While skills are not trivial in 4e, they play a much greater role in modern games, and have a greater variety. This is not just because of the need for modern skills that wouldn’t exist in D&D settings. It’s also because there is more of an emphasis on using skills, and possessing those skills differentiates characters. Especially in a game where not everyone is adapt in similar areas (i.e. combat) the choice and variety of skills can make a big difference.
My first step was to look at the skills that 4e characters possess and see what should be brought forward. It turns out: almost all of them, since they are a really well put together list of skills. There’s only one that outright I can’t see in a modern game, and that’s Dungeoneering. So that gets tossed.
Three skills get a minor name/concept change to better fit modern. Arcana becomes Occult, Heal becomes Medicine, and Religion becomes Theology (to encompass a few other things like Mythology and Philosophy as well.)
Then we get to the new skills:
- Business (Int)
- Civics (Int)
- Creative Arts (Cha)
- Culture (Int)
- Drive (Dex)
- Investigations (Wis)
- Linguistics (Int)
- Mechanics (Int)
- Science (Int)
- Strategy (Int)
- Technology (Int)
By my count, that gives 26 skills total. Brief explanation of the new skills follow:
BusinessManage businesses, know facts about businesses, understand corporate workings, economic knowledgeCivicsNavigate through governments, understand political situationsCreative ArtsCreate art, understand art, identify artists, recall art historyCultureSocial sciences such as anthropology and sociology, pop culture, current events, studies of how groups of people operateDriveDriving a car, piloting an airplane, operating a boatInvestigationsAnalyze crime scenes, conduct researchLinguisticsUnderstand and speak languages, decipher scripts and codesMechanicsFix a car’s engine, design a building, blow stuff upMedicineBiology, pharmaceuticals, treating illnesses and conditions, nutritionOccultEsoteric knowledge, is not explained by scienceSciencePhysics, chemistryStrategyGames, military situationsTechnologyComputers, hacking, gadgetsTheologyPhilosophy, theology, religious studies
SpecializationPick three specializations in skills you are trained in. When using that specialization, you get a +2 bonus.