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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Scarab Sages

1 person marked this as a favorite.
QuidEst wrote:
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.

That spell might well be linked to both essences of Druid tradition so that casters with access to only one of those cannot use it.


james014Aura wrote:
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?

Yes.

Paizo Employee Designer

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james014Aura wrote:
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?

Correct!


1 person marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Adventure, Adventure Path, Lost Omens, Starfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
edduardco wrote:
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.

It might require a rethink in how these spells work, which might be beneficial. And there's no saying that spells would be exclusive to one list or another; animate dead might be on the material necromancy list AND on the vital death list.

I'm a little curious what is fueling the seeming certainty that we are splitting spells up into these four (or more) lists this way. I read it as just flavor, sort of like how 4E power sources were more flavorful than functional, until I got down to the comments.

Scarab Sages

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Brew Bird wrote:


My guess:
Druid - Spiritual/Material

How could Druid not be Vital/Material? Nature is all about Vitality!


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I have really been not keen on PF2.
But now you have gone and put healing back in necromancy where it belongs and fixed one of the things that bothered me most about all of 3rd/3.5 ed.
Tricksy monsters, you may be winning me over.

RPG Superstar 2013 Top 32

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

Crossbows as a valid option for damage in PF2 confirmed!


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Deranged Stabby-Man wrote:
So are we CERTAIN the the whole Material, Mental, Vital, Spiritual thing is actually a thing, or is it entirely conjecture?

I'm pretty sure it's just wild conjecture that people are running with at this point. None of the devs have said anything about it and the blog post doesn't imply that to me.

RPG Superstar Season 9 Top 16

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Mark Seifter wrote:
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!)

Cyrad fails his saving throw to not squee.

Shadow Lodge

Mark Seifter wrote:
Serum wrote:

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

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

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

The healing numbers listed in the example text of the blog were wrong (level 6 heal would heal your buddy for 11d8+Wisdom, quite a lot more than 6d8); I am not sure where they came from, and they've been changed. The quoted spell text itself is and was correct.

Thanks for pointing this out and correcting the blog text.

Does this mean that the damage undead portion is meant to be strictly inferior to other damage spells, because of the versatility in the spell? Again, we're looking at saving vs 6d8 damage to one specific type of creature vs 10d6 to a cone full of creatures of any variety (assuming undead are hurt by negative descriptor spells). Even balanced against itself, the difference between single target and AoE is only 1d8 damage and an action across all levels.

Paizo Employee Designer

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Serum wrote:
Mark Seifter wrote:
Serum wrote:

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

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

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

The healing numbers listed in the example text of the blog were wrong (level 6 heal would heal your buddy for 11d8+Wisdom, quite a lot more than 6d8); I am not sure where they came from, and they've been changed. The quoted spell text itself is and was correct.

Thanks for pointing this out and correcting the blog text.

Does this mean that the damage undead portion is meant to be strictly inferior to other damage spells, because of the versatility in the spell? Again, we're looking at saving vs 6d8 damage to one specific type of creature vs 10d6 to a cone full of creatures of any variety (assuming undead are hurt by negative descriptor spells). Even balanced against itself, the difference between single target and AoE is only 1d8 damage and an action across all levels.

You have to be very careful about how much damage a 1-action spell can do because it can be cast 3 times per round, whereas a 2-action spell is once per round.

Silver Crusade

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
Mark Seifter wrote:
james014Aura wrote:
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?
Correct!

Not to correct you Mark, but I think a 3-Action (Area effect) Heal cast from a 2nd level spell slot would heal 2d8+Casting Modifier.

While a 2-Action (Ranged) Heal cast from a 2nd level spell slot would heal 3d8 + Casting Modifier.

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.


thflame wrote:
Deranged Stabby-Man wrote:
So are we CERTAIN the the whole Material, Mental, Vital, Spiritual thing is actually a thing, or is it entirely conjecture?
I'm pretty sure it's just wild conjecture that people are running with at this point. None of the devs have said anything about it and the blog post doesn't imply that to me.

Paging Mark Seifter! Paging Mark Seifter!

Without giving away more than you're allowed to, can you expand on the mechanical implications of the Material, Mental, Spiritual, Vital classifications for spell lists?

Thanks!

Edit: grammar/spelling

Paizo Employee Designer

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DM_aka_Dudemeister wrote:
Mark Seifter wrote:
james014Aura wrote:
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?
Correct!

Not to correct you Mark, but I think a 3-Action (Area effect) Heal cast from a 2nd level spell slot would heal 2d8+Casting Modifier.

While a 2-Action (Ranged) Heal cast from a 2nd level spell slot would heal 3d8 + Casting Modifier.

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.

It starts at just Cast Modifier for AoE though, so should be correct.


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Mark Seifter wrote:
Serum wrote:
Mark Seifter wrote:
Serum wrote:

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

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

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

The healing numbers listed in the example text of the blog were wrong (level 6 heal would heal your buddy for 11d8+Wisdom, quite a lot more than 6d8); I am not sure where they came from, and they've been changed. The quoted spell text itself is and was correct.

Thanks for pointing this out and correcting the blog text.

Does this mean that the damage undead portion is meant to be strictly inferior to other damage spells, because of the versatility in the spell? Again, we're looking at saving vs 6d8 damage to one specific type of creature vs 10d6 to a cone full of creatures of any variety (assuming undead are hurt by negative descriptor spells). Even balanced against itself, the difference between single target and AoE is only 1d8 damage and an action across all levels.

You have to be very careful about how much damage a 1-action spell can do because it can be cast 3 times per round, whereas a 2-action spell is once per round.

If you cast 1-action Heal to harm undead three times in a round, do you take cumulative -5 penalties on the 2nd and 3rd attack rolls?


Starfinder Charter Superscriber
Mark Seifter wrote:
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.

I mean, aren't we really getting around 17ish temp HP, though? The blog says half of the damage dealt. So only on a really lucky roll/bad save. Or am I just reading this all wrong?

Also, I'm interested to see more spells, since 10d6 seems pretty light for a 6th level spell. I'm assuming that's to account for the temp HP, currently.

Silver Crusade

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
Mark Seifter wrote:
DM_aka_Dudemeister wrote:
Mark Seifter wrote:
james014Aura wrote:
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?
Correct!

Not to correct you Mark, but I think a 3-Action (Area effect) Heal cast from a 2nd level spell slot would heal 2d8+Casting Modifier.

While a 2-Action (Ranged) Heal cast from a 2nd level spell slot would heal 3d8 + Casting Modifier.

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.
It starts at just Cast Modifier for AoE though, so should be correct.

Ahhhh! I understand now, I misread the 3 action version and assumed that it still had the 1d8 to begin with.


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Pathfinder Starfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Cantrips that grow with the character! I'm all in now!


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Pathfinder Adventure, Adventure Path, Lost Omens, Starfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
thflame wrote:
Deranged Stabby-Man wrote:
So are we CERTAIN the the whole Material, Mental, Vital, Spiritual thing is actually a thing, or is it entirely conjecture?
I'm pretty sure it's just wild conjecture that people are running with at this point. None of the devs have said anything about it and the blog post doesn't imply that to me.

Otoh, Mark has been chatting away and hasn't stated "its mostly a flavor thing." I'd not advise reading into that, but I AM hoping that a dev, just like us in this thread, went "That's not a terrible idea..."

I assume the answer is somewhere in the middle. Different casters have different flavors attached to their powers as a baseline guide to what spells would be appropriate to their spell lists, but they didn't go to the full mile of "this spell is a mental spell, this one is vital, this one is both spiritual and material, this one is..."
But I would LOVE to be wrong, because Material/Vital/Spiritual/Mental is a lot more interesting to me than Arcane/Divine.


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DM_aka_Dudemeister wrote:
Mark Seifter wrote:
james014Aura wrote:
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?
Correct!

Not to correct you Mark, but I think a 3-Action (Area effect) Heal cast from a 2nd level spell slot would heal 2d8+Casting Modifier.

While a 2-Action (Ranged) Heal cast from a 2nd level spell slot would heal 3d8 + Casting Modifier.

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.

Mark's right. When you use the 3 action version your initial healing is reduced to your spellcasting modifier.

So if you have a +4 at first level on the 1 or 2 action version you heal 1d8+4. On the 3 action you just heal.4.

If you heighten to 2nd level you heal 3d8+4 on the 1 or 2 action version or 1d8+4 on the 3 action.


Starfinder Charter Superscriber
Catharsis wrote:
QuidEst wrote:
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.
That spell might well be linked to both essences of Druid tradition so that casters with access to only one of those cannot use it.

I like that idea - so you could have spells that are for Clerics and Druids both be Spiritual only (or whatever) and then Druid only spells be both of the Druid lists required. That's an interesting way to simplify while still retaining unique spells.

Makes me wonder what happens with Ranger, though. Although it might be as simple as having all the same spells as Druid, except limited to 4th level. What I think of that remains to be seen.

Paizo Employee Designer

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Bardic Dave wrote:
thflame wrote:
Deranged Stabby-Man wrote:
So are we CERTAIN the the whole Material, Mental, Vital, Spiritual thing is actually a thing, or is it entirely conjecture?
I'm pretty sure it's just wild conjecture that people are running with at this point. None of the devs have said anything about it and the blog post doesn't imply that to me.

Paging Mark Seifter! Paging Mark Seifter!

Without giving away more than your allowed to, can you expand on the mechanical implications of the Material, Mental, Spiritual, Vital classifications for spell lists?

Thanks!

They are important metaphysical lore implications about magic and the way it works. You don't technically need to know about them to follow the rest of the blog, and indeed, there was a potential suggestion that we might want to cut it out of the blog, but I wanted to include it because people were commenting that the decisions we made seemed like they weren't based on rich lore, and this is one of the biggest magical metaphysics story aspect we delved into (based on an idea from James Jacobs combined with some comments and analysis by Mark Moreland and then synthesized first by the design team and then at a meeting with a lot of other stakeholders). I'm really big about making rules that follow the story of the magical universe, not just in a vacuum, and I figured others who share that opinion would get a kick out of seeing that little tidbit. There's all sorts of cool implications about these essences by the way

Example Implications:
For instance: So you get your instincts from vital essence. That could explain why constructs that lack life essence, even very intelligent ones, are often limited by programming or instructions, and it also explains why messing with your vital essence, say replacing the source with negative energy never meant to create or sustain your life, can give you all these different instincts like vampiric bloodthirst or ghoul hunger, even if you were righteous in life, and...but I could go on for ages about these sorts of things, you get the idea!

Mark Seifter wrote:
Bardic Dave wrote:
thflame wrote:
Deranged Stabby-Man wrote:
So are we CERTAIN the the whole Material, Mental, Vital, Spiritual thing is actually a thing, or is it entirely conjecture?
I'm pretty sure it's just wild conjecture that people are running with at this point. None of the devs have said anything about it and the blog post doesn't imply that to me.

Paging Mark Seifter! Paging Mark Seifter!

Without giving away more than your allowed to, can you expand on the mechanical implications of the Material, Mental, Spiritual, Vital classifications for spell lists?

Thanks!

They are important metaphysical lore implications about magic and the way it works. You don't technically need to know about them to follow the rest of the blog, and indeed, there was a potential suggestion that we might want to cut it out of the blog, but I wanted to include it because people were commenting that the decisions we made seemed like they weren't based on rich lore, and this is one of the biggest magical metaphysics story aspect we delved into (based on an idea from James Jacobs combined with some comments and analysis by Mark Moreland and then synthesized first by the design team and then at a meeting with a lot of other stakeholders). I'm really big about making rules that follow the story of the magical universe, not just in a vacuum, and I figured others who share that opinion would get a kick out of seeing that little tidbit. There's all sorts of cool implications about these essences by the way ** spoiler omitted **...

Thank you! This looks awesome!


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Just for those who want reference, this is how the 1 or 2 action version of the heal spell scales:

Lvl 01: 1d8+
Lvl 02: 3d8+
Lvl 03: 5d8+
Lvl 04: 7d8+
Lvl 05: 9d8+
Lvl 06: 11d8+
Lvl 07: 13d8+
Lvl 08: 15d8+
Lvl 09: 17d8+
Lvl 10: 19d8+

The 3 action version:

Lvl 01: 0d8+
Lvl 02: 1d8+
Lvl 03: 2d8+
Lvl 04: 3d8+
Lvl 05: 4d8+
Lvl 06: 5d8+
Lvl 07: 6d8+
Lvl 08: 7d8+
Lvl 09: 8d8+
Lvl 10: 9d8+

Silver Crusade

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Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
Mark Seifter wrote:
Bardic Dave wrote:
thflame wrote:
Deranged Stabby-Man wrote:
So are we CERTAIN the the whole Material, Mental, Vital, Spiritual thing is actually a thing, or is it entirely conjecture?
I'm pretty sure it's just wild conjecture that people are running with at this point. None of the devs have said anything about it and the blog post doesn't imply that to me.

Paging Mark Seifter! Paging Mark Seifter!

Without giving away more than your allowed to, can you expand on the mechanical implications of the Material, Mental, Spiritual, Vital classifications for spell lists?

Thanks!

They are important metaphysical lore implications about magic and the way it works. You don't technically need to know about them to follow the rest of the blog, and indeed, there was a potential suggestion that we might want to cut it out of the blog, but I wanted to include it because people were commenting that the decisions we made seemed like they weren't based on rich lore, and this is one of the biggest magical metaphysics story aspect we delved into (based on an idea from James Jacobs combined with some comments and analysis by Mark Moreland and then synthesized first by the design team and then at a meeting with a lot of other stakeholders). I'm really big about making rules that follow the story of the magical universe, not just in a vacuum, and I figured others who share that opinion would get a kick out of seeing that little tidbit. There's all sorts of cool implications about these essences by the way ** spoiler omitted **...

Gold Medal level post, this is exactly the sort of thing I care about in my RPGs.

I don't want fantasy to be generic, I don't want mechanics to be universal, I want it specific and tied deeply to flavor. The essences are the most exciting part of all of this to me.

Dark Archive

1 person marked this as a favorite.

Wait wait wait

Clerics get spell points they can use on Heal, right? I assume that auto-Heightens to their highest spell level too, right? That sounds amazing!

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Adventure, Adventure Path, Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber
james014Aura wrote:
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?

the first level, three action radius heal does modifier healing /damage. When you heighten the level it says you add 1d8 to that per heightened level. Think of the first level radius version doing 0d8+ mod if you like


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Pathfinder Card Game Subscriber

No words. Should have sent a poet.

Everything about this is awesome. The way Mark worded it so clearly and effectively is awesome. The content and concepts are awesome. I can't wait to see where this goes in greater detail.

::Begins researching a ritual to make August come tomorrow::


PossibleCabbage wrote:
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.

It's particularly important where a mechanic originated (D&D 4e if you're interested is where we got the current incarnation of rituals. That's where 13th Age and 5e inherited it from if anyone is interested). What's more important is how does the mechanic's addition to Pathfinder 2e change the balance, play and aesthetic of PF. Having lots of elements from 5e, 13th Age or 4e can be a problem for people who don't like those games, regardless of where the individual mechanics first appeared.

Quandary wrote:
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

PF 2e Heal = Cure X Wounds. They could have called it Cure Wounds for legacy reasons but decided against it by the looks of it.

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!

How often was that a thing after level 5?

Mark Seifter wrote:
I wanted to include it because people were commenting that the decisions we made seemed like they weren't based on rich lore, and this is one of the biggest magical metaphysics story aspect we delved into (based on an idea from James Jacobs combined with some comments and analysis by Mark Moreland and then synthesized first by the design team and then at a meeting with a lot of other stakeholders). I'm really big about making rules that follow the story of the magical universe, not just in a vacuum

Thanks for going into this. I really appreciate it.

Dark Archive

1 person marked this as a favorite.

This has been the best blog in a while. But it does make me think that spontaneous casters are going to be super powerful because your will spontaneously caster your spells and the amount of power your put in it. That seems to instantly make spontaneous casters have an advantage over prepared casters.

Really looking forward to magic now!

Paizo Employee Designer

21 people marked this as a favorite.
DM_aka_Dudemeister wrote:
Mark Seifter wrote:
Bardic Dave wrote:
thflame wrote:
Deranged Stabby-Man wrote:
So are we CERTAIN the the whole Material, Mental, Vital, Spiritual thing is actually a thing, or is it entirely conjecture?
I'm pretty sure it's just wild conjecture that people are running with at this point. None of the devs have said anything about it and the blog post doesn't imply that to me.

Paging Mark Seifter! Paging Mark Seifter!

Without giving away more than your allowed to, can you expand on the mechanical implications of the Material, Mental, Spiritual, Vital classifications for spell lists?

Thanks!

They are important metaphysical lore implications about magic and the way it works. You don't technically need to know about them to follow the rest of the blog, and indeed, there was a potential suggestion that we might want to cut it out of the blog, but I wanted to include it because people were commenting that the decisions we made seemed like they weren't based on rich lore, and this is one of the biggest magical metaphysics story aspect we delved into (based on an idea from James Jacobs combined with some comments and analysis by Mark Moreland and then synthesized first by the design team and then at a meeting with a lot of other stakeholders). I'm really big about making rules that follow the story of the magical universe, not just in a vacuum, and I figured others who share that opinion would get a kick out of seeing that little tidbit. There's all sorts of cool implications about these essences by the way ** spoiler omitted **...

Gold Medal level post, this is exactly the sort of thing I care about in my RPGs.

I don't want fantasy to be generic, I don't want mechanics to be universal, I want it specific and tied deeply to flavor. The essences are the most exciting part of all of this to me.

This is extremely important to us too. It may not come across when directly reading the rules because the rules will rarely tell you this directly (for instance, the essences deep dive from that post is not in the playtest book), but we spend a fair amount of time occasionally having really interesting conversations about things like "Well a voyage to Absalom is required to be able to try to join the Pathfinder Society. If you were in Magnimar and wanted to take a ship, how many months would you need to save up as a laborer beyond the amount you spend on food and lodging before you could afford it? This needs to be something you could conceivably do in the world."


Starfinder Charter Superscriber
LuniasM wrote:

Wait wait wait

Clerics get spell points they can use on Heal, right? I assume that auto-Heightens to their highest spell level too, right? That sounds amazing!

I was thinking it might cost multiple spell points, but that would be WAY better.


LuniasM wrote:

Wait wait wait

Clerics get spell points they can use on Heal, right? I assume that auto-Heightens to their highest spell level too, right? That sounds amazing!

It sounds like spell points = Wizard's bonded item. But instead of being a spontaneous spell slot it is instead a set list of spells (heal for clerics, although the war domain could let it be heal or divine favor) and you also get an increasing pool of it (instead of once a day).


AnimatedPaper wrote:
thflame wrote:
Deranged Stabby-Man wrote:
So are we CERTAIN the the whole Material, Mental, Vital, Spiritual thing is actually a thing, or is it entirely conjecture?
I'm pretty sure it's just wild conjecture that people are running with at this point. None of the devs have said anything about it and the blog post doesn't imply that to me.

Otoh, Mark has been chatting away and hasn't stated "its mostly a flavor thing." I'd not advise reading into that, but I AM hoping that a dev, just like us in this thread, went "That's not a terrible idea..."

I assume the answer is somewhere in the middle. Different casters have different flavors attached to their powers as a baseline guide to what spells would be appropriate to their spell lists, but they didn't go to the full mile of "this spell is a mental spell, this one is vital, this one is both spiritual and material, this one is..."
But I would LOVE to be wrong, because Material/Vital/Spiritual/Mental is a lot more interesting to me than Arcane/Divine.

I concur. Plus, it would, at a glance, tell you what you needed to know about a caster.


Kiln Norn wrote:
So my only real concern here is with Heal. Define willing creature? If my friend is unconscious is he willing?

In 3.X an unconscious target is always willing.

I doubt that is changing in pf2


2 people marked this as a favorite.
Mark Seifter wrote:


This is extremely important to us too. It may not come across when directly reading the rules because the rules...

Is there a possibility you guys could find a book, or maybe even a blog post, to put that kind of stuff in? Especially the delve into magic theory.

Please?

Grand Lodge

3 people marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Adventure, Rulebook Subscriber; Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber
John Lynch 106 wrote:
PossibleCabbage wrote:
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.
It's particularly important where a mechanic originated (D&D 4e if you're interested is where we got the current incarnation of rituals. That's where 13th Age and 5e inherited it from if anyone is interested).

Is it?

(I honestly don't know, I haven't read any of them.)


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Lost Omens, Rulebook, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

Heightened spells, so that spontaneous casters have a good thematically-fitting range of spellcasting powers!

Scaling cantrips that give spellcasters at-will abilities that scale to remain useful!

Rituals in the CRB, for that occult/exotic and "too-powerful-to-be-an-easy-to-cast-spell" magical effects!

Magical Traditions (if the hypothesis about the four spell lists is correct)! Getting away from tons of spellcasting lists, while giving the different spellcasting lists a more interesting and distinct character!

So many awesome things!

Paizo Employee Designer

30 people marked this as a favorite.
kyrt-ryder wrote:
Kiln Norn wrote:
So my only real concern here is with Heal. Define willing creature? If my friend is unconscious is he willing?

In 3.X an unconscious target is always willing.

I doubt that is changing in pf2

We are changing that because it's potentially really creepy, particularly worded that way.

RPG Superstar 2012 Top 32

1 person marked this as a favorite.
John Lynch 106 wrote:
PossibleCabbage wrote:
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.

It's particularly important where a mechanic originated (D&D 4e if you're interested is where we got the current incarnation of rituals. That's where 13th Age and 5e inherited it from if anyone is interested). What's more important is how does the mechanic's addition to Pathfinder 2e change the balance, play and aesthetic of PF. Having lots of elements from 5e, 13th Age or 4e can be a problem for people who don't like those games, regardless of where the individual mechanics first appeared.

A point of note, Occult Rituals did appear in 3.5, in Unearthed Arcana, under Incantations (SRD Link).

4e didn't create them.


6 people marked this as a favorite.
Starfinder Charter Superscriber
Mark Seifter wrote:
This is extremely important to us too. It may not come across when directly reading the rules because the rules will rarely tell you this directly (for instance, the essences deep dive from that post is not in the playtest book), but we spend a fair amount of time occasionally having really interesting conversations about things like "Well a voyage to Absalom is required to be able to try to join the Pathfinder Society. If you were in Magnimar and wanted to take a ship, how many months would you need to save up as a laborer beyond the amount you spend on food and lodging before you could afford it? This needs to be something you could conceivably do in the world."

Honestly Mark, just the idea that you occasionally sit around talking about how the economy has to make a certain amount of sense really makes me hopeful.

Liberty's Edge

1 person marked this as a favorite.

Notice how Mark didn't say that spell lists weren't divided up based on the essences. I'm gonna take that as a 100% confirmation that I'm correct in my prediction. There's no other possible interpretation of that.


4 people marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Maps, Pathfinder Accessories, Pawns, Starfinder Society Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber
Mark Seifter wrote:
This is extremely important to us too. It may not come across when directly reading the rules because the rules will rarely tell you this directly (for instance, the essences deep dive from that post is not in the playtest book),

And yet, I find it extremely helpful in understanding the rules. Otherwise it's just a jumble of little bitty numbers that don't have a framework for me to hang them on.

So I've stayed away from magic-users because they didn't make sense to me and if something doesn't make sense, I can't follow the rules very well.

If the playtest book is not the place for that explanation, then please consider a later publication or a long series of blog posts that goes deep into flavor and philosophy.


Mark Seifter wrote:


They are important metaphysical lore implications about magic and the way it works. You don't technically need to know about them to follow the rest of the blog, and indeed, there was a potential suggestion that we might want to cut it out of the blog, but I wanted to include it because people were commenting that the decisions we made seemed like they weren't based on rich lore, and this is one of the biggest magical metaphysics story aspect we delved into (based on an idea from James Jacobs combined with some comments and analysis by Mark Moreland and then synthesized first by the design team and then at a meeting with a lot of other stakeholders). I'm really big about making rules that follow the story of the magical universe, not just in a vacuum, and I figured others who share that opinion would get a kick out of seeing that little tidbit. There's all sorts of cool implications about these essences by the way ** spoiler omitted **...

Wow, thanks. This adds one major item to my personal list of areas where I expect PF2 to be clearly superior to PF1.


TriOmegaZero wrote:
John Lynch 106 wrote:
PossibleCabbage wrote:
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.
It's particularly important where a mechanic originated (D&D 4e if you're interested is where we got the current incarnation of rituals. That's where 13th Age and 5e inherited it from if anyone is interested).

Is it?

(I honestly don't know, I haven't read any of them.)

A quick read through does indicate theyre similar. Google search doesnt suggest they were commonly used though. But There you go.

As I said in my post though. Not so important where it first came from but what the cumulative effect of various changes has on the game. Grab enough 4e elements and the game could stop feeling like Pathfinder and feel more like 4e: The Return. This is also by it's nature going to be a subjective issue.

Paizo Employee Designer

23 people marked this as a favorite.
JRutterbush wrote:
Notice how Mark didn't say that spell lists weren't divided up based on the essences. I'm gonna take that as a 100% confirmation that I'm correct in my prediction. There's no other possible interpretation of that.

The spell lists are certainly based on the essences in some way. Is it exactly what you guys predicted in this thread? Well, now's not the time to confirm or unconfirm; we have more tricks up our sleeves to share with you in future blogs. I predict if you liked the essences bit in this blog, you will really like a few more of the things to come!

Grand Lodge

2 people marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Adventure, Adventure Path, Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber
HWalsh wrote:

Just for those who want reference, this is how the 1 or 2 action version of the heal spell scales:

Lvl 01: 1d8+
Lvl 02: 3d8+
Lvl 03: 5d8+
Lvl 04: 7d8+
Lvl 05: 9d8+
Lvl 06: 11d8+
Lvl 07: 13d8+
Lvl 08: 15d8+
Lvl 09: 17d8+
Lvl 10: 19d8+

The 3 action version:

Lvl 01: 0d8+
Lvl 02: 1d8+
Lvl 03: 2d8+
Lvl 04: 3d8+
Lvl 05: 4d8+
Lvl 06: 5d8+
Lvl 07: 6d8+
Lvl 08: 7d8+
Lvl 09: 8d8+
Lvl 10: 9d8+

Those are the healing numbers, and damage numbers for the three action versus undead, there is also these numbers for damage

1 or 2 action damage versus undead
Lvl 01: 1d8+
Lvl 02: 2d8+
Lvl 03: 3d8+
Lvl 04: 4d8+
Lvl 05: 5d8+
Lvl 06: 6d8+
Lvl 07: 7d8+
Lvl 08: 8d8+
Lvl 09: 9d8+
Lvl 10: 10d8+

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