The Baby in a Jar

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Da'ath wrote:
Is this a correct interpretation?

That interpretation wouldn't make much sense since it implies that races lose their existing racial features first, before selecting additional "slot" features... and if that were the case, there'd be no reason not to give all races the same number of "slot" selections since they'd be balanced around slots, not racial abilities (which would have been removed in your interpretation).

Since different races have different slots, corresponding to their theoretical ECL, it seems more likely he means the features are in addition to their normal racial features and stat adjustments.

In that case, it basically means all races are in the ballpark of ECL 3, at level 1, which is going to guarantee that normal low-level content will be no serious challenge to them. Such a system would exist solely for a campaign designed around high RP monstrous races, and is intended as a means of bringing up lower RP races to keep them in line, power wise, with the high RP races being used.

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Michael Riter wrote:
Okay, let's get this straight, we all hate power gamers who think that 'winning' is the best thing in life. Unfortunately I'm friends with one, and recently introduced him to PFS so we could possibly join games together.

"We" don't all hate power gamers... power gaming and minmaxing is mechanics stuff, and unless the person is cheating outright, or making themselves incapable of handling normal situations in order to maximize one ability, and it somehow hurts the party in the process, then it's mostly irrelevant, especially if they will actually roleplay well.

Michael Riter wrote:
He decided that he was going to start up a bard character (sandman archetype) and wrote an 8 page backstory. Legitimately an 8 page backstory. Anyways, he added details about getting a succubus' blessing that gave him a +2 ability score of his choice (or was it bonus? I forget) as well as giving himself an intelligent weapon. I took one look at this, and said, "no. This just isn't allowed." he claims there was no rules against it, and he searched for them. Please help me here... Just.... Yeah...

If he's human, an the +2 ability bonus is his racial bonus only then sure, let him explain it any way he wants. Backstory does not grant you additional mechanical bonuses, however, unless the DM has expressly declared that you get a bonus for writing a backstory. In this case it sounds a lot more like cheating than power gaming.

That said, the DM is the final arbiter of such things, and if the DM has decided it's ok, then it's ok. That's the way of the game.

Who the hell "power games" a bard?

MrSin wrote:
Yes, but then I asked how it makes someone stronger or how its better stat bonuses, or do you mean relative to someone playing the same race/class combo rather than every other possible race/class combo?

And you were told: it puts two +2 bonuses in stats of your choice, and one -2 in a dump stat of your choice. With very few exceptions the core races do not do that perfectly for any given class, and by doing what you're doing every race gives you exactly the stat bonuses you're after to enhance your base performance in your class, and you pick the stat you care least about to give the penalty.

That said, I don't know why anyone had to explain why that makes stronger initial characters.

I wouldn't do it in my campaigns, personally, but I actually like the fact that races are not designed around the character, and that their existing strengths and weaknesses shape the characters initially. As a houserule, it's pretty benign.

MrSin wrote:
Huh, thought I'd get more commentary.

Why? All you're doing is giving people better stat bonuses... its not a deep philosophical change, its a very simple mechanical change that will make most characters a bit stronger, and a few no different, depending on how the stat bonuses of their chosen race matched the optimum stats for their chosen class.

There's all of one paragraph of discussion. What more is there to say?

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It'll just make the characters a bit stronger than whatever generation method you use normally does. Make sure the adventures you're using are ready for that. If you're making it all up yourself then that's fine... if you're using pregenerated adventure paths, you may find the characters have an easier time than expected, as they have better stats.

Green Ronin's True20 system simply does away with scores and uses stat bonuses, since, for basically everything, that's all you use even in Pathfinder. The True20 stat system is:

6 points divided among the six stats... no bonus higher than +5 and no penalty lower than -2 (suggested).

Bonus Spells: Bonus spells are not an issue since the chart for determining bonus spells coincides with the stat bonus.. there's never a change in bonus spells at an odd ability score.

Minimum Spellcasting Attributes: Basically nothing is added to the game by having the point-by-point requirement for spell levels. You can certainly keep that in, just have it be that the maximum spell level you can cast is double your modifier, or one plus double the modifier, as you see fit.

Converting Monsters: You don't have to do anything... the effect of their base stats is already applied to their stat blocks, and all you're doing is removing the stat number and using the stat bonus, which doesn't change.

Ability Damage: Halve it. Really, it's not going to change your game significantly.. if it's something that causes only 1 point ever, and you want to maintain its niggling effect, decrease the DC by 4 and make it 2... in all other situations, its just halved and life goes on.

Ability Increases: Half as often or just leave it as is and don't worry about it... in the grand scheme of things the +1 to a stat once you get past the early levels, is pretty minor.

One thing True20s system DOES do well, is help new players understand what numbers to use. As someone who has played alongside neophyte gamers, I can honestly say that the stat vs stat bonus thing is one of the major sources of confusion in players new to the d20 system.

Shackled City was considered a fairly tough campaign under 3.5 for the average party, which means it is probably a reasonable campaign under Pathfinder, where characters a a bit tougher than they were in 3.5. Assuming you have enough information to run it as is, I'd say give it a go without altering things significantly.

The spell requires a ranged touch attack, and whether or not it requires a save as well depends on the effect word. The cantrip effect words specifically say that if the spell requires a touch attack, it does not give a save... the other words, however, do (higher level words) which isn't all that inconsistent with comparable spells.

So the answer is "yes, ranged touch attack" and "maybe, gives a save, depends on the effect word's own save entry". Unless the effect word says otherwise it'll end up allowing a save to avoid/partial as well as requiring a ranged touch attack.

It says in the text of the feat that it gives +1 dodge bonus to AC. Since it doesn't say it improves your skills, reflex saves, etc, there's no reason at all for you to have assumed it does.

Armor check does not apply to reflex saves.

gang wrote:
VoodooMike wrote:
There is a city in Montenegro called Cetinje, though it is often spelled Cettigne. The way they pronounce it is Set-in-yah.
I think I'd go with Set-in-yay.

Right, because nothing else in Golarion is based on real-world people and places...

That said, if you're the DM you can pronounce it "pony" for all it matters.

As someone who really enjoys the Words of Power rules from Ultimate Magic, I really wish more work would be done to widen and refine them. I'm planning to suggest the following addition to the "Selected" target word:


Boost: Instead of one target, the wordspell affects up to one target per caster level, no two of which can be more than 30 feet apart. The wordspell may not cause or cure damage, nor may it give any numeric bonuses or penalties, and selected targets must all be willing or the spell fails to affect them. The casting time of the wordspell is increased to 1 minute.


The reason for this addition is that certain party utility spells simply fail to manifest as wordspells, such as Plane Shift, or are ridiculously overpriced, level wise, under wordspell rules, like party-wide Teleport. As a wordspell, Plane Shift can only be created using the Dimensional Shift effect word (level 7) but affects only one selected target.. boosting Selected to affect multiple targets, under base wordspell rules, ups the effect level by 3, making multiperson plane shift a level 10 (impossible) spell. I don't think the Words of Power rules are meant to make magic less useful overall, just to trade some level of per-spell power for improved versatility.

The minute-long casting time prevents the cheap (no level change) boost from being of any real use during combat, and the limitation on damage/healing prevents cheap mass cure spells and the like.

Does anyone see any issue with this addition? I'm mainly looking for potential wordspells where this additional boost option would create a significantly overpowerful effect.

There is a city in Montenegro called Cetinje, though it is often spelled Cettigne. The way they pronounce it is Set-in-yah.

A better way to look at wizard spells is to say that it is not an issue of memorizing/forgetting, but rather one of spell completion. Each day while preparing spells, the wizard performs the lengthy ritualistic parts of each spell, leaving out only the final words and gestures necessary to enact the effect. Then, later during the day when he needs the spell effect, he performs the final words and gestures, and provides the materials, and the ritual is complete and the effect happens.

The benefit with this is that formulaic magic is treated as long rituals that would not be suited for combat if not for the fact that the ritual need not be completed in the same sitting to take effect. It gives the magic a different flavour than sorcery, too, and is considerably more rational than thinking of things as being forgotten when cast.

Ragnarok Aeon wrote:
Well the issue is much less about them putting their names in it, but the fact that a lot of people just suck at summarizing things. Which is probably something that it'd be nice if people realized.

Actually, your stated issue is more about people being bad at summarizing things. Mine is that I think it's tacky and desperate to post self-titled threads - something that seems to be getting more popular over time.

It's all very Denny Crane.

When a spell's effect is similar to something that is priced out on a per-point bonus basis you use that, instead of anything related to the spell's own level, for pricing out the item. Since True Strike gives a +20 bonus to hit you'd look at the enhancement bonus aspect when making an item that just gives the bonus pretty much all of the time. So, look at it as though it were a weapon with a +20 enhancement bonus:

20 x 20 x 2000 = 800,000 gold and..

The CL of the item will be 3x the enhancement bonus... so... CL 60th.

Sounds about right.. it'd be an artifact, and any 60th level caster would probably want more than 800k gold for you to waste his time making you such a silly ring. He'd be busy ruling the multiverse.

It would be really nice if you either moved all the fluff to the end, or took it out altogether.. since you want the mechanical aspects of the spells assigned a level it helps if people don't have to wade through crap to FIND them.

Eldritch Kiss - as written, that's higher than a 9th level spell. D6/level without cap, and no save, is a 9th level effect on its own... but that it gives you all those HP as temp just adds to the effect. There aren't any temporary ability points that I've seen, so any increase in ability score needs to be a typed bonus, and spells typically give enhancement bonuses. Spells likewise shouldn't give the caster multiple options to choose from.. needs reworking on multiple levels.

Encircling Blast Fireball - Probably about 8th level. I say this because I liken the effect of combining two spells into one to using the 3.5 "Twin Spell" metamagic feat which, I believe, increased caster level by 4. While wall of fire may have a reduced effect, you're drastically increasing its range by using fireball's instead, and as a single action you're potentially combining fireball and wall of fire's damage into a single action (for any foe caught at the edge of the blast).

Figurative Stamina - hate the name, and the application is too nebulous. Give it a flat duration and have it apply its effect to the next use of the figurine if that use is within the spell's duration, and it's maybe a 2nd level spell.

Immaedin’s Impertinent Purloinment - level 15 at least! Nothing about this spell is appropriate to PF, from the title (AD&D wants it obscure naming conventions back, btw) to the effect. If you insist on keeping it then you'll have to remove a lot of stuff before its a 9th level spell for really obnoxious powergamers who don't like roleplaying.

Spell Lottery - uh... a remove spellcasting ability spell? It's like antimagic only you still lose the spells you cast and there's no way around it. You can't even dispel it because you can't reliably cast dispel. Level 15 again.

Svaerinyl’s Sinister Shadow - drop the creator name, again. This is probably a level 2 spell. Remember that as a shadow spell, the representation is quasi-real, though at level 2.. so little so that maybe no damage works for disbelief, but giving them a -1 to attack rolls due to the distraction of the poking phantom on a successful save could apply.

Ragnarok Aeon wrote:

Because just seeing a generic list of


Is way better, am I right?

No, people who post threads with those titles are just bad at summarizing. In the vast, vast majority of cases people are posting monsters that fill a specific niche, or of a specific theme.. or a houserule related to a certain type of action or situation, or feats for a specific type of character or scenario.

So "Low CR Marsh Monsters" or "Grappling Houserules" or "Two-weapon fighting feats" are the titles, so you know what the thread is about and whether you care enough to read it. "Houserules" is a bad grab bag... maybe its houserules about how to handle the dice-rolls for roleplaying the entire birth process, including labor, for orc women.. or maybe its something you won't wake up at night in cold sweats about.

If you want a campaign-neutral setting then what you really want to do is make a paraphrased version of the cut-down greyhawk setting that Dungeons and Dragons always used as their base campaign setting.. which is to say, a world with a defined cosmology, but without any inherent extraplanar effect on the material plane, and an unlimited number of material planes, allowing DMs to either use an existing geological and political setup, or create their own without changing much, and to change between them as they see fit.

The planes setup in that generic setting is pretty much perfect... a plane for each alignment, transitional planes, plane of shadow, elemental and optional paraelemental planes, positive and negative. Planar conflicts, but everything is pretty much balanced out.

If you want to create a specific world (geography and politics wise) then you whip something up with the main play areas being cosmopolitan (plenty of different races) and with weak political (so the amount of political/military presence varies wildly in the region.. to the DM's taste).

Really, the more specific you get with any aspect, the harder it is for campaigns to be dropped into the setting, and the more campaigns will be defined by the setting.

Forums put your name on your posts already - you don't need to include a self-reference in the titles. It's tacky, desperate-looking, and unfortunately seems to be increasingly frequent.

If your ideas are good enough then people will acknowledge you and it without need for self-promotion.

Thanks in advance! xoxo

Adamantine Dragon wrote:
LOL, it's funny that you'd take the time and effort to try to make an issue of comparing a comment about an entire class of PEOPLE to a bland description of a branch of magic. Especially since, whether you like it or not, voodoo is IN FACT strongly associated with necromantic types of magic.

Strongly associated in the media, sure.. in the same way that Satanism is associated with heavy metal and human sacrifice in the media... not unlike Dungeons and Dragons was. That misconceptions are popular doesn't actually make them true: reality is not a democracy.

Not infrequently, when people do aberrant and unpleasant things, and choose to link it to religion, people mistakenly associate those things with the religion. While there are certainly Islamic terrorists, the terrorism doesn't descend directly from the religion so much as taints it because some people try to hide behind the Islam part to justify their own behaviors. Day-to-day islam is nowhere near as interesting to our media-drunk culture, so we focus our attention on the weirdos despite them being in the minority.

Voodoo itself involves offerings to and communication with spirits, some of which may or may not (often debated, depending on the spirit) be those of former people. Catholicism offers up prayers to saints but nobody really considers it a necromantic religion. Shinto had far, far deeper levels of ancestor worship but nobody thinks it's about necromancy.

I don't take issue to using media stereotypes... I just take issue to someone who uses media stereotypes while claiming to be opposed to stereotyping! And hey, "like it or not" the southern USA, and bayou in particular, are widely associated with inbred hillbillies... I'm not sure that makes it any less offensive to people who do take offense at that sort of thing.

Webster's Dictionary wrote:

Definition of DOG

1: canid; especially: a highly variable domestic mammal (Canis familiaris) closely related to the gray wolf b: a male dog; also: a male usually carnivorous mammal

2: a worthless or contemptible person


9: an unattractive person; especially: an unattractive girl or woman

There's a reason that definition was separate from the one talking bout the religion - dictionaries give definitions that you might need to understand specific references, and the stereotype is sufficiently prevalent in the western world as to warrant it in such definitions. Voodoo as a term to represent "black magic" or "necromancy" exists only as a reference to misconceptions about the religion... so nomatter how you try to circumvent it, it's still a derogatory stereotype.

So again, the point is that if you're going to treat the Voodoo religion as thought the stereotypes about it are true, then don't sweat the other incorrect stereotypes either... and certainly don't pat yourself on the back for being cosmopolitan!

Adamantine Dragon wrote:
Of course it's not necessary at all to be cartoonish, condescending and borderline racist in building your Louisiana themed campaign.

It would take a LOT of inbreeding before making fun of the people in a given state could legitimately be called "racist".

Adamantine Dragon wrote:
As far as I know there is nothing racist or derogatory about voodoo. It's basically a branch of magic that is strongly associated with necromancy. Voodoo "witchdoctors" have for generations been highly regarded members of New Orleans communities, much as a seer or psychic is regarded in, say, Beverly Hills.

Voodoo (note: it is a phonetic spelling, so all the spellings are just fine) is no more "necromantic" than any other religion. There are plenty of people who will play up media stereotypes for money and attention, but that doesn't accurately represent it or its roots.

It's a bit funny that you'd be ok with some stereotypes but bothered by others.

F. Wesley Schneider wrote:
Hear that guys? We're "trendy up-and-comers." :)

Just because all ravens are black doesn't mean all black things are ravens...

Mark Moreland wrote:
But the same is true of taking any job anywhere. Folks with families shouldn't feel that Paizo isn't the sort of place you can work. Obviously you need to consider your family, but if you feel you're qualified for any of the jobs we post, by all means, apply!

It's certainly fair to say that having a family to move should factor into any decision to take a job that requires moving, but some industries are more robust than others, and some positions within companies are more robust than others. Paizo is, first and foremost, a publisher of original printed material. If the market were to change, and the company was cutting back on non-essentials, it would be the positions farthest from the core activities that would go first. I'm guessing software development might be among those.

That said, I have only the vaguest feel for how fickle the industry is, so I certainly wouldn't say that my warnings are Nostradamus-style prophecy or anything ;)

Well, I'm willing to bet that Goblinoids in general are prone to inbreeding, so... it's a start!

brock wrote:
Dear god no! Have a properly trained UI programmer (like me!) do the technical design with graphical design aid from an artist for icons. Would you design a bridge by giving an artist a book on structural mechanics?

Well, that's a bit like being a wedding shoe specialist.. unless a company is large enough and suspects there's enough money to be made to justify the inclusion of semi-superfluous positions, I'm not sure you're likely to see or use UI specialists. A "UI for dummies" book given to an artist with an IQ over 90 should suffice, then just have the regular programmers make it happen. That's not to say that what you do isn't difficult and worthwhile, it's just one of those things that gets folded into other positions at smaller companies because the cost-benefit ratio just isn't there.

brock wrote:
This thread caused some serious thinking here, since I'm a software engineer and my wife is a kick-ass project manager. However, young child and, y'know, British - probably way too many ducks to wrangle into line.

Well, two things with that.

The nationality thing would cause you and them a lot of grief - the USA blips all over the place with their reception of foreign workers.. sometimes they're smiles and hugs, sometimes they're jack-boots and batons, depending on how the political winds are blowing that month. I say this as a Canadian who has done work in the states under the aegis of NAFTA, meaning.. when I say they can be obnoxious I'm speaking from the standpoint of someone who actually had legislation in their favour at the time!

Second, this likely isn't the type of position that you'd want to gamble with if you have a young family - Paizo is a growing company, but in a very variable industry. To keep growing and stay profitable they have to be efficient and stay streamlined, which means they have to be willing to change the size and shape of their workforce on a regular basis. It makes it a decent fit for the trendy up-and-comers, but is risky to jump into if you're looking for a long-term stable environment. Doesn't meant it can't be that, obviously, but it'd be a gamble.

•Experience creating and maintaining user interfaces for applications using HTML, CSS and JavaScript

Man, never let a programmer design your interfaces, just have them implement the interface that your artsy people create (and give the artsy people a book on proper UI design first). I say this as a programmer myself, with full awareness of my kind's limitations - what we like as our interface is not what the average person will find intuitive and helpful.

People getting smarter/wiser with age is certainly not a biological thing, so I don't see any reason not to give a Lich the mental attribute bonuses associated with the age categories, without there being corresponding biological degradation.

Technically, people get dumber as they age, or at least their brains work more slowly, but it is to some degree compensated for by increased experience which gives them more and better heuristics for dealing with problems such that they can take mental "shortcuts" that younger people might not have the opportunity to take, partially bridging the gap. If you were magically protected from that type of degradation as well you might be even smarter in the long run since you'd have the benefit of both improved heuristics and no processing speed degradation.

Now, all that said, liches are still getting stat bonuses over time on merit of continuing to gain levels. If they focus on intellectual pursuits, they'll be putting their points in INT. If we were really concerned with staying true to real life, we'd remove the age category stat bonuses altogether, and simply say that if you spent your life focusing on mental tasks, you probably gained INT by way of stat increases as you gained levels. If you just sat on your duff and did nothing, or shoveled horse poop, there's no reason you would have been any smarter by the time you grow old and die.

mdt wrote:
I honestly don't know what point you are trying to make at this point, it seems like you're just arguing to argue. Yes, the real world is not the game world. Yes, there's no spell in the real world to repair things. No, no one even hinted that they thought there was.

The point is that the normalized mapping of INT to IQ is completely legitimate, and that these side-arguments you keep making are not, in any way, altering that fact. Each of the points you keep trying to make happen to be covered, already, by game mechanics.

mdt wrote:
Not sure why, nor why you insisted on bringing game terms into the real world example (drain vs born). I then pointed out that functionally, there's no difference between the two, and you go off on a rant about spells in the game world that don't exist in reality. Maybe you should take a step back, and think about why you're angry posting in this thread.

I wasn't aware I was angry. Again, the point is that brain damage and the loss of skills one had prior to brain damage, do not in any way affect the stated mapping of INT to IQ's legitimacy.

mdt wrote:
Either way, this is my last response to you. I've tried to be polite, but you've been vomiting out vitriol so bad your posts have been getting moderated, and I see no reason to encourage you any further.

Nothing I've said has been particularly vitriolic, though I may have ridiculed your fallacious appeals to authority, appeals to emotion, and incorrect application of grade-school mathematics. I've been very much to-the-point, and you've been anything but polite. Since the topic of the thread has turned away from the original toward the juvenile, and you've lost sight of the point and are harping on phrasing, I agree, there's not much more to be said.

mdt wrote:
Just as there's no functional difference between a character who has a 5 int, and a character that had a 10 int but had it reduced permanently to 5. One loses languages, one never got them in the first place. One loses skill points, the other never had them in the first place.

Just as there's no functional difference between someone who rolled a 5 for their INT, and someone who rolled a 12 and then took 7 points of INT drain. There's also no functional difference between someone who was born blind, and someone who was blinded yesterday in that both are blind, but few people would consider them to be truly the same. The real world has no way of fixing the kind of damage that Pathfinder would consider ability drain, as no natural healing can restore those points and the real world has no actual healing other than natural (modern medicine isn't healing you so much as its removing impediments to natural healing). In pathfinder, on the other hand, you have restoration spells that can do so.

Crysknife wrote:
t has been ages since I took my statistics exams, but isn't the probability of normally distributed variable assuming value of ∞ or - ∞ different from 0?

If you mean that the normal distribution curve is asymptotic then sure, but that doesn't mean a measure has to be infinite to be a normal distribution or there'd never be any, unless, of course, you know of some demonstrably infinite thing we can measure. Instead you're usually looking at normal distributions with a hard floor, ceiling, or both. We know INT can't go below 0 because...well.. the game says so. IQ actually can, feasibly, go below zero or above 200, depending on the size of the test used and the variation in scores, but the curves of the two distributions should basically involve tracing over one another. That there will never be someone with a negative infinity INT or IQ doesn't preclude normality.

Crysknife wrote:
Just wanted to add that of course I don't think that 3d6 or the actual distribution of IQ have precisely Normal distributions, I'm simply reasoning as if the are similar enough for the purposes of this excercise

They do, actually, have precisely normal distributions. The distribution for the sum of 3d6, when we're not dealing with a specific set of 3d6 rolls, is the distribution of all *possible* rolls, which is a perfect normal distribution. IQ's own numeric distribution is an arbitrary normal distribution around a mean of 100 with SD of 15, onto which a person's z-score is mapped. Actual IQ tests use.. well... the test results to determine that z-score. If we're converting INT then we simply use the stat's z-score as determined using 3d6's standard deviation.

mdt wrote:
If that's your aim, then I don't think the exercise is going to help. The fact the dumb dwarf can get a better roll a certain percentage of the time doesn't really help with IQ mapping. It actually argues against it.

Not at all - you're assuming that someone with a higher IQ will consistently do better on every task requiring reasoning than someone with a lower IQ, and that's not the case. On average they will, but everyone makes mistakes, and sometimes people are just lucky.. which maps just fine to the d20 skill system. On an INT based skill someone with a higher int bonus will, on average, succeed more often, and by a larger margin, than someone with a lower bonus.

mdt wrote:
For my uncle, there was simply no day of his life after the over dose that he would ever be better than anyone at anything other than smoking and watching tv. Prior to the OD, he was an expert auto mechanic, he could tear a car down to parts and put it back together better than he found it. After, he was capable of walking, muttering 'yeah' or 'no', and that was about it. He could light his own cigarette from a gas stove if the stove was left on without hurting himself (usually) but that was about it. If I had to pick an int for him, it would be 3. He could understand language if you used very simple phrases, but that's it. So at no point could he, despite having a high skill investiture in craft (auto repair) ever best even me, and I have minimal skills in it. He's was just no longer functional at that level, despite still being human and self aware.

The relevant concept is Ability Drain - as your INT is permanently reduced due to drain from poison, disease, or some other form of enduring injury, so too are things derived from your INT, such as skillpoints, languages, and so on.

Mergy wrote:
dunno, Forest Gump had a lot of skills. Can we put him at an 8 at least?

Forest Gump would have an INT equivalent of 5. In the movie he gets scored as 75 (75-100 = 25 / 15 = -1.66666 Z, translated to INT is 2.96 * -1.66666 + 10 = 5.06, rounded to 5). Obviously he took, as his starting feats, run and possibly Skill Focus (Shrimping).

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mdt wrote:

Small piece of data that often get's overlooked,

An average is not a median. It's an average.

Overlooked in this case because it is totally irrelevant. Median is used as a measure of central tendancy when the distribution is skewed beyond normalcy. When it isn't skewed then median and mean are going to be the same. The distribution of 3d6 is normal, and the IQ distribution is normal by definition.

mdt wrote:
The point being, people keep imagining a bell curve when they talk about 10 being the 'average' but it doesn't have to be a symmetrical bell curve. Most of the time, it's not, especially in D&D.

If scores are generated using 3d6 then 10.5 is, in fact, the mean and median score.

mdt wrote:
Even looking at the maximum of 20 starting out (18 + 2 racial), it's not a bell curve. It's because the minimum int is not 0, but 3. That means it's already a skewed bell curve.

The +2 comes into play after the initial stat is generated, generated via 3d6 by default method. The result of 3d6 is a value between 3 and 18 and is a "normal curve" if you apply the +2 all you do is transpose the curve, you don't alter it - it is the same normal curve that now has a mean of 12.5 instead of 10.5

mdt wrote:

The absolute minimum intelligence a character can have and still be sentient is 3. That's someone who's barely sentient (animals are 2). So if we equate that to say, 20 IQ (profound mental retardation, can't care for themselves, but sentient) and 100 IQ being average, then we get the following :

Range of IQ from Minimum IQ to average : 80 pts
Range of Int from Minimum to average : 7 pts
80/7 = 11.42

Let me introduce you to the idea of Standard Deviation, which is the appropriate measure to use but nothing close to what you're calculating. The standard deviation for IQ is 15, the standard deviation for 3d6 is 2.96, which is how you translate between the two.

mdt wrote:
So an Int 7 is about 34 pts below average, or 66 IQ, yeah, Forest Gump is a good example.

The conversion, using Z-score because both are normal distributions, is 82.

mdt wrote:
The scale above the IQ zone is different for Int, the maximum is about 200IQ, so it works at 10 per point.

200 IQ equates to a 29 or 30 INT. Maximum starting IQ for a human, in D&D, would be about 150, and thus, with natural development, the maximum IQ for a D&D human (discounting other forms of stat improvement) is, in fact, 200 (30 Int) at level 20.

mdt wrote:
The issue comes from making 3 the minimum but 20 the max. We're having to map a skewed bell curve (3 to 20) against a standard bell curve (IQ is designed to be a strict symmetrical bell curve from 0 to 200 with 100 being average, and each standard deviation being 15 IQ points).

The stat you choose to give a bonus to isn't part of the distribution, it is just a choice of an early piece of natural development on the part of your character, making you above average in that stat for the race. Since humans can put their +2 in any one stat, there's no reason to include the +2 in the basic translation between the two.

Adamantine Dragon wrote:
Only within a very narrow academic area. Take those results and apply them to scores and see what sort of cultural, gender or racial differences you get and watch the fur fly.

It has never been particularly difficult to standardize IQ around any given demographic - look at how the number is generated (the numeric scale is arbitrary, and is related to the individual's Z score as related to the demographic mean). Certainly there are political concerns related to the idea that we need to consider everyone equal, but that is, as I said, a political concern not a legitimate fact. Surely you see how ironic it is to accept that there is variation within a population, but to hold fast to the idea that there is no variation between populations.

Adamantine Dragon wrote:
IQ is not even well defined. IQ tests are routinely challenged for having cultural, racial or language bias. People taking two different IQ tests from two different sources can score well outside a standard deviation on them.

Challenged on a political level, certainly. Likewise, nobody will consider the outcome on a test to be legitimate if the testee doesn't speak the language. There also aren't 90 different accepted IQ tests.. for the most part all you'll ever run into is WAIS.

Adamantine Dragon wrote:
OK, I'm done with this, as I said it's as pointless as arguing about angels on a pin head.

Oh, in this case I agree - something about playing chess with a pigeon, I suspect.

Adamantine Dragon wrote:
Yes, it's yet another way to approach the same problem. But it is no more "accurate" than any other, both because the relative power of different int scores in PF is no more defined than IQ itself. There is no agreed upon method of measuring human intelligence in the real world. People who think IQ does that are fooling themselves. So what you have is an undefined game mechanic being compared to a hotly debated real world technique that nobody agrees actually measures what it is supposed to measure.

That's just arguing that IQ is a bad measure of intelligence, not that the conversion method is inaccurate. I've found that the majority of the people who take major exception to IQ as a measure are people outside the fields of psychology/psychiatry.

Look at it this way - IQ, as a measure, correlates highly and significantly with various agreed-upon measures we'd expect to see in people who are intelligent. If that's not clear: when you check the measure of IQ against measures of accomplishment in areas the majority of people agree are related to the intellect, they tend to move in similar directions. While that may not mean IQ is the perfect measure of a person's intellect, the statistics support that it certainly correlates very strongly with whatever measure might ever be found to do so.

And yes, IQ is a fairly well agreed-upon method, contrary to what you've said. Doesn't mean everyone, without exception, agrees with it, but it's not fringe science... which is why everyone knows what it is.


Duel is something you initiate by slapping someone in the face with your gauntlet and demanding your honour be satisfied. Now, maybe the alchemist happens to have two personalities that both value honour very highly, but I suspect that isn't what you were after.

It was outright stated in one of the earlier editions of the game that INT x 10 was the character's IQ. I can't remember the specific place, and it has been a while. I don't think that's an accurate way to do it, however.

Blankbeard talks about a better method, and that's probably what you'd want to go with if you're trying to determine your character's IQ in order to compare it to real-world examples:

For 3d6, the mean value is 10.5 and the SD is 2.96. So, subtract 10.5 from your INT score, then divide by 2.96 to get your INT Z score. To apply the IQ scale to it, multiply your Z score by 15 and then add 100.

Under that system, the IQ of someone with INT 7 is 82 - they won't be winning any nobel prizes, and probably won't get into college, but they can certainly dress and feed themselves like everybody else.

Just write them in with pencil or a fine-tipped pen, unless, for example, it's their use of the word "addicting" in Bestiary 3 in which case you scratch it out with your fingernails and write "idiots!" next to it with a thick marker.

It really comes down to whether you feel your books are intrinsic works of art, or whether it is the information contained within that is important - in the latter case, it is better that you have instantly available accurate information than you try to retain some fresh-off-the-printer aesthetic.

+2 to a stat is better than a bonus feat. An easy way to eyeball that is the fact that +1 to a stat was considered an epic feat in 3.5, meaning it was a feat and you had to be level 21 or higher to take it. That said, those were pretty crappy epic feats - a +2 would have been more in line with epic abilities.

On the other hand, a feat that grants +2 to an ability score would be a ridiculously good feat barring some major limitations.

lawst wrote:
I suppose what I'm proposing is to regard the monstrous portion of a race more like a short-leveled class. Just to clarify, the idea is to not have a LA or ECL. Instead, what I am saying is to essentially make it to where the monstrous abilities that make it more than a standard race are the "class" abilities, and then give them starting levels or HD in that monstrous class to balance the hp, saves, base attack of any other class.

That does nothing to address the balance issues that were and are inherent to the LA system or the Savage Species monster levels system. As I said, the issue is that the abilities are not placed at the levels they should be when done with a LA or monster class. Even if you allow multiclassing with a monster class, someone can still frontload character development with the racial class levels and have abilities earlier than they should have.

A player race, regardless of implementation, should not supplant other forms of character development or render any of those forms obsolete.

Classes are the main construct under which character abilities are granted. If you create a race, even if using "racial levels" that makes you a better fighter than a fighter, you've essentially created an unbalanced class that makes the fighter obsolete, in the guise of a race.

ECL and LA are just bad when it comes to PCs. They don't really balance anything and were put forward only as a quick and dirty system, and then advanced via chinese whisper into some weird gospel. This fact has been acknowledged in both D&D3.x and Pathfinder by saying the level adjustment of a creature changes depending on the campaign level. That alone demonstrates the half-assed utility of the number.

What should be done is an individual examination of the abilities of each race, and having those abilities only become available at appropriate levels. That's how you balance things against standard races and classes. Similarly, to maintain balance you have to have some form of sacrifice on the part of the character (levels, feats, class abilities, etc) since standard races don't gain "more stuff" later on during character development.

To say something is "balanced" you have to be able to say that, at any given level, it is not significantly better than a character with a standard race and class. Unless the race in question only has better flat numeric bonuses, a simple sacrifice of levels doesn't really accomplish that.

While outsiders do not have an explicit immunity to sleep effects, they really should, as they do not sleep! The only excuse the creature type seems to give for this is that they can sleep if they want to, but are not required to do so. All other unsleeping creature types do have an explicit immunity to sleep (plants, oozes, undead, constructs) so there's little reason for this exception.

The slumber hex, in general, is hardly a silver bullet. It has a crappy range, and if you fail with it there's no second chance. It's a great combat ability at lower levels, but to maximize the chance of success a witch has to have some lead-up time to lay on other hexes too.

It's a bit of a dick move to design your encounters to specifically negate player abilities, but the abundance of creature types that are immune to sleep, and the increasing prevalence of those types as levels go on, will easily handle the problem. Plus, y'know... the outside sleep immunity ;)

Laurefindel wrote:

Like it!

rename 5-foot step as [Disengage]


Well, you can use the 5-foot-step to get closer to an enemy as well as to move away from one, without provoking attacks of opportunity. To that end, it remains similar to the minis rules.

1 person marked this as a favorite.

A little while ago someone inquired as to how they could run Pathfinder games without using maps and minis, and the consensus was either "you can't" or "wing it", more or less. It got me thinking, and the result is the following system. As always, feedback is welcome, and there's always room for improvement:

NoMin Combat System

The NoMin (No Miniatures) combat system is designed to allow groups to have a miniatures-free/no combat map based Pathfinder game without sacrificing the use of existing feats and combat maneuvers, and without giving up the strategic feel of the normal combat system.

NoMin does not use maps or miniatures, but does require a bit more mental book-keeping for the DM and players. It modifies how certain combat actions work, and introduces some new (optional) combat actions and feats. If the NoMin system is not being used exclusively, the feats should be completely ignored.

Relative Combat Conditions (RCCs)

Relative Combat Conditions are a type of temporary condition that exists only in relation to one other combatant. These conditions may (and likely will) change, be added and be lost during the course of a combat. Each RCC that a combatant has is specific to one other combatant, and needs to be noted as such. For example, the "adjacent" RCC of Player 1 may be "adjacent to Orc 2". These RCCs are the basis for the NoMin system.

Combat Conditions


A combatant that is Far is not in the melee combat fray. This is a general Combat Condition rather than a Relative Combat Condition, as it applies to the combat as a whole. This condition affects certain movement and attack options.


A combatant that is Close is near enough to other Close enemy combatants that they can be moved to with a 5-foot step. Like Far, this is a general Combat Condition, not relative to a specific enemy or ally.

[Adjacent] (RCC)

A combatant that is Adjacent to another combatant is within weapon's (or assistance) reach of that combatant.

[Guarding] (RCC)

A combatant that is guarding another combatant is actively attempting to prevent enemies from reaching and attacking the person they are guarding. Any movement that adds or removes the Close or Far conditions, or which removes the Adjacent RCC relative to the ally they are Guarding, removes the Guarding RCC. Being rendered prone also removes this RCC.


Any combatant that is Adjacent to two or more enemies that are not denied their ability to threaten squares, is considered Flanked, as per the normal PF status.


The following actions may be used for movement during combat.


The NoMin 5-foot step follows the same rules as the normal PF 5-foot step. When a combatant uses a 5-foot step they may do one of the following:

- Give themselves and another combatant the Adjacent RCC, as long as both they and the target have the Close condition, or both they and the target have the Far condition and are allies.
- Remove the Adjacent RCC from themselves and another combatant as long as the acting combatant has a reach equal to or greater than that of the target combatant.

[Move Action]

Any movement action that uses a move action provokes attacks of opportunity from any enemy that is Adjacent to the acting combatant. The acting combatant has the option to use acrobatics to mitigate these attacks of opportunity.

- Trade the Far condition for the Close condition.
- Give themselves and another combatant the Adjacent RCC and the Close condition. This provokes attacks of opportunity from any combatant that is Guarding the target combatant.
- Trade the Close condition for the Far condition, and remove any Adjacent RCCs that he or she has. This provokes attacks of opportunity from any Adjacent combatants before the RCCs are removed.
- Give themselves the Guarding RCC relative to one target ally that is Adjacent.

[Full-Round Action]

- Trade the Close condition for the Far condition, and remove any adjacent RCCs that he or she has. This provkes attacks of opportunity from all but one (acting combatant's choice) Adjacent combatants before the RCCs are removed.

Attack and Casting actions

Attack actions are carried out as normal. Any enemy that is Adjacent to an acting combatant is considered to be within melee range of any attacks. All enemies are considered to be within range of ranged attacks and spells (unless they are Far and the DM judges them to be *too* far for a given attack).

[Ranged Attacks]

Any target that is Adjacent to a combatant that is hostile to them, is considered to be engaged in melee combat for the sake of ranged attacks. Ranged attacks provoke attacks of opportunity from any Adjacent enemies.


Any target that is Adjacent to a combatant that is hostile to them, is considered to be engaged in melee combat for the sake of ranged touch attacks. Spellcasting provokes attacks of opportunity from any Adjacent enemies unless the spell is cast defensively.

[Area Effect]

Any effect that affects an area (area spells, splash weapons, etc) must target a specific combatant. For each 5 feet of maximum width of an area effect (radius of a spell, or distance of a cone, or width of a line) an additional target that has the same distance condition as the original target (Close or Far) may be included as a target. Any combatants that are Adjacent to one of the targets of the effect is also affected. The combatant that is attacking with/casting the effect may choose to exclude one (only one) of the combatants that will be affected. In the case of splash attacks, the targetted combatants are affected by the primary effect and those Adjacent to them are affected by the secondary/splash effect.

Combat Maneuvers

[Bull Rush]

- The bull rush maneuver gives the acting combatant the Close condition and removes the Far condition. It also gives them the Adjacent RCC relative to a target of his or her choice. If the maneuver is successful against the target, the acting combatant may choose to remove the Adjacent RCC between the target and any number of other combatants, including the acting combatant.


- The overrun maneuver targets an enemy that is Guarding another enemy. If the maneuver is successful, the acting combatant gains the Close condition and the Adjacent condition relative to one of the combatants that the target was Guarding, but does not provoke an attack of opportunity in the process. If the target chooses to avoid you during your overrun attempt, that target also loses the Guarding RCC relative to the combatant you choose to become Adjacent to.


- If the maneuver succeeds you may remove one Adjacent RCC from the target (and the RCC's target) plus one additional Adjacent RCC for each 5 by which your attack exceeds the target's CMD. If your attack allows you to remove more than one Adjacent RCC, you may choose to apply and Adjacent RCC removal (except the first) to yourself instead. All other rules for the Drag maneuver remain the same.


- The Reposition maneuver, if successful, allows you to force your target into the Adjacent RCC with any one other combatant that has the Close condition, or remove the Adjacent RCC from that target and the RCC's target. For each 5 by which your attack exceeds the target's CMD, you may force the target into (or out of) an additional Adjacent RCC (subject to the Close requirement). All other rules for the Reposition maneuver remain the same.


- The Guarding RCC is entered into using a move action as detailed above. You may only be Guarding one target at a time. You grant the target of your Guarding with a +1 dodge bonus to AC, and may, as an immediate action, take an attack that is targetting your Guarding target. You must do this before the attack is rolled. The attack targets you instead. In the case of an area attack that allows a Reflex save, you are considered to have failed your save while the target of your guarding is considered to have succeeded at his or her reflex save automatically.

NoMin Feats

[Improved Guarding] (Combat)
Prerequisites: Int 13, Combat Expertise

You grant the target of your Guarding an additional +1 dodge bonus to AC. Additionally, you are not considered to have automatically failed your Reflex Save when actively Guarding your target against an area effect - you may roll your Reflex Save normally.

Optional Reach Rules

If you want to include reach as a concept, you can simply alter the rules as follows:

- If a combatant uses a move action to give themselves and a target with a higher reach the Adjacent RCC, the acting combatant provokes an attack of opportunity from their target.
- A combatant with a higher reach than its target may give itself the Adjacent RCC relative to the target without granting the Adjacent RCC to the target, using any of the above actions that would normally grant the Adjacent RCC to both.
- If a combatant with a lower reach than a target may grant itself the Adjacent RCC with a 5-foot step if that target already has the Adjacent RCC relative to the acting combatant.

Shuriken Nekogami wrote:
sorry, but i just don't see a class that actually uses every stat in a meaningful way.

+4 to all stats and +2 natural armor turns into +2 to all rolls, +2 to all DCs and all Saves, +2 hp per level, and +4 overall to AC. I'm quite certain that all classes can benefit from that just fine and, in fact, benfit from it very nicely especially at lower levels. A caster may not gain access to higher level spells, but will certainly gain access to plenty more bonus spells with their casting stat going up by 4.

From your past threads it is pretty obvious to me that you're a ridiculous powergamer that has spent a lot of time downplaying, to GMs, the benefits you try to heap on your characters. I note that, despite all this downplaying, you don't seem disinterested in having those benefits-you-claim-aren't-really-benefits.

kyrt-ryder wrote:
With the advent of the Races playtest, the rules may change, but as they currently stand Mike, +1 CR IS +1 LA (that can be partially bought off at that!)

To say +1 CR is +1 LA is the same as saying 1 CR = 1 Character level, and that has never been the case. Even in 3.0 you needed to sum hit dice and LA (which itself was just an eyeballed, abstract number) to find the ECL for a given monster, rather than just using the CR to determine it. Paizo handwaved things in the bestiary by saying you can apply CR as a LA, but even in the CRB (as mentioned above) they didn't apply that method when discussing the use of powerful races in a campaign.

Monsters are not something that can be interchanged with characters. Monsters are obstacles, like locked doors and traps. Most monsters are, at their heart, one-trick ponies that have a really nasty trick or two that prey upon the vulnerabilities of basic characters, but which can be overcome by the versatility of character classes in a group. When you put monsters in the role of character, they have less versatility, but their inherent trick(s) are things that other campaign obstacles are often not able to deal with.

Now, are we really going to totally drop the original topic to argue about this tangent exclusively? I'd be happy to take the LA/CR equivalency debate to its own thread if you two feel it necessary to continue.

Shuriken Nekogami wrote:
if i recall correctly that advanced template thing was a special circumstance. it was a high powered campaign that had PCs playing monstrous races, like pseudodragons.

Which would be a great excuse to be using a character that included a level adjustment, but doesn't really explain away not feeling that the template warrants one.

Shuriken Nekogami wrote:
by spending that standard action reducing your spell resistance. you are slowing your companions down. making the objective take longer. same Reason Weekly William's group has a don't take 20 policy.

Standard actions don't slow parties down in non-combat situations (such as recovery/downtime) because they aren't tracked when micromanaging time is no longer a factor. In fact, an individual character's standard action will, at worst, slow that character down in a combat situation by exactly one standard action. herp derp..

Shuriken Nekogami wrote:

i beleive there are 2 ways to balance out advanced.

1 make your first class level a racial hit die or npc class

2 start a level behind the others or start with an XP debt.

So +4 to all stats and +2 to natural armor is LA+1 (if that) as far as you're concerned? QED.

CR and CR adjustment are not synonymous with ECL and LA - characters and monsters are not interchangeable without completely destroying any hope of balance between characters and campaign content.

Skaorn wrote:
I was under the impression that items or enchantments that boost your Int don't give you bonus skill points.

Regardless of whether that is or is not the case, when pricing out a magic item's cost for that ability, you would almost always do it in that fashion - by looking at it as an item that gives +2 intellect with a limitation on what it applies its bonus to. If you were doing it as a 3.X item you could also price it as an item that gives you a feat (there are feats from 3.X that give +1 skill point per level). In either case, it'd be a flat cost item.

ShadowcatX wrote:
So you're saying that an ability that says "Gain skill points equal to your level" doesn't scale with level but "gain spell resistance equal to your level" does? Seriously?

Yes, that's seriously what I'm saying. An item that gives +2 CON has a flat cost regardless of what level the creator or user of the item happens to be, but the effect will be "Gain hit points equal to your level" among others. The cost of an item that provides SR changes depending on how much SR it provides.

Steelfiredragon wrote:
I'd rather have a bonus to saving throws against magi than SR.

Not relevant at all to the topic, but I'll certainly say that a flat bonus to saving throws against spells and supernatural abilities would be a better design for a PC race - straight up unchanging bonuses represent a non-scaling ability, which is what racial abilities should be if they lack further development costs.

FallingIcicle wrote:
Let me try and put this as simply as possible for you. The simple fact of the matter is that all of the other racial bonuses you are comparing this to are just as valuable at level 20 as they are at level 1. If you had your way, a Drow's spell resistance would become completely worthless beyond level 6. That's just not right.

A +1 bonus to hit at level 1 represents a much larger overall bonus than it does at level 20. Why? Because other to hit bonuses will eclipse that bonus.. ie the character's BAB, feat based bonuses, enhancement bonuses, and so on. The static bonuses diminish in value as the character advances in levels because it represents a lower proportion of resource-based benefit. Beyond a certain character level (we can use 6 as well) the bonus could be lost and you'd barely notice, while it was a big help at level 1. That's how racial abilities should be working.

Scaling SR means that the benefit never diminishes relative to other contributions - your chance to resist a spell cast by a level 3 enemy actually goes up over time, unlike that +1 to hit bonus. To make them comparable, that to hit bonus would have to increase as the character level increased.

As to SR 6 being "totally useless" at level 6, that isn't true - it is no less effective against the enemies that were faced at level 1 than it was previously, it just becomes less useful against the progressively harder enemies that you will face in levels to come. If the character wants to spend feats to increase the SR so it doesn't become less useful, then that's peachy - it will represent an expenditure of development resources to make up for the increasing value of the ability.

Shuriken Nekogami wrote:
spell resistance equal to 6+level is a drawback more than a benefit. i see it as a scaling penalty.

The item creation guide doesn't agree with you - SR has a progressively higher cost as you increase the amount an item provides, rather than some sort of overall discount. Of course, you're also the guy that felt adding the Advanced template (+4 to all stats) to your character didn't warrant a level adjustment..

Shuriken Nekogami wrote:
Did you Know?

...that SR can be lowered by any creature that possesses it, making it no drawback at all, especially for post-combat recovery?

wraithstrike wrote:
The human ability to get an additional skill point also scales since it increases by level. If you only got one extra skill point no matter how many character levels you had then it would be a flat bonus.

It represents a flat value because it would cost a flat amount to gain the benefit in terms of the aformentioned resources. An item that gave a flat +2 Int bonus would give you +1 skill point per level, and the cost for that item would not change between levels. In terms of the ARG, the +2 int bonus would indisputably cost the same amount of RP regardless of other factors.

The same cannot be said for SR 11, SR 21, and SR 31. This is true if you price out a magic item to accomplish the task - the value expressed as gold pieces (for lack of a better medium) changes depending on the SR number, but does not change when, say, the +2 CON bonus the item gives provides +20 hp at level 20 as compared to +1 at level 1.

Lets try to avoid arguments about the definition of words that involve divorcing them from the specific context.

FallingIcicle wrote:
Now don't be rude, I can "wrap my head around it" just fine. As for the magic item comparison you make, number bonuses scale exponentially in price as well. A +2 magic sword is not merely twice as much money as a +1 sword, it's eight times as much, even though it's the same difference in power over a +1 weapon that a +1 weapon is over an ordinary one (a +1 difference on your attack and damage rolls). Magic items scale in price this way because of the way that player characters are assumed to accumulate wealth, and to also simulate the rarity of higher powered magic items over weaker ones. The same is true of characters, btw, 20th level characters are very scarce compared to level 1 characters!

You say you get it, but then proceed to demonstrate that you do not. The cost of the bonuses does not change from level to level - the fact that higher bonuses cost more when making a magic item is irrelevant to that fact. A +2 bonus has a flat cost, a bonus that increases over time does not, its cost scales as it increases. Everything you say after complaining that I'm rude and that you get it, is entirely irrelevant to this.

FallingIcicle wrote:
Imagaine, for the sake of argument, that a race had a special ability that improved the effective enchantment bonus of any weapon it wields by +2. Obviously, the effective gp value of that benefit would increase the more powerful the weapon you have, but it's still the same difference to your character's power and effectiveness at level 20 when wielding a +5 weapon that it was at level 1 when wielding an ordinary weapon. In either case, your character is getting a +2 to hit and damage.

Obtuse hand-waving. The cost of a single item is based on the abilities of that item, not on the sum of the benefits of all items that similarly contribute to the same total bonus. This is why there are modifier types, most of which do not stack. Your thought experiment about a racial ability that somehow bypasses non-stacking enhancement bonuses is not relevant.

FallingIcicle wrote:
Skill bonuses are really no different in this regard. A person with a +2 Perception will always be 2 points better at it than he otherwise would be, whether he has 1 rank in that skill or 20. Likewise, a drow is able to resist spells cast by an equal level character about 30% of the time, whether he is level 1 or level 20. A skill bonus NEVER becomes useless because of character leveling. Why should a Drow's SR?

Because SR is not considered to have a flat value. If we convert a race's benefits into a cost as though they were one or more magic items then the typical core race has a static value at level 1 that remains the same throughout character progression. A race that has scaling benefits cannot be assigned a flat value independent of character level - the value increases with the character level - thus the race that has a scaling value is not balanced against races that have a flat value.

A character, from a mechanical/numbers standpoint, can be seen as a pool of finite resources that, in theory, balances out against other characters at similar progression points. The basic forms of resources for a character are Feats, Class Benefits, and Equipment - things that are spent in different areas, but which are designed to more or less balance against those same expenditures by other players. The initial character has (typically) an identical point buy which allows the player to assign stats to suit their initial character concept, and a race choice which gives some up front benefits that, for core races, diminish in importance and utility quickly as the character advances in levels. Race is, in many ways, like getting a fancy magic item at level 1 that helps you through your early adventuring career but which gets eclipsed by other available resources as you grow.

When a race has a scaling benefit the overall resources involved in the character increases beyond the initial balance as the levels go on. At level 1, the character may have the same converted gold piece value as all other level 1 characters, but the divide increases with each level relative to fellow characters of a race that lacks the scaling benefit.

The ultimate point is this - value balance would require that scaling benefits come with a scaling character resource cost such that the overall value of characters remains even. An example would be a static spell resistance at level 1, but one that could be increased by spending feats during character progression should the player choose.

FallingIcicle wrote:
But it is a "flat" bonus, it's just subtle. Effectively, drow have a 30% chance (or less, depending on whether someone has Spell Penetration) to resist spells cast by a creature with a caster level equal to their character level. The scaling keeps that percentage consistent across all levels of play. If the value of a Drow's SR didn't increase with level, it would effectively decrease in effectiveness by 5% per level until it became completely worthless.

Too much quoting and not enough content. Yes, it would be of diminishing value like every other racial trait - a simple +2 bonus represents a progressively smaller portion of a total bonus, for example. Non-scaling SR would be no less useful against level 1 opponents when you were level 1 or level 20, it just wouldn't have a ton of utility against level 20 opponents, which is consistent with the front-loaded, temporary benfits of racial traits.

Maybe this is an easier way for you (and some others) to wrap their head around the difference between flat and scaling bonuses: what is the cost of a magic item that produces the same effect, at level 1, level 10, and level 20? For a +2 skill bonus the magic item will cost the same at all 3 levels. For +1 skill point per level you can price the item as being a +2 INT bonus with reduced utility, which again is an unchanging cost. For Spell Resistance 11, 21, and 31, the cost of a magic item changes dramatically - that's a scaling bonus.

Hasmir Talari wrote:
No, not really. +2 to perception as a racial ability - that is a flat bonus, it never changes. At level 1, a human can have +1 to perception; at level 10 it would be +10 (or +2 to five skills) - a linear growth. The higher level you are, the more use you can get out of that ability.

Yes, really. Regardless of how you decide to look at the result of the flat bonus, it is still a flat bonus - the benefit is not scaling to the character's level, it is simply giving them one more skill point the same way favored class would, or having a higher flat intelligence bonus would, or having selected a class with more skill points would.

Likewise, it does not make the character better than any other character at the things he or she does choose to put the point into - the restrictions related to maximum rank still apply. It doesnt give the character a capability that they didn't already have (they were able to take skills, they just get to take one more). That +2 bonus to perception does, in fact, improve the character past what other races can do, but a skill point does not.

You can nickle-and-dime explain pretty much any bonus as scaling if you want to mince words, but if you can describe them in terms of a flat bonus then they probably are just that. That +2 flat bonus to perception can be described as always being two higher at every level, since the maximum perception bonus DOES go up every level due to the flat bonus.. but the bonus itself does not change.. yet the bonus is, itself, a flat +2 bonus. SR is 10+character level with the key being the + level part. That's a scaling bonus, and since it represents an ability that characters don't normally get, it can't be described in terms of a flat bonus.

Detect Magic wrote:
VoodooMike wrote:
Having a scaling benefit based on level breaks with that, giving a lasting benefit, and making any race that has that benefit better across the entire 20 level progression.

You mean like humans?

Core Rulebook wrote:
Skilled: Humans gain an additional skill rank at first level and one additional rank whenever they gain a level.

An extra skill point is a flat bonus, not a scaling bonus - it doesnt get better with time. It is the equivalent of having a one point higher intelligence modifier, but only for calculating skills per level.

Spell Resistance increasing with level means that spells cast by lower level enemies get progressively easier to resist. It represents a benefit that is not given to all characters (favoured class, for example, is something all races have, and can likewise give a bonus skill rank) and which gives a relevant in-combat bonus that scales to level. Barring modifiers like spell penetration, your chance to resist the spells of even-level opponents will stay the same as you gain levels - something that, unlike a flat bonus, doesn't lose its power as time goes on.

Had you wished to be clever with your quip, you might have used the bonus feat as the scaling benefit instead as it actually does represent something similar due to the fact that it can be used to qualify for higher feats on a tree at an earlier level than other classes, and that subsequent feats on that tree will each be taken earlier (assuming no other level-gating prerequisites). There's a reason the bonus feat of the player's choice is so popular.

The devs apparently did agree that Drow need a level adjustment of some sort, at least originally. Look at the sidebar on p406 of the PF CRB.

Racial spell resistance is a bad idea primarily because it scales with level, unlike your typical racial ability. Race as a whole is about having some front-loaded but diminishing benefit (the effect of your race typically diminishes quickly as your character level increases). Having a scaling benefit based on level breaks with that, giving a lasting benefit, and making any race that has that benefit better across the entire 20 level progression.

A static SR that doesn't scale with levels, but that can be improved with feats, would be smarter and more consistent.

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