Bard Class Preview

Monday, July 16, 2018

The bard—it's arguably the most iconic support character. For some reason, bards are often the butt of goofy jokes, even though they're powerful force multipliers who can contribute to just about every aspect of play. Bard is one of my favorite classes in Pathfinder, and it has some of the most exciting changes of any of the classes in the Pathfinder Playtest, but I'm going to start you with a big one first. Are you sitting down yet? OK, good:

Bards are full 10-level spellcasters.

Spellcasting

As before, bards are spontaneous spellcasters who make up for having not quite as many spells as the other spontaneous caster, the sorcerer, by having special bardic performances. But this time around, bards don't have a delayed spellcasting progression. Instead, they have one fewer spell in their repertoire and one fewer spell slot per day at each spell level, compared to the sorcerer. That's pretty awesome already, but here's the even cooler part: bards have collected all sorts of esoteric bardic knowledge since forever, right? With an offbeat spell list that combines mental magic, a handful of unique additions, and a little bit of healing, bards are the primary occult spellcasters, blending mental and spiritual essences. That brings bards, whose spell list has grown with far less than that of wizards, to the forefront among the other primary spellcasters. This has given us the opportunity to create a bunch of cool never-before-seen bard spells for the playtest. Also, as I mentioned in the spells blog, bards can replace the Somatic Casting and Verbal Casting components of spellcasting by playing a musical instrument, in case you want a bard who plays the violin to cast his spells! But what about their performances? How do those come into play?

Compositions

Compositions are a special type of spell that only bards gain. You might be thinking these are probably powers like other classes, right? Not so! In exchange for their slightly lower number of spells bards get, most of their compositions are cantrips, usable at will, meaning you no longer need to worry about running out of bardic performance rounds per day. Not only that, they're often cast with a single action. They start out with a composition that will likely look familiar.

Inspire Courage Cantrip

Cantrip, Composition, Emotion, Enchantment, Mental
Casting [[A]] Verbal Casting
Area 60-foot aura
Duration 1 round

You inspire your allies with words or tunes of encouragement. You and all allies in the aura gain a +1 conditional bonus to attack rolls, damage rolls, and saves against fear.

Usually, a bard can cast only one composition per turn and have only one active at a time.

Bards have powers and Spell Points in addition to their compositions. Many bard powers allow you to manipulate and customize your performances as you desire, including increasing the duration, granting a more significant bonus (an extremely powerful benefit), or having multiple compositions active at a time. Typically, these extra benefits require a successful Performance check to activate and provide an even more powerful effect on a critical success. Take for example, lingering composition.

Illustration by Wayne Reynolds

Lingering Composition Power 1

Enchantment, Power
Casting [[F]] Verbal Casting; Trigger You finish casting a cantrip composition with a duration of 1 round.

You attempt to add a flourish to your composition to extend its benefits. Attempt a Performance check. The DC is usually a high-difficulty DC of a level equal to the highest-level target of your composition, but the GM can assign a different DC based on the circumstances. The effect depends on the result of your check.

Success The composition lasts 2 rounds.
Critical Success The composition lasts 3 rounds.
Failure The composition lasts 1 round.

But altering your performances with special modifications like this is just one of several paths represented by a new bardic class feature…

Muses

A bard's inspiration comes from a unique place—his muse. There are three muses in the Pathfinder Playtest. The first is maestro, focused on powers that alter compositions. Next is lore, focused on Occultism, willpower, and unusual knowledge. The third is polymath, focused on being a jack of all trades with increased skills and ability to handle unexpected situations, including the ability to keep a spellbook to prepare a small number of new spells to add to your repertoire each day. As befits the individualistic nature of a performer's muse, none of the initial muse abilities are exclusive, so you can use your feats to traverse as deeply as you want into the abilities from each path; your muse merely represents a starting point on your bardic journey.

For example, if you select the maestro muse at 1st level, you gain the Lingering Composition bard feat (granting you the lingering composition power detailed above) and add soothe to your spell repertoire, but any bard can take this feat or learn this spell—selecting the maestro muse just grants them as a default.

Bard Features

As a bard, you gain spellcasting and occult spell proficiency at the same levels as the other spellcasters, new spell levels at every odd level except 19, expert proficiency in occult spells at 12th level, master proficiency at 16th level, and legendary proficiency at 19th level. You also have the most trained skills at 1st level except for rogues, just barely edging out rangers. Finally, you begin play at 1st level with two compositions, the inspire courage cantrip (which has been detailed above) and the counter performance power.

Counter Performance Power 1

Composition, Enchantment, Fortune, Mental, Power
Casting [[R]] Verbal Casting or [[R]] Somatic Casting; Trigger You or an ally within 60 feet must roll a saving throw against an auditory or visual effect.
Area 60-foot aura

You protect yourself and allies through performance. Choose an auditory performance if the trigger was auditory or a visual performance if it was visual, then roll a Performance check for the chosen performance. You and allies in the area can use the higher result of your Performance check or their saving throws.

Since you need to use only a reaction to cast counter performance, rather than needing to activate it ahead of time like in Pathfinder First Edition, creatures that rely on visual or auditory effects will have a really hard time messing with you!

Bard Feats

Bard feats tend to fall in two categories: feats associated that are loosely associated with one of the three muses, and those that grant you a new composition.

For instance, the Cantrip Expansion feat at 4th level allows you to add two cantrips from the occult spell list to your spell repertoire, which can come in handy for those bards with the lore or the polymath muses. The powerful 14th-level Allegro feat, on the other hand, grants you the following cantrip to add a spring to an ally's step.

Allegro Cantrip

Cantrip, Composition, Emotion, Enchantment, Mental
Casting [[A]] Verbal Casting
Range 30 feet; Targets one ally
Duration 1 round

You perform rapidly, speeding your ally. The ally is quick and can use the action to Strike, Stride, or Step.

There's plenty of favorites in there from among bardic masterpieces from Ultimate Magic too, like house of imaginary walls, which Cosmo used with his goblin bard to mime a box around my ranger, trapping me with a dangerous enemy while Cosmo remained safe and sound.

In a nutshell, bards now have a vast number of quality-of-life improvements, while fundamentally staying true to the way they worked before. Fellow bard fans, what do you think?

Mark Seifter
Designer

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Tags: Pathfinder Playtest Wayne Reynolds
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Mark Seifter wrote:
Multiple DC thresholds like that doesn't play too nicely with degrees of success (imagine TAC is 3 lower and you beat the full AC by 7, which beats the TAC by 10).

Yeah I was thinking about that and I figured in that case the spell crit effect would go off but the weapon crit wouldn't.

Like I said it gets a bit crunchy. But combining magic with an attack is an advanced move in any case and seems like it would be a fun thing, purely theoretically speaking.


Pathfinder Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

There is less need for a combat oriented Gish like a Magus to need to attack the Touch AC. Their weapon proficiency isn’t as far behind that of a fighter that they need the same tricks just to be able to hit.

Starfinder already has a hack (Empower Weapon) that does something like the Magus Arcane Pool ability to enhance a weapon. I expect that something like this would be pretty easy to put into a PrC. Doing so would make it possible to add spell combat ability to any spellcaster, which would help recreate the Magus, Eldritch Scion, and Warpriest.

I think the bigger issue will be waiting for the follow on books to fill some of these niches! More than likely some of the 3PP will take their shot at this as well.


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perhaps the secret to recreating the feel of the magus without the old mechanics are special actions that replicate abilities from the past. instead of "i use spellstrike and attack with my rapier to hit with shocking grasp" it's i use "this feat/spell point that adds *insert elemental damage* to my damage roll"

but this getting kind of further from the Bard. One joke both in game and out of game was, "what exactly is bard magic," and "bards are dirty cheaters"(specifically this second part is set a lot in our 5e games as opposed to our pathfinder games because in 5e Bards can snipe the best spells from any class as certain levels, often earlier than some of those other classes can naturally learn them. And I think having them be occult casters helps define it better in away that makes sense, that still provides the feeling of "oh god, what in the world are bards."


Pathfinder Rulebook Subscriber

Cryo Chamber: Azathoth 1 This is the kind of sounds I think of when the Mythos comes up..not orations and arias...except for The King in Yellow and you only get to sing that once.. so can a Lore Bard be a sanity blasted cultist who DOESN'T sing or make speeches or generally go near Performance? Because we totally need a way to represent the mind melting horror of the Blind Idiot God.


You know, with all of this talk about whether a Bard can be Occult or not, I went back to look at Occult Adventures. Surprisingly, it's not NOT describing a Bard. At all.

Also, seconding all the people saying Arcane has just as much of a weird and "dark" connotation. The only reason you guys don't think so is because of D&D and Pathfinder. You're looking at the word in a way more normalized way than most other people. They're both pretty iffy.

And yessssss. I needed to know a little bit more about Magus-ish builds. Now I just need a Witch approximation. I've got ideas for that though. Which I'm sure will be less than useful when I report it in the surveys. But I will.

Oh. I guess I could use Gunslinger information too, like if Guns are just items people can use now. Even if they still have to get proficiency outside of their class. But I also have ideas. So you're in luck. More questionably useful data.


Spellslinger needs to be a universal archetype when guns get added to the game!


Mark Seifter wrote:
Xenocrat wrote:
Mark Seifter wrote:
Revan wrote:
Seems to me that we're already halfway to Magus with the way casters are going to be interacting with the new proficiency and action systems. All you really need is an archetype giving you access to action economy boosts for melding spellcasting and attacks and weapon/armor proficiencies as class feats and voila.
The thing is, you already have the action economy you need to make one attack at no penalty and cast a typical spell, so all you need is a way to easily get all the proficiencies (which there also is) and you can have an awesome magus character like Amanda's wizard in our office game.
That takes care of a spell combat facsimile, but not spellstrike. Although with the way crits work now the main benefit of channeling a spell through your weapon is lost unless a PF2 magus concept could somehow make its to-hit against regular AC better than its to-hit against touch AC.
In theory, since connecting two things on the same Strike and attack bonus is pretty useful, you could have a situation where you can deliver the touch attack with a weapon Strike so you can put the combined damage on a single Strike at your highest bonus. Not sure if balanced, though. There's also already a pretty strong spell-combat-esque-round encouragement feat out there for wizards and sorcerers, which is a must-have for the magus-ish build.

Okay I am reeeaaally curious about that one and...does it work for clerics and druids too?


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Azih wrote:
Spellslinger needs to be a universal archetype when guns get added to the game!

As opposed to a 1-level dip before entering any other casting class.

Actually Gunslinger itself would make a pretty good Uncommon Archetype, combined with an Eldritch Knight/Arcane Archer style archetype to make a Spellslinger.


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PossibleCabbage wrote:
Seltyiel Fan! wrote:

Re_posts on Magus being possible as just an archetype:

NOOOOOOOooooooo...!

:p

[A lot on]... "what is to become of all these gishes" or "is there more to the magus than a warrior who magics or a magic-user who fights?"

Ummm...

I am potentially OK with a few?some?many? of the "non-core rulebook" classes (introduced in later supplements/rulebooks from PF1) being doable as archetyped/multiclassed character options in PF2.

So, if the Magus actually doesn't appear as its own class but can be done well as an alternative build to one of the base classes, I'll learn to deal with it.
But that really wasn't the point of my post.

I'm not OK with potentially losing an iconic of which I'm a fan were this to be the design route chosen for PF2.

It's there in the alias above the pic of said iconic... There is more to the Magus class than just its mechanics (for some).
And it applies to all "non-core" classes, too.

Also, I was being over-dramatic/silly. There wasn't anything really serious about it. ^^
Doesn't invalidate what you were trying to say, though.

<sigh>
Oh, well. Thanks anyways.
<shrug>

Take 2
Re_posts on Magus being possible as just an archetype:

NOOOOOOOooooooo...! What about Seltyiel?!

:p

--Seltyiel Fan!


Really like this preview for the Bard! Can't wait to try it out come August.

Carry on!

--C.


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Seltyiel Fan! wrote:


NOOOOOOOooooooo...! What about Seltyiel?!

:p

--Seltyiel Fan!

He goes back to being the Iconic Eldritch Knight?


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CorvusMask wrote:

Huh interesting what they have done with 1e core book casters. Seems like previous martial casters(paladins and rangers) are now just martials, even alchemist(not from 1e core) got turned into its own thing rather than being weird pseudo caster. Meanwhile the five original core casters seem to now follow this pattern: four of them have spell list unique to their theme(arcane = wizard, cleric = divine, bard = occult and druid = primal) and fifth one is generalist that can use any of them depending on bloodline.

It makes sense to make bards level 10 casters if they are now the "occult" rather than "just" funny magical music men

That said, Bard Supremacy(which has always been a thing) is now official :D

It would have made more sense to me to make sorcerer the full Occult caster to further differentiate them from wizards, and have the bard (as the jack of all trades class) be the one that could mix it up with different spell lists depending on his muse (or something similar).


None of the non-core iconics are safe from removal; it has been indicated that even if the class returns that doesn't necessarily mean it'll have the same iconic.

Personally I think all non-core iconics should be half-orcs to make up for the race/ancestry getting snubbed again.


Cantriped wrote:
Seltyiel Fan! wrote:


NOOOOOOOooooooo...! What about Seltyiel?!

:p

--Seltyiel Fan!

He goes back to being the Iconic Eldritch Knight?

Fair enough. :)

_________________________________________

Seltyiel! NOOOOOOOooooooo...!

;p


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Arachnofiend wrote:
Personally I think all non-core iconics should be half-orcs to make up for the race/ancestry getting snubbed again.

Why do we even still have half-orcs? I don't see Orcs amongst the core races. Is it the origin-by-rape fantasy, or just legacy considerations? Pathfinder 2 needs Half-Goblins, because the purple golem loves their goblins.

Seriously though, An Iconic of every race would be the way to go, though I would be happier still if all the Iconics were Human... except that the Iconics (especially the Core ones) are part of Paizo's brand identity and its too late to change the whole line-up now.

Maybe we could have seen Kyra replaced with Oloch (warpriest) or Imrijka (inquisitor) since the hybrid classes are probably all dead.


Seltyiel Fan! wrote:
Fair enough. :)

There is also a chance he'll wind up in a seperate list of 'Evil Iconics' as the sexiest Half-Elf Wizard-Pirate* in the Inner Sea.


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Cantriped wrote:
...though I would be happier still if all the Iconics were Human... except that the Iconics (especially the Core ones) are part of Paizo's brand identity and its too late to change the whole line-up now.

I am already attached to the little withered gremlin that is Fumbus, don't you dare take him away from me.

Cantriped wrote:
Actually Gunslinger itself would make a pretty good Uncommon Archetype, combined with an Eldritch Knight/Arcane Archer style archetype to make a Spellslinger.

Inb4 I just give a bunch of NPCs reloadable wand-guns specced for martials and start yet another PC/world arms race.


Elleth wrote:
I am already attached to the little withered gremlin that is Fumbus, don't you dare take him away from me.

You're right, I love that little guy too. Way more than Damiel*. Maybe we need an all goblin line-up for the We Be Goblins Adventure Path.

*I'll just add him to the Evil Iconics wishlist over here...


Friendly Rogue wrote:
Felinus wrote:
Down the line, I imagine magus would go the route of Paladin in 2e using class feats and spell points to give powers.
I don't know, the thought of the Magus not getting spellcasting seems really off to me, and it somewhat clashes with the concept of someone who melds arcane study with martial training. I feel like leaving the door open for a new Arcane Paladin-esque class in the future would be a better fit. I would suggest the Bloodrager would be a good fit, but considering the Sorcerer is no longer exclusively Arcane, it doesn't have as strong a fit into the concept anymore.

I imagine the Paladin-esque Magus would bend/push the limits of Resonance in much the same way the Alchemist has been pegged to do. Although in this case it'll focus on weapons and armour while including going beyond the limitations of potency and rune slots too.

I nominated Paladin as a starting point because they add a bit of divine power to a martial chasis, much like a Magus or Eldritch Knight does Arcane and removes much of the feat tax of modding a full caster. For what the Magus does, it doesn't need a full caster spell allotment.


PossibleCabbage wrote:
Renchard wrote:
Milo v3 wrote:

Occult flavour is about things like cults, rituals, invocation, forbidden practices, relics, sacrifice, drawing in power from outside, sympathy, spirits, old gods, ascension, etc.

Occult flavor is now more about bard stuff. New edition, new flavor.

Also, even in PF1 the Occult was also about stuff like "predicting the future with harrow cards or similar" or "object reading" or "perceiving people's auras" or "hypnotism" or "faith healing", all of which are wholly in the bard's wheelhouse.

What Milo is talking about is the darker side of occultism, let's have the classic bard hero define the lighter side of occultism.

If you want to think of it differently Arcane is High Art magic where as the Occukt is more like hedge magic, still gets the job done but it requires a different way of thinking.

Leaning into the hedge magic side of things, it reminds me of Pratchett's Witches and Headology. It's a perfect fit for the discipline involving mental and spiritual essences.


Late, but who cares. Diving into it.

Spellcasting:
Well, other people called this combination (though I'm not a particular fan of them being full spellcasters), and it's official, you either are or are not a spellcaster in this game. No 2/3 or 1/2 spellcasting progression (which makes it more simple I suppose), it's all or nothing. Not sure how I feel about it, especially since by a lot of people's standards, Paizo's 2/3 spellcasting classes were some of their best works (and one of them even got into Core for their pseudo-casting!).

For those who like their Bards able to be powerful spellcasters, it's great. For those who preferred Bards to be more capable of melee and such? Oops, looks like you're no better than a Ranger or Rogue now, who are lucky to ever get Legendary proficiency in weaponry and unique combat abilities.

Compositions:
So apparently Bardic Performances got replaced with Compositions, which are a subset of cantrips that only Bards can select (though it could be anyone with an Occult spell list, I don't know). Again, not sure how I feel about this, because if spells like Silence from PF1 are in play in PF2, then congratulations, the person that was dancing can't use Inspire Courage, the sample Composition we're given. (To be fair though, a Dancer can't even utilize Inspire Courage anyway, since it requires Verbal components, which is a major change from PF1.) In addition, this will eat into your actions every round in combat, meaning you're going to be much more of a sitting duck in comparison to PF1.

I'm more interested in what a Bard cantrip can do outside of grant numerical bonuses, since that was really all a Bard was in PF1: a buff bot that made other people's numbers better. The Lingering Composition feature does go a ways in cutting down on how many actions you burn in a turn just to keep people's numbers up, but with it being possible to waste actions for no benefits, and with no accurate Check DC to gauge it on, it's more of a gamble, which is just bad design which can screw players over.

Muses:
Short paragraph is short, but also very unusual, and a bit confusing. From what I can tell, it seems Muses are just a "bonus feats in a feature" choice, which is just awkward for a Bard to have. This is something that a Fighter already has in Combat feats (or are they General feats? I don't remember), and a Rogue has in Skill feats, except it is more limited, and even if you don't select a certain Muse, you can still select those options through your open character choices as well. If that's all it is, don't think it really needs to be its own special feature section, and Bards should just get additional Class feats for better customization.

One reading of this also makes it seem like it's a "character preset," that is, if you select a Muse, your 1st level feat defaults to that choice. One of the biggest things I disliked in PF1 (especially in PF1S) was "cookie cutter" options that everyone would take, and stuff like this can very well promote that stuff, which invariably affects people's willingness to be more unique and customized, so if that is all what Muses are, I will be sorely disappointed.

Bard Features:
Typical spellcasting progression (though I am curious on if it affects anything other than Save DCs of spells; could perhaps be a requirement for certain feats, but we haven't seen any of those yet), and with two shoehorned Compositions (I would have preferred two Compositions of your choice, but one complaint at a time here). It's simplistic and consistent, but it is a little bland.

It's hard to say if Counter Performance will be useful or not based on what can trigger it (for example, would Illusions trigger it?), but I will give props to it being a Reactionary Cantri-I mean, Composition, and it providing some powerful benefits in relation to the triggers. I'm a little worried about a Bard selecting only one Performance type and getting screwed out of what Counter Performance does and does not affect. I think Bards will be required to invest in multiple Performance skills in order to make it work properly (which is a little silly).

The Cantrip Expansion feat sounds neat, and I'm curious if it really is Bard only, or if other classes can take it? I mean, all spellcasters have Cantrips, it'd make sense for them to have this choice as well (even if it means limiting it to selecting it only once).

The Allegro feat is really powerful for martials, but it comes into the class feat choices way later than it should. I don't know if Bards can caste Haste in PF2 (or if it's still a 3rd level spell with Heightening benefits). If they can, then the feat is a waste of actions that something like Inspire Courage would still be better than (which was a problem in PF1). If they can't, then why not just let the Wizard burn his lower tier spell on Haste?

I mean, there is a benefit in it being a Cantrip in that it can last and be used all day (combined with Lingering Performance for a 2 action pseudo-Haste spell for an ally), but assuming 3rd level Haste is still in PF2, a 14th level Wizard can cast that spell over 3 times per day if he so wished, and I highly doubt he has other uses for those spell slots. There's also the "15 minute adventuring day" to consider, in that, how often should a party of 14th level characters expect to fight appropriately CR'd enemies? If it's numerous times per day, stuff like this will have more inherent value, but if it isn't, then having an "at-will" pseudo-haste doesn't sound as appealing.

Overall, I think the Bard has potential. I've seen a couple cool and useful Compositions (though they need some tweaking and more information to confirm their usefulness), but there are again some things that need clarification and updates. For example, I don't know if Muses are "cookie cutter" options that players can choose, or if they actually grant benefits outside of what the class can already choose from (i.e. bonus feats). I'd like to believe Muses are extra benefits, but there's nothing to confirm or deny that in the blog post.

I'm also curious if Bards can be useful martial combat characters; based on them being converted to full spellcasters, I'm inclined to say no, since that appears to be a niche that such classes can't "combine" into a hybrid form similar to what we've seen in PF1.


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Felinus wrote:
PossibleCabbage wrote:
Renchard wrote:
Milo v3 wrote:

Occult flavour is about things like cults, rituals, invocation, forbidden practices, relics, sacrifice, drawing in power from outside, sympathy, spirits, old gods, ascension, etc.

Occult flavor is now more about bard stuff. New edition, new flavor.

Also, even in PF1 the Occult was also about stuff like "predicting the future with harrow cards or similar" or "object reading" or "perceiving people's auras" or "hypnotism" or "faith healing", all of which are wholly in the bard's wheelhouse.

What Milo is talking about is the darker side of occultism, let's have the classic bard hero define the lighter side of occultism.

If you want to think of it differently Arcane is High Art magic where as the Occukt is more like hedge magic, still gets the job done but it requires a different way of thinking.

Leaning into the hedge magic side of things, it reminds me of Pratchett's Witches and Headology. It's a perfect fit for the discipline involving mental and spiritual essences.

If Witches are prepared occult spellcasters when they're released, I swear to God the first 2e Witch I make is just gonna be an expy of Granny Weatherwax


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Darksol the Painbringer wrote:

Late, but who cares. Diving into it.

** spoiler omitted **

** spoiler omitted **...

While I don't usually agree with a lot of your conclusions as far as I can recall, I do appreciate randomly running into your little style of breakdowns.


I hadn't even considered the Arcane Pool... Maybe the Eldritch Knight dedication feat could grant (or increase your) spell points, and a Power that imbued a weapon or suit of armor with a temporary rune, and/or enhanced existing runes.


Cantriped wrote:
I hadn't even considered the Arcane Pool... Maybe the Eldritch Knight dedication feat could grant (or increase your) spell points, and a Power that imbued a weapon or suit of armor with a temporary rune, and/or enhanced existing runes.

Potency would possibly need to come online later, to match the levels you'd expect to get magic weapons of the appropriate power. At least that's how I'd do it. Could make it more useful than simple cash by letting it work on piece of junk weapons and possibly some as you mentioned false-rune juggling.

Then give several optional other power paths, as is now tradition.

If it's a dedication feat it probably involves gaining prof with a weapon group of your choice. Actually sounds like a fun way of handling the magus IMO.


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I already really want to build a really high intelligence fighter with all the arcane specializations who can't cast any spells but still insists that he is the greatest magical scholar of his generation.


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Cantriped wrote:
Arachnofiend wrote:
Personally I think all non-core iconics should be half-orcs to make up for the race/ancestry getting snubbed again.

Why do we even still have half-orcs? I don't see Orcs amongst the core races. Is it the origin-by-rape fantasy, or just legacy considerations? Pathfinder 2 needs Half-Goblins, because the purple golem loves their goblins.

Seriously though, An Iconic of every race would be the way to go, though I would be happier still if all the Iconics were Human... except that the Iconics (especially the Core ones) are part of Paizo's brand identity and its too late to change the whole line-up now.

Maybe we could have seen Kyra replaced with Oloch (warpriest) or Imrijka (inquisitor) since the hybrid classes are probably all dead.

We have half-orcs as a compromise because D&D-style writers are cowards. An instance where you can say "Blizzard Entertainment wrote them better" is a very sad one indeed.

I wouldn't care at all if half-orcs were removed in favor of actual orcs. Most anyone who play half-orcs that wouldn't play an orc are... very bad at playing half-orcs.


I would think that Training in Light Armor and one Martial Weapon would be the prerequisites for Eldritch Knight archetype.
Also, since weapon quality limits the output of a Potency Rune, it might naturally discourage dedicating until slightly higher levels for that reason. Also the relative scarcity of class feats.

The hypothetical archtype only has two compelling features; the 'Eldritch Rune' power, and the 'Spell-Strike' action. If I gave my players spell-strike in the dedication the caster would just cherry pick it. Eldritch rune is a tax (and a niche utility for low wealth/imprisioned situations). However together they have added value as being an homage to the Magus.


Arachnofiend wrote:
Cantriped wrote:
Arachnofiend wrote:
Personally I think all non-core iconics should be half-orcs to make up for the race/ancestry getting snubbed again.

Why do we even still have half-orcs? I don't see Orcs amongst the core races. Is it the origin-by-rape fantasy, or just legacy considerations? Pathfinder 2 needs Half-Goblins, because the purple golem loves their goblins.

Seriously though, An Iconic of every race would be the way to go, though I would be happier still if all the Iconics were Human... except that the Iconics (especially the Core ones) are part of Paizo's brand identity and its too late to change the whole line-up now.

Maybe we could have seen Kyra replaced with Oloch (warpriest) or Imrijka (inquisitor) since the hybrid classes are probably all dead.

We have half-orcs as a compromise because D&D-style writers are cowards. An instance where you can say "Blizzard Entertainment wrote them better" is a very sad one indeed.

I wouldn't care at all if half-orcs were removed in favor of actual orcs. Most anyone who play half-orcs that wouldn't play an orc are... very bad at playing half-orcs.

Now that you say that, I kind of wish Paizo had included Half Goblins as a playable race instead of Goblins. That would be uniquely pathfinder (since you can already play flat-out goblins in games like Iron Kingdoms, Shadow of the Demon Lord, etc.) and it would allow goblins proper to still be bombastic childlike sociopaths in the setting at large.

That said, I actually have a vanishingly small personal stake in this debate since I play in/run home settings almost exclusively.


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Excaliburproxy wrote:
I already really want to build a really high intelligence fighter with all the arcane specializations who can't cast any spells but still insists that he is the greatest magical scholar of his generation.

You can cast rituals though. You know.

Proper magic.
None of that wussy handwavy mumbo jumbo. None of of that lazy shooting fire when a good old sword and some alchemical dabbling are technique enough.
No, grand magic. The sort where you stand in a circle with your best friends and bind the horrors of the planes. And if something goes wrong? Then by Gorum you will fix it with good old fashioned sweat and blood.


Elleth wrote:
Cantriped wrote:
I hadn't even considered the Arcane Pool... Maybe the Eldritch Knight dedication feat could grant (or increase your) spell points, and a Power that imbued a weapon or suit of armor with a temporary rune, and/or enhanced existing runes.

Potency would possibly need to come online later, to match the levels you'd expect to get magic weapons of the appropriate power. At least that's how I'd do it. Could make it more useful than simple cash by letting it work on piece of junk weapons and possibly some as you mentioned false-rune juggling.

Then give several optional other power paths, as is now tradition.

If it's a dedication feat it probably involves gaining prof with a weapon group of your choice. Actually sounds like a fun way of handling the magus IMO.

Spell Combat Should only work with 1 action spells, giving you a (1 action) spell and a strike (at a penalty) for 1 action.

Spellstrike would work via touch spells cast this way.

Grand Lodge

Mark Seifter wrote:
PossibleCabbage wrote:
Elleth wrote:
I mean I'm kind of happy I can, at least in the playtest, give occult magic a colloquial name like "Black Music" or something. It's creepy, it's wrong, it's soothing, and it's beautiful.
I do like the idea that the dark figure you meet at the crossroads at midnight to trade a price that may well be too high for musical skill might be something with a bunch of mouths and tentacles rather than a western style devil.
As they say, there is a thin line between genius and madness...

The line is a lie. Genius and madness bleed into and shade each other.

I'm loving the new bard. The bard has always been my favorite class to play since AD&D 2E and I am very happy with this version. I just wish my playtest book would hurry up and get here already!

SM


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Elleth wrote:
Excaliburproxy wrote:
I already really want to build a really high intelligence fighter with all the arcane specializations who can't cast any spells but still insists that he is the greatest magical scholar of his generation.

You can cast rituals though. You know.

Proper magic.
None of that wussy handwavy mumbo jumbo. None of of that lazy shooting fire when a good old sword and some alchemical dabbling are technique enough.
No, grand magic. The sort where you stand in a circle with your best friends and bind the horrors of the planes. And if something goes wrong? Then by Gorum you will fix it with good old fashioned sweat and blood.

Yes. That is exactly what I want.


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Arachnofiend wrote:
Cantriped wrote:
Arachnofiend wrote:
Personally I think all non-core iconics should be half-orcs to make up for the race/ancestry getting snubbed again.

Why do we even still have half-orcs? I don't see Orcs amongst the core races. Is it the origin-by-rape fantasy, or just legacy considerations? Pathfinder 2 needs Half-Goblins, because the purple golem loves their goblins.

Seriously though, An Iconic of every race would be the way to go, though I would be happier still if all the Iconics were Human... except that the Iconics (especially the Core ones) are part of Paizo's brand identity and its too late to change the whole line-up now.

Maybe we could have seen Kyra replaced with Oloch (warpriest) or Imrijka (inquisitor) since the hybrid classes are probably all dead.

We have half-orcs as a compromise because D&D-style writers are cowards. An instance where you can say "Blizzard Entertainment wrote them better" is a very sad one indeed.

I wouldn't care at all if half-orcs were removed in favor of actual orcs. Most anyone who play half-orcs that wouldn't play an orc are... very bad at playing half-orcs.

I feel the same way that Orcs in general need more love, but honestly I would still like to keep Half-Orcs around - hell, I actually wouldn't mind if Paizo went all out and included half-human ancestries for more ancestries, like Dwarves, and even Hobgoblins.


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Gavmania wrote:

Spell Combat Should only work with 1 action spells, giving you a (1 action) spell and a strike (at a penalty) for 1 action.

Spellstrike would work via touch spells cast this way.

the Magus Spell Combat doesn't have a purpose in PF2's economy, A wizard can already cast a spell and hit you with their stick in the same round.

I suggested Spell-Strike allowing you to combine the somatic casting action with an attack with a weapon held in the same hand. So that you could cast your 'VSM' Magic Missile using 3 actions, and infuse it into the arrow you knock and fire as part of that compound action.


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Cantriped wrote:
Gavmania wrote:

Spell Combat Should only work with 1 action spells, giving you a (1 action) spell and a strike (at a penalty) for 1 action.

Spellstrike would work via touch spells cast this way.

the Magus Spell Combat doesn't have a purpose in PF2's economy, A wizard can already cast a spell and hit you with their stick in the same round.

I suggested Spell-Strike allowing you to combine the somatic casting action with an attack with a weapon held in the same hand. So that you could cast your 'VSM' Magic Missile using 3 actions, and infuse it into the arrow you knock and fire as part of that compound action.

Well, it also could work if it allowed you to make one spell attack and one weapon attack at the same bonus. I could also see the class having abilities that allow them to make a single melee attack while performing a spell's verbal components (which would allow a character to move, cast a two action spell, and attack in one turn or cast a two actions spell and attack twice in one turn). If that is too good then you could limit the mechanic by spell points or some such thing.

There is room in this ruleset for a specialized fighting mage.


Indeed there is. It doesn't have to tie into the somatic component, but since that is the one that requires a hand (like a weapon, and since I expect all the good attack spells will include at least one somatic casting action, it just makes sense to tie them so that you can build a sword and board or two-handing eldritch knight.


Cantriped wrote:
Indeed there is. It doesn't have to tie into the somatic component, but since that is the one that requires a hand (like a weapon, and since I expect all the good attack spells will include at least one somatic casting action, it just makes sense to tie them so that you can build a sword and board or two-handing eldritch knight.

I sort of like the "one hand free" magus structure for a class but I could definitely see there being different feats/archetypes for more "two handed" gish builds.


I'm happy to see them get a full spell level progression. Limiting their spells per day seems like a much better way balance out bardic music, which is now at-will!

Bards using the occult spell list intrigues me. I'm eager to see how this plays out with the full playtest materials.

I was glad to see that rolling Perform checks to enhance the effects of music didn't have a critical failure effect.


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Pathfinder Rulebook Subscriber

Some more info! Mostly Bard stuff. From the Know Direction podcast. I only got some of the information.

Bard:
-Chill Touch and Telekinetic Projectile are most of or all of Bard's damaging cantrips (might have missed one). Daze makes enemies flat-footed, and can slow them down (?) on a crit-fail.
-Bard's special composition cantrips are much stronger than regular cantrips.
-Bard's 10th level spell options include Fabricated Reality, which can instill some pretty impressive things as perceived truths. Still no details on the duration of a regular save, but if they already have a casting on them, the spell tries to dispel it first.
- Maestro-focused Bards improve performances. You can eventually improve not just the duration, but also things like the bonus. Improving the bonus is a difficult check, but a crit success can push Inspire Courage to +3, as much as the accuracy difference between Wizard and Fighter (that can be +50% damage under some normal circumstances).
- Perform is one skill, but you can take a skill feat to focus on one particular type of performance and be better at that.
- Lore bards start out with Bardic Knowledge, granting a special, unique trained lore skill that can only be used to recall knowledge- but it can be used for any recall knowledge. You can't advance it normally, but legendary Occultism automatically boost it to expert. That's just the opening ability; others give you things like improved saves. (Sorry, I missed what the other example was.)
- Polymath gets Versatile Performance. This allows you to substitute perform for particular uses of other skills- so you could substitute it for a lie. This covers a lot of questions about bonuses. Bonuses to the perform skill apply, bonuses to lying apply, but bonuses to deception do not apply. It sounds like it covers a broad range of things from the start, but also no longer completely replaces skills. You can also get a spellbook of occult spells that you can prep a spell (some spells?) from, and more spontaneous heightens.
- Your instrument for replace verbal/somatic/material components can't be hands-free. It's intended to allow you to make music with instruments and still cast, not as a way to get around needing to use your hands to cast. (The rules language will need some tightening up on this bit.) Instrument-less Bards still get ways to boost their performance checks even without access to high-quality instruments.

Non-Bard:
- You can pick up slot-based casting without being a casting class in some fashion. The highest level spell you can cast from a spell slot without being a casting class in the playtest is an 8th level spell (ie you could get at least one 8th level spell and still hit Rogue or Fighter 20). We haven't been told how you get that exactly.
- Primal list includes both the best healing spells in the game and the best damaging spells in the game.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Lost Omens, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

*lights a candle to the idea of somehow getting a spell-free bard*

Kind of amused that they're Occult now, but when I DO like having Bards sling spells, it's always felt a bit odd to have them acting like Wizard-lite types (or mage-lite in my long-gone 2E days...)


It may be a result of these blogs focusing on the highlights, like much needed improvements to active resource management, or my recollection but I feel there have been little to know passive class and subclass features. I wouldn't blame Paizo one bit for parring down the frequency of passive features compared to Pathfinder 1 but, personally, I like having some degree of always-on features that don't require any activation management or resource management. I'd be curious to hear Paizo talk in more detail about this if they would.


QuidEst wrote:

Some more info! Mostly Bard stuff. From the Know Direction podcast. I only got some of the information.

Bard:
-Chill Touch and Telekinetic Projectile are most of or all of Bard's damaging cantrips (might have missed one). Daze makes enemies flat-footed, and can slow them down (?) on a crit-fail.
-Bard's special composition cantrips are much stronger than regular cantrips.
-Bard's 10th level spell options include Fabricated Reality, which can instill some pretty impressive things as perceived truths. Still no details on the duration of a regular save, but if they already have a casting on them, the spell tries to dispel it first.
- Maestro-focused Bards improve performances. You can eventually improve not just the duration, but also things like the bonus. Improving the bonus is a difficult check, but a crit success can push Inspire Courage to +3, as much as the accuracy difference between Wizard and Fighter (that can be +50% damage under some normal circumstances).
- Perform is one skill, but you can take a skill feat to focus on one particular type of performance and be better at that.
- Lore bards start out with Bardic Knowledge, granting a special, unique trained lore skill that can only be used to recall knowledge- but it can be used for any recall knowledge. You can't advance it normally, but legendary Occultism automatically boost it to expert. That's just the opening ability; others give you things like improved saves. (Sorry, I missed what the other example was.)
- Polymath gets Versatile Performance. This allows you to substitute perform for particular uses of other skills- so you could substitute it for a lie. This covers a lot of questions about bonuses. Bonuses to the perform skill apply, bonuses to lying apply, but bonuses to deception do not apply. It sounds like it covers a broad range of things from the start, but also no longer completely replaces skills. You can also get a spellbook of occult spells that you can prep a spell (some spells?) from, and more...

Bravo, bravo! Thank you for your service.


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"- You can pick up slot-based casting without being a casting class in some fashion. The highest level spell you can cast from a spell slot without being a casting class in the playtest is an 8th level spell (ie you could get at least one 8th level spell and still hit Rogue or Fighter 20). We haven't been told how you get that exactly."

This makes me both excited and concerned. Excited because it means a lot of hybrid concepts are available right out the gate from a little dabbling in magic to a full on gish, but concerned because it makes me worried that the solution to caster/martial disparity is going to be giving martials easy access to spells (a concern I already had with rituals).


QuidEst wrote:
-Bard's 10th level spell options include Fabricated Reality, which can instill some pretty impressive things as perceived truths. Still no details on the duration of a regular save, but if they already have a casting on them, the spell tries to dispel it first.

Any examples? You make it sound like a Nyarlathotep-tier qualia-affecting spell, which would be terrifying.

QuidEst wrote:

- Maestro-focused Bards improve performances. You can eventually improve not just the duration, but also things like the bonus. Improving the bonus is a difficult check, but a crit success can push Inspire Courage to +3, as much as the accuracy difference between Wizard and Fighter (that can be +50% damage under some normal circumstances).

- Perform is one skill, but you can take a skill feat to focus on one particular type of performance and be better at that.
- Lore bards start out with Bardic Knowledge, granting a special, unique trained lore skill that can only be used to recall knowledge- but it can be used for any recall knowledge. You can't advance it normally, but legendary Occultism automatically boost it to expert. That's just the opening ability; others give you things like improved saves. (Sorry, I missed what the other example was.)
- Polymath gets Versatile Performance. This allows you to substitute perform for particular uses of other skills- so you could substitute it for a lie. This covers a lot of questions about bonuses. Bonuses to the perform skill apply, bonuses to lying apply, but bonuses to deception do not apply. It sounds like it covers a broad range of things from the start, but also no longer completely replaces skills. You can also get a spellbook of occult spells that you can prep a spell (some spells?) from, and more spontaneous heightens.

These sound quite good. I might have a hard time deciding between lore and polymath if it came to it.

QuidEst wrote:

Non-Bard:

- You can pick up slot-based casting without being a casting class in some fashion. The highest level spell you can cast from a spell slot without being a casting class in the playtest is an 8th level spell (ie you could get at least one 8th level spell and still hit Rogue or Fighter 20). We haven't been told how you get that exactly.

Kind of still expecting class feat substitution, not sure if I like that or not yet. Here's hoping it works out.

QuidEst wrote:
- Primal list includes both the best healing spells in the game and the best damaging spells in the game.

So Druids might feel like the hammer of spellcasting. That's interesting and might give a pretty distinctive theme.

Thanks for all the info!


Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber; Pathfinder Card Game, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber
Elleth wrote:
These sound quite good. I might have a hard time deciding between lore and polymath if it came to it.

Thankfully, you only need to decide which one you want first. If you want both, you should be able to spend class feats to pick up the second one fairly soon.

Bard Blog wrote:

As befits the individualistic nature of a performer's muse, none of the initial muse abilities are exclusive, so you can use your feats to traverse as deeply as you want into the abilities from each path; your muse merely represents a starting point on your bardic journey.

For example, if you select the maestro muse at 1st level, you gain the Lingering Composition bard feat (granting you the lingering composition power detailed above) and add soothe to your spell repertoire, but any bard can take this feat or learn this spell—selecting the maestro muse just grants them as a default.

Silver Crusade

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Pathfinder Companion, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber
Mark Seifter wrote:
Revan wrote:
Seems to me that we're already halfway to Magus with the way casters are going to be interacting with the new proficiency and action systems. All you really need is an archetype giving you access to action economy boosts for melding spellcasting and attacks and weapon/armor proficiencies as class feats and voila.
The thing is, you already have the action economy you need to make one attack at no penalty and cast a typical spell, so all you need is a way to easily get all the proficiencies (which there also is) and you can have an awesome magus character like Amanda's wizard in our office game.

... but will there be black blades?

Silver Crusade

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Pathfinder Companion, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber

Add me to the "Occult is fine" group. Like arcane it's flavorful but still vague, and doesn't tie anything to a specific exact source or use like dream or celebral does.

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