Can a character take 10 or 20 on a Spellcraft check to identify magical items?

This came up in this question: What's an efficient way to handle magical item identification?. Many people suggested taking 10 on Spellcraft checks to identify magical items. I certainly see the appeal—but is it possible in all cases?

I thought that taking 10 or 20 was only possible if many attempts could be made and failure was not harmful (or if it was, the character accepted the harm). Since some magical items could be cursed or booby-trapped, it seems that trying to identify the item could be enough to trigger its harmful effects. By trying to identify such items, a character may be in "immediate danger" without knowing it. Does this mean that one cannot take 10 or 20?

For convenience, here’s what Paizo says about it (link):

Taking 10 and Taking 20

A skill check represents an attempt to accomplish some goal, usually while under some sort of time pressure or distraction. Sometimes, though, a character can use a skill under more favorable conditions, increasing the odds of success.

Taking 10:

When your character is not in immediate danger or distracted, you may choose to take 10. Instead of rolling 1d20 for the skill check, calculate your result as if you had rolled a 10. For many routine tasks, taking 10 makes them automatically successful. Distractions or threats (such as combat) make it impossible for a character to take 10. In most cases, taking 10 is purely a safety measure—you know (or expect) that an average roll will succeed but fear that a poor roll might fail, so you elect to settle for the average roll (a 10). Taking 10 is especially useful in situations where a particularly high roll wouldn’t help.

Taking 20:

When you have plenty of time, you are faced with no threats or distractions, and the skill being attempted carries no penalties for failure, you can take 20. In other words, if you roll a d20 enough times, eventually you will get a 20. Instead of rolling 1d20 for the skill check, just calculate your result as if you had rolled a 20.

Taking 20 means you are trying until you get it right, and it assumes that you fail many times before succeeding. Taking 20 takes 20 times as long as making a single check would take (usually 2 minutes for a skill that takes 1 round or less to perform).

Since taking 20 assumes that your character will fail many times before succeeding, your character would automatically incur any penalties for failure before he or she could complete the task (hence why it is generally not allowed with skills that carry such penalties). Common "take 20" skills include Disable Device (when used to open locks), Escape Artist, and Perception (when attempting to find traps).

Can you identify telepathically received messages sent through spells like Sending as magical via Detect Magic?

An enemy casts Sending to communicate with a player from far away. In this example, the player character doesn’t know anything about the Sending spell and he might think he is just hearing voices or going crazy.

Another player casts Detect Magic to scan the area. Can this player detect the presence of the telepathic message inside the first players head via Detect Magic as an evocation spell.

Is it possible to make a common PC bluetooth card identify itself as headset? [closed]

My objective would be to make an application that makes the computer identify as a headset, so I can connect my phone to it and route the audio of the calls to the computer.

I think this is highly related to security. I’m talking about the ability to make a device identify as something else, think about the USB rubber ducky, now replace "USB" with "Bluetooth".

That’s why I posted here. The purpose of doing this would not be anything malicious, I just want to connect my phone to the PC so I can hear the voice of the person calling me on my phone, through the headset connected to my PC:

Phone -> Bluetooth -> Computer -> Headset

How to identify why two-factor code SMS messages are never received from certain websites

I have accounts with three financial websites which only offer two-factor authentication codes to be sent via text message or phone call, but when I request codes via text message, the messages are never received. When I choose the phone call option, however, I do receive the call.

Some notes:

  • Requesting codes multiple times does not solve the issue – I never receive any texts.

  • I’ve verified that I have not blocked any phone numbers, either on my phone’s local settings or within my account with my cellular carrier.

  • I can receive codes from all other websites on which I use two-factor authentication and receive codes via text message. This only happens with these three websites. Also, there is no relation between these three sites – they are all for completely separate financial institutions.

  • Reaching out to the customer service/technical support departments of these three websites has not produced any helpful information or solutions.

  • I’ve had this phone number for over 15 years so I’m wondering if at some point my number has inadvertently ended up on an SMS blocked list that these three websites subscribe to.

I want to be able to figure out why this happens and make it so I can receive texts, so that in the event that the phone call option is removed or temporarily unavailable for any of these sites, or I start using a new site which also has this issue but does not offer the phone call option, I won’t lose access to my accounts.

Are there SMS block lists that text messaging services subscribe to? If so, is there a way for someone to find out if their number is blocked? If not, would there be any way to troubleshoot this problem?

Which magic skill should a PC use to identify a magic item?

It’s my understanding that when a PC finds a magic item, they need to use the Identify Magic exploration activity to determine what it does and how to activate it.

Page 283 of the Core Rulebook says that Arcana, Religion, Occultism, or Nature should be used depending on the tradition of the magic the PC is trying to identify. However, the magic items listed in Chapter 11 (Crafting & Treasure) don’t include a tradition – they only have a school trait (e.g. Conjuration).

I wondered if maybe Identify Magic isn’t meant to be used on magic item treasure, but page 238 does mention using it for identifying items, along with effects and locations.

How should a GM decide which skill to have a PC roll against to identify a magic item?

How can I identify the different terrains on the Chult map in Tomb of Annihilation?

At the back of the Tomb of Annihilation book, in Appendix B, there is a random encounters table for Wilderness Encounters on pp. 194-195. The different terrains listed in that table are as follows:

  • Beach
  • Jungle; further divided into:
    • No Undead
    • Lesser Undead
    • Greater Undead
  • Mountains
  • Rivers
  • Ruins
  • Swamp
  • Wasteland

So that’s 9 different terrains in total.


Looking at the map on p. 39, there doesn’t appear to be any legend for describing the different terrains. The only key is as follows, and only shows what the lesser and greater Undead territories look like*:

The only descriptions I can find in the books are on p. 38, which lists the different terrains under the Travel Distances and Navigation sections but does not expand on how to identify these areas on the map, and on p. 40, which is just the section Undead Territory, which only explains the undead territory as per the above key.

The description of the random encounter table, Wilderness Encounters, only says: "Roll percentile dice and check the Wilderness Encounters table for the terrain appropriate to where the characters are", without actually elaborating on how to determine that.

From the map itself, a lot of it is obvious; where the map shows a lot of trees, clearly that’s Jungle, and for hexes that intersect mountains, clearly that’s Mountain, etc. However, Ruins, Swamp and Wasteland are quite ambiguous to me with only the map to go on.

So is there any way to determine these terrains besides just eyeballing the map, and how am I supposed to identify Ruins, Swamp, or Wasteland from the map (if eyeballing really is the only way)?


* There’s also "Ruin", but I assume this is the location of a specific ruin rather than denoting that it’s a type of terrain, especially given that the black square icon turns up in different terrains (for example, the Orolunga ruin is clearly in a hex of Jungle terrain), so I am unconvinced that the black square icon for "Ruin" is related to the "Ruins" terrain.


Below I have attempted to identify each of the 9 different terrains from the map, as well as my best guess as to what they are (some are obvious, others less so, hence my question):

Trying to identify this adventure

Many years ago (24+) I had a set of 4 warhammer fantasy roleplay adventures split between 2 books.

Each adventure was to try and claim an elemental gem of power, the gems where tremendously powerful and when combined and at the end of the adventure it was suggested the world ended.

At the time I remember being told the adventure had been converted from a famous published D and D campaign.

I am trying to remember both the name of the WFRP adventure and the DnD campaign it may have been based on. If this is better split into 2 questions I am happy to ask B once A is answered.

Can businesses and other entities identify a user based on a phone number they have provided? (U.S.)

By "identify", I mean to access personally identifying information associated with the subscriber of the given phone number. It appears that PayPal does this, since they allow a phone number to be used to verify full name (and possibly address); they verify that the full name provided (and possibly address, I’ve forgotten) matches the full name associated with the phone number that the user provides for verification.

I assume this information is not entirely public. Which entities are allowed to access it? Is there a central registry maintained by the service providers? Can anyone access it?

I am curious in particular whether "lower-level businesses or websites" (relative to PayPal, which presumably has some kind of legal obligation/status with regards to identity verification) which a user might provide their phone number to, such as dating apps, messaging apps, social media, etc, are able to access this information. (personally identifying subscriber information)

If we want to map abbreviations of full-English words (e.g. map “Jan” to “January”), how can we identify abbreviations which map to multiple words?


Short Version:

How can we construct such a trie which maps abbreviations of names-of-the-month to full-month (we map the abbreviation "mar" to "march")?

  • The set of all abbreviations is formed by:
    • keeping the first letter of the month name. (all abbreviations of "january" begin with "j")
    • deleting 1 or more characters ("jan" deletes "uary" from "january")

The Looonnnnggg Version:

How can we construct such a trie?
What algorithm will build the appropriate trie from the container of verbose strings.

Consider the English names for months of the year:

  • January
  • February
  • March
  • April
  • [… truncated …]
  • October
  • November
  • December

We find it useful say that the English names for months of the year are "verbose" strings.
For any "verbose" string $ v$ , and any string $ a$ we say that $ a$ is an "abbreviation" of $ v$ if and only if all of the following conditions are met:

  • $ a$ non-empty. $ |a| \geq 1$
  • $ a$ can formed by deleting 1 or more characters from "verbose" string $ v$
  • $ a(1) = v(1)$ . Assume that string indexing begins at $ 1$ , and not $ 0$ .

For example, "jan" is an abbreviation of "january."

Suppose you want to write an algorithm which:

  • accepts a list of verbose strings as inputs.
  • the algorithm outputs a "trie" data-structure (information retrieval tree) $ T$ such that:
    • The trie $ T$ accepts any ASCII string as input.
    • An output (leaf node) of the trie should be set of strings $ S$ such that:
      • every string in $ S$ is a verbose string
      • the string fed as input into trie $ T$ is an abbreviation of every verbose string in container $ S$

Some examples of input to the trie and output of the trie are shown below:

  • Example 1

    • Input: "Ma"
    • Output: $ \{$ "March", "May"$ \}$
  • Example 2

    • Input: "Mar"
    • Output: $ \{$ "March"$ \}$
  • Example 3

    • Input: "Decuary"
    • Output: $ \{$ " "$ \}$ ….. the empty-set

The output from the trie should be one of:

  • the empty set
  • a set of one item
  • a set of two or more items

For months of the year, we might write javascript so that an end-user can type in any half-way reasonable date-format, instead getting an error message when they put slashes instead of dashes, etc….

If you do not like the months of the year application, a different use-case would be to write write your own Linux Shell (similar to BASH). Maybe any half-way reasonable abbreviation of "make directory" will map to "mkdir" In that case, we could have many-to-one mapping from high-level shell-commands to low-level Linux commands.

The question is:

How can we construct such a trie?
What algorithm will build the appropriate trie from the container of verbose strings.

Also, can we avoid brute-force generating a list of all aberrations before-hand? The set of all strings form-able by deleting 1 or more characters from the verbose strings is quite large. We would like to avoid combinatorial explosion, if we can.

The programming language (Java, python, C+ + ) does not matter for answering this question.