Does Aura of Menace stack?


Rules Questions


A level 9 Wizard casts Summon Monster V and summons 1d3 Hound Archons, getting lucky and summoning three at once.

Assuming all three are within 20 ft. of a hostile creature and the creature fails all three saving throws against the Aura of Menace, does it take the -2 penalty to attacks, AC and saves three times, stacking to -6 total, or just once, for a total of -2?

Silver Crusade Contributor

An ability generally doesn't stack with an identical ability - here, for example, they wouldn't stack, but the creature must make three saves or be affected by at least one.


Here's what's getting me: The rules for stacking, as well as the rules for penalties, both seem to imply that an untyped penalty stacks, and the penalties from Aura of Menace are untyped.

Here's the wording for the rules for Stacking from the PRD:

http://www.d20pfsrd.com/basics-ability-scores/glossary#TOC-Stacking
Stacking

Stacking refers to the act of adding together bonuses or penalties that apply to one particular check or statistic. Generally speaking, most bonuses of the same type do not stack. Instead, only the highest bonus applies. Most penalties do stack, meaning that their values are added together. Penalties and bonuses generally stack with one another, meaning that the penalties might negate or exceed part or all of the bonuses, and vice versa.

And here's the wording of the rules for Penalties from the PRD:

http://www.d20pfsrd.com/basics-ability-scores/glossary#TOC-Penalty
Penalty

Penalties are numerical values that are subtracted from a check or statistical score. Penalties do not have a type and most penalties stack with one another.

Am I missing something?

Silver Crusade Contributor

It's not the penalty that's the problem, per se.

Let's say your summoner were a witch instead of a wizard. After summoning the hound brigade, she uses her Evil Eye hex on the foe. Since both penalties are untyped, they'll stack just fine.

Let me see if I can dredge you up a quote on identical abilities not stacking, though. ^_^

Grand Lodge

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Pathfinder Adventure, Adventure Path, Pathfinder Accessories, Rulebook, Starfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Bonuses from the same source do not stack, but penalties do not have that language. So while I would consider Aura of Menace the same source regardless of who is generating it, the rules do not actually call that out as illegal. This question has also come up with the antipaladin's aura.

Magic section wrote:
Bonus Types: Usually, a bonus has a type that indicates how the spell grants the bonus. The important aspect of bonus types is that two bonuses of the same type don't generally stack. With the exception of dodge bonuses, most circumstance bonuses, and racial bonuses, only the better bonus of a given type works (see Combining Magical Effects). The same principle applies to penalties—a character taking two or more penalties of the same type applies only the worst one, although most penalties have no type and thus always stack. Bonuses without a type always stack, unless they are from the same source.

Silver Crusade Contributor

I am having trouble finding explicit preventative language. Maybe time for an FAQ thread?

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Adventure, Adventure Path, Pathfinder Accessories, Rulebook, Starfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

I believe this faq could be used to prevent the penalties from stacking, as they could be considered the same penalty. I realize this is rather shaky of course.

Silver Crusade Contributor

Yeah, that's... pretty tenuous. :/


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber

http://www.d20pfsrd.com/magic#TOC-Combining-Magic-Effects

I feel pretty confident in calling Aura of Menace a supernatural (thus magical effect).

Silver Crusade Contributor

I saw that, but since the one part said "Spells that provide bonuses or penalties...", I was hesitant to provide it as 100% ironclad evidence.

I'm in agreement, though.


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It's not explicit, but I lean towards the interpretation that no they would stack because they are the same source.

While the rules only specify bonuses from the same source don't stack, and do not comment about penalties I think this is mostly because the developers made an omission or didn't consider this possibility.

I think RAI is probably that they shouldn't stack, because they are the same source. But different untyped sources would, such as Aura of Menance and a Witch's Evil Eye Hex.


Because otherwise, if you can manage to summon (or gate, or however you could get them) a bunch of Pugwampis means you destroy the enemy. You summon the horde of them on top of the enemy and shot them from afar. Watch as they have to make 10 rolls for every time they would normally make 1 and have to take the worst of those rolls. The game grinds to a halt and the enemy is probably going to die.

Just be prepared to kill all the pugwampis from a distance so you aren't affected by their aura.

The Exchange Owner - D20 Hobbies

Kalindlara wrote:

I saw that, but since the one part said "Spells that provide bonuses or penalties...", I was hesitant to provide it as 100% ironclad evidence.

I'm in agreement, though.

They saved 3 words in that section a bunch of times, and because they saved those 3 words "and magical effects" we have continual debates about magical effects stacking or not stacking.

The beginning of the spells stacking and combining sections starts with "spells and magical effects" and immediately drops the "and magical effects". I guess they figured we would get the message, that they consider them the same. We don't always.

Summary:
It doesn't stack because the same magical effect can't be combined. Two Aura of Menace won't do anything more than one.


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We've always played that the same effect from multiple creatures don't stack, but you have to save against each one separately.

Since monsters are usually the ones that have this ability, I'm going to pray that they don't stack.


I've been looking around for a bit, and I can't find an answer, but this topic comes pretty close:

What if you throw the fighter archtype, Brawler, into the mix? The 7th level ability Menacing Stance(Ex) also causes what appear to be untyped negatives. It's not a magical effect, or a supernatural. It doesn't apply a status effect to a target, such as sickened or shaken.

My initial feeling is that it would be a morale effect, but it could also be explained by various small attacks, offensive techniques, and minor feints to 'constantly harry and distract'. Unlike the archon version, there is no save to help define the effect with:

"These(Will) saves reflect your resistance to mental influence as well as many magical effects."

Does Menacing Stance work and stack with literally everything except itself? Or could multiple Brawlers surround a target and literally debuff it into oblivion?

Silver Crusade Contributor

Sir Cowdog wrote:

I've been looking around for a bit, and I can't find an answer, but this topic comes pretty close:

What if you throw the fighter archtype, Brawler, into the mix? The 7th level ability Menacing Stance(Ex) also causes what appear to be untyped negatives. It's not a magical effect, or a supernatural. It doesn't apply a status effect to a target, such as sickened or shaken.

My initial feeling is that it would be a morale effect, but it could also be explained by various small attacks and offensive techniques to 'constantly harry and distract'. Unlike the archon version, there is no save to help define the effect with:

"These(Will) saves reflect your resistance to mental influence as well as many magical effects."

Does Menacing Stance work and stack with literally everything except itself?

Yes. I love that archetype. ^_^

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