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Player spells or abilities that cause conditions always have a duration or cure style attached - poison and disease have their own rules, or casting Befuddle to cause the target to be clumsy & stupefied lasts for only the duration of the spell (1 round). But when the abilities are on a creature these aren't so obvious. When a Sand Wolf using its Susurrating Song, for example, a target is stupefied for 1-2 rounds and slowed 1 on a critical failure... but for how long? A Critical success makes the target immune for 24 hours - should we infer that the other conditions also persist that long?

I know that many of the conditions will have resolutions hidden elsewhere - Wounded only goes away with Treat wounds or being healed up to full (presumably by magic/alchemy/rest), Sickened requires spending rounds retching, persistent damage has a flat check component, and the Restoration Spell covers some conditions, but not all. But when/how do conditions without an duration or cure condition listed end?

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    \$\begingroup\$ Have you seen such conditions with an undetermined duration anywhere else? (beside Sand Wolf) My suspicion is that this specific creature misses a duration for this effect and it is more of a typo than anything else, but I might not be correct. \$\endgroup\$ Jun 27, 2023 at 16:10
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    \$\begingroup\$ @AnneAunyme Bestiary 1's basilisk would be another example, though developer comment confirmed that it shouldn't be permanent and that it's just missing a proper duration. \$\endgroup\$
    – brandon
    Jun 27, 2023 at 16:15
  • \$\begingroup\$ @brandon "If the creature was already slowed by this ability or Petrifying Glance, a failed save causes the creature to be petrified permanently." The duration is here, so the errata has already been done. \$\endgroup\$ Jun 27, 2023 at 16:19
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    \$\begingroup\$ @AnneAunyme Was speaking of the slowed 1 that doesn't have a duration. \$\endgroup\$
    – brandon
    Jun 27, 2023 at 16:24

2 Answers 2

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The Sand Wolf Is Probably A Typo

The other answer posted by our friendly neighborhood hobgoblin is 100% correct by the rules - unless something specifies, conditions default to an unlimited duration.

However, your example of the Sand Wolf is important. Its Susurrating Song can make someone Slowed 1, and doesn't specify a duration for the effect. Restoration doesn't cure the Slowed condition, either. RAW (the rules as they are literally written), the Slowed 1 lasts forever and cannot be cured by any means I am aware of. This is a problem the Sand Wolf shares with some other creatures, like the Cockatrice, the Basilisk, and the Crystal Dragons. Both of these creatures handle ways to recover from petrification but not from Slowed. This is almost certainly a typo, as crippling an adventurer with Slowed 1 for the rest of their career seems too bad to be true! That's not far off from the death curse of the powerful, level 21 Tor Linnorm!

My recommendation as an experienced PF2e GM is to simply have the Slowed condition last 1 minute. This is in line with most of the in-combat Slowed condition applications I've seen, such as the Caligni Caller. As a general rule of advice, if something seems weird or off on a monster, look for a monster published in a later Bestiary with a similar effect and use that as inspiration. Paizo's editing got more precise over time as they caught early mistakes. The adventures are more likely to have mistakes than the core products as well, though even then they are generally minimal.

Ron Lundeen, one of the PF2e designers, mentions this as the exact solution to the Cockatrice's similar problem in this post which @brandon found (many kudos)

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    \$\begingroup\$ Could be worth mentioning this developer comment about an adventure featuring one of these monsters which aligns with this answer. \$\endgroup\$
    – brandon
    Jun 27, 2023 at 16:28
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    \$\begingroup\$ @brandon added - thanks! I'm quite happy he also proposed a 1 minute limit lol \$\endgroup\$
    – ESCE
    Jun 27, 2023 at 22:44
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Conditions are persistent

This is directly addressed by the rules text on conditions:

Conditions are persistent. Whenever you’re affected by a condition, its effects last until the condition’s stated duration ends, the condition is removed, or terms dictated in the condition itself cause it to end.

In the absence of such stated end circumstances, the condition will not end but persist.

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    \$\begingroup\$ I don't think it is correct to say this rules text "addresses" this question. Those rules suggest there is always a stated duration or a way to remove it. Reading it as "if none is specified, then it lasts forever" is only one possible way of reading that. \$\endgroup\$ Jun 27, 2023 at 16:13
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    \$\begingroup\$ @AnneAunyme it doesn't make this one way to read into it invalid. I see how you hedged your comment to skirt around the hard criticism (you start with denying the correctness but then admits it is one possible way to read it) but the point is, Hob is correct. Disregarding the fallibility of the game designers the other answer presents, the condition is persistent and the rules are consistent. \$\endgroup\$ Jun 28, 2023 at 14:32

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