How does a cleric learn the spell Protection?


Rules Discussion


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Since Clerics are divine casters and Protection is uncommon. A 1rst level cleric would not start out with this spell unless it was on their deities domain list.

A cleric does not own a book so how would a cleric learn this uncommon spell?


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The answer right now is "ask the GM". Is not a answer I like, but is what we have.


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Pathfinder Adventure Path, Lost Omens, Rulebook, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

A PC could go to his temple's library and research it. Or try to find out who in the church might have this spell.

It's up to the DM to decide whether or not the spell can be found in the temple's archives, how difficult it is to locate, or whether the PCs need to track down Old Bob, the ex-cleric hermit in the woods who was the last known person to have the spell. Or put it in a liturgical text lying forgotten in some dungeon or other.


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Ok that is what I thought. I told my friend that his cleric does not automatically know it.

Now if he found it on a scroll can he use the 'learn a spell' action to learn it?

Its odd that Divine Casters would need to learn spells but I am not opposed to it.


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There's nothing special about this specific case.

It's just that anything labeled "uncommon" requires explicit GM buy in.

That is, there is no way whatsoever for some entitled player to gain the feature by pointing to some combination of books. The argument "but I need it to make my concept work" is thoroughly shut down, since all content is written under the assumption uncommon abilities might not be available.

It all ends up with the same logic: If the GM wants to have it in his or her world, then you might gain access to it. If he or she doesn't, you can't.

This is a good thing. A very very good thing.


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larsenex wrote:
Now if he found it on a scroll can he use the 'learn a spell' action to learn it?

Just because a spell is uncommon doesn't mean it's harder to learn or find.

If the PC finds it on a scroll, that means you the GM have consciously decided to allow it, so then the answer is straight-forward: yes of course.

The point is that this occurrence isn't a given. It's perfectly acceptable for you as GM to decide this uncommon spell isn't part of your campaign world. This means the players will never find it on scrolls, and they will never find any NPCs that know it or teach it.

The point is: the player can't take any uncommon game element for granted.

Sure the player can ask you beforehand "will you make X available - X is uncommon?"

But all three answers below are equally valid and reasonable:
* "yes"
* "no"
* "maybe"/"don't know"/"haven't decided yet"

In the last case the player will simply have to suck it up. After all there are rules for retraining available if the feature ends up not being introduced after all.

In short, it's perfectly understandable if you tell your player not to build a character reliant on any uncommon features. In fact, that's very good advice in general.

Cheers


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Pathfinder Maps, Pawns Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber
Zapp wrote:

It all ends up with the same logic: If the GM wants to have it in his or her world, then you might gain access to it. If he or she doesn't, you can't.

This is a good thing. A very very good thing.

While I'm not so sure I agree that it's a good thing, I know several GMs who were won over to 2nd Edition specific ccx ally because of this notion.

I never realized people not asking the GM to approve their character builds prior to play was such a problem before P2E. I've always shown my characters to the GM, revealing all the combos and intentions and getting their feedback before the first game.


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My problem with rare/uncommon is that, ironically, seems way too common. I would have just used it for strange, unique spells like Blood Money, or some specific ones. Not putting an axe on the ability to get some very iconic spells like Protection. I find that the quantity of "mama, may I?" is too high.


Yeah, I like having uncommon magic items/spells/..., but I'd agree that things likely went too far in that direction. Things with unique effects I understand, but having to ask permission for effectively "Protection from Evil" seems like a lot. And because class-specific stuff is also uncommon, as is some stuff that probably *should* be uncommon, you probably have to ask your GM on a case-by-case basis, and that seems like a lot of overhead.

Just as an example, things like "Adamantine Armor" and "Mithral Armor" are uncommon. While the items may be rarer (item level should account for that...), access to them shouldn't be gated the same way as some powerful more unique items, such as "Elixir of Rejuvination".


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Zapp wrote:

But all three answers below are equally valid and reasonable:
* "yes"
* "no"
* "maybe"/"don't know"/"haven't decided yet"

In the last case the player will simply have to suck it up. After all there are rules for retraining available if the feature ends up not being introduced after all.

In short, it's perfectly understandable if you tell your player not to build a character reliant on any uncommon features. In fact, that's very good advice in general.

Yeah but in the third case scheduling downtime for retraining is also a resource like most things in this game, so while is understandable for a DM to say that it's also understandable for a player to be slightly annoyed at it.

That does mean that your advice to not plan around uncommon things when the DM says that he isn't sure if he'll put them or not gets even more reasonable though.


Pathfinder Adventure, Adventure Path Subscriber
Alaryth wrote:
The answer right now is "ask the GM". Is not a answer I like, but is what we have.

This is the one instance where "please God, can haz cheezburger" actually doesn't bother me.

Otherwise, if a spell exists and can be copied, it will be copied. "Rarity" doesn't make sense. If scrolls can be copied they will be copied. The value of the spell's potency governs how much that will cost, and that's a self-correcting number.


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Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Thank you all for the valuable input. When I realized the cleric does not automatically know that spell I had to ask.

In this case the Cleric/divine caster can find it. In this case I would think it could be a scroll found or if the clerics party was visiting a city I may even role play with some lore checks if he was perusing the abbey/library of his temple ..and go wow, look what i found.

I dont mind having spells rare like this I just wanted to know the method for the player to learn or acquire the spell.

Thanks again!

Liberty's Edge

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Zapp wrote:
Just because a spell is uncommon doesn't mean it's harder to learn or find.

I don’t think commonality has any impact on the difficulty of learning a spell once you find it, but “harder to . . . find” seems almost the definition of uncommon, because you’ll only “find” it if you make a mechanical choice that gives you access or if the GM makes the intentional decision to let you find it.


Luke Styer wrote:
Zapp wrote:
Just because a spell is uncommon doesn't mean it's harder to learn or find.
I don’t think commonality has any impact on the difficulty of learning a spell once you find it, but “harder to . . . find” seems almost the definition of uncommon, because you’ll only “find” it if you make a mechanical choice that gives you access or if the GM makes the intentional decision to let you find it.

I kind of waited for someone to misinterpret me this way ;)

I mean that an uncommon spell either exists or does not exist in the game world.

Once it is determined it exists, it is no harder to use, learn, find than any other.

That is: it might be available everywhere. It might also be incredibly hard to track down.

The difference, the key difference that the rules regulate, is that an uncommon spell can't be assumed to exist at all. You can't rely on it existing, because that requires GM buy-in.

Liberty's Edge

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Zapp wrote:
The difference, the key difference that the rules regulate, is that an uncommon spell can't be assumed to exist at all. You can't rely on it existing, because that requires GM buy-in.

That isn’t my understanding of the rarity system. I’ve understood it to be entirely about availability, but unless the GM says otherwise, the options in the CRB, at least, can reasonably be assumed to exist.


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Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber
larsenex wrote:
I dont mind having spells rare like this I just wanted to know the method for the player to learn or acquire the spell.

Actually, if you as the GM want to allow the spell in your campaign there is no need to have any special way of obtaining access to it. You can just declare the your player's cleric can have access to it and that's that. Now, if you WANT to turn gaining access to it into a quest, no problem. But it wouldn't be neccessary. The official paizo material just assumes that players have access to all common things but not neccessarily to any or all uncommon things. But there is no set way of gaining access other than "GM decision".


The rarity system allows the GM to restrict the availability of spells and items so that their existence, non-existence, or means of acquiring them fits the campaign and game world. It also allows the GM to have better control over material brought into their campaign -- to me it is kinda like the D&D 5e Adventurer's League PHB+1 rule.

"The rarity system has two purposes: to convey how common or rare certain spells, creatures, or items are in the game world, and to give you an easy tool to control the complexity of your game. Uncommon and rare options aren’t more powerful than other options of their level, but they introduce complications for certain types of stories, or are less common in the world."

The Protection spell is uncommon, and so far as I can tell it is not on any of the deities' divine devotee benefits or included in any domain spells. Circle of Protection and Protection are uncommon on both the Divine and Occult spells lists.

I suspect they are uncommon because they interact with alignment, and the way they do may not fit all campaigns.

My two cents, anyway.

Happy gaming...


larsenex wrote:

Thank you all for the valuable input. When I realized the cleric does not automatically know that spell I had to ask.

In this case the Cleric/divine caster can find it. In this case I would think it could be a scroll found or if the clerics party was visiting a city I may even role play with some lore checks if he was perusing the abbey/library of his temple ..and go wow, look what i found.

I dont mind having spells rare like this I just wanted to know the method for the player to learn or acquire the spell.

Thanks again!

This isn’t specified, and is up to you.

I suggest using the learn a spell downtime activity that is provided.


PC: Oh lord thy god, how I beseech thee: May I prepare protection this morn?

GM: Depends. Hast thou bought thy pizza and chips?

Though I jest, I guarantee you, somewhere this has actually happened or will happen. GMs did not need additional empowerment.


Luke Styer wrote:
Zapp wrote:
The difference, the key difference that the rules regulate, is that an uncommon spell can't be assumed to exist at all. You can't rely on it existing, because that requires GM buy-in.
That isn’t my understanding of the rarity system. I’ve understood it to be entirely about availability, but unless the GM says otherwise, the options in the CRB, at least, can reasonably be assumed to exist.

Yes and no.

Any item (ability, spell etc) that isn't common is potentially not available at all*.

Sure you can say there's no difference between "not allowed" and "can't find it". And sure enough, there isn't one in practice.

Yet there is a difference, since merely thinking "it's uncommon so I might never find it" misses the point, and the point is that the rules put the decision in the hands of the GM.

If you miss this distinction, you might go "I haven't yet found this uncommon thing, but because its in the rules I must find it sooner or later. After all, sooner or later I get divination magic that will find it for me. Or I'll cast Wish!"

This is PF1 thinking that is no longer valid. It's not common so it might not exist at all, as the rules leaves the decision up to the GM. Even the most potent divining can't find something that isn't there at all!

Once the GM decides it exists in his game world, it can be easy to find or it can be hard to find: often the latter, sure, but not always. For instance, the uncommon items in the equipment chapter. They are readily available to any character that has "unlocked" them. For that character, the item is as common as any other.

tldr: Just looking at rarity as a measure of availability misses a key distinction - the way the rules empower the GM.

*) There exist uncommon choices that can be "unlocked" without GM approval, and that's fine:

Quote:

Items with an uncommon rarity can be purchased only if

you have special access from abilities you selected during
character creation or your GM gives you permission to
purchase them.

CRB page 271


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Genocidal Jester wrote:

PC: Oh lord thy god, how I beseech thee: May I prepare protection this morn?

GM: Depends. Hast thou bought thy pizza and chips?

Though I jest, I guarantee you, somewhere this has actually happened or will happen. GMs did not need additional empowerment.

Patent nonsense.

A GM could already shaft or extort his players.

"A Balor attacks!"
"But we're only level four!"
"I guess it could halt its attacks. Hast thou bought thy pizza and chips?"

So no.

The opposite, on the other hand, wasn't true. Not every GM wanted to be the one saying no, and now he can point to the rules saying no instead.

After a decade of Pathfinder 1 I clearly see why Paizo changed things around.

After all, a loss for player entitlement is a win for the game. :)


Genocidal Jester wrote:

PC: Oh lord thy god, how I beseech thee: May I prepare protection this morn?

GM: Depends. Hast thou bought thy pizza and chips?

Though I jest, I guarantee you, somewhere this has actually happened or will happen. GMs did not need additional empowerment.

Dump that GM and remove them from your friend group. That individual is clearly manipulative and is using their players to satisfy some power trip obsession.

Liberty's Edge

Zapp wrote:
This is PF1 thinking that is no longer valid. It's not common so it might not exist at all, as the rules leaves the decision up to the GM.

Okay, but what makes you feel that’s any more or less the case for uncommon items than common items? Why is this something “special” and not just another plain old example of the GM’s ordinary prerogative to disallow something?


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Genocidal Jester wrote:

PC: Oh lord thy god, how I beseech thee: May I prepare protection this morn?

GM: Depends. Hast thou bought thy pizza and chips?

Though I jest, I guarantee you, somewhere this has actually happened or will happen. GMs did not need additional empowerment.

PC: Worry not i have prepared Blood monies.

GM: Wait... You cannot prepare as you have not learnt that.
PC: Learnt last level. Was in the pfsrd so it's fair.
GM: Okay i will not allow that spell
PC: Off with the head of this tyrant! Why can't i learn something even when it's official from paizo.

Same thing that probably happened at some other table... And will probably happen again as people still play pf1. Took blood money as an example but there's a lot of them...
Would rather put more power on the DM to veto than force him to find an harder way to block usage.


Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber

It's the assumed standard that has changed. Previously, everything was presumed available, unless the GM specifically disallowed it.

Now, only common items are presumed available, unless the GM specifically allows it.

For many GMs and their players, that will not change much or anything in their regular campaigns, they'll just find a consensus and play on, like normal, functioning groups would.

However, in some cases it makes it easier for the GM:
- he doesn't have to be the one to forbid something (for some people, that can be an issue, especially when confronted by a player aggressively demanding what he feels entitled to), he just merely plays by the standard rules.
- with more and more material being published and the inevitable plethora of options becoming available, as a GM you don't have to have extensive "I disallow ..." lists or worry about a player coming up with an obscure feat from some out-of-print resource that you've never heard of and where you now have to read up on complex extra rules. If it's not common, it's not available. If the player wants it, he can still talk to his GM and if neccessary provide the rules so the GM can prepare it.

Also, for society play, it provides plenty of new rewards for boons.

And again, for normal socially functional groups and players, not much will change. But sadly, not everyone who plays the game actually plays well with others...


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Pathfinder Maps, Pawns Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber
oholoko wrote:
Genocidal Jester wrote:

PC: Oh lord thy god, how I beseech thee: May I prepare protection this morn?

GM: Depends. Hast thou bought thy pizza and chips?

Though I jest, I guarantee you, somewhere this has actually happened or will happen. GMs did not need additional empowerment.

Or perhaps this:

PC: Worry not i have prepared Blood monies.
GM: Wait... You cannot prepare as you have not learnt that.
PC: Learnt last level. Was in the pfsrd so it's fair.
GM: Okay i will not allow that spell
PC: Off with the head of this tyrant! Why can't i learn something even when it's official from paizo.

Same thing that probably happened at some other table... And will probably happen again as people still play pf1. Took blood money as an example but there's a lot of them...
Would rather put more power on the DM to veto than force him to find an harder way to block usage.

PC: Worry not! I have prepared true strike.

GM: Wait... You cannot prepare as you have not learned that.
PC: Learned it last level. Was on the AoN and is Common, so it's fair.
GM: Okay, I will not allow that spell. It totally upsets the balance of the new critical success/criticaldamage system.
PC: Off with the head of this tyrant! Why can't I learn something even when it's officially marked Common by Paizo?

My point being that some things will always be broken in the eyes of some, regardless of their rarity tag. Furthermore, it's inevitable that Paizo will break their own rules and release a potentially disruptive feat, spell, or other ability, and still have it marked as Common.


Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber

Yes, and nothing bars a GM from banning certain common feats, spells, etc. as a house rule. But the system tries to establish a base line different from "everything is generally available everywhere for everyone". Which is a good idea, imho. And just because in the future a mistake might happen that might accidentaly break that system, doesn't make it in any way less of a good idea


Ravingdork wrote:
...it's inevitable that Paizo will break their own rules and release a potentially disruptive feat, spell, or other ability, and still have it marked as Common.

For spells at least Paizo has put in another layer of protection against that happening, as they've put "in this book" into the language of picking spells for the classes that typically have the most new spells added to their lists over time (cleric, druid, and wizard).


Pathfinder Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber

A given game element being Uncommon or Rare is not about game balance. An Uncommon spell like Teleport is not designed to be more powerful than a Common spell of the same level like Repulsion. Teleport is Uncommon because it shapes the sorts of stories the game is about.

Liberty's Edge

Did the locked thread REALLY need to spill over into this discussion too?

What a mess...


how are uncommon spells supposed work for clerics? don't clerics just know spells? or does your deity just refuse to grant you use of the spell? which is such a wierd concept.


Pathfinder Lost Omens, Rulebook, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber

Well, the simplest way it would work is just "There's a list of spells, and you can prepare any of them. [Uncommon Spell X] and all common spells are on it. [Uncommon spells Y and Z] aren't."

If you want you could bring in things like ancient religious texts, prophetic dreams, and the like at an appropriate story point if you want to add one onto the list later, for whatever reason, whether it's a reward or you decided that you (as the GM) don't need it to be unavailable at your table.


Themetricsystem wrote:

Did the locked thread REALLY need to spill over into this discussion too?

What a mess...

Actually I think this chicken came before that egg :-P


ikarinokami wrote:
how are uncommon spells supposed work for clerics? don't clerics just know spells? or does your deity just refuse to grant you use of the spell? which is such a wierd concept.

You can use the Learn a Spell activity to be able to prepare them, but that requires finding a source to learn from.

So basically, they work like being prayers that not everyone is taught and/or exploit that it is the caster's knowledge and faith that are powerful not just gifts from their deity.


thenobledrake wrote:
ikarinokami wrote:
how are uncommon spells supposed work for clerics? don't clerics just know spells? or does your deity just refuse to grant you use of the spell? which is such a wierd concept.

You can use the Learn a Spell activity to be able to prepare them, but that requires finding a source to learn from.

So basically, they work like being prayers that not everyone is taught and/or exploit that it is the caster's knowledge and faith that are powerful not just gifts from their deity.

I can see how this could work for some deities but for others it would be anthetical to everything the deity stands for.

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