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Nightmares domain spell Shared Nightmare can give someone the confused conditon. I am confused (hehe) about their interaction:

  • Confused ends if you take damege and succeed on a DC 11 flat check
  • If the target fails its save (but not critically) it is supposed to spend the first action confused each round, for 1 minute
  • If he critically fails, it gets simply confused for 1 minute

There are 3 options:

  1. He cannot end confused, unless he is confused. This would actually make the Failure better for us than the Critical Faillure. Unlikely that this was the intent
  2. If he is damaged and succeeds on the flat check, the effect ends. Basically worthless, unless the target critically failed, and we have someone else to hurt
  3. Other (I misunderstood something)

Which is it?

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3) Other

Obviously the result of a Critical Failure is expected to be worse than a Failure. We know that if they suffer a Critical Failure, then they're confused for a full minute. If the target suffers a regular Failure, then they're confused for the first action on each of their turns for the next minute.

Since Critical Failures are supposed to be worse, lets look at what is the worse condition, and see if we can identify what the likely intent for the spell is.

  • Obviously, being confused for only your first action each turn 1/3 of your turn is less powerful than being confused for your whole turn, so we can safely say that the Critical Failure effect is more powerful here.

  • Being confused and it clearing after making a single save is less powerful than being confused and that confusion returning every turn for the next minute even if you save.

The difference in power in the second point is significantly greater than the difference in power from the first point, which would mean that a regular Failure is worse than a Critical Failure. Since we've already determined that this shouldn't be the case, it's likely that we've misinterpreted the second point.

I would pose that the likely scenario is that if you suffer a normal failure and are confused for your first action each turn, that a save against the confusion on a normal failure would end the effect entirely, rather than ending the effect for one turn, only for it to refresh immediately on the next turn.


In regards to your #2 possibility, yes if the target is damaged and succeeds on the flat check, the condition would end. However, you should be thinking about this ahead of time and adjust your tactics accordingly, by attacking before you cast the spell. That being said, combat is rarely a 1v1 scenario. You're more likely to be fighting a 4v4 combat, since you're expected to be with a party of adventurers, rather than by yourself, and you're expected to fight multiple similar-level enemies more often than fighting a single boss enemy, so you should also communicate with your team to avoid attacking that target while the spell is in effect.

As another note, some spells are just not good in some situations. If you come across a locked door, then Grease might be *some help, but it isn't going to be the most helpful spell you could cast, likewise in a 1v1 scenario you should be casting a different spell to de-buff your opponent.

Pathfinder (and D&D) is a very tactical games, and if you undermine your own tactics, than obviously the resources you use would seem basically useless.

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    \$\begingroup\$ So basically it is option 2, I just have the wrong impression about the usual number of enemies. (Never played above level 1, so most of my encounters were boss fights) \$\endgroup\$ – András Feb 26 at 7:29
  • \$\begingroup\$ @András Yes, that's about right. Having mostly boss fights is fairly unusual, but that may just be your DM's style. It would certainly reduce the effectiveness of this spell in particular, but there are other spells that would be more useful when you only have one enemy things like Command which force the enemy to take the specific action you choose, and doesn't have a massive downside for you if the succeed on their save. \$\endgroup\$ – RevanantBacon Feb 26 at 13:24
  • \$\begingroup\$ when you are on level 1, not many things have level lower than yours, so I think this is just temporary. \$\endgroup\$ – András Feb 27 at 15:13

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