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I'm looking at 2 different bloodlines:

  1. Blackblood
  2. Abberant

Abberant's bloodline powers description reads like so:

Bloodline Powers: While bloodraging, you gain the abilities and immunities of some aberrations, but show signs of your tainted heritage.

Blackblood bloodline powers description reads like so:

Bloodline Powers: The insidious magic of black blood grants you profane powers and hideous resistances.

It reads as if the aberrant bloodline only takes effect while raging. But not the Blackblood's

But then elsewhere in the blackblood bloodline in a specific power that it specifically works even while not raging.

So what is the deal here?

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2 Answers 2

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The descriptive text is misleading, but that's not particularly uncommon for Pathfinder (also see here and here and here). The class feature bloodline on Bloodrage Bloodlines, in part, says, "Unless otherwise specified, he [i.e. a bloodrager] gains the effects of his bloodline powers only while in a bloodrage; once the bloodrage ends, all powers from his bloodline immediately cease, and any physical changes the bloodrager underwent revert, restoring him to normal."

This is why the bloodline black blood specifies that part of the supernatural ability black blood empowers a creature "constantly, even while not bloodraging." Likewise, it's why the ability black blood immunity specifies the creature possesses "this benefit constantly, even when not bloodraging." Finally, it's why the bloodline aberrant specifies in the supernatural ability aberrant form that the creature keeps "these benefits constantly, even while not bloodraging." Other, unspecified bloodline powers of these archetypes and other archetypes are typically unavailable to the bloodrager while not bloodraging.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ I think this answer is the cleaner on, and should be the accepted one. \$\endgroup\$ Sep 15, 2023 at 19:10
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Black Blood tells you when it works while not bloodraging

Some of the abilities work only when bloodraging, others work all the time.

For example, the Black Blood Immunity (Su) says:

At 20th level, you gain immunity to cold, nonlethal damage, critical hits, and sneak attacks. You have this benefit constantly, even when not bloodraging.

so this works all the time. The Black Blood (Su) ability states:

At 1st level, your blood runs thick with black blood. You are immune to the effects (both beneficial and destructive) of black blood. You have this benefit constantly, even while not bloodraging.

so that part also works all the time. However it continues

When you take damage from a slashing or piercing attack while bloodraging, as an immediate action you can grant your melee attacks the frost weapon special ability for 2 rounds.

That the bloodrage is called out here explicitly is because it follows a statement of other parts of this ability working even while not bloodraging.

What about abilities without such statements?

The other abilities, Abnormal Reach, Black Blood Resistance, Retributive Spray, and Black Blood Transfustion do not make a statement one way or the other.

Judging by other bloodlines, like aquatic, the default assumption is that you have to be raging to get the listed benefits of a bloodline. Aquatic also does not mention raging in the description:

The anger in your blood rises from the ocean depths, seeded by descent from undersea empires, creeping ichthyic infiltrators into remote seaside villages, or something deeper still.

But its Aquatic Adaption (Ex) feature says:

At 4th level, you gain a swim speed of 30 feet and the ability to breathe both underwater and in air. At 8th level, you gain cold resistance 5. At 12th level, your swim speed increases to 60 feet, and you have the 4thlevel benefits of aquatic adaptation constantly, even when not in bloodrage (but not the 8th- and 12th-level benefits).

If any ability that does not require you to bloodrage would be ongoing by default when the introductory description does not mention you need to be bloodraging, this feature would work all the time, as it does not say you need to bloodrage. But the exception clarifies that it does require bloodrage, even when not saying so explicitly, because otherwise that it is not requiring bloodrage in an exceptional case would make no sense.

That is the same situation as for the unspecified Black Blood abilities. They therefore only should work when in bloodrage.

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