The Alain debate Glory Hound or Lancer


Rules Questions and Gameplay Discussion

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Pathfinder ACG Developer

Same rule that prevents you from spending a cure mid-encounter. Has to apply to the encounter step at hand.

Edit: Thanks elcoderdude for the full explanation.


Once an encounter has begun, you can only play cards or use powers which directly pertain to the current step of the encounter. This is in the rulebook, although I don't have it handy to quote.

Recharging a card to get a mount doesn't directly pertain to any step of the encounter.

The is a current discussion on another thread about what pertains and what doesn't. Basically if the thing you do gets you a card you must then do something else with to affect the step, the thing you did didn't directly pertain.

Manager - 4-Plus

Ok this is a bit new to me because we had always accepted that it did pertain to the encounter otherwise cards like Mastiff would not say can not play during an encounter. I will bring this up to the group because spending a cure during an encounter is a very common event in our group. This brings up the other question why does the Mastiff have the wording?


100 posts! I do not understand how in the same post you say you finish the final AD4 adventure in under 20 turns, you also say you don't feel it's that strong?

Blessings Deck obsolescence with one check mark seems pretty OP. Maybe my group cherishing the Holy Candle from RotR gives me too much respect for the Blessings Deck.


SlappyWhite wrote:
because spending a cure during an encounter is a very common event in our group.

uh oh...

Manager - 4-Plus

Page 10 seems to be the reference here.

"If you are instructed to play, reveal, display, discard, recharge,
bury, banish, or otherwise manipulate a card, that card must come
from your hand unless otherwise specified. You may not activate a
power or play a card that doesn’t apply to your current situation. For
example, you may not play a card to reduce damage when damage
is not being dealt, and you may not play a card to evade a monster
when you are not encountering a monster.
If a card in your hand does not specify when it can be played, you can
generally play it anytime you can play cards, with the exception that during an encounter you may only perform specific actions at specific times."

We have always felt that anything you do in an encounter to mitigate damage, conserve life, etc is all pertaining to the encounter. From a narrative perspective, oh my its a huge dragon, this is going to hurt and I have a pointy stick so odds are not in my favor, I better cure myself before I get squashed for the best chance of survival.

Pathfinder ACG Developer

I suspect this is the least-followed/understood rule in the game, but it is a rule nonetheless. Curing before the dragon chomps you is great, but unfortunately the key part there is you need to do it _before_ the dragon is about to chomp you. Ie, before you even turn over the card.

Playing the other way totally works, and if you're happy doing so, I'd say go ahead and do so*. Just be aware that the game will be somewhat easier as a result. Whether that's good or bad is definitely a table decision.

* Outside of a more official setting, like a tournament, serious Organized Play group, etc.


The rule I am citing is under "Encountering A Card":

Wrath Rulebook p.10 wrote:
Players may only play cards or use powers that relate to each step (or relate to cards played or powers used in that step).


Keith Richmond wrote:

I suspect this is the least-followed/understood rule in the game, but it is a rule nonetheless. Curing before the dragon chomps you is great, but unfortunately the key part there is you need to do it _before_ the dragon is about to chomp you. Ie, before you even turn over the card.

Playing the other way totally works, and if you're happy doing so, I'd say go ahead and do so*. Just be aware that the game will be somewhat easier as a result. Whether that's good or bad is definitely a table decision.

* Outside of a more official setting, like a tournament, serious Organized Play group, etc.

I feel this is very important. Decisions matter. The decision to cast Cure needs to have weight. It cannot just be a reaction to new information, such as a dragon appearing.

This is definitely best debated elsewhere though. Lancerop


I think it's important that this is factored in though - I'm very aware that my group don't follow this rule (and not too bothered that we don't it's taken me long enough to convince the one girl that she can't attempt a combat check to acquire a weapon...) - but if people are complaining the game is too easy, it's important that we know if they're deviating from the rules in ways that make the game easier - just as much as if it were the other way round and someone was making the game harder than the rules say, then complaining it was too difficult.


Pathfinder Card Game Subscriber
SlappyWhite wrote:

We have always felt that anything you do in an encounter to mitigate damage, conserve life, etc is all pertaining to the encounter. From a narrative perspective, oh my its a huge dragon, this is going to hurt and I have a pointy stick so odds are not in my favor, I better cure myself before I get squashed for the best chance of survival.

However, casting a Cure is an indirect association.

Narratively, when you encounter the dragon, you've already rolled initiative. Do you really think the dragon's just going to stand there letting you cast spells to Cure yourself?

(In some games, the answer is yes - just not Pathfinder the RPG.)

And in addition, the actual encounter has steps, and there's no time to play a Cure in any of them. See the "encountering a card" section on p.10, which is special:

"...players may perform only the specified actions. Players may only play cards or use powers that relate to each step (or relate to cards played or powers used in that step)..."

Here are the steps in encountering a card:

Apply any effects that happen when you encounter a card.
Apply any evasion effects.
Apply any effects that happen before you act.
Attempt the check.
Attempt the next check, if needed.
Apply any effects that happen after you act. Resolve the encounter.

-Cure doesn't really pertain to effects that happen when you encounter a card.
-Cure definitely doesn't apply to evasion.
-Cure doesn't apply to the "before you act" step.
-Cure doesn't apply to the check itself.
-Cure doesn't apply to any other checks either.
-Cure doesn't apply to the "after you act" step.

EDIT: Evidently elcoderdude said the same thing in a single sentence :P

Manager - 4-Plus

Cool, good feedback from the developer, doubt it will change much as now I will just recharge all my extra junk for mounts before the exploration. I am glad the developers are so active in the community, we have been looking for an increase in difficulty I will relay this to our play group, I think we will enjoy it and adapt. Thanks Vic and Keith for your input, this is what makes a good game great.

Manager - 4-Plus

In future rule books it might be a worthwhile endeavor to use different examples like the cure in combat disallowed. Maybe change the wording to directly impact the encounter.


Alainplus2 wrote:
100 posts! I do not understand how in the same post you say you finish the final AD4 adventure in under 20 turns, you also say you don't feel it's that strong?

Well he is playing with a party, not solo.

You mentioned your group preemptively house ruled on his ability before starting 4-1. Did you ever try playing with Alain as he is to see how it went in practice? I am curious about how he is working out in actual play sessions.


Baldrekr wrote:
Alainplus2 wrote:
100 posts! I do not understand how in the same post you say you finish the final AD4 adventure in under 20 turns, you also say you don't feel it's that strong?

Well he is playing with a party, not solo.

You mentioned your group preemptively house ruled on his ability before starting 4-1. Did you ever try playing with Alain as he is to see how it went in practice? I am curious about how he is working out in actual play sessions.

Nah, we don't have a lot of time to game, so we usually only play each scenario once.

That is why we are subscribers, "AD in the mail day" is awesome!

Also why we pre-nerfed. "AD in the mail day" deserves to be awesome for the whole team.


Pathfinder Card Game Subscriber

Not to say that power isn't very strong, but I feel like (after, say, AP0 or AP1) we end most six-location scenarios before turn 20.


That's impressive. We've rarely had it like that - lucky on the henchmen & villain. On average ours usually go at least half-way; with the occasional snafu bringing us to the edge.. :D

Love AD in the mail day ... Like mini Christmas ..


Zenarius wrote:
Love AD in the mail day ... Like mini Christmas ..

It's today! Which is glorious, as I move offices next week and coming back here to pick this box up would've been a pain

(We still haven't started Wrath, so this puts us only 25 scenarios behind...)


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Pathfinder Card Game Subscriber

Now, I'd usually stay out of a debate like this but since *some* people want Alain nerfed because it's cramping *their* playstyle and since *some* people clearly state that even given an official ruling to the contrary because they'll continue to be vocal about *their* viewpoint, because obviously they know best and their play group's tastes should dictate everyone's experience, I decided to chime in.

Having just finished the Base Adventure with a 6 player group, I have two words for you regarding Wrath of the Righteous:

Soul. Crushing.

And if you need me to elaborate, I have a few more choice words:
Abattoir. Arboreal Plague. Demon Horde. And there's something about Armies I hear...

So to me, *anyone* wanting *anything* in WotR to be nerfed is not playing the 6-player game (or otherwise, they're not in their right mind).
For 5 scenarios, my group had to trudge through one of the most horrible gaming experiences ever, without an ounce of joy to be had in sight, under the constant impression that the designers' single intent was “Oh, you're not finding THAT too easy now, are you?”, and reeling on the edge of mental and -yes, really- physical exhaustion by the end, instead of having any sense of accomplishment or euphory. The only thing that made us going was the amount of money we've spent on this product and the thought that maybe – maybe- we'll get something worth its while down the line.

So why don't you see me flooding the forums with complaints that the WotR is broken (which, at base set level it totally is) and that some of its cards should have never seen the light of day, let alone in Base Set (which they totally shouldn't have)?

Because nobody made me play the way I did. Nobody made me play 6 character game. Nobody made me select 3 casters which might as well pack it in when they run into a Carrion Golem. Nobody made me *not* house-rule Demon Horde and Arboreal Plague out of existence. And given all that, I have *plenty* of reasons to demand the game be fixed to my liking, if I'm coming at it from purely customer perspective, because that's a broken product if I've ever seen one.

But here's the thing: I know there's a lot of people out there who play all sort of character composition and numbers. I know the game's a very different beast if you play it with 3-4 characters. And I know that a bunch of people are finding the WotR's absurd difficulty (which, as stated, may be not that absurd with at different party size/composition) -if that's what you call heavy card distribution dependency- actually *enjoyable*.

Also, I'm not coming at it as a *customer*. I loved RotR to pieces. I enjoyed S&S greatly, even though I found some of its more punishing cards already crossing the threshold of arbitrarity tolerance. And I certainly hold a great deal of respect for the design team that gave me so many hours of excitement – enough, that I'm able to forgive a misstep or two, and to hope that given player feedback, they'll make the next PACG better – and for the player community that spends countless hours analyzing the game, suggesting ideas, offering advice, and generally making PACG one of the best board games I've ever had the fortune of stumbling upon. It is out of that respect, that I'm not instantly going to jump in and demand the game be changed, and because, while WotR certainly doesn't start like my cup of tea, I know it still delivers in spades for people with different sensibilities than mine.

So excuse me if I'm taking it a little personally when someone's own inconvenience is reason enough that they take their demands to the forums, expecting the whole design team to fall in line and change the game for everybody else. I'd just like to state that in my *personal* opinion, and for my 6-player party, Alain is perfect 'as is' (and when I say 'perfect', I'm not talking about his completely useless powers pre-role, which is half the AP), and after hitting three Demon Hordes/Arboreal Plagues in a single base scenario, I know that regardless of designer ruling he'll ride into the sunset, as many location-closes at a time as possible, like a g!$-d%@ned boss.

TL;DR: I apologize for the wall of text. I guess I kinda vented both on account of the WotR base set, and at what I can only see as entitlement by some people demanding a change, without looking at it outside the context of their own group/play style.

Move along now, this is not the eloquent argument you're looking for...:)


^ this

I must say I've been bemused by all this Alain talk

I get what they are saying, one character dominating a session too much is bad for the group. But my Alain ( whom has just finished AD3 and chosen his role card). Has been a reliable character so far, the fortune teller really helping how much work he's been able to do for the party

Compared to what we underwent in AD0 and against the armies with a 6 player team it does seem weird to be talking about nerfing a character I haven't seen in action yet.

I am completely unsure how I feel about this at this juncture.

I think the fix might be something like 'Mounts discarded for their explore ability are displayed until the end of the turn then discarded as usual'


Sorry, but experience with base deck scenarios (which I think everyone agrees are hard, regardless of party composition) is not relevant to the discussion, which is about crushing adventure deck 4+. No one wants to the game to be either insanely hard or insanely easy, and you don't get to average out "insanely hard at the beginning" and "insanely easy at the end" to make "just right".


Actually Christopher, there is a blog post by the designers that disagrees with you.

However, I am more in line with your thinking. I just haven't seen it in action yet.


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Troymk1 - give it a try replaying some of the scenarios buddy. We were unsure as well but then after a few reruns it was surprising. At the least it will be pause for thought.

Longshot11 - damn, u folks had a hard run..! :) .. Our experience was completely different.. Getting hit by multiple blights/demons and yet managing to pull through as a team scraping one last round of actions before the deck depleted, several characters on the brink of death ... And the final roll or card revealed ... It's the BOSS !! YEA!!! Fire everything & win.. High fives all round ...


Just goes to show you how everyone's play through is different. That is why this game rocks!


4-2 tonight! Hopefully those Mounts are hidden in location decks just ready to be talked into joining my cause.

Manager - 4-Plus

Applaud longshot. Adventure 0-2 was somewhat soul crushing. We were having flashbacks to love triangle pre-faq. We typically finish the ADs prior to release date so yeah we have been there lol.


Got stuck with a rules question in 4-2. Hawkmoon swooped in like Batman answering the Bat Signal and literally saved the night. There was much rejoicing after seeing his post. Went on to crush 4-3 and 4-4. Got two Unicorns. They call me the Hearder of Mounts.


You still using the "at start of turn" house rule Alain? Working well/balanced?


Yeah sticking with that. If I didn't then every combat would also be trivial because Donahan would get to be used, then recharge to pick him back up. If there is a location that has a when closing of summon henchman, this forces me to choose which fight I want to use Donahan for. My group likes a challenge so unless AD5 returns to AD0 form, I cannot see going Alain Unchained.


Zenarius wrote:
You still using the "at start of turn" house rule Alain? Working well/balanced?

The thing I also observed and find questionable is the ability makes hand management irrelevant. Keep one big weapon, maybe an armor, and the rest of the cards that aren't blessings don't really matter.

There's precedence for this, though. Adowyn has been able to do it by bouncing Leryn. Speaking of Adowyn, the "at the start of your turn" just makes it functionally similar to a few of Adowyn's abilities.

Our poor Adowyn was beside herself when it finally struck for her that she hasn't been fetching nearly enough. A funny thing to witness her excitement in AD4 over finding a Bat.

Back to the topic at hand. Without a self-cap, it's a single check mark: trivialization of the blessings deck, combat, and - a new addition(?) - hand management. Alain's check mark to be able to recharge items and Allies is covered if Alain's deck has one mount with exploration.


w w 379 wrote:

Alain's check mark to be able to recharge items and Allies is covered if Alain's deck has one mount with exploration.

Excellent point. Had not even considered the redundancy issue.

Now that AD4 added some powerful spells, I think I'll let my casters play too.


Morning all ... Dang my deck 4 hasn't arrived yet ( granted I'm on the other side of the globe from the US.. ) .. Any resolution on the recursion lancer trick or is everyone just house ruling ?


Finishing AD4 tomorrow night. House ruled. I guess some teams need someone that can explore and kill stuff that efficiently.

Paizo Employee Chief Technical Officer

The designers are keeping an eye on the thread. Sharing actual in-game experiences where you think it seemed overpowered would be helpful.


Much appreciated vic. Just got our ad4 and prob do a few runs over the weekend.


In Zenarius we trust.


Haha .. I hope not. My group doesn't get together as often as we'd like , hence the worry over this ability messing things up. Lancer wasn't around last night but we tried the first scenario .. And spotted another potential abuse. Scenario starts with 5 cohorts.. Give all to lancer and he can potentially blow through the first location In one turn & maybe a couple more. (I know we can say don't do that then .. But it's currently permissible & too easy/blatant to abuse)


WotR Rules p.7 wrote:
If the scenario lists cohorts, each character may add 1 cohort from the list to her hand; put any remaining cohorts back in the box.

Alain couldn't start with all the cohorts.

Scarab Sages

Pathfinder Card Game Subscriber
Longshot11 wrote:
For 5 scenarios, my group had to trudge through one of the most horrible gaming experiences ever, without an ounce of joy to be had in sight...

Just about sums up this set in my view. What a disappointment.


Calthaer wrote:
Longshot11 wrote:
For 5 scenarios, my group had to trudge through one of the most horrible gaming experiences ever, without an ounce of joy to be had in sight...
Just about sums up this set in my view. What a disappointment.

Couldn't disagree more. Overcoming the challenges of the base set provided some of the loudest and most heart felt high fives my group has experienced in any board game.


elcoderdude wrote:
WotR Rules p.7 wrote:
If the scenario lists cohorts, each character may add 1 cohort from the list to her hand; put any remaining cohorts back in the box.
Alain couldn't start with all the cohorts.

Oh crap.. We've been playing it wrong.. Thank you !


Alainplus2 wrote:
Calthaer wrote:
Longshot11 wrote:
For 5 scenarios, my group had to trudge through one of the most horrible gaming experiences ever, without an ounce of joy to be had in sight...
Just about sums up this set in my view. What a disappointment.
Couldn't disagree more. Overcoming the challenges of the base set provided some of the loudest and most heart felt high fives my group has experienced in any board game.

Same here! I just love how challenging the Wrath set is! We have played through RotR and S&S, twice each, and only lost 3 scenarios. In WotR the game becomes more tense so that victories are much more satisfying.

That being said, I suspect that with 6 players (we play with 4) it could be much more frustrating with Demon Hordes, Evil Trees and Armies. Maybe this specific set really shines with 3-4 players.


magnitt wrote:
Alainplus2 wrote:
Calthaer wrote:
Longshot11 wrote:
For 5 scenarios, my group had to trudge through one of the most horrible gaming experiences ever, without an ounce of joy to be had in sight...
Just about sums up this set in my view. What a disappointment.
Couldn't disagree more. Overcoming the challenges of the base set provided some of the loudest and most heart felt high fives my group has experienced in any board game.

Same here! I just love how challenging the Wrath set is! We have played through RotR and S&S, twice each, and only lost 3 scenarios. In WotR the game becomes more tense so that victories are much more satisfying.

That being said, I suspect that with 6 players (we play with 4) it could be much more frustrating with Demon Hordes, Evil Trees and Armies. Maybe this specific set really shines with 3-4 players.

Are people really finding this set challenging? The base set scenarios were very difficult, and AP 2 was hard with large parties. Other than that, i have not found it particularly hard, and AP 3 & 4 both felt like cake walks.*

* I have only done AP 4 with my Andowyn party. Perhaps I will struggle more when my other two groups take it on.


Joshua Birk 898 wrote:
. Other than that, i have found it particularly hard, and AP 3 & 4 both felt like cake walks.*

I think you meant, "I have not found it particularly hard".


It does seem to get somewhat easier at end of ap3 & 4 (haven't finished). Characters are stronger, less chance of immediate death in first couple rounds.

That being said, we're not letting our guard down .. :)


Finished AD4 with one blessing left. Everything felt perfect. To those looking for help, play Alain Unchained. For those looking for more of a challenge, consider adding "At the start of your turn" to his Role ability. Either way, he is a lot of fun.


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Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber; Pathfinder Card Game Subscriber

Well we are lucky enough to have Alain in our 6-p group and we have finished AP4.

Fortunately, he never wants to discard Donahan and we make sure 1) that he never encounters a Pegasus and 2) that he never comes to this forum.

That way we can still play our own turns :-)

More seriously, issue isn't if it's overpowered (who cares, we can always adapt scenario difficulty), issue is it's fun-killing for other players. If it is, then it needs a fix.

We'll tell you how it goes but only if he discovers the trick by himself. I am definitively NOT telling him.


How does your group adapt scenario difficulty?


Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber; Pathfinder Card Game Subscriber

There are many ways to adapt difficulty without touching the characters and their decks (nobody likes that).

Easiest ways we use (but indeed there are very seldom cases where we need it, altogether Mike and Vic are doing a very good job from the start) :
A) modify the number of cards in locations
B) modify the number of cards in blessing deck
C) modify the spread of cards in the box (you could for example remove basic/elite banes sooner or later than by the rule or allow to banish basic/elite banes sooner or later than by the rule - actually since I own all base sets, character add-ons and class decks we can totally tune if need be any of the box decks from which you draw at random... but we try to stay very thematic) - typically you can balance the number of cards having different AP level (e. g. for each type of boon or bane, you could add/remove some high/low level cards before building locations)
D) use adventure-specific twists (like start with a specific ship in S&S or with/without a specific cohorts in WotR)

With mixing a bit of all those ideas (rather than applying full speed a hard change), you can really change the difficulty without changing much the feel/theme/fun.

Note that we try to never change the scenario rule or list of locations needed as this can create major game issues.


Pathfinder Card Game Subscriber
Calthaer wrote:
Longshot11 wrote:
For 5 scenarios, my group had to trudge through one of the most horrible gaming experiences ever, without an ounce of joy to be had in sight...
Just about sums up this set in my view. What a disappointment.

Just to set the record straight: Once we hit AD1, difficulty got more in line with what I remember (closer to RotR even, than to S&S). I'd think it's not only that the bad cards got diluted, but also an overall better balance of "good" and "bad" locations within a scenario.

Still, I'd like to have my "OP" Alain, just so he can finally has a power that we actually use...

And for those saying that Alain diminishes fun for the rest of party: I think there was a post in this very thread that very nicely summed up how a lot of players are actually pretty pleased playing support, and pouring their resources into the one 'tank' to lead them to victory. Now THAT"s cooperative play. If your party consists only of players which all need their moment into the spotlight to enjoy the game - that's fine, but don't mistaken it for an inherent problem with the Lancer.

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