Hrothgar The Spirit Caller wrote:
I also read the line "once the familiar is selected it can never be changed" or something similar to that, to mean improved familiar was off the table also. Kind of a shame, like others here have mentioned I will never take my familiar out of the bag as it is. That is not to say I want to give it away for nothing, alertness and a skill boost are always welcome, but really that is all the familiar is to me right now.
Alexander Augunas wrote:
I guess that boils down to which you think is more important "a fusion of the two parent classes" or "the baggage some people have with the name."
Hmm, I think that some of the proposed fixes look more like a problem to me. I actually like the initial bonded spirit. It can indicate a communal heritage that the Shaman started on his/her path with. A Nature shaman has grown up hearing the whispers of nature, guiding her down the road, warning her of danger. The Flame shaman has grasped the fire in front of her, embracing its volatile nature, and flits around in search of grander blazes. The shaman of the heavens has always looked to the stars for guidance; they show him the way and their pull leads his allies to him.
If someone wanted that flavor, there is nothing to stop them from always keeping the same one. I would probably resort to the same one regularly because I like to focus a build around specific strengths for mechanical purposes, but for flavor purposes I would enjoy a little promiscuity now and then with my divinity. In part, this would be for the same reason my witches never think too much about their patrons and I rarely play characters with gods; I like my characters to be the center of their own worlds.
Well the witch doesn't really know what the patron is or why it is blessing them. Here you still don't know their true motivations, but perhaps know how to appease them or manipulate them to your desires a little more. You aren't really haunted because there is never any drawback to them, but it might be fun to RP some into the mix for some shamans. Actually I could see someone wanting to RP being haunted by different spirits and rolling randomly to see which ones come to them for the day.
Jason Bulmahn wrote:
I think there are some obvious fixes if the desire is more witch and a less awkward spell list. While I was very happy to see the druid list get augmented, I would also be happy to see is scrapped for something new.
Why not use the witch spell list as a base? This gets the witch back in on the action and gives a decent backbone to work from.
From there, the list could be augmented as has been done with the current list, or augmented by spirits.
Perhaps not so obvious, but Nighttree posted in the other thread about the spirits affecting the spell list more dramatically and I really dig that idea. The spirits could either give more than one spell per level, or there could be a new type of spirit that does nothing but grant a chunk of spells with a certain theme. To have a more witchy feel, it could be a patron spirit incarnation that grants the same spells the witches patrons do.
The other thing that I think would be an obvious witch injection, would be to boost the buff/debuff hexes. That is a defining characteristic of the witch, but in the shaman there are only a handful of buff/debuff hexes that look alright. This could be some universal access to some witch hexes or perhaps some similar ones. How about something like evil eye that instead attacks a specific stat? or something like sleep that instead paralyzes a foe, fluff it as your spirits are either frightening or possessing them. Hell, for that matter a hex that could do tricks with the fear chain would be a fun debuff.
That reminds me, I made a witch archetype that runs off of this type of spirit communion and fear for the last RPG superstar contest. I would love to see something like gheist or concentrate terror as a hex in this class.
I am very happy to see the added spells on the list. This class went from my favorite new class when the playtest came out to something I had no interest in playing when it just went to druid spells. I am looking forward to making one of these guys again.
I agree with others that some hexes/abilities feel worthless, but there are enough in there that I like to keep me excited about this class.
If it is keeping the druid list, I would have no problem writing witch out of the ancestry. Of course I don't know how much this affects anything at the end of the day. My only reason for agreeing with the above posters on this matter is in the hopes that it might make it more likely that one of the future hybrids that have been hinted at might mate with the witch.
Confusion in general kicks the hell out of this scenario. I had an enchantment focused sorcerer that trivialized all the giant fights, and while I can't remember his level, I know he wasn't above 9 when he did it. I actually pulled a couple groans at the table the third time I cast it because everyone knew the combat was essentially a walk through. Confusion hits, we hang back, giants maul each other, then my party went in to play janitors.
While I appreciate the time and effort you put into the playtest and explaining what you have done, I think overall it speaks to the power of confusion over this scenario more than anything.
While I wouldn't employ any punitive measures for a player doing this, I can see why people might look unfavorably upon it. I guess that is part of the way melee and casters seem to balance, it is due to the fact different levels largely favor different types. Having the express agenda of playing each group only when it is most favorable feels a bit against the spirit of the disparity.
I am not telling you that you shouldn't do it. I am just saying I understand why others may not like it, it feels a bit like a backdoor to staying top dog. I also understand your frustration with low levels, especially casters, being a bit dry. The up side is, if you have a plan for a high level character that you work through a lot of dead(er) levels, it feels pretty good when the bang kicks in. I have a character now that didn't really become the character I wanted to play until much later. ~60% of my concept kicked in at level 7 and ~20% kicked in at level 8. It is a pretty ridiculously strong character now but I can justify all its insane abilities and unnatural heartiness by the fact that I played 6 levels of a sub-optimal character that I was only interested in playing to get a later investment pay-off, and I love every second that I play him now. If I just built this character at level eight, I wouldn't be too surprised if people were bothered by the big lump of cheese I brought to the table.
I actually have several characters that fit this trend of investment prior to payout, but the one above that really stands out like it wasn't even the same character before all the pieces finally came together. Perhaps you don't get the same chemical rewards, but if you commit to the investment idea, maybe the later payouts might make the lower levels worth it.
Carlos Robledo wrote:
Well you did ask what I would do. I generally don't care too much about sickness, I wouldn't want to have it, but most of the time I am afflicted I can't say it bothers me much. Then again, I don't play characters that regularly make attack rolls or use weapons.
I think the summoning thing would also work, but the in game resources you spent on a porter are spent to have someone carry things for you, not prostitution :) Seriously, how many people would never work another day in their lives if you could buy one of these after a couple days on the job?
I also can't strap a saddle on my cat familiar just because I invested resources in Eldritch Heritage: Arcane.
Pathfinder Adventure Path #61: "Shards of Sin"
EDIT: Nevermind, I am assuming this is on the chronicle for playing it.
Also, listening to this thread, it sounds like these things do more than listed on pathfinderwiki?
Carlos Robledo wrote:
My solution? I can't imagine a lot of GMs wanting to play up this interaction. If someone at my table had this item and said they wanted to "find a partner for their shard" or "have player X help them with their shard" and the time and place were were appropriate for it, that would be enough for me to tell them that they were successful.
Either that or accept that you get sick.
Inquisitor has its own list.
But what is the need for this affirmative action towards spell lists? It isn't like all lists are created equal or that there is some obligation to have list proliferate in equal amounts. I don't hear anyone saying we need more classes that use the paladin, magus, or inquisitor list. I think there is a very good reason not a lot of classes use the druid list, it is tailored to an extremely niche theme. You can have lots of different types of clerics based on how you want to focus your spell efforts, this naturally leads to being more usable by different themed classes. The idea that we need something to share this other list is a complete non-starter for me.
I still think far and away the best thing that could happen to this class would be that the spirits selected would have a more dramatic impact on the spell list, as Nighttree first suggested. Even if it didn't increase the hexes gained, perhaps just have access to more spirits that do nothing but provide a chunk of spells (perhaps a school.) While it may be more limiting than just giving the full cleric list, I think it would provide a fun level of customization.
Since taking 20 takes more time to complete, I wouldn't think a reroll would be eligible for it. I have always thought of a reroll as a sort of luck, divine intervention, whatever alteration that happens in an instant, not a rewrite of decisions or a chain of events. To say you are going to quickly climb the rope, fail, and then say I am going to redo it with a slower more meticulous form, I don't see that as much different than someone saying "Instead of a touch spell, I am going with magic missile." It just feel like too many things have changed to me.
Taking 10 has a similar feel, but with increased carefulness, by the line that you can't do it under duress, though it doesn't have the time clause. I am still inclined to view it the same way and say it is a different type of action than the random roll, but could be convinced otherwise on the 10.
I am hoping the druid list isn't set in stone. The only dev input I have heard about spells was something to the effect of "we are thinking about changing to the druid list" and then shortly after "make it so." The two reasons I have seen on here for it are "Some of the spells have shaman flavor that the cleric doesn't have" and "we only have one class using this list so far."
As to the first argument, the same can be said in reverse (possibly to greater effect). As to the second argument, does it really matter? It was an afterthought to fill this somewhat open niche, is it that important?
I used the cleric casting shaman as a 5th level NPC along with several of his animated dead in a home game against four 3rd level, optimized PCs. I didn't post anything about it here because the tactics were pretty far from the norm for story purposes, but it felt like a fun character that I could enjoy playing as a PC (even though it did burn out of juice very quickly). But around half of the spells I had prepped I did not find on the druid list.
I was not immediately opposed to the druid list idea, admittedly I never played one and didn't know what was fully on it. I read the list, saw what I was losing, saw what I was gaining, and took my first level Shaman I built for PFS and turned him into an Arcanist.
I still read this thread regularly hoping for some development on the spell front. It sounds like the spell list and the etymology of class name have all but dominated this thread. I find that kind of a pity, because the wandering spirit idea seems like such a hit that I would like to see more energy devoted to it. But it appears that for many people, myself included, this very cool idea is taking a back seat at the moment.
This actually sounds really awesome. If they were reluctant to build an individual spell list before, I don't know how much this idea will go over, but it sounds very cool.
If I were to rate my personal preference of the lists being discussed in this thread it would look something like this:
spirit-dependent custom>custom>cleric>witch>druid.........unless the witch casting swapped it from WIS to INT casting, then I would move it ahead of the cleric list.
Jason Bulmahn wrote:
I hadn't heard "silo" used in this context before so I hit the quick google search button. What I got was not what I was expecting.
I am with the OP in thinking this book is a very welcome addition. It is one thing to post constructive criticism and it is another to just b#@!&. I don't understand so many people just b+~$$ing. If you don't like it don't play it. If you think you have an idea that could help improve it, advice is actively being used right now to help improve the product. Paizo doesn't have to do this, I can't count how many things in life come to you as "This is what you get, your input is not required."
I have a certain style of characters I like to play and felt my options on those were starting to run low. While I will probably only ever use two or three classes in this book for characters, the fact these options have opened up to me have made me quite happy.
Michael Brock wrote:
If we need an official clarification statement without a lot of bookkeeping, I would go with something like this.
Characters may engage in acts of minor evil, such as casting spells with the evil descriptor or engaging in an act of evil for the greater good. If these characters actively desire to not become evil, it is assumed that they engage in equally good activities between scenarios to ensure that corruption does not have longstanding effects on their souls.
Granted it is more a reskinning of the current rule, but the language sounds more like what already exists in the standard PF books.
Is Destroying a Fellow Player's Raised Dead / Commanded Undead an action that Constitutes PVP in Society Play?
Eric Saxon wrote:
I donate blood on a somewhat regular basis and I have signed away all rights to any of my organs after I die. If someone else can benefit from them, I think it the good and noble thing to do to allow them to do so, even if I see no benefit and I don't even know them. Other people are better off for having access to the resources my body produced naturally, and it really doesn't even cost me anything to allow them to do so.
While I know it is a very common sentiment for people to want to preserve their bodies after death, I would feel like an obnoxious prick to say "When I am dead and have absolutely no use for my former body, make sure no one else can benefit from it in any way either........until of course nature breaks down my molecules and they get transferred into other living things. Damn you mother nature! Why do you hate me so?"
To try and make this class work I have put together two stat sets, one has a 10 dex and the other has an 8. I don't think I have made a character with less than a 12 dex in my life and I couldn't even hope to make a realistic estimation at how many characters I have made. I would not support taking away medium armor proficiency. In fact, the armor was part of the reason I changed my mind about completely giving up on this class for being too MAD.
Arcane Enlightenment is much more powerful for a wandering hex than a regular one. For a wandering hex, you could change it out every day (depending on interpretation some might say every two days because you should need to leave it and come back to it) but as your main hex you can only change your spells every level. Why not just let it change out every day? Compared to Paragon surge, is it really that bad? And to be able to use it, a player has already accepted that they are making a MAD character much more MAD. Something feels odd about a spirit being more powerful as a wanderer than as a primary.
Actually, I may have been overly critical of the MAD aspect before. I have been playing around with this idea a little more and I think I have got this to a respectable primary caster, which was always my goal. Some friends and I have been talking about starting a home game for a while, I am going to throw this in as an NPC soon and will post more thoughts after.
Did you actually try to build one? It was my goal to make a primary caster, be able to use my main class abilities ok, and not immediately die when I got into range to use my abilities. Those seem like fairly normal desires, and I felt conflicted just making that happen.
While I still love the flavor of this class immensely, the MAD issue is starting to weigh more and more on me. I like to play a lot of casters, particularly debuffers. Prior to the release, I expected anything x-witch to be a new debuffer. After reading it, I realized the unique debuffs weren't really that great but it was still a full caster with awesome flavor and a cool new versatile mechanic. So I started trying to build one and I started running into problems. My baseline assumption for casters is max casting stat, I juice every DC for every full caster I have made to the max and I still see my spells fail much more often than I would like. It didn't take me long to realize that 18 wisdom wasn't happening here. But then as I am juggling stats, I am having a hard time even keeping wisdom at 17, so I bump that down again. I start thinking maybe I will just try and avoid save spells and abilities, but really that is what I wanted out of this class from the start. I am starting to see a buffer/healer here (which admittedly a witch and and oracle could be) but unable to specialize in anything else.
Perhaps it is my preconceived notions about what I was going to do with this class, but I probably going to hold off on creating one now and see what others experience.
While I am glad someone up thread clarified that all prepared divine casters use wisdom (the thought process on where wisdom casting came from drove me nuts) I would be very happy to either see that tradition scrapped, make a shaman spell list that could be called arcane, or use the fact that it is also a spontaneous caster to shift the casting stat back to charisma.
@cheapy Thank you
....I was expecting that each spirit would have a sub-set of actual witch hexes to choose from and actually combine the existing hexes with oracular/spirit powers.
Me too. I was a little disappointed by the few options for hexes each one had available, but I was actually both happy and surprised to see new hexes all together.
I suspect that more hexes will come. They actually devoted a pretty large chunk of text to this class already just to get it started, so I can't be too disappointed that each spirit only has a few hex options.
Since the Shaman counts as her own ally, she's still affected by that limit of once per day.
If there is a pathfinder mechanics definition of the word that is this inclusive, I am unaware of it. Also if that is true, earlier in the text it isn't necessary to state "herself or a single ally."
Is Destroying a Fellow Player's Raised Dead / Commanded Undead an action that Constitutes PVP in Society Play?
For a little while I played a gunslinger cleric of Dranngvit who was hellbent on punishing wrongdoers. Any time a player would do something I thought transgressed against an innocent, I would have my character write down in a journal (as I wrote down on my character sheet) the name of the offending character, the type of offense, and "Awaiting arbitration," that was what I called it when I killed a wrong doer. So mechanically I didn't screw over any one else's character, but from a roleplay point of view, my character planned to track these people down and inflict justice on them at a later time when it didn't compromise the mission. It was a fun way for me resolve what otherwise might have led to nasty moral dilemmas.
Sorry if this is too rules heavy, I realize that the OP asked for rules to go elsewhere. I guess I see this as feedback on the clarity of certain aspects, if this is out of place just let me know.
I don't think it is the intent, but it reads like the Shaman can use this on himself an unlimited number of times.
I also don't think it is intended, but it reads that as long as you keep targeting someone before the old duration runs out you can keep this running indefinitely. Is that right?
Most of the other similar hexes describe interactions with invisible creatures, I am uncertain if an invisible creature would still emit light on this one. This is probably a moot point since the stardust ability would take care of this, but it is still a curiosity.
I think the line "You must meet all of the prerequisites for this hex." prohibits you from taking witch hexes.
This is my favorite class that I have read in the guide. I love the flavor and mechanics involved. However, mechanically this feels more cleric than oracle to me. Apparently I am alone on this judging by the above comments. I suppose I was expecting either spontaneous casting or charisma dependent casting as the oracle contribution to the spell side of things. The wisdom casting threw me for a bit of a loop when I read it. What does wisdom have to do with either class?
Originally I wished they had used different words for hexes since they are distinctly different from witch hexes, but an above comment about having feats ready to go to augment this class made me rethink that decision.
I had a little confusion at first in that I thought the familiar was the spirit, so I thought maybe you get a second familiar when you get a wandering spirit. A second reading of the class features cleared that up for me, but from a fluff perspective a little clearing up of exactly how the wandering spirits manifests itself would be nice. Does the familiar take on the characteristics of the wandering spirit also as if being possessed by it too? Does the shaman have the tells associated with the wandering spirits when manifesting one of those powers? As it reads now, I don't think so. But either of both of those things would be a cool way to physically represent this extra unseen presence that is affecting you.
I think there is a typo in the first paragraph "Familiars also aid a
All this sounds very reasonable. I have to admit that I was very surprised when our GM let us walk armored into what was probably that same bath house.
I am not against the odd circumstance penalties so much as I am against intentionally gimping something or a flavor tax.
EDIT: Speaking of flavor tax, about a year ago I was GMing for a guy that had a reach weapon, a monk kick, and cleave. At the time I would not let him hit someone with the reach weapon and then cleave with the kick because of the fluff text about how cleave works. If you read just the mechanics he was in in the right. Since that time I have come to regret that decision and think that I ruled wrong against him in a PFS environment. I have had a pretty big paradigm shift between what I expect from a home game and what I expect from organized play.
Do you think it was an accident they left the penalty part out, or they wanted to save words and expected everyone to extrapolate and form the same conclusion?
Actually if I recall, the GM 201 guide specifically says you should not penalize a player for bad roleplay, you are to accept that the character is more diplomatic than the player.
However, if the character is actively hostile or unfriendly against another person that seems like a good reason to treat them as hostile or unfriendly.
Matthew Trent wrote:
My thoughts exactly when I read this. It says GMs are given leeway to rule in favor of the players and not against them.
Have people that have been fighting so hard for a penalty on this item really been talking about a -2? If this is the case I can't imagine this ever actually even mattering. If your goal is to bump bluff, it is ridiculously easy to outpace someone else's sense motive to the point where the dice, let alone a -2, barely matter.
The entire time I have been reading this, I have been thinking people have actually been talking about imposing penalties that would cause a person to fail. While I think the minus anything for it is out of line in PFS, I also think it would be virtually in inconsequential in this matter.
As for the people saying a player must remove the mask to speak, do you also have people leave all weapons at the door for every building they ever walk in?
I see what you are getting at, and in all honesty I think I would enjoy sitting at your table and I can appreciate players playing up flaws. But I can't see what really calls this items flavor out for special attention more than any other.
I understand your position about GMs wanting to paint a real world, but is it really any different in flavor terms than any other? If I were to adopt that stance, I would do the same thing when I audited a player's character and saw he was wearing eyes of the eagle. "Now let me get this strait Elton John, you just strolled into a bar in the roughest area of town and tried to intimidate local hooligans dressed like that? Give me a break."
In truth, these sound like things that would make for good GMing in a home game. I may have mentioned that earlier, but I accept that you lose some level of immersion in PFS because of the desire and need for a standardized game experience.
Side point not relevant to your post but relevant to some text upstream: The +10 to lie, while I do agree looks undercosted, is nowhere near as game-breaking as some would let on. My first PFS character, who is now level 12, was a tiefling sorcerer with the Beguiling Liar and Without a Past. I haven't put a rank in bluff since level 5 because I haven't failed a bluff check since then. There is a point when this item becomes obsolete also. Of course I am not trying to tell people I am a halfing; I make my lies reasonable.
Mark Seifter wrote:
I admit that there has been a huge uptick in my area of GM vs Player mentality that I don't care for. Killing PCs has become a celebrated sport among some, and complaining about PC successes, seeking to damage wealth, and suspicious failures have been on the rise. This is not for all our GMs, but enough that it bothers me.
Someone earlier cited my attitude towards the GMs as the cause for targeting, I will preempt any future accusations of this by saying that I see it across all tables where the only common factors are the GMs in question.
There were some people that came outright in this thread and said they sought to cripple the mask because they didn't like the bonus it gave to PCs. There are more people here that I believe have that same motivation but are using peripheral arguments to reach the same end. I will admit that my experience with my group here could be shading my perspective on the latter group.
Of course there should be consequences and cost for things involved, and there are certainly GMs that I trust more than others. With GMs I trust, anything that happens good or bad I accept is for the best. But when I see someone advocating GM fiat to outright gimp and item, ability, class, whatever, I have no trust that they are concerned with the fun of the players.
EDIT: I also couldn't fault any GM no matter how much trust I had in them for saying someone didn't believe a tiger faced archer was really a serving boy. I think those fall into the impossible lie category. Yes I realize that it does contradict my earlier statement that appearances shouldn't matter unless called out, but I will concede that there are extreme examples. My position in this argument is against special pleading.
I now ask that you answer my question (and I ask the same of Sitri): is it your opinion that a character can ignore the description of the Mask of Stony Demeanor and re-skin it however they like?
I would say they can ignore the description in any instance that appearance is not specifically written to be of importance. Anything else, and I think all characters will have massive penalties to all social situations. I can't read through a single character I have ever made without seeing something that would look odd or out of place when trying to be friendly, believable, etc...But in instances like you mentioned above where appearance is called out, PCs generally change out a lot of gear, not just a the mask (or they use a hat of disguise, many garments sleeves, etc).
Do I think players can reskin it? No, just as I don't think GMs can reskin it. It is clear that different people have different ideas about what this thing really looks like. I think the worse thing that could happen is to say that it changes form depending on who is GMing the table. I think the best thing to do is treat the mechanics of it as it is written and not add or subtract anything to those mechanics. If this is done, no reskinning is needed, because the skin does not matter.
Adam Mogyorodi wrote:
Your red herring is very telling. The more you push on with irrelevant mechanical knit picking, the more it belies your argument and reveals your true motivations to punish an item that you don't like the mechanics of.
I am willing to accept the downside of all items purchased for PFS, the downsides as written in the books.
I ask that you directly speak to the point. Is your true motivation to change the mechanics listed for an item because you do not like the mechanics listed? If you maintain this is not the case. What penalty do you assign to all the masks listed in Mistwalker's post above me. For that matter, you seem to be willing to spend the time to argue your point in this thread; please list 20 items that will incur a social penalty from you for their appearance which is not referenced anywhere in any text and the penalty that would be imposed. With the wealth of crazy looking gear, I can't imagine it would be hard for someone who truly holds your stated position to come up with such a list. If you will make this list I will leave this thread, and never question your motivations again.
As long as your disable device check falls between -(any number you might end up at) and +9, it gives a bonus. Arguing that it doesn't is needlessly pedantic. Furthermore, there is nothing to say you can't buy 6 different keys and make 6 different checks for the price of the mask.
But that isn't the point. If these things matter to you, then it is clearly the mechanics and not the flavor driving the prejudice against this item. The current claim is that the flavor induces penalties. Some earlier in this thread have even claimed that the mask changes form based on the GM at the table so that they can apply that flavor penalty.
I was just looking into this and wanted to clarify as well. There are several revelations that say something like........The target creature must make a Fortitude save or......in the description. This very clearly looks like the save is built in as part of the effect being described. Also, in the channel example given above, the effect of what level you are counting as a cleric is what is driving the DC, so clearly that is good too.
So I am in agreement with everyone here, but is there anything more specific or clear to help make this point? Conversely, is there a good argument to saying these DCs are pre-effect other than just claiming it so. I think I might even be on board with someone saying spell DCs are not part of the effect for spells because of where it is written in the spell description, but it does really appear to be part of the effect for oracles.
I have a first level oracle I have only played once, but some specific clarification on this would really be nice. I intend to put all my favored class bonus into boosting the DC of a revelation, but if I later run into a GM that says it doesn't work that way, all my favored class bonuses will have just been thrown away.
Adam Mogyorodi wrote:
A more honest argument?
Both items give a bonus to a common use of a skill check. In both cases people have advocated for NPCs to use outside knowledge and prejudice not suggested on the item, not suggested on a statblock, and not suggested in the text of a scenario (my example case was of course just satire.)
Are the items exactly alike? No, but in every way it matters to make my point they are. There are some ways in which the mask is better/more efficient, and there are some ways that claim would go to the key. No two unique items are identical, if they were, they wouldn't be unique.
I ask you bring a more honest argument to the table. Say that you are making a case for special pleading because you do not like the mechanics of this item as written, and therefor you are trying to come up with an excuse to change them. If your argument was honest and you merely were trying to create a more realistic immersion-building world by slapping unwritten penalties on items that give bonuses which NPCs wouldn't want, you would be on board with anti-skeleton key adjustment. Rational people in the real world would, and did, take steps to make this item not work, and they didn't even need detect magic or spell craft to do it.
It is my opinion that the numbers given should be used, not the numbers created by different subjective interpretations which lead to different GMs skinning PC items differently.
So in response to the disable device, you reference the opposing numerical values provided in order to overcome the benefit provided by the item. This required no fiat, no external rationalization, and no addition or subtraction of highly subjective numeric values. Now if there were only some numerical values that the scenarios provided that worked in opposition to the numerical bonus from the mask, then we could all use the item in the same way at every table.....
Ahh this old gem. In the spirit of subjective reasoning rooted entirely outside of written game mechanics, I have decided to give some thought to the skeleton key.
For a mere 85 gold a first level adventurer can have a +10 on his disable devise check for anything that requires a key. For such a piddly sum, not even 1/5 the price of a mask of stoney demeanor, PCs are going to get a +10 to one of the most common uses of skill. Well NPCs are surely going to know about this item, it isn't even magical! In response to this, some NPCs would of course build locks that are specifically designed to thwart the skeleton key. Of course they would. With such a cheap item that anyone could get, everyone must know about it and no locksmith worth his salt is going to make a lock with tumblers that would be tricked by this key. Of course I will couch my arguments in the tone that only some locksmiths in some situations will be wary of this fact, this way it doesn't seem I am trying to write a penalty into an item that doesn't exist in the items text. Of course no scenario ever written has ever given any indication that any locksmiths think or care about such a thing either, but to suggest that I as a GM can't decide which locksmiths would care about this item is to strip away the last bit freedom I have as a GM and completely reduce this game to video game status. Can't you see that I am trying to undo the benefit of an item a PC paid for because I am trying to make things fun for everyone?