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Schmoe
11-10-2009, 08:44 AM
I'm relatively new to this game, but so far I'm enjoying it quite a bit. Having played PnP for 20+ years, though, in some ways it feels like it's only half the game it could be. The combat aspect has been done pretty well, but there's so much more to DnD, and skills can play a much larger role than they do now. I'd like to see some new skills added, and the use for some existing skills expanded.

1. Social skills These currently are used to influence combat, either by shifting creatures' attentions or gaining a combat advantage. There are many more things these could be used for.

Quest NPC's with meaningful dialog choices - Introduce quest NPC's that can open up new quest paths or goals if a party member has the appropriate skill and makes a skill check. We already have this in the form of rune-locked doors, secret doors, and locked doors, this would just expand the options of "unlocking" content to the social skills as well.

Diplomacy - Include the possibility to gain a small (maybe 5%) xp bonus to a quest when the player talks to the quest turn-in NPC, if the skill check is passed. The skill check DC could be modified based on quest difficulty. This represents the player sweet-talking the NPC and pleasing him/her more.

Intimidate/Bluff - Include the possibility to raise quest turn-in reward levels by +1, if the skill check is passed. This represents the player conning or strong-arming the NPC to get a bigger reward

2. Knowledge skills There are currently no knowledge skills in the game. Done right, however, they could greatly expand the options available to players. For one thing, the knowledge skills make incredibly logical choices to rune-lock doors against. Many of the knowledge skills are tied to certain creatures, and they could slightly improve the yields of treasure bags for the related creatures. In addition, the specific knowledge skills could open up quite a variety of nice little perks and benefits for the players. Here are just a few examples of what could be done:

Knowledge: Nobility and Royalty - This could give players the chance to see a new dialog option on quest turn-in that grants +1 favor for quest completion. The bonus would only apply once per difficulty level. The houses could have certain minor quests that can only be started by players with a certain number of ranks in this skill.

Knowledge: Geography - This could reveal parts of an overland map when it is first entered, and also highlight some number of exporer/rare creature locations on the overland map. There could be certain secret paths/shortcuts that can only be revealed by skilled characters.

Knowledge: Architecture - This could serve the same role as Spot in identifying the vicinity of secret doors and traps. It could also pop-up useful hints about upcoming areas, such as "Parts of these sewers were flooded during construction, submerging some areas. There are likely underwater tunnels that have been unexplored for many years."


As it is right now, there are only a few relevant places to put your skills, and everyone sort of has the same skill set. I think that expanding the skill list, and expanding the use of social skills, would greatly increase the depth of the game, add a lot of variety to characters, and enrich the playing experience.

Zenako
11-10-2009, 09:30 AM
There are actually some quests where the Social skills do make a difference and change the number of end fights or chests you can get. (Crucible immediately springs to mind, as do a number of the Restless Ilse Quests).

As for the Knowledge skills, those do not work out as well in a MMO, where the meat of the game is repeating quests for most players. In P&P, where you only deal with someone once, knowing a lot beforehand can make a HUGE difference between a victory and a character wipe. In an MMO, just recall and restart and try again, with added PLAYER knowledge to quide you. The problem is that most Knowledge skills would transfer that info to the PLAYER, not the character, since they would dictate how you would choose to do things. The Social skills can be the result of the CHARACTER and its skills interacting with an NPC and then doing a skill check. KNOWLEDGE skills and KNOWLEDGE is quickly removed from a CHARACTER context and will reside with the PLayer instead. Rendering all investment in time or effort to develop knowledge skills moot.

Schmoe
11-10-2009, 10:08 AM
There are actually some quests where the Social skills do make a difference and change the number of end fights or chests you can get. (Crucible immediately springs to mind, as do a number of the Restless Ilse Quests).

As for the Knowledge skills, those do not work out as well in a MMO, where the meat of the game is repeating quests for most players. In P&P, where you only deal with someone once, knowing a lot beforehand can make a HUGE difference between a victory and a character wipe. In an MMO, just recall and restart and try again, with added PLAYER knowledge to quide you. The problem is that most Knowledge skills would transfer that info to the PLAYER, not the character, since they would dictate how you would choose to do things. The Social skills can be the result of the CHARACTER and its skills interacting with an NPC and then doing a skill check. KNOWLEDGE skills and KNOWLEDGE is quickly removed from a CHARACTER context and will reside with the PLayer instead. Rendering all investment in time or effort to develop knowledge skills moot.

That's good to know about the social skills. I didn't realize there was some of that already in game. I'd definitely like to see more!

For the knowledge skills, I'd like to raise two points.

1. Not everyone has every single quest perfectly memorized. Knowledge skills can provide great flavor both for the 1st time through a quest, and helpful reminders for the Nth time through the quest. While "hardcore" players could probably care less, not everyone is "hardcore", and a lot of players would find it a nice touch.

2. If you read my specific suggestions for the knowledge skills, I was also very deliberate to include additional benefits beyond the "info" aspect of the skills. I think these benefits would make the skills valuable and desirable even if no information was ever imparted to the player by the skill, even to the "hardcore" crowd.

Zenako
11-10-2009, 10:53 AM
That's good to know about the social skills. I didn't realize there was some of that already in game. I'd definitely like to see more!

For the knowledge skills, I'd like to raise two points.

1. Not everyone has every single quest perfectly memorized. Knowledge skills can provide great flavor both for the 1st time through a quest, and helpful reminders for the Nth time through the quest. While "hardcore" players could probably care less, not everyone is "hardcore", and a lot of players would find it a nice touch.

2. If you read my specific suggestions for the knowledge skills, I was also very deliberate to include additional benefits beyond the "info" aspect of the skills. I think these benefits would make the skills valuable and desirable even if no information was ever imparted to the player by the skill, even to the "hardcore" crowd.

Well, once you have been playing a while, it is actually pretty much true that everyone knows the quests, and the number of key spots you need to recall specific things are actually pretty few and far between, so it is not that hard to do or that hardcore.

As to the specific suggestions.

1. Nobility et al. Eberron has a very different power structure, and this would actually have to be a complicated multi pronged skill choice to have relevance to the game. Knowledge Coin Lords, Knowledge House X,Y,Z etc. Favor calculations would be complicated. If you had a single Skill that linked to all, then it would become an almost defacto requirement to take for the added Favor Boost it would grant. How many ranks would you need in it to open up new perks? Would it be retroactive or dynamic once they put into place Reincarnation effects? Some classes like Rogues, Wizards and Bards would have SKill points to burn, but others would be hard pressed to find points to use that would not otherwise gimp their gameplay.

2. Geography. Again, I think you underestimate how often people run and rerun some areas. Very very few if any players would actually spend points on this. Much like the Swim skill, it would be for flavor only and spending points on it would remove those same points from being better spent on other things.

3. Architecture, while there are some interesting possiblities in something like this, again you would find no one except those purely doing it for flavor would spend points there. To make it actually worthwhile would involve changing the whole interface of the game. With static dungeons, the locations of features become known very quickly or are obvious. Looking at the minimap and you can "see" things that are not visiable on the main screen. You can achieve a degree of immersion if you actually hide your minimap so you do not "Know" there is a hidden room over there.

The reason many people have much the same skill set is that they have determined which skills matter to the gameplay at hand. Adding new skills to the list without changing the actual gameplay would be a more or less wasted effort. The new skills would also be "worthless" and very few people would choose them. I am sure a few would, but not many. Would it be worth the changes to the system to just add in those skills instead of spending that time doing something else? Frankly I think most players would vote for the something else.

Look I play in an active PnP game still and in that type of game, Knowledge skills are HUGE and very relevant. Many PrC's require ranks in various Knowledge skills as well, even some of the melee focused ones. Game dynamics are very very different however.

mashedpotato82
11-19-2009, 03:38 PM
the social skills list is disappointing...i feel ive wasted them almost (combat aside) there REALLY needs to be branching dialog (Ex. the party comes up to the quest giver and has one more part with a bandit left to deal with. there could be an option to wait for him to show up and kill him ambush style, or go looking for him at his hideout, simple but thats twice the fun for one quest, plus then he could beg for mercy with his dying breath offering u hidden wealth for his life and u could take that option or finish him off.

probably have to be some sort of favor shifting or something to compensate for taking the money though.

but there could be much more replayability for all the grinder complaints i hear (im relatively new so i havent done that alot anyways) making older quests fun again.

u would have to have a designated speaker though for the branches so every one couldnt pick thier own way making the quest paradoxical, and have the dialog show up for all to read not just the speaker, so the group could discuss thier choice.

(now that i think about it they really dont want the early quests to be fun in replay because that wouldnt dissuade people from free to playing)