Hello again! I'm starting to make my own NPCs. I'm looking at the Alien Archive's guidelines but I'm a little confused about a few things. I'm trying to create a Shirren Mystic CR5... so I looked at the spellcaster table and it says it has 2 Master skills and 1 good skill. The Shirren graft says the NPC gains Diplomacy and Culture as good skills, but I'm unsure if they don't count against the base allotment.
So far this is what I think it would be like:
Master: Mysticism, Sense Motive
Good: Survival, Culture, Diplomacy (and Perception for free)
Would this be correct?
I’m not sure it’s spelled out explicitly whether skills dictated by a graft are part of the array, or in addition to it. That said, it doesn’t really matter. Give your NPC whatever skills they need to fulfill their role in the story. It doesn’t generally affect combat balance.
OTOH, you probably do want to pay a little more attention for non-combat encounters. The wider variety of skills an NPC has, the fewer options the players have for intelligently working around an NPC's skills.
Consider an encounter with a skilled gambler, who has something or knows something the PCs need. If the only strong skill he has is Profession ( Gambler ), there are tons of options for the PCs other than "Hope somebody happened to also be a card sharp". OTOH, if he has Profession ( Gambler ), *and* Bluff, *and* Sense Motive, *and* Sleight of Hand, *and* Diplomacy, *and* Perception, *and* Intimidate? Well, you can't really hope to out-gamble him, or bluff him, or read him, or sneak past him, or cheat against him, or negotiate with him, or charm or intimidate his allies/minions. All you can do is either pray for luck, hope you have some macguffin trick that can negate the encounter, or roll for initiative.