|Check out my Sexy Alternate Picture|
Maybe it's the alcohol, but seriously have you seen this skill?
Why is it this damn complicated?!
It's about moving vertically, on surfaces greater than 60 degrees.
Which of these have ground for use?
Even in a tactical game I have a hard time understanding how any of the uses of the climb skill are worth taking table time to use.
If there are no time constraints, then why bother with this at all? Just assume if the players have the gear then they can climb any surface.
This critique is certainly not limited to modern games. While reviewing the campaign notes of a (now deceased, Rest In Peace Jim Frost!) GM that used to run games for my father, he notes making 10 dexterity checks to climb a hill leading to where water is running out.
Do people not realize what is happening at the table when you are sitting around with friends?
Anyone, any of the greats, anyone involved with third edition rules, fourth edition rules - any paragons of modern design, can anyone tell me one single thing that is gained by requiring player characters to make a check to move? In what way does this improve the game? Oh, I move half my speed instead of one quarter!? Awesome. Oh, in order to do that I have to risk falling? Clearly this is worth opening up the book and trying to decipher which of the four uses of eight difficulties with three modifiers is worth using.
What is it we gain by having this skill?
Some desperate sense of completeness and anal retentive design aesthetic.
What do we lose?
So, let's say you're running first edition and you've got a thief. Common refrain - "What do you mean I can't climb walls?!"
A common complaint. You can of course. Just like you can hide! Anyone can climb walls! Anyone can hide. What thieves can do is hide in the very shadows themselves. What climb allows them to do is scale unclimbable walls or climb walls anyone can climb quickly and without equipment. Notice the success rates? They start at 60% and have modifiers that drive climbing up reasonable surfaces upwards of 100% at first level.
Conclusions & Suggestions:
Here's an idea. If you have skill at climbing (rangers on mountains, thieves on walls) then you can move up walls at one half your speed - otherwise you're at one quarter your speed. While climbing you don't get your dexterity bonus to AC.
Climbing rules one thousand percent faster and they amount to the same thing without players playing the roll a die - lose your turn game.
What's more is that this only comes up in super-rare conditions, when climbing is necessary in combat or in time limited constraints. I literally cannot recall this being an occurrence in any game I've ever ran - even in a pathfinder game revolving around nothing but having epic session long combats in unique environements.
I'm looking forward to any defense of this skill. Also, check out my sexy alternate picture of thigh climbing.