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Thread: 4E Skills

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    Ogre in the Playground
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    Default 4E Skills

    I've played in eight LFR sessions so far, and I have learned a lot about the RAW through its modules. They gave me a lot of new ideas on how to use the different skills in 4E.

    Basically, although there are fewer skills in 4E than in 3E, you can do a lot more with them. Arcana, for example, in addition to the uses outlined in the PHB, can be used to manipulate magical phenomena. In one module, a successful Arcana skill challenge can be used to close several portals that continuously spawn hostile elemental creatures. In another module, Arcana can be used to disarm a magical trap by dispelling it.

    Religion comes in handy when you're dealing with divine magic. In my last game, a Religion check was used to consecrate an area tainted with necrotic energy, effectively negating it. Basically, it can be used to manipulate divine energies.

    Nature can be used as Wild Empathy in 3E. In one module, Nature basically lets you persuade a temple's animal guardians to leave you alone. It also works like Survival in 3E.

    Knowledge skills in particular are very useful to have. You can use them to make monster knowledge checks to figure out how to deal with unknown monsters. Depending on how high a player rolls, I give him several tips on how to deal with the monster, e.g. the monster's lowest defense, what it's vulnerable to, how it fights, etc.

    Although we haven't run into any diseases yet, Endurance is virtually a must-have for anyone who might catch one. Disease DCs are pretty high, and if you don't have a good Constitution score and/or Endurance, your illness will progress to the final stage (usually, but not always, death).

    What I'm trying to say is that skill checks take the place of the numerous utility spells and abilities from previous editions. All those spells and abilities aren't gone; they've just been folded into the condensed skill set of 4E.

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    Default Re: 4E Skills

    And I do think that reducing the amount of skills is good, what I don't like is that you don't get skill points anymore making it impossible to be really good at something.
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    Default Re: 4E Skills

    Quote Originally Posted by Fenix_of_Doom View Post
    And I do think that reducing the amount of skills is good, what I don't like is that you don't get skill points anymore making it impossible to be really good at something.
    The system is different, but it doesn't mean you don't advance in your skill modifiers. With the "half your level" added to it, it means everyone gets better equally. but only those which have the skill trained really excel on it.

    I personally think it's better that way. In 3.5, those lucky classes that did have skill points and interesting skills to put them on just dumped everything on them, keeping the ones they wanted always maxed.

    Comparing both mechanically it was irrelevant to have to keep track on things like points through all the game for the same result. Micromanagement that doesn't add to the fun nor what the character is, IMHO.

    In 4E everyone gets to use skills and their development is more natural and less fussy.

    I agree with the OP in that the grouped skills are better. Having fewer skills is also better, in 3.5 there were mostly useless skills and others which were a must.

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    Default Re: 4E Skills

    Quote Originally Posted by Fenix_of_Doom View Post
    And I do think that reducing the amount of skills is good, what I don't like is that you don't get skill points anymore making it impossible to be really good at something.
    Tell that to my Elven Cleric with a Passive Perception of 30 at level 13

    Seriously, the gap between him and the WIS 10 Fighter (don't ask) is +15. The difference in 4E is that it's harder for anyone to be really bad at something. You no longer run into the 20th level Rogue who can't reliably jump a 10 foot pit because he never put points in Jump, but you can still have the Eldarin Wizard with Arcana +11 at level 1 putting the Tiefling Warlock absolutely to shame.
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    Default Re: 4E Skills

    Agreed. Many people drastically underestimate what a HUGE difference the "mere" +5 from skill training makes in 4e. And when you start increasing that differential even more with things like Skill Focus and different stat arrays...
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    Default Re: 4E Skills

    Quote Originally Posted by Artanis View Post
    Agreed. Many people drastically underestimate what a HUGE difference the "mere" +5 from skill training makes in 4e.
    Funny you should say that. Because the random factor still makes a WAY more HUGE difference than that +5.
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    Default Re: 4E Skills

    Quote Originally Posted by FdL View Post
    In 3.5, those lucky classes that did have skill points and interesting skills to put them on just dumped everything on them, keeping the ones they wanted always maxed.
    Erm. I think this postulate is the difference between people who like the 4e skill system, and those who want skill points back.

    I found a lot of interesting things to do with 3e skills without maxxing them. Sometimes a one-rank dip into a skill was very worthwhile (... and that still stands, to a lesser extent, even if we exclude the Factotum). Sometimes 5 ranks was a good demonstration of ability, but was plenty. Sometimes half-max was good enough, especially on Spot/Listen. Sometimes you really needed the full maxxed ranks.

    One thing you can't do with the 4e system is something I really liked: use the fact that skill checks (maxxed) can get really high to create special abilities that substitute a skill check for something else. Tome of Battle has the best examples, like the counter that lets you make a Concentration check instead of a Will save. Personally, I wouldn't have minded if the Iron Will feat, for example, instead of giving a +2, let you substitute a Concentration check for a Will save as an immediate action (pre-ToB, that is). It's an easy way to make feats scale, and scale well.
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    Default Re: 4E Skills

    Quote Originally Posted by Kurald Galain View Post
    Funny you should say that. Because the random factor still makes a WAY more HUGE difference than that +5.
    True for every roll in D&D.

    Your point?

    Mine would be that you can have both meaningful and dramatic differences with a 4E skill system (the +5 for training as an example) without risking the "Can't Jump" Rogue of 3E.
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    Default Re: 4E Skills

    Quote Originally Posted by Oracle_Hunter View Post
    True for every roll in D&D.

    Your point?
    Point is that differences between skilled and unskilled people become a lot less meaningful when they're substantially less than the spread on the dice. This is an inherent flaw in the D&D skill system, in particular.
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    Default Re: 4E Skills

    Quote Originally Posted by Kurald Galain View Post
    Point is that differences between skilled and unskilled people become a lot less meaningful when they're substantially less than the spread on the dice. This is an inherent flaw in the D&D skill system, in particular.
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    Default Re: 4E Skills

    Quote Originally Posted by Artanis View Post
    Agreed. Many people drastically underestimate what a HUGE difference the "mere" +5 from skill training makes in 4e. And when you start increasing that differential even more with things like Skill Focus and different stat arrays...
    People underestimate it because they compare it to the 3.5 skill system where 5 points meant almost nothing at higher level. In 4th, 5 points in a skill is 10 levels worth of bonus (according to the +1/2 level rule) so it is a noticable difference if your DM uses the (revised) skill difficulty table by level in the DMG.

    One thing I've noticed about 4.0 is that small bonuses to rolls are much more valuable than they were in 3.5 because there are less of them.
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    Default Re: 4E Skills

    In 3.5e, to be competent at something, you needed to auto-succeed at it. Because you had an alternative choice that was an auto-success, and was also an "I win" button, so why do anything that had a reasonable chance of failure?

    That was the standard you where competing against. A choice that didn't help you towards making an "I win button" that auto-succeeded was considered non-powerful.

    Weapon Focus in 3e against someone whom you have a 50% chance of hitting still boosted your damage output by 10%. Except you could grab 3 feats that would make any hit you made against the target an instant-kill, and DCs where random enough that a 50% chance to hit wasn't that common (often it spiraled into auto-hit or auto-miss)... so why spend a feat on a mere +10% effectiveness? What is worse, because of how 3e was balanced (ad-hoc), getting a +1 bonus to your to-hit rolls just encouraged the DM to give you opponents with +1 more AC.

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    Default Re: 4E Skills

    I've always been of the idea that 3.5 breaks when the number you roll on the die stops mattering (excepting a 1 or a 20) because your bonuses are either so big or so small that you can't fail/succeed. I think this is one of the good things about 4E; that this seems to happen much less quickly (but that still leaves room for an idiot savant that can barely tie his own shoes but can name every single outsider and it's general behavior by fifth level).

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