ou've got questions—we've got answers! Here's how it works—each week, our Community Manager will scour all available sources to find whatever questions you're asking. We'll pick three of them for R&D to answer, whether about the about the making of the game or anything else you care to know about . . . with some caveats.
There are certain business and legal questions we can't answer (for business and legal reasons). And if you have a specific rules question, we'd rather point you to Customer Service, where representatives are ready and waiting to help guide you through the rules of the game. That said, our goal is provide you with as much information we can—in this and other venues.
Is the plan to keep the skill list in its current form, or will rules and character modules possibly add more skills to the list?
Right now, we’re pretty comfortable with the skills we have. We think the list encompasses the majority of the tasks that are common to all games of Dungeons & Dragons, and it reflects the concept of skills (things that you can train to be good at that rely only on your own skill and experience) very well.
From the beginning, one of our goals with the game is modularity, so we want to make sure that skills are equally modular. We plan to include advice for Dungeon Masters on adding new skills, removing or changing existing skills, and even alternate rules for player-created skills based on backgrounds or story elements. For example, we’re considering an alternate rule that allows the player to name their own skills with a word or a short phrase, or even tie in to our Ideal/Flaw/Bond concept; under such a system, my human fighter who is a pirate-turned-privateer might have skills like “Sailing,” “Privateering,” and “Command,” which I chose and named since those are relevant to my character’s story.
How will taking proficiency with a tool work? Proficiency isn't listed in the skills, so is it part of a background or a class or what?
With one exception, proficiency is our catch-all term for “get your proficiency bonus to your roll when you use it.” Proficient in a skill? Add your proficiency bonus to a check when your skill applies. Proficient in thieves’ tools? Add your proficiency bonus to a check when you use them. Proficient in a weapon? Add your proficiency bonus to your attacks with that weapon. It’s our way of saying, “Your skill and experience gives you a leg up on the task you’re attempting.” We’re also introducing proficiency in saving throws to help characters “grow out” of lower-level monster save DCs, allowing you to get better at saves that your class is good at. Across all of these things—skills, tools, weapons, saving throws—we use the proficiency language to point you toward your proficiency bonus, which scales with your level no matter what class you take.
Will some classes still have ways to gain new skills instead of adding to existing ones? Will there be other options for picking up new skills? What about ways to get proficiency with tools, or weapons? Is that going to use a similar system?
We have a few ways of thinking about this, but the short answer is, “Yes, there will be ways to get new proficiencies.” Exactly which ones and how is still being worked on, but I can give you a few examples. Certain class features can give you proficiencies at higher levels (for example, we’re renovating the rogue’s Slippery Mind class feature to give you Wisdom saving throw proficiency). Some feats will continue to give you proficiencies.
We’ve talked about our downtime system before, but this is an area where we think that system could really shine. One of the goals of that system is to give characters a way to develop outside of adventures. An avenue we want to explore inside that system is the ability for you to spend downtime training in skills, weapons, tools, and more to gain proficiency. We haven’t fully worked out all the details, but we want to give you a chance to expand your character’s repertoire of capabilities using the background system, and we don’t want to end up in a place where the game says “Everyone is proficient in everything!” We do think that a lot of the other things that you can get from backgrounds—including possibly traits—are the kinds of things we’d like to see players spend gold and downtime to learn.
How can I submit a question to the D&D Next Q&A?
Instead of a single venue to submit questions, our Community Manager will be selecting questions from our message boards, Twitter feed, and Facebook account. You can also submit questions directly to email@example.com. So, if you'd like to have your question answered in the D&D Next Q&A, just continue to participate in our online community—and we may select yours!
Rodney Thompson began freelancing in the RPG industry in 2001 before graduating from the University of Tennessee. In 2007 he joined the Wizards of the Coast staff as the lead designer and developer for the new Star Wars RPG product line. Rodney is the co-designer of Lords of Waterdeep and is currently a designer for Dungeons & Dragons.