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    Default You got your 4e concept in my 3.5 skills! (3.5 Skills Redux)

    Skills, Revisited

    This is a combination of ideas I've had for some time about 3.5 skills in general, mixed with a dash of 4e design concepts. The basic premise is to simplify skill selection, make skills hopefully more scalable, and have ability modifiers play a bigger role in skill adjudication throughout all levels.

    So, on to the new mechanic...

    Focused, Familiar, and Foreign Skills

    Your class skill list represents the types of skills that all members of your class should have at least passing familiarity with. Even should they choose not to use those particular skills, they are familiar with the basic concepts behind how they work, and the skills in which they take specific training have enough similarity with the others that they still show better signs of mastery than those whose class skills do not cover such skill.

    Rather than assigning skill points at each level, when you first take a level in a class, you may choose which of the class' skills you wish to focus on, equal to the number of skill points normal for the class plus your intelligence modifier, plus any additional bonus skill points (such as for being a human), to a minimum of 0 skill points. [You no longer gain the x4 multiplier at first level, however.] These become your Focused skills, which increase in utility at the fastest rate. Your remaining class skills are your Familiar skills, which progress more slowly, but still faster than as if you had no familiarity. Finally, Foreign skills are those that you would have little exposure to from your class; you still, slowly, gain more competence in these skills simply by adventuring, but you'll never be a match for those with familiarity or training.

    Focused skills gain one rank per level*. Familiar skills gain one rank per two levels (rounded down). Foreign skills gain one rank per four levels (rounded down).

    *This will lead to lower maximum ranks at a given level than the existing system, but also a broader base of skills for each character. The lower maximum is offset by increasing ability score influences. Add 3 ranks the first time a skill is focused; add 1 rank the first time a skill is familiar, this does not stack with the 3 rank bonus for focused

    Trained Only Skills

    Edit: This whole section got too clunky, so I've basically done away with it.

    Given that the concept here is that character pretty much learn all skills at some rate, there is no such thing as a "trained-only" skill in this system.

    Cross-Class Training

    When selecting skills for a class, you may use a skill point to make any cross-class skill an in-class (Familiar) skill. You may then use an additional skill point to make that skill a Focused skill for that class. This is subject to DM approval to ensure that the character background/history justifies such familiarity.

    Multiclassing

    You choose a separate set of Focused skills for each of your classes upon taking the first level in that class. Your skill ranks accumulate at the rate for the current class, that is, Focused skills for that class at +1/level, Familiar skills (which include in-class skills from all of your classes) at +1/2 levels, and Foreign skills at +1/4 levels. Ranks obtained from all classes are cumulative.

    Carry over fractions from all classes, for example, a Rogue 2 / Wizard 2 would still have 1 rank of Ride (1/2 rank from each class), even though it is a Foreign skill for both classes.

    Gaining Additional Skill Points

    If an intelligence score increase, a feat, or some other source increases the number of skill points you would receive, you gain the benefits from that point forward, including becoming Focused in an additional class skill or making a cross-class skill an in-class skill (so that it can be considered Familiar).

    Ability Score Modifiers

    To make ability score modifiers scale better with level, the skill modifier for an ability is ( base ability score modifier x ( 1 + 0.05 x character level ) ), rounded down, that is:

    (table deleted)

    Characters with near-average ability scores will see little difference, but those on the further extremes will see that their natural talents (or lack thereof) still have a significant impact on their ability to accomplish tasks, even at higher character levels.

    Only the base ability score modifier is adjusted to scale. Ability scores enhancements by spells, items, etc., add enhancement / 2 (rounded down) to the check.

    Example

    A 14th level Rogue attempts a Use Magic Device (Focused skill) check to use a scroll. Her Charisma score is 16 and she has a Cloak of Charisma +6. Her skill check modifier is:


    14 (ranks) + 5 (base CHA, adjusted for level) + 3 (+6 enhancement / 2) = +22

    Qualifying for Feats and Prestige Classes

    Certain feats and prestige classes have skill rank requirements before they may be taken. The rank requirements should, in general, be reduced by 3 so that prestige classes, feats, etc., can still be taken at equivalent levels.

    New Feat

    Skill Training [General]
    Benefit: Choose any skill from the skill list. Any time it is (without this feat) treated as Foreign, you may instead treat it as Familiar; any time it is (without this feat) treated as Familiar, you may instead treat it as Focused.
    Special: This has no effect on skills already treated as Focused nor do the effects apply to skill ranks earned from previous levels.
    Special: You may take this multiple times, each time applied to a different skill.


    Variant Method

    A variation on the above that requires a lot less math (or table lookups) would be to eliminate the sliding scale for abilities, leaving them at their normal modifiers, but applying a one-time (in the case of multiclassing or PrCs) bonus of +3 ranks the first time a skill is taken as "focused" and +1 ranks the first time a skill is taken as "familiar". (If a "familiar" skill is later upgraded to "focused", it only gains an extra +2 ranks.)

    This would make the progression:


    Skill ranks by level (including one-time bonuses)
    {table] Level | Focused | Familiar | Foreign
    1 | 4 | 1 | 0
    2 | 5 | 2 | 0
    3 | 6 | 2 | 0
    4 | 7 | 3 | 1
    5 | 8 | 3 | 1
    6 | 9 | 4 | 1
    7 | 10 | 4 | 1
    8 | 11 | 5 | 2
    9 | 12 | 5 | 2
    10 | 13 | 6 | 2
    11 | 14 | 6 | 2
    12 | 15 | 7 | 3
    13 | 16 | 7 | 3
    14 | 17 | 8 | 3
    15 | 18 | 8 | 3
    16 | 19 | 9 | 4
    17 | 20 | 9 | 4
    18 | 21 | 10 | 4
    19 | 22 | 10 | 4
    20 | 23 | 11 | 5 [/table]

    Under this variant mechanism, there would be no need to change existing PrC requirements.
    Last edited by Duke of URL; 2010-10-18 at 09:12 AM.


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    Default Re: You got your 4e concept in my 3.5 skills! (3.5 Skills Redux)

    This is an interesting concept and also prevent the 'I take only x points of [skill] to get into [PrC]' mentality. It is also a simple system to keep track of, since you have fewer different numbers on your character sheet.

    In the part about multiclassing, do you mean that you have a separate set of skills for each class and add the aquired ranks together? Also, to make it easier for people who don't get the 'fractional ranks' example, you could add a clarifying sentence saying focused skill are +1 rank/lvl, familiar skills +1/2 rank/lvl and foreign skills at 1/4 rank/lvl. It makes addition simpler at 1am.

    Skill point requirements for prestige classes only need to be reduced by 3, since it is assumed the player will take max ranks (4) in the prerequisite skill at first level, making max ranks = level + 3. Since max ranks in this system = level the above change is more or less the only change necessary.

    Also, the max skill ranks mentioned above means that your increased ability score bonuses to skills doesn't break the DCs too much. Someone with a +3 ability score breaks even at level 20 in the new vs the old system, someone with a +4 breaks even at levels 15 through 19, only gaining a slight bonus at 20. Someone with a +5 breaks even at 12th through 15th, gaining a small bonus after that. The only way this would be needing DC adjustments is when the ability score in question goes beyond 21, which happens a lot in standard games. One headband of intellect +6 could throw off the DCs pretty badly, forcing the DM to choose between either seeing his players succeed too often in their chosen areas of expertise or upping the DCs and essentially tailoring the DCs to the players skill checks. But if the DM started doing that, there would be no real point in having a really high skill, because you would know the DM is just setting the DCs to your skill +5, 10 or 15 arbitrarily.

    Therefore I think you may want to rethink the ability bonuses to follow a more linear progression instead of a square one. It doesn't have to be entirely linear though, I think you just have to adjust the formula a bit, maybe to (ability score modifier x ( 1 + 0.05 x 2/3 character level ) ) or something. Just so you can't get ungodly bonuses just by using an item to boost your already high ability bonus.
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    Default Re: You got your 4e concept in my 3.5 skills! (3.5 Skills Redux)

    I really like it! It gives characters a wider base of skills while giving something in between Saga's and 4e's clear-cut trained mechanics. I'm sure that there's some other way to word the trained-only and knowledge skills, because it just feels clunky.

    I'd also suggest that magic items don't increase your ability modifier on the equation: The headband of intellect +6 mentioned above would be a straight +3 bonus.

    And the table should probably have the top header be the actual ability score, not the base modifier. Just seems like that might clear it up a little bit.
    Last edited by Siosilvar; 2008-05-30 at 07:24 PM.
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    Default Re: You got your 4e concept in my 3.5 skills! (3.5 Skills Redux)

    Quote Originally Posted by Siosilvar View Post
    I'd also suggest that magic items don't increase your ability modifier on the equation: The headband of intellect +6 mentioned above would be a straight +3 bonus.

    And the table should probably have the top header be the actual ability score, not the base modifier. Just seems like that might clear it up a little bit.
    This.
    What Siosilvar suggests will be much simpler and more elegant than changing the equation itself. If you do somehting, do that.
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    Default Re: You got your 4e concept in my 3.5 skills! (3.5 Skills Redux)

    OP updated based on comments.

    Glad you like it!


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    Default Re: You got your 4e concept in my 3.5 skills! (3.5 Skills Redux)

    Holy...! I was planning a similar system XD You read my mind and did the job for me. I'm gonna yoink it

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    Default Re: You got your 4e concept in my 3.5 skills! (3.5 Skills Redux)

    I stripped out the whole "in-trained" section because the more I tried to smooth it out, the worse it got. Simplicity is the key here. The feat was also updated accordingly.
    Last edited by Duke of URL; 2008-06-03 at 07:11 AM.


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    Default Re: You got your 4e concept in my 3.5 skills! (3.5 Skills Redux)

    Added a note that it is possible to have 0 skill points available (meaning 0 "Focused" skills, but still getting "Familiar" and "Foreign" skills).


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    Default Re: You got your 4e concept in my 3.5 skills! (3.5 Skills Redux)

    Apologies for the self-necro...

    A variation on the above that requires a lot less math (or table lookups) would be to eliminate the sliding scale for abilities, leaving them at their normal modifiers, but applying a one-time (in the case of multiclassing or PrCs) bonus of +3 ranks the first time a skill is taken as "focused" and +1 ranks the first time a skill is taken as "familiar". (If a "familiar" skill is later upgraded to "focused", it only gains an extra +2 ranks.)

    This would make the progression:

    {table] Level | Focused | Familiar | Foreign
    1 | 4 | 1 | 0
    2 | 5 | 2 | 0
    3 | 6 | 2 | 0
    4 | 7 | 3 | 1
    5 | 8 | 3 | 1
    6 | 9 | 4 | 1
    7 | 10 | 4 | 1
    8 | 11 | 5 | 2
    9 | 12 | 5 | 2
    10 | 13 | 6 | 2
    11 | 14 | 6 | 2
    12 | 15 | 7 | 3
    13 | 16 | 7 | 3
    14 | 17 | 8 | 3
    15 | 18 | 8 | 3
    16 | 19 | 9 | 4
    17 | 20 | 9 | 4
    18 | 21 | 10 | 4
    19 | 22 | 10 | 4
    20 | 23 | 11 | 5 [/table]

    Under this mechanism, there would be no need to change existing PrC requirements.


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