Why are the non-combat blessings limitated ?


Rules Questions and Gameplay Discussion

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I was checking the blessing and noticed the combat ones use : "skill based combat check", while the non combat one use "skill check".

This means a blessing of Gorum could be used on a strength or mêlée combat check but a blessing of Irori could be used on an intelligence check but not on an intelligence based knowledge check...

Seems a bit unfair and limitating, no ?


I don't think this is the correct interpretation...

The "Xyz-based combat check" is a wording that is used for combat checks since there's no COMBAT skill as such.

When you are testing KNOWLEDGE and your character's KNOWLEDGE is defined as INT + 2 then you can play any boons that boost EITHER Knowledge or Intelligence checks. In this circumstance I'm pretty sure the Blessing of Irori would add 2 dice for your Intelligence-based Knowledge check

On the other hand, if your character does not have KNOWLEDGE on their character sheet (so they roll 1d4) or their KNOWLEDGE is defined as something odd like STR + 2 then you would not be able to play INT based boons and Irori would only add 1 die.

Pathfinder Adventure Card Game Designer

We're going to be putting a rule in the book that says something like "If you're using a skill's die, it counts as a use of that skill." Still getting the wording right on that.


By the rules as they are actually written a Knowledge skill check is NOT an Intelligence skill check, you can't use one for the other or default one for the other. Knowledge could use the Intelligence Basic die that doesn't mean you are allowed to use something that boost speciffically an Intelligence check to boost a knowledge check, different skills, different check.

Now, I would love when Mike put that change in the book.

Pathfinder Adventure Card Game Designer

Just to be clear, I am not saying a Knowledge check is an Intelligence check. I am saying that if you specifically roll your Intelligence die for a check, it's an Intelligence-based check.

Like I said, complicated wording.


@Nathaniel - perhaps think of it like this: if your KNOWLEDGE is defined as "INT + 2" it means that things that boost your INT also boost your KNOWLEDGE.

A Knowledge check is still a Knowledge check, it's just that in some circumstances you can play things that boost either the sub-skill or the parent skill.


h4ppy wrote:

@Nathaniel - perhaps think of it like this: if your KNOWLEDGE is defined as "INT + 2" it means that things that boost your INT also boost your KNOWLEDGE.

A Knowledge check is still a Knowledge check, it's just that in some circumstances you can play things that boost either the sub-skill or the parent skill.

I had interpreted this as being that if you have knowledge + 2 you only get the bonus if the situation expressly mentions it, and if it is mentioned and you don't have it you then you use intelligence. Either that or you are just SOL.

Liberty's Edge

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Nathaniel based on your interpretation you wouldn't be able to add the INT modifier to a Knowledge check. And since you can't improve the Knowledge skill you would be stuck with the same attempt all through out the adventure path.


I understand what you all said.

I just pointed out that the rules AND the blessing cards wording currently doesn't allow to use a Intellingence blessing on a knowledge check because it speciffically said intelligence check and not intelligence based check. Like it is precised on combat blessing, wich wouldn't be precised otherwise.

Would you let Ezren boost a Knowledge check with a Irori blessing or a Sage ? Would you let him boost a recharge Arcane check with a Irori blessing or a Sage ?

I think that this is an area where the rules intent is clear but the rules wording produce the reverse effect than the intent. Either the spécification "Strength/Dexterity BASED combat check" aren't needed on the combat blessing or they should be added to the non-combat blessing.

If the blessing would say "add 1die to a strength combat check" would you add it to a mêlée check ?


Mike Selinker wrote:

Just to be clear, I am not saying a Knowledge check is an Intelligence check. I am saying that if you specifically roll your Intelligence die for a check, it's an Intelligence-based check.

Like I said, complicated wording.

Good point Mike... Now change the blessing card text so they work on Intelligence BASED check and not just on Intelligence check.


I think the only place the game seems to use "xyz-based" is for combat checks. Which I presumed was because there's no COMBAT skill per se. It's never been a problem for us.

I don't think there's much reason to add the 'based' bit to ALL the powers, and similarly I don't think you can remove it from the combat ones since "add two dice to a strength combat check" doesn't read right.

If you have a cards/power which boosts a "STR-based combat check" then you WOULD be able to use it when using MELEE.

Similarly, if it happened to say a "Strength combat check" then yes, you WOULD still able to use it with MELEE, since MELEE is built on STR.

Perhaps a note in the FAQ that cards/powers which boost a skill can be used when testing a derived skill would be helpful, but imho that's all that might be needed.

Liberty's Edge

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Oh goody. More changes to the FAQ because of one nitpicking person on the boards....yawn.


Nathaniel, you are misunderstanding what sub-skills are which is where the confusion is coming in. They are all just built-in bonuses to your base skills in certain situations. So, if Knowledge is a sub-skill of Intelligence, you are just adding a couple of points to your Intelligence check for that character. You're trying to treat the sub-skills as actual skills which isn't true. This is why there isn't a single card or monster that is only a sub-skill check.

Oh, and by your logic, a +1 to Ezren's Wisdom skill wouldn't be added to his Arcane checks even though it does.


Mike Selinker wrote:

Just to be clear, I am not saying a Knowledge check is an Intelligence check. I am saying that if you specifically roll your Intelligence die for a check, it's an Intelligence-based check.

Like I said, complicated wording.

Mike: this answer suggests that the longbow is a strength-based check, because you a roll a strength dice for it. I asked a question about this ambiguity here. I'm sure that's not the intention. If you want to rule out this conclusion, please make sure that when you write your clarification that it covers the longbow too.

Pathfinder Adventure Card Game Designer

I do intend to.


Read the new FAQ...

Still doesn't tell that blessing could be used on Skill-based check and not pure skill check.


@Nathaniel, what's the difference between a "Skill-based check" and a "pure skill check"? I'm not sure what you mean.


The différence is that a skill based bonus could apply to the sub skill while a skill bonus only apply to base skill check.

Liberty's Edge

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
h4ppy wrote:
@Nathaniel, what's the difference between a "Skill-based check" and a "pure skill check"? I'm not sure what you mean.

Don't worry h4ppy. The rest of us are just as confused.

Paizo Employee Chief Technical Officer

Nathaniel,

The blessings already say what they mean.

When Blessing of Calistria says "noncombat Dexterity check," it means exactly that—a noncombat Dexterity check, like the kind you can use to defeat an Ambush or a Battered Chest, or to acquire a Dagger or Burglar. It does not say "Dexterity-based check" because it does not *mean* a Dexterity-based check. It does not apply to a check that you're using Ranged for, or to an Acrobatics check that's Dexterity-based.

Blessing of Erastil, though, *does* say "Dexterity-based combat check" because it actually *means* a Dexterity-based combat check.


From my understanding of Nathaniel's wording
Pure skill check: Base skill (Dexterity)
Skill based check: Skill that modifies a base skill (e.g. Ranged)

Here I had also assumed that Calistria would affect Dexterity based checks, apparently along with everyone posting but Nathaniel and the Paizo guys. I actually misunderstood Mike's post; I thought he was saying that cards that affect base skills also affect sub skills. It would make this aspect of the game simpler. Not to mention if you make skills useless in certain circumstances, it removes some satisfaction of having them.

I know it's not the RPG so not everything will really make sense, but... Would allowing for the extra 1-3 from a sub skill break some semblance of balance? I see it as being perfectly reasonable that a thief with a +2 Disable skill could make use of extra Dexterity to be better at it. I assume it's to ensure that barriers continue to be a challenge. In the end, I don't know how much it'll really matter.

On the other hand, making it so that any card affecting a base skill also affect sub skills would go a long ways to making the game easier to learn and remember. Not only is it not intuitive, it's (in my mind) a finnicky set of rules based on slight word differences. Cards which restrict usage, i.e. Calistria not affecting combat, is clear and easy to understand. Whether something affecting a Dexterity check or Dexterity based check... is not so much. They're both at their root using your Dexterity, right?

First post on the forums! Sorry it's a longer one.


Don't worry. Nathaniel is being intentionally obstanant about the Longbow for some unknown reason. The "if you're rolling your base skill die means it is a that base skill check" is true. So, Seoni (Arcane-only) or Lem can use the Troubadour to acquire a spell. Oh, and that Longbow is still a Dexterity/Ranged check no matter how much complaining you do Nathaniel.


Is everyone as confused as I am now? Mike and Vic seem to be at opposites...

Mike says "if you roll your XYZ die then it counts as using that skill" which I (and others) took to mean that you could, for example, use Calistra when doing a DEX-based Acrobatics check.

And Vic says "it's only an XYZ check if you're not testing a sub-skill of XYZ".

Perhaps the nuance is that, when testing DEX-based Acrobatics, you are using the DEX SKILL but you are not facing a Dex check? So maybe cards/powers that trigger of the use of the DEX skill would work but not ones that require you to face a DEX check (like Calistra)?

IIRC, there are no references anywhere to any "XYZ-based non-combat check". So does that mean that there are no blessings that you can use to add two dice to an Acrobatics check?

I thought that, because there are no references to this that the wording "non-combat XYZ check" on things like blessings was short-hand for "XYZ-based non-combat check".

To paraphrase Mike's example from Pharasma - I thought that Calistra smiled on you if you demonstrated your dexterity to her outside of a combat situation. So if you expressed your dexterity through Acrobatics (which is a type of dexterity that you're really good at) you would get the bonus.

If this is not the case then it seems odd to me, but if that's the way it is, that's the way it is! Who can fathom the mysteries of the gods? Not I!


I am not the one about the longbow.

I am just waiting for a clear answer from my question from the rules or from Paizo.

Seems that Happy finaly get where I was going. I think there is a problem between Rule as Intented and Rule as Written on this topic.

It seems that Vic finaly clarified it the way I understand it was wriiten in the rules. Now, the question is : was it what was intented by the rules ? And Mike's answers seems to indicate that this was not the case.

Scarab Sages

Vic Wertz wrote:

Nathaniel,

The blessings already say what they mean.

When Blessing of Calistria says "noncombat Dexterity check," it means exactly that—a noncombat Dexterity check, like the kind you can use to defeat an Ambush or a Battered Chest, or to acquire a Dagger or Burglar. It does not say "Dexterity-based check" because it does not *mean* a Dexterity-based check. It does not apply to a check that you're using Ranged for, or to an Acrobatics check that's Dexterity-based.

Blessing of Erastil, though, *does* say "Dexterity-based combat check" because it actually *means* a Dexterity-based combat check.

Wait, is this really the case? Based on what Mike said, and what our own interpretation was, we've used Blessings of Calistria (for example) on both Dexterity checks (noncombat) *and* Acrobatics checks with Sajan (noncombat). I was under the impression that was how they worked.


Well, good to know that for once I was playing something right ;)

So I am asking anew, "why are non combat blessing limitated in that way ? Play balance ?"


Had a think about this today and it's really weird... you basically end up with a choice along the lines of: "Should I use ACROBATICS for the check and get something like "2d8 + 2" or use DEX for the same check and get something like 3d8 with the same blessing?"


Pretty much. Looks like you'd balance the extra minimum roll you get from the sub skill against the increased maximum roll. From what I can tell, in the case of the blessings at least, the only unbalancing situation would be a d6 base skill with a +3 (maybe +2) sub skill, like Lini's Knowledge skill. The 2d6+3 to 3d6+3 rolls would noticeably change the difficulty over the base skill 3d6 roll for certain encounters (in the 9-15ish check range, probably). Sub skills on a d8 seem like a very slight bonus, and anything above that is just a drop in a bucket.

We've house-ruled it that anything that can affect a base skill in the context will also affect the sub skills. This doesn't seem to be an issue that really comes up enough to worry about it. So if it is unbalancing in certain situations, then more power power to the skilled characters. While I'd like the gameplay to be mostly balanced, I'm more worried about teaching new players than a slight balance issue. I don't have a dedicated group, so having the game too complicated and unintuitive might turn off prospective players instead of hooking them.


@tech_biscuit - I think I'm with you. Not had a chance to play PACG again since this ruling was clarified but I think I'm going to have to house-rule it. The official line is just too weird to deal with on this one!

Scarab Sages

The weird thing is, I've heard the "official" line as two different things now. No idea what to believe. :S

Paizo Employee Chief Technical Officer

We're discussing this.


Thanks for the update, Vic.


Paizo Superscriber; Pathfinder Companion, Pathfinder Accessories, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

Stick with your guns, Vic. Changing it would require changing a whole lot of cards, and I think it makes sense the way it's worded now (I could have gone the other way if the wording had been dexterity-based, but it wasn't)


As I said above, I really...

(a) don't think that it makes any sense and

(b) don't think that it would adversely affect the gameplay (of any cards I've seen so far) if sub-skill checks could be boosted by boons which boost the parent skill.

We're talking about a different of something like +1/+2/+3 here against the 'cost' of complicating the rules and making the game more opaque (especially to newcomers).

Why on earth should you lose that bonus and have to drop down to the parent skill if you want to play a boon on a check that you're meant to be really good at?

Also, as noted above, I think the wording is consistent already... combat checks use the "Xyz-based combat check" wording but non-combat checks just say "Xyz check". Do any cards say "Xyz-based check" or "Xyz-based non-combat check"?

I'm out of town at the moment otherwise I'd dig through my box to double check!

Paizo Employee Chief Technical Officer

There are two cards that say "-based": Blessing of Erastil and Blessing of Gorum. The current thought is that they probably shouldn't.

And that if you're making a combat check, and using Melee (and your character card says that your Melee is Strength +2), then your check is considered a combat check, a Melee check, and a Strength check, and no other kind of check. If you're making an Acrobatics check, and your character card says that Acrobatics is Dexterity +2, you're making an Acrobatics check and a Dexterity check, and no other kind of check.


Paizo Superscriber; Pathfinder Companion, Pathfinder Accessories, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
h4ppy wrote:

As I said above, I really...

(a) don't think that it makes any sense and

Obviously, the developers and I disagree with you on that point. There is nothing inherently non-senseful about what they are saying. There are in fact cards with xyz skill and xyz-based skill. The fact that they tend to be in a certain category of check actually reinforces the consistency of the language.

Here's an example. In battle, it kind of makes sense that an addition to strength in many cases translates to success in melee, thus a strength-based check.
Now, currently there aren't (sofar as I know) any other stregtth-based skills other than melee, but there could be in the future. Suppose there were a prowess. If I had a card that lets you break down a door to defeat a barrier, as an example, I'd want to be able to affect just strength and not melee and not prowess.
Ok, let's shift to dexterity, where there is Ranged and a few other sub-skills. It is perfectly reasonable that I would want an effect that only improves dexterity without also improving Ranged, Acrobatics, Disable, and Stealth. Why is this not believable?
The point is that the developers apparently intended for it to be the way they are saying, and, as you point out, going the way you want to go adds bonuses to a lot of situations the developers didn't intend (or so it seems, anyway.) It makes the game easier because there are a lot of cards that affect the parent skill right now that would trickle down to affect a lot of banes or boons in an almost exponential way.

h4ppy wrote:

As I said above, I really...(b) don't think that it would adversely affect the gameplay (of any cards I've seen so far) if sub-skill checks could be boosted by boons which boost the parent skill.

The point is that the developers apparently intended for it to be the way they are saying, and, as you point out, going the way you want to go adds bonuses to a lot of situations the developers didn't intend (or so it seems, anyway.) It makes the game easier because there are a lot of cards that affect the parent skill right now that would trickle down to affect a lot of banes or boons in an almost exponential way. It WOULD adversely affect gameplay in that many checks would suddenly become dramatically easier. If you want to win, then it's not adverse, but if you want challenge, well, the point is clear.

Now, if there are some cards where the developers just goobered it up and intended for the trickle-down effect, then, by all means, let's fix them, but I personally am not in favor of an automatic trickle-down because you then have no way to effect a base skill without all of its sub-skills (I suppose you could say something like "Add 2 to any Strength-only check and not any of its sub-skills" but...really?)

h4ppy wrote:

We're talking about a different of something like +1/+2/+3 here...

And that won't adversely affect gameplay?

h4ppy wrote:

... against the 'cost' of complicating the rules and making the game more opaque (especially to newcomers).

Why on earth should you lose that bonus and have to drop down to the parent skill if you want to play a boon on a check that you're meant to be really good at?

Also, as noted above, I think the wording is consistent already... combat checks use the "Xyz-based combat check" wording but non-combat checks just say "Xyz check". Do any cards say "Xyz-based check" or "Xyz-based non-combat check"?

I'm out of town at the moment otherwise I'd dig through my box to double check!

Paizo Employee Chief Technical Officer

Bidmaron wrote:
It is perfectly reasonable that I would want an effect that only improves dexterity without also improving Ranged, Acrobatics, Disable, and Stealth. Why is this not believable?

That is what I believed, but I appear to have been wrong. Mike doesn't want that design space, and he does want anything that boosts your Dexterity to boost your Ranged, Acrobatics, Disable, and Stealth, which is more in keeping with the flavor of the Pathfinder RPG than my interpretation was.


Paizo Superscriber; Pathfinder Companion, Pathfinder Accessories, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

OK. As we say in the Navy, I have a white-ID card (meaning I can salute and carry on)


Paizo Superscriber; Pathfinder Companion, Pathfinder Accessories, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

One last point on this, Vic. What about Charisma? It is certainly believable that I want to affect Charisma without affecting Seoni's Arcane.

Paizo Employee Chief Technical Officer

Bidmaron wrote:
One last point on this, Vic. What about Charisma? It is certainly believable that I want to affect Charisma without affecting Seoni's Arcane.

Again, it's in line with the Pathfinder RPG, in that things that buff her Charisma make her better at casting spells.


Paizo Superscriber; Pathfinder Companion, Pathfinder Accessories, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

Stated another way, Seoni just got a lot more powerful, as there are cards that improve Charisma effects that I cannot believe were intended to be power boosts for Seoni's spells.


Paizo Superscriber; Pathfinder Companion, Pathfinder Accessories, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

Or maybe the rule interpretation is that a card that doesn't say combat cannot affect a spell played in combat? (that way Charisma cards don't power-up Seoni's spell attacks)

Scarab Sages

If it helps, my group has played with Mike's interpretation the entire time (that a card which boosts Charisma also boosts any skill based off of Charisma). We didn't even realize there was a dispute for a while, truth be told. It seemed like if you have:

Charisma: 1d12
Arcana: Charisma+2

Then by adding an extra two dice to Charisma, you'd also be improving things based off of it.

Charisma: 3d12
Arcana: Charisma (3d12)+2

The game is still plenty challenging playing this way, I assure you. We've gone through the "Intro" Scenario and Burnt Offerings twice now, and done part of Skinsaw. We've had plenty of close calls, had to restart a scenario more than once, and really have to plan our moves out to have a good chance at survival. This game is *not* lacking in challenge.

Also, most of the Blessings *do* say 'non-combat' check. The main one that boosts Charisma says 'non-combat Charisma check'. So that one wouldn't work on Seoni's spells, when used for combat (I believe, I don't have the cards in front of me).


Paizo Superscriber; Pathfinder Companion, Pathfinder Accessories, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

Here are the cards that I think are a problem: (in the Basic and character add-on, haven't opened the first adventure deck yet):
Sage:
"Recharge this card to add 1d6 to your noncombat Intelligence or Wisdom check."
Because of this new (to me, anyway) interpretation, this card now affects:
Intelligence: Arcane (if intel-based), Knowledge
Wisdom: Survival, Perception, Divine

Troubador:
"Recharge this card to add 1d6 to your noncombat Dexterity or Charisma check."
Dexterity: Ranged, Acrobatics, Disable, Stealth

It was this apparent inconsistency in relative power between the same types of cards (Allies) that led me to conclude that without the word "-based" added on, surely you couldn't mean that something affecting the base trickled down to that many checks.

Making this interpretation will leave people who never read the FAQ to at least wonder "I wonder why they said '-based' on this card but not on these others. There surely must be a reason they did that -- there must be a difference."


Paizo Superscriber; Pathfinder Companion, Pathfinder Accessories, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

Oops, left off charisma on Troubador:
Charisma: Diplomacy, Arcane (if Char based), Divine (if char-based)

(And I should have noted on Sage that Divine was only affected if Wis-based)


The true question is : what are the other cards, already printed that differ from this interpretation.

There is some cards that speciffically affect what some people here want to call sub-skill by référence to the pathfinder RPG (this term wasn't defined in PAGC, should have been) but not the 'linked' main skill.

There is probably more of them in the next APs...

We always played.with the restrictive interpretation (no sub skill, a skill is a skill indépendant of the dice roll, a check is a check) and the game is fairly easy this way. It make sense when you have the specialised allies.

I think the terms should have been defined better in the books and the cards. And the whole Pathfinder RPG rulebackground tottaly FORGOTTEN when writting them. Currently a skill is a skill, even If the dice he use is based on the value of another dice. Make sense thus way. Could make sense the other way around too... But obviously they can't decide what they want... Or how they should interpreat their owns rules.

The true question is : "For what g!+*%&n reason did they think it was a good idea to call Attributes, like Strength or Dexterity, skill on the rules and cards ? Especially If they plan to use the same word to refer to skills... And not calling them sub-skill"


Paizo Superscriber; Pathfinder Companion, Pathfinder Accessories, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

The last point would have made it more approachable for the Pathfinder RPGers.
And I'd have to respectfully disagree that they should have put the RPG behind them, but if you mean that once they extracted the elements they could and desired to bring forward, put it away, then I'm right there with you.


I mean put the idea behind them. Write the rules and cards for people with no knowledge and understanding of RPG and especially Pathfinder.

This will have made clear that calling both Dexterity and Acrobatics skills would produce confusion.


Wow... 14 posts since I last logged in. This has been a hot topic!

From Vic's posts it seems like this has now been clarified to mean that anything which boosts a base skill also boosts derived skills (e.g. if you add 1d6 to a non-combat DEX check then that also boosts ACROBATICS, for example).

To me, this is great news. It makes thematic sense, makes the game simpler to understand and simpler to teach and is all around a Great And Wonderful Things.

Thanks to Vic, Mike and the team for following up on this and clarifying!

---

@bidmaron - I don't have an issue with any of the cards you mentioned... if the Troubador helps you with DEX checks then why shouldn't it also help with ACROBATICS checks (if you have ACROBATICS = DEX + x)? For unskilled Acrobats it will be of no use (since their ACROBATICS = 1d4 and it's not a Dex check for them). If Seoni uses her Charisma to cast spells, why shouldn't the Troubador's musical accompaniment help boost her spell-weaving?

@Nathaniel - I have no background or experience with the Pathfinder RPGs, yet my understanding and interpretation of what 'made sense' and the rules in this instance was very different to yours. This is mainly because the 'sub-skills' (as we call them) say things like "ACROBATICS = DEX + 2". So it is dexterity plus a bonus. In other words, when you're being acrobatic you're using your dexterity (thematically) and your Dexterity die (mechanically) so, to me, I figured that was effectively a type of Dexterity check.


Paizo Superscriber; Pathfinder Companion, Pathfinder Accessories, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

H4ppy, would you take a look at my "Card Recommendation" thread and answer my questions there? I think you are the best fan authority on card sequencing. Essentially, the question boils down to if you evade an encounter, do you REALLY evade the encounter? I think that's a misnomer, as it seems that you still have an encounter and all you did is evade the combat.

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