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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As far as spells known woes and flexibility vs. the wizard go, those concerned are going to go big for Arcane, and to a much lesser extent Occult, lists since their Evolution feats grant a floating spell known that can change every day. The important question is whether these are limited to a spell level lower than your highest known.

A feat that allows you to change one of your Spontaneous Heightening slots 1/day would be pretty great, too.


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Gregg Reece wrote:
rooneg wrote:
So is the Imperial bloodline approximately the same as the old Arcane bloodline?

More like the Vestige bloodline from Blood of the Ancients. Although, it could probably cover the Arcane bloodline for the purposes of the playtest.

Being as this is just the playtest, I imagine the final CRB will have a longer list.

Or possibly the Imperious human-only bloodline? Though Seoni *was* Arcane before.

I assumed the name change was mostly just because more than one bloodline will grant the arcane spell list and they wanted to avoid confusion.


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Pathfinder Adventure Path, Maps, Starfinder Maps, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Secret Wizard wrote:
PossibleCabbage wrote:


PF2 also needs the Shaman back to represent a cleric analogue for more animistic cultures.
Keep it. Nothing holding back from Clerics being animistic other than the othering of pantheistic religions.

Or they could play a druid.


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Spontaneous heightening seems arbitrarily restrictive to me. Why limit the ability to 2 spells per day? I appreciate the ability to choose what spells to be heightened, but it just seems more intuitive that sorcerers (and other spontaneous casting classes in the future) gain this ability automatically for ALL spells they know.

It would certainly help keep a sorcerer on theme compared to prepared casters. Spontaneous casters are limited in their width of abilities, but should excel at whatever narrow range of powers they have, as compared to the broad competence of prepared casters. Given that spontaneous casters don't even have the advantage of extra spells per day compared to prepared casters now, spontaneous heightening for all spells seems like a baseline level of balance rather than anything overpowered.


Paladinosaur wrote:
I think some of you might be confusing how heightened spells work. You only have to learn them ONCE, at their lowest level, and later can prepare/cast them with higher level slots for additional benefits.

According to the blog, you can only do that if it is one of your designated "spontaneous heightening" spells. If it is not, you have to mark as known at the heightened level to be able to do that. Unless it is a cantrip.

I have to say, this is one up on the wizard. The wizard has to memorise a spell as heightened level to be able to cast it that way, making the sorcerer slightly more flexible.

That said, I am a little concerned at the lack of choice. If I want to play an Arcane Sorcerer I currently have 2 bloodlines to choose from. Pf1 core had 10. I know the playtest doesn't have the full list, but even if they expanded it to 10 again, how many would be arcane? 2-3? that's a real come down on 10.

The option of playing a different spell list is nice, but each one suffers from the same problem (ok, pf1 had no primal, occult or divine spell list, so technically that's an upgrade in choice, but 2-3 bloodlines is still not much choice). I can see the sorcerer being an alternative cleric, or a negative energy channeler as powerful options, but I could just as easily have got that as a cleric. One of the things I loved about playing the sorcerer was access to the arcane spell lists. Now that's not guaranteed unless I pick from a diminishing list.

Of course, the spells may have been moved around so that the spell lists are more balanced in strength, so we would need to wait for the final document to see if arcane still has the sexier spells. meantime I will have to stick to the two bloodlines that give me arcane.


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Okay first things first New!Seoni is a total Queen. Kudos to Paizo and to Wayne, she's absolutely beautiful.

As for the sorcerer... what should I say? I love it. Simply love it. They can cast from any 1 of the 4 spell lists depending on their bloodline, that by itself is frankly awesome. Plus granted spells, and powers, and even signature skills!

Btw I'm totally fine with them becoming Legendary at spellcasting at 19th level. Sure, fighters become Legendary at swinging sharp metal objects at 13th, but they need it to keep up. Also sorcery... well, you're never really in total control, are you? It's in your blood, it flows with your emotions, sometimes it doesn't do exactly what you envisioned... but at 16th level you master it. And at 19th... Jeez Louise.

So Charisma is officially inborn magical potency in addition to social aptitude - interesting, it relates with the theory of magnetism I think. So that's how resonance enters the picture. Okay, I can dig it.

Spontaneous Heightening is solid. Good stuff.

Oh, just a tiny wrinkle - Overwhelming Spell mentions acid, lightning, fire and ice - all solid damage types, but does that mean in PF2 we still can't use classical elements as they are to blast foes, à la The Last Airbender? I was writing about how I don't see how acid relates to earth, and how an undine or a marid occupy a different conceptual space than a Jadwiga White Witch. I mean, if Bending-style element blasts will come later, with the kineticist, it's all fine (or maybe an elemental Bloodline could give powers really focusing on the actual element!) - but I sorta hoped there would be also Water damage in 2e, and Earth damage, y'know?

Anyways, just a tiny preference. Really don't know what to say. Love the concept, love the execution, demon bloodline sorcerers look pretty damn badass, having all lists available according to bloodline... In all honesty no one could have asked for more.

Cheers Paizo, this is probably your best-received blog post since you announced 2e! Enjoy the very well deserved praises! Excellent job, and I can't wait to run this baby!

Paizo Employee Designer

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worldhopper wrote:


I think Mark's explanation of the flaws of undercasting is fair, but it's still less awful than this system (where you will STILL have to blow your top level spells known on existing spells if you want to be able to heighten them and are using SH for something else).

That comparison leaves out an important point, though: Sure, if my character wants four heightened spells in the spontaneous heighten system, rather than just dispel and summon, I need to spend my new two spells to do that, but the undercasting character has already run dry after dispel and summon; they don't have more spells known left to spend, even though they now get more spells known of their top level than sorcerers once did.


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I started very hopeful about 2nd edition, now I'm ever more disappointed about it as the new blogs come out. New subsystems like Resonance and Non-Automatically Scaling Spellcasting (NASS) created to solve non-problems turn to ever more clunky solutions. Really didn't like spontaneous heightening, and sorcerer getting fewer spell per day, as many as the wizard gets. If it were not for NASS those need not to exist. And now sorcerers become more atuned to items, which I don't like, sorcerers should have less need of magical implements. Great Corellon, I loathe bloodline-dependant spell lists, sorcerers should always be arcane. In 1st edition it was cool for you to get thematically appropriate spells from other lists, I even think we should be able to get more, but changing the whole list is too much. The mechanical reason sorcerers and wizards were physically weaker in 3rd edition (only one good save, worst BAB, and worst HD) was because their spell list was generally better than divine lists, more versatile, giving sorcerers a different list althogether just throws them off. My idea of sorcerers always was that they did the same thing as wizards, but with a different method/technique, what wizards had to research was something that came instinctively to a sorcerer. Beauty being a different approach to the same art (or rather, Art). I want more intermingling between spell lists, not locking a class away in one of them and giving it just some pinches of magic from other sources.

Only three bloodline powers through out the whole sorcerer carreer? And before you answer "evolution feats", those are thematically tied to the spell list, not the bloodline per se. The individual bloodline should be the focus for thematic customization, not the spell list it is drawing from, the spell list is just another aspect of customization, it shouldn't be the basis for it, that should be the role of the bloodline. Also, bloodline powers always being spells that you cast: where are the passive bloodline powers? Woodland Stride, Unusual Anatomy, Draconic Resistances, Added Summonings??

And why is there even a difference between arcane and occult?? Arcane means occult. Why can't I have a sorcerer or wizard that rearranges the basic building blocks of reality and communes with spirits with the same ease? Or a cleric of Wee Jas [or Pharasma, or Nethys] that has learned arcane secrets from ancient scrolls in her church's library? Why can't arcane magic be as esoteric, mysterious, and occult as divine and psychic magic? Why can't nature magic be arcane magic just as it is divine or "primal"? Also, who will use the occult list? Bards?? Bards are awesome, but they are (or rather should be, imho) arcane.

Having individual [i]and[/i~] shared lists like in 1st edition, with the possibility of getting cross-lists spells (through bloodlines, domains, prestige classes, etc.) was great. You could have lists shared by two or three classes that made sense together, like Sorcerer/Wizard, Cleric/Oracle/Warpriest, Bard/Skald, etc. But you also had unique lists for more specialized classes, like Witch with her mix of buffs/debuffs drawn from the cleric mixed with cackling arcane drama. Or the Inquisitor, with her unique spells mixed with cleric-drawn spells, and whatever spells helped this pragmatic individual to hunt down or rat out heretics. The Shaman, which most people would judge at first to be "just another druid or cleric" when actually it got a singular spell list that reflected its animistic theme. These lists were a great tool to create uniqueness using both the concepts of close magical practice for some and a more apart spellcasting for others. Having just four lists to fit all the spellcasters into is just bland to me. I was hoping that maybe 2nd edition could take the 1st edition approach but providing more accessible options for those who want to get cross-list spells.

This has always been to me a question of whether will I transition to 2nd edition and port somethings from 1st edition into it or the other way around. Now it seems that it will probably be the later rather than the former. I mean, I love skill feats, three-action economy, device-tinkering alchemists, backgrounds, and weapon traits, among other things. But these new lists, Resonance, NASS, spell points, and less spell slots are driving me away.


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My question here is will we be able to cast our 3rd level spell with a 5th level slot, even if the spell isn't heightened?

If not, I'd call this heightened spell mechanic utterly terrible.


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Fumarole wrote:
Secret Wizard wrote:
PossibleCabbage wrote:


PF2 also needs the Shaman back to represent a cleric analogue for more animistic cultures.
Keep it. Nothing holding back from Clerics being animistic other than the othering of pantheistic religions.
Or they could play a druid.

Well, you could do a Druid for like the Waves, Flame, Life, Nature, and Stone shamans, sure. But it's a hard sell for a Druid to be an Ancestors Shaman, a Slums Shaman, a Battles Shaman, a Bones shaman, or a Dark Tapestry shaman. Shaman class is more people or community focused than the druid.

Like the archetypes blog has shown that they aren't super willing to wildly mutate classes via archetypes. So rather than having a Cleric not devoted to a deity or a Druid unconcerned with nature, we could just have more classes in later books. It's not like later books aren't going to have more classes, since "new classes" get people excited and sell books.


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With a demonic bloodline, is the only way to gain access to a heightened disintegrate to use one of my two spontaneous heighten slots on disintegrate?
(assuming disintegrate is on the Arcane spell list and i only have access to the Divine spell list, therefore i can not take a heightened disintegrate as a normal spell known)


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I would just like to say upfront, that all my comments are 'suggestions' not demands. I'm just trying to help.
So first of all, I like what you guys have done with this class. It's interesting and fresh but I take issue with two things.

1. Spontaneous Heightening (Edit: It seems this horse has been beaten to death. It took awhile to write this post so I hadn't noticed. Sorry...)

2. Bloodline Powers seem lackluster (more on what I mean by this later)

So first of all, Spontaneous Heightening. (PS. If I am misunderstanding how this works I apologize.)
I know you guys made Spontaneous Heightening the way you did to prevent decision paralysis but there's a problem.

In Mr. Seifter's own words; "There's no longer any need to learn long chains of spells that are incrementally different and each require you to refer back to the previous spell."

Except there still is for a Sorcerer.
A Wizard can just learn Summon Monster and be done with it after losing one spell known.
A Sorcerer who wants to know them all has to either use one of his Spontaneous Heightening slots every day or 'Nine' spells known. That's a full half of his flexible spells known! It seems like the Sorcerer gets less spells known and less bang for the buck if you ask me...

If you don't think new players will be able to handle Unlimited Spontaneous Heightening then I suggest that the ability levels with you.

So at the start you can only Heighten two spells spontaneously, at level three it goes up a little then again at level seven or so, then around level sixteen you can apply it to all your spells. This would ease new players into the system so that they would have to learn how to function even with lots of choices.

Lets face it, caster have always had a lot of choices but Sorcerers are suppose to be like Wordcasters. Able to instinctively work with magic and manipulate it to their will. Now, wordcasters were hard to learn but once you did they were extremely fun to play because of how much control you had. All I'm saying is, giving Heightening to the prepared spellcasters but not the spontaneous seems kinda counter-intuitive.

So now onto the Bloodline Powers and what does Lackluster mean?

Okay, so lackluster might have been the wrong word but to show you what I mean lets take a look at Glutton's Jaws...

Glutton's Jaws basically makes it so I don't need a backup weapon cause in an emergency I can summon up a pretty good enchanted weapon if enemies get too close for comfort.

So what's the problem?
Well, if I wanted to play some kind of martial Sorcerer this wouldn't really help me because:
1. I could make an even better weapon.
2. I can't enhance this cause it's temporary.
3. If I wanted to use shape-shifting spells to maul my enemy like a druid, then this still doesn't help unless I can apply it to that forms natural attacks.

So what I'm saying is that while this lets me replace my back-up weapon it doesn't really factor into my tactics much...
In the first edition you could bite in addition to whacking the guy with your sword but now you have to bite 'instead' of doing that and the sword happens to be better than your dentures at damaging.

So this becomes a matter of economics or more specifically, a matter of incentives.

Thus it wouldn't be a good idea to actually think about using this power except in very specific situations because their are much better alternatives.

I suggest that you add a clause to the ability that instead allows you to infuse your existing natural attacks with profane power to apply a lesser buff to them. Ideally this buff would stack with but not replace an Amulet of Mighty Fists or similar item that upgrades Natural Attacks. That way it feels like your that much better at Natural Attacks instead of just saving some cash also it would feel like your making something better rather than gaining a static, un-upgradeable weapon.

In short, I request abilities that can be built upon and that will change the way you play because you have them... If that makes any sense.

Thank you for all your hard work!
Good day.


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Rek Rollington wrote:
I was concerned when I heard you needed to know a spell at a higher level to cast it there so spontaneous heightening is a relief. But what is the logic behind them not being able to do this all the time? Is it too much of an advantage over a wizard or does it present too many options to a player when selecting which spell to cast?

That would be my guess; total spontaneity would give a lot of flexibility, possibly too much for balance purposes.


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Mark Seifter wrote:
worldhopper wrote:


I think Mark's explanation of the flaws of undercasting is fair, but it's still less awful than this system (where you will STILL have to blow your top level spells known on existing spells if you want to be able to heighten them and are using SH for something else).
That comparison leaves out an important point, though: Sure, if my character wants four heightened spells in the spontaneous heighten system, rather than just dispel and summon, I need to spend my new two spells to do that, but the undercasting character has already run dry after dispel and summon; they don't have more spells known left to spend, even though they now get more spells known of their top level than sorcerers once did.

But again, say there's a new sorcerer with the spells you listed and the demonic bloodline. She's probably going to want to use her SH on Slow and Disintegrate, since she's otherwise incapable of heightening them (unless I missed something with bloodline spells?). But when she gets 7th, 8th, 9th level spells, she probably still wants her Dispel Magic and Summon Monster to be good, right? So she'll still need to take those when she gains the new slots, meaning yes, she has more spells she can cast at her highest level, but she's still not going to be taking anything *new*. And unlike the undercaster, she doesn't even necessarily get to pick new lower level spells to replace them, since presumably she still wants to be able to cast them at a lower level, and thus has to keep them as spells known at that level.

I mean, I still feel like being able to spontaneously heighten at will is the best option (or at least one that should be playtested externally), but undercasting still feels like a more intuitive and elegant alternative if that's completely out of the picture. I guess we'll see come August how it plays out.

Grand Lodge

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I really like Spontaneous Heightening. I don't really understand why the rest of you don't. :)

I really wish all these X/day abilities work on Spell Points though, just like all other classes. (Ki, channels, etc)


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Is "get a third spell to spontaneously heighten" a thing doable via a feat?


Wow I didn't expect that Sorcerers could choose their spell list, that is definitely new and interesting.

On the other hand spontaneous casting in PF2 is just awful, I cannot see myself playing it, and is just another point in the trend of nerfing casters.

I have already stated my displeasure of gating 10th level spells behind a feat. So overall I'm quite disappointed with what has been previewed.


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Varun Creed wrote:

I really like Spontaneous Heightening. I don't really understand why the rest of you don't. :)

I really wish all these X/day abilities work on Spell Points though, just like all other classes. (Ki, channels, etc)

I like Spontaneous Heightening too. My problem with it is that it only applies to 2 spells per day, rather than every spell the sorcerer knows. They still have to spend MORE spells known, in order to get to cast higher (or sometimes, lower) level versions of other spells.

Spontaneous casters are meant to be restricted but highly flexible within that restriction. Why dampen their flexibility in addition?

Paizo Employee Designer

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Lockewood wrote:
In Mr. Seifter's own words; "There's no longer any need to learn long chains of spells that are incrementally different and each require you to refer back to the previous spell."

The context here of "require you to refer back to the previous spell" I hoped made it clear way back in that blog, but it seems not (you're not the first to mention this), so to clarify: The "you" in this quote who is learning what spells do and referencing other spells is you, the player.

Dark Archive

I am liking what I am seeing with the Sorcerer. But makes me think why would I play a wizard.


I swear it was mentioned at some point that bloodline spells also automatically benefited from spontaneous heightening (though it wasn't known by that name then). Was that in error?


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I like most of what I see a lot.
One question: Does a Wizard need to relearn a spell for each spell level they would want to heighten it to?
If not this heightening difference seems really lopsided and odd, especially since learning spells is much less limited for prepared casters.


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Mark Seifter wrote:
Lockewood wrote:
In Mr. Seifter's own words; "There's no longer any need to learn long chains of spells that are incrementally different and each require you to refer back to the previous spell."
The context here of "require you to refer back to the previous spell" I hoped made it clear way back in that blog, but it seems not (you're not the first to mention this), so to clarify: The "you" in this quote who is learning what spells do and referencing other spells is you, the player.

So... Summon Monster is still 9 spells, but the Wizard gets all 9 for the price of 1 and the Sorcerer has to spend their Spontaneous Heighten to get the same effect?

Could Sorcerers just use spell points to Heighten spells instead?


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Pathfinder Campaign Setting, Companion Subscriber
Cyouni wrote:
I swear it was mentioned at some point that bloodline spells also automatically benefited from spontaneous heightening (though it wasn't known by that name then). Was that in error?

Bloodline powers do that.


PossibleCabbage wrote:
Fumarole wrote:
Secret Wizard wrote:
PossibleCabbage wrote:


PF2 also needs the Shaman back to represent a cleric analogue for more animistic cultures.
Keep it. Nothing holding back from Clerics being animistic other than the othering of pantheistic religions.
Or they could play a druid.

Well, you could do a Druid for like the Waves, Flame, Life, Nature, and Stone shamans, sure. But it's a hard sell for a Druid to be an Ancestors Shaman, a Slums Shaman, a Battles Shaman, a Bones shaman, or a Dark Tapestry shaman. Shaman class is more people or community focused than the druid.

Like the archetypes blog has shown that they aren't super willing to wildly mutate classes via archetypes. So rather than having a Cleric not devoted to a deity or a Druid unconcerned with nature, we could just have more classes in later books. It's not like later books aren't going to have more classes, since "new classes" get people excited and sell books.

I wouldn't worry, Cabbage - I don't know if we'll get shamans in core (gut feeling says no) but certainly in a later book, no doubt. Shamans occupy a niche no current class can really fill, even with the utmost modularity. No archetype will match the variety of shaman types we had in 1e, and what's more, it shouldn't - using a cleric is a bad fit, and druids, well, they're all about nature and shapeshifing... they can be shamans ad interim, but we will have actual shamans later on. I could bet you anything. Same thing for witches and oracles, my money's on them being republished, fixed and polished for 2e, full classes.

Paizo Employee Designer

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tivadar27 wrote:
Though I do worry that rolling all(?) of the spontaneous casters into a single class is a bit of overgrouping and doesn't give them as much room to make their possible feats more niche.

It's not really all the spontaneous spellcasters. It's a broadening of the sorcerer, but doesn't preclude other spontaneous casters from coming along later and this isn't the only spontaneous caster in the book.


I wonder if there is any information on the distribution of PF1 sorcerer bloodlines (maybe from PFS). If 3/4 of PF1 sorcerers were covered by 3 bloodlines, then 10 is really 3 in terms of comparisons to the # of PF2 arcane bloodlines.

Paizo Employee Designer

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worldhopper wrote:
Mark Seifter wrote:
worldhopper wrote:


I think Mark's explanation of the flaws of undercasting is fair, but it's still less awful than this system (where you will STILL have to blow your top level spells known on existing spells if you want to be able to heighten them and are using SH for something else).
That comparison leaves out an important point, though: Sure, if my character wants four heightened spells in the spontaneous heighten system, rather than just dispel and summon, I need to spend my new two spells to do that, but the undercasting character has already run dry after dispel and summon; they don't have more spells known left to spend, even though they now get more spells known of their top level than sorcerers once did.

But again, say there's a new sorcerer with the spells you listed and the demonic bloodline. She's probably going to want to use her SH on Slow and Disintegrate, since she's otherwise incapable of heightening them (unless I missed something with bloodline spells?). But when she gets 7th, 8th, 9th level spells, she probably still wants her Dispel Magic and Summon Monster to be good, right? So she'll still need to take those when she gains the new slots, meaning yes, she has more spells she can cast at her highest level, but she's still not going to be taking anything *new*. And unlike the undercaster, she doesn't even necessarily get to pick new lower level spells to replace them, since presumably she still wants to be able to cast them at a lower level, and thus has to keep them as spells known at that level.

I mean, I still feel like being able to spontaneously heighten at will is the best option (or at least one that should be playtested externally), but undercasting still feels like a more intuitive and elegant alternative if that's completely out of the picture. I guess we'll see come August how it plays out.

The undercaster simply can't have a top level 7th-9th slow, disintegrate, summon, and dispel at the same time, no matter what she does. A spontaneous heightener could theoretically do this, though in actuality, she probably wants to pick up 6th level slow individually (it's the level slow gets an enormous power boost) and not as a spont heighten or a top spell known for spell level 7+, for example.


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Pathfinder Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
doc roc wrote:
A ballsy move by Paizo thats for sure, and with the possibility of having a divine magical tradition, things are looking interesting for the Oracle....

Is Oracle now an arch-type for Sorcerer?


Ultimatecalibur wrote:
The Gold Sovereign wrote:

I think there's a misunderstanding about spontaneous heightening. Spontaneous casters can't cast summon monster IV if they have learned summon monster II, yet their caster level will affect their fire ball spell, as there's no Fire Ball II or III, there's only fire ball.

Correct me if I'm wrong, but spontaneous heightening will let me cast summon monster IV even though I have learned to cast the version II of the spell, right?

You are misunderstanding about spells. There shouldn't be multiple versions of the Summon Monster spell (or if there are they specify different things they summon so Summon Dragon and Summon Celestial would be different spells). Spell's effects are determined by the level of Spell slot they are assigned to.

Really? So the summon monster spell no longer work like this on PF2? You simple have to learn or prepare it on higher level slots?


Mark Seifter wrote:
Lockewood wrote:
In Mr. Seifter's own words; "There's no longer any need to learn long chains of spells that are incrementally different and each require you to refer back to the previous spell."
The context here of "require you to refer back to the previous spell" I hoped made it clear way back in that blog, but it seems not (you're not the first to mention this), so to clarify: The "you" in this quote who is learning what spells do and referencing other spells is you, the player.

Oh I see! You also mentioned Undercasting, does that mean if I learned the equivalent of Summon Monster IX that I could undercast all the other as a Sorcerer?

Also, that wasn't really the point of my post. I just wanted to show a possible solution to the decision paralysis.
Sorry again for beating a dead horse and thank you for responding to our posts.


PossibleCabbage wrote:
Is "get a third spell to spontaneously heighten" a thing doable via a feat?

I assume the Arcane and Occult Evolutions let you pick the spell level you learn them at, which is part of the way there.

I suspect full heightening is only something you really want for spells that have lots of heighten options (preferably at every level, like I'm guessing Dispel Magic and Summon Monster) and where spamming it at a few of your highest levels makes sense. Blasting spells won't be smart heighten options because taking a naturally higher level blasting spell would be better.

Paizo Employee Designer

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Lockewood wrote:
Mark Seifter wrote:
Lockewood wrote:
In Mr. Seifter's own words; "There's no longer any need to learn long chains of spells that are incrementally different and each require you to refer back to the previous spell."
The context here of "require you to refer back to the previous spell" I hoped made it clear way back in that blog, but it seems not (you're not the first to mention this), so to clarify: The "you" in this quote who is learning what spells do and referencing other spells is you, the player.

Oh I see! You also mentioned Undercasting, does that mean if I learned the equivalent of Summon Monster IX that I could undercast all the other as a Sorcerer?

Also, that wasn't really the point of my post. I just wanted to show a possible solution to the decision paralysis.
Sorry again for beating a dead horse and thank you for responding to our posts.

It is an alternative we considered that proved to be too restrictive compared to spontaneous heightening.


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I wonder how much the spell lists (arcane, divine, etc) will be "balanced on their own". I know there is Evolution Feat options that further differentiate each spell list/tradition, but it seems necessary for them to be balanced on their own, since you won't necessarily take any Evolution Feats. Personally, I hope there is Bloodline-specific Evolutions (or whatever you want to call them), not just tradition-specific Evolution Feats, so you can amplify the Demonic, Fey, Angelic, etc aspect specifically.

I do wonder what implication this has for Oracle. Would that just become Feat chain, possibly allowing swapping spell-list independent of Bloodline powers? As Archetype, it could even be class-agnostic?

About Heighten, it does fundamentally seem strange for a Wizard to be able to arbitrarily choose any # of spells to Heighten each day (limited by spell slots), but a Sorceror can't. I don't think focusing just on "max level" slots like has been done above gives justice to issue. Perhaps a compromise would be allowing the Sorceror to be able to prepare-as-Heightened similar to a Wizard AND have limited spontaneous-Heighten ability on the side. I feel like part of calculus is not letting low-level Spells Known freely "upgrade" to high-level Spells Known, although I feel that concern isn't as strong as it seems at first glance, considering the Wizard is being allowed to gain spells and later freely Heighten them at no cost.


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Thebazilly wrote:
Mark Seifter wrote:
Lockewood wrote:
In Mr. Seifter's own words; "There's no longer any need to learn long chains of spells that are incrementally different and each require you to refer back to the previous spell."
The context here of "require you to refer back to the previous spell" I hoped made it clear way back in that blog, but it seems not (you're not the first to mention this), so to clarify: The "you" in this quote who is learning what spells do and referencing other spells is you, the player.

So... Summon Monster is still 9 spells, but the Wizard gets all 9 for the price of 1 and the Sorcerer has to spend their Spontaneous Heighten to get the same effect?

Could Sorcerers just use spell points to Heighten spells instead?

Pretty much.

Since the Sorcerer is so restricted on their number of spells known, they absolutely should be the masters of the spells they do know.

At the VERY least there should a feat that lets them increase the # of spells they can spontaneously heighten or maybe some feature that starts them out at 2 then get +1 for each level of TEML they move up.


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Mark Seifter wrote:
worldhopper wrote:
Mark Seifter wrote:
worldhopper wrote:


I think Mark's explanation of the flaws of undercasting is fair, but it's still less awful than this system (where you will STILL have to blow your top level spells known on existing spells if you want to be able to heighten them and are using SH for something else).
That comparison leaves out an important point, though: Sure, if my character wants four heightened spells in the spontaneous heighten system, rather than just dispel and summon, I need to spend my new two spells to do that, but the undercasting character has already run dry after dispel and summon; they don't have more spells known left to spend, even though they now get more spells known of their top level than sorcerers once did.

But again, say there's a new sorcerer with the spells you listed and the demonic bloodline. She's probably going to want to use her SH on Slow and Disintegrate, since she's otherwise incapable of heightening them (unless I missed something with bloodline spells?). But when she gets 7th, 8th, 9th level spells, she probably still wants her Dispel Magic and Summon Monster to be good, right? So she'll still need to take those when she gains the new slots, meaning yes, she has more spells she can cast at her highest level, but she's still not going to be taking anything *new*. And unlike the undercaster, she doesn't even necessarily get to pick new lower level spells to replace them, since presumably she still wants to be able to cast them at a lower level, and thus has to keep them as spells known at that level.

I mean, I still feel like being able to spontaneously heighten at will is the best option (or at least one that should be playtested externally), but undercasting still feels like a more intuitive and elegant alternative if that's completely out of the picture. I guess we'll see come August how it plays out.

The undercaster simply can't have a top level 7th-9th slow, disintegrate, summon, and dispel at the...

Is a demonic sorcerer allowed to take slow as a 6th level spell known? Are bloodline spells from other lists treated as being added to your class spell list in addition to being added to your spells known at the given level? If so, that's something that could be clarified in the blog post.


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Secret Wizard wrote:
PossibleCabbage wrote:


PF2 also needs the Shaman back to represent a cleric analogue for more animistic cultures.
Keep it. Nothing holding back from Clerics being animistic other than the othering of pantheistic religions.

Indeed, although I think any Shaman class should be much more closely tied via archetype to the Druid (as it should have been in PF!)

The Shaman was/is a really badly designed class IMO in PF1 that overlaps with far too many other classes and as a result is fiddly to use and unjustifiably OP...

TBH I dont see the need for it in PF2

Paizo Employee Designer

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Rek Rollington wrote:
I was concerned when I heard you needed to know a spell at a higher level to cast it there so spontaneous heightening is a relief. But what is the logic behind them not being able to do this all the time? Is it too much of an advantage over a wizard or does it present too many options to a player when selecting which spell to cast?

Those, with the latter slowing down play at the table immensely. Plus it really pushes you to choose spells that have heightening effects, distorting your spell selection too much. Also, spontaneous heightening can be really strong with certain spells, and we wanted you to have to pick and choose a couple to focus on at a time rather than having all that access always and outpacing prepared casters.


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The Gold Sovereign wrote:
Ultimatecalibur wrote:
The Gold Sovereign wrote:

I think there's a misunderstanding about spontaneous heightening. Spontaneous casters can't cast summon monster IV if they have learned summon monster II, yet their caster level will affect their fire ball spell, as there's no Fire Ball II or III, there's only fire ball.

Correct me if I'm wrong, but spontaneous heightening will let me cast summon monster IV even though I have learned to cast the version II of the spell, right?

You are misunderstanding about spells. There shouldn't be multiple versions of the Summon Monster spell (or if there are they specify different things they summon so Summon Dragon and Summon Celestial would be different spells). Spell's effects are determined by the level of Spell slot they are assigned to.
Really? So the summon monster spell no longer work like this on PF2? You simple have to learn or prepare it on higher level slots?

For prepared casters it seems like there is only one spell Summon Monster which you prepare in a spell slot and it then acts as Summon Monster of the spell level of the spell slot it is prepared in.

For spontaneous casters it looks like when you learn spells you learn them at a specific level so for spontaneous casters there really are nine different summon monster spells.

My gut tells me that it would be simpler to just let the sorcerer cast any spell known in any spell slot of minimum level or higher rather than have this spontaneous heightening thing but I guess in less than a month we can try it out and see how it goes.


Danbala wrote:
doc roc wrote:
A ballsy move by Paizo thats for sure, and with the possibility of having a divine magical tradition, things are looking interesting for the Oracle....
Is Oracle now an arch-type for Sorcerer?

No: Archetypes are not class dependent, first and foremost. Secondly, if you want you can take a celestial bloodline sorcerer right now and call it an oracle, but later on, after the core books, we'll have extra products, with extra classes, and some of them will be the witch, the shaman, the *actual* oracle... and many others.


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ArenCordial wrote:
Thebazilly wrote:
Mark Seifter wrote:
Lockewood wrote:
In Mr. Seifter's own words; "There's no longer any need to learn long chains of spells that are incrementally different and each require you to refer back to the previous spell."
The context here of "require you to refer back to the previous spell" I hoped made it clear way back in that blog, but it seems not (you're not the first to mention this), so to clarify: The "you" in this quote who is learning what spells do and referencing other spells is you, the player.

So... Summon Monster is still 9 spells, but the Wizard gets all 9 for the price of 1 and the Sorcerer has to spend their Spontaneous Heighten to get the same effect?

Could Sorcerers just use spell points to Heighten spells instead?

Pretty much.

Since the Sorcerer is so restricted on their number of spells known, they absolutely should be the masters of the spells they do know.

At the VERY least there should a feat that lets them increase the # of spells they can spontaneously heighten or maybe some feature that starts them out at 2 then get +1 for each level of TEML they move up.

This is what I was concerned... There're 9 in 1 for wizards, while a sorcerer has to learn each of them or spend spontaneous heightening usages.

Liberty's Edge

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Roswynn wrote:
Danbala wrote:
doc roc wrote:
A ballsy move by Paizo thats for sure, and with the possibility of having a divine magical tradition, things are looking interesting for the Oracle....
Is Oracle now an arch-type for Sorcerer?
No: Archetypes are not class dependent, first and foremost.

In fairness, we'll probably see Class Dependent Archetypes at some point. But not in the playtest.

Roswynn wrote:
Secondly, if you want you can take a celestial bloodline sorcerer right now and call it an oracle, but later on, after the core books, we'll have extra products, with extra classes, and some of them will be the witch, the shaman, the *actual* oracle... and many others.

This is probably true, but not something we have 100% certainty on.


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Logan Bonner wrote:
Rek Rollington wrote:
I was concerned when I heard you needed to know a spell at a higher level to cast it there so spontaneous heightening is a relief. But what is the logic behind them not being able to do this all the time? Is it too much of an advantage over a wizard or does it present too many options to a player when selecting which spell to cast?
Those, with the latter slowing down play at the table immensely. Plus it really pushes you to choose spells that have heightening effects, distorting your spell selection too much. Also, spontaneous heightening can be really strong with certain spells, and we wanted you to have to pick and choose a couple to focus on at a time rather than having all that access always and outpacing prepared casters.

If spontaneous heightening were available to all spells for spontaneous casters, would have been good enough for prepared casters to function as Arcanists, that the spells prepared for the day can be cast as many times as slots are available?

Paizo Employee Designer

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Quandary wrote:
I feel like part of calculus is not letting low-level Spells Known freely "upgrade" to high-level Spells Known, although I feel that concern isn't as strong as it seems at first glance, considering the Wizard is being allowed to gain spells and later freely Heighten them at no cost.

As the designer who was most in favor of give spontaneous casters free spont-heightening on everything early on, having then tested it out, I am willing to admit I was wrong. It's a combination of extreme load on the sorcerer's turn and the power of pinpoint targeting of the exact spell level you need. Like it's one thing to think "Yeah, the wizard could just prepare exactly a 5th level dispel magic, or a 7th level remove curse" but in reality, there's almost no chance the wizard prepared exactly that. Most likely he didn't prepare either of them at those levels or above. If you're lucky, maybe he prepared it almost at those levels (giving him some chance to help) or above those levels (so a sure thing, but only if he wastes a higher-level spell slot than necessary to solve the problem). The sorcerer always has exactly the minimum spell level you need to solve the problem with minimum effort, every time; this is something that might take some time playing around with it to see the full ramifications though. Now if you have the day to dispel the spell or remove the curse, the wizard can prep those spells tomorrow, sure, but the sorcerer can also change up her spontaneous heighten as well, so they both can handle it the next day.


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Another possibility that interested me was if your bloodline allowed you to spontaneously Heighten thematic spells.

So the Ifrit bloodline would let you Heighten spells with the Fire descriptor in addition to one or two spells of your choice.

There are probably many flaws with this idea but if the Developers like it feel free to steal it.

Edit: Also, if you could Heighten your bloodline spells automatically that would make a certain kind of sense...

Paizo Employee Designer

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Captain Morgan wrote:
I hope blasting damage is looking all right. I've been optimistic, but those feats leave me a little underwhelmed at first glance. (Though, if Dangerous Sorcery works off each seperate "hit" for a spell, Heightened Magic Missile is gonna be awesome.)

That's definitely one we're planning to keep a close eye on!


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Quandary wrote:
About Heighten, it does fundamentally seem strange for a Wizard to be able to arbitrarily choose any # of spells to Heighten each day (limited by spell slots), but a Sorceror can't. Perhaps a compromise would be allowing the Sorceror to be able to prepare-as-Heightened similar to a Wizard AND have limited spontaneous-Heighten ability on the side. I feel like part of calculus is not letting low-level Spells Known freely "upgrade" to high-level Spells Known, although I feel that concern isn't as strong as it seems at first glance, considering the Wizard is being allowed to gain spells and later freely Heighten them at no cost.

None of this would be a problem if they hadn't choose to overhaul the whole spellcasting system and replacing it with NASS (Non-Automatically Scaling Spellcasting). Not only did they put NASS in place but they even reduced the spells per day. So is double-nerf showdown on casters. And so the sorcerers would get a huge boost in this system if they were to be allowed to heighten at will or they get a huge drawback having to spend a spell known for each spell level version of the same spell they want, and Spontaneous Heighten is a shoddy tool for trying to fix this. But what irritates me a lot on top of all the problems these new subsystems cause is when a hear a phrase trying to sell them as a good thing. Like "now your cleric can choose which spell level he wants to cast his spell with!". I've always loved you, Paizo, but no, don't try to push this on me. State things plainly, "we are nerfing spellcasters", don't sugar-coat it.


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Lockewood wrote:

Another possibility that interested me was if your bloodline allowed you to spontaneously Heighten thematic spells.

So the Ifrit bloodline would let you Heighten spells with the Fire descriptor in addition to one or two spells of your choice.

There are probably many flaws with this idea but if the Developers like it feel free to steal it.

That would be cool, and would kind of make up for the loss of arcana.

Heck, even just having spontaneous heightening at will on all bloodline spells (and bloodline spells only) would be a better fit, I think.

Part of what's putting me off, at least, is having this weird daily preparation thing on a character whose abilities aren't supposed to stem from daily preparation but are just part of who they *are*.


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I like a lot of this. I feel like spontaneous heightening should scale with level to some extent, because otherwise the ability seems to get comparably worse as you level. At level 3, you can pick 2 of your lets say 6 spells known and heighten them. That is 1/3 your repetoire excluding cantrips. Jump to level 7, you can pick two of your lets say 12 spells known. Now it is half as effective. And it just keeps getting worse. Maybe include feats to increase the number at least?

Also, I was kinda hoping bloodline powers would all be customizable similar to how oracles pick revelations instead of all getting the same ones at the same levels (for a given mystery), though that is more a matter of personal taste than a flaw in the class.

Overall however, looks good. Maybe sorcerer will be worth picking over wizards for me in the new edition, a welcome change.

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