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
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
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.