Our Skills List

Discussion of skills and feats in the e20 System, including their role in combat and noncombat encounters.

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Our Skills List

Postby Stacie_GmrGrl » Sun Feb 07, 2010 7:45 pm

This first part was found in a different thread and I copied and pasted it here so we can have it listed for everybody to see.

Nonweapon Skills:

Acrobatics
Analytics (everything from research to crime scene investigation)
Athletics (possibly including Ride?)
Bureaucracy
Computers
Deception
Endurance (this is going to have some cool trained-only applications, like getting being able to draw from your reserve hit points more than once during a single encounter)
Focus (fills the Concentration and Use the Force niche, but will also be useful to more mundane characters)
Initiative
Intuition
Knowledge (no sub-skills -- instead, you automatically gain knowledge about different areas from your profession and background, and you can learn additional areas either through direct experience during play or by training behind the scenes -- also fills the general "trivia" niche)
Linguistics
Mechanics
Medicine
Perception
Persuasion (Diplomacy and Intimidation -- however, as I'm planning to de-couple skills from attributes, you can add your Strength bonus when intimidating someone, and it might go so far as adding your Intelligence bonus if you're trying to argue about something technical)
Pilot
Stealth
Streetwise (probably also includes stuff like Thievery in 4E)
Survival (possibly including Ride?)
Tactics

Weapon Skills:
Archery
Chained Weapons (flails, chains, kusari-gama, etc.)
Gunnery (just about any weapon emplacement or vehicle-mounted weapon)
Hafted Weapons (axes, maces, hammers, etc.)
Heavy Blades
Light Blades
Longarms
Pole Weapons
Sidearms
Simple Weapons
Thrown Weapons
Unarmed

... and now we can discuss if this skills list is good or if some of them should be changed ;) Mainly because we like to argue some before we all agree on things, which is like half the fun.

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My initial notions of how I might like to see this changed.

Non-Combat Skills:

First, Focus as a skill.... would only be appropriate in those campaigns that would use Focus for that reason, should be relegated to a campaign optional skill.
Pilot could be split into three: Drive, Pilot and Ride. Drive for land/earthbound vehicles, and Pilot for air/space vehicles and Ride for animals.
Add Blend skill, which is your passive attempts at blending into crowds and things like that. Includes Stealth.
Rename Stealth skill Sneak, which is your active attempts at sneaking past things, like guard posts and what not.
Computers another campaign specific skill, should be relegated to optional skill.
Rename Persuasion --> Impress (includes Influencing and Persuading of others, Commanding others and Seduction skill uses).
Add Investigation skill (includes uses like Canvass, Decipher and Identifying things and doing Research).
Add Thievery skill and have it be the physical actions (pick pocket, pick locks, disable devices, etc).
Toss Bureaucracy as a class skill and come up with something I can pronounce instead. This skill name is dumb. So many other names can be used that makes it easier to understand and grasp. Maybe Administration or Business Savvy.
Was thinking add Performer as a skill, but then realized that it could make a better feat actually and combine Performance/Style Feats with different skills for unique skill uses.
Add Crafting as a skill.
Add Navigation as a skill.

Lore Skills (replace Knowledge with Lore) -- and have these:
Area Lore
Common Lore
Scholastic Lore
Forbidden Lore (for those campaign settings that have those deep, dark secets about organizations or factions that only certain members should have, and anyone else having this knowledge could, well, lead to their ultimate demise...or something like that :) ).

We could take a page from Shadowrun, and have Lore skills be its own category of skills, which makes sense because if you've ever played most d20 games, most players do not pick Knowledge skills unless its mandatory for a PrC. Split these off, make them their own skills, and then have them be its own category. This way everybody will get some.

Weapon Skills:

Split Sidearms into these --> Pistol, Rifle, SMG
Toss Simple Weapons, they can be blended into the others.
Add Martial Arts skill...
And then take Ken Hoods Martial Arts system and virtually mesh it with e20 so we have a really kick butt Martial Arts system for us to use. :) This is something that d20 has sorely needed in a main core book, not as an optional offshoot. And we can't use Oriental Adventures as an example of a well designed martial arts system, because that one just plainly sucked.
Rename Unarmed Brawling, then add Grappling as a combat skill.
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Re: Our Skills List

Postby Shawn Burke » Mon Feb 08, 2010 6:34 am

First, Focus as a skill.... would only be appropriate in those campaigns that would use Focus for that reason, should be relegated to a campaign optional skill.
Pilot could be split into three: Drive, Pilot and Ride. Drive for land/earthbound vehicles, and Pilot for air/space vehicles and Ride for animals.
Add Blend skill, which is your passive attempts at blending into crowds and things like that. Includes Stealth.
Rename Stealth skill Sneak, which is your active attempts at sneaking past things, like guard posts and what not.
Computers another campaign specific skill, should be relegated to optional skill.
Rename Persuasion --> Impress (includes Influencing and Persuading of others, Commanding others and Seduction skill uses).
Add Investigation skill (includes uses like Canvass, Decipher and Identifying things and doing Research).
Add Thievery skill and have it be the physical actions (pick pocket, pick locks, disable devices, etc).
Toss Bureaucracy as a class skill and come up with something I can pronounce instead. This skill name is dumb. So many other names can be used that makes it easier to understand and grasp. Maybe Administration or Business Savvy.
Was thinking add Performer as a skill, but then realized that it could make a better feat actually and combine Performance/Style Feats with different skills for unique skill uses.
Add Crafting as a skill.
Add Navigation as a skill.


Just some thoughts on this...
Focus can easily be made campaign-generic. Your ability to concentrate, possibly ignore pain, etc.
Pilot: do we really need more skills than one? ride is to underpowered as a skill alone, so is drive. Just assume anyone can drive/ride a horse and some feats for people who want to be experts at it.
Blend: wouldn't make more sense to make an Awareness Defense to roll against for stealth? Maybe I just don't understand what blend is...
Investigation is already in Analytics and Streetwise.
Agree with you on Thievery. But then again it could be split into streetwise and stealth...
Bureaucracy: I don't know... this way it is a broad skill encompassing government/business/organized crime.
Crafting: don't understand the need for craft skill... the only campaigns it would matter in is modern/scifi and we have mechanics for that. For fantasy I think it should be part of a background: You were a blacksmith? you can make metal stuff!
Navigation: Can't this be spit into knowledge, pilot, and survival? It seems underpowered...

I still don't understand what the Knowledge skill represents. I could see that split into 2 or three skills...

And doesn't longarms mean rifles and sidearms mean pistols? Could be wrong.

Yeah I think there should be an unarmed skill of some type.
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Re: Our Skills List

Postby fodigg » Mon Feb 08, 2010 12:08 pm

I like small skill lists. Especially considering that different setting modules will be adding genre-specific skills. Starting from the one given in the OP:


General Skills:
  • Acrobatics
  • Analytics
  • Athletics
  • Deception
  • Endurance
  • Focus
  • Initiative
  • Intuition
  • Knowledge
  • Medicine
  • Perception
  • Persuasion
  • Stealth
  • Steering
  • Survival
  • Technology

Weapon Skills:
  • Archery
  • Brawling (unarmed & simple; implemented with penalty)
  • Clubbing (heavy blades and other heavy melee: axes, maces, hammers)
  • Fencing (light blades and other light melee)
  • Flailing (anything with a chain, includes whips)
  • Gunplay
  • Spearing (anything two-handed with reach: halberds, spears, and claymores)
  • Throwing

Wish I had better terms for heavy melee weapons ("clubbing"), chained weapons ("flailing"), and pole weapons ("spearing"). Not too many verbs for those. Any number of synonyms for "fighting" could be applied there as long as it was consistent.


Setting-specific skills might be skills not covered above (e.g., "Roping", "Prayer", "Yo-mama-jokes") or might replace skills with multiple variations for added granularity (e.g., "Gunplay" becomes "Pistolry", "Riflery", and "BFGery", "Technology" becomes "Mechanics", "Computers", "Chemistry", "Steering" becomes "Drive", "Ride", and "Pilot"). They would also cover any exotic weapons the setting includes (e.g., "Lightsabers", "Explosives", "Blasters", "Sharks"). Finally, if there's an action too important to the setting to be assigned to other skills, even if it makes sense (e.g., "Remote-pilot", "Shape-shift", "Telekinesis", "Mounted-Combat").


As for where I cut things, it was usually to consolidate it with similar skills. Some things were assumed to be covered by the "Knowledge" and "Intuition" skills as situation warrants (e.g., "Bureaucracy", "Tactics") or were assumed to be covered by other mechanics than skills (e.g., "Linguistics").
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Re: Our Skills List

Postby Elsidar » Mon Feb 08, 2010 8:09 pm

fodigg wrote:I like small skill lists. Especially considering that different setting modules will be adding genre-specific skills. Starting from the one given in the OP:


General Skills:
  • Acrobatics
  • Analytics
  • Athletics
  • Deception
  • Endurance
  • Focus
  • Initiative
  • Intuition
  • Knowledge
  • Medicine
  • Perception
  • Persuasion
  • Stealth
  • Steering
  • Survival
  • Technology

Weapon Skills:
  • Archery
  • Brawling (unarmed & simple; implemented with penalty)
  • Clubbing (heavy blades and other heavy melee: axes, maces, hammers)
  • Fencing (light blades and other light melee)
  • Flailing (anything with a chain, includes whips)
  • Gunplay
  • Spearing (anything two-handed with reach: halberds, spears, and claymores)
  • Throwing

Wish I had better terms for heavy melee weapons ("clubbing"), chained weapons ("flailing"), and pole weapons ("spearing"). Not too many verbs for those. Any number of synonyms for "fighting" could be applied there as long as it was consistent.


Setting-specific skills might be skills not covered above (e.g., "Roping", "Prayer", "Yo-mama-jokes") or might replace skills with multiple variations for added granularity (e.g., "Gunplay" becomes "Pistolry", "Riflery", and "BFGery", "Technology" becomes "Mechanics", "Computers", "Chemistry", "Steering" becomes "Drive", "Ride", and "Pilot"). They would also cover any exotic weapons the setting includes (e.g., "Lightsabers", "Explosives", "Blasters", "Sharks"). Finally, if there's an action too important to the setting to be assigned to other skills, even if it makes sense (e.g., "Remote-pilot", "Shape-shift", "Telekinesis", "Mounted-Combat").


As for where I cut things, it was usually to consolidate it with similar skills. Some things were assumed to be covered by the "Knowledge" and "Intuition" skills as situation warrants (e.g., "Bureaucracy", "Tactics") or were assumed to be covered by other mechanics than skills (e.g., "Linguistics").


Oooh. I like these.

As for your weapon skill names, you could call them "Blunt", "Flexible", and "Polearms", respectively.

I think Gary mentioned wanting to split firearm skills into "Longarms" and "Sidearms", but I think that breaking them up as per GM's desire might work out.
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Re: Our Skills List

Postby bone_naga » Mon Feb 08, 2010 8:18 pm

I like a lot of the skills. I like the suggestion for Lore skills (especially Forbidden Lore). I don't like splitting Pilot because I think each skill will be individually too weak on its own. Thievery I agree with. Blend I don't really see the point. That could probably be handled by Stealth or Deception depending on the specific situation. Navigation I'm not sure about. I can see the usefulness and I see from a realism standpoint, but it might be better off rolled into other skills. Nature Lore/Survival for navigation with a compass or using natural features (since those skills commonly go together) or with Computer Use for navigating via GPS or similar devices. And I renew my case to have Demolition included as a separate skill, probably a weapon skill (in addition to rolling to properly set charges, etc, you would roll your Demo skill to make explosive attacks).

Craft I have mixed feelings about. Used properly, it can be a nice addition to the game. In the right game, it can be very useful. However, oftentimes it becomes something a player feels he has to take to fullfill his character concept. Also, many instances of Craft would just be unnecessary. Someone skilled in Mechanics should be able to build mechanical devices without a separate skill for it. Someone trained in Computer Use should be able to build a computer. From a game balance standpoint, I also just don't see it often competing with the other skills available. However, I'm not opposed to the concept, just the execution, so I'm sure someone here can come up with some interesting ideas on how to implement it. Maybe it could be handled in a similar manner to Knowledge, where it is based on background and in-game experiences?

I also think many things could be accomplished by falling under one skill for skill checks, but maybe having other requirements to be able to attempt it. So some uses of a skill are untrained, some are trained only, and some requiring training in both that skill and another skill.

Focus I'm not quite sure what it's supposed to do. I don't really like the way concentration was implemented as it just became a skill tax for casters. I'm not familiar enough with SWSE to comment on Force Use.
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Re: Our Skills List

Postby fodigg » Tue Feb 09, 2010 9:54 am

Hmm. I do like the thievery skill even though I didn't include it. Maybe I should have.

bone_naga wrote:Focus I'm not quite sure what it's supposed to do. I don't really like the way concentration was implemented as it just became a skill tax for casters. I'm not familiar enough with SWSE to comment on Force Use.


The cool twist in SWSE was that force users could take feats that let them substitute "force use" checks for other skill checks, making them more rounded for skill checks.
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Re: Our Skills List

Postby Elsidar » Tue Feb 09, 2010 3:29 pm

fodigg wrote:Hmm. I do like the thievery skill even though I didn't include it. Maybe I should have.

bone_naga wrote:Focus I'm not quite sure what it's supposed to do. I don't really like the way concentration was implemented as it just became a skill tax for casters. I'm not familiar enough with SWSE to comment on Force Use.


The cool twist in SWSE was that force users could take feats that let them substitute "force use" checks for other skill checks, making them more rounded for skill checks.


Indeed, though in SWSE, they tended to be Talents. I doubt they'd remain Talents in e20, as they're not really "active." They'd be better suited as Feats as Gary describes them; they have little more mechanical benefit greater than "Skill Training," after all.
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Re: Our Skills List

Postby Stacie_GmrGrl » Tue Feb 09, 2010 4:37 pm

About Lore skills -

Lore Skills could be a third category of skills. Sure they are non-combat skills, but they are their own category of skills as well, and I've played in enough D&D/d20 games in the last ten years that most people will never spend points in Knowledge or performance skills unless it was a prerequisite for a Prestige class, and even then the Gamemaster hardly ever called for those rolls. That's been my experience anyways.

So, Have combat skills, and non combat skills, then have Lore Skills. Lore Skills could be a skill category that is based on a characters Intelligence modifier. I'm thinking that everybody would get Racial Lore and an Area Lore based on Race/Upbringing, another Lore skill with the Occupation/Background choice, and then get a number of additional Lore skills based on your Intelligence modifier plus a Common Lore Skill when they pick their level one class.

Everybody knows something, every single character should have skills like these, if you really think about it, and yet they are never, ever really picked. Using this idea, every character would end up with Lore skills.

Different kinds of Lore Skills:

Area Lore - pick a specific region, city, town, nation, country.
Racial Lore - pick a race or species
Forbidden Lore - secret information on religions, race, organizations, etc...the stuff they'd kill you over for knowing.
Scholastic Lore - probably mesh with Science Lore
Tech Lore - computers, electronics, machines of some kinds, etc.
Science Lore
Common Lore - those things that most people should know about a broad range of things.
Other Lore - for anything else that might be trivial and yet flesh out the character.
Linguistics - put Language speaking ability with these and not with the other noncombat skills.

Some of these probably overlap, but I'm just thinking of different things that could be in a setting. Give the GM some guidelines or advice on how to customize these for their settings, or better yet, let the player define them as they pick them.

The rest of my skill suggestions above, well, I'm not totally tied to :) But this one I am more tied to. Lore skills should be its own category, this way they are not confused with Non-combat skills. And, tying these particular skills, and not the others, would really embrace the notion that Intelligence is the knowledge/lore based stat, and people with a higher intelligence would have more lore about different things.

The above categories are for thinking and example purposes only, but this could be a great way to flesh out characters without taking away skill trainings from the more favored skill categories, which players will do if they can choose between them.
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Re: Our Skills List

Postby fodigg » Wed Feb 10, 2010 10:13 am

Stacie_GmrGrl wrote:About Lore skills -

Lore Skills could be a third category of skills. Sure they are non-combat skills, but they are their own category of skills as well, and I've played in enough D&D/d20 games in the last ten years that most people will never spend points in Knowledge or performance skills unless it was a prerequisite for a Prestige class, and even then the Gamemaster hardly ever called for those rolls. That's been my experience anyways.

So, Have combat skills, and non combat skills, then have Lore Skills. Lore Skills could be a skill category that is based on a characters Intelligence modifier. I'm thinking that everybody would get Racial Lore and an Area Lore based on Race/Upbringing, another Lore skill with the Occupation/Background choice, and then get a number of additional Lore skills based on your Intelligence modifier plus a Common Lore Skill when they pick their level one class.

Everybody knows something, every single character should have skills like these, if you really think about it, and yet they are never, ever really picked. Using this idea, every character would end up with Lore skills.

Different kinds of Lore Skills:

Area Lore - pick a specific region, city, town, nation, country.
Racial Lore - pick a race or species
Forbidden Lore - secret information on religions, race, organizations, etc...the stuff they'd kill you over for knowing.
Scholastic Lore - probably mesh with Science Lore
Tech Lore - computers, electronics, machines of some kinds, etc.
Science Lore
Common Lore - those things that most people should know about a broad range of things.
Other Lore - for anything else that might be trivial and yet flesh out the character.
Linguistics - put Language speaking ability with these and not with the other noncombat skills.

Some of these probably overlap, but I'm just thinking of different things that could be in a setting. Give the GM some guidelines or advice on how to customize these for their settings, or better yet, let the player define them as they pick them.

The rest of my skill suggestions above, well, I'm not totally tied to :) But this one I am more tied to. Lore skills should be its own category, this way they are not confused with Non-combat skills. And, tying these particular skills, and not the others, would really embrace the notion that Intelligence is the knowledge/lore based stat, and people with a higher intelligence would have more lore about different things.

The above categories are for thinking and example purposes only, but this could be a great way to flesh out characters without taking away skill trainings from the more favored skill categories, which players will do if they can choose between them.


Couldn't you take that list of "lore skills" and make them "knowledge feats", and then just let them unlock the use of your knowledge skill for those feats. And then you could even have "focused" versions of the feat? It'd be effectively the same thing as individual skills but smaller on the sheet.

And characters might get a few free knowledge feats (alloted by class) at character creation.
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Re: Our Skills List

Postby Imagist » Sat Feb 20, 2010 5:40 pm

On crafting, and I know this isn't "realistic" but still... what if you could craft items used with the skills you are trained in? Someone who has Use Computer can build computers, someone who has Athletics can build climbing gear, some who has Thievery can build a lock-picking set, someone who has Medicine can make medical kits or first aid kits? People trained in weapon skills could craft weapons appropriate for their skills. It makes sense only from the viewpoint that you know how to do something and should know the tools of your trade at least well enough to know the parts and how they work. Maybe that would be okay for making base-line standard examples of whatever it was (just enough to negate a penalty), but if you took a feat or something it would represent a dedication to the craft of making tools of your trade so you could make above average items or superior crafted devices.

Just a thought. Otherwise I could easily see crafting mechanics fading into the background of a character and working perfectly well there.
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Re: Our Skills List

Postby bone_naga » Sun Feb 21, 2010 1:19 am

Imagist, that's pretty much how I see them working. If the crafting directly pertains to an existing skill, then use that skill. Anything not covered by an existing skill could either just become a function of the character's background (treat him as trained if the background fits) or be handled by multiple skills working together, which might require multiple characters to pitch in and work together (if no one of them has all the needed skills), which I think would only make it more interesting. For example, weapons might require more than just the appropriate weapon skill. Not every person that knows how to shoot a gun can make one. However, if they know how to use a gun (Firearms skill) and understand the mechanical workings behind it (Mechanics), then perhaps they could make one. On the other hand, maybe he just has a background that says he is a gunsmith and so gets a "virtual skill" allowing him to craft firearms, but having never fired one he doesn't have the Firearms skill and since his mechanical knowledge is limited to firearms, he can't make Mechanics-based checks for anything else. So the two approaches could work together and even cover similar ground without interfering with each other.
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Re: Our Skills List

Postby Imagist » Sun Feb 21, 2010 2:35 pm

"But I want to be able to build my own magic gun! I know how to use guns (trained in Sidearms Weapon Skill) and can cast spells (talents from a talent tree presented in the magic module), so why can't I?" - Player

"Because you aren't fully trained. Now, if you knew how mechanical devices worked (trained in Mechanics) or knew someone with those skills (trained in Mechanics or with a mechanical background) you could, but until you do or find someone who can help you, the answer is no." - GM

The system actually seems pretty good, at least from a roughdraft standpoint. It could allow for a much more free-form approach to crafting skills, and would put more emphasis on background roles beyond bonus feat this/bonus trained skill that. It would make players want to develop their stories and character histories a bit more. Obviously an abusive player could be like "so this one summer I took a shop class at the community college, so I should know how the mechanics for firearms work," but a good GM would restrict a character from adding something like that as a slap-on mechanic to their character. However, I see no reason why a player couldn't add elements to their character so long as they were presented in a interesting or thematic way that would give the GM elements to add to the plot.

"So, I never really told you about my dad. You see, he was a gunsmith, had his own private shop in the city. He never let me touch any of his pieces... I was still too young at the time, but I remember watching him while he worked, carefully assembling the chamber, polishing the stock and barrel, making sure each piece fit exactly together. It was almost hypnotic watching him work. At least, that was before the group of thugs robbed the place one night, killed him dead with a gun of his own special design. From that day on the shop and his tools were no longer off limits to me, and I have tinkered with this and that more as a hobby. I am nowhere near the artisan my father was, but I learned every piece he ever designed, knowing someday I would find the revolver responsible for his death... and with it the owner."

Something like that adds character depth, backstory, possible enemies and story lines, as well as a possible heirloom item for the character to trackdown. I could really get behind mechanics like that.
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