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    Apr 2005

    Default [D&D General]Alternate Skill System-Concept Check

    So as many of you have already seen, MC and MM are looking into the idea of using a rank based system for D&D in the future. Unfortunately at this point I have a very low confidence in their ability to follow through on a concept to something I actually like. Indeed, already some of the things in their articles are pretty troubling, namely that they can't seem to pin down a resolution mechanic, and think that passive perception is a huge new innovation. So I'm going to go ahead and try a take on a new skill system. As noted in the topic title, this is primarily a concept check, that may get fleshed out further in the future, so a lot of the details aren't quite filled in yet, but here's the gist of the system:

    Skill Ranks:
    U (Untrained, Default Rank)
    D (Apprentice Rank)
    C (Journeyman Rank)
    B (Expert Rank)
    A (Master Rank)
    S (Superhuman Rank)

    -Any task that has a rating lower than your rating in the skill is an auto success.

    -Any task that has a rating equal to your rating in a skill has a DC of 12.

    -Any task that has a rating one higher than your rating in a skill has a DC of 20.

    -When making a roll, you gain a bonus equal to half the link attribute added to the roll. Other minor bonuses or penalties may also apply (usually Masterwork tools for a +2).

    -Any task that is two ratings or more above your own is impossible.

    -When making an opposed test, whoever has the higher skill rank wins. Assuming both have equivalent skill ranks, both parties roll a d20, higher roll wins.

    So, the basics of the system are pretty simple. You have a rank in the skill, challenges have ranks, higher rank wins. This speeds up resolution on trivial checks significantly, while tightening the RNG for a non-trivial check. Basically you never will get to the point where you auto win at everything, though you can get damn close.

    So that leaves the questions: What skills are there, and how do you raise your skill ranks? What skill level is acceptable for a character?

    Gaining and Increasing Skills-Skills are increased using skill points as normal, but each rank in a skill costs more points than the one before. The cost for points is as follows:

    D-1 Rank
    C-2 Ranks
    B-3 Ranks
    A-5 Ranks
    S-8 Ranks

    So getting a S rank skill takes 19 Skill ranks in total. Most characters probably won't have all S ranked skills, even at high levels, though most will have at least a few. A character can choose to spend their skill points in whatever they want. Characters do not receive the bonus skill points at first level as in normal 3.5. The maximum points you may invest in a single skill are limited. When dealing with a class skill, you may invest up to level + 2 in the skill. With a non-class skill, you may invest up to your level in a skill.

    Your skills are now split up between Skills and Knowledge skills. Skills are purchased with the skill points you gain from your class. Knowledge Skills are purchased with knowledge points. Everybody gets 2+int modifier in knowledge points per level. You do not get your int mod in extra skills per level for active skills. (So for example a Rogue would get 8 skills per level for active skills, with 2+int in knowledge skills).

    Additionally, the skills are consolidated, with the new list of skills, and the skills that are represented by that skill listed below.

    For determining what tasks are what difficulty, typically a DC10 check is an untrained difficulty challenge, and every 10 points of DC above that is a rank higher. I say typically because skill DCs are all over the place in 3.5. By S rank, the characters should be doing things appropriate to Epic level checks (the options like balancing on a cloud, at will identify magic items, seeing an invisible silenced character, etc).

    Skill Listing/Description-
    Disable Device-Disable Device/Open Lock
    Handle Animal-Handle Animal/Ride
    Influence-Diplomacy/Intimidate/Gather Information
    Sense Motive-Sense Motive
    Sleight of Hand-Sleight of Hand/Escape Artist/Use Rope
    Stealth-Hide/Move Silently
    Use Magic Device-UMD

    Knowledge Skills
    Identify-Decipher Script/Appraise

    At some point I may make a listing of what checks are appropriate for what rank for each skill, but this is pretty much a rough draft/concept check, so I'm not going to get into too much detail on it. It is also important to realize that higher skill ranks can be tied to more stuff under this system. For example, you could make a higher rank in Athletics improve move speed, or the run multiplier.

    I do also intend to expand upon both Disable Device and Influence/Deception, to streamline those skills into something that is more streamlined with other combat mechanics.

    I'd also like to see skill tricks revamped, so they are a central part of at least some skills. Like healing via skills should be a wholly legitimate option for someone to be a primary healer. Skill Tricks would help with that. Similarly, social combat would ideally focus around skill tricks moreso than "I have a high skill ranking one roll makes me win" (or in this case, "My skill rank is higher than your sense motive, I win"). In all of these cases, basically the higher rank in the skill would unlock better skill tricks, sort of like how it does now, but with the clear delineated ranks it would be easier to sort out what is appropriate at each level.
    Last edited by Seerow; 2011-10-09 at 06:11 PM.
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