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Is the "pilfering hand" spell OP?


Advice


A player in a game is looking at it for the future. I'm ok with the ranged disarm as there are archetypes that have similar abilities but the idea of the weapon going to the caster who could be 30+ feet away bothers me.


Short: No

Long
No because
1: You still need to beat a CMB check, which is often literally impossible thanks to how CMD scales
2: It only works on manfactured weapon wielders, the minority of opponents by far
3: There are better second level spells BY FAR, like Pyrotechnics, Web or even the nerfed Glitterdust, all of which use a save that actually scales properly (that you can choose the type of for Pyrotechnics) and effect multiple foes

In the end, it's actually really weak as far as second level spells go.

Grand Lodge RPG Superstar 2012 Top 32

Probably the best thing to do with pilfering hand is actually to steal a wizard or witch's spell component pouch. They'll have the lowest BAB, and it will cripple them.

On the other hand, compare to silence.

So no, not overpowered in the least.


I actually like Pilfering Hand for my casting Clerics. If I know I am going up against Humanoid opponents, I will prep one or two of them.

Especially since I don't have access to things like Pyrotechnics, Web, or even the nerfed Glitterdust.

A key thing about Pilfering Hand is that unlike other spells that perform CMs (eg Chain of Perdition), Pilfering Hand says that it is an invisible force. That means +2 on that CMB check, and the target is denied their DEX (and some other) bonus to CMD. This can be a pretty debilitating spell with a rather good success rate against DEX based characters (eg archers).

But, I wouldn't go so far as to say it is OP.

Grand Lodge RPG Superstar 2012 Top 32

Merkatz wrote:
A key thing about Pilfering Hand is that unlike other spells that perform CMs (eg Chain of Perdition), Pilfering Hand says that it is an invisible force. That means +2 on that CMB check, and the target is denied their DEX (and some other) bonus to CMD.

No.

The modifiers to which you are referring are for when YOU are invisible, not when one part of what you're doing is invisible. Huge difference.


OP, no probably not.
Tons-o-fun, hella yes!

I say probably not because some campaigns it can be quite exceptional.

Constant spell caster main enemies won't usually have great str and dex. So their CMD is not great and you can take away spell component pouch, holy symbol, staff of destruction, etc... And they are suddenly much less dangerous. Most published NPC's do not have a back-up anything.

Even against martial characters it can be pretty good. Lord Dark the anti-paladin who is armed with The Unholy Flail of Awesomeness and has 6 feats to make optimal use of it. He has great saves and immunities (so most of your spells will do nothing). You already buffed all the other martial PC's. So the oracle starts spamming pilfering hand. Even if it takes you 4 times to succeed, once you do he is now fighting with a +1 dagger and without most of his feats helping him.

But in most campaigns and against most enemies it will either probably not work or doesn't have that much effect.

Still fun though.


Jiggy wrote:

No.

The modifiers to which you are referring are for when YOU are invisible, not when one part of what you're doing is invisible. Huge difference.

That doesn't really seem like a huge difference to me. The target can't see how it is being disarmed/stolen from. Are you saying they don't have any penalties for that? Because that doesn't make any sense to me.


Its the example above or disarming the bbeg from range with no risk and removes said weapon from bbeg's reach that leads me to the question.

Scaling CMD doesn't mean much when the caster is using their CL as their BAB in their CMB roll so they kind of even out meaning that on averaged on a roll of 10 or more, the no save spell will disarm or steal anything they want.

Silver Crusade RPG Superstar 2014 Top 16

Merkatz wrote:
Jiggy wrote:

No.

The modifiers to which you are referring are for when YOU are invisible, not when one part of what you're doing is invisible. Huge difference.

That doesn't really seem like a huge difference to me. The target can't see how it is being disarmed/stolen from. Are you saying they don't have any penalties for that? Because that doesn't make any sense to me.

They can see you pointing at them and casting a spell, so they'd be on guard for something to happen to them. They're not flat-footed.


cartmanbeck wrote:
Merkatz wrote:
Jiggy wrote:

No.

The modifiers to which you are referring are for when YOU are invisible, not when one part of what you're doing is invisible. Huge difference.

That doesn't really seem like a huge difference to me. The target can't see how it is being disarmed/stolen from. Are you saying they don't have any penalties for that? Because that doesn't make any sense to me.
They can see you pointing at them and casting a spell, so they'd be on guard for something to happen to them. They're not flat-footed.

Invisibility doesn't make them flat-footed, it denies their dexterity.

Silver Crusade RPG Superstar 2014 Top 16

Tels wrote:
cartmanbeck wrote:
Merkatz wrote:
Jiggy wrote:

No.

The modifiers to which you are referring are for when YOU are invisible, not when one part of what you're doing is invisible. Huge difference.

That doesn't really seem like a huge difference to me. The target can't see how it is being disarmed/stolen from. Are you saying they don't have any penalties for that? Because that doesn't make any sense to me.
They can see you pointing at them and casting a spell, so they'd be on guard for something to happen to them. They're not flat-footed.
Invisibility doesn't make them flat-footed, it denies their dexterity.

Whoops, definitely right, my mistake.


cartmanbeck wrote:
Merkatz wrote:
Jiggy wrote:

No.

The modifiers to which you are referring are for when YOU are invisible, not when one part of what you're doing is invisible. Huge difference.

That doesn't really seem like a huge difference to me. The target can't see how it is being disarmed/stolen from. Are you saying they don't have any penalties for that? Because that doesn't make any sense to me.
They can see you pointing at them and casting a spell, so they'd be on guard for something to happen to them. They're not flat-footed.

Pilfering Hand only has a Somatic component requirement, and that doesn't require you to "point at them." So the BSF is on guard in the middle of combat against a force he can't see taking away his weapon just because a cleric waved his arm 50 feet away? What if it was a stilled spell? Would he still be on guard then?

Also, can I use the same argument against every Ninja with Vanishing Trick after he goes invisible in the middle of combat? I certainly would be "on guard" against an attack from him. Do I keep my Dex as well?


The problem with using it on component pouches and holy symbols is the things are dirt cheap and low weight, so any caster will have multiple. Not to mention Holy Symbol tattoos in UE and good luck disarming that.

Also most casters DO have good dex. They use it to move first.


Nothing thwarted by a 1sp piece of rope is OP. Check out weapon cords. Any decent adventurer / BBEG should have them.


using a 2nd level spell slot, a limited resource, to do what any fighter with improved disarm can do with every single attack doesn't seem too overpowered to me.

just my 2 cents

Grand Lodge RPG Superstar 2012 Top 32

1 person marked this as a favorite.

After half a decade, the answer to the weekly "Is X overpowered?" is still "no". Nice to know there are some things in life you can always count on.


deuxhero wrote:

The problem with using it on component pouches and holy symbols is the things are dirt cheap and low weight, so any caster will have multiple. Not to mention Holy Symbol tattoos in UE and good luck disarming that.

Also most casters DO have good dex. They use it to move first.

Lab_Rat wrote:
Nothing thwarted by a 1sp piece of rope is OP. Check out weapon cords. Any decent adventurer / BBEG should have them.

I have certainly not read all of them but I never in any published module, adventure, or AP seen any caster have a backup holy symbol, spell component pouch, or use weapon cords. Never seen the holy symbol tattoo. One time I have see the holy symbol on armor.

Only see it in a home brew AFTER the PC destroyed them several times in a campaign.

The casters often have a decent dex, but it is usually not as high as the PC's casting stat. So they have reasonable chance of it working.


Funny thing about casters in APs and Modules. Many of the Arcane casters printed don't have spell component pouches. At least in my experience.


I all honesty I feel that disarm is probably the least effective CM of the bunch. It is thwarted to easily by a variety of things.

Weapons:
Weapon cord
Locking Gauntlets

Holy Symbol:
Birthmark trait
Own a handful of them (Their cheap)

Spell Component pouch:
Own a handful of them (Their cheap)

As a player I try to make sure that I can not be separated from the piece of equipment that I absolutely need to be able to do my thing. As a GM in a home game, my BBEG's take the same mentality. They have been around the block just as long as my players characters and should know all the little things an adventurer picks up along the way.

Published material usually doesn't use these tactics because...well....their pulling their punches. They don't want to make material that a player built around disarming feels useless in.


Just with holy symbols: since channeling foci came around there is no good reason a cleric above 1st level should not have a consacrated weapon or a sanctified ring. Both work as holy or unholy symbols.
So most mid- to highlevel clerics will have some holy symbols.


this spell seems to be poorly worded.

on one hand if I make a combat maneuver with the spell, i'm using my caster level and adding my primary casting attribute... which seems good, but...

then on the other hand if I make a disable device or sleight of hand check, then it says nothing of how my caster level or primary casting stat would play in, if at all. so am I just going off a d20 + dex? that doesn't make too much sense in terms of what it gives you for the combat maneuver... I mean, does my ability to manipulate the force magic diminish when I have more time to concentrate on something?

also it says it lasts "as long as you need to accomplish the task," which seems like it should probably read as long as you need to "attempt" the task (assuming a normal attempt, not a rushed one).

PS furthermore it only implies it allows you to use those skills untrained. (e.g. to accomplish sleight of hand checks higher than dc 10)

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