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View Full Version : 3.5 - Adding new skills; a terribad idea?



Pechvarry
2010-10-15, 05:37 PM
Disclaimer: If I use any of these ideas in a campaign, they'll be in a world where the following changes are already in effect:

*low-skill non-full casters have additional skill points (everyone has at least 4+int and better skill lists)
*multiple combined skills, Pathfinder style (I've knocked out about 6 skills so far)
*many classes get bonuses to skills.

So the problem of stretching already-stretched players thinner is alleviated significantly. That said...

I was considering adding a couple new skills. First on my list:

Endurance (Con)
Class skill for: All full BAB classes/prestige classes, Monk, Scout, maybe Rogue, other thematic fits.

See post 5 (http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showpost.php?p=9571815&postcount=5) for what Endurance currently handles.

Use: Subsumes most CON checks in the book (forced march, part of the holding your breath rules, etc). What else?

I like the idea of adding another CON skill, but I also want it to empower the hefty melee and defender types. I COULD roll all of Autohypnosis into Endurance, increase the DCs by 5 or 10 for all the psionic uses, and then give psionic classes an "Autohypnosis" class feature that adds a similar bonus to Endurance checks for those uses. But... I don't wanna. I'd rather make Endurance its own skill with its own uses.

Things I've considered:
-Overcoming speed reduction for armor/encumbrance (I'm big on characters getting something like this with minimal investment).
-Getting additional AoOs (continuing to act nonstop while lesser combatants have to take a breather every six seconds).
-Stabilize.
-Emulate Diehard feat with skill checks every round, perhaps.

Endurance (the feat) would thus be renamed to "Great Endurance".

Leadership (Cha) or Tactics (Wis)
Classes: Depends on implementation, but definitely Fighter, Paladin, and Knight either way.

RP-wise, I'm thinking checks to lead people who are already your allies (thus replacing, to some extent, the need for a Leadership feat) if we go the leading route. If tactics... I got nothin'

Combat-wise, either implementation will probably amount to a scaling marshal-esque aura. I'm thinking an aura pulled from the draconic aura list in Dragon Magic, most of the Dragan Shaman list, and the Marshal minor auras but with a static value instead of Cha. This static value would probably be based on HD or ranks in skill, while a check would determine duration (with probably a standard or even full round action to fire it up).

Obvious problem: obsoletes a few characters classes. It's additional work, but I'm unconcerned.
This fails to take "too many chefs" syndrome into account. Too easy for everyone to grab a different aura and go to town. Could use a limiter.

I like the Tactics angle simply because I don't see many characters focused on Wis-based skills other than Spot/Listen, but it's also harder to RP as tactics with these static bonuses that don't mean a whole lot.

So, does this inspire anyone to help me spin out mechanics for these ideas? Any indication of how these will destroy the system in general?

Please forgive my nigh-constant use of: hyphens, colons, and parenthesis (I just always feel compelled to append tangential information).

SurlySeraph
2010-10-15, 06:18 PM
Given that Constitution basically *is* health and endurance, there's an Endurance feat, and numerous mechanical representations of being especially tough (Mettle, d12 HD, Con to AC...), I don't see much point in an Endurance skill. Plus it's a bit questionable flavor-wise - skills tend to be active processes that depend on knowing particular actions, and there really isn't any technique to not getting tired easily. As for the specifics:

Overcoming speed reduction for armor/encumbrance (I'm big on characters getting something like this with minimal investment).
Seems fine.

Getting additional AoOs (continuing to act nonstop while lesser combatants have to take a breather every six seconds).
No. NO! Well... maybe. But there's a very fine line between being useless and too good here, Combat Reflexes already does this, if you want melee classes to get more AoOs you can just give them another AoO every time they get another iterative attack, and if very high checks allow lots of AoOs you'll see builds that boost the check into the stratosphere, much like with Knowledge Devotion and Iaijutsu Focus. Whatever you do, put a hard cap on how many AoOs you can get.

-Stabilize.
So, like Autohypnosis? Fine.

-Emulate Diehard feat with skill checks every round, perhaps.
Fine.

I'd go with Leadership rather than Tactics; Cha-based makes more sense flavor-wise, and Clerics have enough nice things as it is. Once again, you need to think carefully about what you'll allow. I mentioned Knowledge Devotion, right? The bonuses must be lower than Knowledge Devotion gives. In particular, note that if you can reliably get any benefit while having a single rank in this skill, every party member WILL take it and stack up a different aura. Make it based on skill ranks, not on checks, and either limit the number of auras, say that you can only be under the effect of one at a time, or have higher-level aura benefits include the benefits of the lower-level ones (so that someone using a lower-level aura as well doesn't add any additional benefit).

AugustNights
2010-10-15, 06:21 PM
I often use Knowledge (History), in the games I run, with the function of 'Tactics,' basically by using it's knowledge of war in general a player may roll, to gain a mild combat advantage +1 circumstance bonus to certain checks for all players, and the like. DC 15 also reveals 'obvious' advantages that could be taken by the player. (High ground available, where flanking might be easier, kneeling when firing ranged weapons... kind of like common sense from VTM). Might be a good use for your Tactics or Leadership skill.

Pechvarry
2010-10-16, 01:27 AM
Thanks for the responses, guys.


Given that Constitution basically *is* health and endurance, there's an Endurance feat, and numerous mechanical representations of being especially tough (Mettle, d12 HD, Con to AC...), I don't see much point in an Endurance skill. Plus it's a bit questionable flavor-wise - skills tend to be active processes that depend on knowing particular actions, and there really isn't any technique to not getting tired easily

Ehh, Sleight of Hand *is* Dexterity (same with many other Dex-based skills). It seems like there should be room for melee to use the core system to overcome problems w/out using class/race combinations (optimization as a workaround). Endurance simply seemed like a decent avenue for it.

You also just gave me an idea! Ability to ignore Fatigue and perhaps even Exhaustion. Considering the Waves of " line of spells are big cones that don't even allow saves, I don't think it overpowered to give dedicated melee classes a way to ignore it for a few rounds at a time.


No. NO! Well... maybe. But there's a very fine line between being useless and too good here, Combat Reflexes already does this, if you want melee classes to get more AoOs you can just give them another AoO every time they get another iterative attack, and if very high checks allow lots of AoOs you'll see builds that boost the check into the stratosphere, much like with Knowledge Devotion and Iaijutsu Focus. Whatever you do, put a hard cap on how many AoOs you can get.

This is a good point and I agree 100%. I really don't have any mechanic ideas for this, but I'll be certain to make sure it's not something that can get infinite, by any means. In the meantime, I'm actually using iterative attacks=extra AoOs house rule.

The thing about going for Tactics (it's true about Clerics, but I wouldn't let any full caster get it as a class skill) is that I feel like it should have to actually do with the situation at hand. You can't just say "we're in a brick room so here's a bonus on Will saves". It's 2 completely divorced effects. I think I might end up using Martial Lore in a very similar manner to what ChumpLump is talking about. Instead of mechanical benefits, simple battlefield knowledge presented to the player in a way that they know how to best make use of it. Though I'm just as likely to look at whoever has the highest BAB and say "you notice this choke is particularly well fortified" etc.

So here's what I'm thinking about right now: if I can hammer out an RP method for Leadership (skill) to replace a Leadership feat*, then I could introduce skill tricks for the aura function.

Commanding Presence
Req: Leadership 8 ranks
Benefit: When you take this skill trick, choose an aura from <a list TBA>. The size of the bonus is +1. You may activate this aura once per encounter as a Standard Action. It persists until the end of the encounter. If you have multiple auras from this skill trick, you may only have one going at a time.
If you have 13 ranks in Leadership, the bonus increases to +2. At 18 ranks, it increases to +3. At 23 ranks, +4.
Special: You may take this skill trick more than once. Each time you take it, choose a new aura from the list.

This prevents everyone from dipping it and getting benefits, but it's still not very mutually exclusive. I should read into Iron Heroes (where Perform gets you bardic music, if I remember right) and see what kind of limiters they have.

...Of course, I could just leave the game as it is and introduce auras as skill tricks dependent on Diplomacy. ><

*I don't remember the last time we ran a campaign where we were actually using the Leadership feat, so when I say turning it skill-based, I don't mean a perfect duplication of the feat structure. I really mean NPC aid in general. As something we've been RPing for years, it *seems* like a skill based method would at least be softer than the binary state of feat/no feat.

Pechvarry
2010-10-17, 12:55 PM
I'm starting to feel the Diplomacy skill trick method might be a better way to handle auras (root reason for this: all aura-using classes suck bad. They're far too passive).

As for Endurance, I've been trying for something mostly for non-tumbling melee. I.e. if you don't tumble, you probably endure. So far, it's looking like this:

{table]Use|DC
Forced March|Typically 10*
Suffocation/Drowning|Typically 10*
Shrug of Fatigue|Save DC of effect
Endure Exhaustion|Save DC of effect
Ignore speed penalty (medium)|10
Ignore speed penalty (heavy)|15[/table]
* Increases on subsequent attempts. See rules for individual effects
DC increases by 4 for each additional use.

Forced March, Suffocation, etc: You may make Endurance checks in place of Constitution checks made to continue running, Constitution checks made to avoid nonlethal damage from a forced march, Constitution checks made to hold your breath, and Constitution checks made to avoid nonlethal damage from starvation or thirst.

Shrug off Fatigue: You may make Endurance checks to ignore the effects of fatigue for 1 hour. If the Fatigue effect is caused by an effect that allows a saving throw, use the original effect's DC. If there is no save, make a DC 15 Endurance check.

Endure Exhaustion: You may make an Endurance check to treat Exhaustion as Fatigue for 1 minute. If the Exhausted effect is caused by an effect that allows a saving throw, use the original effect's DC. If there is no save, make a DC 20 Endurance check. You may not make further Endurance checks to shrug off fatigue for the duration, though you are effectively immune to further attempts to render you exhausted for the rest of the minute.

Ignore Speed Penalty: At the start of your turn, a successful Endurance check allows you to ignore the speed penalties for a medium or heavy load, as well as for wearing medium or heavy armor, for (Con Mod, minimum 1) rounds. Additional Endurance checks to ignore speed penalties in the same encounter suffer an additional +4 DC.


Action: Typically none; the Endurance check is made as part of whatever action you are performing.

Retry: Varies. A check to shrug off fatigue can only be performed once every hour per fatigued effect (meaning if you fail to shrug it off but manage to have the condition removed and then become fatigued again, you could make a new check against the new effect), and once a minute for Exhaustion with the same caveat as above. Ignoring speed penalties can be retried every round, but each additional retry during the same encounter increases the target DC by 4.


Clutter-containing Spoiler:
I was trying to cut down on the rolling for the speed penalty thing, so that it wouldn't usually end up one extra roll to make every round. The way I have it now, a higher con mod results in having to roll at increasingly difficult DCs less often, in addition to making your rolls themselves higher. It also means NPCs and "dabblers" are less likely to continually ignore speed penalties. If it's too easy, then there's no reason to even keep them in the game. Perhaps not ideal, but it's making things fit together decently. Finally, the added complexity to ignoring speed penalties makes me think these 3 uses are enough, along with the CON check stuff, to make it a stand-alone skill, I think.

The Endurance feat is changed to Great Endurance, provides its +4 bonus on Endurance checks for the listed uses instead of CON checks (no mechanical change for people w/out any ranks in the skill), as well as its normal armor-sleeping benefits.

Of course, all of this is subject to change (from the mechanics to the actual DCs) if anyone has further insight.