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Scent & Magic


Rules Questions


I'm playing a ratfolk swashtigator in Carrion Crown, and I was curious about his scent ability. Scent specifies that water, especially running water, ruins the trail for air-breathing creatures. However, water-breathing creatures can use Scent in the water easily.

RAW; If I were to imbibe a water-breathing potion, or adorn a magic item that grants such an ability, would my Scent ability remain functional underwater, or would it be null considering my character has no experience doing such a thing underwater?


I would say no as the spell doesn't really change you into a "water breathing creature." Rather it just grants you the ability to breathe underwater. Typically spells don't do more than they say they do.

Shadow Lodge

Pathfinder Card Game Subscriber

Scent, CRB Special Ability PRD:
Scent
This extraordinary ability lets a creature detect approaching enemies, sniff out hidden foes, and track by sense of smell.
A creature with the scent ability can detect opponents by sense of smell, generally within 30 feet. If the opponent is upwind, the range is 60 feet. If it is downwind, the range is 15 feet. Strong scents, such as smoke or rotting garbage, can be detected at twice the ranges noted above. Overpowering scents, such as skunk musk or troglodyte stench, can be detected at three times these ranges.
The creature detects another creature's presence but not its specific location. Noting the direction of the scent is a move action. If the creature moves within 5 feet (1 square) of the scent's source, the creature can pinpoint the area that the source occupies, even if it cannot be seen.
A creature with the Survival skill and the scent ability can follow tracks by smell, making a Survival check to find or follow a track. A creature with the scent ability can attempt to follow tracks using Survival untrained. The typical DC for a fresh trail is 10. The DC increases or decreases depending on how strong the quarry's odor is, the number of creatures, and the age of the trail. For each hour that the trail is cold, the DC increases by 2. The ability otherwise follows the rules for the Survival skill in regards to tracking. Creatures tracking by scent ignore the effects of surface conditions and poor visibility.
Creatures with the scent ability can identify familiar odors just as humans do familiar sights.
Water, particularly running water, ruins a trail for air-breathing creatures. Water-breathing creatures that have the scent ability, however, can use it in the water easily.
False, powerful odors can easily mask other scents. The presence of such an odor completely spoils the ability to properly detect or identify creatures, and the base Survival DC to track becomes 20 rather than 10.

I'd have to agree that water breathing does not change your type to aquatic or amphibious(which would be a water-breathing creature).
The spell does say, "The transmuted creatures can breathe water freely. ", so hmmm... is it a functional or type requirement.
* As a functional requirement it works.
* As a type requirement it does not.
* From a fairness standpoint, the creature does have the Scent ability. So if they had been the correct type it would be a yes.
* checking Water Lung(Su) no help.
* checking Pearl of Sirens (wondrous item) yes, it would work.
* With the general rule of Transmutation(polymorph) being nerfed, I'd have to say no. I'm somewhat on the fence and had the CRB said aquatic or amphibious I'd feel better about that distinction. In my home game I would allow it.

Scent(Ex), Bestiary PRD:
Scent (Ex) This special quality allows a creature to detect approaching enemies, sniff out hidden foes, and track by sense of smell. Creatures with the scent ability can identify familiar odors just as humans do familiar sights.

The creature can detect opponents within 30 feet by sense of smell. If the opponent is upwind, the range increases to 60 feet; if downwind, it drops to 15 feet. Strong scents, such as smoke or rotting garbage, can be detected at twice the ranges noted above. Overpowering scents, such as skunk musk or troglodyte stench, can be detected at triple normal range.

When a creature detects a scent, the exact location of the source is not revealed—only its presence somewhere within range. The creature can take a move action to note the direction of the scent. When the creature is within 5 feet of the source, it pinpoints the source's location.

A creature with the scent ability can follow tracks by smell, making a Wisdom (or Survival) check to find or follow a track. The typical DC for a fresh trail is 10 (no matter what kind of surface holds the scent). This DC increases or decreases depending on how strong the quarry's odor is, the number of creatures, and the age of the trail. For each hour that the trail is cold, the DC increases by 2. The ability otherwise follows the rules for the Survival skill. Creatures tracking by scent ignore the effects of surface conditions and poor visibility.

Shadow Lodge

Hey, if you can inhale the water you can still smell it. I'd let that work. (I may require you to play the theme to jaws though)

Shadow Lodge

I agree with Azothath that it's ambiguous. "Aquatic creature" would make it more clear. "Water breathing creature" could mean "a creature that innately breathes water (such that its scent apparatus is designed to work in those conditions)" or "any creature currently able to breathe water (such that it is able to inhale water)."

I'd lean towards being permissive but I would understand other GMs ruling conservatively.

Shadow Lodge

Pathfinder Card Game Subscriber

No mention of senses or modifiers are made for aquatic terrain. There are environmental issues as usual.

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