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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This blog proves Mark is awesome.

Shadow Lodge

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How many more times will incantations be linked in this thread? Find out next time! :D


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OK, fun speculation:

We can see that full casters draw from two (specific) traditions.

What if partial casters can pick from any tradition, but only ONE.

The theme/flavor for your Paladin depending on the list chosen is immense; Material for more martial types, Spiritual for more faith-oriented, Vital for the healer, Mental for the evangelistic.

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber
Mark Seifter wrote:
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.

Very good point


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PLEASE make Mark write all the rest of the blogs. He's clearly just better at it, lol. This is exactly the level of information I've been hoping for from these things. I like most of what I see here, and appreciate the clarifications and confirmations on some things that have been previously teased or implied.

I can't even express how happy I am that you are handling upcasting better than 5E did. I'm glad rituals are confirmed for PF2. I'm glad healing is moved back to Necromancy. I'm glad cantrips are confirmed to actually be useful at high levels like in other recent game systems.

BUT I would still like to see you use "Circles" or some other more flavorful term instead of "Spell Levels." SL continue to be problematic when compared to things like Character Level. Please, pretty please with sugar and a kitten on top?

Spell Points: I love the concept and hate the name. That will be a HUGE source of confusion, since they aren't actually used to cast spells except as allowed by specific class abilities like the cleric's ability to use it for healing spells. Call it Essence, call it Inner Power, call it Mana, call it Spiral Energy (lol), just call it something different than Spell Points. SP does not fit something whose primary use is to do things other than cast spells.

Cure: Since Heal has now moved to healing hit points pretty exclusively (unless there's higher level heighten effects they're not showing yet), I'm guessing Cure is going to be the spell that removes various conditions as you bump it to higher levels.

Heal: You should be able to heal people against their will. Especially with Mark's clarification that unconscious targets no longer count as willing. Also because of another fantasy staple, the evil spellcaster healing someone's wounds after a torture session, which it seems like this change would explicitly prevent. I'm totally game for an unconscious target no longer being considered willing for the purposes of mind control and various other things, but healing should be specifically excluded from this.

Wish/Miracle: It makes me feel gross that these are still part of spell lists as spells that you can cast, haha. I'd rather Wish and Miracle were stripped out of the spell lists and instead put into the Gamemastering chapter as their own subsection, with guidelines on when it's appropriate to provide access to these things and how to adjudicate them. These should mostly be the province of artifacts and semidivine outsiders.

Mark Seifter wrote:
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!

I very much approve of this. :)

And since the devs are very noticeably avoiding answering the question, I'm guessing people upthread probably guessed right and the various spell lists are defined by their access to the essences.

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber
TOZ wrote:
How many more times will incantations be linked in this thread? Find out next time! :D

To prove my old school credentials shall I start linking ritual rules that were available in TSR era rules? They've been around for a long time, just not in core rules and available to all classes - 4E was the first mainstream 'DnD family' game for that.


Best blog yet

Liberty's Edge

Mark Seifter wrote:
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!

A little wordier than your "you're on the right track" on my proficiency prediction from before, but I'll take it! 1.5 for 2 so far.


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Quote:
And since you're drawing in life force, guess who gains access to this spell? (Urgathoans rejoice!)

AHAHAHAHA!

TREMBLE, EVOKERS! YOUR DAYS ARE NUMBERED!

Paizo Employee Designer

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mach1.9pants wrote:
Mark Seifter wrote:
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.
Very good point

Yeah, this has stuck in my mind ever since a particularly awkward table moment where the party wu jen was trying to escape with a friendly KOed NPC using a rod of security:

Wu Jen: "OK, I'm going to bring us both to safety. I touch her with the rod...Wait, is she willing?"
GM: "Well, the rules say unconscious creatures are always willing."

X_X

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Adventure, Rulebook Subscriber; Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber

Even adding "for the purposes of saving against spells" doesn't help that much.

Paizo Employee Designer

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TriOmegaZero wrote:
Even adding "for the purposes of saving against spells" doesn't help that much.

My preference is that the player decides for a PC, even if the PC is incapacitated, and the GM decides for an NPC. I mean, we already get to decide whether we want to accept a raise or not in PF1 even though we're literally dead, so it doesn't seem like too much to decide whether our unconscious character is OK with a spell.


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I like the sound of the cantrips but that is about it.

The idea that arcane magic is logical/rational is just plain insulting.

Heal is very weak at healing especially with the greater HP amount characters will have.


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Wow, this looks great! Basically everything I could ask for out of a Vancian derivative. Love the changes and how it opens up options for flexibility, while allowing us to rein in some of the problematic aspects of magic. At the moment, I have absolutely nothing to criticize and every reason to be very excited.


tivadar27 wrote:
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.

Damn, I must have missed where they said that. While I knew the occult classes themselves wouldn’t be core, it seems strange that psychic casting didn’t make its way in. After all the point of this new addition seems to have been to take the tacked on mechanics and make them uniform, but it seems now that psychic magic and casters is relegated to being tacked on in this edition too.

Grand Lodge

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Pathfinder Adventure, Rulebook Subscriber; Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber
Mark Seifter wrote:
TriOmegaZero wrote:
Even adding "for the purposes of saving against spells" doesn't help that much.
My preference is that the player decides for a PC, even if the PC is incapacitated, and the GM decides for an NPC. I mean, we already get to decide whether we want to accept a raise or not in PF1 even though we're literally dead, so it doesn't seem like too much to decide whether our unconscious character is OK with a spell.

Which is much how I feel spell resistance should work, if you allow the spell through, the caster doesn't have to roll. (Although as an active defense, it should be an action to raise SR again.)


So much for sorcerers being thought and emotion based casters, it would make so much more sense then verbal and somatic.


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Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Something that intrigues me is the word Necromancy. It almost seems to have a neutral connotation now. Necromancy is part of all three spell examples. What it’s paired with seems to indicate how it is used or viewed. In the case of Heal, it is paired with healing and positive energy making this use of necromancy clearly an accepted use in society. With the vampiric spell it is mixed with Death and Negative energy, clearly a more evil use. The Regenerate spell seems to be in the middle.

I find this dynamic quite interesting.

Mark, does each of these types (necromancy, positive, negative, Death) belong to an essence? Can they belong to more than one?

BTW, this article is fantastic. Best one yet!

Scarab Sages

As a long time fan of necromancers, I’m very happy to see healing and restoration spells come home where they belong. Now on the flip side, I’m quite curious how spells like Animate Dead, Create Undead, etc. will work with the action system or will they be designated to Ritual casting considering cast time and cost for most reanimator spells.


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Maybe there will be "positive" versions of animated skeletons and zombies:)


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Blog wrote:
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!

Guessing time. :3

  • Alter reality: Illusion, quasi-wish. Create a permanent (or instantaneous if they really want it to be that potent) illusion replacing reality within its area of effect.
  • Collective transposition: I usually read transposition as switching places, so I'd say this allows your party to switch places with an enemy group. Like if they have a nice position to rain arrows down on you...
  • Crusade: Inspire hatred / divine fervor in multiple allies against a designated enemy group.
  • Disappearance: Leomund's Secret Chest and the like. Send an item out of reality.
  • Divine inspiration: Make the GM tell you what you should be doing when you're stuck, lol. OR: Roll a lore check, including an untrained one, with a large bonus so you can know something you wouldn't otherwise know.
  • Duplicate foe: Exactly what it says on the tin. Probably illusion.
  • Energy aegis: Replacement for the various endure / resist / protection from elements spells. OR: replacement for Fire Shield.
  • Mariner's curse: Target is permanently lost, can't touch land, and probably also really bad at swimming.
  • Moment of renewal: The word "moment" here makes it hard to guess. Maybe get a temporary "spell point" or restore Resonance or whatever?
  • Moon frenzy: Inflict rage on target under moonlight, heightening to inflicting lycanthropy at higher tiers.
  • Nature's enmity: Target is cursed so the entire world is difficult terrain, all movement-related check DCs are increased, animals hate you, etc.
  • Primal phenomenon: Druid miracle?
  • Punishing winds: Winds are always against you during the duration, you have penalty on attack rolls, etc. OR: just a gust of wind that does damage.
  • Revival: Wake up an unconscious target at low tier, raise someone recently dead at higher tier. Probably distinguished from Raise Dead in that Revival won't penalize the target due to its shorter "temporal range" while Raise Dead will invoke weakness.
  • Soothe: Cantrip that temporarily abays status conditions or afflictions.
  • Spellwrack: Target loses spell slots and/or takes damage when casting spells / using supernatural abilities.
  • Spiritual epidemic: Create haunts.
  • Spiritual guardian: A better Spiritual Weapon, like the 5E spell also named Spiritual Guardian. EDIT: OR: A "shield" counterpart to Spiritual Weapon that automatically takes block actions for you.
  • Tangling creepers: Patches of Entangle that move and at higher tier maybe do damage.
  • Unfathomable song: Inflict confusion, distraction / stun, or other status effects with a mind-affecting sonic effect.


Mathota wrote:
Damn, I must have missed where they said that. While I knew the occult classes themselves wouldn’t be core, it seems strange that psychic casting didn’t make its way in. After all the point of this new addition seems to have been to take the tacked on mechanics and make them uniform, but it seems now that psychic magic and casters is relegated to being tacked on in this edition too.

I feel like nonetheless Psychic Magic is part of the setting (Unless Vudra got hit by a meteor or something) so I am pretty sure that "Okay how does [this thing that's not going to be in core fit in with this]" is a reasonably common thing for the developers to consider. So like if we have talked about how the Oracle or the Witch (which will not be in core) work with certain mechanics or design space, I'm sure "okay, how does psychic magic fit" has been brought up in some of the "metaphysics informing design" discussions.


PossibleCabbage wrote:
Mathota wrote:
Damn, I must have missed where they said that. While I knew the occult classes themselves wouldn’t be core, it seems strange that psychic casting didn’t make its way in. After all the point of this new addition seems to have been to take the tacked on mechanics and make them uniform, but it seems now that psychic magic and casters is relegated to being tacked on in this edition too.
I feel like nonetheless Psychic Magic is part of the setting (Unless Vudra got hit by a meteor or something) so I am pretty sure that "Okay how does [this thing that's not going to be in core fit in with this]" is a reasonably common thing for the developers to consider. So like if we have talked about how the Oracle or the Witch (which will not be in core) work with certain mechanics or design space, I'm sure "okay, how does psychic magic fit" has been brought up in some of the "metaphysics informing design" discussions.

I'm guessing psychic magic won't be years and years late this time, and might show up as early as PF2 version of the APG.


Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber

If I play a cleric with the death domain or PF2 equivalent do I get all the Necromancy spells in the game? (At appropriate levels of course.)
One of my biggest complaints about PF1 was that if I was playing a Cleric necromancer I was suddenly unable to pick many of the spells from that list, my domains granted me a few but I was still missing some great and flavorful choices, this problem only grew as more books came out with even more spells that I could not touch.
If the Cleric's ability to expand the list of spell relevant to the domains is baked in this might solve this problem.

Paizo Employee Designer

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Strachan Fireblade wrote:

Something that intrigues me is the word Necromancy. It almost seems to have a neutral connotation now. Necromancy is part of all three spell examples. What it’s paired with seems to indicate how it is used or viewed. In the case of Heal, it is paired with healing and positive energy making this use of necromancy clearly an accepted use in society. With the vampiric spell it is mixed with Death and Negative energy, clearly a more evil use. The Regenerate spell seems to be in the middle.

I find this dynamic quite interesting.

Mark, does each of these types (necromancy, positive, negative, Death) belong to an essence? Can they belong to more than one?

BTW, this article is fantastic. Best one yet!

Necromancy is often attuned to the vital or spiritual essences depending on how you use it; certain more destructive or nefarious uses can sometimes be achieved through a connection to material essence because it's much easier to destroy something than it is to repair (to be fair, this inclusion is mainly because otherwise necromancer specialist wizards would be very sad indeed but this way they are happy). Death isn't always bad; I actually wanted to have remove disease include the death trait because it kills the disease or infection inside you, but first of all that confused everyone who saw it, and secondly we later made specific rules about being a death effect that it doesn't really gel with.


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Can you give us a hint about specialist wizards, Mark? Other than the bit about "spell points" being used to power school abilities. I'm still hoping that wizards will have to specialize so we can get casters with more flavor and less broken access to cherrypicking every single good spell. Maybe also picking a second specialty school up at higher level, much like a monk (hopefully) or Starfinder soldier might pick up another fighting style.

Scarab Sages

Dragon78 wrote:
Maybe there will be "positive" versions of animated skeletons and zombies:)

Don’t play with my ‘offical non homebrewed’ Lawful Good Reanimator Hopes like that!!!


Admittedly, I haven't read through all the posts so I don' know if this was already said, but the spiritual-material caster sounds like a summoner to me, be that skeletons, demons, wild animals, blink dogs, or eidolons. There is a physical material presence and a spiritual/relational connection blended together.


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So here's the one concern that's sort of hovered in the back of my head upon reading this preview (which is otherwise very good).

As a PC, why should I bother investing heavily in illusions or spells like darkness? It comes with the PC territory that you'll be bumping into stuff with higher level spells than you and as such any of those people can throw a cantriped detect magic or light and just trivially defeat my spells unless I do something absurd like heighten to 10 (if ties go to the initial effect). Having cantrips essentially automatically beat spells that require investment to cast really rubs me the wrong way.


Eh.
Race HP+ Max HP/level + con bonus (+ other bonuses?) vs 1d8+stat bonus +2d8/spell level above 1st.
Level 1: ~18 (8+8+2) vs 1d8+4 (~9)
Level 5 ~58 (8+8*5+2*5) vs 5d8+4 (~27) if cast at 3rd level

Well, this is a nicely inefficient use of spell slots (or spell points or whatever).
And wands/potions have been set to their own limit.

Hello, 15 minute adventuring day, how have you been?


Fuzzypaws wrote:
I'm guessing psychic magic won't be years and years late this time, and might show up as early as PF2 version of the APG.

Indeed, Mark Seifter mentioned that the Occultist came up internally when the Resonance mechanic was being defined (as Resonance is partly inspired by the Occultist's schtick), and there were some ideas bandied about as to how the Occultist can be "the king and queen of resonance" class.

It wouldn't surprise me if they do something like Ultimate Magic again and include the Oracle, Witch, Inquisitor, Magus, Psychic, and Occultist classes. Rules for Psychic casting would occupy less book space than "Words of Power" did last time.


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Tarik Blackhands wrote:

So here's the one concern that's sort of hovered in the back of my head upon reading this preview (which is otherwise very good).

As a PC, why should I bother investing heavily in illusions or spells like darkness? It comes with the PC territory that you'll be bumping into stuff with higher level spells than you and as such any of those people can throw a cantriped detect magic or light and just trivially defeat my spells unless I do something absurd like heighten to 10 (if ties go to the initial effect). Having cantrips essentially automatically beat spells that require investment to cast really rubs me the wrong way.

That is a good point. I'm fine with a spell that takes a resource (spell slots) automatically beating an opposing spell of equal or maybe lower level, but a free spell like a cantrip should not do so except against another cantrip. Or at the very least, for the purposes of "cancellation" like this, maybe the cantrip should count as a spell of half its effective spell level.

Scarab Sages

Mark Seifter wrote:
Strachan Fireblade wrote:

Something that intrigues me is the word Necromancy. It almost seems to have a neutral connotation now. Necromancy is part of all three spell examples. What it’s paired with seems to indicate how it is used or viewed. In the case of Heal, it is paired with healing and positive energy making this use of necromancy clearly an accepted use in society. With the vampiric spell it is mixed with Death and Negative energy, clearly a more evil use. The Regenerate spell seems to be in the middle.

I find this dynamic quite interesting.

Mark, does each of these types (necromancy, positive, negative, Death) belong to an essence? Can they belong to more than one?

BTW, this article is fantastic. Best one yet!

Necromancy is often attuned to the vital or spiritual essences depending on how you use it; certain more destructive or nefarious uses can sometimes be achieved through a connection to material essence because it's much easier to destroy something than it is to repair (to be fair, this inclusion is mainly because otherwise necromancer specialist wizards would be very sad indeed but this way they are happy). Death isn't always bad; I actually wanted to have remove disease include the death trait because it kills the disease or infection inside you, but first of all that confused everyone who saw it, and secondly we later made specific rules about being a death effect that it doesn't really gel with.

It’s good to hear your thoughts on this sir. Speaking personally, I’ve never played an evil necromancer even though I’d use spells with the evil descriptor. Having been raised on Diablo 2 and Legacy of Kain, I always felt necromancers were the folks who made the hard decisions to save the world that others wouldn’t have the stomach for. Of course the biggest challenge was convincing my GMs and fellow PCs that I wasn’t your typical Sauron but really that’s half the fun of good Role-play. Though, while on the subject, I’d love to see good aligned options for reanimation if such a thing is possible officially.


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Do components really need to say Casting each time? Verbal Casting, Somatic Casting, Material Casting, seems like a really heavy burden on word count.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Rulebook Subscriber

Okay. Just got caught up with all the Comments. (Hey, the Doubleclicks were doing a live online concert, that had precedence!)

Are Cantrips something you memorize as a spell slot and then have unlimited casting of, or are they a separate spell? (ie, would a 1st level Wizard with one spell and a bonus spell be spending a Memorization slot to learn, say, Shield which could be cast an unlimited number of times and then Magic Missile or another spell for their other slot?)

Are there Metamagic Feats outside of the now-inherent Heighten Spell Feat? If so, how do they affect Casting Time and the like?

Is there still a Swift Action or its equivalent (as I remember something about casting a healing spell on yourself taking no actions or the like though I might have misread it and it was a while back)? Or has Swift Spells gone away (or at the very least only reduce complex spells to one Action)?


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Mark Seifter wrote:
mach1.9pants wrote:
Mark Seifter wrote:
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.
Very good point

Yeah, this has stuck in my mind ever since a particularly awkward table moment where the party wu jen was trying to escape with a friendly KOed NPC using a rod of security:

Wu Jen: "OK, I'm going to bring us both to safety. I touch her with the rod...Wait, is she willing?"
GM: "Well, the rules say unconscious creatures are always willing."

X_X

I hate to say this, and maybe this means me, and everyone I have ever gamed with, are terrible people... But this wouldn't have been awkward at any table I have been at.

We'd understand that was meant, and I can promise you that *someone* would have made some kind of joke and we would have moved on.


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Mark Seifter wrote:
Strachan Fireblade wrote:

Something that intrigues me is the word Necromancy. It almost seems to have a neutral connotation now. Necromancy is part of all three spell examples. What it’s paired with seems to indicate how it is used or viewed. In the case of Heal, it is paired with healing and positive energy making this use of necromancy clearly an accepted use in society. With the vampiric spell it is mixed with Death and Negative energy, clearly a more evil use. The Regenerate spell seems to be in the middle.

I find this dynamic quite interesting.

Mark, does each of these types (necromancy, positive, negative, Death) belong to an essence? Can they belong to more than one?

BTW, this article is fantastic. Best one yet!

Necromancy is often attuned to the vital or spiritual essences depending on how you use it; certain more destructive or nefarious uses can sometimes be achieved through a connection to material essence because it's much easier to destroy something than it is to repair (to be fair, this inclusion is mainly because otherwise necromancer specialist wizards would be very sad indeed but this way they are happy). Death isn't always bad; I actually wanted to have remove disease include the death trait because it kills the disease or infection inside you, but first of all that confused everyone who saw it, and secondly we later made specific rules about being a death effect that it doesn't really gel with.

Hah, I've been reading a story that features Disinfect as the lowest-level necromantic spell for similar reasons.


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Dragon78 wrote:
Maybe there will be "positive" versions of animated skeletons and zombies:)

Flesh and bones animated by positive energy? That's just the resurrection spells.


Fuzzypaws wrote:
I'm still hoping that wizards will have to specialize so we can get casters with more flavor and less broken access to cherrypicking every single good spell. Maybe also picking a second specialty school up at higher level, much like a monk (hopefully) or Starfinder soldier might pick up another fighting style.

They didn't have to specialise in PF1e, they were just heavily encouraged to.

I wouldn't be surprised to see a slots for school specialisation and domain spells to be removed. Instead I'd expect there to be the "spell point" feature which you can only use on domain spells. Given that, I'd be surprised if you got the harsh penalty of banning spells from schools in order to tap into it. PF1e reduced the penalty for specialising (2 spell slots instead of not being able to do it at all). I expect PF2e will reduce it further/remove it completely.

Contributor

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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 **...

Great info! I love this sort of worldbuilding, and while I understand why it isn't always explicitly at the fore, I'm super glad to hear it's in the mix!

Silver Crusade

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I loves me some magic!

I kinda wish (<--- see what I did there?) that saves were listed worst-to-best or the opposite:

Critical Success
Success
Failure
Critical Failure

Game on!


Tangent101 wrote:
Are Cantrips something you memorize as a spell slot and then have unlimited casting of, or are they a separate spell?

From memory (and it's been a while) D&D 4e had your at-will spells be static and couldn't be changed from day to day. I just assumed that's how they'd work in PF2e.

Liberty's Edge

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Voss wrote:

Eh.

Race HP+ Max HP/level + con bonus (+ other bonuses?) vs 1d8+stat bonus +2d8/spell level above 1st.
Level 1: ~18 (8+8+2) vs 1d8+4 (~9)
Level 5 ~58 (8+8*5+2*5) vs 5d8+4 (~27) if cast at 3rd level

Well, this is a nicely inefficient use of spell slots (or spell points or whatever).
And wands/potions have been set to their own limit.

Hello, 15 minute adventuring day, how have you been?

Are you really complaining that you can't heal to full from 0 with a single spell? Also, your spellcasting ability modifier adds your level, so that's 5d8+9, probably +10 by level 5 since you'll likely have a 20 in your casting stat by then. So if spells end up healing about half your hit points when cast at maximum level, I'm perfectly okay with that.

Plus, if you wanna talk about efficient, use the three action version to heal 2d8+10 to all three to four of your allies at once, for a total of 6d8+30 or 8d8+40.

Silver Crusade

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Yeah—folks joking about rape. Stop. Just stop. It's horrible behavior and you should stop.

(1) For one thing, you don't know when someone at your table—or on this thread—is a survivor of sexual assault. Think of the environment you create when you make those jokes, and how they might affect others.

(2) Please don't suggest that you're "just joking." That is no excuse. It doesn't negate the harm. (See this thread for a good discussion of "just joking.")

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