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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Diego Rossi wrote:

CLARIFY FROM THE START IF SPELLS AND ABILITIES HAVE SOME FORM OF MANIFESTATION AND IF IT IS VISIBLE, AUDIBLE OR PERCEIVED IN SOME OTHER WAY

Sorry for shouting that, but I think it is important. It change the balance about having access to mind affecting magic.

Personally I am in favor of easily perceptible manifestations that point to the spellcaster, with costly (in term of actions, prerequisites or chance of success) abilities that allow a caster to remove the manifestation, or to make it appear to generate from a different location.

........

OMG don't just clarify but describe IN DETAIL the components, that would be SO COOL if you do that. This will help us visualize the spellcasting, and it will stop any (age long) disputes between DMs and players.

Now I can actually PERFORM the spell on the table instead of announcing "I'm casting magic missile" How cool is that? no seriously HOW COOL IS THAT???

Dark Archive

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Everything in this blog is great and awesome :D Not saying that due to hype since I'm not hyped, I just genuinely think everything sounded great.

That said, I wish that Wish and Miracle would become ritual spells instead or just exclusive to artifacts, certain creatures and scrolls, because is they are just as powerful as in 1e, it becomes silly when two level 20 wizards fight each other. Or why wouldn't CG level 20 wizard use their infinite wishes to fix every problem? Like I said, I think there has to be some restriction to them to avoid wizards being rather god like


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UnArcaneElection wrote:

I would have kept Cantrips/Orisons/Knacks/etc. as 0-level spells (in part to avoid the problem of Light or Detect Illusion automatically winning against spells cast by just slightly lower level casters).

I was also thinking of expanding the spell levels (for full casters) to 12 levels for the same reason as the blog states for going to 10 levels, but also enabling some more decompression of the spell levels (that is, below what is currently 9th level).

Yeah, that mirrors my concern with Globe of Invulnerability. Assuming similar function of Spellcraft, can we infer that the same Cantrip becomes harder and harder to ID as the caster levels up, yet normal spells don't? Really, I don't see the necessary correlation between Cantrips auto-scaling their EFFECT, and actually making them considered higher spell level. We can have the former without the latter and side effects it brings.

Yeah, I was half way expecting Paizo to just go full 20 spell levels, that really dials down the disparity within each spell level which helps concepts shine that naturally lie at low end of power of given (1-9) spell level. Those new spell levels would be even more attractive when seen as easier to Heighten or Metamagic. Really that's a relatively straight forward approach to implement, since you just have to split each (1-9) spell level in half, with the stronger half boosted to next level.

Silver Crusade

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Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
GameDemon wrote:
Diego Rossi wrote:

CLARIFY FROM THE START IF SPELLS AND ABILITIES HAVE SOME FORM OF MANIFESTATION AND IF IT IS VISIBLE, AUDIBLE OR PERCEIVED IN SOME OTHER WAY

Sorry for shouting that, but I think it is important. It change the balance about having access to mind affecting magic.

Personally I am in favor of easily perceptible manifestations that point to the spellcaster, with costly (in term of actions, prerequisites or chance of success) abilities that allow a caster to remove the manifestation, or to make it appear to generate from a different location.

........

OMG don't just clarify but describe IN DETAIL the components, that would be SO COOL if you do that. This will help us visualize the spellcasting, and it will stop any (age long) disputes between DMs and players.

Now I can actually PERFORM the spell on the table instead of announcing "I'm casting magic missile" How cool is that? no seriously HOW COOL IS THAT???

I'm pretty sure that by the 536th time of you insisting to act out the Sailor Moon-style sequence of casting detect magic your table will kindly ask you to tone it down a little.


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

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.

Hmmm.

AD&D 2nd Edition Tome of Magic wrote:

Alternate Reality* (Alteration)

Range: 0
Components: V, S, M
Duration: Instantaneous
Casting Time: 3
Area of Effect: Creature touched
Saving Throw: None
With this spell, the caster creates a small variation in probabilities. This variation lasts only a moment, but creates alternate results for one recent event. When the spell is cast, any one event attempted by the recipient during the previous round is recalculated, essentially allowing (or forcing) the creature to make new die rolls.
Only events that begin and end in a single round can be affected. Only one die roll can be rerolled. If the creature touched is a willing recipient, the player can choose which roll (the original or the new roll) affects him, more than likely picking the most successful. If the creature is unwilling, he must redo the action. The second result, whatever its outcome, cannot be changed.
Typical uses of this spell include allowing a fighter to reroll an attack, forcing an opponent to reroll a saving throw, or allowing a wizard to reroll the damage caused by a fireball.
The material component is a small, unmarked die.


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GameDemon wrote:

{. . .}

Now I can actually PERFORM the spell on the table instead of announcing "I'm casting magic missile" How cool is that? no seriously HOW COOL IS THAT???

Um, you know, they can't tell you how to do this. Safety reasons.

CorvusMask wrote:

Everything in this blog is great and awesome :D Not saying that due to hype since I'm not hyped, I just genuinely think everything sounded great.

That said, I wish that Wish and Miracle would become ritual spells instead or just exclusive to artifacts, certain creatures and scrolls, because is they are just as powerful as in 1e, it becomes silly when two level 20 wizards fight each other. Or why wouldn't CG level 20 wizard use their infinite wishes to fix every problem? Like I said, I think there has to be some restriction to them to avoid wizards being rather god like

Maybe not totally turn Wish/Miracle into a ritual, but split it into "Emergency means of duplicating another spell of lower level" (this would stay as a Miracle/Wish spell, not necessarily even confined to 7th and 10th level) and other more powerful effects (this would become a ritual).

Liberty's Edge

Pathfinder Rulebook Subscriber

I like a lot of things about this blog, but there are some concerns that I want to list, one that I have mentioned in other threads and a couple of things that jumped out to me in the blog.

  • Vancian Casting - It seems that this is still a thing, and the crutch levels of spell access will be used for Spontaneous casters just as they were in 3.0 and beyond. A more unified spell casting mechanic was needed in my mind, and it looks like the new spell format combined with the tiered casting will help in that regard, but having the "Fire and Forget" aspect of spell casting did not need to be retained.
  • Familiars, Bonded Objects and Bloodlines - As these are class specific, I understand that they were only referenced here, but I worry that these things have not changed much. Specifically, I fear that the Wizard will still have to chooses between having a Familiar or having access to his spellbook via Bonded Object or through the Spell Point mechanic.
  • Arcana Pool - The Arcanist in PF1 uses a pool of points for his exploits, and this is being expanded to every casting class. I agree with previous posters, call it Mana, not spell points. My concern here is that there is too few points and to many abilities to use.

Though I am disappointed with the continuation of the Prepared casting being propped up by hamstringing the Spontaneous casters, I hope that something is there in the new system that differentiates the Spontaneous caster from the old Prepared more than it was in 3.0 and PF1. I have hope that the disparity between the two mages is not as pronounced as it was previously.


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Gorbacz wrote:
Ninja in the Rye wrote:

I'm worried that none of these new spells listed will be nearly as good as a 14th level Fighter being able to add their +2 Shield AC to Reflex Saves against a few narrowly defined types of attacks.

I just don't want casters feeling like they can't keep up with the new reality warping powers that are being granted to martials in PF2, so I hope their primary class features are also doing amazing things like providing minor highly situational numeric boosts.

Don't worry. I'm on good authority that a 1st level PF2 fighter can initiate the Celestial Dragon Neko Neko Nyan Nyan Omnislash manoeuvrer, which allows you to swing your sword, designate any object within 20 miles of you and INSTANTLY SLASH THAT OBJECT APART IN TWO no saves, instant death. You can slash apart objects and creatures as large as a mountain.

At level 2, you can slash apart the equivalent of three mountains.

At level 3, you can slash apart an entire mountain range.

At level 4, you additionally summon a host of Angel-Devils, each of which can conjure a swarm of meteor penguins. They do no damage, but they look cool and sing your favourite anime opening.

I realise that people will likely go up their arms because that means Fighters don't get cool out-of-combat utility until level 4 (not that slashing mountains apart doesn't have cool uses like opening cans or sealed envelopes) but hey, some folks just won't ever be happy.

Its so ... *lone tear* beautiful.

especially the cat cat meow meow part.


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What worries me most, is what will really happen with low level spells as you gain new levels... Cantrips now DO level with your level (well, max Spell Level you can cast, but its pretty much the same thing), but Caster Level is gone from the Spells, so by the time you can cast Lv5+ Spells, the damage from your Lv1 Magic Missile should be a waste of an action: a free Cantrip does more.

Every time someone addressed this, a Designer mentioned that you "Could choose to use your low level slots for situational stuff", but to me it feels like you are FORCED to do so, because how bad is to use them for Damaging Spells when your Cantrips (affected by "Caster Level") are probably doing more damage than the low Level Spells. This is probably my biggest fear/issue with PF2 so far.

Also I really hope the final product reads way better than these posts. Not a fan on how you guys decided to list Success, Critical Success, Failure, Critical Failure in that order. In my opinion it should go in order, from lowest (Critical Failure) to highest (Critical Success), as in 1-2-3-4. Right now it reads 3-4-2-1...
Same for the components lists... Just list them as "Actions: Somatic, Verbal", not "Casting: Somatic Casting, Verbal Casting", not only should they be called Actions (because when you check the Spell List you want to know what ACTIONS it requires to Cast, not what kind of "Casting" it has), but the repeating of the word "Casting", in this scenario, is completely unnecessary and doesn't help to improve how the rules read or to avoid confusion.

And lastly you really need to think about naming this new "Spell Points" resource differently. From the looks of it it seems it may include stuff like the Monk's Ki Points, will it? So it's not used only (or at all?) for Spells... and even if right now that was the case, I'm pretty sure that very "soon" (give it some books) it won't be used only for Spells anymore. Maybe "Power Points" or something along those lines could be better... After all you use those points for your "Domain Powers" and your "Bloodline Powers", not for your "Domain Spells" or "Bloodline Spells", that would make the name less ambiguous if you are expected to use it for many different things, many (most?) of which are not even Spells at all.

I really liked that this post had more substance than the last ones, but the poor choices of wording/listing some stuff (including Heal example being completely wrong originally) made me worry more than necessary :-s

I also wonder... Do Spell Casters get more High Level Slots than they do in PF1 to make up for the fact that the Low Level Slots never increase in power?


Kaemy wrote:
Do Spell Casters get more High Level Slots than they do in PF1 to make up for the fact that the Low Level Slots never increase in power?

I expect not. I'd be happy if you get the same number of spell slots. The whole point of not scaling spells is to recreate how 4th ed daily and encounter powers didn't scale balance wizards with non-wizards. Giving them more high level spell slots would undo that balancing.


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Change "heal" to "cure" and bring back the real "heal" spell and I might be interested.

Scarab Sages

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PossibleCabbage wrote:
Well, fort saves are often just your body's natural reflexive response to things like diseases and poisons. I don't see why will saves can't be your unconscious, prerational mind's reflexive response to things you know are bad before you can say why.

Plenty of movies and TV shows that detail the hero resisting some sort of intrusion while unconscious.


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Pathfinder Adventure Path, Lost Omens, Rulebook, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
CorvusMask wrote:

Everything in this blog is great and awesome :D Not saying that due to hype since I'm not hyped, I just genuinely think everything sounded great.

That said, I wish that Wish and Miracle would become ritual spells instead or just exclusive to artifacts, certain creatures and scrolls, because is they are just as powerful as in 1e, it becomes silly when two level 20 wizards fight each other. Or why wouldn't CG level 20 wizard use their infinite wishes to fix every problem? Like I said, I think there has to be some restriction to them to avoid wizards being rather god like

That's the thing, though. They wouldn't actually have infinite wishes. They'd only have a few a day at best, which means that there's only a few problems they could solve. That's before considering that they might want to keep a few in reserve in case something unforeseen happens or somebody tries something only a wish could fix. Also, who's to say a CG 20th level wizard wouldn't simply be busy countering the wishes of an LE 20th level wizard?

And, from an in-universe perspective, the Legacy of Fire AP has a few things to say about the reckless use of wishes.


On the auto-scaling of cantrips; I believe it will work somewhat like the new skill system's proficiency levels. In other words, the cantrips might auto-scale, but their basic effects are simple enough so that in terms of spell outcome complexity they won't ever beat even a measly 1st level spell.

Like a potential Evocation cantrip that deals single target 1d6 bludgeon damage per spell level VS Burning Hands dealing conic fire damage (which means unlike the former the latter is capable of wiping out two kobolds rather than one, ever).

----

P.S. And, it's quite obvious that Detect Magic will be kicked upstairs in PF2. It was a free, reliable magic trap radar that made rogues so obsolete with magic traps, why keep them as cantrips?


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Detect Magic is confirmed as a cantrip in the blog post.


Quandary wrote:
Yeah, I was half way expecting Paizo to just go full 20 spell levels, that really dials down the disparity within each spell level which helps concepts shine that naturally lie at low end of power of given (1-9) spell level. Those new spell levels would be even more attractive when seen as easier to Heighten or Metamagic. Really that's a relatively straight forward approach to implement, since you just have to split each (1-9) spell level in half, with the stronger half boosted to next level.

And I just realized, a more granular 20-spell level system pretty much implies an equally more granular Metamagic system (and Heighten), since instead of +1/2/3 spell level adjustment you can in the same implied class-level range now have +1/2/3/4/5/6 adjustment. Metamagic "value" for the given adjustment always felt as precise as a Greatclub to the head, being able to double it's fineness seems a huge gain.

Some people have disliked the mismatch of Spell Level vs Class/Character Level terminology, which this would get rid of (for full casters). Along with potentially ditching CL as distinct mechanic (given spells won't scale based on it), 20 spell levels would rationalize the relation between different systems... 3/4 or 1/2 casters would of course not have the 1:1 relation, but such a discrepancy is natural and coherent when they are operating from same spell list (abridged). And technically speaking, I believe a 20 spell level system more precisely allows 3/4 caster to reach '15th level spells' at 20th class level.


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So, Dominating an uncounscious character is seen as a form of 'violation' while Dominating a conscious character is not.
I understand that the point is negating the saving throw, but if you are helpless you can't defend yourself from a coup-de-grace either, so...

That said, my preferred solution would be that an uncounscious character doesn't make saves, but CAN save once he/she regains consciousness if the effect is still going on.
Now my doubt is: should a fireball cast in the area of an unconscious character do double damage?

Liberty's Edge

Megistone wrote:
I understand that the point is negating the saving throw...

Actually, the saving throws were never negated. You'd still get a save against Dominate Person, but if a spell required a willing target (like Teleport, for example), being unconscious would allow you to be treated as a willing target. You'd still get any applicable saving throws. The change isn't being done because things like Dominate Person are seen as a violation, it's just that the way that it's worded ("unconscious creatures are considered willing") has some very unfortunate connotations in a real world setting. They're just worried about that specific way of phrasing it making people uncomfortable (which is a perfectly reasonable thing to worry about).

I think a wording change is still the best option rather than removing the rule entirely, but it's not my game, and if they want to change the rule, that's up to them.


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The spellcasting system does not look horrible at first glance. A big improvement over some of the other previews in my opinion.

That said: Vampiric Exsanguination

This spell just begs to have the wizard throw his own low-level minion into the AoE. Something all but guaranteed to critically fail on anything but a natural 20.


Volkard Abendroth wrote:

The spellcasting system does not look horrible at first glance. A big improvement over some of the other previews in my opinion.

That said: Vampiric Exsanguination

This spell just begs to have the wizard throw his own low-level minion into the AoE. Something all but guaranteed to critically fail on anything but a natural 20.

Yeah, well they did explicitly mention minions while talking about it, so I think that was planned. You will want the minions to be high enough to have enough hit-points to make them worth sucking dry though, but not so high level as to be able to save easily or be too hard to replace. Totally a kind of trick I'd expect to see evil wizards pull.

I'm not entirely clear with the language though. Do you get half the hit-points drained by the spell, or half of the 10d6 (so 5d6) if at least one creature takes damage? If the former, then you can send in a bunch of tiny or smaller mooks to fill up more of the area of effect and maximize your temp hit-point harvest. Is there a maximum number of temporary hit-points you can have?

Liberty's Edge

Doktor Weasel wrote:
Volkard Abendroth wrote:

The spellcasting system does not look horrible at first glance. A big improvement over some of the other previews in my opinion.

That said: Vampiric Exsanguination

This spell just begs to have the wizard throw his own low-level minion into the AoE. Something all but guaranteed to critically fail on anything but a natural 20.

Totally a kind of trick I'd expect to see evil wizards pull.

I can just imaging a big set-piece battle, with the evil wizard's lair lined with cultists just standing against the wall, doing nothing... but looking more and more nervous each time the wizard takes a hit.


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LuZeke wrote:
Kinda takes the punch out of the old "take the remnants of your fallen companion and quest to find a high level priest" quest.

Is that a bad thing? I don't recall anyone ever fondly recalling the time they sat out while the rest of the party went on a quest without them [you known, because they are dead]... The less time players are dead, the better.


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Pathfinder Lost Omens, Rulebook, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

Here's my current big issue with scaling cantrips. Detect magic and Light are a problem as is. It removes both illusions AND darkness as appropriate fight techniques for anyone other than the biggest bad (Or the PCs if they're the biggest good against a bunch of mooks), and EVEN THEN, what we have here basically says that the Biggest Bad has to spend his highest level spell slots to make them not immediately ended by a cantrip.

I'm not happy with the idea that a 0 investment ability that all casters get and can use effectively at will can negate almost an entire school of magic's value. A high level illusion spell has to have oomph in of itself to use, but now that the 5th level illusion spell is meaningless in the light of a 6th level detect magic from the party, the only illusion spells that exist at that point are 7th level spells. Our table had a houserule that illusions couldn't be easily spotted by magic not specifically for discovering illusions and had a caster level check involved, but caster level as a default doesn't exist anymore, so I was hopeful with the early teasers that having abilities that automatically negate the value of more powerful, expensive ones wouldn't be something available without a little more investment than "I kinda want the detect magic cantrip"


Doktor Weasel wrote:
I'm not entirely clear with the language though. Do you get half the hit-points drained by the spell, or half of the 10d6 (so 5d6) if at least one creature takes damage? If the former, then you can send in a bunch of tiny or smaller mooks to fill up more of the area of effect and maximize your temp hit-point harvest. Is there a maximum number of temporary hit-points you can have?

The way I am reading the spell, the amount regained has nothing to do the hit point totals of the victims or total damage taken by all victims.

If at least one target takes damage, you get half the highest total dealt. I.e. damaging two or more targets won't change the amount of temporary hit points gained, but if one target does worse on his saving throw than the other targets, you base the temporary hit points gained on the damage dealt to that target.


CorvusMask wrote:

Everything in this blog is great and awesome :D Not saying that due to hype since I'm not hyped, I just genuinely think everything sounded great.

That said, I wish that Wish and Miracle would become ritual spells instead or just exclusive to artifacts, certain creatures and scrolls, because is they are just as powerful as in 1e, it becomes silly when two level 20 wizards fight each other. Or why wouldn't CG level 20 wizard use their infinite wishes to fix every problem? Like I said, I think there has to be some restriction to them to avoid wizards being rather god like

I think a level 19 Wizard or Cleric has earned the right to be godlike for a few moments a day.


I know I don't fondly remember questing for a high level priest to bring someone back from the dead...unless it was an important NPC.

It would cool if a sorcerer's casting method was based on their bloodline.


best blog post so far thank you for the amount of detail


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MusicAddict wrote:
Our table had a houserule that illusions couldn't be easily spotted by magic not specifically for discovering illusions and had a caster level check involved, but caster level as a default doesn't exist anymore, so I was hopeful with the early teasers that having abilities that automatically negate the value of more powerful, expensive ones wouldn't be something available without a little more investment than "I kinda want the detect magic cantrip"

The good old days of putting Nystul's Magic Aura on a pair of Iron Golems, so that they detected as illusion.


I do like the new regenerate spell, it finally lives up to a 7th level spell. Please let arcane casters get this one as well.

Sovereign Court RPG Superstar 2011 Top 32

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Interesting stuff. As an old school player, I'm sad that we apparently no longer get to have the real heal spell of "get totally better, all at once." Gaining that spell has always been a sort of "coming of age" achievement for a divine caster. 11d8+stat just doesn't compare to 10/CL as a level 6 spell.

I hope not all "noncombat" spells are rituals. Having won fights with spells like meld into stone, the 4e ritual system where everything intended for "out of combat" took minutes was one of my major issues with the system. If it's just spells that were already 10 minute casting times or longer that's no big deal.

In AD&D 1e, alter reality was the illusionist version of limited wish.


Volkard Abendroth wrote:
Doktor Weasel wrote:
I'm not entirely clear with the language though. Do you get half the hit-points drained by the spell, or half of the 10d6 (so 5d6) if at least one creature takes damage? If the former, then you can send in a bunch of tiny or smaller mooks to fill up more of the area of effect and maximize your temp hit-point harvest. Is there a maximum number of temporary hit-points you can have?

The way I am reading the spell, the amount regained has nothing to do the hit point totals of the victims or total damage taken by all victims.

If at least one target takes damage, you get half the highest total dealt. I.e. damaging two or more targets won't change the amount of temporary hit points gained, but if one target does worse on his saving throw than the other targets, you base the temporary hit points gained on the damage dealt to that target.

What I understood from Mark's clarification is that every target you damage gives you back half damage as temporary HP, but since they don't stack, you only get the highest amount and not the total.


I am intrigued by this new blog post. I like the general idea of making magic more cohesive in terms of defining the cosmological nature of arcane, divine, psychic magic, etc. So Divine is Spiritual/Vital and Arcane is Material/Mental. Cool. I can work with that.

My concern lies, however, with the known points of overlap between Divine and Arcane magic because there are several, namely a number of spells that have historically fallen within the schools of Enchantment and Necromancy. How will this system work for (Death/Undeath) Clerics and Necromancy Wizards? Will Necromancers gain expanded access to spells with certain spell descriptors (a la Arcana Unearthed/Evolved)?

The Exchange

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Oh, man, I just wanted to come here and say how much I enjoyed this blog post, and that I really loved everything about the propsed changes (apart from the level 10 section, as I could probably do without all the spells that will find their way in there; but that's just me).

But now I feel the need to add that I fully support that little modification in wording


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MusicAddict wrote:
Here's my current big issue with scaling cantrips. Detect magic and Light are a problem as is. It removes both illusions AND darkness as appropriate fight techniques for anyone other than the biggest bad (Or the PCs if they're the biggest good against a bunch of mooks), and EVEN THEN, what we have here basically says that the Biggest Bad has to spend his highest level spell slots to make them not immediately ended by a cantrip.

Darkness already wasn't much of a threat in the game. Right now in pathfinder, I can make a character that can see through all darkness at 1st WITHOUT using an action...

As to illusions, this is as much a buff as it is a negative as detect magic doesn't work on higher level spells. This just means you have to use level appropriate spells. IMO, that makes sense: a 20th level archmage should have a much easier time seeing through a silent image than he did at 1st.

Dragon78 wrote:
I know I don't fondly remember questing for a high level priest to bring someone back from the dead...unless it was an important NPC.

If it doesn't involve the party, then it JUST a fetch quest. You can insert whatever mcguffin you wanted and that quest works. You can always have the person not want to come back and instead of finding the priest to raise, you're finding the priest to divine why the soul isn't coming back and find a way to convince it to come back.


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I'm puzzled by all of these people who think Detect Magic is usable in combat to identify and counter illusions.


One action heal spell is a great idea. Especially with the option to augment and broaden effect. This is promising. Our healer player is going to love this.

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