All About Spells

Monday, April 16, 2018

Spells are magical formulas with esoteric components, including words of power, gestures, and unusual ingredients, that when taken together create extraordinary magical effects. Spells have always been a crucial part of Pathfinder and the fantasy genre as a whole. But what's new about spells in the playtest? Let's take a look!

Action!

You cast spells by using some combination of the Verbal Casting, Somatic Casting, and Material Casting actions (the most common combination is Verbal and Somatic Casting actions for 2 total actions). Not every class interfaces with those actions in the same way. For instance, clerics can use a divine focus to satisfy the Material Casting action, sorcerers use their magical blood, and bards can use instruments that change up several aspects (for instance, even if you're gagged or otherwise unable to speak, you can play your violin to provide the Verbal Casting portion).

Heightened Spells

In the playtest, you'll be able to heighten your favorite spells in order to gain greater effects than ever before. Heightening a spell works much like it did previously, where you prepare a spell in a higher-level slot (or cast it using a higher-level slot if you're a spontaneous caster), except now all spellcasters can do it, and you gain much more interesting benefits. Want to fire 15 missiles with magic missile or turn into a Huge animal with animal form? Just heighten those spells to the appropriate level! There's no longer any need to learn long chains of spells that are incrementally different and each require you to refer back to the previous spell.

Incidentally, the idea of using a spell's level to determine its power has led to some really interesting interplay between spells. For example, how many times have you run into a situation where your high-level illusionist is foiled by a simple detect magic spell or a similar effect? Now, illusions of a higher spell level than a detect magic cantrip can foil detection! Similarly, dispel magic has a harder time dispelling spells of much higher spell levels, while it can crush lower-level spells with ease. This extends to many other similar interactions; while in Pathfinder First Edition, a creature with some basic spell effect that's constantly active might be flat-out immune to your character's spells, now you can heighten your spells and overcome that obstacle!

Illustration by Wayne Reynolds

Cantrips

In the playtest, cantrips are spells you can cast at will, but they are no longer level 0. Instead, they automatically heighten to the highest spell level you can currently cast. That means if you're 5th level, your ray of frost is 3rd level and deals more damage, and your light cantrip is better at counteracting magical darkness.

Domain Powers and Beyond

Pathfinder has always had domain powers, school powers, bloodline powers, and other special class-based spell-like abilities that you can use a certain number of times per day rather than using your daily spell slots on them. In the playtest, we've expanded this idea, allowing even more classes to gain these kinds of powers and standardizing the way we talk about the powers and their daily uses. The powers are now treated as a special kind of spell, and they are all cast using Spell Points. There is power in naming something; while you don't really count them differently than if you had a pool of uses per day, this allowed us to create new and interesting abilities that cost multiple Spell Points or that you could add extra features to at the cost of more Spell Points, in a way that works across classes more smoothly.

10th-Level Spells

So what's the deal with 10th-level spells? Jason mentioned these all the way at the beginning, and many of you have given excellent guesses for what they will be. They start with a class of spells that used to be 9th level+, by which I mean, they were 9th level, but even for that level they were usually balanced by expensive material costs. Spells like wish and miracle. In the playtest, these spells are free to cast but are 10th level. Then we added some brand-new and amazing spells, like fabricated truth and nature incarnate. I'm guessing you guys will quickly figure out what these spells do, but here's a hint: one of them had a critical failure effect previewed in the Critical Hits and Critical Failures blog!

Rituals

Ever since we introduced them in Pathfinder RPG Occult Adventures, rituals have been a favorite both among fans and the adventure developers here at Paizo. If you haven't checked them out yet, they're story-rich spells with a long casting time that anyone skilled enough could conceivably try to perform as long as they have the hidden knowledge. Typically they involve some number of secondary casters, which can get the whole party involved or make a nice set-piece encounter with an evil cult.

Even in the Pathfinder RPG Core Rulebook, there were spells that sort of followed that mold already—the 8th-level spell binding is a perfect example. In the playtest, these sorts of spells have been made into rituals. This means that these downtime spells don't take up your spell slots, and that martial characters who manage to attain a high enough proficiency rank in magic-related skills like Arcana can cast them! This is particularly great when, for instance, the cleric dies but the monk can perform a resurrection ritual. (Don't worry, there is still also the non-ritual spell raise dead in case you need someone back in action faster, though a group that wants death to be more uncertain can easily omit that spell for an instant shift in the tone of the campaign.) Rituals also have delightful potential failure effects. For instance, if you critically fail planar binding, you call something dark and horrible that isn't bound by your wards, and it immediately attempts to destroy you!

Magical Traditions

Magical traditions, such as arcane and divine, have always been a part of Pathfinder spells. But the playtest gives us an opportunity to really explore what they mean, what makes them different, and how they metaphysically interconnect in a way that enriches the game's story. Magic taps into various essences in the cosmos. For example, arcane magic blends material essence (the fundamental building blocks of all physical things) and mental essence (the building block of rational thoughts, logic, and memories). This means that arcane traditions share a lot in common with science, as arcane spellcasters tend to use logic and rational methods to categorize the magic inherent in the physical world around them. Divine magic is the exact opposite; it blends spiritual essence (the otherworldly building block of the immortal self) and vital essence (the universal life force that gives us instincts and intuition). This means that divine traditions are steeped in faith, the unseen, and belief in a power source from beyond the Material Plane. These ideas have led to some exciting new additions of spells into each tradition's repertoire.

Example Spells

Let's put everything we've talked about into perspective by taking a look at a spell that can be heightened and that uses actions in an interesting way: heal. (By the way, notice the new spell school!)

Heal Spell 1

Healing, Necromancy, Positive
Casting Somatic Casting or more
Range touch, Range 30 feet, or Area 30-foot aura (see text); Target one willing living creature or one undead creature

You channel positive energy to heal the living or damage the undead. You restore Hit Points equal to 1d8 + your spellcasting modifier to a willing living target, or deal that amount of positive damage to an undead target. The number of actions you spend when Casting this Spell determines its targets, range, area, and other parameters.

  • Somatic Casting The spell has a range of touch. You must succeed at a melee touch attack to damage an undead target.
  • Somatic Casting, Verbal Casting The spell has a range of 30 feet and doesn't require a touch attack when targeting an undead creature. An undead target must attempt a Fortitude save, taking half damage on a success, no damage on a critical success, or double damage on a critical failure.
  • Material Casting, Somatic Casting, Verbal Casting You disperse positive energy in a 30-foot aura. This has the same effect as the two-action version of the spell, but it targets all living and undead creatures in the burst and reduces the amount of healing or damage to your spellcasting ability modifier.

Heightened (+1) Increase the amount of healing or damage by 1d8, or by 2d8 if you're using the one- or two-action version to heal the living.

So you can cast heal with 1 action and restore quite a few Hit Points to a touched target, especially for a single action. This is particularly useful if you cast heal several times in one turn on someone who needs emergency assistance after a critical hit! For 2 actions, you can cast safely from the back lines, and for 3 actions, you can change the area to a burst and heal living creatures while harming undead at the same time. It restores fewer hit points to each target that way, but if you have multiple allies in need of healing, it can be really efficient. This one spell, using heightened effects, combines the effects of all the cure wounds spells in one place.

At the bottom of the stat block, you see what one type of heightened entry looks like. This one gets better proportionally for each spell level above 1st. So a 2nd-level heal spell heals one target for 3d8 + your spellcasting ability modifier, a 3rd-level one heals one target 5d8 + your spellcasting ability modifier, and so on.

But heal is a classic spell chain that you already knew and loved in Pathfinder First Edition and that has already been revealed in tidbits through podcasts. How about its big sister regenerate?

Regenerate Spell 7

Healing, Necromancy
Casting Somatic Casting, Verbal Casting
Range touch; Target one willing living creature
Duration 1 minute

The target temporarily gains regeneration 15, which restores 15 Hit Points to it at the start of each of its turns. While it has regeneration, the target can't die from damage and its dying value can't exceed 3. If the target takes acid or fire damage, its regeneration deactivates until after the end of its next turn.

Each time the creature regains Hit Points from regeneration, it also regrows one damaged or ruined organ (if any). During the spell's duration, the creature can also reattach severed body parts by spending an Interact action to hold the body part to the stump.

Heightened (9th) The regeneration increases to 20.

Regenerate was always necessary to restore lost limbs or organs (a rare situation to come up in the game), but the way it worked made it fairly ineffective for use in combat. This version is much more attractive during a fight, particularly if your foe lacks access to acid and fire!

This spell doesn't increase in power incrementally as its level increases (except for being harder to dispel); instead, it has a specific heightened benefit at 9th level.

But what about something you've never seen before? Let's take a look at vampiric exsanguination!

Vampiric Exsanguination Spell 6

Death, Necromancy, Negative
Casting Somatic Casting, Verbal Casting
Area 30-foot cone

You draw life force from creatures and send it into your outstretched arms. You deal 10d6 negative damage to all living creatures in the area. As long as at least one creature in the area takes damage, you also gain half that many temporary Hit Points. You lose any remaining temporary Hit Points after 1 minute.

  • Success Half damage.
  • Critical Success No damage.
  • Failure Full damage.
  • Critical Failure Double damage.

Heightened (+2) Increase the damage by 3d6.

So we're dealing some reasonable damage in a cone; cone of cold isn't going to be jealous. But the trick here is that if you can get at least one foe (or minion) to critically fail its save against the spell, you gain a huge number of temporary Hit Points! If you're a wizard with a Constitution score of 12, that hapless creature might just provide you nearly 50% more Hit Points (incidentally, if you deal a lot of damage, you could kill a minion who critically fails the save, so use it responsibly). And since you're drawing in life force, guess who gains access to this spell? (Urgathoans rejoice!)

More New Spells

I'm going to close out by giving just the names of a smattering of new spells. What might they do? I'll leave it up to you guys to see what you think!

  • Alter reality
  • Collective transposition
  • Crusade
  • Disappearance
  • Divine inspiration
  • Duplicate foe
  • Energy aegis
  • Mariner's curse
  • Moment of renewal
  • Moon frenzy
  • Nature's enmity
  • Primal phenomenon
  • Punishing winds
  • Revival
  • Soothe
  • Spellwrack
  • Spiritual epidemic
  • Spiritual guardian
  • Tangling creepers
  • Unfathomable song

Mark Seifter
Designer

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Dale McCoy Jr wrote:
Blog Post wrote:
Regenerate was always necessary to restore lost limbs or organs (a rare situation to come up in the game)

*Long, long laugh* Oh Mark, that is a good one. Just wait until us Pathfinder Compatible publishers get ahold of that mechanic.

New Fighter feats: Spleen Strike and Pancreatic Pain
New Rogue feats: Severe Artery, Ear Removal (deafens someone until restored)
New Dwarf feat: Beard Cut

And that's just off the top of my head. Wait until I've had a year and a half to think about this.

*maniacal laugh*

Swords of Dissection!

For our Goblin friends, Dog Slicers +1, +3 vs. Toes!
and my personal favorite, Power Word Carve!

--H


Not to be confused with Carve Power Word, naturally!


Not going to lie, I was a little worried so far, but this... is GREAT. I can tell you now that I am officially excited!


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Rulebook Subscriber

I wonder how Spell Schools and Spell Specialization will fit into these Magical Traditions...

Paizo Employee Customer Service Representative

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Locking this thread while we comb through it.

Paizo Employee Customer Service & Community Manager

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I removed a number of posts and replies on the topic of consent & unconsciousness in the rules. There's a couple of issues that came up.

1. Small detail in a follow up comment ended up spawning significant derail. Sometimes a slightly off-topic or tangential comment or a joke or whatever doesn't end up distracting the blog post discussion or original post too much. Usually these little tangents are aren't problem and the thread is able to move on and not have the entire discussion swallowed up by the new topic. However, when you see that a tangent or off topic commentary is leading a thread astray you need to do one of the following:

  • Flag and move on. If you flag it and don't comment this is far easier to clean up for moderators.
  • Post something like "Y subject is derailing the blog post discussion. Let's go back to talking about X." *Note, it can be really helpful if you then post some follow up thoughts or responses on the original post/blog topic, but separate those thoughts into a different post. If we remove something we will also remove replies to it so if you combine a really good on topic post with one requesting the thread get back on track, it could very likely all be removed.
  • If you want to get into a detailed discussion of something really tangential or off topic, start a new thread or ask if the person you want to debate would like to discuss it via PM.

2. Tangential topic(s) involving player consent, unconsciousness and rape. These are difficult topics precisely because so many people have experienced trauma that relates directly to lack of consent or rape. Lack of character agency for women players is something that women at the game table frequently deal with. It's great if players in your gaming group don't have to deal with being triggered by folks joking about rape or having debates on the verisimilitude of character agency while unconscious, but on the forums this is a subject that needs to be treated respectfully. While I hope that at some point we can have an open/community discussion on character consent, it is a discussion that I don't foresee going smoothly at the moment and one that, should it ever happen, needs to be in it's own appropriately titled thread and not come up randomly in the middle of a blog post discussion. Even if you cannot understand or empathize with this issue, enough pazio.com community members (fans & staff) have had issues or trauma related to lack of consent that joking about rape or using "rape" as a casual descriptor is not okay on our forums (even if the terminology is grammatically correct).

3. Disrespectful & insulting behavior from a multitude of people. Telling people they're feelings are wrong. Joking about how much moderation a thread is going to need. The "I'm offended that you're offended" baiting comments. Calling other people's objections "temper tantrums". Passive aggressive posts quoting other community members decrying how awful the forum is. All of this perpetuates the thread veering off topic and creating a negative atmosphere.

I'm going to open the thread back up. Stay on topic, stay respectful of each other.


LuZeke wrote:
I really shouldn't have to specify that an example is an example every single time

I didn't respond to that portion of the quote because it's based largely on speculation (the fact rituals will take multiple people to complete) that I don't know is correct (I didn't get your interpretation of how rituals will work, but I don't have a strong enough opinion on the issue to discuss it because you're quite possibly right).

Bringing down the wizard and cleric a notch or two is definitely one of the design goals of PF2e (while simultaneously bringing the fighter and rogue up a notch or two to close the gap in disparity between the classes). So your dismay at that is understandable, but is an intrinsic part of the new rule system (and is one I support). So there was really nothing for me to discuss on this point.

The only thing I could discuss in your example was the whole "quest for an NPC healer" issue. But practically speaking it's not really relevant in my Pathfinder games because the PCs make sure they have enough raising ability within their own party. So I was genuinely curious how often this example comes up in your own games because that would be a significant departure from my own experiences. If the answer is "it doesn't, I just pulled that out of thin air to use as an example" then fine. But I have literally nothing to contribute to your post then and will instead move on.

JRutterbush wrote:
The important part is that you have to have your component pouch and use an action to manipulate the materials, whatever they may be

I disagree. The flavour is important and having those example material components is part of conveying the flavour. Just like I could (and did) pull in flavour from 3.5 to 4th ed, it still left the 4th ed rules unsatisfying for many.

Grand Lodge

I'm wondering if Rituals or 10th level spells might cost resonance. I kind of hope so. It would help explain why non-casters might be able to perform magical rituals.


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Action!
I like this, however please please please make inexpensive material components part of the somatic action and only make expensive material components take an action, otherwise most of the super flavourful inexpensive components will have to go away, given that generally spells have to take two actions. Love the bard thing.

Heightened Spells
I resignated myself to wait and see, but still don't like it, I don't really need caster nerf, thank you very much. Also, you say Huge animal as if that's a big deal, I want to turn into Colossal creatures. However, I kinda like the detect magic/illusion thing, problem is that that would have to make detect magic a 1st level spell, no?

Cantrips
It's ok, although I prefer the 3rd edition idea where mages have to be resourceful and smart at beginner levels because they don't control as much magic and then get to be powerhouses at later levels.

Domain Powers and Beyond
I don't like this one bit, it sounds like Starfinder's Stamina, and I really don't like that, it's just too standardized and bland, doesn't feel magical. Also, what I get from the text is that I'll have to spend loads of points to do anything meaningful, and then make do with what meagre points remain to me for the rest of the day. One other thing, do you have to call it spell points? Couldn't you call it something more flavourful like Sortilege or Glamour or something?

10th-Level Spells
I hope these are earth-shattering displays of ultimate cosmic power instead of just glorified 9th level spells.

Rituals
I like it, but I hope I don't always need secondary casters on this, nor to pay heavy feat taxes just to use it, like in the Deep Magic system.

Magical Traditions
Ok, why do you have to do this? I'm all in favor of exploring magic to enrich the game's story. Why, great Corellon? Why? Why arcane magic needs to universally cater to the scientist of magic archetype?? Why can't I be a bookish wizard who's very mysterious, esoteric, and mystical? Why can't I use my magic to manipulate the fundamental building blocks of the spirit and the metaphysical aspects of the multiverse? Why can't I manipulate life force through arcane study? Why can't I be a bookish elf wizard who is mystical, utters prophecies, and has some nature spells like manipulating plants and the like in addition of the usual fireball and teleportation? Don't get me wrong, I don't wanna break the game and ask for healing spells or anything like that, but I want more flavour that isn't restrictive as shown here. Also, why do you describe mental essence as being about rational thoughts and logic? Mental magic could just as easily be about irrational thoughts and madness instead of mundane logic and quasi-scientific method. It's called arcane magic for a reason! It should be obscure, occult, mystical, mysterious, esoteric! Why can't arcane and book magic be, well, magical? To me divine magic comes from a combination of the faithful caster's believe and their deity's power. Arcane magic should be just latent magic syphoned from the cosmos around the caster. Not just from other dimensions like having scorching rays and meteor swarms tied to the Elemental Plane of Fire, but actually arcane magic that is all around the caster steeped in nature, taking an animistic approach. So also, why does nature and fey magic always have to be tied to divine magic?

Example Spells
Please don't tell me you're ditching the classic eight schools of magic? And if you are, what that would mean to counterspelling and things like Spell Focus?

Paizo Employee Designer

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Dale McCoy Jr wrote:
Blog Post wrote:
Regenerate was always necessary to restore lost limbs or organs (a rare situation to come up in the game)

*Long, long laugh* Oh Mark, that is a good one. Just wait until us Pathfinder Compatible publishers get ahold of that mechanic.

New Fighter feats: Spleen Strike and Pancreatic Pain
New Rogue feats: Severe Artery, Ear Removal (deafens someone until restored)

OK, seems pretty reasonable and expected...

Quote:
New Dwarf feat: Beard Cut

You...you monster!


I'd like to see the text for Vampiric Exsanguination given another pass. I realize we don't have all the rules yet, but assume we cast the spell for average damage (35) and hit four creatures - each of whose save result is different:
CS takes 0
S takes 17 or 18 depending how we round
F takes 35
CF takes 70

It's not wholly clear though how much HP the caster receives. I think it's half of the rolled damage (17 or 18), but as written could also refer to half the total damage inflicted (122) though that seems too much even for temporary HP


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This looks pretty good. I’m slightly annoyed that they’re still using “level” for both “class levels” and “spell levels”. That’s needlessly confusing when it could be changed to something like “spell tiers” or “spell ranks”.

Bouncing back and forth with the degrees of success/failure is also counterintuitive. Reminds me of the awkwardness saying double digit numbers in German. It seems the natural sequences would be Critical Success, Success, Failure, Critical Failure.

These are just annoyances however. What’s truly troubling is where it says “one foe (or minion)”. Please tell me they aren’t a separate rules set for “minions” like in 4th Ed. That whole 1 hp cannon fodder, who’s sol reason for existing is to glorify the “heroes”, BS made me want to vomit and would be a deal breaker, for me, if implemented into PF 2E. :(

Liberty's Edge RPG Superstar 2008 Top 32, 2011 Top 16

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Not sure if this has been commented on, but since spells now seem to have a single level, and spell lists are implied to have all spells of certain traditions, it sounds like there are no more, "bards get charm monster earlier, since they're good at charming and it's the same character level as when a wizard gets it", which also removes issues with how to price potions, wands, scrolls, etc when from a non 9-level (now 10-level) caster.

I like that change.


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NetoD20 wrote:

Cantrips

It's ok, although I prefer the 3rd edition idea where mages have to be resourceful and smart at beginner levels because they don't control as much magic and then get to be powerhouses at later levels.

I find, though, that in practice "you have minimal magical resources at low levels and not a lot else you can do" mostly just discourages people from playing Wizards and Sorcerers.

Like in the last 5 years I've gotten Witches, Oracles, Clerics, Druids, Shamans, Inquisitors, Bards, Magi, Occultists, Spiritualists, Investigators, Alchemists, Mesmerists, and Warpriests and but precisely zero Wizards or Sorcerers from my players. It's just not fun having to "suck it up" for a while in order to be able to do cool stuff.


Pathfinder Pathfinder Accessories Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber
Arikiel wrote:

This looks pretty good. I’m slightly annoyed that they’re still using “level” for both “class levels” and “spell levels”. That’s needlessly confusing when it could be changed to something like “spell tiers” or “spell ranks”.

Bouncing back and forth with the degrees of success/failure is also counterintuitive. Reminds me of the awkwardness saying double digit numbers in German. It seems the natural sequences would be Critical Success, Success, Failure, Critical Failure.

These are just annoyances however. What’s truly troubling is where it says “one foe (or minion)”. Please tell me they aren’t a separate rules set for “minions” like in 4th Ed. That whole 1 hp cannon fodder, who’s sol reason for existing is to glorify the “heroes”, BS made me want to vomit and would be a deal breaker, for me, if implemented into PF 2E. :(

The order of the results: In the thread talking about it, it was said by Mark that the critical result usually reference the normal result (exemple: Success: 1d6 fire damage; Crit Success: Same as success, but the target is also burning). That order make the reference logical, It was weird to read the CS before teh S because of that.

Mark said that the "minion" wording there was just for flavor. They don't have specific "minion" rules.


PossibleCabbage wrote:

I find, though, that in practice "you have minimal magical resources at low levels and not a lot else you can do" mostly just discourages people from playing Wizards and Sorcerers.

Like in the last 5 years I've gotten Witches, Oracles, Clerics, Druids, Shamans, Inquisitors, Bards, Magi, Occultists, Spiritualists, Investigators, Alchemists, Mesmerists, and Warpriests and but precisely zero Wizards or Sorcerers from my players. It's just not fun having to "suck it up" for a while in order to be able to do cool stuff.

Doesn't match my own experiences. A wizard or sorcerer remains the most popular choice at my tables with the only time we haven't had a wizard in recent memory is when we went occult themed classes and in that case we had a psychic and an occultist.


Am I the only one really intrigued/fascinated by those fancy hats Wayne has designed for the last two gnomes? I suppose this is a gnome druid, but i'm not sure if this is Lini. Anyway, that's an awesome illustration.

Now, regarding the rules, I'm a little worried about the changes in the class features (domains, bloodline powers, ...). I hope we aren't far from a preview of an actual spellcasting class so that we can see more about those changes.


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Loving the preview here. Heightened spells and rituals in particular are things I always wanted to see more incorporated into the basic magic rules (now if only detect magic was a standard SLA and witches could get into core...)

A bit on the fence about spell points (especially the name), but overall hopeful regarding this - especially if it helps Cleric domains be a more impactful choice/feature for the character.

Fuzzypaws wrote:
Can you give us a hint about specialist wizards, Mark? Other than the bit about "spell points" being used to power school abilities. I'm still hoping that wizards will have to specialize so we can get casters with more flavor and less broken access to cherrypicking every single good spell.

Also want to echo this, only expanded for casters in general. Honestly, I’ve always hated how the interesting distinction between schools of magic is completely ignored by almost everyone who isn’t a specialist wizard. I’m not saying that I’d want generalists to not be an option, but I'd love to be able to play casters that had a reason to not pick every meta spell without the party feeling like I deliberately gimped my character's ability to contribute.

Diego Rossi wrote:

CLARIFY FROM THE START IF SPELLS AND ABILITIES HAVE SOME FORM OF MANIFESTATION AND IF IT IS VISIBLE, AUDIBLE OR PERCEIVED IN SOME OTHER WAY

Sorry for shouting that, but I think it is important. It change the balance about having access to mind affecting magic.

Yes please. This needs to be explicitly stated in the core rules about magic to make sure it's understood what happens if you use Charm Person as an SLA or use metamagic to hide the Verbal/Somatic components.

Diego Rossi wrote:
I suppose that now all spellcasters work like the arcanist for spell know/prepared?

While I kinda doubt this will happen, I would love it if PF1 arcanists were used as the model for all PF2 prepared casters in general. I love how arcanists prepare their spells and know players who refuse to play wizards because of strict vancian casting.


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NetoD20 wrote:

Cantrips

It's ok, although I prefer the 3rd edition idea where mages have to be resourceful and smart at beginner levels because they don't control as much magic and then get to be powerhouses at later levels.

It's not like you're tossing around 10d6 cantrips at low levels. As a 1st level wizard, having cantrips that are actually useful mostly gives you more flavorful alternatives to the crossbow, that occasionally give you extra problem solving tools. At all levels, putting some of the really basic stuff into cantrips allows you to save your spells for things that are more meaningful or powerful.

NetoD20 wrote:

Rituals

I like it, but I hope I don't always need secondary casters on this, nor to pay heavy feat taxes just to use it, like in the Deep Magic system.

They haven't said. I am guessing (hoping) that a caster can still perform a ritual by themself, so your wizard can still produce Guards And Wards on their own. Secondary casters would just provide Aid, making the check easier... maybe providing you with incentive to take shortcuts or go for boosted effects, either of which make the DC higher.


I'm hoping we'll get the following:

Lower level buff spells (resist energy, protection from energy, etc) that will have the option of lasting longer than just 1 round per level and affect more than just one person if they are given different casting component options and/or are heightened.

The bard class being given back the mage armor spell.

Some more cold based damage dealing spells, especially at lower levels.

Paizo Employee Franchise Manager

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The Gold Sovereign wrote:
Am I the only one really intrigued/fascinated by those fancy hats Wayne has designed for the last two gnomes? I suppose this is a gnome druid, but i'm not sure if this is Lini. Anyway, that's an awesome illustration.

I agree! I love the gnome hats (and elf hats, and halfling hats) Wayne put in his concept art. This particular gnome is not Lini, but I bet she'd wear a hat like that in a heartbeat if she came across one.

The Exchange

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Gorbacz wrote:
Ninja in the Rye wrote:

I'm worried that none of these new spells listed will be nearly as good as a 14th level Fighter being able to add their +2 Shield AC to Reflex Saves against a few narrowly defined types of attacks.

I just don't want casters feeling like they can't keep up with the new reality warping powers that are being granted to martials in PF2, so I hope their primary class features are also doing amazing things like providing minor highly situational numeric boosts.

Don't worry. I'm on good authority that a 1st level PF2 fighter can initiate the Celestial Dragon Neko Neko Nyan Nyan Omnislash manoeuvrer, which allows you to swing your sword, designate any object within 20 miles of you and INSTANTLY SLASH THAT OBJECT APART IN TWO no saves, instant death. You can slash apart objects and creatures as large as a mountain.

At level 2, you can slash apart the equivalent of three mountains.

At level 3, you can slash apart an entire mountain range.

At level 4, you additionally summon a host of Angel-Devils, each of which can conjure a swarm of meteor penguins. They do no damage, but they look cool and sing your favourite anime opening.

I realise that people will likely go up their arms because that means Fighters don't get cool out-of-combat utility until level 4 (not that slashing mountains apart doesn't have cool uses like opening cans or sealed envelopes) but hey, some folks just won't ever be happy.

That all sounds really KEWL but I want for my martial character the Kool-Aid man's power to crash through walls and yell out 'OH yeah!" Preferably with a stun effect on all enemies with 15 feet of me. That would be too sweet! Screw those scrawny mages and their weak sauce passwall spell


Arikiel wrote:

This looks pretty good. I’m slightly annoyed that they’re still using “level” for both “class levels” and “spell levels”. That’s needlessly confusing when it could be changed to something like “spell tiers” or “spell ranks”.

Bouncing back and forth with the degrees of success/failure is also counterintuitive. Reminds me of the awkwardness saying double digit numbers in German. It seems the natural sequences would be Critical Success, Success, Failure, Critical Failure.

These are just annoyances however. What’s truly troubling is where it says “one foe (or minion)”. Please tell me they aren’t a separate rules set for “minions” like in 4th Ed. That whole 1 hp cannon fodder, who’s sol reason for existing is to glorify the “heroes”, BS made me want to vomit and would be a deal breaker, for me, if implemented into PF 2E. :(

Mark Seifer clarified that he was referring to one of a PC's servants or underlings in that passage and that Minion wasn't a System term. Whether the concept makes an appearance elsewhere, however, remains in questions as there seems to be much equivocation.

Also, I don't know if it's true, but I've been told Minions were introduced into 4e in an attempt to shorten combats by adding CR without adding HP. If so, they did at least have a purpose...


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Mark,

Can you confirm that for Heal the schools are Healing, Necromancy and Positive? Or am I reading the schools wrong.

If this is true, do you need access to just one school to have the spell on your list?

Paizo Employee Designer

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Strachan Fireblade wrote:

Mark,

Can you confirm that for Heal the schools are Healing, Necromancy and Positive? Or am I reading the schools wrong.

If this is true, do you need access to just one school to have the spell on your list?

Necromancy is the school, whereas healing and positive are other traits of the spell (basically "descriptors" like you're familiar with, but not as wordy).


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Pathfinder Adventure Path, Rulebook Subscriber

Okay. I'm actually going to jump on the bandwagon here for asking for "Spell Level" to be renamed "Spell Circle" or "Spell Sphere" or something similar to that. There is a legitimate reason for this suggestion.

Through all of the last campaign I ran, I kept running into the same problem over and over again: trying to explain to my players (who are playing the campaign online and do not actually own the rules as far as I know) that "Spell level" and "Caster level" are not the same thing.

I understand simplicity. I understand trying to use the same language so you don't have loads of confusing terms. But... sometimes you get so simple that it confuses the more casual gamer. And you are trying to attract more people to Pathfinder who were dissuaded by the complexity of Pathfinder 1.

Spell Level and Caster Level/Character Level becomes confusing because someone with a multiclass character (say Rogue 3/Wizard 4) would have a 7th level character who has a Caster Level of 4 and can only cast up to 2nd level spells. Even if you had someone who was just a 7th level Cleric... they are limited to 4th level spells. My players kept asking "well my Cleric is level 7, why can't she cast 7th level spells?" Because it seems intuitive you would be able to, doesn't it?

So. Yeah, please call them Spell Circles or Spell Spheres or something other than Level. This will help new players. Trust me on this.


Does sound like an interesting change in game mechanics.

I like the idea that spells get better as your caster level increases.
Sounds a lot better than cantrips being little tiddlers no matter how powerful the spell caster is.

I take it that there will still be the basic difference between INT based wizards and CHA based sorcerers?
(i.e. books and versatility vs. a limited selection of spells that are ingrained)


The Gold Sovereign wrote:
Am I the only one really intrigued/fascinated by those fancy hats Wayne has designed for the last two gnomes? I suppose this is a gnome druid, but i'm not sure if this is Lini. Anyway, that's an awesome illustration.

I like them, feels appropriately gnomey. I remember there was another thread where Wayne was discussing the art for the new edition. He mentioned trying to bring in more cultural styles and such so that you can recognize them on sight. So maybe those hats are gnome fashion? Makes sense to me. As I said earlier, I suspect gnomes would often rather like hats in general. Although I suspect gnome fashion is a very chaotic thing, with regional styles coming and going in a heartbeat. And maybe getting really wild with magic. "Animated illusions are so in this year! Don't you love this robe with the squirrel that runs around the torso, sometimes it'll stop and look like it's nibbling on a button like it's a nut!"


Hmmm...so will the Wish/Miracle spell now actually have the ability to cease the aging process for a few years for casters or will Arcane Discoveries make a come back in this new edition (and thus 20th level casters could take the Immortality Arcane Tradition like in the previous Pathfinder version)?

If that's too powerful for a wish spell then maybe using it to restore a certain amount of years lost to old age?

Also, I'm wondering if the Permanency spell will be in this and if so will it be expanded upon?


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Berselius wrote:
Also, I'm wondering if the Permanency spell will be in this and if so will it be expanded upon?

I sure hope so. Permanency seems to have been forgotten a lot. The fact that it works for very specific spells means it needs to be kept in mind every time a new spell is added. Maybe with each batch of spells add an updated permanency list. Do the same with summoning spells too.


Doktor Weasel wrote:
Berselius wrote:
Also, I'm wondering if the Permanency spell will be in this and if so will it be expanded upon?
I sure hope so. Permanency seems to have been forgotten a lot. The fact that it works for very specific spells means it needs to be kept in mind every time a new spell is added. Maybe with each batch of spells add an updated permanency list. Do the same with summoning spells too.

Summon Monster was intentionally not updated, as it'd just keep getting more versatile. That said, I'd certainly like to see it have better coverage for different alignments/outsider types, and it sounds like they're interested in that too.


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Tangent101 wrote:
Okay. I'm actually going to jump on the bandwagon here for asking for "Spell Level" to be renamed "Spell Circle" or "Spell Sphere" or something similar to that. There is a legitimate reason for this suggestion.

How about something like Spell Level and Caster Power?


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Rulebook Subscriber
Stone Dog wrote:
Tangent101 wrote:
Okay. I'm actually going to jump on the bandwagon here for asking for "Spell Level" to be renamed "Spell Circle" or "Spell Sphere" or something similar to that. There is a legitimate reason for this suggestion.
How about something like Spell Level and Caster Power?

That still have the problem of "well I'm 7th level, why can't I cast 7th level spells?" That's why I suggested Spell Circle or the like. A 4th circle spell can be cast by a 7th level cleric or wizard - you don't confuse folk with multiple incarnations of "level" - and while I didn't have an issue, I've also been playing AD&D and its descendants for nearly 40 years so....


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Haywire build generator wrote:
Suppose I wanted to build a wizard: Int-based casting, wizard class feats, all that. But I wanted to replace all of my mental essence spells with vital essence spells. How well-supported would this process be?

I feel this point got lost in the heated debate going on at the time, so I'm bumping it

Edit: and I end up right before Mark.

Paizo Employee Designer

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Tangent101 wrote:
Stone Dog wrote:
Tangent101 wrote:
Okay. I'm actually going to jump on the bandwagon here for asking for "Spell Level" to be renamed "Spell Circle" or "Spell Sphere" or something similar to that. There is a legitimate reason for this suggestion.
How about something like Spell Level and Caster Power?
That still have the problem of "well I'm 7th level, why can't I cast 7th level spells?" That's why I suggested Spell Circle or the like. A 4th circle spell can be cast by a 7th level cleric or wizard - you don't confuse folk with multiple incarnations of "level" - and while I didn't have an issue, I've also been playing AD&D and its descendants for nearly 40 years so....

There are definitely those at Paizo who agree with this, since everything else that is done by level is on that 0-20+ scale. On the other hand, certain deeply entrenched terminology being changed has a risk of dramatically changing the feel of the game, and I can see both sides on that topic. This is one of a few places. One other that springs to mind for me is that we don't change saving throws and attack rolls to be called saving checks and attack checks in PF1 or PF2, even though everything else is called check, and checks are d20 rolls against a DC, so they both are checks. But imagine how it would sound to call for a saving check?


Mark Seifter wrote:
Tangent101 wrote:
Stone Dog wrote:
Tangent101 wrote:
Okay. I'm actually going to jump on the bandwagon here for asking for "Spell Level" to be renamed "Spell Circle" or "Spell Sphere" or something similar to that. There is a legitimate reason for this suggestion.
How about something like Spell Level and Caster Power?
That still have the problem of "well I'm 7th level, why can't I cast 7th level spells?" That's why I suggested Spell Circle or the like. A 4th circle spell can be cast by a 7th level cleric or wizard - you don't confuse folk with multiple incarnations of "level" - and while I didn't have an issue, I've also been playing AD&D and its descendants for nearly 40 years so....
There are definitely those at Paizo who agree with this, since everything else that is done by level is on that 0-20+ scale. On the other hand, certain deeply entrenched terminology being changed has a risk of dramatically changing the feel of the game, and I can see both sides on that topic. This is one of a few places. One other that springs to mind for me is that we don't change saving throws and attack rolls to be called saving checks and attack checks in PF1 or PF2, even though everything else is called check, and checks are d20 rolls against a DC, so they both are checks. But imagine how it would sound to call for a saving check?

That's why I preferred SAGA's Defenses rather than Saves.

Liberty's Edge

Pathfinder Rulebook Subscriber

I hope that there is significant changes to the Wizard and Sorcerer where choices are not hamstrung mechanically as they are in PF1/3.0.

My concern is if the Familiar will still be switched out for something like Bonded Object, and if the Specialization of schools will be changed or done away with for another class ability closer to what Bloodlines do. I also wonder how Bloodlines will work with the new class feats and what the Sorcerer can do differently that would separate the class from the Wizard, making it something more than the Spontaneous version of the same class.


Honestly, I feel that should Regen should be 5th, do 5 /rd and increase by 5 per spell level: after all this ends up the same amount at 9th.

RPG Superstar 2013 Top 32

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Mark Seifter wrote:
There are definitely those at Paizo who agree with this, since everything else that is done by level is on that 0-20+ scale. On the other hand, certain deeply entrenched terminology being changed has a risk of dramatically changing the feel of the game, and I can see both sides on that topic. This is one of a few places. One other that springs to mind for me is that we don't change saving throws and attack rolls to be called saving checks and attack checks in PF1 or PF2, even though everything else is called check, and checks are d20 rolls against a DC, so they both are checks. But imagine how it would sound to call for a saving check?

This isn't quite an equitable example: saving throws and attack rolls aren't treading on any other terminology. Yes, it would be neater to explain them to new players as just another kind of check, but there's no risk in confusing "saving throw" and "attack roll" with any other terminology in the game. So the cost of keeping those unique names for flavour purposes is low.

Spell level vs caster level vs class/character level is a consistent point of confusion solely driven by the repeated usage of the word level. Just depends whether changing those names removes too much of the original flavour or not. While I've learned the differences between them over time, it would certainly make explaining those systems to new players a lot more simple.


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Pathfinder Adventure Path, Rulebook Subscriber
Mark Seifter wrote:
Tangent101 wrote:
Stone Dog wrote:
Tangent101 wrote:
Okay. I'm actually going to jump on the bandwagon here for asking for "Spell Level" to be renamed "Spell Circle" or "Spell Sphere" or something similar to that. There is a legitimate reason for this suggestion.
How about something like Spell Level and Caster Power?
That still have the problem of "well I'm 7th level, why can't I cast 7th level spells?" That's why I suggested Spell Circle or the like. A 4th circle spell can be cast by a 7th level cleric or wizard - you don't confuse folk with multiple incarnations of "level" - and while I didn't have an issue, I've also been playing AD&D and its descendants for nearly 40 years so....
There are definitely those at Paizo who agree with this, since everything else that is done by level is on that 0-20+ scale. On the other hand, certain deeply entrenched terminology being changed has a risk of dramatically changing the feel of the game, and I can see both sides on that topic. This is one of a few places. One other that springs to mind for me is that we don't change saving throws and attack rolls to be called saving checks and attack checks in PF1 or PF2, even though everything else is called check, and checks are d20 rolls against a DC, so they both are checks. But imagine how it would sound to call for a saving check?

Yes, that is very true. It would seem quite odd to say "saving check" or "attack check" given the history of the term.

However, there is one fundamental difference. The term Roll is not used for a dozen different terms and it is an understandable terminology. While "Spell Level" is understandable and my players comprehend what a Spell Level is? They had problems understanding why their 5th level Wizard couldn't cast 5th level spells. It seemed obvious to them that they should be able to do this.

Personally I don't have much of a problem with Spell Level. I've played AD&D since I was introduced to it in summer camp long long ago, and then played its descendants until I finally started playing Pathfinder because I had a new player and it was easier to explain new rules to her and 3rd edition D&D rulebooks were (at the time) impossible to find. I then fell in love with the system because let's face it: Pathfinder is superior to D&D. But as I've said... I've been at this forever. I memorized the 1st edition AD&D books and ran games for myself because it was impossible to find a group in the late 80s and early 90s. Hell, I met my best friend through gaming.

But there are a lot of casuals out there. There are people who don't read the rules all the way through and only skim the rules they absolutely need and some who don't even own any books and rely on the GM to explain things. And maybe I'm not that great of a GM that I have difficulty explaining concepts like this over Skype.

On the other hand, I wasn't the first to bring up this concept. Hell, back over two decades ago when I started making my own FRPG system (before d20 was around) I used "Rings" and "Circles" and "Spheres" to differentiate these things. Part of it was to create a different feel, of course.

Aren't you already doing that though with your four Magical Traditions? So why not take one step further and go with Spell Circles? It will help newer players separate "spell level" from caster or character level... and also give a slightly different, more magical feel to your magic system. That isn't necessarily a bad thing. :)


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Mark Seifter wrote:
There are definitely those at Paizo who agree with this, since everything else that is done by level is on that 0-20+ scale. On the other hand, certain deeply entrenched terminology being changed has a risk of dramatically changing the feel of the game, and I can see both sides on that topic. This is one of a few places. One other that springs to mind for me is that we don't change saving throws and attack rolls to be called saving checks and attack checks in PF1 or PF2, even though everything else is called check, and checks are d20 rolls against a DC, so they both are checks. But imagine how it would sound to call for a saving check?

… saving check.

*shudders*

Thanks for your consideration on that one. I'd live since it's just terminology, but I'm happier knowing I'll still be making saving throws.


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Mark Seifter wrote:
Strachan Fireblade wrote:

Mark,

Can you confirm that for Heal the schools are Healing, Necromancy and Positive? Or am I reading the schools wrong.

If this is true, do you need access to just one school to have the spell on your list?

Necromancy is the school, whereas healing and positive are other traits of the spell (basically "descriptors" like you're familiar with, but not as wordy).

So why not have a different line for school and a different line for descriptors/traits?

If you put the school among all other descriptors/traits, you'll just make confusion in the head of new players or just make more slow to find the spell's school. I think that is really important to segregate them in the mechanic text block.


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Mark Seifter wrote:
Tangent101 wrote:
Stone Dog wrote:
Tangent101 wrote:
Okay. I'm actually going to jump on the bandwagon here for asking for "Spell Level" to be renamed "Spell Circle" or "Spell Sphere" or something similar to that. There is a legitimate reason for this suggestion.
How about something like Spell Level and Caster Power?
That still have the problem of "well I'm 7th level, why can't I cast 7th level spells?" That's why I suggested Spell Circle or the like. A 4th circle spell can be cast by a 7th level cleric or wizard - you don't confuse folk with multiple incarnations of "level" - and while I didn't have an issue, I've also been playing AD&D and its descendants for nearly 40 years so....
There are definitely those at Paizo who agree with this, since everything else that is done by level is on that 0-20+ scale. On the other hand, certain deeply entrenched terminology being changed has a risk of dramatically changing the feel of the game, and I can see both sides on that topic. This is one of a few places. One other that springs to mind for me is that we don't change saving throws and attack rolls to be called saving checks and attack checks in PF1 or PF2, even though everything else is called check, and checks are d20 rolls against a DC, so they both are checks. But imagine how it would sound to call for a saving check?

Can you change spell level to spell circle? :D

Just look like everything being called level is a little messy...


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Tangent101 wrote:

Okay. I'm actually going to jump on the bandwagon here for asking for "Spell Level" to be renamed "Spell Circle" or "Spell Sphere" or something similar to that. There is a legitimate reason for this suggestion.

Through all of the last campaign I ran, I kept running into the same problem over and over again: trying to explain to my players (who are playing the campaign online and do not actually own the rules as far as I know) that "Spell level" and "Caster level" are not the same thing.

I understand simplicity. I understand trying to use the same language so you don't have loads of confusing terms. But... sometimes you get so simple that it confuses the more casual gamer. And you are trying to attract more people to Pathfinder who were dissuaded by the complexity of Pathfinder 1.

Spell Level and Caster Level/Character Level becomes confusing because someone with a multiclass character (say Rogue 3/Wizard 4) would have a 7th level character who has a Caster Level of 4 and can only cast up to 2nd level spells. Even if you had someone who was just a 7th level Cleric... they are limited to 4th level spells. My players kept asking "well my Cleric is level 7, why can't she cast 7th level spells?" Because it seems intuitive you would be able to, doesn't it?

So. Yeah, please call them Spell Circles or Spell Spheres or something other than Level. This will help new players. Trust me on this.

There's always the Book of Experimental Might approach of dividing spells across 20 levels; I will certainly be looking at the complete PF2.0 spell list with homebrewing something equivalent as an option in mind.


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I wonder... If you don't like casting free level-appropriate cantrips all day long and feel like a WoW Mage casting Firebolts non-stop that are on league with a Fighter's Swings, and you House Rule (or Paizo releases) a class that completely forfeits cantrips all together for extra Spell Slots, how many would you need for balancing purposes.

I always liked the "useless Wizard" that is saving his big spells for the most needed moment, and feels like he does nothing for the fight when he is not using his battle-changing spells. Not sure if I will like this "I can always "Firebolt" for decent damage, all rounds, every fight, all day long..."

I think I'm also in the wagon of calling "Spell Levels" something else.
"At Lv3 you unlock the 2nd Circle" or something along those lines sounds better and makes a little more sense than "At Lv3 you get Lv2 Spells".


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Pathfinder Adventure Path, Rulebook Subscriber

I'd be cool with spell tiers rather than spell levels. I agree it is somewhat confusing for new players

Incidently, I don't think there is going to be a mental/vital/material/spirit lists, unless people are seeing a post from a developer I haven't. I think this is going to be how they flavor the brands of magic. We'll still get arcane and divine lists I bet, with spells relevant to those themes.


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Pathfinder Adventure Path, Rulebook Subscriber

Spell Tiers sounds awesome. Better than Spell Circles. :)

Silver Crusade

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Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
Mark Seifter wrote:
Tangent101 wrote:
Stone Dog wrote:
Tangent101 wrote:
Okay. I'm actually going to jump on the bandwagon here for asking for "Spell Level" to be renamed "Spell Circle" or "Spell Sphere" or something similar to that. There is a legitimate reason for this suggestion.
How about something like Spell Level and Caster Power?
That still have the problem of "well I'm 7th level, why can't I cast 7th level spells?" That's why I suggested Spell Circle or the like. A 4th circle spell can be cast by a 7th level cleric or wizard - you don't confuse folk with multiple incarnations of "level" - and while I didn't have an issue, I've also been playing AD&D and its descendants for nearly 40 years so....
There are definitely those at Paizo who agree with this, since everything else that is done by level is on that 0-20+ scale. On the other hand, certain deeply entrenched terminology being changed has a risk of dramatically changing the feel of the game, and I can see both sides on that topic. This is one of a few places. One other that springs to mind for me is that we don't change saving throws and attack rolls to be called saving checks and attack checks in PF1 or PF2, even though everything else is called check, and checks are d20 rolls against a DC, so they both are checks. But imagine how it would sound to call for a saving check?

I agree that sounds weird, however saving throw (or saves as they’re called at the table) or attack rolls and skill checks don’t generate confusion as much as the plethora of things that are all referred to using the word level.

Character level, class level, caster level, dungeon level and spell level can cause genuine confusion at the table.

The amount of times someone playing a caster asks me: “How do I work out the save DC for my spell?”
“It’s 10 + Spell Level + Casting mod”
“Okay, so I’m level 5 so 10 + 5 + 4?”
“No, it’s based on the level of the spell. So what’s the spell you’re casting?”
“Hideous laughter.”
“Okay, so that’s a level 2 spell.”
“No it’s a level 1 spell.”
“Oh right you’re a Bard.”
“It’s 15.”

Of course as I understand it, the Save DC will be based on level caster mod and proficiency so that particular conversation will become a thing of the past.

Of everything that could have its terminology updated, I think Spell Level is best because it’s the one that would actually ease confusion for those familiar with the game as well as those who are new.


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Kaemy wrote:
I always liked the "useless Wizard" that is saving his big spells for the most needed moment, and feels like he does nothing for the fight when he is not using his battle-changing spells. Not sure if I will like this "I can always "Firebolt" for decent damage, all rounds, every fight, all day long..."

While that sort of thing appeals to a certain small subset of players, most people do prefer to feel at least somewhat useful in the majority of encounters and challenges. Also, other people at the table prefer when everyone is at least contributing in some way. Even as the GM, it creates better flow for me and allows me to plan and run encounters better when people aren't just sitting out and making a few other people do the work. So it's definitely a good thing by me that they're finally joining the 21st century and making cantrips better.

In the specific instance where you want to play a character who is usually useless, and the GM and other players somehow don't mind this, that seems like something that is better handled by houserules to trade things out.

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