Harpy Monk at the Courtyard


Rules Questions and Gameplay Discussion


For the Black Tower scenario in adventure deck 4 of RotR, one of the locations is the Courtyard, whose At This Location power stipulates that "Before each combat", each character at the location must succeed at an Dexterity or Acrobatics 8 check or take 1d4 damage.

Fine. So we send Merisiel or Sajan there. With their skill feats, they're probably not failing that check.

Except. The henchman in this scenario are Harpy Monks, whose card stipulates that "Before the encounter", each character [in the game] must succeed at a Wisdom 8 check or they cannot play weapons or spells and they move to the Harpy's location.

So which power acts first? "Before each combat" or "Before the encounter"?

I played it that "Before the encounter" happened first, so everyone who failed the Wisdom check moved to the Courtyard (which was all 3 other characters in the party), and then each had to make the Dexterity or Acrobatics 8 check or take 1d4 damage. It's a deadly combination, because none of the 3 moved characters could make the check, and some took the full 4 damage.


Pathfinder Card Game Subscriber

Before the encounter happens first. The combat part is the combat check. So the Courtyard power activate just before you attempt the combat check.


Just a note. When multiple characters are affected by an ability that requires rolls for damage (such as the one mentioned above), each character gets a separate die roll. The die isn't rolled once and then applied to all characters.

Granted, you may have rolled a 4 on the 1d4 multiple times, but I just wanted to point this out in case that isn't what happened.


I'm surprised I haven't seen questions about the Courtyard before - "before each combat" is pretty poorly defined. Does it apply twice if a monster has two combat checks? Ouch.


Firedale2002 wrote:

Just a note. When multiple characters are affected by an ability that requires rolls for damage (such as the one mentioned above), each character gets a separate die roll. The die isn't rolled once and then applied to all characters.

Granted, you may have rolled a 4 on the 1d4 multiple times, but I just wanted to point this out in case that isn't what happened.

Yup, rolled a d4 for each character, and got 2 4s and a 1. The 1 was for the character with armor.

Pathfinder Adventure Card Game Designer

Nefrubyr wrote:
I'm surprised I haven't seen questions about the Courtyard before - "before each combat" is pretty poorly defined. Does it apply twice if a monster has two combat checks? Ouch.

Before we answer this, I am curious how people have been playing this card. If a monster has two checks, were you making the power trigger once before you battle the monster, or before each check?


Pathfinder Card Game Subscriber

I think I have been doing it for once for the encounter. Though I'm not sure that has come up very much.

It says before any combat here, which I took to mean only happening one time in the encounter.

Sovereign Court

I considered the combat to be the encounter, on the rare occasion it came up. Before each check just seemed more painful than I thought you guys would do. Of course, if it's not, then... OW!!


I have treated it as before the encounter rather than before each check.


Mike Selinker wrote:
Nefrubyr wrote:
I'm surprised I haven't seen questions about the Courtyard before - "before each combat" is pretty poorly defined. Does it apply twice if a monster has two combat checks? Ouch.
Before we answer this, I am curious how people have been playing this card. If a monster has two checks, were you making the power trigger once before you battle the monster, or before each check?

My group interpreted this to mean before each combat check , since "combat" is never really defined as being anything other than a "check against a monster" or a "combat check". This scenario did come up for us once and that was how we played it. As Lini was the character doing all the checks, it turned out to not make any difference, since she had already taken 2 DEX feats and had +4 for revealing an animal ally.


As I recall, I treated it as before the encounter, if the encounter included a combat check. So it would apply to barriers with a combat check, but not to monsters with non-combat (such as Siren). As for banes with a choice of combat or non-combat... I don't think it ever came up.


Mike Selinker wrote:
Nefrubyr wrote:
I'm surprised I haven't seen questions about the Courtyard before - "before each combat" is pretty poorly defined. Does it apply twice if a monster has two combat checks? Ouch.
Before we answer this, I am curious how people have been playing this card. If a monster has two checks, were you making the power trigger once before you battle the monster, or before each check?

We've been doing it twice. "Before each combat" sounded pretty clear to us. If you fight a monster with two combat checks, you're entering combat twice, making two instances of "before (each) combat."


Pathfinder Card Game Subscriber

I think it says "before any combat..." instead of each.


Oh, I was just typing off of what was posted in the thread. That's still how it sounds to me and how we played it.


Hawkmoon269 wrote:
I think it says "before any combat..." instead of each.

You're right. It actually says:

Courtyard wrote:
Before any combat here, each character at this location must succeed at a Dexterity or Acrobatics 8 check or take 1d4 Combat damage.

Not that that makes it any clearer.

(BTW that's the second card I've transcribed off a BGG image today :-D )


One thing we DIDN'T do, and I just caught reading Nefrubyr's post, is this (example):

Lini and Sajan are at the courtyard. Lini encounters a Goblin Raider. Lini makes the Dex/Acrobatics check... Sajan also makes the Dex/Acrobatics check.

I never noticed before but it could be interpreted that every character at the location must make the Dex/Acrobatics check or take damage, regardless of whether or not that character is about to enter combat. I don't think that's the intent, but it could certainly be interpreted that way.


Orbis Orboros wrote:

One thing we DIDN'T do, and I just caught reading Nefrubyr's post, is this (example):

Lini and Sajan are at the courtyard. Lini encounters a Goblin Raider. Lini makes the Dex/Acrobatics check... Sajan also makes the Dex/Acrobatics check.

I never noticed before but it could be interpreted that every character at the location must make the Dex/Acrobatics check or take damage, regardless of whether or not that character is about to enter combat. I don't think that's the intent, but it could certainly be interpreted that way.

Not only can it be interpreted that way, I'm quite certain it should be interpreted that way. Hence why I like to try to solo that location with someone like Lini ;)

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Card Game, Maps, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber

Now it's making sense. I didn't remember it being before every combat. We only did it once ... before any combat occured. And both characters had to perform the check.


If you read the back, the fluff is that the ground is treacherous, making anyone who's not nimble twist their foot or something for trying to fight there. I really don't think that non-fighting characters are supposed to make the check.

Pathfinder Adventure Card Game Designer

Actually, we based it on this encounter from book 4 of RotR, but then generalized it for the final version.

Fortress of the Stone Giants:
A large area of hard-packed earth fills the southwestern quadrant of Jorgenfist—a courtyard used by those giants who are allowed to dwell within the compound for public gatherings.

The courtyard’s lack of cover presents a challenge to anyone attempting to move stealthily through the area. Further complicating movement through the area during the day is the 75% chance that a single stone giant is in the final steps of breaking a recently caught mammoth in the yard. The mammoth remains wild and angry enough that when it spots the PCs, it issues an indignant trumpeting and charges—much to its stone giant rider’s shock!


Huh, the fluff on the card seems to make a bigger deal about the treacherous footing than the inability to be stealthy.


The fluff is just fluff; it has no bearing on the powers or how to interpret them.

The "At this location" specifically says "each character at this location"; I don't see how this can be interpreted as "only the character facing combat".


Flat the Impaler wrote:
The fluff is just fluff; it has no bearing on the powers or how to interpret them.

I know. But if there are two interpretations, it can point to the designer's intent. Not perfect, not even close, but better than nothing.

Flat the Impaler wrote:
The "At this location" specifically says "each character at this location"; I don't see how this can be interpreted as "only the character facing combat".

It can be interpreted thusly:

"Each character at this location must succeed at a Dexterity or Acrobatics 8 check before they enter any combat here or take 1d4 Combat damage."

Although a better wording would be to leave out the "each character" part, since that's implied on an individual basis just by saying "at this location."


Pathfinder Card Game Subscriber

If it was only the character making the combat check it wouldn't say "each character at this location" as that would all be implicit. There are numerous cards with the same language that clearly mean all of the characters.

Mammy Graul: ...each character at this location summons and encounters an Ancient Skeleton henchman

Any Giant: Damage dealt by... is dealt to each character at this location.

Longtooth: ...each character at this location attempts a Dexterity or Acrobatics 9 check. Characters who succeed are dealt 1 Fire damage; characters who fail are dealt 1d4 Fire damage.

All of these clearly must mean all of the characters at that location deal with whatever it is to make any real sense, especially the Giants


I realize that and touched on it at the end of my last post... But your examples are all of monsters, not locations. Given the wording, I don't care for them as examples.

That being said, I do realize I'm fighting a losing battle. Having looked closer at it and seeing this wording I would have to agree that it applies to each character. But it seems illogical and possible to interpret differently. Now I know, don't let the story get in the way of the cards and all that, but since we have the ability to ask if it was indeed the intent of the designers...

So, let me be succinct. The way it's worded, all characters at the courtyard make the check before any combat*. I ask if it's supposed to be worded that way, given the logical scenario seems to me to indicate no.

*Although what "any combat" means is still under discussion.

EDIT: Misworded something.

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Card Game, Maps, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber

As far as wording goes (in general), it is better to be more explicit when the language is expressing something outside the norm. Like what we're talking about when dealing with "Each character at this location". While some things can be implied, it is better to be explicit in those conditions.

Orbis Orboros wrote:
So, let me be succinct. The way it's worded, all characters at the courtyard make the check each combat*. I ask if it's supposed to be worded that way, given the logical scenario seems to me to indicate no.

I thought it was not worded that way. I thought it was:

Courtyard wrote:
Before any combat here, each character at this location must succeed at a Dexterity or Acrobatics 8 check or take 1d4 Combat damage.

Which is completely different. Do you have an example where a location states "each combat"?


Nope, typo/goofup on my part. Should say "Any combat"

Will edit. Doesn't change the intent of my post.

I was trying to say that with the current wording all characters will have to make an extra check when combat occurs. I just don't think that it should be worded in a way that causes that; Why should Lini take damage from watching Valeros fight?


Orbis Orboros wrote:
Why should Lini take damage from watching Valeros fight?

Because that's what the card says to do. Call it collateral damage from flying boulders if you need justification.

I think the biggest take-away here is: Don't interpret, just read.

It starts out "Before any combat"; this is the trigger.
What happens when this triggers? "Each character at this location must succeed ... or take 1d4 Combat damage".

Regardless of what you or anyone else thinks should happen at this location, is this power not clearly worded? (The exact meaning of "combat" notwithstanding).

The examples being monsters makes no difference; a power is a power. Let the cards tell you what to do rather than trying to figure out what you want the cards to tell you to do.


Pathfinder Card Game Subscriber
Orbis Orboros wrote:

Nope, typo/goofup on my part. Should say "Any combat"

Will edit. Doesn't change the intent of my post.

I was trying to say that with the current wording all characters will have to make an extra check when combat occurs. I just don't think that it should be worded in a way that causes that; Why should Lini take damage from watching Valeros fight?

If Valeros and Lini are in the same location and Valeros encounters a Hill Giant: Why should Lini take damage from Valeros missing his check? Because that is what the card says. If you need the flavor to make sense: you are in a crowded courtyard in the giant's fortress. The other characters are trying to get out of the way of the combat. If you fail, you take damage.

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Card Game, Maps, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber

I have to agree with Flat. The intent is that combat at that location has risks to everyone else that is there.

And, btw, I don't think we have to worry about the meaning of combat. If you evade the encounter, then combat does not happen and the power of the location does not happen.

So, while at the Courtyard, if Lini is watching Valeros fight then there is a chance she'll take some damage.


I feel I'm going in circles at this point...

Eh. Anyone have any further comments on the "any combat" (to get back on topic)?


1 person marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Card Game Subscriber
Theryon Stormrune wrote:
And, btw, I don't think we have to worry about the meaning of combat. If you evade the encounter, then combat does not happen and the power of the location does not happen.

The issue is less evasion and more to do with multiple combat checks and non-combat checks. If a monster can be defeated with a non-combat check, is that combat? If you fail the check you are still dealt combat damage, right? And if a monster has more than one combat check, do you have to make a Dex/Acro check before each combat check?

Combat could mean:
1. Encounter a monster.
2. Encounter a monster with a combat check to defeat.
3. Attempt any check to defeat a monster.
4. Attempt any combat check to defeat a monster.
5. Attempt a combat check for any reason. (I don't remember anything that could trigger a combat check other than encountering a monster, but I include this for completeness)

Each of these interpretations could be valid as "combat" isn't clearly defined (unlike "combat check") and each would lead to different numbers of Dex/Acro rolls.

I don't remember exactly what my group did when we encountered it, but I suspect we just sent Merisiel there alone so it didn't matter. And if we had to roll we would have just done one per monster encounter, regardless of type or number of checks.

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Card Game, Maps, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber

Ahhh ... gotcha ...

Well, the card says combat. And while there are other types of checks to defeat monsters, this says combat. It doesn't say "any check to defeat" so in my mind it means only if there is an actual combat check. (And while you do take damage from the other checks, you aren't doing a combat check.)

So I think we're past the "encountering the monster" because if you evade it, you avoid the combat (check). The power of the card activates prior to any combat ... and, again, I think it would apply to both combat checks if a monster requires two. So if there are multiple combats occurring in the same round by a character, it would be prior to each time a combat actually occurs.

Paizo Employee Chief Technical Officer

Orbis Orboros wrote:
Flat the Impaler wrote:
The fluff is just fluff; it has no bearing on the powers or how to interpret them.
I know. But if there are two interpretations, it can point to the designer's intent. Not perfect, not even close, but better than nothing.

It is not safe to assume that flavor text is written by the designers—that's actually a very rare thing. And for Rise of the Runelords especially, it's not even safe to assume that the flavor text was written by somebody who had played the card game more than once or twice. It *is* safe to assume that most of the flavor text is written by somebody who understands the story of the Adventure Path, though.


I was lumping everyone involved in the making of the game into the term "designers..." although I did think that whoever did the flavor text would be more involved (I picture the... staff of the PACG as being rather small, could be wrong, just the feeling I've gathered). But that's good to know. Still, you guys tend to try and match up, on a basic level, the fluff and the cards. It's pretty obvious why you get to explore again at the academy based on spells rather than another card type, for instance.


Pathfinder Card Game Subscriber
nondeskript wrote:


5. Attempt a combat check for any reason. (I don't remember anything that could trigger a combat check other than encountering a monster, but I include this for completeness)

I'm pretty sure there's some barriers that have combat as an option to defeat.

Sovereign Court

Doors and chests, for example.


Pathfinder Card Game Subscriber

I don't think any doors or chests had combat checks, just Strength/Melee checks. Which means you couldn't use weapons or attack spells on them, as they specify "combat check". But I could be forgetting something, as I don't have my game handy at the moment.


Pathfinder Card Game Subscriber
Theryon Stormrune wrote:

Ahhh ... gotcha ...

Well, the card says combat. And while there are other types of checks to defeat monsters, this says combat. It doesn't say "any check to defeat" so in my mind it means only if there is an actual combat check. (And while you do take damage from the other checks, you aren't doing a combat check.)

So I think we're past the "encountering the monster" because if you evade it, you avoid the combat (check). The power of the card activates prior to any combat ... and, again, I think it would apply to both combat checks if a monster requires two. So if there are multiple combats occurring in the same round by a character, it would be prior to each time a combat actually occurs.

But the card also doesn't say "combat check" which is the problem. It uses an undefined term (combat) that can be understood or misunderstood in multiple ways. I imagine that it should be read as "Before any combat check,..." which is the interpretation you're going with. So you're probably right, but the card is unclear :)


I think the Locked Stone Door had the option of a combat check. Something like 22+Adventure deck number.


Pathfinder Card Game Subscriber

Squealy Nord was an 18 combat check, Arcane Lock barrier was a 26 combat check and Corroded Lock was was 30 combat check, so there ya go. Having said that, the Courtyard has 0 barriers, so you won't run into one there unless there is a card I don't remember that adds random barriers to locations. But clearly my memory is not the best ;)

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Card Game, Maps, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber

It's just the way we played the location. Both characters rolled their check before combat.

Pathfinder Adventure Card Game Designer

nondeskript wrote:
But the card also doesn't say "combat check" which is the problem.

It does now.

Community / Forums / Pathfinder / Pathfinder Adventure Card Game / Rules Questions and Gameplay Discussion / Harpy Monk at the Courtyard All Messageboards

Want to post a reply? Sign in.
Recent threads in Rules Questions and Gameplay Discussion