Remasters - fluff text in italics in rules?


Pathfinder Second Edition General Discussion

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Liberty's Edge

Yes. The problems that arise sometimes is when people take the descriptive text for a RAW constraint on how things work.

Liberty's Edge

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100% agreed.

This is an especially good opportunity to do this given that the whole ORC and AxE seem to be intentionally trying to help distinguish and protect DIFFERENT types of text in publications so as to differentiate between lore/flavor/setting-specific materials for the purpose of IP protection and being able to specifically carve the parts that SHOULD be protected by the Lic that are NOT RULES only makes sense, in fact, it seems wise for every purpose.

I've been appealing for this since the PF2 Playtest and I hope that it is implemented as it, all by itself, would clarify a TON of things that are frequently questioned, esp by newbies.


The Raven Black wrote:
Yes. The problems that arise sometimes is when people take the descriptive text for a RAW constraint on how things work.

I believe one of the base principles of PF2 was to yeet "RAW arguments" into the sun. Which is why flavor text is important since the operating principle should be "things work how they are supposed to work" rather than "things work as they are written."

Liberty's Edge

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PossibleCabbage wrote:
The Raven Black wrote:
Yes. The problems that arise sometimes is when people take the descriptive text for a RAW constraint on how things work.
I believe one of the base principles of PF2 was to yeet "RAW arguments" into the sun. Which is why flavor text is important since the operating principle should be "things work how they are supposed to work" rather than "things work as they are written."

The PF2 Rules forum is alive and well.

How things are supposed to work is by no mean an absolute understanding shared by any and all players and GMs.

So, it is best to have very clearly defined rules and to help people, as much as possible, easily understand what is absolute mechanical RAW and what is description not meant to put additional limits on the RAW


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Dancing Wind wrote:

Hey there,

Paizo senior staff have repeatedly requested that you not denigrate their work by referring to it as "fluff". Instead, they'd like you to talk about "flavor text".

If you want your request to be taken seriously, it would probably help your cause not to be rude to the people who create the game.

Until reading this thread, I didn't see an issue with f----; I always thought it to be a fairly innocuous term. Nevertheless, I find it pretty hostile for the very first reply to immediately jump on a new user as being rude after insinuating that they've been told several times directly. This is the first time I've heard of it and I'd expect I'd have easily made the same mistake.

On topic, we have an answer that it's too late for the remaster, but if there are any common ambiguities as a result of flavor text suggesting rules, then could those instances just be addressed in an FAQ or errata to clarify them?

Liberty's Edge

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Feragore wrote:
Dancing Wind wrote:

Hey there,

Paizo senior staff have repeatedly requested that you not denigrate their work by referring to it as "fluff". Instead, they'd like you to talk about "flavor text".

If you want your request to be taken seriously, it would probably help your cause not to be rude to the people who create the game.

Until reading this thread, I didn't see an issue with f----; I always thought it to be a fairly innocuous term. Nevertheless, I find it pretty hostile for the very first reply to immediately jump on a new user as being rude after insinuating that they've been told several times directly. This is the first time I've heard of it and I'd expect I'd have easily made the same mistake.

It's always better to let people know about such things right away.


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The Raven Black wrote:
Feragore wrote:
Dancing Wind wrote:

Hey there,

Paizo senior staff have repeatedly requested that you not denigrate their work by referring to it as "fluff". Instead, they'd like you to talk about "flavor text".

If you want your request to be taken seriously, it would probably help your cause not to be rude to the people who create the game.

Until reading this thread, I didn't see an issue with f----; I always thought it to be a fairly innocuous term. Nevertheless, I find it pretty hostile for the very first reply to immediately jump on a new user as being rude after insinuating that they've been told several times directly. This is the first time I've heard of it and I'd expect I'd have easily made the same mistake.

It's always better to let people know about such things right away.

You can do it without being utterly condescending and accusatory. Don't assume malice if ignorance is more likely.

Here's a better phrased version: "Just so you are aware, Paizo staff really don't like the word "fluff" when referring to their work as they feel the word diminishes its importance. They would please ask you talk about "flavor text" instead." and replace the last line with something on-topic so you didn't solely barge in to scold them about using a slur - a bit like the sandwich method of delivering constructive criticism.


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Pathfinder Rulebook Subscriber
Blake's Tiger wrote:

I apologize, there were a lot of posts between what I'm quoting and now, so someone may have pointed this out, but at least one of the examples makes the rules crumble:

Captain Morgan wrote:

None of your examples make the rules crumble. Being unable to reflavor things (or crunch and flavor being intertwined) may prevent certain character concepts but that's a player preference issue, not a rules inconsistency.

. . .

- Humanoids already can't cast finger of death if they can't point to an enemy; somatic components require being able to gesture freely. (If your hand is occupied, curling one finger off your weapon for a second seems fine.) If a naga is given finger of death, than the rule about "make sure things work as intended if they don't as written" kicks in.

And here's another example of a spell that breaks the rules if the description is literal:

Produce Flame wrote:
A small ball of flame appears in the palm of your hand, and you lash out with it either in melee or at range.
Somatic wrote:

A somatic component is a specific hand movement or gesture that generates a magical nexus. The spell gains the manipulate trait and requires you to make gestures. You can use this component while holding something in your hand, but not if you are restrained or otherwise unable to gesture freely.

Spells that require you to touch the target require a somatic component. You can do so while holding something as long as part of your hand is able to touch the target (even if it’s through a glove or gauntlet).

One of many such described gauntlet weapons:

Scizore wrote:
A scizore is a gauntlet or protective leather tube worn over the forearm and featuring a half-moon blade mounted to the end of the cap on a short pole.
So produce flame can't be cast/used with weapons in the hand by literal reading the spell despite the somatic trait clearly allowing one to cast touch spells with your hands occupied. Your knuckles aren't your palm, your finger isn't your palm, freeing...

So Produce Flame not working with a single niche weapon is a breakdown that actually matters, then?


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Pathfinder Adventure Path, Lost Omens Subscriber
Captain Morgan wrote:
So Produce Flame not working with a single niche weapon is a breakdown that actually matters, then?

No. Produce Flame doesn't work with any weapon.

Literal reading of the spell description for produce flame invalidates the rules text in the somatic component and would force one to have a free hand to cast the spell. I'm sure there are more spells like that.

But most of the people posting that the setting text is rules and also subjectively interpreting and bending the setting text to make the text workable when countering the examples, so I don't think it's worth spending reading through all the feats, spells, and magic items to demonstrate how big or small of an issue it is. The camp of strict reading isn't going to change their mind.


Captain Morgan wrote:
Blake's Tiger wrote:

I apologize, there were a lot of posts between what I'm quoting and now, so someone may have pointed this out, but at least one of the examples makes the rules crumble:

Captain Morgan wrote:

None of your examples make the rules crumble. Being unable to reflavor things (or crunch and flavor being intertwined) may prevent certain character concepts but that's a player preference issue, not a rules inconsistency.

. . .

- Humanoids already can't cast finger of death if they can't point to an enemy; somatic components require being able to gesture freely. (If your hand is occupied, curling one finger off your weapon for a second seems fine.) If a naga is given finger of death, than the rule about "make sure things work as intended if they don't as written" kicks in.

And here's another example of a spell that breaks the rules if the description is literal:

Produce Flame wrote:
A small ball of flame appears in the palm of your hand, and you lash out with it either in melee or at range.
Somatic wrote:

A somatic component is a specific hand movement or gesture that generates a magical nexus. The spell gains the manipulate trait and requires you to make gestures. You can use this component while holding something in your hand, but not if you are restrained or otherwise unable to gesture freely.

Spells that require you to touch the target require a somatic component. You can do so while holding something as long as part of your hand is able to touch the target (even if it’s through a glove or gauntlet).

One of many such described gauntlet weapons:

Scizore wrote:
A scizore is a gauntlet or protective leather tube worn over the forearm and featuring a half-moon blade mounted to the end of the cap on a short pole.
So produce flame can't be cast/used with weapons in the hand by literal reading the spell despite the somatic trait clearly allowing one to cast touch spells with your hands occupied. Your knuckles aren't your palm, your
...

I believe that was just meant as an easy example.

Another example is Control Water which if read literally only raises the water in that area and not anywhere else.

Anything that says "blast from your hand" would not work if you don't have hands. Anything that says it.

Anything that says "erupts from the earth" cannot be used on a wooden, plastic, or metal floor. Oh you are in a second floor? Yeah cannot use spells like Blazing Fizzure because a wooden floor is not "earth". Or if you could use that spell, well you now destroyed the building because magma and a giant hole in the building.

Oh but spells cannot damage objects according to the rules unless the GM allows it. So again if the description doesn't really have a mechanical effect then that should be told to the player.


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Obsessing about hands is a bad way to think about Pathfinder 2e, since you can easily have a PC who does not have hands in the traditional sense. A Conrasu doesn't necessarily have hands, a quadruped poppet probably doesn't have hands, an awakened octopus doesn't have hands, etc.

So I would read "a blast from your hand" meaning "a blast from your hand or hand analogue, you know whatever it is you use to hold stuff."

Like produce flame should totally be something you can cast if your grasping limbs are tentacles or cephalopod arms.


Would 'appendage' work better than 'hand' then?


Animism wrote:
Would 'appendage' work better than 'hand' then?

I mean, you probably don't want bipedal to be able to do "a blast from your foot" and legs are also appendages.

I think the way to think about it is that your PC, by virtue of being a player character has a way of holding a weapon, a bouquet of flowers, a tiered cake, etc. Exactly how your PC with unusual anatomy does that is left up to the player. The exact same way you would hold a bouquet of flowers is the way you would cast a spell that requires "hands".

Like generally the assumption should be that "your character, by virtue of being a PC, has figured out how to do the same sorts of things other PCs can do" (cast your spells, fight with a weapon, wear armor, open doors, make skill checks, etc.)

Silver Crusade

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Pathfinder Pathfinder Accessories Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber
QuidEst wrote:
I propose a third, worse option: "By RAW, deer are predators in Pathfinder."

Man-Eating Animal template from Pathfinder Adventure Path volume #74 - Sword of Valor, you're welcome


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I must admit I don't understand the stance of not acknowledging that flavor text is no rule. I fully understand (and agree with) the stance that flavor text helps when applying the rules. But stating that flavor text is equivalent to mechanical text in rules application, that, I really don't get it.

Liberty's Edge

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The way that I see and understand things is that Flavor text and Mechanics are, and MUST BE for all practical and legal purposes given the insane muckup over the last 7 months with OGL and now the new ORC coming into being, distinct and separate from one another.

Not only that, to be sure things are clean given the required changes there needs to be certainty and judicious enforcement that the Rules/Mechanics of a given thing cannot rely, lean on, or use the Descriptive/Flavor/Lore text in any way shape or form because mechanical text must be understood within the context of the Rules/Mechanics ONLY because that is itself not able to given IP protection whereas the Descriptive/Flavor/Lore text CAN and SHOULD be protected and itself cannot meaningfully deprive the option of understanding from a Rules/Mechanics perspective if it is not present. While the IP should and will be protected the Rules/Mechanics are and cannot be so the Rules/Mechanics NEED to stand entirely on their own.

Doing this, by way of at LEAST ensuring that those Descriptive/Flavor/Lore texts are in a separate sentence is the barebones minimum and is generally what they have been doing so far, though it isn't super evenly enforced as some Rules/Mechanics reference things that have IP within them, but I agree with the overall sentiment here that this needs to be enforced with an iron fist going forward and the BEST way to do that is via text formatting or some other visual indicator even if it's just a colored background on that looks like a different type of parchement but that would create HUGE layout and art asset headaches that I don't think Paizo want to risk.

Liberty's Edge

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SuperBidi wrote:

Simple things like:

- "You didn’t choose to become a spellcaster—you were born one." => you can't play a Sorcerer who acquired their power because of an event.

And what of ancestries that aren’t born? Iruxi hatch from shells. Poppets are constructed. Not sure how Leshies come into being.


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I feel like things a la "how do you justify a leshy sorcerer" are fundamentally just a prompt for the player to tell a story about how something came to be in a way that isn't the usual way. Not a prohibition against "things without blood being Sorcerers."

If you're the least creative person in the world, you might choose not to play a Dhampir Leshy Sorcerer but someone absolutely could figure out a way to make that make sense in a cool way.


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James Jacobs wrote:

It would be possible, but would make formatting and styling and laying out our products EXTRAORDINARILY difficult and time-consuming. In fact, any sort of "let's format flavor text different" would because it would require an entirely new set of development/editorial passes by people expert in and trained in knowing what the difference between the two is and where to draw the line, and would open up the door for more errors across the board since that time would also take away from what we've already got set aside for editing and development.

Also, it's too late in the process anyway for this significant of a change. It's an interesting theoretical idea, but it's not one we'll be doing.

After reading that,
Themetricsystem wrote:
Doing this, by way of at LEAST ensuring that those Descriptive/Flavor/Lore texts are in a separate sentence is the barebones minimum and is generally what they have been doing so far, though it isn't super evenly enforced as some Rules/Mechanics reference things that have IP within them, but I agree with the overall sentiment here that this needs to be enforced with an iron fist going forward and the BEST way to do that is via text formatting or some other visual indicator even if it's just a colored background on that looks like a different type of parchement but that would create HUGE layout and art asset headaches that I don't think Paizo want to risk.

The thing to keep in mind is that the rules text that is made availble under the ORC is published as an entirely separate document. There is never a need to use a Paizo copyrighted publication to figure out what the open ruleset is.

Paizon (and anyone, for that matter) can intermix IP and ORC material in the same sentence, just as James indicates they are already doing.

If you want to know what Pathfinder rules are available for everyone to use, consult the ORC System Reference Document that Paizo publishes. Don't try to guess by parsing typographical elements in a copyrighted book.

Liberty's Edge

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PossibleCabbage wrote:
I feel like things a la "how do you justify a leshy sorcerer" are fundamentally just a prompt for the player to tell a story about how something came to be in a way that isn't the usual way. Not a prohibition against "things without blood being Sorcerers."

If “you were born [a spellcaster]” carries rules weight, it’s not a prompt, but a prohibition.

Quote:
If you're the least creative person in the world, you might choose not to play a Dhampir Leshy Sorcerer

Or, in the alternative, maybe that bit about being “born” is flavor text, not mechanical text, and everyone can play the Ancestry/class combination they want without being judged on their desire or capacity to spin a yarn to justify it.


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Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Alternatively, it might be a good idea to talk to your GM about character ideas that stretch the expectations of the wording of the rules to make sure that your character is a fit for the game they are running. It neither needs to be explicitly stated that an awakened Octopus can cast produce flame, nor that they cannot, before it is a good idea to talk about your character idea with the whole table and make sure that everyone feels good about having an aquatic animal as a character in the game, much less one casting fire spells while underwater or from a hydration tank. Where character ideas and game options push past the context of how powers and abilities are written in the rules is a place for conversation and not making assumptions and picking fights.

A GM that was going to not let a leshy be a sorcerer because they don’t have blood or are not born is not suddenly going to be a fun GM to play that character with if the rules suddenly said “your players get to do whatever they want with character creation, regardless of wether the idea fits in the world that you are setting your game in.”

Trying to write rules that have to accommodate every single potential variation of the imagination will inevitably fail to be easy to learn and quickly interpret. While it maybe necessary to set some text aside as mechanical, because it purely exists to define mechanical terms (what is a difficulty Class?) the closer the rules get to describing characters in play, the less trying to separate the rules from the narrative makes sense. When the rule book tells you to interpret the rules and not treat them like a legal code, it doesn’t need pure mechanical text to describe every possible scenario or situation.

Just from the removal of somatic and verbal components it sounds like the remastery will be a pass to clear up some places where there has been confusion in the past. Pointing out places where the language is sincerely confusing is useful. Trying to create confusion where there really isn’t is a disservice to having effective and fun rules.


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Pathfinder Rulebook Subscriber

One thing this thread highlights is that a lot of the 'confusion' and consternation can sometimes come across as manufactured.

There are a lot of 'errors' being pointed out that essentially require us to start from the position of "I'm looking for a way to read the book in such a way as to make things not work" and then patting themselves on the back when they find it.

... Whereas I feel like at the average table people simply read the book, intuit "things are supposed to work" because that's simply how games are supposed to be, and then just play the game normally. I'd wager that most of the people pointing to these presumed issues do the same in actual play, too.

That's not to say there aren't real issues and real problems and real rules ambiguities in the book, because there obviously are... but it also seems pretty clear that there's a lot of performative dysfunction too that exists more as a conversation topic in this forum than anything real.


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Squiggit wrote:

One thing this thread highlights is that a lot of the 'confusion' and consternation can sometimes come across as manufactured.

There are a lot of 'errors' being pointed out that essentially require us to start from the position of "I'm looking for a way to read the book in such a way as to make things not work" and then patting themselves on the back when they find it.

... Whereas I feel like at the average table people simply read the book, intuit "things are supposed to work" because that's simply how games are supposed to be, and then just play the game normally. I'd wager that most of the people pointing to these presumed issues do the same in actual play, too.

That's not to say there aren't real issues and real problems and real rules ambiguities in the book, because there obviously are... but it also seems pretty clear that there's a lot of performative dysfunction too that exists more as a conversation topic in this forum than anything real.

Is there some perfomative disfunction out there? Probably a small amount.

A few bad actors trying to undermind the game? That is extreme but maybe there are a couple.

But I firmly reject your point Squiggit, there really are many ways to read the rules. People approach the game from very different places and with very different goals. Most of the confusion is real. Rules organization and reability is a common complaint. Paizo initially were very proud of their natural language rules style and how easy it is to read, but even they have now acknowledged it can be improved on. Which they are doing in the remaster.

If I was just being a pest I would be going on about the problems that hardly anyone complains about like:
- the fact that you can only use one reaction per round even if you get a second reaction from an ability. CRB p472 bottom right.
- there are two meanings of a round in use in the rule book. One relative to you, and another for the whole initiative order.

But people complain about the indiviudal powers that have gaps and are confusing, but also on general rules that are just unclear such as:
- what stunning actually means?
- damage instance and additional damage
- battleform particulars
- 10th level spell slot restrictions
- objects are often not affected by spells or strikes as it is mostly just GMs choice.


Pathfinder Rulebook Subscriber

You say you reject it, but there's nothing in your post inconsistent with what I said. It largely seems to be agreeing with me, even. The examples you list at the end are real RAW confusions that people have, which I referenced in my post.

They're also not the things people have been discussing here for the most part either though. So I'm not really seeing what we're disagreeing over.


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Squiggit wrote:
One thing this thread highlights is that a lot of the 'confusion' and consternation can sometimes come across as manufactured.

It's also my feeling, even if it seems I have the opposite point of view.

From Unicore's "rules are only guidelines, even mechanical text shouldn't be applied as is" to Morgan's "I'm fine with forbidding Sorcerers who are not born that way" and now the "things are supposed to work" which looks like a get out of jail free card against any contradiction, I must admit I'm puzzled.

I hardly believe anyone applies flavor text as rules, and as a fact there hasn't been a single example of a piece of flavor text that is applied as rule in this very long discussion. As if defending flavor text was some kind of philosophical stance unrelated to how the game plays.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Lost Omens Subscriber
SuperBidi wrote:
I hardly believe anyone applies flavor text as rules, and as a fact there hasn't been a single example of a piece of flavor text that is applied as rule in this very long discussion.

You can't cast produce flame with a shield and weapon in your hand because it forms in your palm and your palm is occupied was a real life example.


Blake's Tiger wrote:
SuperBidi wrote:
I hardly believe anyone applies flavor text as rules, and as a fact there hasn't been a single example of a piece of flavor text that is applied as rule in this very long discussion.
You can't cast produce flame with a shield and weapon in your hand because it forms in your palm and your palm is occupied was a real life example.

You misunderstood me: The only examples brought in are examples showing that flavor text can't be used as rule. But there haven't been any example showing how flavor text contributes to rules.


Monk stance strikes include what part of the body they actually use in the "flavor" section. I'd consider that a relevant rules element, same as any other non-basic unarmed strike like claws or bite.


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Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber; Pathfinder Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
QuidEst wrote:
While I realize it's not the point of your post, frogs are very much predators once they leave the tadpole phase.

So are deer for that matter. There's actually a published encounter in which they are treated as dangerous monsters which will eat you if you are a leshy or similar plant creature in the party.


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Pathfinder Adventure Path, Lost Omens Subscriber

Monk stances can be used as examples to reflect on the distinction between rules text versus setting description text that I personally care about.

Crane Stance wrote:

You enter the stance of a crane, holding your arms in an imitation of a crane’s wings and using flowing, defensive motions. You gain a +1 circumstance bonus to AC, but the only Strikes you can make are crane wing attacks. These deal 1d6 bludgeoning damage; are in the brawling group; and have the agile, finesse, nonlethal, and unarmed traits.

While in Crane Stance, reduce the DC for High Jump and Long Jump by 5, and when you Leap, you can move an additional 5 feet horizontally or 2 feet vertically.

The author obviously has their vision of how this fighting style looks.

A hypothetical player may want to instead have a goblin monk whose defensive movements are quick and jerky and calls it "Frog Style" instead. Mechanically, everything functions the same: must be unarmored to enter, gains a +1 circumstance bonus to armor, and can only make strikes that deal 1d6 bludgeoning with the agile, finesse, nonlethal, and unarmed traits.

Does it, however, matter if the player has a different vision and is the author's description so important that it necessitates a discussion with the GM/entire table to modify the setting text?

Presumably the author envisioned striking with the hands--the setting text states the monk holds their arms like a crane's wings, and the attack is called a "crane wing" attack--though it does not explicitly state this. How much does it matter? Especially given the lack of explicit direction on what constitutes a "crane wing attack." Maybe they meant elbows. Does it matter?

Dragon Stance's lashing dragon tail attack does explicitly state leg attacks. Does it matter? Not to entirely derail the topic, but wheel chairs are introduced mechanically for a reason. What does enforcing lashing dragon tail being a leg attack truly protect within the rules/balance?

Sometimes there may be reasons. I don't have an encyclopedic memory of the books. The crane wing attack could be argued without evidence that it means you can't also have a slashing weapon out to switch to without a separate draw action or at least not a 2-handed one (ignoring the lack of an actual stance exiting mechanic).


Luke Styer wrote:
Or, in the alternative, maybe that bit about being “born” is flavor text, not mechanical text, and everyone can play the Ancestry/class combination they want without being judged on their desire or capacity to spin a yarn to justify it.

I feel like it's important in a game like this that everybody is playing a character that makes sense to them. If you're just okay with "not knowing" how your leshy became a dhampir or a sorcerer, then that's fine. The fact that you wrote it down on your character sheet is enough. What i'm saying is that if you're bothered by "leshies don't have blood" and "leshies don't have parents" then you should play something that doesn't bother you.

Generally the rules should be interpreted, in cases of PCs with non-standard personal histories/anatomy that you simply substitute whatever analogous thing for what ordinary humanoid bipeds with parents have. This is rarely hard, and simply requires interpretation (as all rules text does.)

Blake's Tiger wrote:
A hypothetical player may want to instead have a goblin monk whose defensive movements are quick and jerky and calls it "Frog Style" instead. Mechanically, everything functions the same: must be unarmored to enter, gains a +1 circumstance bonus to armor, and can only make strikes that deal 1d6 bludgeoning with the agile, finesse, nonlethal, and unarmed traits.

"I want to reflavor an ability so it fits better with my character" has always been Rule 0 territory and such does not need rules as it supercedes rules.

Like if you want to play a dragon style monk for a character that literally does not have legs (a merfolk, a conrasu, a double amputee in a wheelchair, etc.) then you simply talk to your GM about figuring out how the ability should work for you. Making it work is just rule 0 stuff.

I think as a general principle no class, feat, etc. should be denied to a character because of some quirk of their origins or anatomy, and GMs should operate on that principle. It's why a lot of the ancestries that deviate from "ordinary human biped with parents" are rare, after all.


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Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber; Pathfinder Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Feragore wrote:
The Raven Black wrote:
Feragore wrote:
Dancing Wind wrote:

Hey there,

Paizo senior staff have repeatedly requested that you not denigrate their work by referring to it as "fluff". Instead, they'd like you to talk about "flavor text".

If you want your request to be taken seriously, it would probably help your cause not to be rude to the people who create the game.

Until reading this thread, I didn't see an issue with f----; I always thought it to be a fairly innocuous term. Nevertheless, I find it pretty hostile for the very first reply to immediately jump on a new user as being rude after insinuating that they've been told several times directly. This is the first time I've heard of it and I'd expect I'd have easily made the same mistake.

It's always better to let people know about such things right away.

You can do it without being utterly condescending and accusatory. Don't assume malice if ignorance is more likely.

Here's a better phrased version: "Just so you are aware, Paizo staff really don't like the word "fluff" when referring to their work as they feel the word diminishes its importance. They would please ask you talk about "flavor text" instead." and replace the last line with something on-topic so you didn't solely barge in to scold them about using a slur - a bit like the sandwich method of delivering constructive criticism.

This. I for one can't stand it when people dogpile others about the way they speak.

And I feel that way primarily BECAUSE of the cyberbullying I've had to endure over the years from THIS community.

When someone says "don't say that" I'm now more inclined to say it in defiance as a result of that bullying.

As demonstrated by Feragore, you can certainly request people to change behavior for the betterment of those around them, but the moment you DEMAND it, YOU become the aggressor, the bully.

Please just don't do it.


QuidEst wrote:
Monk stance strikes include what part of the body they actually use in the "flavor" section. I'd consider that a relevant rules element, same as any other non-basic unarmed strike like claws or bite.

The only one that unequivocally speak of a part of the body is the Dragon Stance, and it speaks about legs so not something that can be used for rules outside extreme edge cases. For the others, there are only implications, but nothing clearly stated.

And as you can see, this ruling isn't even unanimously accepted as some feel it's against the spirit of the rule.

So it's not a very compeling candidate.

Liberty's Edge

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Ravingdork wrote:
Feragore wrote:
The Raven Black wrote:
Feragore wrote:
Dancing Wind wrote:

Hey there,

Paizo senior staff have repeatedly requested that you not denigrate their work by referring to it as "fluff". Instead, they'd like you to talk about "flavor text".

If you want your request to be taken seriously, it would probably help your cause not to be rude to the people who create the game.

Until reading this thread, I didn't see an issue with f----; I always thought it to be a fairly innocuous term. Nevertheless, I find it pretty hostile for the very first reply to immediately jump on a new user as being rude after insinuating that they've been told several times directly. This is the first time I've heard of it and I'd expect I'd have easily made the same mistake.

It's always better to let people know about such things right away.

You can do it without being utterly condescending and accusatory. Don't assume malice if ignorance is more likely.

Here's a better phrased version: "Just so you are aware, Paizo staff really don't like the word "fluff" when referring to their work as they feel the word diminishes its importance. They would please ask you talk about "flavor text" instead." and replace the last line with something on-topic so you didn't solely barge in to scold them about using a slur - a bit like the sandwich method of delivering constructive criticism.

This. I for one can't stand it when people dogpile others about the way they speak.

And I feel that way primarily BECAUSE of the cyberbullying I've had to endure over the years from THIS community.

When someone says "don't say that" I'm now more inclined to say it in defiance as a result of that bullying.

As demonstrated by Feragore, you can certainly request people to change behavior for the betterment of those around them, but the moment you DEMAND it, YOU become the aggressor, the bully.

Please just don't do it.

Could you please detail what kind of wording you consider would be a request to change behavior rather than a bullying demand ?


Pathfinder Rulebook Subscriber
SuperBidi wrote:
As if defending flavor text was some kind of philosophical stance unrelated to how the game plays.

That's sort of my point. The whole debate is essentially around hypothetical readings or use cases that nobody actually does in play. No one on either 'side' or position here expects anyone, including themselves, to actually play that way.

Liberty's Edge

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I would say we have questions at least twice a month in the Rules forum that actually come from people reading flavor text as a RAW description that is ground for limiting options.

Not quite hypothetical I would say.


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Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber; Pathfinder Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
The Raven Black wrote:
Could you please detail what kind of wording you consider would be a request to change behavior rather than a bullying demand?

Feragore has already posted a pretty good example.


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Squiggit wrote:
SuperBidi wrote:
As if defending flavor text was some kind of philosophical stance unrelated to how the game plays.
That's sort of my point. The whole debate is essentially around hypothetical readings or use cases that nobody actually does in play. No one on either 'side' or position here expects anyone, including themselves, to actually play that way.

Sorry, but I think your equivalence is wrong. I don't consider flavor text as rules and play that way and I think it's the case for most people having this position.

There's only one hypothetical stance, the other one is very pragmatic.


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Interpreting that the rules themselves are flexible and intentionally designed to be interpreted cooperatively at the table instead of authoritatively by the winningest rules-lawyer, and thus the narrative text exists as part of the rules guidance and not as superlative flavor text that is meaningless is also a pragmatic stance.

Where the rules give examples, for example, that is not lore or narrative text, but it is also not pure mechanical text either, and sometimes those examples raise questions of their own, even as they try to explain something else. It still feels strange to me to argue that, universally, players should feel free to unilaterally ignore the narrative components of the game, but should feel compelled to assume the mechanical elements are immutable without express GM consent. That feels like it is the heart of looking at PF2 as a roll playing game instead of a role playing game. Both the rules and the narrative should be text to guide your group collectively, and changed as the group agrees.


Pathfinder Rulebook Subscriber
SuperBidi wrote:
Squiggit wrote:
SuperBidi wrote:
As if defending flavor text was some kind of philosophical stance unrelated to how the game plays.
That's sort of my point. The whole debate is essentially around hypothetical readings or use cases that nobody actually does in play. No one on either 'side' or position here expects anyone, including themselves, to actually play that way.

Sorry, but I think your equivalence is wrong. I don't consider flavor text as rules and play that way and I think it's the case for most people having this position.

There's only one hypothetical stance, the other one is very pragmatic.

You're re-describing the equivalence, because there's no one actually being argued with here. The only people worried about leshies being barred from playing sorcerers and produce flame being uncastable are the people who are openly saying that's not how they think the game should be played, and nobody is saying it should be.

It's incorrect to say that there's a pragmatic and a hypothetical position, because the entire argument itself exists entirely in the realm of hypothetical. It's almost incorrect to say there are even 'stances' at all, because in this weird tangent people aren't even actually disagreeing, except on the nature of disagreeing itself.

At this point we're like three or four layers removed from anything pragmatic or practical.


SuperBidi wrote:
You misunderstood me: The only examples brought in are examples showing that flavor text can't be used as rule. But there haven't been any example showing how flavor text contributes to rules.

Ghost Touch rune.

Quote:
The weapon can harm creatures without physical form.

So obviously a Ghost Touch greatsword should be able to hit a Ghost.


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I mean that line of text doesn't mean anything (as weapons without a ghost touch rune still hurt ghosts), the actual effect of ghost touch is on most of the ghost stat blocks.


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Unless you talk to Gortle who points out that the attack roll made in a Strike is still a Strength-based check unless the weapon has Finesse (which greatsword doesn't) so the Ghost, or anything else with the Incorporeal trait is immune to it.

Which is absolutely correct by strict RAW. It only fails to make any amount of sense when you consider RAI and flavor text.


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I also remember the days of the Horse Adjacent Disintigrate-casting Sorcerer build. But that was eventually errata'd into something that makes sense RAW as well as RAI.


To be fair, if I understand correctly, Gortle's position is that a Ghost Touch sword would override immunity regardless of finesse--it's what happens (resistance or full immunity) on a magic weapon without the rune that was the point of contention, unless I misremember the discussion.


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Regardless of Gortle's current position on the debate, the point is that this is a perfect example of what SuperBidi is looking for - a place where we take all of these rules minutia arguments and jettison them in the face of the flavor/RAI text that Ghost Touch runed weapons are supposed to be effective at attacking and harming Ghosts.


breithauptclan wrote:

Unless you talk to Gortle who points out that the attack roll made in a Strike is still a Strength-based check unless the weapon has Finesse (which greatsword doesn't) so the Ghost, or anything else with the Incorporeal trait is immune to it.

Which is absolutely correct by strict RAW. It only fails to make any amount of sense when you consider RAI and flavor text.

I still don't see how the flavour text adds to the rules at all here. Every mechanical effect ghost touch has is on the Incorporeal tag explanation or on the creature's statblock. If you got rid of "The weapon can harm creatures without physical form" it would still do everything it does because it is by name mentioned in the 1 thing it is relevant to. You could argue it makes the rules less clear, as it implies incorporeal creatures are immune to other weapon attacks.


So what else removes the immunity to Strength-based Strike actions?

The Incorporeal trait adds the immunity.

Incorporeal wrote:
Likewise, a corporeal creature can’t attempt Strength-based checks against incorporeal creatures or objects.

So you can't even attempt a Strike. Because Strike includes an attack roll. And an attack roll is a type of check.

Checks wrote:
Pathfinder has many types of checks, from skill checks to attack rolls to saving throws, but they all follow these basic steps.

So an attack roll that uses strength would be a strength-based check. And against an incorporeal creature you can't even attempt the check.

So ... what removes that for a Ghost Touch greatsword? Specifically. With rules citation.

Because all that I see - other than that first sentence of RAI - in the Ghost Touch rune is that it generally interacts with the damage reduction that an incorporeal creature usually has (though that is not guaranteed, you have to actually check the creature's stat block). And it allows the Ghost to wield the weapon against the party. But it doesn't add back in that ability to make a strength-based attack roll against the incorporeal creature.


Its clear that incorporeal can touch a ghost touch weapon and use it to attack a corporeal creature. It however is not clear that the reverse is also true. Not to mention that ghost touch rune reads more like reminder text.


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And in spite of all that uncertainty and non-clarity in the rules, all a GM has to do during a game session is read that first line of the Ghost Touch rune in order to make a decision regarding allowing the player's Barbarian to roll to hit the Ghost with the Ghost Touch greatsword or not.

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