Talk:Condensed Skills (3.5e Variant Rule)

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How does knowledge of architecture apply to baking pies and faking permission slips? Why does your ability to tie a perfect sheet bend give you the ability to tell a slime from a pudding? Why does knowing how to identify edible fungus mean you know the latitude of the Egyptian-Sudanese border? These knowledge skills are perhaps more balanced than the core ones, but are just way too generalized to make any sense.

I'd suggest simply opening up the knowledge skill to include any subskill the player wants their character to have, rather than a predefined set, and separating it from all skills which represent some sort of actual capability (e.g., use rope, craft, forgery). If a player takes a broad category, they get moderate DCs. If they take a more specific knowledge skill, they get low DCs when it involves their particular topic, and high DCs when it is related but ultimately outside their expertise.

For example, let's say Jack the Generalist takes Knowledge (Arcana), while Doug the Diviner takes Knowledge (Divination). The duo comes across a prophecy that was gleaned with the Legend Lore spell, and, as prophecies tend to be, it's nothing but nigh-nonsensical metaphors. They both have a background in interpreting such things and can try to decipher it, since soothsaying does fall within the range of "things arcanists do", but Doug's narrow expertise in this area means he gets a lower DC with his K(Divination) check than Jack does with his K(Arcana). However, when they encounter an iron golem and try to remember what its weakness is, Jack once again gets a middle-range sort of DC, but, since artifice is only tangentially related to Doug's knowledge skill, Doug has a fairly high DC to deal with.

Such an opening-up of the knowledge skill, in addition to fixing the rigid and unsatisfying categories, would have the advantage of increasing the flavor of particular characters by letting them be realistically specialized. This way, two level 5 wizards of differing specialties don't both know exactly the same set of things about magic, and druids don't draw on the same set of facts as that guy cutting up corpses and sketching their innards.

Longpost is long. --DanielDraco 12:30, 28 July 2011 (UTC)

That's probably a good suggestion. How do we hand out enough specializations to make them meaningfully limited, but not too much so, then? This is the only thing I have an issue with. - MisterSinister 18:30, 28 July 2011 (UTC)
I'm not sure what you mean. --DanielDraco 22:25, 28 July 2011 (UTC)

More on Knowledge Skills[edit]

I like what IH did personally. So here's the deal; you have a lore skill, which has 2 uses. The first functions as a regular skill. Max ranks, etc. The second gives you access to trained knowledge.

For example, let's say you picked up Nature and Arcana (1 skill point each) and have 5 ranks in Lore. Thus, you effectively are trained and have 5 ranks in Nature and Arcana for a total of 7 skill points. And you could add as many different knowledge skills onto that. So if the same character also studied Religion and the Planes (2 more points), they'd have invested a total of 9 in the skill, and would have Religion, Arcana, Nature, and the Planes each at 5 effective ranks. --Ghostwheel 08:23, 29 July 2011 (UTC)

So knowledge of any given subject becomes a Boolean value, and the extent of your knowledge is always equal in all topics in which you are trained? --DanielDraco 21:12, 29 July 2011 (UTC)
Yes, since virtually no one who wants to actually know anything in a subject puts only a single point into it. (Only exception that comes to mind is Knowledge Devotion). --Ghostwheel 23:37, 29 July 2011 (UTC)

I do like this, especially since my people don't use knowledges much but I'm wondering how synergies would fit into this.