Red and Orange labels


General Discussion


Spells and powers had some things in red/orange, and items appear to have the same.

I don't see a reason for the distinction (which means I probably missed reading something). What do colors other than black mean for an item or spell?

EDIT: and why does this post appear in that color to me?


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james014Aura wrote:

Spells and powers had some things in red/orange, and items appear to have the same.

I don't see a reason for the distinction (which means I probably missed reading something). What do colors other than black mean for an item or spell?

EDIT: and why does this post appear in that color to me?

The color is for Rarity. Black is Common, Red is Uncommon, Orange is Rare, and Purple (which doesn't appear in the rulebook but is in Doomsday Dawn) is Unique.


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The colors are rarity indicators - black is common, red is uncommon, orange is rare and blue is unique.

Grand Lodge

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They are to indicate rarity. Black is for Common, Red means Uncommon, while Orange is Rare. Blue is reserved for Unique items.

I personally disagree with this choice. Frankly, while I love most of the playtest so far, I really don't think a game company in this day and age should be making mistakes like not accounting for visual impairments (especially with the action icons that are as far as I'm aware completely unreadable to software).

Still, I'm very sleep-deprived right now and thus a little grumpy. I'm sure Paizo is going to deal with the issue well before the actual CRB.


I love that this thread and the list of last posts/usernames in threads below (currently) appear in red. I tried to replicate it by previewing a post of "red/orange" in another thread, but nothing happened.


Thank you all for the quick and helpful responses!


It looks like putting the word red or the word green in the thread title changes the colour of the text to red or green respectively. I hadn't seen that before.


avr wrote:
It looks like putting the word red or the word green in the thread title changes the colour of the text to red or green respectively. I hadn't seen that before.

For what purpose, even?

Either way, this might be beyond the scope of this topic, but I do think that the rarities should be denoted in a more obvious way - perhaps not as obvious as "literally stating the default rarity in the item block" (although I can see how some people would be happy with just doing things that way), but something that isn't as easy to miss, mistake or be unable to tell apart because of disability or some other issue.

For instance, the shape of the level number box could change depending on rarity (and have the color remain black) - circle for common, triangle for uncommon, square for rare and pentagon for unique?
Anything other than just a color change, really.

Grand Lodge

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Pathfinder Starfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

My color vision is poor enough I didn't even notice. How am I supposed to follow rules on rarity when i can't discern what rarity a thing is?

Paizo Employee Chief Creative Officer, Publisher

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We are 100% changing this.

Liberty's Edge

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Erik Mona wrote:
We are 100% changing this.

Thank you! I think that having color coding can help, but you also need the wording that something is rare or unique. (A spell from the Jistkan empire could be rare, or unique if it is introduced in an adventure. However, having an uncommon spell in red without using some letter or phrase to indicate that it is rare can confuse new players. )

I like the symbols, but I think that there are some reasons to include a letter in them. A for Action, R for Reaction, F for Free. (Change the F to an L for the French, Portuguese and Spanish translations.) This would help new players associate these symbols with the action type. (For a moment, I wondered what Star Trek symbols the icons for actions reminded me of as I read.)

Also, Erik, I think that it might be wise to have a thread on things that are being changed. There is a lot of skepticism that anything significant can change. Perhaps addressing this in a thread could help.

Paizo Employee Chief Creative Officer, Publisher

I think that's a good idea, but one that is best crowd-sourced. We're all at Gen Con! :)

Liberty's Edge

Erik Mona wrote:

I think that's a good idea, but one that is best crowd-sourced. We're all at Gen Con! :)

And O, how I wish I was there as well. Also, one good way to see if something as basic as the formatting makes sense is to have someone completely unfamiliar with the rules to look at it. Essentially, get someone who can best model someone who is picking up the book for the first time and perhaps has never played an RPG and see if they can get an idea of what colors and icons mean.


My only problem with this is that the red/orange are too similar, Another color should be chosen for one of them, perhaps green or golden?


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The MMO Dark Age of Camelot dealt with the issue of color by supplementing colors with “+” and “-“ symbols. For example, if something was one level above you, it’s name would be in orange but would also have a “+” next to it. Two levels above you was red with a “++” and three or more was purple “+++”. Similarly, creatures lower level than you progressed from blue “-“ to green “- -“ and finally to grey “- - -“.

Using a symbol of your choice that can be interpreted by text parsers and easily recognized by the color blind seems the best choice.


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ArchAnjel wrote:

The MMO Dark Age of Camelot dealt with the issue of color by supplementing colors with “+” and “-“ symbols. For example, if something was one level above you, it’s name would be in orange but would also have a “+” next to it. Two levels above you was red with a “++” and three or more was purple “+++”. Similarly, creatures lower level than you progressed from blue “-“ to green “- -“ and finally to grey “- - -“.

Using a symbol of your choice that can be interpreted by text parsers and easily recognized by the color blind seems the best choice.

Perhaps we could include the rarity word to address the accessibility concern? I don't see much need for symbols when we have "Rare and Legendary"


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Pathfinder Maps, Pathfinder Accessories, Starfinder Society Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber

Staff said

Vic Wertz wrote:
Nothing will rely exclusively on the presence of color-coding in the actual second edition. (That was one of the very first changes we committed to making, pretty much right as we were sending it to the printer.)

Staff said

Vic Wertz wrote:
Terminalmancer wrote:
Hmmm. Accessibility of the PDF is low, as expected--the icons don't have any text associated with them, so in the event you're using text-to-speech you can't tell what's an action, what's a reaction, and so on.
We are preparing a separate accessible version of the PDF that should be available soon.

Paizo Employee Chief Technical Officer

avr wrote:
It looks like putting the word red or the word green in the thread title changes the colour of the text to red or green respectively. I hadn't seen that before.

It's unintended, and will be fixed.. but probably not this week.

Shadow Lodge

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Pathfinder Rulebook, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

Also you may want to get someone who is colorblind to check your color choices.
What may be visible to most others won't be visible to people with that condition.


Green and purple are generally considered the easiest two colors to distinguish across various vision problems. Add black for common and white (or "silver" gray) for unique and you've got all four needed colors. Symbols are a good option too though. Circle/Diamond/Star ●/◆/★ are relatively intuitive, while unique could be something like a star in a circle or even a stylized "1", "I" or "U".


Pathfinder Maps, Pathfinder Accessories, Starfinder Society Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber
LukeM wrote:

Also you may want to get someone who is colorblind to check your color choices.

What may be visible to most others won't be visible to people with that condition.

Did you see Vic's comment above that nothing in the final version will rely on color?


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dungeon_architect wrote:
My only problem with this is that the red/orange are too similar, Another color should be chosen for one of them, perhaps green or golden?

I don't think any color will work, if you want to sell the product to color blind people, blind people who use text readers, and other people with impaired sight.

And I'm pretty sure that this is the main reason behind that adamant "100%" Erik said. Paizo is a very good company in terms of inclusiveness, and color is not that good at transmitting information


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Vic Wertz wrote:
avr wrote:
It looks like putting the word red or the word green in the thread title changes the colour of the text to red or green respectively. I hadn't seen that before.
It's unintended, and will be fixed.. but probably not this week.

I thought it was one of those smurf Easter eggs


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deuxhero wrote:
Green and purple are generally considered the easiest two colors to distinguish across various vision problems.

They are the colors that give me the worst problems. I literally can't see purple and various ranges of green and brown blend together. As such, the 'common' easy colors would leave me behind. Not that the current colors are much better. I didn't notice the playtest had color coating until someone pointed it out.

deuxhero wrote:
Circle/Diamond/Star ●/◆/★ are relatively intuitive, while unique could be something like a star in a circle or even a stylized "1", "I" or "U".

For myself, LETTERS and NUMBERS are FAR, FAR more useful and recognizable than any symbol.


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I can't imagine why anyone thought this was a good idea in the first place. Maybe because it's become common in MMORPGs? But the result is pretty bad. What's wrong with simply stating Uncommon, Rare or Unique? An icon is I guess better than color coded text, but still not that great. There's nothing wrong with a word or, if we must go for shortening things, a letter code.


Doktor Weasel wrote:
I can't imagine why anyone thought this was a good idea in the first place. Maybe because it's become common in MMORPGs? But the result is pretty bad. What's wrong with simply stating Uncommon, Rare or Unique? An icon is I guess better than color coded text, but still not that great. There's nothing wrong with a word or, if we must go for shortening things, a letter code.

I get the 'scene' in my head that someone's millennial niece or something let a dev know that emoji are the in thing now and everything's better with a few random symbols added in because words are hard and take time to type when you tweet. From my perspective, the more someone like symbols like these, the younger they tend to be. I know my old eyes don't need this kind of torture.


Doktor Weasel wrote:
I can't imagine why anyone thought this was a good idea in the first place. Maybe because it's become common in MMORPGs? But the result is pretty bad. What's wrong with simply stating Uncommon, Rare or Unique? An icon is I guess better than color coded text, but still not that great. There's nothing wrong with a word or, if we must go for shortening things, a letter code.

Rereading that, I think it comes off as harsher than I was intending. But the points stand, there really isn't a big compelling reason to go to color coding or even symbols. Words work.

Although while I prefer words, I do have to admit the action icons aren't that bad. They're fairly easy to tell apart, although at a glance I might sometimes confuse a 2 and 3 action icon. Once you start extending a pattern I tend to lose track of just how many iterations there are unless I'm actively looking for it.


Pathfinder Rulebook Subscriber

I'm going to have to have a friend mark my book with the uncommon and rate things, the orange and red look really similar in the printed book.

Nevermind, I found an actual rare item. The printing's reds are inconsistent, so I was struggling to see which red was meant to be orange. Anyone curious about this: look at the Antimagic Field spell.


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There is no need to actually remove colour coding as long as they add the words, right? because I find it helpful.


Doktor Weasel wrote:
Although while I prefer words, I do have to admit the action icons aren't that bad. They're fairly easy to tell apart, although at a glance I might sometimes confuse a 2 and 3 action icon. Once you start extending a pattern I tend to lose track of just how many iterations there are unless I'm actively looking for it.

Well, the symbols are better in that I can tell that they exist and are there. As for as telling what is what at a glance, not so much for me. Free and reactions look the same and the number of repeating diamonds blends together too much for me, making me have to stop and try to squint and make out how many are squished together. For me, the whole symbol/color thing is awful.

dragonhunterq wrote:
There is no need to actually remove colour coding as long as they add the words, right? because I find it helpful.

I wouldn't mind dual listings.


There's a thread on Accessiblity issues and the use of red/orange has been brought up to the developers, so they are aware of it. It is definitely bad for people with red/green color blindness, as the dark red is not easily distinguished from black. There are colorblind-safe palette options in the world, so it's just a matter of picking a different one or employing redundant symbology (e.g., the U, H, R designations in addition to the color).


Pathfinder Maps, Pathfinder Accessories, Starfinder Society Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber
Erik Mona wrote:
We are 100% changing this.
Vic Wertz wrote:
Nothing will rely exclusively on the presence of color-coding in the actual second edition. (That was one of the very first changes we committed to making, pretty much right as we were sending it to the printer.)

Staff have already said that colors will not be relied on.


John Mechalas wrote:
red/green color blindness

Just to let you know, there are more varieties of colorblindness than this, like blue-yellow and total. While it's possible to shift colors so that MORE people can see the difference, you aren't going to find a pattern of them that everyone can see.

PS: there are also sub-varieties of each kind of color blindness. For myself, mine is Deuteranomaly color blindness. My green cones do not detect enough green and are too sensitive to yellows, oranges, and reds.

As a result, greens, yellows, oranges, reds, and browns may appear similar, especially in low light. It can also be difficult to tell the difference between blues and purples, or pinks and grays. For me, I can't see purple and am poor at discriminating small differences in hues in the red, orange, yellow and green.

Contrast this with someone that has Blue-yellow color blindness [tritanopia]. They see blue, indigo and a spectral violet and greenish tints as drastically dimmed, some of these colors even show as black. Yellow is indistinguishable from pink, and purple colors are perceived as various shades of red.


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graystone wrote:
John Mechalas wrote:
red/green color blindness
Just to let you know, there are more varieties of colorblindness than this, like blue-yellow and total.

I am aware of all of the variations of color blindess. Redundant symbology makes the most sense for Paizo. Their audience is too large to ignore the 1 in 10,000 with tritanopia/tritanomoly.

Total color blindness is so rare, and those afflicted have such poor acuity, that the only practical solution is to design for blindness.


Pathfinder Maps, Pathfinder Accessories, Starfinder Society Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber
John Mechalas wrote:
the only practical solution is to design for blindness.

Which they are doing.

They've already added a PDF of the Playtest Rules that is useable with screen-readers.


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CrystalSeas wrote:
John Mechalas wrote:
the only practical solution is to design for blindness.

Which they are doing.

They've already added a PDF of the Playtest Rules that is useable with screen-readers.

Yep. Now it just has to be downloadable. I tried a dozen times still no PDF for me. That and the final product is going to be a hardback, so any colorblind person might want a non-pdf solution.


Pathfinder Maps, Pathfinder Accessories, Starfinder Society Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber
graystone wrote:
Now it just has to be downloadable. I tried a dozen times still no PDF for me. That and the final product is going to be a hardback, so any colorblind person might want a non-pdf solution.

I was able to download it, but only by downloading the whole package. I couldn't get the a la carte option to work.


Speaking as someone without colour blindness of any kind, I'll be glad when there's more distinctions than dark red/black between common and uncommon.


CrystalSeas wrote:
graystone wrote:
Now it just has to be downloadable. I tried a dozen times still no PDF for me. That and the final product is going to be a hardback, so any colorblind person might want a non-pdf solution.
I was able to download it, but only by downloading the whole package. I couldn't get the a la carte option to work.

I might give that a try, thanks. I'm glad to know it wasn't just something going wrong on my end.

EDIT: Got a network error trying to download the package but I finally managed to get the plain text version by repeatedly trying to download it. I got lucky around the 50th try.


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
graystone wrote:
Doktor Weasel wrote:
I can't imagine why anyone thought this was a good idea in the first place. Maybe because it's become common in MMORPGs? But the result is pretty bad. What's wrong with simply stating Uncommon, Rare or Unique? An icon is I guess better than color coded text, but still not that great. There's nothing wrong with a word or, if we must go for shortening things, a letter code.
I get the 'scene' in my head that someone's millennial niece or something let a dev know that emoji are the in thing now and everything's better with a few random symbols added in because words are hard and take time to type when you tweet. From my perspective, the more someone like symbols like these, the younger they tend to be. I know my old eyes don't need this kind of torture.

I'm a millennial and I'll take words over symbol hieroglyphics any day of the week. Does that mean I can get my officially-issued cane to shake at those Gen Z kids now? :-)


graystone wrote:
CrystalSeas wrote:
John Mechalas wrote:
the only practical solution is to design for blindness.

Which they are doing.

They've already added a PDF of the Playtest Rules that is useable with screen-readers.

Yep. Now it just has to be downloadable. I tried a dozen times still no PDF for me. That and the final product is going to be a hardback, so any colorblind person might want a non-pdf solution.

It isn't really readable though, it "looks" like it is, and it uses the correct kind of text for all of these things, but in addition to copy-editing errors, (gets really obvious on the past 10-15% of spells and powers, look at those casting actions, even visible though easily missed in the standard PDF), the screen reader PDF has many discontinuous text segments where a screen reader would jump to the wrong segment of text at many page breaks, and occasionally midblock. If these problems were fixed, it's an acceptable solution.


My friend who is color-blind supports a change to how rarity is marked.


Meraki wrote:
graystone wrote:
Doktor Weasel wrote:
I can't imagine why anyone thought this was a good idea in the first place. Maybe because it's become common in MMORPGs? But the result is pretty bad. What's wrong with simply stating Uncommon, Rare or Unique? An icon is I guess better than color coded text, but still not that great. There's nothing wrong with a word or, if we must go for shortening things, a letter code.
I get the 'scene' in my head that someone's millennial niece or something let a dev know that emoji are the in thing now and everything's better with a few random symbols added in because words are hard and take time to type when you tweet. From my perspective, the more someone like symbols like these, the younger they tend to be. I know my old eyes don't need this kind of torture.
I'm a millennial and I'll take words over symbol hieroglyphics any day of the week. Does that mean I can get my officially-issued cane to shake at those Gen Z kids now? :-)

Hey, as long as you darn kids aren't skateboarding in my yard, go for it. ;)

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