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as if the target were flat-footed


Rules Questions


1 person marked this as FAQ candidate.

The Sap Master feet only works if the target is flat-footed.

Sap Master wrote:
Whenever you use a bludgeoning weapon to deal nonlethal sneak attack damage to a flat-footed opponent, roll your sneak attack dice twice, totaling the results as your nonlethal sneak attack damage for that attack.

The Scout(rogue archetype) ability "Scout's Charge" says:

Scout wrote:
At 4th level, whenever a scout makes a charge, her attack deals sneak attack damage as if the target were flat-footed.

Does the "as if" mess up my plan of using Sap Master with Scout's Charge.


Probably going to be a GM call.

Though considering the most recent as if X moment you might have an arguement for allowing it to function.


Talonhawke wrote:
Probably going to be a GM call.

Doesn't work because I am the GM :P

I would favor against.


My arguement would be that since "as if Two Weapon Fighting" really just meant Two Weapon Fighting for the last 3 years. Then as if flat-footed should qualify you for effects that only work off of flat-footedness


The point of that line in the sap master archetype was to say you didn't get the bonus when flanking.


Except it also doesn't work when hiding. In fact it only functions when the target has the flat-footed condition which is not the same as only using their flat-foot AC. (Something I really hope would get cleared up in a later editon. Right now barring a corner case feat like this the only way that feat works is if you either get a surprise round they can't act in, beat the enemy on Initave, or get a surprise round with the ability to still treat them as flat-footed even if they act first.


For instance it wouldn't work if you were invisible.


Exactly.


What aboutCatch Off-Guard

Catch Off-Guard wrote:
You do not suffer any penalties for using an improvised melee weapon. Unarmed opponents are flat-footed against any attacks you make with an improvised melee weapon.

I think they probably meant that they loose there Dexterity as if they were flat-footed.


Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

Flat footed is a condition. A creature is either flat footed or it is not.

A GM has two options: they can allow these abilities to impart the flat footed condition for the duration of the attack (which affects the creature's AC), or they can just allow secondary effects (like Sneak Attack) to function, as they would for an ordinary flat footed target.

I would go for the second option, since the target is not actually flat footed.

In this specific case, then, I would allow the Sap Master feat to function, since the bonus applies to the secondary effect (the Sneak Attack), but it would be against the normal AC of the target.


The whole point of that Scout ability is to treat the enemy as flatfoted. If you're not allowing it to do that, then what exactly is the class feature doing?


StreamOfTheSky wrote:
The whole point of that Scout ability is to treat the enemy as flatfoted. If you're not allowing it to do that, then what exactly is the class feature doing?

It's letting you make a sneak attack against a non-flatfooted target.


Then it would bloody well say that, and not "as if flat footed". The rule as written means the same thing as "for the purpose of sneak attack, the target is flat-footed".


Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

It does say that, and it means exactly what your RAW interpretation means.

The opponent meets the "flat footed" requirement for sneak attack, even though the target does not have the flat footed condition. It's shorthand for "her attack deals Sneak Attack damage as it would if the target had the flat footed condition". It's just shorter to say "as if" than "as ... if ... flat footed ...".

There are a lot of places where the rules have conditionals that are not consistently applied throughout the game. This is one of them.


John is crying as if his brother had died. It is unclear why John is crying but he is crying in the same why in which he would be crying if his brother had actually died.

This is the correct way to interpret AS IF.

It has president in the ruling for Displacement and Blind fighting.

Displacement wrote:
The creature benefits from a 50% miss chance as if it had total concealment.
Blind-Fight wrote:
In melee, every time you miss because of concealment (see Combat), you can reroll your miss chance percentile roll one time to see if you actually hit.

Blind-Fighting doesn't allow you to reroll against Displacement unless you close your eyes.


Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

I can't tell if you're agreeing with me or not.

In general terms, when the rules present "as if (condition)", then effects that require the condition can trigger, but the condition itself is not applied to the target.

Taking the Catch Off-Guard example, under RAW the opponent actually has the flat footed condition applied (with commensurate AC penalties) for the duration of the attack.

Conversely, Scout's Charge allows the charging character to do Sneak Attack damage (whatever that damage may be) the same as they would against a flat footed opponent.

Sap Master modifies the damage that Sneak Attack does, with the effective condition that the reason Sneak Attack is allowed must be due to the target being flat footed (as opposed to flanked, or any other condition that allows Sneak Attacks).

So, the chain of events goes like this:

Player charges. Scout's Charge applies. Opponent does not have flat footed condition applied, but Sneak Attack is allowed as if it did. Because the condition for Sneak Attack is flat footed, Sap Master applies.

A strict GM may choose to say that because the target does not actually have the flat footed condition, then Sap Master may not be used. I would not be that strict.


Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

If I were to re-write some of these rules, in an attempt to remove this particular ambiguity, I would be careful to specify "condition" and "requirement". A condition is something that affects the target, a requirement is something that allows a particular effect to take place.

So, for example, I would re-write Sap Master to say either:

Quote:
Whenever you use a bludgeoning weapon to deal nonlethal sneak attack damage to an opponent who has the flat-footed condition, roll your sneak attack dice twice, totaling the results as your nonlethal sneak attack damage for that attack.

or

Quote:
Whenever you use a bludgeoning weapon to deal nonlethal sneak attack damage because the target is flat-footed, roll your sneak attack dice twice, totaling the results as your nonlethal sneak attack damage for that attack.

The first is UTTERLY unambiguous. The second allows us to play more, because we can then write Scout's Charge like this:

Quote:
At 4th level, whenever a Scout makes a charge, her attack deals sneak attack damage, as if the target were flat-footed. The target does not gain the flat-footed condition.

or

Quote:
At 4th level, whenever a Scout makes a charge, her attack deals sneak attack damage, as if the target were flat-footed. The target gains the flat-footed condition for the duration of the attack.

Catch Off-Guard becomes:

Quote:
You do not suffer any penalties for using an improvised melee weapon. Unarmed opponents have the flat-footed condition for any attacks you make with an improvised melee weapon.

Displacement becomes:

Quote:
The creature benefits from a 50% miss chance (this functions like the miss chance from the total concealment condition, but Displacement does not grant the total concealment condition).

And Blind Fight:

Quote:
In melee, every time you miss because the target has the concealment or total concealment conditions (see Combat), you can reroll your miss chance percentile roll one time to see if you actually hit.

Yes, it makes things a bit more wordy, which is always a problem in rulebooks, but I suspect that certain examples and other parts of text could be simplified because of the clarity obtained by saying whether something is actually a condition or not.


2 people marked this as a favorite.

A better question would be "Why is it that any time something comes along that might make the Rogue useful or fun to play in combat, people freak out and 'need clarification'?"

Rogues are not exactly destroying enemies by the dozen and making the Fighter obsolete or green with envy. No need to nitpick something that makes one very particular build work to even the playing field.

Perhaps a more zen answer to the original question is needed. Try this one:

Every couple of rounds the Sap Master Rogue appears to be doing (nonlethal) damage as if he were a Fighter. Is he actually turning into a Fighter? No, but he is doing comparable (nonlethal) damage just the same, so who cares?


Moro wrote:
A better question would be "Why is it that any time something comes along that might make the Rogue useful or fun to play in combat, people freak out and 'need clarification'?"

It's an inherent problem the rogue has. In order to deal sneak attack damage, he basically has to make the opponent look like a total goober in some way or another. A lot of DM's don't like their uber awesome self-insertion...excuse me, "plot important" main antagonist to be so humiliated. So they think, "surely, he can't fall for such a silly mundane trick" or whatever.

I remember a thread on ENWorld, about 3E rules (where balancing had a harsher effect than in PF) asking about epic creatures and gods. If you put grease under them and they lacked balance ranks, would they seriously be flatfooted? Obviously, RAW, they would be. But he just couldn't comprehend that.
"But they're gods!"
"Well, in their infinite wisdom, and bountiful hit dice, perhaps they should have invested some ranks?"

Playing a rogue really sucks. It's crap like this that leads me to do anything possible to play a martial rogue instead whenever possible. Nice, solid, dependable feats, that the DM isn't going to take away on sheer fiat.


When someone is flat footed, they loose their Dex bonus to AC. When you are able to deal sneak attack damage "as if flat footed", they are not actually flat footed, so they retain their Dex to AC, but you can still sneak attack them.

I would rule that any effect that any effect that can only be applied when the target is flat footed can be applied whenever you are able to treat them as flat footed. They aren't flat-footed, but they are considered flat-footed for conditions that require it. So, sap master requires the sneak attack to be against someone flat-footed, and scout's charge allows you to treat the opponent as flat-footed for the purposes of using sneak attack. Because you are treating him as flat-footed for the purposes of qualifying, I would rule that sap master would apply.

Beside, it makes sense and doesn't break the game.


I would like this to get the FAQ treatment.


Chemlak wrote:
I can't tell if you're agreeing with me or not.

I'm agreeing with you, but I'm hoping we're wrong.

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