We Are Stupid – Episode 52

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…

It can be tough to remember that movement penalties stack. This comes under the rules of tactical movement related to Hampering Conditions: any of the many environmental factors that can make it more difficult than usual to move onto or through a square. Here’s the rule as written for when multiple movement penalties are enforced:

If more than one hampering condition applies, multiply all additional costs that apply. This is a specific exception to the normal rule for doubling. 

Remember when our new fetchling ally Della attempted to roll an acrobatics check to avoid an attack of opportunity from the huge, Gelabrous-swallowing plant creature? She could not take a five foot step as a free action because the entire area was difficult terrain, so she did the acrobatics check to avoid the AoO and move 10 feet. We all know that difficult terrain decreases your movement speed by half, but do we all remember that making an acrobatics check to avoid an attack of opportunity also decreases your movement speed by half?

How was that for condescending?

Troy rarely remembers to enforce this rule. He knows it. He definitely does, but he forgets to enforce in the heat of combat, and that’s why we need to police ourselves a little better.

In this case, I would argue that Della should be limited to moving only five feet. Even though her movement speed is most likely 30 feet per round (she is, after all, a 17 year old shadow creature), that would mean her max movement in this situation is seven and half feet (she’s moving at quarter speed). Rounded down to a multiple of five, that’s five feet. In deadly combats like this, five feet can mean life or death, so we need to be less stupid. In the end, though, the extra five feet didn’t keep her from getting eaten alive. So harm, no foul.

Incidentally, here are some fun rules I learned while researching this:

Della could have moved up to 15 feet in the round while doing an acrobatics check or checks to avoid any attacks of opportunity if she elected to have Troy increase the DC by 10. This would mean Troy would add 10 to the huge creature’s Combat Maneuver Defense, a number that I would imagine is already very large. According to Troy, Matthew’s roll of a natural 20, “just barely gets out of its range of an attack of opportunity.” I’d have to imagine that attempting this would be a definite failure, but desperate times call for desperate measures. It’s nice to know that Pathfinder gives us the option.

Further, logic dictates that this stacking rule, if taken to its extreme, could result in situations where so many movement penalties are stacked on top of one another that your character’s effective max movement is zero. In these cases, you can move five feet by spending a full round action to do so, and, of course, the movement will provoke attacks of opportunity as normal. Just imagine what kind of awfulness you’d have to be experiencing if you ever had to look up and utilize that rule. I think Lorc would rather take one last swing. At any rate, let’s hope it never happens to the GCP crew. Or, let’s hope it does.

Onto the next mistake!

Now, I think this one must be a first for the show. In this one Troy actually reads the rule directly from the rule book out loud, and then still lets Matthew get away with breaking the rule! As read, word for word, on the show, when you are swallowed whole you can cut your way out “with any light slashing or piercing weapon.” A scimitar is not a light weapon! C’mon, guys.! Really?! This rule is designed to explain that since you are in something’s gullet, you don’t have the freedom to cut your way out with anything but a dagger, or a kukri, or at most a short sword.

Light weapons are often shunned because they don’t have high damage output, but in situations like this they are huge! Any rogues out there with the Weapon Finesse feat know all about the virtues of carrying light weapons. For the time being, I’ll assume that a magus like Della, with a high intelligence, would like to keep a dagger handy,”for close encounters,” and you don’t get closer than swallowed whole. She must have had one on her belt, right?


And while we’re on the subject of using large, unwieldy weapons in tight quarters, Lorc got away with a sweet kill that shouldn’t have been allowed to happen! Remember what I just said about Della not being able to cut herself out without a light weapon? Well, you don’t need a light weapon to hack away at a creature that’s grappling you, but you do need a one-handed weapon. Lorc’s falchion, (or should I say Skreed’s falchion??? Nah, statute of limitations.) is a two-handed weapon. I can tell you that Lorc did have two other one handed weapons on his belt that he could have attacked with, so maybe we would have been fine, or maybe Lorc joins Della and Gel in the acid soup! I think Lorc Irontusk would have given that thing a serious case of acid reflux.

Thanks for listening, guys!

Until next time!


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Doug Sundseth
Doug Sundseth

Other stuff not noted here (mostly in case somebody new to Pathfinder comes across this while listening to the ‘cast): 1) Command allows only one of five commands. None of those is “Submit!” 2) “Two characters are engaged in melee if they are enemies of each other and either threatens the other.” If any character threatens or is threatened by an enemy, it and its enemy are in melee. But: “If your target (or the part of your target you’re aiming at, if it’s a big target) is at least 10 feet away from the nearest friendly character, you can… Read more »