Two questions


Rules Questions


Good evening.
I'll cut to the chase, DM says these things work this way, I swore at him, and now I need to prove I'm right.
1. Does Mithral kikko armour have an ACP of -, or an ACP of -1. He says that the masterwork quality of armour does not stack with Mithral.
2. Does firing an arrow upwards toward a flying opponent carry the same movement penalties as flying upwards, ie. every five feet up is equal to ten feet of movement/range?

Any help is appreciated.


Kikko armor has a penalty of -3 and mithral lowers the penalty by up to 3, so the penalty should be 0.

Quote:
weapons and armors fashioned from mithral are always masterwork items as well; the masterwork cost is included in the prices given below.

So it makes sense that the bonuses of masterwork have been added to mithral, since you can’t have non-masterwork mithral.

I’m not familiar with a rule penalizing for shooting upwards. Sounds like a house rule.


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1. The GM is right, the MW quality is already included for Mithral.

MITHRAL wrote:
Weapons and armors fashioned from mithral are always masterwork items as well; the masterwork cost is included in the prices given below.

Also as a general rule your ACP can't go below zero - penalties can't be reduced enough to give you a bonus.

2. I'm not 100% sure on this one, but it does make some sense that it would. You would definitely get less range from something firing it straight up (the maximum tange is the apex of the curve) than you would firing forward (where the maximum range is twice the distance of the apex of the curve). I don't actually know what the rules say on this though.

GENERAL NOTE ON BEHAVIOUR: The GM is running the game, so you should defer to his judgement anyway. Everyone gets rules wrong occasionally (there are too many rules for everyone to know them all), so when the GM doesn't know he'll make a snap decision so that the game can continue. This is good GMing. The actual rules often don't matter as much as a smooth and enjoyable game. If the rules are seriously hampering your abilities, and you know the rule well you can argue it, but if the GM pushes back don't continue the argument - once again the rules are less important than the game continuing.

I'm the rules guy in my group, and what I do (or try to do) is take notes when we get rules wrong so that I can bring them uo AFTER the game. If I can clear something up in 5 seconds I'll do it mid-game, but even if I 100% know the rule I'll leave it till later if explaining it will slow the game down.

And finally, if I had a player swear at me for a ruling I'd kick him out. Even if you were right about these rules, that kind of behaviour isn't appropriate at the table. I don't know you well enough to know how serious this post is, but swearing at the GM and then coming here to "prove him wrong" is a toxic mindset. You've elected the GM as the arbitor of rules, so now you have to let him arbitrate.


Mithral reduces armor check penalty by 3 and this is not stacked with masterwork to 4 it’s just 3

As far as arrows shooting upwards I’ve never heard of this but it sounds like a house rule, so by raw no.

Also to mr charisma, I’d oh really don’t know these people maybe they have been friends forever and swearing at each other is totally normal it’s not our place to judge their actions, just the rules.

Scarab Sages

I dont think theres a firing upward penalty, it makes sense there should be but i cant think of an official ruling though things do get apread arkund e.g. underwater combat having an additional penalty for every 5 feet of water for projectile weapons and negating thrown ones entirely.


MrCharisma wrote:

1. The GM is right, the MW quality is already included for Mithral.

MITHRAL wrote:
Weapons and armors fashioned from mithral are always masterwork items as well; the masterwork cost is included in the prices given below.

Also as a general rule your ACP can't go below zero - penalties can't be reduced enough to give you a bonus.

2. I'm not 100% sure on this one, but it does make some sense that it would. You would definitely get less range from something firing it straight up (the maximum tange is the apex of the curve) than you would firing forward (where the maximum range is twice the distance of the apex of the curve). I don't actually know what the rules say on this though.

GENERAL NOTE ON BEHAVIOUR: The GM is running the game, so you should defer to his judgement anyway. Everyone gets rules wrong occasionally (there are too many rules for everyone to know them all), so when the GM doesn't know he'll make a snap decision so that the game can continue. This is good GMing. The actual rules often don't matter as much as a smooth and enjoyable game. If the rules are seriously hampering your abilities, and you know the rule well you can argue it, but if the GM pushes back don't continue the argument - once again the rules are less important than the game continuing.

I'm the rules guy in my group, and what I do (or try to do) is take notes when we get rules wrong so that I can bring them uo AFTER the game. If I can clear something up in 5 seconds I'll do it mid-game, but even if I 100% know the rule I'll leave it till later if explaining it will slow the game down.

And finally, if I had a player swear at me for a ruling I'd kick him out. Even if you were right about these rules, that kind of behaviour isn't appropriate at the table. I don't know you well enough to know how serious this post is, but swearing at the GM and then coming here to "prove him wrong" is a toxic mindset. You've elected the GM as the arbitor of rules,...

I will start my reply with acknowledging your concerns.

You're completely right about the "toxic mindset", but the whole group of us don't pull our punches.
We're all mean to each other because we're all friends and we know we don't mean it, and we always back down when it starts going too far.
If the DM didn't want us to swear at him, he would tell us as such, and he wouldn't swear at us either.
All of us, including him, and stopped the game to bicker about something at one point or another.
If he weren't the DM, and just playing normally like the rest of us, we'd be at each other's throats just as much.
In my other groups, we don't play nearly as caustically, and aside from some tense words, play nice.

Now, I'll give you some context; the DM and I have known each other since high school, and we've butted heads for years, to the point that the group jokes that we're an old married couple.
Can't stand him, can't live without him, you know?
I've played with him since day one, and he trusts me enough to act as a Number One when it comes to rules lawyering.
For example, a player brings up a problem with the way the DM played something, DM counters with his understanding of the rules, player pushes back, DM asks me for a second opinion, and 90% of the time takes my input into making a decision.
When I do it, it starts as a disagreement, citing rules and the odd FAQ, grows into an argument, sometimes gets heated, we get back to playing after he tells me off, and at the end of the session I stay behind to help clean up, sit down with him and both dig into finding out what's what.

I hope this makes sense.

Now, as for the armour, you're sure that Mithral kikko armour has an ACP of -1?
If so, that sucks, but I'm wrong and let him know when we meet up next week.
As for the arrow part, he brought it up literally once in the middle of a boss fight where he was 75 feet away according to my trigonometry, when other boss fights in the air had them be further away from me with no problem.
Though as I'm writing this now, I think he was actually trying to stall me for a cinematic interruption of my mount companion coming to rescue me as the ground collapsed, and I absolutely owe him an apology.
I feel like a prick now, great.


as many of us have said kikko armour has a penalty of -3, mithral reduces the penalty by 3 so its zero, this is what mr charisma said, not sure why you think he said differently. masterwork does not need to stack with mithral to get the penaty to zero as kikko armour is only -3 to begin with just mithral alone will take it to zero.


Spermy The Cat wrote:
I will start my reply with acknowledging your concerns.

Look that all sounds totally fine to me. Sorry if I sounded too judgemental

I did say I don't know you well enough to know how serious it is, but maybe I should have made that more obvious (it was one line half way through the last paragraph), so I'll cop to that as well. Either way it sounds like you and your GM are fine, so you can disregard most of my post.

So in case I wasn't clear (or I was misunderstanding your post) the Mithral Kikko should have an ACP of zero.

The arrow distance one I'm still not sure. I feel like there might have been text somewhere that talks about it, but I wouldn't know where (and I very well could be remembering a different game). At the very least it would follow the rules for diagonals, so every 10 feet upward would add an extra 5 feet to the distance the arrow travelled. Beyond that maybe it was a house rule, but it seems like a reasonable one.

Don't be too hard on yourself, if you learn and appologise then no harm done. The real mark of intelligence is admitting when you're wrong, rather than dogmatically sticking to an argument that makes no sense. Don't treat yourself harsher than you treat others (although ... well maybe go a little easier on them as well =P )


vhok wrote:
as many of us have said kikko armour has a penalty of -3, mithral reduces the penalty by 3 so its zero, this is what mr charisma said, not sure why you think he said differently. masterwork does not need to stack with mithral to get the penaty to zero as kikko armour is only -3 to begin with just mithral alone will take it to zero.

I misread that as 4 with -3, my bad.

MrCharisma wrote:
Spermy The Cat wrote:
I will start my reply with acknowledging your concerns.

Look that all sounds totally fine to me. Sorry if I sounded too judgemental

I did say I don't know you well enough to know how serious it is, but maybe I should have made that more obvious (it was one line half way through the last paragraph), so I'll cop to that as well. Either way it sounds like you and your GM are fine, so you can disregard most of my post.

So in case I wasn't clear (or I was misunderstanding your post) the Mithral Kikko should have an ACP of zero.

The arrow distance one I'm still not sure. I feel like there might have been text somewhere that talks about it, but I wouldn't know where (and I very well could be remembering a different game). At the very least it would follow the rules for diagonals, so every 10 feet upward would add an extra 5 feet to the distance the arrow travelled. Beyond that maybe it was a house rule, but it seems like a reasonable one.

Don't be too hard on yourself, if you learn and appologise then no harm done. The real mark of intelligence is admitting when you're wrong, rather than dogmatically sticking to an argument that makes no sense. Don't treat yourself harsher than you treat others (although ... well maybe go a little easier on them as well =P )

No it's cool, it's good that you're concerned for a group's wellbeing.

In my last group, the DM actively bullied me, one player would get high and steal my car to get fast food, while two others developed a cocaine habit and tried to steal my laptop when I went to the bathroom, and I was the only consistently-present player for that tenure, and I was kicked out because I misunderstood a text and didn't see King Kong.
I miss that group, but nobody ever really thanked me for bringing snacks.

Back to my thing now, the boss was seventy feet away from me, and thirty up, so trig says that was seventy-five rounded.
What confused and enraged me was when the DM imposed a -2 on my attacks, claiming that fly rules indicated that my shots were traveling ten feet for every five actual, meaning that it was outside of my range increment.
I was completely caught off-guard with that comment, since for five years he has never pulled that on us in any campaign.
I wouldn't be surprised if he had forgotten about it when we meet up again.

As for the misunderstanding, he will likely demand I cite my sources, and hasn't always accepted forum answers without pages.


as far as the bow shooting goes its hard to cite a rule that doesn't exist. how do we show him something that doesn't exist??


vhok wrote:
as far as the bow shooting goes its hard to cite a rule that doesn't exist. how do we show him something that doesn't exist??

It's possible that he did it that time to delay the boss dying so something cool would happen.

We're in the last book of the campaign, so rocket tag is in full effect, with my character dealing routinely around four-hundred damage with a Smite Evil.
But if he does pull it again, I'm going to demand he explain what his metrics.

But I'm asking for a rules thing on ACP more in this instance, since it actually hamstringed a friend's character for a book and a half and caused her to really struggle to survive a prolonged encounter without the rest of us having to play interference.

I can and have tolerated him potentially screwing me over to make his plans work in the long run, or just to keep things on a level playing field, but making a mistake that screws a teammate over to near-death is unacceptable.
He has neutered entire builds I've spent months working on for a campaign, and aside from the anger, I've tolerated it.
But when he says "I don't care what it says, I don't think it works like that" to my friend whose entire character is entirely built around this gimmick, I will tell him off to his face once everyone's gone.


For the arrow, there isn't a RAW, and it's tough to get a solid answer because it doesn't exist. One thing to consider though, is that the range is how far something can travel.
Shooting straight up means that the arrow also has to come down the same distance so if the thing is 75 feet up I'd say it's not unreasonable for the GM to rule that you need a range of 150 feet.


Warped Savant wrote:

For the arrow, there isn't a RAW, and it's tough to get a solid answer because it doesn't exist. One thing to consider though, is that the range is how far something can travel.

Shooting straight up means that the arrow also has to come down the same distance so if the thing is 75 feet up I'd say it's not unreasonable for the GM to rule that you need a range of 150 feet.

how does 1 acp matter at whatever level your at when your almost done?? assuming level 15-17ish. i just can't picture it. what does that 1 acp do to her that made her so terrible??? the only thing i can think of off the top of my head is that you think you can't tumble to avoid aoo's if you have an ACP... but thats not true you just need to be wearing light armor which mithral medium armor does count as. so i really can't picture the problem???


The range was a rule somewhere in D&D 3.5 IIRC, and while as far as I know PF1 has no such rule - using D&D material to fill a gap is reasonable IMO.


Just to provide your rules quote for the ACP... The rules quote for this one comes directly from the statblock of the armor found in Ultimate Equipment, and the rules for Mithral Armor found in the Core Rulebook.

Quote:

Kikko Armor

Eastern Medium Armor
Cost 250 gp; Weight 25 lbs.
Armor Bonus +5; Max Dex Bonus +4; Armor Check Penalty -3
Arcane Spell Failure Chance 20%; Speed 20 ft./15 ft.

Kikko armor consists of a clever arrangement of hexagonal plates made from iron and sewn to cloth, granting the wearer greater flexibility than that provided by many armors that afford similar defense. The plates may be left exposed or hidden by a layer of cloth.

Quote:

Mithral

HP/inch 30; Hardness 15; Cost Weapons or armors fashioned from mithral are always masterwork items as well; the masterwork cost is included in the prices given below.; Weight 1/2 normal; Weight (Longer Wording) An item made from mithral weighs half as much as the same item made from other metals. In the case of weapons, this lighter weight does not change a weapon’s size category or the ease with which it can be wielded (whether it is light, one-handed, or two-handed).

Mithral is a very rare silvery, glistening metal that is lighter than steel but just as hard.

When worked like steel, it becomes a wonderful material from which to create armor, and is occasionally used for other items as well. Most mithral armors are one category lighter than normal for purposes of movement and other limitations. Heavy armors are treated as medium, and medium armors are treated as light, but light armors are still treated as light. This decrease does not apply to proficiency in wearing the armor. A character wearing mithral full plate must be proficient in wearing heavy armor to avoid adding the armor’s check penalty to all his attack rolls and skill checks that involve moving. Spell failure chances for armors and shields made from mithral are decreased by 10%, maximum Dexterity bonuses are increased by 2, and armor check penalties are decreased by 3 (to a minimum of 0).

Items not primarily of metal are not meaningfully affected by being partially made of mithral. (A longsword can be a mithral weapon, while a quarterstaff cannot.) Mithral weapons count as silver for the purpose of overcoming damage reduction.

A base ACP of -3 is reduced by 3 to 0, Mitral states "to a minimum of 0" so there is no ACP that remains.


i really feel like mithral should say "maximum of 0" not "minimum" doesn't that mean it would make a full plate have acp 0 since your increasing it from a negative number?


Spermy The Cat wrote:

No it's cool, it's good that you're concerned for a group's wellbeing.

In my last group, the DM actively bullied me, one player would get high and steal my car to get fast food, while two others developed a cocaine habit and tried to steal my laptop when I went to the bathroom, and I was kicked out because I misunderstood a text and didn't see King Kong. 

O_o

If I'm being honest, it sounds like being kicked out of that group is the best thing that could have happened to you.

Spermy The Cat wrote:

It's possible that he did it that time to delay the boss dying so something cool would happen.

We're in the last book of the campaign, so rocket tag is in full effect, with my character dealing routinely around four-hundred damage with a Smite Evil. 
But if he does pull it again, I'm going to demand he explain what his metrics.

Well it's possibke you've hit the nail on the head right there - he changed the encounter so that something more exciting would happen. This isn't a time to demand he show you his numbers, it's a time to sit back and let someone else take centre stage. You can talk to the GM about better ways of doing this (changing the monster's HP and AC is less obvious), and remember that this is happening b3cause your character is so hadass he broke the story.

If you see it happen kake a note of it and talk afterwards. The GM likely has a reason for it, and if you talk privately it doesn't spoil the emersion for the other players. I constantly have ti remind myself of this, it's so easy to see something incorrect and just blurt it out, but 99% of the time the mistake doesn't make a meaningful difference and stopping the game to talk about it does.

Regarding range, Pathfinder doesn't bother with complicated things like trigonometry, it's too hard for the average player. The way they do it is that every 2nd diagonal 5-foot-square costs you 2 squares of movement. So an enemy 70 feet away and 30 feet up would be 85 feet away in pathfinder terms (70+(30÷2)=85). If your group are used to doing the math then that's fine, as long as it's not holding the game up too much and it's consistent there's no problem.


vhok wrote:
i really feel like mithral should say "maximum of 0" not "minimum" doesn't that mean it would make a full plate have acp 0 since your increasing it from a negative number?

No because you are dealing with a penalty. A minimum penalty of 0 is less than a maximum penalty of -10 even though mathematically -10 is less than 0. It can seem convoluted but it is right. Due to context, minimum is the correct word choice for the rule.


Chell Raighn wrote:
vhok wrote:
i really feel like mithral should say "maximum of 0" not "minimum" doesn't that mean it would make a full plate have acp 0 since your increasing it from a negative number?
No because you are dealing with a penalty. A minimum penalty of 0 is less than a maximum penalty of -10 even though mathematically -10 is less than 0. It can seem convoluted but it is right. Due to context, minimum is the correct word choice for the rule.

i dunno math seems to disagree minimum of zero means you can't go below zero -10 is below zero. how does context redefine what mathematical terms mean?


vhok wrote:
Chell Raighn wrote:
vhok wrote:
i really feel like mithral should say "maximum of 0" not "minimum" doesn't that mean it would make a full plate have acp 0 since your increasing it from a negative number?
No because you are dealing with a penalty. A minimum penalty of 0 is less than a maximum penalty of -10 even though mathematically -10 is less than 0. It can seem convoluted but it is right. Due to context, minimum is the correct word choice for the rule.
i dunno math seems to disagree minimum of zero means you can't go below zero -10 is below zero. how does context redefine what mathematical terms mean?

When you minimize a penalty, do you mathematically increase the value from a negative towards zero or do you mathematically reduce the number deeper into the negatives? You increase the value towards zero. Like I said, it can seem convoluted, but the word choice is actually correct in this context.

Also following your issue with the term minimum used in this context, by the logic your using Mithral would actually make ACP worse when it decreases the penalty by 3 since to decrease is to subtract and -3 - 3 is -6... but it would then set all ACP to 0 by your reading of minimum 0... and we all know that is not how it works nor is that how it is intended to work.


The actual problem with minimum/maximum is the way the numbers are written.

If you take a penalty of 2 you should end up with a number 2 lower than usual. Therefore if you take a penalty of -2 you should end up with a number 2 higher than usual.

Paizo intentionally got the grammar wrong in order to keep the numbers consistent - any negative number written in the books is a penalty, while any positive number written is a bonus. This makes things slightly easier for the players (us) to get our heads around everything, but leads to weird grammar.

As a general rule: "minimizing" penalties/bonuses is taking them closer to zero, while "maximizing" penalties/bonuses is taking them further from zero.


i'm not contesting how its meant to work. just not sure if minimum if correct, i'll ask my dad later he was a math major and did finances for 30 years. just a thought i had i know how they mean it to work.


As others have said Kikko Mithral Armor has an ACP of 0. Because the basic armour has an ACP of -3 and for mithral "armor check penalties are decreased by 3".

Shooting upwards in theory works the same as it does in 2d. So 5ft for vertically upwards, and 5ft then 10ft for diagonal. I don't know many people who can do that kind of calculation in their head though. I just tend to calculate 2d and then estimate the rest but err on the side of being generous to the PCs rather than doing precise trigonometry.

In practice it would be simple to produce an online calculator that can tell you the exact distance if you enter the x, y and z distances.


Yossarian wrote:

As others have said Kikko Mithral Armor has an ACP of 0. Because the basic armour has an ACP of -3 and for mithral "armor check penalties are decreased by 3".

Shooting upwards in theory works the same as it does in 2d. So 5ft for vertically upwards, and 5ft then 10ft for diagonal. I don't know many people who can do that kind of calculation in their head though. I just tend to calculate 2d and then estimate the rest but err on the side of being generous to the PCs rather than doing precise trigonometry.

In practice it would be simple to produce an online calculator that can tell you the exact distance if you enter the x, y and z distances.

Would this mean that shooting someone on a tree while you're on the ground becomes algebra to figure out if you actually got range for it?


Corvo Spiritwind wrote:
Yossarian wrote:

As others have said Kikko Mithral Armor has an ACP of 0. Because the basic armour has an ACP of -3 and for mithral "armor check penalties are decreased by 3".

Shooting upwards in theory works the same as it does in 2d. So 5ft for vertically upwards, and 5ft then 10ft for diagonal. I don't know many people who can do that kind of calculation in their head though. I just tend to calculate 2d and then estimate the rest but err on the side of being generous to the PCs rather than doing precise trigonometry.

In practice it would be simple to produce an online calculator that can tell you the exact distance if you enter the x, y and z distances.

Would this mean that shooting someone on a tree while you're on the ground becomes algebra to figure out if you actually got range for it?

It could... or you could look at it as just another 2D plane... you shoot at a target 30 feet up and 60 feet away... it’s no different than shooting someone 60 feet out and 30 feet to your left... If you can figure out the distance to a diagonal target on the same plane as you easily enough then it’s really the same process for a target who is above you... you just need to know how high and then measure the same way you would for a fishbowl just replacing their left or right offset from you with their height.


Chell Raighn wrote:
Corvo Spiritwind wrote:
Yossarian wrote:

As others have said Kikko Mithral Armor has an ACP of 0. Because the basic armour has an ACP of -3 and for mithral "armor check penalties are decreased by 3".

Shooting upwards in theory works the same as it does in 2d. So 5ft for vertically upwards, and 5ft then 10ft for diagonal. I don't know many people who can do that kind of calculation in their head though. I just tend to calculate 2d and then estimate the rest but err on the side of being generous to the PCs rather than doing precise trigonometry.

In practice it would be simple to produce an online calculator that can tell you the exact distance if you enter the x, y and z distances.

Would this mean that shooting someone on a tree while you're on the ground becomes algebra to figure out if you actually got range for it?
It could... or you could look at it as just another 2D plane... you shoot at a target 30 feet up and 60 feet away... it’s no different than shooting someone 60 feet out and 30 feet to your left... If you can figure out the distance to a diagonal target on the same plane as you easily enough then it’s really the same process for a target who is above you... you just need to know how high and then measure the same way you would for a fishbowl just replacing their left or right offset from you with their height.

I came here to shoot goblins, not do math :C


You could use trigonometry to work it out, or just go with paizo's 5 foot squares method.

The equation is simple: Horizontal distance + (half Vertical distance) = total distance.

If they're closer to you horizontally than they are vertically (eg. 30 feet away but 70 feet up) then you just reverse that: Vertical distance +(half Horizontal distance) = total distance.

It's less accurate, but it's much quicker and it's the method paizo uses for measuring diagonal distances on dungeon maps.

EDIT: You have two distances, vertical and horizontal. You half the smaller of the two numbers.


One thing to keep in mind is that you cannot prove the GM wrong. The GM is the final arbiter of the rules. That is actually listed in the cure rule book under the section of The Most Important Rule. It is often referred to as rule 0.

You can of course present your arguments to the GM as to why you think it should be done the way you want it, but in the end it is the GM’s right to decide. If you disagree with the GM you can always leave the game, but other than that his decision is final. Even a Paizo cannot overrule him.


Mysterious Stranger wrote:
One thing to keep in mind is that you cannot prove the GM wrong. The GM is the final arbiter of the rules. That is actually listed in the cure rule book under the section of The Most Important Rule. It is often referred to as rule 0.

You can sometimes prove the GM wrong, if they are claiming that something not in the rules is in the rules or something in the rules is not in the rules. But you can't prove them wrong if they are just reading the same text in a drastically different way.

In this case, the interaction of Masterwork and Mithral could have been more clear, but it's clear enough that most of us are in agreement. In the case of shooting up, it's just a reasonable house rule based on the way an unrelated mechanic works.


Corvo Spiritwind wrote:
Yossarian wrote:

As others have said Kikko Mithral Armor has an ACP of 0. Because the basic armour has an ACP of -3 and for mithral "armor check penalties are decreased by 3".

Shooting upwards in theory works the same as it does in 2d. So 5ft for vertically upwards, and 5ft then 10ft for diagonal. I don't know many people who can do that kind of calculation in their head though. I just tend to calculate 2d and then estimate the rest but err on the side of being generous to the PCs rather than doing precise trigonometry.

In practice it would be simple to produce an online calculator that can tell you the exact distance if you enter the x, y and z distances.

Would this mean that shooting someone on a tree while you're on the ground becomes algebra to figure out if you actually got range for it?

What is this, GURPSfinder?


Mysterious Stranger wrote:
One thing to keep in mind is that you cannot prove the GM wrong.

You absolutely can. It's just that the GM is allowed to change the rule from what is in the books. If they weren't intentionally houseruling it, they were wrong. They can, of course, implement the houserule then and there if they feel that they want their game to play it that way, but that doesn't mean they weren't technically wrong to begin with.


Corvo Spiritwind wrote:
Would this mean that shooting someone on a tree while you're on the ground becomes algebra to figure out if you actually got range for it?

No that's why I just calculate 2d then guestimate the rest, as I said in my post. I very much doubt more than a rare few GMs have the inclination to break out a calculator to work this out mid-combat. Having said that, in my experience most people have trouble doing rough trigonometry in their heads and tend to struggle with estimating distances in 3 dimensions. So I guess you have to either be ok with having very approximate distances, or do maths.

It's always been one of the issues with Pathfinder for me personally: that the high level game so often introduces flying but, as a tabletop game, it's a struggle to operate in 3d. I don't think a rule of thumb for a simplified handling distances in 3d would be out of place in a rule book.

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