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    Mr. Friendly's Avatar

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    Default D&D 3.X skill system sucks, discuss.

    As evidenced by the various threads on the subject. Not that 2.0 didn't suck also, I mean let's face it, this is D&D not Papers and Paychecks. The point is though, the 3.0 and beyond skill system is woefully inadequate (A Feebleminded character with Profession can still earn his normal amount of GP?) and in many cases, flat out insane. (DC 30 to make you my best friend? Really?)

    I don't see 4th as really doing much to fix the problem, unless of course they massively overhaul the DCs for everything.

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    Default Re: D&D 3.X skill system sucks, discuss.

    What sane DM would allow someone while feebleminded to earn there wage? What DM would allow the Diplomancer to woo his BBEG. The Skill system we have now is much better than anything else we have had in other ed's. I guess some consolodating would be nice (move silently and hide being stealth) but other than that I have never had a problem with the skill system.
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    Default Re: D&D 3.X skill system sucks, discuss.

    Yeah, and an untrained rookie can defeat an olympic athlete in the sport of that athlete's choice about 10% of the time.

    A large part of the time it is more important how lucky your dice roll is than how many ranks you had.
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    Default Re: D&D 3.X skill system sucks, discuss.

    I think you should get a bonus rank in every class skill every three levels or something.

    Right now, I dislike that some skills, that are probably totally cool, are just never used. Like balance, or sleight of hand, or escape artist.

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    Default Re: D&D 3.X skill system sucks, discuss.

    I blame the d20.

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    Default Re: D&D 3.X skill system sucks, discuss.

    Quote Originally Posted by ALOR View Post
    What sane DM would allow someone while feebleminded to earn there wage? What DM would allow the Diplomancer to woo his BBEG. The Skill system we have now is much better than anything else we have had in other ed's. I guess some consolodating would be nice (move silently and hide being stealth) but other than that I have never had a problem with the skill system.
    Right, but if the books and the rules are there so the DM knows what the balance of things is, then the rules for Diplomacy *should* be fine. Unfortunately, it's broken right out of the box without ever even leaving Core.

    What about this:

    A character with Profession (Translator) could earn a living via that skill, without actually knowing any languages other than Common. Meanwhile, his "rival" across the street who has permanent Tonuges doesn't actually earn any money since he doesn't have Profession (Translator).

    Yes, yes, a good DM works around all of this, blah, blah, blah. But most DMs aren't good, they are average to sub-par and have to earn xp to get better just like the players. So they start with the RAW and move on to RAI later.

    How about the Profession (Baker) and Craft (Baking) point addressed in the other thread? that is a fairly obvious hole as well.

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    Default Re: D&D 3.X skill system sucks, discuss.

    Quote Originally Posted by Mr. Friendly View Post
    Right, but if the books and the rules are there so the DM knows what the balance of things is, then the rules for Diplomacy *should* be fine. Unfortunately, it's broken right out of the box without ever even leaving Core.

    What about this:

    A character with Profession (Translator) could earn a living via that skill, without actually knowing any languages other than Common. Meanwhile, his "rival" across the street who has permanent Tonuges doesn't actually earn any money since he doesn't have Profession (Translator).

    Yes, yes, a good DM works around all of this, blah, blah, blah. But most DMs aren't good, they are average to sub-par and have to earn xp to get better just like the players. So they start with the RAW and move on to RAI later.

    How about the Profession (Baker) and Craft (Baking) point addressed in the other thread? that is a fairly obvious hole as well.
    Ok I'm not going to highjack your thread as this could get out of hand but let me ask you this, Do adventures earn money for their deeds or do they have to have (profession) adventurer to get the treasure out of the chest or the reward from the king?
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    Default Re: D&D 3.X skill system sucks, discuss.

    Much of the problem comes from the way that different non-combat related areas of expertise, i.e. skills, are drastically different in how hard they are to learn, in how many situations in life they apply to, and in whether mastering them is really an adventure-related thing or not.

    For example, anyone who is really good at Spellcraft really almost has to be an adventurer. But anyone who is really good at Craft (Gourmet Food) doesn't have to be an adventurer -- in fact, it would be rare that you'd find an adventurer who spends much time on that skill. But this difference isn't accounted for in the rules at all ... skills are a level-based system, when really some of them shouldn't be.

    That, and the "sub-skill system" (i.e. different skills that fall under Craft, Profession, Knowledge, and Perform) really wasn't well thought out at all. There are too many of each of these, and it's an open-ended list, making it so there's a ridiculous number of skills in the game total. And the way that different Perform skills (to name the most blatant) don't give each other any kind of synergy is just awful.
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    Default Re: D&D 3.X skill system sucks, discuss.

    actually, i think this conversation is more evidence that there are flaws in the skills diplomacy and profession individually, rather than there being a problem with the system itself. although these skills certainly have flaws, i never had any major problem with the system itself

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    Default Re: D&D 3.X skill system sucks, discuss.

    Quote Originally Posted by CasESenSITItiVE View Post
    actually, i think this conversation is more evidence that there are flaws in the skills diplomacy and profession individually, rather than there being a problem with the system itself. although these skills certainly have flaws, i never had any major problem with the system itself
    agreed, per RAW they do have flaws
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    Default Re: D&D 3.X skill system sucks, discuss.

    Really, I think the craft and profession skills were never supposed to be used by adventurers but rather by NPCs. Therefore, their balance doesn't matter. As for diplomacy, I think that the designers figured everyone would fight and only put a little bit in diplomacy. I don't have a problem with the skill system, just how some of them are divided up.

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    Default Re: D&D 3.X skill system sucks, discuss.

    The problem is that after about level 4, the system breaks down aside from opposed checks.

    DC 30 is supposed to be 'really hard', and at level 6 it is quite practical to regularly get 30+ results. At level 10, getting results in the 40s is doable.

    If DC 50 is incredibly, impossibly hard, and an average 13th level character with some magic can get results like that in a skill he's maxed out, there's a problem.

    Really, DCs need to scale better.

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    Default Re: D&D 3.X skill system sucks, discuss.

    Quote Originally Posted by Kizara View Post
    ....

    Really, DCs need to scale better.
    That they do. =)

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    Default Re: D&D 3.X skill system sucks, discuss.

    Quote Originally Posted by Kizara View Post
    The problem is that after about level 4, the system breaks down aside from opposed checks.

    DC 30 is supposed to be 'really hard', and at level 6 it is quite practical to regularly get 30+ results. At level 10, getting results in the 40s is doable.

    If DC 50 is incredibly, impossibly hard, and an average 13th level character with some magic can get results like that in a skill he's maxed out, there's a problem.

    Really, DCs need to scale better.
    I mean, if you min-max a character to swim real good, or jump real far, yeah, it's great.

    Then the dragon eats him.

    What's the problem?

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    Default Re: D&D 3.X skill system sucks, discuss.

    Quote Originally Posted by Cuddly View Post
    I mean, if you min-max a character to swim real good, or jump real far, yeah, it's great.

    Then the dragon eats him.

    What's the problem?
    Most skills are rather the opposite of broken, e.g. useless (or nearly so). Why jump when you can fly? Why climb when you can fly? Why swim when you can fly? Why craft when you can make with magic? Some are very useful (knowledge, spellcraft, survival, spot, listen, search) but many just aren't.

    Then there's the broken diplomacy skill.

    And, yes, the scaling difficulties.
    Last edited by Titanium Dragon; 2007-12-14 at 05:01 PM.

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    Default Re: D&D 3.X skill system sucks, discuss.

    Quote Originally Posted by Cuddly View Post
    Then the dragon eats him.

    What's the problem?
    The discussion is not about whether the skill system is unbalanced, but whether it sucks.
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    Default Re: D&D 3.X skill system sucks, discuss.

    It doesn't take that much effort to maximize a skill, though. You can net a +13 bonus by 3rd level (synergy, skill focus feat, +2/+2 feat, and ranks), which gives you a 20% of passing even a "really hard" DC. And that's without magic items that'll boost your skill checks higher.

    If you operate on the principle that 5th or 6th level is the limit of what's humanly possible, it works out okay. It doesn't work out so well for high-level games.

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    Default Re: D&D 3.X skill system sucks, discuss.

    Really no idea, I've never paid much heed to those flaws in the skill system but I think it serves the need adequately and needs very little fixing IMO. I'm happy with it.
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    Default Re: D&D 3.X skill system sucks, discuss.

    Quote Originally Posted by Titanium Dragon View Post
    Most skills are rather the opposite of broken, e.g. useless (or nearly so). Why jump when you can fly? Why climb when you can fly? Why swim when you can fly? Why craft when you can make with magic? Some are very useful (knowledge, spellcraft, survival, spot, listen, search) but many just aren't.

    Then there's the broken diplomacy skill.

    And, yes, the scaling difficulties.
    Yeah, I wish that my Barbarian with 8 ranks of jump and climb, and a few ranks of swim, was not completely wasting all of his skill points.

    Fly is annoying. Any situation can be fixed with it.

    I'm still going to keep boosting those skills though, because it's more fun that my character can just brute force through situations without the use of magic.

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    Default Re: D&D 3.X skill system sucks, discuss.

    Personally, I consider the D20 Skill System to not be an improvement over the core 2e Proficiency System (which I also thought was pretty poor). The kinds of problems the D20 Skill System exhibits are symptoms of larger issues within the rule set, but the degree to which an individual may consider them a problem also depends on what he wants to get out of the game. For me, the most fundamental problems are a combination of the D20 roll, open ended DCs, open ended Attributes and relation to advancement by Level.
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    Default Re: D&D 3.X skill system sucks, discuss.

    Don't forget the brokenness of the Forgery skill.

    And when I said the system sucks, I meant it as an all inclusive sort of catagory, i.e. unbalanced skills here, useless skills there, poorly scaling DCs and whatever else anyone wanted to grouse about.

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    Default Re: D&D 3.X skill system sucks, discuss.

    Quote Originally Posted by Matthew View Post
    For me, the most fundamental problems are a combination of the D20 roll, open ended DCs, open ended Attributes and relation to advancement by Level.
    Open ended meaning what?
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    Default Re: D&D 3.X skill system sucks, discuss.

    So how would you fix it?

    One possibility that occured to me: Merge the skill and feat systems somehow. If you want to be stealthy, you take feats from the stealth feat chain; if you want to be knowledgable, you take feats from the knowledge feat chain, etc.

    Of course, skills are generally weaker than feats, so to make this work, rogues and related classes would get 'stealth bonus feats', Bards would get knowledge bonus feats... essentially, the new feats that used to be skills would be divided up into fighter-bonus-feat style areas of expertise, and anyone with important class skills would get bonus feats in the areas that those skills currently encompass. If you want to take something cross-class, you need to burn a regular feat on it.

    ...there are a few skills that could be hard to adapt to this, though, like UMD. Even if you turn it into a chain of feats, I don't see how it could be justified as a 'stealth bonus feat'... maybe it could be a 'lore bonus feat' along with the knowledge skills, an area where bards get several bonus feats, and rogues get just enough to take the whole UMD chain (or a knowledge area or two, if they want. It makes sense for rogues to have some local knowledge.)
    Last edited by Aquillion; 2007-12-14 at 10:37 PM.

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    Default Re: D&D 3.X skill system sucks, discuss.

    Quote Originally Posted by Miles Invictus View Post
    It doesn't take that much effort to maximize a skill, though. You can net a +13 bonus by 3rd level (synergy, skill focus feat, +2/+2 feat, and ranks), which gives you a 20% of passing even a "really hard" DC.
    Sure, but how many skills are actually worth blowing two feats on? Use Magic Device, maybe, but considering how low its DCs are you're going to be kicking yourself in a couple levels. That and Diplomacy, but only if you're making a serious attempt at spoiling the game.

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    Default Re: D&D 3.X skill system sucks, discuss.

    Quote Originally Posted by Draz74 View Post
    Open ended meaning what?
    That they just keep on going. As Skills go up, so do the DCs to create appropriate challenges.
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    Default Re: D&D 3.X skill system sucks, discuss.

    Other problems not already brought up here yet:
    Not enough skill points.
    Binary skill systems. It's either a class skill or not. It really needs at least three catagories (Class skill, common skill, cros class skill) Cause riding is just riding, it's not brain surgery.
    It's designed, like everything else in D&D, for combat effectiveness and not for character development.

    Though I must admit, I do like how they tried to get it to use the same mechanic as everything else.
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    Default Re: D&D 3.X skill system sucks, discuss.

    How would I fix the skill system? Scrap it and start over.

    Alternity's skill system always served me pretty well, though Alternity is completely different from D&D. Imagine where your attacks are skills, your initiative is handled the same way as skills are (though, unfortunately(?), it is not itself a skill), ect. and you start to get the picture. Of course, they also sort of merged in proficiencies (for instance, armor operation) though it worked fairly well (as basically it reduced "armor check penalties" once you put enough "ranks" into the skill).

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    Default Re: D&D 3.X skill system sucks, discuss.

    Real problem? d20. That is way to much variance for a skill. Your ranks aren't all that important, and when it comes to something like jump where the total roll is important, not the dc, you have a problem. Replace it with 3d8 or 2d10 and it might be a bit more feasible, but between that and the lack of things like spot and swim as universal skills is more than a bit annoying.

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    Default Re: D&D 3.X skill system sucks, discuss.

    Yes it is. Some of them are stupidly powerful, Diplomancy and UMD and as mentoned jump is useless at high enough levils.

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    Default Re: D&D 3.X skill system sucks, discuss.

    Quote Originally Posted by Matthew View Post
    Personally, I consider the D20 Skill System to not be an improvement over the core 2e Proficiency System (which I also thought was pretty poor). The kinds of problems the D20 Skill System exhibits are symptoms of larger issues within the rule set, but the degree to which an individual may consider them a problem also depends on what he wants to get out of the game. For me, the most fundamental problems are a combination of the D20 roll, open ended DCs, open ended Attributes and relation to advancement by Level.
    Mostly I agree with you.

    I think the main problem is that is just to easy increase a skill to high ranks, this have the consegunces that most if not all the DC checks will be dependent on the Pc level, i.e when you are at level X all the Dc will be around X +5, but this mean that a skill is useful only if you put max ranks in it, for a PC to have 5 ranks in a skill at medium-high level only means he have wasted 5 (or 10 skill) points, this BTW is what make Cross Class skill as useless skill.

    How to fix it? I'm not sure, certainly you must change all the DC lowering down some, and increase the number of skill points/level for some or all classes. Beside that I think a good idea could be increase the cost of skills for higher ranks, for example, to increase a skill until rank 5 you need 1 point /rank but from rank 6 to 10 you'd need 2 point/rank, from 11 to 15 3points/ranks, and so on. I didn't think it completely throught and probably I'm missing something, but this way a character that want to be the master diplomat, for example, could do it and he'll pass the 99% of any diplomatic check with ease but at the cost of his competence in the other skills.
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