Skills on Sunday - From D&D 5e - Feat: Observant (Quick to notice details of your environment, you gain the following benefits: 1. Increase your Intelligence or Wisdom score by 1, to a maximum of 20. 2. If you can see a creature’s mouth while it is speaking a language you understand, you can interpret what it’s saying by reading its lips. 3. You have a +5 bonus to your passive Wisdom (Perception) and passive Intelligence (Investigation) scores.) https://www.dndbeyond.com/sources/phb/customization-options#Feats
Skills on Sunday - From D&D 5e Feat: Polearm Master (You gain the following benefits: 1. When you take the Attack action and attack with only a glaive, halberd, quarterstaff, or spear, you can use a bonus action to make a melee attack with the opposite end of the weapon. This attack uses the same ability modifier as the primary attack. The weapon’s damage die for this attack is a d4, and it deals bludgeoning damage. 2. While you are wielding a glaive, halberd, pike, quarterstaff, or spear, other creatures provoke an opportunity attack from you when they enter the reach you have with that weapon.) https://www.dndbeyond.com/sources/phb/customization-options#Feats
Skills on Sunday - From 2nd Edition - Amethyst Dragon (ability modifyers) http://people.wku.edu/charles.plemons/ad&d/races/minmax.html
In several of the editions of D&D they expanded Skills, Powers, Abilities, and Feats beyond the normal range. Primarily this started in 3e and 3.5e, but it was also prevalent in 4e where mechanically all PCs received powers at each level that could include at will powers (use as many times as you want), encounter powers (use once per encounter) and daily powers (use once per long rest).
For other editions like 2e, I’ve just decided to expand this to random stats. In this case, the randomness is the set of stat modifyers for the Amethyst Dragon: +5 Str, +3 Int, +1 Wis, +2 Cha, -3 Dex
Skills on Sunday - From Pathfinder - Perform https://roll20.net/compendium/pathfinder/Skills:Perform#content
Perform is a Charisma-based skill that lets the PC tell stories, do feats of tumbling or parlor magic, sing songs, engage in public oratory and otherwise try to “win the room” with a performance of some kind. As with everything in Pathfinder there are circumstance modifiers, bonuses, penalties, and a myriad gradients of success that can earn anything from a meager pittance to a pretty good living depending on the city.
Skills on Sunday - From 3e/3.5e - Profession http://www.d20srd.org/indexes/skills.htm
This is one example of how 3.5 tried to micromanage everything and turn it all into dice rolls. If a PC has a non-adventuring life doing some kind of profession—such as a bard who runs an inn when his group is not adventuring—then that can almost always be done a combination of role play and simply the DM determining the local reputation of the innkeeper as an adventurer and modifying the income appropriately.
Back in the day, I used to play bards all the time, and running inns was my favorite non-adventuring profession. I would turn each inn into a museum of my character’s adventures, displaying tacky and sometimes exotic or frightening mementos of our party’s adventures on the walls of the common room where my PC could boast of stories of the adventures and point to the evidence to prove they were true. But in 3.5 they wanted to turn that all into crunchy dice rolls so you could experience boons and busts that may or may not have anything to do with stories the DM had planned or may or may not reflect what is going on in his or her campaign world. To me, this is just the kind of thing that doesn’t need to be in a game system, but it’s there for people who want it.
Skills on Sunday - Balance from 3e/3.5e http://www.d20srd.org/indexes/skills.htm
Balance lets you walk on treacherous surfaces. As with most things in 3rd edition and 3.5e, balance has a boatload of crunch. There are degrees of failure that impact everything from movement speed to falling, and other factors that account for circumstances like trying to balance while fighting or trying to balance while running.
Skills on Sunday - Song of the New Dawn from 4e https://dnd4.fandom.com/wiki/Song_of_the_new_dawn
This is a 4e bard power that allows the caster to call down a radiant attack on an enemy. Interestingly, it doesn’t completely spare allies from damage, but it gives allies a chance to roll twice and take the highest roll in order to save against the damage.
Skills on Sunday - Forgery from 3e/3.5e http://www.d20srd.org/srd/skills/forgery.htm
Forgery allows the character to create copies or false documents given enough time, skill, and the correct materials. So in order to forge a letter or set of orders from a noble, the character needs to have access to the correct paper, inks, quills, and seals that the noble uses, and then needs to succeed on a skill check to accurately mimic the handwriting and match the style of the person they are attempting to emulate.
As with all other skills in 3e and 3.5e, there is plenty of crunch and there are many variables that impact the roll to see if the forger succeeds or fails.
Skills on Sunday - Tumble from 3e/3.5e http://www.d20srd.org/srd/skills/tumble.htm
And here’s the crunchiest crunchmaster version of D&D. Tumble is a skill that gains limitations on use depending on training, proficiencies with any armor being worn, and how movement speed is impacted. There are also bonuses and penalties to the checks based on the type of terrain, and there are synergies with other skills in the system, as well as enhancement bonuses to other checks if you wind up loading up your character with rank upon rank of this skill. In 3e and 3.5e every skill requires at least one spreadsheet, and that may have to be linked to spreadsheets for other skills depending on what you’re trying to do. No wonder people said that 3.5e was D&D for Accountants.
Skills on Sunday - Silk Making from AD&D http://members.tripod.com/Lord_Eadric/profs.html
Silk Making was a skill back in the days of Advanced D&D that came out of the Oriental Adventures sourcebook. Silk Making was a non-weapon proficiency or skill that you could gain, and the roll was a Dex -2 roll if you were proficient. So this was a pretty rare and difficult skill to master, and it’s the kind of thing that very high level characters with access to lots of magic that would boost a particular skill would indulge in pursuing.
But this is a skill that some would desire because in early versions of D&D, armor made out of silk had a natural healing property that gave a form of limited regeneration to characters that wore armor made from the stuff. So once you invested the time to begin manufacturing silk armor, it could be pretty lucrative.
Skills on Sunday - From D&D 5e - Necrotic Shroud Starting at 3rd level, you can use your action to unleash the divine energy within yourself, causing your eyes to turn into pools of darkness and two skeletal, ghostly, flightless wings to sprout from your back. The instant you transform, other creatures within 10 feet of you that can see you must each succeed on a Charisma saving throw (DC 8 + your proficiency bonus + your Charisma modifier) or become frightened of you until the end of your next turn. (https://www.dndbeyond.com/characters/races/aasimar#ConflictedSouls)
Necrotic Shroud is an ability for the Fallen Aasimar whose celestial nature has been replaced by shadow. Like all of the Aasimar playable races, this one comes from Volo’s Guide to Monsters.
Skills on Sunday - From D&D 3.5e - Intimidate. You can change another’s behavior with a successful check. Your Intimidate check is opposed by the target’s modified level check (1d20 + character level or Hit Dice + target’s Wisdom bonus [if any] + target’s modifiers on saves against fear). If you beat your target’s check result, you may treat the target as friendly, but only for the purpose of actions taken while it remains intimidated. http://www.d20srd.org/srd/skills/intimidate.htm
This is a good example to explore how similar skills work differently in two editions of D&D. In 3.5, the example in this post, Intimidate gives you an indefinite period of time (perhaps an encounter or perhaps longer depending on the situation) where you can have ongoing influence over the target. In this case it’s good to think about Intimidate as it might be used by someone like a mafia boss or the leader of a ring of kidnappers. Once the intimidator has established their dominance as “the most dangerous threat in the room” then it makes the intimidated target predisposed to try to keep that other person happy (or at least focused on someone else).
In D&D 5e, the Intimidation skill is a time-specific, action specific skill check that is for a single, distinct purpose. For instance, you might have captured an enemy combatant and want to question them. If they decide to be a loyal soldier, a successful Intimidation might be useful to make the captive more afraid of their captors in the moment than any repercussions of betraying their superiors. But the intimidation is only useful in extracting that information. It doesn’t mean that the single intimidation turns the captive into a potential ally who would act as a double agent, continue to travel with the group and offer assistance, or otherwise become friendly and trustworthy. With the exception of that one specific interrogation, the captive still remains an enemy and would want to escape or destroy their captives if possible.
Skills on Sunday - From D&D 3rd Edition: Darkvision. Darkvision is the ability to see with no light source at all out to a specified range. It is grayscale only and does not reveal invisible objects, nor does it reveal the true nature of illusions, and it does not protect one from gaze attacks. Light also doesn't spoil darkvision. https://www.dandwiki.com/wiki/SRD:Darkvision
Darkvision differs from low-light vision in that it allows a creature to see with no light source at all in total darkness. It’s interesting that in 5th edition the “Low Light vision” and “Darkvision” abilities have all been streamlined into a single ability that retains the flavor of both forms of vision from earlier editions.
Skills on Sunday - From D&D 5e Performance https://www.dndbeyond.com/compendium/rules/basic-rules/using-ability-scores#Performance
Performance is one of those skills in the rules as written that is still pretty much focused on a single class and situation. The main beneficiaries of this skill are bards, who use it when singing, dancing, telling stories, or otherwise entertaining a crowd.
What’s the most creative use you have seen of a Performance check in a game where you have been a player or a DM? What is the funniest result you’ve seen from a botched roll of this check?
Skills on Sunday - From D&D 3.5. Compulsion: Compulsion changes the way the target's mind works; while charm makes the target friendly to the caster, compulsion makes the target obey the caster. https://www.dandwiki.com/wiki/SRD:Charm_and_Compulsion#Compulsion
I know this entry is listed as “Skills Sunday” but the intent of this weekly column is to highlight “skills, powers, feats, and abilities from versions of D&D, Pathfinder, and other RPGs. Compulsion is an ability or condition from 3.5 that forces another creature to obey. In 3.5, a creature under a spell like “Planar Binding” (from our Thursday entry) would be compelled to obedience.
What was the most creative use you can remember where compulsion was a factor in a game that you played? As a DM how do you rule compulsion when it applies to the players compelling NPCs to do something vs. NPCs compelling PCs to do something? Do you allow NPCs to compel PCs to actions the players don’t want to take, and vice versa? What are some of the problems that you think could arise if compulsion is used too liberally in a campaign?
Skills on Sunday - From D&D 3e. Heal: allows you to render first aid, give long-term care, treat wounds, treat poison, or treat disease. http://www.d20srd.org/srd/skills/heal.htm
We talked about rules changing from one edition to another in D&D over the years yesterday. And the Heal skill is a prime example of that. In 3e, Heal was a very crunchy check with lots of sub-categories and different kinds of bonuses and applications for various situations. All that is now rolled into the Medicine skill in 5e. Sometimes I think the simplification of rules can make the game a bit bland, and it can sometimes be useful as a player or DM to go back to the older versions and look at skills and see how they were worded.
As a DM, would you allow some version of the Heal skill to be ported to 5e? What would you say could be added to flesh out the Medicine skill that would not be game-breaking in 5e, at least at your table?
Skills on Sunday - From D&D 3.5. Crystal Shard: Deals 1d6 psionic damage to a target within 25 feet. http://www.d20srd.org/srd/psionic/powers/crystalShard.htm
This was one of the old psionic powers from D&D 3.5. It worked as a range touch attack and delivered psionic (read psychic) damage to an opponent. All of the psionic powers were based off of “power points” which is not exactly like spell slots or spell levels, but was a resource pool that psionicists used in those days. In the case of this effect, it used a single power point, and if you added more points to it, you could increase the damage by an additional 1d6 for every extra point added.
Skills on Sunday - From Pathfinder. Escape Artist: Allows you to slip out of bonds and grapples. https://roll20.net/compendium/pathfinder/Skills:Escape%20Artist#contentRead More