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I am new to Pathfinder and am building a Half-Orc Druid.


Favored Class Options

The following options are available to all half-orcs who have the listed favored class, and unless otherwise stated, the bonus applies each time you select the class reward.

Druid: Add +1/3 to the druid's natural armor bonus when using wild shape.

I do not understand how to interpret the "+1/3" text. There are two values separated by a slash. I assume the slash represents a condition. If so, what is this condition?

Furthermore, if I chose this bonus each time I selected the class reward, how would it accumulate on my AC?

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up vote 14 down vote accepted

This doesn't make any sense unless you look at what a Favored Class Ability is (emphasis mine):

Instead of receiving an additional skill rank or hit point whenever they gain a level in a Favored Class, some races have the option of choosing from a number of other bonuses, depending upon their Favored Classes.

So what this means is that, because you're a Half-Orc, each time you level up you have the option to choose a +⅓ bonus (read as "plus one-third of a point bonus") to natural AC while in wildshape, instead of skill points. You don't get the +⅓ at first level, once, for being a Half-Orc – as a Half-Orc you get the option every level.

But what good is choosing a fraction of a +1? Normally fractions of bonuses are rounded down, but if you choose this option three times, during three level-ups, it will add up to a full +1 since ⅓ + ⅓ + ⅓ = 1. Over the course of multiple levels, that can mean a significant boost to your wildshape AC.

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Actually, the choice of AC instead of skill points or HP is made once and for all, at chargen. – Trajan May 16 '13 at 18:32
@Trajan That's not implied or said in the text I'm reading. Where do you get that? The normal rule is that you can choose between either skill points or hit points each level. My understanding is that the APG merely adds another option, not forces a chargen choice between normal and APG favoured class benefits. That's the most obvious reading of the text I quoted above, even. – SevenSidedDie May 16 '13 at 18:49
Here's the SRD source : (in Favored class section) It's not quite as clear on this point as my french rulebook, though. – Trajan May 16 '13 at 19:03
@Trajan I think there must be a mistranslation in the French book, since that page you linked implies often it's optional each level, and then at the end says it explicitly: "This is not a permanent or irrevocable choice; just as characters could alternate between taking skill ranks and hit points when they gain levels in their favored class, these benefits provide a third option, and characters may freely alternate between them." – SevenSidedDie May 16 '13 at 19:14
@SevendSidedDie I looked on french wikis and the misunderstanding seems pretty common, and there's no official errata about this. Shame. – Trajan May 16 '13 at 20:49

It is a fractional bonus, as described in the rules. These types of bonuses were introduced in the advanced player's guide.

... some of these alternate favored class benefits only add +1/2, +1/3, +1/4, or +1/6 to a roll (rather than +1) each time the benefit is selected; when applying this result to the die roll, round down (minimum 0). For example, a dwarf with Rogue as his favored class adds +1/2 to his trap sense ability regarding stone traps each time he selects the alternate Rogue favored class benefit; though this means the net effect is +0 after selecting it once (because +1/2 rounds down to +0), after 20 levels this benefit gives the dwarf a +10 bonus to his trap sense (in addition to the base value from being a 20th-level Rogue).

Ignore how it specifies rolls; the intent of the half-orc feature is clear. You'd apply the bonus to your natural armor class, rounding down. It'd give +1 AC for every 3 times you took it.

Since a hit point or skill point is probably less than a third of a feat (no one liked 3.5 Toughness!), a great many of these optional types of bonuses are actually a bit overpowered. (Or a lot overpowered, in the case of the ones that grant extra spells known. What the heck were they thinking?)

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