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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2 people marked this as a favorite.

I am very happy that a single healing spell scales higher than 4d8+X, and that there isn't a vast empty gulf of nothing between that and Heal's entry level 110 HP per cast at level 11.


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

So seems great to use against gelatinous cubes.

Paizo Employee Designer

33 people marked this as a favorite.
Fuzzypaws wrote:
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.

Great idea!

Enjoy your new responsibilities, Mark. The rest of us are gonna go out for lunch. Good to know you've got this! XD

Paizo Employee Designer

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

Oh, a lot of things are great against those guys, especially strategies involving making lots of attacks. I don't even know, if you threw a crossbow into the cube with telekinetic projectile, might it just be like "Mmm, tasty treat!" and just start dissolving it?

Liberty's Edge

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

Speaking of TKP, will there be wording to clarify exactly how it works with things like, for example, alchemical items? I have an Alchemist/Wizard character I'd love to recreate with the new system (especially since losing those Wizard levels won't hurt so much with the way spells work now), and I'd love to know exactly how using telekinetic projectile to hurl an alchemist's fire at a foe is meant to work before I try to use it in battle. It seems like targeting AC instead of Touch easily makes up for adding +1d10 damage to my alchemist's fire, but having that clarified in the actual rules text would be nice.

Paizo Employee Designer

32 people marked this as a favorite.
Logan Bonner wrote:
Fuzzypaws wrote:
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.

Great idea!

Enjoy your new responsibilities, Mark. The rest of us are gonna go out for lunch. Good to know you've got this! XD

:falls down on his knees and shakes his arms at the sky in futility:

Nooooooooooooooooooo!


Mark Seifter wrote:
Oh, a lot of things are great against [gelatinous cubes], especially strategies involving making lots of attacks. I don't even know, if you threw a crossbow into the cube with telekinetic projectile, might it just be like "Mmm, tasty treat!" and just start dissolving it?

Can we use a tripping attack on them and knock them prone to get combat advantage give them the prone condition?

;)


3 people marked this as a favorite.

I really like this blog post, there is lots of good information and I really like what you seem to be doing with spells. I do have 2 questions though. First, I don't understand why, under regeneration it doesn't simply read

Heightened (+2) Increase the regeneration by 5.

If spells only go through level 10 it wouldn't change anything and would seem to be more consistent with the other spells (well, based on my sample size of 3 spells anyway xP). Additionally, if there is any chance spells can go past tenth level, such as when characters go beyond 20th level (if that is possible, which I really hope it still is) then I think it would still scale fine and would be a nice option to have available should you even choose to use it.

The other question is simply is there any chance of getting a blog post on magical traditions, essences, and meta magic in the near future :)


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Mark Seifter wrote:
doctor_wu wrote:
Mark Seifter wrote:
Bruno Mares wrote:
7) Wondering if low-level spellcasters will have more spells (or more useful cantrips in the beginning of the play) of if they'll still need to rest after one or two combats...
If we're talking 1st-level, you're looking at roughly as many prepared spells, plus your Spell Points (maybe 4+), potentially some additional spells from other class features, and then the cantrips are significantly better than doing 1d3 damage even at 1st level. For instance, telekinetic projectile (the most damaging single target cantrip because it hits against full AC) now does 1d10 damage at 1st level, which is much more than it used to.
So seems great to use against gelatinous cubes.
Oh, a lot of things are great against those guys, especially strategies involving making lots of attacks. I don't even know, if you threw a crossbow into the cube with telekinetic projectile, might it just be like "Mmm, tasty treat!" and just start dissolving it?

I have hated Gelatinous cubes since Ultima 1... I spent a lot of time grinding up for that darn Reflect Suit.

Liberty's Edge

3 people marked this as a favorite.
Revel wrote:

I really like this blog post, there is lots of good information and I really like what you seem to be doing with spells. I do have 2 questions though. First, I don't understand why, under regeneration it doesn't simply read

Heightened (+2) Increase the regeneration by 5.

If spells only go through level 10 it wouldn't change anything and would seem to be more consistent with the other spells (well, based on my sample size of 3 spells anyway xP). Additionally, if there is any chance spells can go past tenth level, such as when characters go beyond 20th level (if that is possible, which I really hope it still is) then I think it would still scale fine and would be a nice option to have available should you even choose to use it.

The other question is simply is there any chance of getting a blog post on magical traditions, essences, and meta magic in the near future :)

I actually agree with this. It never hurts to future-proof your designs. Even if 10 is the highest level of spell now, who knows what'll happen down the line? And if it does always stay that way, you still haven't hurt anything by including the option.


4 people marked this as a favorite.
JRutterbush wrote:
Revel wrote:

I really like this blog post, there is lots of good information and I really like what you seem to be doing with spells. I do have 2 questions though. First, I don't understand why, under regeneration it doesn't simply read

Heightened (+2) Increase the regeneration by 5.

If spells only go through level 10 it wouldn't change anything and would seem to be more consistent with the other spells (well, based on my sample size of 3 spells anyway xP). Additionally, if there is any chance spells can go past tenth level, such as when characters go beyond 20th level (if that is possible, which I really hope it still is) then I think it would still scale fine and would be a nice option to have available should you even choose to use it.

The other question is simply is there any chance of getting a blog post on magical traditions, essences, and meta magic in the near future :)

I actually agree with this. It never hurts to future-proof your designs. Even if 10 is the highest level of spell now, who knows what'll happen down the line? And if it does always stay that way, you still haven't hurt anything by including the option.

Nah, not a good idea to future proof that way.

That means in the future if they added something that raised a spell's effective level or something it might be able to boost it to levels not actually intended.

We already see that problem in PF1 with "Blockbuster Wizards" (and Sorcerers) who at level 7 can drop 123 damage fireballs in play by combining things that were probably never intended to be combined with free metamagic, rods, and trait/feat/item shenanigans.

By limiting it to level 9, it stops some yahoo in the future from finding some oddball combination that jacks the spell up to effective level 13.

"Well, by combining this, this, and this, my wizard adds +6 levels to a spell of the (insert school here). So my level 7 spell is treated as though it were a level 13 spell. So, by the rules you regen 30 HP per round."


2 people marked this as a favorite.
Fuzzypaws wrote:
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?

But obviously they shouldn't think of touching Caster Level. Pure, non problematic, perfection there.

BTW, any info on general changes to presentation format? Capitalized Rules Terms?
Abandoning the Paladin-esque dedication to Never Changing Page Number References with Errata, even though the licence bars any reference to page numbers?

Quote:
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.

Agreed.

I am liking both the application and exposition on setting depth/background of rules, as peeked at re: magic "Traditions". If it can't fit in Core Rules, I think fitting exposition of that into products like Advanced Magic would have very positive reception. That is the type of opportunity I love to see exploited by tying rules and setting together deeper.

BTW, somebody mentioned how psychic magic won't be in Core. Obviously (or not). But that doesn't mean it can't be mentioned at all. If some race has Psychic affinity as notable feature, please mention that in Core (or Bestiary). Doesn't matter if the rules for it aren't published for 5 years, having that established keeps a placeholder for it we can include in story-telling.


3 people marked this as a favorite.
HWalsh wrote:
JRutterbush wrote:
Revel wrote:

I really like this blog post, there is lots of good information and I really like what you seem to be doing with spells. I do have 2 questions though. First, I don't understand why, under regeneration it doesn't simply read

Heightened (+2) Increase the regeneration by 5.

If spells only go through level 10 it wouldn't change anything and would seem to be more consistent with the other spells (well, based on my sample size of 3 spells anyway xP). Additionally, if there is any chance spells can go past tenth level, such as when characters go beyond 20th level (if that is possible, which I really hope it still is) then I think it would still scale fine and would be a nice option to have available should you even choose to use it.

The other question is simply is there any chance of getting a blog post on magical traditions, essences, and meta magic in the near future :)

I actually agree with this. It never hurts to future-proof your designs. Even if 10 is the highest level of spell now, who knows what'll happen down the line? And if it does always stay that way, you still haven't hurt anything by including the option.

Nah, not a good idea to future proof that way.

That means in the future if they added something that raised a spell's effective level or something it might be able to boost it to levels not actually intended.

We already see that problem in PF1 with "Blockbuster Wizards" (and Sorcerers) who at level 7 can drop 123 damage fireballs in play by combining things that were probably never intended to be combined with free metamagic, rods, and trait/feat/item shenanigans.

By limiting it to level 9, it stops some yahoo in the future from finding some oddball combination that jacks the spell up to effective level 13.

"Well, by combining this, this, and this, my wizard adds +6 levels to a spell of the (insert school here). So my level 7 spell is treated as though it were a level 13 spell. So, by the rules you regen 30 HP per...

Metamagic rods need to DIAF and never return.

Liberty's Edge

2 people marked this as a favorite.
HWalsh wrote:
JRutterbush wrote:
Revel wrote:

I really like this blog post, there is lots of good information and I really like what you seem to be doing with spells. I do have 2 questions though. First, I don't understand why, under regeneration it doesn't simply read

Heightened (+2) Increase the regeneration by 5.

If spells only go through level 10 it wouldn't change anything and would seem to be more consistent with the other spells (well, based on my sample size of 3 spells anyway xP). Additionally, if there is any chance spells can go past tenth level, such as when characters go beyond 20th level (if that is possible, which I really hope it still is) then I think it would still scale fine and would be a nice option to have available should you even choose to use it.

The other question is simply is there any chance of getting a blog post on magical traditions, essences, and meta magic in the near future :)

I actually agree with this. It never hurts to future-proof your designs. Even if 10 is the highest level of spell now, who knows what'll happen down the line? And if it does always stay that way, you still haven't hurt anything by including the option.

Nah, not a good idea to future proof that way.

That means in the future if they added something that raised a spell's effective level or something it might be able to boost it to levels not actually intended.

We already see that problem in PF1 with "Blockbuster Wizards" (and Sorcerers) who at level 7 can drop 123 damage fireballs in play by combining things that were probably never intended to be combined with free metamagic, rods, and trait/feat/item shenanigans.

By limiting it to level 9, it stops some yahoo in the future from finding some oddball combination that jacks the spell up to effective level 13.

"Well, by combining this, this, and this, my wizard adds +6 levels to a spell of the (insert school here). So my level 7 spell is treated as though it were a level 13 spell. So, by the rules you regen 30 HP per...

Somebody's always going to find a broken combo. You shouldn't limit your possible options just because somebody might, eventually, someday find a loophole to abuse.


When I initially got into the comments and saw people leaping to the traditions somehow taking the place of spell lists/dictating spell lists, my initial thought was people were way way way over-interpreting things. I think classes will get there own spell-lists if and when it seem thematically appropriate to do so.


Surely I'm not the only one who read the post and said "Why do these spells look like Powers from 4e?" Right? Not saying that's a bad thing (I loved 4e) but still, it reminds me a lot of that.


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Mark,

Thanks for your reply.

Maybe I missed it in the comments or even in the article but after reading the article again, you said “notice the new school”. Is the school for Heal and Regenerate....Healing? And Death for Vampiric Exsangui....?


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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!

I'm betting more in the four spell lists being something like Arcane, Divine, Nature and Psychic and then each class has access to some specific traditions and/or schools/descriptors of each list.

For instance: wizards have access to Arcane spell list with material/mental essences, with all schools/descriptors; in the other hand, a "eldritch knight/magus/whateverlikeit" would have access to Arcane spells list with material/mental essences, but only to Abjuration, Transmutation and some other specific schools/descriptors.

I guess that, this way, they can build have a more modular core rule to create spell lists to new classes without having to create/think/write all those spell lists and thinking about each spell individually. This way, they will have to think more about concepts, lore, and ideas; and less nitpicking about minor spells, letting the rules do rest by itself. Also this prevents some unbalanced classes' spells list.

Basically, I guess paladins, for example, will have a spell list very similar to clerics, but with some "attacking/offensive" descriptor open to them.


Well, I was definitely wrong about the spontaneous casters getting Kineticist style casting. I really like the essences thing but I'm really disappointed in that.

It's too bad, sorcerer could have really been something interesting and different. Maybe they still will be but if their main shtick is still being a spontaneous version of the wizard and the wizard doesn't get to be more like the much cooler Arcanist then I think they've missed a real opportunity.


Mark Seifter wrote:
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.

Perhaps it might not fit in Core (although finding subtle ways at hinting at it might) but IMHO this is perfect material to tie into the metaphysical expositions of magic as we saw re: Mental/Spiritual/etc Traditions. The nature and role of 'soul' in this seems highly appropriate, and likely impacting things well beyond the narrow 'willing' topic. An in-world presentation of this 'theory' would be popular with many more than just 'crunch'/rules fans, and provide spring-board for alot of content both setting and crunch-wise.


MMCJawa wrote:
When I initially got into the comments and saw people leaping to the traditions somehow taking the place of spell lists/dictating spell lists, my initial thought was people were way way way over-interpreting things. I think classes will get there own spell-lists if and when it seem thematically appropriate to do so.

Problem is we know there's only 4 spell lists and we believe there are 7 spellcasting classes. So either some classes lost their ability to cast spells or they're sharing spell lists. Sharing spell lists makes sense to a degree. Paladins and Clerics go together. Wizards and Sorcerers already basically share the same list. Druids and Rangers make sense. But it just seems really odd to have Bard as the only class to get a unique spell list.

THe other way to come in with unique spell lists for each class but only 4 spell lists is to go down the road many here have gone down by splitting spells into four separate lists and then using some frankenstein spell list for each class, grabbing spells from two different lists.

DM Alistair wrote:
Surely I'm not the only one who read the post and said "Why do these spells look like Powers from 4e?" Right? Not saying that's a bad thing (I loved 4e) but still, it reminds me a lot of that.

No you're not the only one to notice the similarity. Also is there a particular reason you're playing Pathfinder and not D&D 4e? (This is an honest question and not intended as a passive aggressive attack. I'm genuinely interested if it was the APs, lack of other players interested in 4e, etc).


DM Alistair wrote:
Surely I'm not the only one who read the post and said "Why do these spells look like Powers from 4e?" Right? Not saying that's a bad thing (I loved 4e) but still, it reminds me a lot of that.

I saw the same resemblance. I like some things of 4e, but I'm really concerned about that. So, let's be carefully optimistic until August. :D


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Fuzzypaws wrote:
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.

Spell Points are used to cast "a special kind of spell" per the blog's terms. So, that's a spell, and Spell Points is a valid term, if not the most imaginative.

I think there's great value in calling the domain/school powers spells, because that allows the rules' text to cover all these things uniformly in any mechanic that interacts with spells, be it dispelling, counterspelling, feats, or other spells. From that perspective, then expression "Spell Points" makes a lot of sense.

Liberty's Edge

Pathfinder Rulebook Subscriber
Mark Seifter wrote:
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.

That's a very special case though, where your soul gets to know a stat sheet of the casting cleric, so you don't wake up in a torture chamber. I feel you shouldn't be extrapolating from this case, especially given that the rules for souls are different, unexplained, and definitely only defined when necessary.


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Quandary wrote:
Fuzzypaws wrote:
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?
But obviously they shouldn't think of touching Caster Level. Pure, non problematic, perfection there.

Caster Level is fine! Because it scales directly with class level, or maybe even character level in this edition. Whereas spell levels are disassociated from the 1-20 scale, and also just a bland name.

Tangent101 wrote:
On a more technical note: You can cast more than one spell a round. Does that include Cantrips? Or are Cantrips more complex (ie, two- or three-action spells) due to their very nature, and thus unlikely to be spammed?

It seems to just be case by case. The Shield cantrip, for example, appears to require only one action to cast, just like a martial character raising a physical shield.


Fuzzypaws wrote:
Quandary wrote:
But obviously they shouldn't think of touching Caster Level. Pure, non problematic, perfection there.
Caster Level is fine! Because it scales directly with class level, or maybe even character level in this edition.

Except it doesn't, if you can boost CL distinctly from class levels. Which caster PrCs routinely do, never mind Feats Traits etc.

The fact it mostly tends to scale so closely with class level simply makes the conflation more powerful an illusion.
English gets away with so many homonyms because they are topically distant and thus distinguishable by context,
far from the case with 'caster [class] level' and 'CL' (stat affected by former + feat, traits, etc).
Mechanics which could otherwise be confused are exactly the ones which need distinction.
We don't call BAB "Fighter Level". How is it a stretch for casters to likewise have a Spellcasting Bonus?

Anyhow, we don't even know if CL is being retained as a mechanic, it could all be based off Spell Level now. I believe they've indicated it's usage will at least be reduced (re: spell scaling), as well as Dispel and other negations being tied to Spell Level disparity, so the necessity of it's discrete existence seems dubious.


Finally something in the Playtest that I'm really excited for! Magic has needed some reworking for quite a while, and 5E just didn't manage the monumental task well enough to be satisfying. This system feels much more dynamic and natural to me than the older pseudo-Vancian casting, but keeps some of that flavor alive. I can't wait to try out my Lamashtan Cleric with this system!


MidsouthGuy wrote:
Magic has needed some reworking for quite a while, and 5E just didn't manage the monumental task well enough to be satisfying. This system feels much more dynamic and natural to me

I'd be interested in hearing why you feel like that. Other than the precise math behind specific spells and the change from "you can prepare X spells per day and use up slots as desired" to "you prepare spells in specific slots" this looks identical to the D&D 5e solution.


DM Alistair wrote:
Surely I'm not the only one who read the post and said "Why do these spells look like Powers from 4e?" Right? Not saying that's a bad thing (I loved 4e) but still, it reminds me a lot of that.

Being written in 2nd person is a bit weird, but maybe they'll be OK once we get used to them.

Also, given Spell Points sound mechanically identical to 'Uses per Day', it seems a bit silly to introduce a new name for them. Especially one as potentially misleading as Spell Points...


The concept is interesting since it gives more choices when casting each spell, with this said, i wonder who many spells can people prepare and know now and how the concept here changes the number of spells, for example will there even be higher level heals or now there is only heal that goes up in level?

Whati really want to see is the new spell lists. Spells were only added or was any removed?


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Nox Aeterna wrote:
Whati really want to see is the new spell lists. Spells were only added or was any removed?

We'll likely see a handful of them "removed". But in all likelihood the most problematic typically have lesser versions of them available and with 10th level spells existing I expect most of the problematic spells will simply be rebalanced.

For example charm person is a lesser version of dominate person. So one of those two spells might be removed from the game, but you could keep the same effect and tie it to either spell level or with a critical fail (critical fails happen less often then just fails so it balances by making it unreliable to dominate people).

Also am I the only one who struggled to remember how many dice each cure spell is? This'll help me in avoiding that because it'll be a Heal 5 which means I just need to know the formula instead of remembering which number of dice are associated with with name spell.


I am wondering if what you roll to save might be based on the essence of the spell. Vital spells requiring something like a fortitude or Con save, for instance. Material spells Reflex or Dex. Spiritual, wisdom or Will and Mental... Int. Hmmm not sure on the last one.


Yrtalien wrote:
Spiritual, wisdom or Will and Mental... Int. Hmmm not sure on the last one.

What about Charisma? Charisma determines your sense of self and so Charisma allows you to resist things that affect your sense of self (fear, charm).

That was one of the big missed opportunities in 5e IMO (and was one of the ways 4e encouraged people to not dump CHA, by allowing CHA to substitute WIS for will).

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