I have this new version of the Dee Point Five Warden that I’ve been polishing and polishing in the hope that I will eventually figure out what I’m doing so I can stop. I’m thinking that isn’t going to happen, so I think he’ll have to remain a draft saved in WordPress forever. On the other hand, I did have some amazing new ideas.

Maybe not new. I don’t know.

I’ve complained before that the skill system in Dungeons & Dragons feels tacked-on, and I feel similarly about most skill systems in most tabletop (and computer) games in general. I feel that the activities skills are supposed to represent don’t have enough impact to be adequately represented without something… more.

I realized that one of the reasons I feel like I’m failing to integrate a skill system into combat is that … skills don’t integrate into combat. Synergy is something else, but skills? They don’t mix with combat. The kind of skills I’m talking about here are speechcraft and blacksmithing, in case you were wondering.

The thing is, I think if you’re going to make a game about crawling around in caves and beating up monsters, so much that the name of your game is going to feature both in the title (dungeons *cough* dragons) then they deserve equal attention. Dungeons & Dragons has a wussy skill system opposite a robust combat system.

I think Fifth Edition has discussed making skills part of background or theme or whatever they’re going with, which I think is a good first step, but the problem I foresee is that despite darkening the dividing line between combat and skills, skills will remain as irrelevant to the game as they have been since the advent of Third Edition.

My warden isn’t just waiting for me to figure out the rest of my skill system. Honestly, the skill system is going to take considerably more thought than I previously anticipated. Well, not more than I anticipated, because I expected I would eventually create separate subsystems for every skill, but that’s beside the point.

Skills are not a part of combat.

I have drawn up an outline for eight character classes. I’m going to build them, and release the combat system. There’s a class in there with the name “warden,” but it isn’t the warden I’ve been working on, it’s just a coincidence they share a name. I’m not going to make a warden based on the Fourth Edition warden.

Not even one inspired by the warden.

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