Brutalized Flesh Golem post-errata, and similar "Display" cards


Rules Questions and Gameplay Discussion


Back again with another wall of text (I like to be thorough!)

Brutalized Flesh Golem errata reads:

"You may display this card. While displayed, you may recharge this card to reduce damage other than Combat damage dealt to a character at your location to 0, or discard this card to explore your location; if you discard it, during this exploration, banish any boons you encounter and add 1d6 plus your number of mythic charges to your combat checks. While displayed, at the end of your turn, if you have mythic charges, banish this card."

My question: Can I display and recharge it in RESPONSE to damage? If so, I see no reason to display it until needed, rendering the last sentence mostly pointless.

A similar example - Winds of Vengeance:

"Display this card next to your deck. While displayed, you may move at the end of your turn, add 1d8 to your combat checks, and reduce Acid, Cold, Electricity, Fire, and Range combat damage dealt to you by 4."

Can I display and use this in RESPONSE to those situations?

My guess is the answer to both is no. Here is my reasoning: Although the action to display and the action to utilize are part of the same paragraph, they each require their own activation - they don't both happen in one use/play of the card. To do both requires two separate plays.

This is because of "you may" in the follow-up sentences combined with the fact that choosing to use a power on a displayed card counts as playing it.

Breaking it down,
Choosing to display one of these cards is playing the card once. Choosing to do a "While displayed, you may..." power is playing the card again. So, at best, trying to do both in one step would violate the "one card per type per step" rule; at worst, it's trying to play the same card twice at once.

Similar cards in front of me are Fire Shield ("Display this card. While displayed, you may add 1d8 and the Fire or Cold trait to a combat check attempted by a character at your location.") and Chalice of Ozem ("Display this card next to a character at your location. While displayed, that character may add 1d6 to her checks.")

This is in contrast to a card you choose to display but whose further effects are automatic. For example, Weapon of Awe...

"Display this card next to any character. While displayed, when that character plays a weapon on a combat check, add 3 to the check..."

... can be played in response to a character playing a weapon, b/c it takes only one play of the card.

Am I on the right track here?


Pathfinder Card Game Subscriber

The short answer is...

I believe, Rules As Written, you're right on both cases. Displaying a card is playing a card (as per the rulebook), and using a power on a displayed cards is also playing a card. You cannot play the same card twice on the same check; therefore it's not allowable to display a card and choose to use it on the same check. You've understood the rules as written flawlessly.

However, I've had conversations about this with well-respected members of this forum before, and as a direct result I am currently of the opinion that the intent is usually that you can both display and use a power on that card simultaneously as if you played one card. After all, that was the explicit intent of designers behind similarly-worded cards, and it otherwise leads to some cards being very hard to use (like Caustic Fog). A better example is Sphere of Fire, where designers have openly said that you can display it once you get into combat, but that should technically be playing it twice as per the rules about displaying spells.

It's possible that a future rulebook or FAQ may update these clauses; here's hoping.


Pathfinder Card Game, Maps, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Maps, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber

The other reason why most of those don’t work (even ignoring the playing it twice thing) is the “affecting the situation” rule. If displaying the card in and of itself does nothing, then it cannot be used during an encounter because it never affects the situation. It requires another action—using the while displayed power—to have an effect.

Beyond that, I have only one point:

Winds of vengeance: Can be used in response. The only optional power is the movement one. Adding to your check and reducing damage is automatic and always in effect. Therefore playing it directly affects the situation and doesn’t require playing the card twice.

It’s ambiguous whether or not “you may” is implicit for the full list, and I’d argue it is not. If we treat the list as one instruction the choosing to use the power means you’re required to do all 3 of those things, which doesn’t make any sense. If instead we treat each list element as a separate instruction, then the only optional one is moving. If “you may” was intended to be on each element separately, they would have just written it that way in my opinion or at the very least made the separator between the 2nd and 3rd power an “or” (to imply you choose one of the three things) instead of an “and” (to imply all are in effect); the existing cards are usually very verbose and explicit about such things.


Yewstance wrote:
...I am currently of the opinion that the intent is usually that you can both display and use a power on that card simultaneously as if you played one card. After all, that was the explicit intent of designers behind similarly-worded cards, and it otherwise leads to some cards being very hard to use (like Caustic Fog)...

Would you agree that Brutalized Flesh Golem is meant to be displayed ahead of time, b/c otherwise its last threatening sentence has no teeth?

Yewstance wrote:
...A better example is Sphere of Fire, where designers have openly said that you can display it once you get into combat, but that should technically be playing it twice as per the rules about displaying spells.

I couldn't find such a comment by a designer about Sphere of Fire. Do you know where? There's this thread and this thread. In the 2nd thread, this person and the one below claim Sphere of Fire can be played during combat, referencing Vic Wertz's comment on Rage. However, Rage was subsequently errata'd, whereas Sphere of Fire was not.


skizzerz wrote:
The other reason why most of those don’t work (even ignoring the playing it twice thing) is the “affecting the situation” rule. If displaying the card in and of itself does nothing, then it cannot be used during an encounter because it never affects the situation. It requires another action—using the while displayed power—to have an effect.

I like this, too.

skizzerz wrote:

Beyond that, I have only one point:

Winds of vengeance: Can be used in response. The only optional power is the movement one. Adding to your check and reducing damage is automatic and always in effect. Therefore playing it directly affects the situation and doesn’t require playing the card twice...

I actually came upon this judgment myself minutes after posting, staring at Winds of Vengeance and trying to make sense of it!

What do you think about what Yewstance said about Sphere of Fire and Caustic Fog?


Pathfinder Card Game Subscriber
ayres411 wrote:
Yewstance wrote:
...A better example is Sphere of Fire, where designers have openly said that you can display it once you get into combat, but that should technically be playing it twice as per the rules about displaying spells.
I couldn't find such a comment by a designer about Sphere of Fire. Do you know where? There's this thread and this thread. In the 2nd thread, this person and the one below claim Sphere of Fire can be played during combat, referencing Vic Wertz's comment on Rage. However, Rage was subsequently errata'd, whereas Sphere of Fire was not.

Frustratingly, you're right that there's no explicit designer quote clarifying it, but there have been threads where well-respected members of the forums have answered player questions with "You can play Sphere of Fire once you're in combat" and there have been multiple designer posts, none of which contradicted that answer. If there's community consensus and a designer doesn't overrule it, that's a pretty compelling point for an unofficial, but accepted, 'ruling'.

I absolutely agree, still, that RAW a huge variety of cards cannot be displayed once you're in an encounter, because displaying it is not directly relevant, and it would imply you're playing that card twice in most cases (unless they have a 'passive', relevant bonus, such as displaying a Tower Shield that decreases damage being dealt to you).


Pathfinder Card Game, Maps, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Maps, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber
ayres411 wrote:
What do you think about what Yewstance said about Sphere of Fire and Caustic Fog?

I didn't have much to add to Yewstance's already-excellent answer. RAW is a firm no, but a lot of these cards absolutely and horrendously suck if you aren't allowed to play them during an encounter, so I (and many others) just look the other way when you try to do such a thing.


Guys, thank you for your advice.

From RotR through WotR I played all these "Display" cards just like you suggest - it just seemed right (plus I didn't know enough rules to think otherwise). Then I met (errata'd) Brutalized Flesh Golem (which I keep in my Balazar deck b/c I find it fun) and it just seemed obvious to me that it's "at the end of your turn" clause means for it to be displayed ahead of time, only. And since it has the same wording as all those other cards, it made me question those, too.

So I guess I'll treat the BFG (lol) as a rare exception to the more common (and reasonable) interpretation of "Display this card. While displayed, you may..." cards.


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The way my group plays these cards, if you aren't required to "do an action" with the displayed card (recharge, discard, etc.), displaying it and immediately using an optional power counts as a single "use" of the card, so can be done in response to a situation.

So, Winds of Vengeance, Fire Shield, Chalice of Ozem, and Sphere of Fire could all be displayed and used immediately. Since the Brutalized Flesh Golem requires a recharge, it could not.

Another example would be the Hunter Class Deck Cohort, Pygmy Ankylosaur, which has both of these powers:

-While displayed, you may reduce all damage dealt to you by 1.
-While displayed, you may put this card on top of your deck to reduce all damage dealt to you by 4, or to 0 if you have a role card.

So we would allow a player to display and use the first power in response to taking damage, but not the second power.


skizzerz wrote:

Winds of vengeance:

It’s ambiguous whether or not “you may” is implicit for the full list, and I’d argue it is not. If we treat the list as one instruction the choosing to use the power means you’re required to do all 3 of those things, which doesn’t make any sense. If instead we treat each list element as a separate instruction, then the only optional one is moving. If “you may” was intended to be on each element separately, they would have just written it that way in my opinion or at the very least made the separator between the 2nd and 3rd power an “or” (to imply you choose one of the three things) instead of an “and” (to imply all are in effect); the existing cards are usually very verbose and explicit about such things.

Really? It seems quite clear to me that all three abilities are optional, and that the meaning of the card is:

-you may move at the end of your turn
AND
-you may add 1d8 to your combat checks
AND
-you may reduce Acid, Cold, Electricity, Fire, and Range combat damage dealt to you by 4

You mention that they should have written "or" instead of "and" to indicate this, but to me that would have been more confusing; in that case, would you only be allowed to do a single one of those three things per casting of the spell? It would have been unclear if, after using the spell to add to your combat checks, you could also use it to prevent damage or move.

I also believe that, if the designers wanted only the move to be optional, they would have written the power this way instead:

"While displayed, add 1d8 to your combat checks, reduce Acid, Cold, Electricity, Fire, and Range combat damage dealt to you by 4, and you may move at the end of your turn."


Shnik wrote:

The way my group plays these cards, if you aren't required to "do an action" with the displayed card (recharge, discard, etc.), displaying it and immediately using an optional power counts as a single "use" of the card, so can be done in response to a situation.

So, Winds of Vengeance, Fire Shield, Chalice of Ozem, and Sphere of Fire could all be displayed and used immediately. Since the Brutalized Flesh Golem requires a recharge, it could not.

....

Ok, this seems the best rule so far. It aligns (so far) with designer intent per card (including Brutalized Flesh Golem), and makes the argument over Winds of Vengeance less important.

Lone Shark Games

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Shnik wrote:
The way my group plays these cards, if you aren't required to "do an action" with the displayed card (recharge, discard, etc.), displaying it and immediately using an optional power counts as a single "use" of the card, so can be done in response to a situation.

I would defer to Vic to issue a more elaborate explanation, but that is pretty close to the intent.


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Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber; Pathfinder Card Game Subscriber
Mike Selinker wrote:
Shnik wrote:
The way my group plays these cards, if you aren't required to "do an action" with the displayed card (recharge, discard, etc.), displaying it and immediately using an optional power counts as a single "use" of the card, so can be done in response to a situation.
I would defer to Vic to issue a more elaborate explanation, but that is pretty close to the intent.

Hum... I absolutely hate arguing with Mike for whom I have the ultimate respect but if I may...

In situations where you can only play cards that DIRECTLY affect the situation (you know, the famous: I cannot during an encounter play a card that would allow me to play another card affecting the situation), I would argue that RAW you cannot "display the card" if the "while displayed" doesn't DIRECTLY affect (passive effect). If the "While displayed" needs you do do something else (recharge, discard, play another power from another source...) to affect then you cannot Display in the first place. IMHO.
Unless FAQed by Vic as Mike is (rightfully as usual) suggesting.

Seen from my little place across the pond, but I may have missed something.

We always played the Golem like that: you take your chances at the beginning of the turn typically, and display it if you think you'll need it.


Frencois wrote:
Mike Selinker wrote:
Shnik wrote:
The way my group plays these cards, if you aren't required to "do an action" with the displayed card (recharge, discard, etc.), displaying it and immediately using an optional power counts as a single "use" of the card, so can be done in response to a situation.
I would defer to Vic to issue a more elaborate explanation, but that is pretty close to the intent.

Hum... I absolutely hate arguing with Mike for whom I have the ultimate respect but if I may...

In situations where you can only play cards that DIRECTLY affect the situation (you know, the famous: I cannot during an encounter play a card that would allow me to play another card affecting the situation), I would argue that RAW you cannot "display the card" if the "while displayed" doesn't DIRECTLY affect (passive effect). If the "While displayed" needs you do do something else (recharge, discard, play another power from another source...) to affect then you cannot Display in the first place. IMHO.
Unless FAQed by Vic as Mike is (rightfully as usual) suggesting.

Seen from my little place across the pond, but I may have missed something.

We always played the Golem like that: you take your chances at the beginning of the turn typically, and display it if you think you'll need it.

I think what Mike is effectively saying then is that the intent is for cards with effects that are optional, but don't require you to do an action to activate, to be considered passive. Which to me seems reasonable in and of itself - an effect starting with the words "you may" passively triggers, and then you simply choose how to resolve it. The only problem I see with it is that it seems inconsistent with the rulings on whether you're considered to be "playing" the card or not, which as far as I understand is based on whether a choice was made not whether an action was taken.


Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber; Pathfinder Card Game Subscriber

This inconsistency is exactly my point.

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