Category Archives: Starfinder Development

Intimidating in the Really Wild West (for Starfinder)

When you expand a game’s rules to cover specific tropes, you want to make sure you don’t take options that should be available to everyone and make them character-specific or class-specific feats and features. It’s okay if the same trope can be produced using more than one set of game rules (as long as all the options make sense), but you don’t want to end up with only soldiers being able to do something as basic as twirl a pistol.

Or dishearten a frontier town beyond the reach of quick or reliable assistance (a favored tactic of everything from bandits to rakshasa)

And that brings us to Intimidate in the Really Wild West, where the skill has a few additional tasks available.

RWW Mounted Rakshasa

(Art by Дмитрий)

New Intimidate Tasks


Disheartening is showing such superiority that creatures are unwilling to be caught taking action against you, though they certainly won’t move to help you. Disheartening is similar to bullying (and has the same DC), but the effect only brings the target up to indifferent, and the effects last for 1 week, +1 week per 5 you exceed the DC. You can dishearten a target as a full action, normally as a show of force (shooting at someone’s feet to force them to dance, smashing your fist through a wall, lifting someone with one arm, and so on).

You can dishearten a group as an action that takes one minute, but only after disheartening a member of that group. This only functions if no member of the group has a CR that matches or exceeds your own, or the group as a whole has a CR below that of you and your obvious allies.

While disheartened targets are likely to be unfriendly or hostile, but will take no action they believe can be traced back to them, publicly acting indifferent.

At the end of a dishearten duration, the targets can act as their true attitude dictates. However, you can extend a dishearten (the duration of a new check replaces the old duration), or even re-dishearten an individual or group.

RWW Rakshasa head b and w

(art by Helen_F)

Hold at Bay

When dealing with creatures with an Intelligence of 3 or less (modifier of -4 or less) or with no Int score at all, you can’t make threats with words—but you can sometimes still make a threat. If you have something the creature instinctively avoids (fire, for most animals and vermin, for example) as a standard action you can use it to hold the creature at bay. The target must be within line of sight and line of effect, and the DC is 13 + 1.5x the target’s CR. This even works for creatures immune to mind-affecting effects and swarms (the classic scene where the mass of scarabs are kept back with a torch), as long as you have something they can perceive and instinctively avoid. You can use this against a group of similar creatures (that all instinctively avoid the same object), but the DC is increased by 2 per creature beyond the first.

On a successful check, the target creature will not come within 15 feet of you for 1 round. For every 5 by which you exceeded the DC, the range increased by 5 feet. This is a sense-dependent ability.

This task can also be performed against outsiders and undead, but normally requires a source of supernatural dread. This may include holy symbols, depending on the creature. Some special relics may have the power to hold creatures at bay that typical examples of such symbols cannot (such as using the Crystal Ankh of Saint Frasier to hold giants at bay, even though giants are not normally subject to this task).

A successful Recall Knowledge check regarding a creature will normally tell you if a specific object at hand will function to keep them at bay.

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New Operative Specialization in Really Wild West: Pistoleer (For Starfinder)

We wrap up out look at operative class options in the Really Wild West (and therefore Starfinder in general) with the pistoleer specialization, and one extra exploit that synergies with it despite not being part of it. While the gunslinger and soldier are both classes that may well use pistols (one reason gunslinger abilities have multiple ways of being accessed by soldiers), the existence or trick attack means operatives are the class most likely to focus on small arms, and deserve a unique way to specialize with such weapons.

Rww Shootist

(art by warpaintcobra)

New Operative Specialiation: Pistoleer
While all gunfighters may have a preference for one firearm over another, a pistoleer specifically focuses on pistol-combat, trading versatility for greater expertise in small arms.
Associated Skills: Bluff and Sleight of Hand. When you use Bluff to make a trick attack, you gain a +4 bonus to the skill check.
Specialization Exploit: Fast on the Draw
Sweep the Room (Ex): At 11th level as a full action you can make one small arm attack against every target in a cone out to your weapon’s second range increment. If you are holding multiple small arms, you can decide which small arm is used to attack which target. Each attack takes the weapon’s normal ammunition usage and you cannot reload during this attack, even if you have a way to reload without taking an action. When you run out of ammunition, your attacks stop.

Operative Exploits:

[2nd Level]

Shootist (Ex)
You gain a gunslinger ability. You must select one that could normally be used with small arms or longarms (though it can also be usable with other weapons as well). You must meet its other prerequisites. You can only use it with small arms.
At 4th level, you gain a second gunslinger ability using the same rules and limitations.

[10th Level]

Fast on the Draw (Ex)
You gain the Quick Draw feat – if you gain the Quick Draw feat through other means, you gain the ability to draw a small arm as a reaction whenever someone within your line of sight makes an attack against anyone. You can still take a full action on a round you Quick Draw as a swift action.

Additionally, you gain a +1 bonus to the attack roll of trick attacks made with a small arm in the first round of a combat.

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New Operative Exploits in the Really Wild West (for Starfinder)

We already did a few operative exploits for the Really Wild West, but we obviously want more than 3 new thematic options for the operative class. So here are 4 more, inspired by Western tropes, but appropriate for most Starfinder campaigns.

RWW Mounted cowgirl

(art by Daniel)

Artillery Tricks (Ex)

You have learned to apply your flexible attack style to starship combat. When you do damage with starship weapons, you roll both its normal damage, and (separately) your trick attack dice. You use whichever total is higher, though you still cannot exceed the starship weapon’s maximum damage.

Bushwacker (Ex)

If all foes are unaware of your location at the beginning of a combat, you may make a Stealth check, rather than an initiative check, to determine your iniativie.

Flexible Tricks (Ex)

You can use any weapons to make trick attacks, rather than just operative weapons and small arms. However, the precision and light touch needed to make a trick attack prevents you from getting the full impact of more powerful weapons when you perform a trick attack with them. The maximum weapon damage you can deal using a weapon while trick attacking is based on your operative class level, as noted below. If you have Weapon Specialization with the selected weapon, it is limited to half your character level when you make trick attacks with it.

Level      Max Weapon Damage
1              1d3
2-3          1d4
4              1d6
5-6          1d8
7              1d12
8              2d6
9              2d8
10           2d10
11           3d6
12           3d8
13           4d6
14           4d8
15           6d6
16           5d8
17           6d8
18           7d8
19           8d8
20           9d8

Steer With Your Knees (Ex)
You can steer a vehicle, or control a mount, without using your hands. This means when mounted, you do not need to make a special Survival check to control your mount without using your hands.

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Designing Really Wild West/Starfinder Faction Rules

We discussed some organizations for Really Wild West yesterday, and I mentioned we might talk about some rules that cover how players interact with them during the week.  Lots of games have had faction/organization/reputation rules. I want SOMETHING like that for Really Wild West, but I want to keep it simple. So, here’s a first stab.

For these rules, factions and organizations are seen as interchangeable, though a GM might well split that hair more finely for a specific campaign. (For example a single organization might have multiple factions within it, and increasing your reputation with one faction might have no impact on others, or even lower your reputation).

Organizations have the same attitudes as NPCs – Helpful, Friendly, Indifferent, Unfriendly, and Hostile. An organization is normally Indifferent to you unless it has some reason to see you as a threat. This includes people known to strongly support or be members of opposing organizations or factions, though normally not casual supporters. For example, the Religion of Humanity in Porfiriate Mexico is explicitly rationalist, and dismisses all religion as anti-intellectual superstition. Thus a member of the Church of Humanity is likely to be unfriendly to actual priests, and certainly missionaries, from other faiths, though someone who is simply a member of that faith is unlikely to be seen in the same light unless they make a strong point of pushing their beliefs on others.

Those attitudes determine how much help and aid the organization as a whole will extend you (or how much it’ll try to harm you). This is separate from the attitude of specific NPCs, though the two can overlap. Professor Amelia Von Schtat might personally be very fond of you, and do what she can to aid you, but as a Preceptor of the Faustus Society she can’t help that her superiors want you dead.


Qualifying Events

You can attempt to alter an organization’s attitude toward you, but only with a Qualifying Event. Just talking to a faction, sending them gift baskets, and hanging around spending money in their stores is not enough to actually cause the organization as a whole to think better of you.

Here are some example qualifying events. Most only let you make a check to improve the organization’s attitude towards you once.

Formally joining a faction

Bring a senior member to helpful attitude

Bring a commanding member to helpful attitude.

Performing an impactful service

“Performing an impactful service” normally represents doing something for the faction that is important, more than the faction would expect from you, and something word of gets back to them about. In general to be considered “impactful” the service should be something that takes an investment one step higher than the level of attitude you are trying to bring the organization to. For example, if the Gesellschaft is Indifferent toward you, you’d have to do something noteworthy that only a Friendly character would normally be willing to do in order to make a check to improve the organization’s attitude toward you to Friendly.


It’s true – groups want to know what you have done for them lately. An organization is friendly or helpful to you (or just friendly or helpful if you are a formal member, however that organization determines such things), you must make a Maintenance Check from time to time to keep their attitude toward you at that level. If you fail a Maintenance Check, the organizations attitude toward you is decreased by one step,

Reaction Checks

A Reaction Check is like a Maintenance Check, but it is triggered only by some specific even the organization is aware of. Here are some sample Qualifying Events.

Lose formal membership for the faction.

Fail at an important duty you perform for the faction.

Publicly join an opposing faction.

Perform an impactful service for an opposing faction.

DCs to Come

This is just a sketch of the system I have in mind. I’ll nee to think about what the skill checks and DCs allowed are. I suspect I’ll always allow Diplomacy, but you may sometimes be able to make another skill check appropriate to the organization or your qualifying event. For example if you are trying to make the Faustus Society treat you better, and you have Profession (archaeology), and you undertake an archaeological expedition for them, it makes sense you could make that profession check to improve their attitude.

And if you kill one of their foes, you might even be able to make an attack roll or a raw class level check to improve their attitude.

It’s a work in progress. 😊

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Lassos in Really Wild West (for Starfinder)

A lasso is definitely a thematic option for the Really Wild West, but it’s also something that can become unbalanced quickly or weird quickly. Lassos use in the real world to capture cattle is extremely common, but it’s use for anything else in a modern era is equally uncommon. While there were roman gladiatorial laquearius, but it is unclear if they were true gladiators or closer to clowns who fought mock battles. There are records of various groups in antiquity using lassos in combat, but they are neither clear nor common.

So, we need the lasso to be easily and commonly used to bring down big, strong cattle, and to be something you can use in combat but with a great deal more difficulty. We need it’s use to be common among cowboys, and rare among most other people.

I want to avoid using feats to cover this for a couple of reasons. First, it seems unlikely most cowboy builds will consider a feat a reasonable cost to be able to do a core, iconic thing from their concept. Secondly, if someone DOES expend a feat on lassoing, they’ll want to try to use the lasso all the time, rather than when it’s actually the right tool for a an encounter. So, we need to look to the item/weapon design itself to thread this needle of utility.

This is a first stab at such an item, which almost certainly will be adjusted given some playtesting. As a special weapon no one gains proficiency with it automatically from their class, but the “professional” weapon special property (defined in Armor) means anyone with 1 rank in Profession: Cowboy is considered proficient, which seems a reasonable compromise.

RWW lariat

(art by Elena)

2-Handed Special Weapon
Item       Level  Price       Dam    Crit           Range   Bulk   Special
Lasso         1         30            —      Entangle       15 ft.        1       Professional (Cowboy 1 rank)

A lasso is a ranged, 2-handed special weapon. A character trained in Survival or Profession: Cowboy can use a lasso to control a creature within 30 feet that has an Intelligence modifier of -3 or less. The DC for this check is 10 + 1.5x the CR of the creature. On a successful check, you control the creature’s movement until the end of your next round. If your check exceed’s the DC by 5 or more, the creature is flat-footed and off-target. If you are adjacent to the creature, exceed the check by 5 or more, and the creature was already flat-footed or off-target, you can bind the creature with the lasso, leaving it helpless.

If proficient with a lasso, you can use it to make grapple checks at range. You gain a +5 bonus to your attack roll if the target has no hands or arms, and a +5 bonus if your target has an Intelligence modifier of -3 or less. Once grappled the target is entangled (with you as the tether) as the weapon special property. If you use a lasso to successfully grapple an adjacent creature that is pinned, you can bind two of their limbs as if using manacles.

A lasso takes half damage from bludgeoning, piercing, cold, and sonic attacks.

Higher-level lassos made of special materials (and thus having higher hardness and HP) may exist.

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Combo Weapons and Shotgun Maces in the Really Wild West (for Starfinder)

To be really wild, the Really Wild West has to allow from some out-there combinations. Combo weapons are one example, so you can have gunblades and heat-ray-lances. So, to allow for that, today we have rules for making combo weapons.

And to make some of those combinations more interesting, we also add rules for huge 2-handed iron maces.

So you can add shotguns to them.

Combo Weapons: A combo weapon is made from two weapons. If either weapon is a two-handed weapon, or has a bulk of 2 or more, the final weapon is a two-handed weapon. Otherwise it is a 1-handed weapon. Its bulk is 1 if both weapons have light bulk, otherwise its 1 bulk more than the bulkier weapon’s bulk. Each weapon operates as normal.
The cost of a combo weapon is equal to 100% of the cheaper weapon, +125% of the more expensive one. You can upgrade one weapon of a combo weapon to a new weapon, but the cost is the same as buying the new weapon.

rww kanabou

New Weapon Special Property: Slam

Slam: If you make a single attack with the weapon as a full action, on a successful hit you do the additional damage listed.

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Operative Exploits in Really Wild West (for Starfinder)

Having taken a look at the whip in Really Wild West, there are some exploits for operatives that immediately come to mind. Not that are mandatory for whip-use, but that are suggested by it and thematically appropriate.

RWW Operative

(art by warpaintcobra)

New Operative Exploits

2nd level

Dance! (Ex): You can make attacks that do more psychological damage, such as shooting at someone’s feet and forcing them to hop about. When you successfully trick attack a target you can forgo all your trick attack dice to force the target to make a Will save. On a failed save, the target is shaken for a number of rounds equal to your normal dice of trick attack. You can choose to do your non-trick attack weapon damage or not, as you prefer, when you use this ability.

Disarm Trick (Ex): When you succeed at a trick attack using a weapon you could perform a disarm combat maneuver with (normally a melee weapon, unless you have some way to make disarm attacks with ranged weapons), you can forgo all damage to add a bonus to your attack roll equal to your normal dice of trick attack. If you attack roll succeeds, you disarm your foe.

Gusher (Ex): When you successfully trick attack a target, you can forgo one die of trick attack damage to cause the target to gain the bleed condition. The bleed is equal to 1d6 + the number of trick attack dice you normally get.

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Whips in Really Wild West (for Starfinder)

You can’t have a Really Wild West campaign without rules for whips. Since the focus here is on classic whips, rather than electrified or neural whips, we need to write these up. (And we’ll need rules for lassos, and operative class features that work with whips, and…)

Obviously you can use these in other Starfinder campaigns, as well. 🙂

RWW Whip

Advanced One-Handed Melee Weapon Category

Item             Level  Price       Dam    Crit            Bulk   Special
Bullwhip         1      35            1d3 P  Entangle*    L      15 ft. reach, analog, block, operative
Hidewhip        6     3,000r     1d6 P   Entangle*    L      15 ft. reach, analog, block, operative
Wirewhip       11  20,000r    1d10 P Entangle*    L      20 ft. reach, analog, block, operative
Cablewhip      16  130,000r  4d10 P Entangle*    L      20 ft. reach, analog, block, operative

*Entangle Crit Effect: When you critically hit a foe, it is entangled until it escapes with an Acrobatics check (DC = 10 + weapon’s item level + the attacker’s Dexterity modifier) or a Strength check (DC = 15 + weapon’s item level + the attacker’s Dexterity modifier). An entangled creature can attempt such a check as a move action. While you have a target entangled with this weapon, you cannot use it to make additional attacks. Also, you and the target cannot move farther apart while the target is entangled. If either attempt to, they must drag the other by making an opposed Athletics checks as a move action. You both move a maximum number of feet equal to the amount the character initiating the check wins the opposed check.

Creatures larger than Medium receive a special +4 bonus per size category larger for skill checks made as part of the entangle critical hit effect rules.

You can end the entangled voluntarily as part of any other action.

r In a Really Wild West campaign, you must pay all but 1,000 credits of this cost with renown.

Advanced Melee Weapons
Whips are flexible striking weapons with considerable reach. A bullwhip is normally made of common agrarian herd beast leather or strong textiles. A hidewhip is amde from the skin of an exotic or magical creature, such as a dragon. A wirewhip works a strong, flexible wire into the core of the whip, and a cablewhip is made entirely of strong, flexible metal.
The block feature of a whip represents not a crossguard, but the fact it can crack and create tiny sonic booms, which distract a foe, and the long whip can flex and coil distractingly, making it more difficult for a foe you strike with it to focus on attacking you.

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Sword Saint in Really Wild West (Solarian Alternate Class for Starfinder)

While the Really Wild West is specifically designed to be 100% compatible with the Starfinder RPG rules, that doesn’t mean every concept in Starfinder is a good fit for the reallY Wild West’s setting. Most classes in the core rulebook work fine (soldiers and envoys and operatives, in particular, but as long as they take a wild west/steampunk turn, mechanics, mystics, and technomancers are also good fits). the one really odd-idea-out is the solarian.

Certainly you CAN play a solarian in a RWW game, but the idea is so anchored in modern sci-fi concepts it feels a bit out of place. However, the basic framework of the solarian can be used to build a more in-genre class, such as the sword saint presented below.

The sword saint is a supernaturally-fueled weapon expert alternate class for the solarian, designed specifically for the Really Wild West, but functional in any Starfinder-compatible campaign. Despite the name the sword saint can focus on any weapon, ranged or melee, and may view their supernatural abilities as arcane magic, theosophic metaphysics, or (especially in a GammaFinder campaign) mutant power or psionic ability.

RWW Sword Saint

(art by 9’63 Creation)

Key Ability Score
Str, Dex, Wis, or Cha (select one)

You are proficient with longarms.

Bonded Weapon
Select a basic or advanced melee weapon, small arm, or longarm with which you are proficient to be your bonded weapon. You can change your bonded weapon with 30 days of meditation, or whenever you gain a new sword saint level.

You add your key ability score to your AC against disarm and sunder combat maneuvers directed at your bonded weapon.

You can always spend credits to upgrade your bonded weapon. Pay the difference between your current bonded weapon and a higher-level weapon that becomes your bonded weapon. The new bonded weapon has a maximum item level of your class level +2 or your total character level whichever is higher). (If using this in a Really Wild West campaign, any cost for a 4th level or higher bonded weapon must be paid with renown.)

This replaces solar manifestation.

Battle Stance
At the beginning of each round, weather in or out of combat, you can select a stance – mobile stance or attack stance.

Mobile Stance When you enter a mobile stance, you are considered to be attuned for purposes of mobile stance revelations. While in a mobile stance, you gain a +1 insight bonus to Reflex saves. This bonus increases by 1 for every 9 sword saint levels you have.

Attack Stance When you enter an attack stance, you are considered to be attuned for purposes of attack stance revelations. While in a mobile stance, you gain a +1 insight bonus to damage rolls (including damage rolls for your stellar powers). This bonus increases by 1 for every 6 solarian levels you have.

This replaces stellar mode.

You learn your first sword saint revelations (crashing wave strike and death blossom) at 1st level, and learn an additional Revelation at 2nd level and every 2 levels thereafter. Sword saint revelations require you to have a minimum level, and are organized accordingly. Additionally, each is marked as either a mobile stance or an attack stance.

Every sword saint gains the following stellar revelations at 1st level.

When you are in mobile stance, you can expend 1 Resolve Point as a standard action to move up to three times your land speed, and attack any 1 creature with your bonded weapon at any point along that movement. You ignore difficult terrain, and can fly and swim for any part of this movement, though if you are not standing in a space that can support you at the end of the movement, you fall or sink normally. At 9th level you can make two attacks at any two points along this path (though you must select different targets), and at 17th level this becomes three attacks. After you use this Revelation, you cannot expend Resolve Points to fuel revelations until after you expend a Resolve Point to regain Stamina Points following a 10-minute rest.

When you are in attack stance, you can expend 1 Resolve Point as a standard action to deal 1d6 damage plus 1d6 additional damage per solarian level, to all creatures within 10 feet of you. A creature that succeeds at a Reflex save takes half damage. This damage is of the same type as your bonded weapon. At 9th level, you can increase the radius to 15 feet, and at 17th level, you can increase the radius to 20 feet. After you use this Revelation, you cannot expend Resolve Points to fuel revelations until after you expend a Resolve Point to regain Stamina Points following a 10-minute rest.

You have access to the following revelations as sword saint mobile stance revelations, with the same requirements (including level requirements) as a solarian: [2nd Level] blade in the night, dark matter, gravitic reinforcement, gravity anchor, gravity boost; [6th Level] blazing orbit*, defy gravity, reflection, roiling cloud****,  serpent’s coil, water flowing step****; [10th Level] soul furnace*, stealth warp; [14th Level] gravity shield; [16th Level] superlative nebula.

You have access to the following revelations as sword saint attack stance revelations, with the same requirements (including level requirements) as a solarian: [2nd Level] distracting glare, flare, plasma sheath, stellar rush, ultraviolet pulse’ [6th level] astrologic sense, corona, crush**, crushing force***, draining agony***, glow of life*, luminescent inquisition; [10th Level] gravity well***, solar inferno; [14th Level] sunbolt; [16th Level] superlative constellation.

*This is a mobile stance revelation, despite normally being a photon revelation.

** This is an attack stance revelation, despite normally being a graviton revelation. If your bonded weapon is a melee weapon, you can only use this on targets within reach.

*** This is an attack stance revelation, despite normally being a graviton revelation.

****New revelation, presented below.

Roiling Cloud [6th] You gain a +1 bonus to Reflex saves against area attacks. If you are in mobile stance, and you can get out of an area by moving no farther than your land speed, as a reaction if you succeed at a Reflex save against an area effect you can move to the nearest space that would place you outside the area.

Serpent’s Coil [6th] You gain a +1 bonus to your AC against grapples and attacks with the attach, grab, or swallow whole universal creature rule. If you are in mobile stance, this increases to +1 per 3 sword saint levels.

Water Flowing Step [6th] You do not provoke attacks of opportunity by leaving the first space you move from each round. If you are in mobile stance, none of your movement provokes attacks of opportunity.

Zenith Revelation
Rather than using zenith revelations when fully attuned, you can use a zenith revelation as long as you are in the correct stance. However, this requires the expenditure of a Resolve Point, and once you do so you cannot use another Zenith Revelation until after you have expended a Resolve Point to regain Stamina Points following a 10-minute rest. Crashing Wave Strike and Death Blossom are Zenith Revelations for this purpose.

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Really Wild West Spells, levels 0-1

While Really Wild West  spellcasters can obviously use standard Starfinder spells, the flavor of spells can strongly impact the feeling of a campaign.

So, we’ll want some Western/Victorian themes spells. Here is one each at 0 and 1st-level.

RWW Theosopher

(art by storm)

Phantom Pocketwatch [Mystic 0, Technomancer 0]
School enchantment (mind-affecting)
Casting Time 1 standard action
Range touch
Targets Up to 5 willing creatures, +1 creature per level
Duration 24 hours
The technomancer version of this spell literally summons a phantom pocketwatch. The mystic version creates a small tattoo of a sundial.
Creatures effected by this spell know what time it is, including the date and year, day of the week, phase of the moon, time zone, and time down to the second. They can also have it track how much time has passed since a specific moment, and inform them when a specific time has arrived.
The most common version of the spell in the US use its official time zones, the Gregorian calendar, and so on. Variations of this spell from other cultures use other calendars, an absolute time based on dawn, and other standards. If the spell is cast while touching some timepiece or calendar, it can use that as its standard rather than its normal units.

Ask The Wind Their Name [Mystic 1]
School divination
Casting Time 1 full round
Range personal
Duration instantaneous
This spell can only be cast while outside. You learn about one creature you can currently see, or that you have previously seen and know the name of. You receive information about the creature as if you had used the identify creature skill task with a result equal to 20 + your Mysticism bonus. You do not learn any information about their allegiances or true name or identity, but if you cast it using their name you do learn if that is a name they are commonly known by.

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