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


Pathfinder Second Edition General Discussion

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Silver Crusade

Pathfinder Companion, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber
WatersLethe wrote:

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.

Also this.

Silver Crusade

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Even if we assume that Wild Shape being Uncommon doesn't prevent you from taking the Wild Shape spell in a non-uncommon game, it's duration-limited, non-instantenous, applies only to one person and....OK, now I get it, we're at goalpost shifting level. At this point we'd need to sit down and establish what's our common baseline for short-circuiting narrative is (spoiler alert: for you it's dimension door'ing out of prison, for me it's not, for you fast travel is a single druid flopping through the air while her buddies pick their noses, for me it's instant or near-instant movement of the entire group, thus rendering any travel-based adventures mostly moot) in order to get anywhere and frankly, I'm not that into wasting time.

Conclusion is: you think the rarity system is bad, arbitrary and helps nothing, I think the opposite and we're not getting anywhere with our discussion.


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

The rules on rarity are a great addition to PF2. If you don't like the limits they impose on your character, you are free to discuss the situation with your DM. Some uncommon options are specifically gated by character creation choices, so no need to ask your DM - although it would be a nice gesture to inform him of your choices.

Anything that is not gated behind a character creation choice requires you to work together with your DM. This is not a bad thing. It can give your character additional in-world goals to work towards.

And lastly, if you really, really don't like the rarity system, there is nothing stopping you from DMing your own games and declaring that everything is available regardless of rarity, or from trying to convince your DM to adopt a similar approach.

A lot of us here on these boards really like the rarity system, for reasons that other folks upthread and on other threads have already explained. If you don't like it, hey, that's OK too.


2e incorporates GM fiat as a core mechanic in many instances, which is odd for a game with such tight math and specific verbage.

But keep in mind that GM fiat as opposed to consistent rules for GM and players is part of what made 5e so popular, because GM fiat is rules light.

Personally I think Paizo has found a decent balance, maybe enough to satisfy those on both sides.

Keep in mind that there are rules that make uncommon options common, like ancestry, class feats, etc. We can probably expect more of that to come.

That said this probably leaves a bad taste in the mouth of "everything but 3pp" types, and understandably so.

Personally I'm of mixed opinion. I like the idea of awarding the PCs with more than treasure and XP, but locking previously available options behind a vague rarity system is the kind of thing I'm likely to just ignore.


Uncommon in this edition is something I think a lot of people are reading way more into than it is for rarity.

It generally seems to just mean something that is common to a certain racial group or geographical area. If you want access to it mostly it is just a matter of either going to where the items/spells come from or find a teacher from those areas. Very minor amounts of RP necessary no major hurdles unless a GM is really being picky for some reason.

Most of the uncommon stuff we have seen so far tends to have a feat/ancestory option/geographical location to allow full access to it. The only archetype we have seen so far that is really hard to figure out how to work it into a campaign wise is the living monolith. Having everything gated by a rare option while making some sense seems odd for something you could in theory access at low levels.


Gorbacz wrote:

Even if we assume that Wild Shape being Uncommon doesn't prevent you from taking the Wild Shape spell in a non-uncommon game, it's duration-limited, non-instantenous, applies only to one person and....OK, now I get it, we're at goalpost shifting level. At this point we'd need to sit down and establish what's our common baseline for short-circuiting narrative is (spoiler alert: for you it's dimension door'ing out of prison, for me it's not, for you fast travel is a single druid flopping through the air while her buddies pick their noses, for me it's instant or near-instant movement of the entire group, thus rendering any travel-based adventures mostly moot) in order to get anywhere and frankly, I'm not that into wasting time.

Conclusion is: you think the rarity system is bad, arbitrary and helps nothing, I think the opposite and we're not getting anywhere with our discussion.

Honestly, this is fair. It's been my experience as both a player and a GM that the rarity system lead to more questions than it provided answers in 2e, it's totally possible you've had a different experience.

Regarding Wild Shape, there's nothing to assume there. Class options are expressly permitted even at the uncommon level, so they are effectively "uncommon but common for druid". Even in a campaign that says "no uncommon spells", you're not shutting down literally all focus spells because of that...


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My stance comes from GMing a game where I allowed (in theory) everything except 3PP and gunslingers .

My PCs are far too powerful for the AP and there have been numerous instance where racial or deity specific spells have been picked because d20pfsrd was the source and not AoN and I have then had to have a long winded discussion as to why the options aren’t allowed

Add on arguments over non core rules (not options) like underwater variant rules and retraining which have been thrown at me with “well it is a published PF rule...”

It is a road to madness and I am glad to see a system that seeks to get it under some degree of control


tivadar27 wrote:
Gorbacz wrote:

Even if we assume that Wild Shape being Uncommon doesn't prevent you from taking the Wild Shape spell in a non-uncommon game, it's duration-limited, non-instantenous, applies only to one person and....OK, now I get it, we're at goalpost shifting level. At this point we'd need to sit down and establish what's our common baseline for short-circuiting narrative is (spoiler alert: for you it's dimension door'ing out of prison, for me it's not, for you fast travel is a single druid flopping through the air while her buddies pick their noses, for me it's instant or near-instant movement of the entire group, thus rendering any travel-based adventures mostly moot) in order to get anywhere and frankly, I'm not that into wasting time.

Conclusion is: you think the rarity system is bad, arbitrary and helps nothing, I think the opposite and we're not getting anywhere with our discussion.

Honestly, this is fair. It's been my experience as both a player and a GM that the rarity system lead to more questions than it provided answers in 2e, it's totally possible you've had a different experience.

Regarding Wild Shape, there's nothing to assume there. Class options are expressly permitted even at the uncommon level, so they are effectively "uncommon but common for druid". Even in a campaign that says "no uncommon spells", you're not shutting down literally all focus spells because of that...

The same goes with most of the stuff granted by feats/classes. Like racial weapon options which are all uncommon rarity but if you have the appropriate option they are common for you. It is how you can use this stuff in society play.


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Temperans wrote:


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.

Well, no, a player that absolutely refuses to play any of the myriad builds that either the rules or the GM allows has to stop play the game.

Sounds less reasonable once you look at it in the proper light, don't you think?

A player that merely *wants* to play a weird uncommon build in a campaign unsuited for it is simply given no for an answer, and will presumably play something else. :)


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I feel like uncommon is a useful concept to have in the game just to point out "some things are more common in certain parts of the world than others." The problem with a "if it's in a book, you can have it" approach is that it's kind of a pain to continually justify how Arcadian magic guns, Minkaian blade techniques, Vudrani psychic magic, and a Storm Kindler all ended up in the River Kingdoms. It's even more of an issue when it's less "essential to the notion of the character" and more "this thing I saw in a book is neat."

Like I played a Terrakineticist in Ironfang Invasion, which was a very thematic choice. But in the middle of the campaign Heroes of Golarion came out and I had to weigh "I should take the clockwork talents because I can and they're useful" versus "there's no plausible way I would have picked this up in the course of the campaign."

Silver Crusade

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Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
PossibleCabbage wrote:

I feel like uncommon is a useful concept to have in the game just to point out "some things are more common in certain parts of the world than others." The problem with a "if it's in a book, you can have it" approach is that it's kind of a pain to continually justify how Arcadian magic guns, Minkaian blade techniques, Vudrani psychic magic, and a Storm Kindler all ended up in the River Kingdoms. It's even more of an issue when it's less "essential to the notion of the character" and more "this thing I saw in a book is neat."

Like I played a Terrakineticist in Ironfang Invasion, which was a very thematic choice. But in the middle of the campaign Heroes of Golarion came out and I had to weigh "I should take the clockwork talents because I can and they're useful" versus "there's no plausible way I would have picked this up in the course of the campaign."

I can assure you that the people who turn up with a kitsune Arcanamirium Crafter with one Thuvia trait, one Varisia trait, a line of feats from the Andoran book and emergency force sphere (introduced in the Cheliax book, if anybody cares) in the spellbook didn't really mind the issue and just raided the Internet for the build, checking things at the setting-sanitised d20pfsrd.


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Also, it's important to note that people here are having a few separate disucssions:
1. Debating how appropriate uncommon is based on it's commonality in the campaign world, such as "Kitsune Arcanamirium Crafter" or, in 2e, Lastwall Defender. I think this is a perfectly valid use for rarity.
2. Debating how appropriate uncommon is for spells where it's meant to include classes of things which Paizo thinks might be disruptive to the narrative.
3. Debating how appropriate uncommon is for items, where I, at least, think it's unclear what the rarity is meant to designate.


Maybe what people are resisting is the notion that you can't just summer in Minata to get better at shocking grasp or joined the rebellion in Chu Ye to get better at punching and be back to Ustalav in time to fight some vampires.

Silver Crusade

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Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
PossibleCabbage wrote:
Maybe what people are resisting is the notion that you can't just summer in Minata to get better at shocking grasp or joined the rebellion in Chu Ye to get better at punching and be back to Ustalav in time to fight some vampires.

I sympathize, but the ugly truth is:

players don't give a flip about the setting.

I know, it sounds horrible. But the truth is that the vast majority of people playing the game are not invested in the setting beyond very general info on what it is (fantasy heartbreaker kitchen sink, stat) and slightly more specific info on where the game is set (not-fascist Italy/Spain ruled by devil-bound monarchy, red and black and occasional devils, we're good).

Working with those parameters you'll get a rare super-invested player (think Archpaladin Zoshua and the "I can't play this character if it's not in sync with every damn book Paizo ever published" approach), a uncommon slightly vested player (most forumites, as the care about the game more than an average player) and the common person who just punched "Pathfinder dwarf gunslinger" into Google and looks for guides.

The common group will get you a difficult discussion as to why their Frankenstein monster of lore elements is jarring to you while for them it was just nice stuff they found at d20pfsrd that hey, didn't even have any setting names on it.


By making Uncommon options now have a an explicit or implied condition to gain access to it -- such as being from a specific region, finding it in exotic treasure, or accessing someone with special training, etc. -- as a GM I am inclined to make everything available to players if they ask for it, but with the condition met. What is CLEARLY now discouraged is cherry-picking from X books to get options from a universe of diverse and clashing backgrounds, to make an Optimized Build.

I think PF2 strikes a good balance between player freedom and GM control, making a conscious effort to marry crunch with flavor and to discourage metagamey optimization wars. That's what makes character creation so satisfying to me -- I want my character concept to guide my decisions without worrying about whether I nerfed myself by missing some "must have" option in some setting book.


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

It seems to me just like PF1 and the Wayang Spellhunter trait they used to cheese their way into reducing (or elminating) the cost of metamagic, simply by saying "Oh yeah, didn't I tell you? My character grew up in Wayang."

Folks should just accept the rules on rarity and roll with it. Or houserule it out of existence. Or something in between. There's no use griping about it. It's an established system now, and I don't think Paizo is going to abondon it over a few forum posts.


I really like the the rarity system. I don't read it as a form of banning any more so than the fireball spell is "banned" because it's only available to casters who are level 5 or higher.

It can help manage player and GM expectations, getting everyone on the same page with regards what spells, items etc. they might be able to find. Thus players can avoid putting together character builds who's effectiveness is entirely dependant on getting a specific magical item or spell.

Gating spells etc. can help limit unexpected actions that circumvent a scenario (I'm actually ok with players doing this). More importantly it presents an opportunity to make obtaining uncommon spells etc. a more significant part of the adventure. So rather than regarding teleportation as a circumvention of a scenario, making obtaining it a possible solution.

I think it might also help encourage players to get a little more invested in the setting which is always a good thing.


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It's funny I keep hearing, "used pfsrd" "used pfsrd" "used pfsrd".

And you know what, you are right using a reference site without any of the setting lore will make it hard to fit the default setting. But that's not a fault of the players failing to account for setting, that's a fault of the source not having it in the first place.
Which can be fixed by guess what? Telling the players not to use that site for the game.

I dont see what is so bad about using different books. But if that's such a problem why not just say, "you may only use one rule book other than core"? Congrats now the character will not be "a mess of abilities from different areas".


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Pathfinder Starfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
kaid wrote:

Uncommon in this edition is something I think a lot of people are reading way more into than it is for rarity.

It generally seems to just mean something that is common to a certain racial group or geographical area. If you want access to it mostly it is just a matter of either going to where the items/spells come from or find a teacher from those areas. Very minor amounts of RP necessary no major hurdles unless a GM is really being picky for some reason.

It would be nice though, if there were a few more rules backing it up, like "spend X days of downtime to find someone who can sell/teach you an uncommon option" since the wording in the book indicates that players are supposed to be able to get uncommon options if they try, but gives no real guidance on how hard they should have to try.


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Pathfinder Maps, Pawns Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber
TheWulfie wrote:
The rules don't say "no", they say "If you want this, build a character Narrative-wise around it."

Actually, they say "choose from among the common list," in effect saying "no." Look at the spellcasting section of any prepared caster for an example of the exclusionary wording used nearly everywhere.

Liberty's Edge

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tivadar27 wrote:
@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.

The labels are useful in saying how common the things are in the world, and you don't ever need to ask the GM about Common stuff, which are the vast majority of things.

Personally, as a GM, I intend to allow Uncommon stuff as almost a blanket permission, but the categories remain useful.

tivadar27 wrote:
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).

I think most stuff fits fine. But yes, a GM can come up with their own list...but doing so is much easier with the categories already existing. It's quicker and simpler to move things between the categories than it is to invent categories like this when they don't even exist in the rules to start with.

tivadar27 wrote:
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.

It's not, though. Detect Magic does not short circuit murder mysteries in the way that Talking Corpse or Detect Evil can. Nor does Dimension Door short circuit plots involving needing to travel 100 miles within a particular time frame in the way the Uncommon teleportation spells do.

The distinction between those spells in those categories that are potentially plot derailing and those that are not is real and relevant, even if you think it's being applied incorrectly.

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?

Several things.

Firstly, it easily allows the GM to say 'the rules say X' and that legitimately short circuits a lot of weirdly entitled player arguments that I've seen come up occasionally (a surprising number of players will say things like 'it's in the book so you have to let me have it').

Secondly, as I said, it provides terminology that's easier and more descriptive of things other than 'always allowed' and 'not allowed'. You can say 'In my custom setting, crossbows are Uncommon, since the tech level is lower than Golarion' and that has an actual rules meaning. That's very handy.

Thirdly, it allows you to do separate areas of the world and have them legitimately feel different as rarities vary. Katanas are Uncommon in the Inner Sea region, but perhaps its the Bastard Sword that's Uncommon in Tian Xia. That's fairly intuitive with weapons, but you can do the same with spells and other stuff. You can also do this with types of game. For example, you could easily run an espionage game and declare that, in espionage circles, certain spells are Common, while others are Uncommon both as contrasted to the normal rules.

tivadar27 wrote:
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.

One of the good things is that this doesn't matter. Uncommon stuff isn't more powerful than Common stuff, so the guy with 8 Uncommon options and the guy with 0 should be on the same power level. Or close enough that it's not a big deal, anyway.


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swoosh wrote:

I mean, even calling it "Mother May I" to begin with is talking down about the whole concept.

The fact that you're acting like the GM is some strict parent you have to beg and plead to have permission to have fun kind of indicates there's a really toxic and unhealthy mindset about the relationship you have with the GM (or the relationship itself is toxic, hard to tell what's perception and what isn't).

I basically disagree with you there. I GM my games and I have 1.5 players that try to abuse the game and bring in broken/OP feats, spells, and items from 3rd party sources, so we've had a no 3rd player stuff rule for years. Now it's tough to say, yes Bill can have his optional rules that he wants but Josh and Diane can't.

And when I was playing a bit during the beta it was annoying for me, because I couldn't just plan out a character, now I had to personally ask the GM if I could take such OP spells as protection from evil. Or I could just pretend that those spells didn't exist and take ones that I knew for sure were going to work.

Even I find it very annoying that the players will have to personally beg the GM to use spells right out of the players handbook. Seems like they made another problem for me that never existed before. I agree that "uncommon" spells are basically the designer's house rules.


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

One significant advantage the rarity system brings to PF2 is making it easy for people who have never GMed before to get started. With this system, novices can start out without having to understand all 600 pages of rules.

The debates in this thread are all about how the tag subsystem might impact experienced players and GMs. But Paizo can't gain new customers if they make learning how to play too difficult.

If you're a new GM, the rarity system simplifies the knowledge base and makes it less of a barrier to entry. Without new GMs coming into the ranks, the game will wither.

The rarity system also allows new GMs to grow the complexity of their games as their familiarity grows. It lets people take baby steps into the morass of rules.

Experienced players and GMs can use the tag system, ignore the tag system, or tweak the tag system to suit their GMing style. Novice GMs can run perfectly satisfactory games without fear that they will be overwhelmed by the amount of information the need just to run their first game.

If Paizo wants to grow their fan base, they need simple entryways into this thicket of rules. The tag subsystem is a great way to do that.

Paizo Employee Director of Game Design

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Folks,

Rarity exists as a tool to help players and GMs have a language by which they can easily understand what is and what is not generally available. We used the system in a variety of ways in the core to exemplify its utility, placing some spells in the uncommon rarity that have a huge impact on overall storytelling and gating off some features that have a cost associated with their acquisition.

Like all tools in the game, your group is free to use them, modify them, or outright ignore them, but for many this system is a boon, giving a framework for everyone to understand the game world a little bit better.

I can get why this is not to everyone's taste. The hope here is that down the road, this will make the game much more manageable for everyone.

Seeing as this thread has had a number of folk getting rather heated and arguing in bad faith, I think we are going to give this topic a rest for now. We have heard your thoughts and will continue to evaluate and improve the system going forward.

This thread is locked.

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