[FAQ Request] Invulnerable Rager and Increased Damage Reduction


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Pathfinder Adventure Path, Lost Omens, Rulebook, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

This is an attempt to get an official FAQ/errata verdict on the following question:

"Does the DR granted by the Invulnerable Rager archetype stack with the DR granted (while raging) by the Increased Damage Reduction rage power?"

Reason to think they don't stack: Hero Lab doesn't allow them to stack. When I reported this, they emailed me the following:

Hero Lab wrote:

We've gotten this question before and sought clarification from paizo. Based on that, the implementation is correct as things stand now. Here is the text of our question and Paizo's answer.

Question:
This question revolves around the text of the Increased Damage Reduction barbarian rage power. The text reads as follows:

CRB Barbarian Power
The barbarian's damage reduction increases by 1/—. This increase is always active while the barbarian is raging.

Unchained Barbarian Power
The barbarian’s damage reduction increases by 2/— whenever she is raging.

Our question is, what is the meaning of "barbarian's damage reduction" in these sentances? Is that referring specifically to the "damage reduction" class ability of barbarians, or is it referring to any untyped damage reduction the barbarian gets from any source (like the Resurgent Transformation spell, that grants DR 5/-)?

A - Refers to the Class special ability
If it refers to the class special ability, then the rage power would not affect any barbarian that had used an archetype to replace the class ability (even with something very similar). For example, the Invulnerable Rager archetype replaces the Damage Reduction class ability with the following:

Invulnerability
At 2nd level, the invulnerable rager gains DR/— equal to half her barbarian level. This damage reduction is doubled against nonlethal damage. This ability replaces uncanny dodge, improved uncanny dodge, and damage reduction.
Under this interpretation, Increased Damage Reduction has no interaction with Invulnerability, and thus no effect.

B - Refers to DR X/- in general
Under this interpretation, the increase when raging would apply to any granted DR /- including that from spells, items (adamantine armor) or the invulnerable rager archetype's ability.

Paizo's Answer
It should only apply to the barbarian’s damage reduction ability. Invulnerable rager archetype probably wants it to apply, and if it was written to modern standards, it would probably say that it “alters” rather than “replaces” damage reduction, but it doesn’t, so technically they don’t stack. Honestly invulnerable rager gets more than enough DR already anyway, but you’re right that it would need a FAQ or errata to work together at this point.

Reason to think they were intended to stack: The description of the Invulnerable Rager archetype ends with:

Advanced Players Guide wrote:
Rage Powers: The following rage powers complement the invulnerable rager archetype: come and get me, guarded life, increased damage reduction*, inspire ferocity, reckless abandon, and renewed vigor*.

To sum up: RAW, it seems they do not stack. But it also seems that they were intended to stack. To make this correction official would require an official verdict from the Pathfinder Design Team. So if you would like to see such a correction (so they can stack, as intended, in Hero Lab, PFS, etc), please FAQ this post.

Sovereign Court

Either let them stacked or scrap the recommendation to take something that doesn't work. FAQ'd.

Sovereign Court

I think it should just work. You have a class ability (rage power) referring to "the barbarian's damage reduction", and the barbarian gets damage reduction from a class feature, so it's clear what damage reduction would be intended.

That the class feature that grants you damage reduction is called differently should IMO not really be an obstacle. Because it's an ability giving you another ability (DR). And it's having DR that matters, and you have it.


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

I think it should just work. You have a class ability (rage power) referring to "the barbarian's damage reduction", and the barbarian gets damage reduction from a class feature, so it's clear what damage reduction would be intended.

That the class feature that grants you damage reduction is called differently should IMO not really be an obstacle. Because it's an ability giving you another ability (DR). And it's having DR that matters, and you have it.

Yeah, it never even occurred to me as not working (which is why I submitted a bug report to Hero Lab) until I got Hero Lab's emailed reply.

I guess Paizo's line is that when Increased Damage Reduction refers to "the barbarian's damage reduction", it's referring to DR granted by the Barbarian's Damage Reduction (Ex) class feature. And the Invulnerable Rager doesn't have that class feature. (That's the "A" interpretation Hero Lab offered them.)

The reading you're suggesting is that "the barbarian's damage reduction" is referring to any damage reduction the barbarian has. (That's the "B" interpretation Hero Lab offered them.)

I'd be happy to go with the "B" interpretation. But that's not the reading Paizo chose... :(

(FWIW, I think the best option would be to keep the "A" interpretation, but change the wording of Invulnerability (Ex) so that is says "alters" instead of "replaces" the Damage Reduction (Ex) class feature. This third option would allow Increased Damage Reduction to stack with the Invulnerable Rager's Invulnerability (Ex), but not with (say) the DR granted by adamantine armor.

And this is the reading the Paizo source suggested was probably intended! But it's not how the ability will work in Hero Lab or PFS unless Paizo issues an official FAQ/errata...)


*Reads the first post*

...Yes, I think this is worthy of clarification. ^^ FAQ'd.


I think it's clear that it works with DR from class, which the invulnerable rager gets.


Would not request an erratum, as it was clearly the intent of the author to make both abilities work together. Ok, you need it for HeroLab. But be prepared: a perfectly decent and valid combination of abilities has a good chance of being officially canceled. It happened before.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Lost Omens, Rulebook, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Chess Pwn wrote:
I think it's clear that it should work with DR from class, which the invulnerable rager gets.

FYFY. :P


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Porridge wrote:
Chess Pwn wrote:
I think it's clear that it should work with DR from class, which the invulnerable rager gets.
FTFY. :P

FTFY. :)


It's really starting to bother me how many rulings are coming out of hero lab emails rather than FAQs or Errata or other official channels.


swoosh wrote:
It's really starting to bother me how many rulings are coming out of hero lab emails rather than FAQs or Errata or other official channels.

Except they aren't actual rulings. I mean, even in this case, its not really a ruling. The whole exchange can be summarized as "due to sloppy wording, a strict reading indicates two things that are supposed to work together might not, we should probably fix that." The response to herolab is about as binding as one of Mark's posts. Good to keep in mind, but unofficial and subject to change.


There's other more significant ones too, like gauntlets now being the only manufactured weapon in the game that can't be enchanted.

Silver Crusade Contributor

Also note that IDR is from the Core Rulebook. When it was originally written, there were no such thing as archetypes - all barbarians had damage reduction. So it went without saying that it wasn't a prerequisite. ^_^


Per RAW, Invulnerable Ragers have Damage Reduction.

"Invulnerability (Ex): At 2nd level, the invulnerable rager gains DR/— equal to half her barbarian level. This damage reduction is doubled against nonlethal damage. This ability replaces uncanny dodge, improved uncanny dodge, and damage reduction."

Per RAW, the Increased Damage Reduction rage power increases a barbarian's damage reduction.

"Increased Damage Reduction (Ex): The barbarian's damage reduction increases by 1/—. This increase is always active while the barbarian is raging. A barbarian can select this rage power up to three times. Its effects stack. A barbarian must be at least 8th level before selecting this rage power."

Does the Invulnerable Rager have damage reduction? Yes.

Is the Invulnerable Rager a Barbarian? Yes.

Does Increased Damage Reduction increase a barbarian's damage reduction while in a rage? Yes.


I agree with @Rory here, it doesn't say "the barbarian's damage reduction class feature increases by...", it says that his DR increases. Tt doesn't even specify which one (in the case he had multiple sources).

Community & Digital Content Director

Removed a series of posts. Folks, the Rules Questions forum is not the place to argue about HeroLab. Unless you're commenting on this specific FAQ, take it to another thread.


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

Per RAW, Invulnerable Ragers have Damage Reduction.

"Invulnerability (Ex): At 2nd level, the invulnerable rager gains DR/— equal to half her barbarian level. This damage reduction is doubled against nonlethal damage. This ability replaces uncanny dodge, improved uncanny dodge, and damage reduction."

Per RAW, the Increased Damage Reduction rage power increases a barbarian's damage reduction.

"Increased Damage Reduction (Ex): The barbarian's damage reduction increases by 1/—. This increase is always active while the barbarian is raging. A barbarian can select this rage power up to three times. Its effects stack. A barbarian must be at least 8th level before selecting this rage power."

Does the Invulnerable Rager have damage reduction? Yes.

Is the Invulnerable Rager a Barbarian? Yes.

Does Increased Damage Reduction increase a barbarian's damage reduction while in a rage? Yes.

Yeah, that's the "B" interpretation Hero Lab offered. And it strikes me as the most natural way of reading things as well.

(Though English (like all natural languages) is kind of messy, and context often provides implicit restrictions on quantifiers. So I can see there being wiggle room here...)

But even if the "A" interpretation is how Paizo wants this to be read, I hope they'll provide errata for the Invulnerable Rager's Invulnerable (Ex) class ability (changing "replaces" to "alters"), so that it stacks with the Increased Damage Reduction rage power. They were clearly intended to stack (as the text at the end of the Invulnerable Rager section shows), and even the Paizo source cited in the Hero Lab email grants that this was intended.

So I'm hoping that they'll do one of two things: (1) either change their minds, and go with the "B" interpretation you suggested, or (2) issue errata that allows these abilities to stack, as intended.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Lost Omens, Rulebook, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

One thing that (I think) Darksol mentioned, before the removal of some posts, that makes the RAW interpretation relayed in the email to Hero Lab frustrating is that the Invulnerable Rager archetype goes from being very good, to being (arguably) being worse than the regular Unchained Barbarian. More importantly: after the first couple levels, the Invulnerable Rager archetype ends up being worse than the regular Unchained Barbarian at what it's supposed to be good at: being invulnerable while raging.

In particular, let's compare the DR (while raging) of the Invulnerable Rager (IR) and the regular Unchained Barbarian (UB) who takes the unchained Improved Damage Reduction power (retraining feats to take it three times once it's available):

Level: IR / UB
Level 1: 0 / 0
Level 2: 1 / 0
Level 3: 1 / 0
Level 4: 2 / 0
Level 5: 2 / 0
Level 6: 3 / 0
Level 7: 3 / 1
Level 8: 4 / 7
Level 9: 4 / 7
Level 10: 5 / 8
Level 11: 5 / 8
Level 12: 6 / 8
Level 13: 6 / 9
Level 14: 7 / 9
Level 15: 7 / 9
Level 16: 8 / 10
Level 17: 8 / 10
Level 18: 9 / 10
Level 19: 9 / 11
Level 20: 10 / 11

At level 1, they're tied. At levels 2-7, the Invulnerable Rager has a higher DR by a couple points. But starting at level 8, the Unchained Barbarian pulls ahead, and maintains that lead all the way to 20th level.


Porridge wrote:
But even if the "A" interpretation is how Paizo wants this to be read...

The "A" interpretation assumes not only that a "barbarian's damage reduction" must come from a barbarian class ability (RAI I do consider reasonable) but also that it only comes from a unique barbarian class ability (RAI I do not consider reasonable).

Here's the rub... Damage reduction is an actual defined term in the game. It isn't a barbarian limited term, but a general game term.

By RAW, a "barbarian's damage reduction" doesn't even mean damage reduction from a barbarian class feature. Therefore, even a racial DR X/- would be increased with Increased Damage Reduction by RAW (which may not be RAI).

(Thankfully, Invulnerable Rager does get damage reduction from a class feature, so the argument that the DR must come from a class feature is moot for this discussion.)

Paizo Employee Design Manager

Rory wrote:
Porridge wrote:
But even if the "A" interpretation is how Paizo wants this to be read...

The "A" interpretation assumes not only that a "barbarian's damage reduction" must come from a barbarian class ability (RAI I do consider reasonable) but also that it only comes from a unique barbarian class ability (RAI I do not consider reasonable).

Here's the rub... Damage reduction is an actual defined term in the game. It isn't a barbarian limited term, but a general game term.

By RAW, a "barbarian's damage reduction" doesn't even mean damage reduction from a barbarian class feature. Therefore, even a racial DR X/- would be increased with Increased Damage Reduction by RAW (which may not be RAI).

(Thankfully, Invulnerable Rager does get damage reduction from a class feature, so the argument that the DR must come from a class feature is moot for this discussion.)

The argument isn't that the damage reduction must come from a class feature, it's that when Increased Damage Reduction says "The barbarian's damage reduction increases by 1/—", the damage reduction it's referring to is specifically the barbarian's Damage Reduction class feature, which shares the same name as a general game mechanic.

So, for example, say that the class feature that granted the Barbarian damage reduction had been called "Superhuman Durability". A Rage Power that said "The damage reduction offered by superhuman durability increases by 1/—" wouldn't apply to to the Invulnerable Rager's Invulnerability, because it specifically only affects the DR granted by Superhuman Durability. That's what the Paizo response to Hero Lab is saying- that the Improved Damage Reduction Rage Power applies to the barbarian class feature called Damage Reduction, not any other damage reduction (generic game mechanic) the Barbarian might have or gain.


Right cause it's written thusly,
"The barbarian's Superhuman Durability increases by 1/—" because that wording makes sense, as opposed to what you used in your example, "The damage reduction offered by superhuman durability increases"

And it's super clear cause they used the same casing as the ability to help distiguish that it's the class ablity and not generic dr.
The barbarian's damage reduction increases
Damage Reduction

wait a second, neither of these are true...

Paizo Employee Design Manager

Chess Pwn wrote:

Right cause it's written thusly,

"The barbarian's Superhuman Durability increases by 1/—" because that wording makes sense, as opposed to what you used in your example, "The damage reduction offered by superhuman durability increases"

That would have made a lot more sense if they hadn't named a class ability after a generic game term.

Quote:


And it's super clear cause they used the same casing as the ability to help distiguish that it's the class ablity and not generic dr.
The barbarian's damage reduction increases
Damage Reduction

Class abilities aren't capitalized outside of the first time they appear at the start of their entry listing. They're not even capitalized in the class tables unless they happen to be the first entry in that level block. Just look at any archetype, or any class feature that references itself, like the monk's Flurry of Blows. If it had been capitalized, it would have been an indication that the writer wasn't familiar with Paizo's writing and design standards.

It's also possible that the person who wrote the rage power actually had it phrased differently when they submitted it to present it in such a way that it made it more clear that it did reference the class feature, and it was edited down after it left the design team for copyfit, which happens all the time.

Anyways, I'm not arguing anything, I'm explaining what appeared to be a misunderstanding by a poster regarding the nature of the issue. Paizo themselves have said, apparently, that it's a RAW non interaction but they are probably intended to work together, so given that there's already close to 40 FAQ requests, I imagine it'll be addressed and clarified to work together in short order.

Quote:
wait a second, neither of these are true...

As I noted, your second point wouldn't have happened regardless, because that doesn't conform to Paizo's writing and design standards. All you have to do is a pick up a book or open the PRD to see that. As to the first point, I'm just saying it was a pretty bad idea to name a class ability after a generic mechanic. If they (and I'm pretty sure this "they" is actually Wizards of the Coast) hadn't done that, we might have the same result, but at least the rules themselves would be clearer.

Paizo Employee Official Rules Response

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Answered in FAQ.

FAQ wrote:

Barbarian Increased Damage Reduction: The increased damage reduction rage power says it increases the “barbarian’s damage reduction”, but does that refer to the barbarian class feature “damage reduction” or to any damage reduction the barbarian might possess. In particular, the invulnerable rager archetype trades away the barbarian’s damage reduction class feature for a new ability called invulnerability that gives a slightly different form of damage reduction, so would the rage power work with that?

The rage power refers to the class feature damage reduction, meaning that it doesn’t help invulnerable ragers’ invulnerability class feature. The suggestion for the archetype to take that rage power in the suggested rage powers is in error and will be removed in the next errata.


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Some questions are better left unanswered :/


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Nicos wrote:
Some questions are better left unanswered :/

Corollary: Some answers are better ignored.

Paizo Employee Design Manager

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Gotta admit, 100% expected the explanation (I even explained it a few posts back), but surprised that the FAQ didn't incorporate a change to Invulnerability allowing it to work.

Liberty's Edge

Sweet. Hopefully this will kill the 'invulnerable rager is default barbarian' thing that comes up all the time.


Feral wrote:
Sweet. Hopefully this will kill the 'invulnerable rager is default barbarian' thing that comes up all the time.

But it's not. It's just a pretty good archetype.

Or was, seeing how now a regular barbarian can more or less duplicate everything it can do with a couple of feats.


swoosh wrote:
Feral wrote:
Sweet. Hopefully this will kill the 'invulnerable rager is default barbarian' thing that comes up all the time.

But it's not. It's just a pretty good archetype.

Or was, seeing how now a regular barbarian can more or less duplicate everything it can do with a couple of feats.

Saving a couple of feats for trap sense is a good deal.

I'd say it's still solid.


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I'm not so sure I'm liking this trend of Paizo saying in FAQ's that abilities that work like other abilities but had their names changed because of added flavor (Archer's Expert Archer, Invulnerable Rager's Invulnerabilty) don't work like those exact, identical abilities.

It seems like they shouldn't apply flavor to archetype abilities if they're going to remove player options.


I love this. Thank you, Paizo


Cavall wrote:

Saving a couple of feats for trap sense is a good deal.

I'd say it's still solid.

well, trap sense and uncanny dodge/improved uncanny dodge.


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Lol this is garbage.

There is no way the dr improvement recommendation was a mistake. Paizo is just tired of ir being usable. Maybe if trap sense and uncanny dodge were real class features it wouldn't be an issue


Then how is it an isue? If you dont like them then take this and move on?


swoosh wrote:
Cavall wrote:

Saving a couple of feats for trap sense is a good deal.

I'd say it's still solid.

well, trap sense and uncanny dodge/improved uncanny dodge.

Ok true but it's not just d r then.


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bigrig107 wrote:

I'm not so sure I'm liking this trend of Paizo saying in FAQ's that abilities that work like other abilities but had their names changed because of added flavor (Archer's Expert Archer, Invulnerable Rager's Invulnerabilty) don't work like those exact, identical abilities.

It seems like they shouldn't apply flavor to archetype abilities if they're going to remove player options.

At least they didn't completely rewrite the ability.

Spoiler:
R.I.P, Scarred Witch Doctor. They made you overpowered and less flavorful in one go.


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Quote:

Archetype: If an archetype replaces a class ability with a more specific version of that ability (or one that works similarly to the replaced ability), does the archetype's ability count as the original ability for the purpose of rules that improve the original ability?

It depends on how the archetype's ability is worded. If the archetype ability says it works like the standard ability, it counts as that ability. If the archetype's ability requires you to make a specific choice for the standard ability, it counts as that ability. Otherwise, the archetype ability doesn't count as the standard ability. (It doesn't matter if the archetype's ability name is different than the standard class ability it is replacing; it is the description and game mechanics of the archetype ability that matter.)

Example: The dragoon (fighter) archetype (Ultimate Combat) has an ability called "spear training," which requires the dragoon to select "spears" as his weapon training group, and refers to his weapon training bonus (even though this bonus follows a slightly different progression than standard weapon training). Therefore, this ability counts as weapon training for abilities that improve weapon training, such as gloves of dueling (Advanced Player's Guide), which increase the wearer's weapon training bonus.

Example: The archer (fighter) archetype gets several abilities (such as "expert archer") which replace weapon training and do not otherwise refer to the weapon training ability. Therefore, this ability does not count as weapon training for abilities that improve weapon training (such as gloves of dueling). This is the case even for the "expert archer," ability which has a bonus that improves every 4 fighter levels, exactly like weapon training.

So...is this FAQ just negated, or what?

Also, if we're discussing semantics as disqualifying factors, should we disallow Druids from taking Boon Companion (since Nature Bond =/= Animal Companion) and Wizards from taking Improved Familiar (since Arcane Bond =/= Familiar)?

Or does this FAQ, like seemingly all recent FAQs and errata, only negatively impact non-spellcasters?


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Kaouse wrote:


So...is this FAQ just negated, or what?

It's consistent with that FAQ. Ish.

I mean ultimately the difference between Spear Training and Expert Archer (per that FAQ) is purely one of semantics in the first place, but the gist of the FAQ is that if an ability defines itself as a more specific version of an existing ability it counts and if it doesn't it doesn't even if it is fundamentally identical.

Had the IR said 'the barbarian's damage reduction is increased to' it'd stack, but since it's a new ability it doesn't, even if that new ability is more or less the same conceptually.

It's a little bit weird and needlessly complex IMHO.

Quote:
Also, if we're discussing semantics as disqualifying factors, should we disallow Druids from taking Boon Companion (since Nature Bond =/= Animal Companion) and Wizards from taking Improved Familiar (since...

Debatable.

This does, however, mean that say, a Horselord Ranger can't qualify for Monstrous Mount anymore because Mounted Bond isn't Divine Bond anymore. And so on.


Cavall wrote:
Then how is it an isue? If you dont like them then take this and move on?

I play pfs where i cant avoid this nerf.

Also its an issue because roughly every archetype that trades those class features is strictly better than base barbarian.


CWheezy wrote:
Cavall wrote:
Then how is it an isue? If you dont like them then take this and move on?

I play pfs where i cant avoid this nerf.

Also its an issue because roughly every archetype that trades those class features is strictly better than base barbarian.

I still don't understand. You don't like the abilities then take ones you like better, which is clear you think there's several options.

This isn't such a massive nerf really. It's not like the player has 3 less rage powers now.


Paizo being Paizo.

"Let's nerf a perfectly balanced class to push the stealth-nerf that is the completely unnecessary Unchained version of that class."


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Lemmy wrote:

Paizo being Paizo.

"Let's nerf a perfectly balanced class to push the stealth-nerf that is the completely unnecessary Unchained version of that class."

This is one line of thought I completely disagreed with once I first heard it.

Now, however? It's happened too many times to be just a coincidence.
-Scarred Witch Doctor taken away from Con right before the Kineticist.
-Dex-to-damage TWF options ruined before the Unchained Rogue.
-Now this.

I just don't know if it's intentional or not, but there's no doubt that the nerds are too many, too hard, and too fast.


bigrig107 wrote:
Lemmy wrote:

Paizo being Paizo.

"Let's nerf a perfectly balanced class to push the stealth-nerf that is the completely unnecessary Unchained version of that class."

This is one line of thought I completely disagreed with once I first heard it.

Now, however? It's happened too many times to be just a coincidence.
-Scarred Witch Doctor taken away from Con right before the Kineticist.
-Dex-to-damage TWF options ruined before the Unchained Rogue.
-Now this.

I just don't know if it's intentional or not, but there's no doubt that the nerds are too many, too hard, and too fast.

Well, it tried to follow the same MO of the other two, but was late for the party.

That being said, I made a thread about the implications of whether this makes Invulnerable Ragers a worthwhile archetype, and apparently people aren't budged in the slightest; it's not so much that the standard Barbarian stuff is better (it isn't), but that they think no other archetype which replaces similar class features would be a better option at this point, which baffles me, since they think 2 DR isn't smart for the Increased Damage Reduction option, but is smart for giving up 3 class features that can be traded for something more valuable than what now amounts to 2 DR.


Cavall wrote:


I still don't understand. You don't like the abilities then take ones you like better, which is clear you think there's several options.

Why cant the base class have features that are usable and cool instead of basically blank spaces?

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