On fireballing chairs


Rules Discussion

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Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

I never thought of thinking about the interact action route, but I'd really love to see this codified, because the whole items, hit points and hardness thing is kind of a mess for things that don't and really shouldn't have AC as much as just a DC for different kinds of interactions, force open, move, destroy, etc. Most of that really should be athletics checks rather than attacks and using the right tools should be able to make it easier.

Does the GMG address any of this? For folks who already have it?


Pathfinder Maps, Pawns Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber
Unicore wrote:

I never thought of thinking about the interact action route, but I'd really love to see this codified, because the whole items, hit points and hardness thing is kind of a mess for things that don't and really shouldn't have AC as much as just a DC for different kinds of interactions, force open, move, destroy, etc. Most of that really should be athletics checks rather than attacks and using the right tools should be able to make it easier.

Does the GMG address any of this? For folks who already have it?

The GMG is amazing in terms of advice it gives to GMs.

It doesn't really clarify any rules though. Like, at all. (EDIT: At least not that I've seen so far.)


beowulf99 wrote:
As to the rest, as in so many other instances, the answer is up to a given gm.

As soon as we get to this point, we've stepped outside the rules. That's fine, but we're talking about different things at that point.

beowulf99 wrote:
You call this a house rule. I call this gming.

Both are making up rules that don't exist in the current rules set: what label you put on it doesn't really matter as the result is the same.

beowulf99 wrote:
GM adjudication is a core mechanic of

Sure for rules that say so: for things that have specific rules in place, doing the opposite [like Strike on an object] isn't that, it's altering the rules in place. It's not defining a gray area but changing the rules to what you want them to be and that's clearly not debating the existing ones.


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graystone wrote:
beowulf99 wrote:
As to the rest, as in so many other instances, the answer is up to a given gm.

As soon as we get to this point, we've stepped outside the rules. That's fine, but we're talking about different things at that point.

beowulf99 wrote:
You call this a house rule. I call this gming.

Both are making up rules that don't exist in the current rules set: what label you put on it doesn't really matter as the result is the same.

beowulf99 wrote:
GM adjudication is a core mechanic of
Sure for rules that say so: for things that have specific rules in place, doing the opposite [like Strike on an object] isn't that, it's altering the rules in place. It's not defining a gray area but changing the rules to what you want them to be and that's clearly not debating the existing ones.

I disagree. I circumstances where the rules aren't clear you apply the following:

CRB PG 491 "Adjudicating the Rules" wrote:

As the GM, you are responsible for solving any rules disputes. Remember that keeping your game moving is more important than being 100% correct. Looking up rules at the table can slow the game down, so in many cases it’s better to make your best guess rather than scour the book for the exact rule. (It can be instructive to look those rules up during a break or after the session, though!)

To make calls on the fly, use the following guidelines, which are the same principles the game rules are based on. You might want to keep printouts of these guidelines and the DC guidelines (page 503) for quick reference.
If you don’t know how long a quick task takes, go with 1 action, or 2 actions if a character shouldn’t be able to perform it three times per round.
If you’re not sure what action a task uses, look for the most similar basic action.
If you don’t find one, make up an undefined action (page XXX) adding any necessary traits (usually attack, concentrate, manipulate, or move).

When two sides are opposed, have one roll against the other’s DC. Don’t have both sides roll (initiative is the exception to this rule). The character who rolls is usually the one acting (except in the case of saving throws).
If an effect raises or lowers chances of success, grant a +1 circumstance bonus or a –1 circumstance penalty.If you’re not sure how difficult a significant challenge should be, use the DC for the party’s level.
If you’re making up an effect, creatures should be incapacitated or killed on only a critical success (or for a saving throw, on a critical failure).
If you don’t know what check to use, pick the most appropriate skill. If no other skill applies to a check to Recall Knowledge, use an appropriate Lore skill (usually at an untrained proficiency rank).
Use the characters’ daily preparations as the time to reset anything that lasts roughly a day.When a character accomplishes something noteworthy that doesn’t have rules for XP, award them XP for an accomplishment (10 to 30 XP, as described on page 507).
When the PCs fail at a task, look for a way they might fail forward, meaning the story moves forward with a negative consequence rather than the failure halting progress entirely.

Bold for emphasis. This clearly falls within the purview of the Rules forum. If a character asks, "what does my fireball do to this chair?" Or, "how do I bash this door down with my axe, you know, like Johnny from the Shining?", simply telling them to cast an acid splash is not a respectable answer. Any GM worth their dice will be able to provide that answer, using the rules to the best of their ability, probably by finding the closest related rule. In this case, a Strike.

Any given GM will have their own answer as to how to run a situation like the ones mentioned up thread. Blindly stating that you can't target a door with a strike because strike doesnt say it can hit an object is ignoring this section entirely.


PossibleCabbage wrote:
Ravingdork wrote:

I've seen people argue that attacking objects are not Strike actions, but rather Interact actions.

Crazy world.

Well, I mean is chopping an onion a strike or an interact action? What about splitting logs for firewood?

If putting a log on a stump and hitting it with an axe is an interact action, why wouldn't "hitting a door that's not going anywhere" with an axe be one?

That sounds more like a crafting based down time activity. Of course, you couldn't do this at all without the craft fire wood formula, and it would take you 4 days minimum.

Joking aside, interact does make more sense than attacking since failure isn't really possible in those examples. However, I wouldn't expect to do either in encounter mode.


ErichAD wrote:
PossibleCabbage wrote:
Ravingdork wrote:

I've seen people argue that attacking objects are not Strike actions, but rather Interact actions.

Crazy world.

Well, I mean is chopping an onion a strike or an interact action? What about splitting logs for firewood?

If putting a log on a stump and hitting it with an axe is an interact action, why wouldn't "hitting a door that's not going anywhere" with an axe be one?

That sounds more like a crafting based down time activity. Of course, you couldn't do this at all without the craft fire wood formula, and it would take you 4 days minimum.

Joking aside, interact does make more sense than attacking since failure isn't really possible in those examples. However, I wouldn't expect to do either in encounter mode.

If you were to do so though, there would have to be a risk of failure imho, as the stakes are higher. Hence using a level or basic DC as a stand in for an AC. That is the way I'd run it anyway. Your mileage may vary.


beowulf99 wrote:
I disagree.

I'll disagree with your disagreement...

"If you’re not sure what action a task uses, look for the most similar basic action.": This is for making up your own tasks: IE, if the DM wants yo make a 'smash' action, they could look at strike and use it as a basis for that new action, switching the target to object. The thing is, we haven't been talking about that, but altering the strike action. Even if we were, it's not really a rule but suggestion on making your own houserule.

"If you don’t find one, make up an undefined action (page XXX) adding any necessary traits (usually attack, concentrate, manipulate, or move)." This too relates to the above, in that it's creating a new rule which is the definition of a house rule. It's suggestions for making house rules... The section even points out "keeping your game moving is more important than being 100% correct", so it's a section for 'quick and dirty' "calls on the fly" and not for every day rulings.

Look, I have no issue with houserules and advising non-rule solutions to issues: I just call them as I see them, as non-rule solutions. Heck, I even AGREE with houseruling strike being able to target objects if the DM want to figure out the AC/saves of every object we want to break but since that can be a lot of work, it's up to them. For myself, if I'm sitting down at a table that's playing the rules as is, any rule that DM adds isn't part of that but something that should be talked about at the start of the game with other rules not in the game [ie houserules]. If it was 'in the rules', I'd know about it before I sat down at the table just by reading the rules.


Sure, but that is an unrealistic expectation. Adjudicating the Rules is there for unforeseen circumstances. As we all know, players never stick to the railroad tracks. Sometimes they follow the clear path tou lay in front of them. Sometimes they chop down a tree and use it as a bridge up to the fortified tree fort the AP intends you to climb or infiltrate. A GM needs to be able to adapt to that circumstance.

Can you say that before this thread you honestly thought about how to rule on a fireball and its damage toward a specific chair? This falls clearly in the realm of adjudication.


These types of arguments always seem so novel to me. From playing 1st where most rules were made up for given circumstances. It's kind of fascinating that we are to the point were we can say well the rules say you can do this but they intended the rules to do this I think or we can use the dm's house rules etc.


It's very simple. Just use an Animate Object ritual to turn the chair into a creature, and then you can fireball it to your heart's content.


beowulf99 wrote:
Can you say that before this thread you honestly thought about how to rule on a fireball and its damage toward a specific chair? This falls clearly in the realm of adjudication.

Not really as I'd looked at the rules for damaging object very early in the game as I was frustrated with breaking pick in the playtest to get through doors so I wanted to know how to use physical force if need be. As such, it was clear to me only a few ways allowed direct damage to objects: those targeting them. I've had DM houserule attacking objects without those ways but we acknowledged that we were houseruling it.

beowulf99 wrote:
Adjudicating the Rules is there for unforeseen circumstances.

Sure FOR THE FIRST TIME. Quibble over it being a 'rule' for the first time but once you make a choice to alter the rules for that situation from now on in your game, I can't see a way not to call it a houserule. After all if I go to another table, I can't expect that to be in place or even if it is, that it'll work the same way: you're making a rule from whole cloth [houserule] and not picking between 2 options in a vaguely worded rule [table variance like the old 'is thrown any weapon thrown or the thrown group'].

Matthew Downie wrote:
It's very simple. Just use an Animate Object ritual to turn the chair into a creature, and then you can fireball it to your heart's content.

I was thinking the same thing before I went to bed. ;)

RPG Superstar 2014 Top 32

Page 29 in the new GMG under the section "saying 'yes, but'" has an example of "But what about a player who wants to use a fire spell to deliberately ignite a barrel of oil? Surely that should have some effect!" It then talks about requiring the player to make a "directed attack", but not sure if that is a rules term.

So it appears that things like using fire spells on objects are intentionally vague, and obviously the people at paizo are aware things like this may have variance, so I doubt any specific rules will be forthcoming.


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

So there's plenty of rules on damaging and breaking objects. Hardness, hit points, broken threshold, special materials, walls, special cases, etc. in the Core Rulebook.

However, there appear to be next to no rules on ATTACKING objects with weapons or spells (excepting specific cases, such as a spell that only targets objects). There are even a few rules that seem to actively prevent it (such as the Strike rules only allowing for the targeting of creatures).

Therefore, I'm inclined to just say a player who spends the actions can automatically deal normal damage to an unattended object equivalent to their chosen attack form. For example, a longsword would deal 1d8 + other mods, a fireball would deal fireball damage; no attack roll or save in most circumstances (I might ask for an attack roll to, say, shoot an object moving along a conveyor belt or something). Some things might be so simple that I would only ask that an appropriate amount of actions be spent, perhaps with a skill check, such as when using Force Open. In the case of an attack with a weapon, I would not consider it a Strike, but an Interact action with the Manipulate trait.

For something to be unintentionally destroyed, it would have to further the plot. For example, the mud slide damages the bridge creating an encounter in which you need to rescue people from the failing bridge. Otherwise, it would need to be something extremely susceptible to the attack in question. A careless fireball might set important papers on a desk on fire, for example--however, I would not punish the players with something like this if I had failed to inform them that there were important papers at risk, only if the player was genuinely careless with his actions (that would be my fault, not theirs, and it's not the GM's place to punish players in any event).

Anyways, until we get further clarification on how all of it is supposed to work, that's just my two cents that I plan on implementing in my games.


I still like the chance of the whole "Despite the meteor striking Quizno's the pepper bar was mysteriously unharmed" thing without there being anything deep behind it (it's just funny.) Though that seems like a thing we can just narrate. If a blast area spell in an area is not intended to destroy one thing specifically, GM fiating that "the entire dining area is in tatters, but the upholstered bench on the east wall is oddly undamaged" seems fine. Particularly if you wanted to draw the party's attention to that area.


Someone put this to a developer. Let's make it a hotseat question.


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graystone wrote:
Take Produce Flame: it specifically only targets creatures. Try as you might, you can't hit an object with it.

The Gamemastery Guide explicitly states on page 29:

GMG p29 wrote:

Require a directed attack against an object, then

allow foes to attempt saving throws against the
object’s effect at a DC you choose. Example: cast a
produce flame spell at a barrel of explosives."

This section is not talking about house rules, but about how the GM should allow the players to do creative things in the game:

GMG p29 wrote:

It’s usually better

to say “yes” than “no,” within reason. For example,
imagine a player wants to do something borderline
nonsensical like grabbing a spider and squeezing it to
force it to use its web attack. But what about a player
who wants to use a fire spell to deliberately ignite a barrel
of oil? Surely that should have some effect!

Pathfinder 2e is very clearly not designed with the intention of restricting the players from acting creatively during combat or exploration. While simply allowing a fireball to ignite an entire room has significant gameplay balance implications, something that does not like letting players cast produce flame at a barrel of oil or at a campfire is clearly intended to work within the rules.


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

People sure talk like that's not a thing. This is also supported by the produce flame spell text that clearly states it targets creatures, and by the target rules which say targeting inappropriate targets causes the spell to fail.


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SlightlyCrazy wrote:
letting players cast produce flame at a barrel of oil or at a campfire is clearly intended to work within the rules.

I don't know what was intended, but if it already worked within the rules, they wouldn't have had to put a special section in the GMG recommending allowing it...


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Henro wrote:
Compared to the 3.5 tradition, the rules are no longer an attempt to simulate the in-world physics.

Biggest insight in this thread. And why it's divisive.

For many this is a huge improvement since the rules are there to help us tell the stories we want to tell, with the narrative taking precedence over the mechanics. This is the overall trend RPGs are going in, and one I personally love. Along with the majority of gamers it appears (anecdotally). It's favoured by the method actors, story tellers and fans of drama.

But others are looking for a simulator where the rules describe everything that can happen. Rules come first, and the story is an outcome. This is how d20 started, and could be labelled 'old school'. Gygaxian. It's favoured by the power gamers, tacticians and rules lawyers.

I notice there's a small group of the same people posting in every thread complaining about this trend in different forms. However that ship has sailed to fairer, less rules-heavy shores. Complaining about the lack of specific rules for fireballing chairs is futile given most of us think that's a good thing.


To me, it's similar to looking at crafting rules and drawing the conclusion that nobody in-universe ever makes planks because it would take too much time.

The most important thing as as a GM on this issue is clarity though. A fireball cast inside of a building would cause collateral damage, but the players wouldn't risk destroying important quest items in most cases. In situations where a stray spell could cause a serious problem, I make sure the players are aware of this ("the library around you is full of books and scrolls, and even a small flame may set the stacks on fire").


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Yossarian wrote:

Biggest insight in this thread. And why it's divisive.

For many this is a huge improvement since the rules are there to help us tell the stories we want to tell, with the narrative taking precedence over the mechanics. This is the overall trend RPGs are going in, and one I personally love. Along with the majority of gamers it appears (anecdotally). It's favoured by the method actors, story tellers and fans of drama.

But others are looking for a simulator where the rules describe everything that can happen. Rules come first, and the story is an outcome. This is how d20 started, and could be labelled 'old school'. Gygaxian. It's favoured by the power gamers, tacticians and rules lawyers.

I notice there's a small group of the same people posting in every thread complaining about this trend in different forms. However that ship has sailed to fairer, less rules-heavy shores. Complaining about the lack of specific rules for fireballing chairs is futile given most of us think that's a good thing.

It sure works both ways because as different as we are when it comes to liking things as different we are perceiving things. So are the rules limiting my roleplay or are they in place to keep my roleplay in check (e.g. especially new players can often be prone to try taking a multitude of actions in a single round)? Has the system been streamlined and polished to make it clearer and more accessible for GM's and players alike or it this a case of "this ruleset has clearly been dumbed down for the masses"? etc.

I am not saying the either of the above is true or not true, however my position on the issue of "fireballing chairs" is much more clear:

If in any game that is governed by rules (so not just TTRPG's) any specific incident (in this case attacking objects) is happening on a regular basis (or just often enough) this case(s) should be covered by a general rule in order to minimize the need for individual table or houserules (or GM rulings).


Yossarian wrote:
...could be labelled 'old school'. Gygaxian.

Gygax's own rules set didn't try to simulate the physics of the world with rules. It barely even had rules compared to actual simulation-style game systems.

The first time that D&D tried to simulate the physics of the world with rules was 3rd edition. It's hardly "old school" nor "Gygaxian"

Pretty sure "Gygaxian" style is the "you don't even need any rules, because you are the rules" kind of thing.


Ubertron_X wrote:

If in any game that is governed by rules any specific incident is happening on a regular basis this case(s) should be covered by a general rule in order to minimize the need for individual table or houserules (or GM rulings).

Not necessarily, it depends which philosophy you prefer. Which is my point.

More rules only make for a better game if you are running a simulation. Otherwise they just junk up and slow down gameplay.

Arguing for more simulation emphasis in 2nd edition rules is a lost cause imho. Paizo and most of the ttrpg world are heading towards increased flexibility, more homebrewing and houseruling, and an increasing emphasis on narrative over simulation. I'm very happy about this personally, I think it's a great design decision as well as making the game more accessible to more players who will have more fun with it as a result. Even if it means the simulationists don't get their hyper-detailed rules about burning furniture.


thenobledrake wrote:
Yossarian wrote:
...could be labelled 'old school'. Gygaxian.

Gygax's own rules set didn't try to simulate the physics of the world with rules. It barely even had rules compared to actual simulation-style game systems.

The first time that D&D tried to simulate the physics of the world with rules was 3rd edition. It's hardly "old school" nor "Gygaxian"

Pretty sure "Gygaxian" style is the "you don't even need any rules, because you are the rules" kind of thing.

Sort of, but that changed very fast as books came out. I played a lot starting with AD&D 1st edition, it felt very simulation with books like Wilderness Survival Guide (see the many tables on lighting campfires!). The main Gygaxian element I'm referring to is the DNA being tabletop wargames, and the complete lack of focus on narrative. But yes, 3rd edition went next level in terms of simulation.


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Yossarian wrote:

Not necessarily, it depends which philosophy you prefer. Which is my point.

More rules only make for a better game if you are running a simulation. Otherwise they just junk up and slow down gameplay.

Astonishingly enough I found the exact opposite to be true. If there is no rule and the GM has therefore to come up with something this is severely slowing down gameplay.

If there is a rule how to attack chairs and both the GM and I are aware of this rule the issue is settled most quickly, e.g. make a strike, everything apart from a natural 1 is a regular hit, roll damage x versus hardness y and hit points z. If z equals zero the object is destroyed.

If however there is no rule and every single time my turn comes up and I intend to destroy or break an object and the GM has to decide how this might work I find this most time consuming and also quite annoying.

However I think a lot of this also comes down to how you are used to play. Boldly stating your course of action giving little to no consideration to the checks and rulings involved until the GM actually calls for those versus carefully considering the probabilities or improbabilities of any immediate activities upfront and building your course of action and related narrative from there.


Ubertron_X wrote:


Astonishingly enough I found the exact opposite to be true. If there is no rule and the GM has therefore to come up with something this is severely slowing down gameplay.

Again, only if you are a simulation-style gamer. Which you and your group clearly are. The group starts to worry about accurately simulating a burning chair and doing so consistently with the rest of the simulation they are running. You end up in a huge detailed rules conversation.

If on the other hand the group is more interested in the story, then the opposite is true. Obscure rules about furniture burning just add crunch without improving narrative, so they are defacto bad. The detailed rules conversation is boring, ridiculous and immersion breaking. What matters to them is: 'does burning the chair matter as part of the story?' If yes, spend time on it. If not, don't. How it matters to the story determines what rules are used.

For example:

If the chair is not important then the GM can go 'sure, the chair is burned and destroyed'.

If the chair is important and success / failure to destroy it matters, then the GM can go 'ok, make a magic proficiency check, against DC 25'.

Do what works for the story. Since the needs of the story will be different for each group, how the GM handles it can differ.

I get the distinct impression you don't understand this point, or at least can't see it. It's clear from your posts. But that's cliché for simulation-oriented gamers, so you are in good company. It's a very different mindset to be narrative-first. If you refuse to step out of the 'I need rules to describe how everything works in an objective way' then you'll by definition not grok the narrative style. It took me a lot of effort to understand it myself originally, coming from the oldschool d20 background it was a new way of thinking and playing for me. The hardest thing about switching mindset is being willing to let go of the idea that 'there has to be an unambiguous rule for that specific thing'.

Anyway, I'm glad Paizo is writing 2nd edition and not you ;) As a fan of increased narrative emphasis in role playing games, I think they're really going in a good direction.


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Yossarian wrote:

If on the other hand the group is more interested in the story, then the opposite is true. Obscure rules about furniture burning just add crunch without improving narrative, so they are defacto bad. The detailed rules conversation is boring, ridiculous and immersion breaking. What matters to them is: 'does burning the chair matter as part of the story?' If yes, spend time on it. If not, don't. How it matters to the story determines what rules are used.

For example:

If the chair is not important then the GM can go 'sure, the chair is burned and destroyed'.

If the chair is important and success / failure to destroy it matters, then the GM can go 'ok, make a magic proficiency check, against DC 25'.

Do what works for the story. Since the needs of the story will be different for each group, how the GM handles it can differ.

I think that you misunderstood me, at least partially.

If an object is not important in the story I am entirely not interested in it and I usually don't mind if there are any rulings about it or if the GM has to make verything up on the fly. I would normally not even think about asking the GM about it.

If however an object is important in the story I want to know beforehand how I can interact with it before I actually interact with it. And this knowledge has to be consistent for all different types of objects I might encounter as part of the story.

So I don't mind the table, chair or rug in the room that happens to be in the radius of the fireball aimed at a wooden door that is barring my parties progress, however I do mind how the fireball is interacting with the door and if he will be able to "solve our problem" or not.

What can't be however is that one day I can interact with the object by rolling even and the other day I can interact with the object by rolling odd just because the GM did not mind what he was doing the other day. That is not how large parts of this game work, e.g. there are very detailed rules how to strike an enemy.


Ubertron_X wrote:


I think that you misunderstood me, at least partially.

If however an object is important in the story I want to know beforehand how I can interact with it before I actually interact with it. And this knowledge has to be consistent for all different types of objects I might encounter as part of the story.

I understood you. You don't understand me however..

From a simulation point of view yes: you want to be able to predict with the same rules exactly how the chair interaction will go. Because a chair is always a chair.

Tactician players like precise physics-type rules so they can plan in detail ahead of time, and then execute their plan. As Robin Laws put it: 'an anti climax is a good thing'... because the fight went exactly as they predicted. But for storytellers this is a bad thing, and very boring.

So from a narrative point of view you don't expect this. The narrative view says 'deal with things in terms of their importance to the story'. So if on one day the chair is not important, it gets a different treatment than if it is important.

It's a really different way to play :)

Ubertron_X wrote:


What can't be however is that one day I can interact with the object by rolling even and the other day I can interact with the object by rolling odd

But it can be. And it is. Because the game mechanics are chosen reflect the gameplay, and we expect the game play to be different.

Like I said before, to understand this style you have to let go of the idea that the game is a simulation of a physical world. Which is why i said Henro's original point, that 2e is moving away from the 3.5 physics simulator' was so insightful.

If you keep trying to make the game a physics simulator you'll be disappointed. It's not that: it's an adventure story simulator. It turns out that in adventure stories, what happens when you fireball a chair depends very much on what that means for the story.


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Yossarian wrote:

As Robin Laws put it: 'an anti climax is a good thing'... because the fight went exactly as they predicted. But for storytellers this is a bad thing, and very boring.

So from a narrative point of view you don't expect this. The narrative view says 'deal with things in terms of their importance to the story'. So if on one day the chair is not important, it gets a different treatment than if it is important.

It's a really different way to play :)

It's not that: it's an adventure story simulator. It turns out that in adventure stories, what happens when you fireball a chair depends very much on what that means for the story.

The difference being that without governing rules it may or may not be my story that is being told, told as I want it to be told or perhaps not.

This is every NPC that tragically dies, despite your groups cleric has enough healing power to heal the world scar, this is every villain that escapes despite you have just hit him with every single "you can not escape" ability, spell and item available, this is the BBEG that you know that you will have an "epic" fight against because you just so know that you can't vanquish him with a cheesy one-liner and single strike/spell like they do in some really cool movies.

I get your point about emphasis on the story, however in my experience and without guiding rules I just end up in the story's passengers seat a tad too often and no story is more important than the player's.


Ubertron_X wrote:

This is every NPC that tragically dies, despite your groups cleric has enough healing power to heal the world scar, this is every villain that escapes despite you have just hit him with every single "you can not escape" ability, spell and item available, this is the BBEG that you know that you will have an "epic" fight against because you just know that you can't vanquish him with a cheesy one-liner and single strike/spell like they do in some really cool movies.

The situation you describe is when the GM and players are trying to tell different stories: when the GM and players are working against each other. Certainly in those situations there's a problem. Narrative gaming relies strongly on positive collaboration and a GM that wants the PCs to be heros. If the GM is being an ass and not letting the smart players capture the NPC, then it's probably because the GM is trying to railroad the players (bad) and shut down their ideas because they do not agree with his (also bad).

You're describing bad GMing in other words, not narrative gaming.

Ubertron_X wrote:

I get your point about emphasis on the story, however in my experience and without guiding rules I just end up in the story's passengers seat a tad too often and no story is more important than the player's.

Then you've had bad experiences. If you feel like 'the story's passenger' then the GM is not running the game right. That has little to do with rules and mostly to do with bad GMing.


Something that occurred to me while halfway between dreaming and waking while napping on the couch and this thread's topic zipped through my brain:

If there were explicit rules for how a fireball spell affected chairs in a room, they'd probably set a precedent that makes spells even less effective against objects than the current case of not being able to target them without GM intervention.

Because the rules would presumably make sure that chucking a fireball into a lair of bad guys didn't destroy the decor, melt your treasure, and potentially cause structural collapse on top of doing damage to your enemies, and that would mean cutting back on the effects of spells on objects in a major way.


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Yossarian wrote:

The situation you describe is when the GM and players are trying to tell different stories: when the GM and players are working against each other. Certainly in those situations there's a problem. Narrative gaming relies strongly on positive collaboration and a GM that wants the PCs to be heros. If the GM is being an ass and not letting the smart players capture the NPC, then it's probably because the GM is trying to railroad the players (bad) and shut down their ideas because they do not agree with his (also bad).

You're describing bad GMing in other words, not narrative gaming.

Then you've had bad experiences. If you feel like 'the story's passenger' then the GM is not running the game right. That has little to do with rules and mostly to do with bad GMing.

We have a winged word in our gaming community when it comes to GM'ing and a player who is inconclusive about his course of action: "Don't ask me what to do, I am just the world!"

As such you could not be more true that TTRPG's should be all means be a collaborate effort and gaming experience.

The thing is that the GM, while usually not acting in bad faith has to provide all the challenges for the players to overcome, and by doing so, has to act as an adversary, at least in combat, and I have seen my good share of bad GM calls in the literal heat of battle.

And as much as I would never walk away if a good storyteller GM is disregarding some rules in order to actually advance the mutual story I am not above walking away if a GM is blatantly disregarding rules in order to advance their own agenda.

This however is much easier to detect, discuss and act upon if there is a "binding" rule to disregard in the first place. As such I am inherently pro elaborate rules as an additional saveguard against inadvertent bad GM'ing for both players and the GM.


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Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

The part about this conversation that is killing me, that I hope the developers keep on the "less data management" side of things, is that object hit points are a massively annoying added feature to keep track of in play. Mechanics like force open are much cleaner and easier to keep track of in play, because you just need one DC, which can easily be established on the fly, with minimal guidelines, rather than a hardness, and AC and HP.

For spells, I'd much rather see more direction towards how to let sensible spells add a circumstance bonus to a force open/break check, getting to use the spell caster's casting proficiency instead of athletics, than to try to bring the entire game backwards to having to make an attack roll against a AC, deal with hardness and HP.

A huge part of why this is still an issue is because the developers were not sure which direction they were going to go in the playtest. Started out completely against object HP, and then reversed course because people hated the way dents worked. This left them having to make adjustments to everything that interacted with objects at the same time they were trying to balance everything else and we ended up with a fair bit of inconsistencies and nebulous situations.

Edit: Consistancy is very important, but it could just as easily be established by having a "break" action which is an attack and is clear in how it interacts with objects.


You could even clarify that "break" action to only work on unattended items, meaning it doesn't unintentionally make it easy to sunder an enemy's equipment.

EDIT: Though because some hazards are objects, you might have to clarify that it doesn't work against them, lest you throw off the balance of some encounters.


SlightlyCrazy wrote:

You could even clarify that "break" action to only work on unattended items, meaning it doesn't unintentionally make it easy to sunder an enemy's equipment.

EDIT: Though because some hazards are objects, you might have to clarify that it doesn't work against them, lest you throw off the balance of some encounters.

That would be easy to deal with honestly. Simply follow the guideline on page 491: Determine if your "break" action is necessary, if not just use a strike. Since Hazards spell out their AC and HP when they are intended to be strike-able, then simply use strikes in that circumstance. If they do not have a specific AC and HP, then use your "home-brewed" break action. So long as you keep in mind the level of the hazard in question and use it to determine the DC and what have you of the hazard, you should be all good.


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Yossarian wrote:
Again, only if you are a simulation-style gamer.

Or, y'know. They just have different expectations and preferences when it comes to how to put this stuff together.

It's absurd to keep constantly trying to dismiss people who like having clear guidelines from the developers as being anti-narrative.


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No one has tried to dismiss anyone as "anti-narrative."

Wanting mechanics to be simulation-style in their approach has nothing at all to do with how much narrative is or is not wanted, so pointing out that someone is asking for simulation-style rules rather than the alternative game-style rules (for lack of a better term to describe rules that only concern themselves with making sure game play functions, not what implications someone might read into them about what that means the in-game world works like) isn't even kind of calling into question how much narrative they do or don't want to go alongside.


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I think part of what makes this topic confusing for people is that 2E is keyworded- and action-listed and super-defined to oblivion in some places and then just goes "GM make something up, shrug?" in other places. The presentation of it is kind of divergent in terms of whether it wants to be a 4e rules pick-your-action-from-the-menu or a 5e narrative free-for-all. And I don't think either of those directions are particularly simulationist, the core conflict is more about game-y-ness I think.

A 'real' simulationist would be sitting here saying that hitting the chair with your sword is going to mess up your sword, what are the penalties for dulling the edge? ;)


Squiggit wrote:
Yossarian wrote:
Again, only if you are a simulation-style gamer.

Or, y'know. They just have different expectations and preferences when it comes to how to put this stuff together.

It's absurd to keep constantly trying to dismiss people who like having clear guidelines from the developers as being anti-narrative.

It's even more absurd to keep claiming 'I need rules for that', adding more and more crunch and cruft to an already 600pp rulebook, creating more and more overhead and serving only an increasingly diminishing group of rules lawyers whilst alienating everyone else. I just heartily disagree with you.


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Yossarian wrote:
It's even more absurd to keep claiming 'I need rules for that', adding more and more crunch and cruft to an already 600pp rulebook, creating more and more overhead and serving only an increasingly diminishing group of rules lawyers whilst alienating everyone else.

Wanting consistent rules for breaking open locked wooden doors with fireballs and similar spells isn't a particularly unreasonable desire. It sounds more useful than, say, rules for crafting planks.


Matthew Downie wrote:
Yossarian wrote:
It's even more absurd to keep claiming 'I need rules for that', adding more and more crunch and cruft to an already 600pp rulebook, creating more and more overhead and serving only an increasingly diminishing group of rules lawyers whilst alienating everyone else.
Wanting consistent rules for breaking open locked wooden doors with fireballs and similar spells isn't a particularly unreasonable desire. It sounds more useful than, say, rules for crafting planks.

It's also not particularly unreasonable to ask a GM to call it as they see it at the time, based on the spirit of the already 600pp rulebook.


I at least somewhat agree with the "we need rules for targeted object destruction", but then again we do already have those rules in the form of force open, certain spells. (one could argue those rules are not enough, but they do exist)

My main contention is that we don't need rules for collateral damage and the destruction of fairly meaningless objects, and that rules for specific destruction ought to be totally divorced from collateral damage.


Personally, when I first opened the 2e core book and discovered that Sunder was removed, my eyebrows went up. That signalled to me a meaningful shift by Paizo. I was looking for sunder because, imho, it was a problem area. I'm rather happy with the design decision to remove it.


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Pathfinder Card Game Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber
Yossarian wrote:
Personally, when I first opened the 2e core book and discovered that Sunder was removed, my eyebrows went up. That signalled to me a meaningful shift by Paizo. I was looking for sunder because, imho, it was a problem area. I'm rather happy with the design decision to remove it.

But did they? Shields get sundered. Monsters sunder armor and other equipment. The only thing that's changed is that when a player wants to do it, its entirely GM fiat.


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Kasoh wrote:
Yossarian wrote:
Personally, when I first opened the 2e core book and discovered that Sunder was removed, my eyebrows went up. That signalled to me a meaningful shift by Paizo. I was looking for sunder because, imho, it was a problem area. I'm rather happy with the design decision to remove it.
But did they? Shields get sundered. Monsters sunder armor and other equipment. The only thing that's changed is that when a player wants to do it, its entirely GM fiat.

Shields don't get sundered. Sunder is the offense electing to target your equipment, shields get broken only if the defense chooses. That's a massive difference.

As for monsters that do target equipment, that's their identity-defining trait in most cases - which is again a massive difference from sunder, since sundering was an "any creature could try, and being good at it only took feats that were widely available" combat option before.


Pathfinder Card Game Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber
thenobledrake wrote:
Kasoh wrote:
Yossarian wrote:
Personally, when I first opened the 2e core book and discovered that Sunder was removed, my eyebrows went up. That signalled to me a meaningful shift by Paizo. I was looking for sunder because, imho, it was a problem area. I'm rather happy with the design decision to remove it.
But did they? Shields get sundered. Monsters sunder armor and other equipment. The only thing that's changed is that when a player wants to do it, its entirely GM fiat.

Shields don't get sundered. Sunder is the offense electing to target your equipment, shields get broken only if the defense chooses. That's a massive difference.

As for monsters that do target equipment, that's their identity-defining trait in most cases - which is again a massive difference from sunder, since sundering was an "any creature could try, and being good at it only took feats that were widely available" combat option before.

If you think that's a substantial difference, I can't disagree with that opinion. When the end result is the same (broken equipment) I don't think it really matters whether or not it was a unique ability or just something the monster wanted to try. Its still in the game.


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Yossarian wrote:
whilst alienating everyone else.

The rules permitting a player to smash a chair with a hammer would alienate you from the game?

Well, okay I guess.


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Pathfinder Maps, Pawns Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber
Squiggit wrote:
Yossarian wrote:
whilst alienating everyone else.

The rules permitting a player to smash a chair with a hammer would alienate you from the game?

Well, okay I guess.

It would certainly make me wonder if I was playing a roleplaying game, or a pencil and paper version of a video game with locked doors.

The moment I say "I smash the chair" and the GM responds with "you can't, there are no rules for it" is the moment I seriously consider not being part of that game.


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Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber; Pathfinder Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber

While I am ABSOLUTELY not going to ever defend the philosophy of running games that would cause you to say "you can't, there are no rules for it" in response to striking an object, I think you read this one backwards. I believe it was more of a "you would be alienated from the game if there were written rules for striking objects?" than a "you are alienated from the game because there aren't rules for striking objects?"


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Technically, the athletics skill does cover things like breaking chairs, because it says, "Athletics allows you to perform deeds of physical prowess." Breaking a chair seems to fit that pretty squarely.

The issue that can still be reasonably addressed is having a specific action designed for doing so, rather than leaving it up to the GM to have to determine how it works, especially if it is resulting in different tables having radically different versions of how to do so.

Obviously, most objects should have flat DCs that are relatively high, but not go up by level unless they are objects specifically built to withstand punishment, and the crafter's skill would be relevant in how sturdy they were (like castle walls). A lot of objects probably should require multiple checks to fully break.

A crafting skill feat for demolition could allow for using craft instead of athletics for breaking objects.

I firmly believe we will see all of this sooner than later make its way into the game, rather than seeing a MASSIVE errata that changes the way spells and strikes work against objects.

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