Mentioned briefly in “Converting Encounters,” there’s the problem that Arkham Horror’s skills are too simplified to provide the kind of versatile encounters we want for our adventurers. Here, I’m going to talk some more about closing the gap between the two, what kinds of things can be done, and whether encounter cards will still be of any use once adventurers have the run of Arkham.

We have six skills in Arkham Horror, of which five of them can be divided further into specializations. The Speed skill becomes Movement Points, the Sneak skill becomes Evade (largely unnecessary if you ask me), the Fight skill becomes Combat, the Will skill becomes Horror, and Lore becomes Spell checks. Oh, and there’s Luck.

By comparison, Fourth Edition Dungeons & Dragons has seventeen skills for player characters to train (still too many, in my opinion), which include: Acrobatics, Arcana, Athletics, Bluff, Diplomacy, Dungeoneering, Endurance, Heal, History, Insight, Intimidate, Nature, Perception, Religion, Stealth, Streetwise, and Thievery.

To start collapsing these skills into reasonable groups, let’s start with Sneak on the side of AH: Perception and Stealth are often used in conjunction with one another, and Stealth without Perception makes for a really poor thief. Bluff also makes sense, such as when you’re confronted by a shop owner you’re trying to rob.

Speed is more difficult because Dungeons & Dragons has mostly fixed speeds for characters, which translates almost directly into overland movement when traveling long distances. You could argue for both Acrobatics and Athletics, and I’m sure a character’s base speed also effects this to some extent.

Fight checks are straightforward, and likely use either Athletics or Endurance. There may be some circumstances where you use other modifiers, like a straight Strength or Constitution bonus, but most times those will be worse than the skills themselves. Any attack rolls probably won’t include weapon proficiency bonuses.

In Arkham Horror, Will feels like a combination of Wisdom- and Charisma-based skills from a D&D perspective. Sometimes Bluff, sometimes Diplomacy, sometimes Intimidate, and occasionally Insight. It’s mostly Charisma-based. But only mostly.

Knowledge checks in Dungeons & Dragons are a cancer. Notice how the knowledge checks don’t really seem to match any skill but Lore? And how there are, like, six of them? That’s because D&D is really attached to “save or suck” dice rolls. It doesn’t offer anything better and still can’t explain why characters don’t just know stuff.

Finally, we get to Luck, which is a tumor comparable to D&D’s knowledge skills. Luck does everything the other skills don’t do, so it’s essential and incomprehensible. The dice are supposed to represent luck, so I really can’t explain why luck is its own stat. To best represent Luck, don’t add training, just ability and equipment.

Sneak (5): Bluff (shared), Perception, Stealth, Streetwise (shared), Thievery, Dexterity, Wisdom

Speed (3): Acrobatics, Athletics (shared), Streetwise (shared), Strength, Dexterity, movement modes (walk, swim, fly), Armor Class, Reflex defense

Fight (2): Athletics (shared), Endurance, Strength, Constitution, Armor Class, Fortitude, attack rolls w/o proficiency bonus

Will (4): Bluff (shared), Diplomacy, Insight (shared), Intimidate, Wisdom, Charisma, Will defense

Lore (7): Arcana, Dungeoneering, Heal, History, Insight (shared), Nature, Religion, Intelligence, Wisdom

Luck (0): Strength, Dexterity, Constitution, Intelligence, Wisdom, Charisma, Armor Class, Fortitude, Reflex, Will defense

So, this is mostly off the top of my head. I’m going to keep plugging away at this idea, and see if I can’t narrow it down a bit more, then fire off some examples of interpreting Arkham Horror encounters as Dungeons & Dragons encounters.

Here’s a really big hint: add more monsters.