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Rudy2's page

Pathfinder Society Member. 788 posts (840 including aliases). No reviews. No lists. No wishlists. 4 Pathfinder Society characters. 1 alias.


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It's very clear, yes. You make a bluff check instead of making a knowledge check. That is, you lie in place of actually knowing.


Anzyr wrote:
It's not rocket surgery.

No, it's certainly not... "rocket surgery".

Nonetheless, you'll need more than your simple assertion of confidence to claim that making a Bluff check in place of a knowledge check is the same thing as making a Knowledge check with your bluff bonus. I.e. that it's the same thing as Versatile performance.

My claim is that, once it's a bluff check, it does what a bluff check does: lies or misleads. If you want to prove I'm wrong, you'll need more than just repeating yourself.


You dodged the actual issue. If it's supposed to work the way you claim it works, then it should be worded the way Versatile Performance is. "You may substitute your Bluff skill bonus for the bonus on intelligence-based checks", for example.

PotP says that you may make a bluff check, it does not say you may use your bluff bonus on other types of checks. Once you are no longer making an actual knowledge check, you can't do things that a knowledge check lets you do.

If I make a bluff check in place of Spellcraft, by definition, I am bluffing. I'm no longer making a Spellcraft check.


Sadly, probably not, though I may allow some variation of that in a home game. You don't make Spellcraft checks when casting a spell, so there's nothing to substitute a Bluff check for.


Until you address the distinction between substituting bonuses and substituting checks, I'm unimpressed by your RAW arguments.


I mean, it's pretty clear that the writing of this masterpiece in particular is sub-par in clarity, regardless of how you think it should function.


Also, it says you get to make a bluff check instead of an int-based check. It doesn't say, like Versatile Performance does, that you can substitute your Bluff bonus in place of, say, your knowledge bonus.

When you use Versatile Performance, the ability clearly says that you can substitute one bonus for another. So, when you're using Versatile Performance (Comedy) to do an Intimidate check, you are still, by the language of the ability, making an Intimidate check, which therefore does all the things an Intimidate check can do.

When you use PotP to substitute a Bluff check for a Knowledge check, you are no longer making a knowledge check. It doesn't say "use your Bluff bonus instead of your int-based skill bonus", like Versatile Performance does, it says "you may attempt a Bluff check". Therefore, you are not making a knowledge check anymore, and the check cannot do what a knowledge check can. It does what a Bluff check does.


@Akerlof: And the point about the distinction between substituting bonuses (Versatile Performance) and substituting checks (PotP)?


@Mark Stratton. That's elegant. I think the best way to approach that would be to make it clear from the outset that in general the ability can't be used to get real knowledge, but that there may be some circumstances in which your ability to fake it causes real knowledge to come about.


Acedio wrote:
EDIT: Sorry, don't mean to get off track, but the issue with the CSIS is the resonance bonus for having it in a wayfinder. It basically gives you permanent prot from evil for certain types of mind control.

Ah, right. I tend to keep this post at hand to make sure people don't go to far with that. Seems powerful, but not too problematic to me.

EDIT: I'm also find it less problematic when people have powerful abilities to protect themselves; in general, this Ioun Stone won't cause a player to overshadow other players. I'm always rooting for the PC team, so if they find a way to protect themselves from a major weakness, more power to them.


Also, people really complain about a Clear Spindle Ioun Stone? The one that just makes it so you don't need food or water? For 4,000gp?


Right. It says you get to make a bluff check instead of an int-based check. It doesn't say, like Versatile Performance does, that you can substitute your Bluff bonus in place of, say, your knowledge bonus.

When you use Versatile Performance, the ability clearly says that you can substitute one bonus for another. So, when you're using Versatile Performance (Comedy) to do an Intimidate check, you are still, by the language of the ability, making an Intimidate check, which therefore does all the things an Intimidate check can do.

When you use PotP to substitute a Bluff check for a Knowledge check, you are no longer making a knowledge check. It doesn't say "use your Bluff bonus instead of your int-based skill bonus", like Versatile Performance does, it says "you may attempt a Bluff check". Therefore, you are not making a knowledge check anymore, and the check cannot do what a knowledge check can. It does what a Bluff check does.

I understand you don't agree with this interpretation, but it is not changing or going against a clear, RAW interpretation. There is none here. If the input from this thread, from all levels of PFS, makes only one thing clear, it's that the RAW isn't straightforward.


Kyle Baird wrote:
There needs to be a trait that gives a bonus for stabbing a bard during a masterpiece.

"Encore No More"?


Disagreements aside, that sounds like a very fun application, Entilzha. :)


@Andrew Christian: ooooh... that just clicked for me. That's an even better way to look at it than what I was thinking.

@andreww: No mangling required. "check" != "bonus" is all I need.


andreww wrote:
Hmm, holding a VC rank is no indication whatsoever that the person has much understanding of how the rules actually work. Many of them do, quite a few appear not to.

I'm not esteeming a VC for superior rules interpretations, but rather because they have greater authority to say what is or is not kosher within PFS. I'm quite comfortable with my own rules interpretation here (bonus v. check), from a technical standpoint.


Akerlof wrote:
If you want to have fun GMing PFS you'll have to get over getting bent out of shape when PCs auto succeed at things you thought they were going to fail at, regardless of the situation.

Also, further willful misunderstanding. I want the players to succeed. I am very, very upset when one of them dies, for example, to a degree that some other GMs find weird. This isn't about me versus the players, so don't try and make it about that.


@Katisha: I fully intend to make it clear to the players how I run it before the game begins.

@Akerlof: Your long post not withstanding, there is at least one Venture Captain in this thread, along with many other PFS GMs, who say I am perfectly reasonable to interpret it the way I am. That's more than enough for me. If I ever end up running a game with you organizing, that might be a different matter, but I don't see that happening.

As far as "several paragraphs", for me it's very simple. Substituting a check (PotP) is not the same thing as substituting a bonus (Versatile Performance).


Katisha wrote:
yes. And a judge might require a Liguistics check using Anchient Osirioni... or he might just require me to read/speak Anchient Osirioni (speak the language). Or it is also possible that he might require me to make a disguise check or one of any number of other checks (heck even appraise to see if an artifact is real), all of which I would try to avoid/explain away with fast talk and bluff... even with out the Masterpiece in question being used.

Nope. If you're passing yourself off as a historian of osirion, and the osirionologist shows you a tablet written in ancient osiriani, asking your opinion, and you can't read it, then you fail at my table, full stop. He at least becomes suspicious, no matter how high your Bluff skill is. That's long been the way I've run it, before PotP even existed.

PotP would allow you to replace the Linguistics check with a Bluff one.

@DrakeRoberts The "By gracefully..." line was the mechanics argument advanced by some. My mechanics argument is that there is a real difference between substituting a bonus for a bonus, and substituting a check for a check. Both arguments lead to the same mechanical outcome, though, as to how the ability is supposed to work.

If that doesn't make sense, then we're talking past each other. I'll be following the posts by Andrew Christian, LazarX and others, and running this in that way, until further clarification from the Powers That Be comes along.


FLite wrote:

You are clearly not reading the same Bluff skill as the rest of us.

Or you are trying to use your own bluff skill.

bluff wrote:


The following modifiers are applied to the roll of the creature attempting to tell the lie. Note that some lies are so improbable that it is impossible to convince anyone that they are true (subject to GM discretion).

Yeah; an astounding number of players and GMs seem to forget about that last clause.


EDIT: I also think the difference in wording between this ability and Versatile Performance is not insignificant. Versatile performance lets you use a bonus in place of a bonus, according to the ability. You're still making whatever kind of check that you're substituting for.

PotP, in contrast, lets you make a Bluff check in place of another check. In other words, it lets you Bluff instead of knowing something.


GM Bold Strider wrote:
Rudy2 wrote:

Making up random facts about Osirion's history, and trying to convince an Osirionologist that they are true things, in direct opposition to his expertise, falls under this category in my games.

Pageant of the Peacock lets you fool him, though.

How? Isn't that exactly what you are claiming you are doing with PotP? Bluffing about Osirion's history. I fail to see where the differences lay between regular Bluff and how you interpret PotP. If you want to handwave it away as magic, that's fine, but you could equally handwave away the other interpretation of knowing the knowledge as magic. You could even rationalize PotP as "You've Bluffed for so long, you were bound to start learning something."

Honestly, I never would have reached this interpretation after reading it 100s of times for my bard. He has that masterpiece and not once has anyone said "Wow over-powered" or "Hmm... that's not what that does." Doesn't make them or me right, but at the beginning I just couldn't fathom your argument. I think I see your argument now, but it still seems like you are just splitting hairs with Bluff.

No, no; sorry, I'm not being clear. PotP doesn't make you able to do impossible lies in general.

Normally, in the example I gave, if you wanted to pass yourself off as an expert in Osirion's history to the Osirionologist, and have an actual conversation about it with him, a GM might require a Knowledge (history) check in order to make the Bluff check even allowable, with the reasoning that if you didn't actually know anything about the history, no matter how good you are at lying the Osirionolgist knows the things you are saying about history are directly false. This is what LazarX was saying about Bluff checks not even being possible if you don't know the fundamentals (at least, I believe I've interpreted him correctly there).

PotP would allow you to instead bypass that Knowledge check with a Bluff check in its place; the fluff being for example that your refined aura, posture, way of speaking, etc. makes you seem so knowledgeable that the Osirionologist is distracted from the fact that you don't actually know anything. Perhaps it combines this with a way of picking up words from the historian in order to mimic them. That's fluff, though, so up to you.


Oh, and before you question my right to make that call:

Core Rulebook wrote:
Note that some lies are so improbable that it is impossible to convince anyone that they are true (subject to GM discretion).

Making up random facts about Osirion's history, and trying to convince an Osirionologist that they are true things, in direct opposition to his expertise, falls under this category in my games.

Pageant of the Peacock lets you fool him, though.


@GM Bold Strider

You may run it as you wish, of course, but in my games there are many things you cannot Bluff, period, expert knowledge being one of them. LazarX already encapsulated it well:

LazarX wrote:
I will in many circumstances rule that a Bluff DC is simply impossible if you don't have the fundamentals. You can't fake being Einstein to Neils Bohr if you have no knowledge of physics. But with this performance in place, you just might put him off long enough by faking an obscure piece of knowledge to get something done QUICKLY, and then getting yourself out of Dodge.


The Shifty Mongoose wrote:
First off, it's great to hear that you, Rudy, re-examined your initial decision, listened to criticism, and came to a better decision with the help of passersby on the internet! It can be done!

Yes, well, I think you do me too much credit. Though I do try to remain open to being convinced one way or the other, primarily I came to a "better" decision because it became apparent that it was okay to interpret this ability in different ways. Once that became the case, all of my problems with the ability instantly became non-problems, and so there was no more need to angst about playing with it or not.

Is it common for GMs to not be okay with the wand of longstrider? That one is a bit shocking to me, as I don't see any grounds for it. What reason do they give?

The Shifty Mongoose wrote:
As for the Masterpiece itself, I did get worried on my first reading of it; then, on my second reading, it struck me as a sort of magically-empowered Dunning-Kruger Effect, whereby your wilful ignorance and lack of self-awareness makes you certain that you know more than people who know that a given subject's more complex than it sounds. While you couldn't really tell what kind of plant that is, how much that rug is worth, or which Empyrial Lord is the favourite of this group, you can make a wild guess with +4. If nobody corrects you, or even knows if your guess is wrong, your dance can remove the penalty for telling an unlikely lie; how would they know if you're wrong?

That's a clever way to look at it; I also do think, as you hint, that it has amazing potential outside of PFS for roleplaying. You are able to lie so well that you fool the universe. You need to have a GM who has the flexibility to accommodate that from time to time, though.


Long story short: Bluff does fine on its own when the person you are lying to doesn't know the actual facts of the matter. Bluff is fine to pretend to be a historian to someone who knows nothing about history. PotP lets you pretend to be a historian to other historians, passing yourself off as actually knowing things about history to their expert eyes.


Some more. Trying to pass yourself off as a wizard in conversation with another wizard, but lack points in spellcraft or Knowledge (Arcana)? Bluff by itself doesn't actually give you the ability to identify magic spells, or to know actual facts about magical theory, but with PotP, you can follow cues in the conversation with a wizard well enough that you can convince him that you are able to do these things.


It lets you do plenty. If you created a painting, and tried to tell people it was great, it doesn't matter how high your bluff skill is; they look at the actual painting and see that it's crap.

If you try to convince the court historian that you are also a historian, you may be able to lie wonderfully, but he can still tell that you don't know real facts about history, no matter how good you are at lying.

PotP, even in modified form, would let you deal with both of these scenarios, where plain Bluff would not.


Rudy2 wrote:
At this point, I'm not particularly worried about whether it is on the approved list or not. I think it shouldn't be, and I'll probably add a post to the additional resources to remove thread, or whatever it is called, but this thread has made it clear that interpreting the ability as actually lying about having the knowledges, etc, is a perfectly valid one, which is more than satisfactory to me.

Actually, the perfect outcome in my view, now that I think about it, is that the rule text for the ability is clarified so that its clear it really is lying, and you're not actually creating true knowledge, etc. It remains a useful and flavorful ability even in that case, so it would be a shame to get rid of it entirely.

That being said, getting rid of it entirely would be better than letting it be used in its broken form.


The one counterpoint I have to what you said is that at no point did I suggest I was going to "screw" my players without warning. My initial position was that I simply didn't want to play with a certain ability. In that case, my decision not to run a game with an ability I'm not comfortable with is my right, and not about screwing anyone.

My current position is that I will make it crystal clear to them at the outset of the game what my interpretation of the ability is.

I actually have a handout with the few things that there is table variance for that I have a position on; I plan to add this to it.


Marty; your criticism is well taken. I started the thread in an emotionally angry state, which is always a bad idea. While the thread did get to an amicable solution, wherein I've received confirmation that alternate interpretations are okay in this case, you're no doubt correct that I could have gotten to this point in a less volatile way. I'm sorry about that, truly.

At this point, I'm not particularly worried about whether it is on the approved list or not. I think it shouldn't be, and I'll probably add a post to the additional resources to remove thread, or whatever it is called, but this thread has made it clear that interpreting the ability as actually lying about having the knowledges, etc, is a perfectly valid one, which is more than satisfactory to me.


Teatime42 wrote:
You may be able to convince everyone the painting you just made is amazing, even though it's almost worthless. (So your Dayjob:Painting is safe :P)

I like this a lot, too, and it gives a good flavorful example of how the ability can be applied without being broken: you can't actually paint well, but you can convince, even other artists, that your work is a masterpiece. That your poor execution is merely another sign of genius!


Teatime42 wrote:
I see no problem with this, and it doesn't seem overpowered to me at all. Unless you misread it, and apply it to circumstances it was clearly not made for.

There is no problem with it, and its not overpowered, under this interpretation. When I created the thread, though, it seemed the overwhelming opinion was that it allowed all int-based checks to be made for any situation, even creating real knowledge. Fortunately, there have been many voices of reason, such as yourself, giving an interpretation which is both more balanced, and more reasonable in terms of the ability description.


Andrew Christian wrote:

Obviously, because there are two very different interpretations of the rule, it is ambiguous enough to not be clear and cut on how it works.

Therefore, you would be completely in your rights to interpret it in one way or the other as you wish.

I'm really glad I started this thread, now. Started angry, ended learning that I can in fact interpret this ability when I GM in a way that is reasonable.


I also want to say, in response to Jeffrey, that the organizers at the place I game at are fantastic, and I've never felt pressured by them.


That's good to know, thanks Jeffrey.

Based on LazarX's posts, it seems the best option may just be for me to go with his interpretation. This thread is proof enough that it's not clear what the ability is supposed to do to everyone, and that prevents any nastiness where I have to make my GMing conditional.

I'll just be very clear about it upfront with the players. "Alright, this is an ability that there is controversy over, and this is how I run it" sort of thing from the beginning.

Obviously if there is more official clarification down the line, that might change things, but for now, that seems the best option.


LazarX wrote:
Having read the ability carefully, I don't see it as invalidating people who make legitimate skill investment in knowledges. I see it as an art for effectively faking knowledges to bluff someone when you're passing off yourself to be someone you're not, as lack of knowledge is generally the Achilles Heel to many a would-be impersonator.

IF this is a valid interpretation of the ability, so that I can tell a player "No, you can't actually know true facts about monsters using this ability, you're just faking.", then that 100% resolves any issues I have with it. There's no more problem.

However, many people, including many in this thread, are very insistent that it does really truly provide real knowledge, and that if I say otherwise I'm going against the rules.


I can see how the language would be unclear; let me fix that.

I always, in all cases, would rather be playing PFS than GMing it. This doesn't extend to home games, but I find the restrictive nature of PFS much less chafing for a player than for a GM.

However, it's not so terrible that when I GM I can't enjoy it; if that was the case, I wouldn't agree to do so. I can have fun with some of the NPCs, make up dialogue on the cuff to appease some of my desires to extrapolate, and I enjoy seeing players enjoy themselves.

Is it true that I would prefer to play than to GM? Absolutely. But I don't resent GMing, and I've always done my best to see that the players enjoy themselves.


BlackOuroboros wrote:
So yes, I'm saying that between having you run and having nobody run, nobody is the better choice. The reason for this is simple; if you begrudgingly run a game you don't want to run then the players have a poorer experience for it. Furthermore, if a couple of games got dropped it might inspire somebody who is timid, but might make a good DM, to pick up the reigns and give it a shot.

A small correction: I wouldn't be doing it begrudgingly. Begrudging would only apply if I was somehow forced to GM for a player with this ability against my will.

I have extensive positive feedback for my ability to GM both from PFS players, and a decade or so as a home game GM, for everything from "NPC voices" to rule comprehension to fair adjudication. I am confident in my ability to make the experience an enjoyable one, and I've never received a single complaint from actual players. Your opinion does not affect that, nor does it shake my confidence in my ability to GM well.


@DrakeRoberts: That's not the implication I read from the post; it seems like he's upset at the idea that I might choose not to GM because of the build.

Obviously I realize I have no right to agree to GM, and then tell a player he can't do X.


LazarX wrote:
And there is never going to be a time where I will say that flouting a PFS rule is an acceptable choice.

Let me get something 100% clear from you. Is it, or is in not, the case that I have the right to turn down GMing for ANY reason? If it is the case, and I have not already committed to GMing, what rule am I flouting, exactly?


Wiggz wrote:
Snark aside, let me be clear. No one has said - not that I've seen anyway - that you should or shouldn't enjoy something or that you should or shouldn't be forced to GM a game you don't wish to.

Oh, not directly, but there's been plenty of guilt attempts about it. "Do you really want to deny a table of people the ability to play?" type stuff.

Wiggz wrote:
But its not about that, its about the demands of people who aren't using a particular ability or power to have that ability or power taken away from those who do. And that, my friend, is a completely different discussion altogether.

I'm not going to deny that I would be to the moon with happiness if there was an official interpretation of this masterpiece that nerfed it.

That being said, the thread that I created was about how to deal with not wanting to play with a particular ability. I believe that the interpretation of the masterpiece is not clear, as evidenced by the different table variants that posters have discussed. However, the most common opinion seems to be that it's as ridiculous as it seems at a glance, so I'm just going to avoid it.


North American Gaming Alliance


LazarX wrote:

This is the last word I'll say on this as someone who GMs PFS for NAGA.

If you are assigned to GM a table and you discover that a PC has this masterpiece that makes you so upset, one thing you need to remember is that when you came to that table after signing up to judge. You made a defacto commitment to make sure that table goes off.

How you do so is up to you. If you can get another person to judge in your place, then your commitment is meant. But if I find that a judge caused a player to remove his character, or worse caused a table to not go off because of a preference like this, I would have a major talk with that judge. And unless I have a good reason not to, I would move heaven and earth to make sure that that person would not be invited to judge at any future event we ran.

I never sign up in advance to GM, nor attend cons, so this is not relevant in my case.


@BlackOuroboros - I'm not sure how you're extrapolating my mindset from one objection. In any case, believe me, I'm not going out of my way to GM in PFS precisely because you can't go off script. I avoid it when possible.

The question is more a matter of, if I show up to my store, and there aren't enough GMs, and I'm asked to run, is it better to say "no", and have the game not run for sure, or is it better to say "yes, if there is no Pageant of the Peacock"?


Hah; gotcha. Yes, it's difficult to be certain of the meaning of a feat which has a concept that makes no sense whatsoever.


"realistic"? What do you mean?


Oh, no; I've been accused with the 'badwrongfun' buzzword. Clearly this means I am a fun nazi and am, by default, incorrect in my opinion.

...

Plenty of players get upset when they are continually overshadowed by other players, especially if it is in an area that they themselves invested in, and doubly so if the other player does it casually. I don't know what your experiences as a GM are, but such upset is incredibly common in my experience.

Regardless, I'm not going to be bullied or guilted into running a game that I do not enjoy. I created this thread not to get people's opinions as to whether I should enjoy it or not, but to figure out the best way to deal with the fact that I will not run a game with this ability. I've gotten enough input that I have a pretty good idea what to do about that at this point. I'm appreciative about that.


I think what I'll do is speak with the organizers of the games where I play. If they are cool with it, I'll do what wakedown does in terms of the interpretation of the ability. If they aren't okay with that, but are okay with me running whenever someone doesn't have Pageant of the Peacock, I'll do that. And if they're not okay with that, I just won't run at all.


Acedio wrote:
Very interesting. According to this post, it would seem that James Jacobs gave the affirmative. But I can't actually find the source post by James.

The post links to James' post. Go here, then do a page search for 'masterpiece'.

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