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The Latest on Skills
Mike Mearls

I n the last D&D Next playtest packet, we took a stab at removing skills from the game. Our overall design with skills has followed these approaches and goals:

  • Emphasize the abilities as the centerpiece of the game. Abilities have replaced skills as the primary tool characters use to attempt checks.
    • Skills are great for customizing a character, but too heavy an emphasis (especially a focus on steadily inflating bonuses and DCs) turns them into a list of what you can and cannot attempt.
  • Encourage flexibility and creativity at the table by making skills a true bonus, rather than a necessary component to achieving basic competence in an area. The abilities cover that.
    • Our DCs need to back up the primacy of ability scores by ensuring that the first few levels of difficulty are within the scope of someone using a moderate to high ability modifier. Only the higher edge of DCs, the very difficult tasks, require skills.
  • Streamline the game by removing specific rules from skills and placing them in the core game. Rather than have rules for climbing determined by a Climb skill, the game instead includes climbing as one way to move among others.
    • Skills have a tendency to silo actions and rules away from each other. By starting with the core and then adding skills, we can ensure that the game is as streamlined and easy to use as possible. Skills shouldn't introduce new rules. They simply provide a modifier to situations already covered in our core.

It's clear from the latest round of feedback that removing skills entirely isn't a popular option. Playtesters tilted toward disliking it, though a good chunk appreciated the simplicity and flexibility their removal brings to the game.

Personally, I like skills as a tool to customize my character. I like that I can create a cleric with a high Dexterity, pick leather armor and a ranged weapon, take skills that improve checks dealing with stealth, survival, and perception, and play an outdoorsy tracker and hunter who feels much different compared to a traditional, mace and chainmail cleric.

Furthermore, for beginning players, skills can serve as a handy reference for what your character is good at. Ideally, skills don't overwhelm ability checks but they do help guide the process of making decisions. They should inspire and aid players, rather than constrain them.

Here's where we ended up with skills:

  • In presentation, skills are subordinate to abilities. In the rules text, we'll refer to a Strength (Athletics) check rather than an Athletics check. This presentation follows our philosophy that abilities are the foundation of the system and skills are bonuses to those checks.
    • As a further bonus, this makes it easy for DMs to vary the abilities matched to a skill. Strength (Athletics) might apply when scaling a treacherous cliff. Wisdom (Athletics) can apply when assessing the difficulty of scaling that cliff.
  • When you gain proficiency in a skill, you gain a bonus based on your level. Some characters, most notably rogues, can become experts in a skill. Experts gain a further +5 bonus from their skill proficiency.
    • Your skill bonus equals your proficiency bonus. Your proficiency bonus is based on your total level and applies to skills, weapons, and tools that you are proficient with. For this reason, we don't have a Craft skill. Instead, you can become proficient with the appropriate set of tools needed to conduct a craft or make an object.
    • The proficiency bonus starts at +2 and increases up to +6. This follows our model of keeping bonuses under control to ensure that the range of DCs remains consistent across all levels.
    • We're also replacing the die-based bonus to checks with a flat modifier. We had a lot of feedback that the die's variable nature bred only disappointment. People like randomness, but it's irritating to want to play a skilled character and endure the vagaries of two die rolls.
    • The expert bonus is important to ensure that rogues are the best at finding traps, rangers excel in surviving outdoors, and bards are the best at performance. We'll use it selectively in design to ensure that classes that are experts in certain areas can live up to that billing.
  • We have a fairly compact skill list, both because feedback showed people liked broader skills and because some skills can migrate over to tool proficiency. In place of a blacksmith skill, you take proficiency with a blacksmith's tools. The same applies to thieves' tools and picking locks or disabling traps. Note that the lore bonus in the last packet is gone and replaced with the appropriate skills. Here's the list of skills with the abilities that they are typically linked to.
    • Acrobatics (Dex)
    • Animal Handling (Wis)
    • Arcana (Int)
    • Athletics (Str)
    • Deception (Cha)
    • History (Int)
    • Intimidation (Cha)
    • Medicine (Int)
    • Nature (Int)
    • Perception (Wis)
    • Performance (Cha)
    • Persuasion (Cha)
    • Religion (Int)
    • Search (Int)
    • Sense Motive (Wis)
    • Sleight of Hand (Dex)
    • Stealth (Dex)
    • Survival (Wis)
  • For things like the Profession skill, we're instead relying on backgrounds. A sailor can use background picks to become proficient in the Acrobatics, Nature, and Perception skills and with waterborne vehicles.
    • We'll include an optional system for skills that reflect a broader character background or archetype. For instance, sailor might be a trait that grants you a proficiency bonus to any check that can be reasonably tied to your background as a sailor. This optional system would replace or supplement skills, as the group wishes.
  • The skill and proficiency system allows anyone to attempt anything. Skills and proficiencies offer a bonus. They are not a wall that closes off even the chance to try something. Anyone can try to pick a lock, but a rogue is better at it because he or she is proficient with thieves' tools.

That's our skill system in a nutshell. At the end of the day, skills aren't entirely optional, but our approach makes ignoring them fairly easy. I believe that while they do reside in the core of the game, we've made them simple enough to use that they benefit beginners by providing focus while keeping the abilities as the centerpiece of the game.

Mike Mearls
Mike Mearls is the senior manager for the D&D research and design team. He led the design for 5th Edition D&D. His other credits include the Castle Ravenloft board game, Monster Manual 3 for 4th Edition, and Player’s Handbook 2 for 3rd Edition.
This says the "Proficiency Bonus" starts at +2, but in the playtest packet the Proficiency Bonus starts at +1 at level one. Which is it?
Posted By: star1022 (9/30/2013 7:11:55 PM)


"Your skill bonus equals your proficiency bonus."

I do hope you're not actually going to be using both terms, then. Jargon inflation is bad.

I like everything in this article. This is the skill system of designers who understand both flexibility/simplicity in gameplay and diversity in character archetypes.
Posted By: Nalehw (9/26/2013 8:21:48 AM)


Dexterity has come to preeminence, surpassing Charisma and even Wisdom as the most desirable ability for not only success but survival. We are at the precipice from which, after now, we shall not be able to turn back from granting it excessive importance among the six primary statistics.

Through Armor Class and its associated saving throw, Dexterity is the most significant defensive factor in many exploration and combat situations. When combat begins, its contribution to the initiative order can be of life-or-death importance. Some success has been achieved in restraining the number of ranged attacks which can be made before melee combatants can close, but the amount of damage done by missile weapons and ammunition still needs to be reduced.

Most relevant to this discussion, is the role of Dexterity in the implementation of Stealth. I propose that every item of armor be assigned a Stealth Rating, from 15 for no armor and proceeding downward, as the DC for an a... (see all)
Posted By: RadperT (9/23/2013 11:40:12 PM)


That said, I think the climbing rules should allow a character to use Athletics or Acrobatics, unless encumbered (stretching and bounding would be too difficult when your strength must be turned to carrying a load).

The Arcana skill carries a rather heavy load between the planes, magic and mysteries (other than cults, which are ascribed to Religion). This makes it the go-to exploration skill, which is OK until counterspelling makes an appearance. I don't mean what the Bard does, but this does need to be addressed. If Arcana gets any more important, I think some of the stuff regarding aberrations and hidden realms should be shifted out to another skill.

Speaking of which, neither Survival nor Nature is well suited to dealing with the ecology and societies of the Underdark. I am also uncomfortable with the lack of a local knowledge skill, and I don't think either Insight or Persuasion can carry that weight.
Posted By: RadperT (9/23/2013 11:10:45 PM)


First of all: the human race in game remain so powerfull than stupid. This not rappresent the versatility and adaptability of our race. Cut half of the point of ability improvement and leave the 3 remain to pump up ability of choice. Replace the three cutted with an extra feat, or something similar, and extra skill.
Actually the skill system is too simplyfied and raw to leave me pleased, and my players agreed that spot is not the same to listen, hiding well not means even silently moving well, and athletics... please... a good jumper is not a good swimmer or a good climber.
Not so pleased even for the loss of the lore, but we need to playtest more.
Suggestion: You want learn skill during downtime? Pay time, money and XP!
Posted By: Eilistraecomeback (9/21/2013 2:13:40 PM)


Yes spot is not the same as listen, hide is not same as move silently and swim and jump are made in totally different environments.
However when using perception you use combination of all your senses to the best of your ability and it's up to the DM to decide how you did it or how the creature failed to remain undetected (applying this to stealth also).
As far as swim and climb goes, imagine a world class swimmer and a world class jumper if you put them in their opposite competition they will perform quite bellow average, however your character is not a world class swimmer nor jumper (if you want him to be the DM can provide you with extra bonus points for that), your character is like a triathlon competitor where you run, jump, swim ride a bike, you must perform in those well over average to try and compete in that field.
Not to mention the simplicity of the combined skills design
Posted By: Aggressorot (10/29/2013 11:31:40 AM)


My favorite DnD 5e skill system so far was in the first playtest simply because players and GMs coming up with skills relevant to their own campaigns is my definition of ideal. I'm also ecstatic about the death of skill dice.

"[S]ailor might be a trait that grants you a proficiency bonus to any check that can be reasonably tied to your background as a sailor. This optional system would replace or supplement skills, as the group wishes."

That makes me exceedingly happy since that's the way I've always GMed anyway. No matter what system I'm running (mostly GURPS 4e, but also HackMaster 5e, and DnD 4e at Encounters), I give players various small bonuses for bringing their backgrounds into play. My wife and the rest of the GMs in our home group do the same.

To be continued...
Posted By: kitsunegami (9/19/2013 8:33:50 PM)


For instance, this season my wife is playing her drow bladesinger that was trained by the elves of Myth Drannor. Since the character is also trained in history, I almost never require rolls related to knowledge of elven history or magic unless it's particularly esoteric (especially since her skills are so high she can rarely fail the DCs anyway).

I frequently do the same with underground navigation rolls for anyone playing a dwarf trained in dungeoneering, or anyone else who is unlikely to ever get lost underground. There are numerous other examples but those are the only ones I can remember in detail at the moment.

In fact, it is a rare session that at least one player doesn't get some sort of background-based skill bonus (with thankfully no attempts at meta-gaming the concept in the eight or nine years I've been GMing), so I am fully in favor of the text I quoted above, and I expect that our entire home group and at least some of my Encounters players will agree... (see all)
Posted By: kitsunegami (9/19/2013 8:34:31 PM)


Oh the bonuses! The pluses! Grab the abacus and the slide rule folks, it's time to play some DnD! Why so much +this and +that? Using advantage/disadvantage is so much more elegant, as suggested by many here. Another solution is for the DM to simply lower the DC for characters who should be good at something. Navigating by the stars should be easier for a sailor than for a miner. Entertaining an audience should be easier for a bard than for a barbarian. Forget all that persuasion and perception nonsense let role-playing govern such situations. Allow characters to develop new areas of expertise based upon their experiences as they progress through the game, which in turn makes it easier for them to accomplish related tasks. There you go: abilities are emphasized, creativity and flexibility are encouraged, and the game is streamlined. No specific skill list needed.
Posted By: BeardBard (9/19/2013 9:25:36 AM)


Posted By: Prom (9/19/2013 5:05:53 PM)


Semi-random note: I'm actually learning to use an abacus. I wanted to learn to use a slide rule just for extra geeks points at games, but learned that slide rules can't do simple addition, making them pretty useless for trpgs. 8o)
Posted By: kitsunegami (9/19/2013 8:38:43 PM)


"I hope we don't end up with a rogue who requires a high strength to climb and/or can't become an expert climber."
Reply Posted By: dmgorgon (9/16/2013 9:38:21 AM)

Actually, strength is required for climbing in the real world, so this would make perfect sense.
Posted By: BeardBard (9/19/2013 8:58:33 AM)


Re: the paragraph that starts 'When you gain proficiency in a skill, you gain a bonus based on your level. . . .' First reading, I didn't understand the paragraph. I need some plainer English here. 4e (original PHB for example) was riddled with paragraphs like this one. I'm sure I'll understand it if I can be bothered to re-read it three times, but the language immediately turns me off. I have a sense that WotC suffers from a lack of 'writers of plain English'. Just a tip from out here in the ether: if you want to make the Core rules very easy to understand and apply, you'll need to have an editing crew with an eye for plain English. Good luck chaps.
Posted By: Escapement (9/19/2013 1:50:10 AM)


Imma throw an idea out here: throw out the skill lists entirely. Replace them with player-defined skills approved by the DM. Provide several solid examples in the rules to demonstrate the appropriate breadth and applicability, then let players and DMs hash the details out among themselves. If you need something more concrete for public play, include an official list in the public-play rules doc. Lots of systems do this without breaking anything, and it gives a lot of scope for customization, and it would let groups get the most out of the flexibility of the variable-attribute idea. Right now you're still half-tied to "this skill fits this ability;" you'd do much better to cut loose from it entirely.
Posted By: RadioKen (9/18/2013 12:56:25 PM)


I'm thinking at this point that I'll allow players to add skills to the current current list. - John
Posted By: Seanchai (9/18/2013 6:52:51 PM)


Posted By: flyonaweb (9/18/2013 7:45:57 AM)


Might I just say the new layout for comments is not an improvement. It's difficult to quickly see who commented and it's like a wall of text. The likes on comments are gone and it's easy to see who is replying to what.
Posted By: Prom (9/18/2013 2:45:35 AM)


Seriously. How many people at WoTC got a look at this new format before it went live? Bad decision. Let a graphics team have some more input next time. Or just return it to the old format.
Posted By: kirkdent (9/22/2013 3:29:25 PM)


I personally really Liked the direction the last packet went toward for skills. I hate how they are basically rehashing a old system that yes worked well but was very clunky overall. Way too many skills in 3.5 4th was so so but still didn't like the overall direction it went in. I still love how Ability checks solve most situations that is the way it should be. I plan on making house rules of my own if they mess with stuff too much as I have had to in almost every edition of the game.
Posted By: Darthenzar (9/18/2013 2:36:26 AM)


I like this presentation of skills. It is simple: ability mod + proficiency (+2 to +6 depending on level) + expertise (flat +5 for a select few class-based skills)
I assume that one would not be able to gain proficiency on a particular check from two different sources? i.e. proficient in strength(climbing) and also with climbing tools? I can see endless arguments stemming from this if it were allowed. Since the base ability will be the same, so long as you can find one way to be proficient, your character gains the proficiency bonus.
I am also glad for the removal of the skill die. While the additional randomness did bug me, I really didn't like how it broke what has been common since 3rd ed: namely that success or failure was determined by a d20 + flat bonuses. Since all bonuses could be calculated before the d20 roll, in the end it gave a single number to meet or beat for success on the d20, which directly translated into a % chance. Adding more dice only complicated the pr... (see all)
Posted By: Noirsoft (9/18/2013 1:55:23 AM)


Simply put, I like this approach.
Posted By: Komomachi (9/17/2013 11:51:14 PM)


I was hoping the skill list wouldn't come back. My group liked the freedom that they felt when they didn't have the set list of skills to go by.

-We're also replacing the die-based bonus to checks with a flat modifier. We had a lot of feedback that the die's variable nature bred only disappointment. People like randomness, but it's irritating to want to play a skilled character and endure the vagaries of two die rolls.

I would have liked to see the bonus dice be branched out more that gotten rid of. I liked the chance of getting a bonus of up to the max die more than always having a little boost all the time. The bonus dice gave you a boost for being an expert, but even experts sneeze sometimes and that's what the bonus die did, gave you a boost even if you sneezed. It helps to develop more role-playing ability than the min/maxing that I've noticed with 4e and the set skill list.
Posted By: garionbink45 (9/17/2013 7:47:38 PM)


I'm a little disappointed that skills are not optonal in the rules. I believe that removal of skills from the core would helping new or younger players. Atleast it's going to be easy to ignore them.
Posted By: Prom (9/17/2013 3:06:43 PM)


I am reserving further comments until the comment section is returned to a legible/useable format.
Posted By: OskarOisinson (9/17/2013 12:21:08 PM)


I thought the old comment system was the worst comment system on the whole Internet until I saw this new comment system. Are we seriously not able to use ampersands? HERE, of all places?

I don't know what kind of CMS you guys are using for these articles, but in all seriousness you could just switch to WordPress or any of a dozen other free platforms and get much better results.
Posted By: Matt_Sheridan (9/17/2013 11:19:21 AM)


I am not a fan of the overall math of Expert and proficiencies. At level 20 you end up with a +16 which is just going to bloat the DCs and make opposition rolls that much more difficult when high level PCs are faced with low level NPCs. I don't like the suggestion of giving Advantage either as it inhibits the DM giving Advantage for inventive ideas and situational encounters. I just think the bonuses need scaled back some.
Posted By: aleatoric (9/17/2013 10:48:42 AM)


After thinking about it, I am going to put my vote in for the plus five instead of advantage. There are two reasons for this. First, some monster have keen senses, which is a plus five to spot a rogue using to stealth. Tat plus five is a nice cancellation of the expert quality. Essentially, one is expert at hiding, the other is expert at spotting, so they cancel out. It's nice and clean.

Second, by making expert give a plus 5, it levels open the possibly to get advantage later on based on special circumstances. For example, lets say I want to pickpocket a drunk guy in a crowded and rowdy tavern. The DM can say ok, you have advantage on this check. So Noel I have the expert bonus of plus five and advantage. But if I already have advantage from expert, what can the dm give me? I guess he could give a plus five but this seems intuitively contradictory to how advantage works. Advantage is usually a bonus you get due to special circumstances. It's not something you usually have a... (see all)
Posted By: moes1980 (9/17/2013 9:59:27 AM)


splitting skills like acrobatics and athletes makes perfect sense. This splitting lets a character be trained in athletics (like a fighter might be) while another character can be trained in acrobatics (like a rogue might be). This is also why it makes sense to split persuasion and deception and slight of hand and intimidate. Persuasion is force of argument, deception is lying, and slight of hand is a physical attempt to pick a pocket that can involve non communication.

If you merge athletics and acrobatics to one skill, then being trained in that one skill means you are automatically good at both of those things, even though they are not the same. Same with deception and persuasion. If you combine those two into one skill, then training in that skills means you are both equally adept at making persuasive, truth based arguments as well as weaving intricate lies. Being good in one shouldn't mean you are automatically good with another. A paladin that can be persuasive should... (see all)
Posted By: moes1980 (9/17/2013 8:58:43 AM)


This argument makes more sense when individual skills are fixed to specific abilities. Once you can theoretically apply Dexterity to Deception, or Charisma to Acrobatics, the old paradigm starts to look really awkward, and the only real reason you're splitting skills up is to protect the system against omnicompetence. Acrobatics and athletics are really closely related--ask any Olympic-caliber gymnast (or NFL wideout). Persuasion becomes true force of argument when it keys off of Wisdom or Intelligence; when you can apply Charisma to it you're leveraging your personality rather than the value of your reasoning, and the truth or logic of your position is no longer as relevant to your success.

The way skills have been defined in earlier editions was determined largely by the abilities that governed them; once you throw that out you need a new model to a) ensure that skills are more or less equally valuable and b) prevent people from just using their best score for everything... (see all)
Posted By: RadioKen (9/18/2013 1:09:51 PM)


New comment system won't let me write DnD with an ampersand. Complains that it doesn't pass validation and to ensure that all of the approved tags are properly closed. Did no one check that this new comment section will let us write the name of the game? Please fix.
Posted By: Blue23 (9/17/2013 7:47:13 AM)


Back when skills were first added to ADnD in the Wilderness Survival Guide and Dungeon Survival Guide they were used by every DM I know. Glad Next saw that they are still worthwhile.
Posted By: Blue23 (9/17/2013 7:44:18 AM)


Glad to see Skills are back but worried this seems to be unnecessarily complicated. As several people have pointed out, why do we need Athletics and Acrobatics if these skills can run off Str or Dex? And why are some skills like Craft proficiencies instead? I know Next is trying to capture the best from all editions but NWPs were not one of them. I liked the original background rules better to be honest.

On the plus side, +5 bonus is much better than the Expertise dice for rogues etc who definitely need to be the best at lock-picking and so on.
Posted By: richgreen01 (9/17/2013 2:37:49 AM)


I disagree. I disliked the Expertise Die as a general mechanic for all skills, but for the Rogue it made for a unique mechanic - that could be characteristic of the class (sort of like ki for monks). A flat +5 makes for a very boring feature.
Posted By: man.of.tomorrow (9/17/2013 5:40:34 AM)


Expertise doesn't currently apply to picking locks or disarming traps, which is currently a matter of making an ability check and adding your proficiency bonus if you're proficient with Thieves' Tools.
Posted By: RadperT (9/22/2013 7:57:46 PM)


Repeat: The comment section is pretty terrible. Please fix it or put it back.
Also, am I missing something or are there no CON based skills now?
Posted By: mbeacom (9/17/2013 12:44:36 AM)


Is there some sort of size limit on comments? If so, can we get the software to give us a character count, like in text-messaging?
Posted By: RadioKen (9/16/2013 11:56:40 PM)


I assume that's the problem I'm having so I'm trying to break it down into two smaller posts.
Posted By: kitsunegami (9/17/2013 12:14:41 AM)


Then again, I still get that error even with only two sentences. Blarg.
Posted By: kitsunegami (9/17/2013 12:25:05 AM)


With that out of the way, I can say that I like the principle of the skill system a lot. Being able to apply the skill bonus to a variety of relevant ability checks is simple and flexible and gives DMs room for judgement without stranding them on Clueless Island. Points to the development team for that. Concerns to follow; still trying to isolate the invalid markers.
Posted By: RadioKen (9/16/2013 11:52:59 PM)


But I think the current skill list doesn't look like a very good implementation of this idea. Most of the 3e and 4e skills were designed specifically for a single-attribute application; 3e broke into very narrow slivers, 4e into broader planks, but both sets were defined by the attributes off of which they keyed. You haven't let go of that idea enough. Why are Deception and Sleight of Hand different skills, when sleight of hand is nothing but deception by means of manual dexterity? If Deception doesn't include sleight of hand, why is it separated from Persuasion? Now that you can add STR or DEX to either, how can you justify splitting Athletics and Acrobatics? If this flies, I have one more paragraph.
Posted By: RadioKen (9/16/2013 11:53:49 PM)


PK, I can't reply to my reply, so this may slot in over it if you're reading newest-first. Last para:

A much better approach would be something you were flirting with earlier, something you'll find in Risus or 13th Age: using backgrounds and "occupation skills" to give characters broadly, yet pretty clearly demarcated, skill sets to which bonuses or whatever can apply. I understand that's an approach still on the table for at least one variation; I'd bet it would make more sense than this hybrid of fish and fowl.
Posted By: RadioKen (9/16/2013 11:55:10 PM)


OK, first of all add me to the list of people who don't like the new comment display format.

Second of all, I just had to cut a big block of text because your software detected non-existent unclosed tags. I'll try again.
Posted By: RadioKen (9/16/2013 11:50:38 PM)


Add me to the list of people having trouble reading comments now. I'm getting a headache just from trying. I also don't seem able to Rate any posts in Opera 12.15.

For some random reason it also won't let me post. It keep saying "The text in your comment does not pass validation. Ensure that all of the approved tags are properly closed." even though I don't have any tags at all.
Posted By: kitsunegami (9/16/2013 11:46:05 PM)


Naturally it let me post that but not my actual on-topic comment. Stupid thing.
Posted By: kitsunegami (9/16/2013 11:48:33 PM)


I had the same problem, it was that I had an ampersand in "DnD".
Posted By: Blue23 (9/17/2013 7:49:04 AM)


Yeah. I finally figured that out, but I still had to split it, as you may have seen above.
Posted By: kitsunegami (9/20/2013 9:19:52 PM)


1) Although I liked skill dice and hate to see them go, this looks pretty good to me. It'd look a lot better if Expert granted Advantage instead of a +5 bonus, however.

2) I agree with fellow posters who think a few of the listed skills can be safely combined, freeing up room to...

3) ...keep Lore in some form, because I like a way to model character knowledge when needed.
Posted By: HRG (9/16/2013 11:36:25 PM)


Disappointment. I like the skill die mechanic because it kept ability scores front a center. Your +4 for having a high Str never went away, but your training in Athletics may or may not yield a big payoff. So, a high-level character is POTENTIALLY better at a given trained skill, but not automatically better. What a loss...

On expertice: why not just give advantage instead of a static +5? The Adv/Dis mechanic was one of the most elegant solutions to come out of 5E - why not use it more often?
Posted By: D17 (9/16/2013 10:47:54 PM)


At least they waited until mostly the end of the play test to switch to these horrible birds that just run on to each other. Several times I started reading a new post without even realizing it. I have noticed other websites changing to horrible and inconvenient formats wen their old format worked just fine. Don't fix things that are not broke!
Posted By: moes1980 (9/16/2013 10:26:38 PM)


Best 5e news yet. It's taking a while, but I might just play this new version after all.
Posted By: Goken100 (9/16/2013 10:07:41 PM)


I'm really sorry to see that skills are still being linked to specific attributes. Decoupling them was one of the best skill-related ideas in the previous playtests, and I kept hoping it would make a return.
Posted By: Matt_Sheridan (9/16/2013 9:31:58 PM)


"When you gain proficiency in a skill, you gain a bonus based on your level. Some characters, most notably rogues, can become experts in a skill. Experts gain a further +5 bonus from their skill proficiency." ~Mike Mearls

So, any skills you gain proficiency in later in the game, are automatically going to be as strong as those you've had from start?! That makes sense to you? Crafting, Lore and athletic training all take time and effort to achieve even basic mastery. Yet this system would allow someone to gain proficiency at, for example, level 10 and be just as good at it as someone who'd used it from first level. That's ridiculous, and more importantly, immersion breaking.

Just as big a problem in my mind is that on top of these level-based bonuses, the 'Expert' bonus of +5 seems way OP. Basically, a rogue at lvl 3 (5E's 'starting' level) will have a +3 to any proficiency, another +5 to those they are Expert in, all on top of their Ability Score bo... (see all)
Posted By: LupusRegalis (9/16/2013 8:49:27 PM)


I agree that the skills system needs to look at itself, and apply its own concepts.

Acrobatics should be Athletics (Dex).
Survival should be Nature (Str or Con).
Intimidate should be Persuasion (Str).
Perform should be proficiency with instruments (including oratory/voice).

Deception should simply be Persuasion. When has anyone deceived, WITHOUT intending to persuade someone? Lying is a tool of persuasion. If you really want to model skillful liars, offer Proficiency: Lies.

Also: I miss the Lore system. Lore was wonderful for modeling character KNOWLEDGE, if not ability. The Lore system was a super simple and easy way to confer character expertise; to let the player carve out a body of knowledge and have his character be "the guy" for that sort of thing. Just a clever, very useful lever for the Dungeon Master to pull. And a make-sense goodie for the wonderful Background system. Sorry to see it go from the official rules. It'll c... (see all)
Posted By: Zaruthustran (9/16/2013 8:44:33 PM)


I have never liked Perception as a skill. It is too broad an area. Think of how you would gain training to perceive things better. It would come down to what career you were learning for.
For example, lets say you are a sailor. You would need to train in perception to spot uncharted reefs, see land at great distances, or notice that shadow under the waves is actually a hungry dragon turtle. This is different to a criminal inspector that gets trained in perception to find small clues at crime scenes etc.
I think it would be better to break perception into a few smaller categories. Then based on the background you may get training in one or two of them. As examples you could have Scan and Inspect to cover the above (Scan for long distance perception, Inspect for close up). There are several others that would suit here and would make for a better tuned system IMHO.
With this method the DM can use INT or WIS to determine what characters can see around them (no roll necessary... (see all)
Posted By: Rartemass (9/16/2013 8:25:47 PM)


From the very beginning, the game has favored narrower skills to broader ones. Going back to Athletics and Perception feels sudden and unprecedented. What changed?
Posted By: Bly2729 (9/16/2013 8:03:54 PM)



Posted By: wetsail (9/16/2013 7:06:55 PM)


I wonder what the problem is with allowing skills to be opt-in via using a class-based ability bonus as a default? Ie, fighters are proficient in Strength checks. If you prefer, you can give up that proficiency and select X number of skills to be proficient in.

Since that sounds like a win-win situation to me, my best guess is that the logistics ended up being difficult. Perhaps it was a problem deciding on default ability. Some abilities translate into more skills. In any event, I doubt it is insurmountable. Well, if we make it known in the next round of feedback that we would appreciate it if it were made opt-in, they will likely give it another shot.
Posted By: Sword_of_Spirit (9/16/2013 6:00:14 PM)


(Wow, this new comment system is hard to read!) I'm one of the few who liked the idea of ditching skills altogether (tying them into backgrounds and just using abilities was enough), although I do appreciate that you've narrowed the list significantly. With a possible +11 bonus (not to mention anything else that gets thrown in there, like items and feats and whatever else comes down the line) it sounds like you've pretty much come full circle on the "skills are a gate that restrict what you can and cannot do -> we don't want that -> ok yeah we can't do it any other way." I hope other aspects of the design fare better and actually tread new ground!
Posted By: nukunuku (9/16/2013 3:58:15 PM)


I think I slightly prefer the more explicitly optional skill system, but this looks like it might be usable modularly as well, depending on how it's written. The core seems to be a +2 circumstance bonus to an ability check, which is easy to understand, and also possible to play without. I'm not sure about how the skill bonus ranges between 2 and 6 though. It seems like the increasing competency is already modelled by characters increasing ability scores as they level.

I also find the proficiency system confusing, and suspect it would work better and be easier to teach if it was not a separate thing.
Posted By: necropraxis (9/16/2013 3:37:31 PM)


I like the way things are going with skills (wasn't a fan of the most recent packet). My one question is, if Performance doesn't cover things like Intimidation, Deceit and Diplomacy, is there any purpose in keeping it? I hated that all skills weren't equal in 3.5. There were certain skills that were only useful to make money (such as Perform if you weren't a Bard, or any Profession other than Sailor). I don't think players should have to waste points on these skills that will have no impact on the game. In 3.5, I just dropped Perform and had all Bard abilities work off a Caster Level check. So, my main question is, will Performance have any actual applications in 5E?

P.S. For the love of god change the Herbalist kit. No magic item should be so mundane that you can just make it with a 1st level proficiency slot.
Posted By: Nyarlathotep666 (9/16/2013 3:31:19 PM)


Sounds great! Thanks, Mike. Hey, instead of giving the sailor a bonus, why not give him/her advantage? (I really like the advantage mechanic, and would love to see it more)
Posted By: TrystanR (9/16/2013 3:22:31 PM)


I love this approach and am very impressed with its simplicity. I didn't want skills to be totally gone but did want simplification, and you've achieved both - well done!
Posted By: tirwin (9/16/2013 3:10:18 PM)


Throw in a resounding "Huzzah!" from my players for the looser skill/ability correlation, and several additional votes for replacing Perception with Wisdom (skll name) idea already floated. Do see one gap, namely a complement to Nature but for man-made structures (e.g. similar but not necessarily same as Dungeoneering from 4e). Would encompass things like architecture, the aforementioned masonry, etc.
Posted By: RCMPenguin (9/16/2013 3:07:14 PM)


I dislike the Expert idea. If it must exist, I think that the bonus should be much smaller than +5; it's just too much in comparison to the variation in Ability Score modifiers, which are supposed to be the focus.
Posted By: Quaestor (9/16/2013 2:58:42 PM)


I think +5 is perfect, remember its only for expert types like rogues for traps and locks, or rangers with woodsman and tracking skills. It ensures they are the best.

I am more worried about the +2 to +6 skill bonus modifier, as this could make regular pc's too efficient. I would like that maybe reduced, but will await the new playtest before passing judgement. Though i must say I do like this direction overall :-)
Posted By: tirwin (9/16/2013 3:20:05 PM)


With up to a +5 from ability and another +5 for Expertise, setting a DC of 30 for mid-level deathtraps or puzzles only a specialist can solve just begins to become feasible. There is a problem with the fact that Clerics, Mages and even Rangers don't yet have any way to be as good as a Bard or Rogue in their own areas of study!
Posted By: RadperT (9/22/2013 7:37:00 PM)


I'd love to see Acrobatics just get merged in to Athletics. Under this new system, what's the difference between Athletics (DEX) and Acrobatics?
Posted By: sigfile (9/16/2013 2:37:24 PM)


Sounds like the best version of skills we've seen so far.
Also, "As a further bonus, this makes it easy for DMs to vary the abilities matched to a skill. Strength (Athletics) might apply when scaling a treacherous cliff. Wisdom (Athletics) can apply when assessing the difficulty of scaling that cliff."
Posted By: LanethanAK (9/16/2013 2:20:02 PM)


Yeah, I just wish that skill-ability modularity was the default rather than an exception...
Posted By: Matt_Sheridan (9/17/2013 11:21:36 AM)


I think I'm just going to stick with expertise die and lore. My players enjoyed those quite a bit. Although I'm excited to see a background-based skills option. Secondary Skills are how we've handled things for years.
Posted By: bradiation (9/16/2013 2:15:11 PM)


Achei legal, só não curti a insistência em valores fixos elevados (o ladino ganhando o tal +5, a menos que isso seja para apenas uma skill nos primeiros níveis e ele ganhe mais umas poucas no decorrer do jogo).
O jogo pode ser simples (em relação às mecânicas de jogo) sem ser desnecessariamente fácil (em relação a dificuldade de desafios), alguém no desenvolvimento do Next esta confundindo as duas coisas.
Posted By: Mwxs (9/16/2013 1:39:05 PM)


How come some skills are verbs/specific actions (sense motive), and some are nouns (nature)?

How come there's perception and search? Shouldn't perception include search? If you're going to separate them, why not call them spot and search?
Posted By: G_X (9/16/2013 12:47:29 PM)


The reason is some skills are actions, such as climbing, and thus described with a verb, while others are knowledge about a topic, thus described with a noun.

Perception and search are separated because one is intelligence based and the other is wisdom based. Search involves actively searching for hidden things, such as secret doors or traps. Perception is a passive ability representing your ability to notice things out of place (which again explains why it's not described with a verb). You could switch perception with spot, but I think perception more closely represents what the skill is about, as the skill is not simply about noticing something visually, it is about both noticing details, and how those details seem out of place. For example, both players might notice a puddle of water in the middle of the room, but a perceptive player might figure out that that the puddle of water should not be there, as the dungeon is very dry and not damp, and began to suspect perhaps a... (see all)
Posted By: moes1980 (9/16/2013 1:41:23 PM)


(cross-posted from EN World)

Overall, I like the gist of this system, but with two caveats. First, I preferred the system when this was originally described, where expertise granted you double your proficiency bonus instead of a flat +5.

Also, while I didn't like the flat +10 from fields of lore, I otherwise really, really liked that mechanic. I'm cool with the lore skills being subsumed into the skill system, but I don't want to lose the granularity of lore skills (or the name, for that matter. Lore really feels like a DnDism).

Perhaps fields of lore should work exactly like skills (with some background granting expertise), but still be a separate silo.
Posted By: Trillinon (9/16/2013 12:37:33 PM)


@Seanchai (having trouble replying to some people with "new" forum code)
"Why isn't performance proficiency with musical instruments or a character's voice? - John "

I think the idea is that you are proficient in one or more instruments or art forms -- strings, winds, voice, dance -- but there is only one Perform skill. If you're a good performer, you can make a good show out of anything you're reasonably competent with. (Alternatively, you don't consider yourself "proficient" with an instrument until you can perform with it up to your nomral expectations.) You can start with a lute, get the perform skill, then many years later decide you want to become proficient at flute as well. Once you're proficient at flute, you are assumed to be equally good (same skill bonus) with lute or flute.
Posted By: longwinded (9/16/2013 12:20:33 PM)


I think it's a transparent attempt to create a skill in which the bard can exceed others' competence, just as rogues and rangers have their own areas of excellence. This and Bardic Lore might better be handled by class- or subclass-dependent mechanics; however, I endorse the idea of extending expertise in academic areas such as Arcana, History and Religion to scholarly characters such as wizards (not necessarily sorcerors) and priests.
Posted By: RadperT (9/20/2013 1:18:38 PM)


Fair warning: I mentioned the things I like below, so this is the "things I don't like the sound of" post.

Skills as a static bonus irked me in 4e, and I don't like it any more here. "Skills" as something that can be distributed were a roguish quality even before generic skills were conceived. While there were skill options for all characters (late) in ADnD, they were with the thief on day one. It's the mechanical heart of the rogue which separates him from an under-performing fighter.

Taking away the choice -- of maxing out one skill as soon as possible, distributing points to be a jack of all trades, or choosing a few key talents that will be useful to the next "job" -- is sort of like taking away a wizard's discrete spells and spell lists. Some people like proving they're clever by optimizing a wizard's daily spell lists, others optimizing their skill distribution or becoming a master specialist. In the same way the fighter becam... (see all)
Posted By: longwinded (9/16/2013 12:13:34 PM)


Yeah, I liked when rogue (i.e. thief) only had their special skills. The thing was, their skills were not simply "climb" and "stealth," they were "scale sheer surfaces" and "hide in shadows." That is, if the dm told the fighter "sorry, it's a sheer surface that can't be climbed without climbing gear" the thief could say "ah, but I have an x% chance to climb sheer surfaces!" Or, if the thief wanted to hide, he could do so by simply stepping into a shadow and vanishing. These were almost supernatural ninja like powers that, in 3.x, got reduced to the much more mundane hide-as in hide in a bush- or climb-as in, I'm going to try to climb a tree." In old dnd any one could attempt those things, but thieves could attempt skills no one else could. I would love to see those types of skills come back but, sadly, I think it has become ingrained in every one's mind that rogues just climb trees and hide in bushes better than other peo... (see all)
Posted By: moes1980 (9/16/2013 1:28:15 PM)


Why isn't performance proficiency with musical instruments or a character's voice? - John
Posted By: Seanchai (9/16/2013 11:43:33 AM)


So, I guess it's like this. You can attempt any action by making an appropriate ability check. However, you will have a short list of skills that you are proficient with, that gives you a bonus based on your level. Some classes will be experts in certain fields granting a further +5 bonus.

How do you get a proficiency with a skill? Partly from background, partly from gaining proficiency with tools (as a background or class feature), and then I guess you get to chose a few at character creation. And I bet you can get more through feats.

Sounds very neat and tidy. Sounds like the cleric here would have maybe +2 from dex plus another 2 for proficiency for a plus 4 on stealth. But a rogue would have at least +3 from dex, plus 2 from specialization, and then plus 5 for being an expert for +10 at level one. Very stealthy indeed! Sounds like being an expert really means being an expert. What is neat is that the +4 is not bad, as most monsters will have a +0-1 on spot an... (see all)
Posted By: moes1980 (9/16/2013 11:40:15 AM)


I'm very pleased that skills weren't removed entirely from the game, it's a problem I really had with the last playtest packet.

But I certainly agree that there were problems in the past with "don't have a skill then you can't do it". This system with skill checks possibly maxing out to +16 (+5 ability score, +6 level, +5 expert) is reasonable compared to 3e where things could end up being +35 against a 45 DC.
Posted By: KoboldAvenger (9/16/2013 10:39:24 AM)


Why are Rogues (and Rogue-likes) the only experts in their field? Why doesn't every class have expert training in skills as well? I would think a Wizard would be an Expert at Arcana. I would think a Fighter would be an expert at Athletics. And what happened to removing +5 and giving them advantage?

Otherwise, I'm happy with the direction. Oh yeah, Religion (Int)? Wouldn't making it Wisdom based be better for Clerics? At least make them Experts.
Posted By: ZaranBlack (9/16/2013 10:32:47 AM)


If the Cleric is detecting a distinctive spiritual presence in an area, it would be: Wisdom (Religion) check

If the Cleric is recounting the history of a particular spiritual tradition: Intelligence (Religion) check

If the Cleric is attempting to motivate a particular spiritual community: Charisma (Religion) check
Posted By: Haldrik (9/16/2013 11:51:24 AM)


How are proficiencies gained in play? Can I become proficient with a lute, or blacksmith tools, after character creation? How about becoming proficient with a new skill?

I like that skills are "generally" linked to attributes, but not absolutely so. A lot of DM advice will be needed to help DMs decide when to let players use an alternate attribute with a skill and when to say no. I'm also curious about aid/assistance: Someone with Intelligence could figure out how a trap works, but lack the manual dexterity to manipulate it; he should be able to grant a bonus to the guy doing the job, if circumstances permit.

The highly compressed bonus scale continues to be the most annoying part of the 5e design. I don't like that a 20th level character is only 20% more likely to succeed at a task than a 1st level character.

If you want a system where "anyone can try anything", whether they're proficient or not, I'd recommend the penalties for fail... (see all)
Posted By: Lizard_SF (9/16/2013 10:29:57 AM)


I preferred the version without skills... But, this new system looks solid, and it looks like it might not be two hard to ignore, so while its not a module, it kinda is.

Good work Mike and team!
Posted By: argokirby (9/16/2013 10:21:52 AM)


Please change this forum back. It's annoying and hard to read anyone's posts. Stop imposing a -5 (disadvantage?) on your commentators.
Posted By: seti (9/16/2013 10:17:50 AM)


Very true...multi-color with at least 3 shades or separate better.....
Posted By: Arunson (9/16/2013 3:55:23 PM)


Hell they'd do well to start the comment with the user name, time and date stamp, on its own line at the beginning. That would at least give you one line of (more or less) visual space between comments.
Posted By: E-Tallitnics (9/18/2013 6:15:10 PM)


Definitely liking what I'm seeing here but I also think that training should give advantage instead of a scaling 2-6 bonus. We have been playing this as a house rule for some time in-house and it works very well. Someone suggested expert-level training should be advantage and +3, which is fine.
Posted By: manaknight69@hotmail (9/16/2013 10:04:14 AM)


I hope we don't end up with a rogue who requires a high strength to climb and/or can't become an expert climber.
Posted By: dmgorgon (9/16/2013 9:38:21 AM)


Not sure about the expert bonus. I don't see why classes can't get their "expert" skills for free instead of offering a huge bonus for taking them. The idea that rogues or rangers should always have the highest potential for stealth or survival sits at odds with the tracker cleric example. Sure, you'll be more stealthy than other clerics, but the rogue and ranger in the group will still make you look like a klutz.

I also notice that Search and Sense Motive are the only skills which have actions as names. All of the others are subjects. I'd rename Sense Motive to Insight. Search would logically be an Intelligence (Perception) check, although this would make Perception very, very strong.

I do REALLY like that this means we can finally make a Strength (Intimidate) check under RAW.
Posted By: Shroom-Mage (9/16/2013 8:57:02 AM)


K.I.S.S it. Having a skill gives you advantage on the check, being an expert in a skill gives you advantage and a +3.

I really like the idea of having background traits that the DM/Player work to determine if you should get a check.
Posted By: PeelSeelTwo (9/16/2013 8:51:31 AM)


It reminds me a bit of the Dragon Age system. Seems decent enough. I think Nature and Survival should be combined. I would still prefer that skills be part of the modularity we keep hearing about. Having the option of using skills is preferable to being forced to have them.
Posted By: the_black_vegetable (9/16/2013 8:19:40 AM)


Agreed. It would be much easier for skills to exist as a module, and add them if you want to use them, then to have the core game reference them throughout, and then try to remove them.
Posted By: mbeacom (9/16/2013 8:52:03 AM)


I like it, however I'd push to remove Sense Motive for reasons not unlike removing Detect Evil or Detect Chaos.
Posted By: Dragna (9/16/2013 7:00:01 AM)


I like this skill system FAR better than the one in the last packet. My only concern is with high DC's (25+) that did exist in previous games. I just want to see how it would work with the current idea of flat bonuses and proficiencies. Overall though, I'm looking forward to seeing this in the next packet and seeing how it affects play.
Posted By: Tulloch (9/16/2013 6:05:44 AM)


I would suggest DCs to rise linearly up to a certain point, and then exponentially. That way, while anyone may attempt a certain task, only true experts could achieve epic tasks without lots of luck.
Posted By: Ashtoret (9/16/2013 4:33:42 AM)


A couple of more questions:
Is the 'tool proficiency' something that a character from another class can acquire? Is it something that may cover weapon proficiencies as well?
Posted By: man.of.tomorrow (9/16/2013 4:06:21 AM)


I'm hoping bards are have bonuses with knowledge skills like arcana, history, and religion to reflect bardic lore.
Posted By: Ashrym (9/16/2013 3:53:15 AM)


Is there going to be a way to pick up a new skill while you level up instead of adding to your existing ones ?
Posted By: man.of.tomorrow (9/16/2013 3:44:56 AM)


"and because some skills can migrate over to tool proficiency."

Do you know why it is so easy to do that? Because proficiencies are skills. It always bugged the heck out of me in 3rd that they finally added a proper skill system to the game but then continued to create an artificial separation between weapon skills and other skills.
Posted By: ForgottenLore (9/16/2013 2:35:35 AM)


So much happier with this skill system! :D
Posted By: DeadEdJames (9/16/2013 2:06:01 AM)


Intelligence (Perception) = Intelligence (Search)
Posted By: Haldrik (9/16/2013 1:52:47 AM)


Search (int): Actively looking for something (maybe there's something behind that tapestry on the wall or a chest hidden under the bed).

Perception (wis): More of an awareness of your surroundings (that spot on the wall looks a little funny or hey that shadow just moved maybe there's something there).

That's the way I see it anyway, similar, but not the same thing.
Posted By: beef623 (9/16/2013 2:07:51 AM)


Except, it is an ability check. An Intelligence check.

To this Intelligence check, one may add a skill bonus. Either the Search skill or the Perception skill.

At this point, the two skills seem virtually, or possibly strictly, identical.

Posted By: Haldrik (9/16/2013 3:06:16 AM)


The real reason is, well, Perception is pretty much always the best skill in the game. If you include search, it's even moreso. Splitting it into Spot and Listen was too far, but keeping Search distinct was nice.
Posted By: BringerOfLocusts (9/16/2013 5:19:35 AM)


In my experience, the artificial split between Perception and Search is unhelpful. For te ability checks I have made, it is typically just as easy to explain the use of a Perception (sharpness, alertness) or the use of Search (analysis, technical memory, scientific deduction, ability to recognize the significance of clues). Indeed, the only difference between these two skills is the ability check itself. Now, if a skill can apply to any ability, it is unhelpful - even confusing - to artificially force certain skills to only work with certain ability. If it is possible to have ability checks like Intelligence (Perception) and Wisdom (Search), then these two skills have little difference between each other. The attempts to explain their difference creates more confusion than clarification. Even their official descriptions look synonymous, thus it becomes unclear when *not* to use one of these skills.

I understand the need to reduce the effecacy of Perception. But the solution ... (see all)
Posted By: Haldrik (9/16/2013 11:12:27 AM)


Perhaps the problem is Perception itself.

Perception = Wisdom
Wisdom = Perception

Perception itself is the ability check. This is why it is too powerful. It would be like adding a Bodybuilding skill bonus that simply boosts all Strength checks, attacks, and damage, always. The problem would be the Strength ability check and the Bodybuilding skill would be the same thing. As is the case with Perception.

It seems to me, the solution is to remove the Perception and Search skills. Instead, apply the training from other skills.

For example, a Ninja who is highly trained in Stealth is also more knowledgeable, more familiar, and more skilled at detecting the presence of someone else who is hiding. Soft sounds, extradark shadows, warped fields of color, that would go unnoticed by other characters, the Ninja would immediately recognize as someone sneaking, hiding, or camouflaging.
Posted By: Haldrik (9/16/2013 11:21:53 AM)


Instead of a Wisdom check that duplicates into Wisdom (Perception = Wisdom) check. Use the other skills to represent competence at a skil. For example:

To find someone who is hiding: Wisdom (Stealth) check.
To find someon who is using an Invisibility spell: Wisdom (Arcana) check.
To notice a secret door, by detecting outlines, traffic prints, etcetera: Wisdom (Masonry) check.
To deduce where a secret door must be, by systematically mapping and analyzing structures: Intelligence (Masonry) check
To know the most likely location where a certain herb might grow: Intelligence (Nature) check
To recognize the smell of a particular herb: Wisdom (Nature) check check

And so on. In these cases, there is no Perception (= Wisdom) check, but simply areas of expertise.

Also, Masonry needs to add to the list to represent a skill. This is the ancient and medieval ability to construct large buildings, like palaces, temples, bridges, dams, theater... (see all)
Posted By: Haldrik (9/16/2013 11:41:12 AM)


Perception is a wisdom check, not intelligence.
Posted By: beef623 (9/16/2013 10:26:02 AM)


Right, there is no 'Perception' check. There is only a Wisdom check. But say, I am using Intelligence to analyze the structure of a buliding or a cave to figure out where a door might be. I roll an Intelligence check but then can also add Perception to represent the ability to notice subtle details that aid my analysis. Hence an Intelligence (Perception) check.

Each skill bonus can add to any ability: Strength, Dexterity, Constitution, Intelligence, Wisdom, and Charisma. It depends on the ability check in need. Perception can add to an Intelligence check or to a Wisdom check. Search can add to an Intelligence check or to a Wisdom check.
Posted By: Haldrik (9/16/2013 10:58:13 AM)


This sounds great. The skill die system and straight ability score system didn't make any logical sense at all.
Posted By: beef623 (9/16/2013 1:41:36 AM)


I can live with this system. In fact, I vastly prefer it to what we have seen in playtest packages. The skill list looks especially solid, not too bloated nor too small. My hopes for 5e went up a little.
Posted By: excalainen (9/16/2013 1:37:23 AM)


I'm glad Skills remain a bonus benefiting ability based task resolution rather than be a task based resolution itself. I also prefer Skill bonus over Skill die so all good here. While the layout of Ability score (Skill) format is nice, i preferred when Skills were untied to Skills. I'm good with Skill proficiency bonus but i fear the Expert bonus riding on top will be too much but we'll wait and see how it pan out. I also am okay with a condensed Skills list but i prefered bigger more elaborate one.
Posted By: Plaguescarred (9/16/2013 1:26:39 AM)


Ah, well. I liked the ability check system and the lore bonus.

Pity they caved.

Posted By: CarlT (9/16/2013 1:17:56 AM)


I'm not sure it's fair to say "they caved" when the feedback was strong for inclusion of skills. I just wish they would have been a option, rather than a default.
Posted By: mbeacom (9/16/2013 1:29:44 AM)


It seems that option will be there. I'm just glad that skills are the default, because it's much easier for them to have classes and races reference skills, and then have rules to convert to a skill-less module, than vis-versa
Posted By: BringerOfLocusts (9/16/2013 5:17:14 AM)


The main problem was that they dropped skills (except Lore) and replaced it with an even more complex and silly Gear proficiency system (that in some instances was just ridiculous). If they were dropping skills to keep it simple, that system failed to accomplish it.
Plus, the team has an added problem they are tackling. They want a system that can be rendered down to it's most basic simplicity, still be fun AND (here's the hard part) is different enough from existing games that the fanbase will feel the need to buy it. The early playtest packets, when they focused almost entirely on ability checks, seemed a lot like another OSR game that's already on the market.
Posted By: Nyarlathotep666 (9/16/2013 3:57:56 PM)


I like it. I quite enjoyed playing the game without skills, but I found it tricky to adjust. This seems like a solid medium. I'm not sure if I like the +5 expertise bonus any better than the +10 lore or the expertise die (both of which I've been iffy with). I liked the ATTEMPT of the expertise die - good concept. But in practice it didn't quite work.

We'll see how this goes...
Posted By: FitzTheRuke (9/16/2013 1:13:22 AM)


Initially I to thought a +10 was too high a bonus. But when you think about it, Lore is nothing more than a 411 line to the DM's world. Turns out it's a great interaction and storytelling tool.
Posted By: E-Tallitnics (9/16/2013 4:30:43 PM)


My biggest concern is the comment about skills being based on your level. I want training a skill to be a choice, not just something that happens when you level. I would be fine with your level placing a cap on skills, but if I am not using a skill I should not get better just because I leveled.
Posted By: QuantumHarmonix (9/16/2013 1:02:05 AM)


I like keeping things like craft being connected with tools proficiencies as well as additional skill sets tied in with backgrounds. I look forward to seeing this part in the next play test.
Posted By: thanson02 (9/16/2013 12:53:56 AM)


I'm really hoping this means my skill list can look something like...

High Captain of the Tulan'ni Pirates
Sleight of Hand
Blackplague Survivor

...and all of those basically use the same system for adding bonuses to my ability checks. That would be super narratively awesome.
Posted By: Aavarius (9/16/2013 12:37:43 AM)


A much better skill list than we had over all the other packages.

I like these rules very much. Simpler, cleaner, faster.
Posted By: Vinicius_Zoio (9/16/2013 12:33:59 AM)


Posted By: Aavarius (9/16/2013 12:30:03 AM)


I like it. But something always bugged me about a couple of the Skills. Isn't Persuade and Deceive kinda the same thing? Either way, you're manipulating. Ya know?
Posted By: Timmee (9/16/2013 12:30:02 AM)


Deceive is probably intended to be dishonest, where as Persuade is probably supposed to be honest and forthright.
Posted By: Aavarius (9/16/2013 12:32:32 AM)


Deception is replacing Bluff, Persuasion is replacing Diplomacy.
Posted By: Silver_Blaze (9/16/2013 12:50:40 AM)


Those really are much better names.
Posted By: Matt_Sheridan (9/17/2013 11:24:10 AM)


I agree, relative to s "broad" skill system. Sense Motive and Perception could be the same Skill as well.

Otherwise, just go back to a more granular Skill system.
Posted By: lawrencehoy (9/16/2013 12:56:45 AM)


Sense Motive is probably intended to be a social awareness, where Perception is probably intended to be physical awareness (seeing, hearing, smelling, etc)
Posted By: Aavarius (9/16/2013 2:01:24 AM)


For 'Sense Motive' I always liked more the 4e title of 'Insight'.
Posted By: man.of.tomorrow (9/16/2013 3:48:31 AM)


I agree. Everything can have a lying/bluff component.

One of my pet peeves with 3e skills was that some skills were more objectively more valuable than others. And not just in the sense that some skills are used more often than others: bluff gave synergy bonuses to so many things that it was essentially mandatory for anyone who doesn't use CHA as a dump stat. For 5 skill points you got +2 to darn near everything social. Eventually you have to wonder why we don't just take bluff as assumed.

Similarly, I do like the idea of rolling knowledge/appraisal/good sense checks into the skills, as Mike suggests with his "WIS (Athletics) to assess the difficulty of scaling a cliff" comment. It's something that was always on the edge of the skills, to where some DMs could appreciate it and others can't.

I also like rolling craft, profession, and presumably perform into tool/kit proficiencies. It gives players the ability to have those abilities when expect... (see all)
Posted By: longwinded (9/16/2013 11:39:26 AM)


Excellent. Top to bottom. And what made it for me is the optional system you mention. I'm almost certainly going to use that if it works the way I think it will.

Posted By: Yuva (9/16/2013 12:28:08 AM)


"Personally, I like skills as a tool to customize my character. I like that I can create a cleric with a high Dexterity, pick leather armor and a ranged weapon, take skills that improve checks dealing with stealth, survival, and perception, and play an outdoorsy tracker and hunter who feels much different compared to a traditional, mace and chainmail cleric"

You dont need skills to do this. You just need a cleric with high DEX and WIS.
Posted By: mbeacom (9/16/2013 12:27:46 AM)


Well, darn it. I was hoping skills would be entirely optional. :( My group is loving the game without them. I do like the idea that anyone can attempt anything. Maybe that will be what we need to work nicely with skills. I guess I need to see this skill/proficiency/background system in action, working together to get a better feel for it.
Posted By: mbeacom (9/16/2013 12:24:40 AM)


Well, that's certainly an improvement over the lack of skills or the wonky skill die that we got over the last few packets. It sounds like they may have finally nailed skills for 5E. As long as they have the DCs figured out, that is.
Posted By: Clansmansix (9/16/2013 12:10:40 AM)