Quick question about Attacks of Opportunity


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Liberty's Edge

Aelryinth wrote:

And so if I Ready an Attack action, I'm all good with Defensive Fighting?

==Aelryinth

Readying an attack action and actually doing the attack action are two different things.

It stands to reason that if the attack action is what is required, the defensive "stuff" won't occur until the specific event that triggers the ready action occurs.

If I'm off base, I'm sure Stephen will promptly correct me.

EDIT: super ninja'd.

RPG Superstar 2012 Top 16

I'd personally consider it that the attack action has begun and you have committed to it, but is held from completing until you trigger the condition and you roll the die, and thus defensive fighting and expertise could both begin.

Meh.

==Aelryinth

Designer

HangarFlying wrote:
Aelryinth wrote:

And so if I Ready an Attack action, I'm all good with Defensive Fighting?

==Aelryinth

Readying an attack action and actually doing the attack action are two different things.

It stands to reason that if the attack action is what is required, the defensive "stuff" won't occur until the specific event that triggers the ready action occurs.

If I'm off base, I'm sure Stephen will promptly correct me.

You are totally on base there.


Aelryinth wrote:
I'd personally consider it that the attack action has begun and you have committed to it, but is held from completing until you trigger the condition and you roll the die, and thus defensive fighting and expertise could both begin.

Note that readying an action is actually not the same as committing to that action - if the trigger for the readied action happens, you may take your readied action. You may also choose not to.

A small detail, but potentially an important one - for instance if the target that triggers your readied melee attack is protected by Fire Shield.

RPG Superstar 2012 Top 16

The difference is that you cannot take ANOTHER action until your trigger is hit or your turn comes around again, Kudaku. And if you choose not to attack the creature, you can still burn the attack ACTION, per above, to gain the benefits...so they should still accrue.

==Aelryinth


Aelryinth wrote:
The difference is that you cannot take ANOTHER action until your trigger is hit or your turn comes around again, Kudaku. And if you choose not to attack the creature, you can still burn the attack ACTION, per above, to gain the benefits...so they should still accrue.

You're perfectly entitled to houserule it to work that way, I was just pointing out that readying an attack action does not necessarily mean you're committing yourself to making the attack. Like I said, you can still choose not to take the attack action when the readied action is triggered.

RPG Superstar 2012 Top 16

Correction: You can choose to expend it without completing, or complete it. It's not like you can choose to take ANOTHER action. You still began it.

it's the way it's always been played. (sighs) RAW can be sooooo annoying.

==Aelryinth


Aelryinth wrote:

Stephen, it says right in the rules that an Attack is a standard action.

Attack

Making an attack is a standard action.

Right there off the PFSRD. http://paizo.com/pathfinderRPG/prd/combat.html

Are you saying that the benefits don't occur until you roll a die?

Because that is what you seem to be stating, and you're artificially splitting up an attack into a move and a die roll, and furthermore making a distinction between before the die roll and after it for movement related to the attack.

yes, I'm splitting hairs, because that's what this whole thing is about. The definition of an attack as 'when you roll the die' or as 'when you start the standard or full round attack action.'

==Aelryinth

Ill take a stab at this. If u are attacking using a standard action, then u gain the benefits WHEN u use the standard action. If u are moving towards somebody to attack them, u are not attacking yet (aka using the standard action) but the move action. WHEN u attack and roll the die do the standard action is when u gain the benefits.

when u are doing a fulltime action, u gain the benefits at the start of that f ullround action because the action ir needing the f ullround action for the benefits to kick in is in place and u gain the benefits at the start of it.
standard action attacking=benefits when u attack aka roll the die
full round action attacking=benefits kick in when u start the full round action

Correct?

RPG Superstar 2012 Top 16

yes and no.

He was very explicit that it's when you do an attack action...you don't actually have to roll a die. Expend the action and actually roll no die, it still activates. It then continues on until you stop being in the mode. So you don't actually have to attack something to activate defensive fighting. You have to expend the action. Ditto Expertise.

For the full attack, same thing, you take the action...which probably means rolling dice, since I can't think of any other reason you'd do a full attack and give up the movement.

So actually attacking something isn't necessary. Expending the attack action is.

==Aelryinth


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So just take a single move and gain the ac boost? Makes sense for a cautious approach but I didn't think you could use an attack action without rolling an attack...

Liberty's Edge

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Aelryinth wrote:

Correction: You can choose to expend it without completing, or complete it. It's not like you can choose to take ANOTHER action. You still began it.

it's the way it's always been played. (sighs) RAW can be sooooo annoying.

==Aelryinth

No, that's always been the way that you have played it. There are a whole bunch of people who have been playing with the correct interpretation.

Liberty's Edge

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Aelryinth wrote:

yes and no.

He was very explicit that it's when you do an attack action...you don't actually have to roll a die. Expend the action and actually roll no die, it still activates. It then continues on until you stop being in the mode. So you don't actually have to attack something to activate defensive fighting. You have to expend the action. Ditto Expertise.

For the full attack, same thing, you take the action...which probably means rolling dice, since I can't think of any other reason you'd do a full attack and give up the movement.

So actually attacking something isn't necessary. Expending the attack action is.

==Aelryinth

Well, the attack action is well defined in the rules. You have to do one of the things defined in the attack action section to qualify using the attack action. To the best of my knowledge, "not attacking" isn't an attack action option.


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Quoting myself.

Quote:
You could however do it as a standard action on your turn. [...] You could 'attack the air' or 'a square' if you really wanted to instead, which would be similar to attacking an invisible creature. Who knows, you may even get lucky.

Forcing a roll is close to absurd in my opinion, but if the GM wants it that way it's still RAW that you can attack what is in a square.


Aelryinth wrote:
I really, really hate how the game treats melees. The archer does not have the same problems.

Carry some daggers, or throwing axes?


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Aelryinth wrote:
it's the way it's always been played.

You've said this more than once. It isn't true.

Maybe it is true in the games you have played? But... in games in general, it is not true.

Fighting defensively requires that you perform the standard (or full) action to attack. You gain the benefits and penalties when you do so. Not before you do so.

Disagreeing with RAW is perfectly understandable. Everyone has a rule or two they might not love. This seems to be yours. In which case, speak with your DM to house rule it.


Aelryinth wrote:

yes and no.

He was very explicit that it's when you do an attack action...you don't actually have to roll a die. Expend the action and actually roll no die, it still activates. It then continues on until you stop being in the mode. So you don't actually have to attack something to activate defensive fighting. You have to expend the action. Ditto Expertise.

For the full attack, same thing, you take the action...which probably means rolling dice, since I can't think of any other reason you'd do a full attack and give up the movement.

So actually attacking something isn't necessary. Expending the attack action is.

==Aelryinth

There is no 'mode'.

This isn't defensive stance from warriors in wow.

"If you do so, you take a –4 penalty on all attacks in a round to gain a +2 to AC until the start of your next turn."

All attacks you make in the round suffer a penalty to hit. Your AC gains the bonus until the start of your next turn.

/end

If you want the benefits from fighting defensively to continue, you have to fight defensively... again.

/////

Think of it this way;

You temporarily trade away some of your ability to hit for a bonus to AC.

When your go full defensive, you temporarily trade away all of your ability to hit for a bigger bonus to AC.

Think of it as a trade off, and it’ll make more sense.

RPG Superstar 2012 Top 16

HangarFlying wrote:
Aelryinth wrote:

yes and no.

He was very explicit that it's when you do an attack action...you don't actually have to roll a die. Expend the action and actually roll no die, it still activates. It then continues on until you stop being in the mode. So you don't actually have to attack something to activate defensive fighting. You have to expend the action. Ditto Expertise.

For the full attack, same thing, you take the action...which probably means rolling dice, since I can't think of any other reason you'd do a full attack and give up the movement.

So actually attacking something isn't necessary. Expending the attack action is.

==Aelryinth

Well, the attack action is well defined in the rules. You have to do one of the things defined in the attack action section to qualify using the attack action. To the best of my knowledge, "not attacking" isn't an attack action option.

It would be inferred as an insulting gesture in the direction of your enemy, spitting at him, a flourish of shadow-boxing readiness, or something similar.

==Aelryinth


Aelryinth wrote:
HangarFlying wrote:
Well, the attack action is well defined in the rules. You have to do one of the things defined in the attack action section to qualify using the attack action. To the best of my knowledge, "not attacking" isn't an attack action option.
It would be inferred as an insulting gesture in the direction of your enemy, spitting at him, a flourish of shadow-boxing readiness, or something similar.

There could be some unforeseen ramifications if you use this ruling.

For instance making an insulting gesture, spitting, flourishing etc, which I'd rule as non-actions the character is free to take whenever he wants barring specific mechanics that require a higher action investment, would now either cost an attack of opportunity (which is murky waters at best), or cost a standard action.

Personally I'd consider that unnecessary restriction.


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Remember to apply the rule of common sense and also that most often rule designers are interested in restricting power level than increasing it!


We've always played that you had to attack in order to fight defensively but let you maintain it round to round (assuming you didn't start doing something else.)

RPG Superstar 2012 Top 16

Stephen repeatedly emphasized expending the attack action, not rolling a dice when I pressed him.

Thus, using up the action is the key. You could probably do most of them as a free action, but they are symbolic of the fact you are spending your attack action.

==Aelryinth


But that raises the question, and I believe someone else asked first, can you spend the action without rolling against a valid target?

Designer

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Aelryinth wrote:

Stephen repeatedly emphasized expending the attack action, not rolling a dice when I pressed him.

Thus, using up the action is the key. You could probably do most of them as a free action, but they are symbolic of the fact you are spending your attack action.

==Aelryinth

::sigh::

No, I repeatedly emphasized that it was when you make either an attack action (which is a standard action) or a full-attack action (which is a full-round action) as it states in the rules.

Using a standard or a full-round action is not the key, using an attack action or a full-attack action are the key. Those actions are defined and explained in the Core Rulebook.

Designer

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Cheapy wrote:
Remember to apply the rule of common sense and also that most often rule designers are interested in restricting power level than increasing it!

Common sense is key when the rules are either ambiguous or they tread into territory where we don't strictly define things that we consider to be common sense (such as humans, as a general rule, don't have tails). In other words, when the narrative of fantasy seems clear, we tend not to make concrete rules systems to help the players and GMs to judge them. We consider them givens. We have to, either that or our rules would be two to three times longer than they currently are.

Second, we are only interested in restricting power levels when such power levels would disrupt or invalidate the status quo or the core assumptions of the game. Many times we are interesting in increasing the power levels, or creating new power level paradigms in new and interesting design space. The downtime system and the mythic rules are examples of this, but there are many more.


I skimmed the thread and see that the main contention is whether it "makes sense" that you can't prepare to fight defensively and approach in a defensive stance before making your attack. The reason it makes sense is because your attack itself is part of the defense; swinging your sword to attack the enemy makes you harder to hit because the enemy is trying to not get hit. You're also probably dancing a bit with your opponent, trying to place him in-between you and other enemies. So what we probably need is some kind of codified way to make a "defensive move" which would limit your speed but allow you to gain benefits as if you were fighting defensively while just moving or even standing still for those who want the benefit of Fight Defensively but still don't want Total Defense because they want to make AoOs.

Liberty's Edge

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Aelryinth wrote:
HangarFlying wrote:

Well, the attack action is well defined in the rules. You have to do one of the things defined in the attack action section to qualify using the attack action. To the best of my knowledge, "not attacking" isn't an attack action option.

It would be inferred as an insulting gesture in the direction of your enemy, spitting at him, a flourish of shadow-boxing readiness, or something similar.

==Aelryinth

Ehhhhhh...no. I suggest you actually look up "Standard Actions: Attack" or "Full-Round Actions: Full Attack" in the combat chapter of the CRB. Fortunately, Paizo has provided the information for free on the internet in case you don't have access to a hardcover or PDF copy.


Interesting. I was always of the understanding that the Fighting Defensively effect kicked in on your turn regardless of whether you made an attack or readied an attack...the point being that you were committing your action to an attack.

If you followed through on your attack, then everything is as it should be. You take the -4 on the roll and gain the +2 to AC. You are in a defensive stance and focused more on protecting yourself than on hurting the other guy. Simple enough.

But now let's say the example mentioned above (guy with Fire Shield) happens and you decide to give up your attack entirely. Some might think this is somehow cheating. You got the +2 to AC, but you didn't have to pay the -4 on the attack roll. I would think this is the exact opposite of cheating. If anything, you've overpaid for that +2. By giving up the attack you could have gained +4, but you only got the +2 for that trade.

In essence what seems to be happening is this:

Instead of taking the +4 AC and giving up the attack entirely, you take only a +2 to allow yourself a choice between making an attack (at a -4) or no attack at all. This seems like a reasonable cost.

Now as for RAW, I can see 2 interpretations of the rules.

#1 You can choose to fight defensively when attacking. This means you only get the +2 benefit at the moment you make the attack, whether on your turn as an action or at some point later when your readied action is triggered. This may make sense to some people logically, but it doesn't to me. I'll explain why in a moment.

#2 You can choose to fight defensively when attacking. This time the "when" is not highlighted because it's not a temporal condition but rather a general one. Better read it might say "You can choose to fight defensively in the turn you choose to make an attack." Of course this is a bit more clunky in wording and a better writer than me could probably make a more concise job of it. The point being, however, is that it makes more logical sense.

Consider;

Our heroic Ranger and Fighter stand against a horde of orc warriors. As many of the orcs prepare to charge in, their archers ready their bows to let loose a volley of arrows. The Ranger gains initiative and launches his own arrows but does so defensively (taking the -4 to attack and gaining the +2 to AC). The Fighter, meanwhile, hefts his shield against the incoming arrows and readies his sword to strike at the first orc that comes within reach.

I think I have a bigger problem understanding exactly how that Ranger is getting a +2 AC bonus than the Fighter getting his. The Fighter gaining his AC bonus on his turn seems to make perfect sense. He's hunkered down anticipating the incoming arrows and has his sword at the ready to strike at whatever enemy comes within reach. Going with #1, he could be hunkered down and ready to attack, but if the orcs don't actually charge (waiting for their archers to soften up the enemy first), then that +2 bonus never actually kicks in...even though he's already declared well before the first arrow falls that he's defending himself.

Meanwhile I'm left wondering exactly what that Ranger is doing to fight defensively. Is he crouching down? Hiding behind something? What exactly does an archer fighting defensively against enemy archers look like?


Consider the following: You say you're going to walk up to an enemy and Fight Defensively for extra AC. You move and, in the process, provoke an AoO. You take the extra AC because you are "planning to" fight defensively, then on arriving you decide, "You know... I'm not going to fight defensively... I'm gonna Cleave instead". Alternatively, that AoO from movement turned out to be a Trip which left you flat on your face. We'll presume this was done with a Reach weapon so you now have no enemy adjacent to you to attack defensively. You already got the +AC benefit, but you've lost the ability to perform the action that gives the +AC benefit; causality paradox. It goes along the same lines as fighting with a Defending weapon; you actually have to have the weapon "in action" (use action economy) for the Defending property to activate. So it makes perfect sense that you don't benefit from Fight Defensively before you've actually made your attacks; regardless of whether it's readied or impending after you've positioned.

Regarding how an Archer fighting defensively against archers looks like, it's abstracted for a reason. There are plenty of options and examples for how to rationalize it; he places other combatants between himself and the enemy archers, he shoots from a lower stance like a half-crouch, he strafes back and forth, deflects the arrows with his massive... bowls... that's what I was going to say. Or, just don't bother visualizing it and take it as a quirk of mechanics... he fights defensively so, once he starts doing so, he benefits from a bonus to AC until the start of his next turn; it doesn't matter how.


Kazaan wrote:
Consider the following: You say you're going to walk up to an enemy and Fight Defensively for extra AC...

Let me pause this right there for just a moment. This example does not touch on what I was saying. In this example you offer, the Fighter is committed to moving, but he has not committed his action to attacking. So it makes sense that he does not yet get the +2 to AC. He's not fighting defensively at this point. He's just moving with the intent to do something. But since he's not committed to a specific action, he is free to change what he wants to do. He could double move. He could move and cast a spell. He could do any number of Standard actions that don't even come close to attacking. So I agree with you that in this example, he can't gain the +2 to AC.

My earlier example, and maybe I wasn't clear with it, was that I can see what I believe to be Aelryinth's interpretation that if I declare I'm attacking, either by doing so or readying such an action, that this should be good enough to satisfy the conditions of Fighting Defensively. The crux of the issue is over whether "Readying" an attack is good enough. At this point in time, I believe it is, although I'm always open to debate. :)

As for Defending weapons, the text says that "as a free action, the wielder chooses how to allocate the weapon's enhancement bonus at the start of his turn before using the weapon." So at the very start of my turn before I've done anything, as long as I'm actually wielding the weapon (threatening with it and not just holding it), I can move bonuses over. Then I'd be free to move in and attack, enjoying the AC bonus against the AoO that I might trigger.

And yeah, I agree that the archer fighting defensively thing is probably best to remain abstract. It only gets worse when I try to think of an archer fighting defensively against a melee attacker since crouching would seem to only grant bonuses to the attacker, not the archer. And hiding behind friends is already handled with Cover.... Anyway, yeah best to keep abstract. heh


What if the trigger for the readied action never happens? If I have some hypothetical feat that says, "when you cast a spell, the residual energy swirls around you and you gain +2 AC" and I ready a spell, but the trigger never happens, thus the spell never gets cast in the first place, it wouldn't make sense for me to have claimed the +2 AC beforehand because the circumstance to give me the +2 never occurred. That's why I phrased it using more readily understandable terms rather than the more abstract relationship of readied actions vs the "parallel round structure" (remember, all these actions are happening in parallel in the same 6s interval). If it wouldn't make sense that you can get the bonus from fighting defensively because your intent may be disrupted, it also wouldn't make sense that you can get the bonus from fighting defensively because your readied action is never triggered. To avoid both these situations, the bonus from Fighting Defensively doesn't apply until the action is actually performed, not just potentially performed via simple intent or even by a readied action.

Shadow Lodge

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/shrug

The game doesn't preclude attacking squares with melee weapons. How else would someone be able to attack an invisible creature / while blind?


Serum wrote:

/shrug

The game doesn't preclude attacking squares with melee weapons. How else would someone be able to attack an invisible creature / while blind?

Heh. That's funny, but true. Maybe my Fighter readies himself against the oncoming orcs, but takes a swing at an adjacent square just to make sure there wasn't an invisible orc there trying to sneak up on him. :P

Kazaan wrote:
What if the trigger for the readied action never happens? If I have some hypothetical feat that says, "when you cast a spell, the residual energy swirls around you and you gain +2 AC" and I ready a spell, but the trigger never happens, thus the spell never gets cast in the first place, it wouldn't make sense for me to have claimed the +2 AC beforehand because the circumstance to give me the +2 never occurred.

I think that is a very good example of conditions and I agree with you that it requires the actual casting of the spell. So if you fail to cast then you don't get the bonus. I think that makes perfect sense. :)

I see Fighting Defensively a little differently though. I do agree with you that should someone move in for an attack, they don't get the +2 to AC during the move portion because they haven't attacked yet and can always change what they do for their Standard action. However, the question remains, what exactly satisfies the condition "when attacking"?

A literal translation is just that. The bonus only kicks in when taking the attack action. I can understand this, but I'm not quite sold on it.

The subject is "Fighting Defensively as a Standard Action" and the text doesn't use the words "attack action", but just "when attacking". I don't mean to split hairs over what "is" is, but Readying an attack is also a Standard Action which commits you to the attack action. Plus the image makes more sense to me. The Ranger fires his arrow defensively and gets the +2 AC. The Fighter huddles down behind his shield and readies his sword to hit the first orc that runs in so he gains his +2 AC too. But now let's say the orcs don't approach. They instead lob some javelins at the Fighter. Because of the +2 AC bonus, the javelin's all miss. The Fighter's trigger never happens, so he doesn't actually get his attack in.

Paradox? Not if Readying satisfies the condition. Cinematically maybe he used that sword to swat a javelin out of the air. A common image in many fantastical movies.

Or perhaps someone thinks this is somehow cheating that he got the +2 without actually attacking? Remember the end result here is that he didn't attack. He could have gotten a +4 to AC for not attacking. But he only got +2. So if anything, he overpaid for that +2.

Or did he?

If he takes the +2 AC and attacks, his cost is "-4 on the roll."

If he take the +2 AC and readies an attack, his cost is either the "-4 on the roll" or the "-2 on the AC he could have gotten had he just gone Full Defense."

I see these as equal costs. Meh, 6 of one, half dozen of the other.


PRD wrote:

Ready

The ready action lets you prepare to take an action later, after your turn is over but before your next one has begun. Readying is a standard action. It does not provoke an attack of opportunity (though the action that you ready might do so).

Readying an Action: You can ready a standard action, a move action, a swift action, or a free action. To do so, specify the action you will take and the conditions under which you will take it. Then, anytime before your next action, you may take the readied action in response to that condition. The action occurs just before the action that triggers it. If the triggered action is part of another character's activities, you interrupt the other character. Assuming he is still capable of doing so, he continues his actions once you complete your readied action. Your initiative result changes. For the rest of the encounter, your initiative result is the count on which you took the readied action, and you act immediately ahead of the character whose action triggered your readied action.

When you ready an action, you spend a standard action now in order to perform a particular action out of normal initiative order. But the action you ready isn't actually performed or even started until it is triggered. This is easily proven by realizing that, if you Ready a spell, you don't have to check to make a concentration check until the readied action triggers. If Readying started the action being readied, you'd have to make a concentration check as part of Readying a spell to be cast if trying to avoid an AoO. Moreover, if the action you ready would provoke an AoO, you don't actually provoke it until the readied action triggers. Lastly, and probably most succinctly, a Designer of the friggin' game has said, in no uncertain terms, that Readying an action isn't the same as Starting that action; it's one action spent in order to perform another subsequent action. So that, right there, sets the default bottom line; a Readied standard action that involves attacking and is modified by Fight Defensively as a Standard Action doesn't actually give the AC bonus before it's triggered (or, by extension, the attack penalty for AoOs made before the readied action triggers). Feel free to change it if you want, but be aware that such a change constitutes a Houserule.


HA! I totally agreed with you right up until the "change it if you want, but it'd be a houserule" quote. Frankly, that is getting old on here. It's sort of the "So Nyah!" statement. :)

Anyway, yes I can very much see where you are coming from. And I very much agree that Readying an action is not the same thing as Starting an action. That would make perfect sense. I'm not claiming that Readying is the same as Starting. All I've said up to this point is that the section of text that reads "when attacking" may be interpreted by other people as to include Readying.

It would make sense logically that our poor Fighter can prepare ahead of time and gain the same bonus his Ranger friend does. Is it RAW? Well that seems to be up for debate still as does whether he can declare an attack on an adjacent empty square. But incidentally, I think it'd probably just be better for that poor Fighter to go Total Defense and then take his full attack next round if the orcs are stupid enough to close with him. And if they just decide to lob javelins? Well at least his has a +4 now with no debate or fuss.

Liberty's Edge

Way I see it, your posture (defensive or normal) from the previous round still applies until you make an actual planned attack (ie, not an AoO). Which is the moment when you can change your posture.

I agree that it is a pure system construct, but that is the way the rules work.

Grand Lodge

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Pathfinder Adventure Subscriber
Talcrion wrote:
Elbedor wrote:

Why AoO the air? Aren't there enough gnats, flies, or ants around that may be moving through your threatened space? Heck, even a blade of grass swaying in the wind or a mote of dust or dandelion seed blowing along...

Wait, does this mean as GM I can have the air AoO anyone that decides to move?

Naturally! and since the air clearly has a deceptively high Str based on it's ability to throw buildings onto witchs when it feels like it, they should learn to fear the wind!

Can i cast magic missile against the air?


Darklord Morius wrote:
Can i cast magic missile against the air?

Sure, why not? The air is incorporeal by nature, but seeing as Magic Missile is a Force Effect, it should hit it. :P


You get the bonus when you perform the action....

There is a Standard action version and a full action version. The book explains how each of these functions.

Perform the action, gain the benefit.


That is certainly a valid interpretation, yes. And I can see why many (probably most) see it that way. For me (and perhaps a few others), though, it's not that clear.

Combat Expertise says that I can only choose to use this feat when I declare that I am making an attack.

Fighting Defensively says I can choose to fight defensively when attacking.

I guess what might be fuzzy to some is whether readying an attack (in essence declaring that I am going to attack) satisfies these conditions. Or whether it doesn't because you have to in fact BE attacking at the moment you gain the benefit.

Without giving it much thought, I've always assumed readying was enough. I can't point to any great logical debate that caused me to reach this conclusion. It just seemed to fit into the scenarios I as a GM or Player found myself in. I'm still inclined to think so, although I can completely understand the counter point. If the Dev's told me I'm wrong, then no biggie. This isn't a rule I'd stake my love of the game on.

Ah, but what do I know? ;)


Elbedor wrote:

That is certainly a valid interpretation, yes. And I can see why many (probably most) see it that way. For me (and perhaps a few others), though, it's not that clear.

Combat Expertise says that I can only choose to use this feat when I declare that I am making an attack.

Fighting Defensively says I can choose to fight defensively when attacking.

I guess what might be fuzzy to some is whether readying an attack (in essence declaring that I am going to attack) satisfies these conditions. Or whether it doesn't because you have to in fact BE attacking at the moment you gain the benefit.

Without giving it much thought, I've always assumed readying was enough. I can't point to any great logical debate that caused me to reach this conclusion. It just seemed to fit into the scenarios I as a GM or Player found myself in. I'm still inclined to think so, although I can completely understand the counter point. If the Dev's told me I'm wrong, then no biggie. This isn't a rule I'd stake my love of the game on.

Ah, but what do I know? ;)

Readying isn't sufficient. You need to perform the action.

The rules for fighting defensively are built into performing actions. The benefit for fighting defensively isn't gained until you perform said action.


You mean "into performing attacks", I assume. Because Readying an action is an action itself that is performed immediately on my turn. The act of readying an action is a standard action...even if all I'm readying is a free, move, or swift action.

But that's just splitting hairs a bit. As I said, your point is certainly a valid one. I suppose it could be argued that what is required to meet the conditions is an Attack Action, and Readying is a Standard Action, not an Attack Action...even if it is being used to ready an attack. At least that's how I've come to see it. I just have to remember that the rules don't always make sense. heh

So I guess the best option for the above scenarios would be for that fighter to just go Total Defense for the +4 bonus and skip the whole argument. :)

Silver Crusade

Hey, Remy! We finally agree on something. : )


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Malachi Silverclaw wrote:
Hey, Remy! We finally agree on something. : )

Haha, we actually agree on a lot of things... I read far more threads than I ever post on. And I normally agree with what you have to say ^.^


Here's a good logical way to think of it:

Fighting Defensively is like being in a fight and pulling your punches to make sure you keep your defense high. But, you can't pull a punch until you actually throw it.

Silver Crusade

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I think some players imagine that creatures can take something like a defensive stance, where they get a dodge bonus to AC and an attack penalty whenever they are in it.

Although this may seem a reasonable thing to have in a set of rules, this is not a rule in Pathfinder, and has never been a rule in 3rd rd. What we have instead is fighting defensively and full defence.

I'd be totally okay with a defensive stance rule of some kind, and also an aggressive stance rule where you take an AC penalty in return for an attack bonus, like the reckless abandon rage power is now.

I'd like these stances to be combat choices available to all, but I suppose I could live with it if they were feats. Maybe part of a series of stance feats.

Still, wishful thinking. Neither exist in the game.


Neo, like others have said, the archer from 100' away still gains the benefit. Heck, he can just shoot an arrow at anything, including a cloud, to gain the benefit.

The mechanics of the game are that you spend the attack action (read: Standard Action) to gain the benefit.

If you don't attack anything, the action economy cost is still the same to your character. Who cares if it just costs a little bit more?

But, as there is some dev input, it is pretty likely that RAI is that you must roll the attack. But like others said, attack the ground, square or sky and by RAW, you have met the requirements.

For those that say attacking the square is cheesy, I say it is just as cheesy to require the attack rather than just the expenditure of the action economy.

If the AC bonus was only against the one target you attacked, the official stance would have much more credit.


Komoda wrote:
Neo, like others have said, the archer from 100' away still gains the benefit. Heck, he can just shoot an arrow at anything, including a cloud, to gain the benefit.

Why is this an argument? I honestly don't understand it's relevance.

Yes, archers can fight defensively too.
In what way is this counter to the RAI as Stephen explained it?


No, really. I keep seeing this, "but archers can do it too" argument popping up again and again.

Why? What's the relevance?


Neo2151 wrote:

No, really. I keep seeing this, "but archers can do it too" argument popping up again and again.

Why? What's the relevance?

People don't like the RAI.


IMHO, the reason that comes up is because archers can defend themselves from any and all enemies anywhere at any time because they can make a ranged attack with no chance of hitting the target while melee characters cannot "set" themselves.

Thematically, this means that the archer standing in a field, or even an unarmed guy that just threw away his knife, can "set" his self against attacks, but the fully armored and armed knight standing in the same spot can't.

Logically, this means that the archer can "set" his self against enemies even if none are adjacent while the melee character never can.

Mechanically, they both spend the same action but only the ranged character can gain the benefit.

From a thematic, logical and mechanical standpoint, the rule makes no sense. It just seems an arbitrary decision.

I understand that Stephen Radney-MacFarland has ruled otherwise, and I get that my opinion is worthless, but I disagree with his position.

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