Gaining focus points when you already have them?


Rules Discussion


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

Many abilities grant focus points "if you don't already have them." Take Arcane School Spell, for example. It says the following:
Select one arcane school of magic. You gain the school’s initial school spell. If you don’t already have one, you gain a focus pool of 1 Focus Point, which you can Refocus by studying.

Due the qualifier at the start of the third sentence, if you DO have a focus pool, you don't gain any new focus points. Is that correct?

Liberty's Edge

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That is how I read it, yes.


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Ravingdork wrote:


Due the qualifier at the start of the third sentence, if you DO have a focus pool, you don't gain any new focus points. Is that correct?

No, it's not. A lot of wording for such feats is bad for this case, but the rule is this:

Focus Points from Multiple Sources
Core Rulebook pg. 302 wrote:
If you have multiple abilities that give you a focus pool, each one adds 1 Focus Point to your pool.

Full stop. If a feat gives you one focus point, it also increases your pool by one. Whatever the wording is otherwise.

And by the way, here we have another case of permissive vs prohibitive reading. "If you don’t already have one, you gain a focus pool of 1 Focus Point" is ok if you read it only as permissive: "you gain a focus pool if you don't have one", but this doesn't mean "you get strictly nothing if you already have a focus pool". And the focus pool increase is covered by the cited rule above.


Errenor wrote:
Ravingdork wrote:


Due the qualifier at the start of the third sentence, if you DO have a focus pool, you don't gain any new focus points. Is that correct?

No, it's not. A lot of wording for such feats is bad for this case, but the rule is this:

Focus Points from Multiple Sources
Core Rulebook pg. 302 wrote:
If you have multiple abilities that give you a focus pool, each one adds 1 Focus Point to your pool.
Full stop. If a feat gives you one focus point, it also increases your pool by one. Whatever the wording is otherwise.

Indeed. The wording is absolutely in conflict with the example that they give.

The rule for multiple focus pools says

Quote:
If you have multiple abilities that give you a focus pool, each one adds 1 Focus Point to your pool.

Domain Initiate gives you a focus pool.

Healing Touch has that exact wording.

Quote:
If you don’t already have one, you gain a focus pool of 1 Focus Point

I would read that statement in Healing Touch as saying that if you do already have a focus pool, the ability does not give you a new one. So therefore it does not count as a second ability that is giving you a focus pool.

But then the example says that you do.

Quote:
For instance, if you were a cleric with the Domain Initiate feat, you would have a pool with 1 Focus Point. Let’s say you then took the champion multiclass archetype and the Healing Touch feat. Normally, this feat would give you a focus pool. Since you already have one, it instead increases your existing pool’s capacity by 1.


breithauptclan wrote:


Quote:
If you don’t already have one, you gain a focus pool of 1 Focus Point
I would read that statement in Healing Touch as saying that if you do already have a focus pool, the ability does not give you a new one. So therefore it does not count as a second ability that is giving you a focus pool.

Oh, my. So the rule should have been written as:

Quote:
If you have multiple abilities that would have given you a focus pool, each one adds 1 Focus Point to your pool.

? Languages are hard. It's crazy.


Errenor wrote:

Oh, my. So the rule should have been written as:

Quote:
If you have multiple abilities that would have given you a focus pool, each one adds 1 Focus Point to your pool.
? Languages are hard. It's crazy.

Yeah. Natural languages are hard and English is one of the worst. Would be much better to have written the CRB in C++. Much easier to make sure it is consistent at that point.

Jokes aside, I don't think that rewording would work. It still indicates that if an ability doesn't give you a focus pool then it doesn't increase the focus pool you already have. Which makes perfect sense. Taking Power Attack doesn't give you a focus pool and therefore shouldn't increase your focus pool either.

To rewrite the general rule, it should be something more about if the ability never gives anyone a focus pool then it doesn't increase your focus pool. If it is capable of giving anyone a focus pool, then it should instead increase your focus pool if you have one already.

The better rewrite would be to simply rely on the general rule and remove the redundant check in the abilities.

Quote:
If you don’t already have one, you gain a focus pool of 1 Focus Point, which you can Refocus by praying or serving your deity.

Which would trigger the general rule

Quote:
If you have multiple abilities that give you a focus pool, each one adds 1 Focus Point to your pool.

And would increase your focus pool by 1 instead of giving you a new one.


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Even more clean and consistent would be to simply have every character start with a Focus Pool with 0 focus points in it and no method to Refocus. Then have a general rule that says that any focus points you gain are added to your focus pool. There are no differences between focus points from different sources. Any ability that gives you a method to Refocus applies to the focus pool in general.

Then abilities simply have to say

Quote:
You gain a Focus Point and can Refocus by praying or serving your deity.

Liberty's Edge

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I'd like to see this targeted with the next revision of the Core Rulebook as the question does come up quite often. The fact that various abilities that grant Focus Pools are worded differently is the crux of the problem almost like the authors of different abilities were not all on the same page despite the sidebar that is included which indicates the general rule that any time one gains an ability that would grant a Focus Pool when they already have one that it should increase by 1 to a max of 3 points.

The fix here, ideally, would involve creating a single statement that is errata'd to replace the wording on each ability that mentions Focus Pools with a singular and consistently phrased rule to back up the rule indicated in the sidebar. This would, of course, spill over into the many OTHER sourcebooks as well and might even be something of an undertaking by the editors and layout team to be sure that the universal wording is consistent for every Focus ability but most of those books are also likely going to eventually be up for reprinting and updates to fix problematic wording when they need to make more physical books to ship anyhow.

This ruling seems to be the actual RAW rule as all licensed (and not) partners have adopted the interpretation that if X offers a Focus Pool or increases an existing one that they work the same, by increasing the existing pool by 1. I don't know if this was reached by way of feedback from the devs to the developers or if it's just following the specific rule outlined in the sidebar while ignoring the different phrasing that is included in the various abilities in question but it seems as though it's been more or less accepted as the way of things.


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Yeah, getting errata for this would be great.

The other thing that needs clarification is on abilities that give a focus spell, but don't mention focus pool or focus points.

Vision of Weakness clearly increases the character's focus pool when the feat is taken.

But Hymn of Healing doesn't. So RAW it doesn't increase the focus pool. Was that an oversight? Or is it intended to add only the focus spell, but no additional focus point to cast it with?

Liberty's Edge

I am lost. Which is it ? Yes or No ?

Liberty's Edge

TRB: Yes, the way I had to describe it to my group when posed with the question is as follows:

"If an ability includes the benefit of granting a Focus Pool and you already have a Focus Pool it will always increase your Focus Pool by 1 point to a maximum of 3 Focus Points regardless of the source of the ability."

Now, this doesn't mean that there isn't still room for some things that could grant you a Focus Pool but will never increase your existing Pool, but those would need to explicitly state that this is the case on the Feat or ability that is gained, and as far as I've seen no such abilities exist to date. Also as breithauptclan notes, there DO exist some abilities and Feats that grant you a Focus Spell but do not impact your Focus Pool, I believe this is intentional and they are indeed NOT meant to increase your Focus Pool, I could be off base with what the designers intent is on those things and leaving the text off speaking about the Focus Pool could have been an oversight but I am tempted to think it was on purpose instead given how many other abilities talk about the system and do so with different wording.


The Raven Black wrote:
I am lost. Which is it ? Yes or No ?

I don't know.

The rule text clearly says one way. And the example that they give clearly indicates the other.

The best idea that I can come up with is that no feat or ability should ever give you a focus pool.

Feats that are correct:

Hymn of Healing. If you have a focus pool already, it doesn't change it. If you don't have a focus pool (due to getting the feat from Bard Multiclass Archetype), then apply the general rule about getting a focus pool with your first focus spell automatically.

Vision of Weakness. If you have a focus pool, increase your focus pool by 1 point unless you already have 3 points. If you don't have a focus pool, you gain a focus pool and 1 focus point in it. (there is the munchkinry idea that gaining the focus spell would automatically give you a focus pool with one focus point in it, and then the feat would additionally increase that to having two points - but that is clearly too good to be true)

Feats that are incorrect:

Healing Touch and Arcane School Spell and similar.
Either:
1) It should not say anything about giving a focus pool. It should instead follow the idea of Hymn of Healing. If you don't have a focus pool, getting the focus spell will automatically give you a focus pool. If you do have a focus pool, it won't add to it.
2) It should not say anything about giving a focus pool. It should instead say that you increase your focus pool by 1 point.

And I don't know which one the developers intended.

My best guess from reading the wording of such feats is that Healing Touch and similar should follow the pattern of Hymn of Healing - giving a focus pool if you don't have one, but not increasing an existing pool (redundant with the general rule of giving a focus pool automatically with your first focus spell). But that blatantly contradicts the example that the game devs gave that uses Healing Touch while already having a focus pool.


breithauptclan wrote:


The better rewrite would be to simply rely on the general rule and remove the redundant check in the abilities.

Quote:
If you don’t already have one, you gain a focus pool of 1 Focus Point, which you can Refocus by praying or serving your deity.

That is bad. Because now it looks that it sets your focus pool to 1 point even if you had more. Your next tries are better.

breithauptclan wrote:


I don't know.

And why do you muddle things? The intent is quite clear despite our quibbles: if it gives focus pool/1 focus point it also increases it/gives one more. Unless clearly stated otherwise, which it never does for current feats as far as I know.

The Raven Black wrote:
I am lost. Which is it ? Yes or No ?

Yes, it evidently gives additional focus points due to the rule at Core Rulebook pg. 302.


Errenor wrote:
And why do you muddle things? The intent is quite clear despite our quibbles: if it gives focus pool/1 focus point it also increases it/gives one more. Unless clearly stated otherwise, which it never does for current feats as far as I know.

Ah, but it is clearly stated otherwise. See, if I remove the part of the feat text that gets skipped if you do already have a focus pool, we are left with:

Healing Touch wrote:
You gain the appropriate devotion spell for your cause (lay on hands for the paladin, redeemer, and liberator). If you don’t already have one, you gain a focus pool of 1 Focus Point, which you can Refocus by praying or serving your deity.

Which clearly doesn't affect your existing focus pool.


breithauptclan wrote:


Ah, but it is clearly stated otherwise. See, if I remove the part of the feat text that gets skipped if you do already have a focus pool, we are left with:

No it isn't. 'Clear' would be explicit like this: "This feat doesn't increase your focus pool if you already have one" in addition to all common parts. And you can't just remove the part which gives you starting focus pool and therefore enables the general rule.

Sczarni

I've always understood it to be that order matters.

I'm not giving my Sorcerer/Champion the Healing Touch feat ("If you don’t already have one, you gain a Focus Pool of 1 Focus Point"), for example, because then I'd have two Focus Spells and only 1 Focus Point.

But I gave my Champion/Cleric the Domain Initiate feat ("you start with a focus pool of 1 Focus Point"), because any ability that gives you a Focus Pool when you already have one instead increases your number of Focus Points by 1.


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Errenor wrote:
breithauptclan wrote:


Ah, but it is clearly stated otherwise. See, if I remove the part of the feat text that gets skipped if you do already have a focus pool, we are left with:
No it isn't. 'Clear' would be explicit like this: "This feat doesn't increase your focus pool if you already have one" in addition to all common parts.

This is why we should use C++ instead

Quote:

if(null == character.focusPool) {

character.focusPool = new FocusPool(1);
character.addRefocusOption(Refocus.PRAY || Refocus.SERVE_DEITY);
} else {
// No effect
}

See. Perfectly clear.

Errenor wrote:
And you can't just remove the part which gives you starting focus pool and therefore enables the general rule.

But that is exactly what the word 'if' does. Even in English.

------

Nefreet wrote:
I've always understood it to be that order matters.

Yeah, and I consider that to be a problem. The order shouldn't matter. The fact that it does is bad.

Sczarni

I agree.


Nefreet wrote:

I've always understood it to be that order matters.

I'm not giving my Sorcerer/Champion the Healing Touch feat ("If you don’t already have one, you gain a Focus Pool of 1 Focus Point"), for example, because then I'd have two Focus Spells and only 1 Focus Point.

But I gave my Champion/Cleric the Domain Initiate feat ("you start with a focus pool of 1 Focus Point"), because any ability that gives you a Focus Pool when you already have one instead increases your number of Focus Points by 1.

What do you mean by the 'order' here? What is the difference between two cases? What is the difference between the case in the Core rulebook Cleric/Champion (where there will be 2 focus points) and your Sorcerer/Champion?

(BTW the answer is "there is no such thing as 'order' and there's no difference.")
breithauptclan wrote:
The order shouldn't matter. The fact that it does is bad.

It does not. Read the example in the rulebook. It contains the "If you don’t already have one" wording and still gives 2 focus points. They are just bad at wordings sometimes, but thankfully here they included clear example at least.


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Errenor wrote:
Nefreet wrote:

I've always understood it to be that order matters.

I'm not giving my Sorcerer/Champion the Healing Touch feat ("If you don’t already have one, you gain a Focus Pool of 1 Focus Point"), for example, because then I'd have two Focus Spells and only 1 Focus Point.

But I gave my Champion/Cleric the Domain Initiate feat ("you start with a focus pool of 1 Focus Point"), because any ability that gives you a Focus Pool when you already have one instead increases your number of Focus Points by 1.

What do you mean by the 'order' here? What is the difference between two cases? What is the difference between the case in the Core rulebook Cleric/Champion (where there will be 2 focus points) and your Sorcerer/Champion?

(BTW the answer is "there is no such thing as 'order' and there's no difference.")
breithauptclan wrote:
The order shouldn't matter. The fact that it does is bad.

It does not. Read the example in the rulebook. It contains the "If you don’t already have one" wording and still gives 2 focus points. They are just bad at wordings sometimes, but thankfully here they included clear example at least.

Cool. Illustration time.

Let's take an example character. A Swashbuckler base class. Human. At level 6 the character takes Bard Dedication. At level 8 takes Basic Muse's Whispers to get Hymn of Healing. Since they don't currently have a focus pool, the general rule kicks in and gives them a focus pool with one focus point in it. At level 9, they take Multitalented to pick up Witch Dedication. At level 10 they grab Basic Witch Spellcasting to get Basic Lesson (Lesson of Life) (because for some bizarre reason this player thinks that they need both Hymn of Healing and Life Boost). But anyway, Basic Lesson says that you increase your focus pool by 1.

So now this character has two focus spells and 2 focus points.

However...

If that was done in the opposite order: Witch Dedication at level 6, Basic Lesson at level 8 (which will give a focus pool with 1 point), Bard Dedication at level 9, and Hymn of Healing at level 10 (which doesn't increase an existing focus pool).

They would have the same two focus spells, but only 1 focus point.

The order matters.

In fact, it can be done on the same character using retraining. That first character that took Bard Dedication first could take a different Bard feat (or a Swashbuckler feat) at level 8. Then after taking Basic Lesson at level 10 decides to retrain their level 8 class feat to change it to Hymn of Healing. Since they currently already have a focus pool, gaining the feat wouldn't add to the pool.

Sczarni

Errenor wrote:
Nefreet wrote:

I've always understood it to be that order matters.

I'm not giving my Sorcerer/Champion the Healing Touch feat ("If you don’t already have one, you gain a Focus Pool of 1 Focus Point"), for example, because then I'd have two Focus Spells and only 1 Focus Point.

But I gave my Champion/Cleric the Domain Initiate feat ("you start with a focus pool of 1 Focus Point"), because any ability that gives you a Focus Pool when you already have one instead increases your number of Focus Points by 1.

What do you mean by the 'order' here? What is the difference between two cases? What is the difference between the case in the Core rulebook Cleric/Champion (where there will be 2 focus points) and your Sorcerer/Champion?

(BTW the answer is "there is no such thing as 'order' and there's no difference.")

Like I said in my last post, I agree that's how it should work, but reading the quotes I provided, that's not how it actually works.

And we also know that order matters in this Edition because of how Retraining works.


breithauptclan wrote:
The Raven Black wrote:
I am lost. Which is it ? Yes or No ?

I don't know.

The rule text clearly says one way. And the example that they give clearly indicates the other.

I agree that the example that they give in the CRB contradicts their own rules. For reference that is Focus Spells the example on Focus Points from Multiple Sources where it mentions Healing Touch

Because the rule saysYou automatically gain a focus pool of 1 Focus Point the first time you gain an ability that gives you a focus spell and "first time" has to mean something or language just falls apart and we can't read their rules at all.
The general rule, which only exists in their explanation If you have multiple abilities that give you a focus pool, each one adds 1 Focus Point to your pool doesn't apply because of this phrase "first time"

breithauptclan wrote:


The best idea that I can come up with is that no feat or ability should ever give you a focus pool.

I prefer to ignore their example and read the rules as written.

We should ignore developer statements and even examples in the rules IFF the rules are clear. If the rules were not clear then yes we have to go to examples in the rules, then developer statements. But that is just how I choose to interpret the game. If the developers think we are wrong they can always hit us with errata.

There are too many rules and complexity to accept that developers and editors don't make mistakes now and then. I've made more than a few, which are adequately documented in this forum. I say stick with the rules.

When you look at examples there are a large set of focus spells that give you an extra focus point. I see 3 types of these feats:

a) Feats that say nothing, which still get you a focus pool if you don't already have one by the general rules
b) Feats that give you a focus point if you don't already have one, and are functionaly eqiuvalent to a)
c) Feats that increase your number of focus points explicitly. These can get you to two or three focus points.

I don't see that the rules should be errated. Just the example in the CRB.

The games is full of slightly different wording for the same situation. (Just go look at the various Battleforms text. You think there is some consistancy but there is not. It changed again in G&G/SOM.) I see this as a deliberate choice to add complexity and not make the game reducable to a simple problem. That is a reasonable design choice.


Gortle wrote:
breithauptclan wrote:


The best idea that I can come up with is that no feat or ability should ever give you a focus pool.
I prefer to ignore their example and read the rules as written.

Hmm... I think that sentence of mine could use some work. A better way for me to say that would be 'my preferred errata/houserule suggestion would be to have none of the feats or abilities explicitly giving a focus pool. The ones that do say that need to be adjusted.'

I don't think that simply ignoring the existing rules text is the proper way to interpret the current rules.

Gortle wrote:

When you look at examples there are a large set of focus spells that give you an extra focus point. I see 3 types of these feats:

a) Feats that say nothing, which still get you a focus pool if you don't already have one by the general rules
b) Feats that give you a focus point if you don't already have one, and are functionaly eqiuvalent to a)
c) Feats that increase your number of focus points explicitly. These can get you to two or three focus points.

That is a very good summary. I am not entirely convinced that this is the only way to interpret the b) type feats, but it is certainly one of the better ones. Basically that problem sentence in the various feats like Healing Touch becomes a reminder text. And the example given in the rules is horribly wrong.

I'm also definitely not convinced that this interpretation of these feats is the way that was originally intended. But as you said, that is what errata is for.

------

As a completely different, but related problem...

In the odd chance that you get a focus spell without being given a focus pool (such as that MCD Bard taking Hymn of Healing) ... What Refocus options does that character have?

The Refocus activity states, 'The deeds you need to perform are specified in the class or ability that gives you your focus spells.'

But the general rule for getting a focus pool automatically with your first focus spell doesn't give a deed to perform.

Ruling that you are unable to Refocus and the only way to regain focus points is with an 8 hour rest seems a bit punishing. There really should be some automatically granted Refocus task to go along with that automatically granted Focus Pool.

It kinda comes close in the rules where it says, 'You can also use the Refocus activity to pray, study, meditate, or otherwise reattune yourself to the source of your focus magic and regain a Focus Point.' But if that was generally applied to all characters, then any character could choose whatever activity they wanted rather than being constrained by their class's Refocus options. (Which is actually one of my automatically added houserules - ignore what your class says for your refocus activity; choose an activity that is suited to your character as you see fit.)


breithauptclan wrote:

In the odd chance that you get a focus spell without being given a focus pool (such as that MCD Bard taking Hymn of Healing) ... What Refocus options does that character have?

The Refocus activity states, 'The deeds you need to perform are specified in the class or ability that gives you your focus spells.'

But the general rule for getting a focus pool automatically with your first focus spell...

I agree the refocus rule doens't cover the multiclass case fully. As per other dicussion, you don't become a member of a class by just picking up the multiclass dedication. So its up to the GM to decide as obviously you are allowed to Refocus but the activity required to refocus is not specified. I expect most GMs will just go with the default for the class the focus spell belongs to. It is a gap for sure.


I just stopped commenting last time, but I think I still need to make a little resume.
This is a hard case of 'too bad to be true'. Very clearly this must work like this:
if a feat gives a new focus spell with or without any mentioning of focus points, it gives a focus pool with 1 focus point to characters which don't have one and one additional focus point to characters which have a focus pool (no more than 3 as usual).
We must just use the general rule and the example as guidance and completely throw in the bin all the mishmash of wordings they created for various feats.
Personally I will never agree with any GM which would forbid additional focus point from a focus spell feat based on their faulty wordings.

Sczarni

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You don't need to agree, but just be respectful when one of your GMs rules differently, and move on.

Just as I hope your players do when they disagree with your understanding.

It's a game, and while having 1 Focus Point vs 2 has a mechanical impact, it shouldn't affect your build so much that it negates your enjoyment of the game.


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Errenor wrote:
This is a hard case of 'too bad to be true'.

I don't think you can assume that. For starters this issue isn't that serious in scale. Secondly it is not alone. The writers use a lot of different wordings throughout the game. On this power and many others. I assume that it was a design choice and that it means something. Yes it is odd and may not seem fair.

The whole game is a collection of arbitrary different rules. Its a feature of the game which originated in 1st Ed D&D. The little details in the individual spells, weapons and feats mean something. The classes line up a lot but not perfectly. What we don't have are uniform powers all made the same. It is supposed to add complexity and flavour. There was one edition that tried to move away from this principle and it is the reason Pathfinder exists.


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Pathfinder Rulebook Subscriber

Focus points rules are clunky and unintuitive because 4e bad.

I mean that's certainly a take.


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Squiggit wrote:

Focus points rules are clunky and unintuitive because 4e bad.

I mean that's certainly a take.

Wow. With that sort of approach to discussions, it makes me think you might be a politician.

No almost the opposite. People like complexities and litte corners in rules, to the extent that when designers tried to make everything smooth and consistent people hated it, and rejected it as too bland.

Sczarni

<insert Matrix joke here>


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Crunch McDabbles has a video on this.

Its worth watching if you are interested. I do like his material.

I accept that many people think my interpretation is too bad to be true. Fair enough. That always a judgement call, and we will never get complete agreement about something like that.

I think Crunch comes undone in his Principle Two, because he takes a rule which says You automatically gain a focus pool of 1 Focus Point the first time you gain an ability that gives you a focus spell and reads it as if it says You automatically gain a focus pool of 1 Focus Point the first time you gain every ability that gives you a focus spell. That is he is taking a general rule that applies once to each character and applying it individually to each feat. The language is not open enough to allow his intepretation at all.

Paizo please fix it. I'm not really fussed about which way that you do, just that it needs to be fixed.


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

Thanks for the link, Gortle.


Errenor wrote:
And by the way, here we have another case of permissive vs prohibitive reading. "If you don’t already have one, you gain a focus pool of 1 Focus Point" is ok if you read it only as permissive: "you gain a focus pool if you don't have one", but this doesn't mean "you get strictly nothing if you already have a focus pool". And the focus pool increase is covered by the cited rule above.

Well said. A lot of people mistake "if" for the much stronger "if and only if". The statements "If X is true, then Y is true" and "X is false, but Y is true" are not mutually exclusive / contradictory. For the second statement to be a contradiction the first would have to be something along the lines of "Y is true if and only if X is true" or "If X is true, then Y is true, and if X is false, then Y is false".

That being said, I still think the wording could be a little clearer.
My first idea would be to simply get rid of the general rule and change the wording on abilities that grant a focus pool to say "or increases your focus pool by 1 to a maximum of 3 if you already have one"
Or, if they deem that to be a little clunky, then the best they can do might be to keep it mostly the same and simply add an extra word to the general rule, saying: "If you have multiple abilities that would give you a focus pool, each one adds 1 Focus Point to your pool."

Personally I'd say that with how much Paizo's been trying to distance themselves from gotcha mechanics and legalistic wording overwriting the natural reading I think what's currently there is likely intended to already work that way and people are reading too much into the statement "if you don't already have a focus pool", but, of course, removing ambiguity is always a good thing.


Gortle wrote:
... reads it as if it says You automatically gain a focus pool of 1 Focus Point the first time you gain every ability that gives you a focus spell.

But that is true. If it weren't you could get into situations when you had a focus spell, but not a focus pool. And that sentence is written exactly to prevent this. This rule you just can't dispute.

As I understand the essence of your (collective) interpretations is either that feats which miss 'this gives you a focus pool unless you have one' sentence don't trigger the "If you have multiple abilities that give you a focus pool, each one adds 1 Focus Point to your pool" rule or (collective) you just ignore and invalidate the "If you have multiple abilities that give you a focus pool, each one adds 1 Focus Point to your pool" rule completely.
Aw3som3-117 wrote:
simply add an extra word to the general rule, saying: "If you have multiple abilities that would give you a focus pool, each one adds 1 Focus Point to your pool."

I've tried this already above but breithauptclan is right that it still isn't clear enough wording: if you read hard into "if you don't already have a focus pool" then feats 'would not' give you a focus pool and thus don't trigger the 'multiple focus pool abilities' rule.


(first time) is singular, (an) is singular. So the convention is the sentence is singular.

(every) is plural and changes the whole sentence to plural, making it so there are multiple (first time)s

Other rules handles multiple focus pools becoming one focus pool with multiple points.


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Pathfinder Rulebook Subscriber
Aw3som3-117 wrote:
Personally I'd say that with how much Paizo's been trying to distance themselves from gotcha mechanics and legalistic wording overwriting the natural reading I think what's currently there is likely intended to already work that way and people are reading too much into the statement "if you don't already have a focus pool", but, of course, removing ambiguity is always a good thing.

I mean, there's nothing particularly legalistic about taking a feat that doesn't mention giving you extra focus points and assuming it doesn't.

... To be honest, telling people to squint at specific general rules and extrapolate out mechanics based on specific interpretations that value certain lines of text over others feels a lot more rules lawyer-y than anything else (which is the problem with the whole 'legalistic' argument, people on the forums us it as a cudgel to try to assert authority as much as anything else).

The easy solution is to just replace all of the focus point rules and simply tell the player that anything that gives you a focus spell gives you a point, which also means gaining a pool and focus mechanics if you don't have that already. That would completely remove all the ambiguity and redundancy from the system.

But Paizo intentionally didn't do this and instead chose to make rules that are much more verbose and cumbersome, for whatever reason.


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Squiggit wrote:
But Paizo intentionally didn't do this and instead chose to make rules that are much more verbose and cumbersome, for whatever reason.

I'm not convinced on 'intentionally'. It could also be that multiple developers were working on different classes and feat lists and they didn't have the details coordinated together well enough.

Like, seriously. There is significant and very meaningful differences between Spellcasting Archetype rules from the core rulebook and the advanced player's guide.


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Gortle wrote:

(first time) is singular, (an) is singular. So the convention is the sentence is singular.

(every) is plural and changes the whole sentence to plural, making it so there are multiple (first time)s

Other rules handles multiple focus pools becoming one focus pool with multiple points.

But there's no such thing as multiple focus pools from the beginning, so this distinction does not matter. And consequently there's no rule handling multiple focus pools, only the rule adding points on condition.
Squiggit wrote:


I mean, there's nothing particularly legalistic about taking a feat that doesn't mention giving you extra focus points and assuming it doesn't.

There's also nothing particularly legalistic about following one-sentence general rule. I mean this of course: "If you have multiple abilities that give you a focus pool, each one adds 1 Focus Point to your pool".


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Errenor wrote:
If you have multiple abilities that give you a focus pool, each one adds 1 Focus Point to your pool.

That, plus max pool size is 3, and we are done. Yeah its super simple. Much smaller. No confusion possible.

They just didn't do it.


To make it even more simple and more complete, the general rule could have been:

Your focus pool is equal to the number of non-cantrip focus spells that you have, but cannot exceed 3. If not otherwise specified you can refocus by spending 10 minutes meditating.


I prefer the sentence write by Errenor. Add refocus can create some misunderstand in refocus rules. May do some players to understand that you can refocus all 3 points at same time without need the feats. Don't mention it is better.


The problem with that is that the general rule for the Refocus activity states:

Refocus wrote:
The deeds you need to perform are specified in the class or ability that gives you your focus spells.

But not all of them actually do that. Especially for archetypes that give focus spells.


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Paizo Superscriber; Pathfinder Companion, LO Special Edition, Pathfinder Accessories, PF Special Edition Subscriber; Starfinder Superscriber

Seems to me a sensible rule would be: "if a character has focus abilities (including focus spells) then that character has a focus pool. The character will gain a focus pool with one focus point when the character gains the first focus ability. When the character gains additional focus abilities the character also gains additional focus points, one per ability to a maximum of three."


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Ed Reppert wrote:
Seems to me a sensible rule would be: "if a character has focus abilities (including focus spells) then that character has a focus pool. The character will gain a focus pool with one focus point when the character gains the first focus ability. When the character gains additional focus abilities the character also gains additional focus points, one per ability to a maximum of three."

Not a bad attempt.

Do focus cantrips count as focus abilities and therefore increase your focus pool size?

And for a Swashbuckler with Bard Archetype who picks up Hymn of Healing, what do they do for Refocus activity?


Paizo Superscriber; Pathfinder Companion, LO Special Edition, Pathfinder Accessories, PF Special Edition Subscriber; Starfinder Superscriber

Good questions. I'll have to think on 'em. :-)

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