Initiative Oddity


Rules Discussion


So I found a really bizarre interaction with the encounter and detection rules. Something like this was in the playtest and it loos like it wasn't fixed.

Let's say the following happens:

1. You, a rogue, sneak up on a cleric in the middle of a planar ally ritual.
2. You are sneaking so well that you are unnoticed over the sound of the ritual incantation. Perhaps you're a couple hundred feet away.
3. You declare you are going to shoot the cleric.
4. At this point, you must roll initiative against the cleric, who still has no idea you're there.
5. Because you have initiated an encounter, the Planar Ally ritual immediately fails.
5. The cleric wins initiative. You are still Unnoticed to him - he hasn't seen/heard/smelled you etc, but all of a sudden his ritual is disrupted for no apparent reason.

Are you now Undetected because the ritual ended? How did the ritual end before a single blow was thrown, and before the performing party was even aware there was a hostile party nearby?


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Quote:
Because you have initiated an encounter, the Planar Ally ritual immediately fails.

Can you cite the rule which says that?


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"If combat breaks out while you’re casting one, your spell is disrupted" - page 302. Combat breaking out is not the same as rolling initiative. Once your rogue shoots (hit or miss), the ritual will be disrupted.


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"I went to see a fight and a planar ally ritual broke down." - Rodney Dangerfield


"You have to spend all the actions of an activity at
once to gain its effects. In an encounter, this means you
must complete it during your turn." - page 461.

I suppose this means that technically, if the ritual was within 6 seconds of completion, the cleric might feasibly be able to finish it (although I would personally argue that "If combat breaks out while you’re casting one, your spell is disrupted" on page 302 precludes this).

However, if we use lordcirth's interpretation that combat has not technically broken out until the rogue shoots, the planar ally ritual is still interrupted at the end of the cleric's turn, before the rogue has a chance to do anything, because an encounter has started. One of the secondary casters may have also beaten the rogue's initiative.


Pathfinder Lost Omens Subscriber
sherlock1701 wrote:

So I found a really bizarre interaction with the encounter and detection rules. Something like this was in the playtest and it loos like it wasn't fixed.

Let's say the following happens:

1. You, a rogue, sneak up on a cleric in the middle of a planar ally ritual.
2. You are sneaking so well that you are unnoticed over the sound of the ritual incantation. Perhaps you're a couple hundred feet away.
3. You declare you are going to shoot the cleric.
4. At this point, you must roll initiative against the cleric, who still has no idea you're there.
5. Because you have initiated an encounter, the Planar Ally ritual immediately fails.
5. The cleric wins initiative. You are still Unnoticed to him - he hasn't seen/heard/smelled you etc, but all of a sudden his ritual is disrupted for no apparent reason.

Are you now Undetected because the ritual ended? How did the ritual end before a single blow was thrown, and before the performing party was even aware there was a hostile party nearby?

doesn't it say that if your perception beats the "initative" roll for someone using stealth they're just hidden from you?

Avoid Notice[exploration] wrote:


You attempt a Stealth check to avoid notice while traveling
at half speed. If you have the Swift Sneak feat, you can move
at full Speed rather than half, but you still can’t use another
exploration activity while you do so. If you have the Legendary
Sneak feat, you can move at full Speed and use a second
exploration activity. If you’re Avoiding Notice at the start of
an encounter, you usually roll a Stealth check instead of a
Perception check both to determine your initiative and to see
if the enemies notice you (based on their Perception DCs, as
normal for Sneak, regardless of their initiative check results)
.

oh nope, it's close but i suppose you can still end up not seeing them? or does this effectively mean that your sneak result if it's lower than their perception you'll just be hidden unless +10? or is there some where in the rules where this breaks?

no, wait yeah, it's DC so a high stealth and perception can do this, weird.


sherlock1701 wrote:

However, if we use lordcirth's interpretation that combat has not technically broken out until the rogue shoots, the planar ally ritual is still interrupted at the end of the cleric's turn, before the rogue has a chance to do anything, because an encounter has started. One of the secondary casters may have also beaten the rogue's initiative.

Sorry but it doesn't follow at all... "encounter has started" is meaningless in the game world, it's the player's perspective, not the character's. Not every encounter must even include combat, e.g. there can be a hazard triggering one. The combat doesn't break out until one of the participants took a hostile action (not sure if it is a clearly defined game term, but still). The caster may also decide to interrupt the ritual before combat upon sensing a threat, but it's not based on the way players and GM are tracking game time.

To put it another way, GM is technically not supposed to switch to encounter mode until a player or NPC actually takes a hostile action (though it may be useful to track the movement before combat in some cases).

Exo-Guardians

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lordcirth wrote:
"If combat breaks out while you’re casting one, your spell is disrupted" - page 302. Combat breaking out is not the same as rolling initiative. Once your rogue shoots (hit or miss), the ritual will be disrupted.

The line you quote from page 302 is part of the description for the "Cast a Spell" activity. The rules for Rituals are on pages 408-409, and do not mention anything about combat automatically disrupting rituals.

So, does performing a ritual also use the Cast a Spell activity?

Here's the Cast a Spell description from page 302:

Quote:

CAST A SPELL

You cast a spell you have prepared or in your repertoire. Casting a Spell is a special activity that takes a variable number of actions depending on the spell, as listed in each spell’s stat block. As soon as the spellcasting actions are complete, the spell effect occurs. Some spells are cast as a reaction or free action. In those cases, you Cast the Spell as a reaction or free action (as appropriate) instead of as an activity. Such cases will be noted in the spell’s stat block—for example, “[reaction] verbal.”

Long Casting Times
Some spells take minutes or hours to cast. The Cast a Spell activity for these spells includes a mix of the listed spell components, but it’s not necessary to break down which one you’re providing at a given time. You can’t use other actions or reactions while casting such a spell, though at the GM’s discretion, you might be able to speak a few sentences. As with other activities that take a long time, these spells have the exploration trait, and you can’t cast them in an encounter. If combat breaks out while you’re casting one, your spell is disrupted (see Disrupted and Lost Spells on page 303).

The bolded bit indicates to me that this activity doesn't apply to Rituals, since Rituals can't be prepared in a prepared caster's spell slots or added to a spontaneous caster's repertoire. Therefore the line in the next paragraph about spells with long casting times being auto-disrupted by combat also does not apply to Rituals. It's merely talking about spells with casting times longer than a round, like Create Water (takes 1 hour to cast) or Alarm (10 minutes to cast). If combat breaks out while you're in the middle of casting a spell like that, your spell is automatically disrupted. Rituals have no such rule.


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Calling everything feats and spells when actually there are multiple distinct (if similar) entities was a bad decision that causes a lot of confusion :(

Exo-Guardians

CyberMephit wrote:
Calling everything feats and spells when actually there are multiple distinct (if similar) entities was a bad decision that causes a lot of confusion :(

Rituals are never called "spells" in the CRB. They're pretty clearly distinguished from spells imo.


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Saros Palanthios wrote:
CyberMephit wrote:
Calling everything feats and spells when actually there are multiple distinct (if similar) entities was a bad decision that causes a lot of confusion :(
Rituals are never called "spells" in the CRB. They're pretty clearly distinguished from spells imo.

Unfortunately, that's wrong.

The Rituals subsection of the Spells chapter begins with words "A ritual is an esoteric and complex spell".

I do agree with your previous post as the action clearly only applies to the spells cast from slots.

Exo-Guardians

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CyberMephit wrote:
Saros Palanthios wrote:
CyberMephit wrote:
Calling everything feats and spells when actually there are multiple distinct (if similar) entities was a bad decision that causes a lot of confusion :(
Rituals are never called "spells" in the CRB. They're pretty clearly distinguished from spells imo.

Unfortunately, that's wrong.

The Rituals subsection of the Spells chapter begins with words "A ritual is an esoteric and complex spell".

I do agree with your previous post as the action clearly only applies to the spells cast from slots.

You're right! I missed the red-italic bit at the top of the page. That is confusing. Same goes for "Focus Spells"... imo they should have been called "Focus Powers" or somesuch. Ah well.


Red text at the chapter headings are flavor, not mechanics.

Rituals are spells as far as characters go, but they are a different creature with different rules.


Not all encounters are combats.
The Ritual rule specifically calls out combat.

If the Cleric used a different ability than Perception for initiative, then he might go first and be completely unaware of the Rogue, thus continuing the ritual.
The Rogue's first attack marks the start of combat, as might any hostile action or even threat of hostile action if observed by those doing the ritual. Hypothetically, the Rogue could cast undetectable buffs and delay the actual start of combat while remaining in initiative order.

That seems clear to me.

What doesn't seem clear is what exactly is the Cleric sensing or feeling? Did they use Religion for initiative or what?

Cheers

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