Paizo Top Nav Branding
  • Hello, Guest! |
  • Sign In |
  • My Account |
  • Shopping Cart |
  • Help/FAQ
About Paizo Messageboards News Paizo Blog Help/FAQ
Pathfinder Roleplaying Game

Pathfinder Adventure Card Game


Pathfinder Society


Starfinder


Starfinder Society

Casting spells in combat


Starfinder General Discussion

Silver Crusade

I played Starfinder for the first time this weekend, in a Starfinder Society game.

The final boss was a spellcaster. Being experienced Pathfinder players, our entire group didn't approach him, instead readying attacks to disrupt his casting every round after we saw him casting in the first round. He did nothing the rest of the battle except get shot when he tried to cast. Granted, the GM probably should have had him pull out a gun and start firing back, but that's apparently not what he was built for. After all, he's a spellcaster, so he was supposed to be casting the whole time.

So in Starfinder, everyone's far more likely to be using a ranged weapon than in Pathfinder, armor classes are lower, and there are no concentration checks to save your spells if you get hit for even 1 point of damage while casting.

Does spellcasting in combat ever actually happen in this game? Because I just don't see how it can. I was thinking of making a spellcaster, but now I'm starting to wonder if mystic and technomancer are just "trap options", other than utility builds that don't cast in combat.

Dark Archive

Sounds like you had poorly made encounter or GM unwilling to jettison rules that simply will not working towards the monsters advantage. Few bosses should have no minions backing them up. Also as a smart or wise spell caster can easily make the perception check to notice that hey that one guy is been pointing his gun at me the whole time and hasn't done a thing what could he possibly be waiting for? Also some cover and basic common sense should keepthe last boss from ramming him self on your tactics. So no casters are not traps most npcs have to fear the guy shooting at him just as much as waiting for what he hopes the caster does I feel.


Tough question to answer in a vacuum.

Why was a boss alone, with no one to take a few shots for him ? Did you outsmart the ennemies or was he just waiting there for you all alone ?

No cover to hide behind ? You need a line of sight to shoot someone. Couldn't he cast something to equalize the playing field while staying out of reach ?

I mean, the way you describe it, I'm imagining both groups standing 5 meters from each other in a blank void with absolutely zero furniture, environmental hazards, sounds, nothing.

In that situation, sure, the caster is going to get completely wrecked, especially if he refuses to just pull a gun out and makes a last stand. But that situation is NOT supposed to happen in the first place, and if it does happen, then something went horribly wrong at some point prior.


1 person marked this as a favorite.
Fromper wrote:
Does spellcasting in combat ever actually happen in this game? Because I just don't see how it can.

As a PC, you probably won't be the sole target for a group of enemies with ranged weapons.


4 people marked this as a favorite.

If the readied action is not a purely defensive action, such as shooting a foe if he shoots at you, it takes place immediately after the triggering event. - Starfinder CRB p.249

Seems like casters can cast the spell then get shot by the readied action.


That quote is clearer in context - with that sentence on its own a reader might think "shooting a foe if he shoots at you" was being given as an example of a purely defensive action. But no, it's an example of a not-purely-defensive action.

Quote:
If your readied action is purely defensive, such as choosing the total defense action if a foe you are facing shoots at you, it occurs just before the event that triggered it. If the readied action is not a purely defensive action, such as shooting a foe if he shoots at you, it takes place immediately after the triggering event.

So, yes: you cannot interrupt a spell with a readied action.


Umbral Reaver wrote:

If the readied action is not a purely defensive action, such as shooting a foe if he shoots at you, it takes place immediately after the triggering event. - Starfinder CRB p.249

Seems like casters can cast the spell then get shot by the readied action.

Oh my!

So a readied action to attack a caster would only interrupt if the caster targeted you. Very interesting.

Edit: Even more interesting, you can't interrupt spell casting in Starfinder with a readied action!

Silver Crusade

Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Campaign Setting, Companion, Modules, Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber; Pathfinder Comics Subscriber
CRB, p. 331 wrote:
You are most at risk of taking damage while casting when a spell’s casting time is 1 round or longer, you have provoked an attack of opportunity, or a foe readied an action to attack you when you began to cast.

There's a bit of a controversy around that.


Franz Lunzer wrote:
CRB, p. 331 wrote:
You are most at risk of taking damage while casting when a spell’s casting time is 1 round or longer, you have provoked an attack of opportunity, or a foe readied an action to attack you when you began to cast.
There's a bit of a controversy around that.

I think thats poorly written. There are times when it would apply (some spells take longer to cast) but not always. Regardless I take explicit rules from the readying session to overide non-rules examples from the spellcasting session.

Silver Crusade

Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Campaign Setting, Companion, Modules, Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber; Pathfinder Comics Subscriber
Malk_Content wrote:
Franz Lunzer wrote:
CRB, p. 331 wrote:
You are most at risk of taking damage while casting when a spell’s casting time is 1 round or longer, you have provoked an attack of opportunity, or a foe readied an action to attack you when you began to cast.
There's a bit of a controversy around that.
I think thats poorly written. There are times when it would apply (some spells take longer to cast) but not always. Regardless I take explicit rules from the readying session to overide non-rules examples from the spellcasting session.

Fair enough.

I was just pointing out why the SFS-GM might have the spellcasters spells fail in the OP's case.


Bottom line: this needs a ruling from Paizo. It's a pretty big balance difference, and people are arguing about it in every thread where it comes up.

The argument is between the strict RAW description of readied actions vs. the implied RAI elsewhere. There is no right answer at this time because RAW and implied RAI are in direct contradiction, and there are valid arguments for both. Clearly one of the two was changed at some point, and the other was not changed to match it. Pick your poison.


3 people marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Roleplaying Guild Subscriber

In this thread Owen Stephens clarified that readying an action to attack and interrupt a standard action spell does not work.

So the passage describing readied actions, which explicitly states that it does not work takes precedence over the magic chapter, which only implies that it does.

EDIT: I also, personally, find the implication unconvincing, because a readied action could fire when someone begins to cast a full-round spell, which fits with the phrasing of the text about damage interrupting spells, but this does not mean that standard action spells are preempted.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion, Maps, Pawns, Roleplaying Game Subscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber

Wait, so if I ready an action to shoot a spellcaster who begins casting a spell with a 10-minute casting time, my readied action goes off 10 minutes later? WTF!?


Pathfinder Maps Subscriber
Ravingdork wrote:
Wait, so if I ready an action to shoot a spellcaster who begins casting a spell with a 10-minute casting time, my readied action goes off 10 minutes later? WTF!?

Don't exaggerate.

Readied action wrote:

If you come to your next turn and have not yet performed

your readied action, you don’t get to take the readied action
(though you can ready the same action again).

You can shoot him on the second turn at absolute worst.


Pathfinder Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Roleplaying Guild Subscriber
from the core rulebook wrote:

1 round: Casting a spell with a casting time of 1 round is a full action. The spell comes into effect just before the beginning of your turn in the round after you began casting the spell. You then act normally after the spell is completed.

1 minute: A spell that takes 1 minute to cast comes into effect just before your turn 1 minute later (and for each of those 10 rounds, you are considered to be casting a spell as a full action, just as noted above for 1-round casting times). These actions must be consecutive and uninterrupted; otherwise the spell automatically fails.

So beginning to cast a spell with a longer cast time is a full action, in that round, that triggers your readied action. You shoot them after that action, but before the spell goes off. I don't see a problem, here.


Just standing out in the open? Fool wizard, use the damn cover. Cover is your friend. Cover protects you. Cover loves you and you should love cover back. That guy in light armor over there is mumbling in an arcane way. But hold on we have to wait til he is done casting before we can stop him...... hey steve, shoot the wanker!


Gotta love all these stories of DMs just assuming the mechanics are the same as in Pathfinder, when there are rules explicitly stating otherwise.

Assuming the caster was only casting standard action spells, no readied action can interrupt it, only an AoO can stop spell casting now.


*edit: on closer look i cannot seem to find the passage i remember reading. Take my post with a gain of salt because I might be wrong.

I don't have the book in front of me so someone correct me if I am wrong but a separate change from pathfinder involves your new initiative score after performing a readied action. In pathfinder your new initiative after a readied action is directly before the character who triggered your readied action. In starfinder your new initiative is directly after the character who triggered the readied action. Therefore if the whole party readied attacks if they cast a spell, then bad guy casts spell and gets shot. The whole parties initiative is now behind the caster so they don't get a chance to ready an action before he can cast again. Sorry for being so verbose. I'll also double check the rule as soon as I can and I'll edit this post if I am way off base here.


Just saw the interpretation based on the Owen quote that you can't ready an attack to interrupt a standard action cast of a spell. I can see how one can have that idea.

It clearly goes against the spellcasting section, however.

I think this is another example of the book being rushed and thus huge lack of clarification.

Honestly that whole line "If the readied
action is not a purely defensive action, such as shooting a foe if
he shoots at you, it takes place immediately after the triggering
event" is ridiculous and I wouldn't be surprised if it gets errata'd out.

It goes against the very dramatic nature of RPGs themselves. Like saying "I try to shoot the bad guy if tries to flip that switch or he hits the big red button" --- apparently he *ALWAYS* pushes the big red button first? It's also a huuuge buff to spellcasters. I'll be recommending to the DM we mostly ignore that entire line of text and use common sense where applicable (i.e. things like Total Defense apply before an action while things like shooting a spellcaster apply 'during' the action and thus can interrupt)

For cases where it's more ambiguous like a bad guy with his hand over a big red button, I guess I'd recommend a homebrew solution such as an Initiative, Reflex, or Dexterity check to see who gets their action off first.


Abombom wrote:
It goes against the very dramatic nature of RPGs themselves. Like saying "I try to shoot the bad guy if tries to flip that switch or he hits the big red button" --- apparently he *ALWAYS* pushes the big red button first? It's also a huuuge buff to spellcasters.

My guess would be that during playtesting they found a situation similar to the one the OP had, and realised that casters were helpless against readied actions, so they made this change and forgot to take out the reference to readied actions in the spellcasting section.

I've never been in a group that's made much use of readied actions so this doesn't bother me.


Abombom wrote:

Just saw the interpretation based on the Owen quote that you can't ready an attack to interrupt a standard action cast of a spell. I can see how one can have that idea.

It clearly goes against the spellcasting section, however.

I think this is another example of the book being rushed and thus huge lack of clarification.

Honestly that whole line "If the readied
action is not a purely defensive action, such as shooting a foe if
he shoots at you, it takes place immediately after the triggering
event" is ridiculous and I wouldn't be surprised if it gets errata'd out.

It goes against the very dramatic nature of RPGs themselves. Like saying "I try to shoot the bad guy if tries to flip that switch or he hits the big red button" --- apparently he *ALWAYS* pushes the big red button first? It's also a huuuge buff to spellcasters. I'll be recommending to the DM we mostly ignore that entire line of text and use common sense where applicable (i.e. things like Total Defense apply before an action while things like shooting a spellcaster apply 'during' the action and thus can interrupt)

For cases where it's more ambiguous like a bad guy with his hand over a big red button, I guess I'd recommend a homebrew solution such as an Initiative, Reflex, or Dexterity check to see who gets their action off first.

I think the devs knew exactly what they were doing when they made it so readied actions can't interrupt spellcasting. This isn't Pathfinder where there's one ranged, several melee, and a spellcaster. This is Starfinder where literally everyone can use ranged weapons proficiently. Most parties will have one melee at most while the rest are ranged, and I suspect many parties will have no melee at all.

Now also consider there is no concentration check to see if a spell goes off when the caster takes damage. It just straight up fails. In fact, I'd argue that devs intend melee to be the only ones able to interrupt spells with AoOs (especially w/ the Step Up and Strike feat) just to give the poor melee something unique to do because the ranged characters have all the other advantages.


It could also be a general decision by the dev team to treat attacks with spells like attacks with ranged weapons and attacks with melee weapons.

Starfinder doesn't allow you to stop someone from shooting you by shooting them RIGHT BEFORE they shoot you, or stop someone from stabbing you by shooting them right before they do it. Being shot doesn't disrupt ranged or melee attacks. Maybe they decided that it shouldn't disrupt spell attacks either.

This has some good effects, in that it doesn't unfairly target spellcasting for penalties that other types of attacks have.

It does have some downsides, which aren't, to me, unique to spellcasting. There's no way to, for instance, cover someone with a gun. You can't meaningfully yell, "Drop the weapon or I'll shoot!", when physically, it is impossible to anything other than shoot them after they attack.

Perhaps a valid, rules-supported way to do things is already present. The CRB notes that:

You can drop any item or items that you’re holding into your square or into an adjacent square at any time without spending any actions.

So, for weapons and the like, ON YOUR TURN, you demand the opponent drop the weapon (as Combat Banter) and if they do not (since they can do it at any time), then you shoot them ON YOUR TURN.

The problem then becomes that Spellcasting can be done without any gestures, incantations, or components, in most cases, so there is no way to inhibit spellcasting. Thus, there's no way for an opponent to indicate that they are relinquishing the option of casting spells.

That's not a problem unique to this scenario, however. I feel like Starfinder has a general issue with spellcasting in that the ONLY way to safely contain a spellcaster is to render them unconscious or dead. Spellcasters with hands and feet encased in buckets of cement and bound, gagged, and blindfolded can still cast spells. There's no automatic way to detect a spellcaster, either, so security forces may need to render everyone they detain unconscious unless they have really, really good Sense Motive checks. I think this is a mistake by the design team (from a valid goal of avoiding the additional mechanics of Still/SIlent/Eschew Component spells). It removes a narrative option because there's no way of disarming a spellcasting opponent (or disarming yourself as a spellcaster to show good faith) other than just 'sounding sincere'.


Butch A. wrote:
Being shot doesn't disrupt ranged or melee attacks. Maybe they decided that it shouldn't disrupt spell attacks either.

If that was the goal, they should have got rid of concentration failures for taking damage...


1 person marked this as a favorite.
Butch A. wrote:

... The problem then becomes that Spellcasting can be done without any gestures, incantations, or components, in most cases, so there is no way to inhibit spellcasting. Thus, there's no way for an opponent to indicate that they are relinquishing the option of casting spells.

That's not a problem unique to this scenario, however. I feel like Starfinder has a general issue with spellcasting in that the ONLY way to safely contain a spellcaster is to render them unconscious or dead. Spellcasters with hands and feet encased in buckets of cement and bound, gagged, and blindfolded can still cast spells. There's no automatic way to detect a spellcaster, either, so security forces may need to render everyone they detain unconscious unless...

Personally, I'd solve that by having a relatively common item that you can equip to a spellcaster (braclet, anklet, handcuffs) that encases them in an anti-magic field or otherwise disrupts spellcasting by some magical means all on its own. If those items are cheap enough, you can justify player characters going about using those to detain spellcasters.


Matthew Downie wrote:
Butch A. wrote:
Being shot doesn't disrupt ranged or melee attacks. Maybe they decided that it shouldn't disrupt spell attacks either.

If that was the goal, they should have got rid of concentration failures for taking damage...

That's to weaken 1 round spells like Dominate Person and casting in melee, not all casting. Apparently.

RPG Superstar Season 9 Top 16

I hate the changes to readied actions, and it contradicts many other rules in the core rulebook that assume readied actions work the same way as they did in Pathfinder. I'm guessing they changed the rules to avoid cyclic tripping or something?

They could have just said that readied actions intercept but do not stop an opponent's action unless it requires concentration.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion, Maps, Pawns, Roleplaying Game Subscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber

I agree with Cyrad. Leaves a bad taste in my mouth.


*cough* The way you keep a spellcaster a prisoner is the same way you keep anyone a prisoner: monitoring, restraints, and people ready to hit them if they try to escape. A spellcaster with the right spells is a problem, but not really anymoreso than Soldier who can break casual restraints and take away your weapon to shoot you with it, or the Mechanic who uses his cyberware to hack your systems, or the Operative who has concealed items on his person.

Which is to say, imprisonment isn't fire-and-forget. And this is to the benefit of the game.


Metaphysician wrote:
Which is to say, imprisonment isn't fire-and-forget. And this is to the benefit of the game.

This is a great point. Given that the PCs are at least as liable to get imprisoned as they are to imprison enemies, and given that taking prisoners rather than killing them is a much better test of morality if the former has some risk, I find the difficulty of imprisonment to be acceptable.

That said, while difficult is fine, Interplanetary Teleport is not. Perhaps we could have some hybrid restraints/emitters that only allow people to cast spells that are 1/2/3 levels below their highest level spell?


Pathfinder Companion, Maps, Modules, Roleplaying Game Subscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber

Is there a time limit to how long somebody can spend in the Drift? Given its anti-magical nature, the Drift would be the perfect place to put a prison.

The Exchange

1 person marked this as a favorite.

Worth remembering that there are only 6th level casters in the system. They're good, but a high level caster isn't nearly as powerful or dangerous as a similar leveled 9th level in PF. Between the auto failure from damage and the high to hit/low AC if readying to attack worked as before spells would be impossible. I mean who would want to have their healing focused Mystic easily and guaranteed to be countered by one or two goblins well below their CR while the rest of the party fought.

As for the teleport spells, by that time you're facing level 13-16 characters. Short of cutting limbs off, and I mean all of them, does anyone think it would be easier to hold a solarion or mechanic? At least for the spells there's planar barrier.


1 person marked this as a favorite.

Sometimes you have to step back and ask yourselves some common sense questions like: why do Attacks of Opportunity interrupt spellcasting?

Well, the same reason any damage interrupts >1 round spellcasting: it's implied damage interrupts the caster's concentration.

So why do Attacks of Opportunities, which do damage, interrupt standard action casting while ranged damage and Magic Missle doesn't? It well... doesn't make any sense.

Not only does it break the internal logic of the rules, it's also very unintuitive, which I'd say is the bigger crime *especially for new players.* I can get with the decision to have illogical rules for balance purposes, but I can't get behind a rule that I'm going to have to explain 4-6 times to new players. ("Oh your gun can't interrupt 98% of their spells/spellcasting. Only your knife can. Because... reasons. Except for that 2% of the time where it can. Because it's takes longer than 1 round. Wait, let me reword that, let's start over...")

If they wanted to buff melee, this was not the way to do it. If they wanted to buff spellcasting, well, that's not something they should be doing. The nerfing of spellcasters, namely removing all tier 1/2 full casters is the singular best contribution of Starfinder for balance purposes.

If the spellcasters can't cast because someone is shooting at them, boo-hoo. Maybe they should reposition, throw an angled battlefield control spell outside of that combatant's vision, rely on their allies (to throw smoke / disarm-kill-blind enemies), cast more defensive spells like Mirror Image, shoot their gun instead, or just risk taking the hit.

Like many things in 3.0->3.5->PF->SF or from 3.0 to many fantasy heartbeakers, this is an example of an attempt at a upgrade at the rules, which ends up being a "sidegrade"/horizontal improvement at most, and a downgrade at worst. A simple concentration check was more elegant. Maybe they shoulda just kept concentration checks but removed the scaling damage DC part.

And again, the problems are not even limited to just spellcasting; "Don't move, bad guy!" followed by the bad guy moving and then shooting him dead before he gets to the alarm / door lock / pushes a button / etc. is a classic trope that is actually impossible under a strict interpretation of the ready action rules.

The Exchange

Abombom wrote:


If the spellcasters can't cast because someone is shooting at them, boo-hoo. Maybe they should reposition, throw an angled battlefield control spell outside of that combatant's vision, rely on their allies (to throw smoke / disarm-kill-blind enemies), cast more defensive spells like Mirror Image, shoot their gun instead, or just risk taking the hit.

I'm not sure I or many others would really play a class that was completely countered by any enemy with an Int above animal. Or want one on my team since it requires that now I have to save them from their own class abilities. And I tend to like casters. Spell casters are part of a Science-Fantasy game, they should get to play too.

Abombom wrote:
And again, the problems are not even limited to just spellcasting; "Don't move, bad guy!" followed by the bad guy moving and then shooting him dead before he gets to the alarm / door lock / pushes a button / etc. is a classic trope that is actually impossible under a strict interpretation of the ready action rules..

This is still a game that uses HP, unless your packing something completely outside your level range for damage why would the bad guy care that you might shoot him if he doesn't obey. Even if it happens first you might, if lucky, deal maybe 20% of their health. And that as always in games like these has no mechanical effect. So this is a moot point.

Now RP wise is another thing, and if the GM feels that the threat would worry the enemy I can't see why they would decide that it then doesn't because of order of operations. That's completely a mechanic thing.

I really don't think that this rule is that non intuitive, unless they have other game system rules in their head and keep mixing them up. In which case you're having to explain to them anyway why their attack of opportunity doesn't cause a penalty to the other persons attack too.


Abombom wrote:
"Oh your gun can't interrupt 98% of their spells/spellcasting. Only your knife can. Because... reasons. Except for that 2% of the time where it can. Because it's takes longer than 1 round. Wait, let me reword that, let's start over...

"Attacks of opportunity are different from readied actions. Any other questions?"


Abombom wrote:


And again, the problems are not even limited to just spellcasting; "Don't move, bad guy!" followed by the bad guy moving and then shooting him dead before he gets to the alarm / door lock / pushes a button / etc. is a classic trope that is actually impossible under a strict interpretation of the ready action rules.

That would only be a readied action if you're already in combat and decide to ready and give him a chance for some reason rather than continue shooting on your turn. If you lead with that line you're initiating combat, and he doesn't know whether you won initiative when he tries to move or if you're just yelling impotent threats before you get to act after he does.


1 person marked this as a favorite.

> Playing spellcasters isn't fun if they either have to (1) make concentration checks, like in Pathfinder or (2) lose their spell from any damage, like in Starfinder.

Enemies still have to make their attack roll, which they only have like a 50% of making. Less if you're behind cover. Less if you have defensive buffs. Less if you have Mirror Image. 0% if you can abuse tactics (like smoke clouds or terrain positioning)

Not to mention the fact that if an enemy is waiting for you to cast a spell, you can just shoot him and he just wasted his turn while you didn't. Unless the GM allows the clause/trigger "will shoot if you do any offensive action" which is generous but understandable.

I don't understand how one can argue that spellcasters are useless just because they have a *chance* of losing their spell and have to weigh the *option* (not the necessity) of perhaps not casting their spells blindly and 100% safely without a care in the world. Spellcasters weren't useless in other editions when they could be interrupted, why would they be useless now?

> Damage can't kill enemies.

Standard party size of 4. Party decides to show mercy. That's 4 people who could be shooting a bad guy. They def stand a chance of killing him. Or maybe it's only 1-2 party members and the bad guy is full health in which case.......

> Bad guys are only stopped by damage.

No, the readied action could also be a blind/disable/Save-or-Suck/entangle/etc.

> 1st turn of combat

It isn't necessarily the 1st turn of combat in these examples, but even if it is (i.e. "roll for initiative!"), there's a high chance at least 2 party members act before the enemy.

> Players can totally understand these rules at first glance.

We can pretend these rules are intuitive but I'd subjectively argue based on all my past experience with varying different gamegroups that no, they're not at all.

Cheatsheets will help remedy this but meh.

And a better question: if these rules aren't upgrades, why were they changed in the first place? Concentration checks are way simpler to explain than this, which is full of exceptions and weird stuff, much like a tax code. "When you take damage, make a concentration check = to blah blah." versus "Damage interrupts spell-casting, except not standard action spell-casting, which is most spell-casting. Oh, and not ongoing damage. Oh, and not auto-hit damage like Magic Missle. Oh, and not area of effects you made your saves against. But yeah technically damage interrupts spell-casting."


McAllister wrote:
Metaphysician wrote:
Which is to say, imprisonment isn't fire-and-forget. And this is to the benefit of the game.

This is a great point. Given that the PCs are at least as liable to get imprisoned as they are to imprison enemies, and given that taking prisoners rather than killing them is a much better test of morality if the former has some risk, I find the difficulty of imprisonment to be acceptable.

That said, while difficult is fine, Interplanetary Teleport is not. Perhaps we could have some hybrid restraints/emitters that only allow people to cast spells that are 1/2/3 levels below their highest level spell?

If they can cast Interplanetary Teleport, than they are a super high end prisoner that requires some kind of mega prison, anyway. Regardless of class.


Abombom wrote:
So why do Attacks of Opportunities, which do damage, interrupt standard action casting while ranged damage and Magic Missle doesn't?

Attacks of Opportunity occur during the spellcasting; readied attacks (including with melee weapons) don't. Unless the spell has a longer duration, in which case ranged damage and magic missiles can interrupt spells just fine.

So I think what you're actually asking is, "Why are Attacks of Opportunity apparently quicker to make than readied attacks?"


Or, one could think of it like this:

A gun just hurts.

A hammer hurts and knocks you around a bit more.

Or we could just look at it as balance so melee has more of a place in the system and one can't instantly lock down a caster by readying ranged actions.


Attacks of Opportunity being quicker than readied actions is just silly. In real life the person who is ready and waiting to do something is almost always going to be faster than someone who wasn't ready but suddenly has an 'opportunity' to do something.

If this is how the rules are actually meant to be interpreted, this is going to be a huge source of breaking my suspension of disbelief.


2 people marked this as a favorite.

If you're in melee, you are (if we try to imagine that the reality of the game is not turn-based) pretty much trying to hit your enemy all the time. If the character suddenly stops trying to defend himself in order to do something that provokes an AoO (like casting a spell) them you have a good chance of landing that extra blow immediately before you've even registered what they're trying to do.

Besides, everyone knows that futuristic ranged weapons fire large glowing projectiles which take a second or two to reach their target.

The Exchange

Matrix Dragon wrote:

Attacks of Opportunity being quicker than readied actions is just silly. In real life the person who is ready and waiting to do something is almost always going to be faster than someone who wasn't ready but suddenly has an 'opportunity' to do something.

If this is how the rules are actually meant to be interpreted, this is going to be a huge source of breaking my suspension of disbelief.

If you're looking for realism then when someone readys a action they and the triggering party should be required to do a dex off, or opposed initiative check to see which happens first(we don't do this as it's a fairly unneeded complication, but it would be more realistic). After all, the person readying an action is waiting for cues from the other party before acting. They have to notice the triggering action, recognize it, recall what they were going to do, and then complete that action. While the triggering party only has to complete and action they have already started. Sure the brain can do these things at high speed, but that isn't instantaneous. Honestly it seems more realistic to me that all such actions happen after their triggering event. If two people are shooting at each other then the person waiting for the other to move first will get shot first. The way it works is a fairly simple and balanced way to handle it though that gives everyone a part to play.

If it bothers you too much then really by the logic of realism shooting and melee should also be interruptible. It's hard to accurately fire a bullet if you've just been shot in the knee, or swing a sword if your hand was just smashed with a hammer. But then this would turn fights into cyclical showdowns where whoever has the most people wins because the rest of the team just each prevent an opponent from acting.


If you're looking for a real life reason (not that I recommend this for game comparisons), look at it this way: In real life melee combat, you're not attacking once every 6 seconds, you're constantly making feints, attacks, blocks, etc, non-stop. Go watch any martial arts competition or a martial arts two man set.

If you've stopped blocking or putting your opponent on the defensive in melee, then your opponent's attack that is already on its way before you've decided to cast (or actually try to aim a ranged weapon) simply gets through, and its up to your Armor to deflect it. That is the concept of a melee attack of opportunity. It's because you've let your active defense drop that an extra attack lands right at that moment.

If you're not actively fighting in melee combat, then it comes down to initiative and the surprise round, since you don't get AoOs if you are flat footed. This is the equivalent of not having attacks being thrown non-stop, so your reaction time comes into play.

Paizo / Messageboards / Paizo / Starfinder® / Starfinder General Discussion / Casting spells in combat All Messageboards

Want to post a reply? Sign in.

©2002-2017 Paizo Inc.® | Privacy Policy | Contact Us
Need help? Email customer.service@paizo.com or call 425-250-0800 during our business hours, Monday through Friday, 10:00 AM to 5:00 PM Pacific time.

Paizo Inc., Paizo, the Paizo golem logo, Pathfinder, the Pathfinder logo, Pathfinder Society, Starfinder, the Starfinder logo, GameMastery, and Planet Stories are registered trademarks of Paizo Inc. The Pathfinder Roleplaying Game, Pathfinder Campaign Setting, Pathfinder Adventure Path, Pathfinder Adventure Card Game, Pathfinder Player Companion, Pathfinder Modules, Pathfinder Tales, Pathfinder Battles, Pathfinder Legends, Pathfinder Online, Starfinder Adventure Path, PaizoCon, RPG Superstar, The Golem's Got It, Titanic Games, the Titanic logo, and the Planet Stories planet logo are trademarks of Paizo Inc. Dungeons & Dragons, Dragon, Dungeon, and Polyhedron are registered trademarks of Wizards of the Coast, Inc., a subsidiary of Hasbro, Inc., and have been used by Paizo Inc. under license. Most product names are trademarks owned or used under license by the companies that publish those products; use of such names without mention of trademark status should not be construed as a challenge to such status.