Name one Pathfinder rule or subsystem that you dislike, and say why:


Pathfinder First Edition General Discussion

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Diplomacy checks are boring too. The spirits and outsiders should ask for all kinds of kooky things, determined arbitrarily by the GM in roleplay.

You could and should lay out rough guidelines for power levels / difficulty of requests if you were making an actual game system out of it, but no specifics or clearly defined specific rolls.

Sometimes the request might be purely roleplay related. I remember one thing that Elric did in one of the stories was call upon the Cat Lord/Spirit to help him scry on a cat basically, and from the description, it was basically like "The cat lord has helped the melniboneans simply because it liked their style as cruel, whimsically malevolent dudes" and now that Elric is the only one left and isn't whimsically malevolent, the cat lord is like "Meh... okay but I'm not helping you anymore because I don't dig your style."


DrDeth wrote:
Pixie, the Leng Queen wrote:

Um... spell point is very commonly used..

It usually goes by its other name... mana

In Games. But in Novels? Not much. I have never heard any protagonist say anything like "I only have 6 points of mana left". It's usually "I was tired".

In novels, "mana" is usually tied to physical or metal energy- it makes for a better story.

Now in the Niven fantasies he actually uses the term "Man" but it's drawn from the surroundings or items.

Can anyone show me a award winning & best selling Fantasy novelist that uses spell points?

Where they dont drain themselves in a notable way? or they cant pull more magic out when they really, really need it?

Can you show me an award winning novelist that uses hit points?

Spell points would represent an abstraction of magical stamina in the same sense hit points are an abstraction of physical stamina.

While I don't hate Vancian casting, a system where you can spend points from a pool, and possibly over charge or extend yourself, would probably make more sense to your general pop culture junkie. Something like the kineticist with burn that allows you to do a heroic surge of power would be well received I imagine.


DrDeth wrote:
Pixie, the Leng Queen wrote:

Um... spell point is very commonly used..

It usually goes by its other name... mana

In Games. But in Novels? Not much. I have never heard any protagonist say anything like "I only have 6 points of mana left". It's usually "I was tired".

In novels, "mana" is usually tied to physical or metal energy- it makes for a better story.

Now in the Niven fantasies he actually uses the term "Man" but it's drawn from the surroundings or items.

Can anyone show me a award winning & best selling Fantasy novelist that uses spell points?

Where they dont drain themselves in a notable way? or they cant pull more magic out when they really, really need it?

Terry Pratchett. Also Larry Niven and Brandon Sanderson, who are certainly both award winning and best selling. While James Clemens is probably neither, his The Banned and the Banished series is one of the best examples.


Knitifine wrote:


Alignment subtypes.
The idea that good, law, evil or chaos can be a type of matter seems silly to me. That something can be 'made of evil'? My suspension of disbelief just flies right out the door.

It's actually something that's not that uncommon in narrative

Like, even Sauron was this


DrDeth wrote:

In Games. But in Novels? Not much. I have never heard any protagonist say anything like "I only have 6 points of mana left". It's usually "I was tired".

In novels, "mana" is usually tied to physical or metal energy- it makes for a better story.

Again, many spell point system do tie the amount left in the pool to mental and physical stamina. Using RQ6 as an example again (it has my favorite magic and made to store blog), depending on setting you could literally die from exhaustion if you used all your power points or you might only be able to recover them by sacrificing other creatures. I know othe spell point systems use fatigue in some way tied to them, but a lot also have options for tying HP to fatigue.

DrDeth wrote:
Nope. A Mage would literally force the words and symbols into his brain(usually by reading a spellbook), then once he uttered the spell, they were gone. He'd prepare his spells, just like a Wizard does.

Yeah... Like a 5e Warlock who prepares spells taught to them by their patron from a small pool they can relearn in an hour, or RQ6 theism where you prepare the power of your deity and then once used have to prepare them again. The act is more natural and has more fluff behind, like AD&D where relearning spell slots was based on the power of the spell and not limited to 8 hour rests.

What D&D does differently is give a massive pool of spell slots at a bunch of different spell levels, and you can prepare them once day and not from scrolls or other books (without a lot of other bookkeeping.


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You know, I was contemplating starting a thread to balance this one titled: "Name one Pathfinder rule or subsystem that you love, and why" and couldn't think of an answer.

I don't hate Pathfinder, but I can't think of what I love about it either.

I love the characters I make, but that's been true regardless of the system, pretty much.

I love rpg-ing, but would probably be happy doing WoD (I've enjoyed Vampire), 5e, or perhaps RuneQuest (which I've never played), as well as I enjoy Pathfinder.

I enjoy GMing, and I enjoy character creation and back-stories and all of that, as well as getting together with a group and telling/sharing in the stories.

And I am encouraged by the expansion I see Paizo taking with the system, adding archetypes and hybrid classes, and the attempt at making a viable multi-class option (even if VMC doesn't quite do it, either - but then, I don't know of any d20 system that does multi-classing well). And for all the home-brewing that goes on to address deficiencies in the system.

But do I love the system? Honestly, no. Not when I'd be just as happy playing something else if I find a different group.


Otherwhere wrote:

You know, I was contemplating starting a thread to balance this one titled: "Name one Pathfinder rule or subsystem that you love, and why" and couldn't think of an answer.

I don't hate Pathfinder, but I can't think of what I love about it either.

[...]

But do I love the system? Honestly, no. Not when I'd be just as happy playing something else if I find a different group.

I share a lot of your thoughts on this. To be honest, I ONLY play Pathfinder (and 3.5) because of my best friends that play it.


I love how ridiculous pathfinder is. 3.5 may be a bloated monstrosity and Pathfinder is getting to the same degree, but it means that those who have invested in the system when there was nothing else popular or easy to find a game of can make crazy off the rails characters and go on zaney adventures. I don't think anyone should treat Pathfinder as a "serious" or "gritty" role playing game and stick to noblebright superhero stories.

That's why I love an AP like Iron Gods that is filled with digital demons, mad max orcs, and space ship dungeon crawls. There is no way to try and present that as a "mature" fantasy story.

All of what I am saying just requires the PCs and GM to honest about the game and its shortcomings. Play to similar optimization, choose a tier and pick classes that are one above or below it, and then go nuts. Probably the least fun way to play Pathfinder is PFS, where the only upside is social interaction with new people; because between errata and RAW lawyering the flaws are highlighted instead of moved past.

As for running "serious" games, stick to systems that are specific to what you like. If you like 3.5; 5e is more balanced and tosses the trap options, and both Fantasy Craft and 4e make terrific super powered character games. If you like the options and system mastery there is GURPS or Fantasy Craft. If you like building strong characters there is RuneQuest or FATE which depend on your character's backstory and give good plot armor to the danger in the world. If you like "old school" games there are a ton of retroclones, and even Warhammer Fantasy plays like a much more dangerous and challenging 3.5.

TL;DR, I love playing Pathfinder in a specific set of circumstances with a healthy dose of house rules the table agrees to, but everyone should play more than one system and try to avoid using one system for literally everything.

RPG Superstar 2008 Top 32

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Doomed Hero wrote:

I've never been a fan of the five-foot step mechanic.

Why is it that a Cat can move five times further than the length of its own body without risking getting smacked for it, but a titan can't move the length of it's own big toe?

I've ruled in my games that a creature can "adjust" up to the size of it's own Base. This means small characters have a bit of trouble moving safely, but I add Size bonuses and penalties to Acrobatics checks to balance this.

There's a lot in the combat system that clearly made sense when it's Orc vs. Human, but gets progressively weirder the more you move away from medium-sized creatures hitting each other with weapons.


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Entryhazard wrote:
Knitifine wrote:


Alignment subtypes.
The idea that good, law, evil or chaos can be a type of matter seems silly to me. That something can be 'made of evil'? My suspension of disbelief just flies right out the door.

It's actually something that's not that uncommon in narrative

Like, even Sauron was this

I never said it was uncommon. Only that it checks my suspension of disbelief. To me those kinds of stories are relics of a bygone age and should not be the norm, but instead optional rules for those who want something closer to their nostalgia.

Paizo Employee Organized Play Developer

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Knitifine wrote:
Entryhazard wrote:
Knitifine wrote:


Alignment subtypes.
The idea that good, law, evil or chaos can be a type of matter seems silly to me. That something can be 'made of evil'? My suspension of disbelief just flies right out the door.

It's actually something that's not that uncommon in narrative

Like, even Sauron was this

I never said it was uncommon. Only that it checks my suspension of disbelief. To me those kinds of stories are relics of a bygone age and should not be the norm, but instead optional rules for those who want something closer to their nostalgia.

I don't know, that's not just common in literature, it's also a pretty common assumption of most modern religions to one degree or another, as well as being an assumption of a lot of horror films and other modern media.

Evil, in particular, as a motivated force is something that speaks to things that are ingrained into modern people's psychology on a social level, where you talk about certain serial killers as being "pure evil", or where you have modern Christian axioms like "hate the sin, not the sinner", as though murder or theft were some type of transitive force capable of taking possession of a person's actions if they're weak-willed or lacking in the protective direction of a separate "goodly" force.

While it may conflict with your personal philosophies, I definitely wouldn't go so far as to call the idea of there being entities composed of good/evil/law/chaos made manifest "relics of a bygone age" when they're still components of major religions practiced by the bulk of the people living in the world today. 84% of the world's population self identifies as practicing a spiritual religion, 32% of them are Christian, 23% are Muslim, a surprisingly large number of people still practice or believe in voodoo or a religion with similar occultish beliefs or practices, and all of the mentioned religions retain some amount of belief or teaching in entities who are entirely comprised of moral principles capable of physically manifesting (whether that be angels, devils, demons, twisted spirits of dead witch doctors, or what have you).


Ssalarn wrote:
Knitifine wrote:
Entryhazard wrote:
Knitifine wrote:


Alignment subtypes.
The idea that good, law, evil or chaos can be a type of matter seems silly to me. That something can be 'made of evil'? My suspension of disbelief just flies right out the door.

It's actually something that's not that uncommon in narrative

Like, even Sauron was this

I never said it was uncommon. Only that it checks my suspension of disbelief. To me those kinds of stories are relics of a bygone age and should not be the norm, but instead optional rules for those who want something closer to their nostalgia.

I don't know, that's not just common in literature, it's also a pretty common assumption of most modern religions to one degree or another, as well as being an assumption of a lot of horror films and other modern media.

Evil, in particular, as a motivated force is something that speaks to things that are ingrained into modern people's psychology on a social level, where you talk about certain serial killers as being "pure evil", or where you have modern Christian axioms like "hate the sin, not the sinner", as though murder or theft were some type of transitive force capable of taking possession of a person's actions if they're weak-willed or lacking in the protective direction of a separate "goodly" force.

While it may conflict with your personal philosophies, I definitely wouldn't go so far as to call the idea of there being entities composed of good/evil/law/chaos made manifest "relics of a bygone age" when they're still components of major religions practiced by the bulk of the people living in the world today. 84% of the world's population self identifies as practicing a spiritual religion, 32% of them are Christian, 23% are Muslim, a surprisingly large number of people still practice or believe in voodoo or a religion with similar occultish beliefs or practices, and all of the mentioned religions retain some...

Was that an apologia for corny game concepts, atavistic belief systems, or both?


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More a matter of "what bygone era? We're still living in it."

Also, some things are timeless =P


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Pathfinder Maps, Pawns Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber

Spellcasting and a person's inability to conceal their spells while casting. There are precious few abilities out there for concealing one's spellcasting, and none of them are good ones. Even when Eschew Materials, Silent Spell, and Still Spell are being used people still somehow know you are casting a spell, despite the lack of observable stimuli, at least enough to make a Spellcraft check* or make an attack of opportunity**.

* Which makes no sense whatsoever since you take Perception penalties on this Spellcraft check and yet, you're somehow observing something with no observable stimulus.

** This on the other hand DOES make sense, as spellcasting still requires concentration and distracts you from the battle at hand.


Ravingdork wrote:

Spellcasting and a person's inability to conceal their spells while casting. There are precious few abilities out there for concealing one's spellcasting, and none of them are good ones. Even when Eschew Materials, Silent Spell, and Still Spell are being used people still somehow know you are casting a spell, despite the lack of observable stimuli, at least enough to make a Spellcraft check* or make an attack of opportunity**.

* Which makes no sense whatsoever since you take Perception penalties on this Spellcraft check and yet, you're somehow observing something with no observable stimulus.

** This on the other hand DOES make sense, as spellcasting still requires concentration and distracts you from the battle at hand.

"The wizard looks constipated!, he must be about to blow a fireball out of his ass!!!!"


Bluenose wrote:
DrDeth wrote:
Pixie, the Leng Queen wrote:

Um... spell point is very commonly used..

It usually goes by its other name... mana

In Games. But in Novels? Not much. I have never heard any protagonist say anything like "I only have 6 points of mana left". It's usually "I was tired".

In novels, "mana" is usually tied to physical or metal energy- it makes for a better story.

Now in the Niven fantasies he actually uses the term "Man" but it's drawn from the surroundings or items.

Can anyone show me a award winning & best selling Fantasy novelist that uses spell points?

Where they dont drain themselves in a notable way? or they cant pull more magic out when they really, really need it?

Terry Pratchett. Also Larry Niven and Brandon Sanderson, who are certainly both award winning and best selling. While James Clemens is probably neither, his The Banned and the Banished series is one of the best examples.

Terry Pratchett uses Vancian. Larry Niven does use mana, but in his work, you drain mama from the surroundings.


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See, I'd argue Pratchett uses mana points or something like FATE's magic system (casting spells inflicts stress), but I guess it really depends on which book you're reading too.

While Granny Weatherwax is always prepared, there's no way in Hell she's a vancian caster =P

RPG Superstar 2008 Top 32

Ravingdork wrote:
* Which makes no sense whatsoever since you take Perception penalties on this Spellcraft check and yet, you're somehow observing something with no observable stimulus.

Pathfinder art often shows magic auras and floating runes for spellcasting. I interpret this to mean that you might be Still, Silent, and Eschewed, so you aren't waving your arms around, shouting gibberish, and throwing bat guano, but there is still some sort of magical effect that is in itself identifiable.


I am surprised that this is still going along without flaming.

This may not be limited to just pathfinder, but with missile weapons that have ranges of hundreds of feet, why does it seem that most combats START at less than 100?


I'm pretty sure DrDeth is going to say that anything other than characters explicitly mentioning how many spell/mana points they're using doesn't count as an MP system. After all, it's not like MP are an abstraction for ease of play the way HP are. That would be crazy.


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Franko a wrote:

I am surprised that this is still going along without flaming.

This may not be limited to just pathfinder, but with missile weapons that have ranges of hundreds of feet, why does it seem that most combats START at less than 100?

They don't.

At least, not in my game. I totally ignore the silly Perception rule that most people are totally blind past a couple hundred feet, so if an encounter occurs in broad daylight with relatively open terrain and no other mitigating factors (like the monster burrows up from below the ground), then I have no problems starting an encounter from thousands of feet away.

But, I usually just say something like "You see some people coming your way, too far to make out details" at which time the PCs either start taking precautions or not, up to them, then I say "the people are about maximum range for your bows, say, 1,000 feet, and you can see more details - they look pale and sickly and they're all carrying melee weapons" and now the PCs either decide to open fire or wait and see what will happen next. Etc.

Even at just 1,000 feet it can be hard to be sure you're in danger or justified in attacking. Of course, replace "people" with "ogres" and the decision is probably easier.

On the other hand, at night or with otherwise limited vision (blizzards, dense forest, etc.) or indoors, encounter ranges must be shorter for obvious reasons - but most of the PCs aren't carrying around bows if the encounter is going to be such close quarters.


DrDeth wrote:
Bluenose wrote:
DrDeth wrote:
Pixie, the Leng Queen wrote:

Um... spell point is very commonly used..

It usually goes by its other name... mana

In Games. But in Novels? Not much. I have never heard any protagonist say anything like "I only have 6 points of mana left". It's usually "I was tired".

In novels, "mana" is usually tied to physical or metal energy- it makes for a better story.

Now in the Niven fantasies he actually uses the term "Man" but it's drawn from the surroundings or items.

Can anyone show me a award winning & best selling Fantasy novelist that uses spell points?

Where they dont drain themselves in a notable way? or they cant pull more magic out when they really, really need it?

Terry Pratchett. Also Larry Niven and Brandon Sanderson, who are certainly both award winning and best selling. While James Clemens is probably neither, his The Banned and the Banished series is one of the best examples.
Terry Pratchett uses Vancian. Larry Niven does use mana, but in his work, you drain mama from the surroundings.

The Unseen University has discovered the Thaum, the basic unit of magic (enough to conjure *one* pigeon). I don't see much evidence for Vancian, certainly not in the D&D sense (though arguably it's more like Vance's magic that way).

RPG Superstar 2008 Top 32

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Chronicles of Amber used Vancian.


Pathfinder Maps, Pawns Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber
Ross Byers wrote:
Ravingdork wrote:
* Which makes no sense whatsoever since you take Perception penalties on this Spellcraft check and yet, you're somehow observing something with no observable stimulus.
Pathfinder art often shows magic auras and floating runes for spellcasting. I interpret this to mean that you might be Still, Silent, and Eschewed, so you aren't waving your arms around, shouting gibberish, and throwing bat guano, but there is still some sort of magical effect that is in itself identifiable.

...which is not reflected ANYWHERE in the rules whatsoever.

Shadow Lodge

Of course not, it's in the art.


Pathfinder Maps, Pawns Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber
DM_Blake wrote:
Franko a wrote:

I am surprised that this is still going along without flaming.

This may not be limited to just pathfinder, but with missile weapons that have ranges of hundreds of feet, why does it seem that most combats START at less than 100?

They don't.

At least, not in my game. I totally ignore the silly Perception rule that most people are totally blind past a couple hundred feet, so if an encounter occurs in broad daylight with relatively open terrain and no other mitigating factors (like the monster burrows up from below the ground), then I have no problems starting an encounter from thousands of feet away.

But, I usually just say something like "You see some people coming your way, too far to make out details" at which time the PCs either start taking precautions or not, up to them, then I say "the people are about maximum range for your bows, say, 1,000 feet, and you can see more details - they look pale and sickly and they're all carrying melee weapons" and now the PCs either decide to open fire or wait and see what will happen next. Etc.

Even at just 1,000 feet it can be hard to be sure you're in danger or justified in attacking. Of course, replace "people" with "ogres" and the decision is probably easier.

On the other hand, at night or with otherwise limited vision (blizzards, dense forest, etc.) or indoors, encounter ranges must be shorter for obvious reasons - but most of the PCs aren't carrying around bows if the encounter is going to be such close quarters.

Are you familiar with the terrain rules in the Core Rulebook? They list maximum spotting distances for an encounter's start, based on the type of terrain one finds himself in. I often use that as a basis for "max visible range" when no one is really trying to hide from anyone else.

RPG Superstar 2008 Top 32

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Ravingdork wrote:
Ross Byers wrote:
Ravingdork wrote:
* Which makes no sense whatsoever since you take Perception penalties on this Spellcraft check and yet, you're somehow observing something with no observable stimulus.
Pathfinder art often shows magic auras and floating runes for spellcasting. I interpret this to mean that you might be Still, Silent, and Eschewed, so you aren't waving your arms around, shouting gibberish, and throwing bat guano, but there is still some sort of magical effect that is in itself identifiable.
...which is not reflected ANYWHERE in the rules whatsoever.

You're right. I'm sorry that I tried to offer an explanation to reconcile how it might still be possible to identify a Silent, Still, Eschewed spell via Spellcraft, using a oft-repeated trope of artwork approved by the Paizo staf and that exists in the rulebooks. I clearly should only be allowed to use explicit rules text to understand how the Pathfinder system works. Using flavor text, art, or my imagination is right out.


Zhangar wrote:

See, I'd argue Pratchett uses mana points or something like FATE's magic system (casting spells inflicts stress), but I guess it really depends on which book you're reading too.

While Granny Weatherwax is always prepared, there's no way in Hell she's a vancian caster =P

She does very little real magic, however. But yes, the Witches dont use Vancian, the Wizards do.


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Bluenose wrote:
DrDeth wrote:


...
Terry Pratchett uses Vancian. Larry Niven does use mana, but in his work, you drain mama from the surroundings.
The Unseen University has discovered the Thaum, the basic unit of magic (enough to conjure *one* pigeon). I don't see much evidence for Vancian, certainly not in the D&D sense (though arguably it's more like Vance's magic that way).

The Wizards do use a form of Vancian magic, at least in the earlier books. At the end of Reaper Man, when the wizards are discussing blowing up the 'hive', they talk about what spells they have prepared.

However, later on, magic seems to be more of a "transfer of energy via wizardly grey matter" (there's a scene where a wizard causes a rock to fall a long distance in order to provide him with energy to lift himself up), so who knows where the balance lies.

EDIT: Shortened the quote pyramid.


Bluenose wrote:


The Unseen University has discovered the Thaum, the basic unit of magic (enough to conjure *one* pigeon). I don't see much evidence for Vancian, certainly not in the D&D sense (though arguably it's more like Vance's magic that way).

http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/VancianMagic

In the Discworld, wizards are sometimes shown using this form of magic, and the series takes the third rule to an extreme — for the first two books, Rincewind has one of the eight spells of the Octavo in his head, and it's so powerful that other spells just don't fit (or are too scared to stay). Although once it's ejected, it turns out he still can't learn any useful magic.

In addition, spells follow the law of conservation of energy: with few exceptions, a wizard must expend as much energy learning or preparing a spell as it uses to do its task. Therefore, impressive spells could take many lifetimes to prepare and simply aren't worth it. And once a wizard finally finds out how to summon nubile virgins, he's way too old to remember why he wanted to do that.

This is demonstrated with the various transportation spells used in the series: In one book, a character who wants to ascend to the top of the tower first has to use magic to knock loose a stone from the top, and use its energy and momentum as a lever in the spell. In Interesting Times, they teleport Rincewind to the Aurient, but have to exchange him with something from his landing spot and of approximately the same weight. At the same time, in Equal Rites, levitating a staff a handful of feet is extremely physically taxing because there isn't anything nearby to use as a counterweight, so the wizard in question has to do all the heavy lifting with his mind. "

Silver Crusade

Ross Byers wrote:
Ravingdork wrote:
Ross Byers wrote:
Ravingdork wrote:
* Which makes no sense whatsoever since you take Perception penalties on this Spellcraft check and yet, you're somehow observing something with no observable stimulus.
Pathfinder art often shows magic auras and floating runes for spellcasting. I interpret this to mean that you might be Still, Silent, and Eschewed, so you aren't waving your arms around, shouting gibberish, and throwing bat guano, but there is still some sort of magical effect that is in itself identifiable.
...which is not reflected ANYWHERE in the rules whatsoever.
You're right. I'm sorry that I tried to offer an explanation to reconcile how it might still be possible to identify a Silent, Still, Eschewed spell via Spellcraft, using a oft-repeated trope of artwork approved by the Paizo staf and that exists in the rulebooks. I clearly should only be allowed to use explicit rules text to understand how the Pathfinder system works. Using flavor text, art, or my imagination is right out.

Doesn't your statement just further prove that there's no good way to stealth cast? I remember hearing one of the devs talk about how they assume a paladin's detect evil has a visual display so you can just check someone out for 6 seconds and hope they thought you wanted a good time.

There's no rules governing an outward display like that though, making true stealth casting an impossibility. You can't really account for things that aren't in the rules though, so while flavor text is nice, a fighter isn't a 'leader of men' and spells don't have a visual component like what the art shows. It can just as easily be assumed that the art is showing them going all out, and without that, all we can go by is the rules.

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Adventure, Rulebook Subscriber; Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber
N. Jolly wrote:
There's no rules governing an outward display like that though, making true stealth casting an impossibility. You can't really account for things that aren't in the rules though, so while flavor text is nice, a fighter isn't a 'leader of men' and spells don't have a visual component like what the art shows. It can just as easily be assumed that the art is showing them going all out, and without that, all we can go by is the rules.

Which say that if you can see the spell being cast, you can identify it. Even for spell-like abilities that have no components whatsoever. So clearly, you see something. What that is, the GM determines. The answer from some of the Paizo staff has been 'non-component visual cues'.

Paizo Employee Organized Play Developer

Note that Vancian magic as used in Discworld or the actual novels of Jack Vance has very little in common with the so-called "Vancian" magic seen in 3.5 D&D and Pathfinder.

Vancian magic in those settings actually includes things like higher level spells taking up more "mental space" and actually blocking out the ability to memorize lower level spells, and in many ways is actually better represented mechanically by systems like psionic power points, where you have one total "pool" of mental energy that can either be dedicated to a few high power spells, or a large number of lesser spells.

Zelazney's Chronicles of Amber probably come closest to actually providing a literary model for Pathfinder-style casting.

Even most of the prominent authors for series set in worlds based off of the system, like Forgotten Realms or Golarion, don't actually adhere to the Vancian casting structure. Ed Greenwood's casters are constantly breaking down spells and repurposing them or their energy, or using them to fuel other spells, David Gross first has Varian Jeggare suffering from a learning disability where he can only cast from scrolls and then later makes him a sorcerer, etc.

Silver Crusade

TriOmegaZero wrote:
N. Jolly wrote:
There's no rules governing an outward display like that though, making true stealth casting an impossibility. You can't really account for things that aren't in the rules though, so while flavor text is nice, a fighter isn't a 'leader of men' and spells don't have a visual component like what the art shows. It can just as easily be assumed that the art is showing them going all out, and without that, all we can go by is the rules.
Which say that if you can see the spell being cast, you can identify it. Even for spell-like abilities that have no components whatsoever. So clearly, you see something. What that is, the GM determines. The answer from some of the Paizo staff has been 'non-component visual cues'.

So we can add 'vague, non explained visual cues to spells and spell like abilities' to rules I dislike along with 'no way to truly stealth cast.'

Shadow Lodge

Happy to help!


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Knitifine wrote:
Fey as a creature type. Fey might be super important to some european folk tales, but you unless you're handing out the type generously it's not going to show up in any game inspired by any asian, african, pacific islander, or american based mythology.

Please follow this link. And this one. And maybe this one. And this one.*

And then get back to us on that.

*For the sake of brevity, that's one link each for North American, Pacific Island, African, and Asian fey.


Ssalarn wrote:

Note that Vancian magic as used in Discworld or the actual novels of Jack Vance has very little in common with the so-called "Vancian" magic seen in 3.5 D&D and Pathfinder.

Vancian magic in those settings actually includes things like higher level spells taking up more "mental space" and actually blocking out the ability to memorize lower level spells, and in many ways is actually better represented mechanically by systems like psionic power points, where you have one total "pool" of mental energy that can either be dedicated to a few high power spells, or a large number of lesser spells.

Zelazney's Chronicles of Amber probably come closest to actually providing a literary model for Pathfinder-style casting.

Even most of the prominent authors for series set in worlds based off of the system, like Forgotten Realms or Golarion, don't actually adhere to the Vancian casting structure. Ed Greenwood's casters are constantly breaking down spells and repurposing them or their energy, or using them to fuel other spells, David Gross first has Varian Jeggare suffering from a learning disability where he can only cast from scrolls and then later makes him a sorcerer, etc.

Heh, a vancian power point magic would be interesting. You have X points to spend preparing and whatever you've prepared is what you have.


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Kirth Gersen wrote:
Knitifine wrote:
Fey as a creature type. Fey might be super important to some european folk tales, but you unless you're handing out the type generously it's not going to show up in any game inspired by any asian, african, pacific islander, or american based mythology.

Please follow this link. And this one. And maybe this one. And this one.*

And then get back to us on that.

*For the sake of brevity, that's one link each for North American, Pacific Island, African, and Asian fey.

I don't know about other miscellaneous mythology, but hengeyokai fit far better into Fey than into other categories. The same could be said for a fair number of other Yokai.

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Rulebook Subscriber

Well the rule that frustrates me the most currently is the two hands free requirement for a kinetist gathering power.

I'm sure there are others but, it's almost always fiddly little details that hamper execution.


I dislike the whole Intrigue idea of social and vigilante aspects.

It's almost entirely flavor that could be accomplished with any other class. Generic rules about masking actions would be more useful.


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Currently, a lot of things about the combat maneuver system bug the hell out of me.

"Say, GM, I wanna grapple that guy!"

"Okay. You don't have Improved Grapple, so he gets an attack of opportunity aaaaand rolls a 1." *curses*

"Oh, right, I forgot. Well, do his buddies next to him miss me too?"

"No, they don't get to AO you."

"But...I'm not trained in this technique and it's happening right next to them. I'm not focusing on them with my sloppy maneuver attempt, I'm focusing on this one guy. Why does the guy I'm actually attacking get to AO me, but his bodyguards within arms reach don't?"

"Oh look, the wizard cast dominate person, fight's over! Moving on."

Then there's the fun with size modifiers. There's a 20 point spread on size modifiers alone between a titan trying to crush a pixie with its greatclub and knock the pixie's toothpick out of its hand. A spread in the favor of the titanic monster hitting the smaller of the two targets.

And this has other weird implications. Acrobatics being used to tumble 10 ft. safely is a lot harder next a freaking kaiju with its head literally in the clouds for some reason than it is with a professional super-soldier in melee with you. Also, any deflection bonuses to AC increase CMD as well, so it makes it harder to tumble safely around them. So defensive force fields meant to keep you safe also make it easier to stab someone in the middle of a defensive back-flip...what?!

The whole system is just bonkers on close inspection.


kyrt-ryder wrote:
Heh, a vancian power point magic would be interesting. You have X points to spend preparing and whatever you've prepared is what you have.

This is how RuneQuest theism works. Spells cost a certain number of points to prepare, and you pay the power point cost when you prepare them. You can't recover the points until casting either. I know it is not the only one.. I think Fantasy Craft does it this way too.

The 5e spell point system does this too.


Ravingdork wrote:
Spellcasting and a person's inability to conceal their spells while casting. There are precious few abilities out there for concealing one's spellcasting, and none of them are good ones. Even when Eschew Materials, Silent Spell, and Still Spell are being used people still somehow know you are casting a spell, despite the lack of observable stimuli, at least enough to make a Spellcraft check* or make an attack of opportunity**.

I don't know how you're concluding this. The spellcraft skill rules say:

Quote:
Identifying a spell as it is being cast requires no action, but you must be able to clearly see the spell as it is being cast, and this incurs the same penalties as a Perception skill check due to distance, poor conditions, and other factors.

Emphasis mine. This means you cannot spellcraft anything that you cannot perceive.

You would not be able to roll a perception check to see what hand gestures a person is making who isn't making hand gestures. You would not be able to roll a perception check to hear what somebody is saying who isn't talking. You would not be able to roll perception to see what materials a person is getting out of a bag who isn't.

Thus, by RAW, you cannot roll spellcraft on somebody using a still, silent, eschewed spell. You could roll it on the effects of the spell that result, if THOSE are perceivable, but depending on circumstances, you wouldn't necessarily know who cast it (you might if, for example, it's a 10 foot range spell and there's only one guy within 10 feet)

Also note that people should be adding +1DC per 10ft distance to spellcraft in battle. If you're annoyed by spellcraft-happy players, ennforcing that rule alone shuts down the liberties being taken pretty quickly in a lot of cases. a fireball from 400 feet is +40DC to identify before it is done being cast...

Technically is ALSO says you have to see the spell being cast. So you should also not be able to spellcraft a caster in, say, a fog cloud, even if he is not using silent spell.


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"barbarians can't be lawful", "monks can only be lawful" and alignment rules in general to be honest.


DrDeth wrote:
Bluenose wrote:
DrDeth wrote:
Pixie, the Leng Queen wrote:

Um... spell point is very commonly used..

It usually goes by its other name... mana

In Games. But in Novels? Not much. I have never heard any protagonist say anything like "I only have 6 points of mana left". It's usually "I was tired".

In novels, "mana" is usually tied to physical or metal energy- it makes for a better story.

Now in the Niven fantasies he actually uses the term "Man" but it's drawn from the surroundings or items.

Can anyone show me a award winning & best selling Fantasy novelist that uses spell points?

Where they dont drain themselves in a notable way? or they cant pull more magic out when they really, really need it?

Terry Pratchett. Also Larry Niven and Brandon Sanderson, who are certainly both award winning and best selling. While James Clemens is probably neither, his The Banned and the Banished series is one of the best examples.
Terry Pratchett uses Vancian. Larry Niven does use mana, but in his work, you drain mama from the surroundings.

Draining mana from your surroundings is one of the basic set-ups of a spell point system. It's the system Magic: the Gathering uses, and that is very much a spell point game.


Ssalarn wrote:

Note that Vancian magic as used in Discworld or the actual novels of Jack Vance has very little in common with the so-called "Vancian" magic seen in 3.5 D&D and Pathfinder.

Vancian magic in those settings actually includes things like higher level spells taking up more "mental space" and actually blocking out the ability to memorize lower level spells, and in many ways is actually better represented mechanically by systems like psionic power points, where you have one total "pool" of mental energy that can either be dedicated to a few high power spells, or a large number of lesser spells.

Zelazney's Chronicles of Amber probably come closest to actually providing a literary model for Pathfinder-style casting.

Even most of the prominent authors for series set in worlds based off of the system, like Forgotten Realms or Golarion, don't actually adhere to the Vancian casting structure. Ed Greenwood's casters are constantly breaking down spells and repurposing them or their energy, or using them to fuel other spells, David Gross first has Varian Jeggare suffering from a learning disability where he can only cast from scrolls and then later makes him a sorcerer, etc.

I don't think you can use the example of the octavo to say something about normal spell casting, because that spell is kinda one which is off of the charts.


Pathfinder Maps, Pawns Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber
Ross Byers wrote:
Ravingdork wrote:
Ross Byers wrote:
Ravingdork wrote:
* Which makes no sense whatsoever since you take Perception penalties on this Spellcraft check and yet, you're somehow observing something with no observable stimulus.
Pathfinder art often shows magic auras and floating runes for spellcasting. I interpret this to mean that you might be Still, Silent, and Eschewed, so you aren't waving your arms around, shouting gibberish, and throwing bat guano, but there is still some sort of magical effect that is in itself identifiable.
...which is not reflected ANYWHERE in the rules whatsoever.
You're right. I'm sorry that I tried to offer an explanation to reconcile how it might still be possible to identify a Silent, Still, Eschewed spell via Spellcraft, using a oft-repeated trope of artwork approved by the Paizo staf and that exists in the rulebooks. I clearly should only be allowed to use explicit rules text to understand how the Pathfinder system works. Using flavor text, art, or my imagination is right out.

Not everybody has the books with the pictures to guide them. A great many players rely on the PRD, which (sadly) has no pictures.

Don't you want to keep everyone on an even playing field as far as rules are concerned? /jest


Pathfinder Maps, Pawns Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber
Crimeo wrote:
Ravingdork wrote:
Spellcasting and a person's inability to conceal their spells while casting. There are precious few abilities out there for concealing one's spellcasting, and none of them are good ones. Even when Eschew Materials, Silent Spell, and Still Spell are being used people still somehow know you are casting a spell, despite the lack of observable stimuli, at least enough to make a Spellcraft check* or make an attack of opportunity**.

I don't know how you're concluding this. The spellcraft skill rules say:

Quote:
Identifying a spell as it is being cast requires no action, but you must be able to clearly see the spell as it is being cast, and this incurs the same penalties as a Perception skill check due to distance, poor conditions, and other factors.

Emphasis mine. This means you cannot spellcraft anything that you cannot perceive.

You would not be able to roll a perception check to see what hand gestures a person is making who isn't making hand gestures. You would not be able to roll a perception check to hear what somebody is saying who isn't talking. You would not be able to roll perception to see what materials a person is getting out of a bag who isn't.

Thus, by RAW, you cannot roll spellcraft on somebody using a still, silent, eschewed spell. You could roll it on the effects of the spell that result, if THOSE are perceivable, but depending on circumstances, you wouldn't necessarily know who cast it (you might if, for example, it's a 10 foot range spell and there's only one guy within 10 feet)

Also note that people should be adding +1DC per 10ft distance to spellcraft in battle. If you're annoyed by spellcraft-happy players, ennforcing that rule alone shuts down the liberties being taken pretty quickly in a lot of cases. a fireball from 400 feet is +40DC to identify before it is done being cast...

Technically is ALSO says you have to see the spell being cast. So you should also not be able to spellcraft a caster in, say, a fog cloud, even if...

I'm not the one coming to that conclusion though, and that's my point. It's the game developers and players on this forum that hold that erroneous belief. Sadly, even though the RAW supports you and me, that is often cast aside for their interpretation because, hey, game designers.

Dark Archive

Personally I dislike the necessity of teleport effects at high levels in combat. Every time an enemy got the drop on the players and things looked bad, Contingent Dimension Door saved their lives and led to a turnaround victory. It got to the point where the enemies with methods to negate it became the toughest foes in the game (Steward of the Great Beyond and Teleport Trap in particular). It finally reached the tipping point when they realized they could set the trigger to be "Upon casting Feather Fall", granting immediate-action teleportation that completely negated any melee threat. Even Dimensional Anchor had no effect since they could just teleport out of range in response.

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Adventure, Rulebook Subscriber; Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber

I don't think Feather Fall is a good choice, since it has to target free falling creatures.

Spell Failure wrote:
If you ever try to cast a spell in conditions where the characteristics of the spell cannot be made to conform, the casting fails and the spell is wasted.

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