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Patch NotesEdit

  • Hide and Move Silently are removed.
  • New skill: Stealth, takes the place of Hide and Move Silently.
  • Listen and Spot are removed.
  • New skill: Perception, takes the place of Listen and Spot.
  • Balance and Tumble are removed.
  • New skill: Acrobatics, takes the place of Balance and Tumble.
  • Climb and Jump are removed.
  • New skill: Athletics, takes the place of Climb and Jump.
  • Diplomacy is removed. Initial NPC attitudes will be handled with Charisma checks; changes to NPC attitude must be accomplished through RP.
  • Iaijutsu focus is removed. Classes with knowledge of iaijutsu will receive it as a class feature.
  • Truespeech is removed. Classes with knowledge of truespeech will receive it as a class feature.
  • Perform is now a single skill, covering all types of performance.
  • New skill: Negotiation, self-explanatory.
  • New skill: Herbalism, allows characters to harvest and preserve herbs and create poultices, tinctures, unguents and potions. Receives synergy from Knowledge (nature).
  • New skill: Alchemy (WIS), takes the place of Craft (alchemy). Knowledge (arcana) provides a synergy bonus. Also receives synergy from Herbalism.
  • Spellcraft and Psicraft are removed. Relevant checks are made with Knowledge (arcana), Knowledge (religion) and Knowledge (psionics).
  • Use Psionic Device is removed. Relevant checks are made with Use Magic Device.
  • New skill: Ritecraft, used in concert with the relevant Knowledge skill to perform rituals.

ConversionsEdit

  • Any class that had Hide or Move Silently as a class skill now has Stealth as a class skill.
  • Any class that had Listen or Spot as a class skill now has Perception as a class skill.
  • Any class that had Balance or Tumble as a class skill now has Acrobatics as a class skill.
  • Any class that had Climb or Jump as a class skill now has Athletics as a class skill.
  • Any class that had Diplomacy as a class skill now has Negotiation as a class skill.
  • Herbalism is a class skill for Barbarians, Druids, Monks, Rangers, and Rogues. It is also a class skill for Shamans and Spirit Shamans.
  • Alchemy is a class skill for Clerics and Wizards. It is also a class skill for Archivists and Artificers.
  • Any class that had Spellcraft or Psicraft as a class skill now has Ritecraft as a class skill.


Rationale for ChangesEdit

All of the skill pairs that have been removed from the game and were replaced by a single skill are sufficiently similar that I believe only a single skill is warranted. Combining each of those two skills into one shouldn't take anything away from the overall feel of the game, and affords characters more flexibility in their choices.

The original use for Spellcraft and Psicraft didn't make sense. Everything that they were used for was identification and recognition, tasks which are clearly under the purview of the Knowledge skills. Therefore, folding them into the Knowledge skills seemed sensible. Additionally, this has the benefit of not allowing a Wizard to automatically know what a Cleric is doing (unless he has invested ranks in Knowledge (religion)).

Rituals had need of some sort of crafting skill, something that would handle correctly performing the motions and minor crafting tasks that go into any successful ritual. Moreover, since rituals are designed to be difficult and accessible only to trained ritualists, this skill couldn't be a Craft skill, since every class has Craft as a class skill. Spellcraft would have fit the bill but my goal is to avoid confusion as much as possible in repurposing skills. Thus, Ritecraft.

Similar explanations exist for Alchemy and Herbalism. Alchemy and Herbalism seem both to be more specialized than a general Craft or Profession skill (which, again, are available to all classes). While it is certainly possible to imagine a Fighter who dabbles in Alchemy in his off-hours, he is just that: a dabbler. Having Alchemy as a cross-class skill helps to emphasize that.

While it is true that dancing is nothing like singing, and neither is really anything like performing comedy, I think there's something else to consider. The only mechanical benefits a high Perform check ever offers do not depend on the player having a particular kind of Perform; a character can make gold and inspire a crowd equally effectively through juggling or playing the lute. Whenever a Perform check is called for to provide a mechanical benefit, the player is always going to use whichever Perform skill they have the most ranks in anyway. Therefore, it seems unnecessarily onerous to require the player to maintain six or seven different Perform skills to cover all eventualities.

Use Magic Device vs. Use Psionic Device is in the same category. Use Magic Device covers Divine and Arcane magic, while Use Psionic Device covers only Psionic. That, firstly, seems like a sloppy design decision; and secondly, seems unlikely to ever come up, or present a significant problem for the players. In particular, a world that has magic-psionic transparency is unjustified in having Use Psionic Device as a separate skill. As most of my worlds tend to fall under that category, the skills are likewise transparent.

Finally, Diplomacy. The Diplomacy rules are ill-conceived and absurdly broken; the Rules As Written say that a focused character can make a blood enemy into a helpful friend in a single round, no matter what; this is probably not Rules As Intended but that steers the whole affair into the realm of DM fiat, and if you're going to go there then why have the rule at all? Diplomacy and NPC attitudes should be handled through roleplaying, plain and simple; the Negotiation skill is in place to make it still possible for a focused player to persuade an NPC to do something without turning him into a friend for life.

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