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I'm considering taking the Fearsome Rune on a weapon, and have feats or other runes which impose a saving throw on a hit/crit. Does the fear effect get applied before the saving throw, or after?

That is to say, will the fear penalty to checks apply to all these saves I might impose on a crit?

Fearsome rune:

When you critically hit with this weapon, the target becomes frightened 1.

Frost rune:

This weapon is empowered with freezing ice. It deals an additional 1d6 cold damage on a successful Strike. On a critical hit, the target is also slowed 1 until the end of your next turn unless it succeeds at a DC 24 Fortitude save.

Stunning Fist:

The focused power of your flurry threatens to overwhelm your opponent. When you target the same creature with two Strikes from your Flurry of Blows, you can try to stun the creature. If either Strike hits and deals damage, the target must succeed at a Fortitude save against your class DC or be stunned 1 (or stunned 3 on a critical failure). This is an incapacitation effect.

Brawling Crit specialisation:

The target must succeed at a Fortitude save against your class DC or be slowed 1 until the end of your next turn.

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It's unclear

I couldn't remember seeing a ruling on this, and that's no surprise as there is nothing in the Encounter Mode, Playing the Game: Encounters, Turns, nor Actions rules about simultaneous Effects. This issue reaches at least as far back as Pathfinder 1e's predecessor, D&D 3.5e.

There are generally two methods for resolving this

  • All effects that can occur simultaneously do so without affecting each other
    • Result: The target is not Frightened until after making the Saves, at which point all incurred Conditions are applied
    • This is, in my experience, the most common table ruling for Pathfinder 1e
  • The current turn holder decides the actual order of effects
    • Result: On your turn, you choose to apply the Frightened Condition, then the order of other effects the target must Save against; if you critically hit an Attack of Opportunity (or similar), the target creature chooses to make all appropriate Saves before becoming Frightened
    • This has been codified as the official way to play D&D 5e (it's up to your group(s) if this matters)

Ask your GM which they use, or request which ruling that you consider to be more fun play.

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