As a prepared caster, am I only able to freely learn common spells from the corerule book in a Society game?


Pathfinder Society


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I ran into this issue this week and it might be the reason for me to stop playing PFS.
With secrets of magic, we now have class archetypes, new spells, etc. I want to make an Arcanist with the Flexible Spell Preparation Archetype. My intention is for him to be a blaster. However, if I'm only able to get common spells from the corerule book, he will basically have the very same spells as other wizard I have that is also a blaster.
That wont happen unless I use spells from the Secrets of Magic. But, apperently, to do so I need to use my gold to learn those spells. By the Society rules, "Spells from outside the Core Rulebook must be learned using the learn a spell activity before they can be used by prepared casters, even by clerics and druids." (under the spells section).
And all I want is to use the common spells from SoM. This puts me in a situation where I have to choose between just making mechanically the same character OR I use my gold to learn the spells I want (which I could always fail) and hamper my progression to the items I would like to buy for my character.
So, what I'd like to find here is where there is a definitive answer for access to theses common spells from different books aside the Core Rulebook.

-Can I start my character with common spells from other books other than the CRB?
-When I gain new spells as I level up, can thos be from other books too?

This is a very important thing to me, because I primary play with casters and if I have to alwyas spend my gold to get access to common spells from other books I won't play PFS ever again after I GM the scenarious and quest I already bought and didn't GM yet.
And I WON'T play a game that I have to use common items/spells/etc from other books if I have to always use my gold instead of equiping my character. Because if that's the case, in the end every class will always be the same thing because the access are extremely limited.
Pathfinder has always meant to me flexibility and options for my characters and if I can't have this in a PFS game with common items, I won't waste my time with it. There would be no point if I can't have fun and have diversity in the options I can have.

If anyone has the answer for those questions with an official paizo sourcer, I'd appreciate a lot. This way I could share it with others that might be feeling the same as me and with the GMs when I play a PFS

Lantern Lodge

Read through this.

Silver Crusade 5/5 5/55/5 **** Venture-Captain, Germany—Bavaria

Honestly, as annoying as this is, it should just be a check to acquire the spell, and sooner or later you will likely succeed (some also champion assurance and the magical shorthand feat) and if you want to learn more spells (as wizards tend to like to do) the cost for that is pretty minor.

Is this a rule I like? Not really, but it should not totally ruin org play for you, and fortunately a fair number of classes are not really affected by this.

That said if this ruins org play for you, your feelings are absolutely valid, and I can only suggest ways to mitigate or avoid the issue.

Second Seekers (Roheas) 4/5 5/55/55/55/5 **** Regional Venture-Coordinator, Appalachia

This is something that sorely needs errata.

But its actually in the core rules of the game, this isn't an organized play issued ruling. So Alex Mike and the gang cant just say "yeah we are gonna waive this rule that no one likes" unless the design team changes their minds.


TwilightKnight wrote:
DarkosFenix wrote:
I ran into this issue...

Let me start by saying you shouldn't cheat. Period.

Given that you are going to find VERY few GMs who audit characters and even fewer who are going to spend any focus on this particular issue. For the majority of us, all we care about is, do you have legal access to the spell in question? As long as it is standard access (ie the book is sanctioned) and common accessibility (the vast majority of spells are), you are good to add it to your spellbook/repertoire. It's just not my job as a table GM, I don't have the time, nor the interest to be the rules police.

That being said, be prepared that there are a few hard-core paladins out there that will hold you to task for every aspect of your character build and want to see detailed notes up to and including gold expenditures, boon purchases, spell acquisition, etc. Life is too short to be troubled by this, but if its a problem for you, just have alternative choices for those rare occurrences that you can quickly swap in/out, or move to a different table where the GM isn't as rigidly obsessed with org play doctrine. If the GM in question is a local GM from your lodge, its more problematic and you might consider playing online where there is a very expansive and welcoming community.

I agree 100% with you and I of course don't want to cheat and that's why I'm having this issue. RAW it seems I don't have access to those spells unless I pay for it. And I'm facing a situation that more than one GM are saying I'm not allowed to have those spells unless I paied for the common spells I want.

This mean that at first level, if I pay and have success in learning them, i'd have to use 12gp for the spells I want. And thats assuming I'd only have success, because at level 1 I have an Arcana of +7, for a DC of 15 I need an 8 or more (~35% chance of failure for a 1st lvl or cantrip).


Sebastian Hirsch wrote:

Honestly, as annoying as this is, it should just be a check to acquire the spell, and sooner or later you will likely succeed (some also champion assurance and the magical shorthand feat) and if you want to learn more spells (as wizards tend to like to do) the cost for that is pretty minor.

Is this a rule I like? Not really, but it should not totally ruin org play for you, and fortunately a fair number of classes are not really affected by this.

That said if this ruins org play for you, your feelings are absolutely valid, and I can only suggest ways to mitigate or avoid the issue.

It totally ruins org play for me, because we are supposed to play RAW and I'm fine with it as long as it is fair. This means that if I want to make a different Witch or Wizard (my main classes) I must use my gold for this. And as I said in a different comment of mine. If I want 6 cantrips/1st level spells froma different book to make a different blaster than I already have, at first level I have to spend almost all my gold just to have a CHANCE to have it (it doesn't matter if it's "only" ~35% chance of failure, it can still happen).

And all of this just for COMMON spells from a different book

**

Donald wrote:
Read through this.

Is that updated and comprehensive? I could have sworn that I read a discussion where it was agreed clerics were different from other spellcasters because only clerics specified CRB. (It was used as evidence that it was a typo on the cleric.)

1/5 5/55/5 ** Venture-Agent, Online—VTT

Watery Soup wrote:
Donald wrote:
Read through this.
Is that updated and comprehensive? I could have sworn that I read a discussion where it was agreed clerics were different from other spellcasters because only clerics specified CRB. (It was used as evidence that it was a typo on the cleric.)

I don't know the discussion you're talking about, but there are 3 classes with language specifying that their free spells are from the CRB: Cleric, Druid and Wizard. Of those, wizard is the outlier, as the class that's selecting a set number of spells like the other casters who don't have any language specifying a book, but I don't see how you would use those three to think cleric was the exception.

As a minor clarification for the original poster, this rule was written into 3 classes, it is not a society rule for all prepared casters. Witch is not affected, as the witch spellcasting and familiar features do not include that restriction.


James Kesilis wrote:
Watery Soup wrote:
Donald wrote:
Read through this.
Is that updated and comprehensive? I could have sworn that I read a discussion where it was agreed clerics were different from other spellcasters because only clerics specified CRB. (It was used as evidence that it was a typo on the cleric.)

I don't know the discussion you're talking about, but there are 3 classes with language specifying that their free spells are from the CRB: Cleric, Druid and Wizard. Of those, wizard is the outlier, as the class that's selecting a set number of spells like the other casters who don't have any language specifying a book, but I don't see how you would use those three to think cleric was the exception.

As a minor clarification for the original poster, this rule was written into 3 classes, it is not a society rule for all prepared casters. Witch is not affected, as the witch spellcasting and familiar features do not include that restriction.

My point for Society is because in Society we HAVE to follow the rules. That's my concern, because outside of any Society game, that's easly solved by the GM. And right now, I mostly play Society games. That's why it is a huge problem for me as someone whos main class is wizard

**

James Kesilis wrote:
I don't know the discussion you're talking about, but there are 3 classes with language specifying that their free spells are from the CRB: Cleric, Druid and Wizard.

I don't know what discussion I'm talking about either.

I just tend to glance at these rules debates and get a rough feel for where different people stand. I thought it had been agreed that it was definitely unpopular, likely unintentional, and that TPTB were reviewing it, but I never bothered to follow up.

If the linked thread is canon, it seems to be unpopular and under review, but intentional rather than unintentional.

Wayfinders 4/5 5/55/55/55/5 ** Contributor

DarkosFenix,

It really is frustrating to fail spell learning rolls. You have my sympathies.

My solution to this was to take the Assurance feat for Arcana so that I could just pay my gold and learn my spells. The good news for me though is that as a person who was primarily a spellcaster, I found there was less big stuff that that I needed to buy and so devoting a little gold here and there to learn spells did not break my bank.

I hope that this helps a little.

Hmm


Hilary Moon Murphy wrote:

DarkosFenix,

It really is frustrating to fail spell learning rolls. You have my sympathies.

My solution to this was to take the Assurance feat for Arcana so that I could just pay my gold and learn my spells. The good news for me though is that as a person who was primarily a spellcaster, I found there was less big stuff that that I needed to buy and so devoting a little gold here and there to learn spells did not break my bank.

I hope that this helps a little.

Hmm

Thanks for the idea. i was thinking about it. But taking my main character as an example for me, I intend on buying a rune for my robes and free a higher spell slot. but the rune is quite expansive. I already used almost all of my gold in the potency rune and my goal is to buy the resilient rune later on.

I agree that it's doable, but the problem is that if I want to start with only common spells of another book, almost all the gold is used to it, leaving me with barely any gold.
Plus for me this isnt solving the real problem, it's just assuring it.
So for now, my plans to have an blaster arcanist in PFS is gone. Specially because I already have a wizard blaster

Silver Crusade 5/5 5/55/5 **** Venture-Captain, Germany—Bavaria

Maybe try another class or another spell list to keep things fresh? I am currently working on 2 magus characters and I already have quite a number. Or just start your character with a pregen chronicle or GM credit.

Sovereign Court 4/5 5/5 ** Venture-Lieutenant, Netherlands—Leiden

How many spells were you planning to learn?

As a wizard you learn two spells for free per level - and they have to be from the CRB. But all the other spells you're learning, whether they're from the CRB or not, you always have to pay for them and make a check to see if you can learn them.

It's been that way for pretty much the beginning of D&D in the seventies, as far as I can tell. Although the price keeps going down and the check has been getting easier. In 2E D&D if you failed that check you could NEVER retry it. Now you just have to wait a level, or if you have the Magical Shorthand feat even less, and the feat also offsets the costs considerably. Also, since Learn A Spell is an exploration activity (and not downtime), I'm not aware of any rule preventing you from using a Hero Point to get a reroll on a failure.

Dark Archive 4/5 5/55/5 *** Regional Venture-Coordinator, Midwest

While I can agree that the free spells only from CRB seems silly, it is what it is.

When I have played wizards, for example, I’ve never balked at spending gold for spells.
In fact, for PFS, it is pretty much all I spend money for with my wizards. Spells are more important than magic weapons or armor.

As for clerics and druids, they’ve always had an advantage over wizards in that the could cast any spell (well, technically that their deity allows them to take). Now they have to spend just like a wizard to get access to the stuff in the additional books. That seems fair to me, really.

But, I do see your point on how frustrating it can be.

Grand Lodge 4/5 *** Venture-Captain, California—Sacramento

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DarkosFenix wrote:
And all I want is to use the common spells from SoM. This puts me in a situation where I have to choose between just making mechanically the same character OR I use my gold to learn the spells I want (which I could always fail) and hamper my progression to the items I would like to buy for my character.

Yes. This is working as intended.

You want to get something that other characters don't have access to.

You must spend a resource to get it.

We are talking *very small* amounts of gold, and PFS is *hugely* most haul. Most characters will earn 10-25% more gold than recommended by the core rule book.

Grand Archive 4/5 ***

Quote:
So for now, my plans to have an blaster arcanist in PFS is gone. Specially because I already have a wizard blaster

Or you might just have to wait one or two games.

Or take magical shorthand

Or decide that you would rather just play your existing blaster wizard, and incorporate the spells onto them.

Or decide to stp playing PFS and find a home game with a style you prefer. Not everyone has to like PFS. And if your arguement is "if I cant have the new character I want I won't want to play any of my other characters ever again." then it sounds like there are probably a lot of existing reasons you have already decided Org Play is not a good fit for you.

Grand Archive 4/5 ***

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Jack Brown wrote:

While I can agree that the free spells only from CRB seems silly, it is what it is.

When I have played wizards, for example, I’ve never balked at spending gold for spells.
In fact, for PFS, it is pretty much all I spend money for with my wizards. Spells are more important than magic weapons or armor.

As for clerics and druids, they’ve always had an advantage over wizards in that the could cast any spell (well, technically that their deity allows them to take). Now they have to spend just like a wizard to get access to the stuff in the additional books. That seems fair to me, really.

But, I do see your point on how frustrating it can be.

At least in PF2, copying a scroll doesn't destroy the scroll. I am in a home game right now where our PC are out in the small towns on the edge of civilization. There are no libraries of magic where we can go and just study other people's spell books.

If I want a spell, I pretty much have to buy a scroll. (Or level up. But for a "utility wizard" 2 spells per level just really doesn't cut it.

PFS is actually *super generous* about stuff like that.

Grand Lodge 4/5 5/55/5 ***

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DarkosFenix wrote:
I agree 100% with you and I of course don't want to cheat and that's why I'm having this issue

I was not suggesting that you were, but my comments are often taken by some that I am encouraging cheating with respect to this issue and I wanted to establish my position on it. My focus is 100% completely coming from the perspective of my role as the GM and that I am not going to audit your character's build history such that I'll know if you rolled to obtain each of those non-CRB spells so if a player "fudged" a few checks, no one but them is going to know about it. This is just a hill we should not be willing to die on. There are soo many people who object to any rule that might cause a player to quit, why would this be any different?

1/5 5/5

Or, in other words, with only 240-300 minutes to run an event, spending thirty of them auditing every single spell is incredibly counter-productive and un-fun.

And that's as a GM with the resources to verify the audit.

In addition, it might be viable to do that for online play where things are a lot more accessible, but I cannot see that happening in the typical physical convention setting with spotty (at best) wi-fi coverage and that's if the GM has a data plan that allows for such things.

I Do Not like this rule, because it presumes that GMs have Plenty of Time at their tables to do audits of characters to ensure compliance which has NEVER been the case when I've been running The time to do something like an audit, that is.

Heck, some scenarios are hard-pressed to end in a timely fashion for all the bells and whistles that are crammed into them with no good 'optional' encounters.

The above thirty minute figure is for one character, and predicated on the idea that the player has kept meticulous notes about their spell acquisitions.

If there's more than one character that needs that kind of audit at the table, you're going to have incredible time management issues with the scenario and that's presuming an efficient muster of the table before the time for the event begins.

Given my last few online conventions, that has not been a solid wager.

Imo, Organized Play should be here to encourage a sense of community, growth, and fair play. It should not be here to be a Rules Inquisition to ensure Maximum Compliance with the Rules Or Else.

2/5 5/5 *

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Lost Omens Subscriber

First, I'm no fan of the rule. Giving them the benefit of the doubt, they may have been trying to avoid the appearance of "Pay to Win" (i.e., you spend money on books and get more versatility--hopefully not power). Or maybe I'm reaching for justifications. If that is the motivation, it doesn't really deal with that issue.

Paizo Employee 5/5 Organized Play Coordinator

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Don't tell but we just updated this rule to be less...cumbersome.

If you want to know why the rule existed initially, you'll have to ask a designer, not my place to say (they do have a good reason, but they've moved away from it).

Grand Lodge 4/5 5/55/5 ***

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That is outstanding. I hope this gets out to the community ASAP to avoid any further stress

Lantern Lodge

Nice. Since you're in a giving mood, how about doing something about all the races that are locked away?

Silver Crusade 5/5 5/5 **

Excellent!!!! Thank you for that

Grand Lodge 4/5 5/55/5 ***

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Donald wrote:
how about doing something about all the races that are locked away?

Paizo: Inch

You: Mile

Grand Lodge 4/5 *** Venture-Captain, California—Sacramento

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GM Wageslave wrote:


I Do Not like this rule, because it presumes that GMs have Plenty of Time at their tables to do audits of characters to ensure compliance which has NEVER been the case when I've been running The time to do something like an audit, that is.

The rules are written on the assumption that players will read and follow the rules. GMs should not be having to do purchase audits for spells any more than they should be doing purchase audits for consumables.

"I don't like this rule because it is too much work to make sure other people are following it." is really not a convincing arguement.

Grand Archive 4/5 ***

3 people marked this as a favorite.
Alex Speidel wrote:

Don't tell but we just updated this rule to be less...cumbersome.

If you want to know why the rule existed initially, you'll have to ask a designer, not my place to say (they do have a good reason, but they've moved away from it).

On the one hand there were elements of this rule that I liked. On the other hand one less thing I have to deal with arguements over.

Lantern Lodge

TwilightKnight wrote:
Donald wrote:
how about doing something about all the races that are locked away?

Paizo: Inch

You: Mile

What is a mile but 63360 inches?

Silver Crusade 5/5 5/55/5 **** Venture-Captain, Germany—Bavaria

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Leshy are free these days as far as ACP are concerned, so no new races until you finish your greens (i.e. reach level 20)

Silver Crusade 5/5 5/5 **

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Jared Thaler wrote:


"I don't like this rule because it is too much work to make sure other people are following it." is really not a convincing arguement.

Personally, I find "I don't like this rule because it is so much work for so little gain that I expect it to be generally totally ignored" (I too can play the game of paraphrasing arguments to help make my point) a quite convincing argument. Especially when there are so many examples of exactly that occurring with PFS rules (both PFS1 and PFS2).

Lantern Lodge

Sebastian Hirsch wrote:
Leshy are free these days as far as ACP are concerned, so no new races until you finish your greens (i.e. reach level 20)

Alas, the greens will be brown and shriveled in the beer crisper before that happens.

Scarab Sages 1/5 5/5

Donald wrote:
Sebastian Hirsch wrote:
Leshy are free these days as far as ACP are concerned, so no new races until you finish your greens (i.e. reach level 20)
Alas, the greens will be brown and shriveled in the beer crisper before that happens.

"W'all, tha's ya mista'! Pu'n em in th' gr'n b'x! M'be st' th'm 'n a 'vers'ck"

Translation:
"The container for the storage of the sacred beverage of the Drunken Hero is a less than optimal location for the placement of greens long-term. One would be better served by keeping them in a location that does not have a fermentation process. Has one considered a Haversack?"

4/5 5/55/55/55/5 ***

Alex Speidel wrote:

Don't tell but we just updated this rule to be less...cumbersome.

If you want to know why the rule existed initially, you'll have to ask a designer, not my place to say (they do have a good reason, but they've moved away from it).

Is the intention to fully remove the Guides current (9/14/21) requirement that ALL prepared casters must Learn a Spell for any non-CRB spell?

Or is it just meant to lift that onerous restriction from only the Cleric/Druid/Wizard, and still negatively impact the Witch/Magus?

1/5 5/55/5 ** Venture-Agent, Online—VTT

What do you mean? Witch and magus never had any "spells from this book" text to overrule.

4/5 5/55/55/55/5 ***

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Pathfinder Society (Second Edition) Guide to Organized Play > Players > Player Basics > Spells wrote:
Any prepared spellcaster can use the Learn a Spell activity to learn any common spells they have access to from tutors at the Grand Lodge. This adds no additional material cost beyond the standard cost for the Learn a Spell activity. Spells from outside the Core Rulebook must be learned using the learn a spell activity before they can be used by prepared casters, even by clerics and druids.

The important part is that last sentence...

Quote:
Spells from outside the Core Rulebook must be learned using the learn a spell activity before they can be used by prepared casters, even by clerics and druids.

The Witch and Magus classes are both prepared casters.

The FAQ entry only references the Cleric, Druid and Wizard.

All five classes are prepared casters... the issue isn't the text in the Core Rulebook... each has, verbatim "or from other <tradition> spells to which you gain access." right after the 'spells from this book' text... (the <tradition> should be replaced with the correct tradition for each class for the full verbatim text...)

According to the PFS rules on Rarity and Access, as long as it is not Limited or Restricted, you have Access to all Common options (in this case, Spells)... Until the rule I quoted above that added a new rarity, at least functionally...

We went from Common(open), Uncommon(minor hoops), Rare(major hoops), Unique()...
To Common, Common-ish, Uncommon, Rare, Unique...

Common-ish being not quite Uncommon, but definitely not Common...

That area where you can't just take the supposedly Common option, you have to jump through an additional set of hoops(Learn a Spell) to take the 'Common' spell...

Sczarni 5/5 5/55/5 ***

All of what you said is correct.

I find that important to reiterate, because most people I've spoken to about this whole kerfuffle never understood the problem to begin with, and it's frustrating when you're trying to have a discussion with people who are blind to an entire sentence.

The Guide has always been in error, because its source was a misunderstood Blog post.

I want to believe Alex understands that, but I get the impression he just didn't like the rule as misinterpreted.

Same end result, even if the reasoning is flawed. It's like doing good for the wrong reason.

As such, I believe we can continue to ignore the section in the Guide, and hope that eventually it gets removed so everything matches the FAQ.

Grand Lodge 4/5 ***

Pathfinder Lost Omens, Rulebook, Starfinder Society Subscriber

Good grief... we're creating problems where we don't have or need problems.

The Witch and the Magus don't need clarification because they say

Witch wrote:

You choose these spells from the common spells of the tradition determined by your patron or from other spells of that tradition you gain access to.

Each time you gain a level, your patron teaches your familiar two new spells of any level you can cast, chosen from common spells of your tradition or others you gain access to. Feats can also grant your familiar additional spells.

Magus wrote:
You choose these from the common spells on the arcane spell list or from other arcane spells you gain access to.

The whole problem was that Cleric, Druid, and Wizard had 'in this book' in their respective spells section and people got all bent out of shape trying to define what the 'access' definition meant.

Sczarni 5/5 5/55/5 ***

Again, "blind to an entire sentence".

It really, truly is a strange phenomenon.

4/5 5/55/55/55/5 ***

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Josh Klingerman wrote:

Good grief... we're creating problems where we don't have or need problems.

The Witch and the Magus don't need clarification because they say

Witch wrote:

You choose these spells from the common spells of the tradition determined by your patron or from other spells of that tradition you gain access to.

Each time you gain a level, your patron teaches your familiar two new spells of any level you can cast, chosen from common spells of your tradition or others you gain access to. Feats can also grant your familiar additional spells.

Magus wrote:
You choose these from the common spells on the arcane spell list or from other arcane spells you gain access to.
The whole problem was that Cleric, Druid, and Wizard had 'in this book' in their respective spells section and people got all bent out of shape trying to define what the 'access' definition meant.

The Pathfinder Society (Second Edition) Guide to Organized Play in the Players > Player Basics > Spells entry states clearly that...

Quote:
Spells from outside the Core Rulebook must be learned using the learn a spell activity before they can be used by prepared casters, even by clerics and druids.

There are 5 prepared caster classes... Cleric, Druid, Wizard, Witch, and Magus...

We have an FAQ entry that lifts that restriction for the Cleric, Druid, and Wizard.

We can get into the validity of a FAQ Clarification rewriting a Rule instead of clarifying... but that is a different issue...

The issue has always been people ignoring the second half of the 'problem' sentence...

As defined by the CRB (Glossary and Index, pg. 629)
Common (trait) Anything that doesn't list another rarity trait (uncommon, rare, or unique) automatically has the common trait. This rarity indicates that an ability, item, or spell is available to all players who meet the prerequisites for it. A creature of this rarity is generally known and can be summoned with the appropriate summon spell.

As defined by Merriam-Webster, as there is no Game Term definition...
Access (noun) 1b: freedom or ability to obtain or make use of something
(and before you ask... 1a relates to access to place/person/thing... 1c relates to entering/approaching a place... 1d relates to the verb usage...)

As defined by Merriam-Webster, as there is no Game Term definition...
Available (adjective) 1: easy or possible to get or use; 2: present or ready for use

Sczarni 5/5 5/55/5 ***

Exactly. So we just ignore the incorrect clause in the Guide.

That is what's truly "creating problems where we don't have or need problems".

Jared should get around to removing it eventually.

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