Sunday, August 17, 2014

Al-Qadim 5th Edition Patch: Proficiencies

The proficiency system of 5th edition is one that I only half like. I think I might prefer 13th age better, just because everyone won't see perception on their list and ask to constantly roll it. However, the system isn't bad. Its a little grainy, but it should work for Al-Qadim. We have a nice list of skills. This is pretty listy, so its after the jump:

  • 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)
And also tools:
  • Artisan's Tools
  • Disguise Kit
  • Forgery Kit
  • Gaming Set
  • Herbalism Kit
  • Musical Instrument
  • Navigator's Tools
  • Poisoner's Kit
  • Thieves' Tools
  • Vehicles, Land
  • Vehicles, Water
But do these mesh with the proficiencies from 2nd Edition Arabian Adventures:
  • Awareness (Intuition)
  • Begging (Persuasion)
  • Bureaucracy (¿Investigation?)
  • Debate (Persuasion)
  • Display Weapon Prowess (Intimidation)
  • Genie Lore (¿Arcana?)
  • Grooming (¿Disguise Kit?)
  • Haggling (Persuasion)
  • Metalworking (Artisan's Tools)
  • Riding, Horse Specialization (Animal Handling)
  • Riding, Camel Specialization (Animal Handling)

So, most of the second edition proficiencies have relatively clear 5th edition analogues. A few are a bit of a stretch. But let's consider a few in detail.

First, Bureaucracy is potentially a big element of the setting, but potentially small. This could be folded in as a feature of a bureaucrat background, but that seems like a rather lame way to deal with this. Hierarchical priests (pragmatists, ethoists, and moralists), Mamluks, secret groups (Holy Slayers, Brotherhood of True Flame), the courts, local governments... A number of different characters might have this proficiency. Also, I'm not sure there's any tool that could be called a Bureaucrat's kit... red tape? Investigation is kinda close, but no cigar.

Second, Genie Lore. This is potentially part of Arcana. Every wizard will know Genie Lore if Arcana does Genie Lore stuff. I suppose a western setting has this problem with Dragon Lore. You want one character to have the ability, so it doesn't seem like a battle worth fighting, unless you feel like if you're adding a skill, it ought to be super iconic.

Third, Grooming. The disguise kit is a reasonable option, though it's much broader than what Grooming seems to do in 2nd edition. Doesn't seem fair to give someone a crappy version of a better option though, like a grooming kit or barber's tools.

Finally, There's a lot of things that Persuasion appears to cover (debate, begging, and haggling). That's probably ok. I considered that Beggar's Bowl could be a tool proficiency, but it also is the logical Beggar feature and no one else should really have that proficiency anyway (were it a proficiency). Only beggars ought to have begging, whereas many folk might have debate or haggling.

I see no problems with Riding, Metalworking, Awareness, or Display Weapon Prowess here.

Now, it does seem really odd that the one skill to add for an Al-Qadim is Bureaucracy rather than, say, Genie Lore or Haggling or the Beggar's Bowl. But it does seem to be the one skill that isn't necessarily easily adapted. Persuasion doesn't seem like it should entirely cut it and Investigation is close (though Int-based not Wis-based). If barbers get Disguise Kits as ersatz grooming, maybe Hierarchical Priests and Mamluks could get investigation rather than a specific bureaucracy skill?

I'm undecided.

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