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Rules Clarification: Bardic Versatile Performance


Rules Questions

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5 people marked this as FAQ candidate. Staff response: no reply required.

The listing is: Versatile Performance (Ex): At 2nd level, a bard can choose one type of Perform skill. He can use his bonus in that skill in place of his bonus in associated skills. When substituting in this way, the bard uses his total Perform skill bonus, including class skill bonus, in place of its associated skill’s bonus, whether or not he has ranks in that skill or if it is a class skill. At 6th level, and every 4 levels thereafter, the bard can select an additional type of Perform to substitute.

The types of Perform and their associated skills are: Act (Bluff, Disguise), Comedy (Bluff, Intimidate), Dance (Acrobatics, Fly), Keyboard Instruments (Diplomacy, Intimidate), Oratory (Diplomacy, Sense Motive), Percussion (Handle Animal, Intimidate), Sing (Bluff, Sense Motive), String (Bluff, Diplomacy), and Wind (Diplomacy, Handle Animal).

The debate is:
Does Versatile Performance Automatically allow a bard to substitute his Performance skill rank in place of the related skill rank automatically or does he have to actually 'perform' to get the increased value (assuming he jacks his performance skill up)? That is...does he actually need to sing, dance, string, wind, etc.... or just automatically substitute his Versatile Performance skill anytime? All it states is: "He can use his bonus in that skill in place of his bonus in associated skills."

For example, let's say that a bard maxes out his perform skill and does not put any skill pips into specific skills like Dance or sing. Now in combat he wants to bluff (total rank is say 5), but using Sing (total rank is say 15) under versatile performance, he wants to substitute his bluff and jack it to a 15 (without actually singing) because his argument is that is the whole point of Versatile Performance.

I would contend that you would need to actually perform an act of singing (Bluff or sense motive) to gain the Versatile Performance rank or dance in order to gain the performance level of acrobatics or fly.

His argument for dance would be that since his performance skill is so high, Versatile Performance means that his dancing is so high (took at 6th level)therefore he is so skilled, that he can always use Perform in place of a normal acrobatics check since dancers are just more agile.

Please see if we can get a clarification. Thanks.

Osirion

Unless errata is added, the Bard does not need to "Perform" to get the listed bonus, as it is not stated as a requirement anywhere in Versatile Performance.

Your God of Knowledge,
Nethys


Dinja wrote:


For example, let's say that a bard maxes out his perform skill and does not put any skill pips into specific skills like Dance or sing.

There is no generic perform skill (or generic craft, knowledge or profession skill). The seperate skills are simply listed together. A bard who wanted to be good at both singing and dancing would have to spend skill points on both skills, since they are seperate skills.

Taldor

Could Versitile Performance be used to fulfuill pre-reqs for feats and or PrC's???

--Vrock of Love

Osirion

Versatile Performance only allows someone to substitute the respective Perform check for the listed skills. It does not allow them to qualify for prerequisites unless they actually have ranks in the listed skills.

For example, a Bard with a +12 Perform (Dance) could use that bonus when making Acrobatic or Fly checks. If something requires 5 ranks in Acrobatics, however, the bard would still need actual ranks in Acrobatics to qualify.

Your God of Knowledge,
Nethys

Cheliax

My last question is, would someone substituting their skill ranks qualified if they happen to be trained in the skill.

Example:

Bluff is a bardic class skill, if I put a rank in I get +3 from the training bonus.

If I have 0 ranks in Bluff, but 9 ranks in Perform Sing (which gives its ranks to both bluff and sense motive) would I have 12 effective ranks (the training bonus) or only 9?

Osirion

Dissinger wrote:

My last question is, would someone substituting their skill ranks qualified if they happen to be trained in the skill.

Example:

Bluff is a bardic class skill, if I put a rank in I get +3 from the training bonus.

If I have 0 ranks in Bluff, but 9 ranks in Perform Sing (which gives its ranks to both bluff and sense motive) would I have 12 effective ranks (the training bonus) or only 9?

It doesn't give it's ranks, you use the total bonus you have for Perform in place of the other two.

If your bonus to Perform is +12 after all feats, bonuses, ranks, etc., then that is the bonus you would use on the two applicable skills.

Your God of Knowledge,
Nethys


Dissinger wrote:

My last question is, would someone substituting their skill ranks qualified if they happen to be trained in the skill.

Example:

Bluff is a bardic class skill, if I put a rank in I get +3 from the training bonus.

If I have 0 ranks in Bluff, but 9 ranks in Perform Sing (which gives its ranks to both bluff and sense motive) would I have 12 effective ranks (the training bonus) or only 9?

"He can use his bonus in that skill in place of his bonus in the associated skills."

Meaning his ranks and bonus in bluff (for example) are inrelavent, only his bonus to his perform(whatever) check matters and is used.

Cheliax

Nethys wrote:
Dissinger wrote:

My last question is, would someone substituting their skill ranks qualified if they happen to be trained in the skill.

Example:

Bluff is a bardic class skill, if I put a rank in I get +3 from the training bonus.

If I have 0 ranks in Bluff, but 9 ranks in Perform Sing (which gives its ranks to both bluff and sense motive) would I have 12 effective ranks (the training bonus) or only 9?

It doesn't give it's ranks, you use the total bonus you have for Perform in place of the other two.

If your bonus to Perform is +12 after all feats, bonuses, ranks, etc., then that is the bonus you would use on the two applicable skills.

Your God of Knowledge,
Nethys

Thanks Nethys, that's pretty much what I thought, but part of me was still waiting for the other shoe to drop.

As written Versatile literally translates to "Roll a Perform X check, count it as a skill Y check." Correct?

Osirion

Dissinger wrote:
Nethys wrote:
Dissinger wrote:

My last question is, would someone substituting their skill ranks qualified if they happen to be trained in the skill.

Example:

Bluff is a bardic class skill, if I put a rank in I get +3 from the training bonus.

If I have 0 ranks in Bluff, but 9 ranks in Perform Sing (which gives its ranks to both bluff and sense motive) would I have 12 effective ranks (the training bonus) or only 9?

It doesn't give it's ranks, you use the total bonus you have for Perform in place of the other two.

If your bonus to Perform is +12 after all feats, bonuses, ranks, etc., then that is the bonus you would use on the two applicable skills.

Your God of Knowledge,
Nethys

Thanks Nethys, that's pretty much what I thought, but part of me was still waiting for the other shoe to drop.

As written Versatile literally translates to "Roll a Perform X check, count it as a skill Y check." Correct?

Essentially, yes. If you need to make an Acrobatics check to move through a threatened square, you could use your Perform (Dance) bonus in place of Acrobatics (assuming Dance is a VP you chose). If a feat, prestige class, crafting requirement, etc. requires 5 ranks in Acrobatics, then you actually need 5 ranks in Acrobatics.

Your God of Knowledge,
Nethys


If I'm getting a bonus to Acrobatics say, via the halfling racial ability or the Acrobatics feat, are those also considered to be part of the bonus overwritten by Versatile Performance, or not?

Rubia

Nethys wrote:
Dissinger wrote:
Nethys wrote:
Dissinger wrote:

My last question is, would someone substituting their skill ranks qualified if they happen to be trained in the skill.

Example:

Bluff is a bardic class skill, if I put a rank in I get +3 from the training bonus.

If I have 0 ranks in Bluff, but 9 ranks in Perform Sing (which gives its ranks to both bluff and sense motive) would I have 12 effective ranks (the training bonus) or only 9?

It doesn't give it's ranks, you use the total bonus you have for Perform in place of the other two.

If your bonus to Perform is +12 after all feats, bonuses, ranks, etc., then that is the bonus you would use on the two applicable skills.

Your God of Knowledge,
Nethys

Thanks Nethys, that's pretty much what I thought, but part of me was still waiting for the other shoe to drop.

As written Versatile literally translates to "Roll a Perform X check, count it as a skill Y check." Correct?

Essentially, yes. If you need to make an Acrobatics check to move through a threatened square, you could use your Perform (Dance) bonus in place of Acrobatics (assuming Dance is a VP you chose). If a feat, prestige class, crafting requirement, etc. requires 5 ranks in Acrobatics, then you actually need 5 ranks in Acrobatics.

Your God of Knowledge,
Nethys

Taldor

Pathfinder Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber; Pathfinder Comics Subscriber; Pathfinder Campaign Setting, Cards, Companion, Maps, Modules, Pawns, Roleplaying Game Subscriber

If I've got Versatile Performance (Oratory = Sense Motive & Diplomacy), and I've got situational Diplomacy bonuses from boons or traits or things like that, can I apply them to my Performance check, or do I lose them when I trade one total bonus for the other?

If the answer is "I lose them," I'm starting to think Versatile Performance needs some work. The basic idea of swapping ranks it great. Being able to switch base stats to Charisma and make dump stats easier is really nice (maybe too nice). Avoiding armor check penalties to Acrobatics because you're using Perform, which doesn't take armor check penalties is somewhat illogical. But having to give up all your other bonuses really puts the utility of this ability in question.

Another gripe - I can wait a level and not take any ranks in Sense Motive or Diplomacy at 1st because I know I'm going to get them via Versatile Performance at 2nd. But am I really going to wait until 6th level to put any ranks into the skills I get through my second Versatile Performance? And If I don't wait, I just wasted a bunch of skill points.

I know it's not, but maybe the rule ought to be swap Perform (Oratory) ranks for Diplomacy and Sense Motive ranks, but not total bonus for total bonus.

Andoran RPG Superstar 2008 Top 32, 2011 Top 16

Mosaic wrote:
Avoiding armor check penalties to Acrobatics because you're using Perform, which doesn't take armor check penalties is somewhat illogical. But having to give up all your other bonuses really puts the utility of this ability in question.

The ability lets you use your perform bonus for other skills. It says nothing about not applying penalties to those skills, and therefore they would apply from things like armor check penalties, circumstance penalties, fatigue, etc.

Taldor

Pathfinder Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber; Pathfinder Comics Subscriber; Pathfinder Campaign Setting, Cards, Companion, Maps, Modules, Pawns, Roleplaying Game Subscriber

Consensus in other threads seemed to be that it really was "total bonus" - meaning you use everything from your Perform instead of everything from your other skill, and that seemed to mean ignoring any normal penalties you had. I'd love to get an official clarification on this as it's come up in several threads.

Nethys, oh god of knowledge, you around? Or Jason?


Mosaic wrote:

If I've got Versatile Performance (Oratory = Sense Motive & Diplomacy), and I've got situational Diplomacy bonuses from boons or traits or things like that, can I apply them to my Performance check, or do I lose them when I trade one total bonus for the other?

Total bonus for total bonus... it's fairly explict on that, and yes you lose any bonuses to the normal skill, but keep any bonuses (aka TOTAL bonus) to the perform skill.

Yes this means if you took skill focus(diplomacy) that is now useless... however if you took skill focus(oratory) instead you would get it on oratory, diplomacy, and sense motive (which would be using your Cha mod instead of wisdom).

Is it a trade off? Yes. However it is one I'll take any day of the week.

Osirion

Abraham spalding wrote:
Mosaic wrote:

If I've got Versatile Performance (Oratory = Sense Motive & Diplomacy), and I've got situational Diplomacy bonuses from boons or traits or things like that, can I apply them to my Performance check, or do I lose them when I trade one total bonus for the other?

Total bonus for total bonus... it's fairly explict on that, and yes you lose any bonuses to the normal skill, but keep any bonuses (aka TOTAL bonus) to the perform skill.

Yes this means if you took skill focus(diplomacy) that is now useless... however if you took skill focus(oratory) instead you would get it on oratory, diplomacy, and sense motive (which would be using your Cha mod instead of wisdom).

Is it a trade off? Yes. However it is one I'll take any day of the week.

Actually, what is "explicitly" says is:

Quote:


When substituting in this way, the bard uses his total Perform skill bonus, including class skill bonus, in place of its associated skill’s bonus, whether or not he has ranks in that skill or if it is a class skill.

It's arguable that this means a complete switch (along with circumstance bonuses and penalties) but it doesn't "explicitly" say that. It's equally logical to assume that "skill bonus, including class skill bonus" means the ranks you have in that skill, any Feat or Trait bonuses you may have in the skill, and the class skill bonus (if the character has it). It's also reasonable, in my opinion, to read "total skill bonus" as your ranks in the skill modified by your Charisma. And it's also reasonable to not include circumstance bonuses and/or penalties.

As to why you would include some modifiers (such as stat bonuses, feats, and traits), these seem likely to be what is meant by "total". That is, your "total skill" in one instance is replaced with your "total skill" in another. Other modifiers are added or subtracted from your "total skill" to determine your final modifier. But an armor check penalty isn't part of your "total skill". It's a modifier to your skill.

This is supported by the Skills section. The argument to add Feats and Traits is weaker than a simple switch of ranks, stat modifier, and class skill bonus. But given this advantage is in line with what the class ability is intended to give, I think it's reasonable to include them.

Finally, given that removing armor check penalties (or any circumstance modifiers) would be an even larger advantage (or in some cases an odd and non-intuitive disadvantage) it would have been appropriate for them to explicitly state this. Since they did not, it is more reasonable to interpret the rule as not including this. That is, *because* it is not "explicitly" stated.

With all that said, it'd be nice to get an official clarification on exactly what is intended to be substituted.


aptinuviel wrote:
stuff

So you are saying that even though it's not explicitly stated in one area it's ok to add it in (feats that add to skills... which by the way give a SKILL BONUS which is part of the TOTAL skill bonus... it's not "total but not counting feats") but not in another because it's not explicitly stated that it isn't subtracted?

Paizo Employee Creative Director

3 people marked this as a favorite.

When you use Versatile Performance to make a skill check using Perform, and you would get situational bonuses to that check based on what you're doing... I think that they should probably stack. The point of the ability is to basically give the Bard the ability to spread out his skill ranks more efficiently. This, plus the way bards use knowledge skills now, are meant to make them one of the better skill classes. We could, I suppose, have gone a "lazy" route and simply given them 10 skill ranks/level, but this way feels more interesting and it places a larger amount of focus on the Perform skill, which is important.

So!

If, for example, you put on a pair of boots of elvenkind, you get a +5 bonus on your Acrobatics check. In games I run, i would be completely fine with letting a bard with Versatile Performance (dance) make those dance checks to emulate Acrobatics and would allow the bonus from the boots to apply.

Osirion

Abraham spalding wrote:
aptinuviel wrote:
stuff
So you are saying that even though it's not explicitly stated in one area it's ok to add it in (feats that add to skills... which by the way give a SKILL BONUS which is part of the TOTAL skill bonus... it's not "total but not counting feats") but not in another because it's not explicitly stated that it isn't subtracted?

Yes. I believe I covered this exact question in my post, but perhaps I can make it even more clear. If you read a rule and come to the conclusion that the rule means something non-intuitive and weird then read it again. If there is an equally reasonable interpretation of the rule that is more intuitive and not weird, that's probably the one you should go with.

In this case, the term used is "total skill" which is not a defined term in the rules. So we don't know what is involved in this "total skill". I find it *more* reasonable to include all those factors that are involved in the skill of the character. That is, the character's ranks, class bonus, stat bonus, feat bonus, and trait bonuses. I would not include external modifiers, such as armor check penalties.

Further, I suggest checking out the modifiers to the Bluff check. Under your interpretation we could have a situation in which a character makes up a "far-fetched" lie and then uses their perform skill with no modifier for it being a "far-fetched" lie, no matter how ridiculous the lie is. Under my interpretation, this wouldn't happen. You would add or subtract all situational modifiers to the character's "total skill".

I'm not saying that your interpretation doesn't fit the language used. What I am saying is that both of our interpretations are supported by the language. Mine happens to be a simpler interpretation. If you can find any problems that would arise when using this interpretation that wouldn't under yours I'd be happy to read them.

Osirion

James Jacobs wrote:

When you use Versatile Performance to make a skill check using Perform, and you would get situational bonuses to that check based on what you're doing... I think that they should probably stack. The point of the ability is to basically give the Bard the ability to spread out his skill ranks more efficiently. This, plus the way bards use knowledge skills now, are meant to make them one of the better skill classes. We could, I suppose, have gone a "lazy" route and simply given them 10 skill ranks/level, but this way feels more interesting and it places a larger amount of focus on the Perform skill, which is important.

So!

If, for example, you put on a pair of boots of elvenkind, you get a +5 bonus on your Acrobatics check. In games I run, i would be completely fine with letting a bard with Versatile Performance (dance) make those dance checks to emulate Acrobatics and would allow the bonus from the boots to apply.

I agree that the ability is excellent flavor for the class. I think the implementation is problematic. It seems to be one of the few places in the game that encourages a player to avoid focusing on something they want a character to be good at from the outset. This comes up in some other optimization cases, but in the two other main areas it arises there is a mitigating rule to offset the problem. Spontaneous casters can reorder their spells slightly and Fighters can now (thank you!) rearrange their feats slightly.

I think a similar mechanic here would have helped offset the problem. Perhaps being able to "shift" skill ranks equal to the level of the character at each of these stages? I hesitate to add rules on where you can move the skills to/from only because I think it would take several lines of text to explain that rule. A simple rule that gives a little more flexibility to deal with the problem and doesn't lend itself to extreme abuse (in my opinion, at least) would be better.

Heck, I'd suggest a similar mechanic for the Rogue if only because it's a "cool" gimmick for a skill based class that gives them an edge that doesn't break the game.

(I should also note that this issue isn't the same as the one I discussed previously. I know that's rather obvious, but given the closeness of the posts I thought I'd point it out.)

Paizo Employee Creative Director

2 people marked this as FAQ candidate. 2 people marked this as a favorite.

One thing I'm gonna try to get into the Advanced player's Guide is some sort of mechanic that allows a bard to "cash out" any skill ranks he spent on skills that, later on, get "replaced" by a versatile performance.

Similar to how a sorcerer can unlearn a spell, really.

Silver Crusade

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Card Game Subscriber

What about a new perform that is not listed yet. I have a bard who is a puppeter. His skill is low so he is using hand puppets now, but will eventually upgrade to marionettes. Should versatile work for this type of perform, and if so, for what skills?


Yes, it should. Use skills that seem related and try to err on the side of social skills (Perform: Dance is the sole skill that has entirely combat-related applications). For Puppeteering, I would suggest Sleight of Hand and either Bluff (for throwing one's voice) or Sense Motive (for sensing the mood of the crowd).

Taldor

Pathfinder Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber; Pathfinder Comics Subscriber; Pathfinder Campaign Setting, Cards, Companion, Maps, Modules, Pawns, Roleplaying Game Subscriber

Okay, so just to be clear...

Verasatile Performance includes:
• Ability score: use Cha instead of the original score
• Ranks: use Perform ranks instead of rank in Diplomacy, Sense Motive, Acrobatics, etc.
• +3 because Perform is a class skill
• Bonuses: any random bonuses to Perform, like Skill Focus

But...

• Situational bonuses and penalties to the original skill still apply and get added to/subtracted from the Perform check, things like magic items, boons, pre-disposed favorable attitudes, etc.

How about things like traits (like "Fashionable" that grants +1 Bluff, Diplomacy and Sense Motive, or "Fiendish Presence" that grants +1 to Diplomacy and Sense Motive), Orcs' bonus to Intimidate, Rangers' favored enemy bonuses to Sense Motive, Ranger/Druids' bonus to Handle Animal their companions, spellcasters with viper familiars' bonus to Bluff, spellcasters with bat familiars' bonus to Fly, small characters' penalty to jumping with Acrobatics, armor check penalties to Acrobatics, etc. These all seem like things that would logically transfer to a Versatile Performance skill check. Would these all be considered "situational"?

I'm assuming masterwork instruments would not assist a Versatile Performance check as you are not actually performing, just using your performance skills in other areas of life.

Paizo Employee Creative Director

2 people marked this as a favorite.
Zurai wrote:
Yes, it should. Use skills that seem related and try to err on the side of social skills (Perform: Dance is the sole skill that has entirely combat-related applications). For Puppeteering, I would suggest Sleight of Hand and either Bluff (for throwing one's voice) or Sense Motive (for sensing the mood of the crowd).

Absolutely. I'd say Sleight of Hand and Bluff.

Paizo Employee Creative Director

6 people marked this as a favorite.
Mosaic wrote:

Okay, so just to be clear...

Verasatile Performance includes:
• Ability score: use Cha instead of the original score
• Ranks: use Perform ranks instead of rank in Diplomacy, Sense Motive, Acrobatics, etc.
• +3 because Perform is a class skill
• Bonuses: any random bonuses to Perform, like Skill Focus

But...

• Situational bonuses and penalties to the original skill still apply and get added to/subtracted from the Perform check, things like magic items, boons, pre-disposed favorable attitudes, etc.

How about things like traits (like "Fashionable" that grants +1 Bluff, Diplomacy and Sense Motive, or "Fiendish Presence" that grants +1 to Diplomacy and Sense Motive), Orcs' bonus to Intimidate, Rangers' favored enemy bonuses to Sense Motive, Ranger/Druids' bonus to Handle Animal their companions, spellcasters with viper familiars' bonus to Bluff, spellcasters with bat familiars' bonus to Fly, small characters' penalty to jumping with Acrobatics, armor check penalties to Acrobatics, etc. These all seem like things that would logically transfer to a Versatile Performance skill check. Would these all be considered "situational"?

I'm assuming masterwork instruments would not assist a Versatile Performance check as you are not actually performing, just using your performance skills in other areas of life.

Yup.

And yeah, the bonus granted by a masterwork tool or instrument would not assist a Versatile Performance check because you're using that tool to enhance an actual performance, not a substituted skill. I'd certainly allow trait bonuses to stack as well; I'd even be tempted to let bonuses from Skill focus or other feats stack.

Basically... I think of it as basically transplanting your ranks in the perform skill directly into the two other skills as "phantom" ranks that overlap with any ranks you currently have in those other skills. You take the higher of the two and go from there.


Nethys wrote:

Essentially, yes. If you need to make an Acrobatics check to move through a threatened square, you could use your Perform (Dance) bonus in place of Acrobatics (assuming Dance is a VP you chose). If a feat, prestige class, crafting requirement, etc. requires 5 ranks in Acrobatics, then you actually need 5 ranks in Acrobatics.

Your God of Knowledge,
Nethys

So do I make an Acrobatics check with the perform dance bonus or do I make a perform check emulating another skill (Acrobatics)? Do I suffer armor check penalty? (Acrobatics = dex, perform = char).

I got confused by James answer. If a bard use perform to emulate Acrobatics he is using perform, not acrobatics or did I misread James?

James Jacobs wrote:

When you use Versatile Performance to make a skill check using Perform, and you would get situational bonuses to that check based on what you're doing... I think that they should probably stack. The point of the ability is to basically give the Bard the ability to spread out his skill ranks more efficiently. This, plus the way bards use knowledge skills now, are meant to make them one of the better skill classes. We could, I suppose, have gone a "lazy" route and simply given them 10 skill ranks/level, but this way feels more interesting and it places a larger amount of focus on the Perform skill, which is important.

So!

If, for example, you put on a pair of boots of elvenkind, you get a +5 bonus on your Acrobatics check. In games I run, i would be completely fine with letting a bard with Versatile Performance (dance) make those dance checks to emulate Acrobatics and would allow the bonus from the boots to apply.


Zark wrote:
stuff

James and Nethys. Treantmonk already gave me answers so no need to answer my questions. :-)

Silver Crusade

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Card Game Subscriber
James Jacobs wrote:
Zurai wrote:
Yes, it should. Use skills that seem related and try to err on the side of social skills (Perform: Dance is the sole skill that has entirely combat-related applications). For Puppeteering, I would suggest Sleight of Hand and either Bluff (for throwing one's voice) or Sense Motive (for sensing the mood of the crowd).
Absolutely. I'd say Sleight of Hand and Bluff.

Thank Zurai, and James. Great suggestion, I never thought of sleight of hand for some reason.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Companion Subscriber
Zurai wrote:
For Puppeteering, I would suggest Sleight of Hand and either Bluff (for throwing one's voice) or Sense Motive (for sensing the mood of the crowd).

Hail Banjo!


Could Versatile Performance be used in conjunction with Intimidate?


So can a player request the DM use his perform ranks for skill challenges?

ei. If BingoBard has no ranks in Sense Motive and someone tries to Bluff Bingo, can bingo expect the DM will use his Oratory Perform skill for the challenge? Or is he just out of luck?

Also can we come up with a mechanic to move skill points out of skills made obsolete? How bout:

In the level you activate the versatile performance in question you may move your skill points out of the duplicated skills into other skills, subject to level and other game limitations.

Playing with big holes in your skillset for 12 levels to avoid waste is hard and no fun.

Sigurd

Paizo Employee Creative Director

Sigurd wrote:

So can a player request the DM use his perform ranks for skill challenges?

ei. If BingoBard has no ranks in Sense Motive and someone tries to Bluff Bingo, can bingo expect the DM will use his Oratory Perform skill for the challenge? Or is he just out of luck?

Also can we come up with a mechanic to move skill points out of skills made obsolete? How bout:

In the level you activate the versatile performance in question you may move your skill points out of the duplicated skills into other skills, subject to level and other game limitations.

Playing with big holes in your skillset for 12 levels to avoid waste is hard and no fun.

Sigurd

The whole POINT of Versatile Performance is to free up the bard's skill ranks to let him get more bang for his buck. If you have a Versatile Performance that lets you Bluff, then ANY time your character needs to make a Bluff check he can instead make the appropriate Perform check. A GM that doesn't let a bard do so should have a reason and should let the players know that... same as how if a GM decides that wizards can't use ANY weapon or barbarians can't wear ANY armor, he should tell the players.


Thank you for the clarification.

The wording of the ability leaves it in the hands of the bard. That doesn't necessarily help him for involuntary or defensive checks. I appreciate the clarity of your statement.

Sigurd


Sigurd wrote:
... That doesn't necessarily help him for involuntary or defensive checks...

ANY time he needs to make a check he may instead use the perform check... even/especially for involuntary and defensive checks...


That is the right way to interpret it.

Based on the writing, it is also reasonable to assume that the bard must be active in the choice of skills, making all involuntary skill checks follow the same rules as anyone else.

Sigurd

Osirion

Paizo Superscriber
Nethys wrote:
Unless errata is added, the Bard does not need to "Perform" to get the listed bonus, as it is not stated as a requirement anywhere in Versatile Performance.

+1

King of Vrock wrote:
Could Versitile Performance be used to fulfuill pre-reqs for feats and or PrC's???

No

Rubia wrote:

If I'm getting a bonus to Acrobatics say, via the halfling racial ability or the Acrobatics feat, are those also considered to be part of the bonus overwritten by Versatile Performance, or not?

I thought Yes, but JJ says No. So I guess it is something that will end up in the FAQ.

Taldor

James Jacobs wrote:
The whole POINT of Versatile Performance is to free up the bard's skill ranks to let him get more bang for his buck. If you have a Versatile Performance that lets you Bluff, then ANY time your character needs to make a Bluff check he can instead make the appropriate Perform check. A GM that doesn't let a bard do so should have a reason and should let the players know that... same as how if a GM decides that wizards can't use ANY weapon or barbarians can't wear ANY armor, he should tell the players.

James: for Kingmaker I will be creating a clericX/bard2 with skill focus perform oratory (i.e. to replace diplomacy and sense motive via versatile performer). If I take the Persuasive feat, using your "shadow/virtual" ranks analogy, will the +3 from skill focus oratory and +2 from persuasive stack for the purposes of diplomacy checks?

Cheers!

Taldor

Purple Dragon Knight wrote:
James Jacobs wrote:
The whole POINT of Versatile Performance is to free up the bard's skill ranks to let him get more bang for his buck. If you have a Versatile Performance that lets you Bluff, then ANY time your character needs to make a Bluff check he can instead make the appropriate Perform check. A GM that doesn't let a bard do so should have a reason and should let the players know that... same as how if a GM decides that wizards can't use ANY weapon or barbarians can't wear ANY armor, he should tell the players.

James: for Kingmaker I will be creating a clericX/bard2 with skill focus perform oratory (i.e. to replace diplomacy and sense motive via versatile performer). If I take the Persuasive feat, using your "shadow/virtual" ranks analogy, will the +3 from skill focus oratory and +2 from persuasive stack for the purposes of diplomacy checks?

Cheers!

Inner logic has kicked in: the above would be equivalent to taking skill focus diplomacy and persuasive, which stack... so by this way of thinking I guess they stack. The question is would the ultimate cheese of skill focus diplomacy + skill focus oratory stack for +3 each (total +6), and +6 each (total +12) when perform oratory is at 10+ ranks... me say only one skill focus I guess (no more than one bonus of the same type kinda mentality...)


Purple Dragon Knight wrote:
Inner logic has kicked in: the above would be equivalent to taking skill focus diplomacy and persuasive, which stack... so by this way of thinking I guess they stack. The question is would the ultimate cheese of skill focus diplomacy + skill focus oratory stack for +3 each (total +6), and +6 each (total +12) when perform oratory is at 10+ ranks... me say only one skill focus I guess (no more than one bonus of the same type kinda mentality...)

I am wondering about this as well, and am looking for thoughts.

A Con-Artist type Bard w/ Decietful, Perform(Act) and Skill focuses in Bluff & Perform Act would be rather min/max'ish, but is it legal?
Example:
Human, CHA 16, 3 Ranks Perform(Act) Skill Focus Buff, Skill focus Perform(act), Decietful = 3+3+3+3+3+2 = +17 by 3rd level.
10th level = 3+10+3+6+6+4 = +32 ("Hey, Look at the kings new clothes!")

Osirion

As far as I know, no they would not work. Let's assume a level 5 bard with full ranks in Perform (Oratory) and none in Bluff/Diplomacy. Ignoring Charisma and other things, we'd have +8 in Perform, +0 in Bluff/Diplomacy. You can use the Perform roll in place of Bluff or Diplomacy with Versatile, so as a +8. If you get the Persuasive feat, your +8 doesn't improve. You now have a +8 in Perform, and a +2 in Bluff/Diplomacy. So if you want to use Versatile Performance, it's still just a +8.

Now if you took Skill Focus (Perform Oratory) to make it a +11, that'd be the better method. But feats that apply to the skill you're 'replacing' with your Versatile Perform don't help out.


Personally I'd just allow a single Skill focus to be counted in any one check. (so that the two wouldn't stack), and only 1 skill bonus (ex. persuasive) feat on any single check. Basically the same as if to just bought them for 1 skill. My reasoning, a deceptive actor shoud be better at bluffing... for example.

New one for you, along this line of things:
Character wants to perform all of those sideshow, or circus items: fire-eating, juggling, sword swallowing, etc kind of items.
Tempted to just call it: Perform-Sideshow

What two skills would it be closest to for the versitile performer feat. I'm thining Acrobatics and ??????

Taldor

From what I read here I think it's safe to interpret that only one skill focus feat should apply for a given skill check, but that the other bonii are good to go... (using the "virtual ranks" James analogy)

So skill focus peform oratory and persuasive would stack for the purposes of making diplomacy checks via versatile performance...

Cheers! thanks for all the help everyone!


Purple Dragon Knight wrote:

From what I read here I think it's safe to interpret that only one skill focus feat should apply for a given skill check, but that the other bonii are good to go... (using the "virtual ranks" James analogy)

So skill focus peform oratory and persuasive would stack for the purposes of making diplomacy checks via versatile performance...

No they would not stack since persuasive only give a +2 bonus on Diplomacy skill check and you not using diplomacy but peform oratory.

You could however house rule that they stack.

Normaly I would say that more than one skill focus feat can apply.
Skill focus UMD and Magical Aptitude would stack when using UMD.

Osirion

I've been thinking about this a lot. Overall I'd say that, flavor wise, they should overlap and stack, but mechanically, they should not. Here is why.

In one of my games right now I have a halfling bard who focused on charisma. He has 10 ranks each in two Performs (Oratory and Comedy), which gives him 10 + 3 (class) + 6 (charisma) + 1 (luck stone) = +20 in each. This already gives him a GREAT modifier with four other skills. Bluff, Diplomacy, Intimidate, and Sense Motive, he has a +20 in all of them.

There are two problems I have with feats/spells/etc. that give a bonus to the 'replaced' skill being allowed.

1. It gives the Bard an extraordinarily high ability in these skills for very few ranks. Imagine if the bard had taken Persuasive and Skill Focus (Perform [oratory]), two feats he could easily do since he doesn't really spend much on feats as it is. At 10 ranks, it'd be a +6 to the Perform (cranking that up to +26) and a +4 to each of Bluff and Diplomacy. So while his Sense Motive would still just be a +26 from the Perform, his Diplomacy could now be a +30. Even more if he had a specific Diplomacy boosting skill, like Raiment of Command. For just 10 ranks in one skill, Versatile Performance already gives a rather large payback, giving you three times the value for your skill points. Allowing more to stack just seems... excessive.

2. You'll end up splitting hairs on what gives the bonus and what doesn't. A feat that gives a bonus to the 'replaced' skill might apply, but not an instrument for the specific Perform? Why? How is the bard using his VP to replace this skill anyways? It doesn't say he has to perform to use it, but can he? Can a bard with a masterwork flute get a bonus to handle animal by doing the Pan's Piper deal? There's a lot of different bonuses that could or could not apply, and it just seems like there would need to be a lot more adjudicating by the DM then necessary.

In the end, I think I'd just stick with the rule that your total Perform skill just replaces the skill, and feats that applied to said replaced skill wouldn't work. At best, they'd work at half their normal bonus. The bard I mentioned above absolutely loves his +20 to two Performs, Bluff, Diplomacy, Intimidate, and Sense Motive for 20 ranks. I don't really think it needs more.

Actually, as a tertiary option, for those arguing that feats like Persuasive should apply, do you think that the Bard should still get things like Skill Focus (Perform)? The argument one of my friends had was that you get said feats when making the appropriate skill check, and a bard using VP for Diplomacy is now making a Diplomacy skill check, so should get the bonuses. But he's not making a Perform check anymore, so bonuses to Perform shouldn't factor in should they?

Hmm. I might like the tertiary option the best, in truth. It still seems a bit excessive in areas, but at least things like Skill Focus (Perform) and Skill Focus (Diplomacy) wouldn't stack. It'd be one or the other depending on your use.

Taldor

James Jacobs wrote:
Basically... I think of it as basically transplanting your ranks in the perform skill directly into the two other skills as "phantom" ranks that overlap with any ranks you currently have in those other skills. You take the higher of the two and go from there.

James, I have a cleric/bard with versatile performance (oratory - diplomacy/sense motive)

Can I count the Perform Oratory ranks as diplomacy to qualify for Battle Herald or do I need to buy 5 useless ranks in diplomacy (which I won't use because I'm higher than level 5 and I have maxed ranks in Perform Oratory anyhow)

Thank you for your help on these boards; any input here would be greatly appreciated.


Karui Kage wrote:

...

1. It gives the Bard an extraordinarily high ability in these skills for very few ranks. Imagine if the bard had taken Persuasive and Skill Focus (Perform [oratory]), two feats he could easily do since he doesn't really spend much on feats as it is. At 10 ranks, it'd be a +6 to the Perform (cranking that up to +26) and a +4 to each of Bluff and Diplomacy. So while his Sense Motive would still just be a +26 from the Perform, his Diplomacy could now be a +30. Even more if he had a specific Diplomacy boosting skill, like Raiment of Command. For just 10 ranks in one skill, Versatile Performance already gives a rather large payback, giving you three times the value for your skill points. Allowing more to stack just seems... excessive.

VP gives you three skills for the price of one. That was the obvious intention. Complaining that the ability allows them to get three skills for the price of one is along the same lines as complaining that wizards can learn wish.

Karui Kage wrote:


2. You'll end up splitting hairs on what gives the bonus and what doesn't. A feat that gives a bonus to the 'replaced' skill might apply, but not an instrument for the specific Perform? Why? How is the bard using his VP to replace this skill anyways? It doesn't say he has to perform to use it, but can he? Can a bard with a masterwork flute get a bonus to handle animal by doing the Pan's Piper deal? There's a lot of different bonuses that could or could not apply, and it just seems like there would need to be a lot more adjudicating by the DM then necessary.

No hair splitting involved. When you replace the skill check with the VP, you are still making the original check, you are just replacing it with the perform's ranks, ability mod, and +3 for being a class skill. For example, replacing perform (string instrument) for bluff. The persuasive feat gives a +2 bonus because you are making a bluff check. Holding a master-work harp at the time doesn't give you the bonus because you aren't performing.

You don't have to perform to use the skill but flavor wise the bard can say he's using it to if he wants, but this would have no mechanical advantage, it would just be flavor. Sort of like using prestidigitaion to change your hair color.

In your example, he would not get the bonus from the masterwork flute because mechanics wise, he isn't performing, he's doing a handle animal check. If the dm felt like giving him a circumstance bonus that's up to him, but I see no mechanical reason to.


Purple Dragon Knight wrote:
James Jacobs wrote:
Basically... I think of it as basically transplanting your ranks in the perform skill directly into the two other skills as "phantom" ranks that overlap with any ranks you currently have in those other skills. You take the higher of the two and go from there.

James, I have a cleric/bard with versatile performance (oratory - diplomacy/sense motive)

Can I count the Perform Oratory ranks as diplomacy to qualify for Battle Herald or do I need to buy 5 useless ranks in diplomacy (which I won't use because I'm higher than level 5 and I have maxed ranks in Perform Oratory anyhow)

Thank you for your help on these boards; any input here would be greatly appreciated.

VP doesn't actually give you ranks in the skill, it just makes you act as if you had them. You would need the useless diplomacy ranks to qualify for prestige classes requiring them.

Qadira

Personally I would allow the perform ranks to qualify based on the philosophy of versatile performance mentioned by James Jacobs further up the thread.

James Jacobs wrote:

The whole POINT of Versatile Performance is to free up the bard's skill ranks to let him get more bang for his buck.

.....

The point of the ability is to basically give the Bard the ability to spread out his skill ranks more efficiently. This, plus the way bards use knowledge skills now, are meant to make them one of the better skill classes. We could, I suppose, have gone a "lazy" route and simply given them 10 skill ranks/level, but this way feels more interesting and it places a larger amount of focus on the Perform skill, which is important.

I don't think the class should be punished for a design idea that uses the performances as a flavourful replacement for increased skill ranks.

I don't wish to put words in James' mouth though so I hope he might wade in on this again.

I think it is also a shame that this was never done...

James Jacobs wrote:

One thing I'm gonna try to get into the Advanced player's Guide is some sort of mechanic that allows a bard to "cash out" any skill ranks he spent on skills that, later on, get "replaced" by a versatile performance.

Similar to how a sorcerer can unlearn a spell, really.

Perhaps you he could instead get badger his colleagues into some errata to make this official.

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