The Evil That Men Do
All skill checks are done via 2d10, not 1d20. Read Linear vs non-linear dice rolls if you want to know why.
About half the skills are going bye bye. You gain half your normal skill points every level, rounded up. Works out the same, but less to keep track of, and less rolling for things you don’t need to.
Skills we’ll be using
Diplomacy see note below
Knowledge (Whatever) see note below
Sleight of Hand
Use Magic Device
Say it with me: Rolls that remove game play are bad design. Lets take the ever-lovable Perception. Everyone maxes Perception. We roll it all the fucking time. Lets look at some times when we roll it.
1) When searching a room.
2) When examining an object.
3) When people are being sneaky around you (opposed check).
4) When checking for traps.
Lets look at how this might play out without Perception checks:
1. You tell me where you’re searching, I tell you what’s there. If you specifically tell me you’re searching the fireplace, I’ll tell you what’s in it.
2. Likewise, I describe the object to you, pointing out things that might be interesting or odd
3. Fair enough, you probably need a roll for this.
4. Depends on trap design. Alternately, I could describe the hidden pit as a ‘long stretch of corridor covered in leaves and dirt’. You might charge on, or you might be wary and tell me you examine it closer, revealing the pit.
The issue here is that most of the time, you’re looking to get some kind of information. Information I desperately want to give you. We can either leave it up to the dice (I search the room. Ok, roll Perception. Nope, you don’t see anything). Or, you can tell me what you’re doing, and if you get anywhere close, you get the information.
So do we ditch Perception? No, probably not. But we roll it a lot less often. We take care of things through role playing instead of dice rolling when we can. You’re still going to roll to hear the Goblins sneaking down the hall towards you. You’ll still roll it when the Poltergeist is trying to grab you through the wall. But we’re not going to use it for passive stuff that can be done through game play. We strive for a host of interesting choices verses pure luck-based dice rolling. It makes for fun, collaborative discussion and more varied results. And hell, sometimes we’ll just hand-wave in the interest of time and skip to the good stuff.
Likewise, some skills just don’t work well. They either unnecessarily slow things down or leave stuff that could be played out descriptively to random chance. Those are getting axed in the name of gameplay.
Here’s the breakdown:
Acrobatics Used for things like avoiding AoOs and walking balance beams.
Appraise Gives you a rough estimate of market value. Note that a flubbed roll doesn’t make your appraisal incorrect, it just may or may not be right.
Bluff Now rolled into Diplomacy. Climb is gone. No mas. Everyone can climb everything.
You climb at 1/4 of your normal movement speed. You have no Dex bonus to AC while doing so. Thieves can climb walls at 1/2 speed, and rangers can climb cliffs and natural formations at 1/2 speed. If we desperately need to roll dice, we’ll use Dex. Done and done. It was a stupid rule anyway, because losing your turn on a bad roll isn’t fun.
Craft () You got two choices. You can strike out into the world for fame, fortune and pillaging, or you can sit around at home and make iron pots. Choose the former. It’s more fun. If you want to make some simple stuff, we’ll talk it out on a case by case basis.
Diplomacy – Would more aptly be called ‘Social’ now. This governs any person to person interaction that’s outside the bounds of normal conversation. Bluff and Intimidate both fall under this heading now. You tell me what you want to do and how you’re going to do it. Bonus points for a really good act.
Disable Device – Same as it ever was.
Disguise This is now role played. Describe what you’re trying to do and we’ll work it out. Escape Artist Role played. In a pinch, we’ll use Dex. Fly If you ever get to fly, we’ll deal with it then. Handle Animal Really? Gets used ever so often. Nixed.
Heal Think of this as your First Aid training. Simple DC checks to do stuff like tourniquets and patching arrow holes. Higher DCs for things like setting bones and the like. Crazy DCs for open heart surgery in the middle of a dungeon with nothing but your dagger.
Intimidate See Diplomacy
Knowledge (Whatever) – Knowledge skills are changing a bit, in that you don’t roll for them any more. Your rank in them determines what you might know about a given subject. You either know it or you don’t. So while someone with Knowledge (Religion) +3 might remember that a given cult worships Dragons, someone with K (Rel) +10 would know that the Cult of the Black Wing was founded approximately 300 years ago in the Southlands by Kel Antul to bring about the the return of Dragons as the rightful heirs of the world. No rolls necessary.
Also, Knowledge: Local is only applicable to one locale (ie a town, an area, etc). By making contacts within a new area, you’re allowed to roll without penalty, and in some cases, with a bonus.
Linguistics Learning a new language is a long, painful process. You can if you want to, but we’ll handle it in game.
Perception – Sticking around, as described above. We’ll use it, but not every ten steps.
Perform () This is now a class skill for Bards. Nobody else really used it anyway. If you want to be a great actor or play the lute, be my guest. Bards are the only ones rolling this. Profession () Your profession is Adventurer. Or Bandit. Or whatever. Blacksmithing and Cooking are for common folks. Ride Everybody can ride. If you want to trick shot off the back of a water buffalo in the middle of a tsunami, we’ll talk about some Dex rolls to keep you on your buffalo.
Sense Motive – Stays. Some of this we’ll handle in game, which may or may not be modified by the roll.
Sleight of Hand – Good solid mechanic. Roll this when you’re picking pockets, stealing apples or trying to drop poison in someone’s drink. Bonus points (literally) for exacting descriptions of how you’re going about it.
Spellcraft – Stays. Used for identifying spells being cast, magic effects and whatnot.
Stealth – Yup. You know it and love it.
Survival is useful now. It keeps you from getting lost, lets you track stuff, and might tell you which berries will give you the shits. See Travel
Swim is done for as well. Unless you have something wrong with you (missing limb, major damage, an innate fear of water) you can swim. There’ll be stuff like Con checks for drowning in high waves or prolonged swims.
Use Magic Device – Great for not shooting yourself in the eye with a Wand of Magic Missiile