Wednesday, August 24, 2016

LotFP Skill List Tentative Changes

UPDATE: Please see THIS POST for more up-to-date house rules.

This is a continuation of my tentative house rules for Lamentations of the Flame Princess.

The list of skills is subject to change before the campaign begins, and possibly even during the campaign if the players agree, but this is what I'm leaning toward right now:

  • Architecture (I would definitely be more liberal with what you can accomplish with this skill than what seems to be included in the original rules, so hopefully this one wouldn't be a wasted skill.)
  • Bushcraft
  • Climb (I might change this to Atheletics, as per Papers & Pencils.)
  • Languages
  • Medicine
  • Seamanship
  • Sleight of Hand
  • Sneak Attack
  • Stealth
  • Tinker
Here is my reasoning behind the skills I am leaving out:

  • Leadership - I think I'd rather have this kind of skill rely entirely on Charisma and the actually words and choices of the players. I could probably be convinced to include it, but I'm hesitant to risk decreasing the importance of Charisma and making it live up to the (usually inaccurate) "dump stat"stereotype.
  • Luck - I could probably be persuaded to include this one if my players really want it, but for the time being I'm leaving it off the list. It doesn't really seem like a "skill" you can deliberately improve so much as a special ability, possibly supernatural in origin, that one acquires by luck (heh). Like Sneak Attack, and to a lesser extent Languages, it doesn't obey the rules that the majority of skills follow, but unlike Sneak Attack and Languages it was only introduced in the Playtest Document (and it doesn't seem to have an equivalent among Basic D&D Thief abilities, making it unnecessary for players wanting to play a Thief-type character), so I don't feel so bad about leaving it out. Also, I'm a bit concerned that the general-purpose nature of Luck might make it more desirable than most other skills by a great enough degree that few points would even go into other skills for the majority of characters I see, and while that's not necessarily a problem (or necessarily even true - again, I'm open to suggestions here), I do find that kind of boring.
  • Open Doors - This skill has been entirely replaced by Strength Checks in my house rules. Besides, if I'm not mistaken, you couldn't put skill points into this skill in the original rules anyway, and could only increase it by increasing your strength (or maybe using Bless or something), and that kind of sucks.
  • Search - Over at the blog Papers & Pencils, LS gave some good reasons for removing the Search skill, and I've seen other good arguments on other old-school blogs, but I don't remember the specifics right now. The way I personally see it, if the players are clever or lucky or diligent enough to try and search an area in a way that seems like it should logically turn up something that I (as the DM) know is there, they should probably just automatically succeed. This goes back to the Rule of Reasonableness I mentioned in my last post. If for some reason I really want to introduce a change of failure to a search (like if the players are trying to detect a very stealthy NPC and the surprise rules don't seem to be enough to cover the situation), I would probably just have the searchers roll either an Intelligence Check or a Wisdom Check, whichever is higher. Also, Search just seems like a boring skill for someone to have to put points into for the good of the party even though there are more interesting things to pick instead.
It is unlikely for characters to reach a high enough level in a Lamentations of the Flame Princess campaign for a Specialist to run out of skills in which to invest points (Level 22, if you use my house rules and my math is correct). Still, I'd like to have a contingency plan in case this happens. The obvious solution would be to add more skills, which is what I've done in my Lamentations of the Fallen Lords campaign.

Here's another possible solution. I don't know if it's a good one, but I thought of it while lying in bed and it seemed kind of neat. Once a Specialist has increased every single skill to the maximum number of points, the Specialist can start using any additional skill points in new ways:

  • For the cost of 1 skill point, the Specialist may gain a Luck Point. This can be saved and used at any future time. By spending a Luck Point, a Specialist may re-roll any one die roll they make, as with the Luck skill in the Playtest Document. A Luck Point is basically a one-use item, rather than a resource that can be regained through rest up to a maximum number, like HP or Spells per Day.
  • For the cost of 1 skill point, the Specialist may increase one ability score by 1 point.
  • For the cost of 2 skill points, the Specialist may move one language from their "Not Known" list to their "Known" list.
A third option would be to just have any skills points gained beyond the maximum go to waste, but this doesn't strike me as particularly fun.

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