Bardic knowledge too powerful? A mathematical analysis.


Pathfinder First Edition General Discussion

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First off, I'm not trolling looking for it or otherwise incitin hate around here on this post. I simply want to ask a question based on things are quantifiable and then ask what ur opinion of the facts are.

Now my question is, is bardic knowledge too powerful? Obviously it's power lies only in skills and skill monkeys and the ability to smell out weaknesses of beasts in battle. Though the quality of knowledge skills is debatable the FACT is that over 20 levels u gain 100 skill points equivilant in skill increases. The most that other major feats or features like diletante and fast learner will gain u is 20. Also troubling is that 100 skill points is 12.5 levels of base INt rogue and is more than anyone of 4 or less base skill points will ever have without a +2 INT mod.

Add to the issue that if u want a quick boost to knowledge with little effort then u can just take a single level dip to get u bardic knowledge. At that point u get a +10 skill point equivilant which is tolerable. But u also get to make ALL untrained knowledge checks anyway.

As a result of bardic knowledges power, no skill monkey can truly be the king of skills without bardic knowledge. Does this cheapen classes that are intended to be good at skills like rangers, rogues, inquisitors and give too much to those that dip or play bard?


If I were designing the bard class, I would probably leave Bardic Knowledge alone but reduce the skill points per level to 4. An archetype might give up Bardic Knowledge for the other 2 skill points plus some other perk. But I don't mind it as-is.


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I dont really see the problem. Most bards I've seen havent put more than one rank in each knowledge, so they end up with less than somebody who specially invested in the skill.

Plus, rogues have better expenditures of skill points to make than knowledge... but that's me.


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Not all skills are created equal. Having 10 free ranks in Profession (book binder) isn't even close to equal to having 2 free ranks in something like Perception or Stealth, for example.

I think Bardic Knowledge is fine personally.


@Blahpers: agreed

@Williamoak: my belief y bard players only put one point into it is exactly because of bardic knowledges advantage. With just one skill point and no INT mod they will at level 20 have +14 to all knowledge skill they put that point into. Even a wizard or magus with 20+ INT has to work at it to get such a number (5 or 6 times a skill I'd say).

@Fraust: ur right about not all skills being equal. But even if u say that half of the the knowledge skills are not very good, that's still a +50 of reasonably good skills. And + 50 is more than double what any feat can get u and is 6 levels of rogue.

@anyone: I'm not saying bardic knowledge is the end all be all, but it does seem unfair to those that want to play monkey style.


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Bards are the skill monkeys. I think measuring their skill capability against any other class is really not the best way to approach your question. Feats also represent a fundamental weakness when applied to improve skills. In fact, I would say feats are, in general, fairly weak.

When compared against the rogue, the bard is obviously superior in the skills department, and really any other department you care to name. That said, this is not really an indicator that the bard is too effective as a class because a wizard will often have more skill points to spend than most rogues, which points to the rogue being pretty ineffectual in a general sense.


Renegadeshepherd wrote:


As a result of bardic knowledges power, no skill monkey can truly be the king of skills without bardic knowledge. Does this cheapen classes that are intended to be good at skills like rangers, rogues, inquisitors and give too much to those that dip or play bard?

RAnger hit harder than bards. BArds are better skill monekeys than rangers. Pretty much balanced.

By the other hand, bards it is almost like purposely designed to be better than rogues just because.


Renegadeshepherd wrote:


@anyone: I'm not saying bardic knowledge is the end all be all, but it does seem unfair to those that want to play monkey style.

In Pf some optiosn have to be better than the other options, a lot of times just because. Be a caster is just one of those options that have to be better. Rogues do not cast so here you have it. Rangers by the other hand also get bonus skill (favored terrain, skill from his animal companion, hide in plain sight, track) to compensate, and it is better combatant than bards, and they have spells.


Be careful lets not mention rogues too much or we will unleash the trolls.


INquisitor gain stern gaze and track. Not that much skill ranks but still a bonus to skills.

I think bardic knowledge is pretty good but not too powerful.


The alchemist (Mindchemist) gets double his intelligence to knowledge skills and an ability to increase his intelligence. Combined with Breadth of Experience (I think that's the feat) and you don't even have to put skill points into any knowledge skills.


Durngrun Stonebreaker wrote:
The alchemist (Mindchemist) gets double his intelligence to knowledge skills and an ability to increase his intelligence. Combined with Breadth of Experience (I think that's the feat) and you don't even have to put skill points into any knowledge skills.

Improvisation works if you are human and it gives a bonus to untrained skills too.


Durngrun Stonebreaker wrote:
The alchemist (Mindchemist) gets double his intelligence to knowledge skills and an ability to increase his intelligence. Combined with Breadth of Experience (I think that's the feat) and you don't even have to put skill points into any knowledge skills.

Great catch and one I did not know about. That said, as I understand the ability, u still need to put a rank into the skill to use it. Bardic knowledge allows untrained uses of knowledge and I don't c mind chemist allowing untrained. Bard has 8 skills over alchemist but that's not the features fault.

I'd say the two are just about the equal and u would have to get detailed builds on both sides to c which came out on top. How well does the mind chemist do in battle? This is not for the purpose of this discussion but rather I'd like to try this archetype now and I don't know even base alchemist especial well.

Lantern Lodge

I don't really quite understand the problem here. If its a pure knowledge skill race we are talking about, an Oracle of Lore can beat the Bard, 9 out of 10.

Focused Trance (Ex) alone, can make Bardic knowledge cry with out of combat knowledge checks. Throw in Lore Keeper (Ex) and Think On It (Ex) and bards start feeling very mediocre with knowledge checks.

Like Alexandros said, Bardic knowledge is pretty good for a bard, and really do help them be good knowledge monkeys, but its hardly overpowered.


Renegadeshepherd wrote:
Durngrun Stonebreaker wrote:
The alchemist (Mindchemist) gets double his intelligence to knowledge skills and an ability to increase his intelligence. Combined with Breadth of Experience (I think that's the feat) and you don't even have to put skill points into any knowledge skills.

Great catch and one I did not know about. That said, as I understand the ability, u still need to put a rank into the skill to use it. Bardic knowledge allows untrained uses of knowledge and I don't c mind chemist allowing untrained. Bard has 8 skills over alchemist but that's not the features fault.

I'd say the two are just about the equal and u would have to get detailed builds on both sides to c which came out on top. How well does the mind chemist do in battle? This is not for the purpose of this discussion but rather I'd like to try this archetype now and I don't know even base alchemist especial well.

I'm currently playing a mind chemist that I have wrestled into a skill money through traits and feats. Improvisation lets you use all trained skills untrained so at level 5 I have 14 in all knowledge skills without spending a point. I do ok in combat but our group is not terribly optimized. The fact that I have no feats to improve my bomb throwing isn't all that noticeable and I have tons of out of combat utility. The ninja died 2 sessions ago and I've been handling the sneaky/roguey/disably role just fine since then. YMMV.


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The only problem I have with the Bard class is Versatile Performance, not because of it's incredible usefulness, but because of it's counter-intuitive design.

Because you don't gain all of it at the start (first one comes in at 2nd level, more come in later), a bard ends up dealing with one of the following:

1) Wasting skill points by getting ranks in skills that will just be replaced by his Perform skill later.
2) Spending time being deliberately bad at something he wants to be good at (say Acrobatics) because in a level or two, any ranks he puts in will just be surpassed by his Perform skill bonus.
3) He ends up with a class ability that keeps adding more nothing to his character sheet, as he decides to just stick to putting skill ranks in regular skills and only keep one or two perform skills maxed out.

Frankly I prefer the skill synergy system back in the last edition of DnD, even if it was more complicated.


Renegadeshepherd wrote:

Bardic knowledge allows untrained uses of knowledge and I don't c mind chemist allowing untrained. Bard has 8 skills over alchemist but that's not the features fault.

I'd say the two are just about the equal...

Well actually...you are mistaken.

Trust me, I'm a widely regarded expert.

Liberty's Edge

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Ellis Mirari wrote:

The only problem I have with the Bard class is Versatile Performance, not because of it's incredible usefulness, but because of it's counter-intuitive design.

Because you don't gain all of it at the start (first one comes in at 2nd level, more come in later), a bard ends up dealing with one of the following:

1) Wasting skill points by getting ranks in skills that will just be replaced by his Perform skill later.
2) Spending time being deliberately bad at something he wants to be good at (say Acrobatics) because in a level or two, any ranks he puts in will just be surpassed by his Perform skill bonus.
3) He ends up with a class ability that keeps adding more nothing to his character sheet, as he decides to just stick to putting skill ranks in regular skills and only keep one or two perform skills maxed out.

Frankly I prefer the skill synergy system back in the last edition of DnD, even if it was more complicated.

This is easily fixed by letting the character reassign skills from their new Versatile Performance skills (aka moving points from Acrobatics and Fly to Perform - Dance) when they gain a Versatile Performance (a House Rule I use personally, and is advocated by Jame Jacobs).

That's no help in PFS, but it's an easy, valid, fix.


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Deadmanwalking wrote:
Ellis Mirari wrote:

The only problem I have with the Bard class is Versatile Performance, not because of it's incredible usefulness, but because of it's counter-intuitive design.

Because you don't gain all of it at the start (first one comes in at 2nd level, more come in later), a bard ends up dealing with one of the following:

1) Wasting skill points by getting ranks in skills that will just be replaced by his Perform skill later.
2) Spending time being deliberately bad at something he wants to be good at (say Acrobatics) because in a level or two, any ranks he puts in will just be surpassed by his Perform skill bonus.
3) He ends up with a class ability that keeps adding more nothing to his character sheet, as he decides to just stick to putting skill ranks in regular skills and only keep one or two perform skills maxed out.

Frankly I prefer the skill synergy system back in the last edition of DnD, even if it was more complicated.

This is easily fixed by letting the character reassign skills from their new Versatile Performance skills (aka moving points from Acrobatics and Fly to Perform - Dance) when they gain a Versatile Performance (a House Rule I use personally, and is advocated by Jame Jacobs).

That's no help in PFS, but it's an easy, valid, fix.

The retraining rules are also a valid option.

Liberty's Edge

Chengar Qordath wrote:
The retraining rules are also a valid option.

True, though that can cost quite a bit of time and money depending on how many ranks you have in them and how high your Int modifier is. I prefer the simple solution that doesn't cost you money for just not having ignored skills to suddenly be good at them later.

Dark Archive

Catfolk Favored Class Bonus wrote:
Bard: Add +1/2 to the bard's bardic knowledge bonus.

Bardic Knowledge is fine. Bards have more skills while inquisitors have better bonuses (Stern Gaze, Improved Monster Lore, Feather Domain).

And we have yet to see how the final Investigator turns out.


Chengar Qordath wrote:
Deadmanwalking wrote:
Ellis Mirari wrote:

The only problem I have with the Bard class is Versatile Performance, not because of it's incredible usefulness, but because of it's counter-intuitive design.

Because you don't gain all of it at the start (first one comes in at 2nd level, more come in later), a bard ends up dealing with one of the following:

1) Wasting skill points by getting ranks in skills that will just be replaced by his Perform skill later.
2) Spending time being deliberately bad at something he wants to be good at (say Acrobatics) because in a level or two, any ranks he puts in will just be surpassed by his Perform skill bonus.
3) He ends up with a class ability that keeps adding more nothing to his character sheet, as he decides to just stick to putting skill ranks in regular skills and only keep one or two perform skills maxed out.

Frankly I prefer the skill synergy system back in the last edition of DnD, even if it was more complicated.

This is easily fixed by letting the character reassign skills from their new Versatile Performance skills (aka moving points from Acrobatics and Fly to Perform - Dance) when they gain a Versatile Performance (a House Rule I use personally, and is advocated by Jame Jacobs).

That's no help in PFS, but it's an easy, valid, fix.

The retraining rules are also a valid option.

Naturally I will houserule it the next time someone elects to play a vanilla bard at my table, but as you said, that's no help in PFS or a guaranteed outcome for any game I am not GMing. And doesn't make the RAW any less dumb.


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Bardic knowledge is fine as-is.

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Trogdar wrote:

Bards are the skill monkeys. I think measuring their skill capability against any other class is really not the best way to approach your question. Feats also represent a fundamental weakness when applied to improve skills. In fact, I would say feats are, in general, fairly weak.

When compared against the rogue, the bard is obviously superior in the skills department, and really any other department you care to name. That said, this is not really an indicator that the bard is too effective as a class because a wizard will often have more skill points to spend than most rogues, which points to the rogue being pretty ineffectual in a general sense.

Bards are the knowledge monkeys. Their bonuses don't really impact the skills that rogues are most likely to value and use.


LazarX wrote:
Trogdar wrote:

Bards are the skill monkeys. I think measuring their skill capability against any other class is really not the best way to approach your question. Feats also represent a fundamental weakness when applied to improve skills. In fact, I would say feats are, in general, fairly weak.

When compared against the rogue, the bard is obviously superior in the skills department, and really any other department you care to name. That said, this is not really an indicator that the bard is too effective as a class because a wizard will often have more skill points to spend than most rogues, which points to the rogue being pretty ineffectual in a general sense.

Bards are the knowledge monkeys. Their bonuses don't really impact the skills that rogues are most likely to value and use.

Not sure i understand. A bard, more so the archeologist, is just as capable of doing well in those skills. Bard Even has more class skills. So I'm not sure about this.

Liberty's Edge

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Really we don't know anything, we're just making it all up and others fall for it.

Bluff 1d20 + 17 ⇒ (13) + 17 = 30


Whoa! The Bard of Avon speaks! He must be right!


LazarX wrote:
Trogdar wrote:

Bards are the skill monkeys. I think measuring their skill capability against any other class is really not the best way to approach your question. Feats also represent a fundamental weakness when applied to improve skills. In fact, I would say feats are, in general, fairly weak.

When compared against the rogue, the bard is obviously superior in the skills department, and really any other department you care to name. That said, this is not really an indicator that the bard is too effective as a class because a wizard will often have more skill points to spend than most rogues, which points to the rogue being pretty ineffectual in a general sense.

Bards are the knowledge monkeys. Their bonuses don't really impact the skills that rogues are most likely to value and use.

Except, you know, for the other skills than the bard can do just as well even before taking magic into the equation.


Renegadeshepherd wrote:
Durngrun Stonebreaker wrote:
The alchemist (Mindchemist) gets double his intelligence to knowledge skills and an ability to increase his intelligence. Combined with Breadth of Experience (I think that's the feat) and you don't even have to put skill points into any knowledge skills.

Great catch and one I did not know about. That said, as I understand the ability, u still need to put a rank into the skill to use it. Bardic knowledge allows untrained uses of knowledge and I don't c mind chemist allowing untrained. Bard has 8 skills over alchemist but that's not the features fault.

I'd say the two are just about the equal and u would have to get detailed builds on both sides to c which came out on top. How well does the mind chemist do in battle? This is not for the purpose of this discussion but rather I'd like to try this archetype now and I don't know even base alchemist especial well.

Breadth of Experience allows knowledge (and profession) checks untrained in addition to the +2 bonus. Mindchemist gets a mutagen which increases their intelligence. The number of bombs, damage dealt by the bomb, and the DC of the bomb's secondary effects are all increased by intelligence. (The mutagen would not increase the number of bombs but does raise the other two.)

RPG Superstar Season 9 Top 16

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As others have mentioned, you might get lots of numbers from Bardic Knowledge (+10 at level 20!), but you have to weigh how useful those numbers are.

Ideal situation: Participating in a trivia game show.

Liberty's Edge

LazarX wrote:
Trogdar wrote:

Bards are the skill monkeys. I think measuring their skill capability against any other class is really not the best way to approach your question. Feats also represent a fundamental weakness when applied to improve skills. In fact, I would say feats are, in general, fairly weak.

When compared against the rogue, the bard is obviously superior in the skills department, and really any other department you care to name. That said, this is not really an indicator that the bard is too effective as a class because a wizard will often have more skill points to spend than most rogues, which points to the rogue being pretty ineffectual in a general sense.

Bards are the knowledge monkeys. Their bonuses don't really impact the skills that rogues are most likely to value and use.

Versatile Performance does.


Good discussion everyone. Thx for it :) learned a few tricks from u guys.


Pardon the threadomancy...

Bardic Knowledge is okay, but for those seeking to master the knowledge cheese: when my Lotus Geisha bard, who does not have Bardic Knowledge, reaches 4th lvl, she will be able to expend 1 round of Bardic Performance and for the next ten minutes, she will be +21 on all Knowledge checks.

Can anyone tell me how?

Liberty's Edge

Cheesing Pageant of the Peacock? (Side note: Banned in PFS)

It's been discussed quite a bit - Pageant's a tad OP, but if your GM lets you run with it, then it's likely the single best performance you can choose, and lets you get rid of Bardic Knowledge with no downside.

Shadow Lodge

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When there's a topic about a class feature possibly being too powerful, I like to compare it to the "Spells" class feature, and see if it's still too powerful.

For fun, sometimes I'll combine 2 or 3 class features together and compare them against "Spells".


Durngrun Stonebreaker wrote:
The alchemist (Mindchemist) gets double his intelligence to knowledge skills and an ability to increase his intelligence. Combined with Breadth of Experience (I think that's the feat) and you don't even have to put skill points into any knowledge skills.

Not any more.


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I don't see an issue at all. A bard is made to help progress the story through knowledge checks. Having him make those checks he is just going to tell the other party members what he knows. So the game goes on and no one stalls. Its a nice thing to have.

Honestly, it isn't OP to have a skill check you are just going to share.


thorin001 wrote:
Durngrun Stonebreaker wrote:
The alchemist (Mindchemist) gets double his intelligence to knowledge skills and an ability to increase his intelligence. Combined with Breadth of Experience (I think that's the feat) and you don't even have to put skill points into any knowledge skills.
Not any more.

Yes it still does. It's explicit in the ability. I'm sorry your feelings are hurt with the new FAQ but don't run around to different threads putting forth bad information.


Durngrun Stonebreaker wrote:
thorin001 wrote:
Durngrun Stonebreaker wrote:
The alchemist (Mindchemist) gets double his intelligence to knowledge skills and an ability to increase his intelligence. Combined with Breadth of Experience (I think that's the feat) and you don't even have to put skill points into any knowledge skills.
Not any more.
Yes it still does. It's explicit in the ability. I'm sorry your feelings are hurt with the new FAQ but don't run around to different threads putting forth bad information.

At 2nd level, a mindchemist has honed his memory. When making a Knowledge check, he may add his Intelligence bonus on the check a second time.

It says "add a second time" not "double his Int mod". Adding a second time is explicitly forbidden. So who is putting forth bad information?


Specific rules overcome general less specific rules?

What crazy wacky universe is this?!?!?!

It's almost like there is an exception basis to this game where if you have one general rule and a more specific rule in a special case the special case overrides the general rule.

Like how you only get one AoO... unless you have combat reflexes or one of the other specific cases that gives extra AoOs.

Or how you can't use an AoO attempt to aid other to increase someone's AC...unless you have the bodyguard feat.

It's nuts I tell you!


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thorin001 wrote:


It says "add a second time" not "double his Int mod". Adding a second time is explicitly forbidden. So who is putting forth bad information?

You can not do something that is forbidden unless a special ability explicitly allow you. Like this case


thorin001 wrote:
Durngrun Stonebreaker wrote:
thorin001 wrote:
Durngrun Stonebreaker wrote:
The alchemist (Mindchemist) gets double his intelligence to knowledge skills and an ability to increase his intelligence. Combined with Breadth of Experience (I think that's the feat) and you don't even have to put skill points into any knowledge skills.
Not any more.
Yes it still does. It's explicit in the ability. I'm sorry your feelings are hurt with the new FAQ but don't run around to different threads putting forth bad information.

At 2nd level, a mindchemist has honed his memory. When making a Knowledge check, he may add his Intelligence bonus on the check a second time.

It says "add a second time" not "double his Int mod". Adding a second time is explicitly forbidden. So who is putting forth bad information?

You.


Nicos wrote:
thorin001 wrote:


It says "add a second time" not "double his Int mod". Adding a second time is explicitly forbidden. So who is putting forth bad information?

You can not do something that is forbidden unless a special ability explicitly allow you. Like this case

Lots of Inquisitor stuff got the axe just like this. Mark said that class abilities are not exceptions.


Durngrun Stonebreaker wrote:
thorin001 wrote:
Durngrun Stonebreaker wrote:
thorin001 wrote:
Durngrun Stonebreaker wrote:
The alchemist (Mindchemist) gets double his intelligence to knowledge skills and an ability to increase his intelligence. Combined with Breadth of Experience (I think that's the feat) and you don't even have to put skill points into any knowledge skills.
Not any more.
Yes it still does. It's explicit in the ability. I'm sorry your feelings are hurt with the new FAQ but don't run around to different threads putting forth bad information.

At 2nd level, a mindchemist has honed his memory. When making a Knowledge check, he may add his Intelligence bonus on the check a second time.

It says "add a second time" not "double his Int mod". Adding a second time is explicitly forbidden. So who is putting forth bad information?

You.

Nope, I am following the rules as (re)written. You seem to want there to be exceptions for the rule when convenient to your purposes.


thorin001 wrote:
Durngrun Stonebreaker wrote:
thorin001 wrote:
Durngrun Stonebreaker wrote:
thorin001 wrote:
Durngrun Stonebreaker wrote:
The alchemist (Mindchemist) gets double his intelligence to knowledge skills and an ability to increase his intelligence. Combined with Breadth of Experience (I think that's the feat) and you don't even have to put skill points into any knowledge skills.
Not any more.
Yes it still does. It's explicit in the ability. I'm sorry your feelings are hurt with the new FAQ but don't run around to different threads putting forth bad information.

At 2nd level, a mindchemist has honed his memory. When making a Knowledge check, he may add his Intelligence bonus on the check a second time.

It says "add a second time" not "double his Int mod". Adding a second time is explicitly forbidden. So who is putting forth bad information?

You.
Nope, I am following the rules as (re)written. You seem to want there to be exceptions for the rule when convenient to your purposes.

Ok... I'm going to break this down for you.

The FAQ is a general rule.
The Mindchemist is a specific rule.
Specific rules should be followed over general rules.
Therefore, even with the new FAQ, Mindchemist can add their INT bonus twice to knowledge checks.
That's RAW.


RAW?

You can't handle the RAW!

*Bardic knowledge is not OP*


thorin001 wrote:
Nicos wrote:
thorin001 wrote:


It says "add a second time" not "double his Int mod". Adding a second time is explicitly forbidden. So who is putting forth bad information?

You can not do something that is forbidden unless a special ability explicitly allow you. Like this case
Lots of Inquisitor stuff got the axe just like this. Mark said that class abilities are not exceptions.

Are there any similar Inquisitor abilities that (a) specifically say they add your attribute mod more than once without requiring you to combine two separate powers and (b) would do nothing at all if they weren't allowed to do so?


Marroar Gellantara wrote:

RAW?

You can't handle the RAW!

*Bardic knowledge is not OP*

I AM THE RAW!

(I kids.)


I agree with thorin001. The faq did make this ability no longer function. I don't think that is the intent, but this is one of those FAQS that seemed to break a fair amount of different things. For a home game it's fine, but for something like PFS i could see a gm saying Mindchemist no longer works. I wouldn't as a pfs gm, but I'm more lenient than many.

Pretty much everyone I know bans pageant(including me, it doesn't even make sense thematically to me) so I don't really count that.

But bards have always been the skill monkey class. The only person that can be hurt is rogues, but they have much larger issues than crying over who bards out skill them.


You're both wrong.

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