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View Full Version : Don't I Know It: Different Skills [3.5, PEACH]



Morph Bark
2012-08-04, 01:18 PM
One of the things that I see as a flaw of the d20 system, or rather DnD in particular and d20 Modern and its derivatives as well, is that there are so many different skills, while you can do relatively little with them in comparison to feats or class abilities. Indeed, often you need a feat or class ability to get anything worthwhile out of a skill at all! Otherwise all you need is a little item or spell to boost a skill when you need it and you can do everything with it that you're likely to ever do with it in a campaign. Personally, I feel that a party of 4 or more should be able to cover nearly all skills, at least if they all have a high Int score, so perhaps it would be better to say that a standard party can potentially cover all skills.

I think Pathfinder and 4E did that part with the skills well, but there's one skill in particular that I find suffers from it, and through it the players, DM and settings themselves. This skill is the Knowledge skill. This skill, like Craft, Perform and Profession, has various sub-skills. However, unlike Perform, they all have a different function and result; unlike Profession, they are all mostly useful; unlike Craft, they are all mostly very likely to see use in any game.

In DnD, it is split into ten in Core and a lot more outside of it. Arcana, architecture and engineering, dungeoneering, local, geography, history, nature, nobility and royalty, religion, the planes. Outside of Core you get psionics, law, wars and possibly several others more.

In d20 Modern, it's even more ridiculous. Arcane lore, art, behavioral sciences, business, civics, current events, earth and life sciences, history, physical sciences, popular culture, streetwise, tactics, technology, theology and philosophy. Who knows if there are even others that splatbooks add.

"But Morph," you may now say, "those are all valid fields." Sure, and for someone who prefers to have a perfect simulationist game, keep on using all those skills as they are. However, while I like simulationist games, I prefer them to have slightly more of a gamist edge. After all, DnD is first and foremost a game, and that should not be forgotten, nor neglected. As such, I decided to fold the various knowledge skills into new ones that can be used in both DnD and d20 Modern style games, which would be handy as I'd like to start merging the two a bit and introduce higher levels of technology in my DnD campaigns occassionally.

As such, I present:


Knowledge
Like the Craft and Profession skills, Knowledge actually encompasses a number of unrelated skills. Knowledge represents a study of some body of lore, possibly an academic or even scientific discipline. Knowledge skills are broad and each encompasses several fields of study in close or distant relation with one another.

Arcane
Ancient mysteries, magic traditions, psionic traditions, arcane symbols, psychic symbols, cryptic phrases, astral constructs, constructs*, dragons, elementals, magical beasts, oozes, psionic races. The occult, magic and the supernatural, astrology, numerology.

Forbidden Lore
Aberrations, other planes, outsiders, magic related to the planes, undead.

Geography
Lands, terrain, climate, where people live. Caverns, spelunking.

History and Culture
Royalty, wars, colonies, migrations, founding of cities. Lineages, heraldry, family trees, mottoes. Sociology, laws, legislation, legal rights and obligations, politics, entertainment, foreign affairs. Popular music, films and books, famous people. Art, religion, gods, mythic history, ecclesiastic tradition, holy symbols.

Nature
Animals, fey, giants, humanoids, monstrous humanoids, plants, seasons and cycles, weather, vermin. Biology, botany, genetics, geology, paleontology, medicine and forensics. Psychology and criminology.

Science**
Astronomy, chemistry, mathematics, physics, engineering. Technology, new technological developments.

*constructs can also fall under Knowledge (science) if nothing magical was used to create them. It depends on the setting.
**yeah yeah, more accurately this should be named "hard science", but whatever.


What has gone where?
Knowledge (arcane) includes the old Knowledge (arcana) or Knowledge (arcane lore), as well knowledge of oozes from Knowledge (dungeoneering) and elementals from Knowledge (the planes).

Knowledge (forbidden lore) includes the old Knowledge (the planes) minus elementals, but including undead from Knowledge (religion) and aberrations from Knowledge (dungeoneering). It has the same name as the skill introduced in the sanity system in Unearthed Arcana, which is no coincedence. This skill encompasses anything that could potentially be sanity-taxing, so if you want to use a sanity system, you can simply use this skill to go with it.

Knowledge (geography) remains the same, but gains everything that Knowledge (dungeoneering) has left after the earlier two took its monsters away.

Knowledge (history and culture) includes the old Knowledge (history), Knowledge (local) minus the geography bits and knowledge of humanoids in general. It further contains large parts of d20 Modern's Knowledge (art, behavioral sciences, civics, current events, history, popular culture and theology and philosophy).

Knowledge (nature) includes the old Knowledge (nature), plus knowledge of humanoids and psychology taken from d20 Modern's Knowledge (behavioral sciences), as well as Knowledge (earth and life sciences).

Knowledge (science) includes d20 Modern's Knowledge (physical sciences) and Knowledge (technology).


Additional uses for these new Skills
What else to do with these? Well, for one, a rank in Knowledge (science) or one of the others could be made a prerequisite before one can learn how to use the Craft skill to craft certain types of tools, such as chemicals, electronics, machines or medicine (Knowledge (nature) may be appropriate for the latter).

On the other hand, some skills aren't covered by the new system, while others still could be merged into them.

d20 Modern's Knowledge (business) either doesn't fit in DnD or can be done away with without much trouble, or filed under a different skill along with something like Appraise or such. Knowledge (streetwise) will fall under the new Thievery skill. Knowledge (tactics), or the DnD skill Knowledge (war) from Oriental Adventures can be merged with Martial Lore. Spellcraft/Psicraft can also be merged with Knowledge (arcane).

Pyromancer999
2012-08-04, 01:23 PM
Seems interesting, although is Knowledge the only skill you plan to cover with this?

Network
2012-08-04, 01:25 PM
d20 Modern's Knowledge (business) either doesn't fit in DnD or can be done away with without much trouble, or filed under a different skill along with something like Appraise or such. Knowledge (streetwise) will fall under the new Thievery skill. Knowledge (tactics), or the DnD skill Knowledge (war) from Oriental Adventures can be merged with Martial Lore. Spellcraft/Psicraft can also be merged with Knowledge (arcane).

And knowledge (religion) was forgotten, as I can see. It shouldn't, although it can be encompassed with knowledge (forbidden lore) in some cases. I want my religious student back! :smallconfused:

Pyromancer999
2012-08-04, 01:30 PM
And knowledge (religion) was forgotten, as I can see. It shouldn't, although it can be encompassed with knowledge (forbidden lore) in some cases. I want my religious student back! :smallconfused:

Religion doesn't really work well if it's forbidden lore. :smalltongue: then it can't spread.

Morph Bark
2012-08-04, 01:33 PM
And knowledge (religion) was forgotten, as I can see. It shouldn't, although it can be encompassed with knowledge (forbidden lore) in some cases. I want my religious student back! :smallconfused:

I put it under Knowledge (history and culture), since it seems to me that religion is pretty darn cultural, wouldn't you say? :smallwink:


Seems interesting, although is Knowledge the only skill you plan to cover with this?

Nope. Craft will follow, mainly to connect d20 Modern with DnD. Plus what skills I merge, too. I also have a fourth-wall-breaking 'brew in the works that gets more powerful through Perform.

Pyromancer999
2012-08-04, 01:39 PM
Nope. Craft will follow, mainly to connect d20 Modern with DnD. Plus what skills I merge, too. I also have a fourth-wall-breaking 'brew in the works that gets more powerful through Perform.

Will Craft include a possibility of crafting magic items/weapons? Seems like it could work, although I can't say for sure. Also can't wait to see the fourth wall-breaker, as I'm wondering how performance could factor into that.

Mithril Leaf
2012-08-04, 02:24 PM
Will Craft include a possibility of crafting magic items/weapons? Seems like it could work, although I can't say for sure. Also can't wait to see the fourth wall-breaker, as I'm wondering how performance could factor into that.

I'm personally going to vote against this. Everyone needs to remember Fabricate when dealing with Craft. As a shaper, if I could make magic items with my craft skill, at level 11 I'd be the world's craziest WBLmancer.

137ben
2012-08-04, 03:02 PM
In my games, we use a system in which 1 skill rank does not translate into 1 skill point. Instead, each rank costs more points than the previous rank (and the points/level increase as you level up.) This is actually more realistic, because once you are advanced in a field, advancing further is harder. Gameplay-wise, the system encourages you to spread your skill points between more skills, while still getting decent bonuses from each. Using core rules, if you spread your skill points, you get pretty small bonuses. But under my system, the boost is almost as large as if you had focused your points, but applies in more circumstances. It also gives room for more customization. Although it sounds like it involves more calculations at the table, it doesn't really, because the added computation is fairly brief and only done when leveling up. During combat and roleplaying situations (or any time that your level isn't changing), skill rank can be used just as in the core rules.

I never really liked the "combine skills" approach, primarily because it reduces room for specialization.

Temotei
2012-08-04, 03:10 PM
I like this better than what I was going to do with my setting's Knowledge skills. Whoo!

Morph Bark
2012-08-04, 03:30 PM
Will Craft include a possibility of crafting magic items/weapons? Seems like it could work, although I can't say for sure. Also can't wait to see the fourth wall-breaker, as I'm wondering how performance could factor into that.

I'm personally going to vote against this. Everyone needs to remember Fabricate when dealing with Craft. As a shaper, if I could make magic items with my craft skill, at level 11 I'd be the world's craziest WBLmancer.

I don't think I will allow for magic item creation with Craft, with a few, obvious exceptions.


I like this better than what I was going to do with my setting's Knowledge skills. Whoo!

I'm curious either way, what had you planned?

Anyway, thanks!

Temotei
2012-08-04, 03:35 PM
I'm curious either way, what had you planned?

Keep arcana, mix architecture and engineering with dungeoneering, mix history, local, and nobility and royalty, mix geography and nature, mix religion and the planes.

So, five skills, but with shaky fluff on why they're together for a few.

SamBurke
2012-08-04, 03:44 PM
Me: Hm. Thread on Skills. Interesting enough.

Oooh, Morph Bark. Rewrite. Nice, nice...

*Reading text* HOLY. COW. EASY. :smalleek:

This is going to be stolen. All of it. I am going to steal all of this shamelessly, because it is brilliant. :smallcool:

So may I? :smallredface:

Morph Bark
2012-08-04, 04:16 PM
So may I? :smallredface:

Of course you may use it! All my homebrew is made with the intention of use, so anyone who wants to use it in their games is free to do so. :smallsmile:

SamBurke
2012-08-04, 04:21 PM
Of course you may use it! All my homebrew is made with the intention of use, so anyone who wants to use it in their games is free to do so. :smallsmile:
Cool. I was also hoping to take the idea and use it similarly for my Immersion Project (Already TradeMark'd by somebody else, probably...), if that'd also be alright with you.

Morph Bark
2012-08-04, 04:38 PM
Cool. I was also hoping to take the idea and use it similarly for my Immersion Project (Already TradeMark'd by somebody else, probably...), if that'd also be alright with you.

Yeah, I'm cool with that. Go ahead.

Also, do I have to change my sniper for the Skype game now to have these skills instead of the normal Knowledges? :smalltongue:

137ben
2012-08-04, 05:30 PM
Hmmm, come to think of it, this isn't just a "combine skills" clone. It is more of a reorganization of knowledge skills. In fact, it still leaves them separate enough that it could be used in conjunction with my skill system:smallsmile:

Also, the "science" skill should NOT be called "exact science." Theoretical physics is exact, but experimental physics is not. Engineering is in no way exact. The only one you listed which is exact is mathematics.
You could call it the "hard science" skill, which usually includes math, logic, physics, chemistry, and arguably cellular biology (the latter is up for debate).
But, as you said, "whatever."

SamBurke
2012-08-04, 06:44 PM
Yeah, I'm cool with that. Go ahead.

Also, do I have to change my sniper for the Skype game now to have these skills instead of the normal Knowledges? :smalltongue:

Thanks! I'll PM you in a bit about such things. :smallwink:

Morph Bark
2012-08-05, 09:37 AM
Hmmm, come to think of it, this isn't just a "combine skills" clone. It is more of a reorganization of knowledge skills. In fact, it still leaves them separate enough that it could be used in conjunction with my skill system:smallsmile:

Also, the "science" skill should NOT be called "exact science." Theoretical physics is exact, but experimental physics is not. Engineering is in no way exact. The only one you listed which is exact is mathematics.
You could call it the "hard science" skill, which usually includes math, logic, physics, chemistry, and arguably cellular biology (the latter is up for debate).
But, as you said, "whatever."

It's more of a reorganization, yes. At the same time, it's also a compression (especially when taking d20 Modern in mind), but in a way that doesn't simply mash a bunch of skills together without thinking. However, some other skills out there are ones that I will simply combine, though with the possibility of specialization through feats.

Noted on the science and changed as such*.

*in the footnotes, at least.

Amechra
2012-08-05, 11:29 PM
Hmmm... this is defective. But that isn't your fault.

You took it on yourself to simplify a point-buy system that exists in a system that was not designed for point buy.

I say we go back to the good old days of 2nd Edition and non-combat proficiencies!

But, of course, no one listens to that perfectly sane suggestion. Your little reorganization is nice, I guess, at least from an organizational standby.

bobthe6th
2012-08-05, 11:59 PM
I'm personally going to vote against this. Everyone needs to remember Fabricate when dealing with Craft. As a shaper, if I could make magic items with my craft skill, at level 11 I'd be the world's craziest WBLmancer.

and you need to gimp a mundane skill to keep a caster from getting overpowered why? as is, the craft system is really really bad and utterly unsimulationist(and ungamist)... I would be glad to see a new system fix.

Morph Bark
2012-08-19, 09:08 AM
Hmmm... this is defective. But that isn't your fault.

The points you bring up in your post come down to "this is bad because it makes a bad system have good parts", which makes no sense. Then again, the end half of your post make it sound like you're trolling.


and you need to gimp a mundane skill to keep a caster from getting overpowered why? as is, the craft system is really really bad and utterly unsimulationist(and ungamist)... I would be glad to see a new system fix.

I've thought about Craft, and taken a page from the Tomes for that, actually, to get some inspiration, combined with ideas I already had, so that will slowly be built up soon (at least the Craft mechanics, not all the stuff you can make with it).


The fourth wall-breaking mechanics for Perform have been worked out and will be up soon, though I'm thinking I should post that in a seperate thread.

SamBurke
2012-08-20, 07:45 PM
Question: why is it bad that stuff is unsimulationist? Because if you're SIMPLIFYING things, you are necessarily removing some factors of it.

bobthe6th
2012-08-20, 09:29 PM
Question: why is it bad that stuff is unsimulationist? Because if you're SIMPLIFYING things, you are necessarily removing some factors of it.

D&D is a very simulationist game, with many things just being added to make things realistic. the skill system especially has this in spades... and then the craft system has no basis in reality(or sanity), and barely in game mechanics.

It is a bad thing if it is unsimulationist, because it fits badly with the system. It can squeze by if it is importent for game balance, but it isn't. It is just bad as a rule.