Using a hex through a wall of force


Rules Questions


Will this work?

What if the subject is trapped inside a resilient sphere for minutes per level? Could you spam hexes until the subject fails their save?

I know that once you save, a new hex needs to be attempted (barring feats), but could you keep trying?

Walls of force block all spells, but say nothing about supernatural abilities. Gaze and breath weapon attacks also bypass... So it's hard to find a precedent.


Wall of force doesn't block line of sight (LoS) it would however block line of effect (LoE). Just like an archer could see (LoS) a target through a window but would be unable to hit said target with an arrow (window would be hit taking the damage and foiling the attack due to LoE in the rule set).

Gaze effects that are exempt from Wall of Force, don't rely on LoE, they rely on sight (LoS). I'm fairly sure your typical fire breath weapon is in fact blocked by a wall of force, so not sure where you got breath weapons bypassing the wall.

Unless an ability states it doesn't need LoE (like the gaze weapon being exempt from the wall of force) it would be blocked.


Not sure where I got the breath weapon thing either, I think my player told me that.

I was thinking about the line of effect aspect as well. Thanks for the thoughts.

Grand Lodge

Skylancer is right on the money.


Globetrotter wrote:

Will this work?

What if the subject is trapped inside a resilient sphere for minutes per level? Could you spam hexes until the subject fails their save?

I know that once you save, a new hex needs to be attempted (barring feats), but could you keep trying?

Walls of force block all spells, but say nothing about supernatural abilities. Gaze and breath weapon attacks also bypass... So it's hard to find a precedent.

Breath Weapons most certainly do not go through a Wall Of Force. Around, maybe, but even then it's kind of a case of the DM stretching the rules. Depends on how "fluid" the group feels a breath weapon is. Imagine a dam bursting and then what would happen when the flood encounters a simple rectangle in its path.

For what it's worth, the spell's description on the SRD explicitly states that breath weapons do not penetrate the Wall and that Gaze Attacks can.

Skylancer has the right of it. Force effects can (do) block Line Of Effect.

I feel like Wall of Force, the spell, used to be able to be shaped into a globe or dome to create a temporary "bubble" type shelter in D&D, but in Pathfinder the lower-level (level 4) spell Resilient Sphere can do this with what seems to be an identical effect. Telekinetic Sphere is a level 8 version.


Is there an official ruling on this?

Or has the conclusion that "a Wall of Force 'will' block a hex" been reached?


No official ruling necessary, unless the Hex specifies otherwise, it follows the normal rules for Line Of Effect, which is blocked by a Wall of Force.


Yeah, seems pretty straightforward. You need line of effect to have effects unless explicitly stated otherwise.

The Exchange Owner - D20 Hobbies

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Farfarello wrote:
Is there an official ruling on this?

Official has been ruled, it is written in the core rulebook ;-)


James Risner wrote:
Farfarello wrote:
Is there an official ruling on this?
Official has been ruled, it is written in the core rulebook ;-)

How could it have been written in the core rulebook if Witches and hexes hadn't been released yet.

As written, there is nothing that says that Wall of Force technically blocks Line of Effect.

Line of Effect is used in regards to spells, however many hexes are supernatural (Su) abilities and extraordinary (Ex) abilities.

A Wall of Force blocks spells, a hex isn't actually a spell.

I've been looking all over the place for answers to this as hex's seem overly powerful to me.


The reason it can be said that it blocks LoE is because the spell "...creates an invisible wall of pure force." A mundane stone wall without gaps in it will block line of effect; making it invisible and out of force doesn't really change that. WoF reinforces that by mentioning that spells can't pass through the wall in either direction.

Now as to it blocking LoE for Su - I've always assumed that Sus require LoE but I can't actually find a rule indicating that, nor can I find a designer quote along that line. The LoE rules are in the section related to spells in particular, and supernatural abilities are specifically called out to be magical but not spell-like.

That said, most breath weapons are Sus and WoF does specifically say it stops those.

The Exchange Owner - D20 Hobbies

Farfarello wrote:
How could it have been written in the core rulebook if Witches and hexes hadn't been released yet.

Because Witch Hex's don't have "Ignore Line of Effect rules" special.

Core wrote:
Total Cover: If you don’t have line of effect to your target ... he is considered to have total cover from you. You can’t make an attack against a target that has total cover.

You can't attack a target with a Hex if you don't have line of effect, period.

If you would like to say that putting them to sleep isn't an attack, then I've got a ring of invisibility to sell you for 30,000 gp. It lets you attack people all day long and remain invisible.


James Risner wrote:
Farfarello wrote:
How could it have been written in the core rulebook if Witches and hexes hadn't been released yet.
Because Witch Hex's don't have "Ignore Line of Effect rules" special.

Well, I can see his point\argument. By RAW, there are no "line of effect rules" for supernatural abilities. The only place that it mentions LoE is in the section regarding spells (and Sus are specifically described as not being spells or even spell-like). I went and did some searching, and can find no reference to LoE specifically in regards to supernatural or spell-like abilities.

But applying common sense it seems likely they intended to apply the LoE rules to all magical abilities - spells, Sps, and Sus.

The Exchange Owner - D20 Hobbies

Xaratherus wrote:
no reference to LoE specifically in regards to supernatural or spell-like abilities.

Sorry, please re-read my post.

I quoted a section from the cover rules that prohibits you from "attacks" against people you don't have line of effect.

If you can't attack, how can you use a Supernatural Ability?

I guess you could argue this doesn't block you from using a SU to buff someone on the other side of a wall. But common sense would tell you that you can't do that despite no rule preventing you.


James Risner wrote:
Xaratherus wrote:
no reference to LoE specifically in regards to supernatural or spell-like abilities.

Sorry, please re-read my post.

I quoted a section from the cover rules that prohibits you from "attacks" against people you don't have line of effect.

If you can't attack, how can you use a Supernatural Ability?

I guess you could argue this doesn't block you from using a SU to buff someone on the other side of a wall. But common sense would tell you that you can't do that despite no rule preventing you.

I agree that common sense says that LoE affects you.

But the section you quoted specifically is in regards to determining cover from a ranged attack. Again, not applicable to many supernatural abilities (and especially not applicable to most hexes, since they rely more on saving throws rather than attack rolls).

Again, I'm not disagreeing that LoE should apply to supernatural abilities; I'm indicating that nowhere in a section specifically regarding supernatural abilities does it mention it as required. It's mentioned for lots of other things - spells, ranged attacks, even melee attacks that act like ranged attacks - but not Sus.


This is why we have general rules that apply to all relevant situations. The de facto standard is that an ability requires Line of Effect. Only abilities that specify that they ignore Line of Effect limitations get around this; that could be a specific ability or a "family" of abilities like all Gaze attacks. Just as we have weapon categories to determine handiness, you don't have to ask for each new weapon that's released if this two-handed weapon requires two hands to wield; you can use the default rules in the absence of a specific situation that states otherwise.

Dark Archive

Lets look at a specific hex:

Quote:
Evil Eye (Su): The witch can cause doubt to creep into the mind of a foe within 30 feet that she can see. The target takes a –2 penalty on one of the following (witch's choice): AC, ability checks, attack rolls, saving throws, or skill checks. This hex lasts for a number of rounds equal to 3 + the witch's Intelligence modifier. A Will save reduces this to just 1 round. This is a mind-affecting effect. At 8th level the penalty increases to –4.

Am I aware of them?

Are they within 30' of me?
Can I see them?

If the answer to these questions are "yes", they can be effected by the hex.

This may be an exception, but is an example where it would work. Nothing here states that it needs line of effect.

The issue here is that Supernatural abilities are not really described as a whole (since they can be very different) and are expected to have the info per ability. For example, and Alchemists bombs would be stopped by the wall, since they specify a ranged touch attack (which does need to follow LoE but not LoS by default). But there is limited info in the hex descriptions on "targeting" them. And nothing in the rules anywhere to provide a "general rule" for targeting (Su) abilities. So, you must resort to the text listed in the ability description, which, for most hexes, just states "creature within 'x' feet of the witch".

Add into it stuff like "scar" which allows a witch to hex a target up to a mile away. This to me points that LoE is not as important with a witch.

I have no problems being proven wrong, I just need to see where in the book it states that (Su) abilities, unless other wise stated, follow the same targeting as (Sp) abilities, which is the same as targeting a spell (you must have LoE and be able to see or touch your target).


Xaratherus wrote:

But the section you quoted specifically is in regards to determining cover from a ranged attack. Again, not applicable to many supernatural abilities (and especially not applicable to most hexes, since they rely more on saving throws rather than attack rolls).

No it ain't just talking about ranged attacks. Here:

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

No line of effect, means no attacks possible, the hexes that are attack, thus can't be used through a Wall of Force.


Rikkan wrote:
Xaratherus wrote:

But the section you quoted specifically is in regards to determining cover from a ranged attack. Again, not applicable to many supernatural abilities (and especially not applicable to most hexes, since they rely more on saving throws rather than attack rolls).

No it ain't just talking about ranged attacks. Here:

PRD wrote:
Total Cover: If you don't have line of effect to your target (that is, you cannot draw any line from your square to your target's square without crossing a solid barrier), he is considered to have total cover from you. You can't make an attack against a target that has total cover.
No line of effect, means no attacks possible, the hexes that are attack, thus can't be used through a Wall of Force.

Look up just below the main heading (Cover) of the section to which you linked:

Combat:
Cover
To determine whether your target has cover from your ranged attack, choose a corner of your square. If any line from this corner to any corner of the target's square passes through a square or border that blocks line of effect or provides cover, or through a square occupied by a creature, the target has cover (+4 to AC).

When making a melee attack against an adjacent target, your target has cover if any line from any corner of your square to the target's square goes through a wall (including a low wall). When making a melee attack against a target that isn't adjacent to you (such as with a reach weapon), use the rules for determining cover from ranged attacks.

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

So you're right - it also covers melee attacks. It does not cover Sus. By common sense, it does, and I'm not arguing that at all. I'm simply pointing out that I can see why someone might think LoE doesn't apply to Sus - because the sections that discuss LoE are discussing ranged attacks, melee attacks, and spells.


Xaratherus playing devil's advocate wrote:
Well, I can see his point\argument. By RAW, there are no "line of effect rules" for supernatural abilities. The only place that it mentions LoE is in the section regarding spells (and Sus are specifically described as not being spells or even spell-like). I went and did some searching, and can find no reference to LoE specifically in regards to supernatural or spell-like abilities.

This statement about supernatural abilities

From 'magic section of PRD wrote:
Supernatural Abilities: These can't be disrupted in combat and generally don't provoke attacks of opportunity. They aren't subject to spell resistance, counterspells, or dispel magic, and don't function in antimagic areas.

Most people are interpreting this as the only exceptions that supernatural abilities have to the above lists for spells in the magic section.

The argument that is doesn't specify LoE specifically is moot because it also doesn't specifically say Supernatural Abilities can target creatures at all, they don't have their own entry. There is no 'affirmative' rules for Supernatural Abilities, there are governing rules for spells and a single sentence of exceptions

The Exchange Owner - D20 Hobbies

Xaratherus wrote:
To determine whether your target has cover from your ranged attack

That covers all ranged attacks (spells or otherwise.)

A Wind domain ability makes it clear you don't need LoE:

APG p54 wrote:
Wind Sight (Ex): ... this does not require line of effect

If the default was that you didn't they may not have put that in there.


Not all spells require attacks, and even ones that don't require LoE. If anything all that really shows is that a spell that does require a ranged attack should require LoE.

As to Wind Sight (an Oracle revelation actually, not a domain power), it's an Ex ability, not an Su or Sp. It also explains in the ability's fluff why LoE is necessary (it states you must have an uninterrupted path for air to flow between you and the target area).

(k, done playing Devil's Advocate at this point. I still think it could lead to confusion for new players)


Ah I think I understand now, what you don't know Xaratherus.
Rereading:

Xaratherus wrote:
But the section you quoted specifically is in regards to determining cover from a ranged attack. Again, not applicable to many supernatural abilities (and especially not applicable to most hexes, since they rely more on saving throws rather than attack rolls).

Anything that allows a saving throw is in fact an attack, and thus covered by the Line of Effect rules.

The Exchange Owner - D20 Hobbies

Rikkan wrote:
Anything that allows a saving throw is in fact an attack, and thus covered by the Line of Effect rules.

Actually anything the target wouldn't like to have should count as an attack.

I mentioned this before when he rejected that section, by mentioning I'd sell a Ring of Invisibility for profit (because if you use his rules on "attack" then you can make those Witch hexes all day long while invis.)

Silver Crusade

James Risner wrote:
Xaratherus wrote:
To determine whether your target has cover from your ranged attack

That covers all ranged attacks (spells or otherwise.)

A Wind domain ability makes it clear you don't need LoE:

APG p54 wrote:
Wind Sight (Ex): ... this does not require line of effect

If the default was that you didn't they may not have put that in there.

So you're arguing about how (Su)s work by quoting an (Ex). Makes perfect sense to me.


James Risner wrote:
Rikkan wrote:
Anything that allows a saving throw is in fact an attack, and thus covered by the Line of Effect rules.

Actually anything the target wouldn't like to have should count as an attack.

I mentioned this before when he rejected that section, by mentioning I'd sell a Ring of Invisibility for profit (because if you use his rules on "attack" then you can make those Witch hexes all day long while invis.)

The text to which (I think) Rikkan refers is this:

Magic - Special Spell Effects wrote:
Attacks: Some spell descriptions refer to attacking. All offensive combat actions, even those that don't damage opponents, are considered attacks. Attempts to channel energy count as attacks if it would harm any creatures in the area. All spells that opponents resist with saving throws, that deal damage, or that otherwise harm or hamper subjects are attacks. Spells that summon monsters or other allies are not attacks because the spells themselves don't harm anyone.

The section is, again, only talking about spells (from the perception of a newer player or GM not as familiar with the rules). From someone familiar with the rules, there'd be no confusion. The definition of 'attack' there is, to my knowledge, included not to imply that LoE somehow applies outside of spells, but so that spells without immediately damaging effects are known to break Invisibility and other spells that break upon 'attack'.

The fact that this thread exists (and that doing a quick Google search indicates that this isn't the only time the issue has been brought up) indicates that it could be more clear. The fact they are not is because those sections are artifacts from 3.5 - but if\when there's a chance they should probably have footnotes added to clarify that they also apply to Sus (assuming they are intended to apply to Sus - which I believe they would).

The Exchange Owner - D20 Hobbies

Bigdaddyjug wrote:
So you're arguing about how (Su)s work by quoting an (Ex). Makes perfect sense to me.

He said Su are not spells so I gave an example I remembered that also wasn't a spell.

Xaratherus wrote:
The fact that this thread exists indicates that it could be more clear ... artifacts from 3.5

In 3.5 it was made abundantly clear that things that were not spells used much of the spell effects rules also. LM's Nightsticks blocking each other (not stacking) was officially blocked using the "same spell multiple times" rules.

This problem won't ever be fixed until the core rulebook is 1000 pages, because some people need it spelled out with their name in the book. Those people need a line in the Witch that says "hey your Su require line of effect unless you have Scar hex." That doesn't make them dirty rotten munchkin kids, it just makes them overly pedantic.

Silver Crusade

I haven't formed an opinion on this yet, but the fact that one hex works without line of effect is a very strong indicator that all hexes might work without line of effect.


I said that Su aren't like spells, not looking for an example of something not-a-spell that requires LoE but because if they were, then there'd be no argument - LoE would be required.

As to the "1000 page rulebook", exaggerations aren't really helpful. A question that comes up numerous times is something that should be covered in the book, especially when a two-line note would fix it.

They could always take out some of that useless fluff that people keep saying you can always safely ignore, and it'd make lots of room, but that's a discussion for another thread... :P


Another reason this comes up is because Wall of Force specifically says certain spells can go through it, ie. dimension door, teleport. It doesn't stop Gaze which is a supernatural ability.

Hexes just need to be more clearly defined. RAW Cackle isn't stopped by silence, Evil Eye isn't stopped by Blindness. GM's can make house rules to these effects, but that shouldn't be necessary.


Xaratherus wrote:

The text to which (I think) Rikkan refers is this:

Magic - Special Spell Effects wrote:
Attacks: Some spell descriptions refer to attacking. All offensive combat actions, even those that don't damage opponents, are considered attacks. Attempts to channel energy count as attacks if it would harm any creatures in the area. All spells that opponents resist with saving throws, that deal damage, or that otherwise harm or hamper subjects are attacks. Spells that summon monsters or other allies are not attacks because the spells themselves don't harm anyone.
The section is, again, only talking about spells (from the perception of a newer player or GM not as familiar with the rules).

That actually wasn't what I was referring to, but it works too. You just bolded the wrong part, here:

All offensive combat actions, even those that don't damage opponents, are considered attacks.

That one ain't referring to just spells.


Xaratherus wrote:


Magic - Special Spell Effects wrote:
Attacks: Some spell descriptions refer to attacking. All offensive combat actions, even those that don't damage opponents, are considered attacks. Attempts to channel energy count as attacks if it would harm any creatures in the area. All spells that opponents resist with saving throws, that deal damage, or that otherwise harm or hamper subjects are attacks. Spells that summon monsters or other allies are not attacks because the spells themselves don't harm anyone.

The section is, again, only talking about spells (from the perception of a newer player or GM not as familiar with the rules). From someone familiar with the rules, there'd be no confusion. The definition of 'attack' there is, to my knowledge, included not to imply that LoE somehow applies outside of spells, but so that spells without immediately damaging effects are known to break Invisibility and other spells that break upon 'attack'.

The fact that this thread exists (and that doing a quick Google search indicates that this isn't the only time the issue has been brought up) indicates that it could be more clear. The fact they are not is because those sections are artifacts from 3.5 - but if\when there's a chance they should probably have footnotes added to clarify that they also apply to Sus (assuming they are intended to apply to Sus - which I believe they would).

Also note that it mentions Channel Energy (which is a supernatural ability).


Farfarello wrote:

Another reason this comes up is because Wall of Force specifically says certain spells can go through it, ie. dimension door, teleport. It doesn't stop Gaze which is a supernatural ability.

Hexes just need to be more clearly defined. RAW Cackle isn't stopped by silence, Evil Eye isn't stopped by Blindness. GM's can make house rules to these effects, but that shouldn't be necessary.

Actually, Cackle is stopped by silence. They FAQ'ed it awhile back.

EvilMinion wrote:
Also note that it mentions Channel Energy (which is a supernatural ability)

You get a cookie (sincerely)! That may be the only place where it is directly implied that all that applies to something other than spells. I shall be bookmarking that specific quote for if\when this comes up again.

The Exchange Owner - D20 Hobbies

Farfarello wrote:
certain spells can go through it, ie. dimension door, teleport.

That is because conjuration tele spells don't use Line of Effect (read the school)

Xaratherus wrote:
implied that all that applies to something other than spells.

The main problem is that they lump all those spells/magical effects/etc into the same section in the book about spell effects. They assume we understand that it applies to non-spells, and when we don't assume such they get sad when we FAQ things that would be answered if we understood.

Liberty's Edge

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion, Modules, Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Farfarello wrote:

Another reason this comes up is because Wall of Force specifically says certain spells can go through it, ie. dimension door, teleport. It doesn't stop Gaze which is a supernatural ability.

Hexes just need to be more clearly defined. RAW Cackle isn't stopped by silence, Evil Eye isn't stopped by Blindness. GM's can make house rules to these effects, but that shouldn't be necessary.

RAW cackle is stopped by silence.

FAQ wrote:

Witch, Cackle Hex: Does my character literally have to cackle madly when I use this hex, or is that just flavor text?

Your character actually has to cackle—probably in a strong voice, akin to the volume and clarity necessary for verbal spell components.

Edit 7/19/13:
If the witch is in a silence effect, she can't use the cackle hex.
If the target is in a silence effect, it is unaffected by the cackle.
This may require some clarifying text in the next printing of the Advanced Player's Guide.

—Pathfinder Design Team, 06/06/13

And as I am here, I want to clear this in the OP post, even if it is fairly old:

Globetrotter wrote:


I know that once you save, a new hex needs to be attempted (barring feats), but could you keep trying?

Most witch hexes say: "Whether or not the save is successful, a creature cannot be the target of this hex again for 1 day." Generally you can't "keep trying" until the target fail.

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