Wisdom in the Flesh allows you to use Wisdom instead of Dexterity for one chosen skill. Armor check penalty affects Dex- and Str-based skills. Does that mean for example a wise cleric in full plate could use acrobatics to tumble?

Mainly asking for RAW but feel free to expand on it to give your view.

  • \$\begingroup\$ I'm basically asking if it's a quantitative difference (i.e. you get a better bonus from wis than dex, if wis is higher, but nothing else changes) or if it's a qualitative difference (i.e. acrobatics functions in a completely new way based on wisdom that is accordingly not affected by ACP because ACP is only for dex- and str- related skills. -- If you know how to reword my question so it reflects that feel free to change it. \$\endgroup\$ – Julix Feb 25 '14 at 1:18


Read the trait:

Select any Strength-, Constitution-, or Dexterity-based skill. You may make checks with that skill using your Wisdom modifier instead of the skill's normal ability score. That skill is always a class skill for you.

It does not say that skill is no longer a Strength-, Constitution-, or Dexterity-based skill; it is. It just says you may make checks with that skill using your Wisdom modifier. So it's a DEX-based skill you are using your WIS mod on. ACP therefore applies.

  • 2
    \$\begingroup\$ Can you cite anything that says a given skill is always an X-based skill unless stated otherwise, where X is the usual ability? Because I’m not aware of any rule that says that; I have always read “X-based skill” as being any skill that currently uses that ability, regardless of which score it usually uses. \$\endgroup\$ – KRyan Feb 25 '14 at 3:12
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    \$\begingroup\$ It's not provable that something doesn't change for imaginary reasons, it has to be proven that it does. \$\endgroup\$ – mxyzplk - SE stop being evil Feb 25 '14 at 4:24
  • \$\begingroup\$ Actually now I totally get it! "May make checks with" means nothing about the skill really changes. I can imagine someone using all the willpower he has in himself to try and jump despite wearing full armor, but it's still the mind using the body, and the body is in armor, so using it will be harder. \$\endgroup\$ – Julix Feb 25 '14 at 6:04
  • \$\begingroup\$ As per this FAQ, the skill becomes a Wisdom-based skill at the moment you use your Wisdom bonus to modify it instead of Strength or Dexterity. \$\endgroup\$ – Eagle0600 Sep 3 '17 at 7:23

As far as I can find, this is left undefined

The rules do not actually define clearly what a “Strength-based skill” or “Dexterity-based skill” is in the face of things that change which ability score a skill uses. I can find nothing that says if Acrobatics, for example, is always a Dexterity-based skill even if it does not use Dexterity.

I similarly can find nothing that says that Acrobatics is a Dexterity-based skill only if it uses Dexterity, and that it would switch to being a Wisdom-based skill because it uses Wisdom.

Thus, we have an ambiguity, and I do not think there is any official rule resolving it.

In any event, I’m also somewhat dubious on the implied “requirement” that a skill be Strength-or-Dexterity-based in order to be affected by Armor Check Penalty; I tend to see that particular rule as a statement of how things happen to be (all ACP-affected skills are, by default, Strength-or-Dexterity-based) rather than a rule about how things must be (Strength-or-Dexterity-based as a requirement for being ACP-affected).

Thus, I’d be fairly leery of stating a hard-and-fast rule that skills are always “based” on their usual ability, or on their current ability, because it seems to me that if this is ambiguous in the rules, the designers may have had conflicting ideas on it when designing abilities. Some things probably just work better, or make more sense, if they treat Acrobatics as Wisdom-based when you have this trait. As a DM, I wouldn’t want to set any precedent.

From that perspective, I’d probably rule that it continues to be affected by Armor Check Penalty. And then I’d probably rule it as a Dexterity-based or Wisdom-based skill on a case-by-case basis, for things that specifically care about it being one or the other. But that’s getting quite far from RAW now.

  • \$\begingroup\$ +1 for accepting that we can't truly know and giving good reasoning for how you'd rule. @mxyzplk made a really good point that's somewhat shorter along the lines of what evidence do I have that it is in fact different then any other time, for posting that question in the first place. I think there's a more general question underneath mine that can be answered with evidence but I don't know how to phrase it. I'm sure there are lots of instances where the attribute dealing with a skill or ability changes (like a sorcerer archetype using intelligence instead of charisma)... \$\endgroup\$ – Julix Feb 25 '14 at 6:12
  • \$\begingroup\$ I forgot where I found it, or what it related to, but it was using one stat in place of another, and had a clear note saying that what applied for the old attribute applies for the other one now... - if I ever find it and remember I'll return to this :D \$\endgroup\$ – Julix Feb 25 '14 at 6:14

No, you cannot consider Acrobatics a Wis-based skill

Yes, you can still tumble in full plate, using your WIS mod in place of your DEX mod.

ACP would be subtracted from your total using the WIS mod instead of the DEX mod.

Benefits: Select any Strength-, Constitution-, or Dexterity-based skill. You may make checks with that skill using your Wisdom modifier instead of the skill's normal ability score. That skill is always a class skill for you.


It's a trait, so 1/2 a feat... - but my point was that the ACP wouldn't be subtracted at all, because tumble would no longer be a dex related skill, right? -- or does it just change the bonus you get towards using the skill?

RAI would indicate that your WIS mod is a hot-swap for your DEX mod, not a definitive change in the skill's structure and/or interaction with the rest of the system.

Could you ask your GM to Rule 0 the trait to fit your needs? It's worth a shot. Just remember it's a house-rule, if it does pass. :)


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