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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Grand Lodge

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Pathfinder Starfinder Maps Subscriber

This is an interesting idea, I just wish that tien choices were not specified as a rare option. I’m hoping that in Pathfinder Society 2, the campaign will not specifty rarity on locale, because it’s a global campaign and the characters can come from anywhere.

Hmm

Paizo Employee Designer

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PossibleCabbage wrote:
Mark Seifter wrote:
Maybe wildly, maybe only somewhat, it depends on how you build your world. It's a system designed for that and to facilitate doing just that, changing the categories to fit the world.
I'm definitely using this system for the setting I run so I can just shift all the "bring someone back to life" magic to rare or unique, rather than just being coy about the existence of such magic.

Yeah, rare and unique is a little too difficult to find for us to use for baseline. Common is pretty ubiquitous for its level, uncommon is "With enough effort, you'll probably eventually find someone who has this" which is the right choice for a lot of campaigns that don't want revolving door but also want ready access when it's important, but rare or unique is perfect for the "Death is final...well almost always" campaigns that a notable minority of groups enjoy running, and we expect that choosing things like "All resurrection type magic" to make rare or unique is going to be relatively...well common.


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KingOfAnything wrote:

What does rare mean? More expensive? Low chance of finding it in a shop? No chance of acquiring without grand adventure? Players can take it, but no NPCs will have it?

Words with in-game definitions help to clearly communicate your campaign assumptions.

Attaching the words is a double edged sword. How rare is a +2 sword going to be? Will my Spear Cleric be damned to uselessness because anything better than a short spear is Rare now?

I also don't think this will stop "Can I have....but!" from players.

mogmismo wrote:

Because the GM can say, "Talk to me about anything marked uncommon", or "You've just arrived in a city of ____ size, you can buy anything that costs less than X gold that is common, and there are these few uncommon items." It preempts players assuming they can purchase anything in a magic shop, which is a way I've seen some groups play.

Also, I suspect it'll work very nicely in PFS. I'm hoping for a system where you can buy anything common, and Fame helps you get into uncommon items. Rare items are for Chronicle sheets alone!

Yes because I want PFS for my home game. Also I would hope that players talk to you about anything they buy and don't just put it on their sheet because they just expect to have it.

Charlie Brooks wrote:

I think the biggest benefit is the fact that the rulebook spells out base assumptions better. That makes it easier for everybody to understand what the rules think the setting is like and how a specific campaign might differ from it.

For example, under this system we now know that goblins are common, since they're a core race. WHile that was sort of an assumption in 1st edition, it was never really explicitly stated. So saying, "goblins are rare in this campaign" doesn't necessarily give everybody the same perspective. Under this system, switching goblins from common to uncommon gives everybody a rough assumption as to what that means in comparison with the baseline Pathfinder setting. (It also happens to be an easy "out" spelled out in the rules for people who don't like the idea of goblin PCs.)

This isn't a huge, earth-shattering change, but I think it's a way to make communication clearer and simpler, which should help to make sure everybody has the same assumptions about a setting and a campaign.

Noooooooope not seeing a difference between;

DM - This is rare in my setting. Here's why.
DM - This is rare in my setting because I wrote a tag next to it, see this is what core rule book has to say about Rare, you should read it.

If a player is going to ignore what the DM said, I don't think they are going to listen to a little tag written there by said DM.

----

Let me be clear, I don't think this is a BAD thing. At the very least it will stop players from going to "All you can Carry Magic Shop open 24 hours"(Cough, even though most towns list d4-8 magic items they actually DO have).

I'm just a bit puzzled at it. I don't think it hurts anything other than gear and loot options but that's dependent on DM and players so I can only make guesses as to how that will turn out. But at the same time I don't think it actually adds as much as people seem to think.

I mean this just seems to be the "Gun rarity" rule across EVERYTHING now.

Sovereign Court

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Hey Mark, could we get some info on how you see the rarity system work with Spontaneous casters and bloodline?

Will you create Uncommon Bloodlines? Rare Bloodlines?

Can Bloodline contain uncommon or rarer spells?

Paizo Employee Designer

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Hmm wrote:

This is an interesting idea, I just wish that tien choices were not specified as a rare option. I’m hoping that in Pathfinder Society 2, the campaign will not specifty rarity on locale, because it’s a global campaign and the characters can come from anywhere.

Hmm

Something like a katana would definitely not be rare. It would be uncommon in the Inner Sea region. Global trade through Absalom is a thing, so if you looked hard enough, you would potentially find Tien weapons, even if they aren't super common. If your character is from Tian Xia, you would have certain options that have a different commonality. It's part of your ancestry, culture, and upbringing, though we really don't get into this in the playtest because there's not a lot of world info; assuming this works well in the playtest, I'd expect it to be something that would be covered more in Golarion-focused books.


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I've kinda sorta been doing this for years. Everything in the core book is common and readily available at normal costs; hardcover splat-book (APG, ultimate magic, etc) are uncommon and may or may not be available for +25-50% normal cost; all other splatbooks/3rd party stuff is rare and seldom available at +100% normal costs.

It's worked great to allow player's to occasionally get a shiny new toy, without overloading myself as the DM with too much extra work.


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I don't know if this is the time and place to raise this, but I've never been a fan of identifying monster abilities via Knowledge checks in PF1, and tying that to level/CR. To my brain, if a creature is more powerful, it is more legendary -- it is more well known. More people might know about a unique dragon's ability to create darkness with its fire, for example. Maybe they'll know less about how to DEFEAT it, such as more information on its defenses.

PF1's default system makes this a mechanical roll vs. DC mechanic. It doesn't allow for more particularized "gatekeeping," so to speak, the way that PF2 seems to be handling skills and now access to knowledge in PF2. I prefer this latter approach.

Now, I will be admitting my GM bias here, but I like it when an entire spell list is not available to up and coming wizards. I've preferred the 1st and 2nd edition approach of having wizards find scrolls or other spell books to expand their knowledge. It keeps magic mysterious, and means that wizards jealously hoard their knowledge. 3rd edition D&D and PF1 seem to follow the "magic mart" approach, where trade of goods, even of ESOTERIC MAGIC, is so highly developed that getting something is almost as simple as ordering from Amazon. No thanks.

I like that PF2 is now taking the concept of GMs having more control of worldbuilding and baking it within the default system.


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So how to we indicate "Common in the Inner Sea, Uncommon in the Mwangi Expanse, Rare in Arcadia, etc" in the text?

Will this just be a part of the write up for the region?


Darkorin wrote:

Hey Mark, could we get some info on how you see the rarity system work with Spontaneous casters and bloodline?

Will you create Uncommon Bloodlines? Rare Bloodlines?

Can Bloodline contain uncommon or rarer spells?

That's actually a good question for any class that uses spells and or items.

Heck are some classes/Archetypes going to be slapped with Uncommon to Rare now? Feats too?


Seems decent enough. Though there could have been a lot more meat to this blog post, how hard would have it been to give a good amount of examples. That being said my major concern is the return of. "Oh yeah this npc totally gets to do this thing, and no you can't learn it." Now just masked as rarity.


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Hey Mark, for the Katana and Longsword example, will it only say Common and Uncommon? Or will it also say Common(some region), Uncommon(another region), or even for spells Uncommon(some race). IDK the best way to do it but in my mind it could be Common(an inclusive category) or Uncommon and above(exclusive category). For example, this longsword is Common in all places that is the Inner Sea. Or this katana is Uncommon in all areas EXCEPT Eastern regions. Or an Uncommon Spell, this spell is uncommon to all people except this Kobold race. If you were to go this route, what is a better solution? Inclusion or exclusion? This might be in the old language of DR back in the day. Wait does this mean they are immune/resistive to that damage type or only that damage type can hurt them fully otherwise?

Paizo Employee Designer

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Darkorin wrote:

Hey Mark, could we get some info on how you see the rarity system work with Spontaneous casters and bloodline?

Will you create Uncommon Bloodlines? Rare Bloodlines?

Can Bloodline contain uncommon or rarer spells?

There are a lot of possibilities. I imagine something like a rare bloodline would take a while before we printed it, but it's part of the design space that could theoretically happen, and it could be a fun thing to brew up (basically could be a bloodline of a special destiny that almost nobody has but the "Chosen Ones"). I could easily see a bloodline including uncommon spells, probably not rare based on the definition of rare; some uncommon options could be unlocked by a specific character choice you make that is common, but if a bloodline included rare spells, it would have to be rare as well.


Pathfinder Companion, Maps Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber
Hmm wrote:

This is an interesting idea, I just wish that tien choices were not specified as a rare option. I’m hoping that in Pathfinder Society 2, the campaign will not specifty rarity on locale, because it’s a global campaign and the characters can come from anywhere.

Hmm

To me that is easy if you character has the Tien Ancestry or Background (wherever this ends up) your list of common items/spells/etc is different then someone that comes from the Inner Sea. Now if you are adventuring in the Inner Sea you may have a hard time finding those items for purchase.


Will this system also determine what spells/items are available to a town? In PF1, there was a rule system basically on size which determines what level or price limit on spells or items they could feasible sell. A small town? Sure they might have some cure light stuff. Miracle spell? Nah mate, not even if you search the next 10 towns will you find it. A huge kingdom supporting over a million people? Maybe.


I really love that rarity will be a codified mechanic, it will really assist PF2 GM's with adapting the ruleset to non-golarion settings.

It also gives me hope the future core rulebook will have other optional rules for setting/genre emulation.

I do echo concerns about how difficult it will be for Sorcerers (and other spontaneous spellcasters) to learn uncommon, rare, or unique spells. Actually that concern applies somewhat to clerics and druids as well.
Will all spellcasters (of a Tradition or in general) share the same rules for adding less-than-common spells to their repertoire?
For example: Finding a tutor, or studying ancient lore you've 'procured'.


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Pathfinder Companion, Maps Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber
42nfl19 wrote:
Hey Mark, for the Katana and Longsword example, will it only say Common and Uncommon? Or will it also say Common(some region), Uncommon(another region), or even for spells Uncommon(some race). IDK the best way to do it but in my mind it could be Common(an inclusive category) or Uncommon and above(exclusive category). For example, this longsword is Common in all places that is the Inner Sea. Or this katana is Uncommon in all areas EXCEPT Eastern regions. Or an Uncommon Spell, this spell is uncommon to all people except this Kobold race. If you were to go this route, what is a better solution? Inclusion or exclusion? This might be in the old language of DR back in the day. Wait does this mean they are immune/resistive to that damage type or only that damage type can hurt them fully otherwise?

I would say since Golarion/Inner Sea is the default setting for the CRB the commonality there would be based on that. However when you get the Tien update book that would have a different commonality.


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This seems like a reasonable thing, and I think I like it for magic and monsters way more than I do for things like feats (are feats going to have rarity, outside of certain spell point things as implied by the domain powers having rarity?).

I do hope things don't just default to uncommon or rare as a bloat-fixing mechanic, as supplements are released, since that will kind of defeat the whole purpose in my mind. Because at that point, it stops being a good framework of 'should this be allowed by default' and becomes a question of the GM 'is this Rare because it should be rare, or because it showed up in a splatbook'

But otherwise, as long as it's used reasonably, I could see it as a good thing. I can certainly see the potential (Imagine AP players' guides that say [xyz] are now made common, while [rst] are made uncommon, so playing in an Osirion or Qadira or Tian-Min adventure gives different base options than something set in the usual suspect western fantasy nations), but it's certainly something that I'm wary of not for the playtest but for what comes after.


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MerlinCross wrote:
Charlie Brooks wrote:
One of the recent changes in my campaign setting is that resurrection spells stopped working, except in a few unique cases. Based on this blog entry, it looks like I can tag any rituals that raise the dead as a rare option and have the players easily understand what that means. That will be useful for introducing new players to my game.

I don't know what the difference is of "This is rare - Says the DM" and "This is Rare - says a Tag supplied by the DM".

Because it gives you a huge bunch of default assumptions that you don't need to work out as a GM, and then you can focus on a few ad hoc labels of your own if you feel fancy.

There is going to be a thousand spells or more soon after the first few books. Having 500 that are common, 300 that are uncommon, and 200 that are rare, will save me to manually tag ONE THOUSAND spells. That's a big plus.


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Paizo Charter Superscriber; Pathfinder Companion Subscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber

This is an awesome concept that has been missing from the game forever.


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Pathfinder Companion, Rulebook Subscriber

For spontaneous casters it's even easier then wizards to reward rare or unique spells.

"You fought a mighty dragon, have a dragon spell."

"The explosion in the laboratory caused your already unstable bloodline to mutate slightly allowing more spell options."

"You have ingested the blood of a jackal after slaying a high priest of Lamashtu, earning her ire, but another cosmic being has bestowed a boon and hid a rare spell in your potential."

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Mark Seifter wrote:
Hmm wrote:

This is an interesting idea, I just wish that tien choices were not specified as a rare option. I’m hoping that in Pathfinder Society 2, the campaign will not specifty rarity on locale, because it’s a global campaign and the characters can come from anywhere.

Hmm

Something like a katana would definitely not be rare. It would be uncommon in the Inner Sea region. Global trade through Absalom is a thing, so if you looked hard enough, you would potentially find Tien weapons, even if they aren't super common. If your character is from Tian Xia, you would have certain options that have a different commonality. It's part of your ancestry, culture, and upbringing, though we really don't get into this in the playtest because there's not a lot of world info; assuming this works well in the playtest, I'd expect it to be something that would be covered more in Golarion-focused books.

We've had a concept of homeland in PFS for awhile. Humans can treat regional languages as starting languages, and other ancestries can trade racial languages out for regional languages. I'd actually like to see it a little more codified in the campaign.

For PFS2, I can imagine the Guild Guide listing countries with their associated languages and uncommon equipment from the Core Rulebook. Perhaps formatted like a SFS slotless boon.

Paizo Employee Designer

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Tholomyes wrote:

This seems like a reasonable thing, and I think I like it for magic and monsters way more than I do for things like feats (are feats going to have rarity, outside of certain spell point things as implied by the domain powers having rarity?).

I do hope things don't just default to uncommon or rare as a bloat-fixing mechanic, as supplements are released, since that will kind of defeat the whole purpose in my mind. Because at that point, it stops being a good framework of 'should this be allowed by default' and becomes a question of the GM 'is this Rare because it should be rare, or because it showed up in a splatbook'

But otherwise, as long as it's used reasonably, I could see it as a good thing. I can certainly see the potential (Imagine AP players' guides that say [xyz] are now made common, while [rst] are made uncommon, so playing in an Osirion or Qadira or Tian-Min adventure gives different base options than something set in the usual suspect western fantasy nations), but it's certainly something that I'm wary of not for the playtest but for what comes after.

Right now nearly no feats have higher than common rarity; it should be for techniques that are legitimately known to particular cultures, religions, and so on like you suggest. I think that the only one in the Playtest CRB is the Gray Maiden Dedication feat, which is only labeled as such because it is effectively rare no matter how we list it because of the RP requirement of joining the Gray Maidens.


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I imagine in most supplements the rarity of new content will be couched in terms of their rarity in the Inner Sea Region. At best a supplement detailing a different region will provide a partial list of regional differences from that default assumption... which will swiftly be rendered out-of-date by future suplements.

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Nothing frustrates me more than having a character from Tian Xia who can wield spears and crossbows but not wakazashis.

Or a Varisian warrior who has to waste a feat to wield a bladed scarf.

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John Ryan 783 wrote:

For spontaneous casters it's even easier then wizards to reward rare or unique spells.

"You fought a mighty dragon, have a dragon spell."

"The explosion in the laboratory caused your already unstable bloodline to mutate slightly allowing more spell options."

"You have ingested the blood of a jackal after slaying a high priest of Lamashtu, earning her ire, but another cosmic being has bestowed a boon and hid a rare spell in your potential."

I don't really agree with that, because that means you sorcerer has one more spell known when he shouldn't.

In fact, in a RP point of view, retraining of spells for sorcerer is already kind of weird, yes your "mutate" suggestion might be the more elegant one, but the player shouldn't be able to benefit from it unless he level up and take it as a new spell, or if he spends a feat to acquire it.

(even retraining old spell at new level is kind of weird for sorcerers...)


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Pathfinder Adventure Path, Rulebook Subscriber

Mark, I'd like to second someone else's question. Well, third it.

How does Spell Rarity affect Spontaneous Casters? Would a Sorcerer be unable to normally learn an Uncommon spell? Under what circumstances would a Sorcerer or other Spontaneous Caster be able to learn an Uncommon spell (or for that matter a Rare spell)?

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Zaister wrote:
This is an awesome concept that has been missing from the game forever.

So glad you guys are digging it! This is one of those worldbuilding and GM homebrewing tools that I've been really excited to share. I can't wait to see what kinds of worlds and genres you guys can cook up with this!

Paizo Employee Designer

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gustavo iglesias wrote:


Because it gives you a huge bunch of default assumptions that you don't need to work out as a GM, and then you can focus on a few ad hoc labels of your own if you feel fancy.

There is going to be a thousand spells or more soon after the first few books. Having 500 that are common, 300 that are uncommon, and 200 that are rare, will save me to manually tag ONE THOUSAND spells. That's a big plus.

This.

My group did this in PF1. It is a slog. We eventually tried to do it based on books with allowances based on region, religion, etc, but then we felt it really wasn't as precise as we wanted, as some books had a few things that seemed more common but mostly things that seemed rare.


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Pathfinder Companion, Rulebook Subscriber

Oh, I don't mean auto learn it, but awaken the "Potential" to learn it.

Paizo Employee Designer

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ENHenry wrote:
Fuzzy-Wuzzy wrote:
I like this, but I want to know what sorcerers have to do to add an uncommon spell to their spells known. Hear about it? See someone cast it? Please don't say "be taught it."
Be taught it, find a scroll in a treasure hoard, spell research, pry it from the spellbook of an enemy wizard, be gifted with its knowledge by a god's icon in an abandoned temple...

Blood transfusion... ;)


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gustavo iglesias wrote:
MerlinCross wrote:
Charlie Brooks wrote:
One of the recent changes in my campaign setting is that resurrection spells stopped working, except in a few unique cases. Based on this blog entry, it looks like I can tag any rituals that raise the dead as a rare option and have the players easily understand what that means. That will be useful for introducing new players to my game.

I don't know what the difference is of "This is rare - Says the DM" and "This is Rare - says a Tag supplied by the DM".

Because it gives you a huge bunch of default assumptions that you don't need to work out as a GM, and then you can focus on a few ad hoc labels of your own if you feel fancy.

There is going to be a thousand spells or more soon after the first few books. Having 500 that are common, 300 that are uncommon, and 200 that are rare, will save me to manually tag ONE THOUSAND spells. That's a big plus.

I do believe you missed the quote you wanted which was "is this more or less work for the GM". Though I question why you would need to tag all the spells.

No my qoute was more about "As a DM I have made these spells Rare for X reasons" vs "As a DM I put the Rare tag here". I feel this actually can lead to some DM/GMs being lazy as to WHY some things are rare in their setting, they just ARE now. Because we can just easily slap a tag to it.

Though it's weird, I've seen mixed results of people slapping labels to things in PF1 but suddenly this is a good thing?

Whatever. Again I might have a doubt or two about it but I don't think it's a bad thing. I just think it's weird to try and Formalize this aspect of the game.

Paizo Employee Designer

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Tangent101 wrote:

Mark, I'd like to second someone else's question. Well, third it.

How does Spell Rarity affect Spontaneous Casters? Would a Sorcerer be unable to normally learn an Uncommon spell? Under what circumstances would a Sorcerer or other Spontaneous Caster be able to learn an Uncommon spell (or for that matter a Rare spell)?

You can add anything you have available to your repertoire, which puts you in the same boat as everyone else. If you gain access to a rare lower-level spell that you've already fully chosen spells of that level, you can use retraining from Downtime to quickly and easily access it or just do it when you level up.


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Mark Seifter wrote:
gustavo iglesias wrote:


Because it gives you a huge bunch of default assumptions that you don't need to work out as a GM, and then you can focus on a few ad hoc labels of your own if you feel fancy.

There is going to be a thousand spells or more soon after the first few books. Having 500 that are common, 300 that are uncommon, and 200 that are rare, will save me to manually tag ONE THOUSAND spells. That's a big plus.

This.

My group did this in PF1. It is a slog. We eventually tried to do it based on books with allowances based on region, religion, etc, but then we felt it really wasn't as precise as we wanted, as some books had a few things that seemed more common but mostly things that seemed rare.

I question just what you did in PF1. Label all the spells and items? I'd like more info.

Though I feel if you're going to do that for every region in PF2 it's going to a development slog heck it's going to be a GM one too. I'd rather not have to double check to see a thing's rarity in Ustalav vs Osirion. In my head i just see that as adding way to many labels to items and spells.

Sovereign Court

Mark Seifter wrote:
Tangent101 wrote:

Mark, I'd like to second someone else's question. Well, third it.

How does Spell Rarity affect Spontaneous Casters? Would a Sorcerer be unable to normally learn an Uncommon spell? Under what circumstances would a Sorcerer or other Spontaneous Caster be able to learn an Uncommon spell (or for that matter a Rare spell)?

You can add anything you have available to your repertoire, which puts you in the same boat as everyone else. If you gain access to a rare lower-level spell that you've already fully chosen spells of that level, you can use retraining from Downtime to quickly and easily access it or just do it when you level up.

Please in the core rulebook make it a little bit more flavorful... like "awakening hidden potential" (Dragon Ball Z like!) or "Blood transfusion" like Logan Bonner said (really gross by the way! Not sure you want to do a Demon blood transfusion, or a undead blood transfusion!)

Edit: A ritual to awaken hidden potential is a good idea I think... Like, a sorcerer that knows an uncommon or rare spell could "awaken" the potential to another sorcerer with a ritual.

Paizo Employee Designer

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Dasrak wrote:
Blood Money immediately comes to mind. With properly codified rarity their purpose will be well-defined, and will no longer be intensely problematic to introduce. I'm curious to see what's fallen on the common/uncommon side of the spectrum, particularly with regards to spells.

Most of the options (apart from class-specific ones like powers) are common in the Playtest Rulebook because it's a precursor to the Core Rulebook. There are a few uncommon and rare ones for doing things like reversing laws of physics, some forms of outright negation, and that kind of thing.


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Mark Seifter wrote:
Tangent101 wrote:

Mark, I'd like to second someone else's question. Well, third it.

How does Spell Rarity affect Spontaneous Casters? Would a Sorcerer be unable to normally learn an Uncommon spell? Under what circumstances would a Sorcerer or other Spontaneous Caster be able to learn an Uncommon spell (or for that matter a Rare spell)?

You can add anything you have available to your repertoire, which puts you in the same boat as everyone else. If you gain access to a rare lower-level spell that you've already fully chosen spells of that level, you can use retraining from Downtime to quickly and easily access it or just do it when you level up.

I think we were also hoping for some kind of assurance that that is likely to be a thing that actually happens for anyone but wizards (gaining access to uncommon or rarer spells during play).

Can a sorcerer, cleric, druid, bard, etc, just 'find' an uncommon spell in the same literal way that wizards can?
Or will everyone else be reliant on me (the perma-GM) to work in justifications like spell-tutors in order to reward them with uncommon or rarer spells?


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graystone wrote:
Fuzzy-Wuzzy wrote:
I like this, but I want to know what sorcerers have to do to add an uncommon spell to their spells known. Hear about it? See someone cast it? Please don't say "be taught it."

Of course he has to find it in that ancient ruin and study the scroll/book because, you know, it's an innate ability. ;)

Myself I'm not sure how I feel about it. I think it might end up being a bit arbitrary, especially if you aren't following the 'built in fluff'. Even gaming out of the box a little seems like it'd cause the categories to shift wildly.

I agree- and to some extent so does the article.

I really don't want to deal with the plethora of special snowflake backgrounds (for example, a deluge of former underdark slave alchemists) to justify players wanting XYZ uncommon thing to be common for them.

I don't like the ongoing implications either. For example, you've got a character from Golarion's Not!Japan. Katanas are common for them, so they start with one. OK, no problem. Is the DM now obligated to have a back alley not!Japanese cornershops in conveniently located towns, and drop magic katanas for the rest of the game? Because thats literally what I get from this bit:

Quote:
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.

But it doesn't explain why there would suddenly be spare katanas hanging around in vampire crypts (or whatever) in the middle of Ustalav, or in Aztlanti ruins, or... (etc, etc)


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Pathfinder Adventure Path, Rulebook Subscriber
Mark Seifter wrote:
Tangent101 wrote:

Mark, I'd like to second someone else's question. Well, third it.

How does Spell Rarity affect Spontaneous Casters? Would a Sorcerer be unable to normally learn an Uncommon spell? Under what circumstances would a Sorcerer or other Spontaneous Caster be able to learn an Uncommon spell (or for that matter a Rare spell)?

You can add anything you have available to your repertoire, which puts you in the same boat as everyone else. If you gain access to a rare lower-level spell that you've already fully chosen spells of that level, you can use retraining from Downtime to quickly and easily access it or just do it when you level up.

Hmm. I'm not sure if you already did this or not, but it might be a good idea to add an added metadata tag to the tag on if an item is Common or Uncommon (or Rare). Something like (Uncommon/Region) or (Uncommon/Ancestry). For instance, the Race book included racial spells. Those could be Uncommon (or even Rare) and primarily known by that Ancestry or people from a specific region.

In a way there already is something akin to this with Drow Sleep Poison. But in this case it would be Sleep Poison (Uncommon/Ancestry or Background). So the only people who could brew Sleep Poison are Drow (or other Ancestries with that capability) or their slaves/former slaves - and this further would give a RP hook in that the Drow may very well want to get their slave back.

Just something to consider for the final rendition of the Core Rules. :)

Paizo Employee Designer

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Darkorin wrote:
Mark Seifter wrote:
Tangent101 wrote:

Mark, I'd like to second someone else's question. Well, third it.

How does Spell Rarity affect Spontaneous Casters? Would a Sorcerer be unable to normally learn an Uncommon spell? Under what circumstances would a Sorcerer or other Spontaneous Caster be able to learn an Uncommon spell (or for that matter a Rare spell)?

You can add anything you have available to your repertoire, which puts you in the same boat as everyone else. If you gain access to a rare lower-level spell that you've already fully chosen spells of that level, you can use retraining from Downtime to quickly and easily access it or just do it when you level up.

Please in the core rulebook make it a little bit more flavorful... like "awakening hidden potential" (Dragon Ball Z like!) or "Blood transfusion" like Logan Bonner said (really gross by the way! Not sure you want to do a Demon blood transfusion, or a undead blood transfusion!)

Edit: A ritual to awaken hidden potential is a good idea I think... Like, a sorcerer that knows an uncommon or rare spell could "awaken" the potential to another sorcerer with a ritual.

We wouldn't want to specify exactly what you do when retraining your sorcerer spells specifically to allow you to decide how it works. Like if we said it's always a blood transfusion, some people might be too grossed out and others would love it. Letting you decide how to describe why your sorcerer is cool, specifically when it comes to gaining cool new powers is something we want to encourage.


Pathfinder Companion, Maps Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber
MerlinCross wrote:
Mark Seifter wrote:
gustavo iglesias wrote:


Because it gives you a huge bunch of default assumptions that you don't need to work out as a GM, and then you can focus on a few ad hoc labels of your own if you feel fancy.

There is going to be a thousand spells or more soon after the first few books. Having 500 that are common, 300 that are uncommon, and 200 that are rare, will save me to manually tag ONE THOUSAND spells. That's a big plus.

This.

My group did this in PF1. It is a slog. We eventually tried to do it based on books with allowances based on region, religion, etc, but then we felt it really wasn't as precise as we wanted, as some books had a few things that seemed more common but mostly things that seemed rare.

I question just what you did in PF1. Label all the spells and items? I'd like more info.

Though I feel if you're going to do that for every region in PF2 it's going to a development slog heck it's going to be a GM one too. I'd rather not have to double check to see a thing's rarity in Ustalav vs Osirion. In my head i just see that as adding way to many labels to items and spells.

I would think you would do it by region and then have a smaller list that was country or even city specific. Also if we are doing it by tag you could say in Osirian items tagged as Egyptian are common.

Paizo Employee Designer

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Cantriped wrote:
Mark Seifter wrote:
Tangent101 wrote:

Mark, I'd like to second someone else's question. Well, third it.

How does Spell Rarity affect Spontaneous Casters? Would a Sorcerer be unable to normally learn an Uncommon spell? Under what circumstances would a Sorcerer or other Spontaneous Caster be able to learn an Uncommon spell (or for that matter a Rare spell)?

You can add anything you have available to your repertoire, which puts you in the same boat as everyone else. If you gain access to a rare lower-level spell that you've already fully chosen spells of that level, you can use retraining from Downtime to quickly and easily access it or just do it when you level up.

I think we were also hoping for some kind of assurance that that is likely to be a thing that actually happens for anyone but wizards (gaining access to uncommon or rarer spells during play).

Can a sorcerer, cleric, druid, bard, etc, just 'find' an uncommon spell in the same literal way that wizards can?
Or will everyone else be reliant on me (the perma-GM) to work in justifications like spell-tutors in order to reward them with uncommon or rarer spells?

You can just find it in the same literal way wizards can (in addition to whatever justification you and your group want to use). How you juice up your bloodline after you do is up to you!


Constructive criticism as in the best of traditions.

Paizo Employee Designer

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Voss wrote:
graystone wrote:
Fuzzy-Wuzzy wrote:
I like this, but I want to know what sorcerers have to do to add an uncommon spell to their spells known. Hear about it? See someone cast it? Please don't say "be taught it."

Of course he has to find it in that ancient ruin and study the scroll/book because, you know, it's an innate ability. ;)

Myself I'm not sure how I feel about it. I think it might end up being a bit arbitrary, especially if you aren't following the 'built in fluff'. Even gaming out of the box a little seems like it'd cause the categories to shift wildly.

I agree- and to some extent so does the article.

I really don't want to deal with the plethora of special snowflake backgrounds (for example, a deluge of former underdark slave alchemists) to justify players wanting XYZ uncommon thing to be common for them.

I don't like the ongoing implications either. For example, you've got a character from Golarion's Not!Japan. Katanas are common for them, so they start with one. OK, no problem. Is the DM now obligated to have a back alley not!Japanese cornershops in conveniently located towns, and drop magic katanas for the rest of the game? Because thats literally what I get from this bit:

Quote:
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.
But it doesn't explain why there would suddenly be spare katanas hanging around in vampire crypts (or whatever) in the middle of Ustalav, or in Aztlanti ruins, or... (etc, etc)

Yeah, they wouldn't be hanging out in vampire crypts. Your access would be up to your group based on your circumstances; at the very least, you can know the formulas for those items and make them yourself. Or maybe if it makes sense your character knows some traders back from home in Minkai who can occasionally swing you some other Minkaian items every once in a while. Either way, your ancestry would not change what's in the dungeon.


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Mark Seifter wrote:
You can just find it in the same literal way wizards can (in addition to whatever justification you and your group want to use). How you juice up your bloodline after you do is up to you!

Awesome! Thank you very much again for the clerification. The hunt for spell-lore was an element of D&D that I've sorely missed.

Paizo Employee Designer

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Cantriped wrote:
Mark Seifter wrote:
You can just find it in the same literal way wizards can (in addition to whatever justification you and your group want to use). How you juice up your bloodline after you do is up to you!
Awesome! Thank you very much again for the clerification. The hunt for spell-lore was an element of D&D that I've sorely missed.

Yeah, the quest and then the payoff for it is just all kinds of cool, since now that becomes an organic part of your character and your adventures from then on, possibly even a cornerstone or key memorable element of the character!


Justin Franklin wrote:
I would think you would do it by region and then have a smaller list that was country or even city specific. Also if we are doing it by tag you could say in Osirian items tagged as Egyptian are common.

Possible but again at the same time, I don't want to look at an item and see a huge is of "Where it can be found" text glaring back at me.

I don't know maybe it's the laid back style I tend to do, the "handle it as it comes up and mark it down" rules/issues, or the fact my players come to me with questions about "Can I do/get X" which we'd talk it out. I also like giving rewards based around the character rather than "Here's your +3 new sword" well now "Here's your Rarity X reward".

At the end of the day though, this doesn't effect my table so all I can do is just shrug and wait for Monday. Though maybe just slap on a "This Setting may be changed due to DM" label near the front of books.

Sovereign Court

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Mark Seifter wrote:


We wouldn't want to specify exactly what you do when retraining your sorcerer spells specifically to allow you to decide how it works. Like if we said it's always a blood transfusion, some people might be too grossed out and others would love it. Letting you decide how to describe why your sorcerer is cool, specifically when it comes to gaining cool new powers is something we want to encourage.

I'm honestly kind of sad... it seems logical for wizards to find new uncommon spell/scrolls,etc... but the proposed system doesn't seem to work that well for other classes.

Same thing with the new spell format, spontaneous spellcasters spell known and Spontaneous Heightening.

The new systems are great and neat and work great for part of the system (the solution is really great for wizard), but it's sad that other part of the system/universe seems to be an afterthought or at least not as elegant.

I hope that between now and the final version of the product a lot more thought will be put toward these anomaly.

Edit: I can easily think why you can find old spellcasting books or scrolls containing uncommon spell, but it's a lot harder to think there are blood vials everywhere that you are ready to inject into your body for no good reason... That system works well for Bioshock, maybe not for Pathfinder :/

Edit 2: By the way, I really like the new sorcerer, it's just that it does not seems to fit nicely with the new spell system.


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This explains the spell rarity we heard about for the Druids. Interesting.


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I like having this kind of system, but I wouldn't have named it "common", "uncommon" and "rare". I'd have used something like "well-known", "esoteric" and "obscure" so you can have things be easily IDed without having them be "common". "Red Dragon" is hardly a "common" monster, but they'd be pretty easy to ID, even based on second hand accounts of a totally untrained villager that didn't get a very good look at it: "Red, scaly, four legs, wings, breathed fire and didn't blind you? The thing that burned down your village was almost certainly a red dragon" (Only real alternatives here is something pretending to be a red dragon)


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Just wanted to restate what someone else said earlier, that monster rarity isn't the same as how famous it may be. Rare and unique monsters would often be more popular knowledge than others, especially to travelers. Lots of people have heard of linnorms even though they aren't exactly common.

And this is still separate from having specific, monster-hunting knowledge useful to an adventurer.

Edit: Yeah, what deuxhero said.

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