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Skills in Conflict


Source Ultimate Intrigue pg. 186
The uses of the Disguise skill are far more specific than those of Bluff and Diplomacy. The Disguise skill exists to allow characters to conceal their identity and to potentially pose as other characters.

Not Always Opposed: The most important thing to note about the Disguise skill is that characters do not automatically get a Perception check to oppose it. Per the Core Rulebook, an opponent receives a Perception check only if the disguised character is actively drawing attention, if the perceiving character is actively suspicious of everyone, or if the disguised character is attempting to impersonate a particular person that the perceiving character recognizes. Under one of these circumstances, a perceiving character can attempt one Perception check right away and then another check each hour.

A Single Disguise Check: Unlike most other skills, a character typically attempts a Disguise check only once when creating a physical disguise. Further Disguise checks might be necessary for things such as altering one’s voice or using appropriate mannerisms or phrasing, but the basic disguise doesn’t require further checks. The check result is supposed to be a secret that is revealed only the first time the disguise is truly tested, which can be tricky in the face of disguising characters who want their friends to tell them how good the disguise is. One way to handle this is to roll the Disguise check secretly only the first time it truly comes into opposition (see above), since the skill doesn’t indicate when the check first occurs.

Disguise Is More Than Visual: Though the skill as presented in the Core Rulebook focuses on the visual aspects of disguise that a character prepares, later rules (such as the vocal alteration spell) have made it clear that there are other aspects, including voice, mannerisms, and phrasing. The trick is to distinguish between the use of the Bluff and the Disguise skills. Generally, Bluff checks cover telling actual lies to support a disguise, whereas Disguise checks cover the other aspects, such as imitating mannerisms and speech.

Saw Through the Illusion: It is very tempting to use illusion or transmutation magic to augment a disguise, since the bonus is so high. As per the Core Rulebook, magic that penetrates an illusion or transmutation doesn’t automatically see through a mundane disguise, but it negates the magical components of the costume. Thus, a true master of disguise uses both types of trickery, and she also ensures that the person who notices her use of magic has a way to explain the fact that disguise magic was involved at all. For instance, a rogue might disguise herself as a noble with mundane means and then use disguise self to cloak herself in a glamer of that same noble, but more beautiful. Then, if someone sees through the illusion but not the mundane disguise, he would just think she was a vain noble instead of becoming suspicious due to the use of illusion magic and demanding a more thorough inspection.

Simulacrum and Disguise: The caster of the simulacrum spell uses the Disguise skill to shape the form created. However, it is important to note that the Sense Motive check to detect a simulacrum is very easy at the level that simulacrum becomes available, so unless the simulacrum has a high Bluff modifier, it is still challenging to use a simulacrum as an impostor for long.