I've just made a Bladebound Magus in Pathfinder, and I could not find a lot of information on whether the Magus's black blade could perform skill checks other than the ones listed on the Bladebound page.

For example, a black blade can perceive things like a creature can, but does that mean that it has its own perception check?


2 Answers 2


The black blade can use other skills, but it probably won't be very good at them

The extraordinary ability black blade of the magus archetype bladebound grants the magus an intelligent magic item. While underdetailed by Pathfinder standards, intelligent magic items can, indeed, use many skills just like a player-character can, including the skill Perception. However, the black blade can't, for example, use trained only skills if it has no ranks in the skill.

The bladebound magus should keep in mind that, because the black blade doesn't have skill ranks in many skills the black blade won't be very good at most skills as it will be using them untrained, typically gaining only its ability score modifier as a bonus on the d20 roll. And because the black blade doesn't have, for instance, hands or feet, the GM may rule that some skills—like most uses of the skills Climb and Acrobatics—are impossible for the black blade to use.

Further, as an ersatz creature, the GM should roll initiative for the black blade whenever an encounter begins and allow the black blade to take its full complement of actions on its turn. (Many GMs—this one included—instead have intelligent magic items act on the bearer's turn for convenience.) However, while some intelligent magic items that can speak aloud, for example, use their actions to make Intimidate skill checks to demoralize their wielder's foes, the black blade can communicate only with the magus and only via telepathy and then only while the magus wields or carries the black blade. This means unless the black blade is somehow (magically?) given something else to do by its wielder, there usually won't be a lot for a black blade to do on its turn except keep a lookout (by intentionally searching) using its probably-not-very-good Perception skill.


For what we know, RAW, a black blade intelligent item follows it's own rules (and you can find this rules in the bladebound archetype). For example, in regard of skills, the entry states:

Languages and Skills: A black blade starts with Common as a language. As the black blade increases in Intelligence, it manifests knowledge of languages and arcane lore. Upon reaching an Intelligence of 12, it gains a bonus language of the GM’s choice, and gains 1 rank in Knowledge (arcana). Each time the sword gains a bonus to Intelligence, it gains another language and another rank in Knowledge (arcana).

So, for sure, a black blade possess knowledge(arcana) as a skill...but the other? I will say that, knowledge(arcana) is the only skill a black blade possess. The reason is, rule as written, you can't upgrade your sword with crafting feats as this FAQ clearly explains:

Can I use Craft Magic Arms and Armor to increase my blade’s enhancement bonus? No, nor can you use that feat to add other properties (such as flaming) to the black blade. You can use your arcane pool to temporarily add abilities to your black blade.

For what I know the only way to give skill ranks to a magic item is this:

36–45 | Item has 5 ranks in one skill* | +2,500 gp | +1

and you can choose only an intelligence, wisdom or charisma skill (for obvious reasons since a black blade have not a strenght, dexterity or constitution score).

The only catch I can find is explained in the previous FAQ: you can upgrade your black blade with your arcane pool so.

In regard of using skills other than knowledge(arcana)..if the skill is an intelligence, wisdom or charisma skill yes, the item can use that skill since, with very few exception, even only trained skills can be used to a certain extent without any training at all.

Link to Bladebound: Blackblade skills and faq source | Link to intelligent item: Intelligent items table of powers source


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