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Why are there 1st-level wizards?


Pathfinder RPG General Discussion

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LazarX wrote:
thejeff wrote:


It would be an interesting dilemma for a king though. Do you send your heir off on adventures and risk losing him or keep him at safe and guarantee he'll be a 1st level incompetent when he inherits?
Princes of the Monarchy of England are required to do military service, especially in times of war. They may not be on the absolute front lines, but they're not outside of rsk.

Slightly different concept.

I would expect most medieval/fantasy nobility to be in the countries military, one way or another. Quite probably on the front lines.

I wouldn't expect them to be wandering around the countryside hunting monsters.


Modern Nobility hunt foxes!

Ok, even I'll admit there's little risk there.

Andoran

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Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

Dire foxes!


Some want spellcasters to level while studying safely in their towers, but it is the slowest route to gaining power by the system. It rewards risk, spellcasting in battle, solving puzzles, problems and quests. Studying and then having a cup of tea (as much as I like these things) doesn't make you a 5th level wizard.

A brief story. It was a Sargava game and one player was running an aged gent, who was a wizard. Now because of his back story he wanted more levels, he was a graduate of an esteemed foreign school, and had settled into a life in Sargava. He had done the family thing, made a living by his knowledge but had never taken real risks, and therefore had never grown in magical power until he was past middle age and took up adventuring. It was a hobby for him. He didn't get caught up in adventuring and joining a far younger party until he was in his 50s. Then he started to level up quick.

Now perhaps, because of all the little things he had done in his life (you raise a child, have some xp, but more spells because of home duties?) he should have not been 1st level, but it also made sense. He had missed his opportunity to excel in magic at a young age because he took no risks, he was just another urban 1st level wizard. Confident and cocky, with sound basics but who hadn't risen higher in power because he didn't get into those situations that really push you to your limits. He was basically a family man, but also a wastrel. Actually liked the character.


TriOmegaZero wrote:
Dire foxes!

One of my creations is a very loosely held together military state, where the roaming nobility often hunt dire lions on horse with jarids and other cavalry weapons. I'll add in dire foxes and Japanese inspired many tailed foxes.


thejeff wrote:
LazarX wrote:
thejeff wrote:


It would be an interesting dilemma for a king though. Do you send your heir off on adventures and risk losing him or keep him at safe and guarantee he'll be a 1st level incompetent when he inherits?
Princes of the Monarchy of England are required to do military service, especially in times of war. They may not be on the absolute front lines, but they're not outside of rsk.

Slightly different concept.

I would expect most medieval/fantasy nobility to be in the countries military, one way or another. Quite probably on the front lines.

I wouldn't expect them to be wandering around the countryside hunting monsters.

For a politics D&D game, I once prepped mountain-range based noble family. They were an old family of ninjas. They pretended to be like other nobles, but often headed off to adventure, returning years later to be the stewards of their lands and use their ki abilities to protect it. Adventuring was a family tradition, the feudal troops were there to guard the mountain passes.


Ravingdork wrote:
The same can be said of any other class that requires extensive training.

In January proposed a homebrew Fighter fix based on similar reasoning.

Quote:

Count how many even levels the campaign will include. The Fighter will eventually get that many bonus Combat Feats, right?

Now, consider all those General Feats that grant +2 in two related skills, which at least in my group are never used. (Acrobatic, Alertness, Animal Affinity, Athletic, Deceitful, etc.) Give the Fighter a bunch of those at first level to represent all the things he did as a young adult before his career focusing on martial training. As many as his eventual number of Combat Feats.

Whenever the Fighter gains a bonus Combat Feat it replaces one of those General Feats. Perhaps his hours of study and practice have enabled him to learn Greater Grapple but in past years those hours were spent with his pets and family horse, or practicing witty banter with his smooth-talking friends.

The Fighter would start the campaign as a skill monkey but loose that role as the adventures went on.

Since the Wizard also gets bonus feats at certain levels you could do exactly the same thing.


3.5 Loyalist wrote:

Some want spellcasters to level while studying safely in their towers, but it is the slowest route to gaining power by the system. It rewards risk, spellcasting in battle, solving puzzles, problems and quests. Studying and then having a cup of tea (as much as I like these things) doesn't make you a 5th level wizard.

A brief story. It was a Sargava game and one player was running an aged gent, who was a wizard. Now because of his back story he wanted more levels, he was a graduate of an esteemed foreign school, and had settled into a life in Sargava. He had done the family thing, made a living by his knowledge but had never taken real risks, and therefore had never grown in magical power until he was past middle age and took up adventuring. It was a hobby for him. He didn't get caught up in adventuring and joining a far younger party until he was in his 50s. Then he started to level up quick.

Now perhaps, because of all the little things he had done in his life (you raise a child, have some xp, but more spells because of home duties?) he should have not been 1st level, but it also made sense. He had missed his opportunity to excel in magic at a young age because he took no risks, he was just another urban 1st level wizard. Confident and cocky, with sound basics but who hadn't risen higher in power because he didn't get into those situations that really push you to your limits. He was basically a family man, but also a wastrel. Actually liked the character.

That's certainly a cool character background. I just don't like to apply it as a general rule. I don't want every significant NPC in the world to have to be a (possibly retired) adventurer. It doesn't fit the real world, where people learn all sorts of things without risking their lives. And it doesn't fit much fantasy literature, where there are plenty of dangerous trained people around. There would also have to be an ton of adventurers around to produce the number of high level characters in a average city.

The rules cover learning through adventuring, because that's what the PCs are going to be doing. There's no reason NPCs can't learn in other ways.

When I've started games with characters above 1st level, I still prefer the characters to be starting their adventures.

RPG Superstar 2009 Top 32, 2010 Top 8

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Re: 0 level sorcerers (kept in spoilers since it's long, rambling, and all IMC)

Spoiler:
I agree with others that the sorcerer-to-be likely starts 'displaying' arcane effects around maturity. But it's not controlable. It's not like the sorcerer-to-be goes “Stop bullying me!” and hits the bully with ray of frost It's more likely it's a pulse of cold doing one point of damage to everyone, including him. Or it is an acid splash but it does ability burn to him as he's channeling the raw power without controls. It is only with experimentation, trial and error, that the young sorcerer-to-be learns how to throw an acid splash w/o injuring himself, or focuses that cold pulse into a ray that doesn't give himself frostbite.

As they 'reach' first level, the young sorcerer has learned how to use his innate connection to magic (be it the weave, the elements, fundamental forces or what have you) to generate actual spells. In exchange they 'lose' the ability to do the uncontrolled, self damaging magic. To use a real life example, a baby learns to control their bowels. Now as an adult, try to relax all those muscles so things just flow. You might be able to, but it is a) inefficient b) takes more time, and c) is rather embarrassing. We do it w/o thinking. Likewise, the sorcerer still has his reflexive actions (like the supernatural abilities) but everything else takes concentration.

Now you may wonder how it is all sorcerers/wizards/bards/etc all speak the same 'language'. Answer, they don't.

Spoiler:
Most spells are similar enough in effect to be the same in game mechanics, but can be very dissimilar in appearance. A winter witch's magic missile might be shaped like icicles, while a magus might throw magic missiles that look like his preferred weapon, and an aberrant sorcerer might evoke small bolts of force with screaming mouths that bite chunks out of their prey. All are force effects, and can be identified with spellcraft or knowledge arcana can be used to “CSI: Golarion” the injuries after the effect.

Now this makes Spellcraft, like Use Magic Device, a metagame skill. Since it can only be used trained the exact hows of its working don't matter, but for my world it is picking up on cues as the caster is gathering power. The scent of ozone as the lightning bolt forms, the hairs rising on the back of the neck as a dominate spell is tossed, etc.. Anyone might be able to sense these occurences, but only someone trained can put them together into a spell. A wizard might speak powerful words of ancient Azlanti to invoke the lightning, the bard might sing a Golarion version of “Ride the Lightning.” The witch might invoke her patron's name to call in a favour from the lightning and the draconic sorcerer might call on his ancestors. In the end, the mechanic doesn't matter it's all the same thing.

So, you might ask, why can't sorcerers throw silent, still spells. Why can't I play a sorcerer who learned to harness his power by thinking it?

Spoiler:
Here I steal from the Dresden Files. You can cast silent/still spells, but they take a lot more energy and effort. The words and gestures channel the energy, trying it without those can burn out the caster (in essence, the feats allow you to 'buffer' the spell's energy). So if you want to play that kind of sorcerer, then just like a 'normal' spell would require verbal, somatic, or both, then for the sorcerer all the spells would be stilled and silent. In essence, you'd be playing a sorcerer who got the feats for 'free' with the balance that they aren't going to be casting any spells until 4th level (unless there are V only cantrips) and won't be until 6th level that they can cast any first level spells (except maybe true strike and the like. The “stilled, silent sorcerer” could bypass it by learning “speaking spell” and “moving spell” as feats. If you, as a player, want to hold off on spells until 4th level and want to cast spells 'normally' as a full round action (with two feats), knock yourself out in my games.


Matthew Morris wrote:


Now you may wonder how it is all sorcerers/wizards/bards/etc all speak the same 'language'. Answer, they don't.

Except they do: The sorcerer or bard can scribe a scroll (assuming they've taken the feat) and a wizard can use that scroll to learn the spell. Also you can recognize with Spellcraft, from the words, gestures and components, what spell is being cast, while it is being cast before seeing the effects.

It's pretty clear, from that, that whoever is casting a spell, the mechanics are pretty much the same. Whatever words and gestures the sorcerer uses to cast the spell are the same as (or at least very close to) the ones a wizard would use.


thejeff wrote:
3.5 Loyalist wrote:

Some want spellcasters to level while studying safely in their towers, but it is the slowest route to gaining power by the system. It rewards risk, spellcasting in battle, solving puzzles, problems and quests. Studying and then having a cup of tea (as much as I like these things) doesn't make you a 5th level wizard.

A brief story. It was a Sargava game and one player was running an aged gent, who was a wizard. Now because of his back story he wanted more levels, he was a graduate of an esteemed foreign school, and had settled into a life in Sargava. He had done the family thing, made a living by his knowledge but had never taken real risks, and therefore had never grown in magical power until he was past middle age and took up adventuring. It was a hobby for him. He didn't get caught up in adventuring and joining a far younger party until he was in his 50s. Then he started to level up quick.

Now perhaps, because of all the little things he had done in his life (you raise a child, have some xp, but more spells because of home duties?) he should have not been 1st level, but it also made sense. He had missed his opportunity to excel in magic at a young age because he took no risks, he was just another urban 1st level wizard. Confident and cocky, with sound basics but who hadn't risen higher in power because he didn't get into those situations that really push you to your limits. He was basically a family man, but also a wastrel. Actually liked the character.

That's certainly a cool character background. I just don't like to apply it as a general rule. I don't want every significant NPC in the world to have to be a (possibly retired) adventurer. It doesn't fit the real world, where people learn all sorts of things without risking their lives. And it doesn't fit much fantasy literature, where there are plenty of dangerous trained people around. There would also have to be an ton of adventurers around to produce the number of high level characters in a average city.

The rules...

Well, he never actually took up adventuring, that is why he was still level 1 at 50.


As for the city producing high levels, I'd be more worried about truly dangerous border regions. That situation will create people not to mess with.

E.g. an elite palace guard is nice, his kit is shiny, but he would probably be weak compared to a hard old monster hunting ranger of the baddest of badlands. So at times, the cities are where the high levels are at model, falls down. What if a cities elites are mostly decadent lay-abouts? They aren't a garrison of hellknights in a war-torn area. Or a guild of undead hunters deep in vamp lands.


Assign a CR to "surviving an average year of X" and you get some pretty reasonable results. A CR around 1 means average humans will die of old age before reaching level 7 (IIRC). Ivory tower study may be more or less taxing depending on how you view magic. Border city life will almost certainly be higher CR. Etc.

thejeff wrote:
Matthew Morris wrote:


Now you may wonder how it is all sorcerers/wizards/bards/etc all speak the same 'language'. Answer, they don't.

Except they do: The sorcerer or bard can scribe a scroll (assuming they've taken the feat) and a wizard can use that scroll to learn the spell. Also you can recognize with Spellcraft, from the words, gestures and components, what spell is being cast, while it is being cast before seeing the effects.

It's pretty clear, from that, that whoever is casting a spell, the mechanics are pretty much the same. Whatever words and gestures the sorcerer uses to cast the spell are the same as (or at least very close to) the ones a wizard would use.

There's a couple things here. That it requires a feat to scribe scrolls implies you need to learn the intricacies of magical writing (or however you want to flavor it) before you can write it down. Also, it takes a significant skill check (or a spell) to read someone else's scrolls even if you know that spell. That implies that scrolls aren't all that uniform.

Second, you can still identify a still, silent, material-free spell as its being cast. As the devs pointed out, this implies there's more to a spell going off than just those. Also, you have to spellcraft the same spell cast three times in a row. So the words/gestures/etc don't always have to be exactly the same.


Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
MagiMaster wrote:


Assign a CR to "surviving an average year of X" and you get some pretty reasonable results. A CR around 1 means average humans will die of old age before reaching level 7 (IIRC). Ivory tower study may be more or less taxing depending on how you view magic. Border city life will almost certainly be higher CR. Etc.

This is pretty much what I do. NPCs level up over time with more dangerous areas tending to yield higher level characters. I have a chart on yearly events I use for special NPCs. If you've ever played old school Traveller (PC creation) you get the idea.

MagiMaster wrote:


There's a couple things here. That it requires a feat to scribe scrolls implies you need to learn the intricacies of magical writing (or however you want to flavor it) before you can write it down. Also, it takes a significant skill check (or a spell) to read someone else's scrolls even if you know that spell. That implies that scrolls aren't all that uniform.

Second, you can still identify a still, silent, material-free spell as its being cast. As the devs pointed out, this implies there's more to a spell going off than just those. Also, you have to spellcraft the same spell cast three times in a row. So the words/gestures/etc don't always have to be exactly the same.

I'd say the language is the same, the style / accent / dialect may differ. Hence the need for a skill check / spell to read another's scroll. While not uniform, they are close enough to recognize and use.

So there is an extra component to the spell that is identifiable, perhaps because of the elements that are being suppressed / replaced via metamagic. As for needing to use Spellcraft on the same spell three times in a row, the checklist for identifying it is the same each time. If you don't pay attention or mistake an element you are probably expecting a different spell or are simply confused / ignorant of the upcoming spell. I'd argue that they, coming from the same caster, are identicle but are in the style of that specific caster (hence the Spellcraft check to identify it).


I have always seen 1st lvl as an epiphany from an action.

It is usually something elaborate like having to choose to defend your city, to studying in secret to learn that 0 lvl spell..

It just hits you like a lightning bolt, or finally grows on you through time.

.. I dont know guys.. lol


3.5 Loyalist wrote:
Well, he never actually took up adventuring, that is why he was still level 1 at 50.

Yeah, I get that. And it's a fine background.

But I don't like it as an iron-clad rule.

When I want skilled NPCs I don't want to have to figure out if there's been enough fighting in their area to justify them or what heroic quests this particular character went on, especially for the less physical classes. Practice, training, study, why can't that work? Slower, but surer.


On how good someone is by virtue of training and experience, a friend was making a combat system, where your training and gear determined what dice you were rolling, up to d12, but your experience in actual combat determined how many dice of that type you got to roll. Fascinating idea I think.

On this though:
"Practice, training, study, why can't that work? Slower, but surer."

Because it is the easy way to get the levels you want, without risk. It is cheesy for just training to take a char to intermediate levels without real risk and challenge.

Much praise to training for the basics, but where is the hands-on learning of how to really fight and kill a target? Not just drill, and some practiced moves, but to actually use those moves in a war, battle or raid. Deal with fatigue, spells, ambush, traps, monsters, that is what exciting high level chars are made by.

That only applies to melee and combat rogues--hone that sneak attack on many living targets. For spellcasters it might make more sense for study/contemplation/experimentation to level them, but there is no demonstration of heroism here. Work at a desk should not make a char powerful. I spent years in some rooms after 1st level, tucked away safely in retreat, and because of funding I can level up to powerful spells, it'll just take some time is all. What an adventurous spirit.

If spellcasters summon monsters to kill each other as a part of training, now we are talking. This is dangerous training, and since it is high risk it should have high reward. If they can get eaten, they deserve xp, lol.


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If a year of regular life is CR 1, most humans will not see level 7. If a year of training is CR 2, most trained humans will not see level 8 (or if they keep training into old age, maybe level 9), but they'll hit level 2 or 3 faster.

The idea that XP can only be gained in life-threatening experiences undermines a huge variety of possible games (political games, for example). Obviously the system is set up so that such experiences are worth more, but they should not be the only way to gain XP.

Also, if a wizard school has summoning battles, they probably also have the clerics come by to practice their cure spells afterwards.


Political games most certainly can be life and death experiences.

Run what we called the lord's game for years. Lot of death, battles, assassinations, treason, etc.

Shadow Lodge

LazarX wrote:
thejeff wrote:


It would be an interesting dilemma for a king though. Do you send your heir off on adventures and risk losing him or keep him at safe and guarantee he'll be a 1st level incompetent when he inherits?
Princes of the Monarchy of England are required to do military service, especially in times of war. They may not be on the absolute front lines, but they're not outside of rsk.

There's also the fact that combat/adventuring is NOT the only way to gain experience. How else to explain the old archmage who's been shut up in his tower for the past 60 years?


3.5 Loyalist wrote:

Political games most certainly can be life and death experiences.

Run what we called the lord's game for years. Lot of death, battles, assassinations, treason, etc.

My point is there are other ways to gain XP.


3.5 Loyalist wrote:

On how good someone is by virtue of training and experience, a friend was making a combat system, where your training and gear determined what dice you were rolling, up to d12, but your experience in actual combat determined how many dice of that type you got to roll. Fascinating idea I think.

On this though:
"Practice, training, study, why can't that work? Slower, but surer."

Because it is the easy way to get the levels you want, without risk. It is cheesy for just training to take a char to intermediate levels without real risk and challenge.

I don't understand your point. It's cheesy for a GM to make up NPCs at the level he needs them without "risking" them adventuring? You're not playing them up all those levels. It's just backstory.

I'm not suggesting a player should be able to say "No, my character isn't 1st level like the rest of you, he's been studying for years and is starting at 10th." I suppose a player could have his character stay home and study while the rest adventure, but then he's not actually playing!

It might be a problem in a strict sandbox game, where nothing happens if the PCs don't act. Then the whole group could decide to spend years of game-time training and not adventure until they were higher level.
Meh.


Matthew Morris wrote:
stuff about codifying magic and metamagic.

Spoilered for TL;DR and for being a tangent.

The Codification of Arcane Magic:
I actually thought through the process of how wizardry was invented for a campaign that I semi-planned. What probably happened was a low CHA/high INT sorcerer from whatever ancient culture invented writing tried to describe his magical power in some form of written notation. Voila, he is a sorcerer with scribe scroll. Then be probably used his high INT to extrapolate to higher level spells, becoming the first wizard.

The first wizards then traveled the world cataloging all the magic they could find by observing spontaneous spellcasters, divine spellcasters, spell-like abilities of monsters; essentially building up the wizard's spell list. In such a world, the two branches of magic would probably not be called arcane and divine, but scientific and ineffable receptively since the distinction would be that divine spells obviously would not work when this primordial wizard tried to write them into his spellbook.

I actually made a wizard archetype for this, which I can dig up if anyone cares.

Essentially, the spells started out not as wizard spells, but as things that some sorcerers and monsters could do. The idea of a "spell list" only came about after centuries of wizards attempting to formulate and cast every magical ability that they ran across.

How I Imagine Spellbook Based Magic Works:
Being a chemist, who played D&D essentially solely with other chemists during college, I came to an image of how arcane magic works based off of my experience with chemistry. I see all spells that a wizard studies to be like quantum wave-functions in that they are really complicated and you have to do lots of intricate math before you can apply them, but you can ultimately derive them from first principles. Metamagic then works by modifying the original "spell-function", so you have to go back and do all the math again and it probably gets more complicated. The math is what Wizards do every morning when they prepare spells, they basically charge themselves up as spell-completion items.

Totally Dorky. Absolutely, but it actually is a perfect metaphor when you think about it.

Metamagic:

I thought the exact same thing as Matthew Morris when I was reading the Dresden Files, and from what I know of the author he was probably thinking the same thing too.


The whole deal with "Starting as Wizard" vs "Multi-classing into Wizard (or any other trained class)" stems from the fact that all classes take a single level to train in. In the game mechanics, it takes no more effort to learn to rage like a barbarian than it takes to learn the arcane arts of a wizard or the martial arts of a monk. Furthermore, given that longer-lived races take longer to reach adulthood, they learn at a slower rate to get to that first level. Fixes to this issue involve longer-lived races gaining XP at a slower rate and classes costing XP rather than "level" with the studied classes (wizard, monk, cleric, etc) costing more, the intuitive classes (sorcerer, rogue, barb, etc) costing less, and everything else in the middle. Bam, problem solved.


Kazaan wrote:
The whole deal with "Starting as Wizard" vs "Multi-classing into Wizard (or any other trained class)" stems from the fact that all classes take a single level to train in. In the game mechanics, it takes no more effort to learn to rage like a barbarian than it takes to learn the arcane arts of a wizard or the martial arts of a monk. Furthermore, given that longer-lived races take longer to reach adulthood, they learn at a slower rate to get to that first level. Fixes to this issue involve longer-lived races gaining XP at a slower rate and classes costing XP rather than "level" with the studied classes (wizard, monk, cleric, etc) costing more, the intuitive classes (sorcerer, rogue, barb, etc) costing less, and everything else in the middle. Bam, problem solved.

That fixes the problem with feel and throws game balance out the window.


thejeff wrote:
Kazaan wrote:
The whole deal with "Starting as Wizard" vs "Multi-classing into Wizard (or any other trained class)" stems from the fact that all classes take a single level to train in. In the game mechanics, it takes no more effort to learn to rage like a barbarian than it takes to learn the arcane arts of a wizard or the martial arts of a monk. Furthermore, given that longer-lived races take longer to reach adulthood, they learn at a slower rate to get to that first level. Fixes to this issue involve longer-lived races gaining XP at a slower rate and classes costing XP rather than "level" with the studied classes (wizard, monk, cleric, etc) costing more, the intuitive classes (sorcerer, rogue, barb, etc) costing less, and everything else in the middle. Bam, problem solved.
That fixes the problem with feel and throws game balance out the window.

Who ever said that game balance is mutually exclusive with the aforementioned change? As it stands now, they have to try to balance a system where training as a Wizard, Cleric, Monk, etc. takes so much longer and presumably produces a more intensive and powerful class needs to be "balanced" with the guy who picks up a dagger and says, "Ok, now I'm a Rogue". With the system I proposed, Studied classes are more powerful but cost more XP to train in and they can adjust them for game-balance with that principal in mind instead of trying to make Wizards both balanced (for class equality) and OP (to justify being a Wizard) at the same time.

Lantern Lodge

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Pathfinder Adventure Path, Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Kthulhu wrote:


There's also the fact that combat/adventuring is NOT the only way to gain experience. How else to explain the old archmage who's been shut up in his tower for the past 60 years?

If he's an NPC, you don't have to. He's just there. Not any more than you have to explain levels of expert or aristocrat. Adventuring is how PC's gain levels. NPC's are by fiat.


LazarX wrote:
Kthulhu wrote:


There's also the fact that combat/adventuring is NOT the only way to gain experience. How else to explain the old archmage who's been shut up in his tower for the past 60 years?
If he's an NPC, you don't have to. He's just there. Not any more than you have to explain levels of expert or aristocrat. Adventuring is how PC's gain levels. NPC's are by fiat.

That's what I'd say. Though I'd add PC backstory as well, if you're starting a character above 1st level. PCs are NPCs until the game starts.

But some here seem to think differently. People talking about charts to come up with the number of high level NPCs based on the relative danger of different areas.


Kazaan wrote:
thejeff wrote:
Kazaan wrote:
The whole deal with "Starting as Wizard" vs "Multi-classing into Wizard (or any other trained class)" stems from the fact that all classes take a single level to train in. In the game mechanics, it takes no more effort to learn to rage like a barbarian than it takes to learn the arcane arts of a wizard or the martial arts of a monk. Furthermore, given that longer-lived races take longer to reach adulthood, they learn at a slower rate to get to that first level. Fixes to this issue involve longer-lived races gaining XP at a slower rate and classes costing XP rather than "level" with the studied classes (wizard, monk, cleric, etc) costing more, the intuitive classes (sorcerer, rogue, barb, etc) costing less, and everything else in the middle. Bam, problem solved.
That fixes the problem with feel and throws game balance out the window.
Who ever said that game balance is mutually exclusive with the aforementioned change? As it stands now, they have to try to balance a system where training as a Wizard, Cleric, Monk, etc. takes so much longer and presumably produces a more intensive and powerful class needs to be "balanced" with the guy who picks up a dagger and says, "Ok, now I'm a Rogue". With the system I proposed, Studied classes are more powerful but cost more XP to train in and they can adjust them for game-balance with that principal in mind instead of trying to make Wizards both balanced (for class equality) and OP (to justify being a Wizard) at the same time.

I suppose you could restructure the whole system to be balanced that way. I thought you were just proposing tweaking the XP costs of the classes as they stand now. I'm not sure how you balance the long-lived races getting less XP. You'd probably have to keep giving them racial abilities to keep up.

The system certainly isn't set up that way now: Wizard and cleric are powerful, but Monks are on the low end. Sorcerers are, at worst, just behind wizards. Barbarians are arguably better than fighters, etc.


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Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber; Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion, Maps, Modules Subscriber

I allow class level retraining in my campaign. When you level up, you can choose to advance your level in your current class or a new class, or you can choose to not level and change one level of class of your character.

It's how I make sense of how to classify a person before getting their 1st level in a PC class. Everyone is essentially a 1st-level commoner before finishing their training in a PC class, whereupon they switch the commoner level for a PC class level.

Alternatively, I remember reading some rules for 0-level classes in some magazine or other. You can use that concept for pre-1st-level existence of character.

Shadow Lodge

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In 2E, there were actually mechanics to give thieves XP for thieving and being sneaky, spellcasters for casting spells and doing spell research, and EXTRA XP for fighters who fought threats single-handedly.


I have been considering trying those rules out again. Thieves levelled fast because of the gp=xp rule.

I played a rogue like an old 2nd ed thief recently and hit a wall. Tried to pick pockets and engage in small crimes, didn't get much, dm was incredibly stingy with gp and xp. Pushed into a combat rogue role even though the char wasn't built for that. Sigh.


3.5 Loyalist wrote:

I have been considering trying those rules out again. Thieves levelled fast because of the gp=xp rule.

I played a rogue like an old 2nd ed thief recently and hit a wall. Tried to pick pockets and engage in small crimes, didn't get much, dm was incredibly stingy with gp and xp. Pushed into a combat rogue role even though the char wasn't built for that. Sigh.

That's a GM problem, not a rules problem. Thefts should have CRs just like any other encounters and you should be able to get both experience and loot based on that.

More commonly, it doesn't work well because the rest of the players are more interested in the combat than in the rogue going off alone and stealing stuff. An all "thief" campaign could work, if all the players were on board. Not all rogue builds, but everyone designed to play a role in that.

I'm not sure about 2nd edition, but I remember the frustration with leveling thieves in 1E: You needed more gold for training than for experience, at least at low levels. At least 1500gp/level to pay for training, but only 1250 xp to hit second level. And every one of those gp counted as xp.

Shadow Lodge

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3.5 Loyalist wrote:

I have been considering trying those rules out again. Thieves levelled fast because of the gp=xp rule.

I played a rogue like an old 2nd ed thief recently and hit a wall. Tried to pick pockets and engage in small crimes, didn't get much, dm was incredibly stingy with gp and xp. Pushed into a combat rogue role even though the char wasn't built for that. Sigh.

Yeah, the thief rules were a bit insane. 10 or 100 gp value to 1 XP would be a lot more sane.

Silver Crusade

bookrat wrote:

Some people just get things naturally, with no training at all. My wife is unbelievably good at understanding complex topics in chemistry without studying at all, while I have spent hours upon hours of studying the same topics to start to get close to the same level as her.

I view sorcs and wizards in a similar fashion.

Oh, oh, that's me in relation to Quantum Mechanics!! *raises hand* I inherently understand Quantum Mechanics and the laws that govern them. Took me a couple of minutes to finally understand the Law of Attraction and how it actually works!

A 1st level character is trained to handle a situation with extraordinary abilities and skills. A commoner can usually put the pointed end of a stick into something with hardly any training. But it takes training to master a sword and a shield. A Fighter is a martial artist.

RPG Superstar 2009 Top 32, 2010 Top 8

Saint Caleth wrote:
Matthew Morris wrote:
stuff about codifying magic and metamagic.

Spoilered for TL;DR and for being a tangent.

** spoiler omitted **

** spoiler omitted **...

more spoilerage.

Prepared casters and the memory palace.
Spoiler:
For Arcane prepared casters, I see the memorized spells as a 'memory palace'
You start with the rooms in the basement. Small, cramped but durable. When a caster memorizes cantrips, think of it as arranging furniture in the room to allow the energy to go through. This room is acid splash and that room is prestidigitation The flow of energy through those rooms are weak enough to not move the furniture, instead it is able to withstand flow after flow, casting after casting.
Starting the 'next floor up' are the real spells. Here again, memorizing a spell is a matter of filling up the 'room' with furniture that will channel the energy into the spell. The difference here is that, barring special training, the wash of energy through the room does disturb the furniture enough that trying to spend more energy in that 'room' won't do anything, or at least nothing controllable. For a wizard or magus, it's their spell book is like a room layout plan, a witch's familiar tells her where to put the couch, the love seat etc to get the spell they want.

From first level spells we continue to move 'upwards' to second, third, etc etc. The furniture required for a second level spell won't (again normally) fit in the rooms on the 'first floor'. The furniture from a lower floor (a lower level spell) will fit into a bigger room (higher level spell slot) but it can't withstand the flow of energy any better. In essence, the spell uses all the 'juice' of that room, but doesn't do anything extra.

In this concept, metamagic is extra accessories put into a room to take advantage of that extra energy to augment the spell.

How prepared casters see spontaneous casters' 'memory palace'

Spoiler:
We all try to put things in terms we understand. To a prepared caster's mind, a spontaneous caster's ability also requires a memory palace. It is a smaller castle, where are the rooms have their furniture bolted to the floor, so that they can send power through that room multiple times to generate the same effect, in exchange the furniture cannot be easily removed. Where a prepared caster can place a metamagic feat in a 'room' the spontaneous caster mentally holds it in front of the door, sending the energy through it to focus the excess energy into the metamagic's 'shape' This is much harder to do than simply add it to the room, thus the full round casting time.

Spontaneous casters on the other hand can think it's all bunk.

Spoiler:
While spontaneous casters of a more scholarly bent (ala, the sage bloodline) might understand the concept of the 'memory palace' as a whole they don't use it. Most don't care. A magus might meticulously explain the palace concept to a martially focused bard, only to have the bard shrug and tell him that he knows if he starts a kata, then his muscle memory will have his body move to that pattern and with the release of a kia, the spell goes off. A witch may explain to a sorcerer how the spell is arranged in her mind, and the sorcerer simply shrugs and says “It's in the blood.” Remember, there's no requirement for a sorcerer to have spellcraft or knowledge arcana. They don't need to know how their spells work, they just do. (The wizard can do the same but he's really hampering himself, and since they start with 'scribe scroll' it's strongly implied that the 'average' wizard is assumed to learn at least some magical theory.)

Just wondering with your world building Saint Caleth. Do you think the first wizards were low cha/high int sorcerers, or, with the introduction of the sage blood line it went Cha Sorcerers, Int Sorcerers, Int Wizards?


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Roleplaying Game Subscriber

Just because the Sorcerer has innate magical abilities doesn't mean they had no training. The sorcerer would spend just as much time figuring out their bloodline as wizard does learning to cast spells.


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3.5 Loyalist wrote:
dire lions on horse with jarids

A DIRE LION on a HORSE WITH JARIDS? Now THAT is worthy prey!


voska66 wrote:
Just because the Sorcerer has innate magical abilities doesn't mean they had no training. The sorcerer would spend just as much time figuring out their bloodline as wizard does learning to cast spells.

The random staring age table seems to indicate that sorcerers get to "master" their 1st level much sooner than wizards, but your point is still valid; wizards aren't the only one requiring years of training, whether that training is institutionalized or self-mentored.


Matthew Morris wrote:
Saint Caleth wrote:
Matthew Morris wrote:
stuff about codifying magic and metamagic.

Spoilered for TL;DR and for being a tangent.

** spoiler omitted **

** spoiler omitted **...

more spoilerage.

Prepared casters and the memory palace.
** spoiler omitted **

How prepared casters see spontaneous casters' 'memory palace'
** spoiler omitted **...

Just wondering with your world building Saint Caleth. Do you think the first wizards were low cha/high int sorcerers, or, with the introduction of the sage blood line it went Cha Sorcerers, Int Sorcerers, Int Wizards?

History of Magic in the Old World:

The first person to prepare arcane spells from a spellbook would have been a (non-sage) sorcerer with a higher INT than CHA. The fact that he was a mediocre sorcerer would have spured him to try to study his power and see how he would increase it. Thus he became a Sor 1/Wiz X. Later on, some sage-bloodline sorcerers might have studied magical theory and helped add spells to the wizard spell list by transcribing their own known spells so hat wizards could learn them.

Basically I looked at where arcane power would have evolved (ie Sorcerers and monsters with spell-like abilities) and thought of how those powers would have been written down and codified into spells.


Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
thejeff wrote:


It might be a problem in a strict sandbox game, where nothing happens if the PCs don't act. Then the whole group could decide to spend years of game-time training and not adventure until they were higher level.
Meh.

In a sandbox game things happen, the world is living. Things happen with or without PCs. It's not a "path" that is motivated solely by PC actions or the lack there of. PCs could decide to hang out and study in my game, but the advancement is much slower than adventuring. And pretty boring :)


In my setting, wizards came first. They invented magic, thereby allowing the possibility for sorcerers to exist. Also, sorcerers train as much as wizards. They just do it differently.

Osirion

Saint Caleth wrote:
History of Magic in the Old World

Loving this whole digression going on here!

Since way back, 1st or 2nd edition-ish, my gaming group had the notion, perhaps inspired by something introduced in Al-Qadim, that 'magic' was the leftover tools of creation itself, having been developed by the gods to create the universe, and everything in it (and, when necessary, to alter, transform, move around or destroy stuff that wasn't created perfectly on the first go). Every 'spell' represented a specific 'tool,' used by the gods, to create fire here, or shape stone there, or cause trees to grow, or to make the earth shake to tumble down a mountain. The words and gestures were the activation sequences for each 'tool,' and the first spell users were genies and outsiders who had been granted access to this toolset or that, for their own duties, followed by the occasional magical beast that ended up with one trick of their own (like a blink dog) or figuring out / acquiring access to an assortment of related tricks (like dryads).

Once the concept of the sorcerer was added to the mix, with the dawn of 3rd edition, I felt that the sorcerers would have started first, springing up mostly by accident (like magical beasts), and starting out with A Spell for Chameleon-like limitation of casting one spell, ever. Through great effort, young sorcerers who happened to have crappy or overspecialized spells began to study the more useful spells of rivals or peers, and learned to master them as well, becoming the first real sorcerers (and not just one-spell 'magical mutants').

Not everyone was born with the gift of sorcery, however, and just as some of the first sorcerers had enviously studied the gifts of those who 'got better spells,' some of the 'un-gifted' also were studying sorcerers as a whole, and codifying what they were doing and what they were saying, and what sorts of results they were getting. In some cases, material components were needed to be expended to unlock the flow of energies that the sorcerers could invoke through the power of the blood, and in some cases, studiously mastering the 'spell' was sufficient.

In any case, what started out as a pet theory explaining where a Shair's gen got those spells he was sent out to fetch ended up serving as our default explanation for 'where the magic came from.'

Set wrote:
Umbral Reaver wrote:
I could see a sausage-maker becoming a very interesting alchemist. Making potions? No! Making bratwurst of bear's endurance! Instead of bandoliers of vials, he wears strings of sausages.
Mmm. That sounds even tastier than the Cayden-worshipping beer-alchemist!

After careful consideration, I don't want to know how the sausage-making alchemists bombs work. Does he have to eat a sausage and then drop trou to make a bomb?


Set wrote:
Set wrote:
Umbral Reaver wrote:
I could see a sausage-maker becoming a very interesting alchemist. Making potions? No! Making bratwurst of bear's endurance! Instead of bandoliers of vials, he wears strings of sausages.
Mmm. That sounds even tastier than the Cayden-worshipping beer-alchemist!

After careful consideration, I don't want to know how the sausage-making alchemists bombs work. Does he have to eat a sausage and then drop trou to make a bomb?

I just imagined a sausage making alchemist wearing a kilt.


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Set wrote:
Saint Caleth wrote:
History of Magic in the Old World
Loving this whole digression going on here!

More about the history of Wizards:
Before the invention of magical theory (basically INT-based spellcasting and the Spellcraft skill), there probably would have been no recognition that one sorcerer's magic missile was basically the same as another sorcerer's since it would be reskinned depending on their bloodline and character, etc. (The best magic missile reskin was a sorcerer whose magic missiles were little purple hands that flew out and slapped people.) Witches were actually the first prepared arcane casters, but it is still innate to their familiar, and a witch does not need written scrolls to learn spells necessarily as they can learn from other familiars. I imagine a whole lot of blood transcription was going on in prehistoric and proto-historic times.

It was only when wizards began observing the casting of sorcerers that they realized that the little slapping hands, or a boreal sorcerer's spectral icicles or whatever were essentially the same thing. They then gave that magical effect the name magic missile. They also would have found out that there were certain things that they could not get to work no matter how they tried, thus discovering divine magic, and as I pointed out, in at least some languages in my setting, divine magic is called ineffable magic since it was the magic that the wizards could not make work into their theories. They would have also noticed, however, that a cleric's prayer for strength was the same thing as an arcane Bull's Strength. The they would have discovered that they could ultimately do just about the same range of things as sorcerers could collectively, thus discovering the Sorcerer/Wizard spell list.

Most of my worldbuilding on this topic focuses on the first generations of wizards who dedicated their lives to finding all the magic they could and codifying it so that it could be shared with other wizards, basically building up their spell list from scratch. The only downside being that since it was the bronze age, their spellbooks were huge boxes of cuneiform tablets. I even made an archetype of this early wizardly librarian which I can try to dig up if you want.

This is the in-character justification for why your character knows the names of spells with a spellcraft check, and also how you know what is on your spell list when it comes time to level up. I always find it unnecessary and tedious when a DM insists that your wizard, presumably highly educated in an established magical tradition, needs to make spellcraft checks to know that they can take something as one of their free spells.


Pathfinder Maps, Roleplaying Game Subscriber

Ok, I'm confused.

Why do people keep harping on Sorcerers using 'the same words, gestures, and components' as wizards? You all have read the class right? Eschew Materials means a sorcerer doesn't need a spell component pouch.

Anyway, my $0.02 on underage sorcerers manifesting powers before they hit level 1 fully.

It's not like a light switch, even though the game treats it that way. SKR put out a nice little document on how to level up more organically (at 25%/50%/75%/100% of the way between levels, you pick BAB, Saves, HD, or Powers) that works much better to simulate natural leveling, but I haven't had a group that wants to use it before.

Honestly, I'd have no issues with a 'child sorcerer' manifesting cantrips by accident. They're very minor spells, and are at-will for a full time sorcerer. I'd be perfectly fine with some 12yo sorcerer to be spontaneously manifesting disrupt undead when he's cornered by skelingtons...

Shadow Lodge

mdt wrote:

Ok, I'm confused.

Why do people keep harping on Sorcerers using 'the same words, gestures, and components' as wizards? You all have read the class right? Eschew Materials means a sorcerer doesn't need a spell component pouch.

Because "components" don't just mean material components?


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Cards, Companion, Maps, Modules, Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Quote:
Why do people keep harping on Sorcerers using 'the same words, gestures, and components' as wizards? You all have read the class right? Eschew Materials means a sorcerer doesn't need a spell component pouch.

Well, because "Eschew Materials" only means avoiding material components. The verbal and somatic components of a spell remain.

(Just as an aside, our group works with the idea that "Eschew Components" is stock-standard for all spellcasters. Pug/Milamber didn't mess about with bat crap and rose petals at the Imperial Games, dammit!! :) :) )


mdt wrote:

Ok, I'm confused.

Why do people keep harping on Sorcerers using 'the same words, gestures, and components' as wizards? You all have read the class right? Eschew Materials means a sorcerer doesn't need a spell component pouch.

Actually, because I forgot about it. Strike the words "and components" anywhere I used them.

I don't think it changes the argument much, though it makes intuitive child sorcerer stuff easier.


Umbral Reaver wrote:
In my setting, wizards came first. They invented magic, thereby allowing the possibility for sorcerers to exist. Also, sorcerers train as much as wizards. They just do it differently.

Wouldn't the spawn of the union between a humanoid and something else have created the first sorcerer? Bloodlines and connections to magical beasts/undead/outsiders and all that?

So grand pappy could do that normally, it seems you can cause effects like that as well even though you aren't a giant infernal ooze.

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