Paladins and Detect Expertise


Rules Questions

Silver Crusade RPG Superstar 2014 Top 16

Detect Expertise:
Prerequisites: Int 13; ability to cast detect chaos, detect evil, detect good, detect law, or detect magic.

Benefit: When you use any of the spells listed in this feat's prerequisites to detect a creature's alignment or its magic, you have a chance of detecting what spellcasting expertise it has. After you observe a creature with the detect spell for 3 rounds, it must make a Will save (DC 10 + 1/2 your caster level + your Intelligence modifier). If it fails the saving throw, you learn what bloodlines, domains, hexes, schools, or mysteries (if any) the creature possesses. If the creature makes its save, it is immune to the effects of this feat for 24 hours.

Paladins obviously have a special form of Detect Evil, and I don't want to get into the whole discussion on that ability. But, for however you adjudicate a Paladin's Detect Evil, for the special 3 round observation part, would it be a proper assumption that Paladin's could make great use of Detect Expertise? And to go further, there is no requirement that a creature actually be Evil for the Paladin to get this further information, only that you used an appropriate Detect spell on them.


By RAW I would go with the special move action effect for the 3rd round viewing, would NOT enable you to use Detect Expertise with it. The Paladin ability is very clear in it's wording. You use a move action. You get to see the strength of the aura as if you had studied them for three rounds. Nothing more.

On the second part, I would lean towards needing to use the correct detect spell because of the first line. This one is much less clear, and depends on whether you want to be strict about what it means to 'detect a creature's alignment or its magic'. By a very strict parse I would rule that you have to use the correct detect spell on it. Very open though imo, and I would tend to lean towards allowing you to use it no matter the creatures alignment.


Kalriostraz, Zahir asked to keep the move vs standard action debate out of it. So lets assume that it is compatible (standard action) with Detect Expertise for the purpose of this discussion.

Zahir, it is not clear if using detect evil will work on a non-evil creature for this purpose. My logic is that if the target is not evil then there is nothing for Detect Expertise to work on. The basis for this is that you aren't actually casting detect evil on a target. You are scanning the area and those that are evil will show up when detecting evil and thus you can use Detect Expertise on them. Those that do not show up as evil have nothing to be scanned via Detect Evil.

(P.S. thank you for spoilering the skill but if you also quoted it it would be clearer where the spoiler ends and your discussion begins.)

Silver Crusade RPG Superstar 2014 Top 16

There's nothing in Detect Expertise that requires an individual positively detect in order for the secondary function to work.

Simply possessing a bloodline or mystery won't make you detect as magic. And it isn't required that Detect Evil will only give the extra info for Evil targets.

Thus my question, this seems like an exceptionally useful Feat for Paladins, or anyone with Detect Magic.


Zahir ibn Mahmoud ibn Jothan wrote:

There's nothing in Detect Expertise that requires an individual positively detect in order for the secondary function to work.

Simply possessing a bloodline or mystery won't make you detect as magic. And it isn't required that Detect Evil will only give the extra info for Evil targets.

Thus my question, this seems like an exceptionally useful Feat for Paladins, or anyone with Detect Magic.

I was pretty close to agreeing with you but....

When you use any of the spells listed in this feat's prerequisites to detect a creature's alignment... you have a chance

I think it is saying when you detect someones alignment you get a chance. If someone is not giving off that evil aura then you have not detected their alignment in the sense meant by Detect evil.


Zahir, I prefaced my comment with, it is not clear and then stated my logic and then stated my basis for that logic. There is nothing in Detect Expertise that allows you to use it on a creature that Detect Evil fails to detect.

In any case, your question is not actually a rules question. Whether a Paladin can make great use of this feat is not a rules question. So therefore I must assume that you had an actual question as to whether this would work which was my response.

If your question is really what you asked then perhaps that question is better served in a discussion forum rather than the rules forum.

Silver Crusade RPG Superstar 2014 Top 16

No, mine is a rules question.

If a character sees a creature, and casts Detect Magic, the creature will not detect as magic. Does that make the feat useless? I think not. It will tell you whether the creature has a bloodline, etc. Why would this work amy different for the alignment detecting spells?

The "chance" part of the feat, I posit, relates to the fact that the creature gets a saving throw. There is a "chance" the creature will fail it's saving throw. I interpret the feat that any of the 5 spells will provide both alignment or magic detecting, and then regardless of the results of that check, there is a "chance" to obtain further information on the target.

Thoughts on this interpretation? Is this RAW?


Zahir, that was not the question you posed in your first post.

Your question wrote:
But, for however you adjudicate a Paladin's Detect Evil, for the special 3 round observation part, would it be a proper assumption that Paladin's could make great use of Detect Expertise?

Silver Crusade RPG Superstar 2014 Top 16

Which is weird, this is clearly the first thread ever to evolve to follow up questions on the same ability, instead of derailing completely.

So we can spar, or discuss the rules. I vote for rules.


Zahir ibn Mahmoud ibn Jothan wrote:

No, mine is a rules question.

If a character sees a creature, and casts Detect Magic, the creature will not detect as magic. Does that make the feat useless? I think not. It will tell you whether the creature has a bloodline, etc. Why would this work amy different for the alignment detecting spells?

The "chance" part of the feat, I posit, relates to the fact that the creature gets a saving throw. There is a "chance" the creature will fail it's saving throw. I interpret the feat that any of the 5 spells will provide both alignment or magic detecting, and then regardless of the results of that check, there is a "chance" to obtain further information on the target.

Thoughts on this interpretation? Is this RAW?

No again it is the "when" part of the feat that matters here. When you use Detect Evil to detect a creatures alignment. Detect Evil does not check a creatures alignment it detects evil auras. So I think that if nothing if detected detect expertise is useless. So that is why I disagree with "regardless of the results of your check. " part of your interpretation.


I don't believe I brought anything up about the move/standard. He was asking if people thought "for the special 3 round observation part, would it be a proper assumption that Paladin's could make great use of Detect Expertise?" which I would take to mean he's asking about the ability to quickly reach the 3 round observation via a move action. If I'm wrong in that, or how I read both texts please tell me.

As for the rest, I still side with RAW you can only get a reading if you actually detect the creature's alignment using the correct spell. Just based on my reading of the rules. Of course, I'm fairly confident on RAI being you should force the will save at the end of the three rounds, regardless of using the correct spell. Otherwise Detect Magic would be quite silly to include in it.

All in all I think it's a rather lackluster feat personally. It can maybe help you, some of the time, when dealing with someone in a social situation. Even then not even close to guaranteed. It's a neat idea, not useful in far too many situations.


Kalriostraz wrote:

As for the rest, I still side with RAW you can only get a reading if you actually detect the creature's alignment using the correct spell. Just based on my reading of the rules. Of course, I'm fairly confident on RAI being you should force the will save at the end of the three rounds, regardless of using the correct spell. Otherwise Detect Magic would be quite silly to include in it.

Why would detect magic be silly to include? It seems pretty broad to me and it seems that creatures with bloodlines etc are pretty likely to be under the effects of magic and thus valid targets. It is still only a mildly useful feat but I wouldn't go so far as silly.

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