Overlapping Damage Auras Stack ?


Rules Discussion


So, let's say you are fighting something with a damage aura, like a balor (just the first that comes to mind)

you are fighting 2 of them. you start you turn inside both balors auras, do you need to make the save twice and take the damage twice?

i would argue no, because they are overlapping effects of the same name. "When you're affected by the same thing multiple times, only one instance applies, using the higher level of the effects, or the newer effect if the two are the same level."

but it seems that some people don't agree with this... Why ? is there any RAW ruling that would make you be affected twice that i'm not aware ?


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Yes, you are affected by both auras. They aren't the same effect. They are two different effects. Call them Aura A and Aura B if it helps you wrap your head around it.

It's like when you stand up from prone and trigger Reactive Strikes from multiple enemies. You wouldn't ignore all but one just because it's the "same effect".

I do vaguely remember there even being a rule saying you would be affected multiple times in such a case but I can't find it right now and I'm out of time for searching.


Blave wrote:
I do vaguely remember there even being a rule saying you would be affected multiple times in such a case but I can't find it right now and I'm out of time for searching.

I instead find the general rules for Duplicate Effects to be relevant in this scenario.

This is also why I didn't feel that the Animist playtest version of Earth's Bile should work the way that it was generally considered to work by the community. Duplicate effects - especially from the same creature - don't affect a target multiple times.


Finoan wrote:
Blave wrote:
I do vaguely remember there even being a rule saying you would be affected multiple times in such a case but I can't find it right now and I'm out of time for searching.

I instead find the general rules for Duplicate Effects to be relevant in this scenario.

This is also why I didn't feel that the Animist playtest version of Earth's Bile should work the way that it was generally considered to work by the community. Duplicate effects - especially from the same creature - don't affect a target multiple times.

So what happens if you switch out one of the balors for an ancient red dragon? Are you still immune to one if the auras or are you suddenly affected by both just because they have different names and numbers?

Duplicate effects should only apply to ongoing effects. The damage of the aura is instant, not ongoing. It might be ongoing for the balor, but not for anyone caught in it.


If it is a different effect, then it isn't a duplicate effect, is it?

I'm pointing out that the rule isn't as clear-cut as you initially wanted to present it as.

Also noting that if an encounter designer does want to have multiple auras affecting the party, then they shouldn't take shortcuts and use duplicate creatures. Because that will run into the Duplicate Effects rule.

Dark Archive

Two different Balor, two different Auras, two different effects, two different instances of damage.

If a wizard throws a fireball into a crowded room and sets off a fireball trap with it, that's two instances of fireball that deal damage seperately and require seperate saving throws. Same with the auras.

I would argue that the duplicate effects would only come into play if you were somehow being affected by the exact same Balor's aura twice in the same round, not two different auras from two different Balors.

At least, that's how I read it.


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Pathfinder Rulebook Subscriber

The more confusing case is for abilities which grant an immunity. Like if you succeeded at a save against a Xulgath's stench, it reads like you're immune to all his buddies too. That feels too good to be true because it makes creates diminishing difficulty returns for using multiple creatures. But rolling a million low level saves is also kind of bad for combat pacing, so I tend to treat xulgath stench as separate only if they xulgaths have different stat blocks.


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Captain Morgan wrote:
The more confusing case is for abilities which grant an immunity. Like if you succeeded at a save against a Xulgath's stench, it reads like you're immune to all his buddies too. That feels too good to be true because it makes creates diminishing difficulty returns for using multiple creatures. But rolling a million low level saves is also kind of bad for combat pacing, so I tend to treat xulgath stench as separate only if they xulgaths have different stat blocks.

A lot of those have clauses that immunity is for any such auras. Xulgath's "is temporarily immune to all xulgaths’ stenches for 1 minute" is quite clear. I don't think it's TGTBT at all. Sometimes GMs treat even auras which (mistakenly?) don't have things like that as if they do just because it's slows the game too much otherwise.


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Immunity to everyone is precisely to stop effective auto fails when you’re facing multiple enemies who are applying it to a single target or the whole party. I


Pathfinder Rulebook Subscriber

Ghast would have been a better example than xulgath, since xulgath immunity explicitly applies to all Xulgaths. Ghasts do not.


after some digging i think i learned the RAW from kineticist text. Paizo generally puts those "as usual" as a reminder of the proper rules, so i think this is RAI as well

Overlapping Kinetic Auras: A creature that's in multiple kinetic auras at the same time is subject to the special effects of all of them. As normal for duplicate effects, a creature can't be affected by multiple copies of the same effect."

"As normal for duplicate effects, a creature can't be affected by multiple copies of the same effect."

the only way to have multiples copies of the same kineticist aura is having multiple kineticist, i think this them would apply the same for monsters.


Lyra Elwind wrote:

after some digging i think i learned the RAW from kineticist text. Paizo generally puts those "as usual" as a reminder of the proper rules, so i think this is RAI as well

Overlapping Kinetic Auras: A creature that's in multiple kinetic auras at the same time is subject to the special effects of all of them. As normal for duplicate effects, a creature can't be affected by multiple copies of the same effect."

"As normal for duplicate effects, a creature can't be affected by multiple copies of the same effect."

the only way to have multiples copies of the same kineticist aura is having multiple kineticist, i think this them would apply the same for monsters.

I think it was written not about same kineticist's auras, but about same effects from different auras of one kineticist. So this doesn't help at all.

Also, there's an example in the text further: 'For instance, if an enemy were in two fire kineticists’ auras, and both kineticists had the fire kinetic aura gate junction (page 18), the creature would gain only the higher weakness from the two auras.' Which is still very normal and doesn't help because we already know that for example sickened from two ghasts won't stack.


Errenor wrote:
I think it was written not about same kineticist's auras, but about same effects from different auras of one kineticist. So this doesn't help at all.

i don't believe that this is the case. look how convoluted that would be. (same effects from different auras)

different auras are different effects, full stop on that, and your exemple even brings 2 different kineticist, not the same one.

Seems clear to me that this is so that if you had something like two winter sleets or two ravel of thorns, you would not take damage from the thorns from both auras, that would be insane, as well needing two different balance actions to walk in both winter sleets auras.

even more so because there is not auras that have same effect as the others in kineticist.


Four castings of Zone of Truth should not cause creatures in the area to have to save against all four of them before they can tell lies.

That is the entire point of the duplicate effects rule.

Having them cast by four different casters shouldn't change that.


Finoan wrote:
I instead find the general rules for Duplicate Effects to be relevant in this scenario.

Yes but it leaves a lot up to the GM.

I think the way most people play it is:
If you are in two diferent CloudKill then they don't stack. Two different Black Tentacles don't stack. But one of each would stack.

I don't really accept Keirine/Blave's argument those are two different instances of CloudKill. If you go down that path then there is no such thing as a duplicate effect.

Yes its not fair in the sense if you are Fireballed twice in the same round you would check for damage each time.

Where does it get messy?
Two different Glyph of Wardings - personally just will never allow you to stack glyphs for game balance reasons. But you could argue a glyph with Fireball is different to a glyph with Lightning Bolt.

Two different Flaming Spheres Are these the same effects. Or are they different because they happen at different times.

What about two different Shatter Space do they stack? Does it matter if they are two different cantrips used or even two different casters?

Dark Archive

Gortle wrote:
Finoan wrote:
I instead find the general rules for Duplicate Effects to be relevant in this scenario.

Yes but it leaves a lot up to the GM.

I think the way most people play it is:
If you are in two diferent CloudKill then they don't stack. Two different Black Tentacles don't stack. But one of each would stack.

I don't really accept Keirine/Blave's argument those are two different instances of CloudKill. If you go down that path then there is no such thing as a duplicate effect.

Upon reflection, I agree with you that this is going to be a GM's call, and there isn't really a good hard and fast rule. Given my example of two Balor, or two Fireballs, I would count that as two seperate instances because in my brain it makes sense that there are two seperate effects pulsating their fire damage at you.

But given the example of two Cloudkills or two Black Tentacles, I would rule that those would be duplicates and you would only have to save or take damage once, because in my brain it doesn't make sense that having overlaping poison would mean you need to take more poison damage, or having overlaping tentacles would mean you'd have to save twice.

To explain and be a bit pedantic, in my brain the two Balor are throwing off waves of hellfire energy as their aura. It pulsates out of them and slams into you. Two Balor, two pulses, two slams, so two instances of damage. If you throw a fireball into a room and it sets off a fireball trap, that's two different explosions rocking the room. Two explosions, two instances of damage. But with Cloudkill, that's just poison on top of more poison. At the start of your turn you are only going to breathe in so much poison, so you'll only take one instance of damage. If you're caught in Black Tentacles, then you're already dodging an indeterminate amount of tentacles in your space so having an indeterminate amount more just keeps it an indeterminate amount of tentacles. So I would rule that a single save would dodge all of them.


Keirine, Human Rogue wrote:
in my brain the two Balor are throwing off waves of hellfire energy as their aura. It pulsates out of them and slams into you. Two Balor, two pulses, two slams, so two instances of damage.

That would make more sense if the Balor's fire aura triggered at the start of the Balor's turn.

But it happens for each foe at the start of the foe's turn. So the fire aura is more like a permanent effect similar to Cloudkill only fire instead of poison.

Two Balors or seven Balors doesn't necessarily make the area any more fiery than one Balor would.

Blave's point about having one Balor and one Red Dragon both having a different fire aura is another point to consider.

But yes, ultimately it is going to be the GM's call if the ability is a duplicate effect or not.

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