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Thread: 3.5 Skills Suck

  1. #1
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    3.5 Skills Suck

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    I have never liked the way skills worked in 3.5 and am trying to come up with a way to make them better. Why isn't Swim a class skill for everyone? Why can't a mage Perform (Magic Tricks) or fighter Perform (Knife Toss) to impress a crowd? Just to name a few.

    Ideas so far:
    1) Expand list of skills available to all classes and maybe add a skill point a lvl to each char.

    2) Get extra skills based on all stats, not just Intel. Get an extra skill point for Str modifier equal to 1/2 modifier bonus rounded up, to be spent on Str related skills. E.G. +1 or +2 Str modifier would give 1 skill point to be spent on Climb, Swim, etc. Only sucks for Con, which has Concentration. If this is used, might need to lower skill points per class.

    3) Racial skill lists. E.G. Elves get Handle Animal and Survival as racial skills, Dwarves get Craft (Blacksmith) and Knowledge (Dungeoneering), etc.

    4) Allow characters with Profession skills to get synergy bonus to other skill checks. E.G. Profession (Sailor) with 5 ranks gets bonus of +1 to Balance, Use Rope, Knowledge (Weather)/(Nature-Sea) and Climb. At every 5 more ranks, the bonus increases by +1 (rank 10, +2/rank 15, +3).

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    Sounds good to me, though #2 increases the complexity somewhat.

    I'm playing in a campaign now that uses the following homebrewed modification to the skill system:

    - Spot and Listen are class-skills for everyone.
    - All cross-class skills only cost 1 point (instead of 2). The limits on cross-class skills still exist.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Kilrex View Post
    I have never liked the way skills worked in 3.5 and am trying to come up with a way to make them better. Why isn't Swim a class skill for everyone? Why can't a mage Perform (Magic Tricks) or fighter Perform (Knife Toss) to impress a crowd? Just to name a few.

    Ideas so far:
    1) Expand list of skills available to all classes and maybe add a skill point a lvl to each char.

    2) Get extra skills based on all stats, not just Intel. Get an extra skill point for Str modifier equal to 1/2 modifier bonus rounded up, to be spent on Str related skills. E.G. +1 or +2 Str modifier would give 1 skill point to be spent on Climb, Swim, etc. Only sucks for Con, which has Concentration. If this is used, might need to lower skill points per class.

    3) Racial skill lists. E.G. Elves get Handle Animal and Survival as racial skills, Dwarves get Craft (Blacksmith) and Knowledge (Dungeoneering), etc.

    4) Allow characters with Profession skills to get synergy bonus to other skill checks. E.G. Profession (Sailor) with 5 ranks gets bonus of +1 to Balance, Use Rope, Knowledge (Weather)/(Nature-Sea) and Climb. At every 5 more ranks, the bonus increases by +1 (rank 10, +2/rank 15, +3).
    1) sounds good as long as you are fair to the monsters, too.

    2) You kinda are already since you get to add your stat bonus to the roll, no?

    3) totally in favor. This makes more sense to me than racial bonuses to skills.

    4) Agree - profession is kinda weak on its own. Spycraft had a neat way of doing scaled synergy bonuses.
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    So make them a house rule and do it. I've been tweaking the rules to fit the way I like them for years. Just write them down so play is consistant, make sure everybody agrees.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Riftwalker View Post
    All cross-class skills only cost 1 point (instead of 2). The limits on cross-class skills still exist.
    Ooh, I like the cross class idea.

    Quote Originally Posted by DrAwkward View Post
    1) sounds good as long as you are fair to the monsters, too.

    2) You kinda are already since you get to add your stat bonus to the roll, no?

    3) totally in favor. This makes more sense to me than racial bonuses to skills.

    4) Agree - profession is kinda weak on its own. Spycraft had a neat way of doing scaled synergy bonuses.
    1) of course

    2) i see your point

    3)yes

    4)how does Spycraft use 'em?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Kilrex View Post
    4)how does Spycraft use 'em?
    I...don't remember. All I know is that it was pretty smooth.

    I *think* it was +1 per 5 ranks (max +5), and synergy bonsues from different skills do not stack - you use the best one.

    Spycraft mucked around with skills quite a bit, since it is more of a "skill based" genre. Worth checking out if you aren't happy with 3.5 skills straight out of the bottle.
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    the feat "able learner" already makes all cross class skills cost one point.

    i'd say just give everyone a starting package based on race/region of origion for free-call it the "campaign package". and put your house rules in that. add x,y,z class skills and/or ranks in skills, plus blah blah blah. issue potentially solved-and simply too.

    we do this sort of thing all the time in our campaigns. for example, my dm thinks that sorcerers are underpowered. so he gives all sorcerers one extra spell known per spell level and the eschew materials feat for free.

    dragonstar is another good example. they have 'training' and 'education' packages that have prereqs and grant specific bonuses.
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    Actually, some races already have skills that are always considered class skills, even going by what Wizards has put out. For example, the Glimmerskin Halflings, from Races of the Dragon, always treat Heal as a class skill, regardless of the class they are progressing in. Adding some to the core classes seems reasonable to me.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Kilrex View Post
    IWhy can't a mage Perform (Magic Tricks) or fighter Perform (Knife Toss) to impress a crowd?
    They already can with the Perform skill.

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    I agree. 3.5 skills do suck.

    There's way too many. I like what saga did by combining many and reducing.

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    Someone sent me the following:

    Skill Groups replace set class skills.
    Players have access to one skill group per two skill points they gain per level.
    Players also gain one bonus skill per point of intelligence bonus.
    A character can instead choose to gain bonus skills equal to a different modifier (such as Dexterity) but must then choose only skills that have that key ability.
    If a skill belongs to more than one group, the character's ranks in that skill stack regardless of which group they are advancing it within.
    All characters have access to the Mundane skill group.

    The Skill Groups are as follows:

    Mundane
    Appraise
    Profession
    Craft

    Dexterous
    Escape Artist
    Acrobatics
    Use Rope
    Disable Device

    Espionage
    Disable Device
    Disguise
    Stealth
    Larceny

    Sensory
    Awareness
    Search
    Sense Motive

    Social
    Influence
    Gather Information
    Perform
    Knowledge: Local

    Martial
    Athletics
    Ride
    Intimidate
    Martial Lore

    Academic
    Knowledge: Architecture, Dungeoneering, Geography, History, Nobility
    Speak Language
    Decipher Script

    Sufficiency
    Survival
    Handle Animal
    Heal
    Knowledge: Nature

    Arcane
    Spellcraft
    Knowledge: Arcane
    Concentration
    Use Magic Device

    Psionics
    Psicraft
    Autohypnosis
    Use Psionic Device
    Concentration
    Knowledge: Psionics

    Divine
    Spellcraft
    Concentration
    Knowledge: Religion
    Knowledge: The Planes

    Acrobatics combines Balance and Tumble.
    Stealth combines Hide and Move Silently.
    Larceny combines Sleight of Hand and Forgery.
    Awareness combines Spot and Listen.
    Influence combines Bluff and Diplomacy.
    Athletics combines Climb, Jump, and Swim.

    Those skills that are not combined represent, in my opinion, unique enough capabilities to merit their own skill.

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    I agree. I think the cross class skill system sucks.

    First, I give every class the same number of skill points, and lots of, 5+int bonus per level and 5+int x 4 at first. 3e makes the skills important, and really rapes some classes in the skills department.

    Second I keep the level +3 restriction on skill levels. I want a variety of skills, not a super specialists. Remember specialization is for insects.

    Third, I ditch the whole concept of cross class skills. Why would being fighter or a cleric make it harder to learn one skill over another? I return the Thieving skills to a catagoy of their own and give the Rogue characters a seperate buy system for their class feature skills. I add two class feature skills as well, Disguise and Forgery.

    Fourth I reorder the skills into categories I thought made sense and add many more. Professions, Social Arts, Scholarly arts, Street Arts, Military Arts. I will accept a skill and description from anyone. I do some splitting among the knowledge skills. 'ology for example. zoology, botany, geography and so forth.

    Fifth I created a series of 9 for 5 skill packs that only first level PCs can take as well as a number of skill freebie packs for various races and or locational circumstances. You are a middle class kid from Seahaven? You can get the Eyrian Education pack (free), and the Middle Class Urban pack (9 for 5)

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    sounds about what my preference is, your fifth option. i also frequently boost the nerfed classes' skill points.
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    I've done similar, but not as drastic, things for one of my game settings. Every players picked a nationality, and that nationality gave them 1-3 skills that were always counted as class skills. I didn't give out more SP, but then again, this was back in the 3.0 era.

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    I guess I'm in the minority: I have no problem with the skill system as written.

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