Incorporeal smell, while in the wall.


Rules Questions


Hi, i am sorry for my bad english, but i hope you will understand my question. One of my players asked me, if his summoned creature with the ability scent

(An eidolon’s sense of smell becomes quite acute. The eidolon gains the scent special quality, allowing it to detect opponents within 30 feet by sense of smell. If the opponent is upwind, the range increases to 60 feet; if downwind, it drops to 15 feet. Strong scents can be detected at twice the normal range. Scent does not allow the eidolon to precisely locate the creature, only to detect its presence. It can detect the direction with a move action. The eidolon can pinpoint the creature’s location if it is within 5 feet. The eidolon can use scent to track creatures.)

can track enemys inside a room, while he is incorporeal inside a wall. I am not sure because the text says:

It can sense the presence of creatures or objects within a square adjacent to its current location, but enemies have total concealment (50% miss chance) from an incorporeal creature that is inside an object. In order to see beyond the object it is in and attack normally, the incorporeal creature must emerge.

I think, that the text implies all kind of senses and implies, that the scent ability is weakend to the adjacent square, but he believes, that it is enough, if the enemy creature is near because his scent is inside the room.

Because i dont have enough experience with pathfinder, i would like from you how it is right. I would be happy to allow him to do that, because it would help them much in their current situation, but i'm not sure if it is right that way.

Thank you, for your help.


An incorporeal creature moves silently and cannot be heard with Perception checks if it doesn’t wish to be. It has no Strength score, so its Dexterity modifier applies to its melee attacks, ranged attacks, and CMB. Nonvisual senses, such as blindsight and scent, are either ineffective or only partly effective with regard to incorporeal creatures. Incorporeal creatures have an innate sense of direction and can move at full speed even when they cannot see.

So it looks like scent doesn't work on incorporeal creatures, or if it does then it doesn't work as well (you can say it doesn't work through the wall).


Far as I can see there is no clear ruling one way or another.

But my guts tell me an incorporeal creature while under full cover within a wall can not use Scent to track or even become aware of a creature elsewhere. The Wall blocks the odor/odor particles from reaching them to be detected by Scent. (or any other sense relying on smell to be effective). To pick the odor up they would have to poke themselves out of the wall i.e. partial cover from the wall. To my thinking only Tremorsense and Lifesense abilities could potentially detect something outside the wall for a creature totally within the wall under full cover.

Heck to be completely clear I'm not sure Scent would work at all for an incorporeal creature especially since it is a Ex ability and not Su. I'd certainly lean heavily towards saying it is only partially effective at best. But there's very little in the way of hard and fast rules available.

@Mr. Charisma, I believe the poster is asking whether a PC's eidolon with both Incorporealness and Scent could track or detect something in the room while within the wall. But I may be wrong.


The very idea of an incorporeal being able to “smell” is weird enough already... if they’re incorporeal then they definitely aren’t “physically” smelling the way we do, which means physical barriers wouldn’t stop scents like they do for us. However, if he’s partly corporeal you could rule he senses smell normally, meaning physical barriers would effect it (if there was no way for the smell to get to creature, such as being fully immersed in a wall).

Unfortunately pathfinder does not include the science of scent in its ruling, and just blanketly gave distances regardless of impediments to air flow.

If you would rule that a character with the scent ability could not smell enemies through a closed door in a room (and thus determine their type, amount, etc...), then the eidolon shouldn’t be able to use scent in the wall (unless we’re considering it a “metaphysical scent” since it’s incorporeal).


"which means physical barriers wouldn’t stop scents like they do for us."

Not sure how this follows. The scents aren't incorporeal the creature with Scent is. Now if the door was airtight I might compare the door to a solid wall (or perhaps if the smell was present for a very long time and could permeate the wall then maybe) but I didn't get the impression that is what the OP was talking about.


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@ Kayerloth. He wants to buff a incorporeal summoned monster with the feat evolved summoning.


@ Kayerloth, I believe the poster is asking whether a PC's eidolon with both Incorporealness and Scent could track or detect something in the room while within the wall. Thats correct, but as i wrote, he wants to buff sth. else.


Okay, explain to me how an incorporeal being “smells” a corporeal scent, then... Because “scent” is a corporeal function, it requires a physical body to interact with. So either an incorporeal with scent is partially corporeal, or it’s not “smelling” a corporeal scent, it’s “smelling” something incorporeal, which wouldn’t be bound by the normal physical limits of the travel of smells


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Companion, Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber
CMantle wrote:
Okay, explain to me how an incorporeal being “smells” a corporeal scent, then... Because “scent” is a corporeal function, it requires a physical body to interact with. So either an incorporeal with scent is partially corporeal, or it’s not “smelling” a corporeal scent, it’s “smelling” something incorporeal, which wouldn’t be bound by the normal physical limits of the travel of smells

Magic.


Dave Justus wrote:
Magic.

Yes, I understand and agree.... But it isn't magic, it's an extraordinary ability you can give to your eidolon, but we'll ignore that for now

If it *is* magical "scent" for an incorporeal creature, why would the incorporeal creature's "scent" be bound by corporeal means (such as passing through corporeal objects).

Incorporeal creatures either smell other beings like corporeal creatures (which isn't physically possible), or they *magically* smell scents as incorporeal creatures (which means we follow incorporeal rules, and an an incorporeal can pass through any object not wider than they are, which means they can "sense" through any object that doesn't impede their movement, so they can "smell/scent" through any object they can move through...

It's either magic or it isn't.... and in this case it's clearly supernaturally by any means (because they can't both be incorporeal *and* have a physical "scent" ability), so we can't follow normal "scent" abilities... whatever their "scent" ability is, if they can get it, it clearly transcends our corporeal sense of "scent" which to me means they can "smell" incorporeal beings so long as they can interact with them, which includes being adjacent to an open square while being entirely submerged in a wall.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Companion, Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber

Within the context of Pathfinder, extraordinary abilities aren't 'magic' in that they are not subject to things like antimagic.

Compared to the real world, many of them often are 100% magic, an incorporeal is one of those. Incorporeal isn't a real world thing. It is 'magic.' Sure, you could reason out that an incorporeal creature couldn't smell because it couldn't interact with the non-incorporeal chemicals that creatures smell with, but that would also lead you that it couldn't see because it couldn't interact with the non-incorporeal photons and couldn't hear because it couldn't interact with the non-incorporeal sound waves.

My point is that I think you are thinking about it the wrong way.

Personally, it seems completely reasonable that if an incorporeal creature can't see if it is in a wall, it can't smell anything either, but if it was in the middle of the room it can 'see' just fine, and smell as well as a corporeal creature with the same abilities could as well.

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