Do trait bonuses stack?


Rules Questions

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I know you cant have more than one trait from the same trait type (ie. two combat traits) but do the bonuses stack if they come from different types, such as +2 initiative from a combat trait and a +2 initiative from a social trait?

Paizo Employee Creative Director

Nope; trait bonuses don't stack together.


advanced players guide wrote:
Many traits grant a new type of bonus: a “trait” bonus. Trait bonuses do not stack

nope, whether it is combat or social is irrelevant it is still a trait.

Liberty's Edge

Technically, it depends on if they're listed as a trait bonus. However, since all traits should give trait bonuses, those that don't may be assumed to be typos.

So, in practice, what they said.


We need a new, general rule: traits only ever grant trait bonuses, even when their description mentions no specific type.
Or better: no bonus from a trait ever stacks, in any way, with that of another trait.


Technically speaking there are traits that don't mention that the bonus gained are trait bonuses, so by an extreme RAW reading, those would stack as though they were untyped bonuses.
I think it is very fair to say that RAI is that no trait is supposed to stack with another trait.
Personally speaking I would say the same as VRMH when it comes to traits. Besides... There are so many awesome traits that it is unnecessary to use them on the same type of bonus.

Grand Lodge

Many traits, not all traits.

If they list the same type of bonus, the stacking rules for that type of bonus are the rules to follow.

If the trait gives a dodge bonus, they stack.
If it gives an untyped bonus, it stacks.
If it gives a trait bonus, it won't stack with another trait bonus.

On the original question, I don't know of any of the initiative bonus traits that do not give a trait bonus to initiative, so Reactionary and Warrior of Old won't stack.

Magical Lineage and Wayang Spell Hunter's effects, though, would stack, within the limit of lessening metamagic spell level increases for slot needed by up to 2 levels, to the level of the original spell.

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Companion Subscriber
VRMH wrote:

We need a new, general rule: traits only ever grant trait bonuses, even when their description mentions no specific type.

Or better: no bonus from a trait ever stacks, in any way, with that of another trait.

That's silly.

If you want to houserule, that's cool.

I see it as having all feats give only a "feat bonus", and never any other kind. All of which, never stack.


VRMH wrote:

We need a new, general rule: traits only ever grant trait bonuses, even when their description mentions no specific type.

Or better: no bonus from a trait ever stacks, in any way, with that of another trait.

What we really need is for trait bonuses to have a secondary source. I'd say time of day could work well.


blackbloodtroll wrote:
VRMH wrote:

We need a new, general rule: traits only ever grant trait bonuses, even when their description mentions no specific type.

Or better: no bonus from a trait ever stacks, in any way, with that of another trait.

That's silly.

If you want to houserule, that's cool.

I see it as having all feats give only a "feat bonus", and never any other kind. All of which, never stack.

Feats are intended to stack. Traits are not.

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Companion Subscriber
Bronnwynn wrote:
blackbloodtroll wrote:
VRMH wrote:

We need a new, general rule: traits only ever grant trait bonuses, even when their description mentions no specific type.

Or better: no bonus from a trait ever stacks, in any way, with that of another trait.

That's silly.

If you want to houserule, that's cool.

I see it as having all feats give only a "feat bonus", and never any other kind. All of which, never stack.

Feats are intended to stack. Traits are not.

Unless they provide a bonus other than a trait bonus.


blackbloodtroll wrote:
Bronnwynn wrote:
blackbloodtroll wrote:
VRMH wrote:

We need a new, general rule: traits only ever grant trait bonuses, even when their description mentions no specific type.

Or better: no bonus from a trait ever stacks, in any way, with that of another trait.

That's silly.

If you want to houserule, that's cool.

I see it as having all feats give only a "feat bonus", and never any other kind. All of which, never stack.

Feats are intended to stack. Traits are not.

Unless they provide a bonus other than a trait bonus.

PDT has been pretty consistently clear with the whole traits not stacking thing. Yes, if someone messed up and gave one a competence bonus instead of a trait bonus, then RAW says they stack. But it's not RAI.

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Companion Subscriber

Are you sure?

One cannot declare they know RAI, for all things.

Scarab Sages Modules Overlord

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blackbloodtroll wrote:

Are you sure?

One cannot declare they know RAI, for all things.

James Jacobs can. It's one of his super-powers. That's one of the reasons why he's creative director. :)

Grand Lodge

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Pathfinder Adventure, Rulebook Subscriber; Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber

Is that an EX or SU ability?


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Pathfinder Adventure Path, Companion, Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber
TriOmegaZero wrote:
Is that an EX or SU ability?

I'm gonna go with EX.


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Owen K. C. Stephens wrote:
blackbloodtroll wrote:

Are you sure?

One cannot declare they know RAI, for all things.

James Jacobs can. It's one of his super-powers. That's one of the reasons why he's creative director. :)

Well, not universally. But in the absence of compelling evidence from the crunchy team, I'm inclined to go with it.


It would be best if all traits gave trait bonus for those "out of the blue" reasons, like "+1 bonus to damage with daggers". Other traits like Defensive Strategist that allow you to not be flat-footed during the surprise round, that bonus would not be "taged" a trait bonus.

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Companion Subscriber

Most traits that provide a bonus, will be of the trait type.

Not all do.

The idea that all bonuses provided by traits must provide a bonus of the trait type, and that any trait that provides a bonus, not of the trait type, must be changed to the trait type, is an idea I cannot get behind, and I would not dare suggest, that this was the intention, of all traits.

As the example I used, this, to me, would be the same as having all bonuses, by all feats, be the "feat type", and all feats that currently provide a different kind of bonus, must be changed, to now provide the "feat bonus".

In the end, traits that provide anything other than a bonus of the trait type, are rather rare.

I see no need to be up in arms, and demand to change all of them, and make a sweeping errata, just because a trait, here or there, provides some minor bonus, that by virtue of type, stacks with some other trait, that provides a minor bonus.

Paizo Employee Creative Director

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Bronnwynn wrote:
Owen K. C. Stephens wrote:
blackbloodtroll wrote:

Are you sure?

One cannot declare they know RAI, for all things.

James Jacobs can. It's one of his super-powers. That's one of the reasons why he's creative director. :)
Well, not universally. But in the absence of compelling evidence from the crunchy team, I'm inclined to go with it.

For what it's worth... I invented traits back in the early days of the Adventure Path, and they were ALWAYS intended to grant trait bonuses that don't stack with each other. Each time a new author invents a new trait, there's a new chance for that initial design philosophy to erode, but it doesn't change the overall philosophy that bonuses granted by traits are not supposed to stack.

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Companion Subscriber

This really doesn't happen enough, or in any meaningful, or disruptive way, to have a mass change.

Going forth, new traits, for the most part, should be worded to provide a trait bonus.

No need to do a sweeping errata, or even completely dismiss the idea of non-trait bonus granting traits.

Remember, if it's a different type of bonus, then that means there is something else, it will not stack with.

Grand Lodge

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James Jacobs wrote:
Bronnwynn wrote:
Owen K. C. Stephens wrote:
blackbloodtroll wrote:

Are you sure?

One cannot declare they know RAI, for all things.

James Jacobs can. It's one of his super-powers. That's one of the reasons why he's creative director. :)
Well, not universally. But in the absence of compelling evidence from the crunchy team, I'm inclined to go with it.
For what it's worth... I invented traits back in the early days of the Adventure Path, and they were ALWAYS intended to grant trait bonuses that don't stack with each other. Each time a new author invents a new trait, there's a new chance for that initial design philosophy to erode, but it doesn't change the overall philosophy that bonuses granted by traits are not supposed to stack.

So, does that mean that, say, Pragmatic Activator should provide your Int mod as a Trait bonus to UMD? And, would, therefore, stack with a feat that gave you your Int mod as an untyped (Int) bonus to UMD?


No, because other paradigm of the rules is that something only gets applied once to any given thing kind of regardless of how many channels you seem to have to get that thing to apply.

Grand Lodge

Uwotm8 wrote:
No, because other paradigm of the rules is that something only gets applied once to any given thing kind of regardless of how many channels you seem to have to get that thing to apply.

Try reading the rules, and the FAQ, again.


If you're sure of the answer why ask the question?

Also, did you mean this FAQ?

Do ability modifiers from the same ability stack? For instance, can you add the same ability bonus on the same roll twice using two different effects that each add that same ability modifier? wrote:
No. An ability bonus, such as "Strength bonus", is considered to be the same source for the purpose of bonuses from the same source not stacking. However, you can still add, for instance “a deflection bonus equal to your Charisma modifier” and your Charisma modifier. For this purpose, however, 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.

To answer your question we need the feat in question. The FAQ presents a difference of "bonus equal to target number" and "target number as bonus." The former is a fundamentally different situation than the latter, of which, is different from the topic at hand. So, my answer is correct. You're asking about the latter which the FAQ says is no. Trying a 'read it again' take is combative. It doesn't change the answer. It's no.

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Companion Subscriber

It all part of the unwritten multisource rules, based off type.


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blackbloodtroll wrote:
It all part of the unwritten multisource rules, based off type.

It's right next to 'hands of effort' in the unwritten section. :P


blackbloodtroll wrote:

This really doesn't happen enough, or in any meaningful, or disruptive way, to have a mass change.

Going forth, new traits, for the most part, should be worded to provide a trait bonus.

No need to do a sweeping errata, or even completely dismiss the idea of non-trait bonus granting traits.

Remember, if it's a different type of bonus, then that means there is something else, it will not stack with.

This is the case for traits that mention a competence bonus, or a luck bonus, etc. However, there are quite a few traits that, as written, are 'untyped' bonuses, and as such, stack with anything. Those, I believe, are the ones James is suggesting should be treated as trait bonuses.


CraziFuzzy wrote:
blackbloodtroll wrote:

This really doesn't happen enough, or in any meaningful, or disruptive way, to have a mass change.

Going forth, new traits, for the most part, should be worded to provide a trait bonus.

No need to do a sweeping errata, or even completely dismiss the idea of non-trait bonus granting traits.

Remember, if it's a different type of bonus, then that means there is something else, it will not stack with.

This is the case for traits that mention a competence bonus, or a luck bonus, etc. However, there are quite a few traits that, as written, are 'untyped' bonuses, and as such, stack with anything. Those, I believe, are the ones James is suggesting should be treated as trait bonuses.

Untyped is as viable a bonus as a typed bonus. Why would competence or luck get a pass while untyped get hit?

Sczarni

graystone wrote:
Untyped is as viable a bonus as a typed bonus. Why would competence or luck get a pass while untyped get hit?

Is it really an untyped bonus though? If the bonus granted by a trait is not expressly called out as an untyped bonus, isn't it just a trait bonus?


Krodjin wrote:
graystone wrote:
Untyped is as viable a bonus as a typed bonus. Why would competence or luck get a pass while untyped get hit?

Is it really an untyped bonus though? If the bonus granted by a trait is not expressly called out as an untyped bonus, isn't it just a trait bonus?

Ah... no. ANY bonus not expressly called out is untyped. Trait bonuses are a subset of expressly called out bonuses. If it was as you say, then you should NEVER see trait bonuses as it's inferred and the DEV's say that word counts are very often tight so why add unneeded words to some traits and not others?


JJ throws out a "no" as first post, yet there's still over 30 posts arguing over how to shoe-horn multiple bonuses from traits under the definition that "well, yeah, but some of them don't point out that they're trait bonuses per se"

Holy crap, dude, I am a bit of a rules lawyer, but that's epic ambulance-chaser level of lawyering to ignore clear RAI like that.


thegreenteagamer wrote:

JJ throws out a "no" as first post, yet there's still over 30 posts arguing over how to shoe-horn multiple bonuses from traits under the definition that "well, yeah, but some of them don't point out that they're trait bonuses per se"

Holy crap, dude, I am a bit of a rules lawyer, but that's epic ambulance-chaser level of lawyering to ignore clear RAI like that.

LOL Look at what he actually said. "Nope; trait bonuses don't stack together." What he didn't say was 'Bonuses from traits don't stack'. RAI doesn't trump clear RAW. Typed vs untyped bonuses are clear in RAW. The fact that James said they "were ALWAYS intended to grant trait bonuses" doesn't trump what's actually written in the books.

This the rules section. Feel free to advocate a houserule that all bonuses in traits are trait bonuses but that really isn't applicable in a rules thread.


graystone wrote:
thegreenteagamer wrote:

JJ throws out a "no" as first post, yet there's still over 30 posts arguing over how to shoe-horn multiple bonuses from traits under the definition that "well, yeah, but some of them don't point out that they're trait bonuses per se"

Holy crap, dude, I am a bit of a rules lawyer, but that's epic ambulance-chaser level of lawyering to ignore clear RAI like that.

LOL Look at what he actually said. "Nope; trait bonuses don't stack together." What he didn't say was 'Bonuses from traits don't stack'. RAI doesn't trump clear RAW. Typed vs untyped bonuses are clear in RAW. The fact that James said they "were ALWAYS intended to grant trait bonuses" doesn't trump what's actually written in the books.

This the rules section. Feel free to advocate a houserule that all bonuses in traits are trait bonuses but that really isn't applicable in a rules thread.

LOL look at what he later said.

When the guy who created the rule speaks up and says, more or less, "Yeah, the intent of these rules was that they don't stack", you literally have the rules as intended listed right in front of you.

No, it doesn't trump RAW. That's a rule. It's almost...lawyer-like to point it out, you might say.


Not really.

RAI was, ORIGINALLY, that all Traits give trait bonuses.

That has not universally been the case going forward.

You cannot say, across the board, "RAI is that Traits that give a non-Trait bonus don't stack", because once Traits have started giving other bonuses (such as Competence), that RAI has changed, obviously (since the initial RAI was that all Traits give Trait bonuses to begin with, which is the reason WHY they don't stack).


I find it rules lawyering to try to override the actual rules. Someone made an intentional choice to NOT to put trait in front of the bonuses. As James pointed out, each new product is "a new chance for that initial design philosophy to erode". If we blindly accept that no trait should stack, how to we explain competence or luck bonuses? And if we accept that some are meant to stack how to you determine if an untyped bonus was intentional? We can't, so we have to assume that the staff and authors actually meant what they printed.

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Adventure, Rulebook Subscriber; Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber
thegreenteagamer wrote:
No, it doesn't trump RAW. That's a rule. It's almost...lawyer-like to point it out, you might say.

Well, we ARE in the Rules Forum. We tend to state what is actually the rules regardless of designer commentary. So until they errata those traits, the answer to 'do trait bonuses stack' is 'no, but not all traits grant trait bonuses'.

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Companion Subscriber

Well, if I remember correctly, James advocated the Titan Mauler actually doing what it was originally designed to do.

Also, look what they did to Tiefling and Aasimar ages.

Minimum 64 years old? That doesn't vibe with any Pathfinder lore, and makes no sense, when reading up Aasimar/Tiefling NPCs in published Adventure Paths/Modules/Scenarios.

Paizo Employee Creative Director

blackbloodtroll wrote:

Well, if I remember correctly, James advocated the Titan Mauler actually doing what it was originally designed to do.

Also, look what they did to Tiefling and Aasimar ages.

Minimum 64 years old? That doesn't vibe with any Pathfinder lore, and makes no sense, when reading up Aasimar/Tiefling NPCs in published Adventure Paths/Modules/Scenarios.

The tiefling and aasimar age thing is an error, and it will be reflected in the book's errata if/when it's reprinted.

I don't recall doing much advocating of the Titan Mauler at all, though—but I suppose it's possible. I do post to these threads an awful lot.

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Companion Subscriber

I hope that age thing gets fixed.

Also, I hope the Titan Fighter, in the Giant Hunter's Handbook, does what the Titan Mauler was designed to do.

Now, just to be clear, I feel that future traits should be written to provide a trait bonus, or other typed bonus, but let's leave sleeping dogs lie, as far as other traits are concerned.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Lost Omens, Rulebook, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
thegreenteagamer wrote:

JJ throws out a "no" as first post, yet there's still over 30 posts arguing over how to shoe-horn multiple bonuses from traits under the definition that "well, yeah, but some of them don't point out that they're trait bonuses per se"

Holy crap, dude, I am a bit of a rules lawyer, but that's epic ambulance-chaser level of lawyering to ignore clear RAI like that.

Not only that, but some folks are still clinging to their dearest most brokenly misconceived traits with desperate abandon:

kinevon wrote:
Magical Lineage and Wayang Spell Hunter's effects, though, would stack, within the limit of lessening metamagic spell level increases for slot needed by up to 2 levels, to the level of the original spell.

Why should those two traits stack when we are told that no two trait bonuses should ever stack? Flies in the face of simple logic, not to mention RAI.

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
VRMH wrote:

We need a new, general rule: traits only ever grant trait bonuses, even when their description mentions no specific type.

Or better: no bonus from a trait ever stacks, in any way, with that of another trait.

That rule already exists. The only bonuses that stack are dodge bonuses and untyped bonuses. Look it up in the bonus stacking rules. Traits are not granted any specific exception to that general rule.


Wheldrake wrote:
Not only that, but some folks are still clinging to their dearest most brokenly misconceived traits with desperate abandon:

Silly us thinking the words in the books have actual meaning...

Wheldrake wrote:


Why should those two traits stack when we are told that no two trait bonuses should ever stack? Flies in the face of simple logic, not to mention RAI.

Maybe because those traits don't give a bonus?

"Bonuses are numerical values that are added to checks and statistical scores." A reduction in the cost of metamagic isn't a numerical value added to any roll or stat. No Bonuses involved. If anything that give a penalty to the spell slot increase and penalties "do not have a type and most penalties stack with one another".

Your simple logic has failed you it seems.


LazarX wrote:
VRMH wrote:

We need a new, general rule: traits only ever grant trait bonuses, even when their description mentions no specific type.

Or better: no bonus from a trait ever stacks, in any way, with that of another trait.
That rule already exists. The only bonuses that stack are dodge bonuses and untyped bonuses. Look it up in the bonus stacking rules. Traits are not granted any specific exception to that general rule.

The argument some here are making is that an bonus from a trait that doesn't list a bonus type is an untyped bonus. Others are arguing that if it is from a trait, and doesn't say otherwise, its a trait bonus. There is no rule text that says the latter, and common sense negates the former. Its a matter of whether you play this game to pretend you are a lawyer, sucking every last bit of fun from everyone else at the table by exploiting every poorly or misworded rule, or if you just want to play a game that makes sense.

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
CraziFuzzy wrote:
LazarX wrote:
VRMH wrote:

We need a new, general rule: traits only ever grant trait bonuses, even when their description mentions no specific type.

Or better: no bonus from a trait ever stacks, in any way, with that of another trait.
That rule already exists. The only bonuses that stack are dodge bonuses and untyped bonuses. Look it up in the bonus stacking rules. Traits are not granted any specific exception to that general rule.
The argument some here are making is that an bonus from a trait that doesn't list a bonus type is an untyped bonus. Others are arguing that if it is from a trait, and doesn't say otherwise, its a trait bonus. There is no rule text that says the latter, and common sense negates the former. Its a matter of whether you play this game to pretend you are a lawyer, sucking every last bit of fun from everyone else at the table by exploiting every poorly or misworded rule, or if you just want to play a game that makes sense.

If it's a numerical bonus from a trait, it's a trait bonus.


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LazarX wrote:


If it's a numerical bonus from a trait, it's a trait bonus.

So the +1 competence bonus on Bluff and Disguise checks from Keeper of the Veil trait is a trait bonus? The +2 luck bonus to AC for Star Gazer or Reckless Luck? And if not, why if an untyped bonus different? Neither one say trait bonus and they are proof that bonus for traits doesn't have to be a trait bonus. An untyped bonus is as valid as a luck or competence bonus.


Untyped bonuses have the added complication that you can't be sure if they were intended to be 'untyped,' or if they were just poorly written. A trait that grants a specific bonus type is more clear.

Just pointing that out.


Paulicus wrote:

Untyped bonuses have the added complication that you can't be sure if they were intended to be 'untyped,' or if they were just poorly written. A trait that grants a specific bonus type is more clear.

Just pointing that out.

That was the point I was trying to make. Once you have traits that stack with other traits (like luck/competence), you can't assume untyped bonuses follow the original intent as it's proven that it's not universal. That and we have a rule that untyped stack and that should trump an intent that traits shouldn't.


except when there is ambiguity in the rules (such as a header describing the new 'trait bonus' at the beginning of the traits chapter) specifically stating how traits were not intended to stack with other traits:

Quote:
Many traits grant a new type of bonus: a “trait” bonus. Trait bonuses do not stack—they’re intended to give player characters a slight edge, not a secret backdoor way to focus all of a character’s traits on one type of bonus and thus gain an unseemly advantage. It’s certainly possible, for example, that somewhere down the line, a “Courageous” trait might be on the list of dwarf race traits, but just because this trait is on both the dwarf race traits list and the basic combat traits list doesn’t mean you’re any more brave if you choose both versions than if you choose only one.

there is reasonable suspicion that the missing 'trait' word before bonus is an oversight. Combine that with the person who wrote the first traits backing up this suspicion in this very thread, and I'd say the RAI is clear on them.

Keeper of the Veil was not written by James Jacobs, which might explain its deviation from the 'trait bonus'. The others listed as having luck bonuses - Stargazer and Reckless Luck - WERE both in books that James Jacobs' name is on, and both of those, I believe were errata'd (at least they are listed as trait bonuses on d20pfsrd - I don't own either of them so can't verify what the current pdf's show).


blackbloodtroll wrote:

I hope that age thing gets fixed.

Also, I hope the Titan Fighter, in the Giant Hunter's Handbook, does what the Titan Mauler was designed to do.

And I hope Paizo sticks to not allowing oversized two-handed weapons.

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