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Organized Play Member. 235 posts. 20 reviews. No lists. 1 wishlist. 1 Organized Play character.

I have a player who has Ghoul Fever, and failed a couple saves so now it's ongoing saves each day to try to end it. The team is now trying to stack advantages to the saving throws as he's making the rolls. However, I never thought that the PCs even had a real "time of day" when a save is made -- we mostly just roll in the morning as the game day starts, but the roll is a reflection of 24 hours of disease.

Because of this, I thought short-term boosts would not help. You wouldn't even know when to time them for a save, and if you did, you'd need the boost to last the whole day leading up to the save.

So can casting Remove Sickness at 1st level, in which it only lasts 10 minutes, be enough to grant a +4 to that day's saving throw against Ghoul Fever?

Also, since this is the rules forum, if you do have an answer, I'd love to see any rules text that backs it up directly or indirectly.

Thanks for your advice!

I'm trying to find high touch-AC monsters. I found that a beetle was listed as having high touch AC. And the stat block does have the touch AC at 16. However, what you may notice is that it's applying natural armor to that touch AC. That shouldn't work. It should be that the touch AC is 11, and the flat-footed AC is the high one, at 16. Right?

I know there are many PFS "best items" topics. However, I want to discuss a non-PFS situation: the Rich Parents trait. I'm aware that some GMs feel it's brokenly good to start with extra cash, and other GMs feel it's laughably bad because there are no retraining rules for traits, so you're just stuck with a dumb useless trait at level 5+ when you've already spent the money and can no longer gain from it.

So let's not discuss that part. Save that for another topic. Here, let's say that I've already made the smart/stupid (depending upon your POV) decision to have that trait. I now have 900 gold to spend, and I want to use it in the way that best enhances my group's chances of surviving to level 2. I'm thinking I need to have answers to as many low-level problems and dangers as possible. Without knowing what the GM is going to throw at my group during level 1, what are some purchases that make sense? What purchases have at least a maybe decent chance of being useful during level 1 (or even level 2)?

(I'll be playing a sorcerer using Words of Power if that changes your answers in any way, but I'm fine to hear general answers too.)

I've heard you can also combine spells so that a summoned monster appears with spell buffs already applied. However, if I understand the combination rules properly, that would be high level thing. I certainly can't apply a buff to a summoned critter at level 1 or 2, right?

Anyway, if you have some good low level spell combos, or some early access ideas, I'd love to know about them. I think I'm going to create a sorcerer, but the cleric's early access to undead is very tempting.

Does anyone have a workaround? Maybe a different server name that I can use?

In a Pathfinder Society game right now, & I have a strength 10 character that just took 25 points of strength damage due to all failed saves against a poison. The question that we want to find out is, does my strength damage stop at zero? Or do I actually set my strength to -15? The real question we need to answer, is do I need 15 days of bed rest before my strength comes back into the positives, or will one day of bed rest bring my character back online with a strength of 1?

Since some creatures have a - for the ability score (such as a construct having no constitution score), what happens when you apply the Advanced template, which boosts all ability scores by 4?

I think I know, but I'm hoping for official answers or very well-reasoned answers.

(I think I know because the retriever is a construct with eye ray beams that are "Constitution based" -- powers that are tied to an ability score are intended to increase as the ability score is pumped up (such as saving throw DCs increasing), and so I feel that the authors of the game at least intended for the eye ray beams to increase in power as the Con score increased, which implies that even with a dash for Con it is affected by the Advanced template. However, I defer to official rulings, if anyone knows of such a thing.)

There was a feat or trait that was in a Society book (maybe Seeker of Secrets?) that allowed you to ask the GM to remind you of the details of your mission. It was basically, "I want to be lazy and not take notes, but I want my character to be totally aware of the details anyway."

Does anyone remember that option? What was it called, and what book was it in? Is it still allowed in PFS?

So I've been playing a druid for a while, and I've been sad about the saving throw DC for my whirlwind, which states:

An affected creature must succeed on a Reflex save (DC 10 + half monster’s HD + the monster’s Strength modifier)

So I've been looking at ways to boost STR via a magic belt, etc. However, then I came across this line in the transmutation/polymorph rules:

The DC for any of these abilities equals your DC for the polymorph spell used to change you into that form.

...does a druid get to use that? Does that line apply to the saving throw DC for a whirlwind? Does wild shape even count as a polymorph spell? I assume it does because it's based upon Elemental Shape.

That would make my DCs so much higher, with no change at all. Just instantly better.

Too good to be true?

2 people marked this as FAQ candidate.

My players are running a small mutiny on me right now, and I'd like help. For reference, here is the Holy Smite spell. In the text it says it affects your enemies. However, I was always under the impression that a burst would affect everyone in the burst unless the caster had that selective spell metamagic.

The players are arguing that it isn't flavor text when it talks about enemies only, because usually flavor text is italics text before the meat of the spell text. Also, they are arguing that even if bursts in general affect everyone, that specific trumps general, and so the specific text of the spell trumps burst effect rules, and causes it to only affect enemies.

For now I've relented and agreed with their conclusion, only because I couldn't find rule text, nor other spells with similar effect/text to counter their argument. However, it made me uncomfortable enough that I'm here with just an itchy brain, thinking I shouldn't have relented.

The fight was put on pause until next game day, so I'm looking for any text, any rule, any examples that I could put in front of my players. How do I counter their well-argued assertion? I don't want to house rule. I want to find the correct handling, and follow that.

Thanks for your advice.

Here is the shambling mound listing.

It gains temp CON if you hit it with lightning. I haven't seen any ruling on if temporary ability score increases stack, so I'm going to follow the rules for stacking temporary hit points. That is, same source = "no stacking" but different sources stack. (That's also the same rule used for spells, I think.)

Now, down to the problem. Where do I register the "source" for determining stacking? What I mean is this:

  • Is the monster ability the source? In other words, any time the monster ability is triggered, it's the monster ability that is the source, and therefore nothing will ever stack, no matter what hit it with lightning.
  • Is the thing that triggers the monster ability the source? So a wizard casts Lightning Bolt, and a storm creature zaps the shambling mound with a natural shock attack, and a fighter uses one of those alchemical bottled lightning things to deal some electricity damage too... each of those a different source?

Thanks for your advice.

Asked this elsewhere, didn't get any replies. Hopefully you can help. Here are 3 monsters that have attacks listed as a "poison effect":

The rules for poison state:

SRD wrote:

If there is still poison active in you when you are attacked with that type of poison again, and you fail your initial save against the new dose, the doses stack. This has two effects, which last until the poisons run their course.

Increased Duration: Increase the duration of the poison by 1/2 the amount listed in its frequency entry.

Increased DC: Increase the poison's DC by +2.

So having reviewed that, what happens if the ataxian keeps landing poison attacks?

  • Round 1: Ataxian #1 lands poison effect, target saves vs. DC 14, fails.
  • Round 2: Ataxian #2 lands poison effect, target saves vs. DC 14? Or 16? Whatever number, let's assume he fails again.
  • Round 3: Ataxian #1 lands poison effect again, target saves vs. DC 14, 16, or 18?

I don't know if poison (which stacks) is the same as a "poison effect," so I'm not sure if such effects stack. Thanks for helping me figure out how it works.

This is from the paladin's Holy Tactician archetype:

PRD wrote:
Weal's Champion (Su): Once per day as swift action, a holy tactician can call on the powers of good to aid her against evil. Against evil targets, the holy tactician gains her Charisma bonus (if any) on her attack rolls against evil creatures, and if she hits, she adds 1/2 her paladin level on her weapon damage rolls as well.

So the bolded part is what I'm questioning. I always thought the general rule was "round down." So if you are a level 1 character and you use the Weal's Champion ability, you would get 1/2 your level in extra damage, or literally .5 extra, which rounds down to 0 extra.

However, in sCoreForge, it has a minimum of 1 point of extra damage. That's just wrong, isn't it? There isn't some obscure general class ability rule that states to "always have a minimum of 1 when doing class level stuff," right?

2 people marked this as FAQ candidate.

Assume the PCs are in a town capable of getting spellcasting services.

Question about a contradiction in the PFS rules. Hoping for a FAQ or at least a PFS staff member response. In the PFS rulebook, page 25:

Generally speaking, you can pay to have spells cast on you at any time during the scenario so long as you’re in a settlement or have access to a temple, shrine, or wandering mystic.

I added bold & italics to highlight the key phrases. It seems to show that a PC can get spells cast literally during the scenario. Since it says "at any time" the player could say mid-game, "This is the time, right now, when I'm getting spellcasting services."

However, consider the next sentence in the PFS rulebook:

Page 163 of the Core Rulebook covers the rules for purchasing spellcasting services and the associated costs are listed in the Spellcasting and Services table on page 159.

So after some specific text about when you can buy spellcasting, it follows with a citation of the general rules. Those rules give a 24-hour waiting period. So, is the first sentence about "any time" and "during the scenario" just unfortunate accidental text and the general spellcasting rules win, or is PFS offering specific text that trumps the general rules?

At stake would be things like this:

  • If spellcasting services are available literally during the scenario at any time, PCs who are losing a fight with an incorporeal monster in town could run away, pay to get Mage Armor cast, and continue the fight with better AC vs. incorporeal. Or, players who cannot defeat a Deeper Darkness spell could run away, use gold to purchase some kind of light spell -- perhaps at a high caster level if needed -- and then return to the fight (or at least return to mop up the mess).
  • If spellcasting services are only available with 24 hour delay, all those players going into Bonekeep & Emerald Spire with Heroes Feast or other long-term buffs (from spellcasting services) need to be shut down.

Does Pathfinder Society allow spells to be purchased mid-scenario, as needed? Please, hit the FAQ link near the top of this post. Thanks.

Unnatural Lust is a compulsion. Does the Protection From Evil stop it? We're not sure if it's mind control. It does force people to move to the target....

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So, only in the last month or so have I heard players using "interleaving" as an admonishment against GMs. I think it's localized to the West Coast right now, but it's going to spread, and I want you to be prepared for it when it rears its ugly head near you. It'll wreck your games if you're not careful.

The ban on interleaving is not in any rule book, nor the PFS guide. It's not discussed on these forums, either, which is why I think it's a new made-up term. The idea is to prevent GMs from clustering initiatives of similar/copied monsters. Like this:

  • GM groups 4 normal goblins all on the same initiative since they each have the same stat block, but the vampire leader gets her own initiative roll.
  • Player sees 4 goblins move in and get flank, doesn't like getting ganged up on, and says, "No interleaving attacks, that's not fair!"

The idea is to prevent GMs from weaving monsters' actions together in ways that skirt the rules about discrete turns for each character. The problem? The "no interleaving" text doesn't exist anywhere in the rules. It's completely made-up. Additionally, weaving monsters' actions together is no different from using delay and ready actions. Nothing mechanically changes. Example:

  • Using normal grouped initiative, the GM has the goblins run up, all on the same initiative, get flank, and attack with +2s (flank bonus). This involves each monster using a move action to close in, and a standard action to attack. Nobody is getting extra actions or breaking rules, but it apparently seems "unfair" because if the goblins had moved individually, the first to run up & attack would have had no flank bonus for the attack. Or so it appears to the player who has reasoned it out, but see the next bullet point.
  • Alternatively, the "no interleaving" rule suggests that the GM must resolve every monster's turn separately, to avoid the aforementioned issues. However, in this case, the GM has the goblins delay and cluster anyway, then each goblin moves into position and readies on getting a flank, and then the attacks trigger, and each goblin gets the +2 flank bonus anyway.

And that's the problem. "No interleaving" solves nothing. It just drags out fights even more, and makes the GM appear to be a spotlight hog. For example, I am about to run the Sky Key trilogy. The final fight in the first module involves a dozen monsters. If I play each one individually, I will take 12 turns while each player takes one. And that's every round, until they kill the little buggers off.

That's ridiculous. I mean, if you're a better GM than I am and you can take 12 turns each round and not come off like you're dominating the time, then great. You are awesome. But I am not that awesome, and I desperately need to cluster those monsters. In that particular fight, I will have 3 sets of monsters, and for each group, I roll all the attacks & damage dice at the same time. In that way, I can run 6 monsters in about the same time as doing 1 or 2 individually.

The reason I say this is an issue is because I had a real world problem with it. At the last convention I ran, I heard this "no interleaving" admonishment for the first time, mid-fight. I assumed it was a PFS rule I had never heard of before, and I timidly pulled apart grouped initiatives and ran each monster individually. And then our game ran an hour past our allotted time, and bled into the next game, and I had to manage angry players and leadership. And then I looked it up and realized it doesn't exist.

So I'm getting this out there for everyone, right now. If you group monsters, any actions you do in a "grouping" can be reproduced (if you're forced to run monsters individually) using delays and readies. So this is an unnecessary burden that slows down games. If someone demands "no interleaving," just shrug, say all the monsters go into delay until they're all together, and then they move & ready on each other's actions so the attacks go off. Then it's the exact same as clustering similar/same monsters, and the nitpicker is satisfied. Don't let your games slow to a grind.

(Yes, I'm aware that some dumb creatures, such as skeletons and vermin, should not know to get a flank, and thus demanding a GM run each individually might seem to prevent them from getting flank bonuses... at least until the GM just has them do readies. See, the problem isn't solved with "no interleaving." The problem is "the GM is running a mindless creature in a very smart way." That problem can occur with or without interleaving. The solution, if you're upset that a GM had 2 skeletons get flank, is to talk to the GM about monster intelligence, not force him or her to run every damn monster on its own initiative. If you want games to conclude in a reasonable amount of time, don't force GMs to dive into this level of detail and separated rolls. Some of us absolutely cannot run as swiftly under those circumstances.)

I'm feeling very overwhelmed by all the changes and subsystems in the Pathfinder Unchained book. I believe that I could love the new rogue, but I don't understand the clever synergies you guys use with various feats to get an extra edge. I just saw in the general forum some people posting about a rogue that could make an enemy cower and then do coup de grace as a swift action. I don't have enough rules mastery to even conceive of such things.

So, I'm turning to you guys. You are masters. Would you please post sample builds? I don't need perfection, but I do want to see feats/talents, whatever is making the rogue awesome. Preferably at level 1 and then level 10 or 11, and tell me WHY that rogue is good at level 1 and why it got better at level 10/11.

There are PFS games available to me on Monday and Thursday, so my intention would be to try one of the more fun-looking builds this week and see how it goes. I think by doing I will have more success in understanding the value of this new class.

EDIT: I also just saw a discussion about the Elven Branched Spear, and how it has a synergy with the new rogue? Can anyone explain why?

So I was running a PFS module that involves cold weather. I had this conversation at the beginning of the game:

  • ME: "You're going to be in a snowy region. Does anyone need to buy cold weather outfits, or Endure Elements scrolls, or stuff like that?"
  • PLAYER: "I want to buy alchemist's fire."
  • ME: "OK. Anyone else? Anything?"
  • PLAYERS: "Nope."

I noted the lack of cold weather purchases. During the journey, I asked for Fort saves, and 1 PC failed. I had this conversation:

  • ME: "Do you have a cold weather outfit on? That would boost your save."
  • PLAYER: "Yes."
  • ME: "Good, but you didn't buy one earlier. So is this from a previous game?"
  • PLAYER: "Yes."
  • ME: "OK, show me the chronicle sheet that has the purchase."
  • PLAYER: "Why are you micromanaging our gear? This is too much work for something that costs so little."
  • ME: "You have 5 chronicle sheets, tops. Just hand them ALL to me, I'll find it, it's not hard."
  • PLAYER: "I don't have them."
  • ME: "Well, show me the item written on an inventory sheet, then."
  • PLAYER: "I don't have that, either."
  • ME: "OK, take 3 points of nonlethal cold damage."
  • PLAYER: "This game sucks."

So, I'm here to ask if I did the right thing, because normally I agree that micromanaging gear does suck. However, with players purchasing no cold weather gear, I think it was fair to be suspicious that they'd suddenly have that gear. Is the player right?

The thunderstorm rules from page 438:

thunderstorms are accompanied by lightning that can pose a hazard to characters without proper shelter (especially those in metal armor). As a rule of thumb, assume one bolt per minute for a 1-hour period at the center of the storm. Each bolt causes between 4d8 and 10d8 points of electricity damage.

My adventuring party is -- due to a module insisting it is so -- stuck in a thunderstorm during the hour of lightning. Assuming there is no ability to get shelter, the PCs are subject to 60 lightning bolts during the hour, for a minimum total damage of 240d8.

At first I assumed that the bolts were just random strikes on the ground or trees, but then re-read the bolded part of the quoted text, and realized that the game rules fully intend for the PCs to get hit. So then I assumed I just had to deliver that amount of damage to each PC, which is awful.

So, I'm here to ask for sort of a "community FAQ" on this. I don't really care about how Paizo would officially rule on this. I want to hear from other GMs: how would you follow the spirit of that rules text, without being a legalistic jerk that auto-TPKs the party?

For example, the rules text really doesn't say anything about targeting, which is why I assumed both "nobody gets hit" and then "everybody gets hit." Without anything to state who gets hit by this stuff, maybe there is a reasonable interpretation of this that allows for to-hit rolls, or reflex saves, or... I don't know, what do you think? What would you do if you were forced to run a module that insisted the PCs were in the thunderstorm for the hour of lightning? What's a good way to run this that doesn't suck and isn't a cop-out?

During the course of this module, the players learn that Emral Xarcious is in debt to Greeves, went missing, and that Greeves was overheard arguing with a slaver about the sale of a skilled slave. Later, players can learn that Emral has been captured & beaten pretty badly by Greeves, who has grown frustrated at his inability to find a buyer for his debtor in the slave pits.

The players offered to buy him and paid the price listed, but then kept him as a slave since that's the backstory. The module assumes they set him free, but slavery is legal in Absalom and it's a legit sale.

How the heck is that handled in PFS??!!?

I noticed that the swarm traits say this:

A swarm made up of Tiny creatures takes half damage from slashing and piercing weapons.

And I noticed that things like the rat swarm seem to obey this:

(as a swarm of tiny creatures, a Rat Swarm takes only half damage from piercing and slashing attacks)

However, the listing for the monkey swarm diverges from this, saying:

half damage from weapons

...in other words, with a monkey swarm, even bludgeoning fails. Normally, I'd just use the swarm traits text, but we all know the rule is that specific trumps general, so the monkey swarm in particular is apparently doing more than the general swarm rules.

This was brought up in the errata discussion but apparently it was deemed fine as-is...? At least, I don't see a response to the request for clarification.

Can anyone find a specific FAQ or errata or rules citing that invalidates the bludgeoning exemption? I have a player who intends to exploit this problem, and while I can probably get away with blocking it, it's a PFS game, so I kinda have to follow the rules literally.

The paladin code states that paladins must not aid those who commit crimes, and the entire premise of Dalsine Affair is to do exactly that. Therefore, I cannot in good faith overlook that issue. The paladins will have to fall, or refuse the mission and get no prestige. However, I hate doing that, and I am only doing it because the module forced my hand. Since I will not interpret things "creatively" in order to give the paladins a pass, what else is rules-legal to do? For example, can I do any of these?

  • Tell the players they should not run paladins, and give them pre-gens or something.
  • Tell the players flat-out that if they run these paladins, I will insist they either fail the mission, or fall?
  • Tell the players "your paladins will fall, but you can buy an atonement spell. Decide before we play if you're cool with that."
  • Don't give away anything, and allow them to play whatever, and just knock 'em down when they start aiding the smugglers and hiding evidence.
  • Tell the players, "I can't run this, sorry." This will involve everyone going home, because no one else is prepped to run this. But, if everyone feels it's the only option, I'll do it.

OR, are there any other good options you can think of (aside from "let paladins help the smugglers, and justify it somehow so that they don't fall")? I'm open to just about anything else.

From the aquatic rules section:

Attacks from Land: Characters swimming, floating, or treading water on the surface, or wading in water at least chest deep, have improved cover (+8 bonus to AC, +4 bonus on Reflex saves) from opponents on land. Land-bound opponents who have freedom of movement effects ignore this cover when making melee attacks against targets in the water. A completely submerged creature has total cover against opponents on land unless those opponents have freedom of movement effects. Magical effects are unaffected except for those that require attack rolls (which are treated like any other effects) and fire effects.

Total cover should block, but it says magical attacks are unaffected, and I assume that's referring to total cover. Right? Now for the rules from the magic section, on targeting:


A line of effect is a straight, unblocked path that indicates what a spell can affect. A line of effect is canceled by a solid barrier. It's like line of sight for ranged weapons, except that it's not blocked by fog, darkness, and other factors that limit normal sight.

You must have a clear line of effect to any target that you cast a spell on or to any space in which you wish to create an effect. You must have a clear line of effect to the point of origin of any spell you cast.

I have always heard people cite water as a barrier that breaks line of effect, but I don't see where in the rules there is a list of what is considered a "solid barrier." Anyone?

Since both total cover and improved cover have been cited by those rules, here are those rules as well:


Total Cover: If you don't have line of effect to your target (that is, you cannot draw any line from your square to your target's square without crossing a solid barrier), he is considered to have total cover from you. You can't make an attack against a target that has total cover.

Improved Cover: In some cases, such as attacking a target hiding behind an arrowslit, cover may provide a greater bonus to AC and Reflex saves. In such situations, the normal cover bonuses to AC and Reflex saves can be doubled (to +8 and +4, respectively). A creature with this improved cover effectively gains improved evasion against any attack to which the Reflex save bonus applies. Furthermore, improved cover provides a +10 bonus on Stealth checks.

This is for a PFS game, so I'm not looking for opinions or how you'd house rule it. I'm looking for a rules citation that would be mandatory for me to follow, either way. Any pointers?

Knowing whatever you know, can you answer this: how would an arrow shot, an acid arrow spell, and a magic missile spell do against someone fully submerged under water? Thanks!

Looking for a rules citation here. Had a ghoul fight, and it'll be re-run tomorrow night.

Going paralyzed confers helpless condition -- but you are held "rigid" and do not slump to the ground, even with your 0 strength. So a paralyzed person is standing in the square, and counts as difficult terrain (essentially). That much is by the rules which I understand. HOWEVER, if a fellow PC enters the paralyzed person's square and attacks the ghoul, is the PC at -4 for squeezing? Do they get shunted to an adjacent square if they end their turn occupying the paralyzed person's space?

Keep in mind, the paralyzed person isn't prone. Helpless & paralyzed conditions do not appear to remove the rules about standing in someone else's square. However, I am sure I don't understand all the rules, so I'd love to see your citations or rulings. I'll help with links to the rules I found, at least:

SQUEEZING: http://www.d20pfsrd.com/gamemastering/combat#TOC-Squeezing

PARALYZED: http://www.d20pfsrd.com/gamemastering/conditions#TOC-Paralyzed

HELPLESS: http://www.d20pfsrd.com/gamemastering/conditions#TOC-Helpless

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This is just a simple first-level build. Exploiter Wizard, human, 20 point buy.

Stats: All 10s except DEX 15, CON 13, INT 18.

Trait: Magical Lineage (focus: Magic Missile)

Feats: Toppling Metamagic, Extra Exploit

Exploits: Potent Magic, Energy Shield

If I've done this correctly, at first level I can cast Toppling Magic Missile and activate Potent Magic, so that I get two missiles per casting, and after inflicting damage, each missile will initiate a trip attack at +7 to the roll (3 for caster level thanks to Potent Magic, and 4 from INT).

I think that's extremely useful and helpful to a party -- on balance, possibly as good as Sleep, since it not only disables some enemies, but hurts them too. And it has no HD cap.

My question is: what did I miss? I understand that exploiter wizards are overpowered, but I maybe don't understand how much. Am I missing the forest for all the trees? Is this a situation where you all see me building this and pat me on the head and say, "Nice try kiddo, but that is totally underpowered compared to what you COULD do."

If I have failed to apply my exploits well, can you explain how to do it better? Note that I play in PFS so I don't really care about anything over level 11. I want to be good at levels 1-10 mostly.