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I know this doesn't fall entirely under PFS ruling, so feel free to flag this for the Rules forum, but I would like to see this clarified for PFS in specific so I don't have to ask every GM for their opinion on each individual skill and situation (essentially, I would like to see a PFS houserule on how this functions until errata or a general FAQ is provided).
For those less in the loop: spiritualist phantoms can either manifest in ectoplasmic or incorporeal form, or remain within their spiritualist's subconscious. It is unclear and nebulous at best what they can do while not manifested, other than use some class abilities.
The reason I bring this up is the Exciter archetype from Horror Adventures. Said archetype loses the ability to manifest their phantom at all - it is permanently confined to their subconscious. This got me to analyzing what, if anything at all, the phantom can do to help the spiritualist.
It is unclear what a phantom even does while it's not manifested. Is it conscious? Can it communicate with its spiritualist? Presumably it does not have senses and cannot communicate with or observe the world around the spiritualist even if it is conscious. If it is conscious, it should be able to use its link ability to communicate with its spiritualist.
All of the below would be assumed to be communicated to the spiritualist only, and all of the descriptions of assistance below would be to the spiritualist only as well.
- Any sort of physical action on the phantom's part (Climb, Acrobatics, Stealth, so on)
- Perception and Sense Motive (the phantom doesn't physically exist (?) so it doesn't have senses and can't observe anything)
If not out, at least mostly useless:
- UMD and Spellcraft (I can't recall seeing a situation where the former could be aided at; the phantom can't cast Detect Magic and therefore would rarely be of use in the latter)
Requires GM fiat:
- Assisting on Diplomacy, Intimidate, and Bluff rolls (the spiritualist could mentally repeat everything that has been discussed or, in the case of Intimidate, tell the phantom what is going on; the phantom would dictate what is said in response and how, or just give points and counterpoints)
- Assisting on Disable Device rolls that do not need to be done in a hurry (the phantom could offer assistance based on the spiritualist's description)
- Knowledge rolls to identify creatures in combat with a penalty and maybe an ingame time delay (similarly to how some GMs allow PCs to identify creatures based on physical descriptions or their names with a penalty)
Requires GM fiat but (hopefully) sounds reasonable:
- Knowledge rolls that are not for identifying creatures in combat, maybe with a penalty or ingame time delay (the spiritualist can explain to the phantom what they're trying to remember details on)
- Linguistics, Heal, and Appraise rolls that do not have to be done in a hurry, maybe with a penalty and with an ingame time delay (the spiritualist can explain to the phantom what they are observing and the phantom can deduce based on the description)
Naturally, all of this is pointless speculation if it is ruled that a non-manifested phantom is not conscious and can do nothing while not manifested, or that a phantom is conscious and can communicate with its spiritualist but regardless cannot roll skill checks of any kind.
Comments are welcome and indeed much desired. I presume most answers to this topic will be "GM fiat" and "expect table variation", but I'd love to see at least a basic clarification on whether skills can be rolled at all or not. (Okay, what I actually presume is that I've just somehow overlooked a portion of Occult Adventures where all of this is explained and someone will point it out to me within five minutes, causing me great shame.)