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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5 people marked this as a favorite.

Excited about this!
Can't wait for thursday.


2 people marked this as a favorite.

This sounds great! I was previously a little nervous when I heard the schools were going away as they’re pretty iconic. Just as the case with the removal of alignment: change is scary and uncomfortable. That said, I’m digging all of these changes and so excited to try them out. Keep knocking it outta the park!

PS: I support your pickling spell domain.


1 person marked this as a favorite.

D&D 2e's alternate schools systems was one of the neatest things done. It was also dabbled in D&D 3rd edition. I'm surprised Paizo never did for Pathfinder. Tossing out the "Traditional 8" didn't need to be done to explore alternate schools/categorizations of magic.

It's nice to see you exploring it finally though.


1 person marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Rulebook Subscriber

haha, my Flame Druid in Strength of Thousands is a fire marshal, School of Civic Wizardry sounds perfect for her!

Vigilant Seal

4 people marked this as a favorite.

I’m a bit confused by the feat. It sounds like it’s meant as battlefield control. I don’t see it ever doing damage because taking a minimum of 7d6 to your allies so that the creatures stay in the area seems like mutually assured destruction. Doing this at range with no allies guarantees that the bad guys move. I’m guessing the intent here is to have it make bad guys use an action. Seems awful high level of a feat for this though.


7 people marked this as a favorite.

Can't wait for the Magaambyan School of Magic!


5 people marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber

I am loving the Remastered Wizard.
The Academic theme and Curriculum Spells I highly appreciate this design.

High Grade Marks!

Paizo Employee Marketing & Media Specialist

29 people marked this as a favorite.

Let James write Goblin School of Pickling Spells!!! <3


12 people marked this as a favorite.
Horgruff wrote:
I’m a bit confused by the feat. It sounds like it’s meant as battlefield control. I don’t see it ever doing damage because taking a minimum of 7d6 to your allies so that the creatures stay in the area seems like mutually assured destruction. Doing this at range with no allies guarantees that the bad guys move. I’m guessing the intent here is to have it make bad guys use an action. Seems awful high level of a feat for this though.

It seems fine to me. You could position it such that an enemy would have to decide whether to eat the secondary detonation, stride and take a reactive strike, or step twice to evade both at the cost of most of their turn. You could use it to set up a Shove from one of your allies and guarantee the damage. You could simply box the enemy into a tight area where they can't escape - which you could have created with Wall of Stone beforehand. Plenty of cool ways to use it, IMO.


8 people marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Lost Omens, Rulebook, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

I like the burst feat! Anything that encourages and enables allies to Shove and Grapple is tons of fun.

I definitely thought this preview post would be bigger and more detailed but now that my expectations are in-line, I'm looking forward to the rest of them.

Dark Archive

2 people marked this as a favorite.

Wow, wizard has always been my favorite caster, and it really looks good without the 8 legacy schools

Horizon Hunters

1 person marked this as a favorite.

Love this! Can't wait to dig into the Remaster! My first of 53 PFS characters is a Universalist Wizard 11. It'll be fun to see how the changes affect him. Thanks for the update!


4 people marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Adventure Path, Lost Omens, Maps, Rulebook Subscriber; Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber

Thanks for this. I'm really interested to see how this interacts with the Runelords and sin/thassilonian magic.

Radiant Oath

2 people marked this as a favorite.

I wonder what's going to happen to Runelord with this change


I really love the vibe of that feat. Repurposing spell energy into creating temporary constructs in the like feels very wizard to me.

Also hyped all over again for the new schools!


2 people marked this as a favorite.

The heavy leaning into the academics of the class was already a big appeal to me, so the shift to curriculums was a huge flavor win for me.

One thing I do have to wonder though: if there going to be one that's focused on illusions? I'm currently playing a wizard that follows Sivanah, and while the mentalism curriculum fits the trickster bit, it's got a lot of "hurt people with hallucinations" spells which are direct anathema. My group is generally willing to allow homebrew in terms of substituting spells, but I'd like one that doesn't need such an extensive overhaul (I think like 5 spells fall under anathema). I'm also a little shocked that suggestion and charm didn't make it onto the list!


1 person marked this as a favorite.
Alchemic_Genius wrote:

The heavy leaning into the academics of the class was already a big appeal to me, so the shift to curriculums was a huge flavor win for me.

One thing I do have to wonder though: if there going to be one that's focused on illusions? I'm currently playing a wizard that follows Sivanah, and while the mentalism curriculum fits the trickster bit, it's got a lot of "hurt people with hallucinations" spells which are direct anathema. My group is generally willing to allow homebrew in terms of substituting spells, but I'd like one that doesn't need such an extensive overhaul (I think like 5 spells fall under anathema). I'm also a little shocked that suggestion and charm didn't make it onto the list!

If you look at the school description, it is about "befuddling lesser minds with figments and illusions or implanted sensations and memories." Charm and suggestion are not really figments or illusion or implanted memories, they are more direct control spells.

Also I think this might be the easiest area to homebrew. As long as you can give your GM a good reason why this list of spells should be a curriculum, you can run wild.


14 people marked this as a favorite.
emky wrote:

D&D 2e's alternate schools systems was one of the neatest things done. It was also dabbled in D&D 3rd edition. I'm surprised Paizo never did for Pathfinder. Tossing out the "Traditional 8" didn't need to be done to explore alternate schools/categorizations of magic.

It's nice to see you exploring it finally though.

Tossing the 8 is not done to explore new schools, it's done because those 8 schools are Wizards of the Coast intellectual property and moving to ORC involves excising all WotC terms.


11 people marked this as a favorite.

Small look into the civic curriculum and an ok-ish spellshape feat that seems to come a bit late for its effect. The rest is old news (at least for those of us who devour all remaster news and info).

I'd lie if I said I'm not a bit underwhelmed by this blog. I appreciate you taking the time, mind you. I was just hoping against hope that there's more in store for the wizard. Something that makes it stand out more mechanically. The new schools are great flavor, but still a mechanical downgrade.

As always, I'll reserve final judgment until I see the whole class remastered. But it definitely feels like the wizard is left in the dust compared to other classes.


4 people marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Adventure Path, Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber
MrVauxs wrote:
Can't wait for the Magaambyan School of Magic!

I came in to say exactly the same thing.

Also, is just just a Magaambyam School, or (being the best magic school on the planet) do the Rain-Scribes have their own school that is fundamentally different from the Tempest-Sun Mages that is different from the Uzunjati, etc.

Needless to say, the HYPE is real.


2 people marked this as a favorite.

Definitely looking forward to Thursday's blog about the changes to spellcasting! One of the biggest things I've wondered is how vocalizations with spells will work, and how some spells (like Silence and spells that deafen casters) will end up looking like!


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Rulebook Subscriber

Ohh, looking forward to Thursday's blog!

Dark Archive

1 person marked this as a favorite.
SilentInfinity wrote:
Thanks for this. I'm really interested to see how this interacts with the Runelords and sin/thassilonian magic.

It won’t for sometime I believe.

There won’t be a “Day 1” option to play the Runelord in-line with the Remaster Wizard. It will come in time, but in a later book. The guidance given was to play with the core Wizard for the base of the Runelord, with you and your GM making decisions on any new spells which you want school-Ified.

Dark Archive

11 people marked this as a favorite.

Praying that Wizards get some actual knowledge mechanics in the Remaster.

I know they are getting Knowledge is Power at 8th, which, I hope they have brought more inline with Bestiary Scholar. If not, having something to actually assist or reward Recall Knowledge is really needed.

Something solid to make up for the more limited scope that seems to come with the slot changes.


Navarp wrote:
MrVauxs wrote:
Can't wait for the Magaambyan School of Magic!

I came in to say exactly the same thing.

Also, is just just a Magaambyam School, or (being the best magic school on the planet) do the Rain-Scribes have their own school that is fundamentally different from the Tempest-Sun Mages that is different from the Uzunjati, etc.

Needless to say, the HYPE is real.

They have an archetype, actually!

https://2e.aonprd.com/Archetypes.aspx?ID=29


10 people marked this as a favorite.

That feat is not good. Spend an action to add damage a round later that will never hit.


This is interesting.


6 people marked this as a favorite.

The burst feat feels like a telegraphed AOE that pleases my MMO-playing lizard brain


9 people marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber

If you work with your team the blast can certainly hit and denying space can be just as crucial in more complex battles. Is it an always use feature? No but no apellsgape feat ever is.


The floor on Secondary Detonation Array is a 1:1 trade on actions as the enemy is forced to stride away, which itself opens it up to getting hit by reactions. Not bad but not sure I'd call it 14th level good. You can of course combo it with spells that grab creatures like Transmute Rock and Mud.

Edit: Never mind, spell needs to do damage. My searching seems to indicate there are no spells in the game right now that actually work with this spellshape, all other options for grabbing with a spell have a duration. That's unfortunate.


5 people marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber

The feat is quite good. Everyone has been asking for ways martials can better support casters instead of the other way around, and letting your team manhandle enemies into a bonus damage zone is pretty fun. It's also perfectly effective against mindless enemies.


1 person marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Lost Omens, Rulebook, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

Very much lines up with how my magic schools have been in my 5e and Pathfinder 2e campaigns, anyway. This makes official that who you hang around with and learn from is far more important than a legacy label, as far as describing how a spell interacts with the world.


8 people marked this as a favorite.

"Goblin school! Goblin school! Writing for fool! Songs are cool!"

Seriously, a non-Bard school where Wizards cast their spells by singing them into existence would be freaking awesome.


3 people marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Adventure Path, Lost Omens, Pathfinder Accessories, Rulebook Subscriber; Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber

Feel like Goblins would definitely have a school to teach aspiring wizards to set the long shanks on fire...

That being said, unsure if there are plans for new sets of spell cards, but I would definitely pick them up if they do, or if we get a guide on how to re organize the cards we have? This would also be greatly appreciated :D

RPG Superstar 2014 Top 32

1 person marked this as a favorite.

Did they ever clarify if your "next action" can be the first action of the following round, or if it has to be in the same round?


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The feat is good but the level is too high. Could have easily been a 6 or a 8.

Also the wording... I get the desire to convey academic writing but I shudder to think how many players will stop reading right after the words "force damage". Why not just say it deals damage of the same type as the spell?

The idea of in-world magic schools is great, but the limitation of one specific bonus spell per rank is not. There should have been two-three per rank to choose from, with feats to get more.


3 people marked this as a favorite.
CyberMephit wrote:

The feat is good but the level is too high. Could have easily been a 6 or a 8.

Also the wording... I get the desire to convey academic writing but I shudder to think how many players will stop reading right after the words "force damage". Why not just say it deals damage of the same type as the spell?

The idea of in-world magic schools is great, but the limitation of one specific bonus spell per level is not. There should have been two-three per level to choose from, with feats to get more.

Based on the prerelease doc, theres at least 2 spells per rank, and apparently theres going to be more than that in the final release.


3 people marked this as a favorite.

Secondary Detonation Array isn´t bad I think. It´s a blaster caster feat that rewards spell selection, knowledge about the opponent and tactical teamwork.

If you have this feat you want area spells of many different elements. If you then fight an enemy that has a weakness (which you know because you are a smart wizard) you cast an area spell that triggers that weakness. Then you let your party´s brawler (who maybe delayed to be after you) run up next to that enemy and maybe grapple or trip them. That enemy now spends 1 or more actions Stepping/Standing/Escaping or eats an AoO or takes damage that triggers its weakness again.


1 person marked this as a favorite.

So yeah...

Dark Archive

4 people marked this as a favorite.
Pronate11 wrote:
CyberMephit wrote:


The idea of in-world magic schools is great, but the limitation of one specific bonus spell per level is not. There should have been two-three per level to choose from, with feats to get more.
Based on the prerelease doc, theres at least 2 spells per rank, and apparently theres going to be more than that in the final release.

We saw the preview pages of the book during a live stream.

Each school has a varied number of spell options per level, starting at 3, sitting mostly at 2, then ending at 1, for a total of about 18 non-cantrip spells.

You and your GM can agree to add more spells to the school if you like.


4 people marked this as a favorite.
Grumpus wrote:
Did they ever clarify if your "next action" can be the first action of the following round, or if it has to be in the same round?

They did. It has to be the same round. Source is the How It's Played YouTube channel and one of their Ask a Designer videos.

---------------

Anyone else note that the new spell doesn't say the spell has to come from a spellslot? If you find a cantrip that fulfills all requirements, you could use it to lay down the detonation array. It's probably save to assume the 5ft burst has to fit within the spell's area (even though the feat could be clearer about that), so the only current cantrips that would work are haunting hymn and spout (when used on water).


8 people marked this as a favorite.
Quote:
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.

I don't understand this. The existence of the eight schools of magic (and the arcane schools corresponding to those) wasn't preventing anyone from creating new arcane schools.

Evoker wizards and Battle Magic wizards can and will coexist, since pre-remaster content will still be selectable once the remaster comes out. Why couldn't the School of Civic Wizardry exist before the "traditional" eight arcane schools became out-of-print?


8 people marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber
Poit wrote:
Quote:
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.

I don't understand this. The existence of the eight schools of magic (and the arcane schools corresponding to those) wasn't preventing anyone from creating new arcane schools.

Evoker wizards and Battle Magic wizards can and will coexist, since pre-remaster content will still be selectable once the remaster comes out. Why couldn't the School of Civic Wizardry exist before the "traditional" eight arcane schools became out-of-print?

It's not necessarily the idea of an Evoker and a Battle magic wizard couldn't exist, it was the way in which schools of magic functioned.

Since Schools of Magic as written pre re-master were not only sub-classes but a way of categorizing every single type of spell in the game any future School would have to do 1 of 3 things.

1) have a huge amount of spells added just to support it so that it could feel relatively balanced compared to the older schools.

2) have a much smaller pool of spells

3) be radically different than the other subclasses.

Since they were removing the schools partially for ogl reasons anyways this also let them create the new schools.


5 people marked this as a favorite.
pixierose wrote:
Poit wrote:
Quote:
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.

I don't understand this. The existence of the eight schools of magic (and the arcane schools corresponding to those) wasn't preventing anyone from creating new arcane schools.

Evoker wizards and Battle Magic wizards can and will coexist, since pre-remaster content will still be selectable once the remaster comes out. Why couldn't the School of Civic Wizardry exist before the "traditional" eight arcane schools became out-of-print?

It's not necessarily the idea of an Evoker and a Battle magic wizard couldn't exist, it was the way in which schools of magic functioned.

Since Schools of Magic as written pre re-master were not only sub-classes but a way of categorizing every single type of spell in the game any future School would have to do 1 of 3 things.

1) have a huge amount of spells added just to support it so that it could feel relatively balanced compared to the older schools.

2) have a much smaller pool of spells

3) be radically different than the other subclasses.

Since they were removing the schools partially for ogl reasons anyways this also let them create the new schools.

Sub-schools were already a thing. Like a cojurer could focus on Teleportation, Extradimension, Creation, or Cheliax: Egorian Academy Infernal Binder. All of which could be differentiated by their focus spells and feats.

I seriously don't get where the idea that more schools could not be added came from.


Pathfinder Adventure, Rulebook Subscriber

Can we get a preview of the Magaambya's Wizard school?


It probably doesn't exist to preview.


2 people marked this as a favorite.
Kelseus wrote:
emky wrote:

D&D 2e's alternate schools systems was one of the neatest things done. It was also dabbled in D&D 3rd edition. I'm surprised Paizo never did for Pathfinder. Tossing out the "Traditional 8" didn't need to be done to explore alternate schools/categorizations of magic.

It's nice to see you exploring it finally though.

Tossing the 8 is not done to explore new schools, it's done because those 8 schools are Wizards of the Coast intellectual property and moving to ORC involves excising all WotC terms.

Why can't it be both?


6 people marked this as a favorite.
Perpdepog wrote:
Kelseus wrote:
emky wrote:

D&D 2e's alternate schools systems was one of the neatest things done. It was also dabbled in D&D 3rd edition. I'm surprised Paizo never did for Pathfinder. Tossing out the "Traditional 8" didn't need to be done to explore alternate schools/categorizations of magic.

It's nice to see you exploring it finally though.

Tossing the 8 is not done to explore new schools, it's done because those 8 schools are Wizards of the Coast intellectual property and moving to ORC involves excising all WotC terms.
Why can't it be both?

Because they cannot exist in the system if they want to not be on the OGL.


2 people marked this as a favorite.

This makes me look all the more forward to the deeper dive into the remaster's changes to magic. Changing the wizard's schools to actual schools of magic with clear themes I think is a brilliant change, which will hopefully go a long way towards making what is arguably one of the more generalist classes in the game feel more like a specialist. Any kind of big-brain play feat gets my vote as well for the wizard, particularly if it's something allies can combo into.


2 people marked this as a favorite.
GameDesignerDM wrote:
Perpdepog wrote:
Kelseus wrote:
emky wrote:

D&D 2e's alternate schools systems was one of the neatest things done. It was also dabbled in D&D 3rd edition. I'm surprised Paizo never did for Pathfinder. Tossing out the "Traditional 8" didn't need to be done to explore alternate schools/categorizations of magic.

It's nice to see you exploring it finally though.

Tossing the 8 is not done to explore new schools, it's done because those 8 schools are Wizards of the Coast intellectual property and moving to ORC involves excising all WotC terms.
Why can't it be both?
Because they cannot exist in the system if they want to not be on the OGL.

I meant why can't both reasons be true? Yes, the OGL changes had to be done, but the devs have indicated multiple times that the shifts they are making to the game aren't solely because of OGL issues; needing to prune legally problematic content from your game and wanting to innovate and breathe life into a classic class aren't mutually exclusive motivations.

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