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Ultimate Wilderness: Was removing plant immunities really necessary?


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Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion, Maps, Pawns, Roleplaying Game Subscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber

So once again Paizo has not only reprinted a plethora of old material (for the third time in some cases), but have also continued to alter the game's rules so that such options are invariably weaker/less fun/more restrictive than before.

One of these changes was to remove the plant immunities from all plant-type PCs in their new book, Ultimate Wilderness.

Do you feel this was a necessary adjustment to the game? Why or why not? Will you be enforcing this upon your players's Plant characters, or allowing them to keep their immunities? Discuss.

For me, this has all the bad tastes of a GM making an impromptu house ruling in the middle of a game, which can be quite jarring to the group due to the previously defined expectations of the players.


I didn't know there were plant-type PCs in Pathfinder...


If Paizo didn't remove the immunities than the plant races couldn't be Shifters.


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Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion, Maps, Pawns, Roleplaying Game Subscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber
Matthew Downie wrote:
I didn't know there were plant-type PCs in Pathfinder...

The Ghorum from the Inner Sea Beastiary and the Bestiary V and the Gathlains from the Advanced Race Guide are reprinted races with the Plant type that have been cut down.

There are also two new races in the book, at least one of which also has this weaker Plant type.

If the designers didn't want you to have the plant type, they shouldn't have given it out in the first place, rather than saying "here you go" and "oh wait, no, you can't have that" years later. If for no other reason than proper etiquette.

Caleb Garofalo wrote:
If Paizo didn't remove the immunities than the plant races couldn't be Shifters.

A simple blurb of exclusionary text under the shifter class could have solved that problem without having to bring down all the non-shifters of the world.

Actively lowering the quality of previous game products in order to prop up newly released game products is not only bad game design, but it is arguably unethical as well. It has long been a disturbing trend with Paizo these last few years--ever since Sean K. Reynolds left, if I'm not mistaken.


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Some of the plant immunities only made sense when all plant enemies were expected to be mindless, at least in my opinion.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion, Maps, Pawns, Roleplaying Game Subscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber
Ventnor wrote:
Some of the plant immunities only made sense when all plant enemies were expected to be mindless, at least in my opinion.

Well, that I can agree with.

Dark Archive

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I have never been a fan of total immunities, as they lock out certain builds and / or trivialize certain content.

And then there's the fact that some of the immunities make zero sense, and only seem to exist because of backwards compatibility with 3rd edition. Immune to polymorph? Why? Immune to poison? Did no one on the 3rd edition design team know anything about gardening or farming or just basic botany? Did nobody know that trees hibernate during the winter and can indeed 'sleep?' Immune to mind-affecting effects only matters if the plant is mindless, which a plant PC wouldn't be, so that's not even relevant.

That said, there's no reason why plant races can't have saving throw bonuses dwarven bonuses vs. poison, spells and spell-like abilities.

Giving plant races a +2 to saves vs. effects that plant monsters (paralysis, poison, polymorph, sleep and stunning effects) would normally be immune to seems like a decent compromise, rather than just nothing.


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Set wrote:

Immune to mind-affecting effects only matters if the plant is mindless, which a plant PC wouldn't be, so that's not even relevant.

People say this a lot, but it's not even close to true. There are plenty of things that are immune to mind-affecting but have minds. In addition to all plants, and all undead, you have many aberrations and a fair number of specific creatures that do indeed have minds. The common thread is that these are weird/nonstandard consciousnesses that aren't in synch with techniques of mental manipulation unless you bring in some metamagics to translate.

The weird outlier is that oozes have the mindless trait that goes away if they have appropriate mental traits, rather than a flat immunity to mind-affecting like plants and undead. Giving all aberrations immunity wouldn't have been that weird, either.

Poison and polymorph are strange plant immunities, but not mind-affecting.


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Pathfinder Companion, Maps, Modules, Roleplaying Game Subscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber

Removing plant race immunities is useful if you are playing with a GM who thinks that the previous version of the Ghoran race is overpowered and thus does not allow that race. If you really want to play that race, you can offer up the new weaker version that he might accept.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion, Maps, Pawns, Roleplaying Game Subscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber
David knott 242 wrote:

Removing plant race immunities is useful if you are playing with a GM who thinks that the previous version of the Ghoran race is overpowered and thus does not allow that race. If you really want to play that race, you can offer up the new weaker version that he might accept.

This is a good point.


Pathfinder Companion, Roleplaying Game Subscriber

Definitely necessary. Ghorans are still really good- they get +2 AC, which is more than any other PC race gets without a feat, grab all knowledges as class skills, and can use downtime to reassign their skill ranks (or combat feats instead). The drawbacks are easily/necessarily mitigated ones. Leshies are more balanced with other races, getting some skill bonuses, good vision, a strong magical disguise, and a circumstantial SLA.


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I think so. I haven't allowed plant characters in my games particularly because I thought those immunities (particularly the mind-affecting one, which is like an entire school of magic) were unreasonable. Plus, I mean, Plants being immune to poison doesn't make any sense, since herbicide exists.

I'll probably start allowing them now.

RPG Superstar 2012 Top 32

In a word: Yes.


Pathfinder Companion, Maps, Modules, Roleplaying Game Subscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber

For the reassignment of skill ranks -- has anyone worked out the break-even points between using the Seed ability (which has fixed costs that should be considered to include a Restoration spell) and simply retraining skill ranks directly (for which the time/money costs vary with your level and intelligence)?


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion, Maps, Pawns, Roleplaying Game Subscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber

So it seems this change might actually increase options for many tables, and other tables dissatisfied with the change will likely continue to keep the immunities if they wish.

Seems like it will only be a problem if the GMs and their players happen to disagree on the matter.


QuidEst wrote:
Definitely necessary. Ghorans are still really good- they get +2 AC, which is more than any other PC race gets without a feat, grab all knowledges as class skills, and can use downtime to reassign their skill ranks (or combat feats instead). The drawbacks are easily/necessarily mitigated ones. Leshies are more balanced with other races, getting some skill bonuses, good vision, a strong magical disguise, and a circumstantial SLA.

How much do you like the ocean?

Blood of the sea, Adaro wrote:
Natural Armor: Adaros have a +2 natural armor bonus.
Blood of the sea, Cecaeila wrote:
Natural Armor: Cecaelias have a +2 natural armor bonus.
BotS, Grindylow wrote:
Natural Armor: Grindylows have tough, rubbery skin that grants a +2 natural armor bonus.
BotS, Locathah wrote:
Natural Armor: Locathahs have thick scales that provide a +2 natural armor bonus.
B1/ARG/BotS, merfolk wrote:
Armor: Merfolk have a +2 natural armor bonus.
BotS, Sahuagin wrote:
Natural Armor: Sahuagin have a +3 natural armor bonus
BotS, triton wrote:
Natural Armor: Tritons have a +2 natural armor bonus.


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Ravingdork wrote:

So it seems this change might actually increase options for many tables, and other tables dissatisfied with the change will likely continue to keep the immunities if they wish.

Seems like it will only be a problem if the GMs and their players happen to disagree on the matter.

I disagree with that.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion, Maps, Pawns, Roleplaying Game Subscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber
Mary Mary Quite Contrary wrote:
Ravingdork wrote:

So it seems this change might actually increase options for many tables, and other tables dissatisfied with the change will likely continue to keep the immunities if they wish.

Seems like it will only be a problem if the GMs and their players happen to disagree on the matter.

I disagree with that.

Was that a joke? If not, would you care to elaborate?

Silver Crusade

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion, Modules, Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Roleplaying Guild, Tales Subscriber; Pathfinder Comics Subscriber
Obscure citations wrote:
QuidEst wrote:
Definitely necessary. Ghorans are still really good- they get +2 AC, which is more than any other PC race gets without a feat, grab all knowledges as class skills, and can use downtime to reassign their skill ranks (or combat feats instead). The drawbacks are easily/necessarily mitigated ones. Leshies are more balanced with other races, getting some skill bonuses, good vision, a strong magical disguise, and a circumstantial SLA.

How much do you like the ocean?

Blood of the sea, Adaro wrote:
Natural Armor: Adaros have a +2 natural armor bonus.
Blood of the sea, Cecaeila wrote:
Natural Armor: Cecaelias have a +2 natural armor bonus.
BotS, Grindylow wrote:
Natural Armor: Grindylows have tough, rubbery skin that grants a +2 natural armor bonus.
BotS, Locathah wrote:
Natural Armor: Locathahs have thick scales that provide a +2 natural armor bonus.
B1/ARG/BotS, merfolk wrote:
Armor: Merfolk have a +2 natural armor bonus.
BotS, Sahuagin wrote:
Natural Armor: Sahuagin have a +3 natural armor bonus
BotS, triton wrote:
Natural Armor: Tritons have a +2 natural armor bonus.

Uhhh, did you look at the races you quoted? Those are all super strong and the book even calls out getting GM permission before playing one since they’re only slightly tweaked from their Bestiary entry.


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Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion, Maps, Pawns, Roleplaying Game Subscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber

You don't even need to look beyond the Core Rulebook or Bestiary. A halfling with it's small size bonus and +2 dexterity bonus matches the AC of a ghoran (and is probably better since it applies against touch attacks as well). A goblin actually exceeds the ghoran with a +4 bonus to dexterity alongside its size bonus.

Getting a +2 AC from race is hardly special or unique.

It's also somewhat off-topic.


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I started looking because I knew about merfolk having 2 natural armour (which incedentally, are in the CRB as bestiary options suitable for play), I just put the others in for completeness.


Pathfinder Companion, Roleplaying Game Subscriber

Forgot about merfolk, but they’re one I’ve seen consistently banned. Small size is at the direct expense of weapon damage, and a Dex bonus is just accounting in point buy. Moving the goalposts some, I admit- my point is more that +2 natural armor is a very strong feature. I’d consider it better than a bonus feat, in that if there were a feat that gave +2 natural armor, I’d almost always be grabbing that.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Ravingdork wrote:
Mary Mary Quite Contrary wrote:
Ravingdork wrote:

So it seems this change might actually increase options for many tables, and other tables dissatisfied with the change will likely continue to keep the immunities if they wish.

Seems like it will only be a problem if the GMs and their players happen to disagree on the matter.

I disagree with that.
Was that a joke? If not, would you care to elaborate?

I thought the use of an alias made it fairly obvious.

Yes, it's a joke. :-)


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Ravingdork wrote:
So once again Paizo has not only reprinted a plethora of old material (for the third time in some cases), but have also continued to alter the game's rules so that such options are invariably weaker/less fun/more restrictive than before.

They did this with Book of the Damned, too.

WRT reprinting old material, personally I'm okay with it as long as (1) the material really is old -- at least five years old, let's say, but in any event old enough that it's long gone from the shelves of your FNGS; and (2) they're not simply reprinting, but adding some new material and cleaning up / reorganizing / incorporating FAQs and errata for the older stuff.

What grates is, yes, when they reprint older stuff and nerf it in a non-fun way. I don't mind making adjustments on the fly for better playability and clearer rules. I actually think the ghoran probably falls in this category, because the original ghoran really was a bit OP for a PC race. So, I can see why some folks might be annoyed, but I also see the justification. But nerfs and changes without a good reason, yes, are really frickin' irritating. Don't get me started on what they did to the Diabolist.

Doug M.


Ravingdork wrote:
So once again Paizo has not only reprinted a plethora of old material (for the third time in some cases), but have also continued to alter the game's rules so that such options are invariably weaker/less fun/more restrictive than before.

so first part no comment...

altering game rules is normal tweaking, presumably to create more specific rules or options. Good or bad is an opinion. It's something for the home GM to think about.
In general type descriptions are a WIDE brush to define a creature type. Specific monsters may vary from that type.
It will probably have a wider impact on PFS as they are more rule bound to existing product although there may only be 1 plant type PC in play.

Ravingdork wrote:

One of these changes was to remove the plant immunities from all plant-type PCs in their new book, Ultimate Wilderness.

Do you feel this was a necessary adjustment to the game? Why or why not? Will you be enforcing this upon your players's Plant characters, or allowing them to keep their immunities? Discuss.

For me, this has all the bad tastes of a GM making an impromptu house ruling in the middle of a game, which can be quite jarring to the group due to the previously defined expectations of the players.

I'm sure that's water under the bridge for the designers. It happens and I don't expect an official response, particularly in this channel.

It might only apply to creatures in UltWild.
I would use the old type on existing creatures if their INT score was 2 or less or they had the mindless attribute.


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FWIW, the Ghoran 1.0 is rated at 19 racial points -- and I actually think that's conservative, because "immune to mind-affecting effects" is really very powerful. But anyway, that puts it near the top of the "Advanced Races" (11-20 rp) which IIUC is already a group that you need your DM's approval to play.

So, Ravingdork, I agree with you that there's a general issue or problem here (Paizo reprinting rules and changing/nerfing stuff), but I think this particular case is one of the more justifiable ones.

Doug M.


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For RP, note that several main player races are in the advanced category. This includes Androids (16), Aasimar (15), fetchlings(17) Dwarves (11), and Suli (16).

Humans are 9, but only because "flexible bonus feat" is extremely undervalued.

Edit: because I'm stubborn, Tritons and their +2 nat armour are 11, same as dwarves.


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Rysky wrote:
Uhhh, did you look at the races you quoted? Those are all super strong and the book even calls out getting GM permission before playing one since they’re only slightly tweaked from their Bestiary entry.

I mean, Cecaelias are called out as especially powerful and only with GM permission, and are estimated to be 23 RPs 4 more than the Ghoran initial entry, but the big stuff that Cecaelias get (immunity to tripping, 2 natural attacks with reach, and good underwater) is less of a hassle for the GM to work around than "Immune to mind-affecting, paralysis, poison, stunning, and doesn't need to sleep."

The reason I've always been skeptical of plant races to begin with is the same reason I'm skeptical of people who want to play undead characters (who think the dhampir isn't good enough)- I suspect they're just fishing for a pile of immunities and other mechanical advantages.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

I think you can blame comic books (poison Ivy), and movies (interview with a vampire) more for that then a bunch of statistical bonuses.


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My group didn't like it. I think some modifications could have helped, but some of the immunities posed no problem to play any class, and some really made sense (why should a human poison work on a plant?).


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Hey, I worked hard on my stats for the first +2 NA race I played! Had to do a truly bizarre dip.

Outracing the dwarf without legs was funny, okay?

this was a merfolk mesmerist playing support/tank/knowledge. Dip was Oracle (metal) with extra revelation. Full martial/heavy armour, total 25 speed with Dance of the Blades. It's also technically Spirit guide, but that's entirely for knowledge class skills.


The Sideromancer wrote:

For RP, note that several main player races are in the advanced category. This includes Androids (16), Aasimar (15), fetchlings(17) Dwarves (11), and Suli (16).

Humans are 9, but only because "flexible bonus feat" is extremely undervalued.

Sure, but (1) the ghoran 1.0 was still higher than any of those, and (2) the plant subtype was pretty clearly undervalued. It's 10 rp total, low-light vision is 1 rp, so that leaves 9 rp for immune to all mind-affecting plus poison, polymorph, etc. etc., plus no need to sleep. That is clearly at least a couple of points too low.

Doug M.


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Oh, a thought just occurred: the "immune to mind-affecting" (which included being immune to intimidation) would have made the plant races every optimizer's first choice for psychic casters. No emotion = you never have to worry about losing your powers, and you get all the benefits of psychic casting (no verbal or somatic components! no cheap material components!) with no drawback except the modest one about concentration.

That's a very OP synergy. The options then become, either say plant races can't be psychic casters, or remove the immunity. Paizo has always been allergic to 1e style "dwarves can't be wizards" racial limitations, so.

Doug M.


I mean, when I made a plant race, one of the first things I did was strip out the immunities.


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Douglas Muir 406 wrote:

Oh, a thought just occurred: the "immune to mind-affecting" (which included being immune to intimidation) would have made the plant races every optimizer's first choice for psychic casters. No emotion = you never have to worry about losing your powers, and you get all the benefits of psychic casting (no verbal or somatic components! no cheap material components!) with no drawback except the modest one about concentration.

That's a very OP synergy. The options then become, either say plant races can't be psychic casters, or remove the immunity. Paizo has always been allergic to 1e style "dwarves can't be wizards" racial limitations, so.

Doug M.

We still have androids, who retain their immunity (and probably will if they wish to keep parity with Starfinder), and get a +2 to Intelligence to boot, allowing them to be very powerful Psychics.


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I was under the impression that Androids couldn't be psychics without that one alternate racial trait, because they can't supply emotion components.


PossibleCabbage wrote:
I was under the impression that Androids couldn't be psychics without that one alternate racial trait, because they can't supply emotion components.

That trait is third-party, and there is, as of the moment, no strict rule restriction preventing androids from being psychic spellcasters. I mean, a GM wouldn't be in the wrong to prevent an android from being one, but there are no rules preventing it.

Shadow Lodge

Don't Androids literally have a racial feature called Emotionless though? That rules out psychic casters quite easily.

There are no rules saying they can't be psychic casters because, guess what, psychic magic wasn't a thing back when they were made.


Couldn't the same logic apply to the plant type? Or really anything that predates a class? Can humans really be alchemists?

Shadow Lodge

Do humans have a racial feature called Alchemyless? No? Then the same logic doesn't apply.


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Androids are not constructs or robots, they are humanoids so the type inheritance tree is different. While I agree the naming sure sounds like it wouldn't work with emotion components the effect is just a -4 on making Sense Motive checks... Note: this trait is called Logical in the Book of Heroic Races: Advanced Androids.
edit - I like Mark and he's a sharp guy. Probably a GM call as I can see the + and - to it. The link below is from the Occult Playtest thread circa 2014 where this issue was discussed.


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Mark Seifter appears to be under the impression that Androids can't supply emotion components, for what it's worth.


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Dragonborn3 wrote:
Do humans have a racial feature called Alchemyless? No? Then the same logic doesn't apply.

Why I use rule contents over rule names: after a few translations, "without emotion" returns an empty string. So a common ->elven->Giant->Aboleth->Celestial->... android has no problems with emotion components.

Dark Archive

I don't think it was "necessary" per say, but it was a good "ease of play" change.

There are a lot of class features that plant races straight up couldn't use because of the immunities. A non-exhaustive list of classes with features that plants can't jive with: Druid, Bard, Barbarian, Bloodrager, Cavaliers, and Skald.

Sure, in most cases there is an archetype to let you trade away those class features, but not in all cases.
Plus, there are a ton of spells that give morale bonuses.

Now, it's about as limiting as being a native outsider. Except outsiders get darkvision instead of low light.


Garbage-Tier Waifu wrote:
PossibleCabbage wrote:
I was under the impression that Androids couldn't be psychics without that one alternate racial trait, because they can't supply emotion components.
That trait is third-party, and there is, as of the moment, no strict rule restriction preventing androids from being psychic spellcasters. I mean, a GM wouldn't be in the wrong to prevent an android from being one, but there are no rules preventing it.

Nothing prevents them from being psychic spellcasters, but they are prevented from contributing Emotion Components. So they will have a fairly limited selection of spells unless they pick up Logical Spell.


I just had a player completely annihilate my campaign with his delicious immunities.

It also doesn't make sense for a plant based race to have a mind and not have anything interact with it.

I like the streamlined changes.

I also like the reprints, since my group exclusively uses hardcovers at the table and having them compiled is nice.


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master_marshmallow wrote:

I just had a player completely annihilate my campaign with his delicious immunities.

It also doesn't make sense for a plant based race to have a mind and not have anything interact with it.

Does it make sense for an undead with a mind not to have anything interact with it? A serpentfolk? Intellect devourers?


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necessary no, do i care probably not never wanted to play those races b4 probably have less incentive to play them now


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Pathfinder Adventure Path, Companion, Roleplaying Game Subscriber

I am fine with loosing immunity to mind-affecting effects and polymorph. But the loss of immunity to sleep, paralysis, and stunning is another story. I also like the immunity to poison but I can understand that one being taken away though a +2 to +4 save bonuses would have made sense as well.

Dark Archive

Immunity to sleep isn't particularly powerful most of the time anyway. And I agree with the above sentiment:
"why should a human poison work on a plant?"
Hell, many human poisons are made from plants. I'm sure a plant creature could be similarly affected by toxins, just not the same ones.

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