Cunning Caster

This feat allows you to hide spellcasting, but takes penalties for every visual aspect of the spell you need to hide.

The general benefit is below:

When casting a spell, you can attempt a Bluff check (opposed by observers’ Perception checks) to conceal your actions from onlookers.

Each thing you do that is part of spellcasting causes a penalty here. For example, if you use material components you get a -4, but that is known to be removed by the Eschew Materials feat.

On the topic of focus and divine focus, the exact wording is this:

If the spell requires a focus or divine focus, you take a –4 penalty on the Bluff check.

All of the penalties in Cunning Caster tie to the process below. Components, including material and foci, are normally expected to be manipulated as part of casting the spell.

To cast a spell, you must be able to speak (if the spell has a verbal component), gesture (if it has a somatic component), and manipulate the material components or focus (if any). Additionally, you must concentrate to cast a spell.

My question: Do you still take the focus penalty from Cunning Caster when your focus is permanent? IE: Part of clothing, a holy symbol tattoo, or otherwise something treated as a focus that does not stipulate having to touch it to use it as a focus.

  • \$\begingroup\$ "something treated as a focus that does not stipulate having to touch it to use it as a focus." — are there any rules that actually let you do that? I thought that you always have to "manipulate" your focus. \$\endgroup\$ – Mołot Nov 8 '19 at 18:27
  • \$\begingroup\$ Birthmark, Holy Symbol (Tattoo), Vestments of War, and Create Reliquary Arms and Shields all talk about armor or a symbol on skin counting as your divine focus. It was also unclear how things like an invisible focus might interact. Other entries talk about holding a divine focus as the requirement to use one normally, but there seems to be no bridge between 'holding' and 'manipulating' in the rules I've read. I wasn't sure if this was clarified somewhere already, sounds like RaW is all I've got. Why I wanted someone else to spot check this for me. Thanks. \$\endgroup\$ – Stephen R Nov 8 '19 at 21:06
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    \$\begingroup\$ "all talk about armor or a symbol on skin counting as your divine focus" — but i can't recall any of them talking about caster no longer needing to manipulate focus. This part is worth another question, i guess. \$\endgroup\$ – Mołot Nov 8 '19 at 22:31

As written, yes. Cunning Caster applies the penalty if the spell requires a focus, regardless of whether or not you have to do anything with it. You can ask your DM for an exception in such cases—not totally implausible—but it’s not part of the official feat.

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