Sign language and casting


Pathfinder Second Edition General Discussion

Shadow Lodge

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I was wondering if in the playtest because the change from sign language making anything that is verbal into visual or auditory into visual, does that affect spell casting in the same sense? I would assume not but changing the spell key words to visual, concentration, and spell casting.

Thanks for your input!


That's a great question, and I can't remember the specifics on spell casting in 2E to know how this would play out.

In PF1 I think it would be a flat no. And you would basically need to play something like an oracle with the deaf curse and get free silent spell on everything you cast.

Liberty's Edge

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This would be easy to do mechanically in PF2. Verbal and Somatic are both actions, but some spells already involve multiple actions of one type to cast, making spending, say, two actions both on Somatic components (instead of one each Verbal and Somatic) entirely workable.

I dunno if that's exactly how the rules will work, but it's really easy to implement.

Shadow Lodge

Thank you two for the responses! I love that spellcasting has "components" that go from 1 to 3 actions (M,V,S) totaling in that full round action in PF1. I could see it easily still taking that action but replacing the Auditory descriptor with the Visual (in the same way that the language replaces it when you use other abilities).

Similarly to the Bard being the exception that they can play the Lute to substitute. The only issue I can see with this would be a bit overpowered being Immune to Silence.

RPG Superstar Season 9 Top 4, RPG Superstar 2015 Top 32

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I'm pretty sure I would rule that somebody who uses sign language to cast spells could replace a verbal component with a somatic component.

While it would render a spellcaster immune to silence, it would also put the caster at risk of triggering more reactions. For example, a standard caster using quickened spell can cut out the somatic component of a two-action spell and not trigger an attack of opportunity. Somebody casting with just somatic components wouldn't be able to do that.


Deadmanwalking wrote:

This would be easy to do mechanically in PF2. Verbal and Somatic are both actions, but some spells already involve multiple actions of one type to cast, making spending, say, two actions both on Somatic components (instead of one each Verbal and Somatic) entirely workable.

I dunno if that's exactly how the rules will work, but it's really easy to implement.

I was just thinking this same thing as I realized a homebrew race whose natural language was signing would need a somatic only option. Two somatics instead of one verbal, one somatic is workable. I'm wondering if there needs to be some sort of trade off since the caster then gains the admittedly minor benefit of silence.

Good topic.

Liberty's Edge

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Somatic has its own issues. It's a manipulate action, which requires a free hand and gets screwed over a bit by grapples and the like.

I think it's a wash, personally.


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Deadmanwalking wrote:

Somatic has its own issues. It's a manipulate action, which requires a free hand and gets screwed over a bit by grapples and the like.

I think it's a wash, personally.

Is that really the case by the end of the playtest? I thought they made so you could cast somatically while holding a weapon.

I feel like casting when someone has hit you with a silence spell is a pretty niche situation, as is using quicken to avoid an attack of opportunity. I think the real danger of allowing delete silent casting is that it enables a level of stealth casting, removing one of the biggest narrative constraints on spells: they are noticeable.

I'd probably have such an ability cost a class feat, probably using the Conceal Spell feat as a reference point.

Liberty's Edge

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Captain Morgan wrote:
Is that really the case by the end of the playtest? I thought they made so you could cast somatically while holding a weapon.

Ah, you're right. Manipulate is still a trait with legitimate downsides, though.

Captain Morgan wrote:
I feel like casting when someone has hit you with a silence spell is a pretty niche situation, as is using quicken to avoid an attack of opportunity. I think the real danger of allowing delete silent casting is that it enables a level of stealth casting, removing one of the biggest narrative constraints on spells: they are noticeable.

This is incorrect. Note 'Conceal Spell' under Sorcerer Feats and what it does. It requires a specific check to conceal a spell even if that spell has no Verbal component. Spells are overt unless you take specific precautions to make them subtle (in-universe, they cause rather large glowing magic runes to manifest in the air in front of you), and being silent alone is not such a precaution (it makes Conceal Spell slightly easier, but does not replace the need for it).


Pathfinder Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber

I would probably require Sign Language to have both hands free. If you are converting non arcane speech to Sign Language it is difficult to impossible to do quickly one handed, I imagine arcane, enochion, void speech etc is more involved.

It shouldn't require any extra feats past knowing how to sign. Although it isn't realistic, I think I would just have Sign be a language that you can use with any other language you know.


Deadmanwalking wrote:

This would be easy to do mechanically in PF2. Verbal and Somatic are both actions, but some spells already involve multiple actions of one type to cast, making spending, say, two actions both on Somatic components (instead of one each Verbal and Somatic) entirely workable.

I dunno if that's exactly how the rules will work, but it's really easy to implement.

Does anyone remember what the downsides of a concentrate tag on verbal components are? Trading that away for a double manipulate tag (which won't trigger twice as many AoOs or grapple issues) might be a mechanical advantage in some situations. It's less of a problem for V component only changing to S component only.

Liberty's Edge

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Xenocrat wrote:
Does anyone remember what the downsides of a concentrate tag on verbal components are? Trading that away for a double manipulate tag (which won't trigger twice as many AoOs or grapple issues) might be a mechanical advantage in some situations. It's less of a problem for V component only changing to S component only.

At the moment, all Concentrate does is prevent you from using the action while Raging. It's...really not nearly as meaningful as Manipulate.

Now, spells and other effects that interact with it are possible, but will probably effect spellcasting separately.


A. Aren't you a fine looking individual OP :P
B. I think adding a secondary skill feat to Sign Language that lets you turn Verbal Components to Somatic Components would work quite well, it's a feat tax, and lets you manage playing a deaf/mute wizard (maybe be blew his hearing out after one to many Shatter casts?) and/or allows you to cast spells in a silence/void/what have you area.


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Pathfinder Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber
nick1wasd wrote:

A. Aren't you a fine looking individual OP :P

B. I think adding a secondary skill feat to Sign Language that lets you turn Verbal Components to Somatic Components would work quite well, it's a feat tax, and lets you manage playing a deaf/mute wizard (maybe be blew his hearing out after one to many Shatter casts?) and/or allows you to cast spells in a silence/void/what have you area.

I don't think we should make a feat tax for letting disabilities be playable. Thats why I proposed a general solution with its own downsides for anyone who goes that path so you don't have to be lvl 2 before representing a mute spellcaster.


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Malk_Content wrote:
nick1wasd wrote:

A. Aren't you a fine looking individual OP :P

B. I think adding a secondary skill feat to Sign Language that lets you turn Verbal Components to Somatic Components would work quite well, it's a feat tax, and lets you manage playing a deaf/mute wizard (maybe be blew his hearing out after one to many Shatter casts?) and/or allows you to cast spells in a silence/void/what have you area.
I don't think we should make a feat tax for letting disabilities be playable. Thats why I proposed a general solution with its own downsides for anyone who goes that path so you don't have to be lvl 2 before representing a mute spellcaster.

In the sign language text it says "If a PC starts deaf, consider giving them this feat for free". "Talking" with your hands and compensating a whole method of spellweaving are too very different matters, hence why it would theoretically be it's own feat.


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nick1wasd wrote:
"If a PC starts deaf, consider giving them this feat for free"

As opposed to whether they start mute, in which case no easy fix for you!

XD Kidding of course. I hope they keep the possibility of free sign language in the CRB for deaf/mute characters. I'm not sure substituting a Verbal with another Somatic should necessarily need a feat, given that as others said, Silence won't faze you, but you'll be doubly vulnerable to grappling and similar physical obstacles.

In case casting non-vocally is still deemed too strong, it could very well be a feat, but I'd give that too for free to deaf and/or mute casters. Otherwise it's just too punishing - normal life without being able to hear and/or speak is already enough of a b!~*&, without needing to preclude entire professions to people with these conditions.

Shadow Lodge

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nick1wasd wrote:

A. Aren't you a fine looking individual OP :P

This person here .... :) Again, thank everyone for the thoughtful input. Keeping a civil conversation about this is leading to lots of brainstorming which is exactly what I was hoping for!

I know that the playtest material will be outdated in just a few short months, but it is good to get some weird mechanical bits out in the water so to speak!


Whos_That wrote:
nick1wasd wrote:
This person here .... :)

Well, Seltyiel is indeed... very hot, if I may. And pretty awesome in combat, to boot.


Pathfinder Pathfinder Accessories Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber

Xenocrat: As that Somatic action is used to "speak" a language, I would actually add the concentration trait to it. It's done in other places in the rules (as removing these traits mainly, but I wouldn't be surprised if there are ways to "add" traits to actions). So that's one less "advantage".

As an aside, like Malk_Content said, there should be some "hand requirement", even if the manipulate trait doesn't have it included anymore by default, the same way you need to have an empty mouth to speak... :P
And I wouldn't make it an extra feat... not with the nerfs I'd give anyway. :X

So... for my players, it would mostly end up being "fluff". (There's still the advantage of casting in a Silence spell, but eh. You need to have the feat by buying it of starting deaf... I guess it's an acceptable trade-off. Also, good to note that I rarely have villains use "Silent" spells, and most strategical enough to use it would be strategical enough to try to learn of that "strength" beforehand so they could adapt their strategy.)


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Deadmanwalking wrote:
Xenocrat wrote:
Does anyone remember what the downsides of a concentrate tag on verbal components are? Trading that away for a double manipulate tag (which won't trigger twice as many AoOs or grapple issues) might be a mechanical advantage in some situations. It's less of a problem for V component only changing to S component only.

At the moment, all Concentrate does is prevent you from using the action while Raging. It's...really not nearly as meaningful as Manipulate.

Now, spells and other effects that interact with it are possible, but will probably effect spellcasting separately.

Disruptive stance allows AoOs to trigger off of concentrate trait actions as well. And you can't use an action with the concentrate tag while fascinated.

So... still really not nearly as meaningful as manipulate.


Pathfinder Rulebook Subscriber

Bards can use instruments for verbal components. I’d just allow that for mute characters with other casting classes, or do something equivalent. Maybe create a special one-handed tool for casters to produce sounds with, and people can train in that rather than using their voice.


QuidEst wrote:
Bards can use instruments for verbal components. I’d just allow that for mute characters with other casting classes, or do something equivalent. Maybe create a special one-handed tool for casters to produce sounds with, and people can train in that rather than using their voice.

Mmm... doesn't work for me. I hope Paizo doesn't go with this. Makes all casters too bard-like, and the special tool to produce sounds with... to me, it sounds a bit silly. Just my tastes of course.


Deadmanwalking wrote:
Captain Morgan wrote:
Is that really the case by the end of the playtest? I thought they made so you could cast somatically while holding a weapon.

Ah, you're right. Manipulate is still a trait with legitimate downsides, though.

Captain Morgan wrote:
I feel like casting when someone has hit you with a silence spell is a pretty niche situation, as is using quicken to avoid an attack of opportunity. I think the real danger of allowing delete silent casting is that it enables a level of stealth casting, removing one of the biggest narrative constraints on spells: they are noticeable.
This is incorrect. Note 'Conceal Spell' under Sorcerer Feats and what it does. It requires a specific check to conceal a spell even if that spell has no Verbal component. Spells are overt unless you take specific precautions to make them subtle (in-universe, they cause rather large glowing magic runes to manifest in the air in front of you), and being silent alone is not such a precaution (it makes Conceal Spell slightly easier, but does not replace the need for it).

I suppose I should have worded that differently. I didn't mean it was as good as Conceal spell on its own, but in certain contexts being able to cast silently alone can be useful, and you can manufacture those situations as a player. By contrast you can't really control when Quicken would dodge an AoO or how often enemies use the Silence spell on you.


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Pathfinder Rulebook Subscriber
Roswynn wrote:
QuidEst wrote:
Bards can use instruments for verbal components. I’d just allow that for mute characters with other casting classes, or do something equivalent. Maybe create a special one-handed tool for casters to produce sounds with, and people can train in that rather than using their voice.
Mmm... doesn't work for me. I hope Paizo doesn't go with this. Makes all casters too bard-like, and the special tool to produce sounds with... to me, it sounds a bit silly. Just my tastes of course.

Oh, I really wouldn’t expect Paizo to do this. This is just what my houserule solution would be for a specific character request to avoid balance issues.


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

I think someone mentioned it, but being Deaf does not necessarily mean one is Mute, so even a deaf wizard could probably cast using verbal components fine. It might be difficult to learn some aspects of such a component they can't hear, I'm sure they can learn methods to adapt to it, and from a game standpoint is should be assumed they would be successful in learning to accomplish it.

Also, there are other established cannon methods to potentially get around verbal components of spells such as Riffle scrolls. ( https://www.d20pfsrd.com/magic-items/wondrous-items/r-z/scroll-riffle/ ) How those will look in second edition, of course has yet to be seen, but I imagine it is something that will likely eventually be touched on.

Simply put, sign language as a language doesn't normally stand in for sounds, so I don't see how learning dwarven sign language would make you be able to make actions to replace non-dwarven words and have it activate magic spells. Signs/gestures replace 'words' which though their own physical syntax build sequences that have a meaning that I would think of as a sequence of verbal words. But in reality they are different languages, both capable of conveying the same message.

While the current playtest rules with each distinct language having its own 'sign-language' contributes to the perception that gestures stand in for sounds. I think that is an awful large number of different sign languages. I don't feel it was the best choice. I think it would be more enjoyable to have sign language be, albiet frequently a little uncommon, something that tends to transcend normal language borders, more than most. I also don't necessarily think that someone knowing sign language necessarily equate to the reading lips feat. I think that should be tied more to a difficulty in hearing, rather than the choice to learn a sign language.

I honestly think there should be fewer distinct sign languages, but several races/cultures would share specific ones. I could see Drow having their own for historical reasons, which would be a secret language. I could imagine a Avistan-Garund humanoids perhaps sharing one, likely allowing Tian to have its own. Potentially, you could allow each continent to have their own, if you wanted to. Each normal language would get tied to a family group based on continent of origin or such and if someone were to learn sign language, the would get the corresponding language. Alternately you might have a different sign language based as a general/default rule on each alphabet, as the alphabet probably reflects a common cultural origin. Things like Druidic and Drow might remain rare/secret separate sign languages.

As for allowing for the existence of a 'sign-language' for magic, I could imagine their being the capability of such existing, although I would kind of wonder if it would make sense for there to be a different one for each of Arcane, Primal, Occult, and Divine by which there might be motions that would be symmetrical in meaning in a magical sense to the magical incantations which might be more frequently employed. You would need to make sure that the mechanics for learning this was not simply hands-down more advantageous than simply using metamagic to cast silent spells.

So, as far as playing a character with a disability. I would permit a deaf spellcaster to still use verbal components. They wouldn't have to be inherently mute. In fluff, learning the verbal components probably take them more work/attention, but they probably have gathered a sense of how forming the words actually spawns the magic and use a slightly increased ability to sense the effects of the incantations to allow them to properly form their verbal components, as they can't hear them.

A mute spellcaster, I'd allow it, but yes there would have to work out a way for them to replace the requirements for verbal components with something else. [Riffle scrolls could for instance perhaps involve a materials and somatic application for instance] Since they are accepting a disability, that can give the GM a reason to offer them a mitigating feat of some sort as a potential result of their willingly taking on the disability. If being able to create riffle scrolls to cast from spell slots was a feat, it could be that choosing the disability might by you that feat. My idea being, by tying it to your spell slots still, it should be able to reduce the cost component of using rifle scrolls down significantly, to make the more practical for spellcasters. Others could also learn that method and use that, even if they are not mute. It would just require the cost of a feat, for instance.

If the player requested, and I were to decide there should be an 'inherently magical' form of sign language for each of the types of magic, I could instead grant them a free additional 'magic-sign-language' known. And then require a free hand [other than the one used by any somatic actions required by the 'activity'] And would be applicable to one type of spells.

Presumably, identifying spells cast that way would also be harder, taking a penalty to the identification check, if the individual who was perceiving the spell being cast was not familiar with that sign-language. Probably not unlike someone trying to recognize a spell being cast if they can't hear the verbal component.


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The game should make an effort to be as mechanically unobtrusive as reasonably possible for blind, deaf, and disabled characters. Sign language for casting seems like it can generally work as a stand-in for verbal compontents.

I would say that generally silent somantic casting is better than noisy verbal casting. Silence may not come up all the time, but when it comes up being able to effectively ignore it is pretty powerful. I know at least PC's tend to use silence to deal with enemy casters, and if hte PC's are just immune to it themselves it kind of precludes similarly tactical enemies doing the same. Being able to cast silently is itself a great boon to a party, magic when NPC's don't know there's magic is extremely powerful.

Somantic casting does trigger reactions, but the list of spells that don't already have a somantic component and are combat relevant is fairly short.

The belief that being mute is a slight advantage would cause the problem of optimizers being a bit obnoxious coming up with excuses for why all their casters are mute.

I think a possible way to work around this without a big overhaul of how magic works is to have a simple free cantrip that magically converts the caster's hand motions into sound, which can in turn be used to cast spells. It provides an easy way for deaf or mute characters to converse with NPC's and it avoids problems with balancing mute characters. The spell could even allow a conscious character to "pre-speak" certain phrases so that no somantic component is required at all, allowing a mute caster to cast spells without somantic components just as well as those who can speak verbally. And since it's still making noise, it doesn't make it overly attractive to players looking to optimize their spellcasters.


I don't think we should have automatic compensation for disabilities, as I don't want a game where character build guides tell you to roll a blind or mute Wizard or else you will be sub-par.
I mean, if we give echolocation to every blind PC (and there are several cases of real human people who developed that!), it could become an advantage more often than it is a liability.
Also, talking about sign language-casting, consider the case of a PC spellcaster who can speak and learns sign language anyway: should they be able to cast when silenced? Is that really balanced, or would we have ALL casters learn sign language and become immune to silencing?

That said, it makes sense that a PC who was born without one of their senses (or who has lost it at young age) has developed something to partially make up for that. A free feat that is not as good as the real thing, but makes the PC playable; and something that other people who don't have the disability can learn too (not for free, of course) without making it a 'forced' choice.
For example, a spellcaster could learn to make the required sounds using gestures: a free ability for PCs who start as mute, and a skill/general feat for others. You can substitute verbal components with somatic ones, but you still need sound to cast. I could support something like this.


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Gestures that make sound? I'm all for game balance, but this sounds a bit silly.


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Presumably it starts with hand-clapping and finger-snapping and becomes more sophisticated somehow.


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Roswynn wrote:
Gestures that make sound? I'm all for game balance, but this sounds a bit silly.

You gesture, magical sounds emanate that in turn help you finish the spell. Sounds just fine to me. A loud-ass clap or fingersnap to spring forth a fireball seems perfectly thematic to me as well.


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

Actually, the concept of a cantrip that makes one be able to make vocal sounds by means of concentration and gestures seems perfectly reasonable concept to me. The voice would obviously be magical/artificial in nature (not something one could use to easily disguise their voice as another person). I certainly see it as one of a few viable solutions.

Yes, while I feel like the game should be inclusive for character ideas that include people with disabilities. I agree that we shouldn't be culturally appropriating them, and making the accommodations for them better than the disability, and thereby making it the 'power' choice.

Those who I've known with disabilities know, and understand that they are at a disadvantage, by that which is their natural disadvantage. They don't generally want people to act like that isn't true. What they want, is to not be prevented from doing what it is they can do, just because there are things they either can't do or find it difficult to do. They want to be able to feel productive. They want to participate. They don't want to ignore how they are different. They want you to recognize how they are still the same.

Making the game welcoming to blind character concepts isn't, as mentioned, giving everyone who is blind free echolocation, so it doesn't impact them. It is making sure they can have a viable character concept even though they have a notable disability which does affect them. You should be able to have a blind warrior, or spell caster, even potentially a thief, although I must admit that one I'd have to think through how to make that one feel viable.

If you ask me, wiping away all the impact of a disability is more disrespectful of those who have disabilities, than working out reasonable impacts for disabilities, and accommodations that may help insure heroic concepts are still viable, while leaving the disability as a real component of that final character concept.

Sorry, I think that tripped up some emotions I guess.


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Loreguard wrote:

Actually, the concept of a cantrip that makes one be able to make vocal sounds by means of concentration and gestures seems perfectly reasonable concept to me. The voice would obviously be magical/artificial in nature (not something one could use to easily disguise their voice as another person). I certainly see it as one of a few viable solutions.

Yes, while I feel like the game should be inclusive for character ideas that include people with disabilities. I agree that we shouldn't be culturally appropriating them, and making the accommodations for them better than the disability, and thereby making it the 'power' choice.

Those who I've known with disabilities know, and understand that they are at a disadvantage, by that which is their natural disadvantage. They don't generally want people to act like that isn't true. What they want, is to not be prevented from doing what it is they can do, just because there are things they either can't do or find it difficult to do. They want to be able to feel productive. They want to participate. They don't want to ignore how they are different. They want you to recognize how they are still the same.

Making the game welcoming to blind character concepts isn't, as mentioned, giving everyone who is blind free echolocation, so it doesn't impact them. It is making sure they can have a viable character concept even though they have a notable disability which does affect them. You should be able to have a blind warrior, or spell caster, even potentially a thief, although I must admit that one I'd have to think through how to make that one feel viable.

If you ask me, wiping away all the impact of a disability is more disrespectful of those who have disabilities, than working out reasonable impacts for disabilities, and accommodations that may help insure heroic concepts are still viable, while leaving the disability as a real component of that final character concept.

Sorry, I think that tripped up some emotions I guess.

That's kind of where I'm at. My hearing impaired friend wasn't a fan of the deaf Oracle curse, for example. That being said, this is a game where people become super human over time. A high level feat that grants blindsight isn't absurd in the context of the game. I just think you should get it automatically because you're blind.


Captain Morgan wrote:
A high level feat that grants blindsight isn't absurd in the context of the game. I just think you should get it automatically because you're blind.

You think you should get it automatically because you're blind? Or you don't think you should get it automatically because you're blind?

Because your post seemed like it was building up to the latter. To me, at least.

I personally dislike the idea of a caster who instead of reciting a magical formula or praying to their deity snaps their fingers and claps their hands, but I do accept that others can find it acceptable. It's just not my cup of tea.

I still like better the idea that deaf or mute casters can take a feat that allows them to use somatics instead of verbals - it renders you invulnerable to magical silence but it makes you doubly susceptible to grapples, which everyone can try. I don't know whether it should be something freely given to all impaired spellcasters or if they should need to spend a feat to get it. On one side we want everything to stay balanced, on the other hand we might want to avoid penalizing a character concept because of a disability... it's difficult for me to judge how every group in the player base should behave - I think we could propose a series of solutions and each group could choose the one that fits best.

Also, while somehow not liking the idea of finger snaps substituing for verbals, I find whistling quite appropriate (Did Guardians of the Galaxy have such an influence over me?) and I would support it.

But it's just my aesthetic preferences - what matters is being as inclusive as possible, whatever's required of the game/flavor.

Dark Archive

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Pathfinder Adventure Path, Lost Omens, Pawns, Rulebook Subscriber
Roswynn wrote:


Also, while somehow not liking the idea of finger snaps substituing for verbals, I find whistling quite appropriate (Did Guardians of the Galaxy have such an influence over me?) and I would support it.

Whistling does seem like an appropriate Verbal Casting action for a mute and/or deaf caster. It has the same limitations and freedoms as chanting a prayer or reciting magical incantation: It can still be heard and is affected by silence, while not requiring a free hand or being disruptable like the hypothetical "Sign Language as a Somatic action" suggestions upthread. Since it's just fluff reskinning with no mechanical advantage, I'm quite comfortable just allowing it for all spellcasters who want to, deaf, mute or not.

Now if you'll excuse me, I need to go build Yondu. I'm Mary Poppins y'all!


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Pathfinder Pathfinder Accessories Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber

Removing the verbal component doesn’t make the casting silent though, so that’s not an advantage. For PF2, they will make it clearer that even if a spell have no verbal/somatic component, it can be heard, seen, scent, known, etc. Unless you use conceal, or the spell mention not being overt (I don’t remember one explicitly, but I wouldn’t be surprised one will appear one day).

I just saw some people that seemed to think otherwise... I thought it was clear in the playtest, but not everyone did it. Also I’m pretty sure someone else mentioned it too, but I’m on mobile.


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Elfteiroh wrote:

Removing the verbal component doesn’t make the casting silent though, so that’s not an advantage. For PF2, they will make it clearer that even if a spell have no verbal/somatic component, it can be heard, seen, scent, known, etc. Unless you use conceal, or the spell mention not being overt (I don’t remember one explicitly, but I wouldn’t be surprised one will appear one day).

I just saw some people that seemed to think otherwise... I thought it was clear in the playtest, but not everyone did it. Also I’m pretty sure someone else mentioned it too, but I’m on mobile.

Unless I've missed something, in the playtest initial rulebook the only rules about spells being heard were that the Verbal Casting action (which specifies vocalizing in a loud and strong voice) had the auditory trait while Material and Somatic Casting did not (unless a bard invoked their right to do them via instrument, in which case they acquired the auditory trait). An update specified

playtest rulebook update wrote:
Page 195—In Casting Spells, at the end of the first paragraph, add “Whenever you Cast a Spell, your spellcasting creates visual manifestations of the gathering magic, although feats such as Conceal Spell (page 131 and 139) and Melodious Spell (page 67) can help hide such manifestations or otherwise prevent observers from noticing that you are casting.”

but said nothing about having non-visual manifestations by default.

So if PF2 spell manifestations can be seen and heard and smelled by default, it's a significant change from the playtest. Do you remember where you heard of it?


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Roswynn wrote:
Captain Morgan wrote:
A high level feat that grants blindsight isn't absurd in the context of the game. I just think you should get it automatically because you're blind.

You think you should get it automatically because you're blind? Or you don't think you should get it automatically because you're blind?

Because your post seemed like it was building up to the latter. To me, at least.

I personally dislike the idea of a caster who instead of reciting a magical formula or praying to their deity snaps their fingers and claps their hands, but I do accept that others can find it acceptable. It's just not my cup of tea.

I still like better the idea that deaf or mute casters can take a feat that allows them to use somatics instead of verbals - it renders you invulnerable to magical silence but it makes you doubly susceptible to grapples, which everyone can try. I don't know whether it should be something freely given to all impaired spellcasters or if they should need to spend a feat to get it. On one side we want everything to stay balanced, on the other hand we might want to avoid penalizing a character concept because of a disability... it's difficult for me to judge how every group in the player base should behave - I think we could propose a series of solutions and each group could choose the one that fits best.

Also, while somehow not liking the idea of finger snaps substituing for verbals, I find whistling quite appropriate (Did Guardians of the Galaxy have such an influence over me?) and I would support it.

But it's just my aesthetic preferences - what matters is being as inclusive as possible, whatever's required of the game/flavor.

You are correct. I don't think you should get it automatically for being blind. That was a typo. I post too much from my phone while waiting for the bathroom at work.

As for snapping and clapping, I'm into it mostly because of Fullmetal Alchemist. I think having signature animated gestures associated with casting or energy blasts or whatever is a really cool aesthetic. That opinion doesn't really intersect with game balance though.


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I'm inclined to just treat sign language as speech for purposes of verbal components.

Liberty's Edge

PossibleCabbage wrote:
I'm inclined to just treat sign language as speech for purposes of verbal components.

I tend to agree, in fact I almost wonder is it would have been wiser to rename it as a "Language" component rather than a verbal one to get over that sticking point but alas it's a bit late for that consideration.


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Themetricsystem wrote:
PossibleCabbage wrote:
I'm inclined to just treat sign language as speech for purposes of verbal components.
I tend to agree, in fact I almost wonder is it would have been wiser to rename it as a "Language" component rather than a verbal one to get over that sticking point but alas it's a bit late for that consideration.

Because the mechanical important part of verbal casting, the "auditory" trait, is that it makes sound. It could be whisteling or throat-singing but it has to interact with magical silence and be able to be heard. It doesn't have to have meaningful content.

There is the "lingual" tag for everything that is speech that must be understood somehow and that all speech and sign language would have.

EDIT: added the correct trait name for verbal casting and lingual


I'm really appreciating the idea of whistling for deaf/mute casters.


Pathfinder Pathfinder Accessories Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber
Fuzzy-Wuzzy wrote:
Elfteiroh wrote:

Removing the verbal component doesn’t make the casting silent though, so that’s not an advantage. For PF2, they will make it clearer that even if a spell have no verbal/somatic component, it can be heard, seen, scent, known, etc. Unless you use conceal, or the spell mention not being overt (I don’t remember one explicitly, but I wouldn’t be surprised one will appear one day).

I just saw some people that seemed to think otherwise... I thought it was clear in the playtest, but not everyone did it. Also I’m pretty sure someone else mentioned it too, but I’m on mobile.

Unless I've missed something, in the playtest initial rulebook the only rules about spells being heard were that the Verbal Casting action (which specifies vocalizing in a loud and strong voice) had the auditory trait while Material and Somatic Casting did not (unless a bard invoked their right to do them via instrument, in which case they acquired the auditory trait). An update specified

playtest rulebook update wrote:
Page 195—In Casting Spells, at the end of the first paragraph, add “Whenever you Cast a Spell, your spellcasting creates visual manifestations of the gathering magic, although feats such as Conceal Spell (page 131 and 139) and Melodious Spell (page 67) can help hide such manifestations or otherwise prevent observers from noticing that you are casting.”

but said nothing about having non-visual manifestations by default.

So if PF2 spell manifestations can be seen and heard and smelled by default, it's a significant change from the playtest. Do you remember where you heard of it?

Hum... I didn't have the book to make sure of the writing... I remember a dev talking about it on the forums and the intention. I may have been wrong, or that may not have been a consensus in the team... I guess we'll see. In the meantime, from what we know, you're right, I was wrong. Sorry. *bow out* :)


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Roswynn wrote:
I'm really appreciating the idea of whistling for deaf/mute casters.

If PF2 does do that I anticipate delightful effects on player paranoia!

"You hear someone innocently whistling a happy tune somewhere nearby."

"DUCK AND COVER! DEFCON ONE! FIRE IN THE HOLE! THIS IS NOT A DRILL, PEOPLE! WE HAVE WHISTLING!"


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Fuzzy-Wuzzy wrote:
Roswynn wrote:
I'm really appreciating the idea of whistling for deaf/mute casters.

If PF2 does do that I anticipate delightful effects on player paranoia!

"You hear someone innocently whistling a happy tune somewhere nearby."

"DUCK AND COVER! DEFCON ONE! FIRE IN THE HOLE! THIS IS NOT A DRILL, PEOPLE! WE HAVE WHISTLING!"

XD

Well, but you would have similar reactions whenever someone picks up a musical instrument and starts playing or singing... how do we know they're not a bard trying to enslave our minds? ;)


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Roswynn wrote:
Fuzzy-Wuzzy wrote:
Roswynn wrote:
I'm really appreciating the idea of whistling for deaf/mute casters.

If PF2 does do that I anticipate delightful effects on player paranoia!

"You hear someone innocently whistling a happy tune somewhere nearby."

"DUCK AND COVER! DEFCON ONE! FIRE IN THE HOLE! THIS IS NOT A DRILL, PEOPLE! WE HAVE WHISTLING!"

XD

Well, but you would have similar reactions whenever someone picks up a musical instrument and starts playing or singing... how do we know they're not a bard trying to enslave our minds? ;)

Those thoughts! That's how superstition totem barbarians are born!


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We can laugh about it in a world where magic as a weapon of mass destruction isn't real, but why wouldn't people in Golarion treat people picking up a music instrument or making incomprehensible sounds on a similar level to someone drawing a gun? The assumption that spell casting creates a visible magical aura actually goes a long way to making it safe for folks that are just playing musical instruments not to be burned at the stake or thrown in the river when something bad happens during their song.

Edit: I mean every first level bard is capable of casting charm person. Why on earth would you let traveling minstrels put on any kind of show, unless disguising magic was a difficult thing to do that required expert training?


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Fuzzy-Wuzzy wrote:
Presumably it starts with hand-clapping and finger-snapping and becomes more sophisticated somehow.

Makes me think of how Merlin casted spell in "The Boy who would be King". He made massive hand gestures and snapped/pounded his fists together/clapped/slapped his forearms/other random-ass things with his hands. I'm pretty sure the director just said "You've seen Naruto? That, just even more insane".


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nick1wasd wrote:
Fuzzy-Wuzzy wrote:
Presumably it starts with hand-clapping and finger-snapping and becomes more sophisticated somehow.
Makes me think of how Merlin casted spell in "The Boy who would be King". He made massive hand gestures and snapped/pounded his fists together/clapped/slapped his forearms/other random-ass things with his hands. I'm pretty sure the director just said "You've seen Naruto? That, just even more insane".

Or Avatar the Last Airbender/Legend of Korra - you perform katas and... no, wait, I must be thinking of kineticists...

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