I figured this out in the shower this morning, so you know it’s a good idea.
I’ve been puzzling over how to make the skills work really well within my game, especially with the combat-XP system. I think I finally have something that is simple, easy to implement, and easy to remember.
Skills advance by use. Some things which used to be skills are now class features, namely Open Lock, Climb, Hide & Move Silently (now called Stealth); Spot and Listen have combined into Perception, and the function of several “interaction” skills has been taken over by the Conflict! system.
At first level, you may choose a number of skills to be “proficient” in (equal to the number of ranks you would have received upon a level up). You get a +2 bonus to all of these skills. You may only be proficient in class skills.
Making skill checks:
Each skill is tied to a particular Ability Score. When you make a skill check, roll a d20. If the result is less than or equal to your ability score plus proficiency and experience bonuses, you succeed. If the roll is higher than your ability plus proficiency and experience bonuses, you fail. Particularly difficult tasks may impose penalties on your ability score, but typical activities will not.
Skills and Experience bonuses:
Each successful use of a skill earns one SXP, or skill experience point. When you have accumulated 7 SXP in one skill which is also a class skill, you receive an experience bonus (+1) to future checks in that skill. Further increases require 7+(current XP Bonus) more successful uses of the skill. Remember lucky number 7. For cross-class skills, double the number of successful uses that must be achieved (14 for +1, 16 for +2, etc.)
Some activities are more complex than simply using a single skill. In these instances, a series of skill checks may be required, possibly in conjunction with straight ability checks. If any of the checks fail, the task may not be completed successfully, but may be partially completed, depending on circumstances.
Opposed skill or ability checks work much as they did before, with d20 rolls adding all bonuses (including ability modifiers). Higher result wins.
The table of current skills can be found on the Obsidian Portal wiki. For everyone who are not my players, I have very little business telling you what skills to use or not. Go crazy.