The straitjacket of Rarity in P2E


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Meraki wrote:
(The one that really got me to raise my eyebrows was resplendent mansion. It's a 9th level spell and not marked uncommon...but magnificent mansion, a 7th level spell, is marked uncommon. I guess wizards prefer to spread the methods of getting resplendent mansions instead of magnificent ones? :-) )

Well, that's exactly the kind of purely academic quibble wizards tend to get caught up on!


I've noticed a lot of discussion in here seems to think that either a character is being built for a game that is actively ongoing (and therefore has a GM on hand to ask) or else is pure Theorycraft (in which case something something "I'm the GM now".) From personal experience though, and maybe my experience is Uncommon or even Rare, but I definitely have access to it and surely it's not Unique to me, there is a third category: The build designed for a specific game that doesn't have a set GM yet. It's kinda like Theorycraft but with intent to play once someone runs the game, and it's the kind of situation one might easily find themselves in if they play with a group that doesn't have a set GM (and especially a group that does a lot of APs and such). Personally, as soon as a Player's Guide drops I tend to start considering what kind of character might fit into the adventure, and how I might make that character. However, unless someone starts running it immediately (which almost never happens, my group's GMs tend to wait for the entire AP to come out first, and of course sometimes not even then) the actual game won't be played for a while, and I have no idea which of the several GMs in the group will be running it. And believe me when I say that the GMs in my group have very different styles (ranging from one that threw 3 Greatswords at a party with 1 Greatsword user because that's what was written and they didn't feel like straying from the adventure as written to the one that rewrote 3/4 of the story because they were having so much fun messing around with the Witch's Patron mechanic). So if the concept you come up with is something that seems like it's going to need a particular Uncommon whatever or two... well, it pretty much comes down to either "discard the concept" or "hope and pray that the right GM runs the game".


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Tursic wrote:
The main problem I have with the rarity system is how it is packaged. The uncommon options should be in books for GMs, not general player books. I do not want to buy a book targeted at me as a player just to find out that I may not be able to use it. It feels like I have been cheated. I hope they keep the uncommon stuff to GM targeted books.

That would require the CRB to be split up into multiple books. Also as the GM usually purchases the books in most non PFS groups it would also be limiting what they have access to world build / reward with.

It would also limit Paizo's ability to add feats/archetypes/classes and such that allow baseline access to certain uncommon spells/feats/abilities at a later point unless they started to only include them in books that had those options.
Something that would require the Paizo brass to actually develop divination powers.


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Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
Ravingdork wrote:

After reading the P2E playtest blogs, it was my understanding that rarity was going to be an organization tool for GMs to more easily control what enters their game. There wasn't going to be any hard rules or mechanics behind it. Simply a bunch of tags and the GM saying "No rare items without checking with me first" or "Since this is an oriental campaign, all items traditionally considered oriental have a Common rating. More western armor and weapons have an Uncommon rating and require my blessing in this campaign." That sort of thing.

Except that's not what happened. Everywhere I look, I'm seeing hard rules that state I can't get this or that Uncommon item, or rather, that I'm limited to Common items and spells whenever I'm able to make a selection.

Uncommon items are not even made harder to get. They simply can't be got. Period.

This might not be such a big issue if so many iconic items and spells didn't fall into this category. Creating characters and concepts has proven quite difficult as a result, since the only assumption I can make without a GM is that it's not allowed. You can't make a decent spy caster without magic aura or nondetection. Can an enchanter without dominate really be considered an enchanter? High level champions just don't feel right without their holy avenger. I could go on. Nearly every character concept I've tried to build without a GM has thus far been stymied.

I imagine this is especially frustrating for people who want to make characters, but don't have a GM to talk to about it (such as those who jot down characters for future game opportunities).

What do you guys think? Does it feel suffocating to you too?

Oh, look, the thing I said would happen, happened. Yep, I complained about that in the playtest and voilá.


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I'm pretty sure a player should have a high expectation of finding whatever uncommon things they want. So putting those in the player focused books is fine. Uncommon means "it's not literally everywhere, but you can find it if you seek it out".

Now rare and unique things, non-GMs probably should not spend a lot of time worrying about.

But like Spiked Chains are uncommon, largely because it's kind of an absurd and dangerous-to-the-user thing to use as a weapon so most smiths will have no reason to make them. But if you want one, all you really need to do is find some Kuthites. Kuthites aren't in every random small town, and are certainly going to be hard to find in like Rahadoum, but they aren't that hard to find.


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As far as I understood, you can always get uncommon things even in the "character building" process, but they have somekind of opportunity cost to them. You want dwarven battleaxe, you have to be a dwarf, etc.


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Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
James Jacobs wrote:

This is a core part of the whole "Giving GMs agency and control" that 2nd edition is all about, and will help GMs keep a handle on their game to a level of complexity they are comfortable with.

Talk to your GM.

And there it is. The core philosophy of 2E, which obviously means that the reverse, i.e. "disempower the player" is true as well. I mean, it was pretty obvious from the playtest, but nice to see it spelled out clear and simple.


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magnuskn wrote:
James Jacobs wrote:

This is a core part of the whole "Giving GMs agency and control" that 2nd edition is all about, and will help GMs keep a handle on their game to a level of complexity they are comfortable with.

Talk to your GM.

And there it is. The core philosophy of 2E, which obviously means that the reverse, i.e. "disempower the player" is true as well. I mean, it was pretty obvious from the playtest, but nice to see it spelled out clear and simple.

You mean the exact same 'player empowering' that led every wizard to demand that they get access to Blood Money, the spell that only ever existed in one wizard's spellbook?

Or that all characters should have access to all options, no matter how disparate and unrelated they are?

Yeah, I think I've had enough of that.


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Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
Cyouni wrote:
magnuskn wrote:
James Jacobs wrote:

This is a core part of the whole "Giving GMs agency and control" that 2nd edition is all about, and will help GMs keep a handle on their game to a level of complexity they are comfortable with.

Talk to your GM.

And there it is. The core philosophy of 2E, which obviously means that the reverse, i.e. "disempower the player" is true as well. I mean, it was pretty obvious from the playtest, but nice to see it spelled out clear and simple.

You mean the exact same 'player empowering' that led every wizard to demand that they get access to Blood Money, the spell that only ever existed in one wizard's spellbook?

Or that all characters should have access to all options, no matter how disparate and unrelated they are?

Yeah, I think I've had enough of that.

I see the job of a GM to facilitate player choice. Only if there are options which obviously unbalance the game should things be forbidden and, if possible, that should be done before the campaign even starts. It is still possible to talk to your players during the campaign as well, if things start to fall apart around a certain character concept, spell or class option.

Forbidding or restricting such a huge section of the game which was priorily available to everyone (and with a lot of spells people were not viewing as problematic before as well) is restricting player choice way too much for me. And I say this as a person who has been at least 75% a GM for the last twenty years of his AD&D/D&D/Pathfinder "career".

But, hey, I'm not changing to 2E (and partly because of this aspect as well), I'm just voicing that I already saw this coming in the playtest.

Actually, I'll shut up now after having said my piece, because I don't want to spend the next two evenings having to fend off irate 2E fans, like what happened in the thread about Wizard nerfs.


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PossibleCabbage wrote:
But like Spiked Chains are uncommon, largely because it's kind of an absurd and dangerous-to-the-user thing to use as a weapon so most smiths will have no reason to make them. But if you want one, all you really need to do is find some Kuthites. Kuthites aren't in every random small town, and are certainly going to be hard to find in like Rahadoum, but they aren't that hard to find.

But that's the thing: they ARE everywhere if you happen to have access to them with a feat/ability... Uncommon isn't "it's not literally everywhere, but you can find it if you seek it out" in the least: Once you have access, I can't see anything restricting you from finding it in any place, any time.

If it's uncommon, it's off limits unless the DM allows it or an ability allow it, so it's more a hard gate than harder to find. If it truly was that way, you'd have a higher DC to find uncommon items vs requiring permission.


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magnuskn wrote:
James Jacobs wrote:

This is a core part of the whole "Giving GMs agency and control" that 2nd edition is all about, and will help GMs keep a handle on their game to a level of complexity they are comfortable with.

Talk to your GM.

And there it is. The core philosophy of 2E, which obviously means that the reverse, i.e. "disempower the player" is true as well. I mean, it was pretty obvious from the playtest, but nice to see it spelled out clear and simple.

Fundamentally I fail to see how this is a bad thing. PF1 was imbalanced in that, for a game with a great many systems had precious few that were actually helpful to a GM, with the overwhelming majority simply creating more work. Let's not forget that GMs are players too, and it's a lot easier to get players for a game than to find someone willing to GM for it.

Like I'm not sure any real people I'm likely to encounter are going to see "there are rarer spells which are not generally available, but you can find them" or "that's a Dwarf weapon, you're gonna have to locate some Dwarves to find one" as "disempowering" rather than a prompt for a thing they might like to do.

graystone wrote:
But that's the thing: they ARE everywhere if you happen to have access to them with a feat/ability... Uncommon isn't "it's not literally everywhere, but you can find it if you seek it out" in the least: Once you have access, I can't see anything restricting you from finding it in any place, any time.

I don't read the "access to uncommon weapons" abilities that way. It's more about "feel free to start with one" or "in case you're shopping, you happen to know a guy who will hook you up this time." Like a Kuthite cleric probably isn't going to have to buy a new spiked chain in every town they visit, but in case they do I figure I can turn "oddly, there's a secret Kuthite cultist in every single town" into a comedy beat.

Like the feat that says "you gain access to all uncommon Dwarf weapons" doesn't mean you can buy them from the moon, or the plane of fire, or the dreamlands. It just means you can get them without any significant downtime cost.

Paizo Employee Director of Game Design

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Folks, in both the places that discuss the rarity system, we state that a player might get access to uncommon items if they GM deems it appropriate or if the player puts some effort into its acquisition (including, but not limited to taking a feat or other feature that grants access). That is the rule.

This might not be how you want things to work in your game. Fortunately, this is the easiest rule in the entire book to change to suit your play styles. As with all rules, it is here to give GMs tools to tell the stories they, and their players, want to tell.

I am going to leave this open to see if it goes anywhere productive for now...


Ever the optimist.

Paizo Employee Director of Game Design

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Vidmaster7 wrote:
Ever the optimist.

I know... I try because I do want us all to find common ground in a new and exciting paradigm, hoping that the more pessimistic folk will just give the game a chance, but with the hyperbole and outright negativity I am seeing in this and other threads, I doubt my chances.


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Jason Bulmahn wrote:
Vidmaster7 wrote:
Ever the optimist.
I know... I try because I do want us all to find common ground in a new and exciting paradigm, hoping that the more pessimistic folk will just give the game a chance, but with the hyperbole and outright negativity I am seeing in this and other threads, I doubt my chances.

hang in their bud. You know the saying "you can please some of the people all of the time" etc. etc.


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PossibleCabbage wrote:
It just means you can get them without any significant downtime cost.

What's the meaningful difference between that and you can find it anywhere/anytime? If you can't buy it wherever, whenever you want, that's, IMO, a "significant downtime cost".

If the system has a better explanation of 'access' to uncommon items, please quote it: I didn't see any explicit or implicit limitation on access... You either have it and can have/use/find uncommon items or not. If it actually is based on location and an elf with Elven Weapon Familiarity has just as much trouble as an orc finding an elven curved blade, that sure isn't spelled out anywhere in the book.

Sovereign Court

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Pathfinder Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber

Different location, p. 488

Quote:
If you start your campaign in a dwarven stronghold, for example, you might make all the weapons with the dwarf trait common. You should feel free to adjust rarities to suit your campaign’s theme, but if you do, you should share your changes with your group.

While an elf would typically be from an elven nation, even in regular Golarion, just look at forlorn elves for example but anyway, the book is pretty clear that you should adapt the game to your campaign needs and themes.

The problem of course, is everybody wants to make examples in a vacuum...which doesn't mean anything for the way the game is structured.


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Eltacolibre wrote:

Different location, p. 488

Quote:
If you start your campaign in a dwarven stronghold, for example, you might make all the weapons with the dwarf trait common. You should feel free to adjust rarities to suit your campaign’s theme, but if you do, you should share your changes with your group.

While an elf would typically be from an elven nation, even in regular Golarion, just look at forlorn elves for example but anyway, the book is pretty clear that you should adapt the game to your campaign needs and themes.

The problem of course, is everybody wants to make examples in a vacuum...which doesn't mean anything for the way the game is structured.

Was this to me? If so, I'm unsure this adds to a question on what 'access' means: the uncommon trait means something different for someone that has access to it so stating where something is or isn't uncommon doesn't mean much.


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Wow I have to say I feel like your being purposefully oblivious on this one. Maybe I'm misunderstanding what your trying to say.

I'm not even able to figure out what your chief complaint is? Surely you know access means that you can buy it or otherwise acquire it so I'm unsure of what the problem is.


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Vidmaster7 wrote:
Surely you know access means that you can buy it or otherwise acquire it so I'm unsure of what the problem is.

Does that mean access at the start of the game only? What does it mean after start? Is it as hard for someone with access to find an item as someone without in any particular location?

What it boils down to is, if someone with access can expect to "buy it or otherwise acquire it" with ease in downtime then that items really isn't uncommon is it: it just takes some looking but that's not how rarity works as the DM places every uncommon+ item or it's not there. It seems awful... meta that someone with access can find the item but someone without doesn't have any chance unless the DM gives it out specifically.


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Its up to the DM. Some DM might like to roll a die when you want an uncommon item, some might have a general idea where its easier to find an uncommon item, some might treat uncommon as common for the most part. Its a DM tool.

It not meta anymore so then every other part of the game the DM controls. If the DM doesn't want to use something in his game that's his call.

In other words results will vary.

It like how if I want a gallon of milk its common and I can buy it most places but If I want a particular brand of sake It will not be everywhere I'll have to go somewhere in particular to find it.

Silver Crusade

Pathfinder Companion, Pathfinder Accessories Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Charter Superscriber
Tursic wrote:
The main problem I have with the rarity system is how it is packaged. The uncommon options should be in books for GMs, not general player books. I do not want to buy a book targeted at me as a player just to find out that I may not be able to use it. It feels like I have been cheated. I hope they keep the uncommon stuff to GM targeted books.

Here's a "good news" in that regard: there are no more Player's Companion books for Pf2E (at least the line is stopped).

The APG and Inner Sea Character Guide are the ones to look out for. But yeah, even in those I expect very little rare and unique things.

graystone wrote:
If the system has a better explanation of 'access' to uncommon items, please quote it: I didn't see any explicit or implicit limitation on access...

That's not spelled out because Paizo seems to want it to be in the hand of the GM.

Which is something that doesn't help you or Ravingdork or others in your situation (no 'permanent' GM).

I very much enjoyed Ravingdorks characters for PF1, and the rarity system makes his work harder to craft for PF2E. (I'd love to see what he can come up for characters wielding that one rare item, and such.)


For raving dork: you could do 3 sets of gear (and or abilites feats etc) for them one with all common one with uncommon and one that goes all out. or just have like options say at this level have this item if available or if not have this one etc.

Rare preference > uncommon preference > common .


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Vidmaster7 wrote:
Its up to the DM.

*sigh*... SO no guidance is what you're saying... That's the last thing I want to hear. It'd be nice to have some assurance that if I take a monk, for instance, I'd be able to have a default stance as to whether or not I could expect to refill Shuriken without having to instead add it to the ever growing number of questions I have for my next DM [and the one after that, the the next one and the one after all of them...]. I'm going to need a 100 question questionnaire every time I start a new game. :P

I swear, at every turn there's something else that makes me less excited about the game...

Silver Crusade

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Franz Lunzer wrote:
I very much enjoyed Ravingdorks characters for PF1, and the rarity system makes his work harder to craft for PF2E.

Not really, it comes out the same as PF1, either he allowed absolutely everything (such as Blood Money and other things from APs) or he places restrictions on his builds, which is what we have here.


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graystone wrote:
Vidmaster7 wrote:
Its up to the DM.

*sigh*... SO no guidance is what you're saying... That's the last thing I want to hear. It'd be nice to have some assurance that if I take a monk, for instance, I'd be able to have a default stance as to whether or not I could expect to refill Shuriken without having to instead add it to the ever growing number of questions I have to as my next DM [and the one after that, the the next one and the one after all of them...]. I'm going to need a 100 question questionnaire every time I start a new game. :P

I swear, at every turn there's something else that makes me less excited about the game...

Well frankly if I have to choose between the game catering to my style of play or your style of play I'm going to choose mine every time. Just like you would for yours.

Edit just to explain this better: Basically you don't want table variance because of your constant changing of DM's This system is for sure a lot of table variance. For most people table variance is not an issue or a big deal at least. Your in a unique circumstance that makes table variance worse for you. I personally am all for them giving the DM more control of the game. It will make my enjoyment of the game that much better. You need is a system that basically makes the DM a robot that has only one way to run the game. I wouldn't play that game.

When you play the game differently then what it is designed for your gonna have problems. Their are ways around those problems their is in fact a whole plethora of things you can do. You can DM yourself sets your own rules, you can keep the same DM once you find one you like, You can accept some options as out the window and play with the ones you know work keep it simple basically or keep it common in this case, You can find a different game to play entirely honestly as negative as you are about every Paizo product etc that might be your best option.


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Vidmaster7 wrote:
You can DM yourself sets your own rules

Not possible.

Vidmaster7 wrote:
you can keep the same DM once you find one you like

Not possible.

Vidmaster7 wrote:
You can accept some options as out the window and play with the ones you know work keep it simple basically or keep it common in this case

It's highly unsatisfying to leave large chunk of the game unused, ESPECIALLY when the options to use those parts still end up unusable...

Vidmaster7 wrote:
You can find a different game to play entirely honestly as negative as you are about every Paizo product etc that might be your best option.

#1 I just might: I'm sure not spending any cash on it for now. I'm holding out for the gamemastery guide to see what optional rules there are. I'm hoping that's they cover most of my issues and it's much easier to find a game using a specific optional rule than one that happened to be houseruled to my liking.

#2 negative as you are about every Paizo product? Not even close. I loved quite a bit of the PF1 run, with some of their last products as standouts. Starfinder never did anything for me and I really have an opinion one way or another. Now if you meant pathfinder TWO then you'd be closer to right. I've had a lot of issues with the direction of things in PF2.


graystone wrote:
Vidmaster7 wrote:
You can DM yourself sets your own rules

Not possible.

Vidmaster7 wrote:
you can keep the same DM once you find one you like

Not possible.

Vidmaster7 wrote:
You can accept some options as out the window and play with the ones you know work keep it simple basically or keep it common in this case

It's highly unsatisfying to leave large chunk of the game unused, ESPECIALLY when the options to use those parts still end up unusable...

Vidmaster7 wrote:
You can find a different game to play entirely honestly as negative as you are about every Paizo product etc that might be your best option.

#1 I just might: I'm sure not spending any cash on it for now. I'm holding out for the gamemastery guide to see what optional rules there are. I'm hoping that's they cover most of my issues and it's much easier to find a game using a specific optional rule than one that happened to be houseruled to my liking.

#2 negative as you are about every Paizo product? Not even close. I loved quite a bit of the PF1 run, with some of their last products as standouts. Starfinder never did anything for me and I really have an opinion one way or another. Now if you meant pathfinder TWO then you'd be closer to right. I've had a lot of issues with the direction of things in PF2.

Can't help you with any of the other stuff. Their is no way to make everyone happy. Table variance happens and for most people isn't that big of a deal. Now if they made a system meant to be played specifically on the format you play it on or maybe you should consider making up a system or maybe a variant of the current that is easily applicable to the way you play it. Heck maybe even consider writing a book with rules that make it easier to play in the format you play it. I forget what the abbreviation for it is.

Or maybe just a good matching system that lets you check off preferences for games.

@ #2. Maybe you can say that but the way you express yourself on the forums does not lead many to believe that. Their are sooooo many negative posts on both PF1 (I remember some of the threads with you complaining about pf1 I even agreed with some of it) and PF2. So maybe it is how you feel but its not what you show outwardly. I will agree that it was definitely a lot worse for pf2.


graystone wrote:
#1 I just might: I'm sure not spending any cash on it for now. I'm holding out for the gamemastery guide to see what optional rules there are. I'm hoping that's they cover most of my issues and it's much easier to find a game using a specific optional rule than one that happened to be houseruled to my liking.

Have you tried out Symbaroum? any thoughts on how that system works for you? (given that it is a classless system).


(As an aside, I know I’m just joining the convo but I think it’s an interesting topic)

To answer the OPs question, in my opinion it’s a fine thing, and I do not find it constricting at all. I’d rather there be some guideline as to what’s uncommon or rare, then no guidance. It’s easy enough to theorycraft a character and either 1) ask your GM if it’s for a game, or 2) if it’s for pure theory/sharing, just highlight what liberties you took with rarity.

I think in just a little bit of time this will be a non-issue. I speculate organized play will supplement with their guidelines on what’s fair for rarity, and theorycrafts will default to that in general.

Apart from just sharing theory builds online, which is fun speculation but not actually gameplay, the focus should be a conversation with the GM about your character. That should always happen, and “can I play this” or “can I start with this” have been common pregame queries since the first iteration of the game. These aren’t groundbreaking rules here, just with more pre-written guidance. Character building should always be a collaborative process with your group.

Silver Crusade

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Artificial 20 wrote:
Jason Bulmahn wrote:
Vidmaster7 wrote:
Ever the optimist.
I know... I try because I do want us all to find common ground in a new and exciting paradigm, hoping that the more pessimistic folk will just give the game a chance, but with the hyperbole and outright negativity I am seeing in this and other threads, I doubt my chances.

Oh Jason, you should know consensus online is at least uncommon ground and probably rare. That doesn't mean we can't have it, but we may need to go on something of a quest to get there.

Vidmaster7 wrote:
Table variance happens and for most people isn't that big of a deal.

Politely, please stop making that claim.

You have no possible clue what portion of people are adversely affected by table variance, to what extent, what portion of former players might have moved away from the system due to table variance, nor what portion of potential players might have avoided it over expected table variance.

I don't either, and so I'm not making undocumented assertions about the whole player base of the game. Each of our experiences is statistically insignificant, it lends your view credibility to type with that in mind.

And neither was Vid.

Vidmaster7 wrote:
Table variance happens and for most people isn't that big of a deal.

Dark Archive

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The existence of this thread demonstrates the exact need for the rule change. Further evidence can be gathered by any number of other threads that based only on player description included commentary suggesting that based on the GMs restrictions on certain things they are clearly power mad with control issues. In many ways the shift happened in 3E Forgotten Realms when they straight up introduced mass produced magic items from the Red Wizards. It has created this expectation that we can get everything as players (minor aside see also all the complaining things don't make it too additional resources for PFS).

As a player and as a GM that game is fun, the problem is that it is ultimately super limiting because it is the only type of story adventure you can do. The rarity system is a ridiculously flexible system that makes it easy to reset that expectation and adjust to flexibly tell many different kinds of stories. Thus far as someone generally opposed to switching it is one of the best ideas in the new edition.


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Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber; Pathfinder Maps, Pathfinder Accessories Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber; Starfinder Superscriber

I’m a fan of the system, but I think it’s worth understanding what those who object to it feel they’re missing. It’s not about “I want everything”. The objection is primarily coming from people who build characters without knowing who the DM is going to be.

It seems to me that PF2 doesn’t have a “default set of assumptions” the way PF1 did and that this idea of creating PCs then looking for the game you’re going to play them in is not as well supported by PF2 as it was in PF1. My advice is to make peace with that - come up with the broad strokes character you want to play but don’t nail down the mechanics until you find the DM and can ask how their game is going to work.

I’ve seen others suggest that “default” PF2 is the rules using just common elements and I think that’s a result of applying a PF1 mindset to the new philosophy. As I think of it, PF2 is designed to be less defined - I suspect “default” PF2 will end up being almost all the common elements, lots of uncommon ones and a handful of rares but that the specifics will vary enormously from group to group and even campaign to campaign.

I think there is a subtle change in mindset required to apply the new paradigm to how we play. It won’t be for everyone (the arguments for tightly codified, minimal DM discretion rules are well known) but I think it’s necessary to evaluate a game based on what it’s trying to achieve, not based on how one plays other games.

“Playing Pathfinder Second Edition” covers a more varied set of experiences, I suspect than playing PF1 does. There’s pros and cons to that stratified approach (and different aesthetic preferences amongst gamers). Some people will find it jarring and I think we do them a disservice to assume they’re unwilling to talk to their DM, or that they just want MORE powers. Not everyone has that luxury and they need to think through how PF2 can work for them, if indeed it can.


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The "default" for Character Creation is for you to not select any Uncommon feats, items, spells, etc unless you have a background, feat, class feature, or ancestry feature that says you gain access to it.

It's not really that nebulous.

If you don't have something that says you can take an uncommon thing and you have a concept that would be better with said uncommon thing then just talk to your DM about it to see if you can pick it up during character creation, or if it could be worked into the game in the early stages.

It's up to the DM what they want to allow in the game they are running but given the DM's that I've typically dealt with I don't imagine it being much of an issue at all. Most just want a chance to look at things before they just suddenly appear in the game enmasse without warning.


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Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber; Pathfinder Maps, Pathfinder Accessories Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber; Starfinder Superscriber
Gloom wrote:

The "default" for Character Creation is for you to not select any Uncommon feats, items, spells, etc unless you have a background, feat, class feature, or ancestry feature that says you gain access to it.

It's not really that nebulous.

If you don't have something that says you can take an uncommon thing and you have a concept that would be better with said uncommon thing then just talk to your DM about it to see if you can pick it up during character creation, or if it could be worked into the game in the early stages.

It's up to the DM what they want to allow in the game they are running but given the DM's that I've typically dealt with I don't imagine it being much of an issue at all. Most just want a chance to look at things before they just suddenly appear in the game enmasse without warning.

It’s nebulous because it’s up to the DM. The default expectation (I think) is that there will definitely be some uncommon elements available. The uncertainty arises from not knowing what they are.

I’d let any character from Cheliax choose Infernal for one of their languages in place of a common language, for example. Some DMs might require a more specific background.

When graystone or Ravingdork are building their characters they don’t know what their DM will say (they don’t know who the DM is going to be). It’s pretty unimportant with one’s starting language, but if it’s a higher level character and there’s a few more intricately related elements - they’re left with a fairly sketchy character outline until they find a DM. The risk then is that one or more elements they feel are crucial to the PC are disallowed and suddenly they’re going into a game with much less enthusiasm for their character.


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Pathfinder Maps, Pawns Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber
Steve Geddes wrote:
Gloom wrote:

The "default" for Character Creation is for you to not select any Uncommon feats, items, spells, etc unless you have a background, feat, class feature, or ancestry feature that says you gain access to it.

It's not really that nebulous.

If you don't have something that says you can take an uncommon thing and you have a concept that would be better with said uncommon thing then just talk to your DM about it to see if you can pick it up during character creation, or if it could be worked into the game in the early stages.

It's up to the DM what they want to allow in the game they are running but given the DM's that I've typically dealt with I don't imagine it being much of an issue at all. Most just want a chance to look at things before they just suddenly appear in the game enmasse without warning.

It’s nebulous because it’s up to the DM. The default expectation (I think) is that there will definitely be some uncommon elements available. The uncertainty arises from not knowing what they are.

I’d let any character from Cheliax choose Infernal for one of their languages in place of a common language, for example. Some DMs might require a more specific background.

When graystone or Ravingdork are building their characters they don’t know what their DM will say (they don’t know who the DM is going to be). It’s pretty unimportant with one’s starting language, but if it’s a higher level character and there’s a few more intricately related elements - they’re left with a fairly sketchy character outline until they find a DM. The risk then is that one or more elements they feel are crucial to the PC are disallowed and suddenly they’re going into a game with much less enthusiasm for their character.

Exactly right. Except for my also wanting some rules clarifications in regards to rarity, you pretty much nailed it.

Silver Crusade

Pathfinder Companion, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber
Ravingdork wrote:
All we really want is some clarification about how the rarity rules should be treated in certain situations or scenarios.

Which would be?


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Pathfinder Companion, Maps, Pathfinder Accessories, Pawns, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber
Steve Geddes wrote:

It’s nebulous because it’s up to the DM. The default expectation (I think) is that there will definitely be some uncommon elements available. The uncertainty arises from not knowing what they are.

I’d let any character from Cheliax choose Infernal for one of their languages in place of a common language, for example. Some DMs might require a more specific background.

When graystone or Ravingdork are building their characters they don’t know what their DM will say (they don’t know who the DM is going to be). It’s pretty unimportant with one’s starting language, but if it’s a higher level character and there’s a few more intricately related elements - they’re left with a fairly sketchy character outline until they find a DM. The risk then is that one or more elements they feel are crucial to the PC are disallowed and suddenly they’re going into a game with much less enthusiasm for their character.

Things like this are typically covered before character creation even starts though and is the equivalent of a DM saying something like "This game is going to be a survival/wilderness game with low magic. No casting classes and no magic items to start." or "This campaign will be taking place in a world with no fantasy races, you can only pick Human."

These kinds of scenarios were possible in PF1 and no one felt like they were unreasonable or needed some special reference in the rules.

Default assumptions on character creation are as I mentioned and are subject to change based on DM/Campaign Setting but that does not change what the default is.

Paizo can't possibly account for giving you rules on how to handle every scenario of a DM changing the rules to fit their game.

Sovereign Court

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Pathfinder Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber

Let's go with the character creation theorycraft angle at a higher level than 1 it depends really what you are going for:

-By the rules, if someone chooses the lump sum option, only common items(and whatever they qualify for with a feat) are available. It is, of course, possible a GM allows you to buy uncommon items but for the sake of simplicity going to assume, it's book rules only.

-The other character option method the ones where you get x items at different levels, the book mentions that you can talk with your GM to get uncommon items. There are no set numbers of how many uncommon items you should be allowed to be clear.

Since the pick items method leaves the option for uncommon, if I were in the situation where I don't know what kind of stuff would be allowed, I would simply leave a few item slots open, then come with a wishlist to the GM.

The Pick items method is probably better as of right now since some stuff don't have prices or standard way to know from table to table (example how the book mentions that uncommon formulas would cost more than regular formula)

We really can't do more than that until the Gamemastery guide brings more rules in January.


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Pathfinder Maps, Pawns Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber
Rysky wrote:
Ravingdork wrote:
All we really want is some clarification about how the rarity rules should be treated in certain situations or scenarios.
Which would be?

Here are two that I've asked elsewhere:

With or without GM input, are spellcasters expected to pay to learn uncommon spells?

If the GM allows for (an) uncommon item(s), can you buy them when using the lump sum option for character starting funds?

There were one or two others that I thought up, but didn't get written down before I forgot them. If they return to me, I'll post those too.

I'm sure there are others are likely seeking answers to their own questions about Rarity as well. If you look, some are likely in this very thread. I'll leave it to others to re-represent their questions if they so choose.


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My perspective on this related to table variance is from an almost completely different viewpoint. It was the case in past editions (not to insight edition wars, just to juxtapose) the rules of what you could bring to the table were basically nonexistent and the default was at the GM approval level (outside of PFS specific guidelines). When preparing a character for a DM-yet-unknown game, you had unfettered access. Meaning from a table variance perspective, literally everything fell under GM discretion. You may have written-up a Wayang chaotic evil pre-unchained Summoner but could you really expect all GMs to be okay with that, or would you insist that you can and must be able to do that because the rules don’t specifically say you can’t? What I’m getting to is that in the past, table variance was literally anything is on the table as a variant, because no rule established what should be commonly accepted.

These rules say what is common and should be acceptable very discretely, and indicate what features are GM discretion. In my mind, that actually reduces table variance. It’s very easy to say “play what’s common, but I’ll allow 1-2 uncommon or a rare” if you want to establish GM base rules. As a player, if you’re theory crafting is it really that hard to come up with a few common substitutes? I actually think that’s far more interesting then relying on statistically optimal by rote min/maxing. In any case, practically speaking there should always be an expectation at the start of any game that the GM will review and approve a character even if it was never explicitly written. Ignore that at your leisure as not rule supported, but it was common practice everywhere I have gamed.

My opinion on this is that I currently like the idea of the system, but I am admittedly inexperienced in it. My gut tells me this will ultimately be a non-issue in the majority of tables, at least no more than it has been in the past.

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