Creature skills not matching up

I’m having some fun playing around with the GM stuff for Pathfinder for the first time, mostly I’ve only run other systems and been a player for Pathfinder, so I was wanting to take a crack at running it for once.

Okay, so we’ll use the Ankheg for this, as that’s what I’m working on right now.

In the Bestiary, the Ankheg is said to have Perception +8, and Climb +8.

But it has Int 1 and only 3 HD.

Now, even when you include the Skill Focus (Perception) and stats, that still leaves it with Climb ranks of 5, and Perception ranks of 4.

So what am I missing here? Because it doesn’t have a Climb speed (and that would throw off the skill total anyway, as it should hit +11 then), and Tremorsense is very obviously not factored into the total Perception modifier. Do Racial Hit Dice get ‘preferred class’ bonus points? If so, that accounts for how both skills were getting points at once, but still leaves two ranks of Climb and a rank of Perception above rank maximum for level.

What happens when a creature wielding an Aegis of the Raven Queen gets breathed on by a fire-breathing dragon?

I know this looks very similar to this question, but I asked it to indirectly solve what I’m about to ask now (a bad idea).

The Aegis of the Raven Queen (from the module “CCC-BWM-03 A Tale of Two Towers”) is a special shield, which does not exist in D&D 5e by default but does exist in Adventurers League play. It has the following passive property:

While holding this shield, nonmagical flames are extinguished within 30 feet of you as the shadow lashes out at the flame.

I also know that breath weapons are considered nonmagical.

What happens when a dragon breathes fire on a creature wielding this special shield?

  1. The breath gets extinguished (and thus doesn’t affect the Aegis-wielding creature)
  2. The breath weapon works as normal, since it doesn’t really emit “flames” in game terms (and thus the Aegis-wielding creature is forced to make the Dexterity saving throw as normal)

What happens if a creature draws a Frostbrand when breathed upon by a Fire-Breathing Dragon?

Frostbrand weapons have the following property if attuned :

When you draw this weapon, you can extinguish all nonmagical flames within 30 feet of you. This property can be used no more than once per hour.

My memory tells me that Breath Weapons are considered non magical.

If a creature attuned to a Frostbrand readies an action to draw it when breathed on by an enemy Fire Dragon, what happens when the Dragon breathes ?

  1. The breath gets extinguished (thus not affecting the Frostbrand wielding creature)
  2. The breath goes through, as it’s not really “flames” properly speaking

Can Nystul’s Magic Aura mask a creature created by a Protean Scribe?

I play a Protean Scribe (Mythical Classes) and it has word powers. You can write a story so eloquent that you can bring the very creatures and objects of your story into existence.

In either case, the storied creature or object is obviously magical, radiating dim light in a 5 ft radius. An object or creature remains until it is reduced to 0 hit points, you choose to erase the story, or until you take a short or long rest.

If I cast Nystul’s magic aura, can I prevent the creature radiating dim light in a 5-foot radius? Does this spell mask this effect?

Can a creature be so sure of the illusory nature of an illusion that he need not spend his action to investigate or interact with it?

I am specifically asking about the many spells that contain the following text or similar:

If a creature uses its action to examine the [illusion], the creature can determine that it is an illusion with a successful Intelligence (Investigation) check against your spell save DC.

The RAW answer seems to be no, even when considering outlandish illusory effects.

A creature can be certain of himself that what he is perceiving is an illusion. However, the illusion would not appear faint until interacted with or investigated. It does not seem to me that simply by observing an illusion and deducing it for what it is, no matter how sure of himself a creature may be, would constitute interacting with it, or (especially important when in combat) does it constitute investigating it with an action. That creature would still, on some level, need to check his certainty by doing one of the previous things.

There lies an inherent uncertainty factor in illusions, no matter how positive a creature is about a particular illusions’ true nature. Being “sure” of an illusion and suspicious of one, while differing levels of certainty, seem to both not be sufficient enough to determine that illusion is fake and see through it.

Am I correct? (For those in the know, should I post this as answer to my own question or is this appropriately asked?)

Possibly related. This answerer suggests that a caster need not interact with or examine his own illusion in order to see through it. There are some ridiculous conclusions to draw here about an illusionist being susceptible in some fashion to his own spells. Perhaps casting an illusion is enough of an interaction so as to reveal it to the caster as fake.

Note that the accepted answer implies a caster may actually be susceptible to his own illusions. I digress.

Does Minor Illusion break only when someone spends an action to investigate it?

Related, though this question and its accepted answer do not fully address what I’m asking, only how much intent is necessary between an interaction and an illusion.

What qualifies a creature as being “widowed” for the purposes of Ceremony?

Xanathar’s Guide to Everything introduces the ceremony spell. One of the options is to perform a wedding for 2 or more creatures:

Wedding: You touch adult humanoids willing to be bonded together in marriage. For the next 7 days, each target gains a +2 bonus to AC while they are within 30 feet of each other. A creature can benefit from this rite again only if widowed.

How is the term “widowed” defined for the purposes of this spell?

For reference, the Merriam-Webster definition suggests this refers to individuals whose spouse has died. However, when dealing with a world where creatures can return from the dead, and marriage can be a magical (rather than legal) concept, this may have some odd ramifications.

I can imagine some peculiar loopholes, which would lead to questions like:

  1. If the marriage is polygamous, and only one spouse dies, do all of the other spouses count as being widowed?

  2. Is there a maximum number of times a creature can qualify as being widowed? Or can they go Henry VIII-style if their spouses keep dying and they repeatedly get remarried?

  3. If a spouse dies, and later comes back to life, are the other spouses still considered widowed?

How does Sending work with a creature that doesn’t speak any language?

I am a wizard with an owl familiar (created by find familiar) that I wish to send on a long-distance delivery mission, requiring it to be away from me for several days. I would like to be able to check up on my familiar to make sure it hasn’t been attacked or otherwise prevented from making its delivery. I’m hoping I can do this using the sending spell, but I’m unsure of exactly how the spell would work when communicating with a creature that doesn’t speak a language. I’m confident that my familiar would receive my message, since the spell states:

The spell enables creatures with Intelligence scores of at least 1 to understand the meaning of your message.

However, it’s not clear whether my familiar can respond, and if so, how. The spell says:

You send a short message of twenty-five words or less to a creature with which you are familiar. The creature hears the message in its mind, recognizes you as the sender if it knows you, and can answer in a like manner immediately.

So, the spell says that my familiar can “answer in a like manner”, i.e. in “a short message of 25 words or less”. However, my familiar (an owl) doesn’t speak any languages, and it’s not clear to me whether it’s possible to make such a reply without a language. On the other hand, if a creature can understand my message without needing to understand a language, it seems logical that it could also reply. So, RAW, is my familiar capable of replying to my sending spell? If so, what form does that reply take? If not, can I still tell whether my message was received (i.e. can I tell whether my familiar is still alive to receive the message)?

Can I attack an object that is being worn or carried by a creature during combat?

Some enemies depend heavily on an object they wear or carry to be an effective combattant and so it may be advantageous to attack and destroy the object first, but I can’t tell whether this is allowed.

Can I attack an object that is being worn or carried by a creature during combat?

For example:

  • could I attack a component pouch strapped to a spellcaster’s waist?
  • could I attack the heavy armor worn by a warrior?

Can a bunch of druids wild-shape into a creature that can swarm, then form a swarm with other wild-shaped druids?

Related to these questions:

Can a druid wild shape into a cranium rat and use telepathy?

Can a Druid Wild Shape into a Swarm or “Giant”?

The Cranium Rat question establishes that the full stat block is used, and the Swarm or Giant question clarifies that you can only turn into one creature, per the spell.

Could 18 druids (I’d say 18, because one cranium rat has 2 HP and the Swarm has 36 HP per the stat block in DnD Beyond) wild-shape into 18 Cranium Rats and form a swarm, per the description of the Cranium Rat, and gain all the additional benefits that a Cranium Rat Swarm has?

The description says:

Evil Collectives: Cranium rats are no smarter than ordinary rats and behave as such. However, if enough cranium rats come together to form a swarm, they merge their minds into a single intelligence with the accumulated memories of all the swarms constituents. The rats become smarter as a result, and they retain their heightened intelligence for as long as the swarm persists. The swarm also awakens latent psionic abilities implanted within each cranium rat by its mind flayer creators, bestowing upon the swarm psionic powers similar to spells.

Also, the Cranium Rat Swarm’s Innate Spellcasting (Psionics) says:

The swarm’s innate spellcasting ability is Intelligence (spell save DC 13). As long as it has more than half of its hit points remaining, the swarm can innately cast the following spells, requiring no components: At will: command, comprehend languages, detect thoughts 1/day each: confusion, dominate monster

Now, the Druid Wild Shape feature says you can’t cast spells, but the description of the Cranium Rat says:

The swarm also awakens latent psionic abilities implanted within each cranium rat by its mind flayer creators, bestowing upon the swarm psionic powers similar to spells.

So this means that the ‘spells’ are NOT in fact actually spells, but are instead psionic powers, even though the stat block does call them ‘spells’.

Does this mean that such a collective of Druids get access to these powers as well if they Wild Shape into Cranium Rats and form a swarm?

Side Note: It would be an interesting story element to have a group of Circle of Decay druids using this ability to combine their knowledge and experience periodically, and expand their power by teaching each other new skills, magic, and other things. Especially if the GM rules that the stats for the Wild Shaped druids make a much more powerful ‘swarm’ by scaling the swarm Cha, Int, and Wis stats based on the druid’s stats (Since Wild Shape lets you keep those stats when in Wild Shape) the same way they are scaled up from the Cranium Rat to the Cranium Rat swarm.

Can you read the lips of a creature a mile away if you have the Observant feat and the level 6 Totem Warrior – Eagle class feature?

A level 6 Totem Warrior Barbarian can choose the Eagle totem, which states:

You gain the eyesight of an eagle. You can see up to 1 mile away with no difficulty, able to discern even fine details as though looking at something no more than 100 feet away from you. Additionally, dim light doesn’t impose disadvantage on your Wisdom (Perception) checks.

Combine this with the Observant feat:

If you can see a creature’s mouth while it is speaking a language you understand, you can interpret what it’s saying by reading its lips.

Using this combination, can I read a creature’s lips, speaking a language I understand, from a mile away?