Adventure Marches On

Monday, July 15, 2019

Wizard archetype. A dark-skinned man with a thin mustache holds his right hand out, casting an upside down teardrop-shaped glow of blue. In his left hand, he firmly holds a pointed staff upright. It stands taller than him and near the top it has a rectangular, almost hammer shaped section with a sitting green cat on the side. The man is dressed in pleated brown robes with wide complementary stripes, and wears steel shoes. A wide belt carries two buckled pouches on his left side, one smaller than the other. He wears a piece of shoulder armor secured by by a wide dark red sash with a silver disc attached to protect his joints and has a rolled headscarf that is topped by a conic, pointed hat with a green ball near the top of the point. He appears to be wearing a shoulder wrap that is white with pink flowers underneath his headscarf.

Illustration by Giorgio Baroni

You've created your character. You've tasted that first bite of toil and heroics, earned your first thousand Experience Points, and come back to town a hero. Is it time to hang up the sword, sidle into the local tavern, and get free drinks for years in return for spinning yarns of your youthful adventuring day?

Hell no. It's time to level up your character so you can do it all again!

This week we're going to examine how you advance your characters in Pathfinder. We are going to start with your young fighter who resists the urge to retire and sit on his laurels and instead decides that adventuring is his jam. Let's start by advancing the hero of our story—a human (skilled) fighter, with the nomad background. Let's call him Kaliban.

First Steps

Each time you gain a new level, there're a few things you're going to want to do first. First, you're going to increase your level by one and subtract 1,000 Experience Points (XP) for your XP total. Then you're going to increase your Hit Points by the amount determined by class and then add your Constitution modifier.

Kaliban is a fighter, so his Hit Points increase by 10 + his Constitution bonus (let's say he has Con 14) so his total Hit Points at 2nd level become 32.

Lastly, you're going to take a look at your class progression table and apply any class features that aren't feat choices, ability boosts, or skill increases. We'll take a closer look at that later, at 3rd level when Kaliban gains the bravery class feature, but at 2nd level, Kaliban gains a fighter feat and a skill feat as class features, so we are going to move on to the next step.

Table 3-12: FIGHTER ADVANCEMENT. Column 1: Your Level. Column 2: Class Features. 1 | Ancestry and background, initial proficiencies, attack of opportunity, fighter feat, shield block. 2 | Fighter feat, skill feat. 3| Bravery, general feat, skill increase.

Choose Your Feats

In terms of pure role and effectiveness oomph, choosing a new class feat is often the most exciting choice you can make when advancing your character. First off, let's assume that during character creation Kaliban had already taken Power Attack.

Power attack. Two actions. Feat 1. Fighter. Flourish. You unleash a particularly powerful attack that clobbers your foe but leaves you a bit unsteady. Make a melee Strike. This counts as two attacks when calculating your multiple attack penalty. If this Strike hits, you deal an extra die of weapon damage. If you’re at least 10th level, increase this to two extra dice, and if you’re at least 18th level, increase it to three extra dice.

Kaliban likes power. And Power Attack allows Kaliban to deal even more damage with his favorite weapon—a maul. At 2nd level, he could continue on this punishing path by taking the Brutish Shove fighter feat, which allows him to throw his enemies around the battlefield.

Brutish Shove. One action. Feat 2. Fighter. Press. Requirements: You are wielding a two-handed melee weapon.  Description: Throwing your weight behind your attack, you hit your opponent hard enough to make it stumble back. Make a Strike with a two-handed melee weapon. If you have a target that is your size or smaller, that creature is flat-footed until the end of your current turn, and you can automatically Shove it, with the same benefits as the Shove action (including the critical success effect, if your Strike was a critical hit). If you move to follow the target, your movement doesn’t trigger reactions.  This Strike has the following failure effect: The target becomes flat-footed until the end of your current turn.

This seems like the obvious choice, but let's imagine Kaliban is not your typical fighter. He's a particularly smart fellow (Intelligence 14). Let's also imagine that during his first adventure, he came across a frightfully competent gnoll evoker who gave Kaliban and his companions a tough time of it. And during that encounter, while taking the abuse that gnoll was dishing out, Kaliban wondered what it would be like to mix martial prowess with that kind of arcane might. Lucky for Kaliban, once he reaches 2nd level, the fighter has the opportunity to grow in a different direction. He can choose to multiclass.

Wizard Dedication. Feat 2. Archetype. Dedication. Multiclass. Prerequisites: Intelligence 14. Description: You cast spells like a wizard, gaining a spell book with four common arcane cantrips of your choice. You gain the Cast a Spell activity. You can prepare two cantrips each day from your spell book. You’re trained in arcane spell attack rolls and spell DCs.Your key spell casting ability for wizard archetype spells is Int, and they are arcane wizard spells. You become trained in Arcana; if you were already trained in Arcana, you instead become trained in a skill of your choice. Special: You can’t select another dedication feat until you have gained two other feats from the wizard archetype.

It's not a bad deal. A spellbook with four cantrips, the ability to prepare two of them a day, and training in Arcana strikes the fighter as more promising than just pushing around his enemies. Some fighters might scoff at such dalliance, but Kaliban decides to go the fighter/wizard route. Taking a quick look at the arcane cantrips, he chooses to scribble daze, mage hand, shield, and telekinetic projectile in his spellbook. Most adventuring days, he typically leans on shield and telekinetic projectile as his prepared cantrips.

After picking his class feat, Kaliban picks a skill feat. He has training in the following skills: Acrobatics, Arcana, Athletics, Crafting, Desert Lore, Intimidation, Nature, Society, Stealth, and Survival, so he has a lot of choices. But let's say Kaliban has become enamored with his brief magical studies and chooses Arcane Sense.

Arcane Sense. Feat 1. General. Skill. Prerequisites: trained in Arcana. Description: Your study of magic allows you to instinctively sense its presence. You can cast 1st-level *detect magic* at will as an arcane innate spell. If you’re a master in Arcana, the spell is heightened to 3rd level; if you’re legendary, it is heightened to 4th level.

This way Kaliban can always be on the lookout for more magic to supplement his spellbook, equipment, and his split aspirations.

With his skill feat chosen, all he has to do is adjust his various skills, attack rolls, and DCs to reflect his increased level and new bonuses, and he is done. He has everything he needs to continue adventuring with more than a few new tricks up his sleeve.

Each New Level, Repeat

Each time you gain a level, the method by which you increase your level stays the same. Only the details and choices change. To make it easy for you to remember what you need to do each level, there's a bullet-point list on page 31 of the Pathfinder Second Edition Core Rulebook. Follow those directions each level, and you'll be set.

Leveling-up Checklist. Every time you gain a level, make sure you do each of the following: 
- Increase your level by 1 and subtract 1,000 XP from your XP total.
- Increase your maximum Hit Points by the amount listed in your class entry in Chapter 3. 
Add class features from your class advancement table, including ability boosts and skill increases.
- Select feats as indicated on your class advancement table. For ancestry feats, see Chapter 2. For class feats, see your class entry in Chapter 3. For general feats and skill feats, see Chapter 5. 
- Add spells and spell slots if your class grants spell casting. See Chapter 7 for spells.
- Increase all of your proficiency bonuses by 1 from your new level, and make other increases to your proficiency bonuses as necessary from skill increases or other class features. 
- Increase any other statistics that changed as a result of ability boots or other abilities.
- Adjust bonuses from feats and other abilities that are based on your level.

When Kaliban reaches 3rd level, even though he's multiclassed into wizard, he is still primarily a fighter, and he is going to advance as a 3rd-level fighter. He'll gain 12 more Hit Points (bringing his total to 44) and get the bravery class feature, along with a general feat and a skill increase. First, let's take a look at bravery.

Bravery. 3rd.
Having faced countless foes and the chaos of battle, you have learned how to stand strong in the face of fear and keep on fighting. Your proficiency rank for Will saves increases to expert. When you roll a success at a Will save against a fear effect, you get a critical success instead.  In addition, any time you gain the frightened condition, reduce its value by 1.

While Kaliban is trained in Will saving throws, during character creation he chose to boost Intelligence instead of Wisdom, so bravery is going to be a big help. At second level his Will saving throw was +4. Thanks to bravery it jumps up to a +7 while granting him some extra protection against fear effects.

The skill increase allows him to either become trained in a new skill or to become an expert in a skill he's already trained in. Kaliban has a pretty robust set of skills, especially for a fighter, so he is going to invest the skill increase in raising one of his skills to expert proficiency. Since he's been focusing many of his build resources into his magical training, this time he'll use his skill training to become an expert in Athletics.

What about that general feat? Well, it just so happens that Magical Crafting pops up at 2nd level, so maybe Kaliban can find a way to increase his power in the magical arts after all.

A female elf in studded dark red armor is shown in active battle in the woods, dark old trees looming in the background and thick vines up to her knees. She has long, flowing white hair and a dark green gem in the middle of her forehead. In her right hand she wields a dagger that looks deadly despite its ornate engraving on the blade, and in her left hand she is pointing a crooked short staff at her attacker and several glowing blue energy knives are bursting out of it from a circle of runes.

Illustration by Matteo Spirito

Only the Beginning

In the end, each level that you attain increases your ability to customize your character. We only completed two levels of Kaliban's advancement, and he has made many exciting and diverse choices, most of which were out of the ordinary. Not only does the fighter have an abundance of choice with just fighter class feats, but by taking dedication feats to multiclass or take on an archetype, the fighter increases the number and variety of choices available to him at each new level. Add to that further customization through skill advancement, general feats (skill and otherwise), and ancestry feats gained after 1st level, and at every level your adventurer becomes a unique legend sure to leave a mark on your campaign's story and the world of Pathfinder.

Stephen Radney-MacFarland
Senior Designer

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Tags: Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Pathfinder Second Edition
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PMSchulz wrote:
So, multiclassing into a spellcasting class is still a bad thing. Well, there go a lot of play styles. I was hoping the "you get two zero level spells to cast per day and have to burn another feat to get a first level spell" was a bad idea that would get tweaked. If you didn't want people to multiclass, why even give the option?

...Why is it bad now? If you want to be, say, a Fighter, you still get your full proficiencies, saves, attack, hit points, etc, but for a few feats, you can also get some cantrips, up to 8th level spells, master proficiency in your casting, up to two spell slots of every level through 6th, and that's not shabby given it also doesn't completely hobble you like it did in Pathfinder 1st Edition.

Sure, you're short a few feats, but with five alone (of eleven class feats), you can get all of the above. Still leaves you with a few decent feats for your Fighter abilities. Whereas if you went in, say, ten levels into Wizard on your Fighter, you'd be massively thrown off in important aspects that make you a Fighter (BAB goes down the drain, your HP gains would plummet, you'd have a drop in bonus feats, and you'd do all that only to peak at 5th level spells, which your stats may not end up supporting all that well anyways, vs how much easier 2e makes raising multiple stats).


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I mean, the big diference in multiclassing is that "poaching low level abilities and getting free feats from minimal investment" no longer works, but "merging two classes" works much better than it used to.

Like in the playtest I had a Barbarian whose 2nd, 4th, 8th, and 14th level feats were "cleric dedication spellcasting" feats and whose 6th and 12th level feats were "the upgrade to your totem ability". Worked way better than a Barbarian 7/Cleric 7 would have in PF1.


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PMSchulz wrote:
So, multiclassing into a spellcasting class is still a bad thing. Well, there go a lot of play styles. I was hoping the "you get two zero level spells to cast per day and have to burn another feat to get a first level spell" was a bad idea that would get tweaked. If you didn't want people to multiclass, why even give the option?

There is no such thing as level 0 spells. Cantrips start at 1st and automatically heighten, and can be very useful utility for a martial. Why is this bad?


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PMSchulz wrote:
So, multiclassing into a spellcasting class is still a bad thing. Well, there go a lot of play styles. I was hoping the "you get two zero level spells to cast per day and have to burn another feat to get a first level spell" was a bad idea that would get tweaked. If you didn't want people to multiclass, why even give the option?

Aside from what's already been pointed out, it isn't a 1st level spell for a feat. It scales and gets you a second and third level spell as well. A once per day Haste alone seems potentially worth a feat for a martial.


Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber

Also worth mentioning that as long as you aren't taking damaging spells, those spells stay useful forever since their save DC scales.

Probably not worth multiclassing to take damaging spells, admittedly.

Liberty's Edge

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Pathfinder Companion, Pathfinder Accessories Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber

Multiclassing as a way to change your character's focus does not work in PF2. Classes are basically bundles of features and proficiencies with a specific focus.

If you want your character to be a mage with some martial ability, you need to start as a caster and multiclass as a martial.

If you want them to be a martial with some magical abilities, it is the other way around.

And as many have noted above, PF2 is quite efficient at that and leagues above PF1.

What is lacking IMO is a way to change your character's focus during the game.

If the CRB does not provide it, I fervently hope the GMG will.


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MaxAstro wrote:
Probably not worth multiclassing to take damaging spells, admittedly.

Which I think is arguably still a pretty frustrating problem. Battlemage style characters are a really popular archetype and someone who tries to build that out in the current system is going to forever be struggling to keep their offensive magic relevant.

In general one of my biggest headscratches when it came to PF2's design. PF1 had an issue where without special optimization, blasting kind of sucked compared to debuffing and control... so PF2 made control spells autoscale and have degrees of success so they're much more relevant over the life of the campaign and then turned around and removed natural scaling from blasting entirely and as far as I can tell hasn't really done anything to the underlying system math to make blasting all that more appealing otherwise.

Probably beyond the scope of this thread though.

The Raven Black wrote:


What is lacking IMO is a way to change your character's focus during the game.

Isn't that what retraining is supposed to represent?

Liberty's Edge

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Squiggit wrote:


The Raven Black wrote:


What is lacking IMO is a way to change your character's focus during the game.
Isn't that what retraining is supposed to represent?

Sadly "you can't retrain your class" made it into the CRB.

Still hoping for a variant in the GMG


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Squiggit wrote:
MaxAstro wrote:
Probably not worth multiclassing to take damaging spells, admittedly.

Which I think is arguably still a pretty frustrating problem. Battlemage style characters are a really popular archetype and someone who tries to build that out in the current system is going to forever be struggling to keep their offensive magic relevant.

In general one of my biggest headscratches when it came to PF2's design. PF1 had an issue where without special optimization, blasting kind of sucked compared to debuffing and control... so PF2 made control spells autoscale and have degrees of success so they're much more relevant over the life of the campaign and then turned around and removed natural scaling from blasting entirely and as far as I can tell hasn't really done anything to the underlying system math to make blasting all that more appealing otherwise.

Probably beyond the scope of this thread though.

The Raven Black wrote:


What is lacking IMO is a way to change your character's focus during the game.
Isn't that what retraining is supposed to represent?

PEdiwir did a really amazing breakdown of why your spell DC scaling actually keeps your damage spells relevant in a far more elegant manner than just scaling their damage to caster level. Lower level blasts do indeed maintain relevance, arguable just as well or better than PF1.

That aside, a multiclass blaster might consider going for cantrips and focus spells over spell slots, which auto-heighten and are usable more often anyway. There seem to be some quite solid blasts among the focus spells.


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The Raven Black wrote:

What is lacking IMO is a way to change your character's focus during the game.

If the CRB does not provide it, I fervently hope the GMG will.

I was thinking the same thing when I was reading through the post. Even if it doesn't explicately say anything in the GMG, I would allow a player who really wants to change to retrain, perhaps giving them the new class they wanted, but making them take the dedication feat for the class they originally were.

In terms of RAW I would be okay without fully changing focus.


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Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber
Squiggit wrote:
MaxAstro wrote:
Probably not worth multiclassing to take damaging spells, admittedly.
Which I think is arguably still a pretty frustrating problem. Battlemage style characters are a really popular archetype and someone who tries to build that out in the current system is going to forever be struggling to keep their offensive magic relevant.

OTOH, building a battlemage as a low-Int high-Str Wizard who multiclasses Fighter seems to work very well, at least on paper.


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Actually you just use offensive focus spells like the ones that elemental sorcerer and evocation wizard have, because these scales and renew every 10 minutes,


Kyrone wrote:
Actually you just use offensive focus spells like the ones that elemental sorcerer and evocation wizard have, because these scales and renew every 10 minutes,

Nice! A flavour of blaster warrior/mage that might actually work! That's a rarity in any edition of D&D.


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Personally, I think multiclassing spellcasters looks pretty great, although those MC'ed into spontaneous casters definitely can take a hit on their variety and really need to take the 8th-level feat to double their slots (for spells of max-2 level). For casters generally, I'll take the trade of fewer spells per level for more access to higher level spells any day.

With casters as primary now getting the same number of class feats, there are some cool options.

I kinda want to see a player do 3x prepared classes, so like Wizard + MC Cleric + MC Druid or something. At 20th level, there should be enough feats for a human to actually have 8th-level casting for both the extra classes and take the breadth feat for more slots (but they would have to give up their primary class level 20 feat for master spellcasting in their 3rd class). It'd probably be much harder for a non-human to pull off, without the extra 9th level MC dedication feat.

With APs designed to go to 20, and higher-level play actually looking like it's viable, that's less of a pipedream than other editions.


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Captain Morgan wrote:
PEdiwir did a really amazing breakdown of why your spell DC scaling actually keeps your damage spells relevant in a far more elegant manner than just scaling their damage to caster level.

Scaling DCs helps compensate for the problem a little bit, but only for spells that target DCs, not things that just run off attack rolls.

Either way I'm still not really convinced that making debuffs scale better and making blasting scale worse (while also giving enemies more HP) does anything to make evokers more appealing compared to the batman/god wizard archetype that dominated PF1.

MaxAstro wrote:
OTOH, building a battlemage as a low-Int high-Str Wizard who multiclasses Fighter seems to work very well, at least on paper.

It works well in the tradition of self buffing and utillity, but the magus-style caster who weaves martial attacks in with blasting spells is hard to really justify right now.


BTW, do we know if Class/MC Feats effects are assumed restricted to Class abilities associated with it, or is it like 1E Bloodline abilities where they can apply to everything?


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Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber
Squiggit wrote:
MaxAstro wrote:
OTOH, building a battlemage as a low-Int high-Str Wizard who multiclasses Fighter seems to work very well, at least on paper.
It works well in the tradition of self buffing and utillity, but the magus-style caster who weaves martial attacks in with blasting spells is hard to really justify right now.

I'm not really seeing why; your blasts will be as good as any other wizard and your accuracy will only be a few points behind a fighter.

If anything the build is way better in 2e; you don't need Dex for blast accuracy and there's no ASF, so you can just wear full plate and invest everything into Str and enough Int to keep your DCs/spell attack rolls competitive. Plus you can melee attack and cast a blast in the same turn without needing any special class features.


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Squiggit wrote:
It works well in the tradition of self buffing and utillity, but the magus-style caster who weaves martial attacks in with blasting spells is hard to really justify right now.

At, say, 8th level, a fighter who has spent three of their class feats (2nd, 4th, and 8th) on multiclassing for a spellcaster will have 3 cantrips, 2 1st level slots, 1 2nd level slot, and 1 3rd level slot. That seems pretty okay to me? It's fewer slots than an 8th-level PF1 Magus, but cantrips are much better, and with something like electric arc that targets saves and is not subject to multi-attack penalties, this fighter could attack with a melee weapon at full bonus (equivalent to full BAB from PF1, which a Magus would not get) and hit two enemies within 30 feet for 3d4 damage + spellcasting ability modifier (basic Reflex save)...and never run out of that spell, because it's a cantrip. And still have the ability to throw a fireball once, get a couple castings of true strike or burning hands, and keep a utility spell or something heightened in their 2nd level slot.

Or if that's just not enough casting, flip it to a spellcaster primary and multiclass into fighter, and it's more spells and fewer fancy melee attacks, and potentially mixing in some repeatable focus spells. Still pretty cool.


Pathfinder Pathfinder Accessories Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber
Quandary wrote:
BTW, do we know if Class/MC Feats effects are assumed restricted to Class abilities associated with it, or is it like 1E Bloodline abilities where they can apply to everything?

They apply to what they say they apply. I'm trying to think of where this would even come up. There are potentially a few narrow interpretations around things that grant stuff outside of class abilities like ancestral innate spells that might not be modified by stuff affecting your class spells, but I think those will be the exception more than the rule. Most of the stuff just seems to be written to follow common sense, like the class feats granting more familiar abilities tend to have prereqs of "have a familiar" rather than narrowly specifying the class ability that granted it (when you might have one from being a gnome, for instance).


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Magic not subject to Multi Attack Penalty is huge for "gishes" IMHO.
Although personally I don't quite get the logic, it's all time/effort/concentration, magic or mundane IMHO.
But unless they changed that from the Playtest, Gishes get in the No-MAP milking line...


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Squiggit wrote:


Scaling DCs helps compensate for the problem a little bit, but only for spells that target DCs, not things that just run off attack rolls.

Your spell attack roll scales at the exact same pace as your spell DC, so it actually helps them in the exact same way.


If you want utility get spell slots in the caster multiclass, if you want to blast use focus spells, the later renew in a short 10 minute rest meaning that you can use every battle and it scales.

The focus spells don't even need to be for blasting, with Wizard School spells, Sorcerer Bloodline powers and Cleric/Champion domain you have a lot of options.


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Bardic Dave wrote:


Your spell attack roll scales at the exact same pace as your spell DC, so it actually helps them in the exact same way.

Compared to PF1, not really, as touch attacks (unlike low level saves) were reliable in that game. So while save-reliant spells get an indirect boost from having their damage negated or reduced less often, save: none spells don't really get any gains here.


Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber
Squiggit wrote:
Bardic Dave wrote:


Your spell attack roll scales at the exact same pace as your spell DC, so it actually helps them in the exact same way.
Compared to PF1, not really, as touch attacks (unlike low level saves) were reliable in that game. So while save-reliant spells get an indirect boost from having their damage negated or reduced less often, save: none spells don't really get any gains here.

Casters are more accurate in general now, though, since you use your casting stat for attack rolls and caster proficiency roughly keeps pace with weapon proficiency. A caster is going to be as accurate with their spell attack as a Champion is with their weapon, for the most part.


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MaxAstro wrote:
Squiggit wrote:
Bardic Dave wrote:


Your spell attack roll scales at the exact same pace as your spell DC, so it actually helps them in the exact same way.
Compared to PF1, not really, as touch attacks (unlike low level saves) were reliable in that game. So while save-reliant spells get an indirect boost from having their damage negated or reduced less often, save: none spells don't really get any gains here.
Casters are more accurate in general now, though, since you use your casting stat for attack rolls and caster proficiency roughly keeps pace with weapon proficiency. A caster is going to be as accurate with their spell attack as a Champion is with their weapon, for the most part.

Yeah, saying it's worse than PF1 because touch attacks are gone is a false equivalence; so much else has changed too. Comparisons to PF1 when you're only looking at one or two variables don't really tell you much.


Squiggit wrote:
Bardic Dave wrote:


Your spell attack roll scales at the exact same pace as your spell DC, so it actually helps them in the exact same way.
Compared to PF1, not really, as touch attacks (unlike low level saves) were reliable in that game. So while save-reliant spells get an indirect boost from having their damage negated or reduced less often, save: none spells don't really get any gains here.

While attack spells no longer target TAC, they do get to use the caster's main casting stat + proficiency, rather than Dex.


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Bardic Dave wrote:
Yeah, saying it's worse than PF1 because touch attacks are gone is a false equivalence; so much else has changed too. Comparisons to PF1 when you're only looking at one or two variables don't really tell you much.

I was only looking at the one variable because that's the point we were talking about. The point was that scaling DCs only helps a specific subset of blasting spells and only up to a certain extent.

Overall, with limited scaling, monster HP generally higher and the across the board buffs to debuffing and BFC, I'm just not convinced that PF2 has done much to tip the scales in favor of the blaster wizard over the more traditional batman/god wizard archetypes.


Squiggit wrote:
Bardic Dave wrote:
Yeah, saying it's worse than PF1 because touch attacks are gone is a false equivalence; so much else has changed too. Comparisons to PF1 when you're only looking at one or two variables don't really tell you much.

I was only looking at the one variable because that's the point we were talking about.

Overall, with limited scaling, monster HP generally higher and the across the board buffs to debuffing and BFC, I'm just not convinced that PF2 has done much to tip the scales in favor of the blaster wizard over the more traditional batman/god wizard archetypes.

Actually, we weren't talking about the presence or absence of touch attacks. You brought that up on your own to discount the better scaling of spells that require an attack roll while overlooking the other relevant changes (i.e. the other relevant variables), which other posters have now pointed out to you.

Regardless, yes, I suppose we will have to wait and see how the blaster wizard fares. Based on what I've seen so far, my prediction is "reasonably well" but I won't know for sure until I've got some experience in the system.


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Squiggit wrote:
Overall, with limited scaling, monster HP generally higher and the across the board buffs to debuffing and BFC, I'm just not convinced that PF2 has done much to tip the scales in favor of the blaster wizard over the more traditional batman/god wizard archetypes.

Like, both can be fun. I've seen plenty of blasters do just fine in PF1, even though they're "terrible" there. Blasters don't seem to be noticeably bad here, and certainly not worse off than PF1.


Captain Morgan wrote:
Squiggit wrote:
MaxAstro wrote:
Probably not worth multiclassing to take damaging spells, admittedly.

Which I think is arguably still a pretty frustrating problem. Battlemage style characters are a really popular archetype and someone who tries to build that out in the current system is going to forever be struggling to keep their offensive magic relevant.

In general one of my biggest headscratches when it came to PF2's design. PF1 had an issue where without special optimization, blasting kind of sucked compared to debuffing and control... so PF2 made control spells autoscale and have degrees of success so they're much more relevant over the life of the campaign and then turned around and removed natural scaling from blasting entirely and as far as I can tell hasn't really done anything to the underlying system math to make blasting all that more appealing otherwise.

Probably beyond the scope of this thread though.

The Raven Black wrote:


What is lacking IMO is a way to change your character's focus during the game.
Isn't that what retraining is supposed to represent?

PEdiwir did a really amazing breakdown of why your spell DC scaling actually keeps your damage spells relevant in a far more elegant manner than just scaling their damage to caster level. Lower level blasts do indeed maintain relevance, arguable just as well or better than PF1.

That aside, a multiclass blaster might consider going for cantrips and focus spells over spell slots, which auto-heighten and are usable more often anyway. There seem to be some quite solid blasts among the focus spells.

Actually, if you read down through the comments you'll find where I did a breakdown (sherlock1672) on how the PF2 spell is significantly less effective even with DC scaling. This was comparing a 5th level PF2 fireball to an empowered PF1 fireball, both cast by a 10th level wizard.


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Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber

Is that a fair comparison, though, since an empowered fireball also costs a feat?


The other point is that resistances are significantly less common. A quick glance at PF1 statistics shows that a good third of the CR 10 enemies are either resistant or immune to fire. At higher levels, that goes up to half.

CR 7 or higher, at least 10% of the enemies at each level are immune to fire, and another 10% resistant.


MaxAstro wrote:
Is that a fair comparison, though, since an empowered fireball also costs a feat?

I mean you could compare a basic third level fireball without any heightening or feats, cast by the same character, but the PF1 wizard still comes out on top.

In PF2, damaging spells have to compete directly with just hitting the enemy twice. Spells are limited, weapon swings are not. This means that the baseline average for any spell should be at least double the damage a weapon attack could do at the same character level, otherwise the blaster is wondering why they didn't just play a fighter.


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sherlock1701 wrote:
that the baseline average for any spell should be at least double the damage a weapon attack could do at the same character level

No, because weapon attacks don't do any damage on a miss, while most spells still do half damage on a failed basic save. So more like 1.5x.

EDIT: I of course meant "success on a basic save".


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CyberMephit wrote:
sherlock1701 wrote:
that the baseline average for any spell should be at least double the damage a weapon attack could do at the same character level
No, because weapon attacks don't do any damage on a miss, while most spells still do half damage on a failed basic save. So more like 1.5x.

Especially once you throw AoE considerations in as well.


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The Raven Black wrote:
Squiggit wrote:


The Raven Black wrote:


What is lacking IMO is a way to change your character's focus during the game.
Isn't that what retraining is supposed to represent?

Sadly "you can't retrain your class" made it into the CRB.

Still hoping for a variant in the GMG

I would argue that it just didn't make it in as a firm rule.

In any case where a Player wants to entirely change their class, the GM should at least be aware.

If a player came to me and said "Hey I'm a MC Rogue with a Fighter base class, but I'd like to swap to a Rogue base with Fighter MC and retrain, I would of course say yes.

If a player came and said "I want to retrain from a Fighter to a Wizard" I would be less inclined to just let that happen, since that is a drastic un-explainable shift in character. Officially codifying "you can't retrain your base class" is just a way to prevent this type of thing from happening without even the GM becoming aware.

If someone retrains a single feat, I might not even notice, and as a GM I don't need to be super aware of it to contextualize the game for that player.

But if that player changed from a Rogue to a Wizard and I've put him in "rogue favorable circumstances" given the previous background he had, without knowledge of the switch, that can be a bit weird.

Now it can lead to some interesting gameplay where the Wizard has to handle Rogue circumstances, but in general I'm for Player <-> DM transparency.


sherlock1701 wrote:
otherwise the blaster is wondering why they didn't just play a fighter.

Every time the fighter swings with his weapon, his opponent swings back with a good chance of injuring or killing him. If the blaster wants to expose himself to the same level of risk, he'll have an excellent argument for increased damage, based on limited casting and higher vulnerability.


Fallyna wrote:
sherlock1701 wrote:
otherwise the blaster is wondering why they didn't just play a fighter.
Every time the fighter swings with his weapon, his opponent swings back with a good chance of injuring or killing him. If the blaster wants to expose himself to the same level of risk, he'll have an excellent argument for increased damage, based on limited casting and higher vulnerability.

I'll grant you it might be better to compare to making two ranged attacks than two melee swings. The point still stands. If you can't average better than that off of a far more limited resource, then it's not worth the limitation.


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Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber

Are you assuming the blaster is only hitting one target with a fireball? Because that's both unfair to the blaster and also not really a situation in which anyone uses fireball.

A blaster hitting 2-3 targets with a fireball is going to do way more damage than an archer attacking twice.


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Ranged attack/damage is also keyed off 2 different stats (often 1/2 STR), and multiple attack penalty is a thing.

But I'm glad the horrific flaws of "caster edition" D&D seem to finally be expunged. 3.xism is a mental illness.


MaxAstro wrote:

Are you assuming the blaster is only hitting one target with a fireball? Because that's both unfair to the blaster and also not really a situation in which anyone uses fireball.

A blaster hitting 2-3 targets with a fireball is going to do way more damage than an archer attacking twice.

I'd expect a fireball to be used against multiple targets in most cases. Something like a scorching ray on the other hand, would apply to one target.

Dark Archive

the nerve-eater of Zur-en-Aarh wrote:

That sounds a lot more combat-focused than the games I tend to run, which I can quite see making a difference; if your focus is social intrigue, I see no reason for those two characters not to be equally capable. Then again, if a magic-user/thief with AC like that is in frontline combat at all, it would seem to me that something's gone off the rails on a tactical level.

I love playing competent logistical support. One of my life goals is to take a character from 1 to 20 without ever doing a single point of damage directly.

That particular campaign took place in Undermountain, so it was mainly about exploration and combat. And when you're adventuring in a superdungeon, you just can't avoid being in frontline combat. On the contrary, that place is crawling with all kinds of monsters, often outnumbering the PCs heavily. And most of us had quite low stats, so it didn't help either. We *did* eventually make it to 5th or 6th level, I think?


Squiggit wrote:
Bardic Dave wrote:
Yeah, saying it's worse than PF1 because touch attacks are gone is a false equivalence; so much else has changed too. Comparisons to PF1 when you're only looking at one or two variables don't really tell you much.
I was only looking at the one variable because that's the point we were talking about. The point was that scaling DCs only helps a specific subset of blasting spells and only up to a certain extent.

I really wouldn't call spells with saves "a specific subset" of blasting. That implies it is a small portion, and most of the notable blasts are AoE. Well, discounting cantrips, which are auto-heightened anyway. In particular, AoE spells are going to be what Battle Mages care about most of the time, seeing as how reliable single target damage is what they get from the "battle" half of the equation. That's what being a martial is good for.

And again, you can snag focus spells instead of slots if you are looking for blasts which auto-heighten, getting the best of both worlds and more uses per day to boot. The focus blasts are good.

Quote:
the across the board buffs to debuffing and BFC

Gonna disagree with you here. Seems to me the only buff is raised DCs. Spells get effects on a success now, but that's balanced by needing a critical failure to get their PF1 effects. Many of the strongest BFC spells like the Pit line are gone, and walls and summons have had their action cost raised. Debuffs, meanwhile, have taken a hit due to the smaller amount of bonus/penalty types and lack of stacking. Bane doesn't do anything if you've already inflicted Frightened on an enemy, for example. Blinding an enemy doesn't make them easier to hit if they are already flanked.

If anything, I'd say that blasts and debfuffs work best paired together. Lower enemy saves and then get them to fail those reflex saves. If you focus purely on debuffs, you're gonna run into stacking issues eventually. Blasting never goes out of style though, barring friendly fire.


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Captain Morgan wrote:
Seems to me the only buff is raised DCs.

Only seems like a big understatement here. The scaling DCs mean your level 1 debuff and control spells are going to be useful all campaign long instead of falling off hard. That's really amazing in terms of usability and longevity.

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