Remaster Seek Area Rule


Rules Discussion


I just learned of this change to Seek.

Old Seek wrote:
If precision is necessary, the GM can have you select a 30-foot cone or a 15-foot burst within line of sight.
New Seek wrote:
The GM determines the area you can scan with one Seek action—almost always 30 feet or less in any dimension.

The rule has lost a lot of specificity, and I'm not sure what warranted this. I think having that specificity when looking for stealthy creatures in an encounter was very beneficial.


Maybe to prevent some players insisting they can seek around corners? I dunno. I'll probably still run it pretty generously, as long as nobody tries to take advantage


The guidance for GM adjudication got less specific.

The rule didn't really change.

CRB Seek wrote:
You scan an area for signs of creatures or objects. If you're looking for creatures, choose an area you're scanning.
Player Core Seek wrote:
You scan an area for signs of creatures or objects, possibly including secret doors or hazards. Choose an area to scan.

So if the GM wants to have you choose a 30-foot cone or 15-foot burst that is a completely reasonable area to scan with one Seek action in the Remaster rules.

Or are you concerned that with the guidance being less specific that the GM is going to tell you that you get to pick one 5-foot square to target as your area for a single Seek action? Because that isn't a problem that can be fixed with rules.


SuperParkourio wrote:
I think having that specificity when looking for stealthy creatures in an encounter was very beneficial.

Unless something like what Finoan wrote happens, it's actually very beneficial change. This way it's very easy to allow to seek in corners and squares which don't go into rigid 30-foot cone or 15-foot burst areas. Irregular seek areas now are allowed almost explicitly.


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Pathfinder Rulebook Subscriber
Finoan wrote:
Because that isn't a problem that can be fixed with rules.

I don't see why not, considering it's one created by a change in the rules in the first place.


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Squiggit wrote:
Finoan wrote:
Because that isn't a problem that can be fixed with rules.
I don't see why not, considering it's one created by a change in the rules in the first place.

If I have learned anything from being on this forum, it is that if a GM doesn't like something they will nerf it - whether the rules allow that or not. And that if someone really wants to, they can argue the rules into being very, very restrictive. To the point of effectively disallowing things that are supposed to be allowed by a more simple reading and interpretation of the rules.

So no, the attitude of the GM saying that "I don't like that you can Seek in a very large area for one action and will find any reason possible to not let you do it" is not something that can be fixed with a rules change. Anyone who attempts that will find themselves writing rules changes indefinitely.


Having to choose between the cone or the burst was a bad choice to put in front of players because if looking at volumetric area covered the sphere is always significantly higher than the cone, but if limited to a 2D plane the cone is better if you're able to aim it orthogonal and equal if diagonal - and then also the player might not even know any of this and is just going to say they are trying to Seek and the GM is going to ask "cone or burst?" and the player will go "uh... I dunno, I just want to check that area by those barrels over there."

So having the rule altered to be an area with a maximum size and no choice element besides where you're trying to seek smooths out the game-play of it all.


Baarogue wrote:
Maybe to prevent some players insisting they can seek around corners? I dunno. I'll probably still run it pretty generously, as long as nobody tries to take advantage

Isn't Seeking around corners the whole point of the burst? If there's an undetected creature past a corner, you might be able to hear them by Seeking, making them hidden. Now the mechanics for that are confusing.

Suppose you and your party are Avoiding Notice and combat begins with all of you behind a corner. You all succeed, but a monster wins initiative, so he knows there's at least one enemy nearby. He Seeks in a burst centered outside the door. Since your party is right outside the door, three of you are at risk of being detected, but whoever is all the way in the back is just outside the burst, so they can't be detected. Perhaps the precision of a burst wasn't needed, but it provided the GM an impartial way to adjudicate where the Seek was occurring. Now there's no clear way to tell how many of the PCs are caught in the area for Seek, because the area for this situation has gone from "15-foot burst" to "something no bigger than 30 feet."

Yes, you could decide that the precision is unneeded and just not think about it too hard, allowing the monster to Seek against all four PCs or perhaps two or however many you decide. But the original rule already allowed that because those areas are for when the GM decides precision is needed. My issue is that the vague option is now the only option. Should the Seeker get to Seek in a 30 foot burst? A 15 foot cone? What circumstances would be appropriate for any given area that one Seeks in. Does one even get to place the area oneself?


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Finoan wrote:
If I have learned anything from being on this forum, it is that if a GM doesn't like something they will nerf it - whether the rules allow that or not.

But the GM isn't nerfing anything. They're following the rules, which provide vague guidance on what's reasonable in any given situation.

"There's no point in having a specific rule because a GM might change it" is kind of just an argument against tabletop systems in general.


Squiggit wrote:
Finoan wrote:
If I have learned anything from being on this forum, it is that if a GM doesn't like something they will nerf it - whether the rules allow that or not.

But the GM isn't nerfing anything. They're following the rules, which provide vague guidance on what's reasonable in any given situation.

"There's no point in having a specific rule because a GM might change it" is kind of just an argument against tabletop systems in general.

So you picked one word out of that entire explanation to pick on and twist what I said to mean something different.

I think you are illustrating my point quite effectively.


SuperParkourio wrote:
Baarogue wrote:
Maybe to prevent some players insisting they can seek around corners? I dunno. I'll probably still run it pretty generously, as long as nobody tries to take advantage

Isn't Seeking around corners the whole point of the burst? If there's an undetected creature past a corner, you might be able to hear them by Seeking, making them hidden. Now the mechanics for that are confusing.

Suppose you and your party are Avoiding Notice and combat begins with all of you behind a corner. You all succeed, but a monster wins initiative, so he knows there's at least one enemy nearby. He Seeks in a burst centered outside the door. Since your party is right outside the door, three of you are at risk of being detected, but whoever is all the way in the back is just outside the burst, so they can't be detected. Perhaps the precision of a burst wasn't needed, but it provided the GM an impartial way to adjudicate where the Seek was occurring. Now there's no clear way to tell how many of the PCs are caught in the area for Seek, because the area for this situation has gone from "15-foot burst" to "something no bigger than 30 feet."

Yes, you could decide that the precision is unneeded and just not think about it too hard, allowing the monster to Seek against all four PCs or perhaps two or however many you decide. But the original rule already allowed that because those areas are for when the GM decides precision is needed. My issue is that the vague option is now the only option. Should the Seeker get to Seek in a 30 foot burst? A 15 foot cone? What circumstances would be appropriate for any given area that one Seeks in. Does one even get to place the area oneself?

yeah, don't mistake me taking a wild guess as arguing to justify my guess. I'm not invested in this because I plan to still run seeking as is, which is supported by the new wording even if it's not spelled out that way. And I did and will still allow seeking around corners because sound exists. I just make sure my players know just because they can seek around corners with a burst seek doesn't mean they can see around corners


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And btw "30' in any dimension" at max is a 15' burst so no area was lost. The new wording is just more flexible and gets rid of the less effective and never-picked (at least at my tables) cone option


Baarogue wrote:
And btw "30' in any dimension" at max is a 15' burst so no area was lost. The new wording is just more flexible and gets rid of the less effective and never-picked (at least at my tables) cone option

And with that flexibility comes ambiguity in life-or-death situations. If it were up to the player, they'd always pick a 30' wide cube, because it's the biggest shape that's no more than 30' in any dimension (it occurs to me that a 30' burst is actually 60' wide). But how does a GM decide what size and shape to allow? And under what circumstances?


SuperParkourio wrote:
But how does a GM decide what size and shape to allow? And under what circumstances?

15-foot burst any and every time for maximum volume within the limitation and because it functionally lets the player pick a point where they want to look and see everything within a fair-to-the-rules distance. With the limiting factor being things that naturally block line of sight anyways.

One does not need to stress about this nor make it into a "but what are we actually doing?" question like the original version was written as being.


SuperParkourio wrote:
Baarogue wrote:
And btw "30' in any dimension" at max is a 15' burst so no area was lost. The new wording is just more flexible and gets rid of the less effective and never-picked (at least at my tables) cone option
And with that flexibility comes ambiguity in life-or-death situations. If it were up to the player, they'd always pick a 30' wide cube, because it's the biggest shape that's no more than 30' in any dimension (it occurs to me that a 30' burst is actually 60' wide). But how does a GM decide what size and shape to allow? And under what circumstances?

I dunno where you're pulling 30' burst from but like I said I'm not invested so overthink it all you want

>how does a GM decide what size and shape to allow? And under what circumstances?
Man just use your best fing judgement based on common sense. Can they seek through a plywood wall? Probably. 10' thick cave wall? Maybe not

Really it comes down to one of my GMing principles. Don't arbitrarily limit something if there's no reason for me to do so. I don't agonize over this because in most cases there won't be any reason to deny the players a full 15' burst

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