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So no current prepared casters.


Starfinder General Discussion

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So as of now, there are only spontaneous casters, no prepared ones. What do you guys think of that?

Personally, I'm 50/50 on the subject. I think it definitely feels more genre-accurate as I can't think of any established popular scifi characters with that style of magic, with spontaneous casting being far more in line-you have abilities you can use, but only until you exhaust your abilities.

On the other hand though, I feel having them eventually is something that will happen. This is the world of pathfinder, even though the game is different. Someone out there will try to use magic the way wizards of old did. Sure it may not be perfect, but it's likely to happen. Personally, I'm surprised the Technomancer isn't one, as having a datafile of spells to chose from fits as an evolution of pathfinder. Plus it's odd that they left out out of the Core rulebook. What about you guys?

(Also, lets get the themes thread back on track)


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Pathfinder Starfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

I think the trend is moving away from "prepared" casters overall - the Arcanist was essentially an experiment to see what Wizards would look like as "spontaneous" casters, I believe, and even 5e D&D made everyone a sort of spontaneous caster and it worked pretty well. While i don't have access to the rules, might the Mystic and Technomancer work similarly to Arcanists, and make prep casters unneeded?


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Vancian casting was always a very idiosyncratic Dungeons & Dragons thing, copied from a now almost forgotten series of novels. Gandalf never had to preper spell. Niether did Harry Potter. Niether did Doctor Strange. Niether did Adam Warlock. Niether did Obi Wan Kenobi.

I say good riddance to a non-sensical holdover from the 1970s.

Dark Archive

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Pathfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Society Roleplaying Guild Subscriber
Quote:
I say good riddance to a non-sensical holdover from the 1970s.

No more nonsensical than any other magic mechanics system, and from a gameplay point of view, WAY easier to balance than things like spell points or just rolling to cast.


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I was never a huge fan of prepared casters so I'm down for it.


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YogoZuno wrote:
WAY easier to balance than things like spell points or just rolling to cast.

Prepared casters are easy to balance? That hasn't been my experience in Pathfinder, or any version of D&D...


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YogoZuno wrote:
Quote:
I say good riddance to a non-sensical holdover from the 1970s.
No more nonsensical than any other magic mechanics system, and from a gameplay point of view, WAY easier to balance than things like spell points or just rolling to cast.

Prepared casters are the most imbalanced spellcasting subsystem ever published for 3.x.

Point-based systems tend to have far fewer balance issues.


2 people marked this as a favorite.
YogoZuno wrote:
Quote:
I say good riddance to a non-sensical holdover from the 1970s.
No more nonsensical than any other magic mechanics system, and from a gameplay point of view, WAY easier to balance than things like spell points or just rolling to cast.

I agree that it is "no more nonsensical" but you will have to justify the claim that it is any easier to balance than other systems, because I just don't see it.

Vancian casting was the system used by D&D. Fair enough. But Starfinder isn't D&D, so it's up to supporters of vancian casting to make a case for why why Starfinder should copy that particular system.


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Pathfinder Starfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
Mashallah wrote:
YogoZuno wrote:
Quote:
I say good riddance to a non-sensical holdover from the 1970s.
No more nonsensical than any other magic mechanics system, and from a gameplay point of view, WAY easier to balance than things like spell points or just rolling to cast.

Prepared casters are the most imbalanced spellcasting subsystem ever published for 3.x.

Point-based systems tend to have far fewer balance issues.

I differ with that, because my experience on point-based has been negative (3e style psionics for example was FAR too easy to go nova and perform the equivalent of "spamming" max-level spells in a combat, which a prep caster could not do). Honestly, ANY magic system is going to be hard to balance because magic by definition breaks things, especially game physics.


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I'd like if it gets added to the game, sooner or later, but it should be a niche option. Maybe an archetype, to satisfy the planners and DnD veterans.

That's from a design and mechanics perspective - flavor for a magic system can always be made up. Prepared casting could be presented as saving magical energy in catalysts, like a PF alchemist does - it needs too much time to do it in combat, so you do it in the morning.


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ENHenry wrote:
Mashallah wrote:
YogoZuno wrote:
Quote:
I say good riddance to a non-sensical holdover from the 1970s.
No more nonsensical than any other magic mechanics system, and from a gameplay point of view, WAY easier to balance than things like spell points or just rolling to cast.

Prepared casters are the most imbalanced spellcasting subsystem ever published for 3.x.

Point-based systems tend to have far fewer balance issues.

I differ with that, because my experience on point-based has been negative (3e style psionics for example was FAR too easy to go nova and perform the equivalent of "spamming" max-level spells in a combat, which a prep caster could not do). Honestly, ANY magic system is going to be hard to balance because magic by definition breaks things, especially game physics.

That's less about systems and more about individual spells and often individual mechanics. 3.5 and dreamscarred press style psionics is far better with relatively minor changes.

Point pool based casting is also much more wieldly and accessible to newer players.


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Pathfinder Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

I am biased against prepared casters, i will at least admit that before posting my thoughts.

- It does not fit well with the themes of science fiction, as a trope it feels very archaic, Merlin hunched over a giant book and memorizing spells by candle light. It feels more like memorizing a phrase in a foreign language so that you can repeat it once or twice but you dont actually speak the language and will forget the phrases you studied. One of the underlying aspects i expect in a science fiction/fantasy setting is a greater level of education and understanding of basically everything that people have had a chance to study. Even if a subject hasnt been mastered yet i would expect a scientific approach and a somewhat understood mechanic, more than just "repated this phrase to make the thing happen".

- Spontaneous casters are better but i still would prefer another system. It can at least be manifest and repeatable powers, even if the source or means arent understood.

- I like Point based systems or roll a check to cast systems to better represent a... fluid i guess... approach to magic. The idea that the caster has some reserve of power and creating greater effects is more difficult or taxing but that they are otherwise free to expend their power however they want to, tons of low powered effects, burn lots of power to increase an otherwise weak effect or burn hot to create something that is innately powerful.

- I have seen some justifications for prepared casting that worked in their settings, i think it was Dragon Lance where they described prepared casters as sort of "holding the charge" when the caster first prepares a spell they are actually casting that spell but they leave off the last part, this means they have dedicating some portion of their will to maintaining a spell. I vaguely remember Raistlin describing it as champagne bubbles in his blood that he is holding in until he unleashes the final word and the spell is cast. With a setting like that where spells actually take several minutes to cast and you can only hold so many because they are all eating up a portion of your internal reserves, i like it and it makes sense. but that is a very different vibe than Pathfinder has ever used to explain its magic.

- I mentioned else where that i could get on board with a setting justified prepared caster. My first thought on a caster like this would be a "bullet caster" whose spells are partially cast into bullets and each bullet has a different effect in it that is completed with the bullet is fired. This could work for offensive, defensive, control, all kinds of ideas. Imagine a Create Pit effect in a bullet, you shoot the ground and it creates a massive crater with jagged shards in it. Or a bullet that when fired smnoke swirls from the barrel creating a bank of fog or blurring mist around you. the balance to that being that you have to prepare all of your spell bullets ahead of time. You would probably need a single shot or revolver kind of weapon that would let you quickly pick the exact bullet you need.


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I think vancian casting as a whole is a b+*~+%&+ system that never made sense to me, prepared casting even moreso.

I'm really happy that prepared casting is gone, now if only they'd've gotten rid of leveled spell slots as well.

Paizo Employee Designer

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ENHenry wrote:
Mashallah wrote:
YogoZuno wrote:
Quote:
I say good riddance to a non-sensical holdover from the 1970s.
No more nonsensical than any other magic mechanics system, and from a gameplay point of view, WAY easier to balance than things like spell points or just rolling to cast.

Prepared casters are the most imbalanced spellcasting subsystem ever published for 3.x.

Point-based systems tend to have far fewer balance issues.

I differ with that, because my experience on point-based has been negative (3e style psionics for example was FAR too easy to go nova and perform the equivalent of "spamming" max-level spells in a combat, which a prep caster could not do). Honestly, ANY magic system is going to be hard to balance because magic by definition breaks things, especially game physics.

Personal opinion time: I think 3.5 psionics was more balanced overall (if you used it without magic, instead of as an add-on) than 3.5 regular casters, but I do think that inherently all things being equal, slot-based casting would be easier to balance. It comes down to the differences in individual expression that Tark mentions in a later post. The main reason 3.5 psionics was more balanced was auto-scaling spells. 3.5 psionics usually required a greater investment to get a greater effect from a spell, but slot-based casting didn't. To use AC for an example, this leads to spells like barkskin, where 2nd-level slots are eventually creating an incredibly powerful effect (will you spend 50,000 gp for a +5 amulet of natural armor or 4,000 gp for a pearl of power II and 120 minutes of the same benefit?) that casters would have easily cast in a higher slot (my Jade Regent group did use 3rd-level slots to prepare more barkskins so they could have it up on everyone in the party), whereas psionic characters have to pay more power points to gain extra AC from their powers (does it perhaps scale a bit too high at the high end if you have several active for a high cost at once? Perhaps, but you paid a heavy price for it, and it's self-only, rather than some low-level slots to give +5 to the whole group). Because of this effect (not just for AC, that's just one example), a higher-level slot-based caster with good knowledge of the options available can pull off a bunch of undercosted effects that add up to more than the psionic character over the day, even if the psionic character novas harder and casts top-level powers, running out of points quickly. But that's not an inherent truth about all point-based vs slot-based systems. You could easily create a point-based system that doesn't require an increased cost to get better effects from the lower level spells (consider just converting Pathfinder's casters to a spell point system with the same costs per spell level as psionic powers, but with no changes in the spells) that would be even less predictable/easy to balance than the current magic system (keeping all the problem spells but now allowing more flexible casts and in some cases extreme spam of them with their low cost out of a large pool, as opposed to novaing), or a psionic system that used spell slots but still required augment costs that was even more predictable/easier to balance the current psionics system (keeps the costed scaling, but can't nova, so more predictably only has a certain number of big guns without running dry completely and demanding a rest).

In basic summary, slot-based systems are more predictable and easier to balance around than point-based all else being equal, but those benefits can wind up being outweighed by specifics of each system.


I give my group maybe a 15% chance of even noticing the absence of prepared casting, buried under all the other mechanics and thematic changes coming with Starfinder. Personally, I'm okay with it. Coupled with the merging of arcane & divine magic, this really paints a picture of a system where magic is no longer the be-all-end-all, but one tool among many.

"Magic vs. tech" is the new "arcane vs. divine". That's what I'm seeing, at least, and from that viewpoint the elimination of prepared casters (at least for now) is a reduction of unnecessary complexity, not a reduction of player choice.


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Pathfinder Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Mark Seifter wrote:
ENHenry wrote:
Mashallah wrote:
YogoZuno wrote:
Quote:
I say good riddance to a non-sensical holdover from the 1970s.
No more nonsensical than any other magic mechanics system, and from a gameplay point of view, WAY easier to balance than things like spell points or just rolling to cast.

Prepared casters are the most imbalanced spellcasting subsystem ever published for 3.x.

Point-based systems tend to have far fewer balance issues.

I differ with that, because my experience on point-based has been negative (3e style psionics for example was FAR too easy to go nova and perform the equivalent of "spamming" max-level spells in a combat, which a prep caster could not do). Honestly, ANY magic system is going to be hard to balance because magic by definition breaks things, especially game physics.

Personal opinion time: I think 3.5 psionics was more balanced overall (if you used it without magic, instead of as an add-on) than 3.5 regular casters, but I do think that inherently all things being equal, slot-based casting would be easier to balance. It comes down to the differences in individual expression that Tark mentions in a later post. The main reason 3.5 psionics was more balanced was auto-scaling spells. 3.5 psionics usually required a greater investment to get a greater effect from a spell, but slot-based casting didn't. To use AC for an example, this leads to spells like barkskin, where 2nd-level slots are eventually creating an incredibly powerful effect (will you spend 50,000 gp for a +5 amulet of natural armor or 4,000 gp for a pearl of power II and 120 minutes of the same benefit?) that casters would have easily cast in a higher slot (my Jade Regent group did use 3rd-level slots to prepare more barkskins so they could have it up on everyone in the party), whereas psionic characters have to pay more power points to gain extra AC from their powers (does it perhaps scale a bit too high at the high end if you have several active for a high...

So, do you have a newsletter i could subscribe too or some webinars on game theory perhaps?

Paizo Employee Designer

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Torbyne wrote:
So, do you have a newsletter i could subscribe too or some webinars on game theory perhaps?

That could be fun. I wonder if enough people would be interested in that, then I'd have to look into how to set it up.


Mark Seifter wrote:
ENHenry wrote:
Mashallah wrote:
YogoZuno wrote:
Quote:
I say good riddance to a non-sensical holdover from the 1970s.
No more nonsensical than any other magic mechanics system, and from a gameplay point of view, WAY easier to balance than things like spell points or just rolling to cast.

Prepared casters are the most imbalanced spellcasting subsystem ever published for 3.x.

Point-based systems tend to have far fewer balance issues.

I differ with that, because my experience on point-based has been negative (3e style psionics for example was FAR too easy to go nova and perform the equivalent of "spamming" max-level spells in a combat, which a prep caster could not do). Honestly, ANY magic system is going to be hard to balance because magic by definition breaks things, especially game physics.

Personal opinion time: I think 3.5 psionics was more balanced overall (if you used it without magic, instead of as an add-on) than 3.5 regular casters, but I do think that inherently all things being equal, slot-based casting would be easier to balance. It comes down to the differences in individual expression that Tark mentions in a later post. The main reason 3.5 psionics was more balanced was auto-scaling spells. 3.5 psionics usually required a greater investment to get a greater effect from a spell, but slot-based casting didn't. To use AC for an example, this leads to spells like barkskin, where 2nd-level slots are eventually creating an incredibly powerful effect (will you spend 50,000 gp for a +5 amulet of natural armor or 4,000 gp for a pearl of power II and 120 minutes of the same benefit?) that casters would have easily cast in a higher slot (my Jade Regent group did use 3rd-level slots to prepare more barkskins so they could have it up on everyone in the party), whereas psionic characters have to pay more power points to gain extra AC from their powers (does it perhaps scale a bit too high at the high end if you have several active for a high...

I'd like to point out that, on one hand, the system you described isn't very different from 3.5 psionics in the first place, making the balance benefits fairly low, while point-based systems are significantly more intuitive and user-friendly by their nature, thus giving them a relevant advantage.


Mark Seifter wrote:
ENHenry wrote:
Mashallah wrote:
YogoZuno wrote:
Quote:
I say good riddance to a non-sensical holdover from the 1970s.
No more nonsensical than any other magic mechanics system, and from a gameplay point of view, WAY easier to balance than things like spell points or just rolling to cast.

Prepared casters are the most imbalanced spellcasting subsystem ever published for 3.x.

Point-based systems tend to have far fewer balance issues.

I differ with that, because my experience on point-based has been negative (3e style psionics for example was FAR too easy to go nova and perform the equivalent of "spamming" max-level spells in a combat, which a prep caster could not do). Honestly, ANY magic system is going to be hard to balance because magic by definition breaks things, especially game physics.

Personal opinion time: I think 3.5 psionics was more balanced overall (if you used it without magic, instead of as an add-on) than 3.5 regular casters, but I do think that inherently all things being equal, slot-based casting would be easier to balance. It comes down to the differences in individual expression that Tark mentions in a later post. The main reason 3.5 psionics was more balanced was auto-scaling spells. 3.5 psionics usually required a greater investment to get a greater effect from a spell, but slot-based casting didn't. To use AC for an example, this leads to spells like barkskin, where 2nd-level slots are eventually creating an incredibly powerful effect (will you spend 50,000 gp for a +5 amulet of natural armor or 4,000 gp for a pearl of power II and 120 minutes of the same benefit?) that casters would have easily cast in a higher slot (my Jade Regent group did use 3rd-level slots to prepare more barkskins so they could have it up on everyone in the party), whereas psionic characters have to pay more power points to gain extra AC from their powers (does it perhaps scale a bit too high at the high end if you have several active for a high...

My experience is similar to this Mark, except I see the effects of the Vancian casting as beneficial to the party a a whole. Low level spell slot become so effective that spell caster share them with everyone, making the party as a whole better. Whoever, those same spell slots generally lack any offensive power.

Conversely, the reason why I think Psionics was a big problem was because they would steal the spot light from the entire party by blowing all their power points in one go (practically). They had very little staying power in comparison to Vancian casters, which exacerbated the problem even worse. The "15 minute adventuring day" with normal spell casters became the 1 encounter adventuring day before the psionic user wanted to rest.

These are extremes, but explain why I absolutely hate Psionics as it was implemented in 3.5.

Paizo Employee Designer

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Mashallah wrote:
I'd like to point out that, on one hand, the system you described isn't very different from 3.5 psionics in the first place, making the balance benefits fairly low, while point-based systems are significantly more intuitive and user-friendly by their nature, thus giving them a relevant advantage.

You can get some relatively big benefits from those relatively small changes, believe it or not (for instance, it would negate the disadvantages Claxon mentions in the next post). The intuitiveness is certainly a plus for point-based, however; I actually almost included it in my big post but felt I was starting to get too long.

In addition to what Claxon points out, the other hidden benefit is that you can work with closer to the changing value of the spell slots more practically in a spell slot system than in a point cost system simply because a point cost system is going to be forced to use a user-friendly formula for the point cost that sacrifices some amount of accuracy in cost comparison by spell level in exchange for the formula being tractable.

Simplicity of point scale vs actual value of spell slot math:
For instance, once we cut away the free spell scaling as proposed especially, higher-level spells in 3.0/3.5/Pathfinder are typically worth a significantly greater than linear amount more than lower level spells (for example, a 9th level spell is generally a lot more valuable than two 5th level spells, but a linear scaling point cost would put two 5ths at a higher value). The actual value of lower level slots compared to higher level slots is hard to measure, but based on the way the common wisdom rates the Mystic Theurge (which is actually much stronger than common wisdom thinks at higher levels due to the free scaling of spells if you choose cleverly, but would be just as bad as the common wisdom thinks if free scaling was removed), it seems clear that not many people would disagree that the value of higher-level spells is higher than linear (that is to say, Mystic Theurges clearly get a significant number more points if you converted all their slots to a point system in line with psionic power points). The issue is that a cost that would actually wind up seeming razor-balanced is probably a quadratic formula and not a simple one like spell level squared (there would need to be a lower than quadratic element to the formula to prevent the 1st and 2nd level spells from costing too tiny a multiplier of higher level spells, and then you'd probably wind up with 4 digit numbers of spell points at higher levels).

In any case, I suppose that point-based systems are only tangentially on topic for a thread about slot-based prepared or spontaneous casting.


Pathfinder Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Claxon wrote:


My experience is similar to this Mark, except I see the effects of the Vancian casting as beneficial to the party a a whole. Low level spell slot become so effective that spell caster share them with everyone, making the party as a whole better. Whoever, those same spell slots generally lack any offensive power.

Conversely, the reason why I think Psionics was a big problem was because they would steal the spot light from the entire party by blowing all their power points in one go (practically). They had very little staying power in comparison to Vancian casters, which exacerbated the problem even worse. The "15 minute adventuring day" with normal spell casters became the 1 encounter adventuring day before the psionic user wanted to rest.

These are extremes, but explain why I absolutely hate Psionics as it was implemented in 3.5.

I think a lot of that comes down to players wanting to nova, and that is a problem with other claseses and systems too (I am specifically calling you out for this every Inquisitor ever!) But another problem i saw a lot was with GMs and Players either ignoring or not understanding the checks and balances in Psionics, the limit of how many points you can spend. After that its really just the player having to do some educated guess work about how many encounters they would have that day. It shouldnt take too many sessions before they realize the average daily encounter rate is greater than one and learn to budget for that.


Pathfinder Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Mark Seifter wrote:
Torbyne wrote:
So, do you have a newsletter i could subscribe too or some webinars on game theory perhaps?
That could be fun. I wonder if enough people would be interested in that, then I'd have to look into how to set it up.

Not to fluff your ego on the subject but I at least would follow your blog, you have a tendency to discuss the theory behind your answers whenever we manage to get you into a conversation and it is genuinely interesting to see.


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Pathfinder Companion, Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Torbyne wrote:
- I have seen some justifications for prepared casting that worked in their settings, i think it was Dragon Lance where they described prepared casters as sort of "holding the charge" when the caster first prepares a spell they are actually casting that spell but they leave off the last part, this means they have dedicating some portion of their will to maintaining a spell. I vaguely remember Raistlin describing it as champagne bubbles in his blood that he is holding in until he unleashes the final word and the spell is cast. With a setting like that where spells actually take several minutes to cast and you can only hold so many because they are all eating up a portion of your internal reserves, i like it and it makes sense. but that is a very different vibe than Pathfinder has ever used to explain its magic.

But that's actually almost exactly how Pathfinder explains its magic...at least for wizards...

Core Rulebook wrote:
Prepared Spell Retention: Once a wizard prepares a spell, it remains in his mind as a nearly cast spell until he uses the prescribed components to complete and trigger it or until he abandons it. Certain other events, such as the effects of magic items or special attacks from monsters, can wipe a prepared spell from a character's mind.

From Preparing Wizard Spells.

So yeah, preparing a spell is casting most of it, then leaving the remainder to be triggered.

That said, I am quite happy that both spellcasting classes are spontaneous, I vastly prefer spontaneous casting over prepared casting, though I am certainly curious as to how the Solarian's abilities work as well. I disliked psionics back in 3.5, simply because I found it an unnecessary hassle having to calculate and track power point expenditure in actual play. I much preferred the binder, as well as the dragonfire adept and warlock's style...and of course, the kineticist in Pathfinder. Though there are third-party magic systems which I am quite fond of...psionics just isn't one of them.


Pathfinder Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Luthorne wrote:
Torbyne wrote:
- I have seen some justifications for prepared casting that worked in their settings, i think it was Dragon Lance where they described prepared casters as sort of "holding the charge" when the caster first prepares a spell they are actually casting that spell but they leave off the last part, this means they have dedicating some portion of their will to maintaining a spell. I vaguely remember Raistlin describing it as champagne bubbles in his blood that he is holding in until he unleashes the final word and the spell is cast. With a setting like that where spells actually take several minutes to cast and you can only hold so many because they are all eating up a portion of your internal reserves, i like it and it makes sense. but that is a very different vibe than Pathfinder has ever used to explain its magic.

But that's actually almost exactly how Pathfinder explains its magic...at least for wizards...

Core Rulebook wrote:
Prepared Spell Retention: Once a wizard prepares a spell, it remains in his mind as a nearly cast spell until he uses the prescribed components to complete and trigger it or until he abandons it. Certain other events, such as the effects of magic items or special attacks from monsters, can wipe a prepared spell from a character's mind.

From Preparing Wizard Spells.

So yeah, preparing a spell is casting most of it, then leaving the remainder to be triggered.

That said, I am quite happy that both spellcasting classes are spontaneous, I vastly prefer spontaneous casting over prepared casting, though I am certainly curious as to how the Solarian's abilities work as well. I disliked psionics back in 3.5, simply because I found it an unnecessary hassle having to calculate and track power point expenditure in actual play. I much preferred the binder, as well as the dragonfire adept and warlock's style...and of course, the kineticist in Pathfinder....

Wow, i completely missed that then. And i am annoyed at the lack of consistency of what magic is in the Pathfinder ruleset since for so many other casters that explanantion just doesnt work :\ Also, yes, i am aware i am trying to apply logic to magic and thus lies madness.

Paizo Employee Designer

4 people marked this as a favorite.
Torbyne wrote:
Mark Seifter wrote:
Torbyne wrote:
So, do you have a newsletter i could subscribe too or some webinars on game theory perhaps?
That could be fun. I wonder if enough people would be interested in that, then I'd have to look into how to set it up.
Not to fluff your ego on the subject but I at least would follow your blog, you have a tendency to discuss the theory behind your answers whenever we manage to get you into a conversation and it is genuinely interesting to see.

I think a little ego fluffing for staff members in general isn't such a bad thing. By which I mean, I think we all have this tendency to apologize for positive statements because they feel like they could be taken as flattery or don't lead to any particular needed change and just not post them (I did the same thing before I worked here, where I felt nervous posting positive statements) but have a much easier time posting negative statements because they feel to us like constructive criticism that could elicit a change towards something we'd like more. The trouble is, when we keep positive statements to ourselves and post negative statements, we wind up with an environment where the empirical evidence coming in tends to make the entire outlook seem more negative than it really is, and that can be demoralizing for creative types even if you have enough confidence to remind yourself that there's all these reasons why you'll always see more negativity in public and positivity in private.


Pathfinder Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

OK, then let me give this a try... *ahem* Thank man, i enjoy the thought you put into your presence on the forums... And the Kineticist is a really fun class, good job on that one :)


Pathfinder Companion, Roleplaying Game Subscriber

Note for the discussion- there are two casters. It's not surprising that they're both the most common caster setup. We haven't been told that there won't be prepared casters or that there won't be full casters. Those can potentially be developed after seeing how Starfinder plays out in the real world.


Pathfinder Companion, Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Torbyne wrote:
Wow, i completely missed that then. And i am annoyed at the lack of consistency of what magic is in the Pathfinder ruleset since for so many other casters that explanantion just doesnt work :\ Also, yes, i am aware i am trying to apply logic to magic and thus lies madness.

Well, the same section says that it works similarly for divine spellcasters, save that they use prayer and meditation and 'receive' spells at a particularly time, as well as at future times by leaving room, so I think divine casters similarly have a pre-packaged 'spell' or magical effect granted to them, either by a deity, or whatever force of nature exists, which I tend to believe might be the soul of the world that the Green Faith believes in, a sort of 'Gaia' type being. Paladins are a bit odd, my mental head canon there is that they actually receive power from their own faith in righteousness and law, which is why they're Charisma-based, rather than Wisdom-based like many divine casters.

Alchemy users like alchemists and investigators, it's pretty obvious why they're prepared, it makes the most sense of prepared casters.

Other arcane prepared casters I think work pretty similarly to the wizard, especially the magus, the witch communes with their patron through their familiar who helps them ritually prepare them, etc.

That said, I just prefer spontaneous casters, some meditation in the morning to regain your magical energy and off you go.

And yeah, Mark, the kineticist is awesome, and it's always good to hear from you!


YogoZuno wrote:
Quote:
I say good riddance to a non-sensical holdover from the 1970s.
No more nonsensical than any other magic mechanics system, and from a gameplay point of view, WAY easier to balance than things like spell points or just rolling to cast.

The "balance" of prepared casting depends a lot of how good or bad the player is at either predicting what they'll need or at adapting what they have to the situation.

I remember one game where we completely misjudged the clues on what was coming up and almost none of my spells were going to be effective. I've also had days where the GM though I had read the module because my choices were so perfect.

Pathfinder wizards getting scribe scroll as a freebie makes it easier, as you can keep lots of niche spells handy. But that has it's drawbacks as well.

The spell point nova issue is based on player expectations that they'll be able to rest frequently without consequences. For some games this works. for others, taking the time to rest will let the bad guys get proactive. A good GM should tell people what his running style is so that people can adapt to it.

Paizo Employee Developer, Starfinder Team

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Mark Seifter wrote:
I think a little ego fluffing for staff members in general isn't such a bad thing. By which I mean, I think we all have this tendency to apologize for positive statements because they feel like they could be taken as flattery or don't lead to any particular needed change and just not post them (I did the same thing before I worked here, where I felt nervous posting positive statements) but have a much easier time posting negative statements because they feel to us like constructive criticism that could elicit a change towards something we'd like more. The trouble is, when we keep positive statements to ourselves and post negative statements, we wind up with an environment where the empirical evidence coming in tends to make the entire outlook seem more negative than it really is, and that can be demoralizing for creative types even if you have enough confidence to remind yourself that there's all these reasons why you'll always see more negativity in public and positivity in private.

Not for nothing, but I would be stunned if a newsletter, blog, website of thoughts, or even Patreon project of yours didn't garner a fair amount of interest.


Pathfinder Companion, Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

Yeah, with an absence of prepared casters - at least to start with - I suspect that whatever fills the niche of wands and scrolls in Starfinder (I think I remember hearing of something that sounded like something along those lines) will wind up being rather popular...even more so if it acts like a page of spell knowledge.


Honestly, I'm hella glad that prepared is out. Just from a gameplay standpoint. It is so much easier to teach somebody to play a Sorcerer than it is to teach somebody to play a Wizard. And so often newbies DO want to play a Wizard. Sure, they're both spellcasters, but they're completely different in flavor, and they might even have read somewhere that "Wizards are superior" to all other classes. Druid and Cleric had much the same problem. Like, they're cool concepts, but hard to inform a new player how to use.

If we want prepared casting, I think it should certainly be an option. Maybe as an archetype? But such a complicated game mechanic should have never been tied to some of the coolest flavor in the game, when there's something significantly simpler to use. You shouldn't have to earn your character flavor by having read the rulebook 20 times to get the system mastery right.

I actually am NOT completely happy with the way spellcasting looks like it works btw, but I'm also aware that the system isn't even out yet. I was very much expecting spells known to be way more chill, like an Arcanist or a 5e caster, where you just pick your spells known each day. Mystics for the same reason Clerics can change out their spells every day, and Technomancers for the fact that it seems like they should be able to learn about new spells all the time, and seem like the class that studies for magic. Like, they have to learn how to do it. They went to space-wikihow and learned a new spell that they can cast. Not just at new level ups, but just learned.

Who knows. Maybe it is more chill than I expect. But right now, spells known and spells per day seem really scary to me.

Scarab Sages

Pathfinder Campaign Setting, Companion, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Roleplaying Guild Subscriber

Prepared casters can really lead to the martial/caster disparity issues in pathfinder, simply because the sheer number of spells known are so huge. If you leave a slot free you can prepare the right spell in minutes. When you're limited in spells known, you don't have the luxury of just preparing a tounges if you need to interact with locals or not bothering with a restoration unless someone takes ability damage.

If you want to have utility or status healing, you need to make sacrifices elsewhere. I really don't want there to be easy access to additional spells known like there is for pathfinder.

And while we're at it, I hope there isn't any metamagic rods. Or if there is make using them cost a resolve point. Free metamagic is a big problem with pathfinder casters.

Liberty's Edge

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Companion, Roleplaying Game Subscriber; Pathfinder Comics Subscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber
Luthorne wrote:
Yeah, with an absence of prepared casters - at least to start with - I suspect that whatever fills the niche of wands and scrolls in Starfinder (I think I remember hearing of something that sounded like something along those lines) will wind up being rather popular...even more so if it acts like a page of spell knowledge.

The Eoxian not-a-lich (I am blanking on the name) from First Contact has a couple of... shards? I think?

Someone who has the book handy go look this up for me and save me from looking like an idiot, please.


Pathfinder Campaign Setting, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Shisumo wrote:
Luthorne wrote:
Yeah, with an absence of prepared casters - at least to start with - I suspect that whatever fills the niche of wands and scrolls in Starfinder (I think I remember hearing of something that sounded like something along those lines) will wind up being rather popular...even more so if it acts like a page of spell knowledge.

The Eoxian not-a-lich (I am blanking on the name) from First Contact has a couple of... shards? I think?

Someone who has the book handy go look this up for me and save me from looking like an idiot, please.

Yeah they have spell gems which I assume are the equivalent of scrolls.


Shisumo wrote:
Luthorne wrote:
Yeah, with an absence of prepared casters - at least to start with - I suspect that whatever fills the niche of wands and scrolls in Starfinder (I think I remember hearing of something that sounded like something along those lines) will wind up being rather popular...even more so if it acts like a page of spell knowledge.

The Eoxian not-a-lich (I am blanking on the name) from First Contact has a couple of... shards? I think?

Someone who has the book handy go look this up for me and save me from looking like an idiot, please.

Spell Gem of Dominate Person and Spell Gem of Teleport. These Spell Gems will likely be vital to playing a spellcaster in Starfinder. Or at least to the way I'll play spellcasters. Hopefully not. I know I'm not supposed to spend the whole day trying to blast without a blaster.


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Lanitril wrote:
Honestly, I'm hella glad that prepared is out. Just from a gameplay standpoint. It is so much easier to teach somebody to play a Sorcerer than it is to teach somebody to play a Wizard.

Agreed. One of my current players is playing an Enchanter Wizard, and it took me about six sessions to realize they really wanted to play a Sorcerer all along. Won't expand their spellbook past spells received at every level, won't leave spell slots open for later in the day, because to do so would be "too confusing". Their play style is still fun and contributory, but I secretly know they would be happier as a sorcerer.

It looks like Starfinder is focusing on "learnability", which is much more important for a new system than it would be for an expansion to a current system. I'm fine with reserving the more complex character concepts for a future installment.


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I've played a magus, and eldritch knight, a magus and an ordained templar, and I'm playing an investigator. I'm not particularly sad at the absence of prepared casters.

That said, I think that C/MD is caused by the spells themselves, not any of the implemented methods of casting them.

Also, I ran the numbers at one point, and I think a 20th level Psion gets as many or more manifests of ML20 powers than a 20th level wizard gets spell slots? Then adhesive the psion gets many fewer powers known.


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Technomancer is actually a class where it makes sense for it to be prepared, and I always find it weird when "Oh look, here is my scholarly mage, but sorry no, I cannot learn the spell that is right in front of me, it is impossible to learn new things.".

Admittedly, I'm also the type of GM who lets fighters learn feats as martial techniques between level ups and uses the downtime rules to let people learn languages between level ups.


Pathfinder Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Milo v3 wrote:

Technomancer is actually a class where it makes sense for it to be prepared, and I always find it weird when "Oh look, here is my scholarly mage, but sorry no, I cannot learn the spell that is right in front of me, it is impossible to learn new things.".

Admittedly, I'm also the type of GM who lets fighters learn feats as martial techniques between level ups and uses the downtime rules to let people learn languages between level ups.

i suppose i could see it as spells are so complex to learn that they take a lot more investment than just downloading them from Spellazon. but do we know for certain that they only learn a fixed number of spells from level up and thats it? they could be more arcanist like in their learning and preparation. Thematically they seem very close to the "magical hacker" theme from that class.

Scarab Sages

Pathfinder Campaign Setting, Companion, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Roleplaying Guild Subscriber

It's been confirmed that both mystic and technomancer use bard/sorcerer style spontaneous casting, not arcanist style casting.


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Pathfinder Companion, Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Milo v3 wrote:

Technomancer is actually a class where it makes sense for it to be prepared, and I always find it weird when "Oh look, here is my scholarly mage, but sorry no, I cannot learn the spell that is right in front of me, it is impossible to learn new things.".

Admittedly, I'm also the type of GM who lets fighters learn feats as martial techniques between level ups and uses the downtime rules to let people learn languages between level ups.

Yeah, I think that's more of something innate to a level-based system, since new levels are the primary method of learning new things. So the technomancer can learn the new spell...it just doesn't come in until you level up. Just like someone can demonstrate a feat to you a bajillion times and you still can't learn it until you have a feat slot, or someone can train you on how to use a skill and you still can't get any better innately (can still buy masterwork tools or magic items) until you level up to spend the skill points. Well, that training is probably part of the experience to level up, but. Yeah, level-based systems have a lot of abstraction when it comes to that kind of thing.


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Milo v3 wrote:

Technomancer is actually a class where it makes sense for it to be prepared, and I always find it weird when "Oh look, here is my scholarly mage, but sorry no, I cannot learn the spell that is right in front of me, it is impossible to learn new things.".

Admittedly, I'm also the type of GM who lets fighters learn feats as martial techniques between level ups and uses the downtime rules to let people learn languages between level ups.

You monster.


Prepared vancian spellcasting is the best there is in Fantasy, dont feel like it add a lot to sci fi.

The hunt for new spells, the negotiation for spells with other wizards, the joy of discovering the unique spells frome the archmage Phandaal...

Phandaal's omnipotent Sphere, The call to the wild cloud, those are the spells you want to be hunting...

So much fluff... so much better the i always cast yonder spell for xx damage...


It would make thematic and mechanical sense to have ports/updates of the Alchemist and Investigator to use in Starfinder. These would need to stay as prepared casters.


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Walter Leeuwen wrote:

Prepared vancian spellcasting is the best there is in Fantasy, dont feel like it add a lot to sci fi.

The hunt for new spells, the negotiation for spells with other wizards, the joy of discovering the unique spells frome the archmage Phandaal...

Phandaal's omnipotent Sphere, The call to the wild cloud, those are the spells you want to be hunting...

So much fluff... so much better the i always cast yonder spell for xx damage...

The Jedi Knight seeking the lost holocron of Master Shon'Lar so they can cure the mysterious mind-plague that's struck down a series of Masters. The cyberneticist seeking out the last copy of the research notes of Dr Noonien Soong so they can upgrade current androids. The Soldier trying to find the last master of the JonWu combat style so they can learn it. The race to find the cure for a bioengineered virus. Searching for a particular bit of knowledge so you can use it is hardly unknown in SF. It should hardly be restricted to spells either.


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I always hated prepared spellcasters and was always kind of happy if I could get a spontaneous alternative.
Just the idea of the character sitting in front of the book, memorizing a spell, using it later and then ...
"I cast a spell now I can't cast that spell anymore"
WTF?


I don't think I've seen a player choose to play a wizard since sorcerers where introduced to the game. Sorcerers are so much easier to play.

Alchemist: I have an idea the mechanic may be somewhat alchemist-like, and fill the hole for players who like to preper for every eventuality before heading out.


Honestly for alchemists. I always wanted a core set of potions that had specific useages and then different levels of it.

FFd20 basically did it what i wanted via the Chemist. just more expanded.


Mark Seifter wrote:
Torbyne wrote:
So, do you have a newsletter i could subscribe too or some webinars on game theory perhaps?
That could be fun. I wonder if enough people would be interested in that, then I'd have to look into how to set it up.

Yes please.

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