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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Tags: Pathfinder Playtest Wayne Reynolds
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Are "Foes/Minions" roughly equivalent to the "GM Character/Mook" distinction that Feng Shui pioneered?

Since this is a great mechanic and (almost) every game should "borrow" it happily.

Paizo Employee Designer

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Alexander Augunas wrote:
Also, any word on what Spell Points are? They're mentioned in the blog. Are they like spell slots, or something different?

It is just a name for the "pool of uses" for your domain/school powers that had no name in PF1.

Liberty's Edge

Alexander Augunas wrote:
Also, any word on what Spell Points are? They're mentioned in the blog. Are they like spell slots, or something different?

They're what you use to power what used to be X/day abilities. Kyra in the demo games used them to shoot a ray of fire (presumably from a Domain) and to Heal separate from her spell slots (presumably either a general Cleric thing or another Domain). Each had a separate pool of points (so she had 4 uses of each).

EDIT: Ninja'd. Ah, well.

Paizo Employee Designer

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PossibleCabbage wrote:

Are "Foes/Minions" roughly equivalent to the "GM Character/Mook" distinction that Feng Shui pioneered?

Since this is a great mechanic and (almost) every game should "borrow" it happily.

Just a flavor term for a weak ally or foe, not a rules mechanic in this usage.


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I'd have preferred a less gamey and awkward name for spell points. "Mana" or the like are ubiquitous enough that they would have worked well.

Dark Archive

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Pathfinder Card Game, Pathfinder Accessories Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber
Xenocrat wrote:
Alexander Augunas wrote:
Also, any word on what Spell Points are? They're mentioned in the blog. Are they like spell slots, or something different?
They're surely like the Psychic's Phrenic Pool and Arcanist's Arcane Reservoir.

combining that with the dragon blooded Sorcerer's 3+Cha rounds of claws a day, and the Conjurer's 3+int acid darts a day


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I like very much what's previewed here.

Makeitstop wrote:
Now if psionics could just officially be part of the rules ecosystem alongside this, I'd be quite happy indeed.

I'd be fine with Paizo incorporating psychic magic early into PF2E, but based on past statements from Paizo design peeps, I don't think I'd like how they'd change psionics. I much prefer Dreamscarred's psionics over anything Vancian. I like fiddly bits and power points too much.


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I'm cautiously optimistic about the spells as they're written.

Quote:
your light cantrip is better at counteracting magical darkness.

I particularly like the terminology you're using here. No more "Counters and dispels" confusion.


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Mark Seifter wrote:
PossibleCabbage wrote:

Are "Foes/Minions" roughly equivalent to the "GM Character/Mook" distinction that Feng Shui pioneered?

Since this is a great mechanic and (almost) every game should "borrow" it happily.

Just a flavor term for a weak ally or foe, not a rules mechanic in this usage.

Minion here seems clearly referring to a weak ally (like a familiar), since it's expressing concern that you might kill one while siphoning off its life force. Generally you want to kill enemies, so...


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So some metacurrency pools in PF1 regenerate during the day when certain things happen (Panache, Phrenic Pool depending on your Psychic Discipline, etc.) but a lot of them don't.

Is "regain spell points if something happens" a thing that can be done in PF2?


The biggest concern would be that with the way higher power spells have an easier time overcoming lower level spells, the gap between full-casters and everyone else might grow a bit more. As well, if a Fighter or Rogue gain access to a cantrip in 5e, that cantrip grows in power as they do. But because those classes generally don't gain caster levels, it seems like those classes would be stuck with a 1st-level version of cantrips for the whole shebang.

Liberty's Edge

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Now this is a meaty blog.

I'm really liking the look of this. This makes it a lot easier to build upon spell lists or even add new ones without the chaotic mess and risk of splatbooks forgetting classes exist.

Spell scaling looks more promising with the format given, too.


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The only thing I don't like about this is vampiric healing being temporary HP. I hate tracking temp HP. I'd rather it just heal the caster X amount and any HP over your max is just wasted. Makes the spell less powerful (unless you are low on HP) and gives me one less thing to keep track of.

I'll probably just houserule it.

Otherwise, this sounds great.

Will cantrips at high levels out shine low level spell slots? If so, that might be a bug. Low level spell slots should still be useful.

Paizo Employee Designer

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Quadratic W wrote:
The biggest concern would be that with the way higher power spells have an easier time overcoming lower level spells, the gap between full-casters and everyone else might grow a bit more. As well, if a Fighter or Rogue gain access to a cantrip in 5e, that cantrip grows in power as they do. But because those classes generally don't gain caster levels, it seems like those classes would be stuck with a 1st-level version of cantrips for the whole shebang.

If you gain access to a cantrip (like gnome's Fey Magic), it will tell you how it scales, typically it will be at the same rate as a caster's cantrips scale..


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I'm finding the wording of Vampiric Exsanguination very unclear.

Vampiric Exsanguination wrote:
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

I think the intent is that you gain temporary HP equal to 1/2 of your damage roll if any creature takes damage. But the way this is written, you could interpret it as you gain temporary HP equal to 1/2 of the TOTAL damage done to all creatures in the area.

Another clarification: if a creature in the area critically fails its save and takes double damage, does that affect the amount of temporary HP you gain?

Liberty's Edge

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The question about Spell Points, now, is... is it a consolidated pool, or per ability? Because calling them all Spell Points might have a unified name, but it could get confusing if you have three or four different types of Spell Points.


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I've been looking forward to blogs that actually address what I see as the principal issues with the current Pathfinder game, the caster/martial power discrepancy and the way that the turns of some classes with companions can take twice as long as many other classes. I'm happy to see this post give some initial ideas on magic, but I don't see it (or any of the other posts so far) actually address the power discrepancy. The heightening of spells described in this, including the heightening of cantrips, seems to actual increase the power of caster, potentially increasing the discrepancy. The new system also seems to add considerably to the complexity of the game system. I'd like to hear more about what Paizo staff thought were the biggest problems with the existing system and their plans for fixing those problems. Instead, we've heard a lot about fixing things that aren't broken (again in my opinion), such as changing races and racial traits to ancestries and ancestry feats.


Serum wrote:

Heal looks like it carries over all of the problems from P1E, except even worse because P2E's inflated HP scaling. It just doesn't look like it does enough to compete with other spells at the same level.

Compare heal at level 6 to Vampiric exsanguination. For the same action cost, I could heal one person of 6d8 damage at range, or I could force everyone in a 30-foot cone to save or take 10d6 damage and and I also will probably gain 5d6 temporary hit points.

Maybe spellcasting modifier scales with level, but then heal cast at level 1 will be more efficient (again) than heal cast at level 3.

I believe a one person heal at level 6 would be 11d8 plus spellcasting modifier, not 6d8.

-ninja-ed

-Zendar

Paizo Employee Designer

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thflame wrote:

The only thing I don't like about this is vampiric healing being temporary HP. I hate tracking temp HP. I'd rather it just heal the caster X amount and any HP over your max is just wasted. Makes the spell less powerful (unless you are low on HP) and gives me one less thing to keep track of.

I'll probably just houserule it.

Otherwise, this sounds great.

Will cantrips at high levels out shine low level spell slots? If so, that might be a bug. Low level spell slots should still be useful.

Cantrips aren't 0-level spells; they're spells you can perform all day. The damaging cantrips aren't super powerful compared to a martial's attacks in any case, but they'll still change what sorts of things you want to prepare in your various spell slots. So for instance, if you're really high level and have a cantrip that deals the same damage as a 1st-level magic missile, it might make sense to prepare utility spells in your 1st-level slots unless you have a reason to really want no-miss force damage in particular on that day.

Liberty's Edge

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So, I know it's really not a huge issue, but the listing for save results not going from best result to worst kind of bugs me. And I realize that negative is going to be the new keyword for negative energy, but negative damage just sounds like healing to me. Aside from those quibbles, looks pretty good though.


In light of recent discussions, there seems to be one very big thing missing here:

Quote:
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).

And wizards... still use specialized components, or what? Nothing specific is mentioned in the spell text, so is there a whole separate component system matching them to the spell type or something?

RPG Superstar 2013 Top 32

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Deighton Thrane wrote:
So, I know it's really not a huge issue, but the listing for save results not going from best result to worst kind of bugs me.

I made a thread to discuss this very thing.

RPG Superstar Season 9 Top 4, RPG Superstar 2015 Top 32

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I detect a slight touch of the mythic rules here, which makes me happy.

Liberty's Edge

Nekome wrote:

In light of recent discussions, there seems to be one very big thing missing here:

Quote:
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).
And wizards... still use specialized components, or what? Nothing specific is mentioned in the spell text, so is there a whole separate component system matching them to the spell type or something?

Yes, since they didn't call out Wizards as doing anything special, they cast spells the default way (using material components for any spell that has a material casting action requirement).


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Lets see...

Action!: nothing new here...
Heightened Spells: Cool. No more needless reprinting of numbered spells.
Cantrips: Auto-heightened? Yes please.
Domain Powers and Beyond: Spell points? Sounds ok.
10th-Level Spells: Meh... I honestly don't foresee these in use that often as that level play rarely sees use.
Rituals: LOL 5e makes an appearance. ;) Luckily, it's one of the few things I actually LIKED from 5e.
Magical Traditions: I'll have to see this in practice.
Spells: I noticed that there was no specific material component listed for heal, so I'm hoping this means that listed specific components are a thing of the past. With divine focus filling in for them though it might just be assumed the heal is done with them.


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What would happen with spells that were shared between multiple spells list? Like Planeshift, Shapechange, Summon Monters, Gate, etc.

Scarab Sages

Mark, would you be willing to divulge any info on the following?
1. Which casting actions provoke AoOs?
2. Are cantrips now viable as at-will attacks, allowing casters to forego weapons usage?
3. Are martial classes going to grant abilities powered by «spell points» as well?
4. Is summoning still a thing?


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Pathfinder Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

This sort of makes it sound like Metamagic feats are getting written out (which is a good thing imo), since heightening is now an innate part of spellcasting, and Still/Silent are effectively quicken with this new setup. It's certainly an interesting approach...


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This really highlights some 4th ed-isms that are getting put into Pathfinder 2e*. And here's something that might surprise people: I like them (at least some of them). I'm not sure if my group will or if it will be one too many 4e-isms, but I do like it.

Rituals are straight out of the 4e PHB. And I actually like it. I don't know if my group will, but being able to have other people cast critical spells is important. It will also remove the reliance on the healer being a spellcaster. This has been my one big bugaboo when it comes to 3.5e-style games and it was one of the things I really enjoyed about D&D 4th ed. So I'm happy to get it back.

The Healing spell is effectively Healing Word, right down to the action economy and adding WIS instead of level. The whole point of healing word was that it was a minor action to heal someone which allowed a cleric to attack and heal in the same turn. That's what single component/action heal does. 1 action on healing and you get either 1 or 2 actions for attacking depending on if movement is needed. Just like 4e had standard action healing, so does Healing in the form of 2 components/actions or 3 components/actions.

Something I do dislike is how the schools are being presented. They feel less like 3.5e schools and more like 4e keywords. As I mentioned in a recent blog: How they present martial feats (and spells) is going to be critical here. If we get something like this:
POWER ATTACK - FEAT 1
Melee, Weapon
Action 2 actions
Target 1 creature's AC

When you make a Power Attack you deal damage equal to double your weapon dice plus your strength modifier on a hit.
----
Then it's game over for my group playing Pathfinder 2e. Presentation matters. The above sample is how 4th ed powers were presented. 4th ed could have been much better received had the presentation been different.

Cantrips automatically scaling to your highest spell slot is another 4th ed-ism. I don't like this one personally. Wizards get enough spell slots at higher levels that they don't need to keep relying on their at-will power. Unless of course we're seeing a significant reduction in the number of spell slots. But if we combine that with everything having more HP and limited magic being in core I worry that would be one nerf too many. Remove too many spell slots and give non-casters too many "limited times per day" abilities and you effectively get different classes using the same structure (just presented differently).

Finally I saw the blog slip in the word "minion" when talking about enemies, and differentiating them from ordinary "foes". I'm worried we're going to see 4e minions return to the game. And if we do get them, we'll get them for the same we had them in 4e and the exact reason we don't have them in 5e. The universal scaling bonus of +level to all combat abilities and skills (attack, AC, saves). Low CR enemies are going to quickly be made redundant. Even moreso than in Pathfinder 1e where at least rogues and clerics had lower to hits which made them somewhat more relevant for a level or two extra. I expect this is going to get a lot of negative feedback if they do try to put it into the game, which I hope means they'll reconsider removing BAB and adding +level to everything. But I also worry +level is too intrinsic to the game they'll just remove minions instead.

But hey, maybe that wasn't what minions was meant by in the blog post. We'll have to wait and see.

Finally I didn't see it explicitly stated what the four spell lists are! I've still got my bet on Arcane, Divine, Martial, Primal and Psychic.

TheFinish wrote:
Does that mean Regenerate can only be a 7th or 9th level spell?

I expect it could be an 8th slot spell, but you won't get anything for it. Remember all spells use your maximum DC so there'd be no reason to put it in an 8th slot unless you ran out of 7th spell slots.

* Whether they're consciously from 4th ed to give these mechanics a new lease on life or just convergent design (which is possible despite the fact there's at least a couple of 4e developers on the team as they may not have touched this area of the game) trying to solve the same problems isn't really relevant to this post.


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Quote:

Regenerate

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.

I seriously don't like this bit here. A creature with Regeneration cant be killed no matter how much damage you deal? This makes it sound like Ogres and the like are either going to absolutely viciously (regardless of level) or they expect everyone to carry Fire and Acid weapons everywhere they go.

Does this mean that their may be mandatory Holy/Unholy/Axiomatic/Anarchic weapon for high level play? I certainly hope not...


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graystone wrote:

Lets see...

Action!: nothing new here...
Heightened Spells: Cool. No more needless reprinting of numbered spells.
Cantrips: Auto-heightened? Yes please.
Domain Powers and Beyond: Spell points? Sounds ok.
10th-Level Spells: Meh... I honestly don't foresee these in use that often as that level play rarely sees use.
Rituals: LOL 5e makes an appearance. ;) Luckily, it's one of the few things I actually LIKED from 5e.
Magical Traditions: I'll have to see this in practice.
Spells: I noticed that there was no specific material component listed for heal, so I'm hoping this means that listed specific components are a thing of the past. With divine focus filling in for them though it might just be assumed the heal is done with them.

Paizo introduced Rituals in Occult Adventures.


Catharsis wrote:

Mark, would you be willing to divulge any info on the following?

1. Which casting actions provoke AoOs?
2. Are cantrips now viable as at-will attacks, allowing casters to forego weapons usage?
3. Are martial classes going to grant abilities powered by «spell points» as well?

I'm not Mark, but the answer to 2 and 3 seems to be yes.

Mark Seifter wrote:
Cantrips aren't 0-level spells; they're spells you can perform all day. The damaging cantrips aren't super powerful compared to a martial's attacks in any case, but they'll still change what sorts of things you want to prepare in your various spell slots.
Blog wrote:
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.

Paizo Employee Designer

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Greymist wrote:
I've been looking forward to blogs that actually address what I see as the principal issues with the current Pathfinder game, the caster/martial power discrepancy and the way that the turns of some classes with companions can take twice as long as many other classes. I'm happy to see this post give some initial ideas on magic, but I don't see it (or any of the other posts so far) actually address the power discrepancy. The heightening of spells described in this, including the heightening of cantrips, seems to actual increase the power of caster, potentially increasing the discrepancy. The new system also seems to add considerably to the complexity of the game system. I'd like to hear more about what Paizo staff thought were the biggest problems with the existing system and their plans for fixing those problems. Instead, we've heard a lot about fixing things that aren't broken (again in my opinion), such as changing races and racial traits to ancestries and ancestry feats.

Well the key to making a system less prone to those sorts of problems is that we need to address those problems in a balanced fashion. If you just make spellcasters weaker, that's not particularly exciting. But if you give all sorts of fun new opportunities to heighten spells and much better at-will cantrip options? That's a much better way to design a system where the casters are no longer quite as exponential in power increases (heightening being how you increase effects means you should hopefully no longer have a situation where a 20th level caster can still end the entire fight with one 4th level spell, which she can at that point do for every fight because she has dozens of spells of 4th level or higher), but it allows more opportunities and cool stuff that feels like more power, as you mention, when it's really different power, evening out the smaller turns you don't cast your big wow spell (through heightened cantrips) while lessening the number of "I win" buttons.


Pathfinder Rulebook Subscriber
Catharsis wrote:

Mark, would you be willing to divulge any info on the following?

1. Which casting actions provoke AoOs?
2. Are cantrips now viable as at-will attacks, allowing casters to forego weapons usage?
3. Are martial classes going to grant abilities powered by «spell points» as well?
4. Is summoning still a thing?

1. Material and Somatic, although there may be abilities that react to any spells. (Source: Fighter blog dev post.)

2. Well, they do less damage than a Fighter, but they scale now. So probably. (Source: this blog post and dev comment.)
4. Yes. (Source: one of the interviews- I think the first livestream?)

Liberty's Edge

Catharsis wrote:

Mark, would you be willing to divulge any info on the following?

1. Which casting actions provoke AoOs?

We already know that attacks of opportunity (and similar types of actions) determine when they're triggered. So there is no general "this type of spell triggers an attack of opportunity", the specific reaction you have will tell you when it triggers. For example, the actual Attack of Opportunity ability that Fighters get doesn't trigger on spells at all.


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Magus Black wrote:
Quote:

Regenerate

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.

I seriously don't like this bit here. A creature with Regeneration cant be killed no matter how much damage you deal? This makes it sound like Ogres and the like are either going to absolutely viciously (regardless of level) or they expect everyone to carry Fire and Acid weapons everywhere they go.

Does this mean that their may be mandatory Holy/Unholy/Axiomatic/Anarchic weapon for high level play? I certainly hope not...

This is already the case though. You can't kill a Troll by hacking it with weapons in PF1 either. You need to use Fire/Acid damage or kill it without inflicting damage (like drowning them)


Magus Black wrote:
Quote:

Regenerate

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.

I seriously don't like this bit here. A creature with Regeneration cant be killed no matter how much damage you deal? This makes it sound like Ogres and the like are either going to absolutely viciously (regardless of level) or they expect everyone to carry Fire and Acid weapons everywhere they go.

Does this mean that their may be mandatory Holy/Unholy/Axiomatic/Anarchic weapon for high level play? I certainly hope not...

Just because that's a property of the spell Regeneration, it doesn't mean that it's a property of creatures with hit point regeneration. Note that "regeneration 15" is called out as an effect, with the sentence you bolded as an additional item.

Grand Lodge

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I noticed the Heal touch attack on an undead opponent didn't list a save for half like the 2 action ranged attack does.

I wonder if they've applied the no save vs to hit spells for cleric spells now? (i hope so...:)


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Magus Black wrote:
Quote:

Regenerate

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.

I seriously don't like this bit here. A creature with Regeneration cant be killed no matter how much damage you deal? This makes it sound like Ogres and the like are either going to absolutely viciously (regardless of level) or they expect everyone to carry Fire and Acid weapons everywhere they go.

This is how regeneration (the ability, not the spell) has always worked, though? You can't die unless they apply the kryptonite.

Liberty's Edge

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Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

God, this is fantastic! So much easier to use than 1e's stuff, spontaneous casters got a huge buff in the free heighten spell stuff, the nomenclature change from fast healing to regeneration is very welcome- a strong change overall!


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Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

This is the one I've been waiting for.

Action!
Not surprised to see spells taking different numbers of actions. Should allow some more granularity between strong and weak spells. Will 1 round casting times (or longer) still be around, though?

Heightened Spells
I like it. There were already hints of this in the occult casting classes, and I'm not surprised to see it backported into core in PF2.

Cantrips
I like that they progress with you. Most cantrips went obsolete after a level or two, so having them stay relevant is kinda nice. With that said, I'm a bit worried about the light example. I've ran a "heightened spell is free for everyone" houserule, and even with the cost of a higher-level spell slot I found that heightened light was countered magical darkness too easily, especially for spontaneous casters.

Domain Powers etc
Probably going to need to see an example of this to judge.

10th level spells
Not much here that I hadn't already presumed. With that said, wish and miracle not having expensive material components sounds very daring. I don't usually play that high, but I suppose if high-level play is going to be insane you may as well embrace it.

Rituals
I love rituals, and am very glad to see them come to core. I'll be interested to see which spells got the ritual treatment. Planar Binding makes sense as a ritual (I'm sure the wizard/sorcerer list can afford to lose its near-exclusive access to this gem ;-) and I'm very glad to see that it's coming back. It has daunting scope and can be potentially gamebreaking, but it wouldn't be Pathfinder without it.

Magical Traditions
Again, looking to see some examples of how this comes into play. Not too much to say that wouldn't be speculation at this point.

Heal Spell
While I'm sure I'll get used to it, and can understand the reasoning for the change, it's going to be seriously weird to get used to the Cure spell line being renamed to Heal.

Also raises a question of what happened to the traditional high-level heal spell, but I guess that will wait.

Liberty's Edge

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John Lynch 106 wrote:
Finally I saw the blog slip in the word "minion" when talking about enemies, and differentiating them from ordinary "foes". I'm worried we're going to see 4e minions return to the game. And if we do get them, we'll get them for the same we had them in 4e and the exact reason we don't have them in 5e. The universal scaling bonus of +level to all combat abilities and skills (attack, AC, saves). Low CR enemies are going to quickly be made redundant. Even moreso than in Pathfinder 1e where at least rogues and clerics had lower to hits which made them somewhat more relevant for a level or two extra. I expect this is going to get a lot of negative feedback if they do try to put it into the game, which I hope means they'll reconsider removing BAB and adding +level to everything. But I also worry +level is too intrinsic to the game they'll just remove minions instead.

Mark's specified that minion was not a mechanical term.

John Lynch 106 wrote:
Finally I didn't see it explicitly stated what the four spell lists are! I've still got my bet on Arcane, Divine, Martial, Primal and Psychic.

I'm now pretty convinced it's Material, Mental, Spiritual, and Vital with actual class lists being two choices from the above options.

Grand Lodge

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Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber

The Heal spell looks complex and confusing, so much so the Blog writer got it wrong as far as I can tell.

"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 if healing using the radius 3 action version OR doing damage add 1d8, if you are healing using the touch or ranged (1, 2 action) then add another 2d8

This gives these variations as a level 2 spell
Touch heal 3d8+mod, 1 action
Touch attack 2d8+mod, 1 action, required touch attack success
Ranged heal 3d8+mod, 2 actions
Ranged attack 2d8+mod, 2 actions, save half
Radius heal or attack 1d8+mod, 3 actions, save for half damage

None of those is "So a 2nd-level heal spell heals or damages one target for 2d8 + your spellcasting ability modifier"


I'm guessing Witch will eventually use mental/vital spell lists.


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Pathfinder Rulebook Subscriber
graystone wrote:
Rituals: LOL 5e makes an appearance. ;) Luckily, it's one of the few things I actually LIKED from 5e.

I really liked 5e rituals, but these are not those. These seem to be based more on PF1 rituals, things that any class can attempt (but with consequences for failure).

Paizo Employee Designer

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Gorignak227 wrote:

I noticed the Heal touch attack on an undead opponent didn't list a save for half like the 2 action ranged attack does.

I wonder if they've applied the no save vs to hit spells for cleric spells now? (i hope so...:)

There's no save on the touch version. You already have to touch them.


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Starfinder Charter Superscriber

How does a Wizard with 12 CON get a 50% HP boost out of Vampiric Exsanguination? Seems like he'd have something like 85 HP, wouldn't he?


So what about higher levels of the 3-component Burst Heal? Still JUST Casting Mod, or does it get d8s too, just less than the two lesser versions?


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I like this in general.

However - I question the idea of having spells, and Spell Points, and then you don't use the Spell Points for casting your regular spells, but rather some other 'spells' that aren't really spells. This is 100% going to confuse people.

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