How will you be using rarity?


Advice


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I'm currently thinking about using rarity to restrict what classes are available. Monks would be rare while barbarians, champions, clerics and druids would be uncommon. In order to get access to an uncommon class you must take a specific background.

Druids will be an old tradition that has been all but forgotten except by a couple of cultures (tribal humans and gnomes to be specific). To become a druid you'll need to take the "Priest of the Old Gods" background which is only open to gnomes and humans. By taking it, you are identifying yourself as a member of that culture. Barbarians will likewise have to be a "Warrior of the Northern Tribes" and that grants you access to the barbarian class and the fury, giant and spirit totems.

Dwarven clerics would have their own unique background, as would halfling clerics and human clerics. Taking any one of these backgrounds would identify which culture your character belongs to and grant you access to the cleric class and specific pantheon associated with that culture.

Champions would have two ways of accessing it. Being a knight (human only background) would certainly grant you access. Otherwise you could take the "Unexpected Hero" background (open to any ancestry). The difference between the backgrounds are that knights are typically the ones who become champions and that says a lot about their place in the world. However "Unexpected Hero" means that despite not meeting the normal requirements to qualify as a champion, you've done something remarkable in your background and so an exception has been made for you. This means the fact your a champion is going to be notable and will draw attention from a lot of people.

All of this is just to help cement what the classes represent in terms of the culture of the setting and what it means to be a member of that culture. Monks are not native to this particular area of the setting and so you can't even take a background to gain access. But that doesn't mean you can't become a monk later on. It just means it's more likely to be handed out as treasure rather than something that can be taken willy nilly.

Does anyone else have any ideas for how they plan to use the rarity system in their games?


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I really see the rarity system as a reward for when the party is deep in a dungeon. That "Christmas came early" feeling when the party finds a rare magical sword buried in the depths, or comes across a library and finds a scroll of an uncommon spell. The gated access helps control what is availible at the start of the adventure, but what that means is they can find new and interesting things that go beyond what they could hope to build their character around.

Related to 1e, imagine finding a dark and evil text that instructs the user on how to learn the spell Blood Money. That shouldn't be something that every bright-eyed wizard goes over in school, that should be a secret that has been waiting to be uncovered.

It also means the second Paizo prints a spell for an adventure, it doesn't suddenly become run-of-the-mill.

Oh, and to go even further, I could imagine a "Big book of Rewards!" that basically can be used to pull together all of the Uncommon+ material, as a tool for GMs to offer fun new things to players.


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If I understand things correctly, the rarity levels seem to work out like this:

Common items are available to all PCs, no questions asked.

Uncommon items are available to PCs who select the right elements in building their character or who make the right contacts in play. So a PC can pick them if they jump through the right hoops to do so.

Rare items are basically up to the GM to hand out -- there is no way for a PC to get them otherwise.


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David knott 242 wrote:


If I understand things correctly, the rarity levels seem to work out like this:

Common items are available to all PCs, no questions asked.

Uncommon items are available to PCs who select the right elements in building their character or who make the right contacts in play. So a PC can pick them if they jump through the right hoops to do so.

Rare items are basically up to the GM to hand out -- there is no way for a PC to get them otherwise.

Yup. That's right. Basically this thread is about ideas on how you plan to use it (if you have any) in your game.


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I see it as a useful thing for the community to talk a common language, but basically valueless at our table. We often play games where “wizards don’t exist” or where magic is rare/more common than the default. In other words, pretty much everything is rare at our table and we define our game worlds by what things are allowed. I don’t see it as having a big impact on play, but it will help provide context when Paizo release material (and especially when it’s compiled on online databases).


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I think the rarity system will work really well for varying a campaign setting. I am mostly playing on Golarion right now, but as an example you could easily do a samurai and ninja class (or archetypes) that are rare outside of Tian Xia. Or even we are going to play a Horror campaign so items that we convert from the PF1 book are common or uncommon, and other books would then be rare in that campaign.


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Well, we now have a shorthand where the GM can say that an item is common, uncommon, or rare and the players will immediately know what is meant.

Of course, designating something as uncommon suggests that the GM have in mind (if not tell his players) how a PC can qualify to get it.


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John,

I think tying classes to specific ancestries and backgrounds by using the rarity system is a very cool idea. Maybe even tying certain multi-class options to whether there is someone in the party who can teach it, or else the proper mentor has been found to open it up. Paired with retraining, I could see this as a very cool way for characters to matriculate into their builds and have them feel rooted in the game world.


I think I'd probably use them much like you suggest in OP.

I really like the rarity system and using it for special rewards/prestige access/group membership benefits, etc feels really fresh.


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I'll largely use rarity as a flag for my attention when I see a new spell or item.

Just a little "Hey, GM, you might want to consider the repercussions this thing will have on your game"

Within my worlds I already know what's rare or not, and I adjudicate purchases and loot as appropriate.


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I’ll be running a homebrew setting where barbarian, monk, and druid are uncommon. While the setting touches on the roles all classes play, these three are more heavily prescribed. For example, among the setting’s core races, there are no barbarian tribes, but their militaries do train them as berserkers. Consequently, if you want to be a barbarian, that will factor into your background, and you’ll need to use that to establish narrative permission to be a barbarian.

I plan to keep spell rarity as it was from the playtest, though I will be making raise dead and the resurrection ritual rare. There is no afterlife in my setting, so bringing someone (more or less) back to life requires magic that has been lost for a long time. The cosmology is a bit different from Golarion, so I’ll make changes as needed to support that.


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I think OP has a good idea for establishing a setting. Just going through such a list of relative rarities and requirements helps a player to contextualize the world regardless of what they actually pick for their own PC.

I think personally I am going to try and move some of the load onto region tags. My setting has about 6 regions (depending on where exactly you draw the lines) and I was planning on tagging certain subclasses/weapons/spells etc. as region specific meaning common if the character originated from that region and uncommon otherwise.

It's only an idea at this point since I am trying to balance using rules to establish a setting vs adding too much complexity by presenting new players an additional giant setting guide on top of the already big CRB.


While I like the idea of restricting classes by rarity and culture, and using backgrounds as requirements (I specifically like the idea of limiting the number of casters in a party, because I'm petty and lazy, and it makes DMing easier for me) I can see players objecting to this due to an (incorrect) notion that it restricts their character concept. Rather than understanding that their decision on which class they pick entails implications to their place in the setting you are running, they might think that you are trying to limit their choices or tell them that they cannot play the character that they want.

I've rarely run into this problem, but it's usually because I just let players play whatever they want regardless of how improbable it is (some exceptions apply). But then again, that bit me in the rear several times, too.


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I read this thread as "will you be using rarity?" Lol.

In any case, I will be using uncommon and rare treasure as a nice way to reward players with things that go above the power curve. Items like secret treasure rooms that are deadly encounters. I want the players to find a vorpal sword and say "holy crap!". I want the methods to make the item be lost to all but the most legendary smiths. (A cool quest reward for a player would be a recipe for an uncommon item when they hit legendary crafting)


Currently, I'm planning to redo a lot of my homebrew setting after I've gone through the official PF2 rules (& made Character/GM Sheets).

For general areas/regions - I'm planning to make a masterlist of several rarities specific to that region which I can easily pull from & share with players when starting a new campaign.

For deities in particular, I'm planning to use rarity to help show where they're actually worshiped/known in the setting (my setting currently has 153 deities - though I planning to prune some & rename many of them). Hopefully this will make my very large list much more manageable.

For races & classes, I'm not particularly a fan of making players feel too restricted in their selections of these unless they're very specific to an area (such as Samurai not being in a medieval Europe-style region). As such, I'm planning to allow players to pick uncommon races/classes without needing GM permission - instead stating that picking an uncommon option here means that NPCs will react, often negatively, to the character if they are aware of their race/class. The player can try to hide this if possible (tiefling covering inhuman features, Witch pretending to be a bard/eccentric wizard) but there are consequences if they are revealed (such as certain areas making witchcraft a burnable offence). Basically using the tag here to preemptively warn the player that while they can pick these options - doing so can come back to bite them and they should be prepared/expecting such.

For spells, I'm planning to bump certain categories (long-distance teleportation, resurrection) straight up to rare to signify next to no one has access to them within the setting, and the ones who do aren't sharing for various reasons (Resurrection in particular damages an already fragile & pieced together afterlife system in my setting).


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Has there been any word on how rarity will be indicated in 2e? I really did not like the color system used in the Playtest.


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Fumarole wrote:
Has there been any word on how rarity will be indicated in 2e? I really did not like the color system used in the Playtest.

If memory serves, they have a tag of uncommon or rare, but still retain color coding. The Tag is needed to help with color blind players/GMs.


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Fumarole wrote:
Has there been any word on how rarity will be indicated in 2e? I really did not like the color system used in the Playtest.

Via traits (listed right below the name of a particular thing), it seems.

Anything without a rarity (uncommon, rare or unique) trait is implicitly common, and while the boxes themselves are colored (I forget what colors they use exactly), a spell like Anti-Magic Field might have Rare and Abjuration as traits (as opposed to just Abjuration and an orange-colored level box as it did in the Playtest).


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Kelseus wrote:
Fumarole wrote:
Has there been any word on how rarity will be indicated in 2e? I really did not like the color system used in the Playtest.
If memory serves, they have a tag of uncommon or rare, but still retain color coding. The Tag is needed to help with color blind players/GMs.

A lot of the players at the table kept not noticing the dark red color of uncommon and I swear picked every uncommon spell and item for their builds. We had to pretty much have each other read our character sheets to make sure we didnt have something we shouldnt


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One thing I have thought about doing is limiting the number of uncommon things PCs can have at chargen without having mechanics to dictate that you have access.

PCs are extraordinary, but should not be extraordinary in every conceivable way.


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That's good news that there will be a trait callout via text. For some reason, I never noticed the colors unless I was specifically looking for rarity. It will also be better this way for my colorblind player.

Liberty's Edge

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I'll just ending up using it as written, with Rare items being something that I will use when GMing if they are part of the AP (when running pre-generated) or as story tie-ins when running self-generated.


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I like the idea of making certain ancestries or classes rarer than others, especially in homebrew settings. Likewise it makes sense that some items will be beyond a character's ability to craft initially or be so rare that you're not going to find them in a marketplace in most cities. It gives the world an epic and mysterious scope that lets players explore and grow within. It makes powerful magic have a powerful impact on the PLAYER not just their character. It goes from a stat stick to something they either struggled to get/make or otherwise have a interesting story associated with finding it. Rarity also gives a good GM cue to maybe build some more history around items so that players can learn the story of an item and get clues on where to find it or have plots associated with finding it. It definitely can lead to some fun times if used as something more than a content gate.


PossibleCabbage wrote:

One thing I have thought about doing is limiting the number of uncommon things PCs can have at chargen without having mechanics to dictate that you have access.

PCs are extraordinary, but should not be extraordinary in every conceivable way.

I have had a similar thought.

"They're special ;) " is not a good enough answer to the question "why is your character's spellbook filled with spells that aren't particularly well known?" or "why is your character carrying around three weapons not typically found in this region?".

That's how I plan to use Uncommon in general. At character creation, having several uncommon things need to be justified by your ancestry or background. During play, uncommon would be less important and generally hand-waved.

Rare would be used basically as described: Not something a character could ever pick up themselves, but rather discovered during an adventure.

Liberty's Edge

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I do not like the principle of heavily tying classes to backstories because sometimes what you need for your concept is the mechanics of the class and not its flavor.

I envision using rarity to easily recreate some rather different settings such as that of Midnight, or Golarion after Earthfall.


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The Raven Black wrote:

I do not like the principle of heavily tying classes to backstories because sometimes what you need for your concept is the mechanics of the class and not its flavor.

I envision using rarity to easily recreate some rather different settings such as that of Midnight, or Golarion after Earthfall.

Using many of the old TSR/WotC settings, rarity becomes extremely useful. Dark Sun, metal is rare. Dragonlance, at the right time, the Divine Spell list is rare. It is a very simple shorthand to do quite complicated settings changes.


I plan to use rarities pretty much as they have been described...at least to start. I like the theory behind the idea. But if not, I am open to changes for sure.


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kenhito wrote:
I like the idea of making certain ancestries or classes rarer than others, especially in homebrew settings.

What does that mean in terms of anything other than statistics? Since ancestry and class are among the first character creation decisions made in this game, how do you decide whether a player can play a given ancestry of class that is not common?


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I think it will certainly depend on how Rarity is used in the expansion books. Most of the games I've ever played or ran have already had the implicit rule of "talk to your GM before making a character", and I usually prefer to dedicate a whole session to it so that my players know what everyone else is doing, can help each other out, and can tie their characters together.

But some players do either get really hyped up for the game or just prefer to begin picking out stuff beforehand, so Rarity might end up replacing our general rule of "if you're picking something from outside the Core/Ultimate books, definitely ask first" to keep them in check even if a little bit.


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David knott 242 wrote:
kenhito wrote:
I like the idea of making certain ancestries or classes rarer than others, especially in homebrew settings.

What does that mean in terms of anything other than statistics? Since ancestry and class are among the first character creation decisions made in this game, how do you decide whether a player can play a given ancestry of class that is not common?

It could also apply to multiclassing. If a player wants to take a dedication for a class that is rare, they will need to find someone to teach them.


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Fumarole wrote:
David knott 242 wrote:
kenhito wrote:
I like the idea of making certain ancestries or classes rarer than others, especially in homebrew settings.

What does that mean in terms of anything other than statistics? Since ancestry and class are among the first character creation decisions made in this game, how do you decide whether a player can play a given ancestry of class that is not common?

It could also apply to multiclassing. If a player wants to take a dedication for a class that is rare, they will need to find someone to teach them.

But in that case it would be the dedication feat that you would assign a rarity to -- the class itself would have to be outright banned since nobody in your campaign can start play in it.


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Personally I won't be using rarity (as a DM) if it's avoidable.

It's bad enough we're back to square 1 with regards to choices available to players. I have no intention on rare-walling anything off. If Paizo published it, they think it's acceptable rules-wise, and so do I. I'm not worried about one option being at the high-end of power for its level/price/whatever. I'm worried about "darn, six months ago with PF1 I could build precisely what I wanted for a character... now I'm stuck with Core". Not looking forward to a decade of useful things trickling out. Give me the year 2029 now.


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"Whatever Paizo publishes should be available to all characters" already doesn't work in PF1 since "Blood Money" was in the first AP and people insisting they should have access to it without even getting near Karzoug is kind of why they stopped doing that sort of thing.

I mean, at least enforce the unique rarity, so people aren't just buying artifacts from the village blacksmith.


Fumarole wrote:
That's good news that there will be a trait callout via text. For some reason, I never noticed the colors unless I was specifically looking for rarity. It will also be better this way for my colorblind player.

Yep, I had to have someone tell me what my alchemist could or couldn't learn from my alchemy because I couldn't tell the difference in colors.


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Anguish wrote:

Personally I won't be using rarity (as a DM) if it's avoidable.

It's bad enough we're back to square 1 with regards to choices available to players. I have no intention on rare-walling anything off. If Paizo published it, they think it's acceptable rules-wise, and so do I. I'm not worried about one option being at the high-end of power for its level/price/whatever. I'm worried about "darn, six months ago with PF1 I could build precisely what I wanted for a character... now I'm stuck with Core". Not looking forward to a decade of useful things trickling out. Give me the year 2029 now.

Whilst whatever works for you works for you, I’d at least bare in mind that Paizo aren’t ignoring it.

They already released material in PF1 that they knew was of varying power to “the baseline” and/or was particularly situation specific (they treated rules components in the player companions qualitatively differently from rules components in the Rulebook line, for example - no matter how similarly they were presented in databases).

In PF2 they’ve built in a way to do that even more. As such, I suspect the rare moniker should be treated as a “handle with care” sign even for those of us who won’t formally use it during gameplay.

To be clear, I pretty much agree with you. I just think it’ll be worth some thought if people begin choosing lots and lots of rare options - the diversity that brings may come with a quality of gaming price tag.


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David knott 242 wrote:
kenhito wrote:
I like the idea of making certain ancestries or classes rarer than others, especially in homebrew settings.

What does that mean in terms of anything other than statistics? Since ancestry and class are among the first character creation decisions made in this game, how do you decide whether a player can play a given ancestry of class that is not common?

Let's say your homebrew world is lower magic (PF is not the ideal system for that, but let's thought exercise this). Sorcerors and Wizards are probably fairly rare. While that might not necessarily impact a player's choice in how to build their character at creation (they really want a spell caster, even if it will be a difficult class for the setting), it might impact how the world interacts with them. Likewise if Gnomes are only found on one small island away from the mainland then they'll be an oddity wherever they go. While it might not necessarily be a player impact on creation, it should shape the world's interaction with them and their interaction with the world. I tend to look at what tells the more interesting story and that PCs should be the oddities if the setting calls for them, but this also relies on the players realizing their characters are strange for the setting and RPing that appropriately. But then, I'm very story driven so I look at most mechanics in terms of "how can I make a story hook out of that and make it fun."


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Oh man, I love rarity. I love that I can tell my players "you can buy any common magic item of your level or less without needing to ask me", instead of having to go through a whole gamut of "well, these items are typically available; this town has most items under this GP value but ask me about specific items... etc etc."

If I have a problem with a particular item, I can just change its rarity level.

One of my favorite new systems in PF2e for sure.


This is very Pro-DM and therefore awesome. Ultimately EVERYTHING is at the discretion of the DM. But, having a few things be called out as "hey, ask for this no matter what" is awesome.

I generally use stuff like this as a balancing mechanism. Gimpy characters get more rare stuff because I, the DM, said so. This allows me to tip the scales a bit and make players who don't obsess over character build choices as effective as the power gamers.

I would normally do this through campaign specific powers but now it can be easily done through spells and items as well. Which is nice.

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