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    Default (4e) Dumbing down skills

    Im barely scratching the surface of 4e right now, but If I am correct a lot of character individuality has been taken away.

    For example, athletics now encompasses swim, climb, jump, tumble etc. I can no longer have a character that is horrid at swimming but a master jumper, he will have to be good at every single one of those, which is odd.

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    Default Re: (4e) Dumbing down skills

    Quote Originally Posted by Ozreth View Post
    Im barely scratching the surface of 4e right now, but If I am correct a lot of character individuality has been taken away.

    For example, athletics now encompasses swim, climb, jump, tumble etc. I can no longer have a character that is horrid at swimming but a master jumper, he will have to be good at every single one of those, which is odd.
    Yes you can.

    Well, not "horrid" but you can make master jumpers through Skill Focus, Utility choices, and the upcoming Skill Tricks.

    I mean, if you define your characters solely by their ability to climb and not jump, I guess you lose that option. Look at it this way - in 4E you choose what to be really good at, instead of looking at skills you can afford to be really bad at.
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    Default Re: (4e) Dumbing down skills

    Quote Originally Posted by Oracle_Hunter View Post
    Yes you can.

    Well, not "horrid" but you can make master jumpers through Skill Focus, Utility choices, and the upcoming Skill Tricks.

    I mean, if you define your characters solely by their ability to climb and not jump, I guess you lose that option. Look at it this way - in 4E you choose what to be really good at, instead of looking at skills you can afford to be really bad at.
    Could you expand on skill focus, utility choice, and the upcoming skill tricks? Don't know much about anything, but it sounds like enough to satisfy my hunger. Thanks : )

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    Default Re: (4e) Dumbing down skills

    It is also possible to just say that she's bad at swimming despite a decent Athletics skill. The limits go up, not down.
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    Default Re: (4e) Dumbing down skills

    Quote Originally Posted by Ozreth View Post
    Could you expand on skill focus, utility choice, and the upcoming skill tricks? Don't know much about anything, but it sounds like enough to satisfy my hunger. Thanks : )
    Skill Focus is a Feat - it gives you +3 to a Skill that you are Trained in.

    Utilities are useful powers that all characters get; many of the martial ones get powers that enhance their Skills in certain ways.

    Other Feats let you get more out of a particular Skill use than normal. Sure Climber, as an example, lets you move at full speed when you climb, rather than half.

    Skill Tricks are Utility Powers that any class can choose, provided they are Trained in a particular Skill.
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    Default Re: (4e) Dumbing down skills

    Quote Originally Posted by Weimann View Post
    It is also possible to just say that she's bad at swimming despite a decent Athletics skill. The limits go up, not down.
    Yeah, there's not a DM in the world who won't let you declare yourself to take a -10 to Athletics checks to swim. (Well. Probably.)

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    Default Re: (4e) Dumbing down skills

    to quote myself from another board, a long time ago which sums up my thoughts on this:

    because D&D is not a skill-based game. skills are part of the package, but not it's entirety. a long list of separate non-associated skills in a game where they are a feature will dilute it's purpose, especially the distribution method is limited.

    i'll use 3rd ed D&D as an example for this, but it applies to any game where your skills are a limited resource. the 2+int skill points classes in a game with 36 individual skills, some like "knowledge" is actually 8 individual skills with one main header while perform/craft/profession are just placeholder for other skills. that 2+int will get somewhere between 46 and 92 points probably, or 4 skills by level 20. it sounds like a lot of points, but it's really maxing out less then a tenth of the possible individual skills. or you can split them up between a fifth of them but you'll be weak in those skills and if you need to do a task that should normally only be difficult for a character of your level it might prove itself too great...

    D&D & other such games, since you have a very finite number of skills points to use, it's usually best to max out 2-3 skills and have another 3-4 with a few points in it... usually enough to score the minimum required for a task or to get some synergy bonuses.

    in games like GURPS, which offer a more free-form leveling, you don't have a "limit" other then the amount of XP you gain and it's much easier to be trained in a large variety of skills

    while it's very possible to min-max a skill in GURPS (i'll admit, i've done it), you will almost always have a some XP in storage to allocate and it's usually in your interest to spread them out as if you really need that one skill a bit higher. i find this not nearly as debilitating then D&D where you almost have to plan a level or two in advance if you want to spread them out, or just pick X skills and max them, where X = int+class skill points.

    what 4th ed did is, IMO, a good thing: condense the skill list into similar groupings and let the players pick X (where X is determined from their class). this allows for characters who are much more skilled as each skill has a subset of things it covers. with 3 levels of training (untrained, trained, focused) possible which is modified by the stat mod, 1/2 level and items/situation, it does allow for variety between characters. it just doesn't bother with minute and individual details and leaves that to the player & gm.

    in 4th ed if you want your rogue to be a pickpocket that can't crack safes grab "thievery", ignore the training bonus and tell that to the group & GM. done.

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    Default Re: (4e) Dumbing down skills

    While I don't necessarily agree with the 4e skill spread, I do think that how 4e condensed and treated skills is very good. Perhaps not as well as a skill-based game would do it, but still fairly well.

    4e does have rules for, say, playing a blind character (even though Spot/Listen were merged into Perception) or for playing a race that can't jump. And, as Oracle Hunter said, there will be new options for characters who wish to be particularly skilled at one particular task - although it took a long time to get there. Of course, you are free to not use checks/use them at a penalty for in-character reasons. Perhaps the master lockpicker is nervous about getting caught, and thus doesn't try to pick pockets?

    Interesting, why don't I ever hear about applying ability scores to bonuses? I don't recall anyone ever complaining that their high-Wisdom cleric has unusually good Listen checks, after all.

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    Default Re: (4e) Dumbing down skills

    Have they made Thri-Kreen for 4e yet? Do they have +30 to athletics?
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    Default Re: (4e) Dumbing down skills

    Ask your DM for a trait that grants (e.g.) +4 to jumping, -4 to swimming, -4 to climbing. It's like the "Traits" in 3.5 Unearthed Arcana, which are like a feat combined with a flaw, so you don't have to 'spend' anything on it.

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    Default Re: (4e) Dumbing down skills

    Quote Originally Posted by Ozreth View Post
    Im barely scratching the surface of 4e right now, but If I am correct a lot of character individuality has been taken away.

    For example, athletics now encompasses swim, climb, jump, tumble etc. I can no longer have a character that is horrid at swimming but a master jumper, he will have to be good at every single one of those, which is odd.
    The flip side of that is I can have a fighter who's a good, all-around athelte without have to to make him a human with a decent Int and multiclassed in rogue.

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    Default Re: (4e) Dumbing down skills

    Quote Originally Posted by jokey665 View Post
    Have they made Thri-Kreen for 4e yet? Do they have +30 to athletics?
    not sure but if they have made that specific version they aren't going to be a player race. every race I can think of gets +2 to two specific skills.
    Last edited by Mystic Muse; 2010-01-05 at 08:41 PM.
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    Default Re: (4e) Dumbing down skills

    Quote Originally Posted by jokey665 View Post
    Have they made Thri-Kreen for 4e yet? Do they have +30 to athletics?
    not yet, but i hear they'll be in the Dark Sun Setting Book later this year. like all other LA-type races, they've been toned down and their other abilities can probably be bought off via feats.

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    Default Re: (4e) Dumbing down skills

    Quote Originally Posted by Sinon View Post
    The flip side of that is I can have a fighter who's a good, all-around athelte without have to to make him a human with a decent Int and multiclassed in rogue.
    exactly...
    In 3.5e your average fighter cannot jump, cannot run, cannot swim, cannot ride, cannot avoid blows (tumble), cannot climb, cannot etc...
    very few classes were "skill monkeys" and they had far more valuable things to spend their skill points on then on the 15 aspects of physical excellence... Combining like skills makes sense, and if you NEED to make a character that cannot swim for example, you just give her/him the trait "cannot swim: this character doesn't know how to swim and sinks like a rock"... optionally make it a -10 to athletics when swimming rather then an absolute failure when swimming.

    In 3e you cannot fix that because if you give fighters a ton of skill points they have better things, like UMD, to spend them on. You have to fundamentally break the system by having the DM and player just sit down and decide exactly which specific skills you can have as part of your illegal character.

    4e finally fixes this horrible horrible dreck.

    Nothing is stopping you from using 3.5 skills in 4e btw, and an alternative fix would just be to alter the COSTS of various skills... that is. hmmm, I am actually on to something here. I will make a specific thread for it later, maybe, if I have the time...

    the idea is basically to give various costs to various skills, a rank of UMD can cost 2 points, while 1 point in swim gets you 4 ranks. with in between values for other skills based on their relative usefulness and difficulty.
    If you are nice, you can get rid of the stupid "class skills" mechanic, and make skills more dependent on int and less on class (aka, a smart fighter can have lots of skills). Or maybe give a chart per class (aka, going from int 10 to 14 gives a different amount of bonus points per level for a fighter than it does a wizard)
    Last edited by taltamir; 2010-01-05 at 08:48 PM.
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    Default Re: (4e) Dumbing down skills

    I assume that means WoD/Exalted has a dumbed down mechanic with limited character individualization too, in OP's mind? Because it used a single skill for jumping, climbing and swimming, or hiding and sneaking, long before DND. In fact, are there any modern RPGs that don't add use a single skill for such closely-related abilities?

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    Default Re: (4e) Dumbing down skills

    I always hear about people saying that you can't use skills in 4e or that it's harder than other editions... In 3.5 usually just the skill monkey used skills while the rest kinda sat back. At least in 4e anyone can use a skill and have a chance to be awesome at it. If you want more skills in the campy then get a DM that is less on fighting and more on rp and skills...
    I have to give Paizo credit...

    They took an established work and said they fixed it but didn't actually fix it and yet still made money off from it.

    How can you beat that?

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    Default Re: (4e) Dumbing down skills

    Quote Originally Posted by Tengu_temp View Post
    I assume that means WoD/Exalted has a dumbed down mechanic with limited character individualization too, in OP's mind? Because it used a single skill for jumping, climbing and swimming, or hiding and sneaking, long before DND.
    This. So very this.

    In fact, are there any modern RPGs that don't add use a single skill for such closely-related abilities?
    Oh hell yes. Well, I suppose it depends on what you define as a modern RPG, but I'm pretty damn confident the answer is yes.


    And I was hoping that this thread, despite having "4e" and "dumb" in the title, wouldn't be anti-4e. 4e has flaws, ya, but not because it's "dumb".
    Last edited by Foryn Gilnith; 2010-01-05 at 09:47 PM.

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    Default Re: (4e) Dumbing down skills

    Quote Originally Posted by Tengu_temp View Post
    I assume that means WoD/Exalted has a dumbed down mechanic with limited character individualization too, in OP's mind? Because it used a single skill for jumping, climbing and swimming, or hiding and sneaking, long before DND. In fact, are there any modern RPGs that don't add use a single skill for such closely-related abilities?
    GURPS certainly doesn't. Half the game is skills, and it's quite fine-grained. Heck, each spell a mage knows is a separate skill -- Create Fire, Extinguish Fire and Shape Fire are distinct, and those are more closely related (to my way of thinking) than swimming, climbing and jumping are. In Shadowrun, you can buy Athletics as a skill group, or can separately take any or all of Climbing, Gymnastics (D&D's "Acrobatics"), Running and Swimming. It's only cheaper to buy the group if you want three or more of those four.
    Last edited by Dimers; 2010-01-05 at 10:44 PM.

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    Default Re: (4e) Dumbing down skills

    Quote Originally Posted by jokey665 View Post
    Have they made Thri-Kreen for 4e yet? Do they have +30 to athletics?
    I'm sure the Thri-Kreen's jumping ability would be better represented as a racial power in 4th Edition, rather than as a skill bonus like it was in 3rd.

    Example: Super Jump (Move Action): You jump through the air, moving up to double your speed.

    It would probably be an encounter power (just because most racial powers are).
    Last edited by KillianHawkeye; 2010-01-05 at 11:27 PM.
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    Default Re: (4e) Dumbing down skills

    What I like about skills being put into broader categories for 4e is that each skill group gets roughly equal use. In some 3rd ed games, swim is life and death. In others it never comes up. Skills like forgery are even less likely to see use.

    I've seen all 4e skills get used so far. Maybe the social ones see more use since they're more flexible (ie, I don't have diplomacy but intimidate can get info out of someone just as easily). But I don't feel like any are a waste of points. Maybe it's not the best model of a character, but it is better from a game perspective.
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    Default Re: (4e) Dumbing down skills

    Clearly a better solution would have been to make skills even narrower, so that you can truly customize your character.

    I want to take ranks in Tie Knot (Square) without being forced to be skilled at Tie Knot (Slip).

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    Default Re: (4e) Dumbing down skills

    The condensed skill set in 4e was actually one of the main selling points for me, although I might have added a few more (Ride, Seafaring, Craft (general)). I hated the idea that I could play a ripped, sturdy fighter who could climb up a sheer wall but couldn't jump to save his life.

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    Default Re: (4e) Dumbing down skills

    Its not the condesed skill list that bothers me (though they went too far with it as well), its the autoimprovement of all skill as you level.

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    Default Re: (4e) Dumbing down skills

    Quote Originally Posted by Tehnar View Post
    Its not the condesed skill list that bothers me (though they went too far with it as well), its the autoimprovement of all skill as you level.
    Yeah. I kinda like that actually. I loved it in SAGA because it made sense to do it that way. I'm not really sure it makes sense in 4E, but I don't care. I still like it. I guess I kinda like that as an adventurer, you gradually get better at adventuring regardless of what you're specialized in. But I can see why some people don't like it.
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    Default Re: (4e) Dumbing down skills

    D&D never handled skill growth correctly ever since it was introduced as Non-Weapon Proficiencies in 2nd ed (or the older % thief skills). remember that the best way to become a master basketweaver is to skewer as many goblins as possible with your sword, not through practice.

    the auto-growth represents generic "experience". be it learning by simply listening to others, natural awesomeness, by experiencing it first hand, or whatnot. the fighter won't be as good in arcana as the wizard is by default, but at least he learns things on the subject. stat, training, focus, feats, items... those are the big "difference makers" that will provide variety between characters.

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    Default Re: (4e) Dumbing down skills

    I just don't see anyone becoming better at something by watching it done. You won't get any better at basketball by watching every game if you don't practise at it too.

    Besides in 3.5 DnD you can achieve a superhuman level with skills (compared to modern world athletes) by the 5th level at latest. So that means you don't need to invest much in any skill to have a superhuman achievement.
    Last edited by Tehnar; 2010-01-06 at 10:08 AM.

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    Default Re: (4e) Dumbing down skills

    Quote Originally Posted by oxybe View Post
    D&D never handled skill growth correctly ever since it was introduced as Non-Weapon Proficiencies in 2nd ed
    Non weapon proficiencies appeared in 1e AD&D as well.
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    Default Re: (4e) Dumbing down skills

    1) I have never really let “it doesn’t make sense” get in the way of my enjoyment of RPGs.

    Firstly, I know verisimilitude is a priority to many (and to each his own) but in a game, realism has to compete with things like balance and the fact that you are reducing incredibly complex things like fighting, jumping, swimming, and knowing to abstractions that can be expressed as 1d20+x.

    2) A person who watches basketball all the time but never plays is still going to be better than a fellow who does neither.

    But more seriously, I don’t really buy the analogy of the fighter and Arcana/couch potato and basketball.

    The fighter isn’t sitting on the sidelines. He’s fighting magical creatures, getting zapped by magical traps and other spells, using portals and other magic items, falling through illusory walls – seriously, how did 3.5 fighters manage to be so obtuse as to learn nothing from any of that?

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    Default Re: (4e) Dumbing down skills

    to an extent, yes you will learn. you might not become a better player, but your understanding of the game will grow. i don't have an interest in basketball and i can't remember the last time i tried to pay attention to it so i can't make an analogy, but i'm certain if you pay attention to how the successful players in their positions play and the dynamics of the game, you'll probably pick up a few tricks.

    thus the 1/2 level bonus.

    if you're weak (low str for athletics) and you don't practice (so no training, focus or feat bonus), then yes, you're going to be an Armchair Quarterback, but for basketball. so an Armchair Jordan, if you will.

    as for the "superhuman" thing, like you said it's superhuman for us, but if such a thing is expected of low level adventurers in "D&D Land", it's not really superhuman anymore, is it? i remember reading somewhere how 9th level characters are doing better then olympic athletes & other "above the norm" type people via normal progression, but that's compared to people on Earth.

    on Oerth or whatever, that's expected from the greatest heroes and villains of the land.

    so while Sir Shinypants the Valorous, paladin of the realms, might leap higher & farther then John Dirtfarmerson, he's not being compared to John. he's being compared to the Dark Lord Axeface Von Hacknslash III, a blackguard of bane who is a vile mirror of Shinypants.

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    Default Re: (4e) Dumbing down skills

    Quote Originally Posted by Sinon View Post
    The fighter isn’t sitting on the sidelines. He’s fighting magical creatures, getting zapped by magical traps and other spells, using portals and other magic items, falling through illusory walls – seriously, how did 3.5 fighters manage to be so obtuse as to learn nothing from any of that?
    2+int skill points? Know(arcana) had to compete with Jump, Climb, Swim & Ride.

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