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The Spiderskin spell in Spell Compendium gives the target several bonus, each being a +1 every three caster levels, no cap, to a different number.

In the spell's text, there's a long sentence that says "This means A, B and C get +2 at level 6, +3 at level 9, +4 at level 12 and +5 at level 15."
It isn't the exact quote but the spirit is they give out the stats up to level 15 only, while the spell has no cap.

The limit at +5 is some sort of staple for at least one of the values the spell changes, which is an enhancement bonus to natural armor class, pre-epic.

In such a case, is it sufficient for the example not saying "and so on" to infer the cap, or is there any rule that says that the spell text takes precedence over the examples, the same ways text trumps tables?

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2 Answers

up vote 15 down vote accepted

The lack of 'and so on' implies absolutely nothing

RAW only deals in what is written, not in anything that is implied or could be implied. The spell specifies no cap and as a result has no cap. It could be that they intended to write in a cap, it could be that the editor forgot to add 'and so on', it could be that the author happened to be drunk that day. Either way, RAW doesn't deal win implication, similarity, sense, sanity, or anything but the wording written into the spell. There's no cap.

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The version of the same spell in Underdark does cap it. The Spell Compendium came out two years later (AFAIK) and doesn't. It's a very strange editing decision on someones part. –  Tridus Feb 7 at 2:08
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Last source published is valid as far as RAW goes, though. Again, RAW doesn't deal in similarity or sanity, and RAW is the tag on the question. If @Zachiel wanted reasonable he would've used another tag. –  Lord_Gareth Feb 7 at 2:15
    
Wasn't disagreeing with you, I think the answer is right. :) Just fond it worth noting that it was in a previous version and not in the newer version, even though the example text is similar except for "to a maximum of" being removed, and a math error being fixed. –  Tridus Feb 7 at 2:17
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@Lord_Gareth Last source is not valid as far as RAW goes, primary source is. Spell Compendium asserts its primary status in its introduction, and therefore “wins,” but if it didn’t the primary source is usually the first publication. –  KRyan Feb 7 at 2:32
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But based on @Tridus’s citation, it would appear that the cap was removed (one presumes intentionally) and the example was merely not updated to match (much as SevenSidedDie suggests, in fact). –  KRyan Feb 7 at 2:35
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Actual rules always trumps examples of those rules in use.

You will often find that examples in RPGs don't match the text—it's very common for rules to be tweaked after the examples have been written, and for the editor to not notice that the example has become out of date. This results in publishing RPGs with examples that contradict the rules, a common pet peeve of RPG reviewers.

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+1 for truth - example members of PrCs are a big offender here, as many of them don't qualify for their own classes. –  Lord_Gareth Feb 7 at 2:15
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Abjurant Champion is a classic example, with the description talking up using the class abilities on Mage Armor... which isn't an Aburjation and can't benefit from the class abilities. –  Tridus Feb 7 at 2:19
    
@Lord_Gareth Example builds are a different paragraph, this example is in the text of the spell itself. Knowing how fluff and crunch are mixed in 3.5 I won't bet a dime on this actually being different from that samples but... it still feels different. –  Zachiel Feb 7 at 16:01
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