Acrobatics: Other than the combat use of tumbling, the use of this skill encourages 'roll or don't get to act in combat' functions which is un-fun and not necessary.
Appraise: Eliminate this skill entirely. Any use of this skill results in the consumption of time and a non-fun game situation.
Bluff: It is functional for it's basic purpose, but too much focus is put on this skill to be a social combat mechanic when it is not.
Climb: This is an extremely complicated skill that boils down to one of two options, climb at half speed or climb at a quarter of your speed. Like acrobatics this can boil down to 'lose your turn'.
Craft: It's a skill that produces gold or some basic items. As a crafting system, it's woefully inadequate with a lot of problems.
Diplomacy: This turns into a skill tax because of the frequency of it's use and the broad applications. We do need a system for determining monster and NPC reactions. Making it a player skill is a bad idea.
Disable Device & Slight of Hand: These are minor and both functional, however Disable Device is better served using player skill. Both are reasonable.
Disguise: It hardly ever occurs, and when it does the skill roll eliminates game play.
Escape Artist: Of simply utility, better to have it be an option in the subsystem for grapples. As far as bindings go, this is better handled by player skill rather than contested use rope/escape artist checks.
Fly & Ride: Flying basically uses ranks to represent the old style maneuverability classes. I don't see the added roll and option to do slightly better or worse then flying doing much to make combat more exciting. Same with ride, being that there are three thresholds for it, unskilled, skilled and master. Taking the time to roll can really slow down combat without adding anything.
Handle Animal: This skill is fine, though I think it is rarely used in play, though the comment from the person who used it said it caused a lot of arguments. Basically it might cut down on the power level of the animal companion classes if used RAW.
Heal: If you already give up your turn, only to fail to bandage your companion as they die is that improving the game? I say no.
Intimidation: This skill does a poor job of allowing the PC's to be intimidating. It is a good candidate for inclusion in a social conflict resolution system.
Perception and Stealth: Stealth - even contested stealth is fine. Surprise is crucial and necessary. Perception can die in a hot fire.
Knowledge: Useless, even by people who use it.
Perform & Profession: You roll to get gold. The end.
Sense Motive: Two options with this, either you are allowing the players to fail to get necessary information or it's part of social conflict.
Survival and Swim: Swim is another roll to move at half speed skills. Useless. Tracking has been around for a long time and there is some utility in it.
Use Magic Device: Is a classic as good as gold.
Most of these line up with my original comparisons, and I've gotten a bunch of comments from people who echo these sentiments. What skills do these deconstructions leave us with? I.e which of these skills actually have utility in play?
Tumbling Past an enemy.
Slight of Hand
Use Magic Device
|1st Edition Thief Skills for Comparison. |
Hide in Shadows
Why are the lists above so similar?
Because they weren't trying to create a unified skill system. They were only using skills for things they couldn't resolve at the table.
For our next and last post, we're going to conclude and tidy everything up in a nice little package.