DM Nature 20's against skill checks.


Rules Questions


Ok so I'm currently making a Vigilante class and of course I don't want anyone to figure out my identitys.

Basically I'm wondering if a natural 20 in Pathfinder is instantly a success against me even if my bluff is a +32 naturally, not even including a d20 roll.

Edit: Also if I roll a 1, would it still be a fail even though my bonuses = to 32?


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As far as I know: A natural 20 is only automatic success for attack rolls (including combat maneuvers), saves and, well, stabilize checks.

Given that you can take 20 at some skill checks, it's just fitting that there is no automatic success.


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So you're saying even if the DM rolls a 20, if it doesn't beat my score of minimum 32 they wouldn't succed?


Natural 20s do not auto-succeed on skill checks.


Adventure Path Charter Subscriber

That's correct - by the rules there are no auto-successes or auto-failures on skill checks. There are plenty of tables using house rules out there that modify that, but it generally isn't as important to have auto- results out there as possibilities as it is for attack rolls and saves.


Alright thanks everyone that clears that up for me, much appreciated!


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The usual example given is that if you attempt the DC one billion Acrobatics check to jump to the moon, a natural 20 shouldn't automatically succeed.


Yep, with a natural 20 you just rolled 20+whatever your bonus is, and if the DC is higher, you've failed anyway.


20 = auto-succeed only on attacks and saves.

Silver Crusade

Matthew Downie wrote:
The usual example given is that if you attempt the DC one billion Acrobatics check to jump to the moon, a natural 20 shouldn't automatically succeed.

It wouldn't take a billion checks... simply taking 20 (two minutes) would guarantee a jump to the moon succeeded. This is why a natural 20 is NOT a automatic success (nor is a 1 an automatic failure) on a skill check.


SwHJoKeR wrote:


Edit: Also if I roll a 1, would it still be a fail even though my bonuses = to 32?

Just as there is no auto-success rule, there is no auto-failure rule. You don't forget your own address 5% of the time because you rolled a 1 on your Knowledge (local) roll.


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber
Orfamay Quest wrote:
SwHJoKeR wrote:


Edit: Also if I roll a 1, would it still be a fail even though my bonuses = to 32?
Just as there is no auto-success rule, there is no auto-failure rule. You don't forget your own address 5% of the time because you rolled a 1 on your Knowledge (local) roll.

The one exception being Use Magic Device which will auto fail on a natural roll of one.


Adventure Path Charter Subscriber
Hendelbolaf wrote:


The one exception being Use Magic Device which will auto fail on a natural roll of one.

Not really. Rolling a natural 1 doesn't mean you fail with use magic device. It does add a further consequence if you roll a natural 1 and that's also a fail result.

The Exchange

Hendelbolaf wrote:
Orfamay Quest wrote:
SwHJoKeR wrote:


Edit: Also if I roll a 1, would it still be a fail even though my bonuses = to 32?
Just as there is no auto-success rule, there is no auto-failure rule. You don't forget your own address 5% of the time because you rolled a 1 on your Knowledge (local) roll.
The one exception being Use Magic Device which will auto fail on a natural roll of one.

That is not correct (at least not with Wands as those are the only item's I've ever tried to UMD) A Nat 1 (again with a wand) is not a auto fail, it simply means that you are unable to try and use that wand again the same day, UNLESS you still hit the DC 20 when you rolled that 1. In which case you succeed in casting the wand and can still use it. Once you have a +19 UMD you can Nat 1 your check and still succeed.

Back to the original Question. As the General rule, skill checks do not auto succeed or auto fail. There are exceptions so you could potentially run into a specific exception, if the character checking against you has something specific (I don't know of anything, but that does not mean it isn't possible.)

So under normal circumstances if you roll a Nat 1 and the DM rolls at Nat 20, the DM still has no clue you lied on that bluff check unless he has a +13 Sense Motive. If he does, then the 33 sense motive against your 33 Bluff succeeds and he knows you're not being truthful.


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Skill checks don't automatically succeed or fail, but it can be frustrating for a GM when players reach very high bonuses to skills.

You're GM is probably just frustrated that you're a bit too good at whatever skill you're trying to use.


There's not an actual rule that skill checks can auto fail or succeed, but it is probably one of the most common house rules you will come across. With most groups not even realizing it's a house rule.

It's kind of like how everyone thinks you're supposed to get money for landing on free parking in Monopoly.


It is worth noting that since you're more specifically asking about bluff there are penalties that your GM should apply for believable the lie is, and some lies might be outright impossible to convince someone of.

The Exchange

I think he's more specifically asking about bluff in regards to having to lie in order to protect his secret identity. In which case I can't think of many circumstances that would apply that level of impossible modifier. Even pointed questions asking if the public persona was present when the secret persona did something would certainly be believable unless he tried to say he was somewhere else that was clearly impossible.

Eg.
"No I wasn't in Rome where 'the Vigilante persona' was spotted on the day Mt Vesuvius Exploded. That day I specifically remember I was scaling Mt Vesuvius!"


RAW, the only way a natural 20 is an auto-success against your Bluff check is if he's somehow making an attack roll or save against your Bluff check. Which I'm pretty sure is impossible. Similarly, you can't auto-fail a Bluff check just by rolling a 1.

That said, a popular house rule is for natural 20s are auto-success and natural 1s are auto-fail. One alternative rule I've seen is that a natural 20 gives you an additional +20 on your total result (so 40 + your skill bonus) and a natural 1 gives you a -20 penalty on your check. Not necessarily a guaranteed success or failure, but it usually stacks the roll for or against you.

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