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In Pathfinder 2e the Quickling has an ability called Fade from View which, as a free action, lets the quickling become invisible until it uses an attack, manipulate, or move action. The quickling can't use Fade from View again for 1d4 rounds. To be used it requires the quickling to not have used any attack, manipulate, or move actions in the previous round.

I swear I can't figure out how to use it efficiently and what purpose does such an ability serve. Standard Invisibility doesn't deactivate until an hostile action is used, so it can be used for something, but invisibility that requires you to do basically nothing for a turn and expires as soon as you do something is almost useless. The only scenario where I can imagine some use for such an ability (beside starting combat while invisible, maybe) is if the quickling retreats with all its actions behind a faraway cover and then becomes invisible before someone can get to it while pursuing it. But it's such a niche scenario that it makes me wonder why shouldn't the quickling just run away, considering that it will probably never be caught with its speed.

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Situational Purpose, Particularly Outside of Combat

Here's the ability in its full text for reference:

Fade from View [Free-Action] Requirements The quickling used no attack, manipulate, or move actions in the previous round; Effect The quickling becomes invisible until it uses an attack, manipulate, or move action. The quickling can't use Fade from View again for 1d4 rounds.

One of the most powerful aspects of this ability is in its duration, as it requires no continued effort to sustain and lasts infinitely until the quickling takes some further action. There's also the free-action activation, but that's somewhat less useful considering the requirements that make it pretty difficult to use in an encounter.

So what can be done with an infinite duration invisibilty?

Ambushes seem like a natural match for this ability, with the quickling waiting in a well-traveled location for some other creature to move directly adjacent to them. The quickling could then initiate a combat using Stealth and Strike at the creature twice before fleeing from the combat with such speed that the attacked creature might not be able to even attempt to pursue.

This idea could even be used multiple times in a series of ambushes, particularly if the creature is trying to follow the quickling or bring it to justice. Each time such a creature gets too close the quickling can make additional Strikes and flee again.

Outside of Ambushes

These are other potential uses but are more circumstantial, in ways that the quickling is less likely to be able to manipulate.

  • Hiding: After a "prank" has gone bad, the quickling could use this ability to hide invisibly until the offended creature is gone.
    • This is somewhat less desirable with the reliable alternative of just continuing to flee 300 feet per round, and that the quickling would need to spend a full turn not moving before turning invisible.
  • Non-attack/-manipulate/-move actions: Spend actions doing things that don't break the invisibility. This includes:
    • Sustaining any of the quickling's spells (dancing lights, prestidigitation)
    • Speaking to confuse or perhaps lead creatures into traps (possibly using ventriloquism)
    • Using some magic item with the Command or Envision activation
    • Other actions/activites
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The Quickling's 100' move speed would potentially allow it to employ hit and run tactics over a couple of rounds. With 2 move actions, the critter is further away than most PCs could move with 3 actions. It could easily be out of sight when going invisible, allowing it to potentially then ambush someone. And of course, with multiple Quicklings in one encounter, they would potentially be able to employ something close to modern 'fire and maneuver' tactics, where some of them attack, while the others run and hide, to be swapped over on the next round.

In addition, the creature could pre-cast Ventriloquism or maybe even Dancing Lights to give false clues as to where it ran to. Ventriloquism lasts for 10 minutes, and Dancing Lights is Sustained.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ Let's analyze this point by point: yes, the quickling's speed would allow it to spend more than one turn to employ hit and run tactics, except it would not make much sense since, if you run away and then become invisible, you're doing it to escape. Enemies won't pursue you if they can't catch you, and you can't pursue them while invisible since basically any action makes you visible. So it's a pretty much useless tactic. Might as well move in, attack, move out, even a single action is enough to stay out of melee of almost anything. And if someone catches the quickling, there's the reaction. \$\endgroup\$
    – Snakehelm
    Dec 12, 2021 at 18:08
  • \$\begingroup\$ Multiple quicklings should be rare enough, and even though the scenario is feasible (to keep opponents guessing) I'm more focused on a single quickling encounter. Ventriloquism and dancing lights are, IMO, not good tactics as well. Dancing lights are a giveaway of an ambush (your enemies will most likely have lights on, and there is no need for the spell at all during light hours) and ventriloquism is useless. I mean, you'd use ventriloquism to lure people away from your hiding spot, but then why use invisibility at all? \$\endgroup\$
    – Snakehelm
    Dec 12, 2021 at 18:16
  • \$\begingroup\$ The quickling description does have, "They occasionally form gangs of up to a dozen individuals", so I'm not sure encountering a group would be much rarer than just one. \$\endgroup\$
    – brandon
    Dec 13, 2021 at 15:09
  • \$\begingroup\$ @brandon It's an uncommon creature that also has in the description "the group usually devolves very quickly into mayhem, as they inevitably perform increasingly deadly pranks against each other." So yeah, it should be kinda rare. \$\endgroup\$
    – Snakehelm
    Dec 13, 2021 at 15:40
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    \$\begingroup\$ @Snakehelm You asked for a purpose. Just because you don't think the suggested uses are viable doesn't mean they aren't valid uses...perhaps the ability was included to mimic older versions of the creature, or perhaps the ability was added to be flavourful. Not every capability has to be totally focused on combat. \$\endgroup\$
    – YogoZuno
    Dec 14, 2021 at 2:16
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Fade from View is a situational defensive tactic

The most viable thing they can do with it is live to fight another day. Being able to flee 100-300 feet then turn invisible is an exceptionally good way to stay alive. Unless you're fighting things that have see invisibility up all the time (and at level 3, there is only a moderate chance they even have it prepared), then waltzing somewhere out of sight and gaining invisibility almost guarantees the enemy won't be able to find you since the Seek action is pretty limited in scope, and doesn't allow any chance of success if you are out of their perception.

This is, of course, dependent on why the Quickling is fighting the party. It allows them to remain hidden, within 1-2 turns of movement, near a location they're bound or drawn to, or the party if they are intent on killing them.

Used offensively

Most likely, as you noted, a Quickling would wait somewhere it is expecting an enemy to come to and ambush them. This is particularly useful if the GM adds a variant ranged attack to them, but can also be done at any choke-point, such as a door or 5-10ft wide hallway.

Another kind-of offensive choice is moving in to Strike with their Lethargy Poison and retreating to see if the poison is successful. This has the added benefit of potentially buying time to reapply poison (which also breaks invisibility, but without provoking an attack from nearby Fighters and similar), or make it easier to land the attack if you wait for pursuing enemies to come to you, potentially Readying to Strike.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ Again, why use Fade from View as a defensive tactic when you can simply outrun anyone? As a quickling, would you waste 600 feet of movement to become invisible and stay in one place instead of just running? \$\endgroup\$
    – Snakehelm
    Dec 13, 2021 at 15:29
  • \$\begingroup\$ Secondly, the lethargy poison tactic: yes, it makes sense, except the quickling would need to waste 2 turns to become invisible in a position where enemies can't see it, so the quickling probably can't see the enemies as well. So unless you give a ranged attack to the quickling, the base one has no use for such a tactic. Readied strikes also are rarely feasible, since the quickling would need opponents to walk exactly next to him. I can see a readied strike work, like, 1 out of 6 times at best \$\endgroup\$
    – Snakehelm
    Dec 13, 2021 at 15:37
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    \$\begingroup\$ Sometimes moving 300ft every round isn't feasible either, or they don't have a desire to leave an area. Being Fey, there are any number of reasons (that may or not make sense) why it would be bound or drawn to a location. It all depends a lot on the environment; if the PC's need to go through a door or down a narrow hallway, it can wait next to said door (especially if trying to defend the contents of the next room) or in said hallway where it knows it will be able to shiv the normies in the kidney before running. \$\endgroup\$ Dec 13, 2021 at 21:39
  • \$\begingroup\$ If you're assuming the party is fighting one in a plain with no terrain or objectives... there are much stronger Creature 3's, and why the heck fight the thing anyway? There has to be a reason it wants to fight the group, and that reason should inform its tactics, potentially making Fade a desirably situation. \$\endgroup\$ Dec 13, 2021 at 21:40
  • \$\begingroup\$ To be clear, I'm not saying it should always be looking for opportunities to use Fade... I'm saying it serves a situational purpose as detailed here. \$\endgroup\$ Dec 13, 2021 at 21:43

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