Why would anyone take Assurance?


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Pathfinder Maps, Pawns Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber

I was told that Assurance was the new Taking 10. However, because you don't get to add your full modifiers, it's more like "Taking 5." Why would anyone want to spend a feat on this?

At best, it lets you avoid failure/critical failure with a skill that you were--in all likelihood--going to pass anyways had you not wasted your feat.

What am I missing? What are some good uses for this feat?


My books are still weeks away, but the post below sounds intriguing. Perhaps Assurance is especially useful against opponents that are weak against your chosen form of attack?

Mark Seifter wrote:
Another fun one is a level 2 rogue (or character with an archetype that allows expert Athletics via its dedication) with Assurance (Athletics) and expert Athletics can auto-trip a level 3 ogre warrior, which is either a solo boss in a low threat encounter or a boss with some minions in a harder encounter, or potentially one of two ogres in a particularly severe boss fight (both of which you can then auto-trip).

Liberty's Edge

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Well, as people who have the book have mentioned, it ignores all penalties. This includes the MAP, meaning that if you can get your Proficiency high enough and have Assurance (Athletics) you can auto-succeed at various combat maneuvers vs. many foes with your second or third action. So that's one use.

The ignoring of penalties also avoids many other problems and allows casual success at many lower DC actions. It is mechanically better on Skills where you have good Proficiency but not a good stat, but that's not a bad thing.

EDIT: Semi-ninja'd. Ah, well.


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Pathfinder Maps, Pawns Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber

Oh wow. I totally missed the "no penalties" bit.

My characters so far have been spellcasters, so I wasn't thinking about Athletics' combat applications either.


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Assurance is best used with ability scores that are not maximised.

Another thing to remember is that skills are the only stuff you can choose to really maximise your proficiency in. Like I think some effects allow a Acrobatics check or a reflex save. Your class might give you a low Reflex save proficiency but you can max Acrobatics. So with Acrobatics Assurance, even without your Dex modifier you might have a better result than rolling and risking a crit fail.

Or you might be sick/frightened 4 and in a blizzard or something (giving you a -4 circumstance penalty). But with Assurance, you are so experienced that you still can do your task.

Assurance is not for doing things perfectly. It's for doing them at all when you are not talented or in deep trouble.


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Making combat maneuvers a useful third action is actually a good justification for taking this feat. On the other hand, it raises the standard for how much value you should expect to get out of Assurance quite a bit; very few skills will be as good as Athletics to take Assurance with. :p


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Arachnofiend wrote:
Making combat maneuvers a useful third action is actually a good justification for taking this feat. On the other hand, it raises the standard for how much value you should expect to get out of Assurance quite a bit; very few skills will be as good as Athletics to take Assurance with. :p

I guess skills you expect to do in adverse circumstances, or you expect to become more important in adverse circumstances. Like sailing lore in a storm (presumably in a campaign you expect to sail a lot in), or knowledge skills if you wanted to focus on a monster lore themed character.

I would also think medicine could be an obvious choice.


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I really need to see tables for common modifiers before thinking about what to take. Because a lot of the design space is covered by modifying the DC, where Assurance doesn't help you, instead of giving you a modifier. If you look at the excerpt table from the "Mastering Pathfinder" blog, I am not sure how many common skill Tasks will have modifiers.

On the stormy sea example - it is important to know if the storm will represent a modifier OR up your DC because it suddenly is a "hard" Task instead of an average one.


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For getting a feel for Assurance: Looking at the DCs per level table and that Assurance has a result 10+Prof, it works out that you can beat Lvl-2 DCs with Assurance if you max the skill and are at least Expert.
So it doesn't work out at Lvl 1 and 2 but after that it holds up nicely. For some levels it's even the Lvl-1 DC.

Liberty's Edge

Pathfinder Companion Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber

Can I use Assurance on Stealth for Initiative rolls?

Liberty's Edge

The Raven Black wrote:
Can I use Assurance on Stealth for Initiative rolls?

Assuming you're using Stealth, yes. Like Skill Mastery in PF1, there are no limits to when you can use Assurance.

It's a mediocre score, but if that's what you want...

Sovereign Court

Fallyna wrote:

My books are still weeks away, but the post below sounds intriguing. Perhaps Assurance is especially useful against opponents that are weak against your chosen form of attack?

Mark Seifter wrote:
Another fun one is a level 2 rogue (or character with an archetype that allows expert Athletics via its dedication) with Assurance (Athletics) and expert Athletics can auto-trip a level 3 ogre warrior, which is either a solo boss in a low threat encounter or a boss with some minions in a harder encounter, or potentially one of two ogres in a particularly severe boss fight (both of which you can then auto-trip).

Yeah I was looking at this theory but comparing the score you would have under Assurance to Bestiary stats, it seems like most of the time it would only work against enemies that are lower CR than you. There might be a handful exceptions but not something you can rely on if you can't see magical balloons above monster heads indicating CR.


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Pathfinder Rulebook Subscriber
Ascalaphus wrote:
Fallyna wrote:

My books are still weeks away, but the post below sounds intriguing. Perhaps Assurance is especially useful against opponents that are weak against your chosen form of attack?

Mark Seifter wrote:
Another fun one is a level 2 rogue (or character with an archetype that allows expert Athletics via its dedication) with Assurance (Athletics) and expert Athletics can auto-trip a level 3 ogre warrior, which is either a solo boss in a low threat encounter or a boss with some minions in a harder encounter, or potentially one of two ogres in a particularly severe boss fight (both of which you can then auto-trip).
Yeah I was looking at this theory but comparing the score you would have under Assurance to Bestiary stats, it seems like most of the time it would only work against enemies that are lower CR than you. There might be a handful exceptions but not something you can rely on if you can't see magical balloons above monster heads indicating CR.

It is easy to test though. Strike twice, use your third action Assurance. If you don't land the maneuver, you probably weren't landing a -10 attack anyway, and odds are you didn't just critically fail and lose more than the action. Also, often you can tell from context who is who. If you get attacked by a lot of enemies at once, all of them but the leader are likely to be below your level. (Also, it seems to work on enemies of your level or lower if you target their bad save, and you aren't gonna be fighting hoardes of enemies at your level unless something has gone horribly wrong.)

Assurance is also quite nice for anything with awful critical failure consequences. For example, I'm taking it on a PC with master arcana because it lets him auto identify items of his level or lower. This is not only great for expediting play, but avoids the very real chance of getting a secret nat 1 and misidentifying the item. (I'm probably also going to use a house rule that you can get enough of a handle on a magic's level when you Read its Aura to know if Assurance won't cut it, but even without that it just means you might need to wait a day to roll again sometimes.)

Other examples:

Assurance stealth around enemies without great perception lets you pull off a million sneak actions with no real chance of failure. It is also great with that rogue feat which makes it so that you treat a failure as a success for a stealth check-- Assurance means you'll never crit fail and thus always succeed.

Assurance sets you up for Automatic Knowledge, which notably can be used not only to identify enemies but to identify spells.

Assurance Survival is nice because often those DCs are low but you have to roll a lot of them. Tracking someone requires rolling once every hour. If you're foraging, you really don't want to miss a day and go hungry.

Assurance Athletics also lets you swim or climb most things without risk.

Assurance Medicine means you can at least hit the lower Treat Wounds DCs without rolling, which can be nice to avoid missing them and having to wait an hour. It can also be nice with Battle Medic, where you only get the one shot per character per day and are probably using it in a context you REALLY want it to work. Though it takes it a while to catch up to the master or legendary DCs.


DerNils wrote:

I really need to see tables for common modifiers before thinking about what to take. Because a lot of the design space is covered by modifying the DC, where Assurance doesn't help you, instead of giving you a modifier. If you look at the excerpt table from the "Mastering Pathfinder" blog, I am not sure how many common skill Tasks will have modifiers.

On the stormy sea example - it is important to know if the storm will represent a modifier OR up your DC because it suddenly is a "hard" Task instead of an average one.

Uhhh...... Wat? How does Assurance not help in a circumstance when the DC is moved? Unless the DC moves by more than ~10, Assurance should still be a fine thing to use in most situations. If anything, because of the wording, modifiers would do jack squat since Assurance give you a straight number without dice getting involved at all. The bard giving you a +1 to Thievery? Too bad, you still have the numerical output of 30 because of Assurance, that +1 goes into the void now.


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nick1wasd wrote:
How does Assurance not help in a circumstance when the DC is moved? Unless the DC moves by more than ~10, Assurance should still be a fine thing to use in most situations. If anything, because of the wording, modifiers would do jack squat since Assurance give you a straight number without dice getting involved at all. The bard giving you a +1 to Thievery? Too bad, you still have the numerical output of 30 because of Assurance, that +1 goes into the void now.

In a scenario where Assurance just barely lets you succeed. Say, climbing a rock wall. If you try to use Assurance when climbing the wall in the rain, it is important to know if the rain is applying a -2 modifier (which would be ignored by Assurance), or increasing the DC by 2 (which would cause Assurance to result in a failure).


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Online rules finally came online.

Looks like assurance isn't working the way I was intuiting from DerNils post.

If the modifier is being applied to you or your roll, Assurance would ignore it. If the modifier is changing the DC of the task, it would still apply - no matter how that modification to the DC is being described.

Shadow Lodge

Fallyna wrote:

My books are still weeks away, but the post below sounds intriguing. Perhaps Assurance is especially useful against opponents that are weak against your chosen form of attack?

Mark Seifter wrote:
Another fun one is a level 2 rogue (or character with an archetype that allows expert Athletics via its dedication) with Assurance (Athletics) and expert Athletics can auto-trip a level 3 ogre warrior, which is either a solo boss in a low threat encounter or a boss with some minions in a harder encounter, or potentially one of two ogres in a particularly severe boss fight (both of which you can then auto-trip).

Unless I'm missing something, Mark was wrong here.

Assurance is 10 + Proficiency. The Rogue in this example would have an Assurance trip attack of 14.

An Ogre Warrior has a REF of +6, meaning the REF DC is 16.

14 < 16, so that's a failed trip.


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Sammy T wrote:
Fallyna wrote:

My books are still weeks away, but the post below sounds intriguing. Perhaps Assurance is especially useful against opponents that are weak against your chosen form of attack?

Mark Seifter wrote:
Another fun one is a level 2 rogue (or character with an archetype that allows expert Athletics via its dedication) with Assurance (Athletics) and expert Athletics can auto-trip a level 3 ogre warrior, which is either a solo boss in a low threat encounter or a boss with some minions in a harder encounter, or potentially one of two ogres in a particularly severe boss fight (both of which you can then auto-trip).

Unless I'm missing something, Mark was wrong here.

Assurance is 10 + Proficiency. The Rogue in this example would have an Assurance trip attack of 14.

An Ogre Warrior has a REF of +6, meaning the REF DC is 16.

14 < 16, so that's a failed trip.

I think the 2nd level Rogue has Expert in athletics, so it gets a +6 for proficiency, not +4.


Isn't Proficiency Level+{2,4,6,8}?

So a level 2 rogue with expert athletics assures 10+2+4=16, which meets the DC to trip the ogre.

Liberty's Edge

Yeah, that's why he specified Rogue (or someone else with Expert Athletics).


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Pathfinder Rulebook Subscriber

The rogue is also a good example because they don't might have crap strength. An expert fighter can do the same thing, but is more likely to use it to avoid MAP and stuff.


PossibleCabbage wrote:

Isn't Proficiency Level+{2,4,6,8}?

So a level 2 rogue with expert athletics assures 10+2+4=16, which meets the DC to trip the ogre.

Was just typing this out as well. I think it would still include stat mod as well, but i remember Mark or Jason saying this when we asked during the PT.


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And just because DCs by Level seem to be the sole fixation here, Jason Bulmahn himself has described the Simple DCs as being the most common type of DC, the others are used for specifically calibrated enemies/hazards, but general environmental or situational checks are assumed to use Simple DCs which don't scale with level and so higher level/proficiency characters do absolutely get progressively better at overcoming them. E.g. a rocky cliff is a rocky cliff. A surly bartender is a surly bartender. Knowing Zon Kuthon is enemies with Sivanah is just a fact of Divine universe that doesn't change re: PCs. Other than when specifically calibrated as level-appropriate challenge, general world challenges are calibrated to expected proficiency but don't scale when PCs change. Assurance certainly is great at handling these.


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Given the state of the Escape action, Assurance may wind up being REALLY helpful against escaping grapples.


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Just to clarify my concern - A simplke check to climb a wall is DC 15. A Level 2 Rogue with Assurance in Acrobatics has an Assurance score of 16.

Now ist raining. Does that Change the DC to 17 or would it inflict a modifier of -2 that he ignores thanks to Assurance?


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I would think for players there should be a condition attached if it’s going to confer a penalty. There’s no “wet condition” condition. Climbing in the rain is tougher so should have a harder DC.

Silver Crusade

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Pathfinder Companion Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Charter Superscriber

I think that's the idea behind Table 10-6 DC-Adjustments:

Everything that makes the task harder (like the climb check while it's raining) makes the DC increase, like from trained simple DC 15, to hard trained simple DC of 17.

Anything that applies only to the character should probably affect him by a penalty.


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Rek Rollington wrote:
I would think for players there should be a condition attached if it’s going to confer a penalty. There’s no “wet condition” condition. Climbing in the rain is tougher so should have a harder DC.

Back in the old days we called this a "circumstance penalty".


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Here’s in under the Climb entry too:

Source Core Rulebook pg. 241 wrote:

Requirements You have both hands free.

You move up, down, or across an incline. Unless it’s particularly easy, you must attempt an Athletics check. The GM determines the DC based on the nature of the incline and environmental circumstances. You’re flat-footed unless you have a climb Speed.

From AoN


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That is what I thought. It just does not roll intuitively from the description of the Feat itself:

"Even in the worst circumstances, you can perform Basic Tasks". Actually, Assurance almonst never helps you in bad circumstances - it helps you if you are sick or wear heavy armour, etc.


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DerNils wrote:

That is what I thought. It just does not roll intuitively from the description of the Feat itself:

"Even in the worst circumstances, you can perform Basic Tasks". Actually, Assurance almonst never helps you in bad circumstances - it helps you if you are sick or wear heavy armour, etc.

Except the example being used is of a Rogue with no added Strength(i believe).

Rogue Thug - 18 str, Expert Athletics, Level 2
10 + (4) + [(4) + 2] = Assurance of 20

Finesse Rogue - 10 str, Expert Athletics, Level 2
10 + (0) + [(4) + 2] = Assurance of 16

Page 445 shows the equation of how to calculate a check.

Side note, we’re also talking about a DC of 17 at Level 2. Assurance wasn’t made to make every roll in said skill irrelevant.


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

That is not correct. Your attribute bonus is not part of your assurance result.


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HammerJack wrote:
That is not correct. Your attribute bonus is not part of your assurance result.

A dev has said otherwise, so if you find information to the contrary then i am unaware of its presence. I will agree that it doesn’t say you add your Modifier, but again if you look at the equation on page 445 and read the Assurance Skill Feat then it works out that way.


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

Is there a link to where that statement had been made? Because the assurance feat says you get 10+proficiency bonus, and stat bonus is not part of proficiency bonud.


Pathfinder Rulebook Subscriber

Pumpkinhead, you're miss-remembering bud. No attribute bonus there. Mark Seifter acknowledged this before the book came out, you can check his post history.


Captain Morgan wrote:
Pumpkinhead, you're miss-remembering bud. No attribute bonus there. Mark Seifter acknowledged this before the book came out, you can check his post history.

That’s just is, attribute isn’t a bonus so it should still be included. Either way, it was Mark or Jason I remember reading so i’ll See if I can find the post i’m Thinking of.


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it also mentions no additional modifiers, so that ability scores not being bonuses isn't relevant

Core rulebook pg 258 wrote:
Even in the worst circumstances, you can perform basic tasks. Choose a skill you’re trained in. You can forgo rolling a skill check for that skill to instead receive a result of 10 + your proficiency bonus (do not apply any other bonuses, penalties, or modifiers).


kitmehsu wrote:

it also mentions no additional modifiers, so that ability scores not being bonuses isn't relevant

Core rulebook pg 258 wrote:
Even in the worst circumstances, you can perform basic tasks. Choose a skill you’re trained in. You can forgo rolling a skill check for that skill to instead receive a result of 10 + your proficiency bonus (do not apply any other bonuses, penalties, or modifiers).

Huh, i find issues with not being able to add Ability Modifiers to it, but i’m having trouble finding the post that says otherwise. I’ll take this as evidence contrary to my claim for now.


Here's a post from Mark Seifter confirming that you don't add your ability modifier when using Assurance.


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Assurance is also great for avoiding crit fails or just outright fails.

Sure, medicine checks at level 5 are unlikely to fail because of the modifier. But there is always that 5% chance of it doing nothing.

Knowledges too, practicing jobs over time.

It isn't an "always on take it all the time" choice like take 10 and take 20 could be (who rolled for learning spells in PF1e when you could happily learn any scroll of a level you could cast (and higher) by taking 10)

Personally my gut says adding modifiers but not including ability scores would have been fine. But I don't know what is going on in their design space and haven't obtained system mastery yet.


The Gleeful Grognard wrote:
Assurance is also great for avoiding crit fails or just outright fails.

As long as the number if enough for success, sure: it could also mean it's great for insuring failure every time too. ;)


Pathfinder Companion, Maps Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber

As a GM, should I be telling my players with Assurance what the DC is so they can decide whether to use it or not?


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I haven’t seen the rule yet but I feel the GM should have the stats on which players have assurance and what proficiency they add. Then if a player asks to do something the GM can say “okay, you can do it with assurance or do you want to roll? Or “Assurance won’t be enough you need to roll”. Giving the option to roll may see be important for crit successes.


Joana wrote:
As a GM, should I be telling my players with Assurance what the DC is so they can decide whether to use it or not?

I certainly would, but I’m a proponent of always telling the players the DC (whether they have assurance or not). A lot of GMs are pretty vehemently opposed to that practice though.


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graystone wrote:
The Gleeful Grognard wrote:
Assurance is also great for avoiding crit fails or just outright fails.
As long as the number if enough for success, sure: it could also mean it's great for insuring failure every time too. ;)

I mean, if a player is using it at crucial times I may explain math and DCs to them. It is why the players section does cover it.

But with things like medicine they should know whether it can work or not immediately :p


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Pathfinder Rulebook Subscriber
Joana wrote:
As a GM, should I be telling my players with Assurance what the DC is so they can decide whether to use it or not?

I'd say it depends a little on context. Trying to trip or shove an enemy? They might have an inkling of how tough a foe is but they don't know its exact stats, so they might need to roll to find out.

But if they have an item they have Detected Magic on, Read its Aura, and are taking the time to identify? I feel like they should get enough of a feel for how strong an item is to know if Assurance won't cut it.


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Sammy T wrote:
Fallyna wrote:

My books are still weeks away, but the post below sounds intriguing. Perhaps Assurance is especially useful against opponents that are weak against your chosen form of attack?

Mark Seifter wrote:
Another fun one is a level 2 rogue (or character with an archetype that allows expert Athletics via its dedication) with Assurance (Athletics) and expert Athletics can auto-trip a level 3 ogre warrior, which is either a solo boss in a low threat encounter or a boss with some minions in a harder encounter, or potentially one of two ogres in a particularly severe boss fight (both of which you can then auto-trip).

Unless I'm missing something, Mark was wrong here.

Assurance is 10 + Proficiency. The Rogue in this example would have an Assurance trip attack of 14.

An Ogre Warrior has a REF of +6, meaning the REF DC is 16.

14 < 16, so that's a failed trip.

Long live Bruno Breakbone.


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Sammy T wrote:

Unless I'm missing something, Mark was wrong here.

Assurance is 10 + Proficiency. The Rogue in this example would have an Assurance trip attack of 14.

An Ogre Warrior has a REF of +6, meaning the REF DC is 16.

14 < 16, so that's a failed trip.

A second level rogue can have Expert Athletics, with at level 2 is +6 proficiency / Assurance 16.


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The Gleeful Grognard wrote:
But with things like medicine they should know whether it can work or not immediately :p

This goes back to 'is it a penalty or does the dc go up is the situation isn't ideal'. For instance if that medicine check is on a ship in stormy weather and the dc goes up by 5, the players have no way of knowing how much it went up unless you tell them or they spend 10 min to find out.


First Thing, the PreGens confirm that Assurance is Level plus proficiency only (both Amiri and Valeros have Assurance of 19 in Athletics at Level 5 with Expert Athletics)
As said, I worry less about the actual numbers and more about the connection between how the feat is described (you are still good in bad circumstances, e.g. weather) vs how it works (you are still good even if you have some very personal problems like armour, MAP or a Curse).

It is not intuitive at all.

That is also where graystones point comes in:
Actually, bad circumstances are not something where you should apply Assurance, as the feat is not working that way. It does work for "damn, I am overburdened, carry full plate and had a vampire munch on me". You are very aware of these negatives and can then say "Don't worry, I can still climb that wall, no biggie"

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