Advanced Player's Guide Reference to Spell "Type"


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Pathfinder Adventure Path, Companion, Lost Omens, Rulebook, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

I do not believe that there is any such thing as a "type" or "subtype" when referring to spells, however, I have found two references in the Druid Alternate Class features section that do, which I believe may be in error:

APG- Aquatic Druid wrote:
At 4th level, an aquatic druid gains a +4 bonus on saving throws against spells of the water type or the exceptional or supernatural abilities of creatures with the aquatic or water subtype.
APG- Arctic Druid wrote:
Snowcaster (Su) At 9th level, an arctic druid can see normally in ice storm, sleet storm, or similar natural snowstorms. In addition, she can prepare any druid spell with the fire subtype as a cold spell, with an identical effect but inflicting cold damage instead of fire damage.

I'm guessing these should have been worded:

jreyst wrote:
At 4th level, an aquatic druid gains a +4 bonus on saving throws against spells with the water descriptor or the exceptional or supernatural abilities of creatures with the aquatic or water subtype.
jreyst wrote:
Snowcaster (Su) At 9th level, an arctic druid can see normally in ice storm, sleet storm, or similar natural snowstorms. In addition, she can prepare any druid spell with the fire descriptor. When prepared this way the spell has the cold descriptor instead, but with otherwise identical effects other than inflicting cold damage instead of fire damage.

Thoughts?


Well fireball is van evocation spell with the fire descriptor as an example. So if your above Druid could somehow cast fireball it would be a cold spell. Same with your other examples. The apg added a number of spells thAt are earth fire water etc that do things other than damage. Aquious orb fir example


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Companion, Lost Omens, Rulebook, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Mojorat wrote:
Well fireball is van evocation spell with the fire descriptor as an example. So if your above Druid could somehow cast fireball it would be a cold spell. Same with your other examples. The apg added a number of spells thAt are earth fire water etc that do things other than damage. Aquious orb fir example

Umm.. I get that lol

What I'm saying is that these two examples use the word "Type" when that does not appear to be applicable to spells. The correct term would be "descriptor." Besides being incorrect, it also confuses things because "Type" and "Subtype" are already existing terms that refer to monsters.. not spells.

If I am mistaken, and "Type" is a mechanical term regarding magic, someone please let me know.

Contributor

Does it really matter?

If I say "cold spells" or "spells with the cold descriptor" or "spells of the cold type," you know what I mean, yes?

Don't get me wrong, I'm a stickler for exact terminology, and these really should say "X descriptor" to be 100% in compliance with proper style, but as long as you know what it means, it's not a big deal. Humans are not robots, game spells are not computer code.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Companion, Lost Omens, Rulebook, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

Treating things like this dismissively leaves a bad impression.

Does it matter to me? No, not really that much. However, it would be easier for people new to the game if the terms used were consistent and correct. This is one of those points where "you and I know it because we've been playing this game for 30 years" but I fear someone just picking up the book, new to the game, might see the word "Type" in regards to a spell, start looking through the books to find which ones have that "Type" or try to find the definition of "Type" in regards to spells, find nothing, then see "descriptor" and MAYBE conclude that is what the designers "meant." Seems like you could cut out that entire bit of potential confusion and frustration by using the correct terminology.

Just saying. It has no effect on me or my games, but others might get confused by it. This might warrant an FAQ or errata entry, but as always, that's up to you guys to decide.

Contributor

And I believe that a game which has 5 different contextual meanings for "level," it's okay for a rule to refer informally to a spell descriptor as "of X type." This is not computer code.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Companion, Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber
Sean K Reynolds wrote:
And I believe that a game which has 5 different contextual meanings for "level," it's okay for a rule to refer informally to a spell descriptor as "of X type." This is not computer code.

On the flip side, my last 'new player' who joined my group and learned the game from scratch was easily able to process the more 'intent based' statements like the "of X type" above, and struggled with the specific wording combos and restrictions. (like which feats could and could not work together in combat, for example.)


It is a game with complicated rules and a lot of rules, it has to be written as a instruction manual (a good one, not a DVD manual translated by google's translator), i.e. precise wording. I think that WotC and Paizo understood that because 95% of the game rules are quite precise.
That said, in this case I can't see any confusion, but any small correction is always good. It should be posted in the APG errata thread, btw.
Link.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Companion, Lost Omens, Rulebook, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
IkeDoe wrote:
It is a game with complicated rules and a lot of rules, it has to be written as a instruction manual...

I agree. I think the game rules should be as precise and consistent as possible (and reasonable.) In this case the choice of words was not consistent with the mechanical terms used elsewhere in the rules, which might lead to some confusion. If there is a mechanical term already defined which is applicable it seems like that term should be used and not some casual usage of another word that is also a specific mechanical term with a definition in the game. Sean agreed it should be "descriptor" but seems dismissive of anything more. I'll add a footnote on d20pfsrd.com explaining the deviation from the normally used terms and hope that helps users of the site.


Sean K Reynolds wrote:

Does it really matter?

If I say "cold spells" or "spells with the cold descriptor" or "spells of the cold type," you know what I mean, yes?

Yes, although it would be less clear to me what a "water type" spell is, since there are a number of spells that involve water (possibly in ice or rain form) but that don't have the [water] descriptor.


Sean K Reynolds wrote:

Does it really matter?

If I say "cold spells" or "spells with the cold descriptor" or "spells of the cold type," you know what I mean, yes?

Don't get me wrong, I'm a stickler for exact terminology, and these really should say "X descriptor" to be 100% in compliance with proper style, but as long as you know what it means, it's not a big deal. Humans are not robots, game spells are not computer code.

Huh.


Arnwyn wrote:
Sean K Reynolds wrote:

Does it really matter?

If I say "cold spells" or "spells with the cold descriptor" or "spells of the cold type," you know what I mean, yes?

Don't get me wrong, I'm a stickler for exact terminology, and these really should say "X descriptor" to be 100% in compliance with proper style, but as long as you know what it means, it's not a big deal. Humans are not robots, game spells are not computer code.

Huh.

I don't think there's anything contradictory about being annoyed by something on general principle (e.g. sloppy terminology), but also acknowledging that it's not a big deal in some cases (e.g. where you can tell what is meant by context).

Case in point: I really, really, really hate doors where the "push" handle looks exactly like the "pull" handle. But that doesn't mean that it isn't relatively harmless in some cases.

Contributor

Arnwyn wrote:
Huh.

"This affects spells of the cold type."

"But 'type' has a specific meaning regarding spells."
"No, no, it doesn't."

This is very different than using "enchantment" in such a way that confuses what an "enchantment" is, or whether the specified effect applies to all spells (because you're using "enchantment" in a very lax way) or just enchantment spells (because you're using "enchantment" in the correct way).

Scarab Sages

Sean K Reynolds wrote:
This is very different than using "enchantment" in such a way that confuses what an "enchantment" is, or whether the specified effect applies to all spells (because you're using "enchantment" in a very lax way) or just enchantment spells (because you're using "enchantment" in the correct way).

"I'll enchant the sword."

"The sword is now enchanted by your awesome magical presence."

"I'll give it a polish."

"Okay. Now the sword reeeeeally likes you."


Sean K Reynolds wrote:
This is very different than using "enchantment" in such a way that confuses what an "enchantment" is, or whether the specified effect applies to all spells (because you're using "enchantment" in a very lax way) or just enchantment spells (because you're using "enchantment" in the correct way).

???? Enchantment?

I think the title of the linked article is enough - notably the mini-rant further below that - especially when considering a published product for money.

hogarth wrote:
I don't think there's anything contradictory about being annoyed by something on general principle (e.g. sloppy terminology), but also acknowledging that it's not a big deal in some cases (e.g. where you can tell what is meant by context).

If it's enough to spawn that much of a rant... well, I certainly do. *shrug*

Contributor

Dude, I'm not going to argue with you on this. :p

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