Furious Focus - Or how to not write rules


General Discussion


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Yes, I am aware that the new language tries to be more exact then we are used to, and that is a good thing. At least up to a point. If you cross that point, though, it makes rules quite hard to read and understand. To illustrate my point of view, I want to have a closer look at Furious Focus:

(1 Action), Attack, Fighter, Press
Requirements You are wielding a melee weapon without the agile trait.
Make a Strike. The Strike gains the following failure effect.
Failure This attack does not count toward your multiple attack penalty.

On first glance, this sounds pretty straight forward. But then you notice that this level 1 feat of the fighter, which used to be the go to class for new players, since it was the easiest to play, references a whole slew of other things:

Press Actions with this trait allow you to follow up earlier attacks. An action with the press trait can be used only if you are currently affected by a multiple attack penalty. Some actions with the press trait also grant an effect on a failure. Effects on a failure can be gained only if the action took a –4 multiple attack penalty or worse. The effects that are added on a failure don’t apply on a critical failure.
If your press action succeeds or critically succeeds, but it deals no damage and causes no other effects (typically due to
resistance), you can choose to apply the failure effect instead.

non-agile Your weapon has to be one that DOESN'T have a specific trait. Which is weird, since weapon traits tend to be a good thing that allow you to do more things

Multiple Attack Penalty and the Strike Action play a role as well.

So, to fully understand that simple level 1 feat, you have to know a whole bunch of stuff. And most of it is just limiting a feat that, at first glance, seemed nice. But once you put it all down in writing, it becomes:

All of strikes with a non-agile melee weapon, that suffer at least a -4 penalty from earlier attacks, do not increase your multiple attack for subsequent attacks if they miss, or miss and don't inflict damage, but not if they critically miss. This is incompatible with anything other then basic attacks.

Quite a lot of stuff to consider, and overall the whole feat just sounds way less interesting if you include all the caveats that are otherwise a bit obscured.

Please, make the rules more accessible to people that don't enjoy reading legal documents :)

Scarab Sages

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I also think the traits are making stuff a lot harder to understand. You need to constantly go back and forth between several chapter to understant things.

It may be easier when you actually memorize everything, but that would take a lot of time, and newcomer would experience a lot of "wait, there is another restriction that is not written directly ?" very often.

Silver Crusade

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The.Vortex wrote:
So, to fully understand that simple level 1 feat, you have to know a whole bunch of stuff.

Two things. You need to know two things. What Presses are, and if your weapon is Agile.


Also you made a mistake, since no critical fail is listed it just uses the normal failure case, so fail or crit fail is still not increasing your MAP.


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Oh man, the press trait changes everything. I didn't even read that and assumed my 1st strike could use Furious Focus.

And that part in the Press trait where if you're successful the attack does no damage, obviously makes the feat completely useless.

Good catch.

And I agree, the writing could be simplified.

For each trait, they could also use the Benefit/Normal lines to help explain the trait, like they did in PF1.
Benefit: ___
Normal: ___

Scarab Sages

Jason S wrote:

Oh man, the press trait changes everything. I didn't even read that and assumed my 1st strike could use Furious Focus.

And that part in the Press trait where if you're successful the attack does no damage, obviously makes the feat completely useless.

Good catch.

And I agree, the writing could be simplified.

For each trait, they could also use the Benefit/Normal lines to help explain the trait, like they did in PF1.
Benefit: ___
Normal: ___

You missread.

Press attack DOES dammage.
The sentence is just here for the rare case where you opponent can ignore you dammage (through DR mostly) to tell that even if the opponent is not hurt you still get the beneficial effect.

Sczarni RPG Superstar 2014 Top 16

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Apparently I completely misread that feat as well. I thought it could be used on the first attack. It seems way less interesting and more niche now.

Also, I don't understand why it is restricted to non-agile weapons. Can a fighter with a rapier not be just as focused as one wielding a broadsword?


Tamago wrote:
Also, I don't understand why it is restricted to non-agile weapons. Can a fighter with a rapier not be just as focused as one wielding a broadsword?

"Balance"


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This kind of thing is ALL OVER the new rules. I actually really enjoy how the game plays, but this stuff is starting to drive me nuts. I had one playtester quit because of it, too.

"No wait, you can't actually do that."

... "Or that."

..... "Not that either."

"I'm out!"

It wouldn't have been a problem if he'd known what he could do. I get that there's going to be a learning curve, but we're talking about really REALLY experienced gamers. If WE are having troubles with it...


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Pathfinder Rulebook Subscriber

My only big problem with Furious Focus is that it is a Press feat. The whole press open thing seems a lot more constraining than I thought it would he when I first heard about it.

Sczarni RPG Superstar 2014 Top 16

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The thing my players always loved about Furious Focus is that it made the math of the game simpler. It boiled down to "The first Power Attack of your turn doesn't take a penalty to the attack roll," or in other words, "You have one less bit of math you have to do when you decide to use Power Attack."

The new way actually makes this more complex. You can't even roll all the dice ahead of time and say, "OK, I hit a 23, a 14, and an 11." Now you have to say, "OK, I hit a 23, a 14, and either an 11 or a 16 depending on whether the 14 hits or not."

ugh.


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I see traits on several places in the rulebook and bestiary. Actions, feats, weapons, armor, traps, magic items, spells, and creatures have traits. For example, Goggles of the Night have the traits invested, magical, and transmutation, which means that they cost a resonance to wear, they detect and identify as magic, and the magic school is transmutation. The spell Message has a lot of traits: auditory, cantrip, illusion, lingual, and mental.

But in general, these traits are an answer to a minor question about the action or item. Can my barbarian command his guard dog while raging? No, Command Animal is concentrate. Will the recipient of my Message spell hear my words in his ears rather than his brain? Yes, it's auditory. Does Heal hurt the zombie? Yes, it is undead. Can a rogue learn this feat as a class feat? No, it lacks the Rogue trait. Does this Circle of Protection against evil stop the demon. Yes, the demon is evil. Can my bard prepare Charming Words in his spell slots? Charming Words' traits don't answer that question, because it derives from the nature of the power rather than a mere trait. Check whether it is a power, a spell, or a cantrip (cantrip is a trait, but spell and power aren't). The traits are not necessary to use the action, item, or creature under normal conditions.

Armor and weapon traits are an exception. Agile changes the penalty for multiattacks. Finesse offers Dex to hit instead of Str to hit. But in Pathfinder 1st Edition weapons have weapon properties that affected their use. Those weapon properties were renamed traits, but they still act like weapon properties, different from most other traits. Okay, it is a legacy difference.

Press is another exception. It is a trait on Fighter class feats that affects how they are used under normal conditions. By the ordinary way feats are written, it should be in the Requirements line rather than the traits. Look at Combat Grab, another press feat. It says, "Requirements You are wielding a one-handed melee weapon and have one hand free." The rulebook does not put "one-handed" in the traits for Combat Grab. Why does "press" get out-of-place treatment. Couldn't Combat Grab say, "Requirements You are wielding a one-handed melee weapon, have one hand free, and pressing a attack." Furious Focus could say, "Requirements You are wielding a melee weapon without the agile trait and pressing an attack."

Yes, press is bad design. It is a feat requirement that is put in the traits rather than the requirements.

In addition, a feat that can be used only on second or later attacks is disappointing, unless it really is a followup to the first attack. Press said it is for followup attacks, but it does not seem to care about the first attack. And the math of checking whether the multiattack penalty is -4 or worst leaves a sour taste, "Oh, sorry, your second attack had only a -3 penalty, so it was not bad enough to count as pressing your attack."

Furious Focus has other design problems, such as not resembling 1st Edition Furious Focus, but I wanted to emphasize the problems with press.


Chess Pwn wrote:
Also you made a mistake, since no critical fail is listed it just uses the normal failure case, so fail or crit fail is still not increasing your MAP.

Not the case.

Press Trait wrote:
The effects that are added on a failure don’t apply on a critical failure.

Sczarni RPG Superstar 2014 Top 16

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Mathmuse wrote:

I see traits on several places in the rulebook and bestiary. Actions, feats, weapons, armor, traps, magic items, spells, and creatures have traits. For example, Goggles of the Night have the traits invested, magical, and transmutation, which means that they cost a resonance to wear, they detect and identify as magic, and the magic school is transmutation. The spell Message has a lot of traits: auditory, cantrip, illusion, lingual, and mental.

But in general, these traits are an answer to a minor question about the action or item. Can my barbarian command his guard dog while raging? No, Command Animal is concentrate. Will the recipient of my Message spell hear my words in his ears rather than his brain? Yes, it's auditory. Does Heal hurt the zombie? Yes, it is undead. Can a rogue learn this feat as a class feat? No, it lacks the Rogue trait. Does this Circle of Protection against evil stop the demon. Yes, the demon is evil. Can my bard prepare Charming Words in his spell slots? Charming Words' traits don't answer that question, because it derives from the nature of the power rather than a mere trait. Check whether it is a power, a spell, or a cantrip (cantrip is a trait, but spell and power aren't). The traits are not necessary to use the action, item, or creature under normal conditions.

Armor and weapon traits are an exception. Agile changes the penalty for multiattacks. Finesse offers Dex to hit instead of Str to hit. But in Pathfinder 1st Edition weapons have weapon properties that affected their use. Those weapon properties were renamed traits, but they still act like weapon properties, different from most other traits. Okay, it is a legacy difference.

Press is another exception. It is a trait on Fighter class feats that affects how they are used under normal conditions. By the ordinary way feats are written, it should be in the Requirements line rather than the traits. Look at Combat Grab, another press feat. It says, "Requirements You are wielding a one-handed melee weapon and have one...

I feel like it's very confusing and easy to get wrong when the traits themselves have a whole bunch of rules attached to them. It's appropriate for traits to be used as identifiers for other rules to hook into. For example, "this spell doesn't work on creatures with the Undead trait."

However, the reverse ("Because this feat has the Press trait, there's a whole bunch of extra rules you need to know about and apply") is a recipe for people missing the information and/or getting it wrong.

I'm completely guilty of this, but I almost never actually read the list of traits, especially if there are more than a couple of them. If something in the text of a spell/feat/whatever specifically calls out "this works differently if the target has the XXX trait," then I will go look and see if it applies. But I have not (and can't really see myself getting in the habit of) checked the list of traits every time I want to do a thing to see if there is some special rules I need to apply in order to use it.

This is made worse by the fact that quite a few traits don't actually mean anything. (I assume they are just there for future-proofing.) So even if I wanted to look up the special rules for whatever trait I'm looking at, I wouldn't be able to. And it's not like I could just search the PDF... I'd get hundreds of hits for most of the traits in the game!


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If a whole team of rule lawyers (us) is needed to figure out how to use a simple, first level feat, then it might need a rewrite.


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I think you're completely right, Tamago.
When traits are used to append additional rules to a rules structure like an action or feat, they act as a barrier to comprehension & understanding.

The aim should be for these types of rules blocks to be free-standing as much as possible.

When it's the other way round & it's a way for more general rules & spells to refer back to the rule block, it's much better.

And if they're going to use traits to parachute in rules, they need to be a lot less than the 150-170 they have now.

Dark Archive

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You know, Spanish is a really difficult language.

Gato? Why don't you just call it a cat? It's much easier.

What's my point? Tags/traits are good, and in the long run they will make the game easier. Your problem is you are comparing your native tongue to a new language you've just started learning.

Once you get past your initial "I don't know what this means, but I know the AD&D 2e rules by heart" confusion, once you PLAY the game for a while, and USE the new systems so that you know and remember them, it will make it a lot faster, and easier to learn NEW content once it starts rolling out.


I actually like adding tags like Press and what not to spells and abilities. It's something I would've liked in 1st edition. For example, consider the following as a potential metamagic feat to homebrew for 1st edition: Immediate Spell, this spell may be cast an immediate action and uses a slot X levels higher. There is no good value for X because you can't allow most offensive spells to be immediate action while it would be okay for many defensive spells to be an immediate action. 1st edition didn't have the means to designate what spells would be suitable and which would not. In 2nd edition, I could easily imagine such an option existing by tagging the list of spells.

Tagging spells properly can guide new players toward the intended function of the spell and thus help them pick while also allowing for tools like the srd to help experienced players find exactly what they're looking for. If you think about it, we already had this in 1st edition to a limited extent with spell descriptors, feat categories, and trait types. If the tags themselves do not have any rules baggage and are named properly can actually reduce the knowledge burden of players.


I like the open and press tags because they tell you what you are doing with them. Open is what you start with, and Press is what you use to follow up.

I think we all just need some trait flashcards. Then we'll be mixing and matching feats and combos like pros.


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TiwazBlackhand wrote:

You know, Spanish is a really difficult language.

Gato? Why don't you just call it a cat? It's much easier.

What's my point? Tags/traits are good, and in the long run they will make the game easier. Your problem is you are comparing your native tongue to a new language you've just started learning.

Once you get past your initial "I don't know what this means, but I know the AD&D 2e rules by heart" confusion, once you PLAY the game for a while, and USE the new systems so that you know and remember them, it will make it a lot faster, and easier to learn NEW content once it starts rolling out.

This is entirely false and trivializes the actual issue. The problem isn't that in one language, gato means a furry feline, and in another cat means a furry feline. The problem is in one dictionary, when you look at the definition of cat, it says "a furry feline with a tail and claws". In the other, that definition says "see: feline, see: mammal" and then you look up mammal and it says "has fur" and then feline and it says "has claws and tail".

This has nothing to do with language, it has everything to do with the number of references you have to go through to get to an actual definition, and that's an entirely different issue.


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Traits, properties and action identifier should be put apart.

Action identifiers: Press, open,... should work as they are now, and only appears in actions sessions.

Traits(or descriptor) should have no inate effects and only work of rules and effects refering to them, for example: concentrate, manipulation, arcane, divine, spell, metallic, occult, primal,...

Finally properties(or traits, if you use descriptor before) are not tied to actions, but items or effects and have a standarlized function: Agile, Throw, Forceful, Finesse,...

2 of thesse should never be in the same section of a action or effect.

Descriptors should never have a innate effect attached to them, their only purpose is to clarify if a weapon is mettalic, a spell is divine, if this action is a concentration action, if an effect that works when someone usa a manipulative action works with it, so on...

And all of this should be condensed in the same page of the rulebook.

Not even in PF1, with its 100 books, i took so much time to build a character just because i had to come back and forth in the book so many times, that wasnt a pleasant experience.


The.Vortex wrote:

Yes, I am aware that the new language tries to be more exact then we are used to, and that is a good thing. At least up to a point. If you cross that point, though, it makes rules quite hard to read and understand. To illustrate my point of view, I want to have a closer look at Furious Focus:

(1 Action), Attack, Fighter, Press
Requirements You are wielding a melee weapon without the agile trait.
Make a Strike. The Strike gains the following failure effect.
Failure This attack does not count toward your multiple attack penalty.

On first glance, this sounds pretty straight forward. But then you notice that this level 1 feat of the fighter, which used to be the go to class for new players, since it was the easiest to play, references a whole slew of other things:

Press Actions with this trait allow you to follow up earlier attacks. An action with the press trait can be used only if you are currently affected by a multiple attack penalty. Some actions with the press trait also grant an effect on a failure. Effects on a failure can be gained only if the action took a –4 multiple attack penalty or worse. The effects that are added on a failure don’t apply on a critical failure.
If your press action succeeds or critically succeeds, but it deals no damage and causes no other effects (typically due to
resistance), you can choose to apply the failure effect instead.

non-agile Your weapon has to be one that DOESN'T have a specific trait. Which is weird, since weapon traits tend to be a good thing that allow you to do more things

Multiple Attack Penalty and the Strike Action play a role as well.

So, to fully understand that simple level 1 feat, you have to know a whole bunch of stuff. And most of it is just limiting a feat that, at first glance, seemed nice. But once you put it all down in writing, it becomes:

All of strikes with a non-agile melee weapon, that suffer at least a -4 penalty from earlier attacks, do...

Yeah, I'm very skeptical of how these Fighter things are written in general.

For starters, Presses only counting if you are suffering from a -4 or less MAP is an arbitrary penalty, and it means that abilities such as a Ranger applying his Hunt Target to you with his features while wielding an Agile weapon means you can't use Press abilities until your third action/attack. As someone mentioned upthread, I can do this with a Bastard Sword, but a Rapier? NOPE. It's corner-case, I'm sure, but I imagine parties with Rangers and Fighters in there who want this synergistic benefit are getting screwed hardcore.

Furthermore, a feat that lets a failed 2nd (or later) attack not count for MAP isn't really that great, since you're already 2/3 of the way through your turn to receive a benefit that has nothing to be used on (or almost already all-the-way through if it's on a third attack as well). Why would I take a feat that's set up for failure? It's like those feats that give you benefits when you are dying. Like, why would I take a feat that benefits me while dying when the point is to not die? Baffling game design, I tell ya.


In addition...

Chess Pwn wrote:
Also you made a mistake, since no critical fail is listed it just uses the normal failure case, so fail or crit fail is still not increasing your MAP.
Presses wrote:
The effects that are added on a failure don’t apply on a critical failure.

This sentence outright contradicts that statement.

Scarab Sages

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I think my primary problem with Opens and Presses isn't that the mechanics are clunky, but rather that they don't do enough. I feel like Opens should be more focused on debuffing, and Presses should be more focused on damage spiking. That gives the whole combo feel they're going for. Right now, presses are just... meh. Hopefully we get some cooler ones in the final version.


Starfinder Charter Superscriber
Darksol the Painbringer wrote:
. As someone mentioned upthread, I can do this with a Bastard Sword, but a Rapier? NOPE.

Rapier isn't Agile.


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I don't think the fighter has been the "go to class for new players because it is easy" any time since 3rd edition. In PF1 fighters are probably the most difficult class to build effectively (not that they are a bad class, but good fighter builds have a ton of moving parts.)


Starfinder Charter Superscriber
Davor wrote:
I think my primary problem with Opens and Presses isn't that the mechanics are clunky, but rather that they don't do enough. I feel like Opens should be more focused on debuffing, and Presses should be more focused on damage spiking. That gives the whole combo feel they're going for. Right now, presses are just... meh. Hopefully we get some cooler ones in the final version.

Agreed. You want a real feeling of payoff for your investment, not just a little tidbit.


Shadrayl of the Mountain wrote:
Darksol the Painbringer wrote:
. As someone mentioned upthread, I can do this with a Bastard Sword, but a Rapier? NOPE.
Rapier isn't Agile.

Make it a dagger or something then. It's still pointlessly arbitrary.


Darksol the Painbringer wrote:

In addition...

Chess Pwn wrote:
Also you made a mistake, since no critical fail is listed it just uses the normal failure case, so fail or crit fail is still not increasing your MAP.
Presses wrote:
The effects that are added on a failure don’t apply on a critical failure.
This sentence outright contradicts that statement.

yeah, found out I missed that line after double checking the normal rules


Starfinder Charter Superscriber
Darksol the Painbringer wrote:
Shadrayl of the Mountain wrote:
Darksol the Painbringer wrote:
. As someone mentioned upthread, I can do this with a Bastard Sword, but a Rapier? NOPE.
Rapier isn't Agile.
Make it a dagger or something then. It's still pointlessly arbitrary.

I get the feeling that most things with the Agile trait aren't meant to be primary weapons, so I'm not so sure it's arbitrary.


I don't think it's really that relevant to force that into a non-agile weapon. Yes, you don't take your (reduced) penalty on a failure, but it's already counterbalanced by the fact that you'll probably be doing less damage.

Presses also should probably remove the -4 requirement, because so many things cut that down (agile grace, hunt target) and I can't see any purpose to it.


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Shadrayl of the Mountain wrote:
Darksol the Painbringer wrote:
Shadrayl of the Mountain wrote:
Darksol the Painbringer wrote:
. As someone mentioned upthread, I can do this with a Bastard Sword, but a Rapier? NOPE.
Rapier isn't Agile.
Make it a dagger or something then. It's still pointlessly arbitrary.
I get the feeling that most things with the Agile trait aren't meant to be primary weapons, so I'm not so sure it's arbitrary.

But it is arbitrary. As explained above, let's say we have a Ranger and a Fighter. Fighter uses a Hatchet and Shield to make full attacks more consistent. Ranger can give Hunt Target to his Fighter friend, further helping that cause.

Fighter attacks at 0/-3/-6. Because Presses only work on -4 or more MAP attacks, the Fighter only benefits from Presses his tertiary attack, something which in the case of Furious Focus, would be worthless.

But let's say that, instead of a Ranger, we have some other character who doesn't grant Hunt Target to the Fighter. The Fighter attacks at 0/-4/-8 now. For some reason, when Hunt Target is out of the equation, the Fighter can now use his Press attacks on his Secondary attacks.

What does Hunt Target have to do with Agile Weapons that all-of-a-sudden makes Press abilities not work after their first attack (which is their sole design intention) outside of some arbitrary number limitation that makes no sense when certain moving parts are in a certain order or fashion? There are more Press feats that are much more valuable besides Furious Focus, so it is a sincere question.

So, if that's not arbitrary, then nothing in this game is, and I can say that everything is functioning as intended. I hope we enjoy our Sorcerers getting 9 trained skills as a result. (It's probably the only thing they'll ever get going for them.)


Pathfinder Lost Omens, Pathfinder Accessories, Rulebook, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Darksol the Painbringer wrote:
Shadrayl of the Mountain wrote:
Darksol the Painbringer wrote:
. As someone mentioned upthread, I can do this with a Bastard Sword, but a Rapier? NOPE.
Rapier isn't Agile.
Make it a dagger or something then. It's still pointlessly arbitrary.

I think the design intention is for the feat to be a form of mitigation for bigger, harder hitting weapons (similar to the "backswing" trait), rather than to be a feat meant to advantage every fighter.

RPG Superstar 2009 Top 16, 2012 Top 32

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*opens rulebook*

ME: "There's a six-page glossary of descriptors! Not really my style, but I suppose it does remove lots of ambiguity from the rules; traits will finally clarify things like what actions require only the use of your mind, allowing you to take those actions while paralyzed."

PARALYZED: "You have the flat-footed condition and can’t act except to Recall Knowledge and act in other ways that require only the use of your mind (as determined by the GM)."

ME: ...

*flips table*


Why is this even called furious focus? To me it seems to to something completely different than the furious focus in PF 1.

On the other hand the heal skill get's renamed into medicine while still having the same basic function, i. e. healing.

Having mechanics with the same name doing completely different things in the editions and renaming stuff that doesn't change too much adds unneeded confusion and is another thing keeping surely away from PF2.


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the only thing that I agree with is that Press needs to count # of attacks and not MAP penalty.

buffing someone to make him better (hunt target, agile fighter thingy, etc) shouldn't magically stop you from using the exact same ability you could before the buff.

with the way Tags work atm, it's even easier to do:
Press 1: you can use those abilities after your 1st attack on your turn
Press 2: you can use those abilities after your 2nd attack on your turn

no need to Involve MAP with it.

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