The Play's the Thing

Monday, July 8, 2019

Last week, we built a character together, so now let's talk about how the game plays!

Digital artwork: Lush forest, night time. Aged vines and moss wrap around thick tree branches. In the foreground, Harsk, a gruff gnome ranger with long hair and an almost equally long beard, is peering out from behind large, leafy plants. Behind him, Lini - an excited-looking gnome druid, uses her right hand to brush back overgrown greenery from a stone column twice her height and half as wide. She holds a torch in her left hand, which lights the image in dark red. She has partially revealed square-shaped carvings in the side of the column. Behind her - to the right - her snow leopard companion Droogami, looks  to see what she's discovered.

Illustration by Will O'Brien

Exploring

Most of the time when you're adventuring, you're exploring. Whether you're examining a dusty tomb, blazing trails through a dense jungle, or disguising your way into an enemy fortress, exploration is all about discovery. It takes place on a fluid time scale, ranging from roughly 10 minutes to hours, or even days for a long overland expedition. It's dangerous to go alone, especially when you don't know if you'll have an important skill you need to brave the perils of a dungeon, but fortunately you'll be part of a team. If you're an expert or better in a skill, you'll be able to help your allies with that skill while exploring, by coaching your less athletic teammates up the cliffside and spotting the worst of the climb, using hand gestures to sneak your louder allies past the guards at the best moment, and more!

In addition to a handful of exploration actions characters can take while in this game mode, the book also presents a number of skills that can be used while exploring.

Text inset: SKILL EXPLORATION ACTIVITIES. Chapter 4: Skills include numerous additional exploration activities, which are summarized here.  
Borrow an Arcane Spell: You use Arcana to prepare a spell from someone else's spellbook (page 241).
Coerce: You use Intimidation to threaten a creature so it does what you want (page 247).
Cover Tracks: You use Survival to obscure your passing (page 252).
Decipher Writing: You use a suitable skill to understand archaic, esoteric, or obscure texts (page 234).
Gather Information: You use Diplomacy to canvass the area to learn about a specific individual or topic (page 246).
Identify Alchemy: You use Craft and alchemist's tools to identify an alchemical item (page 245).
Identify Magic: Using a variety of skills, you can learn about a magic item, location, or ongoing effect (page 238). 
Impersonate: You use Deception and usually a disguise kit to create a disguise (page 245).
Learn a Spell: You use the skill corresponding to the spell’s tradition to gan access to a new spell (page 238).
Make an Impression: You use Diplomacy to make a good impression on someone (page 246). 
Repair: With a repair kit and the Crafting skill, you fix a damaged item (page 243).
Sense Direction: You use Survival to get a sense of where you are or determine the cardinal directions (page 252).
Squeeze: Using Acrobatics, you squeeze through very tight spaces (page 241).
Track: You use Survival to find and follow creatures’ tracks (page 252).
Treat Wounds: You use Medicine to treat a living creature’s wounds (page 249).

Encounter

When every action matters, your characters enter an encounter, proceeding turn by turn, action by action. These crop up in the middle of exploration, putting your travels on hold so you can deal with an immediate danger or opportunity. Combat encounters are the most typical encounters, taking place on a scale of mere seconds between life and death, but all encounters share a common structure: you roll initiative to determine turn order, then you take turns, performing your actions and determining what happens. In a combat encounter, each turn you get one reaction and three actions you can spend however you want. For instance, on her turn in combat, a sorcerer might spend all three actions to unleash a deadly barrage of magic missiles while a fighter might raise his shield and then use a Sudden Charge to rush an enemy and attack.

It's during encounters that most player characters will bestow conditions upon their foes, or gain a condition as the result of the conflict. To make the wide range of conditions that can come into play easier for new players to learn, we provide a full-page list of them without any of the associated rules. This allows someone to quickly reference what it means to be stunned or stupefied, and tell the difference between being undetected, invisible, or concealed.

Text Inset: CONDITIONS. These conditions appear often in the game and are defined in detail in the Conditions Appendix on pages 618-623. Here’s a brief summary of each.
Blinded: You’re unable to see.
Broken: This item can’t be used for its normal function until repaired.
Clumsy: You can’t move as easily or gracefully as usual.
Concealed: Fog or similar obscuration makes you difficult to see and target. 
Confused: You attack indiscriminately.
Controlled: Another creature determines your actions.
Dazzled: Everything is concealed to you.
Deafened: You’re unable to hear.
Doomed: With your soul in peril, you are now closer to death.
Drained: Blood loss or something similar has leached your vitality.
Dying: You’re slipping closer to death.
Encumbered: You’re carrying more weight than you can manage.
Enfeebled: Your strength has been sapped away.
Fascinated: You are compelled to focus your attention on something.
Fatigued: Your defenses are lower and you can’t focus while exploring.
Flat-Footed: You’re unable to defend yourself to your full capability.
Fleeing: You must run away.
Friendly: An NPC with this condition has a good attitude toward you.
Frightened: Fear makes you less capable of attacking and defending.
Grabbed:  A creature, object, or magic holds you in place.
Helpful: An NPC with this condition wants to assistantships you.
Hidden: A creature you’re hiding from knows your location but can’t see you.
Hostile: An NPC with this condition wants to harm you.
Immobilized: You can’t move.
Indifferent: An NPC with this condition doesn’t have a strong opinion about you.
Invisible: Creatures can’t see you.
Observed: You’re in plain view.
Paralyzed: Your body is frozen in place.
Persistent Damage: You keep taking damage every round.
Petrified: You’ve been turned to stone.
Prone: You’re lying on the ground and easier to attack.
Quickened: You get an extra action each turn.
Restrained: You’re tied up and can’t move, or a grappling creature has you pinned.
Sickened: You’re sick to your stomach.
Slowed: You lose actions each turn.
Stunned: You can’t use actions.
Stupefied: You can’t access your full mental faculties, and you have trouble casting spells.
Unconscious: You’re asleep or knocked out.
Undetected: A creature you are undetected by doesn’t know where you are.
Unfriendly: An NPC with this condition doesn’t like you.
Unnoticed: A creature is entirely unaware you’re present.
Wounded: You’ve been brought back from the brink of death but haven’t fully recovered.

Downtime

Even heroes sometimes need a break from the incredible stress of an adventuring life! During downtime, you can earn money, craft items, swap out old character choices for different options, or just take a rest and carouse with the locals. You take your downtime when you return to the safety of a town or home base, usually after completing an adventure. While downtime in general flows quickly through days or weeks at a time, depending on the choices you make, new options might open themselves up to you as the GM sprinkles special downtime events into your chosen downtime activity, zooming in temporarily to highlight interesting or unusual occurrences when you're not out on an adventure.

Downtime gets the least amount of space of the three game modes, but it's an incredibly rich design space built into the core of the game that may lead to new innovations over the lifespan of Second Edition (some of which we're already working on). As in Exploration Mode, players can utilize some of their skills for downtime activities.

Text inset: SKILL DOWNTIME ACTIVITIES.
Chapter 4: Skills includes several downtime activities, which are summarized here.
Craft: Using the Crafting skill, you can create items from raw materials (page 244).
Create Forgery: You forge a document (page 251).
Earn Income: You earn money, typically using Crafting, Lore, or Performance (page 236).
Subsist: You find food and shelter in the wilderness or within a settlement (page 240).
Treat Disease: You spend time caring for a diseased creature in the hope of curing that creature (page 248).

Treasure

While many adventurers risk their lives due to heroism or a sense of duty, treasure is a major motivator for others. And let's be honest, even when playing an altruistic PC, it's still a lot of fun to find a cool magic item for your character. In Pathfinder, your characters will find a fairly steady stream of magic items, ranging from simple healing potions to the mighty skyhammer. Some of the more inexpensive items are consumable, meaning they can be used once, like alchemical elixirs you drink, scrolls you read, and special talismans you can attach to your other items. Others, like magic weapons or enchanted clothing and tools, serve you again and again as you adventure. You could wield a storm flash rapier arcing with electricity and wear a dread blindfold to strike fear into your foes! You can also find magic runes you can etch onto weapons and armor to build all kinds of powerful combinations!

Text inset: Storm Flash. Item 14+. Electricity. Evocation. Magical. 
Usage: held in 1 hand; bulk 1.
Description: This +2 greater striking shock rapier has a golden blade, and miniature electric arcs flash across its guard while it’s wielded. When out of its sheath under an open sky, the blade causes storm clouds to gather slowly above.
Activate  command, envision;
Frequency: once per day;
Effect: You cast a 60th level lightning bolt (DC 33).
Activate reaction command; Frequency: once per 10 minutes; Trigger: An electricity effect targets you or a creature within 10 feet of you, or has you or a creature within 10 feet of you in its area; Effect: You try to divert the electricity off course, to be absorbed by storm flash. Choose one eligible creature to protect and roll a melee attack roll against the DC of the electricity effect. If you succeed, the chosen creature takes no electricity damage from the triggering effect.
Type: storm flash; Level 14; Price 4000 gp.
Type: greater storm flash; Level 18. Price: 21,000gp.
This is a +3 greater striking shock rapier. When activating the sword to cast lightning bolt, the spell is 8th level. Text inset: Dread Blindfold. Item 17.
Emotion. Enchantment. Fear. Invested. Magical. Mental.
Price: 15,000 gp.
Usage: worn eyepiece.
Bulk: none.
When tied over your eyes, this ragged strip of black linen gives you a +3 item bonus to Intimidation checks and darkvision. You can see through the blindfold, but only using darkvision. 
The first time a particular creatures sees you in a day, it must succeed at a DC 37 Will save or be frightened 1. This is an emotion, fear, and mental effect, and your allies become immune to it after about a week.

Activate command; Frequency: once per minute; 
Trigger: You damage a creature with a Strike; Effect: Your target is gripped by intense fear. This has the effect of a DC 37 phantasmal killer spell, but it is an enchantment instead of an illusion. The creature is then temporarily immune for 24 hours.

Experience Points and Levels

In Pathfinder, you learn from your adventures, both your triumphs and your failures, growing more powerful and gaining fantastic new abilities. We measure that progress with Experience Points (XP), and typically the more impressive and insurmountable the challenge for your character, the more XP you gain for overcoming it. Once you earn a total of 1,000 XP, you reach a new level, opening up new options for your character. Next week we'll go into detail about leveling up!

Three characters sitting on the grass in the shade under an old, very leafy tree. The weather is partially cloudy. Kneeling on the left is Kyra, a cleric, is holding up a glowing idol in both hands and looking at it intently. She is wearing long flowing blue and white garments with gold dotted circular designs.  She is facing away from the group, to the left of the picture. In the center and further back, Lem, a halfling bard, is sitting barefoot, wrapped in a short-sleeved cloak or jacket. He is playing the flute with his eyes closed. On the far right, Ezren the wizard, a human male with long white hair, is studying from two open books floating in front of him. He has one hand on the pages of each book, and his hands are glowing. The book on the left has a glowing circle of glyphs surrounding his hands

Illustration by Matteo Spirito

Mark Seifter
Designer

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Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber; Pathfinder Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Anguish wrote:
This didn't get written as "When tied over your eyes, this ragged strip of black linen gives you darkvision and a +3 item bonus to Intimidation checks." There were two ways to write this sentence, one of which implies that the item's owner gets a +3 item bonus to darkvision, requiring more cogitation of good-sense to parse correctly than the other way does.

I agree that this sentence was poorly crafted, assuming that darkvision checks are not a thing (though I suppose any perception check while you're in darkness could apply). In this specific case, such a sentence isn't likely to cause problems, but it can be indicative of sloppy writing in general, which has the potential to cause problems elsewhere in the rules. I hope this isn't the case, and those poo-pooing the pointing out of such things should ask themselves why it is that they don't prefer a rulebook with more precise sentence structure. It is far better to get it right the first time than be forced to use errata for clarification later. Errata is likely inevitable, of course, but its use should be minimized where possible, and for the sentence in question you don't even need to change the word count, all that needs to be done to make it clearer is to rearrange a few words.


John Lynch 106 wrote:
I'd prefer not having a textbook thrown at me and the Core Rulebook actually be approachable. We'll have to see how jargon heavy it is and whether that makes PFSers happy and/or me unhappy. I expect they'll probably go somewhere in the middle and we'll both be unhappy to one degree or another ;)

COMPROMISE!


Mark Seifter wrote:
Edge93 wrote:
John Lynch 106 wrote:
Amaranthine Witch wrote:

Could we not have vague language in rules text going forward?

The dread blindfold says your allies become immune to it after about a week. How long is that? 5 days? 8 days?

This is why I find PFS so unsatisfactory. Do you have a human being adjudicating your games? If so, the GM decides how long "about a week" is.

Anguish wrote:
We've had a decade of RAW versus RAI, much of which could have been eliminated by editors questioning "what does this actually say?" I hope there's less of this sort of thing than in PF1, not because I can't cope with it, but because it just shouldn't be. IMHO (of course).

IMHO you get good GMs not by hardcoding every aspect of the universe, but by teaching them how to make good rulings. This sort of nitpicking is going to create something akin to the playtest which was jargon heavy and not in any way easy to approach.

I've had a decade of good gaming. I hope Paizo doesn't stop that run by creating a textbook that requires a 3 year degree in RPG Rules to understand and implement.

Yeah, this is the big reason I've honestly barely even considered trying to do PFS, and especially potentially GM it. I just can't do with the lack of allowing basic adjucation that I hear about, if it is indeed the case.

That said, maybe PF2S will be different.

PFS and OrgPlay in general still grant the GM fairly broad discretion to handle corner cases and adjudication of ambiguous rules or situations. But if it goes beyond that to a full houserule, there's a line. Like in PF1 even if the gunslinger is making the game no fun for anyone else at the table going first and killing the entire encounter on that first turn, you wouldn't be able to just say the attacks don't hit touch AC any more, even if that would make that particular table more fun for the other players.

Ahh, that's good to hear. Perhaps what I've heard has been exaggerated.

In that case I might just try PF2S, since I doubt there's anything in the CRB that would cause notable troubles under that.


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Eh. I think the writing and ambiguity is fine.


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John Lynch 106 wrote:
graystone wrote:
I'll take the textbook every time as I'd like as little table variation as possible.

I don't habitually game with strangers* but instead game with the same group (my Pathfinder group also had multiple GMs). So I don't need precision in a book that is so unapproachable that it scares new players away. I just need people willing to give it a chance.

As I said. I doubt we're both going to be satisfied completely.

*In an ideal world

LOL I DO "habitually game with strangers" so I value not having to have dozens of vague things that need hammered out before play starts. IMO that would scare more people off that play my way that unapproachable writing.

But I do agree, we'll both most likely be dissatisfied to some extent.


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Pathfinder Card Game Subscriber

I love the "about a week" phrase on the blindfold. It's a perfect fit for the kind of person who'd make or wear this item. I can just see the shrug of the shoulders and the "whatever" expression you'd expect to see on someone who's sociopathic enough to wear this thing in public.


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Gwaihir Scout wrote:
I love the "about a week" phrase on the blindfold. It's a perfect fit for the kind of person who'd make or wear this item. I can just see the shrug of the shoulders and the "whatever" expression you'd expect to see on someone who's sociopathic enough to wear this thing in public.

And when a player subjected to it wants to know when they'll have an functional character again? Does the DM just grin and shrug?

Silver Crusade

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Voss wrote:
Gwaihir Scout wrote:
I love the "about a week" phrase on the blindfold. It's a perfect fit for the kind of person who'd make or wear this item. I can just see the shrug of the shoulders and the "whatever" expression you'd expect to see on someone who's sociopathic enough to wear this thing in public.
And when a player subjected to it wants to know when they'll have an functional character again? Does the DM just grin and shrug?

"'bout a week."

Grand Lodge

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I've never heard of a game where it mattered exactly when.


So, adversarial b&%@@#@s it is.
How is this helpful to playing the game?

Tri, really? You've never known it to be helpful to know when a party member isn't penalizing the group with magical status effects? Really?


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It is a level 17 item. I image by time you obtain it, you have downtime actions that could cover "about a week" of time, like crafting.

And I somehow doubt it this would be a common occurrence also due to its high level, though I just want to image a group that finds this, or a similiar item, and equips it without identifying it or knowing what it is, and you just ask the entire table, except the person who equipped it, to make a saving throw.


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Pathfinder Adventure Path, Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber
Voss wrote:
Gwaihir Scout wrote:
I love the "about a week" phrase on the blindfold. It's a perfect fit for the kind of person who'd make or wear this item. I can just see the shrug of the shoulders and the "whatever" expression you'd expect to see on someone who's sociopathic enough to wear this thing in public.
And when a player subjected to it wants to know when they'll have an functional character again? Does the DM just grin and shrug?

Please explain how having to make a single check after waking with your party members makes a character non-functional.


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Pathfinder Companion, Maps Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber

^ What Vlorax said. I think I'm missing why it's a big deal to be Frightened 1 for 6 seconds (is that right? is a round still 6 seconds?) once a day. I guess if you're ambushed while sleeping, that -1 on a check might come into play when it actually matters.

Silver Crusade

Pathfinder Companion, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber
Voss wrote:
Tri, really? You've never known it to be helpful to know when a party member isn't penalizing the group with magical status effects? Really?

Gnome's Luck from Races of Ansalon (Dragonlance) is an awesome feat :3


Joana wrote:
^ What Vlorax said. I think I'm missing why it's a big deal to be Frightened 1 for 6 seconds (is that right? is a round still 6 seconds?) once a day. I guess if you're ambushed while sleeping, that -1 on a check might come into play when it actually matters.

Well, you answered the question, even assuming there aren't more significant examples of duration=shrug.

But more generally, the game mechanics live or die by the math, and the lesson/litany of the playtest (often repeated by staff and players alike) was 'every +1 matters.' Schrödinger's modifiers have no place in that kind of system.

Grand Lodge

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Voss wrote:
Tri, really? You've never known it to be helpful to know when a party member isn't penalizing the group with magical status effects? Really?

I have never known a game where knowing the exact hour an ability began was relevant. Mostly because hours and days are always GM fiated rather than precisely tracked.

Slavish devotion to bean counting is counterproductive to the enjoyment of the game.


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Joana wrote:
^ What Vlorax said. I think I'm missing why it's a big deal to be Frightened 1 for 6 seconds (is that right? is a round still 6 seconds?) once a day. I guess if you're ambushed while sleeping, that -1 on a check might come into play when it actually matters.

Even that assumes you sleep with the blindfold on, and even then, it's "the first time they see you in the day." It doesn't say "every time they see you after a nap."

Acting like this is a debuff to your party is absurd. Getting to used to in about a week is really just a flavor thing; it would never be a problem 99% of the time if the party never became immune to it.

Silver Crusade

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Pathfinder Companion, Pathfinder Accessories Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Charter Superscriber

The good/bad thing about the 'about a week' description is, that if the player's decide: "Yeah, put on that blindfold, we'll all do something else for that week, and meet up after again" I think any GM would be in his right to not rule, that the Immunity hasn't set in, because the other PC's aren't used to the mask, if they haven't experienced it for a week yet.


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Would those who object to “in about a week” object to “in 5+1d3 days”?

I’m interested in whether it’s seen as bad that the duration is loosely defined or if the problem is there isn’t any guidance for the DM as to what the variance is.


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Voss wrote:

So, adversarial b&+&@@&s it is.

How is this helpful to playing the game?

Tri, really? You've never known it to be helpful to know when a party member isn't penalizing the group with magical status effects? Really?

Like CM says, it's a -1 penalty for 1 round THE FIRST TIME YOUR PARTY SEES YPU WEARING IT IN THE DAY.

That in no way makes a character non-functional, that's just ridiculous hyperbole. It will straight up borderline never actually come into play as a hindrance to the party.

Sorry, but you're the only one delivering adversarial BS here.

Paizo Employee Designer

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Most often, this will happen just after daily prep when you invest the item, so if your ambusher is polite enough to let you finish prep to get that -1 on other people for 1 round, you already have an advantage over being ambushed during prep when the wizard hasn't recovered spells. The other major alternative is you just found this blindfold in the dungeon and invested it, in which case also it happens after you just had a safe break to invest the item. The final, somewhat less common, possibility is that the PCs have split up, or maybe have their own homes or rooms for the night, and you are prepping alone and meeting up later. In that case too, you're better off being ambushed after all the PCs are there, even if it's on that first round with frightened, than alone in your home without the other PCs.


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Edge93 wrote:
Voss wrote:

So, adversarial b&+&@@&s it is.

How is this helpful to playing the game?

Tri, really? You've never known it to be helpful to know when a party member isn't penalizing the group with magical status effects? Really?

Like CM says, it's a -1 penalty for 1 round THE FIRST TIME YOUR PARTY SEES YPU WEARING IT IN THE DAY.

That in no way makes a character non-functional, that's just ridiculous hyperbole. It will straight up borderline never actually come into play as a hindrance to the party.

Sorry, but you're the only one delivering adversarial BS here.

Now now, Edge, to be fair. I've played in plenty of parties that very specifically don't look at each other until combat begins, always making sure to stay one room apart in dungeons and a mile or so apart when traveling on the open road, camping at such distances as well. And this will only be exacerbated by a party member wearing an actual blindfold. The rest of the party will probably follow the example of how cool that guy looks and tie normal strips of cloth around their faces, relying on the Dread PC to lead them around until combat begins, at which point they will tear the blindfold from their eyes, and EGADS! Our ally is so scary! I'm startled for the opening round of combat! WHO COULD HAVE SEEN THIS COMING

RPG Superstar 2014 Top 32

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Interesting that the one week timing is vague, and yet on the same item, the 24 hour immunity is precise.


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Captain Morgan wrote:
Edge93 wrote:
Voss wrote:

So, adversarial b&+&@@&s it is.

How is this helpful to playing the game?

Tri, really? You've never known it to be helpful to know when a party member isn't penalizing the group with magical status effects? Really?

Like CM says, it's a -1 penalty for 1 round THE FIRST TIME YOUR PARTY SEES YPU WEARING IT IN THE DAY.

That in no way makes a character non-functional, that's just ridiculous hyperbole. It will straight up borderline never actually come into play as a hindrance to the party.

Sorry, but you're the only one delivering adversarial BS here.

Now now, Edge, to be fair. I've played in plenty of parties that very specifically don't look at each other until combat begins, always making sure to stay one room apart in dungeons and a mile or so apart when traveling on the open road, camping at such distances as well. And this will only be exacerbated by a party member wearing an actual blindfold. The rest of the party will probably follow the example of how cool that guy looks and tie normal strips of cloth around their faces, relying on the Dread PC to lead them around until combat begins, at which point they will tear the blindfold from their eyes, and EGADS! Our ally is so scary! I'm startled for the opening round of combat! WHO COULD HAVE SEEN THIS COMING

Not the other party members, because they have blindfolds on. :P


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Grumpus wrote:
Interesting that the one week timing is vague, and yet on the same item, the 24 hour immunity is precise.

I think this is the more important detail to be checked, as opposed to whether or not the PCs' allies takes a -1 penalty to all d20 rolls for 1 round. It's a slight contradiction in the timing for the effects of the item, and that could make for some confusion about the precision of the wording "about one week."

I think in live play, most of the time, you're going to see the GM just say, "Yeah, about 1 week is 7 days." The approximation is probably there to give the GM the opportunity to say, "Oh, you have Master Proficiency in Will Saves? It only takes 6 days for you." A little something extra the GM can do for players to reflect how the proficiency system matters.


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Pathfinder Card Game, Companion, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Charter Superscriber

This whole discussion about what a "week" means is sucking the life from my gaming body, and leaving it a desiccated and unhappy corpse.

Silver Crusade

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Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

But it's so emblematic, like a tiny capsule of all that's wrong with the fanbase :)


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Elorebaen wrote:
This whole discussion about what a "week" means is sucking the life from my gaming body, and leaving it a desiccated and unhappy corpse.

I understand your pain. Let me see if I have any diamonds around. What level are you? I can only do 15th and lower. ;P

Scarab Sages

I just figured, "about a week" means after the seventh time they needed to make a save for it.


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IMO "about a week" ambiguity just gives the GM wiggle room to grease the wheels so the item works correctly. Like the PCs are going to get immune to it quickly, but that one guard you saw 7 days ago might not be.


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Elorebaen wrote:
This whole discussion about what a "week" means is sucking the life from my gaming body, and leaving it a desiccated and unhappy corpse.

I believe that would be the Drained Condition...


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Joana wrote:
^ What Vlorax said. I think I'm missing why it's a big deal to be Frightened 1 for 6 seconds (is that right? is a round still 6 seconds?) once a day. I guess if you're ambushed while sleeping, that -1 on a check might come into play when it actually matters.

Because as I said in my earlier posts, this isn't about the magic item. The magic item is a proxy fight for arguing that all rules should be absolutely precise and that no GM adjudication should ever be necessary when it comes to rule elements. They'll come up with a long list of reasons WHY ambiguous rules are bad. But ultimately it comes down to "I don't trust the GM to adjudicate the rules of the game in a way that will allow me to enjoy the game."

Steve Geddes wrote:

Would those who object to “in about a week” object to “in 5+1d3 days”?

I’m interested in whether it’s seen as bad that the duration is loosely defined or if the problem is there isn’t any guidance for the DM as to what the variance is.

No. They won't object to that. Because it has removed the GM's ability to adjudicate the situation. The ability is now laid out by the rules and the only wiggle room the GM might have is deciding what constitutes a day.


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John Lynch 106 wrote:
The magic item is a proxy fight for arguing that all rules should be absolutely precise and that no GM adjudication should ever be necessary when it comes to rule elements. They'll come up with a long list of reasons WHY ambiguous rules are bad. But ultimately it comes down to "I don't trust the GM to adjudicate the rules of the game in a way that will allow me to enjoy the game."

Not true at all, for me at least. I have NO issue with DM rulings, JUST that the DM and I start off understanding the rules the same way: if the DM wants to alter the rules, like a houserule, that's 100% fine but it should be something known and talked about beforehand. For me this is important so that when i go to a new game, I have some idea what the ground rules of the game are and don't have to guess what that new DM is going to interpret a vague rule as. The more vagary the game has, the longer the learning curve is between a new group and a DM and the more things set in stone make the transition smoother.

NONE of it has a single thing to do with taking any ability of the DM to adjudicate the game: they are free to change things as they wish. Even if the ability says 'one week' vs 'around one week' they can say it works differently for someone: the only difference is I know one case is not normal while the other one isn't.


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John Lynch 106 wrote:
Steve Geddes wrote:

Would those who object to “in about a week” object to “in 5+1d3 days”?

I’m interested in whether it’s seen as bad that the duration is loosely defined or if the problem is there isn’t any guidance for the DM as to what the variance is.

No. They won't object to that. Because it has removed the GM's ability to adjudicate the situation. The ability is now laid out by the rules and the only wiggle room the GM might have is deciding what constitutes a day.

I'd be interested to hear from someone who actually does object to "in about a week" (you're not fussed by it, right?)

It's not clear to me that it's about DM adjudication for everyone - they seemed perturbed by the language being loosely defined, which can be easily resolved via DM adjudication, but I'm not sure if it's the loose language itself that is objectionable or the proposed resolution.


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Steve Geddes wrote:
I'd be interested to hear from someone who actually does object to "in about a week"

Sure. *wave*

Steve Geddes wrote:
I'm not sure if it's the loose language itself that is objectionable or the proposed resolution.

Loose language 100%. I don't care if it's “in 5+1d3 days” or "in 6 to 8 days", both would give me a quantitative way to understand the game world and plan accordingly. "about a week" relies on an unknown quantity "about" which I have no way to quantify as "about" is going to vary from person to person so I have no way to plan for it: This means it's a different thing each new game I join.

Dataphiles

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graystone wrote:
Loose language 100%. I don't care if it's “in 5+1d3 days” or "in 6 to 8 days", both would give me a quantitative way to understand the game world and plan accordingly. "about a week" relies on an unknown quantity "about" which I have no way to quantify as "about" is going to vary from person to person so I have no way to plan for it: This means it's a different thing each new game I join.

"..about a week."

If you take your car into the shop to have something major repaired and the shop said, "It will be done in about a week." You're not going to complain that you don't know what "about a week" means depending on which service mechanic they assign to work on your car. You know if today was Wednesday it should be done like middle of next week anywhere from Tuesday to Thursday. Not likely more or less than that unless something strange happens.

It's just common sense.

Silver Crusade

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graystone wrote:
Steve Geddes wrote:
I'd be interested to hear from someone who actually does object to "in about a week"

Sure. *wave*

Steve Geddes wrote:
I'm not sure if it's the loose language itself that is objectionable or the proposed resolution.
Loose language 100%. I don't care if it's “in 5+1d3 days” or "in 6 to 8 days", both would give me a quantitative way to understand the game world and plan accordingly. "about a week" relies on an unknown quantity "about" which I have no way to quantify as "about" is going to vary from person to person so I have no way to plan for it: This means it's a different thing each new game I join.

How were you even able to enjoy PF1 with the amount of loose and unspecified language there? From paladin's code to charm spells and a million things in between, PF1 was full of "vaguely described, GM's call" rules which gave birth to millions of thousands of posts full of nerds bickering about what it exactly means. And now you're up in your arms casting that long, anguished (not sorry this time, Anguish) look at "about a week".

Liberty's Edge

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Gorbacz wrote:
graystone wrote:
Steve Geddes wrote:
I'd be interested to hear from someone who actually does object to "in about a week"

Sure. *wave*

Steve Geddes wrote:
I'm not sure if it's the loose language itself that is objectionable or the proposed resolution.
Loose language 100%. I don't care if it's “in 5+1d3 days” or "in 6 to 8 days", both would give me a quantitative way to understand the game world and plan accordingly. "about a week" relies on an unknown quantity "about" which I have no way to quantify as "about" is going to vary from person to person so I have no way to plan for it: This means it's a different thing each new game I join.

How were you even able to enjoy PF1 with the amount of loose and unspecified language there? From paladin's code to charm spells and a million things in between, PF1 was full of "vaguely described, GM's call" rules which gave birth to millions of thousands of posts full of nerds bickering about what it exactly means. And now you're up in your arms casting that long, anguished (not sorry this time, Anguish) look at "about a week".

How awful to expect Paizo to have learn a few things from PF1 failures

Eagerly waiting for PF0 release :-D

Liberty's Edge

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Chetna Wavari wrote:
graystone wrote:
Loose language 100%. I don't care if it's “in 5+1d3 days” or "in 6 to 8 days", both would give me a quantitative way to understand the game world and plan accordingly. "about a week" relies on an unknown quantity "about" which I have no way to quantify as "about" is going to vary from person to person so I have no way to plan for it: This means it's a different thing each new game I join.

"..about a week."

If you take your car into the shop to have something major repaired and the shop said, "It will be done in about a week." You're not going to complain that you don't know what "about a week" means depending on which service mechanic they assign to work on your car. You know if today was Wednesday it should be done like middle of next week anywhere from Tuesday to Thursday. Not likely more or less than that unless something strange happens.

It's just common sense.

If I need my car on Tuesday, I want to know if it will be ready on that exact day.


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The Raven Black wrote:
If I need my car on Tuesday, I want to know if it will be ready on that exact day.

If you need your car at 9:18am on Tuesday, you need to know EXACTLY when your car is ready. Clearly all durations should be exact down to the minute.


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John Lynch 106 wrote:
The Raven Black wrote:
If I need my car on Tuesday, I want to know if it will be ready on that exact day.
If you need your car at 9:18am on Tuesday, you need to know EXACTLY when your car is ready. Clearly all durations should be exact down to the minute.

That item DOES have exact durations down to the min: it takes exactly 24hours for the immunity to fade. Not 23 hours and 57 min, not 24 hours and 7 min but 24 hours. It can be used once every min: not every 52 seconds or 76 seconds but exactly 1 min.

I'm just asking for the same exacting time frames be used across the board. It doesn't seem like asking too much to keep things the same does it? What benefit is there it vague durations right next to exact durations? What's bad with consistency?


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Chetna Wavari wrote:
It's just common sense.

Common sense isn't common. You see 'about a week' as +/- a day. Someone else might see it as +/-2 days or +/- a few hours or... If you don't ASK that shop what they MEAN by 'about a week', you can be waiting longer for your car than expected.

Silver Crusade

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The Raven Black wrote:
Chetna Wavari wrote:
graystone wrote:
Loose language 100%. I don't care if it's “in 5+1d3 days” or "in 6 to 8 days", both would give me a quantitative way to understand the game world and plan accordingly. "about a week" relies on an unknown quantity "about" which I have no way to quantify as "about" is going to vary from person to person so I have no way to plan for it: This means it's a different thing each new game I join.

"..about a week."

If you take your car into the shop to have something major repaired and the shop said, "It will be done in about a week." You're not going to complain that you don't know what "about a week" means depending on which service mechanic they assign to work on your car. You know if today was Wednesday it should be done like middle of next week anywhere from Tuesday to Thursday. Not likely more or less than that unless something strange happens.

It's just common sense.

If I need my car on Tuesday, I want to know if it will be ready on that exact day.

If the shop says: "... done in about a week" and you answer: "I need it be done on Tuesday", the shop might reply: "No can do", or "We'll try, but no guarantee", or even "Sure. We'll give it priority."

That still complies to the initial "about a week", but that can't be directly translated to the magic item here.

But if you as a player have the item and tell your GM that you need to have the blindfold not affect your allies in 6 days, your GM might answer: "No can do", or "You can try things, but no guarantee", or even "Sure. For the next few days, you bid your allies to intently take note of you wearing the blindfold, so they get accustomed to it faster. That takes about an hour out of your day and maybe 10 minutes of the days of your allies."


Franz Lunzer wrote:
The Raven Black wrote:
Chetna Wavari wrote:
graystone wrote:
Loose language 100%. I don't care if it's “in 5+1d3 days” or "in 6 to 8 days", both would give me a quantitative way to understand the game world and plan accordingly. "about a week" relies on an unknown quantity "about" which I have no way to quantify as "about" is going to vary from person to person so I have no way to plan for it: This means it's a different thing each new game I join.

"..about a week."

If you take your car into the shop to have something major repaired and the shop said, "It will be done in about a week." You're not going to complain that you don't know what "about a week" means depending on which service mechanic they assign to work on your car. You know if today was Wednesday it should be done like middle of next week anywhere from Tuesday to Thursday. Not likely more or less than that unless something strange happens.

It's just common sense.

If I need my car on Tuesday, I want to know if it will be ready on that exact day.

If the shop says: "... done in about a week" and you answer: "I need it be done on Tuesday", the shop might reply: "No can do", or "We'll try, but no guarantee", or even "Sure. We'll give it priority."

That still complies to the initial "about a week", but that can't be directly translated to the magic item here.

But if you as a player have the item and tell your GM that you need to have the blindfold not affect your allies in 6 days, your GM might answer: "No can do", or "You can try things, but no guarantee", or even "Sure. For the next few days, you bid your allies to intently take note of you wearing the blindfold, so they get accustomed to it faster. That takes about an hour out of your day and maybe 10 minutes of the days of your allies."

The thing is, NONE of that changes if you have the duration set as a week. "if you as a player have the item and tell your GM that you need to have the blindfold not affect your allies in 6 days, your GM might answer: "No can do", or "You can try things, but no guarantee", or even "Sure." The only thing is you know to ask if it's possible vs it maybe working or not from a variable duration.


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I don't really want to continue beating this dead horse, but I'm going to anyways because I'm a moron who has to put my two cents in...

I personally would much rather play in a world that feels real and breathing than one that feels like a computer simulation. So long as we're talking about something that isn't going to make or break any sort of combat for the party, I really love the "about a week" language.

I think that a lot of the fears about this being a bad sign for poorly articulated rules and measures are somewhat premature anyways. This is an extremely minor effect that lasts one round and is extremely unlikely to occur in combat for your allies.

The fact that Mark is here talking about how the vague language isn't likely to be an issue with this item shows that they aren't likely to use such undefined language in anything other than the flavorful little ribbon abilities. Mark wouldn't be defending the use of this language here if the same language was used in more "make or break" item ability moments.

And as far as this being a thing that a s@&+ty DM can use against a party, well sure. But I guarantee, if you have the sort of mean-spirited DM who will use that kind of thing against the players, you will have far worse problems to deal with than an item description like this. Highly regimented rules will never turn a bad DM into a good DM. The only thing that can do that is open and honest communication and a reevaluation of the DM's values and what they want out of the game.

I know that compared to many I can be a "living world" extremist. I would prefer a game world that feels real and natural, even if that means making some decisions in favor of that world when it technically would be a bad decision in a pure game world. For example, I think Aasimar and Tieflings should be straight up better than humans. Most people disagree with me, and that's fine.

This however seems like the kind of extremely reasonable little flavor-text thing that really shouldn't be a problem to fall into the living world side of the equation.


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If changing this item was enough to make the “no ambiguity allowed” crowd I’d say sure, the item should be changed. But I expect every ambiguity is going to be complained about.

P.S. Does this blindfold grant blind people darkvision? What do you mean I’m going to have to talk to my GM to find out? That’s awful game design!!!!

;)


Vali Nepjarson wrote:
The fact that Mark is here talking about how the vague language isn't likely to be an issue with this item shows that they aren't likely to use such undefined language in anything other than the flavorful little ribbon abilities. Mark wouldn't be defending the use of this language here if the same language was used in more "make or break" item ability moments.

I personally commented about vague language in general: I'd rather have as little of it as possible in the game as that's less points of uncertainty I have to go over with a new set of players and DM. This item most likely wouldn't be much of an issue itself, but I wouldn't want 'about' to show up vary often.

John Lynch 106 wrote:
If changing this item was enough to make the “no ambiguity allowed” crowd I’d say sure, the item should be changed. But I expect every ambiguity is going to be complained about.

I'll be quite honest, I don't think I'd have ever noticed this items wording as it's higher level then I normally play and as such, I don't really read over them well. However, I'll advocate to get every ambiguity possible removed. DM fiat/table variation might not be an issue for you as you play a home game but it's an issue for those of us that play with strangers.

John Lynch 106 wrote:

P.S. Does this blindfold grant blind people darkvision? What do you mean I’m going to have to talk to my GM to find out? That’s awful game design!!!!

;)

Yes it is. You might think it's cute, but when you've had to post endless questions back and forth in posts to get on the same page, it gets old FAST to have to ask the DM 'ok, how does this work in your world?" "ok, how about this item..." "Ok, if that works, does this work with that"... I'd rather KNOW how things work and ask the DM if things work different than normal. :P


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I personally love "about a week". It means I get to make the ruling suitable for ease of play when it happens.

This way for similar items if they last for "about a week" I can have it last from 3pm monday until midnight sunday... rather than 3pm the next monday. Makes it nice and easy to track.

More power to GMs !


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Wow, this discussion on "about a week" is the most ridiculus this I've come across in these boards. The only thing missing is the question whether that means calendar week or working week. I mean, if I become immune on a Sunday, does it happen immediately or only on monday?

PF2 has 3 modes of play. And the one where exact timing matters is encounter mode. Downtime mode, the slowest and most unprecise mode, is counted in days. A week is so long that the exact timespan isn't important to the rules.

And having to learn the meaning of "about"??? Seriously?
DM: "Before you stands a man. About 6 foot tall and about 40 years old."
Player: "What? Is he the size of a cat or a giant? A child or and old man? I can't imagine it!"

This discussion makes me sad, too.


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My old groups favourite bad description was to describe something as being the size of a dog.

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