"check or step" - which type of step?


Rules Questions and Gameplay Discussion


(this issue came up on BGG)

There are a few places in the rulebook where the phrase "once per check or step" is used. However, the rulebook uses the term "step" for two different things: (1) the steps of a turn (Explore, etc.) and (2) the steps of an encounter (Apply Any Evasion Effects, etc.). Which type of step is meant in these instances?

A related example:

The Exhausted scourge says: On each check or step, you may play no more than 1 boon.

So, if I'm Exhausted, I can't both play a blessing on a combat check and use an armor to reduce damage from the failed check - because both occur during the same Explore step? Or is something else intended?


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My short answer is: The relevant step is not the Explore step - the relevant step is the step of the encounter (if the check is not made in an encounter, then it is the check itself that matters, not the step).

My longer answer is: look to the Core Set rulebook as a guide. Note this passage:

Core Set rules p.8 wrote:

Encountering a Card

During each step... Each character may play any number of cards, but collectively, the party may play no more than one of each type of boon...

Here the Core Set has moved the previous set's restriction from applying to each character to applying to the party as a whole, but the consistent rule is: the restriction applies to steps of an encounter - not other steps. (IMHO)

So, to answer the Exhausted question: Yes. If you can only use one boon on a step, the relevant step here is "Attempt the Check" - in the example, the check to defeat. If you use a boon on the combat check, you can't use a boon to reduce damage suffered on the check.

(I was just looking at this here in in this somewhat epic thread.)


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Pathfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Exhausted is almost certainly meant to only apply to encounter steps, just as the restriction on playing one card of each type only applies to encounter steps.

I really wish Core would’ve started calling steps of the turn “phases” or something else instead so we wouldn’t have overloaded terminology, but alas. It’s clear enough in most cases right now which is being referred to.

For your damage question, yes, it means no playing an armor during Suffer Damage, If Necessary if you played any boon earlier in the check. This is because suffering damage as part of a failed check is still part of the check. No need to look upwards into steps of an encounter as elcoderdude did, but doing so reinforces the answer I gave because you arrive at the same conclusion should you look at it all being in the same encounter step.


These answers all make sense - thanks.

Agree 100% that steps of a turn should be called phases to prevent confusion.

Paizo Employee Chief Technical Officer

The reason that both of these things are called steps is because things that restrict what you can do during a step apply to BOTH kinds of steps.

So while you're exhausted, you're limited to playing one boon during each step of a turn and during each step of an encounter. (Because all of the steps of an encounter happen during the same step of the turn, the latter limitation is redundant in this case, but it's not incorrect.)

On the other hand, the individual parts of a check are called actions and not steps because things that restrict what you can do during a step apply to the check as a whole, not to each action within the check.


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Pathfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

So exhausted = you’re better off just skipping your turn entirely in most cases. Because you certainly won’t be able to handle anything remotely complex with a restriction like that unless your allies have tons of support and you’re good at punching things unarmed. If you rely on a weapon for combat, a monster that has you summon and encounter another monster will completely mess you up.

(just making an observation, not asking for changes)


Pathfinder Card Game Subscriber
Vic Wertz wrote:
So while you're exhausted, you're limited to playing one boon during each step of a turn and during each step of an encounter. (Because all of the steps of an encounter happen during the same step of the turn, the latter limitation is redundant in this case, but it's not incorrect.)

Oh. I didn't realize that. So, as Skizzerz said before, if you come across a bane with two combat checks to defeat - or summons a monster for you to encounter Before Acting - then you can't use a weapon twice (even in completely different encounters) because you're in the same exploration step?

That's... terrifying. I never realised Exhausted was that bad. I agree with skizzerz then; there's a strong argument for players to simply pass on explorations in a lot of cases, then, unless they're sufficiently certain they'll encounter a boon or examine banes in advance.


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Vic Wertz wrote:
The reason that both of these things are called steps is because things that restrict what you can do during a step apply to BOTH kinds of steps.

The Playing Cards section of the rulebook (p. 7) says the following:

Reveal: Show it from your hand then put it back in your hand. You may not reveal the same card for its power more than once per check or step.

The above interpretation makes it sound like a fighter can't ever play the same weapon twice during the same Explore step. That isn't intended, is it?


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Vic Wertz wrote:
The reason that both of these things are called steps is because things that restrict what you can do during a step apply to BOTH kinds of steps.

Something wrong here or my English is misleading me.

We always played it as:
The reason that both of these things are called steps is because things that restrict what you can do during a step apply
1) to the different steps during an Explore.
2) to the different steps of a turn EXCEPT the Explore step.

If a rule limiting things using the word "per step" applies as Vic says, RAW it seems to imply (as cleverly pointed out by the previous veterans) that
- I cannot reveal the same card twice in a single explore step (we never applied that, especially for weapons as stated previously)
- I cannot play 2 cards of the same type during a single explore step (no cannot bless each of the two combat checks...)

My advice is that neither the "Exploration phase", nor each of the "single Explore" within the "Exploration phase" shouldn't be steps. There shouldn't be steps within steps. If you remove the word "step" and only talk about "Exploration phase" consisting of "Explores" which in turn consist of "steps", then seems to me that all the other rules and cards work fine. IMHO.


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I don't have the rules knowledge necessary to keep up with the discussion, but I'll make a final comment.

No one in any of my games (online and IRL) has been playing the Exhausted scourge as Vic describes. I think this is because every instance of "check or step" in the rulebook has always been interpreted by the community as "check or encounter step". So there's no reason why "check or step" would mean something different for the Exhausted scourge.

The "Reveal" rules citation is a good example. That rule is only reasonable if "check or step" is interpreted as check or encounter step.

I'd also add that skipping a turn is one of the least fun mechanics in the history of gaming, so it would be great if Exhausted were less painful rather than more painful so that skipping might not be mandatory. :)

Paizo Employee Chief Technical Officer

wkover wrote:
The "Reveal" rules citation is a good example. That rule is only reasonable if "check or step" is interpreted as check or encounter step.

During your move step, you move to a location that says "When you move to this location, you are dealt 1d4 damage." You roll a 4. You have a Ring of Protection, which says "When you suffer any damage, freely reveal to reduce it by 1." Do you think you can reveal that card 4 times?

Step means any step.

(We are having a discussion about Exhausted perhaps being too strong.)

Paizo Employee Chief Technical Officer

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I do think there's a problem here, but that problem is that restrictions are applying to the entire explore step when they should be applying only to each step within the explore step. (I have to research this, but I'm pretty sure it wasn't always broken...)

Per step restrictions are absolutely supposed to apply to the Advance the Hour, Give a Card, Move, Close Your Location, and End Your Turn steps.

Paizo Employee Chief Technical Officer

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Vic Wertz wrote:
I do think there's a problem here, but that problem is that restrictions are applying to the entire explore step when they should be applying only to each step within the explore step.

With further thought, that's not where the problem is. Per-step limits do need to be in place for each step of the turn, but anytime you are encountering a card (not just during the exploration step) you need to be absolved of the turn step limits, and held only to the encounter step limits.


wkover wrote:
I don't have the rules knowledge necessary to keep up with the discussion...

See, I told you. :P

Anyway, good luck with the fix and thanks for the replies.

Paizo Employee Chief Technical Officer

The solution might be similar for the big damage problem we've been discussing: anytime you are suffering damage, you need to be absolved of all step limits (either turn step or encounter step) and held only to the limits imposed by the Suffering Damage rules.


I realize the check/step/Exhausted discussion is still ongoing, but Keith mentioned the following on BGG in terms of the intention of the Exhausted scourge:

You can only play 1 boon before acting, 1 for each check to defeat, etc.

So his interpretation is one card per encounter step, I think.


I see a way to resolve this that works for both cases, although it's not exactly easy to explain.

Basically, each time you use a card/power/etc (except freely ofc) it adds a restriction to the smallest (/most recent) step/check/damage instance that you're in. Then that restriction applies to that instance, and any instance inside it, but ends when that instance ends.

Imagine it like a bunch of boxes; you have the "explore step" box, into which you put the "before you act" box, into which you put the "attempt a Wisdom 4 check" box. Then each time you use something, you put the restriction into the smallest box.

So for example on taking damage from failing to defeat a monster, that's still considered part of the check, so you can't use an armor if you already did on the check. But if you take damage after you act, you can use an armor then.
(...That might actually be the only example. I can't honestly think of any other time when a restriction would propagate down. But in theory, it could happen!)

I think this makes the rules work as intended (correct me if I'm wrong, as I'm not the one with the intentions). But I don't know how you would word it without relying heavily on examples and metaphor.

This does mean that, if you use (for example) an ally's start-of-turn power and then encounter a card during the start of your turn (probably because the hour told you to) you would be blocked from using allies during that encounter. But, if you did it in the other order, using an ally during the encounter wouldn't block you from using a start-of-turn ally power later. That's odd. (But.. at least it's not ambiguous?)

Well, I hope this is helpful, but I understand if it doesn't work for you.


We discussed that with my group and agreed that an easy way would be to first define the cases (at that time there are only 2 I know of) when the generic rule is overruled, and then fix the generic rule. I. e. :

Rule could be written as:
- When you suffer damage, you are limited by...
- Otherwise, when you encounter a card, you are limited by...
- Otherwise, you are limited by...

That way it would be clear.


I'll try to add my two cents. Maybe the ruling could be something like this:

During each step, the party may collectively play no more than one of each type of boon. When a step is contained within another step (for example, a Before Acting step inside an Exploration step), only consider cards played during the innermost step when determining whether a card of the appropriate type has been played this step, and cards played during this step are only considered to have been played during the innermost step.

Would this cause any problems? Or maybe it's a bit confusing? I understand it, but these things always make the most sense when inside one's own head.


Vic Wertz wrote:
(We are having a discussion about Exhausted perhaps being too strong.)

If the designers are reconsidering the Exhausted scourge, one way to simplify the card (also making it potentially more understandable) would be to omit the "check or step" language and instead limit the number of cards played per turn.

Something like this might be interesting:

You can play a maximum of two cards per turn.
(Revealing the same card twice counts as two card plays.)

Paizo Employee Chief Technical Officer

Vic Wertz wrote:
Vic Wertz wrote:
I do think there's a problem here, but that problem is that restrictions are applying to the entire explore step when they should be applying only to each step within the explore step.

With further thought, that's not where the problem is. Per-step limits do need to be in place for each step of the turn, but anytime you are encountering a card (not just during the exploration step) you need to be absolved of the turn step limits, and held only to the encounter step limits.

We are thinking of adding something like this to the Encountering a Card rules:

Each encounter consists of several steps, listed below. Limits on playing cards, such as the party being able to play only one boon of each type per step, apply to these steps independently. For example, each check is a separate step, so if a monster requires two checks to defeat, the party could play one weapon on the first check, and another weapon (or even the same one) on the second check.

Thoughts?


Hi Vic.
I think it could work providing you add something to clarify that there is no "in between" between steps of a single encounter.

Let me clarify: Pre-Core, I could heal myself with a Cure between two exploration steps, because even if I can't use Cure during an encounter there was (even if not written) by default a "in between" between the explores (before playing a blessing or ally to reexplore) that let me do that.
By extension, if not said otherwise, one could consider that there is a "in between" for example between the "before acting" and the "check to defeat" of an encounter. Because with your new wording, IMHO that would be the same situation as between the last step of an encounter and the first of the next one (if I reexplore).

We could argue that you cannot play Cure because it doesn't apply to the situation during an encounter.... but wait... how does it apply more to the situation between encounters? The examples in the rules just say:
"you may not play a card to reduce damage when damage isn’t being suffered, and you may not play a card to evade a monster when you are not encountering a monster."
To me that translates to "you may not play cure on a character that has no card in his discard." but that's it. You can play it between steps any time you have a between steps...

I'm far from being 100% sure my remark is fullproof but I see the possibility of an issue here.

Thoughts?


Pathfinder Card Game Subscriber

I feel like I'm misunderstanding why there's a rules issue in the first place. Rules and relevant power texts (like on Exhausted) state your limitations as "On each check or step" or "Once per check or step".

Also, see the Core Rulebook under "Encountering a Card"...

Core Rulebook, Page 8 wrote:

When you encounter a card, you must attempt to acquire it (if it’s a boon) or defeat it (if it’s a bane) by going through a series of steps. No one else can perform these steps for you, though others might be able to play cards to help you deal with the encounter’s challenges.

During each step, characters may play only cards or use only powers that relate to that step, or that relate directly to cards played or powers used in that step. If a character power applies when a specific thing happens, you may use it each time that happens; otherwise, you may use each power no more than once per step.

The rulebook clearly defines each step of an encounter as, steps, using that word precisely. A rule that tells me to do something "Once per check or step" is telling me that I must ascribe to one limit "OR" the other. Not "and" the other.

Unless I'm missing something critical here, it seems like some statements in this forum thread is reading the rule as if it said "Once per check AND step", which is not the case and has never been the case. If it was written like that, however, then you would clearly have to obey both limitations simultaneously when playing cards.

In other words, even with RAW right now, without 'corrections', using a sword on a BA combat check, then a combat check, then a sequential combat check is fine. They're all different steps (in fact, they're also different checks anyway).

And there are times when you would be making multiple checks in a given step as well, like during Recovery. You're recovering multiple spells, potentially, during Recovery (which is in your 'End of Turn' step), but you'd be allowed to reveal a Headband of Epic Intelligence on 3 different Arcane Spell recharges because they're three different checks (even though none of them is an encounter).

So... what's the rules issue at work? What are we trying to resolve? I'm clearly missing why the current rules wouldn't let you play a weapon for two separate checks, and/or in two different steps (of an encounter).

Surely a different step of an encounter is just as valid a step as a different step of a turn; they even use the same terminology. "Explore Step, Encounter->BA Step" I would intuitively understand to be a different step than "Explore Step, Encounter->Resolve the Encounter" step. The fact that they're both in the Explore "megastep" doesn't seem rules-relevant to me, since you can clearly indicate a difference in step from one to the other.

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

More off-topic:
There are rules issues, in my opinion, about ignoring BA, AA and taking damage, and how - RAW - multiple players cannot ever do these same things in a given check or step. But that seems out of scope here.

If every local character takes 1 fire damage, as-written it seems only one player can use any kind of armor.

If every local character suffers a BA effect like 'discard a spell', then as-written it seems like only one player could use an item to ignore the consequences of the BA on themselves, even if they all had an item to do so. This makes a number of BA/AA effects that read "a local character [suffers an effect]" almost impossible to interact with or be ignored if there's more than one character at a location. In fact, one character ignoring such an effect is objectively bad for the party, since it lessens the party choice as to who suffers the consequence. Ignoring the BA/AA effect of Accursed Priest or Plague Zombie or various other monsters if there's another local character is actually making things worse, not better, which seems bizarre to me.

Paizo Employee Chief Technical Officer

That was my original position, but it has become clear to me that many people quite reasonably parse the limit by saying that when you are in a step of a check during an encounter, you are also in a step of the turn, so that limit applies.

Regarding damage, you're correct that that's a separate (though related) issue; we're working on that as well.

Paizo Employee Chief Technical Officer

Frencois wrote:
I think it could work providing you add something to clarify that there is no "in between" between steps of a single encounter.

The second paragraph of Encountering a Card ends "Characters may not play cards or use powers between these steps."


Missed that. So no issue here.

Paizo Employee Chief Technical Officer

Vic Wertz wrote:
Vic Wertz wrote:
Vic Wertz wrote:
I do think there's a problem here, but that problem is that restrictions are applying to the entire explore step when they should be applying only to each step within the explore step.

With further thought, that's not where the problem is. Per-step limits do need to be in place for each step of the turn, but anytime you are encountering a card (not just during the exploration step) you need to be absolved of the turn step limits, and held only to the encounter step limits.

We are thinking of adding something like this to the Encountering a Card rules:

Each encounter consists of several steps, listed below. Limits on playing cards, such as the party being able to play only one boon of each type per step, apply to these steps independently. For example, each check is a separate step, so if a monster requires two checks to defeat, the party could play one weapon on the first check, and another weapon (or even the same one) on the second check.

Thoughts?

Last call!


Pathfinder Card Game Subscriber
Vic Wertz wrote:


Last call!

Is the issue of taking damage still being dealt with separately, or is it meant to be covered in this proposal?

e.g.: BYA Dragon breaths fire, everybody suffers 1d4 damage. My buddy standing next to me is burnt to only medium-well because he is wearing scraps of hide, so now I can't play my plus infinity Shield of Dragon Resistance*. One "step" or two?

* -- yes, yes, I know, don't try to literalize it, and I'm ignoring the Freely cases as not relevant, but salient point: same BYA you play an Armor on yours can/can't I play an Armor on mine?


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Pathfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

The "For example, each check is a separate step" is just straight-up wrong. Checks to acquire or defeat (and related checks, if any) are separate steps, but multiple checks Before Acting or After Acting all happen within the same step.

I don't believe this actually solves the issue, because treating each restriction independently = we apply all restrictions all the time, and don't consider that the same restrictions are already being applied elsewhere (aka the status quo). This works well enough-ish for the check to defeat example if we ignore the fact that the explore step is also a step, but fails for checks performed BA or AA.

If we consider steps of a turn to also be steps, then the example text is even more wrong because of the limits being applied to steps of a turn. I seriously believe the solution to this is to stop calling steps of a turn "steps" though and call them something else like "phases." The card playing restrictions are really not relevant outside of checks, encounters, or suffering damage; and those each independently provide the relevant restrictions on playing cards.


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Pathfinder Card Game Subscriber
skizzerz wrote:
I seriously believe the solution to this is to stop calling steps of a turn "steps" though and call them something else like "phases."

Vehemently agree here. Calling two different things the same name was asking for trouble ever since RotR (it just didn't matter *that* much back then).


Pathfinder Card Game Subscriber
Vic Wertz wrote:

I do think there's a problem here, but that problem is that restrictions are applying to the entire explore step when they should be applying only to each step within the explore step. (I have to research this, but I'm pretty sure it wasn't always broken...)

Per step restrictions are absolutely supposed to apply to the Advance the Hour, Give a Card, Move, Close Your Location, and End Your Turn steps.

This was the comment that I took my understanding of steps from. My thinking was that anytime I stared a new step or check, the restriction reset. So, when I started a step of the turn, the restriction was reset. When I started a new step of an encounter, the restriction was reset. And when I started a new check, the restriction was reset.

Paizo Employee Chief Technical Officer

Sathar wrote:
Is the issue of taking damage still being dealt with separately, or is it meant to be covered in this proposal?

It's separate, but there's some likelihood that the outcome of that will take some cues from the outcome of this.

Paizo Employee Chief Technical Officer

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Hawkmoon269 wrote:
Vic Wertz wrote:

I do think there's a problem here, but that problem is that restrictions are applying to the entire explore step when they should be applying only to each step within the explore step. (I have to research this, but I'm pretty sure it wasn't always broken...)

Per step restrictions are absolutely supposed to apply to the Advance the Hour, Give a Card, Move, Close Your Location, and End Your Turn steps.

This was the comment that I took my understanding of steps from. My thinking was that anytime I stared a new step or check, the restriction reset. So, when I started a step of the turn, the restriction was reset. When I started a new step of an encounter, the restriction was reset. And when I started a new check, the restriction was reset.

I think that's what Mike and I thought was happening (which, by the way, is the reason that steps of a turn and steps of an encounter are both called steps), but it's pretty clear that lots of people don't read it that way.


Vic Wertz wrote:
Hawkmoon269 wrote:
This...
I think that's what Mike and I thought was happening (which, by the way, is the reason that steps of a turn and steps of an encounter are both called steps), but it's pretty clear that lots of people don't read it that way.

A) Nice to see you back Hawk; We've been missing you :-)

B) I agree that RAI we all had it right. The issue is that RAW there is really room for misunderstanding.
So I guess the following simple idea should indeed prevail IMHO : two different things shouldn't have the same name.
Especially if some rules (like limitations) are defined using that name.

Even more if rules refer to that name + another one somehow encompassing the first one and using the "or" mathematic operand which already usually carries some potential uncertainty (or or xor?) : in short "check or step" carries that double uncertainty.

Paizo Employee Chief Technical Officer

A) Renaming things doesn't solve the problem—the rules still need to clearly say what they mean.
B) Renaming them is too big a change for mid-set errata. That ship has sailed for now.
C) They were named the same thing because they were meant to have the same function with respect to the rules that reference them. I'm not at all convinced that renaming them doesn't actually make it harder for the rules to clearly say what they mean.


Vic Wertz wrote:
Per step restrictions are absolutely supposed to apply to the Advance the Hour, Give a Card, Move, Close Your Location, and End Your Turn steps.

Pardon my asking, but... why? When does this actually matter?

You're allowed to play cards between steps (of the turn) without restriction, so it doesn't seem like it effects much what cards you can play during the steps. I don't know the majority of cards, but I don't see that it would make all that much difference either to allow use if cards without restriction during these steps, or to completely forbid the use of powers that don't explicitly say they're for use during these steps.

Those powers that explicitly are used during the appropriate step, obviously, do need some restriction, but I don't see either that it matters that restriction be anything beyond not using the same power (or boon) twice per step. Does it really ever matter that you can't use, say, two allies during your move step?

As I said, there are a lot of cards that I'm not familiar with, so please do give specific examples of when these restrictions do matter. I fully expect that I've just missed something that makes them important, but if there's a slim chance something simpler works just as well (such as, "outside of an encounter, check, or suffering damage, you may not play cards or use character powers during a phase of the turn, unless they specifically say you can; use each of those powers only once."), it still seems worth investigating?

Actually, when do you play cards during steps of an encounter, outside of a check, anyway? I guess evade powers and "when you encounter" powers, but those are both explicit timing-wise. Again I'm probably missing something, but...?


Pathfinder Card Game Subscriber

If exploration is one step, you can only use one blessing during that step one ally and so on. So if you explore twice you can not use any cards during the second explore, if you did use those in the first explore, if They Are indeed the same step.
In old rules if you have 7 allies in you hand you could explore 8 times, because there was no limit. Now if we count explore step and one Step as a whole (as rules says) you can not do that.
Or if you use armor during first explore, you could not use armor any more during second explore and so on. And that seems to not to be purpose? If i am not wrong.
So inside steps there Are steps and the problem is when the restriction resets. For example. You explore using ally. You meat monster, you have ally that gives combat boost to combat, but because you already used ally in explore step and you Are still resolving you explore you can not use that ally, unless it is different step, but as I sais it is not different step, because you Are in explore step and the limit comes from explore step even you have new encounter... Lets say you did use weapon during the first explore so you could not play even weapon during the second explore, because you allready have used weapon in explore step... So what and when those limits reset is not clear when phases Are Also steps and during all those steps there Are more steps inside. So what step affect those sub steps. The rule was meant to handle all those steps, but it means if ruled very strictly that you Are very limited what you can do if you need similar checks during those steps...


Responding to Hannibal:
Vic's proposed rule ( above in this thread) is pretty clear. The one-boon-of-each-type-per-party limit pertains to the smallest unit the character is currently participating in (check, step of encounter, step of turn).

Responding to foxoftheasterisk: Here is a possible game significance of applying the boon limit during a step like Advance the Hour: there could be a scenario or location power that does damage to all characters (for instance) when the hour advances. Or when a character moves. Can the party play an armor to mitigate every damage instance? (I could be muddling the discussion by bringing up damage, I realize.)

Also responding to foxoftheasterisk: Again, damage during an encounter might not pertain to any check. Also, certain movement cards can be played by characters during an encounter (whether the encountering character or another character.)

Paizo Employee Chief Technical Officer

Hannibal_pjv wrote:

If exploration is one step, you can only use one blessing during that step one ally and so on. So if you explore twice you can not use any cards during the second explore, if you did use those in the first explore, if They Are indeed the same step.

In old rules if you have 7 allies in you hand you could explore 8 times, because there was no limit. Now if we count explore step and one Step as a whole (as rules says) you can not do that.

From the Explore rules on page 6: "Many effects allow you to explore again on your turn; each exploration is a separate step."


Yeah, sorry elcoderdude, but those examples don't really apply to what I was trying to get at (largely because damage is likely going to obviate per-step limits going forward, based on that other thread). Let me try to clarify.

Basically there were two different general examples I wanted:

1. A situation in which it's important that a character be able to play an "untimed" card or power (such as Cure, or Augury; any power that is not specifically timed to either the step, or an event that happens during it) at all during a step of the turn, outside of a check, encounter, or suffering damage (each of which allows you to ignore turn step limits) .

2. A situation in which any of the per-step restrictions (such as card type restrictions) are important, apart from playing a timed-to-the-step power more than once during the step, and also ignoring checks, encounters, and damage, as they impose their own restrictions.

I realize "important" is a bit subjective; what I'm really looking for in both cases is a reason you couldn't play the same powers between steps for (essentially) the same effect.

Paizo Employee Chief Technical Officer

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I have done a deep dive on this.

Here are the rules that impose card type limits in Core:

1. In Encountering a Card: "Each character may play any number of cards, but collectively, the party may play no more than one of each type of boon; powers that can be played freely do not count toward this limit."

2. In Play Cards and Use Powers That Affect Your Check: "Remember that collectively, the party may play no more than one of each type of boon during a check, although powers that say they can be played freely do not count toward that limit."

3. In Suffering Damage: "Collectively, the party may play no more than one boon of each type to affect damage to the same character from the same source, although powers that say they can be played freely do not count toward that limit."

4. In the Transition Guide: "When encountering a card or suffering damage, the party collectively may play no more than one of each type of boon. Powers that can be played freely do not count toward this limit."

5. In A Few Rules That Are Easy To Forget: "While encountering a card, the party may collectively play no more than one boon of each type during each step."

To sum up:

• Items 1, 4, and 5 are supposed to impose the type limit on each step of an encounter, but the wording in items 1 and 4 aren't doing a great job of it. The wording in item 5 is clear and correct (though it doesn't cover the "freely" exception).

• Item 2 describes a type limit on each check. It's phrased as a reminder, but it's really only a reminder if your check is a step of an encounter; in any other case, it's a new and separate rule.

• Items 3 and 4 apply a type limit to taking damage (even if it's not part of a check or encounter). I think we still have some work to do on that, so I can't say how these might need to change yet.

• Despite what I said earlier in this thread, there are no rules that apply type limits to steps of a turn other than Encountering a Card. (While working on Core, that was briefly proposed, but we decided against it.)

Ultimately, though, none of this informs the original question in any way. As I said previously, when the term "step" is used with no further qualification, it refers to both steps of a turn and steps of a check. However, Exhausted does not say what it means, so we'll need to get back to you on that.


An investigation of 'step' limits:

Vic Wertz wrote:
...when the term "step" is used with no further qualification, it refers to both steps of a turn and steps of a check.

In the Core rulebook, "step" is used in this way only in the two following rules:

* If a character power applies when a specific thing happens, you may use it each time that happens; otherwise, you may use each power no more than once per check or step.
* Reveal: Show it from your hand then put it back in your hand. You may not reveal the same card for its power more than once per check or step.

It does seem important that these restrictions apply to the steps of the turn (for powers with timing like "during your move step", which almost certainly should be used only once per turn), but also it seems evident that they shouldn't apply to the explore step turn steps during encounters.

I can't be sure, but I'm guessing Exhausted is the only card that refers to "step" without qualifiers. It also seems correct to apply to steps of the turn, but not during encounters.

All of which certainly makes my previous questions irrelevant!

So there are two ways I can see to clarify how this should be (assuming my interpretation of RAI is correct), with slightly different rules implications. One is what Vic proposed:

Vic Wertz wrote:
Each encounter consists of several steps, listed below. Limits on playing cards, such as the party being able to play only one boon of each type per step, apply to these steps independently. For example, each check is a separate step, so if a monster requires two checks to defeat, the party could play one weapon on the first check, and another weapon (or even the same one) on the second check.

(I'd prefer it to explicitly state that the limits on steps of the turn don't apply, but it's clear what's meant.)

Or, it could be a broader rule:

New proposal wrote:
During an encounter, ignore all limits on playing cards during a step of the turn; similarly, during a check or suffering damage?, ignore all limits on playing cards during steps. For example, the party could play one item before acting, and another item (or the same one) after acting, despite both being contained by the same explore step; they could also play one item on Harsk's check before acting, and another item on Merisiel's check in the same before acting step.

Which one is up to the developers, although I'll note that the second is closer to my interpretation of RAI.


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Ping. Any resolution on this?


Sounds like RAI was that the restriction resets for each check:

Vic Wertz wrote:
Hawkmoon269 wrote:
Vic Wertz wrote:

I do think there's a problem here, but that problem is that restrictions are applying to the entire explore step when they should be applying only to each step within the explore step. (I have to research this, but I'm pretty sure it wasn't always broken...)

Per step restrictions are absolutely supposed to apply to the Advance the Hour, Give a Card, Move, Close Your Location, and End Your Turn steps.

This was the comment that I took my understanding of steps from. My thinking was that anytime I stared a new step or check, the restriction reset. So, when I started a step of the turn, the restriction was reset. When I started a new step of an encounter, the restriction was reset. And when I started a new check, the restriction was reset.
I think that's what Mike and I thought was happening (which, by the way, is the reason that steps of a turn and steps of an encounter are both called steps), but it's pretty clear that lots of people don't read it that way.

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