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    SwashbucklerGuy

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    Default [3.X] Keeping Skill Bonuses within the Bounds of Sanity

    Seen elsewhere and reposted with permission:

    An idea you might want to consider in order to keep characters within sight one another at high levels (definition: within an RNG or two): limit bonuses to skills to an amount equal or less than the number of Ranks the character has in that skill.

    Eg: a character with 12 ranks in a skill could have no more than an extra +12 to their skill from the various bonuses (attribute, circumstance, luck, etc.) available.

    The rationale for this tweak: someone with only limited skill cannot co-ordinate all possible beneficial factors on offer to their best advantage.

    Spell and magic items might follow a similar rule. You could rule that no-one can safely use a skill-enhancing spell/item with a greater bonus than their native skill ranks. Any attempt to do so results in Sorcerer's Apprentice-style hijinks.

    The net result should hopefully be the end of skill abuse cheese, and is the death of the Diplomancer, or the +220 bonus at 10th level, really a bad thing?
    I've been thinking about this post in connection with the excellent Calibrating Your Expectations article (hat-tip: Justin Bacon), and it kind of makes sense to me in a "smells like the better bits of 4E" way.

    Let's be honest, in many respects the bonus and modifier stacking system in 3.X is b0rked. If you have a 1st level character (4 skill ranks in a skill) then no way should he be consistently making DC 50+ checks thanks to bonus stacking exploitation. That's just not level-appropriate and makes a mockery of verisimilitude.

    Personally I'd exclude ability mods and racial bonuses from the list (why penalise someone for being born good at what they do) and write it something like this:

    Max Skill = Skill Ranks + Ability Mod + non-magical bonuses (circumstance, competence, luck, etc.) bonus* + magical bonuses (enhancement, sacred, profane, etc.)*

    * both limited to a maximum of Ranks

    How Insight bonuses and various other quasi-magical bonus types would integrate into this system I haven't quite worked out.

    I wondered what any of the maths & stats mavens on the boards thought of this?

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    Default Re: [3.X] Keeping Skill Bonuses within the Bounds of Sanity

    I was thinking of something similar recently, using the actual attribute as the [Ranks+Bonus] ceiling. After putting some thought into it, I concluded that it would be better to have a ceiling determined by level/hit dice/whatever, since that is the way that difficuly classes are set up. How exactly to implement that I am not sure. I suppose "skill rank doubling" might work.

    {table=head]Level | Limit |
    1
    |
    +8
    |
    2
    |
    +10
    |
    3
    |
    +12
    |
    4
    |
    +14
    |
    5
    |
    +16
    |
    6
    |
    +18
    |
    7
    |
    +20
    |
    8
    |
    +22
    |
    9
    |
    +24
    |
    10
    |
    +26
    |
    11
    |
    +28
    |
    12
    |
    +30
    |
    13
    |
    +32
    |
    14
    |
    +34
    |
    15
    |
    +36
    |
    16
    |
    +38
    |
    17
    |
    +40
    |
    18
    |
    +42
    |
    19
    |
    +44
    |
    20
    |
    +46
    |
    [/table]

    Not much fun for level one carpenters, I suppose, but that's the nature of this skill system. Another alternative is [Attribute+Level], so a level one character with 18 dexterity could get up to +19 (including ranks) on dexterity dependent skills.
    Last edited by Matthew; 2008-12-20 at 09:24 AM.
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    Default Re: [3.X] Keeping Skill Bonuses within the Bounds of Sanity

    I'm not sure any hard limit is reasonable. For example, a Sorcerer Malconvoker can have a +22 Bluff with no real investment at level 9. A skill boost item would bring that much higher. Is it fair to really limit him to being exactly as effective as a guy with a bit of cash to burn?
    Last edited by Sstoopidtallkid; 2008-12-20 at 09:34 AM.
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    Default Re: [3.X] Keeping Skill Bonuses within the Bounds of Sanity

    Quote Originally Posted by Sstoopidtallkid View Post
    I'm not sure any hard limit is reasonable. For example, a Sorcerer Malconvoker can have a +22 Bluff with no real investment at level 8. A skill boost item would bring that much higher. Is it fair to really limit him to being exactly as effective as a guy with a bit of cash to burn?
    I think Bosssmiley is presuming in the setup of this thread that the answer to that question is "yes".
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    Default Re: [3.X] Keeping Skill Bonuses within the Bounds of Sanity

    Quote Originally Posted by bosssmiley View Post
    I've been thinking about this post in connection with the excellent Calibrating Your Expectations article (hat-tip: Justin Bacon),
    I would be extremely hesitant to base anything at all upon that poorly researched and ill-conceived article. Whenever the Playground turns its discussion towards whether the 3E skill system can be considered "realistic", people are quick to demonstrate that it clearly is not. Suffice to say that Justin's claims have been thoroughly debunked in the past.

    (as a standard counterexample, by the 3E skill system, Kasparov loses more than ten percent of his chess matches against the average high school dropout. Yeah, that's realistic)
    Last edited by Kurald Galain; 2008-12-20 at 09:36 AM.
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    SwashbucklerGuy

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    Default Re: [3.X] Keeping Skill Bonuses within the Bounds of Sanity

    Quote Originally Posted by Kurald Galain View Post
    (as a standard counterexample, by the 3E skill system, Kasparov loses more than ten percent of his chess matches against the average high school dropout. Yeah, that's realistic)
    You only dice in threat situations. Against some punk kid Kasparov just does it on autopilot and takes 10.

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    Default Re: [3.X] Keeping Skill Bonuses within the Bounds of Sanity

    Quote Originally Posted by Kurald Galain View Post
    I would be extremely hesitant to base anything at all upon that poorly researched and ill-conceived article. Whenever the Playground turns its discussion towards whether the 3E skill system can be considered "realistic", people are quick to demonstrate that it clearly is not. Suffice to say that Justin's claims have been thoroughly debunked in the past.

    (as a standard counterexample, by the 3E skill system, Kasparov loses more than ten percent of his chess matches against the average high school dropout. Yeah, that's realistic)
    Sure, but whilst the details of the article are demonstrably misleading, the thrust of the argument is still fairly valid [i.e. calibrate your expectations!]. Anywho, let's not dwell on it here.
    It is a joyful thing indeed to hold intimate converse with a man after one’s own heart, chatting without reserve about things of interest or the fleeting topics of the world; but such, alas, are few and far between.

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    Devil

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    Default Re: [3.X] Keeping Skill Bonuses within the Bounds of Sanity

    Bosssmiley, only problem I see is a lot of skills work better when you can just slap an attribute and a few bonuses to make the DC 10 tasks all the time.

    Also note that you would deprive everyone of their attribute bonuses in any skill they are untrained.

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    Default Re: [3.X] Keeping Skill Bonuses within the Bounds of Sanity

    How about the maximum bonus to a skill is double the skill ranks, but excluding the ability modifier? So at lvl 1 your maximum skill modifiear would be (4 ranks, 4 maximum modifiers) + ability bonus= 8+ ability bonus.
    Last edited by Tehnar; 2008-12-20 at 12:52 PM.

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