Bard Class Preview

Monday, July 16, 2018

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

Bards are full 10-level spellcasters.

Spellcasting

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

Compositions

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

Inspire Courage Cantrip

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

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

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

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

Illustration by Wayne Reynolds

Lingering Composition Power 1

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

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

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

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

Muses

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

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

Bard Features

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

Counter Performance Power 1

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

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

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

Bard Feats

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

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

Allegro Cantrip

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

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

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

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

Mark Seifter
Designer

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Tags: Pathfinder Playtest Wayne Reynolds
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I like the unlimited use of bard song, but am not certain about it becoming a spell.
Perhaps it is required, until the book comes out in a couple of weeks I can't really see what is happening on the whole spells vs. Su abilities front, but it feels like it will make bard song easier to disrupt.


I love that the Bard is a full Occult caster, it makes sense with them being masters of esoteric lore. Digging out scraps of knowledge others would rather see hidden. I just hope traditionally Bardy-music spells of yore end up as class powers instead of padding out the Occult spell list.

While I've never been a fan of the minstrel Bard (+1 vote for archaeologist) I think Inspire Courage is sufficiently refluffable to continue using outside the musical theme. I imagine it being used to bend the luck of allies, or in a more sinister vein: the puppet master, subtly maniputaling allies in battle to greater effect! That said, I wonder if there are interesting enough Occult cantrips that you could swap them out for compositions to step away from that element of the support role.

Will there be foci other than instruments available to Bards? A Tome(spellbook) was mentioned, that'd be a flavourful alternative.

I was hoping Muses would be implemented in some way when it was apparent that bards were going to be Occult casters, though I'd imagined them as some sort of ephemeral pet, granting the bonuses that performance continues to deliver. I'm surprised that the Lore muse doesn't also grant a spellbook improving the occult spellcasting of the class, while Polymath would allow you to draw from other lists. Keen to see this area expanded in the future.

I'm also not a fan of the use of Composition as it implies something greater than it is in it's cantrip form. Tune, melody, harmonic, chord. I'm not musically inclined, but I'm sure there are more appropriate options. Composition to me would be more like a Bardic ritual, long-cast <compositions> that have greater, more enduring benefits.

Side note: I wonder if the hang ups with the term Occult for the spell list is just a result of Christian influence on western appreciation of magic (all of which is technically 'occult' in their minds).


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Mighty Squash wrote:

I like the unlimited use of bard song, but am not certain about it becoming a spell.

Perhaps it is required, until the book comes out in a couple of weeks I can't really see what is happening on the whole spells vs. Su abilities front, but it feels like it will make bard song easier to disrupt.

It will, but as I believe Xenocrat pointed out, if an enemy caster is kind enough to disrupt your 1 round cantrip using a precious spellslot, you thank the poor fool and cast it again the next round.

Spelllike and Supernatural abilities have mostly been folded into spells for PCs, and have become "innate casting" for NPCs. I think. There might be more nuance, but I think that's the jist of it.


Mighty Squash wrote:

I like the unlimited use of bard song, but am not certain about it becoming a spell.

Perhaps it is required, until the book comes out in a couple of weeks I can't really see what is happening on the whole spells vs. Su abilities front, but it feels like it will make bard song easier to disrupt.

My guess is that (Su) abilities no longer exist, and anti-magic fields simply prevent "things that are spells" and "things that cost resonance".


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My current understanding is that everything either is a spell or isn't and the (Su) and (Ex) tags no longer exist.


I'm interested in full spellcastering Bards, but I'm overly impatient for the whole damn thing now. This is the ads for Doctor Who when I just wanna watch the new seasons!


Pathfinder Adventure, Adventure Path, Starfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
Felinus wrote:
Side note: I wonder if the hang ups with the term Occult for the spell list is just a result of Christian influence on western appreciation of magic (all of which is technically 'occult' in their minds).

Weirdly enough, for me the term "occult" is jarring for literary reasons. I associate the term with certain genres of fantasy, more commonly called "Urban Fantasy" that is low magic and where magic usually revolves around particular focii. If any of the core classes had to pick up that feel, bards with their magical melodies are it, but I'll be honest and admit the term has always felt a little inappropriate to me in this high fantasy game.

Admittedly, Occult Adventures did a great job of maintaining the feel of low magic, focus dependent casting even inside the high fantasy, but still. And now I wonder if the Occultist is going to be able to access Occult magic, or if they'll more closely resemble alchemists as we discussed upthread.

Liberty's Edge

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Pathfinder Companion Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber

Beautiful.

My only problem is the same I have with the sorcerer: too few spells known. You have created new, never seen before spells, but, with 3 spells level, we will really take spells outside the 3 mainstream spells all bards will take?
What those spells will be will depend on the new spell list, but 3 know spells of each level will leave little space for versatility.

I fear it will end like in PF1: "spontaneous spellcaster have too few know spells, let's add a feat to get more"; ".... let's add a magic item to know more spells"; "... let's add a class option to add spells know" and after a time the spontaneous spellcaster will have so many options that the limitation disappear. Isn't better to be a bit more generous from the start and avoid adding a zillion of ways to know more spells in the future?


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Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

This looks pretty damn good. I loved playing a bard a few years ago and this makes it seems I'll love it even more in the new edition.

Grrr, give playtest book now, Paizo.


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Diego Rossi wrote:
I fear it will end like in PF1: "spontaneous spellcaster have too few know spells, let's add a feat to get more"; ".... let's add a magic item to know more spells"; "... let's add a class option to add spells know" and after a time the spontaneous spellcaster will have so many options that the limitation disappear.

If I have a worry about this, I'm more worried that they might NOT add those things.


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This makes me rather curious about how an occult Sorcerer would play, particular in comparison to the Bard.


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Pathfinder Adventure, Adventure Path, Starfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
graystone wrote:
Diego Rossi wrote:
I fear it will end like in PF1: "spontaneous spellcaster have too few know spells, let's add a feat to get more"; ".... let's add a magic item to know more spells"; "... let's add a class option to add spells know" and after a time the spontaneous spellcaster will have so many options that the limitation disappear.
If I have a worry about this, I'm more worried that they might NOT add those things.

I doubt they could stop themselves long term.


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AnimatedPaper wrote:
graystone wrote:
Diego Rossi wrote:
I fear it will end like in PF1: "spontaneous spellcaster have too few know spells, let's add a feat to get more"; ".... let's add a magic item to know more spells"; "... let's add a class option to add spells know" and after a time the spontaneous spellcaster will have so many options that the limitation disappear.
If I have a worry about this, I'm more worried that they might NOT add those things.
I doubt they could stop themselves long term.

Depends on the timeframe really and quality: We could get the 'shifter' of options right before pathfinder 3 comes out... If they make these type of options, I'd want them out sooner rather than later.


AnimatedPaper wrote:
graystone wrote:
Diego Rossi wrote:
I fear it will end like in PF1: "spontaneous spellcaster have too few know spells, let's add a feat to get more"; ".... let's add a magic item to know more spells"; "... let's add a class option to add spells know" and after a time the spontaneous spellcaster will have so many options that the limitation disappear.
If I have a worry about this, I'm more worried that they might NOT add those things.
I doubt they could stop themselves long term.

Given the amount of time I spend agonising over which spells to choose when I play spellcasters an option for more spells sounds like a good thing - I think a feat is a fair trade off for more versatility.


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AnimatedPaper wrote:
That's just it, they are actual spells. They have minimum spell levels, can be heightened, interact with the action economy in the same manner as every other kind of spell. They simply have a different associated cost to cast.

Oh. Awesome. So how many points do I have to spend to heighten a power to a higher spell effect? As a prepared caster can I swap out these powers like I can with other spells (including cantrips)? What spell list are these powers on and will my sorcerer get them via spells known?


Igwilly wrote:

I once had a player who wanted a Guitar-Axe for her Bard. I mean, electric guitar and rock-and-roll and that. No sane DM would ever allow such a thing!

Of course I said yes.

I see you have come up with the Lute of Striking Thunder as well. Did yours also contain the Call Lightning SLA 3/day?

Of course, it was a minor artifact level item and couldn't really be replicated. It's unique sound opened the doors for the owner to develop never-thought-of-before music!


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I'm curious about composition and how some people are reacting to it. I never associated it in particular with the scale of the work - it's simply a piece of music. I wonder if that impression of scale is regional or occupation based or specific to musicians, or whether it's just me?


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Mark Seifter wrote:
I flat out fielded a question about it in my Major Spoilers interview. Granted, it wasn't for the full details but the design goals.

Mark, I assume there is a schedule for all these blog posts, so the topics of future posts are already known - can you confirm if there will be a blog post looking at multi-classing before the playtest hits?


John Lynch 106 wrote:
AnimatedPaper wrote:
That's just it, they are actual spells. They have minimum spell levels, can be heightened, interact with the action economy in the same manner as every other kind of spell. They simply have a different associated cost to cast.
Oh. Awesome. So how many points do I have to spend to heighten a power to a higher spell effect? As a prepared caster can I swap out these powers like I can with other spells (including cantrips)? What spell list are these powers on and will my sorcerer get them via spells known?

I'm curious - did you actually like the divide between spells, spell-like, and supernatural, and when some worked and some didn't?


After the Barbarian blog, I was getting worried about what was going to be done instead of having limited rounds of Rage/Performance. At least the Bard doesn't end up having to perform for only 3 rounds and then have to take every 4th round off to blow their nose . . . .

With respect to the short Compositions, I see these as being like Combat Ringtones . . . .

Igwilly wrote:

{. . .}

As a note: in my table , it will be a house-rule: everyone's first bard must be named Edward.
Come on! This poor guy deserves some time in the spotlight!

Like, for instance, Edward Yaya, Edward Smallberries, and Edward Bigboote . . . ?

Igwilly wrote:

I once had a player who wanted a Guitar-Axe for her Bard. I mean, electric guitar and rock-and-roll and that. No sane DM would ever allow such a thing!

Of course I said yes.

I want to see a Combat Bassoon. The intention of this is to cause enemy orchestras to surrender. (Warning: A high frequency of friendly fire incidents has been reported. Use at your own risk.)


dragonhunterq wrote:
I'm curious about composition and how some people are reacting to it. I never associated it in particular with the scale of the work - it's simply a piece of music. I wonder if that impression of scale is regional or occupation based or specific to musicians, or whether it's just me?

Well given using one composition is one of three actions in your round, if we are still running with a 6 second round from previous editions and assume an even breakdown of round -> action, that gives this 'piece of music' a duration of 2 seconds. Make of that what you will.


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AnimatedPaper wrote:
Felinus wrote:
Side note: I wonder if the hang ups with the term Occult for the spell list is just a result of Christian influence on western appreciation of magic (all of which is technically 'occult' in their minds).

Weirdly enough, for me the term "occult" is jarring for literary reasons. I associate the term with certain genres of fantasy, more commonly called "Urban Fantasy" that is low magic and where magic usually revolves around particular focii. If any of the core classes had to pick up that feel, bards with their magical melodies are it, but I'll be honest and admit the term has always felt a little inappropriate to me in this high fantasy game.

Admittedly, Occult Adventures did a great job of maintaining the feel of low magic, focus dependent casting even inside the high fantasy, but still. And now I wonder if the Occultist is going to be able to access Occult magic, or if they'll more closely resemble alchemists as we discussed upthread.

Yeah, the first use of the Occult list we saw was with the Sorcerers Aberant bloodline, so when I saw it applied to Bard as the Primary user of the list I was taken aback. It didn't take long for the realisation that that list is the perfect home for Hideous Laughter. Also Musica Universalis (Harmony of the Spheres) has a certain Old Gods vibe to it. Also of all the class hunting out weird bits of Lore for their spells, it's Bards.


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Felinus wrote:
AnimatedPaper wrote:
Felinus wrote:
Side note: I wonder if the hang ups with the term Occult for the spell list is just a result of Christian influence on western appreciation of magic (all of which is technically 'occult' in their minds).

Weirdly enough, for me the term "occult" is jarring for literary reasons. I associate the term with certain genres of fantasy, more commonly called "Urban Fantasy" that is low magic and where magic usually revolves around particular focii. If any of the core classes had to pick up that feel, bards with their magical melodies are it, but I'll be honest and admit the term has always felt a little inappropriate to me in this high fantasy game.

Admittedly, Occult Adventures did a great job of maintaining the feel of low magic, focus dependent casting even inside the high fantasy, but still. And now I wonder if the Occultist is going to be able to access Occult magic, or if they'll more closely resemble alchemists as we discussed upthread.

Yeah, the first use of the Occult list we saw was with the Sorcerers Aberant bloodline, so when I saw it applied to Bard as the Primary user of the list I was taken aback. It didn't take long for the realisation that that list is the perfect home for Hideous Laughter. Also Musica Universalis (Harmony of the Spheres) has a certain Old Gods vibe to it. Also of all the class hunting out weird bits of Lore for their spells, it's Bards.

I am just glad to see bardic and Druidic magic assigned to clear categories- when world building "where magic comes from/why it works" is always a big question, and it was never very clear from reading core books how bardic and Druidic magic fits the divine/arcane binary most settings imply, so having primal and occult helps a bit to help define what category each spellcaster fits into.


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PossibleCabbage wrote:
I wonder if the bard is endlessly extensible via printing "additional muse options" like how the sorcerer is sure to get a bunch of bloodlines.

I certainly hope so! ^_^


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If there's one thing Paizo loves to do, it's print new modular options.

I predict a battle muse that completely outclasses the Fighter no more than two years after launch.

I'm only half joking.


JoelF847 wrote:

Impressions of the bard:

9) Counter performance - what does a "visual effect" mean exactly? The PF1 definition was nice and specific - illusion glamers or illusion patterns. Is a fireball a visual effect, since you sure can see that ball of fire explode? What about gaze attacks? Auras which are described as blinding beauty like a nymph? What about attacks that blind you due to flashes of bright lights, like glitter dust, blinding ray, etc?

"Visual" will probably be a tag that can be found in various spells and abilities. So Counter Performance will work against those spells and abilities.

Not sure how I feel about (probably) needing 2 different Perform skills to cover auditory and visual effects with counter performance. Though I guess there could be some kinds of performance that cover both. Acting comes to mind.

Quote:
10) Do the bard cantrips like inspire courage and allegro have heighten effects? I thought all cantrips heighten as you rise in levels, but I don't see anything for either of these which indicates how they heighten.

Not all cantrips have a hightened effect. The damaging ones can probably all be hightened but I know it's been stated that some cantrips just have their base effect. Prestidigitation was mentioned as one such cantrip and I could see other utility cantrips work this way as well ( like Stabilize or Detect Magic).


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Quandary wrote:
Seems more a matter of people ignoring old inconsistencies because that's just what they were used to. "Sorcery" was just as much "connoted" as sinister, yet nobody complained there, or why it wasn't classed as divine since it was "connoted" as worshipping evil deities.

Probably because sorcery is no longer connoted with something bad and connotations are "just what people are used to".


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Brock Landers wrote:

The Occult thing is cool, but I secretly (double-secret naughty) wanted them to be Primal, take Bards back to their "Druidical tutelage" roots!

If we go back to their roots, would Bards end up with primal magic, or would druids end up with occult magic?


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ErichAD wrote:
Brock Landers wrote:

The Occult thing is cool, but I secretly (double-secret naughty) wanted them to be Primal, take Bards back to their "Druidical tutelage" roots!

If we go back to their roots, would Bards end up with primal magic, or would druids end up with occult magic?

I imagine a future Muse could reflect inspirationfrom natural splendor or even fey and the first world, dipping into Primal magic and replicating the odd Druid/Ranger class feature/feat!


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Isabelle Lee wrote:
PossibleCabbage wrote:
I wonder if the bard is endlessly extensible via printing "additional muse options" like how the sorcerer is sure to get a bunch of bloodlines.
I certainly hope so! ^_^

I would like to see this as well . . . except . . . preferably MUCH better organized. The whole thing became a monstrous mess when Wildblooded Bloodlines appeared. Not that I had anything against Wildblooded Bloodlines, but although they pointed you back to their parent Bloodlines, good luck navigating in the forward direction from parent Bloodline to derived Wildblooded Bloodline -- and their construction as archetypes instead of the Sorcerous equivalent of Subdomains made for a whole bunch of unnecessary archetype incompatibilities.

I should have probably put the above in the Sorcerer blog thread, but that thread is just too enormous for me to catch up with (as this one will probably be in another day).


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Finally, something really changed and somewhat different.

* I'm not interested in the spellcasting, so a spell-less option will be looked for, though the distinction between spell points, compositions and feats that may or may not use spell points is not absolutely clear on first reading. If I have a high-level complaint it is actually that there is too much going on here. With time I'm sure the option-dust would settle.

* At first I too thought the lingerining composition wording was way too "handwave, PF 2 edition", but really:

Don't Panic!!! wrote:
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...

[Emphasis] and [italics] mine.

Usually, things make sense, but occasionally the GM may make things easier or harder. Cope, gang. I think the wording is fine, though PFS may have some issues with the meaning when put into practice.

* I see Mark mentions multiclassing in his comments, and then alludes to some comments driving at the design goals in some other forum/media. I still feel like multiclassing won't be what many of us would like, but many of us will embrace with open arms.

* Nice picture Wayne. You are a true professional to illustrate halflings.

Shadow Lodge

Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber

I like what im seeing but i have some reservations. Im glad to see the bard getting a boosto full caster and a rework of performances into cantrips. However the reoccurance of powers and spell points and the awkward terminology is upsetting. Spell points are looking to be an unnecessary complication. Why not simply use the moniker of powers to represent unusual abilities with limited use and limit that use by using the action economy. Would unlimited use of powesrs at an action cost be too unbalanced? I ask because im unaware of the range fo powers available. Certainly lingering performanc would be ok, take an action after a performance and it may cause the lingering ts now limited because it cost you in terms of AE at the start, which depnding on combat duration may be a high cost, limiting you to one other action, plus there is still a roll required and hence a chance that the action is simply wasted.

The others i recall are the sorcere one where it was 2 actions to get the maw. How is unlimited use here to overpowerd? You use us 2/3 of your actions to do this so unless a combat is long youve lost a lot of ground.

Quiver8ng palm (power 8) could take two actions to make the attack then a furtherr one to “activate”. Since the effect of a sucess, critical success or fail results in being bolstered against it then realistically its a once per day effect on a target, esp date cially since you end it when you activate a second one.

This would remove the complication of spell points and keep the system a little more unified.

I also have serious concerns about the action/reaction interplay with counterperformance. If it ends your other performance this has the potential to get extremely annoying. If i act in my turn to use a performance, then want to use my reaction to benefit myself or the party the effect ends. My performance was pointless if this occurs directly after ive acted.

Why cant a bard use their actions to maintain multiple performances? This still means three at most, or better still once performance = one action, the second requires one more of your actions plus another due to the complexity of maintaining the two. So to keep one going youll always lose one action, a fair penalty really, to maintain two you need to use alll three of your actions! Why let reactions distrupt this? The cost of a performance is the action useage itself. I hope that makes sense.

Lastly could we please consider past tense for conditions? Quickened rolls of the tongue better than quick. Your aly is quickened (strike, strike or step) seems more natural(?) than hour ally gains quick...


Cat-thulhu wrote:
Would unlimited use of powesrs at an action cost be too unbalanced?

The idea for powers is to be stronger than a cantrip but weaker than your highest level spell. So ask yourself this question: would it be overpowered for a wizard to get infinite access to his second highest level of spells?

Grand Lodge

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Milo v3 wrote:
Eh, I'm less interested in this than the 1e Bard and Bard was one of my least liked classes in Fantasy RPGs to begin with. Do we know if we can have a bard with no musical abilities at all yet?

Mark essentially confirmed this earlier in the thread. They'll still perform somehow, but it could be speeches or acting or capoeira for all the rules care. There's actually nothing in the class that we've seen that requires you to be musical; optionally you can use a musical instrument instead of verbal and somatic components, but you could just as well have those components be particularly animated orating rather than mystic incantations.

Shadow Lodge

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Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber
Arachnofiend wrote:
Cat-thulhu wrote:
Would unlimited use of powesrs at an action cost be too unbalanced?
The idea for powers is to be stronger than a cantrip but weaker than your highest level spell. So ask yourself this question: would it be overpowered for a wizard to get infinite access to his second highest level of spells?

Oh i realise that but so far i cant say ive seen any that actually fit that concept. Plus they can be gated by prerequisites. I just putting it out there bacause we still seem to have /day things and powers of variable cost that probably really amount to /day abilities. Realistically how many “events” occur per day that results in this being a limit anyway


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graystone wrote:
Diego Rossi wrote:
I fear it will end like in PF1: "spontaneous spellcaster have too few know spells, let's add a feat to get more"; ".... let's add a magic item to know more spells"; "... let's add a class option to add spells know" and after a time the spontaneous spellcaster will have so many options that the limitation disappear.
If I have a worry about this, I'm more worried that they might NOT add those things.

We know that Staves exist, have low level versions, and can do this with a bit of Resonance cost (which to a Bard, is not as painful as it might be for non-CHA casters).

Liberty's Edge

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John Lynch 106 wrote:
AnimatedPaper wrote:
That's just it, they are actual spells. They have minimum spell levels, can be heightened, interact with the action economy in the same manner as every other kind of spell. They simply have a different associated cost to cast.
Oh. Awesome. So how many points do I have to spend to heighten a power to a higher spell effect? As a prepared caster can I swap out these powers like I can with other spells (including cantrips)? What spell list are these powers on and will my sorcerer get them via spells known?

Serious answer:

Spell Point spells (ie: Powers) and Cantrips auto-heighten to your max spell level. They've made this pretty explicit a few times. Both are designed to be less powerful for their spell level than those that use Spell Slots.

And mostly, Spell Point spells aren't on any list per se. I'm not sure why you'd consider that a problem, since it's not like Spell-like or Supernatural abilities were on anyone's spell list in PF1.


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Cyouni wrote:
I'm curious - did you actually like the divide between spells, spell-like, and supernatural, and when some worked and some didn't?

Yes and no. Yes because it told us something about the universe and the way people's abilities were powered. No because it was fiddly and introduced complications that mattered very little in terms of gameplay at the table.

But this isn't a case of "at least it's equally bad as in PF1e". We have changed so much in the name of ease of use and consistency, why the hell are we going to keep powers as this odd thing that doesn't match the rest of the game's methods of achieving it's stated goals?


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Deadmanwalking wrote:
Spell Point spells (ie: Powers) and Cantrips auto-heighten to your max spell level. They've made this pretty explicit a few times.

I realise that. But given this it's a bit imprecise (I won't say misleading) to claim powers can be heightened just like spells. They're not heightened. They're scaled. And they scale at a rate of every odd level (or every 4 levels or 6 levels or whatever the scaling might occur). That's not really like spells at all.

You might say they're like cantrips, except cantrips can be prepared unlike powers.

Deadmanwalking wrote:
I'm not sure why you'd consider that a problem, since it's not like Spell-like or Supernatural abilities were on anyone's spell list in PF1.

Because we get posts where people say that these spell like abilities are spells! Except they're not spells. They're spell-like abilities. But in our aversion to name things what they are and instead use the same name for different things we're pretending the spell like abilities are spells and that calling them spells makes things clearer when in fact it makes things less clear. As does the name Spell Points given they have nothing to do with spells and are only used by powers.

Silver Crusade

Pathfinder Companion, Pathfinder Accessories Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Charter Superscriber

I think I'm going to call Powers Spell-like abilities instead.
It being 3 words instead of 1 is going to be the reason the are called Powers in the book.
So the Spell-likes use the Spell points, and behave pretty much "like spells".

Really liking the bard.

I do hope that gazes are "visual effects" and the Bard can counter-dance the basiliks gaze.


John Lynch 106 wrote:
Deadmanwalking wrote:
I'm not sure why you'd consider that a problem, since it's not like Spell-like or Supernatural abilities were on anyone's spell list in PF1.
Because we get posts where people say that these spell like abilities are spells! Except they're not spells. They're spell-like abilities. But in our aversion to name things what they are and instead use the same name for different things we're pretending the spell like abilities are spells and that calling them spells makes things clearer when in fact it makes things less clear. As does the name Spell Points given they have nothing to do with spells and are only used by powers.

If the term "power" was replaced by "spell-like ability" with no other modification, would that solve your issue?

Liberty's Edge

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John Lynch 106 wrote:

I realise that. But given this it's a bit imprecise (I won't say misleading) to claim powers can be heightened just like spells. They're not heightened. They're scaled. And they scale at a rate of every odd level (or every 4 levels or 6 levels or whatever the scaling might occur). That's not really like spells at all.

You might say they're like cantrips, except cantrips can be prepared unlike powers.

They are measured via the same scale (Spell Level). How they get there is different, but mechanically the fact that it's the same scale is actually very relevant. It interacts with things like Dispel Magic in a specific way, for example.

John Lynch 106 wrote:
Because we get posts where people say that these spell like abilities are spells! Except they're not spells. They're spell-like abilities. But in our aversion to name things what they are and instead use the same name for different things we're pretending the spell like abilities are spells and that calling them spells makes things clearer when in fact it makes things less clear. As does the name Spell Points given they have nothing to do with spells and are only used by powers.

They are mechanically spells in every sense. They have components which work the same, they count as Arcane or Divine (or Primal or Occult), they provoke AoO under the same circumstances, they can be counterspelled under the same circumstances, and so on and so forth. In every way that matters in terms of interacting with the rest of the game system, they are spells.

The only way in which they aren't spells is if you define spells as 'the things I cast with spell slots'. That's a specific definition and not actually a very useful one. It's the one PF1 uses in some ways, sure, but that in no way makes it a good definition.

If something works like a spell in every way, it should be referred to as a spell. 'Power' like 'Cantrip' is a subdivision of spells cast in a slightly different way, making 'Spell Point' a perfectly valid term (though 'Power Point' would indeed also work).

'Spell Like Ability' was a mess as a term, both in wording and mechanical meaning (I still remember all the arguments about the difference between spell and spell-like ability), and removing it is an unambiguous good. Replacing it with a sub-category of spells is a great decision I heartily support, and as near as I can tell the only objection seems to be that 'it's different', which is sort of a bad objection in terms of a new system.


KingOfAnything wrote:
Aiken Frost wrote:

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.
How does that stack with abilities that give you an extra action you can use to Stride or Jump?

As mentioned in the Conditions blog, the result is 1 extra action you can use to Strike, Stride, Step, or Jump. You merge the options.


On the topic of Powers... I have seen several developer statements now that seem to indicate that Powers aren't just Spell-Like Abilities; but that they are actually Uncommon spells too. By which I mean that they can be learned and cast exactly like any other spells, but that most casters simply never learn how to do so (because the spell-versions are Uncommon). It could just be wishful thinking, of course.

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