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I'm running a Pathfinder game and we have a 7th-level Alchemist.

Recently, they were in an area of magical darkness and were blind. They attempted to attack the square where they had last seen an enemy before he was in the magical darkness. After a lengthy discussion we ruled that he was attacking an invisible creature.

We then ruled that they could not attack the creature was due to it having effective invisibility to them. This was made worse by their character not actually being able to see at all being in the magical darkness. Since we didn't have any idea of how to proceed with attacking an invisible square, we tried to use the ranged rules for attacking an invisible creature and were just having problems all around as nothing really fit.

They then tried to use the Ricochet Splash Weapon feat to gain a new chance to hit the unseen creature. After more lengthy discussion it was ruled that because he attacked the square and not the creature, that it was considered a successful hit and could not make the attempt to hit the creature.

Was this the correct way to deal with what I viewed as a possible abuse of the feat's intent (which I already feel is a little overpowered). Did I rule fairly?

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they were in an area of magical darkness and were blind.

This is correct; the vision rules state that being inside darkness without a way to see through it is equivalent to being blind.

we ruled that he was attacking an invisible creature.

Technically incorrect; based on the rules for the Blinded condition, the creature had Total Concealment from them.

We then ruled that they could not attack the creature was due to it having effective invisibility to them.

Well, mostly correct; invisibility and Total Concealment are slightly different in some cases, but in this it’s the same. Total Concealment says “You can't attack an opponent that has total concealment, though you can attack into a square that you think he occupies. A successful attack into a square occupied by an enemy with total concealment has a 50% miss chance.”

They then tried to use the Ricochet Splash Weapon feat to gain a new chance to hit the unseen creature. After more lengthy discussion it was ruled that because he attacked the square and not the creature, that it was considered a successful hit and could not make the attempt to hit the creature.

Total Concealment gives a 50% chance to miss. If they fail the coin flip, then they do in fact miss. For a thrown weapon, this means you now roll on the misdirection table, and they can then use Ricochet Splash Weapon from there. Since the miss means they actually land in a different square, they cannot use Ricochet Splash Weapon to hit the same target they were going for. But they can roll an attack (at −5) to hit some other target, if they happen to land in a square that has something to hit. This attack would also be subject to the 50% miss chance.

Was this the correct way to deal with what I viewed as a possible abuse of the feat's intent (which I already feel is a little overpowered). Did I rule fairly?

“Fair” is largely a matter of opinion, but it does sound as though you were incorrect in your ruling, with respect to the rules. However, you also seem to have some confusion about how Ricochet Splash Weapon works in general.

Ricochet Splash Weapon does not give you a second try at attacking the same target. When you miss with a splash weapon, you have to roll 1d8 to pick a direction that you miss in. Your attack therefore ends up in a different square than you originally targeted. You can then use the feat to attack whatever is in this new square, not the original target.

This is, in fact, a very weak feat. Touch attacks are extremely easy to make, so misses should be rare, and the odds of happening to miss into a square that has an enemy is going to be very low most of the time. Thus, it will be incredibly rare for this feat to do anything at all.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ Im going to have to be very careful about visibility type stuff in the future. Thank you for the detailed break down. \$\endgroup\$
    – Fering
    May 25 '15 at 19:39
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    \$\begingroup\$ I'd just like to point out that the feat isn't as weak as you're implying. If for some reason you do miss (which as you pointed out it should be unlikely), then it goes into an adjacent square (again as you pointed out). However, if you're aiming at a large or larger creature, if you miss (again a big if) then your chance of using your feat go way up. If you're aiming a huge creature, just aim at the center square and you're guaranteed to get a second chance if you miss. For some campaigns this could make all the difference. (combat section says you target a square when throwing at large) \$\endgroup\$ May 26 '15 at 15:46
  • \$\begingroup\$ @claudekennilol Larger creatures also take penalties to touch AC and often have lower Dexterity, so they tend to be ridiculously easy to hit. But more importantly, I believe you are wrong: the splash-weapon-miss rules state that your roll on the misdirection table is the direction that you miss from the original target creature, not the square that creature was in. Thus, even for creatures that take up multiple squares, you still count their own squares as “0” and start counting away from it. You can never hit the same creature twice. \$\endgroup\$
    – KRyan
    May 26 '15 at 15:51
  • \$\begingroup\$ @KRyan I can see how you'd interpret it that way. I'll leave that one up to table variation. And yes, I did say it'd be unlikely to miss that target. \$\endgroup\$ May 27 '15 at 15:07
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My ruling would be that even the targeted square would have a 50% miss chance, then I would roll on the misdirection table, meaning that even if they targeted the square their target was last seen, it could land on a square that is adjacent to him, but it couldn't possibly ricochet at him because it wouldn't land on him at all.

Ricochet only allows a second check if the miss caused the splash weapon to hit the square of another creature.

When attacking, we would roll the misdirection, and if the 50% chance was a miss, it could land on any of the squares around the target. Then the ricochet couldn't possibly be triggered because it wouldn't land on a square occupied by a creature.

Splash Weapons

Make a ranged attack against an unoccupied grid intersection (AC 5) Hit: Creatures in all adjacent squares are dealt splash damage. No creatures take direct hit damage. Miss: Roll 1d8 to determine the misdirection of the throw Count clockwise starting at the square closest to thrower (refer to diagram on right) Count a number of squares in the indicated direction equal to the number of range increments thrown. Finally, the item deals splash damage (if any) to all creatures in the square determined above and in all adjacent squares.

As you can see on the table, the bomb (if missed due to 50% chance) would land on squares 1-8.

Misdirection Table

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