Help me list spells that make skills irrelevant.

Empirate

First Post
As a DM, I'm taking away similar ideas from this thread. I have long been of the opinion that Comprehend Languages, Knock etc. should just provide a flat skill check bonus, as long as it's not too high. +10 sounds about OK, that way, it won't make that skillmonkey useless - it will make him better at HIS job! Of course, all the 'target: you' buffs need to be done away with anyway...

Stuff like Invisibility or Fly is just too iconic to be made to function in a similar way, though...
 

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kitcik

Adventurer
Tangent alert

As a DM, I'm taking away similar ideas from this thread. I have long been of the opinion that Comprehend Languages, Knock etc. should just provide a flat skill check bonus, as long as it's not too high. +10 sounds about OK, that way, it won't make that skillmonkey useless - it will make him better at HIS job! Of course, all the 'target: you' buffs need to be done away with anyway...

Stuff like Invisibility or Fly is just too iconic to be made to function in a similar way, though...

First, let me say I agree with the above post. And I love this thread.

And now, with my apologies, the tangent:

What would be a higher tier:
- a <insert name of your favorite / best melee class here> with INFINITE skill points, giving them a skill rank of L+3 in EVERY skill
or
- a full caster with zero skill points?
 

Sekhmet

First Post
[MENTION=1465]Li Shenron[/MENTION] I agree to a point. Most of my casters stay away from such spells (hey, the skill monkey can do that stuff without using valuable resources to do it, I'm not going to prepare resources for that reason) unless the skill monkey/fighter/etc is away for a session.
They're great when your Bard has to pick up his daughter from his ex-wife, or your Rogue has to deal with jury duty.
 

Empirate

First Post
A Bard "picking up" his daughter from his ex-wife? A Rogue on jury duty? What kind of twisted universe are you gaming in? Now I can imagine a Rogue having a ball when he's called to serve as a jury. And a Bard's high charisma might just be inherited by his offspring - but that's still just wrong!
 

Sekhmet

First Post
A Bard "picking up" his daughter from his ex-wife? A Rogue on jury duty? What kind of twisted universe are you gaming in? Now I can imagine a Rogue having a ball when he's called to serve as a jury. And a Bard's high charisma might just be inherited by his offspring - but that's still just wrong!

It was an ironic way of saying "sometimes, people can't make it to the game". The guy who usually plays Bards/charismatic individuals in my group has two ex-wives and a kid with the first.
My Rogueish guy is a cop.

Life is often the opposite of what people want to play in D&D.
 

Appraise:
Lots of divinations, including commune with lesser spirit/contact other plane.

Craft:
To some degree polymorph any object. getting duration permanent by changing a stone to a statue, or iron filings into an iron sword works fine. You Can't make anything valuable though,

Disable device:
Understand Device pretty much does this, might want to mix it with the locate traps spell.

Forgery:
Polymorph any object (looks like cheese, but) there are no rules on how well you can copy something. Paper changed to paper with writing on it that perfectly duplicates documents, has duration permanent, the same with seals, wax, signatures, and just about anything else you want. Unless your DM rules its of intrinsic value.

Gather Information:
Ghost sound: a lions roar travels for 6 miles. You can use ghost sound to make sound as loud as a lions roar. You can use ghost sound to transmit your voice 6 miles. If you shout offering 5 or so silver pieces, and telling the people you will use zone of truth to identify what they are saying, you would get plenty of information, very easy to mess with. Lacks subtlety

Again lots of divinations, including commune with lesser spirit/contact other plane/probe thoughts

Commune with city also helps

Knowledge:
Spiritual Advisor, allows you to retry a knowledge check, and gives a +4 and lets you use it untrained. If you have an eternal want you get one attempt per party member.

Perform: It says spells can be used instead of regular performances, so to a lesser degree illusions, or anything with duration concentration could be used for this purpose, though your more likely to get a +2 from spell craft than actually convince your DM to let you substitute spell craft for perform.

Sense Motive:
Know motivation
Probe thoughts



Survival: it has been pointed out to be before scent is good for tracking.

Commune with nature can help a lot.

Sleight Of Hand:

Absorb weapon (for hiding and revealing weapons anyway)

Spot:
Detect evil will find most hostile monsters you are going to find on your travels.
True seeing: Deals with any trickery
Prying eyes: if your hinting for something within one mile of you. at +1 spot per caster level, by level 15 you can find most things.

Use Rope:
Animate rope (for quite a few purposes)

----
Other mentions

The classics
eagles splendor
Owl's wisdom

And other's I forget the name of, all provide a +2 bonus to any skill check due to stat increase obviously.

Wieldskill grants a bonus to all skill checks also.
 

RUMBLETiGER

Adventurer
List updated with your input!

Man, with just Wieldskill and Divine Insight, you're looking at a possible +25 to any skill check, even if untrained and no ranks. Those are level 1 and level 2 divine spells, respectively. Definitely some Eternal or regular wands to carry around.

Feel free to start new threads to debate the morality or reasons for using such a list (although I did make a note about the use of Summon Monster I to find traps), and use this thread to keep the ideas coming!
 

The level 1 paladin spell 'sticky saddle' in draggon 299 not only makes it impossible for you to fall off your mount, but also requires someone to take a DC 20 strength check to shove you off. That just about covers ride :p
 

Greenfield

Adventurer
Craft:
To some degree polymorph any object. getting duration permanent by changing a stone to a statue, or iron filings into an iron sword works fine. You Can't make anything valuable though,
Most such spells call for a Craft check to make anything of quality. For the ones that don't, most DM's add that requirement anyway.
Polymorph any object (looks like cheese, but) there are no rules on how well you can copy something. Paper changed to paper with writing on it that perfectly duplicates documents, has duration permanent, the same with seals, wax, signatures, and just about anything else you want. Unless your DM rules its of intrinsic value.
Same thing as was said for Craft.

Gather Information:
Ghost sound: a lions roar travels for 6 miles. You can use ghost sound to make sound as loud as a lions roar. You can use ghost sound to transmit your voice 6 miles. If you shout offering 5 or so silver pieces, and telling the people you will use zone of truth to identify what they are saying, you would get plenty of information, very easy to mess with. Lacks subtlety
A lion's roar travels for miles, across an open plain. Far less if there are walls in the way. Additionally, the spell specifically says that you can't make intelligible speech, so this plan is a no-go from the start. Perhaps Amplify is more what you're looking for. It reduces the Listen check for all by 20, which essentially adds 200 feet to the audible range.

Perform: It says spells can be used instead of regular performances, so to a lesser degree illusions, or anything with duration concentration could be used for this purpose, though your more likely to get a +2 from spell craft than actually convince your DM to let you substitute spell craft for perform.
Anyone can make pretty lights and sounds. Heck, Ghost Sound can play any music you like, so long as it doesn't include words. But to make those lights and sounds entertaining, that's the trick. I used to be a stage performer IRL, and there's an art to audience interaction that can't be replaced by technical (or magical) gimickry.

Survival: it has been pointed out to be before scent is good for tracking.
Oddly, the Scent ability, whether by form or spell, doesn't actually allow you to do much. That is, it allows you to use scent when tracking, but doesn't add anything to the Survival roll, nor replace the Tracking feat. And it certainly isn't going to help you feed yourself or your party, tell good water from bad, or help you locate a good campsite.

Sleight Of Hand:
Absorb weapon (for hiding and revealing weapons anyway)
Actually, Prestidigitation was described in 3e as allowing you to do the sort of minor magics that a professional magician might perform. That would include "sleight of hand" tricks, which may or may not include picking pockets. (I've seen pickpocket acts on stage, performed as part of a magician's routine.)

As a general note on Ghost Sound: I've seen that argument about a lion's roar before. The specific top sound the cantrip can give is the volume of twenty men shouting. And while the description equates that to a lion's roar, I'd use the human voice equivalent because that's the scale it uses for lower caster levels: Number of voices per caster level.

Also, just because you can hear something miles away, on an open plain with no city walls or ambient sounds to obstruct or mask it, doesn't mean that you can make out any detail of that sound.

Yodeling, the Swiss singing style, was originally used to communicate over great distances, between a shepherd and his flock or between villages.

That's an example of one man "shouting", and being heard for miles, but most DMs would consider that to be a bit extreme.
 

Binho

First Post
Balancing Lorecall can switch swim for balance skill.

I noted that there is no spell on the list that makes Tumble irrelevant. Let's resolve this:

Tumble (reduce fall damage) >>> Feather Fall

Tumble (provoking no AoO) >>> Faerinaal's Hymn, Lightfoot, Opportune Dodge,

Tumble (provoking no AoO and moving through an area ocuppied by an enemy) >>> Dimensional Step, Zeal*

Tumble (epic skill) >>> Stand - well, not exactly, but you can make someone stand from prone without the subject wasting a round.

I'm pretty sure there are a lot more spells that can make you walk through enemy square without suffer AoO (the variations of fire or lightning of dimensional door are an example).
 



Empirate

First Post
In a similar vein, Sonorous Hum concentrates on a spell (such as Silent Image, Manyjaws, Wall of Fire etc.) for you, so you can't be disturbed and don't even have to roll Concentration checks at all. Narrow in the skill-replacing department, but it's there.
 




Celebrim

Legend
I very much approve of this project, but I'd like to see a bit finer categorization. While its good to have everything listed, not every spell in the list make a skill strictly speaking irrelevant.

Category 1: A spell makes a skill irrelevant if and only if it provides an absolute benefit. For example, the Fly spell makes the Jump skill strictly irrelevant because Fly is simply superior to what is possible with Jump. Knock is similarly bad, since it not only unlocks locks absolutely, but opens latches, unbars doors, and bypasses wizard lock. Spider climb as written is vague enough that it may work this way, or it may be a more reasonable Category 2 or even 3 spell depending on how we interpret 'as well as a spider' and what part of the description we focus on.

Category 2: A spells makes a skill practically irrelevant if at a given level it provides a benefit that is absolutely better than what a character could recieve from ranks in skills at that level. For example, Jump when it is first acquired gives the equivalent of 10 ranks in the Jump skill, far better than the 4 ranks you could otherwise have. Glibness is an even more extreme offender. Invisibility is somewhere between this level and Category 2.

Category 3: A spell can be said to replace or enhance a skill, if the benefit it provides is equivalent to having ranks in that skill. For example, a first level spell that temporarily gave you a +4 enhancement bonus to a skill would replace or enhance the skill, but wouldn't make it irrelevant since a similar level character would have this benefit continually without spending a resource (the spell) and further characters already skilled would be likely targets of the spell since they would be the ones to naturally task with the job. Understand Device is in this category, and arguably is so weak that far from making Disable Device irrelevant, disable Device makes this spell irrelevant.

Category 4: A spell that when used creatively, can be used to replace certain applications of a skill even though that's not the spells main intention. For example, using Summon Monster 1 to find traps doesn't really make Search irrelevant, because search has many more uses than that and Summon Monster I is most likely to be only useful for finding simple traps involving pits, trip wires, and pressure plates. By the same logic, a 50 lb bag of sand and/or a 10' pole makes search irrelevant. To save you time and energy, you should just list 'Summon Monster X' as being a Category 4 replacement for every skill.

I would argue that Category 3 while definately fitting into the list of spells we would like to collect, should be viewed as a very different thing that spells in categories 1 and 2. As part of my ongoing attempt at 'perfecting' the balance in 3.0, I have for some time been trying to move spells in my campaign that are in Category 2 into Category 3, and when possible (it's not always) either increasing the level of Category 1 spells or finding a way to transform them into Category 2 or better yet Category 3 spells by changing their mechanics.
 
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green slime

First Post
Fly, Overland Flight, air walk and wind walk also can nullify the need for Move Silently, Ride, and Climb, not just balance.

Summon Nature's Ally IV (Unicorn) really removes the need for the Heal skill.

Gaseous Form helps bypass such irritating tings as locked doors, traps.

Featherfall and levitate, both help ignore climb skill.
 

Comprehend Languages replaces Decipher Script.

Yes, spells that provide a lot of points towards a skill might as well count for the purposes of this thread.

Thanks all, keep them coming. I'll compile this all into the first post when we've exhausted the possibilities.

I always thought encrypted messages would make for a good scenario idea.
Would you consider that a double enciphered cryptogram to be resistant to Comprehend Languages, does the spell only reveal the key stream if for example those words are literal words (Horse Dog Cat Mouse etc, etc) or does it reveal the plain text? In a fantasy world where magic such as Comprehend Languages is prevalent I believe where in order to protect sensitive information not only magical means such as wards and spells like secret page and illusory script are employed, if the wording of CL by RAW is open to interpretation then there are also some obvious mundane foils.
 

^^^^

Ignore the above, me not reading the description of the spell fully. It does not decipher codes or reveal messages concealed in otherwise normal text. Comprehend Languages is useless against ciphers and would absolutely require a decipher script skill check.
 

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