Do witches know when their hexes fail / succeed?


Rules Questions


1 person marked this as FAQ candidate.

I'm currently playing a debuffer witch and my GM is insisting that I have no way of knowing if my hexes were successful or not. This is becoming increasingly frustrating for me since I never know what I should be doing at any given time because I don't know what I've already accomplished, and I don't want to waste a limited resource like a spell if the enemy has resisted evil eye and misfortune. I know that there is a rule saying that spells let you know if you fail but it doesn't seem to apply to supernatural abilities but I don't see why Paizo would design a class that can't even know if it's being effective. Is there anything official out there I can show my GM to convince him that I should know when hexes fail?


The best argument I can find is the existence of accursed hex:

accursed hex wrote:
When you target a creature with a hex that cannot target the same creature more than once per day, and that creature succeeds at its saving throw against the hex’s effect, you can target the creature with the same hex a second time before the end of your next turn. If the second attempt fails, you can make no further attempts to target that creature with the same hex for 1 day.

If you aren't able to know when a hex failed, you wouldn't know when to use this feat. You wouldn't necessarily know why it failed though, for example a slumber hex could fail due to a successful save or to an immunity to sleep/mind effecting effects.


SU's tend to follow the same rules as spells unless otherwise stated and targeted spells allow you to know.


wraithstrike wrote:
SU's tend to follow the same rules as spells unless otherwise stated and targeted spells allow you to know.

That's what I would say but my GM seems to think that since there is no explicit statement that they follow those rules, that they don't apply.


Hyluss VanWyck wrote:
wraithstrike wrote:
SU's tend to follow the same rules as spells unless otherwise stated and targeted spells allow you to know.
That's what I would say but my GM seems to think that since there is no explicit statement that they follow those rules, that they don't apply.

There is no explicit statement, but in that case SU's are also not subject to line of effect rules for spells so they can ignore wall of force and other barriers that stop spells, and line of line rules also. When you make a witch and start to sleep hex people on the other side of walls he might change his tune. All you would have to do is use detect magic to locate the square and then target them.

Better yet use evil eye since it doesn't reference a spell. :)


wraithstrike wrote:
Hyluss VanWyck wrote:
wraithstrike wrote:
SU's tend to follow the same rules as spells unless otherwise stated and targeted spells allow you to know.
That's what I would say but my GM seems to think that since there is no explicit statement that they follow those rules, that they don't apply.

There is no explicit statement, but in that case SU's are also not subject to line of effect rules for spells so they can ignore wall of force and other barriers that stop spells, and line of line rules also. When you make a witch and start to sleep hex people on the other side of walls he might change his tune. All you would have to do is use detect magic to locate the square and then target them.

Better yet use evil eye since it doesn't reference a spell. :)

That sounds like a very amusing idea, but precedence says that he will just say that SU are subject to line of effect anyway. One thing I want to know is how this issue hasn't been addressed yet in the game's life span; it seems like something that really needs some clarification.


wraithstrike wrote:
Hyluss VanWyck wrote:
wraithstrike wrote:
SU's tend to follow the same rules as spells unless otherwise stated and targeted spells allow you to know.
That's what I would say but my GM seems to think that since there is no explicit statement that they follow those rules, that they don't apply.

There is no explicit statement, but in that case SU's are also not subject to line of effect rules for spells so they can ignore wall of force and other barriers that stop spells, and line of line rules also. When you make a witch and start to sleep hex people on the other side of walls he might change his tune. All you would have to do is use detect magic to locate the square and then target them.

Better yet use evil eye since it doesn't reference a spell. :)

I'm curious... where is the text that says supernatural abilities have an immunity to the line of effect rules?


I believe he is going off of the following:

Line of Effect wrote:


A line of effect is a straight, unblocked path that indicates what a spell can affect. A line of effect is canceled by a solid barrier. It’s like line of sight for ranged weapons, except that it’s not blocked by fog, darkness, and other factors that limit normal sight.

You must have a clear line of effect to any target that you cast a spell on or to any space in which you wish to create an effect. You must have a clear line of effect to the point of origin of any spell you cast.

A burst, cone, cylinder, or emanation spell affects only an area, creature, or object to which it has line of effect from its origin (a spherical burst’s center point, a cone-shaped burst’s starting point, a cylinder’s circle, or an emanation’s point of origin).

An otherwise solid barrier with a hole of at least 1 square foot through it does not block a spell’s line of effect. Such an opening means that the 5-foot length of wall containing the hole is no longer considered a barrier for purposes of a spell’s line of effect.

Spells are the only things mentioned in the rule, and so by RAW only spells (and spell-like abilities) are subject to it.

I personally find that to be an oversight on the part of the rules; the rules that apply to Spells should have been written in such a way as to be applicable to all magical effects.


Drahliana Moonrunner wrote:
wraithstrike wrote:
Hyluss VanWyck wrote:
wraithstrike wrote:
SU's tend to follow the same rules as spells unless otherwise stated and targeted spells allow you to know.
That's what I would say but my GM seems to think that since there is no explicit statement that they follow those rules, that they don't apply.

There is no explicit statement, but in that case SU's are also not subject to line of effect rules for spells so they can ignore wall of force and other barriers that stop spells, and line of line rules also. When you make a witch and start to sleep hex people on the other side of walls he might change his tune. All you would have to do is use detect magic to locate the square and then target them.

Better yet use evil eye since it doesn't reference a spell. :)

I'm curious... where is the text that says supernatural abilities have an immunity to the line of effect rules?

It doesn't, but the magic rules specifically call out spells, so some people on these boards have tried to make the argument that SU's don't follow the rules for spells.

His GM trying to say SU's aren't spells, and they dont follow a certain rule because it does not specifically call out SU's is an example of this.

So based on the GM logic that SU's are not called for ___ so ____ does not apply I used the same logic for Evil Eye.

I know the rules really don't work that way, but it does by the GM's statement.


Hyluss VanWyck wrote:
wraithstrike wrote:
Hyluss VanWyck wrote:
wraithstrike wrote:
SU's tend to follow the same rules as spells unless otherwise stated and targeted spells allow you to know.
That's what I would say but my GM seems to think that since there is no explicit statement that they follow those rules, that they don't apply.

There is no explicit statement, but in that case SU's are also not subject to line of effect rules for spells so they can ignore wall of force and other barriers that stop spells, and line of line rules also. When you make a witch and start to sleep hex people on the other side of walls he might change his tune. All you would have to do is use detect magic to locate the square and then target them.

Better yet use evil eye since it doesn't reference a spell. :)

That sounds like a very amusing idea, but precedence says that he will just say that SU are subject to line of effect anyway. One thing I want to know is how this issue hasn't been addressed yet in the game's life span; it seems like something that really needs some clarification.

Most people that have been playing the game have always understood it so there hasn't been a real uproar about it. If enough people called for an FAQ/errata they would likely fix it.


to be clear, the information a caster receives about spell targets failing or succeeding or their saves is somewhat limited. See PRD(CRB)

PRD wrote:
Succeeding on a Saving Throw: A creature that successfully saves against a spell that has no obvious physical effects feels a hostile force or a tingle, but cannot deduce the exact nature of the attack. Likewise, if a creature's saving throw succeeds against a targeted spell, you sense that the spell has failed. You do not sense when creatures succeed on saves against effect and area spells.

caster's know from a targeted spell when a targeted creature makes their save (not to be affected). A GM could expand that to "be affected", but that is an expansion of RAW. The caster doesn't know if the target fails their save but must deduce that state. Spell effects are applied by the GM. Many spells have obvious effects that are easily seen, some are subtle.

Spell Resistance is an effect where a spell may fail even before a save is attempted. Many GMs inform the caster that their spell has failed (common courtesy) especially if there are obvious effects. Sometimes GMs are cagey on this and caster's have to make educated guesses.


Azothath wrote:

to be clear, the information a caster receives about spell targets failing or succeeding or their saves is somewhat limited. See PRD(CRB)

PRD wrote:
Succeeding on a Saving Throw: A creature that successfully saves against a spell that has no obvious physical effects feels a hostile force or a tingle, but cannot deduce the exact nature of the attack. Likewise, if a creature's saving throw succeeds against a targeted spell, you sense that the spell has failed. You do not sense when creatures succeed on saves against effect and area spells.

caster's know from a targeted spell when a targeted creature makes their save (not to be affected). A GM could expand that to "be affected", but that is an expansion of RAW. The caster doesn't know if the target fails their save but must deduce that state. Spell effects are applied by the GM. Many spells have obvious effects that are easily seen, some are subtle.

We know, but the GM is saying that SU's don't follow this rule based on "SU's not being mentioned".


From core:
Supernatural Abilities: These can’t be disrupted in combat and generally don’t provoke attacks of opportunity. They aren’t subject to spell resistance, counterspells, or dispel magic, and don’t function in antimagic areas.


wraithstrike wrote:
Azothath wrote:
to be clear, ...
We know, but the GM is saying that SU's don't follow this rule based on "SU's not being mentioned".

yes, I don't believe that's a good argument but SUs are a bit different and technically it is a gray area. I think discussion with your GM is probably the best tact. Rules should be applied somewhat consistently and that's a matter of fairness. There are plenty of holes in the system that take some good GM rule smoothing. Good GMs want to be fair and reasonably consistent.

I think the best argument for consistency is going down in the text to Special Abilities. The paragraph starts with "A number of classes and creatures gain the use of special abilities, many of which function like spells."


So hexes are generally better than the equivalent spell, but much plus for a little loss -- not knowing on the non-obvious hexes. They just don't follow the sames rules as spells.


Azothath wrote:
wraithstrike wrote:
Azothath wrote:
to be clear, ...
We know, but the GM is saying that SU's don't follow this rule based on "SU's not being mentioned".

yes, I don't believe that's a good argument but SUs are a bit different and technically it is a gray area. I think discussion with your GM is probably the best tact. Rules should be applied somewhat consistently and that's a matter of fairness. There are plenty of holes in the system that take some good GM rule smoothing. Good GMs want to be fair and reasonably consistent.

I agree. SU's are used more by monsters, so it is really good for the GM to allow it. The vampire dominate ability acts like dominate for how to control people, but the spell itself doesn't let you know if it succeeded. It is the the general spell rule that allow that. The vampire really won't know if it worked it not if SU's don't work that way, but I doubt he runs vampires as if they dont know if they control someone or not.


Honestly, unless the GM can come up with a good excuse, I think keeping players from knowing when their spells succeed/fail is a bad play on the side of a GM. It just detracts from the game play over all, "foul play" if you will. Also it's sort of like common sense. There are several feats and things, and a good example is the "once per day" abilities that exist everywhere. If it can only affect a target once per day, how is the player suppose to know?

I'm trying really hard not to bluntly say, any GM that does this is a jerk, but really..come on guys. This game is designed to have fun, not cause people to get upset.

Sometimes people may get this confused. This does -not- mean the player is entitled to know WHY their ability failed, only that it failed.


Sometimes information is used in a metagaming manner to to play the odds. I understand the distaste for that. Just remember that this rule will cut both ways (as Wraithstrike pointed out).

If the GM won't budge, I'd suggest a party member (paladin or monk) rebuild as a Soul Sentinel to drive this point home. Go kill some Vamps and Hags... no one will miss some Evil in the world.

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