Skills for a gravekeeper / mortician


Advice


Hello everybody and thank you for your time.

I'm building a Pahmet dwarf cleric of Magrim NPC for a Mummy's Mask campaign and I need a bit of advice for his skills.
He has served for many years in the necropolis of Erekrus and became quite acquainted with the deceased and the funeral rites of his religion, therefore I was thinking of making him not just a cleric, but something more.
My doubt is, with max three skill points to spend, which skills suits a gravekeeper/mortician better? I have put one point in Knowledge (religion) and one in Spellcraft, should I put a third one in Heal? Or maybe something like Profession (gravekeeper/mortician)?

Thank you for the help.

Scarab Sages

Either of those would be good.


Assume the use of the background skills from Pathfinder Unchained. Give him ranks in Profession (mortician) as a background skill. Make the other skill Knowledge (local); it makes sense that someone who has to deal with the dead of the community would know something about it, right? Spend your other 3 skill points on Heal, Knowledge (religion), and then one other skill of your choice. Maybe Knowledge (planes), as he's extended his knowledge of religious rites to where the souls go? Knowledge (nobility), because he deals often with the upper-class deceased? Appraise, because he is used to dealing with the items the living put into the caskets with the dead? Intimidate, because he's so used to scaring people that he's developed a knack for it? Perhaps something more esoteric even?


Lathiira wrote:
Assume the use of the background skills from Pathfinder Unchained. Give him ranks in Profession (mortician) as a background skill. Make the other skill Knowledge (local); it makes sense that someone who has to deal with the dead of the community would know something about it, right? Spend your other 3 skill points on Heal, Knowledge (religion), and then one other skill of your choice. Maybe Knowledge (planes), as he's extended his knowledge of religious rites to where the souls go? Knowledge (nobility), because he deals often with the upper-class deceased? Appraise, because he is used to dealing with the items the living put into the caskets with the dead? Intimidate, because he's so used to scaring people that he's developed a knack for it? Perhaps something more esoteric even?

The problem is, this NPC has only three skill ranks max per level (2 from class + 0 from Int + 1 from favored class bonus). I have already spent two of them on Know (religion) and Spellcraft, my doubt is about the third and last rank: better use it on Heal or Prof (mortician)?

Also, we don't use background skills.


As you said you have 3 skill points per level. Assuming the character is not 1st level you have 3 x level skill points. You don’t have to spend the points on the same thing every level especially for a class that does not get a lot of skill points. I can see a cleric maxing out knowledge religion, but unless the character is creating magic items they don’t need to max out spell craft. As a dwarf cleric you are going to have a good WIS and professional skills are based on WIS. Assuming at least a 16 WIS a single point put into a professional skill is going to get you a +7. Heal and sense motive are also WIS based class skills that a single point investment is going to get you a decent bonus on.


Mysterious Stranger wrote:
Assuming the character is not 1st level

The character is indeed a 1st level NPC, sorry I forgot to mention it.


Craft Alchemy could very well be appropriate from knowing formulas for embalming either permanent or for temporary presentation.
Disguise could be from "making up" the bodies of the deceased, concealing their wounds, etc.
Sleight of Hand could be relevant if they were less than upstanding morals and sometimes 'palmed' jewelry etc of deceased.
Sense Motive could be just applied wisdom from observing people of all backgrounds facing facts of life and death.
And of course Perception, from noticing things about bodies, to noticing things about tombs.
(would synergize well with Dwarf bonus to noticing stonework traps)

I honestly would drop the Spellcraft since you have plenty of demand with the above and Know:Religion and possible Profession,
not to mention basics like a few ranks in Climb and Acrobatics just to cover basic mobility.
(some of which could be justified based on getting around thru tombs in course of job)
I would give the guy traits to make whatever you put a rank into also be a Class Skill. (otherwise 1 rank on it's own is ho-hum)
(traits usually also have +1 bonus or higher if only applying to aspect of skill)


perseption


A 1st level character by definition is not experienced so not having a lot of skills makes sense. For a first level NPC I would go with knowledge religion, heal and professional skill. Those are the skills that would be most used by a character like this.

What domains are you going with? Unless you are taking Rune you don’t really need spell craft. There are two main uses of spell craft. The first is to create magic items. If are taking the Rune as one of your domains you will need to put a point into spell craft or you will not be able to create scrolls. The second use is for identifying spells and magic items. The DC to identify magic items is 15+ the items caster level. Unless this character has a good INT and spends a feat on skill focus it will have a difficult time identifying anything except very low level magic items.

As a cleric you almost have to have knowledge religion. You may not need to max it out especially at higher level, but you should have at least one rank in it at first level. Having professional skill mortician does make sense for this character. So that leaves your last skill point. If you have the feat scribe scroll than need spell craft, if not than healing would probably be best. This character could have learned healing backwards. You learned healing because of seeing all the things that cause death. After seeing people die because an artery was cut you know when one is you have to fix it or the person is going to die. Even though Magrim is a deity of death his clerics would also try and prevent people form dying.


he cant do his job if he cant see whats going on or what hes doing perception is the #1 priority


This is an NPC not a PC so the need for a high perception is not the same. He is also a dwarf cleric so he will have at least +3 just from Wisdom. Lastly his job is to hold funeral services not be an adventurer.


well hes gata examin bodies and make sure those dang kids dont break any of the tombstones "what you kids doing in this here graveyard at this time o night" as he shines flashlight in some kids face


Examining the bodies is a Heal check, not a Perception check.


Inlaa wrote:
Examining the bodies is a Heal check, not a Perception check.

only for certain things you can roll heal on a dead body to see what the cause of death is but if the body has a valuable or a note stuffed inside it would be a perception check


Perception can be used untrained and is not a class skill for clerics. So putting a point into perception only gives him a +1 over what he would normally have. On the other hand heal is a class skill so putting a point into that gives him a +4 over what he would have without the skill point. If perception was that important he should also be using his first level feat for skill focus, and the next feat for alertness.

And again this is an NPC not a player character. It does not make sense that every character (NPC and PC) and every monster maxes out perception. While the ability to notices thing is important being able to deal with things after they have been discovered is just as important. Characters should be unique and interesting not cookie cutter copies of each other.


heal can also be used untrained and perseption can be gained as a class skill via seeker trait


Pathfinder Maps, Pathfinder Accessories, Pawns, Starfinder Society Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber
Lady-J wrote:
heal can also be used untrained and perseption can be gained as a class skill via seeker trait

I'm curious why you believe that all NPCs have to maximize perception?

Paizo NPCs aren't built that way. Why would you do it differently than the game's designers?


CrystalSeas wrote:
Lady-J wrote:
heal can also be used untrained and perseption can be gained as a class skill via seeker trait

I'm curious why you believe that all NPCs have to maximize perception?

Paizo NPCs aren't built that way. Why would you do it differently than the game's designers?

i never said all npcs have to have max perception i said this guy in particular should have perseption there is a big difference. i do however say all pcs should have a max perception no matter what tho


Pathfinder Maps, Pathfinder Accessories, Pawns, Starfinder Society Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber
Lady-J wrote:
i do however say all pcs should have a max perception no matter what tho

That is also not how Paizo creates PCs. For example, look at the iconics. The cleric Kyra doesn't maximize Perception. Not even at the first level, where her Perception modifier is +3 which is simply her wisdom modifier with no ranks. At level 7 her perception is +4, which means in seven levels she's put exactly one rank in perception.

So why do you say that all PCs should maximize perception?


CrystalSeas wrote:
Lady-J wrote:
i do however say all pcs should have a max perception no matter what tho

That is also not how Paizo creates PCs. For example, look at the iconics. The cleric Kyra doesn't maximize Perception. Not even at the first level, where her Perception modifier is +3 which is simply her wisdom modifier with no ranks. At level 7 her perception is +4, which means in seven levels she's put exactly one rank in perception.

So why do you say that all PCs should maximize perception?

the iconics are not pcs tho. and all pcs should max perception because it is the most used and most useful skill in the game it saves you from traps locates secret doors and saves you from ambushes and stealthing characters


Pathfinder Maps, Pathfinder Accessories, Pawns, Starfinder Society Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber

The iconics are pregenerated PCs. You can play them in any PFS game. Where did you get the idea that they aren't PCs?
Pathfinder Society Frequently Asked Questions

PFS FAQ wrote:
The only pregenerated characters legal for the Pathfinder Society campaign are the 1st-, 4th-, and 7th-level Iconics available as free PDF downloads.

And, again, if they are legal to play and designed by Paizo developers, why do you think Paizo developers don't follow your rule?

If it makes a good character for the people who design the game, other people should be able to make similar characters, especially if it's an NPC who isn't going adventuring. Your rule makes no sense.

Trying to apply such a strict rule to every single possible character is a strange limit to put on a game with such rich possibilities. You eliminate millions of possible characters when you require a skill rank to be put into one particular skill every time you make or advance a character.


CrystalSeas wrote:

The iconics are pregenerated PCs. You can play them in any PFS game. Where did you get the idea that they aren't PCs?

Pathfinder Society Frequently Asked Questions

PFS FAQ wrote:
The only pregenerated characters legal for the Pathfinder Society campaign are the 1st-, 4th-, and 7th-level Iconics available as free PDF downloads.

And, again, if they are legal to play and designed by Paizo developers, why do you think Paizo developers don't follow your rule?

If it makes a good character for the people who design the game, other people should be able to make similar characters, especially if it's an NPC who isn't going adventuring.

Trying to apply a single rule to every single possible character is a strange limit to put on a game with such rich possibilities.

if they are pcs than a character with only a +4 perception at level 7 is a s&@& character you should have +12 minimum at that level and i dont acnoledge pfs as the only characters you can make with them are crippled


Pathfinder Maps, Pathfinder Accessories, Pawns, Starfinder Society Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber
Lady-J wrote:
i dont acnoledge pfs as the only characters you can make with them are crippled

I see.

I guess the people who make Pathfinder don't realize what a horrible system they have created.


Having all the members of a party maximize Perception is pretty terrible, if efficiency is what you're aiming for. You only need one or two members with a high Perception, since if one character makes the check, the whole party benefits; but if the whole party makes the check, there is no increase in utility, only in wasted resources that were dumped into an already covered skill.

As long as somebody in the group has a high Perception skill bonus, it doesn't matter if the dwarf cleric is good at it or not; and if it doesn't matter, why waste limited resources on it? The OP will be far more likely to get use out of skills they are naturally good at (without traits or feats being spent); and they will probably be happier with those skills thematically, as well.


suprise rounds are a thing and some one not making their check could mean the difference between winning or loseing the fight depending of the dificulty of the ambush


Roleplaying is not only about getting the higher bonuses at everything.
When creating a character, specially when it's a NPC who doesn't need to be optimized, the personality and background are important for the creation of the character sheet.
Why should everybody have maxed perception? Do absent minded people not exist? People who are easily distracted or who focus heavily on a single activity and don't pay attention to anything else?
Or maybe we should just leave all the personality background just as fluff and give those characters a maxed perception anyway? I don't think so. A character's sheet should reflect the character.
Optimizing a bit so a character is playable and works the right way is good. Giving a character just the optimal options disregarding of the character's concept is not.


adventuers who are absentminded or who dont pay atention can often get themselves kill and put the rest of the party at risk


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Lady-J wrote:
suprise rounds are a thing and some one not making their check could mean the difference between winning or loseing the fight depending of the dificulty of the ambush

It is physically impossible to optimize Perception to the point that it will be actually useful against an ambush, since Stealth is much easier to boost, and most ambush encounters are against creatures with a high Stealth modifier.

If you can succeed at a Perception check against an ambush with any sort of consistency, you are playing something natively good at Perception, you dumped a bunch of resources into Perception (which guarantees you suck at something else), or it's just a regular encounter, not an ambush. I don't care how many feats, traits, and magic items you throw at the fighter, he'll NEVER be able to beat a rogue in a Stealth vs. Perception check; not even if the rogue's only putting skill points and a minor magic item into his Stealth.

Also, if you are having to deal with ambushes often, that speaks more towards your group's tactics and Stealth abilities than it does their Perception...


A great example of never being able to beat a rogue specced for stealth: the common Halfling Rogue with the Secretive Survivor alternate racial trait gets a +4 size bonus to stealth, +2 racial bonus to stealth, and let's assume they have 18 starting DEX for another +4. Putting a rank into Stealth at level 1 and getting a trait that grants +1 more stealth, we have... +15 stealth at level 1. Oh, and if you really want, take the Dimdweller alternate racial trait as well for +17 to stealth in dark places. Want to burn a feat on being even MORE stealthy? Sure! Take Skill Focus (Stealth) and now that's a +20 Stealth check at level 1.

Yeah, the Fighter ain't beating that.


fighter maybe not but heres something aasimar summoner 22wis for a +6,+8 racial bonus for +12, skill focus +3 for +15,seeker for +1 and class skill +19 it doesnt quite match but nearly there all at level 1 but it will beet the halfling rogue if they arn't in a dark place


If we're getting specific, there are a lot of creatures that can get huge bonuses to stealth while hiding in their proper environments and who could take 20 on their stealth checks to remain hidden until someone catches their attention and they can strike an ambush.
There's nothing that a regular character with a maxed perception can do there to spot that creature. It would take a proper scout with extra bonuses to the skill aside from just maxing perception (favored terrain, skill focus, etc.) to be able to do it.
So I'd rather have some specific characters in a group to do the scouting, trapfinding, etc. than wasting skill points from all the group by maxing perception instead of putting them in a wider range of skills that will be useful for the whole group.
Also, ambushes are often best dealt with by being prepared in advance by other ways than just raw perception because it's not flawless. Any prepared party should have a way to survive a surprise round.
I had my S&S party attacked by phase spiders. Perception was useless as they were ethereal and couldn't be perceived. But they were walking in a good formation that protected the casters from being attacked and only let the martials as targets for the attack. So they did well even though they weren't able to act in the surprise round.


there are also alot of beings with massive boosts to perception along with blindsight,tremorsense,true vision and abilities to auto see you if were going that route.

and people can still varry their skills while also putting points into perception


Give him more levels already. Cleric 3 or expert 2/cleric 1 if you don't want too much casting abilities. Or even higher...

Read my NPCs get XP too, level 1 = adolescent , NPC leveling rant.


Putting a point into perception is not putting a point into another skill that could be more useful for the party.
A character that relies only on a maxed perception skill to spot things will still not be able to spot the really important things.
My witch, WIS 12, +2 to Perception because of familar, maxed perception at lvl 16: that makes a +19 to Perception. Nothing impressive for a level 16 character, as a single enemy who has taken 20 to hide and a slight focus in Stealth will probably have an unbeatable DC for me.
So I'd rather use different tactics than just perception to avoid being caught in the surprise round and allow other party members to do the Perception checks.


yes but those points in perception also allow you to not be mauled by animals in your sleep. if you cant beet a dc5 perseption check to hear combat while sleeping(sleeping invokes a -10 penalty to perception) your a gonner in many situations


Why should I sleep in a dangerous place without setting a vigilance, casting Alarm and even a Tiny Hut, Hide Campsite or similar? There are just too many good options aside from just relying on a single Perception roll.


theres no garentee you have the spell resources required to do so every night and even if you do it doesnt mean you wont get attacked which you will need that perception for


No, it would be needed that ONE of my party members has the resources to cast the spells and that ONE of my party members is able to pass the perception roll.
If nobody is able to do it, then we are doing too many things wrong.


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Having one or two characters with a really high perception roll is actually the best way to avoid being ambushed. If my perception roll is high enough that I can spot the enemy before they spot me I can warn the rest of the party.

A half elf unchained rouge with skill focus perception and alertness with the skill unlock for perception will be able to spot a threat at a very long range. At 5th level assuming a 10 WIS and no magic items to boost perception this character will have a +15 perception. He will also be taking a -1 penalty for every 20’ instead of -1 for every 10’. At 10th level he gets a +25 bonus and takes a -1 for every 30’. Eyes of the eagle will add +5 to this for a mere 2,500 GP. So at 10th level this character can spot an ambusher with a +20 stealth roll at 150’ while sleeping. This is assuming average rolls for both characters. I could also take the rogue talent Canny Observer for an additional +4 to my perception roll which means I now spot the ambusher at a range of 270’. AT 15’ the DC for the opponent to spot the sleeping rogue is 15, if the rogue has Canny Observer the DC goes up to 27. If the rogue is awake it adds about 150’ to his detection range which means the DC to spot the rogue first jumps up by 15.

The best way to avoid surprise is to have someone in the party with a really high perception roll. With a character like the half elven rogue I described the party will almost never be surprised. The other party members may not be able to participate in the surprise round but neither does the enemy. If there is only one character that is aware of the other party he can simply warn his party and none of them get ambushed.

There are a lot of things that can get you killed besides a missed perception roll. Not identifying the monster you are fighting so you can adjust your tactics will get you killed just as easily. Failing a sense motive roll can mean not realizing you have been betrayed by your supposed ally . Having a penalty on climb or swim can kill you just as easily. When no one in the party has spellcraft because they all spent their points on perception means you can never identify what spells the enemy just cast. Not knowing that fighter or the rogue just got charmed or dominated can be fatal.

I am not saying characters should not put ranks into perception, but not all characters need to max it out. A first level cleric with only 3 skill points should be spending them on other things. At 1st level Heal is actually very useful. At this level heal is about the only way to deal with poison and disease. It may only be a +4 to the save, but that is still very useful especially for a character with a poor fortitude save. Once you get access to higher level spells this becomes a lot less important but at low levels this may be the difference between life and death.


Mysterious Stranger wrote:

Having one or two characters with a really high perception roll is actually the best way to avoid being ambushed. If my perception roll is high enough that I can spot the enemy before they spot me I can warn the rest of the party.

[...]

The best way to avoid surprise is to have someone in the party with a really high perception roll. With a character like the half elven rogue I described the party will almost never be surprised. The other party members may not be able to participate in the surprise round but neither does the enemy. If there is only one character that is aware of the other party he can simply warn his party and none of them get ambushed.

[...]

I am not saying characters should not put ranks into perception, but not all characters need to max it out. A first level cleric with only 3 skill points should be spending them on other things.

This.

Of course I never said Perception is not important, just that you need to know how much you need and when you should have it maxed. And the answer is not «always».


one the perception check to avoid an ambush is generally done the round before the ambush takes place, two even if some one else makes the perception check while you are sleeping means nothing you still need to beable to make the dc for the check to wake up


Look up perception and you will find that it is a -10 penalty for being asleep. If you have the skill unlock for perception and at least 5 ranks in it that drops down to -5. If you have 15 ranks you take no penalty. There are rules for range modifier for perception for a reason. The skill unlocks increase the range considerably. When the character is able to make the perception roll high enough to notice the enemy from 270’ away it is going to take a few rounds for the attackers to get to you.

Your GM should be taking this into account to determine the distance that you spot the enemy. If he is not that is something he should be doing. If you are in an underground setting than things are a little different, but with a good enough perception roll you can spot something before it spots you. From the sound of it your group does not really have anyone optimized for perception but just leaves it to each character. This is not really good tactics. Also waking up the rest of the party is not that hard.


to wake up the rest of the party they still need to make that perception check


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If you cannot make the perception roll to wake up when someone is shouting at you, you should not be an adventurer. I would say that hearing someone shouting at you at the top of their lungs is about the same as hearing the sounds of battle. That means the DC is -10, after taking the penalty for being asleep that means the DC to hear someone shouting is 0. This means unless you have a penalty beyond being asleep it is impossible to fail the perception roll.

The perception roll to notice the details of a conversation is 0. This is not the DC to notice the conversation but rather to hear and understand what they are saying. So if they are not shouting but talking in a normal voice the DC to wake up is around a -5. Factoring in being asleep this means you have a DC of 5. The character in question is a dwarf cleric. That means at least a 16 WIS and a good chance of an 18. This gives him a +3 or +4 based strictly on his WIS. That means that he need to roll a 2 or higher if he has a 16 WIS, and cannot fail if he has a 18.

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