Is there an easy way to remember how to Counteract?


Pathfinder Second Edition General Discussion


The problem I run into with Counteract checks is that whenever it happens, I have to pull up the Level Based DCs table. I have the page constantly open, but it kills my mental momentum to have to reference it. More often it's a creature ability that's being counteracted rather than a spell so I have to get the "half their level rounded up" rather than the spellcasting DC from their statblock. And unlike characters, creatures don't have an inherent "class DC" on their statblock either.

I don't like that it's not something I can internalize as an instinct of how to calculate it quickly. Like how in 5e D&D I know that any random creature DC will be set by 8 + mod + skill. Short of memorizing the entire Level Based DCs table, I don't see how I can can make this faster and less confusing.

Is there a better method that I'm just not aware of?


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If it's the level-based DCs chart that's messing with you, the first GM reference I made for 2e was to write that chart down somewhere I could always see it. Aside from that, eventually I noticed that the level based DC increases by 2 every three levels or so iirc, so if you take 14 (for level 0) and add the creature's level + 1/3 lvl, it should be close

(For example creature level 10 should have 14 + 10 + 3.333 = 27, and if I google that chart right now... I'm on the money)

This does require you the mental math of easily dividing numbers up to 20 by 3, but it's not so hard if you just keep a lock on the multiples and know that everything else rounds down 3, 6, 9, 12, 15, 18.

As for the Counter level, that's the same formula as spell rank, and after that it's always -3/-1/+1/+3 to whether you can counter something, so you almost always counter any lower level effect and have a decent shot as countering anything just a bit higher.


If I can use your formula to approximate it, that's really good for me.

I think part of my issue is that when I constantly have to reference the chart, I'm not internalizing it. So by constantly working through a formula instead, I can learn through experience and repetition and learn to ballpark.

Thanks a ton! Now I just need to remember this the next time a Counteract happens... :)


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That table is on the GM Screen, or maybe the Advanced GM Screen. Either way I have easy access to it in my games.


If I can internalize it, it's faster for me to do quick math in my head than it is for me to pull up the table.

Like I said, I always have easy access to it because it lives on a permanently open window on my computer. And doing it during downtime with crafting or whatever isn't an issue. I'll use it for that.

But expediency is one of my priorities during encounters to keep the tempo going. So if I can get the DC with 14 + level + level/3, that's going to be faster than me pulling up the table.


Pathfinder Rulebook Subscriber
Fumarole wrote:
That table is on the GM Screen, or maybe the Advanced GM Screen. Either way I have easy access to it in my games.

I think it is on both. If you're playing in person this is the most important single purchase you can make, IMO.

That said, you rarely need to reference the level based DC charts. You usually use the DC of the effect, with the counter act level being the spell level or the half the creature/hazard/item/affliction level rounded up. I more often find myself referencing the actual counteract rules, which I think are on at least one screen.

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