Witch's Fortune w / Soothsayer


Rules Questions


An argument has occurred on the interpretation of using a witch’s fortune hex with soothsayer hex.

Fortune states:

“The witch can grant a creature within 30 feet a bit of good luck for 1 round. The target can call upon this good luck once per round, allowing him to reroll any ability check, attack roll, saving throw, or skill check, taking the better result. He must decide to use this ability before the first roll is made. At 8th level and 16th level, the duration of this hex is extended by 1 round. Once a creature has benefited from the fortune hex, it cannot benefit from it again for 24 hours.”

Soothsayer states:

“When the witch uses the evil eye hex, fortune hex, misfortune hex, or retribution major hex, she can choose to delay the effect. If she does so, the hex takes effect the next time the target makes a roll that could be affected by the hex (such as an ability check, attack roll, saving throw, or skill check) or is affected by an action that could be modified by the hex (such as being attacked when the hex would affect the target's AC), whichever comes first (ignoring actions that are not in combat and actions that have no penalty for failure). The duration of the hex begins on the same round as the action that causes it to take effect. The hex is wasted if it is not triggered within 24 hours.”

Interpretation 1 says, witch cast fortune with soothsayer in the morning on the wizard. Later that day, the wizard attempts to cast a spell on a dragon and has to make an SR check. The wizard feels confident and rolls the check without fortune. Next round, the dragon unleashes its breath weapon. The same wizard is unsure of its reflex save and “calls upon his good luck” and uses fortune. Fortune has been activated that round and now its duration begins. The next morning, the witch uses fortune on the wizard again and the cycle continues.

Interpretation 2 says, same witch, wizard and routine. When facing the dragon’s SR check, this is “next time the target makes a roll that could be affected by the hex.” The wizard is required to use fortune on this check or lose its benefits. Next round comes the breath weapon and the wizard is without fortune to help his save. If the wizard survives, the next morning, fortune can be cast again.

The point is, does the recipient of a fortune with soothsayer get to decide when and where their fortune kicks off or is it just the next time a check is required?

Sorry for the long post, but any help would be appreciated.


It's pretty ambiguous, but I think that strictly speaking, it's the first interpretation. For Soothsayer to kick in and activate Fortune, a roll that could be affected must occur: "the hex takes effect the next time the target makes a roll that could be affected by the hex". Fortune can't occur unless the player invokes it before the roll is made. So:

1 - Player doesn't invoke Fortune.
2 - Player rolls.

Because Fortune wasn't invoked, that roll cannot be affected by Fortune. No roll that could be affected by Fortune has taken place.

You can't really say "if the player had invoked Fortune then that roll could be affected, so the roll could be affected; by the time Soothsayer actually checks whether or not it can affect a roll, it's too late for 'could have been'.


That was my understanding as well. If the player doesn’t invoke the fortune, then that check couldn’t be affected. Therefore, the player has the choice of when/where to use fortune. This fits within the boundaries dictated by both powers.

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Interpretation 2 is correct. The first time you make a roll that could be affected by Fortune, it kicks in (but, you don't have to use it on that roll).

(Irrelevant side: I don't think caster level checks to overcome SR count as ability checks and wouldn't be affected by Fortune).

Good news is that Witches have the Cackle hex. Once it is activated, you can keep extending it. Soothsayer is great for pre-buffing before big fights, but works best with Cackle and some coordination.

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BadBird wrote:

It's pretty ambiguous, but I think that strictly speaking, it's the first interpretation. For Soothsayer to kick in and activate Fortune, a roll that could be affected must occur: "the hex takes effect the next time the target makes a roll that could be affected by the hex". Fortune can't occur unless the player invokes it before the roll is made. So:

1 - Player doesn't invoke Fortune.
2 - Player rolls.

Because Fortune wasn't invoked, that roll cannot be affected by Fortune. No roll that could be affected by Fortune has taken place.

You can't really say "if the player had invoked Fortune then that roll could be affected, so the roll could be affected; by the time Soothsayer actually checks whether or not it can affect a roll, it's too late for 'could have been'.

That's... totally backwards. When you declare an attack, Soothsayer kicks in and Fortune is activated. Now before you roll the dice you have the option to invoke Fortune on your attack roll.


KingOfAnything wrote:
Interpretation 2 is correct. The first time you make a roll that could be affected by Fortune, it kicks in (but, you don't have to use it on that roll).

I’m trying to understand the order of how this works. (this assumes only one round of fortune and no cackling)

1. Witch cast fortune on character
2. Character faces <insert relevant check here>
3. Character decides whether to use fortune or not
4. If so, roll twice, then skip to line 11
5. If not, roll once, then continue on
6. Character faces next <insert relevant check here>
7. Character decides whether to use fortune or not
8. If so, roll twice, then skip to line 11
9. If not, roll once, then continue on
10. Round ends
11. Fortune duration has ended and cannot be used again this day
Or
1. Witch cast fortune with soothsayer on character
2. Character does not face combat for 3 hours and soothsayer doesn’t kick off
3. Character now faces <insert relevant check here>
4. Soothsayer kicks off
5. Character decides whether to use fortune or not
6. If so, roll twice, then skip to line 13
7. If not, roll once, then continue on
8. Character faces next <insert relevant check here>
9. Character decides whether to use fortune or not
10. If so, roll twice, then skip to line 13
11. If not, roll once, then continue on
12. Round ends
13. Fortune duration has ended and cannot be used again this day

So, fortune with soothsayer is only useful for buffing up a group prior to a fight, then needs to be cackled to maintain it. The recipient doesn’t get the choice to use it when he needs it most? Their only option is to use it most effectively within the duration allowed? I’m not going to say it’s useless, but its versatility has been severely limited with that interpretation.

If I’m way off base here, please explain what I’m missing.


KingOfAnything wrote:
That's... totally backwards. When you declare an attack, Soothsayer kicks in and Fortune is activated. Now before you roll the dice you have the option to invoke Fortune on your attack roll.

Soothsayer doesn't kick in when you declare an attack, but when a roll is made: "the hex takes effect the next time the target makes a roll that could be affected by the hex".

There's a big difference between declaring the attack and making the roll, which Fortune makes obvious: "He must decide to use this ability before the first roll is made."

So 'declaring' must come before the roll, while Soothsayer is triggered by the roll.


Interpretation 2 is correct.

Think about it this way, soothsayer also affects misfortune. Would you want your enemy to be allowed to decide when the hex affects them? No. The same rules apply for fortune.

What soothsayer does is ensure that you don't completely waste your hex.

Example: Esmarelda casts Fortune on Sinbad.
Then Conan hulks out ... everybody's dead!
Sinbad now has nothing to use fortune on, so the hex ends 6 seconds later. Now Sinbad cannot benefit from the fortune hex again for 24 hours, what a waste!

But Wait ... Esmarelda had the soothsayer hex, which means Sinbad has some good luck following him for the rest of the day!

Later that day the party come across a door. Sinbad is the best with lock-picks, so he tries to open the door. Soothsayer doesn't activate because there's no penalty for failure & they're not in combat, so Sinbad gets no benefit from fortune, but this action also doesn't use up his luck (Fortune is still held via Soothsayer).

Eventually they get through the door, only to find a soldier waiting on the other side of the door demanding to know what they're doing here!
Sinbad decides to talk his way out, so he rolls for bluff.
Whether he likes it or not, fortune has now activated. He doesn't have to use it on his bluff roll, but Fortune will only last for the next round (6 seconds) so if he doesn't use it in that time the hex is wasted.


The difference between Fortune and Misfortune is that Fortune requires a player to choose to activate it before it's active, while Misfortune is automatic. Soothsayer works in exactly the same way with both; it triggers when a roll can be affected. The difference is that no roll can be affected by Fortune until a player invokes Fortune before the roll, so Soothsayer/Fortune can't trigger off a roll until it's invoked.

Or in terms of Sinbad's adventures, if he invokes Fortune when making his bluff roll, then Fortune can affect that roll, and so Soothsayer is triggered. If he doesn't invoke Fortune when he makes his bluff roll, then that roll cannot be affected by Fortune, which means that it's not a valid roll for triggering Soothsayer.


The difference is that Misfortune affects all rolls, fortune only affects 1. Fortune does let you choose which role, but it doesn't let you choose when it activates.

Soothsayer still lets you choose which roll it affects during it's duration, but still doesn't let you choose when it activates.

Quote:
...the hex takes effect the next time the target makes a roll that COULD be affected by the hex...


MrCharisma wrote:
Quote:
...the hex takes effect the next time the target makes a roll that COULD be affected by the hex...

By the time Soothsayer/Fortune actually checks the roll, there is no way it "COULD" be affected; at that point, there's no 'could' about it.

Arguing that "the roll COULD be affected if the player had made a different choice!" doesn't hold up after the fact, because we're now talking about a different situation that, in point of fact, didn't happen. If you want to use that logic, then:

Witch: cats Soothsayer/Misfortune on ORC A.
Fighter: moves up and attacks ORC B - makes an attack roll.
GM: Soothsayer/Misfortune COULD have triggered off of that attack roll if the player had chosen to attack ORC A, so it triggers!

In other words, there is no way Soothsayer/Fortune COULD trigger on a roll made by a player that didn't invoke Fortune.


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BadBird wrote:

Witch: cats Soothsayer/Misfortune on ORC A.

Fighter: moves up and attacks ORC B - makes an attack roll.
GM: Soothsayer/Misfortune COULD have triggered off of that attack roll if the player had chosen to attack ORC A, so it triggers!

That sounds like a STRAW MAN argument to me!

Scenario 1: If you hex Orc A & attack Orc B you CANNOT choose to re-roll because the hex affected the other orc.
Therefore it COULD NOT affect the roll.
Scenario 2: If you hex Orc A & attack Orc A you CAN choose to re-roll because the hex affected this orc.
Therefore it COULD affect the roll.

Nothing in any of the hexes mentioned by Soothsayer says at any point that the target of the hex can choose when it activates.

SOOTHSAYER
RETRIBUTION
EVIL EYE
FORTUNE
MISFORTUNE

If you're still not following me, here's some quotes, that hopefully help:

Soothsayer wrote:
...the hex takes effect the next time the target makes a roll that could be affected by the hex ... or is affected by an action that could be modified by the hex ...
Fortune wrote:
...allowing him to reroll any ability check, attack roll, saving throw, or skill check ...

The reason Soothsayer's text is slightly vague is that it has to accommodate Fortune/Misfortune (which are just re-rolls by the character who's been hexed), Evil Eye (which can also affect rolls made by other characters against the hexed character) and Retribution (which doesn't affect the rolls at all).

.
.
When referring to the Fortune (or Misfortune) hex, Soothsayer would read:
Quote:
... the hex takes effect the next time the target makes an ability check, attack roll, saving throw, or skill check ...

.

.
When referring to the Evil Eye hex, Soothsayer would read:
Quote:
... the hex takes effect the next time the target makes an ability check (if the hexer chose to affect the targets ability checks), attack roll (if the hexer chose to affect the targets attack rolls), saving throw(if the hexer chose to affect the targets saving throws), or skill check(if the hexer chose to affect the targets skill checks), or is attacked (if the hexer chose to affect the targets Armour Class) ...

.

.
When referring to the Retribution hex, Soothsayer would read:
Quote:
... the hex takes effect next time the target deals damage to an enemy in melee ...

.

.
As you can see, this is quite wordy (especially for Evil Eye), so the writers found a way to write it in a more succinct manner.

The recipient of a Fortune hex does get to choose which roll is affected within the round the hex is activated, but the hex activates on the first round a relevant roll is made.


MrCharisma wrote:
That sounds like a STRAW MAN argument to me!

It's not a straw man argument; it's using the term 'could' in the same past-tense context.

Saying that:

"The attack roll on Orc A 'could' have triggered Soothsayer *if the player had made it against Orc B*, so it's a valid trigger for Soothsayer"

follows the same logic as:

"The roll made by the player 'could' have triggered Soothsayer *if the player had invoked the hex*, so it's a valid trigger for Soothsayer".

In both situations, you're using the word 'could' to justify activating Soothsayer merely based on the fact that a roll 'could have' triggered it if a player had made a different choice.

MrCharisma wrote:
Nothing in any of the hexes mentioned by Soothsayer says at any point that the target of the hex can choose when it activates.

This is misrepresenting my point:

1) Soothsayer/Fortune simply cannot activate until a roll can be affected by it. 'Could have been, if...' isn't enough.
2) A roll cannot be affected by Fortune until a player decides to do so.
3) Therefore, Soothsayer/Fortune cannot activate until a player has made the choice to affect a roll.

If you want to argue intent, that's fine; but sticking to straight text...


BadBird wrote:


1) Soothsayer/Fortune simply cannot activate until a roll can be affected by it. 'Could have been, if...' isn't enough.
2) A roll cannot be affected by Fortune until a player decides to do so.
3) Therefore, Soothsayer/Fortune cannot activate until a player has made the choice to affect a roll.

The problem I have with this reading of the rule is that the ability Soothsayer clarifies what it means in the parenthesis.

Soothsayer wrote:
When the witch uses the evil eye hex, fortune hex, misfortune hex, or retribution major hex, she can choose to delay the effect. If she does so, the hex takes effect the next time the target makes a roll that could be affected by the hex (such as an ability check, attack roll, saving throw, or skill check) or is affected by an action that could be modified by the hex (such as being attacked when the hex would affect the target’s AC), whichever comes first (ignoring actions that are not in combat and actions that have no penalty for failure).

(bolding mine)

The character/player doesn't choose to trigger the ability, needing to make one of those rolls triggers it. If it meant what you want, it would say something like

"The hex takes effect when the target chooses to use it on a roll that could be affected by the hex (such as...)"

That is how I read it at least.

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BadBird wrote:
MrCharisma wrote:
That sounds like a STRAW MAN argument to me!

It's not a straw man argument; it's using the term 'could' in the same past-tense context.

Actually, it is using the word 'makes' in the present-tense context. The word 'could' is used in the subjunctive mood, to indicate the hypothetical.

Any attack roll can be affected by Fortune. Whenever one makes an attack roll, it could be affected by the Fortune hex.


That does not seem to be a very useful hex. Isn't every character constantly making perception skill checks? Otherwise, how would the wizard even know the dragon was there? That perception check would be the first one that could be affected.

Sovereign Court

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Soothsayer wrote:
(ignoring actions that are not in combat and actions that have no penalty for failure)

Technically, initiative is an ability check, but I don't think it counts as being "in combat" until you actually have rounds and take actions.


Ah ha. So, perception checks technically have no penalty for failure, other than not detecting the other.

Grand Lodge

I've got a third interpretation:
Wizard makes an SR check. Fortune starts, but the Wizard doesn't have to use it (Fortune says choose once per round...)
If the Wizard makes a Reflex save within that round, they can use Fortune on it.

The Wizard *can't* prevent Fortune from starting and then get a double roll two rounds later.

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