Rogue Skill Mastery


Rules Questions


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Does this ability grant you the ability to Take 10 on Use Magic Device?

Does that override the Special section that disallows you to Take 10 on it?

My personal thoughts aren't too sure if Skill Mastery grants you the ability to Take 10 if you otherwise couldn't*. Basically for every other skill, Skill Mastery does the same thing, but for Use Magic Device it does more.

*Not including the distraction clause which is nullified by Skill Mastery.


Scavion wrote:

Does this ability grant you the ability to Take 10 on Use Magic Device?

Does that override the Special section that disallows you to Take 10 on it?

My personal thoughts aren't too sure if Skill Mastery grants you the ability to Take 10 if you otherwise couldn't*. Basically for every other skill, Skill Mastery does the same thing, but for Use Magic Device it does more.

*Not including the distraction clause which is nullified by Skill Mastery.

Reposting my reasoning from a different thread:

Relevant texts from the PRD:

Skill Mastery wrote:

The rogue becomes so confident in the use of certain skills that she can use them reliably even under adverse conditions.

Upon gaining this ability, she selects a number of skills equal to 3 + her Intelligence modifier. When making a skill check with one of these skills, she may take 10 even if stress and distractions would normally prevent her from doing so. A rogue may gain this special ability multiple times, selecting additional skills for skill mastery to apply to each time.

Taking 10 wrote:
When your character is not in immediate danger or distracted, you may choose to take 10. Instead of rolling 1d20 for the skill check, calculate your result as if you had rolled a 10. For many routine tasks, taking 10 makes them automatically successful. Distractions or threats (such as combat) make it impossible for a character to take 10. In most cases, taking 10 is purely a safety measure—you know (or expect) that an average roll will succeed but fear that a poor roll might fail, so you elect to settle for the average roll (a 10). Taking 10 is especially useful in situations where a particularly high roll wouldn't help.
Use Magic Device wrote:
Special: You cannot take 10 with this skill. You can't aid another on Use Magic Device checks. Only the user of the item may attempt such a check.

You can't take 10 with UMD regardless of 'danger or distraction'. Skill Mastery only negates the 'danger and disctraction' clause. So Skill Mastery doesn't apply to UMD.

---

To further clarify:
If Skill Mastery allowed you take 10 with any skill any time, it would just read
"When making a skill check with one of these skills, she may always take 10." But it doesn't say that. It specifically cites the 'danger and distraction' clause.

For another example, look to the Swim skill:

Quote:
* You can't take 10 on a Swim check in stormy water, even if you aren't otherwise being threatened or distracted.

Skill Mastery won't allow you to take 10 while swimming in stormy water because danger/distraction isn't the limiting factor.

Shadow Lodge

Thanks, Scavion. FAQing.

Shadow Lodge

My conclusion coincides with redward's. If Skill Mastery is supposed to work in every situation, why add a "clarification" with respect to stress and distraction when the word "always" or the phrase "in all situations" is less ambiguous and has a shorter word count?


Serum wrote:
My conclusion coincides with redward's. If Skill Mastery is supposed to work in every situation, why add a "clarification" with respect to stress and distraction when the word "always" or the phrase "in all situations" is less ambiguous and has a shorter word count?

I sense that if the text did not specifically reference stress or distraction, then we would have players coming to the board asking if Skill Mastery overcame stress or distraction. Gamers need clarification.

My reading is that the "stress or distraction" bit is extra clarifying text. If it was not there, then Skill Mastery and Use Magic Device would likely work just fine. The presence of extra clarifying text does not make the ability more narrow.

But that's just my own philosophy on the matter of text of clarification. Also keep in mind that Skill Mastery was written up about, oh, fifteen years ago.

-Matt

Shadow Lodge

Mattastrophic wrote:
Serum wrote:
My conclusion coincides with redward's. If Skill Mastery is supposed to work in every situation, why add a "clarification" with respect to stress and distraction when the word "always" or the phrase "in all situations" is less ambiguous and has a shorter word count?

I sense that if the text did not specifically reference stress or distraction, then we would have players coming to the board asking if Skill Mastery overcame stress or distraction. Gamers need clarification.

My reading is that the "stress or distraction" bit is extra clarifying text. If it was not there, then Skill Mastery and Use Magic Device would likely work just fine. The presence of extra clarifying text does not make the ability more narrow.

But that's just my own philosophy on the matter of text of clarification. Also keep in mind that Skill Mastery was written up about, oh, fifteen years ago.

-Matt

I guess that's not much of a difference from people now wondering if it works with UMD and swim.


redward wrote:

Relevant texts from the PRD:

Skill Mastery wrote:

The rogue becomes so confident in the use of certain skills that she can use them reliably even under adverse conditions.

Upon gaining this ability, she selects a number of skills equal to 3 + her Intelligence modifier. When making a skill check with one of these skills, she may take 10 even if stress and distractions would normally prevent her from doing so. A rogue may gain this special ability multiple times, selecting additional skills for skill mastery to apply to each time.

Taking 10 wrote:
When your character is not in immediate danger or distracted, you may choose to take 10. Instead of rolling 1d20 for the skill check, calculate your result as if you had rolled a 10. For many routine tasks, taking 10 makes them automatically successful. Distractions or threats (such as combat) make it impossible for a character to take 10. In most cases, taking 10 is purely a safety measure—you know (or expect) that an average roll will succeed but fear that a poor roll might fail, so you elect to settle for the average roll (a 10). Taking 10 is especially useful in situations where a particularly high roll wouldn't help.
Use Magic Device wrote:
Special: You cannot take 10 with this skill. You can't aid another on Use Magic Device checks. Only the user of the item may attempt such a check.
You can't take 10 with UMD regardless of 'danger or distraction'. Skill Mastery only negates theYou can't take 10 with UMD regardless of 'danger or distraction'. Skill Mastery only negates the 'danger and disctraction' clause. So Skill Mastery doesn't apply to UMD.

You just changed the text. You changed "even" to "regardless". Those two words mean different things.


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redward wrote:

For another example, look to the Swim skill:

Quote:
You can't take 10 on a Swim check in stormy water, even if you aren't otherwise being threatened or distracted.
Skill Mastery won't allow you to take 10 while swimming in stormy water because danger/distraction isn't the limiting factor.

It says "even if you aren't otherwise being threatened or distracted." So the storm is being threatening and distracting, even if other things aren't. Your argument is even weaker here.

What it comes down to is that you are trying to use very specific reading in order to limit an ability of the weakest class in the game. Why would you want to do that? Wouldn't it be cool if Rogues could use a magic item more reliably than any other class in the game? Wouldn't it be cool if Rogues could calmly swim through a tempest while others struggle? (Other than classes that steal their talents and can do the same, of course.)

But hey, it's not realistic that a 10th level Rogue can be that good at skills. Leave the fantastic stuff for the guys that can fly and conjure horrors from thin air. Rogues should know their place.


Lord Twig wrote:
redward wrote:

For another example, look to the Swim skill:

Quote:
You can't take 10 on a Swim check in stormy water, even if you aren't otherwise being threatened or distracted.
Skill Mastery won't allow you to take 10 while swimming in stormy water because danger/distraction isn't the limiting factor.

It says "even if you aren't otherwise being threatened or distracted." So the storm is being threatening and distracting, even if other things aren't. Your argument is even weaker here.

What it comes down to is that you are trying to use very specific reading in order to limit an ability of the weakest class in the game. Why would you want to do that? Wouldn't it be cool if Rogues could use a magic item more reliably than any other class in the game? Wouldn't it be cool if Rogues could calmly swim through a tempest while others struggle? (Other than classes that steal their talents and can do the same, of course.)

But hey, it's not realistic that a 10th level Rogue can be that good at skills. Leave the fantastic stuff for the guys that can fly and conjure horrors from thin air. Rogues should know their place.

I have no horse in this race. I'm just trying to get the rule right.

If you're saying the "otherwise" in the Swim description implies that the stormy water is itself a threat or distraction, I can see that point of view even though I think it's a stretch. If that is the intent, it's poorly worded. "You can't take 10 on a Swim check in stormy water as it counts as being threatened or distracted" would make it clearly compatible with Skill Mastery.

Regardless, for UMD:

Taking 10 wrote:
When your character is not in immediate danger or distracted, you may choose to take 10.

That's the general.

Skill Mastery wrote:
When making a skill check with one of these skills, she may take 10 even if stress and distractions would normally prevent her from doing so.

That's the specific.

Use Magic Device wrote:
Special: You cannot take 10 with this skill.

And that's another, different specific. Usually when one specific trumps another, it has to be called out.

Example:

Performing a Combat Maneuver wrote:
Unless otherwise noted, performing a combat maneuver provokes an attack of opportunity from the target of the maneuver.
Improved Trip wrote:
You do not provoke an attack of opportunity when performing a trip combat maneuver.
Maneuver Defense (Ex) wrote:
At 3rd level, if a maneuver master has an Improved combat maneuver feat, any creature attempting that maneuver against the maneuver master provokes an attack of opportunity, even if it would not normally do so.
I'm willing to concede that I'm wrong, but I haven't seen much in the way of an argument against it other than the following:
  • Specific trumps general (so which specific wins out here?)
  • Rogues are already weak enough so shut up already

And I don't see how that last one has much bearing on a rules discussion.


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It seems pretty clear to me. You may take 10 with those skills even if stress and distraction would normally prevent you from doing so, which implies that if you weren't stressed/distracted, you'd be able to take 10. If you couldn't take 10 on something even without stress/distraction, then skill mastery is irrelevant to it.


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Agreement with seebs. You cannot take 10 on UMD and danger and distraction has absolutely 0 to do with that. You could sit in a padded room covered in safety pads with goggles and a helmet on and still not be able to take 10 on it.

The take 10 on skill mastery calls for simply allowing take 10's but blatantly is intended to allow it if you would be prevented by distraction or stress.

You can take it as RAW or RAI.

RAW:
The way the sentence is worded it allows take 10's. It goes on to say even if a certain situation occurs, but not that those situations are the only ones it removes the limiter from. Now you have a case of specific vs specific, and we need an FAQ to know which one trumps the other.

RAI:
Its pretty obvious that the point of this was to allow you to use skills in combat or other very outrageous situations without worrying about rolling a 1. It was not intended to remove the limiter on UMD.


So why isn't skill mastery worded like this?

"Unwavering Skill (Ex): You can always take 10 or 20 on class skills, even if threatened or in a hazardous situation. You can't use this ability with skill checks that don't normally allow you to take 10 or take 20."

If that is what it is suppose to do?

It's really hard to see the other interpretation as valid when there are abilities that say EXPLICITLY that idea in a sentence that is not in skill mastery.


Serum wrote:
My conclusion coincides with redward's. If Skill Mastery is supposed to work in every situation, why add a "clarification" with respect to stress and distraction when the word "always" or the phrase "in all situations" is less ambiguous and has a shorter word count?

Or add the clarification they did in another ability.

"Unwavering Skill (Ex): You can always take 10 or 20 on class skills, even if threatened or in a hazardous situation. You can't use this ability with skill checks that don't normally allow you to take 10 or take 20."


I imagine because it was written much more recently and is thus worded more carefully, but I really couldn't say.


redward wrote:
I imagine because it was written much more recently and is thus worded more carefully, but I really couldn't say.

And the CRB has been reprinted with errata how many times?

Even ignoring that, this argument is basically that the ability doesn't do what it says it does, which is always false.

To claim that the above statement is wrong you have to define "even if" as "if and only if" which is not how English works.

The Exchange

I agree with redward's interpretation and argument, pretty much exactly.


Benrislove wrote:
I agree with redward's interpretation and argument, pretty much exactly.

It's wrong, but that is your prerogative.

Just don't bring up that opinion in GD or advice threads about rogues.

The Exchange

Marthkus wrote:
Benrislove wrote:
I agree with redward's interpretation and argument, pretty much exactly.

It's wrong, but that is your prerogative.

Just don't bring up that opinion in GD or advice threads about rogues.

You're giving skill mastery additional abilities that it doesn't have. Not sure how that makes me wrong.

I would prefer that you don't advise many people to play with rules that don't exist, but that's your prerogative.


@Marthkus:

Please understand that it is blatantly rude to flat out say "You're wrong, don't bring it up in related topics."

So far i see one person who agrees with you not because the rules say so, but because he believes that rogues need a pity vote.

Other than that, there are 7 other people in this thread. 1 has voiced no opinion. 6 believe that you are in fact, wrong.

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Adventure, Rulebook Subscriber; Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber
Marthkus wrote:
Just don't bring up that opinion in GD or advice threads about rogues.

I would think the uncertainty of a player being able to rely on UMD Skill Mastery due to table variance would be an extremely important point to mention in advice threads.


TriOmegaZero wrote:
Marthkus wrote:
Just don't bring up that opinion in GD or advice threads about rogues.
I would think the uncertainty of a player being able to rely on UMD Skill Mastery due to table variance would be an extremely important point to mention in advice threads.

It would be. It's a shame that how this ability works is pretty clear cut.

Going a little old-school, here is an ability from 3.5

"Deceive Item (Ex): At 4th level and higher, a warlock has the ability to more easily commandeer magic items made for the use of other characters. When making a Use Magic Device check, a warlock can take 10 even if distracted or threatened."

Personally, I just read skill mastery with a basic understanding of English, these other examples are for people who don't understand that "even if" cannot be read as "if and only if".


Benrislove wrote:
Marthkus wrote:
Benrislove wrote:
I agree with redward's interpretation and argument, pretty much exactly.

It's wrong, but that is your prerogative.

Just don't bring up that opinion in GD or advice threads about rogues.

You're giving skill mastery additional abilities that it doesn't have. Not sure how that makes me wrong.

I would prefer that you don't advise many people to play with rules that don't exist, but that's your prerogative.

So tell me again how "even if" is the same thing as "if and only if"?

The Exchange

Marthkus wrote:
TriOmegaZero wrote:
Marthkus wrote:
Just don't bring up that opinion in GD or advice threads about rogues.
I would think the uncertainty of a player being able to rely on UMD Skill Mastery due to table variance would be an extremely important point to mention in advice threads.

It would be. It's a shame that how this ability works is pretty clear cut.

Going a little old-school, here is an ability from 3.5

"Deceive Item (Ex): At 4th level and higher, a warlock has the ability to more easily commandeer magic items made for the use of other characters. When making a Use Magic Device check, a warlock can take 10 even if distracted or threatened."

Personally, I just read skill mastery with a basic understanding of English, these other examples are for people who don't understand that "even if" cannot be read as "if and only if".

It doesn't mean "if an only if", nobody is saying it does.

"Even when distracted or threatened" means, Ignore "distracted or threatened" for determining if you can take 10. It does not mean Ignore the special text of the skill.


Thomas Long 175 wrote:
6 believe that you are in fact, wrong.

Then 6 people are wrong. That interpretation fails to hold at every level of understanding.

The ability itself does not say that.
Willfully misreading "even if" as "if and only if"
PF abilities act as a counter example.
If the age of skill mastery makes you question it's wording relevance to PF, old 3.5 abilities act as a counter example.

I am well equipped at admitting when I am wrong or when my view my may not be correct. This is not one of those times.

The only argument that has any semblance of a justification is whether or not words in the skill entry are more specific than class abilities. Which I still find a silly argument when considering the given examples given, and the fact that of course class abilities are more specific than skill entries(skill that are available to every class vs an ability that is available to 2 classes).


Benrislove wrote:
Marthkus wrote:
TriOmegaZero wrote:
Marthkus wrote:
Just don't bring up that opinion in GD or advice threads about rogues.
I would think the uncertainty of a player being able to rely on UMD Skill Mastery due to table variance would be an extremely important point to mention in advice threads.

It would be. It's a shame that how this ability works is pretty clear cut.

Going a little old-school, here is an ability from 3.5

"Deceive Item (Ex): At 4th level and higher, a warlock has the ability to more easily commandeer magic items made for the use of other characters. When making a Use Magic Device check, a warlock can take 10 even if distracted or threatened."

Personally, I just read skill mastery with a basic understanding of English, these other examples are for people who don't understand that "even if" cannot be read as "if and only if".

It doesn't mean "if an only if", nobody is saying it does.

"Even when distracted or threatened" means, Ignore "distracted or threatened" for determining if you can take 10. It does not mean Ignore the special text of the skill.

Ah so you are saying that the Warlock ability does not do what it says it does and that unwavering skill has unnecessary sentences in it?

By the way that interpretation YOU JUST SAID means that you are reading "even if" as "if and only if"

"This ability let's you take 10 on skills if and only if you are distracted or threatened."

That doesn't prevent you from still taking 10 with the general rules. But that is how you are reading the ability. "even if" != "if and only if"

The Exchange

I don't know how you're reading "even if distracted or threatened" as "you can always take 10, no matter what"

how does "distracted or threatened" mean "regardless of all other things?"


Benrislove wrote:

I don't know how you're reading "even if distracted or threatened" as "you can always take 10, no matter what"

how does "distracted or threatened" mean "regardless of all other things?"

You can take 10 even if distracted or threatened

You can fly even if in a wind storm

You have 30 strength even if you are near green rocks

You must file your taxes even if you didn't make money this year

NOTE: You really think the warlock ability did nothing back in 3.5?

The Exchange

"You can always take 10 on this skill." doesn't need any qualifiers, adding qualifiers decreases the range of the ability to the specifics mentioned, that's how rules work.

That may not be the intent, but it is the RAW.


Benrislove wrote:

"You can always take 10 on this skill." doesn't need any qualifiers, adding qualifiers decreases the range of the ability to the specifics mentioned, that's how rules work.

That may not be the intent, but it is the RAW.

Then explain the wording of this ability.

"Unwavering Skill (Ex): You can always take 10 or 20 on class skills, even if threatened or in a hazardous situation. You can't use this ability with skill checks that don't normally allow you to take 10 or take 20."

Clarifying that the ability still works in certain situations is not the same thing as limiting it.

NOTE: SO YOU REALLY THINK THE WARLOCK ABILITY DID NOTHING?

Shadow Lodge

It wouldn't be the first time such a thing has happened.

The Exchange

Deceive item does 2 things, because it specifically says you can take 10 on use magic device, then you can take 10 on use magic device, also you can do so while distracted/threatened.

It wouldn't allow you to take 10 if you were under another effect that prevented you from taking 10.


Benrislove wrote:

Deceive item does 2 things, because it specifically says you can take 10 on use magic device, then you can take 10 on use magic device, also you can do so while distracted/threatened.

It wouldn't allow you to take 10 if you were under another effect that prevented you from taking 10.

read it again.

"Deceive Item (Ex): At 4th level and higher, a warlock has the ability to more easily commandeer magic items made for the use of other characters. When making a Use Magic Device check, a warlock can take 10 even if distracted or threatened."

Taking 10 is only mentioned once AND USES THE SAME WORDING AS SKILL MASTERY.

"Skill Mastery: The rogue becomes so confident in the use of certain skills that she can use them reliably even under adverse conditions.

Upon gaining this ability, she selects a number of skills equal to 3 + her Intelligence modifier. When making a skill check with one of these skills, she may take 10 even if stress and distractions would normally prevent her from doing so. A rogue may gain this special ability multiple times, selecting additional skills for skill mastery to apply to each time."

Oh wait there are slight differences. I'm sure the difference of "stress" to "threat", "or" to "and", and "she" to "warlock" make all the difference.


TOZ wrote:
It wouldn't be the first time such a thing has happened.

Actually that was much less of a problem in 3.5. 3.5 had a power creep problem. PF's power seep problem lends itself more to useless abilities.

The Exchange

may take 10, and CAN take 10 are different though.

May I take 10 "you're not distracted or threaten, so sure"

Can I take 10 "use magic device says no, so sorry"

Deceive Item says you CAN take take, overriding UMDs special rule.

Skill mastery says you may, which means "do so if you are able"

May means you have permission

Can means you have the ability


Benrislove wrote:

may take 10, and CAN take 10 are different though.

May I take 10 "you're not distracted or threaten, so sure"

Can I take 10 "use magic device says no, so sorry"

Deceive Item says you CAN take take, overriding UMDs special rule.

Skill mastery says you may, which means "do so if you are able"

May means you have permission

Can means you have the ability

I'm going to applaud you for using English to back up your point.

In this case I would say that both permission and ability yield the same result when applied to taking 10.

But yeah, I'm going to leave the argument now. Need to do other things with my life than argue on the rules forum about abilities doing what they says they do.

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Adventure, Rulebook Subscriber; Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber
Marthkus wrote:
Taking 10 is only mentioned once AND USES THE SAME WORDING AS SKILL MASTERY.

Which only means that the same arguments apply to both rules, and that both of them are equally functional or not depending on which argument is correct.

The Exchange

it was a good discussion.

for the record, I totally think it SHOULD work, and allow in home games (though I consider it a house rule).


Marthkus wrote:


So why isn't skill mastery worded like this?

"Unwavering Skill (Ex): You can always take 10 or 20 on class skills, even if threatened or in a hazardous situation. You can't use this ability with skill checks that don't normally allow you to take 10 or take 20."

If that is what it is suppose to do?

It's really hard to see the other interpretation as valid when there are abilities that say EXPLICITLY that idea in a sentence that is not in skill mastery.

Skill Mastery is a very old bit of text. I don't think it's been significantly changed since its original appearance in the 3E books.

English is a very flexible language, and sometimes there is more than one way to say a thing. The Skill Mastery wording clearly indicates that it is allowing you to overcome stress and distractions. It says nothing about overcoming other barriers to taking 10.

To put it another way: Specific trumps general. Generally, you can't take 10 under some circumstances. Skill Mastery trumps that for "skills" as a general class. But a "Special" heading in a single skill is more-specific than Skill Mastery, and thus the more-specific claim trumps the more-general one.

Oh, and the "if and only if" argument is completely wrong. "If and only if you are distracted or stressed" would mean that you can't take 10 unless you are distracted or stressed. It would actually remove the ability to take 10 under normal circumstances.

The warlock ability is specific to a single ability, and thus trumps the normal rules for that ability. Because specific trumps general.

This is not hard, and there is not a ton of ambiguity here.

Shadow Lodge

/shrug. Skill Mastery's allowancec is general, because it can apply to any skill. UMD's restriction is specific because applies specifically to UMD.


Well the text of skill mastery is already quite old and obviously leaves room for interpretation. But I think the case of deceive item gives a strong hint on how skill mastery was meant to be interpreted.

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