pathfinder 1e – When does initiative happen after a failed sleight of hand check?

It works best if initiative should already be determined before the attempt is made.

Let me preface by saying: I play rogues a lot, like a lot a lot. Hands down my favorite class. So I have ample experience handling things that they do often. Like picking pockets. This is what my group has found to work best.

Roll initiative before the attempt is even made. If the check is successful, great, our pickpocket walks off without a care. On the other hand, if the check is failed, then that’s part of their first turn.

Assuming that the potential mark has no reason to attack our would-be pickpocketer before such an attempt is made, this should be treated as a surprise round for our sticky-fingered friend. They get one Standard or Move Action, and one Swift Action. Since they already spent their standard attempting to pick a pocket (and failing), so they would only have a single swift action left. Then, they likely go again immediately, as our mark looses their first turn from surprise. We then proceed with combat as normal.

pathfinder 1e – Can one dismiss their Psionic Focus voluntarily?

First, up front, there isn’t a direct “on page such-and-such it says you can dismiss psionic focus by…” answer to this question. On this point, I cannot prove a negative but I am quite confident. We have to extrapolate from existing information about what psionic focus and its expenditure is. Therefore:

The basic usage of psionic focus, assuming no relevant feats or class features, is to “take 15” on a concentration check. Concentration checks don’t usually require any kind of action—they are automatically prompted by circumstances (i.e. something trying to disrupt your concentration). This, to me, strongly suggests that there isn’t really any “effort” involved in expending psionic focus. Certainly, there are ways in which you can expend psionic focus without using any action at all, not even a free one, considering how concentration works.

Moreover, while the rules for concentration focus on disruptions during spellcasting, there isn’t really any reason why you can’t just concentrate on something else, and can’t just make a concentration check “for funsies.” Call it, ya know, “meditation”—which is a pretty big part of psionics.

Furthermore, you can change your chosen energy type by “re-focusing” without dismissing your psionic focus. You don’t focus “twice” (unless you have something that actually lets you do that, like the Deep Focus feat), but you can change stuff that you pick on focusing. This takes the same amount of effort as focusing would otherwise (so usually a full-round action, unless you have Psionic Meditation). So really, the whole question is moot. (If you do have Deep Focus, the same still applies: you can just go through your usual focusing routine to change your active energy type, even if you’re already “full” on your foci.)

Finally, a bit of editorializing: Pathfinder psionics is based on the Expanded Psionics Handbook psionics for D&D 3.5e, which is also available as open-game content, e.g. here. In 3.5e, manifesters never picked an energy type when they focused—they could just freely choose the energy type they used for each power they manifested. See the 3.5e version of energy ray for example—no mention of “active energy type,” because that wasn’t a thing, instead you just chose when you manifested the power. This change to make the active energy type fixed when you focus was a mistake. There is simply no good reason for it—it’s awkward and makes some of the weakest psionic powers weaker. I strongly recommend that your GM just remove it from your games. They’ll be better for it.

And my source for all of this is that I worked for Dreamscarred Press for a time, on psionic material. I came after Ultimate Psionics—and so missed the opportunity to push back against the active energy type—but the fact that they paid me to write psionic material for them is hopefully worthy of consideration. I was hired on the strength of my homebrew portfolio and the deep conversations I’d had with DSP devs about psionics, and those things were based upon my extensive experience with psionics as both DM/GM and as player. I have pretty considerable experience with games that skip the active energy type, either 3.5e where it never existed or Pathfinder where it was houseruled out, so that recommendation is coming from a place of pretty deep expertise.

pathfinder 1e – The BBEG wants to delay the party in the final battle… (narrative delay?)

At the risk of providing a mechanical solution to a potentially social problem:

The BBEG(not just you as the DM, the BBEG) is trying to trick the PCs(not necessarily the players, the Player Characters) into not acting, waiting until the “timer” runs out.

This to me is an enemy action, resisted by character statistics: I.e. a scenario for rolling dice. Normally, this would be would be (I believe, its been a while since I played Pathfinder) an opposed skill roll, probably Sense Motive(PCs) vs Bluff, Diplomacy or Performance. There are two potential issues with this:

  1. The Veiled Master has none of these skills. This can be fixed by giving the Veiled Master a “herald” or “mouth” to speak through, who has these skills to make the monologue on their behalf, if you don’t want to make it too easy.

  2. A dice roll on the player’s part can tip them off, especially if you do what I do for extended skill usages and have the PCs “roll” repeatedly, or every turn in initiative. You could take a note from D&D 5e and make it a “passive” check: The Veiled Master rolls, against a static DC (e.g. 10+the PCs appropriate bonuses).

Additionally, if you want the first couple “rolls” to succeed, or
very likely succeed, you can have the based value change over time,
starting low and increasing every round (e.g. start at 1, and
increase this “roll” of the PCs by 1/2/5 each round, depending on
how fast you want this to grow, rolling normally for the Veiled Master.

If you really want to be sneaky, and get more use out of your “pre-combat” minions, give them feint skills and have them try to feint the PCs so you can record their Sense Motive bonuses (perhaps giving them a home-brew feat forcing the feint DC to be 10+Sense Motive, rather than the option of 10+AttackBonus+Wisdom).

If you want to reward individual characters who have high sense motive, you could have it so that if some PCs “pass” and others “fail”, the passing PCs get the insight (and presumably “start combat”, even if already initiative), while the failing PCs start surprised/flat-footed the first round, as if it were a surprise round.

pathfinder 1e – For an attack against a target with the Blink spell cast on them, does Spirit Sensing Stance reduce the miss chance to 20%?

Spirit Sensing Stance will not help you to reduce your miss chance when targeting a creature under the effects of Blink.

Spirit Sensing Stance gives you the Scent special ability, which functions as normal, with the additional bonus of allowing you to smell creatures on the border ethereal.

Scent (Ex):

This special quality allows a creature to detect approaching enemies, sniff out hidden foes, and track by sense of smell. Creatures with the scent ability can identify familiar odors just as humans do familiar sights.

The creature can detect opponents within 30 feet by sense of smell. If the opponent is upwind, the range increases to 60 feet; if downwind, it drops to 15 feet. Strong scents, such as smoke or rotting garbage, can be detected at twice the ranges noted above. Overpowering scents, such as skunk musk or troglodyte stench, can be detected at triple normal range.

When a creature detects a scent, the exact location of the source is not revealed—only its presence somewhere within range. The creature can take a move action to note the direction of the scent. When the creature is within 5 feet of the source, it pinpoints the source’s location.

A creature with the scent ability can follow tracks by smell, making a Wisdom (or Survival) check to find or follow a track. The typical DC for a fresh trail is 10 (no matter what kind of surface holds the scent). This DC increases or decreases depending on how strong the quarry’s odor is, the number of creatures, and the age of the trail. For each hour that the trail is cold, the DC increases by 2. The ability otherwise follows the rules for the Survival skill. Creatures tracking by scent ignore the effects of surface conditions and poor visibility.

Scent specifically operates off of you sense of smell, and does not enhance your sight in any manner. Blink specifically stipulates

If the attacker can see invisible creatures, the miss chance is also only 20%. (For an attacker who can both see and strike ethereal creatures, there is no miss chance.)

You may note that the Scent ability says that creatures with Scent ignore the effects of poor visibility, but this only applies when using Scent to track a creature.

pathfinder 1e – Maintaining Miss Chance at High Levels (Or Similar Defenses)

From my time spent reading answers here, it seems relatively commonly accepted that in Pathfinder, AC is a weak defense. One claim I’ve seen put forth is that it’s entirely possible to obtain a miss chance that equals or exceeds the protection granted by any level of AC; I find this believable given spells like mirror image, blur, and displacement. I’m currently playing a Pathfinder campaign that’s just hit 14th level where I’ve been making decently heavy use of miss chances in place of AC1, and I’ve personally noticed that some form of sense capable of negating most miss chances (generally blindsight or true seeing) is increasingly common.

What ways are there in Pathfinder for a character to make effective use of miss chances at high levels in the presence of supernatural or magical senses that bypass conventional sources of miss chance? Options for any character are acceptable, though given Pathfinder’s large number of two-thirds casters, I’d especially like to see answers not limited to full casters.

I’m also entirely open to a frame challenge of the form that “miss chance is simply not effective at higher levels in Pathfinder,” in which case an answer that elaborates on alternative defenses at high level would be preferred.


1 In case anyone’s curious, I’m playing a silksworn occultist in a War for the Crown campaign. We are using basically all first-party sources as well as Path of War from Dreamscarred Press. The specific issues I’ve been observing are a combination of enemies bypassing miss chances and mirror image as well as either enclosed spaces or highly mobile and proactive dangerous melee enemies.

spells – (Pathfinder) Detect vs Seeing (Wording)

Question: If a creature is in the etheral plane and can lower the hit chance from 50% to 20% If you can detect It. Would the effect apply or you need to see it?

Spell in question is Bink

Abilities confusion

Spirit Sensing Stance:
By sensing the different patterns all beings that exist have, the senses of the Veiled Moon disciple exceed that of natural beings and move into the realm of supernatural awareness. While in this stance, the initiators gains the scent special ability and he may detect creatures on the Ethereal plane that are near the Material plane within 30-ft. of his position.

See Invisibility: You can see any objects or beings that are invisible within your range of vision, as well as any that are ethereal, as if they were normally visible. Such creatures are visible to you as translucent shapes, allowing you easily to discern the difference between visible, invisible, and ethereal creatures.

The spell does not reveal the method used to obtain invisibility. It does not reveal illusions or enable you to see through opaque objects. It does not reveal creatures who are simply hiding, concealed, or otherwise hard to see.

See invisibility can be made permanent with a permanency spell.

Blink:
You “blink” quickly back and forth between the Material Plane and the Ethereal Plane and look as though you’re winking in and out of reality at random. Blink has several effects, as follows.

Physical attacks against you have a 50% miss chance, and the Blind-Fight feat doesn’t help opponents, since you’re ethereal and not merely invisible. If the attack is capable of striking ethereal creatures, the miss chance is only 20% (for concealment).

If the attacker can see invisible creatures, the miss chance is also only 20%. (For an attacker who can both see and strike ethereal creatures, there is no miss chance.) Likewise, your own attacks have a 20% miss chance, since you sometimes go ethereal just as you are about to strike.

pathfinder 1e – Does a Rogue with Cardsharp (Deadly Dealer) need the Quick Draw feat to keep throwing cards if he is holding the deck of cards?

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pathfinder 1e – What are the drawbacks of placing time limits on turns?

Placing time limits on turns further couples character skill and player skill. This is not a bad thing inherently, but it is a bad thing in many playstyles. You need to make sure you and your players are on the same page before doing that. You can allow character differences to play in somewhat, for example, I once played a round of D&D 3.5 (which is basically Pathfinder) with a sort of speed-chess like system for out of game turn time limits. The base time per round was intelligence based while the maximum you could have banked at once was wisdom based. Nonetheless, this system will always add a significant element of player skill to the game that wasn’t there before, and people may be upset about that.

There are no other drawbacks, but the tie-in to player skill has a number of complications. The most fundamental one is that it changes what sorts of characters players can make. While it does let players who are fast on their feet make and play characters that would otherwise be impossible to pull off, this will not be noticed as much as that all players, but especially slower ones, will not be able to play characters that they otherwise would be able to play.

That said, there are a LOT of drawbacks to your specific implementation:

1) The implementation is non-symmetric. The GM has no limit on their turn, which basically nullifies most of the benefits of timed turns in the first place. Furthermore, it is rather condescending.

2) Players can’t collaborate during combat because they can’t talk to each other without waiting a round this is kinda ridiculous and will break the kind of simulationism you claim to be seeking.

3) Your rules cause a lot of problems with the pathfinder rules. Specifically, there are many, many actions that can be taken out of turn. Your rules don’t allow for that, so, for example, if I use an immediate action at the start of another player’s turn, I will have the opportunity to fully negate their turn. Furthermore, I have no time limit applied to me at such a time. I can declare that I’m casting featherfall as an immediate action, and dither over the target indefinitely. Everybody loses their actions, but it’s not like the bad guys can do anything until I pick who I’m targeting because the immediate action has no time limit. In fact, if I’m not engaging in PvP, such abilities are probably unintendedly powerful in your system, since engaging them during an opponent’s turn allows all the players time to think. Of course, declaring the action will be difficult since you can’t talk even OoC out of turn, but you presumably could say during your turn “I cast featherfall during the turn of the first goblin that gets a turn before it can do anything”.

3b) Readied actions pose a similar problem: “I ready to strike the dragon when it swoops by me” Later.. “Ok, the dragon swoops by you, do you attack it?” “…”. Having to declare whether to use the readied action or abandon it during your own turn is very problematic.

3c) players with lots of characters are much advantaged by this system. In fact, having bag of enslaved rats is basically necessary for party communication. Since player communication is tied to character turns, having a bunch of alternating rat turns with rats completely irrelevant to the combat allows players to talk to eachother out of character and to request clarification from the GM.

3d) this system encourages players to shout over eachother. If I’m engaging in PvP with another player, I should try to interrupt their turn with as many actions as possible in order to divert GM focus and cause them to lose their actions. In order to prevent this, I should ignore and talk over the GM during my turn so that my actions have been stated within the time limit. This will make the already strained relationship this system lends itself to worse.

4) loss of action is too severe a penalty. The drawback to an overly severe penalty is that life and death will often be a matter of accident. This is worse in that the system is horribly one-sided. The default action system mitigates this, but not well (see #10)

4b) Furthermore, this penalty makes no sense in the fiction, while you are seeking fictional realism. This is bad.

5) The absurd and overly harsh limits on player participation, especially player verbal participation, limit player agency in the sense players normally participate in Pathfinder.

6) The absurd and overly harsh limits on player participation, especially player verbal participation, set the players against the GM. This game will be a game about rebellion and defiance, not in the game-fictional sense, per se, but in a postmodernist sense. The players, to exercise agency, must trick you, find loopholes in your regulations, and engage in positive collaborative experience despite your attempts to crush their spirits, forbid them from exercising any creative or perceptive inclinations, and generally stop them from having fun.

7) This system will make combats drag on a very, very long time– in fact I rather suspect they would never end at a certain point– and abstract the focus of the game to how the players can exclude the GM rather than anything interacting with the game world. This does not sound like something I would have fun GMing, and it also runs contrary to your stated objectives.

8) A lack of time limit on math allows players to use math to get more time. Cast a spell requiring the GM to solve a partial differential equation before casting one that you need time to figure out. Again, talk over the GM while he’s trying to do the maths so that way you can get extra info on the record and give your teammates more time to think and more info about what you’re doing.

9) This dramatically increases GM bookkeeping and the reliance on GM discretion since the new rules are largely hand-wavey in terms of what counts as what and the GM will need to constantly arbitrate these new rules.

10) The default action system bypasses most of these problems. Players should lay out a complicated and elaborate interlocking network of conditional statements that form a comprehensive party plan as their default action. Then the players should go off and do something fun while the GM resolves combat, as they wouldn’t be able to participate much, anyways. This excludes the GM from the fun group activity that the players get to do while he or she runs the combat out mechanically according to the players’ default action flow chart. It also means that the players’ will not be very engaged with the combats and will need to be brought up to speed as to what happened afterwards. The GM will also probably be told they misapplied certain sections of the flow chart at least sometimes, and thus end up going back and recalculating things again.

Basically, timed systems only have the inherent difference that they included ‘using timed systems’ as a part of the skillset game performance is based off of. Your timed system, however, is very, very problematic and would best be avoided. If your goal is to achieve a more intense combat with more engaged players, I suggest you ask about how to do that in a separate question, or even how to do that with time-management.


Extra information regarding speed-chess as a timing system:

I really like the speed chess version of this and if you choose to do it, I’d recommend you go that route. You can get apps for that for smartphones and computers and stuff, and it allows for a very flawless switch between timers. So, like, GM sends it to Bob’s turn for combat and Bob asks for a description of the orcs and hits it back to the GM who hits it back when he’s done describing.

You can learn more about the different kinds of speed chess (here)(
en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chess_clock#Time_controls). We used something based off of the Fischer system with Int score/2 seconds as the per-turn delay, Wis score/2 minutes as the starting and maximum banked times each combat, and Con score/2 seconds as how much time you get back every time you fully run out of time at the cost of increasing penalties. If I remember correctly the penalties were something like fatigued–>exhausted–>unconcious, except I think being staggered played in somehow. In any case, I don’t remember the rules entirely and I don’t have them any longer so you’ll have to come up with your own adaptation.

If you decide to use sandglasses, you will want a lot of extras so no one has to sit around awkwardly waiting for the sand to run out after someone took a fast turn. Generally, sandglasses should be avoided, though.

If you use some variety of digital timer, that would be better than sandglasses but dedicated timing software more directly designed for your purposes will work even better. At the very least, you need to be able to reset the timer to a preprogrammed value with ease (at least, if your GM timing limitations for NPCs ends up working anything like ours did. You could also base something off of that many-v.s.-one grandmaster exhibition format, but I don’t know if they make timers that have a pool for that sort of game that could work for this. There is a chess stack exchange, you could ask there. Actually, that sounds like a useful thing just for playing chess as well so I asked about it. You can see the question here.

pathfinder 1e – Can the Dimension Dervish chain be use in conjunction with combat, teamwork feats?

No, this does not work

Precise Strike says:

Whenever you and an ally* who also has this feat are flanking the same the creature, you deal an additional 1d6 points of precision damage with each successful melee attack […]

There is no argument about whether or not you count as your own ally, but you don’t count as two people. As you can see, the Precise Strike feat specifically requires both you and an ally.

Dimensional Savant, in its entirety, says:

You flash into and out of reality so quickly it is impossible to tell exactly where you are at any given time.

Prerequisites: Dimensional Agility, Dimensional Assault, Dimensional Dervish, ability to use the abundant step class feature or cast dimension door, base attack bonus +9.

Benefit: While using the Dimensional Dervish feat, you provide flanking from all squares you attack from. Flanking starts from the moment you make an attack until the start of your next turn. You can effectively flank with yourself and with multiple allies when using this feat.

Dimensional Agility allows you to flank with yourself, but nowhere in its text does allow you to count as two people, therefore, you can’t gain the benefits of that teamwork feat by flanking with yourself.

pathfinder 1e – Dimensional Savant + Wild Flanking, do I damage myself?

It’s been established that you do count as your own ally for Teamwork Feats when using Dimensional Savant to flank with yourself, but how far does this extend into Wild Flanking, a Betrayal Feat?

Since I’m technically acting as both initiator and abettor, would I have to roll to potentially damage myself, or would it be a non-issue since I’m not really there on the other side of my flanking target? One could argue that I’m both there and not there at the same time; Schrödinger’s Flanker, if you would.