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Spell Clarifications


Pathfinder RPG General Discussion

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Cheliax

Dear Paizo Staff,
I get on these boards mostly to discuss rules and get clarifications. There is a lively community of people who give all kinds of excellent input, but there is rarely what I would call definitive closure to MANY rules discussions, particularily in regards to vague or unclear spell descriptions. Some of these discussions are years old (literally) and still there is no final answer.

Honestly, I think you spend far too much time developing new products while ignoring giving any clarifications on already released products. I'm not saying I want you to agree with my interpratation of the rules (but I certainly wouldnt complain if you did), but can you PLEASE start releasing some ERRATA to start clearing up some of these spell discussons.

All you have to do is go through the rules/FAQ discussion boards, find all of the ones marked the most as "favorites" by people, start giving some definitive and final answers, and then update the errata.

My advice is to hire a full-time staffer who is dedicated to rules issues and definitive answers to rules questions and let him/her start clearing up the loose ends.


Had exactly this discussion with Paizo staff on the subject of clarifying some simple magic item issues.

Was told straight up that they don't consider it broken enough to divert resources away from their money making activities.

Pretty sure the same is true here.

Windmill, meet tilt.

Grand Lodge

1 person marked this as a favorite.

I'm not with Paizo in any way, but your post will be much more likely to get a response if you list some examples.

ie: Rope Trick is broken, and this is how, and these are the links to the discussion. I haven't seen any posts from those in the know, etc etc.

I can understand your frustration about a lack of response to important questions, but stepping up screaming "Do stuff!" and not giving any specifics isn't likely to get you a response.

Just my two cents.

Lanith


2 people marked this as a favorite.
Oops_I_Crit_My_Pants wrote:
My advice is to hire a full-time staffer who is dedicated to rules issues and definitive answers to rules questions and let him/her start clearing up the loose ends.

Dear Paizo Staff,

I would be more than happy to get paid to do this.

~Rynjin


Worth a try Lanith, but doubtful based on responses to my questions about "instant enemy" and a few others.

I've rarely seen an open appeal to the staff have results anyway, and I can't blame them. Responding to stuff like this just encourages more direct appeals, and that's not really likely to be productive in the long run.

Still, just for my benefit pants critter, what specific problems are you having?

(Heh... "pants critter" double entendre... maybe even triple... )


1 person marked this as a favorite.
Rynjin wrote:
Oops_I_Crit_My_Pants wrote:
My advice is to hire a full-time staffer who is dedicated to rules issues and definitive answers to rules questions and let him/her start clearing up the loose ends.

Dear Paizo Staff,

I would be more than happy to get paid to do this.

~Rynjin

I can think of some who should get paid NOT to do this. ;-)


4 people marked this as a favorite.

I know this is a silly thing to post in the Rules Discussion forum but I'll do it anyway because I am a silly person.

I have always taken the path that it is the GMs role/responsibility/duty to interpret and adjudicate the rules as he sees fit. The players have to trust the GM to do so in a fair and even handed manner. I just don't need or even desire an 'official word' on vague or even contradictory rules. I'm the GM, I'll make the call thanks. That's why I love GMing and why i work hard to gain the trust and confidence of my players. They know I'll will adjudicate fairly because I have in the past.

Rules Discussion, for myself, is about picking the brains of other GMs who may have come across whatever rule problem I might be having and seeing what they have come up with if I happen to be stuck.

Anyways I'm sure this is meaningless to most and I do understand it is only applicable in a private game outside of the PFS but I guess I just yearn for a time when GMs took their role as rules judge and interpreter as seriously as they do the story and world building aspects of it.


1 person marked this as a favorite.

@PsychoticWarrior: OMG someone finally says it...EVERY should read that post and stop bickering over things, MOST of the time its something really simple that didn't/doesn't need FAQ's or ERRATA and could just be brought to their GM, or its someone trying to (forgive the term) MIN/MAX their way to greatness so they want rules bend to their side of the argument

Granted there are legitimate questions to actual issues with rules, most of the simple issues with players wanting to do things that aren't covered in the rules and them saying "well it doesn't say I CAN'T do it" can be solved by the GM asking (my favorite thing my GM asks players) a very simple question in response "Where does it say you CAN?"


Pathfinder Campaign Setting, Companion Subscriber
PsychoticWarrior wrote:
I have always taken the path that it is the GMs role/responsibility/duty to interpret and adjudicate the rules as he sees fit. The players have to trust the GM to do so in a fair and even handed manner. I just don't need or even desire an 'official word' on vague or even contradictory rules.

Nope, that's not silly or meaningless in any way.

Now, our group routinely rotates GMing chores, so we might have 3 or 4 people running games. Each time a rule is open to interpretation, the GM of the day can decide which way to go, but it'd be nice if we were completely consistent within our group. Much less confusing that way. And the best way to ensure that we're all on the same page is with an official ruling.

Yeah, sometimes we'll all agree on how something works, and then we don't need official word. But "it's up the GM" is a different can of fish when everyone at the table is a GM in turn.


Rynjin wrote:
Oops_I_Crit_My_Pants wrote:
My advice is to hire a full-time staffer who is dedicated to rules issues and definitive answers to rules questions and let him/her start clearing up the loose ends.

Dear Paizo Staff,

I would be more than happy to get paid to do this.

~Rynjin

I'll do it for slightly less than him! ;)


1 person marked this as a favorite.

I am an attorney in the real world, so I love parsing rules. I like reading not just the spell, but the chain of rules relating to that spell. Same for abilities. When I am in doubt, I just check other similar rulings, and use common sense.

This works 65% of the time. 45% of the time, I am playing PFS.

Here are my thoughts:
1) I would love to work for Paizo parsing rules if such a position ever came up. (Had to say it.)
2) When in doubt I always just follow PFS rulings. Mike Brock does a lot more than the Devs. when it comes to clarifying rules and making definitives statements.


Paizo Superscriber; Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber; Pathfinder Deluxe Comics Subscriber
Arizhel wrote:
2) When in doubt I always just follow PFS rulings. Mike Brock does a lot more than the Devs. when it comes to clarifying rules and making definitives statements.

This is a good suggestion/comment I havent seen before.

Andoran

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Card Game, Companion, Modules, Pawns, Roleplaying Game Subscriber

The problem is that the OP is asking the impossible. He want a reply to all possible rules problems, but the problem, most of the time, is caused by combinations of spells/powers/feats/magic items.

The CRB only has something like 400+ spells.

The interactions between 2 spells from a list of 400 give us 400*399 combinations, i.e. 159.600. Add one of the 154 feats. You get 245,784,000 combinations. And there isn't a limit to how many feats/spells/magic items/class abilities ecc. will interact at the same time.

The rules give general instructions on how those things interact, but it is the GM job to decide how they work in that specific situation that will happen 2 times in a character career.

Let's suppose that Paizo is paying someone to do that work. He is super fast and give a reply in 5 minutes in 3 rows of text, without generating a 500+ post tread of comments [example, the flurry of blow threads] and the need of further FAQs.

He will need "only" 1662 working days to analyze the basic combinations of 2 spells from the CRB. Almost 5 years of full time work. LOL

- * -

Then there is the point that some rule are meant leave to a bit of leeway on how they are applied, depending on the GM/group preferences and what sourcebooks they use.


Since Paizo is too busy (most of the time) to deal with certain issues, how about as a community we come together here in the forums and to a consensus on a list of issues with the game? (From Broken Monks, feats, spells, interactions,ect).

Maybe we can ask for our own special Forum (unless there is one already that I do now know of), and get a list compiled of all the issues and unresolved problems that have never been fully answered?


2 people marked this as a favorite.

The problem with this is a great deal of the time so called "problems" purposed on this forum are in no way a real problem. Its the people that turn out to be the problem a lot of the time. Ether trying to twist something even when they really know its not the case or trying to make something not work because they don't like it but still likely know they are full of it.

Designer, RPG Superstar Judge

1 person marked this as FAQ candidate. 16 people marked this as a favorite.

Dear Oops —

Your attitude and phrasing is exactly the opposite of anything that would encourage a reasonable person (such as myself) to provide you with answers to your questions.

Thanks,

— Sean, posting from home, after midnight


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Boom. ^^

*edit* Although I must say, re-reading the OP, I've seen various rather more severely worded requests which did get a constructive reply from the devs, including yourself, Sean. IIRC, at least. And he is not wrong on the substance, either. There are a lot of rules which could desperately need clarifications.

Silver Crusade

1 person marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion Subscriber

SKR is Paizo's FPS Doug, complete with the haircut.


Sean K Reynolds wrote:

Dear Oops —

Your attitude and phrasing is exactly the opposite of anything that would encourage a reasonable person (such as myself) to provide you with answers to your questions.

Thanks,

— Sean, posting from home, after midnight

Have I mentioned recently that you're my favorite person?


2 people marked this as a favorite.
Paizo Charter Superscriber; Pathfinder Deluxe Comics Subscriber
Oops_I_Crit_My_Pants wrote:
My advice is to hire a full-time staffer who is dedicated to rules issues and definitive answers to rules questions and let him/her start clearing up the loose ends.

My advice is a more friendly and less entitled tone of voice. That'll go a long way.


Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

Oops, it's not about ego-stroking. It's about being a reasonable, respectful, polite person.

People automatically rebel against demands. Particularly against demands that imply that the people you are demanding from aren't doing their job.

Yes, Paizo spend a lot of time developing new content. No, they can't quickly and easily provide official rules clarifications (just off the top of my head: identify required clarification; design rules to clarify; check balance of new rules; check language of new rules; throw new rule against the wall and see what abuses stick; repeat as necessary; do same for the other eleventy-seven identified clarifications; write errata; QA errata; get legal to sign off on errata; get errata through publishing so that it looks nice on the page; publish PDF of errata; write blog post about new errata; post blog).

Yes, I'd love to see some official clarification of a few particularly niggling rule questions, but I'm sure as heck not going to come on here and demand it, nor am I going to suggest to a company how they should operate.

Paizo write good books. They design good products. I trust Jason and Sean to keep on the ball and do what they can, when they can. I also understand that new rules and products are their bread and butter, and that errata (and the time to write them) do not earn them a single cent, except in terms of the goodwill of their existing customers.

So while I wholeheartedly support your intent in making this thread, I do not agree with your chosen form of expression.

Andoran

Oops_I_Crit_My_Pants wrote:

Dear Paizo Staff,

I get on these boards mostly to discuss rules and get clarifications. There is a lively community of people who give all kinds of excellent input, but there is rarely what I would call definitive closure to MANY rules discussions, particularily in regards to vague or unclear spell descriptions. Some of these discussions are years old (literally) and still there is no final answer.

Honestly, I think you spend far too much time developing new products while ignoring giving any clarifications on already released products. I'm not saying I want you to agree with my interpratation of the rules (but I certainly wouldnt complain if you did), but can you PLEASE start releasing some ERRATA to start clearing up some of these spell discussons.

All you have to do is go through the rules/FAQ discussion boards, find all of the ones marked the most as "favorites" by people, start giving some definitive and final answers, and then update the errata.

My advice is to hire a full-time staffer who is dedicated to rules issues and definitive answers to rules questions and let him/her start clearing up the loose ends.

OK so I have to say that for spell with less then clear discriptions can be annoying but you also have to remember that each game has a DM they can make ruling's on anything they want its part of there right.

My personal opinion is why should paizo clarifiy these spells it gives players and DM's the ability to think outside the box which I for one have fun doing. If something seems broken and it doesnt get restricted by the DM then thats there fault for not stopping it not paizo.


I have to say the OP's screen name and thread title, could certainly be considered impolite, if not offensive; the actual post is quite polite though. But, and it is a big BUT, SKR's response certainly doesn't inspire me to want to buy his product. There are a lot of ways he could have responded, from none at all, to a PM to the OP, to giving a real answer, instead we get about the worst answer possible (the worst would have been to reply in kind).

Sczarni

Pathfinder Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Campaign Setting, Companion, Maps, Modules, Roleplaying Game, Tales Subscriber
Oops_I_Crit_My_Pants wrote:

but there is rarely what I would call definitive closure to MANY rules discussions, particularily in regards to vague or unclear spell descriptions.

ok... so? some of this is on purpose so the GM has some power.


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
Vod Canockers wrote:
I have to say the OP's screen name and thread title, could certainly be considered impolite, if not offensive; the actual post is quite polite though. But, and it is a big BUT, SKR's response certainly doesn't inspire me to want to buy his product. There are a lot of ways he could have responded, from none at all, to a PM to the OP, to giving a real answer, instead we get about the worst answer possible (the worst would have been to reply in kind).

He tends to come off sometimes as a grumpy old man with a shotgun who yells "Git off mah lawn!". ;)

Andoran

1 person marked this as a favorite.
Sean K Reynolds wrote:

Dear Oops —

Your attitude and phrasing is exactly the opposite of anything that would encourage a reasonable person (such as myself) to provide you with answers to your questions.

Thanks,

— Sean, posting from home, after midnight

Did you ever consider that many of us are upset by the lack of support for your products? Oops may not have been polite in this instance, yet let's keep in mind that others have definitely failed with politeness on multiple occasions.

His "impolite" request seems "reasonable" to me, and I second the motion for your company to dedicate a person to clean up FAQ.

A final thought: Has your company ever considered polling the community on hot topics instead of just reading posts? We are the ones giving you money and in this day and age you have an amazing tool to listen to feedback from your customers. I for one would love to be involved in requesting topics for future products.


... Looking at topic title, OP name, OP post, forum category... can I just say, can we move this topic somewhere else? Gen Discussion, The cinderlands, locked trashcan....

This has turned into (assuming it didn't start as) a paizo and staff bashing thread.

Andoran

There are several factors weighing against clarification.

1. More clarification = longer word count.
2. No matter how clear you make something, there will still be ambiguity.
3. Ambiguity is not inherently bad. It allows GMs to tailor games to taste.
4. People who are on the wrong side of the adjustment will complain, regardless.
5. Some spells that are really powerful are built for story purposes and require GM adjudication to hold the power level, by design. You need ways for horribly dangerous things that the PC's need to stop to happen, so you have spells that create opportunities for these things to happen. And a developred can't stop GM's from abdicating responsibility on adjudicating reasonable control over these kinds of spells.

I would like more feedback on intentions of some spells, but I think short of a separate book outlining how specific spells "should" work, I don't see resolution beyond "Ask your GM."

And for people for whom that is not enough of an answer, quite often nothing will be enough of an answer.


Arizhel wrote:

I am an attorney in the real world, so I love parsing rules. I like reading not just the spell, but the chain of rules relating to that spell. Same for abilities. When I am in doubt, I just check other similar rulings, and use common sense.

This works 65% of the time. 45% of the time, I am playing PFS.

Here are my thoughts:
1) I would love to work for Paizo parsing rules if such a position ever came up. (Had to say it.)
2) When in doubt I always just follow PFS rulings. Mike Brock does a lot more than the Devs. when it comes to clarifying rules and making definitives statements.

So the 65% and the 45% add up to 110% was that just a mistake or a give it everything you got, give it 110% kind of thing?


1 person marked this as a favorite.

For better or for worse, the most appropriate time to fix a bunch of problems is when you're writing a brand new edition of the game. So be careful what you ask for...

;-)


Vod Canockers wrote:
I have to say the OP's screen name and thread title, could certainly be considered impolite, if not offensive; the actual post is quite polite though. But, and it is a big BUT, SKR's response certainly doesn't inspire me to want to buy his product. There are a lot of ways he could have responded, from none at all, to a PM to the OP, to giving a real answer, instead we get about the worst answer possible (the worst would have been to reply in kind).

Agreed.

BUT
He was obviously up late.
I'm old(er)
I get crank(ier).

Both parties need a timeout.

Grand Lodge RPG Superstar 2012 Top 32

2 people marked this as a favorite.
Oops_I_Crit_My_Pants wrote:
All you have to do is go through the rules/FAQ discussion boards, find all of the ones marked the most as "favorites" by people

Actually, look at the top-right portion of every single messageboard post, including yours. Just above the little "+" used for marking something as a favorite. You'll see some links: FLAG | LIST | FAQ | REPLY (and EDIT and DELETE if it's a recent post of your own).

The "FAQ" link actually does exactly what you're trying to use favorites for: it flags the post as being something which needs attention for clarifying a rule. The Paizo staff then wades through a queue of FAQ-flagged posts, and writes commentary/FAQs/blogs on topics that seem to need it. Having participated in threads which lead to FAQs (and even having started some of them), I can tell you from experience that the system works, even if you personally haven't seen it.

So ultimately, what you're asking for already exists. Please, don't tell others to do their homework when you haven't done yours.


I know it's not a satisfactory answer for many, but the harsh reality is that FAQs and errata don't make money. New products do. Yes, supporting your products and community encourage customers to stay customers, but it doesn't directly generate any revenue.

Beyond that, for the support that they are providing, there has to be prioritization. Reviewing one of a dozen archetypes for one of a couple dozen classes is not going to affect many people. Fixing, say, the Monk, is going to have a much larger impact. And it's also going to be a lot more complicated and time-consuming to solve. So they could spend their time fixing a bunch of obscure spells and feats, or they could be addressing core class features or basic combat rules.

I choose the latter, and that's coming from someone who plays a Titan Mauler Barbarian and a Beast Rider Cavalier.


I don't see anything wrong with the OP's first post. If anything, he was just being frank. He shared his personal observation, stated some opinions (clearly labeled as such I might add), made a request, and gave some free advice that didn't involve doing something anatomically impossible to yourself.

Jiggy wrote:
Oops_I_Crit_My_Pants wrote:
All you have to do is go through the rules/FAQ discussion boards, find all of the ones marked the most as "favorites" by people

Actually, look at the top-right portion of every single messageboard post, including yours. Just above the little "+" used for marking something as a favorite. You'll see some links: FLAG | LIST | FAQ | REPLY (and EDIT and DELETE if it's a recent post of your own).

The "FAQ" link actually does exactly what you're trying to use favorites for: it flags the post as being something which needs attention for clarifying a rule. The Paizo staff then wades through a queue of FAQ-flagged posts, and writes commentary/FAQs/blogs on topics that seem to need it. Having participated in threads which lead to FAQs (and even having started some of them), I can tell you from experience that the system works, even if you personally haven't seen it.

So ultimately, what you're asking for already exists. Please, don't tell others to do their homework when you haven't done yours.

Don't some of the threads predate the FAQ system though? I know I don't go back to old threads and hit the FAQ button. Also, you seem to have confused what he's asking for with how he's suggesting it be carried out.

Andoran

2 people marked this as a favorite.

To the OP (and other interested parties)

If you want to see an classic example of what happens to a product that insists that all rules have a clear and precise interaction with each other , I can only direct you to Star Fleet Battles.

1970-something 48 page pocket rule book. Add 3 expansions total number of rule pages about 200.

1990-something over a thousand pages of rules alone most of which are simply references to other paragraphs.

Moral of the story - be careful of what you wish for ...


Killsmith wrote:
Don't some of the threads predate the FAQ system though? I know I don't go back to old threads and hit the FAQ button. Also, you seem to have confused what he's asking for with how he's suggesting it be carried out.

If it's really a noticeable problem, there will almost certainly be multiple threads on the subject, not just one thread from three years ago. That's my experience, anyways.

Andoran

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

OP:
Give specific example of what spells you are in desperate need of rulings on? I checked all your posts and that of your aliases and only saw you post on a single spell thread about Charm Person. Complaining that all kinds of things are broke and fix them without giving details is quite silly. I work in IT, and that would be the same as someone saying to me "Fix this" without defining device, problem, symptoms, etc.


3 people marked this as a favorite.

For those of you who suggest that the inconsistencies, inaccuracies and outright conflicts built into the existing Pathfinder (and D&D, and GURPS and etc.) rules systems are "so the GM has some power" I have this response.

PPPhhhhhhttttttsssstttttttbbbblllllltttttt!!!!!!!!!

Or maybe this:

Hahahahahahahahahahahahahaahahahaahahahahahahhhaaaaaa!

Seriously, that was a coffee spurting moment reading that.

The OP's comment is a valid one. His user name, attitude and approach are not conducive to replies. However SKR and other Paizo staff have responded to more offensive posts in the past.

My initial reply to the OP may not have been appreciated by a lot of the Paizo superfans here on the site, but it is entirely accurate and is almost certainly the real answer to the OP's question. It's simply not financially beneficial for Paizo (or many other similar companies) to spend dollars fixing things that they think "aren't broken enough" to warrant fixing.

Yeah, that bugs the heck out of a lot of us who know that an 80/20 rule approach to this (80% of the problem could be addressed with 20% of the effort required to deal with 100% of the problem) is perfectly viable and would probably actually end up with a positive financial impact in spite of Paizo's belief otherwise.

But it is what it is. Paizo has repeatedly made their stance known. I think that there are a lot of different elements that go into evaluating a company's customer service, and overall I would rate Paizo pretty high.

But in this one area, I think they could do much, much better with only a little effort and expense.

But my opinion doesn't matter and SKR's (all "Grumpy Old Man" attitude of him) does.

(Personal note: I actually have a ton of respect for SKR and have said so many times. But I do sort of chuckle at the "grumpy old man" image...)

RPG Superstar 2009 Top 32, 2010 Top 8

1 person marked this as a favorite.
Adamantine Dragon wrote:
(Personal note: I actually have a ton of respect for SKR and have said so many times. But I do sort of chuckle at the "grumpy old man" image...)

You'd be grumpy too if all your hair was burned off by Superman. ;-)

Andoran

1 person marked this as a favorite.

I think some spells are for GM adjudication by design. Simulacrum and Planar Binding come to mind, as it would require literally pages and pages to write them in a way that wouldn't require fiat, and removing them removes needed story tropes and elements.

My suggestion has been adding more failure chances for such things, but I don't think it is laughable that on certain spells the "Let the GM work it out" approach is preferable...even if it leads to annoyance when dealing with rules lawyers.

Andoran

Matthew Morris wrote:
Adamantine Dragon wrote:
(Personal note: I actually have a ton of respect for SKR and have said so many times. But I do sort of chuckle at the "grumpy old man" image...)
You'd be grumpy too if all your hair was burned off by Superman. ;-)

Shouldn't have told the Man of Steel to get off his lawn.

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