Battle Medicine - How Many Hands?


Rules Discussion

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Nefreet wrote:
Draco18s wrote:
Nefreet wrote:
Talonhawke wrote:
Which of course is the whole reason that we typically don't take off the cuff rulings as rulings.

I disagree [...]

But a contradictory comment from another Designer can toss the whole thing back in the fire.

So wait, you disagree about [not taking off the cuff rulings] but then completely agree with [the reason WHY]?

I don't get it.

Well, when you cut out the bulk of any post, it's bound to lose context.

But the point is still made rulings made during a game like this are even worse for using as rulings than a random forum post because likely its being made off the cuff or as a on the spot decision. And that doesn't account for the fact that even the Devs might miss something like the above haste example. If we are taking how the devs run a game as proper rulings one could now argue that haste allows the extra action on your turn.


Nefreet wrote:
Well, when you cut out the bulk of any post, it's bound to lose context.

Fine, be pedantic.

Nefreet wrote:
I disagree,

You disagree with the statement, "[that is] the whole reason we typically don't take off the cuff rulings as rulings."

Quote:
in the instance that the Community is terribly divided on an issue and nothing either side says will budge the discussion.

The remainder of the sentence is not needed to make my point. This is the grammatical equivalent of "that car that we all agree is red, is red."

Quote:
An "off the cuff" ruling, whether it be a Forum post, podcast response, Facebook post or what-have-you, can help move that discussion out of the gutter.

I mean, it could, but...

Quote:
But a contradictory comment from another Designer can toss the whole thing back in the fire.

And that's why:

Quote:
we typically don't take off the cuff rulings as rulings.

So yes. As I said:

You disagree with the result, but 100% agree with the logic.

Sczarni

I disagree with your entire post, and again, it's because you're taking pieces out of context.

It's very important, literally (as in, "the literal application"), that you don't separate "I disagree" from the remainder of the sentence.

That's what we call in this present day, "Fake News", and it's a huge pet peeve of mine.

Sczarni

(you'll probably dissect this post, too, so I'll address it to everyone else reading)

I consider myself a progressive thinker, in that I have discussions in an effort to progress an "issue" towards a "solution".

Obviously, official answers are paramount and worth striving for. But when a community is divided on an issue and nothing official is being done, you have to go with the next best thing to find a solution (however temporary that solution ends up being).

This is how you go through life.

With no official answer, only unofficial answers remain. How do you determine which unofficial answer to go with? You evaluate its quality and source. My unofficial answer doesn't carry any more weight than the equally reasoned unofficial answer of another forum poster, though, and so we should be drawn to unofficial answers from more informed sources to guide us towards a solution (again, however temporary that solution ends up being).

The alternative is to continue an endless debate and pause whatever you're doing indefinitely, which simply isn't an option for most of us.

Should that unofficial answer then encounter a contradictory unofficial answer, we're simply back to where we began. But that doesn't mean we shouldn't have sought an answer in the first place.


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Nefreet wrote:

I disagree with your entire post, and again, it's because you're taking pieces out of context.

It's very important, literally (as in, "the literal application"), that you don't separate "I disagree" from the remainder of the sentence.

That's what we call in this present day, "Fake News", and it's a huge pet peeve of mine.

How dare you call a dragon a pet!?


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Nefreet wrote:
Should that unofficial answer then encounter a contradictory unofficial answer, we're simply back to where we began.

...which is why we don't use unofficial answers.

Because we have two unofficial answers right now and they disagree, which has put us back where we started, with nothing.

Quote:
But that doesn't mean we shouldn't have sought an answer in the first place.

You're not wrong here, but you are misleading. There's an old adage about a black cat lost in a dark basement.

Is it wrong to go looking for the cat? No, it isn't. But what you've essentially argued for, here, is that we should mess around in the dark because that's all we can do.

And I'm saying, "Lets wait for someone to turn on the lights."

Unofficial answers are worse than useless because they aren't lights. They're people who think they've already found the cat.


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Meanwhile, we'll keep posting and bumping and driving up the thread count to get attention. Shaking the bag of treats to try and tempt the cat up out of the basement.


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Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

But how can anyone even argue that there are two possible interpretations by RAW for this issue? Where in the book is there even a hint at the interpretation that battle medicine requires healer's tools? The only way people get there is by making the assumption that the act of non-magically healing someone in combat should require some kind of implement to be effective. Within the rules as written, great lengths have been gone to NOT to include this requirement.

The argument in favor of requiring the tools, as a legitimate reading of RAW, is:

"It has to be a mistake that Healer's tools explicitly mentions actions that they can be used for, and battle medicine isn't one of them, nor does the action itself call them out, despite every other action requiring tools doing so."

But that argument clearly has fallen apart because if it was a simple mistake, and the action was simply supposed to require them, then that would have been addressed in the first round of Errata.

So this is not a two-sided debate about how the feat works according to RAW. It is a hold over of people hoping the rules as written will be changed because they do not like the way the feat works as RAW.


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Uchuujin wrote:
Meanwhile, we'll keep posting and bumping and driving up the thread count to get attention. Shaking the bag of treats to try and tempt the cat up out of the basement.

DID SOMEONE SAY TREATS!!!!!!


I came to this thread because I was told there was a black cat and I wanted to pet the kitty.


Unicore wrote:

So this is not a two-sided debate about how the feat works according to RAW. It is a hold over of people hoping the rules as written will be changed because they do not like the way the feat works as RAW.

Definitely a +1 on this. RAW seems to be clear. People are arguing about RAI based on competing unofficial rulings in streams.

But most of the people arguing against the RAW are basically invoking "believability" or "common sense" in ways that clearly mess with the balance of this technique. That's their right as a GM, but I think this is actually much more clear than this thread seems to indicate.

Sczarni

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I feel the need to point out that there is no such thing as "RAW". Reading is an interpretive activity. Text is just a medium for transmitting a message.

If "RAW" existed, this thread would not. Also, judges would be out of a job, there'd only be one sect of any religion, and nobody would ever need an FAQ.


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Nefreet wrote:

I feel the need to point out that there is no such thing as "RAW". Reading is an interpretive activity. Text is just a medium for transmitting a message.

If "RAW" existed, this thread would not. Also, judges would be out of a job, there'd only be one sect of any religion, and nobody would ever need an FAQ.

I disagree. The term Rules as Written is there to refer to the closest possible literal interpretation of the rule. Of course many rules are ambiguous enough to create a multitude of possible "RAW" scenarios, especially in Pathfinder 2 as Paizo has gone out of their way to make wording malleable for any given DM adjudication. We have seen plenty of cases of that on these forums after all.

Generally speaking the RAW meaning of a rule is the one that the majority of readers take away from the rule. So if there is any kind of consensus it is acceptable to label that consensus as the RAW interpretation, until or unless that interpretation is proven wrong or changed in Errata.

RAW serves an important purpose in gaming, chiefly pointing out any time that the Rules as Written do not adhere to Rules as Intended. Ideally both would be the same interpretation, but inevitably there will be a need for Errata (Edit) somewhere down the line. Like adding that last bit. I did so in post.

All of that is just a long way of saying that the definition of RAW is not necessarily one specific interpretation of a rule.

But that is just my interpretation. :)


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Nefreet wrote:

I feel the need to point out that there is no such thing as "RAW". Reading is an interpretive activity. Text is just a medium for transmitting a message.

If "RAW" existed, this thread would not. Also, judges would be out of a job, there'd only be one sect of any religion, and nobody would ever need an FAQ.

So what you're saying is that it needs three hands?

(That may not be what you thought you wrote, but that's how I'm interpreting it, which is all that matters.)


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Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Even if reading is an interpretive act, there very clearly is a rule as written in this case, which is the feat battle medicine itself. There may be multiple ways to interpret the feat. But one of those ways seems entirely dependent on adding text that is not present in the rules to do so, and one does not. Which one feels more inline with how you want it to work at your table is a fair debate. Which one is clearest expression of the formatting, structure, and language of the rules in the book and really isn’t.


Pathfinder Pathfinder Accessories Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber

Yes, yes, we all bow before the clarity of this rule.

But there is a niggling detail that I think is behind a lot of the controversy around this feat.

CRB wrote:
You can patch up yourself or an adjacent ally, even in combat.

People reading this feat read "patch up" and they could easily deduce that some form of "patch" is required. The only type of "patch" available in the lists of equipment is the healer's tools.

Hence the confusion. Unicore, every time you repeat "very clearly" or some variation of the same, I have to wince. It's not as clear as you would like to believe.

Yes, the RAW support the idea that no materials are required (no healer's tools and hence no hands) and a manipulate action doesn't require a free hand.

And yet, no, it's not "clear" because (a) the word "patch up" appears to refer to some sort of undefined material, and (b) all other skill actions to heal require healer's tools. Both of those facts lead people to question this feat and grasp at straws (like a 3rd-hand Dev reference from a podcast).

So, Unicore, you're right about the RAW. But you're wrong about it being "clear".


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
Wheldrake wrote:

Yes, yes, we all bow before the clarity of this rule.

But there is a niggling detail that I think is behind a lot of the controversy around this feat.

CRB wrote:
You can patch up yourself or an adjacent ally, even in combat.

People reading this feat read "patch up" and they could easily deduce that some form of "patch" is required. The only type of "patch" available in the lists of equipment is the healer's tools.

Hence the confusion. Unicore, every time you repeat "very clearly" or some variation of the same, I have to wince. It's not as clear as you would like to believe.

Yes, the RAW support the idea that no materials are required (no healer's tools and hence no hands) and a manipulate action doesn't require a free hand.

And yet, no, it's not "clear" because (a) the word "patch up" appears to refer to some sort of undefined material, and (b) all other skill actions to heal require healer's tools. Both of those facts lead people to question this feat and grasp at straws (like a 3rd-hand Dev reference from a podcast).

So, Unicore, you're right about the RAW. But you're wrong about it being "clear".

I am sympathetic to people confused by the language "patch up." However, the word patch is not even mentioned in the healer's tools, so there is no real connection to the item there. The only other mention of "patching up" in the rules happens in two places

1. the description of the medicine skill, which is probably unfortunate, because there is no action that it allows called patching up, and the language isn't even used in the action "treat wounds" which would have provided some consistent language that would have made the bridge that people want to exist between treat wounds and battle medicine.
2. It is mentioned is the Druid feat: Healing transformation, which does at least specify that it is magic that is doing the patching of injuries, but it is also a metamagic with no other traits, so it doesn't even add a somatic or verbal action to the casting. You just spend one extra action, doing who knows what, not even concentrating, and then the target gets "patched up."

I understand that this is an attempt to grasp at straws to make your desired reading of the rules the one that you can use in game, but it seems disingenuous to the writers and editors to pretend like this feat is a glaring example of unclear writing. And if you want to play with it that way at the table, it is much better to base that discussion around what will work best for your table, not what is specified within the rules themselves.

There are still plenty of things in the book that are unclear that need actual clarification. Things like whether the feat before battle medicine, battle cry can be used with the intimidating glare, because both feats key off of the same actual action, "demoralize," rather than call out their own thing.

I really and honestly think it would probably be more useful for people who want to have battle medicine require a tool kit do so in a house rules thread and focus on what would need to happen to the feat to make it balanced within that house rule.

Sczarni

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People throw around the acronym "RAW" in an effort to bully their interpretation to the top of the argument. It's truly obscene. You see it academia and politics and the justice system as much as you see it in gaming.

There. Is. No. Such. Thing. As. "RAW".

What people need to start doing is rephrasing their defense to "I read it as," or, "My interpretation is that," and put the agency on themselves, rather than hiding behind a non-existent philosophy out of laziness.


Battlefield Medicine has the Manipulate trait, so a "suitable appendage" is required. What counts as Suitable? There's no one-stop definition, probably because 1) it changes depending on the exact action and 2) some creatures have special anatomy that lets them use tentacles, prehensile tails, etc in place of hands. When it's not spelled out, it's the GM's call what counts as suitable, which is the exact opposite of One True RAW.

Some actions (somatic, grabbing a ledge) specify that they can be done with hands full. Thus, by the same reasoning that argues that "if it required a medkit, it would say so", it only works with hands full if it says so, which Battlefield Medicine doesn't. The "or gestures" clause just means that SOME Manipulate actions can be done as gesture, not that gestures are the default.

Finally, Battlefield Medicine doesn't have the Visual trait, so "Stern Gaze" is definitely not RAW.


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Nefreet wrote:

There. Is. No. Such. Thing. As. "RAW".

Don't you mean your interpretation is that there is no such thing as RAW?


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Squiggit wrote:
Nefreet wrote:

There. Is. No. Such. Thing. As. "RAW".

Don't you mean your interpretation is that there is no such thing as RAW?

My interpretation is that there is no interpretation that there is no such thing as RAW. It's also my interpretation of my interpretation that there is no interpretation that there is no such thing as RAW. Someone else's interpretation of my interpretation of my interpretation that there is no such interpretation that there is no such thing as RAW is likewise an interpretation of their interpretation of my interpretation of my interpretation that there is no such interpretation that there is no such thing as RAW.

This is a fun game. Did I win?


Probably.


Darksol the Painbringer wrote:
Squiggit wrote:
Nefreet wrote:

There. Is. No. Such. Thing. As. "RAW".

Don't you mean your interpretation is that there is no such thing as RAW?

My interpretation is that there is no interpretation that there is no such thing as RAW. It's also my interpretation of my interpretation that there is no interpretation that there is no such thing as RAW. Someone else's interpretation of my interpretation of my interpretation that there is no such interpretation that there is no such thing as RAW is likewise an interpretation of their interpretation of my interpretation of my interpretation that there is no such interpretation that there is no such thing as RAW.

This is a fun game. Did I win?

Find a way to officially publish your thoughts, and you can run for an Ig Nobel prize (we have a precedent).


Nefreet wrote:

People throw around the acronym "RAW" in an effort to bully their interpretation to the top of the argument. It's truly obscene. You see it academia and politics and the justice system as much as you see it in gaming.

There. Is. No. Such. Thing. As. "RAW".

What people need to start doing is rephrasing their defense to "I read it as," or, "My interpretation is that," and put the agency on themselves, rather than hiding behind a non-existent philosophy out of laziness.

So fighters starting with expert proficiency in martial weapons is just one of many valid interpretations of how the rules work.


thorin001 wrote:
Nefreet wrote:

People throw around the acronym "RAW" in an effort to bully their interpretation to the top of the argument. It's truly obscene. You see it academia and politics and the justice system as much as you see it in gaming.

There. Is. No. Such. Thing. As. "RAW".

What people need to start doing is rephrasing their defense to "I read it as," or, "My interpretation is that," and put the agency on themselves, rather than hiding behind a non-existent philosophy out of laziness.

So fighters starting with expert proficiency in martial weapons is just one of many valid interpretations of how the rules work.

Obviously that is just flavor text telling you that fighters are supposed to be experts with martial weapons, but that is just flavor text.

Also, "martial weapons" are really just a subcategory of simple weapons, so obviously everyone should be able to use them. And dont get me started on advanced weapons.

/s


Nefreet wrote:
There. Is. No. Such. Thing. As. "RAW".

That seems disingenuous to uncooked meat.

Quote:
What people need to start doing is rephrasing their defense to "I read it as," or, "My interpretation is that," and put the agency on themselves, rather than hiding behind a non-existent philosophy out of laziness.

If you want to be pedantic about it, yes.

But here's the problem.
You haven't provided your interpretation, you've only said "your interpretation is wrong."


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Nefreet wrote:

People throw around the acronym "RAW" in an effort to bully their interpretation to the top of the argument. It's truly obscene. You see it academia and politics and the justice system as much as you see it in gaming.

There. Is. No. Such. Thing. As. "RAW".

What people need to start doing is rephrasing their defense to "I read it as," or, "My interpretation is that," and put the agency on themselves, rather than hiding behind a non-existent philosophy out of laziness.

People citing RAW have a really terrible track record in rules arguments. The “RAW” interpretation very rarely aligns with the eventual ruling.


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GM OfAnything wrote:
Nefreet wrote:

People throw around the acronym "RAW" in an effort to bully their interpretation to the top of the argument. It's truly obscene. You see it academia and politics and the justice system as much as you see it in gaming.

There. Is. No. Such. Thing. As. "RAW".

What people need to start doing is rephrasing their defense to "I read it as," or, "My interpretation is that," and put the agency on themselves, rather than hiding behind a non-existent philosophy out of laziness.

People citing RAW have a really terrible track record in rules arguments. The “RAW” interpretation very rarely aligns with the eventual ruling.

Is that accounting for times where a rule was changed due to an erroneous word here or there? Clarification obviously changes the "RaW" reading of a rule, if it didn't then I would have to agree that RaW doesn't exist.

After all the term RaW is referring to the consensus on what a rule means, so changing that consensus changes RaW.

That is the whole point of Errata and a Rules Discussion section of the forums from Paizo's perspective isn't it? Determining the consensus on what the rules mean to players, then adjusting them to fit the intention of those rules. Or clarifying the rules in a way that fits the intention.

If RaW didn't exist, then how would you go about adjusting rules to fit intention?


GM OfAnything wrote:
People citing RAW have a really terrible track record in rules arguments. The “RAW” interpretation very rarely aligns with the eventual ruling.

When Paizo provides an errata that contradicts the original RAW, that's a memorable event. (Well, comparatively memorable. Rules debates are ultimately trivial.)

You're forgetting the other 99% of questions where somebody asks a rules question, somebody else gives the RAW answer, and that's it.

"In PF1, can I get flanking from an invisible ally who no-one is aware of?"
"By RAW, yes. You're free to house rule it though."
The end.

Sczarni

I've been repeating this for literally decades now, which is a strange concept to me, because it should be obvious to everyone:

Reading is an interpretive activity.

That fact is truly not up for debate. Reading involves the usage of individual skills, experiences and filters. This is well known when you study linguistics. If everyone read the same message and came to the same conclusion every time, then I repeat that you would have no requirement for lawyers or judges, each religion would have a single belief system, and FAQs would disappear.

The words you read on a page are only part of the message. Language is incredibly limiting, and you lose context and detail as you cut down on word count. There are countless examples of this in academia. Every person reading this comment right now has had an experience misinterpreting a text, email or other short passage at some point in their life. Anyone actively engaged in Rules arguments should be concretely aware that text can be interpreted in a multitude of ways.

The people in this thread mocking this fact with silly examples miss the point. If I type, "Weapon Focus adds +1 to-hit with the chosen weapon", you are engaging in the act of interpretation by reading it. For people with a shared understanding of this game, interpretations of this quote should not vary wildly (although there are always outliers). But take a step back and ask someone who plays a different RPG what that means. Then take a step further and ask someone unfamiliar with RPGs. Then translate it into a foreign language and do the same. Then fast forward a hundred years. Or a thousand. Each step along the way loses context and detail.

If anything, the acronym should be "WAW", for "Words as Written". A rule is a concept. A philosophy. A message. A rule cannot, itself, be written. Words, whether written or spoken, only act as a medium for transmitting the message. They are not the message themselves. Again, this is nothing new in the study of linguistics.

FAQs and errata address common misinterpretations by adding details in the form of word count. Perhaps the Rules Designers assumed a common knowledge when writing a short description of a feat that players instead argued about (which is what I suspect happened with Battle Medicine).

I love to point out the existence of the "Boomerang, Nonreturning" from an old D&D supplement. It dealt "14+12" damage, whereas a "Boomerang, Returning" dealt a mere "1d4" damage. Is there more than one interpretation of "14+12"? Absolutely. One could argue that these primitive nuclear warheads always dealt 26 damage. Or. You could use your understanding of game design, possibly compare it to the other Boomerang, and be aware that typos exist, and instead interpret that the damage should be "1d4+1d2".

An FAQ was never issued for that supplement, but if there had been one, it likely would have been something to the effect of "Change the damage of the Boomerang, Nonreturning to 1d4+1d2". Did the actual damage of this Boomerang change via the FAQ? No. It just made misinterpreting the damage entry less likely.

Sczarni

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Draco18s wrote:
You haven't provided your interpretation, you've only said "your interpretation is wrong."

Where have I said this?

I believe I've been fairly up front in admitting that the true answer is unknown, given all of the arguments and points for each side.

Even my own view has changed over the course of the game, from 2 hands to 1.


Nefreet wrote:

People throw around the acronym "RAW" in an effort to bully their interpretation to the top of the argument. It's truly obscene. You see it academia and politics and the justice system as much as you see it in gaming.

There. Is. No. Such. Thing. As. "RAW".

What people need to start doing is rephrasing their defense to "I read it as," or, "My interpretation is that," and put the agency on themselves, rather than hiding behind a non-existent philosophy out of laziness.

Not always. RAW the Icon in starfinder has trouble identifying things they're supposed to be good at. It's a typo. RAW it's worse to be an icon. RAI its supposed to be easier.

Sure, not the best example, but definitely the clearest. And if RAW doesn't exist, there would be no errata

Sczarni

The rule was not the problem.

The written text conveying the rule was the problem.

Same for Battle Medicine.


Nefreet wrote:
I love to point out the existence of the "Boomerang, Nonreturning" from an old D&D supplement. It dealt "14+12" damage, whereas a "Boomerang, Returning" dealt a mere "1d4" damage. Is there more than one interpretation of "14+12"? Absolutely. One could argue that these primitive nuclear warheads always dealt 26 damage. Or. You could use your understanding of game design, possibly compare it to the other Boomerang, and be aware that typos exist, and instead interpret that the damage should be "1d4+1d2".

All interpretations are valid, but some valid interpretations are dumb.

If you think RAW does not exist, your interpretation of 'RAW' is... unhelpful.

RAW is a useful term to describe the most literal possible interpretation of what is on the page, rather than what is implied, sensible, balanced, realistic, intended, etc.

RAW was clearly 26 in the case of the returning boomerang. RAI was not 26.

Sczarni

My point is that the text alone does not always provide the whole answer.

You need to incorporate more understanding into your interpretation.

In the case of the Boomerang, that could include knowledge of typos, thinking to compare the Nonreturning to the Returning, or considering that a piece of thrown wood was the cheapest and yet most powerful weapon in the game.


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Quote:
I love to point out the existence of the "Boomerang, Nonreturning" from an old D&D supplement. It dealt "14+12" damage, whereas a "Boomerang, Returning" dealt a mere "1d4" damage. Is there more than one interpretation of "14+12"? Absolutely. One could argue that these primitive nuclear warheads always dealt 26 damage. Or. You could use your understanding of game design, possibly compare it to the other Boomerang, and be aware that typos exist, and instead interpret that the damage should be "1d4+1d2".

This is actually an excellent example. But not really in your favor.

The term RAW serves a function in these discussions that you are completely glossing over. The idea of RAW is not that there is an objective, axiomatic meaning of each rule, and in this you are arguing against a straw man.

In your example, the rules as written are extremely clear. 26 is what the words on the page say. It's unambiguous. However, it is extremely easy to infer that those numbers were printed by mistake, thanks to the extremely formulaic way in which damage is calculated; in every other case, weapons deal damage by dice, not in static amounts that get added together for no reason. So, the RAW are unambiguously divorced from RAI, and nobody would reasonably make an argument otherwise.

However, not every case is so cut and dried. Like in this case. There is no perfectly clear rubric to which we can refer that tells us what the designers intended, so it's left to us to interpret the interval between what they were trying to accomplish and what they actually printed. Because as you say, typos happen, multiple revisions happen, and internal disagreements happen. RAW refers to "the interpretation that hews as closely to the written word as possible".


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Nefreet wrote:

The rule was not the problem.

The written text conveying the rule was the problem.

Same for Battle Medicine.

WTCR then. The written text conveying the rule is unclear. So then the way the rule is written makes it difficult to understand. The rule isn't clearly defined the way it is currently written. Thec rule, as it is presently written, isn't clear. RAW.

That's the same thing. RAW


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Nefreet wrote:

I've been repeating this for literally decades now, which is a strange concept to me, because it should be obvious to everyone:

That's just another way of saying that you are unable or unwilling to consider alternative view points.

Nefreet wrote:
If anything, the acronym should be "WAW", for "Words as Written". A rule is a concept. A philosophy. A message. A rule cannot, itself, be written. Words, whether written or spoken, only act as a medium for transmitting the message. They are not the message themselves. Again, this is nothing new in the study of linguistics.

This is splitting hairs so finely that you may as well be bald. Nobody is saying that there is some mystical "rules only" language that perfectly conveys the intention of the author.

The point is that RAW doesn't mean what you interpret it to mean to what I would estimate is the majority of ttrpg gamers. RAW can be used to refer to your own personal interpretation in one usage and can also refer to the commonly accepted interpretation in another.

For someone who professes higher learning in linguistics, you would think that the distinction would be clear by its use in a case by case basis. Instead you just parrot the same, probably copy/pasted, anti-RAW argument in thread after thread with no intention of allowing yourself to be persuaded to change the definition of RAW in your own head.

What is the point of having a civil conversation about the validity of a term like RAW, one that the wider ttrpg community invented to serve the purpose that it serves, with someone who is so staunchly opposed to it?


@Nefreet/the discussion of RAW:

As I've stated elsewhere, for me there are a few degrees of this:
1. Rules that are clear by RAW and there's really no debate. You roll 1d20 to make an attack, no one can legitimately argue you role 1d10. This covers 90%+ of the rules.
2. Rules that are clear, in my view, but other people might disagree and say that RAW is unclear. (Battle Medicine might fall here... though I haven't recently heard a good argument for why, outside of it being an oversight.../need errata).
3. Rules that are unclear, in my view, and others (generally) think the same. See: Shifting Weapon Rune.

To say that reading is an interpretive activity, and therefor there is no RAW seems nonsensical because, well, there's a written rulebook. The point of that rulebook is to have everyone play with (basically) the same set of rules. Of course there's RAW, even if it's not, in all cases, decisive or its meaning isn't always agreed upon. In most cases, it is.

So the question remains @Nefreet: You've cited "reasons others have expressed" here as to why battle medicine, as written, requires any hands/a healer's kit. What, exactly, are those reasons? A few people have asked, but I haven't seen an actual answer to this question.

EDIT: Note that in cases 2 and 3 above, I think it's fair to say that "there is no RAW for X because the rules are unclear". But in that case, make your argument about what statements in the rules are contradictory or vague...


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

The only reason we can understand language is because of patterns. When reading for understanding the exact wording is important, because it is what many people will look at exclusively, but it is also important for designers to follow patterns they establish for creating consistent interpretation of the rules. In the nefreet boomerang example “14+12” sticks out because it clearly flies in the face of the patterns we expect for expressing damage with weapons.

Battle medicine is different because a lot of people arguing it is confusing, have done so based upon expectations of fiction/narrative, not based upon interpretation of the wording of the feat and it’s consistency in matching the language of other feats and actions.
There has been some vigorous debate, and from my perspective, there have even been some rational arguments attempting to defend an interpretation of the feat that could expect the character to have healer’s tools or require a free hand, however, with one exception, they all center around assuming that the feat itself, and the rules for tool usage and hand usage are badly written for expressing this feat’s intention.

The one exception would be if the feat does not require tools, but if all manipulate actions require a free hand, unless explicitly expressed otherwise. I have not personally done enough analysis of every usage of actions with the manipulate trait to evaluate whether it is reasonable to assume the trait itself is supposed to express the requirement that “this action generally necessitates having a free hand” or not, but my gut feeling is that reading the manipulate trait this way leads to it being a poorly designed trait that leads to a lot of confusion. As opposed to reading the manipulate trait as being about the ability to move freely, without restraint, and provoking reactions, which makes its current usage in the book fairly clear and consistent.

Now, if the feat was just badly written for expressing its intended usage, we should expect it would get errata’d as quickly as possible. Was there an overwhelming conversation about whether this feat should remove the wounded condition before the errata came out? I did not see it, but changing the wording of the feat was necessary to making that clear. Adding clarity that the feat requires healer’s tools could easily been done at the same time if desired, but that did not happen. This is why it seems like a pretty big stretch to assume the feat healer’s tools as a requirement. The book establishes consistent guidelines for actions that require tools and deliberately excludes this feat from those consistent patterns.

The manipulate tag argument is more nuanced and subtle, especially for the fact that we know it’s purpose changed from the playtest to the rulebook and there is much less of a consistent method of expressing number of hand usage for actions than there is expressing tool usage. The number of hands an action requires, and what you are holding in those hands is not always expressed in the same place, as it is with tool requirements, and can require consulting multiple locations in the book for determining intention.

At this point, it seems like this debate about battle medicine is mostly resolved around tool usage (it doesn’t have one), even though a lot of people don’t like that decision. The debate about handedness actually is boiling down to a question about the manipulate trait and wether it is intended to read “this action requires a free hand unless explicitly stated otherwise.”
If that is the intention of the trait, it should be errata’d to say that, because the trait itself is fairly ambiguous about whether the hand needs to be free or not and it is bad form to make the reader read every other manipulate trait action to get a sense as to wether the default is manipulate = requires a free hand, or just the ability to move/utilize a hand/arm without restraint.

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Seven pages and more than 300 posts without comment from the designers. It’s almost like they want this to remain a GM discretionary rule.


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I'd imagine that there is some internal discussion going on, which would explain the lack of forum involvement up to now.

It could be that they are unsure of how they want the final errata'd rule to look, or if they want to leave it as is and maybe provide an faq. We will just have to wait and see.


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Well. It's Christmas. Maybe they are doing that...


Nah, let them spend time with their families. The rules will be there after they get back.


Nefreet wrote:

The written text conveying the rule was the problem.

Same for Battle Medicine.

I don't think so. It may be my opinion, it may be a popular opinion, it may be an unpopular opinion.

But the rules, as conveyed in text, are quite definitive in my opinion. This interpretation is similarly backed up by other rules and falls into established patterns that boil down to "the text says what the rule does and they do not say 'requires a free hand' nor 'requires access to a medical kit' like every other use of a feat that requires a hand or kit, nor is it have a spot for text that is erroneously missing (eg. an empty line)."

Again, you've deflected the question of "how the text as conveyed" could be interpreted in another way without injecting additional text not supported by other, relevant rules that have no "text as conveyed" issues. Referring to Treat Wounds for additional requirements makes as much sense as saying that Improved Knockdown reduces the number of actions needed by 1 and they "just forgot to include that bit, see, it says 'single blow' obviously its a single action."

("14+12" has supporting arguments for "1d4+1d2" as the normal boomerang is "1d4", so it is clear from established patterns that a "d" is missing from the text, possibly two; is "1d4+12" too much damage for the item? I don't know, I didn't play that edition, but I'll admit that it is a very nice straw man).

Sczarni

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tivadar27 wrote:
@Nefreet: You've cited "reasons others have expressed" here as to why battle medicine, as written, requires any hands/a healer's kit. What, exactly, are those reasons? A few people have asked, but I haven't seen an actual answer to this question.

I won't blame you for skimming this thread, but the same points have resurfaced multiple times:

1) Battle Medicine has the Manipulate trait
There is disagreement around what that means. Somatic spells specifically allow "gestures" in place of a free hand. Does that mean *all* actions with the Manipulate trait can eschew hands in place of gestures? That's a hard argument to make.

2) Battle Medicine requires a Medicine check
Every listed application of the Medicine skill requires use of Healer's Tools, with the exception of Recall Knowledge. Some people argue that since Recall Knowledge exists, you don't need Healer's Tools for Battle Medicine.

3) Healer's Tools require two hands to use
But a Bandolier can "hold" them for you. Do you still need two hands when using Healer's Tools for Battle Medicine? Or do you just need one hand to fulfil the Manipulate trait while the Bandolier holds the tools for you?

4) Verisimilitude
I've never actually argued this, but it's a real point for many people. Yelling at someone in Starfinder can heal your Stamina. And that makes sense. Yelling at someone in Pathfinder to heal Hit Points is more difficult of an argument.


Nefreet wrote:
tivadar27 wrote:
@Nefreet: You've cited "reasons others have expressed" here as to why battle medicine, as written, requires any hands/a healer's kit. What, exactly, are those reasons? A few people have asked, but I haven't seen an actual answer to this question.

I won't blame you for skimming this thread, but the same points have resurfaced multiple times:

1) Battle Medicine has the Manipulate trait
There is disagreement around what that means. Somatic spells specifically allow "gestures" in place of a free hand. Does that mean *all* actions with the Manipulate trait can eschew hands in place of gestures? That's a hard argument to make.

2) Battle Medicine requires a Medicine check
Every listed application of the Medicine skill requires use of Healer's Tools, with the exception of Recall Knowledge. Some people argue that since Recall Knowledge exists, you don't need Healer's Tools for Battle Medicine.

3) Healer's Tools require two hands to use
But a Bandolier can "hold" them for you. Do you still need two hands when using Healer's Tools for Battle Medicine? Or do you just need one hand to fulfil the Manipulate trait while the Bandolier holds the tools for you?

4) Verisimilitude
I've never actually argued this, but it's a real point for many people. Yelling at someone in Starfinder can heal your Stamina. And that makes sense. Yelling at someone in Pathfinder to heal Hit Points is more difficult of an argument.

Not really. Somatic spells are more of a listed exception to that rule. This is generally because other manipulate traits in regards to spells (such as Focus and Material components) state that a free hand is needed unless the component is already drawn. We can say that spells involving solely somatic components don't require free hands, but spells involving focus or material components certainly do. (Whether they require the same or different free hands is hard to say, but those are very niche situations, and the rules for Focus components seem to suggest that the same free hand can work.)

Several other uses of manipulate traits, such as releasing a held item, don't say that you have to have a hand free, and is counter-intuitive to the intent of the action, which is to make a hand free. Based on the wording of the Manipulate trait, which is:

Manipulate wrote:
You must physically manipulate an item or make gestures to use an action with this trait. Creatures without a suitable appendage can’t perform actions with this trait.

This is in-line with what the intent of manipulation is between multiple avenues of performing this kind of action. Since it references appendage, it could be anything viable. Such as a foot, mouth, or even tail! If it's to grab and hold on to something of a certain size or bulk.

People argued Battle Medicine doesn't require hands because of both the Manipulate Trait and Healer's Tools not being listed as a requirement to perform the action. While I disagree with the former, the latter makes more sense since Healer's Tools spell out what actions it's required for, Battle Medicine not being on that list (even if it's similar to it).

Bandoliers can't really "hold" them for you. They can be stored in a bandolier, yes. But if using one if required, you still need both hands to use it, even if part of it is being stored elsewhere, such as on a bandolier. Point here is that bandoliers let you draw and use tools for free, and don't create some weird dichotomy of "it's drawn out and I can use it, but not really because reasons." That being said, since Healer's Tools aren't required for the feat, it's not really worth mentioning any more than it is worth mentioning Sudden Charge to Power Attack or vice-versa.

The verisimilitude is really the biggest hang-up I have with this. Even if we say HP are abstract, you can't sit there and tell me that being able to say the right thing or giving them a kick in the crotch is going to somehow give them health. It's like me swinging a weapon, doing negative damage, and expecting the bad guys to heal from it. That's not how that stuff works, but that's technically what would happen.


Nefreet wrote:

1) Battle Medicine has the Manipulate trait

There is disagreement around what that means. Somatic spells specifically allow "gestures" in place of a free hand. Does that mean *all* actions with the Manipulate trait can eschew hands in place of gestures? That's a hard argument to make.

I don't believe that is a hard argument to make at all. Virtually all Manipulate traits that I know of which call for a "free hand" make it a requirement of the action. If you happen to know a Manipulate trait that does not follow that pattern but requires a free hand, then let me know as I have come up empty after a cursory glance.

Nefreet wrote:

2) Battle Medicine requires a Medicine check

Every listed application of the Medicine skill requires use of Healer's Tools, with the exception of Recall Knowledge. Some people argue that since Recall Knowledge exists, you don't need Healer's Tools for Battle Medicine.

This is not actually true if you count Battle Medicine as a use of Medicine. It makes sense that it would not be lumped in with the "standard" uses of the skill as it is locked behind a feat. Since it is locked behind that feat, it stands to reason that we have to look to that feat for the relevant rules for using Battle Medicine. And the Battle Medicine feat makes no mention of either needing a free hand nor Healer's Tools to use the feat.

If you take a look at similar feats to Battle Medicine you will notice a few things. Some feats use the specific actions from the skill in question and alter their outcome like in the case of the "Legendary" series of feats. Others are entirely new uses of existing skills like Trick Magic Item. In the first case, the feats are very clear about using the specific action in question. Battle Medicine is very specific in stating that you are not using Treat Wounds, but instead are performing a new action with parameters derived from Treat Wounds. Trick Magic item is an entirely new use of any of the knowledge skills and is not listed under any of them lending credence to the idea that the "Specific" rule "Battle Medicine" overrides the general rules listed in the Medicine Skill.

That is just my reading of the rules, but I think it holds up pretty well.

Nefreet wrote:

3) Healer's Tools require two hands to use

But a Bandolier can "hold" them for you. Do you still need two hands when using Healer's Tools for Battle Medicine? Or do you just need one hand to fulfil the Manipulate trait while the Bandolier holds the tools for you?

We have 2 areas in the book that list all of the actions that require healer's tools: The list of actions in Medicine itself and the list of actions that require Healer's Tools in the item description of Healer's tools. Neither lists battle medicine and battle medicine does not state that it can use healer's tools at all. Taking this into account I would argue that according to the rules Battle Medicine does not need and cannot benefit from Healer's Tools at all without a house rule being involved as currently implemented.

Nefreet wrote:

4) Verisimilitude

I've never actually argued this, but it's a real point for many people. Yelling at someone in Starfinder can heal your Stamina. And that makes sense. Yelling at someone in Pathfinder to heal Hit Points is more difficult of an argument.

This is a much more nebulous argument, I would agree. I was one of the ones that brought the Starfinder Envoy up I believe. At the end of the day it is up to each GM to decide what makes the most sense at their table, and looking at other products produced by Paizo can give you a glimpse at their design principles. Do those principles translate directly to those used for Pathfinder 2.0? Probably not, it is circumstantial at best. But that does not mean it is not useful when trying to suss out the "intent" behind an ability like Battle Medicine.

After all the Envoy's ability is essentially once per day per ally in combat non-magical healing, which very much sounds like Battle Medicine.


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
Nefreet wrote:


2) Battle Medicine requires a Medicine check
Every listed application of the Medicine skill requires use of Healer's Tools, with the exception of Recall Knowledge. Some people argue that since Recall Knowledge exists, you don't need Healer's Tools for Battle Medicine.

If the book only dropped yesterday, and no other errata had already been published, this concern might be reasonable. But this, like removing an extra first level feat from a wizard, is not a challenging errata to make. If the developers forgot to include battle medicine in the list of actions that can and do require healer’s tools, and to include the healer’s tools in the action, we’d already know about it. They did already errata the feat after all to fix an obvious area of uncertainty.

Sczarni

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#5, then?

The lack of addressing something in an errata or FAQ does not mean it's okay as is
Anyone who's worked with developing an FAQ or errata knows this to be true. Same goes for Playtest options that missed editing before the final publication.

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