Overflow: When you use an impulse that has the overflow trait, your kinetic aura deactivates until you revitalize it (typically with Channel Elements).

The question is does the aura deactivate before or after that overflow impulse? This is very important because aura can add benefits to the impulse. Also there are aura-affecting stances which presumably end along with the aura - I'd appreciate a confirmation on this.

The most typical case would be Fire Aura Junction and any damaging Fire Overflow Impulse. Would the fire damage from the overflow impulse trigger the weakness granted by the aura? If not the fire aura junction is borderline useless because there is a LOT of such impulses - more than non-overflow ones in fact.

More extreme case is Steam Knight which lets you deal damage when you Leap over a creature. Leap action can be granted by Lava Leap and Volcanic Escape both of which are Overflow meaning they would end the aura and presumably Steam Knight along with it. If the aura is still active for Lava Leap and Volcanic Escape than these impulses could also trigger Steam Knight damage and both the Lava Leap / Volcanic Escape damage and the Steam Knight damage could trigger the aura weakness. But if the aura and stance end before the overflow impulse, none of it happens.


2 Answers 2


Simultaneous effect order is unclear

(Framework copied from my answer to Simultaneous fear and saving throw)

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 three methods for resolving this

  • All effects that can occur simultaneously do so without affecting each other
    • Result: Your aura goes down at the same time as other effects of the Impulse and is "effectively" up for the instance of damage.
    • This is, in my experience, the most common table ruling for Pathfinder 1e
  • The owner of the abilities chooses the order of effect.
    • Result: Your aura remains up for all Impulses (for the example given) but could go down before the effect if you would prefer for a different interaction.
    • has the benefit of being simple, but all simultaneous effects will be resolved in the most punishing way possible
    • I have seen this method used but haven't come across a lot of formal community support for it
    • per a comment by KRyan, this is actually the recommended method on the D&D 3.5e (Pathfinder 2e's 'grandfather') FAQ (available in the Wayback Machine). YMMV
  • The current turn holder decides the actual order of effects
    • Result: On your turn, you choose to apply the Impulse effects first before losing your aura; on opponents turns', they choose for you to lose your aura before applying your Reaction effects.
    • 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.

Steam Knight damage is triggered by the Leap, which is always within the other effect that causes damage; it will either trigger (with the benefits of the aura junction) if the Overflow Impulse has the aura... or not at all, depending on ruling.

For what it's worth, before seeing this question, I assumed you could apply aura effects to Overflow effects because that seems balanced. I have not done any math to support this, it just seemed like Overflow powers, particularly Fire ones, would mostly be fairly weak if you could not do so. Steam Knight in particular seems to be designed to benefit from Lava Leap and Volcanic Escape, which supports that the aura should be removed after the Impulse.

  • \$\begingroup\$ Yeah I agree that it should work for the Overflow impulses. But what about the Steam Knight damage? Should that happen or not? If the aura is still up it feels like it should but maybe you have a different opinion? \$\endgroup\$
    – enumag
    Commented Aug 11, 2023 at 13:57
  • \$\begingroup\$ Added some info. Depends on the ruling; either the Overflow Impulse is mathed out with the Aura and triggers Steam Knight damage, or the aura (and Stance) are gone before you do any of the Impulse. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Aug 11, 2023 at 15:28
  • \$\begingroup\$ Your experience is wildly different from my own: I have never seen your first suggestion used, ever, and almost always see the last used unless there is some specific problem with doing so in a particular case (as determined by the GM). The last is also recommended by the D&D 3.5e FAQ, which PF 1e is very closely based on, so that warrants a mention at least as much (but probably more so) than D&D 5e. \$\endgroup\$
    – KRyan
    Commented Aug 12, 2023 at 15:35
  • \$\begingroup\$ Interesting. I'll add that about the 3.5 FAQ, I wasn't aware \$\endgroup\$ Commented Aug 12, 2023 at 22:41

Simultaneous Effects Happen at the Same Time

By definition there is no ordering to simultaneous things, and there are no rules in Pathfinder supporting some inherent ordering like allowing the current turn holder or owner of the effect to decide. Simultaneous effects just happen at the same time.

When you use an impulse that has the overflow trait, your kinetic aura deactivates

To your follow-on question, your kinetic aura is not deactivated before or after using an overflow impulse but rather exactly when using it.

Does the Overflow Impulse Benefit from the Weakness?

Only effects of the impulse that also happen when it is used would have a chance to benefit from the weakness of your kinetic aura, as anything coming later would be after it has deactivated (unless of course you activate your aura again).

With an upward gesture, you shape a vertical column of extreme heat. The cylinder is 10 feet in diameter and 30 feet high, and the bottom must be within 60 feet of you. Each creature in the area takes 1d6 fire damage with a basic Reflex save against your class DC.

For the slightly simpler case of something like Scorching Column (ignoring the hazardous terrain) both effects happen at once when using the impulse:

  • You create a vertical column of extreme heat, each creature in the area takes fire damage
  • Your kinetic aura deactivates

With both effects happening simultaneously your aura is both active and inactive while dealing the damage of the impulse. As an inactive aura is just the absence of granted weakness, the active aura's weakness would apply for the initial fire damage of the impulse.


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