Alternate Ability Score-Based Checks: If I change the key ability score of a skill (or other check), for example, if I change Knowledge from Intelligence to Charisma, is it no-longer an Intelligence-based check? Is it now a Charisma-based check?
Generally yes—at the time of rolling a check, if you substitute the ability score, the check is now based on the new ability score. In the example, at the time of rolling, Knowledge would now be a Charisma-based skill and not an Intelligence-based skill for you, which would affect things like feats, spells, or items that grant bonuses on checks based on their key ability score (like circlet of persuasion). However, if you are adding a second ability modifier to a check, this is not the case. For instance, when adding both Wisdom and Dexterity on initiative checks, initiative is still a Dexterity check, not a Wisdom check. Also, this changes the check only at the time of rolling, so this does not change static class features or options made during character building such as your class’s class skills. Classes that receive “all Intelligence-based skills” as class skills, for instance, are the victim of sloppy writing, and furthermore sometimes effects might muddy the water by only changing the ability dependency sometimes and not others, which is why you check the new dependency only for a specific given roll.
Do ability modifiers from the same ability stack? For instance, can you add the same ability bonus on the same roll twice using two different effects that each add that same ability modifier?
No. An ability bonus, such as "Strength bonus", is considered to be the same source for the purpose of bonuses from the same source not stacking. However, you can still add, for instance “a deflection bonus equal to your Charisma modifier” and your Charisma modifier. For this purpose, however, the paladin's untyped "bonus equal to her Charisma bonus (if any) on all saving throws" from divine grace is considered to be the same as "Charisma bonus (if any)", and the same would be true for any other untyped "bonus equal to her [ability score] bonus" constructions.
How does the Surprise Spells class feature of the Arcane Trickster prestige class (Core Rulebook, page 378) work with spells like magic missile and fireball?
The Surprise Spells class feature allows the Arcane Trickster to add his sneak attack dice to spells that deal damage that target flat-footed foes. This damage is only applied once per spell. In the case of fireball this means it affects all targets in the area, with each getting a save to halve the damage (including the sneak attack damage). In the case of magic missile, the extra damage is only added once to one missile, chosen by the caster when the spell is cast.
Temporarily gaining abilities: If I temporarily gain an ability that is limited in its uses per day, am I limited in my overall uses of that ability if I can temporarily gain it more than once?
Yes. You are limited by the ability in the same way as a character that has that ability permanently. For example, if you have an ability that allows you to gain the Stunning Fist feat for a limited period of time and you use it 3 times. Those uses count against your total number of uses should you temporarily gain Stunning Fist again later that day. This limit also applies to abilities that grant additional uses of another ability (such as Extra Channel). Once used, they are consumed for the day, even if you gain the ability again.
Temporary Ability Score Increases and Monster Abilities: Do these affect the DCs of monster and PC supernatural abilities based on those ability scores?
Although the description of temporarily ability score bonuses just refers to increasing spell DCs, that is a legacy of some older game terminology not being updated as new features were added to the rules. Temporary ability score increases should affect supernatural ability DCs based on those ability scores, such as a medusa's gaze attack or a witch's hexes.
Temporary Ability Score Increases vs. Permanent Ability Score Increases: Why do temporary bonuses only apply to some things?
Temporary ability bonuses should apply to anything relating to that ability score, just as permanent ability score bonuses do. The section in the glossary was very tight on space and it was not possible to list every single ability score-related game effect that an ability score bones would affect.
The purpose of the temporary ability score ruling is to make it so you don't have to rebuild your character every time you get a bull's strength or similar spell; it just summarizes the most common game effects relative to that ability score.
For example, most of the time when you get bull's strength, you're using it for combat, so the glossary mentions Strength-based skill checks, melee attack rolls, Strength-based weapon damage rolls, CMB, and CMD. It doesn't call out melee attack rolls that use Dex instead of Str (such as when using Weapon Finesse) or situations where your applied Str bonus should be halved or multiplied (such as whith off-hand or two-handed weapons). You're usually not using the spell for a 1 min./level increase in your carrying capacity, so that isn't mentioned there, but the bonus should still apply to that, as well as to Strength checks to break down doors.
Think of it in the same way that a simple template has "quick rules" and "rebuild rules;" they're supposed to create monsters which are roughly equivalent in terms of stats, but the quick rules are a short cut that misses some details compared to using the rebuild rules. Likewise, the temporary ability score rule is intended as a short cut to speed up gameplay, not as the most precise way of applying the bonus.
A temporary ability score bonus should affect all of the same stats and rolls that a permanent ability score bonus does.
Ability Score Increases: According to the table and text on page 30, a character gains an ability score increase at level 4, 8, 12, 16, and 20. How much is this increase? What ability scores does it affect?
At 4th level, a character can increase one ability score by +1. This is a typeless, nonmagical bonus that cannot be changed once selected.
For example, a fighter with Dex 13 could use this bonus to increase his Dex to 14.
A character can also increase one ability score at 8th, 12th, 16th, and 20th level; it does not have to be the same ability score as the one chosen at an earlier level, and stacks with all other bonuses.
For example, the aforementioned fighter could use the 8th-level bonus to increase his Strength from 15 to 16, then use his 12th-level bonus to increase his Dex from 14 to 15, and so on.
Archetype: If an archetype replaces a class ability with a more specific version of that ability (or one that works similarly to the replaced ability), does the archetype's ability count as the original ability for the purpose of rules that improve the original ability?
It depends on how the archetype's ability is worded. If the archetype ability says it works like the standard ability, it counts as that ability. If the archetype's ability requires you to make a specific choice for the standard ability, it counts as that ability. Otherwise, the archetype ability doesn't count as the standard ability. (It doesn't matter if the archetype's ability name is different than the standard class ability it is replacing; it is the description and game mechanics of the archetype ability that matter.)
Example: The dragoon (fighter) archetype (Ultimate Combat) has an ability called "spear training," which requires the dragoon to select "spears" as his weapon training group, and refers to his weapon training bonus (even though this bonus follows a slightly different progression than standard weapon training). Therefore, this ability counts as weapon training for abilities that improve weapon training, such as gloves of dueling (Advanced Player's Guide), which increase the wearer's weapon training bonus.
Example: The archer (fighter) archetype gets several abilities (such as "expert archer") which replace weapon training and do not otherwise refer to the weapon training ability. Therefore, this ability does not count as weapon training for abilities that improve weapon training (such as gloves of dueling). This is the case even for the "expert archer," ability which has a bonus that improves every 4 fighter levels, exactly like weapon training.
Bonus Spells from a High Ability Score: Can I use these even if my spellcasting class level isn't high enough to give me access to those spell levels?
No. You only get the bonus spells if your class level grants you access to those spell levels. You can't even use them for lower-level spells. See page 16, Abilities and Spellcasters section: "In addition to having a high ability score, a spellcaster must be of a high enough class level to be able to cast spells of a given spell level. "
For example, a 1st-level wizard with 18 Intelligence has (according to table 1–3: Ability Modifiers and Bonus Spells) 1 bonus spell at spell levels 1, 2, and 3. However, he can only use the 1st-level bonus spell because as a 1st-level wizard he only has access to 1st-level spells (his class-based number of 2nd- and 3rd-level spells per day are "—", meaning "no access to spells of this level"). As soon as he becomes a 3rd-level wizard, he gains access to his 2nd-level spell slots and can use that bonus 2nd-level spell slot from his high Intelligence, and likewise for 3rd-level spells and bonus spells at wizard level 5.
Basically, ignore the columns for higher-level spells on table 1–3: Ability Modifiers and Bonus Spells until your class grants you access to those spell levels.
Cleric domains, sorcerer bloodlines, wizard schools, and certain other class features give spell-like abilities that aren't based on spells. What's the effective spell level for these abilities?
The effective spell level for these spell-like abilities is equal to the highest-level spell that a character of that class could normally cast at the level the ability is gained.
For example, a 1st-level elemental bloodline sorcerer has elemental ray as a spell-like ability. Because a sorcerer 1's highest-level spell available is 1st, that spell-like ability counts as a 1st-level spell. A 9th-level elemental bloodline sorcerer has elemental blast as a spell-like ability. Because a sorcerer 9's highest-level spell available is 4th, that spell-like ability counts as a 4th-level spell.
Channel Energy: If I have this ability from more than one class, do they stack?
No—unless an ability specifically says it stacks with similar abilities (such as an assassin's sneak attack), or adds in some way based on the character's total class levels (such as improved uncanny dodge), the abilities don't stack and you have to use them separately. Therefore, cleric channeling doesn't stack with paladin channeling, necromancer channeling, oracle of life channeling, and so on.
Duelist--Canny Defense: Is this ability limited by my armor's maximum Dexterity?
A duelist adds her Int bonus to her AC (not to her Dex bonus to AC). She loses that Int-based AC bonus under any situation where she's denied her Dex bonus to AC.
Her Int-based bonus to AC ignores the max Dex limitation of armor because the Int-based bonus to AC is not a Dex bonus.
(This Int bonus to AC applies to the character's touch AC.)
Fighter: Can I learn a new fighter bonus feat in place of one of my armor proficiency feats?
No. Despite wording in the Armor Proficiency feats, fighters (and other classes) have a class ability that grants proficiency in those armors--it doesn't actually grant those specific feats. Therefore, the fighter's ability to learn a new feat in place of another feat does not apply to these proficiencies.
Fighter: Can I use the Fighter bonus feat class feature to retrain a feat that I gained at 1st level (such as Cleave) to gain a feat that I did not qualify for at 1st level, but do qualify for now (such as Lunge)?
Yes. So long as the feat that you "lose" is not used as a prerequisite for any other feat, prestige class, or other ability, you can gain any feat that you qualify for at the time that you retrain it.
Fighter: What feats can I retrain at level 4, 8, and so on?
Class entries in the Core Rulebook are written assuming that your character is single-classed (not multiclassed). The fighter's ability to retrain feats allows you to retrain one of your fighter bonus feats (gained at 1st level, 2nd level, 4th level, and so on). You can't use it to retrain feats (combat feats or otherwise) from any other source, such as your feats at level 1, 3, etc., your 1st-level human bonus feat, or bonus feats from other classes.
You may want to asterisk your fighter bonus feats on your character sheet so you can easily determine which you can retrain later.
Half-Elf or Half-Orc: Can a character of either of these races select human racial archetypes (such as from Advanced Race Guide?
Yes. Half-elves and half-orcs may select racial favored class options, archetypes, traits, and so on, as if they were a full member of both races (a half-elf can select elf and human rules elements, a half-orc can select human and orc rules elements).
Edit 9/26/13: This is a reversal of an earlier ruling. This resolves a discrepancy between this FAQ and two Advanced Player's Guide FAQs.
Hit Points: What creatures get max hit points for their first level or first Hit Die? What creatures get favored class bonuses to hit points or skills?
Creatures whose first Hit Die is from a PC-appropriate character class gain max hit points for that Hit Die. The current list of PC-appropriate character classes is alchemist, arcanist, barbarian, bard, bloodrager, brawler, cavalier, cleric, druid, fighter, gunslinger, hunter, investigator, inquisitor, magus, monk, oracle, paladin, ranger, rogue, shaman, skald, slayer, sorcerer, summoner, swashbuckler, warpriest, witch, and wizard (including archetypes, subclasses, and other variants of these classes).
Creatures whose first Hit Die is from an NPC class (adept, aristocrat, commoner, expert, warrior) or from a racial Hit Die (such as most monsters) do not get maximum hit points for that Hit Die.
All creatures with class levels (including those with levels in an NPC class or monsters with class levels) may select a favored class and gain the normal favored class benefits. Creatures never gain favored class benefits for racial Hit Dice.
For example, a human warrior 1 could select "warrior" as his favored class and take either the bonus hit point or skill rank for taking a level in that class. A normal bugbear with 3 racial Hit Dice and no class levels has no favored class and no favored class bonuses, but if that bugbear gained a level in rogue, he could choose "rogue" as his favored class and take either the bonus hit point or skill rank for taking a level in that class.
Human: For a low-Int human character, is the minimum number of skill ranks per level 1 or 2?
It's 1, but you add your human bonus rank at the end, so you end up with 2 ranks total.
For example, a human fighter 1 with Int 6 would start with 2 ranks, add the –2 from the Int penalty (for a total of 0 ranks), apply the "minimum 1" rule (for an adjusted total of 1 rank), then add the 1 human rank (for a total of 2 ranks).
In other words, a human should end up with more skill ranks than an otherwise-equivalent character of a different race.
Intelligence: If my Intelligence modifier increases, can I select another bonus language?
Yes. For example, if your Int is 13 and you reach level 4 and apply your ability score increase to Int, this increases your Int bonus from +1 to +2, which grants you another bonus language.
Technically, Int-enhancing items such as a headband of vast intelligence should grant a specific language (in the same way they do for skill ranks).
Lore Master Bard Ability and Taking 10: Can I take 10 on Knowledge checks? The Knowledge skill doesn’t say I can’t, but if that's true, the first half of the lore master bard ability doesn’t do anything.
Yes, you can. The lore master bard ability should add to the end of that first sentence “even when threatened or distracted.”
Monk: The monk rules for flurry state, "For the purpose of these attacks, the monk's base attack bonus is equal to his monk level." How does this interact with BAB from class levels and racial Hit Dice? Does a multiclassed fighter 19/monk 1 flurry as if his BAB were only +1?
A monk using flurry treats his BAB from monk levels as equal to his monk level. He still adds BAB from other sources (such as other classes or racial Hit Dice) normally to this total.
So a fighter 19/monk 1 has a normal BAB of +19. When he flurries, he treats his monk BAB as +1 (for his 1 level of monk) and still gets BAB +19 from his fighter levels, for a total flurry BAB of +20.
Monk: Does the extra attack from spending ki as part of a flurry of blows stack with the extra attack from haste?
Yes. The extra attack described in the ki pool ability doesn't say it works like haste, nor does it say that it doesn't stack with haste, so the monk would get two additional attacks (one from spending a ki point as part of a flurry, one from haste).
Monk Flurry of Blows: When I use flurry of blows, can I make all of the attacks with just one weapon, or do I have to use two, as implied by the ability functioning similarly to Two-Weapon Fighting?
You can make all of your attacks with a single monk weapon. Alternatively, you can replace any number of these attacks with an unarmed strike. This FAQ specifically changes a previous ruling made in the blog concerning this issue.
Monk Ki Pool: What kinds of damage reduction can a monk bypass with this ability?
Monks typically have problems bypassing DR with their unarmed strikes, forcing them to rely on weapons to deal with many forms of DR. We have decided to add a new ability to the ki pool monk class feature. At 7th level, a monk's unarmed strikes count as cold iron and silver for the purposes of overcoming damage reduction, so long as he has at least 1 point remaining in his ki pool.
This answer originally appeared in the 12/4/12 Paizo blog. The next printing of the Core Rulebook will be updated with this information.
Mystic Theurge: How does the second paragraph affect dual-spontaneous casters, such as an oracle/sorcerer/mystic theurge?
The text in question is:
Spontaneous spellcasters can only select spells that they have prepared that day using non-spontaneous classes for this ability, even if the spells have already been cast.
The intent of this text is actually a limitation on the prepared-caster class, not the spontaneous-caster class; the limitation is not what spells the spontaneous-caster class can use with the combined spells ability, it is what spells the prepared-caster class can provide for the combined spells ability.
For example, if a cleric/sorcerer/mystic theurge didn't prepare any lesser restoration spells today, he can't use sorcerer spell slots to cast lesser restoration (because he can only use this ability to access cleric spells he prepared that day). However, nothing in the ability description prevents him from using his (must-be-prepared) cleric spell slots to prepare (spontaneous) sorcerer spells he knows.
Likewise, an oracle/sorcerer/mystic theurge can use sorcerer spell slots to cast oracle spells, or oracle spell slots to cast sorcerer spells, so long as the level increases and level limits described in the combine spells ability are implemented. Neither class is affected by the "only spells they have prepared" rule because that rule only applies to mystic theurges who have levels in a non-spontaneous casting class.
A clearer version of the above quoted rule would be:
If one of the theurge's spellcasting classes is a non-spontaneous spellcaster (such as a cleric) and the other is a spontaneous caster (such as a sorcerer), he can only spontaneously cast spells from the non-spontaneous class that he actually prepared that day (whether or not he has cast those prepared spells).
Paladin: Does smite evil bypass the defenses of the incorporeal special quality?
Smite is not an effect on the weapon, it is an effect on the paladin. The weapon still needs to be magic to harm the incorporeal creature, and even a magic weapon still only deals half damage against it.
Paladin’s Detect Evil: Does a paladin need to spend a standard action to activate detect evil before spending a move action to concentrate on a single creature or item?
No, the first sentence is discrete from the rest of the ability, and offers an alternative option for using detect evil. A paladin can use the move action on a single creature or item in lieu of the standard action to activate a normal detect evil.
Prestige Class Requirements: If a prestige class requires 5 ranks in a skill and I have 6 ranks in that skill, do I still meet the requirements?
Yes, because skill ranks are inclusive: if you have 6 ranks in a skill, then you have 5 ranks in that skill, and therefore meet the "have 5 ranks in [this] skill" requirement.
In the same way, if you have a BAB of +6, then you have a BAB of +5, and therefore meet the "have BAB +5" requirement.
In the same way, if you have Str 15, then you have Str 13, and therefore meet the "Str 13" feat prerequisite for Power Attack.
Feat prerequisites are not inclusive, as it is possible for a creature to have a feat without meeting that feat's prerequisites. For example, a ranger can select Precise Shot as a ranger bonus feat without having the Point Blank Shot feat; he does not meet the prerequisites for Far Shot (which has Point Blank Shot as a prerequisite) because he doesn't actually have the Point Blank Shot feat, even though he has a feat that lists Point Blank Shot as a prerequisite.
Prestige Class: If I take levels in a prestige class that advances spellcasting, does that give me access to my higher-level bloodline spells?
No. Likewise, it doesn't give you any additional bloodline feats.
If you were an oracle, it wouldn't give you any additional mystery spells. (However, it would give you higher-level cure or inflict spells, as those are part of the oracle's Spells class feature.)
If you were a witch, it wouldn't give you any additional patron spells.
If you were a wizard, it wouldn't give you access to your higher-level school powers.
And so on.
Prestige classes which advance spellcasting only advance caster level, spells per day, and (for spontaneous casters) spells known—essentially, the spellcasting features described in your class's Spells class feature description.
(Note that the dragon disciple class has the blood of dragons ability, which explicitly states that you get your bloodline powers and bloodline spells; this is a special ability of that class and not the normal state for advancing spellcasting with a prestige class.)
Sorcerer: Do the bonuses granted from Bloodline Arcana apply to all of the spells cast by the sorcerer, or just those cast from the sorcerer's spell list?
The Bloodline Arcana powers apply to all of the spells cast by characters of that bloodline, not just those cast using the sorcerer's spell slots.
General rule: If a class ability modifies your spellcasting, it applies to your spells from all classes, not just spells from the class that grants the ability. (The exception is if the class ability specifically says it only applies to spells from that class.)
Sorcerer/Wizard: Can I dismiss my familiar so I may select a new familiar?
This isn't addressed in the rules anywhere, but yes, you should be able to dismiss a familiar if you want to select a new one. However, you must still wait 1 week and pay 200 gp for the 8-hour ritual. Dismissing a familiar is ending a link between your soul and it, so it should probably take about an hour.
The exception to the above is if you take the Improved Familiar feat, which allows you to immediately replace your familiar with the new familiar, at no cost or time required (it is assumed this occurs during whatever preparations you make while leveling up).
Once dismissed, an animal familiar is just a normal animal of its type (a special familiar from the Improved Familiar feat reverts to a normal creature of its type). Whether or not it wants to remain with you is up to your GM and probably based on how you treated the creature while it was your familiar.
You have a class feature when your class description tells you you gain that class feature, generally based on your level in that class (and perhaps altered by factors, see below).
If you have an archetype or other rules element that replaces that class feature, you do not have that class feature. For example, if your archetype replaces a rogue's sneak attack, you no longer have the sneak attack class feature (whether a requirement is as general as "sneak attack" or as specific as "sneak attack +1d6," you do not qualify for it).
If you have an archetype or other rules element that replaces part of a scaling class feature, or delays when you get that class feature, you do not have that class feature until you actually gain that class feature.
Example: If you have a fighter archetype that replaces weapon training 1 (but not weapon training 2, 3, and 4), you don't gain the weapon training 2 ability until fighter level 9, which means you don't have the weapon training class ability at all until you reach fighter level 9. Anything with "weapon training" or "weapon training class feature" as a prerequisite is unavailable to you until level 9.
Example: If you have a cleric archetype that replaces channel energy at level 1 (but not later increments of channel energy), you don't gain the channel energy ability until cleric level 3, which means you don't have the channel energy class feature until you reach cleric level 3. Anything with "channel energy" or "channel energy class feature" as a prerequisite is unavailable to you until level 3.
Example: If you have a witch archetype that replaces your hex at level 1 (but not later hexes, major hexes, or grand hexes), you don't gain your first hex ability until witch level 2, which means you don't have the hex class feature until you reach witch level 2. Anything with "hex" or "hex class feature" as a prerequisite is unavailable to you until level 2.
Acrobatics: How does Acrobatics work when you use it to avoid attacks of opportunity? When do you make checks? How many do you make?
Acrobatics allows you to make checks to move through the threatened area of foes without provoking attacks of opportunity. You must make a check the moment you attempt to leave a square threatened by an enemy, but only once per foe. The DC (which is based of the Combat Maneuver Defense of each foe), increases by +2 for each foe after the first in one round. The DC also increases by +5 if you attempt to move through a foe. In the case of moving out of the threatened square of two foes at the same time, the moving character decides which check to make first.
For example, a rogue is flanked by a meek goblin and a terrifying antipaladin. The rogue move away from both of them, provoking an attack of opportunity from both, but uses Acrobatics to attempt to negate them. She must move at half speed while threatened by these foes and can choose which to check against first. If she fails a check, she provokes an attack of opportunity from that foe. If she makes it, she does not provoke from moving through that foe's threatened space this turn.
Acrobatics: What happens if I fail the check when using this skill to move through an enemy's square?
You lose the move action and provoke an AOO. (Note: This means you can attempt this up to two times in the same round, once as a move action and once as a standard action.)
Update: Page 88—In the Acrobatics skill, at the end of the third paragraph (which begins on page 87), add the following sentence: “If you attempt to move through an enemy’s space and fail the check, you lose the move action and provoke an attack of opportunity.”
Brew Potion: Can a character with this feat create a potion of any spell he knows simply by adding +5 to the DC, even without preparing it?
No. When creating potions, the crafter must prepare and expend the spell used by the potion as part of its creation. This is an exception to the normal rules that allow a caster to skip one of the prerequisites for crafting an item by adding +5 to the DC.
Update: Page 549, in the Magic Item Creation rules, in the second paragraph, change the last sentence to read as follows.
In addition, you cannot create potions, scrolls, staves, wands, or any other spell-trigger or spell-completion magic item without meeting its prerequisites.
Cleave: Can I take a 5-foot step in the middle of my attempt to use the Cleave feat, to bring another foe within reach?
No. Cleave is a special action and the conditions for that action are checked at the moment you begin your action. At that moment, all of the available targets are checked to make sure they adjacent to each other and within reach. You cannot take a 5-foot step in the middle of the action and check conditions again. If you do not have two targets within reach, adjacent to each other at the start of the attack, you could not even attempt to make an attack using Cleave.
This answer originally appeared in the 9/25/12 Paizo blog.
Cleave: Can I use this feat or Great Cleave to cleave to or from an image created by a mirror image spell?
No. If your initial attack hit the caster, you can’t cleave to an image as if it were an actual creature. If your initial attack hit an image, you failed to hit your intended target (the caster), and therefore can’t cleave. As you can’t specifically target an image (because you can’t tell the images from the actual caster), you likewise can’t aim for an image and try to cleave to another image.
Command Undead: How long do the undead remain under my control?
The undead remain under your control indefinitely until you release them (or, if an intelligent undead creature, it succeeds at the daily saving throw to resist your command).
The duration of the feat is not based on the 1 minute/level duration of the control undead spell (the reference to the spell is to explain how you can communicate with the undead and give them orders, not to its duration, material components, and so on).
Extra Channel: If I take this feat and I have more than one class with the ability to channel energy, do I have to assign the extra uses to a particular class when I choose the feat?
No. In effect, the feat gives you two "floating" uses of channel energy per day, and you can use them with any appropriate class you have which grants the channel energy ability.
For example, if you're a cleric/necromancer, each day you could use 1 channel as a cleric and 1 as a necromancer, 2 as a cleric and 0 as a necromancer, or 0 as a cleric and 2 as a necromancer.
Note that this does not give you an extra two uses of channel energy for *each* class that grants it—the feat gives you exactly two extra uses per day.
Flight and Magical Flight: Can a paralyzed or stunned creature keep flying with magical flight? Does a creature with magical flight not apply bonuses or penalties to Fly checks because it doesn’t have a “natural” fly speed? Does flying make a creature immune to being flat-footed?
No, any creature that loses all actions can’t take an action to attempt a Fly check to hover in place and thus automatically falls. That includes a paralyzed, stunned, or dazed creature. Magical flight doesn’t act any differently, even for paralysis, as it isn’t a purely mental action. A creature with 0 Dexterity can’t fly, and paralysis sets a creature’s Dexterity to 0. Despite the fact that the Fly skill mentions that bonuses and penalties from maneuverability apply to creatures with natural fly speeds, they apply for any fly speed. If they didn’t apply to creatures that gained flight artificially or through magic, then those maneuverabilities (like the listed good maneuverability for the fly spell) would have no game effect. Finally, the statement “You are not considered flat-footed while flying” means that flying (unlike balancing using Acrobatics or climbing) doesn’t automatically make you flat-footed or force you to lose your Dexterity bonus to AC; it doesn’t mean that flying makes you immune to being caught flat-footed.
Fly: When a character or creature is flying, and that creature decides to ascend at a 45 degree angle, the rules states that it moves at half speed? Do the rules for diagonal square counting still apply when moving up diagonally in this way?
No. Since the game is generally assumed to be played in two dimensions, even when representing three dimensional combat, the rules for ascending are handled by the speed reduction instead of asking players and GMs to ascertain the diagonal vertical movement.
Greater Feint: Greater Feint says the target is denied its Dexterity bonus to AC until the beginning of my next turn in addition to against my next attack. Is that just against my attacks, which probably won’t be more than just my next attack until my next turn, or is it against my allies as well?
Greater Feint makes the target lose its Dexterity bonus against all melee attacks by anyone until the start of your next turn, not just you. Unless a feint ability specifically mentions ranged attacks (like the Ranged Feint feat), it always denies Dexterity bonus against melee attacks.
Greater Trip: How does this interact with Vicious Stomp (APG)? Do you get two AOOs or just one?
Using these feats together provokes two AOOs, because the two AOO-triggering acts are similar, but different.
Greater Trip gives you an AOO when you trip a foe. Vicious Stomp gives you an AOO occurs when a foe falls prone.
This answer originally appeared in the 9/11/12 Paizo blog.
Handle Animal: Does training an animal using Handle Animal to be Combat Trained (pg 98 in the Core Rulebook) grant it Light Armor Proficiency?
No, using Handle Animal to train an animal, or mount, in this way does not grant it a free bonus feat. It is not unreasonable, however to assume that an animal specifically designed to be ridden (such as a horse or dog) could be purchased with Light Armor Proficiency as one of its feats (swapping out Endurance or Skill Focus respectively) for the same cost.
Heighten Spell: How does this spell combine with other metamagic feats and using higher-level slots for lower-level spells?
Heighten Spell is worded poorly and can be confusing. It lets you use a higher-level spell slot for a spell, treating the spell as if it were naturally a higher level spell than the standard version. Unlike Still Spell, which always adds +1 to the level of the spell slot used for a spell, Heighten Spell lets you decide increase a spell's level anywhere from +1 to +9, using a spell slot that is that many spell levels higher than the normal spell.
The language implies that the heightened spell uses whatever spell level is used to prepare or cast it, but the rules text was inherited from 3.5 and doesn't take into account (1) the normal rule allowing you to prepare a spell with a higher-level spell slot, and (2) combining it with other metamagic feats.
For (1), having Heighten Spell doesn't mean any spell you cast with a higher-level slot is automatically heightened; you still have to make the decision to prepare or cast the spell an normal or heightened.
If you are a non-spontaneous caster (such as a cleric or wizard) who wants to prepare a lower-level spell in a higher-level slot, there is no reason not to use Heighten Spell on that spell (it doesn't cost you any extra time or any other game "currency").
If you are a spontaneous caster, heightening a spell when using a higher-level spell slot still increases the casting time, just like any other use of metamagic, so you have to weigh the benefits of either
• casting it normally using the higher-level slot
• increasing the casting time to cast it as a heightened spell and treat the spell as the level of the spell slot you're using.
Example A 10th-level sorcerer could cast fireball using a 3rd-, 4th-, or 5th-level spell slot, it would only be a standard action casting time, would count as a 3rd-level spell, and have a DC of 13 + Charisma bonus. If she had Heighten Spell and wanted to heighten it using a 4th- or 5th-level spell slot, it would have a full-round action casting time, but would count as a 4th- or 5th-level spell and have a DC of 14 + Cha bonus (for a 4th-level spell) or 15 + Cha bonus (for a 5th-level slot).
For (2), you can't apply Heighten Spell to a spell at no cost: any increase to the effective spell level of the spell must be tracked and paid for by using a higher-level spell slot, above and beyond any other spell level increases from the other metamagic feats.
Example: A 15th-level wizard has Quicken Spell. If he prepares a quickened fireball, that requires a 7th-level spell slot (fireball 3rd level + quicken 4 levels). The spell's DC is still 13 + his Int bonus because it's still just a 3rd-level spell, even though it's in a 7th-level spell slot. If he also has Heighten Spell, the spell is not automatically heightened; it still counts as a 3rd-level spell and has the DC of a 3rd-level spell. If he wants to increase the quickened fireball's effective level with Heighten Spell, he needs to use an even higher level spell slot than the adjusted spell level from the Quicken Spell feat. Increasing the fireball's effective spell level by +1 (from 3rd to 4th) requires using a spell slot +1 level higher (in this case, an 8th-level spell slot instead of a 7th-level slot); increasing the fireball's effective spell level by +2 (from 3rd to 5th) requires using a spell slot +2 levels higher (in this case, a 9th-level spell slot instead of a 7th-level slot).
Another way to look at (2) it is to add Heighten Spell first, then other metamagic feats. Continuing the above example, you'd first heighten the fireball to a 4th-level spell, then quicken it, which requires an 8th-level spell slot (fireball 4th level + quicken 4 levels). Or first heighten the fireball to a 5th-level spell, then quicken it, which requires a 9th-level spell slot (fireball 5th level + quicken 4 levels).
(Heighten Spell is a weak metamagic feat and has limited utility when combined with other metamagic feats.)
Jumping: If I want to jump over a 10-foot pit, is the DC 10, like the table says, or is it higher, since I need to move a total of 15 feet to reach a non-pit square?
The DC is still 10 to jump over a 10-foot pit. You do move a total of 15 feet when you make that jump, but some of that is not required to be part of the jump. One way to visualize it is to think of it as walking/running the 2–1/2 feet from the center of your original square to the edge of the pit, jumping the pit right to the other edge, and then walking the 2–1/2 feet to the center of the new square.
Manyshot: Can I fire two arrows with my shot, then cancel the full attack and take a move?
No. Though the rules for "Deciding between an Attack or a Full Attack (Core Rulebook 187) give you the option to move after your first attack instead of making your remaining attacks, Manyshot locks you into using a full attack action as soon as you use it to shoot two arrows.
Metamagic: At what spell level does the spell count for concentration DCs, magus spell recall, or a pearl of power?
The spell counts as the level of the spell slot necessary to cast it.
For example, an empowered burning hands uses a 3rd-level spell slot, counts as a 3rd-level spell for making concentration checks, counts as a 3rd-level spell for a magus's spell recall or a pearl of power.
In general, use the (normal, lower) spell level or the (higher) spell slot level, whichever is more of a disadvantage for the caster. The advantages of the metamagic feat are spelled out in the Benefits section of the feat, and the increased spell slot level is a disadvantage.
Heighten Spell is really the only metamagic feat that makes using a higher-level spell slot an advantage instead of a disadvantage.
Quicken Spell: Can you use Quicken Spell on a spell with a casting time of "1 round" (such as enlarge person)? Can you use it on a spell with a casting time of "1 full round" (such as a spontaneous caster using a metamagic feat on a spell)?
Yes and yes. Neither type has a longer casting time than the "longer than 1 full-round action" limitation of Quicken Spell, therefore both can be quickened.
This means that a sorcerer could cast an empowered quickened magic missile as a swift action. Likewise, as multiple metamagic feats don't push the casting time longer than 1 full-round action, a sorcerer could cast an empowered silent stilled quickened magic missile as a swift action.
Spell Mastery: Can an alchemist, magus, or witch select this feat?
As written, no, as the feat's prerequisite is "1st-level wizard."
However, the feat was written before the existence of the alchemist, magus, and witch classes, and it is a perfectly reasonable house rule to allow those classes to select the feat and apply its benefits to an alchemist's formula book, magus's spellbook, or witch's familiar.
Selective Channeling: Do I have to be able to see a creature in order to exclude them from the effect of my channeled energy?
Just like using a Target: creature spell, you must be able to see or touch a creature to affect it (or, in the case of this feat, select it to be unaffected). Pinpointing the square of an invisible creature isn't sufficient—you must be able to see or touch the creature.
Note that this works differently than an alchemist's precise bombs discovery, which allows the alchemist to exclude *squares* from his bomb's splash area (not targets).
Spring Attack: Can I use Spring Attack to make an attack from an ally's square?
Let's use a diagram of a 5-foot-wide hallway to help visualize this question. Periods are open squares. A is the acting character. Numbers are allies of A. X is the monster.
. . . . . A 1 2 3 X
Using the diagram as a model, the question is, "Can I use Spring Attack to move from A to 3, make an attack on the monster from 3's square, then move back to A and end my turn?"
The answer is "yes." The key to understanding this is the general rule, "you cannot end your movement in an occupied square." Spring Attack is a full-round action; it is not a move action, then an attack, and then another move action, it's one continuous movement with an attack happening in the middle. Thus, with Spring Attack you're not ending your movement until you end your movement for the turn.
To look at it another way, if the character just wanted to move from A to 3 and back to A, that would be a legal move because he's not ending his movement in 3, he's ending his movement back in A. With Spring Attack, the character still isn't ending his movement in 3; the feat gives him the ability to perform an attack as part of the continuous movement from A to 3 to A (regardless of whether that attack happens when he's in an occupied square).
(Even with speed 15, a character moving 15 feet from A to 3 and then 15 feet from 3 to A isn't ending his movement in 3... using a move action to move 15 feet and a standard action to move 15 feet doesn't mean he's actually pausing halfway through his movement to change actions.)
Weapon Finesse: If I have this feat, can I apply my Dex bonus to my combat maneuver checks instead of my Strength bonus?
It depends on what combat maneuver you're attempting. Disarm, sunder, and trip are normally the only kinds of combat maneuvers in which you’re actually using a weapon to perform the maneuver, and therefore the weapon’s bonuses apply to the roll. Therefore, if you're attempting a disarm, sunder, or trip maneuver, you can apply your Dex bonus instead of your Str mod on the combat maneuver check (assuming you're using a finessable weapon, of course). For other combat maneuvers, you use the normal rule for determining CMB (Str instead of Dex).
The Agile Maneuvers feat applies to all combat maneuvers, not just disarm, sunder, and trip, so it is still a useful option for a Dex-based creature that uses combat maneuvers.
Weapon Specialization: Can you take Weapon Specialization (ray) or Improved Critical (ray) as feats? How about Weapon Specialization (bomb) or Improved Critical (bomb)?
All four of those are valid choices.
Note that Weapon Specialization (ray) only adds to hit point damage caused by a ray attack that would normally deal hit point damage; it doesn't increase ability score damage or drain (such as the Dexterity drain from polar ray), penalties to ability scores (such as from ray of enfeeblement) or drain, negative levels (such as from enervation), or other damage or penalties from rays.
Widen Spell: How does the Widen Spell feat affect spells with line effects?
As written, nothing--lines do not have a width dimension, so that can't be doubled by the feat, and most line spells have a fixed range, which the spell can't exceed unless you're using Enlarge Spell. So, for most lines, Widen Spell has no effect unless you couple it with Enlarge Spell. Yes, it's strange, and we may end up revisiting this rule at some point in the future.
Meanwhile, as a house rule (not an official update to the rules), it's fair to allow someone to use the Widen Spell feat on a line spell and actually double its range. You are, after all, increasing the level by +3, and if you're casting lightning bolt as a 6th-level spell, you ought to at least be able to get a 240-foot bolt out of it.
Vital Strike: Can I use this with Spring Attack, or on a charge?
No. Vital Strike can only be used as part of an attack action, which is a specific kind of standard action. Spring Attack is a special kind of full-round action that includes the ability to make one melee attack, not one attack action. Charging uses similar language and can also not be used in combination with Vital Strike.
Amulet of Mighty Fists: Does this allow a creature's natural attacks to bypass damage reduction if the enhancement bonus is high enough (as noted on page 562)?
Yes. If the amulet grants at least a +3 enhancement bonus it allows a creature's natural attacks to bypass cold iron and silver damage reduction. If it is +4, it allows them to bypass adamantine damage reduction (although not hardness), and if it is +5, it allows them to bypass alignment-based damage reduction.
Adamantine: What's the hardness of a metal weapon made out of adamantine?
The answer depends on whether the weapon is entirely adamantine, or partly adamantine and partly some other material.
Table 7–12 on page 175 of the Core Rulebook lists common weapon hardness and hit points. The table assumes the weapon in question is made of leather, wood, and/or steel, as appropriate. According to Table 7–13, steel has hardness 10, which is why completely-steel weapons on the table have hardness 10.
Hafted weapon normally have a wooden haft rather than a metal haft. Even a steel-headed weapon such as a battleaxe has a wooden haft, so even though its head is made of a material with hardness 10, its weakest part is the haft, which has hardness 5, therefore the weapon is listed on Table 7–12 as having hardness 5 (because it is assumed that you're aiming at the weakest parts when trying to destroy an object).
For a weapon that is entirely made of one material (such as a one-handed blade), if that material isn't the standard material for that weapon, use that material's hardness from Table 7–13 instead of the default hardness on Table 7–12. For example, a wooden longsword has hardness 5, a glass longsword has hardness 1, and an adamantine longsword has hardness 20.
For a weapon that isn't entirely made of the same material (such as a wooden-hafted weapon with a metal head), if that material isn't the standard material for that weapon, use the hardness from Table 7–13 for the weakest material in the weapon instead of the default hardness on Table 7–12. For example, an ice-hafted (hardness 0) steel-headed (hardness 10) battleaxe has hardness 0 overall because it is only as strong as its weakest part. Likewise, an ice-hafted adamantine-headed battleaxe has hardness 0, just like its ice counterpart. ("Use the weakest material" is a relative term, as a battleaxe probably includes a small amount of leather, but its primary materials are wood and steel, so wood is its weakest material.)
Note that this "weak spot" of a hafted weapon doesn't affect the material properties of the weapon's head. A wooden-hafted adamantine-headed battleaxe still counts as adamantine for its attacks, is still of masterwork quality and has a +1 enhancement bonus to attack rolls, even if it is just as easy to sunder as a common steel battleaxe. The GM is also free to rule that damage to the weapon which only affected its head (such as dipping it into a shallow pool of acid) should use the head's hardness instead of the haft's hardness.
Amulet of Mighty Fists: Is the price on this item correct?
The design team has decided to reduce the price of this item. The new prices are as follows: 4,000 gp (+1), 16,000 gp (+2), 36,000 gp (+3), 64,000 gp (+4), 100,000 gp (+5). Accordingly, this reduces the costs to create these amulets, as follows: 2,000 gp (+1), 8,000 gp (+2), 18,000 gp (+3), 32,000 gp (+4), 50,000 gp (+5).
This makes this item priced a bit more competitively for monks and creatures that rely on natural attacks.
This answer originally appeared in the 12/4/12 Paizo blog. The next printing of the Core Rulebook, NPC Codex, and Ultimate Equipment will be updated with this information.
Bane: Can I apply multiple bane special abilities to the same weapon? If so, do their effects stack?
You can apply multiple bane special abilities to the same weapon. For example, you can have a +1 dragon- and fey-bane longsword, which has an increased enhancement bonus and damage against dragons and against fey.
If you have multiple bane effects on a weapon and attack a creature against which more than one bane applies (such as a chaotic- and evil-outsider bane weapon used against a demon), the effects do not stack: the weapon's enhancement bonus is only +2 higher than its actual enhancement bonus, and it only deals +2d6 points of damage against that opponent.
(Compare to fighter weapon training or ranger favored enemy bonuses, both of which say you use the highest bonus if more than one bonus applies.)
Bastard Sword: Is this a one-handed weapon or a two-handed weapon?
A bastard sword is a one-handed weapon (although for some rules it blurs the line between a one-handed and a two-handed weapon).
The physical properties of a bastard sword are that of a one-handed weapon. For example, its hardness, hit points, ability to be crafted out of special materials, category for using the Craft skill, effect of alchemical silver, and so on, are all that of a one-handed weapon.
For class abilities, feats, and other rule elements that vary based on or specifically depend on wielding a one-handed weapon, a two-handed weapon, or a one-handed weapon with two hands, the bastard sword counts as however many hands you are using to wield it.
For example, if you are wielding it one-handed (which normally requires the Exotic Weapon Proficiency feat), it is treated as a one-handed weapon; Power Attack only gets the one-handed bonus, you cannot use Pushing Assault or Shield of Swings (which require a two-handed weapon), and so on.
If you are wielding it with two hands (whether or not you have the Exotic Weapon Proficiency to wield it with one hand), it is treated as a two-handed weapon; Power Attack gets the increased damage bonus, you can use Pushing Assault or Shield of Swings (which require a two-handed weapon), and so on.
An unusual case of the handedness rule is an ability that allows you to treat a two-handed weapon as a one-handed weapon. For example, the titan mauler's jotungrip (which allows you to wield a two-handed weapon with one hand) allows you to wield a bastard sword in one hand even without the Exotic Weapon Proficiency, and (as the ability states) treats it as a one-handed weapon, therefore it is treated as a one-handed weapon for other effects.
Crafting and Bypassing Requirements: What crafting requirements can you bypass by adding +5 to the DC of your Spellcraft check?
As presented on page 549 of the Core Rulebook, there are no limitations other than (1) you have to have the item creation feat, and (2) you cannot create potions, spell-trigger, or spell-completion magic items without meeting their spell prerequisites. So racial requirements, specific spell requirements, math requirements (such as "caster level must be at least three times the enhancement bonus"), and so on, are all subject to the +5 DC rule.
Crafting and Spell Requirements: When crafting an item, can an arcane caster use a divine scroll to fulfill an item's divine spell requirement?
Yes. (Likewise, a divine caster could use an arcane scroll to fulfill an item's arcane spell requirement.)
However, the character has to be able to activate the scroll somehow as part of the crafting process. This probably requires the arcane caster to succeed at a Use Magic Device check to activate the divine spell. If the caster fails to cast the divine spell from the scroll, he makes no progress on the item that day unless he has another source for that divine spell (such as another copy of the scroll).
Enhancement Bonus: Can I craft an item that gives an odd-numbered enhancement bonus to an ability score, such as a +1 belt of giant strength?
Technically the item-pricing formula in the Core Rulebook allows for items like that, but officially the game should only have even-numbered enhancement bonuses to ability scores. If you want an odd-numbered ability score bonus, you'll need to pay for an inherent bonus, such as a manual of gainful exercise +1.
Exotic Weapons and Hands: If a weapon is wielded two-handed as a martial weapon and one-handed with an exotic weapon proficiency, can I wield it one-handed without the exotic proficiency at a –4 penalty?
Note that normally you can't wield a two-handed weapon in one hand. A bastard sword is an exception to that rule that you can't wield a two-handed weapon in one hand, but you must have special training to use the bastard sword this way. Without that special training, wielding a bastard sword one-handed is as impossible as wielding a greatsword one-handed.
(The same goes for other weapons with this one-handed exotic exception, such as the dwarven waraxe.)
Edit 7/26/13: Correction of a typo in the second sentence that said "you can't wield a two-handed weapon in two hands."
Headband of Vast Intelligence: If I wear this item, do I get retroactive skill ranks for my Int increase in addition to the skill ranks associated with the item?
No. The skill associated with the magic item represents the "retroactive" skill ranks you'd get from the item increasing your Intelligence. You don't get the item's built-in skill ranks and another set to assign however you want.
Lance: If I have the pounce ability and I charge with a lance, do my iterative lance attacks get the lance's extra damage multiplier from charging?
No, it doesn’t makes sense that those iterative attacks gain the damage bonus. To make that second attack, you have to pull the lance back and stab forward again, and that stab doesn’t have the benefit of the charge’s momentum. (The Core Rulebook doesn’t state that you only get the damage multiplier on the first attack with a lance because when the Core Rulebook was published, there was no way for a PC to charge and get multiple attacks with a weapon in the same round, so that combination didn’t need to be addressed.)
Magic Items, Wearers, and Durations: If a magic item grants an effect with a duration to the wearer, can I put it on, activate the effect, take it off, and keep the effect active?
No, as soon as you remove an item that grants an effect to the wearer, you are no longer the wearer, so any remaining duration immediately expires. The same is true if the item affects the owner, wielder, and so on. If the item's effect does not specify the recipient as the wearer (or owner, wielder, etc), then unless it says otherwise, it remains when the item is removed.
Mithral: What weight do I use to determine the price of a mithral weapon or non-armor item?
To determine the additional price for the mithral (as compared to the normal item's price), use the non-mithral item's original weight and multiply that by 500 gp per pound.
For example, a steel dagger for a Medium creature weighs 1 pound. For its mithral equivalent, multiply that weight (1 lb.) times 500 gp/pound, or +500 gp. When added to the original item's cost (2 gp), the mithral dagger's total price is 502 gp.
There are likely some inconsistent mithral item prices in print, and these will be addressed in future printings of these books, as appropriate.
Mithral armor: What exactly does it mean when it says mithral armor is counted as one category lighter for “other limitations?”
This means that mithral armor allows its wearer to use it when her own class features or special abilities demand her to wear lighter armor; in other words, the character wearing the armor is less limited. For example, a bard can cast spells in mithral breastplate without arcane spell failure, a barbarian can use her fast movement in mithral fullplate, a ranger can use his combat style in mithral fullplate, brawlers, swashbucklers, and gunslingers can keep their nimble bonus in mithral breastplate, rogues keep evasion in mithral breastplate, a brawler can flurry in mithral breastplate, characters without Endurance can sleep in mithral breastplate without becoming fatigued, and so on. It does not change the armor’s actual category, which means that you can still store a creature one size category larger in a hosteling mithral fullplate, and you can’t enhance a mithral breastplate with special abilities that require it to be light armor, like brawling (though you could enhance it with special abilities that require it to be medium armor), and so on.
PC Wealth By Level: If a PC has an item crafting feat, does a crafted item count as its Price or its Cost?
It counts as the item's Cost, not the Price. This comes into play in two ways.
If you're equipping a higher-level PC, you have to count crafted items at their Cost. Otherwise the character isn't getting any benefit for having the feat. Of course, the GM is free to set limits in equipping the character, such as "no more than 40% of your wealth can be used for armor" (instead of the "balanced approach" described on page 400 where the PC should spend no more than 25% on armor).
If you're looking at the party's overall wealth by level, you have to count crafted items at their Cost. Otherwise, if you counted crafted items at their Price, the crafting character would look like she had more wealth than appropriate for her level, and the GM would have to to bring this closer to the target gear value by reducing future treasure for that character, which means eventually that character has the same gear value as a non-crafting character--in effect neutralizing any advantage of having that feat at all.
Pearl of Power: What is the caster level required to create this item?
Though the listed Caster Level for a pearl of power is 17th, that caster level is not part of the Requirements listing for that item. Therefore, the only caster level requirement for a pearl of power is the character has to be able to cast spells of the desired level.
However, it makes sense that the minimum caster level of the pearl is the minimum caster level necessary to cast spells of that level--it would be strange for a 2nd-level pearl to be CL 1st.
For example, a 3rd-level wizard with Craft Wondrous Item can create a 1st-level pearl, with a minimum caster level of 1. He can set the caster level to whatever he wants (assuming he can meet the crafting DC), though the pearl's caster level has no effect on its powers (other than its ability to resist dispel magic). If he wants to make a 2nd-level pearl, the caster level has to be at least 3, as wizards can't cast 2nd-level spells until they reach character level 3. He can even try to make a 3rd-level pearl, though the minimum caster level is 5, and he adds +5 to the DC because he doesn't meet the "able to cast 3rd-level spells" requirement.
Potions: If I drink a potion, do I automatically forgo my save against that potion?
No. Nothing in the potion rules says it changes whether or not you get a saving throw against the spell stored in the potion. Even if someone hands you a potion of poison and tells you it’s a potion of cure serious wounds, you still get a save.
Ring of Counterspells: Does this counter area spells such as fireball?
The ring only affects spells that target you, not spells that include you in the area. One possible interpretation is that the ring would make you immune to that casting of the spell (and the rest of the area would be affected normally), but that would require additional exlplanatory language and create strange situations where you'd be immune to control water or guards and wards and able to wander freely through such effects. Instead, it is clearer to adjudicate if the ring only affects spells targeting you.
(The wording of the magic item may be clarified in future errata.)
Shield Bash: If I am proficient with wearing shields, can I make a shield bash without a nonproficiency penalty?
Armor proficiencies and weapon proficiencies are different things.
Table 6–4: Weapon (page 142) lists light shields, heavy shields, and spiked shields as martial weapons. The shield bash attacks entries (page 152) say that using a shield in this way is a "martial bludgeoning weapon."
Regardless of whether or not you are proficient in wearing a shield for defense, attacking with a shield is using a martial weapon and you take appropriate penalties if you are not proficient in martial weapons (for example, if you are a cleric, you take a –4 nonproficiency penalty when making shield bash attacks because you are not proficient in martial weapons).
Shield Bash: If I make a shield bash, does it always have to be an off-hand attack?
The text for a shield bash assumes you're making a bash as an off-hand attack, but you don't have to. You can, for example, just make a shield bash attack (at your normal, main-hand attack bonus) or shield bash with your main hand and attack with a sword in your off-hand.
Update: Page 152—In the Shield Bash Attacks section, in the first sentence, delete “using it as an off-hand weapon.”
Trip Weapons: If you want to make a trip combat maneuver, do you have to use a weapon with the trip special feature?
No. When making a trip combat maneuver, you don't have to use a weapon with the trip special feature--you can use any weapon. For example, you can trip with a longsword or an unarmed strike, even though those weapons don't have the trip special feature.
Note that there is an advantage to using a weapon with the trip special feature (a.k.a. a "trip weapon") when making a trip combat maneuver: if your trip attack fails by 10 or more, you can drop the trip weapon instead of being knocked prone.
On a related note, you don't have to use a weapon with the disarm special feature (a.k.a. a "disarm weapon") when making a disarm combat maneuver--you can use any weapon.
Note: This is a revision of this FAQ entry based on a Paizo blog about combat maneuvers with weapons. The previous version of this FAQ stated that using a trip weapon was the only way you could apply weapon enhancement bonuses, Weapon Focus bonuses, and other such bonuses to the trip combat maneuver roll. The clarification in that blog means any weapon used to trip applies these bonuses when making a trip combat maneuver, so this FAQ was updated to omit the "only trip weapons let you apply these bonuses" limitation.
Unarmed Strike: For the purpose of magic fang and other spells, is an unarmed strike your whole body, or is it a part of your body (such as a fist or kick)?
As written, the text isn't as clear as it could be. Because magic fang requires the caster to select a specific natural attack to affect, you could interpret that to mean you have to do the same thing for each body part you want to enhance with the spell (fist, elbow, kick, knee, headbutt, and so on).
However, there's no game mechanic specifying what body part a monk has to use to make an unarmed strike (other than if the monk is holding an object with his hands, he probably can't use that hand to make an unarmed strike), so a monk could just pick a body part to enhance with the spell and always use that body part, especially as the 12/4/2012 revised ruling for flurry of blows allows a monk to flurry with the same weapon (in this case, an unarmed strike) for all flurry attacks.
This means there is no game mechanical reason to require magic fang and similar spells to specify one body part for an enhanced unarmed strike. Therefore, a creature's unarmed strike is its entire body, and a magic fang (or similar spell) cast on a creature's unarmed strike affects all unarmed strikes the creature makes.
The text of magic fang will be updated slightly in the next Core Rulebook update to take this ruling into account.
Weapon Bonuses: Can weapon special abilities (such as bane) or class abilities (such as a paladin's divine bond) allow you to exceed the +5 enhancement bonus limit and the +10 bonus-equivalent limitation?
For the enhancement bonus limitation, it depends on the specific effect or ability that's altering the weapon.
Bane: This allows the weapon to exceed the +5 limit, but only against the designated creature type. For example, a +5 dragon-bane longsword is normally a +5 weapon, but has a +7 enhancement bonus against dragons and deals +2d6 points of damage against dragons.
Paladin: The divine bond ability says "These [enhancement] bonuses can be added to the weapon, stacking with existing weapon bonuses to a maximum of +5." That means if a paladin has a +5 longsword, she can't use her divine bond to increate the enhancement bonus to +6 or higher (but she could use her bonuses to add abilities such as flaming to the weapon).
The +10 bonus-equivalent limitation is a hard cap for all weapons; you can't exceed that even with class abilities or other unusual abilities.
Weapons, Two-Handed in One Hand: When a feat or other special ability says to treat a weapon that is normally wielded in two hands as a one handed weapon, does it get treated as one or two handed weapon for the purposes of how to apply the Strength modifier or the Power Attack feat?
If you're wielding it in one hand (even if it is normally a two-handed weapon), treat it as a one-handed weapon for the purpose of how much Strength to apply, the Power Attack damage bonus, and so on.
When I use a magic item like ring of invisibility or hat of disguise that can be activated to gain the effects of a spell, does the wording "as the spell" also include the spell’s duration?
Yes, such items' effects have a duration, as indicated by the spell’s duration and the item’s caster level. If the item has no daily use limit, however, you can simply use the item again to reset the duration.
Wild armor and other transforming armor: When I use a wild armor and gain the armor’s benefits, what restrictions, if any, apply to me? In general, when I transform with a polymorph effect and some of my gear melds into the form, what restrictions do I have for melding with large amounts of heavy gear? What about other types of transforming armor?
If you were in medium or heavy load from encumbrance before transforming, you continue to take those penalties in your melded form. Otherwise, ignore the weight of melded items and calculate your encumbrance in your polymorphed form entirely based on non-melded items. When wearing melded armor and shields, if you gain no benefit from the melded armor, you still count as wearing an armor of that type, but you do not suffer its armor check penalty, movement speed reduction, or arcane spell failure chance. If you do gain any benefits (as with the wild property), then you do suffer the armor check penalty, movement speed reduction, and arcane spell failure chance. This also applies to all other situations where you or an armor transform: you always count as wearing an armor of that type, and if you gain any benefit at all from the armor (such as mistmail), you apply the armor check penalty, movement speed reduction, and arcane spell failure chance.
10-Foot Reach and Diagonals: I’m confused about reach and diagonals. I heard somewhere online that you don’t threaten the second diagonal with a 10-foot reach but that you somehow get an attack of opportunity when opponents move out of that square, but the Rules Reference Cards show that you do threaten the second diagonal. Which one is correct?
The cards are correct. As an exception to the way that diagonals normally work, a creature with 10 feet of reach threatens the second diagonal. These changes will be reflected in the next errata.
Bonus Dice: Do bonus dice from Channel Smite or spells such as elemental touch or flame arrow multiply on a critical hit?
No. Core Rulebook page 179 states in the Multiplying Damage section: "Exception: Extra damage dice over and above a weapon’s normal damage are never multiplied."
The general rule is the only dice you multiply on a critical hit are the actual dice from the basic weapon (d8 for a longsword, 2d6 for a greatsword, and so on).
Can I use my longspear to attack at both 10 feet and 5 feet? I know that the rules for reach weapons don't allow them to attack adjacent foes, but can I use the improvised weapon rules to say that the blunt end of my longspear resembles a club and use it to attack adjacent foes? I know that the improvised weapon rules say they are for objects not designed to be weapons, but the blunt end of my longspear was not designed to be a weapon, right?
You could choose to wield your longspear as an improvised blunt weapon. In this case, it threatens only your adjacent squares, and not the further squares. If you are wielding it as a longspear, though, to threaten the further squares, then your grip precludes the use as an improvised blunt weapon. The rules are silent on how long it would take to shift between the two, but switching between a one-handed and a two-handed grip with a one-handed weapon like a longsword is a free action (and can thus be only taken on your turn), so it should take at least as long as that, thus preventing you from simultaneously threatening all of the squares at once. Incidentally, using the longspear as an improvised weapon in this way would not allow you to benefit from any magical enhancements it may possess, nor would you add benefits that apply when attacking with a longspear (such as Weapon Focus (longspear), but you would apply any benefits from using an improvised weapon (such as Catch Off-Guard).
Concealment and Precision Damage: Does concealment (the 20% kind, not total concealment) negate all kinds of precision damage? There is some confusion from the multiple places where precision damage appears.
Yes, in general concealment does negate all kinds of precision damage, unless you have a special ability that particularly says otherwise like the Shadow Strike feat or the Unchained rogue’s sneak attack.
Critical Hits: Is there a difference between "scoring a critical hit" and "confirming a critical hit"?
No, they mean the same thing. However, the preferred rules language is "confirming a critical hit." (Similarly, the preferred rules language for a rolling a critical threat is "threatening a critical hit").
Grapple: There are some contradictions between the various rules on grappling. What is correct?
To sum up the correct rules:
1) Grappling does not deny you your Dex bonus to AC, whether you are the grappler or the target.
2) A grappled creature can still make a full attack.
3) Being pinned does not make you flat-footed, but you are denied your Dex bonus.
Update: Page 195—In Table 8–6: Armor Class Modifiers, in the entry for Grappling, delete the superscript “1” after the +0 in the Melee and Ranged columns. In the third footnote, change “flat-footed and cannot add his Dexterity bonus” to “denied its Dexterity bonus”
Update: Page 201—In the If You Are Grappled section, in the fourth sentence, change “any action that requires only one hand to perform” to “any action that doesn’t require two hands to perform.” In the fourth sentence, change “make an attack with a light or one-handed weapon” to “make an attack or full attack with a light or one-handed weapon”
Update: Page 568—In the Pinned condition, in the second sentence, change “flat-footed” to “denied its Dexterity bonus.”
Damage Reduction: How does DR interact with magical effects that deal bludgeoning, piercing, or slashing damage?
Although the Bestiary definition of Damage Reduction (page 299) says "The creature takes normal damage from energy attacks (even nonmagical ones), spells, spell-like abilities, and supernatural abilities," that's actually just referring to damage that isn't specifically called out as being of a particular type, such as fire damage or piercing damage. In other words, DR doesn't protect against "typeless damage" from magical attacks.
However, if a magical attack specifically mentions that it deals bludgeoning, piercing, or slashing damage, DR affects that damage normally, as if it were from a physical weapon. (Otherwise the magical attack might as well not have a damage type, as it would only interface with B/P/S damage in a very few corner cases, such as whether or not an ooze splits from that attack.)
For example, the ice storm spell deals 3d6 points of bludgeoning damage and 2d6 points of cold damage. If you cast ice storm at a group of zombies, the zombie's DR 5/slashing protects them against 5 points of the spell's bludgeoning damage. Their DR doesn't help them against the spell's cold damage because DR doesn't apply to energy attacks.
Deflecting Attacks: Does an attack that is deflected count as a miss?
It depends on the ability that is deflecting the attack.
For example, the Deflect Arrows feat says, "Once per round when you would normally be hit with an attack from a ranged weapon, you may deflect it so that you take no damage from it." It doesn't say the attack is a miss or is treated as a miss--instead, you take no damage from the attack. Because it is not a miss, effects that would trigger on a miss (such as Efreeti Style or Snake Fang from Ultimate Combat) are not triggered.
Likewise, the Crane Wing feat (Ultimate Combat) uses similar language and does not say the deflected attack is a miss or treated as a miss.
Note that the Snatch Arrows feat counts as a deflected attack--you do not take damage if you choose to catch the weapons instead of just deflecting it, and catching the weapon does not mean the attack was a miss.
Update 5/29/13: If the attack is deflected, not only does the target take no damage, but any other effects (ability drain, negative levels, harmful conditions, and so on) associated with that attack do not occur. If the deflected attack is a touch spell or other effect that requires "holding the charge," the charge is not expended. For example, if a ghoul's claw attack is deflected, the target is not subject to the ghoul's paralysis ability from the attack. If a shocking grasp touch attack is deflected, the attacker is still "holding the charge." The Crane Wing feat will be updated in a future printing of Ultimate Combat to clarify these issues.
Drawing and Sheathing a Weapon-like Object: I know I can draw or sheathe a weapon-like object as a move action using the "Draw or sheathe a weapon" action, but if I have a base attack bonus of +1 or higher, can I draw a weapon-like object with a regular move?
Yes. As shown on the chart on page 183, when you have a BAB of +1 or higher, you are combining the regular draw or sheathe a weapon action (to draw a weapon) with a move action. Thus all rules for draw or sheathe a weapon apply, including the ability to draw a weapon-like object.
Free Actions: Can you take free actions during an attack of opportunity? For instance, can you use the Grab, Trip, Pull, or Push universal monster rules after hitting with an attack of opportunity, since they require free actions and free actions can’t be used off-turn? What about Rock Catching? That seems like it could only work off-turn.
While you can’t take most free actions off your turn, Grab, Trip, Pull, Push, and Rock Catching’s free actions can all be used off-turn. This will be reflected in future errata.
Free Actions: How many free actions can I take in a round?
A: Core Rulebook page 181 says,
"Free Action: Free actions consume a very small amount of time and effort. You can perform one or more fr ee actions while taking another action normally. However, there are reasonable limits on what you can really do for free, as decided by the GM."
Core Rulebook page 188 says,
"Free actions don't take any time at all, though there may be limits to the number of free actions you can perform in a turn."
In other words, the GM can allow more or fewer free actions as appropriate to the circumstances.
Limited actions on my turn: If an AOO or other interrupting effect reduces what actions I can take on my turn, does this reduction apply immediately?
Yes, even if it interrupts or limits your in-progress.
For example, if you are making a full attack and attempt to trip your opponent, but you provoke an AOO because you don't have Improved Trip, and your opponent has a spell storing weapon that's storing a hold person, and you fail your save against the spell, you are immediately paralyzed and can't take any of your remaining actions (including the remainder of your full attack).
Likewise, if your opponent had the Staggering Critical feat instead of a spell storing weapon and the attack staggered you, you would immediately gain the staggered condition, which would prevent you from taking any actions that violate the staggered condition's limitations. If you provoked by taking a move action to move through the opponent's threatened area, you could finish that move action but could not also take a standard action after it. If you provoked as part of a full attack (as with the trip example), becoming staggered would end your full attack at that point and prevent you from taking a move action after the staggering attack. It doesn't matter if the AOO happened because of your first attack in your full attack or your last allowed one, being staggered ends your full attack at that point because you can't make a full attack if you're staggered.
Mounted Combat: When making a charge while mounted, which creature charges? The rider or the mount?
Both charge in unison, suffer the same penalty to AC, the gaining the same bonus to the attack rolls and following all other rules for the charge. The mounted combat rules are a little unclear on this. Replace the third paragraph under the "Combat while Mounted" section on page 202 with the following text. Note that a "mounted charge" is synonymous with a "charge while mounted," and that when a lance is "when used from the back of a charging mount" it is during a mounted charge not when only the mount charges.
A mounted charge is a charge made by you and your mount. During a mounted charge, you deal double damage with your first melee attack made with a lance or with any weapon if you have Spirited Charge (or a similar effect), or you deal triple damage with a lance and Spirited Charge.
This change will be reflected in future printings of the Pathfinder RPG Core Rulebook
Multiple Weapons, Extra Attacks, and Two-Weapon Fighting: If I have extra attacks from a high BAB, can I make attacks with different weapons and not incur a two-weapon fighting penalty?
Yes. Basically, you only incur TWF penalties if you are trying to get an extra attack per round.
Let's assume you're a 6th-level fighter (BAB +6/+1) holding a longsword in one hand and a light mace in the other. Your possible full attack combinations without using two-weapon fighting are:
(A) longsword at +6, longsword +1
(B) mace +6, mace +1
(C) longsword +6, mace +1
(D) mace +6, longsword +1
All of these combinations result in you making exactly two attacks, one at +6 and one at +1. You're not getting any extra attacks, therefore you're not using the two-weapon fighting rule, and therefore you're not taking any two-weapon fighting penalties.
If you have Quick Draw, you could even start the round wielding only one weapon, make your main attack with it, draw the second weapon as a free action after your first attack, and use that second weapon to make your iterative attack (an "iterative attack" is an informal term meaning "extra attacks you get from having a high BAB"). As long as you're properly using the BAB values for your iterative attacks, and as long as you're not exceeding the number of attacks per round granted by your BAB, you are not considered to be using two-weapon fighting, and therefore do not take any of the penalties for two-weapon fighting.
The two-weapon fighting option in the Core Rulebook specifically refers to getting an extra attack for using a second weapon in your offhand. In the above four examples, there is no extra attack, therefore you're not using two-weapon fighting.
Using the longsword/mace example, if you use two-weapon fighting you actually have fewer options than if you aren't. Your options are (ignoring the primary/off hand penalties):
(A') primary longsword at +6, primary longsword at +1, off hand mace at +6
(B') primary mace at +6, primary mace at +1, off hand longsword at +6
In other words, once you decide you're using two-weapon fighting to get that extra attack on your turn (which you have to decide before you take any attacks on your turn), that decision locks you in to the format of "my primary weapon gets my main attack and my iterative attack, and my off hand weapon only gets the extra attack, and I apply two-weapon fighting penalties."
Natural Attacks: Am I proficient in my natural attacks?
Yes. Whether you get those natural attacks from your race (as stated in the Bestiary entry on natural attacks), your class (as stated in the druid proficiency list), a polymorph effect (as stated in the Magic chapter), or any other source (such as an alchemist's feral mutagen), you are proficient in your natural attacks.
Nauseated and Actions: Does the nauseated condition really mean what it says when it says “The only action such a character can take is a single move action per turn” or does it just mean I can’t take a standard action?
The nauseated condition really means what it says. You are limited to one move action per round, and not any other actions. Compare to the staggered condition, which says “A staggered creature may take a single move action or standard action each round (but not both, nor can he take full-round actions). A staggered creature can still take free, swift, and immediate actions.”
Pin: A creature grappling an opponent typically needs to make two combat maneuver checks to pin someone (one to grapple, the next to pin). If you're pinned, do you also need to succeed at two checks to escape, one for the grab and the other for the pin?
No. When a creature is pinned, it gains this more severe version of the grappled condition, and the two conditions do not stack (as described in the pinned condition). While this means that you do not take both the penalties for both the grapple and the pin, this also means that pinned supersedes the grapple condition; it does not compound it. For this reason you only need to succeed one combat maneuver or Escape Artist check to escape either a grapple or a pin.
Ranged Touch Attack Spells and AOOs: When you cast a spell that allows you to make a ranged touch attack (such as scorching ray), and an enemy is within reach, do you provoke two attacks of opportunity?
Yes, you provoke two attacks of opportunity: one for casting the spell and one for making a ranged attack, since these are two separate events.
(Note that at spell that fires multiple simultaneous rays, such as scorching ray, only provokes one AOO for making the ranged attack instead of one AOO for each ranged attack. It still provokes for casting the spell.
This answer originally appeared in the 9/11/12 Paizo blog.
Reach and Objects: Can you pick up or manipulate an object in a square within your reach? Does this provoke an AOO? Does it provoke even if the foe can reach the object, but not your space?
The rules are a little hazy here, but to put it simply, you can affect objects and creatures within your reach. When picking up or manipulating objects, you generally provoke an attack of opportunity, but only against foes that can reach your space. You do not provoke attacks of opportunity from foes that cannot reach you, no matter what action you are taking, even if it includes reaching into a threatened space. Although it might seem realistic to allow an attack in such a case, it would make the game far too complicated.
This answer originally appeared in the 9/25/12 Paizo blog.
No. The rules for a charge state that you can take a charge action as a standard action if you are "restricted to taking only a standard action on your turn". Although the ready action text states that you can take a standard action, it does not meet the requirements of the text in the charge action. (See Core Rulebook pages 198 and 203)
Size Changes, Effective Size Changes, and Damage Dice Progression: I'm confused by how to increase and decrease manufactured and natural weapon damage dice when the weapon's size or effective size changes. There's a bunch of different charts, and I'm not sure which to use.
When the damage dealt by a creature’s weapons or natural attacks changes due to a change in its size (or the size of its weapon), use the following rules to determine the new damage.
• If the size increases by one step, look up the original damage on the chart and increase the damage by two steps. If the initial size is Small or lower (or is treated as Small or lower) or the initial damage is 1d6 or less, instead increase the damage by one step.
• If the size decreases by one step, look up the original damage on the chart and decrease the damage by two steps. If the initial size is Medium or lower (or is treated as Medium or lower) or the initial damage is 1d8 or less, instead decrease the damage by one step.
• If the exact number of original dice is not found on this chart, apply the following before adjusting the damage dice. If the damage is a number of d6, find the next lowest number of d6 on the chart and use that number of d8 as the original damage value (for example, 10d6 would instead be treated as 8d8). If the damage is a number of d8, find the next highest number of d8 on the chart and use that number of d6 as the original damage value (for example, 5d8 would instead be treated as 6d6). Once you have the new damage value, adjust by the number of steps noted above.
• If the die type is not referenced on this chart, apply the following rules before adjusting the damage dice. 2d4 counts as 1d8 on the chart, 3d4 counts as 2d6 on the chart, and so on for higher numbers of d4. 1d12 counts as 2d6 on the chart, and so on for higher numbers of d12.
• Finally, 2d10 increases to 4d8 and decreases to 2d8, regardless of the initial size, and so on for higher numbers of d10.
Size increases and effective size increases: How does damage work if I have various effects that change my actual size, my effective size, and my damage dice?
As per the rules on size changes, size changes do not stack, so if you have multiple size changing effects (for instance an effect that increases your size by one step and another that increases your size by two steps), only the largest applies. The same is true of effective size increases (which includes “deal damage as if they were one size category larger than they actually are,” “your damage die type increases by one step,” and similar language). They don’t stack with each other, just take the biggest one. However, you can have one of each and they do work together (for example, enlarge person increasing your actual size to Large and a bashing shield increasing your shield’s effective size by two steps, for a total of 2d6 damage).
Sneak Attack: Can I add sneak attack damage to simultaneous attacks from a spell?
No. For example, scorching ray fires simultaneous rays at one or more targets, and the extra damage is only added once to one ray, chosen by the caster when the spell is cast.
Spell-based attacks which are not simultaneous, such as multiple attacks per round by a 8th-level druid using flame blade, may apply sneak attack damage to each attack so long as each attack qualifies for sneak attack (the target is denied its Dex bonus or the caster is flanking the target).
Splash Weapons: Does the "prepare to throw splash weapon" full-round action (page 183) apply to using all splash weapons?
No. Throwing a splash weapon is an attack, and most splash weapons don't need any preparation before use, as they explode or activate on impact (all you need to do is retrieve it from where you have it stored, then throw it, spending the appropriate actions to do so).
The "prepare to throw splash weapon" entry in the table only refers to preparing a flask of oil for use as a splash weapon. The oil equipment description says:
Oil: A pint of oil burns for 6 hours in a lantern or lamp. You can also use a flask of oil as a splash weapon. Use the rules for alchemist's fire (see Special Substances and Items on Table 6–9), except that it takes a full-round action to prepare a flask with a fuse. Once it is thrown, there is a 50% chance of the flask igniting successfully.
Therefore, the full-round action listed in the table is the action required to apply a fuse to a flask of oil and light it so you can use it as a splash weapon. ("Preparing" the flask does not include throwing it, which is a separate action to attack.)
Sunder: Can I make multiple sunder attempts in one round as part of a full-attack action? The sunder text says that I can make sunder attempts in place of melee attacks in an attack action, which is not technically a full-attack action.
Yes you can. The text is a little unclear here. Instead of saying "as part of an attack action in place of a melee attack", the text should read "in place of a melee attack", which would allow you to make multiple attempts in one round, or even make a sunder attempt as an attack of opportunity.
Tiny and smaller creatures: In the section on Tiny and smaller creatures, it says that entering a creature’s space provokes an attack of opportunity, but typically 5-foot steps don’t provoke an attack of opportunity. If a Tiny or smaller creature took a 5-foot step into a creature’s space, would it provoke an attack of opportunity?
Yes. Even with a 5-foot step, a Tiny or smaller creature entering a creature’s space provokes an attack of opportunity (unless it is using a more specific ability to avoid the attack of opportunity such as the Monkey Shine feat). This doesn’t mean that a Tiny or smaller creature entering a creature’s space and moving out of a threatened square with a move action provokes two attacks of opportunity from that creature, for the same reason that moving out of multiple of a creature’s threatened squares in the same move action doesn’t provoke two attacks of opportunity.
Trip: When a prone character stands up and provokes an attack of opportunity, can I use that attack to trip the character again?
No. The attack of opportunity is triggered before the action that triggered it is resolved. In this case, the target is still prone when the attack of opportunity occurs (and you get the normal bonuses when making such an attack). Since the trip combat maneuver does not prevent the target's action, the target then stands up.
Two-Handed Weapons: What kind of action is it to remove your hand from a two-handed weapon or re-grab it with both hands?
Both are free actions. For example, a wizard wielding a quarterstaff can let go of the weapon with one hand as a free action, cast a spell as a standard action, and grasp the weapon again with that hand as a free action; this means the wizard is still able to make attacks of opportunity with the weapon (which requires using two hands).
As with any free action, the GM may decide a reasonable limit to how many times per round you can release and re-grasp the weapon (one release and re-grasp per round is fair).
Two-Weapon Fighting: If you use this on your turn to attack with two weapons, do you also take that penalty on attacks of opportunity made before the start of your next turn?
No. The penalties end as soon as you have completed the full-attack action that allowed you to attack with both weapons. Any attacks of opportunity you make are at your normal attack bonus.
Generally speaking, penalties on attacks made during your turn do not carry over to attacks of opportunity unless they specifically state otherwise (such as the penalty from using Power Attack or Combat Expertise).
This answer originally appeared in the 9/25/12 Paizo blog.
Abilities that work “as a spell”: How do I calculate the DC of an ability that says it works as or like a particular spell?
Some abilities that work as a spell tell you what their DC is, like the bard’s fascinate performance. An ability that doesn’t tell you anything about its DC has a DC of 10 + the spell level + the key spellcasting ability score of the class that granted it (or Charisma otherwise). In the case of a spell with multiple spell levels, use the spell level from the class that granted the ability if that class has the spell on its spell list, and otherwise use the spell level that’s most appropriate (usually sorcerer/wizard for an arcane ability, cleric for a divine ability, and psychic for a psychic ability).
Arcane Bond: Can you identify an item that is the subject of an arcane bond from a wizard with detect magic or a similar affect, even if the item contains no other enchantments?
Since the arcane bond class feature, when tied to an item, grants a wizard the ability to cast any one spell, it is safe to assume that it does radiate magic when it is the subject of detect magic. The aura power would be directly related to the highest level spell it could be used to cast, but there would be no school associated with the item unless it was further enchanted.
Arcane Trickster: How does the Surprise Spells class feature work with spells like magic missile and fireball?
The Surprise Spells class feature allows the Arcane Trickster to add his sneak attack dice to spells that deal damage that target flat-footed foes. This damage is only applied once per spell. In the case of fireball this means it affects all targets in the area, with each getting a save to halve the damage (including the sneak attack damage). In the case of magic missile, the extra damage is only added once to one missile, chosen by the caster when the spell is cast.
Amulet of Mighty Fists: If a creature with multiple natural attacks (such as bite/claw/claw) wears an amulet with the speed property, does it get one extra attack with each of its natural weapons?
No... mainly because that combination is way too good for monsters with multiple attacks, and gets better the more natural attacks a monster has. Doubling a creature's attacks per round is really powerful, even for 80,000 gp (the price of a +4 amulet).
Awaken: Does changing the creature's type to "magical beast" affect its HD type, BAB, or other features? What about its 2 additional HD? How does training to wear barding relate to armor proficiency?
Only the animal's type changes to "magical beast"--it doesn't gain all the mathematical benefits for this type change (think of it as a "quick rules" version of adding a template to a creature).
The 2 HD it gains are d8s, just like its other animal HD.
An animal trained to wear barding can continue to do so without penalty once it is awakened. Once it's awakened, it can either spend a feat on armor proficiency or take class levels in a class that grants armor proficiency, just like any intelligent creature.
Big creatures and centered effects: If a Large or larger creature has up an effect “centered on you,” does that mean that sometimes the emanation doesn’t even affect the creature’s entire space, let alone anything else?
No, when such a creature uses an emanation or burst with the text “centered on you,” treat the creature’s entire space as the spell’s point of origin, and measure the spell’s area or effect from the edges of the creature’s space. For instance, an antimagic field cast by a great wyrm red dragon would extend 10 feet beyond her 30x30 foot space, for a total of a 50 foot diameter.
Charm Person: How does the "try to issue orders" aspect of this spell work?
The spell makes the target your friend. It will treat you kindly (although maybe not your allies) and will generally help you as long as your interests align. This is mostly in the purview of the GM.
If you ask the creature to do something that it would not normally do (in relation to your friendship), that is when the opposed Charisma check comes into play.
For example, if you use charm person to befriend an orc, the orc might share his grog with you and talk with you about the upcoming raid on a nearby settlement. If you asked him to help you fight some skeletons, he might very well lend a hand. If you asked him to help you till a field, however, you might need to make that check to convince him to do it.
This answer originally appeared in the 9/11/12 Paizo blog.
Darkness: Can adding additional sunrods to the area of the spell increase the light level?
No, sunrods can never increase the light level of an area of darkness because they are not magical sources of light. In such an area, it automatically defaults to the ambient natural light level (the light level from natural sources, such as the sun, moon, and stars—not torches, campfires, light spells, and so on), and then reduces it one step.
Defending Weapon Property: Do I have to make attack rolls with the weapon to gain its AC bonus?
Yes. Merely holding a defending weapon is not sufficient. Unless otherwise specified, you have to use a magic item in the manner it is designed (use a weapon to make attacks, wear a shield on your arm so you can defend with it, and so on) to gain its benefits.
Therefore, if you don't make an attack roll with a defending weapon on your turn, you don't gain its defensive benefit.
Likewise, while you can give a shield the defending property (after you've given it a +1 enhancement bonus to attacks, of course), you wouldn't get the AC bonus from the defending property unless you used the shield to make a shield bash that round--unless you're using the shield as a weapon (to make a shield bash), the defending weapon property has no effect.
Dispelling: If I use a "diametrically opposed" spell to counter or dispel another spell (bless vs. bane, haste vs. slow, and so on), does my spell have any effect other than dispelling?
It depends on whether you are using the spell as a counterspell or as a dispel.
If used as a counterspell, your spell has no effect other than to counter the target spell. If used as a dispel, there may be "spillover" from your spell or the target spell, depending on whether you affect more or fewer targets than the opponent's spell.
Counterspell Example: You are a 5th-level wizard, your opponent is a 6th-level sorcerer. On your turn, you ready an action to counterspell. The sorcerer begins to cast slow. You succeed at the Spellcraft check to identify the spell and cast haste as a counterspell against it. Your haste counters the slow, and neither spell has any effect.
Dispel Example: You are a 5th-level wizard, your opponent is a 6th-level sorcerer. On her turn, the sorcerer casts slow and targets 6 of your allies; all 6 of them fail their saves and are slowed. On your turn, you cast haste and target 5 of your allies; this automatically dispels (no caster level check needed) the slow spell on those allies, leaving them without the effect of slow or haste (your 6th ally is still affected by slow). Note that this does not merely suppress the slow effect for the duration of your haste—the effect is completely dispelled on those 5 allies. Note that it doesn't matter if the target would normally get a saving throw or spell resistance to negate or avoid the spell used to dispel (such as casting slow to dispel an already-caste haste); to speed up gameplay and prevent lopsided applications of this sort of dispelling, the "diametrically opposed" spell automatically dispels its opposite, regardless of the desires of the creature affected by the opposite.
Update 5 June 2013: FAQ clarified as to the difference between using an opposed spell to counterspell and using it as a dispel.
Update 6 June 2013: Additional text added to dispel example about saving throws and spell resistance.
Fabricate: Can I use this to make a masterwork item or an item with a special material?
Yes and yes. In effect, the spell is only saving you time compared to crafting the item nonmagically; you still must provide the raw materials (which costs you 1/3 of the item's price).
The spell doesn't require a Craft check if you're making an item that doesn't require a high degree of craftsmanship, such as a desk, door, club, outfit, or simple kind of armor.
Creating a desk with a secret compartment, a door that matches a wall when it is closed (i.e., a secret door), or a masterwork item count as items with a "high degree of craftsmanship," so you must succed at a appropriate Craft check against the DC to craft these sorts of items with the spell. In general, any item that has a Craft DC of 15 or higher requires you to succeed at a Craft check to fabricate the item.
If you want to create (for example) a mithral chain shirt, you need to provide the mithral and other materials needed for the chain shirt (costing 1/3 of the item's price). Because mithral items are always masterwork, you would have to succeed at a Craft check to successfully create the item.
As with the normal crafting rules, if you fail this check by 4 or less, you fail to create the item but do not ruin your materials (and could cast the spell again using those materials). If you fail by 5 or more, you ruin half the raw materials and have to pay half the original raw material cost again.
Making something that sounds like speech, and actually making intelligible speech are two different things. Ghost sound can sound like people talking, but anyone listening can't make out what the "people" are saying. After all, it is a cantrip, and shouldn't be as good as ventriloquism (which is a higher-level spell).
Grease: If an opponent casts this spell on my item, and I succed at my initial save, what happens?
The spell description says "an object wielded or employed by a creature requires its bearer to make a Reflex saving throw to avoid the effect," so succeeding at your save means you avoid the effect—the spell is negated and there is no grease on your item.
Invisibility: Can you see yourself when you're invisible?
The spell doesn't say one way or the other.
Because being invisible doesn't give you penalties on actions that require you to be able to see exactly what you're doing (such as picking a lock), you can assume that you can at least see yourself well enough to perform such actions without penalty. Whether this means you can see yourself as if you were not invisible, can see yourself as a ghostly image, or some other description is up to the GM, so long as the description doesn't hinder your own actions.
Invisibility Purge: Does this work on creatures that are naturally invisible?
In general, yes--nothing in the spell description says it only works on spells or other magical sources of invisibility.
However, note that the invisible stalker's natural invisibility specifically says that it is not subject to invisibility purge. Thus, will-o'-wisps and pixies become visible, but invisible stalkers do not.
Items as Spells: Does using a potion, scroll, staff, or wand count as "casting a spell" for purposes of feats and special abilities like Augment Summoning, Spell Focus, an evoker's ability to do extra damage with evocation spells, bloodline abilities, and so on?
No. Unless they specifically state otherwise, feats and abilities that modify spells you cast only affect actual spellcasting, not using magic items that emulate spellcasting or work like spellcasting.
New Spells Known: If I gain the ability to add a spell that is not on my spell list to my list of spells known, without adding it to my spell list, can I cast it?
No. Adding a spell to your list of spells known does not add it to the spell list of that class unless they are added by a class feature of that same class. For example, sorcerers add their bloodline spells to their sorcerer spell list and oracles add their mystery spells to their oracle spell list. The spell slots of a class can only be used to cast spells that appear on the spell list of that class.
Prestige Classes and Spellcasters: Does a wizard (or other character that uses a spellbook), receive bonus spells to add to his spellbook when he gains a level in a prestige class that grants an increase to spellcasting?
No. The increase to his spellcasting level does not grant any other benefits, except for spells per day, spells known (for spontaneous casters), and an increase to his overall caster level. He must spend time and gold to add new spells to his spellbook.
Protection From Evil: Does the "protection against possession and mental control" aspect work against non-evil controlling spells and effects?
No. The spell says "This second effect only functions against spells and effects created by evil creatures or objects." So if a chaotic neutral enemy casts charm person on you, protection from evil doesn't have any effect because neither the spell nor the caster is evil.
Protection From Evil: Does this work against all charm and compulsion effects? Or just against charm and compulsion effects where the caster is able to exercise control over the target, such as charm person, command, and dominate person (and thus not effects like sleep or confusion, as the caster does not have ongoing influence or puppet-like control of the target)?
The latter interpretation is correct: protection from evil only works on charm and compulsion effects where the caster is able to exercise control over the target, such as command, charm person, and dominate person; it doesn't work on sleep or confusion. (Sleep is a border case for this issue, but the designers feel that "this spell overrides your brain's sleep centers" is different enough than "this spell overrides your resistance to commands from others.")
Ray: Do rays count as weapons for the purpose of spells and effects that affect weapons?
Yes. (See also this FAQ item for a similar question about rays and weapon feats.)
For example, a bard's inspire courage says it affects "weapon damage rolls," which is worded that way so don't try to add the bonus to a spell like fireball. However, rays are treated as weapons, whether they're from spells, a monster ability, a class ability, or some other source, so the inspire courage bonus applies to ray attack rolls and ray damage rolls.
The same rule applies to weapon-like spells such as flame blade, mage's sword, and spiritual weapon--effects that affect weapons work on these spells.
Scrolls: If I fail my caster level check to activate a scroll, but don't have a mishap, is the scroll used up?
Update: Page 490—In the Activation section, in the first paragraph after the bullet points, add the following sentence: “If the caster level check fails but no mishap occurs, the scroll is not expended.”
Shocking Grasp: Do I get the +3 on the attack roll if I'm delivering the spell with something other than a touch attack, such as a natural weapon?
Yes. The +3 bonus is not dependent on using a melee touch attack to deliver the jolt. For example, a magus using spellstrike to deliver shocking grasp through his weapon would get the +3 bonus on the attack roll.
Spell-Like Abilities and Item Crafting: Can I use a spell-like ability for an item's spell requirement?
Yes. Core Rulebook page 461, Requirements section, paragraph 2 says, "A spell prerequisite may be provided by a character who has prepared the spell (or who knows the spell, in the case of a sorcerer or bard), or through the use of a spell completion or spell trigger magic item or a spell-like ability that produces the desired spell effect."
For example, a demon with the Craft Magic Arms and Armor feat and who has fireball as a spell-like ability can craft a +1 flaming sword, which has fireball as a prerequisite.
Spell-Like Abilities as Spells: Does a creature with a spell-like ability count as having that spell on its spell list for the purpose of activating spell completion or spell trigger items?
No. A spell-like ability is not a spell, having a spell-like ability is not part of a class's spell list, and therefore doesn't give the creature the ability to activate spell completion or spell trigger items.
Spell-Like Abilities, Casting, and Prerequisites: Does a creature with a spell-like ability count as being able to cast that spell for the purpose of prerequisites or requirements?
Only if the pre-requisite calls out the name of a spell explicitly. For instance, the Dimensional Agility feat (Ultimate Combat) has "ability to use the abundant step class feature or cast dimension door" as a prerequisite; a barghest has dimension door as a spell-like ability, so the barghest meets the "able to cast dimension door prerequisite for that feat. However, the barghest's dimension door would not meet requirements such as "Ability to cast 4th level spells" or "Ability to cast arcane spells".
Spell-Like Abilities: How do I know whether a spell-like ability is arcane or divine?
The universal monster rules for spell-like abilities states: "Some spell-like abilities duplicate spells that work differently when cast by characters of different classes. A monster's spell-like abilities are presumed to be the sorcerer/wizard versions. If the spell in question is not a sorcerer/wizard spell, then default to cleric, druid, bard, paladin, and ranger, in that order."
For spell-like abilities gained from a creature's race or type (including PC races), the same rule should apply: the creature's spell-like abilities are presumed to be the sorcerer/wizard versions. If the spell in question is not a sorcerer/wizard spell, then default to cleric, druid, bard, paladin, and ranger, in that order.
For spell-like abiities gained from a class, use the spell type (arcane or divine) of that class to determine whether the spell-like ability is arcane or divine. If the class doesn't cast spells, use the above rule for spell-like abilities from race or type.
Edit 7/15/13: Wording changed match the precedent in the universal monster rules for spell-like abilities.
Edit 9/23/13: Wording updated to clarify racial/type SLAs vs. class SLAs.
Spontaneous Casting and Multiple Classes: Can I spontaneously cast spells from one of my classes using a different class’s spell slots?
No. This is only possible if you have a class feature that explicitly allows it, such as Combined Spells. This applies even if the two classes share a spell list or if one of the classes allows you to spontaneously convert that class’s spell slots into certain spells on that class’s spell list, such as cleric and druid.
True Seeing: Does this spell protect you from phantasmal killer?
Yes. True seeing lets you "see all things as they actually are." Because phantasmal killer is an illusion (phantasm) spell and creates an image directly in the target's mind, a target with true seeing would (mentally) see the image and (physically) see that there is nothing really there, and would therefore immediately recognize that the mental image is actually unreal. Because phantasmal killer says the target "gets a Will save to recognize the image as unreal," the creature with true seeing automatically succeeds at that saving throw (no roll needed), and therefore never has to deal with the Fort-save aspect of phantasmal killer.
What exactly do I identify when I’m using Spellcraft to identify a spell? Is it the components, since spell-like abilities, for instance, don’t have any? If I can only identify components, would that mean that I can’t take an attack of opportunity against someone using a spell-like ability (or spell with no verbal, somatic, or material components) or ready an action to shoot an arrow to disrupt a spell-like ability? If there’s something else, how do I know what it is?
Although this isn’t directly stated in the Core Rulebook, many elements of the game system work assuming that all spells have their own manifestations, regardless of whether or not they also produce an obvious visual effect, like fireball. You can see some examples to give you ideas of how to describe a spell’s manifestation in various pieces of art from Pathfinder products, but ultimately, the choice is up to your group, or perhaps even to the aesthetics of an individual spellcaster, to decide the exact details. Whatever the case, these manifestations are obviously magic of some kind, even to the uninitiated; this prevents spellcasters that use spell-like abilities, psychic magic, and the like from running completely amok against non-spellcasters in a non-combat situation. Special abilities exist (and more are likely to appear in Ultimate Intrigue) that specifically facilitate a spellcaster using chicanery to misdirect people from those manifestations and allow them to go unnoticed, but they will always provide an onlooker some sort of chance to detect the ruse.
The undead type calls out immunities to "death effects" and "energy drain" as separate things.
Death Attacks description in the Core Rulebook doesn't mention negative levels or energy drain.
"Energy Drain and Negative Levels" is an entirely separate entry in the Core Rulebook and doesn't say energy drain is a type of death attack, not does it say that death ward protects against them.
Death ward gives a bonus agains death spells and magical death effects, and goes on to say that the target is immune to energy drain, and suspends penalties from negative levels while the spell is active.
Therefore the rules treat energy drain and death effects as different things. For example, if you are immune to death effects, you aren't necessarily immune to energy drain.
Fire Immunity: Does a creature with this ability automatically have vulnerability to cold?
No. A fire-immune creature (such as a balor) shouldn't automatically be vulnerable to cold. Likewise, a cold-immune creature shouldn't automatically be vulnerable to fire. (Note that this is not the same as a creature with the fire or cold *subtype*, which automatically gets vulnerability to the opposite energy type.)
Unfortunately, the Core Rulebook includes the rule from 3.5 that states fire immunity means cold vulnerability, and vice versa (Energy Immunity and Vulnerability, page 562). This will be changed in the next printing of the Core Rulebook.
Update: Page 562, Energy Immunity and Vulnerability: Delete " If a creature has fire immunity, it also has vulnerability to cold. If a creature has cold immunity, it also has vulnerability to fire."
Poison: How exactly does poison stack with itself? How and when are the saves made? How do you determine the DC for the save when the target is exposed to more than one dose of the poison?
A character receives a saving throw against poison whenever he is exposed to the poison (such as when he is hit by an attack that uses poison). The DC of the save of that poison is listed in the poison's description, but is increased by +2 for every dose of the poison currently affecting the target (not counting the new dose that is being saved against). Poisons that have been cured or have ended do not count. In addition, a poisoned creature must save against poison once on his turn, but this can be at any point during the poisoned creature's turn. It cannot be delayed through readying or delaying action. For more information on poison and how it stacks, see the Poison FAQ blog post.
Temporary Hit Points: Do temporary hit point from the same source stack?
No. Generally, effects do not stack if they are from the same source (Core Rulebook page 208, Combining Magical Effects). Although temporary hit points are not a "bonus," the principle still applies.
This prevents a creature with energy drain (which grants the creature 5 temporary hit points when used) from draining an entire village of 100 people in order to gain 500 temporary hit points before the PCs arrive to fight it.
Temporary hit points from different sources (such as an aid spell, a use of energy drain, and a vampiric touch spell) still stack with each other.
What makes something a fear effect? What about a morale effect?
Fear effects include spells with the fear descriptor, anything explicitly called out as a fear effect, anything that causes the shaken, frightened, or panicked condition, and all uses of the Intimidate skill. Intimidate, in particular, is a mind-affecting fear effect, so fearless and mindless creatures are immune to all uses of Intimidate.
Morale effects, unlike fear effects, so far have not had a descriptor or a call-out. Anything that grants a morale bonus is a morale effect. For example, the rage spell grants a morale bonus, so a creature immune to morale effects would be immune to the entire spell, including the –2 penalty to AC.