Skill tricks are an exciting new way of customizing your scoundrel, allowing her to perform such cinematic effects as swinging across a chasm hanging from a whip, leaping off a warhorse while swinging a sword, jumping and running up a wall, and other similar actions popular in movies but until now unsupported in the D&D rules. Because they require the expenditure of skill points, skill tricks appeal most strongly to members of those character classes that focus on skills.
The four types of skill tricks are 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. Bards are the most common masters of these skill tricks, but anyone who relies on social interaction to achieve their goals—from bold paladins to boisterous sorcerers—can benefit from them.
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. Rogues and ninjas often boast a few manipulation tricks in their repertoire.
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. Monks, barbarians, and scouts are most likely to learn such tricks, but anyone looking for an edge on the battlefield has something to gain from them.
Learning Skill Tricks
Learning a skill trick costs 2 skill points. Whenever you acquire skill points, you can choose to spend skill points to acquire a skill trick instead of purchasing ranks in skills.
You can learn any skill trick, as 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 again 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). Certain feats and prestige class features allow a character to exceed these limits. If you use the retraining rules in Player’s Handbook II, you can choose to unlearn any one skill trick when you attain a new level, assigning the reclaimed skill points as you wish (either to buy skill ranks or to learn a different skill trick).
You can learn a skill trick only once; you either know it or you don’t.
Limits on skill tricks are gone. Have as many skill tricks as you can get.
Some skill-trick like abilities can be taught to characters for a price, all a character must do is spend the time and money to learn it, no need to spend the skill points. This allows low skill point characters like fighters to pick up a trick or two of their own.
Using Skill Tricks
Skill tricks are special maneuvers, so you can’t just use them as often as you want. Unless otherwise noted, a skill trick can be performed only once per encounter (or once per minute, for scenes that don’t involve combat or other conflict). 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 pull off, or it “piggybacks” on a skill check you’re already making. For example, the Extreme Leap trick functions only if you’ve already succeeded on a DC 20 Jump check (or DC 10 with a running start) to make a horizontal jump; it doesn’t require a separate Jump check. 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, such as moving out of a threatened square).
Table 3–2: Skill Tricks
|Assume Quirk||Disguise 5 ranks||Familiar viewers get no bonus to see through your disguise|
|Group Fake-Out||Bluff 8 ranks||Feint against multiple foes simultaneously|
|Never Outnumbered||Intimidate 8 ranks||Demoralize multiple foes in combat simultaneously|
|Second Impression||Bluff 5 ranks, Disguise 5 ranks||Make Bluff check to reestablish blown disguise|
|Social Recovery||Bluff 8 ranks, Diplomacy 5 ranks||Make Bluff check to replace a failed Diplomacy check|
|Timely Misdirection||Bluff 8 ranks||Successful feint allows you to avoid attacks of opportunity|
|Clever Improviser||Disable Device 5 ranks, Open Lock 5 ranks||Ignore penalty for Disable Device and Open Lock checks made without tools|
|Conceal Spellcasting||Concentration 1 rank, Sleight of Hand 5 ranks, Spellcraft 1 rank||Conceal your spellcasting from onlookers|
|Easy Escape||Medium or smaller size, Escape Artist 8 ranks||Gain bonus on check to escape grapple or pin|
|False Theurgy||Bluff or Sleight of Hand 8 ranks, Spellcraft 8 ranks||Your spell appears to be another spell of the same level|
|Healing Hands||Heal 5 ranks||Heal 1d6 damage when you stabilize a dying character|
|Hidden Blade||Sleight of Hand 5 ranks, Quick Draw||Draw hidden weapon as move action; treat foe as flat-footed|
|Mosquito’s Bite||Sleight of Hand 12 ranks||Flat-footed target does not notice damage you deal with a light weapon|
|Opening Tap||Open Lock 12 ranks||Open a lock as a swift action|
|Quick Escape||Escape Artist 12 ranks||Escape from grapple or restraints more quickly than normal|
|Shrouded Dance||Hide 8 ranks, Perform (dance)5 ranks||Use move action to gain concealment for 1 round|
|Sudden Draw||Sleight of Hand 8 ranks, Quick Draw||Draw hidden weapon as part of attack of opportunity|
|Whip Climber||Use Rope 5 ranks, proficiency with whip||Use a whip as a grappling hook|
|Clarity of Vision||Spot 12 ranks||Notice invisible enemies for 1 round|
|Collector of Stories||Knowledge (any) 5 ranks||Gain +5 bonus on Knowledge checks to identify monsters|
|Listen to This||Listen 5 ranks||Perfectly repeat what you’ve recently heard|
|Magical Appraisal||Appraise 5 ranks, Knowledge (arcana) 5 ranks, Spellcraft 12 ranks||Determine properties of magic items|
|Point it Out||Spot 8 ranks||Grant ally a free Spot check to see something you’ve spotted|
|Spot the Weak Point||Spot 12 ranks||Make your next attack a touch attack|
|Swift Concentration||Concentration 12 ranks||Maintain concentration on spell as swift action|
|Acrobatic Backstab||Tumble 12 ranks||Move through foe’s space to render it flat-footed|
|Back on Your Feet||Tumble 12 ranks||React immediately to stand up from prone|
|Corner Perch||Climb 8 ranks||Perch in chimney or corner to leave hands free|
|Dismount Attack||Ride 5 ranks||Make a fast dismount from moving mount to charge a foe|
|Escape Attack||Escape Artist 8 ranks||Make an attack the same round you escape a grapple|
|Extreme Leap||Jump 5 ranks||Horizontal jump of at least 10 feet allows 10 extra feet of movement that round|
|Leaping Climber||Climb 5 ranks, Jump 5 ranks||Add jump distance to start of climb|
|Nimble Charge||Balance 5 ranks||Run or charge across difficult surface without Balance check|
|Nimble Stand||Tumble 8 ranks||Stand from prone safely|
|Quick Swimmer||Swim 5 ranks||Swim 10 additional feet with successful check|
|Slipping Past||Escape Artist 5 ranks, Tumble 5 ranks||Move into tight space without penalties|
|Speedy Ascent||Climb 5 ranks||Climb 10 additional feet with successful check|
|Tumbling Crawl||Tumble 5 ranks||Crawl 5 feet without provoking attacks of opportunity|
|Twisted Charge||Balance 5 ranks, Tumble 5 ranks||Make one direction change during a charge|
|Up the Hill Balance||5 ranks, Jump 5 ranks||Move up slope or stairs at normal speed|
|Walk the Walls||Climb 12 ranks, Tumble 5 ranks||Run straight up wall for 1 round|
|Wall Jumper||Climb 5 ranks, Jump 5 ranks||Leap from wall as if making a running jump|