Also from the previous thread:
Originally Posted by Kurald Galain
So anyway. First thoughts on the new playtest is that there are way too many knowledge skills, and they've still left out Perform and Repair. Boo. Channel Divinity is now just another healing spell and seems to be there only because they need some mechanic with that name. I like the new fighter mechanic, as well as grouping the feats in 'themes' to avoid choice paralysis. I don't like how a character gets only three skills in a fairly arbitrary grouping.
Regarding Knowledge skills, I think that having lots of them could be useful, but 5e in general suffers (at least thus far) from skills not doing anything specific and instead just being rolled when a somewhat-related situation comes up. If they were like 3e or SWSE skills, where it gave you an explicit list of functions and associated DCs, then you could fold in Knowledge Devotion- or Favored Enemy-style benefits to give you a concrete reason to have those sorts of skills. If you're just going to have skills that say you generally knowa bunch of stuff about X topic, that should really be a trait like "Historical Scholar: You know so much about history, it's like you're reading from the campaign setting sourcebooks" or "Tree-Hugger: you can identify plants and animals and their properties on sight because you just love nature that much" or the like (though obviously without the snark).
Regarding Channel Divinity, it's only a healing ability now, but its real use is as a hook for function calls later, similar to the way you could pick up extra Channel Divinity effects in 4e and to how Turn/Rebuke Undead powered [Divine] feats in 3e. I'd be surprised if alternate Channel Divinity options don't show up in the PHB right off the bat.
Originally Posted by Ashdate
I think this is another misinterpretation at best, and at worst, ignoring VERY good advice. Not every NPC needs a character sheet! Encouraging the DM to be constantly referencing some stats so he can accurately tell the PCs that THIS guy has a +12 to his Nature check only slows the game down. Instead, the DMG is (rightfully!) encouraging you to not make NPCs the focus of your game.
And it's not like you can't create NPCs with full stats (either PC generated, or monster generated); you absolutely can! But I would question the wisdom in doing so unless (as the advice says) you were planning on using them in some sort of combat. If the NPC is important enough, write out four or five traits/quirks about him/her, and guesstimate their skills/stats if the need should arise. As much as the DM advice given in 4e had problems, it also encouraged the DMs to work "smarter" (not "harder") to deliver their game. And despite its problems, page 42 is a brilliant tool that 3.5 sorely lacked, and that I hope 5e gets.
Rule #37 of DMing: The likelihood a PC will choose to go someplace is inversely proportional to the likelihood that you prepared for it, and the likelihood that a PC wants to attack a certain NPC is inversely proportional to the likelihood that you have combat stats for that NPC.
I don't want to start this thread off with a symmetric vs. asymmetric NPC rules debate, so suffice it to say that page 42 is vastly overrated, 3e had a big list of sample skill DCs as well, and having a range of acceptable values for stat X at level Y instead of one single value is not a bad thing at all.