Possible oversight: Bard Archaeologist doesn't get Disable Device as class skill?


Rules Questions


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The Archaeologist archetype for Bard grants Clever Explorer, which functions similarly to a Rogue's Trapfinding class feature.

However, the Bard does not have Disable Device as a class skill, and the archetype doesn't appear to grant it, which is sort of odd. Was this an oversight or intentional?

Sovereign Court

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They get a bonus to the skill that quickly surpasses the class skill trained bonus of +3 so it is likely not an oversight.


I've noticed this too. In my house game my player and I agreed he'd give up Perform as a class skill and get Disable Device instead. Probably not a huge deal, but that +3 can make a difference at low levels.

FAQ'ed.


@Morgen:

It doesn't give any more of a bonus than any other class\archetype that grants it. And as far as I can find, the only class archetypes that don't add Disable Device to the class skill list (assuming they don't already have it) come from Bard.

Examples: Ranger - Urban Ranger and Trapper, Oracle - Seeker, and Sorcerer - Seeker all grant trapfinding, and also separately grant Disable Device.

It seems an inconsistency to me.

[edit]
To clarify, it does give some functionality that Trapfinding does not; it speeds up the ability to disable devices. However, it also foregoes the ability to disable magical traps until 6th level; that already sort of internally balances the speedier disabling it grants.

Sovereign Court

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Ugh you guys some times with these FAQ's...

You don't get your Clever Explorer ability until 2nd level. You can't actually do anything about magical traps (the actual trap finding equivalent) until 6th level which by that point hey guess what your Clever Explorer ability gives you a +3 bonus. An it gets better from there.

Rules Text wrote:
Clever Explorer (Ex): At 2nd level, an archaeologist gains a bonus equal to half his class level on Disable Device and Perception checks. He can disable intricate and complex devices in half the normal amount of time (minimum 1 round) and open a lock as a standard action. At 6th level, an archaeologist can take 10 on Disable Device checks, even if distracted or endangered, and can disarm magical traps. This ability replaces the versatile performance ability.

@Xaratherus - Those classes (I'm not checking them all, Urban Ranger did. You do the rest of the work if that's your counter-point) just get trap finding. By 8th level an Archeologist is better then them without a class skill bonus. +4. By 16th they're +8. They don't need another +3.


Morgen wrote:

Ugh you guys some times with these FAQ's...

You don't get your Clever Explorer ability until 2nd level. You can't actually do anything about magical traps (the actual trap finding equivalent) until 6th level which by that point hey guess what your Clever Explorer ability gives you a +3 bonus. An it gets better from there.

Rules Text wrote:
Clever Explorer (Ex): At 2nd level, an archaeologist gains a bonus equal to half his class level on Disable Device and Perception checks. He can disable intricate and complex devices in half the normal amount of time (minimum 1 round) and open a lock as a standard action. At 6th level, an archaeologist can take 10 on Disable Device checks, even if distracted or endangered, and can disarm magical traps. This ability replaces the versatile performance ability.
@Xaratherus - Those classes (I'm not checking them all, Urban Ranger did. You do the rest of the work if that's your counter-point) just get trap finding. By 8th level an Archeologist is better then them without a class skill bonus. +4. By 16th they're +8. They don't need another +3.

I'm going to ignore the belittling tone and just point out the mistakes in what you're saying.

Trapfinding in general - including the examples that I gave (which I did check; I wouldn't have included them as counterpoints had I not) - grants the same bonus to Disable Device and Perception that Clever Explorer does. As a courtesy I'll include them all below so you can compare:

Trapfinding:
A rogue adds 1/2 her level to Perception skill checks made to locate traps and to Disable Device skill checks (minimum +1). A rogue can use Disable Device to disarm magic traps.

Clever Explorer:
Clever Explorer (Ex): At 2nd level, an archaeologist gains a bonus equal to half his class level on Disable Device and Perception checks. He can disable intricate and complex devices in half the normal amount of time (minimum 1 round) and open a lock as a standard action. At 6th level, an archaeologist can take 10 on Disable Device checks, even if distracted or endangered, and can disarm magical traps. This ability replaces the versatile performance ability.

So that means that they are exactly equal in bonus - or they would be, except they don't get the class skill bonus. And yes, before you ask, this is true for the archetype abilities I listed above (Urban Ranger, Trapper, Seeker, and Seeker).

Ignoring the relevant ability modifiers, a 10th level Rogue with max ranks in Disable Device and Perception will have an 18 (10 ranks + 3 class skill bonus + 5 Trapfinding bonus); a 10th level Bard Archaeologist will have a 15 (10 ranks + 5 trapfinding bonus).

So no, the Archaeologist isn't better without having the class skill; he's exactly the class skill behind.

Now, there's (arguably) two things Clever Explorer grants that Trapfinding does not:

First, he can more quickly disable complex devices than someone with Trapfinding, and may be able to pick locks more quickly.

Second, the Perception bonus granted by Trapfinding is implied to only apply to finding traps, whereas Clever Explorer doesn't appear to limit it in such a way. It's possible that this was an unintentional oversight as well, although thematically allowing it in general could make sense.

Neither of those offsets the penalty of not being able to disable magical traps until 6th level - nor do they rationalize why, out of all* of the archetypes that grant the ability to find and disarm traps, it doesn't grant the skill as a class skill.

Thank you for bumping the thread, by the way.

*That I have checked - in this case, the ones I have listed; I've looked at several others (for Alchemist specifically) and they don't - but Alchemist gets Disable Device as a class skill already.


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It's fully intentional that they don't get it.


Cheapy wrote:
It's fully intentional that they don't get it.

Thanks Cheapy. Not sure that I agree with it being 'balanced' for what they give up (Versatile Performance is pretty darn potent), but that can be fixed via house rules if needed. If Russ's response is certain then this'll get 'No Response Required' (if anything).


Well, Russ was the original author for this archetype, and while he can't speak for the Pathfinder Design Team, he was the guy who sent it in without the Disable Device skill added to the class skill list :)


Cheapy wrote:
Well, Russ was the original author for this archetype, and while he can't speak for the Pathfinder Design Team, he was the guy who sent it in without the Disable Device skill added to the class skill list :)

Pfft, like being the creator of the archetype means he knows anything ;)

j/k, I wasn't aware that he created it. I like the concept; just as a personal tweak, since the Archaeologist doesn't get any Bardic Performance I might have granted it DD and then just taken away Perform as a class skill.


A Bard is not a Rogue. So it definitely smells intentional to me that they be a bit behind rogue on Disable Device as a result, especially when the math equals out to exactly the Disable Device class skill bonus.

He may be able to do it faster, but not BETTER. That's classic Bard. Now, whether that's worth the price of Versatile Performance, that's a different story.

Liberty's Edge

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Rulebook, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

And once the bard gets to 16th level s/he gets the class skill bonus anyway, so if you can hold out until then....


@Barry Armstrong: Well, my comparison was less to the Rogue and more to, say, the Ranger (Trapper and Urban Ranger), Sorcerer (Seeker), and Oracle (Seeker), who all have archetypes that grant them trapfinding (or a functional equivalent) - as well as granting them Disable Device skill as a class skill.

It just seemed inconsistent based on that comparison. But c'est la vie, I'm 99% certain at this point that this will come back (if at all) as "No response required".


@ Xaratherus: Yep. I understand. And your comparison was definitely relevant, since those archetypes and their abilities have the same mechanical functionality, and on the surface Bard seems to be "missing" the class skill addition, but the other classes give pretty much standard Trapfinding. The Bard Archetype's ability is a bit better, so they balanced it off by subtracting the class skill bonus. That makes it fall a few points behind Rogue and the others, but at a faster rate.

Again, classic Bard move. Jack of All Trades, master of none.


The reason was actually word count, from what I remember taking with Russ about. But he thought it fit. Same goes for the fact they archaeologists still can't cast silent spells


Cheapy wrote:
The reason was actually word count, from what I remember taking with Russ about. But he thought it fit. Same goes for the fact they archaeologists still can't cast silent spells

I hate how word count would actually play into semantics being left out of a rules book. I understand it, from a publisher's perspective, but it doesn't mean we have to like it.


Or do what I do. Take a level in Urban Ranger early on. +1 BAB, +2 Ref and Fort Saves, Track, Favored Enemy, Same number of Skill Points, almost all the skills as Class Skills (including your Disable Device), Wild Empathy?, and Martial Weapon Prof and Medium Armor Prof.

All that for 1 level of delayed abilities and 1 level of spellcasting. You don't even lose out on a capstone because Archaeologists don't get Bardic Performance (Deadly Performance).

Now your only problem is that 2nd level of Urban Ranger is very tempting with the Combat Style feat.

You could do a level of rogue and get even better Trapfinding (stacks and min +1), sneak attack, and more skill points, but it doesn't seem quite as good.


Barry Armstrong wrote:
Cheapy wrote:
The reason was actually word count, from what I remember taking with Russ about. But he thought it fit. Same goes for the fact they archaeologists still can't cast silent spells
I hate how word count would actually play into semantics being left out of a rules book. I understand it, from a publisher's perspective, but it doesn't mean we have to like it.

Agreed. Had the feature included just a few-word blurb (something like "The Archaeologist might not be as proficient as a Rogue, but he makes up for it in speed.") I probably would have assumed the class skill was omitted on purpose.

Sovereign Court

Wow, totally blanked on the other like 2/3rds of Trap Finding. My bad. Shouldn't try to post things while attempting to leave for somewhere apparently.

Glad to see that the Archaeologist is working as intended.

Scarab Sages

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The good news is, it's not a huge deal. There will just continue to be a lot of Vagabond Child Archaeologists running around.

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