Skill Changes

A few tweaks to try to make skill costs match their utility in most of my games.

Class Skills

Since the skill list changed a bit (7 crossed off the character sheet; 9 made 1/2 price; 2 dependent on another skill's ranks) and a few tweaks (Craft and Knowledge, mostly), here's how the class skills work out. Those marked ½ are half priced.

Disable Device/Open LockINT/DEXC
Escape Artist½DEXCCC
Gather InformationCHACC
Handle Animal/RideCHA/DEXCCCCC
Knowledge: ArcanaINTCCCC
Knowledge: DungeoneeringINTCCC
Knowledge: GeographyINTCCCC
Knowledge: HistoryINTCCCCC
Knowledge: NatureINTCCCC
Knowledge: PlanesINTCCC
Knowledge: ReligionINTCCCCC
Knowledge: SocietyINTCCCC
Move SilentlyDEXCCCC
Sense MotiveWISCCCCC
Sleight of HandDEXCC
Speak LanguageINTCCC

Buying Skills

Only Disable Device/Open Lock and Spellcraft are "Trained Only" skills. For all others, anyone can try anything.

½-price skills: Each point spent in class skill gives you 2 ranks rather than 1. If bought cross-class, each point gives 1 rank rather than ½. However, like cross-class skills, you may only buy 1/2 the number of ranks for each of these.

Skill synergies: Ignore those for skills that no longer exist or for skills that are based on each other's ranks. Also:

Skill Checks

The rules (especially for skills) should be viewed as guidelines for offline reading. Rather than getting out an imaginary ruler to decided just how wide the chasm is, just estimate the DC difficulty: "yeah, pretty wide... worse than your normal little chasm... DC20." (See DM Fiat.)

Think of DCs in steps of 5. If there's some external circumstances, use +/-2 modifiers (+/-5 if they're significant): "The chasm edges are pretty crumbly though (+2), so DC 22." If you're not sure, call it DC15 and move on. If there's damage taken or spell levels involved, maybe add them to the DC.

Here are some sample DCs and how difficult they are for your average peasant (someone with a +0 modifier on the roll).

Difficulty (DC)Examples
Very easy (0)Your average peasant would have to be impaired not to get this, even while completely rushed and distracted: Notice something large in plain sight
Easy (5)Your average peasant might have a little trouble with this if rushed, but even then is unlikely to fail badly (ie, might get stuck but won't fall); otherwise, piece of cake: Climb a knotted rope
Average (10)Your average peasant could do this easily as long as he can focus on the task: Hear an approaching guard.
Tough (15)Touch-and-go for your average peasant--he'll get it right after a few tries (or will get it right the first time 25% of the time): Rig a wagon wheel to fall off
Challenging (20)Your average peasant could achieve this given enough time (assuming failure along the way isn't a problem), but only barely: Swim in stormy water
Formidable (25)Completely beyond your average peasant, no longer how long you give him; a young hero might barely be able to get it if given plenty of time: Open an average lock
Heroic (30)No peasant or fresh young adventurer is ever going to make this; this takes major skill, magic, or multiple levels (and probably all three): Leap across a 30-foot chasm
Nearly impossible (40)Strains the abilities of even the greatest of legendary heroes: Track a squad of orcs across hard ground after 24 hours of rainfall

Skill Help

Situational synergy:: For skills that don't already grant a static synergy, 5 or ranks in a related skill may give a +2 to a given skill check in a particular situation or offset a -2 penalty.

Last resort: If all else fails, and none of the skills quite seem to cover the task, call for an ability check.