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Cloud Elemental


Rules Questions and Gameplay Discussion


We just picked up the Cloud Elemental ally from AP5 - the card is displayed at a location and can grant additional dice to checks at that location, when used you roll a die and on a 1 it is banished. However, the card doesn't say anything about what to do with it beyond that. Is it returned to the player's deck after the location is closed, after the adventure, or does it just go back to the box after the adventure?


Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber; Pathfinder Maps, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Maps, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber

Unfortunately, it gets banished at the end of the scenario.

MM rulebook, p19 wrote:
Then, whether you won or lost the scenario, if any displayed boons could be banished or removed from the game when a certain condition is met (such as the end of an encounter, the end of a turn, or a location closing), treat them as if that condition is occurring. Then put all cards other than boons back in the box. Next, rebuild your character deck (see Between Games below). Finally, put any remaining cards back in the box.


Kind of figured, thanks for the quick response!


Pathfinder Card Game Subscriber
skizzerz wrote:
if any displayed boons could be banished or removed from the game when a certain condition is met ... treat them as if that condition is occurring.

I'm not quite sure I agree with Skizzers on this one, but I don't have the Cloud Elemental in front of me to see the full text. I remember it made you roll 1d6 on a certain condition and, in my reading, *this one condition* is the one you should threat as occurring, at best (at worst?) - i.e. you roll 1d6 and you only banish the Elemental on 1.

I can totally see Skizzers reading being correct, i.e. "the condition is met" applying to "you just rolled a 1", but it somehow strikes me as ... not intuitive? Maybe I'm drawing an non-existant parallel with spells and non-casters that have "you may gain Arcane/Divine" powers - I believe such heroes are allowed to use their powers to not banish a displayed spell, but I'm not sure that has been officially confirmed as allowed/disallowed either...


Cloud Elemental wrote:
Display this card next to your location. While displayed, you may add 1d8 and the Electricity trait to a combat check or a check that invokes the Electricity trait by a character at that location, then roll 1d6; on a 1, banish this card.

I don't see any way to dispose of this card at the end of scenario except skizzerz's reading, but I agree it seems odd. Not only does banishing normally require rolling a 1, it requires using the card.


Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber; Pathfinder Maps, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Maps, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber

Yep, it does seem odd, but by the rules "treat them as if that condition is occurring" doesn't have any text that excludes certain conditions from that clause.

You pretend that you rolled a 1, you don't actually roll any dice or make any checks. Just like if the condition was to banish when you close the location, you don't go through the "When Closing" or "When Permanently Closed" effects, you just pretend as if the location was closed. This happens even if closing the location is impossible (When Permanently Closed is "This location cannot be closed." or the like). The rule doesn't care how easy the condition is to meet or whether it is even possible to meet the condition -- it just says that you treat the card as if the condition was met.


Pathfinder Card Game Subscriber
elcoderdude wrote:
I don't see any way to dispose of this card at the end of scenario except skizzerz's reading

If we assume it doesn't banish, it would be governed by the general "Between Games" rules - i.e. you gather your displayed cards together with your hand, deck, discard and bury.

elcoderdude wrote:
Not only does banishing normally require rolling a 1, it requires using the card.

This made me realize what bugs me about the banishing proposition. The rule about banishing/RFG displayed cards at end of game is devised to avoid exploits for cards that are *supposed* to get banished during the normal course of play (one-shot displayed cards, potions for non-Alchemists, spells for non-Casters).

The Cloud Elemental in contrast is very obviously *not* supposed to be banished. It only has 1/6 chance to do so, and then *only* IF the player chooses to use its power. As such, the total control over whether to risk banish is always in the hands of the player - the Elemental doesn't require you to have a special skill or power (like potions and spells), you can never consciously or willingly banish it, and you are able to *never* banish it, if you never use it.

It requires a very specific and *willing* action on part of the player (using the Elemental's power) to create the 1/6 chance of banishing, and it seems to me we can't over-extrapolate the "when a certain condition is met" to assume a player's action and to effectively wrestle the control of *choice* away from the player.

Cloud Elemental aside, I think this discussions shows some issues with the current wording, as even if the card was worded
"At the end of the turn, roll 1d6; on 1, banish this card" - and the card was played during the final Villain fight, so the scenario ends before the turn is over - I would still argue the "condition is met" is "end of turn" (so, you roll 1d6 to determine outcome), instead of "you automatically roll 1". Consider that: this (assumed end of turn) is *exactly* the trigger that would make you banish a Potion of Heroism or a spell; and just as you would be allowed to use Alchemist power or caster Divine check to *save* your displayed potion/spell - you should be allowed your 1/6 roll to *save* your Elemental.


Longshot11 wrote:
elcoderdude wrote:
I don't see any way to dispose of this card at the end of scenario except skizzerz's reading

If we assume it doesn't banish, it would be governed by the general "Between Games" rules - i.e. you gather your displayed cards together with your hand, deck, discard and bury.

The thing is, the Cloud Elemental isn't in the set of "your displayed cards" -- I think -- because those are the cards displayed next to your character deck, not locations, as I read the rules.

OTOH, the between scenarios text (now that I've gone back and read it) says to gather "any cards you displayed" -- the Cloud Elemental would be such a card.

I agree with Longshot that it doesn't make sense to banish the Cloud Elemental at the end of a scenario. It's an edge case swept up by the general rule to banish one-shots. I'm not sure what the best fix is.


Thanks for at least making me feel better about questioning what happens to this card.

Paizo Employee Chief Technical Officer

Added Cloud Elemental to FAQ.

Paizo Employee Chief Technical Officer

elcoderdude wrote:
Longshot11 wrote:

If we assume it doesn't banish, it would be governed by the general "Between Games" rules - i.e. you gather your displayed cards together with your hand, deck, discard and bury.

The thing is, the Cloud Elemental isn't in the set of "your displayed cards" -- I think -- because those are the cards displayed next to your character deck, not locations, as I read the rules.

MM Rulebook page 9 says "Your cards include your deck, the cards in your hand and your buried, discarded, and displayed cards." Where they're displayed doesn't matter.

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