Talk:Tome of Prowess (3.5e Sourcebook)

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RatedLike.png Surgo likes this article and rated it 3 of 4.
This is a technically excellent work, and I appreciate it very much. Only two things keep me from giving it my full favor:

1) I dislike the skill changes that let you throw off or delay the save-or-suck line of spells. Personal preference, really. 2) There's no real way to convert stuff that gives big bonuses to skills; the only thing really there is "don't allow them".

RatedFavor.png Leziad favors this article and rated it 4 of 4!
Open lots of new options, much better than the base skill system.
RatedLike.png DanielDraco likes this article and rated it 3 of 4.
It's an infinitely better way to do skills. But it's not done yet. I fully expect that, when it is done, I'll like it enough to bump this up to 4/4.
RatedFavor.png Undead Knave favors this article and rated it 4 of 4!
I only just found out that I haven't rated this yet. It's being used in several games I'm in, both as a player and as a DM, and I really enjoy it.
RatedFavor.png MisterSinister favors this article and rated it 4 of 4!
Finally, a reason to play a skill monkey, and also good, balanced abilities that make skill-users suck less cock. When combined with the fact that these uses aren't just 'combat, numbers, combat, numbers' in a million different flavours, it has my firm thumbs-up.
RatedFavor.png Wildmage favors this article and rated it 4 of 4!
Making skills more part of the main game, rather then just a little bonus thing for people without magic.
RatedFavor.png TK-Squared favors this article and rated it 4 of 4!
This is still cool. I still enjoy it and it really opens up new things to do with skills, rather than having boring old crap that doesn't actually do much good (or is just stupid like UMD). 10/10 brah.
RatedFavor.png Foxwarrior favors this article and rated it 4 of 4!
As I was reading the Scion rulebook recently, I came to the realization that the only skill system I've ever seen that's better and more fleshed out than 3.5's is Tome of Prowess. A tightened RNG also helps for those (unencountered, but assuredly extant) times when the DM needs to pull a DC out of the air for some action not specifically covered by any listed ability; a DC range from 10 to 35 is much nicer for arbitrary numbers than a DC range of 10 to 100. My only regret is that not all of the skills are as handy as Affability, Intimidation, Stealth, and Legerdemain.

Comment on Skill Point Assignment[edit]

Haven't read through the whole thing yet (mainly because it's not all here, heh), but I've looked over the acrobatics section and I really like what you've done so far! Keep up the good work. Would this use more the PF skill system where there are no cross-class skills, but traditional class skills gain a +3 bonus if you've invested ranks in them? That way you could let fighters tumble if they wanted to in order to keep up with flying wizards at higher levels without having to buy skills at 1/2 the rate (yuck) --Ghostwheel 22:21, January 7, 2010 (UTC)

You could use that, but I'm not planning on writing that in. Mostly because I intensely dislike the difference between being trained and not trained to be only +3. As written it uses standard class and cross class max ranks, but each rank is purchased for 1 skill point each. I want people who have the skill as a class skill to be substantially better than those without it at higher level, but since I know you don't share that goal you're welcome to do otherwise. - TarkisFlux 22:40, January 7, 2010 (UTC)
I babbled about something related over at TGD, and wanted to expand on my decision to not do what you suggested above / what pathfinder does. I'm going for a system where you care about skill access in the same way that spellcasters care about spell access. Giving everyone the same rank limit, where you get +3 if it's a class skill and you invest in it, causes problems in that setup. It sets people who don't have the skill as a class skill behind by all of 3 levels. It would be similar to saying that a wizard got every spell on the cleric list, they just used up a slot between 1 and 2 levels higher. That's not a situation I want at all. I want high level ability differences, and you can only get that if you allow differing ability growth rates so that one outpaces the other (or set the class / not-class disparity to very large, which I'm not interested in).
I'm not opposed to your suggestion in the default skill system, but that's because I don't think skill access is on the same level as access to other ability sets in that setup. And since it stops beings as important as other ability sets around level 5 anyway, where the gap is only +4 anyway, the +3 bonus for class skills is pretty fair. It totally opens up new character concepts, which is a good thing in this case since there's no strong balance reasons to protect these things. So I think it'll work well enough in a regular game or your Grimoire setup, it just leads to behavior I don't want here because of the different value assigned to skills. - TarkisFlux 01:17, April 28, 2010 (UTC)


What would concentration be under this system? Especially for things like the Diamond Mind discipline? --Ghostwheel 22:46, April 9, 2010 (UTC)

I'm not sure I understand your question. Concentration is still in, but was changed to a Wis skill. Does that break something in Diamond Mind or does the extra utility lead to odd things I'm not thinking about? - TarkisFlux 23:53, April 9, 2010 (UTC)
The reason I mentioned Diamond Mind explicitly is because Concentration is often used there due to the fact that you can bump it to higher levels through items and similar things. Without that, things like Insightful Strike (and the Greater version) become much worse, as do Sapphire, Ruby, and Diamond Nightmare Blade. --Ghostwheel 21:54, April 14, 2010 (UTC)
Ok I think I got ya, though that looks more like an item boost concern than a concentration specific one. I'm not going to change my stand on item limits or make some exception that makes them even more complicated than they already are to address this. If you think the reduced item bonuses make the maneuver suck (and it probably does in these cases), I'd recommend you just write it in as a bonus to your roll when using that type of ability. I'd go with half initiator level or (if I wanted the bonus to not scale with level) plain old maneuver level. - TarkisFlux 04:06, April 15, 2010 (UTC)
I think even full IL could work, and be a bonus that only works on maneuvers. No chance of writing it in? --Ghostwheel 04:16, April 15, 2010 (UTC)
It won't get written into items at all, but will probably get a system wide note in one of the later chapters eventually. Just not anytime soon. Non-core subsystem compatibility (ToB, ToM, MoI, etc.) is well down the To Do list and I want to take a closer look at those before I write in anything official. This was just off the top of my head, and I haven't really considered what it does to the game, I just thought those numbers would plug the new item hole. - TarkisFlux 04:40, April 15, 2010 (UTC)
Sounds good. Since skills increase at 1 per level (barring ability bonuses, which people don't always apply to secondary scores), they scale more slowly than attack rolls and the like what with magic items and other such things around. Thinking about it some more and doing some more of the math, I think adding one's IL to the check when using maneuvers would work well. --Ghostwheel 11:08, April 30, 2010 (UTC)
Wait, what? That skill rank increase rate hasn't changed, the only thing that has is what sort of item bonuses and other bs bonuses you can add on to it. And while I can see that approaching IL for lower levels where item boosts are cheap, I'm not seeing those bonuses coming out to IL at higher levels. Mind writing that out? - TarkisFlux 17:40, April 30, 2010 (UTC)
At higher levels, a non-ToP character is going to take the magic items needed to boost their specific skill check sky-high to make sure it always succeeds so that they're not completely wasting attacks. At low levels however, they're not going to be able to afford those items, so the bonus is going to be lower. Furthermore, many characters are going to focus on their ability score that gives them bonuses to attack in general, rather than one like Constitution for Concentration.
Thus, at level 20 (where the difference is largest, and can be seen most clearly), a "normal" character might have a Concentration modifier of 57 (23 (Rank) + 4 (Constitution) + 30 (Item)) while without the above, a ToP character would just have 27. However, at level 20 a character might have an attack bonus of 37 (12 (Str) + 5 (Magic) + 20 (BAB)).
By giving the boost equal to IL to a character on key skills when initiating strikes, you allow them to emulate similar characters in that they start out relatively weak and are unable to always back strikes with skills (in the case of things like Ruby Nightmare Blade), while at high levels they land the skill portion of such strikes with ease. --Ghostwheel 19:56, April 30, 2010 (UTC)
Forgot that skill items went up to +30 before epic, so fair enough on that. It'll probably wind up being character level instead of IL though to keep the same dip utility it had before. - TarkisFlux 20:14, April 30, 2010 (UTC)


Can someone who knows the wiki more than me set up a Tome of Prowess Skills property for classes to have, and maybe a block to copypasta that sets them all as class skills? Thanks, I'd appreciate having this since I want to reference this in stuff I'm writing. --IGTN 05:36, 23 December 2010 (UTC)

This I can do, but I'm going to delay until I'm more conscious. Also, I want to ponder whether it makes sense to stick ToP skills in the regular property or make a new ToPSkill property. - Tarkisflux 07:48, 23 December 2010 (UTC)
I've seen properties hold multiple roles depending on where they are used. But since they are to be used alongside normal skills, it might make more sense to have TomeSkill. This is a part of the Tome system, no? —Preceding unsigned comment added by Havvy (talkcontribs) at
Yes and no. It's written assuming that you're not using any other Tome material, but designed to be compatible with them if you wanted to use them. If you are using Tome classes, they don't generally need the same boost or the same number of skill points.
Anyway, yeah it gets it's own property. Drop this into the table after the regular skill set if you want them both IGTN, or just replace the regular skill set with this one if you don't.
|- class="noalt"
| colspan="42" class="skill" |
'''Class Skills, Tome of Prowess Variant (### per level, ×4 at 1st level)'''<br/>
{{ToP Skills|Acrobatics, Affability, Appraisal, Arcana, Athletics, Bluff, Ciphers, Concentration, Creature Handling, Cultures, Devices, Dowsing, Endurance, Escape Artistry, Geomancy, Healing, Intimidation, Jump, Legerdemain, Perception, Psychology, Stealth, Survival, Thaumaturgy, Transformation}}
... and then delete the skills that don't go with the class. Wheee. - Tarkisflux 17:04, 23 December 2010 (UTC)

Human bonus skills?[edit]

Do humans still gain bonus skill points? Isn't that overpowered?----Parakee 14:30, 17 January 2011 (UTC)

They do. And no, not really. They're effectively trading being good at an extra thing (or a couple of side things) for being exceptionally good at a thing or two through racial bonuses. Broad training over specialization basically. Specialization matters less after a few levels because of masterwork skill items, but broad training matters less when skill items show up and people can just buy skill additional skills if they really need or want them. It basically all works out. - Tarkisflux 16:58, 17 January 2011 (UTC)


What happened to psions? What is the equivalent of psicraft?

I consider psionics an expansion set, like martial maneuvers and truenaming. As such it's not presently included, but it is scheduled for an appendix. Arcana is probably the closest if you just wanted to steal one, and already Int based, but there's some weirdness in that the Wilder is supposed to use the same skill and I wanted them to have a bonus to their casting skill. - Tarkisflux Talk 19:01, 21 June 2011 (UTC)


Can you add it? Maybe let you brew potions with it?--ParakeeTalk 22:50, 21 July 2011 (UTC)

Or really just craft. Can craft fit anywhere? I want my PCs to be able to craft things.--ParakeeTalk 22:50, 21 July 2011 (UTC)
Then let them do that (see here). Seriously, just let them. Go ahead and use the old craft guidelines if you need to set some sort of time limits on things, but I'd honestly just handwave it and let people turn time and money into other stuff during downtime based on background skills.
The longer (and less dismissive) form of an answer to that request is that Craft is incredibly problematic in the scope of ToP. Crafting just doesn't work on the same value scale as the other skills here. Short of letting people craft magical items with the craft skill (which has associated skill rank vs. feat cost issues that I'm not interested in resolving), there is no way to make investing more than a rank or two into the skill worth your time. And without any other growth of the skill out of the mundane, those two ranks become increasingly more valuable for other skills as you level since you could have put them into other skills and gotten level appropriate power out of them. There's also no reason at all for craft to be tied to level, and doing so reduces the number of stories that can be told in the game without adding anything beneficial.
I'm working on a large crafting revision that will eventually get dropped in here, but it's not ready yet. You're welcome to check it out and fill in the blanks if you want to though. - Tarkisflux Talk 00:36, 22 July 2011 (UTC)

Converting Other Classes to ToP[edit]

In no particular order:

  • DuskbladePHB2: Appraisal, Arcana, Athletics, Bluff, Concentration, Ciphers, Cultures, Devices, Jump, and Psychology (6 skill points). This is a conservative estimate, and given that I agree with Tarkis that the duskblade is basically a 'hurr-durr-combat' class anyway, those people who wanna tack on Endurance and Dowsing, as well as 2 more skill points, would be totally justified in doing so. I certainly will.
  • Tome Sorcerer: Arcana, Concentration, Geomancy, and Thaumaturgy (4 skill points). Additionally, they get the following skills based on what Power Path they took:
    • Aberrant Power: Athletics, Ciphers
    • Abyssal Might: Survival, Transformation
    • Arcane Blood: Devices, Perception
    • Celestial Power: Affability, Psychology
    • Destined Magic: Escape Artistry, Legerdemain, Psychology
    • Dragon Cock Power: Athletics, Creature Handling
    • Earth Power: Acrobatics, Affability, Athletics
    • Fire Power: Ciphers, Psychology
    • Sookie Stackhouse Power: Creature Handling, Transformation
    • Infernal Power: Affability, Psychology
    • Shadow Power: Escape Artistry, Legerdemain, Stealth
    • I See Dead People Power: Healing, Stealth
    • Doctor Who Power: Creature Handling, Healing, Survival
  • CrusaderToB: Acrobatics, Affability, Concentration, Creature Handling, Endurance, Healing, Intimidation, Jump, Psychology, and Thaumaturgy (8 skill points)

Will do more when/if I feel like it. - MisterSinister 21:02, 26 June 2012 (UTC)

Class Skills[edit]

What's the reasoning behind limiting class skills for every class? It's not like you can retrain skills (can you?), so adding more class skills to a class doesn't increase the breadth of the characters that have the class, just the breadth of the classes themselves, which don't really matter.

A class like the Sorcerer, for example, is one that is, by fluff, something that a peasant, scholar, noble, scoundrel, or infused robot can be; why arbitrarily restrict things such that some of those backgrounds don't get the skills that support them? --Foxwarrior 02:21, 23 August 2012 (UTC)

You can actually - Tome of Prowess (3.5e Sourcebook)/Rules#Retraining.
But aside from that, I would argue that increasing the breadth of a class is actively harmful to role protection and class concept. I'm aiming for a system where you care about skill access in the same way that you would care about spell access for a full caster, where the abilities in your skills help define what you can do. There is a lot to be said for saying "I'm playing a Ranger" and having a good sense of what sort of abilities that brings along with it. Letting everyone take whatever they want removes a lot of the expectations that I think useful while also diminishing the protected nature of some effects. But I also prefer rather strongly separated spell lists between arcane, divine, and druidic casters so that might just be an extension of that preference.
If you wanted to get a skill that wasn't supported in a class, I don't think the hoops you need to jump through for it are particularly onerous. A one level dip in a class that grants it makes it a class skill forever because of the wacky multiclass rules, and after that you can just buy it up at the regular pace with your ranks from any other class. I also don't have a problem with people spending a feat to get a new class skill, though that cost is probably a bit steep. And I would probably let people get an always class skill at full ranks as a trait that cost you a skill point per level and forbid you from retraining it. - Tarkisflux Talk 03:05, 23 August 2012 (UTC)
Oh, well retraining makes it a balance issue. One could consider having a class have a partially variable skill list, with some or all class skills chosen by the player, for those classes which favor being widely usable over role protection though. --Foxwarrior 06:32, 23 August 2012 (UTC)

Identify Creatures[edit]

Do any of these skills let you identify Aberrations?

The psionics one does, which is sort of non-ideal since that's an optional one in an appendix. It's planned for inclusion in other skills via feat / "some sort of skill trick thing" support, as soon as I figure out what method works best for it. - Tarkisflux Talk 19:35, 21 December 2012 (UTC)
I was a bit surprised to discover that it wasn't included under Arcana. Maybe just include them there until a better solution can be found? --Undead_Knave (talk) 20:32, 23 December 2012 (UTC)
I don't know why I would. It used to be in dungeoneering. There aren't strong thematic links to it that I want to enforce or rebuild. And a bunch of the common aberrations have psionic powers. I guess it could go in survival if you wanted everything to be identifiable (I'm on the fence about it), but that's might be a bit much for the skill. - Tarkisflux Talk 05:29, 24 December 2012 (UTC)

Adventurer's Knack[edit]

While trying to adapt my work-in-progress loremaster class to be ToP compliant, I realized that it was entirely possible for a high-level character to gain a higher-effective skill rank in a skill through the Adventurer's knack rule than they might actually possess (i.e. an 18th level fighter with two ranks in Arcana, or a 19th level wizard with 4 ranks in Bluff). If a character falls under this situation, would they have the option of selecting from each option (following the normal rules) or not? Thanks! Paleomancer (talk) 18:09, 1 March 2013 (UTC)

They should be able to use either bonus at that point, either their normal bonus or the knack bonus with an action cost. Those characters may want to just retrain those minor ranks though. - Tarkisflux Talk 20:16, 1 March 2013 (UTC)
Thanks! Paleomancer (talk) 22:34, 4 March 2013 (UTC)
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