Focus pools and increasing them


Rules Discussion


So, I've been trying to sort through the logic on how this all works, and I think I've come to the following, given the rules and previous discussions:

1. Any ability that says "you start with a focus pool of 1 Focus Point", such as Cleric's domain initiate, either gives you a focus pool or increases it by one.
-> Due to "If you have multiple abilities that give you a focus pool, each one adds 1 Focus Point to your pool." on page 302.

2. Any ability that says "If you don’t already have one, you gain a focus pool of 1 Focus Point" (such as Healing Touch for the Champion multiclass) is the equivalent of 1 above, it will grant you a focus pool or increase it by one.
-> Due to the specific example "For instance, if you were a cleric with the Domain Initiate feat, you would have a pool with 1 Focus Point. Let’s say you then took the champion multiclass archetype and the Healing Touch feat. Normally, this feat would give you a focus pool. Since you already have one, it instead increases your existing pool’s capacity by 1" on page 302.

3. Any ability that says "Increase the number of Focus Points in your focus pool by 1" (such as Advanced Domain for Cleric) increases an existing focus pool. It should never be selectable if you don't have one.
-> Due to "Some abilities allow you to increase the Focus Points in your pool beyond 1. Typically, these are feats that give you a new focus spell and increase the number of points in your pool by 1" on page 300.

4. Any ability that doesn't mention focus pools at all (such as Deity's Domain from Champion) will, if you already have one, not increase your focus pool, but if you don't have one, will grant one to you.
-> A combination of not explicitly stating it grants you a focus pool and "You automatically gain a focus pool of 1 Focus Point the first time you gain an ability that gives you a focus spell" on page 300.

My thoughts:
* Numbers 1 and 3 make sense as written.
* Number 2 seems suspect, because of the wording of these abilities, but there's a specific example that seems to indicate it works.
* Number 3, if correct, is an absolute headache. It means that if you are, for example, a cleric that takes champion multi, if you select domain initiate then Deity's domain, you'll have a focus pool of 1. If you select them in the other order you'll have a focus pool of 2. That seems like really poor design and makes me think that it actually falls under the clause of "granting you a focus pool" and therefor would increase your focus pool as well.

Thoughts all?


You're spot on with all but one detail:

Deity's Domain calls out the Devotion Spell rules from earlier in the champion entry by saying "you gain the domain's initial domain spell as a devotion spell."

The Devotion Spell section then says "...special divine spells called devotion spells, which are a type of focus spell. It costs 1 Focus Point to cast a focus spell, and you start with a focus pool of 1 Focus Point."

As a result, Number 4 is actually Number 1 in a disguise.


Question considering wild shape, no where does it say you gain a focus point, also bards get a counter performance composition spell but does not say they get a focus point, do they actually get one erratta?


1 person marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber; Pathfinder Maps, Pawns Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber; Starfinder Superscriber
Trevorpewpew wrote:
Question considering wild shape, no where does it say you gain a focus point, also bards get a counter performance composition spell but does not say they get a focus point, do they actually get one erratta?

Your focus pool (and the 1st focus point you get) are specified earlier in the general description about the class features.

Core Rulebook p.131, Druidic Order section wrote:
Order spells are a type of focus spell. It costs 1 Focus Point to cast a focus spell, and you start with a focus pool of 1 Focus Point.
Core Rulebook p.97, Composition Spells section wrote:
Composition spells are a type of focus spell. It costs 1 Focus Point to cast a focus spell, and you start with a focus pool of 1 Focus Point.


Pathfinder Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber

So does that mean that a level 1 human monk with the Ki strike and Ki Rush feats will start with a focus pool of 2, or does that not qualify for the sidebar on page 302 because they are technically the same source? the example uses an archetype but doesn't explicitly call it out as required for this. Asking because our monk has ended a few fights on round 1 by level 2 with just the one focus point. I know he will want ki rush if it gives him another, he's been hunting paths to more focus points.


2 people marked this as a favorite.

This is such a headache, especially with weird cases like 2 and 3 (order matters).
I wish they would just get rid of the "general rule" which can weirdly or non-obviously over-ride things.
Instead just have every one state "add a Focus Pool point". Which doesn't care whether you had a pool before or not.

If abilities need you to already have a pool, that should be in pre-req.

If they need to avoid Focus Point rushing say "add a Focus Pool point, up to maximum Pool of X" (1, 2, 3)
I think that would keep all the desired functionality but keep it upfront and simple.


Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber
thenobledrake wrote:

You're spot on with all but one detail:

Deity's Domain calls out the Devotion Spell rules from earlier in the champion entry by saying "you gain the domain's initial domain spell as a devotion spell."

The Devotion Spell section then says "...special divine spells called devotion spells, which are a type of focus spell. It costs 1 Focus Point to cast a focus spell, and you start with a focus pool of 1 Focus Point."

As a result, Number 4 is actually Number 1 in a disguise.

Except that p.300 says "You automatically gain a focus pool of 1 Focus Point the first time you gain an ability that gives you a focus spell."

It goes on to say "Some abilities allow you to increase the Focus Points in your pool beyond 1", which is expressly the case e.g. for the later feat "advanced deity's domain"

To me that seems like a specific rule superceding a general rule.

I'm not denying that it may have been intended otherwise, but for now I read that as not getting another focus point for "deity's doman" if you already have a devotion spell (or other focus spell) and that the OP's interpretation is correct. And I agree with OP that it would be preferable that every ability that is intended to give you a focus point (with a max. limit included) would just say so and you just get a focus pool the first time you get a focus point.


albadeon wrote:

Except that p.300 says "You automatically gain a focus pool of 1 Focus Point the first time you gain an ability that gives you a focus spell."

It goes on to say "Some abilities allow you to increase the Focus Points in your pool beyond 1", which is expressly the case e.g. for the later feat "advanced deity's domain"

To me that seems like a specific rule superceding a general rule.

The part of the text you are quoting is there to make sure that any ability which says you gain a focus spell can't be accidentally worded so as to end up on a character without a focus pool to use it with.

However, since the Devotion Spell feature provides a focus pool on it's own, the part of text you are quoting is also not relevant.

Devotion Spell feature gives you a focus pool > Deity's Domain gives you a spell to spend it on.


Quandary wrote:

This is such a headache, especially with weird cases like 2 and 3 (order matters).

I wish they would just get rid of the "general rule" which can weirdly or non-obviously over-ride things.
Instead just have every one state "add a Focus Pool point". Which doesn't care whether you had a pool before or not.

If abilities need you to already have a pool, that should be in pre-req.

If they need to avoid Focus Point rushing say "add a Focus Pool point, up to maximum Pool of X" (1, 2, 3)
I think that would keep all the desired functionality but keep it upfront and simple.

The intent of the approach taken - the "general rule" as you put it - is to save word count and to reduce potential confusion.

Yes, the situation as-is has some confusing points to it. But the change of putting only the specifics are repeating them constantly would not prevent confusion, just change the points upon which the confusion happens - instead of this thread, we'd have a thread of someone asking if an ability that didn't say "add a Focus Pool point" needed it added via errata or was supposed to not add one.


Aarak wrote:

So does that mean that a level 1 human monk with the Ki strike and Ki Rush feats will start with a focus pool of 2, or does that not qualify for the sidebar on page 302 because they are technically the same source? the example uses an archetype but doesn't explicitly call it out as required for this. Asking because our monk has ended a few fights on round 1 by level 2 with just the one focus point. I know he will want ki rush if it gives him another, he's been hunting paths to more focus points.

"Source" in my opinion is an ability, not a class. That's the way it has always been defined previously at least. If you take those two abilities, you'd have a focus pool of 2.


thenobledrake wrote:
albadeon wrote:

Except that p.300 says "You automatically gain a focus pool of 1 Focus Point the first time you gain an ability that gives you a focus spell."

It goes on to say "Some abilities allow you to increase the Focus Points in your pool beyond 1", which is expressly the case e.g. for the later feat "advanced deity's domain"

To me that seems like a specific rule superceding a general rule.

The part of the text you are quoting is there to make sure that any ability which says you gain a focus spell can't be accidentally worded so as to end up on a character without a focus pool to use it with.

However, since the Devotion Spell feature provides a focus pool on it's own, the part of text you are quoting is also not relevant.

Devotion Spell feature gives you a focus pool > Deity's Domain gives you a spell to spend it on.

True, I actually agree with this, and I didn't notice the clarification on devotion spells. If you argue domain initiate increases your focus pool, then you have to argue deity's domain does too, because while the ability itself doesn't indicate it gives you a focus pool, the section describing devotion spells *does* and that's there to effectively prevent them from having to repeat it ad nauseum.

I'd agree with you @albadeon if the section on Devotion spells wasn't there, then the only rule that would supercede this would be "you automatically gain a focus pool when you get a focus spell" would be the only one that would matter, but as soon as "if an ability gives you a focus pool, it increases your focus pool by 1" comes into play (it does because of the description of Devotion Spells) then I'd say it does increase them.


tivadar27 wrote:
Aarak wrote:
So does that mean that a level 1 human monk with the Ki strike and Ki Rush feats will start with a focus pool of 2...?
If you take those two abilities, you'd have a focus pool of 2.

I was about to argue that you were wrong, but upon reading the relevant sections of the CRB again I believe you are correct about this. Interesting, it seems monks are unique in their ability to gain an additional focus point as early as 2nd level. Which is fine with me since they aren't exactly overpowered as it is, and the whole 'mystical focus' thing is kinda cool.

Makes me want to make a monk now...


mrspaghetti wrote:
tivadar27 wrote:
Aarak wrote:
So does that mean that a level 1 human monk with the Ki strike and Ki Rush feats will start with a focus pool of 2...?
If you take those two abilities, you'd have a focus pool of 2.

I was about to argue that you were wrong, but upon reading the relevant sections of the CRB again I believe you are correct about this. Interesting, it seems monks are unique in their ability to gain an additional focus point as early as 2nd level. Which is fine with me since they aren't exactly overpowered as it is, and the whole 'mystical focus' thing is kinda cool.

Makes me want to make a monk now...

Pretty sure taking Domain Initiate multiple times would do the same thing... Relevant rules text: "You can select this feat multiple times, selecting a different domain each time and gaining its domain spell."

I don't take that to mean those are the only two effects, merely that they are a summary of what happens. If you treat it literally as "this is all", then technically when you take it a second time, you don't have to select one of your deities domains, and that doesn't seem right :-P.


thenobledrake wrote:

The intent of the approach taken - the "general rule" as you put it - is to save word count and to reduce potential confusion.

Yes, the situation as-is has some confusing points to it. But the change of putting only the specifics are repeating them constantly would not prevent confusion, just change the points upon which the confusion happens - instead of this thread, we'd have a thread of someone asking if an ability that didn't say "add a Focus Pool point" needed it added via errata or was supposed to not add one.

But is it really saving much (if any) word count? Abilities aren't seeming to default to say NOTHING about the topic, most of them do say something even if it's superfluous. That they use superfluous wording even when they set up this general rule shows they do think it's important to have that text there with the Feat, to facilitate judgement on value of the Feat... rather than physically or mentally switching between different page rules. That situation as this thread points out, isn't really reducing confusion at all.

How is it less confusion for us to be discussing this in centralized thread, then spreading each issue to different thread? You suppose that every new Focus spell would provoke questions on Errata... I don't know why, anymore than ANY given mechanic could have Errata and be meant to work differently. So what? There isn't anything special about the wording here vs other rules wording that makes it more complex.

I gave example of wording which is simple clear and concise i.e. "add a Focus Pool poinnt, up to maximum pool of X". That really seems to cover most of the complex interactions between varied text and "default rule", and it's all in one place. The text I suggested is actually SHORTER than much of the specific text they have NOW, i.e. "if you already have focus pool...".


And there already are other threads discussing specific cases of Focus spell Feats (Paladin "Deity's Domain")
So what exactly was achieved if people still can and do debate the specific interactions of Focus Feat wording?
People already are saying "well this specific wording was probably mistake, and it works this way..."


Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber
thenobledrake wrote:
albadeon wrote:

Except that p.300 says "You automatically gain a focus pool of 1 Focus Point the first time you gain an ability that gives you a focus spell."

It goes on to say "Some abilities allow you to increase the Focus Points in your pool beyond 1", which is expressly the case e.g. for the later feat "advanced deity's domain"

To me that seems like a specific rule superceding a general rule.

The part of the text you are quoting is there to make sure that any ability which says you gain a focus spell can't be accidentally worded so as to end up on a character without a focus pool to use it with.

However, since the Devotion Spell feature provides a focus pool on it's own, the part of text you are quoting is also not relevant.

Devotion Spell feature gives you a focus pool > Deity's Domain gives you a spell to spend it on.

If that were the case, why does the 8th level feat "advanced deity's devotion" which also gets you another devotion spell specifically adds that you also get a focus point?

Similarly, sorcerer's bloodline focus spells have similar wording in their class ability description. Their Advanced and Greater Bloodline feats also get you the new bloodline spell (which by your logic should automatically trigger an additional point via the general bloodline spell entry mentioning you get a focus pool. But these feats also specfically mention getting an extra focus point.

With Bard's composition focus spells it's the same thing, all their feats that get them a new composition spell specifically state that they also get an additional focus point.

With druid, Order spells again have similar wording. Here, the feat "Order magic" gives you another spell, but not a focus point, whereas later feats such as "impaling briars" do.

If all these would automatically give you a focus point via the same logic you use for devotion spells, why do most of them have the additional focus point mentioned, but some don't? Maybe it's a balance thing and some low-level feats are deliberately not intended to give you that extra focus point?


albadeon wrote:
thenobledrake wrote:
albadeon wrote:

Except that p.300 says "You automatically gain a focus pool of 1 Focus Point the first time you gain an ability that gives you a focus spell."

It goes on to say "Some abilities allow you to increase the Focus Points in your pool beyond 1", which is expressly the case e.g. for the later feat "advanced deity's domain"

To me that seems like a specific rule superceding a general rule.

The part of the text you are quoting is there to make sure that any ability which says you gain a focus spell can't be accidentally worded so as to end up on a character without a focus pool to use it with.

However, since the Devotion Spell feature provides a focus pool on it's own, the part of text you are quoting is also not relevant.

Devotion Spell feature gives you a focus pool > Deity's Domain gives you a spell to spend it on.

If that were the case, why does the 8th level feat "advanced deity's devotion" which also gets you another devotion spell specifically adds that you also get a focus point?

Similarly, sorcerer's bloodline focus spells have similar wording in their class ability description. Their Advanced and Greater Bloodline feats also get you the new bloodline spell (which by your logic should automatically trigger an additional point via the general bloodline spell entry mentioning you get a focus pool. But these feats also specfically mention getting an extra focus point.

With Bard's composition focus spells it's the same thing, all their feats that get them a new composition spell specifically state that they also get an additional focus point.

With druid, Order spells again have similar wording. Here, the feat "Order magic" gives you another spell, but not a focus point, whereas later feats such as "impaling briars" do.

If all these would automatically give you a focus point via the same logic you use for devotion spells, why do most of them have the additional focus point mentioned, but some don't? Maybe it's a balance thing...

Simple explanation: Because all of it was very poorly worded. No, abilities that explicitly state they grant you a focus point wouldn't give you two. They don't actually give you a focus pool, because all of them require an ability that assures you already have a focus pool. Bard abilities, for example, require "focus spells".


Quandary wrote:

And there already are other threads discussing specific cases of Focus spell Feats (Paladin "Deity's Domain")

So what exactly was achieved if people still can and do debate the specific interactions of Focus Feat wording?
People already are saying "well this specific wording was probably mistake, and it works this way..."

uh... you must have misread my point because my point was that there is no way to have the result of "these game rules are not confusing anyone".

With the rules as is? Confusion.
With the rules as you suggested instead? Confusion.

The "Well this specific wording was probably a mistake" thing is proof of the point I was making.


albadeon wrote:

<snipped for space>

If all these would automatically give you a focus point via the same logic you use for devotion spells, why do most of them have the additional focus point mentioned, but some don't? Maybe it's a balance thing...

I have gone back over everything and realized that I too was getting confused about the details here.

Mostly, it was down to me missing that lay on hands is technically part of the Devotion Spells feature (as will be whatever devotion spell is given by other causes of champion that might come along later).

So yes, there are a few exceptions where a focus spell is given and focus pool not increased because there already is a pool and no increase (or granting of a pool, which is treated as an increase if you've got one already) mentioned.

Seems like an intentional reduction in the lower-level frequency of magic coming out of specific classes' via focus spells may have been implemented. Can't really think of another reason why the rules aren't just Focus Pool = number of Focus Spells you've gained, maximum 3, and maybe some features might give you a point without a spell.


Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber

Yes, that's my reading on this as well, atm.

That said, I wouldn't totally rule out the "poorly worded" explanation, but I think with the rules as they currently are "poorly worded" requires a bit more of a stretch and assumptions than the "not all low-level focus spells are meant to give you another point (possibly for power-balance issues)".


thenobledrake wrote:
Quandary wrote:

This is such a headache, especially with weird cases like 2 and 3 (order matters).

I wish they would just get rid of the "general rule" which can weirdly or non-obviously over-ride things.
Instead just have every one state "add a Focus Pool point". Which doesn't care whether you had a pool before or not.

If abilities need you to already have a pool, that should be in pre-req.

If they need to avoid Focus Point rushing say "add a Focus Pool point, up to maximum Pool of X" (1, 2, 3)
I think that would keep all the desired functionality but keep it upfront and simple.

The intent of the approach taken - the "general rule" as you put it - is to save word count and to reduce potential confusion.

Yes, the situation as-is has some confusing points to it. But the change of putting only the specifics are repeating them constantly would not prevent confusion, just change the points upon which the confusion happens - instead of this thread, we'd have a thread of someone asking if an ability that didn't say "add a Focus Pool point" needed it added via errata or was supposed to not add one.

That's just not true. D&D 5e repeats specifics in every single spell and class ability, and it's not confusing at all - because it's consistent every time, unlike PF2E. No one ever has the problems you're talking about.


Pretty sure that needs a sarcasm marker to be up to code.


Well stacking focus points is only on side of the coin because without special means you can only recover one at a time. So even if you start your day at a maxium of three, after some encounters you will be down to using one focus point per encounter, i.e. exactly the same as the guy who started his day with only one focus point.

Community / Forums / Pathfinder / Pathfinder Second Edition / Rules Discussion / Focus pools and increasing them All Messageboards

Want to post a reply? Sign in.