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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AnimatedPaper wrote:
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.

I don't think it will cover for people who don't want to do anything involving performance, but it might do well on the niche of a batman bard that some took with archaeologist. The polymath is the muse for you if you're always thinking "Oh, I want to do this...but wait, I could do that! Why can't I do it all?" Prepare a spell to spontaneously cast, get more spontaneous heightening, use skills in a versatile way so you can succeed at a wide variety of stuff? That's the polymath's shtick.

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Roswynn wrote:
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.

Linger Composition isn't a composition, it's one of the maestro's composition mods. But yes, counter performance is an example of a non-cantrip composition. Fata aria too.

EDIT: Huh, fatal aria was cut from the blog. Well it's pretty strong.

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Mark Seifter wrote:
Still doesn't help you though, I think. Sorry, which do you recommend we make suck?

Paladin, since it's the only class left with an alignment requirement... (That's half a joke by the way, I don't want the paladin to suck, but I wish it was more open xD)

Edit: On a more serious note, it seems like the composition are spell exclusive to the bard from what I understand, which means that class-specific spells will still exist?


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

I don't think spells are a ranger option in the playtest at least (though I expect thats something that will make it into the CRB). Maybe a rogue/wizard or rogue/sorcerer multiclass would do the trick.


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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.

A lot of it are going to come from their feats and the fact they can attain higher levels of skill with their weapons at a much faster rate than others can especially warriors which likely open up more feats and options that require a high level of skill to utilize.

So everybody if they choose to and devote some effort towards it can be competent in hand to hand combat but those who specialize in it should excel.

Grand Lodge

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Xenocrat wrote:

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.

Given that (I think it was) Mark said that one could make a fairly effective Cleric with a 10 Wis, I'm guessing one could do the same with any caster type with the right spell selection.


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??? ;-)

I apologize - what do you mean "2 chances for players to make pcs to play"? Like, the pcs are dreaming they're different people and you play those too, for instance?

Liberty's Edge

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Arachnofiend wrote:
Bring on the falchion-toting half-orc bards?

You rang?


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Mark Seifter wrote:
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.

Ooh, that's news to me -- awesome news, to boot! Thank you!

Quote:
Still doesn't help you though, I think. Sorry, which do you recommend we make suck?

Come now, this is an RPG! Just roll a d12... ;-)

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Xenocrat wrote:

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.

You'll want to avoid powers with Performance checks, I'd imagine.


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Ragnavald Urgirson wrote:
Arachnofiend wrote:
Bring on the falchion-toting half-orc bards?
You rang?

They probably did. You Ragn?


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DFAnton wrote:
Regarding "quick," perhaps capitalizing or italicizing statuses would alleviate the confusion?

Or at least make it quickened to keep it consistent with other conditions like slowed or flat-footed.


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Mark Seifter wrote:
AnimatedPaper wrote:
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.
I don't think it will cover for people who don't want to do anything involving performance, but it might do well on the niche of a batman bard that some took with archaeologist. The polymath is the muse for you if you're always thinking "Oh, I want to do this...but wait, I could do that! Why can't I do it all?" Prepare a spell to spontaneously cast, get more spontaneous heightening, use skills in a versatile way so you can succeed at a wide variety of stuff? That's the polymath's shtick.

That is excellent information, thank you.

Alrighty, first instinct was correct. A new class designed around luck based cantrips and reactions that increase your saving throws is something to ask for in a few years*.

*with the proviso that I have no idea what the playtest or final CRB will look like and we may well already have a way to make the concept work.

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Mark Seifter wrote:


I don't think it will cover for people who don't want to do anything involving performance, but it might do well on the niche of a batman bard that some took with archaeologist. The polymath is the muse for you if you're always thinking "Oh, I want to do this...but wait, I could do that! Why can't I do it all?" Prepare a spell to spontaneously cast, get more spontaneous heightening, use skills in a versatile way so you can succeed at a wide variety of stuff? That's the polymath's shtick.

More Spontaneous heightening? I don't see anything saying the bard is getting it, so... is it a polymath muse thing? or do they get the same thing as the sorcerer (2 spells/day that can be heightened as much as you want) and can increase it?

If the Bard can Spontaneous heighten more spells than the sorcerer that would be a bit sad...


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?

5/12 classes?! What witchery is this?


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Roswynn wrote:
I apologize - what do you mean "2 chances for players to make pcs to play"? Like, the pcs are dreaming they're different people and you play those too, for instance?

It was a sort-of-spoiler (but not really) for Doomsday Dawn revealed at PaizoCon -- there will be parts of it told from the perspective of multiple characters, meaning the players will be creating different characters for parts of it. It is a story conceit whereby we the players will be able to playtest as many different classes/races as possible. Really smart idea, IMO.

Liberty's Edge

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I like it! As a huge fan of Bards this looks very solid. I hope Inspire Courage scales and that polymath's skill options are solid, but assuming those and some decent weapon options, this version seems to have everything I want in a Bard Class.

I am very happy. :)

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

I mostly agree here, but think an exception can be made for Bard, as the 'high skill' caster Class just as Rogue is the 'high skill' martial one.

Roswynn wrote:
I apologize - what do you mean "2 chances for players to make pcs to play"? Like, the pcs are dreaming they're different people and you play those too, for instance?

You play 5 different characters over the course of Doomsday Dawn, so it's probably that.

Paizo Employee Designer

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Xenocrat wrote:

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.

If you didn't use the maestro stuff or rely overly much on spell rolls and DCs, I feel like you could do pretty reasonably, particularly in some of the "Bardic Knowledge" type stuff.


The Sarcastic Sage wrote:
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.

That does seem like the pattern. You are either a full caster with 10 levels of spells or you are not. But some classes like paladin and ranger have or can acquire the ability to cast stuff using their power points.

It likely makes it a bit easier for them to balance power wise when your casters all have similar types of access to stuff.


Mark Seifter wrote:
Roswynn wrote:
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.

Linger Composition isn't a composition, it's one of the maestro's composition mods. But yes, counter performance is an example of a non-cantrip composition. Fata aria too.

EDIT: Huh, fatal aria was cut from the blog. Well it's pretty strong.

Wait, lingering composition... isn't a composition. Mmmm. Okay, will get used to that.


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I am excite! I'm looking forward to playing a Bard at GenCon; hopefully I have enough time to put one together for my Thursday 8AM and 1PM sessions. :P

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Roswynn wrote:
Mark Seifter wrote:
Roswynn wrote:
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.

Linger Composition isn't a composition, it's one of the maestro's composition mods. But yes, counter performance is an example of a non-cantrip composition. Fata aria too.

EDIT: Huh, fatal aria was cut from the blog. Well it's pretty strong.

Wait, lingering composition... isn't a composition. Mmmm. Okay, will get used to that.

Yep, it is a power that makes your compositions linger. Similarly, Lingering Performance in PF1 is not a performance.


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Darkorin wrote:
Mark Seifter wrote:
Still doesn't help you though, I think. Sorry, which do you recommend we make suck?
Paladin, since it's the only class left with an alignment requirement... (That's half a joke by the way, I don't want the paladin to suck, but I wish it was more open xD)

Also Alchemist, because I'm still miffed they took the Witch's spot in Core ;P


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Not a fan of bards being full spellcastings. Also why not stick with "performances" instead of calling them "compositions".


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Bards can have a polymath muse. I feel honored.

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.

The Greek muses were nine minor goddesses, all daughters of Zeus and Mnemosyne: Calliope the muse of epic poetry, Clio the muse of history, Erato the muse of love poetry, Euterpe the muse of music, Melpomene the muse of tragedy, Polyhymnia the muse of sacred poetry, Terpsichore the muse of dance, Thalia the muse of comedy, and Urania the muse of astronomy. That is three forms of poetry, two kinds of plays, music, dance, history, and astronomy. The muses were know for inspiring people in artistic creation.

The PF2 bard's muse is not necessarily a goddess, though like the ancient Greeks the bards can view their muses as goddesses. The nine muses are so strongly tied to Greek mythology that they would not fit into a non-Greek campaign. Hence, Paizo is free to use "muse" as the artistic metaphor for artistic inspiration.

Take my forum name, Mathmuse. I am not claiming to be a muse of mathematics. Instead, I look at things through the lens of my mathematics and I see aspects that others don't. I try to display those aspects, sometimes in art and sometimes in ideas. Math is not an entity, yet it is my muse.

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Charon Onozuka wrote:
Darkorin wrote:
Mark Seifter wrote:
Still doesn't help you though, I think. Sorry, which do you recommend we make suck?
Paladin, since it's the only class left with an alignment requirement... (That's half a joke by the way, I don't want the paladin to suck, but I wish it was more open xD)
Also Alchemist, because I'm still miffed they took the Witch's spot in Core ;P

I saw someone say that in another thread, but they've misquoted me (or another staffer). Witch was not even close to being the most popular new class; oracle was the other class that was close-ish to the alchemist, but it wasn't as popular, plus the alchemist benefits much more from being incorporated in the system from the get-go rather than as an add-on than oracle does.


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ENHenry wrote:
Roswynn wrote:
I apologize - what do you mean "2 chances for players to make pcs to play"? Like, the pcs are dreaming they're different people and you play those too, for instance?

It was a sort-of-spoiler (but not really) for Doomsday Dawn revealed at PaizoCon -- there will be parts of it told from the perspective of multiple characters, meaning the players will be creating different characters for parts of it. It is a story conceit whereby we the players will be able to playtest as many different classes/races as possible. Really smart idea, IMO.

Holy crap! I must tell my players! Pretty smart indeed, good job Paizo!

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Roswynn wrote:
Wait, lingering composition... isn't a composition. Mmmm. Okay, will get used to that.

It makes compositions linger, see? Much like Lingering Performance is not a performance in PF1.

Edit: Gosh darnit, Mark. More like Ninja Eidolon... grumble


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kaid wrote:
The Sarcastic Sage wrote:
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.

That does seem like the pattern. You are either a full caster with 10 levels of spells or you are not. But some classes like paladin and ranger have or can acquire the ability to cast stuff using their power points.

It likely makes it a bit easier for them to balance power wise when your casters all have similar types of access to stuff.

The ranger very explicitly cannot gain spells in the playtest per the ranger preview blog though they will probably add that option later in the CRB.

"... the most significant change we made to the class was that it no longer has spellcasting ability, at least as a default. Of course, this doesn't mean we have to abandon this aspect of the Pathfinder First Edition ranger forever. Because of the way classes are now structured, it would be easy to create a spellcasting build of the ranger later using Spell Points (like the paladin), but for the Playtest, we are trying out a a spell-less ranger."

I think it is just Paladins and Monks as the spell point only spell users. Unless there is as archetype or VMC option that allows that.


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Deadmanwalking wrote:
Aiken Frost wrote:
Can we *please* don't let spellcasters have more skills than the Fighter? Please?
I mostly agree here, but think an exception can be made for Bard, as the 'high skill' caster Class just as Rogue is the 'high skill' martial one.

My only problem with that is the fact that the Bard already is a full caster and I bet his spells are going to give him absurd levels of versatility. And having that many skills alongside full 10 levels of spells will certainly just make the Rogue cry in a corner.

But if there must be an exception about skilled casters, I agree that the Bard should be it.


If occult is the spell list most connected to the astral plane and mental examinations, will an INT Lore based bard become the new ultimate knew-it-all? Will the diviner loose her place as the ultimate diviner?


Mark Seifter wrote:
Roswynn wrote:
Mark Seifter wrote:
Roswynn wrote:
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.

Linger Composition isn't a composition, it's one of the maestro's composition mods. But yes, counter performance is an example of a non-cantrip composition. Fata aria too.

EDIT: Huh, fatal aria was cut from the blog. Well it's pretty strong.

Wait, lingering composition... isn't a composition. Mmmm. Okay, will get used to that.
Yep, it is a power that makes your compositions linger. Similarly, Lingering Performance in PF1 is not a performance.

Works for me - as long as the keywords are right there, I can dig it.

Dark Archive

Bard looks very strong from its roots. Bard was a good class before now it looks like it just got a huge buff. This is also leading me to be concerned about the balance of PF2.


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Unicore wrote:
If occult is the spell list most connected to the astral plane and mental examinations, will an INT Lore based bard become the new ultimate knew-it-all? Will the diviner loose her place as the ultimate diviner?

You should check out the essences thread there is a lot of interesting stuff there. TLDR: Astral plane is connected to the mental essence. Occult list is mental/spiritual, Arcane list is mental/material, so arcane diviners should be good.

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Unicore wrote:
If occult is the spell list most connected to the astral plane and mental examinations, will an INT Lore based bard become the new ultimate knew-it-all? Will the diviner loose her place as the ultimate diviner?

Diviners are pretty good know-it-alls, but my bard did like to point out to our snooty diviner in Kingmaker in PF1 that I had legend lore first by one character level.


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I haven't read the thread yet, so someone might have already said something to this effect.

I like that countersong has been merged with distraction, but "counter performance" is just a really clunky name. I think I prefer the the more classic moniker; I'd just call the ability "distraction".


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Unicore wrote:
If occult is the spell list most connected to the astral plane and mental examinations, will an INT Lore based bard become the new ultimate knew-it-all? Will the diviner loose her place as the ultimate diviner?

Loremaster prestige archetype?


Unicore wrote:
If occult is the spell list most connected to the astral plane and mental examinations, will an INT Lore based bard become the new ultimate knew-it-all? Will the diviner loose her place as the ultimate diviner?

Well given a lot of the occult stuff in PF1 and starfinder talk about the akashic library I assume that yes those pursuing the occult arts tend to know a lot of strange and inexplicable things.

Liberty's Edge

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Aiken Frost wrote:
My only problem with that is the fact that the Bard already is a full caster and I bet his spells are going to give him absurd levels of versatility.

Well, he only gets 3 per spell level, and probably needs to use a fair portion of them on, say, healing if they want

Aiken Frost wrote:
And having that many skills alongside full 10 levels of spells will certainly just make the Rogue cry in a corner.

We actually don't have any evidence right now of them getting extra Skill Feats rather than extra Skills. They might, but I doubt nearly as many as Rogues get.

Aiken Frost wrote:
But if there must be an exception about skilled casters, I agree that the Bard should be it.

Yeah, as long as the Rogue beats them I'm cool with Bard beating other non-casters. Other casters almost certainly should never have more skills than martial characters do.


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Mark Seifter wrote:
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.

Why +3? Can't the wizard just prioritize dex over int to close that gap(since stats don't give bonus spells and its presumably possible to just avoid save based spells)?

Are buff spells eliminated in PF2 that a spellcaster can't boost rolls/give higher bonuses? It would seem odd if all of those old personal buffs are missing (especially since bless isn't missing...)


I look forward to seeing what the lore muse gets starting off and what it can build to.


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Mathmuse wrote:
The PF2 bard's muse is not necessarily a goddess, though like the ancient Greeks the bards can view their muses as goddesses. The nine muses are so...

I mean I think, given Occult. I'm just going to make three great old ones that bards frequently use symbolically to represent their inspiration. They may or may not exist.

Paizo Employee Designer

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brad2411 wrote:
Bard looks very strong from its roots. Bard was a good class before now it looks like it just got a huge buff. This is also leading me to be concerned about the balance of PF2.

It got many big (or even huge, as you say) improvements, but also the way the system works is different, so you're not going to having a bard drop +6 to hit and damage (2 of which is also to pretty much all other checks from good hope) to everyone on round 1, a game-altering amount even in PF1 where a party with a bard suddenly wouldn't even notice the issues with accuracy-starved classes like chained rogue and monk. This bard is stronger and more versatile at many things you can choose to do with it, but in part that is possible because the proud nail obvious most powerful option is less better than everything else (like how inspire courage blocked the other base performances in PF1 from being used until you could get up multiple and had an oversized effect on archetypes based on whether or not it was replaced).


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Voss wrote:
Mark Seifter wrote:
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.

Why +3? Can't the wizard just prioritize dex over int to close that gap(since stats don't give bonus spells and its presumably possible to just avoid save based spells)?

Are buff spells eliminated in PF2 that a spellcaster can't boost rolls/give higher bonuses? It would seem odd if all of those old personal buffs are missing (especially since bless isn't missing...)

I am pretty sure that extra +3 comes from weapon proficiency. Fighters get their ranked up proficiencies for weapons incredibly fast compared to others. So basically if the ability stats are equal then the fighter is going to be ahead of what less proficient people can do.

Paizo Employee Designer

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Voss wrote:
Mark Seifter wrote:
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.

Why +3? Can't the wizard just prioritize dex over int to close that gap(since stats don't give bonus spells and its presumably possible to just avoid save based spells)?

Are buff spells eliminated in PF2 that a spellcaster can't boost rolls/give higher bonuses? It would seem odd if all of those old personal buffs are missing (especially since bless isn't missing...)

Starting at level 3, a very determined wizard exercising all his options might be able to be 2 behind the very determined fighter at some levels, 3 at others. The fighter just has such crazy good proficiency. That's before buffs. If the buffer(s) decide to buff the wizard and not the fighter, of course that will help the wizard out, but that's a decision they made.


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I think I love everything about this new bard. Yup. Everything.

I can live without having there be multiple casting progressions, and Bards drawing from the occult tradition works as well as any other if it lets them have spells that fit them.

Although from a design standpoint, it seems odd that Occult is the only tradition that isn't practiced by a prepared spellcaster by default. I think I could have totally accepted bards as charisma-based prepared spellcasters (especially with unlimited performances in the form of exclusive cantrips already baked into the class either way).

Otherwise I'll just have to wait for Paizo to publish four more primary spellcasting classes... one occult prepared, and one spontaneous caster of each of the other three traditions (no more, no less in order to satisfy my obsession with symetry in design). Sorcerers don't count because they pop up in every magical tradition (like lazy, superhuman roaches).


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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?

Aw heck yeah. Sorry to be spreading information, but I'm happy to hear folks can do this without spending feats.

Now, how much that closes the caster-martial disparity will depend a lot on what can be done as a ritual and what casters can still do in encounter mode, but it definitely makes me optimistic.


Aiken Frost wrote:
Deadmanwalking wrote:
Aiken Frost wrote:
Can we *please* don't let spellcasters have more skills than the Fighter? Please?
I mostly agree here, but think an exception can be made for Bard, as the 'high skill' caster Class just as Rogue is the 'high skill' martial one.

My only problem with that is the fact that the Bard already is a full caster and I bet his spells are going to give him absurd levels of versatility. And having that many skills alongside full 10 levels of spells will certainly just make the Rogue cry in a corner.

But if there must be an exception about skilled casters, I agree that the Bard should be it.

Unless I've missed something, there's nothing indicating that Bards have equal skills to the rogue. They have more skills trained than most non-rogue characters (but less than the rogue), but the rogue also has skill points and skill feats at every level. While it's indicated that the Polymath muse gets more skills than the base bard, that's not necessarily equal to the rogue and likely at greater cost than the rogue's 'free'. Granted, depending on spells they might still be equal to the rogue in non combat versatility, but I don't think that if both a rogue and a bard invest in non combat versatility, the rogue will fall behind.

Paizo Employee Designer

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Tholomyes wrote:
Aiken Frost wrote:
Deadmanwalking wrote:
Aiken Frost wrote:
Can we *please* don't let spellcasters have more skills than the Fighter? Please?
I mostly agree here, but think an exception can be made for Bard, as the 'high skill' caster Class just as Rogue is the 'high skill' martial one.

My only problem with that is the fact that the Bard already is a full caster and I bet his spells are going to give him absurd levels of versatility. And having that many skills alongside full 10 levels of spells will certainly just make the Rogue cry in a corner.

But if there must be an exception about skilled casters, I agree that the Bard should be it.

Unless I've missed something, there's nothing indicating that Bards have equal skills to the rogue. They have more skills trained than most non-rogue characters (but less than the rogue), but the rogue also has skill points and skill feats at every level. While it's indicated that the Polymath muse gets more skills than the base bard, that's not necessarily equal to the rogue and likely at greater cost than the rogue's 'free'. Granted, depending on spells they might still be equal to the rogue in non combat versatility, but I don't think that if both a rogue and a bard invest in non combat versatility, the rogue will fall behind.

There is one very neat skill trick the polymath can eventually take that might make the rogue a bit jealous in the situations where it comes up (the rogue can actually be better in some ways at that niche even then by spending tons of skill feats but probably wouldn't do that, and the polymath spends way less) . Meanwhile, in many other skillsy situations, the polymath is jealous of the rogue's faster proficiency rank and skill feat advancement...but of course, he also spells!


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Voss wrote:
Why is the lingering composition performance check expressed so oddly? Why not X+level rather than the ' convoluted high difficulty based on highest level or GM messing with you?'

I think it is so that the GM can actually make it easier rather than harder. If the Bard opts to use an incredibly appropriate piece of performance for the composition the effect would have an easier time lingering.

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