Totally unused actions


Running the Game


Pathfinder Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber

Have your players ever used the following actions in your game?

* Assist
* Take Cover
* Point Out
* Tumble Through
* High Jump
* Long Jump
* Shove
* Trip
* Disarm
* Create a Diversion
* Feint
* Demoralize

I'm curious because I feel like the book is just full of actions that feel totally worthless in the face of danger. Looking at Assist, I can't imagine why anyone would ever choose this option instead of just swinging for damage?

Every action I listed there has either been used 0 or 1 times in my playtest sessions so far, and we've been playing since the start. Maybe they become more relevant at high levels, but it seems like the opposite would actually be true once PCs have the choice between pumping out 50+ damage on a swing, vs... creating a diversion.

I'm witnessing my players end up in situations in Doomsday Dawn where they feel like they have no options other than stride and strike, and the occasional spells. Have other GMs encountered this? Especially at times where a Recall Knowledge returns nothing of value. If a monster doesn't have a weakness to exploit, Recall Knowledge gives you nothing to work with in combat. It seems that the best option agreed upon by my players is to just swing out and fish for the natural 20 on their -8 or -10 attacks, and I can't say that I disagree with them.


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Demoralize, take cover, point out, high jump, long jump have all been used by my group.

Also, even at high levels you're not doing 50+ damage on a single swing, unless you crit. A d12 weapon with max potency rune (+5) only deals 6d12. That's an average of 39 damage. The highest static modifier you can get is +7. And baring a few class specific things that increase damage, you're going to struggle to actually get 50 damage on a hit. And this is at max potency, which you don't get until after level 17 (can't remember when).

All of which is besides the point, because jumping was necessary for my character to reach an enemy or demoralize to debuff them instead of a making an attack at a -10 penalty. Take cover was because my character wanted to live from an onslaught of ranged attacks. And my character didn't use point out, but other characters did when they found the invisible enemy and I couldn't.

The ones I don't see being used are tumble through, because so few things have AoO. Shove, trip, disarm are also in bad shape because the DCs are too high to typically be successful. Also, most of them are only situationally useful, which means no one tries to specialize in it, which means it looks even less attractive.

Assist and create a diversion both have their place. While not especially useful, it would be bad if they didn't exist. Feint doesn't get used much directly, but mostly because there a ton of way to create the flat-footed condition that it becomes unnecessary to actually feint.


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We found attacks at -10 to be utterly pointless - you're only crit fishing for a natural 20 at that point, the only way you can possibly hit them. If you have nothing else to do, you might as well, but any other action - like raising a Shield or Parrying is better.

All of these options have been tried, mostly to see how they work. Take Cover, High Jump, Long Jump, and Point Out have all been used, and all work as intended. You don't Jump a lot - because why would you? - but it's used to get around disadvantageous terrain.

Shove, Trip, and Disarm won't be used again past the first time. The critical failure effects are nasty, critical failure is often a likely outcome, and the benefits aren't great. Additionally, the kinds of foes you'd use such tricks on because you can't hit their AC also have great defences against such tricks. Disarm is particularly bad, as a non-critical success only allows a +2 to Disarm until the monster's next turn... meaning you have to try and Disarm them again immediately, at the -5 second attack penalty, netting you a grand sum of -3 for your success.

Assist is actively dangerous. The odds that you'll make your buddies attacks worse are far more than the odds you'll help him, and for the same action you could just attack (since you need to hit the enemies AC anyway).

Demoralise, as a non-attack, is useful for a 3rd action because you don't take the attack penalty to it.


* Point Out, saw it used once or twice by my group when one player had See Invisibility but others needed to see.

* High Jump, a few times to hit flying foes. Quite useful against reach fliers actually.

* Long Jump, once or twice to skip by some difficult terrain, and once by a Raging Athlete Barbarian to leap off of a wall and attack a Manticore.

* Trip, there was a character in my Heroes of Undarin run who specialized in Trip to massive success, his Athletics score was higher than his attack bonus (Master proficiency vs. trained, both had level, Str, and a +3 item bonus added) and enemies typically had their Reflex DCs lower than their ACs. He succeded on trips with his first action very often.

* Feint, only once or twice honestly, mainly because players either forget to try it or have another easy way to get an enemy flat-footed.

* Demoralize, all the freaking time. This ability is amazing. No MAP, not too hard to land, and the debuff is super helpful. As a bit of an extreme story, in one fight when I GMed The Mirrored Moon one of our players opened with Demoralize two turns in a row. The first round their were 3 attacks that hit only because of the debuff, ad in the second round there were 2 more. It's normally not that extreme but my party has had many successes or enemy failures via that debuff.


Really just attacking every action is SERIOUSLY unoptimal in PF2, except for maybe a Flurry Ranger or Agile Grace or Certain Strike Fighter.

Almost any class should have something better to do with their third and maybe even second action instead of attacking, if not then it's a decent idea to find something. Not terribly difficult for most builds.


Only thing I haven't seen used is create a diversion and feint and disarm. And feint is probably under used since it was so horrible in 1st edition. Disarm just isn't very good since it only disarms on a critical hit and even then its just one action to retrieve a weapon. Which doesn't do much at all unless characters have the ability to do attacks of opportunity.


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Joey Cote wrote:
Only thing I haven't seen used is create a diversion and feint and disarm. And feint is probably under used since it was so horrible in 1st edition. Disarm just isn't very good since it only disarms on a critical hit and even then its just one action to retrieve a weapon. Which doesn't do much at all unless characters have the ability to do attacks of opportunity.

So something here, I've actually gotten the impression from a few monster abilities and such that Disarm was originally intended to disarm on a success and on a crit success you could grab the weapon if you had a hand free. Since this is alluded to in some text I think it may have been a late change. Maybe they thought it was OP? Of course I do agree it was over-nerfed of course.

I think one of the references was the Disarm weapon trait, which I think mentions that "You still need a free hand to take the weapon on a critical success), or something like that.


Taking cover has seen some use in Pale Mountain and in the Resonance Test (despite that-thing-GMs-know), Point Out was extremely useful in one particularly annoying encounter with an invisible enemy, the jumps saw some use vs flying creatures, feinting was occasionally used by rogues and Trip was more of a monster action.
Demoralise was widely used and possibly the strongest action in the book.
Everything else came up maybe just once or twice if at all.


I use Take Cover all the time. It’s a much better option than attacking at -10 or standing around and doing nothing.


My players also love Demoralize, especially the one playing a Goblin with Intimidating Glare.

Point Out also gets used sometimes, mostly by the casters with See Invisibility.

They've used Take Cover occasionally.

In Pale Mountain's Shadow the Monk's player used Long Jump to deal with difficult terrain and obstacles.

In Lost Star the Paladin with a shield stood in front of the Fighter with the two-handed reach weapon and did Assist (He'd taken Cooperative Nature). It worked OK, actually. Naturally, by the time I ran Mirrored Moon both players had completely forgotten about the technique.


Create a Diversion is one of the best ways for ranged Rogues to get sneak attack at mid levels.


My playtest group's Bard got use out of both Trip (via her whip), and Assist (admitedly only because Inspire Competence makes it impossible to fail). My group's Fighter has used Disarm a few times (the most creative of which was Disarming a Shambler of a grabbed ally because the Disarm DC was lower than the Escape/Break Grapple DC).

Most prefer to cast Shield over taking cover, and movement actions are avoided in favor of simple Strides.


Assist is a very efficient debuff. Do it on your enemies, not your allies.


I'm not sure I get the "Assist is harmful" bit when it only provides a penalty on a crit fail...

Though it would be nice if it didn't have the Attack trait, that does make doing it at a -10 unwise.


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Edge93 wrote:

I'm not sure I get the "Assist is harmful" bit when it only provides a penalty on a crit fail...

Though it would be nice if it didn't have the Attack trait, that does make doing it at a -10 unwise.

Your odds of crit failing are high enough to be an issue. Particularly since you want to help your buddy hit something that has high enough AC that he's having trouble. If you crit fail, you waste both your action and possibly his. Moreover, doing it at -5 or -10 drastically increases the chances of crit failing.

The odds roll out such that the best thing to do to aid your team is to use your third action to "assist" the enemy at hitting one of your own party members, since the likeliest outcome is that you'll crit fail and end up helping your own team by debuffing the very enemy you're assisting.


Pathfinder Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber

Thanks for the responses.

For my players that use shields, then they usually end up raising their shield as their third action. Take cover seems like an interesting option, but again it is a defensive action that I don't think my players see much value in. You don't win fights against monsters by being more defensive. Disarm is only relevant against enemies that are using weapons, but again anything with "Attack" is going to suffer the -10, so why not just go for damage?

I think the big gap I'm seeing is the lack of interesting offensive options. Seeing that people use Assist on enemies is hilarious to me and I never considered that, because yes with a -10 you're more likely to crit fail than succeed.

I'm not sure where the issue lies exactly, or if there even is one, but it seems that a lot of encounters my players are looking for interesting offensive options that feel as important as dealing damage, and more specifically options that involve multiple PCs. Flanking is something along these lines -- players can cooperate to put themselves into advantageous positions and it's an aggressive strategy that is going to take down the monsters faster. Defensive options feel like you're not contributing toward winning the encounter -- they're "lose less" options when my players and I are looking for "win more" options.

As for the other actions mentioned, I will be on the look out for the things you all have noted as useful things and will keep an eye out for opportunities to use them when my players are at a loss for what to do.


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Assisting in reverse(aiming for a critical failure) is an interesting strategy that can also be used to "buff" an ally...with a +2 to hit

Hmm...this would work best with a low-attack option....

So a Wizard who is UNTRAINED(-4 proficiency penalty) in the fist(-2 circumstance penalty)

and suffers from sufficient MAP (-10) could attack at -16, fishing for a critical failure to Assist while mentally switching "enemy" and "ally" for the desired mechanical benefit.

How to achieve -10 MAP?

An offensive Spell will offer -5 MAP(so -11 penalty for the reverse assist attempt...)

Let's look at an example:

Generic Gnome Wizard: 8 STR, everything else doesn't matter.

A normal punch to assist is at -1(STR)-4(untrained)-2(circumstance penalty)+Level, so Level-7.

Let's assume his party members are at the same level, so we can ditch the level part.

So he casts an attack cantrip with 2 actions, incurring -5 MAP, then reverse-assists his ally at -12 to hit vs AC, fishing for a critical failure.

The AC of said ally is likely 17, so if he wants to hit 7 or lower, he will succeed with his reverse-assistance 95% of the time!

That's actually a nice (ab)use of critical failure mechanics!


At higher level, anyone can "assist" the enemy; eg at level 13:
- The expected AC of PCs is 33 (10 + 13 level + 7 armor and dex + 3 item bonus.
- A fighter has +20 to kick people in the nose (13 level + 2 master with everything + 5 Str). Maybe he can add an additional -4 by using poor-quality boots.
With a -10 from MAP, he has 5% chance of assisting his ally and 60% chances of crit failure; if the poor-quality boots are OK, he has 80% of critical failure.

And we can wait for plat. I expect there will be, one day or another, some exotic unarmed weapons - like a spike on the knee or the knife-shoe from Jame Bond. The fighter is only trained with exotic weapons - for an additional -2 to hit - and the poor-quality weapon strategy obviously works now. Maybe it's even possible right now: put a spike on your knee and convince your DM it's an improvised weapon (is the fighter trained with improvised weapons?).


Pathfinder Rulebook Subscriber

Demoralize has perhaps been the single strongest and often used thing my players do.


Sees frequent use (almost every round)

* Shove
* Trip
* Feint
* Demoralize

Is used often, average once per scene or more.
* Assist
* High Jump
* Long Jump

Sees little use
* Take Cover
* Create a Diversion
* Point Out

I cannot remember if these were ever used
* Tumble Through - the rules are just to harsh
* Disarm - the rules are just to harsh
* Raise Shield - My players consider shields not worth the effort.


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Starfox wrote:


Is used often, average once per scene or more.
* Assist
* High Jump
* Long Jump

Actually, it is Aid and Leap we use a lot. (I’m one of Starfox’ players)

Assist is when you improve someone’s ”to hit” or AC in combat, and it has a bad critical fail. Jump is simply too complex too use with its odd DC mechanism, compared to Leap, especialli if you have Powerful Leap.


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kpulv wrote:


* Assist
* Take Cover
* Point Out
* Tumble Through
* High Jump
* Long Jump
* Shove
* Trip
* Disarm
* Create a Diversion
* Feint
* Demoralize

I myself have tried to use Assist--but simply put, I couldn't hit well in teh first place (alchemist)..with Assist being the same DC (AC) I basically could not provide any real help with any significance.. eventually I just gave up. It really needs to be at least TAC. Or preferably a static DC and not an Attack roll (or attack action for MAP issues).

I've taken cover.

I used Trip, Disarm, and Demoralizes A LOT. and trip in particular has been hella useful. Demoralize is pretty great too now that it lowers AC and in general provices a boost for everyone.

Feint I did use for a while.. but I realized it was pointless really. It only helps you, and with how easy flat footed is now it isn't difficult to get in other ways.. So i really just kind of stopped using it. I really wish Feint would help against other DC things (like trip, disarm, etc) but it only effects AC. So not that useful as only the user gets the benefits compared to everyone gaining a benefit.

The other stuff.. I actually didn't realize existed (but that has far more to do with the PDF's organizational issues and me prioritizing concepts for my characters- several alchemists, a intimidate/trip rogue (also feint.. but rapidly realized pointless)

I did fail the jumps a few times though.

Gonna need to look up point out


kpulv wrote:
Have your players ever used the following actions in your game?

* Tumble Through

* Demoralize

We've seen those two used. But 99% of the time we see:

* Stride, Strike, Strike
* Strike, Strike, Strike
* Stride, Strike, Shield
* Strike, Strike, Shield
* Spell, Shield Spell
* Stride, Spell
* Recall Knowledge, Stride, Strike


Chance Wyvernspur wrote:
kpulv wrote:
Have your players ever used the following actions in your game?

* Tumble Through

* Demoralize

We've seen those two used. But 99% of the time we see:

* Stride, Strike, Strike
* Strike, Strike, Strike
* Stride, Strike, Shield
* Strike, Strike, Shield
* Spell, Shield Spell
* Stride, Spell
* Recall Knowledge, Stride, Strike

That's unfortunate. Your group is probably missing out on a lot of tactical options then. I mean if it works for them that's great, but the PF1 monotone sword swinging doesn't work so well here.


Pathfinder Rulebook Subscriber
Edge93 wrote:
Chance Wyvernspur wrote:
kpulv wrote:
Have your players ever used the following actions in your game?

* Tumble Through

* Demoralize

We've seen those two used. But 99% of the time we see:

* Stride, Strike, Strike
* Strike, Strike, Strike
* Stride, Strike, Shield
* Strike, Strike, Shield
* Spell, Shield Spell
* Stride, Spell
* Recall Knowledge, Stride, Strike

That's unfortunate. Your group is probably missing out on a lot of tactical options then. I mean if it works for them that's great, but the PF1 monotone sword swinging doesn't work so well here.

To be fair the playtest hasn't done an amazing job setting up good situations. There was only few places Shove could have been amazing for example.


Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber

...I apparently have a mental blank spot for terrible rules, so I didn't even notice Assist suffers multiattack penalty. That interpretation was just so silly it didn't even occur to me.

If you take the MAP away it's a great use of a third action, much better than attacking, typically. :)

That said, I had a PC use Assist on their first action in at least one combat because they got ambushed and wanted to protect the squishy wizard from ghoul fever.


Edge93 wrote:
That's unfortunate. Your group is probably missing out on a lot of tactical options then. I mean if it works for them that's great, but the PF1 monotone sword swinging doesn't work so well here.

Unfortunate? I think its good. Its the other actions that I usually don't like unless there is some special circumstance. Thus far we've really only needed to clobber some monsters.

I got a laugh out of the Bard in our group demoralizing the Dragon in the 4th adventure.

My DM got a chuckle when I used Tumble in the playtest because I've refused to use Tumble in PF1. (I don't care for cinematic elements.) It was a playtest, after all and nobody else had tried it.


It is a bit unfortunate that a lot of the interesting Options are hindered by the MAP, meaning they will rarely be interesting to use. If I critfish anyway, might as well do it for damage.
The Jumping rules are completely weird, especially their interaction with the various Feats.


DerNils wrote:
It is a bit unfortunate that a lot of the interesting Options are hindered by the MAP, meaning they will rarely be interesting to use. If I critfish anyway, might as well do it for damage.

If you upgrade your Athletics rank ASAP you can use Assurance at selected levels to avoid MAP on combat maneuvers. You can extend the levels where this is possible if you have e.g. a bard with Dirge of Doom to lower the opponents' saves.

Many of the playtest scenarios took place at those very levels. It was nastily effective when we played them.

When we had both a rogue and a fighter, a tripped opponent had to choose between sacrificing an action to stand up and get an AoO from the fighter in the process, or staying down and getting sneak-attacked by the rogue...

DerNils wrote:
The Jumping rules are completely weird, especially their interaction with the various Feats.

Agreed. Powerful Leap and Speed 45 (Cavern elf with Fleet, Nimble and Bounding Boots) luckily made those rules reduntant for us. We used Leap, never Jump.


I noted this Assurance use in one of your other threads, but I think it is not intended to work like that and won't make it into the CRB post playtest. It also is one of those completely weird disconnects where being a farmhand makes you really good at tripping Monsters, but only at specific Points in your career.


DerNils wrote:

I noted this Assurance use in one of your other threads, but I think it is not intended to work like that and won't make it into the CRB post playtest. It also is one of those completely weird disconnects where being a farmhand makes you really good at tripping Monsters, but only at specific Points in your career.

Hopefully it will be changed, yes. It is extremely clunky with its three big steps compared to the the more incremental by-level DC increase for skills. But as they did not update it or remove it during the playtest, its what we had to go by when playing.


Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber

My players have used Take Cover, Demoralize and Long Jump in combat. I used Shove against them (that poor fallen paladin, plummeting off of Pale Mountain...), so I would say that no action is worthless in the right circumstances.

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