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Page 144 Starfinder core rulebook. Also available at the online SRD:

You can use Perception to notice things happening around you. This is the most basic task of the Perception skill. It can be used for a variety of reasons determined by the GM. You might attempt a Perception check to see if you can act in a surprise round, to spot something important out of the corner of your eye, or to realize there are hidden creatures nearby (though you can’t notice a creature that is invisible unless it makes itself known; see page 264).

Page 148 Starfinder core rulebook. Also available at the online SRD:

(Invisible creatures can still be heard, smelled, and felt, and might do something to make themselves known to those who succeed at Perception checks; see Invisible on page 264 in Chapter 8.)

The other person is reading these two texts as meaning: "invisibility is so powerful that you cannot use normal human senses to even notice them unless they are doing one of these things, and if the NPC is not doing any of these things, then you cannot make a Perception check to notice them, and it is DM discretion whether they are doing one of those things", aka it's DM discretion whether I can even roll Perception or not.

With my background knowledge and opinions about how stealth was supposed to work in 3.5 and Pathfinder 1e, I instead interpret these two texts completely differently. I read them as meaning: "Invisible creatures might be invisible, but they're not undetectable by normal human senses. You can totally roll Perception to notice and pinpoint them. What does it mean to notice or pinpoint an invisible creature with normal human senses? If you beat their Stealth check (with the +20 or +40 bonus) to notice or pinpoint them, how did your character do it? Maybe you noticed a cough, or the sound of their breathing, or their smell, or some shapes in the dust on the floor, etc."

I am unable to find any clear text in the core rulebook, online SRD, and online FAQ and errata, that supports my reading.

Perception and stealth have been pet peeves of mine for more than a decade, and I think it's quite clear how it's supposed to work, but I've encountered too many DMs and players that have no idea what's going on.

Thanks for your time and any help you can provide. A quote from a Paizo Starfinder designer would be great. Even an example from an official adventure path would be useful. Equivalently, anyone got a source for using normal human senses to notice or pinpoint the square of an immobile creature in full darkness light level?

Thanks for the feedback.

I wonder if it's possible to simplify it drastically as you suggest. Maybe I could just have them be re-skins. Your particular idea to make each summon have a fixed level, and a replacement progression scheme, that seems interesting too.

I was also particularly moved at your point about how vulnerable the class is to a simple dispel magic spell - I'm thinking that I should add a defense against that, such as an ad hoc "your summoning gains +X against dispel magic checks".

> In the end, you're going to have the summoner class, which is already pretty close in flavor while being playable.

I guess I'll express some disagreement that it's quote unquote 'close enough' in favor, but again thanks for the feedback.

Also, I have spreadsheets for all of this, and if I ever tried to play this, gods willing and gods have forgiveness on my DM, I don't think it would be that much work for me. Leveling up the summons is quick enough IMHO for me.

I was thinking about the presentation that D&D 3.5 Monster Manual used for true dragons. They used tables for all of the stats: ability scores, size, AC, attack, damage, etc. I could take a similar approach. That could be a much cleaner presentation that could address some of your concerns.

It seems that the forum software inserted spaces in the link. Trying with code tags or something.

Final Fantasy Summoner homebrew google doc folder

I'm making another homebrew of a Final Fantasy summoner. This is a standard "please rate, review, comment, and please use for your own purposes as you will" post.

It's inspired primarily by FF11 and FF14, but I'm trying to take inspiration most of the games. My design goals are:
* Make it feel like a normal Pathfinder / 3.5 class.
* Have it summon monsters ala the typical D&D summon monster spell, including Ifrit, Leviathan, Ramuh, etc. The summons stay out and fight as normal monsters, doing natural attacks or spellcasting from a limited spell list. The summoner class itself gets no further abilities.
* Each FF summon has a fixed stat progression that improves with summoner class level, similar to the eidolon of PF summoner, except that the FF summons cannot stay out all day.
* Each FF summon should feel at home and not out-of-place in a D&D Monster Manual / Bestiary.
* Include all of the iconic FF summons, but use some discretion in order to get my other design goals.

I'm pretty far along. I'm close to something that is play-testable. I'm just missing feat selections for most of them (I want to pick feats that are typical of monsters out of the PF Bestiary and D&D 3.5 Monster Manuals), and some of the spell selections of the individual FF summons could be improved.

I might still add a few more FF summons, but I have stat'ed up most that I personally care about. Some of the FF summons that I have stat'ed up, I'm sure that they could be done much better with a completely different direction.

Also, the power of the summons themselves might need to be toned-up or toned-down. I'm got them all in the right ballpark, but the last few steps take the longest amount of time, and would probably take substantial play-testing.

There is a huge amount of material that I've written. Basically, a new monster manual entry for over a dozen FF summons. I would copy-paste here, but that would be impractical.

Here is the root google drive folder that contains it all. Everyone should have permissions to add comments to all documents. A

This is a work in progress. I will do changes whenever I feel like. If you see anything that you want to use, you probably should make a copy.

@ Draco18s
I again say that moving to different terrain can limit how many enemies can attack you. You could move by allies to help get enemies off you. You and your allies could work together to put your allies in between the caster and the enemies with movement (using various combat maneuvers). You could move to the other side of a doorway and close a door. You can jump up, jump down, slippery terrain, rough terrain, etc.

In short, I don't conflate "tactical movement" with "casters should be able to trivially avoid all attacks of opportunity". I think you're being quite unreasonable.

@ Draco18s
In my proposed rules, a caster could also 5 ft step backwards. It's not limited to 5 ft stepping to only adjacent spaces.

I'm also still allowing moving back with an attack of opportunity and with a acrobatics (tumble) check to negate.

@ Gilarius
About Archers:
That idea could work.

About Casters:
Going in the right direction, but you still need like a 3 feat tax to even start to make that work. You need:
* step up to handle 5 ft steps
* combat reflexes -> stand still to handle taking a movement backwards.

I want to make that the default for guys with swords, not something you have to specialize in, regardless of what 1e and 2e had.

However, it's also my understanding that in 1e or 2e, casting time was comparable to 3.5 "1 round" or longer cast times, which means guys with swords always had at least one turn to get close to poke the caster to interrupt the spell. (AFAIK, any damage automatically interrupted casting too.)

In 3.x, suddenly nearly all of the spells became standard-action to cast, which means that guys with swords cannot interrupt casters merely by moving up on their turn and poking. IMHO, as far as I can tell, the designers of 3.x added attacks of opportunity for casting in order to give back what was taken from guys with swords when cast times were changed to standard actions.

However, the designers of 3.x also added like three solid ways to avoid the attack of opportunity: #1- 5 ft steps, #2- cast defensively, and #3- take a move action, eat the attack, and cast in safety. To get back to the feel of my understanding of 1e and 2e where casters are severely screwed when a guy with a sword gets adjacent, I need to deal with all 3 of those escapes. And as I said earlier, this shouldn't be a feat tax. This should be something all guys with swords get just for being proficient with a sword.


PS: Yes, this is a huge change of balance. That's what I'm going for. It seems some of the posters in the thread simply don't like the idea I'm going for. I understand that some people feel that casters should generally be able to cast spells on their turn and use their character's abilities. That is specifically what I am proposing to change.

I want a caster to have to be super defensive and paranoid in order to be able to flail his arms about and chant to cast his awesome spells of awesome. If the caster screws up, then he should be locked down and prevented from using his class abilities. That's the trade-off for getting magic.

It might also promote some actual teamwork with his friends with swords to provide cover against the enemy guys with swords, almost like linebackers.

@ Draco18s
We mean different things by "tactical movement". I don't mean "you can avoid attacks of opportunity trivially". I mean "you are free to move around terrain, which can set up interesting possibilities".

A caster is still free to move about. A melee can follow. Depending on terrain, that movement can still be quite beneficial. That's what I meant by tactical movement. For example, it might be possible to get to the other side of a door then close it.

Alternatives include stuff like banning 5 ft steps outright, or giving everyone the stand still feat for free. That accomplishes almost the same thing. However, banning 5 ft steps and giving the stand still feat does stop all tactical movement. That's what I meant when I said I want to preserve tactical movement.

Think of any cliche movie fight scene of two guys with swords going at each other. They frequently dance around the environment. That's the cliche I want to go for. Each round of tactical movement offers new possibilities as they get to new terrain.

@ Kelazan
Yes. In Pathfinder acrobatics (tumble) DCs are hard. They are based on the enemy's CMD. I like that very much. I assumed that when creating the above house rules.

PS: I haven't played with these at all. I'm just looking for some feedback. If I know my group, they probably won't see play either. We'll see...

I agree that more combats per day can help this out. I've been working on that for a while.

Still, I agree that becomes hard to do when teleportation comes online, which is also around when "quadratic casters" start pulling ahead of "linear warriors". My changes are meant to address that, and are not targeted against low level play.

PS: As for scry-and-die, aka "scry opponent, then teleport to opponent", I play with the following rule (potentially house rule): A mere scry is insufficient to allow a teleport unless you otherwise recognize where the place is. A teleport spell requires that you have a mental picture of the place and of its location.

Note that I've found a Pathfinder dev post strongly suggesting this, and if you read the text in the full 3.5 PHB (not the online SRD), it gives an example in the teleport spell that knowing what the chief's tent looks like on the inside and outside is insufficient to teleport if you do not also know where the tent is.

Of course, I recognize that the scrying spell in 3.5 has description which can be read otherwise, and the Pathfinder scrying spell has a changed word (which IMHO was the result of an accidental editor change for clarity) which clearly reads to the contrary.

Maybe I'm going too far with some of it. However, with just the step up feat as a bonus feat for everyone, that still leaves two big loopholes:
- Simply take a move action backwards, eat the attack of opportunity (with an acrobatics (tumble) check) to avoid), and then cast in safety. Decent odds to avoid damage altogether. Guaranteed to work if you can soak the damage - modulo stuff like trip and the stand still feat (more feat taxes).
- Casting defensively. Not guaranteed, but pretty good odds.

Already that's about 3 more feats for the feat tax for a guy with a sword to be a credible threat to a caster, let alone a guaranteed attack of opportunity. Even then, acrobatics (tumble) and high AC / CMD can save the caster. (Even with my proposed changes, high AC / CMD can save the caster, but I make it a bit more vicious.)

PS: My aim at the table is generally to allow most things by default. My aim is not to be a controlling GM and to allow whatever fun stuff a player can find, and if I'm in the mood even invent (which is rarely invoked).

I want to make the rules match the cliche in my head where casters and archers cannot trivially operate next to guys with swords.
* A caster or archer next to a guy with a sword should not find it trivial to back up and cast or shoot unmolested. The guy with the sword should be able to advance on the caster or archer in order to interrupt the casting or shooting.
* Furthermore, I want it to be hard(er) for a caster or archer to operate when a guy with a sword right there and swinging.
* I want it to be harder to escape from a melee fight than it is to follow, unless you drop your guard entirely, turn around, and flee.
* Tactical movement, including and especially 5 ft steps, should be encouraged.
* I want to do all of this while maintaining simple interoperability with existing 3.5 and Pathfinder material.

As far as I know, this was true in spirit and perhaps in practice in 1e and 2e.

It seems the designers of 3.x also intended this to some degree given the rules for casting provoking attacks of opportunity. However, merely taking movement backwards and eating an attack of opportunity (with an easy tumble check to negate in 3.5), and especially 5 ft stepping back, make me question either the competency of the designers of 3.x or whether they intended attacks of opportunity to be a serious impediment to casters.

I've seen a lot of ideas on how to do it, but I haven't seen several of these ideas put together in one place. I hope for good comments (but I have appropriately low expectations). I hope that this might be useful for stimulating conversation as well for others for their own games, and also for building upon this for even better rules.

Here are my proposed changes:

Withdrawing From Melee
When taking movement, if any of the movement involves leaving a square threatened by an enemy in a direction away from that enemy, then you must choose between a retreat and a fighting withdrawal. You do not have to make this choice when approaching an enemy or when your distance to the enemy does not increase.
Retreat: Retreating leaves you less able to defend yourself. If you retreat and leave a square which is threatened by an enemy in a direction away from that enemy, then you lose your Dexterity bonus to AC against attacks made by that enemy until the start of your next turn, and you provoke an attack of opportunity as normal (you lose your Dexterity bonus to AC against the attack of opportunity too). Successful acrobatics (tumble) checks can negate attacks of opportunity while retreating but do not prevent losing your Dexterity bonus to AC against such enemies.
(TBD: Maybe very high acrobatics (tumble) checks allow you to keep your Dexterity bonus to AC while retreating.)
(TBD: Creatures with all around vision probably should keep their Dexterity bonus to AC while retreating.)
Fighting Withdrawal: A fighting withdrawal allows you to defend yourself, but limits you to half of your available movement. This movement penalty applies to the entire action (such as the entire move action), and is not applied on a per-square basis. A fighting withdrawal provokes attacks of opportunity as normal, but you do not lose your Dexterity bonus to AC like you do when retreating. Successful acrobatics (tumble) checks can negate attacks of opportunity while doing a fighting withdrawal.
5 ft steps are always treated as a fighting withdrawal. You do not suffer the movement penalty of a fighting withdrawal on 5 ft steps.
Sticky Melee
Creatures who have a base attack bonus of +1 or higher are allowed a new action in combat: Melee Follow. Whenever a threatened foe attempts to take movement away from you, you may also take movement so long as you follow the path of the fleeing creature who triggered this ability. You may not move further than the amount of movement of one of your move actions (taking into account difficult terrain et. al.). If other creatures are nearby, you may have to decide between a retreat and a fighting withdrawal.

If you use this ability to move 5 feet and it satisfies the difficult terrain rules et. al. of a 5-foot step, then your movement is treated as a 5-foot step, and it does not provoke attacks of opportunity.

If you use this ability to move, then you must pay for that movement in your next turn. You can pay for a 5-foot step by sacrificing a 5-foot step on your next turn (and taking no other movement on your next turn). You can pay for movement by taking a move action for movement (or any other ability which grants movement) and sacrificing the required amount of movement.

All creatures with a base attack bonus of +1 or higher are treated as having the step up feat.
Casters Screwed In Melee
Everyone is assumed to always be casting defensively. Casting defensively provokes attacks of opportunities. You do not need to make a concentration check to cast defensively or lose your spell. You are denied your dex bonus to AC when casting. The combat casting feat allows you to keep your dex bonus to AC when casting defensively. The disruptive feat adds a +4 bonus to attack rolls on casting creatures.
Archers Screwed In Melee
A successful attack of opportunity, when provoked by a ranged attack, interrupts the ranged attack, cancels it, and wastes the action of the ranged attack to no effect. (A successful attack of opportunity only cancels a single ranged attack of a full round attack action. Of course, a second successful attack of opportunity might cancel a second ranged attack of the full attack action, and so on.)
Closing Loopholes
I’m going to have to nerf the few cheap magic items that allow cheap teleportation. I believe the number of such items is small. I would either increase the use-time to a standard action, or make the teleportation end your turn like a dimension door spell. I would also need to nerf the swift invisibility spell.

Pupsocket wrote:
This is exactly why the "ambient light" interpretation is terrible.

I'm with you. The darkness spell rules as-is are unworkable and unusable, and overpowered. We're back to 3.0 darkness with these rules. There's a reason 3.5 rightly nerfed 3.0 darkness.

IMO, the only sane way to run it is my own house rules: Consider all light effects while ignoring darkness effects to determine the light level of every square. Then determine square by square which darkness effects apply, keeping in mind that a darkness spell is suppressed in the primary area of a higher spell level light spell. Then apply the best darkness spell square by square (darkness spells do not stack). Specifically, light spells are not suppressed in the area of effect of a higher spell level darkness effect. This is also IMHO the RAI (rules as intended) of 3.5.

Are there any other sources of ambient light besides sun, moon, and stars?

1 person marked this as FAQ candidate.

John Doomdriven casts raise thread.

Anyway, this is how I've decided to handle it.

First, calculate the light level for every square while ignoring any magical darkness effects.

Then, apply the best darkness effect square by square. (Magical darkness effects do not stack. Take the best one only.) Examples: A darkness spell lowers the light level by one step, and a deeper darkness spell lowers the light level by two steps. However, a magical darkness effect does not lower the light level of a square which is in the primary area of effect of a higher spell level magical light effect.

Then, ignore anything which says or can be read to the contrary, such as bits saying that magical darkness effects suppresses light effects, or that light effects cannot raise the light level in an area of darkness.

I'm reasonably confident that this is RAI (rules as intended) for some degree of 3.0, 3.5, and Pathfinder. I'm also fairly confident that it's pretty well balanced and not terribly abusive for players and NPCs to use.

One last bit is to decide whether magical darkness effects blocks line of sight from one side to another, such as two creatures standing outside a magical darkness effect, one on each side. I would say yes. I'd imagine that creatures trying to look through a magical darkness effect treat everything on the far side as being at the light level in the magical darkness effect, or the light level on the far side, whichever is worse.

Your solution does nothing to solve for blade boots, armor spikes, and other manufactured weapons which are not hand-held. You can do almost the same abuse with those without unarmed strikes at all. I mentioned all of this in my first post. Do you disagree? Do you think that unarmed strikes are more abusive than armor spikes and blade boots, even though you get almost the same attacks both ways? Why and how?

1 person marked this as FAQ candidate.

I know there's been a lot of discussion on how unarmed strikes and natural weapons interact in a full round attack.

I had an epiphany last night of the house rules I'm going to be using, and I thought to post it here in the hopes that the Pathfinder devs will notice it, and hopefully incorporate it. I believe this is both balanced, and matches the intent - as much as there was a consolidated intent anyway.

For a primer, a reader should read some of this thread, and specifically some of the posts by Pathfinder developer Sean K Reynolds, AFAIK starting here: ack#254

I think Sean is on the right path, but I think he's a little off.


Let's talk about the problem first. Let's take a canonical example, a human with 2 claws and 1 bite.

You can get 2 claws and a bite with PF-core barbarian rage powers. rage-powers/animal-fury-ex rage-powers/beast-totem-lesser-su

You can get 2 claws You can get that with half-orc, ranger, and a feat.

IMHO, the most important canonical example is a simple human werewolf.

First, I think we need to agree that all of these examples, especially the human werewolf, should be able to make a full round attack and do claw claw bite, all as primary natural attacks. Whatever rule that happens, we should not through out this sacred cow.

Obviously, you cannot make an attack with a manufactured weapon in the same full round attack that you use the same arm to make a claw attack. I believe this is RAW (rules as written).

Next, let's consider some of the abuse we can do with these guys. The most straightforward way is to take improved unarmed strike, and try to claim that one could do the following in a full round attack. Assume 6 BAB (base attack bonus).
** unarmed +6, unarmed +1 (iterative), claw +1 (secondary), claw +1 (secondary), bite +1 (secondary),

It can get worse with two-weapon fighting. Throw on the two-weapon fighting feat (TWF), improved two-weapon fighting feat (ITWF), and the multiattack feat to get:
** unarmed +4, unarmed -1 (iterative), unarmed +4 (off-hand TWF), unarmed -1 (off-hand ITWF), claw +2 (secondary), claw +2 (secondary), bite +2 (secondary),

(One separate open question for me is whether two-weapon fighting penalties were meant to apply to secondary natural attacks. Separate question for a separate time.)

As far as I can tell, this is completely Pathfinder RAW. This is also what we want to stop.


I don't think focusing on unarmed strikes is the answer. You can do the same abuse without unarmed strikes at all. Use these: -boot

** armor spikes +4, armor spikes -1 (iterative), blade boot +4 (off-hand TWF), blade boot -1 (off-hand ITWF), claw +2 (secondary), claw +2 (secondary), bite +2 (secondary),

The problem is not unarmed strikes, or at least it's not just unarmed strikes.


The critical realization for my epiphany is this.

We all should already know that D&D developers back in the day, and Pathfinder developers now, are not always the best min-maxers and optimizers. I mean - they do great work, and I am not ungrateful, and it's generally quality stuff. However, sometimes they add a feature X without realizing that feature Y exists.

I believe that most developers, in 3.5 and in Pathfinder, who wrote abilities, spells, and other options which gave natural attacks to players worked under the following beliefs. I believe that most such developers had the belief that using a claw natural weapon (or slam natural weapon) would interfere with manufactured weapon attacks, and that other kinds of natural attacks would be in addition to a player's normal manufactured weapon attacks. These developers did not think about the impact that unarmed strikes, blade boots, armor spikes, and other non-hand-held manufactured weapons would have when the player had claw attacks (or slam attacks).

I suggest to nerf claw attacks and slam attacks in particular. It's an ugly fix. It's ugly in the sense that it's not thematically pleasing. It's an ugly exception to an otherwise sensible framework. However, if we want to preserve the ability to claw claw bite - but also disallow unarmed claw claw bite and similar shenanigans - then we have to treat claws (and slams) as special. That's the only option in light of all of this pre-existing material which IMHO was written already under this assumption.

I propose this addition to the rules:


Humans and most creatures are limited to using at most two manufactured weapons in a single full round attack. A human uses the two-weapon fighting rules when attacking with two manufactured weapons. As usual, a human may use his unarmed strike in place of one or both manufactured weapons. If the extra attacks from two-weapon fighting are made with unarmed strikes, they are still off-hand. (This is true even for a monk. Flurry of blows is an exception.) (Note: you may substitute your unarmed strikes for both manufactured weapons, and thus two-weapon fight with unarmed strikes only. However, unarmed strikes are treated as a single weapon for the purposes of enhancing it, such as from a magic fang spell.) [TODO there might be a rule for substituting one manufactured weapon for another without increasing the number of attacks you get. If there is such a thing, reference it here. We are not nixing that rule.]

It takes focus and attention to use natural weapons on arms. This includes most claw and slam natural weapons. This required focus and attention interferes with the creature's ability to make manufactured weapon attacks. This is true for all manufactured weapons, including even blade boots and armor spikes.

Each such natural weapon used to make an attack limits the creature to one less manufactured weapon (which also limits unarmed strikes). Examples: If a human makes one claw attack in a full round attack action, then he cannot use two-weapon fighting in that action (nor a monk's flurry of blows which is just a variant of two-weapon fighting). If a human uses two claw natural weapons to make attacks in a full round attack action, then he cannot make manufactured weapon attacks nor unarmed strike attacks at all in that action.

Certain unusual creatures can make more manufactured weapon attacks than a human, such as the Calikang. Usually such creatures have additional pairs of arms. Such creatures still only treat one manufactured weapon as its main-hand and all other weapons as off-hands. (Only the main-hand weapon gains additional attacks from high base attack bonus.) However, such creatures can make additional extra off-hand attacks with the two-weapon fighting rules, which is more properly called multiweapon fighting.

For example, the Calikang can make 5 extra off-hand attacks with the two-weapon fighting rules. The Calikang has the unwritten racial ability to use multiweapon fighting which is limited to 6. Like a human can two-weapon fight, a Calikang can six-weapon fight. Each claw or slam natural weapon used in a full round attack lowers that number by one. For example, a Calikang who makes 2 slam attacks in a full round attack may only make 3 extra off-hand attacks with manufactured weapons or unarmed strikes, and a Calikang who makes 6 slam attacks in a full round attack may not make any manufactured weapon attacks nor unarmed strike attacks at all.

As much as it annoys me, one or two of my players are RAW sticklers, and while the DM can override people and change the rules, it's easier if the RAW was fixed in the first place. Are the Pathfinder people ever going to fix the darkness spell description? It really is badly worded and ambiguous, no matter what was intended.

Assuming I'm right, then the Pathfinder people aren't all on the same page about this. See the sidebar at: explosives#TOC-Moonrod

My player is trying to use that to argue that "no, Pathfinder intended to make darkness more like the 3.0 version".

Of course, this brings up the problem of what is "ambient" light? All light is from a source, magical or not. And while I normally like to avoid ruleslawyering physics, I don't see an alternative in this case. In an indoor room, the "ambient" light is going to be from torches, so darkness by this interpretation would make everything pitch black, no exceptions, even in direct sunlight. My player makes a special pleading that "obviously sunlight penetrates" darkness, but the special pleading is unimpressive to me.

Sorry - I've done thorough searching, and I didn't find a more relevant topic. Should I have made a new thread?

1 person marked this as FAQ candidate.

I've been pulling my hair out trying to resolve the darkness quandaries. This is my take on it, and my educated guess as to the intent of the Pathfinder authors.

Remember that 3.0 darkness was a sphere of pitch black, and not even darkvision worked in it.

Remember that 3.5 nerfed it down to shadowy illumination in the area. An area of shadowy illumination imposed a 20% miss chance, and even darkvision did not bypass the 20% miss chance. There were discussions online which suggested that the 3.5 darkness spell cast in a pitch black area would actually raise the light level to shadowy illumination, contrary to all fluff and reason.

Fast forward to Pathfinder. They tried to clean this up. The darkness spell now reduces the light level by 1 step. However, the author of the Pathfinder darkness spell was apparently concerned that this may be read to introduce a contradiction with light generating spells and equipment. Example:
"shedding normal light in a 20-foot radius" explosives#TOC-Torch
"shedding normal light in a 20-foot radius"

The author read this as a contradiction. Which wins - darkness in reducing the light by 1 step, or the torch text which specifically states that it sheds normal light in a 20-foot radius? Thus, the author of the Pathfinder darkness spell added in the very confusing and badly phrased text, which is at the heart of the matter:
"Nonmagical sources of light, such as torches and lanterns, do not increase the light level in an area of darkness. Magical light sources only increase the light level in an area if they are of a higher spell level than darkness."

The intent of this text is to clarify that darkness does indeed drop the light level by 1 step, even if other sources disagree. The purpose of the text is to say that the light lowering properties of darkness trumps the description of a torch which specifically says it produces "normal light", and trumps the description of the light spell which specifically says it produces "normal light".

The intent is not to say that the light level in a darkness area is completely independent of non-magical and lower spell level light sources. The Pathfinder authors never intended to buff the darkness spell from 3.5 to be like 3.0 darkness, especially after they made darkvision work in (some) magical darkness. They never intended darkness + darkvision to be an auto "I win" card vs those without darkvision or a daylight spell.

The darkness spell should read:


This spell causes an object to radiate darkness out to a 20-foot radius. This darkness causes the illumination level in the area to drop one step, from bright light to normal light, from normal light to dim light, or from dim light to darkness. This spell has no effect in an area that is already dark. Creatures with light vulnerability or sensitivity take no penalties in normal light. All creatures gain concealment (20% miss chance) in dim light. All creatures gain total concealment (50% miss chance) in darkness. Creatures with darkvision can see in an area of dim light or darkness without penalty. This spell lowers the light level even in areas lit by magical sources of light. However, a darkness spell does not affect the light level in an area of a magical source of light if the spell is a higher level than darkness.

If darkness is cast on a small object that is then placed inside or under a lightproof covering, the spell's effect is blocked until the covering is removed.

This spell does not stack with itself. Darkness can be used to counter or dispel any light spell of equal or lower spell level.

I think there's still some open questions about the specifics of daylight, but that's it. Specifically: What is the area of effect of daylight for the purposes of suppressing darkness spells? If we have two darkness spells originating from the same square, can a single daylight spell suppress them both? Would then two daylight spells originating from the same square completely ignore all darkness spells and light up the area as if the darkness spells were not present? Or should one daylight spell be able to suppress at most one darkness spell per square?