View Full Version : Class & Level Based Bonus to Skill Checks.

2012-05-11, 06:33 PM
Hello, Playgrounders.

Some time ago, I asked what were your thoughts on a level-based bonus to skill, armor and initiative.
In the end, I was convinced that bonus to armor/initiative made sense from a story telling point of view, but could mess with game balance.

Bonus to skill points could be abused, but were nowhere near as problematic. In fact, in the game I'm currently DMing, I house-ruled that every character (including NPCs) had an skill bonus of +1 for every 4 class levels.
Why? Because I like skills. Higher skill bonuses = less dependancy on magic and more awesome deeds from the players!

In my Fighter Revision I added a class feature that allowed to choose any one class skill. She would get a bonus to this skill equal to half her fighter levels.
My thinking is "Why isn't every class absolutaly great at its most iconic skills?"

So I was thinking about this, why not give every class a few skills for which it'd get the same "half-class level bonus"? This would be based on the class' role and overall power/versatility. PF Inquisitors have a similar class feature named Stern Gaze (1/2 Inquisitor level to Intimidate and Sense Motive, IIRC)

For the Core eleven, I was thinking:
(Note that I'm using the PF skills, as that is what I'm currently playing. It shouldn't be too different from 3.5, though.)

Barbarian: Intimidate and Survival
Bard: Any 2 Performances of the player's choice (In PF, this is the same as having the bonus to 6 different skills, including the Perfomances themselves)
Cleric: Knowledge(Religion)
Druid: Knowledge(Nature)
Fighter: Any 2 skills (in the fighter's Class Skills list) of the player's choice.
Monk: Acrobatics, Knowledge(History) and Escape Artist.
Paladin: Knowlege(Religion) and Sense Motive.
Ranger: Perception, Survival and Stealth.
Rogue: Any 5 skills (in the rogue's Class Skills list) of the player's choice)
Sorcerer: Knowledge(Arcana) or the Bloodline's extra class skill.
Wizard: Knowledge(Arcana)

These bonuses are based on class level. If the character multiclasses in two classes who add the bonus to the same skill, the levels in both classes stack to determine the bonus of said skills.
(e.g.: A ranger 4/Barbarian 2 would have a +1 to Intimidate, a +2 to Stealth and Perception, and a +3 to Survival.

How much of a power boost is this?

The rogue potentially having a huge bonus to UMD may be too good, but on the other hand, he kinda needs all the help he can have.

I didn't want to give Spellcraft to any caster, as the skill is pretty powerful and they are already too good.

Also, I'm not sure about the skills I picked for Paladins and Monks.

The Witch-King
2012-05-11, 08:57 PM
I like this idea. I think I'll do something similar if I ever run Pathfinder. I think I'd be tempted though to give every class three skills boosted by class level except for the Cleric, Druid, Sorcerer and Wizard. They'd get only one. Knowledge (Religion) for Clerics, Knowledge (Nature) for Druids and Knowledge (Arcana) for Sorcerers and Wizards. They get to warp reality--that's enough. Let the fighters and rogues and rangers, etc. flip around doing the cool Xena stuff.

I think I'd keep the Rogues at 3 skills like the other classes but I'd make them more useful ones if I could rather than give them more skills since they already get so much in that department.

It's definitely a good idea.

I'm thinking now that it might even be worthwhile to let the player choose which skills he's going to get a class level boost from as a means to customize his character. Basically, let them pick from their class skills. I'd still restrict the four spell casters to the ones listed above though, even if I went with that option.

2012-05-11, 09:52 PM
Those are very good ideas.

I actually thought about giving the full casters just one skill. So I did what I usually do when in doubt: Give the characters the better option.

But you are probably right. A single Knowledge skills is more than enough for full casters.

I like the rogue having 5 skills not only because he is supposed to be the one true skill-monkey, but also because in PF, Bards can use their Perform checks in place of some other skills. (e.g.: Dance substitutes Fly and Acrobatics), so a bonus to 2 performances is actually a bonus to 4 skills. 6 if you count the perfomances themselves. AND they have spells. So I figured giving the rogue 5 skills of his/her choice would be fair.

I like the idea of players being able to choose where their bonus would go. However that would make it a bit harder to keep track of. ("Where does this bonus come from?")
Maybe a simpler idea would be allowing a few options of skills to choose from. (Not all in the class skill list, we don't need Sorcerers with bonus in Magic Device)