Spell Points - Less gamey name please


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Scarab Sages

graystone wrote:
Catharsis wrote:
It's true that «hitpoints» are also a very gamey term, but at least they only exist on the game's meta-level. No Pathfinder character ever uses the term in-game.
Not so. See Blood Reader: "While able to see a studied target, a slayer with this talent knows exactly how many hit points his opponent has remaining." So an ability that not only allows you to see hit points but the exact number of them. Nothing indicates any other term is used in place of "hit points".

That just strikes me as supremely ill-worded content.


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Catharsis wrote:
graystone wrote:
Catharsis wrote:
It's true that «hitpoints» are also a very gamey term, but at least they only exist on the game's meta-level. No Pathfinder character ever uses the term in-game.
Not so. See Blood Reader: "While able to see a studied target, a slayer with this talent knows exactly how many hit points his opponent has remaining." So an ability that not only allows you to see hit points but the exact number of them. Nothing indicates any other term is used in place of "hit points".
That just strikes me as supremely ill-worded content.

There is also spells, in CORE books, that tell you a persons "age, alignment, class, feats, gender, native language, place of origin, race or ethnicity, racial traits, religion, sexual orientation, or training in a Craft, Perform, or Profession skill."

So you can tell that elf over there is a fighter with power attack and he has Human-Raised so he also has a skill focus [whatever].

You also have spells like Divine Transfer that deal with individual hit points, making it hard to say that they aren't called something in game.

So no matter how "ill-worded" you think the content, most everything in the game is referenced IN GAME. Feats, hp, class, racial traits, ect are ALL detectable IN GAME and knowable.

Silver Crusade

Pathfinder Companion, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber
graystone wrote:
Catharsis wrote:
graystone wrote:
Catharsis wrote:
It's true that «hitpoints» are also a very gamey term, but at least they only exist on the game's meta-level. No Pathfinder character ever uses the term in-game.
Not so. See Blood Reader: "While able to see a studied target, a slayer with this talent knows exactly how many hit points his opponent has remaining." So an ability that not only allows you to see hit points but the exact number of them. Nothing indicates any other term is used in place of "hit points".
That just strikes me as supremely ill-worded content.

There is also spells, in CORE books, that tell you a persons "age, alignment, class, feats, gender, native language, place of origin, race or ethnicity, racial traits, religion, sexual orientation, or training in a Craft, Perform, or Profession skill."

So you can tell that elf over there is a fighter with power attack and he has Human-Raised so he also has a skill focus [whatever].

You also have spells like Divine Transfer that deal with individual hit points, making it hard to say that they aren't called something in game.

So no matter how "ill-worded" you think the content, most everything in the game is referenced IN GAME. Feats, hp, class, racial traits, ect are ALL detectable IN GAME and knowable.

What spells are those that tell you what Racial Traits someone has???


Vidmaster7 wrote:
Just one thing that has been bugging me. We have got to work on the vocabulary because saying a game is to gamey is non-nonsensical I get what your trying to say but that language is bothering me. can we maybe think of a different term for the next one of these? (cause their will always be more.)

How about "utilitarian names" for the words directly based on game mechanics, and "fanciful names" for names based on the setting's explanation for the mechanic?

Utilitarian words include points, pool, slot, class, level, feat, feature, abilities, item, action, bonus, and penalty. Fanciful words include spell, the names of spells (Magic Missile, Mage Armor, Grease), the names of races (Elf, Gnome, Goblin), and Resonance.

The utility versus fancy categories appear to be a spectrum and the placement on the spectrum depends on how we use the word. The six attributes, Strength, Dexterity, Constitution, Intelligence, Wisdom, and Charisma are fanciful names that are treated as utilitarian and often abbreviated because of their utilitarian nature, Str, Dex, Con, Int, Wis, and Cha. Yet we use the more fanciful "Reflex save" instead of the more utilitarian "Dex save."


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Rysky wrote:
What spells are those that tell you what Racial Traits someone has???

Psychic spells. Psychic Reading in particular can get you all the listed/quoted info. It's kind of a crap shoot as it's skill based AND had a fail percentage, but the info is there in game.

Silver Crusade

Pathfinder Companion, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber

*reads Psychic Reading*

You've been saying spells so, I though there were spells that did all this, not just one weird one.


Deathwatch tells you if a creature has more than 4 hp or 3 or less too.


Never mind the possibility of empirical research being done in-universe. The quantization of most activities would become apparent if looked into.

Silver Crusade

Pathfinder Companion, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber
gustavo iglesias wrote:
Deathwatch tells you if a creature has more than 4 hp or 3 or less too.

Vaguely telling when something is near dead is a lot different than getting a full readout.


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Rysky wrote:

*reads Psychic Reading*

You've been saying spells so, I though there were spells that did all this, not just one weird one.

There are spells that detect some things in the list. I didn't track down the various ones as it seemed pointless as that single spell illustrates my point: all of those things are available knowledge IN GAME.


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Rysky wrote:
gustavo iglesias wrote:
Deathwatch tells you if a creature has more than 4 hp or 3 or less too.
Vaguely telling when something is near dead is a lot different than getting a full readout.

Sure, but that's not what the spell tells you.

If you have 200hp normally, and currently have 5, you won't count as "near dead". If you normally have 4, and currently have 3, you count as "near dead".

It doesn't tell you if something is near dead or not. It tells you if it's over 4hp or under 3hp.

I think a better argument for your side (which I agree) is that PC get an intuitive knowledge about the general power/health/whatever of the target, while the PLAYER gets the meta-game knowledge. But truth be told, there are spells and feats in game that deal with meta-gamey info like hit points or levels directly.


I mean, Ultimate Intrigue included the ability to use a skill (Knowledge (Local) IIRC) to tell what class someone is, and I'm pretty sure people in the diagesis are not aware of classes, or at least classes existing as distinct categories.


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PossibleCabbage wrote:
I mean, Ultimate Intrigue included the ability to use a skill (Knowledge (Local) IIRC) to tell what class someone is, and I'm pretty sure people in the diagesis are not aware of classes, or at least classes existing as distinct categories.

Also Phrenology (Knowledge [arcana]), Prognostication (Sense Motive).

PS: Read Aura (Perception) tells you the total number of points available in its ki pool, grit pool, or similar resource.

As to "I'm pretty sure people in the diagesis are not aware of classes", then what do they learn when they use the skill/spell? The simplest/easiest answer is the class name.


Pathfinder Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
graystone wrote:
PossibleCabbage wrote:
I mean, Ultimate Intrigue included the ability to use a skill (Knowledge (Local) IIRC) to tell what class someone is, and I'm pretty sure people in the diagesis are not aware of classes, or at least classes existing as distinct categories.

Also Phrenology (Knowledge [arcana]), Prognostication (Sense Motive).

PS: Read Aura (Perception) tells you the total number of points available in its ki pool, grit pool, or similar resource.

As to "I'm pretty sure people in the diagesis are not aware of classes", then what do they learn when they use the skill/spell? The simplest/easiest answer is the class name.

According to both Mark Morland and James Jacobs hit points and other mechanics don't exist in game they are there as concepts so we can play the game. A fighter doesn't exist in game some one leaning that information would have an idea of the persons capabilities based on the knowledge check. They spelled this out in the Secrets of Golorin panel, when someone asked how they explain new classes showing up. The answer is they always existed the mechanics just didn't have a name for us to play as one.


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Emeric Tusan wrote:
According to both Mark Morland and James Jacobs hit points and other mechanics don't exist in game they are there as concepts so we can play the game.

If that's true, then they shouldn't have printed rule elements that REQUIRE those mechanics to exist in game: as they have multiple times in multiple books, I have to assume they've changed their mind, got outvoted and/or don't care enough about it to keep it out of the game.

In essence, when a skill, spell, ability, ect gives the character those mechanics as information you then can't say they don't exist as the character has access to that info. For instance, it's provable in multiple places that characters can tell what someone's class is which is a direct contradiction to what you claim was said in the Secrets of Golorin panel. Multiple in print examples trumps a panel comment IMO.


Emeric Tusan wrote:
graystone wrote:
PossibleCabbage wrote:
I mean, Ultimate Intrigue included the ability to use a skill (Knowledge (Local) IIRC) to tell what class someone is, and I'm pretty sure people in the diagesis are not aware of classes, or at least classes existing as distinct categories.

Also Phrenology (Knowledge [arcana]), Prognostication (Sense Motive).

PS: Read Aura (Perception) tells you the total number of points available in its ki pool, grit pool, or similar resource.

As to "I'm pretty sure people in the diagesis are not aware of classes", then what do they learn when they use the skill/spell? The simplest/easiest answer is the class name.

According to both Mark Morland and James Jacobs hit points and other mechanics don't exist in game they are there as concepts so we can play the game. A fighter doesn't exist in game some one leaning that information would have an idea of the persons capabilities based on the knowledge check. They spelled this out in the Secrets of Golorin panel, when someone asked how they explain new classes showing up. The answer is they always existed the mechanics just didn't have a name for us to play as one.

Yeah, these aren't great sources. James Jacobs has repeatedly demonstrated he's not that reliable on knowledge of (I think he still hasn't read all of Occult Adventures) and interpretation of Pathfinder rules, and Moreland is a former developer whose credits don't include any rule books and now manages franchise licensing stuff. Probably a minimum of 1/4 of the regular participants of this board have a stronger knowledge of the rules actually published by Paizo as a result of actually reading the products and engaging in debates here about ambiguities therein and the implications of potential rulings.

Silver Crusade

Back on the topic of the thread, I favor ‘energy’. Works for spell like abilities, works for use/day martial abilities. And I’m perfectly fine with a single pool of energy for multiclass characters, it means anything can synergise with anything else a little better and it’s easier for players to realize character concepts


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I also like energy, it would give something for energy drain to drain before the whole negative level thing.


I wonder if the non-magic classes are going to get a standardized metacurrency. Since one of the benefits of the name "spell points" is that it makes explicit that the thing you get from spending them is governed by the rules for spells. But you might not want that thing the rogue can do 3 times per day to be governed by the rules for spells.

A key factor of "spell points" is that they fuel what were previously known as Spell-Like Abilities, which are now just spells since that distinction was unnecessary complexity. It might not be best to try to unify SLAs with (Ex) and (Su) abilities which are funded via a metacurrency. But we'll wait for the monk preview, I guess.


I watched a good portion of the PaizoCon PF2 Playtest panel, and I'm pretty sure Jason Buhlmann explained why all the types of magical abilities and powers are now grouped under the term "spells", in the same way that most permanent abilities you picked up when you level are called "feats". I don't see that changing easily, because it simply makes a lot of sense to unify the terminology for things that are so similar.


A lot of qinggong powers were literally spells anyway, so it wouldn't be crazy if monks got spell points...

Liberty's Edge

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Just call it "Stamina"

Spellcasting has some fairly intense focus requirements that I imagine would take the wind out of you which would take time to recover, ala. Resting. Starfinder called it "Resolve" but I think they may have underdone the features as it only comes out to play most often when in s Ship Battle or literally dying.

Monks special Ki stuff similarly could be said to drain their Stamina. This works for Clerics to use Spontaneous Domain Spells X times a day, Rogue Tricks, Alchemist Extracts. Give the PC something like 1 + Character Level + Chosen Ability Score Modifier "Stamina" each day after resting and allow players to recover a number of points equal to their Ability Score Modifier after a short rest.

Just roll all X/Day Use ablities into the Stamina pool instead of needlessly adding another "Power Points" System for every Class. Create a framework of expendable Points that ALL classes and characters can use instead of dedicating over half a page on EACH class describing a "Points" system that's pointlessly unique but similar to ALL other "Points" other classes get.

TL:DR, Roll Spell Points, X/Day Limited Use Abilities, Ki, Grit, Rounds of Rage, Inspire Courage, Banner, Focus Points, Black-Blade Pools, ETC All into just ONE system instead of a million little ones.

Just my poorly worded 2c.


PossibleCabbage wrote:

I wonder if the non-magic classes are going to get a standardized metacurrency. Since one of the benefits of the name "spell points" is that it makes explicit that the thing you get from spending them is governed by the rules for spells. But you might not want that thing the rogue can do 3 times per day to be governed by the rules for spells.

A key factor of "spell points" is that they fuel what were previously known as Spell-Like Abilities, which are now just spells since that distinction was unnecessary complexity. It might not be best to try to unify SLAs with (Ex) and (Su) abilities which are funded via a metacurrency. But we'll wait for the monk preview, I guess.

We had a thread about this, Spellpoints and Martial classes.

ElSilverWind made good argument that the martials won't have a point system for non-magic abilities. If Paizo had such as system, then we would have seen it already in the previews and the playtests.

Instead, I suspect that Paizo is going to exploit the three-action system. Adding something extraordinary to a non-magical endeavor will take one more action than usual.

Grand Lodge

Themetricsystem wrote:
Just call it "Stamina"

I prefer this, or just calling it something silly/fun like Mojo.

"Sorry, I'm not going to be able to jump into that fight today. I'm all out of Mojo."


At this point i dont really care what they call it, as long as its consistent in its mechanics through the game and content, and that the name is reckognizable and understandable from the moment you hear it.

When a tabletop discussion becomes more juggling of semantics and exploiting vagueness of the clustertruck that is the english language then the rules in question is too vague and inconsistent to be called a rule imo.


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graystone wrote:
Emeric Tusan wrote:
According to both Mark Morland and James Jacobs hit points and other mechanics don't exist in game they are there as concepts so we can play the game.

If that's true, then they shouldn't have printed rule elements that REQUIRE those mechanics to exist in game: as they have multiple times in multiple books, I have to assume they've changed their mind, got outvoted and/or don't care enough about it to keep it out of the game.

In essence, when a skill, spell, ability, ect gives the character those mechanics as information you then can't say they don't exist as the character has access to that info. For instance, it's provable in multiple places that characters can tell what someone's class is which is a direct contradiction to what you claim was said in the Secrets of Golorin panel. Multiple in print examples trumps a panel comment IMO.

"Your character can identify someone's class/HP," is a simplification for gameplay convenience.

The character can tell certain things about the target; "This is one of those guys who learns arcane magic from spellbooks. A couple more stabs will finish him off." For simplicity, we represent this information by allowing the player to know the target's exact HP, etc. This is a much easier rule to run than, say, the Knowledge skills. ("The character knows two pieces of useful information about the target but it's up to the GM to determine what's a single piece of information and what's useful and whether the player asks questions or the GM just decides what they know.")

It's like when a character is unable to walk down the middle of a 10-foot-wide corridor because you're playing on a grid. If we think of this as a literal description of how the world works, then Golarion physics are extremely weird. If we think of it as a simplification for gameplay convenience, the problem largely goes away.


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Matthew Downie wrote:
graystone wrote:
Emeric Tusan wrote:
According to both Mark Morland and James Jacobs hit points and other mechanics don't exist in game they are there as concepts so we can play the game.

If that's true, then they shouldn't have printed rule elements that REQUIRE those mechanics to exist in game: as they have multiple times in multiple books, I have to assume they've changed their mind, got outvoted and/or don't care enough about it to keep it out of the game.

In essence, when a skill, spell, ability, ect gives the character those mechanics as information you then can't say they don't exist as the character has access to that info. For instance, it's provable in multiple places that characters can tell what someone's class is which is a direct contradiction to what you claim was said in the Secrets of Golorin panel. Multiple in print examples trumps a panel comment IMO.

"Your character can identify someone's class/HP," is a simplification for gameplay convenience.

The character can tell certain things about the target; "This is one of those guys who learns arcane magic from spellbooks. A couple more stabs will finish him off." For simplicity, we represent this information by allowing the player to know the target's exact HP, etc. This is a much easier rule to run than, say, the Knowledge skills. ("The character knows two pieces of useful information about the target but it's up to the GM to determine what's a single piece of information and what's useful and whether the player asks questions or the GM just decides what they know.")

It's like when a character is unable to walk down the middle of a 10-foot-wide corridor because you're playing on a grid. If we think of this as a literal description of how the world works, then Golarion physics are extremely weird. If we think of it as a simplification for gameplay convenience, the problem largely goes away.

You're welcome to play that way but that isn't how it's presented. It doesn't give "This is one of those guys who learns arcane magic from spellbooks. A couple more stabs will finish him off" but "it's a wizard with 18hp". You get the name of feats, class names, ki points, grit points, ect: it the one way you can actualy ID a paladin. You can fancy it up any way you wish for your game but the rules give the CHARACTER the info.

If it's meant to be a "simplification for gameplay convenience", that was inportant information left out of those books. It would be one thing if this all came from a single book, but MULTIPLE ones make no mention of the simplification you mention.

Liberty's Edge

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I've never seen a character in any Pathfinder fiction definitively identify a completely martial character (ie: Rogue, Fighter, etc.)

But pretty much every other Class? Those get explicitly identified in relatively canonical fiction sources. Several Pathfinder Tales novels make explicit references to the Class of characters within them clearly made in-setting by people who can tell the difference. In Gears of Faith, for example, a Witch identifies herself as such and is proved correct by her ability to cast Hexes (referred to as such) an unlimited number of times per day.

Sometimes people lie, or get things wrong, but they are then usually corrected or it is clarified that they may be mistaken. For example, in The Worldwound Gambit a Sorcerer who calls himself a Wizard gets called on the error by someone with academic knowledge of the subject (its eventually agreed that they'll continue telling others he's a Wizard if asked). And so on and so forth.

Classes with spells or other overtly supernatural abilities are clearly in-world things that can be recognized by people with the right knowledge/training.

HP are more clearly an OOC thing, never being referred to IC, but the spells clearly nevertheless give a very concrete measure of the life left in a person.


Pathfinder Adventure, Adventure Path, Starfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
Deadmanwalking wrote:
I've never seen a character in any Pathfinder fiction definitively identify a completely martial character (ie: Rogue, Fighter, etc.)

Well of course not. The five minute rule, as in "don't point out something wrong if it can't be fixed in five minutes", applies to those classes.

While I still think "mana" is the best option, I'll admit that I've grown more comfortable with "spell points" wth use.

Maybe the PF2 version of Spheres of Power can use "mana", since they'll almost certainly need something.


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graystone wrote:
If it's meant to be a "simplification for gameplay convenience", that was important information left out of those books.

All the rules are simplifications for gameplay convenience.

Every coin in the world weighs the same. Suits of armor fit both dwarves and elves equally well. Diagonal movement costs double on alternating squares. When one character moves and attacks, everyone else stands in place and waits for their turn. You can move an object faster than the speed of sound by using a large number of people with readied actions.

Either Golarion is crazy, or these rules are just there to make the game playable.


Matthew Downie wrote:
Either Golarion is crazy, or these rules are just there to make the game playable.

This and in game use of 'game' terms are different things. Having things done for convenience ins't an excuse to assume EVERYTHING in the game is done for that reason. You haven't proved the underlying theory that characters in game do not use 'game' terms. As Deadmanwalking points out, various books, adventures, comics, ect, people ARE called by their class. As such, why assume other 'game' terms aren't used? Why would monks NOT talk anout ki points? Or learning a new 'feat' by name?

So simplicity in some areas of the game isn't proof of anything but that. As you say, those "rules are just there to make the game playable" and you haven't proved that using 'game' terms makes the game unplayable. I've called someone a wizard in game and the world didn't implode.

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