Comprehend languages offensively


Advice


Is it possible to cast Comprehend Languages on an enemy, then the following round cast Command on a creature who would not normally speak Common. If so, is this a viable strategy vs a Boss or too many actions? The party does consist of two members who could AOO the enemy if it were Commanded.


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Yes it is possible to cast Comprehend Languages on a foe. The target line of a spell is ‘One Creature’ it does not specify ally. (Remember though, they need to be hearing a bit of common when you cast it.)

As far as if it’s worth it, it depends. You are pretty well using your turn to cast a min LV2 spell which will (most likely) not have an immediate impact, in hopes to later cast a spell which may still not work. However, if you already have both spells, and you got nothing else to do, it’s workable with your other team members. But remember, you are hoping for a a bit of things going right, as the creature needs to fail it’s save against the command, and your allies need to be in position, and you are also giving up a turn minus an action to get it set up, and at least a LV1 and LV2 spell to do it.

It does get better though, depending on how many options are blocked for you and your party due to a language barrier. The main downside is the set up turn, as it does not provide a real benefit until your next turn comes, and against a boss this may be a bit too slow. If this is a gateway for ‘Demoralize’ checks from the party in general, or to enable other party members spells, ect, then the Comprehend Language turn becomes a boost to enable the options everyone may have spent character resources for, and can be utilized by everyone right away.


You can tell they missed some stuff on this spell.

The PF1 version was self only. The basically rolled Tounges and Share Language spells into the PF2 version of Comprehend, which is good. This functionality didn't need to be 3 spells.

But the other spells in PF1 had saving throws (but were noted as harmless).

If you were going to cast the spell in PF2 on an enemy I would add a saving throw. Since the enemy doesn't know what you're casting most likely, they would just try to resist it. And if they knew why they'd definitely try to resist it.

So I would let this work, but I'd add a saving throw.


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

I would do the same as Claxon. A will save most likely.


Ravingdork wrote:
I would do the same as Claxon. A will save most likely.

Instead of a save, I'd just change the target from creature to willing creature.

Claxon wrote:
Since the enemy doesn't know what you're casting most likely, they would just try to resist it. And if they knew why they'd definitely try to resist it.

This is why I'd change it to willing. "Some spells restrict you to willing targets. A player can declare their character a willing or unwilling target at any time, regardless of turn order or their character’s condition (such as when a character is paralyzed, unconscious, or even dead)." So it wouldn't matter if they know about it or not. Heck, you can even be DEAD and opt to be unwilling.


Yeah, but if you made it willing creatures only, then the OP's idea just doesn't work at all because no creature in combat is going to choose to be a willing recipient of a spell it can't identify.

Giving a save at least means it has potential to work, though the enemy gets a chance to save against this spell and whatever else might come next whether that have a save or a Dc the players roll against.


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Claxon wrote:
Yeah, but if you made it willing creatures only, then the OP's idea just doesn't work at all because no creature in combat is going to choose to be a willing recipient of a spell it can't identify.

Yep, that's my point.

Claxon wrote:
Giving a save at least means it has potential to work, though the enemy gets a chance to save against this spell and whatever else might come next whether that have a save or a Dc the players roll against.

I was commenting on your save houserule suggestion. If I was going to houserule, I wouldn't allow it to happen unless they used in on a willing target and then attack it. This is of course if I was going to houserule things: IMO as it stands it's usable without a save and I doubt I'd change it as it's not that bothersome to me. If anything, I'd add it to the threads asking rules questions asking if 'harmless' spells should get saves or should require willing targets. If they ended up changing it'd be cool and if not it's not that big a deal to me: using a second level spell JUST to allow another spell to be attempted [they still get the normal save] doesn't seem overpowered or out of line. Unintended or not, it doesn't seem an issue.


So basically currently RAW I can cast it on enemy without issue, the question is whether it's worth it to spend two rounds on this thing hmm


Atalius wrote:
So basically currently RAW I can cast it on enemy without issue, the question is whether it's worth it to spend two rounds on this thing hmm

IMO,it's not worth it. You could use fear instead [on every list] and it's just a single cast/spell for a comparable effect.


Atalius wrote:
So basically currently RAW I can cast it on enemy without issue, the question is whether it's worth it to spend two rounds on this thing hmm

Yeah, but I wouldn't expect your GM to hold to that.

It honestly seems like something that was overlooked, that it should have either been given a save or only affect willing targets.

graystone wrote:
I was commenting on your save houserule suggestion.

I don't consider it to be a house rule, I would consider this a fix to a mistake until an official response is given (if ever).


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Claxon wrote:


Yeah, but I wouldn't expect your GM to hold to that.

I don't see why they wouldn't. There's nothing really remarkable about this combo. Kinda neat I guess.


If pushed into a corner, given how it seems none of your other party members benefits from a creature understanding Common, I would say no, unless you have nothing else you can do. One side note, it may improve slightly if it opens up other options you have that rely on linguistics.

I also do agree the target line ‘One creature’ Is most likely an oversight, and it should say something along the lines of ‘One Willing Humanoid Creature’ (as it stands, it could be used on animals, and technically mindless creatures, as Comprehend does not have the ‘Mental’ trait). But for now, at least from my interpretation as written in the book, yeah it can be used in that way.


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As a GM I'd have no issue with a player using this as a springboard for themselves or the party to use language dependent spells or ability's. It's just a cool way to make the most of your abilities in certain situations. It gives me a cool idea for a redemption Champion so he can try to redeem enemies that can't understand him. (Though unless the animal or creature had higher int I wouldn't allow it to effect them as even though they technically would now "understand" the words you were speaking they still wouldn't have the intelligence to follow what you were saying.


Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber

I have no idea why one would ban this interaction. Spending a whole round of setup for very little reward...

And it's very obvious to me why comprehend languages doesn't require a willing target:

So that you can cast it on the stranger you just ran into, so they can understand you.


I mean, this is just obviously not worth it? Instead of spending a 2nd level spell so that your 1st level spell comes online, you should probably just hit the enemy with a real 2nd level spell.

Hitting someone with comprehend language might still be useful if you want to parley though.


Henro wrote:
Hitting someone with comprehend language might still be useful if you want to parley though.

Unless you heighten it to 3rd or 4th, they can't speak to you so it's quite limited for parley unless you cast it twice.

Sovereign Court

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Command seems like a so-so spell.

I think Comprehend Languages not allowing a saving throw is a feature, not a bug. It's never a full solution on its own, it just opens the door to trying to communicate with someone. Whatever you're going to do after opening the lines of communication is still going to require an actual check.

And it solves one of the classic annoyances of share language like spells: the "get the natives to let you cast a spell on them" dance.


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Yeah, I wouldn't use this combo soley for the sake of this combo. But I would use Comprehend Langues if I thought I could descalate things with an opponent by letting them understand me. And if that doesn't work, you can always use Command at that point.

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