Sunday, January 29, 2012

D&D Next - Skills and Abilities

The final D&D Next seminar at D&D Experience was about how they are handling skills and abilities (i.e. characteristics).

I find this interesting
Bruce: Looking at the playtest characters here, you might have noticed that a class or a theme might have given you a bonus to skill, but you didn't have a skill list. Normally if you were to call for a check, you would just call for the ability score - like a dexterity check for sneaking up. But if you have a class or character feature that gives you a bonus to sneak, you would add that in. There are a lot of different expressions for skills. Trained, sneaking at full speed (stealth twice). Lots of options.
Sounds a lot like I did with my Majestic Wilderlands Abilities. Based on discussion at Knight & Knaves, the RPG Site, and other forums I am wondering if they are better off renaming some of these mechanics. Feats, skills, etc bring up preconceived ideas in people's head.

Of course the stuff on saving throws tied to abilities will bring up comparisons with Castles & Crusades but it sounds like with 5e skills it will be a different implementation of the idea.

It would be interesting if they flat out say that any character can do any action just some are better at certain things.

I find this exchange interesting as well

Rob: It's been a difficult problem for a while. In 3E and 4E skills were sort of the doorway to interaction with the world.

Monte: In previous editions, ability scores played into skills. We want skills to play into ability scores. Maybe more open-ended.

Bruce: If skills are not the portals to ability scores, but rather the tweaks to them, we can add interesting tiny skills. More flavor. Because the ability scores are the core, we can make any little skills we want.

Monte: It means that if you're a DM and you don't even want to deal with skills, you can totally do that.
To me what important here is the attitude. Even you think D&;D Next's mechanics are stupid compared to AD&D, B/X, etc, we will wind up having a larger pool of gamers understanding how older editions are played. It sounds like it will be a less of a leap from D&D Next to AD&D, or OD&D than it was with D&D 4e or even 3.X.

Certainly the Do it yourself spirit, is compatible with how gamers in the OSR actually run their campaigns, a mishmash of their favorite D&D rules.

Hopefully this means a larger pool of gamers for the editions we love.


Gordon Cooper said...

It sounds like a step in the right direction.

Scott said...

Hear, hear.

Pulp Herb said...

It would be interesting if they flat out say that any character can do any action just some are better at certain things.

I swear, for three years now I've been beating a drum that OSR are built not out of what they can do but what they're good at. That's long been my complaint with the "you don't need feats/skill/ect" you can just roleplay it.

I can just roleplay that my MU can't use a sword too, but the rules intervene.

I'd love to 5th edition embed that idea: the character sheet is what you're good at.