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    Default Re: Gaols and Giants - The Playground rewrites third Edition

    Quote Originally Posted by Grod_The_Giant View Post
    EDIT: Also, thoughts on a potential primary/secondary/cross-class skill split?
    I suggest we kill the cross-class skill mechanic entirely. Skills could have been an open system that let one expand beyond just their class, but the idea of class and cross-class skills eliminated the possibility. It can be brought back, and all it takes is more skill points across the board, and the end of cross-class skills.
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    Default Re: Gaols and Giants - The Playground rewrites third Edition

    Agreed. Let everone take what skills they want.

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    Default Re: Gaols and Giants - The Playground rewrites third Edition

    Very well, I can get behind that.
    Quote Originally Posted by Grod_The_Giant View Post
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    Default Re: Gaols and Giants - The Playground rewrites third Edition

    My apologies for bludgeoning in like a complete outsider. Despite never being much of a fan of dungeons and dragons these threads caught my eye and I've followed them since with interest. Wanted to see where you were taking it perhaps, I don't know.

    Because I'm not too fond of the original systems, please do take my suggestions here with a bit of salt. But I do feel that skill list makes precious little sense. Some seem broad, some narrow, some are result oriented and some are method oriented. I'll discuss what I mean with this below. I understand that some of these things might be divided for balance reasons that are beyond me, I'll mostly be debating things from a theme perspective.

    Quote Originally Posted by Grod_The_Giant View Post
    Balance
    Stealth
    Tumble
    See, I don't understand why these three are separate. From what I understand they'll mostly benefit a single (or is it a small number) class(es) and skill points is a finite resource. Moreover, while there certainly are differences between them are they really enough to justify splitting into three.
    Stealth being separate I can understand, but aren't the other two practically the same anyways? Good balance is after all one of the requirement of having excellent control of full body movement.

    You guys might want to consider merging at least two of them.

    Bluff
    Diplomacy
    Gather Information
    Intimidate
    Sense Motive
    All of these seem social and are all goal oriented. They seem to be more related to the result rather than the method. If I threaten to get someone fired through my social contacts, I am intimidating someone... but that's not what intimidate really covers... does it? And bluff is just plain lying... not how you lie, just that you are. Which implicitely implies diplomacy involves truth... even if that's not always true.
    Similarily... why is Gather Information a skill at all? If social, all three other skills can accomplish the same thing. If not, then it's redundant with knowledge skills (which I assume implies familiarity with scholasticism). At "best" it represents having a social network to gather information from... but the skill system as designed seem like a very poor place to put that in (though I understand there might not be any better). Similarily for sense motive... is it really any value in separating them from the others? Besides, isn't the ones good at seeing through people generally the same people that are good at manipulating people?

    If you guys want a really robust social system, I'd suggest moving them out of skills and building an entire subsystem for social interaction instead. I do truly think the game would be much richer for it (if you do, I'd love to help even!).

    But since there's no solid ground to build on I completely understand staying with skills. Not a good method perhaps, but it works. Might I instead suggest splitting the ways of social manipulation into three other skills based on method instead:

    Reasoning or Rethorics: Appealing to rationality or emotions.
    Seduction: Appealing to Greed or Desire.
    Coercion: Appealing to a direct sense of self preservation (but not neccesarily with yourself as antagonist).

    All three includes lying and threats, but the differentiation is now based on how you do it rather that what you hope to achieve. Which means that spinning lies from a silver tounge is different from lying about a bribe which is different from lying about hurting someone. I think this also can be used as a roleplaying device since it informs how this character socially manipulates.

    Climb
    Jump
    Swim
    Standard thing. I generally don't mind them. Though you might consider the idea of completely getting rid of them. Is there actually any benefits of having them?

    Concentration
    Perception
    Search
    Ummm... perception and search? Sure there's more to searching than seeing... but enough to justify separate skills? An argument could even be made that these belong in Survival, but I can see them being separate from that one.
    I'd say the same about concentration. But I understand that one is, nominally, for balance reasons. Though is it actually worth being a skill.

    Craft
    Devices
    Knowledge
    Perform
    Profession
    Heal
    (Speak Language)
    Right.. I lumped these together because they represent the problem of having narrow and broad skills. Here you got specific knowledges... and wide groups.
    Why are "devices" (which I assume are traps and similar) separate from crafts or Knowledge? Why is heal and languages not knowledges? Why is Perform not covered by a profession?
    Or a better yet... what does Profession have to do in there at all... isn't the idea behind a Class that it is a profession?
    This looks like a chaotic mess and quite frankly I don't understand why. It just seems to be more sinks for skill points... which, if anything, is more of a punishment than a boon.

    In my humble opinion... either get rid of the specific ones and lump them in the groups. Or get rid of the groups. Getting rid of profession and lumping the specific ones into the remaining groups is perhaps the most elegant solution, since it allows width while retaining accuracy and allow knowledge to have practial applications (so it's not just passive).

    Escape Artist
    Sleight of Hand
    Is there really any reason to keep these separate? There are differences sure... but are they really significant enough?

    Handle Animal
    Ride
    And why are these two separate skills?

    Survival
    No problems. Lumping it into the knowledge group is worth discussing though.

    Use Magic Device
    I assume there is a reason for this one. But it is beyond me.

    --

    There... I hope that's something you'll have some use of. And as mentioned above... there might be a reason for the distribution that was... but I don't see it. Having lots of targets to spend a finite resource on is in my experience generally negative.

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    Default Re: Gaols and Giants - The Playground rewrites third Edition

    We have talked about social systems often on these boards, the last time when Legend was written. Often, I'm the only one with my opinion. Let me sum it up:

    I like talking in RPGs. A lot. In fact, I like it far, far more than combat. And yet, many of the apparently more social interaction-oriented games I don't like. For one reason: there's too much rolling done during the "talky" parts. I don't want to worry about argument tokens and social advantages and charisma stunts or whatever else your game has. I want to make my argument, talk to the opponent, then resolve it with a relatively simple roll that doesn't distract too much from what's happening ingame. With modifiers based on what you said to whom, of course. Look at Burlew's Diplomacy system: that one is pretty much perfect.

    That said: gather Information is really weird if you think about it too much. I think a Knowledge: local check followed by a diplomacy check would achieve the same.


    Climb, Jump, swim: these skills are a bit problematic, for one reason: on the one hand, they seem very advantageous in D&D, because it originated as a game about, basically, exploring caves, mysterious temples, ancient tombs, dark forests and similar locations. In all those, climbing walls, jumping pits and swimming rivers can come up. On the other hand, by level 5, wizards can fly and walk on water, so they become a bit pointless.

    Use Magic device is known as one of the most powerful skills there is. Usually, only casters can use wands, scrolls and similar items. This skill allows a rogue or similar character to use them too.

    Ride/Handle Animal can be merged.

    I'm against merging listen/spot into perception and move silently/hide into stealth. They are different things, based on different senses.

    Suggestion: Track goes into Survival without a feat. Yes/no?
    Last edited by Eldan; 2012-10-14 at 02:22 PM.

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    Default Re: Gaols and Giants - The Playground rewrites third Edition

    Quote Originally Posted by Eldan View Post
    We have talked about social systems often on these boards, the last time when Legend was written. Often, I'm the only one with my opinion. Let me sum it up:

    I like talking in RPGs. A lot. In fact, I like it far, far more than combat. And yet, many of the apparently more social interaction-oriented games I don't like. For one reason: there's too much rolling done during the "talky" parts. I don't want to worry about argument tokens and social advantages and charisma stunts or whatever else your game has. I want to make my argument, talk to the opponent, then resolve it with a relatively simple roll that doesn't distract too much from what's happening ingame. With modifiers based on what you said to whom, of course. Look at Burlew's Diplomacy system: that one is pretty much perfect.

    That said: gather Information is really weird if you think about it too much. I think a Knowledge: local check followed by a diplomacy check would achieve the same.
    Fair enough, as mentioned in my post above, I completely understand that approach. Simplicity has merit in games and especially in the Social aspects of roleplaying.

    Still, I do suggest separating them by method rather than goal. It makes more sense and probably stays truer to how Social interaction works.

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    Default Re: Gaols and Giants - The Playground rewrites third Edition

    i would like to point to this post of mine which contained a rehashing of skills into groups to eliminate the shear overlap and keeps them together


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    Default Re: Gaols and Giants - The Playground rewrites third Edition

    Cross-post from whta Toapat meant. We should probably get a sub-thread for skills.

    Engineering: Disable Device, Open Lock, Repair, and Knowledge (Architecture and Engineering)

    Knowledge (People and Events): Religion, Local, History, and Royalty and Nobility. Notes: a check of over 30 is impossible to performed as it would call for details unknown without epic level divinations through time

    Spellwork: Knowledge Arcana, the Planes, UMD, and Spellcraft into

    Focus: Knowledge Psionics, UPD, Psicraft, and Autohypnosis

    Perception: Search, Spot, Listen, Sense motive.

    Deception: Forgery, disguise, Slight of Hand, Move Silently, Hide, Use Rope

    Trainer: Handle Animal and Ride

    Survival: Survival, Heal, Know Dungeoneering, geography, nature

    Tradesman: Craft, Profession, Appraise

    Banter: Bluff, Intimidate, Diplomacy, Gather Information

    Acrobatics: Tumble, Fly, Escape artist, Hide, Move Silently

    Athletics: Swim, Jump, Climb

    Perform: Perform

    I think those are much too broad, and many cover very different things in one. I mean, Knowledge and Survival doesn't go together, I think. I want to be able to build a scholar who has never left the city.
    Personally, I like the granularity of a long skill list and I'd rather have more skills and more points, rather than fewer.

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    Default Re: Gaols and Giants - The Playground rewrites third Edition

    That reminds me. Anyone familiar with Shadowrun's skill system?

    There's something interesting there. There are skill groups, such as those suggested above. You can either spend points on a single skill, or on a group of skills, which costs fewer points than buying every single skill in it.
    We might do something like that.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Eldan View Post
    I think those are much too broad, and many cover very different things in one. I mean, Knowledge and Survival doesn't go together, I think. I want to be able to build a scholar who has never left the city.
    Personally, I like the granularity of a long skill list and I'd rather have more skills and more points, rather than fewer.
    the groups were made from a Thematic/Synergy point. And Know: Dungeoneering is actually the one that is used to identify poisons, slimes, venoms, and Mind flayers. (Aberrations seems to me like it should fall under the Knowledge: Arcana, while Know: Dungoneer should get magical beasts to make Know: Wilds)

    and as i said, the combination was to condense skills down to what they needed to be. the entire Know: People and Events consists of practically useless skills (other then religion)


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    Default Re: Gaols and Giants - The Playground rewrites third Edition

    Quote Originally Posted by Eldan View Post
    Climb, Jump, swim: these skills are a bit problematic, for one reason: on the one hand, they seem very advantageous in D&D, because it originated as a game about, basically, exploring caves, mysterious temples, ancient tombs, dark forests and similar locations. In all those, climbing walls, jumping pits and swimming rivers can come up. On the other hand, by level 5, wizards can fly and walk on water, so they become a bit pointless.
    I think you guys need to decide what level PCs start becoming superhuman as far as skills are concerned and how important skills are going to be to a character's capabilities. If you decide that skills start doing amazing things at, say, 10th level, you can bring the epic skill uses into play at that point with DCs you can hit at those levels; Climb/Jump/Swim remain useful at high levels because they're not being outclassed by air walking or water walking, they're actually enabling air walking and water walking.

    If you decide that skills are going to basically do the same low-level stuff at high levels but with higher numbers as in 3e, then you should probably get rid of Climb/Jump/Swim as skills and just have base rules (e.g. "you jump a number of feet equal to 5+Str mod", "you can climb at 1/4 base speed and are flat-footed while doing so") with skill tricks that modify them (e.g. "Olympic Leaper: requires 5 ranks in Tumble; add your Tumble ranks to the distance jumped") or something like that. Then again, if you're going to leave the skill system as it is in 3e, where you're doing low-level stuff outclassed by magic at high levels except for a few skills that you can break the game with if you invest heavily in them (Diplomacy, Bluff, Hide, Move Silently, and UMD, basically), you might as well just stop giving people skill points somewhere between 5th and 10th level, acknowledge that skills either get outclassed or stop getting better at high levels, and use some other subsystem to give level-appropriate perks.

    I much prefer the approach of scaling skills to make people superhuman at higher levels, and if you take that route leaving skills mostly uncondensed can be a good thing given the number and power of the abilities you get from those skills. Combining Tumble, Balance, and Escape Artist, for instance, makes a lot of sense if they just have their 3e uses, but if at 20th level Tumble is letting you run at 10x speed, Balance is letting you walk on clouds, and Escape Artist is letting you slip through walls of force, with similar useful and flavorful abilities at the mid levels, then keeping them separate makes more sense.

    I think those are much too broad, and many cover very different things in one. I mean, Knowledge and Survival doesn't go together, I think. I want to be able to build a scholar who has never left the city.

    Personally, I like the granularity of a long skill list and I'd rather have more skills and more points, rather than fewer.
    That reminds me. Anyone familiar with Shadowrun's skill system?

    There's something interesting there. There are skill groups, such as those suggested above. You can either spend points on a single skill, or on a group of skills, which costs fewer points than buying every single skill in it.
    We might do something like that.
    Speaking of Shadowrun skills, you could always incorporate skill specialization instead of skill groups. If G&G Survival is 3e Heal, Survival, and Knowledge (Nature), when you put a rank in Survival you pick one of those three subskills and get a bonus with it. Your scholar who has never left the city would pick Knowledge (Nature), and though he's not that familiar with the wilderness, his theoretical knowledge would help him out somewhat with Survival and Heal.

    You could even do two levels of specialization. Pick one subskill and get +2 with that and +0 with the others, or get +4 with that and -4 with the others. That would let you represent people who are good in one area but not in the others without having the problem of a character who is, say, an amazing Tumbler but can't Jump or Balance to save his life even though skill in tumbling logically translates to some skill with jumping and balancing.

    The problem with a broad and granular skill system is that even if skills do "one thing" you have good skills whose "one thing" is commonly useful (Hide, Diplomacy, UMD) and bad skills whose "one thing" is more niche or just unimpressive (Use Rope, Perform, Knowledge [History]). Even in Shadowrun where they do a good job of making all skills useful, mages usually prioritize Binding and Counterspelling over Banishing, Parachuting and Tracking are much less relevant than Infiltration and Shadowing, and everyone wants at least one weapon skill.

    Condensing skills together allows you to either fold niche skills in with broader skills as a nice perk for people who invest in the broader skills, or ensure that people who invest in niche skills still have useful things to do in general, depending on how you want to look at it. It also means you can balance out better and worse skills by varying the degree of condensation; stealth is valuable and powerful enough that you don't need to fold anything else in with Hide and Move Silently, while you could fold Appraise, Forgery, Slight of Hand, Open Lock, Use Rope, and Gather Information into one Thievery skill without breaking anything (not that you'd actually want to use that particular combination).
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    Default Re: Gaols and Giants - The Playground rewrites third Edition

    Quote Originally Posted by PairO'Dice Lost View Post
    I think you guys need to decide what level PCs start becoming superhuman as far as skills are concerned and how important skills are going to be to a character's capabilities. If you decide that skills start doing amazing things at, say, 10th level, you can bring the epic skill uses into play at that point with DCs you can hit at those levels; Climb/Jump/Swim remain useful at high levels because they're not being outclassed by air walking or water walking, they're actually enabling air walking and water walking.

    ...

    I much prefer the approach of scaling skills to make people superhuman at higher levels, and if you take that route leaving skills mostly uncondensed can be a good thing given the number and power of the abilities you get from those skills. Combining Tumble, Balance, and Escape Artist, for instance, makes a lot of sense if they just have their 3e uses, but if at 20th level Tumble is letting you run at 10x speed, Balance is letting you walk on clouds, and Escape Artist is letting you slip through walls of force, with similar useful and flavorful abilities at the mid levels, then keeping them separate makes more sense.
    Good point. I kind of like the idea of making higher-level skill checks let you do ridiculous things...

    Also, on an unrelated note, I move that we change Use Magic Device from a (rather overpowered) skill to a class feature.
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    Default Re: Gaols and Giants - The Playground rewrites third Edition

    I say we make it not a class feature, but an inherent feature of those items. Something like "Alternatively, a character may use a charisma check to try and active these items..."

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    Default Re: Gaols and Giants - The Playground rewrites third Edition

    I suggest caution in letting skills do awesome things. However high or low you set the DC there will come a time when the awesome thing is possible because modifiers stack up to allow it on a nat 20, and people will crit fish for that once in a while. But since skills advance at +1 per level, it will take 10 levels for the same character to go from "possibly succeeding" to "better than even odds at succeeding, can take 10 and just do it sometimes" and 19 levels to go to "not a big deal anymore" (assuming no attribute boosts and no item bonuses, these muddy the waters slightly). That sort of scaling and crit fishing is not reflected in other character abilities (class features, feats, etc.), which tend to advance in reliability much more quickly than that.

    You might have better luck having class features or feats do more awesome things by calling on skill checks to trigger them. Then you can set the DCs relatively low but not get people trying to do the actions before it would be appropriate, since they can't get it before a particular level. It sets some skills as mandatory for some classes to use their class features, but since you're rethinking the whole skill point thing anyway you could just build those mandatory skills into the class and leave different skill selection for differentiation.

    Alternately you can do what I did in my skills thing and just set rank minimums on skill abilities. It's like the class feature thing, but tied to skill investment rather than class investment. This has the benefit of not making some skills mandatory for some classes, but means your skill uses aren't as specific as they could be for the classes (since some abilities may not be appropriate for everybody, and bloat is a concern).
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    Default Re: Gaols and Giants - The Playground rewrites third Edition

    I'm all for minimum skill ranks. It keeps a check on things that goes beyond pure luck, but doens't tie it to classes.

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    Default Re: Gaols and Giants - The Playground rewrites third Edition

    Works for me.
    Quote Originally Posted by Grod_The_Giant View Post
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    Default Re: Gaols and Giants - The Playground rewrites third Edition

    Another thing about skills:
    Do we want different classes to have significantly different amounts of skill points? I think if everyone gets every skill, and all skills are similar in power and have significant options in them*, then giving some classes more of them would perhaps be a bit unbalanced. Especially if all classes also get non-skill class features.
    What would you people say if everyone got the same amount of skill points, or nearly so? I'd say Wizards need their spellcraft and knowledge just as much as rogues need their stealth and rangers their perception.

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    Default Re: Gaols and Giants - The Playground rewrites third Edition

    Quote Originally Posted by Eldan View Post
    Another thing about skills:
    Do we want different classes to have significantly different amounts of skill points? I think if everyone gets every skill, and all skills are similar in power and have significant options in them*, then giving some classes more of them would perhaps be a bit unbalanced. Especially if all classes also get non-skill class features.
    What would you people say if everyone got the same amount of skill points, or nearly so? I'd say Wizards need their spellcraft and knowledge just as much as rogues need their stealth and rangers their perception.

    *Hey, I can dream
    i can see value in the imbalance of skills.

    the reason i suggested condensing skills down is so that we dont have to give everyone not-int based 8-15 base skillpoints to allow them to give their characters more depth then "I hit it really hard with a stick".

    also, im fully of the oppinion that Barbarians should be of the noble berserker variety that Blizzard likes to put in their games in the form of Orcs, Barbarians, and Protoss Zealots


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    Default Re: Gaols and Giants - The Playground rewrites third Edition

    See, I like having a long skill list and giving everyone 8 skill points. I like granular systems. But again, maybe that's just me. Even barbarians have spot, listen, maybe move silently, certainly intimidate, survival, knowledge: nature... there's a ton of skills I can see for them. After all, their tribes have to survive somehow.

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    Default Re: Gaols and Giants - The Playground rewrites third Edition

    If you eliminate the idea of class skills, and also eliminate differing amounts of skillpoints, then you've eliminated the idea of a skillmonkey. Unless you're planning to make a purely hack-and-slash game (which IMO is the opposite of what 3rd edition needs), that's probably a bad idea.
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    Default Re: Gaols and Giants - The Playground rewrites third Edition

    I would suggest giving out Archetypes, which give you your overarching skill progression, and then you get some extra skill points to fiddle and play.

    So, for example, Scoundrel would get you Bluff, Diplomacy, some Sleight of Hand, and so on, while Survivalist would be more focused on athletic skills and Survival.

    You pick two/three, and you are set.

    Maybe even just have this as an optional choice? I know that, since everyone seems to just go full ranks in skills...

    You know what? Screw it, I'm suggesting my old "Skill BAB" concept, in hopes that someone will use it.

    There. You have people get a good progression on some skills, mediocre on others, and poor on the rest. Everyone has a varied number of skills they can choose (archetypes work for this style of thing.)

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    Default Re: Gaols and Giants - The Playground rewrites third Edition

    Quote Originally Posted by Yitzi View Post
    If you eliminate the idea of class skills, and also eliminate differing amounts of skillpoints, then you've eliminated the idea of a skillmonkey. Unless you're planning to make a purely hack-and-slash game (which IMO is the opposite of what 3rd edition needs), that's probably a bad idea.
    I'd like to call it less an elimination of skill monkeys and more making everyone a skill monkey. But I see what you mean.

    Amechra: I'd like to bring up my skill group idea again.

    Either, you take a group, getting your points in, say, 5 skills for the cost of four points (or something), or you take only some of them for the normal cost. And honestly, progressions isn't much simpler than just putting a point into it every level.
    Last edited by Eldan; 2012-10-15 at 09:08 AM.

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    Default Re: Gaols and Giants - The Playground rewrites third Edition

    Quote Originally Posted by Eldan View Post
    See, I like having a long skill list and giving everyone 8 skill points. I like granular systems. But again, maybe that's just me. Even barbarians have spot, listen, maybe move silently, certainly intimidate, survival, knowledge: nature... there's a ton of skills I can see for them. After all, their tribes have to survive somehow.
    My short answer: Consolidating isnt bad. Consolidating skills, cutting out the borked stuff like UMD, UPD, and Concentration, keeps things easier to track. In a way, it makes it easier to understand what we can do still with skills.

    granted, i would argue that i oversimplified the skills in some areas, while others still were not improved enough to blip on the radar (Knowledge (People and Events) doesnt have more functional value to PCs then knowledge (Religion) does, while Spellwork is nigh Op being able to ID every Magical beast, dragon, and outsider)


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    Default Re: Gaols and Giants - The Playground rewrites third Edition

    It really depends on the campaign. If I run a city campaign, Knowledge: People and Events would probably come up all the time (not that consolidating History and Local isn't a good idea), yet I can't remember the last time any of the athletic skills came up, or anyone put any points in them.

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    Default Re: Gaols and Giants - The Playground rewrites third Edition

    I don't really like the idea of skill groups or auto-progressing skills-- I much prefer skill points. Granularity, like Eldan said. Some of the more situational/finicky skills could come back in with an "Expertise" skill of some sort-- a sort of miscellaneous skill

    I also want to keep class skill lists. Possibly primary/secondary/cross-class skills, all costing the same amount to purchase, but with different maximum ranks (good/medium/poor progressions). As Yitzi said, eliminating skill lists and giving everyone loads of skill points eliminates the classic skill monkey role. The average class should be able to be competent in multiple areas, or hitting his caps in one area. A skill monkey should be able to hit his caps in multiple areas.

    Also, perhaps a revamped skill tricks system would be the best way to handle superhuman skill feats?
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    Default Re: Gaols and Giants - The Playground rewrites third Edition

    Quote Originally Posted by Eldan View Post
    See, I like having a long skill list and giving everyone 8 skill points. I like granular systems. But again, maybe that's just me. Even barbarians have spot, listen, maybe move silently, certainly intimidate, survival, knowledge: nature... there's a ton of skills I can see for them. After all, their tribes have to survive somehow.
    I like granular skill lists as well, but (A) they have to be composed of well-balanced skills and (B) you have to have enough skill points to make room for off-archetype skills. Regarding the former, 3e's skill list has a few broad skills, a bunch of mediocre skills, and a few niche skills--you can't really come up with epic Use Rope uses without stretching quite a bit--to the point that it's easier to condense skills together than to try to expand the niche skills to the point they're generally useful, as that would generally involve stepping on other skills' toes anyway.

    Regarding the latter, to be a good thief a rogue with 14 Int probably wants to take Open Lock, Disable Device, Search, Hide, Move Silently, Sleight of Hand, Bluff, Spot, Listen, and Escape Artist. You can swap some of those out, but even if you take Tumble over Bluff or whatever, that doesn't leave our thief room to take Spellcraft and Knowledge (Arcana) for IDing magical traps, Gather Information and Knowledge (Local) to find thieving buddies, Climb and Jump to get to fourth-story windows, and so on. You can fix this by either giving a lot more skill points (which could work, but which players who already struggle to allocate skill points might find unmanageable) or by condensing skills so that our thief needs Stealth, Devices, Perception, Acrobatics, and Athletics and now he has 5 skill points left over for other skills.

    I'd like to call it less an elimination of skill monkeys and more making everyone a skill monkey. But I see what you mean.
    Quote Originally Posted by Grod_The_Giant
    As Yitzi said, eliminating skill lists and giving everyone loads of skill points eliminates the classic skill monkey role. The average class should be able to be competent in multiple areas, or hitting his caps in one area. A skill monkey should be able to hit his caps in multiple areas.
    More skill points does not a skill monkey make, even if everyone has access to the same skills. You can have other features to make skill monkey classes stand out: Skill Mastery, rerolling skills, minimum results, virtual ranks a la Jack of All Trades or Bardic Knack, and more. In AD&D the thief wasn't just defined as having more skills, he was better at those skills as well.

    This isn't to say that skill monkey classes shouldn't have more skills and better access, but you shouldn't just give them a bunch more class skills and 4 more skill points than everyone else and call it a day. That makes different skill monkey classes too similar, since their class skill lists tend to overlap quite a bit. I'd rather see something like the bard vs. rogue vs. factotum distinction: the bard with either Bardic Knowledge or Bardic Knack can cover a wide area of skills outside his primary area of expertise with a good degree of competence, the factotum with Cunning Insight and Cunning Knowledge can get the highest check results but can't do so consistently, and the rogue with Skill Mastery is the most consistent under pressure with his best skills. You can make the same type of skills guy with any of the three and they'll play differently enough to keep things interesting.

    It really depends on the campaign. If I run a city campaign, Knowledge: People and Events would probably come up all the time (not that consolidating History and Local isn't a good idea), yet I can't remember the last time any of the athletic skills came up, or anyone put any points in them.
    When I run themed games like a "commando team" campaign or an "urban intrigue" campaign, I split skills up into primary and secondary skills sort of like Grod and others mentioned, but based on the campaign theme rather than each class's theme. Primary skills are those everyone should have for that game (stealth and acrobatics skills for commandos, social and knowledge skills for intrigue, etc.) and secondary skills are everything else. PCs get separate skill point pools for primary and secondary skills: secondary skills work as normal, though for every class skill on the primary list players can swap it out for a different secondary skill; primary skills are treated as class skills for everyone, and if there are X primary skills each PC chooses Y of those (where Y ~= 2/3 X) to have max ranks in and gets half max ranks in the rest. This ensures that everyone can contribute to the minigames that will come up the most often without forcing everyone to specialize and have basically the same lists.

    Similarly, while you can't know how G&G will be used in any given campaign, if you want to keep a more granular skill system you could try to split skills up along certain lines. Maybe you can split off the background skills (Craft, Profession, Perform) and the knowledge skills (Decipher Script, Knowledge, Spellcraft, Survival) from the rest so everyone has a day job and few areas of knowledge.

    Do that and give everyone 6-8 points in each pool, and you can have your well-rounded barbarian with Spot, Listen, Hide, Move Silently, Ride, Handle Animal, Intimidate, and Heal in one pool and Survival, Knowledge (Nature), Knowledge (Geography), Knowledge (Religion), Craft (Leatherworking), and Craft (Woodworking) in another. That prevents both the fighter skills problem (Thog have Climb, Jump, and Swim, Thog no need know how talk to people!) and the wizard skills problem (I have max ranks in every Knowledge and nothing else!).
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    Default Re: Gaols and Giants - The Playground rewrites third Edition


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    Default Re: Gaols and Giants - The Playground rewrites third Edition

    So's it occurs to me that, if all goes as plans, we're going to be facing a certain amount of option overload. Combat maneuvers are more usable. Skills are going to get beefed-up skill tricks. Feats are going to grant new things, for the most part. All classes will, hopefully, have a selection of active abilities, be they spells, maneuvers, invocations, or what have you. That's generally good, mind you, but it's going to beef up character creation time by a lot. Especially for newbies. And maybe slow down gameplay, too, if people don't know their own abilities (and that happens, you know it does).

    ...just throwing that out there.
    Quote Originally Posted by Grod_The_Giant View Post
    Grod's Law: You cannot and should not balance bad mechanics by making them annoying to use
    Major Works:
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    • Giants and Graveyards: My collected 3.5 revisions-- houserules, class fixes, ban lists and more.
    • Chopping Down the Christmas Tree: Rules for low- or no-magic item games of 3.5.
    • D&D in M&M-- Balancing 3.5 by porting it lock, stock, and barrel into a more balanced system.

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    Default Re: Gaols and Giants - The Playground rewrites third Edition

    Provide quickstart sample characters? I can make one or two for every class.

    I remember, back when I started D&D, we had a start box that came with Six or so characters (I was Mialee) and a small dungeon.

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    Default Re: Gaols and Giants - The Playground rewrites third Edition

    Quote Originally Posted by Grod_The_Giant View Post
    So's it occurs to me that, if all goes as plans, we're going to be facing a certain amount of option overload. Combat maneuvers are more usable. Skills are going to get beefed-up skill tricks. Feats are going to grant new things, for the most part. All classes will, hopefully, have a selection of active abilities, be they spells, maneuvers, invocations, or what have you. That's generally good, mind you, but it's going to beef up character creation time by a lot. Especially for newbies. And maybe slow down gameplay, too, if people don't know their own abilities (and that happens, you know it does).

    ...just throwing that out there.
    Perhaps the best way is to make a lot of the options modular; that way, there's less to keep track of but still a whole lot of options (more options generally makes for a richer game, as long as you don't have some classes with far more options and comparable power to others.)
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