Playing two of the same type of boon when attempting a check


Pathfinder Adventure Card Game General Discussion


Rather than copy-and-paste blocks of text, I'm going to link to a thread I started on Board Game Geek about this issue:

Playing two of the same type of boon when attempting a check.

The basic summary is this:

The common understanding I've seen in most online discussions is that you cannot play two spells during a single check (e.g. you cannot play Force Missile to give your combat check Arcane + 2d4, and then follow it up with Guidance to make your combat check Arcane + 2d4 + 1). I think this is probably the correct interpretation, but if you look very carefully at the rules in the rulebook (see the link), it doesn't explicitly say that this is prevented. It's actually pretty ambiguous about it.

So, to hopefully put a nail in this coffin, can you, for instance, play Force Missile and Guidance during the same combat check?


I may be missing what you are asking. It seems clear in the link you provided.

In the link you provided and on pg 12 of the rule book it says. "each player may play no more than one of each card type" A spell is a card type so you can only play one.


Gary Johns wrote:

I may be missing what you are asking. It seems clear in the link you provided.

In the link you provided and on pg 12 of the rule book it says. "each player may play no more than one of each card type" A spell is a card type so you can only play one.

What I'm trying to get at is this: Over what window of time does that the "play only one type of boon" rule apply?

The rulebook suggests that all of these steps are part of making a check:

-Determine the Skill You’re Using
-Determine the Difficulty
-Play Cards that Affect Your Check and/or Use Characters’ Powers (optional)
-Assemble Your Dice
-Make the Roll
-Take Damage if you lose a check against a monster
-Resolve the Check

It also explains that cards may be played during the steps: "Determine the Skill You're Using", "Play Cards that Affect Your Check", and "Take Damage".

It's pretty well established that you can play a spell (such as Force Missile) during the "Determine the Skill You're Using" step, and then play another spell (such as Arcane Armor) during the "Take Damage" step. I'm asking if you can also play another spell during the "Play Cards that Affect Your Check" step.

For example:
-Force Missile says "For your combat check, discard this card to roll your Arcane die + 2d4 with the Force trait." I can only play this during the "Determine the Skill You're Using" step because it sets my basic roll for the check.
-Guidance says "Discard this card to add 1 to a check." That's modifying my check so it cannot be cast during the "Determine the Skill You're Using" step. It must always be played during the "Play Cards that Affect Your Check" step.
-Arcane Armor says "Discard this card to reduce combat damage dealt to you by 2." I can only play this during the "Take Damage" step.

Since those are cast at three distinct steps in the sequence of "Attempting a Check," under a strict interpretation, I wouldn't technically be playing two spells simultaneously at any given point in time.


The process you have above is for the encounter not the check. The last step in the manual (pg 12) Is resolve the encounter not step.

I interpreted the check as the roll and once it was successfull or not the check was over.

Taking damage is a step that occurs after the check. The wording to the Take Damage step is phrased as "If you fail a check" In my interpretation meaning its over.

I realize you are looking for an official answer so I will leave it at that.


I think you're probably right about the check ending after the "Make the Roll" step. That's consistent with this snippet from Mike Selinker:

Mike Selinker wrote:

The first check (Lem is hit with a hammer) is over by the time Lem is assessed damage. Prior to that, there's a step called Make the Roll where you determine success or failure. Then the check is over, and you take the damage.*

*If this were not true, a spellcaster who cast a spell in combat would not be able to cast Arcane Armor.

But if "Taking Damage" is a separate event from the check itself, it's confusing how it's a step under the section "Attempting a Check" on page 11, and it's a also step under the heading "Attempting Checks" on the last page / reference sheet. "Take Damage" is even listed before "Resolve the Check" on the last page!

It's also confusing when you have cards like Wooden Shield, "Recharge this card to reduce combat damage dealt to you by 2. If you are proficient with light armors, you may play another armor on this check."

Armors seem to only be playable when you "Take Damage" so if that step is not part of a check, how can you play "another armor on this check"?

The Exchange

The back page looks like a mistake - in the book on page 12 that step is called resolve the encounter.


I'm not sure this is going t help but it was from a thread i was following a while back that had to deal with timing. Mike chimed in on it.

medwards wrote:
Lem has just taken eight combat damage, and has in his hand Arcane Armor, two Guidance spells, and one blessing that matches the top card of the blessing deck.

Can he
Cast Arcane Armor
Cast Guidance to increase the recharge check on Arcane Armor by one.
Cast (recharge) his blessing to increase the recharge check on Arcane Armor by one die.
Cast his second Guidance to increase the recharge check on his first Guidance by one.

Thereby recharging his entire hand (assuming all recharge rolls succeeded) and essentially taking no damage.

Mike worte:
We discussed this today, flowcharting it out on a whiteboard. We believe this works.
The first check (Lem is hit with a hammer) is over by the time Lem is assessed damage. Prior to that, there's a step called Make the Roll where you determine success or failure. Then the check is over, and you take the damage.*
The second check (Arcane Armor's recharge) then starts. Guidance 1 and the Blessing affect that check, then it is over.
The third check (Guidance 1's recharge) then starts. The second Guidance affects that check, then it is over.
The fourth check (Guidance 2's recharge) then starts. Nothing affects that check, then it is over.
If all those checks succeeded, four cards will have been recharged.

Mike

*If this were not true, a spellcaster who cast a spell in combat would not be able to cast Arcane Armor.

My thoughts:
The check is over after make the roll. During the make the roll step you are still in the check, and it is also the place where you are going to add or subtract any modifiers to the check. Once this step is complete you move to take damage.

So, i would say, no, if you already played a spell during your check, and from what i understand, each player may only play one type of boon on a single check, so you could not play another spell like guidance if you played a spell for your attack, but there is always the item Luckstone.


Lylo wrote:
The back page looks like a mistake - in the book on page 12 that step is called resolve the encounter.

That the back page is a mistake seems likely. However, on page 12 under the section titled "Attempting a check" it says

page 12 wrote:
Attempting a check requires several steps which are explained below.

and then it proceeds to list these steps:

page 12 wrote:


-Determine Which Die You’re Using
-Determine the Difficulty
-Play Cards That Affect the Check (Optional)
-Use Characters’ Powers (Optional)
-Assemble Your Dice
-Make the Roll
-Take Damage, If Necessary
-Resolve the Encounter

This seems to imply that "Taking Damage" is a part of "Attempting a check". Otherwise, why is it listed here?


QuantumNinja wrote:

It's also confusing when you have cards like Wooden Shield, "Recharge this card to reduce combat damage dealt to you by 2. If you are proficient with light armors, you may play another armor on this check."

Armors seem to only be playable when you "Take Damage" so if that step is not part of a check, how can you play "another armor on this check"?

The reason you can play a second armor on in this situation is because the card says you can. This refers to the Golden Rule presented in the rulebook (sorry I can reference it, as I don't have access right now). Cards that contridict the rulebook are correct.

It seems that the basis of this issue is the term check. Any player may only play one of each type of boon for any "check". Determining the check, rolling the check, resolving the check, it's all the same check. Taking damage is not part of the check, but is part of the same encounter. Similarly, cards that ask for a check before or after the encounter would be a seperate check that would be resolved before the check to defeat or aquire the encounter. Recharging an item would also be another seperate check. For each of these checks you could play a spell, but not more than one for each check. Unless some card says you can (maybe a quicken spell card will show up at some point).


QuantumNinja wrote:
Lylo wrote:
The back page looks like a mistake - in the book on page 12 that step is called resolve the encounter.

That the back page is a mistake seems likely. However, on page 12 under the section titled "Attempting a check" it says

page 12 wrote:
Attempting a check requires several steps which are explained below.

and then it proceeds to list these steps:

page 12 wrote:


-Determine Which Die You’re Using
-Determine the Difficulty
-Play Cards That Affect the Check (Optional)
-Use Characters’ Powers (Optional)
-Assemble Your Dice
-Make the Roll
-Take Damage, If Necessary
-Resolve the Encounter
This seems to imply that "Taking Damage" is a part of "Attempting a check". Otherwise, why is it listed here?

I think this is another mistake and should be "Attempting an encounter requires..."

Paizo Employee Chief Technical Officer

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What's really going on here is that there's an encounter, there's one or more checks that must each be resolved, and after all checks have been resolved, the encounter as a whole must be resolved.

The actual check encompasses everything from "Determine which die you're using" through "Make the roll." "Take Damage, If Necessary" is resolving that check—it's not really part of the check, but it's tied to it (and "you may play another armor on this check" is a more sensible statement than "you may play another armor at this time to reduce damage from the same check"). "Resolve the encounter" is resolving the encounter.

Perhaps if the "Take Damage, If Necessary" header in the rulebook said "Resolve the check" instead, it would be more accurate... but it would also be less useful to somebody trying to find the rules for damage.


J Scot Shady wrote:

The reason you can play a second armor on in this situation is because the card says you can. This refers to the Golden Rule presented in the rulebook (sorry I can reference it, as I don't have access right now). Cards that contridict the rulebook are correct.

It seems that the basis of this issue is the term check. Any player may only play one of each type of boon for any "check". Determining the check, rolling the check, resolving the check, it's all the same check. Taking damage is not part of the check, but is part of the same encounter. Similarly, cards that ask for a check before or after the encounter would be a seperate check that would be resolved before the check to defeat or aquire the encounter. Recharging an item would also be another seperate check. For each of these checks you could play a spell, but not more than one for each check. Unless some card says you can (maybe a quicken spell card will show up at some point).

I'm aware of the Golden rule and why it lets you play a second armor in this case. That's not the issue here.

The issue is that the language in Wooden Armor implies that you play armors *during* checks! But based on your own words, "Taking Damage" (which is when you would actually play an armor) is *not* part of a check.

There's an inconsistency with whether "Taking Damage" is considered part of a check or not.


Vic Wertz wrote:

What's really going on here is that there's an encounter, there's one or more checks that must each be resolved, and after all checks have been resolved, the encounter as a whole must be resolved.

The actual check encompasses everything from "Determine which die you're using" through "Make the roll." "Take Damage, If Necessary" is resolving that check—it's not really part of the check, but it's tied to it (and "you may play another armor on this check" is a more sensible statement than "you may play another armor at this time to reduce damage from the same check"). "Resolve the encounter" is resolving the encounter.

Perhaps if the "Take Damage, If Necessary" header in the rulebook said "Resolve the check" instead, it would be more accurate... but it would also be less useful to somebody trying to find the rules for damage.

Thanks for the response, Vic.

I think your explanation confirms what I've been assuming is the correct answer, but I still feel the rulebook is fairly confusing on this issue.

I think renaming the "Take Damage" step to "Resolve the check" would potentially be even more confusing because it suggests (more so than the rulebook already does) that it is part of a check, when in fact it is a distinct period where new cards may be played. I think calling it "Play cards that reduce damage" would make it much clearer that it is a new phase where a new set of cards may be played.

I think the thing that really threw me off is how the rulebook talks about playing a card in the second paragraph of the "Determine Which Die You’re Using" section:

Quote:


Determine Which Die You’re Using
Some cards may allow you to replace the required skill for a check with a different one; you may play only 1 card or use only 1 power that changes the skill you are going to use.

I'm pretty sure now that you don't actually play a card during this step, you only play it during the "Play Cards That Affect the Check (Optional)." I think the above sentence is just alluding to a restriction on how cards can be played during the "Play Cards That Affect the Check" step. Seems like it would be better place in that section of the rulebook instead, in my opinion.

I think what would REALLY help would be a chart showing all of the steps in a turn, indicating all the opportunities where cards may be played and what the restrictions are on playing them.


I just know we're going to end up with a M:tG "stack" out of this. :)

Paizo Employee Chief Technical Officer

QuantumNinja wrote:
Quote:


Determine Which Die You’re Using
Some cards may allow you to replace the required skill for a check with a different one; you may play only 1 card or use only 1 power that changes the skill you are going to use.
I'm pretty sure now that you don't actually play a card during this step, you only play it during the "Play Cards That Affect the Check (Optional)." I think the above sentence is just alluding to a restriction on how cards can be played during the "Play Cards That Affect the Check" step.

No, it's pretty important that the act of determining the skill you're using is a separate step that happens before you play cards that affect the check. If it weren't, you could have the following undesirable scenario:

I'm making a Combat check, and have not yet played a card to change the skill, so I'm using Strength. I play Blessing of Gorum to add 2 dice to my Strength-based combat check... and then I play Frost Ray, changing my combat check to Arcane + 2d6. That opens a giant can of timing worms: Does the blessing still apply? If it did, what type of dice did it add?

The separation of those events is deliberate and meaningful.

Grand Lodge

With all do respect Vic, if that situation werr to occur, I think the general people would say that since you are no longer making a strength based combat check, you just wasted that blessing.

The way I look at the whole situation is that when you have an encounter such as this, taking damage is all a part of the check. It is the end result of a failed check, thus no spell. It is like an encounter in the actual game. I can't cast magic missile then cast mage armor. Perhaps what should have been said is this : You may only play a single card of each type per encounter, unless otherwise instructed. . I think this would clear up a whole lot of issues.

Paizo Employee Chief Technical Officer

...and some people would say that since you "cast" it while it was still valid, it does apply, and likely also argue that the extra dice added were your Strength die, not your Arcane die.

This is us avoiding the M:TG stack.

Grand Lodge

Sorry, was editing my post when you said something.man you are fast!


Vic Wertz wrote:
QuantumNinja wrote:
Quote:


Determine Which Die You’re Using
Some cards may allow you to replace the required skill for a check with a different one; you may play only 1 card or use only 1 power that changes the skill you are going to use.
I'm pretty sure now that you don't actually play a card during this step, you only play it during the "Play Cards That Affect the Check (Optional)." I think the above sentence is just alluding to a restriction on how cards can be played during the "Play Cards That Affect the Check" step.

No, it's pretty important that the act of determining the skill you're using is a separate step that happens before you play cards that affect the check. If it weren't, you could have the following undesirable scenario:

I'm making a Combat check, and have not yet played a card to change the skill, so I'm using Strength. I play Blessing of Gorum to add 2 dice to my Strength-based combat check... and then I play Frost Ray, changing my combat check to Arcane + 2d6. That opens a giant can of timing worms: Does the blessing still apply? If it did, what type of dice did it add?

The separation of those events is deliberate and meaningful.

Ok, that makes sense, and understand why those events are separate. So if I'm understanding correctly, you *are* allowed to play one card in the "Determine which die you're using" step.

If that's true, then I feel like there needs to be an additional clause somewhere in this section under the "Play cards That Affect the Check" step:

pg 11 wrote:
Players may now play cards from their hands to affect the check. Each player may play no more than 1 of each card type; for example, 2 different players may each play 1 spell to help your check, but no single player may play 2 spells.

That clause should explain that the "no more than 1 of each card type" rule includes any cards that were played during the previous "Determine Which Die You're Using" step.

Paizo Employee Chief Technical Officer

We're still discussing this one.

Paizo Employee Chief Technical Officer

Gigar wrote:
Perhaps what should have been said is this : You may only play a single card of each type per encounter, unless otherwise instructed. . I think this would clear up a whole lot of issues.

Problem with that language is when your encounter includes more than 1 check. We *want* you to be able to cast a spell on each of those checks...

Liberty's Edge

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

QN, you are taking one small 'loop hole', using Arcane Armor to mitigate damage you take from a check, to try and expand this to say you can use two spells during the check.

So what about Weapons....Items....Allies...etc. Your one isolated example doesn't cover those card types. So if it doesn't cover those card types, then you can't say it covers Spells only.

Also, you want to put an resolution order into the game that the game designer are trying their best not to complicate the game with. As they keep saying...this is a cooperative game. Why all the nitpicking?

Ultimately it comes down to this, the resolution of the check...isn't the check. You can only use one time of card for the check itself. Arcane Armor is unique in that it, like armor, can be used during the resolution stage. It is exactly what it says, a spell that acts like armor. Just like the Amulet of Might is an item that acts like a weapon.

Nothing to see here.


TClifford wrote:

QN, you are taking one small 'loop hole', using Arcane Armor to mitigate damage you take from a check, to try and expand this to say you can use two spells during the check.

So what about Weapons....Items....Allies...etc. Your one isolated example doesn't cover those card types. So if it doesn't cover those card types, then you can't say it covers Spells only.

Also, you want to put an resolution order into the game that the game designer are trying their best not to complicate the game with. As they keep saying...this is a cooperative game. Why all the nitpicking?

Ultimately it comes down to this, the resolution of the check...isn't the check. You can only use one time of card for the check itself. Arcane Armor is unique in that it, like armor, can be used during the resolution stage. It is exactly what it says, a spell that acts like armor. Just like the Amulet of Might is an item that acts like a weapon.

Nothing to see here.

I'm not trying to be argumentative here for the sake of being argumentative. I realize most of my posts may come off as pedantic nitpicking, but I'm just trying to understand what is and what isn't allowed within the rules.

Ultimately, you're right, it's a cooperative game, so we can always fall back on having our own playgroups come up with ways to resolve ambiguities in the rules whenever they present themselves. But that is rather unsatisfying to me if those ambiguities aren't addressed by the developers with official responses.

It's frustrating when you when you're playing a game and a rule ambiguity brings everything to a halt or you have to argue with people over it. "Well, last time in this group we played such and such a rule this way." "Oh, in my other play group we've always played it this other way." It gets confusing for players if there isn't a definitive answer to a rule ambiguity they can point to.

I wouldn't be arguing my points if I didn't think they were at least feasibly valid under a reasonable interpretation of the rules as written. I think identifying and discussing these points of ambiguity is important for the long term health of the game.

It's not that I want to bend the rules to be able to play two spells on a turn, it's just that I want to know if I can play two spells on a turn under the intended rules. I'm just trying to convey how an ambiguity in the written rules could possibly allow for this to occur.

Liberty's Edge

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

No offense QN, but you are just making up the ambiguity yourself. If you use common sense, then you can tell that your argument is only there for argument sake.

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