What is the meaning of 'source' in regards to bonus stacking?


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Chess Pwn wrote:
Why is level implied as a source bonus? The only thing this FAQ addresses was untyped stat bonuses. nothing about level. If you guys keep this up you'll derail this and people will get confused. I can understand if you're upset at the ruling, I don't like it, I felt double dipping was fine. But there's no reason to say that this makes a rule that it doesn't talk about at all. Up until they say level is a source or a type it's not.

You missed part of it then. It's about the SOURCE of untyped stat bonuses and the fact that multiple sources are now possible. If you don't want to 'look under the hood', then fine don't. Just stop telling me to do so because I'm not liking what i see there.

Grand Lodge

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Pathfinder Adventure, Rulebook Subscriber; Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber
Chess Pwn wrote:
Why is level implied as a source bonus? The only thing this FAQ addresses was untyped stat bonuses. nothing about level. If you guys keep this up you'll derail this and people will get confused. I can understand if you're upset at the ruling, I don't like it, I felt double dipping was fine. But there's no reason to say that this makes a rule that it doesn't talk about at all. Up until they say level is a source or a type it's not.

This is a good point. The FAQ question specifically addresses ability bonuses, not other bonuses. Of course, it is reasonable to consider other bonuses also falling under this ruling, as there is little distinction between them.

I do note that Challenge says it causes extra damage equal to the cavalier's level, where as Precise Strike says it adds level to damage. Is this distinction important? Well, I can't say.


graystone wrote:
Chess Pwn wrote:
Why is level implied as a source bonus? The only thing this FAQ addresses was untyped stat bonuses. nothing about level. If you guys keep this up you'll derail this and people will get confused. I can understand if you're upset at the ruling, I don't like it, I felt double dipping was fine. But there's no reason to say that this makes a rule that it doesn't talk about at all. Up until they say level is a source or a type it's not.
You missed part of it then. It's about the SOURCE of untyped stat bonuses and the fact that multiple sources are now possible. If you don't want to 'look under the hood', then fine don't. Just stop telling me to do so because I'm not liking what i see there.

And until they say there are more instances of multiple sources there aren't. So yes an ability can have the stat as a source. But nothing else has multiple sources. So yes it's open, apparently it was open before and they just didn't do it till now. This doesn't change anything else yet.


Chess Pwn wrote:
Why is level implied as a source bonus? The only thing this FAQ addresses was untyped stat bonuses. nothing about level. If you guys keep this up you'll derail this and people will get confused. I can understand if you're upset at the ruling, I don't like it, I felt double dipping was fine. But there's no reason to say that this makes a rule that it doesn't talk about at all. Up until they say level is a source or a type it's not.

It was stated in the other thread that bonuses are nested. For example if you have a deflection charisma bonus to your charisma for say smite evil and get another charisma bonus they stack because it's a type deflection modifier but untyped it wouldn't stack.

The problem is that this implies everything functions in the same manner. Limiting level as a damage source.


Where does it imply everything functions in the same manner? This FAQ is for STATS, and STATS only as is. So unless something changes all your hypothetical issues are still hypothetical and my never happen. So I feel you should stop talking about levels like it's a rule that they are affected by this faq. Because they aren't unless they issue another FAQ, or I'm willing to take Mark saying so in a response.


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Chess Pwn wrote:
so far the rule is there is only source changing if something is giving an untyped ability bonus so that it's not a ability source instead of what it was previously. There are no unwritten rules, and there are no other source hierarchy. Unless they say something this is the only time the source can change. So there aren't multiple nested sources, and no other sources have changed. Stop trying to make this seem like a bigger issue than it is. I feel like you're just trying to cause problems by willfully "misunderstanding" what is being said. If this isn't the case it's how you're coming off. So if you have unaddressed concerns please share those.

Questions have been popping up a lot, and with some abilities I definitely understand. This explanation(FAQ) is muddying the waters a lot. I understand that they don't want double dipping for an ability score, but I think there was another way to do it than by saying ____ is a source except for when ____, however a bonus equal to X stacks with a bonus from X.

I have a good idea for how this works out, but I still think it can be written so that it is easier to understand.


TriOmegaZero wrote:
Chess Pwn wrote:
Why is level implied as a source bonus? The only thing this FAQ addresses was untyped stat bonuses. nothing about level. If you guys keep this up you'll derail this and people will get confused. I can understand if you're upset at the ruling, I don't like it, I felt double dipping was fine. But there's no reason to say that this makes a rule that it doesn't talk about at all. Up until they say level is a source or a type it's not.

This is a good point. The FAQ question specifically addresses ability bonuses, not other bonuses. Of course, it is reasonable to consider other bonuses also falling under this ruling, as there is little distinction between them.

I do note that Challenge says it causes extra damage equal to the cavalier's level, where as Precise Strike says it adds level to damage. Is this distinction important? Well, I can't say.

+1. That is why we need language that is more clear on what a source is. If they want to say spells/feats/etc can become secondary sources then they need to let us know what else can push them to be secondary sources. Is it levels, HD, etc etc?


wraithstrike wrote:
TriOmegaZero wrote:
Chess Pwn wrote:
Why is level implied as a source bonus? The only thing this FAQ addresses was untyped stat bonuses. nothing about level. If you guys keep this up you'll derail this and people will get confused. I can understand if you're upset at the ruling, I don't like it, I felt double dipping was fine. But there's no reason to say that this makes a rule that it doesn't talk about at all. Up until they say level is a source or a type it's not.

This is a good point. The FAQ question specifically addresses ability bonuses, not other bonuses. Of course, it is reasonable to consider other bonuses also falling under this ruling, as there is little distinction between them.

I do note that Challenge says it causes extra damage equal to the cavalier's level, where as Precise Strike says it adds level to damage. Is this distinction important? Well, I can't say.

+1. That is why we need language that is more clear on what a source is. If they want to say spells/feats/etc can become secondary sources then they need to let us know what else can push them to be secondary sources. Is it levels, HD, etc etc?

Well, until they say anything other than your stats to become a secondary source nothing else is a secondary source.

Silver Crusade

Rynjin wrote:

I honestly don't thing this should be how it works.

A FAQ or Errata should be a finished work, not a work in progress, since it becomes an official ruling the moment it's written down in the big ol' FAQ list.

Like I said, for smaller things this is fine, but for big general rules changes, there should be a discussion process BEFORE the ruling is "set in stone" as it were.

Essentially it would work the same as it's working now, but less "Here's the FAQ, tell us what's wrong with it" and more "Here's a proposed change, tell us how to streamline it and make it as clear as possible".

OK, so it sounds like we aren't so far apart. That's good! May point to a place the system could be improved.

I personally don't mind the current process (obviously), but I'm certainly not opposed to the presentational change you're proposing, that "draft FAQs" be released for discussion before being finalized/made official. And you're not the only one who's bothered by the presentational difference. Can't make everybody happy all the time, but if an adjustment to the presentation of the process would make it easier for some folks without making it more difficult in other ways, I don't see any issue with it.

And since we've got FAQ Friday going (thanks Mark!) it probably wouldn't be a huge change to give FAQs a 1 or 2 week discussion period before they get locked in (depending on PDT's schedule for FAQ meetings, which I obviously can't speak to).

Mark (when you get back to this thread), any thoughts?

Silver Crusade

(P.S. "Presentational" isn't entirely right since, as you pointed out, it becomes official the moment it's put up. Which means, will affect PFS play. Would be nice to smooth those bumps out as much as possible.)


TriOmegaZero wrote:
The FAQ question specifically addresses ability bonuses, not other bonuses. Of course, it is reasonable to consider other bonuses also falling under this ruling, as there is little distinction between them.

Yeah. That is why on page 8 I asked if the FAQ was solely about ability scores.

I can honestly see people reading and interpreting the FAQ either way. Thus to me it was unclear. So I considered it a valid question.

Liberty's Edge

Rikkan wrote:
TriOmegaZero wrote:
The FAQ question specifically addresses ability bonuses, not other bonuses. Of course, it is reasonable to consider other bonuses also falling under this ruling, as there is little distinction between them.

Yeah. That is why on page 8 I asked if the FAQ was solely about ability scores.

I can honestly see people reading and interpreting the FAQ either way. Thus to me it was unclear. So I considered it a valid question.

The FAQ very clearly only mentions ability bonuses. Trying to apply it to other bonuses is interesting, but it is not what the FAQ is about.

So, the "little distinction" is that other bonuses are not mentioned in the FAQ, while ability bonuses are.

Since the FAQ was written to clarify that ability bonuses, while untyped, followed the "bonuses from the same source not stacking" rule, it then follows that this does NOT apply to any other kind of untyped bonus until a specific FAQ says otherwise ;-)


All in all this is, for me, another proof that paizo is good at designing a game but bad at making FAQs.
Sure, there are easy ones like the pummeling style FAQ, that are ok. But the only more complex FAQs that where good have been the ones correcting earlier, bad, FAQs.


Joe M. wrote:
Squirrel_Dude wrote:
Would an Undead Antipaladin no longer get charisma to his Fort saves from Unholy Resilience because he already gets charisma (in place of constitution) to his Fort save, as an undead?

I believe that is correct.

<Undead>:

Undead wrote:
No Constitution score. Undead use their Charisma score in place of their Constitution score when calculating [...] Fortitude saves.

<Antipaladin>:

Antipaladin wrote:
Unholy Resilience (Su): At 2nd level, an antipaladin gains a bonus equal to his Charisma bonus (if any) on all saving throws.

<FAQ>:

FAQ wrote:
[...] the paladin's untyped "bonus equal to her Charisma bonus (if any) on all saving throws" from divine grace is considered to be the same as "Charisma bonus (if any)", and the same would be true for any other untyped "bonus equal to her [ability score] bonus" constructions.
By the "effective rule" here, all "[Ability] bonus" and "bonus equal to" constructions are treated as typed bonuses of a type corresponding to the ability score. So here you have, effectively, two "Charisma-type" bonuses applying to the same score. By usual stacking rules, those don't stack.

Huh. Seems you're right. This is probably the most surprising to me of all the cases that have come up so far, but no stacking here, it looks like.


The black raven wrote:


The FAQ very clearly only mentions ability bonuses.

When I asked why it wasn't an ability typed bonus, it was said that several good reason where brought up why it should be a source and not a type. So it's NOT about the actual bonus but the WHY. When thinking of reasons they they'd take the more complicated and confusing route, one of the top reasons I can come up with is they plan to expand this to other fixes. I can't imagine that there was any real edits/page count issues with adding a line in the core book that 'Ability bonuses are typed bonuses' so there has to be SOMETHING else, like other fixes for it being this way. I fear that the intent is to have this extend past just abilities because it's really the only reason I can see for going the source route.


Besides level, where else do you think they can use this ruling to expand upon?

I'm worried about where this convoluted ruling could potentially go.

Nerfing the Daring Champion is no way to fix the Swashbuckler.

Paizo Employee Designer

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Joe M. wrote:
Rynjin wrote:

I honestly don't thing this should be how it works.

A FAQ or Errata should be a finished work, not a work in progress, since it becomes an official ruling the moment it's written down in the big ol' FAQ list.

Like I said, for smaller things this is fine, but for big general rules changes, there should be a discussion process BEFORE the ruling is "set in stone" as it were.

Essentially it would work the same as it's working now, but less "Here's the FAQ, tell us what's wrong with it" and more "Here's a proposed change, tell us how to streamline it and make it as clear as possible".

OK, so it sounds like we aren't so far apart. That's good! May point to a place the system could be improved.

I personally don't mind the current process (obviously), but I'm certainly not opposed to the presentational change you're proposing, that "draft FAQs" be released for discussion before being finalized/made official. And you're not the only one who's bothered by the presentational difference. Can't make everybody happy all the time, but if an adjustment to the presentation of the process would make it easier for some folks without making it more difficult in other ways, I don't see any issue with it.

And since we've got FAQ Friday going (thanks Mark!) it probably wouldn't be a huge change to give FAQs a 1 or 2 week discussion period before they get locked in (depending on PDT's schedule for FAQ meetings, which I obviously can't speak to).

Mark (when you get back to this thread), any thoughts?

With the understanding that there will likely be times that we simply stick with our original wording despite someone preferring a different wording, I am not opposed to this idea. I think we at the PDT would actually mostly need to ask the PFS folks about instituting the delay. I suspect that their concern would be that it's relatively hard to determine whether a FAQ is one of those "nascent" FAQs or not. And that couldn't be handled with a tag that is later removed because editing a FAQ is actually a lot more difficult than creating one (the PDT account can't do it, for one, only the tech team can, like creating a new category), so it wouldn't be good if this process necessitated an edit even when the wording stays the same.

I will let everyone know that I have been listening, and I will bring up all your reasons why the typed bonus explanation is simpler and see what happens.

Also, to everyone looking at "level as a source" and the swashbuckler's precise strike deed. Agnostic of whether level might become a source (we didn't say it was), the deed say it doubles the bonus, so it's a multiplier and would work regardless. Anyway, there is not some further scope that this FAQ is currently intended to reach. It's more that there's a discipline about reducing (or not increasing) bonus types that I didn't know about. Given the confusion with the sources explanation, we shall see if there might be a consensus that this time it's worth it.


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Mark Seifter wrote:
I will let everyone know that I have been listening, and I will bring up all your reasons why the typed bonus explanation is simpler and see what happens.

I want you to know that, as frustrating as the decision was for me personally, the fact that you guys listen and give candid! open feedback is the best thing. I know we on the 'nets can be a cantankerous, crusty, frustrated bunch, but the fact alone that you are willing to listen and actually think about what is being said is enormous.

It is this kind of thing that keeps me of the firm belief that whether or not I like all the company's decisions, they (you guys) a removing in a good direction and are worthy of my support.

Thanks!


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Mark Seifter wrote:


I will let everyone know that I have been listening, and I will bring up all your reasons why the typed bonus explanation is simpler and see what happens.

Also, to everyone looking at "level as a source" and the swashbuckler's precise strike deed. Agnostic of whether level might become a source (we didn't say it was), the deed say it doubles the bonus, so it's a multiplier and would work regardless. Anyway, there is not some further scope that this FAQ is currently intended to reach. It's more that there's a discipline about reducing (or not increasing) bonus types that I didn't know about. Given the confusion with the sources explanation, we shall see if there might be a consensus that this time it's worth it.

Thanks again for the reply Mark. Your awesome. I'd love to see a pre-FAQ section if possible.

On the swashbuckler, I think it's the Daring Champion that's the worry. It has Challenge and Precise Strike adding level to damage.

On "level as a source": If it isn't in the works, that's great. It IS a logical extension of the logic of abilities as nested sources so when I heard there where several good reasons for source vs type I had to wonder if that was one of them. I can understand the general 'rule' to not add new bonus types but ability bonuses are already all over the rules in print already. Clarifying that they ARE a type for stacking seems very different (and less invasive) than adding a totally new one.

Again two thumbs up for your help. :)

Deadkitten wrote:

Besides level, where else do you think they can use this ruling to expand upon?

I'm worried about where this convoluted ruling could potentially go.

With this literally anything could be argued as a source. Even if Paizo doesn't take it further, it sets a precedent. One where you can't be sure if any of your untyped bonuses stack or not [or for how long]. I'd be surprised if people looking to nerf things don't bring up this FAQ to make things they don't like go away by finding a common 'source'. I HOPE I'm worrying for nothing but I'm having a hard time seeing anything good coming from the reasoning behind the FAQ.

[note, it's a different issue from the actual intent of the ruling (untyped ability bonuses now 'typed bonuses')]


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*sigh*
While I am disappointed in this ruling,(I personally found it fun to double dip a stat and am capable of dealing with it as a DM), I can live with the change if it goes to just making ability bonus a type.
While the current ruling might be good for new players to understand, it has implications on greater system mastery.

If a new player loves Pathfinder and gets better mastery of the game, either naturally by playing or devoting the time to understand it, they will realize that there are far more complicated interactions within the rules than they even thought existed.

I prefer simpler rules clarifications all around because I want to breed more future DMs so I can play more often. =)

I think rulings like this would scare people from wanting to take a more authoritative role in their group of players.

Shadow Lodge

I had a GM in 3.5 let me doubledip Wis to AC with my monk. That was a gonzo game. :)


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Deadkitten wrote:

*sigh*

While I am disappointed in this ruling,(I personally found it fun to double dip a stat and am capable of dealing with it as a DM), I can live with the change if it goes to just making ability bonus a type.
While the current ruling might be good for new players to understand, it has implications on greater system mastery.

I mostly agree. I didn't see the reason it was needed. I don't personally have a character that uses it but none of the 'double dipping' threw anything off that I could see. The actual ruling has kind of gotten lost in the debate over the reasoning. I know I'm part of the reason for it, but I find the reasoning much more troubling than the actual ruling.

Deadkitten wrote:
I prefer simpler rules clarifications all around because I want to breed more future DMs so I can play more often. =)

I find simple just better for many reasons, mostly selfish ones. I don't like to complicate things when a simple and easy to understand option is available.

Deadkitten wrote:
I think rulings like this would scare people from wanting to take a more authoritative role in their group of players.

For me, it's an issue of spawning more issues that is solves. If someone has to explain a clarification, how good was that clarification? An FAQ shouldn't need an FAQ.


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Chess Pwn wrote:
wraithstrike wrote:
TriOmegaZero wrote:
Chess Pwn wrote:
Why is level implied as a source bonus? The only thing this FAQ addresses was untyped stat bonuses. nothing about level. If you guys keep this up you'll derail this and people will get confused. I can understand if you're upset at the ruling, I don't like it, I felt double dipping was fine. But there's no reason to say that this makes a rule that it doesn't talk about at all. Up until they say level is a source or a type it's not.

This is a good point. The FAQ question specifically addresses ability bonuses, not other bonuses. Of course, it is reasonable to consider other bonuses also falling under this ruling, as there is little distinction between them.

I do note that Challenge says it causes extra damage equal to the cavalier's level, where as Precise Strike says it adds level to damage. Is this distinction important? Well, I can't say.

+1. That is why we need language that is more clear on what a source is. If they want to say spells/feats/etc can become secondary sources then they need to let us know what else can push them to be secondary sources. Is it levels, HD, etc etc?
Well, until they say anything other than your stats to become a secondary source nothing else is a secondary source.

The problem is that it won't be said, even if they see us constantly doing it incorrectly on the boards until someone makes an FAQ. The inquisitor double dipping was a common tactic here, and so was flurrying with a single monk weapon. They even had it in official products.

Since they are saying this is not a rule change, the ability stat taking over as a primary source was the rule before they said something, so them not saying does not mean it is not the rule. It just means we don't know about it.


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wraithstrike wrote:


Since they are saying this is not a rule change, the ability stat taking over as a primary source was the rule before they said something, so them not saying does not mean it is not the rule. It just means we don't know about it.

Yep, that and 'unwritten rules' like hands of effort. You don't know it's a rule until they tell you you're doing it wrong. [and it's ALWAYS been that way] :P

Paizo Employee Designer

To be fair, unlike the monk flurry ruling, which also blindsided me as much as it did all of you guys and I fully agree needed to be rolled back, this newest FAQ has had a number of posts on the messageboard to this effect. Those posts just haven't been official until the FAQ. I know this because I've had to adjudicate it before in PFS, before I worked at Paizo, and I searched the messageboards to find whatever clarifications I could.


Mark Seifter wrote:
To be fair, unlike the monk flurry ruling, which also blindsided me as much as it did all of you guys and I fully agree needed to be rolled back, this newest FAQ has had a number of posts on the messageboard to this effect. They just haven't been official until the FAQ.

To be fair, they where both for AND against it. It wasn't all one sided. And none of them hinted at abilities as sources. So at least partly a blindside and partly up in the air.

EDIT: link to abilities stacking from DEV

Paizo Employee Designer

graystone wrote:
Mark Seifter wrote:
To be fair, unlike the monk flurry ruling, which also blindsided me as much as it did all of you guys and I fully agree needed to be rolled back, this newest FAQ has had a number of posts on the messageboard to this effect. They just haven't been official until the FAQ.
To be fair, they where both for AND against it. It wasn't all one sided. And none of them hinted at abilities as sources. So at least partly a blindside and partly up in the air.

I certainly didn't see anything from a designer, even an unofficial post, to the contrary. Do you happen to have a link? If not, no worries, I know it's hard to find all of them (having been in that position and seen the difficulty for myself more than once).


Mark Seifter wrote:
graystone wrote:
Mark Seifter wrote:
To be fair, unlike the monk flurry ruling, which also blindsided me as much as it did all of you guys and I fully agree needed to be rolled back, this newest FAQ has had a number of posts on the messageboard to this effect. They just haven't been official until the FAQ.
To be fair, they where both for AND against it. It wasn't all one sided. And none of them hinted at abilities as sources. So at least partly a blindside and partly up in the air.
I certainly didn't see anything from a designer, even an unofficial post, to the contrary. Do you happen to have a link? If not, no worries, I know it's hard to find all of them (having been in that position and seen the difficulty for myself more than once).

Sorry, edited last post with link while you where posting. ;)

Paizo Employee Designer

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graystone wrote:
Mark Seifter wrote:
graystone wrote:
Mark Seifter wrote:
To be fair, unlike the monk flurry ruling, which also blindsided me as much as it did all of you guys and I fully agree needed to be rolled back, this newest FAQ has had a number of posts on the messageboard to this effect. They just haven't been official until the FAQ.
To be fair, they where both for AND against it. It wasn't all one sided. And none of them hinted at abilities as sources. So at least partly a blindside and partly up in the air.
I certainly didn't see anything from a designer, even an unofficial post, to the contrary. Do you happen to have a link? If not, no worries, I know it's hard to find all of them (having been in that position and seen the difficulty for myself more than once).
Sorry, edited last post with link while you where posting. ;)

Thanks! So it looks like, and correct me if I'm wrong, there was at least 100% unanimous agreement among unofficial rulings on things that don't use the "bonus equal to your X bonus" construction.

So for instance, the players double or triple dipping "add your Wisdom modifier to X" with inquisitors or adding Dex twice to Fury's Fall or other things like that, at least, had unambiguous cues from previous posts. Not that those unofficial clarifications like the ones in James Jacobs's or my thread are always going to be consistent (in fact, they come with warnings to the contrary). But this time, they all were, save for that facet.

Silver Crusade

Mark Seifter wrote:
With the understanding that there will likely be times that we simply stick with our original wording despite someone preferring a different wording, I am not opposed to this idea. I think we at the PDT would actually mostly need to ask the PFS folks about instituting the delay.I suspect that their concern would be that it's relatively hard to determine whether a FAQ is one of those "nascent" FAQs or not. And that couldn't be handled with a tag that is later removed because editing a FAQ is actually a lot more difficult than creating one (the PDT account can't do it, for one, only the tech team can, like creating a new category), so it wouldn't be good if this process necessitated an edit even when the wording stays the same.

This sounds solveable (& without any special effort from tech team).

(1) Why post the "pending" or "nascent" FAQ to the FAQ page itself? The discussion will continue in the relevant thread, so it may suffice just to post it there.

(2) But there *is* a value to having it posted to the FAQ page rather than buried mid-thread—easier to find and reference (quote/link) as discussion continues. It would be a bit of a pain to find the relevant post in this thread for example (would have to search, sort through results).

(3) But this value doesn't depend on it being on the FAQ page itself. Any easy-to-find and easy-to-search location would do.

Solution 1: create a stickied thread at the top of the Rules Forum, "Proposed FAQs." Lock non-Paizo accounts from posting in it. Post draft there for reference with link to relevant thread(s), and to the relevant thread(s) for discussion with link to stickied post for reference. Delete post when FAQ is finalized and posted to FAQ page. That way there are only ever be one or two posts in the stickied thread, easy to find.

Solution 2: create fresh discussion thread when draft FAQ is proposed, with draft in first post along with links to relevant discussion thread(s). Sticky on Rules while under discussion. Post in those threads with link to new thread and lock those threads to corral discussion into one place. Unsticky when final FAQ goes up.


Mark Seifter wrote:
graystone wrote:
Mark Seifter wrote:
graystone wrote:
Mark Seifter wrote:
To be fair, unlike the monk flurry ruling, which also blindsided me as much as it did all of you guys and I fully agree needed to be rolled back, this newest FAQ has had a number of posts on the messageboard to this effect. They just haven't been official until the FAQ.
To be fair, they where both for AND against it. It wasn't all one sided. And none of them hinted at abilities as sources. So at least partly a blindside and partly up in the air.
I certainly didn't see anything from a designer, even an unofficial post, to the contrary. Do you happen to have a link? If not, no worries, I know it's hard to find all of them (having been in that position and seen the difficulty for myself more than once).
Sorry, edited last post with link while you where posting. ;)
Thanks! So it looks like, and correct me if I'm wrong, there was at least 100% unanimous agreement among unofficial rulings on things that don't use the "bonus equal to your X bonus" construction.

Maybe? If we're just talking things that say 'ability bonus' you're most likely right. Though I'd always figured that replace and add to stats where different thing and now that doesn't seem the case. I'll be honest, I've only seen 2 or 3 such unofficial rulings, they where all from JJ and one of them was the one i posted above. Of those, it's unanimous.

However, we moved away from that. "bonus equal to her Charisma bonus" is ruled the same as 'Charisma bonus' so from that perspective, we're already off the unanimous track as the above quote stated that they stack with everything. Someone that based things off of "bonus equal to her Charisma bonus" and JJ's quote were totally caught off guard.

Mark Seifter wrote:
So for instance, the players double or triple dipping "add your Wisdom modifier to X" with inquisitors or adding Dex twice to Fury's Fall or other things like that, at least, had unambiguous cues from previous posts. Not that those unofficial clarifications like the ones in James Jacobs's or my thread are always going to be consistent (in fact, they come with warnings to the contrary). But this time, they all were, save for that facet.

This was always offset by things like Kirin Strike (add twice your Intelligence modifier in damage) and several in Inquisitor abilities that seem quite odd in giving multiple abilities that would grant non-stacking bonuses from the same ability score. There seemed to be plenty left in the air. You might of been more vigilant in tracking down unofficial rulings while working PFS though, so you'd have a better view of than I of the overall rulings landscape. It seems more clear cut to you than I, but I'll acknowledge I really haven't done as much homework as you. ;)

So I think I can agree what most people could have expected that abilities that add ability bonuses would at some point get a non-stacking ruling. For me, adding and replacing or 'equal to bonuses' not stacking was unexpected. So a FAQ on this issue was expected, but the extent and explanation of it weren't.

Paizo Employee Designer

graystone wrote:

This was always offset by things like Kirin Strike (add twice your Intelligence modifier in damage) and several in Inquisitor abilities that seem quite odd in giving multiple abilities that would grant non-stacking bonuses from the same ability score. There seemed to be plenty left in the air. You might of been more vigilant in tracking down unofficial rulings while working PFS though, so you'd have a better view of than I of the overall rulings landscape. It seems more clear cut to you than I, but I'll acknowledge I really haven't done as much homework as you. ;)

So I think I can agree what most people could have expected that abilities that add ability bonuses would at some point get a non-stacking ruling. For me, adding and replacing or 'equal to bonuses' not stacking was unexpected. So a FAQ on this issue was expected, but the extent and explanation of it weren't.

Yeah, the "add twice" abilities are a different animal, since those are multipliers.

Interestingly, the "bonus equal to" thing is a natural result of ruling "Charisma bonus" to be an untyped bonus. If they are both untyped, then "your Charisma bonus" is an untyped bonus equal to your Charisma bonus. The reason that the typed bonuses stacked is that only untyped bonuses have the rule about same source. Hmm...I have an idea for an example of the current state.


Joe M. wrote:
graystone wrote:
When I see an FAQ go up, I expect it to clarify an issue, not bring up a pile of other questions. This one really NEEDS an extensive explanation AND it'll have to lead to several other abilities needing fixed/patched or left to not work. it seems to be doing the opposite of it's purpose: to clarify.

Think of it as the opening step then, and look forward to the final result—whatever the ruling ends up as in the next couple weeks, after the (necessary and unavoidable) initial period of adjustment. :-)

And, of course, we did learn something important here. That as a general rule, you aren't supposed to be able double-dip on an ability score. I agree the ruling needs clarification and that an example or two would help. I agree that, as far as I can tell, the "effective rule" on typing makes much more sense and that it would be better of that were the official rule. But we are making progress here, and I hope that, a month from now (say), the issue will be wrapped up, adjustments made, and the game will be better for having gone through the process.

Okay, here's a thought experiment for you.

Assume that we look at a game called Pathfinder Prime. Pathfinder Prime is in almost every respect identical to Pathfinder, but in Pathfinder Prime, the "source" is always the ability/feat/spell/whatever. So the double-dipping options work. Fury's Fall stacks with Agile Maneuvers. Undead Antipaladins get double charisma on fortitude saves.

Make a list of every case in which double-dipping a stat is possible in Pathfinder Prime.

Now look at the number of cases in this thread we've already had confirmed as intended to work. And look at the cases where we've been told that it's definitely not intended.

How many of each are there?

So far as I can tell, if they actually spent the time to track down every such case and fix them all, they'll have to do more work to produce the intended rulings with this FAQ than they would have with the obvious alternative FAQ. Worse, the ones that this one breaks are important (antipaladin fort saves should be good!), while the ones the other one "breaks" are pretty much irrelevant edge cases (seriously, I don't think fury's fall+agile maneuvers broke anything anyone cared about).

I am not able to make sense of this ruling. It's broken the underlying design of the bonus stacking system. I mean, fundamentally, I no longer have a rational basis for believing that I know what the "source" of a bonus is, or knowing whether the devs may secretly have intended two unrelated class features or feats to count as the same "source" for some characters and not others. That's really bad from my point of view as someone who likes the rules to be well-structured.

That said, this does affirm my belief that 5e was right to just throw bonus stacking as a concept out the window entirely.

Paizo Employee Designer

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Here's a feat that demonstrates the current state.

Let's hope this never happens wrote:

Mark Gone Wild (General)

Somehow, Mark got into Jason's scotch and released this horribly designed feat.
Prerequisites: Designer with a Wisdom score of at most 5
Benefit: Choose one of the following
*You gain a +4 deflection bonus to AC
*You gain a +4 bonus to AC
*You gain a +4 insight bonus to AC
*You gain a deflection bonus equal to your Charisma bonus to AC
*You gain an insight bonus equal to your Charisma bonus to AC
*You gain a bonus equal to your Charisma bonus to AC
Special: You can take this feat multiple times. What, do you expect me to explain what happens if you do? Who do you think I am, a designer with a Wisdom score over 5?


Mark Seifter wrote:
graystone wrote:

This was always offset by things like Kirin Strike (add twice your Intelligence modifier in damage) and several in Inquisitor abilities that seem quite odd in giving multiple abilities that would grant non-stacking bonuses from the same ability score. There seemed to be plenty left in the air. You might of been more vigilant in tracking down unofficial rulings while working PFS though, so you'd have a better view of than I of the overall rulings landscape. It seems more clear cut to you than I, but I'll acknowledge I really haven't done as much homework as you. ;)

So I think I can agree what most people could have expected that abilities that add ability bonuses would at some point get a non-stacking ruling. For me, adding and replacing or 'equal to bonuses' not stacking was unexpected. So a FAQ on this issue was expected, but the extent and explanation of it weren't.

Yeah, the "add twice" abilities are a different animal, since those are multipliers.

Interestingly, the "bonus equal to" thing is a natural result of ruling "Charisma bonus" to be an untyped bonus. If they are both untyped, then "your Charisma bonus" is an untyped bonus equal to your Charisma bonus. The reason that the typed bonuses stacked is that only untyped bonuses have the rule about same source. Hmm...I have an idea for an example of the current state.

Adds twice just makes you scratch your head when talking about them not stacking. It's cool here but not there? They added ambiguity into the mix. Add to that it says adds and not two times, and you could argue it literally adds twice.

As to "bonus equal to", yeah I kind of figured that's why "bonus equal to" was a casualty of the FAQ. Add that to mu list of why I'd like it to be a type instead... :P

seebs wrote:
I mean, fundamentally, I no longer have a rational basis for believing that I know what the "source" of a bonus is, or knowing whether the devs may secretly have intended two unrelated class features or feats to count as the same "source" for some characters and not others.

I'm with you on this one. It's Pandora's box and throws your understanding of the rules on it's side.

Paizo Employee Designer

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Now to explain taking Mark Gone Wild multiple times--

Let's say that Grace the oradin wants to take Mark Gone Wild 12 times and choose each of the six options twice. She has 22 Charisma.

In the end, she gets a +6 deflection bonus to AC, a +6 insight bonus to AC, and a +6 untyped bonus to AC.

Here's why:

Choosing the first option twice and the fourth option twice all don't stack because the type is deflection. Grace gets the highest, a +6.

Choosing the second option twice doesn't stack with itself because Mark Gone Wild is a same source of both untyped bonuses. Additionally, they don't stack with choosing the sixth option twice, for the same reason. Grace gets the highest, a +6.

Choosing the third option twice and the fifth option twice all don't stack because the type is insight. Grace gets the highest, a +6.

For extra bonus points, if Grace was already adding the untyped bonus "Charisma bonus" to AC from Nature's Whispers, since that would not stack with the bonus equal to her Charisma bonus from Mark Gone Wild because of same source (Charisma ability score), she would instead get the +4 bonus from Mark Gone Wild's second option.

I believe this thoroughly demonstrates the application of the current FAQ.

Paizo Employee Designer

graystone wrote:
Mark Seifter wrote:
graystone wrote:

This was always offset by things like Kirin Strike (add twice your Intelligence modifier in damage) and several in Inquisitor abilities that seem quite odd in giving multiple abilities that would grant non-stacking bonuses from the same ability score. There seemed to be plenty left in the air. You might of been more vigilant in tracking down unofficial rulings while working PFS though, so you'd have a better view of than I of the overall rulings landscape. It seems more clear cut to you than I, but I'll acknowledge I really haven't done as much homework as you. ;)

So I think I can agree what most people could have expected that abilities that add ability bonuses would at some point get a non-stacking ruling. For me, adding and replacing or 'equal to bonuses' not stacking was unexpected. So a FAQ on this issue was expected, but the extent and explanation of it weren't.

Yeah, the "add twice" abilities are a different animal, since those are multipliers.

Interestingly, the "bonus equal to" thing is a natural result of ruling "Charisma bonus" to be an untyped bonus. If they are both untyped, then "your Charisma bonus" is an untyped bonus equal to your Charisma bonus. The reason that the typed bonuses stacked is that only untyped bonuses have the rule about same source. Hmm...I have an idea for an example of the current state.

Adds twice just makes you scratch your head when talking about them not stacking. It's cool here but not there? They added ambiguity into the mix. Add to that it says adds and not two times, and you could argue it literally adds twice.

As to "bonus equal to", yeah I kind of figured that's why "bonus equal to" was a casualty of the FAQ. Add that to mu list of why I'd like it to be a type instead... :P

"Twice," in that case, is equivalent to "double".


Mark Seifter wrote:

Here's a feat that demonstrates the current state.

Let's hope this never happens wrote:

Mark Gone Wild (General)

Somehow, Mark got into Jason's scotch and released this horribly designed feat.
Prerequisites: Designer with a Wisdom score of at most 5
Benefit: Choose one of the following
*You gain a +4 deflection bonus to AC
*You gain a +4 bonus to AC
*You gain a +4 insight bonus to AC
*You gain a deflection bonus equal to your Charisma bonus to AC
*You gain an insight bonus equal to your Charisma bonus to AC
*You gain a bonus equal to your Charisma bonus to AC
Special: You can take this feat multiple times. What, do you expect me to explain what happens if you do? Who do you think I am, a designer with a Wisdom score over 5?

LOL The first thing I'd do is scratch my head and wonder why you printed " a bonus equal to" in the "You gain a bonus equal to your Charisma bonus to AC". You could have saved some ink there! ;)

Needless to say, I understand the explanation.


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Mark Seifter wrote:
graystone wrote:
Mark Seifter wrote:
graystone wrote:
Mark Seifter wrote:
To be fair, unlike the monk flurry ruling, which also blindsided me as much as it did all of you guys and I fully agree needed to be rolled back, this newest FAQ has had a number of posts on the messageboard to this effect. They just haven't been official until the FAQ.
To be fair, they where both for AND against it. It wasn't all one sided. And none of them hinted at abilities as sources. So at least partly a blindside and partly up in the air.
I certainly didn't see anything from a designer, even an unofficial post, to the contrary. Do you happen to have a link? If not, no worries, I know it's hard to find all of them (having been in that position and seen the difficulty for myself more than once).
Sorry, edited last post with link while you where posting. ;)

Thanks! So it looks like, and correct me if I'm wrong, there was at least 100% unanimous agreement among unofficial rulings on things that don't use the "bonus equal to your X bonus" construction.

So for instance, the players double or triple dipping "add your Wisdom modifier to X" with inquisitors or adding Dex twice to Fury's Fall or other things like that, at least, had unambiguous cues from previous posts. Not that those unofficial clarifications like the ones in James Jacobs's or my thread are always going to be consistent (in fact, they come with warnings to the contrary). But this time, they all were, save for that facet.

The result may be consistent, but the way it's obtained is completely inconsistent, because it breaks the entire concept of "type" and "source".

And the "no double-dipping" rules have always struck me as sort of unconsidered and reactionary, for two reasons:

1. Nothing indicating that the problem is actually a severe one.
2. The alternative of "everything gets collapsed" produces serious traps for a lot of people.

This ruling produces a large number of cases where gaining an ability or feat *reduces* your competence at the thing it's supposed to be enhancing, and I don't think there are a lot of those that don't come from this ruling.

My thought on it for some time has been:

"Add a bonus" and "replace a bonus" are two separate things, and should probably stack. Even if the net effect is that you get a single bonus twice. If you can have the bonuses from two different stats on a roll, then replacing one of them with the other and having the same bonus twice isn't inherently busted.

A fix which matches my intuition for how to avoid breaking things would be to distinguish between "this computation inherently uses the modifier from a specific stat" and "add a bonus equal to the modifier from a given stat". So CMB uses your strength modifier. If you got a thing which let you add your dex bonus to CMB, that would be one base modifier, one bonus derived from a stat. And the bonus (in the sense of "an enhancement bonus" or "an untyped bonus") shouldn't stack with other bonuses of the same type, or same source if untyped, but the underlying calculation isn't a "bonus" in the same sense; it's just a computed value.

So my resolution of fury's fall + agile maneuvers is that agile maneuvers is not adding a bonus, it's changing the underlying computation of CMB, while fury's fall is adding a bonus. Only one of them is really a "bonus".

Basically, you have a confusion over the term "bonus" here that's comparable to the confusion over "level" that we occasionally see, like people asking why a spell says "1d6 per level" when the spell has a fixed level.

So my suggestion for a fix is to just recognize that terms like "combat maneuver bonus" or "attack bonus" are not the same kind of thing at all as a "typed bonus" or "untyped bonus". And that stacking rules only come into play when you are talking about the latter, and the initial computation of the score isn't affected.

So, for instance: Undead antipaladin? You use your cha modifier on fort saves, being undead, but that just creates your base Fort Save. It isn't a "bonus", even if it happens to be positive. Divine grace gives you a bonus equal to your charisma bonus. That can be added. But if you add another thing that adds a bonus, then you start thinking about stacking.

Then a general rule that if an untyped bonus is derived from a stat, it has an implicit type of "stat", and does not stack with other stat bonuses.

But the underlying values used to compute saves, attack bonus, CMB, CMD, and so on aren't "bonuses" in the same sense. They're just how the base value got computed.


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I will say that I initially thought "no double dipping" was a good ruling but jesus all these corner cases that really SHOULD work but now don't (Seriously why is an undead Antipally worse at saves than a living one?) are giving me a headache.

Silver Crusade

Rynjin wrote:
I will say that I initially thought "no double dipping" was a good ruling but jesus all these corner cases that really SHOULD work but now don't (Seriously why is an undead Antipally worse at saves than a living one?) are giving me a headache.

Undead antipaladin does seem a good candidate for "unintended consequence that needs fixing."

But we'd need more than one to get to "all these corner cases that really SHOULD work." That strikes me as an overreaction.

(Dragon Style and Tiger Claw[?] will need language adjustments, but that was bound to happen to something with as contentious an FAQ topic as this one, and don't really look as important as the antipaladin effect.)

Grand Lodge

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Pathfinder Companion Subscriber

Okay, so an ability/feat/feature that grants "a dodge bonus equal to your charisma modifier", stacks with a different ability/feat/feature that grants "a dodge bonus equal to your charisma modifier", as both are Dodge bonuses, which stack, and they are from different sources, which would be the relevant ability/feat/feature, and not the charisma score.

Now, if an ability/feat/feature says "a bonus equal to your charisma modifier", which is the same as "a (untyped) bonus equal to your charisma modifier", it does not stack with any other ability/feat/feature, that adds "a bonus equal to your charisma modifier", now, not because untyped no longer stack, but by the sheer fact that they are untyped, it changes the source from the relevant ability/feat/feature, to the charisma score.

This "source altered by type" solution does not sit well with me, and I just cannot see how anything in the current rules, would have led anyone to such a conclusion.

I am also really tired of "of course the rules always said that" responses, which are usually are explained through incredibly contrived reasoning, and completely wild inferences, that I don't think anyone would have inferred, unless they were specifically looking for such a thing, and did a lot of "reading beyond what is written". Even worse, is the belittling that happens when someone finds such things confusing.


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Seeb's is pretty close to my thinking on this.

"unintended consequence that needs fixing.": LOL I'm a bad person to ask since I didn't see an issue before the FAQ. How do I parse what was the intended target and what isn't? To me an Oracle that has the mystery "side Step secret" and multi-classes into paladin to gain divine grace seems as valid as an undead paladin getting to add twice but one is intentional and the other is unintentional...

Shadow Lodge

So far the only real problems are the undead antipaladin and dragon ferocity. The inquisitors nerfs makes me sad but they dont make it unplayable, just a little less exploitable, all around a good ruling.
As somone said before it was next to impossible to make a general ruling and not to affect something negatively in the game.


ElementalXX wrote:
The inquisitors nerfs makes me sad but they dont make it unplayable, just a little less exploitable

Not unplayable but LESS playable. I now have to be careful not to pick (now) trap options that don't stack; it makes it more complicated. This'll most likely move the class (for me) from 'sometimes play' to 'special cases only'.


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Untyped bonuses stack from different sources. Trying to say that the source of an ability isn't the feat/class ability/item that grants you the ability is counter-intuitive and confusing. Where do you stop when trying to determine source if you start using 'nested sources' (whatever that means exactly). I saw Mark using computer language to try and explain the principle earlier and I was like 'what the...not everyone is familiar with that concept!'. And the wriggling required to get the Paladin to fit this ruling is painful.

Just make them typed bonuses. It's intuitive, simple, and resilient. Suck up the fact that you have to errata the Paladin (and Anti-Paladin?) in the CRB. If you are going to make this ruling, make it, make it completely. Make it so that it is 100% clear right from the start.


Joe M. wrote:
(Dragon Style and Tiger Claw[?] will need language adjustments, but that was bound to happen to something with as contentious an FAQ topic as this one, and don't really look as important as the antipaladin effect.)

Dragon Style actually works fine. It changes your strength modifier to damage from x1 to x1.5. Dragon Ferocity is what this FAQ breaks. You're right about Tiger Claws.

Mark Seifter wrote:

Now to explain taking Mark Gone Wild multiple times--

...Choosing the second option twice doesn't stack with itself because Mark Gone Wild is a same source of both untyped bonuses. Additionally, they don't stack with choosing the sixth option twice, for the same reason...

So, by this logic, a class feature that grants you an untyped bonus to AC and an untyped bonus to AC equal to an ability modifier wouldn't stack, because they're from the same source? That sounds a bit like...

Monk: AC Bonus (Ex) wrote:
When unarmored and unencumbered, the monk adds his Wisdom bonus (if any) to his AC and his CMD. In addition, a monk gains a +1 bonus to AC and CMD at 4th level. This bonus increases by 1 for every four monk levels thereafter, up to a maximum of +5 at 20th level.


I think the previous interpretation by many in the community was better. Just add in a special rule to stop double dipping. Yeah I know levels nor nothing has been identified as another source, but with this issue of unknown rules it just means they have not been noted yet.

If there are any other sources we don't know about I would like to have them noted now while this is still a hot topic. If another hidden/unknown source comes up I don't think it will go over well.

Paizo Employee Designer

Rhatahema wrote:
Joe M. wrote:
(Dragon Style and Tiger Claw[?] will need language adjustments, but that was bound to happen to something with as contentious an FAQ topic as this one, and don't really look as important as the antipaladin effect.)

Dragon Style actually works fine. It changes your strength modifier to damage from x1 to x1.5. Dragon Ferocity is what this FAQ breaks. You're right about Tiger Claws.

Mark Seifter wrote:

Now to explain taking Mark Gone Wild multiple times--

...Choosing the second option twice doesn't stack with itself because Mark Gone Wild is a same source of both untyped bonuses. Additionally, they don't stack with choosing the sixth option twice, for the same reason...

So, by this logic, a class feature that grants you an untyped bonus to AC and an untyped bonus to AC equal to an ability modifier wouldn't stack, because they're from the same source? That sounds a bit like...

Monk: AC Bonus (Ex) wrote:
When unarmored and unencumbered, the monk adds his Wisdom bonus (if any) to his AC and his CMD. In addition, a monk gains a +1 bonus to AC and CMD at 4th level. This bonus increases by 1 for every four monk levels thereafter, up to a maximum of +5 at 20th level.

That's why it says "in addition". Typically, same source stacking comes when you wind up with multiple instances of the same multi-selection feat or the same spell, like this hypothetical spell:

Metal Spell wrote:
You are so metal, you gain a +2 bonus to AC

If you cast metal spell 10 times, it doesn't give +20.


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Right, see.

That's what I always thought "source" meant: Feat, spell, racial quality, class ability.

The special rule that, if and only if a bonus is untyped, and if and only if it is defined as equal to an ability modifier, it suddenly changes its source from the spell, feat, or ability which granted it to "the ability score" is... not really at all how any of the text has previously worked.

Maybe you could start from the top:

What *problems* are solved by preventing any double-dipping whatsoever, ever, except the ones that were intended and will now need errata to make them work again?

Were there specific things which were too powerful? Was there a reason they couldn't be fixed in some other, simpler, way?

This feels like the "three free actions around, one of which is talking" FAQ, where the actual problem was that weapon cords were ridiculously overpowered, and there were no other examples of serious free action abuse that anyone could think of.

So far as I can tell, the issues are:

1. A handful of cases where Inquisitor can get double-dipping of specific stat mods, which may or may not have been considered.
2. Fury's Fall + Agile Maneuvers.

And honestly, in the latter case, the result of this ruling strikes me as unambiguously bad for the game. If I have a +4 dex mod and a +2 strength mod, and I take fury's fall for a +2 net bonus to trip, and later I decide I like other combat maneuvers, taking agile maneuvers will reduce my CMB for trip by 2. That's a trap, and it's a ridiculous one. If Fury's Fall isn't too powerful, and Agile Maneuvers isn't too powerful, I don't think the combination is too powerful. With those numbers, Agile Maneuvers is +2 to all maneuvers, Fury's Fall is +4 to trip. Neither of those is an unreasonable bonus to give. Combined, you get a total of +8, which is +6 over what you'd have without two feats. And that's for tripping only, which is not necessarily the most important combat maneuver, and which is completely inapplicable on some opponents, and so on.

I am totally failing to see a problem here which requires something that clearly breaks a couple of intentional cases, breaks a lot of existing Inquisitor builds that so far as anyone knew were not actually a serious problem, and which does it by making the "type" and "source" language basically meaningless for at least some cases, in a way that strongly implies there might be other lurking cases later.

If two things give you an untyped bonus "equal to half your character level", does "your character level" become a "source"? What about class level in particular classes? Say, can I stack the +1/2 level initiative modifier from a diviner wizard with some other class which gives +1/2 level initiative modifier from that class's levels?

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