Wizard Class Preview

Monday, May 21, 2018

With Paizocon getting underway in just a few days, we wanted to round out our previews by looking at the final class that you will be able to play at the show. So, without further delay, it's time to look at the wizard!

Wizard Features

If you are building a wizard, everything starts with your key ability, Intelligence. Having a high Intelligence gives you a boost to the DCs of your spells, and it gives you more skill choices at 1st level.

At 1st level, you begin play with a spellbook containing 10 cantrips and eight 1st-level spells, giving you a wide variety of spells to draw upon when you prepare your magic each morning. Starting out, you can prepare four cantrips and two 1st-level spells each day. In addition, you also select your arcane school at 1st level, which grants you one extra spell slot of each level that you can use only to prepare a spell from your chosen school. You can compare this to the cleric, who doesn't get extra spell slots, but instead gets a narrow ability to cast extra heal or harm spells. Your school also grants you a school power that you can cast using a pool of Spell Points. Take a look at the nifty power you can pick up from choosing divination as your school. (Remember, that [[A]] code you see indicates that this is an action, and it will be a snazzy icon in the final rulebook!)

DIVINER'S SIGHT

Concentrate, Divination, Fortune

Casting [[A]] Verbal Casting

Range 30 feet; Targets one willing living creature

Duration end of your next turn or until dismissed

You glimpse into the target's future. Roll a d20. When the target attempts a Perception check, saving throw, or skill check, it can use the number you rolled instead of rolling, and the spell is dismissed. Casting it again dismisses any active diviner's sight.

Even if you don't roll so great, it might still help avoid a critical failure on a vital saving throw.

You can forgo selecting an arcane school, instead choosing to be a universalist. This grants you a bonus wizard feat and extra uses of your arcane focus.

Speaking of which, all wizards gain the ability to place some of their power into a designated item called an arcane focus. You can drain the power from that focus once per day to cast any one spell that you have already cast without spending another spell slot. Universalists get to use this ability once for each level of spell that they can cast!

As a wizard goes up in level, they gain more spells that they can cast (either one extra spell of their highest level, or two of a new level) and their proficiency at spellcasting also increases. They start as trained, but rise to the rank of legendary at 19th level.

Illustration by Wayne Reynolds

Wizard Feats

Wizards have never had too many class features to choose from to help distinguish them from one another, so when it came time to design feats for the wizard, it was a clear opportunity to add some variety to the class.

Lets start out with a few classic concepts. At 1st level, you can pick up a feat that allows you to spend your reaction to counterspell any spell someone else casts as long as you currently have that spell prepared. If that isn't to your taste, you can take a wizard feat to recruit a familiar instead. Every day, you can select a pair of abilities to give this loyal companion, some of which grant you boons as well. At high levels, your familiar can even grant you an additional spell slot, as long as it is 3 levels lower than the highest-level spell you can cast. At 8th level you can select from a series of feats that enhance the power of your arcane school, increasing your pool of Spell Points and granting you an extra spell you can cast using that pool. One of my favorites is the necromantic power called life siphon, which lets you draw some of the magic from a non-cantrip necromancy spell you cast to regain 1d8 Hit Points per level of the spell.

Not surprisingly, the wizard also has a lot of feats to choose from that modify the spells that you cast. While many of these metamagic feats will be familiar to veterans of the game, allowing you to extend the reach or widen the area of a spell, for example, others are new. Conceal Spell lets you add an action to a spell as you cast it to hide the fact that you are casting. Focus Conservation is an action you can add to any spell that you cast by draining your arcane focus, and it lets you drain your arcane focus again the next round, casting another spell as long as it is 2 levels lower than the spell you just cast. Better still, you can keep using this feat as long as you have lower-level spells to cast. For example, if you start out draining your focus to cast cone of cold (a 5th-level spell dealing a wicked 11d6 cold damage to all your enemies), you could follow it up next round with a fireball. If you use the feat again, you could drain focus again on the following round, casting any 1st-level spell you had already cast.

As a wizard rises to the highest levels of power, their feats grant them more and more options when determining how to best utilize their spells. Effortless Concentration gives you a free action at the start of each round to concentrate on a spell you have cast, freeing you up to use all 3 actions normally. Superior Focus gives you another use of your arcane focus. Quick Preparation lets you swap out spells you have already prepared in just 10 minutes. At 20th level, you can pick Spell Combination, which lets you combine two spells into one terrifying attack that you can unleash on one unfortunate foe.

Spells

One of the biggest ways you can customize your wizard is in your spell selection, so it's probably worth looking at a few signature wizard spells to see how they work. Let's start with one of the most iconic spells of them all.

MAGIC MISSILE SPELL 1

Evocation, Force

Casting [[A]] Verbal Casting or more

Range 120 feet; Targets one creature

You send a dart of force streaking toward a creature that you can see. It automatically hits and deals 1d4+1 force damage. When Casting this Spell, you can increase the casting by a Material Casting action, a Somatic Casting action, or both. For each component you add, increase the number of missiles you shoot by one. You choose the target for each missile individually.

Heightened (+2) You shoot one additional missile with each action you spend.

Magic missile shows off a couple of interesting options in the wizard's arsenal. Casting a spell can be done in a number of ways using a variable number of actions. While most of the time this is through metamagic feats, it can also come from the spell itself. Adding casting actions to magic missile gives you more missiles to throw. In addition, a wide variety of spells can be prepared using a higher-level spell slot, giving you a better effect without having to refer to an entirely different spell. (You can find out more about that in the All About Spells blog.) That means you can prepare magic missile as a 9th-level spell and spend three actions casting it for 15 missiles!

Another important aspect of picking spells for your wizard is to balance what saving throws they allow and what effects you can get depending on the results of the save. For that, let's take a look at a spell that might instantly kill a foe.

PHANTASMAL KILLER SPELL 4

Death, Emotion, Fear, Illusion, Mental

Casting [[A]] Somatic Casting, [[A]] Verbal Casting

Range 120 feet; Targets one living creature

You create a phantasmal image of the most fearsome creature imaginable to the target. Only the spell's target can see the killer, though you can see the vague shape of the illusion as it races forth to attack. The effect of the killer is based on the outcome of the target's Will saving throw.

Success The target is frightened 1.

Critical Success The target is unaffected.

Failure The target takes 8d6 mental damage and is frightened 2.

Critical Failure The target is so afraid it might instantly die. It must attempt a Fortitude saving throw; if the target fails, it is reduced to 0 Hit Points and dies. On a successful Fortitude save, the target still takes 12d6 mental damage, is fleeing until the end of its next turn, and is frightened 4.

Heightened (+1) The damage on a failure increases by 2d6 and on a critical failure by 3d6.

This spell is perfect for removing a lower-level foe from a fight, but it has the chance of greatly hampering a higher-level foe as well. The frightened condition reduces by 1 each turn, but it applies a penalty to almost all of your checks and rolls until it does. You will find interesting choices like these throughout the arcane spell list. While most will be familiar to a Pathfinder veteran, there are a lot of new spells to explore as well, from grim tendril to chromatic wall, so your wizard will be ready for anything.

Well, that wraps up our look at the wizard. If you want to give this class (or the alchemist, cleric, fighter, paladin, or rogue) a try, make sure to stop by PaizoCon (this weekend), the UK Games Expo (early June), or Origins (mid-June), as we'll be running demos during all three conventions!

Jason Bulmahn
Director of Game Design

Note: Due to PaizoCon, there will not be a Pathfinder Playtest Blog on Friday, May 25th or Monday, May 28th.

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Tags: Ezren Pathfinder Playtest Wayne Reynolds Wizards
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With the new counterspell rules, I envision my players being very happy with the ability to more easily shut down bad guys using dimension door or teleport to get away before the killing blow.


Are we back to having Schrodinger's Wizard debates?


Pathfinder Lost Omens Subscriber
MerlinCross wrote:
Are we back to having Schrodinger's Wizard debates?

Does the new system allow for Schrodinger's Wizard to exist?

If the answer is "Yes" then, YES we are going to have those debates again.


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Charlie Brooks wrote:
With the new counterspell rules, I envision my players being very happy with the ability to more easily shut down bad guys using dimension door or teleport to get away before the killing blow.

With the version given though, they are holding 2 of their slots and never casting them on the off chance the 'bad guys' are going to use those spells, meaning they'll have even less spells to work with.

Secondly, if counterspelling becomes a common thing, I'd expect the main 'bad guy' to order some minions to fight and teleport away from the party to drain some of those 'set aside' counterspell spells.


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Starfinder Charter Superscriber

If it were up to me, I'd vote for the "one school of magic" wizard too.

Though as bad as the regular wizard is for their ability to do anything (especially with the right wands and scrolls), I'm dealing with a wizard in a campaign I run who has the Spell Sage archetype--he can spontaneously cast a certain number of cleric, druid, or bard spells every day. Talk about the ultimate in flexibility (and stealing the other caster's thunder) . . .

Shadow Lodge

How? He uses up higher levels slots, doesn't he?


Starfinder Charter Superscriber

It doesn't take up higher-level slots, but costs two spells of the same level. It also lengthens the casting time, so it's not an in-combat thing. But in terms of utility, it means there's no need to rely on the party cleric for raise dead, restoration, etc. Almost any utility spell in the game (apart from the psychic magics I guess) suddenly become available. To be the fair, I talked with the player between sessions and he's been really good about intentionally holding back so as not to step on the others' toes. But it's rare I've had to have a conversation like that, in many years of gaming.


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HWalsh wrote:
gustavo iglesias wrote:
Ultimatecalibur wrote:


Why do Chain Lightning and Delayed Blast Fireball need to be their own spells? Why can't chaining and delayed explosion be unique metamagic effects tied to the Lightning Bolt and Fireball spells?

Why can't Fireball have "Heightened (7th): You may Delay the Fireball's explosion up to 5 rounds. If you wish to Delay do you must Concentrate each round. If you ever stop Concentrating or after Delaying for 5 rounds the Fireball immediately explodes." as part of its write up?

Even if you include chained and delayed as part of the heighten (something I might agree with), there is still ice storm, cone of cold, horrid wilting, polar ray or mentor swarm, which are pointless if a heightened fireball works equally well and you can use the spell learnt to get Mass Invisibility or Charm Monster or Stoneskin.

Quote:
The problem with Wizards (and other spell casters) has never been number of spells known, its always been what individual spells do.

Disagree. Even from the 3.5 era in the char op forum in WotC, "whatever you do, a wizard do better" was a motto. It is not only do e spells that are broken. It is the fact that they can prepare fue almost anything. Making a single damage spell learnt be worthy in all spell slots does not help.

Quote:
Magic Missile is also fairly easy to fix so that it doesn't feel like a waste in higher slots. It just needs additional Heightened effects (like "Heightened(4th): Each bolt deals 2d4+1 damage." and "Heightened(8th): Each bolt deals 2d6+1 damage.") added.
yes, there are a lot of ways to make Mm never get obsolete and become the go to option for single target damage at all levels. I don't think that is a good goal, tho. Heightened spells should be worse than higher level spells, because you don't waste an opportunity cost to learn them again

Arguably Magic Missile should be one of the weakest single target or multi target damage options a Wizard has available of the non-cantrip spells. Why?

Simple:

Magic Missile requires no attack roll and always hits. This means it can't crit, yes, but it also always deals its damage no matter what.

Magic Missile allows no save. This means, again, it can't crit, but it also always deals its damage no matter what.

Vs any ray spell:
They can miss, and some have saves on top of it.

Vs any other damage spell:
They require a save that can reduce, or eliminate, the damage.

Magic missile should never, ever, be the go to.

It is absolutely okay for a 9th level spell to be better than a 6th level heightened to 9th which is better than a 2nd level spell heightened to 9th which is better than a 1st level spell heightened to 9th. I fully expect higher level spells to pick up things like better range or duration or area, added debuffs, broader effects, more versatility, higher starting damage dice or bigger die sizes, and the like.

That doesn't mean the 1st level heightened to the lofty tier of a 9th level spell slot needs to only be equivalent to a 5th level spell. There can still be more parity than that.

Even at 27d4+27 for a three action magic missile fully heightened to 9th level if it was heighten 1 instead of heighten 2, it still would not be as good as a fully heightened scorching ray. Which would not be as good as a fully heightened disintegrate. Which would not be as good as a meteor swarm.


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Trimalchio wrote:
We don't know how much a PF2 fireball does, but it likely isn't 10d6 if the level 5 cone of cold spell does a static 11d6.

Unless something changed we do already know how much a PF2 fireball does, it was mentioned in a GameInformer interview with Jason Bulhman. Fireball is 6d6 at level 3, Heightened for 2d6 per spell level. So at level 9 you'll have 10d6 Fireballs with a 5th level Fireball.


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Jhaeman wrote:
It doesn't take up higher-level slots, but costs two spells of the same level. It also lengthens the casting time, so it's not an in-combat thing. But in terms of utility, it means there's no need to rely on the party cleric for raise dead, restoration, etc. Almost any utility spell in the game (apart from the psychic magics I guess) suddenly become available. To be the fair, I talked with the player between sessions and he's been really good about intentionally holding back so as not to step on the others' toes. But it's rare I've had to have a conversation like that, in many years of gaming.

There is an issue with the "holding back" situation...

I'll illustrate it with a different game, because I have personal experience with it.

I am *really* good at Mutants and Masterminds. To the point that I have such a high degree of system mastery that if I want to, I can easily break the game over my knee. I build characters that don't do that for obvious reasons.

Well, one time I joined an online M&M group. I built a female heroine named Hyperia. Basically Superman, and I got it to Superman scaled level (within PL limits of course) as it was a DC official game... Yadda yadda.

The other players were... How shall we say... Not so high end on the system mastery.

Hyperia could take the entire group on in a fight, and I knew it, the GM knew it, and one player figured it out. I intentionally always held back because of this fact. Until the GM wanted me to have a moment to shine.

He pulled the Death of Superman story... Sort of. A Doomsday-like creature was on a rampage while my character was at a public relations event (I was an employee of Lex Corp)... The rest of the team went off to fight it... And got squashed. Squashed badly.

Finally, I, at the event, get the news from the rest of the group that they are getting hammered. Realizing how nasty the critter was, as I had seen what it did to them, I didn't hold back. At all. I went full tilt and pulled out all of the stops.

The creature that crushed all of them in 12 combat rounds I went toe to toe with... And beat it... In 5... And I didn't have a scratch on me.

After that... Though the GM had no problem with it, in fact he planned it that way, and 2 of the 4 other players had no problem with it... 2 players realized that my character was just... Better in every way.

Stronger, faster, did more damage, could lift more, had a suite of powers that covered virtually every eventuality, and I wasn't even a slouch in the skills department. I didn't even have the Kryptonite flaw... (I did have a weakness, but regardless...)

The thing is... This really hurt the experience for those 2 players... Because they felt like all of the danger they had been in so far was completely and totally superficial. Any time they found that they were struggling against an opponent I, as Hyperia, could have utterly destroyed most of those threats without breaking a sweat... And I did... More than once... Only people didn't really notice the mechanics at use when I would take out an entire room of enemies single handed because I felt that the overall threat was more than the group could handle. The fight with Experiment 316 (the Doomsday-thing's name) just put it front ant center.

An enemy that took them all out in short order, couldn't lay a hand on Hyperia, and she beat it faster than all 4 of them working together could...

You never want that... In a comic book game like M&M it can work... As that happens in comic books... In a game like Pathfinder? Its not very much fun.


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HWalsh wrote:


Even if you include chained and delayed as part of the heighten (something I might agree with), there is still ice storm, cone of cold, horrid wilting, polar ray or mentor swarm, which are pointless if a heightened fireball works equally well and you can use the spell learnt to get Mass Invisibility or Charm Monster or Stoneskin.

Wizards have always had the potential to have infinite number of known spells. This was never really a problem. It was always the effects of the options that ruined balance rather than the number of options accessible.

Quote:


Quote:
The problem with Wizards (and other spell casters) has never been number of spells known, its always been what individual spells do.
Disagree. Even from the 3.5 era in the char op forum in WotC, "whatever you do, a wizard do better" was a motto. It is not only do e spells that are broken. It is the fact that they can prepare fue almost anything. Making a single damage spell learnt be worthy in all spell slots does not help.

No. The reason the wizard could do everything better was completely based on the spells available. Knock auto picked locks, Invisibility hid things better than specialists and Silence made even those in the heaviest armor specialists in Move Silently. Jump, Fly, Spider Climb and all the other movement utility spells are similar. Take away the spells that did those things and a wizard would not be better.

All the spell book and a list of spells known did was let the wizard have an easier time respecing. The problem was that the spellcasters could specialize to be better than the specialists.

Quote:


Quote:
Magic Missile is also fairly easy to fix so that it doesn't feel like a waste in higher slots. It just needs additional Heightened effects (like "Heightened(4th): Each bolt deals 2d4+1 damage." and "Heightened(8th): Each bolt deals 2d6+1 damage.") added.
yes, there are a lot of ways to make Mm never get obsolete and become the go to option for single target damage at all levels. I don't think that is a good goal, tho. Heightened spells should be worse than higher level spells, because you don't waste an opportunity cost to learn them again
Arguably Magic Missile should be one of the weakest single target or multi target damage options a Wizard has available of the non-cantrip...

No. That mentality is what leads to the creation of 9 different versions of the same spell with different power levels.

A 1st level Spell Slot Magic Missile should be slightly better than a cantrip while a 9th level Spell Slot Magic Missile should shoot an opponents 9th level Meteor Swarm out of the air.


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Pathfinder Adventure, Adventure Path, Lost Omens, Rulebook, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber; Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber
Tangent101 wrote:
Fumarole wrote:
Tangent101 wrote:
It's a nice-in-theory concept. Using Reactions for it helps it become something that doesn't just waste the Wizard's actions. But in practice it is not nearly as useful as the alternatives.
This implies that you have experience using counterspell as a wizard using the playtest rules.
Your response implies you know all the spells Wizards will have and have learned they will be massively limited so there's only a half dozen spells for each level so a Wizard could easily have memorized the spell... oh wait, that's not how magic in Pathfinder works, is it. There's dozens of spells for each spell level. Nearly a hundred for the low level stuff... so. How do you know which ones to memorize to counter them? Any Wizard worth his books will avoid the common spells so to avoid being Counterspelled.

My comment wasn't about wizards or their spells. I haven't taken a stance on counterspelling as to whether or not it is a good or bad thing. I'm simply pointing out that your comment implies practical experience of playtest counterspelling. If you did, in fact, have said experience I suspect you would have confirmed as much; the absence of such comments speaks for itself.

Silver Crusade

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"At 20th level, you can pick Spell Combination, which lets you combine two spells into one terrifying attack that you can unleash on one unfortunate foe."

Can that be used with the same spell (so say two fireballs) cause if thats the case then im rather fond of the idea of combining 2 9th level magic missiles for the full round and inventing the magic minigun. :)

Liberty's Edge

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Fuzzypaws wrote:

It is absolutely okay for a 9th level spell to be better than a 6th level heightened to 9th which is better than a 2nd level spell heightened to 9th which is better than a 1st level spell heightened to 9th. I fully expect higher level spells to pick up things like better range or duration or area, added debuffs, broader effects, more versatility, higher starting damage dice or bigger die sizes, and the like.

That doesn't mean the 1st level heightened to the lofty tier of a 9th level spell slot needs to only be equivalent to a 5th level spell. There can still be more parity than that.

Magic Missile's inescapable damage makes it a special case. It should, at best, do half the damage of other spells at the same level.

Otherwise you run into the 'Four Wizards with Magic Missile auto-kill anything' problem which Mark alluded to earlier.

Heck, with 210 HP average on four 9th level Magic Missiles, it's already closer to that than might be ideal. Any higher and we're starting to get into real problem territory (as that's already more damage than a Con 12 Fighter has HP at 17th level), but it's at least not the same for most 20th level threats (and most Fighters and combat focused creatures won't have quite that low HP).

Fuzzypaws wrote:
Even at 27d4+27 for a three action magic missile fully heightened to 9th level if it was heighten 1 instead of heighten 2, it still would not be as good as a fully heightened scorching ray. Which would not be as good as a fully heightened disintegrate. Which would not be as good as a meteor swarm.

But it would. Indeed, it would be better, due to its inescapable nature. That averages 94 damage. 4 Wizards with it can reliably kill just about anything in PF2 with 376 damage. A 20th level Barbarian with Con 22 (ie: among the toughest PCs possible, and thus on par with the very toughest monsters, and an APL +3 encounter) has 360 HP. That just takes her out, no save, no nothing.

Shinigami02 wrote:
Trimalchio wrote:
We don't know how much a PF2 fireball does, but it likely isn't 10d6 if the level 5 cone of cold spell does a static 11d6.
Unless something changed we do already know how much a PF2 fireball does, it was mentioned in a GameInformer interview with Jason Bulhman. Fireball is 6d6 at level 3, Heightened for 2d6 per spell level. So at level 9 you'll have 10d6 Fireballs with a 5th level Fireball.

This is the exact math I based my 10d6 Fireball on. And probably a better barometer for how much better a spell two levels higher is than a heightened one than anything to do with magic missile (ie: cone of cold only does 1d6 more damage than fireball, plus probably having a somewhat better area).


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Deadmanwalking wrote:


Fuzzypaws wrote:
Even at 27d4+27 for a three action magic missile fully heightened to 9th level if it was heighten 1 instead of heighten 2, it still would not be as good as a fully heightened scorching ray. Which would not be as good as a fully heightened disintegrate. Which would not be as good as a meteor swarm.
But it would. Indeed, it would be better, due to its inescapable nature. That averages 94 damage. 4 Wizards with it can reliably kill just about anything in PF2 with 376 damage. A 20th level Barbarian with Con 22 (ie: among the toughest PCs possible, and thus on par with the very toughest monsters, and an APL +3 encounter) has 360 HP. That just takes her out, no save, no nothing.

I don't know about you, but I've never seen four 17+ level wizards in one place except for the one time I used them as part of the final boss battle of an epic level campaign that had gone well past level 20. You may as well say a 17th level barbarian shouldn't do a lot of damage on a strike, because four 17th level barbarians focus attacking a single target would be in danger of turning the target into a fine mist, so we have to nerf them in case we somehow get 4 of them in one place.

Liberty's Edge

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Fuzzypaws wrote:
I don't know about you, but I've never seen four 17+ level wizards in one place except for the one time I used them as part of the final boss battle of an epic level campaign that had gone well past level 20.

That's a perfectly possible PC group, though (more so in this edition). So you have to plan for them. It's also a perfectly possible encounter for an 18th level party, and could easily be a serious issue in that scenario with the 27 die version. Heck, that damage version could probably kill two PCs of that level (a Con 14 or less Cleric or Con 18 or less Wizard would likely fall to only two of those versions, even at 18th level). If two Level-1 opponents can one-shot most characters with nearly absolute certainty, something has gone wrong with your game design (unless you want rocket tag to be the main high level tactic, which they pretty clearly don't).

Fuzzypaws wrote:
You may as well say a 17th level barbarian shouldn't do a lot of damage on a strike, because four 17th level barbarians focus attacking a single target would be in danger of turning the target into a fine mist, so we have to nerf them in case we somehow get 4 of them in one place.

The difference there is that four 17th level Barbarians don't auto-hit all opponents no matter what in an utterly inescapable fashion.


HWalsh wrote:
gustavo iglesias wrote:
Ultimatecalibur wrote:


Why do Chain Lightning and Delayed Blast Fireball need to be their own spells? Why can't chaining and delayed explosion be unique metamagic effects tied to the Lightning Bolt and Fireball spells?

Why can't Fireball have "Heightened (7th): You may Delay the Fireball's explosion up to 5 rounds. If you wish to Delay do you must Concentrate each round. If you ever stop Concentrating or after Delaying for 5 rounds the Fireball immediately explodes." as part of its write up?

Even if you include chained and delayed as part of the heighten (something I might agree with), there is still ice storm, cone of cold, horrid wilting, polar ray or mentor swarm, which are pointless if a heightened fireball works equally well and you can use the spell learnt to get Mass Invisibility or Charm Monster or Stoneskin.

Quote:
The problem with Wizards (and other spell casters) has never been number of spells known, its always been what individual spells do.

Disagree. Even from the 3.5 era in the char op forum in WotC, "whatever you do, a wizard do better" was a motto. It is not only do e spells that are broken. It is the fact that they can prepare fue almost anything. Making a single damage spell learnt be worthy in all spell slots does not help.

Quote:
Magic Missile is also fairly easy to fix so that it doesn't feel like a waste in higher slots. It just needs additional Heightened effects (like "Heightened(4th): Each bolt deals 2d4+1 damage." and "Heightened(8th): Each bolt deals 2d6+1 damage.") added.
yes, there are a lot of ways to make Mm never get obsolete and become the go to option for single target damage at all levels. I don't think that is a good goal, tho. Heightened spells should be worse than higher level spells, because you don't waste an opportunity cost to learn them again
Arguably Magic Missile should be one of the weakest single target or multi target damage options a Wizard has available of the non-cantrip...

Kind of wish MM was a Cantrip. That would make it better. It would then auto-augment like other cantrips.


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Deadmanwalking wrote:
Fuzzypaws wrote:
I don't know about you, but I've never seen four 17+ level wizards in one place except for the one time I used them as part of the final boss battle of an epic level campaign that had gone well past level 20.

That's a perfectly possible PC group, though (more so in this edition). So you have to plan for them. It's also a perfectly possible encounter for an 18th level party, and could easily be a serious issue in that scenario with the 27 die version. Heck, that damage version could probably kill two PCs of that level (a Con 14 or less Cleric or Con 18 or less Wizard would likely fall to only two of those versions, even at 18th level). If two Level-1 opponents can one-shot most characters with nearly absolute certainty, something has gone wrong with your game design (unless you want rocket tag to be the main high level tactic, which they pretty clearly don't).

Fuzzypaws wrote:
You may as well say a 17th level barbarian shouldn't do a lot of damage on a strike, because four 17th level barbarians focus attacking a single target would be in danger of turning the target into a fine mist, so we have to nerf them in case we somehow get 4 of them in one place.
The difference there is that four 17th level Barbarians don't auto-hit all opponents no matter what in an utterly inescapable fashion.

A party comprised solely of four of any one class, let alone four of any one class who all take the same build and use the same tactics, is something the game is not designed for and warps it into an unusual shape. That kind of bizarre theory corner case that virtually never appears is not and should not be the sort of thing the game is balanced around.

A GM actually faced with a party of four powerful wizards would be derelict in their duties if they actually let that party go into a major boss fight, especially one somehow lacking even the barest protections against that party's most common tactics, without running them through multiple other encounters to deplete resources first. Just as a GM faced with a party of four fighters would be derelict in not adjusting the game for their greater sustained damage output and lack of healing or magic resources.

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graystone wrote:
Charlie Brooks wrote:
With the new counterspell rules, I envision my players being very happy with the ability to more easily shut down bad guys using dimension door or teleport to get away before the killing blow.

With the version given though, they are holding 2 of their slots and never casting them on the off chance the 'bad guys' are going to use those spells, meaning they'll have even less spells to work with.

Secondly, if counterspelling becomes a common thing, I'd expect the main 'bad guy' to order some minions to fight and teleport away from the party to drain some of those 'set aside' counterspell spells.

My players will absolutely save a couple of spell slots for the sole purpose of keeping the baddie from getting away. And they'll ignore the minions so they can focus them on the big bad. In their minds, it will be resources well-spent to keep the bastard from coming back to pester them in the future.


Charlie Brooks wrote:
And they'll ignore the minions so they can focus them on the big bad.

How do they ID the big bad? They got a 'detect big bad' spell? They can ID the clones, simulacrum, disguised minions, ect? How do they do that? Does the big bad have a name tag, 'Hi, I'm the end boss!'?

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graystone wrote:
Charlie Brooks wrote:
And they'll ignore the minions so they can focus them on the big bad.
How do they ID the big bad? They got a 'detect big bad' spell? They can ID the clones, simulacrum, disguised minions, ect? How do they do that? Does the big bad have a name tag, 'Hi, I'm the end boss!'?

I use recurring villains a lot. And I've gotten pretty good at setting up villains my players love to hate. (Or maybe they hate to hate them...it's all the same to me.)


Fuzzypaws wrote:


It is absolutely okay for a 9th level spell to be better than a 6th level heightened to 9th which is better than a 2nd level spell heightened to 9th which is better than a 1st level spell heightened to 9th. I fully expect higher level spells to pick up things like better range or duration or area, added debuffs, broader effects, more versatility, higher starting damage dice or bigger die sizes, and the like.

No, it isn't ok. A 9th level Spell, a 6th level Spell in a 9th level slot and a 1st level Spell in a 9th level slot all have the same resource cost to use so need to be roughly equivalent in output. Spell level should be used to control access to effects not determine spell superiority. Spell slot used should be what determines spell superiority.

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Magic Missile was never good because it dealt a lot of damage - it was good because it was guaranteed to hit, dealt Force damage (which is rarely resisted and deals full damage to Incorporeal), didn't allow a saving throw, and had great range. That's still the niche it fills in PF2 - it merely adds the potential to pump up the damage with higher spell levels, which is a useful option but doesn't automatically make it a go-to blasting spell. That's never what it was for in the first place.

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Ultimatecalibur wrote:
No, it isn't ok. A 9th level Spell, a 6th level Spell in a 9th level slot and a 1st level Spell in a 9th level slot all have the same resource cost to use so need to be roughly equivalent in output. Spell level should be used to control access to effects not determine spell superiority. Spell slot used should be what determines spell superiority.

This ignores the fact that acquiring new spells has a resource cost. If your existing spells are good enough that you never need to do this, then that's actually a balance problem.

That said, based on the Fireball/Cone of Cold comparison, the differences between a base 3rd level spell and a base 5th level spell (when both are at the same level) are +1d6 damage and probably a better area.

Of course, that's only a 2 level shift, bigger ones might make more of a difference.


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Concept: What if being more effective with lower level spells used in higher level spell slots is a sorcerer thing?


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Arachnofiend wrote:
Concept: What if being more effective with lower level spells used in higher level spell slots is a sorcerer thing?

Oh, it is.

You're going to see Sorcerers ending up at 1st level probably knowing two spells and four Cantrips, and at 2nd level gaining their Bloodline spell... and each additional odd level they only will gain one new spell for each spell level. (Spells per day will probably be 3/2, so at 1st level Sorcerers can cast three spells a day, and 2nd level they can cast five spells a day... 3rd level would be five 1st level spells and three 2nd level spells, and so forth.)

But many of the spells will be Heightened. Now, I suspect the Bloodline spells will be those spells that cannot be Heightened. Even so, you would have three 2nd level spells and the Bloodline spell, four 3rd level spells and the Bloodline spell, and on up the line to 10 different spells that could be cast at 9th level along with the Bloodline spell.

Now, it's quite likely 90% of those spells will be underpowered 9th level spells as Heightened spells won't be as good as core 9th level spells. But the Sorcerer will be able to pick and choose any spell they want, and probably will have five castings for each spell level.

If the Bloodline spells can be Heightened? Then a Sorcerer capable of casting 9th level spells would be able to use up to 19 different spells as a 9th level slot. Contrast that to the Wizard who will have a maximum of four separate 9th level spells. The Sorcerer will have far more versatility than the Wizard at high levels, especially if the player is intelligent with their spell selection.


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The theory crafting in getting out of hand in this thread.


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On Counterspell: one imagines that at worse Counterspell will be best utilized by wizards who have superior Intel on what they will be facing and sorcerers who pick popular spells. The latter doesn't need to sweat having that EXACT spell slot still there, just a spell slot of the appropriate level. I don't think a 1st level feat being better for some characters than others is a bug, it is in fact a feature for me.

Nor do I think a 1st level feat only working a limited amount of the time but working SUPER well when it works is a big problem. (And again, if you can't imagine a scenario where preventing an enemy from casting is better than you casting that same spell while robbing them of their turn, I think you may need to dream a little bigger.)


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mildly annoyed Vidmaster7 wrote:
The theory crafting in getting out of hand in this thread.

You call it theory crafting, I call it "identifying potential pitfalls to target early and often during the playtest."


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AnimatedPaper wrote:
mildly annoyed Vidmaster7 wrote:
The theory crafting in getting out of hand in this thread.
You call it theory crafting, I call it "identifying potential pitfalls to target early and often during the playtest."

Its being based on incomplete data and using possibly irrelevant data to fill in the holes.

That is bad science.


Pathfinder Adventure, Adventure Path, Lost Omens, Starfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Only if you're drawing conclusions based on that incomplete data. We're still at the figuring out what questions to ask stage.


Arachnofiend wrote:
Concept: What if being more effective with lower level spells used in higher level spell slots is a sorcerer thing?

I'd assume that's a natural consequence of having spells known instead of preparing into slots. If you're spending your spell slots ad-hoc instead of preparing them, you don't need to declare ahead of time that you're preparing a 3rd level magic missile like the wizard described here. You just spend the 3rd level slot and go, similar to how undercasting worked in Occult Adventures.

We won't know until a Sorcerer or other spontaneous caster preview happens, but it seems likely to me.


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AnimatedPaper wrote:
Only if you're drawing conclusions based on that incomplete data. We're still at the figuring out what questions to ask stage.

Except some people are drawing conclusions.

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AnimatedPaper wrote:
Only if you're drawing conclusions based on that incomplete data. We're still at the figuring out what questions to ask stage.

I've seen very few questions posed and very many declarations.


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Aratrok wrote:
Arachnofiend wrote:
Concept: What if being more effective with lower level spells used in higher level spell slots is a sorcerer thing?

I'd assume that's a natural consequence of having spells known instead of preparing into slots. If you're spending your spell slots ad-hoc instead of preparing them, you don't need to declare ahead of time that you're preparing a 3rd level magic missile like the wizard described here. You just spend the 3rd level slot and go, similar to how undercasting worked in Occult Adventures.

We won't know until a Sorcerer or other spontaneous caster preview happens, but it seems likely to me.

Sadly, it's a lot worse than that. If you want to cast a 9th level magic missile, you have to select magic missile as one of your 9th level spells known. Bloodline spells get around this. You could select Magic Missile as your blood line spell, and be able to spend a slot at any level and have it heightened to that level, but otherwise you have to pre-heighten it when selecting known spells.

I am deeply concerned that this will make spontaneous casters suck and suck hard, but as you say we need the Sorcerer blog to know for sure.


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Deadmanwalking wrote:

.

Otherwise you run into the 'Four Wizards with Magic Missile auto-kill anything' problem which Mark alluded to earlier.

Heck, with 210 HP average on four 9th level Magic Missiles, it's already closer to that than might be ideal. Any higher and we're starting to get into real problem territory (as that's already more damage than a Con 12 Fighter has HP at 17th level), but it's at least not the same for most 20th level threats (and most Fighters and combat focused creatures won't have quite that low HP).

That seems about right to me. Four wizards with magic missile can kill (nearly) anything. Once.

Four level 17 wizards against 1 level 17 fighter is a cakewalk. As it should be. Four wizards against four such fighters though? Sure, they fry one fighter before he gets to act (in the worst case scenario). That still leaves those three fighters closing in on melee range of the wizards. I don't know that I'd want to be the wizard in front.


AnimatedPaper wrote:

Sadly, it's a lot worse than that. If you want to cast a 9th level magic missile, you have to select magic missile as one of your 9th level spells known. Bloodline spells get around this. You could select Magic Missile as your blood line spell, and be able to spend a slot at any level and have it heightened to that level, but otherwise you have to pre-heighten it when selecting known spells.

I am deeply concerned that this will make spontaneous casters suck and suck hard, but as you say we need the Sorcerer blog to know for sure.

What's your source on that? I wasn't aware sorcerers or spontaneous casting were discussed yet at all.


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Vidmaster7 wrote:
AnimatedPaper wrote:
Only if you're drawing conclusions based on that incomplete data. We're still at the figuring out what questions to ask stage.
Except some people are drawing conclusions.
KingOfAnything wrote:
AnimatedPaper wrote:
Only if you're drawing conclusions based on that incomplete data. We're still at the figuring out what questions to ask stage.
I've seen very few questions posed and very many declarations.

Real talk, do you consider these comments helpful? At least the players you're complainting about are talking about the mechanics, not their fellow forum posters.

Please, let people explore the mechanics in their own way. If that involves a lot of complaining, well, its not the first or last time I've encountered that as a way of approaching change.


Tangent101 wrote:
Arachnofiend wrote:
Concept: What if being more effective with lower level spells used in higher level spell slots is a sorcerer thing?

Oh, it is.

You're going to see Sorcerers ending up at 1st level probably knowing two spells and four Cantrips, and at 2nd level gaining their Bloodline spell... and each additional odd level they only will gain one new spell for each spell level. (Spells per day will probably be 3/2, so at 1st level Sorcerers can cast three spells a day, and 2nd level they can cast five spells a day... 3rd level would be five 1st level spells and three 2nd level spells, and so forth.)

But many of the spells will be Heightened.

I think I remember a dev comment saying that Sorcerers have to pick a level for the spells as they learn them.

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Ultimatecalibur wrote:
No, it isn't ok. A 9th level Spell, a 6th level Spell in a 9th level slot and a 1st level Spell in a 9th level slot all have the same resource cost to use so need to be roughly equivalent in output. Spell level should be used to control access to effects not determine spell superiority. Spell slot used should be what determines spell superiority.

I think you would like Psionics. It's a great system. :)


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Aratrok wrote:
AnimatedPaper wrote:

Sadly, it's a lot worse than that. If you want to cast a 9th level magic missile, you have to select magic missile as one of your 9th level spells known. Bloodline spells get around this. You could select Magic Missile as your blood line spell, and be able to spend a slot at any level and have it heightened to that level, but otherwise you have to pre-heighten it when selecting known spells.

I am deeply concerned that this will make spontaneous casters suck and suck hard, but as you say we need the Sorcerer blog to know for sure.

What's your source on that? I wasn't aware sorcerers or spontaneous casting were discussed yet at all.

This post by Deadmanwalking was where I was told about it:

Share in my dismay

I believe they went into it on the twitch stream, which I don't watch. It came up when we were discussing the relative strengths of the oracle over the cleric, and oracles were a lot less awesome than I originally assumed.


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AnimatedPaper wrote:
Vidmaster7 wrote:
AnimatedPaper wrote:
Only if you're drawing conclusions based on that incomplete data. We're still at the figuring out what questions to ask stage.
Except some people are drawing conclusions.
KingOfAnything wrote:
AnimatedPaper wrote:
Only if you're drawing conclusions based on that incomplete data. We're still at the figuring out what questions to ask stage.
I've seen very few questions posed and very many declarations.

Real talk, do you consider these comments helpful? At least the players you're complainting about are talking about the mechanics, not their fellow forum posters.

Please, let people explore the mechanics in their own way. If that involves a lot of complaining, well, its not the first or last time I've encountered that as a way of approaching change.

The forced assumptions does more damage then good. Ask questions and all that is fine but saying that X is terrible because in PF1 it went like Y so therefore its obviously gonna be terrible in PF2. Is terribly unhelpful. at least base your arguments on facts instead of supposition.

I've seen to many times where someone will see an idea and get it stuck in their head months after its been proved wrong and they will still rattle it off trying to change peoples minds to their out of date way of thinking.


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SilverliteSword wrote:
Deadmanwalking wrote:

.

Otherwise you run into the 'Four Wizards with Magic Missile auto-kill anything' problem which Mark alluded to earlier.

Heck, with 210 HP average on four 9th level Magic Missiles, it's already closer to that than might be ideal. Any higher and we're starting to get into real problem territory (as that's already more damage than a Con 12 Fighter has HP at 17th level), but it's at least not the same for most 20th level threats (and most Fighters and combat focused creatures won't have quite that low HP).

That seems about right to me. Four wizards with magic missile can kill (nearly) anything. Once.

Four level 17 wizards against 1 level 17 fighter is a cakewalk. As it should be. Four wizards against four such fighters though? Sure, they fry one fighter before he gets to act (in the worst case scenario). That still leaves those three fighters closing in on melee range of the wizards. I don't know that I'd want to be the wizard in front.

Well, if you want to get technical, 4 level 17 wizards would be able to one shot anything twice, and then still have a variety of other 1-8 spell slots to throw at dealing with whatever else.

But this is aside from Deadman's point: rocket tag is not a desirable goal, especially when it involves no real chance of failure (saving throws, miss chance.) I don't think anyone has a real objection to the idea that if 4 characters hit a single equal level character as hard as they can, they may reduce that target to a slurry pretty quick. This will most likely be the case. But at the very least, luck should be able to save the target.

That, and Magic Missile really SHOULDN'T be the spell you use to do as much damage as possible, but this has already been reiterated a ton.


AnimatedPaper wrote:


This post by Deadmanwalking was where I was told about it:

Share in my dismay

I believe they went into it on the twitch stream, which I don't watch. It came up when we were discussing the relative strengths of the oracle over the cleric, and oracles were a lot less awesome than I originally assumed.

I rescind my hopefulness then, I guess. That's really horrible.


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It certainly sounds that way, but hopefully it'll make more sense in context.

I have a feeling it will take a LOT of context for that to make sense though.


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Well, it will largely come down to how many bloodline spells they get. Theoretically you could get enough that you basically have a full roster of spells and the sorcerer is a true master of arcane flexibility and is flat out better than a wizard. At the other extreme you could get so few that the sorcerer remains a poor man's wizard. I suspect getting that balance point right will be one of the more important parts of the sorcerer's playtest.

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Aratrok wrote:
AnimatedPaper wrote:


This post by Deadmanwalking was where I was told about it:

Share in my dismay

I believe they went into it on the twitch stream, which I don't watch. It came up when we were discussing the relative strengths of the oracle over the cleric, and oracles were a lot less awesome than I originally assumed.

I rescind my hopefulness then, I guess. That's really horrible.

It's not as bad as all that, probably. I mean, they also get spells known per level on top of 'lineage' spells, so you're always gonna have actual spells of your highest spell level available.

Also, as I noted, the difference between Fireball and Cone of Cold is small enough that I'm not necessarily terribly worried about the damage going down precipitously or anything.

SilverliteSword wrote:
That seems about right to me. Four wizards with magic missile can kill (nearly) anything. Once.

With Arcane Bond they can do it at least twice, actually. That's a hefty investment of spells, though.

SilverliteSword wrote:
Four level 17 wizards against 1 level 17 fighter is a cakewalk. As it should be. Four wizards against four such fighters though? Sure, they fry one fighter before he gets to act (in the worst case scenario). That still leaves those three fighters closing in on melee range of the wizards. I don't know that I'd want to be the wizard in front.

Right, and I'm totally cool with that.

But that's with the current version that people are complaining is too weak. With the 27d4+27 version you can kill even a 20th or 21st level monster (ie: one that should very much not be a cakewalk), or maybe two people of around the same level.


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4 characters of any class focus firing a target of equivalent level before it gets initiative will kill them pretty much all the time.

4 Wizards using lv9 spells aren't supposed to kill 1 guy of equivalent level now? So a Wizard by himself using all 4 of his most precious lv9 slots in the same fight isn't supposed to take out a tough enemy? It probably takes less time than that for any martial to pull that off with their basic routine.

Think we need to evaluate what it means for a wizard to use his "most powerful spell" in a fight, and what impact should be expected of it. They can only do this around 3 times, so I would hope a fully dedicated damage wizard can get more damage than his fighter buddy does in 1 turn by using his most valuable resource. If the answer is "no", then it's back to 1E strategies.


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Arachnofiend wrote:
Wermut wrote:
N N 959 wrote:
Mark Seifter wrote:


In other words, the portion of my post that triggered the "as it should be" in terms of doing less damage was the "without spending resources" not the fact it was a martial character doing it.

Apologoies, Mark, but I find myself coming back to this. For me, it's not that the Wizard can out damage just about any generic martial, it's that the Wizard has the flexibility to do that, and also do massive single target damage the very next spell. Or, choose spells that dominate for one setting and then change those spells the next adventure and dominate a completely different set of obstacles. Granted, there's a question of the quality of information that proceeds preparation, regardless, no random martial has that type of flexibility.

At the risk of repeating the same mantra, saying that a martial can do X if they spend the resources, isn't really a fair counter. Even if a PF1 martial could find an AoE build that could out damage a full caster, the martial is pot committed to that build. A caster is not.

In recent thread, Pandora talked about this as character "agency." Her complaint with the Fighter was that it lacked the agency of full casters. My response is that no class should have that type of agency.

Has there been any thought to restricting what spells can do? Why not put serious boundaries on spells and take away all the skill duplicates? Or, be far more restrictive on how many schools of magic a wizard can cast from. Sure, they can always have an offensive cantrip, but if they want skill duplication, then they don't get Evocation/Illusion/Divination. If they wand Evocation, then they don't get three other schools to cast from, scrolls/wands included.

Again, for me, it's not about the highest level of power, its the breadth of that agency, even if it is from day to day and not encounter to encounter. Fewer spells doesn't really address this.

I don't agree, if you ever read through
...

can't fix that quote mess on my mobile, sorry.

Well yes you I've read the guide. Its the one that argues a wizard can do a lot of things but should focus on battlefield control. The one that says that a well build wizard should be aware of his unique role because there is no need to barge into what other classes do? The same guide that argues that a blaster wizard isnt worthy his salt? Thanks for proving my point.


ChibiNyan wrote:

4 characters of any class focus firing a target of equivalent level before it gets initiative will kill them pretty much all the time.

4 Wizards using lv9 spells aren't supposed to kill 1 guy of equivalent level now? So a Wizard by himself using all 4 of his most precious lv9 slots in the same fight isn't supposed to take out a tough enemy? It probably takes less time than that for any martial to pull that off with their basic routine.

Think we need to evaluate what it means for a wizard to use his "most powerful spell" in a fight, and what impact should be expected of it. They can only do this around 3 times, so I would hope a fully dedicated damage wizard can get more damage than his fighter buddy does in 1 turn by using his most valuable resource. If the answer is "no", then it's back to 1E strategies.

Have you considered at some point that complete rocket tag is supposed to be removed in 2E?

Even in 1E, a fight of CR = APL is supposed to be an average difficulty encounter. It isn't really (except in extreme cases), but that's been noted as one of the goals to fix.

Also, I'd hope a heightened 9th-level magic missile isn't your "most powerful spell".

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