Common Ground

Friday, July 13, 2018

When it comes to using game rules to simulate a fantasy setting, one thing that's always been in the background in Pathfinder has been the idea that certain monsters, types of armor, and so on are more common in some areas than in others. For instance, Pathfinder First Edition's rules for the Knowledge skill rely on the fact that some monsters are more commonly known, though it doesn't really define which are which. Meanwhile, there are circumstances such as the spell Echean's excellent enclosure from Rival Guide where knowledge of a spell is closely guarded by its creator (in this case, an evil 20th-level wizard).

To make it easier for players and GMs to engage in worldbuilding, whether playing in Golarion or your own setting, we've created a formalized framework for the Pathfinder Playtest—using the categories common, uncommon, rare, and unique—that you can use to help determine the tone of a setting, region, or adventure. These are relative terms; while we list suggested rarities for various rules elements, they naturally vary from place to place even within the same campaign setting. For instance, in the playtest, a longsword is listed as common, and a katana is listed as uncommon, but in a game focused around Japanese fantasy (or, in Golarion, Minkai or Minkai-influenced nations in Tian Xia), a katana would be common and a longsword might be uncommon.

Common

Something is common if it's ubiquitous in its category, like any of the core races and core classes, longswords, fireball, bracers of armor, and the like. All characters can select common options without restriction.

Uncommon

Something is uncommon if it's a little rarer, but still possible to find or use if you are deeply interested in it. These options are a bit weirder, more complicated, or known to fewer people, so they haven't spread across the world as much. Many uncommon options explicitly become available to a character as they proceed along a path that teaches them about that option. For instance, all domain powers in the playtest are uncommon spells, but clerics are granted access to domain powers through their deities. Characters from a given region, ethnicity, religion, or other group in your world might gain access to uncommon options associated with it. To go back to our previous example, even in a game set in the Inner Sea region of Golarion, if your character hailed from Minkai in her background, you and the GM might decide that you should gain access to Eastern weapons instead of, or in addition to, Western ones.

Story events in your game are another way a character could gain access to uncommon options. For instance, Stephen previously mentioned in the blog on alchemical items that you would have to get the formula for drow sleep poison from the drow; it's an uncommon option. But in your campaign, if your alchemist was captured by the drow and forced to brew poisons for them, the GM might add drow sleep poison and other uncommon options to the formulas available to your alchemist! Uncommon options make amazing rewards to find in adventures, and they can be found at a much higher rate than rare options, since they are more common in the world.

Rare

Something is rare if it's extremely difficult to obtain without doing something special in-world to find it. This means that rare options involve interplay between the player and the GM, or are granted by the GM directly. There's no way to get access to these through choices in your character build alone. Rare options are spells known only to the ancient runelords, techniques passed down by the grandmaster of an ancient monastery in the Wall of Heaven mountains, golem-crafting secrets of the Jistka Imperium, and the like.

Unique

Something is unique if there's only one. Most artifacts are unique, as are certain monsters, like the Sandpoint Devil or Grendel. No artifacts appear in the Playtest Rulebook, so in the playtest only a few Doomsday Dawn monsters and hazards are unique.

Uses of Rarity

So how is this system useful to you?

Worldbuilding and Emulating Genres

First of all, your group can really alter the flavor and feel of the game by changing around the commonness of certain elements, allowing for a wide variety of genre play and settings through a relatively simple system. This is a big tool in your toolkit for worldbuilding. What would a world be like where the wizard was uncommon, or where all healing magic was rare? You can create a new subgenre or setting simply by shifting around the assumptions of what elements are common, uncommon, and rare. The rarities in the Playtest Rulebook are meant to show a good baseline for a typical Pathfinder campaign and make for a solid default if you're not straying to far from classic fantasy, but I can't wait until people start posting their modified schemes for all sorts of different concepts, from prehistoric to horror, and from low-magic (all magic is uncommon or rare) to super high fantasy mash-up (everything is common!).

Mechanical Diversity without Cognitive Overload

While some groups go for a kitchen sink approach to available options, many groups want to allow options from other books but are tend to stick to the core content because of the sheer mental load of learning, using, and preparing for all of those options, especially on the GM. With rarity, you have a framework for adding more material without just opening the fire hose: you start with common content (for a new group, probably the things labeled as common in the book) and you expand into mastering uncommon and rare content only as it appears in your game. If a particular rare spell hasn't shown up in the game, you don't have to worry about how it might interact with your character's build or your NPC's plot in the same way you might otherwise. A player can bring some desired uncommon or rare options to the GM, who can get a feel for the rules involved and decide when and how to introduce those options to the campaign. If the PC is interested in spells and items from ancient Osirion, perhaps the PCs find a new quest that takes them there, or is contacted by an Osirionologist NPC who's willing to trade her Osirian secrets for the PCs' help with a different adventure.

We love games with plenty of options, but we also want to consider fans who've told us that though they love new options, they started becoming overwhelmed by just how many options there are in Pathfinder First Edition. With the rarity system, you can enjoy the best of both worlds.

Awesome Rewards

One thing that can be tough in Pathfinder First Edition is giving a reward to a PC whose player has already looked up all the options and bought or crafted all the items they really want, learned all the spells they really want, and so on, even if some of those items and spells really seemed like they wouldn't be available on the open market. Rarity allows a GM to give rewards that aren't easily available without needing to homebrew a brand new item or ability every time, and allows players who gain rarer options to feel special and important.

When you emerge from a Thassilonian tomb with a rare spell few have seen in millennia, wizards' guilds might start salivating over that knowledge. Will you keep it to yourself? Will you sell it to select wizards for a pretty penny? Will you spread the knowledge to all who desire it, possibly making the spell uncommon or even common in your setting? Or will you keep it to yourself to show off for the spellcasters you meet who have never heard of it? Only you can decide, giving you the power to make a permanent mark on the setting.

So how are you most excited to use the new rarity system?

Mark Seifter
Designer

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Furdinand wrote:
So the Playtest's default, straight of the box, assumption is that European is normal and Asian is exotic?

No, it is not. "Exotic" is now a classification of weapon based on functionality (IE, better than martial weapons) rather than area or culture of origin.

The playtest assumes that if you are playing in a European inspired region that non-European weapons won't be as commonly found. Most of the Paizo content and games in general tend to take place in European inspired areas* and presumably so will Doomsday Dawn.** Therefore, non-European weapons are uncommon.

If you are playing in a region that is Asian inspired, Asian inspired weapons would presumably be common. And of course a GM can easily tweak to their particular tastes or campaigns. This is all pretty explicitly laid out in the blog. I don't think saying "European weapons are more commonly found in Europe" should be especially controversial?

Footnotes from asterisks:
*Admittedly, we can argue about whether it is OK how much Paizo content focuses on European
inspired regions. I will say it isn't a simple issue, because there's a danger of stepping in stereotyping and other offensive potential when creating regions inspired by other cultures. But this all strikes me as pretty irrelevant to the way Common tags are being implemented here.

**Doomsday Dawn may wind up taking place all over Golarion, but I'd bet the lion's share of the scenarios occur in the Inner Sea Region.


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Malk_Content wrote:
How exactly does the system prevent this?

I was referring to this:

Mark Seifter wrote:
Charon Onozuka wrote:
edduardco wrote:
What about Research? There will be a Downtime option to Research Spells and Formulas similar to Crafting items? And if yes, would a PC able to Research Rare Spells and Formulas?

With the way rare is defined, I'd probably guess "no." Rare stuff seems to require explicit interaction with the GM, rather than being something you can do on your own as part of a general rule.

And to be fair, I personally kinda like that. After all, it lessens how special a rare spell is if any wizard can spend a week in the library and just happen to perfectly recreate the secret spell of an ancient runelord which has been lost for ages...

This is fairly accurate. Now, if you found a few rare scribbled notes that weren't the whole lost spell but enough to begin the process of research? That's a whole different animal!

The implications seems to be that you can't get the idea on your own unless you come across someone else's idea first. I'm all for the way you suggested but it doesn't seem to be the way it's presented. If you in fact CAN do research on a spell without prior in game knowledge, I'll retract this.

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edduardco wrote:
But that is what the blog says, right above, it has the Katana being common in Minkai as an example and all.

Yes. That is an example of house- or rather campaign- ruling for your Tian campaign. If you move away from the default Inner Sea setting, you should change those rarity tags for your game.


Pathfinder Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber
graystone wrote:
Malk_Content wrote:
How exactly does the system prevent this?

I was referring to this:

Mark Seifter wrote:
Charon Onozuka wrote:
edduardco wrote:
What about Research? There will be a Downtime option to Research Spells and Formulas similar to Crafting items? And if yes, would a PC able to Research Rare Spells and Formulas?

With the way rare is defined, I'd probably guess "no." Rare stuff seems to require explicit interaction with the GM, rather than being something you can do on your own as part of a general rule.

And to be fair, I personally kinda like that. After all, it lessens how special a rare spell is if any wizard can spend a week in the library and just happen to perfectly recreate the secret spell of an ancient runelord which has been lost for ages...

This is fairly accurate. Now, if you found a few rare scribbled notes that weren't the whole lost spell but enough to begin the process of research? That's a whole different animal!
The implications seems to be that you can't get the idea on your own unless you come across someone else's idea first. I'm all for the way you suggested but it doesn't seem to be the way it's presented. If you in fact CAN do research on a spell without prior in game knowledge, I'll retract this.

I think that is only because, on release, they will not have rules for inventing spells out of thin air. When those rules do come, I imagine they'll be hard enough that copying someone elses work if you can is much faster and cheaper but that you can create spells without others work as well.

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graystone wrote:
The implications seems to be that you can't get the idea on your own unless you come across someone else's idea first. I'm all for the way you suggested but it doesn't seem to be the way it's presented. If you in fact CAN do research on a spell without prior in game knowledge, I'll retract this.

The Windy Escape digression got me thinking a bit about this. Your inspiration naturally stems from your experience. Both Aerial and Golarion-bound wizards want defensive options. Golarion wizards see the examples of their fighter friends and develop mage armor and shield. Wizards on the Plane of Air have more experience with djinni and elementals and are much more likely to reach the inspiration of "turning in to air for a moment".

But, Windy Escape is only an Uncommon spell. A Rare spell likely requires greater leaps of inspiration driven by highly unusual circumstances to initially develop. So, you couldn't come up with the idea just sitting in the library. It's not even in your inspiration space. You'd either need some notes or other clue to it's existence and function, or the pressing need to solve a particular problem in an unusual manner.


KingOfAnything wrote:
edduardco wrote:
But that is what the blog says, right above, it has the Katana being common in Minkai as an example and all.
Yes. That is an example of house- or rather campaign- ruling for your Tian campaign. If you move away from the default Inner Sea setting, you should change those rarity tags for your game.

I fail to see how traveling to another plane is any different than that, or how a spell like Windy Escape being uncommon in the Plane of Air makes any sense. Also, isn't Rarity intended for world building?

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edduardco wrote:
KingOfAnything wrote:
edduardco wrote:
But that is what the blog says, right above, it has the Katana being common in Minkai as an example and all.
Yes. That is an example of house- or rather campaign- ruling for your Tian campaign. If you move away from the default Inner Sea setting, you should change those rarity tags for your game.
I fail to see how traveling to another plane is any different than that, or how a spell like Windy Escape being uncommon in the Plane of Air makes any sense. Also, isn't Rarity intended for world building?

I think you are getting confused about my speculation on simple presentation.

In effect, yes. Windy Escape would be common on the Plane of Air. I don't think that will be expressed in a keyword tag, though. The default assumption is Inner Sea, and that's all that'll be listed. If you change the default assumption, the GM accounts for that.

Paizo Employee Designer

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graystone wrote:
Malk_Content wrote:
How exactly does the system prevent this?

I was referring to this:

Mark Seifter wrote:
Charon Onozuka wrote:
edduardco wrote:
What about Research? There will be a Downtime option to Research Spells and Formulas similar to Crafting items? And if yes, would a PC able to Research Rare Spells and Formulas?

With the way rare is defined, I'd probably guess "no." Rare stuff seems to require explicit interaction with the GM, rather than being something you can do on your own as part of a general rule.

And to be fair, I personally kinda like that. After all, it lessens how special a rare spell is if any wizard can spend a week in the library and just happen to perfectly recreate the secret spell of an ancient runelord which has been lost for ages...

This is fairly accurate. Now, if you found a few rare scribbled notes that weren't the whole lost spell but enough to begin the process of research? That's a whole different animal!
The implications seems to be that you can't get the idea on your own unless you come across someone else's idea first. I'm all for the way you suggested but it doesn't seem to be the way it's presented. If you in fact CAN do research on a spell without prior in game knowledge, I'll retract this.

The part that is fairly accurate is "Rare stuff seems to require explicit interaction with the GM, rather than being something you can do on your own as part of a general rule." If you found those notes, then that would be a different story. But even if not, if you have explicit interaction with the GM who thumbs up the research of the rare spell, you can make it on your own. Maybe it requires some weird rare research that will lead to a cool adventure? (and maybe it's just rote Arcana and done, depends on the way you want to play it out!)


Mark Seifter wrote:
graystone wrote:
Malk_Content wrote:
How exactly does the system prevent this?

I was referring to this:

Mark Seifter wrote:
Charon Onozuka wrote:
edduardco wrote:
What about Research? There will be a Downtime option to Research Spells and Formulas similar to Crafting items? And if yes, would a PC able to Research Rare Spells and Formulas?

With the way rare is defined, I'd probably guess "no." Rare stuff seems to require explicit interaction with the GM, rather than being something you can do on your own as part of a general rule.

And to be fair, I personally kinda like that. After all, it lessens how special a rare spell is if any wizard can spend a week in the library and just happen to perfectly recreate the secret spell of an ancient runelord which has been lost for ages...

This is fairly accurate. Now, if you found a few rare scribbled notes that weren't the whole lost spell but enough to begin the process of research? That's a whole different animal!
The implications seems to be that you can't get the idea on your own unless you come across someone else's idea first. I'm all for the way you suggested but it doesn't seem to be the way it's presented. If you in fact CAN do research on a spell without prior in game knowledge, I'll retract this.
The part that is fairly accurate is "Rare stuff seems to require explicit interaction with the GM, rather than being something you can do on your own as part of a general rule." If you found those notes, then that would be a different story. But even if not, if you have explicit interaction with the GM who thumbs up the research of the rare spell, you can make it on your own. Maybe it requires some weird rare research that will lead to a cool adventure? (and maybe it's just rote Arcana and done, depends on the way you want to play it out!)

Is the following fair?

Common: it is assumed that all players have access to these options
Uncommon: players can build these options into their background but are limited to one or two options without explicitly talking to the GM
Rare: these options specifically working with the GM and cannot be assumed to be written into your character’s background in the same way Uncommon Options May be written in.
Unique: Players shouldn’t even bother asking for this stuff. You get it if the GM decides to give it to you.

If that is what the system is then I like it a ton. If that is not how the system is then I willl probably adjudicate it that way in my own games.

If that is—in fact—the official ruling then is that interpretation explicit in he rules?

Paizo Employee Designer

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Excaliburproxy wrote:


Is the following fair?

Common: it is assumed that all players have access to these options
Uncommon: players can build these options into their background but are limited to one or two options without explicitly talking to the GM
Rare: these options specifically working with the GM and cannot be assumed to be written into your character’s background in the same way Uncommon Options May be written in.
Unique: Players shouldn’t even bother asking for this stuff. You get it if the GM decides to give it to you.
If that is what the system is then I like it a ton. If that is not how the system is then I willl probably adjudicate it that way in my own games.

If that is in fact the ruling then is that interpretation explicit in he rules?

That sounds like a very reasonable way that a group could use these options. The default assumption is that Common is accessible as you say, Uncommon sometimes can be unlocked pure through mechanical or creation choices (but it's less of "Pick any 2 things" unless your group wants to do that and more of "Being from or in Tian Xia or other Eastern-themed area means I get more than 2 of these thematically linked stuff" but there's a lot of leeway for the group to decide to allow everything uncommon, or X number like you suggest) and can often be found as the result of a concerted in-game effort to go to the right place or ask t he right people, Rare is always special as you say, Unique is pretty much like artifacts in PF1 as you say. So not only is it a reasonable way to run it, all but uncommon are explicitly more-or-less a match of the default.


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Mark Seifter wrote:
The part that is fairly accurate is "Rare stuff seems to require explicit interaction with the GM, rather than being something you can do on your own as part of a general rule." If you found those notes, then that would be a different story. But even if not, if you have explicit interaction with the GM who thumbs up the research of the rare spell, you can make it on your own. Maybe it requires some weird rare research that will lead to a cool adventure? (and maybe it's just rote Arcana and done, depends on the way you want to play it out!)

I was wondering/worrying how the base rules present it. Every spell research would "require explicit interaction with the GM" by default: I expect a new 'common' type cantrip to require it. As long as there isn't a 'rare spells require x' over non-rare spells, I'm good. If it's a DM call and it starts at the "rote Arcana and done" for all spells, then I have no complaints.

Excaliburproxy wrote:

Is the following fair?

Common: it is assumed that all players have access to these options
Uncommon: players can build these options into their background but are limited to one or two options without explicitly talking to the GM
Rare: these options specifically working with the GM and cannot be assumed to be written into your character’s background in the same way Uncommon Options May be written in.
Unique: Players shouldn’t even bother asking for this stuff. You get it if the GM decides to give it to you.
If that is what the system is then I like it a ton. If that is not how the system is then I willl probably adjudicate it that way in my own games.

Myself, I wouldn't like it. If you have elements in your background that make sense, it shouldn't matter is they are uncommon or not: this is especially true if multiple uncommon things link to the same thing: If I'm part tian or drow, it seems pretty arbitrary that 1 or 2 things linked to that are ok but 3 or 4 are out of bounds.

For me, if the uncommon/rare are in the door and allowed, why limit it. It seems off to allow a merfolk for instance then have an issue if they want 2 merfolk items too.


graystone wrote:
Mark Seifter wrote:
The part that is fairly accurate is "Rare stuff seems to require explicit interaction with the GM, rather than being something you can do on your own as part of a general rule." If you found those notes, then that would be a different story. But even if not, if you have explicit interaction with the GM who thumbs up the research of the rare spell, you can make it on your own. Maybe it requires some weird rare research that will lead to a cool adventure? (and maybe it's just rote Arcana and done, depends on the way you want to play it out!)

I was wondering/worrying how the base rules present it. Every spell research would "require explicit interaction with the GM" by default: I expect a new 'common' type cantrip to require it. As long as there isn't a 'rare spells require x' over non-rare spells, I'm good. If it's a DM call and it starts at the "rote Arcana and done" for all spells, then I have no complaints.

Excaliburproxy wrote:

Is the following fair?

Common: it is assumed that all players have access to these options
Uncommon: players can build these options into their background but are limited to one or two options without explicitly talking to the GM
Rare: these options specifically working with the GM and cannot be assumed to be written into your character’s background in the same way Uncommon Options May be written in.
Unique: Players shouldn’t even bother asking for this stuff. You get it if the GM decides to give it to you.
If that is what the system is then I like it a ton. If that is not how the system is then I willl probably adjudicate it that way in my own games.

Myself, I wouldn't like it. If you have elements in your background that make sense, it shouldn't matter is they are uncommon or not: this is especially true if multiple uncommon things link to the same thing: If I'm part tian or drow, it seems pretty arbitrary that 1 or 2 things linked to that are ok but 3 or 4 are out of bounds.

For me, if the uncommon/rare are in the door and...

If you want to run a character that is so far out of he bounds of the average character in a given campaign that they would want to have 3+ uncommon options then I think it is reasonable that such a build requires a discussion with the GM.


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Pathfinder Adventure Path, Lost Omens Subscriber

Note: I have not read preceeding 10 pages of comments and am reacting to blog post itself...

AMEN!!!

**Applauds**

I've been using a homebrewed "rarity" system in my home game for *years.*

I love this concept, and am very excited to see it in the playtest!!


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Excaliburproxy wrote:
If you want to run a character that is so far out of he bounds of the average character in a given campaign that they would want to have 3+ uncommon options then I think it is reasonable that such a build requires a discussion with the GM.

I think my point got missed.

#1 'out of bounds' is about as arbitrary as you can be. Two wildly different uncommon options might be more 'out of bounds' than 4 that have a thematic link.
#2 a single uncommon option can make other options common: If you play an uncommon race, picking options for your race is no longer uncommon.
#3 I've never seen a DM not look over a character or want at least a rough idea of what you're making: If I tell a DM I'm making a merfolk and it's fine, I don't see a reason to get pre approval for merfolk related stuff as it's not uncommon for that character.

So, from my perspective, a hard limit of '2 uncommon or we go over everything with a fine tooth comb' isn't ideal.


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GM DarkLightHitomi wrote:
Roswynn wrote:

Are you moving the goal posts, Hitomi? You said:

"GM DarkLightHitomi": wrote:


Take a thorough readthrough of the 3rd ed dungeon master guide.

It actually tells the gm to change class abilities to better fit a player's character concept.

That's exactly what I've done, and I assume most other gms too. Changing class abilities to better fit a pc concept.

I'm not moving goalposts.

A player's concept.

As in making a class unique for a single player based on that player's character concept.

This,

Quote:
...tone down a class, bump up a class or make a class more thematic.
implies alterations made to a class for anybody and everybody that plays that class. It implies a general change instead of a change specific to a single player character.

We all do this now in pathfinder. What are archetypes but a codified method of achieveing that customization? Some GMs go beyond just allowing archetypes, but in effect they are allowing their players to create a custom archetype just for that table.


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@animated paper

There is a significant difference between customization following the rules, compared to customization via gm fiat.

The fact that the rules had so often explicitly stated that gms are expected to gm fiat all over the place should show that the rules were designed as a baseline with the intent for the gm to fiat everything into fitting the campaign.

There are reasons to not like fiat, and every one of them are reasons that apply to something other than the playstyle intended by d20's original designers (a style which has been the minority since almost the beginning of rpgs despite being the original style that started everything).

---
But really, all of that drifts away from the point. The gm fiat class alterations, was just an example of the community in general (not universally, just the general case) ignoring what is in the books when the books contradict "what everybody knows."

Which is an effect I was saying would very likely end up applying to these commonality "rules."


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Deadmanwalking wrote:
GM DarkLightHitomi wrote:
Ckorik wrote:
GM DarkLightHitomi wrote:

Example,
GM; "A dark shape stands up."
Players; "We attack. I got 22 initiative."
Me; "Why are we attacking?"
GM and players; "Cause it's an encounter."

I've tried creative ways to accomplish secondary goals, and have those attempts ignored because the book didn't say how to handle it. Literally with no exaggeration.

You can fix this - but it takes time and effort to reshape expectations, and lots of patience.

For specific players sure, but random people online, who can just silenty leave whenever, not so much.

But the real trouble of this comes as the player who hates it. As a player, I don't have nearly as much ability to fix this, even less as an autistic with -8 to any social skill checks.

This is a very unfortunate situation that I'm sorry you're in. I'm not sure how Paizo's policies could fix it, though. I've read and run Adventure Paths and they actually make it very clear that PCs can negotiate or otherwise circumvent many encounters without violence. Like, extraordinarily explicit. I'm honestly not sure what more they could do to make it clear that doing so is a thing, and often a recommended one.

I don't expect it to be magically fixed somehow. Either things will eventually become better understood to see things in a more complex way where the two sides become commonly understood as different ways of playing more complex than simple intrigue vs combat, or it will die and eberyone will forget such were anything other than Diable on paper.

However, d20 and to a lesser extent pf1, supported both sides in way that we could play together, but PF2 sounds more and more like it will cease to support anything else at all much less let us play together. Instead folks who prefer something else, will have to give it up to play with other styles instead of serrupticiously comprimising and getting at least some of what thry want while playing with others.


Pathfinder Adventure, Adventure Path, Starfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Exactly how does standard table practice contradict what "everyone knows"? What everyone knows is "rule 0." Literally every choice in the game world is there or not there via DM fiat. That's the social contract everyone agrees to when they pick that person to DM. Even the choice to run the game exactly as laid out in the CRB is a choice that the DM makes for how they want their game to be run.

These rules of Commonaility will provide an additional framework and language for both players and GMs to talk about available options. I think "uncommon" will actually be a useful point in between "allowed" and "not allowed," though of course it is up to the individual GM if they want to have those discussions. If not, common only (barring some exceptions like domain powers) will probably be alright.

Also, I happen to have my copy of the 3.0 DMG still. That rule you keep referencing? It isn't even a rule; the passage is simply giving newer GMs advice on how to apply rule 0 to classes, with several examples. The Advanced Class Guide has the same advice at even greater length, taking advantage of the updated language Pathfinder had introduced for these discussions over the years, namely archetypes and alternate classes.


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AnimatedPaper wrote:
Exactly how does standard table practice contradict what "everyone knows"? What everyone knows is "rule 0." Literally every choice in the game world is there or not there via DM fiat. That's the social contract everyone agrees to when they pick that person to DM.

No it isn't. Everybody walks in with expectations, and there us a wide variety of expectations, but certain expectations may be more or less common.

The expectation that the mechanics will be treated as one treats the rules in chess or checkers, is a highly common one. And frankly, treating the rules like one treats the rules in chess is not the only way to use rules.

Another example of expectations, there are some who expect arcane casters to identify all potionsand expect that to be obvious and the default. Big surprise to me at the time to be sure.

There are some very common expectations that actually contradict the rules or at least contradict the expectations the rules were designed around.

After all, do you seriously think the rule books are going to tell the gm how to gm in way that is wrong for the rules design? Heck no. The rules are designed expecting the gm to act similarly to X style, and then they tell gms how to run the game in that style.

It is a sadly common expectation of the community that contradicts this expectation of the rules.

And depending on how you define rules, telling the gm how to run thjngs is no less "rules" than your class abilities, especially since your class abilities were designed with certain expectations of the gm.

Liberty's Edge

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GM DarkLightHitomi wrote:
I don't expect it to be magically fixed somehow. Either things will eventually become better understood to see things in a more complex way where the two sides become commonly understood as different ways of playing more complex than simple intrigue vs combat, or it will die and eberyone will forget such were anything other than Diable on paper.

I very much doubt the second will occur. There are lots of games out there that strongly encourage more complicated and interesting solutions.

GM DarkLightHitomi wrote:
However, d20 and to a lesser extent pf1, supported both sides in way that we could play together, but PF2 sounds more and more like it will cease to support anything else at all much less let us play together. Instead folks who prefer something else, will have to give it up to play with other styles instead of serrupticiously comprimising and getting at least some of what thry want while playing with others.

And this is the part that honestly sounds like Martian to me. There are no parts of the mechanics of PF2 that even imply anything like this to me, and I am legitimately confused as to why you feel PF2 will encourage more combat focus and discourage things like intrigue and social stuff.


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Pathfinder Adventure, Adventure Path, Starfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Hitomi, I honestly cannot understand what you are trying to argue.

What do you mean by "tell the gm how to gm in a way that is wrong for the rules design"? I have no idea what you are referring to. Does it relate to the topic of the thread, which is common/uncommon/rare designations?

Also, yes, you should be able to identify any potion regardless of what class made it. The methods of identifying potions, either through detect magic and spellcraft or through a perception check, make no reference to class, although it does note that rare potions might be harder to identify. And, hey, check it out, now we have rules for that. Checking the 3.5 SRD, that also doesn't really differentiate between classes. Unless you mean people expect arcane casters to just know all potions without a roll, in which case no, and I've never come across that one.


AnimatedPaper wrote:

Hitomi, I honestly cannot understand what you are trying to argue.

What do you mean by "tell the gm how to gm in a way that is wrong for the rules design"? I have no idea what you are referring to. Does it relate to the topic of the thread, which is common/uncommon/rare designations?

I'll get to this in a bit.

Quote:

Also, yes, you should be able to identify any potion regardless of what class made it. The methods of identifying potions, either through detect magic and spellcraft or through a perception check, make no reference to class, although it does note that rare potions might be harder to identify. And, hey, check it out, now we have rules for that. Checking the 3.5 SRD, that also doesn't really differentiate between classes. Unless you mean people expect arcane casters to just know all potions without a roll, in which case no, and I've never come across that one.

No. I made a sorcerer with no spellcraft ranks because she didn't need it.

But then everyone expected me to identify all the potions because I was filling in the arcane caster role. They literally said it was part of my job because I was the arcane caster. Only, I had no better chance than anyone else because I had no clue I was expected to do that. It was never something I'd encountered before and was thus completely unfamiliar to me.

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Perception works just fine for identifying potions. No Spellcraft necessary.


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GM DarkLightHitomi wrote:

No. I made a sorcerer with no spellcraft ranks because she didn't need it.

But then everyone expected me to identify all the potions because I was filling in the arcane caster role. They literally said it was part of my job because I was the arcane caster. Only, I had no better chance than anyone else because I had no clue I was expected to do that. It was never something I'd encountered before and was thus completely unfamiliar to me.

Well, any of the other casters could have picked up spellcraft and pulled the same job, or anyone could have used perception, but yeah I've never heard of that being the arcane caster's role.


Deadmanwalking wrote:
GM DarkLightHitomi wrote:
I don't expect it to be magically fixed somehow. Either things will eventually become better understood to see things in a more complex way where the two sides become commonly understood as different ways of playing more complex than simple intrigue vs combat, or it will die and eberyone will forget such were anything other than Diable on paper.

I very much doubt the second will occur. There are lots of games out there that strongly encourage more complicated and interesting solutions.

Not what I was talking about. I was not talking about the rules themselves.

Most see playstyle as being between intrigue focused and combat focused, but playstyle is far more complicated than that.

The current model I use is a cube of playstyles, not some dinky little two ended single dimensional scale.

Quote:


GM DarkLightHitomi wrote:
However, d20 and to a lesser extent pf1, supported both sides in way that we could play together, but PF2 sounds more and more like it will cease to support anything else at all much less let us play together. Instead folks who prefer something else, will have to give it up to play with other styles instead of serrupticiously comprimising and getting at least some of what thry want while playing with others.
And this is the part that honestly sounds like Martian to me. There are no parts of the mechanics of PF2 that even imply anything like this to me, and I am legitimately confused as to why you feel PF2 will encourage more combat focus and discourage things like intrigue and social stuff.

My point was about playstyle.

Gygax mentioned how he hated the fact that players would play the rules instead of playing the game. Take a moment to consider what he could have meant by that.

What I'm refering to here is that most players play the rules instead of playing the game (or playing the story as I call it).

D20 was designed for playing the story, and therefore, even as most folks played the rules instead, people like me could play with them and still get some "playing the story" in there.

My concern is that PF2 will be so much geared towards playing the rules, that it won't handle playing the story, and therefore make it impractical to to join a group to mix playing the story with playing the rules.

Worse, for players who do not understand that distinction between playing the rules and playing the story, it is really hard to get them to understand without really gming a game explicitly for that purpose.

My concern is that Pf2 being really difficult for playing the story will hinder teaching new folks playing the story and therefore eventually result in the idea of playing the story without being freeform to die out, or become rare enough that finding others is neatly impossible.


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Will rarity have the same meaning in how hard an item is to obtain over different categories?

For example - is a common spell or magical item as easy to locate as a mundane common weapon, or is a common magical item equivalent to an uncommon mundane item, or do magical items by default only exist in uncommon or rare?


Tender Tendrils wrote:

Will rarity have the same meaning in how hard an item is to obtain over different categories?

For example - is a common spell or magical item as easy to locate as a mundane common weapon, or is a common magical item equivalent to an uncommon mundane item, or do magical items by default only exist in uncommon or rare?

I feel like price, item level, and rarity are going to handle all of this. Like "arrows" and "+1 arrows" should both be common, but the former is a level 1 item that is cheap and the latter is a higher level item which is less cheap. But if you specify that a certain market has items up to a given level and below a certain price point, you can have the common item which is 5sp and not the common item which is 5000gp.


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GM DarkLightHitomi wrote:
My concern is that Pf2 being really difficult for playing the story will hinder teaching new folks playing the story and therefore eventually result in the idea of playing the story without being freeform to die out, or become rare enough that finding others is neatly impossible.

I still haven't see you actually describe adequately what would cause PF2 to be anyworse in this regard. This specific system detailed in the blog would actually help, by giving a joint language for mechanics and story to intersect.


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While obviously easy to disregard, this mechanic seems like it was designed solely to be cumbersome and obnoxious - what purpose is it meant to serve?


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KingOfAnything wrote:
Perception works just fine for identifying potions. No Spellcraft necessary.

Sure - and I know a single GM that knew that in the past 10 years of playing - myself.

I mean - it's in the rules, it's not hidden, but you'd be amazed at how many little things get missed like that. Well - I think you would anyway, given how you responded.

I have to assume that you believe everyone has the core rules memorized - or your response becomes really jerk like, if there was a chance that you understood the guy didn't know the rule in question, and still responded like that.

I mean - not everyone knows every rule, it's kind of polite to point out the rule they missed if you are going to mock them for it.

Rule link

PRD wrote:


  • Detail Perception DC
  • Identify the powers of a potion through taste 15 + the potion's caster level
  • Sovereign Court

    Pathfinder Adventure Path, Card Game, Companion, Lost Omens, Pathfinder Accessories, Rulebook, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Maps, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber

    It’s a dig on Hitomi’s group’s assumptions, not Hitomi.


    Pathfinder Maps, Pawns Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber

    How might this mechanic interact with things like identifying spells?

    If an enemy casts a spell in your presence, would you be able to identify it--even though you've never seen or heard of it before--just by making a check of some kind? If so, what might you learn about the spell? Would the DC of the check go up due to its rarity?

    What about a wand or similar magical item with a rare spell in it? I imagine such a device would be rare or even unique in its own right. Would such a device be harder to identify or figure out as a result of its rarity?

    Paizo Employee Designer

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    Ravingdork wrote:

    How might this mechanic interact with things like identifying spells?

    If an enemy casts a spell in your presence, would you be able to identify it--even though you've never seen or heard of it before--just by making a check of some kind? If so, what might you learn about the spell? Would the DC of the check go up due to its rarity?

    What about a wand or similar magical item with a rare spell in it? I imagine such a device would be rare or even unique in its own right. Would such a device be harder to identify or figure out as a result of its rarity?

    Rare stuff would be harder to ID, yep. We actually have a two-dimensional multipurpose chart of benchmark DCs that is really helpful for things like this. Higher level spell or monster? Move further down the rows. More obscure within the same level? Move along the columns. Very handy chart!


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    Crayon wrote:
    While obviously easy to disregard, this mechanic seems like it was designed solely to be cumbersome and obnoxious - what purpose is it meant to serve?

    While obviously easy to disregard, this post seems like it was designed solely to be cumbersome and obnoxious - what purpose is it meant to serve?


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    Artificial 20 wrote:
    Crayon wrote:
    While obviously easy to disregard, this mechanic seems like it was designed solely to be cumbersome and obnoxious - what purpose is it meant to serve?
    While obviously easy to disregard, this post seems like it was designed solely to be cumbersome and obnoxious - what purpose is it meant to serve?

    How about, instead of being dismissive, we actually try to answer the question. You might find it obvious, but clearly someone doesn't.

    Lots of people like to think themselves better than others, especially over others that don't understand seemingly obvious things, but truthfully, someone who actually is better, would not laugh nor insult, but rather they would teach, seeing it as their responsibility to help others attain that "superiority" for themselves.

    So, the question is,

    Crayon wrote:
    While obviously easy to disregard, this mechanic seems like it was designed solely to be cumbersome and obnoxious - what purpose is it meant to serve?

    Paizo really doesn't distinguish much between a campaign setting guide and rules. In fact, one of the designers said as much in a conversation about the core rulebook allowing clerics to choose domains and follow a spiritual path instead of a god, but that it isn't allowed in Golarion because only gods can grant domains and magic.

    So, speculatively, a large part of it is to further define Golarion, pointing out things that are intended to be rare. It also lets them include things that fit a specific AP with much less worry about it ruining the game balance.

    Further, there are many who dislike letting players pick anything in a book, and yet may want to include some things.

    The rarity marking makes this a bit easier, because a GM can allow or deny things of a particular rarity much more easily than trying to write up a list.

    And even if a gm vets every character, the rarity acting as a guideline can make it easier tk avoid situations where the gm has to vet the same character 15-20 times because the player keeps choosing things that are way crazy.

    Even simply stating that a player needs to ask "mother may I" about anything rare or even uncommon, means that players are going to avoid them, and when they do go for it, they are more likely to be more specific and careful about their choice and more likely to have it actually be appropriate, cause if they have to ask, they'll want to have supporting reasons and to build the best case they can for convincing the gm to allow it. Which would be better for everybody.

    That is the general reasoning.

    Personally, I'm not sure it'll work out like that though.

    Sovereign Court

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    Crayon wrote:
    While obviously easy to disregard, this mechanic seems like it was designed solely to be cumbersome and obnoxious - what purpose is it meant to serve?

    reads thread

    scrolls up to blog detailing many uses and benefits of mechanic

    scrolls back down

    Really?


    KingOfAnything wrote:
    Crayon wrote:
    While obviously easy to disregard, this mechanic seems like it was designed solely to be cumbersome and obnoxious - what purpose is it meant to serve?

    reads thread

    scrolls up to blog detailing many uses and benefits of mechanic

    scrolls back down

    Really?

    I can see a player who never GMs not seeing any benefit and how it is just going to get in the way - it is, in many respects, a GM campaign management tool. There aren't many benefits outside of that.


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    Brock Landers wrote:
    GM DarkLightHitomi wrote:
    Paizo really doesn't distinguish much between a campaign setting guide and rules.

    *spits out coffee*

    ...silly.

    Well, you have a designer that called ig a mistake to not "fix" the cleric so the core rules worked exactly like Golarion, and don't forget the absolute lack of any other paizo setting for pathfinder, and when they did make a new setting, they made an entirely separate system for it rather than a campaign guide.

    The so called campaign guides paizo has published are not "here is a new setting, make these changes to the rules," but rather are, mechanically speaking, purely additional character choices (a specific type of rule) to be tacked onto the core rules, yet still they are mostly info about the same setting as almost all default assumptions of the core rules.

    If you go look at, say 3,x, campaign guides were entirely new settings that took the core rules only as base and gave you new flavor, altered mechanics to represent the new lore, and new character options.


    KingOfAnything wrote:
    Crayon wrote:
    While obviously easy to disregard, this mechanic seems like it was designed solely to be cumbersome and obnoxious - what purpose is it meant to serve?

    reads thread

    scrolls up to blog detailing many uses and benefits of mechanic

    scrolls back down

    Really?

    Really. I have to agree with Crayon: it seems like one of those 'solutions in search of a problem'. Lets look over those "many uses and benefits of mechanic".

    Worldbuilding and Emulating Genres: More granulation than really needed. If you don't like/want gunslingers you don't need ANY of the ratings: they just don't exist. Spells you don't want players to have... is uncommon rare what you want? No. Healing items hard to find? Just limit what can be found. It's something that is easily done without an artificial rating system.

    Mechanical Diversity without Cognitive Overload: For me, there is MORE Cognitive Overload in the shifting rarities of items over the game world than there ever would be with having every option because NOW you have every option but then add to them a variable rarity rating that shifts. So it's NOT just a wand of healing but a wand of healing from location x and location x means that it's a wand of healing rarity a while in area y it's a wand of healing b and someplace else it might be wand of healing c... SO in an effort to reduce overload you've cut the numbers then turn around and multiply to get numbers bigger than you started with.

    Awesome Rewards: IMO, this makes little sense: much like the gunslingers I talked about above, if you want something special, just make it that way: there is no reason you need a label to make it so. [like they did with rare cantrips]

    dragonhunterq wrote:
    I can see a player who never GMs not seeing any benefit and how it is just going to get in the way - it is, in many respects, a GM campaign management tool. There aren't many benefits outside of that.

    If this was presented as an optional DM tool, I'd be ll for it. If someone finds a benefit of using it, more power to them. I'm not seeing it as useful as an 'everyone has to use it' rule.


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    GM DarkLightHitomi wrote:
    Artificial 20 wrote:
    Crayon wrote:
    While obviously easy to disregard, this mechanic seems like it was designed solely to be cumbersome and obnoxious - what purpose is it meant to serve?
    While obviously easy to disregard, this post seems like it was designed solely to be cumbersome and obnoxious - what purpose is it meant to serve?
    How about, instead of being dismissive, we actually try to answer the question. You might find it obvious, but clearly someone doesn't.

    How about, instead of being dismissive, we actually try to read the blog in question. We might find the answer, though clearly someone hasn't.

    The middle of the blog features, in the largest font used, the heading:

    Uses of Rarity

    Followed by the one-line paragraph:

    "So how is this system useful to you?"

    Followed by more headings in the second-largest font used reading:

    Worldbuilding and Emulating Genres

    Mechanical Diversity without Cognitive Overload

    Awesome Rewards

    Each with more relevant words under them.

    The answers have been provided. Some may not like the answers, or think this system will fail to achieve the goals it sets, but the question of intent "what purpose is it meant to serve?" was answered before asking.


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    Artificial 20 wrote:
    The answers have been provided. Some may not like the answers, or think this system will fail to achieve the goals it sets, but the question of intent "what purpose is it meant to serve?" was answered before asking.

    For me, I read the reasons, scratched my head and can't see how they really do what they say in a meaningful useful way. SO I see "what purpose is it meant to serve?" as asking are there ways it DOES "achieve the goals it sets". When the stated problems solved aren't issues in your point of view, then they aren't really fixing anything to you.

    In essence, does this meaningfully add something for people that have no issues now with worldbuilding, cognitive overload or making rewards special?


    graystone wrote:
    Artificial 20 wrote:
    The answers have been provided. Some may not like the answers, or think this system will fail to achieve the goals it sets, but the question of intent "what purpose is it meant to serve?" was answered before asking.

    For me, I read the reasons, scratched my head and can't see how they really do what they say in a meaningful useful way. SO I see "what purpose is it meant to serve?" as asking are there ways it DOES "achieve the goals it sets". When the stated problems solved aren't issues in your point of view, then they aren't really fixing anything to you.

    In essence, does this meaningfully add something for people that have no issues now with worldbuilding, cognitive overload or making rewards special?

    "sigh" Always got to be in the middle of the battle. smh >.>

    I really feel like Its hard to answer those questions till one get to actually try it out. Still I don't know why this bothers you so much. its negligible in the grand scheme of things. This is not the article that made me think wow that's a decisive issue. Its just a simple little thing to make the later splat books be a little easier to digest. might inspire someone to run a game where someone goes after a rare item. cool. Hard to run a game where the quest item is a masterwork long sword "GO fetch that for me" ok let me just pop down to the black smith brb.

    mountains out of mole hills.
    I guess I've already typed this out twice now so I should listen to my own advice. People will complain about everything someone will take issue with anything.


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    Pathfinder Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber
    graystone wrote:
    Artificial 20 wrote:
    The answers have been provided. Some may not like the answers, or think this system will fail to achieve the goals it sets, but the question of intent "what purpose is it meant to serve?" was answered before asking.

    For me, I read the reasons, scratched my head and can't see how they really do what they say in a meaningful useful way. SO I see "what purpose is it meant to serve?" as asking are there ways it DOES "achieve the goals it sets". When the stated problems solved aren't issues in your point of view, then they aren't really fixing anything to you.

    In essence, does this meaningfully add something for people that have no issues now with worldbuilding, cognitive overload or making rewards special?

    This seems to be a recurring point with you. The answer is simple. A solution to a problem doesn't have to be a solution to YOUR problems for it to work. It fixes some of my issues for example, with a default set of reigned in options that I don't have to keep checking whenever my player that loves to scour the srd for abilities wants something. That gives me more time as a GM to actually plan the game over making sure one player doesn't dominate the others whilst simultaneously allowing them to still benefit from their preffered way of researching and building characters.

    Not every solution they've come up with solves a problem I've personally had. But it would be deeply entitled of me to think that just because something wasn't an issue for me it doesn't require fixing for those it WAS an issue for, including every potential future player of the game.


    Brock Landers wrote:
    Malk_Content wrote:
    This seems to be a recurring point with you. The answer is simple. A solution to a problem doesn't have to be a solution to YOUR problems for it to work. It fixes some of my issues for example

    So whose examples/issues/problems win?

    The majority normally is the way to go but you can balance it out. say this fixes 10 peoples problems but inconveniences one. or how about this fixes 2 peoples problems but very slightly inconveniences 10 hmm ? maybe that one is not worth it depending on how slight. It really all a balancing act that's pretty much what life is.


    Brock Landers wrote:
    Vidmaster7 wrote:
    Brock Landers wrote:
    Malk_Content wrote:
    This seems to be a recurring point with you. The answer is simple. A solution to a problem doesn't have to be a solution to YOUR problems for it to work. It fixes some of my issues for example

    So whose examples/issues/problems win?

    The majority normally is the way to go
    He said "my".

    And?


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    Pathfinder Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber
    Brock Landers wrote:
    Malk_Content wrote:
    This seems to be a recurring point with you. The answer is simple. A solution to a problem doesn't have to be a solution to YOUR problems for it to work. It fixes some of my issues for example

    So whose examples/issues/problems win?

    Depends. Does the fix cause actual issues for the people complaining past "I think this is unneeded?" if so we need to evaluate those issues, their magnitude on enjoyment and scale of those it effects through feedback as well as how easy it would be to compromise with them in order to alleviate those problems without ramifications on interlocking systems. If the feedback is just "This is unneeded" then it can be ignored.

    So here the complaint isn't that the fix causes issues. Just they didn't have the problem in the first place and thus a fix shouldn't exist at all. That is entitled thinking, "If it doesn't effect me it doesn't need looking at."

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