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  1. - Top - End - #1
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    Ashtagon's Avatar

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    Default New Flaw: Can't [Swim]

    This is an idea based on http://www.d20srd.org/srd/variant/bu...acterFlaws.htm

    Can't [Skill]

    Effect: Choose one skill. You are utterly incompetent at that skill.

    You can never spend skill points on this skill. You cannot take 10 or take 20 with the skill.

    If you attempt a task with the skill, you are automatically assumed to have rolled a natural 1. If you are playing with a rule where a natural 1 results in a special penalty (critical fumble), roll 1d6 (not 1d20). On a 1, you suffer the effects of that critical fumble. On any other result, you count your check result as if you had rolled a 1, but with no special critical fumble penalty.

    Special: Only certain skills may be selected for this flaw, as follows:

    * Only skills that are class skills for your character may be chosen.
    * If you have ever spent a skill point on the skill, you may not select it for this flaw.
    * If you choose "Knowledge" this flaw applies to all sub-skills of the chosen skill category. Where a limited number of sub-skills are listed or implied, there must be at least three of the sub-skills listed as class skills before you are allowed to take this flaw.
    * You cannot choose any of the following skills for this flaw: Listen, Search, Speak Language, Spot. Taking these would make the character essentially senseless or mute, resulting in a character that would be extremely hard to play sincerely, and uselessly broken if actually played sincerely.
    * You cannot choose any of the following skills for this flaw: Craft, Perform, Profession, as they either rarely come up in play and would amount to a free feat, or are critical to the functioning of the class. If allowed anyway, the flaw applies to all subskills, just as for Knowledge.
    * You cannot choose any of the following skills for this flaw: Decipher Script, Forgery, Handle Animal, Use Rope. These skills tend not to come up often enough in play to be worth a full flaw.

    * List of permitted skills is therefore: Appraise, Balance, Bluff, Climb, Concentration, Craft, Decipher Script, Diplomacy, Disable Device, Disguise, Escape Artist, Forgery, Gather Information, Handle Animal, Heal, Hide, Intimidate, Jump, Knowledge, Listen, Move Silently, Open Lock, Perform, Profession, Ride, Search, Sense Motive, Sleight of Hand, Speak Language, Spellcraft, Spot, Survival, Swim, Tumble, Use Magic Device, Use Rope.

    Is this balanced?

    Edit History

    * Clarified critical fumble rules interactions and chances of success.
    * All Knowledge skills counted as one (no more K/local exception); tidied up a Can't Know loophole.
    * Removed the most obvious skill choice abuses.
    Last edited by Ashtagon; 2011-04-02 at 07:22 AM.

  2. - Top - End - #2
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    Default Re: New Flaw: Can't [Swim]

    Why is Knowledge (local) excepted? Not necessarily disagreeing mind, just confused as to why you called that one out specifically.

    It's not a bad idea, but I expect most people would use this flaw on skills they'd never need anyway - ride, profession, craft etc., so it might turn into a 'free' feat. Not sure how to fix that though.
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    Default Re: New Flaw: Can't [Swim]

    Too often, will just be a free feat at no cost. Just one example off the top of my head, Rogue/Perform. Or Paladin/Concentration (you take Battle Blessing with the bonus feat, so you don't need to worry about Concentration checks )

    I would suggest limiting the skill choice to: Balance, Climb, Escape Artist, Hide, Jump, Move Silently, Spot, Listen, Tumble, Swim

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    Default Re: New Flaw: Can't [Swim]

    I think everyone gets Craft as a class skill, but very few people ever put points in it. I'd take this for Craft and be done with it.
    Last edited by Kobold-Bard; 2011-03-31 at 11:23 AM.
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  5. - Top - End - #5
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    Default Re: New Flaw: Can't [Swim]

    I specifically excluded Knowledge (local), Spot, Listen, Search, and Speak Language. K/Local because it represents what you learned about your local neighbourhood growing up, so short of living under a rock (literally, not just figuratively), you should still be able to take an untrained 10 to know where the local pub is. The logical equivalent of Can't Spot/Listen/Search would be Blind or Deaf, and any attempt to honestly role-play that would make for a liability character in a party. Speak Language I called out because the mechanics work differently.

    I suppose the list of available feats could be tweaked further to prevent the more obvious abuses (eg. Perform is either fundamental to the functioning of the class, or utterly irrelevant).

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    Default Re: New Flaw: Can't [Swim]

    Bards drop Concentration by taking Melodic Casting (which they probably want anyway since you're all about Performing) too.

    I understand how Knowledge (Local) can represent stuff you learned growing up, but surely you'd learn stuff about enemies as you come to them, or things in the past - a rural child might need Knowledge (Nature) as a product of their upbringing. A child raised by the church might have Knowledge (Religion) and the like. Even if you assume they know next to nothing they will still have picked up a little info via osmosis.

    I don't think Knowledge should be included in there at all, but that's my view on it.

    Also you can totally play a blind person - the Unseelie Fey template (Dragon Compendium) gives you the option of not having eyes but having Blindsight 30' or Tremorsense 30'.

    It's a fun idea though, I will grant you, especially if your DM plays a varied enough campaign that you can be sure the check WILL come up at some point, but you're not being forced to make it all the time. Some people are just completely inept at places, and I like this as a way to really reflect it.
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    Default Re: New Flaw: Can't [Swim]

    I can't think of anyone who puts points into every single class skill they have, so this is essentially a free feat. Flaws have to have serious negative consequences to be worth a feat (or should, at any rate).

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    Default Re: New Flaw: Can't [Swim]

    Is it bad that my first thought was to make a skill called "Touch This"?

    In any case, I'd agree that it should be restricted to a small set of actually useful skills, otherwise it becomes free power.

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    Default Re: New Flaw: Can't [Swim]

    Quote Originally Posted by Ashtagon View Post
    I specifically excluded Knowledge (local), Spot, Listen, Search, and Speak Language. K/Local because it represents what you learned about your local neighbourhood growing up, so short of living under a rock (literally, not just figuratively), you should still be able to take an untrained 10 to know where the local pub is. The logical equivalent of Can't Spot/Listen/Search would be Blind or Deaf, and any attempt to honestly role-play that would make for a liability character in a party. Speak Language I called out because the mechanics work differently.

    I suppose the list of available feats could be tweaked further to prevent the more obvious abuses (eg. Perform is either fundamental to the functioning of the class, or utterly irrelevant).
    Hey, I know lots of lizardfolk who lived under rocks and were perfectly good contributing members of society :P

    As for the flaw, it seems a bit harsh to me. That's just me though.
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    Default Re: New Flaw: Can't [Swim]

    Really quite a nice idea, but like so many other really nice ideas, it requires a certain amount of decency from your players (not happening!). I'd also worry that a fighter would take serious bashing from the flaw whilst a rogue could drop 4 or 5 skills without noticing.
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    Default Re: New Flaw: Can't [Swim]

    Quote Originally Posted by Blisstake View Post
    I can't think of anyone who puts points into every single class skill they have, so this is essentially a free feat. Flaws have to have serious negative consequences to be worth a feat (or should, at any rate).

    Something worth noting is that there are a number of skills people don't put points into where this flaw could still have significant effect. Note that the flaw makes you auto-fail all checks and forbids you from taking 10. You will never succeed at anything within the skill's domain.

    For example, most characters never take ranks of Ride. A lot of those characters still ride a horse to get from place to place before Teleport becomes available. You cannot do that with this flaw because you fail at the DC 5 task of riding a horse under peaceful conditions. If you Can't Climb, you will always fall off ladders. If you Can't Concentrate, you will automatically fail all skill checks you make while you're on a boat (seriously, check the Concentrate description - it's a DC 10 check). If you Can't Balance, you will fall down every time you try to move faster than walking speed in a dungeon ("running or charging across hewn stone or uneven flagstone" - DC 10.). These are all things that a lot of characters would never sink ranks into, but still are effective as a Can't [skill] flaw.

    That said, Can't [Profession] is likely to be a freebie for most adventurers, because adventuring is their job.

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    Default Re: New Flaw: Can't [Swim]

    Not to mention Can't [Craft] for non-wizards, Can't [Forgery] for almost anyone, and Can't [Perform] for non-bards. That's four free feats right there.

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    Default Re: New Flaw: Can't [Swim]

    I too agree that only very specific skills should be in the lists that can be removed via Can't. For instance, swim, ride, climb and balance are situational, but can be vital or at least useful reasonably often. Can't Concentrate turns a person on a horse, on a boat or outside during a windy day nigh-incompetent.
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    Default Re: New Flaw: Can't [Swim]

    Quote Originally Posted by Lateral View Post
    Not to mention Can't [Craft] for non-wizards, Can't [Forgery] for almost anyone, and Can't [Perform] for non-bards. That's four free feats right there.
    Those three depend on the campaign. Someone who can't [Forgery] will also never be able to recognize a forgery, since Forgery opposes Forgery. Perform includes Oratory, so any attempt to address a group too large to address personally will result in worsened relations. Craft can probably be dumped by most characters, similarly to Profession.

    In any case, you're right that none of them is as major a hit as something like Ride or Climb, and can't match the crippling effect of Balance or Concentrate.

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    Default Re: New Flaw: Can't [Swim]

    Two options, as I see it:
    • Break down the list into a discrete set of flaws. Hated by Animals, Uneasy Rider, Easily Distracted, etc. Add extra details to each to just make them a little more interesting. (Hated by Animals would be Handle Animal, and would have the initial attitude of all animals be one step lower towards you, you can't make handle animal checks).
    • Offer a specific list of feats that you'd get for the flaw. Sort of 'half-feats', as it were, a rationale for gaining/getting the crummy feats like Toughness, Endurance, any +2/+2 skill feat, Run, Combat Casting, etc.
    Last edited by Hyudra; 2011-03-31 at 06:31 PM.

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    Default Re: New Flaw: Can't [Swim]

    Barring certain optional books, most non-casters can enjoy a free feat via this flaw by taking Concentration as their can't-do skill, with no negative repercussions...

    @V: Oops, missed the part about "Can't take non-class skills." Sorry.
    Last edited by TheCountAlucard; 2011-04-01 at 04:19 PM.

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    Default Re: New Flaw: Can't [Swim]

    Quote Originally Posted by TheCountAlucard View Post
    Barring certain optional books, most non-casters can enjoy a free feat via this flaw by taking Concentration as their can't-do skill, with no negative repercussions...
    You sure? Because this flaw will cripple any melee character in a storm, on a boat, horse, or wagon.

    Of course, most non-casters don't have Concentration as a class skill anyway, so wouldn't be allowed to take Can't (Concentrate).
    Last edited by Ashtagon; 2011-04-01 at 04:14 PM.

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    Default Re: New Flaw: Can't [Swim]

    I'd limit it to Swim, Ride and Move Silently.. Sure, people might dump those to game the rule, but they all make sense as real character flaws which is more important to me anyway.

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    Default Re: New Flaw: Can't [Swim]

    I think the easiest way to fix it is just to restrict it to the set of skills that actually hurt to drop: Climb, Swim, Jump, Move Silently, Hide, Ride, Tumble(?) maybe?

    I actually think Can't Balance and Can't Concentrate are actually too harsh for a flaw, and many like Can't Craft are too weak.
    Last edited by Erom; 2011-04-01 at 04:21 PM.

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    Default Re: New Flaw: Can't [Swim]

    Aren't skill checks generally not subject to natural ones or twenties?
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    Default Re: New Flaw: Can't [Swim]

    Quote Originally Posted by Seraphiel View Post
    Aren't skill checks generally not subject to natural ones or twenties?
    Generally, there is no such thing as auto-success/fail on natural 20/1 for skill checks. This flaw effectively amounts to "you always roll a 1 on skill checks, and can't buy skill ranks". Theoretically, if you had a high enough bonus from other sources, you could possibly make the check anyway. For example, a character with Can't Concentrate and 18 Constitution will still make any DC 5 Concentration check he is called on to make (natural 1 and +4 Con bonus).

    Some specific situations may have a special result if a natural 1 is rolled for a skill check. In these case, roll 1d20 for the check. On a natural 1, treat it as a natural 1, including the special penalty for the 'critical fumble'. On any other roll, treat the roll as if it were a 1, but without applying any special penalty for rolling a natural 1.

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    Default Re: New Flaw: Can't [Swim]

    Quote Originally Posted by Ashtagon View Post
    Generally, there is no such thing as auto-success/fail on natural 20/1 for skill checks. This flaw effectively amounts to "you always roll a 1 on skill checks, and can't buy skill ranks". Theoretically, if you had a high enough bonus from other sources, you could possibly make the check anyway. For example, a character with Can't Concentrate and 18 Constitution will still make any DC 5 Concentration check he is called on to make (natural 1 and +4 Con bonus).
    ..other than the part where it says "you automatically fail at any attempt to perform the skill", anyway.

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    Default Re: New Flaw: Can't [Swim]

    2 DMs I play with both use the critical success/failure system with skill checks, it's a reasonably common house rule. Even suggested in the DMG I believe!
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    Default Re: New Flaw: Can't [Swim]

    Made some changes to the OP to correct some of the most obvious imbalances.

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    Default Re: New Flaw: Can't [Swim]

    ...So, presumably someone with decent dex (+2 bonus or higher) could still ride on a horse behind someone in good conditions (1 from roll +2 dex +2 assist = 5)?

    Actually, now that I read it back, that sounds entirely reasonable. Never mind.

    EDIT the 2nd: How does this flaw interact with Trained Only skills? Presumably, if you were never going to put ranks in that skill you lose nothing (besides opportunity cost) and gain a free feat.
    Last edited by Daremonai; 2011-04-02 at 06:48 AM.
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    Default Re: New Flaw: Can't [Swim]

    Quote Originally Posted by Daremonai View Post
    EDIT the 2nd: How does this flaw interact with Trained Only skills? Presumably, if you were never going to put ranks in that skill you lose nothing (besides opportunity cost) and gain a free feat.
    Trained only? Let's see... Here's the list of trained only skills, along with those base classes allowed to take that skill for this flaw. The default assumption is that there is no special case for trained only skills.

    Decipher Script (bard, rogue, wizard): This should definitely be excluded.

    Disable Device (rogue): This is a key skill for the class, so it's definitely not a free feat.

    Handle Animal (barbarian, druid, fighter, paladin, ranger): Untrained, you'd still be able to handle or push animals, but this is rather weak for a flaw.

    Knowledge (bard, cleric, ranger, wizard): This is a key skill for these classes, so it's definitely not a free feat.

    Open Lock (rogue): This is a key skill for the class, so it's definitely not a free feat.

    Profession (most of them): Not allowed by default anyway.

    Sleight of Hand (bard, rogue): This is a key skill for these classes, so it's definitely not a free feat.

    Speak Language (bard): Not allowed by default anyway.

    Spellcraft (most caster classes): This is a key skill for these classes, so it's definitely not a free feat.

    Tumble (bard, monk, rogue): This is a key skill for these classes, so it's definitely not a free feat.

    UMD (bard, rogue): This is a key skill for these classes, so it's definitely not a free feat.

    So, Decipher Script and Handle Animal deserve exclusion for game balance. The other trained only skills are quite important for those classes that would be allowed them as a Can't [skill] flaw, so aren't really free feats. Editing the OP to reflect this.

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    Default Re: New Flaw: Can't [Swim]

    I'd have it so the 'automatic failure' clause goes away if you're activley being helped. It would suck if you were drowning, and someone jumped in the water to save you, but you kept drowning anyway. Although, maybe in that circumstance, you need someone with a sufficient strength check to pull you out.

    Can't Craft would have repercussions for people, too. You can't set up a tent, draw a simple map, sharpen your own sword, etc. Not saying its worth a feat, unless you play with a really realism-oriented DM, but it would have some impact. Maybe it would work as a trait of some sort.

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    Default Re: New Flaw: Can't [Swim]

    Quote Originally Posted by urkthegurk View Post
    Can't Craft would have repercussions for people, too. You can't set up a tent, draw a simple map, sharpen your own sword, etc. Not saying its worth a feat, unless you play with a really realism-oriented DM, but it would have some impact. Maybe it would work as a trait of some sort.
    It may be interesting to have some kind of "doesn't maintain his gear" flaw as a sub for can't Craft, which would cause any and all pieces of equipment to gradually fall apart and look poorly-maintained. This covers not just weapons, but clothing too. Badly maintained clothing will eventually end up as rags (hey, it's PG ) which give penalties on Charisma checks at the temple, guild, and the court.

    I'm not really sure this is worth a feat even so. And the game mechanics are sufficiently different that it can't be listed as part of the Can't [skill] flaw family.

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    Default Re: New Flaw: Can't [Swim]

    A lot of people have been saying 'Nice idea but I don't think it's worth a feat', or words to that effect. You could always go really mental and make it 2 skills for the flaw, that certainly makes it feat-worthy. Then the caveat about aid checks would fit perfectly as a counter balance.

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