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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Liberty's Edge

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Diego Rossi wrote:

What I hear:

Deadmanwalking: Creature X - it mean Creature level X - it can be shortened to level

What I try to say:

Diego: Creature X - can be shortened as CR - has nothing to do with the actual number of levels of the creature as creatures don't have levels

That difference is what bug me terribly. It is like when in the rule forum people speak of "flat footed" when a creature dexterity has been denied. Most of the effects are similar, but it is not the same thing. Sooner or later you reach the a point where the two things diverge.

Except that, in PF2, according to the designers Level is the appropriate terminology.

In PF1 Level was, in fact, incorrect, with CR being correct. In PF2, CR is incorrect and Level is correct.

Because they have changed the terminology. In PF2, Level is the appropriate way to refer to what would've been called CR in PF1.

This is one of the major points I was trying to get across, here.

Diego Rossi wrote:
At this point this derail is so far away that it has no reason to stay in the Wizard class preview. I will try to refrain from adding further comments.

I'm perfectly happy to drop the tangent, I just need to be very clear here in terms of what I'm actually saying.


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Pathfinder Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber

Monsters have levels. You might use that level to determine CR, but they are a Level x monster.

This is a good thing as before you had a weird situation where you used CR to work out CR.


Its semantics really, creaure level sounds wrong and creature challenge rating sounds better, but whatever its makes no essential difference.


Pathfinder Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber
John John wrote:
Its semantics really, creaure level sounds wrong and creature challenge rating sounds better, but whatever its makes no essential difference.

Unless of course the rules reference Level. Then it is very important to note the distinction.

I also found Challenge Rating weirder than Level. I mean in PF1E you work out the CR of the encounter by performing mathematical functions on the CR of the constituent parts. So you have a formula where CR is on both sides of the =.


John John wrote:
Its semantics really, creaure level sounds wrong and creature challenge rating sounds better, but whatever its makes no essential difference.

That's entirely depending on what you're used to. Back in the day (AD&D 1st ed), monster level was a thing distinct from HD, reflecting on what dungeon level the monster would be appropriate.


Trimalchio wrote:

By using the previewed stat blocks.

I can do the math again...

PF1 level 9 wizard casting fireball vs ogres

Fireball does 9d6, level 3 spell slot, with save DC of 19+, ogres have 30hp and ref +0

PF2, fireball reportedly does 6d6, save DC of 24? ogres have 60 hp and ref +3 (ogres take double damage on 11 or less)

Please keep reading the above until you fully understand, because simply repeating in wrong doesn't change the basic facts we have.
~~

Let's talk MM.

Although the action economy is different, we can still make some comparisons.

At level 1 PF2 MM is arguably better as you can use essentially a full round action to do more damage, however PF2 hp inflation makes this somewhat dubious, but still on average MM at level 1 is better in PF2

At level 3 they are about the same, PF1 you spend one standard action and deal 2d4+2 and PF2 you can spend actions to do less, the same, or more, how inflation probably making this a wash.

Level 5 PF1 becomes superior and then just runs away with it. You begin doing the same or more damage for less actions, without spending higher level spell slots, in an environment that doesn't have hp inflation.

So please bring up a valid counter point instead of just repeating something that isn't true.

A valid counter point is that a 1st lvl magic missile will kill the skeleton easier. So we don't have enough different blasting spells and monsters to have a decently sized sample to make propper conclusions. If you cherry pick the example with the tough, meaty, big ball of hp the ogre is, you will get very different results that if you pick the more fragile and vulnerable to blasting skeltons. Both are cherry picking, because we don't have a clue about how representative those 2 specific monsters are for their respective levels.

Besides that, the GAME as a WHOLE seems to be reducing the "rocket tag" style of PF1. If the fireball reduces it's effectiveness from 80% of the propper CR hp, to, say, 40%, while a martial full round reduces it's effectivenes from 100% to 50%, the fireball is "weaker" than the PF1 version in raw power, but it stays balanced within it's proper context, which is PF2 average damage output. Combats WILL be longer in PF2, that's a design goal. So blast WILL do less damage, because everything will do less damage.


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Trimalchio wrote:

By using the previewed stat blocks.

I can do the math again...

PF1 level 9 wizard casting fireball vs ogres

Fireball does 9d6, level 3 spell slot, with save DC of 19+, ogres have 30hp and ref +0

PF2, fireball reportedly does 6d6, save DC of 24? ogres have 60 hp and ref +3 (ogres take double damage on 11 or less)

Please keep reading the above until you fully understand, because simply repeating in wrong doesn't change the basic facts we have.
~~

Besides that, in this particular example, a lvl 5 wizard would do 5d6 in PF1, with the ogres taking half damage roughly half the time. In PF2 he would do 6d6, with the ogres taking DOUBLE damage roughly half the time. Ogres have twice the hp, but the spell does 6d6 instead of 5d6, making it better.

At lvl 9, a wizard's best slot for blasting would be a lvl 5 cone of cold. In PF1 the cone of cold would do 9d6 (roughly the same than a fireball, a bit more because the DC is a bit higher). While a cone of cold would do 11d6, with a chance to do 22d6. This is a great example of the problem that happens with autoscaling damage in PF1, which makes higher spells irrelevant because autoscaling lower level spells are just as good, if not better (better range and AOE here, for example)

The blasting spells are not worse in PF2. They beat their equivalent in PF1 at the propper levels. What they are, certainly, worse at, is that they don't remain relevant forever because of autoscaling, to the point that they render obsolete higher level spells because the lower level spells are as good or better. A intensified fireball at lvl 4 will always be equal or better than a cone of cold at lvl 6. That's not a bug, that's a feature, and a great goal design.

Blasting spells are not bad in PF2. Just that you need to keep them up to date. If you want to blast, you will need to learn blast spells when you level up, not just rely on Fireball and metamagic for your whole career.


Staffan Johansson wrote:
John John wrote:
Its semantics really, creaure level sounds wrong and creature challenge rating sounds better, but whatever its makes no essential difference.
That's entirely depending on what you're used to. Back in the day (AD&D 1st ed), monster level was a thing distinct from HD, reflecting on what dungeon level the monster would be appropriate.

Total, but unlike AD&D, level will be tied to HPs and AC.


John John wrote:
Its semantics really, creaure level sounds wrong and creature challenge rating sounds better, but whatever its makes no essential difference.

I like it better in the other way. The challenge rating of a creature might be very different than it's propper level, for a variety of reasons. A high level "oracle style " old sphynx might be really high level (like, high caster level, high skills, high saving throws, etc, because it's "old and powerful"), but be a really low challenge, because it's not a combatant, it's more an expert. In the same way, low level kobolds might suppose a very high challenge, if they fight in adventageous position, in their lair, full of corridors small enough for them to use but not the PC, allowing them to outmaneouver and flank the group, in darkness condition, while the PC have to fight squeezed.

"Challenge rating" is something I feel more associated to the encounter itself. While Level is something I feel asociated to the monster. Not all high level challenges are high level monsters, and not all high level monsters are high level challenges, so I like the distinction.

Anyways, as you say, it's semantics, and some people will like vanilla over chocolate and viceversa.


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Leyren wrote:

I'd like to know more about how Reactions are assigned to different classes. I understood that the fighter learns automatically to do attacks of opportunity. The wizard on the other hand, has to learn his counter spell reaction by feat.

Does this mean the wizard has no reaction to utilize at all, if he doesn't learn a feat granting him one?
If so, why the difference? In my opinion, every class should have the possibility to do something as a reaction from the start.

What do we know about the reactions from the rogue, cleric, alchemist and paladin? Do they get a reaction option as part of their 1st level package?

Some equipment (shields) and spells (Shield cantrip) give class agnostic reactions.


"Arbitrary" monster stats are probably based around a level -> stats table depending on monster role, so they aren't just 100% handwaving. There's surely guidelines and rules to ensure your custom monster falls into the desired power level. It also probably recommends some variance, maybe +/- 25% to keep things from getting too predictable.

Going to assume the "brute" role monsters have a table that puts their Attack bonus on par with a fighter of same level, probably has more HP than the fighter (maybe more than barbarian), but has low skills, saves, AC and few abilities so it stays roughly balanced with the martials. I think this is how Ogre was built. It's probably kinda like this for other monsters being connected to other classes, perhaps with some mix and match.

By PF1 guidelines, 1 Ogre would be an "average" fight for a level 3 party, having roughly the power of 1 of the members of the party.

For the CR system to start breaking down like in PF1, you'd need the PC math to start greatly differing from the assumptions used for monster creation. This is bound to happen eventually, but we'll see... We managed to live with it in PF1 by just using higher CRs and can probably do the same here.

Liberty's Edge

Pathfinder Adventure, Adventure Path, Companion, Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber

That Order of the Stick citation (last page) is really appropriate.

Monster have levels - No - where level is the thing that you level up increasing your experience or gaining levels, that add stuff for each level and so on.

Creature 5 mean Creature Level 5 where that is the difficulty of the challenge and the approximate abilities of the monster - Yes

We have spoken of two different thing for plenty of posts.

- * - * -

Wizards and spells.

By design the maximum level spells of a spellcaster will not be able to one shot a same level PC. That to avoid ambushes by 4 spellcasters killing 3/4 or maybe even all the party. I agree with that.

But then the problems start.
The spell launched by one of those 4 spellcaster will be enough to reliably reduce the same level target to less than 50% health or have a 50% chance of removing him from the combat for a period long enough that he killing him will not be a problem?
Yes - those 4 spellcasters will kill half of the party in an ambush
No - them go below

The spell launched by one of those 4 spellcaster will be enough to reliably reduce the same level target to less than 65% health or have a 35% chance of removing him from the combat for a period long enough that he killing him will not be a problem?
Yes - those 4 spellcasters will kill one third of the party in an ambush
No - them go below

The spell launched by one of those 4 spellcaster will be enough to reliably reduce the same level target to less than 75% health or have a 25% chance of removing him from the combat for a period long enough that he killing him will not be a problem?
Yes - those 4 spellcasters will kill one fourth of the party in an ambush
No - so those spell are pretty useless.

Now change "spellcaster" to "archer" or PF2 equivalent of "pounce barbarian" or "move and attack twice".
An archer making 4 attacks will deal more or less damage than the highest level spell of a spellcaster? Or to put it another way, 4 archers focus firing during an ambush will be able to kill 0, 1, 2,3 or 4 same level targets?
4 fighters/barbarians moving and attacking twice?

If the main spell can deal a damage equal to 30% of a same target hp, what kind of damage will deal the damaging cantrip? 25%? Even less?

If PF2 is balanced so that 4 same level spellcaster during an ambush are unable to kill more than 1 PC it mean than a specialist using all of his highest level spells will be able to kill only a single same level target. Assuming that both are PC and so probably have access to some healing, it mean that blasting will be practically useless, at the spells will be rapidly depleted, reducing the spellcaster at plinking with the cantrip.
Control spells would work better, as a 25% chance of functioning mean that probably at least one will have full effect. And lower level spells will stay relevant as the save DC increase regularly.

It seem that spells are meant to have a 50% chance of "normal" success against a same level target. Targeting the weak save will increase that, but with 3 spells and 1 specialist spell there is little space for doing that with blaster spells. There is no option to target a "weak Ac" with targeted blasting spells.

To me it seem that a control spellcaster get an huge advantage after a few levels. All his spells stay relevant against same level encounters as the DC increase, while the blaster spells will deal the original damage. The damage that was useful at level 1 will become weak at level 5 and only a nuisance at level 10.

I don't see how the PF2 paradigm will balance that.

Paizo Employee Customer Service & Community Manager

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Removed a handful of posts.


Diego Rossi wrote:


- * - * -

Wizards and spells.

By design the maximum level spells of a spellcaster will not be able to one shot a same level PC. That to avoid ambushes by 4 spellcasters killing 3/4 or maybe even all the party. I agree with that.

But then the problems start.
The spell launched by one of those 4 spellcaster will be enough to reliably reduce the same level target to less than 50% health or have a 50% chance of removing him from the combat for a period long enough that he killing him will not be a problem?
Yes - those 4 spellcasters will kill half of the party in an ambush
No - them go below

The spell launched by one of those 4 spellcaster will be enough to reliably reduce the same level target to less than 65% health or have a 35% chance of removing him from the combat for a period long enough that he killing him will not be a problem?
Yes - those 4 spellcasters will kill one third of the party in an ambush
No - them go below

The spell launched by one of those 4 spellcaster will be enough to reliably reduce the same level target to less than 75% health or have a 25% chance of removing him from the combat for a period long enough that he killing him will not be a problem?
Yes - those 4 spellcasters will kill one fourth of the party in an ambush
No - so those spell are pretty useless.

Now change "spellcaster" to "archer" or PF2 equivalent of "pounce barbarian" or "move and attack twice".
An archer making 4 attacks will deal more or less damage than the highest level spell of a spellcaster? Or to put it another way, 4 archers focus firing during an ambush will...

In PF, Control spells were like this:

Colorspray or Sleep took out a person, Colorspray maybe 3 people if close enough.

Sovereign Court

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Pathfinder Adventure Path, Companion Subscriber
Arachnofiend wrote:
It'd be pretty surprising if Wizards suddenly sucked at using buff spells in PF2 considering that was one of their best options in PF1.

If my playtest experience in the Whispering Cairn was anything to go by, we may be seeing a lot more "spend one action per round concentrating to keep that buff spell* going. ^_^

*In this case, Kyra's bless spell.

Liberty's Edge

Pathfinder Adventure, Adventure Path, Companion, Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber
Starbuck_II wrote:
Diego Rossi wrote:


- * - * -

Wizards and spells.

By design the maximum level spells of a spellcaster will not be able to one shot a same level PC. That to avoid ambushes by 4 spellcasters killing 3/4 or maybe even all the party. I agree with that.

But then the problems start.
The spell launched by one of those 4 spellcaster will be enough to reliably reduce the same level target to less than 50% health or have a 50% chance of removing him from the combat for a period long enough that he killing him will not be a problem?
Yes - those 4 spellcasters will kill half of the party in an ambush
No - them go below

The spell launched by one of those 4 spellcaster will be enough to reliably reduce the same level target to less than 65% health or have a 35% chance of removing him from the combat for a period long enough that he killing him will not be a problem?
Yes - those 4 spellcasters will kill one third of the party in an ambush
No - them go below

The spell launched by one of those 4 spellcaster will be enough to reliably reduce the same level target to less than 75% health or have a 25% chance of removing him from the combat for a period long enough that he killing him will not be a problem?
Yes - those 4 spellcasters will kill one fourth of the party in an ambush
No - so those spell are pretty useless.

Now change "spellcaster" to "archer" or PF2 equivalent of "pounce barbarian" or "move and attack twice".
An archer making 4 attacks will deal more or less damage than the highest level spell of a spellcaster? Or to put it another way, 4 archers focus firing during an ambush will...

In PF, Control spells were like this:

Colorspray or Sleep took out a person, Colorspray maybe 3 people if close enough.

Sleep up to 4 HD. That can be 4 persons. Or none if they all save.

At first level it is pretty strong.
Color spray can easily hit two targets.

You are suggesting that same level control spells will have a 50% success rate?
That would mean that same level damaging spells will deal damage on the level of 50% of the hp of a same level target to stay roughly on par.

Liberty's Edge

Pathfinder Adventure, Adventure Path, Companion, Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber
Kalindlara wrote:
Arachnofiend wrote:
It'd be pretty surprising if Wizards suddenly sucked at using buff spells in PF2 considering that was one of their best options in PF1.

If my playtest experience in the Whispering Cairn was anything to go by, we may be seeing a lot more "spend one action per round concentrating to keep that buff spell* going. ^_^

*In this case, Kyra's bless spell.

From what I know the idea is that we will not have a plethora of small bonuses to stack up.

If a spellcaster will be forced to spend an action to maintain a spell that previously had a duration and 2 actions to cast a typical spell, his action economy will rapidly become problematic.

Give your allies a small bonus and cast a spell
or
Give your allies a small bonus and move

Either we get some one action spell/cantrip worth using or it will become very restricted. Especially if personal defense spells/cantrips or things like fly require concentration. And maybe a move action to stay in flight.


Diego Rossi wrote:
Either we get some one action spell/cantrip worth using or it will become very restricted. Especially if personal defense spells/cantrips or things like fly require concentration. And maybe a move action to stay in flight.

Ah, yes, flight, I wonder if it will still have manoeuvrability rates, and if non-hovering monsters need to spend an action to remain aloft and such.

Grand Lodge

Kalindlara wrote:

If my playtest experience in the Whispering Cairn was anything to go by, we may be seeing a lot more "spend one action per round concentrating to keep that buff spell* going. ^_^

*In this case, Kyra's bless spell.

Some questions about buff spells...

Was Bless better than the standard +1 to hit we're accustomed to?
Are you able to cast another spell while concentrating on Bless or another buff spell?

It will be interesting to see the balance they come up with for buff spells. If bless requires concentration then that is a significant nerf from PF1.


Kalindlara wrote:
Arachnofiend wrote:
It'd be pretty surprising if Wizards suddenly sucked at using buff spells in PF2 considering that was one of their best options in PF1.

If my playtest experience in the Whispering Cairn was anything to go by, we may be seeing a lot more "spend one action per round concentrating to keep that buff spell* going. ^_^

*In this case, Kyra's bless spell.

More nerfing, great /s


Looks great! I like the added versatility this introduces.

Sovereign Court

3 people marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Adventure Path, Companion Subscriber
Gorignak227 wrote:
Kalindlara wrote:

If my playtest experience in the Whispering Cairn was anything to go by, we may be seeing a lot more "spend one action per round concentrating to keep that buff spell* going. ^_^

*In this case, Kyra's bless spell.

Some questions about buff spells...

Was Bless better than the standard +1 to hit we're accustomed to?
Are you able to cast another spell while concentrating on Bless or another buff spell?

It will be interesting to see the balance they come up with for buff spells. If bless requires concentration then that is a significant nerf from PF1.

+1 conditional bonus to hit for up to one minute (assuming concentration). I'm fairly sure you can cast other spells, though the fight ended before I got to find out.


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Kalindlara wrote:
Gorignak227 wrote:
Kalindlara wrote:

If my playtest experience in the Whispering Cairn was anything to go by, we may be seeing a lot more "spend one action per round concentrating to keep that buff spell* going. ^_^

*In this case, Kyra's bless spell.

Some questions about buff spells...

Was Bless better than the standard +1 to hit we're accustomed to?
Are you able to cast another spell while concentrating on Bless or another buff spell?

It will be interesting to see the balance they come up with for buff spells. If bless requires concentration then that is a significant nerf from PF1.

+1 conditional bonus to hit for up to one minute (assuming concentration). I'm fairly sure you can cast other spells, though the fight ended before I got to find out.

This is interesting stuff. I maybe worry that spells are gonna be too weak under a regime like this, but I do think concentration is an interesting tool for spell balance and certainly makes one-off blasting more competitive.

Is bless a two action casting? I feel like a lot of spells that require concentration could maybe stand to have their initial action economy be a little cheaper.

Grand Lodge

Excaliburproxy wrote:
This is interesting stuff. I maybe worry that spells are gonna be too weak under a regime like this, but I do think concentration is an interesting tool for spell balance and certainly makes one-off blasting more competitive.

I agree on both counts. Concentration is actually a pretty fun mechanic but its definitely a huge drawback to casting buff spells.

I have a hard time thinking of a buff that a melee cleric would still want to cast losing an action every round AND with a chance of losing concentration altogether. Maybe Blessing of Fervor pre-PF2 nerf? Definitely not bull strength and such.

Liberty's Edge

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I wouldn't assume all buff spells follow Bless's lead.

See, PF2 Bless has a problem: A +1 bonus to hit is much, much, better in PF2 than it was in PF1. It increases everyone's Crit Range by 1 as well as giving a bonus to hit. It's great. Possibly too great as an unrestricted bonus to the whole party on a 1st level spell.

Now, with most spells that give a bonus, they could just reduce that bonus to ameliorate this factor...but Bless gives only a +1. Or raise its level...but Bless is an iconic level one spell. So another solution was needed and making it a concentration spell was picked.

Given Bless's specific circumstances I wouldn't assume all buff spells have a similar restriction. Bull's Strength could instead by 3rd level, or could only provide a +1 to Str based stuff rather than a +2, or several other solutions. Heck, as a single target spell, maybe nobody thought it needed restriction at all.


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Gorignak227 wrote:
Excaliburproxy wrote:
This is interesting stuff. I maybe worry that spells are gonna be too weak under a regime like this, but I do think concentration is an interesting tool for spell balance and certainly makes one-off blasting more competitive.

I agree on both counts. Concentration is actually a pretty fun mechanic but its definitely a huge drawback to casting buff spells.

I have a hard time thinking of a buff that a melee cleric would still want to cast losing an action every round AND with a chance of losing concentration altogether. Maybe Blessing of Fervor pre-PF2 nerf? Definitely not bull strength and such.

Divine Power springs immediately to mind if its anything like PF1. Even refunds your action used to concentrate more or less.


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Deadmanwalking wrote:

I wouldn't assume all buff spells follow Bless's lead.

See, PF2 Bless has a problem: A +1 bonus to hit is much, much, better in PF2 than it was in PF1. It increases everyone's Crit Range by 1 as well as giving a bonus to hit. It's great. Possibly too great as an unrestricted bonus to the whole party on a 1st level spell.

Now, with most spells that give a bonus, they could just reduce that bonus to ameliorate this factor...but Bless gives only a +1. Or raise its level...but Bless is an iconic level one spell. So another solution was needed and making it a concentration spell was picked.

Given Bless's specific circumstances I wouldn't assume all buff spells have a similar restriction. Bull's Strength could instead by 3rd level, or could only provide a +1 to Str based stuff rather than a +2, or several other solutions. Heck, as a single target spell, maybe nobody thought it needed restriction at all.

This is what people have to understand who aren’t familiar with games with a tight control on accuracy numbers such as D&D5 and Starfinder: anything that gives an attack bonus is worth it.

Grand Lodge

ENHenry wrote:
Deadmanwalking wrote:

See, PF2 Bless has a problem: A +1 bonus to hit is much, much, better in PF2 than it was in PF1. It increases everyone's Crit Range by 1 as well as giving a bonus to hit. It's great. Possibly too great as an unrestricted bonus to the whole party on a 1st level spell.

This is what people have to understand who aren’t familiar with games with a tight control on accuracy numbers such as D&D5 and Starfinder: anything that gives an attack bonus is worth it.

As far as balance goes 5th ed has bounded accuracy and Bless still gives 1d4(~2.5) to attacks AND saves.

But that is a good question what do we know about the math in PF2?
Do we still have full BAB to attacks for martials?
Is it much lower numbers than PF1? As low as 5th ed?

Liberty's Edge

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Gorignak227 wrote:
As far as balance goes 5th ed has bounded accuracy and Bless still gives 1d4(~2.5) to attacks AND saves.

Bonuses to hit are more important in PF2, since every point of attack bonus effectively turns one miss on a d20 into a critical hit.

Gorignak227 wrote:
But that is a good question what do we know about the math in PF2?

We know a lot actually. What are your specific questions?

Gorignak227 wrote:
Do we still have full BAB to attacks for martials?

All characters add their level to attacks. Martials often get to add some additional bonuses on top of that (Fighter has Master Proficiency in weapons and is thus a +2 on top of level by 3rd level).

Gorignak227 wrote:
Is it much lower numbers than PF1? As low as 5th ed?

It's lower than PF1 in some ways (though not nearly as much as D&D5E), but more importantly the math is much tighter. It varies quite a lot by level, but the range between Level X PCs is much smaller (the very worst 20th level character possible in a skill still has a +17 in that skill, while the best has a +35 or so).

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Deadmanwalking wrote:

I wouldn't assume all buff spells follow Bless's lead.

See, PF2 Bless has a problem: A +1 bonus to hit is much, much, better in PF2 than it was in PF1. It increases everyone's Crit Range by 1 as well as giving a bonus to hit. It's great. Possibly too great as an unrestricted bonus to the whole party on a 1st level spell.

Now, with most spells that give a bonus, they could just reduce that bonus to ameliorate this factor...but Bless gives only a +1. Or raise its level...but Bless is an iconic level one spell. So another solution was needed and making it a concentration spell was picked.

Given Bless's specific circumstances I wouldn't assume all buff spells have a similar restriction. Bull's Strength could instead by 3rd level, or could only provide a +1 to Str based stuff rather than a +2, or several other solutions. Heck, as a single target spell, maybe nobody thought it needed restriction at all.

Hard to judge. That +1 is extremely good if it change your chance of a critical hit, way less if it don't.

So:
- against higher level opponent that you hit with a 11+ it is a "simple" bonus to hit
- against same level opponents the to hit number of your best attack seem to hoover around 10-11, so it can be a strong critical enhancer, depending on the quality of the AC of the adversary. It can easili increase your critical hit chance by 50-100%.
- against lower level opponents that you hit with 10- it is a critical enhancer, but the effect decrease rapidly. If you hit with 6 and get a critical with 16, adding a +1 mean that your chance to get a critical has increased by 20%.

It is a peculiar curve, so it will require some test to see how it affect your damage.


Assuming Paizo has made the math in way that the 3rd attack is somewhat relevant once in a while at least (because if they didn't, nobody is going to make that 3rd attack ever), then for your first attack hitting with 11+ is pretty much guaranteed. Even if your 3rd attack only hits with 19+, that's 9+ for the first one.

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gustavo iglesias wrote:
Assuming Paizo has made the math in way that the 3rd attack is somewhat relevant once in a while at least (because if they didn't, nobody is going to make that 3rd attack ever), then for your first attack hitting with 11+ is pretty much guaranteed. Even if your 3rd attack only hits with 19+, that's 9+ for the first one.

Indeed. So far monster stats bear this out, at least for Fighters. The Ogre has a 16 AC. An optimized 3rd level Fighter hits that on a 6 (with his +10 bonus). The Redcap has an AC of 20. An optimized 5th level Fighter hits that on a 7 (with his +13 bonus).

A PC of 3rd level might have an AC of 20 (2 Armor + 4 Dex +3 Level +1 Expert Proficiency) requiring a 10 to hit and be a bit more evasive, while a 5th level level might have a 22 or 23 and likewise be harder to hit (2 Armor +4 Dex +5 Level +1 Expert, and maybe +1 Magic Armor), requiring a 9 or 10 to hit, but optimized PC AC seems slightly higher than monster AC at the same level.

Of course, most PCs won't have absolutely maximal AC either (which is what the above examples are, at least for Dex 18 characters in light armor...A Paladin might manage one point more and shields can increase it as well), and some monsters may have equivalent AC.

They seem likely to be the exception rather than the rule, though.

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Deadmanwalking wrote:
gustavo iglesias wrote:
Assuming Paizo has made the math in way that the 3rd attack is somewhat relevant once in a while at least (because if they didn't, nobody is going to make that 3rd attack ever), then for your first attack hitting with 11+ is pretty much guaranteed. Even if your 3rd attack only hits with 19+, that's 9+ for the first one.

Indeed. So far monster stats bear this out, at least for Fighters. The Ogre has a 16 AC. An optimized 3rd level Fighter hits that on a 6 (with his +10 bonus). The Redcap has an AC of 20. An optimized 5th level Fighter hits that on a 7 (with his +13 bonus).

A PC of 3rd level might have an AC of 20 (2 Armor + 4 Dex +3 Level +1 Expert Proficiency) requiring a 10 to hit and be a bit more evasive, while a 5th level level might have a 22 or 23 and likewise be harder to hit (2 Armor +4 Dex +5 Level +1 Expert, and maybe +1 Magic Armor), requiring a 9 or 10 to hit, but optimized PC AC seems slightly higher than monster AC at the same level.

Of course, most PCs won't have absolutely maximal AC either (which is what the above examples are, at least for Dex 18 characters in light armor...A Paladin might manage one point more and shields can increase it as well), and some monsters may have equivalent AC.

They seem likely to be the exception rather than the rule, though.

So a 3rd level fighter will get a 20% critical chance increase against a Ogre with his first attack, a 100% increase with the second, nothing with the third. The base chance to hit will increase by 6,7% on the first hit, 10% on the second and 20% on the third.

A spellcaster? He probably will not already have a item increasing his attack, so the base level + stat, a +7 to the attack. He will hit on 9+, so the first hit will get a 50% critical chance increase and a 8.3% to hit increase, the second will not get a critical chance increase and a 14,3% to hit increase, the third (if available) a 50% hit increase.

How much that will affect damage is to long to calculate at 8.10 a.m. before work and too variable as we don't know the cantrip damage and casting time and martial weapons have extra effects on critics.

Still, bless seem a good bonus.

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Diego Rossi wrote:
A spellcaster? He probably will not already have a item increasing his attack, so the base level + stat, a +7 to the attack. He will hit on 9+, so the first hit will get a 50% critical chance increase and a 8.3% to hit increase, the second will not get a critical chance increase and a 14,3% to hit increase, the third (if available) a 50% hit increase.

Most spellcaster attacks are gonna be against Touch AC, which is 14 on the Ogre and 19 on the Redcap, which make their odds better. Just for clarity.

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Deadmanwalking wrote:
Diego Rossi wrote:
A spellcaster? He probably will not already have a item increasing his attack, so the base level + stat, a +7 to the attack. He will hit on 9+, so the first hit will get a 50% critical chance increase and a 8.3% to hit increase, the second will not get a critical chance increase and a 14,3% to hit increase, the third (if available) a 50% hit increase.
Most spellcaster attacks are gonna be against Touch AC, which is 14 on the Ogre and 19 on the Redcap, which make their odds better. Just for clarity.

And the percentage effect of Bless lower.

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Diego Rossi wrote:
And the percentage effect of Bless lower.

True! Just noting it for clarity.


Deadmanwalking wrote:
Diego Rossi wrote:
A spellcaster? He probably will not already have a item increasing his attack, so the base level + stat, a +7 to the attack. He will hit on 9+, so the first hit will get a 50% critical chance increase and a 8.3% to hit increase, the second will not get a critical chance increase and a 14,3% to hit increase, the third (if available) a 50% hit increase.
Most spellcaster attacks are gonna be against Touch AC, which is 14 on the Ogre and 19 on the Redcap, which make their odds better. Just for clarity.

Will casters be able to get Expert, Master, Legendary proficiency on their spell attacks?

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Weather Report wrote:
Will casters be able to get Expert, Master, Legendary proficiency on their spell attacks?

Yes. It was confirmed in the Cleric Blog. Though Clerics don't get them until later (12th, 16th, and 19th levels respectively). Wizards and others more invested in offensive casting might get them earlier, of course.

Mark Seifter has also stated that on attacks (as opposed to Saves) there's items to help, in order to make up for magic armor and the like.


Deadmanwalking wrote:
Weather Report wrote:
Will casters be able to get Expert, Master, Legendary proficiency on their spell attacks?

Yes. It was confirmed in the Cleric Blog. Though Clerics don't get them until later (12th, 16th, and 19th levels respectively). Wizards and others more invested in offensive casting might get them earlier, of course.

Mark Seifter has also stated that on attacks (as opposed to Saves) there's items to help, in order to make up for magic armor and the like.

If they can target TAC, will they not pull ahead of weapon users?

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Weather Report wrote:
If they can target TAC, will they not pull ahead of weapon users?

In accuracy? It's possible. But their Proficiency bonus does seem to kick in later, and almost all their spell attacks are two actions, which is a pretty big limitation.

Also bear in mind that TAC seems to usually be within a few points of AC this edition, so we'll need to look at the TAC ranges to know how big an advantage it is.


Deadmanwalking wrote:
Weather Report wrote:
If they can target TAC, will they not pull ahead of weapon users?

In accuracy? It's possible. But their Proficiency bonus does seem to kick in later, and almost all their spell attacks are two actions, which is a pretty big limitation.

Also bear in mind that TAC seems to usually be within a few points of AC this edition, so we'll need to look at the TAC ranges to know how big an advantage it is.

This makes sense, but I am still leaning towards no TAC.

Liberty's Edge

Weather Report wrote:
This makes sense, but I am still leaning towards no TAC.

Well, we know for a fact that Disintegrate targets TAC. Mark also strongly implied that some Cantrips targeted it by noting that telekinetic projectile was a 1d10 damage cantrip at 1st level because it actually targeted normal AC (implying that other, lower damage, ones targeted TAC).


Deadmanwalking wrote:
Weather Report wrote:
This makes sense, but I am still leaning towards no TAC.
Well, we know for a fact that Disintegrate targets TAC. Mark also strongly implied that some Cantrips targeted it by noting that telekinetic projectile was a 1d10 damage cantrip at 1st level because it actually targeted normal AC (implying that other, lower damage, ones targeted TAC).

Yes, I like that with no BAB they have brought wizard's accuracy with spell attacks up to par, but I am hesitant about them surpassing fighters. I guess some spells that should be extra accurate (disintegrate) target TAC, but it seems they could represent that without another AC type.


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I'm pretty cool with touch AC. A wizard SHOULD be more accurate, because expelling a high level spell slot just to miss completely is much more miserable than missing with an at will attack you do 3 times a round. As long as that spell doesn't outshine the martials too much I think we are good.

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Captain Morgan wrote:
I'm pretty cool with touch AC. A wizard SHOULD be more accurate, because expelling a high level spell slot just to miss completely is much more miserable than missing with an at will attack you do 3 times a round. As long as that spell doesn't outshine the martials too much I think we are good.

The only attack cantrip of which I know something do 1d10 damage. Less than a weapon that get to add the strength or dexterity bonus and often will have additional effects on a critical. I doubt that will outshine martials at all, even if it target TAC.

Spells will be a limited quantity, so yes, they need to outshine an attack from a same level martial. If the spell require two actions it should outshine the average damage of 2 martial attacks.

They can outshine martials attack by range or thanks specials effects, not necessarily damage, but if a archer can fire two shots with two actions and repeat that teen or twenty (with a reserve quiver) times, a spell that can repeated four times at most should do something more.


As a GM, I personally find the counterspell mechanics to be a great option to throw at my players.

Previously, I'd need to have an NPC ready their action to counterspell. Now, I can use it as a reaction instead.

This means that any higher level boss fights I prep will probably have two player level -2 NPC wizards (or later, perhaps sorcerers), two player level -2 attack mooks, and the player level +1 boss for a total of an APL+2 encounter.

With 2 reactive counterspells per round, the NPC wizards theoretically shut down many of the party spellcaster's actions bar their highest level spells, but still contribute on their own turn as well.

I see the counterspell mechanics as being a boon to the GM, rather than the player.

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JDLPF wrote:
With 2 reactive counterspells per round, the NPC wizards theoretically shut down many of the party spellcaster's actions bar their highest level spells, but still contribute on their own turn as well.

Due to how Counterspell works, this assumes the enemy Wizards either have perfect (or at least really good) intelligence on PC capabilities or the GM is basically cheating by making them omniscient.

Neither is precisely normal.

Or, if you're assuming they can shut PCs down without having the perfect spell prepared, then PCs can presumably acquire that capability as well, and be very useful indeed with counterspelling themselves.


JDLPF wrote:
With 2 reactive counterspells per round, the NPC wizards theoretically shut down many of the party spellcaster's actions bar their highest level spells, but still contribute on their own turn as well.

Or you have players with counterspells and all that happens is the casters stare at each other, and throw away spell slots, while the fighting types actually DO something...


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That's kinda why I'm worried about counterspelling being good enough to use, honestly. Mechanics that revolve around ensuring nothing happens are just not very fun. The Counterspell Wizard in the 5e campaign I used to be in was so bored with his job that he switched to a Fighter.

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Arachnofiend wrote:
That's kinda why I'm worried about counterspelling being good enough to use, honestly. Mechanics that revolve around ensuring nothing happens are just not very fun. The Counterspell Wizard in the 5e campaign I used to be in was so bored with his job that he switched to a Fighter.

Unless most enemies also have Counterspell, it being a Reaction mostly solves this, as you have your own action to actually do things with.

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