What exactly constitutes a 'Person'?


Rules Questions


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I'm specifically asking in regards to the Charm/Hold/Dominate Person line. Would they affect...

A goblin?

A gnoll?

An ogre?

A giant?

A troll?

A succubus?

A vampire?

A merman?

A naga?

A human polymorphed into a dragon?

A dragon polymorphed into a human?

Designer, RPG Superstar Judge

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The charm person spell says

Target one humanoid creature

That's 99% of your answer.


I believe it would be anything with the [humanoid] template.

"Target: one humanoid creature"

http://paizo.com/pathfinderRPG/prd/monsters/monstersByType.html
Humanoid: boggard, bugbear, cloud giant, cyclops, dark creeper, dark stalker, derro, drow, drow noble, duergar, ettin, fire giant, frost giant, gnoll, goblin, hill giant, hobgoblin, kobold, lizardfolk, merfolk, ogre, orc, stone giant, storm giant, svirfneblin, tengu, troglodyte, troll, wererat, werewolf

So:

yes
yes
yes
yes
yes
no
no
yes
no
yes
no

Sczarni

Pathfinder Starfinder Society Subscriber

Aasimars and Tieflings are immune to the various "person" spells as well, including enlarge person and reduce person.


That seems like an oversight... Sulis would be immune, as well, yet all three (Sulis, Tieflings, and Aasimars) are "humanoid" in the classical (non-subtype) definition of the word.

Sean, is that intentional?

Grand Lodge

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Pathfinder Companion Subscriber

Outsiders are Outsiders. Humanoids are Humanoids.

This is a matter of type, not general shape.

A testicle is not a Lima bean, simply because they are somewhat similar in shape.

Dark Archive

Yeah, one of the benefits of being a Suli/Tiefling/Aasimar/Ifrit/etc is that you're immune to Hold Person, Dominate Person, etc.

Of course you also can't be effected by Enlarge or Reduce Person, either, so it's a bit of a double-edged sword.

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Companion Subscriber

Aasimar have the Scion of Humanity alternate racial trait option.

This allows them to be affected by "person" spells.


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The real question is, "Does it work on a corporation?"


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Lurk3r wrote:
The real question is, "Does it work on a corporation?"

I don't see "Occupy Cheliax" turning out too well.


Sean K Reynolds wrote:

The charm person spell says

Target one humanoid creature

That's 99% of your answer.

That rules out really obvious ones. Anything with the humanoid type is clearly legal, and anything that's obviously not humanoid is not.

The other 1% might be rather useful to know. Does the Monstrous Humanoid type count? What about creatures without either of those types that are described as being humanoids?

Hound Archon: "This canine-headed humanoid's well-groomed appearance..."

Sandman: "A whirling cloud of fine desert sand piles up upon itself, forming into the shape of a humanoid figure.... As a standard action, a sandman can cause its humanoid form to collapse into a pile of animated sand.... A sandman takes the form of a rough humanoid about 6 feet tall."

Kelpie: "This hideous humanoid creature has slimy, transparent skin; webbed, humanoid hands; and a snaggletoothed, horse-like face."

Leprechaun: "This small humanoid has pointed ears, green eyes, and a wicked grin."

Bogeyman: "Dressed in a long dark coat and a tall hat, this lanky, fanged humanoid exudes an almost palpable aura of horror."

Atomie: "This miniscule, green-skinned humanoid wields a needle-thin rapier."

Magmin: "Built of fire and magma, this short humanoid radiates intense heat that causes the air around it to shimmer."

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Companion Subscriber
Grick wrote:
The other 1% might be rather useful to know. Does the Monstrous Humanoid type count? What about creatures without either of those types that are described as being humanoids?

No, and no.

What the creature looks like is completely irrelevant.

It is only type, that is important.

The "person" spells specify Humanoid.

Creatures that are not of the Humanoid(not monstrous humanoid) type are not valid targets.

It's just that simple.


blackbloodtroll wrote:
Creatures that are not of the Humanoid(not monstrous humanoid) type are not valid targets.

Charm Person: "Target one humanoid creature"

The spell does not say humanoid type. Just humanoid creature.

Leprechaun: "This small humanoid..."

The leprechaun is a humanoid, but it does not have the humanoid type.

Grand Lodge

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Pathfinder Companion Subscriber

Does Animal Growth work on a Worgs or Owlbears?

No.

Why?

Even though they are "animals", they are not of the Animal type.


Corporations


blackbloodtroll wrote:
Even though they are "animals", they are not of the Animal type.

The rules don't say either of those two are animals.

The rules do say that the leprechaun is a humanoid.

While creatures with the animal/humanoid type are explicitly included, and creatures that are clearly not animals/humanoids are explicitly excluded, the 1% that SKR mentioned are creatures that are animals/humanoids but do not have that type.

So if charm person is intended to work on all humanoids, it'll work on a leprechaun, since it's a humanoid.

But if it's intended to only work on creatures with the humanoid subtype, then it won't.

Since SKR didn't tell us what the intent is, the only way we have to determine that intent is to look at the rules. And the rule just says humanoid, not humanoid type.


Grick wrote:
blackbloodtroll wrote:
Creatures that are not of the Humanoid(not monstrous humanoid) type are not valid targets.

Charm Person: "Target one humanoid creature"

The spell does not say humanoid type. Just humanoid creature.

Leprechaun: "This small humanoid..."

The leprechaun is a humanoid, but it does not have the humanoid type.

Charm Monster

This spell functions like charm person, except that the effect is not restricted by creature type or size.

I submit that "Target: One humanoid creature" for Charm Person is targeting the humanoid creature type and not humanoid looking creatures, based on Charm Monster.

Even though Charm Person doesn't say humanoid creature type, it's humanoid creature type.


GM Jeff wrote:

Charm Monster

This spell functions like charm person, except that the effect is not restricted by creature type or size.

I submit that "Target: One humanoid creature" for Charm Person is targeting the humanoid creature type and not humanoid looking creatures, based on Charm Monster.

The same rule you're using to imply type also implies size. What is the creature size restriction in charm person?


That's very strange. The reference to no size restriction in the Charm Monster language would make one believe that there is some size restriction in the Charm Person spell, but there isn't. This is not a Pathfinder issue either, at least insofar as I checked the 3.5 SRD and the wording for both spells is the same. Of interesting note, is that the word humanoid as listed on the 3.5 SRD for Charm Person is hyperlinked to the creature types and sub-tybes page. This is by no means an official sanctioning of the term humanoid there specifically referring to the humanoid creature type, but does lead one to believe that is RAI.


This also makes me realize that the Charm Person spell is only important because it is a level one spell. Once a caster has the availability of Charm Monster they would never ever prepare Charm Person again, because Charm Monster does the exact same thing without restrictions. Now we just need to know what exactly those restrictions are? Does humanoid mean ONLY the humanoid type, what about Monstrous Humanoid? They're still humanoid after all, and though Charm Monster references a size restriction, there is no such reference in the Charm Person language.

Liberty's Edge

Grick wrote:
blackbloodtroll wrote:
Creatures that are not of the Humanoid(not monstrous humanoid) type are not valid targets.

Charm Person: "Target one humanoid creature"

The spell does not say humanoid type. Just humanoid creature.

Leprechaun: "This small humanoid..."

The leprechaun is a humanoid, but it does not have the humanoid type.

As a general rule, nothing from the description section of anything is relevant in a rules discussion. The Target line does not use the word "type" because it is implied.

There is a strong divide between flavor text, such as a creatures description, and rules text, such as a creatures type. The creatures description is only there to help you visualize the creature and is completely meaningless in any rules sense. This last point can not be stressed strongly enough.

Shadow Lodge RPG Superstar 2010 Top 8

I feel like people are overthinking this.

It's humanoid the type, not humanoid the general shape. You don't base spell effects off of flavor text, because most of the time the flavor text gets dropped off when they put the monster in an adventure.

Case in point, minor Reign of Winter spoiler:

Spoiler:
There's an Atomie NPC in the first adventure

Nowhere in the adventure is that character described as a "humanoid", so if the spell was supposed to affect them, how would I know? I'd either have to remember that they were described as humanoid in the Bestiary (assuming I've even read their bestiary entry to begin with), or make a judgment call based on the art provided.

Alternatively, if all I have to look at is type, BAM, its right there in the stat block. Piece of Cake.

I guess that's what it boils down to. You could absolutely say that the spell affects any creature that's generally human shaped. That makes the spell a bit more powerful, and it makes a lot more work for the GM (since you have to make a judgment call about every monster that's humanoid-shaped but not the humanoid type), but I don't think it'll break the game.

But basing it off type is just so much easier. And I say, if there are two ways to read a rule, and one makes the game easier to play, generally that's the one you should go with.

Liberty's Edge

Pathfinder Starfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

The fluff text using the word "humanoid" does not constitute mechanics. If Type =/= Humanoid, then no effect


Don't confuse fluff text with mechanical text. The mechanical text determines how rules work. Flavor/fluff text does not.

Designer, RPG Superstar Judge

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A spell's stat block is rules text. When it says "target" it means "target" in the sense of how you choose a target for a spell or an attack, not "Target the mega-store" or "target" at a shooting range.

Just like a spell stat block that says "undead" means "undead" the creature type, not "undead" the joke that "it's alive, therefore it's un-dead, har har."

Likewise a spell stat block that says "outsider" means "type: outsider," not "someone who is outside a building" or "someone who doesn't belong to a particular group" or "members of the Outsiders comic book team."

Likewise, "humanoid" in a stat block means "humanoid" in the sense of creature types, not "things that are generally humanoid in shape" (like a statue of a human, or a monstrous humanoid, or a hound archon with a humanlike head, or a dragon or demon in human form)... it means Type: humanoid.

As to why you'd ever prepare charm person once you get access to charm monster, sometimes you don't want to waste using a 4th-level spell on one of the evil duke's human door guards when you know you may want to save it for the duke's winter wolf minion in the final encounter...


Threads like this make me wish some sections of the rules had better distinctions between flavor text and rules text.


Pathfinder Adventure, Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber

by the "looks like a humanoid" logic, if I cast Charm person on a bush, nothing happens, but if I then sculpt the bush into a man-shaped topiary, charm person is suddenly effective. Monstrous Humanoid is as different from Humanoid as Ooze is to Dragon or Aberration is to Fey.


Grick wrote:
GM Jeff wrote:

Charm Monster

This spell functions like charm person, except that the effect is not restricted by creature type or size.

I submit that "Target: One humanoid creature" for Charm Person is targeting the humanoid creature type and not humanoid looking creatures, based on Charm Monster.

The same rule you're using to imply type also implies size. What is the creature size restriction in charm person?

I believe the size reference is an artifact of the old 3rd edition rules in which humanoids above a certain size were considered of the Giant type.

The Exchange

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Darigaaz the Igniter wrote:
Threads like this make me wish some sections of the rules had better distinctions between flavor text and rules text.

Threads like this make me wish that people would toss a frickin' tiny smattering of common sense into their thought process instead of trying to find side-ways cases, tricky wording, or "but it says humanoid not humanoid type". This isn't a legal contract you are reading to find out if the small print screws you....it's a game where a bit of common sense and a GM/arbiter goes a long way. When my RPG has to more closely resemble a frickin' legal document because some mouth-breather can't find any common sense, then we all lose.

You already can't look at nature without fences, warning signs and various safety items because of idiots who can't figure out that walking out to the edge of a cliff, waterfall, etc. could be dangerous.


Sean K Reynolds wrote:
"humanoid" in a stat block means "humanoid" in the sense of creature types

If only that had been mentioned in the 2nd post. I guess then it wouldn't have conveyed your frustration at people asking painfully obvious questions.


Not sure if anyone else mentioned this but the spell would not affect humanoids if they are also of the [Undead] type.

This is because of the undead trait(*):
-Immunity to all mind-affecting effects (charms, compulsions, morale effects, patterns, and phantasms).

So the vampire is unaffected by the spell, even though it is a "person".

(*)trait as in characteristic, not as in the minor bonus to a PC.


Pathfinder Adventure, Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber
Fergie wrote:

Not sure if anyone else mentioned this but the spell would not affect humanoids if they are also of the [Undead] type.

This is because of the undead trait(*):
-Immunity to all mind-affecting effects (charms, compulsions, morale effects, patterns, and phantasms).

So the vampire is unaffected by the spell, even though it is a "person".

(*)trait as in characteristic, not as in the minor bonus to a PC.

A Vampire is not a "person" because the "person" in Charm Person is identified as a "humanoid creature" and a vampire is not a humanoid they are an undead. Vampires and Zombies and Skeletons are not immune to Charm Person because of their Immunity to mind-affecting spells, but because you can't target undead with a spell that says it only targets humanoids.

Designer, RPG Superstar Judge

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Grick wrote:
Sean K Reynolds wrote:
"humanoid" in a stat block means "humanoid" in the sense of creature types

If only that had been mentioned in the 2nd post. I guess then it wouldn't have conveyed your frustration at people asking painfully obvious questions.

Where in the game rules does it say "'humanoid' means something that's vaguely human-shaped?"

It doesn't.

Humanoid is defined here, in the section detailing all of the specific creature types. It's one of the many cases where a game term is a real word, but it has a specific meaning in the game, and when a book uses that word, you have to understand that it's referring to the game meaning of that word, not the general meaning of that word.

Otherwise barbarians, paladins, rangers, and warriors could all take the Weapon Specialization feat because the Prerequisites line says "fighter level 4th," and members of the barbarian, paladin, ranger, and warrior classes are all "fighters" in the sense that they are "persons or animals that fight." So could battle clerics, rogues, and most other classes, because they, too, are "persons or animals that fight." So could animal companions. And so on. But you know that's not how it works, and only by deliberately interpreting "fighter" in a way that's outside the game definition of "fighter" would you think it means something other than the obvious meaning.

Same thing with "humanoid." You know that "humanoid" is a game term, with a specific, limited definition compared to the English definition of that word, and only by deliberately interpreting "humanoid" in a way that's outside the game definition of "humanoid" would you think it means something other than the obvious meaning.

So when the question is,
"When the book says 'this [rule element] affects humanoids,' does it mean it affects 'things that are generally human-shaped,' or does it mean it affects 'creatures with the humanoid type'?,"
the answer is painfully obvious.


Sean K Reynolds wrote:
Grick wrote:
Sean K Reynolds wrote:
"humanoid" in a stat block means "humanoid" in the sense of creature types

If only that had been mentioned in the 2nd post. I guess then it wouldn't have conveyed your frustration at people asking painfully obvious questions.

Where in the game rules does it say "'humanoid' means something that's vaguely human-shaped?"

It doesn't.

Humanoid is defined here, in the section detailing all of the specific creature types. It's one of the many cases where a game term is a real word, but it has a specific meaning in the game, and when a book uses that word, you have to understand that it's referring to the game meaning of that word, not the general meaning of that word.

Otherwise barbarians, paladins, rangers, and warriors could all take the Weapon Specialization feat because the Prerequisites line says "fighter level 4th," and members of the barbarian, paladin, ranger, and warrior classes are all "fighters" in the sense that they are "persons or animals that fight." So could battle clerics, rogues, and most other classes, because they, too, are "persons or animals that fight." So could animal companions. And so on. But you know that's not how it works, and only by deliberately interpreting "fighter" in a way that's outside the game definition of "fighter" would you think it means something other than the obvious meaning.

Same thing with "humanoid." You know that "humanoid" is a game term, with a specific, limited definition compared to the English definition of that word, and only by deliberately interpreting "humanoid" in a way that's outside the game definition of "humanoid" would you think it means something other than the obvious meaning.

So when the question is,
"When the book says 'this [rule element] affects humanoids,' does it mean it affects 'things that are generally human-shaped,' or does it mean it affects...

2 words: OH and SNAP

Is it wrong to say "we all just got SERVED?!"


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SKR wrote:
...when a book uses that word, you have to understand that it's referring to the game meaning of that word, not the general meaning of that word.

I believe that you meant to say "when a book uses that word in a stat block...

Because in the descriptive text for a Leprechaun it says:

Bestiary 2 wrote:
This small humanoid has pointed ears, green eyes, and a wicked grin. He carries a bottle in one hand and a club in the other.

Perhaps if the books didn't use the word in some places as just a word that has a meaning in English, and in other places as a specific game term, there wouldn't be any confusion. :)

I understand that a stat block is much more important than descriptive text for all things game related. I would also like to say, for the record, that even before I popped into this thread I always assumed humanoid meant the humanoid creature type, and adjudicated accordingly. That doesn't change the fact that when a book uses a term in two different ways, it does open up the door to confusion.


Sean K Reynolds wrote:
Where in the game rules does it say "'humanoid' means something that's vaguely human-shaped?"

You'll find nobody was arguing based on the vague shape. Each of my examples were specifically called humanoid in their description.

Is it really so outrageous that someone might think a creature your book calls humanoid would be affected by a spell that targets humanoids? Does anyone really benefit from "being served" rather than just answering the question or just ignoring it?

Sean K Reynolds wrote:

So when the question is,

"When the book says 'this [rule element] affects humanoids,' does it mean it affects 'things that are generally human-shaped,' or does it mean it affects 'creatures with the humanoid type'?,"
the answer is painfully obvious.

So perhaps a better question would be,

"When the non-fluff statblock of a monster (like the Sandman) says it's a humanoid, and links to the humanoid type, is that creature a humanoid for the purposes of spells that only affect humanoids, even though the creature doesn't have the humanoid type?"

Sean K Reynolds wrote:
It's one of the many cases where a game term is a real word, but it has a specific meaning in the game, and when a book uses that word, you have to understand that it's referring to the game meaning of that word, not the general meaning of that word.

Armor Cost: "The cost in gold pieces of the armor for Small or Medium humanoid creatures. See the Armor for Unusual Creatures table for armor prices for other creatures."

This means Tieflings and Aasimar (without the Scion of Humanity Alternate Racial Trait) should be paying 2x the cost for armor.

Sovereign Court RPG Superstar 2009 Top 32, 2010 Top 8

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[Fogghorn Legghorn]"Son, when you're in a hole, stop, I say stop digging."[/Fogghorn Legghorn]

Silver Crusade

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Dude, rule one of gaming is fluff =/= crunch.


Matthew Morris wrote:
[Fogghorn Legghorn]"Son, when you're in a hole, stop, I say stop digging."[/Fogghorn Legghorn]

I can handle SKR's disdain, better that it's directed at me than someone who might get offended and leave.

The sandman issue is probably irrelevant, but Tiefling armor has fairly significant consequences for PFS play, since SKR's statement up there is binding. Without a ruling from Mike Brock, most Tiefling/Aasimar are probably currently illegal. Unless they've been paying 2x for armor and shields all this time, which I rather doubt.

Or, unless we're supposed to, in this case, deliberately interpret "humanoid" in a way that's outside the game definition of "humanoid" which is otherwise referring to type.


Is the description of how a monster's supernatural ability works fluff or crunch?


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Seems to me that armor is the odd man out here. Explicitly, I think 'armor for unusual creatures' describes the difficulty in creating armor for creatures of humanoid (or not) forms, rather than for creatures of humanoid type.

Two good reasons that armor should be keyed to shape instead of type are lycanthropes and druids. Lycanthropes and druids do not change their creature Type when they Change Shape and Wild Shape, respectively, but their forms change.

If you interpret armor to be keyed to humanoid type, then a lycanthrope or druid can remove their armor, change form, and then wear their armor -- after all, under this interpretation, their types haven't changed (they are still humanoid), and the armor is designed for humanoids, thus the logic follows (against my common sense) that a werewolf in wolf form could wear platemail designed for a human.

This would also mean that existing character classes that become other creature types as capstone abilities would suddenly be unable to wear their armor. A spellcaster that becomes a lich, a monk that becomes an outsider, an oracle of life that becomes a plant or fey, and a green star adept that becomes fully adamantine are suddenly unable to use their equipments even if their forms are exactly as they were.

That works against my common sense too much, and further, it breaks too many things just to fix one.

Contributor

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Grick wrote:

...Tiefling armor has fairly significant consequences for PFS play, since SKR's statement up there is binding. Without a ruling from Mike Brock, most Tiefling/Aasimar are probably currently illegal. Unless they've been paying 2x for armor and shields all this time, which I rather doubt.

Or, unless we're supposed to, in this case, deliberately interpret "humanoid" in a way that's outside the game definition of "humanoid" which is otherwise referring to type.

Well, home GMs will do what they will, but as for PFS play, I wouldn't worry about it too much. This seems to be a case that falls under a very important ruling on p. 5 of the Guide to Pathfinder Society Organized Play: "The leadership of this campaign assumes that you will use common sense in your interpretation of the rules."

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