"This is a Scroll of X"


Rules Questions

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Companion Subscriber

Does a PC still need to Decipher a scroll with a read magic spell or a successful Spellcraft check, if told exactly what it is?


Yes. Because the other person could be lying, and a condition of activating a scroll is that you must decipher it for yourself.

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Companion Subscriber

1) Must this be done several times?

2) Must this be done with Detect Magic, if Read Magic is unavailable?

3) Can one assist in the Spellcraft check?

Sovereign Court

Pathfinder Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber

1) No. You just need to decipher it once, its even part of the rules of the scrolls, deciphering in advance to use it.

2) detect magic won't help but deciphering a scroll can be done with either a spellcraft check (DC 20+spell level) or using the spell read magic.

3) there doesn't seem to be any rule against it.

Grand Lodge

blackbloodtroll wrote:
Does a PC still need to Decipher a scroll with a read magic spell or a successful Spellcraft check, if told exactly what it is?

Overall, if that is the person who crafted the scroll, I would say you get an automatic success on the spellcraft check:

Quote:
To decipher an arcane magical writing (such as a single spell in another's spellbook or on a scroll), a character must make a Spellcraft check (DC 20 + the spell's level). If the skill check fails, the character cannot attempt to read that particular spell again until the next day. A read magic spell automatically deciphers magical writing without a skill check. If the person who created the magical writing is on hand to help the reader, success is also automatic.

Note that the quote above is form the Magic chapter, not the magic item chapter, but that it also explicitly includes scrolls.

Although it says Arcane, I would also think that it should extend to the same situation for Divine scrolls. If the crafter is available and willing, you get an automatic pass on the Spellcraft check to decipher the scroll.

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Companion Subscriber

Well, I am questioning this for PFS.

Grand Lodge

blackbloodtroll wrote:
Well, I am questioning this for PFS.

Okay, from the PRD and CRB:

Arcane Magical Writings wrote:
To decipher an arcane magical writing (such as a single spell in another's spellbook or on a scroll), a character must make a Spellcraft check (DC 20 + the spell's level). If the skill check fails, the character cannot attempt to read that particular spell again until the next day. A read magic spell automatically deciphers magical writing without a skill check. If the person who created the magical writing is on hand to help the reader, success is also automatic.
Divine Magical Writings wrote:
Divine spells can be written and deciphered like arcane spells (see Arcane Magical Writings). A Spellcraft check can decipher divine magical writing and identify it. Only characters who have the spell (in its divine form) on their class spell list can cast a divine spell from a scroll.

So, if the person supplying the scroll already has it deciphered, the recipient should also, automatically, have it deciphered. That, at least, IMO, is how it should work for PFS, and how it generally works at any table I have GMed or played at.


A character can decipher a scroll with use magic device (DC25+spell level), not just read magic or spellcraft. This works "just like deciphering a written spell with the Spellcraft skill" but I'm not certain how they combine, if you fail a spellcraft check to decipher can you make a UMD check immediately after or do you have to wait 24 hours.


You only need read magic.

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Companion Subscriber
wraithstrike wrote:
You only need read magic.

Not everyone has it.

Like the Bloodrager.


blackbloodtroll wrote:
wraithstrike wrote:
You only need read magic.

Not everyone has it.

Like the Bloodrager.

I misread the question. I thought someone was asking do you still need to decipher after using read magic.

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Companion Subscriber

I did ask if it needed to be deciphered multiple times, whether through Read Magic, or a successful Spellcraft check.

Grand Lodge

blackbloodtroll wrote:
wraithstrike wrote:
You only need read magic.

Not everyone has it.

Like the Bloodrager.

In PFS, actually, once you get to 5 Fame, there is a simple solution.

Wayfinder (250 gp) and a dull grey Ioun stone (normal, not flawed or cracked, but 25 gp in any case)

The Type 1 Resonance of the dull grey Ioun stone is being able to cast Read Magic once per day. 10 minutes, but I don't see anywhere where you couldn't just swap out a bunch of the 25 gp stones, and throw one in the mix that is an Ioun torch, as well.

Shadow Lodge

I think this needs some context. Who is telling you what the scroll is?

If it's just something you've paid for, for PFS, you can assume automatic success since you can buy it from "whoever's most convenient".

If it's another player and they're telling the truth, you automatically succeed. If somehow you're playing with filthy lying Pathfinders who lie to their own group and won't cooperate, you probably have to make the check to get the real answer.

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Companion Subscriber

Paid for.


blackbloodtroll wrote:
Does a PC still need to Decipher a scroll with a read magic spell or a successful Spellcraft check, if told exactly what it is?

Deciphering a scroll isn't "figuring out what it is." It's "figuring our what all the damn squiggles are."

As a real-world example, consider the simple ampersand (&). Do you have any idea how many different ways scribes have drawn a symbol that means "and"? There's a surprising amount of variation, and if you're not prepared for it, this can make it hard to read.

Medieval scribes were often called upon to make long documents, and the list of random squiggles they used to simplify their job was immense. Even names got abbreviated, and you were just supposed to know that Dy meant "Dorothy," not "Dylan" or "Dyvas." Good Lord, we do that today in text messaging and text channels.

As per rules, if the person who wrote the scroll is there, you can ask him "What the hell does "qq." mean?" Just knowing that this is a scroll of fireball doesn't tell you how to activate the scroll. To actually activate it, you need to pronounce "qq." correctly.

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