I do not see the rhyme or reason behind 2e's rarity system.


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Bjørn Røyrvik wrote:
Tridus wrote:


It's much, much easier for a DM to allow something a player finds and asks for than it is to come up with a list of everything that needs to be restricted.

I agree. I just don't see how a rarity system in any way is necessary or helpful for this.

"Hey everyone, run any mechanics choices you want by me first to see if they are OK."

This works just fine without a rarity system. People have been doing this for literally decades in tons of systems.

That puts all the burden on the player, then. I know I'd bristle at having to run every single choice past a GM. That would completely screw with my process for creating characters, and I expect would annoy the GM as well.

A known whitelist combined with an ask-first/justify it list is the compromise that can work for everyone.


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The problem is that Uncommon is trying to do too much at once, without any reasons given case by case for why something is uncommon.

Is it uncommon because it touches a subsystem or ethical quandary that is a touchy issue or ignored at some tables, like alignment or mental domination?

Is it uncommon because it circumvents obstacles and puzzles in adventures, like teleport?

Is it uncommon because it is too powerful for its level, like... I don't know, no spell in PF2 is powerful other than Heal, and if this was the issue shouldn't they just bump it up a spell level?

Is it uncommon because it's fiddly and adds tracking and remembering stuff to the table, like contingency?

Is it uncommon because who the heck knows what the designers were thinking, like detect scrying?

Just slapping uncommon on everything means it is trying to do all of these things with no explanation of why. And many of these things are areas where many groups have no issues and would be just fine with these spells at the table. But with everything being lumped into one overstretched mechanic without explicit differentiation, everything has to be sorted on a case by case basis and becomes a giant headache at the table.

This hurts players just trying to make a character. It is a burden on GMs who are put back in the position of having to vet everything case by case and a lot of GMs will blanket ban uncommon rather than take on that extra workload even if a lot of the stuff schlumped under uncommon is stuff they'd likely actually be just fine with, which again circles back around to hurting players.

This is why I keep saying uncommon is a bad thing. It's trying to do too much for too many different reasons. I'd much rather just extend the robust tagging system and have advice and discussion in the book regarding certain of those tags.


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Fuzzypaws wrote:

The problem is that Uncommon is trying to do too much at once, without any reasons given case by case for why something is uncommon.

Is it uncommon because it touches a subsystem or ethical quandary that is a touchy issue or ignored at some tables, like alignment or mental domination?

Is it uncommon because it circumvents obstacles and puzzles in adventures, like teleport?

Is it uncommon because it is too powerful for its level, like... I don't know, no spell in PF2 is powerful other than Heal, and if this was the issue shouldn't they just bump it up a spell level?

Is it uncommon because it's fiddly and adds tracking and remembering stuff to the table, like contingency?

Is it uncommon because who the heck knows what the designers were thinking, like detect scrying?

Just slapping uncommon on everything means it is trying to do all of these things with no explanation of why. And many of these things are areas where many groups have no issues and would be just fine with these spells at the table. But with everything being lumped into one overstretched mechanic without explicit differentiation, everything has to be sorted on a case by case basis and becomes a giant headache at the table.

This hurts players just trying to make a character. It is a burden on GMs who are put back in the position of having to vet everything case by case and a lot of GMs will blanket ban uncommon rather than take on that extra workload even if a lot of the stuff schlumped under uncommon is stuff they'd likely actually be just fine with, which again circles back around to hurting players.

This is why I keep saying uncommon is a bad thing. It's trying to do too much for too many different reasons. I'd much rather just extend the robust tagging system and have advice and discussion in the book regarding certain of those tags.

This is nicely laid out. And an interesting contrast to my thoughts on the rarity system. I'm a huge fan of the rarity system (one of my favorite parts of PF2) precisely because it does all of the different things you describe.

What unifies the different categories you list is that they're all things it's good to run by your DM first:

  • Is it something that touches on an ethical quandary or touchy issues that some members of the table might not be comfortable with? A good thing to run by your DM about first.

  • Is it something that could trivialize many of the obstacles and puzzles your DM wants to employ? A good thing to run by your DM about first.

  • Is it something that might be too powerful (especially in the context of certain kinds of games)? (Like Wish?) A good thing to run by your DM about first.

  • Is it something that might be fiddly, and/or a real pain to adjudicate clearly? (Like Anti-magic shield?) A good thing to run by your DM about first.

    And, for me at least, it is enormously helpful to have a consolidated list of things that might potentially be problematic for players to check with me first before using. (Or, to turn it around, enormously helpful for me to have a consolidated list of things to go through and make decisions about when telling my players what things will and won't be available in a campaign.)


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    Bjørn Røyrvik wrote:
    Tridus wrote:


    It's much, much easier for a DM to allow something a player finds and asks for than it is to come up with a list of everything that needs to be restricted.

    I agree. I just don't see how a rarity system in any way is necessary or helpful for this.

    "Hey everyone, run any mechanics choices you want by me first to see if they are OK."

    This works just fine without a rarity system. People have been doing this for literally decades in tons of systems.

    Player: "Hey DM, after the stuff we had to retreat from earlier in this session, I'm now changing my spells to add X, Y, and Z from this obscure rulebook you've never heard of."

    DM: "Great, just let me stop the game to vet those spell selections right now."

    This does not work just fine. It "works" in the sense that we have dealt with it for a long time, but we can absolutely do better.


    Porridge wrote:
    Fuzzypaws wrote:

    The problem is that Uncommon is trying to do too much at once, without any reasons given case by case for why something is uncommon.

    Is it uncommon because it touches a subsystem or ethical quandary that is a touchy issue or ignored at some tables, like alignment or mental domination?

    Is it uncommon because it circumvents obstacles and puzzles in adventures, like teleport?

    Is it uncommon because it is too powerful for its level, like... I don't know, no spell in PF2 is powerful other than Heal, and if this was the issue shouldn't they just bump it up a spell level?

    Is it uncommon because it's fiddly and adds tracking and remembering stuff to the table, like contingency?

    Is it uncommon because who the heck knows what the designers were thinking, like detect scrying?

    Just slapping uncommon on everything means it is trying to do all of these things with no explanation of why. And many of these things are areas where many groups have no issues and would be just fine with these spells at the table. But with everything being lumped into one overstretched mechanic without explicit differentiation, everything has to be sorted on a case by case basis and becomes a giant headache at the table.

    This hurts players just trying to make a character. It is a burden on GMs who are put back in the position of having to vet everything case by case and a lot of GMs will blanket ban uncommon rather than take on that extra workload even if a lot of the stuff schlumped under uncommon is stuff they'd likely actually be just fine with, which again circles back around to hurting players.

    This is why I keep saying uncommon is a bad thing. It's trying to do too much for too many different reasons. I'd much rather just extend the robust tagging system and have advice and discussion in the book regarding certain of those tags.

    This is nicely laid out. And an interesting contrast to my thoughts on the rarity system. I'm a huge fan of the rarity system (one of my favorite parts of PF2) precisely because it does all of the different things you describe.

    What unifies the different categories you list is that they're all things it's good to run by your DM first:

    Is it something that touches on an ethical quandary or touchy issues that some members of the table might not be comfortable with? A good thing to run by your DM about first.

    Is it something that could trivialize many of the obstacles and puzzles your DM wants to employ? A good thing to run by your DM about first.

    Is it something that might be too powerful (especially in the context of certain kinds of games)? (Like Wish?) A good thing to run by your DM about first.

    Is it something that might be fiddly, and/or a real pain to adjudicate clearly? (Like Anti-magic shield?) A good thing to run by your DM about first.

    And, for me at least, it is enormously helpful to have a consolidated list of things that might potentially be problematic for players to check with me first before using. (Or, to turn it around, enormously helpful for me to have a consolidated list of things to go through and make decisions about when telling my players what things will and won't be available in a campaign.)

    The problem for me is that while any individual category here is a perfectly fine reason for a GM to be uncomfortable with options in that category, very few GMs and groups are likely to be uncomfortable with the entire list. Yet they are all lumped together without differentiation. I have experience and can suss out the reasoning behind (most of) the uncommon assignments, but will that be true of everyone?

    It also, again, feeds those GMs who would just blanket ban everything without actually wanting to check a bunch of stuff individually.

    If they keep this system, it really really really really needs to be explained, in the book, every time, why an individual option is uncommon. There needs to be an actual line entry in the spell or item or feat description that states outright the category it falls into.

    Silver Crusade

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

    Common - Available unless told otherwise

    Uncommon - Ask the GM

    Rare - Ask the GM so they can work it into the story later :3

    Silver Crusade

    Pathfinder Companion, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber
    Fuzzypaws wrote:
    It also, again, feeds those GMs who would just blanket ban everything without actually wanting to check a bunch of stuff individually.

    That's a GM issue that's probably rooted in other issues as well.

    Paizo Employee Director of Game Design

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    Rysky wrote:

    Common - Available unless told otherwise

    Uncommon - Ask the GM

    Rare - Ask the GM so they can work it into the story later :3

    Close to what we intended, but I do want to add a caveat or two...

    Common - Available unless told otherwise
    Uncommon - Available to specific builds, otherwise ask the GM
    Rare - Given by the GM when appropriate for the story, possibly the culmination of a PC story

    The thought here was

    Common - 100% player agency
    Uncommon - 50% player/50% GM agency
    Rare - 100% GM agency

    There are clearly a few of you who do not feel this system is necessary and that is great! You have clearly identified the problem and have taken steps to fix it in your games (or not if you are OK with open access). While that works for you, it has been identified as a huge problem for many GMs and something that a simple tool like this might do wonders to help fix. If you don't need it, just like any other rule in the game, you can ignore it, but this is one that I feel very strongly about including the in game.


    Fuzzypaws wrote:
    The problem for me is that while any individual category here is a perfectly fine reason for a GM to be uncomfortable with options in that category, very few GMs and groups are likely to be uncomfortable with the entire list.

    And when asked, GMs can take a look and evaluate. Individual GMs may have different processes. Some will say yes unless there is a reason to ban, some will say no unless they know it won't cause a problem. It's okay to support different playstyles.

    Quote:
    It also, again, feeds those GMs who would just blanket ban everything without actually wanting to check a bunch of stuff individually.

    That would probably result in a healthier game than blanket allowing all the uncommon stuff.


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    My interpretation was-

    Common: you can just take it.
    Uncommon: you can just take it if you take the thing that grants you access, otherwise ask the GM.
    Rare: don't expect to ever get anything on this list, but you might be able to float an idea past the GM.

    Like I'm going to use the "ask about uncommon stuff" as a replacement for my "preclear your characters" system but there's no reason to ask about, say, ancestral weapons you have the feat for.


    Jason Bulmahn wrote:
    Rysky wrote:

    Common - Available unless told otherwise

    Uncommon - Ask the GM

    Rare - Ask the GM so they can work it into the story later :3

    Close to what we intended, but I do want to add a caveat or two...

    Common - Available unless told otherwise
    Uncommon - Available to specific builds, otherwise ask the GM
    Rare - Given by the GM when appropriate for the story, possibly the culmination of a PC story

    The thought here was

    Common - 100% player agency
    Uncommon - 50% player/50% GM agency
    Rare - 100% GM agency

    There are clearly a few of you who do not feel this system is necessary and that is great! You have clearly identified the problem and have taken steps to fix it in your games (or not if you are OK with open access). While that works for you, it has been identified as a huge problem for many GMs and something that a simple tool like this might do wonders to help fix. If you don't need it, just like any other rule in the game, you can ignore it, but this is one that I feel very strongly about including the in game.

    I do think that having abilities that only exist as powers for specific builds rated as uncommon adds confusion. Anyone who gets them gets them freely, anyone else doesn't get them at all. Things like Uncommon spells as bloodline spells make sense: If you've got the right bloodline you get the spell, otherwise you have to ask.

    But in cases where it's just a class ability that isn't even an option otherwise it doesn't make any sense. No one else could just pick it up even if it was common.


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    Jason Bulmahn wrote:
    Rysky wrote:

    Common - Available unless told otherwise

    Uncommon - Ask the GM

    Rare - Ask the GM so they can work it into the story later :3

    Close to what we intended, but I do want to add a caveat or two...

    Common - Available unless told otherwise
    Uncommon - Available to specific builds, otherwise ask the GM
    Rare - Given by the GM when appropriate for the story, possibly the culmination of a PC story

    The thought here was

    Common - 100% player agency
    Uncommon - 50% player/50% GM agency
    Rare - 100% GM agency

    There are clearly a few of you who do not feel this system is necessary and that is great! You have clearly identified the problem and have taken steps to fix it in your games (or not if you are OK with open access). While that works for you, it has been identified as a huge problem for many GMs and something that a simple tool like this might do wonders to help fix. If you don't need it, just like any other rule in the game, you can ignore it, but this is one that I feel very strongly about including the in game.

    I would still request that each uncommon option have a subheading listing why it is uncommon. It will make a huge difference to many people if they can see whether something is listed as uncommon because it circumvents obstacles, vs if it involves a lot of bookkeeping, vs if it is identified as a potential source of personal friction, vs if there are no actual perceived issues but you just wanted to make access a reward for going with certain build options.


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    Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

    My personal preference for rarity (and what I'll probably be using as my personal rarity list regardless) is that it's used for those setting-specific niche spells like blood money, stuff that a PC couldn't reasonably be expected to wake up and just know, or stuff that's restricted to a particular deity/tradition/etc. There, I think it'll be quite helpful. Less convinced about the other seeming uses of it.

    Idk, things like teleport were so common in previous adventures (to the point that a lot of high-level adventures will say things like "nothing much happens on the way to X, your PCs will probably have a way to teleport there at this point, but otherwise it takes X days/weeks") that it's strange to me to have them suddenly uncommon. But that's more a quibble with what spells are considered uncommon rather than the system itself, which I do like. I'd just rather it have one meaning rather than several.


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    thejeff wrote:

    I do think that having abilities that only exist as powers for specific builds rated as uncommon adds confusion. Anyone who gets them gets them freely, anyone else doesn't get them at all. Things like Uncommon spells as bloodline spells make sense: If you've got the right bloodline you get the spell, otherwise you have to ask.

    But in cases where it's just a class ability that isn't even an option otherwise it doesn't make any sense. No one else could just pick it up even if it was common.

    I agree with you here, I would like it much better if there was an "Exclusive" Rarity that denotes something that can ONLY be picked by having a certain Class/Race/Feat/etc. If Uncommon means what Jason said, having class-exclusive things that can't be acquired otherwise as Uncommon doesn't... really make much sense IMO.

    Paizo Employee Director of Game Design

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    Folks, its clear to me that the system could use a bit more definition, especially when it comes to uncommon. I will take this back to the team and see what we cook up.

    And as a reminder folks, using threads to point to other threads of yours is bad form. Please give it a rest.


    Jason Bulmahn wrote:
    Folks, its clear to me that the system could use a bit more definition, especially when it comes to uncommon. I will take this back to the team and see what we cook up.

    Thank you. :)


    Jason Bulmahn wrote:
    Folks, its clear to me that the system could use a bit more definition, especially when it comes to uncommon. I will take this back to the team and see what we cook up.

    It seems like this is a good place to use icons since from a purely game mechanical perspective it's not necessary to know why something is uncommon, but people will nonetheless be curious.

    So you could have icons for: Region/Culture Specific, Secret/Obscure, Organization Specific, Dangerous/Closely-Guarded, etc.


    Jason Bulmahn wrote:

    Common - 100% player agency
    Uncommon - 50% player/50% GM agency
    Rare - 100% GM agency

    Yes! I feel that to most folk, this is what it came off as, which is perfect

    Jason Bulmahn wrote:

    While that works for you, it has been identified as a huge problem for many GMs and something that a simple tool like this might do wonders to help fix. If you don't need it, just like any other rule in the game, you can ignore it, but this is one that I feel very strongly about including the in game.

    I will take this back to the team and see what we cook up.

    Thank you! I'm glad to see this. I understand (maybe?) why some are very vocally against it but this feels very much like a non-issue, but your extended consideration to such things is always appreciated


    PossibleCabbage wrote:
    Jason Bulmahn wrote:
    Folks, its clear to me that the system could use a bit more definition, especially when it comes to uncommon. I will take this back to the team and see what we cook up.

    It seems like this is a good place to use icons since from a purely game mechanical perspective it's not necessary to know why something is uncommon, but people will nonetheless be curious.

    So you could have icons for: Region/Culture Specific, Secret/Obscure, Organization Specific, Dangerous/Closely-Guarded, etc.

    Some really useful flags would be ones that made scope clear. Planar traveler, world traveler, interstellar traveler, occult, and so on are pretty big markers. Icons could work well enough, but there's typically some room left in the traits section for something more specific. It would be a passable compromise though.

    I'm not sure what the trait name for occult things would be now that occult is a spell list. Esoteric?


    Jason Bulmahn wrote:
    Rysky wrote:

    Common - Available unless told otherwise

    Uncommon - Ask the GM

    Rare - Ask the GM so they can work it into the story later :3

    Close to what we intended, but I do want to add a caveat or two...

    Common - Available unless told otherwise
    Uncommon - Available to specific builds, otherwise ask the GM
    Rare - Given by the GM when appropriate for the story, possibly the culmination of a PC story

    The thought here was

    Common - 100% player agency
    Uncommon - 50% player/50% GM agency
    Rare - 100% GM agency

    There are clearly a few of you who do not feel this system is necessary and that is great! You have clearly identified the problem and have taken steps to fix it in your games (or not if you are OK with open access). While that works for you, it has been identified as a huge problem for many GMs and something that a simple tool like this might do wonders to help fix. If you don't need it, just like any other rule in the game, you can ignore it, but this is one that I feel very strongly about including the in game.

    How does this figure into items like the ring of wizardry? As far as I know, there are no class features that grant this item but it is also an item that essentially every arcane caster will want to have when available.

    It seemed to me like the "uncommon" tag was there to make players work harder to get a more powerful item. Did I misread the situation there?

    Paizo Employee Director of Game Design

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    Excaliburproxy wrote:

    How does this figure into items like the ring of wizardry? As far as I know, there are no class features that grant this item but it is also an item that essentially every arcane caster will want to have when available.

    It seemed to me like the "uncommon" tag was there to make players work harder to get a more powerful item. Did I misread the situation there?

    I think there might be an issue floating around in how we used it internally that was not consistent. In this case, it seems to me that we used it in some places as a proxy for "you cannot buy this" or "you cannot just decide to learn this" in the case of some spells and items due to their impact on the game play (not that they are necessarily over powerful, just that they distort the play environment). That is a real judgement call on our part that could use a more concrete set of guidelines for us to use.

    Again, this is a thing on our large task list to tackle before the game is done. We will take another look at it, find a way to get it to be a clearer and more consistent.


    Tridus wrote:
    It's much, much easier for a DM to allow something a player finds and asks for than it is to come up with a list of everything that needs to be restricted.

    Not at all, it's much easier to just give out a restricted and/or banned list at Session 0, rather than wait for a player to approach you with some request, which you might deny, thus disappointing the player, and making you feel bad for denying them (being the mean DM that won't let the player use something).


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    Pathfinder Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber
    Jason Bulmahn wrote:

    I think there might be an issue floating around in how we used it internally that was not consistent. In this case, it seems to me that we used it in some places as a proxy for "you cannot buy this" or "you cannot just decide to learn this" in the case of some spells and items due to their impact on the game play (not that they are necessarily over powerful, just that they distort the play environment). That is a real judgement call on our part that could use a more concrete set of guidelines for us to use.

    Again, this is a thing on our large task list to tackle before the game is done. We will take another look at it, find a way to get it to be a clearer and more consistent.

    I do not think "too mechanically powerful" or "too narratively powerful" (after all, many noncombat utility spells are narrative power) should ever figure into rarity assignments.

    If something is too strong for its level, then its level should be increased.

    I strongly, strongly worry that later down the line, writers for Pathfinder 2e supplements will be less diligent about properly balancing uncommon and rare options under the logic of, "Eh, if it causes game balance problems, then it is the GM's fault for allowing it anyway." That is the sort of logic that gets bandied about with, for example, Drop Dead Studios's advanced talents for Spheres of Power, and it does not make sense there either.

    Similarly, I do not want to see GMs banning uncommon/rare items on principle under the assumption that the options are too strong for their level.

    It would be a great help if the books plainly and explicitly stated that rarity assignments have nothing at all do to with how strong a given option is.


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    I feel like it makes diagetic sense for things which are too narratively or mechanically powerful to be rare.

    Since if something can lay waste to armies or countermand the best security money can buy, then people with armies or who are buying security are going to have it in their vested interest to limit the number of people who have access to it. Like Anti-Magic Field being "something no wizard wants to teach another wizard" makes complete sense.


    PossibleCabbage wrote:

    I feel like it makes diagetic sense for things which are too narratively or mechanically powerful to be rare.

    Since if something can lay waste to armies or countermand the best security money can buy, then people with armies or who are buying security are going to have it in their vested interest to limit the number of people who have access to it. Like Anti-Magic Field being "something no wizard wants to teach another wizard" makes complete sense.

    I can see that, it also seems very campaign world dependant. Common in one setting, maybe rare, or nonexistent, in another.


    Vic Ferrari wrote:
    PossibleCabbage wrote:

    I feel like it makes diagetic sense for things which are too narratively or mechanically powerful to be rare.

    Since if something can lay waste to armies or countermand the best security money can buy, then people with armies or who are buying security are going to have it in their vested interest to limit the number of people who have access to it. Like Anti-Magic Field being "something no wizard wants to teach another wizard" makes complete sense.

    I can see that, it also seems very campaign world dependant. Common in one setting, maybe rare, or nonexistent, in another.

    Sure, but "I'm going to tweak rarities for my own setting needs" is more or less a given. Like on Golarion it's pretty much canonical that guns are rare (or uncommon) because Alkenstar notably has very tight security and doesn't want their secrets getting out, not that people all throughout the world would be incapable of making gunpowder and tubes.

    But Pathfinder 1e already had rules for "guns everywhere" or "guns nowhere" that people could apply to their own settings based on what they wanted, so it'll be much the same with other rarity settings in PF2.

    Silver Crusade

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    Vic Ferrari wrote:
    Tridus wrote:
    It's much, much easier for a DM to allow something a player finds and asks for than it is to come up with a list of everything that needs to be restricted.
    Not at all, it's much easier to just give out a restricted and/or banned list at Session 0, rather than wait for a player to approach you with some request, which you might deny, thus disappointing the player, and making you feel bad for denying them (being the mean DM that won't let the player use something).

    When that list possibly grows by a dozen to 30 things every single month? Not really.

    Also I never feel bad for telling my players no. But also my players don’t take it as an attack when I do.


    Rysky wrote:
    Vic Ferrari wrote:
    Tridus wrote:
    It's much, much easier for a DM to allow something a player finds and asks for than it is to come up with a list of everything that needs to be restricted.
    Not at all, it's much easier to just give out a restricted and/or banned list at Session 0, rather than wait for a player to approach you with some request, which you might deny, thus disappointing the player, and making you feel bad for denying them (being the mean DM that won't let the player use something).
    When that list possibly grows by a dozen to 30 things every single month? Not really.

    That speaks to another problem.

    But, like you, I have no problem saying "No", for campaign setting integrity and such, and I have never had a player balk, but some seem to have very different experiences.

    Silver Crusade

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    Vic Ferrari wrote:
    Rysky wrote:
    Vic Ferrari wrote:
    Tridus wrote:
    It's much, much easier for a DM to allow something a player finds and asks for than it is to come up with a list of everything that needs to be restricted.
    Not at all, it's much easier to just give out a restricted and/or banned list at Session 0, rather than wait for a player to approach you with some request, which you might deny, thus disappointing the player, and making you feel bad for denying them (being the mean DM that won't let the player use something).
    When that list possibly grows by a dozen to 30 things every single month? Not really.

    That speaks to another problem.

    But, like you, I have no problem saying "No", for campaign setting integrity and such, and I have never had a player balk, but some seem to have very different experiences.

    A constant release schedule may be a problem to some but it’s certainly not one to me, even more so with the Rarity system now.


    Rysky wrote:
    Vic Ferrari wrote:
    Rysky wrote:
    Vic Ferrari wrote:
    Tridus wrote:
    It's much, much easier for a DM to allow something a player finds and asks for than it is to come up with a list of everything that needs to be restricted.
    Not at all, it's much easier to just give out a restricted and/or banned list at Session 0, rather than wait for a player to approach you with some request, which you might deny, thus disappointing the player, and making you feel bad for denying them (being the mean DM that won't let the player use something).
    When that list possibly grows by a dozen to 30 things every single month? Not really.

    That speaks to another problem.

    But, like you, I have no problem saying "No", for campaign setting integrity and such, and I have never had a player balk, but some seem to have very different experiences.

    A constant release schedule may be a problem to some but it’s certainly not one to me, even more so with the Rarity system now.

    Not a problem, per se, I just prefer a more reserved release of new crunch options, otherwise it gets to a point where I feel there is no frame of reference. Probably why I like capped ability scores.

    I started DMing a 3rd Ed Planescape campaign back in 2005 (now in hiatus, much to my chagrin), where pretty much everything, crunch-option-wise, was available. So, I just feel I have been there and done that.

    Maybe one goes through RPG phases, liking lighter or heavier systems, or fewer, macro-options, or lots of micro-options.


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    Pathfinder Adventure, Adventure Path, Rulebook Subscriber

    I think a tag for rarity would be a tremendous addition. It would offer at least some insight as to what makes something more difficult to attain and add some extra lore for the DM to consider.

    That said, I still like the system. When it comes to character features (like spells), it adds Roleplay in my campaigns. Unlike some others, I don't weild a BAN hammer, not do I like simply allowing everything just because "it's in print!" What the rarity allows for me is instant food-for-thought when it comes to a particular feature (should I allow it? how should I allow it? what interesting storeline can be generated for attaining it?).

    To me, that's interesting and rich with narrative possibilities!

    I suppose it's just easier on some DMs to simply go with the "if you find it in a published book, I'll allow it" approach, but I have never been that way. To be honest, it's one of the reasons PF1 is a hassle for me to DM - I am constantly having to sit with players during character creation and advancement going over where they got the material and whether or not it's suitable for my campaign.

    As for magic items...whelp...here I will fall into the old curmudgeon category. I want/need rarity to create wonder with magic items and will probably error towards even less ability that the PF2 base indicates.

    Poisons and harmfuls generally become black-market items where they are considered common by designation often, for example.

    Other magic items are more driven by what the region/city/area offers by way of a market for magic. There just isn't that much demand for Enchantments 'R Us in every town across Golarion in my opinion.

    But I have always taken the approach that finding and attaining magic should be, well, "magical." It should come with some excitement and joy, rather than expectation. Just my style, though.

    And I'll be honest, the more modern/recent trend towards players building characters out with specific magic items as part of their character development, and thus expected (demanded sometimes) is not to my liking.

    I do not mind in the least some grand macro view on character development - I consider that similar to a daydreaming about becoming an X. However, my campaigns generally encourage more organic growth of a character as they discover the world. I have seen players abandon their original plans as they discover or encounter something unexpected or interesting, and that's terrific!

    It's also why my players often think about how their characters can be innovators and creators, questing for knowledge and skills that allow them to develop or make discoveries for themselves.

    Again, though, that's not for everyone and I am sure some people would hate playing in my campaigns because I am simply not a "Yes" DM (I'd adhere more to the "Yes, but.." approach).


    Pathfinder Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber
    PossibleCabbage wrote:
    I feel like it makes diagetic sense for things which are too narratively or mechanically powerful to be rare.

    Why, then, are the options not simply higher-level?

    Look at the rarity system for monsters. Mu spores are incredibly rare, but they are still common-tagged, because they are common by the standards of 21st-level creatures.


    Colette Brunel wrote:

    I do not see the rhyme or reason behind 2e's rarity system. For reference, this is how it works:

    Quote:

    The majority of such elements are commonly found within the world, which means that anyone can buy them, in the case of items, or access them, in the case of feats, without any trouble. The common rarity, marked in black, is the default.

    The uncommon rarity indicates an element available only to those who have been initiated into a special kind of training, grow up in a certain culture, or come from a particular part of the world. A character can’t take these options by default. Specific choices, such as class features or backgrounds, might give access to certain uncommon elements. The GM can grant any character access to uncommon options if she so chooses. The level (or type of element for those without levels) is marked in red.

    Elements that are rare are practically unknown or impossible to find in the game world. These elements appear in the game only if the GM chooses to include them. Rare elements are marked in orange.

    The unique rarity indicates an element that is one of a kind. This means that there’s only one in the game’s world. Artifacts, for example, are often unique. Unique elements are marked in blue (one appears in Pathfinder Playtest Adventure: Doomsday Dawn).

    There are a few legitimately decent things I can see this rarity system being useful for:

    • Enforcing an aesthetic. The unwritten rule behind some rarity assignments is that Pathfinder is supposed to be western fantasy, hence why katanas, kamas, kukris, nunchakus, and the like are uncommon. Although this should be spelled out more clearly, with explicit notes about how certain weapons change in rarity in different regions of the setting, this is a sensible use of rarity. It means that anyone who wants their character to wield a katana or a kukri has to ask their GM about it.

    • Ancestry-specific weapons. I personally think that ancestries should have automatic access (though not necessarily...

    I think Shadowrun did it best. Gear had rarity levels, but you could use skills to find them, make contacts (with a Fixer contact having skills and connections specifically tied to finding things) who would search for you, etc.

    Make it part of the system, where if something is rare, you use your diplomacy/Intimidation/Investigation/CraftSkill/Feat, based upon the size of the city, it actually becomes easier to find rarer/uncommon items in larger cities than in smaller towns (larger city has more trade, more people, more rumors, where as the local farm town probably doesn't have a clue where to find orichalcum). Right now, this just seems like a great opportunity for mismatch between someone who studied all the cool stuff available and building a char around it, only to have a GM say, nah, because they're intemidated with, "How do I handle teleportation?!".


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    Pathfinder Adventure, Adventure Path, Rulebook Subscriber
    Kylian Winters wrote:
    Right now, this just seems like a great opportunity for mismatch between someone who studied all the cool stuff available and building a char around it, only to have a GM say, nah, because they're intemidated with, "How do I handle teleportation?!".

    This is why GMing is hard.

    At least I know I have the respect of my players so that if I say "yes, but..." that indicates some extra effort has to be made to attain something they want, they trust I am doing so for good reason while trying to be fair to their desires for their character.

    Personally, if Teleportation was commonplace in my campaign, I'd figure anti-teleportation measures would develop pretty quickly to counteract its use. That wouldn't be because I was intimidated (or lazy or vindictive or whatever), it would just seem a necessity. It is why I actually do prefer a rarity system because if players attain something of that nature, it *will* feel significant and will make their characters unique and more noteworthy because if it.


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    Vic Ferrari wrote:
    Tridus wrote:
    It's much, much easier for a DM to allow something a player finds and asks for than it is to come up with a list of everything that needs to be restricted.
    Not at all, it's much easier to just give out a restricted and/or banned list at Session 0, rather than wait for a player to approach you with some request, which you might deny, thus disappointing the player, and making you feel bad for denying them (being the mean DM that won't let the player use something).

    No, it's really not. I don't have time to both run a game and keep up with reading everything that comes out to determine what should and shouldn't be allowed in. Just try that with 1e now, it would take an absurd amount of time.

    It's always easier to start with a list that you can ease up on than it is to create a list out of nothing when there's thousands of things to go through, many of which are in old or obscure sources I don't even have.


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    Jason Bulmahn wrote:


    Close to what we intended, but I do want to add a caveat or two...

    Common - Available unless told otherwise
    Uncommon - Available to specific builds, otherwise ask the GM
    Rare - Given by the GM when appropriate for the story, possibly the culmination of a PC story

    The thought here was

    Common - 100% player agency
    Uncommon - 50% player/50% GM agency
    Rare - 100% GM agency

    This is pretty much exactly what I want, in that I've got something to work with and a lot of the problematic stuff like Blood Money will automatically be handled for me unless I want to include it.

    Silver Crusade

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    Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

    Of course, no amount of rarity system solves the issues with combos. eversmoking bottle and goz mask are fine on their own, but mixed with a good Slayer build they're devastating.


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    Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber; Pathfinder Pathfinder Accessories, Starfinder Maps, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber
    Tridus wrote:
    Vic Ferrari wrote:
    Tridus wrote:
    It's much, much easier for a DM to allow something a player finds and asks for than it is to come up with a list of everything that needs to be restricted.
    Not at all, it's much easier to just give out a restricted and/or banned list at Session 0, rather than wait for a player to approach you with some request, which you might deny, thus disappointing the player, and making you feel bad for denying them (being the mean DM that won't let the player use something).

    No, it's really not. I don't have time to both run a game and keep up with reading everything that comes out to determine what should and shouldn't be allowed in. Just try that with 1e now, it would take an absurd amount of time.

    It's always easier to start with a list that you can ease up on than it is to create a list out of nothing when there's thousands of things to go through, many of which are in old or obscure sources I don't even have.

    Not to mention that uncommon and rare items are exactly such a list of restricted items already that a GM can notify players of at session 0. If a GM dislikes the default rarity of something they can also use session 0 to let their players know this.


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    thejeff wrote:

    I do think that having abilities that only exist as powers for specific builds rated as uncommon adds confusion. Anyone who gets them gets them freely, anyone else doesn't get them at all. Things like Uncommon spells as bloodline spells make sense: If you've got the right bloodline you get the spell, otherwise you have to ask.

    But in cases where it's just a class ability that isn't even an option otherwise it doesn't make any sense. No one else could just pick it up even if it was common.

    Part of the problem is that powers are spells. Making them all uncommon is thus the reminder that you need certain builds to get them. But that also hearkens back to the problem Fuzzypaws identified, that Uncommon means too many things. In the case of powers, at least, it means "We want these to act mechanically as spells, but we don't want people to just be able to take them as normal spells"


    Colette Brunel wrote:
    PossibleCabbage wrote:
    I feel like it makes diagetic sense for things which are too narratively or mechanically powerful to be rare.

    Why, then, are the options not simply higher-level?

    Look at the rarity system for monsters. Mu spores are incredibly rare, but they are still common-tagged, because they are common by the standards of 21st-level creatures.

    Well, since monster distribution is solely the purview of the GM, the rarity designation in the bestiary pretty much functions only to adjust the DC of identification checks. So the mu spore being common is less "there are more mu spores relative to other 21st level critters" and more "anybody fighting level 21 monsters vocationally will probably have heard of a mu spore before."

    But things can still be rare in setting for diagetic reasons and not need to be a higher level. Anti-Magic Field, for example, is an appropriate level arcane spell, it's just one that no Wizard who knows it wants it to get out lest it be turned around on them. Guns are uncommon not because they need to be higher level, but because only very few people make them and they are stingy with their wares and secrets. Pretty much all the criminals in the world would be invested in stopping the dissemination of a spell which identifies the perpetrator of a targeted crime, etc.


    Tridus wrote:
    Vic Ferrari wrote:
    Tridus wrote:
    It's much, much easier for a DM to allow something a player finds and asks for than it is to come up with a list of everything that needs to be restricted.
    Not at all, it's much easier to just give out a restricted and/or banned list at Session 0, rather than wait for a player to approach you with some request, which you might deny, thus disappointing the player, and making you feel bad for denying them (being the mean DM that won't let the player use something).
    No, it's really not.

    Yes, it really is.

    No problem to have a list of stuff that does not suit the campaign, rather than vet every single request someone has (you still might get them, regardless. Nice to have a roadmap).


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    Vic Ferrari wrote:
    Tridus wrote:
    Vic Ferrari wrote:
    Tridus wrote:
    It's much, much easier for a DM to allow something a player finds and asks for than it is to come up with a list of everything that needs to be restricted.
    Not at all, it's much easier to just give out a restricted and/or banned list at Session 0, rather than wait for a player to approach you with some request, which you might deny, thus disappointing the player, and making you feel bad for denying them (being the mean DM that won't let the player use something).
    No, it's really not.

    Yes, it really is.

    No problem to have a list of stuff that does not suit the campaign, rather than vet every single request someone has (you still might get them, regardless. Nice to have a roadmap).

    That's a ridiculously static campaign. In the system you propose, a player can't look at recent releases for build options until the GM takes the time to review every single option. That's way more work for the GM.


    Gorbacz wrote:
    Of course, no amount of rarity system solves the issues with combos. eversmoking bottle and goz mask are fine on their own, but mixed with a good Slayer build they're devastating.

    This is true, and again, speaks to another problem.


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    Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
    Vic Ferrari wrote:
    Tridus wrote:
    Vic Ferrari wrote:
    Tridus wrote:
    It's much, much easier for a DM to allow something a player finds and asks for than it is to come up with a list of everything that needs to be restricted.
    Not at all, it's much easier to just give out a restricted and/or banned list at Session 0, rather than wait for a player to approach you with some request, which you might deny, thus disappointing the player, and making you feel bad for denying them (being the mean DM that won't let the player use something).
    No, it's really not.

    Yes, it really is.

    No problem to have a list of stuff that does not suit the campaign, rather than vet every single request someone has (you still might get them, regardless. Nice to have a roadmap).

    I just disagree. How many uncommon things is one player going to request? Not even close to as many things that a DM will need to vet and decide to restrict in their games. I think that's a very weird hill to die on Vic. There's no way that restrict spells and items manually and make up a list is easier than just having players come to you if they want access to an uncommon item or spell.


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    GM OfAnything wrote:
    Vic Ferrari wrote:
    Tridus wrote:
    Vic Ferrari wrote:
    Tridus wrote:
    It's much, much easier for a DM to allow something a player finds and asks for than it is to come up with a list of everything that needs to be restricted.
    Not at all, it's much easier to just give out a restricted and/or banned list at Session 0, rather than wait for a player to approach you with some request, which you might deny, thus disappointing the player, and making you feel bad for denying them (being the mean DM that won't let the player use something).
    No, it's really not.

    Yes, it really is.

    No problem to have a list of stuff that does not suit the campaign, rather than vet every single request someone has (you still might get them, regardless. Nice to have a roadmap).

    That's a ridiculously static campaign. In the system you propose, a player can't look at recent releases for build options until the GM takes the time to review every single option. That's way more work for the GM.

    Yikes, again that speaks to other problems, and seems slightly hysterical. Also, that is not the way things break down, IME, players do not constantly come at you requesting things you have never heard of; if so, something is wrong, on several levels.


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    Dire Ursus wrote:
    How many uncommon things is one player going to request? Not even close to as many things that a DM will need to vet and decide to restrict in their games.

    This is true, which is why a built in rarity system is nice, we don't have to make that list if we don't want.

    And if you don't like the list in the book, ignore it and tell your players to run everything by you first.

    But if you're super dedicated and want a custom list from the start, more power to ya.


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    Vic Ferrari wrote:
    Also, that is not the way things break down, IME, players do not constantly come at you requesting things you have never heard of; if so, something is wrong, on several levels.

    Rarity is just a default restricted list like the one you suggest handing out at session 0. With the added benefit of automatically updating with each new release.

    Paizo can do the bulk of the work for thousands of GMs, leaving them to tweak to their settings/games and with more time to develop their settings/campaigns.


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    DudeWheresMyPath wrote:
    But if you're super dedicated and want a custom list from the start, more power to ya.

    It feels like the easiest way to do a custom rarity list is just to start with the rarities in the book and change things to be like you want them. So you can just say "Rarities as per the book, except for: Katanas are common, teleport is rare, raise dead is rare, etc."


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    Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
    ShadeRaven wrote:
    Personally, if Teleportation was commonplace in my campaign, I'd figure anti-teleportation measures would develop pretty quickly to counteract its use. That wouldn't be because I was intimidated (or lazy or vindictive or whatever), it would just seem a necessity. It is why I actually do prefer a rarity system because if players attain something of that nature, it *will* feel significant and will make their characters unique and more noteworthy because if it.

    While I don't disagree, I feel like "common options for PCs to take" and "common for the average person in the setting to have access to" are (or can be, at least) different definitions.

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