During an Encounter, when can you play a Healing spell?


Rules Questions and Gameplay Discussion


Pathfinder Card Game Subscriber

At what steps can you play a Heal spell?


1 person marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Card Game Subscriber

Pretty much anytime BETWEEN steps.

Otherwise, only if it's "relevant" (it doesn't require you to perform any other action for the Healing spell to affect the situation) - which it will almost *never* be during an encounter.

Paradoxically enough, if a bane says "If you suffer damage, discard from the top of your deck instead" - that seemingly *would* allow you to play Healing (it can prevent you from dying and its shuffle will change the top cards you'll discard - neither of which will require additional action than playing the Healing spell/item/ally). PACG can get weird sometimes :)


1 person marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber; Pathfinder Card Game Subscriber

... or if the bane says something like "before you act, bury a random card from your discard".

As Longshot clearly says, during an encounter, if something else than you deciding to play a power end up removing cards from your deck or discards, you could argue that it enables you to play a healing power just before.

On the other end, I wouldn't allow you to play a power that would trigger that in order to play another healing power.
E. g. if you had a spell/ally/blessing... that says "recharge to draw 2 cards", I wouldn't allow to play it, and then say because you affect your deck, you can play a healing power before.

As Longshot rightfully said, weird sometimes...


Pathfinder Card Game Subscriber

Is this a change in Core from the old rules?
Under old rules, I had though you couldn't play cards that did not effect the encounter during an encounter e.g. I can play cards to evade, impact checks or reduce damage as they are interacting with the encountered card or its effects but not heal until after the encounter is resolved as healing doesn't interact with the encountered card/effects
Am I wrong? (This happens a lot :-) )


Pathfinder Card Game Subscriber
Matsu Kurisu wrote:

Is this a change in Core from the old rules?

Under old rules, I had though you couldn't play cards that did not effect the encounter during an encounter e.g. I can play cards to evade, impact checks or reduce damage as they are interacting with the encountered card or its effects but not heal until after the encounter is resolved as healing doesn't interact with the encountered card/effects
Am I wrong? (This happens a lot :-) )

You're not necessarily wrong, and this docen't concern any Core conversion. Even on my table, there's no concensus on my (or Frencois') example legality, but let's take a look at the relevant (heh) rule, as of MM:

"RULES: AFFECTING THE SITUATION
In some situations, you are limited to playing cards or using powers
that affect or otherwise relate to the current situation. In these cases,
the things you do cannot require anyone to do something else for
your action to be meaningful—the things you do must directly affect
the situation.
"

If you take damage - you can't play Healing, as damage affects your hand only and Healing only affects your discards/deck. If you're instructed to discard from deck or bury discards however - these effects are *directly* impacted by Healing, without you needing to *do something else*. So, while perhaps a bit counter-intuitive, this actually seems to fit quite snugly under the current rules as-written.

(One more intuitive way we've found to communicate this is: think of Healing to Deck/Discards manipulation the same way you would think about Reduce Damage powers to Suffer Damage effect - they are, if you will, two different "defenses" that you use to counter two different "attacks", but they run on the same gameplay logic)

I am, of course, open to anyone official chiming in if and why we're doing it wrong.

EDIT: You are, obviously, still under the limitation of "1 card/type/ step or check" - so if you played Holy Strike for your combat check, you can't also play Cure in response to "When suffer damage, discard from your deck instead" (Taking Damage still being part of Attempting the Check). Etc., etc...


Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber; Pathfinder Card Game Subscriber

Nice one indeed. I'd be happy to have Mike/Vic views on that one.


Pathfinder Card Game Subscriber

That all seems like a work of sophistry to me.


Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber; Pathfinder Card Game Subscriber

Indeed. We definitively would never play that way because we hate abusing the game but I must admit it's a nice weirdo to submit to the ones-above-us-who-make-the-rules.


2 people marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Card Game, Maps, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Maps, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber

Also Mavaro (at least the version who plays with the top of his deck revealed and gains skills based on it) can Cure whenever he wants during a check, because shuffling his deck is always relevant to the situation — it changes what skills he has. :)

Normally though, outside of very weird corner cases, you can’t Cure during an encounter at all. Has to wait in between steps of a turn.

Paizo Employee Chief Technical Officer

2 people marked this as a favorite.

We've said before that "the things you do must directly affect the situation" covers only things that definitely affect the situation, not things that potentially affect the situation. Shuffling cards into your deck is not guaranteed to change the card you're going to discard. And, unless you're going to die, neither does changing the number of cards in your deck. So no go there.

Same with healing before you choose a random card to bury from your discards—there's no guarantee that any of the cards you heal would have been the card you would bury. However, in that situation, healing all of the cards in your discards so you don't have anything to bury seems like a valid play.


Pathfinder Card Game Subscriber

But then you get into an issue of having 3 cards in discard and if I heal 1d4+1 and it's 3 then I have no card to bury, but if I only heal 2, then I have a card to bury so I can't heal, but then I have 3 cards in my discard so I can heal, etc.


Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber; Pathfinder Card Game Subscriber

No you can only heal if that will heal all cards, not if that may heal all cards.
Rules is you can play if it WILL affect the situation not if it MAY affect it.
So if for example the hour says that any healing is +1 AND something make you remove a card from your discards THEN you can play a healing card that does d4+1 with up to 3 cards in your discards because it will heal a minimum of 3 cards.

Thank you Vic. That makes sense. Fun and weird but I understand that interpretation of the rules. And how it could be extended to similar situations.


Pathfinder Card Game Subscriber

Duh... this games gives me headache from time to time... ;)


Pathfinder Card Game Subscriber
skizzerz wrote:

Also Mavaro (at least the version who plays with the top of his deck revealed and gains skills based on it) can Cure whenever he wants during a check, because shuffling his deck is always relevant to the situation — it changes what skills he has. :)

Normally though, outside of very weird corner cases, you can’t Cure during an encounter at all. Has to wait in between steps of a turn.

Based on Vic's comment below, I would disagree. You MIGHT end up with the same card on top of your deck after a shuffle, so that only may effect the situation.

...not sure how far that goes, though. If you have an effect that says "bury the top card of your deck to heal one card", can OA2 Mavaro use that mid-encounter? Seems like it would be 'yes', but what if he has a second copy of the card that's currently on top of his deck somewhere in his deck? In fact, if he has any card in his deck that shares the same Check types to acquire, then you could argue that you cannot guarantee it would change the outcome, and so you cannot.

Are...players really expected, when playing OA2 Mavaro, to track how many duplicate skill-granting cards they have in their entire deck at all times? That seems ludicrous, but appears to be in line with what Vic just said.

A short aside:
I've brought up the vague definitions about what 'impossible' is and what 'affecting the situation is' many times, including on these very forums. It has been anything but perfectly clear ever since I started playing PACG, so I will take any chance to pursue greater clarity on these rules.


1 person marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Card Game Subscriber
Vic Wertz wrote:
We've said before that "the things you do must directly affect the situation" covers only things that definitely affect the situation, not things that potentially affect the situation.

I'm sorry, Vic, but that's neither an argument I remember being made on this forum (which, granted, is not saying anything), but more importantly - that's not what we're told in the *Rulebook* itself. As far as I can find, the ONLY criteria for relevance (directly affecting the situation) we're given is "the things you do cannot require anyone to do something else for your action to be meaningful". I'm positively baffled that none of the other veterans here seems concerned by the dicrepancy of what (I believe) RAW is telling us versus what *you* are telling us above.

To the contrary, I distinctly remember *official* support on this forum that adding a trait to a check IS legal, even if you're not even guaranteed to use that trait in any way. How is that different to the "potentially" affecting situations you say are illegal?!?

The lack of strong reaction to this "new" directive strongly implies that it is *me* that is missing something crucial where it comes to RAW - so I'll kindly ask any player/designer to point me to the Rulebook text I'm missing/misinterpreting.

As far as intent goes, I strongly disagree with Frencois that Vic's suggestion "makes sense". The idea that I would be allowed to play Cure mid-combat if I have 2 cards in Discards, but not if I have 3, or if I have 0 cards in my Deck, but not if I have 1 is deeply troubling. It's an exception on top of an exception and adds a mind-frolicking level of intuitive-lessness for apparently no (imho) good reason.

Accidentally, I've never brought these particular situations to the forum because - as Yewstance rightly notices- there doesn't seem a particularly strong designer drive to "fix" the 'affecting the situation' criteria and to cement them in a clear and transparent way, and the designers seem content to leave a level of 'nebulousness' to the whole affair (leaving tables to come up with on-the-spot rulings for far-out corner cases) rather than to paint themselves into a corner with any particularly strict and rigid ruling. If anything, each time these issues are brought up, it only seems to further muddy the actual workings of the 'relevance' rules.


Pathfinder Card Game Subscriber

Agreed, though I think I feel more accepting of the fact that this particular area of the rules is particularly corner-case. Unlike - for example - the current debate over reducing damage multiple times in one step to different people or when are you allowed to play a 'move-and-explore' card when there's something that MIGHT prevent your movement , this isn't something that comes up much. Those two threads I just linked I'd be more interested in getting a hard, consistent resolution for than this one, for the most part, since it's just not a common question that gets asked.

Except, I suppose, if you're playing either version of Mavaro. It seemed unclear as to whether MM Mavaro was allowed to just display every card in his hand as soon as he got into a check (therefore avoid taking damage) or not, because he could be adding traits in such a situation. OA2 Mavaro raises more questions about what kinds of deck manipulation do or do not 'count' as affecting the situation, as I brushed upon before.

While it may not be, in my mind, as high a priority as several other issues (including those mentioned above), I certainly desire more clarification here - and have desired that since I've been playing. Again, I have been vocal before about the apparent inconsistencies between what is considered 'legal' plays at specific timings.

(Speaking of making legal/illegal or impossible moves; I'm also reminded of the question about the Dark Forest and the new Fishery locations. Both appear to be worded such that it's IMPOSSIBLE to explore and encounter a card there if there's only 1 card left in the location, since you "shuffle 1 away" before encountering "the other", and Limited Resources means you'd only examine 1 card. Furthermore, neither seem to clarify that they replace your exploration, though I'm certain that's the intent.)


3 people marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Card Game, Maps, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Maps, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber

The only way for “affecting the situation” to ever have a clear definition is if the rulebook exhaustively lists or gives definitive (not subject to interpretation) criteria for that. Instead, the rulebook performs the largest faux pas in existence of using the phrase they’re defining inside of the definition. The sidebar in the rulebook effectively says “You are affecting the situation if you are directly affecting the situation; your action can’t have anyone else be required to do something.” — So, it defines “directly” but not what affects the situation in the first place.

Anyway, I similarly don’t remember anything like what Vic said ever being discussed here before. I didn’t reply at the time because my internet is a bit limited at the moment and I don’t have the time or ability to do research on cards/powers that would be negatively impacted by or contradict that ruling. As I still lack that time, I’ll be holding off on replying to that point for the time being. Don’t interpret my lack of reply as tacit approval for the above ruling.


Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber; Pathfinder Card Game Subscriber
Vic Wertz wrote:
Same with healing before you choose a random card to bury from your discards—there's no guarantee that any of the cards you heal would have been the card you would bury. However, in that situation, healing all of the cards in your discards so you don't have anything to bury seems like a valid play.

Hum....

Say I have a Cure spell that heals 1d4+1 cards.
Does it mean I can play it during an encounter if I have less than 3 cards in my discards because then there is no odds involved (I WILL heal all my discards), but not if there are 3 of more?

We know since years that the "directly affect the situation" is a can'o'worms:
- It doesn't mean there is no "odds" involved (else I couldn't play a card that adds a die to a check roll).
- Does it means you cannot play a card if there are odds (at least a die) OTHER than affecting a check roll involved? Is it still true if by playing the card you actually ensure or modify the effect resulting of that die?

Let's find a corner case:
Say I have a bane that says "if defeated, heal a card".
I've assembled my dice and the odds of defeating are 100% (it's a Wisdom 4 check and I will roll 4d6). So I know for sure i'm gonna heal.
Say the blessing below the hour is a Sarenrae one that says "if you heal, heal more". I know that.
Can I play Sacred Candle (just before or just after the roll?) to take the hour in my hand, which directly as a consequence will mean I will heal 2 cards instead of 1 (since now directly the "When it's the Hour" power of Sarenrae applies)? After all, there is no additional die involved?

Now would it be different if I was only to roll 3d6 for the Wisdom check?

I just love those cases....


1 person marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Card Game Subscriber

Most easiest way would be strict turn order, where there Are spesific timing slot when player could use any or some effect.
Before you explore: can use any effect
Encounter phase: can use any effect that directly affect the encounter
Damage phases can use effect that prevent/alter damage
After encounter: can use any effect

Not sure if something like that would help, be ques there Are those powers that could help, but maybe not...


Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber; Pathfinder Card Game Subscriber

More seriously, in my home games we really really aren't rule lawyers (we are much more in the roleplay part).
Which means that, although I fully understand skizzerz's request for a "exhaustive list or definitive (not subject to interpretation) criteria", I'm not sure I want that.
Too many rules kill the rules. We do not need that to have fun.
And (as proven in the different posts above) I'm pretty sure we would end up:

- Either with a list of 1000 cases.
- Or with a straightforward rule saying every card must be FAQ'ed to say precisely when it can or cannot be played.
- Or we will upset the higher powers and they will end up ruling that you just cannot play a power during an encounter except the Weapon Dagger card or the Fore Missile spell but not both.
In those three cases, welcome to Hell.

So ultimately we use a very simple rule when in doubt: if an interpretation is honestly possible that I can do something, I can do it only if it's fun for everyone around the table, i. e. if at least one player says no (for whatever reason... the most usual one being "a dwarf would NEVER do that"), we don't allow it. Which makes sense since anyway you just fix the difficulty.

Now if someone would tell me that it wouldn't work in OP, I would just argue that maybe you should change table. IMHO.


1 person marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Card Game Subscriber

I don't think it should be that hard - I think it should be ruled that you cannot play cards that do not directly affect the dice you're rolling for the check, the difficulty of the check, or additional modifiers to the check's success (like rerolls). Additionally, you may play cards that in some way interact with the powers of the card you're making a check against or would effect the encounter's resolution (like adding the Fire trait to make sure you perma-kill a troll). The definition of 'interact' will have to be clarified, here - but basically if the card you're making the check against (or the scenario or location power) doesn't immediately cause you a consequence or grant you a benefit because you've made a play (that didn't fit any of the previous conditions), then you cannot make that play during a check.

The wording would have to be refined, but I'm pretty sure in one or two paragraphs you could make it clear that everyone can always play their cards the way the vast majority of players always have, but you strictly close out weird Mavaro shenanigans and questions, you can't just add traits willy-nilly if they serve no purpose, you can't heal yourself mid-encounter generally (even if you'd heal your full discard pile and the monster your fighting has an effect that said "After you act, if there are any cards in your discard pile, you die"), etc, etc.

Or as an alternate approach, try to work out how to add a few sentences to specifically ban problem cases. Some kind of variations of "you cannot play a card to heal a character during an encounter" (somehow wording it so it doesn't catch Life Drain) and/or "you cannot play a card to shuffle your deck during an encounter" and/or "you cannot play a card to move during an encounter" and/or "you cannot play a card to add a trait to your check if that trait is not listed in any power effecting that check".

(In all of those cases, they'd need to be somehow worded to clarify that the rules only apply if that's the ONLY thing your play is doing - that it's not otherwise directly affecting your odds of the check or anything.)

This is just me throwing ideas at the wall here. I'm certain it'd be possible within 2 rules paragraphs to somehow sufficiently close this issue, but I admit it's a finicky issue. I'd have preferred that card templates accommodated this, rather than awkward rulebook sentences, like Cures saying "you cannot play this card during an encounter" much like most Moving cards state.

Perhaps they could even keyword cards that can't be used during an encounter - give them a specific trait or use a word in their power.Like a "Static" or "Slow" or "Concentration" trait that has a rules significance. Or reword them to something like "While Undisturbed, Banish this card to heal 1d4+1 cards", "While Undisturbed, recharge to move and then examine your location", etc.

==================

Edit: I threw too many ideas out at once. I'm certain with enough precision with wording, this should be able to be closed easily, though. Again, I think the single most elegant and obvious solution would be to integrate a simple keyword into powers (or a trait, etc) to indicate that it cannot be played during an encounter.


3 people marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Card Game Subscriber

My headache is getting worse...


2 people marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Card Game Subscriber

To answer the original question and to keep it simple :)
Echoing Longshot, play a healing card pretty much anytime BETWEEN steps.

Explore is a step, which will have generally have an Encounter in it, so as an example, you could heal before your Explore step or after you finish your Explore step (so you can't heal during the Encounter). You could also heal after the give a card step and before the Move step etc.


1 person marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber; Pathfinder Card Game Subscriber
Hannibal_pjv wrote:

Most easiest way would be strict turn order, where there Are specific timing slot when player could use any or some effect.

Before you explore: can use any effect
Encounter phase: can use any effect that directly affect the encounter
Damage phases can use effect that prevent/alter damage
After encounter: can use any effect

Unfortunately, if you really wanted to cover all cases, that immediately starts to be really painful because you have layers:

There is ONE EXPLORE-period.
The EXPLORE-period may consist of many EXPLORATION-steps.
But you can only play [TYPE 0] cards between EXPLORATION-steps if the next EXPLORATION hadn't been granted (else you forfeit the grant... oh and by the way the two cases apply also to avenging that may be granted or paid for... good luck to understand that one).
Then within the EXPLORATION-step you have at least two ENCOUNTER-phases: the "before the ENCOUNTER" phase and the "during the encounter" phase (and it's not even clear whether there is an "after the encounter" one).
You can play [TYPE 1] cards during the EXPLORATION-step but not during the "during the encounter" ENCOUNTER-phase.
Then within the "during the encounter" ENCOUNTER phase you have many ENCOUNTER-steps (not to be mistaken for EXPLORATION-steps) depending of the encounter.
You can play [TYPE 2a, 2b...] cards during the some but not all ENCOUNTER-steps (BYA, AYA...).
And then there is a specific ENCOUNTER-step that is the "Attempting a check" ENCOUNTER-step.
Then the "Attempting a check" ENCOUNTER-step is made of many CHECK-actions.
You can play [TYPE 3a, 3b...] cards during the some but not all CHECK-actions (e. g. when you determine the skill, when you add traits,...).
And then some specific CHECK-actions have very specific rules on what card you can play (e. g., playing [TYPE 4...] armors during the "Suffer damage" CHECK-action, or whether if you take multiple types of consecutive damage is it many "Suffer damage" CHECK-actions or a single one and does it modify what you can do or not with [TYPE 4...] cards).
And so on...

And I really would hate having to teach that like if it was a very important rule to new players.

And obviously, you want Mike and Vic to be able to add some period/step/moments/actions when we improve the game... (like let's avenge!). So you cannot just put numbers on the "steps" because that would be obsolete 5 minutes after.

As I said previously, I'm fine with the rules as they are. We can play with them.


This game could really use proper timing windows and a distinction between actions, reactions, and forced effects, like many well known LCGs. Perhaps in the 3rd revision.


2 people marked this as a favorite.

No group I've ever played with accepted casting a healing spell during an encounter, even if an effect affected a character's deck or discard pile (say, losing to a RotR Siren). But then again, I don't recall the question being asked.
My understanding of what's relevant to a step of an encounter would not allow the exceptions Longshot advocates. For example: when Enora encounters a Carrion Golem (whose BYA discards the top card of her deck), we would not have permitted Cure. But OTOH Vic says in that situation Cure IS legal if-and-only-if Enora would be killed by the card discard. I'm finding this hairsplitting a bit counter-intuitive.


My guess is that, if Paizo could rewind time, unprint all cards, and start from scratch, they'd do away with the "affecting the situation" rules entirely. The timing rules become much more straightforward if you can only play cards: (a) when cards say that you can play them or (b) if not specified, between steps.

The "affecting" rules seem to do more harm than good, really. They do allow for a handful of fun cardplays in oddball situations, but mostly they cause headaches and lead to long rules threads like this one. :)

Most cards specify when they can be played anyway, and the ones that don't should be relatively easy to modify to fit the above timing rules.

I dunno, maybe this would break the game. But personally I'd be all for eliminating the "affecting the situation" rules. Perhaps in version 3, as suggested above.


Pathfinder Card Game Subscriber

Agreed. A simple keyword on a card would suffice to either indicate that it can be used during an encounter, or couldn't be used during an encounter, depending on how they wanted the base rules to work.

An example of the former; labelling a power in some way to indicate that it would be legal to play during an encounter (this being under the assumption that it would be otherwise disallowed).

=====================
SAMPLE ALLY 0

Encounter: Recharge to add 1d6 to a local Intelligence check.

Recharge to move.

Discard to explore.
=======================

It wouldn't solve all issues even if implemented in such a way, though. Take the classic thought experiment of "Can Mavaro display a card to add traits to a check or gain skills even if it's not relevant"? What defines 'relevancy'; what if there were some random element to determining whether or not it was relevant?

Even so, it'd be a step forward, and would even save space on some cards (so not all move cards have to say "You cannot play during an encounter", for example).


Pathfinder Card Game Subscriber
Yewstance wrote:
(so not all move cards have to say "You cannot play during an encounter", for example).

Agh, I really don't know why you keep beating that drum, Yewstance. All move cards DO NOT HAVE to say "you cannot play during an encounter" - you just saw that a lot of them do and made it a "rule" in your head. Moving during an encounter IS a valid power niche - as testified by a bunch of characters with powers revolving around it.


Pathfinder Card Game Subscriber
Longshot11 wrote:
Yewstance wrote:
(so not all move cards have to say "You cannot play during an encounter", for example).
Agh, I really don't know why you keep beating that drum, Yewstance. All move cards DO NOT HAVE to say "you cannot play during an encounter" - you just saw that a lot of them do and made it a "rule" in your head. Moving during an encounter IS a valid power niche - as testified by a bunch of characters with powers revolving around it.

You're right, I mispoke when I said "all". Let me be more specific; the overwhelming majority of movement cards that do not also first make you evade an encounter, avenge an encounter or take someone else's encounter explicitly disallow their use during an encounter.

There are those tied to evasion (such as Rooboo or Cape of Escape), in which case it's always a secondary power. Similar to ones that let you replace who's taking an encounter or avenging distant encounters, such as those tied to Blackjack.

For those powers who's primary purpose is to move, there appears to be few examples that are allowed in an encounter, and I'm not convinced that the few that do exist (such as pre-Core Skyplate Armor and pre-Core Signal Whistle) aren't simply oversights.

Almost every other post-Core example of movement, including Horse, Riding Allosaurus, Compass, Fly, Wayfinder, Dimensional Jump, Hippogriff and Hippogriff Fledgeling explicitly disallows use during encounters, as do dozens of pre-Core examples, which I think demonstrates my point that it is an extremely frequent template among movement effects.

(The rules do allow for you to move during an encounter, by all means. Albeit it can lead to some odd corner-cases and some of them are non-obvious to standard players. Either way, it's extremely rare that a movement power occurs during an encounter without somehow impacting how the encounter is functioning in a way that's spelled out, like an Avenge or a replacement or an evasion.)

Community / Forums / Pathfinder / Pathfinder Adventure Card Game / Rules Questions and Gameplay Discussion / During an Encounter, when can you play a Healing spell? All Messageboards

Want to post a reply? Sign in.