Operative's Debilitating Strike, does it depend on the trick attack being successful?


Rules Questions


9 people marked this as FAQ candidate.

I was reading through the operative and I can't figure out if Debilitating Strike works even if your Trick Attack skill check fails?

Example 1:
You declare a trick attack, roll skill check and fail. The target is not flatfooted for your attack, roll to attack and hit. As it is still hit by a declared Trick attack, Debilitating Strike goes into effect and the target is now Flatfooted.

Example 2:
You declare a trick attack, roll skill check and fail. The target is not flatfooted for your attack, roll to attack and hit. The target has been hit but not by a trick attack so Debilitating Strike does not come into effect.

Thoughts?

Liberty's Edge

Well, first I don't see "Debilitating Strike" as an operative ability.

So I assume you mean "Debilitating Trick".

DEBILITATING TRICK, page 92 wrote:
When you hit an enemy with a trick attack, you can make the creature flat-footed or off-target until the beginning of your next turn. You might learn exploits that grant you additional options for your debilitating trick, but you can select one option each time you hit with a trick attack.

Clearly it is Example 2. Example 1 would mean the character would gain always gain the benefit of being flat-footed or off-target all the time. That is clearly OP.

Hitting someone with Trick Attack involves the Bluff, Intimidate, or Stealth skill check, not with a weapon.

This recent FAQ helps clarify some as well.


Gary Bush wrote:

Well, first I don't see "Debilitating Strike" as an operative ability.

So I assume you mean "Debilitating Trick".

DEBILITATING TRICK, page 92 wrote:
When you hit an enemy with a trick attack, you can make the creature flat-footed or off-target until the beginning of your next turn. You might learn exploits that grant you additional options for your debilitating trick, but you can select one option each time you hit with a trick attack.

Clearly it is Example 2. Example 1 would mean the character would gain always gain the benefit of being flat-footed or off-target all the time. That is clearly OP.

Hitting someone with Trick Attack involves the Bluff, Intimidate, or Stealth skill check, not with a weapon.

This recent FAQ helps clarify some as well.

Yeah to me it's clearly the intent that it only works when you successfully do the trick attack skill check. The wording on ability itself and even the FAQ don't specifically make it very clear though.

Liberty's Edge

Well, the FAQ helps to show that Debilitating Trick modifies what Trick Attack does but your right, it does not address the specific question of the OP.


I think you guys may have stopped reading one entry too soon in the FAQ:

FAQ wrote:

[Operative] Can I use a skill to make a trick attack without meeting the normal conditions for using that skill for other purposes? For example, can I make a Stealth check as part of a trick attack when I couldn't use Stealth to hide from the target of the attack?

Yes, you can use any appropriate skill (those granted by the trick attack ability or your specialization anytime you attempt a trick attack) to determine if your trick attack does extra damage and applies any penalty.


side related question, if you're immune to flat footed, can you still get trick attacked ala it does extra damage, triggers possibly a debilitating trick but no flat footed (and no extra effects that trigger if flat foot) or is it a 'trick attack attempt, successful roll, but target immune to flat foot so no extra damage and no trick extras applied?


Losobal wrote:
side related question, if you're immune to flat footed, can you still get trick attacked ala it does extra damage, triggers possibly a debilitating trick but no flat footed (and no extra effects that trigger if flat foot) or is it a 'trick attack attempt, successful roll, but target immune to flat foot so no extra damage and no trick extras applied?

Nothing in the attack says the dmg is reliant on the target being flat-footed. Also, if the target is already flat-footed, you don't automatically do the extra damage. So I'd have to say being immune to flat-footed just means you are immune to being flat-footed, it does not make you immune to the extra damage.

Scarab Sages Starfinder Design Lead

rook1138 wrote:
Losobal wrote:
side related question, if you're immune to flat footed, can you still get trick attacked ala it does extra damage, triggers possibly a debilitating trick but no flat footed (and no extra effects that trigger if flat foot) or is it a 'trick attack attempt, successful roll, but target immune to flat foot so no extra damage and no trick extras applied?
Nothing in the attack says the dmg is reliant on the target being flat-footed. Also, if the target is already flat-footed, you don't automatically do the extra damage. So I'd have to say being immune to flat-footed just means you are immune to being flat-footed, it does not make you immune to the extra damage.

rook1138 is correct.

The fact an ability applies a condition as one of its effects does not mean creatures immune to that one condition are immune to all its effects, unless either the ability or the creature's immunity specify such.

Sovereign Court

All right, I'll necro this because we still need an answer or consensus on this. Here's my two cents:

Trick Attack wrote:
You can trick or startle a foe and then attack when she drops her guard. As a full action, you can move up to your speed. Whether or not you moved, you can then make an attack with a melee weapon with the operative special property or with any small arm. Just before making your attack, attempt a Bluff, Intimidate, or Stealth check (or a check associated with your specialization; see page 94) with a DC equal to 20 + your target’s CR. If you succeed at the check, you deal 1d4 additional damage and the target is flat-footed.[...]
Debilitating Trick wrote:
When you hit an enemy with a trick attack, you can make the creature flat-footed or off-target until the beginning of your next turn.[...]

The only requirement for Debilitating Trick is that you hit an enemy with a trick attack, not that you also succeed at the preceding skill check. And Trick Attack doesn't have any language indicating that failing the skill check invalidates the remainder of the action; if you hit, you will deal your weapon damage and trigger any hit-dependent effects, regardless of the results of the skill check.


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if the skill check fails you weren t hit by a trick attack you just got hit


Pathfinder Pawns, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber

I'm inclined to believe that you don't get the benefits if you fail the skill check, but I agree that it could be more clear.

FAQ'd.

Sovereign Court

BigNorseWolf wrote:
if the skill check fails you weren t hit by a trick attack you just got hit

What leads you to believe that? If you declare an action to trick attack and hit, how have you not hit with a trick attack?


Illeist wrote:
BigNorseWolf wrote:
if the skill check fails you weren t hit by a trick attack you just got hit
What leads you to believe that? If you declare an action to trick attack and hit, how have you not hit with a trick attack?

You succeeded at an attack, but you failed at the trick part.

Sovereign Court

Xenocrat wrote:
Illeist wrote:
BigNorseWolf wrote:
if the skill check fails you weren t hit by a trick attack you just got hit
What leads you to believe that? If you declare an action to trick attack and hit, how have you not hit with a trick attack?
You succeeded at an attack, but you failed at the trick part.

I've heard people express this view before, but I don't see where the system supports it. At no point in the Trick Attack class feature or the Operative class do the rules talk a failed skill check rendering the entire trick attack action invalid. I've seen plenty of players talk about the skill check as the "trick" and the attack roll as the "attack," but I haven't seen any rules supporting that belief.

Let me be clear: I really hate Operatives. They are a blight on the Starfinder power curve. But, until Paizo gives us errata or FAQ on the class, we have to run them as written.


Illeist wrote:
Xenocrat wrote:
Illeist wrote:
BigNorseWolf wrote:
if the skill check fails you weren t hit by a trick attack you just got hit
What leads you to believe that? If you declare an action to trick attack and hit, how have you not hit with a trick attack?
You succeeded at an attack, but you failed at the trick part.

I've heard people express this view before, but I don't see where the system supports it. At no point in the Trick Attack class feature or the Operative class do the rules talk a failed skill check rendering the entire trick attack action invalid. I've seen plenty of players talk about the skill check as the "trick" and the attack roll as the "attack," but I haven't seen any rules supporting that belief.

Let me be clear: I really hate Operatives. They are a blight on the Starfinder power curve. But, until Paizo gives us errata or FAQ on the class, we have to run them as written.

wait.. so why make a separate roll then? You roll to see if your trick attack was successful then roll to see if your attack hits. Both could fail / miss, both could be successful. But if your attack misses your hosed and if your trick attack is successful but you miss your hosed. at least thats my understanding of it.


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Illeist wrote:
]I've heard people express this view before, but I don't see where the system supports it. At no point in the Trick Attack class feature or the Operative class do the rules talk a failed skill check rendering the entire trick attack action invalid. I've seen plenty of players talk about the skill check as the "trick" and the attack roll as the "attack," but I haven't seen any rules supporting that belief.

If you succeed at the check, you deal 1d4 additional damage and the target is flat-footed.

So if you have not succeeded at the check there is no additional 1d4 (or more damage at higher levels) and the target is not flat footed (and whatever other riders go on it later)

debilitating strike basically adds off target to the list of possible conditions and makes flat footed against everyone, not just that one attack. It's still reliant on the trick attacks original "if you succeed at the check"


So this all brings up something that ive never really considered or that our group has questioned and seeing as I have a Operative in the group I run for it would be great to know.

are the affects other than damage dependent on the attack hitting? To be clear if my players operative makes his Trick attack check but the attack misses do the rider affects for the trick attack portion of this attack still affect his target? Ive always assumed no but now this has be thinking maybe?


It’s no in Pathfinder, I think I remember it explicitly in the core rules being that way in Starfinder, 65% confidence.


Xenocrat wrote:
It’s no in Pathfinder, I think I remember it explicitly in the core rules being that way in Starfinder, 65% confidence.

Yeah Ive always thought its a no as well. However in Pathfinder you get one check, you sneak attack and it hits or it doesn't so its pretty cut and dry. In Starfinder there is two separate checks one for the Trick attack itself and one for the actual attack. My operative always gets frustrated when the check works out and he gets all excited only to be let down by the attack missing.

Anyway all or nothing is how we have been playing but this thread sort of jogged the what if im doing it wrong question in my head so I thought Id get opinions.

Dark Archive

Tagging this in hope of clarification.

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