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Skills and Skill Tricks

For Draz's rebuild of 3.5 D&D.

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Skills and Skill Tricks

Postby Draz » Sun Feb 27, 2011 12:08 pm

Skill Tricks

There are ten skills in the current draft of CRE8: Athletics, Brawn, Charisma, Dexterity, Gadgetry, Knowledge, Nature, Perception, Stealth, and Wisdom. I'll write later about what kinds of tasks each of them covers, but the first thing to notice is that they are ... rather broad categories! There are dozens more skills in 3.5e, which makes it seem like CRE8 is losing something in specificity compared to its competition.

To fix that, CRE8 lets you specialize your skill use to apply to certain tasks, using a multitude of Talents called "skill tricks." If you have an appropriate skill trick, you can apply a skill to a task; if you don't have a skill trick, you can't even attempt the task at hand.

Just kidding.

Everyone can try anything, but ...

I have no significant background in lockpicking, but if you hand me a paper clip and give me a need to get through a locked door, I can certainly start jamming the paper clip into the lock and trying to unlock it, even if my chances of success are miniscule (i.e., "DM fiat only").

So if you try to pick a lock in CRE8 without having the Lockpicking talent, or track a foe without having the Tracker talent, or identify an Ooze without the Dungeoneer talent, you can roll a die to determine your success. CRE8 penalizes your roll, in this case, in two main ways:
  1. Capped skill rolls: Your skill check modifier is limited, on a Capped roll, to your Heroic Bonus (i.e. half your character level). Effectively, this means you make your non-Talented skill check using either your applicable Skill, or your Heroic Bonus, whichever is lower.
  2. Coasting forbidden: Even if you're in a calm, non-stressful environment, sometimes you can't perform a task in a steady, reliable way if you haven't had the proper training. Anyone can use their Athletics skill to climb a rocky cliff (it's not a Capped task), but you can't Coast suck a check unless you've got the Practiced Climber talent. (Note that this is a particularly effective limitation with skill checks that have hazardous results for failing badly, such as climbing.)

Even if a Talent allows you to Coast skill checks for certain tasks, note that it may not allow you to Coast those same skill checks when you are under pressure, such as during combat. Read individual Talent descriptions for details.
Draz
 
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Re: Skills and Skill Tricks

Postby Draz » Fri Mar 04, 2011 11:43 am

Basics of Skill Ranks

This mostly duplicates information already found in the Character Creation Instructions, but having it here seems like good organizational practice.

The maximum number of Ranks you can have in a skill is equal to your character level (max 8). If a skill is Trained, the maximum number of ranks is increased by two. (So the most ranks a character can ever have in a skill is 10.)

When you Train a skill, you also get two "free" Ranks in that skill. Every character may Train two skills at character creation. (Sometimes other special abilities -- usually Kits, especially Racial Kits -- will allow additional Trainings.)

In addition to the Ranks granted by training a skill, each character gains 5 Ranks at each level to distribute to their Skills as they wish. There are no "cross-class" skills a la 3.5e; a Rank always gives its full value.

Synergy

A number of Kits or Talents let you add a Synergy bonus to some statistic on your character sheet. A Synergy bonus is always based on the number of ranks you have in a particular skill, as follows:

Skill RanksPrimary Synergy BonusSecondary Synergy Bonus
0+0+0
1+0+0
2+0+0
3+1+0
4+1+0
5+1+1
6+1+1
7+2+1
8+2+1
9+2+2
10+2+2


Since a synergy bonus never exceeds +2, this shouldn't blow the game's numerical scaling into crazy levels. But since permanent numerical boosts to character statistics are rare in CRE8, these should still be pretty valuable.

A given skill can only give a Primary Synergy Bonus to one statistic. Any other Synergy Bonuses it grants use the Secondary Synergy Bonus column to determine their bonus. For example, if your paladin-type character has a Talent that gives him a Wisdom-based synergy bonus to his Magic Points pool, and then he gets a Kit that lets him add a Wisdom-based synergy bonus to his Willpower save, then only one of these bonuses can use the "Primary" column progression from the above table. The other bonus, as well as any other Wisdom-based synergy bonuses the character acquires in the future, must use the "Secondary" column.

Examples of Synergy Bonuses

  • Most weapon attacks (other than crossbows and similar weapons) gain a Brawn-based Synergy Bonus to their Impact. Brawn also adds a Synergy bonus to Armor Value. Unlike all other Synergy bonuses, these are enabled by default; they do not need a Talent or Kit to enable them.
  • A Weapon Finesse talent could add a Dexterity-based synergy bonus to the Accuracy of attacks with light weapons.
  • A similar ability could also apply a Dexterity-based synergy bonus to the Accuracy of ranged attacks, such as bows.
  • Many spellcaster Kits will grant a small number of additional Magic Points. In some cases, this could take the form of a Synergy bonus, such as
    • A Knowledge-based bonus for Wizards
    • A Wisdom-based bonus for Priests
    • A Nature-based bonus for Shamans
    • A Charisma-based bonus for Truespeakers
    • A Stealth-based bonus for Shadowcasters
  • I might make a copy of the 3e Paladin's "Divine Grace" ability available as a high-level ability. It could, for example, add a Wisdom-based synergy bonus to all Saves (or all Saves except Reflex?).
  • A Halfling-specific Talent might replace the Brawn-based synergy bonus to Impact with a Dexterity-based synergy bonus to impact with thrown rocks or sling bullets.
  • I could imagine synergy bonuses sometimes being added to other skills, such as a monk-style talent that adds a Wisdom-based Synergy bonus to Athletics checks or something.
Draz
 
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Re: Skills and Skill Tricks

Postby Draz » Fri Mar 04, 2011 11:50 am

Skill Descriptions

Athletics
Represents all sorts of full-body kinesthetic stunts. Can be used to climb, jump far, jump high, balance on a narrow surface, swim, or run fast. (Many of these tasks may require Skill Tricks in order to Coast, though.) With appropriate Skill Tricks, this skill can also be used to defend against movement-provoked-opportunity attacks, pull off some more circus-style acrobatic stunts, pull off fancy horse-riding stunts, or dance. Can also be used often to defend against being tripped or thrown.

Brawn
Represents feats of physical might: the traditional bending of bars or lifting of portcullises, breaking objects, or other things that would be handled by a Strength check in 3.5e. Grants an automatic Synergy bonus to weapon damage. Will be involved in Encumbrance rules once I come up with some. Can be used to resist being pushed around or overrun.

Dexterity
Represents careful motor control abilities. Can be used with appropriate Skill Tricks for picking locks, picking pockets, forging papers, playing certain musical instruments, crafting delicate objects, and so on. Can grant a Synergy Bonus to Accuracy of certain weapons, with appropriate Talents.

Gadgetry
Represents general savviness with equipment, especially mundane equipment. Can be used for such mundane tasks as repairing minor damage to armor or clothing, tying knots, and appraising item costs. With appropriate Skill Tricks, can be used to disable traps, craft valuable objects, or (at high levels) perhaps fool magic items in certain ways.

Glibness
Represents social smoothness and fast-talking ability. Used for lots of short-term social interactions -- persuading someone to do what you want, lying to them, or just digging gossip and news out of them over drinks. With appropriate Skill Tricks, this can also represent several kinds of performing talents (especially comedy).

Knowledge
Represents not only actual quantities of knowledge, but also how good a character generally is at learning and remembering information. Can be used for knowing general local or historical trivia, or checking whether a character remembers crucial information. With appropriate Skill Tricks, can identify monsters and their weaknesses, as well as representing knowledge of specialized areas such as magic, nature, or religion; also used for healing.

Leadership
Represents social "presence" and deeper understanding of other creatures. Also has some minor interaction with divine-fluffed spellcasting, which I like preserving even though I don't know how to explain it. Useful for many sorts of longer-duration social challenges, such as getting a creature to trust you, or to persuade someone who knows you well to do something they don't want to do, or to make an underling loyal to you.

Nature
Represents survival skills and familiarity with the natural world. Basically, the 3.5e Survival skill (including tracking if you have the right Skill Trick); also, with the right Skill Tricks, can represent more academic knowledge (especially of herbs), or can train animals (or even befriend them).

Perception
Represents awareness of one's surroundings. 3.5e Spot and Listen and Search and Sense Motive, sure (the latter two possibly requiring Skill Tricks), but also, perhaps, more subtle things, such as a Monk-type character being able to add Synergy bonuses to many things based on his Perception.

Stealth
Represents the ability to go unnoticed. Hiding and moving quietly are obvious, but with the right Skill Tricks, can also be used to blend in with a crowd or disguise oneself as an alias unworthy of attention.
Draz
 
Posts: 72
Joined: Tue Nov 23, 2010 3:09 pm

Re: Skills and Skill Tricks

Postby Draz » Tue Aug 16, 2011 10:15 am

Two skills have been renamed. So if you're following CRE8 and get confused when I suddenly start referring to "Glibness checks," now you'll be able to look them up.
Draz
 
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