Does using the hour effect count as playing a blessing?


Rules Questions and Gameplay Discussion


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Per title, here's an example:

The First wrote:
When This is The Hour: When you would fail a check, you may bury 1 card to reroll 1 die.

So, if someone played a blessing on the check, would you be prevented from using this power? I'm pretty sure RAW the answer is "no, it doesn't count as playing a blessing" simply because the "When This is the Hour" is not in the "Powers" box (and is therefore not a power), and you only ever play cards by using powers on them. But, I wanted to get some second opinions since it came up earlier today and I wasn't sure how to rule it.


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Good one. I tend to agree with your interpretation.


Pathfinder Card Game Subscriber

I would comfortably call that not a power (it's distinct from the powers section of the card), and not count as playing a blessing.

Even if the Hour text was considered a power on a blessing, using such an effect still wouldn't be considered playing a blessing because you're not manipulating the card for an effect (you're not revealing/recharging/displaying/discarding/etc the hour to make an effect happen, so it's not considered 'playing' it).

Just like if you have an armor that says "While displayed, reduce damage suffered by 1" then taking 1 point of damage (and having it reduced to 0) would in no way be 'playing' the armor, because you never manipulated it to indicate it was being played.


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Yewstance wrote:
Just like if you have an armor that says "While displayed, reduce damage suffered by 1" then taking 1 point of damage (and having it reduced to 0) would in no way be 'playing' the armor, because you never manipulated it to indicate it was being played.

This is not a fair comparison, since the armor wording lacks "may" - i.e. it's a permanent effect in play, that you have no choice in applying.

To me, When the Hour falls in the same nebulous category of "effects" as At This Location and During This Scenario (WtH is basically a randomized "During this Turn" scenario effect). There was an old pre-Core extensive discussion on the subject and IIRC it fell on the "they're not *played* powers, but they're powers you *use*, or somesuch). It would be relevant if someone with stronger search-fu then mine menages to find it.

Personally, if I have power that says "When a power would allow you to reroll a die, you may reroll one additional die" - I would rule it legal after applying the First's WtH effect.


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

So, the rulebook disagrees with me, and Hour effects are powers:

Rulebook p10: Active and Optionals Powers sidebar wrote:
• Cards in the hourglass and hourglass discards The only powers that are active on these cards are ones that say they happen when they are discarded from the hourglass or when that card is the hour.

So, rulebook conclusively states that these are indeed powers. The murky question of whether using this power counts as playing the card remains, as the reasoning I gave in my OP no longer applies.

We have the following guidance on p7:

  • Playing a card means using a power on that card by performing an action with that card that is specified by the card itself.
  • Choosing to activate a power on a character or on a displayed card also counts as playing that card.
  • (emphasis mine) When you play a card, it usually requires you to take one of the following actions. Then lists Draw, Reveal, Display, Reload, Recharge, Discard, Bury, Banish

The Hour isn't displayed, so point 2 doesn't apply. Display is a specific game term, and things simply visible to the table don't automatically qualify as that. That leaves point 1, which means we need to know what "performing an action" is. Point 3 lists actions, but the "usually" means that the list is non-exhaustive.

Burying a different card to use a power sure seems like performing an action to me, and that action is specified by the same card whose power that we're using, which means that using the Hour's power (when optional) would indeed count as playing the Hour. Which means that nobody else can play Blessings on the check. Which is... well, it just seems weird and wrong to me.

Here's a more comprehensive list (from Core. Didn't dig through my Curse cards):

  • Cayden Cailean's Revelry: On your check, you mayd iscard a card to reroll 1 die whowing 1 or 2.
  • Irori's Mastery: On your blessed check, you may reroll any dice showing 1. This one doesn't have you performing an action for an effect, so I think it gets a pass. Wanted to call it out anyway though because it gives strong indication that designer intent is that a Blessing can be played on such checks when using the Hour power.
  • Rovagug's Destruction: On your check, you may banish a random blessing from your discards to bless.
  • The First: When you fail a check, you may bury 1 card to reroll 1 die.
  • Our Lord in Iron: On your combat check, you may reveal any number of weapons; for each, add 1.
  • Asmodeus's Tyranny: When you fail a check, you may bury your hand and discards to reroll.
  • Lady of Valor: On your check, you may discard an armor or the top card of your deck to add 1d6.


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Yes but there was no real issue with the location or scenario card because they aren't boons so they aren't impacting the "one boon of each type" rule.
The Hour on the opposite is a blessing (until proven guilty).

I fully follow what Longshot clearly points at: there is no issue if the Hour gives a permanent effect (like add 1d4 on Charisma checks), but if the Hour says "you may" then it really "looks like" playing the card.

IMHO I would follow Yewstance in saying that the rulebook P7 says: "Playing a card means using a power on that card by performing an action with that card..." and that anything that isn't in the "POWERS" box on a card isn't a power. Thus you are not playing the card when activating a "may" on the hour.


Pathfinder Card Game, Maps, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Maps, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber
Frencois wrote:

Yes but there was no real issue with the location or scenario card because they aren't boons so they aren't impacting the "one boon of each type" rule.

The Hour on the opposite is a blessing (until proven guilty).

I fully follow what Longshot clearly points at: there is no issue if the Hour gives a permanent effect (like add 1d4 on Charisma checks), but if the Hour says "you may" then it really "looks like" playing the card.

IMHO I would follow Yewstance in saying that the rulebook P7 says: "Playing a card means using a power on that card by performing an action with that card..." and that anything that isn't in the "POWERS" box on a card isn't a power. Thus you are not playing the card when activating a "may" on the hour.

See my rulebook quote above (near the top of my previous post). The Hour effects are indeed powers according to the rulebook, despite not appearing in the Powers box.


I'm not sure that it should, but I would play as using an hour's power counts as playing a blessing (for powers that can be considered as played).

My preferred errata would say that cards in the hourglass or hourglass discards are considered "Hours" and not their original card type for determining whether you may or may not play them.

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My opinion: "When this is the hour" powers should never be considered playing a blessing. But I could definitely be wrong.


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The one certain thing (I saw it coming, see my first post) is that it definitively takes a spot for the weekly can'o'worms contest (yes Mike it is still running).
At the very least it needs some clarification in the rulebook.


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Pathfinder Card Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber

In the Example of Play in the rulebook the first player plays blessings and uses the hour on the same check.

Lone Shark Games

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Using the hour power is not playing one of your cards. The rulebook says "Collectively, the party may play no more than one boon of each type," which means the cards have to come from the party. You don't own the hour, so it doesn't count against the cards you can play.


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Thanks Mike.

Paizo Employee Chief Technical Officer

"Playing a card means using a power on that card by performing an action with that card that is specified by the card itself. Choosing to activate a power on a character or on a displayed card also counts as playing that card."

The second sentence doesn't apply because the hour is neither a character nor a displayed card.

The first sentence tells you that you're only playing a card if the card itself says "do a thing with me to make a thing happen."

"When This is The Hour: When you would fail a check, you may bury 1 card to reroll 1 die."

Genuine question: What part of the quoted hour power could possibly be construed as specifying an action that you take with the hour itself?


Pathfinder Card Game Subscriber
Vic Wertz wrote:
Genuine question: What part of the quoted hour power could possibly be construed as specifying an action that you take with the hour itself?

I raised the same argument in my first post in this thread; you're not taking an action with a card, so it wouldn't be 'playing' a blessing either way.

I would think that, once the definition of 'playing' a card is made clear, the only confusion that could still arise is if players mistake an hour to being equivalent to a displayed card. Both are, to their credit, face-up cards on the table that can allow you to use a power/effect on your checks. Choosing to use a displayed spell or armor's effect is playing it, so I can envision players seeing a face-up blessing on the hourglass as being comparable.

I agree, though; the rules are clear. Nothing suggests that Hours are displayed cards, and you're not ever taking an action with them otherwise (like 'reveal this and bury a card to X').


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Yeah, I was thinking about it as a displayed card.


Pathfinder Card Game, Maps, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Maps, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber
Vic Wertz wrote:

"Playing a card means using a power on that card by performing an action with that card that is specified by the card itself. Choosing to activate a power on a character or on a displayed card also counts as playing that card."

The second sentence doesn't apply because the hour is neither a character nor a displayed card.

The first sentence tells you that you're only playing a card if the card itself says "do a thing with me to make a thing happen."

"When This is The Hour: When you would fail a check, you may bury 1 card to reroll 1 die."

Genuine question: What part of the quoted hour power could possibly be construed as specifying an action that you take with the hour itself?

I somehow missed the “with that card” part of “performing an action with that card” — which is rather embarrassing given how long I’ve been playing this game...

All of the hour effects I quoted pretty clearly (to me) have you performing actions to have some effect, but none of those actions involve the hour itself.


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I feel embarrassed too. Missed that too. Now I wish I was involved in the playtesting just to avoid making stupid remarks on the day the game goes live...


Pathfinder Card Game Subscriber

Just to be sure where we're standing:

So, with those "you may" When the Hour, you ARE "playing a power", but you're NOT "playing the card", correct?


Pathfinder Card Game Subscriber

My understanding is that none of the WHEN THIS IS THE HOUR rules count as playing a boon for the purpose of the one-per check, regardless of the wording.

Mike said it all:

"Using the hour power is not playing one of your cards."


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Longshot11 wrote:

Just to be sure where we're standing:

So, with those "you may" When the Hour, you ARE "playing a power", but you're NOT "playing the card", correct?

I understood that you neither playing a power (since it's not in the "Powers" box of the card) nor a card (since you don't do anything with that card).


Pathfinder Card Game Subscriber

I don't argue that you're playing a boon/card.

I do argue that you're playing a POWER (as you would with a Scenario or Location power) - see Skizzers quote above that confirms it being considered a power.


Pathfinder Card Game Subscriber
Longshot11 wrote:

I don't argue that you're playing a boon/card.

I do argue that you're playing a POWER (as you would with a Scenario or Location power) - see Skizzers quote above that confirms it being considered a power.

You're using a power (let's avoid the term 'playing', which has a specific meaning); I just don't think it matters. I can't think of anything that cares that a power was used that's distinct from a card being played, at least that's relevant here (most of the things I can think of involve the Corrupted Trait).


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Frencois wrote:
I feel embarrassed too. Missed that too. Now I wish I was involved in the playtesting just to avoid making stupid remarks on the day the game goes live...

You think that helps somehow... lol


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zeroth_hour2 wrote:
Frencois wrote:
I feel embarrassed too. Missed that too. Now I wish I was involved in the playtesting just to avoid making stupid remarks on the day the game goes live...
You think that helps somehow... lol

Hehe. Nice one Zeroth.

Paizo Employee Chief Technical Officer

(Reposting from another thread:)

[The definition of "power"] has a long and confusing history going back years. In the beginning, we were somewhat vague about what powers were, but it really didn't matter, because there wasn't much that cared.

The first thing we found that cares was Blessing of the Gods' copying effect, which was not intended to copy recharge rules like Blessing of the Savored Sting's "After you play this card, if the top card of the blessings discard pile has the Calistria trait, recharge this card instead of discarding it." The fix to that was to rule that those sort of things weren't powers—they were mandatory effects.

But eventually, more things came to care. When a character was unable to use powers, what exactly did that turn off? Hand size? Proficiencies?

After much discussion, we came to a pretty simple answer: a power is a paragraph on a card or in the storybook that affects the game in some way. Hand size and proficiencies aren't paragraphs, so they're not powers. Flavor text comes in paragraphs, but it doesn't affect the game, so they're not powers.

The only problem with that is undid our fix for Blessing of the Gods, and the many other copying effects that have appeared since, like Seoni's Corruptor role in Wrath: "You may treat a card in your hand that has the Corrupted trait as if it has the same powers as the top card in the blessings discard pile." It turns out that the sentence Frencois quoted ["If a card tells you that you may treat it as if it has the same powers as another boon, include only powers that require you to play the card"] re-fixes all of them, as far as we can tell.

Paizo Employee Chief Technical Officer

The Core Set Rulebook's Glossary defines "power" as "a paragraph on a card or in the storybook that affects the game in some way."

Merriam-Webster defines a paragraph as:
1a : a subdivision of a written composition that consists of one or more sentences, deals with one point or gives the words of one speaker, and begins on a new usually indented line
b : a short composition or note that is complete in one paragraph

"When This Is the Hour" is a power, because it's a paragraph on a card that affects the game in some way.

But doing what it says is not playing it, because you're not performing an action with the hour that is specified by the hour itself.


Mike Selinker wrote:
Using the hour power is not playing one of your cards. The rulebook says "Collectively, the party may play no more than one boon of each type," which means the cards have to come from the party. You don't own the hour, so it doesn't count against the cards you can play.

Sorry to necro the thread but for the Hourglass blessing mentioned above, could I keep burying cards to keep rerolling (if I keep failing the check)?


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Asif Kazmi wrote:
Mike Selinker wrote:
Using the hour power is not playing one of your cards. The rulebook says "Collectively, the party may play no more than one boon of each type," which means the cards have to come from the party. You don't own the hour, so it doesn't count against the cards you can play.
Sorry to necro the thread but for the Hourglass blessing mentioned above, could I keep burying cards to keep rerolling (if I keep failing the check)?

This one seems easy

Rulebook p. 12 wrote:
Powers that allow or require you to reroll dice happen now; each such power can reroll dice no more than once per check.


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Missed that particular tidbit; good call Frencois!

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