View Full Version : Temporary Skill points & Feats

2011-08-24, 05:22 AM
Sometimes, both as a player and as a DM, I did not like the idea that skill points are gained only at each new level, thus barring the possibility to gain a sort of "temporary knowledge" on some subject, some temporary ability and the like: in real life one can learn to do something with a reasonable competence in a little time, only to forget it if she does not use said skill for awhile; for example, if one spends a few days learning a new language, she could be able to communicate - abeit not fluently - in said language: however, if she doesn't practice said language for awhile, she forgets the rules; maybe she can remember some snippets, one word or two, but she can't actually speak the language.
So this is my idea for temporary Skill points and temporary Feats.

At 1st level and every 3 levels a character gains 1 temp SP she can expend as she sees fit, provided that she undergoes some sort of training (which doesn't need to be roleplayed) representing occasional training in one subject. The number of SPs allotable for every skill can't be higher than the (unmodified) ability modifier for the selected skill. After 1 month, if the character doesn't explicitly say that she kept practicing the skill, the temp SPs are removed from the selected skill and thus again available.
The training time is 1 day for every SP alloted in class skills or twice for cross class skills; training time can be halved if the PC can practice with an instructor who must have a number of ranks in the chosen skill equal or greater than the numer of Temp SP alloted.

Example: Karguth is a 7th level Human Rogue (Int 15, Cha 12) who has been tasked to infiltrate an hostile encampment of Orcs. He's 7th level, so he has 3 temp SPs he can use (1 at 1st level and 2 for being 7th). Since he doesn't know Orc as a language, he chooses to spend 2 temp SP in Speak Language (cross class skill for him) to gain a basic understanding of Orc: since his Intelligence is 15, he can spend up to 2 temporary SP in every skill with Int as key modifier, so he's able to spend the 2 SP on Speak Language (please, see EDIT at the bottom of the post). For the following 4 days (2 SP x 2, since it's cross class) before the beginning of the mission he practices every day until he grasps the basics of Orc.
Wishing to improve his disguising capabilities, he chooses to spend the remaining SP in Disguise: his Cha is 12, so he can spend only 1 SP in any Cha-based skill. In one of the following days (which could be one of the days in which he's practicing Orc) he can undergo some training in the art of Disguise, thus gaining the extra SP.
One month after the mission, if he didn't explicitly stated that he wished to keep training in Orc and Diguise, the extra SPs return to his pool of temporary SPs. Having campleted the task, Karguth deems that he doesn't need Orc any more, so he quits practicing it and he forgets the language: his 2 temp SPs are freed and again available. On the other hand, foreseeing new uses of his disguising skills he chooses to keep practicing the art of Disguise and retain his alloted SP in said skill for the following month.

For what concerns feats, the rules are similar. Beginning at 6th level and every 6 levels thereafter a character gains 1 temporary feat, which must be of [General] type and can't have the "Must be picked at 1st character level" prerequisite. Prerequisites must be met in order to gain the temporary feat, and one can't pick temporary feats to meet prerequisites for other temporary feats; the same is true with skill prerequisites and temporary skill points. The training time is 1 week plus 1 day for every prerequisite feat; training with an instructor reduces the learning time by 2 days.
For example, to pick Great Cleave one should meet all the prerequisites, of which neither Power attack or Cleave could derive from other temporary feats; it would require 9 days of training (1 week plus 2 days since Power attack and Cleave are required). After 1 week knowledge of the feat is gone, unless actively practiced.
Thus Karguth the Rogue, being 7th level, could pick an additional feat for the mission, provided he trains for 7+ days (or 5+, if he can contact an instructor who already possess the feat).

This system gives a modicum of customization to players during gameplay without breaking the game too much: the extra SPs are 7 at 18th level, with the caveat that only up to the natural modifier of the key ability can be alloted in each skill, which for me is a good cap; and the total of temporary feats is 3 at 18th level, which is not too much, but not too few.
As a custom rule, a generous DM could also state that if a PC kept an amount of temp SPs alloted in one skill for a long time (years or more), he gains a permanent bonus to the skill; same for the temporary feat.

EDIT: I just noted a mistake in Karguth example. Speak Language is not an Int dependant skill :smallsmile:. Unconsciusly I picked it because the number of additional languages a PC knows at creation equals Int modifier: I think it would be a good rule to stick to this.

2011-08-24, 05:38 AM
Note that Heroics does provide temporary [fighter] feats alreddy.

2011-08-24, 05:54 AM
This is true, but the proposal here makes it a flatline, across the board houserule, which I kinda like. Skill training works fine, and I've done similarly myself once or twice. The trouble comes with feats. I would be tempted to allow the training of only [General] feats personally, since casters need no more help preparing than they already have in my experience.

You should also add a note on needing to meet the requirements for any feat you train, goes without saying for most ppl, but these things still need clarification I think.

2011-08-24, 06:00 AM
I would be tempted to allow the training of only [General] feats personally, since casters need no more help preparing than they already have in my experience.

You should also add a note on needing to meet the requirements for any feat you train, goes without saying for most ppl, but these things still need clarification I think.

Both good suggestions, fixing the description.
Barred also those feats that must be taken at 1st character level.

2011-08-24, 10:48 AM
How about just allowing folks to exchange stuff each session?

X skill points or a feat or a stat point

This takes care of the concept of forgetting skills (even nifty feat skills) over time, and also allows for injuries, getting out of shape (or musclebound).

Also it lets you fix character creation mistakes. (best if you use point buy, and just keep using the same point buy system over time, that way they can't cheat by sliding points from dump stats to high stats)

2011-08-25, 10:34 AM
How about just allowing folks to exchange stuff each session?
Because Cicciograna seems to be aiming quite squarely at common sense and plausibility, not just a funky variant. People in the real world can train, re-train and forget skills very easily, and the training times aren't actually far off company training periods in most modern industry and business.

Also it lets you fix character creation mistakes.
There can be no mistakes!!!!
Only impaired choices, and awkward consequences.


2011-08-26, 07:21 AM
I would be tempted to allow the training of only [General] feats personally, since casters need no more help preparing than they already have in my experience.

Any caster who's broken with temporary feats is also broken with temporarily prepared spells; once you fix the abuses that allow the latter to be so effective, the former should be ok as well.

2011-08-26, 08:51 AM
Yes, but this is about feats and skill points, the magic issue isn't this issue so far... The abuses of temp prep spells are built in to the core system to a huge extent, that's why there's SO MUCH discussion on these forums about such.
I didn't think it would come up here, beyond pointing out the need for restrictions on which feats may be taken for this purpose.

2011-09-06, 08:14 AM
After reading this strip (http://www.giantitp.com/comics/oots0141.html) I added option to reduce training time both for SP and Feats if practicing with an instructor, who must have an amount of ranks in the chosen skill at least equal to the alloted Temp SP. This is why Roy couldn't help Haley and V: since Ride is cross-class both for Rogue and Wizard they should use 2 Temp SP, whereas Roy only has 1 rank in it, so they couldn't use his help as an instructor nor reduce the learning time :smallsmile:

Okay, just kidding, just added the time-reducing note.

2011-09-06, 08:45 AM
A very good idea, but a few glitches :

Basing the amount of SP you can spend on the skill on the attribute modifier leads to problems...

Barbarians (big CON) can easily train Concentration (???) but will have a hard time with Survival (Wis, dump stat) or Intimidation (Cha, same reason)

Wizards (STR dump stat) will never learn any Jump, etc...

However they will each be allowed to exceed their max skill ranks with your system, up to their stat mod (Spellcraft w/Incantatrix can cause big trouble)....

I'd base the max amount of SP spent on HD (1/4HD is quite standard), giving everyone the same progression margin and making it simpler to keep the balance, also you need to explicitly forbid exceeding max ranks...

My 2 cents ;-)

2011-09-06, 10:42 AM
For skills, I'd just rule it as a circumstance bonus and call it good.

As for the temporary feats... eh, that doesn't really sit well with me for various reasons. However, if I were to impletment that I'd do something like this: With frequent practice (at least once per day, for at least an hour at a time) one character could instruct another in how to use a given feat. If the student goes for more than a day or two without studying with the teacher then they lose the ability to use the temporary feat, and you can't have more than one temporary feat at a time.