The point of 'Point Out' action


Rules Discussion


What is the point of the 'Point Out' action? All it does is make an enemy that is 'Hidden' to you, but 'Undetected' to the other players into becoming 'Hidden' for all players. But the only difference between the two statuses is that an 'Undetected' enemy square is unknown (and has to be guessed), whereas a 'Hidden' enemy square is known. All the other penalties (50% miss chance, etc.) are the same. Why wouldn't I just go to the enemy that is 'Hidden' from me and attack it, or just yell (as a free action) which square the enemy is occupying - so that my other party members know to attack it? Why would I waste an action to 'Point Out' the square?

Moreover - how would the GM even be able to keep the square location hidden from all but one player? Say one player did a 'Seek' action and made the 'Undetected' enemy 'Hidden' to him only. The GM would have to point out to that player the square the enemy occupies - and the entire table would know (even though the enemy is 'Undetected' to them).

Is this a skill/mechanic whose purpose is only for online table games (FantasyGround etc.), where the GM can easily reveal information on the grid selectively to individual players? Or perhaps to 'Theatre of the Mind' play where the information (squares occupied, etc.) isn't laid out so precisely as it does in a battlegrid?


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Erez Ben-Aharon wrote:
What is the point of the 'Point Out' action? All it does is make an enemy that is 'Hidden' to you, but 'Undetected' to the other players into becoming 'Hidden' for all players. But the only difference between the two statuses is that an 'Undetected' enemy square is unknown (and has to be guessed), whereas a 'Hidden' enemy square is known. All the other penalties (50% miss chance, etc.) are the same. Why wouldn't I just go to the enemy that is 'Hidden' from me and attack it, or just yell (as a free action) which square the enemy is occupying - so that my other party members know to attack it? Why would I waste an action to 'Point Out' the square?

The wizard/archer/cloistered cletic spots a hidden monster, and runs over to hit it with a stick, marking it's location without a wasted action!

Quote:
Moreover - how would the GM even be able to keep the square location hidden from all but one player? Say one player did a 'Seek' action and made the 'Undetected' enemy 'Hidden' to him only. The GM would have to point out to that player the square the enemy occupies - and the entire table would know (even though the enemy is 'Undetected' to them).

What stops a player from using the information if they accidentally saw an extra part of the map while you were getting set up, or recognizes a flip mat? What stops players from memorizing the bestiary, to exploit weaknesses with no in character knowledge? It is actually both possible to play honestly with in character knowledge. If it's an issue, you can use workarounds, like making characters that don't actually know the correct square to target who keep using table knowledge make an extra random roll to target the correct location.


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I'd assume describing the exact square an enemy is in is effectively the equivalent of the "point out" action. Yes, if you're a melee fighter, it'll be obvious when you swing your sword at it, but as @Hammerjack points out, if you want to stay away from the enemy, this is probably the way to do it.


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Erez Ben-Aharon wrote:

just yell (as a free action) which square the enemy is occupying - so that my other party members know to attack it?

That's literally the point of the Point Out action - to also point out that it's not a free action.

The best you're getting with your free action is general direction.


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I am adapting the Ironfang Invasion adventure path to PF2. One prominent NPC is Aubrin, a 6th-level Chernasardo ranger who retired because she is almost blind. She will be active during the 1st session because one player will play Zinfandel, a Chernasardo ranger trainee mentored by Aubrin.

As a 6th-level ranger, Aubrin is a deadly archer, if she could see her target. Everything beyond 30 feet is undetected to her eyes. However, if Zinfandel uses Point It Out, then Aubrin's potential target becomes hidden rather than undetected. Is Zinfandel spending an action to Point It Out to Aubrin worth a single action? Yes, that gives Aubrin three shots, with 45% miss chance for hidden, and the first two shots have a better attack bonus than Zinfandel's second attack bonus. Could Zinfandel explain the location in a regular sentence. No. If she yelled, "At the corner of the blacksmith shop!", then Aubrin would have to ask, "And where is the blacksmith's shop?" Nor can Aubrin track Zinfandel's arrows to see where they hit. Point It Out is visual, but Aubrin can see clearly within 10 feet, so Zinfandel just has to stay close.

Explaining a creature's location in a single sentence relies on a clear landmark, such as, "In front of the doorway!" Without the landmark, the sentence becomes too long for a believeable free action, "The ghost is seven and a half feet from the south wall, and seventeen and a half feet left of the corner." Does the barbarian with Int 10 understand Cartesian coordinates? Maybe the GM should require a Recall Knowledge Arcana roll for him to understand the position of the ghost. Point It Out removes the ambiguity of the description. I am going to assume that Aubrin and Zinfandel have practiced Point It Out together, so that Zinfandel can manage an accurate description to her mostly-blind mentor in a single action.

Okay, hitting an invisible creature, with swing of the attacker's sword interrupted as it hits the target, should reveal the location. But would swinging and missing reveal the target? Once again, we have ambiguity. I might make a houserule allowing Point It Out as a free action for such a situation.


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Mathmuse wrote:

. . . She will be active during the 1st session because one player will play Zinfandel, a Chernasardo ranger trainee mentored by Aubrin.

...

Was Zinfandel originally named Primitivo?


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Cyouni wrote:
Erez Ben-Aharon wrote:

just yell (as a free action) which square the enemy is occupying - so that my other party members know to attack it?

That's literally the point of the Point Out action - to also point out that it's not a free action.

The best you're getting with your free action is general direction.

This exactly. The "yelling which sqare the target is" IS the point out action. And it has an action cost because it has a valuable effect in combat.

If only one player knew the targets location and just told it the entire party, I as a GM would feel free to mark them off one action this round or the next if they relayed that info between rounds. Since they effectively used the Point Out action.

Exo-Guardians

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Erez Ben-Aharon wrote:
Why wouldn't I just go to the enemy that is 'Hidden' from me and attack it

You can, but there might be good tactical reasons for not wanting to (for example "there's a pit between me and the invisible enemy" or "i'm a squishy caster and don't want to get in melee range"). Even if you do this though, the GM might well rule that it doesn't make it clear exactly which square the enemy is in-- just narrows it down to a few possible squares.

Erez Ben-Aharon wrote:
or just yell (as a free action) which square the enemy is occupying - so that my other party members know to attack it?

That's precisely what the Point Out action is. It's not a free action.

Erez Ben-Aharon wrote:
Say one player did a 'Seek' action and made the 'Undetected' enemy 'Hidden' to him only. The GM would have to point out to that player the square the enemy occupies - and the entire table would know (even though the enemy is 'Undetected' to them).

This is only a problem if your players are all shameless metagamers who can't be trusted to not abuse the knowledge. Most people are perfectly capable of keeping player knowledge separate from character knowledge. It's a fundamental of roleplaying.


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Minor point: the entire table behaving as if their character knows information that is explicitly said to only be had by one character is not "metagaming" - it's plain ol' cheating.

It's important to distinguish between the two because the term metagaming is already used to apply to numerous different things that are only vaguely related, so applying it to examples of playing in bad faith like this one muddies the already murky waters that are the topic of metagaming (and whether it exists and/or is inherently bad).


Pathfinder Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber

I am not seeing anything that suggests attacking a hidden creature makes it observed or shifts it to hidden for anyone else.

Sovereign Court

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Erez Ben-Aharon wrote:
What is the point of the 'Point Out' action? All it does is make an enemy that is 'Hidden' to you, but 'Undetected' to the other players into becoming 'Hidden' for all players. But the only difference between the two statuses is that an 'Undetected' enemy square is unknown (and has to be guessed), whereas a 'Hidden' enemy square is known.

That's a very big deal. If you don't even know the square an enemy is in, you can't really attack them. If you know "it's that square" then you can shoot at that square. There's a 50% chance that you miss anyway, but that's better than first having to randomly guess one out of 8 squares, and then a 50% miss chance (net: 93.75% miss chance).

Also, if you for example have a spell that can make an invisible creature visible, but your spell has only a small area of effect, you need to know where to target it. So knowing in what square someone is, is a big deal.

Erez Ben-Aharon wrote:
All the other penalties (50% miss chance, etc.) are the same. Why wouldn't I just go to the enemy that is 'Hidden' from me and attack it

You can totally do that and it's okay. As long as you happen to be a character who feels comfortable in melee. But characters who can See Invisibility aren't always frontliners. But yeah, there are multiple ways to achieve the same end result. I mean, you could also cast Faerie Fire to make the invisible creature visible, and you also wouldn't need the Point Out action then.

Erez Ben-Aharon wrote:
, or just yell (as a free action) which square the enemy is occupying

And that, you can't do. Not as a free action. That's exactly the Point Out action.

Bantering a bit in combat is free. Giving precise coordinates isn't.


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Danbala wrote:
Mathmuse wrote:

. . . She will be active during the 1st session because one player will play Zinfandel, a Chernasardo ranger trainee mentored by Aubrin.

...
Was Zinfandel originally named Primitivo?

No, but Danbala caught the reference. The player had deliberately named her elf, who worships both Cayden Cailean and the Green Faith, after Zinfandel wine. I looked up the origin of the name to see why it did sound so elvish. I learned that the wine was named after Zinfandel grapes, which were discovered to be genetically the same as an older Italian strain of grapes called Primitivo. The strain had acquired a local name Zierfandler when transplanted to Germany, and then Tzinifándli in Hungary, and finally Zinfandel in the United States.


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Campbell wrote:
I am not seeing anything that suggests attacking a hidden creature makes it observed or shifts it to hidden for anyone else.

Observing a visible sword interacting bloodily with an undetected creature is a form of sensing the creature. Likewise, throwing a stone to see it bounce off an invisible creature is not that different from a radar or echolocation sense bouncing waves off of a creature to detect it. Or observing the footprints in the mud of an invisible creature. So, I would count that as an imprecise sense and the creature has dropped down to momentary hidden status from being detected by an imprecise sense.

And if the sword hits the creature hard enough for an audible thunk, then the sense of hearing can be used, a well-defined imprecise sense.


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Mathmuse wrote:
Campbell wrote:
I am not seeing anything that suggests attacking a hidden creature makes it observed or shifts it to hidden for anyone else.
Observing a visible sword interacting bloodily with an undetected creature is a form of sensing the creature. Likewise, throwing a stone to see it bounce off an invisible creature is not that different from a radar or echolocation sense bouncing waves off of a creature to detect it.

Yeah, you can whack the target with a sword, throw stones or fire an arrow into the square of interest. That will all mark the square and make the target hidden.

Coincidently, all of tjat also takes an action... like Point Out. :)

Some of these bariants habe other benefits, like bloody intetaction for the sword.


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With regard to the hidden creature being struck by a weapon, I would say that if you're ruling on that at the table, it's important that a normal weapon attack should always do less to reveal hidden creatures than the 8th level fighter feat Revealing Stab.


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HammerJack wrote:
With regard to the hidden creature being struck by a weapon, I would say that if you're ruling on that at the table, it's important that a normal weapon attack should always do less to reveal hidden creatures than the 8th level fighter feat Revealing Stab.

Well the fighter feat has a bunch of benefits already built in.

The fighter gets reduced miss chance, everyone gets reduced miss chance if it succeeds and if the fighter opts to leave the weapon in the enemy has to spent two actions to remove it to get rid of the benefits.


I'd probably rule that a melee attack, whether it hit or missed, would make it obvious which square the enemy was in. A ranged attack would only do that on a hit (I'd simplify things and say a miss was a miss, and not a clinking off of armor).

As for Revealing Stab, yeah, it effectively would both do the above, and then, on a hit, would also make it easier for everyone else to hit it.


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tivadar27 wrote:
I'd probably rule that a melee attack, whether it hit or missed, would make it obvious which square the enemy was in.

Still depending on circumstance, I'd say. If the fighter runs behind the wide wall where someone was hiding and attacks him there I wouldn't agree, if the rest of the party cannot see the fighter. I'd require an additional action to call out the exact position.

If instead someone is hiding behind one of the trees in the forest and the fighter goes to that tree and attacks him there in plain view of the party it'd be a different matter.


OP here... I don't think that the table acting on that is cheating, and I'm not sure it plays out as some have pointed out here. I'll give a more concrete example.

P1,2,3,4 - creature is undetected to all, sneaking behind some barrels.
P1 - seeks the creature and manages to change it's status to Hidden.
P1: "So do I find anything out"?
GM: "Yes, the creature is now Hidden to you, but not Undetected."
P1: "Hidden?, so that means I know which square it is on and won't have to randomly target squares to find out?"
GM: "Correct".
P1: "So...which square then?".
GM: "Err... here" -> points to the square.
P2,3,4 - now have to pretend they didn't hear the conversation at all.

If P2,3,4 originally INTENDED to hit that exact square behind the barrels (just because it seemed a logical place), they now can't do it without being suspect of cheating/metagaming by the internetz.

The alternative solution would be to take P1 to the side and tell him in secret without anyone else knowing ("it is the 3rd square to the left of the barrels"), but that just seem tedious.

Another solution would be to house rule that an Undetected creature cannot be target at all (rather than RAW that square can be 'guessed'), but I guess this doesn't really solve it because there is still the issue of AoE spells targeting the area.

Sovereign Court

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Erez Ben-Aharon wrote:
OP here... I don't think that the table acting on that is cheating,

If they use information that they shouldn't have, that would be cheating. However...

Erez Ben-Aharon wrote:


and I'm not sure it plays out as some have pointed out here. I'll give a more concrete example.

P1,2,3,4 - creature is undetected to all, sneaking behind some barrels.
P1 - seeks the creature and manages to change it's status to Hidden.
P1: "So do I find anything out"?
GM: "Yes, the creature is now Hidden to you, but not Undetected."
P1: "Hidden?, so that means I know which square it is on and won't have to randomly target squares to find out?"
GM: "Correct".
P1: "So...which square then?".
GM: "Err... here" -> points to the square.
P2,3,4 - now have to pretend they didn't hear the conversation at all.

If P2,3,4 originally INTENDED to hit that exact square behind the barrels (just because it seemed a logical place), they now can't do it without being suspect of cheating/metagaming by the internetz.

They'd already made their decision to target that square without using "dirty" information. The problem is what kind of convenient process to use at the table to administer that fairly.

Erez Ben-Aharon wrote:
The alternative solution would be to take P1 to the side and tell him in secret without anyone else knowing ("it is the 3rd square to the left of the barrels"), but that just seem tedious.

There's some ways the GM could notify the player, for example slipping a note or sending a text message.

I would be okay with P1 saying "behind the barrels" as free banter, and if there's only one space that could be, then it's easy for the other players to deduce where. If there had been two squares that are both behind the barrels though, it wouldn't be okay to point out exactly which of the two. If you have to give a lot of instructions, then it won't be free anymore.

What IMO the Point Out action is for is when pointing out an exact square is not so easy, for example because it's a wide open room and the invisible enemy that you saw using See Invisibility is somewhere roughly but not exactly in the middle of it. So then you need to point out a precise square with detailed instructions, and in PF1 it always strained belief that that could really be done so easily for free.


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Erez Ben-Aharon wrote:

OP here... I don't think that the table acting on that is cheating, and I'm not sure it plays out as some have pointed out here. I'll give a more concrete example.

P1,2,3,4 - creature is undetected to all, sneaking behind some barrels.
P1 - seeks the creature and manages to change it's status to Hidden.
P1: "So do I find anything out"?
GM: "Yes, the creature is now Hidden to you, but not Undetected."
P1: "Hidden?, so that means I know which square it is on and won't have to randomly target squares to find out?"
GM: "Correct".
P1: "So...which square then?".
GM: "Err... here" -> points to the square.
P2,3,4 - now have to pretend they didn't hear the conversation at all.

GM: "Others, please look away for a second... here" -> points to the square.

P2,3,4 - don't have to pretend anything, they really don't know.

If P1 is already in encounter mode, it's their turn and they have an action left, they can Point Out immediately. Otherwise, they can Point Out and tell the party the square on their next turn.


A character can guess when a player isn't. What I said was that a player having their character behave as if not guessing in a situation like this is cheating.

Yes, the distinction between those two is a subtle one, but it is there and it is important.

As for solutions how to communicate information to one player without other players having to handle that information, there's texting, passing a note, or simply saying "your character knows the position, and I'll help you act on that information without me actually stating anything out loud that the other players might feel they have to ignore."

So instead of "so... which square then?" P1 could just ask for distance and range, follow up with something like "I'll take the clearest shot I can" or "I'll move over to the hiding spot" and nobody has to wonder if someone else at the table isn't being genuine about what they were going to do in-character or where they thought the undetected creature was hiding before anyone said otherwise.


Erez Ben-Aharon wrote:

OP here... I don't think that the table acting on that is cheating, and I'm not sure it plays out as some have pointed out here. I'll give a more concrete example.

P1,2,3,4 - creature is undetected to all, sneaking behind some barrels.
P1 - seeks the creature and manages to change it's status to Hidden.
P1: "So do I find anything out"?
GM: "Yes, the creature is now Hidden to you, but not Undetected."
P1: "Hidden?, so that means I know which square it is on and won't have to randomly target squares to find out?"
GM: "Correct".
P1: "So...which square then?".
GM: "Err... here" -> points to the square.
P2,3,4 - now have to pretend they didn't hear the conversation at all.

If the position has been narrowed down to 6 squares, say, they could always roll a d6


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Pathfinder Adventure, Adventure Path, Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber

Using player knowledge versus character knowledge is always a difficult issue to determine. And hidden cratures is just a tiny part of it, much more signifikant is knowing details about creatures from the bestiary and adapting your strategy to fit that, even though the character has never encountered that creature before and noone has correctly recalled some information on the creature.

Example: I play an Amiri-type barbarian wielding a big sword and come up on a black pudding. As a player and frequent GM I know that hitting that thing with my sword might not be the best choice, but Amiri has never encountered that monster before and hitting things with big swords is what she does. So, rage, charge, smash, trouble ensues...

As long as players make an effort to play their characters according to what would be reasonable behavior from a characters point of view, it's perfectly okay for them to sometimes accidentally do something that would also be optimal if they had all the player knowledge. If a character always "accidentally" gets "lucky", the player might need a stern talking-to.

But sorry for the detour, continue please!


Malk_Content wrote:
HammerJack wrote:
With regard to the hidden creature being struck by a weapon, I would say that if you're ruling on that at the table, it's important that a normal weapon attack should always do less to reveal hidden creatures than the 8th level fighter feat Revealing Stab.

Well the fighter feat has a bunch of benefits already built in.

The fighter gets reduced miss chance, everyone gets reduced miss chance if it succeeds and if the fighter opts to leave the weapon in the enemy has to spent two actions to remove it to get rid of the benefits.

Avoiding stealing the thunder from feats is a valid concern. Yet, when I looked at Revealing Stab, I also noticed a similar fighter class feat, Blind-Fight.

REVEALING STAB [two-actions] FEAT 6
Fighter
Requirements You are wielding a melee weapon that deals piercing damage.
You drive your piercing weapon into an imperceptible foe, revealing its location to your allies. Make a Strike with the required melee weapon. You don’t have to attempt a flat check to hit a concealed creature, and you have to succeed at only a DC 5 flat check to target a hidden creature. If you hit and deal damage, you can drive the required weapon into a corporeal target, revealing its current position. You Release the weapon, and it becomes lodged in the target. If the target is concealed, other creatures don’t need to succeed at a flat check to hit it. If the target is hidden, other creatures have to succeed at only a DC 5 flat check to target it. The creatures need to be able to see your weapon to gain any of these benefits, and the target can’t become undetected to anyone who sees your weapon. If the target is invisible, the weapon remains visible while lodged in it.
This benefit lasts until the weapon is removed from the creature. An adjacent creature or the target can remove the weapon with 2 Interact actions.

BLIND-FIGHT FEAT 8
Fighter
Prerequisites master in Perception
Your battle instincts make you more aware of concealed and invisible opponents. You don’t need to succeed at a flat check to target concealed creatures. You’re not flat-footed to creatures that are hidden from you (unless you’re flatfooted to them for reasons other than the hidden condition), and you need only a successful DC 5 flat check to target a hidden creature.
While you’re adjacent to an undetected creature of your level or lower, it is instead only hidden from you.

Both feats remove the flat check to hit a concealed creature and reduced the flat check to hit a hidden creature to DC 5, and that is probably the biggest benefit of Revealing Stab.

Revealing Stab only works while wielding a piercing melee weapon, which paradoxically means that the fighter can strike a concealed creature more reliably with a stab rather than a swing. Revealing Stab is a two-action activity, which means that the fighter cannot Seek, Move, and Revealing Stab in one turn, which is a shame. Its main use is against an invisible foe, though a glowing or singing sword could be used to mark a foe in a pitch-black room--except magic glowing implies light so no longer pitch black. The Flame Tongue sword (page 600) says while wielded it "projects illumination resembling shimmering firelight, emitting dim light in a 10-foot radius," but it would stop being wielded when left stabbed in an enemy. There is not much benefit on using Revealing Stab on the kind of enemy who merely hides behind a barrel. It also has the annying issue that the figher will have to spend an Interact action afterwards to draw a replacement weapon.

Blind-Fight also reduces the flat check against undetected enemies, because they become hidden if adjacent and it reduces the flat check on hidden. A fighter automatically becomes a master at Perception with Battlefield Surveyor feature at 7th level, so its prerequisite is less a barrier than requiring 8th level. Blind-Fight is not an action, so it can be combined with any other action that cares about concealment, hiding, or detection. It would work with Seek, Move, Strike. Since Strike with Blind-Fight takes one action instead of two, the second action can be used for Point It Out to benefit teammates.

Thus, Revealing Stab matters only for 6th and 7th levels before the fighter can learn Blind Fight and retrain Revealing Stab.


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Well, Blind Fight may be better for the fighter - but Revealing Stab is better for the team as a whole. If the rest of the party is having trouble finding and targeting the enemy, Revealing Stab may be the difference between success and retreat.


This is why everyone needs to pack a net.


breithauptclan wrote:
Well, Blind Fight may be better for the fighter - but Revealing Stab is better for the team as a whole. If the rest of the party is having trouble finding and targeting the enemy, Revealing Stab may be the difference between success and retreat.

Is it? Let me envision a potential encounter with an obvious invisible creature, the Invisible Stalker (PF2 Bestiary page 144-145, Creature 7). It has Stealth +18 and natural invisibility, but whenever it attacks it shifts from invisible to translucent until the beginning of its next turn so that it is merely hidden.

If the Invisible Stalker has any sense, it would harass the party by attacking with invisible, giving it extra sneak attack damage, and then flying upward out of the party's reach until it turns fully visible again. It avoids the fighter due to the fighter's attack of opportunity. Thus, the wizard casts Flying on the fighter. The fighter flies up to the merely hidden Invisible Stalker and Revealing Stabs it.

The Invisible Stalker takes two Interact actions to pull out the stabbing weapon. The fighter gains an attack of opportunity with his bare fists, because Move and Revealing Stab took all his actions on his previous turn. Then the Invisible Stalker Releases the stabbing weapon and Moves.

The fighter Moves to the weapon, Interacts to pick it up, and Interacts to draw a second weapon (assume both are one-handed).

The Invisible Stalker Moves invisibly to the wizard, Strikes him in a sneak attack, and Moves to the ceiling again. The fighter repeats his Move and Revealing Stab, and the cycle continues. Every two turns, the Invisible Stalker can sneak one PC and the fighter can attack a hidden Invisible Stalker twice, once on his turn and once as an Attack of Opportunity. Everyone else can use ranged attacks against the Invisible Stalker after its attack but not after it pulled out the stabbing weapon.

If the fighter never learned Revealing Stab, then the Invisible Stalker could sneak attack one PC per turn and everyone else can use ranged attacks against it every turn. If the wizard casts Flying on the Fighter, he can fly up for two attacks, one at -5 multiple attack penalty, against the hidden Invisible Stalker per turn. Or the party could double move after an Invisible Stalker attack, forcing it to double move before its Strike with no move afterwards, so that the party can gang up on it in melee for a turn.

In that scenario, Revealing Stab merely forces the Invisible Stalker to stop every other turn to remove the revealing weapon and the party cannot take advantage of it because its invisibility returns while it stops taking hostile actions.

If instead the party was fighting a creature that could turn invisible at will with an innate spell, then it would be fully visible when the fighter stabs it. Does the Invisibilty spell turn the stabbing weapon invisible when cast? The feat says, "If the target is invisible, the weapon remains visible while lodged in it," but the creature would not be invisible when Revealing Stab was used. I think I will decide (until FAQ clarification) that the stabbing weapon is visible even if the creature casts Invisibility, but if the creature removes it with two Interact actions and then casts Invisibility with the weapon in hand, the stabbing weapon will be invisible. The creature can then hide it behind a barrel and the fighter might run out of piercing weapons.

Grand Lodge

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Erez Ben-Aharon wrote:

P2,3,4 - now have to pretend they didn't hear the conversation at all.

If P2,3,4 originally INTENDED to hit that exact square behind the barrels (just because it seemed a logical place), they now can't do it without being suspect of cheating/metagaming by the internetz.

And now we have landed on the problem with metagaming. If a person has meta-knowledge it colors their future actions. And it can be very hard, both for an observer and also for the player themselves, to know if they're acting on that information.

As a GM my response is typically to trust my players. If I think they might be acting on this information I assume it's not intentional and ask them "Are you sure? Remember your character doesn't know where he is...". Sometimes they'll say "Yeah but I think I'd have done that anyway", and on a one-off I'll take them at their word, but more often than not the response is "Oh yeah, good point. There's only really these 3 squares he could be in, so let's say I pick randomly from those? And I might just use a cantrip rather than the disintegrate I said cause my character knows he's blind firing" and I reply "Yeah, that makes sense, cool".

And that honesty from the players & trust from the GM is what makes the game work.

If your players are ones who go "Yeah but screw you I know where he is! Why would I ever waste an action when I can cheat?" then I pity you for your players & I think it's a problem best handled outside game mechanics.

For the record, my players actually reacted to this more closely to "Sweet, now we have a definitive answer of how pointing someone out works mechanically! We don't have to wonder how precisely we could describe it in 6 seconds of free action talking!".

Erez Ben-Aharon wrote:
The alternative solution would be to take P1 to the side and tell him in secret without anyone else knowing ("it is the 3rd square to the left of the barrels"), but that just seem tedious.

Sometimes that can be good. But I treat this less as hiding it from the players so they can't cheat & more to make it easier for them to work out how they'd act without the info (As "which square would I have picked if I didn't know?" can be a very hard question when you didn't decide beforehand)

I do actually sometimes only give a player enough info to make their choices, "It's over behind the barrels" is often enough info for them to act accordingly & I'll give the player the info they need (Essentially running the rest of their turn theater of mind then updating the grid).


Mathmuse wrote:
The Invisible Stalker takes two Interact actions to pull out the stabbing weapon. The fighter gains an attack of opportunity with his bare fists, because Move and Revealing Stab took all his actions on his previous turn. Then the Invisible Stalker Releases the stabbing weapon and Moves.

I will point out this makes a very big assumption - that the class with the best proficiency in the game never crits on an AoO. As soon as that happens, the entire fight dynamic changes, putting the Invisible Stalker at a major disadvantage. Losing that one action throws off its entire game plan.

1) If it removes the weapon, it drops to the ground. This lets the fighter fly in and Revealing Stab it, meaning it's on the ground and visible.
2) If it doesn't remove the weapon and moves instead, the fighter can simply fly over and Revealing Stab it again, leaving two weapons lodged in the Stalker.


Erez Ben-Aharon wrote:

What is the point of the 'Point Out' action? All it does is make an enemy that is 'Hidden' to you, but 'Undetected' to the other players into becoming 'Hidden' for all players. But the only difference between the two statuses is that an 'Undetected' enemy square is unknown (and has to be guessed), whereas a 'Hidden' enemy square is known. All the other penalties (50% miss chance, etc.) are the same. Why wouldn't I just go to the enemy that is 'Hidden' from me and attack it, or just yell (as a free action) which square the enemy is occupying - so that my other party members know to attack it? Why would I waste an action to 'Point Out' the square?

Moreover - how would the GM even be able to keep the square location hidden from all but one player? Say one player did a 'Seek' action and made the 'Undetected' enemy 'Hidden' to him only. The GM would have to point out to that player the square the enemy occupies - and the entire table would know (even though the enemy is 'Undetected' to them).

Is this a skill/mechanic whose purpose is only for online table games (FantasyGround etc.), where the GM can easily reveal information on the grid selectively to individual players? Or perhaps to 'Theatre of the Mind' play where the information (squares occupied, etc.) isn't laid out so precisely as it does in a battlegrid?

if your using a weapon attack to point out the square I hope it's a thrusting weapon. Otherwise a slashing or bludgeoning weapon really only narrows it down to a few squares.


thenobledrake wrote:

Minor point: the entire table behaving as if their character knows information that is explicitly said to only be had by one character is not "metagaming" - it's plain ol' cheating.

Top result on internet: "Metagaming is a term used in role-playing games, which describes a player's use of real-life knowledge concerning the state of the game to determine their character's actions, when said character has no relevant knowledge or awareness under the circumstances."

Behaving like your character knows information that they do not have is the very definition of metagaming. (That doesn't mean it's not also cheating.)


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John Lynch 106 wrote:
if your using a weapon attack to point out the square I hope it's a thrusting weapon. Otherwise a slashing or bludgeoning weapon really only narrows it down to a few squares.

How wildly are you swinging your club if we can't work out what you're aiming at to within a few feet? Normally you'd need a Cleave feat to swing your weapon across multiple squares.


Matthew Downie wrote:
thenobledrake wrote:

Minor point: the entire table behaving as if their character knows information that is explicitly said to only be had by one character is not "metagaming" - it's plain ol' cheating.

Top result on internet: "Metagaming is a term used in role-playing games, which describes a player's use of real-life knowledge concerning the state of the game to determine their character's actions, when said character has no relevant knowledge or awareness under the circumstances."

Behaving like your character knows information that they do not have is the very definition of metagaming. (That doesn't mean it's not also cheating.)

I'm aware that it is common for folks to lump the cheating kind of using player knowledge inappropriately in with the not cheating (and debatable as also not a problem) kind of using player knowledge - but that's along the lines of how these days people say "mix tape" and are talking about what used to be called a "demo tape" and don't care that in doing so they are making it less clear what they mean.

If we re-draw the lines so that the terms are more clear, discussion can be more fruitful... and maybe eventually people will stop equating knowing anything about the game you're playing with cheating by lumping it all together under the same term.


The invisible stalker scenario is kind of a best case for your argument, thanks to it revealing itself after attacks. If we fight an invisible enemy that doesn't reveal itself on attack (some other enemy with greater invisibility), or one with non-invisible concealment, then the fighter taking blind fight is the only one who can reliably attack the enemy and he doesn't help his team as much as revealing stab.

I think if you take that feat the best thing is to get quick draw and daggers, so you don't waste time re-grabbing the weapon.


Matthew Downie wrote:
John Lynch 106 wrote:
if your using a weapon attack to point out the square I hope it's a thrusting weapon. Otherwise a slashing or bludgeoning weapon really only narrows it down to a few squares.
How wildly are you swinging your club if we can't work out what you're aiming at to within a few feet? Normally you'd need a Cleave feat to swing your weapon across multiple squares.

How precisely can you watch someone else without expending actions to do so?


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Pathfinder Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber
John Lynch 106 wrote:
Matthew Downie wrote:
John Lynch 106 wrote:
if your using a weapon attack to point out the square I hope it's a thrusting weapon. Otherwise a slashing or bludgeoning weapon really only narrows it down to a few squares.
How wildly are you swinging your club if we can't work out what you're aiming at to within a few feet? Normally you'd need a Cleave feat to swing your weapon across multiple squares.
How precisely can you watch someone else without expending actions to do so?

Exactly. Seek is an action. I think you would be justified in using it close to the area your ally attacked, but you would still need to use it.


Campbell wrote:
John Lynch 106 wrote:
Matthew Downie wrote:
John Lynch 106 wrote:
if your using a weapon attack to point out the square I hope it's a thrusting weapon. Otherwise a slashing or bludgeoning weapon really only narrows it down to a few squares.
How wildly are you swinging your club if we can't work out what you're aiming at to within a few feet? Normally you'd need a Cleave feat to swing your weapon across multiple squares.
How precisely can you watch someone else without expending actions to do so?
Exactly. Seek is an action. I think you would be justified in using it close to the area your ally attacked, but you would still need to use it.

In real life, I need lots of actions to observe my surroundings. I remember my 7th grade football team. I served as center, and when the quarterback gave the signal I could snap the football to him with precision. But when I rose to a blocking position and looked around, the field was was mess and I needed serveral seconds to identify who I had to block. Likewise, when I play Elder Scrolls Online these days and am part of a team of four or twelve people, the screen often explodes into a mass of bright lights that represent spell and I cannot see what is happening (my laptop has a lot of lag, too). Other players know how to look past the bright lights. I don't have that problem when playing solo because all the action revolves around me.

On the other hand, if players had a choice between making a simpleminded action or taking an extra action first in order to figure out something complicated, many players would chose simpleminded. My players love complex plans, and to support their chosen playstyle I gave more information from PF1 Knowledge checks than the rules intend. I will probably do the same with most Perception and Recall Knowledge checks in PF2.

The Seek action fits the pacing of PF2's three-action turn. The Point It Out action is the other side of the coin. Yet, perhaps I have been viewing the Undetected condition too symmetrically.

Being undetected is a fragile condition. I made a mistake in my Invisible Stalker tactics above, for I forget that the Stalker would have to Sneak at half speed rather than Move at full speed to remain undetected before an attack. Strike breaks undetected, Interact often breaks undetected, spellcasting breaks undeteced, talking breaks undetected, regular Move breaks undectected, ... the list is long.

Thus, I assumed that undetected could easily be broken by enemy action, too. Seek uncovers undetected, Point It Out uncovers undetected, being adjacent with Blind-Fight uncovers undetected, Revealing Stab uncovers undetected, trying to move through an occupied square uncovers undetected, ... yet maybe this list is short to compensate for the other list being long. We want to keep stealth a viable tactic and an Invisible Stalker to be a tantalizing foe. To keep the list short, hitting an invisible opponent would not uncover undetected for the other players, nor would yelling out a location as a free action.

Yet I still rank Revealing Stab as a weak feat. Consider the Acid Arrow 2nd-level spell. It deals 1d6 persistent acid damage in addition to its initial damage. An invisible creature struck by an acid arrow can either suffer in silence, taking 1d6 damage per turn and hoping for a successful DC 15 flat check, or can take two Interact actions, "I wash away the acid with water from my waterskin," to assist the recovery and lose the undetected condition due to taking a non-stealthy action. Revealing Stab's main strength is that it makes the Strike with a piercing weapon more reliable.


Mathmuse wrote:
breithauptclan wrote:
Well, Blind Fight may be better for the fighter - but Revealing Stab is better for the team as a whole. If the rest of the party is having trouble finding and targeting the enemy, Revealing Stab may be the difference between success and retreat.

Is it? Let me envision a potential encounter with an obvious invisible creature, the Invisible Stalker ...

If the Invisible Stalker has any sense, it would harass the party by attacking with invisible, giving it extra sneak attack damage, and then flying upward out of the party's reach until it turns fully visible again. It avoids the fighter due to the fighter's attack of opportunity. Thus, the wizard casts Flying on the fighter. The fighter flies up to the merely hidden Invisible Stalker and Revealing Stabs it.

The Invisible Stalker takes two Interact actions to pull out the stabbing weapon...

The other contrived part of this example that I am seeing is that the invisible stalker gets its turn immediately after the fighter.

If the fighter had any sense, he would delay his turn until just after the invisible stalker reveals itself and takes its actions, then go and revealing stab the thing. At that point the entire rest of the party has one entire round to pile as much damage as they can into this thing.

I stand by my previous statement. Blind Fight may be a better option for the fighter, but Revealing Stab is often the better choice for the party as a whole.


breithauptclan wrote:
Mathmuse wrote:

Is it? Let me envision a potential encounter with an obvious invisible creature, the Invisible Stalker ...

If the Invisible Stalker has any sense, it would harass the party by attacking with invisible, giving it extra sneak attack damage, and then flying upward out of the party's reach until it turns fully visible again. It avoids the fighter due to the fighter's attack of opportunity. Thus, the wizard casts Flying on the fighter. The fighter flies up to the merely hidden Invisible Stalker and Revealing Stabs it.

The Invisible Stalker takes two Interact actions to pull out the stabbing weapon...

The other contrived part of this example that I am seeing is that the invisible stalker gets its turn immediately after the fighter.

I didn't say that. Instead, I said, "Everyone else can use ranged attacks against the Invisible Stalker after its attack but not after it pulled out the stabbing weapon." Remember, the Invisible Stalker is detected yet hidden until the beginning of its next turn after an attack, so a stabbed weapon visibly jabbed through its body won't make any difference until the Invisible Stalker's next turn, when its first two actions will be to pull out the weapon.

I also made a slight error. Pulling out the revealing weapon would be a non-stealthy action, so the Invisible Stalker would still be merely hidden after it pulled out and dropped the weapon. It would need a successful Sneak action to become undetected again.

I admit that I could have created a clearer example with a creature that had an innate ability to cast greater (i.e. 4th level) invisibility that did not fade after a Strike, but that would require an 8th-level creature. I wanted an example more appropriate to a 6th-level fighter, and I liked the obvious name of the Invisible Stalker.

Anyone with a copy of the PF2 Bestiary can create their own 8th-level example to overshadow mine.


Where would turning invisible in order to get a +2 to hit against a hidden foe fall on the big brain meme?


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Mathmuse wrote:
Remember, the Invisible Stalker is detected yet hidden until the beginning of its next turn after an attack, so a stabbed weapon visibly jabbed through its body won't make any difference until the Invisible Stalker's next turn, when its first two actions will be to pull out the weapon.

Ahem. "If the target is concealed, other creatures don’t need to succeed at a flat check to hit it. If the target is hidden, other creatures have to succeed at only a DC 5 flat check to target it."

That more than doubles their hit chances, up from the DC 11 flat check for hidden.


Cyouni wrote:
Mathmuse wrote:
Remember, the Invisible Stalker is detected yet hidden until the beginning of its next turn after an attack, so a stabbed weapon visibly jabbed through its body won't make any difference until the Invisible Stalker's next turn, when its first two actions will be to pull out the weapon.

Ahem. "If the target is concealed, other creatures don’t need to succeed at a flat check to hit it. If the target is hidden, other creatures have to succeed at only a DC 5 flat check to target it."

That more than doubles their hit chances, up from the DC 11 flat check for hidden.

Oops, I forgot that line from Revealing Stab. I have been concentrating too much on the difference between undetected and hidden.


Pathfinder Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber

Another sidenote on revealing stab and feats like it that I feel is missed is the fighters free feat per day. I really think a lot of these niche but potentially encounter shifting fighter feats aren't meant to be your staples but rather fantastic rewards for playing your fighter with some forethought.


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OP here...

Ok I think we derailed the conversation enough from my original question.

I think the best answer I got (and the most logical one for me) is that I simply ask the other players to look away and point at the square. This was the most elegant answer.

I was more concerned with the mechanical applications of it on the table than purely a discussion about metagaming because personally I don't believe metagaming can be avoided. I mean, we all know as players Trolls Regen, Contstructs are resistant to precision damage, Skeletons are to be bludgeoned etc, from years of gaming. To pretend that years of encyclopaedic gamer knowledge can just be hand-waved at the table is just unrealistic (and as a bit of an OSR guy, I actually find no fault in good ol' player knowledge and rules/game mastery).

I was more interested in some innovative mechanical applications of this and I think I got my answer.

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