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Homing in on the darkness


Rules Questions


1 person marked this as FAQ candidate. 1 person marked this as a favorite.
Environment, Darkness rules excerpt wrote:
All opponents have total concealment from a blinded creature, so the blinded creature has a 50% miss chance in combat. A blinded creature must first pinpoint the location of an opponent in order to attack the right square; if the blinded creature launches an attack without pinpointing its foe, it attacks a random square within its reach. For ranged attacks or spells against a foe whose location is not pinpointed, roll to determine which adjacent square the blinded creature is facing; its attack is directed at the closest target that lies in that direction.

Does this mean that I can automatically home in on a target that I can't see with a ranged or spell attack?

For example, say I am in the middle of a dark room, wholly unable to see, with 2 allies (one to my left and one to my right) with a cloaker straight ahead of me, all about 20 feet apart.

I cast acid arrow, hoping to hit the cloaker. I roll a 1d8 to see which direction I happen to be facing at the time of casting (as if I were throwing a grenade-like splash weapon). If I roll an 8, 1, or 2, than the attack AUTOMATICALLY homes in on the cloaker's square directly in front of me?

I then make a ranged touch attack and hope to beat both AC and the 50% miss chance.

Is that right? If so, it seems much more lenient than I would have imagined. I mean, the chance of targeting an ally by accident is still there, but if I even get close to the cloaker, the rules seem to indicate my attack always goes towards its square. Is that really the case? Or am I misreading it somehow?

The rules don't seem nearly as friendly for melee characters who have to outright guess, or else waste actions groping in the dark hoping the enemy doesn't move once found.


It depends on how you interpret "the closet target that lies in that direction." In the stricter interpretation, you'd only attack the cloaker if you roll a 1. If you roll a 2 or an 8, there aren't any targets "in that direction," so you resolve the attack against the wall or nothing at all.


AvalonXQ wrote:
It depends on how you interpret "the closet target that lies in that direction." In the stricter interpretation, you'd only attack the cloaker if you roll a 1. If you roll a 2 or an 8, there aren't any targets "in that direction," so you resolve the attack against the wall or nothing at all.

Except that if I rolled a 2 or an 8, then the closest target is the cloaker.


I don't think so. Your attack can be directed at a target, and still not hit the right square.

The section you did not bold is key here.

" if the blinded creature launches an attack without pinpointing its foe, it attacks a random square within its reach. "


Ravingdork wrote:
AvalonXQ wrote:
It depends on how you interpret "the closet target that lies in that direction." In the stricter interpretation, you'd only attack the cloaker if you roll a 1. If you roll a 2 or an 8, there aren't any targets "in that direction," so you resolve the attack against the wall or nothing at all.
Except that if I rolled a 2 or an 8, then the closest target is the cloaker.

If you rolled a 2 or an 8, there isn't a target "in that direction." The cloaker isn't southwest or southeast of you; it's due south of you.

There are no targets in the direction of the 2 and 8 squares, so you hit nothing.


If you want to get painfully literal, it's perfectly valid to target inanimate objects or an empty square. That would theoretically make attacking at a range in the dark impossible.


wraithstrike wrote:

The section you did not bold is key here.

" if the blinded creature launches an attack without pinpointing its foe, it attacks a random square within its reach. "

I fail to see how, the wording of the next sentence seems to be moving on to a seperate thought, or an exception to the previous sentense. Otherwise, why would it begin with "For ranged attacks or spells..."

The section you quoted refers to normal attacks, such as swinging a sword. The section I highlighted is referring to spell attacks or ranged attacks. Both sections are referring to attacks without pinpointing first. As written, they seem mutually exclusive.


Ranged and melee attacks are both normal attacks. There is also no verbage to indicate that you automatically target the correct square. It only says your attack is directed at the target, which can be done without targeting the correct square.


I'm a bit confused. Would you please walk me through an example of your interpretation?


1 person marked this as FAQ candidate.
Quote:
All opponents have total concealment from a blinded creature, so the blinded creature has a 50% miss chance in combat.

That applies to all attacks. Notice, it does not call out melee or ranged attacks.

Quote:
A blinded creature must first pinpoint the location of an opponent in order to attack the right square;

Once again there is no distinction made between melee or ranged attacks.

Quote:
if the blinded creature launches an attack without pinpointing its foe, it attacks a random square within its reach.

This one should have mentioned melee, but since ranged weapons don't have reach one can assume it is referring to melee weapons.

Quote:
For ranged attacks or spells against a foe whose location is not pinpointed, roll to determine which adjacent square the blinded creature is facing; its attack is directed at the closest target that lies in that direction.

Now this one should also be written better. Your version has them being able to auto-select the correct square if they fire in the correct direction. Firing in the direction of an invisible opponent while blind is better than doing so with your eyes open, especially if you have the seeking enhancement, since the the nearest target in the direction fired would automatically be selected, and seeking negates the miss chance, if you can choose the correct squares.

I will put it like this. If my eyes are open and I have to choose a square in a certain direction I might choose the wrong square. If I close my eyes, but I fire in the correction direction the proper square is auto-selected.

Why should I have a better chance at hitting the correct square of an invisible opponent if I close my eyes?

The only logical answer I can see is that shooting in the target's direction does not mean the correct square is automatically selected. If it does then the rule needs to rewritten. I do think it is worthy of an FAQ though.

edit:In progress


I FAQ'd your post and mine. :)


Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

I just spent the last two days crunching numbers on this question (I won't bore people with the precise mathematics unless they want the full breakdown), but I have now reached a conclusion.

The following assumptions are in place for this determination:

Shooting blind only targets creatures in the 8 primary directions.
The shooter would prefer not to hit allies, but if there is an equal chance of targeting an ally and an enemy, will choose to shoot blind anyway.
The enemy has not been pinpointed.
The shooter cannot target his own square.

Conclusion: If the number of squares occupied by enemies equals or exceeds the number of squares occupied by allies, and the battle area exceeds 10 squares in size (the full maths was actually done on a square battlefield, but the breakpoint is 3.25 x 3.25 squares, which is 11 squares), then the shooter is better off shooting blind than picking a square at random.

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