Skills are a hot button subject for my gaming group. Most of the guys in my group loved D&D 3.x's approach to skills, which allowed a high degree of granularity and focus in such mundane concerns as crafting and professions. When the D&D 4th Edition dismissed Craft and Profession as un-fun skills, half our group saw red. They still fume about that given time. Others liked 4th Edition's condensed skill list, and focus on adventuring applications over crafting arrows or performing songs.
Naturally D&D Next is concerned about skills, and based on a recent blog post they are clearly looking to retain the customization options that 3.x offers, while making things more streamlined. First, they're talking about making a lot of your day to day "skill checks" using the ability scores. So instead of making a "Climb check", you'd presumably make a Strength check. Second, they also explicitly state they want to retain true skills so that they have a meaningful impact on the game and allow the sort of customization that we saw in 3E (and to a certain extent, 4E).
Like a twister carving its way through a Midwestern cornfield, Nuke(m)Con has come and gone. My gaming group held its annual (well, almost annual) home-grown convention over the weekend. In a break from previous years, which typically saw a mix of Dungeons & Dragons and board games, this year's Nuke(m)Con had a western theme.
Rather than just complain about how difficult high level combat is in D&D 3.5, my gaming group's decided to do something about it. We've created a playtest group who's willing to put in the extra effort it takes to play a high level game ... and to figure out what, if anything, we can do to make the process work better.
High-level play within D&D 3rd Edition is hard. Whether you’re playing 3.0 or 3.5, the end result is the same: thousands of feats, hundreds of prestige classes and gods-only-know how many spells give rise to complicated game mechanics that slow play to a crawl. Iterative attacks, in which high-level martial classes like the fighter or ranger get four or five attacks every round add to the complexity as people calculate to hits and damage … and then have to do it all over again when they remember to factor in some party-buffing spell the cleric cast last round.
But is it unplayable? Or has everyone simply assumed it is?