Powerful Justice clarification


Rules Questions


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So I was debating with my GM about the applicability of the powerful justice ability (Oath of Vengeance paladin.)

Powerful Justice:
“At 11th level, an oathbound paladin may spends one use of her smite evil ability to grant her allies within 10 feet the ability to smite evil, except they only gain the paladin’s bonus to damage, not her smite’s attack bonusor ability to bypass DR.
This ability replaces aura of justice.”

Aura of Justice:
“At 11th level, a paladin can expend two uses of her smite evil ability to grant the ability to smite evil to all allies within 10 feet, using her bonuses. Allies must use this smite evil ability by the start of the paladin's next turn and the bonuses last for 1 minute. Using this ability is a free action. Evil creatures gain no benefit from this ability.”

My GM states this works just like Aura of Justice in that players “must use this smite evil ability by the start of the paladin's next turn and the bonuses last for 1 minute.”

Is this just assumed that the same rules from aura of justice apply to powerful justice? I know that the AC bonus was debated, but I haven't seen a clarification to this part.


I would say the wording says no, you don't have to use it by the end of the next turn. In fact, it would seem that by expending your smite evil, you give all your friends (in 10 ft) 1 smite evil for the day, but the only gain your damage bonus, nothing else, and that it would last until the creature is dead. Aura of Justice you must use it by the end of the next turn, but it would seem you get all the Paladins bonuses, damage, AC (maybe), attack bonus, DR bypass.

At least, that's how I'm reading it from what you typed. It would seem to me that if you had to use Powerful Justice by the next turn and that it only last 1 turn it would be much less powerful than Aura of Justice.


Yeah, I'd not read too far into it. You either give one use to a team mate to use, or you throw away two uses for everyone. The idea being that the Aura isn't just a "powerful justice for everyone!" ability but a trade-off of benefiting more team members for a shorter period of time.


Hi all and thank you for your comments.

I am the GM in this particular game and I encouraged the player to take a look at this as the rules are simply not clear.

my issue with the rules are this.

Powerful Justice does not give a time limit in any way.
it does not state you have one round or one day. by its wording the argument can be made that the smite, once granted lasts for an unlimited time "charge today and use 3 levels later" since there is absolutely no statement of time limit any time limit is completely arbitrary or based on similar information.

its possible to say smites renew every day so the granted smite only lasts a day.

but its also possible to say that considering it replaces a very similar ability the intention is that it work in a similar way.

As a GM i have to consider all of the possible uses and how they effect the game.

if the players decide to "charge a smite" every morning and again after every battle your greatly increasing the over all power of the group. which can be abused. while its my responsibility as a GM to encourage fun (and power is fun) letting that get out of hand can create boredom (or terror if I overcompensate when balancing the enemies)

if it is the intention of Paizo that it be a day long charge I would let it ride and deal with it.

but since it is so unclear it is essentially a matter of opinion, my opinion as the GM is that the ability should have some limitations. the Paladin/payers have to spend a moment in battle for the paladin to burst a powerful justice and they have one round to pick their smite targets.

I am open to review this ruling if it is clearly explained that the intent of the rule works otherwise.


As a GM you're free to rule however you like. You can rules that spellcasters don't get spells, but that would make you largely unpopular if you did. As written their does not appear to be a time limit, but also keep in mind while this is true it only provides a damage bonus. Also, the other players don't have detect evil, so they could potentially use it on targets that aren't evil wasting it. Keep in mind, it is supposed to be Powerful Justice.


i know this is a late post to this but, it seems that the aura is better than powerful justice, the aura allows allies to gain all benefits of smite, where as powerful only gives them bonus damage, not seeing how it is better.

Silver Crusade

I was just wondering about this myself. Boxarox is a third level paladin, about to reach fourth. I am thinking about taking the oath of vengeance. Additional uses of smite evil does look better than channel energy. It seems reasonable that the allies' use of smite evil would last until the end of the day when the paladin gives them the ability. But this character is PFS, so we can't just house rule it.


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Doesn't matter. Boxarox falls due to committing thread necromancy.

Silver Crusade

The Thread wrote:
Doesn't matter. Boxarox falls due to committing thread necromancy postmortem communication.

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