Drinking & Dragons


From Drinking and Dragons


Randy and I have wanted to do this for some time, and we though that with the next campaign starting it would be a good time. If this majorly fucks things up, I will gladly axe it and have everyone reassign skills freely. Most classes got too few skill points, and class skill lists become far too much a restriction to creativity. However, even by adding more skill points and eliminating class skill lists, the skill list was too big. So many skills combine obviously, and revisions (SW Saga Edition, Pathfinder, Fourth Edition) provide a good example for this. Randy and I have discussed the table below and agree† it is a good skills list as a base.

†Disagreements: I wanted to merge heal and sense motive ("Empathy"). I also wanted to add the "Monster Lore" knowledge skill that only identified monsters (but monsters of all types; and did not help the archivist).

Revision: Packages

This wasn't working out quite as intended. Because of the nature of stacking, with things from various sourcebooks allowed, total skill bonuses quickly became very high. The intention for this revision was to allow characters "more skills" but without simply increasing skill points such that a character would lose direction.

To fix this, a few changes have been made. Firstly, each skill is back to "being its own". You actually roll a "spot check", a "diplomacy check", or a ", and any modifiers from spells, races, et cetera are normal as written from their source. This supersedes what was previously written below (stricked).

However, when buying skills with skill points, you still buy them from the new "merged" chart. In essence, you buy ranks in packages (usually of two related skills). So when you level up, you buy a "Notice" or a "Stealth" rank. This rank counts as your base for both skills. The relevant ability score, if changed here, applies.

This change is much, much easier and simpler than trying to figure out values for everything printed out there in all the sources allowed. The halfling is no longer a "stealth monster" getting size bonus and racial bonus to Stealth (for a total of +6 which was just a little too much; rules as written in SRD: +4 size bonus to hide, +2 racial bonus to move silently). But someone who *trains* up the "Stealth" package will get better at both in parallel, but modifiers will continue to track separately: he'd still need armor that is both oiled and blacked. That would be a Herculean task. I (we, actually) underestimated how much non-core sources would matter.

Basically, use everything as printed in the books, unless otherwise mentioned here.

Skill List

Normal Skills
Name Components
Acrobatics Balance, Tumble
Anatomy Heal, Control Shape [Lycanthropy]
Animals Handle Animal, Ride
Athletics Climb, Jump, Swim
Concentration Autohypnosis, Concentration
Craft Craft
Deception Bluff, Disguise
Influence Diplomacy, Intimidate
Inspect Appraise, Search
Legerdemain Escape Artist, Sleight of Hand
Linguistics Decipher Script, Forgery
Mechanics Disable Device, Open Locks
Notice Listen, Spot
Perform Perform
Profession Profession
Streetwise Gather Information, Sense Motive
Spellcraft Spellcraft (Psicraft)
Stealth Hide, Move Silently
Survival Survival, Use Rope
Use Magic Device Use Magic Device (Use Psionic Device)

Knowledge Skills (all intelligence)
  • Arcana (includes Psionics)
  • Architecture & engineering
  • Dungeoneering
  • Geography
  • History
  • Local
  • Nature
  • Nobility & royalty
  • Planes
  • Religion
  • Tactics
Special Skills (no relevant ability)
  • Initiative
  • Speak Language
Special Skills (with relevant ability)
  • Truespeak (Int)


  • There are no skill synergies. Skill synergies were a hack in the SRD rules because of the realization of the similarities and overlap between so many skills.
  • There are no class or cross-class skills. All skills are usable untrained.
  • This system lets us use a more broad definition of skills, and thus lets us more easily pick a skill for an ad hoc action and expect someone might have the skill in question.
Acrobatics Tumble
The use of "Tumble" to avoid an AoO while moving is an opposed roll, against the same special sense motive that a bluff to deny armor class would be.
To tumble up from prone to standing requires an opposed roll with a -20 penalty against threatening opponents Sense Motive plus BAB. Failure indicates that the character stands, but provokes all normal AoOs while doing so. Alternatively, a character may attempt to stand from prone as a free action at DC 35.
Concentration Autohypnosis Memorize
BOLDED parts are yet subject to debate and change.
Autohypnosis memorize has some problems with the rules as written. Flavorwise, it's meant to represent immediate photographic memory (by consuming no action). However, the rules do not agree with this. Additionally, it having no reasonable limit just isn't right. The below fixes these two problems.
RAW has no maximum listed for the number of items memorized with this. It is now limited to half your intelligence score (not modifier) items. A character of average intelligence can memorize up to 5 images (one image can be a single page of text). (Autohypnosis rolls still use Wisdom modifier.)
Additionally, RAW lets you reroll to memorize without penalty (ie, take 20). Since the DC is only 15, this means anyone can easily memorize anything. This is being changed. Each time you attempt to memorize something that you previously failed to memorize that day, the DC increases cumulatively by +5. The cumulative penalty resets each new day.
To counteract this slightly, there is no longer a roll necessary to recall the information that has been memorized.
Every two skill points spent on initiative you an increase to your initiative "rank". During your initiative roll, in addition to your standard 1d20 + DEX, you add another 1dQ, where Q is the number of "ranks" you bought of initiative. If you've put 10 skill points into initiative (10 "ranks"), you would add an extra 1d5 to your initiative roll. The die added stops at a 1d12. After 1d12, further "ranks" add a second die that starts over and buys up similarly. At 15 "ranks" (costing thirty skill points), you would roll 1d20 + DEX + 1d12 + 1d3 for your initiative (12 + 3 = 15).
In this system, the Improved Initiative feat is altered. It no longer gives a +4 bonus to initiative rolls. It instead allows you to buy "ranks" at an even 1:1 ratio instead of 2:1. Other feats and abilities that add to your initiative work normally.
"Ranks" in increased initiative are still capped as a normal skill (hit dice + 3).
Knowledge (Tactics)
Known uses can be based from Arcanis' Examine Martial Technique, d20 Modern, and http://www.hecate.ca/union/2006/01/31/35-skill-knowledge-tactics-int/ https://web.archive.org/web/20151005101000/http://www.hecate.ca/union/2006/01/31/35-skill-knowledge-tactics-int/. Specific known uses: identify an aura from a marshal, know a military rank, recognize defensive structure's purpose.
Approved uses: "size up" an opponent to get a hint at class [features]. Determine feats used in action. Set an ambush between two mutually-aware but not engaged parties.
Speak Language
Works as before: two skill points buys a language, unless "speak language" was previously a class skill, in which case one skill point buys a language. Consider it a class feature of classes formerly having Speak Language as a class skill, if you must.


Even though all skills are usable untrained, check DCs for some of the things you can do with it might be adjusted up if you're untrained. In particular, recognizing monsters (Knowledge: X) and spells (Spellcraft) are likely to impose a higher DC for those who are untrained. Randy and I both also believe in circumstantially modifiers.

Additionally, some rarer monsters might be harder to recognize, or spells that tend to be used only by a certain hedge cult at the edge of nowhere might not be understood as fully. Check DCs can change for other conditions (by means of "circumstance bonuses/penalties").


This subsection is deprecated, but preserved for history. Either they are no longer relevant to the revision, or they are what the revision fixed.

  • With merged skills, all uses of the component skills are part of the new skill.
  • This allows armor check penalties to be applied by the use. While most uses of Acrobatics, Athletics or Stealth will still require an armor check penalty, there may be others that do not. For example, an armor check penalty applies when using Animals to mount quickly, but not to guide a mount or train a beast.
  • For prerequisites (for feats and prestige classes), just use the new skill.
  • If something (such as a race) would give a bonus two two skills that have been merged, the merged skill gets it once, and at the greatest value. For example, if a race were to give +2 to move silently and +4 to hide, it would instead give +4 to stealth.
  • Spells (such as Jump) and magic items only add to their original uses of the skills.

Other Changes Due To This One

Definition: Skill Feat

Skill feats include: +2/+2 to two skills, Skill Focus, Able Learner, Jack of All Trades, Skill Knowledge, Open Minded, Combat Casting


Human Paragon (UA SRD)
Adaptive Learning (Ex) At 1st level, a human paragon can designate any one of his skills (not packages) as an adaptive skill. He gets a +2 racial bonus to all checks involving this skill.


Able Learner (Races of Destiny; prerequisite for Chameleon)
Feat as written: Cross-class skills don't cost double. Still have maximum limit halved.
Benefit:  ?
Special: When this feat is a prerequisite, you may substitute two skill feats in its place.
This is a proposal. It has not been accepted by others.
Combat Casting (SRD)
Feat as written: +4 to concentration checks when casting defensively
Special: When this feat is a prerequisite, you may substitute Skill Focus (Concentration) in place of it.
This feat does not otherwise change.
Jack of All Trades (Divine SRD)
Feat as written: Can use all skills untrained, even those that normally can't be.
Benefit:  ?
Special: When this feat is a prerequisite, you may substitute two skill feats in its place.
This is a proposal. It has not been accepted by others.
Open Minded (Psionic SRD)
Feat as written: You gain 5 skill points.
Special: When this feat is a prerequisite, you may substitute two skill feats in its place.
This feat does not otherwise change.
This is a proposal. It has not been accepted by others.
Skill Knowledge (UA SRD)
Feat as written: Choose two skills always to be class skills.
Benefit:  ?
Special: When this feat is a prerequisite, you may substitute two skill feats in its place.
This is a proposal. It has not been accepted by others.

Aid Another

When attempting to aid another, a check of 10 gives a +2 bonus as normal. A check result of 15 gives a +3, a 20 gives +4, and so on.