, I've been poring over the Skills with the factotum in mind, and drafted the following little bit. You're welcome to use it, adapt it, or ignore it as you will. It was written with my particular play style in mind, which might not match up with anybody else's inclinations. I'm also not a CharOp regular, so I'm probably overlooking all sorts of angles. With that said...Factotums and Skills
A couple things to contemplate about the factotum and skills:
Strength SkillsClimb (Str), Jump (Str), Swim (Str)
- A factotum should avoid making Strength and Dexterity dump stats. Brain over Brawn doesn't replace those ability bonuses, it augments them. It also doesn't kick in right at the beginning. Start off with at least a positive balance.
- If a factotum takes just three ranks in a skill, once per day he can act as if he had the maximum ranks.
- Some skills are only worth using once a day.
- Some skills worth using more than once a day still might be covered by a once-a-day spell.
Thanks to Brain over Brawn, these are skills the factotum can get away with just a few ranks in. Cunning Knowledge can put the skill check over the top when it’s needed, but only once per day. A factotum who expects to be climbing, jumping, or swimming for more than one check a day can prepare an appropriate spell to handle the task—fortunately, most of those spells are low-level and available early in the factotum’s career.Dexterity SkillsBalance (Dex), Escape Artist (Dex), Hide (Dex), Move Silently (Dex), Open Lock (Dex), Ride (Dex), Sleight of Hand (Dex), Tumble (Dex), Use Rope (Dex)
Like the Strength skills, the Dexterity skills will eventually benefit from the factotum’s Intelligence bonus, so even a few ranks in uncommon skills like Escape Artist and Ride will be enough for mundane tasks. Judicious use of Cunning Knowledge will allow the factotum to outshine the rogue in critical moments (the Hide/MS/OL suite) or pull unexpected maneuvers on the battlefield (Escape Artist out of a grapple, Tumble past foes). Cunning Knowledge only works once per day per skill, so the factotum will find competency in a variety of tactics worthwhile.Constitution SkillsConcentration (Con)
While a factotum enjoys limited spellcasting, the Concentration skill is probably not worth more than a token rank. Wands don’t provoke attacks of opportunity, and spell-like abilities and scrolls can be safely activated out of melee range. If the factotum absolutely must cast that one spell while charging on horseback or standing on a pitching deck in high seas, it’s probably time to use Cunning Knowledge for the Concentration check.Intelligence SkillsAppraise (Int), Craft (Int), Decipher Script (Int), Disable Device (Int), Forgery (Int), Knowledge (Int), Search (Int), Spellcraft (Int)
Intelligence is the factotum’s primary ability score, so Intelligence skills will always be strong. The factotum should probably invest at least a rank each in Disable Device and Search to make use of his Trapfinding talent, more if he wants to take over for the rogue. A little bit of Knowledge goes a long way—combined with Cunning Knowledge, the factotum has the equivalent of a bardic knowledge check once per day per field. Arcana, religion, and nature can be left safely to the mages and priests—a factotum know-it-all should instead consider dungeoneering, geography, local, and the planes. With a friendly ruling from the DM, a factotum can add Cunning Knowledge to Craft skills to become the party’s mundane artificer, busting out alchemical items or healing warforged in an Eberron campaign. Finally, 5 ranks in Decipher Script earn a synergy bonus on UMD checks for scrolls—something the factotum might rely on.Wisdom SkillsAutohypnosis (Wis), Heal (Wis), Listen (Wis), Profession (Wis), Sense Motive (Wis), Spot (Wis), Survival (Wis)
A factotum’s Spontaneous Piety doesn’t cover ability damage, so a rank in Heal isn’t a bad idea in the long run. Listen and Spot tend to get used more than once a day, so relying on Cunning Knowledge to boost them probably isn’t wise. Autohypnosis has a few useful mind tricks, but resisting fear and tolerating poison are better handled with Cunning Insight.Charisma SkillsBluff (Cha), Diplomacy (Cha), Disguise (Cha), Gather Information (Cha), Handle Animal (Cha), Intimidate (Cha), Perform (Cha), Use Magic Device (Cha)
Use Magic Device is probably the most useful Charisma skill a factotum can pick up, and worth real investment of points. Combining skill ranks with a high Intelligence, he should have no problem with wizard scrolls, and wands will be even easier. The factotum’s general adventuring strategy should determine how much stock to put in other Charisma skills. Bluff and Intimidate allow some combat tricks (CK strikes again), but unless the factotum makes a concerted effort, his Brains over Brawn will make him a better thief-acrobat than a diplomat. OtherSpeak Language (NA)
The factotum picks up languages as fast as a bard or changeling, and is literate in them, too. However, if international (or interspecies) dialogue isn’t vital to the party or the campaign, simply preparing comprehend languages
once in a while will probably suffice.Uncommon Skill Combos
Exclusive class skills are a thing of the past, but only a factotum (or an expert) can bring certain skills together without multi-classing or paying extra. Any rogue can Climb and Tumble, but it takes a factotum to…Use Magic Device (Cha) and Ride (Dex)
A factotum who invests wisely can ride around the edge of the battlefield on horseback, blasting away with a wand and dodging return fire. If the factotum plans to gallop about firing magic missiles at people, he should probably learn a little Concentration, too.Knowledge (nobility and royalty) (Int) and Forgery (Int)
The bard and paladin have the knowledge, and the rogue the technical skill, but only the factotum can combine them to create convincing writs, pedigrees, and heraldric badges.Handle Animal (Cha) and Disguise (Cha)
Make horses look like unicorns, dire wolves look like horses, and owlbears look like shaggy ogres. It’s a difficult combo to pull off, but worth it for the factotum looking to sneak a gorgon into the city on market day.Heal (Wis) and Sleight of Hand (Dex)
Most cultures frown on looting the dead. A factotum, however, can discretely relieve the sick of constricting jewelry, burdensome purses, and aggravating accessories.
More to follow later if inspiration strikes.