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Skill ranks in a creature blueprintEdit

I believe there had been a discussion pertaining to this issue with regards to documenting the skill level(s) listed on creature articles but am unable to find it and unsure whether this had been resolved anyway. I'm merely seeking confirmation and/or clarification of the dynamics of how the game uses the skill level of an NPC.

As far as I can tell, the value for skills listed on the Skills tab of a creature blueprint reflects base ranks analogous to ranks selected by a PC during its creation and leveling. Neither ability modifiers nor feat modifiers are included in that value. The only way (aside from scripting special diagnostic code to display such characteristics) to quantify the net skill level possible is in-game, in situations that would force the checking of the creature's current skill level. Is all this accurate, a bit too cryptic description or are there exceptions?

My question arises from designing encounters that rely on the creature in-game skill level. For example, if I want to design an encounter that features several creatures that are adept at spotting and hearing a stealthy opponent (i.e. PC), is it sufficient to just set the ranks accordingly, ignoring the relationship between HD and the legal limit (HD+3 or HD/2 +3) or would it be better to use ability and feat modifiers to reach the levels desired? As far as I can tell, there is no 2da or other array that sets whether each skill is a class skill, cross-classed skill or unavailable skill for each of the creature classes (compared to those of a PC, that is).

I am unsure of how the game processes the checks, if it validates levels according to a predetermined guideline or some other algorithm that may affect how the checks are resolved in-game. It's not my intention to make this more complicated than it needs to be, but I have been "bitten" many times by assuming what seemed to be logical to me and finding how the game actually processes game information. Any clarification, link to applicable discussion or article would be greatly appreciated. TIA --Iconclast (talk) 19:40, July 19, 2014 (UTC)

  • The Toolset tab for the creature skills is indeed skill ranks. There are no "skill points" to spend, you may raise the skill ranks to their max (which is higher than the PC max). Yet monsters can level up by LevelUpHenchman() and in doing so, there is a 2da used for which skills are class or cross-classed, a number indicating the skill points gained, and another 2da within their leveling package to specify preferences on where to put the skill points. When leveling a monster up the PC caps do apply. Outside of leveling, the value for the number of skill points a creature would be expected and how it is distributed among class and cross-class skills is only used to calculate a default challenge rating (which may be changed by the builder).
To answer your question better, I would need to know how your encounters are set up to go based on skill level. The default ones just go by CR. WhiZard (talk) 20:35, July 19, 2014 (UTC)
  • Nothing exotic. Just adequate scaling of skills to match the opposing party level. With that LevelUpHenchman() function... does that mean a creature needs to be given at least one of the PC classes to use that? And that 2da... would I need to create a custom one for the creature classes? The only 2das I could find was that series of cls_skill_* ones. TBH I was hoping not to need any overrides, but if that's what it takes... --Iconclast (talk) 23:45, July 19, 2014 (UTC)
  • As for seeing skill levels in-game, there are options that don't require scripting. Use the console command nw_spawncreature (which requires you to first activate debug mode). The creature spawns, is placed in your party, and you can view its character sheet. If you don't like memorizing ResRefs, start a game with the DM client. If the creature is placed, just examine its character sheet. If the character is not placed, you'll first have to spawn it, either with the console command or the... whatever it's called that lists all available blueprints for the DM. (Hit the comma to bring it up? It's been a while since I've looked at the DM client.) --The Krit (talk) 22:21, July 19, 2014 (UTC)
  • That is a real time saver! I think the only creature I ever tried to spawn was a horse and never bothered to examine the "vitals". I'll try out that DM client. It sounds like it would be far easier than all the cut 'n pasting of resrefs. Thanks for the tip, TK ;) --Iconclast (talk) 23:45, July 19, 2014 (UTC)
Update: The DM client is sweet, TK. Doesn't place the spawn in the party with the DM but spawns as a neutral NPC that can be possessed. Very handy and, as you indicated, much easier than looking up all the resrefs with the whole palette listed right there. Thanks again for such a valuable tip for someone who has never gone near the DM client before. ;) --Iconclast (talk) 13:19, July 20, 2014 (UTC)
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