View Full Version : Leveling Skills

2007-06-30, 06:32 PM
Leveling Skills
Mr. Joe is an 11th-level rogue who has never invested any skill points in open lock. One day he levels up, and all of a sudden, puts 10 ranks in open lock If a skill is a skill, then why do PCs get skills that they have no skill at (skills that they've almost never used, thus giving them no experience at all in using them) for free?

"Leveling Skills" is a complex homebrew method for skills, giving the PC an experience score and level for each individual skill.

Pros (as I see it)

No maximum limit for skills

Cons (as I see it)

Takes longer
Skills don't just suddenly gain ranks
There are simpler ways of doing this

Using Leveling Skills (in this case, the word leveling is an adjective, not a verb)

There are no longer ranks for skills. Ability modifiers no longer change skill modifiers. In fact only circumstance, competence, luck, morale, and sacred modifiers and AC penalties directly modify skills.
Ranks are replaced with levels, and experience is now used for each individual skill. Skills level up, or gain a rank, when their experience gets high enough. The experience required for a skill to level up is 100 times the next level.
When a skill is used the player gains experience in that skill. Experience gained is listed in this table:
{table="head"]Roll - DC|XP Gained
















Any other values give absolutely no experience at all.

Skills cannot reach a maximum level, but they can reach a threshold, which after going further, hinders their experience gain in that skill.
Skill threshold is equal to the PC's ECL + 3 + (Key Ability Modifier / 2).
For each level above the threshold, a skill takes a 20% penalty on experience gain, rounded down. However, any time a PC is to gain XP in a skill they must gain at least 1 XP.
Experience gain can also be modified in the following ways:

Key ability score modifiers are added to experience gain.
Taking 10 always gives 15 XP.
Taking 20 always gives 20 XP.
Skill synergies are translated to a 20% XP bonus.
Likewise, any form of adding to skills (not including those modifiers listed wayyy above) translates to a 10% XP bonus for each increased rank.
Competence bonuses give a 5% XP bonus for each increased level.

PCs can be instructed in a skill, given that their teacher has at least 4+ intelligence, 5 more levels more in the skill than the PC, and spends 3 weeks being taught by their teacher. This gives the PC enough XP to put them three levels ahead and half needed to advance to the level after that.

That will be all for now. Please tell me if I missed anything (Psionic Dog-- thanks for the idea of instructors), and give suggestions on how to balance out this method. Hope you like it!

2007-06-30, 06:33 PM
{Reserved for future use. Just in case.}

2007-06-30, 09:26 PM
I see this system ending up like elder scrolls, where people spend ages doing the same thing over and over again just to get ranks. Sure its semi-realistic, but we are talking about a world where I can make a ball of fire with some bat guano.

Psionic Dog
2007-06-30, 10:13 PM
Unlisted Cons:

Contrary to d20 system.
Tracking XP for each skill is extra work.

While I agree that waking up with 10 new ranks is ridiculous, there has to be a better way to do this.
Also, a commoner with a free afternoon could max out, say, climb within a week tops: Climb the DC10 hill once? get a level. Repeat. Too little XP? Move on to DC15 tree. Continue.

It would be simpler to limit the number of skills gained with each new level, possibly with different limits for different circumstances.

Self Taught: 1Rank (Creature is untrained and uninstructed)
Self Enrichment: 2Ranks (Creature is trained but uninstructed)
Instructed: 4Ranks (Creature is being taught by a qualified instructor)

A creature qualifies as an instructor if they:

Have an intelligence greater than 4
Have at least 5 more ranks in the skill than student (More ranks needed to teach multiple skills or multiple students)
Spend 3 weeks teaching the creature

A creature is no longer considered instructed after advancing a level. If it chooses not to add ranks, tough. They 'forgot' the lesson.

2007-06-30, 11:08 PM
Twilight 2000 had an interesting way of doing skills you might be interested in...

Basically, at the end of every game session, you put a tally mark next to every skill you used that game session. You need a number of tally marks equal to your current number of ranks to gain a rank in a given skill.

GM should try to mediate to keep PC's from 'doing everything once' at the beginning/end of a game session to get extra skill tallies. Or, one could simply say they were trying to practice to work on their skill... a legitimate answer.

2007-06-30, 11:49 PM
May not be such a bad idea for MMORPGs, but let's keep the grinding out of D&D :P

2007-07-01, 02:44 AM
May not be such a bad idea for MMORPGs, but let's keep the grinding out of D&D :P

I agree. If you really want to keep track of something like this, just use the rules already given in the DMG. It has rules for being trained in a skill-- fees, training time, everything.

Personally, I find that approach too restrictive and just use the "downtime" variant and have my players spend a few days resting in town for their characters to level. I think it's reasonable to assume that if a PC wants to learn something they can find out how to do it and practice (possibly a lot). Of course, I also prefer a modern-ish magic=technology and there is a significant middle class type game that probably resembles modern life more than the middle ages.