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Before / after you act damage.


Rules Questions and Gameplay Discussion


Sorry if this has been covered before I have tried to do a search on a few occasions and not found a result.

If you are dealt damage before or after you act, do you need a specific armour/spell/item to reduce the damage e.g. one that specifically says reduce damage taken before you act.

Or

Is it that armour that says you can reduce damage before you act can only be used before you act and regular armour that says reduce damage can be used anytime you take damage, before you act after combat, after you act.

sorry I don't have any examples I do not have my set with me at the moment.


Pathfinder Card Game Subscriber
Jon-Factor wrote:


Is it that armour that says you can reduce damage before you act can only be used before you act and regular armour that says reduce damage can be used anytime you take damage, before you act after combat, after you act.

It's basically this^

I can't think of Armors that prevent BYA damage only (a lot of items/powers do, though), but some armors may have a stronger effect against BYA damage specifically.


Pathfinder Card Game, Class Deck Subscriber

Most armours reduce damage by recharge so you may need 3 armours.
One before, one during the check and one after... if you Are really unlucky :)

Reveal armours works in all cases.


Thank you for the replies.

We have been making it a lot harder for ourselves then as we were only using armour, items or anything else that specifically says it can be used before you act or after you act to reduce damage (not many in S&S) this is because we thought that was the rule when we played WotR.

We are still breezing through Skulls and Shackles though I often wonder if we are playing all the rules as intended. I'd like to believe, as in this case, if we are doing anything wrong it would only be in a way that makes things harder for us.

I am playing Damiel from the Alchemist deck though and he seems very overpowered with his recharge instead of banish skill.


Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber; Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber; Pathfinder Maps Subscriber

S&S is way easier than WotR in general, so that is likely why. Things get significantly more fun once you hit AD5 though (and there's a scenario or two in AD2 that will give you a good time).

The rulebook gives you blanket permission to play cards and use powers whenever you want. This is restricted further in checks and encounters to only cards and powers relevant to that check or step of the encounter, and that each character can only play only one card of each type per check or step. Playing an armor when you take damage is indeed relevant, so no worries there. What may catch you by surprise is a new that do multiple instances of damage in the same step. For example, "Before you act, succeed at an X check or take 1d4-1 Ranged Combat damage, then 1d4-1 Ranged Combat damage."

Both damage instances happen during the same step of the encounter, and you are limited to only playing one armor per step, so you can only use armor to reduce one of the damage instances. The second one would need to be reduced via other means (such as items or character powers), or you just need to take the full force of it. You need to decide whether or not you are reducing the first instance, and discard any cards due to damage as necessary, before rolling to see what the second instance is.

Outside of that snag above, keep in mind the general rules found in the back of the rulebook: Cards Do What They Say and Cards Don't Do What They Don't Say.


Thank you for the information Skizzerz, I can't recall having to take multiple different damages, we do tend to win the majority of fights though. But I am certain we would of played it as you stated.

We have just finished AD5 and we had to rerun one scenario and had a very close call on another.

Close fight:
On the Villain Barnabas Harrigan the final part of his card has a line; after you act discard 1d4 Blessings from the blessing deck or 1 if you used the swashbuckling trait. We had 2 blessings left on the deck and the combat was won, with a lot of luck, we sat there for a while before rolling the d4 then the character who was fighting quickly went back through his cards and found he had used the swashbuckling trait!


Pathfinder Card Game Subscriber
skizzerz wrote:

What may catch you by surprise is a new that do multiple instances of damage in the same step. For example, "Before you act, succeed at an X check or take 1d4-1 Ranged Combat damage, then 1d4-1 Ranged Combat damage."

Both damage instances happen during the same step of the encounter, and you are limited to only playing one armor per step, so you can only use armor to reduce one of the damage instances.

I may have played that wrong back then, by just revealing the same Elven Breastplate style reveal-to-reduce armor for each of those damage instances. In any case, this is a place where the typical Shield power of "if proficient, you may play another armor on this check" really shines. Or perhaps you've got a spellcaster with Mirror Image; that would work pretty well.


Pathfinder Card Game Subscriber
First World Bard wrote:
skizzerz wrote:

What may catch you by surprise is a new that do multiple instances of damage in the same step. For example, "Before you act, succeed at an X check or take 1d4-1 Ranged Combat damage, then 1d4-1 Ranged Combat damage."

Both damage instances happen during the same step of the encounter, and you are limited to only playing one armor per step, so you can only use armor to reduce one of the damage instances.

I may have played that wrong back then, by just revealing the same Elven Breastplate style reveal-to-reduce armor for each of those damage instances. In any case, this is a place where the typical Shield power of "if proficient, you may play another armor on this check" really shines.

I'm not quite sure about that - damage dealt BYA (or by Barrier effects) is not technically dealt "on a check". I wish it would work the way you say, though, for consistency's sake.

Paizo Employee Chief Technical Officer

The rules for Damage specifically say you may play cards to reduce that damage (meaning it overrules the "one of each type" limit), which is why it then states its own independent limitations, (which are similar yet slightly different): "Each character may play no more than 1 of each card type to affect damage to the same character from the same source."

So yeah, if you have an armor you can reveal to reduce damage, you can reveal it once each time you take damage, even if you take damage multiple times during a step, check, or encounter.


Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber; Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber; Pathfinder Maps Subscriber
Vic Wertz wrote:

The rules for Damage specifically say you may play cards to reduce that damage (meaning it overrules the "one of each type" limit), which is why it then states its own independent limitations, (which are similar yet slightly different): "Each character may play no more than 1 of each card type to affect damage to the same character from the same source."

So yeah, if you have an armor you can reveal to reduce damage, you can reveal it once each time you take damage, even if you take damage multiple times during a step, check, or encounter.

Interesting. Was this change made for MM, because I distinctly recall that not being the case earlier (the rule being what I said, and why some cards which did multiple damage instances said that you can play multiple armors). I think it's a good change as it smooths over a rough point in the game that was pretty counterintuitive, but I didn't notice the change in wording that allowed it.


Pathfinder Card Game Subscriber
Vic Wertz wrote:

The rules for Damage specifically say you may play cards to reduce that damage (meaning it overrules the "one of each type" limit), which is why it then states its own independent limitations, (which are similar yet slightly different): "Each character may play no more than 1 of each card type to affect damage to the same character from the same source."

So yeah, if you have an armor you can reveal to reduce damage, you can reveal it once each time you take damage, even if you take damage multiple times during a step, check, or encounter.

In addition to what what skizzers said (that we basically had an official ruling by you, Vic, to the opposite):

1) I would *never* read "you and other characters may play
only cards and use only powers that reduce or otherwise affect the
specific type of damage you’re being dealt." (the actual Rulebook quote that allows you to prevent damage as meaning:
"You're allowed to disregard the "one of each type" limit"
If the above is your intent - I strongly feel that wording revision is needed.

2) What constitutes a "source" of damage? Is it:
- the actual card?
- a single instance of "you're dealt X Combat damage?
- a single power on a card that deals damage (which may deal more that 1 instance of damage - the Poisoneous Spiked Pit Trap)


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I agree this rule is far from obvious. Also, since several armors allow you specifically to play another armor on the check (I'm guessing that is then intended just to override the "one armor per source of damage rule") but to me that additionally muddles the issue because when I see cards like that it just confirms what I'd originally thought to be a hard and fast rule, namely that only one card of each type can normally be used on a check.

To be honest this is the perfect example of why I think PACG often overcomplicates *itself*. There's a lot of really twisty rules out there and oftentimes those rules end up being created because of situations like this - where a decision was made to make an exception to one of the core rules of the game (an exception that doesn't even really seem needed) and that causes additional rulings and FAQ entries to be created to explain this exception.


I agree Vic's post above stands my understanding of armor use completely on its head. I would never have thought I could reveal the same armor twice to reduce two instances of damage dealt in the same step.


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Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber; Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber; Pathfinder Maps Subscriber

The full rule is as follows:

MM rulebook, p13 wrote:
When you are dealt damage, you and other characters may play only cards and use only powers that reduce or otherwise affect the specific type of damage you’re being dealt. If you’re being dealt Fire damage, for example, you may play cards that reduce Fire damage or cards that reduce all damage, but you may not play cards that reduce only Combat or Electricity damage. Each character may play no more than 1 of each card type to affect damage to the same character from the same source. If a card says it reduces damage with no type listed, it reduces all types of damage.

I see two issues with this:

1. It is not obvious at all that this is meant to override the "no more than 1 card of each type per check or step" rule.
2. The wording "from the same source" is ambiguous. I would personally interpret that a damage source = the power that is dealing the damage. So a power that deals multiple instances of damage would still only be one source, and you could therefore only reduce one of those damage instances. However, per Vic's post above, that interpretation would be wrong, where the correct interpretation is that every instance of damage is its own source, even if the same power triggered multiple damage instances.

If this is indeed an intended change, I think that paragraph needs to be made a lot more clear and explicit that it overrides the one card per check/step rule. Perhaps something like the following (blue = added, strike = removed):

When you are dealt damage, you and other characters may play only cards and use only powers that reduce or otherwise affect the specific type of damage you're being dealt. If you're being dealt Fire damage, for example, you may play cards that reduce Fire damage or cards that reduce all damage, but you may not play cards that reduce only Combat or Electricity damage. Each character may play no more than 1 card of each type to affect an instance of damage to the same character from the same source, even if they have previously played cards of that type during the same check or step of the encounter. If a card says it reduces damage with no type listed, it reduces all types of damage.


Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber; Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber; Pathfinder Maps Subscriber

Page 12 of the MM rulebook (describing the Take Damage, If Necesary step of a check) also directly contradicts what Vic wrote above: "Remember that players may not play more than 1 of each card type during a check, so if you previously played an item to affect the check, you may not play an item to reduce damage."

This doesn't apply to before you act damage, since that isn't taking damage due to failing a check, but steps of an encounter have a similarly worded restriction to steps of a check, so it should either work in both or not work in both.


I have some specific examples I'm curious about, using everyone's favorite monster, the Elemental Arachnid (You may play any number of armors during this encounter. Before you act, you are dealt 1 Acid damage, then 1 Cold damage, then 1 Electricity damage, then 1 Fire damage).

1. If I have (only) Reed Snake Armor in hand (reveal to reduce Acid, Cold, Electricity or Fire damage by 3), do I take a total of 3 damage or 0 damage?
2. If I have an Elemental Treaty at the location (While displayed, reduce Acid, Cold, Electricity, Fire and Poison damage dealt to characters at this location by 1) and no armors, do I take 3 damage or 0 damage?
3. If there are two Elemental Treaty spells at the location cast by different characters, do I take 3, 2, or 0 damage?
4. If I am at the Stonework Passages (Damage dealt to you is reduced by 1) with no spells/armors, do I take 3 or 0 damage?
5. If I am playing a scenario using Defensive Stance (When you are dealt damage, if the damage is not reduced to 0, banish the top card of your location deck and each unoccupied location deck) and I have no armors/spells to reduce damage, do I lose 4 boons per location or just 1?


Scripted wrote:
I have some specific examples I'm curious about, using everyone's favorite monster, the Elemental Arachnid (You may play any number of armors during this encounter. Before you act, you are dealt 1 Acid damage, then 1 Cold damage, then 1 Electricity damage, then 1 Fire damage).

They're separate instances of damage, so:

1 is under discussion above.
2 is 0 damage.
3 is also 0 damage.
4 is 0 damage, assuming the text given.
5 is 4 cards per appropriate location.


Seconding Parody.

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