I don’t have details yet, but I do have a strategy. I’m not going to bother with high-resolution, fiddly little numbers. I think each skill will have five (maybe six) grades of training, each of which gives a bonus to certain checks and an ability of some sort.
- Move all ‘actions’ out of skills to the appropriate action rules section. Anything to do with movement (in Pathfinder first edition mostly under Acrobatics, Climb, and Stealth) goes to the ‘movement’ rules section, most things to do with social interaction (Bluff, Diplomacy, Intimidate, Sense Motive) goes to the ‘social’ rules section, and so on.
- For each skill — I don’t have a list yet, and it might not totally align with the existing list,
- Identify checks the skill applies to. These may specifically be actions, or circumstances the check applies to. This will usually be a +4 bonus, but I might vary this if the skill applies to unusually broad or narrow circumstances.
- Identify the ability or abilities gained at each grade.
- Identify gated abilities, things you can only do if you’re actually trained in the right way. These might be under the actions (“here are the general rules for sneaking around, but if you’re specially trained you have these other options”) to make it clear the options aren’t available without the training, or they might be in the skill definition because you must have the skill to have the option anyway. I haven’t decided yet.
- (Probably) break apart ‘skill groups’ (Craft, Knowledge, Perform, Profession). The groups are not individual skills, so stop presenting them that way. They are groups of skills each with common rules (all Knowledge skills work the same, all Craft skills work the same, etc.), so define the skill groups as skill groups, then the individual skills as individual skills. Just as in first edition we refer to ‘item creation feats’ or ‘metamagic feats’, we can still refer to ‘craft skills’ or ‘knowledge skills’ when needed.
- Many options (ancestry, class, domain, etc.) will probably give skill training. These will be constrained lists, just as ‘class skills’ and ‘mystery skills’ are in first edition. There will likely be one or more ‘primary skills’, and you must take one unless you have them all, and there may be secondary skills that are thematically appropriate. When you are offered skill training you will get skill training, if you already have the skill offered you can take a different one. I think it’s unreasonable that taking the bonus thing early using other resources will cause you to lose the resource.
- I am not sure how bardic performance fits here. I suspect bards may have a feature that grants training with performance skills and an ability connected to the chosen skill. I can see having Oratory (performance skill) used for certain bardic performances and Acting for others. I’m not entirely certain I want to go this way when I get to the detail, but I think I like the combination of class (option) and skill guiding the abilities available. This general approach could work in many places, I think.
More than one skill can apply to a single check. Someone who regularly deals with valuable goods can probably appraise many things, but a weapon smith should be able to appraise the value of weapons, at least, and possibly other worked metal items, even without a clue about what a particular painting might be worth. Apply only the best relevant skill modifier.
(Note to self, check the Lore skills of the Iron Heroes rules.)
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