A couple of us were discussing the Inquisitor Mastermind Power of "A Quiet Word" and can't quite figure out what bonuses the target gets to use.
First the wording...
A mastermind’s reputation precedes him. At 1st level, once per day a mastermind can spend 10 minutes preparing an ally to make a single Diplomacy or Intimidate check (mastermind’s choice when preparing the ally) within the next 24-hour period at the mastermind’s behest. This skill check uses the mastermind’s skill ranks instead of the ally’s. The mastermind’s affected ally still uses its own ability bonus for the check.
The hard part is that it's clear you don't add in your ability check (called out explicitly), and it's clear that you add in your ranks, what's not clear is whether any of the following are counted (explicitly because of a rule we're missing, or implicitly because the ability calls out ability bonus separately).
So does the target of A Quiet Word get to add in the +3 trained bonus, or a skill focus bonus, or a trait bonus? Some of those, none of those, all of those? Just looking for thoughts.
Yeah, Big Norse +1.
If you send Grumsmosh the Destroyer, in his Cha 8 and lack of anything useful for a diplomatic situation, lets everyone know your 11 ranks of Diplomacy are delivering the message.
Silvertongue, your bardic minion, can drop the bass with his Skill Focus: Diplomacy and +2 racial buff to Dip checks, delivering your words even better than you could have yourself.
Choose the right tool/minion for the right task.
Except Silvertongue, the bardic minion has the same number of ranks. That hardly seems the intent of the ability.
Correction: Investigator Mastermind, my oops.
There are a number of sticking points:
1. Skill Focus - This one is unclear because it's a bonus, but it's a bonus tied into ranks. I lean to thinking this one should be included, but I'm really struggling to show why.
2. +3 trained bonus - This one is weird. Do you use your target's trained qualifier, your trained qualifier, or neither? The language under Skill Use implies it's one of the first two, but again more of an inference than an actual statement.
3. Other bonuses like trait and racial bonuses. These are probably the weakest of the three to infer since (as an example), if I wear a bunch of jewelry for 150 gp and you do not, it hardly seems appropriate for you to get the bonus. So unless there's some other rule somewhere, this feels like a strong no.
Again, the question is, using other class abilities, feats, or sections of the rulebook, is there a good example to pointing out exclusionary language like this? If not, are there any good RAI arguments based on similar topics?
My initial read is that the target acts as though they had your skill ranks. Because the wording of trained skills looks like it's evaluated at check-time "If the skill you're using is a class skill (and you have invested ranks into that skill), you gain a +3 bonus on the check." I would give them the +3 if it's a class skill for them.
Where it gets more interesting is that if you're giving direction to Silvertongue the 4th level bard and you have 11 ranks, I think his Skill Focus would give a +6 instead of the +3 that would be possible with his 4 ranks.
Your Skill Focus or Circlet of Persuasion would be irrelevant from my read.
Edit: as for precedent, the ability does what it says it does. It allows you to swap out their ranks for your ranks for the purposes of that check. It doesn't say it's interacting with the check overall, so I see to reason to add that to the interpretation.