Category Archives: PFS rules

Season 6 Q&A on the Paizo blog

New factions, new classes, new technology. Season 6 brings a lot of potential changes to the campaign.

PFS developer John Compton has some rulings and clarifications on the Paizo blog.

Season 6 guide applies from August 14

Paizo has just released the Season 6 edition of the Pathfinder Society Guide to Organised Play, and it comes into effect from this coming Thursay, August 14. They’ve also updated the Additional Resources document to account for the Advanced Class Guide, which released on Thursday, and several other new publications.

This means our games on Friday will be run under Season 6 rules. Notable changes are the new factions, which have migrated from nation-based to ideal-based factions. It’s assumed that existing characters will migrate with their current factions (so Cheliax faction characters will become Dark Archive characters and so on). Each existing character will get one free faction change durig the course of Season 6 (changing faction normally costs prestige; rules for faction changes are on page 17 of the Season 6 guide).

Everyone please read up on your new factions. As with Season 5, there are no specific faction missions in any given adventure – you’re expected to know your faction’s overall goals and look for opportunities to further them. Doing so may earn you special boons on your chronicle sheets.

It also means that new aasimar or tiefling characters will not be allowed, but kitsune, nagaji and wayang are. Remember, you still need to bring a copy of the Advanced Race Guide (in print or PDF) to play these non-core races.

Reach weapons

UPDATE: A new (as of January 2015) FAQ entry from Paizo indicates Reach weapons do reach the second diagonal. This means the diagram below is now wrong. See the FAQ entry here.

Most small and medium creatures (which includes pretty much all PCs) threaten the squares they occupy and the squares immediately around them. This determines whether they can make a melee attack on a target, flank and provoke attacks of opportunity.

Characters can buy some weapons, such as paricularly long polearms, that are longer than usual. However, these reach weapons do not threaten the squares immediately around their wielder, but the squares 10 feet away (see Core Rulebook p145, or the PRD here).

Reach weapons available in the Core Rulebook are the longspear, the glaive, the guisarme , the ranseur and the whip.

This can cause some confusion because of the way Pathfinder calculates diagonal distance in 5-foot squares (the first diagonal square is work 5 feet, the second 10 feet).

Some GMs disregard this, and say reach weapons threaten the far corners, even though they’re technically 15 feet away (this was a rule in the 3.5 edition of the game Pathfinder is based on).

I favour the strict interpretaton of the Pathfinder rules, that reach weapons do not threaten the “far” corners (see this post by Paizo Creative Director James Jacobs).

This has an effect on the reach-weapon user’s attacks of opportunity and potential targets. It’s possible to attack someone with a reach weapon without being threatened by them, if you’re clever (and they stay still): move into a corner square, and stop. You’re not threatened. Next turn, take a 5-foot step to stand next to them, and attack. They still aren’t threatening you (they’ll need to step back to do so).

But you can’t simply use a regular move action to dash in and attack a reach-weapon user along his diagonals without provoking an attack of opportunity, because you’ll still cross the 10-foot threashold on your way in (see this post from Pathfinder co-designer Sean K Reynolds).

Here’s a diagram showing how it all works. The cloaked charatcer in the middle has a reach weapon and is surrounded by enemies:

Reach weapons threat zoneIf you have a reach weapon, you should ask the GM which interpretation of the rules they apply – and let them know you’re using a reach weapon!

Aid Another in combat

In last night’s game, players were the epitome of co-operation by using Aid Another in combat a lot.

This is a little-known but extremely effective tactic, particularly when facing opponents that are tought to hit, or who hit too easily. We didn’t handle it precisely as per the rules, though we were pretty close.

It’s worth understanding exactly how it works, because it can make the difference between life and death, allowing your heavy damage melee expert to hit more often, or protecting her from hits.

The rules are on Core Rulebook p197 and in the PRD here.

Key points:

  • You must be in melee combat; missile combat can’t be used to aid another.
  • You can choose whether to add +2 to one ally’s next attack or +2 to her AC. Bonuses stack, so several people can aid one.
  • To Aid Another, you roll your attack, with all relevant bonuses, against an AC of 10. That often makes it much easier to Aid than to hit the enemy. If you fail, your Aid attempt is ineffective.
  • All combatants move in their standard initiative order. Aid bonuses apply until your next turn. If an ally you want to Aid moves before you, she must either delay her action until after your turn, or make a attack without the Aid, but get the bonus on her turn in the next round.

Visualising what’s happening: you’re distracting the enemy, or attempting to wrong-foot or hinder them.

One interesting possibility would be to use an attack-trained pet to Aid your own attack. You’d need to command the animal to attack (using Handle Animal); if the animal knows the Attack trick this is a move action (or a free action for druids and rangers), and you need to succeed at a DC10 Handle Animal check.

If the pet isn’t attack trained, it’s probably not worth the effort unless it’s about the only thing you can do (you’re severely injured, unable to close, out of missile ammo/spells, etc) ad you want to to aid an ally. Getting an animal without the Attack trick to attack is a full-round action (a move action for druids and rangers), and you must succeed at a DC25 Handle Animal check.

New races, new mode of play

Paizo’s latest Pathfinder Society blog reveals that from August 14 aasimar and tieflings will be dropped as playable races (unless you have a special boon). You can continue to play aasimar and tieflings characters who’ve earned at least 1XP before that date, but won’t be able to create new characters after that (without a boon).

Instead, three new races – previously availabe only with boons – will be available: the kitsune (fox-people), nagaji (snake people) and wayang (shadow people). Remember, you’ll still need to bring a copy of the Advanced Race Guide (either print or PDF) to games in order to play these races.

And the campaign co-ordinators have also unveiled a new form of play – ultra-short quests, quicker to play than a full PFS scenario. Several of them strung together earn 1XP and a Chronicle sheet, just as a scenario does. This short form is aimed at cons and other situations where a 4-5 hour session isn’t possible.

More details on the PFS blog.

Hollow’s Last Hope isn’t PFS-compatible

We’ve had a couple of GMs suggest running the Paizo module Hollow’s Last Hope as a Pathfinder Society game – possibly because it’s a free scenario, it was produced by Paizo, so it’s got to be PFS compatible, right?

Unforunately, no, it isn’t. Hollow’s Last Hope was written for the 3.5 rules system, before Pathfinder was published. While most of the Season 0 PFS scenarios (also written for 3.5) have been adapted for Pathfinder, none of the other modules have.

If you’d like to run modules or adventure paths that are not specifically written for Pathfinder Society, check the PFS Additional Resources document for any specific changes you may need to make. If the module you’re interested in isn’t in the Additional Resources document, it isn’t legal for PFS.

Another clue is that PFS-compatible modules include a link to their Chronicle Sheet in their product description.