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22

Give bonus skill points for a good backstory! If someone writes up a good backstory, and the character should logically have certain skills from that backstory, that aren’t actually useful (or, at least, unlikely to be useful) in the campaign, turn those skills into rewards for writing a good backstory. That’s a great story of how a former ...


15

A +29 on Intimidate is a very large bonus. Especially on a fighter, who has few skill points and little use for Charisma in most cases; almost all of that is probably from skill ranks, which implies a very high level character. Such a person should be trivially succeeding on attempts to demoralize most anything. Anything short of an actual god should be an ...


7

In my experience, the best way to find uses for obscure skills is to let the players come up with them, and just go along with their suggestions if they're halfway plausible. If your players are creative enough, as yours seem to be, they will come up with ways to use their oddball skills if you let them. To make this work best, you'll need to let your ...


6

The Magic Item Compendium has a few. Some examples: Third Eye Aware (p. 140). Probably the item you're looking for if all you want is pure spotting. +10 competence bonus, nothing else. 10000gp. A Raptor's Mask (p. 210) is a decent face slot item. +5 untyped bonus on spot checks. "Also" renders the character immune to blindness and dazzling. 3500gp. Eyes of ...


5

The skill Spot has epic uses and is useful to all but blind adventurers. It's one of those skills that if a character can, he should put maximum ranks in it. But, even if he does, it's a good idea to have the skill even higher. I've drawn from a variety of sources in this list; abbreviations are available here. Improving Spot Skill Checks with Spells The ...


4

What's wrong with just letting them use the skill? Even if it just happens once or twice in the entire session, give them an opportunity to have their skill become useful. Often, allowing a story to go in this direction becomes a memorable experience for the player. For example, one of the characters has a "Boating" skill. Perhaps the players could normally ...


4

I believe that if you have a definite plan for a genre/setting for your campaign, you and your players have to work together to make it work. This includes character creation. It's going to be tough to fit a pacifist, privately educated art historian into a campaign based around the mob and violent crime. The first thing I do with any campaign is to present ...


4

Check the Ioun Stone page: Ioun Stone Dark Blue one will give you alertness (+2 on Listen and Spot) Incandescent blue will give you a bonus to all Wisdom checks.


3

Custom Magic Item to enhance Spot cost bonus x bonus x 100 GP source


3

I don't know why no-one has mentioned "Eyes of the Eagle." They're on page 256 of the Dungeon Master's Guide, and offer a +5 competence bonus on Spot checks for only 2,500 gp.


1

You could take those skills as a hint to provide them opportunities to use those skills. I’m increasingly seeing the GM’s job as providing obstacles to what the players and their characters want to do. These may be a hint as to what that is. On the other hand, as a player, I may choose a skill simply because it fits with my background. I don’t expect it to ...


1

One possibility is to handle those "background.skills" a little broader. This depends hugely on the specific system involved, but if it's open to interpretation reflect on what those skills could represent. For example Basket-weaving. a Basket weaver needs patience, concentration and has a firm grasp on complex "structures". So give him a bonus when solving ...


1

Generally, when I player picks a skill that is to help flesh out his background, he doesn't expect it to come up very often (if ever). You could treat knowledge skills as passive in the sense that the character knows a little more than the others at appropriate times. Telling them that they know something interesting or relevant when describing a scene ...



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