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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Liberty's Edge

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

As I've said before I bet Bard does already. Doesn't mean Witch won't use that combo too.

Liberty's Edge

Mark Seifter wrote:
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.

On a related note, is holding the charge still a thing? Especially with multiple actions, being able to repeat the touch attack several times in one turn to try to land it would be interesting.


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Overall I like this. Heighten Spell for free, Healing as a sub-type of necromancy, scaling cantrips, all makes sense.

I can tell everything is more tied to level, level differences look less like a power curve and more like a power staircase, with every level one stair up. That can work fine in a game, though the designers are going to have to drop the idea of making every other fight 1 CR higher than the average party level, since there will be such a huge power differential between each level.

The one bad news is rituals. 4E did this exact same thing, and it was one of their worst features. I know there's been a lot of favorable talk about the CONCEPT of rituals on these boards, but in the practice of them it seems to go poorly. Let's remember the origins of Pathfinder rituals were in the occult books, since only idiotic cultists of Great Old Ones would bear the horrific risks of backlash and failure involved. Skill checks and spells really shouldn't mix like this.


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JRutterbush wrote:
For example, the actual Attack of Opportunity ability that Fighters get doesn't trigger on spells at all.

That's not true. Mark commented that the material and somatic component actions were the sort of fine manipulation actions that triggered the Fighter AoO ability.

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

The ability to heighten spells suggests to me that preparing spells has changed. If spell slots are more flexible, I will be very happy.


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edduardco wrote:
Paizo introduced Rituals in Occult Adventures.

Ritual Caster feat in 5e allows any class to use rituals. Occult rituals require a caster. Hence my 5e comment: the new rituals allow anyone to use rituals. ;)


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Ambrosia Slaad wrote:

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.

Well, I wouldn't consider it to really be psionics as we know it if it wasn't actually implemented with power points and the like. Ideally, I'd like Dreamscarred to make it in partnership with paizo, effectively making it 1st party material.

Unfortunately, as you said, I'm pretty sure that there's enough resistance to the idea of psionics itself inside paizo that this would never, ever happen. But a man can dream.


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Pathfinder Adventure, Adventure Path Subscriber

Okay. This looks cool. So congrats.

Question: is Spell Resistance still a thing?

It's one of the many fiddly bits we like because it's another tactical thing to take into account when doing things. For the record, if it's just "all spells are subject to SR unless you have the Penetrative Spell metamagic feat" or something, that'd be cool.

Liberty's Edge

QuidEst wrote:
JRutterbush wrote:
For example, the actual Attack of Opportunity ability that Fighters get doesn't trigger on spells at all.
That's not true. Mark commented that the material and somatic component actions were the sort of fine manipulation actions that triggered the Fighter AoO ability.

Oh, I didn't see that comment. That's actually pretty interesting.

Edit: I went back to check, and it looks like the Fighter's Attack of Opportunity only triggers on interacting with an object. Did Mark specifically call out Somatic as a trigger? Because we didn't get the exact text for the AoO ability, so that might be the reason for the discrepancy.


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graystone wrote:
edduardco wrote:
Paizo introduced Rituals in Occult Adventures.
Ritual Caster feat in 5e allows any class to use rituals. Occult rituals require a caster. Hence my 5e comment: the new rituals allow anyone to use rituals. ;)

That's really awesome. Now utility spells aren't behind a caster wall. If any character can get them, then we knock down a huge barrier in the CM/D debate.


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I like what im reading here. Just two nitpicks. I think a better name for spell points could have been thought up. It sounds like PF2 may be using a spell point system and that's not really the case. Also, save conditions not being best to worst or the opposite was confusing.


Shadrayl of the Mountain wrote:
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?

Assume all classes get spells at even levels, so 12th level to cast this 6th level spell.

Wizard HP 5 (technomancers in Starfinder get 5, the least, so I'm guessing that's what it is here) plus 1 (CON 12) per level, so 12x6=72, plus say 6 for race puts you at 78. A 10d6 spell averages 35, so almost half for values of almost=4.

Scarab Sages

OK, so healing still triggers, even in the single-action version. Not all enemies will have AoOs, though.

Good to see so many answers to my questions already exist! :)

5. Are there still only 3 types of saves? Are they still hardwired to Con/Dex/Wis? Do classes still get a differing number of fast and slow save proficiency progressions?


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It feels like y'all grabbed the best bits of PF1e Casting and Mixed in the best of D&D 5e. I like this a LOT. I don't play casters, but being in a party with a caster that is on his game always makes you feel good, because everyone loves fire support with actual fire.


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This was a very interesting blog. Maybe the best since the one on action economy.

I really hope that sorcerers have a different spell list from wizards, as the similarity of those two classes has always bugged me a great deal.

If mundane material components aren't listed anymore for spells requiring them, that's some old-timey flavor I'm going to miss.

I'd still be interested in the development and thought-process of this edition i.e. what problems the designers first identified, earlier solutions to them, and how they ended up where they are now.

But, overall, more blogs like this one please!

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Lots to digest here, much of which sounds good. Not sure what to make of auto-scaling cantrips though. It seems that there's a place for things like a low level detect magic or light spell which doesn't get more powerful, which all/most casters have. By making utility spells like this auto-scale, you still have the problem that an at-will ability can automatically defeat entire classes of other spells (illusions or darkness).

I'd rather see these types of spells require some investment rather than be an always available option. Even if they need to be heightened to defeat their reversed school, that still means they'll always do so from a higher level caster.

Do cantrips have to start at "0-level"? If light were say level 2, but dancing lights was a level 1 cantrip, and you had to learn higher level cantrips at the expense of another spell that would at least make it not a default spell known by everyone who'd be able to nullify magic darkness all the time.

Liberty's Edge

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Pathfinder Rulebook Subscriber

This is definitely an interesting way to do this. This could be really good. IMO the best blog yet.

Liberty's Edge

Catharsis wrote:
5. Are there still only 3 types of saves? Are they still hardwired to Con/Dex/Wis? Do classes still get a differing number of fast and slow save proficiency progressions?

We know that the answer to all of this is yes, that all still works more or less the same conceptually, though the numbers and progression rates will differ (the saves are shown in demo games, the rest is in the Proficiency Blog thread).


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Deranged Stabby-Man wrote:
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?
heal wrote:
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, yes, the 3-action version does scale, with +1d8 per caster level for healing.

Could be more clear like this?
1 action heal +2d8 per spell level
1 action damage +1d8 per spell level
2 action heal +2d8 per spell level
2 action damage +1d8 per spell level
3 action heal +1d8 per spell level
3 action damage +1d8 per spell level

Scarab Sages

Hmmm, I'm wondering how much of the actual text is missing from those spell entries. For example, there is no mention of these four essences in them — which spells belong to which essence?

Also, the texts don't sound foolproofed yet. For instance, Mark's comment implies that critting with the Exsanguination will also double the temporary hitpoints, which the spell description does not mention at all. So I assume this is all still work in progress...


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

What? 4e had rituals, 13th Age had rituals, Pathfinder had rituals... Ritual magic is all over this family of games- it's not a "specific to the current edition of the other game" thing.


A little confused/it seems as if this lacks a bit of clarity based on how we've seen "heal" used. Previously in a playtest (I believe it was the Glasscannon Podcast) we had a cleric channel to heal/harm (cast the heal spell with 3 actions). The GM said there was no save for the undead. The spell description here seems to indicate there is a save (it acts just as the 2 action version, which allows a save...). Which is it?

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Catharsis wrote:
For example, there is no mention of these four essences in them — which spells belong to which essence?

I think they're trying to be sneaky about the spell list thing, which is why they changed the text to say "Spell 1", "Spell 7", and "Spell 6" instead of the actual list name there. That's where it will normally tell you what spell list the spell comes from, they're just not telling us that information yet.

Quote:
Also, the texts don't sound foolproofed yet. For instance, Mark's comment implies that critting with the Exsanguination will also double the temporary hitpoints, which the spell description does not mention at all.

The text doesn't have to mention it, because it's just baked in. The tHP is equal to half the damage you deal, so if you deal double damage, the tHP is by nature doubled as well.


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bookrat wrote:
graystone wrote:
edduardco wrote:
Paizo introduced Rituals in Occult Adventures.
Ritual Caster feat in 5e allows any class to use rituals. Occult rituals require a caster. Hence my 5e comment: the new rituals allow anyone to use rituals. ;)
That's really awesome. Now utility spells aren't behind a caster wall. If any character can get them, then we knock down a huge barrier in the CM/D debate.

This is what excites me. For instance, we already know a rogue gets plenty of skill feats so it's easy to imagine building one that rocks at rituals! Skill monkey that allows rituals = profit! ;)

Grand Lodge

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QuidEst wrote:

*basks in the new information*

I wonder if Prestidigitation gets any heighten effects.

My 9th level Prestidigitation better clean the whole damn mansion!

Liberty's Edge

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tivadar27 wrote:
A little confused/it seems as if this lacks a bit of clarity based on how we've seen "heal" used. Previously in a playtest (I believe it was the Glasscannon Podcast) we had a cleric channel to heal/harm (cast the heal spell with 3 actions). The GM said there was no save. The spell description here seems to indicate there is a save (it acts just as the 2 action version, which allows a save...). Which is it?

They did call out at the start of the Podcast that they might get some rules wrong, and not to worry about it too much. I think they just made a mistake.

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Catharsis wrote:

Hmmm, I'm wondering how much of the actual text is missing from those spell entries. For example, there is no mention of these four essences in them — which spells belong to which essence?

Also, the texts don't sound foolproofed yet. For instance, Mark's comment implies that critting with the Exsanguination will also double the temporary hitpoints, which the spell description does not mention at all. So I assume this is all still work in progress...

As long as you damage something, it gives you temporary Hit Points per creature you damaged equal to half that damage (these packets won't stack as usual, which the temporary HP rules will handle), so if you deal twice as much damage, it logically follows you will get twice as many temporary HP, without needing to be explicitly stated.


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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.

Combat Monster wrote:
It's looking like I'll be able to make a martial who has a magic attack or two. I'm optimistic.
Your combats must be really long if you think you'll pull of a ritual on the middle of one.

Master Roshi with his Mafuba/Evil Containment Wave says it CAN be done. And if your GM happens to be a weeb who loves Dragon Ball...


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JRutterbush wrote:
Quote:
Also, the texts don't sound foolproofed yet. For instance, Mark's comment implies that critting with the Exsanguination will also double the temporary hitpoints, which the spell description does not mention at all.
The text doesn't have to mention it, because it's just baked in. The tHP is equal to half the damage you deal, so if you deal double damage, the tHP is by nature doubled as well.

Disagree on it being baked in. "You gain half that many" is ambiguous. When I first read it, I actually thought it meant *all* the damage done. I'd probably say "you gain half as many hitpoints as the maximum done to any single creature affected by this spell."

Paizo Employee Designer

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tivadar27 wrote:
A little confused/it seems as if this lacks a bit of clarity based on how we've seen "heal" used. Previously in a playtest (I believe it was the Glasscannon Podcast) we had a cleric channel to heal/harm (cast the heal spell with 3 actions). The GM said there was no save for the undead. The spell description here seems to indicate there is a save (it acts just as the 2 action version, which allows a save...). Which is it?

The playtest was wrong. Incidentally, when performing an area heal to harm a big group of undead, you actually might want there to be a save compared to no save, since that undead horde might have a decent chance to critically fail.


The 3-component burst heal gets the 1d8/level heightened so at 3rd level would do 2d8+modifier. It heals living AND harms undead simultaneously (which I really like).
The 1 and 2 component versions only gain 1d8 when used to harm undead, and gain +2d8 when used to heal.

I am liking these changes to spells. There are things that will take getting used too, but there is nothing here that grates at all.


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graystone wrote:
bookrat wrote:
graystone wrote:
edduardco wrote:
Paizo introduced Rituals in Occult Adventures.
Ritual Caster feat in 5e allows any class to use rituals. Occult rituals require a caster. Hence my 5e comment: the new rituals allow anyone to use rituals. ;)
That's really awesome. Now utility spells aren't behind a caster wall. If any character can get them, then we knock down a huge barrier in the CM/D debate.
This is what excites me. For instance, we already know a rogue gets plenty of skill feats so it's easy to imagine building one that rocks at rituals! Skill monkey that allows rituals = profit! ;)

Yeah. I completely agree. I'm really excited for it. :)


Mark Seifter wrote:
tivadar27 wrote:
A little confused/it seems as if this lacks a bit of clarity based on how we've seen "heal" used. Previously in a playtest (I believe it was the Glasscannon Podcast) we had a cleric channel to heal/harm (cast the heal spell with 3 actions). The GM said there was no save for the undead. The spell description here seems to indicate there is a save (it acts just as the 2 action version, which allows a save...). Which is it?
The playtest was wrong. Incidentally, when performing an area heal to harm a big group of undead, you actually might want there to be a save compared to no save, since that undead horde might have a decent chance to critically fail.

Cool, thanks for the clarification :). Wasn't sure where the mistake was coming in!

The Exchange

TheFinish wrote:

Huh, this sounds very much like 5th Edition, with upcasting and rituals, except it appears the Heightening is...set? Limited? Not sure how to express myself.

Heal obviously can be cast as 1st, 2nd, 3rd, etc. But Regenerate only says Heightened 9th. Does that mean Regenerate can only be a 7th or 9th level spell?

Speaking of Heal:

"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 or damages one target for 2d8 + your spellcasting ability modifier, a 3rd-level one heals or damages one target 3d8 + your spellcasting ability modifier, and so on."

Wouldn't a 2nd level Heal spell restore 3d8+Spellcasting Ability if I use the 1 or 2 Action version; and 1d8+Spellcasting if I use the 3 Action Version to Heal?

"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."

Oh and detect magic can't spot higher level illusions, but if it's still a cantrip wouldn't it mean it gets auto-Heightened to your highest slot, which means bad guys will still detect your illusions unless you're fighting lower levelled spellcasters?

I do like spell-points for domain powers and such though. Hopefully it's more flexible than the current X/day things.

EDIT: Also, not a fan of vampiric exsanguination being half damage on a pass. It should be no damage, period.

I am sure that you would suffer no damage from vampiric exsanguination on a critical success just like you would suffer double damage on a critical failure if the four stages of success rule is still in place.

Liberty's Edge

tivadar27 wrote:
JRutterbush wrote:
Quote:
Also, the texts don't sound foolproofed yet. For instance, Mark's comment implies that critting with the Exsanguination will also double the temporary hitpoints, which the spell description does not mention at all.
The text doesn't have to mention it, because it's just baked in. The tHP is equal to half the damage you deal, so if you deal double damage, the tHP is by nature doubled as well.
When I first read it, I actually thought it meant *all* the damage done.

It does, as confirmed by Mark above.


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graystone wrote:
edduardco wrote:
Paizo introduced Rituals in Occult Adventures.
Ritual Caster feat in 5e allows any class to use rituals. Occult rituals require a caster. Hence my 5e comment: the new rituals allow anyone to use rituals. ;)

Occult Rituals in Pathfinder do not require the "primary caster" and "secondary casters" to be actual spellcasters, they are "casters" by virtue of "casting" the ritual.

13th Age had "any* class can cast rituals as a feat" before D&D 5e was a thing.

*one class is specifically prohibited, it is a spellcaster.


Thebazilly wrote:
Deranged Stabby-Man wrote:
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?
heal wrote:
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, yes, the 3-action version does scale, with +1d8 per caster level for healing.

Could be more clear like this?
1 action heal +2d8 per spell level
1 action damage +1d8 per spell level
2 action heal +2d8 per spell level
2 action damage +1d8 per spell level
3 action heal +1d8 per spell level
3 action damage +1d8 per spell level

Yeah, I really think the spell blocks themselves could be worded better. This is much clearer to read.

Overall, though, smells a lot like 5e, which is a huge plus in my book as that's the main thing I was impressed by in my Adventurer's League dabblings. Love to see rituals and evergreen cantrips in PF core.

Still very curious about spell preparation, though. Hopefully we'll get a cleric/druid/wizard preview soon that'll answer that question? *resumes offerings to Nethys for arcanist-style preparation*


JoelF847 wrote:

Lots to digest here, much of which sounds good. Not sure what to make of auto-scaling cantrips though. It seems that there's a place for things like a low level detect magic or light spell which doesn't get more powerful, which all/most casters have. By making utility spells like this auto-scale, you still have the problem that an at-will ability can automatically defeat entire classes of other spells (illusions or darkness).

I'd rather see these types of spells require some investment rather than be an always available option. Even if they need to be heightened to defeat their reversed school, that still means they'll always do so from a higher level caster.

Do cantrips have to start at "0-level"? If light were say level 2, but dancing lights was a level 1 cantrip, and you had to learn higher level cantrips at the expense of another spell that would at least make it not a default spell known by everyone who'd be able to nullify magic darkness all the time.

We've had mention of the Detect Magic interaction. Illusions are protected from Detect Magic of equal or lower spell level. So, as compared to before where it just sucked for you, your top-level slots are now getting free protection from Detect Magic.

Sovereign Court

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Planpanther wrote:
I like what im reading here. Just two nitpicks. I think a better name for spell points could have been thought up. It sounds like PF2 may be using a spell point system and that's not really the case.

I like Spell Resevoir, rather than points.

Paizo Employee Designer

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bookrat wrote:
graystone wrote:
bookrat wrote:
graystone wrote:
edduardco wrote:
Paizo introduced Rituals in Occult Adventures.
Ritual Caster feat in 5e allows any class to use rituals. Occult rituals require a caster. Hence my 5e comment: the new rituals allow anyone to use rituals. ;)
That's really awesome. Now utility spells aren't behind a caster wall. If any character can get them, then we knock down a huge barrier in the CM/D debate.
This is what excites me. For instance, we already know a rogue gets plenty of skill feats so it's easy to imagine building one that rocks at rituals! Skill monkey that allows rituals = profit! ;)
Yeah. I completely agree. I'm really excited for it. :)

I am pretty excited too. I hope you guys will enjoy rituals during the playtest. We already have more spells than could fit that we'd love to add as rituals if the proof of concept is successful!


Xethik wrote:
A little sad that spells have a set level, rather than a level determined by the casting class. This does make Heightened casting more streamlined, but I liked having some spells coming a level later for Wizards than Clerics, or at a large discount for a Bard.

You can still have abilities granting access to off-list spells at later than normal level even if the spell level is retained when you do get it.


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So, this is the power of a Mark blog.
By the Inheritor, how horrifying.


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QuidEst wrote:
JoelF847 wrote:

Lots to digest here, much of which sounds good. Not sure what to make of auto-scaling cantrips though. It seems that there's a place for things like a low level detect magic or light spell which doesn't get more powerful, which all/most casters have. By making utility spells like this auto-scale, you still have the problem that an at-will ability can automatically defeat entire classes of other spells (illusions or darkness).

I'd rather see these types of spells require some investment rather than be an always available option. Even if they need to be heightened to defeat their reversed school, that still means they'll always do so from a higher level caster.

Do cantrips have to start at "0-level"? If light were say level 2, but dancing lights was a level 1 cantrip, and you had to learn higher level cantrips at the expense of another spell that would at least make it not a default spell known by everyone who'd be able to nullify magic darkness all the time.

We've had mention of the Detect Magic interaction. Illusions are protected from Detect Magic of equal or lower spell level. So, as compared to before where it just sucked for you, your top-level slots are now getting free protection from Detect Magic.

Sort of. They're getting free protection from lower level spellcasters. Guys that can cast the same level of spells as you still go through your illusions, since detect magic will autoscale to your best spell level (since it's still a cantrip).

Notice the blog specifies:

"Now, illusions of a higher spell level than a detect magic cantrip can foil detection!"

So it'll work against mooks, but the big bad can still detect magic his way through your illusions.


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The more I think about the more it worries me the division between Material+Mental=Arcane and Spiritual+Vital=Divine. Create undeads and Summoning are spells shared between Wizards and Clerics that I cannot imagine no longer be part of any of the two, I would be very disappointed if that is the case.

Paizo Employee Designer

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tivadar27 wrote:
JRutterbush wrote:
Quote:
Also, the texts don't sound foolproofed yet. For instance, Mark's comment implies that critting with the Exsanguination will also double the temporary hitpoints, which the spell description does not mention at all.
The text doesn't have to mention it, because it's just baked in. The tHP is equal to half the damage you deal, so if you deal double damage, the tHP is by nature doubled as well.
Disagree on it being baked in. "You gain half that many" is ambiguous. When I first read it, I actually thought it meant *all* the damage done. I'd probably say "you gain half as many hitpoints as the maximum done to any single creature affected by this spell."

Sure, I've altered the text in the playtest document to cover this wording as well as directly mention the Fortitude save that you guys spotted earlier in the thread. Remember, just because we gave a direct quote, doesn't mean it isn't a live document! ;)

Grand Lodge

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Love the new spells design.

I think i heard that they aren't necessarily going to have heighten options for all spells, but I'll go on record saying (in mcconaughey voice) that it would be a whole lot cooler if they did.

When looking through the dnd 5th spells it was always a let down to see the spell that didn't have an upcast option.

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I prefer Starfinder's variable level spells instead of overcasting for balance reasons, but otherwise, I'm loving this.

I'm really hoping that polymorph and shapeshifting spells get properly represented. PF 1.0 has a terrible selection of spells and options for building shapeshifting characters despite it being such a highly prevalent concept in fantasy stories and a broad design space.


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TheFinish wrote:
QuidEst wrote:
JoelF847 wrote:

Lots to digest here, much of which sounds good. Not sure what to make of auto-scaling cantrips though. It seems that there's a place for things like a low level detect magic or light spell which doesn't get more powerful, which all/most casters have. By making utility spells like this auto-scale, you still have the problem that an at-will ability can automatically defeat entire classes of other spells (illusions or darkness).

I'd rather see these types of spells require some investment rather than be an always available option. Even if they need to be heightened to defeat their reversed school, that still means they'll always do so from a higher level caster.

Do cantrips have to start at "0-level"? If light were say level 2, but dancing lights was a level 1 cantrip, and you had to learn higher level cantrips at the expense of another spell that would at least make it not a default spell known by everyone who'd be able to nullify magic darkness all the time.

We've had mention of the Detect Magic interaction. Illusions are protected from Detect Magic of equal or lower spell level. So, as compared to before where it just sucked for you, your top-level slots are now getting free protection from Detect Magic.

Sort of. They're getting free protection from lower level spellcasters. Guys that can cast the same level of spells as you still go through your illusions, since detect magic will autoscale to your best spell level (since it's still a cantrip).

Notice the blog specifies:

"Now, illusions of a higher spell level than a detect magic cantrip can foil detection!"

So it'll work against mooks, but the big bad can still detect magic his way through your illusions.

A previous blog indicated that illusions win ties, though. Illusions of a higher level are still protected, so there's no contradiction. Unless I'm mistaken, that means that mostly just the big bad will be able to break through with Detect Magic. And if you've got the Big Bad spending two actions to cast plus whatever it takes to maintain the spell, that's a decent use of an illusion.

Paizo Employee Designer

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Cyrad wrote:
I'm really hoping that polymorph and shapeshifting spells get properly represented. PF 1.0 has a terrible selection of spells and options for building shapeshifting characters despite it being such a highly prevalent concept in fantasy stories and a broad design space.

There are some really cool morph and polymorph spells for sure; this is but a tiny taste of spells (the Spells chapter is around 1/5 of the book!)


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QuidEst wrote:

*basks in the new information*

I wonder if Prestidigitation gets any heighten effects.

More effects at once/stacking the same type effect in multiple way!? You could put on quite a show if so.

I'm all for this system, it pulls everything together in nice universal bundle.

However, I do feel like Heal could be written with slightly more clarity (or an example box of two & three action castings at a higher level). We've all had those moments where we had a brain fart and forgot how math worked, it could also help newer players out.

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