Modern5: D20 Modern for 5th Edition: Skills

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Okay, let’s get into it!

Determining the skills are important in order to determine proficiencies for the classes within the game. Also, I’ll need to write up information about what the new skills do. There are way too many skills in D20 Modern, and most of them are unnecessary. Here’s the list I’ve got.

Bluff (Cha), Climb (Str), Computer Use (Int), Concentration (Con), Craft (Int), Decipher Script (Int), Demolitions (Int), Diplomacy (Cha), Disable Device (Int), Disguise (Cha), Drive (Dex), Escape Artist (Dex), Forgery (Int), Gamble (Wis), Gather Information (Cha), Handle Animal (Cha), Hide (Dex), Intimidate (Cha), Investigate (Int), Jump (Str), Knowledge (Int), Listen (Wis), Move Silently (Dex), Perform (Cha), Pilot (Dex), Profession (Wis), Repair (Int), Research (Int), Ride (Dex), Search (Int), Sense Motive (Wis), Sleight of Hand (Dex), Speak Language (None), Spot (Wis), Survival (Wis), Swim (Str), Treat Injury (Wis)

That’s 37 of them. In contrast, here’s 5e’s list, which contains only 19.

Athletics (Str), Acrobatics (Dex), Sleight of Hand (Dex), Stealth (Dex), Arcana (Int), History (Int), Investigation (Int), Nature (Int), Religion (Int), Animal Handling (Wis), Insight (Wis), Medicine (Wis), Perception (Wis), Survival (Wis), Deception (Cha), Intimidation (Cha), Performance (Cha), Persuasion (Cha)

So, what can be ditched, and what needs to be kept? We’ll keep all of the 5e skills, which can absorb a lot of skills from D20 Modern. I think Computer Use is important, as is Repair, Pilot, Disable Device and Demolitions. But can those all be incorporated into fewer skills?

You could easily convert all of this into three broad Skills: Computers, Mechanics and Vehicles. Computers would handle the computer side of Computer Use, Repair (for computers) and disable device (again, for computers). Mechanics would involve knowing broad mechanical things, as well as Demolitions, repair and disable device (for such things). Vehicles would handle both driving and repairing vehicles. That may work there.

I can’t see any 5e skills that should be eliminated, so instead, we could add three more bumping the total skill list to 22. Thoughts?

10 thoughts on “Modern5: D20 Modern for 5th Edition: Skills

  1. Are we could just combine them (Computers, Mechanics, and Vehicles) into a single skill called Tech and go for an even 20 skills.

    1. As an IT professional that knows beggar all about cars, I’d possibly eschew lumping them all into one, unless having some specialisation type situation. However, I note that the original Modern list doesn’t include Religion or Arcana; while you could make an argument for Arcana if including magic in 5e Modern, I’d possible argue against including Religion. While in D&D, with in pantheistic setting and closer ties to planes and such, a Modern game seems much more divorced between the idea of religious knowledge and monster knowledge that I’d argue against it’s worth as a skill.

  2. Eric Ruthman’s Input

    (1) Athletics (Str): Ditch swim (deal with swim per pg 116 of the DMG) , climb and jump (both can be dealt with per pg 182 in the PHB).

    (2) Acrobatics (Dex), (3) Sleight of Hand (Dex), (4) Stealth (Dex): Ditch Escape Artist, Hide, and others (related to Stealth) , Ride (can be background or archtype driven… or acrobatics can be used to determine if they stay on said mount). These are all covered under their logical and existing DnD equiv. (5) Keep Pilot / Drive as a Dex check. One could argue that pilot is an Intel / Dex check. Not sure. Sleight of hand is the same for both of course.

    Contstitution: (6) Keep concentration as a Con check.

    (7) Arcana (Int), (8) History (Int), (9) Investigation (Int), (10) Nature (Int), (11) Religion (Int): Ditch speak language (handled as known language in char sheet). Ditch search, research, knowlege, and gather information (all are covered in existing 5e skills). Ditch disable device, demolitions, and decipher script (these should go in general background options or class archetypes… you could argue that disable device would be an intelligence / sleight of hand check if you wanted to keep it… so more related to dex if a base intel score is met or if ). Ditch craft and computer use (computers would be under language for code…). (12) Add mechanics / repair. Keep Investigate

    (13) Animal Handling (Wis), (14) Insight (Wis), (15) Medicine (Wis), (16) Perception (Wis), (17) Survival (Wis): Ditch treat injury, spot, sense motive, profession, listen, gamble, forgery (all are related to existing skills). Keep survival, Handle animal.

    (18) Deception (Cha), (19) Intimidation (Cha), (20) Performance (Cha), (21) Persuasion (Cha): Ditch disguise, diplomacy, Keep perform, intimidate, and bluff.

    So… 21 in all.

    Your comments followed my mine:

    (yours) So, what can be ditched, and what needs to be kept? We’ll keep all of the 5e skills, which can absorb a lot of skills from D20 Modern. I think Computer Use is important, as is Repair, Pilot, Disable Device and Demolitions. But can those all be incorporated into fewer skills?

    (mine) Agreed that serious slicing needed to occur. There was a lot of redundancy.

    (yours) You could easily convert all of this into three broad Skills: Computers,Mechanics and Vehicles. Computers would handle the computer side of Computer Use, Repair (for computers) and disable device (again, for computers). Mechanics would involve knowing broad mechanical things, as well as Demolitions, repair and disable device (for such things).Vehicles would handle both driving and repairing vehicles. That may work there.

    (mine) Again, computer code would be handled as a language and would need to be added in character creation or as a learned skill during a campaign at a cost. Mechanics / repair should be added under intelligence… and may be a intel / dex check at times. Vehicles / pilot are added as a separate Dex check… this could also be a dex / intel check is things were very complex like maneuvering in combat or in an asteroid belt or something. I think disable device is kind of a rogue type thing and could be handled via character class and / or background.. But could be sleight of hand if it required a check to improve the story. Again… keep driving and repairing separate. Pilots are a separate thing… and they have crews / droids / that help them.

  3. Replace the Int-based skills with:

    [Compile] for Investigation and computer use
    [Lore] for Arcana, History, and Religion
    [Repair] for most mechanical stuff
    [Science] for Nature and novel inventions

    Fold most of Animal Handling into [Survival]

    Create a new Dex-based [Controls] skill for vehicles and animal-riding. Many vehicle actions rely on Perception.

    [Athletics] should not cover [Climb] or [Swim], and there should be a fourth Str-based skill [Muscle] used for brute strength like lifting and carrying stuff.

    So the final list would be:

    Athletics (Str)
    Climb (Str)
    Muscle (Str)
    Swim (Str)

    Acrobatics (Dex)
    Controls (Dex)
    Sleight of Hand (Dex)
    Stealth (Dex)

    Compile (Int)
    Lore (Int)
    Repair (Int)
    Science (Int)

    Insight (Wis)
    Medicine (Wis)
    Perception (Wis)
    Survival (Wis)

    Deception (Cha)
    Intimidation (Cha)
    Performance (Cha)
    Persuasion (Cha)

    1. Suggestion:
      Leave Athletics just the way it is in 5e. Why add three more redundant skills? Athletics covers it all and swim and climb have rules already established outside of adding more skills anyway. Muscle? Athletics covers muscle… Recommend keeping it simple.

      Recommend keeping investigation as is. No need for skill check for something that a 5 year old in today’s world can use. If it comes to computer code however, that’s different. Include that as a language in Race for war forged race and / or background or class…

      I agree with everything else. Good work!

      1. Disagreement on this is inevitable, but here’s my rationale: denizens of a modern world should be less physically-inclined and better-educated than those of a typical fantasy world, so being physically well-rounded should be more “expensive” and knowing lots of information (via the Lore and Science skills) should be less “expensive” for them.

        Having four broad skills for each ability score (see my comment below for Con-based skills) also strikes me as more balanced and intuitive in a game with ability-based classes.

        1. O.k. I understand what you are saying, but I argue that by placing limits (i.e. denizens of a moderns world “should be”…) based on OUR biases in turn limits game-play for those who want to hang ten (let ‘er all hang out 🙂 in a modern setting. Someone, please restate what the goal is. Thank you. Sincerely, Hawk.

  4. If you want to go crazy, you could also add Con skills…

    Endurance
    (march or labor for hours without rest, go without sleep)
    Health
    (survive without food or water)
    Toughness
    (hold your breath, quaff an entire stein of ale in one go)
    Vitality
    (hit points)

  5. Don’t forget in D&D 5e tools and vehicles can replace Skills. ; – )
    According to the logic of D&D 5e, when a PC needs tools to perform an action than he/she will nedd a Tool proficiency instead of a Skill one.
    That’s why in D&D 5e you don’t need to design a repair Skill: instead, PC can use Mechanic’s Tools or Ingeneer’s Tools.

    If you want to design a real D&D 5e Modern conversion, you need to minimize di number of new skill you want to include in your rules.

  6. I’ve been working on a comprehensive 5e Modern (and by that I mean more in depth than just a couple of class conversions – which are great and I’m not knocking them). My thoughts on skills in the modern times are very similar as yours. I am also going to be using all the normal 5e skills (pretty much as designed except re-skinned to read in a more modern context). The only change I made to the original skill list was Nature which I’ve changed to Science (although this seems pretty standard, but will also include things lilke physics and space phenomenon as well). The skills I added were Computer Use, Pilot and Technical (although I like your names Vehicle and Mechanical better – prolly gonna steal those). Someone posted about tool proficiency, and while sort of agree from a 5e mechanic, the reality of modern times is that many tools are widely available – a fantasy setting doesn’t have a nearby hardware store, dollar store or even ebay, so I;ve done away with tools as a mechanic. I hadn’t seen this post until now, so I thought I’d comment just to say “I think you’re on the right track”. Cheers.

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