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Just trying to get a great grasp on creatures for better GMing and I ran across creature skils. I know players have skills and things like modifiers but how does telling me a creatures skills help me in any way other than knowing as the below states an Atomie has Stealh of +20? That is awesome it can jump but when is that used. If you can have the jump in battle to avoid an attack that's awesome but I thought that would lead to chaos in a game. Then they could just burn down a house instead of ever going in it effectively killing the fun of the game.

Skills

  • Acrobatics +8 (+4 when jumping)
  • Bluff +9
  • Escape Artist +7
  • Fly +18
  • Perception +7
  • Sense Motive +6
  • Stealth +20
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Hello and welcome to the site. I can't help but notice you're asking a bunch of basic questions that are answered in the rulebook. Please look at rpg.stackexchange.com/questions/15582/… and do a little research before asking - searching on www.d20pfsrd.com for any of these terms (or looking them up in the index of the rulebook) should help a lot. –  mxyzplk May 21 at 2:53

3 Answers 3

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Creature skills serve the same purpose as player skills do. Some of them are more applicable to combat then others.

Acrobatics actually is pretty handy in combat. One of it's uses is to move through threatened squares without provoking attacks of opportunity. That can be a very handy ability. Jumping tends to be a less frequent thing, used to cross a gap or go over something.

Bluff is used to lie to the PCs convincingly. Might be able to avoid combat entirely with that, or set up an ambush by distracting them while allies hide using that nice Stealth score.

Escape Artist can be used to escape ropes, chains, squeezing through tight spaces, or in grapple checks to get out of it.

Perception and Sense Motive are used when the PCs are trying to sneak up on or lie to the NPC.

I'd suggest going through and reading the skill descriptions, there's a handy list here. They tell you some of the things you can use them for, so you can get an idea of which ones are combat applicable and which are more social oriented.

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Monsters can use their skills in battle in exactly the same ways player characters can. As some examples, if they have some concealment, they can try to hide. If they can fly, they use the Fly skill to control it. If they have Acrobatics, they can potentially Tumble to avoid attacks of opportunity, or avoid falling damage. They can use Intimidate to demoralise player characters. If the monster has Knowledge skills, it might be able to work out details of player character racial strengths or weaknesses (i.e. Elves are immune to sleep, or Dwarves have resistances to poison). About the hardest skill to justify in combat would be a Craft skill, since those tend to take longer periods of time than combat allows.

For a complete list, look at the skill descriptions in the PRD.

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To expand on the point that this answer is making, if a monster burns down a house instead of going into it - that's a plot hook; Hunting down the thing that did it is now the quest. –  GMJoe May 21 at 4:51

Some skills do affect combat. As others have mentioned, Acrobatics is immensely useful in combat for getting past tanks who block choke points and for avoiding attacks of opportunity.

Some skills won't affect combat. They don't need to. They affect other things.

In the olden days (AD&D and before), monster manual entries were generally held to be just something to come across in a dungeon room, kill, loot, and move on to the next one. This actually caused problems if you wanted to interact with them in literally any other way than this pattern, because the rules simply didn't support it. The issue wasn't so severe as it might sound, because DMs were expected to wing it, but it did unnecessarily make the DM's job that much harder than it already was, and the asymmetry of interacting with most demihumans by one set of mechanics, and a completely different set of mechanics for interacting with "monsters", was rather jarring for many, myself included.

The introduction of 3.0 changed this by giving monster manual entries all the same types of stats as player characters: not just hit points, saves, AC, attack bonus and attack damage, but also actual base scores in all 6 abilities (Str, Dex, etc), skills (not only combat-relevant ones, but also utility and social), spellcasting progressions that included the possibiity for utility spells, and so on. This makes it possible for lying to a monster, sneaking up on a monster, being snuck upon by a monster, breaking a monster's concentration, and determining what a monster gets how much better at when you buff his Int with a spell, to all be covered by the same rules that cover those things happening with PCs instead of monsters. As a 3.x derivative, Pathfinder inherited this change.

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