Wednesday, 15 February 2012

What Am I Good At?

Largely for my own amusement, I have worked out an alternate system for AD&D proficiencies, based largely on Goodman Games DCC RPG rules.  It allows for both randomness and choice, with the hopes of allowing both customization and a greater difference among characters.  No challenge to Goodman Games IP is intended.



What Am I Good At?

An Alternative Proficiency System for 1st Edition Advanced Dungeons & Dragons

Every class has tasks that it is good at, as indicated (or implied) in the character class description.  Thus, fighters know about the care and maintenance of armour and weapons, a magic-user understands arcana, a cleric is knowledgeable about religion, and so on.

In addition, every character gets one roll on the Secondary Skill table.  This indicates the character’s background prior to adventuring.  In addition, the character gets to choose three Proficiencies from the following list.  In some cases, depending upon the character’s class and or race, he can choose from additional options as follows:

If the character has any abilities that rely on percentile rolls (such as a thief’s chance to hide in shadows or a gnome’s chance to detect unsafe walls, ceilings, or floors), a Proficiency  can be spent to give this ability a +5% bonus.  A single-classed fighter, and only a single-classed fighter, can spend a Proficiency to specialize with a weapon, or to double-specialize in a weapon the fighter has already specialized in.  (This replaces the use of weapon proficiency slots for specialization.)

Otherwise, a Proficiency grants a +2 bonus to a related skill check, using the following system.

If a character’s background supports his know­ing such a skill, the character may attempt a skill check.   If a character’s background does not support a skill use, the character is not familiar with the activ­ity and cannot attempt to use the skill.  If there is ambiguity – for example, the character may have used the skill somewhat but not regularly – the character may make a check with a -4 penalty.   Finally, if the skill is something that any adult could have a reasonable chance of attempting, then any character can make a check.

Ability Score
Skill Check Modifier
3
–4
4-5
–2
6-7
–1
8-12
+0
13-14
+1
15-16
+2
17
+3
18
+4
18/01-50
+5
18/51-75
+6
18/76-90
+7
18/91-99
+8
18/00
+9
19
+5 (+10)*
20
+6 (+11)*
21
+7 (+12)*
22
+8 (+13)*
23
+9 (+14)*
24
+10 (+15)*
25
+11 (+16)*
* Numbers in parenthesis apply to Strength scores only
Making a Skill Check

A skill check is made by rolling 1d20, adding the appropriate ability score modifier, and comparing the result to the DC for the chal­lenge.  If the roll beats the challenge, the skill check succeeds.  Otherwise, it fails.

Some tasks are harder than others and Difficulty Class (DC) allows us to gauge this.

·         DC 5 tasks are child’s play.  Typically, these minor chal­lenges aren’t rolled unless there is a consequence for failure.  Example:  walking on a four-foot-wide castle wall requires no check, but walking a four-foot-wide bridge across a yawning chasm does, as there is a sig­nificant consequence to failure for this easy task.

·         DC 10 tasks are difficult.  The weak and un­skilled could not achieve these tasks.  If a character has the Alertness Proficiency, he can attempt a DC 10 task (using his Wisdom skill modifier) to negate surprise for himself only.  A character can attempt a DC 10 task to gain a +2 combat advantage (see the Advanced Combat Rules pdf).
  
·         DC 20 tasks are feats of derring-do. It takes someone special to ac­complish these tasks.  Examples: leaping the gap between two city roofs, hurling a log at an oncom­ing bear, or grabbing a pouch lashed to the saddle of a gallop­ing stallion.   If a character has the Alertness Proficiency, he can attempt a DC 20 task (using his Wisdom skill modifier) to negate surprise for himself and his companions.  A character can attempt a DC 20 task to gain a +4 combat advantage (see the Advanced Combat Rules pdf).

·         DC 30 tasks are hero’s work.   Only the most super-human charac­ters attempt and succeed at these tasks.  A character can attempt a DC 30 task to gain a +6 combat advantage (see the Advanced Combat Rules pdf).

Sometimes two charac­ters attempt opposite actions.  In this case, roll a skill check for both parties.  The higher roll wins.

In some cases, more than one check can be made to represent a longer contest, like a game of chess.  The winner is the one who reaches either (1) a preset number of successes first, or (2) one character “pulls ahead” of the other(s) by a preset number of successes.

Skill checks are designed for use when a system of abstract rules is nec­essary to adjudicate a situation.  A skill check is only made when practical descriptions by the players will not suffice.

List of Proficiencies



Alchemy
Alertness
Animal Handling
Appraise
Arcana
Blind-Fighting**
Bluff
Boating
Calligraphy*
Charioteer Driving
Climbing
Combat Manoeuvre***
Court Manners
Craft (Any, Choose Specific Craft)
Dance
Diplomacy
Direction Sense
Falconry
Fire-Building
Foraging
Fungus Identification
Gambling
Gaming
Healing
Heraldry
Hunting
Iaijutsu*
Juggling
Jumping
Knowledge (Any, Choose Specific Subject)
Musical Instrument (Any, Choose Instrument)
Noh*
Origami*
Painting
Perform (Any, Choose One Performance Type)
Profession (Any, Choose Specific Profession)
Religion
Riding (Any, Choose Mount Type)
Rope Use
Running
Saving Throw Bonus (Choose One)****
Seamanship
Sense Motive
Signalling
Singing
Sound Imitation
Swimming
Tea Ceremony*
Tracking*****
Tumbling
Two-Weapon Fighting**
Weapon Skill (Any, Choose One Weapon Skill Group)
Weather Sense
Wilderness Lore (Choose Environment)



* This Proficiency is limited to Oriental characters, unless DM approval is granted for a specific exemption.
** This Proficiency reduces the normal penalty by 2 each time it is selected, but cannot result in a bonus.
*** This Proficiency can only be selected by a fighter or a member of a fighter subclass.  This Proficiency reduces the normal penalty for a manoeuvre by 2 each time that it is selected, but cannot result in a bonus.
**** The character gains a +1 bonus to saving throws made in one particular saving throw category.
***** The character does not gain the same information that a ranger would, but gets instead the most basic information available from a set of tracks.

In addition, a character can choose from anything the player can think of, subject to the DM’s approval.

Improving Proficiencies
                                                                      
Using this system, a single-class character gains a new Proficiency with every character class level.  A multi-class character gains a new Proficiency when all classes have gained a new class level.

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