Wednesday, August 7, 2019

GLOG 5 Daggers Edition: Skills

As mentioned previously, the lack of a "proper" skill system in the GLOG has been a bit of a source of frustration for my players in one group, and I already know the players in my Yoon Suin 5e campaign would not accept a system with no skill checks.

This skill system has to be simple/easy to use, but substantial enough to be worth bothering with.  However, the most important rule is that (one of the) GLOG principle be respected:  Only roll when there is a chance of failure.  A good sound plan to cross the chasm shouldn't require any rolls.  Jump accross and hope for the best?  Yeah, you better roll.

So what fits the bill?  A modification of the 5e skill systems seems reasonable.  (scroll to the end of the post to see the design notes) The central mechanism goes like this:

Do a stat check - roll 1d20 and try to roll equal or lower than the relevant stat.  If you are proficient in the skill, add your proficiency bonus to the roll (effectively "increasing your stat" momentarily).

The proficiency bonus is = the attack bonus implied by the increase in attack bonus.  In clearer terms, at level 1 it's +1, level 2-3 it's +2, level 4-5 it's +3, level 6-7 it's +4, and it maxes out at level 8 at +5.  Certain classes will get bonuses to specific skills, of course.

If a task is easy, or you came up with a solid plan to deal with it, you don't need to roll (DM's call).  If you are jumping through a paper wall, or knocking down an ordinary door with a sledgehammer, it just works.  The best skill remains player cleverness.

If a task is particularly difficult, or there are circumstances making things more difficult than it should be, the check is made with disadvantage (roll twice, take the worse roll).   If on the other hand the task is easy (but not so easy to get auto-success), you gain advantage - roll twice, take the best roll.

It should be noted that a 20 always fails. 

Trying again:  Sure, if it makes sense.

Group Stealth.
Stealth as a group is overly challenging in many cases, because if everyone rolls, odds someone will fail.  So, in cases where the most stealthy characters assist the others in some way - by keeping out an eye for sentries, creating a minor distraction etc, a group check is made.   Not everyone has to pass the check, instead, everyone rolls, and if at least half the group succeeds, they make it.

Example: Bob the thief, James the wizard, Lucie the figher and Blorf the priest try to sneak by a bored goblin sentry.  The DM rules that this is possible, but the cover is not great - there are gaps in the hedge the party is using to stay under cover, so a check is required.   Bob is observing the goblin and letting the others know when it's distracted.  

Bob has a dex of 13 and +4 to his check - he rolls a 7 and makes it. James the wizard had a dex of 8, isn't proficient in the skill but gets lucky and rolls a 6 - success.   Lucie has a dex of 12 and a +2 (yes, fighters can have stealth!) but rolls a 15, a failure.  Blorf is roaring drunk and rolls with disadvantage - a 7 and a 16 is a failure.   However, half the group succeeded and with the assistance of Bob distracting the goblin at a key moment, they manage to sneak by it and move on.   

Had the goblin been drunk, everyone would have rolled with advantage (except Blorf - the advantage and disadvantage cancel each other out).   Had the goblin been warned that intruders were imminent and on very high alert, everyone would have rolled with disadvantage.

Skills  for a generic medieval game:
Strenght skills:
Athletics (includes swimming, climbing, jumping, but not feats of raw strenght)

Dexterity skills
Sleight of Hand 
Disable device/open lock

Constitution Skills
Drinking/carousing (this is to party but somewhat keep your wits about you)

Intelligence Skills
Knowledge: Arcana 
Knowledge: History 
Knowledge: Nature 
Knowledge: Religion 
Knowledge: something else 

Wisdom skills
Animal Handling

Charisma Skills

Variable stat skills:
Vehicle: land (dex or cha)
Vehicle: water (dex, int or con)
Craft/ profession (alchemy, bow-making, etc) (int or dex)

Some skill check have more than one ability.  If you are trying to discern the best way to navigate a complex passage, this is an int check.  If you are trying to tough out a storm, it's con, for example.

Some skills have multiple instances.  A character could have both craft alchemy and craft armor-smithing, but not the other crafts such as shipbuilding.

Skills and relevant ability modifier for a Yoon Suin game:

As above, but knowledge golemology, knowledge intoxicants (opiums, certain teas) could be added.

Sills and relevant ability modifiers for a Post Apocalyptic game:

As above, with the addition of: 

Knowledge: Technology (int)
Knowledge: History (pre-fall) (int)
Knowledge: History (post-fall) (int)
Gun-smithing (int)
Electronics (int) 
Mechanics (wis)
Drive (dex)

Design notes:

I was originally going to have a skill system closer to 5e with variable difficulty classes (DCs), but I thought further about it and realized that I wanted to keep the "stat check" nature of the GLOG.  I also realized that there ARE DCs in the GLOG too, they are just implicit.  In 5e, 90% of the time you will use DC 10, 15 or 20 (for skill checks).  In the GLOG it's "don't bother rolling you got it", DC 10, and "don't bother rolling you can't do it".  Again, 3 levels of difficulty.  If you add advantage and disadvantage as a mean to increase or decrease the difficulty, you can have a reasonable amount of granularity.

So what the heck do I mean by saying that the GLOG has DC 10 checks?  Well... if your dex is 10, it's a DC 10 check isn't it?  Mathematically, it's identical.  

The main difference is how much bonus you get per stat.  In 5e your stat bonus tends to be +1 per 2 ability score above 10 (so strength 10 is 0, strenght 12 is +1, strenght 14 is + 2 etc etc).  In the GLOG, it's +1 per stat point - a strenght of 12 is +3 better than a strenght of 9.  

This seemingly would means that stats are "more" important in the GLOG than in 5e... but that isn't really the case, because your combat bonuses are a lot less dependent on your stats, so that balances out.

There is one flaw here with this system, and it's that very high stat, high level characters could reach a "I can't fail" level of competency - if you have 17 dex and +4 to your skill, you can't roll higher than it.  This is why the "20 always fails" rule is very important.  Humans *are* fallible creatures, after all...

I'll expand on who gets what skills in a further post!  

No comments:

Post a Comment