Staff of Hungry Shadows is seriously OP.


Rules Questions and Gameplay Discussion


I mean...this thing is crazy. I'm referring specifically to the power that let's you reveal it and discard a spell to decrease the difficulty of another character's combat check at your location by a roll of your Arcane die.

In Ezren's hands with maxed feats, that's d12 +6...and you can do it even if you can't cast spells for some reason because it's an item. In the ultimate encounter of the adventure path, Ezren gave Amiri a strength spell and used the staff on both checks. "30 then 40" became "15 then 24". The second check ended up being impossible to fail because...why not? Yes, the arcane die rolls were both above average, but even average rolls would have reduced the checks by 11or 12.

I dunno. I think this thing might be a bit out of control.


funny we used the same tactic on the final encounter, but we used the unmodified die roll instead of the bonus. it still worked out in the end but the second roll was only a 3 so went from 40 to 37


Overuse can be a real issue, though, since it requires you to discard. Discarding is always bad unless it can be healed up.


Pathfinder Card Game Subscriber

I think there is a good question here. Is the Staff of Hungry Shadows supposed to be the unmodified Arcane die or the Arcane die + modifiers?


Hawkmoon269 wrote:
I think there is a good question here. Is the Staff of Hungry Shadows supposed to be the unmodified Arcane die or the Arcane die + modifiers?

It says "arcane die", not "unmodified arcane die". When a spell says "roll your arcane die", you add modifiers. I see no reason you wouldn't do the same with the staff. Plus, if you didn't add modifiers, there's a decent chance that you'd get the same or lesser effect from the staff than from the wand of enervation, assuming you have the arcane skill to maximize the wand's effect. That wand is another item that I think is OP in he hands of an Arcane caster, though not on the same level as the staff.


Would someone mind posting the complete text of the card?

This is where I wished we had the card database like Hearthstone and MtG, whereby you could link the card in a post and hovering over the link would display the card image. Or at least the full card text.


Pathfinder Card Game Subscriber
csouth154 wrote:
Hawkmoon269 wrote:
I think there is a good question here. Is the Staff of Hungry Shadows supposed to be the unmodified Arcane die or the Arcane die + modifiers?

It says "arcane die", not "unmodified arcane die". When a spell says "roll your arcane die", you add modifiers. I see no reason you wouldn't do the same with the staff. Plus, if you didn't add modifiers, there's a decent chance that you'd get the same or lesser effect from the staff than from the wand of enervation, assuming you have the arcane skill to maximize the wand's effect. That wand is another item that I think is OP in he hands of an Arcane caster, though not on the same level as the staff.

I mostly agree and my natural inclination is to add the modifiers. But the rulebook really only talks about modifiers in the context of attempting a check and the Arcane die in the Power for Staff of Hungry Shadows isn't a check. For example:

Ruleook v3 p7 wrote:
Skill featsSkill feats add a bonus to a skill of your choice: you’ll add the number next to the box you selected to any check attempted with that skill. So if your Charisma die is d10, and you’ve checked the “+2” box for your Charisma skill, you’ll roll 1d10 and add 2 when you attempt a check that uses Charisma.
Rulebook v3 p11 wrote:
Attempt the Roll. Roll the dice and add up their value, adding or subtracting any modifiers that apply to the check.

That is why you add modifiers from a spell card or weapon card. Because the attempting a check sequence tells you to. There is no where you are told to add modifiers when you roll a die outside of attempting a check.

Plus the following seems to give credence that when told to roll a die, you just roll a die.

Rulebook v3 p22 wrote:
Add Only What You Are Told to Add. If a card adds another die, that’s all it gives you: a die. It doesn’t give you your bonuses again.


You may be grasping a bit, here. The last thing you quoted are instructions on how to interpret the wording "add a die", such as with blessings. We are all familiar with the protocol for that. "A die" means just the base die for the check with no modifiers. "Your skill die" includes modifiers unless the word "unmodified" is used, such as can be found on some bows. If "your skill die" meant no modifiers, they wouldn't have used the word "unmodified".


Pathfinder Card Game Subscriber
csouth154 wrote:
You may be grasping a bit, here. The last thing you quoted are instructions on how to interpret the wording "add a die", such as with blessings. We are all familiar with the protocol for that. "A die" means just the base die for the check with no modifiers. "Your skill die" includes modifiers unless the word "unmodified" is used, such as can be found on some bows. If "your skill die" meant no modifiers, they wouldn't have used the word "unmodified".

On cards like Longbows the term "unmodified" is used because that is a situation where you are attempting a check. And without the word "unmodified" the check would seem to involve 2 skills with two different sets of modifiers. To avoid that, one of the dice is flagged as "unmodified". But that is only because when you attempt a check you add modifiers. The Longbow itself doesn't tell you to add modifiers. The attempting a check sequence tells you to add modifiers. When you attempt the roll you add in the modifiers for the skill die involved, unless the card tells you the die is unmodified.

There is no where that you are told to add modifiers when you aren't attempting a check. My quoting of "add what your told to add" is to highlight that when you are told the term "die" it is a die That was only necessary to clarify because the subtlety of the modifiers being added during the attempting a check sequence was being missed by people (including me). "A die is only a die" is technically true of Longbow. Longbow itself only tells you to roll a die. Your skill die is just a die. Your skill is a die and modifiers. By virtue of the fact that a skill die is rolled during a check, you get you skill bonuses added as a modifier.

I think it should be that you add the modifiers, for the very reasons you mention (it not being more powerful than Wand of Enervation being chief among them). I'm just saying I can't find a place to justify that you do add your modifiers. Every time I've used it, I've added my modifiers. And I will until I see that I should do otherwise.


Yeah, I just really don't think they mean for "roll your skill die" to mean one thing on one card and a different thing on another, based on a single line from the book. If they DO intend that, then that is possibly the most inelegant intention I have seen in a game, yet.

Paizo Employee Chief Technical Officer

It has the same wording as weapon cards because you're supposed to do the same thing you do with weapon cards: use your skill feats.

It's worth noting that in Skull & Shackles, we’re increasing the distinction between “die” (which now means just the base die) and “skills" (which now means the base die plus any bonuses). If this card were to appear in S&S*, it would say "use your Arcane skill" instead of "roll your Arcane die."

As for the power level, you might notice that there are many threads commenting on the increased difficulty of later scenarios.

Higher-powered loot + more difficult scenarios = not a coincidence.

*It doesn't.


Pathfinder Card Game Subscriber

Thanks Vic!

Grand Lodge

Vic Wertz wrote:

It has the same wording as weapon cards because you're supposed to do the same thing you do with weapon cards: use your skill feats.

It's worth noting that in Skull & Shackles, we’re increasing the distinction between “die” (which now means just the base die) and “skills" (which now means the base die plus any bonuses). If this card were to appear in S&S*, it would say "use your Arcane skill" instead of "roll your Arcane die."

As for the power level, you might notice that there are many threads commenting on the increased difficulty of later scenarios.

Higher-powered loot + more difficult scenarios = not a coincidence.

*It doesn't.

Sorry for casting "Raise Dead" on this thread, but my Hedge Wizard Ezren just got his grubby mitts on the staff and I was searching for clarifications, thinking it was overpowered (so I smiled when this thread came up).

Does the Hedge Wizard power to "Add (1, 2, or 3) to your Arcane or Knowledge checks" apply to this, making the max roll 1d12+9, barring other Int buffs?

The confusion arises because of the word "checks" in the Hedge Wizard power. It's not a check, is it?


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Card Game, Maps, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Maps, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

I'd personally say no, because it isn't a check (you're just using your skill as a modifier for some other check, you aren't making the check yourself). In a similar vein, you can't play a blessing on that power to add more dice to further reduce the difficulty (which would be useful if say the person actually doing the check is using d4s, and you're using d12s).


The Knight Argent wrote:

Sorry for casting "Raise Dead" on this thread, but my Hedge Wizard Ezren just got his grubby mitts on the staff and I was searching for clarifications, thinking it was overpowered (so I smiled when this thread came up).

Does the Hedge Wizard power to "Add (1, 2, or 3) to your Arcane or Knowledge checks" apply to this, making the max roll 1d12+9, barring other Int buffs?

The confusion arises because of the word "checks" in the Hedge Wizard power. It's not a check, is it?

It wouldn't add the bonus. You're adding your arcane skill when you use the staff, but nowhere do you actually make an arcane check (a check needs a difficulty number that you're rolling against).


If it didn't want you to use your arcane modifier I'm sure it would just say Intelligence instead.


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Pathfinder Card Game Subscriber
paindalo wrote:
If it didn't want you to use your arcane modifier I'm sure it would just say Intelligence instead.

That would be rough for Seoni and Lem.

Shadow Lodge

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Mechalibur wrote:
The Knight Argent wrote:

Sorry for casting "Raise Dead" on this thread, but my Hedge Wizard Ezren just got his grubby mitts on the staff and I was searching for clarifications, thinking it was overpowered (so I smiled when this thread came up).

Does the Hedge Wizard power to "Add (1, 2, or 3) to your Arcane or Knowledge checks" apply to this, making the max roll 1d12+9, barring other Int buffs?

The confusion arises because of the word "checks" in the Hedge Wizard power. It's not a check, is it?

It wouldn't add the bonus. You're adding your arcane skill when you use the staff, but nowhere do you actually make an arcane check (a check needs a difficulty number that you're rolling against).

That's what I told him when we played together, but does he trust the Sloth? Noooo... :)


Pathfinder Card Game, Class Deck Subscriber

It's a little weird.

When Hedge Wizard Ezren gets "add 3 to your Arcane or Knowledge checks", he _does_ apply the ability a Frost Ray he casts, but only because the by virtue of adding its traits to the check, so the Combat check turns into an Arcane Combat check.

The Staff of Hungry Ghosts though has odd wording that isn't really accounted for. It says "use your Arcane skill" (or would be if it was reprinted with S&S templating) but it doesn't say "for your X check", so it doesn't add its traits to the check. Which means it's not an Arcane check and thus the ability doesn't apply.

"Use your X skill" isn't the only thing that the trait adding looks for, it's also "For your Y check", since then it can actually add its traits to that check.

Paizo Employee Chief Technical Officer

zeroth_hour wrote:
It says "use your Arcane skill" (or would be if it was reprinted with S&S templating) but it doesn't say "for your X check", so it doesn't add its traits to the check. Which means it's not an Arcane check and thus the ability doesn't apply.

Not only is it not an Arcane check, it's not a check at all.


zeroth_hour wrote:

It's a little weird.

When Hedge Wizard Ezren gets "add 3 to your Arcane or Knowledge checks", he _does_ apply the ability a Frost Ray he casts, but only because the by virtue of adding its traits to the check, so the Combat check turns into an Arcane Combat check.

Actually, it's because the Combat check is defined by the skill listed on a card you play "for your combat check." For a counter-example, consider the Fire Lance. You are doing the following.

-Rolling a Ø combat check,
-On 1d12 + 1d12 (if buried) or 1d8 + 3d8 (if banished);
-With the Ranged trait.

The trait doesn't define the check's skill; Damiel (having Ranged as Dex) won't get two dice from Blessing of Erastil, because it's not a Ranged combat check. He'll get one die (which die depends on how he chose to play Fire Lance.)

Frost Ray defines the combat check as Arcane skill + 2d6, which is why it's an Arcane check. (The trait doesn't matter for this purpose.)

Staff of Hungry Shadows (like Wand of Enervation, or Enervating Pistol) isn't making a check at all; it's only using your Arcane skill as a variable effect.


Pathfinder Card Game Subscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber
Sandslice wrote:


Damiel (having Ranged as Dex) won't get two dice from Blessing of Erastil,because it's not a Ranged combat check. He'll get one die (which die depends on how he chose to play Fire Lance.)

So, it *is* a combat check with the Ranged trait, but it is not a Dexterity combat check, which is why Erastil only gives one die. I completely agree with your conclusion, but disagree that it isn't a Ranged combat check.


Pathfinder Card Game, Class Deck Subscriber

FWB is correct; Blessing of Erastil asks for a Dexterity Combat check, not a Ranged Combat check.

I could see how someone could read an implication about how I thought it was a check, but I didn't think Staff of Hungry Shadows was a check.

Technically, "card you play" isn't true, since Sajan and Meliski have power feats that have "for your combat check" listed on them.

And also technically, both traits and skills you use determine the type of check. So the trait does matter, but you can get "Arcane check" from both the fact that Arcane skill is used and that the check has the Arcane trait.


First World Bard wrote:
Sandslice wrote:


Damiel (having Ranged as Dex) won't get two dice from Blessing of Erastil,because it's not a Ranged combat check. He'll get one die (which die depends on how he chose to play Fire Lance.)
So, it *is* a combat check with the Ranged trait, but it is not a Dexterity combat check, which is why Erastil only gives one die. I completely agree with your conclusion, but disagree that it isn't a Ranged combat check.

...and as much as it doesn't make sense to me, a quick look (incidentally for something else) at the rulebook shows that I'm quite wrong: it is indeed a Ranged combat check BECAUSE it has the Ranged trait...

...which doesn't make much sense to me, because the reverse (it has the trait BECAUSE you're rolling a skill of the same name) isn't true. It also doesn't come up much in play, since anything that cares about Ranged is looking for the trait.


If you had a blessing that referred to ranged checks it would add 2 dice :)


Pathfinder Card Game Subscriber
Sandslice wrote:
It also doesn't come up much in play, since anything that cares about Ranged is looking for the trait.

It can come up with some allies and also RotR Ezren.

Archer wrote:
Recharge this card to add 1d4 to your Ranged combat check.

That would work for anyone playing the Fire Lance, because you are making a Ranged Combat check.

Evoker Ezren wrote:
Add 2 to your Arcane check with the Force trait.

That would work when Ezren played the Wand of Force Missile.

Lini + weapon with Melee trait + Snake is another example of a combo you can pull off.

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