View Full Version : A Little Project... OK, I lie; Excellencies! [3.5, seeking help]

2011-02-27, 11:29 PM
I have stolen a thousand hearts, to dash them against the stones. I have caused brave men to hurl themselves from mountaintops, lest they face me. I have lied in languages I can't even speak.

Threaten me with your sword? Pathetic fool, is that all you are good for?
Hassan, Charismatic Master of the Serpent's Tongue, Lover's Beguiling, and Dragon's Smiling Paths.

Welcome, all comers, and allow me to tell you of a man who should be as well renowned as his friend, Rekshar, is. His name is now lost; he founded no grand school, taught no grand warrior, fought no grand battle. For though he journeyed with the Founder, his interest was not the sundry fighting styles of many tribes; it was, instead, the tricks and skills that the rest of the tribe eventually could teach him. Rather than strike a blow, he healed them. He could steal a fly's wings from above it, trick men into gladly giving him his wives, see men's intentions no matter how much they try to hide them, and listen to the weeping of a broken-hearted lover from miles away.

He did not become a master of arms; he became a master of skills.

And that was what divided him from his old, dear friend.

Alright, what are you yammering about already?

OK, here is the skinny: skills are weak. Sure, you get outliers like Diplomacy and the like, but who here uses, let's say, Use Rope? I mean, you should eventually be able to truss up GODS, but nope- beaten out by a couple spells, and they aren't high level.

Or a strength check. Or some other little thing.

So, I propose to do for skillmonkeys what the Tome of Battle did for beatsticks; add some Tier 3 action for those beyond Factotum, who gets it for different reasons, damn it! Tier 3 on skill-like merit alone, or bust!

And by I, I mean that I will get as many of you readers to help me as possible. Because I really don't know where to start.

And I/we might as well balance down Diplomacy while we do it; after all, convincing someone to die for you should NOT be a flat DC, unless you have some crazy voodoo, like this stuff should be.

Tie things to the sky. Leap mountains. Make dragons crap themselves. All this should be possible.

Alright, how should this look mechanically?

I actually like the sound of basing all this around something kind of like maneuvers; namely, schools with level-based abilities. However, they have certain prerequisites, namely skill ones; whatever skill(s) they are based off of, and a special skill, specific to that ability score, which will be cross-class to every class that does not EXPLICITLY say that it has it as a skill. And can't be made a class skill except for by using a special feat.

Meaning Mr. Factotum shouldn't get it for free.

An Excellency might look something like this:

Widow's Walk
Verminous Perch (Task)
Level: [Skillmonkey class name] 1
Prerequisite: Climb 4 Ranks, Balance 4 Ranks, 1 Rank in both the Strength and Dexterity skills [needs a name]
Initiation Action: 1 Immediate
Range: Personal
Target: You

By focusing on the skills of a furtively-acting thief, you gain the ability to ascend walls and run accross rafters with ease. As long as you remain in the Widow's Walk, you may take 10 on any Climb checks, and treat any surface you are walking on as being 2 inches wider for the purpose of the DCs for the balance check.

Of course, that is just a simple, basic example. Some terminology that might not make sense at the moment is the (Task) bit; put simply, I'm thinking their should be two types of excellency, fast little Tricks and more long term Tasks (like maneuvers and stances, respectively)

Example Tricks would be: hopping up onto a roof, pilfering someone's pants, or catching your balance on greased marbles in the rain.

Example Tasks would be: building a wall from a couple pieces of string lying around, pretending to be someone you aren't, making someone believe something against all evidence for a long time.

So, I humbly ask you all to please help me in this. I have no idea where to balance stuff around, and in general need more ideas.

Anyone, please?

EDIT: I've decided to scale it down towards 4 different ranks, a la invocations. At least, for now.

(I didn't put PEACH because there isn't anything to PEACH. Yet.)

2011-02-28, 05:09 PM
Idea for now: Warlocks can take these instead of Invocations, if they grab the right feat/acf/whatever. Therefor, I will be using them as the placeholder for the Skillmonkey.

Example Path:

Mystical Lock

When you get down to it, a lock ain't that different from a spell. Both must be made by someone, both are rather complicated, and they both can be... jiggered open with the proper skills.

Originally invented by a group of thieves who, after noticing that spellcasters have all the nice stuff, decided to go for it and take it. This set of tricks was picked up by the nameless Grandmaster, who added some tricks himself.

The result was the Path of the Mystical Lock, which contains Excellencies for piercing even the most guarded of magical sanctums.

When selected as a Path known, add Spellcraft and Disable Device as class skills.

Door's Key (Trick): Disable Device can open magical locks
Struck off the Master (Task): Spellcraft check to enter otherwise un-enterable spaces
Push the Tumbler (Trick): Lower the DC for a magical trap by a small amount using Disable Device.
Flawless Lockpick (Trick): Replace reflex save against a spell with a Disable Device check.

Break of the Key in the Lock (Trick): Caster cannot dismiss their own spells with a successful Disable Device check.
Grease the Tumblers (Task): You may counterspell spells with Spellcraft and Disable Device checks (limit on caster level countered).
Lend your Mate your Key (Trick): You may apply Flawless Lockpick to any ally within a certain range.
Jimmy it a Bit (Trick): Lower the caster level of a magical trap using a Spellcraft check.

Replace the Padlock (Task): Share certain priviledges witht eh actual caster of a spell.


OK, it's a work in progress. But you get the idea of what they should be capable of:

Grandmaster Excellencies should hit Epic in terms of what they can do.

2011-02-28, 05:14 PM
Try maybe making some stronger Skill Tricks, and sorting them according to level. That could help.

2011-02-28, 05:54 PM
Try maybe making some stronger Skill Tricks, and sorting them according to level. That could help.

Or you could just make stronger Skill Tricks and have them have certain other Skill Tricks as prerequisites.

2011-02-28, 07:44 PM
That might be good, and it does cause interesting ideas...

And meta-skill tricks, such as one that you can expend to use an already used skill trick... could work.

Realms of Chaos
2011-03-01, 01:04 PM
I made a batch of skill tricks (http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showthread.php?t=171328) a while back. Feel free to use whatever you want.

Though skill tricks, we already have a system of 1/encounter abilities requiring ranks in skills and requiring skill points to obtain, integrating themselves into all classes but favoring skillmonkeys. We have feats to get extra ones and increase our capacity and we even have 3 shorts PrCs dealing with them.

If you want to expand upon skill tricks to create excellencies, I suggest creating more powerful skill tricks and just putting a feat tax on them such as.

You may perform special skill tricks known as excellencies.
Prerequisites: Any four skills 6 ranks, Any one skill trick
Benefits: At the level you gain this feat and at each odd level thereafter, you may acquire a single special skill trick called an excellency by spending two skill points to do so. You must meet all prerequisites of the excellency. excellencies don't count towards your maximum number of skill tricks known. This feat only allows you to select initiate excellencies.
Special: You gain an additional use per encounter (or per day) of all non-excellency skill tricks that you possess.

You may perform the most powerful of excellencies.
Prerequisites: Skillfull, Any four skills 9 ranks, Any four skill tricks.
Benefits: You may not select a masterful excellency in place of an initiate excellency by paying four skill points rather than two. In addion, if you should choose not to take a skill trick while gaining a level, you gain an extra skill point at that level.
Special: You gain an additional use per encounter (or per day) of all skill tricks you possess except for masterful excellencies.

2011-03-01, 04:27 PM
Looks like a good idea...

I'll work on some Excellencies... when I don't have as much schoolwork.