Cleric of Iomedae

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Goblin Squad Member. Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber. Organized Play Member. 371 posts. No reviews. No lists. No wishlists. 3 Organized Play characters.


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Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber
Red Griffyn wrote:
Well, as has been discussed to death on many sites/threads regarding half-elf/Ancient Elf, Paizo has made a 'heritage' (something to be obtained at birth through something akin to a genetics) related to old age. It just doesn't make any sense.

Why do you equate "heritage" with "something to be obtained by birth"? It just as much reflects cultural upbringing or long years of practice before going out to adventure. Similar to how the backgrounds reflect experience in non-adventuring professions or occupations. Many heritages are inherited, but some are obviously not, like the wildwood halfling, who has just practiced running trough the rough woods so much that it's no longer difficult for him, or the cavern elf, whose darkvision can be either inherited or acquired through long years of living underground. Or the oathkeeper dwarf, where it's really more of a character trait likely fostered by a lawful culture. The ancient elf fits right in, having acquired much more extensive experience than others over many centuries of life.


Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber

Your example of a new player accumulating that many pregen chronicles seems highly unusual to me, I'd expect new players would be interested in actually making their own character much more quickly than that. If that realistically happens in your region, you may need to offer more charcter creation workshops for new players. That said, I'm perfectly happy with making any number of concessions and exceptions for new players making innocent mistakes.

For experienced players and maybe GMs even more so, I'd hold them to a somewhat higher standard and expect them to generally be able to keep their records in sufficient order.

But like I said, this is just my opinion, your's may well be different.

I did not consider PbP, as that is not a form of play I'm really interested in, or have any contact with. Are there any special rules for that? Can you play multiple adventures with the same character simultaneously? Would you be allowed to reassign GM-credit if the character you had previously assigned something to died later on during the ongoing adventure?


Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber

This case is not covered by the existing rules, so we can only offer our personal interpretation and preferred way of handling this. Here's mine:

A player should be responsible for keeping track of how many chronicles he has assigned to a character to be applied at a later date, and to ensure that this number does not exceed the actually applicable number of chronicles.

If by mistake he messes up and has accumulated too many, rule any such non-applicable chronicles as void, consider them as having used a pregen as you might have to bring a table of 3 up to legal size. The character/player does not gain anything from it, no gold, xp, boons, AcP, etc., and is not considered to have played the scenario for purposes of replayability (but should inform the GM when he does play it later that he has in fact "played" it off record and hold back his player knowledge, similar to as if he had GM'd it before).

If this happens repeatedly and there is suspicion of deliberate abuse for some reason, punishment to be determined by VC.

Edit: for the purpose of a chronicle management program, everytime you assign a new chronicle to be applied later, have the program do a test run of applying all assigned chronicles in order, filling in the gaps to neccessary new levels with fictional XP, as if the player had just played enough quests to barely fulfill the level requirements. If not all chronicles can be legally applied that way, prompt the player that those chronicles that cannot legally be applied will need to be reported to the VO to be voided.


Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber

It's a Tier 3-6 adventure, so level 3 is the lowest possible level, "worth" 2 CP and level 4 the second-lowest, "worth" 3 CP each.


Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber

The guide just isn't up-to-date on the issue, I'm quite sure 16CP with 5+ players is supposed to be low subtier in general (for these newer adventures, i.e. 1-12 and 1-13), not just for those encounters that specifically list it in the scaling sidebars. Hopefully, future adventures make this more clear from the start, and the guide will eventually get some more updates.


Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber

Sorry for reviving this older thread, the search function brought me here.

My question is at least somewhat related: As an otherwise non-arcane character with a wizard MCD (which gets me the cast a spell activity, a spell book, four cantrips, two cantrip "slots", and some other things, but no 1st-level spells), are all (common) arcane spells considered to be "on my list"?

That is, can I
a) cast a 1st-level (or higher) arcane spell off a scroll, and
b) attempt to scribe a 1st-level (or higher) arcane spell from a scroll or another friendly wizard's book into my spell book (in preparation for eventually being able to use them)?


Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber

I don't know enough about Roll20, but can you currently "share" a copy of a set-up table to allow someone else to use/GM it as well (without messing up your own original table)? Or does that require additional support by Roll20?


Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber
Zach Armstrong wrote:
#4 I think that is in error, 16-18 should be high tier, no exceptions as far as I know.

Nope, it wasn't communicated very well (nor was the guide adjusted in time), but they're looking into splitting up 16-18 into two seperate groups: small parties (of higher-level PCs) play high subtier, while large parties (of lower-level PCs) play low subtier with the same number of CP.

This appears to be the first try and, yes, it's hidden too well and might lead to GMs unaware of the issue to run high subtier for a group that should have played low subtier.

https://paizo.com/threads/rzs42xg7?What-is-the-level-range-of-play-for-PFS2 #21


Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber

Considering how Michael was talking about needing low-level adventures to support the new players joining every quarter, I don't see this as grinding at all. Sure, those repeatables could be used for existing players leveling up new characters, which I guess could be considered grinding, but for players new to the game and to society play in general, it's no such thing. And that is the primary target audience my comment was about.

If there were some good repeatable scenarios specifically written for introducing new players to PFS, that would serve perfectly well for their first few missions, even years after publication. Getting involved with the meta-plot is a process that happens gradually for new players, who are just learning the basics. They don't have the knowledge of who did what two seasons ago. This is likely hard to judge for those who were actively involved in society play for a long while, while those who only joined with the start PFS2 (and didn't get any of the nods and references in the museum part of 1-01) might see it more my way. It is not more of an assumption than your stance is, but mine at least comes from someone who has actively experienced that situation not long ago.

Why you feel the need to accuse me of being "actively harmful" baffles me. Dedicated introductory repeatables for new players running a level 1 or 2 character are not keeping people from joining PFS, most new players wouldn't even be able to tell that they're playing a beginner scenario from years ago! If anything, well-written beginner scenarios could provide a much better starting experience and would likely improve retention rate compared to being thrown into some random 1-4 that was currently the only scenario that the local players hadn't all already played. The advantage of having those scenarios be repeatable is that you could still easily provide a full table without having to worry about who has played what.

Also, I'm not talking about the current repeatables. They're okay and can be used for the purpose in a pinch, but not they don't seem to written with this particular audience in mind and are not particularly well suited for this purpose, imho. I'm hoping that the 1-99 introductory special might be closer to what I have in mind, but we'll see.


Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber
Michael Sayre wrote:
Organizationally, it's hard to design a program that goes consistently past 12th because we need to make sure there's plenty of support in the system for new players joining every quarter. That means we have to have 1-4s at least twice a quarter minimum, and if we have 1-4s we need 3-6s, which means we need 5-8s, etc.

Repeatables really seem like the way to go for the issue of providing content for new players. If you create maybe 10-12 well-written repeatable 1-4s with somewhat more "introductory" content in the first two seasons, those can be constantly reused to introduce new players to the game and level them past those first few less interesting levels. GMs can have a few of those prepared to be run on short notice should a new player show up, existing players can replay them easily to level up a new character (or even just play a pregen to make sure the new player actually has a legal table to play at), etc.

Introducing some new content even for 1-4 from time to time would of course be nice, but the availablity of a sufficient number of low-level repeatables should significantly trim down the amount of new low-level content that would otherwise need to be published, and allow authors to focus more on higher-level content.

It's not like new players care too much about the current meta-plot when starting out a new game, so I don't think each season needs to ensure it also provides up-to-date content for new players.


Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber

(Physical) access to your spellbook is not the same as the (rules-wise) access required for him to learn the spell. So no, he cannot copy the spell from your book nor use it, until he has obtained access to it rules-wise, usually via chronicle or more recently AcP.

Using an uncommon spell or item that you gained during the adventure, before officially gaining (rule-)access to it via the chronicle obtained after said adventure is an edge case according to RAW, but imho is intended to be allowed. So far, all uncommon items or spells players have found to be used were also granted to them on the chronicle later. If that were ever not the case, it's unclear how to handle a wizard scribing an uncommon spell from a scroll they found, even though they do not then get (rules-)access to that spell.

Not an issue so far, fortunately.


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Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber
RealAlchemy wrote:
I was playing my L1 champion of Sarenrae because it suited the scenario and there was one other L1 at the table, but the party as a whole was playing up. Both players decided to use their mentor boons on the other L1 character and left me with just the standard level bump. I told them, "Fine! The Dawnflower is with me, and that's the only mentor I need!"

Correct me if I'm wrong, but (assuming this is for 2E) I believe multiple PCs should be able to profit from the same mentor boon. Each PC can only profit from 2 different boons max, but one higher-level PC's mentor boon can "mentor" several PCs. Still, who needs worldly mentors when you have Sarenrae on your side?! :)


Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber

Is the high sub-tier encounter scaling for area B2 really intended to add hungry blade recruits (the low-tier mob) for higher CPs, or is that a typo/copy-paste error and the side bar is really supposed to say hungry blade apprentices (the high-tier mob)?

Normally, if recruits were intended, the appendix for that encounter would list their stat block with a (0) added, which is missing here.


Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber
logsig wrote:
Unrelated to the above, I like the new scaling approach for low-level parties that would previously have had to play up due to number of players. [I'm referring to the 16-18 CP (5+ players) entry in the "Scaling Encounter" sidebars.]

I absolutely agree. Even though I cannot find it specifically mentioned anywhere, it would appear that they are moving toward a system where the difficulty adjustments for parties at 16-18 CP now depend on party size: a large low-level party will play low-tier with several extra low-level monsters, while a small high-level party will play high-tier as before.

So far, that's just my assumption based on the scaling boxes, but I think it's a very reasonable one. Has something along these lines been stated outright anywhere?

Edit: as it currently stands, going by the GM basics section in the guide, when you're at say 17 CP, you might assume high-tier and not even look at the low-tier stat blocks to even notice the possibility.


Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber

See p.293 of the CRB about obtaining formulas.

You always need the formula to craft an item.
You can easily obtain common formulas by purchasing them for the price listed in the CRB.
In game, you can obtain any formula by copying it from a source available to you, such as another player's formula book, or a formula scroll you found.
In game, you can attempt to reverse-engineer and thus obtain a formula by disassembling the item as described.

However, the same general rules regarding accessability still apply, as for any other non-common option. In order to obtain or use anything non-common, you need to first gain "access" to it, rules-wise. Generally, in PFS-play, that access is obtained either through character features, such as feats or ancestry or earned later, usually as a reward on a chronicle, or potentially purchased with AcP.

Even if another PC in your party has access to and purchased a certain uncommon formula and is willing to let you copy it for free, you cannot get it in game, unless you yourself have first obtained "access" to said formula rules-wise.

"Finding their formula" is apparently the badly worded way of saying "have obtained access to it and copied it into your formula book".


Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber

Yes, the vast majority of stuff is still available to be run. However, new stuff is no longer published for 1e, all new PFS publications will be for 2e.


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Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber

No, a "shield bash" is listed, which is an action, not an item. Check the subchapter "Shields" in the Equipment chapter (NB: this is a chapter separate from the Armor and Weapons chapters).

A shield is not a weapon, though it can be used to bash someone with it "like a weapon" in a pinch. It cannot have weapon runes etched into it. However, you can put a boss or spikes on it, and those are actual weapons that can hold weapon runes.


Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber

And while this might be a question for the rules forum, how counteract checks are supposed to work in this case is unclear to me:

This is a non-spell, non-affliction effect with the divine and necromancy traits.

Counteracting, CRB p.458f wrote:

When attempting a counteract check, add the relevant skill modifier or other appropriate modifier to your check against the target’s DC. If you’re counteracting an affliction, the DC is in the affliction’s stat block. If it’s a spell, use the caster’s DC. The GM can also calculate a DC based on the target effect’s level. For spells, the counteract check modifier is your spellcasting ability modifier plus your spellcasting proficiency bonus, plus any bonuses and penalties that specifically apply to counteract checks. What you can counteract depends on the check result and the target’s level. If an effect is a spell, its level is the counteract level. Otherwise, halve its level and round up to determine its counteract level. If an effect’s level is unclear and it came from a creature, halve and round up the creature’s level.

Critical Success Counteract the target if its counteract level is no more than 3 levels higher than your effect’s counteract level.
Success Counteract the target if its counteract level is no more than 1 level higher than your effect’s counteract level.
Failure Counteract the target if its counteract level is lower than your effect’s counteract level.
Critical Failure You fail to counteract the target.

The effect level, coming from a level 5 creature, is 3.

When using healing spells, what's the "spellcasting proficiency bonus"? For a cleric the CRB lists "Trained in Spell DCs", is that what this refers to? Otherwise, for using healing spells, it seems pretty straightforward.

When drinking a healing potion instead, I'm supposed to "add the relevant skill modifier or other appropriate modifier to your check". That is about as non-specific as it can be. Am I supposed to use my wisdom modifier, because I'm counteracting a divine effect?? Or does it depend on the potion (which does not have a divine trait, so maybe intelligence, because it was crafted??). Is it the modifier of the person drinking the potion, or can I have the high-wisdom cleric pour the healing potion into the low-wisdom barbarian's mouth and thus use the cleric's modifier?

This could definitely use some clarification, and I believe Adam's question above might also refer to the same issue.


Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber
xrayregime wrote:
If a creature is under the effect of the infernal wound, would an elixir of life overcome the counteract check automatically since the item is alchemical and not magical?

The counteract check specifically is only neccessary when using healing magic.

As written, healing that is neither magical nor uses the Administer First Aid action, should work normally. That includes alchemical elixiers, Battle Medicine and the Revivifying Mutagen Feat.


Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber
Gary Bush wrote:
You can Craft, as Nefreet says. I am not sure about saving more than you can earn on an earned income check but I have not looked into that aspect yet.

You craft at your level, i.e. you add value to your item as if you had succeeded at an Earn Income check at your level, while when you actually Earn Income you can usually only do that at level-2 (minimum 0), that's where the primary "profit" from crafting during downtime in PFS comes from.

However, you only see the profit from crafting after you're finished, which can take a while and by then you might not really need the item anymore. Alternatively, with the small amounts gained per day at lower levels, if you want to be finished reasonably quickly, you're pretty much limited to consumables. Which means your gains will likely go up in smoke, eventually...


Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber

The more I read this thread, the more I wonder if the issue is not actually about GMing style and about the difference between GM-knowledge and NPC-knowledge.

When encounter mode is initiated from exploration mode by the barbarian player saying "I charge the boss", the player reveals information to the GM about his plans. Once we are in initiative order, how the GM-run NPCs at the top of the initiative order act on this GM knowledge is very much a matter of GMing style. Many people here on this thread believe in this case the NPCs are able to tell the barbarian's plans by him "telegraphing" his intentions somehow. And thus can use their turns to prevent him doing that, even by killing him.

Others, most notably beowulf99 and myself, adhere to a different style: we don't think that "telegraphing your intent" is a thing at the start of combat anymore than in the second or third round of combat: your decision what to do is made and declared when its your turn in the initiative order and creatures going before you cannot predict what you are going to do, while creatures after you in order can only react (not the game term) to what you did. Thus, since there is no reason why the first round of combat should be any different from the later ones, we believe that GM-run NPCs should not be able to profit from the GM-knowledge that the player is going to charge when it's his turn.

In my opinion, at best I'd grant very perceptive NPCs the ability to get a tingling sensation that "something's about to happen" and have them ready actions. But they would not be able to profit from the GM-knowledge that a charge is about to happen.

To me that's kind of similar to requiring knowledge checks to have the PCs know certain things about the enemy, even if the players themselves already know. The same standards should apply to the GM's knowledge.

Let me provide another example:

The Party is in a throne roome, negotiating with the evil king. There are a bunch of guards in front of the king, while the manipulative evil queen is watching from her chair off to the side.

A) the barbarian player initiates combat by announcing "I'm going to charge the king".
or
B) the rogue player initiates combat by announcing "I'm going to quick draw my crossbow and fire at the queen."

In both cases, the initiative order is the same, with several guards going first, their primary intention being to protect and save the royal couple. In both cases, both the barabrian and the rogue are going to do the same thing and attack their respective targets when it's their turn. But in case A the GM knows only about the barbarians attack at that point, while in case B the GM only knows the rogue's intentions. Are you going to have the guards react differently if the "announcer" was a different character?

Edit: Or maybe have only one guard go first, then rogue and barbarian. Who's he going to go for in both cases, respectively?


Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber

Well, that's not the only town available, there's Fusil to the south and Bellis across the river to the north just to pick two from a map in the old PF1 companion guide to Andoran. And even if the PCs went back to Sauerton, surely they wouldn't have to cross the old battlefield 3 times, they could just go around?!

Anyway, I didn't check the adventure to see if there was something specific preventing leaving and coming back later, that was mostly based on the ad-hoc assumption that "the boss has been bound there for centuries, he'll still be there when they get back". I was mostly trying to make the point that in this particular case the PCs might have a chance to gain some knowledge about the boss before actually meeting him and be able to come prepared, while in most other adventures they don't.


Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber

We can also add some more alternatives (based on Scenario B, starting in exploration mode):
Scenario B1: The fighter/sorcerer casts dimension door as above.
Scenario B2: The fighter/sorcerer isn't trying to attack the arena master and casts a 2-action heal on the cleric instead.
In scenario B1 we switch to encounter mode, the arena master wins initiative as before, and on his turn triggers an arena hazard which interupts the spell.
In scenario B2 we stay in exploration mode as heal is not a hostile action and noone is attempting to initiate combat. He's just returning the favor to the cleric and healing him as well. No arena hazard is triggered.
Both subscenarios involve the fighter/sorcerer casting a 2-action spell. The arena master doesn't know which spells are being cast, he's letting the wizard cast detect magic and the cleric cast heal, why should he get to react any differently to the figther/sorcerer in B1 than B2 when to his eyes it's the exact same actions?? You're granting the arena master the benefit of some auto-succeeding sense motive to allow him to detect the threat ahead of time.

The only logical way of handling a situation like this is by letting the character who does the surprising thing go first. Whether this means rolling initiative and then having every character or NPS act like they don't know what's coming up until the fighter/sorcerer actually does his thing (my preferred version), or it means giving the acting character a free turn ahead of rolling initiative.


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Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber
Claxon wrote:

What I'm saying is that scenario A and B are really the same scenario, it's just that scenario A is what happens in the middle of combat and scenario B is what happens when you transition from Exploration Mode to Encounter Mode.

But scenario A isn't "real" because in this scenario combat has already started and the enemy isn't "surprised" by combat starting, because it's already been happening.

What I'm saying is it's incorrect to be in Encounter mode before hostilities actually begin.*

*There are sometimes when you need the time tracking of Encounter mode outside of combat, but those are rare and stumbling into an arena and talking to someone isn't yet Encounter mode. When one side starts hostilities that's when you switch from Exploration to Encounter.

I agree, the two are pretty much identical. As such, I'd argue that they should have similar consequences. The arena master is surprised by the dude suddenly appearing next to him just the same, whether he was previously in encounter mode /combat in the arena below, or in exploration mode, but doing the exact same thing (i.e. standing next to the cleric, being healed whle casting a spell).

However, merely due to the mechanical backbone of either already being in encounter mode or of switching into encounter mode at that very moment, the same story potentially plays out very differently. Which it shouldn't. In both scenarios A and B the story should ultimately unfold the same way and not be severly impacted by the artifical construct of the different game modes.

(Edit: moved some text to next post, as it's a somewhat different issue)


Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber

"Could you please bring a new level 1 character, instead of your level 3, so that we stay below the jump to high-tier?!" Ouch!

I seriously think this is primarily an issue for the level 1-4 adventures that currently comprise most of our experiences, mostly because the math of "your chances of hitting are lower individually, but your party of 6 low-level chars gets 18 chances, so that balances" breaks down when characters die too easily. When the level 6 boss downs 2 level 1 or 2 characters per round, they don't get a chance to strike back...

Also, low-level characters for lack of resources just cannot bring the variety of damage types that later levels can. And if a mostly 2nd level party is bringing 10 vials of holy water on this adventure, noone is going to convince me that they didn't have previous illicit knowledge of what they were going to be facing. Of course, if they find out about the end boss during the adventure from Diggen's ghost, then make some knowledge checks, then want to leave and go buy some holy water, I'd say that's fine and allow it. But that option is often not the norm.


Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber

Well in this case they know from the briefing that it's only supposed to be a few hours and resting over night is highly discouraged by the society. That combined with not telling them the exact condition but calling it "tired" or something similar, in the context of informing them that this amounts to taking the very long way around and having to hurry to make up the time is fair enough, I think.

But yes, generally try to avoid spoilering.


Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber

Understandably. I've heard GMs say they don't like running this adventure just because of that one condition.

Personally, I'd give a fair warning, but if the players still risk it, they have to live with the consequences. Noone's forcing them to hustle.


Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber
Claxon wrote:

Yes, but that would generally be considered the incorrect way to run it.

You're trying to make a scenario to reinforce your position, but the situation simply shouldn't exist.

In a combat situation you should definitely be in Encounter mode, in scenario A you're already in combat.

Okay, I'm going to have to blame my non-native english here, because I have no idea what you're talking about?! There's likely some kind of misunderstanding...

Scenario A is happening in encounter mode throughout. It starts in encounter mode and doesn't leave it. How is that the incorrect way to run it? It has obviously entered encounter mode some time before, likely at the start of combat, but that's not the relevant phase for the action we're talking about.

Scenario A is there to contrast scenario B which starts in exploration mode and switches to encounter mode in a similar setting.

That switch is where the root cause of the problem lies. In scenario A, the surprising action happens in one of several rounds in initiative order, while in scenario B the surprising action happens at the start of, i.e. the beginning of the first round of the initiative order. You asked for an example of such a case, I've provided one.

With circumstances being otherwise extremely similar, I don't see why in one case we should assume the possibility of some form of precognition, while in the other we don't.


Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber
beowulf99 wrote:
If there was a hypothetical court case after the fact the Barbarian player would be perfectly able to claim they never lifted a finger in anger at the enemy.

While I definitely don't want to turn this into a discussion about Star Wars, note that the infamous scene with Han Solo shooting Greedo that has been mentioned on this thread was later modified to have Greedo shoot and miss first precisely because Han killing him on a hunch that he might possibly try something was perceived by some (or many) as outright murderous. I know that that editing decision was and is controversial and let's not go there. I'm merely bringing it up to say that that is a reasonable consideration. Not to mention that in PF2 terms, Han likely had his action readied, anyway...


Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber
Claxon wrote:

To me scenario A is incorrect, because what you're describing is the middle of combat so they should already be in encounter mode.

Scenario A is what happens when you have scenario B but the fighter doesn't start out combat by attempting to teleport into the control room.

Well, I specifically start scenario A by saying we are starting being already in encounter mode. My point is that the order of events after the surprise fighter spell should not differ this drastically when the in-game conditions, aside from the mechanical mode overlay, are pretty much identical.


Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber

(replying to Puna'chong)
In scenario A) he gets to to react as in "use a reaction", or even "use a previously readied action". I did not mean to imply that he should be denied that. But that is a completely different thing from the "3-action pre-reaction" he'd get by having his turn before the fighter that many here feel that he should get in scenario B).

What I'm trying to say is that he is not broadcasting his intentions any more in one or the other scenario, thus he should not be penalized in the second case. And yes, switching from exploration mode to encounter mode before the actual triggering event is one way to handle this, and likely my preferred method. Though I'd say scenario B is one where both modes could be justified. But of course, that would effectively deny the arena master the chance to go first that others in this thread want him to have in the first round of encounter mode.

Ultimately, with the different opinions we've seen here, it'll likely boil down to individual GM decision anyway. Both regarding the question of when to switch modes and also regarding the question what actions opponents would reasonably take if they got to go before the triggering event. In scenario B above, the arena master, without knowing about what spell is being cast, maybe can tell that the fighter is up to something but cannot know what and should not be able to make more than general preparations, or maybe even just delay to see what the fighter is up to.

Fortunately, most GMs I've met have no problem separating GM knowledge "the player said his character is going to do xxx" from NPC knowledge "what the heck is that fighter doing waving his hands around down there?!". So it should be fine, either way :).


Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber

Compare the following scenarios:

A) (We start in encounter mode) The party is fighting monsters in an arena. The arena master is at the top of the initative order in a control room overlooking the arena, but out of reach; on each of his turns, he can act to trigger one of several built-in hazards in the arena or release new monsters from cages via a lever-system. Suddenly, the fighter, who also happens to be a multiclass sorcerer, unexpectedly displays magical ability for the first time in the scene and on his turn casts dimension door to port into the control room and attack the arena master.

B) (We start in exploration mode) The party is trapped in an arena. There are monsters locked in cages and various hazards controlled via a lever system from a control room above. They are using various exploration mode activities, the rogue is looking for secret doors to exit, the wizard is casting detect magic in the hope of finding an illusionary wall, etc. All the while, the arena master is laughing at them from his control room above the arena and announces that to pass, they need to beat the challenges of the arena on his terms. Suddenly, the fighter, who is also a multi-class sorcerer, for the first time in the scene, displays magical ability and casts dimension door to port into the control room and attack the arena master. (Switch to encounter mode) Initiative is rolled, the arena master is at the top of the initiative order.

The scenes are essentially identical, the fighter unexpectedly casts something to get him up close to the arena master (let's assume the arena master doesn't have the ability to identify the spell being cast). The places in the intiative order when rolled are identical. The spell being cast takes the same time to cast. The arena master feels equally safe from the activity down below in his control room.
Edit: and just to clarify, as this happens, in both scenarios, the fighter is standing next to the cleric to receive a heal spell and is not actively engaged with a monster.

But in scenario A) the arena master cannot react, unless he had an action readied for that case (unlikely). In scenario B) however, he can suddenly know what's coming and not just react, but act before the fighter? It's much more appropriate to have him spend his actions talking as he had before and only start the change in behaviour with the fighter's turn, instead of suddenly knowing he's about to be attacked.


Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber
Claxon wrote:

But then you're penalizing literally everyone else who didn't decide to initiate combat because you've already locked them into turn order.

I find that simply unacceptable because you can't possibly react. You only have a binary choice of "am i the one that starts the fight and do I want to risk taking an attack". That's a horrible meta that I don't want to be the case.

You're not penalizing the player by having them roll init and failing to act first if they don't roll the highest, that's just the basic rules.

It absolutely resolves everything fine (in my opinion) because you can notice someone is doing something without them having taken the action in Pathfinder mechanical combat terms. It doesn't grant precognition. It represents being observant and faster than your enemy.

Edit: In my opinion simply being the one to declare they want to attack shouldn't mean you get to go first.

So why does the same logic not apply when someone does something highly unusual and unexpected in the SECOND round of encounter mode? (And again, this is not automatically "combat mode").

(Edit: cut a bunch of text, because I didn't want to steer the thread off course...)


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Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber
Claxon wrote:
There needs to be an option for the enemy to spot the player and shoot him first.

In the example given, there actually was the possibility to notice the hidden player, but the enemy failed his perception check.

But still, it shouldn't make a difference to the order of events if we are in exploration mode or in encounter mode. Encounter mode is explicitly not just "combat mode" as the CRB notes.

It is totally unreasonable that a player doing something unexpected, such as deciding to attack a foe in a previously tense, hostile but non-combat situation, or using a breath weapon that noone even knew he had, or maybe even turn on the party and cast fireball on them instead of detect magic, or whatever other surprising decision you can come up with is penalized for that in exploration mode.

If this is done in encounter mode, i.e. in previously established initiative order (and that explictely doesn't need to be combat according to the CRB), he can do it when it's his turn and everyone who is acting before him doesn't know what is happening and thus has no reason to adapt their actions to him. They don't get a "tingling sensation that player X is going to do something out of the ordinary, so I should better prepare/kill him first". Or do you usually tell your players at the start of the round "Just so you know, the innocent looking civilian dude in the back looks like he's about to call down a meteor strike on you when it's his turn"?

However, if the same non-combat situation is run in exploration mode, everyone can be doing the exact same thing as before, but when the player does something unexpected, now everybody gets a chance to notice him "broadcasting his intention to do something surprising" and get a chance to be able react to that before he's even had a chance to do it.

This is a glaring discrepancy and yes, it does come close to granting everyone else "precognition" for that first round of encounter mode. In my opinion, this is not resolved well by the model preferred by most of you.


Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber

Yes they are (if they fail the save). And yes, that is a tough condition that they cannot shake during this adventure, due to lack of rest opportunities.

I recommend giving them a strong warning that should they try to hustle, they run the risk of potentially being tired and at a mechanical disadvantage for the entire adventure...


Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber

To be fair, somewhere along the way you do learn about the kind of enemy you're facing and that he's bound and unable to leave. At that point, going to the next town and stocking up on the appropriate gear is something that could, and possibly should, be considered.


Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber
Lau Bannenberg wrote:
Adam Yakaboski wrote:
Conversely how did you not have good damage either?
How is a cleric of Gozreh going to do that? Or a fighter, occult sorcerer, arcane sorcerer or Alchemist?

Holy water is the general answer here, 1d6 good damage + 1 good splash damage at 3gp a pop.

Still, few 2nd level characters are going to bring enough of those just in case the right enemy shows up...


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Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber
Squiggit wrote:

I feel like trying to trick the GM into letting you go first in combat by intentionally being vague is something that might be frowned upon, but if it works at your table that's fine I guess.

Because ultimately that's what this is about. The rules are pretty clear, but if the "I call dibs on going first" method of initiative is what works for your table, then just go for it.

This is not about trying to trick the GM or anyone else. But it seems really odd to me that the same situation turns out totally different depending on what Mode we're in. If the Bodyguards are moving protectively in front of the enemy, the Barbarian would do something different, and no combat might even be triggered. In Encounter Mode, he gets to wait until it's his turn to declare his intentions and no one, unless they have an action readied for that case (which a good bodyguard might, of course) or he's triggering reactions gets to intervene. However, for some odd reason, if the exact same events happen in Exploration Mode, he has to announce his intentions ahead of time and everyone else gets a chance to react.

I can't be the only one who feels that that is a really odd discrepancy.


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Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber
Squiggit wrote:
Quote:
Pretending that the barbarian somehow broadcasts his intention to charge ahead of time might work for that particular example
You keep phrasing it as though "noticing the guy with the giant axe is lunging at you" is some completely contrived or arcane concept. Is it really that strange to you that someone might see someone else starting to do something and try to react to it?

The thing is that the barbarian hasn't done anything yet, and might not do it when it's his turn to decide on his actions. Maybe, when he's up, he decides to slowly back away, without ever touching his axe. The others are reacting to the drawing of a weapon that wasn't even drawn in the first place...

Edit: Or, to use one of my examples above, the fighter declares "Screw it, I'm opening that door". Then you roll initiative and the ranger, who won initiative now decides to shoot an arrow through that door. Even though the fighter hasn't acted yet. /edit

Maybe the better way to handle this as the barbarian player is not to say "Screw this, I charge!", but rather "Hey, GM, can we take this to Encounter Mode? Depending on what everyone else does, I might want to make a split-second decision to act; I don't know yet if it's going to be combat, but it's going to be one of those cases when every individual action counts (as described in the introduction to Encounter Mode on p.468 of the CRB)."

Thereby, you don't have to give away your plans ahead of time any more than anyone else in the encounter. And since the GM is not aware of the players plans from reading this thread, why would he say no? Upon rereading that page in the CRB, it quite clearly states that Encounter Mode is not limited to combat.


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Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber

As to my original question, the example quoted by Captain Morgan has pretty much clarified the CRB's stance on that. While it's not my preferred solution, I can work with that for "official" games like PFS and may have to consider a home rule for inofficial games.

The greater issue apparently is the ambiguity of actions during an encounter round supposedly happening all at the same time yet still very often decidedly consecutively.

We don't have an issue with
- the fighter running to open a door with his last action through which the ranger then shoots an arrow on his first action.

- the wizard casting a touch range spell on the fighter's weapon who then charges across the room at the monsters with said now enchanted weapon.

- the rogue doing sneak attack damage on his first action against an opponent who was only just flanked by the fighter's move on their last action.

- the cleric running up and casting a heal spell on a friend who was just downed this turn

- heck, there's even a "delay action" to purposefully wait until any or all other actions have resolved and THEN go yourself (in the same 6 seconds that you just waited out, of course...).

In many cases it is logically or even physically impossible to have these and many other actions all happen simultaneously. They are quite obviously handled as sequential events.

Hence my expectation that the barbarian's actions to initiate combat would also happen in sequence with his charge being the logical precursor to combat much like the fighter opening the door is the precursor to an arrow flying through said doorway in my first example above.

Pretending that the barbarian somehow broadcasts his intention to charge ahead of time might work for that particular example, but does it also work for an invisible wizard or stealthed undetected rogue?

Oh well, I guess we just have to accept that as a design decision...


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Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber
Captain Morgan wrote:
Also, page 498 is pretty explicit that you go straight to initiative. There's even an example involving a PC negotiating and deciding to launch a surprise attack.

Hmm, yes, that example seems to pretty much cover my question, though I find it odd to consider a negotiation as happening in exploration mode. But still, apparently that's how it's intended to be.

Thank you for pointing out the rule!


Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber

If the entire negotiation phase had instead been run in encounter mode and initiative order like beowulf99 suggested, would it then not be entirely different? We're already established in initiative order and only when it's the barbarian's turn to act, he switches from his usual "intimidatingly stare at the enemy, while the face does the talking" action to "charge". No precognition for the enemy here.

So why handle the same situation differently merely because the negotiation phase was handled more free form? What it needs is a smooth transition into intiative order ahead of the triggering "incident", I think, to allow for the same sequence of events than if we had been in initiative order from the start.


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The Gleeful Grognard wrote:
I am not sure why this is an issue? The barbarian starts obviously hostile movements. If the foes roll high they roll high enough to react/prepare in advance.

The logical issue I have with that order of events is that that would require the barbarian to announce his "triggering" action before it's even his turn and then stick to his decision regardless of the actions of everyone else. Because without the sudden charge, we would not have entered combat at all, so anything but having that action as the first action in combat doesn't really work. Instead of having an advantage by rushing the enemy by surprise, he quite possibly gets a major disadvantage that noone else in initiative order normally gets.

I generally find running encounters that are mostly roleplaying in initiave order quite cumbersome. It slows down the game too much for my taste. But obviously, for a transition to combat like this, we need to get into initiative order. Still, I think letting the opposition (potentially, depending on rolls) go first knowing combat is about to happen is wrong.

Rather, rolling intitiave to establish the order in which characters get to act when the player announces he's about to deviate from the current roleplay action and then starting combat on that player's turn feels much more appropriate to me. After all, it would've been the same if we had just run the entire negotiation in initiative order in the first place.


Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber

A free turn seems a bit much, but maybe he should get to go at the top of the initiative order?

Or, to similar effect, the GM has everyone roll initiative to establish the turn order, but until the barbarian's charge actually triggers open hostilities, everyone before him has no reason to fight, so doesn't attack/draw weapons, etc. (but rather spend their actions on talking). Essentially, switch the negotiations to a regular encounter mode /initiative order, but only start actual combat once the first punch has been thrown (by the barbarian, in this case).

Yes, I think, I like that version the best. Starting combat before the triggering action has even happened (and might not even happen, should the barbarian change his mind when it's his turn finally) is way too counter-intuitive for my taste.

Of course, to prevent these nasty surprises, negotiations tend to happen at some distance between ideally unarmed parties.

Thanks for your input


Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber

I know there's no surprise round anymore. Still, I'm wondering how to handle the following situation:

The party and the evil count are negotiating the conditions for him releasing some hostages. There is some diplomacy and role-playing happening, but no combat. Suddenly, the party's barbarian decides he has had enough of the negotiations and declares that he charges the count's throne to attack.

Normally, I wouldn't run role-play negotiations like that in encounter mode / initiative order, but rather more free-form. Maybe that's a mistake?!

Obviously, when the barbarian charges, I have everyone roll for initiative. But does the barbarian get a head start by surprising everyone with his charge? I.e. does he still get some form of "surprise round" before everyone else gets to act? Or does he announce "I charge", then everyone rolls initiative, and then depending on the results other people possibly get to act before the barbarian even gets to go? Seems counter-intuitive not to give him a head start, doesn't it?!


Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber

Aside from the previously raised issues, one thing to keep in mind, is that infamy is one of the things were the guide explicitly gives the GM the final authority to judge whether your behaviour consitutes an evil act "worthy" of being awarded infamy.

Organized play guide, chapter GM basics wrote:
Still, the GM is the final arbiter on what constitutes an alignment infraction and when Infamy is gained by a character at the table.

With the generally bad rep that necromancers and similar types have, you'd probably have to carefully pick the GMs you play with and make sure ahead of time that they're okay with your ideas, otherwise those infamy points might add up to three fast. And there's no route to appealing a final arbiter's decision.

Also, as currently written, the "no Player vs player" rule in the guide technically only actually prevents attacking other PCs, not minions. So while I'm not at all convinced that it is intended to be able to kill another player's minion against their will, for the time being you might need to carefully pick a table with compatible other players, too. I can see a number of characters where "kill the undead", or even "death is better than slavery" might be a totally non-evil, non-infamy gaining notion.

Of course, if you wish to play a character that only works with select GMs and select PCs, than that character concept might be better off in a non-public home game...


Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber

It's a quest, I don't think those are meant to have treasure bundles. At least the other ones don't use them either. If the PCs fulfill the primary success condition they get the money listed.


Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber

@John I agree with most of what you have written above, and I do hope that this is on their list to fix/clarify. It's probably a case of authors and editors still needing to get used to the system-specific issues surrounding access and transferrable runes and not an attempt to deliberately prevent high tier players from accessing the (supposedly "inferior") low tier loot.

John Brinkman wrote:
If you look at the text in the scenario, it's usually written like this: "The PCs find reward item XX (In subtier 3-4, they instead find +1 striking reward item XX." It seems like the intent is they find a different item.

The thing is that in some adventures the text is instead specifically "The PCs find reward x (in subtier 3-4, they ALSO find y.)", with x on the low subtier rewards, but often only y (and not also x) is making it into the high subtier chronicle rewards section. In those instances, it seems that the author expects the high subtier rewards to be in addition to the low subtier.

Some cases, like 1-07, have both versions, i.e. some high-tier loot is found in addition to the accompanying low tier loot, while some is found instead of it...

It's currently confusing and I think noone, including authors, knows how it's really intended to be. That's why I brought it up.


Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber

Except that is not always the case.

1-04 has one uncommon item listed as a low-tier reward, but not as a high-tier reward even though said item is present and possibly obtained in both subtiers.

1-07 also has the heroes find a high-tier reward item in addition to a low-tier reward item.

Quest 5 specifically mentions that the vendor where the high-tier heroes can purchase the high-tier reward item also has the low-tier reward item available for purchase.

1-06 has chronivle rewards that do not align with the ones actually received in the adventure at all (and that was likely the chronicle Michael was referring to in his post).


Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber

THAT post's implication is quite tenuous at best, imho. I'd much prefer a straight answer. Also, judging from Gary's answer in the other thread, he somehow came to the opposite conclusion.

However, that was only one of several questions I posted, the others aren't even touched upon anywhere in that thread, so I see no reason to consider this thread duplicate.

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