Sorcerer Class Preview

Monday, July 9, 2018

Their magical blood gives sorcerers their spellcasting power, and it's been a major part of the class since Pathfinder's inception. So for the Pathfinder Playtest, we're going all in: your character's bloodline determines her spell list!

Illustration by Wayne Reynolds

Bloodlines

You pick your bloodline at 1st level, which tells you which spell list you use: arcane, divine, primal, or occult (the last of the four magical traditions, which we'll cover in a future blog!). It also defines some of the spells you know. For instance, the demonic bloodline gives you the divine spell list and the fear spell at 1st level, in addition to two other spells that you choose yourself from the divine list. In some cases, the special spells from your bloodline come from other lists. For example, the demonic bloodline gives you slow when you learn 3rd-level spells (for the sin of sloth) and disintegrate when you learn 6th-level spells. There are a couple more. How about we look at that whole bloodline entry and you can make your own guesses about which ones are from other lists?

Demonic

The demons of the Abyss debase all they touch, and one of your ancestors fell victim to their corruption. You're burdened with dark thoughts and the desire for destruction. This urge can be overcome if you choose to fight it, but the beauty of sin calls to you always.

Spell List divine (Pathfinder Playtest Rulebook 200)

Signature Skills Athletics, Deception, Intimidation, Religion

Granted Spells Cantrip: detect magic; 1st: fear; 2nd: resist energy; 3rd: slow; 4th: divine wrath; 5th: banishment; 6th: disintegrate; 7th: divine decree; 8th: power word stun; 9th: meteor swarm

Bloodline Powers Initial Power: glutton's jaws; Advanced Power: swamp of sloth (2); Greater Power: abyssal wrath (2)

You can see that the bloodline also determines your most important skills and gives you some bloodline powers. We've talked about powers before (see the cleric preview. These are special spells you can get only from specific classes, and they are cast using Spell Points rather than spell slots. They also automatically heighten to the highest level of spell you can cast. You start out with a number of Spell Points per day equal to your Charisma modifier, and if you have the demonic bloodline, you gain the glutton's jaws power, which you can cast at a cost of 1 Spell Point.

Glutton's Jaws Power 1

Necromancy

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

Duration 1 minute


Your mouth transforms into a shadowy maw bristling with pointed teeth. These jaws grant you an unarmed attack you're trained in, dealing 1d6 piercing damage. They have the finesse trait.

Attacks with your jaws have the following enhancement.

Enhancement If the target was living, gain 1d4 temporary HP.

Heightened (2nd) Your jaws gain the effects of a +1 weapon potency rune (a +1 item bonus to attack rolls and an additional damage die) and the temporary Hit Points increase to 2d4.

Heightened (4th) The jaws gain the effects of a +2 weapon potency rune and the temporary Hit Points increase to 3d4.

Heightened (6th) The jaws gain the effects of a +3 weapon potency rune and the temporary Hit Points increase to 4d4.

Heightened (8th) The jaws gain the effects of a +4 weapon potency rune and the temporary Hit Points increase to 5d4.

At higher levels, you'll get to make a swampy morass that makes creatures slothful or call forth the dangers of an Abyssal realm.

The number of bloodlines in the Pathfinder Playtest Rulebook is fairly small, since we want to see how people react to the new style of the class with just a subset of the bloodlines. In the book, you'll see the following bloodlines: aberrant (occult), angelic (divine), demonic (divine), draconic (arcane), fey (primal) and imperial (arcane). That last one comes from the magical traditions of ancient mortals and matches our iconic sorcerer, Seoni!

Spontaneous Spellcasting

This is our first preview of a spontaneous spellcaster! The sorcerer gets the same number of spells per day as a wizard, but she has a number of spells she knows permanently instead of preparing them from a spellbook every day. The spells she knows make up her spell repertoire. That means she can choose which spell to cast each time she casts a spell instead of needing to plan ahead. It's worth noting that the sorcerer now learns spells at the same character level as the wizard: 2nd-level spells at 3rd level, 3rd-level spells at 5th level, and so on.

As you level up, you learn new spells and can replace some of the spells you previously had with new ones. This lets you get rid of some spells that were great options when they were at your highest level but maybe aren't worth casting anymore.

The sorcerer's spellcasting is based on her inborn magical potency, so she uses her Charisma for her spell rolls and spell DCs. Because Charisma also adds to Resonance Points, the sorcerer can make up for some of her limited spell choice compared to the wizard's spellbook by supplementing her spell selection with more scrolls, staves, and wands.

Sorcerer Features

Many of the sorcerer's class features were explained under bloodline, as most of them tie back to that choice. The sorcerer gains her advanced power at 6th level and her greater bloodline power at 10th level. As with other spellcasters, her proficiency with spell rolls and spell DCs increases to expert at 12th level, master at 16th, and legendary at 19th.

The sorcerer gets one other class feature, called spontaneous heightening. As mentioned before, some spells in your lower-level spell slots get less useful as you go up in level. However, there are some spells you might want to cast with any of your slots. The spontaneous heightening feature lets you choose two spells at the start of each day that you can cast as their heightened versions using any of your spell slots. That means that if you want your angelic sorcerer to be able to cast 1st-level heal, 2nd-level heal, and 3rd-level heal, you can choose your 1st-level heal spell with spontaneous heightening rather than needing to learn the spell in your spell repertoire at all three spell levels. Then you can cast a 1st-level heal to top off someone's Hit Points when they're almost at full and still cast a 3rd-level heal in the middle of a fight to really save someone from the brink!

Sorcerer Feats

The sorcerer's feats primarily deal with her spells. Sorcerers get metamagic feats, many of which they share with other casters. One we haven't shown off yet is Overwhelming Spell at 8th level, which lets a spell that deals acid, cold, electricity, or fire damage ignore the first 10 points of a target's resistance.

If you want to make a blaster, you can pick up Dangerous Sorcery, which increases the damage of your spells by their spell level (with the exception of cantrips). You can also take Blood Magic at 8th level, which uses the magical potential in your blood to grant temporary Hit Points to you or a target of your spell if you're bleeding when you cast it.

One of my favorite cycles of feats are the evolution feats, which reinforce the themes of each magical tradition. Arcane Evolution makes your arcane sorcerer trained in a skill and lets you add a spell from a scroll to your spell repertoire for the day when you prepare each morning. Divine Evolution lets you channel energy like a cleric. Occult Evolution gives you a skill and lets you pick a spell with the mental trait to add to your repertoire each day. Finally, Primal Evolution lets you cast summon nature's ally as an innate spell once per day at the highest spell level you can cast.

How about a 20th-level feat? Sorcerers can take a feat to gain 10th-level spells of their tradition, but you might want to look at other options, like Wellspring Spell. This metamagic feat lets you cast a 5th-level or lower spell once per minute without expending the spell slot!

What sort of predictions do you have for the bloodlines? What spells will they get? Does this new scheme make you more or less likely to play a sorcerer? Do you want to try out a gnome fey sorcerer? How about an angelic sorcerer with the heal spell? Let us know in the comments, and start preparing for when you get the book!

Logan Bonner
Designer

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Tags: Pathfinder Playtest Seoni Sorcerers Wayne Reynolds
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GM DarkLightHitomi wrote:

I hate prepared casting with a passion. I want a spontaneous wizard.

In 3.x, I could do that fairly easy.

PF1, much harder.

Now, seems even more difficult.

On the other hand, I can build the Spontaneous wildshape-less Druid I've always wanted. So... I'm happy!

EDIT: I too hate prepared casting. So I've been wanting this for a while.


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So I guess Detect Magic is a spell still? I was kind of hoping it would turn into some sort of action that any creature with a Caster Level could inherently do. It's always felt like a bit of a spell tax to take it, because obviously I want to Detect Magic, but I can't think of any time I've ever played as or with a spellcaster that hasn't taken Detect Magic. It's almost like Fighters needing to use their 1st-level bonus feat to gain Martial Weapon Proficiency - I guess you could play the game without doing that, but you're missing out on a core function of the class by not.

Detect Magic always felt like the "Perception" of spells - not just in the literal similarities, but in that it's probably the single-most used spell in the game. It's certainly the most important 0-level spell you could take. Meanwhile, Perception was removed as a skill because of this, but Detect Magic is still a spell?

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DFAnton wrote:
graystone wrote:
Since our avatars aren't our real life images aren't our own images, I have no idea if ANY women pointed out anything about it. ;)
This is just nonsense. All of our avatars are approximate replicas of our real-life appearances.

Generally speaking, the first words out of anyone’s mouth upon meeting me at a convention are, “Wow. You really are a gnome!” This is soon followed up by an approximation of this statement: “You’re this perky in real life? That’s terrifying!”


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Hmm wrote:
This is soon followed up by an approximation of this statement: “You’re this perky in real life? That’s terrifying!”

Gleeful behaviour is a wonderful method of terrifying players.


Cuup wrote:

So I guess Detect Magic is a spell still? I was kind of hoping it would turn into some sort of action that any creature with a Caster Level could inherently do. It's always felt like a bit of a spell tax to take it, because obviously I want to Detect Magic, but I can't think of any time I've ever played as or with a spellcaster that hasn't taken Detect Magic. It's almost like Fighters needing to use their 1st-level bonus feat to gain Martial Weapon Proficiency - I guess you could play the game without doing that, but you're missing out on a core function of the class by not.

Detect Magic always felt like the "Perception" of spells - not just in the literal similarities, but in that it's probably the single-most used spell in the game. It's certainly the most important 0-level spell you could take. Meanwhile, Perception was removed as a skill because of this, but Detect Magic is still a spell?

I agree with you. The only time I played a spellcaster without Detect Magic was when we played two Spiritualists in the same group, with one having Detect Magic and the other having Detect Psychic Significance.

Nowadays, in my group, we practically always consider that the spellcasters have their Detect Magic always turned on when they are not casting something else.

Having to pick Detect Magic as a cantrip is not a big problem because we tend to quickly forget that cantrips exist since they are so weak in PF1 and we have enough spell slots to get all the cantrips we needed, but if they become useful in PF2, loosing one slot may be a problem, even more now that we know we will have less slots than before.


Almarane wrote:
Having to pick Detect Magic as a cantrip is not a big problem because we tend to quickly forget that cantrips exist since they are so weak in PF1 and we have enough spell slots to get all the cantrips we needed, but if they become useful in PF2, loosing one slot may be a problem, even more now that we know we will have less slots than before.

Maybe this will make selecting Detect Magic a meaningful choice in PF2 rather than a "requirement". I've played with parties where no one had Detect Magic and we generally got by. It may make those cantrip slots both more precious, and more valuable, which I don't think is a bad thing necessarily.


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I’d think that regardless of the costs, detect magic will remain a required spell you pick up as soon as possible, simply because you will need it to know which loot is magic.


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My issue with the "option paralysis" reason is twofold:

1) Why isn't this a problem with the Wizard? A wizard knows more spells and can have more slots as well, depending on specialisation. And they can heighten their spells to any level. But they also have to choose that heightening at the start of the day. I can see a lot more option paralysis there as they hem and haw about what to prepare in which slot at the start of the day than a Sorcerer during a fight. Especially since I've seen it happen in PF1 (but with a Cleric, not a wizard).

2) Option paralysis shouldn't be an issue if you just cut their spells known, which you should do if this is a problem. Less options, less option paralysis. And if you allow them to heighten at-will you don't need that many spells known anyway since a lot of effects come from heightening, not new spells.

As for the "use minimum spell slot required for the situation"....so what? I mean from what we know so far, this would mostly apply to detect magic, which is a cantrip and thus autoscales; and dispel magic which I guarantee will be chosen for one of those 2 heightening spots anyway, so that problem remains. I mean do we really care that they can cast any appropiate level of heal by expending appropiate slots when the Cleric just gets a pool to cast it, for free (in the sense they use no slots), at max possible spell level?

All the current system does is tell Sorcerers to prioritise non-heightened spells; then to just learn those spells which do have good heightening at the optimal level (or to replace them when they reach optimal level); and 1-3 they'll choose to heighten every day. If that's how Paizo wants the Sorcerer to play, fine, but it seems rather messy.

That and I can see even more issues than now with spell descriptions. There's problems now with people not knowing what a spell does, or how it scales. But it's much easier to remember what fly does, than it is to remember what fly III does, because it's not the same as fly I with bigger numbers.

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Mark Seifter wrote:
BretI wrote:

I think it is interesting having the default spell list depend on Bloodline. I would like it if the bloodline spells were always heightened in a manner like Spontaneous Heightening, but that could easily lead to one bloodline being much more powerful than others.

Yeah, as you guessed. I proposed that one as well "These are your bloodline spells, so maybe you know them better and get those for free," but it created an issue where bloodlines that gave you key spont heighten spells were suddenly much more powerful, even if the other bloodline gave you extremely good spells that have one useful heighten and that you eventually do want to learn, like haste. When you add in matching the bloodline's flavor thematically, even if you know about this issue, there's pretty much no way to do it that doesn't unbalance some bloodlines other than by avoiding the strong key spont heighten spells altogether for every bloodline (because you simply won't be able to get them in all of them), which at point, if you're not putting in good spont heighten spells, it sort of defeats the purpose of giving you free spont heighten in the first place.

About Sponteanous Heightening: What about giving an extra spont heighten for a spell in your bloodline bonus spell? Yes some bloodline would have an advantage over others, but that will already be the case with the bloodline power... You could thus give better bloodline powers to bloodline with weaker bloodline bonus spell list that cannot take full advantage of this third bonus spontaneous heigtening.

About Oracles: I know that a few people are a big fan of the class, and I am as well, but it seems like they are being planned for later and that makes me afraid. If divine bloodline sorcerers and oracles share the same spell list, we can also expect oracles to have bonus spell and some powers on par with the bloodline bonus spells and powers. Which means that oracles will always beat divine sorcerer because they will probably have a better Hit Dice as well as weapon/armor proficiency. And that sounds problematic...

When designing other specialized spontaneous spellcaster, please take a sorcerer with a bloodline using the same spell list, and try to make both class interesting, because currently, I'm hyped for the state of the new sorcerer, but I'm very afraid for its future.

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Blog post wrote:
Because Charisma also adds to Resonance Points, the sorcerer can make up for some of her limited spell choice compared to the wizard's spellbook by supplementing her spell selection with more scrolls, staves, and wands.

About using Resonance as a way to balance a class: that seems like a very very bad idea... Why? Because it seems to take for granted that since you will have a greater resonance pool, you will have more magic items, which is just plain wrong since Sorcerer should have the same wealth as a wizard.

Thus the "make up for her limited spell choice by having more staff/scrolls/wands" isn't true, because that means that the sorcerer will need to dilate his wealth in multiple magic items when the wizard will probably focus on fewer magic items with better potency.

The increased resonance pool of the sorcerer will probably a 1-3 points differences with the wizard, which shouldn't be that much, and it shouldn't been seen as a "have more scrolls, staves and wands" and more like a "have 1-2 more uses of a magic item per day".


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Okay so I'm not much of a caster but one of the things that makes me leery with spontaneous heightening is that it introduces a bit of preparation to what is supposed to be a spontaneous caster. It's not spontaneous heightening. It's PREPARED heightening.

Why not word it so:

Sorcerors can cast two spells per day as their heightened versions using any of their spell slots. Once two spells has been cast as their heightened versions in a day no other spell can be cast in this manner until the next day. The two heightened spells can continue to be cast as their heightened versions for the day.

That maintains actual spontaneous flexibility and would allow for good drama as the sorcerer an pull out a trump card twice a day but no more. They'll have to decide in the moment whether to lock in a spont height spell for the day. Fun tactical decision.

It's more powerful because of increased flexibility but still limited and at the start of the day potentially ANY of their spells can be spont heightened.

Edit: Added some wording to try and make clear that it's not just two heightened casts per day.


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Deadmanwalking wrote:
magnuskn wrote:
Wow. This seems terrible. Either increase the number of spells known or make more spontaneous heightening available. Otherwise the classes versatility has been nerfed into the ground to say hello to Rovagug.

From the perspective of power, let's examine some individual levels:

At 1st level a PF1 Sorcerer knows 2 spells, a PF2 Sorcerer knows three. Pure net win.

At 5th level, the PF1 Sorcerer has five 1st level spells known and three 2nd level ones. A PF2 Sorcerer has four 1st, four 2nd, and three 3rd. That's another net win (and indeed, will continue to be so at all odd levels).

At 10th level, it's 6, 5, 4, 3, 1 for the PF1 Sorcerer. For the PF2 Sorcerer it's 4, 4, 4, 4, 3. They gave up two 1st and one 2nd for one 4th and two 5th. That remains a net win.

At 16th, it's 6, 6, 5, 5, 5, 4, 3, 1 for the PF1 Sorcerer. It's 4, 4, 4, 4, 4, 4, 4, 4 for the PF2 Sorcerer. She's lost two level 1 and level two spells, as well as one each level 3, level 4, and level spell for one level 7 and three level 8 spells. That's technically a trade of 7 spells known for 4...but given the comparative levels, I'd still take the second set every day of the week.

And those last two are on even levels, where the PF2 Sorcerer fares worst. They remain ahead on all odd levels.

Sorry DMW to hijack your discussion with magnuskn, but I think something to consider is that although PF2 Sorcerers have overall a little more spells known, PF1 Sorcerers have the advantage of automatic spell progression, and no and I don't think 2 Spontaneous Heightening is good enough compensation for that.


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I like the embracing of Bloodlines, very cool! Also, evolutions!!


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magnuskn wrote:

Oh, wait, I read the thing wrong. Sorcerers now only get in total 3 spells known per level + their bloodline spell? Wow, that is a huge nerf for spell levels 1-5, except that at the first two levels they get their spells known faster than their PF1E counterparts.

That means that, with the need to take the same spells at multiple levels, there definitely needs to be a buff to spells known, either through feats, level abilities like a favored class bonus or by just simply buffing the number of spells known. Otherwise this is a terrible nerf to sorcerer versatility.

I assume that Pages of Spell Knowledge (if they even exist) will be gated by resonance as well, so this is a very strong concern. I think the devs were way too conservative in this aspect of the class. The only way this could not be terrible news with the new system is if the spell lists have been severely curtailed as well (which would of course present its own set of problems). Going forward into the usual development cycle of large numbers of spells being added throughout the next decade, this will become even more pronounced.

Wow. This seems terrible. Either increase the number of spells known or make more spontaneous heightening available. Otherwise the classes versatility has been nerfed enough into the ground to say hello to Rovagug.

Aside from what DMW pointed out in regards to the actual number of spells known you get at different levels generally putting the PF2 sorcerer ahead, there's a couple of things you are missing here.

A) There are in fact multiple ways for the sorcerer to expand their spells known. This preview mentioned Arcane Evolution, which aside from providing a skill training turns every scroll into a page of spell knowledge that you can swap out each morning. It is also mentioned that the sorcerer can use more scrolls and such per day. And we know that staves and other items essentially give you more spells known.

2) You don't NEED to take heightened versions of spells later. You can choose to take Invisibility at 2nd and 4th, if you like, and that comes at the same cost/benefit as taking both invisibility and greater invisibility in PF1.

3) If you learn fireball at every new spell level, I question why you aren't just using it for spontaneous heightening and why you aren't instead taking spells like Fire Snake and Meteor Swarm. Or just getting some higher level scrolls of fireball so you can use Arcane Evolution to gain access to them on days you are going to fight ice giants or whatever.

4) Having higher resonance means the sorcerer can dip into a bag of scrolls and other tools more often than the wizard.

Quote:

About using Resonance as a way to balance a class: that seems like a very very bad idea... Why? Because it seems to take for granted that since you will have a greater resonance pool, you will have more magic items, which is just plain wrong since Sorcerer should have the same wealth as a wizard.

Thus the "make up for her limited spell choice by having more staff/scrolls/wands" isn't true, because that means that the sorcerer will need to dilate his wealth in multiple magic items when the wizard will probably focus on fewer magic items with better potency.

The increased resonance pool of the sorcerer will probably a 1-3 points differences with the wizard, which shouldn't be that much, and it shouldn't been seen as a "have more scrolls, staves and wands" and more like a "have 1-2 more uses of a magic item per day".

Not reeeeeally. We know that the wizard can't craft items above their character level, but we don't know much beyond that on how WBL works out. It seems like a safe assumption that most parties will find a pretty substantial amount of consumables in their loot hordes.

However, scrolls and items that don't require investment are likely to be kept in the back pocket until they are needed, just like PF1. But unlike PF1, Resonance means you may find yourself in a situation where the scroll in your pocket would be useful and you don't have the Resonance left to use it.

Let's consider a sorcerer and a wizard with the same spells known and prepared, and access to the same bag full of scrolls. The sorcerer can dip into that bag more than the wizard and still have some buffer room for drinking potions and such. That's actually a very real way to make the sorcerer more "spontaneous" than the wizard, on top of being able to spam the same spell over and over easier.

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edduardco wrote:
Sorry DMW to hijack your discussion with magnuskn, but I think something to consider is that although PF2 Sorcerers have overall a little more spells known, PF1 Sorcerers have the advantage of automatic spell progression, and no and I don't think 2 Spontaneous Heightening is good enough compensation for that.

That's not super relevant though. Nobody in PF2 has that, so it's not a meaningful basis for comparison. Spells Known still is because they're comparing themselves to classes with the same number known as PF1 (ie: as many as they can afford, for a Wizard)...but automatic progression? No longer a relevant thing between casters.

It is, I suppose, relevant as compared to martial characters, but I consider the gap between casters and martials closing to be an unambiguous good.


As a naive, basically non-full caster player, I'm really looking forward to playing this sorceror class. I won't change the way I spell it though.

I'm not really understanding how folks think Oracles "have flavor" or how this sorceror does. They have the potential for flavor through their available choices, but as chassis I find them both particularly bland. But what choices! Lucky for me I have absolutely no idea what undercasting is or spell heightening or spontaneous complaining is - and with no prior edition legacy to have destroyed I'll just bumble my way through trying to create a battle sorceror and learn from my many and varied mistakes. Choosing Glutton Jabber Jaws every single time. Because nothing says I love you like temporary hit points gained from eating your foes. Okay, so I understand the temp hps don't stack, and I'm worried about the jaws Proficiency scaling well enough, but that just shows small participles of the various blogs are finally leaking into what I laughingly term my brain.

Love the 4 spell list types. And the ability to choose between them. I'm sure archetypes or exotic bloodlines will appear that will cross the streams.

Feats seem too important as usual, hiding necessary class FEATures in feats is not nice.


edduardco wrote:
Sorry DMW to hijack your discussion with magnuskn, but I think something to consider is that although PF2 Sorcerers have overall a little more spells known, PF1 Sorcerers have the advantage of automatic spell progression, and no and I don't think 2 Spontaneous Heightening is good enough compensation for that.

I'm not sure I buy this argument for a couple of reasons:

1) Many spells weren't automatically heightened previously, because they were different spells (invisibility, summon, cure). These spells actually give you *more* options than you had previously when you apply Spontaneous Heightening.
2) Spells that did scale well with level were fewer, and Sorcerers tended to focus on a few of them (Burning Hands, Fireball...). For these, you could use spontaneous heightening, or simply learn them at a few different levels.

This seems to me to pan out to be a somewhat similar number of spells, particularly when you consider that the absolute number of spells known (now just your number of slots) is similar to what you got in 1e.

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I really like the new look of the Sorcerer.

I am not really buying that 'options paralysis' is a bad thing or something that needs to be removed.

Over the course of most of the blog previews, we have been told that a goal of PF2 is to give the players meaningful choices and options as to how to spend their actions, and I think that giving the Sorcerer those same meaningful choices via spells is not a bad thing.

But as with everything, I'll try it out and see how it goes in actual play.


As for the Seonster, nice one as usual Wayne. Yep, definitely looking more Varisian now rather than "sessy hawtness on safari holiday". I'm digging the high collar, super wide belt/girdle and the staff, though of course I want a little more detail on the crozier-esque piece on top of it. The dagger is a little drab, and, par for the course with me, there is a distinct underembellishment in terms of bottles, fetishes, clips, sashes, buckles, knives, sticks, books, pouches, pockets, patches and all of those things twice again. Then again, this isn't my favorite iconic Feiya.

Personally I prefer her with longer, freer hair, or held high (still not Feiya) but obviously braids are awesome and this here is an adventurer who could do with some praciticality. Maybe some Varisian super complex braid - half rave shave, half Lagertha/Vikings in a future pic just to show a gal can mix it up and be true to her cultural roots rather than just pandering to some vague drembars on the other side of a fourth wall.

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Grumpus wrote:

I really like the new look of the Sorcerer.

I am not really buying that 'options paralysis' is a bad thing or something that needs to be removed.

Over the course of most of the blog previews, we have been told that a goal of PF2 is to give the players meaningful choices and options as to how to spend their actions, and I think that giving the Sorcerer those same meaningful choices via spells is not a bad thing.

But as with everything, I'll try it out and see how it goes in actual play.

Any fostering of meaningful choice in play must take into account the paradox of choice. The idea that having too many options decreases your satisfaction with your choice.


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I know it may be hard to believe, Paizo isn't trying to ruin your fun, or mess up your idea of the different classes. It's a playtest. A year long playtest at that. There will likely be a lot of changes to the final product, that's why we're here.

Personally for the Spontaneous Heightening I think the issue most people have is that it doesn't feel spontaneous. My thought is, just keep it exactly the same, but choose the spell spontaneously when you cast it, and then that spell is locked in as one of your heightened spells for the day. That is probably what i'll use when I'm GMing, and if it feels broken, i'll change it.

I don't know if this idea has been said or not, I haven't read all of the comments, so I apologize if I'm echoing someone else! I know this particular topic has been beaten to death.


What would happen if the sorcerer class could spontaneously heighten all spells known? Would this have to be balanced by restrictions the sorcerer to only a few spells known?


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Besides my proposition of including Undercasting as the default mechanic for heightenable spells... which I might just implement as a house rule post-playtest.

A 'Spell Mastery' class feat would be useful; allowing Sorcerers to select a spell (like magic missile, summon, or heal) and add it to the list of spells affected by spontaneous heightening (in addition to the two the choose). So that you can still "specialize" in a spell without trading up to ¼ of your spells known, or ½ of your spontaneous heightening slots for it (discounting gaining the spell via invested items of course).


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I think a lot of people are overlooking just how restrictive spontaneous heightening is. You can only do it on two spells per day, which have to be chosen at the start of the day. A couple of must haves which you will always need to have heightened and hey, now you're out. And I find it hard to believe that there are not more than two spells that a sorcerer would need to heighten in order to remain functional. After that, your blasting spells alone will need to be fully heightened just to keep up in terms of damage dealing, and you will likely have more than two of those if only to deal with energy resistances. Arcane Evolution could work, if we assume that it does not expend the scroll. Either way, it turns sorcerer into an incredibly item dependent class, which seems rather at odds with its theme. You are essentially playing a prepared caster at this point.

Sovereign Court

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Anyone have their PF1 sorcerer's spells known list handy? I want to see how much a PF2 sorcerer can cover.


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Usmo wrote:
I think a lot of people are overlooking just how restrictive spontaneous heightening is.

Really? It seems to be the most voiced complaint/concern.


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Usmo wrote:
I think a lot of people are overlooking just how restrictive spontaneous heightening is. You can only do it on two spells per day, which have to be chosen at the start of the day. A couple of must haves which you will always need to have heightened and hey, now you're out.

I don't think there's any "must have always heightened." There are "spells where having the flexibility would be nice." Or "spells where being able to adapt on the fly is REALLY good." (heal, cure, dispel, summon, etc) But it isn't like every spontaneous caster took those spells in PF1 anyway, so assuming they will NEED them to be cast at every possible level seems weird.

In fact, lots of spells that qualified as must haves in PF1 really don't need any sort of scaling or heightening to do their job. Haste and Fly, for example.

Quote:
After that, your blasting spells alone will need to be fully heightened just to keep up in terms of damage dealing,

They really don't. You can just take higher level blasting spells. Given how generous the retraining rules are compared to before, it seems pretty trivially to keep yourself up to date with the best new blast spell and trade out your old ones as you level up.

Hell, even if what you were saying was true, one imagines you'd really just want to learn the highest heightened level blast spell. You really gonna want fireball as a 4th level slot at level 17? If not, you don't need fireball for your spontaneous heightening.

Alternatively, from what we know about how weakness scales, even a basic spell like a 2nd level acid arrow may give pretty excellent returns at higher levels.

Quote:
and you will likely have more than two of those if only to deal with energy resistances.

We know resistance will be less common this time around, and we also have a metamagic feat that lets you reduce it.

Quote:
Arcane Evolution could work, if we assume that it does not expend the scroll. Either way, it turns sorcerer into an incredibly item dependent class, which seems rather at odds with its theme. You are essentially playing a prepared caster at this point.

I actually rather like making sorcerers have better mileage out of scrolls. Gives them something to get excited about in loot piles to make up for the fact that wizards can pilfer entire spell books.


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Fuzzypaws wrote:
Also not keen on a bloodline only getting three powers. At least with the way you did domains, it left open the possiblity that future books could print additional domain powers / feats for each domain to expand their options over time. But with you hard coding the three powers right in the bloodline listing like this, it pretty much slams the door on that. It's also particularly awkward with the demonic bloodline in specific, because it's seemingly Sin themed, but there are generally seven or eight classical sins and apparently only three of them warrant bloodline powers. :p

It would be incredibly simple to print future "bloodline powers" that are actually class feats that have a bloodline prerequisites. That would be directly in line with the existing advanced wizard school and cleric domain powers.


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OK. First thing, as someone who has been reiterating over and over again that he'd like to see exactly this from the sorcerer, I will refrain from expressing my true feelings on this being the truth and instead just say "Thank you."

...now if you excuse me, I need to stand in a closet for a moment and just scream for a few seconds.

...

...

...

...OK, done for now.

With all that said, I just want to take a moment to address those in this thread who see the Bard as being the full Occult caster of the Playtest.

The Bard... isn't a caster at it's heart. They have their unique ability of bardic songs, and outside of that they are a jack of all trades and master of none... which could actually take a VERY interesting application if applied to the new proficiency system, but my gut says that direction would not have made it far in the internal playtesting they've already done.

But back to the Bard and spellcasting, I can very easily imagine an Occult spellcasting bard. Just imagine the fictional archetype of a tarot card flipping, belly dancing gypsy. But going that direction ignores the lore singing skald, fairy ring dancing greensinger, or wizard college dropout lute plucker.

It is for that reason that with the same breath I've been evangelizing the sorcerer going the path that I am forever grateful it has ended up actually going down (spends a few more minutes in the closet screaming) but have also been saying the bard should go in the same direction. And if you think the bard would diminish the sorcerer if it went this route, you would be right... if the bard was a full spellcaster.

As said before, spellcasting was never the heart of a bard. Pathfinder 2.0 has the chance to redefine what it means to be a half caster, in fact it has to since in the current system just having sixth level spells isn't going to cut it. You probably won't have access to tenth level spells, or legendary proficiency in spellcasting. Spell slots will also likely be cut, though there are two paths I can see them taking to do that.

And honestly, I could imagine the bard operating on just spell points and cantrips by default, and having any casting of actual spells be a series of class feats. But just being the full occult spellcaster feels like you're is misses what is core to the bard.


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Chubby1968 wrote:
Usmo wrote:
I think a lot of people are overlooking just how restrictive spontaneous heightening is.
Really? It seems to be the most voiced complaint/concern.

The quotes seem to have gotten left out, but, that was mostly in response to some prior statements that sorcerers would not need to constantly relearn spells like Fireball, because they could simply use Spontaneous Heightening for them. When, really, the fact is that there will almost certainly be too many spells that need heightening for that to be sufficient, and odds are fireball isn't even at the top of the must-heightens, if the usefulness of blasting in PF1 is any indication.

Lantern Lodge

Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Campaign Setting, Companion, Roleplaying Game Subscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber

So I think Sorcerers potentially needing to learn multiple versions of heighten spells to avoid cutting into their Spontaneous Heighten, is fairly restrictive. In place of Spontaneous Heighten could Sorcerers instead get to pick one spell per spell level that they can flexibily heighten.

So at level 1 they have Magic Missle, Mage Armour and Featherfall and they choose Mage Armour to be freely heightenable.
Then when they get second level spells at third level they pick Scorching Ray as their free heightenable.

They have less flexibility in their heighten but they have more choices to work with.


@Usmo Ah, ok then. That makes more sense. ; ]


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PossibleCabbage wrote:
Secret Wizard wrote:

I found Oracle Curses to be terrible class design. They didn't mesh with the class at all, and seemed to be tacked on to their chassis.

I love Curses as a CHARACTER BUILDING tool though, and I think Archetypes are a much better way to apply Curses.

I mean in practice most oracle curses were effectively "which thing is least inconvenient" and most of them weren't so bad so the execution of the class needs more work. My hope is that one's curse is now tied to their mystery, so we can have thematic ties (e.g. the flames mystery has clouded your eyes) and have more substantial limitations/benefits

Still working through the trend, but this jumped out at me.

I like curses. I wish more classes had them. I can imagine a Cursed witch, for example, or paladin. I even drafted an archetype that gave an oracle's curse to vigilantes instead of dual-identity (flavored as why they "retired" from active adventuring, I really should revise that, actually). So I'm all for reintroducing curses to have more flavor and mechanical impact, but tieing them to specific mysteries would annoy me. I want to mix and match. I also would prefer it to be optional, rather than linked to a specific class, but that's not a deal breaker for me.

And yes, I realize letting people choose their curse will make it so that everyone gravitates to the curse with the least impact, which tells me they weren't really interested in the mechanic at all and maybe we should have rethought forcing it on people in the first place?


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HidaOWin wrote:

So I think Sorcerers potentially needing to learn multiple versions of heighten spells to avoid cutting into their Spontaneous Heighten, is fairly restrictive. In place of Spontaneous Heighten could Sorcerers instead get to pick one spell per spell level that they can flexibily heighten.

So at level 1 they have Magic Missle, Mage Armour and Featherfall and they choose Mage Armour to be freely heightenable.
Then when they get second level spells at third level they pick Scorching Ray as their free heightenable.

They have less flexibility in their heighten but they have more choices to work with.

I like this. Quibble: don't have them pick an Nth-level spell to be heightenable until they get their first (N+1)th-level spell slot to heighten it into.

I suspect this kind of choice can be changed in Downtime mode (taking a few days or maybe weeks, presumably) so it's (sometimes) more flexible than it looks.


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Benjamin_Mahir wrote:


With all that said, I just want to take a moment to address those in this thread who see the Bard as being the full Occult caster of the Playtest.

The Bard... isn't a caster at it's heart.

As how it should be, this argument has merit. As a prediction for how the Bard will be, I fear it is doomed. We know there's a spontaneous caster yet to be revealed, so it's the bard. And with the heightening framework and lack of custom early access spell lists by class, the old partial caster framework appears to be dead outside of limited spell point powers. So the Bard is probably going to be a full caster.

Liberty's Edge

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People keep comparing the PF2 Sorcerer to the PF1 Sorcerer, which is a mistake. It's a new edition, stop comparing it to the past. We need to be comparing the PF2 Sorcerer to other PF2 casters, and that's where it loses. I'm sorry, but spontaneous casting from a very limited list does not make up for the loss of versatility when compared to Wizards who can prepare from a spellbook full of spells, or divine casters that still automatically know every single spell on their list. We know from previous editions how powerful having access to such a large selection of spells is, and that spontaneous casting simply doesn't match up to it at all.

Sorcerers need to have more spell slots, unlimited heightens, or a much larger focus on Spell Points and Powers to compensate for their lack of versatility.

Dark Archive

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So.. one thing that is still incredibly unclear to me is what options a sorcerer has when picking new spells at a new level.

I get the spontaneous heightening. That is clear. But say I just reached level 3 and have unlocked my 2nd level spells. Can I CHOOSE to learn Summon Monster as a level 2 spell making this a permanent choice and blocking off availability of other level 2 spells..

or do Sorcerers ONLY learn spells at their base spell level and the only way to heighten them is through spontaneous heightening?

Liberty's Edge

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Darius Alazario wrote:

So.. one thing that is still incredibly unclear to me is what options a sorcerer has when picking new spells at a new level.

I get the spontaneous heightening. That is clear. But say I just reached level 3 and have unlocked my 2nd level spells. Can I CHOOSE to learn Summon Monster as a level 2 spell making this a permanent choice and blocking off availability of other level 2 spells..

They've specifically said you can do this, yes. It's probably a bad idea with Summon Monster, but learning Invisibility at 2nd, and then again at 4th to get the equivalent of Greater Invisibility seems very solid.


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Captain Morgan wrote:
Usmo wrote:
I think a lot of people are overlooking just how restrictive spontaneous heightening is. You can only do it on two spells per day, which have to be chosen at the start of the day. A couple of must haves which you will always need to have heightened and hey, now you're out.

I don't think there's any "must have always heightened." There are "spells where having the flexibility would be nice." Or "spells where being able to adapt on the fly is REALLY good." (heal, cure, dispel, summon, etc) But it isn't like every spontaneous caster took those spells in PF1 anyway, so assuming they will NEED them to be cast at every possible level seems weird.

In fact, lots of spells that qualified as must haves in PF1 really don't need any sort of scaling or heightening to do their job. Haste and Fly, for example.

Quote:
After that, your blasting spells alone will need to be fully heightened just to keep up in terms of damage dealing,

They really don't. You can just take higher level blasting spells. Given how generous the retraining rules are compared to before, it seems pretty trivially to keep yourself up to date with the best new blast spell and trade out your old ones as you level up.

Hell, even if what you were saying was true, one imagines you'd really just want to learn the highest heightened level blast spell. You really gonna want fireball as a 4th level slot at level 17?

Alternatively, from what we know about how weakness scales, even a basic spell like a 2nd level acid arrow may give pretty excellent returns at higher levels.

Quote:
and you will likely have more than two of those if only to deal with energy resistances.

We know resistance will be less common this time around, and we also have a metamagic feat that lets you reduce it.

Quote:
Arcane Evolution could work, if we assume that it does not expend the scroll. Either way, it turns sorcerer into an incredibly item dependent class, which seems rather at odds with its theme.
...

Except, there are spells that must be heightened in order to be useful. I'm not sure where you get the idea that spontaneous casters in PF1 didn't take Dispel Magic, when it was one of the must-have spells. That alone, will eat up half of your spontaneous heightening.

In regards to blasting spells, sure, you can switch out your now-obsolete lower level spells for higher level ones upon level up. But, that requires that you be able to exchange a fairly significant number of spells whenever you gain a new level, as opposed to 1e's example where you can hardly change your spells at all once they've been selected.

In regards to the must have spells from PF1, a lot of them don't need heightening to do because heightening was not really a thing in PF1. However, if haste did not scale, then its duration would simply be too limited to matter(it is 1/round a level only, after all, and if non-scaling means just one round, it's not worth much). So, yes, even those must-haves needed scaling to be useful.

And, sure, I'm all for sorcerers getting mileage out of scrolls, I'm all for Arcane Evolution. I'm not all for sorcerers being completely dependent on using scrolls as their own little spellbooks, just to get access to the heightened versions of spells. And, well, I'm still not sure whether Arcane Evolution expends the scroll along with your resonance, as in that case it becomes pretty crappy.


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JRutterbush wrote:

People keep comparing the PF2 Sorcerer to the PF1 Sorcerer, which is a mistake. It's a new edition, stop comparing it to the past. We need to be comparing the PF2 Sorcerer to other PF2 casters, and that's where it loses. I'm sorry, but spontaneous casting from a very limited list does not make up for the loss of versatility when compared to Wizards who can prepare from a spellbook full of spells, or divine casters that still automatically know every single spell on their list. We know from previous editions how powerful having access to such a large selection of spells is, and that spontaneous casting simply doesn't match up to it at all.

This is only true from a long term campaign perspective where time is not of the essence. As a specialist in "solving immediate, common, and recurring problems" the Sorcerer was and is better than the Wizard. Having a versatile utility and combat spell known (plus a bloodline spell and one freebie) that can be spammed up to four times a day can be much more useful than a Wizard having 3-4 options, some fringe or potentially useless, with only one repeatable at need.

Sovereign Court

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Usmo wrote:
In regards to the must have spells from PF1, a lot of them don't need heightening to do because heightening was not really a thing in PF1. However, if haste did not scale, then its duration would simply be too limited to matter(it is 1/round a level only, after all, and if non-scaling means just one round, it's not worth much). So, yes, even those must-haves needed scaling to be useful.

Not everything that scaled with CL in PF1 will scale with spell level in PF2. Some of those things, like duration, have become constant. And while damage spells may need to be heightened to be useful, control spells and utility spells work just fine in lower level slots.


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KingOfAnything wrote:
Dreamer3333 wrote:

Not bad, I have really like every class preview so far - this one falls a bit flatter imo though.

Love the spell list idea, and the bloodlines are cool - but I'm yet unconvinced that losing the "spells per day" advantage over wizards is overly balanced out by anything else, when you consider the spells known requirement - what makes them "that" different?

1) I'm a bit confused I think.
I thought there was only 1 "heal" spell - that just is better depending on at what level you cast it -- so you don't have to learn/know a different healing spell at every spell level.
The description of heightening helping out not needing to learn new "heal" spells confuses me, or at least makes me think my understanding was wrong from previous spell blog.

There is only one heal spell, but it does different things at different levels. A wizard can prepare heal (level 1),heal (level 2), or heal (level 3), or any combination of those spells in order to cast them in a day. Similarly, sorcerers have a repertoire of spells known. When they learn heal, they do so at a specific level (i.e. heal (level 1)).

But this is confusing and inconsistent. Suppose a wizard learns heal. If he prepares it in a level 2 slot, it is cast as a level 2 heal. If he prepares it in a level 3 slot, it is cast as a level 3 heal.

In contrast, suppose a sorcerer learns heal 2. Then, one day, when she's out of level 2 spell slots, she decides to cast it in a level 3 slot (assuming PF2 still allows casting lower level spells in higher slots). This means it will cast as a level 2 heal from a level 3 slot?

So, you say that there is only one heal spell, but this is not entirely true. For the wizard, there is only one heal spell to learn, which auto-heightens to the slot it is cast from. For the sorcerer, there are a bunch of heal spells at different levels to learn, which are cast at their respective spell levels, regardless of spell slot used. Just like in PF1.

Sovereign Court

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Captain Morgan wrote:


Not reeeeeally. We know that the wizard can't craft items above their character level.

He can still craft scrolls of more spells than the sorcerer, who's limited in crafting scrolls of spells he knows, which is a lot more limited. The sorcerer versatility here depends on what spell scrolls he manages to find/buy, which is limited by nature.

Captain Morgan wrote:


Not reeeeeally. We know that the wizard can't craft items above their character level, but we don't know much beyond that on how WBL works out. It seems like a safe assumption that most parties will find a pretty substantial amount of consumables in their loot hordes.

So... you're saying that it's ok because you expect all DMs to be generous on that side... which might be true in your gaming groups but not in all, which makes in those other case the sorcerer less appealing since the class depends more on the DM's generosity.

Captain Morgan wrote:


Let's consider a sorcerer and a wizard with the same spells known and prepared, and access to the same bag full of scrolls.

And that's wrong again... The wizard should have access to a lot more scrolls since he's able to create them from his spellbook, while the sorcerer can only create scrolls from his limited spell list. Thus, they will NEVER have access to the same bag full of scrolls.


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Personally, I feel like Sorcerers should be freely able to upcast everything, and Spontaneous Heightening should go to Wizards, tweaked a bit to allow them a limited ability to heighten a spell without having prepared it heightened ahead of time.

Thematically, it also feels backwards to me for the Sorcerer to be the one with the big focus on item 'batteries'. That seems like a more appropriate niche for wizards, lacking as they do the innate wellspring of power of their sorcerous brethren.

Liberty's Edge

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Perhaps prepared casters heightening and spontaneous casters undercasting could be a thing?


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Revan wrote:
Thematically, it also feels backwards to me for the Sorcerer to be the one with the big focus on item 'batteries'. That seems like a more appropriate niche for wizards, lacking as they do the innate wellspring of power of their sorcerous brethren.

I think it makes sense, for one major reason: Scrolls. A wizard can leave open a spell slot, or do the 10 minute swap a spell slot thing, for flexibility towards unforeseen problems. They might use scrolls for some things, if they're in a hurry or underprepared, but they have much more recourse for that. With Sorcerers, Scrolls are their only way for dealing with not only unexpected circumstances, but also forseen (but niche) circumstances, meaning they'll be more heavily reliant on scrolls in a way that wizards are not.

Liberty's Edge

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Xenocrat wrote:
JRutterbush wrote:

People keep comparing the PF2 Sorcerer to the PF1 Sorcerer, which is a mistake. It's a new edition, stop comparing it to the past. We need to be comparing the PF2 Sorcerer to other PF2 casters, and that's where it loses. I'm sorry, but spontaneous casting from a very limited list does not make up for the loss of versatility when compared to Wizards who can prepare from a spellbook full of spells, or divine casters that still automatically know every single spell on their list. We know from previous editions how powerful having access to such a large selection of spells is, and that spontaneous casting simply doesn't match up to it at all.

This is only true from a long term campaign perspective where time is not of the essence. As a specialist in "solving immediate, common, and recurring problems" the Sorcerer was and is better than the Wizard. Having a versatile utility and combat spell known (plus a bloodline spell and one freebie) that can be spammed up to four times a day can be much more useful than a Wizard having 3-4 options, some fringe or potentially useless, with only one repeatable at need.

That's not the balancing factor you think it is. Wizards can prepare commonly needed spells as well, and they have options to re-cast spells if they need to use them multiple times. But even in a fast-paced campaign, a Wizard's ability to react day-to-day to the path the adventures are taking vastly outclasses the Sorcerer's minute-to-minute versatility. A sudden surge of undead start attacking villages? On day 1, the Wizard and the Sorcerer are equally unable to adapt to the situation. From day 2 onward, however, the Wizard is preparing anti-undead spells, while the Sorcerer is still stuck with whatever static spells they know. And if the Sorcerer uses some downtime to retrain to anti-undead spells (keeping in mind that this means it's now a situation where "time is not of the essence"), they're in the same boat again once the focus of the campaign shifts away from undead.

The only time the Sorcerer's versatility outshines the Wizard's is when there is a time-sensitive issue that must be solved within 24 hours that requires more than 2 or 3 uses of a given spell that is common enough for the Sorcerer to use a limited spell known slot on. This does not come up nearly enough to balance out the Wizard's versatility in most other situations.


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lowfyr01 wrote:
But if even seeing part of her leg like on a cover is problematic for some people the problem might not be with the outfit.

No hot, forbidden ankle? I'm out. Even a burkini shows ankle.

Hmm wrote:
Generally speaking, the first words out of anyone’s mouth upon meeting me at a convention are, “Wow. You really are a gnome!”

I've seen you in costume: You're slightly taller than a gnome! ;)

Azih wrote:
It's not spontaneous heightening. It's PREPARED heightening.

Oxymoronically, it's prepared spontaneous heightening.


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Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

People keep saying it's great you can now choose what kind of spell list you want to cast from, and I'm really not seeing that.
What we get is an arbitrary and locked pairing of certain spell lists to certain bloodlines. No more arcane casters descended from demons or angels, all fey-related sorcerers casting primal spells (will there be charms, illusions, curses...?)...
If I wanted to cast arcane spells I played a sorcerer, and I could get whatever bloodline matched my character at the time for the origin of his powers, but now I only get a small selection of the bloodlines.

I really don't like heightening. I was already iffy about it for prepared casters and absolutely loathe it for spontaneous. One of the key points no one has told us (I think) is how often do we get to change our spell load-out. Any less than every new spell level would be the nail in the coffin for sorcerers for me.

Increased resonance pool seems a great boon at first (although with the new ability score raising method and the changes to stat boosting items I suspect it won't be that large of a difference), but you get the same wealth as a wizard, so the only area where I think it could be an advantage is in using non one shot items like staves and wands... that require either spell slots (staves) of which you have the same as the wizard or charges (staves and wands) of which you recharge the same as the wizard with staves or not at all with wands. (EDIT: All this setting aside that sorcerers will likely be worse at crafting spell related items than wizards and availability of exactly the right magic item)

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