Ranged Touch Attacks Provoking AoOs 2: Electric Boogaloo


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38 people marked this as FAQ candidate. Answered in the FAQ. 4 people marked this as a favorite.

Since the last (several) post(s) got locked before any official answer was given and it has not yet been added to FAQ I have created a new thread for discussion on the matter.

Here is the original question:

Spoiler:
What I am asking is could a caster provoke once for the casting of the spell, and once again for the ranged attack portion.

Discuss.

PS:The point of this is to get this FAQ'd since no exact answer has yet to be given.

Ross Byers wrote:

I removed a bunch of posts and their replies. Really, folks, is it that hard to have a respectful discussion with each other?

Also, I'm locking this thread. After 500+ posts in a rules question, either the discussion is going in circles, or an answer WAS reached and is just getting buried under more posts.

I do not know what the offending posts were that were removed but I'm sure Ross had good reason to remove them. I do not doubt his motives on this.

However, with this being at least the 3rd thread created on this topic with several hundred posts in each, being FAQ'd several hundred times between the several threads with no response from the Devs on it ... I sorta think it is an issue that needs a bit of attention. To be truthful, I'm not 100% on what my opinion is of how it is meant to work.

But locking a thread and simply saying that, "either the discussion is going in circles, or an answer WAS reached and is just getting buried under more posts." ...does NOT make it true. And to be completely explicate, it is not true. The question has recieved no attention from the Devs at all.

It is true that posters here have given their unofficial opinion on how it should work, but I had thought that the purpose behind hitting the FAQ button was to get the attention of the Devs? Correct me if I'm wrong here.

For those who do not wish to discuss the matter: Good news! You don't have to. You can just leave the thread be and you don't even have to bother to post a complaint. Because, honestly, forums are for people to discuss what they'd like to discuss.

If you don't want to discuss it but still want to see it FAQ'd there is a button for that too.

If you want to discuss it, well... feel free! :)


Ok, I'll start.

In the last thread the assertion was made that Devs have stopped posting on the boards due to a response from SKR where he took words from another poster harshly and stated he wont be paying any attention to the boards anymore. If that wasn't just a knee-jerk reaction and he meant that he would never be returning and furthermore neither would the other Devs then it is a sad day for Paizo. Personally the one big thing that I felt set Paizo apart from the other RPG companies was it's level of involvement with it's public. It would severely tarnish my opinion of them if a single post from one of their loyal supporters was taken so far as to change their attitude towards supporting their customer base.

Still... is there any proof that this isn't actually the case? To be honest, I also have not seen any posts from the Devs.

Ok, on the topic at hand here: In the last thread I had seen a lot of recent talk about the simultaneaity of Scorching Ray barring it from generating multiple AoOs from each ranged touch attack. I am wondering why the rays being simultaneous has anything to do with the number of AoOs that are generated. I have seen people saying that because they are simultaneous that you do not get several AoOs, but (unless I have somehow missed it) I didn't see any reasoning as to why they believe this or any basis for this in the rules.


From the faq:
Ray: Do rays count as weapons for the purpose of spells and effects that affect weapons?
Yes. (See also this FAQ item for a similar question about rays and weapon feats.)

For example, a bard's inspire courage says it affects "weapon damage rolls," which is worded that way so don't try to add the bonus to a spell like fireball. However, rays are treated as weapons, whether they're from spells, a monster ability, a class ability, or some other source, so the inspire courage bonus applies to ray attack rolls and ray damage rolls.

The same rule applies to weapon-like spells such as flame blade, mage's sword, and spiritual weapon--effects that affect weapons work on these spells.

—Sean K Reynolds, 07/29/11

Faq.

Emphasis: weapon-like.

Question: why would you provoke?
Answer: attacking unarmed.

Question: Are you unarmed:
Answer: No, you are armed with a spell.

Attacks of Opportunity: Attacking unarmed provokes an attack of opportunity from the character you attack, provided she is armed. The attack of opportunity comes before your attack. An unarmed attack does not provoke attacks of opportunity from other foes, nor does it provoke an attack of opportunity from an unarmed foe.

http://paizo.com/pathfinderRPG/prd/combat.html

“Armed” Unarmed Attacks: Sometimes a character's or creature's unarmed attack counts as an armed attack. A monk, a character with the Improved Unarmed Strike feat, a spellcaster delivering a touch attack spell, and a creature with natural physical weapons all count as being armed (see natural attacks).

My guess: The dev's didn't feel the need to post because it's fairly obvious from the material and few people debated it. It's something that was carried over unchanged from 3.5. Additionally, it's been clearly and directly spelled out in the relevant sections. Though, if you were expecting it to be in spellcasting or magic rather than 'combat', I can understand how you would miss it. n.n


Also, it's not a matter of you 'not getting several AOO's' AOO's are triggered by something. A creature that does not act (for example, unconscious) cannot trigger an AOO. (Sorry, but I can't remember the location of this ATM).
(This makes the spell 'daze' make a bit more sense).
There's a bit about 'provoking attacks of opportunity' at the link. The rest can be inferred logically, but it was explicitly spelled out somewhere on these forums as a clarification (unless my memory is faulty) that an AOO is a reaction, a response to an action.

Color Spray would be TERRIFYING if unconscious creatures provoked AOO's.

If anyone finds the relevant post, please post it here. Thank you. n.n Good luck, and goodnight. :)


ArcTanGentleman:
Pardon the misunderstanding but you seem to be trying to draw a comparison between "Armed" Unarmed Attacks and Ranged Attacks. Ranged attacks do, in fact, draw an AoO regardless of whether they are produced by a spell or from a manufactured weapon. The quote that you posted has no bearing on what is being discussed here.

Regarding the Dev's intentions: While I agree that the reason that the Devs not posting could be because they believe that the ruling should be obvious. However, that draws no distinction about what the ruling actually is. Would there be 1 AoO from casting the spell, or 2: one from casting, the other from the ranged attack? Personally, I'd rather not make any judgement on what the Dev's opinion of this is without them actually posting it. To do otherwise would be making an assumption.

Liberty's Edge

Pathfinder Companion Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber

ArcTanGentleman:
To add to what Lune said, if you consider that firing a Scorching ray is like using a weapon, it should generate one AoO for each ray fired as:
- it work like a ranged weapon
- a ranged weapon generate an AoO for each attack made.

Liberty's Edge

Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber; Pathfinder Companion, Maps, Pawns Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber
Diego Rossi wrote:
- a ranged weapon generate an AoO for each attack made.

That is just as much a disputed interpretation as the 'ranged touch spells may trigger an AoO if cast non-defensively and then a second AoO for the ranged touch attack' concept.

Liberty's Edge

Pathfinder Companion Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber

LOL. Sure, sure.

I suppose then that your opinion is that if you are making multiple trip attempt without improved trip you provoke once, right? or multiple unarmed attacks? or multiple grappling attacks and so on?

Every attack is a single event. You can even make one attack and then decide if you are only making a single standard action (1 attack) and a full move or you want to make a full round action (a full attack). You can take a single 5' move between different attacks.

If your theory had any validity you would have to declare if you are making a single attack or a full attack before acting and declare all your targets before resolving any attacks. Instead you can react to the results of each of your attacks, changing target, moving or changing between different kinds of attacks 8sundering, grappling and so on).


Lune wrote:
In the last thread the assertion was made that Devs have stopped posting on the boards due to a response from SKR where he took words from another poster harshly and stated he wont be paying any attention to the boards anymore. If that wasn't just a knee-jerk reaction and he meant that he would never be returning and furthermore neither would the other Devs then it is a sad day for Paizo. Personally the one big thing that I felt set Paizo apart from the other RPG companies was it's level of involvement with it's public. It would severely tarnish my opinion of them if a single post from one of their loyal supporters was taken so far as to change their attitude towards supporting their customer base.

About the SKR vs the Forum:

Spoiler:
Sean made a Monk clarification on the FAQ (one that the public clamored for) and it was a very unpopular ruling. It was made with the support of the entire rules team including Jason B, although SKR's opinion does hold weight around here. In short, lots of people on the forum decided it was their right to be douchy and condescend to SKR about Paizo and their "official" reading of the rules. It was not a discussion anymore, people were flat out rude. Sean tried to offer support on the official stance multiple times, but people were not happy with the results. In short, he plainly said that he has more important things to do than chime in on the forums, if people were going to be so asenine in their arguments. (paraphrased of course).

Lesson learned: debate civilly, the devs do not have to answer any of our rules questions. They all have jobs to do and they certainly don't need to be spending their time trolling. Be thankful that they are willing to interact so much with the customer base and have civil debates on the forum. If you don't agree then state you don't agree, don't result to condescencion and personal insults. Guess what? The paizo devs have proven the rules are changable, nothing is set in stone and if they see a problem they'll fix it.

@ the thread's topic:

I agree with Lune and Diego, especially Diego. The point being here: is even if scorching ray's rays are fired simultaneously, the AoOs provoked from the Rays are "even more simultaneous" because AoOs take place before the provoking action. That means the attacker (assumed that they have Combat Reflexes) will have plenty of time to make all the provoked attacks of opportunity (from the ranged touches) before the spell finishes casting.

Diego Rossi wrote:

I suppose then that your opinion is that if you are making multiple trip attempt without improved trip you provoke once, right? or multiple unarmed attacks? or multiple grappling attacks and so on?

Every attack is a single event. You can even make one attack and then decide if you are only making a single standard action (1 attack) and a full move or you want to make a full round action (a full attack). You can take a single 5' move between different attacks.

If your theory had any validity you would have to declare if you are making a single attack or a full attack before acting and declare all your targets before resolving any attacks. Instead you can react to the results of each of your attacks, changing target, moving or changing between different kinds of attacks 8sundering, grappling and so on).

Diego, you'd be surprised with how many people there are in existence that do not accept this concept... I am not one of them, but I assure you some will appear to debate in this thread.

Liberty's Edge

Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber; Pathfinder Companion, Maps, Pawns Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber
Diego Rossi wrote:
If your theory had any validity you would have to declare if you are making a single attack or a full attack before acting and declare all your targets before resolving any attacks.

Ummm... why? I see no reason whatsoever that the rule on being able to decide between single attack and full round attack after the first attack is rolled would change. It works just fine as it is.

Moving through multiple squares threatened by enemy --> enemy gets 1 AoO
Applying a touch spell to 6 allies while threatened --> enemy gets 1 AoO

So far as I know, neither of these examples of multiple activities within a single action resulting in only one AoO is disputed. Ergo, this isn't some ridiculous concept to be dismissed out of hand as you imply.


The rules that touching multiple people as a full round action provokes. It does not say each touch provokes. The rules also state that each square left is not its own attack.

Those are specific rules, and the one that allows you to move through multiple squares is overriding a general rule that each opportunity provokes an attack of opportunity.

It is is not the action, but the action that provokes. If I charge toward a creature with reach, and try to punch him, while not having IUS he will get two attacks since both the movement and the attack are part of the charge which is a full round action. It is one action, but it can provoke twice because it consist of two acts.

Liberty's Edge

Pathfinder Companion Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber
CBDunkerson wrote:

Moving through multiple squares threatened by enemy --> enemy gets 1 AoO

Applying a touch spell to 6 allies while threatened --> enemy gets 1 AoO
PRD wrote:
Combat Reflexes and Additional Attacks of Opportunity: If you have the Combat Reflexes feat, you can add your Dexterity modifier to the number of attacks of opportunity you can make in a round. This feat does not let you make more than one attack for a given opportunity, but if the same opponent provokes two attacks of opportunity from you, you could make two separate attacks of opportunity (since each one represents a different opportunity). Moving out of more than one square threatened by the same opponent in the same round doesn't count as more than one opportunity for that opponent. All these attacks are at your full normal attack bonus.

Actually the Dev have felt the need to specify that moving outside of multiple squares provoke only once from an opponent, so they felt that without a specification it was debatable.

Applying a touch spell to 6 allies is weird, as applying a touch spell to a single ally don't provoke.

JJ opinion on it:

James Jacobs wrote:

Touching 6 friends is an exception to the general rule that delivering touch spells does NOT provoke (and is example #241 of how I would simplify the rules in a new edition—I'd remvoe the "touching 6 friends provokes an AoO" rule from the rules and let that work like any touch attack).


Well. The original discussion was definitely running in circles, since people didn't anything else but repeating arguments they (or others) had already posted. (Some people probably just didn't want to read the whole thread and posted their opinion without knowing they just added to the repetitions.)

However, for whatever it counts, I'm very open to discussing this again, as I still hope an actual final answer will be reached (or given by the Dev's).
Let's try to sum up everything we had established in the other thread on the first page of this one, so people only have to look up one page instead of 500 to notice what they want to say has already been added.
Please let's also try to do it without discussing why the Dev's don't want to chime in. As Lune implied correctly, none of us knows which side of the discussion the Dev's are on (as obious as that side might be to them).

Okay, so...

Moving out of a threatened square provokes.
Moving out of multiple threatened squares provokes multiple times, but only counts as one opportunity (for each enemy).
Which means you can provoke multiple times for one action.

Making a combat maneuver provokes.
Making multiple combat maneuvers in one full-attack action provokes multiple times.
Which means you can provoke multiple times for one action.

Ranged attacks provoke, wether you use a weapon or anything else.
Ranged touch attacks provoke.
Making multiple ranged attacks in one full-attack action provokes multiple times.
Rays are armed ranged touch attacks so they provoke.

Casting a spell provokes.

The example Wraithstrike gave is also a good one. (Unarmed charge w/o IUS vs opponent w/ reach -> two AoOs for one action.) It actually even shows that you can provoke twice for one standard action (because a charge can be made as a standard action if you're limited to taking only a single action).

Quote:
Ranged touch attacks provoke an attack of opportunity, even if the spell that causes the attacks was cast defensively.

Now, based on the things above the quote, my interpretation is the following:

If you non-defensively cast a ranged touch attack (single target) spell, you provoke twice; once for casting and once for the attack.
If you get hit by the first, you have to make a concentration check, as normal. If you get hit by the second, the actual casting is already finished, so you don't have to make a concentration check.

If you cast a spell which allows you to make multiple ranged touch attacks, I think it is really debatable if you get one attack per ray. While a literal application of what I established for my ruling in this post would lead me to say that you provoke once for casting and once per ray, I do feel that it could be an exception because it is explicitly called out to be simultaneously, thus should count as one opportunity (similar to moving out of multiple threatened squares).

Liberty's Edge

Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber; Pathfinder Companion, Maps, Pawns Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber
wraithstrike wrote:
Those are specific rules, and the one that allows you to move through multiple squares is overriding a general rule that each opportunity provokes an attack of opportunity.

The rule on multiple touches allowing an enemy only 1 AoO appears in the same table as the various other 'things which result in AoO'... which hasn't changed much since v3... where you could NEVER get more than one AoO on an enemy per round. Ergo, I don't put much weight into arguments that this table must indicate multiple AoO. It didn't originally, so it obviously doesn't have to now.

wraithstrike wrote:
It is one action, but it can provoke twice because it consist of two acts.

There are three 'AoO theories' that I have seen;

1: Each act provokes and each enemy can get an AoO for each provocation (i.e. one AoO for every unarmed strike in a full attack)

2: Each act provokes and each enemy can get an AoO for any ONE provocation per action (i.e. You can take an AoO before the first, second, or third unarmed strike in a Full attack action, but not an AoO before each of them / one AoO for a ranged touch spell attack cast non-defensively)

3: Each act provokes and each enemy can get an AoO for any ONE provocation of a DIFFERENT type (i.e. Unarmed Charge and Ranged touch spells allow 2 AoO because they involve different types of acts, Full attack unarmed and multiple rays only allow 1 AoO because each provocation is the same type)

Repeatedly stating that one of these is correct without clear examples of it being used that way in the rules are just opinion. There are clear examples (moving and 6 ally touches) that fit 2 & 3 in the rules, but NONE which fit interpretation 1. It is a reasonable interpretation, but there are no actual examples of it working that way.


I don't think anyone is going to convince anyone else who has made up their mind already, but I do think all the FAQ's will help us to get an official answer so I am satisfied with that. :)


CBDunkerson wrote:


There are three 'AoO theories' that I have seen

You forgot my "theory".

XD


Lune wrote:


Ok, on the topic at hand here: In the last thread I had seen a lot of recent talk about the simultaneaity of Scorching Ray barring it from generating multiple AoOs from each ranged touch attack. I am wondering why the rays being simultaneous has anything to do with the number of AoOs that are generated. I have seen people saying that because they are simultaneous that you do not get several AoOs, but (unless I have somehow missed it) I didn't see any reasoning as to why they believe this or any basis for this in the rules.

Let's go to the first two sentences of AOOs.

Quote:

Attacks of Opportunity

Sometimes a combatant in a melee lets her guard down or takes a reckless action. In this case, combatants near her can take advantage of her lapse in defense to attack her for free.

Provoking AOOs does not GRANT nor EMPOWER an enemy to attack.

An opportunity PROVIDES a way for the enemy to convert threatening a square into damaging the foe.

Since scorching rays are fired off all at once, there is no way to take more than one AOO from this. The caster lets her guard down ONCE in taking the 'reckless action' of firing the rays.

Why can't it be more? Because after that once, it's over.

Again it's not about some completely abstract system where attacks are generated by provocations, but rather attacks are allowed by opportunities. AOOs are not like the haste spell empowering one to make an additional attack, but rather are the result of threatening squares in which opponents lower their guard.

The distinction between provocation and opportunity is important as people confuse this along with what each mean. Movement for example can be comprised of multiple provocations and yet represents a single opportunity.

This represents a single lowering of one's guard rather than it occurring multiple times... even if it should consist of two separate turn actions.

The word 'action' in the rules seems more the generic than game term in the way its used here. This is the game that has as many uses for the word 'level' as it has had editions so it should not be too surprising or out of line. Yet the concept of separate and later have to be acknowledged as essential.

To the original question- I think that casting a ranged touch spell provokes multiple times, but represents a single opportunity. Part of the reticence to accept this is hold-overs from 3.5 where many played it to be two opportunities, while another part is confusion over what an Attack of Opportunity is.

-James

Liberty's Edge

Pathfinder Companion Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber
CBDunkerson wrote:
wraithstrike wrote:
Those are specific rules, and the one that allows you to move through multiple squares is overriding a general rule that each opportunity provokes an attack of opportunity.

The rule on multiple touches allowing an enemy only 1 AoO appears in the same table as the various other 'things which result in AoO'... which hasn't changed much since v3... where you could NEVER get more than one AoO on an enemy per round. Ergo, I don't put much weight into arguments that this table must indicate multiple AoO. It didn't originally, so it obviously doesn't have to now.

Can you cite the text where it say that it is a single AoO? The table text say that touching up to 6 targets provoke. Point. Nothing about once, twice or 6 times.

You are simply assuming something.

For someone that ask the other to provide clear examples you lack coherence.

To reiterate the question, if someone 4 iterative attack and none of the relevant feats is making, in sequence:
- a sundering attempt
- a trip attempt with a trip weapon, failing the attempt and dropping the weapon to avoid being tripped back
- 1 unarmed attack 8as he is now disarmed)
- 1 grappling attempt

how many AoO he would receive by his target (a guy with combat reflex and 18+ dexterity)?

1 because it is a full attack?
or 4?

If only one, how can the target chose when to use his AoO? If he successfully hit it apply a penalty to the CMB of the attacker, so the choice of when he should use his AoO is crucial.
But both the target and the attacker don't know if there will be other attacks and what kinds of attacks they will be.

Liberty's Edge

Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber; Pathfinder Companion, Maps, Pawns Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber
Diego Rossi wrote:

Can you cite the text where it say that it is a single AoO? The table text say that touching up to 6 targets provoke. Point. Nothing about once, twice or 6 times.

You are simply assuming something.

The column on the table is "Attack of Opportunity", not "Attacks". Further, by this argument you could claim that a single attack standard action does not result in one AoO, but two, six, or any other number you would like to make up. If that table is not identifying things which result in ONE "Attack of Opportunity" then it is nearly meaningless.

Quote:
how many AoO he would receive by his target (a guy with combat reflex and 18+ dexterity)?

See my previous comment on the different possible interpretations. It'd be four under interpretations 1 & 3, or one under interpretation 2.

Quote:

If only one, how can the target chose when to use his AoO? If he successfully hit it apply a penalty to the CMB of the attacker, so the choice of when he should use his AoO is crucial.

But both the target and the attacker don't know if there will be other attacks and what kinds of attacks they will be.

How does someone EVER know whether to make an AoO now or save it for later in the round? They don't. They make the best guess they can. If you don't have Combat Reflex and only get one AoO do you take it when the heavily armored guy you probably can't hit runs past you or hold it hoping his weakling assistant is going to follow him?

At that, the 'problem' you describe is exactly the same under the way you interpret the rules. Character A attempts to trip Character B. At that point Character B doesn't know if this is going to be a single standard action or the opening salvo in a full round action. If B doesn't have Combat Reflexes they only get one AoO and need to decide whether to use it now or bet that they'll resist the trip and save it for a subsequent opportunity... whether against this attacker or a different one.

Characters are unable to see the future. I don't really consider that a flaw in the game mechanics... and it has absolutely nothing to do with AoO rules.


Ranged Touch Spells in Combat: Some spells allow you to make a ranged touch attack as part of the casting of the spell. These attacks are made as part of the spell and do not require a separate action. Ranged touch attacks provoke an attack of opportunity, even if the spell that causes the attacks was cast defensively. Unless otherwise noted, ranged touch attacks cannot be held until a later turn.

http://paizo.com/pathfinderRPG/prd/combat.html#ranged-touch-spells-in-comba t-95

As for the spell that fires multiple, it's a single action to fire them all.
http://paizo.com/pathfinderRPG/prd/spells/scorchingRay.html
Duration:Instantaneous.
All rays are fired simultaneously.

Provoking an Attack of Opportunity: Two kinds of actions can provoke attacks of opportunity: moving out of a threatened square and performing certain actions within a threatened square

Performing a Distracting Act: Some actions, when performed in a threatened square, provoke attacks of opportunity as you divert your attention from the battle. Table: Actions in Combat notes many of the actions that provoke attacks of opportunity.

An attack of opportunity is a single melee attack

An attack of opportunity “interrupts” the normal flow of actions in the round.

Though... in the chart... this is very interesting.
Use a touch spell on up to six friends Yes


Oh, come on - another thread on exactly the same subject that was shut down by the moderators? Well, congratulations, you have afflicted me with forum fatigue. You win the debate by sheer brute-force-repetition.

Liberty's Edge

I predict this thread won't last over six pages (plus or minus 25 posts).


1 person marked this as a favorite.

LOL, I wonder if starting a new thread on exactly the same subject for exactly the same purpose as a thread the moderator shut down is some sort of ToS violation...

It's like the old Calvin and Hobbes cartoon:

"If you can't win the argument by reason, go for volume!"


My take on several of these:

Touch spell on friends:
1 friend = not terribly distracting, so doesn't provoke
2-6 friends = a distracting act, so it provokes

Ranged attacks:
Each attack provokes, so if you full attack with a bow and have three attacks, you provoke with each shot.

Consider an example: Bob has Dex 10, but he took Combat Reflexes so he could take the Stand Still feat. He moves up and attacks Dave the archer. On his turn, Dave begins by firing an arrow, provoking an AoO, but Bob decides to wait because he only has 1 AoO per round and wants to see if Dave tries to move away from him. Dave takes a second shot, and now that Bob knows that Dave won't be provoking due to movement, he decides to take his one AoO on the second shot.

If each shot didn't provoke, Bob would have to decide immediately upon the first shot whether he wanted to use an AoO for any of the attacks; if he passed on the opportunity, it doesn't make sense that he would forfeit any further strikes at Dave if he continues shooting. Therefore, I can only conclude that the most sensible case is that each individual ranged attack in a full attack provokes.

Scorching Ray:
My interpretation of the mention of "simultaneously" at the end of Scorching Ray is not to limit the number of AoO provokes, otherwise I believe it would specify that. Rather, it is there to indicate that you can't fire one ray and wait to see whether it kills the target before deciding where the next one goes. Rather, you have to decide where each ray is being targeted before rolling to attack and applying damage.

However, it clearly states that each ray requires a ranged touch attack. It is the act of making each separate ranged touch attack that provokes. So firing three rays provokes three times. My conclusion: don't cast Scorching Ray when you're threatened by an opponent, especially one that may have Combat Reflexes. ;)

If you need an explanation of why this happens, just imagine it this way: the caster has to designate each ray's target individually, which is a distracting act and provokes; then, once all three targets have been designated, they all fire simultaneously. Easy to visualize, and consistent with how the rules work.

Good gaming!


I am not sure how the "touch up to 6 friends" entered into the discussion. It is not really relevant as it is not ruled in the same way as a ranged attack nor is it a ranged touch attack nor is it a touch attack. Rather, it is a spell with a range of touch which has its own very special rules regarding how they are used on friendly targets.

JHFizban has brought up excellent points in the post directly above mine, I agree.

james maissen wrote:
Since scorching rays are fired off all at once, there is no way to take more than one AOO from this. The caster lets her guard down ONCE in taking the 'reckless action' of firing the rays.

James, I appreciate your willingness to continue debating the subject. Let us continue our sparring & wordplay. Engarde sir!

Each ray provokes, yes? That is to say, you can choose to use your AoO vs any of the ranged touches generated by the rays (assuming you had only 1). If there are 3 you can choose the 1st, 2nd, or 3rd ray to attack against, correct?. But you state that you can only choose one of those provocations as the opportunity to exploit even if you had more AoO attempts at your disposal. Unfortunately, There is no rule that states "choose a single attack of opportunity if confronted with multiple, simultaneous opportunities", so I can't buy your explanation per PF mechanics.

How do you reconcile the following part of the AoO + Combat reflexes rules text with your position? If the same opponent provokes two attacks of opportunity from you, you could make two separate attacks of opportunity (since each one represents a different opportunity). It clearly states that if more than one provocation occurs it represents a different and new opportunity to make an AoO. Does it not?

Furthermore, AoOs "go off" before the trigger they are provoked by so there is no temporal problem with having a character make multiple AoOs vs multiple scorching rays (which are ranged touches that are treated as ranged weapon attacks). In the game world, your character attacks before the rays go off. If you need a flavorful explaination you can say that aiming more rays requires even more time/concentration to line up the spell, allowing more attacks.

@mabven, ad, and hangar: if you, the "three musketeers", have lost the will to debate or add anything to the discussion - then please see your way out of the thread.

Liberty's Edge

Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber; Pathfinder Companion, Maps, Pawns Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber
JHFizban wrote:
If each shot didn't provoke, Bob would have to decide immediately upon the first shot whether he wanted to use an AoO for any of the attacks; if he passed on the opportunity, it doesn't make sense that he would forfeit any further strikes at Dave if he continues shooting. Therefore, I can only conclude that the most sensible case is that each individual ranged attack in a full attack provokes.

Actually the alternate interpretation is that each attack DOES provoke, but you can only attack on one of those provocations... not each of them.

So, if Dave started out shooting at that jerk Steve then Bob could choose to let the attacks go through... but then when Dave took aim on Bob's buddy Jeff for the third shot Bob could jump in and make an AoO.

This works just like movement. If Dave starts from 5' away from Bob diagonally to the right and moves directly in front of Bob he provokes... but Bob can choose not to attack and let Dave continue moving to 5' away on his left, where he is then also in melee range of two of Bob's friends and thus waiting until Dave tries to leave THAT square to use Bob's Stand Still feat would be a much better choice.

In the second case the rules specifically state that Bob can only make one AoO rather than one per square Dave leaves. In the first it is an interpretation, but follows the same logic. If Bob doesn't have time to attack on each provocation from Dave's movement why would he be able to do so on each provocation from Dave's attacks?


@CBD Glad you made it to the new thread

CBDunkerson wrote:
Actually the alternate interpretation is that each attack DOES provoke, but you can only attack on one of those provocations... not each of them.

But this makes no sense per the rules. The rules state each provocation is a new opportunity. You are creating a limiter that does not exist.

CBDunkerson wrote:
This works just like movement.

But movement has a very specific restriction written into the AoO rules, and without that restriction each square of movement would provoke.

CBDunkerson wrote:
In the second case the rules specifically state that Bob can only make one AoO rather than one per square Dave leaves. In the first it is an interpretation, but follows the same logic. If Bob doesn't have time to attack on each provocation from Dave's movement why would he be able to do so on each provocation from Dave's attacks?

Because the rules provide a restrction for only movement and nothing else? You can't extrapolate specific rules out to other topics... you're also disregarding this line: If the same opponent provokes two attacks of opportunity from you, you could make two separate attacks of opportunity (since each one represents a different opportunity).

Liberty's Edge

Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber; Pathfinder Companion, Maps, Pawns Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber
Stynkk wrote:
Because the rules provide a restrction for only movement and nothing else?

My benchmarks for rules are;

1: Rules should be balanced
2: Rules should be simple
3: Rules should be logically consistent

On the third item there, WHY is it (in your interpretation) a restriction for movement and nothing else? What is it about movement that causes it to ignore the supposed rule that you get one attack per provocation? If it is just, 'the way I read the text' with no logical explanation for why it works differently in some cases then I'd house rule it in a second even if it was clear.

BTW, the text does not say that movement is an exception. It could just as easily be an example of what the preceding sentence about provocations and opportunities is referring to.

Quote:
you're also disregarding this line: If the same opponent provokes two attacks of opportunity from you, you could make two separate attacks of opportunity (since each one represents a different opportunity).

No, I am interpreting it differently. Moving out of multiple squares threatened by the same opponent "doesn't count as more than one opportunity" despite each square moved out of provoking. Ergo, you do not always get an attack for each provocation. Provoking two attacks is thus in some case different from two provocations only one of which can be responded to with an attack. Determining where that dividing line is drawn (movement only, acts of different types, or different 'actions' as defined by the rules) is the point of contention.


CBDunkerson wrote:

On the third item there, WHY is it (in your interpretation) a restriction for movement and nothing else? What is it about movement that causes it to ignore the supposed rule that you get one attack per provocation? If it is just, 'the way I read the text' with no logical explanation for why it works differently in some cases then I'd house rule it in a second even if it was clear.

BTW, the text does not say that movement is an exception. It could just as easily be an example of what the preceding sentence about provocations and opportunities is referring to.

I'll try my best to explain my reading CB:

PRD - Combat - Attack of Opportunity wrote:
Combat Reflexes and Additional Attacks of Opportunity: If you have the Combat Reflexes feat, you can add your Dexterity modifier to the number of attacks of opportunity you can make in a round. This feat does not let you make more than one attack for a given opportunity, but if the same opponent provokes two attacks of opportunity from you, you could make two separate attacks of opportunity (since each one represents a different opportunity). Moving out of more than one square threatened by the same opponent in the same round doesn't count as more than one opportunity for that opponent. All these attacks are at your full normal attack bonus.

The reason I read the bolded as the exception and not the rule is because if it were the rule (that a single "act" can provoke only once) then there would be no reason to include this explanation of how Movement works in regards to AoOs. If the rules were meant to be read in the way you're interpreting them then the rules would be clear and the developers would not have to explain Movement at all. The fact that movement is called out specifically in the rules indicates (to me) that this is a special cirumstance to be set aside from the other rules on AoO provocation.

Furthermore, we know that a single act can provoke more than once (we can construct them from the rules and AoO tables - wraithstrike gives a good example of a charging character attempting an unarmed strike and the rules indicate this with Ranged Touches & Spellcasting). Also, the rules state that each provocation is a new and different opportunity (italicized portion) - except in the case of movement (which is detailed directly after). Why would they (the devs) write that if a single act could only provoke once? How could an opponent provoke more than one attack of opportunity from an act without the ability to actually provoke more than one attack of opportunity?

Wouldn't the language be different? Wouldn't it say: if the opponent makes provokes another attack of opportunity from a separate action later in the round, you may use another AoO attempt against that foe?


I'm sorry, I still don't understand why the rays from a Scorching Ray firing simultaneously has anything to do with how many provocations are made.


Stynkk wrote:
If there are 3 you can choose the 1st, 2nd, or 3rd ray to attack against, correct?

Sorry I don't have a lot of time right now, so I just wanted to quickly comment..

There is not '1st, 2nd, or 3rd ray' as there is no order to them.

-James

Sovereign Court

I'm going to agree with james maissen about Scorching Ray; IMO, it provides a single opportunity for an AoO because the provoker is only being "reckless" at one instance.


james maissen wrote:
Stynkk wrote:
If there are 3 you can choose the 1st, 2nd, or 3rd ray to attack against, correct?

Sorry I don't have a lot of time right now, so I just wanted to quickly comment..

There is not '1st, 2nd, or 3rd ray' as there is no order to them.

There is some way of differentiating them though, surely you would concede that. The point I'm getting at is any of the rays provokes - it doesn't matter which you pick, it is just your opinion that you may actually use one of those provoked AoOs because you see it as a single act.

Even though I've cited the rule multiple times that ranged touches provoke (Diego added as if it were a ranged weapon) and you're making multiple ranged touches thus provoking multiple times per the rules and cited the rule that a new provocation equals a new opportunity. Whether you want to provoke simultaneous AoOs or sequential AoOs the fact remains that there will be multiple AoOs provoked.

There is no rule that states "when faced with simultaneous provocations (opportunities) choose one to be your AoO because you cannot move that fast" or that "a character may not take simultaneous AoOs"

It is not necessary since AoOs occur before the act that triggered them so all your AoOs resolve before the scorching ray is cast (unless you only have a single AoO then that one is before the ray).

@Vendle: Is your "O" based on anything more concrete? We are delving deep into rules text here and it has already been established that a disracting act can describe parts of a greater action.


You have cited no rule which states "that a new provocation equals a new opportunity."


Stynkk wrote:


There is no rule that states ... that "a character may not take simultaneous AoOs"

There needs to be? Really?

I think that the problem is that the devs in each incarnation never felt that they needed to make a rule saying this..

No, your character can not attack with their one sword against multiple targets simultaneously. Sorry. You don't get to do this.

The parenthetical 'rule' you are running with is exactly that.. running with it. Again, sorry. It doesn't track.

There is a difference between provocation and opportunity. A provocation does not empower attacks, meanwhile an opportunity allows for one. Its a distinct difference.

-James


We are all agreed that a ranged touch provokes an AoO. We all agree that each ray of the multiple scorching ray is a ranged touch. We all agree that rays work "as ranged weapons" which provoke each time you use them. We mostly all agree that a single action can provoke in more than one way (James, Wraithstrike and others have created examples of this).

The rules don't work differently in some cases than they do in others without explicit text to indicate it. Scorching Ray holds no text that differentiates itself from the normal AoO process.

Mabven the OP healer wrote:
You have cited no rule which states "that a new provocation equals a new opportunity."

I hate to be a stickler, but I suppose you haven't read this:

PRD - Core - Combat - Attacks of Opportunity - Combat Reflexes and Additional Attacks of Opportunity wrote:
This feat does not let you make more than one attack for a given opportunity, but if the same opponent *provokes* two attacks of opportunity from you, you could make two separate attacks of opportunity (since each ONE represents a DIFFERENT opportunity).

One being a provocation... I don't see how the rules can state a new provocation is a new opportunity any clearer than that. If you agree that a ranged touch provokes per the rules, then each ranged touch has to provoke. The rules don't state "only the first provoking act you make in your succession of actions provokes", it is simply provoking or not.

@james

Mabven the OP healer wrote:
There is a difference between provocation and opportunity. A provocation does not empower attacks, meanwhile an opportunity allows for one. Its a distinct difference.

Your stance is fundamentally flawed, in my opinion, because the rules explicitly state the more times you provoke, the more opportunities you generate. They are tied together and not separate as you are advocating.


That says nothing about a provocation and an opportunity being the same thing.

Shadow Lodge

They are not the exact same thing, but the difference is irrelivant as everybody agrees (or should) that all the examples ARE using Combat Reflexes and DOES have enough Dex to make all the AoO's that are Provoked. So the difference does not matter.

The only difference I can think of is that an action (lower case, not Combat Action) can provoke, but the other guy may not actually be able to take it, (such as there is cover/concealment between the two, they do not have a threatening weapon available, or do not have Combat Reflexes, or enough Dex). None of these apply to the examples, though, so it's a non-issue.

Besides misreading that one "AN" rule, I honestly still do not see why this is still being argued over? I really don't. I'm not trying to be a douche, but it's been shown over and over that the rules do support multiple AoO's for multiple Ranged Attack spells and for Casting as a seperate action or together, and do not support everythng is just ONE single AoO, no matter what.

There is a possible exception for Scorching Ray, but that is a corner case, and the rules still suggest that even simultanious ranged attacks (that require seperate attack and damage (and other) rolls still apply all the normal rules, meaning each provokes "AN" seperate AoO, that "AN" character with Combat Reflexes and enough Dex can take for each and every one.


It seems a significant chunk of the discussion about Scorching Ray hinges on whether or not it is possible to make simultaneous attacks of opportunity. Some like the idea of limiting Scorching Ray's ranged touch attack portion to only provoking one AoO even if 2 or 3 rays are fired.

I feel that multiple ranged attacks can and should provoke multiple AoO, even if they are simultaneous. To me, it comes down to this: while it is true that only one attack can be made per opportunity, each ranged touch attack in Scorching Ray triggers an opportunity. It doesn't matter that they are simultaneous, each is a separate ranged touch attack.

Now, if Scorching Ray can circumvent the AoO rules by attacking simultaneously, why stop there? For those hung up on the simultaneous part, take this separate example: Suppose we have eight archers who decide to gang up on Bob the fighter. They don't want him to be able to run away, and they figure it will be harder for him to get away if he has to somehow move through their occupied squares, so on their turn they each use a Move action to move adjacent to him and then use a Ready action: "I will shoot Bob with an arrow when my leader yells 'Fire'..."

Once they're all in position, filling the 8 squares around Bob, their leader (who is watching from a safe distance) yells "Fire" and all eight archers attack simultaneously.

So now, what if Bob has Combat Reflexes and extremely high Dexterity sufficient to make 8 AoO per round? Can he only attack ONE of the archers, since they're firing simultaneously? Can his ONE sword possibly move that fast to hit them all?

I say... yes, he can definitely take an attack on each of the archers. It doesn't matter that they're all firing simultaneously, each one is provoking an attack of opportunity from Bob, and so he gets to make those attacks. It doesn't matter how I imagine it or visualize it, he qualifies for the attacks and so he gets them. I don't care if his sword is moving faster than physics should allow, I don't play the game to analyze physics.

In much the same way that 8 archers attacking simultaneously don't have an exception in the rules for limiting the number of AoO provoked, Scorching Ray has nothing explicit that limits the number of AoO provoked for its ranged attacks, either.

At this point, unless it can be explicitly shown that there is some exception for simultaneous attacks, I think I'm settled on how I'd handle Scorching Ray.


JHFizban wrote:
At this point, unless it can be explicitly shown that there is some exception for simultaneous attacks, I think I'm settled on how I'd handle Scorching Ray.

JHFizban, you bring some well presented points. I agree with this statement especially and it is the crux of my scorching ray "defense"? "offense"? I guess it depends.


JHFizban wrote:
Once they're all in position, filling the 8 squares around Bob, their leader (who is watching from a safe distance) yells "Fire" and all eight archers attack simultaneously.

Except they don't fire simultaneously, but rather fire sequentially.

Remove the idea of bows, and have them be monks or the like that gain a benefit from dropping a foe. Who would drop the target if the 8 attacks did? No.

Multiple readied actions are not simultaneous. Rather they occur in initiative order just like the remainder of the characters' turns will occur.

On the other hand all the rays of a scorching ray are fired at the same time. There is no order to them. If two are fired at one target and one would drop them the other does not get its attack roll modified by the target being prone and denied DEX.

Attacks of opportunity represent lowering one's guard. They are doing a reckless action that over extends. An opponent that is threatening is then able to take advantage of this. The attacks and parries that are not rolled for hits/misses during the turn (i.e. threatening squares) are modeled this way. When something 'provokes' it does not empower an attack (there was a 3.5 spell that did just that) but rather an opportunity allows for a roll to hit from those attacks/parries that otherwise never would connect (i.e. threatening squares).

The idea that launching multiple simultaneous attacks could represent sequentially lowering one's guard multiple times is laughable. Frankly it doesn't seem reasonable for the ranged attack portion of casting a spell to be a second opportunity whatsoever.

-James

Sovereign Court

As a DM, I find the logic here lacking. An attack of opportunity is allowed when an enemy is exposing himself to danger. Just like any other ranged attack, the caster of Scorching Ray does that once. The majority of ranged attack spells provoke an AoO (singular) before the attack is made. It isn't unbalanced for this spell to provoke singularly, either.

My argument is that the general rule in use here (ranged attacks provoke each time) is flawed in this instance.


Vendle wrote:

As a DM, I find the logic here lacking. An attack of opportunity is allowed when an enemy is exposing himself to danger. Just like any other ranged attack, the caster of Scorching Ray does that once. The majority of ranged attack spells provoke an AoO (singular) before the attack is made. It isn't unbalanced for this spell to provoke singularly, either.

My argument is that the general rule in use here (ranged attacks provoke each time) is flawed in this instance.

No, even if casting defensively, the caster of a high-level Scorching Ray exposes himself to danger 3 times. One for each ranged attack. Whether it makes sense to you or not, I can easily imagine the targeting of those rays to require enough concentration that it leaves all three openings that an experienced and talented warrior could take advantage of.

All I need is for someone to show me an explicit exception given to Scorching Ray, or any reference to limits put on AoOs due to anything being simultaneous.

If no such info can be provided, then limiting AoOs for Scorching Ray to just one is quite simply a house rule.


The potential for an opportunity hinges on what offers it.

If you are stuck on the idea that the moment of fire is the only opportunity, then it's easy to see why you object so vehemently.

If the opportunity is instead the entire process of targeting each ray (during the casting of the spell) then there should indeed be more than one (because you are continuously distracted for the duration).

(And yes, this means I was incorrect about getting off any rays, it's all or nothing because the AoOs happen prior to the release of energy - which I'm fine with)

Liberty's Edge

Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber; Pathfinder Companion, Maps, Pawns Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber
JHFizban wrote:
If no such info can be provided, then limiting AoOs for Scorching Ray to just one is quite simply a house rule.

LOL!

It's all house rules. The text in the book on more than one AoO against a single target in a round is ambiguous and in some cases self-contradictory. Every single interpretation of that text is therefor a house rule. There is text in the book which explicitly indicates that you get NO AoO on a ranged touch attack;

"Touch Attacks: Touching an opponent with a touch spell is considered to be an armed attack and therefore does not provoke attacks of opportunity. The act of casting a spell, however, does provoke an attack of opportunity. Touch attacks come in two types: melee touch attacks and ranged touch attacks."

If you are ignoring that text... it is a house rule. If you are saying that Scorching Ray allows one AoO per ray... it is a house rule. If you are saying that you can get more than two AoO on a given opponent in one round... it is a house rule. And so are all the interpretations going the other way.


Ranged touch attacks are STILL an "Attack(ranged)" from the AoO table...

There is no reason why they shouldn't provoke, you are still diverting your attention across the battlefield, distracting you from adjacent opponents.


JHFizban wrote:


No, even if casting defensively, the caster of a high-level Scorching Ray exposes himself to danger 3 times. One for each ranged attack. Whether it makes sense to you or not, I can easily imagine the targeting of those rays to require enough concentration that it leaves all three openings that an experienced and talented warrior could take advantage of.

The targeting however does not provoke, otherwise all ranged spells would provoke in addition to the casting. Rather it is making the ranged attack. The question is what opportunity encompasses it.

Moreover, if the provocation is so intimately tied to the casting of the spell.. guess what.. that's the one opportunity that we're discussing and there should only be one possible AOO whether or not the spell is cast defensively.

Lastly, if you realize what you're interpreting doesn't make sense its a sign that either the rules are bad or your interpretation is.

-James

Sovereign Court

Actually james, this is ambiguous in the RAW. The only reason Ray Spells allow an opportunity attack is because they are "aimed like a ranged weapon attack." Does that mean the targeting provokes? Targeting is pretty close to "aiming." I think it means yes, targeting with Ray Spells is just like all other ranged spells with the exception that they draw one AoO just like a (one) ranged attack roll would. This seems to be a legitimate interpretation.

JHFizban and others haven't provided an example ( I could be wrong here) of a single caster provoking multiple AoO's from one enemy with a single action ranged casting, so I guess we'll have to agree to disagree until this gets a FAQ.


"Devil's Advocate" wrote:

They are not the exact same thing, but the difference is irrelivant as everybody agrees (or should) that all the examples ARE using Combat Reflexes and DOES have enough Dex to make all the AoO's that are Provoked. So the difference does not matter.

The only difference I can think of is that an action (lower case, not Combat Action) can provoke, but the other guy may not actually be able to take it, (such as there is cover/concealment between the two, they do not have a threatening weapon available, or do not have Combat Reflexes, or enough Dex). None of these apply to the examples, though, so it's a non-issue.

Besides misreading that one "AN" rule, I honestly still do not see why this is still being argued over? I really don't. I'm not trying to be a douche, but it's been shown over and over that the rules do support multiple AoO's for multiple Ranged Attack spells and for Casting as a seperate action or together, and do not support everythng is just ONE single AoO, no matter what.

There is a possible exception for Scorching Ray, but that is a corner case, and the rules still suggest that even simultanious ranged attacks (that require seperate attack and damage (and other) rolls still apply all the normal rules, meaning each provokes "AN" seperate AoO, that "AN" character with Combat Reflexes and enough Dex can take for each and every one.

Seriously, what do you think has been proven? I have proven that there is a limit of one AoO per action, by quoting both rules and written comments from both Jason Bulmahn and James Jacobs, I have shown proof historically that not only was it limited to one AoO per action, it was even limited to one AoO per opponent per round. Yet you mis-quote single sentences out of context, and you think you have proven something. Absurd.


Vendle wrote:
Actually james, this is ambiguous in the RAW. The only reason Ray Spells allow an opportunity attack is because they are "aimed like a ranged weapon attack." Does that mean the targeting provokes? Targeting is pretty close to "aiming." I think it means yes, targeting with Ray Spells is just like all other ranged spells with the exception that they draw one AoO just like a (one) ranged attack roll would. This seems to be a legitimate interpretation.

Many spells are targeted yet the clearly don't provoke when either cast quickened or defensively.

There are implications to your interpretation. An invisible/hidden opponent takes an AOO when the wizard 'targets'.. For sake of argument the attack misses or fails to disrupt the spell. Now the wizard has the spell target the attacker instead... Does this further provoke?

To me it is moot as ALL of the provocations are clearly one opportunity. A caster cannot complete casting a ranged touch spell, move and then attempt to deliver it as a free action. Rather the delivery is part of the casting of the spell. This is different from the casting of a melee touch spell where the delivery is separate from the casting.

-James

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