Escape vs Manacles


Rules Discussion


Would a Barbarian be able to use one Escape action to use athletics to break out of poor manacles with a DC 17 in combat. Item and Action below.

Manacles:
You can manacle someone who is willing or
otherwise at your mercy as an exploration activity taking
10–30 seconds depending on the creature’s size and how
many manacles you apply. A two-legged creature with its
legs bound takes a –15-foot circumstance penalty to its
Speeds, and a two-handed creature with its wrists bound
has to succeed at a DC 5 flat check any time it uses a
manipulate action or else that action fails. This DC may
be higher depending on how tightly the manacles constrain
the hands. A creature bound to a stationary object is
immobilized. For creatures with more or fewer limbs, the
GM determines what effect manacles have, if any. Freeing
a creature from poor manacles requires two successful
DC 17 Thievery checks, simple manacles requires three
successes at DC 22, average manacles require four successes
at DC 27, good manacles require five successes at DC 32,
and superior manacles require six successes at DC 42.

ESCAPE [one-action]
ATTACK
You attempt to escape from being grabbed, immobilized,
or restrained. Choose one creature, object, spell effect, hazard,
or other impediment imposing any of those conditions on you.
Attempt a check using your unarmed attack modifier against
the DC of the effect. This is typically the Athletics DC of a
creature grabbing you, the Thievery DC of a creature who tied
you up, the spell DC for a spell effect, or the listed Escape DC
of an object, hazard, or other impediment. You can attempt
an Acrobatics or Athletics check instead of using your attack
modifier if you choose (but this action still has the attack trait).
Critical Success You get free and remove the grabbed,
immobilized, and restrained conditions imposed by your
chosen target. You can then Stride up to 5 feet.
Success You get free and remove the grabbed, immobilized,
and restrained conditions imposed by your chosen target.
Critical Failure You don’t get free, and you can’t attempt to
Escape again until your next turn.

Horizon Hunters

So I would rule that this would not be possible.

The reason why is that while the rulebook does give Thievery DCs for freeing another creature from manacles, the manacles themselves don't seem to have an Escape DC. Some would interpret this (and perhaps rightfully so) that in most cases it is impossible to escape from locked manacles without aid.

If the GM was being generous he may allow the Barbarian a chance to just hulk out of the manacles all together like you are describing but I am guessing the DC for that will be much higher than the 17 listed for the Thievery Check to get another creature out.

I can also see a scenario where a skilled rogue with the right tools and loose enough manacles could attempt to free themselves with a Pick a Lock action but that would require the necessary amount of successes against the thievery DC with the added penalty of needing to succeed on the Flat 5 check for being still in the manacles themselves


I was feeling that the dc 17 would be way to low for a single athletics, was considering gaiting it behind master athletics with a higher dc or just have 2 consecutive successful checks or a combination of the two. There is a adventure that uses manicals in combat, with creatures able to apply them with 3 actions instead of the 10 mins, so this is not a one off thing but will be recurring. And I would like for there to be a possibility of success since there is a Barbarian and a liberator champ that fight together.

Horizon Hunters

Definitely feel free to run your games in a way that make sense at your table. I personally would not allow it in most situations unless the inability to deal with manacle happy enemies was having a severe negative or unrealistic effect.

Probably best advice would be to refer back to the adventure with that ability for guidance. Do you happen to have that text/info handy?


Nah, not really from what I've seen so far. It is worth pointing out that manacles aren't that severe a penalty, so you should be able to get through a fight with them on and then hack them off later.


All it is is a 3 action attack/manipulate against the targets ac, if successful then the creature applies the manacles to either the wrist or ankles. There are no further rules related to the attack or the manacles. The action is called Efficient Capture. Since it had no further rules that's why I was just looking at the manacles themselves.

Horizon Hunters

Yeah given those facts I wouldn't homebrew anything until it became a problem.


Oh, the -15 movement was brutal.


1 person marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber

The lack of an Escape DC seems like an oversight.

At the very least, if you immobilize someone with manacles, they should absolutely be able to use the Escape action to break free.


There's an activity called "Breaking the Chains" in another book, calling for either two DC 37 Athletics checks or two DC 33 thievery checks. But I think is more an abstracted exploration tactic than a midcombat action.

DC 37 certainly feels better than DC 17 for snapping iron chains on pure strength though.


1 person marked this as a favorite.

I would be really careful with rules to break/escape bonds.

Escape is a one action activity that at worse becomes a 1 round activity on a crit fail.
Allowing to use escape as written on any sort of real bonds would make them pretty useless.

If the DC can be beaten (and I talk even for the fringe case where you just have a success on a nat 20 which mean you have DC -20 as your comp) at worse anyone in bonds would escape in a few minutes. Worse case is 20 rounds expected which can be a bit more for someone unlucky but still it's in minutes.

So you end with two options:
-Either a DC so high almost noone can expect to beat it even on nat 20.
-Bonds would logically be broken/removed in less than an hour (and would be less than a few rounds for anyone a bit competent) by almost anyone. Which is fine in combat but creates problem in exploration mode.

You can do an exception for that combat, rule of cool, but if you allow it by default it will make capturing people without having them inconscious almost impossible.

If the manacles problem comes outside of combat I think I would houserule an activity that lasts between 1 minutes and an hour depending of success and can't be easily repeated to escape bonds.


1 person marked this as a favorite.

I would definitely allow the use of the Escape action to break free from Manacles.

You can take a look at the CRB pages 503/504 (Adjunsting Difficulty). I quote: "You might decide a DC should differ from the baseline, whether to account for PCs’ areas of expertise or to represent the rarity of spells or items. A DC adjustment represents an essential difference in the difficulty of a task and applies to anyone attempting a specific check for it."

And I also quote: "You might use different DCs for a task based on the particular skill or statistic used for the check."

For instance, you would raise the DC because they are using Athletics instead of Thievery, making it Very Hard (+5), and they are trying it without help.

You could also ask for a minimun proficieny in Athletics.


In many types of stories, manacles (i.e. handcuffs) are a minor impedance. Slipping out stealthily while being interviewed is "normal" for a spy/thief character, even w/o tools.

So yes, there's a problem in that one wants manacles to work to suit the story, but there are different types of stories being told with this system. It's just as "true" that manacles will hold our heroes until the guard's are distracted long enough to pound the shackles off w/ a rock or pick.

Given the PF2 system, I'd say it's either up to the GM to tune the stats to suit the instance or perhaps gate the quick-manacle-escape ability so that only the Rogue-ish PCs can attempt it.

That's just for lower levels. Eventually the heroes will be superheroes and having "impossible" manacles will become ludicrous.

Horizon Hunters

I'd be really wary of making manacles too easy to slip out of and swinging too hard the other way. If someone managed to place manacles on someone else mid combat how easy would it be to break free???

A rogue using the Pick a lock action could probably get the two successes necessary for poor manacles (which I assume the monsters are using). I don't have the full access of the stats of the monsters in question but looking at action economy:

1.) If they move they dont have the 3 actions available to clamp manacles on you which is a big deal unless efficient capture is a ranged attack.

2.) If they miss all 3 actions are wasted

3.) If they do succeed manacles on the arms don't seem near as punishing as manacles to the leg. So unless the GM is being brutal they don't have to be a nightmare of amechanic. (You could even consider only doing legs after the arms have been manacled)

4.) They must always risk 3 actions getting the manacles on. However you can get them off in a few as 2 actions if you get a crit success on the pick a lock thievery check from someone helping you. (this may be another place where I could see granting some flexibility by letting pick a lock only take 1 action against in combat manacles.)

I will say though in rereading the text for Escape it also says you can use "the Thievery DC of a creature who tied you up". If we wanna explore the idea of players using Escape against the manacles perhaps this may give your players a suitably difficult DC to test their might against?


I don't think anyone has an objection to a legendary athlete snapping some chains, or a legendary acrobat slipping some cuffs. The question is where it becomew appropriate for lower level characters, especially with Nat 20s bumping up the degree of success.

Proficiency gating is a cludgy solution but is maybe the best I've seen so far. You could make it a legendary task, with perhaps a master skill feat to let you pull it off earlier. Could be very useful against grabby enemies too.


1 person marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber

Yeah, maybe this is just because I'm very gamist, but I don't think it should be that hard to escape from lower level manacles.

Poor manacles are a level 0 item. This means they are also, at best, a level 0 hazard. A level 0 hazard is a low-threat encounter even for a level 1 character. I don't think you should be able to more-or-less permanently immobilize a character with a level 0 item just because they don't happen to have Thievery trained.

The DC 17 Thievery check is actually a well-above-average DC for a level 0 item, and should be perfectly serviceable for the check to Escape. And this only gets worse for better manacles - simple manacles are above even a Very Hard DC for a level 1 item! You are already talking about a level 1 item that can force a character to make a check against a DC that is supposed to challenge a level 6 character. Telling them "no, you are just stuck there because you aren't trained in Thievery" seems quite excessive.

That all said, I probably would maintain parity between the checks - so the character would need to make as many Athletics checks to Escape as the number of Thievery checks needed to pick the lock.

And from a realism point of view... Athletics is definitely the check to escape if you are tied up head-to-toe in rope. Does it really make sense that a skill that lets you escape full-body-restraint doesn't let you slip out of some cheap handcuffs?


1 person marked this as a favorite.
Captain Morgan wrote:
You could make it a legendary task, with perhaps a master skill feat to let you pull it off earlier. Could be very useful against grabby enemies too.

I feel like gating the ability to slip cheap handcuffs to the realm of superheroics seems really excessive.

I mostly agree with MaxAstro's assessment though.


1 person marked this as a favorite.

But on the flip side they would become useless, anyone could break out of them and that kinda defeats the purpose of manacles. I do not think the 8 strength wizard should have a shot at breaking them, but I do think the 18 strength Barbarian should have a chance.


Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber
Kennethray wrote:
But on the flip side they would become useless, anyone could break out of them and that kinda defeats the purpose of manacles. I do not think the 8 strength wizard should have a shot at breaking them, but I do think the 18 strength Barbarian should have a chance.

Why? The 8 dex Barbarian can successfully pick the lock.

Also worth mentioning that the Athletics check to Escape is just that - a check to escape the manacles, not smash them apart Hulk-style.


1 person marked this as a favorite.
MaxAstro wrote:

Yeah, maybe this is just because I'm very gamist, but I don't think it should be that hard to escape from lower level manacles.

Poor manacles are a level 0 item. This means they are also, at best, a level 0 hazard. A level 0 hazard is a low-threat encounter even for a level 1 character. I don't think you should be able to more-or-less permanently immobilize a character with a level 0 item just because they don't happen to have Thievery trained.

The DC 17 Thievery check is actually a well-above-average DC for a level 0 item, and should be perfectly serviceable for the check to Escape. And this only gets worse for better manacles - simple manacles are above even a Very Hard DC for a level 1 item! You are already talking about a level 1 item that can force a character to make a check against a DC that is supposed to challenge a level 6 character. Telling them "no, you are just stuck there because you aren't trained in Thievery" seems quite excessive.

That all said, I probably would maintain parity between the checks - so the character would need to make as many Athletics checks to Escape as the number of Thievery checks needed to pick the lock.

And from a realism point of view... Athletics is definitely the check to escape if you are tied up head-to-toe in rope. Does it really make sense that a skill that lets you escape full-body-restraint doesn't let you slip out of some cheap handcuffs?

The question isn't the level of the manacles here but the level of the creature with the ability to use them in a single round of combat. Manacles aren't normally usable during combat and as far as I know no level 0 trap exists that shackles the victim on a failed check or something.

Back in 1E when quick-catch manacles and even spells to throw manacles at your enemies and restrain them from a distance were a thing I was so paranoid about them coming in an adventure that I always ranked up my Acrobatics and even took the Signature Skill feat with it just to be sure I wouldn't have to be miserable.

Clearly a non-magical combat ability that imposes a serious penalty with unlimited duration and can only be death with with a very specific skill that may not even be enough depending on the enemy's equipment is a dangerous ability. Or at least striking the manacles to destroy them during combat should be allowed (thin iron items have 20 HP and hardness 5) and this wouldn't be a huge issue.

Horizon Hunters

FlashRebel wrote:
The question isn't the level of the manacles here but the level of the creature with the ability to use them in a single round of combat.

I think FlashRebel is on to something here and we're all being hampered by the fact that we haven't seen the details of this monster so its hard to put into context how deadly it is and how deadly it probably should be. Makes it a bit more difficult to brainstorm solutions especially since nothing that I know of in the core rule book or lost omens uses this unique mechanic. Every time I re-examine the rules I go back to the note in Escape about using the Thievery DC for the creature trying to immobilize you but admittedly at this point that's just a shot in the dark.


2 people marked this as a favorite.
MaxAstro wrote:


I don't think you should be able to more-or-less permanently immobilize a character with a level 0 item just because they don't happen to have Thievery trained.

Hold on, did you actually read manacles? Because they only immobilize you if you attach them to a stationary object like a wall. That's a preeeetty specific scenario. If you just slap manacles on the ankles it only gives a -15 foot penalty to speed. If you do the wrists it is a 20% chance of failure on manipulate actions. That's it.

Also, being captured and chained to a wall has no resemblance to a hazard and I'm flabbergasted that you drew the comparison. Plus the issue isn't REALLY players escaping manacles, which is a rare situation. The issue is that if you make it too easy to do so, suddenly the players (and whole world in general) has big problems taking anyone prisoner. Among other things, that cements "murder hobo" as the most rational approach to surrendering foes.

Quote:
I think FlashRebel is on to something here and we're all being hampered by the fact that we haven't seen the details of this monster so its hard to put into context how deadly it is and how deadly it probably should be. Makes it a bit more difficult to brainstorm solutions especially since nothing that I know of in the core rule book or lost omens uses this unique mechanic. Every time I re-examine the rules I go back to the note in Escape about using the Thievery DC for the creature trying to immobilize you but admittedly at this point that's just a shot in the dark.

If you don't mind a very minor Age of Ashes spoilers....

Efficient Capture (attack, manipulate, 3 action activity); Requirements The thug has manacles in hand and is next to a creature. Effect The thug attempts to bind the creature’s wrists or ankles with the manacles. The thug must succeed at an attack roll with a +18 modifier against the target’s AC.

The enemy has to start its turn holding the manacles and adjacent to an enemy. It also provokes. And inflicts some penalties that, while significant, don't take you out of the fight at all. They mostly just make it harder to run off.


Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber

Captain Morgan - my thinking with "hazard" was "a trap that slaps manacles on you".

In any case, I'm pretty sure the rest of my point stands. On the first hand, you shouldn't be able to "take a creature prisoner" without using level-appropriate items. I'd argue that manacles are almost too good as they are - level 1 manacles maybe shouldn't be an effective means of taking a level 6 character prisoner. Those DC are, by the standards of the system, crazy. There's a level 8 hazard that inflicts poison with the same DC as those level 1 manacles.

And consider the effect of not allowing Escape on higher level manacles. If you slap level 9 manacles on a level 20 creature, that creature is stuck with them unless it has Thievery trained. The whole reason Escape allows unarmed strikes to be used is to avoid this whole "your character is screwed because you didn't invest in one specific skill" thing.

And again - if you are tied up with rope, Escape is 100%, no question, RAW the action to get free. Why would it be a different action for manacles?

As far as difficulties in taking people prisoner... well yeah. That's a thing in the real world, too. You don't just handcuff someone and then ignore them. You keep an eye on your prisoner and you point a sword at him if he starts trying to make Escape actions. Just like you would if he was trained in Thievery.


2 people marked this as a favorite.
MaxAstro wrote:
Captain Morgan - my thinking with "hazard" was "a trap that slaps manacles on you".

That isn't an existing hazard, nor could it likely be through any amount of practical mechanics. (Magic could make it happen though.)

Quote:
In any case, I'm pretty sure the rest of my point stands. On the first hand, you shouldn't be able to "take a creature prisoner" without using level-appropriate items. I'd argue that manacles are almost too good as they are - level 1 manacles maybe shouldn't be an effective means of taking a level 6 character prisoner.

The problem is by your suggestion they aren't an effective means of taking a level 1 character prisoner. DC 17 can be achieved by an untrained level 0 character with 8 strength just by rolling an 18. Given a lack of failure or critical failure conditions, there's nothing stopping them from just repeating it over and over until they get out.

You've just eliminated an iconic fantasy staple-- chaining someone to a wall in a dungeon and leaving them to rot. Even the weakest creature will Escape those bonds under your suggestion.

Quote:
There's a level 8 hazard that inflicts poison with the same DC as those level 1 manacles.

Again, this comparison doesn't work. A hazard provides a "save or suffer" effect. You get a chance to beat the perception DC, and then a chance to beat the save DC. If you fail, you suffer significant harm.

If you fail to break a set of manacles, nothing happens. You try again next turn. If you're fighting these particular enemies you might lose a round of combat time, but given that manacles don't prevent you from fighting you can just kill these enemies and sort it out afterwards. Once you're out of combat, you can just keep rolling and you will get out eventually regardless of your level or bonus.

(Also, while the DCs are irrelevant anyway, I have no idea where your math is coming from. A level 6 DC is 22 and the DCs for hazards of that level are even higher.)

Quote:
And consider the effect of not allowing Escape on higher level manacles. If you slap level 9 manacles on a level 20 creature, that creature is stuck with them unless it has Thievery trained.

I've already said legendary creatures should be able to break out of manacles. Level 0 creatures, without even basic training? They should not.

Quote:
The whole reason Escape allows unarmed strikes to be used is to avoid this whole "your character is screwed because you didn't invest in one specific skill" thing.

Escape is written that way for dealing with effects like being grabbed. Being captured, thrown in jail, and chained to a wall is in no way comparable to a fighting a creature with Grab.

Quote:
And again - if you are tied up with rope, Escape is 100%, no question, RAW the action to get free. Why would it be a different action for manacles?

1)From a flavor standpoint, because knots can be untied, frayed, or gradually loosened with enough squirming. Handcuffs cannot.

2) From a mechanics standpoint, because then your manacles have the same DC to escape as a level 1 rogue using a rope. Manacles are meant to have a reason to exist.

3) The Escape action says "You attempt to escape from being grabbed, immobilized, or restrained. Choose one creature, object, spell effect, hazard, or other impediment imposing any of those conditions on you." Unless you're chained to a wall, manacles don't inflict any of these conditions on you. So by RAW, it doesn't work.

Quote:
As far as difficulties in taking people prisoner... well yeah. That's a thing in the real world, too. You don't just handcuff someone and then ignore them. You keep an eye on your prisoner and you point a sword at him if he starts trying to make Escape actions. Just like you would if he was trained in Thievery.

In the real world you keep an eye on a prisoner to make sure they can't run off. If you have someone handcuffed to a table in the interrogation room, the average person is not going to be capable of breaking out. At worst they will hurt themselves trying.

Most people should not be able to slip out of manacles. Heroes, sure, but if literally anyone can do it, you've broken immersion, mechanics, and story right in half.


In my opinion, all these rules of bad/average/good quality manacles are a bit ridiculous. Either you have normal manacles, and there's no way you can escape them besides having a legendary strength/dexterity. Either you have manacles in bad condition, and then you can attempt something and will break free. This second type of manacles being chosen storywise.

But considering that any manacle can be escaped by someone of a relevant level just means that you can't use manacles to handcuff someone to a wall. That's just weird to me.

Horizon Hunters

1 person marked this as a favorite.

Even basic zip ties are difficult to break out of. If manacles are easy to slip off is their even a point?


3 people marked this as a favorite.
SuperBidi wrote:
Either you have normal manacles, and there's no way you can escape them besides having a legendary strength/dexterity.

This just seems super goofy to me. Legendary skill options include being able to steal the shirt off someone's back without them noticing you did it, hide in the middle of an open field in broad daylight, scare someone so effectively they drop dead, or honing your body to literally no longer require food or water to survive. Essentially being so good at something that your abilities seem supernatural.

Is slipping a pair of cheap handcuffs really comparable to those?


Squiggit wrote:
SuperBidi wrote:
Either you have normal manacles, and there's no way you can escape them besides having a legendary strength/dexterity.

This just seems super goofy to me. Legendary skill options include being able to steal the shirt off someone's back without them noticing you did it, hide in the middle of an open field in broad daylight, scare someone so effectively they drop dead, or honing your body to literally no longer require food or water to survive. Essentially being so good at something that your abilities seem supernatural.

Is slipping a pair of cheap handcuffs really comparable to those?

OK, sure. But there still should be a happy medium between it requiring legendary athletes and being a temporary inconvenience to level negative one commoner. I dunno what that line is yet, but simply letting people use the Escape action at the listed DC makes them irrelevant.


1 person marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber
Captain Morgan wrote:
MaxAstro wrote:
Captain Morgan - my thinking with "hazard" was "a trap that slaps manacles on you".
That isn't an existing hazard, nor could it likely be through any amount of practical mechanics. (Magic could make it happen though.)

idk, I can imagine it pretty easy - basically a spear trap but with a mancatcher instead.

Captain Morgan wrote:
Quote:
In any case, I'm pretty sure the rest of my point stands. On the first hand, you shouldn't be able to "take a creature prisoner" without using level-appropriate items. I'd argue that manacles are almost too good as they are - level 1 manacles maybe shouldn't be an effective means of taking a level 6 character prisoner.

The problem is by your suggestion they aren't an effective means of taking a level 1 character prisoner. DC 17 can be achieved by an untrained level 0 character with 8 strength just by rolling an 18. Given a lack of failure or critical failure conditions, there's nothing stopping them from just repeating it over and over until they get out.

You've just eliminated an iconic fantasy staple-- chaining someone to a wall in a dungeon and leaving them to rot. Even the weakest creature will Escape those bonds under your suggestion.

If not for the "trained" requirement on picking a lock, this would be true no matter what. As is, if you don't allow Escape on manacles you are just saying "anyone trained in Thievery can't be taken prisoner but anyone not trained in Thievery can be permanently taken prisoner regardless of their level". I think "it's really hard to effectively take people prisoner, regardless" is bother better for the game and more realistic.

If you plan to chain someone to a wall and leave them to rot, use high level manacles. A level 1 item should not be an effective way of immobilizing a character permanently.

Captain Morgan wrote:
Quote:
There's a level 8 hazard that inflicts poison with the same DC as those level 1 manacles.

Again, this comparison doesn't work. A hazard provides a "save or suffer" effect. You get a chance to beat the perception DC, and then a chance to beat the save DC. If you fail, you suffer significant harm.

If you fail to break a set of manacles, nothing happens. You try again next turn. If you're fighting these particular enemies you might lose a round of combat time, but given that manacles don't prevent you from fighting you can just kill these enemies and sort it out afterwards. Once you're out of combat, you can just keep rolling and you will get out eventually regardless of your level or bonus.

(Also, while the DCs are irrelevant anyway, I have no idea where your math is coming from. A level 6 DC is 22 and the DCs for hazards of that level are even higher.)

By this logic, locks are completely useless because anyone can break them with time.

Again, my main problem is the jarring disconnect between "if you are trained in Thievery, no one can effectively manacle you for more than a few rounds; if you are not trained in Thievery, you are trapped forever." 2e's design, everywhere else, avoids putting creatures in situations where they have no applicable defense.

As far as the DCs, I looked at some real hazards. "Poisoned dart gallery", a hazard from the Core Rulebook, is level 8 and has a DC 22 poison. I was hoping to find an actual standalone poison with that DC (I suspect it would be around level 6 since that is the level at which DC22 is appropriate) but couldn't locate one.

Captain Morgan wrote:
Quote:
And consider the effect of not allowing Escape on higher level manacles. If you slap level 9 manacles on a level 20 creature, that creature is stuck with them unless it has Thievery trained.
I've already said legendary creatures should be able to break out of manacles. Level 0 creatures, without even basic training? They should not.

No one said anything about legendary. If a level 20 creature happens to be untrained in Thievery, they are not getting out of those level 9 manacles by your interpretation of the rules. (For a hilarious example: you could manacle a Mu Spore and there is nothing it could do about it)

And I'm not really interested in talking about house rules (although I do admit I mentioned I would house rule it taking multiple checks); I'm looking at RAW here. To my reading, Escape is RAW the action to get out of manacles. The fact that your interpretation requires house rules to not be silly with high level creatures is a mark against it.

Captain Morgan wrote:
Quote:
The whole reason Escape allows unarmed strikes to be used is to avoid this whole "your character is screwed because you didn't invest in one specific skill" thing.
Escape is written that way for dealing with effects like being grabbed. Being captured, thrown in jail, and chained to a wall is in no way comparable to a fighting a creature with Grab.

Even if I accept that, being manacled to a nearby lamppost in combat is completely comparable.

Captain Morgan wrote:
Quote:
And again - if you are tied up with rope, Escape is 100%, no question, RAW the action to get free. Why would it be a different action for manacles?

1)From a flavor standpoint, because knots can be untied, frayed, or gradually loosened with enough squirming. Handcuffs cannot.

2) From a mechanics standpoint, because then your manacles have the same DC to escape as a level 1 rogue using a rope. Manacles are meant to have a reason to exist.

3) The Escape action says "You attempt to escape from being grabbed, immobilized, or restrained. Choose one creature, object, spell effect, hazard, or other impediment imposing any of those conditions on you." Unless you're chained to a wall, manacles don't inflict any of these conditions on you. So by RAW, it doesn't work.

1) Breaking out of manacles is literally a super-common fantasy trope, just like being chained in a dungeon (arguably even more common; most "chained in a dungeon" stories end with the chained person escaping).

2) A level 0 item has the same DC as a level 1 character? Sounds like a good item to me. Manacles allow you to not need a rogue, that is their reason for existing.

3) The circumstance you keep bringing up is that manacles should be able to "chain someone to a wall" to "keep them prisoner". And then you are going to say "well except in that one specific circumstance"? Sorry, I thought that was the circumstance we have been talking about.

Captain Morgan wrote:
Quote:
As far as difficulties in taking people prisoner... well yeah. That's a thing in the real world, too. You don't just handcuff someone and then ignore them. You keep an eye on your prisoner and you point a sword at him if he starts trying to make Escape actions. Just like you would if he was trained in Thievery.

In the real world you keep an eye on a prisoner to make sure they can't run off. If you have someone handcuffed to a table in the interrogation room, the average person is not going to be capable of breaking out. At worst they will hurt themselves trying.

Most people should not be able to slip out of manacles. Heroes, sure, but if literally anyone can do it, you've broken immersion, mechanics, and story right in half.

...Isn't the whole point of Pathfinder that the PCs are heroes? Above average? I mean, if you want to make real world comparisons, in the real world an untrained average person isn't going to have a roughly 50/50 shot of successfully repairing a broken suit of chainmail. Pathfinder has lots of places where realism is sacrificed for gameplay.

And again - the binary dichotomy makes no sense. "Manacles are no obstacle if you are trained in Thievery but insurmountable if you are not" makes no sense and goes completely against the rest of the game design. If manacles are an insufficient obstacle, they should have higher DC, not simply be invincible to 75% of characters and easily overcome by the other 25%.

P.S. Great debate! Hopefully none of this comes across as personal. I know I get a bit energetic when I'm engrossed in a discussion, and I want you to know that I really respect your point of view. You've been around here longer than I have, IIRC. :)


Also remember that without your thieves' tools on your person, no amount of Thievery training can help you pick a lock. Then if you want to take someone prisoner, taking away their tools is enough to make sure they don't escape manacles by RAW.

But also by RAW, items can be damaged with very mundane attacks, and even fists can do lethal damage just by taking a penalty on the attack roll. In this case, adventurers with all their equipment taken away have a way to escape, above all if they have a good Strength score (or amusingly enough, a good Dexterity score for a thief rogue) or Weapon Specialization (and apparently items aren't immune to critical hits in this edition). Unless manacles have a stupidly high AC, even a commoner can damage manacles and eventually break them.


MaxAstro wrote:
idk, I can imagine it pretty easy - basically a spear trap but with a mancatcher instead.

Well that's a pretty good visual of how a similar contraption could work, but I don't think that would use manacles as defined in the equipment chapter.

Max Astro wrote:


If not for the "trained" requirement on picking a lock, this would be true no matter what. As is, if you don't allow Escape on manacles you are just saying "anyone trained in Thievery can't be taken prisoner but anyone not trained in Thievery can be permanently taken prisoner regardless of their level". I think "it's really hard to effectively take people prisoner, regardless" is bother better for the game and more realistic.

There's a critical difference, actually. I'm reasonably sure you are supposed to use Thieves' Tools to use Thievery. I say reasonably because it doesn't actually say you're using the Pick a Lock action, just making a thievery check, but it feels like a pretty safe assumption to me that that's what you're supposed to be doing, especially since manacles use the same multi-success model locks do. And I don't know what else those checks would represent

Assuming I'm correct, that means that anyone, trained in thievery or not, is out of luck if they get properly searched and lack the equipment. It also means that, much like locks, a bad thief will break their tools before succeeding at a difficult job.

To create a similar situation, you'd need a consequences beyond "try again next turn" on a critical failure for the Escape Check. Like you hurt yourself in attempting it and take damage, for example.

Now, if I'm wrong and the thievery check is something weird like dislocating your thumbs (which I doubt, as that feels much more like an Acrobatics check) then all bets are off.

Quote:
If you plan to chain someone to a wall and leave them to rot, use high level manacles.

High level manacles can run up to 5,000 gp a pop. Does that strike you as a realistic investment for the town jail? Heck, let's use a gnome with no training or proficiency modifier, just a -1 penalty to strength. They get a result of 19 on a nat 20, and thanks to the nat 20 tiers of success rule means you need a DC of at least 29 before escape becomes impossible. That calls for good manacles, a level 9 item, running 250 gp a pop. There are 6th level permanent magical items which cost less than that.

Needing that sort of investment to secure the most average gnome on the planet strikes me as absurd. I should hope your dungeon crawl isn't in an actual dungeon, because otherwise your players are going to be prying every set of manacles off the wall to resell.

Quote:
A level 1 item should not be an effective way of immobilizing a character permanently.

I could start listing off a bunch of level 0 items that can immobilize a character permanently: they are all in the "weapons" chapter of basic equipment. If you apply a sword in the right circumstance, you can immobilize someone real good.

With manacles, much like the sword, the trick is applying it in the first place, not how easy it is to recover from it.

Quote:
hazard stuff

That's my bad, I thought you were were referencing the DC 17 on poor manacles, not the DC 22 on simple manacles.

Quote:

No one said anything about legendary. If a level 20 creature happens to be untrained in Thievery, they are not getting out of those level 9 manacles by your interpretation of the rules. (For a hilarious example: you could manacle a Mu Spore and there is nothing it could do about it)

And I'm not really interested in talking about house rules (although I do admit I mentioned I would house rule it taking multiple checks); I'm looking at RAW here. To my reading, Escape is RAW the action to get out of manacles. The fact that your interpretation requires house rules to not be silly with high level creatures is a mark against it.

This strikes me as very unlikely, because even if you can't use Escape the manacles are still objects which can be destroyed via damage that overcomes their hardness. A Mu spore can bite through them just fine.

Actually, being able to apply your unarmed strike damage in hopes of overcoming the hardness of the chains seems like a darn sight better solution to anything we have floated so far. You'd need to figure out materials for different manacles, I suppose, but that means you'd need some actual strength investment before you could even overcome the 5 hardness of thin steel. At higher levels even your wizard is going to have weapon specialization which should help them get out eventually.

It works rules as written, lets you keep unremarkable characters chained up while making it progressively easier for the exceptional ones. (I said upfront that proficiency gating was a cludgy solution I wasn't happy with, I'm glad for something that works better.)

Quote:
Even if I accept that, being manacled to a nearby lamppost in combat is completely comparable.

It is not, because no creature has the ability to do it. The "Efficient Capture" ability specifies it can be slapped on arms or legs, not other objects. And even if there was, a character can just chop their way out eventually.

I mean, sure, you could attach an unconscious low strength character with no weapon to a lamp post, but you could also just kill them at that point. See comment about swords making you immobile just fine.

Quote:
) Breaking out of manacles is literally a super-common fantasy trope, just like being chained in a dungeon (arguably even more common; most "chained in a dungeon" stories end with the chained person escaping).

Yes, both are popular tropes, which is why I think a good solution needs to accommodate both. That is what I have been saying this whole time.

Quote:
3) The circumstance you keep bringing up is that manacles should be able to "chain someone to a wall" to "keep them prisoner". And then you are going to say "well except in that one specific circumstance"? Sorry, I thought that was the circumstance we have been talking about.

So what do you think is happening, in fiction, if the Escape action only lets you get out of manacles when you're attached to something and not when your legs are bound together? Because all I can think of is maybe you can use the anchor point to get better leverage, and that seems like a stretch to me. Because as written, that's the only time it would work.

Quote:

...Isn't the whole point of Pathfinder that the PCs are heroes? Above average? I mean, if you want to make real world comparisons, in the real world an untrained average person isn't going to have a roughly 50/50 shot of successfully repairing a broken suit of chainmail. Pathfinder has lots of places where realism is sacrificed for gameplay.

And again - the binary dichotomy makes no sense. "Manacles are no obstacle if you are trained in Thievery but insurmountable if you are not" makes no sense and goes completely against the rest of the game design. If manacles are an insufficient obstacle, they should have higher DC, not simply be invincible to 75% of characters and easily overcome by the other 25%.

Yes, and as I have continuously said, you need a solution that allows for PCs to do heroic stuff while everyday commoners can't save themselves from those things. PF2 largely succeeds at that, but the manacles have issues.

Quote:
P.S. Great debate! Hopefully none of this comes across as personal. I know I get a bit energetic when I'm engrossed in a discussion, and I want you to know that I really respect your point of view. You've been around here longer than I have, IIRC. :)

Right back at ya. Actually, your Mu Spore example helped me realize a better solution than what I was proposing, so I'm pretty happy about it. It looks like Flash Rebel came up with the same conclusion while I was spending an hour typing up this post though. >_<


Captain Morgan wrote:
MaxAstro wrote:


I don't think you should be able to more-or-less permanently immobilize a character with a level 0 item just because they don't happen to have Thievery trained.

Hold on, did you actually read manacles? Because they only immobilize you if you attach them to a stationary object like a wall. That's a preeeetty specific scenario. If you just slap manacles on the ankles it only gives a -15 foot penalty to speed. If you do the wrists it is a 20% chance of failure on manipulate actions. That's it.

Also, being captured and chained to a wall has no resemblance to a hazard and I'm flabbergasted that you drew the comparison. Plus the issue isn't REALLY players escaping manacles, which is a rare situation. The issue is that if you make it too easy to do so, suddenly the players (and whole world in general) has big problems taking anyone prisoner. Among other things, that cements "murder hobo" as the most rational approach to surrendering foes.

Quote:
I think FlashRebel is on to something here and we're all being hampered by the fact that we haven't seen the details of this monster so its hard to put into context how deadly it is and how deadly it probably should be. Makes it a bit more difficult to brainstorm solutions especially since nothing that I know of in the core rule book or lost omens uses this unique mechanic. Every time I re-examine the rules I go back to the note in Escape about using the Thievery DC for the creature trying to immobilize you but admittedly at this point that's just a shot in the dark.

If you don't mind a very minor Age of Ashes spoilers....

Efficient Capture (attack, manipulate, 3 action activity); Requirements The thug has manacles in hand and is next to a creature. Effect The thug attempts to bind the creature’s wrists or ankles with the manacles. The thug must succeed at an attack roll with a +18 modifier against the target’s AC.

The...

The link is the very creature I was mentioning, and it is only one of several of that organisation that has that ability. It's almost like a feat from a faction. I would have posted that before but I have never done a spoiler tag and didn't want to share something from the adventure in this forum. I started the thread to make sure I wasn't missing something, which it appears I am not. As it stands it seems that if I stick to the rules only thievery can remove them.

Horizon Hunters

FlashRebel wrote:

Also remember that without your thieves' tools on your person, no amount of Thievery training can help you pick a lock. Then if you want to take someone prisoner, taking away their tools is enough to make sure they don't escape manacles by RAW.

Since I feel you guys have done an extremely thorough job of breaking down some of the numbers involved just wanted to make a comment from a narrative standpoint. When I think back to most popular media with a few notable/unique exceptions the solution to manacles for the protagonist usually consists of smuggling in or somehow manufacturing some type of tool to help pick the lock or incapacitating/tricking a guard in order to obtain a key. Most of the other escapes usually involve hurting yourself or some other unique circumstances.

For those who support an alternate solution how do you imagine a one action escape working?


Captain Morgan wrote:

There's an activity called "Breaking the Chains" in another book, calling for either two DC 37 Athletics checks or two DC 33 thievery checks. But I think is more an abstracted exploration tactic than a midcombat action.

DC 37 certainly feels better than DC 17 for snapping iron chains on pure strength though.

Would you mind sharing what book that is?


Kennethray wrote:
Captain Morgan wrote:

There's an activity called "Breaking the Chains" in another book, calling for either two DC 37 Athletics checks or two DC 33 thievery checks. But I think is more an abstracted exploration tactic than a midcombat action.

DC 37 certainly feels better than DC 17 for snapping iron chains on pure strength though.

Would you mind sharing what book that is?

Sure, but I'll just message it to you because I don't feel like doing spoiler tags.


Squiggit wrote:
SuperBidi wrote:
Either you have normal manacles, and there's no way you can escape them besides having a legendary strength/dexterity.

This just seems super goofy to me. Legendary skill options include being able to steal the shirt off someone's back without them noticing you did it, hide in the middle of an open field in broad daylight, scare someone so effectively they drop dead, or honing your body to literally no longer require food or water to survive. Essentially being so good at something that your abilities seem supernatural.

Is slipping a pair of cheap handcuffs really comparable to those?

That's what I say. Either the DM chooses that the manacles are not one you can escape or he chooses the manacles are one you can escape. Why having numerical values when we speak of story driven choices? I mean, if the DM wants the characters to get to the police station, the manacles won't be one you can escape. If the DM wants the players to be able to escape, he'll tell them that the manacles are in poor condition (compared to their abilities, of course).

Only at legendary skill will you be able to, roughly, escape from any manacles.


SuperBidi wrote:
Either the DM chooses that the manacles are not one you can escape or he chooses the manacles are one you can escape.

If you want to micromanage the players to that extent I feel like you'd be better off just not playing Pathfinder and doing something freeform ... or writing a book.


As an additional piece of evidence, those enemies with Efficient Capture are left chained to a heavy table with their own average manacles. Given their +13 to acrobatics and thievery, and +17 athletics, it feels pretty clear to me that they can't just use the Escape action against the DC 27 thievery DC. Nor can they attempt that thievery check without any thieves' tools.

It would also implies they can't just unarmed strike their way out of them, though that could be for a variety of reasons. The manacles might have better hardness than the average thin steel item, or it might draw too much attention from their captors.


Squiggit wrote:
SuperBidi wrote:
Either the DM chooses that the manacles are not one you can escape or he chooses the manacles are one you can escape.
If you want to micromanage the players to that extent I feel like you'd be better off just not playing Pathfinder and doing something freeform ... or writing a book.

I think you haven't understood me. I'm speaking of classical adventures, like APs, where the story is already written.

Community / Forums / Pathfinder / Pathfinder Second Edition / Rules Discussion / Escape vs Manacles All Messageboards

Want to post a reply? Sign in.