Player Core Preview: The Wizard, Remastered

Tuesday, September 19, 2023

Hi everyone! James here to talk a little bit about the Remaster project. We're getting closer and closer to Pathfinder Player Core and GM Corereleasing in November. To shine a little more light on what's coming, the marketing team and us thought we would kick off a blog series going into some of our changes in a little more depth. We'll start things off with a class, the wizard!

The wizard is the classic arcane spellcaster who learns magic in the most academic way: institutions, tomes, tutors and the like, and we wanted this to come through in how the class feels to build and play, so expect to see some more references to training, incantations, runes, spell formulas, and the like in the feats and features.


Ezren, the iconic wizard. Art by Wayne Reynolds
Pathfinder Iconic, human wizard, Ezren

While the wizard was generally already providing a satisfying play experience at the table, it was also a class that interacts very heavily with one of the larger changes we’re making in the Remaster, which is the removal of the eight schools of magic that were deeply tied to rules we were using via the OGL. Though this presented a big challenge in remastering the class, it also let us solve one of the biggest frustrations of the wizard, which is that there wasn't a whole lot of space left for them to expand. One of the most commonly requested expansions for any class is additional major paths to build your characters along, but because the wizard schools already had all eight schools of magic that could ever exist in the setting (plus universalist), we could never increase the number of wizard schools or explore more interesting options beyond those preset themes.

The new role for arcane schools is as just that: actual mages' curricula in Golarion. This allows us to make much more tightly focused schools that really let you sell the theme of your wizard, from the tactical spells of the School of Battle Magic (fireball, resist energy, weapon storm, true target and the like) to the infrastructure-focused spells of the School of Civic Wizardry (hydraulic push for firefighting, summon construct and wall of stone for construction, pinpoint and water walk for search and rescue, and earthquake and disintegrate for controlled demolitions). We've also rearranged the existing wizard focus spells and, in some places, changed them a little bit to fit their new locations—the School of Mentalism's charming push focus spell functions much like the original enchanter's charming words, but the new spell doesn't have the auditory or linguistic traits, since the School of Mentalism is much more about direct mind magic.

This also opens the door to create more schools in the future based on the specific schools of magic in the setting, and I know my colleagues in the Lost Omens line have already started thinking of what some of these might be (they have, as yet, sadly rejected my suggestion for a goblin-themed wizard school containing mostly fire and pickling spells).

We haven't just remastered the schools; we wanted to go through the feats as well and give the wizard a few fun toys to underscore how they're nerds their academic mastery of magic. Some of these are tools originally developed in other places that make perfect sense for a wizard to have, like the Knowledge Is Power magus feat (with a few wizard-specific adjustments). We also gave the wizards some new feats, like the following:


Secondary Detonation Array [one-action] Feat 14

Manipulate, Spellshape, Wizard

You divert some of your spell’s energy into an unstable runic array. If your next action is to Cast a Spell that deals damage, has no duration, and affects an area, a glowing magic circle appears in a 5-foot burst within that area. At the beginning of your next turn, the circle detonates, dealing 1d6 force damage per rank of the spell to all creatures within the circle, with a basic Reflex save against your spell DC. If the spell dealt a different type of damage, the circle deals this type of damage instead (or one type of your choice if the spell could deal multiple types of damage).

This feat ties into some of the flavor tweaks we've made to wizards to have them talk about their abilities a little more academically, and it's burst of damage is one that requires a little bit of forethought in strategy to get the most out of, something that a spellcaster whose key attribute is Intelligence might gravitate toward.

That's our look at the wizard! Of course, what would a wizard be without their spells? Check back in on Thursday, where we'll go over some of the updates to magic coming in the remaster, from new spells to some of the new rules for spellcasting!

James Case (he / him)
Senior Designer

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Tags: Pathfinder Pathfinder Remaster Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Pathfinder Second Edition Wizard
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Shadow Lodge

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Pathfinder Maps, Pathfinder Accessories Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber; Starfinder Superscriber
YuriP wrote:

But my main complain still in the mechanics. Its just worse. The spell old style every spell was obligatorily classified into one of the schools auto-incrementing the number of spells available to them whatever the was added. The new system locks them into a static subset of a small number of spells (about 2 per level) that's fixed and can easily broke (with spells that need to be heigned to be efective locking an entire spell rank) due this small number or bad spell list and the wizards players now will have to wait for new curriculums to be release in order to get new options of templates or ask the GMs to edit them or play as universalist.

For me, this is root of what I don't like about the new system. No matter how you want to define them, every spell that exists should be assigned to at least one school.

Totally fine with additional, specialist schools, but if a spell exists there is somewhere that it needs to fit conceptually.


RexAliquid wrote:
I had a tough time choosing between the Ars Grammatica and Boundary schools for my slime wizard going into the Abomination Vaults. I landed on Boundary to lean into the spooky themes of the mega-dungeon and I am looking forward to summoning some rats to protect my frail lil' slime body.

Oh my, SLIME WIZARD?

What an utterly fascinating concept.


Old_Man_Robot wrote:
I had forgotten that aspects of Clerics actually. I'm tempted to say it was fine when the divine list was firmly the weaskes list, but if the divine list is going to continue to be elevated, it probably needs to go.

The divine spell list improved a lot with the introduction of the spirit damage, also many spells was improved and the clerics also get benefit from many revised domain spells that's become more stronger and efficient and no more need to invest into cha too.


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YuriP wrote:
Old_Man_Robot wrote:
I had forgotten that aspects of Clerics actually. I'm tempted to say it was fine when the divine list was firmly the weaskes list, but if the divine list is going to continue to be elevated, it probably needs to go.
The divine spell list improved a lot with the introduction of the spirit damage, also many spells was improved and the clerics also get benefit from many revised domain spells that's become more stronger and efficient and no more need to invest into cha too.

And don't forget about deity spells. Obviously most PCs don't choose deity based on optimization, but some very popular gods have very good spells that help round out the divine list, like Nethys (wall of force), Sarenrae (fireball) and Pharasma (phantasmal killer). Even more esoteric core 20 gods like Erastil (true strike), Gorum (true strike), Gozreh (lightning bolt), and Irori (stoneskin and haste) have some pretty decent combat spells that the divine list normally can't provide.

Director of Marketing

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Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
pH unbalanced wrote:
YuriP wrote:

But my main complain still in the mechanics. Its just worse. The spell old style every spell was obligatorily classified into one of the schools auto-incrementing the number of spells available to them whatever the was added. The new system locks them into a static subset of a small number of spells (about 2 per level) that's fixed and can easily broke (with spells that need to be heigned to be efective locking an entire spell rank) due this small number or bad spell list and the wizards players now will have to wait for new curriculums to be release in order to get new options of templates or ask the GMs to edit them or play as universalist.

For me, this is root of what I don't like about the new system. No matter how you want to define them, every spell that exists should be assigned to at least one school.

Totally fine with additional, specialist schools, but if a spell exists there is somewhere that it needs to fit conceptually.

But the arcane list is bigger than wizards. It is really of infinite potential breath. The schools of Golarion are not trying to categorize all magic. They are trying to build a body of spells that make particular sense to their philosophy and suggest that these few spells are the best for people who truly understand X.

Liberty's Edge

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The Remaster schools are the fixed courses for people who cannot / do not want to delve deep into the Wizard's possibilities. They simplify choice where the old system increased it.

And if you want to create a new school, you can just pick an existing one and adjust its curriculum. Easy and encouraged by RAW.

Dark Archive

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The Raven Black wrote:

encouraged by RAW.

"Your GM might allow you to swap or add other spells to your curriculum if they strongly fit the theme"

Its permitted, not encouraged.

The real problem is that its largely required.

Shadow Lodge

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Pathfinder Maps, Pathfinder Accessories Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber; Starfinder Superscriber
Unicore wrote:
pH unbalanced wrote:
YuriP wrote:

But my main complain still in the mechanics. Its just worse. The spell old style every spell was obligatorily classified into one of the schools auto-incrementing the number of spells available to them whatever the was added. The new system locks them into a static subset of a small number of spells (about 2 per level) that's fixed and can easily broke (with spells that need to be heigned to be efective locking an entire spell rank) due this small number or bad spell list and the wizards players now will have to wait for new curriculums to be release in order to get new options of templates or ask the GMs to edit them or play as universalist.

For me, this is root of what I don't like about the new system. No matter how you want to define them, every spell that exists should be assigned to at least one school.

Totally fine with additional, specialist schools, but if a spell exists there is somewhere that it needs to fit conceptually.

But the arcane list is bigger than wizards. It is really of infinite potential breath. The schools of Golarion are not trying to categorize all magic. They are trying to build a body of spells that make particular sense to their philosophy and suggest that these few spells are the best for people who truly understand X.

If an arcane spell exists, someone had to research it. If they researched it, they presumably had a field of study, which should represent a school.

(But, you say, what if the spell was spontaneously generated via Sorceror evolution, or invented whole-cloth by a powerful Witch's Patron. Well, I would say, those also sound like fruitful fields of study.)

It is obviously a huge *mechanical* change that every spell does not fit into a Wizard school. But it is also a huge *cosmological* change.

Which is to say, what you say may be *true* in the remaster, but it was *false* before the remaster. That change may be motivated and defensible, but I profoundly dislike it. It opens up some new storytelling space, but there are exisiting ones that it absolutely destroys.


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Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
pH unbalanced wrote:
Unicore wrote:
pH unbalanced wrote:
YuriP wrote:

But my main complain still in the mechanics. Its just worse. The spell old style every spell was obligatorily classified into one of the schools auto-incrementing the number of spells available to them whatever the was added. The new system locks them into a static subset of a small number of spells (about 2 per level) that's fixed and can easily broke (with spells that need to be heigned to be efective locking an entire spell rank) due this small number or bad spell list and the wizards players now will have to wait for new curriculums to be release in order to get new options of templates or ask the GMs to edit them or play as universalist.

For me, this is root of what I don't like about the new system. No matter how you want to define them, every spell that exists should be assigned to at least one school.

Totally fine with additional, specialist schools, but if a spell exists there is somewhere that it needs to fit conceptually.

But the arcane list is bigger than wizards. It is really of infinite potential breath. The schools of Golarion are not trying to categorize all magic. They are trying to build a body of spells that make particular sense to their philosophy and suggest that these few spells are the best for people who truly understand X.

If an arcane spell exists, someone had to research it. If they researched it, they presumably had a field of study, which should represent a school.

(But, you say, what if the spell was spontaneously generated via Sorceror evolution, or invented whole-cloth by a powerful Witch's Patron. Well, I would say, those also sound like fruitful fields of study.)

It is obviously a huge *mechanical* change that every spell does not fit into a Wizard school. But it is also a huge *cosmological* change.

Which is to say, what you say may be *true* in the remaster, but it was *false* before the remaster. That change may be motivated and defensible, but I profoundly dislike...

This is what I have been saying this whole thread. It is a big change, and I totally understand how people are upset about that, but it was a cosmological change deemed necessary so the devs aren’t going to move the needle back the other way


Ehh, the “everything is transmutation if you aren’t careful” problem was a huge burden on the game. Some part of the old schools still underlies a lot of spells, it just isn’t as rigid a system anymore.

I’m all for just letting magic be magic.


Calliope5431 wrote:
RexAliquid wrote:
I had a tough time choosing between the Ars Grammatica and Boundary schools for my slime wizard going into the Abomination Vaults. I landed on Boundary to lean into the spooky themes of the mega-dungeon and I am looking forward to summoning some rats to protect my frail lil' slime body.

Oh my, SLIME WIZARD?

What an utterly fascinating concept.

The Year of Monsters ancestries from Battlezoo are delightful. My character only recently emerged from the swamps and was confused by people at first, but has since fallen in love with books and wants to go on adventures like the people in books (and to find more books).


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The Raven Black wrote:
The Remaster schools are the fixed courses for people who cannot / do not want to delve deep into the Wizard's possibilities. They simplify choice where the old system increased it.

Yeah, the old schools were "you can prepare an extra spell from the transmutation school" so a lot of people would be like "cool, what spells are those?" which involves hunting through books since those spells aren't actually grouped, you just have to look at the tags on every single spell to find the ones that are the right for you. For a lot of veterans of the game this is NBD, but for new players this kind of sucks. I've been playing games like this since the 80s and I confess that my eyes kind of glaze over when reading long sections that are just spell after spell (or item after item.)

Having "here is the full list of spells you're extra good at" just front and center is a huge savings in overhead.


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Pathfinder Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber
Old_Man_Robot wrote:
The Raven Black wrote:

encouraged by RAW.

"Your GM might allow you to swap or add other spells to your curriculum if they strongly fit the theme"

Its permitted, not encouraged.

The real problem is that its largely required.

It really isn't, even if you were required to maximize the usage of every first level spell slot or something (which you aren't) you could always dump it into a staff or something instead to convert it into other spells.


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PossibleCabbage wrote:
Having "here is the full list of spells you're extra good at" just front and center is a huge savings in overhead.

That was where things like archives of nethys came to the rescue. There was that list you where talking about for pre-remaster as it is the official online resource and allows sort by Level, sort by School and add Heightenable spells in for the level they can be heightened to. That meant you were looking at a manageable list for a particular level and each spell gives a small blurb about what it does so you can narrow down what ones you want to click on for a full description.

Secondly, if their eyes glazed over at a smaller list of spells, how did these new folks manage the non-school spells since they have to look through all the spells for that anyway and it's a MUCH bigger list than the school lists on nethys. IMO, it's not saving much overhead when it's saving you from looking up a few less spells for 1/4th of the spells you get for a level.


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pH unbalanced wrote:
For me, this is root of what I don't like about the new system. No matter how you want to define them, every spell that exists should be assigned to at least one school.

I strongly disagree. Not everything needs to fit in neat little box.

Remaster schools are not fundamental parts of the nature of magic. They are inherently social constructions, fields of study. There's nothing that inherently ties, say, the School of Civic Wizardry together other than a theme that means it makes sense to teach them together. There is no Civic Wizardry "essence" to them, they're just spells that make sense for someone interested in using magic for construction.


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graystone wrote:
PossibleCabbage wrote:
Having "here is the full list of spells you're extra good at" just front and center is a huge savings in overhead.
That was where things like archives of nethys came to the rescue. There was that list you where talking about for pre-remaster as it is the official online resource and allows sort by Level, sort by School and add Heightenable spells in for the level they can be heightened to. That meant you were looking at a manageable list for a particular level and each spell gives a small blurb about what it does so you can narrow down what ones you want to click on for a full description.

I mean, sure. But the game should function with just a book without having to use third party software to make it simpler.

Plus AoN is really good for "figuring out a specific thing that fits what you need, like "I am looking for a martial weapon with reach and disarm" but if you actually want to do a survey of all the options actually picking through a book (or a PDF) is way better since you don't have to click on every single spell or feat. The new schools having exactly two spells of each tier to look up and learn is a lot easier than "having to look at every spell on your list at a given level to look for traits."


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Also we get categorizations wrong all the time. How many ways where there to classify elements before the periodic table? And how many elements did we find that turns out, are not elements? Golarion seems to be in a post Greek, pre modern chemistry era, where they have some classifications methods (tags) but don't know which of them are the actual building blocks of magic, and which are just descriptions of vaguely similar things. Presumably, people are still classifying things, theres just no consensus. Perhaps in starfinder, they figure it out.

Dark Archive

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PossibleCabbage wrote:
graystone wrote:
PossibleCabbage wrote:
Having "here is the full list of spells you're extra good at" just front and center is a huge savings in overhead.
That was where things like archives of nethys came to the rescue. There was that list you where talking about for pre-remaster as it is the official online resource and allows sort by Level, sort by School and add Heightenable spells in for the level they can be heightened to. That meant you were looking at a manageable list for a particular level and each spell gives a small blurb about what it does so you can narrow down what ones you want to click on for a full description.
I mean, sure. But the game should function with just a book without having to use third party software to make it simpler

It did and does.

Starting on page 307 of your premaster core, where it lists spells by tradition and level, each entry includes its old school.

It’s an incredibly simple reference sheet.

Tradition, level, name, school, short description.

Need anything more you flipped ahead and read the actual text.


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PossibleCabbage wrote:
Plus AoN is really good for "figuring out a specific thing that fits what you need, like "I am looking for a martial weapon with reach and disarm" but if you actually want to do a survey of all the options actually picking through a book (or a PDF) is way better since you don't have to click on every single spell or feat.

That's just factually incorrect as we aren't talking about a single book but having to page through every book/pdf that has those particular type in it. For spells you have to go through the core, secrets of magic, dark archive, rage of elements, Knights of Lastwall, Highhelm, Advanced Player's Guide, and a stack of AP's... IMO, that sounds a LOT harder than looking up nethys. With the way the game is and new material coming out all the time, it's impossible for a book to be a solution: any listing made can't know what's going to be added in the future making it invalid as soon as new material is made. Only a listing that's actively added to works that way, meaning something like nethys.


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Yes, also a simple table for single books fixes that kind of problem in basically every Tabletop RPG ever, it's not complicated at all. It even works with games that have many more traits than 8 spell schools, including primary and secondary traits.
For new/overwhelmed players sample builds do exist and tool assist is heavily recommended anyways.

Besides using aon is still more efficient regardless of using the old or new magic schools. Looking up the spell descriptions in a book just takes more time and it's more difficult to compare entries, because they are mostly not next to each other. Yes you have to click on the spell in aon, so what? Tabbed browsing is a thing as well as search filters and the browser search on top.

And as most people wrote, the school spells themselves aren't the main problem.
The limit on the school slot is, and it needs to go. Instead a class mechanic that doesn't make the class worse needs to take it's place. Until then the Universalist will simply be the best school option period. And that is not something a game that takes so much pride in it's so called "balance" should let slide.


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graystone wrote:
PossibleCabbage wrote:
Plus AoN is really good for "figuring out a specific thing that fits what you need, like "I am looking for a martial weapon with reach and disarm" but if you actually want to do a survey of all the options actually picking through a book (or a PDF) is way better since you don't have to click on every single spell or feat.
That's just factually incorrect as we aren't talking about a single book but having to page through every book/pdf that has those particular type in it. For spells you have to go through the core, secrets of magic, dark archive, rage of elements, Knights of Lastwall, Highhelm, Advanced Player's Guide, and a stack of AP's... IMO, that sounds a LOT harder than looking up nethys. With the way the game is and new material coming out all the time, it's impossible for a book to be a solution: any listing made can't know what's going to be added in the future making it invalid as soon as new material is made. Only a listing that's actively added to works that way, meaning something like nethys.

Yeah AoN is an incredible resource and really well built.


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Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber; Pathfinder Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Calliope5431 wrote:
Yeah AoN is an incredible resource and really well built.

Hear, hear!


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Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

The D&D schools have been awesome and fun. I have made many specialist wizards with them. It had a good run.

Printing schools in the spell list would have been a tragic mistake. Not every spell is in a school. Some spells are in 2. Any new schools are very likely to feature older spells. That is a mess of errata and reprinting lists for trivial reward.

The new schools are conceptually a very different space. It is a group of people who have a collective goal and way of accomplishing it. If your character idea for a wizard isn’t connected to the social discourse around magic, it could be an awkward fit to find the right school, but the stakes are trivially lower than people are making them out to be. If you can find a school that where you like half the spells, you probably are capable of filling 90 of your school slots with spells you like. Even if you can only fill 75% of school slots with spells you really like, that is still going to translate into 1 or 2 spell slots out of 40 spells you will eventually be casting every day, and this is with no GM support or choosing character options to mitigate the issue.

Liberty's Edge

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I would have liked the Wizard to have 4 free spell slots, their curriculum spells added for free and a School Focus spell that synergized with their curriculum spells.

Maybe in Unchained Remaster. Or in PF3.

But I LOVE the new definition of Wizard's schools. So much more personal and flavorful.


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I think the new ones are too utilitarian and less academic to the main concept of a wizard of those who studies, classifies and try to understand the magic and spells by themselves.

As I said before the wizard goes from the study of magic classifying and trying to understand it to a more pragmatic view of curriculums of how to use them.

The designers professionalized the wizards in the remaster! :P

Does anyone know of a good magic university in Absalom for me to study magic focused on engineering and be able to make a living in construction? :P


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People do go to college to major in civil engineering IRL, you know.


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Those "40 spells" are from level 19.
But useless Level 1 spells are dead by Level 5.

And that still doesn't address the fact that Universalists are simply better than those with a dedicated school.
I agree that not every spell needs to be in a school and that some of them might be in more than one.

Again the problem is the limit on the slot and the non existence of feats/focus spells that interact with the school spells, not the limited spell lists themselves. But in combination with the limits, the spell selection justs sucks.


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Argonar_Alfaran wrote:

Those "40 spells" are from level 19.

But useless Level 1 spells are dead by Level 5.

Every school has at least three rank 1 curriculum spells via school, plus the standard access to every rank 1 slot spell. Can you describe for me how your level 5 character was forced by the system to prepare a specific "useless" rank 1 curriculum or slot spell?

Quote:
the problem is the limit on the slot and the non existence of feats/focus spells that interact with the school spells, not the limited spell lists themselves. But in combination with the limits, the spell selection justs sucks.

"School feats" would've been a cool add. Maybe future splatbooks can add them. If not, I see a real niche or market for homebrew content on that.


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Easl wrote:
Argonar_Alfaran wrote:

Those "40 spells" are from level 19.

But useless Level 1 spells are dead by Level 5.
Every school has at least three rank 1 curriculum spells via school, plus the standard access to every rank 1 slot spell. Can you describe for me how your level 5 character was forced by the system to prepare a specific "useless" rank 1 curriculum or slot spell?

The dead curriculum slots from some curriculums needs to be heightened to keep working efficiently (or they will become weaker than even cantrips):

  • School of Battle Magic get breathe fire (burning hands), force barrage (magic missile) and mystic armor at first rank. All 3 spells if casted as rank 1 spell becomes too weak to be used making the curriculum spell slot a dead slot. You still can use mystic armor in level 5 if you still didn't get an armor rune, breathe fire will only worth if you will hit 3 enemies unless EA cantrip will work better, force barrage can still be useful vs oponents with strong reflexes but its avg damage will be the same of the EA cantrip.
  • School of the Boundary get grim tendrils, phantasmal minion (unseen servent) and summon undead (create undead) at first rank. Phantasmal minion still works in higher ranks but is super situation spell basically making the rank 1 spell usually dead too.
  • School of Civic Wizardry get hydraulic push, pummeling rubble and summon construct at first rank. Both hydraulic push, pummeling rubble can still be used as force movement spells without heightening but I doubt that this will worth te 2 actions and summon spells usually needs to be casted as top rank spell slot to worth it action cost/utility.

    There's also problems with other ranks but it will require a long text analyzing so as example rank 1 spells are enought.


  • Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

    School centric feats might be cool in a later supplement but would have been very space costly to print in the player core 1. They would be feats that only one in seven characters would be able to take based on a level 1 only choice. Feats that help with spells certain wizards want to cast are much better left not tied to specific schools, especially as every wizard has 3 other slots to cast from. Convincing illusion would have been very disappointing as a mentalist school only feat. As would Forceable energy a battle magic feat. Is every mentalist school wizard probably going to take convincing illusion? Probably, but it is still a good feat for others. I think magic items and uncommon/rare spells are better spaces than feats for schools to make their presence in the world known, at least for a while.


    Quick homebrew fix for useless spell slots:

    Split Slot (Wizard Feat 6)

    [normal Split Slot effect]

    Special - If you have a curriculum, you can prepare additional split slots by expending school slots. For each expended school slot, you can turn a higher school slot into a Split Slot. The higher school slot must be at least 1 rank lower than the highest rank spell you can cast. One of the two spells you prepare in it must be a spell that could have been prepared in the lower slot, while the other must be a spell you could normally prepare with the higher slot.


    Pathfinder Rulebook Subscriber
    The Raven Black wrote:

    I would have liked the Wizard to have 4 free spell slots, their curriculum spells added for free and a School Focus spell that synergized with their curriculum spells.

    Maybe in Unchained Remaster. Or in PF3.

    But I LOVE the new definition of Wizard's schools. So much more personal and flavorful.

    Agree. Give 1 top level bonus slot that has to be your curriculum.

    The bonus spell system is a holdover from 1e that was already kind of restrictive, now it is super restrictive.


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    Fuzzy-Wuzzy wrote:
    People do go to college to major in civil engineering IRL, you know.

    Yeah, I think the schools specifically are there to point out that most people go to Wizard school to learn something much more practical than "theory."

    Your "Pure Mathematics PhD Wizards" are Universalists. Everybody else learned something useful.


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    I'm afraid for all the people claiming that universalists are clearly the better option. I suppose that's true if you want easy mode of all the same number of spells, no restrictions to plan around, and mostly ignore focus spells (that latter still not a bad plan for a Wizard). And it's also probably the case if (1) you don't take spell blending because you want a different thesis and (2) there's no specific level 1 focus spell you want (although I hardly love hand of the apprentice even at lower levels and spending money and hands on a real weapon to eke it along at higher levels is a mistake).

    But as bad as most of the level 1 focus spells are, Hand of the Apprentice plus a bonus feat isn't obviously better, and losing an extra top rank cast due to the the different drain arcane bond mechanics is a significant countervailing factor. Even the extra specialist cantrip is nice, imo. And the advanced universal school focus spell is sadly quite bad, and a few of the specialist ones are...decent.

    If you do take spell blending (and I think it is the strongest overall, even if the others have more merits than most spell blending partisans will admit) you just need useable school spells in your top two ranks (including heightened) and focus spells that don't make you cry (not crying is I think the baseline for wizard focus spells that the majority meet).

    Ars Grammatica focus spells aren't a travesty, protective wards could get used in lots of fights I guess. Dispel Magic (in particular), Suggestion, and Contingency can all get heightened to fill your top two rank spell school slots while you blend away the lower trash when you don't like the rest.

    Battle Magic focus spells are fine, and heightening works with almost any of your curriculum spells in those top two rank school slots for big blasts. Blend away everything else for utility, defense, and battlefield control. But this one is a pure nightmare for dead lower level slots with any other thesis, just awful.

    School of the Boundary has easily the worst focus spell to start, but a decent advanced one. Plenty of low and especially mid level trash to get stuck with if you don't blend, and if you do you're often forced into heightened Summon Undead (at least your focus spell can get dumped in it round 2 if you have no spell casting ambitions) or Grim Tendrils until high levels unless you're a big Banishment fan. Plus forcing the GM (and PFS!) to allow Teleport/Interplanar Teleport is BS. Worst designed school by far. But even it works with blending if there's some aspect of this you want over universal.

    Civic Wizardry has good focus spells, decent curriculum that mostly works even without blending and has Hydraulic Push, Summon Construct, and eventually Disintegrate to heighten into those top rank slots if you really hate parts of it at certain levels and want to limit your exposure to it.

    Mentalism has decent to good focus spells (Charming Push after your Shield breaks, why not), but you definitely need blending so that your only forced curriculum choices are something incapacitation you chose to heighten to your top rank and maybe a Vision of Death in your second highest rank.

    Protean Form's focus spell almost but not quite makes me cry when I compare to Evil Eye, but then I think about the occasional crit fail and feel tears of joy. This curriculum is kind of a barely coherent mess, I don't really know why you choose this school to specialize unless you want a baby wizard Scramble Body/Gouging Claw (hopefully Reach Spelled) routine early, then grow to do other stuff. Still, it's useable throughout, I think even unblended.

    But sure, if you really want staff, familiar, or substitution, probably only Protean Form, Civic Wizardry, and Ars Grammatica have anything to recommend them, and then you really need to commit in part to a certain style based around the focus spell and tying up some of your spells. If you're not going to use or want those curriculum slots, go universal.


    Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
    YuriP wrote:
    Easl wrote:
    Argonar_Alfaran wrote:

    Those "40 spells" are from level 19.

    But useless Level 1 spells are dead by Level 5.
    Every school has at least three rank 1 curriculum spells via school, plus the standard access to every rank 1 slot spell. Can you describe for me how your level 5 character was forced by the system to prepare a specific "useless" rank 1 curriculum or slot spell?

    The dead curriculum slots from some curriculums needs to be heightened to keep working efficiently (or they will become weaker than even cantrips):

  • School of Battle Magic get breathe fire (burning hands), force barrage (magic missile) and mystic armor at first rank. All 3 spells if casted as rank 1 spell becomes too weak to be used making the curriculum spell slot a dead slot. You still can use mystic armor in level 5 if you still didn't get an armor rune, breathe fire will only worth if you will hit 3 enemies unless EA cantrip will work better, force barrage can still be useful vs oponents with strong reflexes but its avg damage will be the same of the EA cantrip.
  • School of the Boundary get grim tendrils, phantasmal minion (unseen servent) and summon undead (create undead) at first rank. Phantasmal minion still works in higher ranks but is super situation spell basically making the rank 1 spell usually dead too.
  • School of Civic Wizardry get hydraulic push, pummeling rubble and summon construct at first rank. Both hydraulic push, pummeling rubble can still be used as force movement spells without heightening but I doubt that this will worth te 2 actions and summon spells usually needs to be casted as top rank spell slot to worth it action cost/utility.

    There's also problems with other ranks but it will require a long text analyzing so as example rank 1 spells are enought.

  • A summon spell is a great rank 1 school spell. Even as a rank 1 spell, it gives you useful utility, especially with undead and constructs that players won’t feel bad sending into traps/certain death. By level 7, you rank 1 school slot is 1/15th of your total skirts, assuming you aren’t trading any in for something else at that point.

    Battle magic is the one I see people keep complaining about. But mystic armor I keeps up better than runes and can buy you so you might as well sell the rune and buy scrolls with the gold until you are heightening mystic armor. 1 action force barrage after you have very likely picked up dangerous sorcery is useful enough for most battle wizards, and the battle wizard school is the one most likely pushing you towards spell blending anyway because it is not a school for trading away any opportunity for more high level slots to have more utility low level ones. In play a first rank school slot you don’t cast that often is the quintessential molehill to die upon. By the time it feels like a dead slot you have at least 3 other school slots available to you with options to fill them that grow exponentially.

    The biggest play-based complaints people are making is that many existing wizard builds don’t fit cleanly into the new school’s and that, to me, feels like a very good thing for the longevity of the system and not getting sued. “These are pretty much the exact same schools, but with different names” would have been an Invitation for disaster.


    3 people marked this as a favorite.
    Xenocrat wrote:
    Plus forcing the GM (and PFS!) to allow Teleport/Interplanar Teleport is BS.

    Hear, hear! It's like the people who designed the schools and the people who designed the rarity system had no overlap and weren't in each others' meetings. Which... could well be true, the remaster being a rush job. Doesn't make the result non-BS, unfortunately.

    For PFS, though, don't they get to declare things like that non-eligible for play there? Or least AoN has little "(in)eligible for PFS" icons on everything for some reason.


    YuriP wrote:
    The dead curriculum slots from some curriculums needs to be heightened to keep working efficiently (or they will become weaker than even cantrips)-

    Curriculum spells are added to your spellbook. They work like any other spell. So there is no special deadness about them different from any other spell. Agreed, rank 1 damage dealing spells need to be heightened to be useful at higher levels...but again, this does not make curriculum spells 'deader' than any other spell.

    IOW what you are complaining about is the entire level-based spell system, where lower-rank spells are superceded by higher-rank spells as the character gains levels.

    Nothing about the remastered Wizard changed that system. It did not make it better...but it in no way made it worse. To go to a system where that wasn't the case (e.g., where a 1st rank spell you gained at level 1 is still part of your standard rotation at level 20, because it autoscales in an impactful way) would be to radically alter the entire game's casting and magic system. That's maybe a 3rd edition move, it is certainly not something I think any player should have reasonably expected from the remaster. At least, IMO.


    5 people marked this as a favorite.
    Pathfinder Rulebook Subscriber
    Easl wrote:
    YuriP wrote:
    The dead curriculum slots from some curriculums needs to be heightened to keep working efficiently (or they will become weaker than even cantrips)-

    Curriculum spells are added to your spellbook. They work like any other spell. So there is no special deadness about them different from any other spell. Agreed, rank 1 damage dealing spells need to be heightened to be useful at higher levels...but again, this does not make curriculum spells 'deader' than any other spell.

    IOW what you are complaining about is the entire level-based spell system, where lower-rank spells are superceded by higher-rank spells as the character gains levels.

    Nothing about the remastered Wizard changed that system. It did not make it better...but it in no way made it worse. To go to a system where that wasn't the case (e.g., where a 1st rank spell you gained at level 1 is still part of your standard rotation at level 20, because it autoscales in an impactful way) would be to radically alter the entire game's casting and magic system. That's maybe a 3rd edition move, it is certainly not something I think any player should have reasonably expected from the remaster. At least, IMO.

    I don't think you understand the issue people are having. It isn't that the spell is in your spellbook. It is that you have a low level slot you HAVE To prepare one of those "dead" spells in.

    Low level slots aren't your power hitters later, but they are valuable utility. There are a lot of low level spells that are useful to have all game.

    Unfortunately, with the curriculum, specialists have a slot they can't put any of those "useful all game" spells in. Instead they have a slot they can only prep a spell that is literally useless later. Hence, a dead slot.


    Fuzzy-Wuzzy wrote:
    Xenocrat wrote:
    Plus forcing the GM (and PFS!) to allow Teleport/Interplanar Teleport is BS.

    Hear, hear! It's like the people who designed the schools and the people who designed the rarity system had no overlap and weren't in each others' meetings. Which... could well be true, the remaster being a rush job. Doesn't make the result non-BS, unfortunately.

    For PFS, though, don't they get to declare things like that non-eligible for play there? Or least AoN has little "(in)eligible for PFS" icons on everything for some reason.

    Normally yes, but Player Core 1 sanctioning by PFS has this:

    Quote:
    If a Wizard’s school contains Uncommon spells, they are granted access to those spells.

    What makes this particularly insane is that Umbral Journey (the new Shadow Walk) got this restriction:

    Quote:
    umbral journey (page 364) - spell requires too much GM improvisation. Any deities which grant this spell now grant slither at the same level.

    I don't know how allowing a party to suddenly travel to any settlement 100 miles away is ok for a GM to deal with, but a fast travel by walking spell is just too hard. (Ok, I can see some reasons, and also that one is available at character level 9 vs 11 and therefore has a bigger impact on PFS scenarios as a practical matter, but still.)


    4 people marked this as a favorite.
    Easl wrote:
    YuriP wrote:
    The dead curriculum slots from some curriculums needs to be heightened to keep working efficiently (or they will become weaker than even cantrips)-

    Curriculum spells are added to your spellbook. They work like any other spell. So there is no special deadness about them different from any other spell. Agreed, rank 1 damage dealing spells need to be heightened to be useful at higher levels...but again, this does not make curriculum spells 'deader' than any other spell.

    The lower level SLOTS are what is dead, not the spells. A rank 1 specialist slot must be filled by a rank 1 curriculum choice. There are three for each school, and they are often pretty useless once you've gained a few levels. They are often totally useless once you've gained more than a few levels.

    If you have 5th rank spells forcing one of your 1st rank spells to hold one of (Breath Fire, Force Barrage, Mystic Armor) or (Grim Tendrils, Phantasmal Minion, Summon Undead) is somewhere between painful and insulting.


    So, I've been giving some thought as to what I'll do with my Curriculum Slots once I switch my pre-Remaster Divination Specialist Wizard to a post-Remaster Ars Grammatica Wizard. He's 15th level now, so that's 8 Ranks of slots. He's Metamagical Experimentation/Experimental Spellshaping Thesis.

    1st: Command. It's a decent little debuff spell, targets Will (often a plus), doesn't have Incapacitate. Sold!

    2nd: Probably Dispel Magic. Not every effect I'll want to dispel is going to be a full strength one. Most likely never gonna use this slot, but it's better than putting Translate in there on a regular basis. Of course, I could just prep a second Command. That might actually be the best way to go.

    3rd: Enthrall. I can think of a number of occasions when being able to create a large diversion would have come in really handy. I also like Veil of Privacy, but having the Counteract level stuck at 3 is not ideal.

    4th: I like Dispelling Globe. Again, not ideal due to a Counteract Level of 3, but hey, I've had Concealment save my characters in the past and that requires a GM to roll a 4 or lower. Suggestion is good, but with Incapacitation it's a bit too easy to resist at this Rank.

    5th: Both Sending and Truespeech are pretty solid. I'll likely go with Sending because we've actually used it a fair bit in our campaign.

    6th: I'll probably go with Repulsion. More likely to be useful on a day to day basis. Spellwrack would be fun if you could get it to work though.

    7th: Contingency. Definitely Contingency. I already use it regularly; being able to use a Curriculum Slot for it is perfect. Planar Seal would also be useful though (we've had issues with teleporting/ethereal/other dimensional transport type recurring foes.)

    8th: Quandary is just too much fun to pass up.

    And the nice thing is... there are a number of School spells that would benefit from the high slot if I don't want to go Quandary. Dispel Magic, Suggestion, Dispelling Globe... all would be solid in there.

    I will miss True Strike/True Target in my extra slots, but overall, I think Ars Grammatica has potential.


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    I feel like if the GM has a good reason to not want to allow teleport in the campaign, they should simply also not allow the school that grants it.


    Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

    At level 7, a low threat encounter should yield about 220gp to the party. Assuming you have to sell what ever you find (which should not be the case all the time) and a party of 4, that is 27 and half gold pieces, per low threat encounter. A level 1 scroll is 4 gp, so not even 15% of what is really the minimum amount of treasure you should receive for that encounter. Yes a spell slot is more convenient than a scroll, but it would take some strange number of encounters for that issue with scrolls to be something where having 1 more rank 1 spell slot is significant or important compared to having a bundle of 1st rank scrolls at that point in the game.

    A dead level 1 slot is such a minor issue for a level 7 character, it feels a little comical to get worked up enough to feel like the schools are massively nerfed, but not just choose spell blending as your thesis if you are so concerned with optimizing your resources.


    1 person marked this as a favorite.
    YuriP wrote:
    The dead curriculum slots from some curriculums needs to be heightened to keep working efficiently (or they will become weaker than even cantrips):

    The lesson there is not that the concept of focused schools is bad, but that they should be designed so that at least the lower-level slots have some spells that maintain their utility at higher levels.


    YuriP wrote:
    summon spells usually needs to be casted as top rank spell slot to worth it action cost/utility.

    That is wrong. I like level 1 and top level slots for summon spells.

    Eventually you aren't using level 1 slots in tough combats, but you never really were.

    I agree the new school lists are a worse restriction.

    Still Staff Nexus, Spell Substitution and Spell Blending can reuse any slots they feel are wasted.


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    Pathfinder Rulebook Subscriber
    PossibleCabbage wrote:

    Having "here is the full list of spells you're extra good at" just front and center is a huge savings in overhead.

    I agree, but you can solve that problem without just reducing options or failing to address any of the other inherent problems with the Wizard too.

    It's not that the old school system was good, imo, it's that this change should have been part of a broader set of adjustments to make the class feel more coherent without simply making it slightly worse.

    And we get this instead, and that's kind of a shame.


    Unicore wrote:

    At level 7, a low threat encounter should yield about 220gp to the party. Assuming you have to sell what ever you find (which should not be the case all the time) and a party of 4, that is 27 and half gold pieces, per low threat encounter. A level 1 scroll is 4 gp, so not even 15% of what is really the minimum amount of treasure you should receive for that encounter. Yes a spell slot is more convenient than a scroll, but it would take some strange number of encounters for that issue with scrolls to be something where having 1 more rank 1 spell slot is significant or important compared to having a bundle of 1st rank scrolls at that point in the game.

    A dead level 1 slot is such a minor issue for a level 7 character, it feels a little comical to get worked up enough to feel like the schools are massively nerfed, but not just choose spell blending as your thesis if you are so concerned with optimizing your resources.

    It's impossible for me to know how normal it is, but that estimated gp value seems a lot higher than what I've seen as an L8 player in Abomination Vaults. Even things like the devil weapons appearing to have valuable runes at first glance, only to be next to worthless upon closer inspection, have kinda rubbed in our lack of gp.

    ----------

    More importantly, comparing an L7 character's income to a L1 price for a scroll is not really helpful.

    With how the gp scaling takes off like crazy around L5, your comparison is a bit of a non-statement. It just doesn't seem super relevant.

    I can find nothing wrong with desiring that curriculum spells retain enough value to be cast even at higher levels, and there is also nothing wrong with stating that yes, low level spell slots absolutely do struggle to stay relevant at higher levels.

    -----------

    Another thing to consider is the Wizard Dedication, which does not benefit from a thesis, so no spell blending. Especially when talking about Dedication dips, Wizard is in direct comparison to other spell casters.

    And w/ basic spell casting unlocked, Witch offers the same number/rank of spell slots (and cantrips), on top of everything else it does...

    IMO Wizard Dedication is rather clearly not in a good place.


    1 person marked this as a favorite.
    Trip.H wrote:

    Another thing to consider is the Wizard Dedication, which does not benefit from a thesis, so no spell blending. Especially when talking about Dedication dips, Wizard is in direct comparison to other spell casters.

    And w/ basic spell casting unlocked, Witch offers the same number/rank of spell slots (and cantrips), on top of everything else it does...

    IMO Wizard Dedication is rather clearly not in a good place.

    I don't get this part. Wizard multiclass does not get school slots, so it is completely unaffected by useless school slots.


    1 person marked this as a favorite.
    Easl wrote:
    Argonar_Alfaran wrote:

    Those "40 spells" are from level 19.

    But useless Level 1 spells are dead by Level 5.

    Every school has at least three rank 1 curriculum spells via school, plus the standard access to every rank 1 slot spell. Can you describe for me how your level 5 character was forced by the system to prepare a specific "useless" rank 1 curriculum or slot spell?

    Sure

    School of Ars Grammatica:
    By level 5 the party will already have runes, thus "runic nody" and "runic weapon" are useless at that point. "disguise magic" can easily be countered by a heightened cantrip at that level, so it becomes useless as well. That leaves this school with "command", which stays somewhat useful, but is the only option for every wizard of that school and most likely not desirable to prepare every single day.

    School of Battle Magic:
    "mystic armor" starts to fall off here, because armor runes become available. Sure you can keep it around a little longer (but not too much longer)
    "breath fire" and "force barrage" start doing less damage than cantrips here and there is always a better option than a rank 1, one action force barrage. (Meta Magic, Bon Mot, Moving, Focus Spell, ...)

    School of Boundry:
    "grim tendrils" again start doing less damage than cantrips here and as for the 2 summon spells... -1 creatures for 1 minute at level 5 are a total waste.

    School of Civic Wizardry:
    "summon construct" has the same problem as the other summon spells. "pummeling rubble" does less damage than cantrips and while "hydraulic push" is about the same or does slightly more, the fact it is a one time use and misses on a fail in addition to doing cantrip damage on a success isn't worth the slot at this point.

    School of Mentalism:
    "dizzying colors" and "sleep" have the incapacitation trait. They are not even an option at this point. Then again this school at least has the "sure strike" spell. It has the samey character for all members of the school problem, but at least with the spell that everybody wants anyways.

    School of Protean Form:
    Might be the best one actually. "jump" stays useful, "spider-sting" while not impressive, can at least debuff an enemy and "pest form" might have utility sometimes out of combat.

    So yeah, that is one school out of 6, which keeps multiple viable options with another 2 schools leaving at least one usable spell for all corresponding characters. The other 3 on the other hand with nothing but dead options that are equal to or worse to other options and certainly worse 1 or 2 more levels later.

    Quote:

    Curriculum spells are added to your spellbook. They work like any other spell. So there is no special deadness about them different from any other spell. Agreed, rank 1 damage dealing spells need to be heightened to be useful at higher levels...but again, this does not make curriculum spells 'deader' than any other spell.

    IOW what you are complaining about is the entire level-based spell system, where lower-rank spells are superceded by higher-rank spells as the character gains levels.

    Nothing about the remastered Wizard changed that system. It did not make it better...but it in no way made it worse. To go to a system where that wasn't the case (e.g., where a 1st rank spell you gained at level 1 is still part of your standard rotation at level 20, because it autoscales in an impactful way) would be to radically alter the entire game's casting and magic system. That's maybe a 3rd edition move, it is certainly not something I think any player should have reasonably expected from the remaster. At least, IMO.

    The problem is that the game forces the player those few spells into low rank slots. There are actually many spells that never lose their usefulness on lower ranks, but they are mostly not those in the school curricula. And there's no reason to enforce that limit on the wizard slots to begin with.

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