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Levels vs. Class Levels

Rules Questions

I'm having a discussion with my GM right now about abilities being Class Level dependent or Level dependent. In this situation, I have a 7th level Fighter whom I'm contemplating making a Samurai. Read this:

Challenge (Ex): Once per day, a samurai can challenge a foe to combat. As a swift action, the samurai chooses one target within sight to challenge. The samurai's melee attacks deal extra damage when made against the target of his challenge. This extra damage is equal to the samurai's level. The samurai can use this ability once per day at 1st level, plus one additional time per day for every three levels beyond 1st, to a maximum of seven times per day at 19th level.

Okay I get he only has one challenge per three levels of samurai, but the damage portion here reads "equal to the samurai's level". Would this mean only his samurai level or his total level from multiclassing? I ask because in the case of Smite Evil (clearly the mechanic challenge is based on) it reads "per paladin level" not paladin's level.

Another example:

Whenever an order of the warrior samurai declares a challenge, he receives damage reduction 1/— against attacks made by the target of his challenge. This DR increases by +1 for every four levels the samurai possesses.

This one makes me think even more it is not samurai only levels, but total class levels. Am I crazy? Would really appreciate some feedback here. Thanks!


Pathfinder Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Comics Subscriber; Pathfinder Campaign Setting, Card Game, Companion, Maps, Modules, Roleplaying Game Subscriber

You're crazy. :). In a class description, "the samurai's level" is semantically equal to "the number of levels the character has in the samurai class."

Lantern Lodge

1 person marked this as FAQ candidate. 1 person marked this as a favorite.

Personally, unless it said character levels (which would include all classes), it is assumed that only class levels would count. I can see your point though that there is room for ambiguity with specific lack of class levels.

Unless a class' ability specifically states otherwise (and I can't think of any instances that do, at the moment) references to level are referring to class levels in that class, not character levels.

if you're right, this makes samurai a decent dip class

Unless the entre spacificaly says "character level" it means the "Class level" of the Class entre the ability is describs.

That is, (of the class the ability is describing.) before the english majors get hold of that.

I'm studying to be an editor, and this kind of wording just makes me cringe. As a DM I agree with the consensus here, but I believe Paizo should find one method to write and stick to it. If each ability simply read "per x-amonut of samurai levels" this discussion would not exist.

Grand Lodge RPG Superstar 2012 Top 32

Dawsjax wrote:

I'm studying to be an editor,


Sorry, just couldn't resist poking you for that one. ;)

Alitan wrote:
Unless a class' ability specifically states otherwise (and I can't think of any instances that do, at the moment) references to level are referring to class levels in that class, not character levels.

Some Prestige Classes go by total level rather than Class level.

The Hellknight is one of them

I should look into the Hellknight.

@Jiggy. Nice catch! *studying. Not there yet! Still able to laugh at myself, so I think I'll do well.

The wording of abilities in classes always treats it as if the class is the only thing that exists. If a class description says you get X for levels then its talking about levels in your class. Its consistent in this type of wording through all of the classes as far as I can tell.

Lantern Lodge

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Roleplaying Game Subscriber

Class abilities always are based on class level unless it specifically calls out character level.

No official input? I don't like taking the word of someone who's just assuming. the wording is different, so I'm personally interpreting it as "character level" not "class level" until I get a verdict from someone who's worked on it.

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