View Full Version : [Variant] Separate stat skill point allocation

2007-02-01, 12:32 AM
A problem with skill points as they currently stand in D&D is that there's too much emphasis on INT. It's annoying that a low strength Wizard can overtake a high strength Barbarian in a STR based skill like Jump simply because the Wizard has so many more skill points available. Physical skills like Jump don't really improve by you intelligently thinking about them, but rather from you physically practicing them.

It's also annoying that there are relatively few skill points available. Even a Wizard has few skill points left once they've maxed out the important skills Concentration, Spellcraft, and Knowledge (Arcane). If I want to do something interesting roleplay-wise like have a Wizard skilled at riding horses, I have to choose between that and the important skills. It would be nice if there were a separate pool of skill points that could be used for fun things like this.

The proposal: When a character is created or levels up, they receive six different pools of skill points, one for each stat. Each pool of skill points may only be used on those skills under that stat. For each stat, characters receive one skill point per modifier bonus (natural bonus without equipment). Skill checks still work the same way, where their rank gets the modifier (current bonus with equipment) added to it. This proposal only changes the way available skill points are determined.

For example, consider a Wizard with: STR 8, DEX 16, CON 12, INT 18, WIS 14, CHA 10. On level up they get 3 DEX skill points, 1 CON skill point, 4 INT skill points, and 2 WIS skill points. They don't get any STR or CHA skill points because those modifiers are 0 or below. That Wizard will likely bump Concentration with their CON point, and Spellcraft and three Knowledge/Craft skills with their INT points. Their WIS points can go into things like Listen or Spot, and their DEX points into any number of skills such as Ride.

For situations where a class gets more skill points, they get a number of bonus skill points across all stats (regardless of their modifier, even if negative). For example, if a class currently gets 4+INT on level up (like Druid or Monk) instead of the default minimal 2+INT, then they get 1 extra skill point in each of the six slots. If a class gets 6+INT on level up (like Bard) then they get 2 extra skill points per slot, and so on. At first level, classes get 4x the number of skill points based on modifier and bonuses, just as they do now.

For example, consider a Rogue with: STR 10, DEX 18, CON 12, INT 8, WIS 14, CHA 16. Rogue currently gets 8+INT on level up, so they start with 3 skill points in each slot. This gets the stat bonuses added to it, resulting in skill points per level of: 3 STR points, 7 DEX points, 4 CON points, 3 INT points, 5 WIS points, 6 CHA points. At first level they get 4x these values: 12 STR points, 28 DEX points, 16 CON points, 12 INT points, 20 WIS points, 24 CHA points.

This does change the game in a few ways. Characters tend to have higher skills, due to usually having a larger total number of skill points, but they're distributed more evenly across more skills. It also requires characters to have an acceptable value in a certain stat to be able to significantly raise that stat's skills, e.g. a party face needs to have at least some CHA bonus in order to be able to effectively pump CHA skills.

2007-02-01, 02:02 AM
well, actually intelligently thinking about a skill like jump could improve your abilities at it, because you could learn better ways to do so from book-knowledge, although that definitely wouldn't outweigh practice.

Nevertheless, this is a more realistic ideas, and I love ideas that add to the realism while making the game even more complex (I add them to my campaign constantly, it pisses of my PCs) and I may actually use this one.

2007-02-01, 02:06 AM
It is an interesting theory. I can't agree with your dislike of Int for skills; Int represents, among other things, memory and ability to learn. Your high-jump wizard example isn't a better jumper by being more intelligent; it has a greater capacity to learn than other characters, and, in that case, has elected to use some of that potential to learn how to jump more effectively. In any case, the wizard will probably still have a lower Jump modifier than the barbarian since Jump is a class skill for the barbarian, but cross-class for the wizard.

I do agree wholeheartedly with your point about RP limitations, though. Myself, I like developing my characters, but I'm still a power player through and through. I mean, I won't say I dedicate every skill point to the most effective skills (I tend to give one character in four max ranks in Profession [Cook] just because) but I can see the value of your idea. I'm not 100% sure how it would work in practice, but the concept is neat.

2007-02-01, 04:33 AM

now my barbarian can REALLY concentrate...

But otherwise, I think this is a cool idea!

2007-02-01, 07:46 AM
Problem: the commoner.

Consider a commoner with stats Str 10, Dex 10, Con 10, Int 10, Wis 10, Cha 10. He gets 0 skill points at first level and 0 skill points every level increase thereafter. At 20th level, he will have spent a total of 0 skill points.

My point is, put in an offset of skill points, so even a character with low or abysmally low abilities can still learn a few things. Even weak characters can practice jumping, and practice should still have an effect. With Your system, a character with Str 7 will never ever learn how to jump or climb, unless he's a rogue.

Another problem is the distribution of abilities among the skills. If the magic8Ball's barbarian has a Con 16, he gets 4 Con points per level, which can be distributed to... concentration. Concentration only.

I just checked the distribution fo abilities for all skills in the SRD:
Dex: 9 skills
Cha and Int: 8 skills
Wis: 6 skills
Str: 3 skills
Con: 1skill

So, what does Your average high-constitution barbarian do with all those extra skill points? As long as they can't be spent on something else, they're useless.

An optional rule to avoid that could state that all skills are treated as class skills as long as they are bought out of the appropriate skill pool. If a character buys skill ranks with points of a different pool, they're treated as non-class skills.

2007-02-01, 09:49 AM
I like it is one sense and hate it in another. It allows characters with high modifiers to RP and play these attributes better.

But there are problems:

1) Int represents not how smart a character is but how fast they learn, analyze and reason. PCs with high Int can raise 4 skills in the time the dumb NPC raises 1. Classes that read magic books or weapon masters have less time to practice skill during free time and use there skill less frequently than their low magic and squishy allies.

2) This system unbalances hybrid and skill classes. Now a ranger who usually has 5-7 skill points has a lot more than 20. And with their huge skill list rangers, rogues, bards, and monk have X+3 ranks in all the skills they actually use. This means if you don't have a skill as a class skill, you have almost no chance of winning opposed checks vs people who do. Before you'd find a druid without max Spot and Listen. Now druids all have max detection since they have about 6+ skills to use. Dc check easy. Opposed checks impossible.

2007-02-01, 10:42 AM
Ehh... I'm of two minds on this issue.

On the one hand, I like the idea of the relevant stat modifier, well, being more relevant. Yay, CHA is actually needed!

On the other hand, INT should have some bearing on all skill points, simply because INT is supposed to represent not just your smarts/book learnin', but you capacity for learning -- thus its tie to skill points.

Furthermore... I really dislike the idea of being a sorcerer with a 10 CON and never being able to put a rank in Concentration.... ever.

I guess my thinking is that while it would be neat to have a high CON benefit Concentration more than it does, ....it shouldn't be the only thing that's benefitting it. And speaking of Concentration, it's also a little awkward since ability modifiers aren't distributed evenly: case in point, Concentration is the only CON-based skill.

2007-02-01, 10:50 AM
A teased up varient:

Players get both stat-bound and free skill points as they gain levels.

Free skill points, before and after:

Stat bound skill points are equal to your bonus in the stat.

Skill point costs:
If your stat is +0 or greater, it costs 2 points to increase a skill under that stat.

If you stat is -1 or less, it costs (2 plus your penalty) to increase a skill under that stat. Ie, if you have a -2 penalty to charisma, it costs 4 points to boost a cha based skill.

New skills:
For this to work, we need new skills.

Dex: 9 skills
Cha and Int: 8 skills
Wis: 6 skills

These are fine. Maybe one or two more Wis skills.

Meditate(wis): Restful alertness or deep recovery. In addition, can ask for solace or guildance from the gods about a task.
Be alert while sleeping: DC 20
Deep trance, double rest: DC 25

Mechanics? High DC for an actual answer, lower DC for small morale bonus's.

Logistics(wis): Ability to buy "misc" goods, and have the appropriate one. Have a weight and price of your misc goods. An item costing less than 1/4 of the price and 1/4 of the weight can be found for DC 10 + 5 for every previous instance of the good, plus 0 to 20 based on how predictable the need for the item was.

These really need some more skills:
Str: 3 skills
Con:1 skills

We could factor endurance into a skill. We could also have skills you can spend these points on that exist.

Str: can also spend on Intimidate.
Con: can also spend on survival, swim.

Still needs more Str/Con skills.

Smash? Lift? Carry? Endurance? Grapple (replace BaB)?

2007-02-01, 11:07 AM
One problem with your wording: adding a negative modifier will make it cost less. A -3 modifier earns an extra skill point with that wording. I still understand it, but the correct wording would be minus the penalty. Sounds stupid, but is correct maths.

2007-02-01, 11:55 AM
One problem with your wording: adding a negative modifier will make it cost less. A -3 modifier earns an extra skill point with that wording. I still understand it, but the correct wording would be minus the penalty. Sounds stupid, but is correct maths.

Which is why I included an example. :) Adding the negative modifier to the cost is actually ambiguous -- is the negative modifier of -3 3 or -3?

Or, in other words, is a negative modifier of 3 -- is that -3 or 3?

mabriss lethe
2007-02-01, 03:56 PM
I think this goes into the file marked "Great idea in theory, but a Gigantic frickin' bear to get off the ground." I like it, but I really don't want to 'rassle this puppy into line...so to speak.

Personally, I'm of a mind to leave well enough alone. Just thinking about the extra paperwork involved gives me a headache and makes me want to reach for the bottle of Wild Turkey's American Honey I just picked up. (good stuff, great when you're feeling sick...which I am)

2007-02-01, 04:38 PM
Yet another idea (stolen from another game).

Every character has a talent of 1 in every skill. Your stat modifier changes this talent.

If you have a talent of 5, the first 5 levels of a skill cost 1 point, the next 5 cost 2, the next five cost 3, etc.

Your skill points/level are multiplied by your level.

If you have 0 (or less) talent, it costs twice as much as 1 talent. Ie, 2 for L 1, 4 for L 2, etc.

2007-02-01, 07:40 PM
...ahh... logistics is a very complicated branch of maths, and as such should be an intelligence based skill. Doing logistics actually causes wisdom drain in RL as it slowly sends you mad...

I like the idea of spending skill pointss in grapple, and replacing a Fort Save for endurance with a Skill Check. I just dont know if it would be balanced. An elephant, for instance, would have no reason to put ranks in grapple... so a fighter might pin an elephant? Seems strange. Unless, being an elephant, with STR like 35 or whatever it is, is running out of skills to spend it super high strength on just puts ranks into grapple for maths sake.

2007-02-01, 09:21 PM
Grapple skill is used offensively. Defensively players can use BaB or Grapple. :)