A Few More Answers

Thursday, June 22, 2017

Hi Pathfinders!

Familiars and animal companions are loyal allies that can be of great assistance to your PCs. Adjudicating rules around them can get messy, however, particularly in an organized campaign like the Pathfinder Society Roleplaying Guild. When we updated the Pathfinder Society FAQ a few months ago, we left a big "We'll get back to this" at the top of the question regarding familiars and magic item use. We knew this was going to be a hugely time-consuming project, so we enlisted help from a team of community members: Lau Bannenberg, Steven Lau, Bradley McTeer, and Roger Sidebotham. Thanks to their efforts, we were able to pull together a comprehensive guide to every magic-item related question we could think of for familiars. In addition to updating the list of who can use wands, we tackled the thorny question of magic item slots. Many hours of "Does a floating head have different magic item slots than a floating helmet?" later, we created a magic item slot chart for every familiar that it is possible to acquire in the Pathfinder Society Roleplaying Guild.

All of this information will appear on the FAQ soon, along with a few other smaller updates. For now, here it is, spoilered for length.

Can my familiar wield weapons or use magic items?

By default, familiars do not have any magic item slots, but they can unlock magic item slots associated with their respective body shape. See below for a list of which body slots each familiar is eligible to unlock. To unlock a magic item slot, a familiar must take the Extra Item Slot feat, which appears in Pathfinder Player Companion: Animal Archive and will be reprinted in the Pathfinder Society Roleplaying Guild Guide as of version 9.0. In the Pathfinder Society Roleplaying Guild, familiars of all body shapes may take this feat, including humanoid-shaped familiars. When you gain a familiar, you may exchange one of its feats for Extra Item Slot for free. Familiars may also carry slotless magic items and activate ioun stones.

The following chart specifies the magic item slots that each familiar can unlock. Available slots followed by either (saddle) or (horseshoes) denote that creatures of that body type can only wear magic items in those slots if they are saddles or horseshoes, respectively. Creatures without these notes cannot wear saddles or horseshoes. Celestial, entropic, fiendish, and resolute familiars use the same slots as typical animals of their kind.

All familiars can activate the abilities of their use-activated magic items, so long as these abilities do not require a command word. The following familiars can use spell trigger and spell completion magic items, including wands and scrolls, as well as magic items with a command word: arbiter, brownie, cassisian (in small humanoid form), faerie dragon, imp, leshy (any), liminal sprite, lyrakien, mephit (any type), nosoi, nuglub, pooka, pyrausta, quasit, shikigami, soulbound doll, sprite, and zhyen. For more information on these magic item categories, see page 456 of the Pathfinder RPG Core Rulebook.

Familiars in categories marked with an asterisk (*) are able to grasp and carry one object at a time in their paws, claws, or hands, including weapons, rods, wands, and staves, as long as their carrying capacity is sufficient. Most familiars cannot wield weapons in combat. The following familiars can wield weapons: arbiter, brownie, cassisian (in small humanoid form), imp, leshy (any), liminal sprite, lyrakien, mephit (any), nuglub, pooka, quasit, shikigami, soulbound doll, sprite, and zhyen.

Some familiars have natural shapeshifting ability. One of the most striking cases is the cassisian familiar, which is listed below in both its humanoid form and its helmet form. Whenever a familiar changes from a form that has access to a magic item slot into a form that does not, the item melded into its body. A melded item provides no benefits. For familiars that can take the shapes of animals, use the standard item categories for that animal listed below.

Please review Additional Resources before selecting a familiar. Some of the listed familiars are only legal choices if your character has a Chronicle sheet boon or an archetype that grants access to them.

Arbiter* (eyes, hand, headband, wrist): Arbiter

Auger (eyes, headband): Auger

Avian* (armor, belt, chest, eyes, headband, neck, ring, wrist): Archaeopteryx, arctic tern, bat, chicken, clockwork familiar, dodo, dove, flying fox, hawk, kakapo, mockingfey, nosoi, osprey, owl, parrot, peacock, penguin, pseudowyvern, ptarmigan, puffin, raven, rhamphorhynchus, snail kite, snowy owl, thrush, toucan

Biped [claws/paws]* (armor, belt, chest, eyes, head, headband, neck, right, shoulders): Compsognathus, petrifern, wallaby

Biped [hands]* (all item slots): Brownie, cassisan (Small humanoid form), coral capuchin, faerie dragon, homunculus, imp, leshy (any), liminal sprite, lyrakien, mephit (any type), monkey, nuglub, pooka, pyrausta, quasit, shikigami, soulbound doll, sprite, xiao, zhyen

Cassisian (headband): Cassisian (helmet form)

Doru (eyes, head, headband): Doru

None (no item slots): Eyeball, harbinger, paracletus, wysp

Piscine (belt, chest [saddle], eyes): Popoto dolphin, pufferfish, seal

Quadruped [claws/paws] (armor, belt [saddle], chest, eyes, head, headband, neck, shoulders): Almiraj, arctic fox, arctic hare, armadillo, brain mole, calligraphy wyrm, cat, cat sith, caypup, chuspiki, dire rat, donkey rat, ermine, flying squirrel, fox, hedgehog, koala, lemming, mole, mongoose, otter, platypus, pseudodragon, pseudosphinx, rabbit, raccoon, rat, red panda, silvanshee, skunk, sloth, squirrel, weasel

Quadruped [hooves] (armor, belt [saddle], chest, eyes, feet [horseshoes], head, headband, neck, shoulders): Goat, pig

Quadruped [squat body] (armor, eyes, head, headband, neck, shoulders): Snapping turtle, toad, turtle

Saurian (armor, belt [saddle], chest, eyes, head, headband, neck): Dwarf caiman, lizard, marine iguana, tuatara

Serpentine (belt, eyes, headband): cacodaemon, leopard slug, mamiwa, nehushtan, nycar, pipefox, raktavarna, sea krait, viper, voidworm

Verminous (belt, eyes): Blue-ringed octopus, clockwork spy, elemental (any type), giant flea, giant isopod, greensting scorpion, house centipede, katroome, king crab, octopus (young template), scarlet spider, stirge, trilobite, typhilipede

After finishing this entry, we decided to update the animal companion magic item slot chart from Pathfinder Player Companion: Animal Archive to include every possible animal, plant, or vermin companion.

Can my animal companion, plant companion, or vermin companion wield weapons? Can it wear or use magic items?

An animal companion has access to the armor and neck magic item slots automatically, as long as its body shape is eligible for these slots. They can also unlock additional magic item slots that their shape allows. See below for a list of which body slots each companion is eligible to unlock. Plant and vermin companions do not gain automatic magic items slots. All three kinds of companions may carry slotless magic items.

To unlock an additional magic item slot, the animal, plant, or vermin must take the Extra Item Slot feat, which appears in Pathfinder Player Companion: Animal Archive and will be reprinted in the Pathfinder Society Roleplaying Guild Guide as of version 9.0. In the Pathfinder Society Roleplaying Guild, companions of all body shapes may take this feat, including humanoid-shaped companions.

Animal, plant, and vermin companions in categories marked with an asterisk (*) are able to grasp and carry one object at a time in their paws, claws, or hands, including weapons, rods, wands, and staves, as long as their carrying capacity is sufficient. No animal, plant, or vermin companions can wield weapons or activate magic items, with the exception of the imp granted by the diabolist prestige class, which uses the rules for an imp familiar (See "Can my familiar wield weapons or use magic items?"). Specifically, they cannot use spell trigger, spell completion, command word, or use-activated magic items (Pathfinder RPG Core Rulebook 458). An animal companion with an Intelligence score of 3 or higher may use ioun stones.

Available slots followed by either (saddle) or (horseshoes) in the table below denote that creatures of that body type can only wear magic items in those slots if they are saddles or horseshoes, respectively. Creatures without these notes cannot wear saddles or horseshoes.

Please review Additional Resources before selecting a companion. Some of the listed companions are only legal choices if your character has a Chronicle sheet boon or an archetype that grants access to them.

Avian* (armor, belt, chest, eyes, headband, neck, ring, wrist): Axe beak, blackwisp egret, dimorphodon, dire bat, eagle, giant raven, giant vulture, hawk, impaler shrike, moa, owl, pteranodon, quetzalcoatlus, roc, trumpeter swan, whisperfall vulture, yolubilis heron

Biped [claws/paws]* (armor, belt, chest, eyes, headband, neck, right, shoulders, wrist): Ceratosaurus, chalicotherium, deinonychus, gigantosaurus, kangaroo, pachycephalosaurus, theriznosaurus, troodon, tyrannosaurus, velociraptor

Biped [hands]* (all item slots): Ape, baboon, devil monkey

Piscine (belt, chest [saddle], eyes): Blue whale, dolphin, dunkleosteus, manta ray, narwhal, orca, plesiosaurus, seahorse, shark, stingray, tylosaurus, walrus

Quadruped [claws/paws] (armor, belt [saddle], chest, eyes, head, headband, neck, shoulders): Badger, bear, cheetah, digmaul, dire rat, dog, giant weasel, goblin dog, hyena, leopard, lion, panda, thylacine, tiger, wolf, wolverine

Quadruped/Hexapod [feet] (armor, belt [saddle], chest, eyes, head, headband, neck, shoulders): Baluchitherium, camel, deinotherium, elasmotherium, embolotherium, elephant, giant ant, giant mantis, giant wasp, hippopotamus, mastodon, megatherium, pygmy hippopotamus, rhinoceros, triceratops, uintatherium

Quadruped [hooves] (armor, belt [saddle], chest, eyes, feet [horseshoes], head, headband, neck, shoulders): Antelope, aurochs, boar, bristle boar, elk, giraffe, horse, llama, megaloceros, mindspin ram, moose, pony, ram, shissah, skittergoat, stag, styracosaurus, yzobu

Quadruped [squat body] (armor, eyes, head, headband, neck, shoulders): Elasmosaurus, giant frog, giant snapping turtle, glyptodon, tortoise

Saurian (armor, belt [saddle], chest, eyes, head, headband, neck): Alligator, crocodile, amargasaurus, ankylosaurus, brachiosaurus, dimetrodon, kaprosuchus, kentrosaurus, stegosaurus, giant chameleon, giant gecko, megalania, monitor lizard

Serpentine (belt, eyes, headband): Basilosaurus, constrictor snake, electric eel, gar, giant leech, giant moray eel, giant slug, titanoboa, viper

Plant/Verminous (belt, eyes): Cameroceras, carnivorous flower, crawling vine, giant beetle, giant centipede, giant crab, giant scorpion, giant spider, octopus, puffball, sapling treant, squid

Do you have any questions about familiars, animal companions, or other companion creatures that we haven't answered yet in the FAQ? Let us know in the comments below.

Linda Zayas-Palmer
Developer

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Poison Dusk wrote:
Lau Bannenberg wrote:
Are there still creatures that should be mountable (described as such) that currently can't use saddles?

Besides the kangaroo, I fail to see why any of these cannot wear a saddle. They may be bipeds, but they don't stand upright like a man does. And the death of the dinosaur rider trope is killing me. And the Rexy is listed as a choice for Beast Rider Cavaliers, so would be ridicules if they can't ride it without a saddle. I have failed to find anything that makes it not a legal choice in either Additional Resources or Campaign Clarifications.

FAQ wrote:
Biped [claws/paws]* (armor, belt, chest, eyes, headband, neck, ring, shoulders, wrist): Ceratosaurus, chalicotherium, deinonychus, gigantosaurus, kangaroo, pachycephalosaurus, theriznosaurus, troodon, tyrannosaurus, velociraptor

The ruling also has potential implications for the companion/mount being able to carry anything. Not in its hands, but on a pack saddle or saddlebags.

** Venture-Agent, Indiana—Lafayette aka Poison Dusk

shaventalz wrote:
The ruling also has potential implications for the companion/mount being able to carry anything. Not in its hands, but on a pack saddle or saddlebags.

This as well. It hurt's my Halfling druid if his super strong scorpion can't carry some gear. Not game breakingly hurt, but still.

Grand Lodge **** Venture-Agent, Utah—Lehi

I can't see any proper justification for saying that saddlebags are a saddle requiring a [saddle] magic item slot to use. Just because the word has "saddle" as a component does not mean that it is, in any sense, a saddle. Even if that fails, you could buy a backpack instead, which doesn't require any particular body type. Best that the issue gets cleared up though.

Now that paizo is adding [saddle] slots to more animal companion categories, I consider the question of whether lacking a [saddle] slot prevents the use of mundane saddles to be answered in the affirmative. The literal interpretation was always pretty clear, and the new action is at least an indication of intent.

I don't like this ruling, and would have preferred that the lack of a [saddle] slot be used as an indication that a critter needed an exotic rather than normal saddle. But I can't justify ruling that way at this point.

Sczarni ***** ⦵⦵

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Starfinder Charter Superscriber
Poison Dusk wrote:
And the Rexy is listed as a choice for Beast Rider Cavaliers, so would be ridicules if they can't ride it without a saddle.

Since I have an 8th level Beast Rider, and I know that the Archetype restricts mounts that have fewer than four legs, I went over to the PRD just now to see why people kept suggesting that Rexes and Raptors were valid choices. I now see that this Archetype directly conflicts itself:

• "a Small beast rider can also choose an allosaurus, ankylosaurus," etc, etc
• "a Medium beast rider can also choose an allosaurus, ankylosaurus," etc, etc
• "A beast rider cannot choose a mount that is not capable of bearing his weight, that has fewer than four legs, or that has a fly speed"

Seems like a ripe candidate for Campaign Clarifications.

Shadow Lodge

Paizo Superscriber; Pathfinder Companion Subscriber; Starfinder Superscriber
Nefreet wrote:
Poison Dusk wrote:
And the Rexy is listed as a choice for Beast Rider Cavaliers, so would be ridicules if they can't ride it without a saddle.

Since I have an 8th level Beast Rider, and I know that the Archetype restricts mounts that have fewer than four legs, I went over to the PRD just now to see why people kept suggesting that Rexes and Raptors were valid choices. I now see that this Archetype directly conflicts itself:

• "a Small beast rider can also choose an allosaurus, ankylosaurus," etc, etc
• "a Medium beast rider can also choose an allosaurus, ankylosaurus," etc, etc
• "A beast rider cannot choose a mount that is not capable of bearing his weight, that has fewer than four legs, or that has a fly speed"

Seems like a ripe candidate for Campaign Clarifications.

The restriction on fewer than four legs is in the following paragraph:

Beast Rider wrote:
In addition, a 7th-level or higher Medium beast rider can select any creature whose natural size is Large or Huge, provided that creature is normally available as a Medium-sized animal companion at 7th level (like a bear). To generate statistics for such a mount, apply the following modifications: Size Large; Ability Scores Str +2, Dex –2, Con +2. Increase the damage of each of the mount’s natural attacks by one die size. A beast rider cannot choose a mount that is not capable of bearing his weight, that has fewer than four legs, or that has a fly speed (although the GM may allow mounts with a swim speed in certain environments).

My read on that is that the listed restrictions only apply to these "pick any mount in the book" mounts, and not to the specific creatures listed in the previous paragraphs.

***** ⦵⦵⦵

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How are we going to say that a kangaroo can't have a saddle? It comes with one built in.

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Nathan Goodrich wrote:
I can't see any proper justification for saying that saddlebags are a saddle requiring a [saddle] magic item slot to use. Just because the word has "saddle" as a component does not mean that it is, in any sense, a saddle. Even if that fails, you could buy a backpack instead, which doesn't require any particular body type. Best that the issue gets cleared up though.

Check the description of saddlebags: "These sturdy, weatherproof bags are draped over a saddle to add extra carrying capacity." No saddle, no saddlebags.

Sczarni ***** ⦵⦵

Starfinder Charter Superscriber

*breaks out some spidersilk rope*

Sovereign Court **** Venture-Lieutenant, Netherlands—Leiden aka Ascalaphus

*gets ready to study the Beastrider in detail. Grabs more coffee.*

Sovereign Court **** Venture-Lieutenant, Netherlands—Leiden aka Ascalaphus

I vaguely remember there being a feat that required a "mount" class feature - regular animal companions weren't good enough, it specifically had to be a mount. Does anyone know which one it was?

**** Venture-Agent, Netherlands—Utrecht aka Quentin Coldwater

Monstrous Mount is pretty much only available to Rangers, Paladins, and Cavaliers. Regular animal companions won't do. Would that be the one you're looking for?

Sovereign Court **** Venture-Lieutenant, Netherlands—Leiden aka Ascalaphus

Ah, I initially misread the hunter's bond - mistook it for nature bond. Yeah, that seems to be it.

*****

If you are gathering together questions about animal companions would it be possible to address the issue of animal companion reach when they grow to large sized (or larger with mammoth rider and/or various spells).

None of the animal companion entries actually deal with this explicitly. My understanding is that you look to the base creature, determine if it is large (long) or large (tall) and work from there. However, not all companions have an obvious large sized base creature to compare with.

This is how I have generally run things and how I have seen plenty of others do so.

I have however encountered some degree of variation with some people insisting that because the companion advancement block makes no mention of it no companion gets reach of any kind, regardless of actual size.

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Society Subscriber

Mammoth Rider actually specifically states what the reach of the companion is after it grows to huge.

10 ft. reach at the first level of Mammoth Rider which increases to 15 ft. at level 7 Mammoth Rider.

Grand Lodge ***

I'm still a little confused on where this leaves Spiritualist's Phantoms for Wand use? I assume all other item slots (except Weapon and Armor) are kosher and activate-able, even though the item slots are shared.

Sovereign Court **** Venture-Lieutenant, Netherlands—Leiden aka Ascalaphus

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andreww wrote:

If you are gathering together questions about animal companions would it be possible to address the issue of animal companion reach when they grow to large sized (or larger with mammoth rider and/or various spells).

None of the animal companion entries actually deal with this explicitly. My understanding is that you look to the base creature, determine if it is large (long) or large (tall) and work from there. However, not all companions have an obvious large sized base creature to compare with.

This is how I have generally run things and how I have seen plenty of others do so.

I have however encountered some degree of variation with some people insisting that because the companion advancement block makes no mention of it no companion gets reach of any kind, regardless of actual size.

I've already sent in my compilation, but I had included this issue in it.

For the record, I'm of the same mind as you - there's nothing saying you ignore the normal reach-rules so you have to infer whether it's Tall or Long.

Dark Archive ****

In regards to one specific AC reach issue, every Large+ Snake published since Bestiary one (to my knowledge) has a reach equal to its size, it is only the Giant Constrictor in Bestiary 1 which lacks this, so it certainly seems like the intent is for snakes to have reach = size.

*****

Suthainn wrote:
In regards to one specific AC reach issue, every Large+ Snake published since Bestiary one (to my knowledge) has a reach equal to its size, it is only the Giant Constrictor in Bestiary 1 which lacks this, so it certainly seems like the intent is for snakes to have reach = size.

The constrictor snake in the Bestiary is medium and so has regular 5' reach.

The Emperor Cobra has reach as do various large+ sized snakes in numerous different scenarios.

***

Markov Spiked Chain wrote:
I'm still a little confused on where this leaves Spiritualist's Phantoms for Wand use? I assume all other item slots (except Weapon and Armor) are kosher and activate-able, even though the item slots are shared.

Considering that Wand use is usually fine as long as you have the spell on your class list or have UMD? You should be fine. Familiars and Animal Companions are the only creatures that I've seen to be the exception to this rule.

*

Rosc wrote:
Markov Spiked Chain wrote:
I'm still a little confused on where this leaves Spiritualist's Phantoms for Wand use? I assume all other item slots (except Weapon and Armor) are kosher and activate-able, even though the item slots are shared.
Considering that Wand use is usually fine as long as you have the spell on your class list or have UMD? You should be fine. Familiars and Animal Companions are the only creatures that I've seen to be the exception to this rule.

Given the trend, expect to see wand usage among eidolons restricted to bipeds only. Familiars may have been the only ones to get clarified so far, but that doesn't mean it'll stay that way.

It's less that ACs/familiars are exceptions to the rules you mentioned, and more that there's a couple rules you didn't mention. Like "must be able to speak", that restricts wild shaping druids. Or "must have hands", that restricts most of the familiars.

Lantern Lodge ***

Sorry for necroing this thread.

But does anyone know what tem slots does the animal companions from the Monstrous Companions feat has?

Inner Sea Combat wrote:

Monstrous Companions

Description Source: Inner Sea Combat
Fantastical mounts are not uncommon in the Inner Sea region, rife as it is with magic and the extraordinary. The Monstrous Mount Choices section below details monsters that are ridden primarily by cavaliers, rangers, and paladins. Taking on a monstrous mount requires a feat, but otherwise uses the rules for the animal companion class feature. Unlocking the most useful abilities and powerful attacks of a monstrous mount requires a second feat.

Griffon

Hippocampus

Hippogriff

Worg

Source Inner Sea Combat pg. 14

These animal companions have unsual body types, so what slots are open for them to pick up via the Extra Item Slot feat?

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Linda Zayas-Palmer wrote:
Thomas Hutchins wrote:

So this still doesn't answer 2 of the big questions I felt were asked about this FAQ.

Can animals without Saddle slots wear mundane saddles?
Like the frogs or especially snake cause of the First Mother's Fang Cavalier.

Can familiars without spending the feat on the armor slot wear mundane armor?

It still seems like no, but some are saying this is only for magic items and not limiting mundane stuff, but it would be nice for clarity on which is actually correct. Cause I still feel I'm bound to say that the FMFC can't have a saddle for their snake and familiars can't wear armor.

Replying to assure you that we have not forgotten about these questions. They are important questions, but also ones that will require a larger discussion and review of existing rules. We have them on the docket for after Gen Con.

Has there been discussion on this since GenCon? Have I missed an update somewhere?

* Venture-Agent, Utah—Provo aka Chess Pwn

shaventalz wrote:
Linda Zayas-Palmer wrote:
Thomas Hutchins wrote:

So this still doesn't answer 2 of the big questions I felt were asked about this FAQ.

Can animals without Saddle slots wear mundane saddles?
Like the frogs or especially snake cause of the First Mother's Fang Cavalier.

Can familiars without spending the feat on the armor slot wear mundane armor?

It still seems like no, but some are saying this is only for magic items and not limiting mundane stuff, but it would be nice for clarity on which is actually correct. Cause I still feel I'm bound to say that the FMFC can't have a saddle for their snake and familiars can't wear armor.

Replying to assure you that we have not forgotten about these questions. They are important questions, but also ones that will require a larger discussion and review of existing rules. We have them on the docket for after Gen Con.
Has there been discussion on this since GenCon? Have I missed an update somewhere?

Nope, nothing clarified since. Apparently due to cons and holidays and whatnot it's very hard for Paizo to get the people together to do big stuff like this. So if we're lucky it might be soon, but my guess is not till a little ways into the new year.

*

Thomas Hutchins wrote:
shaventalz wrote:
Linda Zayas-Palmer wrote:
Thomas Hutchins wrote:

So this still doesn't answer 2 of the big questions I felt were asked about this FAQ.

Can animals without Saddle slots wear mundane saddles?
Like the frogs or especially snake cause of the First Mother's Fang Cavalier.

Can familiars without spending the feat on the armor slot wear mundane armor?

It still seems like no, but some are saying this is only for magic items and not limiting mundane stuff, but it would be nice for clarity on which is actually correct. Cause I still feel I'm bound to say that the FMFC can't have a saddle for their snake and familiars can't wear armor.

Replying to assure you that we have not forgotten about these questions. They are important questions, but also ones that will require a larger discussion and review of existing rules. We have them on the docket for after Gen Con.
Has there been discussion on this since GenCon? Have I missed an update somewhere?
Nope, nothing clarified since. Apparently due to cons and holidays and whatnot it's very hard for Paizo to get the people together to do big stuff like this. So if we're lucky it might be soon, but my guess is not till a little ways into the new year.

I was hoping "after GenCon" meant "within a month or two", not "six months after the ruling in question was first made."

I'm also curious as to the intent of restricting magic armor. As-is, that means a mauler familiar cannot have both magic armor and an AoMF (only one feat to trade out). Considering they're assumed to be in melee, and considering neither Magic Vestment nor Magic Fang are on the Wizard (or Witch) spell list... it seems like a fairly sharp stick applied to the archetype.

* Venture-Agent, Utah—Provo aka Chess Pwn

after gencon means it goes onto the list of "Stuff to talk about with everyone" but then since there are holiday's and cons and whatnot having "everyone" there to talk together is harder to pull off. And holidays end around the new year and my understanding is that cons die off a little around then too, allowing for "everyone" to be there to discuss stuff like this.

Yes it's quite annoying when they release something and have no means to address errors or large problems created by it, and since they are quite tight lipped about it they can't hear these questions until it goes live.

Silver Crusade *

Thomas Hutchins wrote:
... Yes it's quite annoying when they release something and have no means to address errors or large problems created by it, and since they are quite tight lipped about it they can't hear these questions until it goes live.

All the more reason to democratise the campaign by widening the pool of discussants for potential changes before going ahead and making a ruling, imho.

For example, instead of a blog post that says "Hey, critter item slots now work like this instead of like that", leading to "whut now? I don't understand what items my <critter variant> is allowed anymore", we might have a blog post that says "Hey, we're considering changes to critter item slots. We think change A would make sense because reason B. Discuss below."

* Venture-Agent, Utah—Provo aka Chess Pwn

supervillan wrote:
Thomas Hutchins wrote:
... Yes it's quite annoying when they release something and have no means to address errors or large problems created by it, and since they are quite tight lipped about it they can't hear these questions until it goes live.

All the more reason to democratise the campaign by widening the pool of discussants for potential changes before going ahead and making a ruling, imho.

For example, instead of a blog post that says "Hey, critter item slots now work like this instead of like that", leading to "whut now? I don't understand what items my <critter variant> is allowed anymore", we might have a blog post that says "Hey, we're considering changes to critter item slots. We think change A would make sense because reason B. Discuss below."

I agree that I'd love for them to have discussion threads on rules topics for them to gain info before deciding stuff. Sure they do that with their pool of people, but if something as basic as "what does the exotic saddle do now" was never thought up then the pool isn't good enough to handle as is. Not a dis on the group, there's lots of rules, it's just that it takes the .01% that is using the rule to bring up the issues and that amount probably isn't represented at all in the group.

*

Thomas Hutchins wrote:
supervillan wrote:
Thomas Hutchins wrote:
... Yes it's quite annoying when they release something and have no means to address errors or large problems created by it, and since they are quite tight lipped about it they can't hear these questions until it goes live.

All the more reason to democratise the campaign by widening the pool of discussants for potential changes before going ahead and making a ruling, imho.

For example, instead of a blog post that says "Hey, critter item slots now work like this instead of like that", leading to "whut now? I don't understand what items my <critter variant> is allowed anymore", we might have a blog post that says "Hey, we're considering changes to critter item slots. We think change A would make sense because reason B. Discuss below."

I agree that I'd love for them to have discussion threads on rules topics for them to gain info before deciding stuff. Sure they do that with their pool of people, but if something as basic as "what does the exotic saddle do now" was never thought up then the pool isn't good enough to handle as is. Not a dis on the group, there's lots of rules, it's just that it takes the .01% that is using the rule to bring up the issues and that amount probably isn't represented at all in the group.

To lessen the arguments, they could (and probably should) even avoid calling it a "discussion thread". Open the thread with "We're planning something like X. Now, what gaps/corner cases/problems does this wording have?"

Discussion threads regarding errata... I'd expect a fair number of them to get to the point where they make the designers want to abandon the idea. See also: playtests. Something billed as a final, public editing pass might remain civil enough to get the job done.

*

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Crowd-sourcing rules clarifications does not work.

It has *never* worked.

It promotes division and disunity, and the community will develop cracks and fractures as folks remember how 'their' sacred bovine got sacrificed, and it happens to everyone, and it is corrosive.

Even with an organization based around 'Cooperate' as a tenet, it wouldn't work well.

While having insight is handy, attempting to 'farm off' the work portions and trouble-shooting is a recipe for disaster, and would not be recommended.

Silver Crusade *

I recognise the problems with widening democratic participation in the campaign. For clarity, I am not suggesting the forum community is given votes on any rulings. Nor am I suggesting that trouble-shooting should be outsourced in any way.

We have already seen enough instances of severe disagreement amongst community members over campaign rulings that come out of the blue; disagreements between members who either support or oppose a particular ruling. This happens when the rulings are made with no prior warning (excepting the communication that goes on inside the VO structure). So, yes, it may very well also happen if a potential change is mooted prior to a ruling being made.

But the disagreements that occur on this forum are, at least sometimes, the result of the very limited communication medium. We exchange views with necessarily short, typed messages. There is no way to readily convey tone. No way to ascertain the myriad non-verbal cues that we rely upon in face to face communication. A typed-text-only forum will alway present these difficulties.

I do feel that more communication, earlier, is better. It may be that we need to find alternative means to communicate that do not suffer the limitations of this forum. Advancing information technology might make that possible. I certainly hope so.

***** ⦵⦵⦵

I just don't know what was the problem with the animal archive that the system needed a revamp. it seems weird.

*

There was a thread asking the question "So, we want to make these changes. If they're going to break your PC, what would you like done?" It got locked within 2 weeks, with several chunks of deleted posts.

You're not going to get anything resembling community-wide agreement on some subjects of errata (whether you call it that or not.) To use a recent example, some threads will end up be trying to broker a peace treaty between "stop nerfing martials" and "just play casters", with "why is this the priority?" standing around watching. I feel it would (in theory) be better for the stability of the system if a smallish group (Paizo) were to keep it focused on whatever vision that group had 10 years ago. That being said, there are some interactions with pre-existing rules that have obviously been missed in their internal discussions.

So, my view: The rules should generally come from Paizo, but the holes and ambiguities are much more likely to be spotted by a larger group.

EDIT:
Yes, I know there will be topics which don't provoke that level of controversy. Since a standard policy would have to take all topics into account, they still have to be considered.

Yes, I have been (and still am) against some changes/rulings made somewhat recently. That doesn't change the fact that those final decisions need made by one smaller group. And one of the "holes" found by the community in this model would be "it usually can't be directly swapped out," which did (apparently) affect the final ruling.

***** ⦵⦵⦵

For saddles

If a creature has the saddle slot it takes a mundane saddle

you can put an exotic saddle on anything

magical saddles are in mundane saddle shape.

ez peasy.

If the idea of a snake with a saddle is weird, i used to run around the garbage transfer station taking 6 pack rings off of black rat snakes. You can in fact put something around a snake and have it stay there: they're thicker in the middle.

* Venture-Agent, Utah—Provo aka Chess Pwn

BigNorseWolf wrote:

For saddles

If a creature has the saddle slot it takes a mundane saddle

you can put an exotic saddle on anything

magical saddles are in mundane saddle shape.

ez peasy.

If the idea of a snake with a saddle is weird, i used to run around the garbage transfer station taking 6 pack rings off of black rat snakes. You can in fact put something around a snake and have it stay there: they're thicker in the middle.

Do you have anything that supports this view?

The blog says that only the ones with saddle slot can wear a saddle and those that don't, "cannot wear saddles." And exotic saddles are still saddles.

Now if this is something you're proposing then I agree that it's what basically should be done and thus it does seem odd that it wasn't something they could easily say.

Paizo Employee ***** Developer

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Hi everyone,

I wanted to let you all know that we haven't forgotten about this issue. As Thomas speculated, convention season is just about over, so we will soon be much more capable of having lengthy discussions as a complete Organized Play team. Lau, thanks again for compiling the list. It's a huge help to us in terms of preparing to discuss the dozens of issues and questions that people have raised, and it's going to make for a much more thorough final product.
We will also be working on several other FAQ entries, including expanding retraining from Ultimate Campaign to cover classes published in later books.

Sovereign Court **** Venture-Lieutenant, Netherlands—Leiden aka Ascalaphus

Linda Zayas-Palmer wrote:

Hi everyone,

I wanted to let you all know that we haven't forgotten about this issue. As Thomas speculated, convention season is just about over, so we will soon be much more capable of having lengthy discussions as a complete Organized Play team. Lau, thanks again for compiling the list. It's a huge help to us in terms of preparing to discuss the dozens of issues and questions that people have raised, and it's going to make for a much more thorough final product.
We will also be working on several other FAQ entries, including expanding retraining from Ultimate Campaign to cover classes published in later books.

Good to hear this is being picked up again. And of course if you have any other questions or need some research done, don't hesitate to ask.

Silver Crusade ***

Hi Linda,

Thanks for answering questions on this thread!

Q1: In which category would an archelon (sea turtle) fall?
Q2: If a creature does not have the belt [saddle] or chest [saddle] slots, does this mean this creature would typically require an exotic saddle to accommodate a rider?

Thank you!

Phranklin the Giant Sea Turtle

* Venture-Agent, Utah—Provo aka Chess Pwn

Phranklin wrote:

Hi Linda,

Thanks for answering questions on this thread!

Q1: In which category would an archelon (sea turtle) fall?
Q2: If a creature does not have the belt [saddle] or chest [saddle] slots, does this mean this creature would typically require an exotic saddle to accommodate a rider?

Thank you!

Phranklin the Giant Sea Turtle

Q2 has yet to be addressed and apparently isn't a simple answer.

***** Venture-Lieutenant, Online aka Magabeus

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Phranklin wrote:
Q1: In which category would an archelon (sea turtle) fall?

My suggestion:

Quadruped [squat body] (armor, eyes, head, headband, neck, shoulders): Snapping turtle, toad, turtle

Silver Crusade ***

Archelon pic shows front/back flippers.

It is somewhat reminiscent of the plesiosaurus shape.

Boon Spoilers:
I am asking because I have a chronicle with a built-in boon that unlocks the archelon as cavalier or paladin mount

Silver Crusade

A question to the final editor of these rules.

What's the reason for not allowing elementals to use their hands for weapons and items?

I checked with someone who did the preliminary work, and they said elementals were included in their advice. So, elementals have been edited out.

Did elementals, who often have a humanoid form, suddenly develop an insurmountable aversion to manufactured weapons? Why won't they pick up that weapon their master gives them?

Sovereign Court **** Venture-Lieutenant, Netherlands—Leiden aka Ascalaphus

Viondar wrote:


Did elementals, who often have a humanoid form,

That's overstating it a bit.

Bestiary:
Although all air elementals of a similar size have identical statistics, the exact appearance of an air elemental can vary wildly between individuals. One might be an animated vortex of wind and smoke, while another might be a smoky bird-like creature with glowing eyes and wind for wings.

(...)

Earth elementals are plodding, stubborn creatures made of living stone or earth. When utterly still, they resemble a heap of stone or a small hill.

When an earth elemental lumbers into action, its actual appearance can vary, although its statistics remain identical to other elementals of its size. Most earth elementals look like terrestrial animals made out of rock, earth, or even crystal, with glowing gemstones for eyes. Larger earth elementals often have a stony humanoid appearance. Bits of vegetation frequently grow in the soil that makes up parts of an earth elemental's body.

(...)

Fire elementals vary in appearance—they usually manifest as coiling serpentine forms made of smoke and flame, but some fire elementals take on shapes more akin to humans, demons, or other monsters in order to increase the terror of their sudden appearance. Features on a fire elemental's body are made by darker bits of flame or patches of semi-stable smoke, ash, and cinders.

(...)

As with other elementals, all water elementals have their own unique shapes and appearances. Most appear as wave-like creatures with vaguely humanoid faces and smaller wave "arms" to either side. Another common form is that of any aquatic creature, such as a shark or octopus, but made entirely out of water.

The common theme is that while the elemental's form may resemble some other creature, its statistics are always the same.

*

Lau Bannenberg wrote:
Viondar wrote:


Did elementals, who often have a humanoid form,

That's overstating it a bit.

** spoiler omitted **

The common theme is that while the elemental's form may resemble some other creature, its statistics are always the same.

It might be a purely power-based decision. As outsiders, elementals are automatically proficient in all simple and martial weapons.

I'm not saying that's a good choice (or bad), just that that might have influenced the list.

Silver Crusade

Looking at it from a power-balance viewpoint, I can live with the decision no problem.

The thing is the roleplaying part.

Some (see my concession, here?) elementals have humanoid shapes, hand-like appendages, and (as outsiders) martial weapon proficiency.

Both when I'm GM, and when I'm player, I'd like the rules to make sense beyond 'because these are the rules'. Like, for example, a druid doesn't wear metal armor, because (like Celtic folklore dictates), metal blocks magic. So the druid doesn't wear metal because magic blocks the magic of their tradition. A wizard doesn't wear armor, metal or otherwise, because it inhibits their gestures.

Now... With gameworld logic in mind... How do I wrap my mind about an earth elemental with humanoid form and hands being unable (or unwilling?) to wield a hammer?

The Exchange *****

Viondar wrote:

Looking at it from a power-balance viewpoint, I can live with the decision no problem.

The thing is the roleplaying part.

Some (see my concession, here?) elementals have humanoid shapes, hand-like appendages, and (as outsiders) martial weapon proficiency.

Both when I'm GM, and when I'm player, I'd like the rules to make sense beyond 'because these are the rules'. Like, for example, a druid doesn't wear metal armor, because (like Celtic folklore dictates), metal blocks magic. So the druid doesn't wear metal because magic blocks the magic of their tradition. A wizard doesn't wear armor, metal or otherwise, because it inhibits their gestures.

Now... With gameworld logic in mind... How do I wrap my mind about an earth elemental with humanoid form and hands being unable (or unwilling?) to wield a hammer?

How do I wrap my mind about a human (paladin) being unwilling to wield a weapon that just happens to be dipped in poison?

How do I wrap my mind about so many things that I find hard to understand in the setting we are playing in?

That an arrow does more damage than a javelin, or a "man" hit (repeatedly) with a 2 handed sword - and walks away effectively un-impaired by the experience? That a Chakram is the most effective throw weapon in the game - that spears are inferior weapons compared to swords (when in reality spears are so much better).

It's part of the package... part of the "suspension of disbelief" I have to exercise to make the game world work.

Shadow Lodge ***

Still no FAQ regarding int 3+ familiars and feats (especially feats like improved unarmed strike) this has been an ngoing query since 3.5 you would think someone would have addressed it by now?

Grand Lodge ****

Shea Hoarfoot wrote:
Still no FAQ regarding int 3+ familiars and feats (especially feats like improved unarmed strike) this has been an ngoing query since 3.5 you would think someone would have addressed it by now?

What's the query? Familiars are not animals, so they don't have a limited list (well, just as much as PCs do, plus a few more). They seldom get new feats.

Silver Crusade *

nosig wrote:
... that spears are inferior weapons compared to swords (when in reality spears are so much better).

nitpicky derail:
Having trained with both, I have to take issue here. Spears have some advantages over swords, but are not superior weapons. Spears have longer reach, are cheaper to make by far, and require little training to use. Historically, the spear was the go-to weapon of peasant warriors because it was cheap to make in large numbers and easy to learn to use. Professional soldiers used swords. Professionals did not choose the sword over the spear for status reasons, but for effectiveness. (Choosing your primary weapon for status rather than effectiveness would just get you killed). A sword is more effective than a spear in the following ways: it is more resilient - you can chop a spear-shaft in pieces, less so a sword. It is more flexible in terms of how you can attack with it - chop, thrust, slash - giving you more options against a wider range of opponents. You need less room to wield it. You can wield a sword and a large shield more easily than you can wield a longspear and shield. (It is possible to wield a longspear and shield simultaneously, but this needs you to be part of a shield wall to be properly effective). You can parry with a sword (nigh impossible to parry with a spear). In the hands of a skilled professional, the sword is the better weapon by a distance. But your peasant conscript is going to have to be happy with his pointy stick.

We now return you to your regular thread.

The Exchange *****

supervillan wrote:
nosig wrote:
... that spears are inferior weapons compared to swords (when in reality spears are so much better).

** spoiler omitted **

We now return you to your regular thread.

I disagree...

directing this to a different thread, which is more on the subject and presents several people on both sides of the discussion.

Why don't spears get any love.

edit: here you go, a few links to videos lifted from the thread linked above...

Gaurwaith wrote:

One handed spear usage, spear & shield vs sword and shield. The swords are quite similar to viking style swords, although viking swords might have favored close range draw cuts more, based on extrapolation from the shape of the pommel.

(same)

Melee combat, spears used one handed, spears and shields vs swords and shields. Swords outnumber spears close to 2:1 and odds are fairly even.

Two handed spear usage. Spear vs longsword, no shields.
(same)

Two handed spear usage. Spear vs sabre, no shields.

Spear vs sidesword (essentially a broadsword, a one handed cut and thrust medium length sword with good hand protection).

A person well trained in short sword fighting going against a spear for the first time. No shields.

the third linked video is pretty interesting. In order to make the combat "fair", Swords need to outnumber spears at something close to 2:1.

Silver Crusade *

See you in the other thread :)

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