Free actions and triggers or lack thereof


Rules Discussion


From the steam knight discussion;

Is there a meaningful distinction between free actions granted through specific conditions and free actions with a specific "trigger" entry in regards to the limitations on free actions and trigger rules?


I haven't read through that thread, so I don't know what specific examples you are looking at.

But in general, probably yes.

A free action without a trigger that has conditions for when it can be used is still a free action without a trigger. You could only use it during your turn.

An example that I can think of: Bespell Weapon. If you cast Blood Vendetta during an enemy's turn when they hit you, you can't also use Bespell Weapon to add damage for your entire next turn. But that isn't because the spell being cast is a reaction. It is because it isn't your turn and Bespell Weapon doesn't have a trigger. If you drop from a high ceiling as a free action, and cast Feather Fall as a reaction, then you can use Bespell Weapon to empower all of your Strikes for all three actions of your current turn.


breithauptclan wrote:

I haven't read through that thread, so I don't know what specific examples you are looking at.

But in general, probably yes.

A free action without a trigger that has conditions for when it can be used is still a free action without a trigger. You could only use it during your turn.

An example that I can think of: Bespell Weapon. If you cast Blood Vendetta during an enemy's turn when they hit you, you can't also use Bespell Weapon to add damage for your entire next turn. But that isn't because the spell being cast is a reaction. It is because it isn't your turn and Bespell Weapon doesn't have a trigger. If you drop from a high ceiling as a free action, and cast Feather Fall as a reaction, then you can use Bespell Weapon to empower all of your Strikes for all three actions of your current turn.

It was in regards to the steam knight free action that's used at the start of your turn and something like effortless sustain which is a free action with a specific trigger of "Your turn begins" would you be able to use both considering the rules on free actions? Assuming that the rule only really matters for those specific trigger effects.


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Ah. So a free action with a trigger: your turn starts, and a free action with a requirement of 'use at the start of your turn'.

I would say that you could use both. You couldn't use a different free action with the same trigger, such as Effortless Concentration because you can only use one action for a particular trigger, whether it is a reaction or a free action.

But a choose-to-use free action with just a requirement that it be the first action of your turn is not the same.

Though, I also would see this as a possible bug that needs errata and that this particular free action is going to be changed to a free action with a trigger: your turn starts.

Also, depending on the specific wording of the requirement, using the free action with a trigger: your turn starts, may by itself violate the requirements of using the other free action since you have actually used an action since your turn started - that free action with a trigger.


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

The start of turn rules clarify that already.

Quote:

Step 1: Start Your Turn

Source Core Rulebook pg. 468 4.0
Many things happen automatically at the start of your turn—it's a common point for tracking the passage of time for effects that last multiple rounds. At the start of each of your turns, take these steps in any order you choose:
If you created an effect lasting for a certain number of rounds, reduce the number of rounds remaining by 1. The effect ends if the duration is reduced to 0. For example, if you cast a spell that lasts 3 rounds on yourself during your first turn of a fight, it would affect you during that turn, decrease to 2 rounds of duration at the start of your second turn, decrease to 1 round of duration at the start of your third turn, and expire at the start of your fourth turn.

You can use 1 free action or reaction with a trigger of “Your turn begins” or something similar.

If you're dying, roll a recovery check.
Do anything else that is specified to happen at the start of your turn, such as regaining Hit Points from fast healing or regeneration.

The last step of starting your turn is always the same.
Regain your 3 actions and 1 reaction. If you haven't spent your reaction from your last turn, you lose it—you can't “save” actions or reactions from one turn to use during the next turn. Some abilities or conditions (such as quickened, slowed, and stunned) can change how many actions you regain and whether you regain your reaction. If you lose actions and gain additional actions (such as if you're both quickened and slowed), you choose which actions to lose.

People are just trying to argue about the punctuation of that bolded section to read the "or something similar" as "or a similar trigger" instead of the broad, loophole-catching statement it is.


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The tricky one for the kineticist is Final Gate. Effortless Impulse and Imperious Aura have the same trigger: "your turn begins." So you can only use one of them each turn.

Final Gate, the 19th level ability, has a different trigger: "If your kinetic aura is inactive, you automatically use the first action of your turn to Channel Elements as a free action."

This, I think, works with Effortless Sustain (as you can still sustain impulses when your aura is down), but does not work with imperious aura because of conditional conflicts (can only use Imperious Aura if your element is channeled, Final Gate triggers when it's not.)

Steam Knight says "At the start of each of your turns" which appears to be a different trigger from "trigger: your turn begins." If they wanted these to have the exact same triggers, they could have used the same language as with Effortless Impulse and Imperious Aura.

So I'd be inclined to say that you could use Imperious Aura to activate Steam Knight and then use it to blast steam, so you could use Effortless Impulse and Steam Knight just fine.


HammerJack wrote:
People are just trying to argue about the punctuation of that bolded section to read the "or something similar" as "or a similar trigger" instead of the broad, loophole-catching statement it is.

With the way that it is written, I can see two valid ways of parsing that sentence.

1) "or something similar" is referring to the wording of the trigger. So if there is a reaction that has its trigger printed as "your turn starts" instead of "your turn begins" then it would still be similar enough to interlock with the other printed options.

2) "or something similar" is referring to the 'one reaction or free action at the start of your turn' concept. Meaning that reactions and free actions with a trigger that have their trigger of "your turn begins" are only examples and that other things that happen before you are able to use your first action or activity that costs at least one of your action points for the turn are all interlocked and you can only choose one of them to use.

And no, I don't know which interpretation is more valid than the other.


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If Paizo didn't want you to have fun they should have written the abilities using their own style guides and existing language templates for thsi stuff.


breithauptclan wrote:
HammerJack wrote:
People are just trying to argue about the punctuation of that bolded section to read the "or something similar" as "or a similar trigger" instead of the broad, loophole-catching statement it is.

With the way that it is written, I can see two valid ways of parsing that sentence.

1) "or something similar" is referring to the wording of the trigger. So if there is a reaction that has its trigger printed as "your turn starts" instead of "your turn begins" then it would still be similar enough to interlock with the other printed options.

2) "or something similar" is referring to the 'one reaction or free action at the start of your turn' concept. Meaning that reactions and free actions with a trigger that have their trigger of "your turn begins" are only examples and that other things that happen before you are able to use your first action or activity that costs at least one of your action points for the turn are all interlocked and you can only choose one of them to use.

And no, I don't know which interpretation is more valid than the other.

That's pretty much the impasse from the previous thread. I'm inclined to believe the first interpretation since I think there's enough distinction between these types of actions. If they were all meant to work within the same restrictions, they would have all had actual trigger entries


Just for clarity/bookkeeping as to the point of discussion that prompted this thread:

shroudb wrote:
aobst128 wrote:
shroudb wrote:
Quote:
You can use 1 free action or reaction with a trigger of “Your turn begins” or something similar.

Steam Knight :

Quote:
At the start of your turn you can emit steam as a free action.
Dunno, for me it sounds exactly like "something similar".
To me, "something similar" is definitely referring to similarities in trigger entries, which steam knight doesn't have. There's a handful of other abilities that work this way. I think there is a distinction between granted free actions and one's with a specific trigger that would interact with this rule.

The problem with English language is that as written there's no way to know if the "or" refers to the type of action or the trigger:

1 free action
or
reaction with a trigger "X"
or
Something similar

Vs

1 free action or reaction
With a trigger "X" or something similar

Are both correct but different.

Commas would have been a great way to fix language issues like those, but people seem averse to using them...

See how simple it would have been if it was:
Free action, or reaction with trigger X, or something similar.
Vs
Free action or reaction, with a trigger of X or something similar.


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From my experience, when there's an advantageous reading, there'll be people to push for this reading. So if there's still a discussion, it's certainly because the advantageous reading is the wrong one.


SuperBidi wrote:
From my experience, when there's an advantageous reading, there'll be people to push for this reading. So if there's still a discussion, it's certainly because the advantageous reading is the wrong one.

That seems overly pessimistic about the system. Not everything is as bad as familiars. Counter example is a brief discussion a while back about combination weapons and whether or not they can be reloaded in melee mode. The general consensus is that they can.


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SuperBidi wrote:
From my experience, when there's an advantageous reading, there'll be people to push for this reading. So if there's still a discussion, it's certainly because the advantageous reading is the wrong one.

Going by this, Effortless Impulse would net you 0 actions once you reach level 19. If that feels like an intended choice by the devs to you, feel free to rule it like that by all means.

I for sure would rule it in the most favorable way, though. For starters, only one of these has the word "Trigger" on it, which is the most important part, but even then, the damaging component of a stance, an action economy enhancer feat and a capstone feature that all come from the same class should be able to work together. The free action rule is there for future proofing (Like Effortless Concentration not stacking with Effortless Captivation) and to prevent stuff like a Fighter using both AoO and Stand Still against the same move action for greater chances of disrupting it. The stance effect, Effortless Impulse and Final gate are all distinct enough effects that ruling against them being able to work together would make no sense at all.


nvm


aobst128 wrote:
That seems overly pessimistic about the system. Not everything is as bad as familiars. Counter example is a brief discussion a while back about combination weapons and whether or not they can be reloaded in melee mode. The general consensus is that they can.

That's no counter example, because there's a general consensus. I'm speaking of cases where there's no general consensus.

roquepo wrote:
Going by this, Effortless Impulse would net you 0 actions once you reach level 19. If that feels like an intended choice by the devs to you, feel free to rule it like that by all means.

The book is not out, so I can't rule anything yet. But I'll look at it as soon as I'll be able to.


SuperBidi wrote:
aobst128 wrote:
That seems overly pessimistic about the system. Not everything is as bad as familiars. Counter example is a brief discussion a while back about combination weapons and whether or not they can be reloaded in melee mode. The general consensus is that they can.

That's no counter example, because there's a general consensus. I'm speaking of cases where there's no general consensus.

roquepo wrote:
Going by this, Effortless Impulse would net you 0 actions once you reach level 19. If that feels like an intended choice by the devs to you, feel free to rule it like that by all means.
The book is not out, so I can't rule anything yet. But I'll look at it as soon as I'll be able to.

There aught to a be a consensus by now. This is an issue that's been around far before ROE. I think most would rule the wording only applies to specific triggers.


So, while I think it's plausible to say that final gate doesn't worry about the "same trigger" restriction, the fact that the first action you take in the round has to be final gate suggests to me that by the time you get around to having finished final gate's action, you've already missed the trigger for Effortless Impulse. Which is super lame, because that means Effortless Impulse is kind of garbage at 19th level unless you used a sustain impulse that isn't Overflow (so, Ignite the Sun).

So even if Final Gate isn't the same trigger, the particulars of final gate prevent you from using it with start of round free action effects.


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Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber; Pathfinder Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

My initial inclination was not to allow it.

However, Paizo has used finagle wording to get around limitations before. Case in point: Battle Medicine working like Treat Injury, but expressly not being Treat Injury and so having none of its limitations.


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Pathfinder Rulebook Subscriber

It does read like one of those janky rules corners that isn't intended, but running it that way causes the feat to break a class feature or vice versa, and that feels even more unintended.


It does feel bad, however, if your normal combat plan involves "using effortless impulse a lot" for levels 12-18, to have your level 19 class feature be basically a dead feature you don't see yourself using very much.


This seems like a clear case of a missed editing pass.

You can only use one free action per trigger. So the trigger of "your turn starts" can only have one free action. Similarly, the wording of "the first action of your turn" means you cannot use any action before that ability for it to work. As written if you use your free action "at the start of your turn" you cannot also use a different action "as the first action". The game does not allow you to choose the order of how abilities resolve.

Also, the rule is "if anything seems too good to be true it probably is". Allowing both to work would by definition be "too good" as it would be allowing someone to break the "1 free action per trigger" rule. Yes that means that the two are mutually exclusive, but as written that is the intent. Another thing to consider is that every single time people think they have found a way to get an extra action Paizo has clarified in errata/FAQ that you in fact cannot cheat the system to get extra actions. This is very much another case of Valet+Independent where Valet does not work because the familiar has to be "commanded".

Some of you might say its pessimistic, but that is how Paizo has traditionally ruled things in PF2e. Ex: Witch's archetype familiar is a worse normal familiar.


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"The start of your turn" and "your first action" are clearly different things, and using this language was IMO deliberate rather than "a missed editing pass."


PossibleCabbage wrote:
"The start of your turn" and "your first action" are clearly different things, and using this language was IMO deliberate rather than "a missed editing pass."

Yes they are different things, there is no debate on that part. But the two are still mutually exclusive.

If at the start of your turn you do an action that is your "first action" that turn. Take for example the "open" trait, if that said "this action must be your first action of the turn" then using anything else would prevent you from using something with the "open" trait. But if instead it said "when you get your actions" then it would work.

This is why I said it was a case of a missed editing pass. Because they clearly wanted it to be different but as written they are conflicting. If they wanted it to always start with that they could have said "you can choose to begin your turn with your elements channeled", this would remove the action conflict by turning it into a passive.


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"The Start Of Your Turn" is when effects that last "until the start of your next turn" end. This happens before you are able to opt to take any actions. Thus, I conclude that these are different triggers and can each have a free action triggered by them.


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Trying to get these two things to conflict is a pretty clear violation of RAW, imo. Don't interpret things to be broken when you can instead interpret them to work.


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PossibleCabbage wrote:
"The Start Of Your Turn" is when effects that last "until the start of your next turn" end. This happens before you are able to opt to take any actions. Thus, I conclude that these are different triggers and can each have a free action triggered by them.

There are things that ask you to use actions at "the start of your turn" hence the whole debate.

Also the 19th level ability does not have a trigger, it has a requirement of "being the first action", hence the conflict.


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GM OfAnything wrote:
Trying to get these two things to conflict is a pretty clear violation of RAW, imo. Don't interpret things to be broken when you can instead interpret them to work.

Trying to make them conflict is not a violation of RAW. RAW makes them conflict and the "this is broken" rule comes in and asks the GM to decide whether it stays broken (follow RAW) or unbreak it (homebrew).


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Temperans wrote:
GM OfAnything wrote:
Trying to get these two things to conflict is a pretty clear violation of RAW, imo. Don't interpret things to be broken when you can instead interpret them to work.
Trying to make them conflict is not a violation of RAW. RAW makes them conflict and the "this is broken" rule comes in and asks the GM to decide whether it stays broken (follow RAW) or unbreak it (homebrew).

Sorry, but RAI is RAW in this edition. Unbreaking it is the RAW answer. Letting it stay broken is worse than homebrew.


RexAliquid wrote:
Temperans wrote:
GM OfAnything wrote:
Trying to get these two things to conflict is a pretty clear violation of RAW, imo. Don't interpret things to be broken when you can instead interpret them to work.
Trying to make them conflict is not a violation of RAW. RAW makes them conflict and the "this is broken" rule comes in and asks the GM to decide whether it stays broken (follow RAW) or unbreak it (homebrew).
Sorry, but RAI is RAW in this edition. Unbreaking it is the RAW answer. Letting it stay broken is worse than homebrew.

That is for the GM to decide, not some random person on the internet. We can give them the best information but we cannot make the choice.

Also RAI is not RAW. It never is that is why the term RAI exists in the first place.


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Temperans wrote:
Also RAI is not RAW. It never is that is why the term RAI exists in the first place.

You misunderstand.

The Rules as Written in PF2 say that you play the rules as intended and not to break things over silly little semantics. Ergo, reading into wordings in order to cause conflicts and break abilities is going against the Rules.


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RexAliquid wrote:
Temperans wrote:
Also RAI is not RAW. It never is that is why the term RAI exists in the first place.

You misunderstand.

The Rules as Written in PF2 say that you play the rules as intended and not to break things over silly little semantics. Ergo, reading into wordings in order to cause conflicts and break abilities is going against the Rules.

No the Rules as Written is that if you encounter a problem the GM has full right to change the rules if they so wish. Its entirely a "look if we made a mistake you fix it" set of clauses.

The rules do not tell you intent they only tell you what was written. Intent is gained from forums, FAQs, Errata, and extrapolation/deduction from all those sources. Sure its helpful to determine what should be done, but like I said it is up to the GM to determine what gets done.

Also if you go by intent the devs are consistent in taking the worst possible case for the players as the correct one. There are very few if any cases where they have made something better.


In that case, RAW is in line with RAI. I don't see why there's really a debate.

The fact that a feat becomes worse once you get another one is nowhere close to incredible: Sudden Charge becomes useless once you get Predator Pounce.


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Pathfinder Rulebook Subscriber
SuperBidi wrote:
In that case, RAW is in line with RAI. I don't see why there's really a debate.

Because both RAW and RAI are ambiguous.

Quote:
The fact that a feat becomes worse once you get another one is nowhere close to incredible: Sudden Charge becomes useless once you get Predator Pounce.

A very poor comparison. Final Gate isn't even a feat, it's a core class feature. And unlike Predator's Pounce, it isn't an identical option.

We're not talking about "pick between these two similar feats", we're talking about a core class feature not working at all under a certain interpretation. That's clearly both novel and problematic.


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Squiggit wrote:
SuperBidi wrote:
In that case, RAW is in line with RAI. I don't see why there's really a debate.

Because both RAW and RAI are ambiguous.

Quote:
The fact that a feat becomes worse once you get another one is nowhere close to incredible: Sudden Charge becomes useless once you get Predator Pounce.

A very poor comparison. Final Gate isn't even a feat, it's a core class feature. And unlike Predator's Pounce, it isn't an identical option.

We're not talking about "pick between these two similar feats", we're talking about a core class feature not working at all under a certain interpretation. That's clearly both novel and problematic.

It is problematic but not novel. Remember Mutagenisr Alchemist that needed an almost immediate errata? Or how 10th level spells were errata to not be gained from features to stop Healing Font and Arcane Bond from giving you more slots? Or how Scared to Death and Flickmace were nerfed instead of buffing other options.


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Squiggit wrote:
SuperBidi wrote:
In that case, RAW is in line with RAI. I don't see why there's really a debate.
Because both RAW and RAI are ambiguous.

RAI is quite clear: You can use only one action at the start of your turn. This is the rule question.

Squiggit wrote:
we're talking about a core class feature not working at all under a certain interpretation

I must have missed something: Final Gate seems to work fine. It's its interactions with feats that is problematic. Or have I missed something?


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SuperBidi wrote:
Squiggit wrote:
SuperBidi wrote:
In that case, RAW is in line with RAI. I don't see why there's really a debate.
Because both RAW and RAI are ambiguous.
RAI is quite clear: You can use only one action at the start of your turn. This is the rule question.

Not at all: I don't think it's RAI to count reactions and reaction-like abilities (meaning free actions with triggers) here.


Errenor wrote:
Not at all: I don't think it's RAI to count reactions and reaction-like abilities (meaning free actions with triggers) here.

I don't understand what you mean.


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Yeah, the RAW is clear that the two free actions are executed in different parts of your turn and therefore do not conflict. There is no need to twist the wording into a conflict.


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They both happen at the start of your turn and only one such action can be used. If there are 2 RAW interpretations, the one in line with RAI is the proper one.


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I feel like RAI in general is that a level 19 class feature should not be made irrelevant by something you have made part of your core combat loop for the past 6 levels.

A level 19 class feature being something you can't, won't, or shouldn't use because of other choices you've made seems like something that should be avoided on a "feels bad" grounds. Your level 19 class features are supposed to be fun and exciting!


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Nothing says that the 19th level feature should be something that is always applicable. Here if you happen to take these two feats your are given a choice: Do you use the feat or do you use the feature.

There is only a rules conflict if you try to use both at the same time and that is stopped by you picking which one you will use. It is not solved by giving you both options and ignoring the rules (unless the ability explicitly says to ignore the rule).


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PossibleCabbage wrote:

I feel like RAI in general is that a level 19 class feature should not be made irrelevant by something you have made part of your core combat loop for the past 6 levels.

A level 19 class feature being something you can't, won't, or shouldn't use because of other choices you've made seems like something that should be avoided on a "feels bad" grounds. Your level 19 class features are supposed to be fun and exciting!

But Final Gate is not the only level 19 class feature (and the major one is Legendary proficiency in my opinion). There are other classes with ridiculous high level class features (like Alchemical Alacrity).

Also, the concept of a high level class feature forcing you to review your character is not unheard of. The Swashbuckler Eternal Confidence for example interacts badly with builds based on Precise Finisher (or even Perfect Finisher if you want a feat you took 5 levels earlier) as their main single target Finisher.

I understand why you find that Final Gate should be reworked, unfortunately without an errata or a developer word giving a hint as an RAI issue the rules are quite clear.

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