[PFS] Am I doing this right?


Rules Questions


I have a hunter character with an ape animal companion that takes advantage of teamwork feats and AoOs. The build is designed to produce a massive amount of AoOs. Recently I've had GMs call foul. They either disallow the combo or greatly curtail how I use it. I want to make sure I am using it correctly.

The build primarily utilizes Outflank, Pack Flanking, and Paired Opportunists. My character has a Keen Fortuitous weapon and his animal companion has a Fortuitous amulet of mighty fists.

When my character confirms a critical, it triggers an AoO from my animal companion due to the Outflank feat. If the animal companion hits with his first AoO, he gets a second attack at -5 due to the Fortuitous amulet of mighty fists.

Next, my character also gets an AoO due to the Paired Opportunists feat. If he hits with the first AoO, he gets a second attack at -5 due to his Fortuitous weapon.

If one of these AoOs is a confirmed critical it starts the cycle again, except the fortuitous quality can only be triggered once a round.

If everything lines up perfectly, this collection of feats and equipment can spawn 4-8 or more AoOs in a round. It doesn't happen very often, but when it does it can be pretty impressive. Unfortunately, the past 3 or 4 times I've gotten this to work the GM has cried foul. Am I doing something wrong? I was certain this was legal, but now I want a little reassurance.


What did they cry foul on? Cause yeah, everything looks good.


But you can only use one AoO per round, unless you have Combat Reflexes.


Yes, both the character and the AC have Combat Reflexes and Dex of around 20.

The primary complaint I get is the general rule about only 1 AoO per triggering effect. The other rule that gets brought up is the trip ruling, that you can't trip cycle by tripping someone that is standing up. But I'm pretty sure the first rule is overridden by the feats and the second one doesn't apply to this situation.


As a GM I would stipulate that you are using the rules as written. I'd then rule that you couldn't trigger a potentially infinite cascade.


Well, you can't trip lock someone as they stand up..

Second, you generally only get one AoO per triggering action. Specific effects, such as fortuitous, bypass that. Other than trip lock looks legit to me.


It would not be inifinite -- only 6 AoOs each with 20 Dex.


I'm aware that trip lock doesn't work. What I was saying, was that the trip lock rule gets brought up when I'm told the build is invalid. And it is my contention that the trip lock rule doesn't apply to this situation.


And the trip lock situation doesn't really matter since it's scoring a critical hit that allows for extra attacks (beyond fortuitous).

There is no similarity between this and the trip lock scenario of tripping someone against as they stand up.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Companion, Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber

Trip lock is an order of operations thing which doesn't apply here.

As far as I can tell everything you are doing is perfectly rules legal.

That doesn't mean you should do it though if it is causing issues at the table. If you are dominating most encounters DPR compared to the rest of your party, you might want to tone it down. If you are lagging, but occasionally shining due to this combo, it is probably balanced but sub-optimal, and you might want to ditch fortuitous for just an enhancement for both you and your AC to move things into more average territory.

In any event, it is a good idea to go over complex combos with a GM ahead of time and outside the session so they know what to expect and understand how everything works (and can tell you if they won't allow it anyway.) Surprising a GM like this is pretty much always a bad idea, and makes it much more likely they will disallow your trick then if they have a chance to think about it first and see how it works.


You make an attack and get a crit generating 1 AoO for your friend.
Friend takes his 1 and his extra 1 from magic weapon. Specific > General.
Friend got an AoO so you get one too, and you haven't taken an AoO for your crit yet.
Any new crit is a new generator of AoOs.


Of course Dave, when this combo is going off every round it's kinda much. Sometimes I can go an entire scenario without this triggering. Some nights I could trigger it every round. What I usually do is have it go off once because it's fun, and then I don't use it unless things are getting ugly.

I do go over it with GMs before the game. I even made cards with descriptions of each feat and page references for where it can be found in the book. But, apparently there is a big difference between seeing it on paper and seeing it in action.


Well, thanks everyone. I was pretty certain everything was legit, but the recent pushback was getting me worried.

Maybe I'll go over it with the local venture captain and get him to sign off on it.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Companion, Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber

This is for PFS or something where you don't have a set GM?

If so, if it was me I would assume the most pessimistic interpretation possible. Basically what I see is that your GMs are kind of taking the move precedent, where no matter how many times you leave an opponents square while moving, it only provokes a single time.

If they apply this to Outflank and decide that 'being critically hit by your teammate' is a single thing, and no matter how many times it happens in a turn it is still just a single thing, then if you crit your AC gets a AOO (plus fortuitous) and if it crits then you get one (plus fortuitous) and then you are done. I don't think this is actually correct, but if I encountered difficulties in a setting like PFS I would make this my default assumption and always just stop there. This isn't a rules thing, but more a social one in that it is better to not cause difficulties in a such a situation. If I decided that that particular set of assumptions made the character non-viable I would play something else. That isn't ideal, but in social situations one makes compromises to improve the experience for everyone, which includes not having predictable disagreements with GMs.


Kifaru wrote:
I'm aware that trip lock doesn't work. What I was saying, was that the trip lock rule gets brought up when I'm told the build is invalid. And it is my contention that the trip lock rule doesn't apply to this situation.

#

oops! I misunderstood the attribution of the trip lock.
Looks legit with no provisos. :)

Lantern Lodge

For extra fun, try adding a Menacing enchant, and the Broken Wing Gambit feat.


In PFS, my husband and I ran a pair of teamwork two-weapon fighters with much the same tactic (we used Gang Up to get around the flanking/adjacent issue).

My character had Improved Critical on dual wakizashis, with Bless Weapon whenever there was an evil critter in the mix. Four attacks with 15-20 crit threats that auto-confirm against evil creatures usually triggered an AoO from her partner every other round, on average.

Most GMs ruled that each critical only triggered one AoO cycle, but if an AoO was a critical hit, it did trigger its own cycle. We had each invested a bunch of resources into the combo, and it usually took at least on round to set up, so most GMs were cool with it.


I'm starting to see hints that some think you can AoO cycle. Care to clarify what combo leads to a cycle?
(the usual culprit is a misunderstanding of paired opportunists)

Lantern Lodge

dragonhunterq wrote:

I'm starting to see hints that some think you can AoO cycle. Care to clarify what combo leads to a cycle?

(the usual culprit is a misunderstanding of paired opportunists)

Setup:

Two allies flank an enemy, with Combat Reflexes, teamwork feats including Outflank and Paired Opportunists, and some way to get them simultaneously, such as Gang Up, Pack Flanking, or the ratfolk swarming trait.

Ally 1 confirms a crit.
Due to Outflank, this causes the target to provoke from Ally 2.
Because target provoked from Ally 2, due to Paired Opportunists, target also provokes from Ally 1.

Since attacks of opportunity are considered to interrupt the normal flow of events, they are resolved in reverse order. So if Ally 1 crits again, this triggers a whole new series, that could conceivably only end when someone runs out of Combat Reflexes.

Paired Opportunists doesn't trigger infinite recursion on its own. It needs some help, but that help can come in a heck of a lot of different ways.


Kifaru wrote:

Well, thanks everyone. I was pretty certain everything was legit, but the recent pushback was getting me worried.

Maybe I'll go over it with the local venture captain and get him to sign off on it.

I am fairly certain I GMed your table. When posed with the idea, and after doing some research, the build is brilliant and creative. As a GM, I wanted to reward you for your creativity. But at the same time, this build poses two difficulties.

First, on a rules lawyer level, the last sentence of Paired Opportunists becomes a bit sticky since it says "This does not allow you to take more than one attack of opportunity against a creature for a given action." Now, the follow up question becomes, what defines a given action? Is it the first critical hit? or is the successive critical hits that can cause this to become a potential infinite chain?

On this level, I have to say, I trusted that you did your research.

The second difficulty is that, as a GM, I'm trying to find a balance between your fun, my fun, and the other players' fun as well. That often involves finding yet another balance between challenge, risk, uncertainty, and reward.

When posed with the idea of an infinite loop, I immediately thought of how it felt like to play alongside players with game-breaking abilities, like a sleep hex witch, an oracle with tons of save or die spells, or even a rogue with circling mongoose. From time to time, when party members are bleeding out, these abilities are absolutely valued. But most players I play with, want the story to unfold where everyone has a chance to contribute. They all want to be valued, have a challenge, and enjoy good company.

As a GM, and, not knowing you for more than a minute, I was worried this could devolve into an hour of six people watching Bob and Frances play solitaire with the dice. Or even worse, I was worried the table would start to smell like axe body spray and testosterone where everyone tries to outdo one another.

When discussing this with you, I asked you to pull it back some. Quite admirably you did, and I think we all had a good time. I'd play again with you in a heartbeat.

I apologize if I didn't explain myself better at the table.

Lantern Lodge

As silly as this can be, it is not as consistently overpowering as an optimized archer full attacking from anywhere on the map, and way more interesting.

There are several ways to deal with this bit of trickery.

Put weak mooks in their face.
Separate the allies or otherwise control their movement
Stun
Crit immunity
Total concealment, including invisibility and blindness
Disarm combat maneuver


Remington Wolfgang wrote:
When posed with the idea of an infinite loop, I immediately thought of how it felt like to play alongside players with game-breaking abilities, like a sleep hex witch, an oracle with tons of save or die spells, or even a rogue with circling mongoose. From time to time, when party members are bleeding out, these abilities are absolutely valued. But most players I play with, want the story to unfold where everyone has a chance to contribute. They all want to be valued, have a challenge, and enjoy good company.

As Deadmoon said, this is not a particularly overpowering build and nowhere near as powerful as many other more traditional builds. And it's not an infinite loop. He needs to confirm a critical hit each round to keep it going, and even with that it will end when he runs out of AoOs. And the combo doesn't work on anything that can't be flanked or critted.

The concept of this build was "death of a thousand paper cuts." He is a 10th level melee specialist and his standard damage with his primary weapon is 1d6+7 and his off hand is 1d6+3. When he can get a flank he can get a couple more d6 of back stab damage but still averages damage in the mid teens. This is waaaaaaaaaaaaay behind the average damage of melee types at this level. He depends on the AoO's to level the playing field and burned a bunch of feats and gold to get them. When his abilities are disallowed he becomes a 3rd rate mook and I spend the remainder of the night watching more traditional builds crank out 80 plus damage a round.


I dont see anything wrong with this build. By rules, it works fine, and the "cant trip a tripped" applies because the AoO activates before they actually stand up, so if you trip them they simply remain prone, then stand up as they were trying to do; no net gain.

For flavor, I imagine it as you taking advantage of the opponents shock at getting hit in such a vital area to sneak an attack in. Surely if you also managed a vital hit the opponent would continue to be shocked by this new shiv sticking out of his other kidney, leading to another opening.

And for power, theres no denying it can add up to be quite strong, but it can be played around. For one, so many feats towards exploiting AoOs means that in a straight up fight where they just take blow for blow youll be weaker; you need the crits to get the extra attacks to maintain your damage, and that means not just fishing for a single crit but multiple consecutive crits. Even a normal crit optimized build wont always consistently crit, and thats with a crit focused weapon as opposed to monkey fists. Fortification armor also becomes more of a bane to you than a standard crit build; in the standard build you will roll a single percentile which, if passed, doesnt hamper your build at all. For your build each crit need to be confirmed as not fortified, and were talking 2,3,4 or more points of error here.


Just do everyone a favor and stay away from "burst" enchantments. That will get you kicked real quick I should think.

Lantern Lodge

Baval wrote:
Just do everyone a favor and stay away from "burst" enchantments. That will get you kicked real quick I should think.

Dual wielding picks with an ally with Butterfly Sting is just as good :)

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