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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Mark Seifter wrote:
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.

I am EXTREMELY happy to hear this, since this has been something of a problem ever since the game began and only got worse in 3.x and PF1. Thank you :)


Mark Seifter wrote:
effectively without limit like PF1's casters turned out

Yes, that's half the problem. So I think many of us will want to see this addressed. But I'll point out that when it comes to spells that replace skills, you don't need them but once or twice an entire scenario.

And then you've got scrolls/wands, so if the caster really wants to one-PC it, they can more so than other classes (at least as far as PF1 was concerned). A wand of Knock goes a long way in obviating the need for a lock picker, both figuratively and literally as it doesn't come up that often.

In any event, it's reassuring that Paizo is not in denial about the PF1 Wizard. That's already a better starting point.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Lost Omens Subscriber

Seems like a decenty reworking of the wizard although I'm worried not enough was done to avoid the issue with casters being able to do anything thanks to their spells, outshining everyone else in the process.
One of the things I'm expecting from PF2 is for it to give every class a niche where it can shine, not to give us some classes that can do everything while others should be content with swinging a sword at an enemy once or twice so the caster can save up some encounter winning spells for later.


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Mark Seifter wrote:
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.

So I take it that this means that wizards will be running out of spells somewhat frequently?

Wizards will have to ration their spells if they want to have them when they count?

Wizards that "go nova" are going to be near-useless later?

Wizards that want a ton of utility spells at the ready are NOT going to also be able to contribute to combat effectively (outside of whatever combat utility those spells offer)?

If these are true, then this would be awesome, but I have my doubts.


Mark Seifter wrote:
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.

Oh yeah...that's WAY better, imho. Got ninja'd but it was worth it.

Paizo Employee Designer

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Catharsis wrote:
What would be a good example of a spell to keep around in a 1st-level spell slot?

Looking at only the spells from A-G, my top 5 picks are air bubble, ant haul, charm, feather fall, and fleet step (with an honorable mention for alarm depending on the style of your campaign and maybe floating disk as an alternate to ant haul if you prefer the aesthetic). There were other useful spells in A-G I didn't pick, since these stand out as extremely helpful in a variety of situations, plus the rest of the alphabet that I didn't consider (true strike, for instance, is always tempting).

Paizo Employee Designer

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Fuzzypaws wrote:
Mark Seifter wrote:
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.
I am EXTREMELY happy to hear this, since this has been something of a problem ever since the game began and only got worse in 3.x and PF1. Thank you :)

PF1 was a step in the right direction for some of the spells, for instance reducing knock from "lol autowin" to "roll at a very high bonus." But I'm hoping the way I riffed off those PF1 ideas and expanded them will make those spells more fun for the whole party (and less frustrating when an enemy uses them against the party's skill users).


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thflame wrote:

So I take it that this means that wizards will be running out of spells somewhat frequently?

Wizards will have to ration their spells if they want to have them when they count?

Wizards that "go nova" are going to be near-useless later?

Wizards that want a ton of utility spells at the ready are NOT going to also be able to contribute to combat effectively (outside of whatever combat utility those spells offer)?

If these are true, then this would be awesome, but I have my doubts.

Well, Wizards will still have their Cantrips for regular spellcasting and perhaps some of their School Powers have a use in combat, but yeah, limits to their best damaging stuff might mean, depending on the situation, they may wish to be a bit conservative with their spell slot usage.

If you know you're only going to have the one major boss fight, go nuts, but if you're expecting to go through a large enemy base with minimal safe resting spots, you'd definitely want to hold back and rely on Cantrips/the occasional class power unless the situation is dire/your spell will help drastically minimize the threat.

Scarab Sages

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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.

They've pretty clearly implied that classic metamagic is in the game and works in a similar fashion. We don't know if there will be ways of modifying their cost as of yet.

Things that can/might affect wizard damage:

* Metamagic
* School powers/spell points from specialized Evokers
* Items: They're getting away from boring stat boosting items and adding more interesting effects to gear
* Familiars: You can customize them each day now. Extra blasty boosts seem in-line with that theme
* Class feats

Frankly, unless a wizard heavily specializes in damage dealing, they shouldn't be a damage powerhouse. And to that end we just don't have much info, so jumping to the conclusion that blaster wizards are trash at this point is really hyperbolic. And, Magic Missile is probably not the best spell to compare high level damage on. Its utility is that it is force damage and always hits, which can be a lifesaver in certain situations.

And even if they can be decent blasters, their true potential will likely still lay in other roles like battlefield control and buffing/debuffing. Paizo has given no indication they have any intention of changing the role of the wizard. Which makes sense because a Barbarian that does 100 damage a turn is just that. A Wizard that does 100 damage a turn can still cast Gate, Wish, Plane Shift, Summon Monster, Black Tentacles, Teleport and so-on.


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We know so little about what rituals will be like in the new system. Are many situational non-combat-oriented spells going to make that migration like atonement? I'd like to guess that spells like scry and planar binding are for sure, but what about long range teleporting and other spells that people often feel get abused by wizards?

RPG Superstar 2014 Top 32

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Is SR still a thing?

I like having the relevant save in the stat block portion of the spell like in PF1, but in these new spells you have to hunt thru the text to find if its F, R or W or none at all.

It all seems pretty cool though.


Ampersandrew wrote:
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.

This is a lot closer to a bad version of the Fast Study wizard arcane discovery (10 minutes vs. 1 minute limited by empty slots) than the Quick Study arcanist arcane exploit (10 minutes vs. 1 full round action limited by arcane pool).

Paizo Employee Designer

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thflame wrote:
Mark Seifter wrote:
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.

So I take it that this means that wizards will be running out of spells somewhat frequently?

Wizards will have to ration their spells if they want to have them when they count?

Wizards that "go nova" are going to be near-useless later?

Wizards that want a ton of utility spells at the ready are NOT going to also be able to contribute to combat effectively (outside of whatever combat utility those spells offer)?

If these are true, then this would be awesome, but I have my doubts.

Well, we hope there's going to be more rationing of the super-power spells and less of the situation where the well-optimized spellcaster can pull out fight-ending spells every round of every fight of every day. A lot of moving parts have been changed to try to make that happen while still keeping the spellcasters cool and fun to play for the players playing the spellcasters, and it's part of the focus on increasing the spell level to get cooler and more powerful effects from your spell, rather than a situation like in PF1 where even 2nd level spells take an enemy who failed a save out of the entire fight.

All of these things help us create a situation where casters are awesome (and in many ways have some even more awesome options than before) but not sustainably outperforming everyone else:

*Heightened spells
*Four degrees of success
*Much better cantrips and options to gain more powers than before but fewer spell slots per day
*Fewer spells that obsolete other party members' contributions, but instead usually work best in tandem with other party members.

and there's more beyond that, but really so much went into it that might not seem like its effects are obvious in a messageboard post; the only real way to determine if it worked is for all of you to play and test it out. We're definitely providing playtest environments in the playtest adventure to test how it all plays out with all sorts of different adventuring days, though (GMs, you'll see what some of our goals are for each playtest chapter in the playtest adventure itself). We hope that in a long adventuring day, a spellcaster who uses shock-and-awe with all her best spells in all the early encounters is going to be flagging by the end rather than just crushing every fight of the day, whereas the conservative casters will have tons of power available later on but will have to hold back in early fights, and those who spread spells throughout will do great in every encounter but not be particularly overwhelming in any. I DO think that will happen, but we need more data to see if it does!


What' a focus and how do I drain it?


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Mark Seifter wrote:
thflame wrote:
Mark Seifter wrote:
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.

So I take it that this means that wizards will be running out of spells somewhat frequently?

Wizards will have to ration their spells if they want to have them when they count?

Wizards that "go nova" are going to be near-useless later?

Wizards that want a ton of utility spells at the ready are NOT going to also be able to contribute to combat effectively (outside of whatever combat utility those spells offer)?

If these are true, then this would be awesome, but I have my doubts.

Well, we hope...

Is fewer spells per day going to be true for all casters, or will sorcerers gain the niche I feel personally they should have always had and be dedicated casters, capable of casting throughout every fight? Probably just with fewer options. I think spontaneous casting is one of the things we haven't seen much of.


Deranged Stabby-Man wrote:
What' a focus and how do I drain it?

I think in the illustration Ezren is draining his focus, a long stick, by firmly grasping it in combination with an almost painful looking degree of mental concentration.

Dark Archive

Grumpus wrote:

Is SR still a thing?

I like having the relevant save in the stat block portion of the spell like in PF1, but in these new spells you have to hunt thru the text to find if its F, R or W or none at all.

It all seems pretty cool though.

I'm gonna second that thought. Being able to see what the initial save type is at a glance will be nice.


MadMars wrote:

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.

They're going to get 5 spells per day, one more than specialist Wizards, just like in PF1. But there it was a 20% advantage (less after bonus spells), here it'll be 25%.

Paizo Employee Designer

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MadMars wrote:
Is fewer spells per day going to be true for all casters, or will sorcerers gain the niche I feel personally they should have always had and be dedicated casters, capable of casting throughout every fight? Probably just with fewer options. I think spontaneous casting is one of the things we haven't seen much of.

Well the idea with improving cantrips significantly and expanding powers is that every class that's primarily a spellcaster should be able to choose to cast a spell every round if they feel like it, as a viable option but also not a mandate if they'd rather do something else.


The real issue sounds like ogres have too many hit points for their level.

In terms of a level 9 NPC one shotting level 6 PCS, that doesn't seem like an app comparison -- I wouldn't be at all surprised to see a Level 9 caster one shot a group of level 3 adventures.

How much damage does fireball do because that's the most likely spell to hit ogres, I really can't imagine how many level 3 ogres you need before an encounter against a level 9 party is anything other than a waste of time.

How many hit points will a level 6 ogre / ogre equivalent have? 120? A level 9 ogre 180? That'll be a slog for sure.


No one has commented on one big nerf: no Scribe Spell.

It occurs to me that while low level blasts fall off as you advance in level, low level save or sucks won't, since your save DCs don't drop off against equal level opponents, and critical fails will become more and more likely against scrubs who show up in groups.

Paizo Employee Designer

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Xenocrat wrote:
MadMars wrote:

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.

They're going to get 5 spells per day, one more than specialist Wizards, just like in PF1. But there it was a 20% advantage (less after bonus spells), here it'll be 25%.

Weirdly, sorcerers didn't have as much of an advantage over specialist wizards in slots per day as it seemed they did in PF1, and actually had fewer spells per day at some levels.

Odd levels starting at 3rd: PF1 sorcerers don't have the new top wizard spell level, and PF1 specialists do, with 3-4 spells at that level depending on Int. The sorcerer has 2 more spells of the specialist's third-highest level, and 1 more spell of all other levels.

Even levels: PF1 sorcerers have equal spells of the specialist's highest level, 2 more spells of the specialist's third-highest level and 1 more spell of other levels.

Not being ahead of the specialist in top level spells at any level, not even the even levels, was a little sad for the sorcerer.


As a Wizard's Proficiency goes up to Legendary, do their cantrips and spells get enhanced? Like Legendary Magic of the Wizard nets them +3 to their DCs and Spell Attacks, and adds 3 more dice to their Cantrips?


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Very happy to see an easy to use Conceal Spell metamagic & save-or-suck spells having additional effects so you don't just waste a turn (+resources) against a good save.

Like the idea that wizards might have feats to add/improve their arcane focus. This seems to be a neat little specialization that can help set wizards apart from other arcane magic users.

A bit worried about the relative power increase to universalist wizards. I absolutely do not want to see universalists become the new 'meta' option for wizards. Wizards are probably the one class that really cared about the different spell schools, and I don't want that to go away. If anything, I want to see spell schools become more relevant to all casters to help avoid the complaint of the team's caster solving every problem by cherry picking the 'best' spells from every school.

Malk_Content wrote:
I'm guessing there will be other factors too. I wouldn't be surprised if proficiency was broken down by spell school and Universalists lag behind. (Perhaps universalists end up with Master in all, while specialists get Legendary in one and Expert at the rest.)

I really want to echo this and say that I desperately hope that spellcasting proficiency is broken up by school instead of just being a general skill for all spells. It would help open up concepts for spell casters being better/worse at different types of magic and allow classes to naturally choose to either specialize or try to invest in everything.

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.

I'd like to expand on the concept of "auto win" spells by saying that some of my most hated spells as a GM were actually low level spells which just solved a particular situation. Endure Elements in particular comes to mind, as any interesting situation involving the party dealing with harsh environment/temperatures is simply resolved. A level one spell, especially when thrown on a wand, makes travel through the arctic tundra or the hottest desert a nonissue. I only hope that such spells will get looked at and/or adjusted in PF2, even if it is something as simple as increasing its spell level.


This looks sooo cool. I'm admittedly a bit confused as to how Focus will work, but I'm sure it'll make sense on a reread.

I do wish we had some examples of how cantrips will work, since they're apparently going to form such a big part of a spellcaster's contributions, given less spell slots and scaling cantrips.


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I'm always torn on the Martials vs Caster debate. I want to be able to do stuff and shine, but I also think it's a pretty nice feeling to call in a magic airstrike from the party's wizard. "See that thing over there? Make it go away as destructively as possible."


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Pathfinder Adventure Path, Rulebook Subscriber
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.

Okay. People rarely Counterspelled before because it was a waste of effort and time. You had to be lucky to have the right spell, or you spammed Dispel Magic (using up 3rd level slots) and hoped for the best... or Heightened that Dispel Magic (or Greater Dispel Magic). Further, you had to lie in wait for that spell to be cast, losing your action. Most people never bothered.

Setting this ability to Reaction is good. But it is still needing to be lucky and deciding to use up a very limited resource. Now, unless the Abjurer has as their Class Ability a leveling Counterspell ability, why not instead have a Counterspell specifically crafted for this occasion.

The Wizard still has to memorize it. It could have a chance of failure against a spell of the same level (but far greater against lower level spells). But this way you have the Wizard choosing to have a Counterspell on hand in case they are facing a magical foe.

What's more, it uses up a spell slot that could be used for something else but the Wizard in this situation has chosen a more defensive build.

Of course, the end result is going to either be parties stopping adventuring after two or three encounters because their wizards and clerics will be depleted, or wizards with crossbows and conserving their spells because they might need to use that magic against something big.


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John Lynch 106 wrote:
Sebastian Hirsch wrote:
I was kinda hoping that magic missile would no longer be an auto hit..
It was even an autohit in D&D 4th ed. It was always going to be an autohit.

Not sure if someone else mentioned this yet, but in 4e magic missile actually required an attack roll initially. It was errata'd to be an autohit after a lot of outrage which is why it's probably not a good idea to do that again.


Opposition schools are no longer a thing, I hope? One of the reasons I never liked specialization. If they are gone I might think of going Diviner or Abjurer. Also, any wizard feat that would allow for spontaneous convertion? Will Dispel Magic still be useful in counterspelling? I would love to be able to convert my slots into Dispel M, if at all possible.


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Not that bad, overall. Now, we just need to do something to crush the 5MWD syndrome for good...


Interesting


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Pathfinder Rulebook Subscriber
Tangent101 wrote:
Counterspell feat things.

It's your first level feat, and it's letting you spend a reaction to negate two actions. That's an unbelievably good deal! So, there has to be the catch. What's the catch? Well, either you have to actually play your Batman Wizard as Batman (studying all your opponent's fighting styles in advance so you can counter them), or it only comes out when your opponents are foolish enough to try casting one of the better spells in the game (you, of course, have prepared the better spells in the game). If you don't like the idea of using spells you prepared for personal use, universalist seems like a good fit, giving you the ability to recast whatever that spell was later. Added bonus, you get an extra first level feat.

But, there are more uses than that! Suppose you have a strategy you like to employ. I'm going to use a PF1 example- possessing people is really fun, especially if your character is evil. In PF1, though, your fun is going to get shut down really fast by Protection From Evil. So, you prep Protection From Evil. Now, when somebody casts the one spell that can really unfairly ruin your fun, you counterspell it as a reaction.

Being able to counterspell Detect Magic as many times as you want will be fun. I'm thinking the shadiest merchant, but illusionist specialists might snag it too.


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I'm hoping that the Sorcerer can bring the same amount of arcane power to bear that the Wizard can. I guess we'll find out when we get a preview for the Sorcerer. I'm hoping we'll get cool Bloodline mechanics. My GF really wants to play a Minkish (aka the anime Dragon-Half) Red Dragon Bloodline Sorcerer. ;)


Mark Seifter wrote:
Xenocrat wrote:
MadMars wrote:

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.

They're going to get 5 spells per day, one more than specialist Wizards, just like in PF1. But there it was a 20% advantage (less after bonus spells), here it'll be 25%.

Weirdly, sorcerers didn't have as much of an advantage over specialist wizards in slots per day as it seemed they did in PF1, and actually had fewer spells per day at some levels.

Odd levels starting at 3rd: PF1 sorcerers don't have the new top wizard spell level, and PF1 specialists do, with 3-4 spells at that level depending on Int. The sorcerer has 2 more spells of the specialist's third-highest level, and 1 more spell of all other levels.

Even levels: PF1 sorcerers have equal spells of the specialist's highest level, 2 more spells of the specialist's third-highest level and 1 more spell of other levels.

Not being ahead of the specialist in top level spells at any level, not even the even levels, was a little sad for the sorcerer.

So it seems like you guys will be addressing those issues...

How much longer until we get the Sorcerer Blog?


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Mark Seifter wrote:
Xenocrat wrote:
MadMars wrote:

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.

They're going to get 5 spells per day, one more than specialist Wizards, just like in PF1. But there it was a 20% advantage (less after bonus spells), here it'll be 25%.

Weirdly, sorcerers didn't have as much of an advantage over specialist wizards in slots per day as it seemed they did in PF1, and actually had fewer spells per day at some levels.

Odd levels starting at 3rd: PF1 sorcerers don't have the new top wizard spell level, and PF1 specialists do, with 3-4 spells at that level depending on Int. The sorcerer has 2 more spells of the specialist's third-highest level, and 1 more spell of all other levels.

Even levels: PF1 sorcerers have equal spells of the specialist's highest level, 2 more spells of the specialist's third-highest level and 1 more spell of other levels.

Not being ahead of the specialist in top level spells at any level, not even the even levels, was a little sad for the sorcerer.

I'm kinda hoping the implication here is PF2 sorcerers lose the absurd speed bump at 3rd level that puts them behind forever. The trade of breadth of knowledge (spells known vs. potentially learn anything/everything) is sacrifice enough.

Overall the wizard sounds like its in a pretty good place. Personally, I don't really like the arcane focus (don't like class power in items), but it admittedly fits better with wizard than anything else.


Quote:
Not being ahead of the specialist in top level spells at any level, not even the even levels, was a little sad for the sorcerer.

Yeah, and of course the fact that their spell selection was limited didn't help either. I always thought the Sorcerer class would have been included in the Pathfiner: Unchained Manual along with the Fighter class but I guess we'll have to wait until Pathfinder 2nd Edition to get it. Fortunately, it seems Paizo is gonna address the issues both the Sorcerer and Fighter classes had.


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From what I am seeing, with conditions having multiple levels to track as well as having to see if you crit hit, normal hit, fail, or crit fail before you know what the effect is, you are going to need condition cards to track all these things, it's going to be a nightmare at the table to resolve. Combat is going to take forever to resolve. I mean we already have seen the effects of complicated combat in 4e and this will be a nightmare to teach.

I mean 5e way over simplified things but some of these mechanics are going in the opposite direction. 5e did so well because it is a simple game, if Paizo wants to compete for the market share, which obviously they do, this isn't the way to do it.

I mean I have been playing the game for close to 40 years and some of these blogs have mechanics that are hard for me to grasp and when you combine them together a newbie will have no chance.

Please create something between the simpleness of 5e and Pathfinder1 in complexity. Don't drive away players just to be overly complex.

Just my two coppers. Take it or leave it.


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Deranged Stabby-Man wrote:
What' a focus and how do I drain it?

I'm responding because I also didn't quite compute what that meant despite having just read it in the blog. The "focus" is basically Bonded Item reskinned, without free Magic Item Crafting but in terms of bonus 'spontaneous' spellcasting. Personally, I think it's an un-necessary confusing change of terminology, considering Focus is ALSO something used by casters (clerics). Arcane Bond is more clearly delineated IMHO.


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John Lynch 106 wrote:
Sebastian Hirsch wrote:
I was kinda hoping that magic missile would no longer be an auto hit..
It was even an autohit in D&D 4th ed. It was always going to be an autohit.

No they erratad it to do that.


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Mark Seifter 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.

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.

What about Single Target spells? Are they going to be doing significantly more than the AOE ones? Say... Hellfire Ray. Those better be doing no less than 15d6 or more! Your 1 best spell should be able to nearly oneshot 1 creature of equivalent CR (assuming bosses are still higher CR than APL).

Paizo Employee Designer

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ChibiNyan wrote:
What about Single Target spells? Are they going to be doing significantly more than the AOE ones?

Yes, definitely, or adding riders effects, or both.

Quote:
Your 1 best spell should be able to nearly oneshot 1 creature of equivalent CR (assuming bosses are still higher CR than APL).

But not that far. One shotting yourself / your own level means a really hard encounter with three casters at the party's level is going to wipe out 3/4 of the party if the enemies manage to act first (and conversely, the party with three casters will wipe out the entire encounter if they go first). That's an unpleasant level of glass-cannony rocket tag that we're trying to avoid.


Mark Seifter wrote:
ChibiNyan wrote:
What about Single Target spells? Are they going to be doing significantly more than the AOE ones?

Yes, definitely, or adding riders effects, or both.

Quote:
Your 1 best spell should be able to nearly oneshot 1 creature of equivalent CR (assuming bosses are still higher CR than APL).
But not that far. One shotting yourself / your own level means a really hard encounter with three casters at the party's level is going to wipe out 3/4 of the party if the enemies manage to act first (and conversely, the party with three casters will wipe out the entire encounter if they go first). That's an unpleasant level of glass-cannony rocket tag that we're trying to avoid.

I thought equal CR encounters were supposed to be pretty trivial. That's like 1 single NPC Wizard of party level +1? It better oneshot someone on their first turn, because that's all it's getting.


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ChibiNyan wrote:
Mark Seifter wrote:
ChibiNyan wrote:
What about Single Target spells? Are they going to be doing significantly more than the AOE ones?

Yes, definitely, or adding riders effects, or both.

Quote:
Your 1 best spell should be able to nearly oneshot 1 creature of equivalent CR (assuming bosses are still higher CR than APL).
But not that far. One shotting yourself / your own level means a really hard encounter with three casters at the party's level is going to wipe out 3/4 of the party if the enemies manage to act first (and conversely, the party with three casters will wipe out the entire encounter if they go first). That's an unpleasant level of glass-cannony rocket tag that we're trying to avoid.
I thought equal CR encounters were supposed to be pretty trivial. That's like 1 single NPC Wizard of party level +1? It better oneshot someone on their first turn, because that's all it's getting.

This is a common misunderstanding with Pathfinder 1e.

If you look at the Game Mastering section it actually explains that an equal CR encounter is supposed to be "Average Difficulty" for a party of PCs of the APL.

So 1 CR 4 enemy should be an average, not trivial, fight for 4 APL 4s.

The fact that PF1 turned into Rocket Tag was because it wasn't balanced properly and damage output was crazy.


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Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber; Pathfinder Card Game, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber
John Lynch 106 wrote:
Sebastian Hirsch wrote:
I was kinda hoping that magic missile would no longer be an auto hit..
It was even an autohit in D&D 4th ed. It was always going to be an autohit.

Actually, it didn't start out an autohit in D&D 4E. In the PHB1, it was an attack vs Reflex. Compare that to the spell found in Heroes of the Fallen Lands (Essentials), where it is once again an autohit.

Paizo Employee Designer

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ChibiNyan wrote:
Mark Seifter wrote:
ChibiNyan wrote:
What about Single Target spells? Are they going to be doing significantly more than the AOE ones?

Yes, definitely, or adding riders effects, or both.

Quote:
Your 1 best spell should be able to nearly oneshot 1 creature of equivalent CR (assuming bosses are still higher CR than APL).
But not that far. One shotting yourself / your own level means a really hard encounter with three casters at the party's level is going to wipe out 3/4 of the party if the enemies manage to act first (and conversely, the party with three casters will wipe out the entire encounter if they go first). That's an unpleasant level of glass-cannony rocket tag that we're trying to avoid.
I thought equal CR encounters were supposed to be pretty trivial. That's like 1 single NPC Wizard of party level +1? It better oneshot someone on their first turn, because that's all it's getting.

An encounter with three creatures of your level is a boss-tier challenge in PF2 (and also PF1 if we replace level with CR); a boss fight should not take down 3/4 of the party if the party rolls poorly on initiative or all die before they can act if the party rolls high on initiative. A single creature of your level is a cakewalk warmup fight like those eight ogres in PF2 (the way PF1 talks about a CR=APL fights implies they are 'Average' but still pretty easy, but they're pretty much cakewalks in PF1 too).


I Like what I'm seeing so far, I just hope that martial classes will be as good as spellcasters at higher levels. probably won't happen, but I'm hopeful.


QuidEst wrote:
Tangent101 wrote:
Counterspell feat things.
or it only comes out when your opponents are foolish enough to try casting one of the better spells in the game (you, of course, have prepared the better spells in the game).

Given good game balance, varying play styles, and inevitable additions from AP's and splatbooks, "better spells in the game" will still be dozens of spells. If lower level spells are easily used to counter higher ones as well, there may be a couple staples that you get lucky with, but otherwise it's still a crapshoot.

QuidEst wrote:


But, there are more uses than that! Suppose you have a strategy you like to employ. I'm going to use a PF1 example- possessing people is really fun, especially if your character is evil. In PF1, though, your fun is going to get shut down really fast by Protection From Evil. So, you prep Protection From Evil. Now, when somebody casts the one spell that can really unfairly ruin your fun, you counterspell it as a reaction.

Being able to counterspell Detect Magic as many times as you want will be fun. I'm thinking the shadiest merchant, but illusionist specialists might snag it too.

I can see this kind of thing as a valid strategy; having an ace up the sleeve in case your opponent does happen to have a spell which interrupts your preferred methods. Still a crapshoot, but a more calculated one.


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Mark Seifter wrote:
ChibiNyan wrote:
Mark Seifter wrote:
ChibiNyan wrote:
What about Single Target spells? Are they going to be doing significantly more than the AOE ones?

Yes, definitely, or adding riders effects, or both.

Quote:
Your 1 best spell should be able to nearly oneshot 1 creature of equivalent CR (assuming bosses are still higher CR than APL).
But not that far. One shotting yourself / your own level means a really hard encounter with three casters at the party's level is going to wipe out 3/4 of the party if the enemies manage to act first (and conversely, the party with three casters will wipe out the entire encounter if they go first). That's an unpleasant level of glass-cannony rocket tag that we're trying to avoid.
I thought equal CR encounters were supposed to be pretty trivial. That's like 1 single NPC Wizard of party level +1? It better oneshot someone on their first turn, because that's all it's getting.
An encounter with three creatures of your level is a boss-tier challenge in PF2 (and also PF1 if we replace level with CR); a boss fight should not take down 3/4 of the party if the party rolls poorly on initiative or all die before they can act if the party rolls high on initiative. A single creature of your level is a cakewalk warmup fight like those eight ogres in PF2 (the way PF1 talks about a CR=APL fights implies they are 'Average' but still pretty easy, but they're pretty much cakewalks in PF1 too).

Just curious, (I know this is off topic) what will be a good campaign ending final boss level where the chances of party success are about 50%? APL+3?


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Rulebook Subscriber

Given the role of healer and the limited number of Channel Energy/Heal that Clerics currently get, I might suggest having their new Heal ability work similar to the Channel Energy ability of the Paladin - have Clerics slowly gain additional uses rather than have it reliant only on Charisma. Otherwise, you have Clerics forced to start memorizing Heal spells just-in-case which given their already massively nerfed spell selection ability means Clerics become one-trick ponies.

If all you did was give Clerics one additional use of Heal for every four levels then that would help Clerics significantly. Otherwise you end up with Clerics with minimal versatility and that turns Clerics from a fun class to something people are forced to play because "we need a healer" and even with alternative methods of healing, someone will STILL insist.

Seeing you can no longer spontaneously sacrifice spells to become a healing spell, it's not fair to force Clerics to lose their versatility. You massively limited spells memorized for them and the Wizard... but you gave Wizards other benefits instead to counter this. The least you can do is slowly boost the number of Channel Heals.

Paizo Employee Designer

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thflame wrote:
Mark Seifter wrote:
ChibiNyan wrote:
Mark Seifter wrote:
ChibiNyan wrote:
What about Single Target spells? Are they going to be doing significantly more than the AOE ones?

Yes, definitely, or adding riders effects, or both.

Quote:
Your 1 best spell should be able to nearly oneshot 1 creature of equivalent CR (assuming bosses are still higher CR than APL).
But not that far. One shotting yourself / your own level means a really hard encounter with three casters at the party's level is going to wipe out 3/4 of the party if the enemies manage to act first (and conversely, the party with three casters will wipe out the entire encounter if they go first). That's an unpleasant level of glass-cannony rocket tag that we're trying to avoid.
I thought equal CR encounters were supposed to be pretty trivial. That's like 1 single NPC Wizard of party level +1? It better oneshot someone on their first turn, because that's all it's getting.
An encounter with three creatures of your level is a boss-tier challenge in PF2 (and also PF1 if we replace level with CR); a boss fight should not take down 3/4 of the party if the party rolls poorly on initiative or all die before they can act if the party rolls high on initiative. A single creature of your level is a cakewalk warmup fight like those eight ogres in PF2 (the way PF1 talks about a CR=APL fights implies they are 'Average' but still pretty easy, but they're pretty much cakewalks in PF1 too).
Just curious, (I know this is off topic) what will be a good campaign ending final boss level where the chances of party success are about 50%? APL+3?

APL+3 is a good safe boss to use that will probably be scary but doable on a regular basis. For a campaign final boss with a higher chance of TPK, I might still use the APL+3 boss but give her some backup too. An APL+4 level boss (so like a redcap vs a 1st level party) is our guideline for "this is a crapshoot," but in reality, if the PCs know it's the final boss and blow all their best stuff, they probably have a better than even chance of winning anyway, though it's a lot swingier when you're fighting one enemy so much higher level that it expects to succeed saves and often critically succeed them, since it still might roll a 1 and be in big trouble, or it might use an AoE and your whole party rolls pretty low, critically fails, and down they go, or things like that.

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