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View Full Version : [3.5] multiclassed skill points cap max ranks instead of cost 2

Simanos
2009-01-07, 04:36 PM
I am a bit bothered that when you are multi-classed, let's say Wizard-Rogue you can get max (char_lvl+3) ranks for class skills of either class and pay 2 points for cross-class skills depending on which one you are leveling at the time.
Maybe it should be the opposite. You should get all skills (of your classes) as class skills but your max rank should be limited.
One idea to limit it is to get half the normal max for your level if you're leveling a class that doesn't have the skill in question as class skill. But then you'd get a Rogue who gets maxes his rogue skills when he ups his rogue levels and maxes his wizard skills when he ups his wizard levels (for no penalty at all).
So my other idea is to (forget about what class level you are raising and) limit max ranks according to class level and not character level:
max_rank=max[(char_lvl+3)/2, class_lvl+3]
If a skill is a class skill for two or more classes then combine their level for determining max ranks.

This would mean that a Rogue_2/Wizard_9 would get max rank 12 on his wizard skills and 7 on his Rogue skills (14 for class skills in both classes). Because Rogue_lvls+3=5 while (char_lvl+3)/2=(2+9+3)/2=14/2=7 and 7>5.
(7 would also be the max rank obviously for cross class skills for both Rogues and Wizards)

If it was Rogue_2/Wizard_3 then it would get max rank 6 for Wizard skills and 5 for Rogue skills (8 for both). Wizard 3+3=6 and Rogue 2+3=5 and (char_lvl+3)/2=(2+3+3)/2=8/2=4 and 4 is smaller than 5 or 6 so it doesn't apply (except as max ranks for skills that are cross class for both Rogues and Wizards).

I find it illogical that currently, a high level character can just get 1 (or 2) level(s) of some class and max a skill particular to that class right then and there. What do you think?

Stephen_E
2009-01-07, 05:10 PM
100% agree. The 2 pt cost for cross-class skill is stupid.

One idea to limit it is to get half the normal max for your level if you're leveling a class that doesn't have the skill in question as class skill. But then you'd get a Rogue who gets maxes his rogue skills when he ups his rogue levels and maxes his wizard skills when he ups his wizard levels (for no penalty at all).

Personally the idea of a Wizard/Rogue maxing out both Rogue and Wiz skills doesn't bother me to much and it does havethe advantage of simplicity.

So my other idea is to (forget about what class level you are raising and) limit max ranks according to class level and not character level:
max_rank=max[(char_lvl+3)/2, class_lvl+3]
If a skill is a class skill for two or more classes then combine their level for determining max ranks.

While I agree this is a better system with no abuses possible that I can see, it is more complex/fiddly, which is something that some people already complain about the current system.

I find it illogical that currently, a high level character can just get 1 (or 2) level(s) of some class and max a skill particular to that class right then and there. What do you think?

It's a fair point, and I think the next time I run a game I'd use your 2nd system, but my main grief with the current system is that very few characters can afford to cross-class, which means you get these veteran adventurers who have no idea how to spot, listen, move silently or hide. Ridiculous! Both of your systems would cover this problem.

Stephen E

Eldariel
2009-01-07, 05:35 PM
I think the present system is ok, but with the cave-at that a feat such as Able Learner became globally available (instead of Human-only). If you've got some skills, with extra effort, you can keep training them even if they're not directly related to your principal path of study and training. Mechanically, your method would screw multiclass characters over totally.

Rogue/Wizard couldn't be a competent Rogue (not enough Disable Device, Search, Hide, etc.) nor a competent Wizard (not enough Concentration, Spellcraft, Knowledge (Arcana), etc.) so in effect, you're screwing up any non-fighters that would want to multiclass. Or actually, you're just breaking the multiclass system even worse so that players are even further penalized for it. I find that the present system is reasonable, but I find that Able Learner should be available. A class level + a feat is a fair price for getting an extensive skill list. Taking the feat cost off though would result in things like 1-level dip in Factotum to learn all skills for life regardless of class which I find to be a bit too good (would remove lots of the incentive to singleclass skill characters).

Lert, A.
2009-01-07, 06:04 PM
I just change the costs and let the max ranks stay at level + 3. It avoids the annoying problem of "You can't buy another rank because you are in this class now, should have bought it last level when the cap was four lower" and such.

KevLar
2009-01-07, 06:21 PM
I see just one problem (which you might as well ignore, but personally I find it irritating). Lert, A. just described it above - though not as a problem. :)

I'm a Rogue 4 and I have max (7) ranks in Sleight of Hands. I then take a level of fighter. My max ranks in Sleight of Hands would be 1+3=4. But I already have 7. The universe collapses, or at least I can't advance a cross-class skill at all, which doesn't make sense to me.

Stephen_E
2009-01-07, 07:55 PM
I'd suggest make max ranks = (Char lev+3)/2 + Class lev [round down].

This give slightly lower max ranks for class skills at 1st and 2nd lev than currently for a straight build but later higher levels. It also means that if you're multi classing 1/2 the time you'll be able to increase your skill on a maxed out skill when cross-classing. It makes sense that when it isn't a class skill you simply can't reach quite the pinnacle of advancement of the purist.

Stephen E

ericgrau
2009-01-07, 08:58 PM
Complaints on skill ranks/points/modifiers usually comes from confusion. It's set up pretty well. Most skills have set DCs; you don't need to max them out to use them. Thus the only way to hamper a multiclassed character is to make him pay double for them. On the flipside, the rare skills that are opposed checks are the forté of skillmonkeys, and putting them a rank behind really hampers them like Eladriel said. Thus dedicated skillmonkeys would get hurt for dipping into anything else, while other classes dipping into a skillmonkey class to get points for fixed DC skills wouldn't be hampered at all.

FWIW, the cross-class skill system also works, as long as you pick some fixed skill check DCs to shoot for.

Stephen_E
2009-01-07, 10:20 PM
Complaints on skill ranks/points/modifiers usually comes from confusion. It's set up pretty well. Most skills have set DCs; you don't need to max them out to use them. Thus the only way to hamper a multiclassed character is to make him pay double for them. On the flipside, the rare skills that are opposed checks are the forté of skillmonkeys, and putting them a rank behind really hampers them like Eladriel said. Thus dedicated skillmonkeys would get hurt for dipping into anything else, while other classes dipping into a skillmonkey class to get points for fixed DC skills wouldn't be hampered at all.

It seems to me that you might be showing some confusion as well. With the exception of Tumble, which is way broken BECAUSE of its fixed DCs, the bulk of skill use doesn't involve fixed DC's. Note I say "skill use". I'm talking about what players commonly do with skills, and what they would do if the cross-class skill system and skill points system wasn't so stuffed. By skill points working I'm assuming you're talking about the number of skill points available. Let's look at the Fighter. Under previous skill system incarnations Fighters were one of the most skilled classes, matching up historically where soldiers were renowned for having a wide range of skills and knowledges. Instead we see the skill point system give them a feeble 2pts/per level. Clerics also were commonly the most skilled in academic knowledge as a class, and yet again we see the paltry 2pts/per level.

FWIW, the cross-class skill system also works, as long as you pick some fixed skill check DCs to shoot for.

With all respect that is rubbish.

Currently the standard concept for cross-class skills is that 10th lev clerics and Fighters have the same chance of Spotting, Listening, Hiding and Moving Silently as your 1st lev Cleric/Fighter. At double cost it's possible, but unlikely, that they may've picked up a single rank. This is patently ridiculous. All those trips through the wilderness with enemies around, nights on watch, and still as crap at basic adventuring/travelling skills as ever.

Stephen E

ericgrau
2009-01-07, 11:20 PM
It seems to me that you might be showing some confusion as well. With the exception of Tumble, which is way broken BECAUSE of its fixed DCs, the bulk of skill use doesn't involve fixed DC's.

skills with fixed DCs (18+3*=21): appraise, balance, climb, concentration, craft, decipher script, diplomacy, gather information, handle animal, jump, knowledge, open lock, perform, ride, spellcraft, survival, swim, tumble, spellcraft*, heal*, use magic device*
skills with opposed checks (6): bluff, disguise, forgery, hide, intimidate, move silently
skills with both fixed and opposed DCs (8): disable device, escape artist, listen, search, sense motive, sleight of hand, spot, use rope
skills I left out: profession, speak language

* = technically use fixed DCs, but arguable could go into "both fixed and opposed DCs"

Deleted this before as it seemed semi-off topic, but here we go again: Per the PHB, ordinary tasks do not require skill ranks. A great deal of the problem comes from DMs who arbitrarily raise skill DCs with level. For a common person: DC 0 = trivial, DC 5 = doable but he might screw up, DC 10 = hard, DC 10 = very hard (probable failure), DC 20 = nigh impossible. Anything higher than this requires either extraordinary natural ability or special training. Even then the task is very difficult, unless such a person is truly legendary.

For example, if your DM is asking for spot checks in a closed-off hallway/room without large furniture, he is doing things completely wrong. Hide checks are not allowed at all without cover/concealment, that is a DC -20 or DC 0 spot check from levels 1 to 20, just roll initiative already. 90% of the time if the DM is asking for spot checks on every encounter or every time you simply look at something, he is doing it wrong. Not surprisingly, DMs who screw up the one skill that they do remember, completely ignore most of the others. That's just called ignoring the rules, and you can't blame the rules for that except to say that the rules are too complicated or some such (they are too complicated, IMO, even though I like them). The best solution in this situation - short of learning the rules - is to minimize the skill rules (see 4e) or ignore the skill rules and just say "Okay, you see it, let's fight". This has a better chance of being accurate anyway, rather than hitting the opposite extreme of requiring extraordinary ability for mundane tasks.

Stephen_E
2009-01-07, 11:51 PM
Ericgrau,

And thus you show your confusion regarding the skills system.

Skill use comes in the following categories -
Fixed DC - The DC is "X" for success - i.e. Tumble DC to reduce fall distance.

Variable DC - The DC formula is based on variables - i.e. Spellcraft to identify spell, Monster Knowledge checks.

Modified DC - The base DC is fixed but has a number of fixed modifiers that may be applied. - Tumble checks to get past someone has terrain and number of opponents mods, Open Lock has modifiers basewd on lock quality.

Opposed Checks - Listen, Hide, Spot, Move Silently. - Both sides roll and the higher wins (mods often apply).

The most common/important USES of the skills I've seen in play (leaving out Tumble) are primarily Opposed, followed by Variable/Modified and Fixed DC's been the least used/important.

Comparing by counting skills is fruitless since any player knows that all skills are not equal. How often do PC's use Use Rope, Heal, Handle Animal or Forgery compared to Spot, Listen, or Monster Knowledge checks.

Stephen E

Stephen_E
2009-01-08, 12:05 AM
For example, if your DM is asking for spot checks in a closed-off hallway/room without large furniture, he is doing things completely wrong. Hide checks are not allowed at all without cover/concealment, that is a DC -20 or DC 0 spot check from levels 1 to 20, just roll initiative already. 90% of the time if the DM is asking for spot checks on every encounter or every time you simply look at something, he is doing it wrong.

Interesting since I can recollect at least two occasions in childhood where I successfully hid in circumstances where according to you the rules don't allow it. Once behind a small sized lupin bush (loose branchs/folliage) where the person walked right up to the bush and looked at it, and once standing behind a old outdoor privy/toilet when the person looking for me walked past the structure, turned around to face in my direction from 10' away with no obstruction, and then walked back without seeing me. Now unless you want to theorise as a child I had Ninja levels I have to say people can fail spot checks/succeed in hide checks when there is no serious obstruction.

As for DC's above 20. Well all I can say is I've run into published campaigns that frequently require DC's above 20. Sometimes well above 20.

Stephen E

ericgrau
2009-01-08, 02:07 AM
Wow, read the rules on what "concealment" and "cover" means. Dang. I'm done here.

ericgrau
2009-01-08, 02:19 AM
Hide checks are not allowed at all without cover/concealment

Interesting since I can recollect at least two occasions in childhood where I successfully hid in circumstances where according to you the rules don't allow it. Once behind a small sized lupin bush (loose branchs/folliage) where the person walked right up to the bush and looked at it, and once standing behind a old outdoor privy/toilet

You need cover or concealment in order to attempt a Hide check.

Undergrowth

Vines, roots, and short bushes cover much of the ground in a forest. A space covered with light undergrowth costs 2 squares of movement to move into, and it provides concealment.

Rules examples of cover are too numerous to mention. Pillars, tree trunks, even other humans (or any creature) could provide it. Basically any old object provides cover.

Typically the object does not conceal/cover you completely, in fact...

Total cover or total concealment usually (but not always; see Special, below) obviates the need for a Hide check, since nothing can see you anyway.

Likewise the rest of what you wrote showed poor understanding of the rules, etc. Please read the rules. The first clarification was free, the rest won't be. Look them up yourself. I can understand mistakes, everyone makes them. But affirming multiple incorrect rules should not be done without at least trying to check the rules first. www.d20srd.org is well categorized and has a handy search tool as well. Give it a shot. Like I said, I won't be doing any more free lookups, and I put down my \$0.02 already, so I'm done here.

Hawriel
2009-01-08, 02:29 AM
I think the rules for cross class skills are clunky. A little to much of an over reach for controlling the skills based on class. I like skills. I think that its dumb and hell that a fighter gets only 2 points for ride, climb, jump, intimidate. Wow my brigade commander had no clue about nobility, geography, weather, stealth, understanding the depths of his own religion, or the religions in his own community. Oh yeah they get craft.

Multiclassing is another pain in the ass. Especialy when you have to reconstruct a character for what ever reason. The x2 cost for cross class skills really messes things up. So I made some simple changes.

All classes with two skill points get four. Now we have a nice orderly four, six, eight, progression in skill points. This helps out the fighter, he now can do more than just be a horse riding, swiming expert. The wizard and the cleric, arguably the most inteligent classes of the game, get a boost to skill points to reflect this.

Cross class skills cost one point. However a cross class skill is limited to half the characters level as normal. Now a character can invest in skills that can flesh out his character but not over shadow a class that is known for that cross class skill. For example a fighter can take movie silently and still be compotent at it but not show up a rogue who is dedicated to the task.

Multiclassing and cross class skills.
Multieclassed charcacters cannot use skill points to raise a skill that is cross class to the class they are leveling in past one half their character level. So a rogue 2/fighter1 (taking a second fighter level) cannot raise an appraisal skill of 5, but can raise a ride skill of 4 to 7.

Stephen_E
2009-01-08, 04:38 AM
For example, if your DM is asking for spot checks in a closed-off hallway/room without large furniture, he is doing things completely wrong. Hide checks are not allowed at all without cover/concealment, that is a DC -20 or DC 0 spot check from levels 1 to 20, just roll initiative already. 90% of the time if the DM is asking for spot checks on every encounter or every time you simply look at something, he is doing it wrong. Not surprisingly, DMs who screw up the one skill that they do remember, completely ignore most of the others.

So only large furniture counts as cover....

Rules examples of cover are too numerous to mention. Pillars, tree trunks, even other humans (or any creature) could provide it. Basically any old object provides cover.

No, wait, any old object provides cover.....

Typically the object does not conceal/cover you completely, in fact...

Likewise the rest of what you wrote showed poor understanding of the rules, etc. Please read the rules. The first clarification was free, the rest won't be. Look them up yourself. I can understand mistakes, everyone makes them. But affirming multiple incorrect rules should not be done without at least trying to check the rules first. www.d20srd.org is well categorized and has a handy search tool as well. Give it a shot. Like I said, I won't be doing any more free lookups, and I put down my \$0.02 already, so I'm done here.

So in one post you say DMs are using the rules incorectly in requiring spot checks when their isn't sufficient conditions for someone to hide, and then in your next post you tell me that basically almost anything provides sufficient cover to use to hide, and that I'm show my errors in pointing out the ridiculouness of YOUR claims about how the rules work, which you then tear apart.

Wow... Ever thought about a career in politics.:smallwink:

Stephen E

PS. You failed to note my 2nd RL example I had no cover at all. I was standing in front of a door in clear sight with nothing between him and me except 10' of air, or maybe even the couple of inches of grass is enough to provide partial cover these days. :smallbiggrin:

Simanos
2009-01-08, 06:17 AM
I see just one problem (which you might as well ignore, but personally I find it irritating). Lert, A. just described it above - though not as a problem. :)

I'm a Rogue 4 and I have max (7) ranks in Sleight of Hands. I then take a level of fighter. My max ranks in Sleight of Hands would be 1+3=4. But I already have 7. The universe collapses, or at least I can't advance a cross-class skill at all, which doesn't make sense to me.
I think you misunderstand what the equation means:
max_rank=max[(char_lvl+3)/2, class_lvl+3]
As you can see if you read the examples in the first post this means the max rank is the biggest number of (char_lvl + 3 divided by 2) OR (class_lvl +3), with class_lvl still being the Rogue lvls (it doesn't matter which class he just leveled up) for Rogue class skills. So in your case the Rogue_4/Fighter_1 still has a max rank cap of 7 for Rogue skills, 8 for skills in both F and R lists, 4 for F class skills and 4 for totally cross class skills.

Eldariel, I see your point, but maybe my system isn't screwing multi-classed chars more than your system is screwing single-classed chars. In fact I would say that my system is balancing them correctly. (In the current system) with Able Learner you can start as Rogue at level 1 and get all those good skills as class skills and then for the rest of your life you have max ranks in them as class skills and only pay 1 point for them anyway so you can be a Rogue_1/Wizard 19 and you'd be just as good at stealth and searching as a Rogue_20 (and for the same cost). This is precisely what my system tries to fix.

Stephen E, your formula is nice too, though I still prefer mine because (although slightly more complicated) it doesn't affect single classed chars at all while yours does and may screw up with game balance and prestige classes in particular. Still it's worth consideration.
Thank you for the following mate:
"It makes sense that when it isn't a class skill you simply can't reach quite the pinnacle of advancement of the purist."
Nicely worded.

Simanos
2009-01-08, 07:02 AM
Complaints on skill ranks/points/modifiers usually comes from confusion. It's set up pretty well. Most skills have set DCs; you don't need to max them out to use them. Thus the only way to hamper a multiclassed character is to make him pay double for them. On the flipside, the rare skills that are opposed checks are the forté of skillmonkeys, and putting them a rank behind really hampers them like Eladriel said. Thus dedicated skillmonkeys would get hurt for dipping into anything else, while other classes dipping into a skillmonkey class to get points for fixed DC skills wouldn't be hampered at all.

FWIW, the cross-class skill system also works, as long as you pick some fixed skill check DCs to shoot for.
First you insult me saying I'm confused when clearly I am not and you fail to provide an argument for it.
Then you offer an arrogant ("the only way", etc) argument on my system which has some good points, but doesn't trump the bulk of my own arguments. The effects you mention as problems are exactly what I made this system to produce. Still, the constructive parts of your post made me think and it was the kind of input I desired when I started this thread.
I'll give you that a weakness of my system is that when class_lvl is near half of (total) char_lvl it is the critical point. By that I mean that a Rogue_1/Wizard_6 has max rank of 5 for Rogue skills ((1+6+3)/2) and if he takes 1 more Rogue lvl it goes to 5.5, but it's the same as if he takes a Wizard lvl. I don't like this part very much.
When he's up to R_3/W_6 he has max rank 6 for R skills and if he then goes R_4 then that max rank becomes 7, while it would have become only 6.5 if he went W_7 instead. This is where I like my system and feel it works.
I guess it boils down on whether you like your PCs to have a lot of varied but average skills or excel in very few (the broken or powerful ones, almost never flavor skills) unless they stay single classed.

EDIT:
I just thought of a compromise to make multi-classed chars happy. Let's say I allow them break the max rank limits in my system by paying 2 skill points per rank after they reach the limit I set. Obviously the absolute limit would still be char_lvl+3 limit for any skill and skills that are cross-class for all your classes can't benefit from this either.

Eldariel
2009-01-08, 11:32 AM
Eldariel, I see your point, but maybe my system isn't screwing multi-classed chars more than your system is screwing single-classed chars. In fact I would say that my system is balancing them correctly. (In the current system) with Able Learner you can start as Rogue at level 1 and get all those good skills as class skills and then for the rest of your life you have max ranks in them as class skills and only pay 1 point for them anyway so you can be a Rogue_1/Wizard 19 and you'd be just as good at stealth and searching as a Rogue_20 (and for the same cost). This is precisely what my system tries to fix.

The present system is already screwing multiclass caster characters; no need to extend that to skill monkeys. Rogue has more class features than just skill list (among which more skillpoints than any other base class), so just having a Rogue's skill list isn't going to make you nearly as skilled as a true Rogue. Sure, you'll be equally good at two-three things with the investment of a feat and a level (which is a pretty huge cost), but you'd still be nowhere near a Rogue's skill in social sitiuations or sleight of hand or spotting or listening or in general, you'd lack Rogue's versatility.

I don't see anything wrong with a Wizard who began his life as a thief being good at hiding and moving silently and continuing to train those skills as a Wizard and being better at it than other Wizards because his mind happens to be good at doing a wide range of study simultaneously (Able Learner) and because he's combined that with what he learned as a thief. Mechanically, any drop in your maxed skills means that you'll start losing the opposed checks making your skills useless against CR appropriate encounters. That's why I'd be vary of touching the caps, as it basically states "it's not worth your trouble to learn stealth/observation/whatever, 'cause you'll fail at it anyways".

Neek
2009-01-08, 12:17 PM
Any system which requires more book keeping, I couldn't recommend, or even see myself using this in my own campaigns. Having to track two separate skill ranks (or more with prestige classes) is pretty heavy work, and are you going to be double checking your player's work?

Personally, my fix seems to be the one other people are doing: Max ranks in a skill is your character level + 3, half that for cross-class skill. Cross-class costs 1 skill point a piece. If you multiclass, your max ranks are still the same, and you can spend your skills just the same as before.

I do something different, however: players are required to demonstrate that they have used that skill, or receive training for that skill, in the level prior. I also allow them to carry over their skill points to the next level, and they spend it after they've used a skill (but they're lost if they haven't spent it by next level).

This reinforces roleplaying. That the idea that the characters are real, they learn by doing or by instruction, not in a vacuum. So if a Rogue wants to go Sorcerer, he has to be studying, or trying, to build up his magical power, experimenting or looking over the Wizard's shoulder trying to figure it out (The Transmuter did this, trying to figure out Divine magic, but couldn't make heads or tails about it). When he gains a level, the powers unlock, and he can well-spend those skill points on his class skills.

My players like the system. It's even poured into other parts of the game. The Transmuter experiments with spells, even in the middle of combat, showing that his "2 new spells per level" is not a product of a vacuum (he successfully turned flaming hands into flaming sphere, but not without burning his hands into flesh mittens).

Also, the fix for Tumble is to turn it into opposed checks: Have the Tumble check become your AC (like your Ride check becomes your AC with Mounted Combat). This is a feature that then scales with level.

Simanos
2009-01-10, 06:17 AM
Eldariel, we'll just have to agree to disagree then.

Neek, bookkeeping is about the same. We're not math-challenged so we can handle the rest. What you describe is like giving Able Learner for free, making Multi-classed chars even more unbalanced.
Your other idea is something a DM of mine once used as a test, but he actually gave free stuff for using it (above and beyond what you get at leveling). So if we got involved in an army and were given a place in the cavalry we got free riding skills after training a bit. It started low and scaled up eventually.
It was AD&D though...