM
Just use the Pathfinder skill system. It's effectively this, except that if a skill is considdered a 'class skill' for any of your classes, you get a +3 bonus to it. Otherwise, all skills cost 1 point and max out at equal to HD.

It's a pretty efficient skill system, IMO. Consolidates some of the more commonly matched up skills together, as well. It's one of the highlights of PF for me.

TheEmerged
2010-10-14, 05:11 PM
We tried this once during 3.0, and came to the conclusion that it was too many points. We adjusted it to a 50% increase -- and reduced the cost of CC skills to 1 but kept the CC cap. We found this closer to what we wanted.