When you're forced to add a trait to a check against a card that's immune to that trait


Rules Questions and Gameplay Discussion


Pathfinder Card Game Subscriber

5-2, Opening the Sekrepheres, states in the scenario power that if the top card of the blessings discard pile has an elemental trait, all checks have that trait. If I encounter a bane that's immune to the trait, what happens? Do I ignore the scenario power because I'm being told to do something normally disallowed? Or am I prohibited from even attempting a check because all my checks would have the element the bane is immune to?

Lone Shark Games

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Quote:
Do I ignore the scenario power because I'm being told to do something normally disallowed?

This one.

You can't use a power that would add a trait against something immune to it.


Hmmmm.

MM rulebook p.9 wrote:
If the card you’re encountering states that it is immune to a particular trait, during the encounter, characters may not play cards that have the specified trait or use powers that would add that trait to the check.

Are you "using" a power you have no choice about?

Saying that you are doing so is consistent with the wording of the rule for playing a card:

MM rulebook p.8 wrote:
Choosing to activate a power on a displayed card also counts as playing it.

So, gaining a die from a displayed Toxic or Incendiary cloud is activating a power on the card, but it is not choosing to activate the power, so it is not playing the card.

Even so, activating a mandatory scenario power is using the power, I suppose. But it seems strange and counterintuitive to me.


Pathfinder Card Game Subscriber
elcoderdude wrote:

So, gaining a die from a displayed Toxic or Incendiary cloud is activating a power on the card, but it is not choosing to activate the power, so it is not playing the card.

Hang on a sec, I thought that it was established, in some fairly recent threads too, that "playing/activating" are the same thing and they *always* imply a *choice*, usually denoted by the "you may..." wording?

Everything else (including the continuous effect from Cloud spells) already is "IN EFFECT" and cannot be ignored, unless specifically instructed to do so. So, you would add 1d6 Poison from an already displayed Toxic Cloud against Undead, as you are not "playing/choosing to activate" its effect.

That being said, I believe what happens is neither of the two OP options, but rather:
- Let's say you're forced to add Poison and you encounter an Undead. You CANNOT play cards and powers that add Poison to the check themselves
- You MUST add the Posion thread to the check itself, due to scenario power - because you're not "playing/choosing to activate" it. Therefore, though you may not play Poisons, Scorpion Whips, etc. - you MAY play cards that care if the check has Poison , like (iirc) Blessing of Anubis, which will add 2 dice instead of one to a Poison check.


Longshot11 wrote:


Everything else (including the continuous effect from Cloud spells) already is "IN EFFECT" and cannot be ignored, unless specifically instructed to do so. So, you would add 1d6 Poison from an already displayed Toxic Cloud against Undead, as you are not "playing/choosing to activate" its effect.

I don't agree with this one. As Keith said:

Keith Richmond wrote:
You can't use a power that would add a trait against something immune to it.

It is not "playing a card" or "activating". It is "using" a power. So, in case of Toxic Cloud you ignore entire paragraph about adding d6 and poison. The same goes with scenario power Xexyz mentioned - it is passive scenario power that also should be ignored, if necessary. It is complementary with "Ignore the impossible" rule.


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Pathfinder Card Game Subscriber

That is my understanding as well. There are times you are using a power written on a card without playing the card. Toxic Cloud (after it is displayed) is one such case.

The Golden Rule is how the is resolved.

Golden Rule wrote:
Despite this hierarchy, if one card tells that you cannot do something and another card tells you that you can, comply with the card that tells you that you cannot.

The scenario card tells you that you need to add the trait to the check. The card you are encountering is immune to that trait. The immunity rule says you can use powers that would add that trait. The Golden Rule says to go with "cannot" over "can." So you don't add the trait from the scenario power.


@Longshot -- If activating = playing, why does the rule distinguish "choosing to activate" from "activating"?

Although, it is probably better to just use the term "using" to indicate applying the effect of a card's power when you are not playing the card.


Pathfinder Card Game Subscriber
Hawkmoon269 wrote:

That is my understanding as well. There are times you are using a power written on a card without playing the card. Toxic Cloud (after it is displayed) is one such case.

...

If that *is* the case, I'll have to admit I'm thoroughly stumped by the lack of definitions and/or arbitrary distinctions between "playing/using/activating" and also how, if at all, my choice figure into it.

To sum up my POV - there are 2 scenarios:
- I *choose* (= play) to activate an effect/power
- I am *not* give a choice - therefore I apply the effect (but I'm not "activating" or "using" it in any way, shape or form - as it does not require an input from me). "Instructions" like spell recharge paragraphs fall here - I just apply them as appropriate.

To sum up what seem to be the consensus - 3 scenarios:

- I *choose* (= play) to activate an effect/power (we don't seem to have argument here)
- I don't have a choice to apply an effect, I'm 'forced' into it, but I'm actually "using the power" that generates it (Keith's post) - such as required by OP's scenario power or Cloud spells
- Instructions (I'm inferring here, correct me if I'm wrong) - non-powers, that may also have mandatory applications, but are NOT considered to be "activated/used"

Do I get this right? Can someone point me to rules support for the idea that we "use/activate" passive powers, like the Scenario powers? (Which would be the prerequisite for the Golden Rule to kick in - which says that CAN'T beats CAN, but does not in fact mention anything about MUST - which is what I take scenario powers to mean)

Lone Shark Games

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I doubt it helps, but the idea of using powers as a separate entity from playing cards is in the rulebook several times, in addition to the relevant immunity text: "If the card you’re encountering states that it is immune to a particular trait, during the encounter, characters may not play cards that have the specified trait or use powers that would add that trait to the check."

There's even an example for Estra where you don't get a choice:
"Each character has powers you can use to affect the game. Unless a character power says “you may,” it is active whenever it is appropriate. For example, Estra must add 1d10 to her checks against cards that have the Undead trait, even at the Alchemical Laboratory where rolling too high could cause her to take Acid damage. You may use multiple different character powers during one check or step."


The thing about the Estra example is -- no one would consider the use of a character power to be "playing", because you don't play a character card or a role card. "Using" is the term for what you do with a character power. (Like Keith said, it's in many places in the rules.)

But "using" vs "activating" vs "playing" -- I find this less clearly defined in the rulebook when talking about powers on cards other than character & role cards.

Lone Shark Games

Using powers on non-character cards:
"Story Cards (Adventure Path, Adventure, and Scenario)
The front of each story card includes powers for playing it. Some are used during play"
"If you are instructed to summon and play a card, immediately draw the card from the box and play it, using any power on it that can be used in the current circumstance, then banish it. If no power on it can be used in the current circumstance, banish it."

I'm not sure any card anywhere cares about the term "activate", so I'll try to avoid adding one.

I'll let Vic decide if we want to update rules or make any terminology changes for the next time we make a new rulebook.


Pathfinder Card Game Subscriber
Hawkmoon269 wrote:

That is my understanding as well. There are times you are using a power written on a card without playing the card. Toxic Cloud (after it is displayed) is one such case.

The Golden Rule is how the is resolved.

Golden Rule wrote:
Despite this hierarchy, if one card tells that you cannot do something and another card tells you that you can, comply with the card that tells you that you cannot.
The scenario card tells you that you need to add the trait to the check. The card you are encountering is immune to that trait. The immunity rule says you can not use powers that would add that trait. The Golden Rule says to go with "cannot" over "can." So you don't add the trait from the scenario power.

I somehow left out the super important word "not" in my previous post.


Hawkmoon269 wrote:
Hawkmoon269 wrote:

That is my understanding as well. There are times you are using a power written on a card without playing the card. Toxic Cloud (after it is displayed) is one such case.

The Golden Rule is how the is resolved.

Golden Rule wrote:
Despite this hierarchy, if one card tells that you cannot do something and another card tells you that you can, comply with the card that tells you that you cannot.
The scenario card tells you that you need to add the trait to the check. The card you are encountering is immune to that trait. The immunity rule says you can not use powers that would add that trait. The Golden Rule says to go with "cannot" over "can." So you don't add the trait from the scenario power.
I somehow left out the super important word "not" in my previous post.

The funny thing is, when I read your post, I mentally put that word in, without noticing I did so.

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