What is implied by a "temporary ability bonus"? I've noticed this wording on all of the stat boosting items in the core book.

Treat this as a temporary ability bonus for the first 24 hours the headband is worn.

From: Headband of Alluring Charisma (d20pfsrd.com)

What is different about the effects of the item on the first twenty four hours, and why does this caveat matter?


Check the verbiage about "Temporary Bonuses" and "Permanent Bonuses" under each ability score on d20PFSRD. Temp bonuses give bonuses to specific things that depend on them - skill checks, attack rolls. But permanent bonuses...

Permanent Bonuses: Ability bonuses with a duration greater than 1 day actually increase the relevant ability score after 24 hours. Modify all skills and statistics as appropriate. This might cause you to gain skill points, hit points, and other bonuses. These bonuses should be noted separately in case they are removed.

Once a bonus becomes permanent, everything else is affected. The most notable example is additional skill points from INT bonuses, bonus spells, etc. "Everything else not specifically listed in the temporary boosts list."

This is a bit of a min-max prevention tool, to stop a stat boost item from getting passed around to, for example, give huge skill point dumps immediately upon someone. It takes 24 hours of "burn-in" to get the more subtle effects beyond adding a plus to a skill/save/attack.

  • \$\begingroup\$ From the wording, it looks like it means 1) If worn less than 24 hrs, the bonus only affects skill checks (as ability modifiers) and attack rolls; 2) If worn >24 hrs, the player should adjust all stats dependent on that ability score (skill ability modifiers, retroactive skill ranks, retroactive HP, etc; and finally 3) if taken off at any time, the character loses ALL bonuses associated with that item. Is this correct? \$\endgroup\$ – jvriesem Aug 24 '16 at 18:24
  • \$\begingroup\$ Yes, that is correct. \$\endgroup\$ – mxyzplk - SE stop being evil Aug 24 '16 at 19:31

A temporary boost to an attribute adds to the attribute only for purposes of stat modifiers to skills and damages, lifting, Stat rolls, and ability to take attribute damage.

A permanent boost, (or in Pathfinder, even a long term temporary boost,) however, provides its effect as if it were full points change in the attribute, increasing derived abilities as well. A non-temporary stat gain to Int will affect skill points; to Con, Hit points per HD; Wis and Int affect spells.

There are two other implications of temporary boosts, however, that need to be remembered:

The first: the Damage principle
1) Damage to X comes from Temporary X 1st
2) Temporary X does not heal damage to permanent X.

The damage principle means that, if you've boosted people's stats, and are using attribute damage attacks (be they spells or monster powers, or even houseruled critical effects), losses that don't do away with all the temporary points are non-issues long-term. If I use a spell to gain them, and gain 4 points of Int, and the mindsucker pulls 3, the next day, when I cast, I still get all 4 back; the damage is gone.

The second is that (usually) Temporary Bonuses don't stack. Only the best applies. Permanent bonuses usually do stack.

  • \$\begingroup\$ Last sentence is not true. Stacking has nothing at all to do with temporary/permanent and is entirely dependent on type. For example, the linked Headband of Alluring Charisma is an enhancement bonus - when permanent, it's a permanent enhancement bonus, but another enhancement bonus does not stack with it. Contrast the Tome of Leadership and Influence (d20pfsrd.com/magic-items/wondrous-items/wondrous-items/r-z/…) which grants an inherent bonus, which also does not stack (but never does the temporary/permanent thing). \$\endgroup\$ – mxyzplk - SE stop being evil Aug 8 '11 at 12:57

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