"These rounds do not need to be consecutive" supernatural abilities


Rules Questions


Take these two supernatural abilities as examples...

Quote:
Divine Presence (Su): At 8th level, you can emit a 30-foot aura of divine presence for a number of rounds per day equal to your cleric level. All allies within this aura are treated as if under the effects of a sanctuary spell with a DC equal to 10 + 1/2 your cleric level + your Wisdom modifier. These rounds do not need to be consecutive. Activating this ability is a standard action. If an ally leaves the area or makes an attack, the effect ends for that ally. If you make an attack, the effect ends for you and your allies.
Quote:
Life Sight (Su): At 8th level, you gain blindsight to a range of 10 feet for a number of rounds per day equal to your wizard level. This ability only allows you to detect living creatures and undead creatures. This sight also tells you whether a creature is living or undead. Constructs and other creatures that are neither living nor undead cannot be seen with this ability. The range of this ability increases by 10 feet at 12th level, and by an additional 10 feet for every four levels beyond 12th. These rounds do not need to be consecutive.

A supernatural ability requires a standard action to activate (unless it specifically says otherwise). Since the rounds for these abilities do not need to be consecutive, do you need to use a standard action each round to activate them? Even if you do use it over consecutive rounds?

Or once you activate these with a standard action, does it automatically continue until you make the effort to stop it? With a free action?


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Companion, Lost Omens, Rulebook, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

Id say if you maintain one over consecutive rounds you are not activating it again. If you stop in one round then use it again later, you are activating it again and therefore must expend the stated action to activate the effect.


I've never really thought about it. I always assumed that as you deactivated with a free action and if you want to begin again you need to reactivate it. Of know of no explict text that states that however.

This is one of those times I wish there was an official definition of a game term such as "activate."

All I can point to is the "activation" of barbarian rage (although rage is an extraoridinary ability) where the rules specifically spell out free action to start, free action to end. Of course, different people can say "It's just like rage" while other would say "Since they didn't spell it out like rage it not."

Having to reactivate it every round makes some abilities essentially worthless. For example, Life Sight above, if you have to reactivate it each round then you can't attack anything, you only can try and tell your friends where to attack. Meh.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Companion, Lost Omens, Rulebook, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

+1000 to more clear and consistent rules and mechanics. I have gotten a clear impression though that those in charge feel things are clear enough as they are.


It doesn't say it requires an action to stop it, so it doesn't. Standard action to activate, no/free action to continue in consecutive rounds, no/free action to deactivate if you wish to do so.


This actually just came up in a game I was DMing yesterday. The rules were not at all clear about maintaining the effect. I ruled that it was a standard action to activate, then no action to maintain, and a free action to dismiss.


Yeah, it seems like it`s basically undefined...
And unfortunately, there`s really SEVERAL completely plausible and workable ways it COULD work.

Free Action to end is fine... Though it means Charmed/Unconscious characters may let the Su ability continue indefinitely. Requiring a free action each round to actively `maintain` the effect has the opposite dynamic (though this is arguably LEAST supported by RAW).

As stated, requiring a Standard each round it`s in effect results in very crappy usabilty, and I think is clear conflicts with the RAI as evidenced by the general presentation (as per above, exactly what this RAI isn`t clear though, but I`m sure it`s not this). Plenty of spells and SLAs require a Standard Action to dismiss which could also be the case here, though I suspect it isn`t intended here (less obvious than requiring Standard to actively maintain each round of effect, though).

The closest we have to rules on this only covers Spells and SLAs and says:
(D) Dismissible: If the duration line ends with “(D),” you can dismiss the spell at will. You must be within range of the spell's effect and must speak words of dismissal, which are usually a modified form of the spell's verbal component. If the spell has no verbal component, you can dismiss the effect with a gesture. Dismissing a spell is a standard action that does not provoke attacks of opportunity.

A spell that depends on concentration is dismissible by its very nature, and dismissing it does not take an action, since all you have to do to end the spell is to stop concentrating on your turn.

Even that is somewhat confusing, because `at will` isn`t really a strongly defined concept in terms of action economy (it mainly indicates there is no limit/day AFAIK), and it`s telling us that you simply need to speak `words of dismissal` (unless spell didn`t have verbal components, in which case, it needs gestures of dismissal), though later it says it uses a Standard Action. WELL, usually speaking words is a free action you can do off your turn, right?

The above isn`t really necessarily applicable to Su Abilities, but likewise with the current state being undefined, we don´t know if it`s pòssible to end these effects off one`s turn, besides if they can be only ended on one`s turn what action they take.

Paizo Employee Creative Director

Unless otherwise specified, an ability that lasts a number of rounds keeps going until you stop it. Normally, when you chose to end an ability that lasts a number of rounds, it's done. (Doing so is a free action.) When it says the ability can be used for non-consecutive rounds, that just means that what's left over of the duration after you end the ability can be used later.


1 person marked this as FAQ candidate.
James Jacobs wrote:
Unless otherwise specified, an ability that lasts a number of rounds keeps going until you stop it. Normally, when you chose to end an ability that lasts a number of rounds, it's done. (Doing so is a free action.) When it says the ability can be used for non-consecutive rounds, that just means that what's left over of the duration after you end the ability can be used later.

Thanks for the clarification!

And the point brought up by Quandary is pretty interesting... if you cannot take a free action for whatever reason, your ability may run out even if you don't want it to.

Community / Forums / Pathfinder / Pathfinder First Edition / Rules Questions / "These rounds do not need to be consecutive" supernatural abilities All Messageboards

Want to post a reply? Sign in.