Sandstorm / Aghash / Blessing of Nethys


Rules Questions and Gameplay Discussion


So in our first attempt at scenario #2, had a couple things come up -

1) In another thread the question was asked about Sandstorms being shuffled in to location decks from the blessings deck when a villain is undefeated but I didn't see a final answer. Since the Sandstorm has check to defeat "none" and no text about encountering the card, although it does have a trigger for when it's examined... are they ever supposed to be in location decks? Basically when a villain is undefeated can Sandstorms be shuffled in or should we be only shuffling in blessings and leaving all Sandstorms in the blessings deck? And if Sandstorms can be shuffled into location decks are they auto defeated when encountered?

2) More specifically, we had a situation where a character used a Blessing of Nethys to examine the top 2 cards of their location deck. The top card was an Aghash which caused the top card of the blessings deck to flip, which was a Sandstorm, which moved everyone. So... that character should have been able to examine 2 cards via the Blessing of Nethys, so do they still get the 2nd examine and how does that work? The obvious options seem to be - A) Examine 1 card at original location, get moved, examine 1 card at new location. B) Examine 1 card at original location, get moved, examine 2nd card at original location. But really unsure how this works.

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Card Game Subscriber

1) I don't think there's a situation, currently, where they'd end up in a location deck. They're not listed as the Villain on any (currently published) scenario, so they wouldn't be added to the locations during set-up. They only text that brings them into play is via the Henchman Agash's trigger text, which shuffles the Sandstorm in the Blessing Deck, and the Scenario Text of Scenario B2, which also shuffles them into the Blessing Deck. Since the only power on the card dictates that the Sandstorm be Banished once it's been turned over from the Blessing Deck (or examined, and there ARE cards that allow you to examine the Blessing Deck, so, beware) and had its effect, it should not (I'm going from memory, here, so feel free to correct me) end up in a location deck.

2) Gah! We just had this conversation in another topic. This is my recollection of the outcome of that discussion. If the directions say to examine X cards in your location, you examine them all at once, but if the instructions say "examine your location for a boon/bane/specific-type-of-card/whatever, you're examining one at a time. If you move mid-locate-object, you would continue your examination at the new location. But if you move mid-Augury, you would have pulled all three cards from the original location deck at once and (barring resolution of triggers) would return them to the location deck from which they came according to the directions on the spell.


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James McKendrew wrote:
2) Gah! We just had this conversation in another topic. This is my recollection of the outcome of that discussion. If the directions say to examine X cards in your location, you examine them all at once, but if the instructions say "examine your location for a boon/bane/specific-type-of-card/whatever, you're examining one at a time. If you move mid-locate-object, you would continue your examination at the new location. But if you move mid-Augury, you would have pulled all three cards from the original location deck at once and (barring resolution of triggers) would return them to the location deck from which they came according to the directions on the spell.

I think it was in that other thread, that Vic came up with a quote from the updated MM rules. Basically, you always examine multiple cards one by one, handling the Triggers as you go. So in the OP situation, you're definitely not examining the two cards *together*; I'm unsure however at what location the second card should be examined; since I still see it as *one* whole effect - I would play it that you examine at the old location.

Paizo Employee Contributor

Brainwave wrote:
SBasically when a villain is undefeated can Sandstorms be shuffled in or should we be only shuffling in blessings and leaving all Sandstorms in the blessings deck?

This has been the general consensus, but I'm not sure it's correct; I don't think there's been a formal response on this.


James McKendrew wrote:

1) I don't think there's a situation, currently, where they'd end up in a location deck. They're not listed as the Villain on any (currently published) scenario, so they wouldn't be added to the locations during set-up. They only text that brings them into play is via the Henchman Agash's trigger text, which shuffles the Sandstorm in the Blessing Deck, and the Scenario Text of Scenario B2, which also shuffles them into the Blessing Deck. Since the only power on the card dictates that the Sandstorm be Banished once it's been turned over from the Blessing Deck (or examined, and there ARE cards that allow you to examine the Blessing Deck, so, beware) and had its effect, it should not (I'm going from memory, here, so feel free to correct me) end up in a location deck.

I should have been more clear. I was just trying to describe the exact situation where they could have ended up in a location deck.

The villain is encountered and undefeated. Blessings are then pulled from the blessings deck to be put in open locations. Can Sandstorms be pulled or should those cards be checked to make sure Sandstorms are not pulled? If Sandstorms can be shuffled in, what happens when they are encountered in the locations?

Btw you have the same name as a guy I used to work with about 20 years ago ;)


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Ron Lundeen wrote:
Brainwave wrote:
SBasically when a villain is undefeated can Sandstorms be shuffled in or should we be only shuffling in blessings and leaving all Sandstorms in the blessings deck?
This has been the general consensus, but I'm not sure it's correct; I don't think there's been a formal response on this.

there was another thread that said only blessings get shuffled into locations. Viic was in that thread


It's in the rules:

MM rulebook p.17 wrote:
If the villain is undefeated, do the same thing, but retrieve the blessings from the blessings deck instead of from the box.

It says retrieve blessings. So you should only get those.

Frencois suggested a nice technique for not gaining knowledge you shouldn't have. Pull the blessings from the blessings deck, check them to make sure they aren't sandstorms, then put them with the blessings in the box and draw the same number randomly from that deck.

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Adventure, Adventure Path, Card Game, Lost Omens, Maps, Rulebook, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
elcoderdude wrote:
Frencois suggested a nice technique for not gaining knowledge you shouldn't have. Pull the blessings from the blessings deck, check them to make sure they aren't sandstorms, then put them with the blessings in the box and draw the same number randomly from that deck.

That is a good technique.

Paizo Employee Contributor

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Theryon Stormrune wrote:
elcoderdude wrote:
Frencois suggested a nice technique for not gaining knowledge you shouldn't have. Pull the blessings from the blessings deck, check them to make sure they aren't sandstorms, then put them with the blessings in the box and draw the same number randomly from that deck.
That is a good technique.

Agreed, but it's a technique necessitated by an assumption in the rules that I'm still not convinced is correct. (Vic being in that other thread, by itself, does not give it the authority of a resolution.)

I suspect that the phrase "retrieve the blessings from the blessings deck" was written before there was ever an option for anything else to be in the blessing deck except for blessings; it's a carry-over from the Rise of the Runelords rules text. I think it's too much to read into it "retrieve blessings only, ignoring all other cards that aren't blessings in some unspecified way you devise from the blessings deck." Other places in the rules go out of their way to explain what to do with cards you might get at in ways that aren't expected; they don't leave it open what to do in those cases. Frencois' technique is a reasonable solve to mask knowledge, but I'm not yet convinced it's right to seek a technique for this.


OK, but putting cards into the blessing deck which aren't meant to be in the location deck is not a new thing.

This question came up in Skull & Shackles (thread here).


Pathfinder Card Game Subscriber

The Feast of Spoils (S&S 4-5) and the Sun Falcon (MM 1) also involve putting non-blessings in the blessing deck.

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Card Game Subscriber
Brainwave wrote:

I should have been more clear. I was just trying to describe the exact situation where they could have ended up in a location deck.

The villain is encountered and undefeated. Blessings are then pulled from the blessings deck to be put in open locations. Can Sandstorms be pulled or should those cards be checked to make sure Sandstorms are not pulled? If Sandstorms can be shuffled in, what happens when they are encountered in the locations?

Ah, right. So, this is where we say, "the rules say to pull blessings from the Blessings deck, not cards, so you shouldn't be pulling Villains from the blessings deck in any case." I believe that's what the whole clan on ninjas posting before me are saying.

Brainwave wrote:
Btw you have the same name as a guy I used to work with about 20 years ago ;)

There are danged few folks with my name who aren't me, and I'm pretty sure none are in North America. If you're willing, drop me a private message and lemme know who you are and where we worked. 20 years ago this very month, I moved from one state to another, so you could be from either side of that move...

Paizo Employee Chief Technical Officer

This is going to take some work to solve correctly, but the answer is that when you're told to pull cards out of the blessings deck, we only want you to pull out blessings... unless we're specifically talking about non-blessings that we deliberately put there. The mechanism for this should be "search the blessings deck until you find the right number of blessings."


Pathfinder Card Game Subscriber
Vic Wertz wrote:
This is going to take some work to solve correctly, but the answer is that when you're told to pull cards out of the blessings deck, we only want you to pull out blessings... unless we're specifically talking about non-blessings that we deliberately put there. The mechanism for this should be "search the blessings deck until you find the right number of blessings."

Thanks, Vic. Could you chime in on OP's second question?

Paizo Employee Chief Technical Officer

"Discard this card to examine the top 2 cards of your location deck" is a unit, not "Discard this card to examine the top card of your location deck, then examine the next card of your location deck."


Vic Wertz wrote:
"Discard this card to examine the top 2 cards of your location deck" is a unit, not "Discard this card to examine the top card of your location deck, then examine the next card of your location deck."

I'm having trouble squaring that with the fact that we process a trigger as soon as we examine a card, which can change which card we examine next (thread).

Are you saying that because examining the top 2 cards is a single unit, the two cards will be examined from the deck of the character's original location, even if the character is moved after examining the first card?


Pathfinder Card Game Subscriber
elcoderdude wrote:
Are you saying that because examining the top 2 cards is a single unit, the two cards will be examined from the deck of the character's original location, even if the character is moved after examining the first card?

I believe that's exactly what he's saying (and not only because it supports my initial post): we' re falling back on the Blackjack Dealer example you linked, only this time *your character* is the "shuffled deck", and BoNethys is the Dealer.

So, we have:
- You play BoNethys
- You examine the top of the deck
- You set aside the BoNethys, until you resolve any Trigger effects (your character moving)
- You then examine the second card of your initial location deck


Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber; Pathfinder Card Game Subscriber

Seems clear to me: when a power let you examine N cards, set those cards aside (*) and turn them all face up respecting the order, then apply any trigger effect in order (starting with the card that was on top), then put the N cards back in order on the top of the deck they came from. Then finish dealing with the card/power that let you examine in the first place if needed.

(*) So any triggered effect that deals with cards won't apply to any of them.


Pathfinder Card Game Subscriber
Frencois wrote:
(*) So any triggered effect that deals with cards won't apply to any of them.

Vic's Blackjack Dealer example shows it's the opposite. You can't just set the top 3 cards aside, as Blackjack will change what the next two cards are.


Longshot11 wrote:
Frencois wrote:
(*) So any triggered effect that deals with cards won't apply to any of them.
Vic's Blackjack Dealer example shows it's the opposite. You can't just set the top 3 cards aside, as Blackjack will change what the next two cards are.

Longshot is right on this. Vic explicitly says so.


Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber; Pathfinder Card Game Subscriber

Oops totally agree. Was wrong on this one. Shouldn't try to talk about rules when in vacations...

Paizo Employee Chief Technical Officer

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Normally, when you execute an instruction, all the variables are defined at that time, unless something tells you otherwise. In this case, you define "your location" at that time, but you can't define "the top 2 cards" at that time because the examine rules tell you you have to define them one by one..


Pathfinder Card Game Subscriber
Vic Wertz wrote:
Normally, when you execute an instruction, all the variables are defined at that time, unless something tells you otherwise. In this case, you define "your location" at that time, but you can't define "the top 2 cards" at that time because the examine rules tell you you have to define them one by one..

Vic, in your opinion, how game-breaking would a house-rule be that set aside the top cards of the deck and then examined each one individually? I only ask because in larger games the time can run pretty long, and the examine each and do the thing method is slightly slower than drawing all cards at the same time. However, if there's a negative effect I can't think of, then it may be worth the extra time.


Pathfinder Card Game Subscriber
isaic16 wrote:
Vic, in your opinion, how game-breaking would a house-rule be that set aside the top cards of the deck and then examined each one individually? I only ask because in larger games the time can run pretty long, and the examine each and do the thing method is slightly slower than drawing all cards at the same time. However, if there's a negative effect I can't think of, then it may be worth the extra time.

Since it should only mater for triggers that mess up with the order of the location deck, you should be able to estimate it yourself, by counting how many Triggers make you shuffle your deck or encounter them (which carries the *potential* for a shuffle, should you fail).

That said, I really don't see how your method would have any perceptible impact on game duration, since regardless if you flip one by one, or you set them to the side - you will always have to execute all Trigger actions regardless.

Paizo Employee Chief Technical Officer

Longshot11 wrote:
Since it should only mater for triggers that mess up with the order of the location deck, you should be able to estimate it yourself, by counting how many Triggers make you shuffle your deck or encounter them (which carries the *potential* for a shuffle, should you fail).

There are very few of those.

Paizo Employee Chief Technical Officer

Vic Wertz wrote:
This is going to take some work to solve correctly, but the answer is that when you're told to pull cards out of the blessings deck, we only want you to pull out blessings... unless we're specifically talking about non-blessings that we deliberately put there. The mechanism for this should be "search the blessings deck until you find the right number of blessings."

Added to FAQ.


Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber; Pathfinder Card Game Subscriber
Vic Wertz wrote:
Normally, when you execute an instruction, all the variables are defined at that time, unless something tells you otherwise. In this case, you define "your location" at that time, but you can't define "the top 2 cards" at that time because the examine rules tell you you have to define them one by one..

For those of you not following all threads, the latest PDF version of MM rules just killed the poor Blackjack Dealer.

At least until the next version since Vic, Mike and cohorts still discuss around those lines.
Don't feel bad Vic, because altogether I didn't like the Blackjack Dealer
1) I've spent the last 50 years explaining to my kids you don't need casino or money to play a game
2) More seriously, it was a complex somehow counterintuitive rule. taking the top 2 cards of a deck at the time you are told to examine 2 is so much easier and IMHO in the spirit of this "no memory" game.

You are welcome to participate at the burial ceremony of the Blackjack Dealer. Reward for defeating the BlackJack Dealer villain in this scenario is to come.

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