Commonly Overlooked Tactics


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2/5

Huh. I would've sworn that you needed the divine focus "in hand" to cast a spell. Must be taking too many pieces of RPG artwork too literally.

Pilfering Hand is high on my list of spells to get. My Toppling Magic Missile Sorcerer is very sad that Toppling requires the spell to be both [force] and DO DAMAGE or require a failed saving throw for the Toppling Metamagic Feat to work. Pilfering Hand does no damage and allows no save.

The idea of taking someone's weapon/divine focus away from them while ALSO leaving them prone...oh, it's a pity it doesn't work. :)

The Exchange

divine focus must be in-hand and prominently displayed for Channel Energy, but NOT for spell casting.

Metafocus is a good one, I assumed preferred spell has a worse pre-req but functions the same :D.

2/5

Other useful tactics:

Accelerated Drinker and Potions of Enlarge Person for two-handed martials.

Always have the potion in hand when going through dangerous places, like dinner parties, meetings with Venture Captains and the odd tomb you're loo..er, investigating.

Move action: Drink potion. Get big. If you're clever about which four squares you get big into, you may also set up attacks of opportunity.


Well, per RAW, nothing says you have to draw and hold the DF while casting, for that matter it doesn't say you have to do that for Material components either, you just 'prepare' them as a Free Action so they don't need to leave the Spell Pouch where nobody can see them (making the Arcana check to ID a spell based off of components useless if nobody removes components from the pouch, since they don't need to). /yeesh ...I personally feel the intent IS that you must clearly present the DF as part of casting spells that require a DF (and the same goes for Material components and normal Focuses), and there is no free action 'put away after casting' for DF/F so you would usually end up holding them in hand (unless you spend Move Action to put them away)... But yeah, RAW-wise...

5/5

Benrislove wrote:

divine focus must be in-hand and prominently displayed for Channel Energy, but NOT for spell casting.

Metafocus is a good one, I assumed preferred spell has a worse pre-req but functions the same :D.

I'm not sure it even has to be in-hand for channeling. Prominently displayed seems like it could include being on the front of the cleric's armor, on a birthmark on her forehead, or even on her shield, and it doesn't seem like you need a hand to "present", though I may have missed a clarification somewhere.

2/5

For what it's worth, once they clarified that changing the location of a mobile persistent spell used the Burning Sphere example, Floating Disk became my favorite spell to get at 3rd level - 3 hours per casting, can hold a 200 lb fighter and his gear.

Conveniently, at 3rd level, by WBL, you can usually afford a Lesser Rod of Reach Spell, so you can move your friend the fighter a good 130 feet away from you with this.

It's also handy for moving animal companions over difficult terrain.

Stairs are a b+*+!, however. :)


i don't think hand is required to 'present' either, but present would usually signify 'sunder target'.
there is also the birthmark holy symbol thing, i guess the 'presentation' bit of channel (if not casting) would require it to be in a fairly obvious location to 'present'...

2/5

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"You're telling me your holy symbol birthmark is on your scrotum?"

"Aye. Seems t'be the only place Cayden puts it on males whom 'e blesses."

"That explains all the kilts then..."

"An' the ritual o' shavin, but keepin' a beard."

"TMI."

"Did ye know we got a 1 round per level "Awe" ability?"

"...I'm leaving. LEAVING."


...sounds PFS-legal to me...

5/5 ⦵⦵⦵

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-Hold action to disrupt a spell.

Look at what you have to go through to counterspell an anemone caster. Look at all the steps that can go wrong: you may not know what they're casting, you may not have the right spell, and then if you have to throw dispel magic you'll have at best a 50 50 shot of it working.

Now consider the concentration check they have to make by getting hit with magic missile, a first level spell. It scales MUCH faster than the foes concentration check. Instead of counterspelling, just wait till they cast and MM them in the face.

5/5

AdAstraGames wrote:

For what it's worth, once they clarified that changing the location of a mobile persistent spell used the Burning Sphere example, Floating Disk became my favorite spell to get at 3rd level - 3 hours per casting, can hold a 200 lb fighter and his gear.

Conveniently, at 3rd level, by WBL, you can usually afford a Lesser Rod of Reach Spell, so you can move your friend the fighter a good 130 feet away from you with this.

It's also handy for moving animal companions over difficult terrain.

Stairs are a b~&$%, however. :)

It's a better movement spell than I had realized, for sure, but remember that even if you do increase the max range it can go, it will only move your normal base move speed per round at most (in most cases 30 feet), so it's not like it's telekinetic charging them the distance.

Dark Archive

AdAstraGames wrote:

Accelerated Drinker and Potions of Enlarge Person for two-handed martials.

...
Move action: Drink potion. Get big.

I hadn't appreciated that potions get around long casting times. That's really useful.

The Exchange RPG Superstar 2010 Top 16

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It's why a potion of lesser restoration is so much superior to attempting to cast the spell in battle.

Grand Lodge 4/5 Venture-Agent, Nevada—Las Vegas aka kinevon

Accelerated Drinker is about the only way to make a potion of Remove Sickness viable...

Dark Archive 4/5 Venture-Agent, Colorado—Colorado Springs aka Dust Raven

Best advice I can offer: Don't be afraid of attacks of opportunity. Go ahead and provoke them. If you need to grapple/disarm/sunder/shoot something, just do it. The only time AoOs are a real problem is when you are casting a spell. As long as you aren't dropped from being hit, you can continue with your grapple/disarm/sunder/ranged attack with absolutely no penalties. Also, provoking is not the same as taking a hit, it's only a chance of being hit. Don't be afraid of it.

5/5 Venture-Agent, California—San Francisco Bay Area North & East aka Pirate Rob

Dust Raven wrote:
Best advice I can offer: Don't be afraid of attacks of opportunity. Go ahead and provoke them. If you need to grapple/disarm/sunder/shoot something, just do it. The only time AoOs are a real problem is when you are casting a spell. As long as you aren't dropped from being hit, you can continue with your grapple/disarm/sunder/ranged attack with absolutely no penalties. Also, provoking is not the same as taking a hit, it's only a chance of being hit. Don't be afraid of it.

Incorrect. You take a penalty on the combat maneuver equal to the damage you take from the AoO.

Dark Archive 4/5 Venture-Agent, Colorado—Colorado Springs aka Dust Raven

Pirate Rob wrote:
Dust Raven wrote:
Best advice I can offer: Don't be afraid of attacks of opportunity. Go ahead and provoke them. If you need to grapple/disarm/sunder/shoot something, just do it. The only time AoOs are a real problem is when you are casting a spell. As long as you aren't dropped from being hit, you can continue with your grapple/disarm/sunder/ranged attack with absolutely no penalties. Also, provoking is not the same as taking a hit, it's only a chance of being hit. Don't be afraid of it.
Incorrect. You take a penalty on the combat maneuver equal to the damage you take from the AoO.

Well darn. I reread the rules and learned something new...

Seems to be no penalty on unarmed attacks or ranged attacks though. Unless there is and that rule is hidden really well.

In any case, my advice still stands. Don't be afraid of AoOs. If the bad guy is going to kill everyone because of that unholy symbol or nasty spell, do something about it.


no, only CMBs are penalized by damage taken from an AoO they provoke. (from not having Improved Maneuver Feat)
...I have asked, but not received an answer, on the subject of if ANY AoO, e.g. Come and Get Me, should apply DMG to DC for CMBs, or Brutal Pugilist Barbarians' ability to take AoOs vs. Grapples whether or not the opponent has Imp Grapple/Grab)


Some really nice ones, esp. the uses of unseen servants. Dotting for reference.

2/5

I've done horrible things to PCs as a GM by having a character with a light mace and empty hand stand next to a PC archer who felt "Well, I can just suck up the damage from an AoO."

Said PC was not aware that you can do Disarms as an AoO. Said PC had no way to threaten. Said PC lost their bow - NPC took a Run action since they were in Light armor and the PC was in Medium.

Bull rush creatures into pits.

Can't hit someone's ludicrously high AC? Sunder their armor. Or sunder their shield. (I really dislike that sundering armor works from a verisimilitude perspective.)

Even if it's adamantine armor plate is generally 1/16th to 1/8th of an inch thick...

5/5

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Order a bunch of Pathfinder field agents to go take care of this problem for you. Wait, I guess that happens all the time doesn't it.

Dark Archive

Chris Mortika wrote:
It's why a potion of lesser restoration is so much superior to attempting to cast the spell in battle.

Is there a complete list of these battle useful potions? I had a look at the spells spreadsheet and there only seemed to be a handful where reduced casting time was potentially useful:

Enlarge (or Reduce?) Person
Lesser Restoration
Lesser Restore Eidolon
Restore Eidolon
Infernal Healing

Any more?

That of course excludes the Accelerated Drinker benefits which makes in-hand potions effectively a one-off quickened spell per combat.

4/5

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Pathfinder Starfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
Chris Mortika wrote:

At Rockcon, one of my players was running a wizard, and there were NPC archers holding actions, waiting for im to start casting so they could disrupt his spell. His move action was "Gesture and chant, like I'm casting a spell." Attacks, hits, damage. Then his standard action was "Cast the spell."

I mentioned this to a couple other GMs at the convention. We'd run over 500 tables among us, and we'd never seen anybody do that.

There's a local player with a Magus that will use a draw a pebble from a pouch prior to casting in melee for the same reason.

Silver Crusade 2/5

Great stuff guys! Dotting for reference and to forward to my gaming group.

4/5

Pathfinder Companion Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber

A potion of infernal healing isn't all that useful in battle since you just gain fast healing for 10 rounds (ie heal 1 hp a round - I'd usually rather heal less than 10 in one round if facing enemies as every extra HP usually matters at time like those and a few more rounds of dealing damage (or whatever that char does) will likely end the fight in less than 10 rounds.

The Exchange RPG Superstar 2010 Top 16

Rycaut, don't think of it as "healing". think of it as "automatic stabilization and immunity to all bleed effects." The chance to go from -1 to 1 in two rounds of combat, without bothering a divine healer, is just a bonus.

The other life-saving gimmick I don't see to often is oil of bear's endurance. Applied to a dying ally, it gives 2 hit points per level, gives a +4 to the stabilization roll, and extends the point of death by 4 rounds.

Happily, both of these work on your Dhampyr ally.

Sczarni 4/5

@Chris
It would have to be Potion of Bear's Endurance since Bear's Endurance doesn't target objects. The effect is same however.

Bear's Endurance (unless you already have Con enchantments) is really awesome at higher levels. It's better then Cure X Wounds potions.

The Exchange RPG Superstar 2010 Top 16

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Malag wrote:

@Chris

It would have to be Potion of Bear's Endurance since Bear's Endurance doesn't target objects. The effect is same however.

You can use an oil on yourself or an unconscious ally, Malag, same as a potion.

Sczarni 4/5

Aaah... Sometimes I miss the most simple things.


2 people marked this as a favorite.
Malag wrote:
Aaah... Sometimes I miss the most simple things.

My chelish bloatmage carries oils of cure light wounds instead of potions. For RP purposes ;)

Dark Archive

Malag wrote:
Bear's Endurance (unless you already have Con enchantments) is really awesome at higher levels. It's better then Cure X Wounds potions.

If there is only one CLW caster in the party my wizard memorizes Bears Endurance as a back up.

Silver Crusade 2/5

Dotting for future reference.

RPG Superstar 2012 Top 16

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Serisan wrote:
Chris Mortika wrote:

At Rockcon, one of my players was running a wizard, and there were NPC archers holding actions, waiting for im to start casting so they could disrupt his spell. His move action was "Gesture and chant, like I'm casting a spell." Attacks, hits, damage. Then his standard action was "Cast the spell."

I mentioned this to a couple other GMs at the convention. We'd run over 500 tables among us, and we'd never seen anybody do that.

There's a local player with a Magus that will use a draw a pebble from a pouch prior to casting in melee for the same reason.

Note that this is a Bluff check against Sense Motive (as a feint), or an automatic failure if they've one rank in Spellcraft.

I believe there's a feat which allows you to use Bluff against Spellcraft to fool opponents or disguise spellcasting (Concealed Casting?)

But as written, that tactic simply doesn't work. It's a DC 10 check to see he's not casting a spell, meaning everyone can see he's just waving his hands around, and they're waiting for the real casting to occur. Is it such a stretch to realize that people who target spellcasters actually know what a spell being cast looks like?
=============
the tricks with unseen servant are using the 'action economy'. This is something that is dominated by spellcasters and can rapidly bog down the game. You can do the same kind of things with undead minions, eidolons, familiars, animal companions, summoned monsters, planar allies, trained animals, and NPC hirelings. When you start managing all those actions, things get slowed down fast.

It takes a move action to direct something that isn't intelligent...maybe. Anything trained or intelligent is basically free to direct. Huzzah the personal army.

it's also why Summoners/Conjurors/Necromancers can rapidly seem to dominate any game that they are in.

==Aelryinth

The Exchange RPG Superstar 2010 Top 16

Chris Mortika wrote:

At Rockcon, one of my players was running a wizard, and there were NPC archers holding actions, waiting for im to start casting so they could disrupt his spell. His move action was "Gesture and chant, like I'm casting a spell." Attacks, hits, damage. Then his standard action was "Cast the spell."

I mentioned this to a couple other GMs at the convention. We'd run over 500 tables among us, and we'd never seen anybody do that.

Aelryinth wrote:

Note that this is a Bluff check against Sense Motive (as a feint), or an automatic failure if they've one rank in Spellcraft.

I believe there's a feat which allows you to use Bluff against Spellcraft to fool opponents or disguise spellcasting (Concealed Casting?)

But as written, that tactic simply doesn't work. It's a DC 10 check to see he's not casting a spell, meaning everyone can see he's just waving his hands around, and they're waiting for the real casting to occur. Is it such a stretch to realize that people who target spellcasters actually know what a spell being cast looks like?

Aelryinth,

Is that your ruling, or are you finding that somewhere in the CRB?

The Wizard in question was in dim light at about 80 feet from the archers, who didn't have Spellcraft. Where are you getting the DC 10?

I ruled it a Bluff check (which the wizard can make untrained) versus Spellcraft check (which the archers cannot make untrained). If there are rules saying otherwise, I would like to know, so as not to repeat the mistake.

RPG Superstar 2012 Top 16

Spellcraft would be used to 'identify the spell' being cast. They don't care what spell he's using, only if he's actually casting, or 'making pretend'.

If he's using Bluff, its the archer's choice to recognize that he's bluffing with Sense Motive (which is untrained + BAB for them, as it's basically a feint) or it's a Perception vs Bluff/Sleight of Hand check, to detect the fact that 'he's not spellcasting yet'.

It doesn't take a Spellcraft check to recognize someone is casting, it takes Spellcraft to recognize the spell. Identifying someone casting is basically a DC 10 Perception, and might even be easier.

==Aelryinth

5/5 ⦵⦵⦵

Its a regular old bluff, not a feint. The archer isn't being denied their dex bonus.

Liberty's Edge RPG Superstar 2015 Top 16, RPG Superstar 2013 Top 16

CRobledo wrote:
Malag wrote:
Aaah... Sometimes I miss the most simple things.
My chelish bloatmage carries oils of cure light wounds instead of potions. For RP purposes ;)

It puts the lotion on its skin.


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AdAstraGames wrote:

Other tactics:

Every character that can benefit from having a buff spell cast on them should own the Cracked Purple Ioun Stone. The pricing on this item is probably a misprint; using the formula for the uncracked version, it should cost (Spell Level Storable^2) * 4000 GP, and is half that.

Having each of the martial characters self-buff with Lead Blades or Bless Weapon in the first round while the Arcanist casts Haste tends to end encounters fast. It lets the Two Handed Weapon Smasher get a Shield spell up.

If you're next to an archer, disarm them.
If you're next to a caster, disarm their spell component pouch.
If you're next to a cleric or inquisitor, disarm their holy symbol.

The spell Pilfering Grasp allows your casters to do this at range.

You can't disarm an attached object like a spell component pouch or a holy symbol. To get those items, you're looking at a steal combat maneuver.

While you might be able to argue that you can disarm the actual spell component, I wouldn't count on it.

5/5 Venture-Agent, California—San Francisco Bay Area North & East aka Pirate Rob

BigNorseWolf wrote:
Its a regular old bluff, not a feint. The archer isn't being denied their dex bonus.

A "regular old bluff" takes at least 1 round per the rule.

Pretending to cast a spell as a move action to eat readied actions for spell casting is not covered by the rules. So there's definitely no consensus on how it does work, and I sincerely doubt there's consensus on how it should work.

I would use the bluff skill since you are trying to convince the opponent of something that wasn't true. I would also just use the feint mechanics as they are already supportd by the rules. This does mean it would require a standard action and not be a very good option without improved faint.

If you had players who were normally boring and just made attacks with no flavor every round I could see rewarding them by thinking outside the box by letting it use a move action the first time somebody thought of it, but it's the kind of thing that can bog the game down unnecessarily if it happens all the time.

/threadjack


Pirate Rob wrote:
Dust Raven wrote:
Best advice I can offer: Don't be afraid of attacks of opportunity. Go ahead and provoke them. If you need to grapple/disarm/sunder/shoot something, just do it. The only time AoOs are a real problem is when you are casting a spell. As long as you aren't dropped from being hit, you can continue with your grapple/disarm/sunder/ranged attack with absolutely no penalties. Also, provoking is not the same as taking a hit, it's only a chance of being hit. Don't be afraid of it.
Incorrect. You take a penalty on the combat maneuver equal to the damage you take from the AoO.

And sometimes you have smart NPCs who will trip or sunder for their AoO or you have a monster with grab/constrict wo will gladly chomp into you with a free attack.


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The best "overlooked" tactics I see at my table?

  • Not charging up to something in the first round. Often it's better to ready to attack then to move up and attack. Then you can choose how to respond, such as making a trip attack.
  • Backing out of a room and closing the door.
  • Delaying until after the Buffer or Controller go in the initiative order.

5/5 ⦵⦵⦵

Brace is entirely overlooked, given how many things like to charge you. If you do it with a reach weapon you get a double damage attack followed by a regular attack.(double from the readied, regular from your attack of opportunity)

Multiple holy symbols, in case of a sunder happy DM. Druids can carry an entire forest of mistletoe for free.

Bag of every mundane item: Buy an el cheapo bag of holding, and put in any piece of mundane equipment you can think of a possible use for. Drill and an adamantium wire saw will get you almost anywhere.

Adamantite mining pick. Screw the trapped door I'm playing dig dug.

A pack dog or pack pony for those who didn't invest in a strength score.

4/5

Kyle Baird wrote:

The best "overlooked" tactics I see at my table?

  • Not charging up to something in the first round. Often it's better to ready to attack then to move up and attack. Then you can choose how to respond, such as making a trip attack.
  • Backing out of a room and closing the door.
  • Delaying until after the Buffer or Controller go in the initiative order.

This +1,000.

5/5 Venture-Lieutenant, Georgia—Atlanta aka Yiroep

Kyle Baird wrote:

The best "overlooked" tactics I see at my table?

  • Not charging up to something in the first round. Often it's better to ready to attack then to move up and attack. Then you can choose how to respond, such as making a trip attack.
  • Backing out of a room and closing the door.
  • Delaying until after the Buffer or Controller go in the initiative order.

1. Lots of people die charging the first round. Go up, get full attacked, die. See it aaaallllllll the time.

2. I don't know who you GM for, but this is one of the most used tactics I've seen when I GM tables, even with new players. :p
3. Yes, and it gets on my nerves. My fighter/barbarian delays constantly to get haste or see what the wizard is gonna pull out of his hat. And I get agitated with my bard when he says "The first thing I do every combat is haste and inspire courage," gets a bad initiative roll, and oh well, guess I'm the only one getting haste. He's an archer, too, so it's not like he has a bad init.

5/5 ⦵⦵⦵

The detect magic spam.

Really, someone in the party should have it up and running at all times. I always forget though.

5/5 RPG Superstar 2008 Top 16 aka Sir_Wulf

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If you know your team faces a tough fight, prepare a path for retreat before you engage the enemy. Caltrops, lamp oil spread on the floor (or stairs!), bear traps, shallow holes filled with pungi stakes, and defensive spells can all make pursuers consider a different line of work. Canvas tarps or other innocuous objects spread on the floor can leave them wondering what you covered there.

If a smart enemy knew you were coming, and had time to buff/summon/set traps/call his minions, retreat. Don't fight him in the place of his choosing. Instead, go eat lunch. Enjoy a few relaxing tunes from the party bard. Come back over an hour later, when most of his buffs will have expired and his minions are tired of standing around waiting.

Then send a silent image into the room first, letting it suck up the first attack (or first few attacks, if your foes aren't too bright...).

If the enemy feels impatient, he may come after you instead. Draw him into your trap-seeded line of retreat and watch him suffer...

Grand Lodge

Pirate Rob wrote:
BigNorseWolf wrote:
Its a regular old bluff, not a feint. The archer isn't being denied their dex bonus.

A "regular old bluff" takes at least 1 round per the rule.

Pretending to cast a spell as a move action to eat readied actions for spell casting is not covered by the rules. So there's definitely no consensus on how it does work, and I sincerely doubt there's consensus on how it should work.

I would use the bluff skill since you are trying to convince the opponent of something that wasn't true. I would also just use the feint mechanics as they are already supportd by the rules. This does mean it would require a standard action and not be a very good option without improved faint.

If you had players who were normally boring and just made attacks with no flavor every round I could see rewarding them by thinking outside the box by letting it use a move action the first time somebody thought of it, but it's the kind of thing that can bog the game down unnecessarily if it happens all the time.

/threadjack

I disagree. Spellcraft is a trained only skill, and those who do not have it cannot hope to tell what spell, if any, is actually being cast. If the PC did it against an NPC w/o Spellcraft, I'd give it to them automatically the first time. Trying it again against the same enemy would be Bluff vs Sense Motive. Trying it, each and every time, against someone who has Spellcraft would be Spellcraft v Bluff, though I suppose they could roll Sense Motive as well after the first attempt, if they wanted to do that instead of Spellcraft.

Of course, I do agree that since this doesnt appear to be covered anywhere that it's likely to be a 'expect table variation' kind of thing.

The Exchange 5/5

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Tactic often over looked: If the monster has more than two attacks, and you only have one? Attack and MOVE AWAY. It gets an AOO and an attack when it closes - rather than 3 attacks (esp. useful when fighting ghouls).
.

Comment on earlier bit about Bluff vs. shoot the spell caster:

What's the Perception check to SEE the caster is casting? at 80 feet in dim light... if he needs to make the bluff, what's the chance that the archer even SEES the bluff.

PC: "I ready to shoot the first caster throwing a spell, ah... the first enemy caster!"

In a darkened room, with sounds of combat all around, how do you tell the casters? Is he loading a sling while screaming a goblin war-cry? or casting magic stone? Is he pulling a spell component, or an arrow? This almost sounds like someone saying:

PC: "I ready to shoot the first guy in the room yelling something in Portuguese!"

when he doesn't speak Portuguese...

(My wife speaks Portuguese, but I don't) -

BANG! "wait - was he just yelling in Spainish?"

RPG Superstar 2008 Top 32

Natertot wrote:
Fromper wrote:
Natertot wrote:


Three things.

Focus fire, focus fire, focus fire.

Is that a specific game term that I'm not aware of, or are you just pointing out that it's better for the entire group to focus on one enemy at a time when fighting a group, rather than spreading the damage across all the enemies?

Just pointing out that it is good to focus damage on one enemy at a time as opposed to just spreading it out. If you have the choice of hitting a wounded enemy as opposed to fresh, you should go after the wounded.

Nate
NYC Player/GM

I think this is even more true in 4E (gods rest its soul) than in Pathfinder. In Pathfinder, there are still enough long-term status effects that an enemy can be taken out of a fight temporarily, but longer than 1-2 rounds, and efforts directed against other enemies.

I guess I'm mostly thinking about spells like create pit. I'd rather attack a fresh enemy than an injured one that my enemy just put in a pit.

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