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Xandros
01-16-2011, 02:58 PM
I have seen a few ideas of how people change the skill gain system a little. I am referring to the idea of class and cross class skills. I've seen some say that they use the standard double cost for cross class skills, but allow characters to gain the same levels as a class skill. So 2 characters could gain the same level of a skill if it was a class skill to one, but a cross class skill to another. They could both be as good, it would just cost the cross class character twice as many points.

Then I've seen the oposite idea presented too. A character spends the same points for a level of a class skill or a cross class skill, but they can only take (spend) half a level for cross class skills. I like this concept. It still keeps cross class skills low, but doesn't double penalize them.

My main question when altering anything is 'Does it make sense'?. So then I thought it doesn't make total sense that a character couldn't be just as good at a cross class skill. Sure it would be harder, but not impossible. It makes sense that a character could be just as good at a cross class skill, it would just be harder for them. So I thought maybe make it so a cross class skill level costs as many points as a class skill, but can only be taken half as high, unless they spend double. Then they can take it as high. So the first half level (if the skill is maxed out that is) would still just cost half a point, but to increase it to the same level as they could a class skill would cost double, after that.

Opinions? Ideas? My main goal with this by the way is to encourage players to make non-cookie cutter characters. Not just choose the obvious (normal) skills and feats for their class. A learned fighter as an example.

wizarddog
01-16-2011, 09:38 PM
The only thing I watch out when you change things up is prestige classes that require a certain level of skill and are expect the character to be entering it at a certain level or with a multi-class. You don't want character entering into a prestige class earlier than intended if you have balance in mind.

tesral
01-17-2011, 05:45 PM
I don't think the idea of cross class skills themselves make sense. You either have what ti takes to learn it our you do not. I also do not agree with the differeing base level of skill points depending on your class. Myself I put the thieving/bard abilities back in their own box and give everyone 5 points a level +Int and no cross class skills.

If you look at the way the class skills are used they don't make "making different characters" easier. Try running an intelectual fighter, really, just try. The fighter class skills enforce being a dumb jock fighter and don't you dare try anything else. In effect they are sayingthat no matter the native intelligence of a given fighter they just can't understand anything else. Now meat shield, get out there and kill stuff.

Cross class must die.

DMMike
01-17-2011, 06:00 PM
One thing to consider when tinkering with skills: combat is a skill. If you let the Fighter be as good at Opening Locks as the Rogue, you'd better let the Rogue get as much Base Attack Bonus as the Fighter.

Cross-class, to me, means sure a character can have any skill. But the nature of his profession means he either has the opportunity to become epic/heroic with that skill, or it's just not something that his job encourages (heroically).

A fighter gets a great attack bonus because he focuses on it. He doesn't focus on Using Magic Items.

A druid gets Survival through the roof because, well, that's what a druid does. Climb is something he can do, but he's not becoming phenomenal at it (say, a modifier over 10) because grooming his wolf and casting spells just take up too much of his time.

tesral
01-17-2011, 06:13 PM
Well I've been using that way since 2000 and it hasn't broken the game yet. the tielf still has his specialized abilities. He loses nothing because a fighter can be as good as spot as he can..

Xandros
01-17-2011, 06:48 PM
I agree with you 100% there. In fact even the Feats are skills in a sense. The fighter gets more combat related Feats (skills) because they are more focused in that area. Just as a Wizard is focusing on magic and information, spending the majority of his time around various Tomes, does not have as easy of a go at physical skills like climbing or jumping. I definitely think there should be a penalty. So any character can learn pretty much any skill, but again with a penalty. I feel that in RAW they are being double penalized though. When I mentioned a learned Fighter, I want to clarify that I don't mean a Fighter who is as learned as a Wizard, but perhaps a Fighter who just happens to be educated in a certain area of knowledge. Or a Wizard that is skilled in climbing, but not all other physical skills, or is good at Intimidation. So, DMMike, what is your opinion of the specific idea I suggested?
One thing to consider when tinkering with skills: combat is a skill. If you let the Fighter be as good at Opening Locks as the Rogue, you'd better let the Rogue get as much Base Attack Bonus as the Fighter.

Cross-class, to me, means sure a character can have any skill. But the nature of his profession means he either has the opportunity to become epic/heroic with that skill, or it's just not something that his job encourages (heroically).

A fighter gets a great attack bonus because he focuses on it. He doesn't focus on Using Magic Items.

A druid gets Survival through the roof because, well, that's what a druid does. Climb is something he can do, but he's not becoming phenomenal at it (say, a modifier over 10) because grooming his wolf and casting spells just take up too much of his time.

tesral
01-17-2011, 08:45 PM
I'm a machinist by trade. Does that mean I can't climb mountains, or become a learned scholar? I have never had a skill more difficult to learn because I earned my keep with my hands. My mind is as flexible as any other, my hands turn equally well to other skills. The idea of the cross class skill is counter to my real life experience in learning everything from History to Embroidery. I can build computers, paint a miniture, play muscial insturments, sew, cook, write a scholarly paper, sing (reasonably well), write fiction, build a cabinet, paint a landscape, design a house, chop wood, row a boat, and the list goes on. There is no reason a wizard could not be an expert at animal handleing. Or a fighter have a scholarly pursuit, and it should be no more difficult than it would be the other way around.

The "Skills" are meant to represent things you do that are not primary class abilities. That was the idea when it was introduced in 2e. I think they slid away from that in 3e in restricting them to things associated with your class. I think folding the rouge abilities into the skills was another "really bad thing". Cross class does not reflect actual experience. Ergo, I drop it.

rabkala
01-17-2011, 11:02 PM
So, you think you sing reasonably well. Everybody sees those people in the first couple episodes of American Idol (They are superstsrs in their own mind). Now, maybe you can sing. But is it likely? No. Do you stand at the lathe and practice scales? Do you study music as you sit and tap holes? Again maybe, but probably not as much as somebody who does it as a full time job. Do you suddenenly know the ins and outs of the music business becase you think you are a good singer? NO! Can you suddenly mix sound because you can sing? No!

There are things I do on a daily basis, that I have done for 30 years at my job. I can do them drunk with my eyes closed, and I have. I have never found a person who can master the same skills without years of constant practice. We hire people and train them for weeks and months, but they think it is extrememely difficult (and will for years to come). My neighbor, who drives a taxi, could possibly learn those skills. He will definitely not get any practice while he drives that minivan around town (and I am doing it ten hours a day). So he could opt to not sleep and practice those skills, but will surely die before he ever masters them. Do you think that we could just pick any random person off the street to replace you at your job? Maybe you, but most people would doubt that. There is a guy I work with who is now a programmer. He did the same things I did about 20 years ago for a short while. Recently, he had a project he wanted to do so he could give them as gifts. He programmed the parts and then tried to come into the shop to do them. He couldn't even run the simple machines anymore. The technology changed drastically in 20 years, he had forgotten many things, and was not in the practice of doing them anymore. After wasting 10 hours and making a lot of scap, I took it over. I did it in 1 hour, flawlessly without breaking a sweat.

That is the difference between class skills and cross classed skills.

Suddenly you think you could jump like Kobe Bryant! Then you realize you have grown fat sitting and watching your machine work and not practicing that jumping skill every day.

tesral
01-18-2011, 12:47 AM
Actually I did. Running mostly automatic machinery is a mentally boring task. When I was actively working my voice was in better shape than it is now. And yes, I'm a classicly trained musician, primary instrument is the violin. I never pursued music vocationally, but could have. I didn't need it that badly. The road not traveled if you will. I have better than a layman's idea of the inside of the music business; a sucking snake pit. I have read a record contract. Lord why would anyone sign one of those?

Am I as good as a music pro? No, in fact I'm a lot worse. I'm a lot worse becase afer the death of my first wife I pretty much turned my back on music. These skills are very rusty. Music is a perishable skill. It would take me a year or more of dedicated practice to get ti back. With the shape my hands are in, I don't see that happening. Arthritis has moved in for good I think. Violin is all about the hands.

Upshot, I'm not a machinist that does music. I was a musician that worked as a machinist. Now I am a Rennisance man willing to turn my hand to anything, and sure that indeed I can do it. Yes, I can still run the machine tools. I can read a micrometer or a Mozart score. Play that score? Painfully, very painfully. You pay for the damage with pain my friend.

I'm standing by my statement. Your Class is Bard. Your skills, what use to be called "secondary skills" are other things you do besides being a bard. They should not be divined as class and non class skills.

Thinking further I would say that I would divide some skills out. Those would be the perception skills. Give all classes class points for those. The rest, the true secondary skills would be treated as such. Not as important. Secondary.

The problem AISI is the inclusion in the skill list of things that are vital for character survival. Spot, search, and so forth. Things like intimidate, bluff and the like don't really belong in a list of secondary skills. I'm going to have to think this over. I do believe some changes need to be further made in how skills are handled. Not the class/cross class thing, something different.

DMMike
01-18-2011, 10:12 AM
My main question when altering anything is 'Does it make sense'?. So then I thought it doesn't make total sense that a character couldn't be just as good at a cross class skill. Sure it would be harder, but not impossible. It makes sense that a character could be just as good at a cross class skill, it would just be harder for them. So I thought maybe make it so a cross class skill level costs as many points as a class skill, but can only be taken half as high, unless they spend double. Then they can take it as high. So the first half level (if the skill is maxed out that is) would still just cost half a point, but to increase it to the same level as they could a class skill would cost double, after that.

Well, here's my thought process. If someone doesn't do a task as part of their routine (class), they're less likely to be good at it. Yes, they can achieve proficiency through extra study. First problem: adventurers don't study. They go around killing stuff. It seems like double jeopardy to require two skill points for a rank in a CC skill, AND to limit the character to half their Class Skill max ranks. Let's look at that.

If a character could buy as many ranks in a cross class skill as a class skill, well, the logical conclusion is that you'd have epic fighters performing epic spell identification (spellcraft). Not only is this odd for a fighter, but this particular fighter has no other skills worth mentioning, since he had to pay double for his Spellcraft. So, he swings a sword well, and reads magic well. Is he a fighter or a wizard? Why does he seem like a two-trick pony? Granted, in the game world, there are no Fighters or Wizards. But you have a character who has become fabulous at a seemingly unrelated skill set.

Really, the half-max cap isn't a penalty. It's just a way to let PCs know that they're officially spending too many skill points on an unrelated skill.

What's unrelated? You're a wizard. You spend most of your time wizarding. What does that look like? You cast spells. You read. You smoke hobbit-weed. You develop your mental power. You swing a staff, but mostly to scare away the rats. You make a scroll here and there. This is what you do 90% of the time, because all these skills are related.

And perhaps the most important part of this discussion: your class skill set is what you can take to HEROIC levels. You're welcome to take other skills to less-than-heroic levels, but the ones you do well are the ones you do WELL.

If your fighter really wants epic spellcraft, he should start multiclassing.

Xandros
01-18-2011, 08:27 PM
Well, here's my thought process. If someone doesn't do a task as part of their routine (class), they're less likely to be good at it. Yes, they can achieve proficiency through extra study. First problem: adventurers don't study. To me that is kind of a limiting statement. Perhaps in a Hack & Slash game.


If a character could buy as many ranks in a cross class skill as a class skill, well, the logical conclusion is that you'd have epic fighters performing epic spell identification (spellcraft). Not only is this odd for a fighter, but this particular fighter has no other skills worth mentioning, since he had to pay double for his Spellcraft. So, he swings a sword well, and reads magic well. Is he a fighter or a wizard? Why does he seem like a two-trick pony? Granted, in the game world, there are no Fighters or Wizards. But you have a character who has become fabulous at a seemingly unrelated skill set. That's kind of my point though. To get away from cookie cutter characters to more well rounded characters. Some of the greatest characters in the real world and in fiction have skills that seem almost counter to what you would expect, or more precisely a more well rounded life. A boxer/P.I. who is an expert on poetry. I'm not suggesting a Fighter who is as (or even nearly as) acedemic as a Wizard, but a Fighter who is a history buff, with an experts knowledge in just that one area (but not all areas). That can be pulled out in a situation that a Knowledge history check is needed. Sure you don't expect the Fighter to be the one to make that check, but it is seen in fictional stories all the time.


Really, the half-max cap isn't a penalty. It's just a way to let PCs know that they're officially spending too many skill points on an unrelated skill.

What's unrelated? You're a wizard. You spend most of your time wizarding. What does that look like? You cast spells. You read. You smoke hobbit-weed. You develop your mental power. You swing a staff, but mostly to scare away the rats. You make a scroll here and there. This is what you do 90% of the time, because all these skills are related.

And perhaps the most important part of this discussion: your class skill set is what you can take to HEROIC levels. You're welcome to take other skills to less-than-heroic levels, but the ones you do well are the ones you do WELL.

If your fighter really wants epic spellcraft, he should start multiclassing.
I understand the reasoning, but let's think about it in real world examples to see if it makes total sense. Imagine a quantum physics scientist, who is also a marathon level runner. Sure it would be harder for him to reach that level than someone more skilled in other athletics (hence the extra cost), but not impossible. He's not skilled in all areas of athletics, just that one. With the half cap it makes it impossible for that scientist to be a marathon runner, not just more difficult but impossible. Even taking a level of an Athletic class (much like that multiclassing fighter) would not bring him to the expert runner level. He would have to take many levels in the Athletic class, thus giving up all acedemia and becoming good at all athletics rather than just that one area. To compare that same idea in the fantasy setting, Imagine a Wizard who happens to be an expert climber (again, not an expert in all physical activity, or in battle, and having to spend more points to get there, because it is more difficult). If in order to become that expert climber he needs to take a level of Fighter (again like the multiclassing Fighter example), then he doesn't just become a Wizard who is good at climbing. He also becomes proficient with all weapons and heavy armor, becomes a better fighter and even gains a combat feat, all because he likes to climb.

tesral
01-18-2011, 10:06 PM
As I said, athletic and academic pursuits are not counter to each other but compliment. The current skill system reinforces the idea you cannot do both. You will find that many acideinic schools of thought embrace a sound body makes a sound mind, and like wise those physical disciplines that encourage expanding the mind to expand the body. The D&D skills system is unbalanced in light of both real examples and real practice.

If one must have a class/cross class viewpoint I think Pathfinder takes a better approach. There is no penalty on cross class skills, your max ranks are your level on all skills. Class skills give you a bonus. I don't agree with that either, but I would prefer it to the double jeopardy system of double ranks for one point and a low max ranks.

DMMike
01-19-2011, 01:27 PM
Right and right. But you guys aren't thinking about my "heroics" point.

Physicist marathoner, heck even astronaut (along with special forces as the best heroes of reality): none of these skills require heroic levels. In other words, they can all be achieved using low-level or cross-class skills.

Astro-physics expertise: INT 14 and Profession(scientist) 5 ranks. And Skill Focus (Scientist).

Marathoner: Run feat. CON 16. That's about it.

You can have these by second level. Unless Profession(scientist) is a cross class, then you could have them by 7th level.

Now say your marathoning scientist slashes badgers into bits. At a super-heroic rate. Say, 5 dead badgers in six seconds. Now he's a Fighter. Already, a particularly versatile Fighter. But that's not versatile enough: this Fighter has written 5 physics books, and has 5 astro-physics books MEMORIZED. Now he needs a Profession(scientist) of heroic levels...probably around 7-8 ranks.

Crom on his Mountain
01-19-2011, 02:53 PM
I just threw out cross-class skills years ago, and my games are better for it. It's absolutely ridiculous that fighters can't spot, for example. Who do you hire to guard valuable items? Fighters. So why in the world can't a fighter's spot skill rise at the same rate as a thief's stealth (I combine hide in shadows and move silently)? RAW, a rogue very quickly surpasses guards of equal level to the point where every guard must now be a ranger or higher level than the thief by a significant amount.

tesral
01-19-2011, 04:42 PM
Hence my point that skills like spot, search, intimidate, bluff, etc should be classless skills. Heck they should all be classless skills.

Xandros
01-19-2011, 08:05 PM
Right and right. But you guys aren't thinking about my "heroics" point.

Physicist marathoner, heck even astronaut (along with special forces as the best heroes of reality): none of these skills require heroic levels. In other words, they can all be achieved using low-level or cross-class skills.

Astro-physics expertise: INT 14 and Profession(scientist) 5 ranks. And Skill Focus (Scientist).

Marathoner: Run feat. CON 16. That's about it.

You can have these by second level. Unless Profession(scientist) is a cross class, then you could have them by 7th level.

Now say your marathoning scientist slashes badgers into bits. At a super-heroic rate. Say, 5 dead badgers in six seconds. Now he's a Fighter. Already, a particularly versatile Fighter. But that's not versatile enough: this Fighter has written 5 physics books, and has 5 astro-physics books MEMORIZED. Now he needs a Profession(scientist) of heroic levels...probably around 7-8 ranks.
And that still means that the scientist will never ever, ever, under any circumstances, no matter how hard he tries, be as good a runner as someone with the athletics class. (I use running as an example because running is a skill like climbing in my rules. You can substitute climbing just as easily). A boxer can never ever under any circumstances no matter how much he studies ever know as much about art as a Wizard. Sure there are Feats to bridge the gap, but since those Feats are available to all, then we are back at square one. Of course it should be harder for a scientist to build up to that level (hence higher cost) but not impossible. There are plenty of examples in the real world and fiction of people who excell in areas outside of their standard fields (again in one small area outside, not all areas). They had to work harder to do so, but again not absolutely, positively impossible, which the 1/2 says. Admittedly my idea isn't 100% across the board, as I would say that no one should be able to pick locks as well as a Rogue, so perhaps all skills aren't created equal. I will need to look at how other systems handle skills to try to hone any rule changes further.

---------- Post added at 08:05 PM ---------- Previous post was at 07:45 PM ----------


As I said, athletic and academic pursuits are not counter to each other but compliment. The current skill system reinforces the idea you cannot do both. You will find that many acideinic schools of thought embrace a sound body makes a sound mind, and like wise those physical disciplines that encourage expanding the mind to expand the body. True but schools still have problems with students involved heavily in sports dropping their grade point average. It is a very common concern of parents when their kids take sports. So sure they can still keep their grades up, but it takes hard work for them to do so. I also look at it in an expanded view of cross training. That Fighter when doing combat training can at the very same time, be focusing on muscles that help with climbing, jumping etc. but are not likely to be studying a book at the same time. A Wizard studying magic in the library is already surrounded by books and his mind is already focused on studying (even most acedemic schools of thought will admit that training the mind and training the body use different focuses of the brain). It is also likely that those tomes of magic that he is studying also have some notes on history, etc. that if he is paying attention, he can pick up at the same time. However he isn't very likely to be running around the library and climbing the shelves to hone those skills at the same time. My point being that I would explain the easier access to class skill along this version of cross training. This also fits with DMMikes point that the Base Attack Bonus, fighting skill, Feats, Ability to cast spells etc. are a type of skill to, and the focusing on those skills (though called class features) helps in the cross training of similiar skills. Again still not impossible for the athlete to get a 4.0 or the Fighter to be an expert on art or history, or the Wizard to be a great climber, but it doesn't come easy to them to do so. I think that if you are going to go with that idea, you are better off using a classless system, like Gurps, or the generic class option in Unearthed Arcana. My version of how to work this is likely not the best way to do it, and I definitely need to research other ideas and systems too, but I still hold that with the extra work (more points spent) a Fighter can know as much about one area of knowledge (art, history, etc.)as a Wizard.

Malruhn
01-19-2011, 08:34 PM
I'm with Xandros on this.

WAY back in the day, I was a music major in college. It required so much time that I had little time for ANYTHING else. With a 16-credit semester and only two 3-credit classes, with all the rest being one and two credits that required multiple hours each, and then three to five hours each day of practice, even my drinking expertise suffered greatly!! I COULD have been a marathoner, but my grades and musical skill would have taken a hit.

Eventually I changed my major... and found that even as a Psych major my time was spent doing research and papers and homework and studies... and my drinking expertise further suffered for my academics.

If you look at Astronauts or the vaunted Special Ops guys (since I'm military now, I have a familiarity), they spend much of their time in direct pursuit of their primary job... astronauting or special opping. Any extra-curricular activities are related to their main pursuit in life... the number of special ops guys that are Triathletes are amazing - but it all works in to support their primary job. There are VERY few that raise orchids, or are more than passable musicians, or know much about nuclear physics. Likewise, the astronauts I've known have only been marginally athletic (enough to keep them in shape), and their primary outside pursuits were related to being a pilot/navigator/whatever for the space program.

Although he doesn't like to admit it, even our own Tesral has demonstrated how cross-classing works. He WAS a musician, but then he began throwing skill points into machining stuff - and his music has taken a hit for his interest.

We do have to keep in mind that D&D isn't real life - it is by design a much, MUCH simpler system. The best way to depict the earning and erosion of skills are to have class and cross-class skills. Why can't a fighter spot? Because it's not his JOB to spot. That's left to scouts and rogues. It's a matter of simplicity. What do fighters do? They FIGHT! If they aren't fighting, it impacts their core skills, effectively costing them double to be sitting on their butts waiting to spot something or listen to something when they COULD be out there climbing or swimming or swinging a big, honking weapon.

tesral
01-19-2011, 09:04 PM
And studying all day is a modern thing, and not necessarily good for you. There is time for both physical and mental workouts in one day.

Physical training. We are not talking body builders here that pump to excess and have to keep pumping to keep that look. Soldiers throughout time have complained at how boring garrison duty is, soldiers that go out and kick ass later than week. So they must be maintaining their drills.

Modern life doesn't leave a lot of time for "other things", yet we have time for this forum.

Consider how many sybject the High school student has to maintain. At least my old school we had six to seven subjects a day, each teacher thought they were the only one handing out homework so you got an evening full, (which impacted your grade if you didn't do it.) So you had no time for any other activity, or your grades suffered. I'm certain that this grinding fatiguing schedule is not the best way to teach. The quality of graduates coming out of the public schools backs that up.

In 1600 it was possible to have all the books and know every subject in the world. This is why people like Michelangelo were painters, architects, sculptors, engineers and more, and tops at every one of them. Not that these men were that far above average, but there was less to know, and they knew all of it. The Church taught most people in the monasteries. They would do the physical labor of the monastary half the day, and scholarly tasks the other half. Monks didn't have servants. Wise that St. Benedict made it that way. Body, mind and spirit. A life of prayer, study, and physycal labor, each in their own time.

I see the D&D world as more to that model. You can have scholar soldiers, and warrior monks. People that can discorse natural philosophy, the cosmos and the meaning of life in a learned fashion one day, and slaughter their fellow man the next in bloddy battle. The reason most people were ignorant was they didn't have acess to the books, that took money. Money to buy the books, money to have the leisure to study the books.

However even then the simple people of the field and town were not stupid. A farmer knew animal husbandry, when to plant, when not to plant the care of his farm, the weather and turn of the seasons. He could make most of the tools he used with his own hands. He could build his house and maintain it. These were skillful people even if not literate. Ignorant of book learning yes. But not stupid.

rabkala
01-19-2011, 10:16 PM
You only had six or seven subjects? When I was in school, we had at least ten. We walked uphill both ways! We had rocks to play with, but we were thankful!!!! We had none of those modern conveniences you had, and once in a while ... lightning would strike so we could obtain charcoal to decorate our caves.

Okay, why not give the players the opportunity to switch out a skill or two from their list? It will not break your game. I also have to admit that not all skills are created equal. The survival type skills are not in every ones hands. Do not throw the baby out with the bathwater though, the idea of cross classed skills is sound. There are feats like,
Able Learner

Type: Racial
Source: Races of Destiny (http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/0786936533/realmshelps-20/)
You have a great aptitude for learning.
Prerequisite: Human or doppelganger.
Benefit: All skill ranks cost 1 skill point for you to purchase, even if the skill is cross-class for you. The maximum number of ranks you can purchase in a cross-class skill remains the same.
This feat does not affect the skill point cost to learn a language or to gain literacy (for a barbarian or other illiterate character).
Special: This feat may only be taken at 1st level.
Normal: Cross-class skills cost 2 skill points per rank.


to help (not perfect,but something like this). I even think I have seen a feat that allowed for equal distribution, though I think it was third party. Give your players something to ease the problem, but throwing out the whole system for a few exceptions is foolish. I think most of us here are exceptions to the rule, but that does not invalidate the rule...

tesral
01-19-2011, 11:41 PM
You only had six or seven subjects? When I was in school, we had at least ten. We walked uphill both ways! We had rocks to play with, but we were thankful!!!! We had none of those modern conveniences you had, and once in a while ... lightning would strike so we could obtain charcoal to decorate our caves.

Lucky, you had lightning. :pout: Thunder and lightning hadn't been invented yet.


Look at it as a bonus feat of Able Learner for everyone.

Malruhn
01-21-2011, 11:01 PM
I can't believe that you seem to be hinting that Michelangelo and his skill/ability/knowledge was COMMON!!

How many people do we have like Mike in history?? We have Mike. Then we have... um... well... Mike. And that's it. You make it sound like Milan and Venice were awash with uber-artist/architect/sculptor/dudes, and it WASN'T that way.

That farmer of which you speak - he knew FARMING, and just enough carpentry to get by. If you actually read legitimate historical accounts, it was folks like Bob (the) Carpenter that set up the house to be built - and that farmer just knew enough to pound nails - and replace boards and thatching when needed. Even in early US - there were specialists - OMG, kinda like character classes(!!) - that planned the build and got people working. Even the Amish do that now - one guy knows how to set it up, and everyone can swing a hammer.

What I am saying is that to be an EXPERT in something, other facets of your life have to suffer. You CAN be an expert nuclear physicist - OR you can be a nationally classed marathon runner - the chances of you being BOTH are very slim, because to get good at one, the other MUST suffer. Physics involves sitting on your butt and doing math. Running involves... running and NOT doing math. Are there people that can do it? Sure. But they are anecdotes in the huge field of physicists and runners.

It was NOT possible to have every book and know every subject in the world... only those that were SANCTIONED and had books written about them. Sure, there were books about philosophy - but how many about football? I'm sure there was a soccer variant back then... so why no books? Because it wasn't "important" enough to rate a book. If a school only teaches three subjects, then it is VERY easy to have all three books and be an "expert" at all three topics. The problem is that there are MANY more subjects than that. A scholar in 1600 may have been an expert in philosophy - or "medicine" (I use the term loosely!!), but how much practical knowledge and understanding would he REALLY have about Voodoo or carpentry or aboriginal Australians? People KNEW about those things then, but they weren't WIDELY known - and, therefore, didn't rate a book.

It's a matter of specialization.

Fighters specialize in swinging a weapon - to the detriment of everything else. To sit down and actually earn usable skill ranks in Knowledge: Religion would require many hours over many months sitting at a desk when he COULD be on the practice yard - or sleeping after being at the practice yard for hours. It makes SENSE to charge him two skill points per rank for Know: Religion as it doesn't fit in with his chosen profession.

tesral
01-22-2011, 12:11 AM
I can't believe that you seem to be hinting that Michelangelo and his skill/ability/knowledge was COMMON!!


Yes, his skills and abilities were common. His talent on the other hand, that was genius. Lots of people could paint, sculpt, design buildings etc. And even the same people. Few could do it to his standard. The Artist was hardly ever specialized in one form of art.

As to the rest, allow me to clarify, to know every subject that Europeans though mattered. And yes, it was possible ot have every book published. There simply where not that many. We have a glut of print, we are so immersed in the idea that you can have anything in a book that we consider it not worth the mention. I have over 400 titles on Roleplaying alone. That is about 40 times the number of books a monastery would have on average before the printing press.

By the time of the 18th century we are talking the first stirrings of the industrial revolution. Knowledge had increased vastly, the number of books had exploded. 400 years after the Renaissance and the invention of the printing press. The professions had been invented. Painters painted, architects designed buildings and so forth. The very way that universities worked had undergone a sea change. Different world from the 1400s. The Newcomen engine was invented in 1712 the forerunner of the steam engine. Still you have men like Ben Franklin and Thomas Jefferson that work in multiple fields.

In general as the body of knowledge has increased the area of study and profession has decreased. In 1500 the learned man did everything. By 1900 he had a broad catagoy of study. And now? Well we have people that study one phylum of plant for a living. Design only houses, paint only portraits.

Today I agree it is impossible for one person to know everything. In 14-1500 one man could hold the sum total knowledge of his culture.

Xandros
01-22-2011, 03:08 AM
I can't believe that you seem to be hinting that Michelangelo and his skill/ability/knowledge was COMMON!!

How many people do we have like Mike in history?? We have Mike. Then we have... um... well... Mike. And that's it. You make it sound like Milan and Venice were awash with uber-artist/architect/sculptor/dudes, and it WASN'T that way.
But in game terms wouldn't those skills likely be class skills for the same class. Thus a character or NPC taking that class having those as class skills and getting doubly penalized for any other skills is likely going to max out those skills. Actually making lots of characters of that class actually be as good as Michelangelo. There would literally be thousands of Mikes in the game world. Whereas if more skills are more opened up to them, they are less likely to all max out those same skills. Less likely to all be carbon copies. My main purpose is to actually round out characters more and not have them be cookie cutter characters. So it would actually cause the Michelangelos to be more rare as the Michelangelo characters would have to put all their points into their few class skills. Basically really focusing on those areas rather than spreading their skills out into a variety of interests.

tesral
01-22-2011, 10:42 AM
Well if you eliminate the class skills category you are more likely to get that. Most people concentrate on the class skills becasue doing otherwsie is wasteful of precious skill points. Twice as many for half as much. Free up the knowledge base and people will diversify. Me I want fighters with a mind for books and athletic mages. I want characters than do not fit the mold, both to play and in my game.

Xandros
01-22-2011, 08:53 PM
I have not gotten around to studying other skill systems. I also haven't read all the comments. However some other ideas came to me while my mind was wandering today. On the idea that all skills are not created equal, perhaps they should be ranked as to their difficulty. Intimidate, spot, listen, etc. would be simple skills. Why should it be impossible for a mage to be as intimidating as a fighter, when they threaten to shoot a fireball down your throat? Although personally I have to go with tesral that spot, listen and search should be class skills for all. Whereas skills like Spellcraft, Lockpicking etc. are much more difficult and for the most part (as in without other Feats or rules) are limited to their classes. Perhaps all characters choose 1 skill that is always a class skill for them. They can get other skills that are always a class skill for them, only by gaining the Feats that grant those abilities (or due to class skills for their race). Perhaps some of the simpler skills, once gained as a class skill will always be a class skill.

DMMike
01-22-2011, 09:14 PM
Able Learner. Sure. There are a couple Heroes of Battle feats that let you do some sneaky stuff better. The basic idea there is for the cost of a feat, you can make two -related- skills into class skills. I'd recommend an ability score requirement too.

Side note: Intimidate isn't a Fighter skill either. The skill itself is a reflection of what you ADD to your intimidation efforts. An elf with a fireball is just as scary as a halfling with a fireball. A wizard with a flaming sword is just as scary as a rogue with a flaming sword. When using the skill, those who do it well actually use their Charisma as a weapon. Picture Gandalf growing and darkening the room in Bag End. That's what happens when someone with Intimidate ranks gets mad at you.

Malruhn
01-22-2011, 09:15 PM
That's a good idea, Xandros!

Tesral, I'll continue the argument...

Yes, lots of people could paint and sculpt and do architectural drawings - but not ALL OF THEM. Domenico Fontana was a great architect, but couldn't sculpt a piece of stone to look like a rock. Gislebertus was a great sculptor, but couldn't paint a bathroom. Botticelli was a great artist, but couldn't architect his way out of a bowl of soup. The difference was the SCOPE of Mike's knowledge and skill. He is just an anecdote and shouldn't be used as an example of what people could do - because he could do it all.

I'm talking about NORMAL professionals.

To cross-train, we pay a price. This is represented by the lack of skill points for fighters (since most feats are combat related and most skills are non-combat related). They get feats out the wazoo - and precious few skill points. They spend SO much time swinging a sword that taking time out to "sit around", it costs them. Likewise, wizards get crap for feats, and to take a fighting feat will impact their brilliance in the magic-wielding realms.

I also LIKE to see a literate fighter that can discuss geography - but we leave the book learning to the book worms. This is also why fighters get great BAB progressions and have the saves that they do... and likewise (and inverted) for wizards. It's done for a reason.

Personally, I like that reason.

tesral
01-22-2011, 11:58 PM
I'm talking about NORMAL professionals.

What era? And normal? I thought we were discussing elite array, adventurer grade types, heroes, people with more than most.

Heck, I could design and build you a house that wouldn't fall down, paint you a painting or sculpt you a statue. I don't promise they will be great, or even decent. I know the principles of color and composition. I can work clay and cast metal. I know how to design a house and how one is put together. I'm certainly no Michangleo. I don't mark my self fit to sit in his shadow. But I have the basics of those skills.

(Stone carving? No, never tried it. I would love to some day.)



To cross-train, we pay a price. This is represented by the lack of skill points for fighters (since most feats are combat related and most skills are non-combat related). They get feats out the wazoo - and precious few skill points. They spend SO much time swinging a sword that taking time out to "sit around", it costs them. Likewise, wizards get crap for feats, and to take a fighting feat will impact their brilliance in the magic-wielding realms.

And get crap for skills. So what is the argument again here? Fighters 2 skills per level. Wizard, 2 skills per level.

Cross training? Balanced mind - balanced body. Old and accepted principle in many a marital art and scholarly pursuit.

I'll even throw myself in as the bad example. Pain has meant I do less well in the physical aspect and it has cost me mentally. I know this, I can measure it. I would be better mentally, sharper and more alert, if I could devote time to physical exercise.

The 3e skill system is one of the weakest points in the game. Cross class does not hold up to real world examples. And frankly even if it did the choices of class skills reinforce the cookie cutter class views. Fighter for example: Climb, Craft, Handle Animal, Intimidate, Jump, Ride, and Swim . "Yea fighter just stand over there and grunt, we don't pay you to think." The US Army at least requires a High School diploma. nothing in there for doing anything outside of scratching your ass and killing things. I don't call that a lot of choices. If they were any more 2 dimensional they would vanish when they turned sidways.

Guys like Attila the Hun and Genghis Kahn were diplomats and politicians too. Yes they did their share of killing and fighting and never stopped, but they could do stuff not on that list. And, if we look at adjusting your explications for d20, they wouldn't have been much over say 8th level.

Sascha
01-23-2011, 09:36 AM
What era? And normal? I thought we were discussing elite array, adventurer grade types, heroes, people with more than most.
This might be the crux of the confusion, here.

tesral
01-23-2011, 12:52 PM
Could be.

In any case I think I've made my argument and point and continued back and forth is not productive, I'm calling agree to disagree here.