Countering Misfortune with Halfling Luck? (Fortune / Misfortune "missing the timing")


Rules Discussion


Suppose that a Halfling is subject to the spell "Outcast's Curse".

The effect states that for 10 minutes, the target must roll twice and use the worse result whenever attempting a Deception, Diplomacy, Intimidation, or Performance check. This is a Misfortune effect.

The Halfling has the ability Halfling Luck, which is a trigger on a failed roll. This is a fortune effect.

If a roll has both a fortune and misfortune effect, these cancel out.

If the rules are read absolutely literally, then the Halfling cannot use Halfling Luck on this roll, because Halfling Luck is a trigger which occurs after the roll has been seen to fail. By the time that has happened the misfortune effect has already taken hold and caused two dice to be rolled, and it is too late for it to be cancelled out.

Is this the intent? Or can the Halfling player declare a use of Halfling Luck before rolling (which they normally could not do) in order to cancel the Misfortune effect of Outcast's Curse?


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

This came up in a game I had this last weekend and I was excited to see this post...and then saddened that there wasn't any response.

As GM I ruled that you can't use a Misfortune effect to cancel a Halfling's luck, as to me that doesn't seem to be the intent. The player was trying to use Harbingers Caw on an NPCs Luck. I ruled that the Halfing would get the reroll with misfortune applied (roll twice and take the worse result.


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Probably because none of us really know the answer to that either.

Personally if someone with Halfling Luck was under an effect that was regularly causing misfortune effects, I would let them pre-use the Halfling Luck to cancel the misfortune effect and roll normally. It would still cost them their reaction and the usage of Halfling Luck and would only remove the misfortune effect from that one roll.


Here's how I would handle it, pour theoretically cursed halfling rolls a qualify roll and must roll twice, due to misfortune. Take note of which value is roller first! If the worse of the two rolls is enough to cause failure, the halfling may choose to exercise halfling luck (if they have uses left, or maybe decide not to). If halfling luck is used, then I would say for this roll the misfortune and fortune cancel out, and whatever you rolled first is the result you actually got.

Horizon Hunters

That's probably the best way but the PC could just pick not to use it if they would fail anyway, which is metagamey


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Triple rolling (roll with misfortune, then roll again with misfortune cancelled) doesn't seem right.

Discarding one of the dice results after seeing the results also doesn't feel right.

Rolling with misfortune again and taking the better of the two pairs of rolls just seems cumbersome and still doesn't fit the intent of the fortune/misfortune cancellation effect.


Cordell Kintner wrote:
That's probably the best way but the PC could just pick not to use it if they would fail anyway, which is metagamey

For this situation, I would say (as the GM) because the player is a halfling with halfling luck if there is even a chance they decide to use it, I will roll all rolls as secret rolls. That way the player can't metagame knowing what the values are.


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Claxon wrote:
Cordell Kintner wrote:
That's probably the best way but the PC could just pick not to use it if they would fail anyway, which is metagamey
For this situation, I would say (as the GM) because the player is a halfling with halfling luck if there is even a chance they decide to use it, I will roll all rolls as secret rolls. That way the player can't metagame knowing what the values are.

That still skews the probabilities since they know that half the time, halfling luck will leave them with the lower die. But this is something that was already discussed here way back when the CRB came out, to no satisfying conclusion.

Edit: I looked up the old thread. The post with my opinions on the matter is this one, and there is also some discussion before and after that.


painted_green wrote:
Claxon wrote:
Cordell Kintner wrote:
That's probably the best way but the PC could just pick not to use it if they would fail anyway, which is metagamey
For this situation, I would say (as the GM) because the player is a halfling with halfling luck if there is even a chance they decide to use it, I will roll all rolls as secret rolls. That way the player can't metagame knowing what the values are.
That still skews the probabilities since they know that half the time, halfling luck will leave them with the lower die. But this is something that was already discussed here way back when the CRB came out, to no satisfying conclusion.

It's true, that the player will know that if they use halfling luck that they have a chance that the low die is the first one rolled, but they don't know it for sure.

Someone who is desperate to succeed at the roll might try it anyways. Especially if you went all in on the luck feats, you can do it like once an hour so if a particular check was very important you might try it anyways. If not, perhaps you decide it's not worth wasting your use on this check. In which case things resolve normally, as though you didn't have halfling luck, so I don't really see a problem.

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