Predictive Riposte action


Rules Questions


I've got a new quandary for you peoples; the Sleepless Detective PrC gets an ability called Predictive Riposte.

Predictive Riposte (Ex) wrote:
: At 8th level, a Sleepless detective’s insight into human nature allows her to predict and counter her opponents’ attacks. As a standard action, she can designate an opponent within 30 feet as the target of her predictive riposte, gaining a +4 insight bonus to AC against that opponent’s attacks. Once per round, after a melee attack from the designated target misses her, the detective can spend an immediate action to make a single melee attack against that opponent as long as it is within her threatened area. This counts as her attack of opportunity for this round. If the detective’s attack hits, she may add her sneak attack bonus on her damage roll. The bonuses from this ability last until the end of combat, or until the detective designates a new target of her predictive riposte.

This indicates that it is an immediate action (which uses up the swift for the next round), then goes on to indicate that it counts as "her" attack of opportunity (singular, but I think it's probably obvious that if they have more than 1, it would only use 1; feel free to debate that too, if necessary).

Is my reading that this uses both an immediate action and an attack of opportunity (in addition to the standard action before, to designate) correct?

IF Paizo actually cared about Pathfinder 1E, would this be FAQable?


yes, it takes both your immediate and an AoO. I'm not sure why itd be FAQd. its fairly cut and dry.


I guess that is why they are sleepless; spending all that time riposting instead of catching Zs.


Are you after an FAQ because you don't believe it should take both an immediate action and an AOO? If so that is a balance question and not really what FAQs are typically for. Although I don't actually think it really would warrant changing regardless. As it is written though, it is quite clear it takes both.

Paizo Employee Organized Play Developer

merpius wrote:


Is my reading that this uses both an immediate action and an attack of opportunity (in addition to the standard action before, to designate) correct?

Correct. It's pretty explicit about that being the case.

Quote:
IF Paizo actually cared about Pathfinder 1E, would this be FAQable?

That's a little rude. If Paizo didn't care about PF1 there wouldn't be Paizo developers still playing it in our most recent APs and Paizo designers trying futilely to clear enough time in a crowded schedule to respond to outstanding requests. The CEO wouldn't have publicly committed herself to continuing to produce PF1 pocket editions for as long as there's a sustainable market for them. The organized play team wouldn't have spent countless hours reviewing and creating new architecture for the current PF1 org play campaign to keep it sustainable once the new campaign releases.

As of the last time I spoke to Mark, he was still hopeful about clearing enough time at some point to get more FAQs posted, but that process requires all 4 of the design team members to be in the same room at the same time without something on an immediate deadline demanding their attention, which hasn't happened often in the last year or so.

To the actual question, it's a bit of an unlikely FAQ candidate since it's fairly explicit in what it does; it requires an immediate action and counts as your attack of opportunity for the round. If you have more AoOs available due to Combat Reflexes, you'd still receive those as normal.


I don't think what I said was so much "rude" as it was realistic, though I did intend it to be an off-hand quip, rather than a hard critique of the company.

Michael Sayre wrote:
...which hasn't happened often in the last year or so.

This is an indicator that the company (Paizo here, not the Paizo developers/designers) doesn't care about it. Sure they will still make money from it as long as they can; that doesn't mean that they aren't in the process of phasing it out. It is totally understandable, from a business point of view, that it makes more sense to put resources on the new version, rather than the old version, as well as to make what profit it can from the old version. That said, it still means they don't care about it; if they did, they'd have managed to free up a day for the devs to work together on a new FAQ sometime within the last year. As for organized play; I was under the impression that PFS was a separate entity from Paizo; is this "organized play team" a Paizo development team who do this as part of their job as Paizo employees? If so, then I guess Paizo does care enough about 1E to do as you say. But, then, those guys certainly aren't making system FAQs; they are thus irrelevant as to whether it is worth FAQing anything system-wise.

As for why I felt it may be FAQable; other riposte class abilities tend to use either an immediate OR an AoO, not both, and generally don't require setup as well. I guess, by definition (since I couldn't find anyone else asking about it) it isn't frequently asked, but it seems inconsistent with other similar class features.

Paizo Employee Organized Play Developer

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merpius wrote:


As for why I felt it may be FAQable; other riposte class abilities tend to use either an immediate OR an AoO, not both, and generally don't require setup as well. I guess, by definition (since I couldn't find anyone else asking about it) it isn't frequently asked, but it seems inconsistent with other similar class features.

Rather than attempt some point by point argument to the "don't care about it" fallacy you posted, I will simply say "You are wrong." There is and always will be a difference between not caring about something and not having the bandwidth to address it on someone else's desired schedule or in the specific way they desire. The fact that there is a Paizo employee here using on-the-clock hours to engage with you should be evidence of that.

TLDR The +4 insight bonus to AC is the "parry" and it doesn't cost or require panache to use, so it's functionally and mechanically balanced to the other major instances of similar abilities.

As to the particulars of the ability, one key note is that it predates almost every instance of other riposte abilities by several years; the main exception to this is the Duelist class, whose riposte ability requires you to sacrifice an attack from a full attack, spend an immediate action to attempt the parry, and then spend an attack of opportunity to attempt a riposte.

The Predictive Riposte ability actually is very equivalent to this; you spend a standard action first to gain a +4 insight bonus to AC (this will stack with the vast majority of buffs), then you spend an immediate action and an attack of opportunity to riposte when someone misses you.

What this single ability is functionally and mathematically almost identical to the Duelist's Parry and Riposte abilities, streamlined into a single function.

The +4 insight bonus is mechanically very similar to the expected benefit a Duelist would receive from sacrificing one of their attacks out of a full attack every round and then parrying, except the opposed roll has been replaced with a static bump to AC and the Sleepless Detective is much more likely to be able to activate Predictive Riposte on the first round of combat than the Duelist is to activate Parry. Odds are very good that a Sleepless Detective will generally out-damage a Duelist thanks to this early lead and otherwise equivalent abilities.

The actual riposte mechanic demands the exact same action economy as the Duelist's Parry and Riposte abilities, but it's streamlined into a single function that you execute once.

Since PrCs are available to any build, it's not terribly surprising to see their function work differently and have different costs, even without accounting for the difference in publication dates. A fighter who takes Sleepless Detective might consider that immediate action a non-cost if they don't have anything else demanding their swift action. Even just compared to the swashbuckler's Opportune Parry and Riposte it's still a competitive ability; the swashbuckler doesn't have the set-up that the Duelist or the Sleepless Detective have, but they do have to spend an attack of opportunity, an immediate action, a point of panache, and still have a point of panache in reserve to complete a full Parry and Riposte sequence (the swashbuckler is also guaranteed to be sacrificing some other class feature's functionality in order to Parry and Riposte, something that is not true of e.g. a Fighter/Rogue/Duelist or Fighter/Sleepless Detective).

Mechanically the ability is actually very well balanced to the other parry mechanics out there, it just uses a more condensed and passive rules structure to achieve the result.


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Thanks for the full analysis. That was informative. Makes more sense to me now.

Scarab Sages

Keep in mind, as well, that the Sleepless Detective ability also lets you get sneak attack, regardless of whether they have been denied dex or you are flanking, so that's another aspect that gives it a slight edge

Paizo Employee Organized Play Developer

merpius wrote:
Thanks for the full analysis. That was informative. Makes more sense to me now.

Happy to help!

Ferious Thune wrote:
Keep in mind, as well, that the Sleepless Detective ability also lets you get sneak attack, regardless of whether they have been denied dex or you are flanking, so that's another aspect that gives it a slight edge

The main reason I didn't touch on that was because most characters that get a parry and riposte type ability also get some related damage booster, so they essentially balance each other out of the equation. Duelists and swashbucklers each get their own version of Precise Strike, which for this specific circumstance is essentially a lower-scaling but more consistent version of sneak attack. It's definitely cool that the sleepless detective gets to add sneak attack to their predictive riposte, but it's pretty much a wash compared to other parry options. I do like it more than the duelist's precise strike, but one could argue the pros and cons of both, and I suspect that mathematically they'd either average out to approximately equal or the the duelist would come out ahead thanks to the on-turn bonus damage she's receiving even when she wouldn't qualify for sneak attack (though the actual riposte damage of the sleepless detective would skew higher).

Scarab Sages

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That's a good point.

I think it depends a lot on what class you were before going into Sleepless Detective, and whether the ability lets you add your sneak attack from other classes. If you're a Rogue going into Sleepless detective, it's a lot of extra dice. The Swashbuckler is unique (I think?) in getting Precise Strike outside of a Prestige Class, so their Precise Strike is going to be higher. Vigilante can get half level, I think, in a similar ability. A duelist, however, is only adding their Duelist level. If Sleepless Detective is a Rogue 5/Sleepless Detective 8, they'd have 7D6 sneak attack, which is a pretty significant boost.

Sleepless Detective is one of my favorite Prestige Classes, though I've never taken more than a 1 level dip into it. It's a great dip for an Investigator that didn't take the Empiricist Archetype. Mine started during the playtest, so archetypes weren't an option. Sleepless Detective got me INT to a bunch of skills, Detect Magic as an SLA, and sneak attack. The only disappointing thing was when I finally got the chance to adventure in Ustalav (in Midnight Mauler) and tried to impress people with his status as a Sleepless Detective, the GM had never heard of the prestige class or the organization, and I got a lot of blank stares. Which was probably perfect for the character, who is a gnome that claims membership in lots of different groups (he was Lantern Lodge, then Osirion, then Scarab Sages... He's a mashup of Tien, Osirian, and Ustalavian), so his frustration was fun to play up in the roleplay.

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