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Many pathfinder classes have features that allow the character to make selections among many alternatives: for example, witch hexes, rogue talents, barbarian rage powers, ranger favored enemies or terrains, and so forth.

There are a lot of items that, when worn by a member of a particular class, grant the wearer use of a particular selection for these class features (and sometimes enhance the given selection if the character already has it). For example, we have:

The Vest of the Cockroach

If the wearer is a rogue, she gains the resiliency rogue talent.

The Boots of Friendly Terrain

A ranger wearing the boots can treat the corresponding environment of the boots as one of his favored terrains, granting him a +2 bonus.

I am wondering how the Use Magic Device skill interacts with these kinds of items. I see a number of interpretive difficulties here.

  1. You can use UMD to emulate a class feature, but these kinds of items are written in such a way that they do not call out specific class features, but rather the state of being a member of a class: "If the wearer is a rogue", "If the wearer is a witch", etc., as opposed to "If the wearer has the hex class feature," "if the wearer has the favored terrain class feature," etc. Does the "emulate a class feature" ability allow the wearer to "appear" as if they belong to a certain class?

  2. According to the UMD rules, "This skill does not let you actually use the class feature of another class. It just lets you activate items as if you had that class feature." It's not clear whether an item's granting, say, a witch hex, a rogue talent, or a favored terrain is enhancing an existing hex/talent/terrain class feature, or rather if granting a selection for these features is actually granting the wearer and instance of the class feature. So do these items grant selections for these class features to successful UMD-users that lack it?

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  • \$\begingroup\$ Does the title lack a verb? \$\endgroup\$ – Zachiel Nov 21 '16 at 20:19
  • \$\begingroup\$ The title indeed lacked a verb. I fixed it. \$\endgroup\$ – HardlyKnowEm Nov 21 '16 at 20:58
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You can't use UMD on these items, as they demand you to have a level in the class, not to have a class feature. A class might give some class features, but it is not a class feature in itself: think about it in math terms! A class contains a number of elements (class features), and while UMD or a different class might "grant" you some (faked) elements (class features), it does not make your different accumulation of elements (class features) the same class. Actually, a class contains a wide array of Elements that usually are larger than the base class (due to archetype-subsets)!

Example: A Druid with The Feral Child archetype. This archetype (subset) exchanges many class features for other abilities, but it is still a subset of the druid class, even if he has not the iconic Wildshape. Instead, our Feral Child gets the Ranger's Favored Terrain and the Barbarian's variant of Trap Sense as well as the Rogue Talent "trapspotter". this doesn't make him a Ranger, Rogue or Barbarian in any way, but he does qualify for items that check for you having the class features Favored Terrain, Trap Spotter or Trap Sense. He doesn't qualify for items that look for Wildshape though (like the beaststrike club or Druid's Vestment). These items that look for specific class features just check, if your chosen subset (class with archetype) does contain certain elements and if you posess them at this time (as in: meet the level requirements).

On the other hand, these items do check specifically if you are of a specific class: A pair of "Boots of Friendly Forest" does not grant out Wild Child its extra favored terrain, because even though the Druid has this feature, he doesn't belong to the class Ranger or one of its subsets (archetypes).

Hybrid classes

However, those Hybrid Classes do qualify for those items, as they belong to both parent classes (and thus don't gain redundant abilities or choices as duplicates, should they choose to multiclass into them):

  • A hunter is a Druid-Ranger-Hybrid, thus he is both a Druid and Ranger. That means he can use the Boots of Friendly and benefit from the extra favored Terrain bonus, as he is a subset of the Ranger.
  • A Slayer is a Ranger-Rogue-Hybrid and would qualify for both the Boots (that require you to be a Ranger) and the Vest (that grants its bonus to Rogues), as he is a subset of both the Rogue and the Ranger.

TL;DR: You can fake to have a class feature, but you can't fake having a class or not.

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    \$\begingroup\$ This may very well be true, but I for one would love to see some kind of corroboration in the rules. \$\endgroup\$ – KRyan Nov 21 '16 at 20:15
  • \$\begingroup\$ I second @KRyan. I think it would be reasonable to interpret "having a class" as being a kind of class feature, and so this position could be made a lot stronger if it could find support from other places in the rules that implicitly assume that equivalence or its opposite. \$\endgroup\$ – HardlyKnowEm Nov 21 '16 at 23:20
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    \$\begingroup\$ @tetrarchy A Class Feature is a property of a Class, but a Class is not a property of a Class Feature. For example, you can be a Medic, which is a Rogue that has no Sneak Attack. There are many feats that require a specific Class Feature in order to use, which are unusable by archetypes that have the Base Class but do not have a specific Class Feature. For example, see Flensing Strike, which Medics cannot gain. \$\endgroup\$ – phyrfox Nov 22 '16 at 1:23
  • \$\begingroup\$ In its revised form, this answer addresses the first issue thoroughly, but leaves out the second. The problem still reasserts itself, even if you are dealing with characters who have the required class. What happens to a Deep Walker ranger who wears Boots of Friendly Forest? The boots allow them to treat forests "as one of their favored terrains", but the Deep Walker has given up favored terrains completely. Do the boots enhance an existing class feature or grant an instance of it? If the former, the boots do nothing for a Deep walker; if the latter, they do grant a favored terrain. \$\endgroup\$ – HardlyKnowEm Nov 22 '16 at 19:10
  • \$\begingroup\$ @tetrarchy I have no idea how that case should be handled...the boots target BOTH the class AND a class feature... so... possibly "no effect if you have neither"... \$\endgroup\$ – Trish Nov 22 '16 at 19:28

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