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RPG Superstar 2015

Skill Focus: What and Why?


Advice

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When have you used this feat and what skill and why?


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Bluff, for feinting. Almost every rogue character I have that gets to around 12th level...

Plus Use Magic Device for low-Charisma characters.


This skill is 'great' for upping a Bards social abilities(among others) through versatile performance. Just skill focus the performance type in question and you're golden.

That said, I still have yet to properly fathom how a bard manages converting their ability to sing into, "I see through your lies fool, now lets see how well you perceive mine mwahahaha!"

Dancing as acrobatics and flight management makes sorta sense.


Perception - Because seeing everything is about the most powerful thing as a low lvl character.

UMD - the faster you can get to 20 the better.

Various other skills - usually because it is a pre-req for something.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion, Maps, Modules, Pawns, Roleplaying Game, Tales Subscriber

Goblin rogue for Skill Focus (Stealth): Dex 16(bought)for Dex of 20, Size +4, Racial +4, Skill Focus +3, Class Skill +3, Trait Bonus +1 (chose trait to give +1 Stealth) for a Stealth of +20 at level 1, =)


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion, Maps, Modules, Pawns, Roleplaying Game, Tales Subscriber

Doh, and 1 rank for +21


I do use it fairly frequently. But mostly when I'm creating NPCs or very special monstrous BBEGs. I've applied it to various skills. It really depends on what I think is lacking in terms of what I need the NPC to be good at, mostly for background or plot reasons.

I guess it's because when I construct a character like that, I tend to be very good with economy of abilities and feats, etc. But I also construct organically, spending skill ranks in ways that accentuate what might have been the character's natural life progression. That might leave me in the end with some skill or skill-reliant feature that needs boosting for plot reasons, but also with an extra feat slot left over. So the two problems solve themselves.

I guess it's just a matter of personal style.


Every Rogue I make I feel it is their job to find traps and disable them. So find and disable device are two feats I always get, and if I get to the higher levels I top it off with Alertness and Deft Hands. Drives my GMs insane as I seem to JUST destroy all secrets, including ambushes.

"Oh never mind me, I have made a DC 40 check on perception with a 5 roll, at level 10; oh and that is automatic free action for traps."


I'm currently playing in Skull & Shackles as a Half-Elf Rogue.

I took Skill Focus (Perception) to help with trap-spotting and to make sure i could see far away. Then later on at 5th-level i got Skill Focus (Profession: Sailor) to increase my skill at piloting my ship.

I've also taken Skill Focus for Use Magic Device and Disable Device as a Rogue.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Modules Subscriber
Tiny Coffee Golem wrote:
When have you used this feat and what skill and why?

Intimidate.

Used for builds which employ Cornugon Smash and especially Dreadful Carnage. Of course, that's only when there's room for Skill Focus AND Untimidating Prowess.

I also use it as pre-requisites for Eldritch Heritage feats.


Knowledge _____ -> Eldritch heritage, Arcane.


I've taken Diplomacy because I was a Paladin who really wanted to avoid combat if possible, and was all about converting evil to good (or at least neutral) as much as possible. That same Paladin (of Shelyn) also took it in Perform (Dance). Fit her character.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion, Maps, Roleplaying Game Subscriber

Perception.

I have an empyreal sorcerer character with a +43 Perception modifier and the Eagle Eyes feat. That means, under normal conditions, he can hear a bow string being drawn from nearly 250 feet away without even needing to roll a check. If he rolls, on average, he will hear it from nearly 350 feet away.

He can hear the details of a conversation from over 250 feet distant, while sleeping behind a closed door, surrounded by party goers (severe conditions), and having lucid dreams (distracted), without needing to roll the dice.

Obviously, not much gets past his notice. Ever.


Intimidate
Stealth
Perception

I have made a character and used the feat twice.....


Acrobatics on a Lorewarden fighter because I love crushing critical hits with a skill check.


spellcraft. At least in an evil party. The guy who can identify all the magic items will rule any party where helping each other is a rare and jealously guarded commodity, rather than the norm.

Star Voter 2013

Threeshades wrote:
spellcraft. At least in an evil party. The guy who can identify all the magic items will rule any party where helping each other is a rare and jealously guarded commodity, rather than the norm.

and get backstabed :p


Ravingdork wrote:

Perception.

I have an empyreal sorcerer character with a +43 Perception modifier and the Eagle Eyes feat. That means, under normal conditions, he can hear a bow string being drawn from nearly 250 feet away without even needing to roll a check. If he rolls, on average, he will hear it from nearly 350 feet away.

He can hear the details of a conversation from over 250 feet distant, while sleeping behind a closed door, surrounded by party goers (severe conditions), and having lucid dreams (distracted), without needing to roll the dice.

Obviously, not much gets past his notice. Ever.

Must be hard for him to fall asleep. Or does he have one of those sensory-deprivation tanks like Daredevil?


I just took Skill Focus (Sense Motive) with my social-rogue, because Sense Motive is actually pretty tough to raise compared to many of the other skills I care about. I can't cast perceive cues unless it's from a scroll or wand, and the Sense Motive-boosting items are for the most part quite expensive, because of their additional effects beyond a +5 competence bonus to Sense Motive, additional effects I don't really care about.

-Matt

Liberty's Edge

I can see skill focus being useful in a few ways.

First, obviously, to push one of your scores "over the top." Have fun removing an element of challenge from your game, lol.

Second, adding a boost to otherwise non-central skills that your character would like to use, and maybe have some ranks in, but not burn points on every level (some skills work just fine at 10 ranks; experiment and pay attention to your campaign style.)

Third, as an element of flavor, similar to Bruunwald's suggestion. To rationalize it, you could explain it as a talent of your character that he never really devoted himself to mastering, but is still gifted in. Could come in handy at times when just a successful, though not outstanding, check would work, or would give the DM enough storytelling meat to make something interesting happen. This is my preferred application of skill focus.


I have chosen it twice. Once with intimidate for a halfling fighter, and the second with profession lumberjack for another fighter. Granted, the second fighter was not altogether a serious character. His name was Lincoln Logg. Fortunately, the DM let me have some fun by using my profession skill in place of some other skills when we came across a lumberjack camp.

Lantern Lodge

Pathfinder Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Modules, Roleplaying Game Subscriber

Both Perception and Stealth on scouty companion-critters. If you have, say, a Summoner with a reduced-power eidolon [such as the Broodmaster or Master Summoner], you can tack on the Skilled evolution for those two skills and end up with a virtual ninja companion at 10th level. Keep the critter Small or smaller for the size bonus to Stealth, and you're golden.

As long as you're not using the little guy for combat, why not make him the best little scout he can be? Add Scent and Tremorsense or Blindsense, and you have one heck of an alarm system.


only for eldritch heritage. i always think about it but then realize there is a better feat to take to make my character more effective at whatever it is he does.

but i MIGHT take it on my rogue for a +6 bonus to sleight of hand (post lvl 10) when he eventually gets to use sleight of hand as a replacement for CMB checks to disarm people, but he will already be very good at it by then (he already has +19 at level 4 with items)


Stockvillain wrote:

Both Perception and Stealth on scouty companion-critters. If you have, say, a Summoner with a reduced-power eidolon [such as the Broodmaster or Master Summoner], you can tack on the Skilled evolution for those two skills and end up with a virtual ninja companion at 10th level. Keep the critter Small or smaller for the size bonus to Stealth, and you're golden.

As long as you're not using the little guy for combat, why not make him the best little scout he can be? Add Scent and Tremorsense or Blindsense, and you have one heck of an alarm system.

Sadly, it vanishes when you sleep :/

Dark Archive

I can see as many uses for this feat as there are character concepts. I've only ever used it twice. Once on a fighter for acrobatics. I pretended it made acrobatics a class skill, with an added bonus once I hit 10 ranks. The other time was on an item crafting wizard for spellcraft. I wanted to make anything regardless of how many spells it required that I didn't or couldn't know.


The two most useful skills in the game are perception and use magic device. They are really about the only two that are worth boosting with a feat unless you have some very specific concept in mind and really want to pump up some other skill for that character. In that case I don't think you would be asking the question of when it would be used and why.

Personally the only time I have ever used a feat for skill focus was for Use Magic Device.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Modules Subscriber
Adamantine Dragon wrote:

The two most useful skills in the game are perception and use magic device. They are really about the only two that are worth boosting with a feat unless you have some very specific concept in mind and really want to pump up some other skill for that character. In that case I don't think you would be asking the question of when it would be used and why.

Personally the only time I have ever used a feat for skill focus was for Use Magic Device.

I seriously think people underestimate feats like Cornugon Smash and Dreadful Carnage - a free action to inflict the Shaken condition with every attack... the penalty to saves alone is worth it.

Grand Lodge

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Acrobatics and UMD are my top uses for this feat.

Acrobatics because now acrobatics isn't a given anymore (which is a GOOD thing) so I take this for characters that want to do this.

UMD because...well it's UMD. Being able to use giantform 2 scrolls as a fighter kicks ass.


a rogue with use magic device can use scrolls and wands ect, being able to cast up to 6th lv spells is pretty good imo. give or take a lv or two


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Captain Sir Hexen Ineptus wrote:

Every Rogue I make I feel it is their job to find traps and disable them. So find and disable device are two feats I always get, and if I get to the higher levels I top it off with Alertness and Deft Hands. Drives my GMs insane as I seem to JUST destroy all secrets, including ambushes.

"Oh never mind me, I have made a DC 40 check on perception with a 5 roll, at level 10; oh and that is automatic free action for traps."

I did this with a bard/rogue/arcane trickster I played. By the time we hit 10th level, Perception rolls became an ongoing joke at the table:

GM: "Make a Perception roll."
Paladin: "12"
Druid: "16"
Ranger: "23"
Sorcerer: "19"
Me: "Dammit, I'm rolling low. 40."

And then there was the time we explored a building that was largely abandoned. I still went for Perception checks when we opened doors.

GM: "You sense silence."
GM: "You sense an expectant silence."
GM: "You sense a disturbing silence."
GM: "You sense a haunting silence."
GM: "I'm running out of adjectives."


Sense Motive for Snake Style characters.

I also have a character who's a Magus but is big on Disguise. He doesn't have it as a class skill nor will he have that much charisma, so Skill Focus is a necessity.


I have personally only taken this feat once (a 1st level human fighter who used it for profession lumberjack), but in a very casual gaming group where optimization isn't neccessary, or for specific builds that need the bonus to tip the balance in their favor, I can see this feat being selected more often.

Scarab Sages

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Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion, Roleplaying Game Subscriber

I would only take it as a prerequisite for Eldritich Heritage, or as a racial bonus.

It's useful, but it's not worth a feat when you can take a trait for the same effect and make it a class skill at the same time.

Star Voter 2015

I once made a Human Barbarian with Focused Study to get Skill Focus for free later as I was taking it at level 1 anyway. It was Heart of the Slums, Child of the Streets, Deft Hands, Skill Focus: Sleight of Hand, 20 dexterity to get +17 at level 1. I was proving a point that the class on the top of your sheet isn't a description of your job in the party.


In seriousness, I like to take Skill Focus when I'm building a character who, well, focuses on a skill. For a vanilla bard, Skill Focus is one heck of a force multiplier. Put it in the appropriate Perform skill, and you just gave yourself a +3 bonus (+6 bonus at level 10) in three different skills. For other characters, I take the feat as a mix of RP and making my character the best at what he does. Yes, I know that spending a feat for RP purposes is not optimizing, but I really enjoy being the guy in the party whose best at a particular skill, even if I'm a gnome with Skill Focus (Profession [butler])


Ciaran Barnes, I find it amusing that 1.5 years ago you stated you have taken it twice and yet 1 hour ago you stated you have only taken it once. Was your Halfling intimidate build unmemorable? :D


I guess I tend to use this on characters that I focus a build around a particular skill. For instance, not long ago I had the idea on making a sleight of hand expert, so this is an obvious choice.

Of course Perception is always good and if I didn't have anything else I wanted to do with my character, I would probably think about upping that.

Marathon Voter 2013

Pathfinder Campaign Setting, Companion Subscriber
Ravingdork wrote:

I have an empyreal sorcerer character with a +43 Perception modifier and the Eagle Eyes feat. That means, under normal conditions, he can hear a bow string being drawn from nearly 250 feet away without even needing to roll a check. If he rolls, on average, he will hear it from nearly 350 feet away.

I would love to see that breakdown. I think the highest Perception check in our (8th level) party is about +26, and that's a Ranger with his favored enemy/terrain bonuses included, and an adjacent Bodyguard type animal companion. Granted, the Ranger's WIS is pretty low and he hasn't taken Skill Focus or Eagle Eyes...


ConnorElzaim wrote:

That said, I still have yet to properly fathom how a bard manages converting their ability to sing into, "I see through your lies fool, now lets see how well you perceive mine mwahahaha!"

Dancing as acrobatics and flight management makes sorta sense.

Comedy, oratory, and Acting also make some degree of sense. I mean, those all involve manipulating words and appearances to varying degrees, so the attached skills are generally appropriate.

Percussion, string, wind, and keyboard instruments are a bit harder to justify, especially when you are not actually using them (I mean, I can see intimidate for drums and keyboard...via a nice Phantom-of-the-Opera style pipe organ... when you are using them, for a nice bit of spectacle...)


Pathfinder Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Comics Subscriber; Pathfinder Campaign Setting, Roleplaying Game, Tales Subscriber

For some truly incredible descriptions of how bardic abilities can work, read The Dagger of Trust. Very impressive descriptions for inspiration, spell-casting, etc.

Sczarni

I have used it 3 times for 2 of my pfs characters.

My vanilla fighter has it on perception. At 11th lvl he has a +18 perception. Not as high as others can get it but I got tired of being surprised at very easy lvls.

My summoner has skill focus in umd and diplomacy. I am building him as a walking diplomatic umd check. By 8th lvl he will have a +19 umb bonus and will be able to use any wand (up to lvl 4 spell) he wants as long as he knows the command word. He is also being built to easily change people's attitudes. Basically, I wanted him to be useful after/before summoning his eidolon.

My lvl 1 wizard does have it with spellcraft but I may change that when he hits lvl 2.

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber

Skill Focus: Diplomacy on my half-elf Life Oracle.

Skill Focus: Perform(Oratory) on my bard.


lemeres wrote:
ConnorElzaim wrote:

That said, I still have yet to properly fathom how a bard manages converting their ability to sing into, "I see through your lies fool, now lets see how well you perceive mine mwahahaha!"

Dancing as acrobatics and flight management makes sorta sense.

Comedy, oratory, and Acting also make some degree of sense. I mean, those all involve manipulating words and appearances to varying degrees, so the attached skills are generally appropriate.

Percussion, string, wind, and keyboard instruments are a bit harder to justify, especially when you are not actually using them (I mean, I can see intimidate for drums and keyboard...via a nice Phantom-of-the-Opera style pipe organ... when you are using them, for a nice bit of spectacle...)

"Pardon me, let me get my big organ out of my bag of holding."

Liberty's Edge Star Voter 2015

TriOmegaZero wrote:
Skill Focus: Perform(Oratory) on my bard.

I did this one on my LE Drow Bard. He was immensely charming, and always sad when the forces of Good refused to just stop and talk about this like reasonable people...;)

I took Skill Focus (Diplomacy) and several other Diplomacy enhancers on my Heavens Oracle character intended to be the friendliest guy ever (I think I had a +14 or so at 1st level...which isn't maxed, but not too shabby either) that I made for a Jade Regent game that never quite materialized.

I would take it on most non-archer Bards at some point, and probably occasionally on other characters for either prerequisites or a character focused very strongly on a particular skill or three (Focused Study...which is how the Oracle got it).


Gauss wrote:
Ciaran Barnes, I find it amusing that 1.5 years ago you stated you have taken it twice and yet 1 hour ago you stated you have only taken it once. Was your Halfling intimidate build unmemorable? :D

Holy moly. Do I know you? I did make a halfling fighter as one of my first 3rd edition characters! He was very large for his size.


Arizhel wrote:
Knowledge _____ -> Eldritch heritage, Arcane.

Pretty much this.


K177Y C47 wrote:
Arizhel wrote:
Knowledge _____ -> Eldritch heritage, Arcane.
Pretty much this.

Kn: Planes on a 1/2 Elf, Racial Heritage: Kobold, Dragon Disciple so I can get Eldritch Heritage: Abyssal.


I took it back when Concentration was a skill ... I think that's about it.


SF: concentration was better overall than combat casting.


Ciaran Barnes,

Nope, you don't know me. You wrote it earlier in this thread which is why I found it amusing. :)

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