The Deepwarden example isn't the best one, because it could be construed as a clarification or even a suggested houserule, rather than a rules change. But how do you reconcile, say, the Arcane Thesis FAQ entry with the PHB2 errata?
Ahh the Arcane Thesis entry.
Believe it or not I love this one. It's the easiest one to prove the FAQ is correct on. Let's build all the points here in a row.Section 1
Page 74– Arcane Thesis [Substitution] Should read, “When you apply any metamagic feats other than Heighten Spell” Thus if you were to prepare an empowered maximized magic missile (assuming magic missile is the spell you choose for your Arcane Thesis), it would be prepared as a 4th level spell (+1 level for empowered, down from +2; and +2 levels for maximized, down from +3).
Page 74 – Arcane Thesis [Omission] Add the following text to the end of the “Benefit” section: “A spell cannot be reduced to below its original level with the use of this feat.”
And right off the bat we have a problem. Do you see it?
Should read, “When you apply any metamagic feats other than Heighten Spell”
Now look at all the other Errata entries. Someone made a costly grammatical mistake that cost them "RAW" and lost the argument. But we both know I tend to disregard that and if it's not enough for me, then I continue on. But remember that misplaced end quotation mark the next time you want to have a "RAW" discussion.Section 2
Post-Errata Arcane Thesis now reads like this
Choose one arcane spell that you can cast to be your thesis spell. When casting that spell, you do so at +2 caster level. When you apply any metamagic feats other than Heighten Spell to that spell, the enhanced spell uses up a spell slot one level lower than normal. Thus if you were to prepare an empowered maximized magic missile (assuming magic missile is the spell you choose for your Arcane Thesis), it would be prepared as a 4th level spell (+1 level for empowered, down from +2; and +2 levels for maximized, down from +3). A spell cannot be reduced to below its original level with the use of this feat.
Except now we have another problem. Do you see it?
"When you apply any metamagic feats other than Heighten Spell to that spell, the enhanced spell uses up a spell slot one level lower than normal.
When you apply multiple Feats the Spell it's self uses a spell slot one
level lower than normal. Not the cost of applying the Metamagic Feat is reduced by one, not each time you apply a Metamagic Feat the Spell uses a lower slot, but multiple on singular equals one. Arcane Thesis reduces the Spell's Cost by one, not the Metamagic.
And even when attempting to purposely interpret this in another way you reach a dead end. For instance, let's pose that you apply Metamagic Feats one at a time and Arcane Thesis is intended to trigger on each application right? For instance; Fireball + Empower could triggers Arcane Thesis's text and reduces the level by one. Now if you applied Maximize it should trigger again or ((Fireball+Empower & Thesis)+Maximize & Thesis) right? Well no. Run this logic through a parallel arguments. If a Cleric with Augment Healing were to recast one of his Spells (such as using spelltheift or greater anyspell(mage's lubrication)) would the Spell heal +4 HP per Spell level? If you attack multiple times per round, dose Weapon Focus continue to provide a +1 Bonus to your previous Attack Rolls? No. D&D does not work like that. Arcane Thesis is applied once to the enhanced spell, not multiple times.
The Example text disagrees with the rules text. The Example is incorrect.Section 3
So why are we still humoring things? Because the example text says other wise. No, the updated
example text says otherwise. There is an absolute emphasis on the updated part, this is how the Example text is supposed
to be. So RAW discussions aside, intent by the Errata Author is this. And you'd almost have me right here. In fact, I think everyone sees the Errata and comes to the same conclusion, is it how it's supposed to work, even if the rules disagree with it. Kind of like Dragon Disciple or Ur-Priest. And you know what, I cannot find any faults with the idea
, I do however have beefs with it's usage
Example text's function is to clarify the rules, but this is also the FAQ's dedicated role. The FAQ is RAI, the official RAI, plus whatever else it does. But it's undebatable that it is is meant for rule clarification and interpretation and provided the newest update. So no, from a D&D as a whole stand point, Arcane Thesis is not intended to work that way.Bonus Section!
Ahh the best part. RAW, Intent, the actual wording, everything is in line with the FAQ. Is there any hang ups in sight? Sure. As Ejo has explained things Primary Source is the absolute final authority and updates don't matter. Boy that's a tough one isn't it? I guess I'll go with my welcome to the stone age of Core Only and retire because Arcane Thesis would be one such house rule
Well, to that I do have one last mention. Since at least the MM3's Errata (dated 06-29-06) the Errata wordings has been altered.
When the text within a product contradicts itself, our general policy is that the primary source (actual rules text) is correct and any secondary reference (such as a table or character's statistics block) is incorrect. Exceptions to the rule will be called out specifically.
The PHBII's Errata uses this updated introduction and this type of entry does not prohibit rule updating. Primary source is intended to per product level. As in CS's rules can trump CS's examples but if CM wants to trump the CC, then the CM must approach matters that when regarding D&D as the product, CM's entry would be seen as trumping source. Like the FAQ does with it's entries.
Examples would be Complete Arcane's Weaponlike Spells entry that altered several things that FAQ had to cover before it came out. How several books updated Quicken Spell after explaining what Swift & Immediate Actions. How the ToB contains an updated section of Incorporeal Rules meant to replace the ones that came before. Even the FAQ's ruling that touching an illusion discharges a Touch Spell. These things may (or may not) have contradicted the PHB's claim on primary source but all four of those example, yes the FAQ included, made an appearance on the Rule's Compendium and we know what that was intended to be. Updates, no matter what they come from, trump Errata.
Oh crap, they never went back and changed the PHB's Errata's Introduction did they?
Guess stone age it is.
Edit - I got my CS/CMs mixed up. Couple spell checks too.