Can a Life Oracle with Channeling take channel energy feats?


Rules Questions


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Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber

On APG page 48:

Channel: You can channel positive energy like a cleric, using your oracle level as your effective cleric level when determining the amount of damage healed (or caused to undead) and the DC. You can use this ability a number of times per day equal to 1 + your Charisma modifier.

The question of whether Channel Energy levels stack has already been raised so I won't address that here, but it would be nice to get an official reply on this thread.

Under the Bones mystery, Undead Servitude, it specifically states what feats you can take that augment the ability. (However the channel negative energy ability provided is not the "full" ability that a cleric would normally get.)

Undead Servitude (Su): You gain Command Undead as a bonus feat. You can channel negative energy a number of times per day equal to 3 + your Charisma modifier, but only to use Command Undead. You can take other feats to add to this ability, such as Improved Channeling, but not feats that alter this ability, such as Alignment Channel.

Since it does not describe if feats can be applied to the Channel revelation, does this revelation provide the "full" channel positive energy ability that a cleric or paladin receives, which would allow all appropriate feats that require the "channel energy class feature" to be selected?

Dark Archive

I'd rule it as equivalent to the Cleric's ability. It doesn't say you can't apply feats to it and it does say "like a cleric."

Sovereign Court

+1. The bones oracle calls them out specifically because hes gained a very limited form of channeling.

The Life Oracle gets the full works with the feat.

Contributor

If a feat has a prereq of "channel energy class feature," what about that is ambiguous in regard to this question?

Shadow Lodge

Sean K Reynolds wrote:
If a feat has a prereq of "channel energy class feature," what about that is ambiguous in regard to this question?

Well, I just looked at the wording of both in the srd, and Clerics have "Channel Energy", while the Life Oracle has "Channel". I guess someone really nitpicky would argue that Channel is not the same as Channel Energy, thus they would not qualify? But clearly, the RAI is there.

Sovereign Court

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Theres so much general nitpicking and wanting every tiny thing clarified with an official answer these days, it drives me a bit nuts... :S


Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber
Sean K Reynolds wrote:
If a feat has a prereq of "channel energy class feature," what about that is ambiguous in regard to this question?

As referenced in my post, the Undead Servitude ability (which does state that it allows you to channel negative energy) specifically says "You can take other feats to add to this ability...", where-as this one does not.

This meant to me that this ability was either intended to:

1) Provide only the ability to channel positive energy and not be altered by other feats that change the energy type. (Which, since the oracle doesn't require a divine focus, would have been a good balance).

or;

2) Provide the full channel energy class ability of a cleric. (Except that this ability does not stack with the cleric's similar ability since it is not explicitly stated).

On the plus side, your question has ansered my question. #2 it is.


Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber
Alexander Kilcoyne wrote:
Theres so much general nitpicking and wanting every tiny thing clarified with an official answer these days, it drives me a bit nuts... :S

Well, speaking for my needs, when coding a character generator program its fairly important that the 100+ people using it can rely on it being 100% rules accurate.

Sovereign Court

Kor - Orc Scrollkeeper wrote:
Alexander Kilcoyne wrote:
Theres so much general nitpicking and wanting every tiny thing clarified with an official answer these days, it drives me a bit nuts... :S

Well, speaking for my needs, when coding a character generator program its fairly important that the 100+ people using it can rely on it being 100% rules accurate.

For a program like that I agree 100%.

Dark Archive

Sean K Reynolds wrote:
If a feat has a prereq of "channel energy class feature," what about that is ambiguous in regard to this question?

Because arguably the Oracle doesn't have this as a class feature. They have the Revelation class feature that can be used to be able to Channel Energy. It's not clear whether that makes Channel Energy a "Class Feature."

Not to be rude, but it would have been easier if you just said "This counts as the Channel Energy class feature" rather than answering a question with a question. Unless, in order to be able to tell us that you did, in fact, need to know what was unclear which is possible.

Contributor

YuenglingDragon wrote:
Not to be rude, but it would have been easier if you just said "This counts as the Channel Energy class feature" rather than answering a question with a question.

Give a man a fish, and he will eat for a day.

Teach a man to fish, and he will eat for the rest of his life.

Dark Archive

Sean K Reynolds wrote:

Give a man a fish, and he will eat for a day.

Teach a man to fish, and he will eat for the rest of his life.

Give a man a fire he’ll be warm for a day, set a man on fire and he’ll be warm for the rest of his life.

We can trade these all night...

I'm still not sure whether the Oracle has a fish or can actually do the fishing.

Dark Archive

Kor - Orc Scrollkeeper wrote:
Regardless, I'm just happy that the Paizo staff take the time to "weigh in" on some of these threads, so I'll take it any way I can get it :)

Absolutely. Pathfinder as a game and the community of players and GM's who use the system benefit greatly from the level of personal involvement of the developers here. It's unheard of, at least in any hobby I've ever had. I was just pointing out that he didn't really address the question.

It doesn't really matter, anyway. In the game I play we regard the abilities as equivalent even if, by RAW, they might not be.


YuenglingDragon wrote:
Sean K Reynolds wrote:

Give a man a fish, and he will eat for a day.

Teach a man to fish, and he will eat for the rest of his life.

Give a man a fire he’ll be warm for a day, set a man on fire and he’ll be warm for the rest of his life.

We can trade these all night...

I'm still not sure whether the Oracle has a fish or can actually do the fishing.

The oracles can channel just like the cleric. Sean said so above. The text is not perfectly clear, but not much of it is.


There are two types of feat requirements. There are the "can you actually use this feat if you took it?" requirements, and there are the "we don't want to just give you this feat for free" requirements. The first type of requirement is very obvious when it is used, because without the requirement the feat would make no sense. The channel energy feats are this type; how can you use your channel energy in a different way if you don't have channel energy in the first place?

What does that first paragraph mean? It means that, if the requirement is a "can you use this feat if you took it?" requirement, that's the only actual question you need to ask when considering that requirement: "do I actually have the ability to use this feat?". In the case of a Life Oracle with the appropriate revelation, yes, they do actually have the ability to use the feat. Thus, they meet the requirement.

Sometimes it really is that simple.

Liberty's Edge

For me, at least, the confusion stems from the following:

Clerics gain Channel Energy as a class feature. Great. No problem.

Oracles gain Revelations as a class feature. They can learn to channel energy through a Revelation, but Channel Energy itself is not a class feature for Oracles - heck, you could even (stupidly) build a Life Oracle that can't channel energy at all. So, if the feat has a req of "Channel Energy class feature", the Oracle really doesn't seem to meet that prerequisite.

Don't get me wrong, it's totally obvious to me that the intention is for Oracles to be able to take the Channel feats. But I can totally see how someone could be confused by this.

Grand Lodge

Jeremiziah wrote:
Oracles gain Revelations as a class feature. They can learn to channel energy through a Revelation, but Channel Energy itself is not a class feature for Oracles

IMO that's ridiculous logic. If a class feature package allows you to customize your character by selecting from a list of class features, whatever option you select becomes a class feature by definition. Is there any example of a class option not being a class feature?

Liberty's Edge

Well, gosh, that's sort of a strong reaction.

The thing I'm saying is that "Class Option" is not a game-defined term, whereas "Class Feature" is. And Oracles do not gain Channel Energy as a Class Feature. If they did, every Oracle would have it. Even if you go to the level of "Life Oracle", channel still isn't a Class Feature, as it's very possible to build a Life Oracle who can't channel energy. There's room for confusion, that's all I'm saying.

To reiterate: Don't get me wrong, it's totally obvious to me that the intention is for Oracles to be able to take the Channel feats. But I can totally see how someone could be confused by this.


Jeremiziah wrote:
he thing I'm saying is that "Class Option" is not a game-defined term, whereas "Class Feature" is.

Really? Please cite me the definition of "Class Feature".

Contributor

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YuenglingDragon wrote:
Sean K Reynolds wrote:

Give a man a fish, and he will eat for a day.

Teach a man to fish, and he will eat for the rest of his life.

Give a man a fire he’ll be warm for a day, set a man on fire and he’ll be warm for the rest of his life.

We can trade these all night...

I'm still not sure whether the Oracle has a fish or can actually do the fishing.

My point is that if I just answer your question, you've learned that you don't have to understand how to develop a reasonable interpretation of the game rules, you can just ask and have someone else answer for you. Thus, you're more likely to ask other questions you could answer yourself if you just thought about it.

If I make you think about the rules and you develop a reasonable interpretation of how they work, you're a better GM and a better player, and don't need to rely on an "official" ruling from the staff.

Let's look at it this way: From a game mechanics perspective, is there any difference between the following two abilities?

1) A class ability that gives you the ability to channel energy.
2) A revelation, feat, racial ability, magic item, spell, or other ability that gives you the ability to channel energy.

Dark Archive

wraithstrike wrote:


The oracles can channel just like the cleric. Sean said so above. The text is not perfectly clear, but not much of it is.

Did he?

Sean K Reynolds wrote:
If a feat has a prereq of "channel energy class feature," what about that is ambiguous in regard to this question?

Nope, he sure didn't say that. He asked what was ambiguous. That is not a statement. You can tell because that little squiggly line with a dot under it that ends his sentence denotes a question.

Zurai wrote:
Jeremiziah wrote:
he thing I'm saying is that "Class Option" is not a game-defined term, whereas "Class Feature" is.
Really? Please cite me the definition of "Class Feature".

Well, I guess that's part of the problem isn't it? What is a class feature and how do we know the Oracle has it? I've always thought a class feature was one of the items in the special column. It seems true until you hit a thing like this where one class is mimicking the features of another.

Liberty's Edge

Zurai wrote:
Really? Please cite me the definition of "Class Feature".

Please stop trolling me, it's unnecessary. I think you know what I'm saying.

I should have said that "Class Feature" is a game-recognized term (occurring approximately 110 times in the Core Rules alone - my eyes started to glaze over, so I can't be sure), whereas the term "Class Option" never appears in the Core Rules, and as such means nothing, as best as I can tell.

There are whole sets of mechanics tied to "Class Feature", UMD and Paladin-standing-with-diety being counted among them.

"Class Feature" is never defined, but could be inferred to be defined as: Abilities tied inherently to the selection of a class.

When I select Oracle as my class, do I learn to Channel Energy automatically, or do I become mandated to be able to do so once I reach a given level at some point in the future?

No. That's all I'm saying.

If it helps, though, I'll just go ahead and say that there is no room for confusion at all on this topic, and that it's perfectly clear and should never initiate a question from anyone. That better?

The Exchange RPG Superstar 2010 Top 16

This is a larger question, addressed explicitly to Sean, because he brought up the topic.

Sean K. Reynolds wrote:

If I make you think about the rules and you develop a reasonable interpretation of how they work, you're a better GM and a better player, and don't need to rely on an "official" ruling from the staff.

Let's look at it this way: From a game mechanics perspective, is there any difference between the following two abilities?

1) A class ability that gives you the ability to channel energy.
2) A revelation, feat, racial ability, magic item, spell, or other ability that gives you the ability to channel energy.

Sean, I'll raise my hand and say "I don't know." Is there a difference between an "attack action" and using an action to attack? Is there a difference between a spell which affects an area, and an "area attack" spell? And so on, and on.

One of the most unfortunate aspects of the Pathfinder rulebook is the way that some terms which, in previous versions, had an undefined but commonly accepted meaning, now have a precise definition which runs counter to my broad understanding of the term. And it doesn't appear that I'm alone. People who are confident in their knowledge of D&D 3.5 are raising the FAQ flags because they don't trust their own judgements regarding Pathfinder.

Put another way, if you had come here and given exactly the opposite ruling -- reporting that Channel Energy feats required a character to have Channel Energy as a class feature, and then observing that Channel Energy appears nowhere on the Oracle's list of class features -- that wouldn't have surprised me at all.

My "mastery" of the Pathfinder rules is very weak.

Shadow Lodge

YuenglingDragon wrote:
Well, I guess that's part of the problem isn't it? What is a class feature and how do we know the Oracle has it? I've always thought a class feature was one of the items in the special column. It seems true until you hit a thing like this where one class is mimicking the features of another.

If it's listed under the Oracle class it's a class feature. If you were able to channel due to a feat, a magic item, a god granted boon, or a racial ability it wouldn't work with the feat.

Some things aren't 'defined' because they are implicit. Class features are features... of a class.


Jeremiziah wrote:
Zurai wrote:
Really? Please cite me the definition of "Class Feature".
Please stop trolling me, it's unnecessary.

I'm not trolling you. I'm trying to help you realize that you're acting as if "Class Feature" is a defined term. It's not. There's no rule that says that "Class Features" are only the bold items that are listed in the "Special" column, and that sub-items that come from options of those bold items are not "Class Features". That's all an invention of your own. Is it a feature (common english definition) of the class? In other words, is it something that class can potentially do that not all classes can potentially do? If yes, then it's a class feature.

Dark Archive

Sean K Reynolds wrote:

My point is that if I just answer your question, you've learned that you don't have to understand how to develop a reasonable interpretation of the game rules, you can just ask and have someone else answer for you. Thus, you're more likely to ask other questions you could answer yourself if you just thought about it.

If I make you think about the rules and you develop a reasonable interpretation of how they work, you're a better GM and a better player, and don't need to rely on an "official" ruling from the staff.

Let's look at it this way: From a game mechanics perspective, is there any difference between the following two abilities?

1) A class ability that gives you the ability to channel energy.
2) A revelation, feat, racial ability, magic item, spell, or other ability that gives you the ability to channel energy.

And I guess my point is that if you answer a question and explain why it is so, you give me and others the basis on which to make further decisions. By just asking why we're unclear on this topic we actually learned nothing. If we learn nothing you can't possibly be teaching.

Thinking about the rules is what we've been doing and here's what we've found out:

1. There is no such thing as a class feature in the rules. We don't know what a class feature is so it's harder to tell if a class has one.

2. Channel Energy is a feat prerequisite but only the Cleric has what looks like a feature called Channel Energy. The Oracle has Channel and the Paladin has Channel Positive Energy. these are arguably not the same thing. "The ability to channel energy" is more appropriate for a feat prerequisite until a definition for class feature is developed.

3. If we define class feature as any ability gained through levels in a class, then it's clear that the Paladin, Oracle and Cleric all qualify for Channeling Feats.

Liberty's Edge

If I wondered what a Class Feature was, I'd assume that it was one of the items listed under the heading within the class titled "Class Features" - I wouldn't look in the special column of the table at all, actually, and that wasn't what I was talking about. Once a new heading is established, my assumption is that we're talking about something else.

Look, again (for the umpteenth time), I have enough imagination to know the answer to this question: Yes, oracles that choose Channel as a revelation can use the channel feats. I'm just saying that it's not completely ridiculous to conclude otherwise, or at the very least, to be confused about the whole thing.

@Chris, thanks for your reply - you've said it ever so much better than I could have.


YuenglingDragon wrote:
Sean K Reynolds wrote:

My point is that if I just answer your question, you've learned that you don't have to understand how to develop a reasonable interpretation of the game rules, you can just ask and have someone else answer for you. Thus, you're more likely to ask other questions you could answer yourself if you just thought about it.

If I make you think about the rules and you develop a reasonable interpretation of how they work, you're a better GM and a better player, and don't need to rely on an "official" ruling from the staff.

Let's look at it this way: From a game mechanics perspective, is there any difference between the following two abilities?

1) A class ability that gives you the ability to channel energy.
2) A revelation, feat, racial ability, magic item, spell, or other ability that gives you the ability to channel energy.

And I guess my point is that if you answer a question and explain why it is so, you give me and others the basis on which to make further decisions. By just asking why we're unclear on this topic we actually learned nothing. If we learn nothing you can't possibly be teaching.

Thinking about the rules is what we've been doing and here's what we've found out:

1. There is no such thing as a class feature in the rules. We don't know what a class feature is so it's harder to tell if a class has one.

2. Channel Energy is a feat prerequisite but only the Cleric has what looks like a feature called Channel Energy. The Oracle has Channel and the Paladin has Channel Positive Energy. these are arguably not the same thing. "The ability to channel energy" is more appropriate for a feat prerequisite until a definition for class feature is developed.

3. If we define class feature as any ability gained through levels in a class, then it's clear that the Paladin, Oracle and Cleric all qualify for Channeling Feats.

Not true. Even if Class Feature was defined that way, Paladins and Oracles would still not qualify for the feat. Neither has Channel Energy as a class feature. Paladins have Channel Positive Energy and Oracles have Channel.

So many things in Pathfinder have very specific wording requirements. When ever anything doesn't use the exact wording that is set down by a rule it will always lead one to wonder. "Was it worded this way to specifically exclude if from those rules?"

One could argue that Channel was named "Channel" rather than "Channel Energy" specifically to exclude it from working with the Channel Energy Feats.


Sean K Reynolds wrote:

My point is that if I just answer your question, you've learned that you don't have to understand how to develop a reasonable interpretation of the game rules, you can just ask and have someone else answer for you. Thus, you're more likely to ask other questions you could answer yourself if you just thought about it.

If I make you think about the rules and you develop a reasonable interpretation of how they work, you're a better GM and a better player, and don't need to rely on an "official" ruling from the staff.

Let's look at it this way: From a game mechanics perspective, is there any difference between the following two abilities?

1) A class ability that gives you the ability to channel energy.
2) A revelation, feat, racial ability, magic item, spell, or other ability that gives you the ability to channel energy.

Thank you for your time Sean. If you would indulge me, please consider the following:

I don't often ask rules questions on the forums, but I do wonder from time to time how things are suppose to work. If something comes up in game, I'll come up with how it should work, I'll send out an e-mail explaining how the questioned element is suppose to work, and that's that.

But if something comes up beforehand, I am kind of curious as to how things are suppose to work.

I'll agree, there are times I would not ask some of the questions I see asked and would just rule on them, but where that line is is going to be set a bit differently for each person, with only the far extremes being most likely to be agree upon by the majority of people.

Now, where I think the confusion is coming from has to do with the answers that are actually rendered on the forums.

James has very clearly quantified that most of his responses are "informal," i.e. he's not issuing errata when he's telling us his opinion on how something works. That works great for me. Its advice, not a ruling.

However, most often when you or Jason make a comment on rules, its an actual ruling. I understand this puts a lot of pressure on you guys whenever you post, and I appreciate that pressure.

I also realize some things may come across as very logical to you, and thus that it might be strange to ask for an actual ruling.

Now, when you combine the above, however, things get confusing. It means that sometimes Paizo employees will give non-official opinions, sometimes they will give official opinions that will be incorporated into the errata, and sometimes they will answer in riddles to try and teach us game design.

Personally, I'd be fine with not getting an official answer until something is added to the FAQ officially or in the errata with no official answers on the forums, so no one is looking for it. They can post a questing, mark it with the FAQ tag, and hope to someday see an official ruling, and you guys don't have to worry about someone throwing your words in your face.

But the fact that people get a mixed bag of unofficial, official, and non answers on similar topics means that people will still expect that from time to time they will hit the "official" answer.

Contributor

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Chris Mortika wrote:
Sean K. Reynolds wrote:

If I make you think about the rules and you develop a reasonable interpretation of how they work, you're a better GM and a better player, and don't need to rely on an "official" ruling from the staff.

[smaller]Let's look at it this way: From a game mechanics perspective, is there any difference between the following two abilities?
1) A class ability that gives you the ability to channel energy.
2) A revelation, feat, racial ability, magic item, spell, or other ability that gives you the ability to channel energy.

First, let me give a bit of background. Back when I was at Wizards, at the start of 3E I worked with Jonathan Tweet on a bunch of advice columns, including an article called "How to Design a Feat." One of the concepts we established was "things should be the same, or they should be different." (And by "different" I mean "very different" so you don't mix up the two.) That concept helps players remember different rules--if rule X is already in the game, and you're creating new rule Y that works a lot like X, you should either (1) make Y work EXACTLY like X, or make Y work differently than X. That way, players can remember that Y works like X, or not accidentally confuse how Y and X work. And if Y feels a lot like X, it's almost certainly supposed to work like X, and things that attach to X should be able to attach to Y.

For example, imagine an alternate universe where the PFRPG feat Improved Trip gave a +2 bonus on trip maneuvers, but Improved Sunder gave a +3 on sunder maneuvers, Improved Grapple gave a +4 on grapples, and Improved Disarm gave a +2, and only some of them said you didn't provoke an AOO for attempting the maneuver. That would be incredibly confusing and hard to remember--unless you were a total memory freak, every time you encountered one of those feats you'd have to look up the exact bonus it gave because the listed bonuses were all very similar, and you'd have to look up whether or not it provoked an AOO because there wasn't a clear pattern to which ones did or didn't. Instead, in this universe, all of those feats give a +2, they all let you do the maneuver without provoking an AOO, and all of them give you a +2 to your CMD when defending against that sort of maneuver. Not only does this mean the feats are balanced against each other, but they're consistent and therefore easy to remember. Likewise, all of the +2/+2 skill feats give you +2 to two skills, not +1 to one skill and +3 to another skill. Consistency in rules means you have to memorize fewer specifics and just remember things like "the core skill bonus feats give +2/+2" and "the improved maneuver feats are all +2 offense/+2 defense/no AOO." That helps you play the game and run the game.

So when the cleric class has a header section called "Class Features" and under that is an entry that says "Channel Energy," and the oracle class has a section called "Class Features" and under that is an entry that says "Channel: You can channel positive energy like a cleric," and the paladin class has a section called "Class Features" and under that is an entry that says "Channel Positive Energy (Su): ... she gains the supernatural ability to channel positive energy like a cleric," those all are intended to work the same way, even though they're not given identical names. For one, because the paladin and oracle "versions" of that ability tell you it works like the cleric "version" of the ability. For two, because having them all work the same way is simpler and easier to remember than each of them working a different way. Now, given, the oracle gets 1+Chamod per day instead of the cleric's 3+Chamod, and the paladin spends uses of lay on hands instead of a separate X/day allotment, but if you line up a good cleric 5, a life oracle 5, and a paladin 5, and tell each of them to channel a burst of positive energy, all three of them are healing 3d6 to living or dealing 3d6 to undead, DC 10 + 1/2 level + Chamod, 30 ft. radius, no AOO, and so on. Exactly the same. Because it's easier to remember that way. Because it makes the game easier to run that way.

And that means things like Improved Channel and Alignment Channel and Extra Channel should apply equally to the cleric, life oracle, and paladin (you'll note for Extra Channel the paladin ability's counting method of uses per day for the feat is slightly diff because the paladin ability is based on using lay on hands, but the net result is the paladin gets +2 uses of channel per day, just like the cleric and oracle). Because to do otherwise means we need different versions of these feats for oracles and paladins because under the strictest interpretation, neither of them has a class ability that's specifically and explicitly named "channel energy;" and three sets of redundant identical feats for clerics, oracles, and paladins is lame and a waste of space.

If it walks like a duck and quacks like a duck, it's probably a duck. If you line up Daffy Duck, Donald Duck, Duckman, and Howard the Duck, from a game standpoint it makes sense that a +1 duck-bane arrow is going to do +2d6 damage in addition to normal arrow damage if you shoot any of them, because they're all ducks. And if you shot that arrow at "Duckie" from Pretty in Pink, it wouldn't get any bonus damage, because he isn't a duck. And you should be able to see why those first four are ducks and the last one isn't.

And if for some reason two things that seem almost the same (like "channel energy" vs. "channel" vs. "channel positive energy") shouldn't act exactly the same, count on us to tell you how it is different. For example, take the necromancer "power over undead" ability; you can't heal or harm with it, but you can use Command Undead or Turn Undead with it (both of which are based on channeling), and can take feats that augment those two applications, but not feats that alter your purpose away from undead. So, necromancers get an ability that works just like channel energy, except (1) it always works like Command Undead or Turn Undead (i.e., no heal-harm aspect), and (2) can't ever be used on something other than undead. Does the necromancer have an ability called "channel energy"? No. Does it let you do stuff that clerics with Command Undead or Turn Undead can? Yes. In those cases, does it work exactly like channel energy modified by those feats? Yes. Does it make sense that the necromancer can use feats and abilities that rely on channel energy as long as the feat or ability augments their power over undead? Yes. So if there was a "Prerequisite: channel energy class feature" feat that increase the number of d6s you healed or harmed, would you let a necromancer take it? No, because their channel never heals or harms. If there was a "Prerequisite: channel energy class feature" feat that increased the number of HD of undead you could command or turn at one time, would you let a necromancer take it? Yeah, because that sounds exactly like something the necromancer should be able to do with his channeling ability, as it's something a Command Undead/Turn Undead cleric ought to be able to do it. What about a channel feat that changed the area from a sphere to a cone? Sure, because you could see a Command Undead/Turn Undead cleric taking that feat.

Sometimes rules aren't going to have the exact same name or wording.
* Part of that is because things are designed by different people and one prefers one wording to another.
* Part is because we don't want similar chunks of text near each other to be identical, because that's an awkward read and is boring.Note that the descriptions for flaming and frost aren't exactly identical, even though they work basically the same way. And would you really want the cleric class ability to be written as "channel energy (positive)" or "channel energy (negative)"? And the paladin ability as "channel energy (positive)"? And the necromancer ability "channel energy (positive, Turn Undead only)" or "channel energy (negative, Command Undead only)"? I mean, c'mon, try using that in a sentence. :/
* Part is because between book A and book B we've decided a better way to phrase a rule so it's clear to more people, so B's rule looks or is named just a little different than A's rule.
* Part is because English is a very flexible language, and whether you say "Sean kissed Jodi on their first date" or "Jodi was kissed by Sean on their first date," you should understand there was a kiss.
* Part of it is we have to wrap some text around a piece of art or make sure that a paragraph ends at the bottom of a page so a new header can start at the top, so we alter a word or two so the lines break differently. Not important words like "as a cleric of your level," but stuff that keeps the same intent. A paladin's ability could have been written as "Channel Energy: You channel energy as a cleric of your level. Paladins always channel positive energy, never negative energy, etc. etc." but it's cleaner to present it the way it is, rather than presenting negative channeling as a possible option for the paladin and then taking it away in the next sentence.
* And part of it is sometimes we make mistakes and don't write things as clearly as we should, or forget some obscure combination in this very complex game, or an author use a pre-errata wording of an ability when writing a new ability.

Could the game be more "perfect" by using exactly the same terminology? Yes, mostly. But I think holding that up as some kind of ideal is a pipe dream. Even programmers, who copy a subroutine from one part of a program to use as a model in a different part, still make changes sometimes, either because they better understand how the coding works since they wrote the original sub, or something unique is needed for that sub in the new location, or whatever.

But, as Monte says, "the DM is not a robot." Players aren't robots, either. And as James Wyatt says, "You can never write a rule that is so clear that *everyone* understands it." Skip Williams used to get Sage Advice questions like, "Do I have to take Power Attack before I take Cleave?" Obviously the answer is "yes"... but it wasn't obvious to that reader, for some reason. Now, that's a very simplistic example, and the "channel energy class feature" prereq is not a simplistic example, but I think you get the gist of it: sometimes you're going to have to make rulings based on how you think the rules fit together. Sometimes it's more obvious than others how those rules fit together, but if they seem to have the same root, it's better to assume they're supposed to work the same way than to doubt your own ability to realize the similarities between them.

If "channel energy" and "channel positive energy" and "channel" aren't all class features (even though they're all listed in the "Class Features" part of their respective class writeups, and even though the book never defines exactly what a "class feature" is, although each class's "Class Feature" entry does say "The following are class features of the [class]" or even "All of the following are class features of the [class]"), you'd have to wonder why the Core Rulebook didn't include paladin versions of Improved Channel and Turn Undead that have "channel positive energy" as a prerequisite. And you'd have to wonder why consecrate boosts cleric channel energy DCs but not paladin channel positive energy DCs (the spell specifically says "The DC to resist positive channeled energy..." which probably means a cleric channeling positive energy, but is unclear if that also means a paladin's "channel positive energy" ability). And so on. When, realistically, it makes sense that paladins should be able to take Improved Channel, and that consecrate should affect paladin channel DCs just as well as it affects cleric positive channel DCs. And likewise for life oracles. And necromancers.

Things should be the same, or they should be different.

(To be continued, as I don't want to lose this post....)

(Actually, I'm going to bed, I'll address the other points tomorrow!)

Dark Archive

But "different" is a class feature, where as "very different" is a class option! Just joshing -=P

I think it is really this simple:

An Oracle Revelation is a class feature.
Channel is an Oracle Revelation (which does not specifically prohibit the use of augmenting feats).

Case closed.

The Exchange RPG Superstar 2010 Top 16

Tryp wrote:

I think it is really this simple:

An Oracle Revelation is a class feature.
Channel is an Oracle Revelation (which does not specifically prohibit the use of augmenting feats).

Case closed.

In the same way that a Sorcerer gets spells as a class feature, and if Seoni chooses the spell Fly, then she is eligible for any feats requiring flight as a class feature.

Shadow Lodge

First of all, THANK YOU SEAN.

Chris Mortika wrote:


Put another way, if you had come here and given exactly the opposite ruling -- reporting that Channel Energy feats required a character to have Channel Energy as a class feature, and then observing that Channel Energy appears nowhere on the Oracle's list of class features -- that wouldn't have surprised me at all.

My "mastery" of the Pathfinder rules is very weak.

Wonderful post, but as Chris mentioned above, it would have come have no surprise if it had been stated the exact opposite. The "Duckie" logic is the rule of thumb I've always used, but it seems like more and more PFRPG doesn't adhere to it (since an example is likely warranted, half-elves and half-orcs not being able to use human favored class options strikes me as "anti-Duckie").

The Exchange

Chris Mortika wrote:
In the same way that a Sorcerer gets spells as a class feature, and if Seoni chooses the spell Fly, then she is eligible for any feats requiring flight as a class feature.

At this point I'm fairly certain you're just trolling. I won't take the bait, you are either deliberately ignoring common sense, or else a very unfortunate fellow.

Thanks for the posts Sean, you mirrored a lot of what I was thinking as I went through this thread.

The Exchange RPG Superstar 2010 Top 16

Nope, not trolling. Seoni being able to cast fly is as much a class ability as an Oracle able to channel positive energy. (That's why I chose Sorcerers as opposed to Wizards.) If there's a distinction between revelations (options the character can choose) being prerequisites versus spells (options a character can choose) being prerequisites, I don't see it.

Unfortunate, I'll cop to.

Liberty's Edge

Chris Mortika wrote:

Nope, not trolling. Seoni being able to cast fly is as much a class ability as an Oracle able to channel positive energy. (That's why I chose Sorcerers as opposed to Wizards.) If there's a distinction between revelations (options the character can choose) being prerequisites versus spells (options a character can choose) being prerequisites, I don't see it.

Unfortunate, I'll cop to.

OMG man, I am so happy you see and grok my point. I was starting to think I was going insane.

@Sean: Seriously, thanks for that very informative glimpse into the mind of the RPG designer, everything you said makes perfect sense. Just to clarify my own position one more time: I am not at all confused or even thrown off by the wording of "Channel" vs. "Channel Energy" vs. "Channel Positive Energy". My issue is this: "Channel" (for the Life oracle) isn't really a Class Feature at all, due to the way the Oracles headers are organized.

There's a header for Class Features. Within this section it says that the Oracle chooses a Mystery. Then, seperately, there's a Mysteries header. As a subheader to this, there's the Life mystery. Then, there's a Revelations sub-subheader. Then, in what I suppose is called a sub-sub-subheader, there's the "Channel" entry. As much as I understand everything you've said (hear that, everyone? I Get It!), the Oracle has Channel, at best, as an (optional) Mystery Feature, not as a Class feature. So, when you say "trust us to call out the differences", that's actually what I was doing. The text says "Channel Energy as a Class Feature", it doesn't say "Ability to Channel Energy" or "Channel Energy as a Class Feature or Revelation". It doesn't say the latter because the CR were written prior to the APG, and I understand that, as well. I am not sure why the first verbiage wasn't chosen, and I'm sure you could shed more light on that than I ever could.

I hope everyone understands, this isn't a big deal. My level of nerdrage about this topic is, like, a 1 out of 10 - except in cases where people are pretending like what I'm saying (and Chris is saying it too, and saying it better, and getting largely the same responses) is absolutely preposterous, or completely ridiculous. It's not. It's just one possible honest interpretation of things. it just happens to not be the right one. The topic has now switched to the writing of rulebooks, which is IMO much more interesting. I am excited to hear whatever else SKR has to put forth. Thanks again, maestro!


Thank you for your answer Sean. I appreciate the time and effort.

Dark Archive

Awesome answer, Sean, I really appreciate you taking the time.

It would be nice if the glossary page of the PRD had some kind of definition for class feature, though. I'm not sure how to define it so that people don't think Sorcerer spells become class features, though.

Grand Lodge

Maybe it's just a different understanding of the rules, but it seems clear to me that spells are treated differently than other class features because they are so vast in what they can accomplish. In the case of the Oracle, the Channeling ability is a class feature because it has a specific result and is of a different type than spells. I do not think that it is reasonable to think that if I use a polymorph affect to become an animal with flight, or a claw attack, or water breathing, etc, that those skills/abilities suddenly become class features.

Dark Archive

TwilightKnight wrote:
Maybe it's just a different understanding of the rules, but it seems clear to me that spells are treated differently than other class features because they are so vast in what they can accomplish. In the case of the Oracle, the Channeling ability is a class feature because it has a specific result and is of a different type than spells. I do not think that it is reasonable to think that if I use a polymorph affect to become an animal with flight, or a claw attack, or water breathing, etc, that those skills/abilities suddenly become class features.

It seems to me that you are creating a dividing line where one might not be so clear.

A character than can channel energy does not do so continuously. If he is out of channels for the day, does he then lose access to any feats that require that ability?

Likewise, a character with a ring of fly or a scroll of fly has access to the ability to fly, yet he does not qualify.

If there is a bright line dividing the two, it would be nice to know where it is actually drawn.

As others have stated, the "duck" test is all well and good, if it actually applies. But there are enough instances in the game where the duck test does not apply that it cannot be taken for granted. Thus questions occur which might have obvious answers to the developer, but which have either counterintuitive or vague answers given a plain text reading of the rules.

Examples:

Racial Heritage vis-a-vis favored class options.

Fly as a spell versus fly as an (Ex) ability.

Boon companion - the feat doesn't do what the text says that it does.

Shadow Lodge

Chris Mortika wrote:

Nope, not trolling. Seoni being able to cast fly is as much a class ability as an Oracle able to channel positive energy. (That's why I chose Sorcerers as opposed to Wizards.) If there's a distinction between revelations (options the character can choose) being prerequisites versus spells (options a character can choose) being prerequisites, I don't see it.

Unfortunate, I'll cop to.

Do you have a real example where it's an issue or just a hypothetical one? I just don't see the parallel between the two here.

I suspect they wouldn't write a feat that requires the a class ability to fly because it's ambiguous. I have seen feats that require "The ability to fly" which Seoni would certainly qualify for.

Grand Lodge

1 person marked this as FAQ candidate.
Pathfinder Adventure Path, Companion, Rulebook Subscriber
Sean K Reynolds wrote:
...

I know I know this is thread resurection, I was searching the forum for errata on the oracle of life, and stumbled in here. I just wanted to say I flagged for FAQ this post because the question it answers (not the question of this thread) but "Tell me something interesting and insightful about game rule design." I realize Sean was at his wits end when he wrote this tirade on duck killing, but I found it quite a good read, and is the kind of "behind the curtain" stuff that would be great in a blog post.

Scarab Sages

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

I agree, I think Sean's post should be put at the top of the FAQ. I favorited it so I can quote it later on if I want to. :)


Kor - Orc Scrollkeeper wrote:

On APG page 48:

Channel: You can channel positive energy like a cleric, using your oracle level as your effective cleric level when determining the amount of damage healed (or caused to undead) and the DC. You can use this ability a number of times per day equal to 1 + your Charisma modifier.

The question of whether Channel Energy levels stack has already been raised so I won't address that here, but it would be nice to get an official reply on this thread.

Under the Bones mystery, Undead Servitude, it specifically states what feats you can take that augment the ability. (However the channel negative energy ability provided is not the "full" ability that a cleric would normally get.)

Undead Servitude (Su): You gain Command Undead as a bonus feat. You can channel negative energy a number of times per day equal to 3 + your Charisma modifier, but only to use Command Undead. You can take other feats to add to this ability, such as Improved Channeling, but not feats that alter this ability, such as Alignment Channel.

Since it does not describe if feats can be applied to the Channel revelation, does this revelation provide the "full" channel positive energy ability that a cleric or paladin receives, which would allow all appropriate feats that require the "channel energy class feature" to be selected?

The only prereq for the feats is the channel energy class feature. The life Oracle gains the channel energy feature. There's no question about it.


Arise thread! Thread arise!

Sorry, but does anybody have a link to Sean's post on the next day (if there was one)?


Pathfinder Adventure, Adventure Path, Starfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

No but I thank you for raising this thread..I am interested to know myself.


I don't think he did, but he left off with a good explanation. I will have to list it.


2 people marked this as a favorite.
Sean K Reynolds wrote:
If it walks like a duck and quacks like a duck, it's probably a duck. If you line up Daffy Duck, Donald Duck, Duckman, and Howard the Duck, from a game standpoint it makes sense that a +1 duck-bane arrow is going to do +2d6 damage in addition to normal arrow damage if you shoot any of them, because they're all ducks. And if you shot that arrow at "Duckie" from Pretty in Pink, it wouldn't get any bonus damage, because he isn't a duck. And you should be able to see why those first four are ducks and the last one isn't.

This...I'm borrowing this illustration. If this gets added to the official FAQ, I hope they quote this illustration too. =)

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