So... Daze?


Pathfinder Second Edition General Discussion


Before the Remaster-Errata, there was some evidence that Daze might - at some point - have made its targets off-guard, probably on a regular failed save. The Errata quickly cleared that up and we're back to just some minor non-lethal mental damage and the once in a blue moon stunned 1 on a critically failed save.

I wonder what the intended balancing factor is with Daze. The damage is abyssmal (or should I say "Outer Riftal"?). The damage type is fine overall, though some things are immune and it will nearly never trigger any weakness. It being non-lethal is not really an upside since some creature are outright immune to this. Even if you can apply it and want to knock someone out, it only ever matters if you reduce an enemy to 0HP, which is unlikely to happen with Daze's low damage.

Daze has only three upsides, as far as I can tell. It has decent range (though more and more new cantrips show up with similar ranges, it seems). It targets Will, which is unique among cantrips. And it makes the target stunned 1 on a crit fail, making it potentially the most disrupting cantrip.

The problem is, on anything but a critical failure, the spell just doesn't do enough. I can cast Frostbite and I will most likely still deal more damage even if the enemy succeeds on their save.

So what's the intended use case of Daze? It can't just be crit fishing, can it? The rest of the spell is has a low performance, that it's borderline a wasted turn to ever cast Daze.

The idea of making the target off-guard for a round (or maybe just against the next attack coming its way) seemed quite balanced in my opinion. Would it really have been too much to turn Daze into a "low damage with debuff attached" cantrip? Maybe we could add the incapacitation trait to the stunned 1 effect on critfail in exchange.


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The point of daze is that it is a non-lethal spell. Which is fine, but it really needs either heightend+1 scaling or to do persistent mental damage imo.

Off-guard could have been interesting but given the limited divine damage cantrips I would rather it deal more reliable damage.


The Gleeful Grognard wrote:

The point of daze is that it is a non-lethal spell. Which is fine, but it really needs either heightend+1 scaling or to do persistent mental damage imo.

Off-guard could have been interesting but given the limited divine damage cantrips I would rather it deal more reliable damage.

tbf, now that Divine has needles and spiritual damage damages everything alive, I wouldn't say that Divine list lacks damaging cantrips.


The Gleeful Grognard wrote:
The point of daze is that it is a non-lethal spell. Which is fine, but it really needs either heightend+1 scaling or to do persistent mental damage imo.

I don't know if nonlethal is a big part of it. The other nonlethal spells (few as they are) don't seem to suffer from so little damage just because they have this trait.

Quote:
Off-guard could have been interesting but given the limited divine damage cantrips I would rather it deal more reliable damage.

Buffing the damage to 1d6 per heightened +1 might be slightly too much. At least if we stick with the chance to stun. But yeah, the only will targeting cantrip being a more reliable source of actual damage would be great, even if it loses the stuned condition. Or maybe change it to a a lesser debuff like clumy 1 for one round.

shroudb wrote:
tbf, now that Divine has needles and spiritual damage damages everything alive, I wouldn't say that Divine list lacks damaging cantrips.

Void Warp is also significantly more usable than Chill Touch used to be.


I think the intended use case for Daze is as a semi-damage, semi-crowd control cantrip: because the stun itself is very good when it happens, rare as that is, that provides a scaling component that the developers expected to justify the cantrip's otherwise poor damage scaling. In practice, it didn't, and in general it's difficult to fish for crit failures with spell save DCs, at least compared to fishing for crits with attacks.

I do think Paizo genuinely tried to improve the cantrip in the remaster, but I also get the feeling that they had to scrap whatever they had from the release because they didn't have the time to finalize it yet, and didn't revert the descriptions to match that. Given a bit more time, we could've perhaps received an updated Daze, and now it's down to whether Paizo will use errata to either give us a better cantrip, or clarify that the descriptions for it are wrong.


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Damage wise Daze is terrible. It is really only worthwhile if you think your enemy has a very bad will save.

But I'm not clear as to why you think Paizo will fix it. There are a lot of options that are just not a good value proposition.


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Pathfinder Rulebook Subscriber
Blave wrote:
The Gleeful Grognard wrote:
The point of daze is that it is a non-lethal spell. Which is fine, but it really needs either heightend+1 scaling or to do persistent mental damage imo.

I don't know if nonlethal is a big part of it. The other nonlethal spells (few as they are) don't seem to suffer from so little damage just because they have this trait.

Quote:
Off-guard could have been interesting but given the limited divine damage cantrips I would rather it deal more reliable damage.

Buffing the damage to 1d6 per heightened +1 might be slightly too much. At least if we stick with the chance to stun. But yeah, the only will targeting cantrip being a more reliable source of actual damage would be great, even if it loses the stuned condition. Or maybe change it to a a lesser debuff like clumy 1 for one round.

shroudb wrote:
tbf, now that Divine has needles and spiritual damage damages everything alive, I wouldn't say that Divine list lacks damaging cantrips.
Void Warp is also significantly more usable than Chill Touch used to be.

Admonishment Ray's damage is pretty terrible. 2d6 single target attack roll is cantrip damage.

Non-lethal damage is not generally an advantage for monster slaying, but it is useful for taking prisoners to interrogate (since the average NPC dies at zero HP) or knocking out commoners who are otherwise putting themselves in danger. So you probably want to skip it, but in an urban campaign it is worth considering, especially for divine and occult casters lacking strong competition against it.


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I recently homebrewed daze to be a 2d4 cantrip scaling 1d4 each level instead of every other. Turning the stunned 1 crit fail into off-guard. Its much closer to frostbite in power now with less range and non lethal damage. It shot to the top of all the divine player’s spell lists and we are having a blast with it.
Definitely would recommend for anyone looking for a change.


Blave wrote:

I don't know if nonlethal is a big part of it. The other nonlethal spells (few as they are) don't seem to suffer from so little damage just because they have this trait.

Buffing the damage to 1d6 per heightened +1 might be slightly too much. At least if we stick with the chance to stun. But yeah, the only will targeting cantrip being a more reliable source of actual damage would be great, even if it loses the stuned condition. Or maybe change it to a a lesser debuff like clumy 1 for one round.

I didn't say it had low damage because it was non lethal, I advocated it having more damage. I said being a non lethal cantrip was it's point as a cantrip / why someone would take it.

I don't mean it has to stay at 1d6 either, just that heightened +1 is way nicer to damage scaling than heightened +2 which I see more acceptable on slot based spells that often offer more than "tiny amount of damage, stun 1 on crit"

While I agree divine casters have more options now. Daze having a better scaling would be a big positive given it being a save spell and being the counterbalance to vitality lash in many cases.


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Gortle wrote:
But I'm not clear as to why you think Paizo will fix it.
Blave wrote:
Before the Remaster-Errata, there was some evidence that Daze might - at some point - have made its targets off-guard, probably on a regular failed save.

Literally their opening statement.


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Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

I think some alternate version of daze was almost implemented in the remaster, but there was a late decision to nix that version and as close a remastered version of the original got put back in the book.

I think nonlethal damage is supposed to be pretty difficult to do with spells. It pretty much costs a 2nd lvl feat and an extra action to do it. If a competitive non-lethal cantrip existed it would clearly undermine that choice. Now I do think the existing remastered version of daze is too weak to be worth while, but the decision was probably “better this be too bad, than too good, and we accidentally make casting the easiest way to capture enemies and do non-lethal.” I kinda wish they could have added that a regular fail left the target off-guard, so that it exists more as a debuff cantrip than a damage cantrip, but if their back was up against the wire with the spell, and changing it too much was going to result in complications with the psychic that they didn’t want to address, I could see a new spell coming out in the future that is a will targeting cantrip that doesn’t need to be calibrated into all the situations where daze existed previously.


Unicore wrote:

I think some alternate version of daze was almost implemented in the remaster, but there was a late decision to nix that version and as close a remastered version of the original got put back in the book.

I think nonlethal damage is supposed to be pretty difficult to do with spells. It pretty much costs a 2nd lvl feat and an extra action to do it. If a competitive non-lethal cantrip existed it would clearly undermine that choice. Now I do think the existing remastered version of daze is too weak to be worth while, but the decision was probably “better this be too bad, than too good, and we accidentally make casting the easiest way to capture enemies and do non-lethal.” I kinda wish they could have added that a regular fail left the target off-guard, so that it exists more as a debuff cantrip than a damage cantrip, but if their back was up against the wire with the spell, and changing it too much was going to result in complications with the psychic that they didn’t want to address, I could see a new spell coming out in the future that is a will targeting cantrip that doesn’t need to be calibrated into all the situations where daze existed previously.

In most cases, you aren't going to be doing non-lethal damage. Certain enemies are immune to non-lethal damage anyway (undead and constructs in particular), and plenty of enemies are immune to mental damage (oozes, plants, other mindless creatures). In the cases that you are expected to be using non-lethal attacks (Agents of Edgewatch), you'll have far more tools than usual to do so. Making the idea of a "non-lethal cantrip undermining feats and other investments" kind of a nothingburger.

Daze was already pretty bad pre-remaster, and I don't see any universe where Daze somehow takes over as the quintessential cantrip. Making it 2D4 with 1D4 per rank would hardly break it, since there are several enemy types that it is ineffective against, has practically zero weakness exploitation, and has about as much resistance avoidance as any other cantrip out there.

We can't even say that it's a good debuff cantrip anymore because there are other cantrips that do better debuffs than them, and aren't reliant on an enemy critically failing a save to do so. That's not to mean that Stunned 1 isn't a good debuff, just that the one in 20 or so times you cast the cantrip where the debuff actually sticks isn't worth absolutely demolishing the cantrip's damage.


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You might be interested to know that undead aren't immune to nonlethal. They're immune to unconscious, which is a different thing.


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Pathfinder Rulebook Subscriber

I think people may need to accept that Daze just isn't meant to be a reliable DPR strategy. It is closer to Mage Hand than Electric Arc, meant to solve a very specific problem. And I think as long as nonlethal damage is valued highly, it won't deal comparable damage to other cantrips. It would be nice if was stronger, especially so cantrips could fully play the "target weak defense" game. But ultimately Paizo decided non-lethal spell damage would be really hard to do.


Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber; Pathfinder Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Cyouni wrote:
You might be interested to know that undead aren't immune to nonlethal. They're immune to unconscious, which is a different thing.

Is that a new Remaster change, or has that always been the case?


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Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

It is perfectly fine for tables to write daze off as a bust. It is hardly unique in that place. If your table places negative value on nonlethal damage then that is kinda the end of the story.

But if you are trying not to kill an enemy, your spell options are terribly limited and daze is actually the best cantrip available to you, no matter how bad it is, because it is the only option available to you without spending a class feat that will be competing with all the level 1 and 2 feats for most casters. I too think the version we ended up with is probably an extra conservative, probably excessively conservative, revision away from something else that was going to be tried, but it was probably a combination of being the only mental cantrip (which is a trait that has feat and amp support for psychics), and the only nonlethal cantrip that ended up dialing it back.

Sure any table can house rule it if they want, but without that daze is probably a write off cantrip unless you have to do nonlethal damage, in which case, players will choose it anyway. It doesn’t need to be better to hold on to its niche, so it probably felt safer to keep it the way it ended up, than trying to change it to the way it sounds like someone had written it up to be.


Ravingdork wrote:
Cyouni wrote:
You might be interested to know that undead aren't immune to nonlethal. They're immune to unconscious, which is a different thing.
Is that a new Remaster change, or has that always been the case?

I believe it's always been the case.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber

I often wonder if Daze was written the way it is, is because they were flirting with the idea of making it a 1-action cantrip.


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Cyouni wrote:
You might be interested to know that undead aren't immune to nonlethal. They're immune to unconscious, which is a different thing.

So it seems.

Regardless, using non-lethal damage on them isn't really a meaningful distinction then, since using Daze to bring an Undead to 0 HP still destroys them by RAW.


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

From my reading of the pre-remaster rules, maybe there is funny business with finishing off an undead with nonlethal attacks, because they can't be knocked out and nonlethal damage can't kill a foe, but there is no issue otherwise.

The remastered monster core is going to see a lot less undead with immunity to the mental trait, especially after the book of the dead has made it so that there are many zombies and skeletons that can think. I think James Jacobs said something about that in one of the paizo con panels.


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Unicore wrote:

It is perfectly fine for tables to write daze off as a bust. It is hardly unique in that place. If your table places negative value on nonlethal damage then that is kinda the end of the story.

But if you are trying not to kill an enemy, your spell options are terribly limited and daze is actually the best cantrip available to you, no matter how bad it is, because it is the only option available to you without spending a class feat that will be competing with all the level 1 and 2 feats for most casters. I too think the version we ended up with is probably an extra conservative, probably excessively conservative, revision away from something else that was going to be tried, but it was probably a combination of being the only mental cantrip (which is a trait that has feat and amp support for psychics), and the only nonlethal cantrip that ended up dialing it back.

Sure any table can house rule it if they want, but without that daze is probably a write off cantrip unless you have to do nonlethal damage, in which case, players will choose it anyway. It doesn’t need to be better to hold on to its niche, so it probably felt safer to keep it the way it ended up, than trying to change it to the way it sounds like someone had written it up to be.

Really, if you aren't trying to kill an enemy, it can't be that hard to deal lethal damage to get them to 0, stabilize them, tie them up, and get them talking with Diplomacy/Intimidation, or whatever you're trying to do. Most GMs handwave the enemies out when they hit 0 for simplicity and/or lack of plot relevance, though if PCs talk about tying one up for questioning, the GM is likely to allow one or two to survive (becoming stabilized if the PCs attempt to do so), in which case, we have now undermined the non-lethal aspect even more than before.

Granted, this isn't foolproof; if a fight drags on and the PCs then decide to try and stabilize an enemy, chances are, the timeframe will have passed, and their ability to get an opponent tied up for questioning will be unavailable. But more often than not, if the PCs want to make the attempt and do so quickly, they will do so in a reasonable timeframe that is likely to succeed.

The biggest reason why I see Daze taken by spellcasters is because it's a Will Save cantrip, the only one of its kind. No other cantrip matches it on that front, and honestly, while that gives it unique value, it's shouldn't be used as the reason why the rest of its attributes are bad, especially since affecting Will Saves should be a de facto spellcaster tactic.


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Unicore wrote:

From my reading of the pre-remaster rules, maybe there is funny business with finishing off an undead with nonlethal attacks, because they can't be knocked out and nonlethal damage can't kill a foe, but there is no issue otherwise.

The remastered monster core is going to see a lot less undead with immunity to the mental trait, especially after the book of the dead has made it so that there are many zombies and skeletons that can think. I think James Jacobs said something about that in one of the paizo con panels.

Non-lethal damage doesn't kill, but Undead have special rules which state that they are destroyed when they hit 0 HP (just like constructs), meaning it doesn't matter if you try to finish them off with non-lethal or not; 0 HP = destroyed undead/construct, it doesn't matter how it gets there.


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Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Well the Player core says this:

Quote:


Creatures can’t be reduced to fewer than 0 Hit Points.
When most creatures reach 0 Hit Points, they die and are
removed from play unless the attack was nonlethal, in
which case they’re instead knocked out for a significant
amount of time (usually 10 minutes or more). When undead
and constructs reach 0 Hit Points, they’re destroyed.

Player characters, their companions, and other
significant characters and creatures don’t automatically die
when they reach 0 Hit Points. Instead, they are knocked
out and are at risk of death. The GM might determine that
villains, powerful monsters, special NPCs, and enemies
with special abilities that are likely to bring them back
to the fight (like ferocity, regeneration, or healing
magic) can use these rules as well.

So it is entirely GM fiat to hope that enemies can be stabilized if they are dropped with lethal damage.


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zag01 wrote:
I often wonder if Daze was written the way it is, is because they were flirting with the idea of making it a 1-action cantrip.

I don't think so; if there would be any spell-based effect(s) that would warrant being 1-action, it would be attack roll based spells simply because for players they are highly inaccurate compared to save-based effects which still do something on a successful save.

If it was 1-action, then I could see the justification for it being awful (since then you could spam it 3 times in a round), and even if that seemed a bit much, limiting it to once per round would still be adequate, since now the big draw isn't just that it's a Will Save effect, but also because it's good on action economy and still does something offensively.


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Captain Morgan wrote:

Admonishment Ray's damage is pretty terrible. 2d6 single target attack roll is cantrip damage.

Non-lethal damage is not generally an advantage for monster slaying, but it is useful for taking prisoners to interrogate (since the average NPC dies at zero HP) or knocking out commoners who are otherwise putting themselves in danger. So you probably want to skip it, but in an urban campaign it is worth considering, especially for divine and occult casters lacking strong competition against it.

Admonishing Ray isn't good by any means, but it's still only slightly weaker than Hydraulic Push. I also tend to avoid looking at non-rule book stuff for balance discussions as the power of those things are all over the place.

A better analogue to Daze would be something like Phantom Pain, which outscales 2-action magic missile in damage - even on a success - and has some very potent debuff potential, all while being nonlethal.

StarlingSweeter wrote:
I recently homebrewed daze to be a 2d4 cantrip scaling 1d4 each level instead of every other. Turning the stunned 1 crit fail into off-guard.

That seems fair, though it might make the amped version of the psychic a bit too strong at the low levels. That one would need some adjustments beyond "turn all dice into d10".


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Darksol the Painbringer wrote:
Unicore wrote:

It is perfectly fine for tables to write daze off as a bust. It is hardly unique in that place. If your table places negative value on nonlethal damage then that is kinda the end of the story.

But if you are trying not to kill an enemy, your spell options are terribly limited and daze is actually the best cantrip available to you, no matter how bad it is, because it is the only option available to you without spending a class feat that will be competing with all the level 1 and 2 feats for most casters. I too think the version we ended up with is probably an extra conservative, probably excessively conservative, revision away from something else that was going to be tried, but it was probably a combination of being the only mental cantrip (which is a trait that has feat and amp support for psychics), and the only nonlethal cantrip that ended up dialing it back.

Sure any table can house rule it if they want, but without that daze is probably a write off cantrip unless you have to do nonlethal damage, in which case, players will choose it anyway. It doesn’t need to be better to hold on to its niche, so it probably felt safer to keep it the way it ended up, than trying to change it to the way it sounds like someone had written it up to be.

Really, if you aren't trying to kill an enemy, it can't be that hard to deal lethal damage to get them to 0, stabilize them, tie them up, and get them talking with Diplomacy/Intimidation, or whatever you're trying to do. Most GMs handwave the enemies out when they hit 0 for simplicity and/or lack of plot relevance, though if PCs talk about tying one up for questioning, the GM is likely to allow one or two to survive (becoming stabilized if the PCs attempt to do so), in which case, we have now undermined the non-lethal aspect even more than before.

Granted, this isn't foolproof; if a fight drags on and the PCs then decide to try and stabilize an enemy, chances are, the timeframe will have passed, and their ability to get an opponent tied...

Unicore wrote:

Well the Player core says this:

Quote:


Creatures can’t be reduced to fewer than 0 Hit Points.
When most creatures reach 0 Hit Points, they die and are
removed from play unless the attack was nonlethal, in
which case they’re instead knocked out for a significant
amount of time (usually 10 minutes or more). When undead
and constructs reach 0 Hit Points, they’re destroyed.

Player characters, their companions, and other
significant characters and creatures don’t automatically die
when they reach 0 Hit Points. Instead, they are knocked
out and are at risk of death. The GM might determine that
villains, powerful monsters, special NPCs, and enemies
with special abilities that are likely to bring them back
to the fight (like ferocity, regeneration, or healing
magic) can use these rules as well.

So it is entirely GM fiat to hope that enemies can be stabilized if they are dropped with lethal damage.

I always use the dying condition for monsters and NPC opponents because its how the Foundry's PF2e automations handle all creature that reach to 0 without a non-lethal damage. Due that automations auto-rolls recovery checks and auto-increases the dying condition when the creature suffers damage I don't loose time with this and this also helps to avoid some metagame or even forget "important creatures or creatures with special dying abilities" or even a helps when an opponent is able to heal its allies making their healing abilities more useful and chalenging.

I know that this greatly reduces the need of non-lethal damage but it still requires that the players to use actions with Stabilize cantrip or with Administer First Aid that has some chance of failure still risking that the target that they want to keep alive could die if they don't have lucky with their rolls. So for me its OK.

About Daze, would be cool if it was off-guard for 1 round in a fail or off-guard and stun 1 in a critical failure but I admit that this would make the AMPed version too strong and needing more adjustments. So honestly I hope that some day the designers see that the cantrip is currently useless and change it to 2d4 + 1d4 per Heightened Rank or 1d8 + 1d8 per 2 Heightened Rank if they think that for some reason that 2d4 + 1d4 is too much to a cantrip that does stun in a crit. But with the current damage is just a useless cantrip.


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Quote:
About Daze, would be cool if it was off-guard for 1 round in a fail or off-guard and stun 1 in a critical failure but I admit that this would make the AMPed version too strong and needing more adjustments.

Would it be too strong for the amp, though? Off-Guard for 1 round on a failure is a less powerful debuff than the clumsy 2 condition on Tempest Surge. The small Will save penalty and the even smaller chance to stun should easily be balanced by the fact that amped Daze deals only half the damage of Tempest Surge.

The Weakness to Mental damage is decent, but very hard to actually gain a noteworthy benefit from since very few classes are actually able to deal mental damage and even if they do, mental damage effects are often so weak that they will be below average, even with the weakness applied.


Thanks, Blaze, for opening the thread. Charging an open door for me. Recently already noted, that I hoped Daze got a bit more power. For anyone interested and to not overly repeat myself, I just refer to what I've written in the "Offensive Cantrip Balancing"-Thread (s. Deeplink).

Actually, I'd think it would do good, if spells with Nonlethal trait generally got a bit more "stopping power".(*) This would incentivize characters to allow to decide for a non-lethal (duh), or at least less lethal style to end fights, from time to time, without hefty mechanical disadvantages.

Sometimes it's appropriate - and might even make the better story - if protagonists (or even ethical antagonists) - don't trail blood&gore behind one.

Don't get me wrong: I don't want to take heroic stories of blood&gore away from anyone. ;-) Actually, they represent a fair portion of some of the fantasy stories I highly value.

I'd just find it would open up for more and more reasonable options in another fair share of adventures, when non-bloody options were a bit better mechanically.

Darksol the Painbringer wrote:


Really, if you aren't trying to kill an enemy, it can't be that hard to deal lethal damage to get them to 0, stabilize them, tie them up, and get them talking with Diplomacy/Intimidation, or whatever you're trying to do. [...]

Darksol, in terms of game mechanics, I'm afraid I have to agree. Yet my concern is one of plot and imagination, plus I love character role-playing. And regarding these aspects - at least to me - it does make a difference, if protagonists used all sorts of mortal weapons in a fight and literally beat (slashed, burned, or whatever damage was used) someone until dying, leaving them maybe stabilized but wounded (even in terms of game mechanics). Or if they attempted to prevent bigger harm, right from the start. Admittedly, I guess being Dazed "till the lights when out" probably won't feel great for the target, either. Still I see a difference compared to being clubbed and slashed with blades until I was a bloody corpse on the ground...

Again, you answered a rule question and I think your answer was fine.

Digression [slightly Off-Topic]:
Now everyone, particularly those with experience with law enforcement situations on earth, may note that non-lethal force is a complex topic. This can easily touch many areas from medicine to conflict science regarding how easy/difficult disabling without lastingly damaging s.o. really is. If the mechanics of Daze and non-lethal magic actually correspond with earthly challenges and complications. And, even more important, to which extend it should be like that in the game. How viable do we want Daze (or similar options) to be?


(*): The best alternative to me - for occult casters or Lesson of Vengeance-witches - seems to be Phantom Pain.

Apart from that, an even more limited, uncommon option would be devotion to a deity with Pain domain. Required Cleric or Champion (multiclassing), mentioned Deity (the ladies from The Last Breath Pantheon might help you out...) plus class feat investment into domain spell. Access to focus spells with Nonlethal-trait looks interesting and I like the theme of Savor the Sting or Retributive Pain greatly, e.g. for a Calistria follower. Although I'm a bit worrying how mechanically good these really are, when compared to alternatives. Again, stopping power...?

Or you went the wizard (multiclass) route, "Nonlethal Spell" for other spells, plus sacrificing an additional action whenever casting a spell.

As said: All high Prices, IMHO. So, what to do now? House Ruling? Lobby for better Daze? ;-)


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber
Darksol the Painbringer wrote:
zag01 wrote:
I often wonder if Daze was written the way it is, is because they were flirting with the idea of making it a 1-action cantrip.
I don't think so; if there would be any spell-based effect(s) that would warrant being 1-action, it would be attack roll based spells simply because for players they are highly inaccurate compared to save-based effects which still do something on a successful save.

But does it? Basic Will, so half of awful on a save. Does that really amount to anything/something?

Darksol the Painbringer wrote:
If it was 1-action, then I could see the justification for it being awful...

Exactly my point.

Maybe a houserule (to make it 1-action) I'll consider in my next campaign.


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

A one action saving throw spell with stun one on a crit fail is way over powered. Players should not be spamming Daze 3 times a turn crit fishing for action removal with a cantrip. Minimally it would need to be restricted to have the flourish trait, but I don't really see one action daze being a good idea, at least until we get some other damaging one action cantrip to see what the baseline for that should be. And if we never get it, then I think there is probably a reason why.


zag01 wrote:
Darksol the Painbringer wrote:
zag01 wrote:
I often wonder if Daze was written the way it is, is because they were flirting with the idea of making it a 1-action cantrip.
I don't think so; if there would be any spell-based effect(s) that would warrant being 1-action, it would be attack roll based spells simply because for players they are highly inaccurate compared to save-based effects which still do something on a successful save.

But does it? Basic Will, so half of awful on a save. Does that really amount to anything/something?

Darksol the Painbringer wrote:
If it was 1-action, then I could see the justification for it being awful...

Exactly my point.

Maybe a houserule (to make it 1-action) I'll consider in my next campaign.

It does when you can spam it 3 times a round with no penalty; that is 3 times more likely to fail or critically fail at least one of those rolls. Compared to spell attack rolls that still suffer MAP with continued usage, it's still pretty good.


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Unicore wrote:

...

But if you are trying not to kill an enemy, your spell options are terribly limited and daze is actually the best cantrip available to you, no matter how bad it is, because it is the only option available to you without spending a class feat that will be competing with all the level 1 and 2 feats for most casters.
...

I could see an animal loving character using Daze to knock out guard dogs rather than kill them.


Unicore wrote:
A one action saving throw spell with stun one on a crit fail is way over powered. Players should not be spamming Daze 3 times a turn crit fishing for action removal with a cantrip. Minimally it would need to be restricted to have the flourish trait, but I don't really see one action daze being a good idea, at least until we get some other damaging one action cantrip to see what the baseline for that should be. And if we never get it, then I think there is probably a reason why.

One action Daze could have a 1-minute lockout on the stun effect, so if you wanted to fish you'd need to ping multiple enemies and if you didn't get the crit fail they're immune for the length of the fight.


Daze is terrible. Don't use it.

Liberty's Edge

I end up feeling using a crossbow to deal ranged non-lethal damage with my casters might actually be better than Daze. Is that really so ?


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Deriven Firelion wrote:
Daze is terrible. Don't use it.

YOU'RE NOT MY SUPERVISOR!


Unicore wrote:
A one action saving throw spell with stun one on a crit fail is way over powered. Players should not be spamming Daze 3 times a turn crit fishing for action removal with a cantrip. Minimally it would need to be restricted to have the flourish trait, but I don't really see one action daze being a good idea, at least until we get some other damaging one action cantrip to see what the baseline for that should be. And if we never get it, then I think there is probably a reason why.

Does Clinging Ice qualify? Especially with the restriction on casting it on the same target removed.

It does have the Hex trait - which is effectively a version of the Flourish trait and will prevent using it 3 times in a round.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber
Finoan wrote:
Unicore wrote:
A one action saving throw spell with stun one on a crit fail is way over powered. Players should not be spamming Daze 3 times a turn crit fishing for action removal with a cantrip. Minimally it would need to be restricted to have the flourish trait, but I don't really see one action daze being a good idea, at least until we get some other damaging one action cantrip to see what the baseline for that should be. And if we never get it, then I think there is probably a reason why.

Does Clinging Ice qualify? Especially with the restriction on casting it on the same target removed.

It does have the Hex trait - which is effectively a version of the Flourish trait and will prevent using it 3 times in a round.

Unicore & Darksol, those are great points. I think it is obvious there would need to be some sort of limitation with an action reduction. Finoan points out a good existing case.

My point is I believe the designers were on the fence. I think we all agree that as is, Daze is subpar/horrible. Simply making it 1-action without other tweaks, I agree, would be too good.

Besides, crit-fishing by casting it 3 times in one round just seems unoriginal and boring. Especially considering all the other spell options available to a caster in any given round.

IF I decide to experiment with a houserule, my goal would be to make it function as a viable 3rd action similar to how Unicore espouses Force Bolt or Magic Missile/Force Barrage. Obviously those have different metrics than a cantrip so some tweaks are necessary.


The Raven Black wrote:
I end up feeling using a crossbow to deal ranged non-lethal damage with my casters might actually be better than Daze. Is that really so ?

Is there a way to do nonlethal damage with a crossbow (other than as an improvised club that is)?


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The Gleeful Grognard wrote:
The Raven Black wrote:
I end up feeling using a crossbow to deal ranged non-lethal damage with my casters might actually be better than Daze. Is that really so ?
Is there a way to do nonlethal damage with a crossbow (other than as an improvised club that is)?

Yes. You can make nonlethal attacks with any weapon.


The Raven Black wrote:
I end up feeling using a crossbow to deal ranged non-lethal damage with my casters might actually be better than Daze. Is that really so ?

A Crossbow definitely has far more damage potential than Daze, but it's also less accurate, both because it's not using your casting attribute, as well as it being an innate -2 to the attack roll.

All said, you are likely only half as accurate compared to Daze, meaning the odds of it being "better" is pretty slim, even if it uses the same or slightly better action economy, as it's balanced further by MAP.


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Pathfinder Rulebook Subscriber
The Raven Black wrote:
I end up feeling using a crossbow to deal ranged non-lethal damage with my casters might actually be better than Daze. Is that really so ?

Depends on level and stuff. Daze will still scale in a way a non-runed crossbow will not. Obviously the target's defenses factor in, and usually I want to capture dummies who are easy to Coerce to interrogate. And there's opportunity cost-- arcane casters have a lot more competing options for offensive cantrips than divine and occult do.


Finoan wrote:
Yes. You can make nonlethal attacks with any weapon.

Oh I knew about the rule but had edited my memory into thinking it was melee weapon strikes only.

A non lethal crossbow strike... baffles the mind lol


Pathfinder Rulebook Subscriber
The Gleeful Grognard wrote:
Finoan wrote:
Yes. You can make nonlethal attacks with any weapon.

Oh I knew about the rule but had edited my memory into thinking it was melee weapon strikes only.

A non lethal crossbow strike... baffles the mind lol

I think non lethal being melee only is a 5e thing. Or at least that is how it works in BG3.


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Non lethal meta magic fireball into the crowd of peasants……perfect crowd control


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Daze just feels like the worst cantrip that you wish was actually good.


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Pathfinder Adventure, Adventure Path Subscriber

Agreed that Daze is questionably balanced. If Stun is the problem, then perhaps easing off that for a different critical effect would be better. I was surprised that there was no relatively accessible way to deny reactions via magic; it seemed like a pretty obvious status effect that would be worth chasing at all levels of play but certainly less powerful than stun.

Or make off guard both the fail (target is offguard against the next attack) and critical fail (off guard until the start of your next turn). Something. Almost anything would be an improvement.


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Indeed. I wish they had stuck with the off-guard/slow-route from the (now errata'd) short description. That additional debuff with daze could have facilitated interesting group combos. All the more, since I remember relatively few-spells causing off-guard to others, by heart.

I particularly like such abilities that incentivize coordination among characters and thus cooperative play in general. Strengthens the narrative of a group of people sticking together against the odds.

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