This was in reply to excellent post on Classes as Skill Bundles
As I see it, the skill problem actually started with the 'thieves skill" class ability subsystem system being grafted onto what is essentially a "skill-less system" I've discussed my dislike for this class here so I won't repeat myself but thats my story and I am sticking to it.
I think the trick to resolving the skill issue is to see skills are two separate categories.
The 1st is adventuring tasks -- stuff like climbing, sneaking up on people, swimming. Some of these are covered by subsystems such as surprise others are just a judgment call and alas some are covered by thief "skills" aka class abilities
The second group are "things that the character knows" -- usually these end up as proficiencies or secondary skills or sometimes class abilities. Ugh.
What I do is basically guess what a character can do based either on an existing system (roll for surprise) or based on an attribute roll with a penalty for things outside the characters expertise. How I categorize is thus..
#1 Basic Tasks any Adventurer should know how to do. Everyone rolls full here
#2 Stuff from the background
#3 Stuff from the class and its lens, The lens here being "what kind of fighter/mage/whatever they character is.
For example, a sample party might consist of Sidrian Elf Crafter turned Wizard, Ankora Second Story Man (well woman in her case class fighter ) Bazi Pit Fighter (class fighter of course) and a Seymi Earth Witch (Cleric with custom spell list) and a Vor Bard (class fighter)
Any task that is an related to those keywords is rolled at full, other tasks at a penalty
Adventuring task are rolled against the subsystem in the book.
If some kind of thief class is needed, it ought to get bonus points applied to adventuring task rolls (instead of surprise on a 1 or 2 on a d6, they surprise on a 1,2, or 3 and so on)
This is maybe too coherent for D&D but its playable pretty easily and works well with race as class too.
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