Skills to Pay the Bills (Fantastic Skills)

timelord corrected

From Alchemy to Use Magic Device, skills in the Pathfinder Roleplaying Game sometimes skirt from the mundane to the downright mystical. Though often thought of as extraordinary abilities, a skill check results from the sum total efforts of that character’s abilities to achieve a task and often this takes the efforts into the supernatural realms. Today we are looking at a few ways that the mundanity of a skill enters these realms…

Identifying Possible Supernatural Success

When benchmarking possible supernatural success consider the following:

  • Taking 10: An average rolls effort is a 10.
  • Attribute Scores: Average rolls stat modifier is 0.
  • Most experts or NPC classes have a class skill modifier of 3 and anywhere from 1-3 ranks, resulting in an average solid effort of 16.
  • A maximum potential score of a human is an 18 and an exceptionally skilled individual is probably around 5th level, these changes result in a solid effort of 22.
  • 25 is a base minimum of most masterwork checks.

Eyeballing these numbers it is possible to come up with a general guideline that when “solid effort” has been exceeded by a characters level plus 3 (or 16+twice character level), something truly special has happened via combination of luck, circumstance and perhaps a little magic. These are of course descriptive guidelines and have little impact on game play but can make moments feel more rewarding to the characters involved:

Some examples of supernatural success levels:

  • Acrobatics – The character’s latent telekinetic gift surface momentarily deflection an attack of opportunity or giving a leap that extra needed lift.
  • Climb – Strength might represent a significant power enough to resonate with the Plane of Earth exerting a stronger force.
  • Diplomacy – Lingering enchantment magic may become residual and respond to the desires of the character, soft compulsions or gentle telepathic sways making the character more believable and their arguments more convincing.
  • Heal – Lingering positive energies from prior healings flow from pockets within the healers essence and seal wounds or fortify weakened spirits and bodies to aid the new target of the Skill.
  • Sense Motive – Divination auras flash in a lingering magical interaction show indicators of the target’s true emotions, or a character remembers a strange dream from the night before.
  • Stealth – The rogue’s mastery of the art of being unseen have begun to draw the power of the Shadow plane causing it to pool around her to mute noise and blur visions.
  •  Use Magic Device – The character can extend their own aura to sympathize and mingle with the magic of an effect and that blurring allows them to exert their will through the magic of the items.

Moments of supernature can make any character experience the fantastic. Exceptional successes deserve exceptional descriptions. If a player prefers entirely mundane skill results try to take the time to render a similarly satisfying description.

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