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


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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 proficiency) with their ancestry's weapons, but I can see Paizo's logic here. Dwarves, elves, gnomes, goblins, and orcs are supposed to be rarer than humans, so their quirky racial weapons are uncommon as well. If a player wants their character to have an unusual weapon from another ancestry, they need to ask their GM.

• Setting-specific organizations. At the moment, the only non-common feat in the entire game is Gray Maiden Dedication, and that is certainly sensible. Likewise, wayfinders are uncommon, because they are tied to the Pathfinder Society. This means that if a player wants to take any material tied to a setting-specific organization, then the player must ask their GM for permission, which is a good policy.

• Scarcity for the sake of worldbuilding. Sometimes, for worldbuilding purposes, a type of item needs to be scarce and highly sought-after. Aeon stones are a good example of this. It makes sense that a player should have to ask their GM for permission to select something whose in-universe scarcity is a worldbuilding conceit.

• Alignment-related spells. Some GMs might not want to deal with alignment-related spells like detect alignment and protection. It seems sensible that these would be in the territory of GM-permission only.

• Utility spells that some GMs would rather not deal with. There exist utility-oriented spells that some GMs are perfectly fine at handling, while other GMs struggle with them. Antimagic field (the only rare spell in the game), discern location, locate, mind reading, passwall, raise dead, and teleport are some examples. I can understand why Paizo would like for players to ask their GMs if they can take such spells; some GMs do not think they can accommodate these magics.

All of the above are well and dandy, but the problem is that the game is chock full of completely baffling rarity assignments. For example:
All of the game's powers, except for faerie dust, heal animal, and touch of obedience, are uncommon. Why? What purpose does this serve? All it does is make the class features and class feats that grant powers more confusing.
Shield-users obviously want a sturdy shield. The 2nd-, 4th-, 5th-, 7th-, 9th-, and 17th-level versions are common, but the 10th-, 12th-, and 18th-level versions are uncommon simply because they are flavored as being made of adamantine. Why? This is fairly arbitrary and screws over shield-users at some levels.
Invisibility is a common spell, but an invisibility potion is uncommon for some reason.
A swift block cabochon is uncommon despite it being a fairly standard trinket that would be useful for shield-users.
Divine prayer beads are an uncommon item even though they are a normal healing item.
Shadow blast is an uncommon spell, but it is just a damaging blast.
All discern lies does is grant a conditional bonus to checks to... discern lies, yet that makes it warrant uncommon rarity?
The entire power word line is uncommon even though it is mostly used to take mooks out of the picture, though I suppose power word blind is stronger than the others.

These are just a few of the many, many examples of puzzling rarity assignments all over Pathfinder 2e. I think that Paizo should review each uncommon and rare option in the playtest rulebook and analyze just why it deserves to be uncommon or rare. If there is no good answer, then it should be common instead.

On that note, Unconventional Weaponry is also an absolutely bizarre and baffling ancestry feat; the only time it is ever relevant is if a player's GM says, "Nuh uh, you cannot have that uncommon weapon," and but the player really wants the weapon, come hell or high metaphorical water.


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I'm honestly not sure what "A power granted by a class feat is uncommon or rare" even means. Like Quivering Palm is a level 16 Monk Feat, and any Monk with Ki Strike can select it at that level. But the power it grants, also called Quivering Palm, is marked as uncommon.

Is this just to signpost to the GM that "don't use this against the PCs very often"? Should class feats have rarity to represent "you have to find someone to teach this to you" or similar?

Exo-Guardians

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Rarity was put in place to limit some of the stronger options from becoming auto takes, by not allowing them to be taken, it's most often seen with spells, namely that uncommon or rare spells won't be readily available to wizards when they level up, they'll have to work for it, either getting it as a quest reward or finding someone to sell it to them, possibly at a high cost.

It's a control mechanism in place specifically to limit some of the biggest offending spells, items, and feats from PF1, or that they suspect are powerful in PF2, to the point that players shouldn't be able to use them pretty much at will.


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MER-c wrote:

Rarity was put in place to limit some of the stronger options from becoming auto takes, by not allowing them to be taken, it's most often seen with spells, namely that uncommon or rare spells won't be readily available to wizards when they level up, they'll have to work for it, either getting it as a quest reward or finding someone to sell it to them, possibly at a high cost.

It's a control mechanism in place specifically to limit some of the biggest offending spells, items, and feats from PF1, or that they suspect are powerful in PF2, to the point that players shouldn't be able to use them pretty much at will.

Not one that I like. And with a lot of weird choices.

I suspect some groups will be happy with it - a lot of more sandboxy GMs love putting in quests to get specific stuff the PCs want. I generally prefer more plot based motivation and in my games going off hunting down stuff like that becomes a distraction from what we're actually interested in. Probably just handwave most of it.


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thejeff wrote:
MER-c wrote:

Rarity was put in place to limit some of the stronger options from becoming auto takes, by not allowing them to be taken, it's most often seen with spells, namely that uncommon or rare spells won't be readily available to wizards when they level up, they'll have to work for it, either getting it as a quest reward or finding someone to sell it to them, possibly at a high cost.

It's a control mechanism in place specifically to limit some of the biggest offending spells, items, and feats from PF1, or that they suspect are powerful in PF2, to the point that players shouldn't be able to use them pretty much at will.

Not one that I like. And with a lot of weird choices.

I suspect some groups will be happy with it - a lot of more sandboxy GMs love putting in quests to get specific stuff the PCs want. I generally prefer more plot based motivation and in my games going off hunting down stuff like that becomes a distraction from what we're actually interested in. Probably just handwave most of it.

Same with me. But i like the choice of removing something rare that i don't like and having a reason for it. Instead of... "This item is overpowered so i don't want it." "But it exists so i can take it..." "Well it's uncommon. So nah, you didn't find it."


Colette Brunel wrote:

• Ancestry-specific weapons. I personally think that ancestries should have automatic access (though not necessarily proficiency) with their ancestry's weapons, but I can see Paizo's logic here. Dwarves, elves, gnomes, goblins, and orcs are supposed to be rarer than humans, so their quirky racial weapons are uncommon as well. If a player wants their character to have an unusual weapon from another ancestry, they need to ask their GM.

I've said it before, and I'll say it again. Characters should not be granted individual access to items. Especially with item rarity, it should be determined solely at the setting level, including GMs being given the authority to declare common items uncommon.

Two examples:


  • Elven curve blades are probably common for everyone in Kyonin and uncommon for everyone in the Five Kings Mountains. You shouldn't suddenly gain access to some secret elven black market in the Five Kings Mountains, just because you took a feat.
  • The point of katanas being uncommon and longswords being common is that the CRB is written with respect to the Standard Pseudo-Western-Medieval-European Fantasy Setting the Inner Sea Region. And the point of being able to declare katanas common is that you might want to set a game in Fantasy Japan Minkai. So why can't I say longswords are similarly uncommon there?


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MER-c wrote:
Rarity was put in place to limit some of the stronger options from becoming auto takes, by not allowing them to be taken, it's most often seen with spells, namely that uncommon or rare spells won't be readily available to wizards when they level up, they'll have to work for it, either getting it as a quest reward or finding someone to sell it to them, possibly at a high cost.

If the spells are too strong for their level, then maybe they should just be higher-level common spells. I do not see a need to futz around with rarities to try to balance spells' power levels.


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I feel like spell rarity is a good thing since it lets you give away a spell as loot and have this be a genuinely exciting thing.

Like PF1 infamously tried to do this with Blood Money, which per effect is a low level spell, but is incredibly unreasonable in the hands of clever players. In the context of the AP, it was fine since there were only 2 copies of the spell in existence (one in a vault and one in an artifact) so it didn't get silly. Separate from that context there was nothing stopping players from saying "well, new spells just pop into my head at level up so there's nothing stopping me from taking any spell at the appropriate level."

But rarity, as something codified into the system says "no, you can't take blood money even though it exists". Sometimes you want to give the PCs powerful toys without having to make those things common in the setting. Plus what's A-OK in one game might cause a serious problem in a different one with the same group (e.g. "create food and water" style spells are a problem in a survival oriented game.)


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So what exactly makes a spell like shadow blast or power word kill so special that they warrant an uncommon rarity?

And what is the martial equivalent of these rarity-based rewards that exist outside of the prescribed treasure tables?


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It is easier for a gamemaster to give things to players than it is to take them away.


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Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Starfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

A point to be aware of is that if a spell is powerful, making it rare makes it STRONGER. NPCs shouldn't generally prepare for something that they aren't familiar with. For example (not a PF2 example), if invisibility is common, people will have anti-invisibility measures--locked doors, bells, guard dogs, see invisible spells, etc. If it is very rare, they won't prepare for it and the invisibility caster will romp.

This is why games with fantasy spellcasters in the modern setting tend to turn into mage-romps. No one has countermeasures or even thinks of their primary tactics, so they're unopposed in everything.

Similarly, if spells that do damage type X are overpowered, making them rare means that no one will have Resist X, and they'll be even more overpowered. (This is how "sonic" behaves in PF1.)


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Lakesidefantasy wrote:

It is easier for a gamemaster to give things to players than it is to take them away.

Then that means the easiest thing to do is make everything in the game rare... Everyone starts the game naked and then begs the DM for whatever the dm wants to give them. That sure sounds super fun... :P

Personally, I'd rather see some sidebars explaining why some spells/items/ect might be an issue and give the DM the option to buy in and make them rarer if it fits their game. An easy way to do this would be to give those items keywords to easily allow/ban them. For instance, elven, tian, teleport, alignment, ect make it super easy to tell which items both the dm and players are looking at and if they'll be an issue far better than slapping a rarity on them without any explanation of why.


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PossibleCabbage wrote:

...

But rarity, as something codified into the system says "no, you can't take blood money even though it exists". Sometimes you want to give the PCs powerful toys without having to make those things common in the setting. Plus what's A-OK in one game might cause a serious problem in a different one with the same group (e.g. "create food and water" style spells are a problem in a survival oriented game.)

Here's the thing though. If rarity was for one thing specifically, then that would be at least somewhat reasonable. For example, using rarity as an indicator of broken spells that get handed out as rewards is...well, I am not convinced it is fine* but it is probably better than nothing. But that isn't just what it does. It also restricts access to high powered setting warping game changers (teleport), minor utility effects that can break a very narrow catagory of campaigns but otherwise don't matter one iota (tongues, create food and water), things the GM may want to restrict themselves for reasons that are otherwise beyond the scope of the core rule book e.g. removing alignment (Protection from Evil), setting based restrictions (the Wayfinder magic item) and probably a few other things I am missing. Oh, and it makes no effort to distinguish between rules elements restricted for one reason or another.

What you end up with is a mess of different elements at different rarities, with no way to tell quickly why anything is restricted. This leaves the GM with roughly four approaches:

- Hard ban everything, and remove 20% of the book's selectable content, even though most of it is fine, and even though a lot of it is the more interesting stuff.

- Allow everything, and deal with the consequences of the fact that Paizo decided to hand themselves a justification for making whatever broken imbalanced nonsense they want, which comes in the form of "if our non-common rules elements are problematic then it is the GM's problem, not ours, because they allowed it".

- Go through every non-common rules element that their players might consider, and vet that rules element's appropriateness for their campaign. Then write up a honkingly huge list saying what is or isn't allowed. Since restricted rules elements tend to be some of the more "interesting" ones, this is arguably worse than just writing all the rules under the assumption that players can pick whatever the hell they want.

- Sit beside they player every time they select rules elements for their character, and make go/no-go calls on the spot about that rules element. Oh, and as mentioned, 90% of the stuff is fine, but between the complexity of a lot of the stuff in PF2E and the option paralysis some people are reporting while making higher level characters, this is likely to take up a lot of the GM's precious face to face gaming time

None of these are good options for the GM or their players. In fact, now that I think about it, I am beginning to dread trying to run a campaign, because I will have to go though the entire damn rules list and vet every single damn thing, because I refuse to run a campaign where basic staples like Protection/Evil aren't around because Paizo couldn't be bothered putting in a sidebar about removing alignment instead of mixing houserules into the rarity system.

*the reason being that decoupling spell power from the skill/capabilities of the caster doing it has nasty implications for your setting, regardless of how rare it is, so it is probably best to not open that can of worms.


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Why isn't "If you want something which is not common, ask me first" a reasonable way to handle rarity as a GM, but everything common requires no preclearance. Even if I'm not going to say "yes, you can have that" right away, I'll probably make a note to put one in that's acquirable somewhere.

Like PF1 had a million options, and I think "here's a list of things I am specifically prohibiting, otherwise just ask if you want to take something uncommon" seems more workable than "ask the GM before you take anything at all" or "allow literally anything".


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PossibleCabbage wrote:
Why isn't "If you want something which is not common, ask me first" a reasonable way to handle rarity as a GM, but everything common requires no preclearance. Even if I'm not going to say "yes, you can have that" right away, I'll probably make a note to put one in that's acquirable somewhere.

Because with the sheer breadth of options that are restricted and the amount of moving parts a mid level PF2 character has, it is entirely possible for a single player to have a couple of dozen restricted options that they consider at some point. Most players aren't going to ask every time they momentarily consider picking something restricted because that becomes really damn obnoxious when you do it a dozen times and the GM has to either stop whatever else they are doing and find whatever rules element you are looking at every 3 minutes, or sit beside you and give you their undivided attention for half an hour as you level up your character (while having to make decisions on the fly about what may or may not be a problem down the line). Oh, and most of this stuff you are annoying the GM about is stuff you probably won't end up actually taking. I am not being hyperbolic when I say a couple of dozen options, by the way. Spells for a mid to high level character are an area where this is a pretty straight estimate, for example.

If there was only a sprinkling of restricted rules elements that were clearly restricted for a particular reason then "just ask" would be a reasonable approach, but the sheer breadth of restrictions and the complete opacity of why those restrictions are in place torpedoes that in practice as a general approach.


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PossibleCabbage wrote:
Why isn't "If you want something which is not common, ask me first" a reasonable way to handle rarity as a GM, but everything common requires no preclearance. Even if I'm not going to say "yes, you can have that" right away, I'll probably make a note to put one in that's acquirable somewhere.

The DM might not have ANY idea why the item is not common: many items seemingly have no real reason for being on the list: hence making it more work if they want to figure out why or possibly future issues if you leave it in and don't know why it could be an issue.

PossibleCabbage wrote:
Like PF1 had a million options, and I think "here's a list of things I am specifically prohibiting, otherwise just ask if you want to take something uncommon" seems more workable than "ask the GM before you take anything at all" or "allow literally anything".

That works as you KNOW why you are putting things on the list: that isn't the same thing here, as someone else did it for reasons that you might or might not be able to divine. I'm all for a DM having such a 'ask me first' or 'banned' list, but the rarity system isn't that, it's the systems 'ask me first' or 'banned' list. I'd rather see the system give the DM the tools for making their own lists instead of making one for them without any explination on what went into making it.


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graystone wrote:
PossibleCabbage wrote:
Like PF1 had a million options, and I think "here's a list of things I am specifically prohibiting, otherwise just ask if you want to take something uncommon" seems more workable than "ask the GM before you take anything at all" or "allow literally anything".
That works as you KNOW why you are putting things on the list: that isn't the same thing here, as someone else did it for reasons that you might or might not be able to divine. I'm all for a DM having such a 'ask me first' or 'banned' list, but the rarity system isn't that, it's the systems 'ask me first' or 'banned' list. I'd rather see the system give the DM the tools for making their own lists instead of making one for them without any explination on what went into making it.

As a GM planning to tinker with things when I get back to my own setting, I actually like that there is a base 'ask me first' in the system. The big issue with having the GM be the one to make the entire list is that players are typically going through the official material when selecting options, and not the GM's notes. This can make it very easy for a player to select an option first, with nothing in the official rules to say not to, and only realize later that they weren't supposed to (sometimes in the middle of a session when they try to use it). And lets be honest, after a couple books have been printed, any GM trying to make their own list will have one that is especially long and hard for players to remember offhand (not to mention consuming a massive amount of time to create).

While it could be argued that it'd be nice to have some sort of traits attached to rarity to call out why something wasn't common (like deity, racial, regional, etc.), overall I view the system as a godsend which will provide a solid base for my own setting customizations & help set player expectations against assuming that every magical item is available in every store they pass, etc.


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PossibleCabbage wrote:

Why isn't "If you want something which is not common, ask me first" a reasonable way to handle rarity as a GM, but everything common requires no preclearance. Even if I'm not going to say "yes, you can have that" right away, I'll probably make a note to put one in that's acquirable somewhere.

Like PF1 had a million options, and I think "here's a list of things I am specifically prohibiting, otherwise just ask if you want to take something uncommon" seems more workable than "ask the GM before you take anything at all" or "allow literally anything".

Because you aren't? You're going to put it on the sheet and have the GM look and get into an argument about it because "I have this pop into my head for no reason why aren't you letting me have this".

Not YOU YOU Possiblecabbage, but the possible problem player that ignored things in PF1 anyway. They're going to ignore things in PF2 just as much as they did in PF1 so I don't see why a Rarity system is going to stop them. X years of playing the Magic Vending machine of instantly getting anything no problem, and THIS is supposed to make everyone play nice? Yeah, right.

Rarity does nothing expect remove half or more of the spells from the list from the word go. Unless it doesn't because GM said otherwise and then what's the point? And if the point is limiting the spells, WHY print them anyway if they need a warning label?


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MerlinCross wrote:

Rarity does nothing expect remove half or more of the spells from the list from the word go. Unless it doesn't because GM said otherwise and then what's the point? And if the point is limiting the spells, WHY print them anyway if they need a warning label?

Now maybe I'm wrong, but I don't think there are so many uncommon spells that half have been removed. That's just useless hyperbole. Maybe you saw all the red-marked powers and assumed that there were that many spells marked uncommon?

As for the second question you have there, because they're cool? Because some GMs might want to use them but many GMs don't want them accessible at level-up or character creation? Because it gives options without the GM having to make a specific codified list of exclusions out of the thousands of options available throughout the game? If a PF2e GM doesn't want to deal with rarity, they can just say rarity doesn't exist. If a PF1e GM doesn't want specific feats or spells in the game, they have to comb through thousands of options and have intimate game knowledge to stop every adventure/encounter-destroying combo. Having the default world state be that every level 7 wizard can't break the world or not needing everything in existence to have insane levels of magical security isn't a bad thing.

The point is: if you want to play without rarity, then you just ignore it. If you want to implement rarity for a system without it, that's a gigantic pain.


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Alyran wrote:
The point is: if you want to play without rarity, then you just ignore it. If you want to implement rarity for a system without it, that's a gigantic pain.

And it is practically impossible for the Paizo AP authors to implement if it doesn't exist in the core rule set.

That is my understanding for the rarity system at least as far as the spell list goes. There are a bunch of really fun adventure scenarios that get completely wrecked by certain types of spells. Teleport being an easy example. Creating an escort mission to take a senator from one city to another falls apart completely if there is a wizard that can cast Teleport. So we can either restrict the adventure to only be for low level characters that won't have access to the spell, try and come up with various setting shenanigans to try and explain why Teleport won't solve the problem instantly, or remove Teleport from the setting.

So which would you like Paizo to do?

  • Remove the problematic spells from the game entirely.
  • Remove the problematic spells from the core rulebook and print them as a separate unofficial spell list.
  • Banish the spells to the uncommon list (the current method)
  • Keep the spells available and continue to require all of the content creators (both Paizo's and all the GMs at home) to have to continue to come up with contorted reasons to prevent various spells from wrecking their adventure.


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I think the point of rarity is the developers explicitly telling DMs its OK to say No to players.

I think the implementation... is pretty crazy, with no rhyme or reason for individual bits, especially with spells, which took staple spells and randomly assaulted them with a stamp marked 'Denied!'

And various feats and things granting uncommon 'access' to X, Y and Z seems an argument laden shortcut back to the original problem (its written, so the DMs shouldn't say no).


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my general understanding:
"does it mess with PFS in any way"
yes = uncommon
no = common (until someone uses it to mess with PFS, since encounter design is rather hit or miss for paizo official)


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Alyran wrote:
MerlinCross wrote:

Rarity does nothing expect remove half or more of the spells from the list from the word go. Unless it doesn't because GM said otherwise and then what's the point? And if the point is limiting the spells, WHY print them anyway if they need a warning label?

Now maybe I'm wrong, but I don't think there are so many uncommon spells that half have been removed. That's just useless hyperbole. Maybe you saw all the red-marked powers and assumed that there were that many spells marked uncommon?

As for the second question you have there, because they're cool? Because some GMs might want to use them but many GMs don't want them accessible at level-up or character creation? Because it gives options without the GM having to make a specific codified list of exclusions out of the thousands of options available throughout the game? If a PF2e GM doesn't want to deal with rarity, they can just say rarity doesn't exist. If a PF1e GM doesn't want specific feats or spells in the game, they have to comb through thousands of options and have intimate game knowledge to stop every adventure/encounter-destroying combo. Having the default world state be that every level 7 wizard can't break the world or not needing everything in existence to have insane levels of magical security isn't a bad thing.

The point is: if you want to play without rarity, then you just ignore it. If you want to implement rarity for a system without it, that's a gigantic pain.

1) God I hate how this is laid out but I'm going to assume if Uncommon isn't allowed, then why should I even bother looking at Rares. Maybe not half but why print the spells? Might as well put them in the GM book.

2) Oh you mean how they still have to do that in PF2? That you still need to know what spells they have, what spells to not give them, because this spell is uncommon, that spell is uncommon but that spell ends up being combined to break the game wide open anyway but both that and this spell are uncommon?

It does nothing other than tell GM "Soft ban these spells". I like choosing my spell list, not having the GM auto remove a portion of them from the word go.


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I think they are mostly adding it for use with there modules, My thought would be they could put a odd magic item or spell in a module and put its rarity up so people don't think they can just grab it since it is meant to be used in this area. As far as common and uncommon class features go I don't know. I could see maybe using them as a tool. Say a monk wants a rare class feature instead of just giving it to him you make him track down a teacher in the mountains etc. So maybe its for entirely rp reasons?


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Pathfinder Rulebook Subscriber
breithauptclan wrote:
Alyran wrote:
The point is: if you want to play without rarity, then you just ignore it. If you want to implement rarity for a system without it, that's a gigantic pain.

And it is practically impossible for the Paizo AP authors to implement if it doesn't exist in the core rule set.

That is my understanding for the rarity system at least as far as the spell list goes. There are a bunch of really fun adventure scenarios that get completely wrecked by certain types of spells. Teleport being an easy example. Creating an escort mission to take a senator from one city to another falls apart completely if there is a wizard that can cast Teleport. So we can either restrict the adventure to only be for low level characters that won't have access to the spell, try and come up with various setting shenanigans to try and explain why Teleport won't solve the problem instantly, or remove Teleport from the setting.

So which would you like Paizo to do?

  • Remove the problematic spells from the game entirely.
  • Remove the problematic spells from the core rulebook and print them as a separate unofficial spell list.
  • Banish the spells to the uncommon list (the current method)
  • Keep the spells available and continue to require all of the content creators (both Paizo's and all the GMs at home) to have to continue to come up with contorted reasons to prevent various spells from wrecking their adventure.

you forgot an option: 'Stop trying to avoid the implications implicit in a high fantasy system, ofc diplomats teleport, to not do so is akin to a modern setting not using jet aircraft', magic solves problems, especially for the rich and powerful, Kings teleport, oligarchs get resurrected, village priests use Heal to save accident victims, or at least they should, because that is the logical implication of the setting, to not do so is to make NPCs stupid, which makes the setting less believable, and removes some of the wonder of the place.


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Rob Godfrey wrote:
Kings teleport, oligarchs get resurrected

A game with this kind of routine magic shuts down a lot of stories. Escort mission? Over in six seconds. Assassins targeting the king? Big deal, he'll just come back to life again. A mystery to solve? We'll just use magic divination to get the answer.

So, what types of stories are opened up in a common-high-magic game? I'm sure there are some, but my imagination tends to think in terms of "Lord of the Rings" or "Game of Thrones" where these magical things might happen, but they're not routine or reliable.


If weapon/spell needs a "rare" tag to be balanced, then it is unbalanced by default and needs to be reduced in power/utility or removed from the game.

"rare" tag is a can of worms.
Either it will be unavailable or it will be ignored as a rule.


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Well the example I think I saw used by a developer was a Katanna might be rare in one place but common in another.


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I think things can be "rare" for reasons of power for diagetic reasons. Like the Wizard who learns Anti-Magic Field isn't going to go around telling everybody else how to cast it, since it's their ace in the hole against other wizards and they do not want that turned back around on them.

Since "all spells in existence" is no longer the set of spells people can just have pop into their heads, we can now have spells which are kept secret by their discoverers and subsequently fell into obscurity. Not being able to do this since sorcerers were liable to wake up knowing your spell no matter how obscure and some of them can scribe scrolls really annoyed me in PF1. Like you could have some necromancer on Eox invent a spell that is only useful in a airless environment and people on Golarion would be waking up knowing it the next day somehow.

But I feel like "rare" is fine for power reasons since players should never have any expectation of taking a rare thing (though GMs can hand them out as they like) but "uncommon" should mostly be things like "not many Katanas in Ustalav" or "Only Orcs make hornbows" - things which a player is pretty much guaranteed to be able find if they look hard enough/in the right places.


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Vidmaster7 wrote:
I think they are mostly adding it for use with there modules, My thought would be they could put a odd magic item or spell in a module and put its rarity up so people don't think they can just grab it since it is meant to be used in this area.

The rarity system is quite awful at that then as it tries to do far too many things as is a pattern in the playtest: it meant to simulate actual rarity, power and ability to affect certain areas in the game in ways that some deem bad and give 0% way to know which is the reason for it's rating. With no guidance, you'll be right back to the way it is now, with people not even looking at the rarity as they don't actually inform you of anything useful.

Charon Onozuka wrote:
As a GM planning to tinker with things when I get back to my own setting, I actually like that there is a base 'ask me first' in the system.

I don't like it as it make more work for DM's. Instead of your own single list, a premade one now makes you have 3 lists... the premade one, your personal ban and your personal allow from the premade ban list. From my perspective, it's far from a boon. IMO, the only time it's a timesaver is if you almost 100% agree with the list, but then you aren't really describing 'tinkering' at that point but taking the settings from one world and using it in another.

Vidmaster7 wrote:
Well the example I think I saw used by a developer was a Katanna might be rare in one place but common in another.

This is a bigger wrench thrown in than it might seem as what if a spell or item is only on the list because it was only in dungeon x and not because of power of ability to affect the plot then it's more up to the dm's game style if they aren't going to play the dungeon. It leaves the rarity implicitly a mutable thing on one side while trying to emulate an immutable thing, like better than it's level power.


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Well I don't think it would be the best idea to have rarity represent intentionally more powerful spells/items/etc. I feel like rare should not be like rare in MTG but rather a more literally rare being hard to find for a number of various role playing reasons. I think to use it as a mechanic to rate the power of items and spells is/would be problematic.


Vidmaster7 wrote:
Well I don't think it would be the best idea to have rarity represent intentionally more powerful spells/items/etc. I feel like rare should not be like rare in MTG but rather a more literally rare being hard to find for a number of various role playing reasons. I think to use it as a mechanic to rate the power of items and spells is/would be problematic.

If the system was actually a system to rate how hard it is to find something and had NO link to how powerful or potentially plot bending it might be, I wouldn't mind it: I wouldn't want it preset though as I think individual DM's should say how they want things to work.

Right now though, it's clearly a system trying to cover far more than simple rarity.


I could see spell rarity maybe being higher for spells with narrower uses. so like a spell designed to find water in a desert. IT could be better then other spells at its level but only really useful in narrower circumstances in this case you have to be in the desert. (obviously create water is just flat better but its just an example.)

Still time to see how rarity changes and works but its not really the top of my list for things to change. worst case I just ignore it.


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Pathfinder Rulebook Subscriber
Matthew Downie wrote:
Rob Godfrey wrote:
Kings teleport, oligarchs get resurrected

A game with this kind of routine magic shuts down a lot of stories. Escort mission? Over in six seconds. Assassins targeting the king? Big deal, he'll just come back to life again. A mystery to solve? We'll just use magic divination to get the answer.

So, what types of stories are opened up in a common-high-magic game? I'm sure there are some, but my imagination tends to think in terms of "Lord of the Rings" or "Game of Thrones" where these magical things might happen, but they're not routine or reliable.

Assassin is totally possible, kill and steal the body is the easiest option, but disintegration, sime spells and abilities that make resurrection impossible etc, mystery is also possible, it requires planning on both sides, and can be a bit CSI:Divination but counters exist etc, also the setting tends to be interesting, in a way that other fantasy doesn't cover, as Magitek becomes a thing, dungeins make sense, as bunkers, protected against scrying, teleportation and physical threat, actually for a prime example of how this works, The Malazan Book of the Fallen series does it perfectly.


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Rob Godfrey wrote:
Matthew Downie wrote:
Rob Godfrey wrote:
Kings teleport, oligarchs get resurrected

A game with this kind of routine magic shuts down a lot of stories. Escort mission? Over in six seconds. Assassins targeting the king? Big deal, he'll just come back to life again. A mystery to solve? We'll just use magic divination to get the answer.

So, what types of stories are opened up in a common-high-magic game? I'm sure there are some, but my imagination tends to think in terms of "Lord of the Rings" or "Game of Thrones" where these magical things might happen, but they're not routine or reliable.

Assassin is totally possible, kill and steal the body is the easiest option, but disintegration, sime spells and abilities that make resurrection impossible etc, mystery is also possible, it requires planning on both sides, and can be a bit CSI:Divination but counters exist etc, also the setting tends to be interesting, in a way that other fantasy doesn't cover, as Magitek becomes a thing, dungeins make sense, as bunkers, protected against scrying, teleportation and physical threat, actually for a prime example of how this works, The Malazan Book of the Fallen series does it perfectly.

"The Bleak Blades were assassins feared by even the richest merchants and most powerful nobility, for they were known to use weapons that trapped the souls of those they killed, thus preventing resurrection or even questioning the spirit to identify the assassin." Things like that.


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Or the Vlad Taltos books, for slightly less dark take on it.

Morganti blades for permanent death, but also normal killing "just to send a message". Even if you're resurrected, it can be chilling to know that an assassin can get to you. And maybe next time, he'll make it permanent.


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breithauptclan wrote:
Alyran wrote:
The point is: if you want to play without rarity, then you just ignore it. If you want to implement rarity for a system without it, that's a gigantic pain.

And it is practically impossible for the Paizo AP authors to implement if it doesn't exist in the core rule set.

That is my understanding for the rarity system at least as far as the spell list goes. There are a bunch of really fun adventure scenarios that get completely wrecked by certain types of spells. Teleport being an easy example. Creating an escort mission to take a senator from one city to another falls apart completely if there is a wizard that can cast Teleport. So we can either restrict the adventure to only be for low level characters that won't have access to the spell, try and come up with various setting shenanigans to try and explain why Teleport won't solve the problem instantly, or remove Teleport from the setting.

So which would you like Paizo to do?

Create actual high-level plot instead of rehashing the same escort mission again and again.

Level 1: escort the diplomat.
Level 3: escort the expert diplomat.
level 7: escort the master diplomat.
Level 15: escort the legendary diplomat.

Maybe there's something more interesting to do at high level than "the same thing as before, but with a different adjective"?


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Charon Onozuka wrote:

As a GM planning to tinker with things when I get back to my own setting, I actually like that there is a base 'ask me first' in the system. The big issue with having the GM be the one to make the entire list is that players are typically going through the official material when selecting options, and not the GM's notes. This can make it very easy for a player to select an option first, with nothing in the official rules to say not to, and only realize later that they weren't supposed to (sometimes in the middle of a session when they try to use it). And lets be honest, after a couple books have been printed, any GM trying to make their own list will have one that is especially long and hard for players to remember offhand (not to mention consuming a massive amount of time to create).

While it could be argued that it'd be nice to have some sort of traits attached to rarity to call out why something wasn't common (like deity, racial, regional, etc.), overall I view the system as a godsend which will provide a solid base for my own setting customizations & help set player expectations against assuming that every magical item is available in every store they pass, etc.

I agree with you. It's nice to have this baked in. It's much easier to turn it off and say "everything's open" than it is to start creating it from scratch.

They definitely could use a sidebar talking about this, like why some things are uncommon or rare, and guidance for DMs on what the implactions are on letting them in. But I'm a fan of having the idea baked into the system.

It's something I used to have to houserule in, specifically because spell researchers wanted to keep their discoveries secret for personal/commercial/military application, but the system as written in the past really didn't enable that.


Gaterie wrote:
breithauptclan wrote:
Alyran wrote:
The point is: if you want to play without rarity, then you just ignore it. If you want to implement rarity for a system without it, that's a gigantic pain.

And it is practically impossible for the Paizo AP authors to implement if it doesn't exist in the core rule set.

That is my understanding for the rarity system at least as far as the spell list goes. There are a bunch of really fun adventure scenarios that get completely wrecked by certain types of spells. Teleport being an easy example. Creating an escort mission to take a senator from one city to another falls apart completely if there is a wizard that can cast Teleport. So we can either restrict the adventure to only be for low level characters that won't have access to the spell, try and come up with various setting shenanigans to try and explain why Teleport won't solve the problem instantly, or remove Teleport from the setting.

So which would you like Paizo to do?

Create actual high-level plot instead of rehashing the same escort mission again and again.

Level 1: escort the diplomat.
Level 3: escort the expert diplomat.
level 7: escort the master diplomat.
Level 15: escort the legendary diplomat.

Maybe there's something more interesting to do at high level than "the same thing as before, but with a different adjective"?

Except pretty much every possible adventure at any level is going to be by nature the same as something you do at lower levels but with some different adjectives and twists.

I defy you to name one that isn’t, that you can’t find any equivalent by swapping out some nouns and descriptors.


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AndIMustMask wrote:

my general understanding:

"does it mess with PFS in any way"
yes = uncommon
no = common (until someone uses it to mess with PFS, since encounter design is rather hit or miss for paizo official)

This is the reason for rarity. It has less to do with home games and is designed to serve as a baked-in check on society play. Same with the magic item controls built into the system.


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Igor Horvat wrote:

If weapon/spell needs a "rare" tag to be balanced, then it is unbalanced by default and needs to be reduced in power/utility or removed from the game.

"rare" tag is a can of worms.
Either it will be unavailable or it will be ignored as a rule.

The issue with that is that there options that are going to be, or at least seem unbalanced by default to new gms that a lot of people will want to stay in for setting, thematic, or awesomeness reasons. The teleport spell everyone keeps talking about is a good example, since it's commonly used in pfs scenarios. "K you need to be in the mwangi expanse 5 minutes from now for your mission so we're teleporting you."

So:

1.paizo wants to keep long distance teleportation in the game.

2. Paizo wants long distance teleportation to not make new gms rip their hair out in frustration when designing adventurers.

Making it uncommon was just the easiest way to fulfill both of those points I think.


thejeff wrote:

Or the Vlad Taltos books, for slightly less dark take on it.

Morganti blades for permanent death, but also normal killing "just to send a message". Even if you're resurrected, it can be chilling to know that an assassin can get to you. And maybe next time, he'll make it permanent.

That isn't 'less dark.' Morganti weapons destroy souls, in a setting where reincarnation and thousand year lifespans are known facts. People have been utterly obliterated accidentally and in casual fights in those novels.

A soul trap effect is usually an order of magnitude less horrifying (unless people are doing something nasty to said soul). If it's just in a box to out wait the time limits on spells or a statue of limitations it isn't nearly the same level of horror.


Voss wrote:
thejeff wrote:

Or the Vlad Taltos books, for slightly less dark take on it.

Morganti blades for permanent death, but also normal killing "just to send a message". Even if you're resurrected, it can be chilling to know that an assassin can get to you. And maybe next time, he'll make it permanent.

That isn't 'less dark.' Morganti weapons destroy souls, in a setting where reincarnation and thousand year lifespans are known facts. People have been utterly obliterated accidentally and in casual fights in those novels.

A soul trap effect is usually an order of magnitude less horrifying (unless people are doing something nasty to said soul). If it's just in a box to out wait the time limits on spells or a statue of limitations it isn't nearly the same level of horror.

Less dark as in the general tone of the books, not as in the actual mechanics or implications thereof.


Rob Godfrey wrote:
Assassin is totally possible, kill and steal the body is the easiest option, but disintegration, sime spells and abilities that make resurrection impossible etc, mystery is also possible, it requires planning on both sides, and can be a bit CSI:Divination but counters exist etc

Most of that is more in the realm of "Keep the spells available and come up with contorted reasons to prevent various spells from wrecking the adventure," than "Just go with it and accept that this is a high magic world"...

One possible approach would be to acknowledge the standard story-spoiling spells and build convenient counters into the rules from the start.

Teleportation? Solution: There is a common magic item that prevents anyone within a hundred feet / five miles / a hundred miles of it (for lesser or greater versions of the item) teleporting in or out.

Divination? Solution: There are demons around that devote their existences to sending false messages to diviners.

Invisible scout? Solution: Most places are prepared for that and spread things on the ground that you can't walk on without giving away your location.

PCs all have flight somehow, so the pack of wolves encounter becomes trivial? Solution: Flying wolves.

Etc.


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PossibleCabbage wrote:
I think things can be "rare" for reasons of power for diagetic reasons. Like the Wizard who learns Anti-Magic Field isn't going to go around telling everybody else how to cast it, since it's their ace in the hole against other wizards and they do not want that turned back around on them.

Setting aside the fact that AMF has been nerfed hard, this makes very little sense in the world. In PF1E, an AMF was the one way to prevent any magic from working. As an NPC device it was how vaults and throne rooms and other special targets were protected from magical tinkering. By putting it on the rare list, these things are now in the realm of GM fiat.

But since magic in general has been curb-stomped, maybe that doesn't matter, anyway. :P


Everyone needs to remember, the idea that anything in the playtest written for PFS play is categorically false.


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graystone wrote:
Charon Onozuka wrote:
As a GM planning to tinker with things when I get back to my own setting, I actually like that there is a base 'ask me first' in the system.
I don't like it as it make more work for DM's. Instead of your own single list, a premade one now makes you have 3 lists... the premade one, your personal ban and your personal allow from the premade ban list. From my perspective, it's far from a boon. IMO, the only time it's a timesaver is if you almost 100% agree with the list, but then you aren't really describing 'tinkering' at that point but taking the settings from one world and using it in another.

Great, so you can just tell your players to ignore the official list and follow your own custom one... which would be the exact same amount of work as doing it in PF1. Except now you have a commonly understood framework to use. Not to mention that when players see uncommon in the official rules, they'll remember to double check your GM notes & become more familiar with them instead of assuming everything is takeable by default. (Until the GM plays the bad guy to step in and say 'no,' rather than the nice guy allowing something not normally available.)

Scythia wrote:
"The Bleak Blades were assassins feared by even the richest merchants and most powerful nobility, for they were known to use weapons that trapped the souls of those they killed, thus preventing resurrection or even questioning the spirit to identify the assassin." Things like that.

Sweet. Since you're arguing against rarity existing, I suppose players now pick these up at the local magic mart, right? Unless these are banned/illegal, exclusive to the group, or NPC only, in which case you just have rarity in a different form.

Corwin Icewolf wrote:

The issue with that is that there options that are going to be, or at least seem unbalanced by default to new gms that a lot of people will want to stay in for setting, thematic, or awesomeness reasons. The teleport spell everyone keeps talking about is a good example, since it's commonly used in pfs scenarios. "K you need to be in the mwangi expanse 5 minutes from now for your mission so we're teleporting you."

So:

1.paizo wants to keep long distance teleportation in the game.

2. Paizo wants long distance teleportation to not make new gms rip their hair out in frustration when designing adventurers.

Making it uncommon was just the easiest way to fulfill both of those points I think.

Oh god yes... I still remember the first time I tried to figure out how a society realistically reacts to the existence of common teleportation magic, and spent hours fruitlessly trying to make it work within the system. Any type of permanent anti-teleportation measures are a nightmare to construct by RAW, partially due to a lack of support, and I hate the notion of hand waving GM fiat to make it work - which is basically just a worse system of rarity. (It works because I say it does & you don't have access to it because I haven't created an entire balanced ruleset to make it available.) When a single option can force a GM to re-write half their setting to make it work, it probably shouldn't be a common default option.

And speaking of being a worse system of rarity... We actually had rarity for some things in PF1, but they often worked horribly because there wasn't a good system to express them. Racial weapons had a weird split between "Exotic, unless you are a member of X race, then Martial," and racial spells often failed to have the restriction reprinted clearly in outside sources. With an actually subsystem there, doing this suddenly becomes much much easier in PF2.


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Charon Onozuka wrote:
Oh god yes... I still remember the first time I tried to figure out how a society realistically reacts to the existence of common teleportation magic, and spent hours fruitlessly trying to make it work within the system. Any type of permanent anti-teleportation measures are a nightmare to construct by RAW, partially due to a lack of support, and I hate the notion of hand waving GM fiat to make it work - which is basically just a worse system of rarity. (It works because I say it does & you don't have access to it because I haven't created an entire balanced ruleset to make it available.) When a single option can force a GM to re-write half their setting to make it work, it probably shouldn't be a common default option.

Common teleport?

How many 11th level wizards you think there is?
maybe one in 100,000 people or 1 in million?
And it is only 100 miles.

How do you handle now that there are private jets and yet majority of population goes around with public transportation.

Also now, teleport is not pin point accurate across large distances.


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Matthew Downie wrote:
Rob Godfrey wrote:
Assassin is totally possible, kill and steal the body is the easiest option, but disintegration, sime spells and abilities that make resurrection impossible etc, mystery is also possible, it requires planning on both sides, and can be a bit CSI:Divination but counters exist etc

Most of that is more in the realm of "Keep the spells available and come up with contorted reasons to prevent various spells from wrecking the adventure," than "Just go with it and accept that this is a high magic world"...

One possible approach would be to acknowledge the standard story-spoiling spells and build convenient counters into the rules from the start.

Teleportation? Solution: There is a common magic item that prevents anyone within a hundred feet / five miles / a hundred miles of it (for lesser or greater versions of the item) teleporting in or out.

Divination? Solution: There are demons around that devote their existences to sending false messages to diviners.

Invisible scout? Solution: Most places are prepared for that and spread things on the ground that you can't walk on without giving away your location.

PCs all have flight somehow, so the pack of wolves encounter becomes trivial? Solution: Flying wolves.

Etc.

If you want examples of how stories can work in these kinds of settings, you should check out Eberron. Magic is near-universal and the stories still are able to happen. I actually loved the setting when I was still playing 3.5.


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master_marshmallow wrote:
Everyone needs to remember, the idea that anything in the playtest written for PFS play is categorically false.

While I appreciate your comment, I do not see any proof in your claim. The underlying reason for bringing up PFS is due to future planning and development. While I can see how you can think that the PT is disassociated with PFS, the future of PF2e WILL involve PFS play. To build something into the system for the future change of PFS play is not unforeseeable. It is something called planning and foresight for the future. What I see is a system design that indoctrinates players to accept what will be part of a standard organizational structure. After all, PFS play and rulings will be built upon the foundation of the PT results. You cannot ignore that the two will be interlinked intimately.

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