Previously I whipped up a demonstration that the “classic D&D party” (Cleric-Fighter-Rogue-Wizard) can cover the skill spread quite easily. With the Player’s Handbook 2 out today, it is now possible to make a couple of power-source-themed adventuring parties, with all four party roles covered but without having to mix your peanut butter and your chocolate. There’s no reason to avoid such delicious flavor combinations, but sometimes you just want chocolate, right?
What we find, pretty quickly, is that there is a lot of overlap in each power-source group. The Arcanists all have Arcana, History, and Insight. The Divine classes all have Religion. The Primal classes all have Athletics, Heal, Nature, and Perception. Some of this overlap is reinforced by requiring characters to train spefici skills as part of character creation (Arcana, Religion, and Nature being the big culprits for obvious reasons).
With the exception of the Bard (which has every skill available save Endurance, Stealth, and Thievery), each of these groupings have big gaping holes in skill availability. If you want to have a broadly-skilled Divine adventuring party, you will probably have to sink a fair number of feats into skill training, or resort to creating a gang of Eladrin.
Moral of the story: mix up your power sources. Most DMs and players have been stitching together traveling-circus hodgepodges of adventuring parties for years, of course.
A very insightful bunch. I have always thought of students of the arcane as being a bit more bookish than this particular overlap suggests.
As with the general trend from the first PHB, the class taking striker role fills out a fair amount of the skill availability. This calls out how little the Sorcerer does this, invested as he is in such common-fare skills as he is.
Hoo, boy! That’s a lot of raw athleticism going around. That totally makes sense for each of these basic character concepts. With the introduction of the Primal power source, the Perception skill just went from prime real estate to common fare. Nature got flooded (as of the first PHB, only two classes had it), but that’s to be expected when four nature-centric classes introduced. It’s their thing. For the same reasons that Perception is a reasonable class skill for these Primal classes, I’m surprised that none of them got Stealth. Odd, that.
Again I see that the striker doesn’t do a lot of filling-out for the skill availability, unlike the Avenger, Ranger, Rogue, and Warlock.