Uses for a familiar? How intelligent is it?


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Liberty's Edge

Pathfinder Adventure, Card Game, Rulebook, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber

I'm sticking to the rules here. All of this is RAW.

Sliska Zafir wrote:

#1 "Familiars are mystically bonded creatures tied to your magic." "The familiar serves you." That's all that is necessary for it to accept speech given commands.

#1 It's not my Command an Animal action, it's the familiar's Sneak and Seek command that repeats.

Graystone wrote:
#1 and? It could be master and slave and it serves because it HAS to not because it wants to. As we have no insight into what kind of magic bond it is, it's a total leap of logic to assume it's a friendly one. The familiar could treat it as a 9-5 job and the second you stop commanding it, it does what it pleases without any concern for you. Just pointing to 'mystic bond' tells us nothing.

Graystone - a familiar serves you, whether it is a forced servitude, or based on a mystical bond, or because it likes your smell, or because you know where to pet it...it just doesn't matter if its friendly or slavery - it "directly serves" (CRB) the master, allowing the master to give it commands it will follow, because servitude means obeying.

"During an encounter, it gets 2 actions in around if you spend an action to command them."

How many actions does it get to take in exploration mode when you command them?

Use Improvising New Exploration Activities [CRB498]: "If the activity is similar to an action used in an encounter, such as Avoid Notice, it usually consists of a single action repeatedly roughly 10 times per minute (Sneak), or an alternation of actions, such as Search, which alternates Strike and Seek." So the familiar can take the Sneak action 10 times per minute.

A servant familiar with Speech would take as many actions it could to follow and complete the command that was given by its master, by the nature of its servitude. It only "acts how it pleases" if it is left *unattended* after a minute. While it is following a command, it is not *left* unattended; it is performing a Sneak and Seek alternating action for its master as servitude. So while it is serving, it is not "left unattended". It understands, through Speech, explicitly what action(s) to be taking while serving under the command.

This is why I said, it's not the Command an Animal action that needs repeating, because once the animal receives the command, it knows what to do, especially since it *understands Speech* and will serve you.

The Improvising New Exploration Activities guidelines allow repetition of actions. Sneak and Seek will be the actions the familiar is repeating over the course of time until the service is rendered to the master. This is an alternating type action listed above.

As for its intelligence, if the player gives it Speech, the master can Command it to Recall Knowledge (which can be used untrained), so it could share what it thinks the creature is. It's effective "intelligence" for this check is a modifier of +1 for a 1st level wizard, +1 for every level.

While that's not as smart, it still allows the familiar with Speech to make a skill check to relate what it knows to its master, because it now has the ability to *relate information* through speech to its master. Including erroneous recall knowledge checks. Funny how it works, but there it is.


John Lynch 106 wrote:
This is 100% not true. The rules say what a minion or familiar can do in an encounter. They are 100% silent on what occurs in exploration mode.

"If the activity is similar to an action someone could use in an encounter, such as Avoid Notice, it usually consists of a single action repeated roughly 10 times per minute (such as using the Sneak action 10 times) or an alternation of actions that works out similarly (such as Search, which alternates Stride and Seek)."

To me, that reads as a default way to deal with unknown actions in exploration. With no exception for familiars or minions, it's looks like the only RAW there is. That's why I say 100%, as there is NO evidence on the other side of this argument: we either have default rules or complete dm fiat.

John Lynch 106 wrote:
Then the rules are not clear as to how the minion trait works because it shouldn't highlight "this is how it works in encounter mode" it should just say "this is how it works".

But it does. Any unknown action "usually consists of a single action repeated roughly 10 times per minute". There is no mention of exceptions or abilities working differently, do they don't. I can't read that as anything other than 10 command actions per minute. I'd LOVE it if someone could come up with something in the rules that pointed to minions being more useful than they are with default guidelines for exploration activities: It would make my life easier if there was.

John Lynch 106 wrote:
Likewise the rules give us no guidance whatsoever as to how intelligent a familiar is

Now on this you have my total agreement. All we know is that "It doesn’t have or use its own ability modifiers". Even speech doesn't really require smarts, as gnomes can talk to "badgers, ground squirrels, moles, and prairie dogs" with a feat.

John Lynch 106 wrote:
Now if you want to accept graystone's position as RAW then you must admit that by RAW riding a horse and leading a different horse exhausts you if you do it for 11 minutes. If you think that's an absurd situation then you either need to interpret the rules differently or house rule them.

Yep, that's were I'm at. I've been asking for things to be clarified, explained fixed, ect since playtest because it leads to these kinds of illogical situations like someone with an animal companion is exhausted if they also use a mount... It requires me to ask for another houserule in my ever growing list of them to play the game... :P


Sliska Zafir: first off, you made it VERY hard to follow your post without breaking things up with proper quotes.

Sliska Zafir wrote:
#1 It's not my Command an Animal action, it's the familiar's Sneak and Seek command that repeats.

It's both. You have to use an action so it can move and they have to spend a n action on whatever exploration activity they are doing. If they attempt 2 actions, they are exhausted or of limited use: just because command allows 2 actions doesn't mean they can take them. After all, PC's get 3 and can only take 1.

Sliska Zafir wrote:
Graystone - a familiar serves you, whether it is a forced servitude, or based on a mystical bond, or because it likes your smell, or because you know where to pet it...it just doesn't matter if its friendly or slavery - it "directly serves" (CRB) the master, allowing the master to give it commands it will follow, because servitude means obeying.

And? We were talking about what it does when it's out of your command area: What does this have to do with any of that. How does any of that affect "sapient minions act how they please". Sure when you spend an action, it does what you say: I was replying to someone that said because the familiar loves you so much it's do what you want without command.

Sliska Zafir wrote:
How many actions does it get to take in exploration mode when you command them?

2, but if they use more than one they get fatigued or what they do is of limited use.

Sliska Zafir wrote:
Use Improvising New Exploration Activities [CRB498]: "If the activity is similar to an action used in an encounter, such as Avoid Notice, it usually consists of a single action repeatedly roughly 10 times per minute (Sneak), or an alternation of actions, such as Search, which alternates Strike and Seek." So the familiar can take the Sneak action 10 times per minute.

They sure can as long as you command them. "If given no commands, minions use no actions except to defend themselves or to escape obvious harm." Remember, we're repeated single actions and minions only get those "once per turn, when you spend an action to issue it commands".

Sliska Zafir wrote:
A servant familiar with Speech would take as many actions it could to follow and complete the command that was given by its master, by the nature of its servitude.

Yep, until the end of a round, then it stops dead. It's servitude means "once per turn, when you spend an action to issue it commands" it follows commands: nothing says any different and there are no rules allowing command actions to work differently. Why assume they work differently? You're allowed MORE latitude in what you do in encounter mode as you're doing it a limited amount of times because "because combat lasts such a short time"

Sliska Zafir wrote:
This is why I said, it's not the Command an Animal action that needs repeating, because once the animal receives the command, it knows what to do, especially since it *understands Speech* and will serve you

If this was true, it's work that way for encounter mode too. it's 10 single actions a minute not an single action that lasts a minute. See the difference.

Nothing in the rules allows a familiar to act differently in the various modes. Why do you thing the creators of the game kept close track of the action economy for encounter mode but you think they don't care about it in exploration mode by allowing only pet users to gain twice the activities as non-pet users?

Liberty's Edge

Pathfinder Adventure, Card Game, Rulebook, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber

The designers allowed for Improvising New Exploration Activities. Nothing in Encounter Mode applies. We're in Improvise territory.

Exploration Activities don't have rounds or turns, nor do they have a designated amount of time.

Your argument is that if I use Command an Animal during Exploration Mode, it is limited by Encounter mode. But Encounter Mode doesn't apply.

During Exploration Mode, nothing says that you have to Command it in order for it to follow the Sneak and Seek command you gave. It can repeat that without needing further commands because you haven't told it to do anything else, it serves you, it is not unattended, and it has the extra time offered by Exploration mode to do so.


Pathfinder Rulebook Subscriber

Well, we’re getting Witch in under a year. It’ll be covered in more detail by then, I imagine. In the meantime, your familiar probably takes a minute or so to wind down after combat.


Sliska Zafir wrote:
Nothing in Encounter Mode applies.

There is a full stop here: Improvising New Exploration Activities clearly tells you that you use actions from Encounter Mode. They do NOT reinvent actions to use:

Avoid Notice doesn't alter how stealth works.
Detect Magic doesn't change how Detect Magic works.
Defend doesn't change how raise a shield works.
Investigate doesn't change how Recall Knowledge works.
Repeat a Spell doesn't alter how the spell works.
Search doesn't change how Seek works.

Why would Command suddenly differ from this pattern of encounter actions being used in exploration or the pattern given for improvised ones: "it usually consists of a single action repeated roughly 10 times per minute". You're ignoring precedent from other actions AND the improvised action guidelines.

Sliska Zafir wrote:
Exploration Activities don't have rounds or turns, nor do they have a designated amount of time.

Again, incorrect. Several actions have time limits. Affix a Talisman is 10 min. Hustle is a number of minutes equal to your Constitution modifier × 10 (minimum 10 minutes). Repeat a Spell can only can be sustained for 10 min. Even if they didn't, Minion's do and Encounter Mode doesn't alter the base action or duration: it talks about repeating the action and not extending a single action. It's Repeat a Spell instead of 'cast a single spell and ignore the duration'.

Sliska Zafir wrote:
But Encounter Mode doesn't apply

Actions HAVE to apply as they're the framework they give for making your own and the premade ones rely on that mode to explain how they work. You want to know how seek work for search, you HAVE to look at the action that gets repeated 1/round. For instance, Detect Magic is "You cast detect magic at regular intervals" and NOT 'you cast detect magic once and...'. It's because the duration DOES matter.

Sliska Zafir wrote:
During Exploration Mode, nothing says that you have to Command it in order for it to follow the Sneak and Seek command you gave.

IMO, this is a ridiculous argument. They also don't say that PC's can fly, so can we also assume that they can? Can I breathe fire too while I'm at it? 'it doesn't say I can't' just isn't a winning argument to me. I just don't get why people would think they suddenly become SO much more useful than they where because the mode changed.

Let me ask you this? Do you really think the intent was for pet users to have double the exploration actions when they were so careful with actions in encounter mode? Why would they suddenly not care about action economy?


QuidEst wrote:
Well, we’re getting Witch in under a year. It’ll be covered in more detail by then, I imagine. In the meantime, your familiar probably takes a minute or so to wind down after combat.

It'd be great to have more detail for them then but I'd like some kind of FAQ at least to tide us over until then.

Liberty's Edge

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graystone wrote:
Sliska Zafir wrote:
Nothing in Encounter Mode applies.

There is a full stop here: Improvising New Exploration Activities clearly tells you that you use actions from Encounter Mode.

Wrong - full stop. "If a player wants to do something not covered by other rules, here are some guidelines. *If the activity is similar to an action someone could use in an encounter*, such as Avoid Notice...etc" CRB

These actions aren't necessarily limited to encounter actions only, though some take their cues from it.

Quote:


Why would Command suddenly differ from this pattern of encounter actions being used in exploration or the pattern given for improvised ones: "it usually consists of a single action repeated roughly 10 times per minute". You're ignoring precedent from other actions AND the improvised action guidelines.

On the contrary, you're limiting exploration activity based on encounter actions. There are no such limitations, only guidelines.

Sliska Zafir wrote:
Exploration Activities don't have rounds or turns, nor do they have a designated amount of time.
Quote:

Again, incorrect. Several actions have time limits. Affix a Talisman is 10 min. Hustle is a number of minutes equal to your Constitution modifier × 10 (minimum 10 minutes). Repeat a Spell can only can be sustained for 10 min. Even if they didn't, Minion's do and Encounter Mode doesn't alter the base action or duration: it talks about repeating the action and not extending a single action. It's Repeat a Spell instead of 'cast a single spell and ignore the duration'.

Wrong. Exploration activities are not *limited by such increments as rounds and turns.* Some have consequences for using the activity for a certain period, such as fatigue, but not all.

I'm not trying to guess intent. I'm trying to extrapolate exploration activities given the rules that are listed in the CRB. I've tried to pull and assemble from 6 or 7 areas to see how exactly a speech/darkvision familiar could work as a scout, if possible. This is from both sides of the screen, mind you. I don't have an ulterior motive to grant powers to familiars; I want an answer, so that when my table has a player that wants a familiar, I know how to rule on it. I want a FAQ to address this.

I see your point rather clearly. I mainly disagree with the notion that you have to keep Commanding an Animal Speech familiar every 6 seconds to get it to do something in exploration mode. I think I've made the case you could reasonable interpret the rules to support it; you don't believe they do, and you've made your case. Unless we receive more clarity by the designers, we're free to disagree.


Not jumping into the intelligence/exploration mode debate. But another use could be to feed you potions/elixirs in combat. I know Alchemists can get a feat which gives them a familiar, and I do remember seeing forums a while back asking for a way to use things like potions and elixirs in one action. {it normally takes two actions for these types of items, one to retrieve and one to actually use it.}. For one action, you could command your familiar to retrieve the item, and then its other action to feed it to you, thus ingesting the item for one of your total actions. Your familiar may need the 'Manual Dexterity' Familiar ability. <need to dig a bit deeper, and 1am is not the time for digging.>

However, I can think of two if's for this. 1) The small one, but would items on you be accessible for your familiar friend/can it reach your mouth? Now familiar's are size 'Tiny;, meaning they don't have the best of reach, but can also occupy the same square as you, and at a weight of 1 Bulk {the general weight of a Tiny creature}, you could arguably be carrying them. 2) To mirror the 'How Intelligent is it?' part of the thread, "how Strong is it?'. Namely how much Bulk can it carry? Similar to how there is no defined Int score for them, there is no defined Str score, and thus no Bulk. Could the Light Bulk of these items be too much for them to carry? Could they be strong enough to be outfitted with small satchels or bandoleers worth of these items?


We can use the general stats for the base animal of a familiar and be in pretty safe territory. So if you have a monkey familiar, use a monkey's strength score to calculate its bulk capacity.


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Sliska Zafir wrote:

Familiars should ideally have exploration actions available, just like PCs. For example something like this.

Scout - the familiar spends five rounds exploring in the direction the master indicated, then returns and conveys information gained. The GM makes a secret Perception check. A familiar with Speech can indicate if there is a predator, prey, or other danger, but not in specifics (similar to an augury spell).

Fact 1: for balances reasons, a familiar require constant attention from its master.

Fact 2: even a rogue can't gather information about next encounter; when a rogue scouts, he gives a bonus to init.

Your conclusion: as a free exploration activity while its master is doing something else, the familiar can gather information about next encounter.

Sounds legit I guess...

... Or maybe you should simply accept the familiar isn't about gaining free action - be it in encounter mode, in exploration mode or in downtime mode. The familiar can't explore without the constant supervision of its master, and even with the supervision of its master it can't perform any "super-special-awesome new exploration tactic no one else can do".


Siro wrote:

Not jumping into the intelligence/exploration mode debate. But another use could be to feed you potions/elixirs in combat. I know Alchemists can get a feat which gives them a familiar, and I do remember seeing forums a while back asking for a way to use things like potions and elixirs in one action. {it normally takes two actions for these types of items, one to retrieve and one to actually use it.}. For one action, you could command your familiar to retrieve the item, and then its other action to feed it to you, thus ingesting the item for one of your total actions. Your familiar may need the 'Manual Dexterity' Familiar ability. <need to dig a bit deeper, and 1am is not the time for digging.>

However, I can think of two if's for this. 1) The small one, but would items on you be accessible for your familiar friend/can it reach your mouth? Now familiar's are size 'Tiny;, meaning they don't have the best of reach, but can also occupy the same square as you, and at a weight of 1 Bulk {the general weight of a Tiny creature}, you could arguably be carrying them. 2) To mirror the 'How Intelligent is it?' part of the thread, "how Strong is it?'. Namely how much Bulk can it carry? Similar to how there is no defined Int score for them, there is no defined Str score, and thus no Bulk. Could the Light Bulk of these items be too much for them to carry? Could they be strong enough to be outfitted with small satchels or bandoleers worth of these items?

I think drinking a potion/elixir would require an interact action regardless of whether someone was feeding it to you or you were doing it yourself. The only difference in the first case is that you wouldn't need a free hand to do it.


mrspaghetti wrote:
Siro wrote:

Not jumping into the intelligence/exploration mode debate. But another use could be to feed you potions/elixirs in combat. I know Alchemists can get a feat which gives them a familiar, and I do remember seeing forums a while back asking for a way to use things like potions and elixirs in one action. {it normally takes two actions for these types of items, one to retrieve and one to actually use it.}. For one action, you could command your familiar to retrieve the item, and then its other action to feed it to you, thus ingesting the item for one of your total actions. Your familiar may need the 'Manual Dexterity' Familiar ability. <need to dig a bit deeper, and 1am is not the time for digging.>

However, I can think of two if's for this. 1) The small one, but would items on you be accessible for your familiar friend/can it reach your mouth? Now familiar's are size 'Tiny;, meaning they don't have the best of reach, but can also occupy the same square as you, and at a weight of 1 Bulk {the general weight of a Tiny creature}, you could arguably be carrying them. 2) To mirror the 'How Intelligent is it?' part of the thread, "how Strong is it?'. Namely how much Bulk can it carry? Similar to how there is no defined Int score for them, there is no defined Str score, and thus no Bulk. Could the Light Bulk of these items be too much for them to carry? Could they be strong enough to be outfitted with small satchels or bandoleers worth of these items?

I think drinking a potion/elixir would require an interact action regardless of whether someone was feeding it to you or you were doing it yourself. The only difference in the first case is that you wouldn't need a free hand to do it.

I was actually looking at that(to be fair if an ‘Unseen Servant’ could do it, but figured the principle could still apply to familiars.). At least according to the potion section (page 562) it’s an interact action either to use it on yourself or a otherwise willing or helpless creature that can not resist. At least for me, this would indicate the person receiving it would not be spending the action. It could cause a bit of an issue feeding potions to a dying ally otherwise, as they would have no actions to ‘drink’ the potion being given them. (Assuming you could do it) Of course I could be missing a rule that counter indicates this, actions can be a bit nebulous.

Exo-Guardians

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Gaterie wrote:
Fact 1: for balances reasons, a familiar require constant attention from its master.

That's an assumption you're making. Calling your opinion "fact" doesn't make it so.

Gaterie wrote:
Fact 2: even a rogue can't gather information about next encounter; when a rogue scouts, he gives a bonus to init.

That's true of the (poorly-named) Scout activity, however any PC can use Avoid Notice and choose to travel well ahead of the rest of the party; if they beat the Perception DCs of the next group of enemies they're Unnoticed, and can gather info, Sneak away, and report back. The downside is that they're splitting the party and putting themselves in danger-- if they fail one of their rolls and get caught they're in big trouble.

Gaterie wrote:

Your conclusion: as a free exploration activity while its master is doing something else, the familiar can gather information about next encounter.

Sounds legit I guess...

... Or maybe you should simply accept the familiar isn't about gaining free action - be it in encounter mode, in exploration mode or in downtime mode. The familiar can't explore without the constant supervision of its master, and even with the supervision of its master it can't perform any "super-special-awesome new exploration tactic no one else can do".

More strawmanning. Not worth a response


Siro wrote:
I was actually looking at that(to be fair if an ‘Unseen Servant’ could do it, but figured the principle could still apply to familiars.). At least according to the potion section (page 562) it’s an interact action either to use it on yourself or a otherwise willing or helpless...

Yeah, I guess it would be legal RAW but try to imagine the awkwardness of someone feeding you a potion while you're doing something else...

EDIT: I figured the caveat regarding using it on another was specifically to force-feed an unconscious character a healing potion. And that only works (logically, if there is logic to be applied to magic) because by the very nature of healing potions, you wouldn't be able to drown someone with one. Try giving an unconscious person a glass of water and you're not helping them, though.


mrspaghetti wrote:
Siro wrote:
I was actually looking at that(to be fair if an ‘Unseen Servant’ could do it, but figured the principle could still apply to familiars.). At least according to the potion section (page 562) it’s an interact action either to use it on yourself or a otherwise willing or helpless...

Yeah, I guess it would be legal RAW but try to imagine the awkwardness of someone feeding you a potion while you're doing something else...

EDIT: I figured the caveat regarding using it on another was specifically to force-feed an unconscious character a healing potion. And that only works (logically, if there is logic to be applied to magic) because by the very nature of healing potions, you wouldn't be able to drown someone with one. Try giving an unconscious person a glass of water and you're not helping them, though.

Yeah, it was because of that awkwardness where I was having the initial problem, and made me double check the rules. I’m guessing this is the case of mechanics over from, as having a creature ‘owe’ one of there actions/having creatures acting at the same time, could get complicated. I’m guessing this is a way they could allow a creature to do actions like these without breaking the action economy (as the same amount of actions are being spent) but likewise not interfering with the way they set up the 3 action turn.


Saros Palanthios wrote:
Gaterie wrote:
Fact 1: for balances reasons, a familiar require constant attention from its master.
That's an assumption you're making. Calling your opinion "fact" doesn't make it so.

Oh. Sorry. I though the familiar used the minion rules - ie he doesn't act on his own, his master has to command it. Obviously I was mistaking.

Can you educate me and show me the rule about how a familiar acts on his own ? So I'll stop making assumption.

Quote:
any PC can use Avoid Notice and choose to travel well ahead of the rest of the party;

This is the scout activity. Did you look at the scout activity ?

scout activity. "You scout ahead and behind the group to watch danger".

A character traveling well ahead of the group to watch danger is using the scout activity, because that's the description of the scout activity.

Maybe you don't know the exploration rules?

Exploration rules. "When you want to do something other than simply travel, you describe what you are attempting to do. It isn’t necessary to go into extreme detail, such as “Using my dagger, I nudge the door so I can check for devious traps.” Instead, “I’m searching the area for hazards” is sufficient. The GM finds the best exploration activity to match your description and describes the effects of that activity. Some exploration activities limit how fast you can travel and be effective."

Example: you say "I travel well ahead of the rest of the party to gather inforamtion about enemy". The DM looks for the exploration activity that match your description; obviously it's the scout activity since the description is "you scout ahead and behind the group to watch danger". Then he describe the effect of that activity : " At the start of the next encounter, every creature in your party gains a +1 circumstance bonus to their initiative rolls".

That's the rules. You may not like it, but we're on the rules subforum - do you need a link to the houserule subforum,to explain your own rule ?

Quote:
if they beat the Perception DCs of the next group of enemies they're Unnoticed, and can gather info, Sneak away, and report back. The downside is that they're splitting the party and putting themselves in danger-- if they fail one of their rolls and get caught they're in big trouble.

Can you educate me again, and show the exploration tactic you're refering to? I can't find any using those rules.

Quote:
More strawmanning. Not worth a response

This isn't strawmaning. People here are litteraly trying to explain they can use their familiar to engage in two exploration activities at the same time; they are litteraly inventing new familiar-only exploration tactic that no other PC can do.


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gaterie wrote:
This isn't strawmaning. People here are litteraly trying to explain they can use their familiar to engage in two exploration activities at the same time; they are litteraly inventing new familiar-only exploration tactic that no other PC can do.

Balivernes!

It's called "splitting the party".

Let's say the party rogue or ranger decides to scout far ahead. He becomes a party of one. Let's say he's using avoid notice (stealth) as his exploration activity. All by himself, he will roll stealth as his initiative, as well as using the same number against the adversaries' perception DC. If he rolls poorly, the adversaries may attack or even kill him before he can scurry back and inform his friends. If he rolls well, the adversaries won't even see him, and he can scurry back before they get any actions.

So the question is, can a familiar be sent to perform a task like scouting far ahead, separate from the PCs, or indeed to perform any action away from its master.

The answer is, we don't know. The rules don't say. Some folks argue the familiar is on a 2-action leash to its master. Some folks argue that the DM can allow any plausible action outside of combat, and that the minion rules only govern round-by-round action economy during encounter mode.

Until or unless we get a clarification on using familiars outside of encounter mode, we can't cut through this gordian knot. This thread has shown ample evidence that there are two opposing views of how to interpret the RAW.


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mrspaghetti wrote:

Yeah, I guess it would be legal RAW but try to imagine the awkwardness of someone feeding you a potion while you're doing something else...

EDIT: I figured the caveat regarding using it on another was specifically to force-feed an unconscious character a healing potion. And that only works (logically, if there is logic to be applied to magic) because by the very nature of healing potions, you wouldn't be able to drown someone with one. Try giving an unconscious person a glass of water and you're not helping them, though.

Feeding someone else with a potion is a core mechanism for the Alchemist and his ability to heal. So, it's far more than just healing an unconscious ally, it's something you can't change without removing a main class feature from the game.


SuperBidi wrote:
mrspaghetti wrote:

Yeah, I guess it would be legal RAW but try to imagine the awkwardness of someone feeding you a potion while you're doing something else...

EDIT: I figured the caveat regarding using it on another was specifically to force-feed an unconscious character a healing potion. And that only works (logically, if there is logic to be applied to magic) because by the very nature of healing potions, you wouldn't be able to drown someone with one. Try giving an unconscious person a glass of water and you're not helping them, though.

Feeding someone else with a potion is a core mechanism for the Alchemist and his ability to heal. So, it's far more than just healing an unconscious ally, it's something you can't change without removing a main class feature from the game.

Yes, but that doesn't mean it's realistic. And I recognize that many things in the game are inherently unrealistic (the existence of magic and elves, etc), but for some reason the idea of having someone feed a drink to another who is potentially engaged in combat brings up comical imagery. "Oops, sorry Valeros, meant to get that in your mouth. Stop moving around dude! And I'm sure we can find a dentist in town to fix that chipped tooth..."

If you've ever tried to feed another human being you may be able to relate. It's not that easy even when neither party is multitasking.

Not advocating a rule change, just expressing an opinion.


Ubertron_X wrote:

The more I read about it in the CRB the more the minion rules are strange. It is clear that the rules have been written in a certain way to not disturb the deliberate action economy, however they apparently do a poor job in doing so while still being close to "natural" behavior.

So I have this animal companion dog and command him to attack an enemy some 120 feet away. Taking two actions the dog will move 80 feet and then stop dead in his tracks until I order him to move and attack again in a later round? Not at all plausible behaviour, especially for a trained or semi-intelligent animal. Guard dogs anyone?

I feel they should have granted minions their own action even when not actively commanded if they are already conducting a commanded "continuous action".

Something like this: If you actively command your minion it will do two actions, if you do not actively command your minon and it has received a command for a continuous action in an earlier round it will do one action instead.

And while I know that 2+2 or 3+1 actions are not exactly the same at least a minion could continue any given task on his own, albeit at a slower rate.

I'm reading through this thread, and this idea is brilliant. If I was running a home game I would use this.


mrspaghetti wrote:
Yes, but that doesn't mean it's realistic.

In general, realistic means "was already there in previous editions". Most of the game features are unrealistic but we just got used to it. Things as obvious as poison killing someone in less than a minute, a blind character still fighting, making a Reflex save without moving out of the fireball explosion, taking a hit from a giant and surviving, casting Shocking Grasp on a full plate character and still having to meet its AC, Monks deflecting arrows with bare arms, casting a cure spell on someone without first removing the arrow from his guts, etc...


SuperBidi wrote:
mrspaghetti wrote:
Yes, but that doesn't mean it's realistic.
In general, realistic means "was already there in previous editions". Most of the game features are unrealistic but we just got used to it. Things as obvious as poison killing someone in less than a minute, a blind character still fighting, making a Reflex save without moving out of the fireball explosion, taking a hit from a giant and surviving, casting Shocking Grasp on a full plate character and still having to meet its AC, Monks deflecting arrows with bare arms, casting a cure spell on someone without first removing the arrow from his guts, etc...

The difference being that I've never experienced any of that other stuff in real life, maybe.


mrspaghetti wrote:
The difference being that I've never experienced any of that other stuff in real life, maybe.

You have already drunk a potion in the middle of a fight Oo


SuperBidi wrote:
mrspaghetti wrote:
The difference being that I've never experienced any of that other stuff in real life, maybe.
You have already drunk a potion in the middle of a fight Oo

Funny

But even doing that yourself would probably be challenging. No, I'm referring to feeding other people. Not in a fight. And it wasn't all that easy.


Wheldrake wrote:
gaterie wrote:
This isn't strawmaning. People here are litteraly trying to explain they can use their familiar to engage in two exploration activities at the same time; they are litteraly inventing new familiar-only exploration tactic that no other PC can do.

Balivernes!

It's called "splitting the party".

This exploration activity doesn't exist - or maybe you can point it in the rules?

The scout activity doesn't indicate any distance; scouting *far* ahead is the same as scouting ahead, it's covered by the scout activity and it doesn't split the party. The only way I see to split the party is to have the other PC stopping the adventure and going home. If they are still exploring, then the scouting PC provide a bonus to init and no information.

Quote:
Let's say the party rogue or ranger decides to scout far ahead. He becomes a party of one. Let's say he's using avoid notice (stealth) as his exploration activity. All by himself, he will roll stealth as his initiative, as well as using the same number against the adversaries' perception DC. If he rolls poorly, the adversaries may attack or even kill him before he can scurry back and inform his friends. If he rolls well, the adversaries won't even see him, and he can scurry back before they get any actions.

Actually, according to another thread, since the stealth check is an initiative check, the opponents know they entered combat mode - ie they know someone is here.

It works the same with PCs:
"Roll init!
- 27. What happens?
- OK. It's your turn. What do you do?
- What do I see? Why am I in combat mode?
- You don't see anything special. But you know something is wrong. And you won init so it's your turn."

Anyway, even if such a tactic existed, the scout wouldn't be able to see anything non-obvious - since he can't search nor investigate. He wouldn't be able to detect any trap, any hidden monster, etc. Any intelligent creature should use some alarm trap around his camp, making it impossible to sneak around - a sneaking creature will set off the alarm, while a searching creature isn't sneaky.

... maybe it's the reason the scout tactic is just a bonus to init? Because there's no way to handle a stealthy scout gathering information within the rules.

Quote:

So the question is, can a familiar be sent to perform a task like scouting far ahead, separate from the PCs, or indeed to perform any action away from its master.

The answer is, we don't know. The rules don't say. Some folks argue the familiar is on a 2-action leash to its master. Some folks argue that the DM can allow any plausible action outside of combat, and that the minion rules only govern round-by-round action economy during encounter mode.

The rules aren't silent about this issue:

- directing your familiar require one action per round in combat mode.
- exploration activities are created using combat action - an exploration activity is 10 time the same combat action during 1 minute, or an alternance of two actions (each action being done 5 time per minute).

This being said, I can understand you have some difficulties. The rules are 1000 pages long and aren't always very clear - it's hard to understand for anyone. Remember in high school when you had to read a novel, and then write some report about it? Understanding PF rules is far harder than that.

But even if they are hard to get, the rules explain how to proceed in this case nonetheless. You should just re-read the different parts about exploration mode.

Anyway, let's assume, for a moment, you're right: the rules give no way to handle familiar in exploration mode. You're still using religious reasoning: "you can't prove my familiar can't do a super-special-awesome move while I engage in another activity!". Similarly, you can't prove my character can't use an exploration activity to craft a sphere of annihilation. Except we don't handle games using religious logic: if the rule are silent about weather or not there's an exploration tactic allowing to create a sphere of annihilation, it's safe to assume you can't. If the rules are silent about the fact you can engage in two exploration tactics at the same time because you wrote "familiar" on your sheet, it's safe to assume you can't. In other words, even if you were right and the rules were silent about familiar in exploration, you'd still be wrong: you can't use your familiar as an excuse to engage in two activities at the same time - until a rule explicitly states the contrary. You're the one who tries to abuse the action economy, you're the one who has to quote the exact rule allowing you to do so.


Gaterie wrote:
The scout activity doesn't indicate any distance; scouting *far* ahead is the same as scouting ahead, it's covered by the scout activity and it doesn't split the party. The only way I see to split the party is to have the other PC stopping the adventure and going home. If they are still exploring, then the scouting PC provide a bonus to init and no information.

Lol. Forced party cohesion in exploration mode?

Well if faced with arbitrary GM decisions like this I'll just stay in initiative the complete adventure, thank you. And with complete I mean complete, even in the roleplaying scenes.

"Exploration mode and its stupid rules? Never heard of..."

Spoiler:
/sarkasm


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Pathfinder Adventure Path, Lost Omens, Rulebook, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Gaterie wrote:

This exploration activity doesn't exist - or maybe you can point it in the rules?

The scout activity doesn't indicate any distance; scouting *far* ahead is the same as scouting ahead, it's covered by the scout activity and it doesn't split the party. The only way I see to split the party is to have the other PC stopping the adventure and going home. If they are still exploring, then the scouting PC provide a bonus to init and no information.

I'm not sure what planet Gaterie has been playing on, but of course this sort of thing happens all the time. Splitting the party isn't an exploration activity, of course, it's an action that players can take simply by stating they are doing it. If you need hard evidence, watch Jason Bulmahn running "Pathfinder: Knights of the Everflame". IIRC, it's in episode 3 that two of the PCs separate from the others, who are escourting a group of refugees from Lastwall in a wagon, and they go off on their own and investigate a shack in the woods.

And your disingenuous supposition that simply because initiative was rolled, the adversaries know someone is out there, even if their stealth roll beat all their perception DCs doesn't hold water.

I'm not sure why I bother making counterarguments when it is becoming more and more clear that we are in the presence of an argument ad absurdum, where the goal is to show that the RAW are so ridiculously restrictive that they simply don't work.

Sure, we could do with a few clarifications, like how minions (specifically familiars and animal companions) can carry out their instructions beyond the two-action leash that some folks want to impose on them. The minion rules could use a good deal of clearing up, certainly, but any clever DM can easily adjudicate such things without resorting to the iron-clad restrictions that this line of argumentation tries to impose.

YMMV.

Sovereign Court

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Lost Omens, Maps, Rulebook Subscriber

It scares the hell out of me to think of some new player or GM stumbling into a thread like this and see the rules being used like a club to bludgeon the players with, and think that is what 2E is all about. Sigh.

The rules provide some limitations and guidelines but to take them to this extreme is clearly not what was intended.

Sovereign Court

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Lost Omens, Maps, Rulebook Subscriber
Wheldrake wrote:


I'm not sure why I bother making counterarguments when it is becoming more and more clear that we are in the presence of an argument ad absurdum, where the goal is to show that the RAW are so ridiculously restrictive that they simply don't work.

This seems to be a theme in several threads. People painting the rules in the most ridiculous light possible to make the rules look like they are inherently ridiculous. It is incredibly frustrating.

The only way to stop it is for Paizo to step up with some rules clarifications on some of the more absurd assumptions. Even then I feel like we will be dealing with this trolling behaviour for a while.


Ubertron_X wrote:
Well if faced with arbitrary GM decisions like this

To follow the rules isn't arbitrary. It's, you know, to follow the rules.

Wheldrake wrote:
I'm not sure what planet Gaterie has been playing on, but of course this sort of thing happens all the time. Splitting the party isn't an exploration activity, of course, it's an action that players can take simply by stating they are doing it. If you need hard evidence, watch Jason Bulmahn running "Pathfinder: Knights of the Everflame". IIRC, it's in episode 3 that two of the PCs separate from the others, who are escourting a group of refugees from Lastwall in a wagon, and they go off on their own and investigate a shack in the woods.

As I said, the only way in the rule to split the party is to have some PC not doing the adventure. Which is exactly the situation you describe: some PC investigate in the woods and other don't.

Quote:
And your disingenuous supposition that simply because initiative was rolled, the adversaries know someone is out there, even if their stealth roll beat all their perception DCs doesn't hold water.

It's not a supposition, it's the consensus in this thread: https://paizo.com/threads/rzs42pv6?Ambushes-stealth-and-initiative.

look, even the shadow troll agrees: "It took me forever and 4 game sessions to figure this out on my own but Liegence has it correct." And what did Liegence write? "It’s the PCs turn, but the Kobolds are still hidden and undetected, so that PC would need to take a Seek action to pinpoint his ambushers, but based on his Perception roll he knows something is up."

At the beginning I was like you, I though it was very bizarre everyone had spider-sense. But they convinced me this is the rule: roll init, those who don't see anything know something is up.

Quote:
Sure, we could do with a few clarifications, like how minions (specifically familiars and animal companions) can carry out their instructions beyond the two-action leash that some folks want to impose on them.

This is not "some folks", this is the rules. It is explicitly written in the book that a minion needs to be commanded every round if you want it to do something. You may invent your own houserules, but the rules are clear on this point. They won't be clarified because they are clear on this point - the stuff about init and spider-sense is less clear than that (eg the shadow troll needed 4 session to figure it out), and yet there's a consensus about it.

If you command a minion to attack a target, the minion stops attacking after 6 seconds. And you want it to perform more complex activities without any supervision "because the combat music stopped"? Not gonna happen.


Gaterie wrote:
It is explicitly written in the book that a minion needs to be commanded every round if you want it to do something

How long is a round in exploration mode?


What extreme? The fact that people are trying to follow the rules? Or that some want to ignore them?

Also no one is using the rules to "bludgeon" players. But this is a rules forum, which just as a reminder, is a place to talk about the rules.

We are talking about what guidelines have been given, and are split with some following the guidelines; while others are doing whatever. A GM can choose what he wants but the arguments will remain until Paizo gives better guidelines.

***********
As exploration tactics goes, if the player is able to determine there is someone nearby because they had to roll stealth, that would be metagaming. Which means a group of NPCs could just as reasonably infer something is going on because they had to roll perception.

One solution is to roll stealth/perception at the start and then compare rolls in secret, such that players only know when they were spotted.
The other solution is that seeking doesn't cost an action unless you are investigating (looking for detail, tracks, clues, etc.)


swoosh wrote:
Gaterie wrote:
It is explicitly written in the book that a minion needs to be commanded every round if you want it to do something
How long is a round in exploration mode?

I don't know.

I guess you can make an argument that an exploration round is 10 minutes long and the characters walk at a speed of 25 feet per 10 minutes - since their speed is given feet per round.

Maybe, just maybe, you can make an argument that an exploration round is 6 seconds.


Gaterie wrote:
Ubertron_X wrote:
Well if faced with arbitrary GM decisions like this
To follow the rules isn't arbitrary. It's, you know, to follow the rules.

My reply was not in relation to the familars rules, but in relation to the "not-allowed-to-split-the-party-in-exploration-mode" post. I am perfectly fine with the familiar rules as written, even if they do not make sense apart from game mechanics.

Sovereign Court

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Lost Omens, Maps, Rulebook Subscriber
Ubertron_X wrote:
Gaterie wrote:
Ubertron_X wrote:
Well if faced with arbitrary GM decisions like this
To follow the rules isn't arbitrary. It's, you know, to follow the rules.
My reply was not in relation to the familars rules, but in relation to the "not-allowed-to-split-the-party-in-exploration-mode" post. I am perfectly fine with the familiar rules as written, even if they do not make sense apart from game mechanics.

As was mine. The rules are fine as they are. Some clarification would be helpful so people don't interpret them to this extreme.

Exo-Guardians

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The ShadowShackleton wrote:
Wheldrake wrote:


I'm not sure why I bother making counterarguments when it is becoming more and more clear that we are in the presence of an argument ad absurdum, where the goal is to show that the RAW are so ridiculously restrictive that they simply don't work.

This seems to be a theme in several threads. People painting the rules in the most ridiculous light possible to make the rules look like they are inherently ridiculous. It is incredibly frustrating.

The only way to stop it is for Paizo to step up with some rules clarifications on some of the more absurd assumptions. Even then I feel like we will be dealing with this trolling behaviour for a while.

That wouldn't help, the trolls would just find other things to complain about. The real way to stop it imo is with more active moderation by the forum mods. At least half the threads here end up hijacked by people who aren't interested in actually discussing the rules, but who instead just want a platform to b!!&! and moan about how much they hate the new system and how bad and awful and dumb and wrong they think it is.

For the sake of the community, i think the mods should take a firmer hand when people are obviously and consistently arguing in bad faith.

Sovereign Court

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Lost Omens, Maps, Rulebook Subscriber
Temperans wrote:

What extreme? The fact that people are trying to follow the rules? Or that some want to ignore them?

Also no one is using the rules to "bludgeon" players. But this is a rules forum, which just as a reminder, is a place to talk about the rules.

When people start claiming you "can't split the party in exploration mode or the adventure ends for those characters" That is most definitely extreme.


Ubertron_X wrote:
Gaterie wrote:
Ubertron_X wrote:
Well if faced with arbitrary GM decisions like this
To follow the rules isn't arbitrary. It's, you know, to follow the rules.
My reply was not in relation to the familars rules, but in relation to the "not-allowed-to-split-the-party-in-exploration-mode" post. I am perfectly fine with the familiar rules as written, even if they do not make sense apart from game mechanics.

You may not like it, but it's the RAI. Look at the exploration rules:

1/ the player explains what he does; let's assume he says "I scout far ahead of the party to find if there's any hazard on our path".
2/ the GM finds the exploration tactics to match his description. In this case, he should find "scout" - since the description is "you scout ahead and behind the group to watch danger", this is just a reformulation of what the player said.
3/ the GM describe the effect of the activity : "At the start of the next encounter, every creature in your party gains a +1 circumstance bonus to their initiative rolls".

In other games you should split the party and roll for stealth and... this is not how it works in pf2.

You can probably split the party by going different direction or something... Anyway, the designers made sure scouting wouldn't possibly split the party, I think their intent is clear.


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Love this meme


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Lost Omens, Rulebook, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

This behaviour has a name. It's called "trolling", or in other terms an argument ad absurdum.


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Pathfinder Maps, Pawns Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber

This isn't a video game. Let's not restrict it like it was one.


Good to know that not liking a rule, or thinking it needs more guidance is arguing in bad faith. Since apparently "mods should erase any argument against paizo" (I'm paraphrasing), yeah that's clearly how discussions and forums work....

Its definitely not a corrupt tactic to oppress and punish differing opinions....

**********
@Ravingdork

I agree this isn't a video game, but both are deeply connected sharing many mechanics. So different people will have decide something is too "video gamey" at different points and for different parts.

Ex: All minions are on an action leash is very video gamey for me, but many people think it's fine. On the other hand, many people think multiclassing (as a concept) is video gamey, but I think it not.

And you know what, that's fine, we are all allow to have our opinions.


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Temperans wrote:
Good to know that not liking a rule, or thinking it needs more guidance is arguing in bad faith. Since apparently "mods should erase any argument against paizo" (I'm paraphrasing)

If you're trying to argue that your positions aren't in bad faith, maybe don't put words in people's mouths like this, because this absolutely makes you look like you're arguing in bad faith.


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Ravingdork wrote:
This isn't a video game. Let's not restrict it like it was one.

Well, the thing is that many of those rectrictions (and therefore threads in this forum) are directly linked to the topic how exploration mode should be handled respectively on how written-in-stone the respective rules are seen by different people.

When we first received a copy of the rules a friend of mine and I had a huge argument if exploration mode would only be valid for overland travel (where is seems to work better, due to increased time scale) and/or dungenoneering and I called him nuts for trying to apply such a set of strict rules for the in-between-encounters parts of the dungeon/adventure, because I felt that would be like going from free-flow exploration to being hand-cuffed and herded through the dungeon.

However following arguments like these and especially while looking how Jason is handling things in his Everflame campaign I have come to the conclusion that all exploration actions are more like mechanical background actions, not prime roleplaying actions. I thus consider them to be "tell me what your character will be doing if you are not telling we what he is currently doing" kind of actions, and I will recommed our GM to handled them as such.

That is, if the party ranger declares that he is constantly vigilant and always looking for enemies while traversing the dungeon he will provide the party the scout action +1 initiative, no matter what he is currently actually doing (at least if he is not too distracted). Or the rogue that announced to be sneaky throughout will be allowed to roll stealth for initiative, even if his last role-played activity wasn't exactly stealth.

And going from there action economy suddenly is of no concern anymore, because if all the official exploration mode activities are just treated as secondary actions and the usual role-playing actions take the drivers seat it does not matter anymore if your rogue, ranger or animal companion tries to sneak into the next room in order to provide some intel. They all will have to roll stealth and the outcome of this roll will determine the further course of events...


Squiggit wrote:
If you're trying to argue that your positions aren't in bad faith, maybe don't put words in people's mouths like this, because this absolutely makes you look like you're arguing in bad faith.

You are right, I shouldn't put words in people's mouth, I dont like it when it's done to me I should not had done it to them. However, the comment I was talking about was actively saying the people who have negative (potentially just different) opinions of the rules are hijacking threads and that mods should step in more often to stop them.

And any way I can slice it, it's just reads like censorship, gatekeeping, and bias.

Exo-Guardians

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Temperans wrote:

You are right, I shouldn't put words in people's mouth, I dont like it when it's done to me I should not had done it to them. However, the comment I was talking about was actively saying the people who have negative (potentially just different) opinions of the rules are hijacking threads and that mods should step in more often to stop them.

And any way I can slice it, it's just reads like censorship, gatekeeping, and bias.

FWIW I was was talking about Gaterie, not you.

There's constructive criticism and then there's mere trolling-- I think the mods are perfectly capable of telling the difference.


Pathfinder Maps, Pawns Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber
Ubertron_X wrote:

However following arguments like these and especially while looking how Jason is handling things in his Everflame campaign I have come to the conclusion that all exploration actions are more like mechanical background actions, not prime roleplaying actions. I thus consider them to be "tell me what your character will be doing if you are not telling we what he is currently doing" kind of actions, and I will recommed our GM to handled them as such.

That is, if the party ranger declares that he is constantly vigilant and always looking for enemies while traversing the dungeon he will provide the party the scout action +1 initiative, no matter what he is currently actually doing (at least if he is not too distracted). Or the rogue that announced to be sneaky throughout will be allowed to roll stealth for initiative, even if his last role-played activity wasn't exactly stealth.

And going from there action economy suddenly is of no concern anymore, because if all the official exploration mode activities are just treated as secondary actions and the usual role-playing actions take the drivers seat it does not matter anymore if your rogue, ranger or animal companion tries to sneak into the...

Hey man, as long as the party scout has the option of going far enough ahead and risking his life to get real intel as described by Wheldrake and others above, and isn't just shoe-horned into a +1 Perception for the party every single time regardless of the player's intent, wishes, or described activity, than that's fine.

However, a GM who says scouts always grant the party +1 and nothing else ever is, well...just wrong. And damned lazy. Not even the game developers play it that way.

Anyone arguing that, that was the intent of the developers (and I'm not saying that anyone has, since I haven't followed this thread too closely) even when we have example videos of play showing the contrary, is arguing in bad faith.

Liberty's Edge

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Can anyone who's watched Jason Buhlman's twitch stream of the campaign he's broadcasting enlighten us about how he treats familiars outside of encounter mode?

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