Tuesday Tweak: New “H” skill uses

Handle Animal: Control the Beast. You can use the handle animal skill on magical beasts just as if they were animals, but with a +20 to the DC of all such checks.

Heal: Anatomical Training. When you need to know about the anatomy of a creature, how injured it is, what effects (such as poison) are currently acting upon it, or what weapons were used to kill it, you can make a Heal check of DC 15 to determine these things. The GM should add to the DC for unusual weapons or circumstances, such as a +4 when wounds were caused by an exotic weapon.



Powerful effects with skills that normally don’t work in this manner. I believe that harsh modifiers to the DCs, as above, are needed to balance out the fact that the PC’s are getting some important utility out of skills that they don’t normally have.

However, these new uses give the players something important to work toward, and remain useful late in the story!



4 responses to “Tuesday Tweak: New “H” skill uses

  1. +20 seems a little harsh to me for the DC. Maybe it should scale according to the level of the creature being handled?

  2. That’s a very good point. I would like very much to create a scaling DC. I toyed with the idea of adding CR or double HD to the DC, or perhaps some other combination of bonuses. Then I thought about rarity of monsters, or even basing the DC on their intelligence.
    However, I realized that Handle Animal, as the base skill, has none of that design. There’s simply a set Dc for different tasks no matter what they are. So to continue in that spirit, I made a set DC as well.
    As for it being extremely high, that has to do with the way in which these new skill uses are coming into being. There needs to be some sort of reason–in my mind–for why these new uses aren’t in common use. When it’s a totally different use of the skill, then you can explain it as a secret training or an exotic tradition. When it’s simply a higher-level use of the skill, then one resorts to the way in which this is a high-level use. This type of handle animal check is so difficult it simply isn’t covered in normal training.
    Anyway, hope that helps.

  3. Sure, that makes sense. Still, there’s something in your reply which sort of catches my attention – namely, the bit about intelligence.

    Most of the creatures to whom Handle Animal applies have either a 1 or a 2 intelligence – virtually no common animals have a higher intelligence than that, other than animals who are somehow magically enhanced, such as familiars or animal companions. So. I think that having a scaling DC with Intelligence as the modifier for the check makes sense – something like 10+CL+Int modifier. In cases where the animal is particularly intelligent – say, when coming up against a hungry griffin – a Diplomacy check might be more effective. But against something with a low Intelligence but the magical descriptor (say, an Owlbear), the DC is easier – there has to be SOME way to calm it, but it won’t really be able to respond to Diplomacy.

    As far as not having a scaling DC, I’m not sure why that’s necessarily a problem. I mean, most of the social skills do have a chart: DC is this if they’re friendly/familiar/etc. but are also adaptable at the GM’s discretion. This seems to me to be a case of using a scaling DC to give the game flavor and allow for gameplay which would normally be impossible without a fairly high-level spell (Charm Monster). Not allowing the players to even take this option until they’re very high-level anyway seems to render the ability fairly useless, since most magical beasts you encounter who would be susceptible to an Int+CL based DC are too low-level for you to encounter much by the time you’ve pumped your bonus to +20.

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