# How does one hide one's class from others?

I'm a Lawful Evil (evil like greedy and selfish) warlock with an Imp familiar (through Obtain and Improved familiar feats) in a party with a Good druid. The druid does not have Knowledge Religion or Planes, so he should have no idea what the Imp familiar actually is.

I cast Eldritch Blast at an enemy and that druid succeeds his Spellcraft check and knows what spell I cast. Does that information allow him to claim that I am warlock and throw accusations at me of me being evil incarnate, etc.?

It feels pretty strong for one unrelated skill check to completely reveal class features of other characters. I remember I saw Knowledge checks for some prestige classes, like Knowledge Planes for Hellfire warlocks, to know something about them — not including class features, etc. of course. But I have not found anything like this for the warlock class or a few others base classes.

My warlock pretends to be a mighty wizard who just doesn't need to study books to remember his arcane arts (sorcerer would probably be even better) and I have an insane Bluff bonus (though as a rule we don't really use skills like diplomacy, etc. within the party, since that would make no sense; but Spellcraft check to know what spell is cast seems legit).

• Declare it private. Oops, wrong community. – IS4 Jul 5 '16 at 20:14
• Reminder: comments are for helping improve the post, not chatting or discussing tangents to the question. Previous off-use comments have been removed. – SevenSidedDie Jul 6 '16 at 14:23

It's worth keeping in mind that, in the vast majority of settings, characters don't know about things like classes and levels. So your druid knows you cast a spell* called Eldritch Blast, cool. Do they know that that spell is only available to people who've made pacts with fiends? Doubtful without a solid Arcana check. Wizards, perhaps, have established a technical definition of wizard, and would be keen indeed on knowing how you get by without a spellbook if you're one of them... but no one else would likely notice, and if you call yourself a sorcerer, mage, thaumaturgist, Spirit Tamer, or whatever, few will be in a position to doubt you.

Now if you have an actual imp following you around, there are probably more folks who can recognize that and might object, but it's still far from conclusive - sorcerors and wizards can also have imps as familiars.

*KRyan pointed out that technically, in 3.5 this is a spell-like ability, and Spellcraft wouldn't necessarily help you identify it. But it seems that cat's out of the bag, unless your group wants to retcon.

• Comments are not for extended discussion; this conversation has been moved to chat. – mxyzplk Jul 6 '16 at 23:21

There are no rules in the game for Knowledge checks to determine someone’s class, recognize class features, or really, anything but spells (and other similar subsystems added in supplements, such as psionics in Expanded Psionics Handbook or sublime martial maneuvers in Tome of Battle).

Notably, spell-like abilities, like eldritch blast, are not covered by Spellcraft. The Spellcraft rule states that you can “Identify a spell being cast. (You must see or hear the spell’s verbal or somatic components.) No action required. No retry.” Spells are distinct from spell-like abilities, and importantly, spell-like abilities don’t have verbal or somatic components to see in the first place (though warlock invocations do have simple somatic gestures, such that particularly-heavy armors apply arcane spell failure, nothing indicates that they are distinct enough to recognize with Spellcraft).

In other words, the druid can’t recognize eldritch blast. There are myriad ways to shoot a damaging ray at people, many many different forms of magic, so it shouldn’t be terribly surprising the druid that you can do something he can’t recognize.

And, for that matter, even if he was aware of eldritch blast and recognized what it was, Complete Arcane indicate that there are many potential ways to become a warlock, including the actions of your ancestors that have nothing to do with you, and pacts forged with fey spirits that are not Evil, or are even Good. Even if you recognize a warlock, there is no way to automatically know that he personally has forged a deal with a devil; that is but one way to accomplish it.

The imp, on the other hand, could be a give-away, and there definitely are rules to recognize a creature like an imp. For that matter, detect evil could be a more significant concern than your class.

• By the way, as far as I know, for most prestige classes there are entries similar to this for Ultimate Magus as example: Characters who have ranks in Knowledge (arcana) or the bardic knowledge ability can research ultimate magi to learn more about them. (And DC's below). But i did not saw anything like this for base classes. – Shf Jul 5 '16 at 13:39
• @Shf That’s true, many prestige classes do have rules like that (though not all). This is because prestige classes are much more specific, and sometimes even have specific tie-ins to the game world (such as assassins being members of a particular guild). Base classes, on the other hand, are very broad: they cover a large number of potential characters. So one warlock is not necessarily all that similar to another, and it would be a difficult topic to research. – KRyan Jul 5 '16 at 13:51

Mechanically, classes don't really exist from a roleplaying perspective (neither do levels, skill points, or anything else). They are constructs used to frame things for the players and to provide and approximation of standardization to a particular set of adventurers.

What you are really wanting to hide is the fact that you are a LE character. I wouldn't say being greedy and selfish alone make you LE, but alignments are up for debate everywhere, and I'm not digging into that kettle of fish.

If you want to remove the association that Warlocks are evil, spin a fun backstory. If the druid confronts you for using hell magic, admit to him, in private of course, that your grandfather made a pact with demons, cursing your entire family line. When you die, your soul will go to the Nine Hells (or whatever), but in exchange your line was granted immense powers. You are trying to find a way to break this curse, or at least do enough good in the world that the Gods will intervene on your behalf and let your soul rest in the afterlife. If the DM allows inter-party checks at that point, you'll have an advantage because of your high skills in Bluff.

• +1 for "What you are really wanting to hide is the fact that you are a LE character." – Beanluc Jul 5 '16 at 18:22

Eldritch Blast isn't a spell. Exactly what the Spellcraft check should have returned is up to some interpretation, but there is no spell called "Eldritch Blast" that your ability mimics, and the Spellcraft check shouldn't have claimed that it was such a spell. "That wasn't any spell that I'd recognize" or maybe even "That wasn't a spell; at least, not as we know them" would have been more appropriate. Certainly a check result like that should throw some suspicion on your character (just what the heck is he, if he's throwing these not-spells around?) but it wouldn't necessarily point to him as a Warlock per se.

The Imp is going to be more problematic. Even someone without ranks in Knowledge [the planes] should probably be able to look at an imp and say "Hmm; that looks like it might be a fiend of some kind". That still doesn't point to your character as a Warlock. In fact, it's actually a pretty good bit of misdirection in terms of your class: Warlocks don't usually have familiars, so having one makes you look more like a spellcaster. But if people see that you have some kind of unidentified fiend as a familiar, they're within reason to suspect that the two of you are of similar alignment. I suggest using your familiar very sparingly, and finding a way to disguise it as something else when you must use it.

• Thanks, imp is obviously always invisible, and one of his forms is male human (as per DM allowed). It's only suspicions within party, showed him as imp a few times. But compared to large dinosaur pet of Druid... Surely even visible imp would not really be center of attention i think – Shf Jul 5 '16 at 15:05
• Knowledge (the planes) is used for Outsiders; Knowledge (religion) is used for undead, not outsiders. It’s an entirely-reasonable houserule to allow Knowledge (religion) to be used for outsiders, but for the purposes of an answer here, we should describe the rules accurately, and either avoid houserule or clearly indicate that they are houserules. – KRyan Jul 5 '16 at 15:09
• @KRyan Good point about Knowledge [religion]. Editing. – The Spooniest Jul 5 '16 at 15:21

I think like most problems that result in interplayer checks*, this is more of a player problem than a game mechanics problem. Either the GM or the other player disagrees with either your being a warlock at all or your decision to hide it from the other characters, and are making it difficult for you on purpose (maybe playing fast and loose with the rules, but rule 0 and/or the fact that the other player convinced the GM to allow it means it doesn't matter).

You can't fight back against this by being a rules lawyer - nobody likes a rules lawyer. You should have a conversation with the rest of your group about why they object to this and why you want to play this character concept.

* The special status of social checks like bluff, diplomacy, etc, is only with regards to NPCs "attacking" your party, because it affects player agency in a way that being stabbed or pickpocketed does not. Any hostile action between party members needs to be looked at carefully, and trying to identify a spell that you don't want identified... and for that matter, your own deception, bluff or no, is no exception.

The thing about being lawful evil and wanting to hide it from the rest of the group is that you're not the only one with secrets and a piece of paper in front of them.

How does your character know that guy is a lawful good druid? If those other characters in your party don't trust you they don't need evidence or proof that you're a witch beyond the carrot on your nose they put there.

The root of this question is that you've come up with a neat role playing hook that excites you bit the rest of the party isn't ready to play along. And for good reason, they need a team player and you have written on your character sheet that you're just another monster. Volumes of source material have been written about how to help DMs deal with inevitable party conflicts like this. Most of those source materials recommend you find some way to convince everyone they are playing a game to have fun and the whole party murdering each other is only fun for the winner (and games like that make players quit).

Does this mean you can't be an evil character? No. But you tell everyone you're lawful good like a proper lawful evil character. And be a team player because evil characters have their own selfish reasons for doing that. And get some note cards to pass to the DM.

A Druid has little divinations; Detect Magic & Scrying. However, the fact you're yelling "By Baal, burn in the 7th layer of Hell" every time you burn a foe, are not worried by any daily spell-alotments, do not pray to a particular Deity for an hour a day and don't need to rest for 8 hours before renewing spells, might be a hint to even the most ignorant Barbarian, let alone for a wise (I presume) Druid.