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The favored class option system says..

Finally, 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 [...]

In most cases, these benefits are gained on a level-by level basis—your character gains the specified incremental benefit each time she gains a level. Unless otherwise noted, these benefits always stack with themselves.

And they present an example:

Finally, 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).

I bold both parts of interest. Can I select a +1/2, +1/3, +1/4 bonus benefit multiple times?

Some FCO flat bonuses clearly say what their caps are:

Paladin: Add +1 to the paladin's energy resistance to one kind of energy (maximum +10).

And even some other +x/y got that (bolded):

Mesmerist: Increase the mesmerist's towering ego bonus by 1/3 point (to a maximum increase of +2)

Now if I got for example the rogue's of the example

Rogue: Add a +1/2 bonus on Disable Device checks […]

This mean that … I can take it multiple time, it's got no cap and it stacks with itself?

So what happen if I chose to select each level in the favored class the "Favored class option"?

Ll 1 - ( +1/2 ) bonus to Disable device = lvl * 1/2 = +0

Lv 2 - ( +1/2 ) bonus to Disable device = lvl * 2/2 = +2

Lv 3 - ( +1 HP) bonus to disable device = lvl * 2/2 = 3 * 2/2 = 3

Lv 4 - ( +1/2 ) bonus to disable device = lvl * 3/2 = 4 * 3/2 = 6

Am I overlooking something in this otherwise OP mechanic?

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    \$\begingroup\$ Please don't edit an answer into the question. Questions are questions and answers are answers. Upvoting and accepting an answer (like you did with KRyan's) is sufficient. If you haven't already, check out the tour to the site. \$\endgroup\$ – MrLemon Oct 13 '15 at 14:37
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You are missing a very important clause in the example:

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;

(emphasis mine)

The dwarf is selecting this bonus to trap sense each time he selects a favored class benefit, that is, every time he takes a level in rogue.

That means that when he takes his first level in rogue,

this means the net effect is +0 after selecting it once (because +1/2 rounds down to +0),

but after taking 20 levels of rogue and selecting the bonus 20 times,

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).

The bonus is +½. Not half of something, especially not half of your level, but literally a half bonus each time you select it. That means you need to select it twice to actually see a benefit, and the bonus in this example, for trap sense, is +10 because it was selected 20 times, not +10 for selecting it once and then just being 20th level.

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Nowhere do these bonuses say they scale by level. They don't. When it says +1/2 bonus to a skill? It means only that +1/2 bonus. If you ever want to get any more of a bonus, you have to take it again.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ Sorry i don't get your answer, you should be more specific and perhaps add some progressione level examples to detail your points. From what i read, actually they scale with level. The example i quoted was an application of what i'm saying. Lv1 dwarf/rogue, 1 time "favored class" picked ( + 1/2 to his disable. So lv 1 / 2 , rounded down, +0 ) Lv 20 dwarf/rogue: 1 time " favored class " picked and 19 times selected the +1 hp ( + 1/2 to his disable . So 20 / 2 * 1 , + 10 to disable ) The question is indeed what happens if i choose to .. Lv 20 dwarf/rogue: 20 time " favored class " picked \$\endgroup\$ – okkappa Oct 13 '15 at 8:50
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    \$\begingroup\$ @okkappa the dwarf in the example has picked the option 20 times. The FCB does not scale with level, at all. \$\endgroup\$ – MrLemon Oct 13 '15 at 9:10
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You seem to read 1/2 wrong. 1/2 does not mean 1 per 2 Levels, but a flat bonus of 0.5 (rounded down as per the rules) which means if you only take the Bonus once, it will stay at 0.5 (rounded down = 0), no matter what Level you are.

The example with the dwarf is poorly phrased, as it implies, but never actually tells you, that the dwarf chooses the Bonus at every Level, resulting in a total Bonus of +10. I think (but cant check at the moment) that they fixed it in the german translation i have at Home...

Also, even though it is no complete evidence and might technically happen with other stats too (e.g. Saving Throws, as pointed out in the comments): there are some bonuses that give you 1/3 as a bonus. If it scaled by Level, you would have about +6.66 (rounded down) as a bonus on Level 20, which would waste 2 Levels completely.

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The OP was correct. The rest of the internet is wrong. The rules state this very clearly in the example.

In most cases, these benefits are gained on a level-by level basis—your character gains the specified incremental benefit each time she gains a level. Unless otherwise noted, these benefits always stack with themselves. For example, a human with paladin as a favored class may choose to gain 1 point of energy resistance each time she gains a level; choosing this benefit twice increases this resistance bonus to 2 per level, 10 times raises it to 10 per level, and so on.

The actual wording on the human paladin FCO is:

Add +1 to the paladin's energy resistance to one kind of energy (maximum +10).

Which never mentions the per level aspect, yet the example clearly states it is per level. Also note the wording "Add +1". "Add" and "+" seem redundant, but actually a plus is used to mark a number as being incremental. Almost all of the FCO benefits have a plus sign, but those that don't are why the above quote only says "in most cases."

Many of the FCO benefits don't even make sense if they aren't per level. Why would you ever want a 1/2 bonus to feint and pass secret messages, when you could instead get a full +1 bonus to all Bluff skill checks (rather than a subset of Bluff checks) by taking the skill point?

Now, as for the OP claiming this mechanic is OP, the rules never say these bonuses are retroactive. Once you have selected the benefit, you continue to get it each time you level that favored class. So a strict reading of the rules turns the OP example into:

Lvl 1 - Takes FCB: 1/2 = +0

Lvl 2 - Takes FCB: 1/2 (lvl 1) + 2/2 (lvl 2) = 3/2 = +1

Lvl 3 - Takes HP: 3/2 (lvl 2) + 2/2 (lvl 3) = 5/2 = +2

Lvl 4 - Takes FCB: 5/2 (lvl 3) + 3/2 (lvl 4) = 8/2 = +4

So now the Rogue has a +4 to Disable Device for stone traps, whereas she could have selected skill points instead and had a +3 Disable Device on ALL traps and even non-traps. Honestly, that doesn't sound very OP to me. It takes several levels of sacrificing power before it ever pays off, and adds a steeper penalty to multiclassing.

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    \$\begingroup\$ You ask: "Why would you ever want a 1/2 bonus to feint and pass secret messages, when you could instead get a full +1 bonus to all Bluff skill checks (rather than a subset of Bluff checks) by taking the skill point?". The answer is that you cannot have more skill points than levels. If you already have the skill maxed out, this provides you a (very expensive) way to raise it further. \$\endgroup\$ – Paul Hutton Aug 18 '16 at 0:39
  • \$\begingroup\$ A level 20 paladin with 200 energy resistance to two types of energy, or 80 energy resistance to all five types (or even 155 energy resistance to one and 55 to another, per your non-retroactive interpretation, or 42 for all of them selecting each in order and then in reverse order, then repeating), is ludicrously overpowered, and the explicit Rogue skill bonus example in a later paragraph contradicts this interpretation anyway. (@PaulHutton also already mentioned the other point I was going to make.) \$\endgroup\$ – user17995 Aug 18 '16 at 0:46
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    \$\begingroup\$ And I see your quote is wrong, at least according to paizo.com/pathfinderRPG/prd/advancedPlayersGuide/…. You've bolded "2 per level" and "10 per level" when the text just says "choosing this benefit twice increases this resistance bonus to 2, 10 times raises it to 10, and so on." \$\endgroup\$ – Paul Hutton Aug 18 '16 at 0:54

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