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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QuidEst wrote:
Cool, cool. I can definitely get on board with a lot of this. I am curious if an actor Bard is still a default option, or if it requires refluffing. Spiritual/mental definitely fits “occult”. It sounds like healing is getting snuck in from vital somehow?

Yes, you can act very easily. There's even a magic item for it that's very actor.

The bard's healing is a different spell that isn't heal and isn't vital. Sure does also protect you against mental attacks though.


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Mark Seifter wrote:
Tangent101 wrote:

Will there be a Composition that would allow Bards to be Skalds? It seems like the Skald is a natural offshoot of the Bard now, and I have a player who was really looking forward to playing a Skald in my next game (which I'm holding off on until 2nd edition and we'll be doing stuff with the Playtest).

Let's see. We've got the Druid left... and that's pretty much it. So I suppose the last Blog on the 30th will likely be either a racial Blog or some other element touched upon previously.

Thank you for posting these :)

There isn't a composition that literally enrages people, but other than that, the level 2 Ulfen bard in one of my playtest games is pretty skaldish in flavor. He even has all martial weapon proficiencies and armor (not that bard grants those of course).

So either an ulfen ancestry feat or a combat focused archetype you spend your level two class feat on?


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Mark Seifter wrote:
BardWannabe wrote:
This is the most uncomfortable I have been about any of the changes so far. I really liked playing bards as competent melee fighters after they spent some time buffing the team. Won't making them full casters necessitate balancing them in a way that makes them less effective in hand-to-hand?
Nope. Clerics and druids have always been able to do it. If anything, I think melee wizard is pretty reasonable to build toward in PF2 aside from HP concerns.

Ok... So... What makes the martial characters stand out, then? If every Spellcaster up to and including wizards can be 'pretty reasonable' or better melee characters, what pushes anyone to pursue pure swords, rage, alchemy or forestry?

If full caster aren't less effective in hand to hand, it seems like the other characters are just losing out, because they don't have the spells lists (and crazy cantrips) on top. Especially since mixing support actions penalizes a character a lot less than the -0/-5/-10 attack routine.


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Mark Seifter wrote:
Captain Morgan wrote:


I REALLY liked the Muse idea when I first saw the word, but the descriptions of the available muses don't really... sound like muses. Maestro, Lore, and Polymath all sound like specializations, where Muses tend to be specific people or personified forces that inspire you to greatness. The concept of a Muse sounds more like something half-way between a deity and a rage totem, but without an anathema. Perhaps there is some flavor text in this vein, I dunno.

On the other hand, not being locked into a Muse and being able to take different feats from them is great. Artists are inspired by all sorts of things after all.

As a bard, you have a muse that leads you to great things, which might be a physical creature, a deity, a philosophy, or something more nebulous. While there are nearly as many different muses as there are bards, muses grant a limited number of different abilities to bards based on their theme.

Lore: Your muse drives you to uncover the hidden secrets of the multiverse.
Maestro: Your muse inspires you to ever-greater heights of performance.
Polymath: Your muse flits about to almost every skill and pursuit.

So your muse could be Shelyn, the B5 muse fey, the philosophy of Tamashigo, or your own inner feelings.

I am going to have to do some serious thinking about if I still want a specific trio of my deities to be called the muses, or if I just want to pull in horrifying and otherworldly beings to represent that niche.


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How required is music/performing/being-the-party-face?

I.e., I look to the Bard class for the jack-of-all-trades blend of spells, skills, and some combat ability; using music is as peripheral here as it would be for any other class. My favorite P1E Bard archetype was the Archaeologist (since it traded out almost everything music-y for features I'd actually want to use instead). The Archaeologist's only failing was that his spells still had to have a Verbal component even if they normally didn't, and that he was still barred from taking Silent Spell (and I'm almost certain those were only oversights on the part of the writer who wrote that archetype).

We can sub in playing an instrument for a spell's Verbal and Somatic components; I take this to mean you don't have to. Do we have similar freedom of expression elsewhere, or is the Bard stuck with having to be musically- or performance-inclined?


Mark Seifter wrote:
Captain Morgan wrote:


I REALLY liked the Muse idea when I first saw the word, but the descriptions of the available muses don't really... sound like muses. Maestro, Lore, and Polymath all sound like specializations, where Muses tend to be specific people or personified forces that inspire you to greatness. The concept of a Muse sounds more like something half-way between a deity and a rage totem, but without an anathema. Perhaps there is some flavor text in this vein, I dunno.

On the other hand, not being locked into a Muse and being able to take different feats from them is great. Artists are inspired by all sorts of things after all.

As a bard, you have a muse that leads you to great things, which might be a physical creature, a deity, a philosophy, or something more nebulous. While there are nearly as many different muses as there are bards, muses grant a limited number of different abilities to bards based on their theme.

Lore: Your muse drives you to uncover the hidden secrets of the multiverse.
Maestro: Your muse inspires you to ever-greater heights of performance.
Polymath: Your muse flits about to almost every skill and pursuit.

So your muse could be Shelyn, the B5 muse fey, the philosophy of Tamashigo, or your own inner feelings.

I think people are getting the verb form of muse confused with the noun form.


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BardWannabe wrote:
...and doesn't making them full casters reduce their distinctiveness from the sorcerer?

I personally hope we get a spontaneous casting class dedicated to each of the 4 spell lists to go along with the sorcerer who can pick any. Though it is a little strange for the bard to be the primary occult spontaneous caster in lieu of any of the Occult classes from PF1, all of whom (except the kineticist) were spontaneous casters and some of which will be returning for PF2.

Shadow Lodge

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Can we take this as an indication that the 6th level caster doesn't exist in 2e?


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Pathfinder Companion, Maps Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber

I see that the word "occult" is changing its meaning between PF1 and PF2. In PF2, there seems to be no connection between "occult" and "psychic" -- in fact, I suspect that "psychic" spellcasters may end up using all of the existing spell lists but with a slightly different casting method.

Paizo Employee Designer

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Voss wrote:
Mark Seifter wrote:
BardWannabe wrote:
This is the most uncomfortable I have been about any of the changes so far. I really liked playing bards as competent melee fighters after they spent some time buffing the team. Won't making them full casters necessitate balancing them in a way that makes them less effective in hand-to-hand?
Nope. Clerics and druids have always been able to do it. If anything, I think melee wizard is pretty reasonable to build toward in PF2 aside from HP concerns.

Ok... So... What makes the martial characters stand out, then? If every Spellcaster up to and including wizards can be 'pretty reasonable' or better melee characters, what pushes anyone to pursue pure swords, rage, alchemy or forestry?

If full caster aren't less effective in hand to hand, it seems like the other characters are just losing out, because they don't have the spells lists (and crazy cantrips) on top. Especially since mixing support actions penalizes a character a lot less than the -0/-5/-10 attack routine.

Where the martial caster build is pretty reasonable, it's fairly costly, particularly in ability score math (What isn't your channel and battle loving cleric, or Arachnofiend's falchion battle bard going to want to raise? Only Int for the cleric? Int and Wis for the bard maybe?).

Meanwhile, martial characters are outstanding to begin at martial pursuits, and while a martial bard with party buffs is getting pretty effective himself, he's also buffed the already outstanding fighter into mega-crit territory.


Disk Elemental wrote:
Can we take this as an indication that the 6th level caster doesn't exist in 2e?

All the classes in the playtest have been previewed now and no half-casters to be seen so there will not be any the playtest and probably none in the PF2 CRB. Doesn't mean that there isn't room for them in future PF2 books but probably not till 2020.


Pathfinder Rulebook Subscriber
Mark Seifter wrote:
QuidEst wrote:
Cool, cool. I can definitely get on board with a lot of this. I am curious if an actor Bard is still a default option, or if it requires refluffing. Spiritual/mental definitely fits “occult”. It sounds like healing is getting snuck in from vital somehow?

Yes, you can act very easily. There's even a magic item for it that's very actor.

The bard's healing is a different spell that isn't heal and isn't vital. Sure does also protect you against mental attacks though.

Oh yes, I’m taking that mask, no question. X)

Ooh... heal-buff combo is pretty nice for Bard. I can’t wait to refluff what exactly it’s doing for my aberrant Sorc!


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Tectorman wrote:

How required is music/performing/being-the-party-face?

I.e., I look to the Bard class for the jack-of-all-trades blend of spells, skills, and some combat ability; using music is as peripheral here as it would be for any other class. My favorite P1E Bard archetype was the Archaeologist (since it traded out almost everything music-y for features I'd actually want to use instead). The Archaeologist's only failing was that his spells still had to have a Verbal component even if they normally didn't, and that he was still barred from taking Silent Spell (and I'm almost certain those were only oversights on the part of the writer who wrote that archetype).

We can sub in playing an instrument for a spell's Verbal and Somatic components; I take this to mean you don't have to. Do we have similar freedom of expression elsewhere, or is the Bard stuck with having to be musically- or performance-inclined?

Even in PF1 you could just take Oratory as your perform skill and make your bard be something other than a musician (commander barking orders is a pretty popular one). I imagine such refluffing will be equally as applicable in PF2, though if you want drastic mechanical changes like the Archaeologist had you'll likely have to wait.


David knott 242 wrote:
I see that the word "occult" is changing its meaning between PF1 and PF2. In PF2, there seems to be no connection between "occult" and "psychic" -- in fact, I suspect that "psychic" spellcasters may end up using all of the existing spell lists but with a slightly different casting method.

Are we gonna rename the Occultist?


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Arachnofiend wrote:
Mark Seifter wrote:
Azih wrote:
Maybe consider adding a battle muse? Or is that better for a future option Mark?
Battle effectiveness if you build towards it with your stats is something we already have in PF2 (it's hard to get used to, though, coming from PF1, at least for a time), especially with combat buffs to hand out. If you directly want further combat prowess, multiclassing a bit with a martial class will cover you really well. I think that's a very strong build. Not to say nobody's ever going to do a battle muse, but I think it's not really as useful a concept (in terms of not being as needed, and thus possibly being pretty toe-steppy if it did exist).
Gasp, is this the first time a developer has directly referenced multi-classing in PF2???

MS: Some things that have become class feats, like the fighter’s Power Attack, were once part of many different classes’ builds. Is there a concern about forcing each class into a specific role and eliminating options like a battle cleric?

Seifter: Your cleric can still get Power Attack by multiclass into fighter. We’ve not yet explained how multiclassing works, but I think that clerics will be more willing to do that than they would before. It’s not going to be as punitive to multiclass, where that next higher level class feature is so important whether it’s spell casting or the level of a summoner’s eidolon. What we’re doing is going to help a lot if you feel that multiclassing is making you fall behind where you’d like to be.

I'm still trying to figure out an exact way that could work, but that's the details Mark mentioned before.

Voss wrote:

Ok... So... What makes the martial characters stand out, then? If every Spellcaster up to and including wizards can be 'pretty reasonable' or better melee characters, what pushes anyone to pursue pure swords, rage, alchemy or forestry?

If full caster aren't less effective in hand to hand, it seems like the other characters are just losing out, because they don't have the spells lists (and crazy cantrips) on top. Especially since mixing support actions penalizes a character a lot less than the -0/-5/-10 attack routine.

Not having the martial class feats is likely going to be a pretty solid hit to caster-fighters. You'll still be able to do those solid hits, but - for example - not being able to use your shield as well as a fighter will still put you below in that aspect.


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Arachnofiend wrote:
Aiken Frost wrote:
Quote:
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.

Can we *please* don't let spellcasters have more skills than the Fighter? Please?

Also:

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

The Allegro wording is terrible. It would be better like this:

Quote:
You perform rapidly, speeding your ally. The ally gets one action he can use only to Strike, Stride, or Step.
The wording is the way it is because Quick is a status effect that doesn't stack with other abilities that give Quick and can be countered by Slow.

*facepalm*

This is even worse! Shouldn't "Quick" be capitalized/bolded or something in the description then?

Anyway, the Bard seems cool, but again: PLEASE, don't f~&# the Fighter in the Skills department, Paizo! An adventure is more than just combat! Both the Cleric and the Paladin in the previews at EnWorld have more skills than the Fighter while haven LESS INT!


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So Muses are an alternate way of saying "your characters passion" and that passion can be hung on whatever sort of narrative hook that you like. I like it.

As for what makes martials stand out in combat, while all characters share the same progression bonuses to dice rills, it feels like PF2 is focusing more on breadth of ability rather than just big numbers. At a range the elf wizard and the human fighter might be hitting the target roughly equally,but the fighter will have more tricks up their sleeve in actual adventuring conditions.

Which combined with getting more proficiencies on leveling is why I'm not bothered if fighters don't get as many proficiency ranks in skills at level one, at least if their weapon skills feel like actual skills in play.


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Pathfinder Adventure Path, Rulebook Subscriber

Okay. We're getting Multiclassing as the very last Blog then. ;)

I'm rather liking this modular version of classes. It will allow for more diverse types of classes in the future - for instance, you can have a Wizardly version of the Arcanist, or a Sorcerer version. Similarly, you can build a Skald for the Bards, or a Brawler for the Monk (or possibly even Fighter).

Thank you once more for this blog. I'm rather excited about this class, and feeling a tad better about 2nd Edition as a result. :) Which is kind of what Bards do - they lift our spirits and encourage greater resolve among us. :) So it's quite apt!


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Love it. Full occult spellcasters, can cast by performing, most compositions at will, performance checks!, counter performance as a reaction, and honestly I'm already getting used to thinking about a lore muse, a polymath muse or a maestro muse. I get it, and I dig it!


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Voss wrote:
Mark Seifter wrote:
BardWannabe wrote:
This is the most uncomfortable I have been about any of the changes so far. I really liked playing bards as competent melee fighters after they spent some time buffing the team. Won't making them full casters necessitate balancing them in a way that makes them less effective in hand-to-hand?
Nope. Clerics and druids have always been able to do it. If anything, I think melee wizard is pretty reasonable to build toward in PF2 aside from HP concerns.

Ok... So... What makes the martial characters stand out, then? If every Spellcaster up to and including wizards can be 'pretty reasonable' or better melee characters, what pushes anyone to pursue pure swords, rage, alchemy or forestry?

If full caster aren't less effective in hand to hand, it seems like the other characters are just losing out, because they don't have the spells lists (and crazy cantrips) on top. Especially since mixing support actions penalizes a character a lot less than the -0/-5/-10 attack routine.

I am concerned as well that a party of Bard, Cleric, Druid, and Wizard/Sorcerer seems very powerful. You still get all your spells and can attack almost as well as a martial if you dedicate one stat to ST (or DX). Magic is usually > skills, but this party also has a bard to help in the skill department.

It seems martials lost their one special thing in iterative attacks. Full casters can often sub for martials (not at 100% efficiency but decent) but it doesn't work the other way around.

It will be interesting to see the all primary caster party vs. the all martial party, vs. the default (Cleric/fighter/rogue/wizard).


Bardarok wrote:
Disk Elemental wrote:
Can we take this as an indication that the 6th level caster doesn't exist in 2e?
All the classes in the playtest have been previewed now and no half-casters to be seen so there will not be any the playtest and probably none in the PF2 CRB. Doesn't mean that there isn't room for them in future PF2 books but probably not till 2020.

There is still a chance for Druid being a half-caster! (...Probably not, though.)

What about Paladin, though?


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Mark Seifter wrote:
Captain Morgan wrote:


I REALLY liked the Muse idea when I first saw the word, but the descriptions of the available muses don't really... sound like muses. Maestro, Lore, and Polymath all sound like specializations, where Muses tend to be specific people or personified forces that inspire you to greatness. The concept of a Muse sounds more like something half-way between a deity and a rage totem, but without an anathema. Perhaps there is some flavor text in this vein, I dunno.

On the other hand, not being locked into a Muse and being able to take different feats from them is great. Artists are inspired by all sorts of things after all.

As a bard, you have a muse that leads you to great things, which might be a physical creature, a deity, a philosophy, or something more nebulous. While there are nearly as many different muses as there are bards, muses grant a limited number of different abilities to bards based on their theme.

Lore: Your muse drives you to uncover the hidden secrets of the multiverse.
Maestro: Your muse inspires you to ever-greater heights of performance.
Polymath: Your muse flits about to almost every skill and pursuit.

So your muse could be Shelyn, the B5 muse fey, the philosophy of Tamashigo, or your own inner feelings.

Awesome! Yeah, that basically addresses my concerns. ^_^

I'm actually really digging this. Upon further reflection, Composition and Muses feel a lot more evocative than what the Bard had before. Combined with making the Compositions all cantrips, and I think the bard may now feel like what it was always supposed to be: A person who taps into both magic and emotion through their art, and makes it giddyup and dance.

It feels easier to picture a tragic bard now, for example. Someone whose Muse passed away long ago, and whose Compositions tap into emotions most adventurers and villains alike keep bottled up.


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David knott 242 wrote:

I see that the word "occult" is changing its meaning between PF1 and PF2. In PF2, there seems to be no connection between "occult" and "psychic" -- in fact, I suspect that "psychic" spellcasters may end up using all of the existing spell lists but with a slightly different casting method.

Disagree. The PF2 occult list mixes mental/spiritual essences, skipping physical and vital, and most of the PF1 psychic/occult spell lists (certainly the Psychic, Mesmerist, and Spiritualist) had a similar theme.


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RiverMesa wrote:
Bardarok wrote:
Disk Elemental wrote:
Can we take this as an indication that the 6th level caster doesn't exist in 2e?
All the classes in the playtest have been previewed now and no half-casters to be seen so there will not be any the playtest and probably none in the PF2 CRB. Doesn't mean that there isn't room for them in future PF2 books but probably not till 2020.

There is still a chance for Druid being a half-caster! (...Probably not, though.)

What about Paladin, though?

Take a look at their preview. Paladins lost all spell slots, and now use spell points.


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Bardarok wrote:
Disk Elemental wrote:
Can we take this as an indication that the 6th level caster doesn't exist in 2e?
All the classes in the playtest have been previewed now and no half-casters to be seen so there will not be any the playtest and probably none in the PF2 CRB. Doesn't mean that there isn't room for them in future PF2 books but probably not till 2020.

Personally, other than Aesthetics, I'm not sure that there's a real reason for a 6-level "medium caster" any more. They were mainly constructed to give new classes something besides just casting to work with, and it so happens that they worked better with Archetypes than pure casters. If every class has the customization room to expand in multiple ways, I'm not sure its usefulness is still valid. A Dev may prove me wrong, of course, but I'm curious to see how a future without a "medium caster" will look like, at least for a while.


Mark Seifter wrote:
Battle effectiveness if you build towards it with your stats is something we already have in PF2 (it's hard to get used to, though, coming from PF1, at least for a time), especially with combat buffs to hand out. If you directly want further combat prowess, multiclassing a bit with a martial class will cover you really well. I think that's a very strong build. Not to say nobody's ever going to do a battle muse, but I think it's not really as useful a concept (in terms of not being as needed, and thus possibly being pretty toe-steppy if it did exist).

I can see that. After all every class is 'Full BAB'! It is a mindshift.

Still new muses would be great and there must be some way of making a 'Dervish' Muse work.

Paizo Employee Designer

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Stone Dog wrote:

So Muses are an alternate way of saying "your characters passion" and that passion can be hung on whatever sort of narrative hook that you like. I like it.

As for what makes martials stand out in combat, while all characters share the same progression bonuses to dice rills, it feels like PF2 is focusing more on breadth of ability rather than just big numbers. At a range the elf wizard and the human fighter might be hitting the target roughly equally,but the fighter will have more tricks up their sleeve in actual adventuring conditions.

Which combined with getting more proficiencies on leveling is why I'm not bothered if fighters don't get as many proficiency ranks in skills at level one, at least if their weapon skills feel like actual skills in play.

Not only will the fighter have more tricks, but even the differences they have can lead to some pretty significant results.

For instance, suppose the elf wizard is pretty tooled up on Dexterity and his bow and can hit a solid challenging opponent on a 10 (pretty good for a wizard!) and the fighter is ahead by +3 on accuracy. The wizard is going to do pretty well on that arrow (especially since he can cast a spell and then shoot each round as sort of a freebie). But that fighter is going to do 50% more damage on average just from the accuracy, without any of his tricks.


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I love the idea of muses; very clever, and everything else is good too. I suspected full caster; and I expected occult caster, but it's nice to see confirmation. Well done.


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Arachnofiend wrote:
Tectorman wrote:

How required is music/performing/being-the-party-face?

I.e., I look to the Bard class for the jack-of-all-trades blend of spells, skills, and some combat ability; using music is as peripheral here as it would be for any other class. My favorite P1E Bard archetype was the Archaeologist (since it traded out almost everything music-y for features I'd actually want to use instead). The Archaeologist's only failing was that his spells still had to have a Verbal component even if they normally didn't, and that he was still barred from taking Silent Spell (and I'm almost certain those were only oversights on the part of the writer who wrote that archetype).

We can sub in playing an instrument for a spell's Verbal and Somatic components; I take this to mean you don't have to. Do we have similar freedom of expression elsewhere, or is the Bard stuck with having to be musically- or performance-inclined?

Even in PF1 you could just take Oratory as your perform skill and make your bard be something other than a musician (commander barking orders is a pretty popular one). I imagine such refluffing will be equally as applicable in PF2, though if you want drastic mechanical changes like the Archaeologist had you'll likely have to wait.

That's still a kind of performing, though (and the Archaeologist still HAD to have Verbal components for his spells whether they normally had them or not, and he still couldn't take Silent Spell). And I don't consider any of what else the Archaeologist got to be a "drastic mechanical change", especially not when they were almost (all?) core Rogue abilities, and especially given P2E's more modular nature.


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Xenocrat wrote:
David knott 242 wrote:

I see that the word "occult" is changing its meaning between PF1 and PF2. In PF2, there seems to be no connection between "occult" and "psychic" -- in fact, I suspect that "psychic" spellcasters may end up using all of the existing spell lists but with a slightly different casting method.

Disagree. The PF2 occult list mixes mental/spiritual essences, skipping physical and vital, and most of the PF1 psychic/occult spell lists (certainly the Psychic, Mesmerist, and Spiritualist) had a similar theme.

I half wonder if the PF2 Occultist won't even be a spellcaster, instead being a resonance focused class with spell points, just because "Occult" is right in the name but the Occultist is eminently a "stuff" focused concept.


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Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber

I think that the weird DC for lingering composition is because it affects debuffs on enemies

Paizo Employee Designer

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Azih wrote:
Mark Seifter wrote:
Battle effectiveness if you build towards it with your stats is something we already have in PF2 (it's hard to get used to, though, coming from PF1, at least for a time), especially with combat buffs to hand out. If you directly want further combat prowess, multiclassing a bit with a martial class will cover you really well. I think that's a very strong build. Not to say nobody's ever going to do a battle muse, but I think it's not really as useful a concept (in terms of not being as needed, and thus possibly being pretty toe-steppy if it did exist).

I can see that. After all every class is 'Full BAB'! It is a mindshift.

Still new muses would be great and there must be some way of making a 'Dervish' Muse work.

Oh, I'm eager to see some new muses, I just think a generically battle-shoehorned one wouldn't be as interesting as, say, an example like the one you give here. The great thing is that muses are very low impact to create but then very fruitful to expand (because of the quality I mentioned where you can always learn the abilities from the other muses and customize your own muse to not be exactly one of the listed examples).


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Anyone else besides me blowing a gasket while trying to figure out what classes to play for the playtest? :) I know that Doomsday Dawn will have at least two chances for players to make PCs to play, but I can't narrow it down from twelve choices!!!

Mark, why couldn't you ladies and gents have intentionally made at least one or two classes suck, to make my life easier??? ;-)


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RiverMesa wrote:
Bardarok wrote:
Disk Elemental wrote:
Can we take this as an indication that the 6th level caster doesn't exist in 2e?
All the classes in the playtest have been previewed now and no half-casters to be seen so there will not be any the playtest and probably none in the PF2 CRB. Doesn't mean that there isn't room for them in future PF2 books but probably not till 2020.

There is still a chance for Druid being a half-caster! (...Probably not, though.)

What about Paladin, though?

Druid's were previewed at the paizocon banquet (videos are available on youtube) and I think it is clear from context that they are full casters.

Paladins use the spell point system which I guess is kind of like the new half-casting system and may in fact be better since I think, while more limited in variety, spell point spells are always at a spell level of character lvl/2 so that might be more effective than having spell slots progress at half the normal rate. Not sure though spell DCs scale with character level not spell slot level so I can't really predict how the math would shake out in the end.


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Pathfinder Adventure, Adventure Path, Starfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
PossibleCabbage wrote:
David knott 242 wrote:
I see that the word "occult" is changing its meaning between PF1 and PF2. In PF2, there seems to be no connection between "occult" and "psychic" -- in fact, I suspect that "psychic" spellcasters may end up using all of the existing spell lists but with a slightly different casting method.
Are we gonna rename the Occultist?

I nominate "Artificer" or "Psychometric." "Resonant" might also be fun.


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Tectorman wrote:
Arachnofiend wrote:
Tectorman wrote:

How required is music/performing/being-the-party-face?

I.e., I look to the Bard class for the jack-of-all-trades blend of spells, skills, and some combat ability; using music is as peripheral here as it would be for any other class. My favorite P1E Bard archetype was the Archaeologist (since it traded out almost everything music-y for features I'd actually want to use instead). The Archaeologist's only failing was that his spells still had to have a Verbal component even if they normally didn't, and that he was still barred from taking Silent Spell (and I'm almost certain those were only oversights on the part of the writer who wrote that archetype).

We can sub in playing an instrument for a spell's Verbal and Somatic components; I take this to mean you don't have to. Do we have similar freedom of expression elsewhere, or is the Bard stuck with having to be musically- or performance-inclined?

Even in PF1 you could just take Oratory as your perform skill and make your bard be something other than a musician (commander barking orders is a pretty popular one). I imagine such refluffing will be equally as applicable in PF2, though if you want drastic mechanical changes like the Archaeologist had you'll likely have to wait.
That's still a kind of performing, though (and the Archaeologist still HAD to have Verbal components for his spells whether they normally had them or not, and he still couldn't take Silent Spell). And I don't consider any of what else the Archaeologist got to be a "drastic mechanical change", especially not when they were almost (all?) core Rogue abilities, and especially given P2E's more modular nature.

The Archaeologist is the Bard equivalent of a Barbarian archetype that doesn't rage. It's unreasonable to expect a departure that drastic in the core rulebook.


PossibleCabbage wrote:
David knott 242 wrote:
I see that the word "occult" is changing its meaning between PF1 and PF2. In PF2, there seems to be no connection between "occult" and "psychic" -- in fact, I suspect that "psychic" spellcasters may end up using all of the existing spell lists but with a slightly different casting method.
Are we gonna rename the Occultist?

The occultist's spell list was very much closer to the PF2 Arcane list than anything else.


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Kerobelis wrote:
Voss wrote:
Mark Seifter wrote:
BardWannabe wrote:
This is the most uncomfortable I have been about any of the changes so far. I really liked playing bards as competent melee fighters after they spent some time buffing the team. Won't making them full casters necessitate balancing them in a way that makes them less effective in hand-to-hand?
Nope. Clerics and druids have always been able to do it. If anything, I think melee wizard is pretty reasonable to build toward in PF2 aside from HP concerns.

Ok... So... What makes the martial characters stand out, then? If every Spellcaster up to and including wizards can be 'pretty reasonable' or better melee characters, what pushes anyone to pursue pure swords, rage, alchemy or forestry?

If full caster aren't less effective in hand to hand, it seems like the other characters are just losing out, because they don't have the spells lists (and crazy cantrips) on top. Especially since mixing support actions penalizes a character a lot less than the -0/-5/-10 attack routine.

I am concerned as well that a party of Bard, Cleric, Druid, and Wizard/Sorcerer seems very powerful. You still get all your spells and can attack almost as well as a martial if you dedicate one stat to ST (or DX). Magic is usually > skills, but this party also has a bard to help in the skill department.

It seems martials lost their one special thing in iterative attacks. Full casters can often sub for martials (not at 100% efficiency but decent) but it doesn't work the other way around.

It will be interesting to see the all primary caster party vs. the all martial party, vs. the default (Cleric/fighter/rogue/wizard).

Magic is now going to supplement skills rather than replace them though. Also, martials just need the ritual caster feat to be able to cast magic, and there's only one feat for crafting magic items IIRC.

In combat, martials have been buffed with a greater variety of options while spells aren't going to cripple things as much. A caster also probably wants a free hand for casting, which gives them less flexibility for weapon and shield usage. (Especially since it looks like regripping a two-handed weapon is an action now.)

The design space for casters is that they can contribute in melee virtue of the tighter math, but they will still be hitting for less damage and what not. A wizard won't be able to use double slice to reduce Resistance. He also won't crit as often or render a foe flat-footed when he does. Those are things a fighter can do, for example.

Paizo Employee Designer

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ENHenry wrote:

Anyone else besides me blowing a gasket while trying to figure out what classes to play for the playtest? :) I know that Doomsday Dawn will have at least two chances for players to make PCs to play, but I can't narrow it down from twelve choices!!!

Mark, why couldn't you ladies and gents have intentionally made at least one or two classes suck, to make my life easier??? ;-)

If you are playing all of Doomsday Dawn and you never repeat classes except when it's the same character, you will get to play 5/12 classes. Still doesn't help you though, I think. Sorry, which do you recommend we make suck?


Pathfinder Adventure, Adventure Path, Starfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
Arachnofiend wrote:
Tectorman wrote:
That's still a kind of performing, though (and the Archaeologist still HAD to have Verbal components for his spells whether they normally had them or not, and he still couldn't take Silent Spell). And I don't consider any of what else the Archaeologist got to be a "drastic mechanical change", especially not when they were almost (all?) core Rogue abilities, and especially given P2E's more modular nature.
The Archaeologist is the Bard equivalent of a Barbarian archetype that doesn't rage. It's unreasonable to expect a departure that drastic in the core rulebook.

I'm curious what the polymath muse looks like. My first instinct was to suggest that a full archeologist class might be better to ask for, as opposed to an archetype as feature changing as an archeolgist, but on second thought depending on how skill and save based that muse turns out to be, it might hit the right tone.


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Mark Seifter wrote:
ENHenry wrote:

Anyone else besides me blowing a gasket while trying to figure out what classes to play for the playtest? :) I know that Doomsday Dawn will have at least two chances for players to make PCs to play, but I can't narrow it down from twelve choices!!!

Mark, why couldn't you ladies and gents have intentionally made at least one or two classes suck, to make my life easier??? ;-)

If you are playing all of Doomsday Dawn and you never repeat classes except when it's the same character, you will get to play 5/12 classes. Still doesn't help you though, I think. Sorry, which do you recommend we make suck?

The Wizard. :P

Paizo Employee Designer

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Captain Morgan wrote:
Kerobelis wrote:
Voss wrote:
Mark Seifter wrote:
BardWannabe wrote:
This is the most uncomfortable I have been about any of the changes so far. I really liked playing bards as competent melee fighters after they spent some time buffing the team. Won't making them full casters necessitate balancing them in a way that makes them less effective in hand-to-hand?
Nope. Clerics and druids have always been able to do it. If anything, I think melee wizard is pretty reasonable to build toward in PF2 aside from HP concerns.

Ok... So... What makes the martial characters stand out, then? If every Spellcaster up to and including wizards can be 'pretty reasonable' or better melee characters, what pushes anyone to pursue pure swords, rage, alchemy or forestry?

If full caster aren't less effective in hand to hand, it seems like the other characters are just losing out, because they don't have the spells lists (and crazy cantrips) on top. Especially since mixing support actions penalizes a character a lot less than the -0/-5/-10 attack routine.

I am concerned as well that a party of Bard, Cleric, Druid, and Wizard/Sorcerer seems very powerful. You still get all your spells and can attack almost as well as a martial if you dedicate one stat to ST (or DX). Magic is usually > skills, but this party also has a bard to help in the skill department.

It seems martials lost their one special thing in iterative attacks. Full casters can often sub for martials (not at 100% efficiency but decent) but it doesn't work the other way around.

It will be interesting to see the all primary caster party vs. the all martial party, vs. the default (Cleric/fighter/rogue/wizard).

Magic is now going to supplement skills rather than replace them though. Also, martials just need the ritual caster feat to be able to cast magic, and there's only one feat for crafting magic items IIRC.

In combat, martials have been buffed with a greater variety of options while spells...

Everyone keeps assuming martials need to take a feat to cast rituals, rather than just gain proficiency ranks and then choose to learn the rituals. I'm guessing it was a feat in another system and made it into the zeitgeist that way?


I almost never play bards, but I do have a certain fondness for the class (if not for the lute strumming fluff that it's saddled with). All in all, this is probably my favorite of the classes previewed.

I'm interested in seeing just how many and how varied Compositions there will be, and how many will be things we haven't seen before. Inspire Courage and Countersong are no surprise. Haste is a bit surprising as a cantrip, but it's only really an action economy win if you get Lingering performance off with it, so I'm ok with that. But I'm wondering other things, as most of these are combat support, will we see any out of combat stuff, or debuffing in combat or stuff like that? Like Suggestion or Dirge of doom, or even something more boundary pushing.


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Mark Seifter wrote:
Everyone keeps assuming martials need to take a feat to cast rituals, rather than just gain proficiency ranks and then choose to learn the rituals. I'm guessing it was a feat in another system and made it into the zeitgeist that way?

Ritual Caster is a feat in DnD 5e that allows anyone to pick up the ability to cast a few ritual spells. Good to know that it's just a use of the skill in PF2 though.

Paizo Employee Designer

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Arachnofiend wrote:
Mark Seifter wrote:
ENHenry wrote:

Anyone else besides me blowing a gasket while trying to figure out what classes to play for the playtest? :) I know that Doomsday Dawn will have at least two chances for players to make PCs to play, but I can't narrow it down from twelve choices!!!

Mark, why couldn't you ladies and gents have intentionally made at least one or two classes suck, to make my life easier??? ;-)

If you are playing all of Doomsday Dawn and you never repeat classes except when it's the same character, you will get to play 5/12 classes. Still doesn't help you though, I think. Sorry, which do you recommend we make suck?
The Wizard. :P

Well my friend is convinced that the sorcerer is better than the wizard now and keeps sending me lots of messages about it (and after I said he could be an imperial sorcerer if he wants, he decided to stay with wizard for the concept), but that doesn't mean either of them is by any means a weak class.


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Captain Morgan wrote:
Combined with making the Compositions all cantrips

Most compositions are cantrips. Look up ^ Lingering composition is a power, you use spell points. Same for counter performance.


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Mark Seifter wrote:
ENHenry wrote:

Anyone else besides me blowing a gasket while trying to figure out what classes to play for the playtest? :) I know that Doomsday Dawn will have at least two chances for players to make PCs to play, but I can't narrow it down from twelve choices!!!

Mark, why couldn't you ladies and gents have intentionally made at least one or two classes suck, to make my life easier??? ;-)

If you are playing all of Doomsday Dawn and you never repeat classes except when it's the same character, you will get to play 5/12 classes. Still doesn't help you though, I think. Sorry, which do you recommend we make suck?

Well, obviously the... actually, what about the... No, I meant the... Or maybe the...

Dang. Never mind... Ha!


Arachnofiend wrote:
Tectorman wrote:
Arachnofiend wrote:
Tectorman wrote:

How required is music/performing/being-the-party-face?

I.e., I look to the Bard class for the jack-of-all-trades blend of spells, skills, and some combat ability; using music is as peripheral here as it would be for any other class. My favorite P1E Bard archetype was the Archaeologist (since it traded out almost everything music-y for features I'd actually want to use instead). The Archaeologist's only failing was that his spells still had to have a Verbal component even if they normally didn't, and that he was still barred from taking Silent Spell (and I'm almost certain those were only oversights on the part of the writer who wrote that archetype).

We can sub in playing an instrument for a spell's Verbal and Somatic components; I take this to mean you don't have to. Do we have similar freedom of expression elsewhere, or is the Bard stuck with having to be musically- or performance-inclined?

Even in PF1 you could just take Oratory as your perform skill and make your bard be something other than a musician (commander barking orders is a pretty popular one). I imagine such refluffing will be equally as applicable in PF2, though if you want drastic mechanical changes like the Archaeologist had you'll likely have to wait.
That's still a kind of performing, though (and the Archaeologist still HAD to have Verbal components for his spells whether they normally had them or not, and he still couldn't take Silent Spell). And I don't consider any of what else the Archaeologist got to be a "drastic mechanical change", especially not when they were almost (all?) core Rogue abilities, and especially given P2E's more modular nature.
The Archaeologist is the Bard equivalent of a Barbarian archetype that doesn't rage. It's unreasonable to expect a departure that drastic in the core rulebook.

Indeed - I would express that character concept via a ranger who took spells.


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Mark,

Xenocrat wrote:

Ctrl-F: "Charisma"

[No results found]

Is it feasible to make a Bard that doesn't pump Charisma? (I'd really prefer an Int based Occult caster). I'm sure Charisma is the Bard's casting stat, but I'm guessing that unless you insist on mind controlling people with your spells you've got enough utility/buffs that you might get by without worrying about your DCs too much.

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