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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42nfl19 wrote:
Mark Seifter wrote:
Planpanther wrote:
So I read you can either counterspell or get a familiar. Are there more options than that? Or does every wizard start by making one of those two choices?
That is not even half the wizard class feat options for which a 1st-level wizard would meet the requirements.
Will there be a way to upgrade your counterspell with at least having the same school? Or even opposite effect? Slow vs Haste as an example? Also is counter spelling a wizard only thing now IF you have this class feat? While counter spelling was kind of lackluster in PF1, anyone with spells could do it as a ready action I believe. While it is cool and possible to counter spell someone, it seems lack luster in that you either have to be very lucky with the matchup(same spell), or know ahead of time what to prepare. So for the most part it is random. At the very least it is a reaction now and not a prepared action which thematically feels better for counter spelling.

So Mark(or any other dev), is counter spelling a wizard only thing now? Can you upgrade it to counter schools/opposite effects also?


Mark Seifter wrote:
N N 959 wrote:
Mark Seifter wrote:
I said "possibly," not probably.
Apologies. I did not mean to change the word you used, but was thinking that if it was possible, then it was probably going to happen and had that word in my head. Again, I didn't intend to misquote you or put words in your mouth.

No worries. It did change the meaning of what I said a lot in this particular case, but I figured you misread it, not that you were trying to put words in my mouth.

In this case, possibly was meant towards the direction of "We can't think of everything, and I acknowledge there could be something we missed, so there's a chance" whereas probably would imply I thought it was more likely than not.

I'm confident you guys really do think it's okay with the spells slated for the CRB, and you probably actually have thought about it enough to have a firm basis to stand on there. But like I mentioned above, there's going to be another 10-15 years of spells after PF2 comes out. It's pretty much destined to break eventually. So why not just limit it to one bonus casting out the gate now, so it doesn't wreck everything later? :)


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Pathfinder Companion, Maps Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber
N N 959 wrote:
Yet another problem with expecting play testing to provide any proof is that the players won't have all the moving pieces. As new spells come out and new abilities and feats and multi-class options come out, you increase the likelihood of something that might be possible becomes reality.

This is an important point. Something not being broken in the playtest does not mean it won't be broken a few years of splat books in. I have a similar concern with counterspelling: In the playtest, everyone is going to be working with the same limited complement of spells so prepared-spell-overlap is more likely to happen; but five years from now, will counterspelling be a much less viable tactic when there are twice as many spells to pick from?

N N 959 wrote:
Finally, I'm not convinced playtesters are necessarily looking to break the game.

Nah, people are absolutely going to looking to break the game, especially those skeptical about some of the rules revealed even if only so they can say "I told you so." :) The fear that some corner-case exploit in the playtest rules is going to go unrevealed doesn't concern me; it's the rules/spells/feats released after the playtest period that I wonder about.


Xenocrat wrote:
MerlinCross wrote:
Xenocrat wrote:
Igwilly wrote:
Xenocrat wrote:


PF1 Wizards already had this flexibility. I don't see where you're getting "more power" from.

The thing is, you're assuming PF1 Wizards were balanced and don't need a nerf. They do.

Right now, they already have a lot of spells. Removing from them this one big weakness is just too good.

The more I think about, the more I'm worried about this feat. It is the only one thing I don't like about this article.

They've nerfed the number of spells (one less base, plus no bonus spells).

They've nerfed the arcane bond (can't pull a spell out of your book).

They've nerfed the familiar (only two abilities per day).

They've nerfed the ability to pickup a new prepared spell during the day (Quick Study arcane discovery took 1 minute to fill a slot, Quick Preparation feat takes 10 minutes to swap out slot)

You sound like someone who didn't know the arcane bond ever existed being really mad that they now have a free Pearl of Power effect.

To be fair, from what I understand from the forums/community; Familiars were very good when they could use Wands/Scrolls. Basically had a mini spell caster or at the very least could give the wizard stuff mid combat by using it's actions.

Heck I don't even know if the Familiar Archetypes were that commonly used for Wizards as opposed to other classes/cases.

So if there's some kind of "Advanced Familiar" feat or they can use Magic Items, it's not that big of a nerf I feel.

They were plenty good just for a bonus to the best skill in the game, as a scout, and as a way to get a +4 bonus to initiative or a +2 bonus to a save. It was two free feats before you took into account anything the familiar itself could do.

Shrug. I suppose it was always a given for Alertness but Improved Familiar took away those passive bonuses depending on what you took. And in my research for a Shaman familiar, I just kept coming up with Improved this and improved that.

I just took rabbit and moved on.


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Will the design team be adding material components for every spe,? Otherwise the syntax of using a material casting action is confusing.

Also ranges are fixed? It's a simplifing choice, but is it a better choice? Is 120 feet particularly memorable?


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N N 959 wrote:
Brian Adams wrote:


Misquoting 'possible' as 'probable' doesn't help you make an argument.

I didn't apologize to make an argument. I apologized because Mark corrected me and obviously thought that made a difference in what he was saying.

Quote:
No one, not even a very gifted game designer, is going to be able to run through every possible combination, so the best possible approach is to challenge others (who think differently than the designer) to find flaws and exploits in playtest.

There's a categorical difference between not being able to find an exploit and a priori recognizing a specific design decision is ripe for one.

Quote:
Years ago, I was fairly heavily involved in a game where the designers thought they had things worked out, the limited test group came up with results matching the expected outcomes... and within a month of the official publication, tactics outside what the designers had anticipated required scrapping the entire system and reworking it. And these were designers, and playtesters, who had been working on that system for DECADES.
Hence my post, Brian. Mark already acknowledged a problem could result and it's just a function of someone finding a spell progression??? Are we crossing our fingers that no one will find it? We know how that worked out for the Death Star(s).

Congratulations on misquoting and misinterpreting once again. I wasn't quoting your apology, but rather your original argument (in the sense of making a case for a position).

If you want to avoid the possibilities for exploits, the game design is very simple. The game will consist of a blank piece of paper. Pretty much anything more complex than that leaves room for rules exploits. And eventually, someone will find them. The BEST possible way to handle that, since everyone has blind spots, is to make sure that as many eyes as possible are put on it BEFORE it becomes official rules.


Joana wrote:
Nah, people are absolutely going to looking to break the game

So in a situation like this, you're testing this feat. How do you know you've "broken" the game? How does an individual player know that s/he is doing something that qualifies as "broken" and not just working as intended?


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Pathfinder Companion, Maps Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber
N N 959 wrote:
Joana wrote:
Nah, people are absolutely going to looking to break the game

So in a situation like this, you're testing this feat. How do you know you've "broken" the game? How does an individual player know that s/he is doing something that qualifies as "broken" and not just working as intended?

I'm guessing they'd come back to the playtest forums and say something like, "Hey, my wizard with Focus Conservation just took out four trolls singlehandedly." If it seems overpowered to them, they'll report it and see if the designers say, "Yeah, that sounds about right," or "Really? What combination of spells did you use? What was everyone else in your party doing?" etc.


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42nfl19 wrote:
So Mark(or any other dev), is counter spelling a wizard only thing now? Can you upgrade it to counter schools/opposite effects also?

I did read a dev comment in a different thread referring to how a sorcerer who specializes in Dispel Magic can be a counterspelling machine, so it's not just a wizard thing.


Trimalchio wrote:

Will the design team be adding material components for every spe,? Otherwise the syntax of using a material casting action is confusing.

Also ranges are fixed? It's a simplifing choice, but is it a better choice? Is 120 feet particularly memorable?

It's the maximum run range of an elf in one round. I suspect it also means that any humanoid, even one slowed by armor, can approach and attack on its second turn if the caster attack at maximum range and remains stationary.

Scarab Sages

Not bad so far. Hopefully we get an expanded blog later in the week like the Cleric about the schools!


Brian Adams wrote:
If you want to avoid the possibilities for exploits,

My post isn't about avoiding the possibility for exploits on a general level. My post is about the designer recognizing that a specific design decision is a candidate for it. Please stop misrepresenting what I'm posting about.

Thanks.


2 people marked this as a favorite.
Joana wrote:
N N 959 wrote:
Joana wrote:
Nah, people are absolutely going to looking to break the game

So in a situation like this, you're testing this feat. How do you know you've "broken" the game? How does an individual player know that s/he is doing something that qualifies as "broken" and not just working as intended?

I'm guessing they'd come back to the playtest forums and say something like, "Hey, my wizard with Focus Conservation just took out four trolls singlehandedly." If it seems overpowered to them, they'll report it and see if the designers say, "Yeah, that sounds about right," or "Really? What combination of spells did you use? What was everyone else in your party doing?" etc.

A quibble, Focus Conservation won't give you the ability to pull off otherwise impossible combinations, it'll just give you the ability to do something you could do anyway twice in a day, as long as you can afford the mobility/flexibility hit of the extra components and complete the chain in sequence.


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Pathfinder Adventure Path, Rulebook Subscriber
Mark Seifter wrote:
Tangent101 wrote:
Does Counterspelling use up the spell you had memorized? If so, then what's the point? If not, does casting the spell mean you no longer can use it to Counterspell?
The point is that you just negated most or all of the opponent's entire turn at the cost of your reaction and a spell slot. It's enormous action economy advantage that is crushingly good when you can manage it, potentially shutting down an enemy spellcaster entirely if you have the right spells, as you counter turn after turn.

On a Counter-point, you just used one of an extremely limited resource that now you are unable to use against your enemy. If this spellcaster is not the only target there, then all you did was prevent one spell from going off. And should the caster have Actions left, they can cast another spell.

Seriously, casters have half of the spells they used to have. And then you make it hella easy to block spells and this is great! It really is! But if that means the wizard lost 15% of their total spells of the day to do so, then what is the point? Isn't it better to just swallow the damage and then return it on your turn? Or have your Archer have a reaction ready to snipe the caster and disrupt their spell in the first case? After all, that archer has a LOT more arrows than your wizard has spells!


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My biggest concern here is that with the HP inflation we've seen in other blogs, the damage of wizard spells is less impressive.

With our CR3 ogre with 60HP, the fifth-level Cone of Cold (doing 11d6 damage) is very unlikely to take it out.

Even a ninth-level Magic Missile (doing 15d4+15 {average 52.5} damage) won't take it out half the time. And that's coming out of a seventeenth-level caster.


Joana wrote:
N N 959 wrote:
Joana wrote:
Nah, people are absolutely going to looking to break the game

So in a situation like this, you're testing this feat. How do you know you've "broken" the game? How does an individual player know that s/he is doing something that qualifies as "broken" and not just working as intended?

I'm guessing they'd come back to the playtest forums and say something like, "Hey, my wizard with Focus Conservation just took out four trolls singlehandedly." If it seems overpowered to them, they'll report it and see if the designers say, "Yeah, that sounds about right," or "Really? What combination of spells did you use? What was everyone else in your party doing?" etc.

How many people will actually figure out a spell combination that works well beyond what it should given limited play? Because it's not just about finding the spells, it's getting a situation where the spells fit.


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N N 959 wrote:
Joana wrote:
N N 959 wrote:
Joana wrote:
Nah, people are absolutely going to looking to break the game

So in a situation like this, you're testing this feat. How do you know you've "broken" the game? How does an individual player know that s/he is doing something that qualifies as "broken" and not just working as intended?

I'm guessing they'd come back to the playtest forums and say something like, "Hey, my wizard with Focus Conservation just took out four trolls singlehandedly." If it seems overpowered to them, they'll report it and see if the designers say, "Yeah, that sounds about right," or "Really? What combination of spells did you use? What was everyone else in your party doing?" etc.

How many people will actually figure out a spell combination that works well beyond what it should given limited play? Because it's not just about finding the spells, it's getting a situation where the spells fit.

Given the way the boards usually go? I'm going to wager roughly 10 posters.

Paizo Employee Designer

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Tangent101 wrote:
Isn't it better to just swallow the damage and then return it on your turn? Or have your Archer have a reaction ready to snipe the caster and disrupt their spell in the first case? After all, that archer has a LOT more arrows than your wizard has spells!

It depends on your situation, but you have that choice to make, and if it's better to just let the enemies do what they want than to reaction counter them, that sounds like a pretty easy fight, or maybe the enemy has chosen a pretty poor spell to cast. The archer has to commit a significant amount of her turn to have that arrow ready, and it could miss, so you're still in a better position than she is, as you should be since it costs a spell slot.

Scarab Sages

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As a die-hard necromancer player (hah-hah, get it?) I am finding myself extremely surprised at my hype for Universalist.

It looks like the versatility is finally going to be worth the trade-off.


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Mark Seifter wrote:
Tangent101 wrote:
Isn't it better to just swallow the damage and then return it on your turn? Or have your Archer have a reaction ready to snipe the caster and disrupt their spell in the first case? After all, that archer has a LOT more arrows than your wizard has spells!
It depends on your situation, but you have that choice to make, and if it's better to just let the enemies do what they want than to reaction counter them, that sounds like a pretty easy fight, or maybe the enemy has chosen a pretty poor spell to cast. The archer has to commit a significant amount of her turn to have that arrow ready, and it could miss, so you're still in a better position than she is, as you should be since it costs a spell slot.

Another danger is if the enemy wizard has that space, they can cast Shield. That makes the archer either use his shot then, or makes the shot significantly less likely to be effective.

Paizo Employee Designer

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Mekkis wrote:

My biggest concern here is that with the HP inflation we've seen in other blogs, the damage of wizard spells is less impressive.

With our CR3 ogre with 60HP, the fifth-level Cone of Cold (doing 11d6 damage) is very unlikely to take it out.

Even a ninth-level Magic Missile (doing 15d4+15 {average 52.5} damage) won't take it out half the time. And that's coming out of a seventeenth-level caster.

Suppose as a level 9 wizard, I cast a fifth level cone of cold into a group of eight ogres (this would be considered a warm-up fight for a 9th-level group, and we're about to see why). Ogres have more HP than most level 3 enemies, but they make up for it with bad AC and Reflex saves. Because of that, we expect 4 ogres to critically fail their Reflex save (taking 77 damage on average) and 4 ogres to fail their Reflex save (taking 38.5 damage on average). So you're left with half the encounter insta-dead and the other half at about 1/3 health, fitting for using your best spell on a warm-up fight. Fights with lots of enemies had best beware an AoE blasting strategy, particularly if more than one PC is in on it.


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Pathfinder Adventure, Adventure Path, Starfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
N N 959 wrote:
Brian Adams wrote:
If you want to avoid the possibilities for exploits,

My post isn't about avoiding the possibility for exploits on a general level. My post is about the designer recognizing that a specific design decision is a candidate for it. Please stop misrepresenting what I'm posting about.

Thanks.

Everything is a potential exploit, especially in combination with other parts of the game. Mark recognized that even though they tested it we might still find something they missed. And he's specifically encouraging us to figure out what that might be.

Further, I noticed upthread you made a post that you assumed there would mostly be tweaks and adjustments between playtest and the release next year. Judging by Paizo's previous playtests, that is unlikely. They're not afraid to make some deep changes when deep changes are needed.

So don't be shy. They might not make every change we suggest, but I think they've more than proven that they are willing to listen to our suggestions.


Mekkis wrote:

My biggest concern here is that with the HP inflation we've seen in other blogs, the damage of wizard spells is less impressive.

With our CR3 ogre with 60HP, the fifth-level Cone of Cold (doing 11d6 damage) is very unlikely to take it out.

Even a ninth-level Magic Missile (doing 15d4+15 {average 52.5} damage) won't take it out half the time. And that's coming out of a seventeenth-level caster.

The Cone of Cold will probably kill the ogre, actually, since said ogre is low level with a bad reflex save and has a very high chance of critically failing that save.


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Sinistrad wrote:

As a die-hard necromancer player (hah-hah, get it?) I am finding myself extremely surprised at my hype for Universalist.

It looks like the versatility is finally going to be worth the trade-off.

Actually, the Universalist is less versatile than the Specialist. Specialist gets to prepare up to 4 spells per level, whereas the Universalist gets to prepare 3 spells. Where the Universalist wins, iscasting endurance by taking Focus Conservation. A universalist will, potentially have up to 5 spell slots for all spell levels, except their top two spell levels.

So the Universalist will be able to go longer and farther than other wizards, but he lacks the potential variety of other wizards due to having one less spell prepared per day.

In effect, the Universalist is more like a Sorcerer who can trade out his spells each day.


Mark Seifter wrote:


Suppose as a level 9 wizard *** So you're left with half the encounter insta-dead and the other half at about 1/3 health, fitting for using your best spell on a warm-up fight.

Is there place/blog where you'll talk about martials in a comparative fashion? As you can guess, I'm most interested in how the classes tackle similar situations and I'm sure you guys are looking at these things as well. I didn't read all of the Fighter blog comments, but I didn't see these types of examples.

thanks.


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N N 959 wrote:
Mark Seifter wrote:


Suppose as a level 9 wizard *** So you're left with half the encounter insta-dead and the other half at about 1/3 health, fitting for using your best spell on a warm-up fight.

Is there place/blog where you'll talk about martials in a comparative fashion? As you can guess, I'm most interested in how the classes tackle similar situations and I'm sure you guys are looking at these things as well. I didn't read all of the Fighter blog, but I didn't see these types of examples.

thanks.

It'd be great if martials get some actually valid options for AOE. With how bad/costly to obtain Whirlwind Attack is in PF1 AOE damage is one of the many things casters have an exclusive stranglehold on.


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Killing some level 3 monsters when they roll -10 vs the save against a level 9 character is pretty underwhelming, and we're already assuming they are all lined up in a cone for the wizard.

Of course since the wizard is getting +9 to their AC from just being level 9 the ogres will probably not even be able to hit the wizard anyway.

Blasting always been a sub optimal choice, but it starting to sound absolutely abysmal.


I may have missed if this was covered, but with counterspells, in those cases where it does require the same spell (before Improved Counterspell, Dispel Magic, etc...), can a lower-level version of a spell be used to counter a higher-level version of itself?

Silver Crusade

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Cool, I wanna play a wizard who prepares at least one magic missile in at least one slot of every possible level.


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I don't like arcane focus (which used to be called a bonded item) now being a tool for increasing your firepower, not your versatility. It was very cool to use your item to cast just that spell that you desperately need but didn't happen to prepare once per day.

Paizo Employee Designer

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N N 959 wrote:
Mark Seifter wrote:


Suppose as a level 9 wizard *** So you're left with half the encounter insta-dead and the other half at about 1/3 health, fitting for using your best spell on a warm-up fight.

Is there place/blog where you'll talk about martials in a comparative fashion? As you can guess, I'm most interested in how the classes tackle similar situations and I'm sure you guys are looking at these things as well. I didn't read all of the Fighter blog, but I didn't see these types of examples.

thanks.

It's a lot harder to assume exactly what a "generic martial character" is doing at a given moment than it is to determine the results of a specific spell. A 9th-level greatsword wielding character with 18 Strength, no special abilities whatsoever, and a solid magic greatsword who is thrown into this encounter is probably going to move up, hopefully into a flank, make an attack with a solid chance to crit the ogre, which will be in range to one-shot the ogre on a good damage roll, and then either move up to another ogre or swing again and deal solid damage to a second ogre if they're adjacent (or to the same ogre if it survived). An actual martial character could be doing something more complicated than that, though, also without spending resources. Either way, they are not going to outshine the wizard who threw a max level AoE spell into this AoE friendly fight, as it should be.


Trimalchio wrote:

Killing some level 3 monsters when they roll -10 vs the save against a level 9 character is pretty underwhelming, and we're already assuming they are all lined up in a cone for the wizard.

Of course since the wizard is getting +9 to their AC from just being level 9 the ogres will probably not even be able to hit the wizard anyway.

Blasting always been a sub optimal choice, but it starting to sound absolutely abysmal.

I feel like you need to temper your expectations if you expect AOE spells to keep up in single target situations. That's one of the many mistakes that made casters ridiculous in PF1.


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As long as the sorcerer gets a heck of a lot more spells per day than anyone else and retains the really flavorful bloodline mechanics in some form, I'm good. Please whatever you do, after these adjustments to the wizard, don't turn sorcerers into the "elementalist" class. I can live with the wizard having fewer spells- although honestly I hope there's a feat to give you more spells per day or something like it, in the event you want a casting based character (which we seem to moving away from) and the sorcerer ends up not filling that niche for whatever bizarre reason. I really love spontaneous casting and hope it's possible to play a sorcerer of any arcane specialty (transmuting, enchanting, etc.) who can do that. Otherwise we'll all be stuck with Vancian casting if we want to play someone who feels truly arcane and isn't a blaster.

I'm very mixed about what trend this new wizard might represent, but not non-negotiable on it.

Liberty's Edge RPG Superstar 2008 Top 32, 2011 Top 16

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I'm not convinced the slower heightening on magic missile is ever going to be worth it. Instead of focusing on a 9th level version, what about the 3rd level version and compare it to fireball.

Based on cone of cold doing 11d6 damage as a 5th level spell, lets assume fireball does 7d6, for an average of 24 damage, to multiple targets. In most fights, it's pretty common to be able to get 3 enemies with a fireball, so that would be 72 damage on average.

A 3rd level MM with 3 actions makes 6 missiles, for an average of 21 damage. That's less than a fireball does to even 1 target. Sure, there's fire resistance being more common than force resistance, and MM autohits, but fireball can critically hit as well, which combined with multiple targets means it's almost always going to be better than a heightened MM. (also, MM is presumably still negated by the shield spell and brooches of sheilding).

On to other things which stood out in this blog:

I liked the spell format for Phantasmal Killer showing each result on a separate line with the result type bolded. I think every single ability in the game should be formatted like this, to make sure it's easy to find the results. Unfortunately, within the critical failure result, there's another result outcome, which isn't formatted like this. Can we have these two results also formarted the same way, but indented so still be clearly under the critical failure result?

Also, while I like the 4 results clearly called out, I think it would make sense to have them ranked in order of best to worse, so instead of:
Success, critical success, failure, critical failure
It should read:
critical success, success, failure, critical failure


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Mekkis wrote:

My biggest concern here is that with the HP inflation we've seen in other blogs, the damage of wizard spells is less impressive.

With our CR3 ogre with 60HP, the fifth-level Cone of Cold (doing 11d6 damage) is very unlikely to take it out.

Even a ninth-level Magic Missile (doing 15d4+15 {average 52.5} damage) won't take it out half the time. And that's coming out of a seventeenth-level caster.

You shouldn't be able to take it out in a single spell. You should hurt it.

If it has 60 HP, and you hit it with an 11d6 blast (38 on average) you just dropped it to 22 HP. Meaning a Fighter can take it out (1 action to close, 2 actions to do a main power attack (with a 2 handed +2 weapon doing 4d12+6) for an average of 29 damage killing it.

What is wrong with that? Nothing. That is balanced.

Paizo Employee Designer

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Arachnofiend wrote:
Trimalchio wrote:

Killing some level 3 monsters when they roll -10 vs the save against a level 9 character is pretty underwhelming, and we're already assuming they are all lined up in a cone for the wizard.

Of course since the wizard is getting +9 to their AC from just being level 9 the ogres will probably not even be able to hit the wizard anyway.

Blasting always been a sub optimal choice, but it starting to sound absolutely abysmal.

I feel like you need to temper your expectations if you expect AOE spells to keep up in single target situations. That's one of the many mistakes that made casters ridiculous in PF1.

In that vein, a critical failure against that cone of cold from the example level 9 wizard is actually enough to one-shot most 5th level monsters or lower (ogres have high HP for their level, as seen in the monster statblock blog compared to redcaps), and such opponents usually have a high chance to critically fail. If you can AoE one-shot 6th level foes with a crit failure (or two failures assuming you managed to get off two spells per round which is possible to do), that would also mean that enemy 9th-level wizards who cast cone of cold would be one-shotting the 6th-level PCs in the same way, potentially leaving the snowflake-covered rogue alone amidst the corpses of her comrades.


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HWalsh wrote:
Mekkis wrote:

My biggest concern here is that with the HP inflation we've seen in other blogs, the damage of wizard spells is less impressive.

With our CR3 ogre with 60HP, the fifth-level Cone of Cold (doing 11d6 damage) is very unlikely to take it out.

Even a ninth-level Magic Missile (doing 15d4+15 {average 52.5} damage) won't take it out half the time. And that's coming out of a seventeenth-level caster.

You shouldn't be able to take it out in a single spell. You should hurt it.

If it has 60 HP, and you hit it with an 11d6 blast (38 on average) you just dropped it to 22 HP. Meaning a Fighter can take it out (1 action to close, 2 actions to do a main power attack (with a 2 handed +2 weapon doing 4d12+6) for an average of 29 damage killing it.

What is wrong with that? Nothing. That is balanced.

Considering how few spells a day you get, how many times in a day you enter combat and how many ogres or whatever else you fight each time- it might very well not be.


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Thanks again for taking the time to respond.

Mark Seifter wrote:
It's a lot harder to assume exactly what a "generic martial character" is doing at a given moment than it is to determine the results of a specific spell.

Agreed. But I think we'd all like insight into how Paizo is examining these types of issues/situations and the ways in which you guys explore these design concerns.

Quote:
Either way, they are not going to outshine the wizard who threw a max level AoE spell into this AoE friendly fight, as it should be.

Right. I wouldn't expect a combat class to be the star at AOE. My goal is not to spark a debate on who does what better, but gain insight into how you guys make evaluations and what the comparative design goals are. e.g. X class should be able to do Y but not Z and be marginal and W.


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Pathfinder Maps, Pathfinder Accessories, Pawns, Starfinder Society Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber
JoelF847 wrote:

I think it would make sense to have them ranked in order of best to worse, so instead of:

Success, critical success, failure, critical failure
It should read:
critical success, success, failure, critical failure

Staff have already responded to that issue

We've actually tried 5 or 6 different orders over the years of alpha testing, weirdly enough.


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Mark Seifter wrote:
It's a lot harder to assume exactly what a "generic martial character" is doing at a given moment than it is to determine the results of a specific spell. A 9th-level greatsword wielding character with 18 Strength, no special abilities whatsoever, and a solid magic greatsword who is thrown into this encounter is probably going to move up, hopefully into a flank, make an attack with a solid chance to crit the ogre, which will be in range to one-shot the ogre on a good damage roll, and then either move up to another ogre or swing again and deal solid damage to a second ogre if they're adjacent (or to the same ogre if it survived). An actual martial character could be doing something more complicated than that, though, also without spending resources. Either way, they are not going to outshine the wizard who threw a max level AoE spell into this AoE friendly fight, as it should be.

Can you say that part about the fighter again but replace "greatsword" with 2 weapons? I'm still interested in finding out if 2H is still grossly superior to 2WF or if the latter is viable now.


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Mark Seifter wrote:
An actual martial character could be doing something more complicated than that, though, also without spending resources.

But are the wizard's resources limited enough that it matters? If The wizard can drop a dozen spells a day that can either debilitate a combat to the point of trivializing it or outright ending it, yet they only ever see 4-6 encounters in a day, it doesn't matter that the fighter can swing his sword as much as he wants, as he is only going to get to swing his sword as much as the wizard lets him.

Quote:
Either way, they are not going to outshine the wizard who threw a max level AoE spell into this AoE friendly fight, as it should be.

I don't like this logic, at least not if it applies to ALL wizards.

Martial characters SHOULD have access to viable crowd control options, or "AOE-esque" abilities. Maybe in the form of a "ground pound" that creates a small earthquake, or by firing a volley of arrows, or doing a massive spin swing that covers a small area, or creating a pressure wave with their sword swing that covers a small arc in front of them.

Sure, the wizard who specializes in dropping AOE firestorms or blizzards may do better than the fighter in relevant situations, (seeing as the fighter has a beefier chassis) but that wizard shouldn't also be able to drop effective single target spells AND have a spell to trivialize STR based skill checks AND be able to dispel magical traps, etc.

Nothing shown here seems to limit a caster's ability to have, not only an answer for every situation, but an OPTIMAL one as well.

Paizo Employee Designer

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MadMars wrote:
HWalsh wrote:
Mekkis wrote:

My biggest concern here is that with the HP inflation we've seen in other blogs, the damage of wizard spells is less impressive.

With our CR3 ogre with 60HP, the fifth-level Cone of Cold (doing 11d6 damage) is very unlikely to take it out.

Even a ninth-level Magic Missile (doing 15d4+15 {average 52.5} damage) won't take it out half the time. And that's coming out of a seventeenth-level caster.

You shouldn't be able to take it out in a single spell. You should hurt it.

If it has 60 HP, and you hit it with an 11d6 blast (38 on average) you just dropped it to 22 HP. Meaning a Fighter can take it out (1 action to close, 2 actions to do a main power attack (with a 2 handed +2 weapon doing 4d12+6) for an average of 29 damage killing it.

What is wrong with that? Nothing. That is balanced.

Considering how few spells a day you get, how many times in a day you enter combat and how many ogres or whatever else you fight each time- it might very well not be.

A 9th-level wizard actually should be able to wreck and potentially one-shot ogres, but fortunately that's already the case. While the damage is 11d6, ogres are so bad at Reflex that succeeding almost isn't an option. To think of it more in PF1 terms for the moment with just failure and succeed for half, the ogres are actually in a situation where they are about to take 22d6 damage, save for half, with roughly even odds of making or failing that save.


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I think spells should mention what exactly their material components are, just for the sake of flavor. A fireball without bat guano isn't the same spell as it used to be.

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Adventure, Adventure Path Subscriber
Xenocrat wrote:
Greg.Everham wrote:
No one wants to talk about how good Quick Preparation appears to be? Hot swapping Wizard spells in a relatively short amount of time removes about the only thing close to a weakness that they had.
This is the bone they're throwing to those who wanted Arcanist flavor in the Wizard. Viewed in that frame, it has a tendency to stick in the throat a bit.

I don't think it is. If I remember right, the book was finished before the thread about arcanist casting for the wizard. If I'm remembering that right then this is not a reaction or a sop.

Swapping out spells like that was an arcanist exploit. The wizard doesn't have exploits, but it does have class feats. It's not unreasonable that they would lift some of the better arcanist exploits for wizard class feats.


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Starfinder Charter Superscriber

I don't care so much how the spells are cast, but more on whether attention is paid to make sure whatever spells exist don't completely usurp the skill sets of other PCs. If charm person is too easy, there's not much point in being really good at Diplomacy; if invisibility is too easy, there's not much point in being really good at Stealth; if spider climb is too easy, why did I invest in . . . etc., etc. These sorts of low-level "automatic win" utility spells have always annoyed me.

Paizo Employee Designer

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thflame wrote:


Martial characters SHOULD have access to viable crowd control options, or "AOE-esque" abilities. Maybe in the form of a "ground pound" that creates a small earthquake, or by firing a volley of arrows, or doing a massive spin swing that covers a small area, or creating a pressure wave with their sword swing that covers a small arc in front of them.

And all of the abilities you listed are available to various martial characters, along with others besides. But unlimited use AoEs (for both martials and spellcasters) aren't as strong as the spellcaster's very top spell for the day, nor should they be. We know how many of those the wizard gets a day (4, or 5 if a specialist because of the 1 arcane bond). That's not enough to use them every round with impunity. It makes more sense for an unlimited-use AoE to be lower damage than that. But if a fighter had a dragon breath ability for some reason (draconic heritage as part of ancestry? I don't know, this isn't a real ability that a fighter would have in the playtest) that he could use once an hour, there's no reason that couldn't deal damage more like a top-tier spell. It's about whether you can use something without limit (or as you correctly pointed out in another section of your post, effectively without limit like PF1's casters turned out, problematically, to be able to do at high levels) versus something that is limited use, not about which class gets it. 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.


Jhaeman wrote:
I don't care so much how the spells are cast, but more on whether attention is paid to make sure whatever spells exist don't completely usurp the skill sets of other PCs. If charm person is too easy, there's not much point in being really good at Diplomacy; if invisibility is too easy, there's not much point in being really good at Stealth; if spider climb is too easy, why did I invest in . . . etc., etc. These sorts of low-level "automatic win" utility spells have always annoyed me.

This.

I don't care if a wizard has access to invisibility, or Spider Climb, or Charm Person, but when they can have access to ALL of these, plus the ability to dish out good AOE damage and single target damage (compared to what their martial counterparts can do) then we have a problem.

I don't want to ban such spells from wizards, I just want there to be a REAL trade off to taking these spells.

Or maybe change these spells to not be an instant win, but just a bonus to the relevant skills.

For example, Charm Person makes a person like you more, it doesn't instantly make them friendly. The shopkeeper you just cast Charm Person on isn't going to instantly give you a discount, but you get a bonus on the Diplomacy Check to get a discount.

A wizard should start out with limitless potential, but end up being the best at a specific thing, passable at a bunch of things, or somewhere in between.

Paizo Employee Designer

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Jhaeman wrote:
I don't care so much how the spells are cast, but more on whether attention is paid to make sure whatever spells exist don't completely usurp the skill sets of other PCs. If charm person is too easy, there's not much point in being really good at Diplomacy; if invisibility is too easy, there's not much point in being really good at Stealth; if spider climb is too easy, why did I invest in . . . etc., etc. These sorts of low-level "automatic win" utility spells have always annoyed me.

Skill-adjacent spells like knock are now basically playing the same game as the skills do rather than an auto-success or unusual formula bonus, but using the spell slot as the cost for the privilege of using your spellcasting bonuses instead of the normal bonuses (likely better than your own skill bonuses, but not necessarily better than the rogue's). Sometimes you can also use the spell in tandem with the skillsy person in your party for a synergistic effect stronger than either alone. So for instance the spell pass without trace forces anyone tracking you to have to beat your spell DC or the normal DC with an increase, whichever is worse for them (almost always your spell DC is worse for them, but if you team up with a ranger hiding your tracks, then the other option is probably significantly better) as opposed to just auto-winning against skills characters trying to track you.

Scarab Sages

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Looks all solid to me, though it doesn't tempt me much; I guess I'm just not that much of a Wizard guy.

Not too fond of the fact that Magic Missile becomes irrelevant at higher levels unless heightened. Assuming other spells also require heightening to remain relevant, what do higher-level Wizards even have 1st-level spell slots for? What would be a good example of a spell to keep around in a 1st-level spell slot?

Scarab Sages

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As for the art: Am I the only person who finds it uncanny-valley-creepy that Ezren's elbow is growing directly from his shoulder? I've tried parsing that as foreshortening, but the sleeve design pretty much makes that impossible. I hope WAR still gets to fix it before it's published!

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