Replacing the Skill Mechanic with Feats

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Havard
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Replacing the Skill Mechanic with Feats

Post by Havard » Wed Apr 09, 2014 12:08 pm

Here's an idea.

As a house rule, I'd like to completely remove skills from 3E. Any action that was previously a skill roll will now be checked as an ability score roll, perhaps similar to the SIEGE system from C&C with a bonus based on level.


In addition, a new category of Feats called Background Feats or somesuch will provide bonuses on certain actions that were previously covered by mundane skills (like Perform, Profession etc). All characters will get an additional number of feats from this category upon char gen, perhaps based on your int score.

Thief Skills will now also become Feats and Rogues will gain an additional number of such feats for free at char gen.


Thoughts?

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Re: Replacing the Skill Mechanic with Feats

Post by Scott Anderson » Wed Apr 09, 2014 12:20 pm

It is odd that they decided to go with two different mechanics for doing stuff out of combat. I never really thought about it before.

One of the issues with 3e is the arms race of skills. If you don't max out a skill as you go along, you put yourself at a disadvantage even if you are objectively very good at that skill.

For instance, I have an 8th-level human Scout. He can max out 11 skills and carries a number of masterwork skill buff items. Why would anyone want to play a rogue in a party where this guy is going to outshine him?

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Re: Replacing the Skill Mechanic with Feats

Post by Havard » Wed Apr 09, 2014 12:37 pm

Classic D&D | AD&D 1st Ed | AD&D 1st Ed+ |AD&D 2nd Ed | AD&D 2nd Ed + | D&D 3E Alignment | Alignment | Alignment | Alignment | Alignment |Alignment Class/Race | Race | Race | Race |Race | Race - | Class |Class |Class |Class |Class - | - | Secondary Skills | - | NWPs| Skills - | - | - | - |Weapon Profs | Feats - | - |- |-| Kits | PrCs

The table above illustrates the layers of choices given to a player when generating a character. I have not included all the optional rules in BECMI (Weapon Mastery, Skills etc) or Players Options for 2nd Ed here. the "+" categories indicate variants of AD&D where more optional rules are used. I also decided to include the PrCs from 3E even though they are usually not an option for starting characters.

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Replacing the Feats with Skill Mechanics?

Post by TBeholder » Wed Apr 09, 2014 12:54 pm

But why not to do the opposite - replace feats with skills? It makes more sense, IMO.
Skills and feats together generally look superfluous, and indeed introduce ambiguity among other things. But...
The only problem with skills is rank inflation, which is curable - the obvious solution is a non-linear Ranks(Points) function - old good triangle numbers or other ~sqrt(N), or even better Fibonacci. It's easy and even flexible.
There are more and worse problems with feats, starting with their unwieldiness- it tend to be either too little or too much. Yes, there are lots of feats, but those are Augean Stables in need of a good flush. :twisted: Skills do the same job as "greater X" feats better, and many others boil down to contrived echoes of "character does not know which end of a spear should be pointed toward the enemy" loonie gag of BD&D.
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Re: Replacing the Skill Mechanic with Feats

Post by maddog » Wed Apr 09, 2014 1:00 pm

It's an interesting idea. If the character has the new type of feat, give them a +3 to the check roll. Just make the DCs much lower. Perhaps starting at 17 at 1st level and have the DC decrease every couple of levels to allow for failure at high levels.

Level | DC 0-1 | 17 2-4 | 16 5-6 | 15 7-9 | 14 10-12 | 13 13-15 | 12 16-19 | 11 20+ | 10
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Re: Replacing the Skill Mechanic with Feats

Post by Havard » Wed Apr 09, 2014 1:01 pm

Scott Anderson wrote:It is odd that they decided to go with two different mechanics for doing stuff out of combat. I never really thought about it before.

One of the issues with 3e is the arms race of skills. If you don't max out a skill as you go along, you put yourself at a disadvantage even if you are objectively very good at that skill.

For instance, I have an 8th-level human Scout. He can max out 11 skills and carries a number of masterwork skill buff items. Why would anyone want to play a rogue in a party where this guy is going to outshine him?

I dont really see a problem with a non-rogue outshining a rogue in a single skill. However, as shown in my post above the separation of skills and feats represents yet another layer of complexity in character generation. I do think that there is a risk in everyone ditching all their "skill" feats in favor of additional combat feats. In order to prevent this, I suggest that some Feat slots are reserved for non-combat feats.

I think one reason why the designers wanted both feats and skills was because removing skill mechanics completely would seem like too much of a departure from the traditional Thief/Rogue class.

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Re: Replacing the Skill Mechanic with Feats

Post by Gecko » Thu Apr 10, 2014 7:46 pm

How would you handle the [formerly] trained-only skills?

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Re: Replacing the Skill Mechanic with Feats

Post by Ashtagon » Thu Apr 10, 2014 10:13 pm

One thing that has long bugged me about 3e is the whole "fantasy superheroes" problem. Past 6th level, you're not really playing in the same world as any real person who ever lived anymore. Most of the game progression available to PCs is superheroic rather than merely heroic. If that's your thing, cool, but it isn't mine.

What I want to do is recalibrate things so that a top-end realistic mundane would be 10th level, and change the skill progression from capping out at +20 to +12, similar to the upper end of a "good" saving throw.
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Re: Replacing the Skill Mechanic with Feats

Post by Gecko » Fri Apr 11, 2014 12:20 am

Ashtagon wrote:One thing that has long bugged me about 3e is the whole "fantasy superheroes" problem. Past 6th level, you're not really playing in the same world as any real person who ever lived anymore. Most of the game progression available to PCs is superheroic rather than merely heroic. If that's your thing, cool, but it isn't mine.
From the sound of it then, I'd say you might want to try one of the E6 variants

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Re: Replacing the Skill Mechanic with Feats

Post by Ashtagon » Fri Apr 11, 2014 7:20 am

e6 cuts out the upper end of teh game, but still leaves a big problem -- the entire extent of human ability from wet-behind-the-ears to King Arthur is expressed in just six levels. That's a really small number of levels to express such a wide range of ability in.
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Re: Replacing the Skill Mechanic with Feats

Post by TBeholder » Fri Apr 11, 2014 8:45 am

Havard wrote:I dont really see a problem with a non-rogue outshining a rogue in a single skill. However, as shown in my post above the separation of skills and feats represents yet another layer of complexity in character generation. I do think that there is a risk in everyone ditching all their "skill" feats in favor of additional combat feats. In order to prevent this, I suggest that some Feat slots are reserved for non-combat feats.
In other words, you pretty much... renamed "WP" and "NWP" to "combat Feat slots" and "non-combat Feat slots". :lol: Then why insist on "feats" at all? You just like the word? :)
Ashtagon wrote:One thing that has long bugged me about 3e is the whole "fantasy superheroes" problem. Past 6th level, you're not really playing in the same world as any real person who ever lived anymore. Most of the game progression available to PCs is superheroic rather than merely heroic. If that's your thing, cool, but it isn't mine.
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Re: Replacing the Skill Mechanic with Feats

Post by Havard » Fri Apr 11, 2014 3:13 pm

TBeholder wrote:
Havard wrote:I dont really see a problem with a non-rogue outshining a rogue in a single skill. However, as shown in my post above the separation of skills and feats represents yet another layer of complexity in character generation. I do think that there is a risk in everyone ditching all their "skill" feats in favor of additional combat feats. In order to prevent this, I suggest that some Feat slots are reserved for non-combat feats.
In other words, you pretty much... renamed "WP" and "NWP" to "combat Feat slots" and "non-combat Feat slots". :lol: Then why insist on "feats" at all? You just like the word? :)
No I didnt. OTOH Feats clearly fill a similar niche to what WP and NWP had in 2nd Ed. I havent changed the 3E Feat mechanic at all. I simply changed Skills.

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Re: Replacing the Skill Mechanic with Feats

Post by Gecko » Fri Apr 11, 2014 11:34 pm

Ashtagon wrote:e6 cuts out the upper end of teh game, but still leaves a big problem -- the entire extent of human ability from wet-behind-the-ears to King Arthur is expressed in just six levels. That's a really small number of levels to express such a wide range of ability in.
some of the variants of e6 add like partial/step/mini levels to make it seem like many more.

That reminds me about something I was working on on here (not e6 related mind, nor even skill mechanics -> feat related, just something else compleately unrelated that it reminded me which I've been meaning to come back to - actually I think I have had a draft saved for some time...)

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