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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4 people marked this as a favorite.

I think we're due for someone to be mad that a 10th level slotted Magic Missile doesn't have power comparable to Wish.


4 people marked this as a favorite.
edduardco wrote:
KingOfAnything wrote:
Why is it wrong, other than aesthetics?
For me is bad design plain and simple, suddenly cutting something that was an automatic progression is just wrong to me, there is no way to justify that.

You realize you haven't actually offered any justification for your position, right? Just saying "it is bad" doesn't actually explain why.

Liberty's Edge

Pathfinder Companion Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber
Xenocrat wrote:
I think we're due for someone to be mad that a 10th level slotted Magic Missile doesn't have power comparable to Wish.

If you read my posts you will see someone that is irritated by magic missiles heightened in a 9th level spell slots being way weaker than lower level spells. ;-)

Currently MM increase its power every 2 spell levels, so memorizing it in a 10th level spell slot do nothing more than memorizing it in a 9th level spell slot (from 5 to 15 1d4+1, depending on the number of actions spent).


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Captain Morgan wrote:
edduardco wrote:
KingOfAnything wrote:
Why is it wrong, other than aesthetics?
For me is bad design plain and simple, suddenly cutting something that was an automatic progression is just wrong to me, there is no way to justify that.
You realize you haven't actually offered any justification for your position, right? Just saying "it is bad" doesn't actually explain why.

Yes I did, that is breaking 18th levels of class progression, how can that not be bad design?

I'm really baffled that people doesn't have an issue with it. I wonder if you guys would said the same if instead of casters were martials the ones who got their class progression trunked, for example, that Rogues didn't get Skill increase and Skill feat at level 19th.

Sovereign Court

3 people marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Adventure Path, Card Game, Companion, Lost Omens, Pathfinder Accessories, Rulebook, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Maps, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber
edduardco wrote:
Captain Morgan wrote:
edduardco wrote:
KingOfAnything wrote:
Why is it wrong, other than aesthetics?
For me is bad design plain and simple, suddenly cutting something that was an automatic progression is just wrong to me, there is no way to justify that.
You realize you haven't actually offered any justification for your position, right? Just saying "it is bad" doesn't actually explain why.

Yes I did, that is breaking 18th levels of class progression, how can that not be bad design?

I'm really baffled that people doesn't have an issue with it. I wonder if you guys would said the same if instead of casters were martials the ones who got their class progression trunked, for example, that Rogues didn't get Skill increase and Skill feat at level 19th.

If they got an Uber-skill at level 20, it'd be fine. Your issue seems to be more about pretty patterns that please your aesthetics than about game design.

The progression isn't trunked or broken, it is at an inflection point. Temporarily plateaued before soaring to new heights.

Liberty's Edge

Pathfinder Companion Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber

1ed AD&D spell progression for clerics ended at level 14, with the 7th level of spells, wizards at level 18 with the 9th level. Spell slot progression for both classes was infinite.
Same for 2n ed. AD&D.
3.x and PF1 progression ended at level 17. Spell slot progression at level 20.
PF2 spell progression end at level 17, spell slot progression at level 18.

I don't see a particular problem with that.

- * - * -

BTW, I think that only while writing this post I have got what you mean with class progression. You aren't speaking simply of getting the 10th level of spells, but of the "2 spell slots of a new level when you acquire a new class level, next class level the third slot, then repeat" progression.


1 person marked this as a favorite.
edduardco wrote:
Captain Morgan wrote:
edduardco wrote:
KingOfAnything wrote:
Why is it wrong, other than aesthetics?
For me is bad design plain and simple, suddenly cutting something that was an automatic progression is just wrong to me, there is no way to justify that.
You realize you haven't actually offered any justification for your position, right? Just saying "it is bad" doesn't actually explain why.

Yes I did, that is breaking 18th levels of class progression, how can that not be bad design?

I'm really baffled that people doesn't have an issue with it. I wonder if you guys would said the same if instead of casters were martials the ones who got their class progression trunked, for example, that Rogues didn't get Skill increase and Skill feat at level 19th.

That's basically just an aesthetic decision. Breaking the pattern doesn't necessarily mean it is bad, especially when you are talking about adding a new level of spells which fall outside of the previous spell levels. The PF1 and PF2 wizards get the exact same spell level progression until level 17, when they both get 9th level spells. The PF2 wizard just then gets to keep growing... albeit, in a way that doesn't quite follow the previous progressions, but in exhange we are talking about a caliber of power that completely breaks that progression anyway.

Also, your rogue example seems pretty meaningless. The wizard will still get skill increases and skill feats at levels 18-20 as far as we know. But skill feats and skill increases aren't comparable to what 10th level spells (or 20th level caster feats) seem to be able to do. Heck, I'd be surprised if ANY martial options could compare to 20th level caster options.

(Albeit, I'd be pleasantly surprised. I don't think I'll lose much sleep if caster supremacy is cemented at level 20 rather than levels 8-10 where it kicked in for PF1, but I would love it if a 20th level martial still felt competitive with the 20th level caster.)


Diego Rossi wrote:

BTW, I think that only while writing this post I have got what you mean with class progression. You aren't speaking simply of getting the 10th level of spells, but of the "2 spell slots of a new level when you acquire a new class level, next class level the third slot, then repeat" progression.

This is correct


I am still hoping to the arcane schools before 8/2. It would help us understand the changes to the class.


2 people marked this as a favorite.

I really wish you wouldn't make the same mistake as 5e and hide the targeted save, it need to be called out in highlighted sections like the other attributes.

1e Pathfinder had this, why are you taking it away?


Late to the party here. First, I like almost everything presented in this blog. It seems so far that the PF2 wizard will still be as fun to play as the PF1 wizard.

The thing I don't really like is that using multiple actions to cast multiple Magic Missiles in one round takes different types of spell casting actions. Is there a reason that it doesn't simply state that you use Verbal Casting multiple times other than it doesn't fit the format?

One, I don't think I like the imagery of a wizard going through a variety of different actions to do the same thing 3 times. Imagine a wizard speaking a word of power, a magic missile appears in front of him and takes off to the target, the wizard waves his hand and points his finger, another magic missile appears and shoots off, and finally the wizard reaches into a spell component pouch and pulls out an arrow head coated in wax or something which dissolves and becomes the third missile. It should be more consistent than that, shouldn't it?

Also, there are now situations where you can't use all three actions to get the most out of your spell slot. What if the wizard's hands are tied? Forget using that action to cast an additional missile.

Speaking of that, I do think the primary action should be a Somatic Action for this spell. I mean, Magic Missile has always been about the missile erupting from your fingertip, hasn't it?

Anyway, this is just some nitpicking. I really like the versatility of being able to cast just one missile with just one action if the situation calls for it, even if you're loosing out on damage potential.


Slamron wrote:


The thing I don't really like is that using multiple actions to cast multiple Magic Missiles in one round takes different types of spell casting actions. Is there a reason that it doesn't simply state that you use Verbal Casting multiple times other than it doesn't fit the format?

Verbal components don't provoke, somatic components don't require an outside source of assistance. They want varied components so there's an extra cost/tradeoff beyond the action when you cast multiple action spells.

Paizo Employee Organized Play Developer

2 people marked this as a favorite.
Slamron wrote:

One, I don't think I like the imagery of a wizard going through a variety of different actions to do the same thing 3 times. Imagine a wizard speaking a word of power, a magic missile appears in front of him and takes off to the target, the wizard waves his hand and points his finger, another magic missile appears and shoots off, and finally the wizard reaches into a spell component pouch and pulls out an arrow head coated in wax or something which dissolves and becomes the third missile. It should be more consistent than that, shouldn't it?

The wizard is only casting one spell, so it's more like the more effort he puts in, the greater the end result. He says the magic word, one missile flies out. He says the magic word and forms the magic sigil with his hands, two missiles. He says the magic word, forms the magic sigil, and e.g. breaks a dart in half as part of the casting, three missiles appear. It's like the difference between pulling a rope with one hand or pulling a rope with two hands and putting your weight into it; more effort towards a single task equals a greater result.


Xenocrat wrote:
Slamron wrote:


The thing I don't really like is that using multiple actions to cast multiple Magic Missiles in one round takes different types of spell casting actions. Is there a reason that it doesn't simply state that you use Verbal Casting multiple times other than it doesn't fit the format?
Verbal components don't provoke, somatic components don't require an outside source of assistance. They want varied components so there's an extra cost/tradeoff beyond the action when you cast multiple action spells.

Losing the extra actions should be enough of a tradeoff, but perhaps the designers don't agree.


Michael Sayre wrote:
Slamron wrote:

One, I don't think I like the imagery of a wizard going through a variety of different actions to do the same thing 3 times. Imagine a wizard speaking a word of power, a magic missile appears in front of him and takes off to the target, the wizard waves his hand and points his finger, another magic missile appears and shoots off, and finally the wizard reaches into a spell component pouch and pulls out an arrow head coated in wax or something which dissolves and becomes the third missile. It should be more consistent than that, shouldn't it?

The wizard is only casting one spell, so it's more like the more effort he puts in, the greater the end result. He says the magic word, one missile flies out. He says the magic word and forms the magic sigil with his hands, two missiles. He says the magic word, forms the magic sigil, and e.g. breaks a dart in half as part of the casting, three missiles appear. It's like the difference between pulling a rope with one hand or pulling a rope with two hands and putting your weight into it; more effort towards a single task equals a greater result.

Ok, I can dig that.


It also means that if you're carrying something, it limits you. A sorcerer carrying a staff and shield, for example, can't take all three actions, only two.


Yeah, it's actually a pretty sweet blend of flavor and mechanics. You're spending all your actions to squeeze as much from the single spell slot as you can. Using verbal action 3 times implies 3 separate castings of the spell and 3 slots used.

Plus, when we get to stuff like Heal, the cleric is presenting their holy symbol to provide maximum power, and a cleric is outright evoking the power in their blood. The wizard is probably just using a spell component pouch, which isn't as exciting, but that strikes me as more of a problem with spell component pouches being kind of boring than the casting mechanics themselves.


The wizard is in my top 3 of classes I want to play test the most. Only a week and half and I get to see the totality of the wizard class.

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