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    Default Making Skill Focus better...mkII

    Building upon what I had written up previously...where people still thought the feat wasn't good enough except for pre-reqs, I came up another improvement to Skill Focus. Tell me what you think.

    Skill Focus, in addition to making the skill a Class Skill for you forever, gives you a +3 bonus if you have 1 through 10 ranks in the skill. It gives you a +5 bonus if you have 11 through 17 ranks. It gives you a +7 bonus if you have 18-23 ranks.
    Last edited by Frosty; 2009-08-19 at 02:20 AM.

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    Default Re: Making Skill Focus better...mkII

    Perhaps it should let you Take Ten on the skill?

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    Default Re: Making Skill Focus better...mkII

    The main problem with skill focus is that it trades you a rare resource (a feat slot) for a common one (a bunch of skill points, essentially).

    Having it make a class skill makes it worth taking in certain specialized builds. How high a bonus it gives really isn't that important.
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    Default Re: Making Skill Focus better...mkII

    Quote Originally Posted by Kurald Galain View Post
    The main problem with skill focus is that it trades you a rare resource (a feat slot) for a common one (a bunch of skill points, essentially).

    Having it make a class skill makes it worth taking in certain specialized builds. How high a bonus it gives really isn't that important.
    Specialized builds like Monk/Duskblade/Ur-Priest/Sacred Fist or Truenamer?

    Also good for Spellcraft I suppose since you always want it as high as possible to cast Epic Spells.

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    Default Re: Making Skill Focus better...mkII

    Make it let you 'take 10' at any point. 'Take 12' when you can normally take 10. And 'take 20' takes half the time. In addition to, say, bonus equal to 1/4 of your ranks.

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    Default Re: Making Skill Focus better...mkII

    Quote Originally Posted by ozgun92 View Post
    Make it let you 'take 10' at any point. 'Take 12' when you can normally take 10. And 'take 20' takes half the time. In addition to, say, bonus equal to 1/4 of your ranks.
    Umm...then who wouldn't take it for UMD?

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    Default Re: Making Skill Focus better...mkII

    Quote Originally Posted by Frosty View Post
    Umm...then who wouldn't take it for UMD?
    A bard? He wouldn't really need it.

    I like pathfinders. +3 until level 11 where it is a +6. Since you can always do one for one even on nonclass skills it basically makes it a class skill until it is better than one.
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    Ogre in the Playground
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    Default Re: Making Skill Focus better...mkII

    "UMD: it's better than an entire class full of features"

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    Default Re: Making Skill Focus better...mkII

    Why not let skill focus work be a +2 bonus on any 3 skills or something, that increases to +6 by level 20? Most skills work in conjunction with others (hide and move silent, bluff and sense motive, etc).

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    Default Re: Making Skill Focus better...mkII

    Quote Originally Posted by Frosty View Post
    Umm...then who wouldn't take it for UMD?
    I donno...Wizards?
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    Default Re: Making Skill Focus better...mkII

    Quote Originally Posted by Frosty View Post
    Umm...then who wouldn't take it for UMD?
    This is a problem with UMD, which should be fixed under separate cover.
    First, UMD should not be simultaneously a skill and better than other skills. Ok, fine, fix that somehow.
    Now, Skill Focus ought to be a valuable feat for any character that really likes using a specific skill. Pathfinder's probably isn't bad...

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    Default Re: Making Skill Focus better...mkII

    UMD can be fixed by simply raising the DCs by 20-50% across the board, but we're not here to fix UMD.

    As for Skill Focus, I'm already seeing a lot of good ideas here, those that agree with my sentiments on the issue. It should do the following:
    1. A +5 untyped bonus on all checks involving that skill.
    2. The ability to take 10 on all checks of that skill.
    3. Having that skill as a permanent class skill, regardless of class.

    That alone should making it worth taking. Then again, I'm of the opinion that the other skill bonus feats (Alertness, Persuasive, Stealthy, & the like) should grant a +3 bonus at least, so...

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    Default Re: Making Skill Focus better...mkII

    So Take 10 eh? That doesn't sound like a bad idea...

    The feats that give bonuses to 2 skills should give a +4 to each skill once you hit certain levels. For a total of +8.

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    Default Re: Making Skill Focus better...mkII

    I like the idea of making a non-class skill a Class Skill. Like the 3.0 Feat Cosmopolitan. That DOES mess up a lot of Prestige Class progressions, though, and so that's something you'd have to watch out for as a DM on a case-by-case basis.

    I'd be fine with being able to take 10 under any circumstance unless the Skill doesn't allow you to take 10 (like UMD). In that case, perhaps the bonus could be higher.

    Altough I like a scaling bonus, I agree the the actual bonus isn't all that important, except at lower levels. A Ring of Whatever Skill +3 is only, what, 9,000 gp? I wish all feats could be purchased so cheaply.

    Maybe give it a bonus of +1 per level? So you effectively get another skill point? Too much?
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    Default Re: Making Skill Focus better...mkII

    Quote Originally Posted by truemane View Post
    Maybe give it a bonus of +1 per level? So you effectively get another skill point? Too much?
    Not a +1 bonus per level, that would just about double your total modifier. Instead, the feat automatically maxes out your ranks each level for that skill, so you can spend your skill points elsewhere.

    Or a feat that gives you a number of skill points equal to your level, +1 per level after that (like improved toughness).
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    Default Re: Making Skill Focus better...mkII

    Quote Originally Posted by Jack Zander View Post
    Or a feat that gives you a number of skill points equal to your level, +1 per level after that (like improved toughness).
    Nymph's Kiss sort of does that, with other bonuses.

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    Default Re: Making Skill Focus better...mkII

    Quote Originally Posted by truemane View Post
    Maybe give it a bonus of +1 per level? So you effectively get another skill point? Too much?
    That's effectively "Add your level to the skill check." Whether its overpowered or not probably depends on the skill in question, I suppose.

    I like the Take 10/12 idea.

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    Default Re: Making Skill Focus better...mkII

    Quote Originally Posted by Kurald Galain View Post
    The main problem with skill focus is that it trades you a rare resource (a feat slot) for a common one (a bunch of skill points, essentially).

    Having it make a class skill makes it worth taking in certain specialized builds. How high a bonus it gives really isn't that important.
    A 6th level rogue using "Improve Feint" might disagree with the "common resource" point of vue. Yes, you got plenty of skill points as a rogue...but you still can't have more ranks in a skill than your level+3. So, instead of 9 in Bluff, our rogue here can get 12, which increase by 33% his chances to get a sneak attack in a duel.

    Skill Focus, at low level, is the way to better at something than you should be. Fighters more than anybody can enjoy it. Now, it makes no sence to take it if you know the campaign will bring you 20+ level. But at low-level games, a little +1 in a good thing... and a +3 is a big thing.

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    Default Re: Making Skill Focus better...mkII

    Quote Originally Posted by Johel View Post
    A 6th level rogue using "Improve Feint" might disagree with the "common resource" point of vue. Yes, you got plenty of skill points as a rogue...but you still can't have more ranks in a skill than your level+3. So, instead of 9 in Bluff, our rogue here can get 12, which increase by 33% his chances to get a sneak attack in a duel.

    Skill Focus, at low level, is the way to better at something than you should be. Fighters more than anybody can enjoy it. Now, it makes no sence to take it if you know the campaign will bring you 20+ level. But at low-level games, a little +1 in a good thing... and a +3 is a big thing.
    Improved Feint, outside of core, and with a party, is an extremely poor way to get sneak attack. Even inside of core, HiPS is superior.

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    Default Re: Making Skill Focus better...mkII

    Quote Originally Posted by Myrmex View Post
    Improved Feint, outside of core, and with a party, is an extremely poor way to get sneak attack. Even inside of core, HiPS is superior.
    HiPS isn't a feat, and isn't available until higher levels.

    Before your rogue has multiple attacks, improved feint isn't a bad option.
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    Default Re: Making Skill Focus better...mkII

    Quote Originally Posted by Jack Zander View Post
    HiPS isn't a feat, and isn't available until higher levels.

    Before your rogue has multiple attacks, improved feint isn't a bad option.
    You can get HiPS at level 8, but in order to do so, it takes 3 feats. If you aren't allowed to take flaws (not core) or retrain feats (not core) or chaos shuffle them (not core or psychic reformation them (not core), then getting imp. feint means you have to wait even longer to get HiPS.

    Simply having a flanking partner is infinitely better than using imp. feint, since that means you can spend your feats on stuff like TWF or the prereqs for shadowdancer. If you have to kill stuff in a non-party situation, and have no flanking better, you can simply UMD a wand of Summon Monster I with a CL of 3. It's fairly cheap, and efficient.

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    Default Re: Making Skill Focus better...mkII

    Doesn't Complete Scoundrel allow you to get it for free (or for gold) by doing a pilgramage?

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    Default Re: Making Skill Focus better...mkII

    If UMD is a concern with regards to the whole Take 10/add as class skill issue, you could just say that you only get the scaling bonus and none of the extras. You might want to do the same thing with Truenaming... Although, quite honestly, being able to Take 10 is not an unreasonable boost to the class.

    Basing it off ranks seems like a good idea, and quite flavourful to boot.

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    Default Re: Making Skill Focus better...mkII

    Quote Originally Posted by Jack Zander View Post
    Not a +1 bonus per level, that would just about double your total modifier. Instead, the feat automatically maxes out your ranks each level for that skill, so you can spend your skill points elsewhere.
    Thank you, JZ (heh... Jay-Z), that is exactly what I meant. Not a +1 per level, but one rank per level. So you can turn your attentions to some second-tier, 'nice to have' skills.

    Part of the trouble is, as someone obliquely suggested, that the benefit needs to scale with level or the feat is never going to work. Power Attack is helpful all the way through your character's progression. Skill Focus is wonderful at levels 1 - 5 or so and then starts to drop off in utility from there.

    At 20th Level, that +3 is the proverbial fart in the windstorm.

    Which is why I think the automatic take 10 is nice. That can make often-used skills (Like Concentration) always useful without fear of that natural 1 mucking things up. And if the skill was automatically maxed out at no further cost to you, then that other skill you could max out as well would be useful at all levels too.
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    Default Re: Making Skill Focus better...mkII

    Quote Originally Posted by truemane View Post
    I like the idea of making a non-class skill a Class Skill. Like the 3.0 Feat Cosmopolitan. That DOES mess up a lot of Prestige Class progressions, though, and so that's something you'd have to watch out for as a DM on a case-by-case basis.
    Take a look at Aereni Focus, from Player's Guide to Eberron. It's basically skill focus that also makes that skill a class skill. Elf only, but you could easily change that.

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    Default Re: Making Skill Focus better...mkII

    Quote Originally Posted by Myrmex View Post
    You can get HiPS at level 8, but in order to do so, it takes 3 feats. If you aren't allowed to take flaws (not core) or retrain feats (not core) or chaos shuffle them (not core or psychic reformation them (not core), then getting imp. feint means you have to wait even longer to get HiPS.

    Simply having a flanking partner is infinitely better than using imp. feint, since that means you can spend your feats on stuff like TWF or the prereqs for shadowdancer. If you have to kill stuff in a non-party situation, and have no flanking better, you can simply UMD a wand of Summon Monster I with a CL of 3. It's fairly cheap, and efficient.
    Eh, maybe we've just had different experiences within groups, but when I play a low-level rogue, I need all the bonuses to hit that I can get. If I'm flanking my target at the start of a round, then Improved Feint helps a lot, since not only do I get the +2 flanking, but I also get to attack their flat-footed AC. And it is often enough that our party is spread out enough that I can't get flanking, or we are in a corridor, or the fighter is busy fighting the big ugly that I don't want to be anywhere near, so I take out the mooks one at a time. Also my UMD skill isn't high enough for me to use wands reliably in combat until higher levels.
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    Default Re: Making Skill Focus better...mkII

    I simply have its bonus increase by one once you put 7, 15, and 23 ranks into the corresponding skill. The same applies to each side of the +2/+2 feats. At lvl20, +6 or +5/+5 looks a lot better for your investment. It still wanes in power, but considering how easy it is to take, that is only fair. As pointed out, it could be replaced by a 7200gp unslotted competence bonus item...or more likely, you would use both.

    SF + 7,200gp boosting item for +12 vs 28,800gp for a +12 bonus just from the item.

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    Default Re: Making Skill Focus better...mkII

    So the consensus is keep the scaling bonuses (I have +3 at ranks 1 through 9, +5 at rank 10, +7 at rank 18), let it become a class skill, AND allow the ability to take 10 whenever you want?

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    Default Re: Making Skill Focus better...mkII

    Quote Originally Posted by Frosty View Post
    So the consensus is keep the scaling bonuses (I have +3 at ranks 1 through 9, +5 at rank 10, +7 at rank 18), let it become a class skill, AND allow the ability to take 10 whenever you want?
    You know, that seems REALLY good, but then, I'm still not sure if I would take skill focus outside of prereqs for PrCs.

    For me, skill focus would be more attractive if it gave a scaling bonus to two or three skills at a time.

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    Default Re: Making Skill Focus better...mkII

    Quote Originally Posted by Myrmex View Post
    You know, that seems REALLY good, but then, I'm still not sure if I would take skill focus outside of prereqs for PrCs.

    For me, skill focus would be more attractive if it gave a scaling bonus to two or three skills at a time.
    Still not enough? I don't want to make it too good though so that *everyone* takes it regardless. Maybe it also gives you 3 extra skill points to play with that level?

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