Changes to the Way We Make Changes

Tuesday, January 03, 2023

Welcome to 2023 everyone! With the Second Edition of Pathfinder now in its third year, the folks on the rules team are really thrilled to see how all of you are engaging with the game and telling thrilling stories of adventure with friends and family. Behind the scenes, we’re continuing to make the game as good as it possibly can be by creating brand new content and going back to make sure that our existing books are working the way we intended.

That means errata, and today we’re happy to announce several exciting changes to the Pathfinder Core Rulebook that make the game a little easier to play and bring certain aspects of it more in line with our current thoughts and sensibilities. But before I toss the blog over to Lead Designer Logan Bonner to walk you through some of the highlights, I want to take a moment to talk about some upcoming changes to the errata process itself!

In the past, our errata process has been tied to when we reprint books, so that you could make sure your print edition matched what was currently on store shelves. While this had its advantages, it often meant that changes were made quite infrequently. In addition, if a book didn’t see a reprint, it might mean that we never went in to apply a patch. The result was a process that just was not living up to our needs and desire to make sure you have a great game experience. So, we are changing the process.

Starting this year, we will release errata twice per year, once in the spring and once in the fall. Since errata will no longer be tied to reprints, it frees us up to cover errata issues from a wide range of products as well. We hope this will allow us to be a bit more responsive to your questions and any issues you might have spotted with the game, so keep posting your questions to Paizo.com. Your passion helps us make a better Pathfinder!

Alright, that’s enough process talk from me. I’m going to toss it over to Logan to take a look at some of the changes made to the Pathfinder Core Rulebook!


Pathfinder Second Edition Core Rulebook, featuring an image of the Iconics battling a red dragon breathing fire through a crumbling stone wall, on a red background


Core Rulebook Errata

Thanks, Jason! You might notice that Jason said spring and fall, and it’s not... either of those. This batch of errata is coming to coincide with the new fourth printing of the Core Rulebook. While typically any such errata will have already been covered under the new process, this one is playing catch-up. You’ll find all the errata on the FAQ page, but I want to give context and explanations for a few of the major changes.

First comes the most expansive change: alternate ancestry boosts. We’re implementing the option for you to choose two free ability boosts for a character of any ancestry. There have been many ongoing conversations in the gaming community and within Paizo about biological essentialism in RPGs. We think it’s time to address this issue and have added this universal option. This makes it clearer that ancestries aren’t a monolith, and adds more nuance to the world and a wider breadth of characters. To be clear: this is an alternative for all characters and campaigns, not a variant rule, since it’s expected to be in line with the power level of other options. If you have made or want to make a character using an ancestry’s printed options (such as a dwarf with a Con boost, Wisdom boost, free boost, and Charisma flaw), those options remain, and those characters still follow the updated rules. We started heading toward this adjustment in July and are very pleased to have this chance to implement it and bring it to the community!

The alchemist gets major changes to add more flexibility. This dovetails with new alchemy options coming in Treasure Vault, allowing more flexibility in choosing items for a research field instead of a narrow list. The largest number of changes are with the chirurgeon. An alchemist with this field can choose elixirs with the healing trait and can fully substitute Crafting for Medicine checks and proficiency prerequisites. Now that they can choose items that heal HP, we needed to add a limit for perpetual healing items to keep out-of-combat healing from careening out of control. As with alternate boosts, any alchemist you already made remains a valid character!

Most of the remaining changes are smaller improvements, like fixing an oversight on Simple Weapon Proficiency for clerics, making the horse animal companion work as intended, and having the soothe spell target “1 willing creature,” as suggested by Book of the Dead and the Blood Lords AP. We do, however, have one significant downgrade to talk about. The gnome flickmace was a bit overpowered. A one-handed reach weapon was stronger than we expected it to be, and it’s having more of an outsized reputation than a single weapon should usually have in the game. We’ve reduced its damage and added the sweep trait to bring it more in line with other flails. Its new stat line is Price 3 gp; Damage 1d6 B; Bulk 1; Hands 1; Group Flail; Weapon Traits Gnome, reach, sweep.

We look forward to seeing what new characters you make with these changes to the Core Rulebook!

Jason Bulmahn
Director of Game Design

Logan Bonner
Pathfinder Lead Designer

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Tags: Errata Pathfinder Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Pathfinder Second Edition
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Pathfinder Rulebook, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Ed Reppert wrote:
Icky? Why so?

It's a sarcastic jab at their reasons for the ability score alternate rule. Dwarves being slow and elves being fast is something that is an inherent difference between them, and unlike their ability scores is still completely impossible to overcome. Under no circumstance will the fastest Dwarf be faster than the fastest elf. Additionally it's one if the things that look like balancing aspects. Dwarves had a generically good statline but -5ft speed, Elves had a Con penalty and low ancestry health but +5ft speed (with an additional ancestry feat to get more).

I have mechanical disagreements with the ability scores change (I think there was an much better and simpler way to go about fixing the same mechanical issue) but, the bioessentialist reasoning I absolutely loath. It was stupid when Wizards did it with D&d 5e and it's stupid here. Pf2e is far better mechanically designed that 5e, so it's not a deal breaker but I'd rather not ever go in that direction at all.

Since I don't think they're considering reversing it for a better option, the best I can do is try and get is a 3 free boost / 1 flaw option added. Then at least only dwarves are getting screwed.


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Pathfinder Pawns, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber

Before the change dwarves had darkvision and elves had speed. Both are powerful worthwhile abilities. Cavern elves can get darkvision too, but this was offset by the elves' Constitution penalty.

Now that elves can completely ignore said penalty, elves are superior to dwarves in nearly every way. Why would anyone ever play a dwarf now? <[rhetorical question]

Who would have thought that Paizo would play favorites? ;P


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The +con/wis/free and -cha is still a nice array for many builds. But elves definitely got a lot better in general. Dwarves also have that duplicate toughness ancestry feat that stacks with toughness. The tank roll still fits them best.


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nothinglord wrote:
Dwarves being slow and elves being fast is something that is an inherent difference between them, and unlike their ability scores is still completely impossible to overcome.

But luckily, move speed isn't linked to psychology and there's no class that is geared toward marathon. So it's no bioessentialism, it's just differences.

On the other hand, -2 in Charisma is strongly linked to psychology and has an impact on what class you should be or not be playing. Removing it is essential if you want to get rid of bioessentialism.


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SuperBidi wrote:
nothinglord wrote:
Dwarves being slow and elves being fast is something that is an inherent difference between them, and unlike their ability scores is still completely impossible to overcome.

But luckily, move speed isn't linked to psychology and there's no class that is geared toward marathon. So it's no bioessentialism, it's just differences.

On the other hand, -2 in Charisma is strongly linked to psychology and has an impact on what class you should be or not be playing. Removing it is essential if you want to get rid of bioessentialism.

That's not how it works.

Bioessentialism doesn't care if its psychology or physiology, its all about the difference between species (in TTRPG) or races/gender (IRL) is based on biology and its bad because "that's [insert topic]-ist".

Heck they even changed the physical ability scores so you cannot say "its just the mental side of things".


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Temperans wrote:
SuperBidi wrote:
nothinglord wrote:
Dwarves being slow and elves being fast is something that is an inherent difference between them, and unlike their ability scores is still completely impossible to overcome.

But luckily, move speed isn't linked to psychology and there's no class that is geared toward marathon. So it's no bioessentialism, it's just differences.

On the other hand, -2 in Charisma is strongly linked to psychology and has an impact on what class you should be or not be playing. Removing it is essential if you want to get rid of bioessentialism.

That's not how it works.

Bioessentialism doesn't care if its psychology or physiology, its all about the difference between species (in TTRPG) or races/gender (IRL) is based on biology and its bad because "that's [insert topic]-ist".

Heck they even changed the physical ability scores so you cannot say "its just the mental side of things".

The first link I have (Wiktionary) tells me that bioessentialism is "The philosophy that biology plays a larger role in determining human psychology or development than social, economic, or environmental factors."

What's your definition?


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So we're good here since dwarves and elves aren't human and the first link you have (Wiktionary) tells you that bioessentialism is "The philosophy that biology plays a larger role in determining human psychology or development than social, economic, or environmental factors." ;)


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Tristan d'Ambrosius wrote:
So we're good here since dwarves and elves aren't human and the first link you have (Wiktionary) tells you that bioessentialism is "The philosophy that biology plays a larger role in determining human psychology or development than social, economic, or environmental factors." ;)

Now that they can choose 2 ability boosts, are you so sure?


Elf eyes way different, not human, ability boosts not withstanding.


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SuperBidi wrote:
The first link I have (Wiktionary) tells me that bioessentialism is "The philosophy that biology plays a larger role in determining human psychology or development than social, economic, or environmental factors."

Yeah - and that's the thing, isn't it? Like, the whole point of playing fantasy games is to muck around with and tell stories about things that don't exist in the real world. I think there are really interesting stories to tell about pulling together groups of people who really are significantly different at a fundamental level (and not just a cultural one). Those stories... don't really work in the real world. Like, if you're telling that kind of story about a bunch of humans, that makes you both incorrect and deeply racist in your incorrectness. Being able to mess around with those ideas while not saying untrue things about real humans has value, and it saddens me that Paizo is (slowly) stripping that out of their games.

Still, it is what it is. I'm well within Paizo's target demographic, but I'm certainly not dead center, and I accept that. Sometimes that's going to mean they make choices that I'd prefer they hadn't, and I accept that. It's still my current favorite game, and I don't see that changing any time real soon. In other places, and in other ways, they've pandered to my wants plenty. At the same time, the fact that I really like the game overall isn't going to stop me from acknowledging when they do things that I disagree with... and the trend towards forcing ancestries into molds where they have fewer and fewer permissible flaws, while also being more and more samey in the ways that actually matter when the dice hit the table? It's not one of the bits of the game that I like.

...and, I mean, even here... the alchemist changes are nice. The willingness to open up a bit about errata overall is great. The flickmace changes are really very welcome. There's just this one bit that I don't like. You take the bad with the good, you know?


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Pathfinder Rulebook Subscriber

I mean, having a game with characters that are fundamentally different and opening up ability scores aren't mutually exclusive.


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It does feel like "being tall with long arms makes you better at swimming" is not really bioessentiallism so much as "observable fact." This is not to say short people with short limbs cannot swim well, but we're never going to be Michael Phelps.

So having the ancestries with short stubby legs being slower overland doesn't seem that upsetting to me.

Now there might be a game balance issue that an Elf's 10' speed advantage is not equivalent to a Dwarf's 6 more HP, free clan dagger, and Darkvision upgrade to Low-Light.


Ravingdork wrote:

Before the change dwarves had darkvision and elves had speed. Both are powerful worthwhile abilities. Cavern elves can get darkvision too, but this was offset by the elves' Constitution penalty.

Now that elves can completely ignore said penalty, elves are superior to dwarves in nearly every way. Why would anyone ever play a dwarf now? <[rhetorical question]

Who would have thought that Paizo would play favorites? ;P

I still think Dwarves' ancestry feat options are probably the best in the game as a whole. Other ancestries have really good ones (Natural Ambition, for example), but Dwarves are just too damn good overall. Elven feats are way weaker with some really terrible ones, imo.

Scarab Sages

IMO the errata was actually an improvement for balance because some ancestries had flaws in important ability scores and know they don't.


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You could always get around the "you have a flaw in the wrong place" with the optional flaws system (now errataed away). Taking two extra flaws so your gnome barbarian can start with an 18 strength is somewhat more painful than just going +Free/+Free, but I did it.

The issue is that some ancestries felt like they were balanced around stat flaws/bonuses not being equivalent to each other. Like the Elf Con flaw *hurt*.


Sanityfaerie wrote:
I think there are really interesting stories to tell about pulling together groups of people who really are significantly different at a fundamental level (and not just a cultural one).

Interesting point.

I wonder if we can tell the difference between fundamental level and cultural one. Like, we can say that Demons are composed of evil and as such they behave badly or we can say that Demon's culture push them toward evil and as such they behave badly. How do you tell the difference from the outside?

So, here's my question: What's the actual difference between the fundamental level and the cultural one when you play a character?
What interesting stories you can't tell when you consider that everything is cultural and nothing is fundamental?


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SuperBidi wrote:

So, here's my question: What's the actual difference between the fundamental level and the cultural one when you play a character?

What interesting stories you can't tell when you consider that everything is cultural and nothing is fundamental?

The first difference is that we actually know what kind of differences you can see between two people of different cultures. It's pretty much observable fact in humanity. You can conceive of cultures that have never existed, certainly, but you can also extrapolate pretty readily on how far they might go... and there are limits on how far that is. We've got a lot of examples to work from. It all gets scoped pretty tightly... and it also starts getting freighted down pretty heavily with real-world implications. Note how in PF2, literally no one has an int penalty. Suggesting that people might wind up stupider because they come from the stupid people culture is Really Not Okay... which means that we can't actually explore what a stupid people culture would even look like. We can't explore what it would mean to actually be born to serve, or the moral implications (both for themselves and others) of having a group that was born to serve, and could be easily visually identified as such - either the sadly inevitable abuses or the efforts to compensate for and avoid them or the attempts to work out morally acceptable social structures to account for it or any of it.

The second difference is that cultures are a lot more malleable and flexible. A person's culture can change. It's not easy, but it's possible to cast aside whatever it was that your parents raised you with and take on a new culture and pretty much make it stick. A classic example here is tendencies towards evil. If your people are generally evil because they are culturally evil, then you can overcome that. You can choose to reject that, and reforge yourself and no longer be that way. You can go back home and possibly reform chunks of the culture you come from so that they are also not evil, if you have enough influence. If you are fundamentally evil to some degree, then you're in a much harder position. You can reject it, and reform yourself, but at some level, there will be some part of you that is continually trying to draw you back, no matter what you do. It will be a constant struggle, and if you somehow do reform some of your people, it will be a constant struggle for them as well. If you have children (if you are capable of having children) then they, too, will be drawn towards evil, no matter how you raise them. If you wish to have children, and want them to not be evil, you will have to give them tools to fight that, and know that you might fail. You might also make compromises with the demon within. Some part of you calls out to be "evil", but what does that mean? You don't want to be evil, but are the evil that your blood calls for and the evil that you personally reject exactly the same? Perhaps instead of fighting a forever war against that part of your nature, you can shape it into a somewhat less objectionable form - one that still might leave you "evil", but that would let you get along with the people you want to get along with, and avoid the aspects you wish to avoid. Those kinds of stories are very different and the results much less sympathetic when the thing that you're fighting against is something like "I just really like hurting people and was raised with strange ideas" rather than "I am literally the spawn of devils".

Then, too, there's the bit where culture is shaped by biology (or by stranger equivalents). If your dwarves have a charisma penalty and a wisdom bonus - if everyone in that group is less persuasive but more insightful - that's going to have a bunch of knock-on effects. Getting away with lying becomes much harder and everyone knows it and eventually you get to the point where almost none of them uses "lie about stuff" as a primary strategy, because in their formative years it simply doesn't work. You get a lot of blunt straightforwardness - far more than you'd have just from a culture that encouraged such... and you'll get that everywhere you go. You can go around the world and find an entirely different group of dwarves that hasn't been in contact for thousands of years, and you'll still find blunt straightforwardness, because it arises naturally from something that's true of them as ta structural level. They may not share a language, or know anything about one another, but neither group is going to be inclined to lie, because it doesn't work. You can see another group of dwarves, and even if you know nothing else about them, you can guess that much, and be highly likely to be correct.

I mean, that's not all of it, to be sure, but is that at least giving some idea of what I'm talking about?


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Pathfinder Pawns, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber
Sanityfaerie wrote:
Note how in PF2, literally no one has an int penalty. Suggesting that people might wind up stupider because they come from the stupid people culture is Really Not Okay... which means that we can't actually explore what a stupid people culture would even look like. We can't explore what it would mean to actually be born to serve, or the moral implications (both for themselves and others) of having a group that was born to serve, and could be easily visually identified as such - either the sadly inevitable abuses or the efforts to compensate for and avoid them or the attempts to work out morally acceptable social structures to account for it or any of it.

Double plus good!

If we're not permitted to even discuss immorality or evil, then it is only a matter of time before it ceases to exist within the perception of society.


Sanityfaerie wrote:
SuperBidi wrote:

So, here's my question: What's the actual difference between the fundamental level and the cultural one when you play a character?

What interesting stories you can't tell when you consider that everything is cultural and nothing is fundamental?
{. . .} If you are fundamentally evil to some degree, then you're in a much harder position. You can reject it, and reform yourself, but at some level, there will be some part of you that is continually trying to draw you back, no matter what you do. It will be a constant struggle {. . .}

Yeah, that's a pretty accurate description of me.

Canonically, Fiends in the Pathfinder Campaign Setting do have inherent evil in them, but also canonically, at least a handful of examples exist of Fiends that nevertheless managed to reform.

Horizon Hunters

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Sanityfaerie wrote:
Note how in PF2, literally no one has an int penalty. Suggesting that people might wind up stupider because they come from the stupid people culture is Really Not Okay...

"Can you imagine that people sometimes call me empty-headed?" Then Jackpot opens his head. "See, it's not empty. I have a Wayfinder in there!"


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Pathfinder Rulebook Subscriber
Sanityfaerie wrote:
Note how in PF2, literally no one has an int penalty.

Skeletons, Leshies, and Lizardfolk do, though.

Ravingdork wrote:

Double plus good!

If we're not permitted to even discuss immorality or evil, then it is only a matter of time before it ceases to exist within the perception of society.

I don't see how you get from someone (incorrectly) claiming there are no int penalties in PF2 to some perceived moral decay in the world.

Someone being able to make a charismatic dwarf or a smart leshy in a weird niche tabletop game is not going to destroy the foundations of society.


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Squiggit wrote:
Skeletons, Leshies, and Lizardfolk do, though.

Huh. Well, I was incorrect on that sub-point, then. Thank you for the correction. I could have sworn I remembered reading a quote from one of the Paizo people saying that they had specifically avoided int penalties (and a number of other similar things) for... basically those reasons. I suppose it's possible that they were talking specifically about the core rulebook, and I misremembered. Lizardfolk and Leshy were both Character Guide, and Skeleton came out of Book of the Dead.

In any case, as I've said before, I'm not displeased with Paizo overall. I don't like this particular direction-push, for general reasons I've tried to explain/describe, but I'm still happy with the overall results. You're not going to convince me that the overall direction-push isn't there, though. I've seen too many people openly advocating for it pretty much directly. There's a bunch of folks out there who straight-up (and, again, openly) don't want it to be possible to tell certain kinds of stories, and who don't want certain idea-spaces to be explored. I don't agree with them... but they have opinions too, and money that they spend based on them, just like I do. Which side of that particular disagreement Paizo chooses to indulge and how much is Paizo's decision to make, rather than mine.

But, you know, I got kineticist coming. You don't need to worry about me... and the whole ORC thing buys a pretty hefty chunk of credit in my book too.


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Pathfinder Pawns, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber

Since everyone can take 2 boost no flaws as an option regardless of ancestry then, in effect, lower intelligence ancestries do not exist.

UnArcaneElection wrote:

...canonically, at least a handful of examples exist of Fiends that nevertheless managed to reform.

Yes, but in almost every case magic was involved.

It remains to be seen whether this would be possible without magical intervention.

Squiggit wrote:
Ravingdork wrote:

Double plus good!

If we're not permitted to even discuss immorality or evil, then it is only a matter of time before it ceases to exist within the perception of society.

I don't see how you get from someone (incorrectly) claiming there are no int penalties in PF2 to some perceived moral decay in the world.

Decay almost always begins in several tiny isolated pockets, before quickly growing to consume the whole of the thing.

In the literay masterpiece, 1984, people were brainwashed over generations by the removal of anything that offended those in power. Even vocabulary was wiped out so as to limit one's ability to think and express, much less to revolt.

This resulted in ridiculous phrases, such as "double plus good!" because many people couldn't express anything negative.

Of course, there was still plenty of evil, negativity, and misery in the world--much more in fact--but nobody could do anything about it. Most could not even perceive or conceive of it.

When Paizo (or anyone else) censors content because something mildly offends them (or might offend some nebulous "other"), my brain often likens it to Big Brother attempting to manipulate society by wiping away any knowledge or memory of the thing. The end result being that the reality of the thing will continue to exist (as one's ability to change facts is very limited), though people will refuse to believe it.

Not sure if that helps explain my thought process. Needless to say, dwarves should be slow, elves fast, gnomes silly, goblins springy, fiends evil, etc.

In short, I think making sweeping changes to the game based on such Ddubious reasoning as biological determinism--which in no way applies to non-human fantasy creatures anyways--is a bad move done for no other reason than to push their own sensibilities upon others who did not ask for it.

Dark Archive

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Isn't that basically slippery slope fallacy argument though? I think TRPG company being compared to dystopic government from literature classic kinda makes it example of the slippery slope fallacy fallacy more than the argument though because that isn't exactly good evidence that this is first step towards that result

(sidenote, googled because something about this was familiar to me and learned its minor twitter meme to compare minor inconveniences and the novel)


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To some, any change will look sudden, alarming, and daresay even Orwellian. Anything can seem done for no reason if you don't like the reasons everyone else wanted it for. Of course, these sweeping changes which alter several ancestries' statlines a few points to permit more flexibility in class selection has been forced on us as a bonus option added to the existing mechanics. I think the game will survive the sensibility of "more options for more people".


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CorvusMask wrote:
Isn't that basically slippery slope fallacy argument though?

So... I do think that @Ravingdork is taking this a bit far. We're not seeing massive government oppression or anything like that... and I don't expect that we ever will.

At the same time, we absolutely are seeing people out there saying "Some ideas should not be explored. Some concepts should not be examined. Some questions should not be asked." I assert that it's not unreasonable to look at arguments like that and get twitchy about them. I get twitchy about them sometimes.

...I'm going to try to have this be the last thing I say on the topic for right now. We'll see if I succeed.

Dark Archive

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I don't put much stock in gut feelings myself, emotional reactions without rationality tend to be quite extreme <_< It is possible complain about a thing without making big deal out of it


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Pathfinder Rulebook Subscriber
Ravingdork wrote:
When Paizo (or anyone else) censors content because something mildly offends them (or might offend some nebulous "other"), my brain often likens it to Big Brother attempting to manipulate society by wiping away any knowledge or memory of the thing. The end result being that the reality of the thing will continue to exist (as one's ability to change facts is very limited), though people will refuse to believe it.

We're not talking about content being censored or removed or people being silenced though. We're not talking about governments using their instruments of power to silence dissent, or the role major corporations have in controlling speech in our age of massive private communications platforms.

We're talking about how a piece of errata let me rebuild my Poppet Swashbuckler to be slightly more accurate (at the cost of a little bit of charisma). That's it. That's the whole change.


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Pathfinder Pawns, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber
Sanityfaerie wrote:
...we absolutely are seeing people out there saying "Some ideas should not be explored. Some concepts should not be examined. Some questions should not be asked." I assert that it's not unreasonable to look at arguments like that and get twitchy about them. I get twitchy about them sometimes.

Oh so twitchy.

To be clear, I believe that Paizo generally holds everyone's best interest at heart. Their reaction to the recent OGL scandal shows that plainly.

That being said, some of Paizo's recent decisions these last couple of years strike me as positively alien in that I just don't understand the logic in them. What's more, many of those decisions strongly hint at the mindset described by Sanityfaerie above. I'd go into more detail about the specifics, but I'm quite certain nobody here wants me to dredge up all that crap again, so I'll just end it here for now so as to better allow this thread to get back on topic.


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CorvusMask wrote:
Isn't that basically slippery slope fallacy argument though? I think TRPG company being compared to dystopic government from literature classic kinda makes it example of the slippery slope fallacy fallacy more than the argument though because that isn't exactly good evidence that this is first step towards that result

Just because you can put a name to style of argument. Doesn't make it any more or less valid.

Slippery slope is a real world trend. Sometimes it is valid. Sometimes it is not. Everyone has a different view as to what too far is.

Yes in most cases we should make a judgement about where the best point to sit on any policy is. But that is hard as many people think we have already gone too far.

If public policy discorse was rational in modern democracies I could have a little bit of faith in the system. But it is not and all sorts of poor policies get implemented simply because they sound good and not because they deliver.

Dark Archive

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Gortle wrote:
CorvusMask wrote:
Isn't that basically slippery slope fallacy argument though? I think TRPG company being compared to dystopic government from literature classic kinda makes it example of the slippery slope fallacy fallacy more than the argument though because that isn't exactly good evidence that this is first step towards that result
Just because you can put a name to style of argument. Doesn't make it any more or less valid.

It doesn't, hence why I noted that use of it here comes more across as the fallacy rather than argument. That argument's strength(and avoiding it being fallacy) is solely up to how reasonable the comparison is and what Paizo decides to do with their products doesn't really affect general trend or decision making.

Plus its just silly to compare rpg stats to dystopian government that dictates how you are allowed to think. Because again, paizo doesn't dictate what you think, otherwise we wouldn't be capable of having this conversation.


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The comparison was about the logic behind the change and not the change itself. If you said "everyone wants more options, so we created a new variant that lets you do that, this variant doesn't stack with the flaw for benefit variant" no one would have complained. But that is not what they did.


Temperans wrote:
The comparison was about the logic behind the change and not the change itself. If you said "everyone wants more options, so we created a new variant that lets you do that, this variant doesn't stack with the flaw for benefit variant" no one would have complained. But that is not what they did.

I mean Ravingdork is complaining about changes to a mechanic that is so weirdly convoluted that it doesn't make much sense when you think about it.

You too can open up a dead persons chest reviving them with an 8 intelligence so **waves hands** obviously doesn't really work at all.


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MadScientistWorking wrote:
I mean Ravingdork is complaining about changes to a mechanic that is so weirdly convoluted that it doesn't make much sense when you think about it.

What doesn't make sense; the complaint or the changes?


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Sanityfaerie wrote:
which means that we can't actually explore what a stupid people culture would even look like.

Why? You can just create a culture that doesn't value intelligence and as such people born in that culture tend to be stupid with the result of the culture being one of stupid people after some time.

Sanityfaerie wrote:
having a group that was born to serve

Same here. You can play a halfling from Cheliax and you are born to serve. It's something Paizo doesn't want to speak about too much but it exists in universe.

If now you speak of being born to serve by nature, unless you speak of a mindless being, I have hard time figuring out what would be the genetic of servitude (and it feels creepy and maybe that's a subject the game should avoid).

Sanityfaerie wrote:
The second difference is that cultures are a lot more malleable and flexible. A person's culture can change. It's not easy, but it's possible to cast aside whatever it was that your parents raised you with and take on a new culture and pretty much make it stick. A classic example here is tendencies towards evil. If your people are generally evil because they are culturally evil, then you can overcome that. You can choose to reject that, and reforge yourself and no longer be that way. You can go back home and possibly reform chunks of the culture you come from so that they are also not evil, if you have enough influence. If you are fundamentally evil to some degree, then you're in a much harder position. You can reject it, and reform yourself, but at some level, there will be some part of you that is continually trying to draw you back, no matter what you do. It will be a constant struggle, and if you somehow do reform some of your people, it will be a constant struggle for them as well. If you have children (if you are capable of having children) then they, too, will be drawn towards evil, no matter how you raise them. If you wish to have children, and want them to not be evil, you will have to give them tools to fight that, and know that you might fail. You might also make compromises with the demon within. Some part of you calls out to be "evil", but what does that mean? You don't want to be evil, but are the evil that your blood calls for and the evil that you personally reject exactly the same? Perhaps instead of fighting a forever war against that part of your nature, you can shape it into a somewhat less objectionable form - one that still might leave you "evil", but that would let you get along with the people you want to get along with, and avoid the aspects you wish to avoid. Those kinds of stories are very different and the results much less sympathetic when the thing that you're fighting against is something like "I just really like hurting people and was raised with strange ideas" rather than "I am literally the spawn of devils".

I think we have a vastly different vision of being "fundamentally evil". If you are fundamentally evil, you can't be redeemed, your children will be evil no matter what and you don't even try to become good as it would be both doomed to fail and preposterous to you as you can't conceive good. That's why you can kill Demons and Devils on sight, because there's no way such a story can exist.

What you are describing is a story of cultural evil. Like, you are an orc from Belkzen, raised in a society valuing strength and violence. But as you now open yourself to the world you realize how bad your manners are. So you start by the obvious: stop shouting at people and bashing them when you disagree with them. But it's hard, especially because in times of frustration, anger or fear your old manners get back to the surface, like when you face this clerk who doesn't want to sign your papers for the 4th time because there's still something wrong and you just want to grab him by the collar and explain him how you think but you... must... not.
It can be also seen as a story of dual personality: Like a Summoner bound to an evil Eidolon and the Eidolon tries to push evil thoughts into the Summoner mind and the Summoner must resist. Or someone possessed by evil spirits who tries to keep its life straight.

Sanityfaerie wrote:
You can go around the world and find an entirely different group of dwarves that hasn't been in contact for thousands of years, and you'll still find blunt straightforwardness, because it arises naturally from something that's true of them as ta structural level. They may not share a language, or know anything about one another, but neither group is going to be inclined to lie, because it doesn't work. You can see another group of dwarves, and even if you know nothing else about them, you can guess that much, and be highly likely to be correct.

Dwarves are all connected to the same original culture, if I'm not making a mistake. So you can just choose that this culture was one of bluntness and lack of lies and all the dwarves in the world will share this common background. Unlike biology, there are more chances for an isolated group of dwarf to build a completely new culture, but still chances are high that they will be blunt and honest.

As a side note, the story of dwarves building an entire new culture is one you can't tell with bioessentialism as all dwarven cultures will ultimately end up blunt and honest.

I personally feel there's no story you can tell with bioessentialism that you can't tell without it. Bioessentialism basically limits the stories and simplifies them. Instead of finding a justification for an orc to be evil, it is evil by nature. Instead of understanding why dwarves are blunt, they are blunt by nature. And stories of dwarves not being blunt need the intervention of magic or some suspension of disbelief.


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SuperBidi wrote:
If now you speak of being born to serve by nature, unless you speak of a mindless being, I have hard time figuring out what would be the genetic of servitude (and it feels creepy and maybe that's a subject the game should avoid).

If you had a literal servitor race (construct or otherwise), created by some ancient archmage to desire to serve a master, it could easily be the sort of thing that got passed down.

...and it's the entire thing of "that subject is creepy, and we should avoid it" that I (and at least a few others) find twitchy. Like, obviously there are good and (very) bad approaches/takes on various ideas, and we want to avoid the latter. There are individual players who are going to be made uncomfortable by various subjects for various reasons, and we don't want to force things on them that they don't want... but saying that we should just avoid certain subjects altogether?

Sanityfaerie wrote:
What you are describing is a story of cultural evil.

It's really not - because you can retrain yourself out of a culture, and others can reject their culture, and if it's a culture, there are ways to *not* pass it on to your kids. A culture is something that is inside of your and shapes you, but it's not fundamental and inherent. Its more like the Summoner of the person possessed by evil spirits, but those are one-offs.

What I'm describing is someone who is fundamentally evil, but not absolutely so.

Quote:
I personally feel there's no story you can tell with bioessentialism that you can't tell without it. Bioessentialism basically limits the stories and simplifies them. Instead of finding a justification for an orc to be evil, it is evil by nature. Instead of understanding why dwarves are blunt, they are blunt by nature. And stories of dwarves not being blunt need the intervention of magic or some suspension of disbelief.

I personally feel that you can tell all the stories there ever were about non-bioessentialism just by using humans. Telling those stories is easy. Beyond that, you're making the assertion that there aren't any meaningful bio-driven differences between people who are entirely different species, some of whom lack biology. You're looking at a person who's actually a nature spirit inhabiting a plant, and a person who's actually a direct descendant of the fae, and a person who's a stuffed animal, brought to life by the heartfelt wishes of a child, and you're saying that the only difference in their mentality is in how they were raised.

Well... and Paizo seems to, largely, agree with you, and it's their world. It's not even all that hard to put together some sort of "nature of souls" handwaving that can explain a decent chunk of it, and then ignore the rest. (How do you get the same drive for individual status in a people that weren't evolved with status-dependent competitive mate selection for reproduction? Nevermind. Moving on.) I personally think that something is being lost here, but it's not my call. It is what it is.


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Sanityfaerie wrote:
If you had a literal servitor race (construct or otherwise), created by some ancient archmage to desire to serve a master, it could easily be the sort of thing that got passed down.

Culture gets passed down as much as nature. I still don't see why you want to say it's fundamental instead of just stating it's cultural. From your words it looks like culture is something you can get rid of in a minute. It's very far from it.

Sanityfaerie wrote:
It's really not - because you can retrain yourself out of a culture, and others can reject their culture, and if it's a culture, there are ways to *not* pass it on to your kids. A culture is something that is inside of your and shapes you, but it's not fundamental and inherent. Its more like the Summoner of the person possessed by evil spirits, but those are one-offs.

It's what you described. I maintain that this story is one of culture, not nature.

Sanityfaerie wrote:
What I'm describing is someone who is fundamentally evil, but not absolutely so.

So they are evil and will go back to evil deeds at some point because they can't retrain out of evil. Their children will be evil no matter what. But they will still try to act as if good. It looks like a sisyphean quest. Also, it's very easy to solve it: Magic. It's actually the only way to fix it. And I still consider that it's a worse story than the one where they have to fight themselves.

Sanityfaerie wrote:
Beyond that, you're making the assertion that there aren't any meaningful bio-driven differences between people who are entirely different species, some of whom lack biology. You're looking at a person who's actually a nature spirit inhabiting a plant, and a person who's actually a direct descendant of the fae, and a person who's a stuffed animal, brought to life by the heartfelt wishes of a child, and you're saying that the only difference in their mentality is in how they were raised.

Well, their experience is obviously very different from the normal human and as such their mentality will be. Is there a need to go beyond that? To say that the descendant of the fae is like that because biology instead of experience? I don't think the stories will be better, I even think they will be worse as biology can't be offset and as such reduce choice.

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