Do you have to justify your Trick Attack skill in-game?


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Corwynn Maelstrom wrote:
I see the exploit you're referencing now. In any case, Trick Attack is one of those things that will rarely fail with an Operative who is paying attention to their setup. Even if you don't take the exploit you're not going to have too difficult a time making your checks.

We have a Ysoki Operative in the group with something like a +13 to Stealth, and in our first session, when trying to trick attack a CR 1/2, he rolled 5 or less on his d20 FOUR TIMES IN A ROW. We were all breaking out in laughter by that point. :)

But normally, you're spot on.

Contributor

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dvrobiqu wrote:

Honest question here, doesn't the trick attack explicitly state that the player must make a skill check? Doesn't that mean the player must be able to do the skill check? If you are only supposed to use the bonus of the skill why wouldn't the rules state it that way?

Sorry if I am missing something. Running my first game on Friday and I just know this is going to come up!

"Just before making your attack, attempt a Bluff, Intimidate, or
Stealth check" Page 93 Trick Attack

"On occasion, it’s impossible for you to attempt a skill check.
Sometimes the situation prevents you from rolling a skill check,
and other times the skill in question requires special training in
order to attempt." Page 132 Skill checks

Fair question, and I'll admit my phrasing here wasn't the best as I don't actually mean to imply that it stops being a Stealth check (which would have other implications). Let me try this a different way.

Attempting a Medicine check to Treat Disease or Treat Drugs or Poison "requires a medkit, a medical lab, or a medical bay on a starship." You cannot attempt a Medicine check for these purposes without one of those things. However, other uses of the Medicine skill, such as Long-Term Stability, do not have that language and thus can be attempted without those things.

Under the Stealth skill, the two specific uses of Stealth, Hide and Sniping, require cover or concealment (or a diversion for Hide). To me, the operative's trick attack has opened up another use of the skill. You are not hiding or sniping, which would require cover or concealment, you are doing something else with Stealth. You also wouldn't get any benefits associated with hiding, for example.

Does that explain my logic a little better?

Liberty's Edge

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RAW and RAI I'm pretty sure Kate's entirely correct. Nothing about the stealth skill itself requires concealment, only the specific uses noted. Trick Attack is an entirely different and mechanically distinct usage.


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Deadmanwalking wrote:
RAW and RAI I'm pretty sure Kate's entirely correct. Nothing about the stealth skill itself requires concealment, only the specific uses noted. Trick Attack is an entirely different and mechanically distinct usage.

I certainly can see where you guys are coming from and you are likely correct. However, the programmer in me cannot get past parts of the rules like this without bringing it into serious question:

Page 260 Observing wrote:

A creature currently being observed can’t attempt a Stealth

check without first breaking that observation.

This would suggest the stealth skill requires that you are not being observed. You could make the argument that a bluff is being used to break this observation and is implicit with the trick attack. However, nowhere that I have read states that the trick attack changes the rules on observation.

Like I said though, you're probably right. I just can't reconcile it in my head.


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Pathfinder Adventure, Adventure Path, Starfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

How closely are they observing you though? Are there others providing momentary distractions? Are you possibly moving so slowly and with no obvious aiming motions that would tell the observer that you are the threat right that second? It doesn't have to be a HUGE distraction, and it doesn't require that they take enough attention off you that you could hide behind a curtain, but enough that your strike would leave the target unexpectedly off kilter.


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Pathfinder Pathfinder Accessories Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber
ENHenry wrote:
We have a Ysoki Operative in the group with something like a +13 to Stealth, and in our first session, when trying to trick attack a CR 1/2, he rolled 5 or less on his d20 FOUR TIMES IN A ROW. We were all breaking out in laughter by that point.

I missed all my checks at +18 against the final encounter in AP1. It can happen. (I also missed like crazy...)


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AnimatedPaper wrote:
How closely are they observing you though? Are there others providing momentary distractions? Are you possibly moving so slowly and with no obvious aiming motions that would tell the observer that you are the threat right that second? It doesn't have to be a HUGE distraction, and it doesn't require that they take enough attention off you that you could hide behind a curtain, but enough that your strike would leave the target unexpectedly off kilter.

I could definitely see that as the case. However, if you're intention is to deceive an opponent does that not fall under the scope of a bluff, or if you are hiding your weapons or motions is that not sleight of hand?

For example:

Page 94 - Ghost: Associated Skills wrote:
When you use Stealth to make a trick attack, you gain a +4 bonus to the skill check.

Versus this:

Page 94 - Thief: Associated Skills wrote:
You can use Sleight of Hand to make a trick attack by concealing your weapons and motions.

The rules for the Thief specifically lists how you can use Sleight of Hand out of the scope for that skill. The same goes for Detective, Explorer, and Hacker (Even goes into finer details for the expanded scope). This is not true for the Daredevil and the Ghost.

I am fine if you argue if RAI is that you can attempt a skill check even if you don't satisfy the rules to do so. However, I call into question whether this is true if RAW.

Contributor

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dvrobiqu wrote:
Deadmanwalking wrote:
RAW and RAI I'm pretty sure Kate's entirely correct. Nothing about the stealth skill itself requires concealment, only the specific uses noted. Trick Attack is an entirely different and mechanically distinct usage.

I certainly can see where you guys are coming from and you are likely correct. However, the programmer in me cannot get past parts of the rules like this without bringing it into serious question:

Page 260 Observing wrote:

A creature currently being observed can’t attempt a Stealth

check without first breaking that observation.

This would suggest the stealth skill requires that you are not being observed. You could make the argument that a bluff is being used to break this observation and is implicit with the trick attack. However, nowhere that I have read states that the trick attack changes the rules on observation.

Like I said though, you're probably right. I just can't reconcile it in my head.

That's a good catch, dvrobiqu, and it does muddy the waters for looking at rules as written. I suspect that this part of the text is conflating "attempt a Stealth check" with "attempt a Stealth check to hide," but that's just a gut feeling based on how many of us have done that here, including me.

I still think that if there were intended to be restrictions on the use of the skill, it would be listed in the trick attack section, and I'll rule it that way at my table. It's going to be very frustrating for ghost operatives to be told that they can't use their associated skill very often when, say, Daredevils would be allowed to attempt it every turn, and I really don't think that there's supposed to be that kind of disparity between specializations. The observation text probably makes this FAQ-worthy, though.


Kate Baker wrote:

That's a good catch, dvrobiqu, and it does muddy the waters for looking at rules as written. I suspect that this part of the text is conflating "attempt a Stealth check" with "attempt a Stealth check to hide," but that's just a gut feeling based on how many of us have done that here, including me.

I still think that if there were intended to be restrictions on the use of the skill, it would be listed in the trick attack section, and I'll rule it that way at my table. It's going to be very frustrating for ghost operatives to be told that they can't use their associated skill very often when, say, Daredevils would be allowed to attempt it every turn, and I really don't think that there's supposed to be that kind of disparity between specializations. The observation text probably makes this FAQ-worthy, though.

There are other aspects, aside from using stealth while being observed, that I find troubling with the way the trick attack rule is written. In particular, once I start questioning which aspects of a skill check apply and which ones don't I am left with a lot of gray areas for my players to make arguments.

Such as, do you increase the DC of the trick attack if the players are in the undergrowth of a forest biome (page 397 - Forrest Terrian)? Is it subject to armor check penalties if you are using a dex based skill (Page 134 - Skill Description)? Does it benefit from any items or serums that increase the Stealth skill? Does it benefit from Stealth Warp (Page 106 - Stellar Revelations)?

If they simply wrote, "Just before making your attack, make a Trick Attack check using either Bluff, Intimidate, or Stealth..." I would have no issue what-so-ever.

We are in agreement that this probably needs a FAQ. And I certainly would not argue with you if I was sitting at your table about it. Admittedly I am a newb here and I have no idea how one would request that, or what is the proper procedure for that.


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dvrobiqu wrote:
Kate Baker wrote:

That's a good catch, dvrobiqu, and it does muddy the waters for looking at rules as written. I suspect that this part of the text is conflating "attempt a Stealth check" with "attempt a Stealth check to hide," but that's just a gut feeling based on how many of us have done that here, including me.

I still think that if there were intended to be restrictions on the use of the skill, it would be listed in the trick attack section, and I'll rule it that way at my table. It's going to be very frustrating for ghost operatives to be told that they can't use their associated skill very often when, say, Daredevils would be allowed to attempt it every turn, and I really don't think that there's supposed to be that kind of disparity between specializations. The observation text probably makes this FAQ-worthy, though.

There are other aspects, aside from using stealth while being observed, that I find troubling with the way the trick attack rule is written. In particular, once I start questioning which aspects of a skill check apply and which ones don't I am left with a lot of gray areas for my players to make arguments.

Such as, do you increase the DC of the trick attack if the players are in the undergrowth of a forest biome (page 397 - Forrest Terrian)? Is it subject to armor check penalties if you are using a dex based skill (Page 134 - Skill Description)? Does it benefit from any items or serums that increase the Stealth skill? Does it benefit from Stealth Warp (Page 106 - Stellar Revelations)?

If they simply wrote, "Just before making your attack, make a Trick Attack check using either Bluff, Intimidate, or Stealth..." I would have no issue what-so-ever.

We are in agreement that this probably needs a FAQ. And I certainly would not argue with you if I was sitting at your table about it. Admittedly I am a newb here and I have no idea how one would request that, or what is the proper procedure for that.

That last part is easy enough.

Make a thread in Rules Questions entitled:
"Trick Attack and Skill Check Question."

And then in the main body of the thread, type something not unlike:
"Are the skill checks made to perform a Trick Attack subject to the same rules as normal skill checks?
I.e., If I use Acrobatics as part of a Trick Attack check, do the rules for using Acrobatics in Difficult Terrain apply?"

As for questioning things like the "attempt a Stealth check" problem; if you look up the rules for the Stealth skill, I think you will find that there is no general "you must be unobserved in order to make a stealth check" rule. You need cover or concealment in order to make a stealth check to hide, but you aren't attempting to hide when making a Trick Attack; you're trying to attack an opponent in such a way as to make them unable to adequately defend themselves.

Take Acrobatics as another example. If I use Acrobatics to make a Trick Attack, am I trying to Balance, Escape, Fly, Hover, or Tumble? The answer is: None of the above; I'm attempting a Trick Attack, so none of the rules for Acrobatics that apply to it's other uses will apply here.


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Deadbeat Doom wrote:

That last part is easy enough.

Make a thread in Rules Questions entitled:
"Trick Attack and Skill Check Question."

And then in the main body of the thread, type something not unlike:
"Are the skill checks made to perform a Trick Attack subject to the same rules as normal skill checks?
I.e., If I use Acrobatics as part of a Trick Attack check, do the rules for using Acrobatics in Difficult Terrain apply?"

As for questioning things like the "attempt a Stealth check" problem; if you look up the rules for the Stealth skill, I think you will find that there is no general "you must be unobserved in order to make a stealth check" rule. You need cover or concealment in order to make a stealth check to hide, but you aren't attempting to hide when making a Trick Attack; you're trying to attack an opponent in such a way as to make them unable to adequately defend themselves.

Take Acrobatics as another example. If I use Acrobatics to make a Trick Attack, am I trying to Balance, Escape, Fly, Hover, or Tumble? The answer is: None of the above; I'm attempting a Trick Attack, so none of the rules for Acrobatics that apply to it's other uses will apply here.

First off, thank you for your instructions!

I will make a thread about it in the Rules Questions. I just didn't want to make a new thread if this one is too similar.

As far as the argument that none of the rules that apply to a Stealth check would apply because you are making a Trick Attack and not a Stealth Check, then does this mean you don't add the Ysoki's Scrounger racial ability (+2 to Stealth checks) to a Trick Attack? The rules for Observing (Page 206) use the same generic wording of "Stealth check" in the second paragraph.

Sczarni

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Pathfinder Adventure Path, Maps Subscriber; Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber; Starfinder Superscriber

Most of my confusion came from the inability to look at all of the comparable circumstances of other options and extrapolate a probable intention to confirm.

The stealth check to hide and observation rules are the parts that specifically bug me and so far, and "doing something else with stealth" I would at least ask "what is it then?" To date I haven't been provided with a good description of actions even flavor -wise to demonstrate what the person is doing with stealth to get the benefit. From a design perspective mechanics for the sake of mechanics with no reasonable explanation generally fall flat and are open to boring abuse. The fact that the Ghost gets a +4 to a skill that is tied to their primarily ability is mostly what bugs me, and the fact that limitations exist for the computers skill with the hacker specialization prove that it *could* be a limitation that was poorly worded. If the typical limitations for using stealth while being observed and without cover don't apply to using the trick attack, then at the very least I'd like to see that verbage added.

In the games I've had so far my compromise was that if the ghost wanted to get that bonus and use stealth they would need the same kind of cover or concealment situations that were needed to hide, BUT for a trick attack that would also involve soft cover from allies or enemies.

That actually led to a pretty amusing game with the operative constantly hiding behind the Kasatha and earning the title "The Fifth Arm" as he would shoot between the Kasatha's limbs.

The fact is that because so many options with Starfinder went in different directions without explanation and without consistency it's hard to defend any intentions. We just need an actual FAQ or official ruling to help explain from the horses mouth what was intended, and how the wording can be fixed to reflect that.

Also don't forget that by level 5 the whole possible issue of hiding while being observed or without cover/concealment etc is dealt with by the Cloaking Field ability assuming the verbage on "While the cloaking field is active, you can use Stealth to hide, even while being directly observed and with no place to hide." is adequate for any changes made to the verbage for Trick attack


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dvrobiqu wrote:
Deadbeat Doom wrote:

That last part is easy enough.

Make a thread in Rules Questions entitled:
"Trick Attack and Skill Check Question."

And then in the main body of the thread, type something not unlike:
"Are the skill checks made to perform a Trick Attack subject to the same rules as normal skill checks?
I.e., If I use Acrobatics as part of a Trick Attack check, do the rules for using Acrobatics in Difficult Terrain apply?"

As for questioning things like the "attempt a Stealth check" problem; if you look up the rules for the Stealth skill, I think you will find that there is no general "you must be unobserved in order to make a stealth check" rule. You need cover or concealment in order to make a stealth check to hide, but you aren't attempting to hide when making a Trick Attack; you're trying to attack an opponent in such a way as to make them unable to adequately defend themselves.

Take Acrobatics as another example. If I use Acrobatics to make a Trick Attack, am I trying to Balance, Escape, Fly, Hover, or Tumble? The answer is: None of the above; I'm attempting a Trick Attack, so none of the rules for Acrobatics that apply to it's other uses will apply here.

First off, thank you for your instructions!

I will make a thread about it in the Rules Questions. I just didn't want to make a new thread if this one is too similar.

As far as the argument that none of the rules that apply to a Stealth check would apply because you are making a Trick Attack and not a Stealth Check, then does this mean you don't add the Ysoki's Scrounger racial ability (+2 to Stealth checks) to a Trick Attack? The rules for Observing (Page 260) use the same generic wording of "Stealth check" in the second paragraph.

Glad to be of help!

1. Making a Stealth Check to Hide is not equivalent to making a Stealth Check for some other purpose (such as attempting a Trick Attack).

2. The Ysoki's Scrounger racial ability applies to ALL Stealth checks, not just to ones made to Hide.

3. The rules for Observing appear to be infuriatingly vague on this subject; but the first paragraph refers to direct observation occurring when "a creature is visible, when the situation makes it impossible for the creature (to) use stealth to hide, or when you have succeeded at a Perception check to pinpoint the creature using a precise sense such as blindsight." The way in which this and the Stealth skill are written lead me to believe that these rules were created before the Operative's Trick Attack had been implemented, as it is not referenced anywhere else in the Core Rulebook.

I fully believe that I am interpreting the rules correctly in this instance; but I will concede that more explicit wording should have been used to clarify when and how Trick Attack interacts with Skills.


Pathfinder Adventure, Adventure Path, Starfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
dvrobiqu wrote:
I am fine if you argue if RAI is that you can attempt a skill check even if you don't satisfy the rules to do so. However, I call into question whether this is true if RAW.

And my counter for that is, if it isn't written down what specific aspects of the rules apply to a given situation, why are you assuming a series of possibly unrelated and certainly unreferenced rules are intended to do so? Once you do that, you've already moved past RAW and are into RAI-territory yourself.

Frankly, I took the descriptions of how skills can be used to make trick attacks as flavor text more than rules text anyways. But if you want to take them as rules text, Explorer and Hacker specializations clearly create new discrete uses for the skills they highlight, so you can take that as precedent for the other skills and specializations.


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So...turns out I was wrong. I should have reread everything first. I stand by my second paragraph in the post above, but the first was just off.

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