Short duration spells and end of combat state


Rules Questions


Hello
Me and my friends just started a lil gaming group, and as usuall we try to solve most of problems with common sense.
BUT
We have a hunter runing a Gravity Bow spell witch created little problem.
Little visualization: (we are lvl2 so Duration on Gravity Bow is 2min[?])
Combat starts, he casts Gravity Bow, combat lasts 6 rounds - 30sec.
After combat he have 90sec of that duration left, and still wants to "use it" and wants to be stilll counted as in combat for that purpose.
Other party members for example check doors or other bodies for loot witch takes 2-3min.
Should the ranger be able to move 15times (90sec) hes move value in the meantime?

Hope im clear enough
Cheers


If I understand correctly, the player of the hunter would like to go fetch another monster to fight nearby so as not to let the remaining duration of the spell go to waste?
Meanwhile, the rest of the party would like to loot and check around?

Finding another fight in such a short time assumes the party is in a dungeon rather than out in the open, correct?

- Odds are if there is something else to fight this close, this thing has heard to first fight loud and clear -

As narration goes, when the combat is over, initiative and turns aren't played any longer, minutiae about the whereabouts of each player isn't as stringent. The combat is over when only one side remains. When another combat happens, another initiative roll will be made.

The hunter can go wander around, in general narration and the game master will evaluate how much time passes and what is the remaining duration left on the spell once a new combat begins. Maintaining initiative and round narration out of combat is tedious, even more so when most of the group is engaging in activities that make no sense when described round by round, so unless most around the table agree - as role-playing is a group activity -, when combat is over, combat is over.

Among the tools I use to assess whether round by round narration is appropriate is the Inquisitor judgement of Healing. I ask myself if an Inquisitor would still be regaining hit points or not. If not, then general narration time is taking place.


The hunters best bet is just to accept the fact that sometimes he will waste the duration of some of his spells. Trying to solo an encounter because you don’t want to waste the duration of a spell is a good way to get your character killed. Most encounters are designed to challenge the whole party so a single character trying to do it will probably be overwhelmed. This is a good way for the hunter to get his character killed.

Chances are that even if he goes wandering off by himself he will not encounter anything else before the duration of the spell wears off. If anything were that close they would have probably heard the sound of the fight and been drawn into it. Even if he does manage to encounter something chances are there is not going to be much duration left on his spell anyways. What the hunter should be doing is standing guard in case something else was close by and shows up while the rest of the party is occupied.

From a rules standpoint the spell lasts a specific duration regardless of whether you are in combat or not. Nothing prevents the ranger from exploring on his own for the remaining duration of the spell. But as I pointed out it is a really bad idea to do so.


Metody wrote:

Hello

Me and my friends just started a lil gaming group, and as usuall we try to solve most of problems with common sense.
BUT
We have a hunter runing a Gravity Bow spell witch created little problem.
Little visualization: (we are lvl2 so Duration on Gravity Bow is 2min[?])
Combat starts, he casts Gravity Bow, combat lasts 6 rounds - 30sec.
After combat he have 90sec of that duration left, and still wants to "use it" and wants to be stilll counted as in combat for that purpose.
Other party members for example check doors or other bodies for loot witch takes 2-3min.
Should the ranger be able to move 15times (90sec) hes move value in the meantime?

Hope im clear enough
Cheers

It sounds like the issue is that your player wants to get more mileage out of his spell. That's a reasonable desire on the players end, but not how spells work. And if you changed how they work it would have a bigger impact on other full spell casters, like wizards, that would definitely be bad for overall game balance.

The general advice that I give people is that casting round per level buffs spells isn't worth it if you have something else to do.

For example, if you're a melee character and you would have to move to the enemy and then attack (thus allowing for only one attack) it could be useful to cast the buff then move. You only lose one attack effectively. But an archer can pretty much always full attack. Losing the full attack to cast a small damage buff isn't worth it (usually, unless combat goes over about 4 rounds). It actually gets worse over time since weapon damage represents an decreasing portion of the characters damage relative to their static damage.

The actual advice here is, don't cast Gravity Bow. It's not worth it.

For the other part of your question, can the hunter ask to scout around for other enemies to engage while the rest of the party does their thing? Sure. I would simply tell him if he finds anything within the time frame, which is roughly 30 seconds of move actions.

However, stumbling into the enemy without the rest of his team is probably not going to go well for him.


First off, gravity bow lasts 1 minute per level, not 1 round. That means that it could be up and running for a second encounter.


Claxon wrote:
It sounds like the issue is that your player wants to get more mileage out of his spell. That's a reasonable desire on the players end, but not how spells work.

That is how spells work: If the spell lasts for 2 minutes, and you can find and fight another enemy within that time, then you get to keep benefiting.

Generally speaking a group can do quite well by fighting multiple encounters while their buffs last, then going back and searching bodies for loot afterwards.

But this only works if the entire party is on board. It also tends to work better at higher level, because there will usually be multiple spells running, and the durations will be longer.

As GM, you don't really have to be precise about the number of move actions they can take. "We'll say it takes you one minute to receive a healing spell, go over to the nearest door, check it for obvious traps, listen at it, and then open it. So cross 10 rounds of the remaining duration."


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion, Roleplaying Game Subscriber

To answer the OPs question, just because combat ends, doesn't mean that a spell duration ends. If it lasts two minutes, it lasts two minutes.

Out side of combat time is more flexible though, and usually things take about as long as a GM thinks they should. It is of course possible to take everything down to 6 seconds, and let each player move and take an action and then do the next six seconds, but that isn't very fun most of the time.

The best solution would probably be for the party as a whole to decide if they want to try and quickly look for another encounter if they have spell duration's remaining or continue to proceed in a more methodical manner. If they are going quickly they probably aren't stopping to search (except for maybe obvious things like traps on doors) or gather loot, which can create problems sometimes, but they certainly are more likely to conserve spell resources.

Which is more effective depends on the situation, which is more enjoyable is subjective. It is probably a bad idea from either perspective for one player to run off looking for an encounter while the rest of the group methodically checks out the room the last encounter was in.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion, Maps, Modules, Roleplaying Game Subscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber

On the other hand, if the remaining duration is very short and there are no live threats nearby, the GM could properly speed up the game by informing the party that their spells run out before they encounter any more enemies.

Of course, you may not want to do that if the spell has out of combat uses that they might want to take advantage of.


I would add that to both encourage the hunter to remain with his group standing guard and to allow the hunter to feel more utility ith his spell I might on occasion have another threat materialize. Perhaps it took a few rounds for some foes that did hear the prior combat to organize and approach for example.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion, Maps, Modules, Roleplaying Game Subscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber

I do recall some times when the GM kept us in initiative even though the fight appeared to be over. We would all look at each other wondering what we had all missed.


For the Min/Level spells, he should wait a couple more levels before expecting the multiple combats per casting thing. Even so, that sort of "chain-pulling," which is common in MMOs can be very dangerous in a tabletop, for the entire party. Probably should be discouraged...


Matthew Downie wrote:
Claxon wrote:
It sounds like the issue is that your player wants to get more mileage out of his spell. That's a reasonable desire on the players end, but not how spells work.

That is how spells work: If the spell lasts for 2 minutes, and you can find and fight another enemy within that time, then you get to keep benefiting.

Generally speaking a group can do quite well by fighting multiple encounters while their buffs last, then going back and searching bodies for loot afterwards.

But this only works if the entire party is on board. It also tends to work better at higher level, because there will usually be multiple spells running, and the durations will be longer.

As GM, you don't really have to be precise about the number of move actions they can take. "We'll say it takes you one minute to receive a healing spell, go over to the nearest door, check it for obvious traps, listen at it, and then open it. So cross 10 rounds of the remaining duration."

Sorry, there was a thought in my head that didn't translate to my writing when I made that post. Which was basically, "It sounds like the player wants to suspend the duration until the next encounter".

Obviously the spell continues to run for its full duration, the question (or concern rather) is if they have another combat before that duration expires and whether or not its wise for the hunter to go looking for a fight without the rest of their party (if the party intends to spend time searching a room/bodies). The answer to that is, no its generally not wise to go alone. And at only two minutes per casting, the party would probably not prefer to go from one combat immediately to the next.

Sorry for the confusion on my part. I do understand how spell duration works.


Mysterious Stranger wrote:

If anything were that close they would have probably heard the sound of the fight and been drawn into it.

If we apply this logic, most single building encounters and dungeons are going to be single encounters as everything rushes to the site of the first combat.

I feel this cannot be as intended, even if it is intelligent, as the CR of any indoor encounter would rapidly scale beyond the parties ability to survive.

As to the concept of continuing to track player actions in per round increments outside of combat: I have done this before. A duration of two minutes is a considerable amount of time if you actually track what a player can do in that timeframe. Easily 3-4 encounters in a typical dungeon environment and the players don't waste time trying to solve puzzles before ensuring a safe environment to work in.


Volkard Abendroth wrote:
Mysterious Stranger wrote:

If anything were that close they would have probably heard the sound of the fight and been drawn into it.

If we apply this logic, most single building encounters and dungeons are going to be single encounters as everything rushes to the site of the first combat.

I feel this cannot be as intended, even if it is intelligent, as the CR of any indoor encounter would rapidly scale beyond the parties ability to survive.

As I have written above, I agree with Mysterious Stranger. I further believe that "the hobgoblins next door cannot ring the alarm then join in the fray if they hear you fireballing the three half-ogres because it wouldn't sit well mechanically speaking." is conflating two points that have little to do with each other, story narration and the rules of Pathfinder. The story drives the rules, the rules derive from the story, not the other way around. The world has its own internal consistency, regardless of which mechanical rule set is used to solve uncertain outcome to character actions.

But then again, my point isn't to cast a badwrongfun. I don't see a succession of combats insulated one from another as dungeon crawling of quality but there are video games I clearly enjoy that work this way.

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