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Apologies, haven't attended PaizoCon before -
Does anyone know if Wayne will have a table setup, selling art, or if he's just there in some other capacity? And, what dates he'd be doing that? (Not sure when the event schedule comes out, or if it will even have details for him specifically). I can probably only attend one or two days, so I want to make sure I can drop by his booth(?) to purchase something while I'm there.

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Here is what I do:

If the party isn't in a hurry, or much of one, then I usually just have them notice the trap - or something odd that may lead to them discovering the trap. This leads to the party handling it much like an encounter. It also allows for particularly vicious traps, since they usually won't actually go off on someone, but adds to the drama.

If the party is in combat, or running from something on the clock, then they have a passing chance to see it using perception, most times with a penalty unless they have trapsense or trapfinding of some sort.

I do that, because in the end, doing it any other way just results in ridiculousness.

With that, I either encourage Rogues to take archetypes that trade out the trap abilities, or put more traps in the game that they find. And, I let that bonus onto anything that deals with a trap or potential one.

I've played table-top games for so long, if I have to go through one more dungeon where we do the obligatory "scanning" step every 30 feet and in front of every door, I'm going to lose my mind.

I've gone as far as never really having the group search anything (by way of a perceptions check, I mean). This alleviates the paranoia that sets in after realizing something was missed once. And, it's usually because the party just forgot to say "we search the room". You can say what you want about tough love, that's just a downer on the whole table.

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My advice would be to have an algorithm to how the black dragon will fight. E.g. he starts by doing this, then does this, then attacks a person if they do this, then lands if they do this. This does a few things:
1) This takes away your need to decide between being "nice" and being "mean" every single round.
2) If done right, the players may notice a pattern and attempt to use it to engineer a win.
3) It gives you an opportunity and excuse to put some character into the dragon and the fight. Having a BBEG just do the same thing every turn is boring. They're supposed to be maniacal villains.

Also, just find a way to make sure the party preps with buff spells. If they don't, just tell them flat out "Hey, you guys realize this is a dragon, and your characters know that only turning everything up to 11 are going to win this."

Also - as suggested above, give the dragon a severe disability, either through the environment or just make something up like an injured wing or whatever.

"We be goblins" is a fantastic choice since it will have players using characters that they probably know will not be with them a long time, or may stay on as a side campaign.

Beyond that, there are several free level 1 (and maybe a level 2 or 3??) modules on this site that you can download. They're from the free RPG days and are usually decent, with classic themes. Don't let the level thing turn you off.These can easily be made a level or two easier or harder by both adding enemies, and/or adding the quick advanced template to any enemy. A level 1 module quickly becomes a level 3 by just doubling what the party fights. I would start there.

Indiana Jones style traps work pretty well for me. In fact, those and Star Wars are a great source of encounter designs that don't necessarily involve killing everyone. Arrows shooting out of the wall, or a slowing falling spiked ceiling, or a planned get-away not working out the way you thought it would.

I like them because it's more about dealing with the situation than just getting smacked because you failed a perception check. I guess it's more encounter design, but that's what I think of when making 'traps'.

1) The concept of AoOs should be removed entirely, and replaced with a much MUCH simpler way to account for doing vulnerable things while being threatened. Full attack action needs to be gone.

(I've played home games with the above rules in place and it is SO....MUCH...BETTER, especially for non-power gamers)

2) Magical items with fun magical qualities, and not enhancement bonuses.

3) Add a way for some melee class abilities that resolve a little more like spell effects, rather than trying to make a CMB based action work. I'm not for homogenizing the classes, but for god's sake, let Sabin suplex the boss for once.

4) Magic points (or whatever) instead of the 1-9 levels and slots. How this hasn't been officially revolutionized by now is beyond me.

5) Go through the CRB, page by page, and just reword/rewrite everything that is worded in that "paizo/dnd" way that makes certain things so needlessly confusing. A good example would be "Use Magic Device". That could be reduced to 4 sentences and a small table.

The fun I have is reacting to the unexpected ideas that players have. In fact, it's often the less experienced players that are the best at this. It often works better to have a loosely defined idea of NPC motivations and larger story arc elements, than to plan everything out. Ultimately, the players almost always "find" more interesting ways to take things. Let them write some of the story for you.

With that said - I love reading the books, and drawing dungeons, and all that stuff. But if you don't enjoy doing that, there is a way forward. I also make my own circle game tokens with player and NPC art - rather than use minis. In my experience, it's more immersive and ton of fun to make.

With a little practice, you can use a lot of stock APs and module material to back up the encounters you end up needing, and the players rarely know the difference. Don't waste time stating up an NPC (unless you like doing it, then by all means). If you tell the party they're facing a mutant beast from some alchemist's lab and describe it in story terms, but you're using the stats of a some BBEG from a module - no one will know or care.

This requires a fun group though. If players are too focused on auditing what you're doing as a GM, or telling other players what to do, that's a no-win. Avoid those people.

Yes. Remove them. Especially if the rest of the group has voted in favor of that. It will be looked back on as the best thing you ever did.

Yeah, you broke the golden rule, and frustrating game sessions are often on the GM, but that's not the issue here. All of those things, while they can definitely get players visually upset, do not warrant name calling and berating. (In case you're wondering, nothing at a game table ever does).

I've been in several gaming groups over the years, and the ones I was happiest to leave or disband were the ones with the exact examples of players you have given. Complaining about actions that the enemies take, and much worse, berating players for not doing what they would do. Some players feel they have a "right" to a specific gaming experience. They don't.

And, just like you said, the problem sometimes does take a few sessions before it shows itself.

I've just...seen it so many times. You are not being too sensitive. Don't let them drag you into their world.

Boot them. Be happy. The berating players are going to be unhappy either way, so set them free to be unhappy somewhere that isn't at your game table. And don't let them talk you into staying (from what you said, they will immediately try to make it sound like you're the problem, and talk about everything except their own unacceptable behavior).

This kind of behavior - also known as childish and disrespectful - was often an indication of insecurities or issues within the berating player(s). Those players need to work out their issues, not you.

If this is a rule he truly just discovered, then it's hard to believe he plays the game by knowing and following all or almost all of the other rules to the letter. So, imagining the game as it stands, but just taking out 5' step is probably not worth worrying about.

Try the game. If you don't like it, then stop. You could stumble on a group you really like.

Some ideas:

Encourage one of them to play a druid for the pet (although, I'm not sure how that will play into the Iron Gods campaign)

If you're open to it, just do milestone leveling and have them level a bit sooner than the AP recommends.

Be prepared to fudge some rolls behind the screen. Basically, if a monster is put down to 2-3hp, and it getting another round to screw with the party could put someone unconscious, then just say that it dies. I do this all the time and the APs are so much more fun. Same thing if someone lands a crit with big damage - that orc just got it's head split open, and its dead, I don't care what you say! Ending a combat on a big crit or successful "cool idea" is very rewarding for players - especially if they're starting out at a disadvantage.

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The rules themselves are written in a contradictory way. The wording is that the readied action occurs before the triggering action. Well, how is action B responding to action A if action B is occurring before it? The rules already dictate that things occur in a paradoxical way.

The reasoning that the attacker had "started his swing" prior to the readied action going off is dubious. If "started his swing" is in any way regarded as part of an action, then you're already breaking how the rules dictate the order of actions occurring. If "started his swing" is not regarded as part of or starting an action, then the action hasn't happened at all yet. And if it hasn't happened, then it hasn't happened, and any prior movement has seen no reason yet to be truncated and stopped.

With this, then, there is the question of what happens to the triggering action that is sitting out there, waiting to happen, after the readied action. Well - the only wording giving guidance to this is that the player "..continues with his actions." So, as long as whatever happens next can be considered "continuing his actions", then it's legal. Anything beyond that is for the GM to decide what qualifies as doing that.

The intended actions simply cannot happen the way it was originally thought out due to new circumstances. You may interpret "attacking player B" as "attacking the square that player B is standing in" - but nothing is requiring you to do this. "Attacking player B" can mean just that "making a melee attack against player B". If you no longer can do that - absolutely nothing in the rules gives direct guidance or conclusion to what happens next. As long as what happens isn't directly violating any rules, then it's legal.

If you say the player loses their action - fine, perfectly reasonable. If you say the player can do something different - fine, perfectly reasonable. Both ways are legal.

For the first one, you're telling someone they must now take (or lose) an action, that they haven't taken yet (per the wording of the rules) that they no longer want to (or can't) take because otherwise a time continuity issue will arise that you don't like. The rules don't dictate that you solve that issue, but you don't like it, so the player must continue with their unwanted action.

For the second, it doesn't matter that letting the player do something different might imply a bunch of things you don't like or consider absurd (i.e. the grabbing for a potion 5 times or whatever). It doesn't matter if you consider what's going on to be a "take-back". None of that is prevented from happening in the rules - and nothing in the rules dictates an absolute path of resolution when faced with a triggering action that cannot happen anymore.

"yeah, but if you can change your mind, then the readied person could go back and change their mind, and then, and then and then..."
Yes, that could happen. But many of you are forgetting something - the possibility of an absurdity does not change what's written in the rules. All it means is that you've found an absurdity. There's nothing magical about identifying an absurdity that allows you to then say "This must not be RAW then."

And the same goes for when time continuity is lost. It doesn't matter that you can't identify something in the timeline for the readied character to be physically responding to. Identifying that doesn't add or remove language to the written rules. It just means you need to then decide as a GM what to do about it, if anything. Remember - at the point where the readied action goes off, that player is already responding to something that hasn't happened yet. Even if you insist the resulting triggering action be carried out in the closest way possible to the intended triggering action, that paradoxical response that you don't like has still already happened because the rules said that it did. Any attempt to claim that any part of the triggering action actually occurred prior to the readied action is breaking the written rule that dictates the order - no matter how much sense it doesn't make to you. If you get through it by saying that the readied action just needs to 'complete' before the triggering action, that's fine, but that's something you're making up to make yourself feel better about the time issue - it's not mandatory that that is how it's playing out.

Let me give you all an example of how the rules as written screw with time in an unforgivable way:

Player A has a reach weapon and high dex, and combat reflexes (note, the example stands even without this, but this stuff helps the point a little)

Player A casts a spell on her turn. Then, throughout the remainder of the round, 5 mutated goblins run at her in a rage. The reach cleric build gets to shine, and with her high dex, takes 5 attacks of opportunity, killing 4 outright, and putting the 5th unconscious.
During the next round, she casts another spell, then notices the unconscious goblin's wounds are healing.
Maybe their mutation is fast healing them, who knows, but I better finish him off, she thinks. But Player A stands there, unable to attack the unconscious goblin even once - even though, he is, by definition, much more vulnerable and defenseless than the next goblin that charges her - who she now, all of a sudden, can attack with no problem at all.
Why? - because attacks of opportunity make no sense at all. They constantly insert unaccounted for time into the round and it makes no sense at all.

Identification of a time paradox, timeline issue, or timing absurdity to make a ruling that something should or can happen a certain way makes sense - but using that identification to claim that it must not be allowed to happen in another certain way, is entirely different and it's a ridiculous claim in light of much of the rest of the game. Finding some way for a ruling to create a bad situation (a subjective claim, btw) doesn't make it wrong or illegal. So, in a discussion about what the rules currently state, it has no power.

Changing one's mind isn't against the rules - no matter how much it turns your stomach to think of it happening. It may be an axiom of how many people play any kind of table top game, and it makes sense why it would be, but it isn't in the Pathfinder rules. There is no concept of "declaring" an action you're taking on your turn in the general context of combat. It is used for specific abilities, but only when the rules are explaining exactly how a particular ability plays out. And, the rules are usually really good about pointing out things that a player cannot take-back or undo.

If you reason that the triggering action is lost, or swings at air, or whatever - that's perfectly fine. But NOT ruling it that way is NOT illegal just because you don't like what it might imply. Two different ways to play something out can both be legal.

With that, if they do FAQ this, it will definitely be in favor of the attacker losing his action. The devs always always side with those that will lose their minds if anything were to ever be left up to the GM at the table.

RAW does not support it either way, and both ways are equally reasonable interpretations.

Absurdity, or implied absurdity, does not equal a violation of RAW.

Allowing a creature to change it's mind about what action it's taking, or more importantly, about specific choices involved in that action, in response to a readied action (or AoO, I guess) changing conditions, may sound absurd, but that doesn't make it against RAW.

There is no concept of "declare" or "declared" in Pathfinder. It's not there no matter how much it may mean something to you or not make sense to play without it.

There is no concept of a player committing to a course of action but not have taken it yet. (barring things having to do with falling, or whatever)

There is no concept of: The orc "starts his swing".

Changing your mind in response to a readied action or AoO sounds absurd to some.

Claiming that your character can say "I have the reaction time, without using any abilities whatsoever even though there is something in the game called "dodge bonus to AC", to move at the exact second that the orc has started his swing, and is committed to swinging, but hasn't quite hit me yet - but that orc DOESN'T have the reaction time to realize I'm moving as he starts to attack, so he can't stop himself and just keep moving to attack me in the next square." is equally absurd to others.

CampinCarl9127 wrote:
Illusion wrote:
Pattern: Like a figment, a pattern spell creates an image that others can see, but a pattern also affects the minds of those who see it or are caught in it. All patterns are mind-affecting spells.
Judging by how pattern spells work, you only have to be caught in the spell to be effected. Only sightless creatures are not effected, as per the specific wording of the spell.

This, along with BadBird's argument of it being a hallucination, I think make the most sense. If you're caught in it, it affects you. It does say "or", so by RAW, even if you can't see it, but are caught in it, it affects you.

For the sightless exemption thing (unless Pathfinder actually defines the word, which I don't believe they do, but do use it as a descriptor on some creatures - correct??) - I would interpret that as a sightless creature, not a creature that is in the dark. When you're in the dark, you are not sightless, you just aren't having any light come into your eyes. You can see, it's just all black. The same is true when you shut your eyes - you're just covering your eyes that are still seeing.

Sightless (again, my interpretation unless paizo has one) means that sight is not one of your senses, and you have no framework for what a visual illusion or hallucination is. For a character that could see at one time, and is now permanently blind... I guess you could cross that bridge if you ever come to it. I guess I would consider that character "blind" but not "sightless". (However, if you ruled that a character who could see, but is now permanently blinded did hallucinate illusions that affected them, they would gain an odd metagame effect of knowing if something is an illusion simply by the fact that they are "seeing" it.)

A contrasting example would be Mirror Image, which says that you must be able to see the figments, and doesn't use the word sightless.

1. You mentioned your goblin voice went over well. Keep that up for as many characters as possible. Dramatize conversations as much as you would combat. This is a good sign that your group will have just as much fun in and out of combat. From this, I would guess that...

2. Background music themed to the adventure will also go over well and helps with role-play immersion factor

3. Start with what the players/character want to do, then use game rules as needed to play out what they want. Don't just present the game rules and mechanics as their options to pick from. (Careful on promoting the overuse of Perception - it can quickly turn into routine "scanning" that just adds overhead to every room and corridor.)

4. Keep on the lookout for what things your players appreciate - sometimes the smallest house rule can keep someone excited about the game (i.e. let druids spontaneously swap in heal spells like a cleric can - it's your game - do what makes sense to you, another is letting players start combat with whatever weapon they want, regardless of what they were actually holding a second ago). Look out for easy ways to make them happy with the game.

5. If the party puts a bad guy to 1 or 2 hp, and it just "makes sense" to have him be dead instead, then he's dead in some fun dramatic fashion, and not dragging combat out another round and the new wizard decides to blow a spell. This is where your power lies - taking what could easily be viewed as annoying and end it on something fun just by how you describe the outcome of one attack. Don't be a slave to the rules.

I find the reverse priority to be the most jarring. Even if I've read it 2 or 3 times already, when I reference back to that room or area I still sometimes forget until I'm done describing the room and then "...oh, yeah, and there's 5 skeleton's in there that want you dead."

It just really sucks the life out of any atmosphere I just built up.

Honestly, just putting the creature part first would do wonders.

One thing I would love, is to have the maps and room descriptions in a different layout. Have a very mini-sized version of the map in or near the center of a two-page spread, then lines pointing from the room to a small box with the page number of the description, and a one or two line note such as "Sleeping Quarters (CR2) - 5 Goblins, 1 main treasure item, pg. 17". Then keep that up on a laptop/tablet or printout. If the map is small enough - say one level of a small tower, you could possibly fit everything on that two-page spread. If the map is larger, have logical chunks taken out to do this.

A few I use:

Set HP gain at each level, I use a chart that just tells you what your level/class gets

Confirming a critical with a Natural 20 is a supercritical, which deals max damage that the crit can deal. (Crits happen often enough even for casual players, but nothing is more heartbreaking than watching your crit do less that your last normal hit)

Flanking is a condition - OR - generous flanking positioning requirements, I let the players choose.

No XP, and I hand out re-roll (and other types of) tokens as in game rewards for awesomeness

Wands come with less charges overall - usually 20-25

Sneak attacks can re-roll one "1" on a d6

No one is flat-footed before they act on the first round. But rogues still treat everyone as if they are.

Druids can spontaneous swap in a cure (whatever) wounds the way a cleric can (and can still do it with Summon Nature's Ally spells as normal)

No shenanigans with action manipulation. Characters do not know what "standard actions" and "move actions" are. Nothing players choose to do can be based off of an opponents action mechanics.

Chess Pwn wrote:

A charge is a full-round action that you need to declare your target to know the most direct way to charge them and to see if you have room to charge them.

And absolutely nothing stops you from declaring it twice. You need to meet the requirements of charge in order for what you end up doing to be a charge. It does not say you need to declare one target that cannot change. The phrases "designated opponent", "the opponent", "closest space from which you can attack the opponent" "ending space" can all change over the course of working out the action as long as they all at one time satisfy the requirements. There is no reason they cannot change after another creature has moved in your way. It may sound wonky to you to play like that, and I can completely understand ruling it so that you can't change your mind, but it doesn't break any rule of charge to do so.

"designated opponent" may sound like it's implying that it cannot end up being a different creature than first intended, but it's not explicit. It's just referring to who you end up charging.

The only part that puts a restriction on it is "If you don't have line of sight to the opponent at the start of your turn, you can't charge that opponent." In that case, if your opponent changed to a creature that didn't meet this requirement, then it cannot be a charge.

Chess Pwn wrote:

The POINT of readied actions is to do something specific and often to prevent someone from doing what they wanted to do, similar to AoO.

That may be very common and what you decide to use them for, but that is not THE point of them. They are for ensuring that your action happens before a stated event, because that's exactly what they do. Any further purpose is simply a preference, and that preference does not create rules.

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I agree with DM Bu-LA-kay that the "trusted friend" and "convince" are the governing words in the description, and it's what I always focus on when explaining it to anyone with a RAWrd-on about it.

If it is something that you couldn't convince a trusted friend to do, there isn't a chance of getting the charmed person to do it. Just because you can come up with some theoretical scene in which you somehow talk a friend into murdering a family member, doesn't automatically make it something a GM needs to accept is possible with this spell. Its up to the GM what can be convinced just like it would be if you were talking to an actual friend NPC.

We're talking about things like "help me break into this house" or "trip that guard when he comes by". Anything he wouldnt normally do. Not anything he would never do. There are times when "anything" has implied boundaries and many people choose not to recognize them for this spell.

Also, if we are going to insist on absolute literal meanings, it says nothing obviously harmful. It doesn't say harmful to who. I realize that many people will choose to interpret that as referring only to the charmed person, but thats not what it says. Killing someone is harmful. So the spell specifically prohibits killing (or even hitting) another person.

So either way here, your new magical buddy isn't killing his wife.

I'm not really seeing how what you described was a flop. It seemed like a fun encounter where the PCs are learning some good lessons at level 1. Did it seem like the players were having fun?

Always always be prepared for PCs to choose the thing that you don't think they will or don't want them to choose. I'll repeat what others have said, what is obvious to you is not obvious to them. Don't plan things based off of really hoping the PCs will play things out the way you want. If you don't want the PCs to go in a cave, then don't let them go in there.

I think both of your ideas are solid, a Conjurer or trying out the Arcanist. But find out if blasting is what she wants, then it's a different story.

Make sure she understands the need to familiarize herself with the spell lists and descriptions - hopefully, she is excited to do this. This takes some time. Especially when it comes to casting times (i.e. summon monster), allowed targets, and which ones need savings throws vs. a ranged attack. A couple guides here in the advice forum give a decent rundown of useful spells.

Also, make sure you (or whoever is the GM) is good about handing out scrolls and spell books so there's some stuff for her to copy. I've found this is easy to forget if you don't have a resident whiny wizard in the group.

As far as I know, there are no Wizard archetypes that are clearly better than a straight wizard (if fact, I think it's one of the only classes where most of the archetypes are really just for play style and cost you a lot of functionality to have).

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If you do keep this player in the group, just remember - you don't have to indulge his desired actions. Nor do you need to win an argument if he protests. I always want player's decisions to work - but if someone is clearly breaking the social contract of "please don't mess up the game for everyone" - whether they are aware of it or not - then you can just say no and move on to the next player.
But, don't say no, then wait for that trouble player to agree. He won't. You have to just move on, making it clear that he is not in control. It's not about a GM power trip, it's just facilitation. It can always be awkward when doing this - but it's better in the end. If the player complains (and sometimes rightfully so) that you are cutting him off and not listening, then just explain why, what it's doing to the game, and that it is one of the few things that takes priority over giving the player total freedom. Again, you're telling, not asking. If he doesn't agree, then he's done.

In addition to many I've seen here, I do:

  • No one is considered flat-footed during the first round of combat before they have taken their first turn. This does not apply to surprise rounds, those still work as normal. Rogues get an ability at level 1 that allows them to treat everyone else as flat-footed before they act.
    It almost never makes sense in the combats I run that either group is caught off guard enough (when it's not a surprise round) to warrant being flat-footed, and this gives a nice boost to Rogues. I don't think it ends up devaluing uncanny dodge too much since so many pre-made enemies seem to have rogue levels on them.

  • People can retrain any spells or feats anytime they are in a significant rest period or level up, as long as the character is still one that could have been made level-by-level.

  • (still testing this one, but) Combat Expertise is out completely. No more explaining why that is a prerequisite to half the feats someone wants.

  • Heal spell rolls auto-take half the roll if less than half is rolled.

  • Confirming a critical with a natural 20 is a super-critical, dealing maximum damage the crit could have done - even maxing out the parts that don't get multiplied (flaming, etc.). I normally don't allow enemies to do this.

  • If someone ends a fight or a particularly difficult enemy by severely over-killing the last enemy with a crit, they usually get a re-roll token to be used later.

  • If all dice rolled on a critical hit or sneak attack are 1's and 2's, I allow a re-roll.

  • I see 2 assertions:

    1. (before we take the tripping AoO into account) That moving and suddenly finding yourself unable to move out of your square (i.e. invisible wall, tripping on your own accord, getting tripped, etc.) is counted as a move action.

    I don’t see any rules supporting that this is right or wrong. Nothing in the action definitions or anywhere else makes is absolutely compulsory to treat this as a move action. I’ve seen examples that reason it both ways. And I’ve demonstrated that things can indeed happen on a turn within your square that are not assigned as actions. It is completely reasonable for a GM to say that it is, or that it isn’t. You’re preferred way is not rule. So, treating or not treating it as a move action is within RAW. (as far as I’ve seen)

    2. That once a character moving is viewed as a move action during a turn, that it cannot later be viewed as something else to come into alignment with what is actually happening.

    I also just don’t see where any game rules prevent you from doing this as long as the player still ends up only taking the total allowed number and type of actions that he can take. Unless an effect, spell, sup ability or something specifically says the character loses or ends its current action – I’m not seeing why this is breaking game rules. The character is moving, we’re treating it as a move action (if you must), it provokes, the player is tripped and dropped in that same square. Now, by odd chance of how the trip worked, the character cannot continue what was viewed as a move action. Because of this, they fall under #1 above – that is, he’s moved in his square but has not made it out – and it can be viewed as not a move action.

    It was a move action when it provoked – now things have changed and because of what really happened it is no longer viewed as a move action. That’s it. I don’t see what is wrong with this. The fact that an AoO occurred doesn’t mean anything except that an AoO occurred. Thinking about how it all went down and realizing there is a paradox doesn’t mean anything and doesn’t compel you to do anything. It’s an anomaly of what happened and you really can leave it at that within RAW.

    JohnF wrote:

    ... The way to trigger an AoO is by taking an action. Once you've taken that action, even if doing so ends up having no mechanical effect, you can't pretend you didn't take that action.

    Ugh, that's exactly what I'm saying. If there is no mechanical effect, then I consider it not having ever really taken the action, even if it triggered something else. None of the definitions around actions include not doing or performing something, or just trying to do something. So if you end up not really doing or performing anything, it's not an action. Remembering that it triggered and AoO doesn't make you go back and relabel it as an action.

    I don't have to go back and reconcile the triggers to the AoO. Nothing is making anyone do that.

    That's what others are inventing, some overall checking system that says you have to go back and make sure it all could have played out in a step-by-step way. That's the invention.

    Malachi Silverclaw wrote:

    Actually performing acts that require 'Actions In Combat' means that you are using that action. Since you're already doing it, you can't take a different Action In Combat as if you never took the one you started. You can abort your action, but not swap it.

    Since you must be moving out of your square to provoke, then if that AoO takes place then you must be moving out of your square! Whether you make it out of the square or not, meaning how many full squares you actually moved, is neither here nor there. Moving zero squares is a valid use of the 'move your speed' action.

    Since you can only move your PC if you take an Action In Combat which allows such movement, then if you move your PC then you must be taking such an Action! You also must take a definate Action; you can't start moving your mini about and decide what kind of Action it was later! That's called 'cheating'.

    So, where 'declaring' your action comes in is simply establishing which Action In Combat it is that you are taking, to avoid confusion (and accusations of cheating).

    So, my point is that everything you're saying is presupposing that it needs to be defined ahead of time. It doesn't. That's why I asked about the "declaring" thing. I know it's communication. But it's the concept of committing that I don't see rules around.

    No, as you said, a player cannot start moving and decide what kind of action it was later. The player can start moving and the GM decides what kind of action it was. That isn't cheating. It's deciding. It just happens after when you choose to do the deciding. And the player and GM can discuss any kind of possible scenarios before hand, if they wish, so they are both clear on what things will be called in the end.

    Nothing forces you to play step by step, committing future actions to a move action. Nothing forces players to call out what type of action they want to use to do something. That's just the way you feel you need to play the game. It is not required. If they performed the action, then they performed it. If they didn't perform it, then they didn't. If they don't move enough to actually move, then I say that's not performing the action.

    Moving enough to provoke isn't necessarily performing the move - as I've pointed out that physical motion can indeed happen in the game that does not get assigned to actions. Things in the game can happen that are not accounted for by actions - this must be true, or all kinds of things in the game would cease to make any kind of sense (dodge bonus to A.C., -4 to hit a mob in melee with an ally, etc.)

    To be clear, I'm saying your way is perfectly acceptable and does make sense. My way is equally acceptable. I'm breaking no rule by not defining things ahead of time.

    So, where does the idea of "declaring" come from, from a rules standpoint? (I'm really asking)

    There seems to be a lot of argument/rule derivations based on a player declaring his action to do something. I see definition around what actions and how many of each a player can take. But, I don't see anything stating that a declaration is needed at all.(If there is, then apologies in advance - but I think what I state below is still valid)

    When I've played with less rules-intense players (hang with me here, I know this is a rules discussion), most of them describe their turn or what they want to do by doing just that - describing it, not splitting it out for me on their own. They're aware of how the action types work, so they know the limits, but they would still say something to the effect of "Ok, I go over here and attack this goblin." As long as their actions allow all of that to happen, then it all moves along.

    So - are there rules that actually require the declaration? I get that this seems like a logical way to play, but is it required?

    I ask because of the following:

    There's no declaration of an action just because of an intention. The action is the action if you do it. Not if you intend to do it or don't do enough to actually do it. I don't feel like I'm making this up. I think it's supported by the rules.

    In the following wording from PRD:

    In a normal round, you can perform a standard action and a move action, or you can perform a full-round action. You can also perform one swift action and one or more free actions. You can always take a move action in place of a standard action.

    it uses the word "perform" several times, and at others it uses the word "take".

    So - that's what triggers the action use to me - actually performing it. (You could also argue that attempting to perform it for roughly the same amount of time also uses it, I guess.)

    In the tripping AoO example - if you move, but do not move enough for it to be considered a move action, then get tripped prior to crossing that threshold, now prone. At this point, the player hasn't moved enough to be a move action - so they didn't perform a move action. Their body moved enough to make it obvious they were going to, and then they didn't (in this case, due to physically being unable to do so). The motion needed to provoke that attack doesn't have to be enough to be considered performing a move action.

    All combatants are moving during combat in the sense of small motions (bobbing, weaving, etc.) within their creature size squares. Those small movements (again, in the sense of any motion at all) aren't accounted for in actions. It's not unreasonable to think that the amount of motion/movement needed to make it obvious that you're leaving a square with your guard down is within the "noise" of all of the other motion all characters are always making.

    Someone could ready an action and say "Ok, I stare at the paralyzed goblin. As soon as he becomes unparalyzed, I'm attacking." (Why you would do this, I have no idea, but let's say it's happening)
    In that case - the goblin will become unparalyzed and no doubt the player watching would immediately know because the goblin is now in normal body motion - an in-game effect for that watching player. The goblin doesn't get charged with a move action just because he's done being paralyzed and isn't entirely motionless and there was some in-game effect for someone else. It's reasonable to say that whatever movement that triggered an AoO is just not enough actual moving to perform a move action.

    Here's another example for shooting a bow:

    Not an Action: Some activities are so minor that they are not even considered free actions. They literally don't take any time at all to do and are considered an inherent part of doing something else, such as nocking an arrow as part of an attack with a bow.

    That amount of motion/time seems analogous to moving but not moving enough to get out of a square. Just because it happens in preparation for the action, and can be enough to provoke an AoO, doesn't mean it's an action.

    So, if what actually ends up happening still falls within the allowed actions - then it's ok.

    I know a question to be put to this is "then everyone can just change their mind once the AoO provokes". I think that's an entirely separate question - issues dealing with that shouldn't dictate what's counted as an action. To me, it sounds like this entire argument is really for when you're prevented from doing any of what you originally intended. Are there any rules stating you can't do this anyway?

    claudekennilol wrote:

    Don't forget the "while taking another action" line in there--what action are you going to take and feint your opponent into thinking you're moving to get him to attack you so you can do something else? I wouldn't allow that at all for what it's worth.

    I see what you're saying - it needs to be part of the move action. And thank you for pointing that exact wording out. So, yes it is a move action that is starting.

    That being said, my point is the same. What ends up happening - regardless of what was declared - is not much to me. I was really just using the concept of a GM deciding what is "free enough" to be a free action, and apply it to the "started is spent" argument. As in - as the rules stand now, the GM gets to decide since there is no wording that suggests either way is right.

    Started does not automatically equal spent to me. I rule attacking and provoking with a bow the same way - start to attack, bow get's knocked out of your hands, you still have time to do something that is a standard action. Since there is no rules around exactly how much of your bow attack you (and hence, how much time you spent) went through before it was knocked away - both ways of determining actions spent or not are equally valid.

    For the bow attack example - take the definition of Ranged Attack. The bow is knocked out of my hands with an AoO. I could say that I never ended up shooting, therefor I didn't do the definition of a ranged attack and therefor I never did a standard action. And that's using RAW.

    Sometimes, the GM deciding is the rule. Example:

    Free Action: Free actions consume a very small amount of time and effort. You can perform one or more free actions while taking another action normally. However, there are reasonable limits on what you can really do for free, as decided by the GM.

    From the free action rule, I can say starting to move enough to provoke but not actually get anywhere is free. Player tells me what he wants to do, now finds himself a free amount of time into that move when he can no longer do what he told me he wants to do. I say he's taken a free action so far. (Note: "Moving" is what provokes, not "Taking a Move Action". I am within the rules to say that the starting movement that provoked was a free action).

    Jiggy wrote:
    thundercade wrote:
    Jiggy wrote:
    thundercade wrote:
    Yes - and I consider "not having left the square" not enough action to use up a move action.
    Which is a determination of your own design, and not something implied (let alone stated) by the rules.

    One person says you only need to have moved enough to provoke for it to be considered a spent action. Another person says you need to have moved enough to make it one square.

    Those are both determinations. What are you trying to say?

    I'm only saying that "if you haven't traveled at least one square, you haven't spent/committed to an action yet" is what thundercade says, not what the rules say.

    This is the rules forum.

    The rules say that an AoO is "resolved" before the triggering event is "resolved". Taken at face value, this means that "resolving" is the only part of the triggering action that is left undone until after the AoO. Adding the idea that it not only hasn't resolved yet, but ALSO hasn't even STARTED yet, is adding one's own inventions to the rules.

    Additions to make your game run smoother have their own forum, and figuring out what the rules themselves actually say has this forum.

    I'm not saying it didn't start. I'm saying that I don't interpret that as something that constitutes a move action now being spent.

    I'm pointing out here are no rules that state if an action started is interrupted, and now cannot resolve the way intended, that it is now over. There is wording that says you complete your turn, and for readied actions interrupting there is wording around completing actions if possible. It doesn't say that if it's not possible then it is lost. (Unless I'm not finding something that does rule on this.)

    The move action being spent or committed is just as much of a rules invention as anything I've said.

    Jiggy wrote:
    thundercade wrote:
    Yes - and I consider "not having left the square" not enough action to use up a move action.
    Which is a determination of your own design, and not something implied (let alone stated) by the rules.

    One person says you only need to have moved enough to provoke for it to be considered a spent action. Another person says you need to have moved enough to make it one square.

    Those are both determinations. What are you trying to say?

    NikolaiJuno wrote:
    thundercade wrote:

    If you get tripped, you end up in your starting square, right? So if the trigger is "leaving the square", how did you manage to "leave the square" if you didn't leave the square?

    The trigger is "leaving the square" not "having left the square".

    If I'm leaving a building and someone reacts by jumping into the doorway I was leaving the building by I haven't left yet.

    Yes - and I consider "not having left the square" not enough action to use up a move action.

    If you get tripped, you end up in your starting square, right? So if the trigger is "leaving the square", how did you manage to "leave the square" if you didn't leave the square?

    EDIT: My point, is I don't need an answer to the above question - there's no reason to answer it. You do not need to solve or figure out what happens if there's no RAW around it. You just decide as a GM.

    I consider the fact that you haven't made it anywhere on the grid not actually moving. I don't have to go back and justify to the AoO that it could have existed.

    Gauss wrote:

    Komoda, the problem with that concept is that if you never used the move action to move then you never provoked then the universe explodes in a temporal causality loop. (that was humor btw :) )

    This sounds very reasonable and makes sense - but nothing is really forcing you to rewind the resolution like that when you're playing. There's no reason to go back and resolve the paradox. And since nothing in RAW gives any guidance on exactly what or when a player goes past the point of no backsies on an action - I don't see a reason to try to deduce what's going on in this way.

    I just rule what's reasonable to the battlefield - you started a move, before you actually did any of the move you found yourself in a position that doesn't allow that action, now you do something else.

    If you happen to make it 10ft on a move action, then get tripped, yes I call that a move action. Just like deciding to use your 30ft speed to only actually move 10ft. is still a move action - but if you decide to move 0ft, it is not a move action. (Even if you looked at me and said "I'm taking my move action to move 0 ft.", I still wouldn't count it as a move action)

    archmagi1 wrote:
    The two NPC's that matter here for latter books are both noted in the books that their fates are in future books. There are even suggestions there for what to do if said NPC's meet other fates.

    Agreed. I meant more of a consistent symbol so that's it's also obvious when they will not be seen again (i.e. "I wonder if Paizo just isn't mentioning it here...")

    I've found that, whether it's an AP/Super-module or your own campaign, three dimensional NPCs are part of what gives players motivation in the story. Always a good thing.

    Side note: It wouldn't hurt for the APs to (systematically) mention or mark which NPCs need to be left somewhat untouched as to not disrupt their future appearances. A total nice-to-have though at the most.

    This is a common occurrence with anyone who didn't really grow up playing these type of games. There is a process to fully "getting" what is needed to play, and there are probably times where an otherwise would-be-very-good-at-DnD person just doesn't make it past that hurdle. Remember that, compared to what most people do when they hang out or have a party - there is considerable effort that goes into DnD games - along with the fact that everyone is more or less expected to have decent competency is what's going on. Think of any other card game (I don't mean CCGs), sports team (a work team for example, not pro), beer pong, even a fantasy football league, etc - all of those activities by nature have a few players that don't really know what's going on and need help the whole way through until the games done - and these are much simpler games. That is considered normal to everyone involved. That is most likely the common mindset of people when it comes to games. That difference alone takes awhile to dawn on even the smartest people.

    This will take time to get better. Remember two things:

    1. Take a consistent, fair-but-firm approach to dealing with the constant lack of character knowledge. He will have to find incentive to learn it to put the effort in. Keep telling him to look things up and suffer consequences of not remembering or being more prepared (i.e. "ok, sorry, moving on..."). This should create incentive to want faster ways of knowing, like the cheat sheets.
    2. In doing so, you have to first let go and know that him deciding not to play is a real possibility. This is very important.

    If he really just wants to hang out... then there's no changing that, at least not quickly.

    If you can't quite find anything in the advice here so far (which is spot on), maybe take one more look at Feast of Ravenmoor. That one ended up being better than I expected (from a GM side) and the players liked it. It's of course painfully obvious that something isn't right in that town - but that seems to be appreciated by players. Depending on how the RP elements play out - most, if not all, of the combat for this one takes place in a long, one shot run with no rests. You could change the setting to be some type of creepy house in a larger town with a temple underneath (depending on how much extra work you want it to be) and have the same types of encounters.

    To reinforce what Brother Fen said about upping the CR of level 1 modules, at low levels this is very easy and adds the need to deal with even more multiple enemy tactics (assuming that's how you up the CR) - and there are a ton of Level 1 modules.

    Devilkiller wrote:
    I'm not sure how being able to hit people who are two squares away from you while you're using a polearm can really seem "too powerful" or who it is unfair to.

    Whips, cone spells, creatures with 15ft. reach, or just anyone who wants to stand in that spot and not provoke from a ranged attack or spell cast. If they never intend on approaching the 10ft reach-wielder, then I don't think they should suffer being threatened in a square that is 15ft away by definition. This is the situation I seem to run into more often than the issues that are fixed with the new reach ruling.

    I'm not trying to get anyone to agree with me on this, I'm just explaining what I mean.

    Well, maybe we've touched on the point where I'll just have to disagree as a non-PFS player.

    I agree with the need for consistency, especially for PFS as you guys point out. That makes perfect sense.

    Putting the 3.5 exception into actual rules is the simplest method (that I can think of). I agree on that point as well.

    I'm trying to say kind of has two parts:

    1. This ruling is not the only way to achieve a consistent way to treat the situation. (as an example, leaving RAW as is is another valid and consistent way to deal with it - just not one that anyone wants, but it is consistent)

    2. This ruling, IMHO, is unfair to other situations and player tactics. It is too far reaching (no pun intended, seriously) with permanent consequences to distance on the grid. For an extreme example - the ruling could be to treat a reach weapon as threatening a the boxes formed by the 2nd and 3rd diagonals. In this case, it is simple, solves the issues, and consistent. But, of course, it is obviously too powerful. So of course that's not what the rule is.

    So, threatening the 2nd diagonal all the time, no matter what, is still too powerful to me. So the consistent solution that ends up being used - if needed for things like PFS - should be something else. My view is that it should be specific to the problems in question - namely AoO's, tripping and diagonal hallways (correct?) - even if it gets a little complicated. The simplicity of the 3.5 exception is not worth the unfairness, to me.

    So if the 3.5 exception is the preferred way of dealing with it, then dealing with it that way should be left as a house rule. If it was a more fair way, then yes, make it errata even if it's complicated. GMs would still be just as free to employ the 3.5 exception and it sounds like they have been for a long time and would continue to do so. This way, in the unlikely event you get a GM who wants it RAW, then you still know what's going to happen.

    @Magda, on that note - since 100% of the GMs you run into employ the 3.5 exception before this new ruling...that one GM you that you might have run into that insisted on RAW now has the very same chance of deciding to house rule it back the other way after the new ruling. So how does this buy anyone any consistency? House rule was ok before, it should be now - correct? By definition it doesn't reduce table variability - that chance is still there.

    Magda Luckbender wrote:

    This errata fixes a specific, common, and ongoing rules problem. This issue came up for my characters about every third fight.

    I understand that it's a very commonly used exception used as you and others have detailed. I just think it should remain an exception that the DM chooses to employ. Using errata means that the rules themselves create situations of "10ft" meaning different things depending on what you're using. That's odd to me, so I'm surprised they're making it actual errata.

    Right, I understand the mathematical part. Personally, I would say that 10ft. reach threatening the the 2nd diagonal is definitely not more playable than it not threatening it. Therefore, specific errata addressing it - that is, errata that is much more specific than I feel it should be - doesn't sit well with me.

    I'm obviously in the tiny minority here on the forums, but wanted to make my point heard about the practice of this type of errata.

    As to your first question - I would suggest (and this is admittedly not thought through at this point - just trying to address the question) treating the first two diagonals as 10ft. for everything in the game - and beyond that doing the every-other-one thing. And yes, there is still a point of artifact.

    Maybe that's a better way to express what I'm getting at - that is, since there will always be a point of artifact with the distances on a square grid, players and DMs will always be adjusting. So, why are we creating errata that only applies to a very specific part of the combat system? To me, the whole point of how PF rules are structured is that this is the exact type of thing you need to find your own way through - so it should remain as such.

    My only issue with the reach and 2nd diagonal ruling is that it should be a distance ruling, not a specific weapon type or reach range ruling.

    I get why 10ft hitting the 2nd diagonal is easier for people to play (this hasn't been my personal experience, but I completely understand). But, the 2nd diagonal should be 10ft. for everything, not just reach. Movement (over the course of one round) should be 10ft over the first two diagonals. If it's 10ft for your weapon, it should be 10ft if I'm coming at you from that way. A 10ft Paladin aura should catch that square as well. Someone using 15ft. reach should be able to stand in a diagonal hallway and find a spot to hit the spear-wielding fighter with their cone spell/whip/tentacle/etc. and not be threatened - since it's a 15ft. vs. 10ft. reach battle going on.

    Everyone should get the advantage of those first two diagonals being 10ft.

    Ruling it only for a specific type of 10ft. is, IMHO, poor practice and only shifts the problem to other things in the game, and makes reach better than is was (if you didn't already play this way). If the adjustment is to help game play, it shouldn't have the overall effect of making reach straight up better vs. everything else that is defined as 10 feet.

    For the 15' range thing, I'm saying that under the old rule, a wizard can stand in that 2nd diagonal square relative to a spear-wielding fighter and cast burning hands or color spray, and not provoke an attack but hit the fighter in the area. Under the new rule, he now provokes. I'm not saying people can't deal with it, I'm saying it's a change. Same goes for a whip-wielding bard that wants to stay just out of range. The wizard, bard and a huge size enemy with a 15' reach can find other squares to achieve this, but now it's 4 less squares. So there are losers in this.

    This is why I like the idea of only dealing with it as the 10ft reach needs it - i.e. giving the AoO when appropriate (approached diagonally, etc), and locally re-orienting the grid squares if even necessary. This way it doesn't permanently change things for other effects.

    Yes, I am very locally re-orienting the grid. I guess I don't consider this redrawing since it involves such a small area. I sort of just point, say what's what, and that's it. This has been doable in my experience. Maybe if it happened more often, I would find it a pain, I don't know.

    For the 10ft coverage of the 2nd diagonal, I agree it covers a decent portion of the square. But then the errata should be that 2 diagonal squares is 10ft for everything. Not just reach weapons, but for movement, cone effects, everything. I don't advocate this at all, but that would be a fair, system-wide change.

    Gauss wrote:

    thundercade, So your solution is basically the same one of the ones others have proposed, redrawing the grid.

    Only since you are mentally redrawing the grid it comes with the same disadvantages as going gridless. It would require people to have good spatial visualization.

    Of all the solutions presented (including yours) making a simple exception is actually the simplest solution for the majority of people.

    It works without having to redraw square into hex grids (Paizo's maps are all square grids, it would take time to convert them to hex grids).
    It works without having to redraw the grid orientation (which takes time).
    It works without having to mentally redraw the grid orientation or going gridless (which both take good spatial visualization).

    While this exception bothers a certain number of people for a variety of reasons it is the simplest solution to a problem and it has the advantages of fitting in with the overall way things are done (square grids) and of being easily dealt with by the majority of people.

    Hang on here, you're turning what I said into something it's not. I'm not redrawing anything. That makes it sound as if needing to adjust where there are 2 or 3 diagonal squares, or even a long 5' corridor, then you're required to redraw an entire map. Of course I don't want to do that and I've never had to.

    I'm not trying to present a solution for people here to take instead of this change, I'm just trying to make it clear what I do since it seems to be such an issue for everyone. Every complaint I've ever read on the forums about this in the past has been no problem in our games. The posts I read make it seem like there is tear in the space-time fabric right there at the table whenever someone with a long spear is approached from the wrong angle - I just don't get it.

    In our group, this change only makes reach weapons into something they're not supposed to be, and devalues 15ft range effects - with no benefit at all, since we never have any issues with the old way. So, I have to come out disagreeing with the decision to errata it (not the rule itself, I obviously don't have to play the new way).

    Yes, I've done this before when I (somehow) couldn't see a d20 on the table. But in that event, I would explain before you roll, or yeah you'll have a mutiny on your hands.

    On the same note, I encountered a group that rolls percentile differently than I do. I don't add a d10 to another d10 - I roll both d10s designating one as "first" then use the numbers that come up as the digits of the numbers 1-100 (with 0-1 being a "1" and 0-0 being "100"). I was attacking a 50% concealment, called that 1-50 would be a hit, rolled 5-0 ("50" to me, and "60" to the rest of the table). I acted all excited that I barely hit and everyone else just about threw me out the door for cheating. Awkward argument ensued.

    Malachi Silverclaw wrote:
    thundercade wrote:
    Treat the diagonal squares as adjacent while in the hallway (whether using reach weapons or not)

    Reach weapons can't attack adjacent squares, so treating the diagonal squares as adjacent means I cannot attack.

    This is not a solution, it just highlights the problem.

    No, what I meant was, treat diagonal squares as adjacent, so that it's as if they are side-by-side squares. So, the 2nd diagonal is now simply two straight squares away and an attack-able square the way it normally is with a reach weapon.

    If it's a 5' hallway, this won't create any other consistency issues since it's just a straight hallway. Whomever is in that corridor can just pretend the corner to corner squares are side-by-side.

    Gauss wrote:

    thundercade, Paizo "broke" 10ft reach when they failed to include the exception that was already present in the rules. They "fixed" it when they included it again.

    However, if you have a method to fix the diagonal corridor issue, please, lets us know.

    Note: re-orienting the grid is not a fix. Assuming that the GM is even allowed to do that (not the case in PFS) it is a royal PITA that is even more of a headache than simply saying if a reach weapon can hit half of the square then it counts.

    Player, "Hey, GM, I use a reach weapon and that corridor is diagonal."
    GM, "Ok, give me 5 minutes to redraw everything."

    I get what you guys mean by "broke" in the first place, I guess I just disagree. There are several differences between 3.5 and PF and I viewed this a good (if unintended, was it?) change, IMHO.

    My system to deal with diagonal corridors is described above. I've just never had it be a big deal at all. I'm not redrawing everything. Not even close. Many times I don't redraw anything. I simply make the adjustment when it's needed.

    I'm just very surprised this creates such an issue that people are claiming has no solution, since it has been so easy to deal with in my games and groups. To me, this is what a GM can do. It's just like anything else in the game when there are issues with the grid or spacing or whatever, you adjust and keep going. So because of this surprise, I find rule errata for it an odd step.

    As for PFS... I guess I don't know. I don't play PFS, so I don't know the GM woes it can bring. However, I can't say I support rules changes that are specifically done to smooth out rough spots in PFS (not claiming that's what this is, just sayin'). If it really does provide a much needed help - then I'm glad people are helped in that regard.

    It bothers me on more of a principle level, that 10ft is 10ft in all but one category for the wrong reasons. What was a spot that a whip-wielding bard could attack long spear-wielding fighter is now not what it was. It's not just an improvement. One issue becomes someone else's issue. What was "Yeah, you should really get an AoO when he comes at you from the diagonal" is now "Yeah, he really shouldn't be able to attack you".

    blahpers wrote:
    The diagonal update is quite annoying for folks standing on the second diagonal and moving somewhere else outside 10', such as away or orthogonally. Sorry, folks, but I' gonna have to ignore this one, too, and continue to rule that it only provokes if the movement actually involves crossing the 10' barrier. It made perfect sense that way and I've yet to see it cause confusion in practice.

    Yeah, I have to agree. I've never had a problem dealing with this and it keeps distance consistent with everything else in the game.

    I don't really care which way it's played, but this is bad practice for Paizo, and it doesn't "fix" anything - only the unnecessary arguments you choose to have at your tables. If it was really that important or such a big problem, you could have house ruled it the way you're supposed to if you don't like how the square grid abstracts things. And if your GM didn't agree, then well, tough cookies just like everything else in the game.

    All this does is exchange one house-rule argument for another.

    If you are using a reach weapon and you and your foe are in a 5-foot wide diagonal corridor, how do you attack your foe? Where do you stand so that your reach weapon can threaten the square he is in?

    Treat the diagonal squares as adjacent while in the hallway (whether using reach weapons or not). This helps with movement anyway. Concluding that you can't attack anyone because Paizo won't "fix" 10ft reach is beyond lazy. The hallway doesn't have to be diagonal just because there are diagonal lines on it.

    If you want things to be easier or less confusing, then the solution is to just go ahead and make them that way on your own, with house rules. Not by officially changing what 10ft means for one specific thing in the game.

    As to the specific problem of a dead paladin - maybe his god or a demigod says "sorry, not time for you to go yet, you live, and now show your appreciation by doing blah blah blah for your faith"

    Possibly break the "totally" uninhabited thing by putting in some rare race druid or something who looked after those dogs, and is "very sorry" they all got in a fight. "You live, and now show your appreciation...."

    Or, this could be fun, he's a (much-reduced power) ghost and acts as a spirit. Now they have a major side quest to bring him back by visiting some ancient shrines... Basically, weave it into the larger story and give him a few ghost-y abilities to make it a good time. Just do it in a way where it's obvious this won't be an option next time someone goes down when they're off that island.

    To help in the future, at low levels, try not to let the dice fall where they may. Especially if you've put them in a remote location. If you can, don't roll your dice in the open. Some groups cry foul at this... but I'm guessing yours will not.

    If your players like it, then I would say go ahead.

    However, I personally don't think it's a good idea due to the attitude towards traps.

    Many players feel that traps that hurt them based solely on one perception check are a "hit point tax" for the hallway or treasure chest. The way I overcome this, is to always find a way to allow the party to work past a trap so it feels like an actual encounter instead.

    What you're suggesting is kind of sending things in the opposite direction and may make players feel cheated or "taxed".

    I totally get trying to come up with a system for this, but just take it a step further and if you want to skip the encounters, then skip them altogether and enrich the encounters you do play out.

    Not sure if this has anything to do with it, but making the perils of overland travel consistent is very difficult and usually not worth it. There are going to be times when going through the forest is a whole level, and there will be times when going back through that same forest will be 2 uneventful days of in-game time and 5 minutes at the table.

    Don't put work into the game if they won't do the same. Ask them if they really want to play the game or just have character sheets to oogle at.

    Are your players relatively young? Have they ever had characters die in a campaign before? I remember during my first days of DnD and other paper/pencil RPGs, it was sometimes easy to have all the fun just making some characters and not really wanting anything to happen to them.

    And/Or the players may be the kind that treat the game as a kind of passive challenge by the party to the GM to "do" something to them and see how well they can avoid what you're "doing" to them. That's probably why they treat the guides/mission NPCs badly - they're eliminating any chance of being tricked or backstabbed, however small it may be. The fact that they devolve into PvP and avoid GM-generated combat tells me that they are overly protective of their characters and personalizing it all too much.

    Like others have said - ask "What is it you want to do?"

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