May 14, 2009

Standardized Skill Checks for Classic D&D

dice-woodcutWhile skills systems for D&D  weren't developed in much detail for the earlier editions, there are a few skills checks in B/X Dungeons & Dragons scattered through the book between classes and encounter rules. They use a variety of different dice mechanics (d6,d10,d%) and sometimes for different classes attempting the same activity. I decided that I'd wanted to make this a bit more streamlined, and collected them all together and standardize how they work.

All the skill checks, including those for the Thief class, are now rolled on a single six-sided dice. This is a bit of a change for the Thief class, but I prefer the simplicity and since most other checks are done on d6 it made sense (to me anyway) to have the Thief work this way as well. The Hobbit's hiding skill is also changed to d6 for both dungeon and woodland conditions.

D&D traditionally uses roll low for skill checks, but your group might prefer to always have rolling high on a dice indicate success. If you use roll low, you must get that number or less on the dice roll to succeed. If you use roll high, your roll must be at least equal to 7 minus the listed number (eg. 7-1=6, 7-2=5 etc).
Skill Checks - d6

All Classes
Hear Noises, Find Secret Doors, Find Traps: 1

Dwarf
Find Secret Doors, Find Traps: 2

Elf
Hear Noises, Find Secret Doors: 2

Hobbit
Hear Noises, Hide: 2 (5 for Hiding in Woodlands)

Thief
Hear Noises, Pick Pockets, Move Silently: 2 (+1 at Levels 4,6,8)
Find/Remove Traps, Hide in Shadows, Pick Locks: 1 (+1 at Levels 3,5,7,9)
Climb walls: 5

The Thief's skills top out at a 5 in 6 chance at level 9, or 83%. This makes them a little worse at climbing walls, but a little better at hiding in shadows than they would be with the default % system.