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From Streetwise:

A street performer gains a bonus equal to half his level on Bluff, Disguise, Knowledge (local), and Sleight of Hand checks, Diplomacy or Intimidate checks made to influence crowds, and Diplomacy checks to gather information (minimum +1). This replaces bardic knowledge.

From Versatile Performance (Oratory - replaces Diplomacy):

He can use his bonus in that skill in place of his bonus in associated skills. When substituting in this way, the bard uses his total Perform skill bonus, including class skill bonus, in place of its associated skill's bonus,

Say I have a level 8 bard with an Oratory bonus of +18. Can I add the additional +4 from Streetwise to gather information as per Diplomacy, to make the gather information modifier a +22?

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    \$\begingroup\$ Wow, talk about a lack of consensus after 4 answers! \$\endgroup\$ Apr 30, 2017 at 1:52

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No. Based on the language of the Versatile Performance, you're replacing a Diplomacy roll (and any bonuses such a roll may incur) with a Perform (oratory) roll. By replacing the Diplomacy roll with a Versatile Performance, the bonus to Diplomacy does not apply, as it's a Perform (oratory) check. From the text for Versatile Performance:

When substituting in this way, the bard uses his total Perform skill bonus, including class skill bonus, in place of its associated skill’s bonus...

(Emphasis mine) If you're using Versatile Performance to make a Perform (oratory) check in place of a Diplomacy check, then no, they wouldn't stack, as the Streetwise class feature gives a bonus only to the Diplomacy bonus, which is replaced by Perform (oratory) in the event of a Versatile Performance.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ I believe the examples of much firmer language on the subject of substituting checks elsewhere im the rules implies that this is not the case via the absence of such language here, but if you have counterevidence, I'd welcome it. \$\endgroup\$
    – Stackstuck
    May 28, 2023 at 20:57
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Yes. When a bard is using versatile performance for diplomacy, it is still a diplomacy check. You are making a diplomacy check using a different bonus. Streetwise gives an untyped bonus to diplomacy checks. Bonuses of the same type don't stack, but this bonus is untyped.

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No, the Versatile Performance allows you to use your entire Perform bonus in place of the entire bonus of your other skills.

If other bonuses still applied, it would indicate as such. It might indicate that you can use your Perform bonuses 'in addition to other bonuses'. As written, you don't use your existing bonuses in addition to your Perform ones.

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It is fundamentally unclear what the designers intended. However, it is likely that you add only your ranks (plus class-skill bonus) in Oratory, with any other bonuses to Diplomacy you may have.

I started writing this, as a corroborative response to BobTheAverage's answer.

The crucial thing to note here is that Versatile Performance didn't change what check you're making. It changed the bonus you add from skill ranks to be, instead of the one sourced from your ranks in Diplomacy, the one sourced from your ranks in Perform (Oratory) - but that is not the same thing as making a different check entirely - and there are places where you can do this, e.g. substituting a Perception check for Survival at a -5 disadvantage.

It is also worth noting that effects that give bonuses or apply effects to Perform (Oratory) checks, not to be confused with e.g. enhancement bonii to the Perform (Oratory) skill, would not apply, here, by this same logic - you are not making a Perform check, you are making a Diplomacy check to which you add Perform (Oratory).

The other argument, I think, misunderstands how skills and skill ranks work.

Specifically: a skill bonus is a type of bonus. It is calculated from the ranks you have in a skill, and then further modified by whether the skill is a class skill or not, but it is a specific entity under the rules. Skill checks are checks to which you add a skill bonus, just as stat checks are checks to which you add an ability bonus.

And then, much like Greymantle before me, I realized that I had undermined my own argument.

Because the question that raises, is:

Does a check to which you add a modifier of type X, become a check of type X?

And the answer is that I don't know! It is, in full generality, unclear what is intended in most cases!

There is, however, the example of Twist Away.

While you are wearing light armor or no armor, if you are forced to attempt a Fortitude saving throw, you can use an immediate action to instead attempt a Reflex saving throw (at the same DC).

The language here is a very clear example of substituting a check (well, a saving throw, which is a special case thereof for most purposes) for another check. And the language of Versatile Performance is not that. It only addresses the skill ranks.

Ergo, barring some missing clarification, I would rule that checks are what they say they are, no matter what bonii you add to them, and thus that this is still a Diplomacy check to which you add anything that gives your Diplomacy checks benefits. Notably, this would mean that effects that boost Perform (Oratory) checks do not apply - only things that provide bonii to the skill ranks themselves (e.g. enhancement bonuses).

It's reasonable to rule the other way, and it won't break anything I know of, but I think it is less so. Skill ranks are a game entity, separate from the bonus they provide; the developers probably would not have done this if it did not somehow matter.

TL;DR:

This is pretty complicated, and hinges on the question of "is a check to which you add your bonus from X, a check of type X", which there's no RAW I know of about. Therefore, it fundamentally depends on how you choose to answer that at your table, which you should be consistent about. However, because there are examples of substituting checks for other types of checks much more explicitly, I don't believe this is one.

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Edit: I stand corrected; hoist by my own petard. The short answer is yes, for all the reasons I state below; Streetwise is an untyped bonus to the check, not the skill, so the bonuses stack.

Wasn't thinking; apologies.

original post:

The short answer is no.

The Versatile Performance effectively replaces the skill and skill bonuses of the target skill for a skill check; it does not grant you an actual skill bonus.

For example, if you have a magical lute that gives you a +4 bonus on your Perform (Stringed Instrument) check, you do not get to use that bonus for your Diplomacy check. But if you had a different magic item that gave you a +2 Diplomacy check bonus, you would use your Perform (Orate) bonus for the Diplomacy check with a +2 bonus from the magic item.

If you had a homebrewed magic item, say, that gave you a skill bonus instead of a check bonus, you could apply it to the substituted skill check.**

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  • \$\begingroup\$ Welcome to the site! Every post keeps a record of its changes, so there's no need to mark your edits or include the original version of the post. This would be a good answer if it was rewritten again to directly answer the question without doing those things. \$\endgroup\$
    – Oblivious Sage
    Apr 21, 2017 at 0:44
  • \$\begingroup\$ I think this is a pretty questionable distinction. If you look at traits like "Extremely Fashionable", they use wording "you gain a +1 trait bonus on Bluff, Diplomacy, and Intimidate checks". But that's acting as a bonus on your skill check since it applies basically all the time. Is there a rule somewhere that shows this distinction? \$\endgroup\$
    – Tridus
    Feb 16, 2019 at 22:09
  • \$\begingroup\$ I don't believe there's RAW about it, but I do believe it's a sensible distinction to make. It's not a replacement of the skill used. It's a replacement of the number. ...Actually I'll go make that an answer. Or, uh, go upvote Bob's. \$\endgroup\$
    – Stackstuck
    May 28, 2023 at 20:07

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