We Are Stupid – Episode 44

Some people know all of the rules to the Pathfinder Roleplaying Game, but many, many more do not. Here’s a list of the things we screwed up in our never-ending search for Pathfinder perfection…

Among the myriad of things that could have been wrong with the orc-raid from hell that was Episode 44, there was only one that really stuck out – one tiny little thing, with incredible repercussions. You all know that I have a penchant for hyperbole and I tend to believe the sky is falling in every combat and that, when it comes to rules we break, that they could mean drastic changes in story. Well, this time, I couldn’t even BEGIN to estimate how pervasive and world-changing this error could have been, through the entire run of the show up to this point.

Roughly 45 minutes into the episode, when an orc that was below zero hit points and staying alive through the sheer will of Ferocity, stepped up to attack Lorc (who had already taken 20 points of damage in the previous round), I halted Troy’s advancement after the five foot step, stating that a character that is staggered (as the orcs are when in ferocity mode) can only move or attack, and since his five foot step was his move action, he can’t attack.

Turns out I’m a lying, cheating scumbag of a human being.

The five foot step is a FREE ACTION!


Now, there is a layer of complication in that you can’t move anywhere else after taking a five foot step. And since you can’t move anywhere else, we’ve always assumed that a five foot step was your move action. Nope. You can take a five foot step, then load a crossbow, and then fire it for example (loading is a “move action” that doesn’t require movement). Gormlaith can take a five foot step to get out of immediate danger, cast a powerful spell, and then cackle to extend some awful hex. See where I’m going with this? The orc could have easily taken a five foot step, and then swung at Lorc because he wasn’t moving anywhere else or taking a “move action.”

Learning this one blows my mind. I’ve been playing this rule incorrectly since I first started playing Pathfinder nearly five years ago. Any game I’ve run or played in has always gotten this rule wrong. Well, that mistake won’t happen again and it’ll be very interesting to see how it changes the game. I predict it’ll be far more dangerous (for both parties).

Thanks so much to listener, fan, and rules lawyer Rob Day for writing in to bring this rule to our attention and remind us just how stupid we are. Without his email, we may never have known that the line between life or death could easily be crossed, with just a five foot step.

MAN that was cheesy, but it was worth it.

Onto more trivial stupidity: at one point Barron asks if he can fight defensively and take a shot at the newly blinded boss. I describe fighting defensively as an option that lets you take -2 to your attack rolls that round, and gain a +2 to AC.  The actual rule is that you take a -4 to your attack roll and gain a +2 Dodge bonus to AC, which Grant says at first, but then I get stupid almost instantaneously. Fun fact: dodge bonuses stack with other dodge bonuses, unlike almost every other type of bonus in Pathfinder.

You guys are the best!  Until next time…


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The 5 foot step rule is complicated. If you make a movement, you CANNOT make a 5-foot, but if you make certain move actions you can make a 5-foot during the action. This is true of certain full-round actions and standard actions. Another thing you guys get wrong in this episode is that Gil heals his bleeding by Channeling, but it doesn’t. Under “Bleed” in the rules is says specifically that it is “A spell” or a “heal check” and channeling is neither. “Bleeding can be stopped by a DC 15 Heal check or through the application of any spell… Read more »


Also, to be “stable” you need to be not losing hit points per round. Since bleed counts as losing hit points, he would not have been stable around the 50 minute mark.


Hooray! It will be so good to see the back of this error. I shall continue my catchup. : )