'Character Level' vs 'Class Level' Ambiguity


Rules Questions


A. Do the rules mean character level or class level when they say, "Her level?"

B. Do they mean character level or class level when they say, "The class's level?"

Example A: "A paladin uses her level as her effective cleric level when channeling positive energy." By RAW, I would assume this to mean that it used character level, because the 'paladin's level' literally refers to the total level of the paladin, but is that what's intended? It seems silly, because a 4 level dip in paladin could grant a more powerful channel energy ability than an 8 level dip in cleric...

Example B: "This ability functions as silent image, using the shadowdancer's level as the caster level." Does this mean it uses the character's shadowdancer level, or the shadowdancer's character level? Again I would assume the character level by RAW, because the literal 'shadowdancer's level' means the total level of the shadowdancer, but again it's counter intuitive that a 3 level dip in shadowdancer should yield a better silent image than a 6 level dip in wizard...

I wish that every reference to level in the class descriptions specifically stated "X's character level" or "X's class level".

Paizo Employee Creative Director

Character level means a character's total level: all of her classes added together. For most PCs, this number should be equal to the character's Hit Dice.

Class level is a character's level in a specific class.

A 10th level paladin has 10 character levels consisting of 10 class levels in paladin.

A 5th level paladin/5th level bard has 10 character levels consisting of 5 class levels of paladin and 5 class levels of bard.

Liberty's Edge

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

It means class level. It says so on page 31.

Pathfinder Core rules wrote:
Note that there are a number of effects and prerequisites that rely on the character's level or Hit Dice. Such effects are always based on the total number of levels or Hit Dice a character possesses, not just those from one class. The exception to this is class abilities, most of which are based on the total number of class levels that a character possesses of that particular class.

Emphasis mine.


Great thank you very much for the clarification!

Sovereign Court

How does this relate to the new barbarian powers?

The way I understand it, you need levels in barbarian to gain rage, and to gain additional rage powers, but do you need barbarian levels to qualify for higher level rage powers?

Example (Greater Beast Totem): "A barbarian must be at least 10th level to select this rage power."

Does this mean their barbarian class level or character level? Could a Barbarian8/Fighter2 take this rage as their 8th level rage power gained at character level 10? Could a Barbarian9/Fighter2 gain this rage power by taking the Extra Rage Power feat at 11th level?

The inquisitor judgments that increase in power with levels specifically state inquisitor levels. That wording is left off in the rage powers.


As stated in the Core Rulebook, class abilities always refer to class levels unless explicitly stated otherwise.

Sovereign Court

I'm with you on that quote from the core rulebook, but I am still curious about why they would go out of their way to say it one way for one class's class feature and not for another. Rage is the class feature, while rage powers are the option based off the class feature. Judgment is the class feature, while the individual judgments are the options. Why explicitly say inquisitor level in one place and just level for the rage power? If it were always class levels, then they didn't need to say inquisitor levels.


James Jacobs wrote:

Character level means a character's total level: all of her classes added together. For most PCs, this number should be equal to the character's Hit Dice.

Class level is a character's level in a specific class.

A 10th level paladin has 10 character levels consisting of 10 class levels in paladin.

A 5th level paladin/5th level bard has 10 character levels consisting of 5 class levels of paladin and 5 class levels of bard.

That's all clear, but if I understood it correctly, the question was along the lines of, "which one does it mean when neither is specified (as is often the case)?"

Dark Archive

RtrnofdMax wrote:
I'm with you on that quote from the core rulebook, but I am still curious about why they would go out of their way to say it one way for one class's class feature and not for another. Rage is the class feature, while rage powers are the option based off the class feature. Judgment is the class feature, while the individual judgments are the options. Why explicitly say inquisitor level in one place and just level for the rage power? If it were always class levels, then they didn't need to say inquisitor levels.

there is no good answer. They're only human? someone screwed up? they assumed people would just read the rules and not try and create loop-holes that don't exist.

take your pick


Name Violation wrote:
they assumed people would just read the rules and not try and create loop-holes that don't exist.

How can they be so foolish?

;-)


I always assume that when calculating effects of class abilities any reference to level means class level unless specifically stated as character levels. After all those are class abilities.

When it comes to abilities derived from race or template I usually assume character level unless noted otherwise. Same for feats unless those are specifically asociated with particular class or expand class ability (e.g. channeling feats).

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