Skill Tricks

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From the “Complete Scoundrel” by Mike McArtor and F. Wesley Schneider.
Published by Wizards of the Coast (2007). All rights reserved.



Skill tricks are special maneuvers that are restricted in their use. Unless otherwise noted, a skill trick can be performed only once per encounter (or once per minute in non-combat situations). This restriction sets skill tricks apart from feats and class features, which are often repeatable. Typically, performing a skill trick is either part of another action or an action in itself. Each skill trick’s description specifies what sort of action, if any, is required. A skill trick usually either requires a successful skill check to perform, or it “piggybacks” on a skill check you’re already making. Exceptions to this general rule are noted in the skill trick descriptions. Using a skill trick does not provoke attacks of opportunity unless its description specifically states that it does (or it involves an action that would normally provoke attacks of opportunity).

Acquiring Skill Tricks

The following rules govern skill tricks:

• Learning a skill trick costs 2 skill points. Whenever you acquire skill points, you can instead choose to spend them on a skill trick rather than ranks in a skill.
• You can learn any skill trick so long as you meet the prerequisite and can afford to expend 2 skill points. If you later no longer meet the prerequisite for a skill trick, you can’t use it until you once more qualify.
• You can’t learn more than one skill trick at any given level and your total skill tricks cannot exceed one-half your character level (rounded up).
• You can learn a skill trick only once; you either know it or you don’t.

Types of Skill Tricks

There are four types of skill tricks: interaction, manipulation, mental, and movement. Each type focuses on a different subset of skills. While any character can learn tricks of any type, members of certain classes favor particular types of tricks (whether due to the class’s skill list, the character’s areas of expertise, or both).

Interaction: These skill tricks influence social interaction between PCs and NPCs. They typically rely on skills used in those situations, such as Bluff, Diplomacy, and Sense Motive.
Manipulation: A manipulation skill trick depends on the character’s manual dexterity to perform some act of legerdemain. Such tricks use skills that employ similar talents, including Disable Device, Open Lock, and Sleight of Hand.
Mental: These tricks pit the mind and senses of the character against an opponent. Mental tricks focus on skills such as Concentration, Knowledge, and Spot. Since this category includes a wide range of skills, many different characters dabble in such tricks.
Movement: As the name suggests, movement tricks typically involve the character physically moving from one location to another. They use skills that come into play during movement, such as Balance, Jump, Move Silently, and Tumble.

Skill Trick Descriptions

ACROBAT BACKSTAB [MOVEMENT]
You dart past your opponent’s attacks, ending up perfectly positioned for a devastating counterattack.
Prerequisite: Tumble 12 ranks.
Benefit: If you succeed on a Tumble check to move through an enemy’s space, you can treat that enemy as flat-footed against the next melee attack you make against it on your current turn. Your enemy must be standing on the ground or floor in order for you to use this trick.

BACK ON YOUR FEET [MOVEMENT]
You can hop back to your feet instantly if you fall.
Prerequisite: Tumble 12 ranks.
Benefit: If you fall prone for any reason, you can stand up as an immediate action without provoking attacks of opportunity.

CLARITY OF VISION [MENTAL]
You can briefly see invisible opponents.
Prerequisite: Spot 12 ranks.
Benefit: As a swift action, you can attempt a DC 20 Spot check. If successful, you focus your vision so clearly that you can pinpoint the location of invisible creatures within 30 feet. This clarity lasts until the end of your turn.

CONCEAL SPELLCASTING [MANIPULATION]
You can cast spells without others noticing.
Prerequisite: Concentration 1 rank, Sleight of Hand 5 ranks, Spellcraft 1 rank.
Benefit: You can cast a spell without revealing that you are doing so. Make a Sleight of Hand check as part of the action used to cast the spell, opposed by the Spot checks of onlookers. If you are successful, an observer can’t tell that you’re casting a spell. That observer cannot make an attack of opportunity against you for casting, nor can it attempt to counter your spell.

CORNER PERCH [MOVEMENT]
You can brace yourself against walls, leaving your hands free.
Prerequisite: Climb 8 ranks.
Benefit: If you succeed on a Climb check to ascend or descend either a “chimney,” where you can brace against opposite walls, or a corner where you can brace against perpendicular walls (PHB p. 69), you can suspend yourself momentarily. Until the end of your next turn, you can use your hands freely for any other purpose (including attacking) without risk of falling. At the end of your next turn, you fall from the wall unless you succeed on a Climb check against the normal DC + 5 (made as a move action) or you have succeeded on another Climb check to move up or down the wall as normal.

DISMOUNT ATTACK [MOVEMENT]
You can leap out of the saddle onto a foe.
Prerequisite: Ride 5 ranks.
Benefit: If your mount has moved at least 10 feet in this round, and you succeed on a fast dismount (Ride, PHB p. 80), you can use a standard action to attack an adjacent opponent as if you had charged that opponent.

EASY ESCAPE [MANIPULATION]
You can slip free from the grasp of a larger enemy with ease.
Prerequisite: Medium or smaller, Escape Artist 8 ranks.
Benefit: If your opponent is larger than Medium, you gain a circumstance bonus on your Escape Artist check to escape a grapple or pin. The size of the bonus depends on your opponent’s size, according to the following: Large +4 Huge +8 Gargantuan +12 Colossal +16

ESCAPE ATTACK [MOVEMENT]
You can follow a successful grapple escape with a swift attack.
Prerequisites: Escape Artist 8 ranks.
Benefit: When you escape a grapple, you can make a single melee attack with a light weapon as a swift action against the opponent that was grappling you. The opponent is considered flat-footed against this attack. You must have the weapon in hand at the beginning of your turn in order to use this trick.

EXTREME LEAP [MOVEMENT]
Your extraordinary leaping ability carries you over great distances.
Prerequisite: Jump 5 ranks.
Benefit: If you make a horizontal jump of at least 10 feet during your turn, you can spend a swift action to move an additional 10 feet on that turn.

FALSE THEURGY [MANIPULATION]
You can make a spell you are casting appear as another spell.
Prerequisite: Bluff 8 ranks, Spellcraft 8 ranks.
Benefit: As a swift action when casting a spell, you can adjust the spell’s verbal and somatic components to mimic those of another spell of your choice of the same level. Any creature using Spellcraft, or any other means to identify the spell you’re casting, believes it to be the other spell instead. This trick renders your spell immune to the normal method of counterspelling, though dispel magic or a similar effect still works normally. Of course, once the spell takes effect, it can be identified and dealt with normally (a fireball still looks and feels like a fireball once you’ve cast it).

GROUP FAKE-OUT [INTERACTION]
You lean left, go right, and leave a group of enemies confused.
Prerequisite: Bluff 8 ranks.
Benefit: You can use Bluff to feint in combat (PHB p. 68) against more than one opponent. Make one Bluff check opposed by separate Sense Motive checks for each opponent. For each opponent after the first that you wish to affect, you take a cumulative –2 penalty your check.

HEALING HANDS [MANIPULATION]
You can bring someone back from the brink of death.
Prerequisite: Heal 5 ranks.
Benefit: If you succeed on a Heal check made to stabilize a dying character, that character also heals 1d6 points of damage.

HIDDEN BLADE [MANIPULATION]
You can quickly draw a hidden weapon to make a deadly strike.
Prerequisite: Sleight of Hand 5 ranks, Quick Draw.
Benefit: After you have used the Sleight of Hand skill to successfully conceal a weapon (PHB p. 81), you can draw that weapon as a move action instead of a standard action. An opponent that was unaware of the concealed weapon is treated as flat-footed against the first attack you make in that turn.

LEAPING CLIMBER [MOVEMENT]
You start a tough climb than by leaping up the wall.
Prerequisite: Climb 5 ranks, Jump 5 ranks.
Benefit: If you begin a climb by making a Jump check as a swift action, you can add the vertical distance of your jump to the distance climbed in that round. Treat the Jump check as being made with a running start even if you didn’t move at least 20 feet.

MAGICAL APPRAISAL [MENTAL]
You can judge the usefulness of magic items.
Prerequisite: Appraise 5 ranks, Knowledge (arcana) 5 ranks, Spellcraft 12 ranks.
Benefit: When you succeed by 5 or more on a Spellcraft check to determine the school of magic of the aura surrounding a magic item (by casting detect magic), you can then spend 1 minute concentrating to also learn the properties of the item, as if you had cast identify. You can use this skill trick once per day.

MOSQUITO’S BITE [MANIPULATION]
You can deliver a vicious strike without your target feeling a thing.
Prerequisite: Sleight of Hand 12 ranks.
Benefit: If you use a light weapon to hit a flat-footed opponent, you can choose to have the opponent not realize that it has been hit until the start of your next turn. Instead, that opponent reacts as if you had attacked and missed. Using this skill trick doesn’t require an action on your part. This trick doesn’t allow the opponent to ignore any of the other effects of your attack, such as ability damage from poison on your blade or falling unconscious when reduced to fewer than 0 hit points.

NEVER OUTNUMBERED [INTERACTION]
You can demoralize multiple enemies.
Prerequisite: Intimidate 8 ranks.
Benefit: When you use Intimidate to demoralize an opponent (PHB p. 76), you can affect all enemies within 10 feet that can see you, rather than only a single enemy you threaten. Each enemy rolls a separate modified level check to oppose your Intimidate check, but the skill check otherwise works as normal.

NIMBLE CHARGE [MOVEMENT]
You can run across treacherous surfaces with ease.
Prerequisite: Balance 5 ranks.
Benefit: You can run or charge across a difficult surface without needing to make a Balance check (PHB p. 67).

NIMBLE STAND [MOVEMENT]
Your acrobatic talent allows you to stand up from prone safely.
Prerequisite: Tumble 8 ranks.
Benefit: You can stand up from prone without provoking attacks of opportunity.

OPENING TAP [MANIPULATION]
You are adept at opening locks quickly with blunt force.
Prerequisite: Open Lock 12 ranks.
Benefit: As a swift action, you can make an Open Lock check with a –10 penalty by tapping a lock with a hard, blunt object such as the pommel of a weapon. You don’t take any additional penalty for making the check without thieves’ tools. You can use this trick any number of times per day until you fail an Open Lock check made in this way. After a failure, you can’t use Opening Tap again until after you have rested for 8 hours.

QUICK ESCAPE [MANIPULATION]
In the blink of an eye, you can escape nearly any tight spot.
Prerequisite: Escape Artist 12 ranks.
Benefit: This trick has two options, either of which can be used once per encounter. You can make an Escape Artist check to escape from a grapple or pin as a swift action. You can use this trick even if you have already used a standard action on your current turn to attempt the same escape. Alternatively, you can make any Escape Artist check that would normally require a full-round action as a move action. You can’t use this option more than once per day against the same kind of restraint.

QUICK SWIMMER [MOVEMENT]
You can push yourself to swim faster.
Prerequisite: Swim 5 ranks.
Benefit: If you succeed on a Swim check to move at least 10 feet, you can move an extra 10 feet as part of that action.

SHROUDED DANCE [MANIPULATION]
You can seem to be where you aren’t.
Prerequisite: Hide 8 ranks, Perform (dance) 5 ranks.
Benefit: As a move action, you can attempt a DC 20 Hide check. If you succeed, you have concealment until the start of your next turn.

SOCIAL RECOVERY [INTERACTION]
You can talk your way out of a problem you talked yourself into.
Prerequisite: Bluff 8 ranks, Diplomacy 5 ranks.
Benefit: If your Diplomacy check to influence an NPC’s attitude fails, you can spend another full round talking to the NPC, then make a Bluff check with a –10 penalty. Use the result of this check in place of the Diplomacy check result, except that it can’t improve the NPC’s attitude by more than one step. Once you use this skill trick (successfully or not), you cannot use it against the same target again for 24 hours.

SLIPPING PAST [MOVEMENT]
You can slip through a tight space without breaking stride.
Prerequisite: Escape Artist 5 ranks, Tumble 5 ranks.
Benefit: As a swift action, you can ignore the additional movement cost and penalty on attack rolls and to AC when squeezing through a narrow space (PHB p. 148). The benefit lasts until the start of your next turn.

SPEEDY ASCENT [MOVEMENT]
You can produce a burst of speed when climbing.
Prerequisite: Climb 5 ranks.
Benefit: If you succeed on a Climb check to move at least 10 feet, you can move an extra 10 feet as part of that action.

SPOT THE WEAK POINT [MENTAL]
Your keen eyes allow you to attack where they’ll do the most good.
Prerequisite: Spot 12 ranks.
Benefit: As a standard action, you can attempt a Spot check to find a weakness in your opponent’s defenses. The DC of this check equals the opponent’s AC. If the check succeeds, your next attack against that opponent (which must be made no later than your next turn) is treated as a touch attack. If you use a ranged weapon to deliver the attack, your opponent must be within 30 feet of you in order for you to benefit from the trick.

SUDDEN DRAW [MANIPULATION]
You can quickly draw a hidden weapon to make a deadly strike.
Prerequisite: Sleight of Hand 8 ranks, Quick Draw.
Benefit: If an opponent provokes an attack of opportunity from you, you can draw a weapon that you have successfully concealed using Sleight of Hand (PHB p. 81) as an immediate action to deliver the attack of opportunity with that weapon. That opponent is treated as flat-footed against the attack with the concealed weapon.

SWIFT CONCENTRATION [MENTAL]
You maintain your mental focus while attending to another task.
Prerequisite: Concentration 12 ranks.
Benefit: You can maintain concentration on a spell or similar effect as a swift action.

TIMELY MISDIRECTION [INTERACTION]
You can divert an opponent’s attention to avoid its attacks.
Prerequisite: Bluff 8 ranks.
Benefit: If you succeed on a Bluff check to feint in combat (PHB p. 68), your opponent can’t make any attacks of opportunity against you until the start of its next turn. This effect is in addition to the normal benefits of a successful feint.

TUMBLING CRAWL [MOVEMENT]
You can safely roll away from danger.
Prerequisite: Tumble 5 ranks.
Benefit: By succeeding on a DC 15 Tumble check, you can crawl 5 feet as a move action without provoking attacks of opportunity. Crawling normally provokes attacks of opportunity from any attackers who threaten you at any point during your crawl (PHB p. 142).

TWISTED CHARGE [MOVEMENT]
You can charge in a crooked line.
Prerequisite: Balance 5 ranks, Tumble 5 ranks.
Benefit: When you charge, you can make one turn of up to 90 degrees during your movement. You can’t move more than your speed as part of this charge. All other restrictions on charges still apply, and you must have line of sight to the opponent at the start of your turn.

UP THE HILL [MOVEMENT]
You can move quickly up a slope.
Prerequisite: Balance 5 ranks, Jump 5 ranks.
Benefit: You can move up a steep slope or stairs at your normal speed instead of at half speed. This effect lasts for 1 round.

WALK THE WALLS [MOVEMENT]
You can run straight up a wall for a few seconds.
Prerequisite: Climb 12 ranks, Tumble 5 ranks.
Benefit: You can move up a wall without making a Climb check. Each 5 feet of vertical movement costs you 4 squares of movement, and you must begin and end your turn on a horizontal surface.

WALL JUMPER [MOVEMENT]
You end a climb than by leaping from the wall.
Prerequisite: Climb 5 ranks, Jump 5 ranks.
Benefit: If you have succeeded on a Climb check to ascend or descend a wall during this or your previous turn, you can leap horizontally from that wall as if you had a running start.

WHIP CLIMBER [MANIPULATION]
You can use a whip as a grappling hook.
Prerequisite: Use Rope 5 ranks, proficiency with the whip.
Benefit: You can use a whip as a makeshift grappling hook, lashing it around a protrusion or other firm, weight bearing object in order to climb a wall or swing across a chasm. You make Climb checks using the whip as if it were a normal rope. Using this skill trick requires a Use Rope check as normal for securing a grappling hook (PHB p. 86) but takes only a move action.

Skill Tricks

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