Hi, short time reader, first time poster! (this might come across as a rant though)
I've played Pathfinder for a while, but due to a friend moving to Aus, I've stepped up for the first time to GM. We use MapTools for roleplaying, as it makes it easier, plus we can use PDF's & d20pfsrd.com rather than flicking through books.
I have a Spell caster PC that has & uses Mage Armor, but never states when they cast it. So when mousing over the character token, I see he has 18AC for example. When I roll my attacks I know I hit, but then he says "oh no, I have mage armor, I'll just put that on now" - this irritates the hell out of me!! It's a cost of a spell slot, it counts for his daily allotment, whatever.
What do you guys do in this instance? Should I tell him, tough luck, you take the hit this round, you can cast it next round & follow the concentration check rules etc? OR do you let it slide?
Mage Armor is 1h/level, so in theory, he could cast it well before any type of combat, but if they don't know whats going to happen, would they use the spell? (He's level 4, so having it active all day will cost a few casts) - It's not a cantrip, so not like he can cast it for free.
I have a summoner who also uses Mage Armor, but he is new to the group & advises when he casts it, so I don't have a problem with that. Once he said that he wakes up from sleep & cast it straight away, but that was due to being in a rough area and he wanted to be prepared. I'm thinking that I need to instigate a rule where at the start of the 'day' people must advise if they cast any spells & start keeping a time/clock of what's happening. The problem is, that's another step in my setup/process, rather than letting the PC's look after their own spells & processes.
Any suggestions would be helpful :)
Not to mention your opening yourself to a whole can of worms of abuse.
"You have Dominate cast on you." "But I had Protection from Evil up!"
"The magical orb trap explodes!" "But I had Detect Magic up all day long."
"The enemy sneaked into your camp." "I had Alarm cast before I went to bed."
"You get hit by a arrow?" "LOL nope, had Protection from Arrows up. Duh."
Tell him, he has to TELL you WHEN he casts his spells or he didn't cast them. End of story. Then its easy book keeping. "Mage Armor 8:00am up till 12:00pm" done.
|Poor Wandering One|
Do not let it slide. But don't spring it on him either.
Talk to the spell-caster before the game and let him know you would like a more formal statement about when they are casting because it might become important in the near future. This approach might get them to agree easier because it makes it seen that there is the possibility that the change is temporary and the 'near future' bit will make them paranoid, which is fun to watch.
|Sir_Wulf RPG Superstar 2008 Top 16|
If the absentminded player wants you to consider him to cast mage armor as part of his "entering the dungeon" routine, have him explain the exact circumstances under which he will cast it. This need not be complicated: "I always cast before we enter ruins, go underground, or enter a bad part of town". You both can then ignore it, but he gives up the right to gripe if you declare "You've been in the crypts four hours: Your mage armor runs out."
|Poor Wandering One|
If the absentminded player wants you to consider him to have already cast mage armor, have him explain exactly when he casts it. This need not be complicated: "I always cast before we enter ruins, go underground, or enter a bad part of town". You both can then ignore it, but he gives up the right to gripe if you declare "You've been in the crypts four hours: Your mage armor runs out."
Oooo this is good. You could even ask them to give you a written list of these standing orders. This is an issue that will only get worse as levels go up and durations get longer.
It's one thing if you've been gaming for 18 hours, you're all tired and one time he forgot to do it before entering a dungeon, but what it sounds like is something else.