Should we have skill bonuses on Level Up? [Community Discussion]

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Should we have skill bonuses on Level Up? [Community Discussion]

Post  Stairc -Dan Felder on Wed May 22, 2013 5:03 am

Hey everyone, based on lots of gameplay and talks with both Players and DMs - we're thinking of redoing the way our beloved system handles skill improvement on level up. Right now, DMs are encouraged to lower the DCs of things as players level - keeping things hassle-free for players (they don't need to increase skills when they level up) and making the DCs easy for DMs to remember (a DC 40 will always be just as difficult for a level 10 to roll as a level 1, what changes is the events that have those DCs).

However, a lot of people seem to feel that their characters aren't improving their skills in any noticeable way.

So what do you think about having +2 to each attribute/skill when you level up, or something like that?

Curious,

Dan


Clarification
The proposed idea is having +2 to every skill - not some amount of points you divvy up. So it's exactly the same, but players now can actually see their numbers going up instead of just knowing the invisible DCs are going down behind the DM screen.


Last edited by Stairc -Dan Felder on Wed May 22, 2013 6:58 am; edited 1 time in total

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Re: Should we have skill bonuses on Level Up? [Community Discussion]

Post  Ramsus on Wed May 22, 2013 5:14 am

Personally, I like the old way better. It's less messy and leaves less room for player error. Bigger numbers for the sole sake of having bigger numbers has never really appealed to me.
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Re: Should we have skill bonuses on Level Up? [Community Discussion]

Post  A1C Bronymous on Wed May 22, 2013 5:18 am

Well at first it seems kind of pointless, mechanically- numbers are just numbers, and if you raise one side of the equation by an amount and the other side by the same amount, then nothing changes. It just looks that way on the sheets. But while raising the scale doesn't mean anything on the high end, it gives the DM more room to make the easier stuff easier, which is what should be happening. They would then have a whole range of Easy options from 0 to, say, 40, as opposed to 0 to 20. The hard stuff just maxes out at the top of the range anyway. But then you should consider that most DMs don't use all of the numbers. All of my DCs are pretty much multiples of 5,a s are most that I've seen, so raising by 2 every level doesn't mean a whole lot. Then again, maybe that sounds just about perfect- the boost doesn't jump the difficulty every level, but it gives the Players a bit more wiggle room.

So I say do it, I guess. Maybe allow a pool of like 6 or 8 points to be dropped on whichever skills the player chooses under a limit of 2-3 per skill per level? Or is that too min-maxy for this system? If so, then +2 to skills for two levels, and then +1 to an attribute.

Side thought, HP should go up as well, that way DMs can make more challenging fights without the PCs being dropped by a paltry few hits, or resorting to dropping damage output from weaker enemies to 1 (or even less) per hit.
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Re: Should we have skill bonuses on Level Up? [Community Discussion]

Post  Ramsus on Wed May 22, 2013 5:23 am

Please don't increase the actual skills or increase the stats unevenly. If you do that, you might as well just continue on in that direction and outright say that not specializing is completely pointless. Which is the opposite of what most of this system is set up for, so there's no reason to push things that direction.
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Re: Should we have skill bonuses on Level Up? [Community Discussion]

Post  Hayatecooper on Wed May 22, 2013 6:38 am

From what I can tell:

The downsides are, it's another thing to think about on lvl up, Twinks are going to get twinky'er, dms have to pay more attention to what skill bonus a player has ontop of remembering utility talents, destinies and boons, having to factor in characters who are either super competent at one thing or so well rounded pretty much nothing phases them.(DM ones probably aren't huge issues but they would bug the heck out of me.)

Befits: Players can even up there states more, visible signs of improvement... and that's about it. Your not really giving players anything apart from (YAY! I can now roll a max of 42 arcana on a crit instead of 40)

If you want players to feel more powerful, adopt the Talent Spec system as a official thing. Been testing that out in my game and gods does it work.
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Re: Should we have skill bonuses on Level Up? [Community Discussion]

Post  Stairc -Dan Felder on Wed May 22, 2013 6:49 am

I think there's some confusion.

For simplicity's sake, we'd be having +2 to every skill - not some amount of points you divvy up. So it's exactly the same, but players now can actually see their numbers going up instead of just knowing the invisible DCs are going down behind the DM screen.

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Re: Should we have skill bonuses on Level Up? [Community Discussion]

Post  Paper Shadow on Wed May 22, 2013 6:56 am

Stairc -Dan Felder wrote:For simplicity's sake, we'd be having +2 to every skill - not some amount of points you divvy up. So it's exactly the same, but players now can actually see their numbers going up instead of just knowing the invisible DCs are going down behind the DM screen.
I was just about to point this out. The purpose is less about making the players stronger, but rather make them feel stronger...

I know that sounds pointless, but it's kinda like the JC Penny Effect in some way. Perceived Value is sometimes worth more than Real Objective Value...

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Re: Should we have skill bonuses on Level Up? [Community Discussion]

Post  Hayatecooper on Wed May 22, 2013 7:06 am

right.
Ok... now I get it. I thought it was just you gain +2 you can assign to a skill but if it's just +2 flat bonus to everything...

(This is all my opinion so I'm probably wrong. That is why I'm using the excessive use of I)

Though I have to say I'd, as a player, would prefer something of Mechanical worth then just a flashier number. The additional Utility Talents at level 2 for example are a good way of that, it makes my character feel 1. More well rounded, more experienced and better at what they do(Or looking cool as they branch into new areas).

Maybe Mini-Utility talents, stuff like the enchantments would be a better option? I know it would mean more work but stuff that acted like Mini-utility upgrades would be more interesting, again imo, then just a flat bonus.

So take for example.. phase step cause I've been playing with that.
At lvl 3 you could get Phase Step 2 which increased the duration or allows you to extend the effect to an ally. Mechanically useful, should make the player feel more powerful, more interesting then a flat skill bonus and would fit really well into the flavor of the system.
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Re: Should we have skill bonuses on Level Up? [Community Discussion]

Post  tygerburningbright on Wed May 22, 2013 7:52 am

Right then as a player I can't say that I would enjoy this as it is another thing to keep track of that doesn't actually make a single thing change(unless you are in a strange game where each character has separate harmony) and I would feel like this would go against a stance of the system that has been around from the start. As a DM it would mean that I spend 10 fewer seconds changing DCs and scaleing down the stuff that the party can do by a few levels so they can actually do it.

If you really want something that makes player look like they are getting stronger with each level up the talent spec. addition is quite good.
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Re: Should we have skill bonuses on Level Up? [Community Discussion]

Post  Hayatecooper on Wed May 22, 2013 8:15 am

Tyger, you just summed up all my point more concisely Very Happy

Thankee for that
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Re: Should we have skill bonuses on Level Up? [Community Discussion]

Post  Xel Unknown on Wed May 22, 2013 12:12 pm

While I am of the mind to enjoy some type of level up skill bonus... I think a pure flat bonus isn't the way to do things. Sure it seems like a cool idea. But you are saying we get +2 each level up, there are nine of those which when you hit the higher levels, your stats feel less unique. Even a 3 stat at level ten would turn into a 21 stat by what this suggested level up system would imply. Sure you can equally get some really awesome stats of in the 38 high, but still... Given that ALL of the stats are getting flat bonusi... It'll feel less special as you get higher, dispite getting a change of numbers as one levels.

I'd suggest if we do some type of level up bonus, have it be a limited in some way. So it'll feel like your character is getting more powerful, and not just that your getting higher stat numbers, just because.

A type of bonus I'd work with is that you get maybe some x/day +2 bonus to how many levels you got? Like at level one, you can only add this to only one skill check, but later on, you can spread it off between ten skill checks or pool it all into one level for a full +20 bonus for a skill check.
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Re: Should we have skill bonuses on Level Up? [Community Discussion]

Post  Ramsus on Wed May 22, 2013 2:39 pm

Xel Unknown wrote:
A type of bonus I'd work with is that you get maybe some x/day +2 bonus to how many levels you got? Like at level one, you can only add this to only one skill check, but later on, you can spread it off between ten skill checks or pool it all into one level for a full +20 bonus for a skill check.

That's also a part of what Talent Specialization does you know?
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Re: Should we have skill bonuses on Level Up? [Community Discussion]

Post  Xel Unknown on Wed May 22, 2013 3:21 pm

Yes... I am aware of this... Just I figure this type of level upgrade skill bonus, wouldn't lead to any issues of players feeling their stats being less special, (from the aforementioned logical outcome of a +18 total to all stats come level 10, I don't know about everyone else, but I know that as a whole, it'll be a bit too much an upgrade to make the starting status feel like they added anything to the character when they get the higher levels.) and would allow people to feel like their level ups give them some sense of improvements.

Another idea is basically having a 3/day talent that deals a +X bonus to a skill check where X is the level one is? Mmmm, maybe just having some type of special set of utility talents that are majorly effected by one's level? Where they get stronger the higher one's level is?
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Re: Should we have skill bonuses on Level Up? [Community Discussion]

Post  tygerburningbright on Wed May 22, 2013 3:52 pm

That may be a tad hard to balance even more so if you are dealing with a DM that allows for the changing of talents between sessions and or levels.
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Re: Should we have skill bonuses on Level Up? [Community Discussion]

Post  Z2 on Wed May 22, 2013 5:22 pm

I like it in theory, but the bonuses should be proportional instead of just the flat numbers... My gloriously unsubtle 20 athletics 3 stealth character loses a lot of its style when, 9 levels down the line, her stealth is more than half of her athletics... Also, the base +2 would likely ruin the 'training' system, and even cutie marks.

Maybe make it... on level up:
+1 all Atrributes
+1 to all trained skills
+2 to Expert Skill

Attribute increase - as in, becoming generally tougher or more knowledgeable - probably makes more sense than becoming directly better at stealth when you haven't made a single stealth check in the campaign.
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Re: Should we have skill bonuses on Level Up? [Community Discussion]

Post  Xel Unknown on Wed May 22, 2013 5:25 pm

Z2 wrote:I like it in theory, but the bonuses should be proportional instead of just the flat numbers... My gloriously unsubtle 20 athletics 3 stealth character loses a lot of its style when, 9 levels down the line, her stealth is more than half of her athletics... Also, the base +2 would likely ruin the 'training' system, and even cutie marks.
This was the issue I was trying to talk about with my posts that I am happy to hear I'm not the only one would could see this problem and would most likely dislike it even more so than the feeling of no stats changing from level up and just DCs getting reduced by the GM.

Z2 wrote:Maybe make it... on level up:
+1 all Atrributes
+1 to all trained skills
+2 to Expert Skill

Attribute increase - as in, becoming generally tougher or more knowledgeable - probably makes more sense than becoming directly better at stealth when you haven't made a single stealth check in the campaign.
I like this idea... But... I'm unsure, I think that'd make some stats go kinda insane. Cause it'd be for a level ten Expert skill would get +18 for being an Expert skill, get a +9 if trained as well, and a +9 from from the other stat upgrades.


Last edited by Xel Unknown on Wed May 22, 2013 5:31 pm; edited 1 time in total
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Re: Should we have skill bonuses on Level Up? [Community Discussion]

Post  Ramsus on Wed May 22, 2013 5:28 pm

That, again, is a suggestion which causes specialization which results in ruining the ability for people to be jack of all trades type characters. And that idea in particular really makes the similarly named Utility kinda suck.
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Re: Should we have skill bonuses on Level Up? [Community Discussion]

Post  Z2 on Wed May 22, 2013 5:31 pm

My suggestion doesn't cause any more specialization than already exists at level one... it merely scales the specializing up...

Though the jack of trades talent is probably noteworthy... Maybe give it an additional plus one every 3 levels?
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Re: Should we have skill bonuses on Level Up? [Community Discussion]

Post  Ramsus on Wed May 22, 2013 5:31 pm

Z2 wrote:My suggestion doesn't cause any more specialization than already exists at level one... it merely scales the specializing up...
Which I've already explained elsewhere in detail is a very bad thing for this system to do.
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Re: Should we have skill bonuses on Level Up? [Community Discussion]

Post  Z2 on Wed May 22, 2013 5:32 pm

Also, I actually am DMing for a jack-of-trades character who would benefit from my training-scale option.
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Re: Should we have skill bonuses on Level Up? [Community Discussion]

Post  Z2 on Wed May 22, 2013 5:34 pm

Ramsus wrote:
Z2 wrote:My suggestion doesn't cause any more specialization than already exists at level one... it merely scales the specializing up...
Which I've already explained elsewhere in detail is a very bad thing for this system to do.

Yes, you have stated an objection towards specialization, but this isn't adding any specialization at all. It merely allows players who DON'T share your tastes (and I guess those who do, technically) to maintain their specialization, and have the degree of specialization stay proportional as they improve in general.
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Re: Should we have skill bonuses on Level Up? [Community Discussion]

Post  Ramsus on Wed May 22, 2013 5:40 pm

No....

As is, it stays proportional. Your suggestion increases the amount people are specialized. Resulting in making those who don't specialize inferior at accomplishing tasks to a larger degree. Basically, your suggestion raises the DCs of tasks so that people who don't specialize can't hit them. It doesn't magically force GMs not to compensate for the larger numbers.
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Re: Should we have skill bonuses on Level Up? [Community Discussion]

Post  Xel Unknown on Wed May 22, 2013 5:42 pm

I think we'll be best if we got three versions of level up stat boosts, one for jacks of all trades, one for becoming a master of one stat to powerful levels, and a middle ground level up version that allows other types of upgrades. Or who knows...

Just I do think at most level up bonus should have some type of limit. Like being an x/day, x/session, or x/campaign bonus, or be limited by being small upgrades that total to like +5, +10, or something...

And I think Ramsus' is trying to bring up the point that your suggest gives a +18 AND a +9 at level for an expert skill, and it gets an EXTRA +9 if they got training in that stat as well...
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Re: Should we have skill bonuses on Level Up? [Community Discussion]

Post  Ramsus on Wed May 22, 2013 5:45 pm

That sounds needlessly complicated which, is another thing this system is design to avoid rather than aim for. We might as well just not change anything and let the GMs who want to do such things make custom level up charts for their own games.
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Re: Should we have skill bonuses on Level Up? [Community Discussion]

Post  Z2 on Wed May 22, 2013 5:45 pm

A skill of 20 increases by 2...
A skill of 5 increases by 2...

This is not a proportional increase.

The skill of 20 increases by 4...
The skill of 5 increases by 1...

This is a proportional increase. Obviously the system where nothing changes at all, as is currently the case, 'stays' proportional - but the flat +2s are ONLY good for the jack of trade types...

Also, you may have covered this before, but I apparently didn't see it: WHY is specialization where one character heals, one lifts, one stealths, one plays lookout, etc. BAD for a game where the entire levelling up system is based upon teamwork? I'd think jack-of-trades would be DIScouraged (not that I want that.)
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Re: Should we have skill bonuses on Level Up? [Community Discussion]

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