Skill Replacement Powers and Check Types


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Hannibal_pjv wrote:

Heh... I would not maind a whole article about skill replasement power and some full examples how They work with different characters in different situations.

It is one of those my mind hurts and I am still not sure if this special case will count.

A really good candidate to Paizo blogs!

+1. Solid examples with pictures for visual learners would go a long ways in getting this all ironed all for future references.


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Still no official ruling?


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Slacker2010 wrote:
Still no official ruling?

I'm curious about this as well. I just bought the Occult Adventures character deck, and now I need to know if the many cards in that deck that use Ranged or Disable for your combat check are unusable for Rivani.

Lone Shark Games

It is intended that Rivani uses her power to fire crossbows, hurl daggers, etc, yes.


It appears that this specialized ruling is just to stop Varril from using his power with a weapon. If that is the case, why not just FAQ him to adjust the wording on his power? Currently from Vic's Post this will affect with the intent of a lot of characters and they will all have to be FAQ'd to be allowed to function.

On a side note: Does it matter that Varril can use his power for combat? With the release of the Ultimate decks he can use the Ultimate magic deck to get some combat spells.

Lone Shark Games

Well, these are all actually running afoul of a rule that attempts to disambiguate what happens when you play multiple cards - like weapons and spells - that entirely change how you make a skill check.

So that, for instance, people don't try to somehow stack:
For your combat check, discard this card to use your Arcane, Divine, or Perception skill + 2d8.

and

For your combat check, reveal this card to use your Dexterity or Ranged skill + 1d10+2.


I think everyone understands you can only use one power/card to set your combat. But replacement powers should still allow you to replace an aspect of that.

So you would play a weapon for the ability of: For your combat check, reveal this card to use your Dexterity or Ranged skill + 1d10+2. That is the one power to determine what you are using for the check. Then you could replace your Dexterity or Ranged skill with some other stat. Rivani could use her knowledge. Varril his Divine. Assuming its a dagger or chain trait weapon, Zelhara use her divine.

I think you just need to stress the "replacement" so there would be no issue with people trying to stack.


Keith Richmond wrote:

Well, these are all actually running afoul of a rule that attempts to disambiguate what happens when you play multiple cards - like weapons and spells - that entirely change how you make a skill check.

So that, for instance, people don't try to somehow stack:
For your combat check, discard this card to use your Arcane, Divine, or Perception skill + 2d8.

and

For your combat check, reveal this card to use your Dexterity or Ranged skill + 1d10+2.

Ah, now I understand the dilemma. Certainly most of us knew to only use one card to assign a skill to a combat check, but it's true some people might attempt it if there's no rule preventing it.

The solution may be as simple as saying that for any combat check, you can only play one card or power allowing you to use a skill "for your combat check". Of course the problem is that this should also apply to any other kind of check as well.

At least the intent is understood now, so this should help my gaming group from constantly interrupting the game to figure out if these types of card interactions are allowed.


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Dulcee wrote:


Ah, now I understand the dilemma. Certainly most of us knew to only use one card to assign a skill to a combat check, but it's true some people might attempt it if there's no rule preventing it.

The solution may be as simple as saying that for any combat check, you can only play one card or power allowing you to use a skill "for your combat check". Of course the problem is that this should also apply to any other kind of check as well.

At least the intent is understood now, so this should help my gaming group from constantly interrupting the game to figure out if these types of card interactions are allowed.

I think this is a scenario where the harder we try to explicitly define the rules the more confusing it's going to get. When I teach new people the game they intuitively understand that it's against the rules to try to use both an attack spell and a weapon on the same combat check (or a weapon and a power like Valendron's bolt power). They also understand the intention of skill replacement powers as well.

Perhaps I just don't have the required skill with the English language but the more I try to explicitly parse out every component of what the design intention of the rules are the more confusing things get.


It feels to me that the rule should be "a given skill can only be replaced once" rather than "a given check can only have one replacement". Not sure if that's precise enough to go in the rulebook, but its the right sort of idea - parallel replacements of the same thing do not work, but nested replacements are okay (with the possible exception of cycles).


Pathfinder Card Game Subscriber

And then there is Also the difference of replasing die and the skill...


So why not formulate a new rule like this:

Some cards allow you to use a particular skill for a specific type of check, or to use one skill
instead of another. (These cards generally say things like "For your combat check, use your Strength
or Melee skill" or "Use your Strength skill instead of your Diplomacy skill.").

You may only use one power that allows you to use a particular skill and one power that allows you
to replace the skill you’re using for a given check.

So you can use an effect that says "For your combat check use your Dexterity skill" and then another one that says
"Replace your Dexterity skill with your Wisdom skill". However, you cannot use an effect that says "For your combat
check use your Dexterity skill" and an effect that says "For your combat check use your Strength
or Melee skill" at the same time.


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No cohesive conclusion to this? I'm tossing up on a purchase of the Inquisitor Class Deck either way, though it'd be helpful to help analyse the boons and characters based on this information (well, how Varril should or shouldn't work).

Re-reading this entire thread, it's pretty clear that Varril cannot use a weapon in addition to his replacement power, as the intent is for only one "replacement power" to be usable in a given check. It seems a little murkier, but reasonably well defined that a combat check using Varril's power will have the Divine and Strength (or Melee) traits, and be able to be modified (but not further replaced) by additional effects and cards as appropriate.

This generally leaves Varril as a poor combatant by Inquisitor Class Deck standards, at least if reliant on the class deck box, but still a highly capable all-rounder.

I second the desire for a full blog post on something like this, though, once it's all sorted out. What cards could/couldn't be used in these situations? What check is it in the end? What is the key wording difference between Varril and a dozen other 'replacement' effects which are intended to be used alongside weapons and the like?

Paizo Employee Chief Technical Officer

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We have finally solved this.


Vic Wertz wrote:
We have finally solved this.

Awesome!

Now all I need to do is understand how that solution works. So, I'm going to assert the following things and see which ones someone disagrees with:

* Combat is now a skill (and a trait), albeit a skill nobody explicitly has. The combination of "The skill you chose from the list..." and "For example, if you choose combat from the list" just doesn't make any sense if combat is not a skill. If so, thank goodness, excellent decision.

* They have clearly gone with a "there's two types of powers" solution, rather than unifying them. This is something I can see I argued against, but I am willing to concede that it might have been necessary in order to achieve the next point.

* I'm willing to believe that the end result is what I think almost everyone wanted, in that Varril's power still won't combine with a weapon, but Zelhara's power will. This is possible because Varril's falls under "use a particular skill for a specific type of check" while Zelhara's falls under "use one skill instead of another". At least I hope this is true, without the exact wording for those characters handy it's hard to say for sure.

* I believe that it's now possible to do one of up to four technically different things, that all lead to the same outcome in most cases but which are all subtly different.

#1 is "use a particular skill for a specific type of check" e.g. "for your arcane check use your acrobatics skill".

#2 is "use one skill instead of another" e.g. "when you make an arcane check, you may use acrobatics".

#3 is to gain a skill, e.g. "Arcane: Acrobatics".

#4 is gain a skill equal to another skill (like Mavaro), e.g. "You gain the skill arcane equal to your acrobatics skill".

Among these, #1 is the only one restricted to once per check. #4 is the only one where the check will not gain the acrobatics trait (edit - actually, rereading, I'm wondering if #4 == #3, but if so then that's a change to Marvaro as far as I understand). #3 and #4 would let you avoid banishing arcane spells in my examples while #1 and #2 would not.

PS Gosh rereading this whole thread sure was a trip down memory lane...


Pathfinder Card Game, Maps, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Maps, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber

I agree that this now heavily implies that combat is a skill that nobody has, which does greatly simplify the game and I'm hugely in favor of that ruling (no more special combat/non-combat status outside of the trait system!)

For Irgy's points: #3 and #4 are not "Determine Which Skill You're Using" powers. Both of those are used in the "Play Cards and Use Powers that Affect your Check" step instead. You can pick a skill without having the skill, and then later gain that skill. Those powers are unchanged by this ruling and have worked like they always have.

I also argued for "only one type of power" but this resolution with multiple types is straightforward and understandable in the rulebook. It will be no harder to teach people (in my opinion) than the previous set of rules. I'm a fan.


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<<Despite the angry/stern countenance of my avatar and lengthy response, please don't interpret the following as negative. This is the result of considerable time (more than three hours - way too long) evaluating (hopefully correctly) the rules, changes, and replies to Vic's post, and then composing, revising, editing, and shortening (yes, it was originally much longer!) what I hope is an accurate, complete, and well-reasoned response. If anything below is incorrect, it needs to be refuted.>>

If combat (and non-combat, by extension) were intended to be skills/traits, they would be capitalized (as every other instance of skills/traits in the rulebook). Since neither is capitalized (not counting listing of skills to defeat/acquire listed on cards, which are in all caps), the implication is that they are not skills or traits. In fact, combat and noncombat are still implicitly "types" of checks (see the first portion of the change, which preserves similar wording in the original).

Here are the wordings for Varril's and Zelhara's powers:

Quote:
(Varril) When you attempt any check, you may discard ([] or recharge) a card to use your Divine skill instead of any listed skill.
Quote:
(Zelhara) On your check that invokes the Chain, Finesse, or Knife trait, you may use Divine instead of the listed skill.

Neither power allows a skill to "stack" (assuming I understand your intended meaning). In both cases, the Divine skill is used "instead of" some other skill, and both the Divine and Wisdom traits are added to the check (and the normal traits of the check are retained). The only "stacking" that occurs is that the traits of the used skill and referenced skill are added to the check.

For combat checks, each would replace the normal skill with Divine (imagine using a weapon and replacing Strength/Melee/Dexterity/Ranged or using a spell and replacing Arcane). They would still get the weapon/spell additions (e.g., Strength or Melee + 1d6, Arcane + 2d4), simply replacing the listed skill with Divine. And they would add the Divine and Wisdom traits to the other traits normally invoked in the check.

The wording of the FAQ/errata doesn't need to address how the Divine skill is used because the wording on the cards is clear - the Divine skill is used "instead of" some other skill. Neither changes the nature of the check to acquire/defeat. It's still a COMBAT 8 or DISABLE 12 or whatever check that has been selected. If either power was changing the nature of the check, it would say something like ("...you may make a Divine 7 check instead of the normal check...") (worded better by the game designers).

Mavaro's power (both versions of him) appear to be similarly answered. Actually, the wording and applicability is much more clear for Mavaro:

Quote:
(Mummy's Mask Mavaro) You may display a card to gain all skills listed on the check to acquire for that card equal to your Intelligence until the end of the turn. ([] You may also add any of that card's traits to your checks during this turn.) At the end of the turn, recharge the displayed cards.
Quote:
(Occult Adventures Mavaro) Play with the top card of your deck faceup. You gain all skills that could be used to acquire that card equal to your Knowledge skill. ([] You may also add any of that card's traits to your checks.)

When Mavaro uses one of the skills that he gains from a displayed/faceup card, he adds that skill trait as well as the Intelligence trait (MM) and Intelligence and Knowledge traits (OA) to the check because those skills are referenced.

At least, that's my RAW interpretation of the changed rule. If that's not the intent, perhaps some (further) adjustment is necessary (or I just have to get over it ;) ).

This is an elegant revision to the rules that clarifies some issues that were previously muddy, and allows for applicability across a range of situations (hopefully including future developments).

Quote:
The skill you chose from the list, the skill you’re using, and any skill referenced by that skill, are all added as traits to the check. For example, if you choose combat from the list, then play a weapon that lets you use your Ranged skill for a combat check, and your range skill is “Dexterity +2,” the check is a Dexterity Ranged combat check.

Basically, you choose the check/skill as normal (1); if cards allow, a character can then use some other skill instead of the chosen skill (2); and the chosen skill (1), the actual skill used (either that which is chosen or the replacement) (2), and any referenced skills are added as traits to the check.

Easy peasy, lemon squeezy.

There's no need to make this complicated.

For Vic, the last portion changed needs to be fixed (otherwise my claim of skills/traits always being capitalized above is wrong and I'm going to be mighty embarrassed ;) ). The last sentence should be changed to (portion in italics, original quoted above):

Quote:
For example, if you choose combat from the list, then play a weapon that lets you use your Ranged skill for a combat check, and your Ranged skill is “Dexterity +2,” the check is a Dexterity Ranged combat check.

(i.e., "range" should be "Ranged")


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Still wanting to see full article or a comic book version of how this skill replasement work in different situations. ;)
What skill Are used, what keyword evoked, and so on.


Pathfinder Card Game Subscriber

PSA that there's a new FAQ with covers some of the issues raised in this forum, but does not directly solve the question as to whether (or how) Varril, Mother Myrtle, Zelhara, Valeros (Weapon Master) or Rivani can use their replacement power with weapons/spells.

It does, curiously, seem to significantly enhance both versions of Mavaro. It explicitly covers that using MM Mavaro's 'gained' skills will also make them Intelligence checks - and using OA2 Mavaro's 'gained' skills will be Knowledge/Intelligence checks.

I'm not happy with the idea that OA2 Mavaro, with basic cards alone, can just keep revealing Chronicler and Spellbook to add 1d6+1d4 to almost every check he makes starting from Tier 1 in PFSACG. With further tuning, exploiting the fact that he can pretty easily turn 100% of his checks into Intelligence (and/or Knowledge) checks really kind of leads him to overpower everything.

To be fair, both could add the Intelligence trait to their checks pretty easily with power feats, but that was more viable for MM Mavaro than OA2 (since OA2 can only draw skills/traits from a single card at a time, limiting his capacity to exploit Knowledge and Intelligence boosting boons).


I'm a bit confused by the FAQ question itself, in that "equal to" is in the title but "instead of" is not. The FAQ question is:

When I use a skill that's equal to another skill of mine, does it gain that skill's traits?

The wording on Varril, Zelhara, etc., say that you're using a skill "instead of" a listed skill.

In contrast, Radovan has a power on his Fell Viridio devil form in which he gets the Perception skill "equal to" his Diplomacy skill.

These are all treated exactly the same way? Just making sure.


Pathfinder Card Game Subscriber

No, they're not treated exactly the same way.

When you use a skill "instead of" a listed skill, you are using that skill even if the check to acquire/defeat doesn't include that skill. For example, Varril is using his Divine skill instead of some other skill, and it doesn't matter that he's using it on a Melee check. The FAQ errata says that when Varril does this, the Divine and Wisdom traits are added to the check (Divine because it's the skill that he is using, Wisdom because his Divine skill references Wisdom).

In the Radovan/Fell Viridio example that you cited (taking your wording because I don't have the card in front of me), Radovan gains Perception "equal to" his Diplomacy skill, but he can only use it when he is making a Perception check. When he makes such a check, the check has the Perception trait (inherently), but his power adds the Diplomacy and Charisma traits (Diplomacy because his Perception skill references Diplomacy, and Charisma because his Diplomacy skill references Charisma).

That's the way I understand it, at least.


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Yewstance wrote:
PSA that there's a new FAQ with covers some of the issues raised in this forum, but does not directly solve the question as to whether (or how) Varril, Mother Myrtle, Zelhara, Valeros (Weapon Master) or Rivani can use their replacement power with weapons/spells.

For the record, when I made this post, I must have been on the wrong page or something, because I hadn't read the posts above it, or even knew they existed.

I must admit, re-reading everything, I think I might be more confused. My interpretation was originally the same as Irgy's above (albeit, as far as I can see, #3 == #4), but I think that Brother Tyler is suggesting that you can use weapons with Varril's power?

Brother Tyler wrote:

Here are the wordings for Varril's and Zelhara's powers:

Quote:
(Varril) When you attempt any check, you may discard ([] or recharge) a card to use your Divine skill instead of any listed skill.
Quote:
(Zelhara) On your check that invokes the Chain, Finesse, or Knife trait, you may use Divine instead of the listed skill.

Neither power allows a skill to "stack" (assuming I understand your intended meaning). In both cases, the Divine skill is used "instead of" some other skill, and both the Divine and Wisdom traits are added to the check (and the normal traits of the check are retained). The only "stacking" that occurs is that the traits of the used skill and referenced skill are added to the check.

For combat checks, each would replace the normal skill with Divine (imagine using a weapon and replacing Strength/Melee/Dexterity/Ranged or using a spell and replacing Arcane). They would still get the weapon/spell additions (e.g., Strength or Melee + 1d6, Arcane + 2d4), simply replacing the listed skill with Divine. And they would add the Divine and Wisdom traits to the other traits normally invoked in the check.

The wording between Zelhara, Weapon Master Valeros, Mavaro, Radovan, Rivani and Varril seems so minute but potentially carries huge implications, which I admit I'm getting lost in.

I think I've been convinced that the opposite of my previous opinion is true, based largely on Brother Tyler's posts above. Because Varril is using one skill instead of another skill, which isn't counted under the one effect that lets you "use a particular skill for a specific type of check" limitation. In other words, he can reveal a shortsword and then discard/recharge a card to use his Divine Skill +1d6 for a combat check. Right?

===============================

Additionally, I disagree with skizzerz' assessment here...

skizzerz wrote:

For Irgy's points: #3 and #4 are not "Determine Which Skill You're Using" powers. Both of those are used in the "Play Cards and Use Powers that Affect your Check" step instead. You can pick a skill without having the skill, and then later gain that skill. Those powers are unchanged by this ruling and have worked like they always have.

I disagree. Whilst the rulebook changes listed by the FAQ talk about effects that occur during the "Determine which skill you're using" step, the actual title and original result of the FAQ makes very clear that this also affects Mavaro, so they are actually changed by this ruling.

Previously, there was agreement that Mavaro gaining skills does not cause checks with that gained skill to become Intelligence checks (I can point to several forums where people have discussed this). This has been inversed.

FAQ wrote:

When I use a skill that's equal to another skill of mine, does it gain that skill's traits?

Yes. So if you gain the skill Arcane equal to your Craft, and your Craft is your Intelligence +3, your Arcane checks are considered Craft and Intelligence checks.

Mavaro clearly "Gains the skill X equal to his Y", so checks using X skills are now also considered Y checks (in the case of OA2 Mavaro, they're considered both Knowledge and Intelligence checks. In the case of MM Mavaro, they're just Intelligence).

================================

(As an aside, whilst I'm glad that this rules issue is being tackled, I'm concerned about how it effects character balance. As stated above - and following testing, I'm more convinced than ever - both versions of Mavaro have been impossibly well buffed, especially in PFSACG, since they can trivially ensure all of their checks are Intelligence/Knowledge, gaining huge benefits from even AD0 cards like Spellbook and Chronicler, as well as cards like Headband of Epic intelligence, allies like Erayu, and blessings like Blessing of the Master of Masters.)

(Varril additionally becomes the do-everything Inquisitor that really appears to greatly outclass both other Inquisitors in his Class Deck, and I thought that there was the developer agreement earlier that he could not use his power with a weapon?)

Paizo Employee Chief Technical Officer

Brother Tyler wrote:
For Vic, the last portion changed needs to be fixed ... (i.e., "range" should be "Ranged")

Fixed. Thanks!


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Upon reading and re-reading the FAQ, I'm now 100% convinced that Varril can use his power with a weapon now, I think. It's a moot point digging through the different definitions of "use X instead of Y" or "for your X check, use Y" and the ways they have been templated, because there's a more significant and clear-cut change the FAQ makes.

FAQ, emphasis added wrote:

Resolution: On page 11 of the rulebook, under Determine Which Skill You're Using, change:

Some cards allow you to use a particular skill for a specific type of check, or to use one skill instead of another. (These cards generally say things like “For your combat check, use your Strength or Melee skill,” or “Use your Strength skill instead of your Diplomacy skill.”) You may play only 1 such card or use only 1 such power to determine which skill you’re using.

to:

Some powers allow you to use a particular skill for a specific type of check. These powers say things like “For your combat check, use Dexterity or Ranged.” You may use only one such power to determine which skill you’re using. Other powers allow you to use one skill instead of another. These powers say things like “when you attempt a Perception check, you may use Knowledge” or “use Strength instead of Diplomacy.”

The FAQ clearly removes all reference to "You may play only 1 such card or use only 1 such power to determine which skill you’re using."

So you're now able to chain together effects (as long as you only play one card per type per step of the check), making the following now a legal series of actions, for example.

1. You take a Disable check to defeat Trapped Locker.
2. You discard Deconstructor to use your Melee skill + Disable skill + 1d8 instead.
3. You bury Arcane Robes to use your Arcane skill instead of whatever skill you were using (in this case, instead of Melee).
3. You use your Wisdom skill instead of your Arcane skill with Mother Myrtle's first power.

Your are now rolling your Wisdom Skill + your Disable skill + 1d8. Your check now has the following traits...

  • Disable (from the check you originally made, as per the FAQ. Note that Deconstructor's power does not inherently add this trait, in case you were instead making a check against a Construct with the same power.)
  • Wisdom (from the skill you end up using, as per the FAQ)
  • Mace
  • Melee (Just because it's one of Deconstructor's traits; no other reason.)
  • Bludgeoning
  • Magic

    Note that you never add the "Arcane" trait, and even if you had the Melee skill based off Strength you would never add the "Strength" trait either. These are both for the same reason; the resulting check you made did not end up using your Melee/Strength skill or your Arcane skill, even though they were a part of the chain of effects.

    I'm not certain whether Deconstructors traits (Mace, Melee, Bludgeoning, Magic) end up being added or not. You used it as part of the chain of effects (it ended up adding your Disable skill + 1d8 to the final result), but the skill it determined you were using was later overriden. I think it would still add its traits, though - however, Arcane Robes wouldn't, because it didn't determine the skill you were using, it was simply replacing it.

    See the below rulebook quote.

    MM Rulebook Page 11 wrote:
    When you’re playing a card to determine the skill you’re using, that card’s traits are also added to the check [...]

    ==============================================

    Does all of that sound right, Vic? That all seems to be within RAW, because the FAQ removed the "You may play only 1 such card or use only 1 such power to determine which skill you’re using" sentence.

    So Varril can use his power with weapons, Myrtle can use her Wisdom with spells, Weapon Master Valeros can use his Melee with ranged weapons, Zelhara can use her Divine skill with specific weapons and Rivani can - in the words of Keith above - use her power to shoot crossbows.

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