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 Post subject: Re: Percentage Thief Skills
PostPosted: Wed Jun 08, 2011 8:02 pm 
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goodmangames wrote:
So far the reaction to % skills in games has been love it / hate it...appears that everyone here hates it! Does ANYBODY like it? Just curious...


Nope, nobody likes it. ;) At least, I don't. It's one of the things that jumped out at me as clunky thus far. (The other thing is halflings as dual-wielding guys, but that's another subject entirely.)

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 Post subject: Re: Percentage Thief Skills
PostPosted: Wed Jun 08, 2011 9:38 pm 
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For those who want to try the "d20 version" of the thief, here is the set of abilities that I was using for most of 2010, before I changed them to percentile skills.

Gaah, I can't get this to display right..."best attempt" here...hopefully someone can make sense of this. If I need to I'll figure out how to post an MS Word document so everyone can download the formatted version.

Since my goal here is to get playtest feedback, I would say give it a shot with your preferred option (% or d20)...and then try it "the other way"...and let me know how it goes and which you do prefer in actual game play.

Code:
Table X-X: Thief Skills by Level and Alignment
Skill   Bonus by Thief Level and Alignment
   Path of Thug         Path of Assassin      Path of Swindler
   Lawful (all) and      Chaotic Evil         Neutral (all) and
   Chaotic Neutral                     Chaotic Good
   1   2   3   4   5   1   2   3   4   5   1   2   3   4   5
Backstab   +1   +3   +5   +7   +8   +3   +5   +7   +8   +9   +0   +1   +3   +5   +7
Sneak silently*   +1   +3   +5   +7   +8   +1   +3   +5   +7   +8   +3   +5   +7   +8   +9
Hide in shadows*   +3   +5   +7   +8   +9   +1   +3   +5   +7   +8   +1   +3   +5   +7   +8
Pick pocket*   +1   +3   +5   +7   +8   +0   +1   +3   +5   +7   +3   +5   +7   +8   +9
Climb sheer surfaces*   +3   +5   +7   +8   +9   +1   +3   +5   +7   +8   +3   +5   +7   +8   +9
Pick lock*   +1   +3   +5   +7   +8   +3   +5   +7   +8   +9   +1   +3   +5   +7   +8
Find trap   +3   +5   +7   +8   +9   +1   +3   +5   +7   +8   +1   +3   +5   +7   +8
Disable trap*   +3   +5   +7   +8   +9   +0   +1   +3   +5   +7   +1   +3   +5   +7   +8
Forge document*   +0   +0   +1   +3   +5   +0   +0   +1   +3   +5   +3   +5   +7   +8   +9
Disguise self   +0   +1   +3   +5   +7   +3   +5   +7   +8   +9   +0   +0   +1   +3   +5
Read languages   +0   +0   +1   +3   +5   +0   +0   +1   +3   +5   +0   +1   +3   +5   +7
Handle poison   +0   +1   +3   +5   +7   +3   +5   +7   +8   +9   +0   +0   +1   +3   +5
Cast spell from scroll   d10   d10   d12   d12   d14   d10   d10   d12   d12   d14   d12   d12   d14   d14   d16
* The thief’s Agility modifier, if any, also modifies checks for these skills.

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 Post subject: Re: Percentage Thief Skills
PostPosted: Wed Jun 08, 2011 10:07 pm 
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I'd like to emphasis that:

I LIKE keeping thief abilities separate from skill checks.
I DO NOT like % based resolution.
I would like to see thief abilities use the funky dice and charts ala Spells and MDoA!

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 Post subject: Re: Percentage Thief Skills
PostPosted: Wed Jun 08, 2011 10:10 pm 
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goodmangames wrote:
For those who want to try the "d20 version" of the thief, here is the set of abilities that I was using for most of 2010, before I changed them to percentile skills.


Modifiers, huh? What are the DCs?

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 Post subject: Re: Percentage Thief Skills
PostPosted: Wed Jun 08, 2011 10:44 pm 
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reverenddak wrote:
Modifiers, huh? What are the DCs?

Up to the judge and how he sees the situation. Just like skills.


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 Post subject: Re: Percentage Thief Skills
PostPosted: Wed Jun 08, 2011 11:08 pm 
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jmucchiello wrote:
Converting Move Silently and Hide in Shadows to a single Stealth roll does two things. It eliminates the stupidity that you can't move silently through shadows. It also means you only need to roll dice once: Is the thief PERCEIVED or not? That's what you want to know. Not how well the thief blended with the marble columns or avoid this or that squeaky board. You want the whole answer. Was he not seen and not heard?


Exactly. This is something I like that was streamlined in 4th edition (and True20, Star Wars Saga, and a few other d20 variants, if I'm remembering correctly).

"Stealth" just makes more sense.


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 Post subject: Re: Percentage Thief Skills
PostPosted: Thu Jun 09, 2011 12:32 am 
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Well, I thought I knew what I liked ...until I read this thread :?

But truthfully (being an old schol gamer) this has cleared up alot of things for me in regards to core mechanic systems, like d20. They really support skill based systems well. The "older" systems were aimed at more of a class based model where each class had unique abilities with their own mechanic. Thus for me (used to a strongly class based system) the % model was natural and caused me no heartburn at all -- I like it. Largely b/c it was unique to thieves. There are arguments in its favor mathematically, but perhaps not in terms of simplicity compared to a d20 only approach.

Having read the responses here though, I do see the strength of sticking with a core DCC mechanic; and I really like the idea of thief charts and MDoAs.

In sum, as a person who actually likes/has no problem with the % method, it wouldn't bother me (and I would also like) a more uniquely DCC mechanic approach.

That being said, I strongly prefer to keep skills out of DCC. So whatever we do let's not genericize skills to all classes. Because, yes, the thief class is the first to inspire that.


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 Post subject: Re: Percentage Thief Skills
PostPosted: Thu Jun 09, 2011 12:33 am 
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reverenddak wrote:
goodmangames wrote:
For those who want to try the "d20 version" of the thief, here is the set of abilities that I was using for most of 2010, before I changed them to percentile skills.


Modifiers, huh? What are the DCs?

beta rules wrote:
Some tasks are harder than others and 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 a man’s deed. The weak and unskilled could not achieve these tasks. Example: kicking down a door, scaling a stone wall, or hearing the approach of a cautious footpad.

DC 15 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.

DC 20 tasks are hero’s work. Only the most super-human characters attempt and succeed at these tasks

:D

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 Post subject: Re: Percentage Thief Skills
PostPosted: Thu Jun 09, 2011 8:03 am 
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jasmith wrote:
My last post didn't show up, so let's try this again.

I like the %. Not married to the idea, though.

My problem with a d20/DC thing, is the whole "moving the goal-post" thing.

"No, I'm sorry, you're not really a high-level thief! This lock is DC 50! So there!"

High level, badass Fighters should be able to hit powerful monsters, often! High level, badass Wizards should expect a similar level of efficacy. And a high level badass Thief, should be able to ghost his way through all that crap!

So long as that's avoided, I wouldn't have an issue. Otherwise, there's no point in giving the larcenous little buggers, any xp at all.


One thing that you might of missed in the first walk though of the thief is the following:

Thieves are supposed to burn luck to do successful thief checks. And luck can be burnt after you failed the initial check.

For example: 50% chance to pick the lock... I rolled a 70%. I need 20% more. As a 3rd level thief, I roll a d5 for for each luck point burned, so I might burn two points of luck 2d5 to have a high likely hood of making the 20% I need.

But if I had already rolled a 30% chance, I would not need to bother to burn luck. So the %'s are intentionality low so you have to use the mechanic of the thief.

It is a pretty elegant method to be honest.

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 Post subject: Re: Percentage Thief Skills
PostPosted: Thu Jun 09, 2011 8:21 am 
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Machpants wrote:
reverenddak wrote:
goodmangames wrote:
For those who want to try the "d20 version" of the thief, here is the set of abilities that I was using for most of 2010, before I changed them to percentile skills.
Modifiers, huh? What are the DCs?
beta rules wrote:
Some tasks are harder than others and 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 a man’s deed. The weak and unskilled could not achieve these tasks. Example: kicking down a door, scaling a stone wall, or hearing the approach of a cautious footpad.

DC 15 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.

DC 20 tasks are hero’s work. Only the most super-human characters attempt and succeed at these tasks
:D
Good catch, Machpants. It's amazing what you can find when you read the rulebook. :P

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 Post subject: Re: Percentage Thief Skills
PostPosted: Thu Jun 09, 2011 9:29 am 
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I had a feeling there'd be a lot of discussion on this topic. :)

I want to add my votes for:

1. Ditching % skills for d20/dZocchi+Mods vs. DC.
2. Combining Move SIlent and Hide in Shadows into a single "Stealth" check.

Actually, rather than #2, I'm much more in favor of getting rid of "Thief Skills" entirely and just subsuming their talents into the existing and wonderfully brief skill/ability check system. What you have there is so nice and simple! Just make thieves better than others at what defines their class.

I mean, it says that, with instruction, even a warrior can try and cast a spell... they just roll a d10 instead of a d20. Do the same for thieves. You want to sneak around, warrior? Roll a d10. Thief? Roll a d30! :)

I also am very fond of the "Thief Deeds" idea floated above. I think the whole "deeds" concept is a PERFECT way to handle class abilities. It's basically spellcasting for non-spellcasters. Keep the game fast, loose, and full of random fun!


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 Post subject: Re: Percentage Thief Skills
PostPosted: Thu Jun 09, 2011 10:21 am 
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Lots of good thoughts in this thread

1. I'm in favor of a d20 roll + modifiers instead of a % roll.
2. I really like the Occupation + Class for skills. A Cleric would know something about religion where a farmer wouldn't.
3. There's no reason to have Move Silently and Hide in Shadows. These are both the same thing, stealth. The result of these rolls are the same, is the thief noticed. Why roll twice when one roll and skill will do?


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 Post subject: Re: Percentage Thief Skills
PostPosted: Thu Jun 09, 2011 11:00 am 
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Move silent and hide in shadows are different abilities. Please keep them separate. Stealth is too general. Otherwise we miss the opportunity to have a thief who is hidden, but makes a noise. Or vice versa, one who is silent but seen.

And let's not go with simple ability checks for thieves' skills. That is the route that C&C core rules took and it's a little too vague. For skills and attempts outside of class, fine--but not for class based abilities.


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 Post subject: Re: Percentage Thief Skills
PostPosted: Thu Jun 09, 2011 11:57 am 
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Sizzaxe wrote:
Move silent and hide in shadows are different abilities. Please keep them separate. Stealth is too general. Otherwise we miss the opportunity to have a thief who is hidden, but makes a noise. Or vice versa, one who is silent but seen.

In actual play, though, this makes no difference. All that matters is whether the thief was detected. To make them roll twice is basically penalizing them, making them WORSE at their signature ability.


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 Post subject: Re: Percentage Thief Skills
PostPosted: Thu Jun 09, 2011 12:10 pm 
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I'm strongly opposed to a formal skill system, and I think maybe its reference should be dropped entirely. I'm OK with how the "skills" system is vague and considered only for convenience as they are currently, but I think it should be referred to as an Ability Test...

The SKILLS chapter should be re-titled ABILITIES, since there aren't any formal skills to begin with. Alluding to skills just adds to the confusion, while references to abilities, their scores and modifiers are what I've always referred to since BECMI D&D.

Thieves should be the only ones that do anything that is remotely similar to the d20 skill check emphasizing their class abilities.

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 Post subject: Re: Percentage Thief Skills
PostPosted: Thu Jun 09, 2011 12:35 pm 
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buzz wrote:
Sizzaxe wrote:
Move silent and hide in shadows are different abilities. Please keep them separate. Stealth is too general. Otherwise we miss the opportunity to have a thief who is hidden, but makes a noise. Or vice versa, one who is silent but seen.

In actual play, though, this makes no difference. All that matters is whether the thief was detected. To make them roll twice is basically penalizing them, making them WORSE at their signature ability.


It makes a ton of difference in actual play. At least it always has in mine. A thief who wants to sneak past the guards must be both quiet and invisible. And in fact they are _not_ both as easy as the other. And in the case of the rules presentation hide in shadows is easier to do than move silently.

You could say that I'm penalizing him, but I could just as easily claim you are giving him an unfair advantage.


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 Post subject: Re: Percentage Thief Skills
PostPosted: Thu Jun 09, 2011 12:37 pm 
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FWIW I've always liked the % thief skills. Couldn't say why though, so perhaps that's not too helpful.


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 Post subject: Re: Percentage Thief Skills
PostPosted: Thu Jun 09, 2011 12:43 pm 
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reverenddak wrote:
I'm strongly opposed to a formal skill system, and I think maybe its reference should be dropped entirely. I'm OK with how the "skills" system is vague and considered only for convenience as they are currently, but I think it should be referred to as an Ability Test...

The SKILLS chapter should be re-titled ABILITIES, since there aren't any formal skills to begin with. Alluding to skills just adds to the confusion, while references to abilities, their scores and modifiers are what I've always referred to since BECMI D&D.

Thieves should be the only ones that do anything that is remotely similar to the d20 skill check emphasizing their class abilities.

+d30. This solves my issue completely. Put examples of being stealthy in the ability check section and drop chapter 2 completely.


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 Post subject: Re: Percentage Thief Skills
PostPosted: Thu Jun 09, 2011 1:07 pm 
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Someone can correct me here if I am wrong, but DCC RPG has gone out of their way to eliminate the 'skill' portion of d20 SRD. People are trying to add back in skills to the game, but I believe that is not what Joseph (and company) are trying to do here.

That being said, I do realize that some tactile / combat related skills seem to be required by some people on the boards. But before we go and try to add back the skill system, lets look at it this way.

I might borrow a few terms from other versions of DnD, so please do not shoot me. :)

There are basically three types of 'skill' checks in DCC RPG.

1. Class/Racial Abilities/Skills - This are where the class has a strong bonus or affinity for the check. This include racial halfling abilities for stealth
2. Background Skills - Skills related to your characters background. (i.e. hunter could be allowed to do 'survival', 'move silent', but not 'hide in shadows' skill checks)
3. Untrained

The issue you run into is to not poach on the Thief's territory by having a warrior that is stealthy. You could argue that a background of cut-purse could entitle him to those checks. But at what bonus? If the bonus is too high, you are encroaching on the Thief's territory.

I would not be adverse to allowing someone that falls into the Background Skills category to get a +1/level bonus to their DC check.

Untrained would get a straight up check.

From looking at the charts, it would give provide a sizable bonus to the Background skilled people and still allow the class people to excel in those areas.

Note... not all class abilities should be allowed to be used outside of the class.

I do agree that the the term skills should be removed, but I like the term Actions in its place. Because you are rolling an Action Die + bonus to see if you are successful.

This leads to a change in the text in the classes section like this:

Enhanced Class Abilities:

Thief has the following enhanced actions, please see the attached chart.

A halfling would have an enhance ability section of: Stealth (see chart)

etc...

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 Post subject: Re: Percentage Thief Skills
PostPosted: Thu Jun 09, 2011 1:16 pm 
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reverenddak wrote:
I'm strongly opposed to a formal skill system, and I think maybe its reference should be dropped entirely. I'm OK with how the "skills" system is vague and considered only for convenience as they are currently, but I think it should be referred to as an Ability Test...

The SKILLS chapter should be re-titled ABILITIES, since there aren't any formal skills to begin with. Alluding to skills just adds to the confusion, while references to abilities, their scores and modifiers are what I've always referred to since BECMI D&D.

Thieves should be the only ones that do anything that is remotely similar to the d20 skill check emphasizing their class abilities.


This.

Make the Thief class unique in another way, not via inflated ability checks alone.


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 Post subject: Re: Percentage Thief Skills
PostPosted: Thu Jun 09, 2011 2:10 pm 
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Sizzaxe wrote:
It makes a ton of difference in actual play. At least it always has in mine. A thief who wants to sneak past the guards must be both quiet and invisible. And in fact they are _not_ both as easy as the other. And in the case of the rules presentation hide in shadows is easier to do than move silently.

You could say that I'm penalizing him, but I could just as easily claim you are giving him an unfair advantage.

I don't think it's an unfair advantage to treat his abilities the same as all the other classes'. The thief is supposed to be better than everyone else at being sneaky; why suddenly get all granular and nit-picky when they strut their stuff? I think there's a good reason most RPGs don't make this distinction.

On top of this, silence is ultimately far more important; anyone can stand in a dark room. :) Ergo, it's an argument for a single skill: Be Really Quiet.

IME, what matters is the end result. Have lots of shadows in which to hide, or wearing soft shoes? The DC for the check is lower. Have to be sneaky in broad daylight, walking on a creaky wooden bridge? The DC is higher. The situation then determines the "color" of the success or failure described by the GM/Judge.


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 Post subject: Re: Percentage Thief Skills
PostPosted: Thu Jun 09, 2011 2:14 pm 
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Ze Groupe wrote:
This.

Make the Thief class unique in another way, not via inflated ability checks alone.

I really like the idea of "Misdeeds of Cunning" or whatever you want to call it that was floated above.

Granted, I don't mind thieves simply being really good at ability checks, but, yeah, do something special with them.

Unless you want to go *really* Old School and argue that the thief class doesn't even need to exist... :)


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 Post subject: Re: Percentage Thief Skills
PostPosted: Thu Jun 09, 2011 2:47 pm 
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Here's one small vote against the stream: I like % thief skills!

The way I interpreted it is that the thief's skills are extraordinary abilities which no non-thief could even attempt. So, for example, any character can try to sneak (p. 53), but only a thief can attempt to sneak silently. (Presumably a thief can always sneak, without needing to make a roll, and only needs to roll when absolute silence is important.)

I agree that the distinction between the abilities described in the class descriptions and the skills in chapter 2 is a bit blurred and confusing at the moment. As the skills section is so minimal (at which I breathed a huge sigh of relief!) I'd be inclined to perhaps rename it to "background abilities" or something like that, to make the difference clear. I think it's important to make it clear that the thief isn't just a class "who's good at skills" (as the class became in D&D 3rd edition and derivatives), and having a totally different dice mechanic (and, ideally, different terminology) achieves this in part at least.


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 Post subject: Re: Percentage Thief Skills
PostPosted: Thu Jun 09, 2011 2:53 pm 
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buzz wrote:
Granted, I don't mind thieves simply being really good at ability checks, but, yeah, do something special with them.


They shouldn't be just really good they should be significantly better. Anyone can "hide". Anything can be hidden for that matter. I'm hiding behind a keyboard right now! I didn't spend months or days studying camouflage, the nuances of shadow, movement and sound like a ninja would have. Significant difference that can be quantified as Skill vs my natural or circumstantial Ability. A Thief would spend days upon days practicing lock picking, the same amount of hours that a Wizard would spend studying ancient text, collecting and organizing material components and memorizing the profane language of ire-some gods to cast a spell, and the time that a Warrior would spend honing his sword, practicing his footwork and taking steroids and "working out". The only way I like quantifying these differences in game terms (without getting into playable vs realistic, fun vs simulation, etc.) is totally and arbitrarily letting only those experts do certain things, not just do them better. Certain things being the keyword. Using hiding as an example again, a wizard on his tip-toes is one thing, but a Thief having special shoes, laced a certain way, knowing which fabrics to wear, and rolling the edge of his feet slowly, brushing any objects out the way before committing his body weight to the balls of his feet, and breathing matching the breeze as he's practiced over and over is something only a Thief can do.

Quote:
Unless you want to go *really* Old School and argue that the thief class doesn't even need to exist... :)


Need is a subjective term!

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 Post subject: Re: Percentage Thief Skills
PostPosted: Thu Jun 09, 2011 3:34 pm 
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reverenddak wrote:
Using hiding as an example again, a wizard on his tip-toes is one thing, but a Thief having special shoes, laced a certain way, knowing which fabrics to wear, and rolling the edge of his feet slowly, brushing any objects out the way before committing his body weight to the balls of his feet, and breathing matching the breeze as he's practiced over and over is something only a Thief can do.

And that is why he should get a bonus to do it. The bonus is his training and experience on top of his Agility (natural ability). The DC (Difficulty Class) is what determines how difficult the local conditions are for moving silently.

Flash of Insight: The "check penalty" on armor is a mistake. The Fumble Die should be used for an Agility check made while wearing armor. So normal Agility checks use d20. Padded, leather and studded leather use d16, and so on. That means a DC as simple as 10 is nearly impossible in Full Plate because he is only rolling a d8 on his Agility checks. Then a "class die" of d3 at first level affecting thieving skill checks, like sneaking about, would allow d20+d3+AGL against DCs as low as 10 or 12 to be child's play and at the same time incredible compared to the poor armored buffoons who can't roll over an 8.


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