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The spell Locate Creature says you can find a creature of a specific kind, but not one of a specific type. I get the whole type/subtype classification, but I can't find any definition of kind. What sort of category can I search for with this spell?

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Locate Creature states:

The spell can locate a creature of a specific kind or a specific creature known to you. It cannot find a creature of a certain type. To find a kind of creature, you must have seen such a creature up close (within 30 feet) at least once. Pathfinder PFD

While Creature type is game defined, kind is not, so we refer to plain English.

Merriam-Webster defines Kind as:

a specific or recognized variety

Thus you can specify dire wolf, elf, red dragon but not beast, humanoid or dragon(type).

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  • \$\begingroup\$ You seem to assume that the definition has to be the leaf node of a taxonomy tree, i.e. the most specific possible category, and that is not at all the case. "Specific" is a relative term. Mammals are a "specific" kind of vertebrate, and then canines are a specific kind of mammal, dogs a specific kind of canine, spaniels a specific dog, etc. \$\endgroup\$ – Valley Lad Nov 10 '18 at 16:38
  • \$\begingroup\$ @ValleyLad -- taxonomy doesn't exist in D&D. You have creature types, and kinds of those types. \$\endgroup\$ – ravery Nov 10 '18 at 17:39
  • \$\begingroup\$ My comment was prompted by your saying "thus you can specify dire wolf etc." where "thus" conveys that you hold this to follow directly from the Webster's definition. Words have different senses. The OED lists 17 senses of the noun "kind". My only point is, the word "kind" does not intrinsically or necessarily, in English, have to be taken the way you construed it. \$\endgroup\$ – Valley Lad Nov 10 '18 at 17:58
  • \$\begingroup\$ @ValleyLad -- and which definition do you think it means?? And yesw, I believe only one definition fits the context. If you disagree then write your own answer. \$\endgroup\$ – ravery Nov 10 '18 at 18:58
  • \$\begingroup\$ +1 @ravery Perhaps you're right, but then why state "humanoid" and not break that down into each "recognized variety" such as elf, dwarf, orc.....? Why break "dragon" down into "red dragon" vs. "green dragon" but not break down the humanoids? For that matter why not stipulate humanoids even further as "hill dwarf" instead of just "dwarf"? I don't think you answer is going the wrong direction -- I see your logic -- but I think that it leaves some aspects unaddressed. \$\endgroup\$ – Valley Lad Nov 10 '18 at 19:07
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So far as I'm aware, Pathfinder never formally defines kind like Dungeons & Dragons 3.5—the game that it's based on—does. In that earlier game, kind means, "A subcategory of creature type. For example, giant is a creature type, and hill giant is a kind of giant" (Player's Handbook 310).

Likewise, Pathfinder, as it's based on the Dungeons & Dragons 3.5 SRD, couldn't include from its forebear's Player's Handbook the actual published examples from that earlier game's spell: "The spell can locate a creature of a specific kind (such as a human or a unicorn) or a specific creature known to you. It cannot find a creature of a certain type (such as humanoid or animal)" (249 yet parenthetical examples absent from both the SRD's locate creature spell and the corresponding locate creature spell in Pathfinder).

With that in mind, this Pathfinder GM has ruled that a locate creature spell in Pathfinder works like it does in D&D 3.5. That is, the spell can be used to find a creature by its initial entry in the text where it's found—essentially, by its common name. That is, the spell is able to find, for example, a black shuck, balor, or adamantine golem, but, respectively, the spell can't be used to find just any old magical beast; can't locate only a demon, outsider, or creature that possesses the subtype chaotic, evil, or extraplanar; and won't seek out simply a construct or a golem.

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