Intedependent rulebooks - how to handle them?


Pathfinder First Edition General Discussion


Good day to you guys,

I'm starting my first real Pathfinder campaign (I played one before but it didn't take the rules very seriously) and our GM wants to only use the CRB, the APG and the ACG, as well as UC as rulebooks.
However, after checking the APG, I decided to become an Inquisitor. After checking the inquisitions and other things, I noticed something weird though; most of the inquisitions aren't even from the APG, but from many different books! The ability "bane" is also from UE, not APG! I already asked our (inexperienced) GM and he said that it would be okay to make an exception, so that I could use bane even though it's technically not from the APG (but Inquisitor is and it is said that the Inquisitor has bane in APG..), and now I notice that most inquisitions, THE inquisitor domains basically, aren't even choosable if strictly sticking to the APG?

So, is there some kind of "general rule of thumb" how to handle those interdependent rulebooks? Would you strictly say "no" to all those inquisitions and abilities that are written in the APG but detailed in different books or would you say "yes", simply because the APG states them to be available? And if so, how about "choosing" things that are described in the APG, such as inquisitions? I mean, it would be weird to tell the player to choose a domain or inquisition and then providing like two or three different inquisitions, when most of them don't even provide new mechanics. For example, I wanted to play an Inquisitor who worships the Truth as an ideal, therefore the Inquisition of Truth would be an amazing fit and would be fun to use as well.

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Adventure, Rulebook Subscriber; Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber

The GM is going to have to make that call. Inquisitions would be out, but Bane is a class feature of the Inquisitor and in the APG, referencing the Bane weapon quality in the CRB. There should be no problem there.


What references are you looking through that you're running into things that aren't in the list of books your GM is allowing? If you were only looking at the CRB, APG, ACG and UC, you'd only be running into things the books reference (besides Bane being a weapon quality you can easily find in the CRB). Inquisitions only got introduced in Ultimate Magic and Ultimate Combat only has 2 new ones which are explained how to be used right in the book. By default inquisitors have a domain, like a cleric.

If you're looking through online sources, such as the PRD or D20PFSRD or Archives of Nethys you're gonna find WAY more information/options outside those small range of books.

Also the issue sounds like it comes down to: You found options outside the books your GM wanted to only use, then asked GM for those options.


Quexlaw wrote:

Good day to you guys,

I'm starting my first real Pathfinder campaign (I played one before but it didn't take the rules very seriously) and our GM wants to only use the CRB, the APG and the ACG, as well as UC as rulebooks.
However, after checking the APG, I decided to become an Inquisitor. After checking the inquisitions and other things, I noticed something weird though; most of the inquisitions aren't even from the APG, but from many different books! The ability "bane" is also from UE, not APG! I already asked our (inexperienced) GM and he said that it would be okay to make an exception, so that I could use bane even though it's technically not from the APG (but Inquisitor is and it is said that the Inquisitor has bane in APG..), and now I notice that most inquisitions, THE inquisitor domains basically, aren't even choosable if strictly sticking to the APG?

So, is there some kind of "general rule of thumb" how to handle those interdependent rulebooks? Would you strictly say "no" to all those inquisitions and abilities that are written in the APG but detailed in different books or would you say "yes", simply because the APG states them to be available? And if so, how about "choosing" things that are described in the APG, such as inquisitions? I mean, it would be weird to tell the player to choose a domain or inquisition and then providing like two or three different inquisitions, when most of them don't even provide new mechanics. For example, I wanted to play an Inquisitor who worships the Truth as an ideal, therefore the Inquisition of Truth would be an amazing fit and would be fun to use as well.

Find appropriate items in the books allowed and forget anything outside of them, strictly speaking. This often leads to "re-flavoring" the flavor text (not mechanics) to fit desired taste, but it still comes down to 'if it isn't in one of those books you don't get it'.


In practice, I've found a lot of time that "restricting to certain books" is a logistics issue more than a game balance issue. If a rule comes up, first you have to remember what book it's in, then you have to find it in the book. The more books that are in play, the more likely this is to take too long. Even in a world where wi-fi is everywhere and the various SRDs have every rule you could ever want at the tips of your fingers, sometimes things go wrong with technology. There's pressure on the GM to be familiar with all the rules in all the books that are available, and the more books that are in play the more unreasonable that task is. After all, most folks play these games to have fun not to show off their memorization abilities.

So what I would suggest is that if you want to use rules from a variety of sources, make sure you have a physical copy of all of the rules you want to use at-hand in case questions come up. That will make the GM's job easier, and the less extra work you make the GM do the more likely they are to let you do what you like (within reason.)

So if you want to use the Inquisition of Truth, print it out, show it to the GM, explain what you want to use it for and how it works, and answer any questions she or he has, and then it should be fine.


Quexlaw wrote:

Good day to you guys,

I'm starting my first real Pathfinder campaign (I played one before but it didn't take the rules very seriously) and our GM wants to only use the CRB, the APG and the ACG, as well as UC as rulebooks.
However, after checking the APG, I decided to become an Inquisitor. After checking the inquisitions and other things, I noticed something weird though; most of the inquisitions aren't even from the APG, but from many different books! The ability "bane" is also from UE, not APG! I already asked our (inexperienced) GM and he said that it would be okay to make an exception, so that I could use bane even though it's technically not from the APG (but Inquisitor is and it is said that the Inquisitor has bane in APG..), and now I notice that most inquisitions, THE inquisitor domains basically, aren't even choosable if strictly sticking to the APG?

So, is there some kind of "general rule of thumb" how to handle those interdependent rulebooks? Would you strictly say "no" to all those inquisitions and abilities that are written in the APG but detailed in different books or would you say "yes", simply because the APG states them to be available? And if so, how about "choosing" things that are described in the APG, such as inquisitions? I mean, it would be weird to tell the player to choose a domain or inquisition and then providing like two or three different inquisitions, when most of them don't even provide new mechanics. For example, I wanted to play an Inquisitor who worships the Truth as an ideal, therefore the Inquisition of Truth would be an amazing fit and would be fun to use as well.

There are no hard and fast rules on what GMs should or shouldn't allow. For instance while the book may differ, I require all non-oracle or non-shaman divine casters to worship a patron diety. A GM should be conversant with how a player's chosen class operates.


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
Protoman wrote:
Also the issue sounds like it comes down to: You found options outside the books your GM wanted to only use, then asked GM for those options.

This is basically how I handle things at my table. I have a list of pre-approved sourcebooks, and if my players want to use anything else they need to run it by me. Ultimately this is about your GM's comfort level more than anything. It's always nice if they allow players to use broader sources, but especially for newer GM's that makes their job harder.

PossibleCabbage wrote:
In practice, I've found a lot of time that "restricting to certain books" is a logistics issue more than a game balance issue.

This; games get bogged down enough as it is without the GM having to look things up, so I should be able to answer any regular questions about a character's class/feat/spell/ability off the top of my head. If it's an obscure or unusual circumstance that's one thing, but I shouldn't have to interrupt a session to flip through a book to answer a quick question. I'll be the first to admit that I rarely manage this in practice and often have to make off-the-cuff rulings that I suspect are wrong to avoid a pace-breaking time out, but making an effort to minimize that is very important and keeping the number of sources to a minimum helps.

Clearing something with me ahead of time is rarely a game balance issue. Overpowered and gamebreaking material is very rare, and one of the worst offenders (leadership) is right there in the core rulebook anyways. It's more about giving me a chance to study the rules and ensure I'm ready to run the game when you bring them to the table.


Many items are found in various books, like the bane weapon enhancement. First printed in core, but Ultimate equipment is more recent so that is listed as the source for a lot of places online.

The foundation of the books are that everything mentioned can be found in the core rulebook unless it calls out the book specifically in the text of the class.


PossibleCabbage wrote:

In practice, I've found a lot of time that "restricting to certain books" is a logistics issue more than a game balance issue. If a rule comes up, first you have to remember what book it's in, then you have to find it in the book. The more books that are in play, the more likely this is to take too long. Even in a world where wi-fi is everywhere and the various SRDs have every rule you could ever want at the tips of your fingers, sometimes things go wrong with technology. There's pressure on the GM to be familiar with all the rules in all the books that are available, and the more books that are in play the more unreasonable that task is. After all, most folks play these games to have fun not to show off their memorization abilities.

So what I would suggest is that if you want to use rules from a variety of sources, make sure you have a physical copy of all of the rules you want to use at-hand in case questions come up. That will make the GM's job easier, and the less extra work you make the GM do the more likely they are to let you do what you like (within reason.)

So if you want to use the Inquisition of Truth, print it out, show it to the GM, explain what you want to use it for and how it works, and answer any questions she or he has, and then it should be fine.

Unless you are using a just released book, thats a non-issue in Pathfinder. PFSRD and Archives of Nethys cover almost everything and even source each feat and item to its book.

Dark Archive

johnlocke90 wrote:
PossibleCabbage wrote:

In practice, I've found a lot of time that "restricting to certain books" is a logistics issue more than a game balance issue. If a rule comes up, first you have to remember what book it's in, then you have to find it in the book. The more books that are in play, the more likely this is to take too long. Even in a world where wi-fi is everywhere and the various SRDs have every rule you could ever want at the tips of your fingers, sometimes things go wrong with technology. There's pressure on the GM to be familiar with all the rules in all the books that are available, and the more books that are in play the more unreasonable that task is. After all, most folks play these games to have fun not to show off their memorization abilities.

So what I would suggest is that if you want to use rules from a variety of sources, make sure you have a physical copy of all of the rules you want to use at-hand in case questions come up. That will make the GM's job easier, and the less extra work you make the GM do the more likely they are to let you do what you like (within reason.)

So if you want to use the Inquisition of Truth, print it out, show it to the GM, explain what you want to use it for and how it works, and answer any questions she or he has, and then it should be fine.

Unless you are using a just released book, thats a non-issue in Pathfinder. PFSRD and Archives of Nethys cover almost everything and even source each feat and item to its book.

True enough, but what if your group meets at someone's house and they don't have internet? Or people don't have cell phone they can use to check PFSRD with? Yeah, I know, seems unrealistic. But not everyone has internet access for one reason or another. And there are people who don't have a smart phone. I'm one of them, I don't need a smart phone. My clamshell is good enough for me.


print the pages you need at a library.


Kahel Stormbender wrote:
True enough, but what if your group meets at someone's house and they don't have internet? Or people don't have cell phone they can use to check PFSRD with? Yeah, I know, seems unrealistic. But not everyone has internet access for one reason or another. And there are people who don't have a smart phone. I'm one of them, I don't need a smart phone. My clamshell is good enough for me.

The following things have happened to me-

I've played in basements of concrete buildings where you just can't get a signal and there's no wifi, and having to leave the room to look up a rule is terrible.

D20pfsrd hasn't exceeded the traffic they've paid for and is unavailable for the rest of the month.

A GMs just didn't want players to have cell phones, tablets, or laptops out when the game is going because people are looking at their screens and not paying attention to the game (this was bad for me since I like to do character sheets as spreadsheets in google docs.)

A groundhog chewed through the cable line at my home and the internet was down until Monday when the Comcast guy could come and fix it.

Just print out the rules you need. It's safer and easier that way. Plus that way you avoid the issue of "crap, what was that called?" The worst that can possibly happen is "Someone spills their drink on your printout."

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