Back to Crafty Games Welcome, Guest. Please login or register.
Did you miss your activation email?
October 23, 2014, 08:23:16 AM
Home Help Search Login Register
News: Welcome to the Crafty Games Forums!

Note to New Members: To combat spam, we have instituted new rules: you must post 5 replies to existing threads before you can create new threads.

+  Crafty Games Forum
|-+  Community
| |-+  License to Improvise
| | |-+  Adjusting skill ranks
« previous next »
Pages: [1] Go Down Print
Author Topic: Adjusting skill ranks  (Read 696 times)
Blankbeard
Handler
*****
Posts: 781



View Profile
« on: October 20, 2012, 02:57:46 AM »

I'm experimenting with a modification of the skill system.  Skills are placed on the same scale as BAB.  The goals
of this are:
1) expand the viability of using skills in combat. 
2) eliminate or at least reduce the grapple/trip/bullrush autowin situations where the dedicated character can achieve a bonus much higher than anyone else and non-specialized characters have zero chance to win
3) Basic Skill Mastery feats, in my opinion, are less interesting than most fully crafty-designed feats. 
4) It would be really cool to break BAB down into weapon skills and this might lay the groundwork for that.
5) Try not to horribly break the system.

So that's where this is coming from.  The method is to change the way skills are acquired and add a lot of skill based tricks.  Skill acquisition is outlined below as well as a few tricks to start with.  In general anything not mentioned below is unchanged.  Ranks are different in this system.  Any skill can have a maximum of 3 ranks and level based maximum ranks do not apply in this scheme.  Bonuses are a tad lower and intended to be similar to attack bonuses.

Purchasing skills

At first level you receive a number of skill points specified for your class plus your intelligence modifier, all multiplied times three.  At second level and every four levels thereafter, you receive an additional three skill points.  These points may be spent on class skills, Origin skills, or previous class skills in which you have previously spent at least one point.  Points are spent as follows:
Code:
                                Points in skill(rank)    Progression     Special Effects
                0                 None            You are untrained when making checks with this skill
1                 Low
2                 Medium     
3                 High       
 
Progressions are the same as BAB.  Certain character options are modified:

Enlightened Skills:  This grants a +2 bonus to all checks using said skill.

Trade Secrets: This grants a +4 morale bonus to all checks using the skill and grants +1 threat range.

Basic Skill Mastery:
You gain a +2 insight bonus with both skills and may select one skill trick from either of the two skills.

Exceptional Skill Mastery:
Your threat range with both skills is 18-20 and you gain another skill trick.

Legendary Skill Mastery:
You may activate criticals for one less action die and gain a third skill trick.

Prodigal Skill
You gain a +3 bonus with the skill and it becomes an Origin skill for you.

Well-Rounded
You may gain the first rank in any chapter 2 skill.

I think that's everything affected.  Below are some of the tricks I've come up with.  Hopefully they demonstrate what I'm going for here.

(click to show/hide)
Logged
Morgenstern
Control
******
Posts: 5263



View Profile
« Reply #1 on: October 20, 2012, 03:56:06 AM »

Clever as an inital plan. Multiclassing is going to be... delicate. You could end up in a class which relies on a skill without having that skill and no skill points to aquire it coming for several levels.
Logged

At your own pace: Do. It. Now.
How about some pie? - Heroes of the Expanse
Gatac
Handler
*****
Posts: 927


The power of Stark compels you!


View Profile WWW
« Reply #2 on: October 20, 2012, 05:28:30 AM »

Ooh, I like this a lot. Going by your "at second level and every four levels thereafter, you get three points" upgrade strategy, where's the harm in just giving out a skill point every level?

2nd + 6th + 10th +14th + 18th = 5x3 = 15 skill points.
A point every level after the 1st = 19 skill points.

That is noticeably more powerful, I'll admit, but not completely out of line, and it would make this a lot simpler.
Logged
Blankbeard
Handler
*****
Posts: 781



View Profile
« Reply #3 on: October 20, 2012, 07:07:54 AM »

I might need to crank back the initial skill points to 2x as I'm already giving out more skills than the standard system does. 

The standard system gives you enough skill points to max (class skill + int mod) skills.  I'm giving out enough to max (class skill + int mod +5) skills

I'm alright with some extra skill points but I think that's a bit too many. 

2x + 1 per level would give enough to max (2/3 (class skill + int mod) +6) skills.  For anyone with an intelligence below 30, you're getting a couple extra skills under this system.  Low skill point characters benefit more than high skill point ones which is not a bad thing.

Logged
Crafty_Pat
Crafty Staff
Control
*****
Posts: 9465


End of the World? Donít believe the hype.


View Profile WWW
« Reply #4 on: October 26, 2012, 06:28:45 PM »

::checks, finds hole in tin foil hat, tosses it out and stalks off to the welding table with a few hubcaps::
Logged

Patrick Kapera
Crafty Games
www.crafty-games.com

UPDATES/PRESS INFO
Mailing List: http://bit.ly/14FJIw7
RSS: www.crafty-games.com/needtoknow
Facebook: www.facebook.com/craftygames
Twitter: www.twitter.com/Crafty_Games
YouTube: www.youtube.com/craftyhomeoffice

In game terms, reality is b
Morgenstern
Control
******
Posts: 5263



View Profile
« Reply #5 on: October 26, 2012, 06:51:50 PM »

Ooh, I like this a lot. Going by your "at second level and every four levels thereafter, you get three points" upgrade strategy, where's the harm in just giving out a skill point every level?

2nd + 6th + 10th +14th + 18th = 5x3 = 15 skill points.
A point every level after the 1st = 19 skill points.

That is noticeably more powerful, I'll admit, but not completely out of line, and it would make this a lot simpler.

The problem mostly is it completely obliterates the balance between vitality and skill points per level.

...and 19 points = 6.33 maxed skills. Considering the starting number of maxed skills, for a few classes (which you only need to take at level 1...) that's nearly all of them. Not a lot of diversity of builds when that happens.

You could make it work to have a strictly career level based skill system where everybody gets the same number, but the implications do ripple beyond just skills. Everyone has the same vitality per level too? Dunno, maybe this is what Pat's intimating about a new hit point system over in the modern mechanics thread.
Logged

At your own pace: Do. It. Now.
How about some pie? - Heroes of the Expanse
MikeS
Operative
****
Posts: 258




View Profile
« Reply #6 on: October 26, 2012, 09:27:25 PM »

Well, Blankbeard hinted that he wants to introduce weapon skills as well somewhere along the line. Depending on how many categories you subdivide into, that adds a whole lot of skills, and just being a regular Soldier will require you to sink 3 points into 2-3 skills at 1st level.

You may actually find that there are too few skill points, as proposed, unless the combat classes get bonus points that can be sunk only into weapon skills.

I'll be keeping an eye on this thread. I've been toying with the idea of scalable conflicts (with three detail categories: single check, "dramatic conflict" (medium detail), and "combat" (high detail). The idea is to give you options on how much importance you want to give to a particular combat, social interaction, chase, etc, which means adding some means to cut short combat, but also expand other conflicts (like social conflicts). One of the things I was missing is a skill system to replace BAB, to increase variety a bit.
« Last Edit: October 26, 2012, 09:32:05 PM by MikeS » Logged
Blankbeard
Handler
*****
Posts: 781



View Profile
« Reply #7 on: October 26, 2012, 11:45:31 PM »

Well, Blankbeard hinted that he wants to introduce weapon skills as well somewhere along the line. Depending on how many categories you subdivide into, that adds a whole lot of skills, and just being a regular Soldier will require you to sink 3 points into 2-3 skills at 1st level.

You may actually find that there are too few skill points, as proposed, unless the combat classes get bonus points that can be sunk only into weapon skills.

I'll be keeping an eye on this thread. I've been toying with the idea of scalable conflicts (with three detail categories: single check, "dramatic conflict" (medium detail), and "combat" (high detail). The idea is to give you options on how much importance you want to give to a particular combat, social interaction, chase, etc, which means adding some means to cut short combat, but also expand other conflicts (like social conflicts). One of the things I was missing is a skill system to replace BAB, to increase variety a bit.

The endgame is BAB, skills, and saves all on the same range, allowing me to mix up skills with the other two categories without creating an autowin/autolose situation.  An explosives expert might use his explosives skill in place of a reflex save when dodging a bomb.

I think the best way is to make a single change at a time, see how that pans out, and then move on.  This is intended for a new project I've had in mind for a while so I don't have to worry (much) about backwards compatibility.  So let me just deal with the range adjustment for skills and saves and see if that's not enough to fill up a thread.

::checks, finds hole in tin foil hat, tosses it out and stalks off to the welding table with a few hubcaps::

I didn't participate in the last Grapple thread but I didn't escape it unscathed either Smiley 

The problem mostly is it completely obliterates the balance between vitality and skill points per level.

...and 19 points = 6.33 maxed skills. Considering the starting number of maxed skills, for a few classes (which you only need to take at level 1...) that's nearly all of them. Not a lot of diversity of builds when that happens.

You could make it work to have a strictly career level based skill system where everybody gets the same number, but the implications do ripple beyond just skills. Everyone has the same vitality per level too? Dunno, maybe this is what Pat's intimating about a new hit point system over in the modern mechanics thread.

Yeah, I don't want to kill builds or class distinctiveness.   Hopefully focusing first on what changing the range does will produce a usable subsystem for those interested in one without destroying what I like.  Then I can come back and modify that solid base further.  Run before I walk and all of that Smiley

So, given that, range:  What changes when we place skills and saves on the BAB scale? 

For saves since I don't have any existing back compatibility to worry about, I think this is a small change.   NPC's will use the same table for defense and DC for attacks.  Say a PC gets bitten by some venomous snake.  He'd make a fortitude save (using a larger bonus than standard mastercraft) to resist its effects.  The DC to cure said poison with a medicine check is the same.

Skills are a tougher nut.  Let's start off with only the scale change.  Skills can have up to 3 ranks, just as above.  Obviously, the 4x skills at first level are more than needed.  Intutively, it seems that since I'm dropping the cap by 3 points, I can just give (skill points) at first level.  The only other change right now is to just give the intelligence bonus at first level.  I think this needs that.
Let's see how that works:

Assume that any example characters have 10 INT/Pre and no character options that would affect skills.

Level one, the maximum number of skills is the same, but fewer can be maxed out.  A soldier can have a maximum of 4 trained skills at low progression, 2 at medium, or 1 high and 1 low.  Level 20, he has an additional 19 skill points.  That's an additional 6 maxed skills with one low progression.  As Morg pointed out, that's too many.  That's enough to ensure that every soldier has his origin and class skills maxed out without an intelligence bonus.  Not what I want.  I'm ok with some increase in skills on the low point end but I don't want to destroy the system.

Options I see:

1) Giving out skill points fewer times.  This was my original solution but it doesn't work.  Morgenstern pointed out that it destroys the ability to multiclass.  If you need a skill, you have to wait until the next time a skill point comes up in the by-level chart. 

2) Reduce the initial skill load out.  This destroys the low skill classes.  Not an option.

3) Give out skill points on the by level chart *and* when a new class is taken.  This has the obvious problem that it favors multiclassing for new skill points.  I'm going to run this out and see if it looks solvable.

Here's the system I'm using here.
Initial skill points are 4/5/6.  At 2nd level and every 3 levels there after, an additional skill point. 
Multiclassing characters receive the balance of skill points from the new class, or one for the first multiclass, expert class, or master class. 

For Ex: our soldier takes a level of keeper.  He receives an additional 2 skill points to spend on keeper and origin skills.  **Horrible hack alert** When adding a lower or same skill class,  the character receives one skill point the first time he takes a base, expert or master class and none for additional classes. This can be adjusted with campaign qualities.  **Horrible Hack Alert**

NB: It's not a good sign that I'm starting off with a hack.

At 20th level our soldier has 10 skill points.  He can be trained in all class skills, max 3 with one low prog, or many combinations in between.
If he multiclasses, he always has skill points available to help him fufill his new role.

A 20th level keeper can max 8 skills + his int bonus.  Under this system he can do 12 + int bonus/3.   

Let's look at a multiclassing charater.  He starts off as a scout (5 sp) then multiclasses to burglar.  He gains an additional skill point.  He then takes a level of soldier.  It's not the first base class so he gains no skill points.  Next, he enters the beastmaster expert class and gains one skill point.  Entering swashbuckler gives him nothing but becoming a wind knight (master) gives him another skill point.  He also recieves the 6 everyone receives for leveling.  Final skill total is 14 sp

A straight classed scout would gain 11 sp while a straight classed burglar would recieve 12. 

How does this look?  There's less pressure to have a high intelligence too. 
Logged
Blankbeard
Handler
*****
Posts: 781



View Profile
« Reply #8 on: October 26, 2012, 11:57:52 PM »

The big dial I see here is the initial skill point loadout.  I could go 1.5 (6/8/9 or 10) without changing much else. 

Multiclassing can change a bit if need be.  I don't want to force skillful characters to multiclass, I just want them to be able to.

There are certainly more options if these don't work out. 

Also, please don't miss the saves bit.  I think it's straightforward.
Logged
Morgenstern
Control
******
Posts: 5263



View Profile
« Reply #9 on: October 27, 2012, 12:09:12 AM »

I think its start from scratch more than you may realize, but I'm not afraid to write new games (not just overlays Cool), so lets dig in.

The curve I think you may want to look at more closely is the Legend L/M/H pogression. I'm really proud of some nuances to that one and there are some days I wish I could (easily) swap it in for BAB and saves myself. Its VERY resistant to cherrypicking. At every level the high track is the sum of the medium and low progressions.

The endgame is BAB, skills, and saves all on the same range, allowing me to mix up skills with the other two categories without creating an autowin/autolose situation....

...For saves since I don't have any existing back compatibility to worry about, I think this is a small change...

Not entirely true, but it is absurdly well hidden.

High Skill rank at level 1: 4
High Save bonus at Level 1: +2

High Skill rank at level 20: 23
High Save bonus at Level 1: +12

There is basically a workable 2:1 ratio. Its not used much, but its there.

What IS used a lot is Save DCs of 10 + attribute modifer + number of feats in a tree. Obviously the 10 and die roll cancel out, and the attribute mods loosely cancel, so you are left with save progression vs feat acquistion rate. If the high range of saves goes from +12 to +20, a huge number of save DCs are going to become trivial and a flat number fix is not going to help. Something to consider Smiley.

On the topic of buying skills in a way that scles with level... That's what NPCs do now, so maybe rather than having a 0, 1, 2, 3-points level of granularity, you tap into the NPC rules and basically allow players to spend a number of XP-value on skills each level. With the finer grain you might be able to get away with 1 per level for low skill point classes, 2 for medium, and 3 for high... althought would fail completely on the (intriguing) premise of getting skills and more of the class bonuses all on the same progressions.
« Last Edit: October 27, 2012, 12:11:38 AM by Morgenstern » Logged

At your own pace: Do. It. Now.
How about some pie? - Heroes of the Expanse
Gatac
Handler
*****
Posts: 927


The power of Stark compels you!


View Profile WWW
« Reply #10 on: October 27, 2012, 03:00:52 AM »

Ah, right, the whole Vitality/Skill point thing. Award new skills every second/third/fourth level, then?
Logged
Blankbeard
Handler
*****
Posts: 781



View Profile
« Reply #11 on: October 27, 2012, 12:35:00 PM »

I think its start from scratch more than you may realize, but I'm not afraid to write new games (not just overlays Cool), so lets dig in.

The curve I think you may want to look at more closely is the Legend L/M/H pogression. I'm really proud of some nuances to that one and there are some days I wish I could (easily) swap it in for BAB and saves myself. Its VERY resistant to cherrypicking. At every level the high track is the sum of the medium and low progressions.

Yeah, I see the advantage of that.  The advantage of the current BAB progression is that even the slow progression improves every other level and there's only a 10 point gap on the front end.  A Legend style progression is going to have to either advance slower or deal with a larger gap.  Either of these two conditions are going to drive skills (and if weapon skills happen BAB) towards "Max or don't bother"

+8/+12/+20 is probably a good comprimise. +5/+10/+15 is fine but putting a single skill point into a skill takes 3 levels to show a difference from not having a skill point in it at all (although you do have the trained cap difference)

The endgame is BAB, skills, and saves all on the same range, allowing me to mix up skills with the other two categories without creating an autowin/autolose situation....

...For saves since I don't have any existing back compatibility to worry about, I think this is a small change...

Not entirely true, but it is absurdly well hidden.

High Skill rank at level 1: 4
High Save bonus at Level 1: +2

High Skill rank at level 20: 23
High Save bonus at Level 1: +12

There is basically a workable 2:1 ratio. Its not used much, but its there.

I'd only consider making this change on a new project.  It's too much work for not enough benefit to stick it into something existing like Fantasy Craft.  I had written a post about the project but lost it in a power flip.

What IS used a lot is Save DCs of 10 + attribute modifer + number of feats in a tree. Obviously the 10 and die roll cancel out, and the attribute mods loosely cancel, so you are left with save progression vs feat acquistion rate. If the high range of saves goes from +12 to +20, a huge number of save DCs are going to become trivial and a flat number fix is not going to help. Something to consider Smiley.

NPC save DC's and competence will be able to be read off the defense table.  So a giant scorpion might have Defense IV, Competence II and an attack with save DC VII all of which would be read off the Defense table 6.1.

If using the BAB 0-20 scale I *think* you can add +1/2 TL or character level to convert saves from standard mastercraft to my mutant project.

On the topic of buying skills in a way that scles with level... That's what NPCs do now, so maybe rather than having a 0, 1, 2, 3-points level of granularity, you tap into the NPC rules and basically allow players to spend a number of XP-value on skills each level. With the finer grain you might be able to get away with 1 per level for low skill point classes, 2 for medium, and 3 for high... althought would fail completely on the (intriguing) premise of getting skills and more of the class bonuses all on the same progressions.

I'm gonna fight with this for a while a'fore I give up on it, but I'm filing this away for future exploration. Smiley
Logged
Morgenstern
Control
******
Posts: 5263



View Profile
« Reply #12 on: October 27, 2012, 02:31:11 PM »

Here - a scale with some of the virtues of the Legend progression, and the peak value is more like the skills range (+21), while the lowest value (+1) now makes it better than othing even at elvel 1 on the worst progression. This will probably work better for a couple things.

Lvl     L     M       H
1     +1   +1     +2
2     +1   +2     +3
3     +2   +2     +4
4     +2   +3     +5
5     +2   +4     +6
6     +3   +4     +7
7     +3   +5     +8
8     +3   +6     +9
9     +4   +6     +10
10   +4   +7     +11
11   +4   +8     +12
12   +5   +8     +13
13   +5   +9     +14
14   +5   +10   +15
15   +6   +10   +16
16   +6   +11   +17
17   +6   +12   +18
18   +7   +12   +19
19   +7   +13   +20
20   +7   +14   +21
« Last Edit: October 27, 2012, 02:45:35 PM by Morgenstern » Logged

At your own pace: Do. It. Now.
How about some pie? - Heroes of the Expanse
Blankbeard
Handler
*****
Posts: 781



View Profile
« Reply #13 on: October 27, 2012, 03:46:43 PM »

I like that.  Low looses a bit of ground against the 1/2 TL scaling factor but not enough to be hopeless.  And of course there are other scaling factors that I could use. 

Against a 1/2 TL scaling factor, which is what is at the core of the sliding DC table on page 370, the low progression loses 3 points over 20 levels.  Is that enough to be bad?  I don't think a 1/3 level scaling factor challenges the high progression much at all while 2/3 TL will overwhelm the low progression.

Just to be clear: If you have a low progression versus the standard sliding DC table, you get slightly worse as you level.  Is this going to be a problem for players?  if so, changing the sliding DC table is possible.
Logged
Pages: [1] Go Up Print 
« previous next »
Jump to:  


Powered by MySQL Powered by PHP Powered by SMF 1.1.13 | SMF © 2006-2011, Simple Machines LLC Valid XHTML 1.0! Valid CSS!