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The core of this question is: Does pathfinder 2e include a mechanism to trigger "on strike" effects without a target in RAW? By hitting the ground, angrily shaking your fist at a cloud while yelling etc.

What prompted this question was the kinetiscist air impulse junction that allows some limited flight before/after a strike. Considering this effect can happen before a strike too it may be possible for the triggering attack to be impossible to perform. Say, the movement triggering a reaction causing the target to move out of range of the impulse. If the answer to the first question is a no, how can the movement and occur and trigger the reaction in he first place?

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Yes, If You Suspect There's a Creature

Targeting an undetected creature is difficult. If you suspect there’s a creature around, you can pick a square and attempt an attack. This works like targeting a hidden creature, but the flat check and attack roll are both rolled in secret by the GM.

This normally allows characters to attempt attacks against creatures that are Undetected but have been noticed, but you could use this same rule to justify an attack against nothing to trigger some ability like the air impulse junction mentioned.

Otherwise, there is no general rule overriding the typical attack target of one creature. You should likely be able to do so in most cases, to allow usage of abilities like you've mentioned without contrived exceptions.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ May or may not be worth referencing the Exploration rules regarding Actions/Reactions out of initiative. "Actions and Reactions: Though exploration isn’t broken into rounds, exploration activities assume the PCs are spending part of their time using actions, such as Seeking or Interacting. If they have specific actions they want to use, they should ask; you can decide whether the actions apply and whether to switch to encounter mode for greater detail. PCs can use any relevant reactions that come up during exploration mode." \$\endgroup\$
    – Ifusaso
    Oct 25, 2023 at 13:28
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    \$\begingroup\$ @Ifusaso I'm not sure that's relevant here, the question is whether a character can ignore the required target for Strikes. Doing so in encounter vs. exploration mode seems like it would be equivalent. \$\endgroup\$
    – brandon
    Oct 27, 2023 at 21:06
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You can simply strike at a nearby object, whether that be a convenient rock, the nearest wall, or that little statue of a cat on the table in the corner that is looking at you funny.

The rules for dealing damage to an object can be found here: Item Damage, and you’ll want to consult the Material Statistics table to determine just how much, er, damage, the damage of your strikes do.

There’s no real official guidance on how to set the AC of stationary objects - but, for example, a petrified PC’s AC is set to 9. In general, the target should probably be a number that’s fairly easy to hit/crit and very unlikely to fail outside of a critical failure.

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