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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Blave wrote:
Are the Power Words still in the game or have they been OGLed?

They weren't reprinted

Dark Archive

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Unicore wrote:


For example, the school of battle magic seems to be screaming "THIS IS THE SCHOOL FOR SPELL BLENDERS!"

Yes it is.

Because you have no real other choice. You either select the thesis that allows these slots do something useful as you gain levels... or you don't and let the lots become largely dead.

I don't see this as a positive. Its a narrowing of choice. Much like the curriculum slot changes in general.

Its a straight up removal of player agency.

So you either use something like Spell Blending to side step the issue all together, or you ask your GM to let you add options which allow the slots to remain useful.

You aren't gaining anything by blending away those slots, as that was already an option open to you premaster. Instead you face issues if you don't do something about them.

Its just not a good change, dawg.


QuidEst wrote:
Blave wrote:
Are the Power Words still in the game or have they been OGLed?
Someone mentioned that Power Word Kill had become Execute.

I think I heard that's the new Finger of Death.


gesalt wrote:
Blave wrote:
Are the Power Words still in the game or have they been OGLed?
They weren't reprinted

Shame, I hope we get other nice 1 action spells at some point.

(Yes, I know I can stil use them. I was just hoping we get more of them at some point and that seems unlikely when even the original ones are kinda gone.)


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
Old_Man_Robot wrote:
Unicore wrote:


For example, the school of battle magic seems to be screaming "THIS IS THE SCHOOL FOR SPELL BLENDERS!"

Yes it is.

Because you have no real other choice. You either select the thesis that allows these slots do something useful as you gain levels... or you don't and let the lots become largely dead.

I don't see this as a positive. Its a narrowing of choice. Much like the curriculum slot changes in general.

Its a straight up removal of player agency.

So you either use something like Spell Blending to side step the issue all together, or you ask your GM to let you add options which allow the slots to remain useful.

You aren't gaining anything by blending away those slots, as that was already an option open to you premaster. Instead you face issues if you don't do something about them.

Its just not a good change, dawg.

What theoretical spells would a battle wizard rather have in a first level slot and a second level slot rather than blending those slots away? The key idea of the battle wizard is spells that are going to have the maximum impact on the battle at hand. I think we can have schools that lend themselves heavily to specific theses. We just want more and more schools.


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Unicore wrote:
What theoretical spells would a battle wizard rather have in a first level slot and a second level slot rather than blending those slots away? The key idea of the battle wizard is spells that are going to have the maximum impact on the battle at hand. I think we can have schools that lend themselves heavily to specific theses. We just want more and more schools.

From the old evocation school? If I had to pick, gust of wind, gravitational pull or even noxious vapors for a 2 action conceal. GM gives you access to uncommon? Maybe friendfetch.

Remaster schools are just a worse version of sorc bloodlines. The only upsides are that some of them offer explicit access to uncommon spells like teleport and that, yes, you can blend away the garbage that every school forces on you at some point.


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Unicore wrote:

What theoretical spells would a battle wizard rather have in a first level slot and a second level slot rather than blending those slots away? The key idea of the battle wizard is spells that are going to have the maximum impact on the battle at hand. I think we can have schools that lend themselves heavily to specific theses. We just want more and more schools.

True Strike is obvious answer for first level.

Sudden Bolt stays relevant for a long long time... But it's Uncommon and from an AP.


I'd let someone swap one of those first level spells for true strike given that the same school also gives true target. I don't know what else would be appropriate for level one for the school that could be useful later on


SuperBidi wrote:
Unicore wrote:

What theoretical spells would a battle wizard rather have in a first level slot and a second level slot rather than blending those slots away? The key idea of the battle wizard is spells that are going to have the maximum impact on the battle at hand. I think we can have schools that lend themselves heavily to specific theses. We just want more and more schools.

True Strike is obvious answer for first level.

Sudden Bolt stays relevant for a long long time... But it's Uncommon and from an AP.

Boundary gives teleport and the planar version of teleport, also uncommon and uncommon because they can be disruptive to games


Blave wrote:
gesalt wrote:
Blave wrote:
Are the Power Words still in the game or have they been OGLed?
They weren't reprinted

Shame, I hope we get other nice 1 action spells at some point.

(Yes, I know I can stil use them. I was just hoping we get more of them at some point and that seems unlikely when even the original ones are kinda gone.)

I think Bard kept Fatal Aria, so that's one way to keep Power Word Kill.


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Ok let me rephrase the question, what thesis are battle wizards lining up to take in front of spell blending? I love spell substitution as a thesis but it is not the thesis for the wizard that wants the most out of their hardest hitting spells. Staff is equally taking the character in a different direction. At the point that you were already heavily pushed into one specific thesis by a school, getting caught up in the part of that school that you would actively be trading away for that thesis feels like a white room complaint, not a complaint players will actually experience.

For the lack of potential school spells at low levels to really be an issue for a school, it would need to be a school looking to do something other than casting as many top level spells as possible, which is only really a utility/tool box wizard, which feels like a civic or ars grammatica wizard.

Yes the wizard is getting a pretty big narrative shake up, but comparing the new schools to the old is a lost cause for IP reasons. So looking at the new schools at not comparing them to D&D schools of magic, which schools do you all feel like are not overwhelming (mechanically and narratively) pushing you towards a spell blending thesis? I think identifying a lack of schools that work well with X thesis is a really good way to help guide the developers to think up new schools to add.


Unicore wrote:

Ok let me rephrase the question, what thesis are battle wizards lining up to take in front of spell blending? I love spell substitution as a thesis but it is not the thesis for the wizard that wants the most out of their hardest hitting spells. Staff is equally taking the character in a different direction. At the point that you were already heavily pushed into one specific thesis by a school, getting caught up in the part of that school that you would actively be trading away for that thesis feels like a white room complaint, not a complaint players will actually experience.

For the lack of potential school spells at low levels to really be an issue for a school, it would need to be a school looking to do something other than casting as many top level spells as possible, which is only really a utility/tool box wizard, which feels like a civic or ars grammatica wizard.

Yes the wizard is getting a pretty big narrative shake up, but comparing the new schools to the old is a lost cause for IP reasons. So looking at the new schools at not comparing them to D&D schools of magic, which schools do you all feel like are not overwhelming (mechanically and narratively) pushing you towards a spell blending thesis? I think identifying a lack of schools that work well with X thesis is a really good way to help guide the developers to think up new schools to add.

I mean. Spell blending is usually the correct answer for most wizards, not just battle. I have literally never seen a non-blending, non-staff nexus wizard, actually.

Battle wizard just gets a lot out of heightened fireballs and chain lightnings, and spamming the same spell over and over again.

Mentalism is happy to prep vision of death (phantasmal killer) in all their high level specialist slots though. And School of the Boundary gets, in terms of decent spells:

1st: summon undead (animate dead)
2nd: see the unseen (see invisibility)
3rd: nothing much, take summon undead
4th: translocate (dimension door)
5th: nothing much, take a 5th level dimension door
6th: vampiric exsanguination
7th: eclipse burst
8th: quandary (maze)
9th: massacre

It's a solid selection. But again, blending is best.


Calliope5431 wrote:
I have literally never seen a non-blending, non-staff nexus wizard, actually.

<WAVES> Hi! Just wanted to let you know that we do exist. My Experimental Spellshaping Wizard is 15th level now, but on hiatus while our forever GM takes a break and plays in Abomination Vaults for a couple of years.

I've gotten a lot of mileage our of going Silent Spell when we need to be sneaky, and Widen Spell the rest of the time. Looking back though I should have been using Nonlethal Spell or Energy Ablation more. I'm really looking forward to being able to just use Subtle Spell though... it's a stronger Feat, without a doubt.

I do wish there was another Spellshape feat @ 6th besides Explosive Arrival. I don't customarily use Summon spells. And that there's no 4th level Spellshape feat at all is annoying.


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Spell substitution is a great thesis for campaigns with lots of hexploration. It will remain very good for some schools as well. I also agree that the spellshaping one will probably remain popular in PFS. You don’t get free archetypes and the ability to have a flexible feat will be useful in the varied types of scenarios you will face.

Those both feel like situations where battle magic won’t really be the most optimal school though.


ottdmk wrote:
Calliope5431 wrote:
I have literally never seen a non-blending, non-staff nexus wizard, actually.

<WAVES> Hi! Just wanted to let you know that we do exist. My Experimental Spellshaping Wizard is 15th level now, but on hiatus while our forever GM takes a break and plays in Abomination Vaults for a couple of years.

I've gotten a lot of mileage our of going Silent Spell when we need to be sneaky, and Widen Spell the rest of the time. Looking back though I should have been using Nonlethal Spell or Energy Ablation more. I'm really looking forward to being able to just use Subtle Spell though... it's a stronger Feat, without a doubt.

I do wish there was another Spellshape feat @ 6th besides Explosive Arrival. I don't customarily use Summon spells. And that there's no 4th level Spellshape feat at all is annoying.

I totally believe that!

I freely admit I've only seen four wizards played (and I played two of the wizards in question) in this edition.


Unicore wrote:
Ok let me rephrase the question, what thesis are battle wizards lining up to take in front of spell blending?

Staff Nexus can rival the number of top slots [7 9th level spells], meaning one with a Staff Of Arcane Might can cast 3 falling stars or howling blizzards plus their own spells by trading off 2 7th and a 6th level slot.


graystone wrote:
Unicore wrote:
Ok let me rephrase the question, what thesis are battle wizards lining up to take in front of spell blending?
Staff Nexus can rival the number of top slots [7 9th level spells], meaning one with a Staff Of Arcane Might can cast 3 falling stars or howling blizzards plus their own spells by trading off 2 7th and a 6th level slot.

Agreed. Nexus is the other obvious choice, and it's spectacularly decent. Fewer top-end slots, though at level 19 or 20 you don't actually care since getting more top-end slots at that level is a fool's errand unless you're a cleric. On the other hand, at lower levels blending's lower overall high level slots but more slots at the very top may well be worth it, especially when you first get things like cone of cold or chain lightning (or, for those less damage-inclined, when you first get 6th level slow, 7th level haste, or 8th level confusion)

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Pathfinder Pathfinder Accessories Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber

Another non-nexus, nonblending wizard here, I choose the Familiar thesis:
Summarizing the Significance of the Staggering Spellbinding of Spellslime in a Symmetrical Synthesis of Spooky Sorcery.

Bonus, the name of my Spellbook: Muddy Musings Mocking My Mind
And the name of my "Basic Crafter's Book": Basic Busy Builder's Book's Byproducts
And my actually formula book: Forgotten Formulas for Fulfilling Friend's Futile Fancies


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That's hysterical. I've never seen a PC actually title their arcane thesis, but well done.

Did your PC perhaps attend the Academy of Altogether Acceptable And Assiduous Alliteration And Assonance?

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Unicore wrote:


Yes the wizard is getting a pretty big narrative shake up, but comparing the new schools to the old is a lost cause for IP reasons. So looking at the new schools at not comparing them to D&D schools of magic, which schools do you all feel like are not overwhelming (mechanically and narratively) pushing you towards a spell blending thesis? I think identifying a lack of schools that work well with X thesis is a really good way to help guide the developers to think up new schools to add.

So far, at least with the schools just in the remaster, I find them a bit conceptually regressive.

Its a "narrative shake up" in that some pretty simple concepts don't gel like they used to. Where you now have to fight against your mechanics to make the most out of your classes features.

My Wizard for Blood Lords, a student from Lepidstadt who fled to Geb with some stolen research to unlock the secrets to eternal life, Herbert West style, was pretty straight forward.

Necromancy was a pretty broad school at the time, so I can grab all the thematic biological spells I wanted from it and the focus spells actually helped as well.

If I was to make them today, he would be... what? School of the Boundry? It works for general necromancy I guess, but I have to work against those spells to get the same theme I had before with my spell choices.

And yeah, I get it, I have 3 other slots.

But my school choice is now working against my character concept.


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Kinda bummed Wizard feats didn't get a bit more sauce. Did they at least get put to regular amount of skills like everyone else? I wasn't a fan of them having one less skill just because they used Intelligence.


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TheWayofPie wrote:
Kinda bummed Wizard feats didn't get a bit more sauce. Did they at least get put to regular amount of skills like everyone else? I wasn't a fan of them having one less skill just because they used Intelligence.

I asked that on discord and the answer I got was: No change to skills. Still trained in arcana and 2+INT additional skills.

Disappointing, to say the least.


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Pathfinder Rulebook Subscriber
Blave wrote:
TheWayofPie wrote:
Kinda bummed Wizard feats didn't get a bit more sauce. Did they at least get put to regular amount of skills like everyone else? I wasn't a fan of them having one less skill just because they used Intelligence.

I asked that on discord and the answer I got was: No change to skills. Still trained in arcana and 2+INT additional skills.

Disappointing, to say the least.

Can confirm, one of the first things I checked. I was REALLY hoping INT would get at least a little love in the remaster so it isn't a dump stat, but alas.

Also wizard feats were not improved, with the exception of Silent and conceal spell being rolled into one feat. Oh and Scroll Savant (now scroll adept) no longer requires expert crafting.

Honestly, just MC and skip 90% of wizard feats. The Witch MC is crazy overpowered now (they buffed it, starts with 2 familiar abilities instead of 1) so take that or Psychic. Witch also has a really powerful level one potion ability you can poach with MC easily.

And since spell proficiency is just one stat now, you can get spells from other schools at full proficiency.


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No Crafting requirements for scroll adept is the best news I heard all day. Which might be a bit sad if you think about it. So better not think about it.

The one thing keeping me from going Wizard with Divine Witch and Psychic for triple tradition casting is the skills required. I definitely want Arcana and I would need Religion and occultism, which spends all of my skill increases and is partially redundant with Arcana' best skill feat Unified Theory.


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Old_Man_Robot wrote:
Unicore wrote:


Yes the wizard is getting a pretty big narrative shake up, but comparing the new schools to the old is a lost cause for IP reasons. So looking at the new schools at not comparing them to D&D schools of magic, which schools do you all feel like are not overwhelming (mechanically and narratively) pushing you towards a spell blending thesis? I think identifying a lack of schools that work well with X thesis is a really good way to help guide the developers to think up new schools to add.

So far, at least with the schools just in the remaster, I find them a bit conceptually regressive.

Its a "narrative shake up" in that some pretty simple concepts don't gel like they used to. Where you now have to fight against your mechanics to make the most out of your classes features.

I think the hard part for many of us rooted in Golarion lore built up over more than a decade of being tied to D&D lore is that very many "simple concepts" for wizards are "wizards just like I could make before, who's entire character concept could pretty much work equally well in D&D with little more than cosmetic changes." The new schools, by necessity had to move away from that, but that is not fun for people who first started playing pathfinder because it was designed to be that way.

Your Blood Lords character sounds very interesting, and like a concept that could benefit from a more unique Geb-focused take on body manipulation that moves away from being stuck in just necromancy. Like a lot of spells that used to be transmutation spells feel like they would fit really well in your character's concept as well. I don't think the school of boundary is a very good fit for your character concept, the way you described it, and I get why that is frustrating, but it is a problem that will go away if schools of magic become something that get published frequently in new books, especially if it results in wizards getting access to different focus spells.

Right now a lot of players who are most upset about the school changes are angry because they feel like they don't see characters that they are already trying to play reflected in them. Once those players start seeing new kinds of wizards that weren't really possible before, that are fun and narratively engaged with the campaign and world around them, the complaints about schools are going to massively fall away. If Blood lords came out with a Geb-centric wizard school available in the players guide or the Impossible lands book, for example, I think a lot of players would be chomping at the bits to play it. It is just going to take some time for the freedom of what new schools can be to catch up, or even surpass player expectations rooted in what their old wizards used to do.


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My problem with it is that it's an extra limitation on an already bad class. Flavorful or not, if it's just going to be a nerf I'd rather they'd just ripped it out entirely and let wizards have four slots to use as they wanted. So much of the system already divorces flavor from mechanics so I'm not sure why they didn't do so here as well.


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Blave wrote:

No Crafting requirements for scroll adept is the best news I heard all day. Which might be a bit sad if you think about it. So better not think about it.

The one thing keeping me from going Wizard with Divine Witch and Psychic for triple tradition casting is the skills required. I definitely want Arcana and I would need Religion and occultism, which spends all of my skill increases and is partially redundant with Arcana' best skill feat Unified Theory.

The main thing keeping me from going wizard/psychic with divine witch for triple tradition casting is the fact that it only gives you multiclass spell slots, actually.

You can't prep arcane spells in your divine witch slots, or divine spells in your wizard slots. Which makes things sorta sad.

Though I do think scrolls and staves and wands can go a looooong way towards mitigating that, so I might do it sometime.


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gesalt wrote:
My problem with it is that it's an extra limitation on an already bad class. Flavorful or not, if it's just going to be a nerf I'd rather they'd just ripped it out entirely and let wizards have four slots to use as they wanted. So much of the system already divorces flavor from mechanics so I'm not sure why they didn't do so here as well.

People have not been satisfied with the schools of magic in PF2 since the start of the edition. There has been an endless stream of requests to do more with them. It is clear now that there had been hesitancy to go all in on the old ones from the start of the edition because it it meant keeping PF2 wizards too closely tied to dungeons and dragon wizards. I think it is hard, as someone used to that D&D model, of school being a massively defining mechanical feature of your class, to just let it go down to being a largely narrative directing feature that you have to positively build into, rather than have it give a ton of stuff at the cost of taking other stuff away. It really is not a nerf though. The class has so many ways to make the restriction of the school nearly meaningless that in actual play with new characters built to be wizards of these schools, and not D&D wizards trying to cram into the space mechanically. Especially because the class tells you to talk to your GM about options that don’t fit your concept, and gives a lot of room for players getting more involved with imagining their characters in to the game world of Golarion.


Calliope5431 wrote:
Blave wrote:

No Crafting requirements for scroll adept is the best news I heard all day. Which might be a bit sad if you think about it. So better not think about it.

The one thing keeping me from going Wizard with Divine Witch and Psychic for triple tradition casting is the skills required. I definitely want Arcana and I would need Religion and occultism, which spends all of my skill increases and is partially redundant with Arcana' best skill feat Unified Theory.

The main thing keeping me from going wizard/psychic with divine witch for triple tradition casting is the fact that it only gives you multiclass spell slots, actually.

You can't prep arcane spells in your divine witch slots, or divine spells in your wizard slots. Which makes things sorta sad.

Though I do think scrolls and staves and wands can go a looooong way towards mitigating that, so I might do it sometime.

The whole point of that build would be the ability to cast three different traditions from slots.

And even if you go with arcane Witch instead, you still can't prepare your wizard spells in its slots. If I have to spend extra money on learning witch spells anyway, I'd rather Widen my spectrum by picking another tradition.

Doubling up on occult with Witch and psychic would also be fun, though, and a bit easier on the skill requirements. Worth considering.


Blave wrote:
Calliope5431 wrote:
Blave wrote:

No Crafting requirements for scroll adept is the best news I heard all day. Which might be a bit sad if you think about it. So better not think about it.

The one thing keeping me from going Wizard with Divine Witch and Psychic for triple tradition casting is the skills required. I definitely want Arcana and I would need Religion and occultism, which spends all of my skill increases and is partially redundant with Arcana' best skill feat Unified Theory.

The main thing keeping me from going wizard/psychic with divine witch for triple tradition casting is the fact that it only gives you multiclass spell slots, actually.

You can't prep arcane spells in your divine witch slots, or divine spells in your wizard slots. Which makes things sorta sad.

Though I do think scrolls and staves and wands can go a looooong way towards mitigating that, so I might do it sometime.

The whole point of that build would be the ability to cast three different traditions from slots.

And even if you go with arcane Witch instead, you still can't prepare your wizard spells in its slots. If I have to spend extra money on learning witch spells anyway, I'd rather Widen my spectrum by picking another tradition.

Doubling up on occult with Witch and psychic would also be fun, though, and a bit easier on the skill requirements. Worth considering.

Oh totally, just pointing it out as a downside.

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Calliope5431 wrote:

That's hysterical. I've never seen a PC actually title their arcane thesis, but well done.

Did your PC perhaps attend the Academy of Altogether Acceptable And Assiduous Alliteration And Assonance?

They learned everything they know by drinking the sentient Bath ooze from the poluted lake in Oenopion. So no schools. (They are Universalist right now, still waiting for my books and Foundry VTT update.) :P

They have yet to find an institution that would accept their thesis.

After being fired from their cooking part time job (because they were putting bath ooze in the food), and surviving their ex-boss trying to kill them along with the other PCs, they joined them in "adventuring". :P


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Unicore wrote:
I think it is hard, as someone used to that D&D model, of school being a massively defining mechanical feature of your class, to just let it go down to being a largely narrative directing feature that you have to positively build into, rather than have it give a ton of stuff at the cost of taking other stuff away. It really is not a nerf though.

What a load of usual hogwash. New schools aren't 'largely narrative', they are mechanically restrictive. They don't give almost anything, but take quite a lot. Even the overall number of focus spells got down appreciably as there are less new 'more easily created' than old schools. 'Give stuff and take stuff away' is the previous edition, not the old schools of this edition. And yes, it is an obvious nerf, there can't be any argument about it. Especially as in this edition abilities' diversity is supposedly considered to be power. And dead slots are irritating.

Only the extent of nerfing is debatable. And just always playing Universalist kind of fixes it. Or blending useless slots away, yes.
You as always try to be an apologist and this time quite a bad one. Picking actually winnable fights is a valuable skill.


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Errenor wrote:
Unicore wrote:
I think it is hard, as someone used to that D&D model, of school being a massively defining mechanical feature of your class, to just let it go down to being a largely narrative directing feature that you have to positively build into, rather than have it give a ton of stuff at the cost of taking other stuff away. It really is not a nerf though.

What a load of usual hogwash. New schools aren't 'largely narrative', they are mechanically restrictive. They don't give almost anything, but take quite a lot. Even the overall number of focus spells got down appreciably as there are less new 'more easily created' than old schools. 'Give stuff and take stuff away' is the previous edition, not the old schools of this edition. And yes, it is an obvious nerf, there can't be any argument about it. Especially as in this edition abilities' diversity is supposedly considered to be power. And dead slots are irritating.

Only the extent of nerfing is debatable. And just always playing Universalist kind of fixes it. Or blending useless slots away, yes.
You as always try to be an apologist and this time quite a bad one. Picking actually winnable fights is a valuable skill.

It's more of a buff, since the focus spells run the same, stronger, or show up in better combinations in the new schools, and while there's fewer spells in the overall list, the text instructs the GM to be willing to switch out spells so long as the new spell is thematically appropriate-- that's a lot better than the time I played an Evocation Wizard and had to use Evocation tag spells in my first level slots, which pretty much all do damage so fall off immediately-- Battle Magic suffers from the same problem on the surface, but can solve it by switching something out with a 'battle-themed' spell like True Strike, for that not to be the case we have to do something silly, like control the GM's side of the equation to make them arbitrarily disallow anything that isn't a damage spell from going in that slot, by having them invent that constraint and enforce it against the text of the book.


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So are we supposed to just see the list of school spells as nothing more than a suggestion for what should go there then, and all your school selection really means is what focus spells you have access to?


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Pathfinder Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber
Arachnofiend wrote:
So are we supposed to just see the list of school spells as nothing more than a suggestion for what should go there then, and all your school selection really means is what focus spells you have access to?

More than a suggestion, much less than a hard limit.

Its a thematic starting point for what that school is, your GM is given the final say, and specifically that the criteria is thematic, so if you try and translate that as "there is no requirement for the spells, its whatever I want it to be" then you're going to run into a wall when you try and take a good spell that is unrelated to the concept of the curriculum, but if you're picking useful spells that are also thematically appropriate, you should be in the clear.

So for instance, most GMs would let you take True Strike as a Battle Magic Wizard, but maybe not as a Civic wizard, because a spell that operates as a targeting system for attacks makes sense for a Battle Wizard but not for a Civic Wizard (barring your GM buying into a really elaborate justification for it, I guess.)


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The-Magic-Sword wrote:
It's more of a buff, since the focus spells run the same, stronger, or show up in better combinations in the new schools, and while there's fewer spells in the overall list, the text instructs the GM to be willing to switch out spells so long as the new spell is thematically appropriate-- that's a lot better than the time I played an Evocation Wizard and had to use Evocation tag spells in my first level slots, which pretty much all do damage so fall off immediately-- Battle Magic suffers from the same problem on the surface, but can solve it by switching something out with a 'battle-themed' spell like True Strike, for that not to be the case we have to do something silly, like control the GM's side of the equation to make them arbitrarily disallow anything that isn't a damage spell from going in that slot, by having them invent that constraint and enforce it against the text of the book.

There were always evocation spells that's weren't damage focused and/or stayed relevant like Telekinetic Maneuver, Kinetic Ram, Gust of Wind, Glitterdust, Levitate, Unseasonable Squall, Gravity Well, Draw the Lightning, Control Water, Telekinetic Haul, Geyser, Forceful Hand... It's not the same as having a required 1st rank breathe fire, force barrage, mystic armor [or going though 'mother may i' for new spells of that level]. There is a clear loss of default options that'll work in all levels of play.

Arachnofiend wrote:
So are we supposed to just see the list of school spells as nothing more than a suggestion for what should go there then, and all your school selection really means is what focus spells you have access to?

What it actually says is "Your GM might allow you to swap or add other spells to your curriculum if they strongly fit the theme." So it's less strong than The-Magic-Sword suggests: it isn't an instruction to GM's at all, just a note that a GM COULD add some spells if they wished.

If there is a section that " instructs the GM", i missed it.


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Pathfinder Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber
graystone wrote:
The-Magic-Sword wrote:
It's more of a buff, since the focus spells run the same, stronger, or show up in better combinations in the new schools, and while there's fewer spells in the overall list, the text instructs the GM to be willing to switch out spells so long as the new spell is thematically appropriate-- that's a lot better than the time I played an Evocation Wizard and had to use Evocation tag spells in my first level slots, which pretty much all do damage so fall off immediately-- Battle Magic suffers from the same problem on the surface, but can solve it by switching something out with a 'battle-themed' spell like True Strike, for that not to be the case we have to do something silly, like control the GM's side of the equation to make them arbitrarily disallow anything that isn't a damage spell from going in that slot, by having them invent that constraint and enforce it against the text of the book.

There were always evocation spells that's weren't damage focused and/or stayed relevant like Telekinetic Maneuver, Kinetic Ram, Gust of Wind, Glitterdust, Levitate, Unseasonable Squall, Gravity Well, Draw the Lightning, Control Water, Telekinetic Haul, Geyser, Forceful Hand... It's not the same as having a required 1st rank breathe fire, force barrage, mystic armor [or going though 'mother may i' for new spells of that level]. There is a clear loss of default options that'll work in all levels of play.

Arachnofiend wrote:
So are we supposed to just see the list of school spells as nothing more than a suggestion for what should go there then, and all your school selection really means is what focus spells you have access to?

What it actually says is "Your GM might allow you to swap or add other spells to your curriculum if they strongly fit the theme." So it's less strong than The-Magic-Sword suggests: it isn't an instruction to GM's at all, just a note that a GM COULD add some spells if they wished.

If there is a section that " instructs the GM", i missed it.

I would stand by my characterization of it, if you as the player want to switch out a spell and show that to your GM, they'll be a lot more comfortable doing that based on the text telling them all that matters is the theme.

As for the first bit, I distinctly recall being extremely frustrated with my options for first level evocation slots, probably because those spells didn't feel very good to me (or possibly, some of them didn't yet exist, I think Secrets of Magic may have some out partway through that campaign.)


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Even assuming your GM is willing to allow you to switch out spells, you still end up with slots that van only be filled with a very limited amount of spells. I personally prefer to switch out my spells on every rest and if I only have one useful curricukum spell for each rank, I end up preparing the same spell in that slot ever day. That's just not fun for a prepared caster, even if the spell is a good or even outstanding one.

The only way to avoid this is by having your GM outright add a significant number of spells to your curriculum, which will be much harder to sell then switching out spells.


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Honestly I really feel like they should have just dropped the slot part of spell schools entirely and just give wizards 4 slots for each level instead of trying to hold on to it after getting rid of spell schools.


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The-Magic-Sword wrote:

I would stand by my characterization of it, if you as the player want to switch out a spell and show that to your GM, they'll be a lot more comfortable doing that based on the text telling them all that matters is the theme.

As for the first bit, I distinctly recall being extremely frustrated with my options for first level evocation slots, probably because those spells didn't feel very good to me (or possibly, some of them didn't yet exist, I think Secrets of Magic may have some out partway through that campaign.)

My disagreement is that it isn't an instruction [a GM must/should do this] but a reminder to player [your GM MIGHT houserule alterations to the list]. One is something you can rely on and the other is good happenstance if it ever happens. It isn't text to the GM to do anything but to the players to look out for something. Now on showing to your GM... Not sure it moves the needle much: a GM that is willing to switch up your spells would most likely have done so without it and someone that wouldn't isn't likely to change so it's those few on the fence it might sway.

On lower rank spells, they are going to be niche in the first place being lower level so they'll never going to be go to spells and those spells are just that. Glitterdust is mostly for invisible foes, Gust of Wind for cloud/vapors and such, ect. And I think your point "or possibly, some of them didn't yet exist" is the crux of the issue some have. Every new book used to have the possibility of giving new options to the old schools by default but now it's not going to do so. That's just going to mean less choice to some players of wizards as not every GM is going to be adding new options outside those provided.


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MEATSHED wrote:
Honestly I really feel like they should have just dropped the slot part of spell schools entirely and just give wizards 4 slots for each level instead of trying to hold on to it after getting rid of spell schools.

Yeah, the curriculum could just have been a list of spells (preferably a bit longer than what we currently got) the wizard learns automatically as levels progress.


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Weird how the remastered Wizard has abandoned the mind part of the arcane tradition to totally focus on physical via the elementalist archetype to get the best specialist slot flexibility and focus spells.

There’s always occult witch MC if you want to dabble in some illusion and mind control.


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Pathfinder Rulebook Subscriber

What I think the most interesting thing about the school change is that given how little the rest of the chassis did, Paizo either internally believes the Wizard needed to be toned back slightly, or doesn't consider the size of your school to be a meaningful point of balance at all.

Really makes me wish we had some avenue for gaining insight into dev design processes, because it's definitely a perspective I don't see echoed in a lot of other places.


Squiggit wrote:

What I think the most interesting thing about the school change is that given how little the rest of the chassis did, Paizo either internally believes the Wizard needed to be toned back slightly, or doesn't consider the size of your school to be a meaningful point of balance at all.

Really makes me wish we had some avenue for gaining insight into dev design processes, because it's definitely a perspective I don't see echoed in a lot of other places.

It's hard to tell how many of the decisions in the Remaster are deliberate conscious decisions on the part of the writers and how many are a product of a short deadline. The new schools definitely feel like a good idea they didn't have the space to properly expound on, especially when put next to the far more pronounced patrons.


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The-Magic-Sword wrote:
Arachnofiend wrote:
So are we supposed to just see the list of school spells as nothing more than a suggestion for what should go there then, and all your school selection really means is what focus spells you have access to?

More than a suggestion, much less than a hard limit.

Its a thematic starting point for what that school is, your GM is given the final say, and specifically that the criteria is thematic, so if you try and translate that as "there is no requirement for the spells, its whatever I want it to be" then you're going to run into a wall when you try and take a good spell that is unrelated to the concept of the curriculum, but if you're picking useful spells that are also thematically appropriate, you should be in the clear.

So for instance, most GMs would let you take True Strike as a Battle Magic Wizard, but maybe not as a Civic wizard, because a spell that operates as a targeting system for attacks makes sense for a Battle Wizard but not for a Civic Wizard (barring your GM buying into a really elaborate justification for it, I guess.)

I guess PFS players can just get bent then, eh? This hurts anybody playing with the RAW who doesn't have access to the ability to essentially pick the spells that are in their new school.


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Arachnofiend wrote:
Squiggit wrote:

What I think the most interesting thing about the school change is that given how little the rest of the chassis did, Paizo either internally believes the Wizard needed to be toned back slightly, or doesn't consider the size of your school to be a meaningful point of balance at all.

Really makes me wish we had some avenue for gaining insight into dev design processes, because it's definitely a perspective I don't see echoed in a lot of other places.

It's hard to tell how many of the decisions in the Remaster are deliberate conscious decisions on the part of the writers and how many are a product of a short deadline. The new schools definitely feel like a good idea they didn't have the space to properly expound on, especially when put next to the far more pronounced patrons.

What part of these new schools feels like a good idea? I get that some people like the new flavor but I really question what there is to like about these new schools beyond that.


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The only mechanical advantage of the new schools is that you get one curriculum spell per rank added to your spellbpok for free and that some of those spells are uncommon.

Which kind of defeats the purpose of having spells "locked" behind rarity to begin with.


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3-Body Problem wrote:
Arachnofiend wrote:
Squiggit wrote:

What I think the most interesting thing about the school change is that given how little the rest of the chassis did, Paizo either internally believes the Wizard needed to be toned back slightly, or doesn't consider the size of your school to be a meaningful point of balance at all.

Really makes me wish we had some avenue for gaining insight into dev design processes, because it's definitely a perspective I don't see echoed in a lot of other places.

It's hard to tell how many of the decisions in the Remaster are deliberate conscious decisions on the part of the writers and how many are a product of a short deadline. The new schools definitely feel like a good idea they didn't have the space to properly expound on, especially when put next to the far more pronounced patrons.
What part of these new schools feels like a good idea? I get that some people like the new flavor but I really question what there is to like about these new schools beyond that.

The flavor is pretty much all there is to like, yes. The flavor, notably, is the one thing that would not have been crunched by a surprise deadline.


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Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

I would be shocked if there isn’t eventually going to be a PFS boon for trading out spells from your wizard school.

The push back on the wizard changes (when looked at through the practical, mechanical lens of a specific character) are: 1. “my existing wizard (or previous wizard concept) can’t be exactly built within one of the current remastered schools of magic;” 2. “I don’t love any of the existing schools in there entirety (including every spell offered at every level);” and 3. “I could potentially build a wizard that might occasionally have a low rank spell slot with no useful spell, and I am afraid my GM would not work with me to help me address the 1 out of 15+ spells my character can cast daily that might be impacted by this, by the time it might really be a problem.”

1. Is true, and kinda inevitable if having schools of magic was going to be retained as a narrative and mechanical element. There is also no reason for a GM to force a character in progress to have to change from an old school to one of these new ones. There are tons of classes that don’t have remastered versions yet anyway, so if this is about existing wizards, just don’t switch for a campaign in progress.

2. Is fair, and will hopefully get addressed by continuing to add on additional new schools that will really fit well into the campaigns that Paizo are planning. It is also being unnecessarily combative to feel like you are being cheated because you don’t love one of your first rank spell slots. As long as you have good 1st level options in your school, you can always heighten a spell in a school slot. You can also talk to your GM about creating or modding a spell list around a vision you have for your character and if they have a problem with some of the spells you were planning on choosing, then there was probably going to be a problem with your pre-remastered wizard having those spells in this GMs campaign anyway. Like if a GM was planning on banning teleportation magic in their game, they probably are going to make you change out spells from your list if you try to choose the boundary school anyway. Many of the hardest feelings I see develop between players and GMs (going back to 2nd edition D&D) have revolved around combative positions about what the PCs can accomplish with magic. It is a very good idea for developers to push players of particularly magical classes to talk with their GMs about these expectations up front. You will never convince me that it is bad design on a spell casting class to encourage “talk to your GM” about what you expect your caster to be able to accomplish with their spells in this game.

3. Is the one that really seems to be the one that players are getting the most worked up about as the thing that feels like a nerf compared to old PF2 wizards. There are just so many ways around such a small issue that it is just a little surprising to see so many people trying to claim this is going to be such a big problem for them.

With just the “dead rank 1 for Battle magic” example, you could: be a spell blender; talk to your GM about changing a spell slot; take a rank one force barrage spell in that slot that you plan on using some time as a late round 3rd action for a tiny bit of automatic damage that might be enough to put down a heavily wounded foe; or have a breathe fire spell in that slot to have an extra fire damage option for a creature with a heavy fire weakness, or to use as narratively sometime when you want to be able to make a show of being a caster with dangerous magic.

Personally, I think that the battle wizard is designed to be a spell blender, so that is the very easy route to go in this instance, but I also thing they are a class that should want to load up on enough force barrage spells to pretty much be able to be doing damage with all 3 of their actions, even when that means casting 2 spell slot spells in a round, pretty much all day long, except in the most encounter loaded days. Yes, force bolt will cover the vast majority of these but always having the option to trade 1 action for a guaranteed 2 to 5 (or even sometimes 3 to 6) isn’t as dead a first level slot as people are trying to make it out to be.


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Pathfinder Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber
3-Body Problem wrote:
The-Magic-Sword wrote:
Arachnofiend wrote:
So are we supposed to just see the list of school spells as nothing more than a suggestion for what should go there then, and all your school selection really means is what focus spells you have access to?

More than a suggestion, much less than a hard limit.

Its a thematic starting point for what that school is, your GM is given the final say, and specifically that the criteria is thematic, so if you try and translate that as "there is no requirement for the spells, its whatever I want it to be" then you're going to run into a wall when you try and take a good spell that is unrelated to the concept of the curriculum, but if you're picking useful spells that are also thematically appropriate, you should be in the clear.

So for instance, most GMs would let you take True Strike as a Battle Magic Wizard, but maybe not as a Civic wizard, because a spell that operates as a targeting system for attacks makes sense for a Battle Wizard but not for a Civic Wizard (barring your GM buying into a really elaborate justification for it, I guess.)

I guess PFS players can just get bent then, eh? This hurts anybody playing with the RAW who doesn't have access to the ability to essentially pick the spells that are in their new school.

PFS has a team of people hashing out their houserules, if there's sufficient demand for expanded lists of okayed spells for the curricula, you can bet they'll do it, never mind all the PFS tables which quietly allow it anyway.

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