The straitjacket of Rarity in P2E


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Pathfinder Maps, Pawns Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber

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?

Liberty's Edge

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Actually, looking at the Class descriptions, Wizard, Bard, and Sorcerer only specify that you may only acquire Common spells at 1st level. Your spells from leveling are unrestricted.

Druids and Clerics are a bit more problematic and some more ways for them to get access to Uncommon stuff would be good, however.

But really, all we need is more text noting what you need to do to get Uncommon stuff in general. The examples in the book are intended as just that, IMO, with GMs being allowed to hand out Uncommon stuff easily enough, but it would be good to have clarification on that.


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Pathfinder Maps, Pawns Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber
Deadmanwalking wrote:
Actually, looking at the Class descriptions, Wizard, Bard, and Sorcerer only specify that you may only acquire Common spells at 1st level. Your spells from leveling are unrestricted.

You choose these from the common spells from the tradition corresponding to your bloodline, or from other spells from that tradition to which you have access.

Logically, if that is the case, then we don't have to pick from our tradition's list after level 1 either.

So, no, I don't think spells from leveling are unrestricted as you describe, at least, not as written.


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I love the system itself. My only head scratching moment is how many strange looking and weird monsters in the bestiary are common. Like, oh, a strange tentacle-faced creature with 3 mouths on its face? That's an every day occurrence.


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Pathfinder Maps, Pawns Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber

Clearly, the only SANE thing left for me (or anyone for that matter) to do is to ignore item rarity entirely (despite all the hard rules restrictions), make whatever characters I want, then check them with the GM once I have a game and GM to check them with.


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Barnabas Eckleworth III wrote:
I love the system itself. My only head scratching moment is how many strange looking and weird monsters in the bestiary are common. Like, oh, a strange tentacle-faced creature with 3 mouths on its face? That's an every day occurrence.

Who doesn’t see a gibberish mouth on their way to work in the morning? The ones who get eaten by it. That’s who.

Sovereign Court

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Pathfinder Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber

The problem you will run into usually for uncommon and rare stuffs like let say formula, if you decide to ignore it...even the corebook says that uncommon and rare stuffs can cost significantly more than the regular price of common stuffs.

But there are no prices or modifier listed for such things.

So yeah you can make your character with silver magic formula (this thign doesn't exist just an example) potion go to one table and the GM would say that such items is 10 times the price, while another you say it's 50% the price of the formula of the same level and another using the rarity system could technically just say it's not even available to PCs etc...

Liberty's Edge

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Ravingdork wrote:

Logically, if that is the case, then we don't have to pick from our tradition's list after level 1 either.

So, no, I don't think spells from leveling are unrestricted as you describe, at least, not as written.

Huh. I suppose you're right, but that wording is weird and counterintuitive, at least to me.

That said, you probably want to check out the Character Creation section on p. 486 and the sidebar on p. 488. They actually do what I suggested above and make it really clear that Uncommon stuff should generally be pretty readily available one way or another.


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The learn a spell activity has some info. The GM guidelines it mentions on p. 503 are spectacularly unhelpful BTW.


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I mean, you couldn't guarantee your paladin ever got a Holy Avenger in PF1- you got one because your GM put one in the game somewhere. But that didn't keep you from writing down "Holy Avenger" on a character sheet for a level 12 character who is pure theorycraft.

In practice, I plan to make "hunt down an uncommon thing" to be a thing people can just do during downtime, unless there's a good reason I don't want them to have it (which I'm going to make clear up front.)

Paizo Employee Creative Director

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It's 100% legal for a GM to say any Uncommon or Rare thing is available to players.

If you're a player and you want an Uncommon or Rare thing, talk to your GM. They might just give it to you. They might make you go on a quest or something to track it down. They might not give it to you because that thing doesn't work in the game they're running.

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.


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Pathfinder Pathfinder Accessories Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber
Ravingdork wrote:
Clearly, the only SANE thing left for me (or anyone for that matter) to do is to ignore item rarity entirely (despite all the hard rules restrictions), make whatever characters I want, then check them with the GM once I have a game and GM to check them with.

Pfffft!

The PF2 approach to rarity is perfectly sane. Some people like Ravingdork may not *like* it because they want to have all the bells and whistles, but that doesn't mean it isn't "sane".

page 13 wrote:
Uncommon items are available only to those who have special training, grew up in a certain culture, or come from a particular part of the world.

If we'd had this sort of rule in PF1, you wouldn't have seen every metamagic-crazed optimizing wizard with the Wayang Spellhunter trait.

Rarity is a useful tool for bracketing assumptions. Pages 488 and 534 go to great lengths to insist that DMs can do whatever they want with the notion of rarity. But the default assumption is that anything marked uncommon, rare or unique simply isn't readily available, and can only be accessed in-game, via DM reward, loot, in "clandestine markets" or by schmoozing with "private sellers".

IMHO, this is all the more important when thinking about magic items. the formulae for rare magic items are "lost to time" so you can't just craft one by pumping your craft DC and spending some downtime.

Seems perfectly sane to me. And the default assumption that anything uncommon or rare can only be acquired in-game seems eminently practical to me, as a DM.


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What mr Jacobs said, gives more power to a GM but by the same note that also introduces more variance into games and excitement for specific loot types.

Personally I expect to go through and create lists of "in this campaign these items/spells/feats are common/uncommon/rare, anything not listed is its default value" saves me a lot of time and allows me to evaluate anything I haven't looked into on a case by case basis rather than having to block content entirely entirely on the off chance it doesn't fit the campaign I am running.


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I personally like the idea of rarity and understand why it exists. It's a good way to show what's not really designed to be a standard assumption about the game. It allows Paizo to design special things without it become something suddenly everyone has access to. Looking at you, blood money.

I do wish however that there was more delineation between uncommon and rare. As it is, mechanically speaking, there's not much of a difference between the two, except that weapon familiarity feats don't apply to rare weapons. Both of them are completely inaccessible outside GM fiat (barring the aforementioned weapon familiarity), which creates some odd situations where slightly nonstandard weapons can be just as hard to acquire as unique magic items.

I get empowering the GM but I do wish there were a few more playerside options to pick up uncommon items.


I guess the GM guide could well have some kind of advice for what constitutes a reasonable “barrier” or quest for uncommon vs rare

Right now it is left in the ballpark of the GM and most would apply logic to make the task to acquire a rare item much harder


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Rarity is a great addition imho. And given it's trivial to remove if you want to, I see no downside.


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A couple of levers marked 'Are you sure?' and 'Are you really sure?' aren't noticeably more helpful to a GM than Rule Zero. There are some very different reasons why things would be uncommon (like being overly useful in an investigative game vs. being from a non-European culture vs. using the alignment system) so it's not that useful as a category.

As far as schmoozing required/not required goes, would you require it for a +1 darkwood bow when you wouldn't for a +3 major striking bow? There's probably no more of those 40K bows in most worlds than there are of the 1.5 K darkwood ones. Only the darkwood bows are 'uncommon' however.

Basically I think it could have been useful but as it is, isn't.


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Wheldrake wrote:
page 13 wrote:
Uncommon items are available only to those who have special training, grew up in a certain culture, or come from a particular part of the world.
If we'd had this sort of rule in PF1, you wouldn't have seen every metamagic-crazed optimizing wizard with the Wayang Spellhunter trait.

Now instead the metamagic wizards will optimise their backstory to come from that particular part of the world.

Sweet progress.


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avr wrote:

A couple of levers marked 'Are you sure?' and 'Are you really sure?' aren't noticeably more helpful to a GM than Rule Zero. There are some very different reasons why things would be uncommon (like being overly useful in an investigative game vs. being from a non-European culture vs. using the alignment system) so it's not that useful as a category.

As far as schmoozing required/not required goes, would you require it for a +1 darkwood bow when you wouldn't for a +3 major striking bow? There's probably no more of those 40K bows in most worlds than there are of the 1.5 K darkwood ones. Only the darkwood bows are 'uncommon' however.

Basically I think it could have been useful but as it is, isn't.

I find it much smoother as a GM to allow stuff than to disallow.

If I go "no, bad wizard, you can't take teleport" the player will feel cheated when the rules assume that you do have access to teleport.

On the flip side, in a setting that doesn't assume teleport to be widely accessible, I'm sure the player will appreciate when checking the loot of the bigbad contained a spell book with teleport in it.


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shroudb wrote:
avr wrote:

A couple of levers marked 'Are you sure?' and 'Are you really sure?' aren't noticeably more helpful to a GM than Rule Zero. There are some very different reasons why things would be uncommon (like being overly useful in an investigative game vs. being from a non-European culture vs. using the alignment system) so it's not that useful as a category.

As far as schmoozing required/not required goes, would you require it for a +1 darkwood bow when you wouldn't for a +3 major striking bow? There's probably no more of those 40K bows in most worlds than there are of the 1.5 K darkwood ones. Only the darkwood bows are 'uncommon' however.

Basically I think it could have been useful but as it is, isn't.

I find it much smoother as a GM to allow stuff than to disallow.

If I go "no, bad wizard, you can't take teleport" the player will feel cheated when the rules assume that you do have access to teleport.

On the flip side, in a setting that doesn't assume teleport to be widely accessible, I'm sure the player will appreciate when checking the loot of the bigbad contained a spell book with teleport in it.

I mean, Teleport in particular is, by default, labeled as uncommon (which is available but not "every 12th+ level wizard has it"-levels of available, I think), so that's either on the player for not knowing that and assuming it's widespread, or on you as the GM for not communicating that to them beforehand.


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We have gone full circle back to the "you must kill a person for no other reason than to join the assassins guild".
It's plain and simple and involution of the concept of "separating mechanics from roleplay" or, in some way, a return of the "all paladins are now required to be found by faeries as a baby". I see we have learned nothing from the mistakes of the past.


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RiverMesa wrote:
shroudb wrote:
avr wrote:

A couple of levers marked 'Are you sure?' and 'Are you really sure?' aren't noticeably more helpful to a GM than Rule Zero. There are some very different reasons why things would be uncommon (like being overly useful in an investigative game vs. being from a non-European culture vs. using the alignment system) so it's not that useful as a category.

As far as schmoozing required/not required goes, would you require it for a +1 darkwood bow when you wouldn't for a +3 major striking bow? There's probably no more of those 40K bows in most worlds than there are of the 1.5 K darkwood ones. Only the darkwood bows are 'uncommon' however.

Basically I think it could have been useful but as it is, isn't.

I find it much smoother as a GM to allow stuff than to disallow.

If I go "no, bad wizard, you can't take teleport" the player will feel cheated when the rules assume that you do have access to teleport.

On the flip side, in a setting that doesn't assume teleport to be widely accessible, I'm sure the player will appreciate when checking the loot of the bigbad contained a spell book with teleport in it.

I mean, Teleport in particular is, by default, labeled as uncommon (which is available but not "every 12th+ level wizard has it"-levels of available, I think), so that's either on the player for not knowing that and assuming it's widespread, or on you as the GM for not communicating that to them beforehand.

That's exactly my point.

Base rarity makes everything easier.

IF rarity didn't exist I'd (potentially) have to house rules things OUT of the game, and that's a feelsbadman for the players.

If instead I house rule things IN a game it's almost always more enjoyable.

Hence my teleport example.

Same thing for your "dark wood bow" example:

+x weapons are fundamental in the game. Dark wood isn't.

Instead of having to say no to a player wanting one, and having him feeling cheated since "they are part of the core game" I get to decide if I want to give it to him.

In effect, it's the same. But it always feels much better to be allowed things than to be disallowed.

So I find the rarity system actually really good as it's implemented.


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James Jacobs wrote:

It's 100% legal for a GM to say any Uncommon or Rare thing is available to players.

If you're a player and you want an Uncommon or Rare thing, talk to your GM. They might just give it to you. They might make you go on a quest or something to track it down. They might not give it to you because that thing doesn't work in the game they're running.

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.

Sorry, but this sounds pretty terrible.

PF2 seems to try very hard to be like PF and 5e at the same time, and I think it fails pretty badly at both.

The concept of "rarity" as an extra label you add to equipment or spells is completely artificial, as the DM has always had the option of restricting access to spells x and y in his games, I am certain quite a few did not wait for anyone to add an "uncommon" or "rare" labels to spells.

In the end I'd rather those spells were removed than to have them in the rule but with a "nope, sorry, can't have it 'cause I say so" label.


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Rarity is their for two main reasons as I see it.

1. They introduce something later, maybe a special cantrip taught in Kyonin or something, and not have it instantly accesible to every character (which the GM can 100% allow)

And

2. It's a tag to say, this spell/artifact/whatever might cause problems in your game, allow it if you wish, perhaps make it an epic quest of discovery, for example going on an epic adventure to get Fabricated Truth and try and pull an inception on the King, but be wary. Its there to warn people that something probably has implications on the game and story that a GM should consider before handing them all out.

It has the potential to be a good and usefull system; it could also be a not great one, I guess we'll have to wait and see how it feels in play and what gets published in the coming years.

PF2 tries to make choices (and adventures), matter, gating some stuff that might make the game less intresting for some play styles is one way of doing that. If you don't like rarity; and neither does your group; its rather easy to house rule it away.

Edit: I just realised fabricated truth isn't uncommon (I do want an inception stlye adventure path though). Example instead could be Remake and a destroyed artifact.


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I like rarity but don’t like how there are feats related to gaining access to items. I understand those feats also usually do something else too, but IMO if you want GMs to be in charge of rarity, let them be in charge of rarity. Have the default rarities in the book sure. But don’t make the weapon familiarity feats tie into it. As a GM, it makes me feel like I can’t give an elf PC access to elf weapons for free.


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Tiene wrote:
I like rarity but don’t like how there are feats related to gaining access to items. I understand those feats also usually do something else too, but IMO if you want GMs to be in charge of rarity, let them be in charge of rarity. Have the default rarities in the book sure. But don’t make the weapon familiarity feats tie into it. As a GM, it makes me feel like I can’t give an elf PC access to elf weapons for free.

The feats that allow uncommon racial items be available to players is essentially saying "Here are all of these items that this feat applies to, but since they're uncommon, you can get them normally or else this would be a pretty worthless feat."

It's not like the feat is "Hey, you get access to these uncommon weapons." It's specifically effecting your proficiency with weapons that would normally be out of reach for non-elven/gnome/dwarf/etc. characters.


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Pathfinder Adventure, Adventure Path Subscriber
shroudb wrote:
Base rarity makes everything easier.

Disagree. Base rarity - as written - makes those specific games where a DM wants to disallow the specific things that Paizo lists as uncommon/rare but doesn't want to tell their players that easier.

For everyone else, it's mother-may-I?

Let me explain. My groups have played PF since inception, and most of us 3.x before that, and some of those back to D&D 1. But as we test PF2, I can't legitimately ask my DM "may I use uncommon/rare things". Because that's not testing the game as written. It's testing the more powerful version.

In my opinion, if rarity were truly there for the purpose we're told it is, the rules would have said "uncommon and rare items are available by default, but DMs who wish to run games with a particular style can inform players that those items are reserved in their games". DMs would have a codified system and wouldn't have to pick & choose what to allow/disallow. Players would know that what they were experiencing was a Paizo-sanctioned system of the game. "Normal" games would just proceed without the optional system.

The ship has sailed, and we had our opportunity to influence Paizo's devs. They feel these items should be unavailable by default. And who knows... maybe they're right.


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Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

As a GM, I like the idea of Rarity, but I have to admit I haven't looked at the execution yet. This makes homebrewing, switching settings up and adding new elements much easier in my opinion, as you can introduce new elements and have them be exclusive to a region or have them be earned by the characters.

This turns brewing up and handing out spells as rewards also a compelling option for a GM, as it can clearly be tied to the events and narrative of that campaign. You could even design spells that become uncommon after a certain amount of time as they spread within that region, like for example bringing back Rune Magic in New Thassilon.

But I guess there is a strong divide here between players who don't like to be restricted and GMs, who probably have more of an eye on narrative and story implications.


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I like the rarity system because it will be a fun plot hook for my players. They might want to go questing for a rare item which makes it special then just going out and buying a common one. We are used to not being able to buy items at all really so being able to just buy what you want was a different kind of thing for us anyways. I think still giving a reason to go quest for an item will add some fun for us.


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I don't like the "mother may I" aspect. I wish there were feats to grant access to spells that are uncommmon the same way multilingual gives you access to more languages. Soft banning all divination spells gives the impression that the game is a minis game.


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I have yet to see the point of PF2, outside of the "reset" aspect of a new edition (getting rid of bloat and the powercreep which inevitably happens as supplements accumulate over time), and to kowtow to people whining for more "balance".

Usually I am excited for a new edition because it improves things, I see 0 improvement in PF2, just a different take on things.

And for people wondering what do I mean, if you are old enough, for me an improvement was leaving thac0 behind in the 2nd edition and moving to the BAB system.

Same for the old ac system which went from AC10 to AC -15 (tarrasque I think) and moving to the AC which inched upwards.


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If I'm gonna be playing a character where access to Dominate or a particular ritual is important to the concept, I'll ask for that. If the GM's gonna lock that behind a quest, I'll probably just play another character.


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Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber

I love it, although I do play mostly as a GM. It saves me the hassle of having to comb through a character's options to make sure they haven't mistakenly taken something they really shouldn't, like blood money. It's also really nice for giving out rewards.


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Pathfinder Pathfinder Accessories Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber

If a given spell is uncommon or rare, it makes sense that it would be "locked behind a quest". That's part of the game world. Perhaps...

- it could be found in an ancient library of magic, and you have to jump through some hoops to get access.

- it could be in the possession of a powerful wizard, and you'd need to convince him or rob him to get it.

- it could be in the loot haul of some monster deep in its lair.

Many other possibilities might exist.

These were all things which were handwaved in PF1. It was all up to the DM to determine what was available or not, whether it be powerful spells, powerful items or whatever. Now there is some CRB guidance to help determine what is available.

The "Dominate" spell has an uncommon label. Some DMs might handwave access to uncommon spells, saying you could just research them on level up. But the default assumption says no, it's "uncommon", so you need to jump through hoops.

It's a feature, not a bug.


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In 1E it was pretty common in the games I played and ran to limit access to any Player Companion or 3rd party material pending GM approval, mostly because it was pretty hard to keep up with the amount of crunch Paizo put out.

I see the rarity system pretty much as an extension of this. It's not that you can't have it, it's just that you have to actually talk with another human being to see if their narrative would benefit from your character having that particular mechanic, and whether it would make sense inside their world for your character to do something in particular to learn that spell/feat.

I usually like to encourage interaction between GM and players at every point of character advancement in the games I run. Don't bring me a progression checklist at lvl 1, let's just sit down every once in a while and see where your character is going and let's see if I can give you ideas or accomodate the story to be a bit more what you're trying to tell with your character.


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Wheldrake wrote:
But the default assumption says no, it's "uncommon", so you need to jump through hoops.

I think the default assumption is not "you need to jump through hoops"; it's "you should talk to your GM".

Your baseline appears to be "this is quest material". That's reasonable.

My baseline is "PCs get a couple uncommon things to make their character distinct". That's reasonable.


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

Talk to your GM. Simple.

As the resident GM, I appreciate having the rarity system as a tool. I do think it makes this part of my job easier to deal with.

Sovereign Court

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Pathfinder Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber
QuidEst wrote:
Wheldrake wrote:
But the default assumption says no, it's "uncommon", so you need to jump through hoops.

I think the default assumption is not "you need to jump through hoops"; it's "you should talk to your GM".

Your baseline appears to be "this is quest material". That's reasonable.

My baseline is "PCs get a couple uncommon things to make their character distinct". That's reasonable.

That's the beauty of it...everybody can run the game however they want.

It should be noted that while a lot of people seems to be so focused on the GM part, it is written in the reward section of the book, that a GM should reward Uncommon things fairly regularly. So more often than not, a simple conversation with your GM, will be enough to get the uncommon thing that you want.

If of course, someone issue is, I have to communicate with my GM, this part can't really help you there.

Dark Archive

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I love that there is a rarity system now. And I think Stephen or Jason was talking about how uncommon or rare spells and feats have to be discovered via adventuring, which is just brilliant!

I remember that a lot of spells were "off-limits" in AD&D-era Forgotten Realms, hidden away as scrolls in dusty tombs or in the pages of long-forgotten tomes. I think FR Adventures even had a rarity table for spells, and we used that table in every campaign. Part of the fun in finally getting that bladethirst spell was the exploration process. And even if you found a wizard who had your favorite uncommon or rare spell in their spellbook, you naturally had to trade other rare or uncommon spells to scribe it. I'm glad those days are back, and if unique spells or feats can be used as a reward, that is fantastic game design. :)


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

The only issue I am seeing with rarity is its effect on creating higher level characters -- something that a GM would need to direct you to do anyway, as the default would be to create a 1st level character for a brand new campaign. If you are theorycrafting, you effectively are the GM and can set the parameters in any way that you consider reasonable -- for example, you could assume that a particular character completed particular adventures before reaching the level you are designing them at.

The uncommon items that a 1st level character can afford are mostly weapons that can be accessed via appropriate feats. I would not be surprised if appropriate books make other, higher level items available under particular conditions.


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

I love the new rarity system, and continuing on the topic of spells I feel that one of the most overlooked tools is Spell Research. Given that this is a very useful downtime activity for casters it offers a very easy window to access uncommon or rare spells.

If you start researching a spell it can easily prompt a DM of your interest in it. You may need to acquire certain knowledge or materials to proceed through your research, or you may need to get assistance from another party but it's not out of the question.

Uncommon means that you can't just slap it onto your character sheet without telling anyone unless you have something that says you can.

I for one really appreciate that tool being in the hands of the DM rather than them having to exert control over what some players may assume base rules over the game. It feels a lot better to allow certain things rather than taking them away.

Same thing goes for Crafting Formula and Items. I can easily see the Inventor feat allowing someone to invent an Uncommon or Rare item with significant enough time and possible quest prompts coming out of it to complete the formula.


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The best thing about rarity is it preserves the verisimilitude of the universe as portrayed and answers why it hasn't evolved into the Tippyverse.

"If every wizard can disguise themselves, clone, teleport, mind blank, demand, and dominate things for months, why isn't the whole setting ruled by powerful hidden spellcasters who rule through proxies and can't be found, let alone defeated?"

Because not every spellcaster has access to those tricks. They might have some, but anyone who has found a way to read minds, cover vast distances, hide themselves from magical investigation, or control people more or less permanently hides them from the competition out of self interest or fear of what people would do if they knew he had access to those abilities.


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Pathfinder Pathfinder Accessories Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber

When I said "jump through hoops" the important question is how many and how difficult those hoops are.

Example 1:
Let's say you're creating a starting wizard character at level 5 and you have your eyes set on an uncommon 1st to 3rd level spell that you absolutely want to have in your book.

You talk to the DM, and he doesn't see any real obstacle. You both agree that in the months leading up to reaching 5th level, you spent significant time researching this spell after learning it existed and was used by Lord Deadwizard some two hundred years ago.

Now you have your uncommon spell, and the DM has an adventure hook he can use when Lord Deadwizard's grandson comes to collect his rightful heritage.

Example 2:
Now let's say you've been playing PF2 for a couple dozen sessions and you've just reached 5th level, and you want to get that uncommon spell you've had your eyes on for a while. Do you...

a) Go talk to the priests at the local Temple of Nethys or the guys at the wizards guild or whoever, and they either have a copy of the spell or know someone who does. All you have to do is perform this tiny service for them... Or do you
b) Use the spell research system and the required amount of downtime to invent the spell yourself, after learning it exists through whatever means.

Example 3:
Your DM, being a nice accomodating sort of guy, knows about your interest in this spell and decides to add it to the spellbook of the next nasty wizard adversary that your adventures lead you to confront. In the backpack of this dead villain can be found his spellbook. After he's tried to cast this nasty spell on you a few times already.

So there are hoops and hoops. A DM can do anything he wants to with this rarity system. It's hardly a "straightjacket". And if you're theorycrafting, hey, you just assume that whatever hoops had to be overcome were dealt with, just like you assume that your 13th-level theorycrafted wizard actually survived being a 12th-level wizard (and so on).

So, where's the straightjacket?


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QuidEst wrote:
I think the default assumption is not "you need to jump through hoops"; it's "you should talk to your GM".

It sure FEELS like "you need to jump through hoops": the number of things I have to "talk to your GM" about keep growing and growing with this edition and that's not something I count as a feature, pro or boon: it just means more time and effort to get to the starting gate and since I often have different Dm's and games that's adds up quickly. I'd rather see "Giving GMs agency and control" as giving the GM the tools they need if they want to use them instead of baking such rules into the system and make people have to take them out or alter them if they don't work in their entirety.

So IMO I'd rather see the rarity system as a DM tool to control availability instead of the system making that decision for them and making them alter it if they disagree.


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Pathfinder Pathfinder Accessories Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber
graystone wrote:
So IMO I'd rather see the rarity system as a DM tool to control availability instead of the system making that decision for them and making them alter it if they disagree.

It's both. Mostly the first thing. It's as if they could have written the CRB with onlu "common" stuff in it, and called it a day. Then it would be like "Only CRB material can be automatically accessed, you need to jump through hoops to get anything else". But instead, they included some uncommon and rare stuff to illustrate what is possible with the rarity system.

A given DM can do anything he wants with it, of course.


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Pathfinder Maps, Pawns Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber
Anguish wrote:
shroudb wrote:
Base rarity makes everything easier.

Disagree. Base rarity - as written - makes those specific games where a DM wants to disallow the specific things that Paizo lists as uncommon/rare but doesn't want to tell their players that easier.

For everyone else, it's mother-may-I?

Let me explain. My groups have played PF since inception, and most of us 3.x before that, and some of those back to D&D 1. But as we test PF2, I can't legitimately ask my DM "may I use uncommon/rare things". Because that's not testing the game as written. It's testing the more powerful version.

In my opinion, if rarity were truly there for the purpose we're told it is, the rules would have said "uncommon and rare items are available by default, but DMs who wish to run games with a particular style can inform players that those items are reserved in their games". DMs would have a codified system and wouldn't have to pick & choose what to allow/disallow. Players would know that what they were experiencing was a Paizo-sanctioned system of the game. "Normal" games would just proceed without the optional system.

The ship has sailed, and we had our opportunity to influence Paizo's devs. They feel these items should be unavailable by default. And who knows... maybe they're right.

This. This is what irks me.

Rarity itself is not a problem. Heck, it even has a lot potential to be really useful. It's the execution and official hard-coded implementation that is the problem.

Grand Lodge

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Pathfinder Adventure Path, Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber

As a GM most of the time I enjoy this change greatly. It makes at least base power level known.

In PF1 even when I try to limit available things like races, classes and archetypes to keep an more or less even curve in the group there is just so much content out there that some players still suprise me and when I think oh you must be streaching RAW vs RAI and find there are just things I don't know because there is so much available. But now if I say anything common plus xyz is available anything else you must ask makes things very easy.

And for anyone who thinks this is a bad system or it makes you jump through hoops read the first rule in the front of the book. If it isn't fun change it.

I have had entire encounters ruined by op stuff. And I have ruined encounters with op things as well. And I am not talking about being clever that I actually like and encourage and reward. But deus ex machina spells and items from the n'th dimension in a 30 page splat book from 8 years ago that I didn't say was not game feels cheap sometimes.

Also it feels like I can actually reward casters now. In 1e loot pretty much was here is a pile of coins a few items for the martials and oh some scrolls and partially used wands for the caster that he doesn't want. Now I can look at their spell list and say oh here are some things they don't have due to rarity that fit the story blah blah and reward them.

I am rambling. I like the system both as a GM and a Player.


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Anguish wrote:
Because that's not testing the game as written.

But working with your GM to acquire uncommon or rare items is part of the game as written.

Dekalinder wrote:
I see we have learned nothing from the mistakes of the past.

I mean, the rarity system seems like a direct answer to the 'mistakes of the past'.

Paizo had a problem where every time they printed anything, any player would assume they automatically had access to it. Anyone could craft that super rare unique item. Every wizard in the world could learn that ultra rare special spell developed by one guy in secret in a dungeon. Everyone could learn that secret combat technique only practiced in one remote region of the world.

So Paizo came up with a system that points out to players and GMs when a super special nonstandard thing is supposed to be super special and not a normal assumption in play. It tells players with Paizo thinks they're not supposed to have and gives the GM some cover to disallow things without being accused of stealing the player's agency.

Is it perfect? No. Do I wish there were clearer rules to work around it, especially for uncommon items? Absolutely.

But "just repeating the mistakes of the past" is a needlessly glib statement.


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Pathfinder Maps, Pawns Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber
David knott 242 wrote:

The only issue I am seeing with rarity is its effect on creating higher level characters -- something that a GM would need to direct you to do anyway, as the default would be to create a 1st level character for a brand new campaign. If you are theorycrafting, you effectively are the GM and can set the parameters in any way that you consider reasonable -- for example, you could assume that a particular character completed particular adventures before reaching the level you are designing them at.

The uncommon items that a 1st level character can afford are mostly weapons that can be accessed via appropriate feats. I would not be surprised if appropriate books make other, higher level items available under particular conditions.

So when I'm the GM of my theory craft character, should I assume that I should pay research costs for all my uncommon spells from the character's starting funds or not? Would the rule that lump sum starting funds can only net common items get in the way?

Nobody really knows, because it's "mother may I?"

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