"Uncommon" options are just Paizo-publish house rules.


Pathfinder Second Edition General Discussion

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Deadmanwalking wrote:

Rarity is a language. It is a way to talk about what you, the GM, consider acceptable in your game and to what degree.

Having a common set of terminology to talk about this is an extremely useful addition that PF2 has made to the game.

See above, but as I stated, the problem as is is it's a badly written language IMO.


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Rysky wrote:
HeHateMe wrote:
I couldn't agree more with the OP, I can't stand stuff like the UA options in 5e or the uncommon/rare options in 2e. Either something is a legit option or it isn't, get off the f@#king fence and make a decision. Don't leave it up to the player to work out some kind of deal with their GM to get that option.
Every campaign and story is different, so why not leave it up to the Players and GMs to work out a deal?

I agree with you Rysky, every campaign is different. But that doesn't mean options need to be artificially restricted in the game mechanics. All a GM has to do is say "There are no [insert race/class/archetype] in my game world" and it's done.

In my view, uncommon/rare options create needless barriers between players and the character they want to play.

Liberty's Edge

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tivadar27 wrote:
Deadmanwalking wrote:

Rarity is a language. It is a way to talk about what you, the GM, consider acceptable in your game and to what degree.

Having a common set of terminology to talk about this is an extremely useful addition that PF2 has made to the game.

See above, but as I stated, the problem as is is it's a badly written language IMO.

I disagree. The Protection spells are Uncommon because almost all Alignment spells are, leaving only one thing on the list (Spell Storing Weapons) that isn't part of a very few specific categories. Which makes the language work much better than you're implying it does even on the face of it.

But perhaps more importantly, what stuff falls into what category is much less important to it being a language than the mere fact that everyone now knows what 'In my games, Resurrection is Rare' means.

Silver Crusade

HeHateMe wrote:
Rysky wrote:
HeHateMe wrote:
I couldn't agree more with the OP, I can't stand stuff like the UA options in 5e or the uncommon/rare options in 2e. Either something is a legit option or it isn't, get off the f@#king fence and make a decision. Don't leave it up to the player to work out some kind of deal with their GM to get that option.
Every campaign and story is different, so why not leave it up to the Players and GMs to work out a deal?

I agree with you Rysky, every campaign is different. But that doesn't mean options need to be artificially restricted in the game mechanics. All a GM has to do is say "There are no [insert race/class/archetype] in my game world" and it's done.

In my view, uncommon/rare options create needless barriers between players and the character they want to play.

Well no, because 1) There's two many options to do that and 2) there's constantly new options being printed.


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HeHateMe wrote:
I couldn't agree more with the OP, I can't stand stuff like the UA options in 5e or the uncommon/rare options in 2e. Either something is a legit option or it isn't, get off the f@#king fence and make a decision. Don't leave it up to the player to work out some kind of deal with their GM to get that option.

"Damn, these GMs suck not letting me have everything including the kitchen sink. Why shouldn't I be able to take options from literally every different race, religion, and society without having to have that GM breathing down my neck having a problem with it?"

Turns out it's much harder for a GM to have to constantly disallow certain things than it is the other way around. One player in the group uses d20pfsrd, so the above is not even hyperbole - he's pulled racial spells, spells from the opposite alignment religion, and things from across the world because they're not really marked, and every time it's a question of "why can't I use that, it says it's available". Another player's pulled out blood money, and I don't think I need to explain more about that.


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Deadmanwalking wrote:
tivadar27 wrote:
Deadmanwalking wrote:

Rarity is a language. It is a way to talk about what you, the GM, consider acceptable in your game and to what degree.

Having a common set of terminology to talk about this is an extremely useful addition that PF2 has made to the game.

See above, but as I stated, the problem as is is it's a badly written language IMO.
I disagree. The Protection spells are Uncommon because almost all Alignment spells are, leaving only one thing on the list (Spell Storing Weapons) that isn't part of a very few specific categories. Which makes the language work much better than you're implying it does even on the face of it.

Keen, Ring of Wizardry, Potion of Tongues, Detect Poison, Detect Scrying, Discern Lies... I can keep going. There's not a lot of sense to what they made uncommon. Mind you, I agree there are broad categories that make sense, but making alignment spells uncommon as a "rule" doesn't make a lot of sense to me when you have Champions specifically tied to alignments running around, and common spells/abilities that only affect evil creatures that are common (Divine Lance).


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Here's my point of view on this matter:

Without the rarity system, there are a lot of options that I feel pressured to allow because I try to be permissive as a GM, but I don't want to have to have an encyclopedic knowledge of the game or be constantly taking effort to keep up with new player options in order to be sure how these options work and whether or not I actually want to include them in my campaign - and the player's point of view if they don't get to use an option is "the GM said no."

With the rarity system, I only feel like I'm expected to be permissive of common options. I feel less like I need to have an encyclopedic and constantly updated grasp of the game materials, and less like me not letting in an option is me "taking something away" - and the player's point of view if they don't get to use an option is "that's how the game works."


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Am I the only one that doesn't get why such a fuss about rarity?

It's just a tag system. It's easier for the GM, it's easy for the players. I think that having the permission of your GM for some things to be standard, even some that are not particularly well known for being banned. For example, recently, my GM banned all resurrection spells except Breath of Life (because its requirements are very narrow).

I really seriously don't get why it's such a bother to know if it's ok. In fact, so far, most of the things I've seen that are uncommon are stuff that requires backstory to be worked into your character, which is pretty much everything I already do while creating my characters, I don't like the cherry picking style of character building that just doesn't give a s&!+ about character, only focuses on making a "build".

Liberty's Edge

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tivadar27 wrote:
Keen, Ring of Wizardry, Potion of Tongues, Detect Poison, Detect Scrying, Discern Lies... I can keep going. There's not a lot of sense to what they made uncommon.

I can't speak to all the items, but spells actually fall very predictably into certain categories:

1. Teleportation and Planar Travel magic.
2. Resurrection magic.
3. Most Alignment-based magic (Alignment damage is the only real exception).
4. Divination magic that short circuits certain plots, hence Detect Scrying, Discern Lies, and the like, as well as most mind reading. Tongues (and thus potions of it) also fall under this category.
5. Serious mind control magic ala Dominate.
6. Magic to counter one of the above categories (ie: Dimensional Lock, Undetectable Alignment, or Mind Blank).

Debatably, all of these except #6 fall under 'magic that short circuits certain plots'. And that is why they're Uncommon, frankly. There might be a spell or two not in the six categories, but even those fall under this general principle.


Deadmanwalking wrote:
tivadar27 wrote:
Deadmanwalking wrote:

Rarity is a language. It is a way to talk about what you, the GM, consider acceptable in your game and to what degree.

Having a common set of terminology to talk about this is an extremely useful addition that PF2 has made to the game.

See above, but as I stated, the problem as is is it's a badly written language IMO.

I disagree. The Protection spells are Uncommon because almost all Alignment spells are, leaving only one thing on the list (Spell Storing Weapons) that isn't part of a very few specific categories. Which makes the language work much better than you're implying it does even on the face of it.

But perhaps more importantly, what stuff falls into what category is much less important to it being a language than the mere fact that everyone now knows what 'In my games, Resurrection is Rare' means.

Yeah but why are most alignment spells Uncommon or rare is the thing? Detecting alignment makes sense because that's a spell DMs have to make all social encounters around if you get it but Divine wrath and Decree aren't uncommon for example, and protection spells are more like Divine wrath than detect alignment.


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Cyouni wrote:
HeHateMe wrote:
I couldn't agree more with the OP, I can't stand stuff like the UA options in 5e or the uncommon/rare options in 2e. Either something is a legit option or it isn't, get off the f@#king fence and make a decision. Don't leave it up to the player to work out some kind of deal with their GM to get that option.

"Damn, these GMs suck not letting me have everything including the kitchen sink. Why shouldn't I be able to take options from literally every different race, religion, and society without having to have that GM breathing down my neck having a problem with it?"

Turns out it's much harder for a GM to have to constantly disallow certain things than it is the other way around. One player in the group uses d20pfsrd, so the above is not even hyperbole - he's pulled racial spells, spells from the opposite alignment religion, and things from across the world because they're not really marked, and every time it's a question of "why can't I use that, it says it's available". Another player's pulled out blood money, and I don't think I need to explain more about that.

First, nothing in my post suggested ANYTHING about breaking the rules or randomly mixing and matching different feats in a way that's not allowed. Second, I didn't trash talk any GMs. Third, I spent many years running campaigns so spare me the patronizing sermon.

What I actually SAID was developers should make a decision and stick to it. I believe an option should either exist within the rules and be available to players, or it shouldn't. Do whatever works best for game balance but stick to it. Saying "ask your GM first" is a cop out, it's like saying "we have no confidence in our work, so get your GM to review it first".


Deadmanwalking wrote:
tivadar27 wrote:
Keen, Ring of Wizardry, Potion of Tongues, Detect Poison, Detect Scrying, Discern Lies... I can keep going. There's not a lot of sense to what they made uncommon.

I can't speak to all the items, but spells actually fall very predictably into certain categories:

1. Teleportation and Planar Travel magic.
2. Resurrection magic.
3. Most Alignment-based magic (Alignment damage is the only real exception).
4. Divination magic that short circuits certain plots, hence Detect Scrying, Discern Lies, and the like, as well as most mind reading. Tongues (and thus potions of it) also fall under this category.
5. Serious mind control magic ala Dominate.
6. Magic to counter one of the above categories (ie: Dimensional Lock, Undetectable Alignment, or Mind Blank).

Debatably, all of these except #6 fall under 'magic that short circuits certain plots'. And that is why they're Uncommon, frankly. There might be a spell or two not in the six categories, but even those fall under this general principle.

You've now expanded your categories, and I can actually provide examples of both things not in those categories that are uncommon (Drop Dead, Glibness) and examples of things that are in those categories that are not uncommon (Detect Invisible, Dimension Door). There might be general categories here that are more common at uncommon for spells, but they're not consistent about it, and for magic items, it definitely feels completely arbitrary.

It's a good mechanic in general, but it's implemented poorly. They're inconsistent about what's uncommon/common, and it ends up leading to being back at square one, and having to ask about anything you might want to take, which is where we were with PF1 sometimes as well.

Silver Crusade

HeHateMe wrote:
Cyouni wrote:
HeHateMe wrote:
I couldn't agree more with the OP, I can't stand stuff like the UA options in 5e or the uncommon/rare options in 2e. Either something is a legit option or it isn't, get off the f@#king fence and make a decision. Don't leave it up to the player to work out some kind of deal with their GM to get that option.

"Damn, these GMs suck not letting me have everything including the kitchen sink. Why shouldn't I be able to take options from literally every different race, religion, and society without having to have that GM breathing down my neck having a problem with it?"

Turns out it's much harder for a GM to have to constantly disallow certain things than it is the other way around. One player in the group uses d20pfsrd, so the above is not even hyperbole - he's pulled racial spells, spells from the opposite alignment religion, and things from across the world because they're not really marked, and every time it's a question of "why can't I use that, it says it's available". Another player's pulled out blood money, and I don't think I need to explain more about that.

First, nothing in my post suggested ANYTHING about breaking the rules or randomly mixing and matching different feats in a way that's not allowed. Second, I didn't trash talk any GMs. Third, I spent many years running campaigns so spare me the patronizing sermon.

What I actually SAID was developers should make a decision and stick to it. I believe an option should either exist within the rules and be available to players, or it shouldn't. Do whatever works best for game balance but stick to it. Saying "ask your GM first" is a cop out, it's like saying "we have no confidence in our work, so get your GM to review it first".

It's not that in the slightest. Every campaign is different. Teleportation might be fine in one but completely wreck the other. Guns might be allowed in one but not another. I've never actually seen a game where everything was allowed.

Liberty's Edge

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tivadar27 wrote:
You've now expanded your categories, and I can actually provide examples of both things not in those categories that are uncommon (Drop Dead) and examples of things that are in those categories that are not uncommon (Detect Invisible, Dimension Door).

Those last two aren't really in the categories, though. Neither of those short circuits plotlines in any meaningful way. Which is what the categories are all subdivisions of, after all, as I said. And Drop Dead does fall under that general category, allowing for exceedingly easy faking of a death, which certainly short circuits many plotlines.

tivadar27 wrote:
There might be general categories here that are more common at uncommon for spells, but they're not consistent about it, and for magic items, it definitely feels completely arbitrary.

Again, I can't comment on the items (I haven't gone through them in detail), but the spells are actually really clear once you understand the logic.

tivadar27 wrote:
It's a good mechanic in general, but it's implemented poorly. They're inconsistent about what's uncommon/common, and it ends up leading to being back at square one, and having to ask about anything you might want to take.

They're not nearly as inconsistent as you're making them out to be. There's a very specific internal logic to what spells are uncommon that you're ignoring here.


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HeHateMe wrote:
What I actually SAID was developers should make a decision and stick to it. I believe an option should either exist within the rules and be available to players, or it shouldn't. Do whatever works best for game balance but stick to it. Saying "ask your GM first" is a cop out, it's like saying "we have no confidence in our work, so get your GM to review it first".

I mean, but TTRPGs inherently are going to have huge swaths of material that people expect to see. Can you imagine if PF2 came out with no teleport spell? People were claiming to quit and never return because we have champions instead of paladins. People freaked out when Raise Dead became a ritual. This is a community that both wants its cake and to eat it, too. Rarity, in my opinion, is a way to handle that.

Some people want a game that is much more focused around story, combat balance, and overcoming challenges as they're intended. Others want more agency, to circumvent challenges with clever tricks (Speak with Dead got the Uncommon tag, right?), or just live out a crazy power fantasy. Those are two sides of the same coin that is the Pathfinder fanbase. Rarity lets you play in either of these games, BUT it allows the GM to opt in. If the GM isn't willing to play a game one way or the other, then... well, it isn't going to happen. And that's okay because, hey, they're players, too.


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From my perspective, rarity is making more work all around: we now require ban and un-ban lists and they tend to be more intricate as you sometime need a item by item ban or un-ban [dimension door fine, planetary teleport not] where PF1 was more blanket [like no guns]. It requires a lot more up front work and it makes games play differently even when they have the same basic rulings.

I've played in several games with different DM's and the number of 'ask your DM' rules make it seem like I'm playing different versions of the same game: it's like one plays like D&D 3.0 and the next is like PF1 and the next D&D 3.5 and trying to remember the differences. It's even more difficult if you're playing them at the same time...

From my PF1 perspective and bans and allowed content, most times I'd find 'legal options that are online'. More rarely, there's be broad bans [no gunslingers, no summoners, ect]. For PF2, it ends up a back and forth over every individual uncommon+ item/element as most DM's don't list things that fine in the 'looking for players' post: it's not going to list things down to individual items 'alchemy crossbow allowed, katana not allowed, ect...'. Uncommon content just ends up being a speedbump from what I've seen, as any time it comes up, everything stops as the PM's start.

Verdant Wheel

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As a player, yeah, little bummed that "uncommon" merits additional effort and a DM willing to compromise.

As a DM, more than a little excited that "uncommon" enters my toolkit as a way to exercise control over the themes of my campaign.

Like two steps backwards, five steps forward?


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HeHateMe wrote:
Cyouni wrote:
HeHateMe wrote:
I couldn't agree more with the OP, I can't stand stuff like the UA options in 5e or the uncommon/rare options in 2e. Either something is a legit option or it isn't, get off the f@#king fence and make a decision. Don't leave it up to the player to work out some kind of deal with their GM to get that option.

"Damn, these GMs suck not letting me have everything including the kitchen sink. Why shouldn't I be able to take options from literally every different race, religion, and society without having to have that GM breathing down my neck having a problem with it?"

Turns out it's much harder for a GM to have to constantly disallow certain things than it is the other way around. One player in the group uses d20pfsrd, so the above is not even hyperbole - he's pulled racial spells, spells from the opposite alignment religion, and things from across the world because they're not really marked, and every time it's a question of "why can't I use that, it says it's available". Another player's pulled out blood money, and I don't think I need to explain more about that.

First, nothing in my post suggested ANYTHING about breaking the rules or randomly mixing and matching different feats in a way that's not allowed. Second, I didn't trash talk any GMs. Third, I spent many years running campaigns so spare me the patronizing sermon.

What I actually SAID was developers should make a decision and stick to it. I believe an option should either exist within the rules and be available to players, or it shouldn't. Do whatever works best for game balance but stick to it. Saying "ask your GM first" is a cop out, it's like saying "we have no confidence in our work, so get your GM to review it first".

I mean, they tell you straight up - don't expect uncommon+ to ever be readily available.

What you're basically asking for is either players have access to everything ever, or players have access to nothing. But what about things in between, where players have access to something if they're in good with bugbear society (or whatever other way can get you access)? That's not something your system can ever handle if it's completely binary.


Pathfinder Lost Omens Subscriber
tivadar27 wrote:
Deadmanwalking wrote:
tivadar27 wrote:
Keen, Ring of Wizardry, Potion of Tongues, Detect Poison, Detect Scrying, Discern Lies... I can keep going. There's not a lot of sense to what they made uncommon.

I can't speak to all the items, but spells actually fall very predictably into certain categories:

1. Teleportation and Planar Travel magic.
2. Resurrection magic.
3. Most Alignment-based magic (Alignment damage is the only real exception).
4. Divination magic that short circuits certain plots, hence Detect Scrying, Discern Lies, and the like, as well as most mind reading. Tongues (and thus potions of it) also fall under this category.
5. Serious mind control magic ala Dominate.
6. Magic to counter one of the above categories (ie: Dimensional Lock, Undetectable Alignment, or Mind Blank).

Debatably, all of these except #6 fall under 'magic that short circuits certain plots'. And that is why they're Uncommon, frankly. There might be a spell or two not in the six categories, but even those fall under this general principle.

You've now expanded your categories, and I can actually provide examples of both things not in those categories that are uncommon (Drop Dead, Glibness) and examples of things that are in those categories that are not uncommon (Detect Invisible, Dimension Door). There might be general categories here that are more common at uncommon for spells, but they're not consistent about it, and for magic items, it definitely feels completely arbitrary.

It's a good mechanic in general, but it's implemented poorly. They're inconsistent about what's uncommon/common, and it ends up leading to being back at square one, and having to ask about anything you might want to take, which is where we were with PF1 sometimes as well.

the first 2 seem pretty easily plot short circuit spells. Detect invisible and dimension door are not, dimension door is "teleportation" but it isn't "TELEPORTATION", and invisibility isn't a uncommon so it's counter isn't.... (and invisibility is as plot broken as the stealth skill is. *shrug* i.e. not very)


graystone wrote:

From my perspective, rarity is making more work all around: we now require ban and un-ban lists and they tend to be more intricate as you sometime need a item by item ban or un-ban [dimension door fine, planetary teleport not] where PF1 was more blanket [like no guns]. It requires a lot more up front work and it makes games play differently even when they have the same basic rulings.

I've played in several games with different DM's and the number of 'ask your DM' rules make it seem like I'm playing different versions of the same game: it's like one plays like D&D 3.0 and the next is like PF1 and the next D&D 3.5 and trying to remember the differences. It's even more difficult if you're playing them at the same time...

From my PF1 perspective and bans and allowed content, most times I'd find 'legal options that are online'. More rarely, there's be broad bans [no gunslingers, no summoners, ect]. For PF2, it ends up a back and forth over every individual uncommon+ item/element as most DM's don't list things that fine in the 'looking for players' post: it's not going to list things down to individual items 'alchemy crossbow allowed, katana not allowed, ect...'. Uncommon content just ends up being a speedbump from what I've seen, as any time it comes up, everything stops as the PM's start.

so would the preference be just to ban a whole class flat out or to ban certain options from that class? maybe more fiddly one way but at least you can still play the class.


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Rysky wrote:
HeHateMe wrote:
I couldn't agree more with the OP, I can't stand stuff like the UA options in 5e or the uncommon/rare options in 2e. Either something is a legit option or it isn't, get off the f@#king fence and make a decision. Don't leave it up to the player to work out some kind of deal with their GM to get that option.
Every campaign and story is different, so why not leave it up to the Players and GMs to work out a deal?

As the rules are, there is no "work out a deal". On a deal both sides participate and have some power on the final result, here all the decision power falls on one side, the DM. I find funny all the talk about having the confidence on the DM to use rarity system well, while players that want uncommon things are presented as whiners. Where is the confidence on the player?

And currently, some characters concepts are so full of uncommon as to barely be playable, like Divination Wizard.

Edit: I find specially problematic the alignment spells case. It seems arbitrary to make some alignment spells the main route to do damage on the Divine casters (looking at Divine lance) and then made so many others uncommon. Either all should be usual spells, or all should be uncommon and take other mechanics as the damage dealing side of Divine spells. The current state made little sense to me.


This is a good enforcement of a lesson for me here I realize I'm far too irritated to make an argument in good faith. So instead I'm just going to ignore this thread or maybe come back later when i'm in a better mood.

Silver Crusade

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Alaryth wrote:
Rysky wrote:
HeHateMe wrote:
I couldn't agree more with the OP, I can't stand stuff like the UA options in 5e or the uncommon/rare options in 2e. Either something is a legit option or it isn't, get off the f@#king fence and make a decision. Don't leave it up to the player to work out some kind of deal with their GM to get that option.
Every campaign and story is different, so why not leave it up to the Players and GMs to work out a deal?
As the rules are, there is no "work out a deal".

You are wrong.

Talk with your GM is still in full effect.

Liberty's Edge

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Alaryth wrote:
As the rules are, there is no "work out a deal". On a deal both sides participate and have some power on the final result, here all the decision power falls on one side, the DM. I find funny all the talk about having the confidence on the DM to use rarity system well, while players that want uncommon things are presented as whiners. Where is the confidence on the player?

This has always been true of all interactions between players and GMs in conventional RPGs. Players never have any inherent power over the world or what game system they're playing, or what House Rules the GM institutes.

But that doesn't mean they have no power in real world terms. In the real world, either the GM makes a game that's fun for the players to participate in...or they rapidly don't have a game at all.


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Pathfinder Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber

If you want to play in a game where rarity doesn't exist, tell your GM that you want to ignore it. If your GM says no, then you were always going to be playing "mother may I" because your GM has different views than you. Now there's a language to use for it.


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Alaryth wrote:
Rysky wrote:
HeHateMe wrote:
I couldn't agree more with the OP, I can't stand stuff like the UA options in 5e or the uncommon/rare options in 2e. Either something is a legit option or it isn't, get off the f@#king fence and make a decision. Don't leave it up to the player to work out some kind of deal with their GM to get that option.
Every campaign and story is different, so why not leave it up to the Players and GMs to work out a deal?

As the rules are, there is no "work out a deal". On a deal both sides participate and have some power on the final result, here all the decision power falls on one side, the DM. I find funny all the talk about having the confidence on the DM to use rarity system well, while players that want uncommon things are presented as whiners. Where is the confidence on the player?

And currently, some characters concepts are so full of uncommon as to barely be playable, like Divination Wizard.

Edit: I find specially problematic the alignment spells case. It seems arbitrary to make some alignment spells the main route to do damage on the Divine casters (looking at Divine lance) and then made so many others uncommon. Either all should be usual spells, or all should be uncommon and take other mechanics as the damage dealing side of Divine spells. The current state made little sense to me.

Coming from a forever GM there is no confidence in the player for a very good reason

Players are presented as whiners because, unfortunately, in the majority of cases they are . The complaints about restrictions are nearly always about “their” fun

An example is a player who dug out Blood Money the other day. I said no because it seems quite obscure. He was also already talking about “it’s great there is no downside because I don’t need strength and can easily heal it back anyway”

He, predictably, said “I found it online on the spell list”

I had to tell him it was a spell only known (in published material) by the BBEG of an entire AP before I could get any concession

An extreme example? Maybe. But picture that over and over again with region specific options, racial spells , deity specific spells etc.

A quick read of the boards and reddit and anywhere (plus my own personal experience) is that the vast majority of players have a supreme sense of entitlement and the person running the game and the story often has to allow this especially if the other players join in

The GM is considered to be trusted with this decision because they have been trusted with running the game . As has already been mentioned if you don’t trust your GM in this way then that is a different conversation - but not one directly related to this particular issue


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Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
Alaryth wrote:
Rysky wrote:
HeHateMe wrote:
I couldn't agree more with the OP, I can't stand stuff like the UA options in 5e or the uncommon/rare options in 2e. Either something is a legit option or it isn't, get off the f@#king fence and make a decision. Don't leave it up to the player to work out some kind of deal with their GM to get that option.
Every campaign and story is different, so why not leave it up to the Players and GMs to work out a deal?

As the rules are, there is no "work out a deal". On a deal both sides participate and have some power on the final result, here all the decision power falls on one side, the DM. I find funny all the talk about having the confidence on the DM to use rarity system well, while players that want uncommon things are presented as whiners. Where is the confidence on the player?

And currently, some characters concepts are so full of uncommon as to barely be playable, like Divination Wizard.

Divination is a perfect example of how there is absolutely power on the player side and that this issue has always been true.

Divination, illusion and enchantment are all schools that require a lot of good faith to be used and not abused in RPGs because they take a lot of narrative control into the player. Deciding to play one of these classes and then have the GM give you the most frustrating or least useful results because the GM hates how they will impact the story has always been a problem. Having a mechanic to force the discussion: am I going to be able to use these spells? as early as possible is a massive improvement over reaching 7th or 9th level, investing in the resources to be able to scry and have the GM have the villain sleeping in a dark room with no windows or clear features every time you use the spell.


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Rysky wrote:

That has ALWAYS been the the case.

Player: “I just got Ultimate Combat/Haunted Heroes Handbook so I’m totally playing a Gunslinger/Pact Wizard next game.”

GM: “Those don’t really fit the game so I’m going to have to say no.”

Difference is, now it's enshrined in rules language.

This way, all those that point to the rules to get their way can now be met by pointing to the rules:

"It's not just me saying no, it's the rules saying no!"

For any reasonable group, there is of course no difference in practical play. But not everyone has the luxury of playing with reasonable players...


Gorbacz wrote:

It's the people who want the baseline assumption of having their Savage Horticulturist/Landsknecht accepted at every table by default vs. the people who want more control over the content in their games without having to vet everything case by case or argue just why exactly is the Landsknecht off the table all over again.

PF1 was clearly in favour of the former, PF2 is clearly in favour of the latter. Different games, different philosophies, play the one you prefer.

Exactly.


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Excaliburproxy wrote:
Jib916 wrote:
Excaliburproxy wrote:
If I want to build an arcane warrior that needs a ring of wizardry to be effective, I am still not able to expect that.

Relying on one item/spell/etc to make your build "effective" , does not seem effective at all.

I am not sure if this a system specific problem, as one could argue the same thing about any system, no matter the "rarity" of item.

This is maybe more pervasive than you seem to think. For instance, throwing weapon builds are essentially useless later without returning runes (which are common but still an item that acts as a cornerstone of your character's powers).

Not sure I get your point?

If you're arguing builds rely on things, then yes. D'oh.

If you're arguing popular builds you see often rely on uncommon things, then no. For instance, the throwing weapon build is reasonably frequent. And it relies on returning rune. And that rune is Common. So...?


Lanathar wrote:
Alaryth wrote:
Rysky wrote:
HeHateMe wrote:
I couldn't agree more with the OP, I can't stand stuff like the UA options in 5e or the uncommon/rare options in 2e. Either something is a legit option or it isn't, get off the f@#king fence and make a decision. Don't leave it up to the player to work out some kind of deal with their GM to get that option.
Every campaign and story is different, so why not leave it up to the Players and GMs to work out a deal?

As the rules are, there is no "work out a deal". On a deal both sides participate and have some power on the final result, here all the decision power falls on one side, the DM. I find funny all the talk about having the confidence on the DM to use rarity system well, while players that want uncommon things are presented as whiners. Where is the confidence on the player?

And currently, some characters concepts are so full of uncommon as to barely be playable, like Divination Wizard.

Edit: I find specially problematic the alignment spells case. It seems arbitrary to make some alignment spells the main route to do damage on the Divine casters (looking at Divine lance) and then made so many others uncommon. Either all should be usual spells, or all should be uncommon and take other mechanics as the damage dealing side of Divine spells. The current state made little sense to me.

Coming from a forever GM there is no confidence in the player for a very good reason

Players are presented as whiners because, unfortunately, in the majority of cases they are . The complaints about restrictions are nearly always about “their” fun

An example is a player who dug out Blood Money the other day. I said no because it seems quite obscure. He was also already talking about “it’s great there is no downside because I don’t need strength and can easily heal it back anyway”

He, predictably, said “I found it online on the spell list”

I had to tell him it was a spell only known (in published material) by the BBEG of an entire...

Some post ago I said that Blood Money is an example of a spell where the rarity system works great.

On the end, I suppose the problem is one of different game style. I strongly disagree with this sentence here:
" the vast majority of players have a supreme sense of entitlement and the person running the game and the story often has to allow this especially..."
for me, the game and the story is about everyone at the table, not the DM. I LOVE when my players surprise me, and I have no problem having to improvise a bit if that is the case.
I do 50/50 play/DM (more DM on PF2 on fact), but we play many other games( 5 Rings, 7 Seas, Vampire Mascarade, Mage Ascension...). Some of those games give on rules that gives the players a high narrative powers, things like "if you interpret that disadvantage, you gain X" or "you can use X points to alter slightly the scene". I really like that, because it makes everyone more involved on the story that is done between everyone on the table.

Finally, I honestly believe that many of those attitude problem will go down if people where "RPG players" and don't divide themselves on "Player" and "DM". DMs playing more and players doing more DM would help much on this kind of discussion.


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WatersLethe wrote:
If you want to play in a game where rarity doesn't exist, tell your GM that you want to ignore it. If your GM says no, then you were always going to be playing "mother may I" because your GM has different views than you. Now there's a language to use for it.

Exactly, if you're used to playing with a permissive GM who just allows anything and everything, why would you expect that same GM to suddenly avoid giving out uncommon items like the plague?

That hypothetical GM probably says something like: 'Ignore the uncommon tag, ask me if you want a rare item.'

For the other GM, who doesn't want to see pact wizards, blood money and the original juju oracle show up at their table, the rarity system is great. Now they don't have to read every character sheet at every level up, they don't have to ban entire books to avoid arguments about an archetype. They don't have to say 'Core only without approval', they just have to say 'common only without approval'.

I'd think that actually lowers the amount of 'mother may I' when playing with that sort of GM.


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His argument is that requiring a specific option is sometimes the only way to make something work. In response to a comment saying that requiring one item to be effective is not effective.
Which the thrown weapon example fits perfectly in response.

But it's certainly possible that there will come a time where the only way to make a build/character work is with an uncommon+ option. Ex: Every Living Monolith.

**************
Just to make sure.

Everyone does remember that GMs have absolute power and near absolute knowledge over their games right? They can do whatever they want even change the rules.

A player only has what's in the books and what the GM decides to give or allow them to have.

But the solution remains the same. A player who isnt having fun with a GM/group has to leave the table. Since rarity is a default deny, a player who wants to play the weird uncommon builds and has little access to tables has to stop playing the game.

Silver Crusade

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Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
Temperans wrote:
Everyone does remember that GMs have absolute power and near absolute knowledge over their games right?

No and no. GMs are part of the social contract with players, so their power isn't absolute. And as for knowledge, GMs are humans with other things to do than a full-time job of reading every player-side option (let's be generous and say Paizo sources only) in order to vet them. Especially if the amount of said options goes in thousands, as was the case towards the end of PF1's lifetime.

They are also humans in regard that some of them are totally fine with narrative-altering spells and abilities and some are less so. I've played once with a GM on a who would be utterly terrified any time somebody would try to cast a divination spell or an illusion - her thought process was too rigid to handle them. She was and is a good GM, it's just that she is more of a rigid railroad person than a spontaneous sandbox person. For her, a rarity system that helps her control the elements of the game that she struggles with is a boon.


A GM doesnt need to look at every option, just those the players pick. But my comment wasnt about players, it was about everything else. If the GM says the sky instantly combusted, the sky instantly combusted. If the GM says there are a thousand 30 ft giants playing frisbee in a giant frisbee tournament, that's a thing that is happening. He can remove gods, make new ones or alter the very rules of the game if he wants.

Silver Crusade

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Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
Temperans wrote:
A GM doesnt need to look at every option, just those the players pick.

There are many ways why this isn't true, but let's with a Brawler and their "swap out Combat Feats" ability. Bam, how many Combat Feats are there in PF1? Welp, you need to be at least passingly familiar with all of them. Good night and good luck.


.....

I said what I wanted to say. If you don't like it fine by me bye.


Deadmanwalking wrote:
tivadar27 wrote:
You've now expanded your categories, and I can actually provide examples of both things not in those categories that are uncommon (Drop Dead) and examples of things that are in those categories that are not uncommon (Detect Invisible, Dimension Door).
Those last two aren't really in the categories, though. Neither of those short circuits plotlines in any meaningful way. Which is what the categories are all subdivisions of, after all, as I said. And Drop Dead does fall under that general category, allowing for exceedingly easy faking of a death, which certainly short circuits many plotlines.

You're being really inconsistent here, so debating this is really hard when you're constantly shifting the goal of what you're trying to prove. The last two are teleportation magic and divination as much as Detect Poison and Teleporation are, and they could both very well short circuit plots if I, as a GM, am working on the assumption that teleportation magic is uncommon and have a prison escape scenario or am relying on divination being uncommon and decide to have an invisible killer rather than poison the king's food (both poison and invisibility are pretty common).

The fact is what short circuits plots is entirely relative. You say that I'm ignoring the internal logic. I'm not, I acknowledge there is some for spells (you're ignoring items here...), but I'm pointing out that there's no consistency in those categories.

Let me put this another way. What concrete classes of adventures, as a GM, does the rarity system for spells help in assisting a GM to ensure that stuff they don't want doesn't get into their game? If I don't want fast travel, isn't it easier to simply say "no teleportation magic allowed without my permission"?


Pathfinder Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber
Temperans wrote:
A GM doesnt need to look at every option, just those the players pick. But my comment wasnt about players, it was about everything else. If the GM says the sky instantly combusted, the sky instantly combusted. If the GM says there are a thousand 30 ft giants playing frisbee in a giant frisbee tournament, that's a thing that is happening. He can remove gods, make new ones or alter the very rules of the game if he wants.

EXTRA ULTIMATE FRISBEE!


When I GM, I allow pretty much everything. 3PP gets a close eye from me but I'm down with a lot.

I also don't care about Rarity existing. Rules enforcing the social contract of the table are good. Y'all should check out some narrative indie games sometime. The early 2000s would blow your minds.


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The Core rule book has a section about Rarity:

Core Rule Book p.13 wrote:


Rarity
Some elements of the game have a rarity to denote how often they’re encountered in the game world. Rarity primarily applies to equipment and magic items, but spells, feats, and other rules elements also have a rarity. If no rarity appears in the traits of an item, spell, or other game element, it is of common rarity. Uncommon items are available only to those who have special training, grew up in a certain culture, or come from a particular part of the world. Rare items are almost impossible to find and are usually given out only by the GM, while unique ones are literally one-of-a-kind in the game. The GM might alter the way rarity works or change the rarity of individual items to suit the story they want to tell.

Bold mine, but with this paragraph I'm led to believe that Uncommon Rarity is all about what it says; training, culture, and ethnicity. It's not about what is and isn't allowed, I'm fairly certain by this logic if you wanted to say "My character is a pathfinder agent in training" you'd be very welcome to take the pathfinder agent feats. If your character was written as part of one of the many of the Mwagni cultures, you wouldn't have to jump through hoops with your GM to say "I want to take Magaambyan Attendant Dedication." It just means that if your character isn't already part of these categories when it comes to feats and abilities, you're going to have to earn access to these feats another way.

The rules don't say "no", they say "If you want this, build a character Narrative-wise around it."


@Deadmanwalking: Sorry, I feel like the start of my last post came off more combative than I intended. Let me put it this way, I think there's enough inconsistency in how they labeled spells to make the labels effectively useless, and us have to resort to just "well, just ask the GM on everything". This has also been my actual experience while playing the Playtest/the small bit of 2e I have so far.

Yes, they may be a good starting point, but there are things on both sides that just don't fit and it's probably easier to just say as a GM what you do and don't allow (not an exhaustive list, just a descriptive one).

Beyond this, their motives for adding things to uncommon seem arbitrary. Some are regional, some are due to alignment (but not all, Divine Lance, spells that do good/evil damage), some are due to teleportation, some *seem* to be due to power (for magic items). Lumping all these things into one category really doesn't simplify things. There's already a "teleporation" tag, and a "divination" one, so using those to refer to what you do/don't allow seems much simpler.

My last question stands. What specific class of scenarios do the rarity tags actually help a GM with that couldn't simply be described using shorter terms with already existing labels?

EDIT: One thing I do worry about is this will lead some characters at the table who are known for "ohh, hey, GM, can I have *this* special content" to be more empowered. Yes, a GM can be unbiased about this, but I've seen/been in games where the player who asks for the most stuff tends to get it.

Silver Crusade

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Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
tivadar27 wrote:


My last question stands. What specific class of scenarios do the rarity tags actually help a GM with that couldn't simply be described using shorter terms with already existing labels?

For starters, telling people "Uncommon stuff that was designated so by designers is off the table" is much easier than "This, this and this, which I have henceforth declared as not welcome in my game, is off the table". Just try telling any people in any scenario that something is verboten by the rules which you didn't formulate as opposed to telling them that something is verboten because YOU decided so. The latter immediately invites a challenge. That's how humans work.

Furthermore, this means you don't need to vet every new item. You're still missing the point about how the rarity system is supposed to help the GM by lessening their work load. If you don't want fast travel and all fast travel spells are uncommon, you have your work done for you. If you do it case by case basis, you'll have to go through the "OK, so you said no fast travel buuuuut is this spell fast travel or not?" conversation multiple times.

Or you might simply make an error, say "yes" to something, discover that you've accidentally allowed fast travel and now you gotta roll things back, and rolling things back is awkward in an RPG.

Of course, it hangs on the designers being consistent in making every fast travel spell/item uncommon.


Gorbacz wrote:
tivadar27 wrote:


My last question stands. What specific class of scenarios do the rarity tags actually help a GM with that couldn't simply be described using shorter terms with already existing labels?

For starters, telling people "Uncommon stuff that was designated so by designers is off the table" is much easier than "This, this and this, which I have henceforth declared as not welcome in my game, is off the table". Just try telling any people in any scenario that something is verboten by the rules which you didn't formulate as opposed to telling them that something is verboten because YOU decided so. The latter immediately invites a challenge. That's how humans work.

Furthermore, this means you don't need to vet every new item. You're still missing the point about how the rarity system is supposed to help the GM by lessening their work load. If you don't want fast travel and all fast travel spells are uncommon, you have your work done for you. If you do it case by case basis, you'll have to go through the "OK, so you said no fast travel buuuuut is this spell fast travel or not?" conversation multiple times.

Or you might simply make an error, say "yes" to something, discover that you've accidentally allowed fast travel and now you gotta roll things back, and rolling things back is awkward in an RPG.

Of course, it hangs on the designers being consistent in making every fast travel spell/item uncommon.

As I've pointed out though, they haven't been consistent *THIS IS MY BIG ISSUE WITH THE SYSTEM*. Dimension Door is not uncommon, and will lead to exactly that sort of roll-back that you mention. If I don't want fast travel spells, I'll probably just state "no spells that let you travel more than X distance in Y time". Note, this has the advantage that it *doesn't* rule out all the other categories of uncommon things, and it *does* capture things that may increase your movement speed dramatically (wild shape with Form Control), so it's actually a better way of stating things...

As for items... Don't you? Do we know what logic they used to declare items "uncommon"? There doesn't seem to be rhyme or reason there. People have already pointed out how ridiculously good a shifting rune is, but at the same time, you can't get a spell storing rune, which seems pretty mediocre on the whole.

Silver Crusade

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Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Dimension Door is not a "fast travel" spell. It does not allow you to cross any significant strategic distance in a short amount of time. It can't be used to move, say, from Magnimar to Kintargo instantaneously or in matter of hours. It doesn't short circuit things on a scale that alter the narrative. At best, it can be used to move from one side of castle to another or from a ship to shore ... once.

Silver Crusade

Dimension Door isn’t really a fast travel spells until you Heighten it at 5th, and then it’s just move-quickly-through-parts-of-the-city-spell rather than fast travel.


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That is still fast travel... as is Wild Shape with Elemental form (Fly Speed 90). Listen, I've pointed this out multiple times. I'm running a prison break, you cast Dimension Door, my narrative is broken.

You're justifying this in ways that don't make sense. You are overfitting categories onto the rarity system that exists rather than asking the question the other way around "my campaign doesn't want fast travel, which spells would be bad to have"?

With the baseline teleporation, you're travelling 100 miles in 10 minutes, or 500 miles per hour. With a Fly Speed of 90, it's "only" 30 miles per hour. That's still ludicrously fast and potentially game breaking.

Sure, there are specific things that the rarity system prevents, but those are arbitrary. They might break your narrative, they might not. Then again, plenty of common things might also break your narrative.


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Pathfinder Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber

Another aspect of rarity that an algorithmic approach would have difficulty reconciling is the level aspect. Rarity accounts for both the effect and the level at which you can obtain that effect.

Dimension Door requires the caster to be 7th level. A 7th level prison should have magical wards, and be able to handle all the 7th level skill feats that come online.

Silver Crusade

DD doesn’t affect the narrative of of a prison break at all since it only affects the caster, not the group like teleport, and even then it’s only up to 1 mile so not really a fast travel spell.

Quote:
With the baseline teleporation, you're travelling 100 miles in 10 minutes, or 500 miles per hour. With a Fly Speed of 90, it's "only" 30 miles per hour. That's still ludicrously fast and potentially game breaking.

Not really.

And Fly only lasts 5 minutes till you heighten it at 7th.

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