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3

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 ...


1

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 ...


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 ...


2

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 ...


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 ...


3

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 ...


15

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 ...


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 ...


2

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


0

Goggles of minute seeing could work if the spot checks are for traps/hidden doors/etc. you have to be within five feet for them to work though. -shrugs- it's a thought.


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.


5

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 ...


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.


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 ...


8

Multi-classing As GMNoob stated, the only classes that currently get a skill proficiency is a Bard, Ranger, or Rogue. Feat A very powerful feat, in my opinion, is Skilled. 3 skills for the cost of 2 ability points is a very fair trade when you consider attribute caps and the bonus you get out of 3 skills. Race A couple of races get a free skill in some ...


13

There are a few classes you can multiclass into to gain skills, such as Bard, Ranger or Rogue. In addition to that, in the player's handbook there is a feat called "Skilled" which allows you to gain proficiency in any combination of 3 skills or tools. There is also a bard ability in the college of lore that allows you to learn 3 more skills at level 3. ...


1

This is a great question, and seems to me that many non-combat activities could be more fleshed out into more detailed game-able events. Usually things are left up to the GM, who sometimes might not be up to the task and think of everything as a flat skill roll. However there are some rules for various activities, or at least some guideline difficulty ...


3

Here are two systems I have used. I'm not sure either solves all your problems but they might offer some interesting food for thought. Das Schwarze Auge DSA (The Dark Eye) is a German system that tends towards the simulationist end of the spectrum. Every character has eight basic stats and 30+ talents (different styles of weapons, knowledge, crafting, ...


-2

I'm answering the question because many people provided good answers, and I want to post an answer that includes them all. It seems like a skill system solves the problems and fits the criteria I mentioned if it has one or more of the following aspects: The dice roll is a relatively small part of contributing to the effective skill. In the formula [base ...


2

DISCLAIMER: In a way, mine is not a direct answer to your question, because it's not a game recommendation. However commenting policy in this SE is strict, so I have no option but to put forward my opinion like this. Let's get to it then. What I meant to suggest is: how about changing GMing style? First RPG I played was DnD, and I hated it because the GM ...


0

You know the position of a visible creature. It really doesn't matter what sound it makes. If a creature is invisible, you aren't evem aware it is there, unless you make a great spot check and it's within 30'. If it makes a sound, you get a listen check. On success, you know of it's presence, but can't see or target it. If you beat it by 20, you ...


-1

Opposing dice rolls Rolling opposing dice rolls of variable number of dice creates some wicked chaotic results. For example: 5d6 vs 4d6. Ties always to to the defender. In skill checks vs a door, ties go to the door trying to defend itself by staying closed. Some doors are stronger so they roll more dice. Modifiers and penalties Add (or subtract) one or ...


10

Try Fate Core. Fate (Core and Accelerated) is available for free download here and are online here. It's a setting-agnostic engine (invent your own setting in collaboration with the group), which uses a small set of skill-based options to resolve nearly every action. Swingy: No. Fate uses Fudge dice which provide a strong bell curve between -4 and +4, with ...


1

I wonder if "Dynamic," "Engaging," and "Realistic" are all possible on one system. Here is one I have used a lot, which I think definitely hits on the first two and more important aspects. "Dogs in the Vineyard" is an indie game with a thematic conflict resolution system using a series of Raises and Sees. Players have Attributes, Traits (which are skills ...


3

While it had a whole host of other problems, I found QED's Marvel Universe RPG to have an excellent skill resolution mechanic that didn't use dice at all. Characters had an energy pool, and all tasks had a Difficulty and a Resistance. If your relevant Action numbers were high enough to overcome the Difficulty, you could attempt the task. You'd attempt the ...


3

Some Common Home-Brew Solutions These are just solutions I've seen people implement before. Almost all of them require some statistics and some common sense. They're not foolproof, either. Rolling Different Combinations of Dice Instead of 1d20 This is among the most common homebrew fixes to this problem. It is good, because you're on a curve, and bonuses ...


1

Dice Pool Systems like Shadowrun and The Void One thing I'd suggest is considering a system like Shadowrun or The Void (which is free and practically identical to Shadowrun mechanically), because they both have a system based on giving a number of dice based on skills and attributes, and then using each of those individual dice's results to count toward a ...


2

The problem you're pointing out is that randomization (the die roll) overshadows the difference in ability (stats, skills, etc.). A lot of this is carryover from very old expectations ("well, a 10% difference will show when we have 100 units vs. 100 units") which doesn't apply so well when you have single characters in action. The Shadow of Yesterday TSOY ...


5

It's almost certainly going to be Wis and Int Checks. The question is which skill proficiencies will apply to those checks depending on what their origin is. This is generally the Purview of the Monster Manual and DMG, however, Mearls has said that more of Basic D&D is will be released this coming week. We should know a lot more when Basic D&D ...


-1

Alternatively, use some source of the Fabricate spell, which takes 1 round/ 10 cubic feet of raw materials you use (possibly 1 round / cubic foot with inorganic poisons and a 'RAI' GM). RAW you can (and probably have to) use the poison itself as the material component for the spell, which limits its use in getting access to new kinds of poison, but once you ...


0

Errors Authors don't necessarily know the rules - neither do proofreaders, editors, etc. This seems pretty clear that someone, between the PHB, Rules Compendium, and Epic Level Handbook, got confused. The author appears to think that 'pinpointing an invisible creature' is a separate action to the normal Listen vs Move Silently check, and does something ...


2

Student of Philosophy uses the 'in place of' wording, which means that for all effects related to it (including which ability score it is based from), you use Intelligence. Ergo, Family Ties would not apply to it, as Family Ties applies only to charisma or wisdom based checks and Diplomacy is now based on Intelligence. While a negative Wisdom modifier ...


1

There's already a mechanic for that: Maneuver. If your player wants to spend an action steadying his breathing and lining up his shot to add an aspect like 'Zeroed In' that he could then tag, discipline would be a reasonable skill to roll.


2

There is only one circumstance I can see Discipline being used to help with a firearm, and that's by using the Combining Skills rule from YS127. This implies that the character is distracted or otherwise in a situation where his focus might wander. While I did look at the Temporary Aspects for things like Lying in Wait or Across my Sights where a character ...


3

This is what spells are for! One of the fundamental purposes of spells in DFRPG is to let you use your casting skills in place of any other more mundane skill, at the cost of time and stress. So while a mortal detective can only investigate a crime scene effectively if he's got ranks in the right skills, a wizard can investigate that crime scene just as ...


14

Stunts I would argue that this falls perfectly under the application of stunts - using one skill in place of another. From Your Story p.147: The first possible use for a stunt is to broaden a skill by giving it a new trapping. Often this is a trapping that’s “transplanted” from one skill to another. Sometimes this trapping may need to be modified, or ...


11

Don't You use the guns skill to use guns, its just that simple. Sounds like your friend/player is trying to get you to houserule something to make his character more powerful. Even using an aspect to do this would be too powerful and potentially game breaking. Discipline the skill does not mean trigger-discipline. Its a representation of your character's ...


1

It really, really depends upon what your wizard's concept is. There's so many different ways of building a wizard that it's hard to give you just a 'what skills to pick?' Is it a land-based game? Ride skill might be useful. Are you a wizard on a pirate ship? Better take swim and/or profession: sailor. Are you generating a battle mage wizard - ready to ...


5

It barely matters. Concentration is mandatory, spellcraft and knowledge (arcana) are expected and useful. The other “big six” knowledges (dungeoneering, local, nature, religion, the planes – the ones that can identify creatures and their weaknesses) are always nice, and they’re in-class so why not? Beyond that, it doesn’t ...


5

GMJoe has a great answer, but there's one major reason that comprehend languages is not a good solution that everyone else has missed. From the spell: You can understand the spoken words of creatures or read otherwise incomprehensible written messages. The ability to read does not necessarily impart insight into the material, merely its literal ...


3

From the PFSRD (with added emphasis): You can decipher writing in an unfamiliar language or a message written in an incomplete or archaic form. With Linguistics, you get the language, its history and past forms, and contextual knowledge to fill in blanks. You do not get this with Comprehend or Tongues. Such is the reward for spending skill points. ...



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