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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Mark Seifter wrote:
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.

I appreciate the response and hope that this gets shown to work in the playtest.


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PossibleCabbage wrote:
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.

Sigh... If you had read the thread, you'd notice i specified what I meant: rituals that any class could take. So ax pathfinder.

PossibleCabbage wrote:
Occult Rituals in Pathfinder do not require the "primary caster" and "secondary casters" to be actual spellcasters

Only in the most technical sense. the skill DC's weren't particularly viable for casters let alone non-casters.

As to the rest, I didn't mention 4e as it's not 'current': being made. As to 13th age, I've NEVER played it, and have NO idea that it had rituals and/or if they require certain classes. I was thinking in D&D terms and not other games like 13th age.

Quite honestly, I'm NOT sure why this is all an issue... I noticed something that reminded me of another game and mentioned it. Was that bad?


This blog really catch me in! Mark, you really write the best blogs! :P

Now, my considerations:

1) I'm excited about the magic traditions/spell essences, but I'm a little concerned about some combos/interactions. But can't judge now, need to see the entire playtest book to say anything.

2) 10th-level spells!!! Yeeey!!!!

3) Heightened looks just like it does in Starfinder (and in D&D 5e, that works similar to Starfinder), this is really, really good.

4) Cantrips are now useful!!! Now I'll be able to frost minions and other insignificant foes instead of wasting my magic missiles without need or just delay my action until the combat ends!

5) Intrigued by the domain and similar powers having a spell points system and the "normal/regular" spells keeping the vancian system. Kind of disappointed here. I was really waiting for some innovative "mana" or daily spell points system.

6) Rituals look just like D&D made since the 4th edition, and finally we got it here!

7) Wondering if low-level spellcasters will have more spells (or more useful cantrips in the beginning of the play) or if they'll still need to rest after one or two combats...

Liberty's Edge

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Lost Omens, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
edduardco wrote:
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.

4th edition d&d had them also


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Liking the inferred shift to modular spell lists intersected by different classes, and able to be "over ridden" on spell specific basis (e.g Deity affinities). Had been under impression Arcane/Divine/Nature would be strictly unified which I was wondering how Bard would work with. Maybe I will toss out a guess that Material/Spiritual could be a Shaman thing? Mental/Spiritual seems equally Witch & Psychic. Although idea of Witch being Full Casting version of Bard as far as standard core list goes intrigues me. All of these can grab from other Traditions in focused way, e.g. dependent on Patron, Spirit, or simply specifying type of spells added to core list.

Is there a shift in terminology, or is the Heal spell in the preview actually meant to be called CURE? Heal was never a level 1 spell and was equally about condition removal as high end HP management, not seen in even Heightened version of Preview. I think calling Heal a classic spell chain is kind of debatable (having Mass version doesn't make a 'chain' by my book), so I'm guessing either Cure has been renamed Heal, or there was a mistake and it still should be called Cure? Seems odd to be calling out it's "classic" heritage while ignoring the distinction there.

Glad to see Heighten Feat Tax taken away (which was my houserule in P1E, albeit P1E Heighten was generally sub-par option) along with serious difference in effect when doing so. EDIT: Will this use an extra action ala Metamagic? For that matter will spontaneous Metamagic still use an extra action? Given the substantial baked in Heighten effects seem like they give Metamagic a run for it's money, it may obviate the need for basic 'scaling' Metamagic anyways.

Question on Cantrip Auto-Heighten: Can we expect Globe of Invulnerability to stop Cantrips regardless of level? Otherwise would seem strange for them to work but not real spells of less-than-sufficient level. There seems to be need for term which encompasses both spells and Cantrips ('magic' works for me but YMMV), although that begs question of distinction of spells/SU.

(Globe of Invulnerability was one area where 'early entry' spells were oddly sub-par in P1E, another being DC but only for spells with Saves. I get impression this issue should no longer exist in P2E.)


QuidEst wrote:

*basks in the new information*

I wonder if Prestidigitation gets any heighten effects.

Gods, I hope so. It'd be a great way to get in a lot of spell effects that are cool, but not quite "Use up my limited number of spells known for" cool, especially if you could replicate lower level spells if you're casting it at a high enough level.

eg, if Darkness is a Level 2 spell, you could theoretically replicate the effects with a Level 5 Prestidigitation.


Bruno Mares wrote:
Mark, you really write the best blogs!

This is true.

Paizo Employee Designer

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Bruno Mares wrote:
7) Wondering if low-level spellcasters will have more spells (or more useful cantrips in the beginning of the play) of if they'll still need to rest after one or two combats...

If we're talking 1st-level, you're looking at roughly as many prepared spells, plus your Spell Points (maybe 4+), potentially some additional spells from other class features, and then the cantrips are significantly better than doing 1d3 damage even at 1st level. For instance, telekinetic projectile (the most damaging single target cantrip because it hits against full AC) now does 1d10 damage at 1st level, which is much more than it used to.


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PossibleCabbage 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. ;)

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.

{from front porch in creaky rocking chair} You whippersnappers. In my day, we had rituals too, and they didn't need spellcasters either. We called them incantations. They were hard, they took forever, and we only had a few to choose from. That's the way it was, and we liked it!

Dark Archive Vendor - Fantasiapelit Tampere

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I think those type of hats are all the rage in Gnome fashion right now.

Sovereign Court

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So my only real concern here is with Heal. Define willing creature? If my friend is unconscious is he willing? How about that bleeding it civilian? Is that guy that doesn't know me willing, or the guy who is passed out and dying?

How about the bad guy that we may want to save for whatever reason? The dominated friend we really don't want to kill? If I can use magic to forcibly melt someones face I think we should be able to force healing magic as well.


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Telekinetic Projective in core? And with very useful starting damage? I'm liking this a lot!


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Tristram wrote:
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.

Ooh, imagine if the more components you give to Presti, the more "Real" the trick looks. Imagine if there was a feat to make objects made by presti actually usable as tools. Suddenly an Arcane Trickster type rogue always has a magical multi-tool.

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

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QuidEst wrote:
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...

This also means that illusions will rarely be useful against the PCs unless they're cast by the big bad. A cabal of 3 illusionists who are 1 level lower than the PCs will have all their stuff auto-detected still.


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Deranged Stabby-Man wrote:
Tristram wrote:
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.

Ooh, imagine if the more components you give to Presti, the more "Real" the trick looks. Imagine if there was a feat to make objects made by presti actually usable as tools. Suddenly an Arcane Trickster type rogue always has a magical multi-tool.

If they come out with a Prestidigitation-focused archetype, I'm probably not playing anything else.


So it is assumed that each classes' spell lists are a duo combination from 4 spell lists (totaling up to 6 possible combos)? Hmm, completely unforseen...

By the way, will there be still only 8 spell schools in existence, or you get to chop up the mega-schools (namely Conjuration and Transmutation) for a better balance + thematic reasons? Will the Universal "school" even persist? That's a lot of questions for me!

----

P.S. From an offshoot comment, I would never want "minion" rules pop up again; they're extremely anti-verisimilitude for me to gripe (unless it's something like minimum HP for hit dice, which can be simulated without error with a universal ruleset).


Paizo Charter Superscriber; Pathfinder Companion, Pathfinder Accessories Subscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber
Kiln Norn wrote:

So my only real concern here is with Heal. Define willing creature? If my friend is unconscious is he willing? How about that bleeding it civilian? Is that guy that doesn't know me willing, or the guy who is passed out and dying?

How about the bad guy that we may want to save for whatever reason? The dominated friend we really don't want to kill? If I can use magic to forcibly melt someones face I think we should be able to force healing magic as well.

"Willing creature" will probably work just the same as in First Edition.


JoelF847 wrote:
QuidEst wrote:


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
This also means that illusions will rarely be useful against the PCs unless they're cast by the big bad. A cabal of 3 illusionists who are 1 level lower than the PCs will have all their stuff auto-detected still.

Indeed. Also, which blog said illusions win ties? I tried searching for it and the only blog that came up referencing Illusion is this one.

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

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I'm also more than a bit sad that most spells won't have material components. Some will, but even the non-expensive components added flavor to the game and world. Seeing that a site had leftover bags with burnt out candles in them was a clue that the monsters which just attacked were summoned, etc. If summon monster spells don't have M components now that's just not in the game. Similarly, creating a "you got captured and all your stuff taken" adventure where you could get components to various spells in the environment aren't as big a deal if you don't need bat guano and spider webs anymore.

The Exchange

Very much like what I see so far except I am a bit concerned that cantrips might negate the need for certain first level spells like magic missile or shocking grasp. I do like wish being moved to 10th level as that has always been assumed to be the height of mortal magic. Also like that upcasting seems to slot for MUCH better damage than 5E. 5E was way too conservative about upcasting resulting in a single die of damage increase. It will be very interesting to see what they do for meta magics and how many spell points they will cost. Suddenly the ability to cast without gestures and speaking will mean something in this action economy system which I really like.


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Mark, please give some spoilers here:

1) Since there is no indication/denotation of saving throws here, will saves now be a specific, special defense like the suggestion in Active Spellcasting (Spell Attack Roll) of Pathfinder Unchained? If you guys are doing it, I'll be very happy. Until today, I just don't know why in spells the active character who's casting it don't make any effort (roll a dice to attack) and instead the defender need to. Why this do not use the same logic/reasoning of physical attacks and Armor Class?

2) Also, will the type of save be indicated by any of the spell descriptors?

3) For what I saw, there will be no more spell schools, and now, are they divided/segregated only by descriptors? If they still here, please, create a different line describing the spell school in the spell text block.

4) In the Casting line of the spell text block, I just can't see why there is a need to write "Casting Somatic Casting, Verbal Casting, Material Casting".

Will there be another different, new spell action to add here or can you delete the Casting word being repeated a lot of times?

Looks like you don't need to repeat it a lot of times, and since they're already in the Casting line, you can save a lot of lines in the spell chapter and use it to add more content in this or another chapter. (Also, when translating it to latin languages, it'll probably occupy 2 lines of text, since many times we use more than one word to translate casting in this context.)

5) And the last one, about design: the SPELL X indication in the title line gives me goosebumps remembering the 4e ability blocks. Do not forget to verify if this gives the same goosebumps to another readers and can make any unworthy harm to the game presentation.

Sovereign Court

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...:)

Yeah it looks like this is 1 d20 roll now and the roll is by the caster.


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Pathfinder Lost Omens, Rulebook, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Quote:

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.

Yes! scaling damage cantrips like those from 5e, but also enormously better! Thank You Paizo! I am so looking forward to playing a caster in this new system! :)


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Rosgakori wrote:
I think those type of hats are all the rage in Gnome fashion right now.

They're not hats. They don't come off. They're just part of what a Gnome is. Now the false eyebrows are removable fashion statements.


Hmm, a delicious, meaty blog post. Great menu, all dishes smell great. Can't wait to try a wizard.

Particularly good concepts are rituals (who cares if some other edition invented them first), cantrips that remain valid at high levels, unified domain/school/bloodline powers, and the replacement of spell chains with heightened spells.

I'm not sure about the mechanics of the magical traditions, mostly because their impact isn't fully explained. But in terms of flavor, this is very nice.

Overall this feels like the best ideas in game design from the past 10 years have been put together, some more, new and cool things have been added to the mix, and the whole gets worked into a solid, consistent machine. I'm impressed. It's hard to know if the PF feel will still be there, and these are huge changes, so it's unclear how easy it will be to relearn everything. But hey, that's what the playtest is for.


Starfinder Charter Superscriber
Xenocrat wrote:
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.

We already know from the leveling blog that's not right, spells are still at odd levels. So level 11. I was thinking based on that fact that classes seem to get full of whatever their old HD was, so 6 for Wizard. Which would be 11*6=66+1/lvl CON mod=77+8 ancestry= 85 total. (yes, I know that's not a proper formula format) I suppose on a really lucky roll, or a crit, he'll get almost half, but really closer to 1/3rd at best. Unless, of course, you're right about the 5 HP/lvl.


High lever casters can just spam wish/miracle every day with no cost? That's... interesting. Sounds problematic for the setting. Yeah, Nex and Geb had a wish-war, but it damaged the world. And they had the resource of nations behind them, so they could afford to cast them with components.
Downtime will be crazy for those high-level casters too "I have 2 10th level spells a day, so I'll just be using Wish with both of them. We have a month? Ok, now I need to work out 60 wishes."


Quandary wrote:
Rosgakori wrote:
I think those type of hats are all the rage in Gnome fashion right now.
They're not hats. They don't come off. They're just part of what a Gnome is. Now the false eyebrows are removable fashion statements.

Remove those eyebrows, please! :P


Mark Seifter wrote:
Bruno Mares wrote:
7) Wondering if low-level spellcasters will have more spells (or more useful cantrips in the beginning of the play) or if they'll still need to rest after one or two combats...
If we're talking 1st-level, you're looking at roughly as many prepared spells, plus your Spell Points (maybe 4+), potentially some additional spells from other class features, and then the cantrips are significantly better than doing 1d3 damage even at 1st level. For instance, telekinetic projectile (the most damaging single target cantrip because it hits against full AC) now does 1d10 damage at 1st level, which is much more than it used to.

Loved it! Telekinetic projectile looks nice! This will be really handy for low-level spellscasters!


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QuidEst wrote:
If they come out with a Prestidigitation-focused archetype, I'm probably not playing anything else.

I can already see it, prestidigitation to perform combat maneuvers/tricks, provide tools, etc.

Flummox your foes with a phantasmagoria of phenomena! Amaze your allies with assistance of an awesome nature!


Rosgakori wrote:
I think those type of hats are all the rage in Gnome fashion right now.

I think gnomes just like hats in general. The bigger the better. Because there is the rule of society that the size/fanciness of the hat corresponds to the wearer's importance. Kings have very fancy hats, peasants not so much. That Gnome Wizard has Eyebrows of Doom and a cool hat, that just shows they're high-level.

But just remember, with great hat comes great responsibility.

Silver Crusade

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Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Really excited to see magic divvied up primarily by power source, this shift where classes gain access to a combination of two lists based on the focus of the class looks really interesting and has bags of flavour:

Scaling contrips, fixed power for spells (requiring higher slots for more spectacular effects), and unified rules for x/day powers many spellcasters had access to is going Io go a long way to making spellcasters easier to teach to new players. It also means spontaneous casters aren’t going to feel punished for sub-optimal spell choices, since each spell can have a wider range of effects based on spell slot used.

I am now wildly speculating if sorcerers even share the wizard’s material/mental list by default or if instead their list is based on their bloodline?

Looking forward to seeing what those spellcasting classes are going to look like.

Paizo Employee Designer

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Shadrayl of the Mountain wrote:
Xenocrat wrote:
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.

We already know from the leveling blog that's not right, spells are still at odd levels. So level 11. I was thinking based on that fact that classes seem to get full of whatever their old HD was, so 6 for Wizard. Which would be 11*6=66+1/lvl CON mod=77+8 ancestry= 85 total. (yes, I know that's not a proper formula format) I suppose on a really lucky roll, or a crit, he'll get almost half, but really closer to 1/3rd at best. Unless, of course, you're right about the 5 HP/lvl.

I mean, half of 85 is 42, and 1/3 of 85 is 28 (both in Pathfinder parlance where we round down to nearest whole number); we are talking about an average of 35, which is halfway between those two numbers; 5/12 just doesn't have the same cachet as almost half.

Scarab Sages

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zergtitan wrote:
Yes! scaling damage cantrips like those from 5e, but also enormously better! Thank You Paizo! I am so looking forward to playing a caster in this new system! :)

I loved at-will powers for casters in 4E and am very glad to see them finally arrive in Pathfinder. No more crossbows for Sorcerers!


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Doktor Weasel wrote:

High lever casters can just spam wish/miracle every day with no cost? That's... interesting. Sounds problematic for the setting. Yeah, Nex and Geb had a wish-war, but it damaged the world. And they had the resource of nations behind them, so they could afford to cast them with components.

Downtime will be crazy for those high-level casters too "I have 2 10th level spells a day, so I'll just be using Wish with both of them. We have a month? Ok, now I need to work out 60 wishes."

Have you ever cast Wish? There's always a cost... :-P

Paizo Employee Designer

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Catharsis wrote:
zergtitan wrote:
Yes! scaling damage cantrips like those from 5e, but also enormously better! Thank You Paizo! I am so looking forward to playing a caster in this new system! :)
I loved at-will powers for casters in 4E and am very glad to see them finally arrive in Pathfinder. No more crossbows for Sorcerers!

If necessary, you could throw a crossbow at someone with your sorcerer using telekinetic projectile.


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Catharsis wrote:
I loved at-will powers for casters in 4E and am very glad to see them finally arrive in Pathfinder. No more crossbows for Sorcerers!

I thought that was the basis of popularity for Cross-Blooded? ;-P


Heal spell question: If we heighten it and use the the 3-action version, did we just waste a high-level effect? Or does heighten override the reduction to just casting modifier?


So are we CERTAIN the the whole Material, Mental, Vital, Spiritual thing is actually a thing, or is it entirely conjecture?


“All about magic” but no meantion of psychic magic... hopefully it makes it into the new core. All in all I’m feeling really excited for 2E, it looks like they are doing a good job of taking all of their obscure rules and mechanics introduced in auxiliary books and making them into something coherent and workable.


Also, I should say I love the meat here as well as the general direction. While I didn't infer it myself, I'm really hoping the 4 "sources" of magic with most primary casters getting 2 is a thing, as it lays things out in a cool way.

I am a bit worried about the levels of complexity for a single spell, however, and agree with some earlier comments that "Heal" is easy to misread.

Paizo Employee Designer

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james014Aura wrote:
Heal spell question: If we heighten it and use the the 3-action version, did we just waste a high-level effect? Or does heighten override the reduction to just casting modifier?

Heighten modifications are applied to whatever the spell did before.


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DM_aka_Dudemeister wrote:
Really excited to see magic divvied up primarily by power source, this shift where classes gain access to a combination of two lists based on the focus of the class looks really interesting and has bags of flavour:

I suspect that it may not actually work that way, but I'm not certain. We have Nature Incarnate as a spell- it seems unlikely to me that classes other than Druid would get access to that.

I think the different sources are more of a design guideline thing, guiding things towards certain class lists.

Scarab Sages

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Mark Seifter wrote:
If necessary, you could throw a crossbow at someone with your sorcerer using telekinetic projectile.

Finally I can feel like a real mage at 1st level. >:D


Pathfinder Rulebook Subscriber
Deadmanwalking wrote:
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.

My guess:

Wizard - Mental/Material
Cleric - Spiritual/Vital
Druid - Spiritual/Material
Bard - Mental/Vital
Psychic - Spiritual/Mental

Witch could be Material/Vital, though I wouldn't be surprised if the Witch is no longer a spellcaster in the traditional sense. I could see Paizo making them more about rituals and hexes.


Mathota wrote:
“All about magic” but no meantion of psychic magic... hopefully it makes it into the new core. All in all I’m feeling really excited for 2E, it looks like they are doing a good job of taking all of their obscure rules and mechanics introduced in auxiliary books and making them into something coherent and workable.

Psychic magic is not in the new core. This has been stated previously. Though obviously "mental" magic is a thing, and Psychic's may use that if they are introduced later.

Dark Archive

Does a range single target heal require an attack roll?
The wording seems to imply that it does...

I'm also interested to see how saves are going to be specified. The listing above doesn't mention the kind of save (or that one is required at all), just a - for 1ed eyes - random block of results for a save.

That being said, I like what I've read a lot.and I am really looking forward to the latest rules,


Mark Seifter wrote:
james014Aura wrote:
Heal spell question: If we heighten it and use the the 3-action version, did we just waste a high-level effect? Or does heighten override the reduction to just casting modifier?
Heighten modifications are applied to whatever the spell did before.

I'm sorry; I don't think I understand that entirely. Does that mean a 2nd level area heal would be 1d8+casting modifier?

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