Genuine query - what does being “core” entail?


Prerelease Discussion


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Pathfinder Maps, Starfinder Maps Subscriber

I’m a little bit surprised at the fury over what things are going to be Core in PF2. I had always assumed that when people spoke about core <thing> they just meant that it was found in the CRB (so I’d include encumbrance, for example).

As such, I don’t really see the reason the issue is so heated. If a particular ancestry is core, rather than in a later supplement, the only difference is one of timeline. Presumably, I’m missing something important. Hence the question (Bonus points to every reply which doesn’t mention goblins):

What traits does something have which is “core”?


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A lot of games are core only? And core classes and (especially) races seem to get more support in further books.


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Pathfinder Rulebook Subscriber

A lot of people seem to be assuming that all core features are equally common in world, which has never been the case.


I think part of it is that people assume a core ancestry is one which has the largest presence in the world, and one which is accepted anywhere in society. I don't personally agree with that interpretation (half-orcs), but I think that's the sticking point for some people.

Hhmmm... I don't think I get a bonus point. I only mentioned core in respect to the greater conversation going on about the g-word.

I also agree with everything necromental said, although I don't think people have a problem with that distinction for the... other conversation.


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The Core Rulebook is the book everyone buys. It's the one real assumption that is shared by every player.

For something to be in core, it is implied to represent a "typical" aspect of a player's character. It's something that is generally accepted in the surrounding world.


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Core means it happens to be contained in the core rulebook, rather than a book published later. That's it, nothing more than that. It doesn't speak to frequency in setting, "official"-ness, or any sort of statistical representation.

Core in the sense of what's allowed in games I'm running is determined between the group and I. Conflating this with core seems to be at the root of more than a few contentious topics on the Paizo forums.


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Based on some folks desire to keep the game within a certain bounds, Id say core is typically a traditional package of fantasy tropes. Its a point that some feel is comfortable and beyond that is "non-core" Something non-core typically includes expanding classes and races that some folks feel doesnt fit their verisimilitude. Also, some folks believe the core gets the most scrutiny and expansions are power creep and/or bloat. Essentially, core marks a proverbial line between launch and expansion in an RPG.


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Pathfinder Maps, Starfinder Maps Subscriber

Thanks for the explanations.

So am I right that core uncontroversially means “in the CRB”?

And there’s a further inference (less universally held) that core is a kind of “standard” or “normal”?


Steve Geddes wrote:

Thanks for the explanations.

So am I right that core uncontroversially means “in the CRB”?

And there’s a further inference (less universally held) that core is a kind of “standard” or “normal”?

Yeap.


Pathfinder Maps, Starfinder Maps Subscriber

Cheers.


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Also people seem to be assuming that everything core is generally allowed, especially for pfs, which isn't the case (leadership is core, never talked to anyone that allowed it)


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Core stuff is almost universally allowed. (Leadership is a glaring exception.) If I want to play a tiefling or a kitsune, I have to check with the GM, but there's no question about a gnome or a human. If a GM is new and wants to limit the classes, it's going to be the core classes that are allowed (even if "no full casters or occult classes" might be easier for them in the long run).

Core also sets the basis for future balance. Rogue talents were weaker than feats, and rage powers were stronger. That carried forward until Unchained, with Rogues using as many talents as they could to get specific feats, and Barbarians using many feats to get more rage powers.


Pathfinder Rulebook Subscriber
QuidEst wrote:

Core stuff is almost universally allowed. (Leadership is a glaring exception.) If I want to play a tiefling or a kitsune, I have to check with the GM, but there's no question about a gnome or a human. If a GM is new and wants to limit the classes, it's going to be the core classes that are allowed (even if "no full casters or occult classes" might be easier for them in the long run).

Core also sets the basis for future balance. Rogue talents were weaker than feats, and rage powers were stronger. That carried forward until Unchained, with Rogues using as many talents as they could to get specific feats, and Barbarians using many feats to get more rage powers.

While I agree with you, I think it is worth noting that when a DM says core only it is often due to misconceptions. Like the core rulebook is the best balanced material, for example.

Otherwise, in my experience DMs tend to set limits based on specific material they like or are more familiar with. I played an oradin under a DM who banned sorcerers and heavily discouraged monks, for example. Guy was old school and just didn't like bloodlines.

And I think races are usually pretty easy to get the OK on. They aren't usually as complicated to understand all the balance implications around, unlike classes or feats. (There are notable exceptions like the Aasimar using certain racial feats and FCBs.)


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

Core stuff is almost universally allowed. (Leadership is a glaring exception.) If I want to play a tiefling or a kitsune, I have to check with the GM, but there's no question about a gnome or a human. If a GM is new and wants to limit the classes, it's going to be the core classes that are allowed (even if "no full casters or occult classes" might be easier for them in the long run).

Core also sets the basis for future balance. Rogue talents were weaker than feats, and rage powers were stronger. That carried forward until Unchained, with Rogues using as many talents as they could to get specific feats, and Barbarians using many feats to get more rage powers.

I largely agree with this (especially the second paragraph). But I'm curious as to whether Leadership is the only core ban most people encounter. I would have thought that most games would also ban a variety of core spells (e.g., Magic Jar, Planar Binding).


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IMO: "core" means "it's in the core rulebook" so these are things that everybody should be familiar with, since if you're going to read one Pathfinder book it should be the core rules.

It doesn't mean anything else.


that is true about the core rulebook. Though the core comments are right up there with the artwork, paladin threads and just about everything else about a rpg pnp game that they just are waaaaaaaaaaaaay to passion about.

Silver Crusade

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Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

It's always funny seeing somebody rant about how "core is critical" and then you check their recent PbP/PFS chars and they're all Kitsune Occultists with some funky archetype.


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Like a good qualification for "does this ancestry belong in the core rulebook" might be "does everybody tangentially associated with this hobby already have some idea what one is." Since everybody knows what Elves and Goblins and Dwarves are (even if the Pathfinder ones are different from other ones), but if you roll up to a game with a Wyvaran or a Varana you might have to explain what that is a few times, and maybe find a picture.

Similarly an "Alchemist" is a fair option for a Core class since everybody has an idea of what an alchemist does (Alchemy!) whereas something like a Spiritualist or a Bloodrager takes a little more explaining.

Liberty's Edge

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PossibleCabbage wrote:

Like a good qualification for "does this ancestry belong in the core rulebook" might be "does everybody tangentially associated with this hobby already have some idea what one is." Since everybody knows what Elves and Goblins and Dwarves are (even if the Pathfinder ones are different from other ones), but if you roll up to a game with a Wyvaran or a Varana you might have to explain what that is a few times, and maybe find a picture.

Similarly an "Alchemist" is a fair option for a Core class since everybody has an idea of what an alchemist does (Alchemy!) whereas something like a Spiritualist or a Bloodrager takes a little more explaining.

This is the only set of restrictions on what should be in the core that I've run into that makes sense. I like it.


I think the key (and seems Paizo is following this) is to slowly add but not subtract from a CRB. For instance, goblins are being added instead of, at the expense of gnomes. Now the core has expanded instead of been re-envisioned.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Rulebook Subscriber
Porridge wrote:


I largely agree with this (especially the second paragraph). But I'm curious as to whether Leadership is the only core ban most people encounter. I would have thought that most games would also ban a variety of core spells (e.g., Magic Jar, Planar Binding).

I would suspect most games don't get high enough level to consider what "core" material gets banned until it comes up in a game and creates a fight. A lot of people are scared off by specific ancestries, because that stuff usually comes up right from the get go, AND it has a bad track record of causing problems mechanically and narratively when it is not well balanced or doesn't make sense to the world the person running the campaign is creating.

I don't agree with the hysteria, especially for a playtest, where the most outlandish ideas should be put forth first so they can be tested in play, but I can see why it is happening.

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