Spellcasters willfully gimped? Why?


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I can certainly agree that I feel like the technomancer has more interesting things in class, but maybe the mystic's spell list is a bit stronger in an overall


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Quote:
What would your Mystic spend that on? I honestly think the answer to that will balance out any desire you have to be moderatly better at the shoot-bangs.

That's actually an interesting question. Much of this thread is about how casters should be shooting stuff due to lack of pure spellcasting ability. This is also reflected in the gear available: unless I'm missing something, there are no special magic-enhancing armors and weapons for casters.

So to improve combat effectiveness, a caster would be aiming for the best weapon possible (700K+, multiple types, at endgame) and the best armor possible (900K+, 6 upgrade slots, at endgame). Where Starfinder diverges from many other games with casters, is the casters want the same weapons and armor as non-casters. They'll use them less effectively than physical fighting classes, but there's no other way to upgrade.

If you just want to throw smoke grenades or harry/cover fire, there's no need to think about weapons. Level 1 is all you'll ever need.


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Miri Quickstep wrote:
FiddlersGreen wrote:

Don't get me wrong there is alot I like about Starfinder. I'm even running a Dead Suns campaign.

I do acknowledge that the mystic's spells are nice. I think it is more that spells are a very scarce resource, and also that mystics don't have any mechanic to squeeze more mileage out of their gun, such as the exocortex tracking or even that thing that technomancers do to sacrifice spell slots to boost their attack rolls and damage.

There is a wonderful freedom in this though. With no expectation of being good with guns, you aren't beholden to keep up with the Joneses.

I weep when I look at the gold I will have to spend through my soldier's career to keep her relevant. She uses heavy weapons and just her last 20th level weapon alone is going to cost 722,000. With the other weapons I will need to get throughout to up my damage as I go and the weapon seals I'll need for the creatures that are immune to my guns energy type, I'm expecting a credit sink of 1.2 million.

What would your Mystic spend that on? I honestly think the answer to that will balance out any desire you have to be moderatly better at the shoot-bangs.

There is some freedom indeed, though I do see a need to maintain an at least one up to date ring of resistance seeing as I am one of I think 2 classes that have 2 weak saves, so there's a tax there as well. Personally I intend to be keeping my armor up to date and then focusing on utility tools. Simple reasoning - if I have the worst potential attack bonus then my credits are best spent on items that work the same regardless of my attack bonus.

Since you're using a 20th level projection, here's my projection of how much less utility I am getting out of a long arm at that level. My mystic's highest stat after wisdom will be dexterity. It will also be getting my second-highest augmentation as well. I'm projecting a max WIS of 28 and a max dex of 24. At 24 dex, taking the feats for long arm and spec, as well as weapon focus, I am looking at an attack bonus of +24. Soldier Joe with a 28 dex and 20 BAB and weapon focus will be sitting on a +30 to hit. Way I see it, that means my highest attack bonus would be what Joe's attack bonus would be if he full attacks for 3 attacks - i.e. he's looking at up to 3 times the utility I'm getting out of the same gun, and that's after I've spent 2 feats trying to catch up.

Looking at it from another angle, a vesk-monolith-clad opponent with decent dex is sitting on an AC of 41 or 42. I need to roll a 17 or higher to hit him (20% chance) while Joe hits on an 11 (50% chance). Assuming neither of us full attacks, Joe's chance of hitting is 2.5 times my own. Sure it doesn't start at that degree of disparity - it actually starts out much smaller, but that's the end point, meaning as I gain levels I fall further and further behind and my feats feel more and more 'wasted'. Moreover, and this is the important part, none of my class abilities are gonna help close that gap. Unlike the technomancer who can use his spell slots to fire a few shots as well as a soldier a few times a day (with some extra damage to boot) or a mechanic who can track with his exocortex, if I'm aiming to do damage with my gun I have no option but to hope for the occasional high rolls.

I'm not begrudging Joe his advantage - that's what his class does, and he does it well, good for him - otherwise there would be no point to the soldier class. But at that kind of disparity I'm inclined to think that I'm far more useful trying to make sure he gets to attack rather than trying to attack myself. Sure, ok, I can accept that is what my class is meant to do, and that's my best role in combat. But that still makes it hard to justify to myself the cost of spending on a weapon or the 2 feats to learn to use that weapon. Especially if my end point is (substantially) less than 50% chance to hit.

If we think of the party's credits as a pool of which I get to decide how to spend a portion of, if I'm getting between 33% to 40% of the utility from purchasing that gun compared to Joe, the party's better off leaving the gun-spending part of the budget to Joe while I get the stuff that Joe isn't getting because he got that gun. If I was at least at the 60% mark, I'd still consider it, but as it stands, it doesn't really strike me a worth the cost. My biggest bang-for-cred is by far just using my gun for harassing fire to help Joe hit, which I can do with any cheap gun.

So instead, I'm looking at things like rings of resistance, staff of mystic healing, tiara of translocation, null space chamber and force packs are on my list. Even spare haste circuits strike me as a better use of my creds since it might mean Joe might get to full attack when he otherwise might not be able to. I do also have my eye on the dragon glands since at least that's a damage item that works about equally well on either me or the hypothetical Joe, with a niche of being an AoE attack. I do wish they had more gland variants for the levels between 2, 9 and 17...

But that doesn't change the fact that the metric of the value of my class lies far less in my use of a gun and far more in my use of my spells and connection abilities. I think I'm far better off budgeting to use a few spell crystals each mission than trying to play around with a gun.


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pithica42 wrote:
(Personally, I would have vastly preferred 'space sorcerers' and 'space oracles' and 'space psions', but the position is similar. I really don't want to inherit the 'just play a wizard, they get that ability as a third level spell' trope. But I do want to be able to have the option to play a class who only does magic. I want more fantasy in my space-fantasy.)

Then perhaps Starfinder is the wrong game? The writers specifically pointed out that their aim for the system was to create space opera which was mostly super tech with some magic, as opposed to mostly magic with some tech or super tech and super magic both. It was a specific design choice to ramp back the overall scope of magic and it's effect.

pithica42 wrote:

Changing our base assumptions means we don't get what we want, ever. We're paying for the game, same as everyone else. It's not fair to argue that we should essentially just get over it and change what we want.

(I'm not saying that's what you, personally, were doing here. But that's how a lot of the arguments about full casters feel to those of us that wanted them and keep getting told, essentially, "that's not what you got.")

See I have always had a bad reaction to phrases like 'we are paying for the game and should get what we want'. Because it makes an inference that your money should dictate everything the writers and designers do and they have to take it.

The game designers made a game they thought would sell and they liked and they think is fun. They made it to fulfill a vision they had of what sort of setting they wanted and a system they think would support that while being versatile enough to allow a lot of homebrew. But they are not omniscient and omnipotent. They cannot make a game that can cover all genre's and flavors for all people. GURPS tried and it is hardly one of the top 10 selling systems in the world even all these years later.

IMO the only thing your money buys you is the information they publish. If the game does not do what you want from the concept you have, feel free to look for a system that does it better. Or to homebrew stuff/look for third party support that does what you want for that system.

Don't get me wrong, obviously they (Paizo) want to serve their customers and sell more product so listening to those spending the money is wise. But blanket statements infering 'we're buying the game so we make the decisions' sort of ignores the company and writers themselves and the passion and effort they put in to making what they want to publish.

I mean they get to make what they want and we get to decide to buy it or not. Buying it only reflects that the material they produce is something we think is worth the money. It does not buy you anything other than that.


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Zyrelion wrote:

Reading through this thread and others, it seems like the general advice for combat effectiveness in the non-str/dex primary classes is to get longarm proficiency and dex. Otherwise you'll end up spending most of the fights just missing every round and, other than Envoy, you won't have much of anything else to do.

With the two caster classes (especially Mystic), it's a bit weird because they don't really have hybrid-type class abilities, but players are apparently expected to build them and play them like hybrids.

Considering how character building works in this game it's not difficult to have a two decent score (pro-tip, don't try to start with an 18 in any stats). Having a 16 int/wis and 16 dex is a pretty valid way to start any technomancer or mystic.


FiddlersGreen wrote:
I'm not begrudging Joe his advantage - that's what his class does, and he does it well, good for him - otherwise there would be no point to the soldier class. But at that kind of disparity I'm inclined to think that I'm far more useful trying to make sure he gets to attack rather than trying to attack myself. Sure, ok, I can accept that is what my class is meant to do, and that's my best role in combat. But that still makes it hard to justify to myself the cost of spending on a weapon or the 2 feats to learn to use that weapon. Especially if my end point is (substantially) less than 50% chance to hit.

There is an issue with this, however. You are comparing pc vs pc math, when PCs and monsters use different math now.

Here is some level by level math

As you will see, the Mystic/Technomancer (See the Pistol Dork tab) actually keeps a pretty good chance of hitting the monster at every level.


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I've noticed a pattern that seems to say most people at high levels are expecting lower-leveled enemies to just stop showing up. A single zombie might not be an issue, but a horde of them could still very easily overwhelm a party. And Mystics can have some pretty darn good AoE spells. And nothing is stopping them from picking up some grenades and "casting Explosion" with them.


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Miri Quickstep wrote:

I'm expecting a credit sink of 1.2 million.

What would your Mystic spend that on?

For 1.2 million, I can get 22 spell gems of each level. How many levels is 22 combats?


Alternatively, you can let your weapon lag a level or two and buy some spells gems to make keep up your ability to cast spells throughout the day. Being 1 to 2 levels behind isn't going to cripple you, though your damage may not be as much as others and you can still do a mix of things to contribute.


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Ikiry0 wrote:
FiddlersGreen wrote:
I'm not begrudging Joe his advantage - that's what his class does, and he does it well, good for him - otherwise there would be no point to the soldier class. But at that kind of disparity I'm inclined to think that I'm far more useful trying to make sure he gets to attack rather than trying to attack myself. Sure, ok, I can accept that is what my class is meant to do, and that's my best role in combat. But that still makes it hard to justify to myself the cost of spending on a weapon or the 2 feats to learn to use that weapon. Especially if my end point is (substantially) less than 50% chance to hit.

There is an issue with this, however. You are comparing pc vs pc math, when PCs and monsters use different math now.

Here is some level by level math

As you will see, the Mystic/Technomancer (See the Pistol Dork tab) actually keeps a pretty good chance of hitting the monster at every level.

What this is showing me is that a Technomancer with Harmful Spells is better off firing Magic Missiles from 1st to 20th level than they are full attacking with a small arm. Seems like there's no reason to spend money on upgrading the small arm if its outclassed by a 1st level spell (and if you're worried about running out of spells, 1st level spell gems are cheap!)

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I expect to see full casting classes in a supplement at some point. There's nothing innately overpowered in the 9 level caster chassis - in fact, the weakest 3.5 base class was a 9 level caster. I say bring on the space psorcle. I think the only reason we didn't get one in the core book is page count, not some unknown grand design purpose.

I wouldn't add in prepared casting. I think the game is fine without that. I also absolutely would not simply add 3 spell levels onto the existing lists - 6th level mystic and technomancer spells are balanced to be gained at 16th level, not 12th.

A huge fraction of the spells people complain about in Pathfinder are under 6th level - fly, teleport, speak with dead, scrying, find the path, and so forth. Nobody's complaining that a sorcerer with mage's sword is ruining their game.


ryric wrote:
I expect to see full casting classes in a supplement at some point. There's nothing innately overpowered in the 9 level caster chassis - in fact, the weakest 3.5 base class was a 9 level caster. I say bring on the space psorcle. I think the only reason we didn't get one in the core book is page count, not some unknown grand design purpose.

What would that ADD though that introducing other 6th level casters wouldn't? Beyond introducing more stuff, more powerful stuff to outdo non-spellcasters outside of combat?


I'm pretty happy with the way the Mystic and Technomancer was added in. Some people may prefer the full-casters, but there are rules for transferring the casters of Pathfinder into Starfinder, so I really just don't see what the big deal is.

And before someone else complains that then they won't get armor or any useful weapons... So what? You want a full caster, it's there. Don't complain about not getting tech when what you wanted most was magic.


Prepared casting is stupid, and always has been. What I'd like to see in Starfinder is a class that takes even more steps away from dnd-style casting; we've had examples of this in both dnd and pathfinder, but there are many examples of steps in that direction, including Technomancers, with their ability to fuse spell slots. I want to play a caster who learns a spell and can then simply cast that spell. Other balancing acts can include things like casting a spell hurts the caster in some fashion (damage, hp damage, disease/poison track problems, ability damage, negative conditions - the options are quite broad), all of which I'd rather see than what amounts to a cooldown. I've always hated cooldowns, in any game I've ever played.


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quindraco wrote:
Prepared casting is stupid, and always has been. What I'd like to see in Starfinder is a class that takes even more steps away from dnd-style casting; we've had examples of this in both dnd and pathfinder, but there are many examples of steps in that direction, including Technomancers, with their ability to fuse spell slots. I want to play a caster who learns a spell and can then simply cast that spell. Other balancing acts can include things like casting a spell hurts the caster in some fashion (damage, hp damage, disease/poison track problems, ability damage, negative conditions - the options are quite broad), all of which I'd rather see than what amounts to a cooldown. I've always hated cooldowns, in any game I've ever played.

I do agree with you on that. The whole "spells per day" thing was a sore point to me from the very start of my gaming career. I think Shadowrun does a good job of handling it, where you can technically caste a spell as much as you want, but you run the risk of taking backlash as non-lethal damage. And the more you cast, the more the chances increase until you just go unconscious from it.


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Gilfalas wrote:
Then perhaps Starfinder is the wrong game? The writers specifically pointed out that their aim for the system was to create space opera which was mostly super tech with some magic, as opposed to mostly magic with some tech or super tech and super magic both. It was a specific design choice to ramp back the overall scope of magic and it's effect.

That isn't how they're marketing it.

They're marketing it as Space-Fantasy with a heavy emphasis on how it's Pathfinder (a fantasy game) in the far future. Maybe they said they were ramping back on magic in some blog or forum post, but that's not what they put on the back of the book or any of the marketing material I read before buying it.

Quote:
See I have always had a bad reaction to phrases like 'we are paying for the game and should get what we want'. Because it makes an inference that your money should dictate everything the writers and designers do and they have to take it.

That isn't what I said, nor inferred. It's not that I should 'get what I want', it's that I shouldn't be told that my opinion doesn't matter. My opinion matters just as much as everyone else that bought the game. The repeated insistence, by players, that I should 'get over it' because what I want isn't 'the game they made' feels like you saying, 'I got what I want, nah nah ni boo boo.' It's non-productive and doesn't solve anything.

Quote:
IMO the only thing your money buys you is the information they publish. If the game does not do what you want from the concept you have, feel free to look for a system that does it better. Or to homebrew stuff/look for third party support that does what you want for that system.

If they are going to mention magic over and over and over again in their promotional material, how it's pathfinder's far future, how the book is full of spellcasting classes and magic items and new spells, and how it's a universe full of new magical creatures and gods and what-not; how, exactly am I supposed to know that the game isn't heavy on the fantasy side of space-fantasy before paying for it? Where in any of that is any indication that magic isn't a major force in the game?

If they had marketed it as Star Wars+Shadow Run+Serenity with a couple of DnD spells and something that looks like the d20 mechanic you're used to, minus the trademark infringements (which is what I feel we got), I might still have bought it.

That game sounds like fun. If I had been sold that I wouldn't be complaining that there aren't things I expected to get out of it. That's what I keep telling my players the game is like, in order to reset their expectations before we start playing, because they all also thought they were getting DnD in Space (now with more lasers) from reading the promotional material.

That's the point I'm trying to make. I got sold one thing, but bought another. That other thing is good, I think. Good enough that I subscribed in spite of it being different than my expectations. Good enough that I'm looking forward to running it, and hopefully playing it. But it isn't what they sold me and I have every right to ask for that. Maybe they won't care because that's not what the developers want out of the game. Maybe they can't figure out a way to make that work. Maybe there aren't enough customers that agree with me to make that profitable. That's all fine. But until I see them come out officially and say, "we're never going to give you what we keep telling you you're buying", I'm going to keep asking for more of what they sold me.

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Ikiry0 wrote:
ryric wrote:
I expect to see full casting classes in a supplement at some point. There's nothing innately overpowered in the 9 level caster chassis - in fact, the weakest 3.5 base class was a 9 level caster. I say bring on the space psorcle. I think the only reason we didn't get one in the core book is page count, not some unknown grand design purpose.
What would that ADD though that introducing other 6th level casters wouldn't? Beyond introducing more stuff, more powerful stuff to outdo non-spellcasters outside of combat?

I'd like a class that uses magic better than a primitive from 500 years ago. I want someone for whom magic is what they do.

From a game mechanic point of view, I'd like a casting class that actually has staying power when it comes to spells, and for whom spells are the major way they address adventuring problems. 6 level casters always feel like dilettantes to me. "Let's be kind of okay at several things instead of good at one thing!" And that does make them versatile, effective adventurers - but sometimes you want a specialist. We have a martial specialist in the soldier but we don't have a magic specialist.

Here's an in-world analogy. In real life, forging swords isn't exactly as in-demand a skill as it was 500 years ago. But, someone who does apply modern techniques and is an expert smith in the modern world can forge a sword that puts one from 500 years ago to shame. Where's my guy in Starfinder that can do that with magic? Outdo a pure PF caster because of his increased expertise and knowledge gained in the intervening centuries? Technology may replace a lot of utility magic but there will always be those people who insist on doing things the hard way.


Have you considered that maybe magic isn't like technology, and can't advance like it is?


That's called 'A technomancer'. They have unique tricks (Like Harmful spells) that other mages don't and have a lot of spells still.

I also question well...what would 7-9 spells add and how would you balance that with non-combat stuff? What would you add to non-magical classes that lets them keep up with that expanded magical capabilities? Heck, what do 7-9 spells add that isn't about right now other than 'Being able to say you have 7-9 spells'?

Silver Crusade

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You don't need to add to the abilities of non-caster classes to make up for it. They have weapon and armor proficiencies, which the pure casters would lose. Thus, a pure caster who was added in would already be balanced with existing classes.

Also, it's less about 7-9 level spells, and more about a character who can use _only_ spells, and still be relevant.

Silver Crusade

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I should also clarify that I'm OK if there is some technology flavorings to the magic, for example if the wizard replacement has to use their computer to cast. Perhaps their morning preparation is to set their personal computer up to cast certain spells.


How would a 6 level caster working off the mystic or technomancer list (or something similar), but getting more spells per day at those levels and with less non-casting abilities work for those longing for full casters?

It would be a class that has more staying power - though still being somewhat limited as any PF/D&D casting class should be. Spells would be the main way they addressed adventuring problems.

Would it still be a problem just because it's not 9 level caster?


Redelia wrote:
You don't need to add to the abilities of non-caster classes to make up for it. They have weapon and armor proficiencies, which the pure casters would lose. Thus, a pure caster who was added in would already be balanced with existing classes.

No? Weapons and armour proficiency doesn't help much in non-combat, which was expressly what I asked about. Combat spells for higher levels you can easily add 'Bigger damage numbers' but for non-combat you need to expand the capabilities themselves as there isn't a heap of numbers to directly affect.

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A much undervalued aspect of the mystic is the whopping 6 skill points per level.

Since magic doesn't need any feats to be effective, you can burn feats on skill synergy and skill focus and turn yourself into quite the skill monkey.

you could also spend one feat on weapon focus and one on weapon specialization for a decent long arm. On the mook fights, shoot. When things go bad, break out the heavy equipment in the form of spells.


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Redelia wrote:
I should also clarify that I'm OK if there is some technology flavorings to the magic, for example if the wizard replacement has to use their computer to cast. Perhaps their morning preparation is to set their personal computer up to cast certain spells.

I feel like that is just a Technomancer, which is described as a fusion of technology and magic to make something new. In that regards, I can completely understand why it would be capped off at 6th level spells.

The Mystic, however much I have made excuses for them, I do think would have been better off as a full caster. Or at least having more spell slots. Perhaps drop their BAB and lose Weapon Specialization.

I just don't see it as a big deal. They are still perfectly viable, and by spending their creds on spell crystals instead of top-of-the-line armor and weapons, I think it's still very much possible to have mystics that focus on spells and casting.

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Redelia wrote:

You don't need to add to the abilities of non-caster classes to make up for it. They have weapon and armor proficiencies, which the pure casters would lose. Thus, a pure caster who was added in would already be balanced with existing classes.

Also, it's less about 7-9 level spells, and more about a character who can use _only_ spells, and still be relevant.

This.

The reason to gain level 7-9 spells is because said theoretical class would lose things like proficiencies, base attack bonus, and non-spell class abilities.

No one has ever successfully explained to me what about 9th level casting is inherently broken. Presuming any individual problem spell(s) are removed, what is it about 9th level casting that innately gets people so worked up? Bear in mind, and no one ever addresses this point, that the weakest 3.5 class ever published by WotC(the Healer), had 9th level spell casting.

Personally, I'm not sure how you could build a "pure caster" class on a 6 level chassis - you'd have to drastically increase their spells known and per day, which seems like it would lead to very wonky advancement compared to just splitting their list up into 8-9 levels and making it more granular.

The technomancer is much more like a magus, mixing magic and weapon fighting, than it is a pure caster.


You know what would be easier than a new class that's 6/9 with more spells? An upgrade option for the Energize Spells hack that allows for a few more uses per day (possibly a Resolve cost?) Between that and the Spell Cache, a technomancer could conceivably be focusing on casting quite a bit.


ryric wrote:
No one has ever successfully explained to me what about 9th level casting is inherently broken. Presuming any individual problem spell(s) are removed, what is it about 9th level casting that innately gets people so worked up? Bear in mind, and no one ever addresses this point, that the weakest 3.5 class ever published by WotC(the Healer), had 9th level spell casting.

Then what would 9th level spells actually add to the game? If you propose they not actually be more powerful than 6th level spells. As that's the issue right now, 6th level damage spells? They are pretty damn good at doing damage and anything higher than them would start to outclass the soldier.

Basically: What would 7+ spells actually add? What sort of spells need to exist that the system can't handle right now when 6th level blasting spells are already pretty damn comparable with an equal level combat character.

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Ikiry0 wrote:
ryric wrote:
No one has ever successfully explained to me what about 9th level casting is inherently broken. Presuming any individual problem spell(s) are removed, what is it about 9th level casting that innately gets people so worked up? Bear in mind, and no one ever addresses this point, that the weakest 3.5 class ever published by WotC(the Healer), had 9th level spell casting.

Then what would 9th level spells actually add to the game? If you propose they not actually be more powerful than 6th level spells. As that's the issue right now, 6th level damage spells? They are pretty damn good at doing damage and anything higher than them would start to outclass the soldier.

Basically: What would 7+ spells actually add? What sort of spells need to exist that the system can't handle right now when 6th level blasting spells are already pretty damn comparable with an equal level combat character.

Well, if it were up to me, the 8th level spells of our theoretical 9th level caster would be roughly equivalent in power to the existing 6th level mystic/technomancer spells. The 9th level spells would be on par with 18th level capabilities.

Honestly, given that we're not going to get AP-supported high level play for the foreseeable future, it would be nice to actually be able to even use 5th level spells.


ryric wrote:

Well, if it were up to me, the 8th level spells of our theoretical 9th level caster would be roughly equivalent in power to the existing 6th level mystic/technomancer spells. The 9th level spells would be on par with 18th level capabilities.

Honestly, given that we're not going to get AP-supported high level play for the foreseeable future, it would be nice to actually be able to even use 5th level spells.

Yeah but 5th level spells are currently designed to work with people who are working with a 6th level progression. A 9th level guy would get them a lot earlier and that would snap game balance in half because they are not based on Caster Level but on Spell Level for power.

9th level being on par with 18th level capabilities also seems kinda overpowered, unless people only get a single 9th level spell they know. Other classes get ONE 18th level capability, not an array of them.


ryric wrote:
Redelia wrote:

You don't need to add to the abilities of non-caster classes to make up for it. They have weapon and armor proficiencies, which the pure casters would lose. Thus, a pure caster who was added in would already be balanced with existing classes.

Also, it's less about 7-9 level spells, and more about a character who can use _only_ spells, and still be relevant.

This.

The reason to gain level 7-9 spells is because said theoretical class would lose things like proficiencies, base attack bonus, and non-spell class abilities.

No one has ever successfully explained to me what about 9th level casting is inherently broken. Presuming any individual problem spell(s) are removed, what is it about 9th level casting that innately gets people so worked up? Bear in mind, and no one ever addresses this point, that the weakest 3.5 class ever published by WotC(the Healer), had 9th level spell casting.

Personally, I'm not sure how you could build a "pure caster" class on a 6 level chassis - you'd have to drastically increase their spells known and per day, which seems like it would lead to very wonky advancement compared to just splitting their list up into 8-9 levels and making it more granular.

The technomancer is much more like a magus, mixing magic and weapon fighting, than it is a pure caster.

There's nothing inherently broken about having 9 levels of casting. There's nothing inherently weaker about having 6.

The only reason 9 levels of casting is a sacred cow is that we inherited it from the original D&D design, way back when.

If Starfinder did add a 9 level casting class, they would have to break out some of the lower level spells in the mystic & technomancer classes to be higher level spells for this hypothetical class. If nothing else, Wish is a 6th level spell. :)

Does it really matter whether they break this spell list up over 6 levels or 9? Is that such a huge deal we can't live without it.


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thejeff wrote:
If nothing else, Wish is a 6th level spell. :)

Wish is a 9th level spell for all purposes, except when duplicating a non-wish spell, where it sets its save DC as a 7th-level spell.


quindraco wrote:
thejeff wrote:
If nothing else, Wish is a 6th level spell. :)
Wish is a 9th level spell for all purposes, except when duplicating a non-wish spell, where it sets its save DC as a 7th-level spell.

Well, other than using a 6th level spell slot.

Kind of silly to put that rule in honestly.


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thereof wrote:

If Starfinder did add a 9 level casting class, they would have to break out some of the lower level spells in the mystic & technomancer classes to be higher level spells for this hypothetical class. If nothing else, Wish is a 6th level spell. :)

You could also view Wish as a 12th level spell since you use a special allowance in Fuse Spell:

Starfinder CRB, pg. 120 wrote:
Furthermore, you can spend 2 Resolve Points to combine two 6th-level spell slots to cast wish.

You learn it as a 6th level spell, but cast it by fusing two 6th level spell slots.

The way they have the archetype system set up, it would be hard to use it to create a 'better technomancer' that has more spell slots per day. The best way would probably be allow a feat to increase the number of spell slots per day.

I think that Fuse Spell is the way to get more powerful spell effects, if they are really needed. I'm not convinced they are.

I would seriously question the sanity of a person that doesn't use things like armor and guns because they want to do everything with magic. Some things should be easier to do with technology. In Starfinder, there is nothing that prevents the two from working together.


BretI wrote:
thereof wrote:

If Starfinder did add a 9 level casting class, they would have to break out some of the lower level spells in the mystic & technomancer classes to be higher level spells for this hypothetical class. If nothing else, Wish is a 6th level spell. :)

You could also view Wish as a 12th level spell since you use a special allowance in Fuse Spell:

Starfinder CRB, pg. 120 wrote:
Furthermore, you can spend 2 Resolve Points to combine two 6th-level spell slots to cast wish.

You learn it as a 6th level spell, but cast it by fusing two 6th level spell slots.

The way they have the archetype system set up, it would be hard to use it to create a 'better technomancer' that has more spell slots per day. The best way would probably be allow a feat to increase the number of spell slots per day.

I think that Fuse Spell is the way to get more powerful spell effects, if they are really needed. I'm not convinced they are.

I would seriously question the sanity of a person that doesn't use things like armor and guns because they want to do everything with magic. Some things should be easier to do with technology. In Starfinder, there is nothing that prevents the two from working together.

Ah. I'd missed that you couldn't actually cast Wish normally. Never mind then.

I wouldn't suggest using an archetype to create a "full caster" with 6 levels of casting, but more spells and less other features. I'd suggest it as a new class.

The Exchange

9th Level casters didn’t break the game in Pathfinder. It was stupid spell design and feat combinations that did that.

Add in the effect of being able to buy scrolls of those spells and you suddenly had issues where casters could just replace most key features of other classes and remove narrative elements from the game.

That is still a very likely scenario to occur in Starfinder even with only six levels of spells.
It only takes a few supplements to be released with new spells and feats and suddenly you find casters dominating the game again.


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I think a far simpler and easily balanced fix is to just introduce a mechanic (at this stage it will probably need to be via a feat or an item) that allows the existing casters to spend resolve to regain some spell slots when they rest for 10 min. I'd propose it be spending 1 resolve when taking a 10 min rest to regain spell slots with levels adding up to no more than 2 x the highest level spell he can cast.


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Starfinder Superscriber
thejeff wrote:
How would a 6 level caster working off the mystic or technomancer list (or something similar), but getting more spells per day at those levels and with less non-casting abilities work for those longing for full casters?

Having more levels of spells gives you two things (as a player, and as a game developer).

1. It gives you a larger total of spells/spells known to work with.
2. It gives you more granularity on spell power and when players gain access to that power.

Giving us more spells per level partially solves the first problem, but I don't think it solves the second.

With the first problem, it gives you more staying power, but doesn't give you more options as a player unless you also increase spells known (and give us a much larger list, one page doesn't cut it) If they gave us that, I'd be okay with it, but I think that would make it a lot harder to balance than just going with sorcerer progression, because of 2.

Right now, you have to assume that a player has access to any 6th level spell from 16th level up, and 5ths from 13th, and so on. If you had the sorcerer progression, you could break spells up into ones they shouldn't have until 18 (9ths), ones they should get at 16 (8ths), ones they should get at 14 (7ths), and so on. Spreading it out means some of the extant T/M 2nds become 3rds and 3rds 4ths, and so on. You have more granularity, so you can do a better job balancing spells against what other classes and monsters have access to at those levels. It also matters less if the 9th level spells are broken because they only impact 18th+ level play.

(I'd prefer they weren't broken, but mistakes happen. There will be broken 6th level spells by the time the 4th splat book comes out, if there aren't already.)

Quote:
Well, other than using a 6th level spell slot.

It uses two 6th level slots and two resolve points. It's also not available until 20th level. Wish isn't a good example of a 6th level spell in the current system, because it isn't. It's also one of the last 9ths I'd want to take, generally. I only ever took it in other systems begrudgingly (just in case) and basically never used it.


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I mean spells like Time Stop existed in the CRB. Pathfinder shipped broken from the very beginning.

But you're correct that it's not so much "spell levels" that are the problem, as much as it is what individual spells can do.

Some spells should simply never exist, others need clarification so that they aren't as able to be abused (simulacrum of the wizard still has half the creators spell casting ability....or you could say simulacrums don't possess magical or SU abilities).

And you have to keep in mind that even existing 6th level spells in Starfinder are only balanced around being able to do it a limited number of times per day. The Technomancer can use a 6th level spell to deal 13d12 damage to a main target and 10 other targets, the only way to balance that against the damage soldiers can do with their gun is not let the caster do it every round.

Silver Crusade

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber; Pathfinder Comics Subscriber

Can we please get this discussion back to Starfinder?

Some of us are not convinced by the martial-caster disparity hypothesis, and using it as a reason to keep away all the fun toys in Starfinder is not convincing.

Grand Lodge

FiddlersGreen wrote:
I think a far simpler and easily balanced fix is to just introduce a mechanic (at this stage it will probably need to be via a feat or an item) that allows the existing casters to spend resolve to regain some spell slots when they rest for 10 min. I'd propose it be spending 1 resolve when taking a 10 min rest to regain spell slots with levels adding up to no more than 2 x the highest level spell he can cast.

That sounds fair, or how about casters can pick a few spells that they can apply weapon specialization to? Maybe make it a feat?


FiddlersGreen wrote:
I think a far simpler and easily balanced fix is to just introduce a mechanic (at this stage it will probably need to be via a feat or an item) that allows the existing casters to spend resolve to regain some spell slots when they rest for 10 min. I'd propose it be spending 1 resolve when taking a 10 min rest to regain spell slots with levels adding up to no more than 2 x the highest level spell he can cast.

Not compatible with Resolve Attunement on Technomancers, unless you want L19/L20 Technomancers to have truly infinite spell slots.

More compatible:

FEAT: More Spells: You may calculate your bonus spells as if your ability used to calculate your bonus spells were half your level again higher. This is considered to be an insight bonus to the ability in question for the purposes of calculating bonus spells.

FEAT: Resolute Spellcasting: You may consume Resolve Points equal to the spell level+1 of a spell you know to cast that spell without consuming a spell slot.


Starfinder Superscriber
Claxon wrote:
But you're correct that it's not so much "spell levels" that are the problem, as much as it is what individual spells can do.

This! Fix or remove the broken spells and you don't have broken spellcasters, no matter how many spell levels they get.

I think this can be done. A lot of DM's do it every day in DnD and Pathfinder. A lot of players (like myself) intentionally avoid the stuff we know is broken ourselves. I think the SF developers already did half the work by tuning the spells they kept in SF. I just want them to finish. I don't find playing or running for OP spellcasters any funner than the people that don't want them in this game. I want something that works, that's balanced (well, as balanced as everything else is), and that is what it says it is on the tin (a spellcaster, not a hybrid).


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quindraco wrote:
FiddlersGreen wrote:
I think a far simpler and easily balanced fix is to just introduce a mechanic (at this stage it will probably need to be via a feat or an item) that allows the existing casters to spend resolve to regain some spell slots when they rest for 10 min. I'd propose it be spending 1 resolve when taking a 10 min rest to regain spell slots with levels adding up to no more than 2 x the highest level spell he can cast.

Not compatible with Resolve Attunement on Technomancers, unless you want L19/L20 Technomancers to have truly infinite spell slots.

More compatible:

FEAT: More Spells: You may calculate your bonus spells as if your ability used to calculate your bonus spells were half your level again higher. This is considered to be an insight bonus to the ability in question for the purposes of calculating bonus spells.

FEAT: Resolute Spellcasting: You may consume Resolve Points equal to the spell level+1 of a spell you know to cast that spell without consuming a spell slot.

I was aiming for letting casters cast more often over the course of a day without increasing their maximum potential power in any single combat encounter. If the 10 minute rest is supposed to be a 'mini-rest' in which you spend resolve to recover from recent exertions,and is already an assumed part of an average adventuring day, why not allow spells to be regained in addition to stamina, while using the existing resolve mechanic to keep it in check?

I had not taken into account resolve attunement, but that too can be easily fixed. Add the line 'resolve spent this way cannot be recovered except by getting a full 8 hour rest'.

The Exchange

Claxon wrote:

I mean spells like Time Stop existed in the CRB. Pathfinder shipped broken from the very beginning.

But you're correct that it's not so much "spell levels" that are the problem, as much as it is what individual spells can do.

Some spells should simply never exist, others need clarification so that they aren't as able to be abused (simulacrum of the wizard still has half the creators spell casting ability....or you could say simulacrums don't possess magical or SU abilities).

And you have to keep in mind that even existing 6th level spells in Starfinder are only balanced around being able to do it a limited number of times per day. The Technomancer can use a 6th level spell to deal 13d12 damage to a main target and 10 other targets, the only way to balance that against the damage soldiers can do with their gun is not let the caster do it every round.

Yep, and all it takes is for someone to drop Time Stop back in the game and voila. Even with the current spellcasters as they are, you now have something to make things too swingy.

Caster drops time stop then pops a bunch of summons or deployable items on the board (mines and weapon deployables). While that stuff may not be in game at the moment, it’s only a matter of time. (Pun intended)

If you introduce casters with level 9 spell abilities, you just need to make the power levels of their spells similar to the level six casters. So getting 3d12 damage etc should still only be coming up atbthe top levels of the spell casters careers.

But I think there’s more issues there too. It comes down to future combinations of feats, equipment and spells. If this game turns into the juggernaught of expansions that Pathfinder has, its inevitable that broken things will sneak in.


I’d like to point out that by the rules the Caster does not how many rounds they have time stop active for. Makes using it a little bit risky.

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I'm going to marvel at the vastly different playstyle some other people have from me when they think time stop is a broken 9th level spell. IMO time stop is a workhorse spell of that level, about average of what you should expect. Not great, but it gets the job done.

It's certainly not nearly as strong as shades, gate, wish, mage's disjunction, and the like.


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Rysky the Dark Solarion wrote:
I’d like to point out that by the rules the Caster does not how many rounds they have time stop active for. Makes using it a little bit risky.

It does, and every time I have a player start to cast that spell I have to remind them "You do know that spell has a variable amount of time it lasts, and you don't know how long that time is", followed by a maniacal laugh. I still have players use it because worst case scenario is the gained nothing, best case is 4 extra turns.

ryric wrote:

I'm going to marvel at the vastly different playstyle some other people have from me when they think time stop is a broken 9th level spell. IMO time stop is a workhorse spell of that level, about average of what you should expect. Not great, but it gets the job done.

It's certainly not nearly as strong as shades, gate, wish, mage's disjunction, and the like.

You don't think getting to take 5 turns worth of actions is incredibly powerful? 5 rounds of summons? Teleporting out a dangerous situation? Setting up spells which persist for rounds?

There are a ton of options. It's incredibly powerful, as action economy is ultimately the most powerful thing in the game.

The Exchange

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ryric wrote:

I'm going to marvel at the vastly different playstyle some other people have from me when they think time stop is a broken 9th level spell. IMO time stop is a workhorse spell of that level, about average of what you should expect. Not great, but it gets the job done.

It's certainly not nearly as strong as shades, gate, wish, mage's disjunction, and the like.

Time stop is just the example someone used above. On its own it’s perfecly fine. Combined with summons and other spells it becomes unbalancing compared to what other players are able to do.

The point I’m making is it doesn’t matter how many spell slots you give casters, it’s the tools you provide that they can spend spell slots on.

In other words, there’d be no problem with full progression casters, as long as the spells remained in check. At which point casters would complain about how weak the spells were more than likely.

For those very keen to play full casters though, there are rules in the book for converting Pathfimder material over to Starfinder.

Use at your own risk


Redelia wrote:

Can we please get this discussion back to Starfinder?

Some of us are not convinced by the martial-caster disparity hypothesis, and using it as a reason to keep away all the fun toys in Starfinder is not convincing.

And which fun toys is that? What things are needed that can only exist in a 7-9 spell slot but also won't break the game?

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