I spent a bunch of time this last week thinking about how to do skills for my little heart breaker and a couple of things popped into my head.
First, I realized that this whole project is starting to branch into two development trees; old-school based influenced by Fifth Edition, and Fifth Edition based but influenced by old-school games. This all started to come together with last week’s Let’s Go Crazy post.
First, yes, I’m running with Rogue rather than Thief. I just feel it’s got a broader definition than Thief. Second, I’m gathering a bunch of inspiration from Lamentations of the Flame Princess’ Specialist.
Skills need to broad but not vague and need to hit a sweet spot. Most “common” actions would be done with Ability checks. Things like jumping, climbing, searching, and fast talk. Class specific knowledge might or might not need a roll, depending what’s going on. So here’s my initial skill list:
- Healing: Treating Wounds, diagnosis, herbalism
- Monster Lore: Creatures and stuff.
- Profession: Specific knowledge choose something when taken.
- Languages: Decipher script, number of languages. 0 is illiterate.
- Stealth: Moving Quietly, Hiding, Blending Into The Crowd.
- Survival: Tracking. Foraging
- Thievery: Picking Pockets, Locks & Traps, Sleight of Hand
Yeah. It’s a very short list.
So how am I going to handle Skill in the 5E world? Taking a page from 5E Hardcore Mode and little from my own previous thoughts. First, there’s no set attribute modifier that modifies a skill. It all just depends on what exactly the character is attempting. For example, Can I eat this plant? Roll Survival (Int). Can I skin this animal? Roll Survival (Dex). What about unskilled? Sure you can try. For that I’m going to streamline from Hardcore Mode. Just roll a d20 at Disadvantage. No attribute modifier at all. As far as progression goes, well, just do that pretty much the normal way.
For the old-school, it’s the good old x in d6 vibe similar to Lamentations of the Flame Princess. But taking a step further. X in d6 is for average difficulty. To adjust for more difficult tasks, increase the die type. So if a task is really hard instead of X in d6, it’d be x in d12. Now for progression under this there’s an idea that’s bounced around my head for a long time. Random class based skill points. So since the Rogue is the skill monkey. They get the best die. Probably a d8 while other classes would get a d4 or d6. Points can be saved from level to level. And any skill can only be improved by one per level. However, it’s not a 1 for 1 point buy. It takes the Skill Rating to go up one. So to go from 3 to 4, it costs 3 points. Like LOTFP, most skills would start off at 1 but in a case like Languages then going from 0 to 1 would cost 4.
Of course, Rogues are going to get other class tricks like sneak attack and better chances at certain checks. Plus a few other things as they pop into my head.
And in case you’re coming into these rants, mid-way through, these are my high level thoughts on the basic design. The nuts and bolt will coming later.
Keep rolling those dice and having fun!