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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Pathfinder Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber
Unicore wrote:

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...

Come to think of it, you can drop it into a stave as well.


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Pathfinder Rulebook Subscriber
Blave wrote:

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.

While I do feel for you here, and would suggest using spell blending or staffs to ameliorate the issue... I think you are probably in the minority of players that do this. I'd have to think that your average wizard is mostly preparing the same spells day to day, and as long as their GM is reasonable enough to let them get something useful in each slot (like Sure Strike) they'll be more than fine.

I know it doesn't make the experience better for you, but it is worth keeping in mind when you consider why Paizo made the choice overall. (Aside from other potential reasons like a rushed deadline.) A nerf to the absolute peak of spell caster optimization is not something I believe the majority of casual customers will notice.


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Pathfinder Rulebook Subscriber

On the other hand, those same casual players might be less likely to identify spell blending as a necessary patch on some of the schools and end up getting stuck with that first level breathe fire way past the point of it being valuable, which will just kind of feel bad.

I think trying to reduce all the problems to merely an issue of optimization ends up missing some of the point, especially when proper optimization is exactly how people are suggesting you address these problems in the first place.


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Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

I don’t know how many people have a lot of experience with high level wizards in PF2 that are perceiving this as a big nerf, but it gets really hard to use all your spell slot spells in a day at levels 14 +. Having one rank 1 niche spell slot that you don’t use. All that often isn’t really that big of a deal. Between talking to your GM, burning it in a staff that lets you use it for any spell you want, and spell blending you really don’t have to keep it. But what I have seen late in combats (rounds 4 or later) is casters feeling like they really have nothing to do with their 3rd actions. A high level battle wizard could easily fill their bottom rank slots with multiple force barrages and get plenty more use out of those slots than I see clerics or other wizards/prepared casters get out of them. And that again, is a tertiary or lower option for dealing with “the big problem.”


Say, are summoning spells going to require 2 actions in the remaster? I saw in a video that the new Augment Summoning (just a rename, Fortify Summoning, I think) is still 1 action. If summons still take 3 actions and sustain, this means augmenters are still taking 2 turns to summon a creature.


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3-Body Problem wrote:
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.

1. They are not the old schools, which were never a good fit. They originated as minor comments on AD&D 1e spells and were later used as building blocks way beyond what they were supposed to carry. Just look at how many times the schools have been rearranged since they actually got mechanical weight with Dragonlance Adventures and AD&D 2e.

2. They are expandable. I don't have the Player Core yet, but it has what, four schools in it? That's nothing. You could easily add dozens of schools for various purposes. The old schools were collectively all-encompassing, so there was no way to expand upon them.

3. They are not tied to OGL material.


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It's not just low level slots though. Sure, boundary might start to get good choices at rank 4 but you still need to play through the first 3 ranks of garbage that conjuration offers solid alternatives to. Mentalism is in the same boat when any illusionist or enchanter would be spoiled for choice. The old schools weren't always the best at providing useful on-curve options, but even then you had more and better choices for putting heightened spells in those slots instead of being limited to whatever the new schools offer.

Sure, we can't use the old schools anymore, but the better idea would have been to let those slots be free use than to restrict them even more.


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Bast L. wrote:
Say, are summoning spells going to require 2 actions in the remaster? I saw in a video that the new Augment Summoning (just a rename, Fortify Summoning, I think) is still 1 action. If summons still take 3 actions and sustain, this means augmenters are still taking 2 turns to summon a creature.

summons are 3 actions still.

While Fortify Summoning might say "As you call a creature to your side, your magic transforms its body, heightening its ferocity and fortifying its resilience" it's meaningless flowery text. You can cast the spell at any time on your summons [but NOT "As you call a creature"], so you can cast it the round after you cast the summons without a problem. It would work as advertised if they'd have made it a free action/reaction with a trigger [casts a summoning spell] but they didn't do that.


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Pathfinder Adventure, Adventure Path, Lost Omens, Rulebook, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

With how rushed the remaster was I feel wizard bandaided with the new schools shoehorned in with little thought. The whole class reeks of a rush job with mo champions for the class on the design team.

New schools are lazy. Augment summoning still not being able to be cast on the turn you summon the creature is still poor design and not looked at. 1 less base skill for no reason still males mo sense and hardly affects balance.

New schools are shoehorned with little thought on school spells at differebt levels of play.

New feats are... ok I guess, better than what the ranger got but clearly given far less consideration than the cleric.

Mot sure why people think the new arrangement of focus spells for school slots is good, still a wierd mishmash. School of the boundary feels incredibly hodgepodge with a confused narrative that falls apart under any real scrutiny.

I think the largest problem with the wizard and the new schools is they are rushed and rather than maybe writing some proper new spells to fit the narrative in some cases thwu shoehorned in some vaguely relevant existing spells (both focus ans spell slot spells).

Wizards would be better served if they got a font like clerics but only for school spells amd got rid of the bonus spellslot per rank which is a hangover from dnd anyway. Low level school spells would remain relevant all the way througb the game. They would be encouraged to strongly work with their school spells as they would always have more of them prepared at high ranks.


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Cyder wrote:
Wizards would be better served if they got a font like clerics but only for school spells amd got rid of the bonus spellslot per rank which is a hangover from dnd anyway. Low level school spells would remain relevant all the way througb the game. They would be encouraged to strongly work with their school spells as they would always have more of them prepared at high ranks.

Schools as fonts would cause every optimizer to pick the same school, and then complain that every other one is trash.


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Sy Kerraduess wrote:
Cyder wrote:
Wizards would be better served if they got a font like clerics but only for school spells amd got rid of the bonus spellslot per rank which is a hangover from dnd anyway. Low level school spells would remain relevant all the way througb the game. They would be encouraged to strongly work with their school spells as they would always have more of them prepared at high ranks.
Schools as fonts would cause every optimizer on here to pick the same school, and then complain that every other one is trash.

Schools as fonts work fine, for literally any spell you care to name (assuming you don't allow for multiple 10ths).

I playtested this with clerics, allowing the player to pick any spellcasting tradition (no deity spells if non-divine) for their tradition, and any one spell from that tradition or from deity spells (if divine) for Font.

So for instance clerics of Gozreh could pick primal tradition at character tradition rather than divine, and choose to get Font chain lightning rather than Font heal. Likewise, clerics of Sarenrae could pick divine and get Font fireball (a Sarenrae deity spell).

It broke nothing.

"You have an extra four fireballs" or "you have an extra four hastes" isn't inherently more broken than "you have an extra four heals" because heal is one of the best spells in the game, regardless of level. Heck, "you have an extra four falling stars" is basically Staff Nexus + battle magic school.

I can't imagine it would break with wizard, which has a worse chassis than cleric.


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I'm not saying it's too strong, I'm saying it's too uneven.

Schools with spells that need to be cast at max rank would be infinitely more valuable than schools with spells that don't get extra benefits from heightening.


Sy Kerraduess wrote:

I'm not saying it's too strong, I'm saying it's too uneven.

Schools with spells that need to be cast at max rank would be infinitely more valuable than schools with spells that don't get extra benefits from heightening.

Even spells without heightened effects can be fine too: a font of True Strike/Sure Strike for instance. It's a bit more nuanced than just wanting 1 type of spell only.


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Sy Kerraduess wrote:

I'm not saying it's too strong, I'm saying it's too uneven.

Schools with spells that need to be cast at max rank would be infinitely more valuable than schools with spells that don't get extra benefits from heightening.

Hmmm, maybe?

But all the published schools do get some benefit from that. Battle magic gets bigger kaboom, protean form and mentalism have incapacitation effects, boundary has summons (which have to be max level to be remotely relevant), and civic wizardry has things like hydraulic push and summon construct (damage scales for the former, summon level for the latter).

It's a non-issue.


Calliope5431 wrote:

Hmmm, maybe?

But all the published schools do get some benefit from that. Battle magic gets bigger kaboom, protean form and mentalism have incapacitation effects, boundary has summons (which have to be max level to be remotely relevant), and civic wizardry has things like hydraulic push and summon construct (damage scales for the former, summon level for the latter).

It's a non-issue.

Fair enough, I reacted without actually checking the new school spells, that's on me. I stand corrected.


Sy Kerraduess wrote:
Calliope5431 wrote:

Hmmm, maybe?

But all the published schools do get some benefit from that. Battle magic gets bigger kaboom, protean form and mentalism have incapacitation effects, boundary has summons (which have to be max level to be remotely relevant), and civic wizardry has things like hydraulic push and summon construct (damage scales for the former, summon level for the latter).

It's a non-issue.

Fair enough, I reacted without actually checking the new school spells, that's on me. I stand corrected.

Eh, it's good to bring up. If nothing else, there's no guarantee future spell schools would be immune to the issue.

And besides, this is a hypothetical homebrew solution anyway lol


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Cyder wrote:

With how rushed the remaster was I feel wizard bandaided with the new schools shoehorned in with little thought. The whole class reeks of a rush job with mo champions for the class on the design team.

New schools are lazy. Augment summoning still not being able to be cast on the turn you summon the creature is still poor design and not looked at. 1 less base skill for no reason still males mo sense and hardly affects balance.

New schools are shoehorned with little thought on school spells at differebt levels of play.

New feats are... ok I guess, better than what the ranger got but clearly given far less consideration than the cleric.

Mot sure why people think the new arrangement of focus spells for school slots is good, still a wierd mishmash. School of the boundary feels incredibly hodgepodge with a confused narrative that falls apart under any real scrutiny.

I think the largest problem with the wizard and the new schools is they are rushed and rather than maybe writing some proper new spells to fit the narrative in some cases thwu shoehorned in some vaguely relevant existing spells (both focus ans spell slot spells).

Wizards would be better served if they got a font like clerics but only for school spells amd got rid of the bonus spellslot per rank which is a hangover from dnd anyway. Low level school spells would remain relevant all the way througb the game. They would be encouraged to strongly work with their school spells as they would always have more of them prepared at high ranks.

Best wizard is looking like a witch or sorcerer with wizard archetype given spellcasting proficiency now set. Witch is probably going to be real popular with a wizard archetype for changing out spells now.


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Low level summons are fine for lots of things, just not so much for combat. At 13+ level, you really don’t need your top rank-4 to be a vital combat spell. A font of all your school spells would be ridiculously OP and unnecessary. Remastered wizards are going to be fine and just as popular as before. Many new players will find the new schools and their connections to the game world far more interesting and fun to play that schools that only feel relevant to the game world if you are playing a rune lord centric campaign.

There are no more conjurers or illusionists or enchanters in Golarion.


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Unicore wrote:

Low level summons are fine for lots of things, just not so much for combat. At 13+ level, you really don’t need your top rank-4 to be a vital combat spell. A font of all your school spells would be ridiculously OP and unnecessary. Remastered wizards are going to be fine and just as popular as before. Many new players will find the new schools and their connections to the game world far more interesting and fun to play that schools that only feel relevant to the game world if you are playing a rune lord centric campaign.

There are no more conjurers or illusionists or enchanters in Golarion.

I'm, not sure School of Mentalism is more relatable that the school of enchantment, nor School of Protean Form vs Transmutation, School of the Boundary vs conjuration or School of Ars Grammatica vs whatever [what does a survey of Latin grammar have to do with anything?]. If all we got is subjectively more interesting names, I'm not sure it's much of a boon. I mean, they could pad out the descriptions of the original schools to make them more evocative too.

Oh, and there sure COULD be conjurers or illusionists or enchanters as wizards can still focus on those type of spells and the names still make sense outside the schools: spells still conjure things, create illusions and enchant creatures.


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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...

Considering the power of wizard's focus spells, still not really a buff. Though I admit, some of them are decent. Everything about exchanging and adding spells was said. But old evocation definitely wasn't hopeless at 1st rank: there are several creature movement spells there, like Gust of Wind, and Shockwave which has quite decent effects even if small area at 1st rank. Yes, most of the time you'd not want to spend actions on that, but that's still only 1st rank spells.


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Arachnofiend wrote:
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.

I also have a huge problem with this flavor argument. Yes, the writers did create nice (and quite short) general descriptions and themes. But nothing prevents me from taking the new Universalist and saying that he's from ... Ars Grammatica-type school for example. I can even prepare some spells on theme. Or can not. Yes, he won't have those focus spells, so what? Moreover, I could do that a year ago. And would be exactly as successful. Anything, everything you can imagine for your wizard always was here. And magic schools are a very common trope. That's why I'm not very impressed with the new schools. Even though getting some roleplay hints is nice.

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

Oh, I wouldn't be. Further, I'm almost sure there won't be such boons: too scary balance-wise or too much work, too specific (I don't remember boons for one class exclusively) and (if we believe that PFS organizers have close mindset to the devs') not important at all.


Pathfinder Rulebook Subscriber

If there was one key thing you wanted to see different with the Wizard what would it have been?

I like the new school themes for role play and the possibility of new schools or just making your own but I do think future released schools will have potential for power creep.
I like the staff nexus addition but think it needed to have progression of some kind any kind at levels 4 and 6.


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Bluemagetim wrote:

If there was one key thing you wanted to see different with the Wizard what would it have been?

I like the new school themes for role play and the possibility of new schools or just making your own but I do think future released schools will have potential for power creep.
I like the staff nexus addition but think it needed to have progression of some kind any kind at levels 4 and 6.

Things I think would have really made the wizard a top tier class:

1. Spell Substitution as a base class feature of the wizard.

2. Greatly improved focus spells supporting theme and play-style.

Things I do like:

1. Standardized casting proficiency, but this affects all casters.

2. Universalist getting free quality focus spell. Unified Theory, the strongest of the wizard builds, got stronger.

3. Simple weapon proficiency

With the witch looking a ton better, the wizard may be the bottom tier of the caster classes now.

Clerics look better. Druids and bards are still strong. Witch looks a ton better. Psychic still has its niche. Sorc the same.

Wizard looks on the bottom until you hit level 20. Then due to quality level 20 feats, it bumps up quite a bit.

I might try a unified theory wizard again now that I can build with a better weapon with casting archetypes given I don't need to modify spellcasting proficiency. Bottom tier of the casters is still a pretty strong caster.

Though witch is really calling me right now. Resentment Witch is looking very compelling.


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Pathfinder Adventure, Adventure Path, Lost Omens, Rulebook, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Bluemagetim wrote:

If there was one key thing you wanted to see different with the Wizard what would it have been?

I like the new school themes for role play and the possibility of new schools or just making your own but I do think future released schools will have potential for power creep.
I like the staff nexus addition but think it needed to have progression of some kind any kind at levels 4 and 6.

I will give you 2.

School spells as a font as described above.

A complete rework of thesis. Right now they feel like half formed class ideas that were never completed, never properly balanced against each other and don't feel at all academic. If wizard is supposed to be an academic class it should have a stronger thematic tie to recall knowledge, preferably aligned with Thesis.

Even a thesis 'Magical zoology' - You can use Arcana to make Nature based recall knowledge checks about plants/animals/beasts. When you crit succeed at a recall knowledge check using arcana instead of nature you get a +1 on your next spell attack roll or 1 target takes -1 on the next spell DC against a spell you cast before the end of your turn.

Suddenly that feels academic, feels like they have a benefit for researching a particular academic topic rather than the weirdness that Thesis now are which have no thematic link to each other and don't feel academic.


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Bluemagetim wrote:

If there was one key thing you wanted to see different with the Wizard what would it have been?

I like the new school themes for role play and the possibility of new schools or just making your own but I do think future released schools will have potential for power creep.
I like the staff nexus addition but think it needed to have progression of some kind any kind at levels 4 and 6.

They better have power creep, a lot of this Schools kinda suck


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Staffan Johansson wrote:
1. They are not the old schools, which were never a good fit. They originated as minor comments on AD&D 1e spells and were later used as building blocks way beyond what they were supposed to carry. Just look at how many times the schools have been rearranged since they actually got mechanical weight with Dragonlance Adventures and AD&D 2e.

If you disliked the old schools you must loathe the spellcasting traditions for being just as arbitrary and poorly defined. What exactly is the logic behind where the cut between Arcane and Occult ended up again? Why is Arcane still mostly just the old Wizard spell list if there are supposed to be rules to these things?

Quote:
2. They are expandable. I don't have the Player Core yet, but it has what, four schools in it? That's nothing. You could easily add dozens of schools for various purposes. The old schools were collectively all-encompassing, so there was no way to expand upon them.

The old schools were 128 crayon boxes and the new ones are 16 crayon boxes, and you're praising them for making you buy more to get less.

If you think that the new schools mean new focus spells, well there was never anything stopping Paizo from publishing more focus spells before the OGL nonsense.

Quote:
3. They are not tied to OGL material.

I couldn't tell you a single cool thing about Golarion that an average Joe might know while I can tell you dozens from OGL sources. Losing the OGL was necessary but it was a loss.


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FWIW, I thought the old schools were really boring. More powerful than the new schools, for sure (just because there's more stuff in there) but really no interesting thematic links.


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Pathfinder Rulebook Subscriber

I kinda of dont like it when they go and make obviously better schools and leave the original ones as relics no one can really choose without being much worse. So if this is the level of power they want for wizard schools I would want that to remain consistent across new additions. If they make new content to make the power of wizards improve it should be in ways that improve all wizards.


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Bluemagetim wrote:
I kinda of dont like it when they go and make obviously better schools and leave the original ones as relics no one can really choose without being much worse. So if this is the level of power they want for wizard schools I would want that to remain consistent across new additions. If they make new content to make the power of wizards improve it should be in ways that improve all wizards.

I would much rather they focus on making it fun and balanced than making it compatible with content they can't sell any more.


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PossibleCabbage wrote:
FWIW, I thought the old schools were really boring. More powerful than the new schools, for sure (just because there's more stuff in there) but really no interesting thematic links.

Honestly, may just be my personal affection for the original schools speaking but I thought most of them did a decent job of balancing thematics with breadth.

"Enchantress" is nicely themed, with a rich tradition in mythology with Calypso, Morgan le Fay, and countless other (generally female) characters. So is "necromancer" (do I even need to list examples?) or "conjurer" (Faust, etc)

Not that the new schools don't have flavor, but they're kinda limiting. The beauty of the old schools was that you didn't need to have a specific school for every theme: "vampiric blood mage" and "cackling skull chucking lich" both existed under the umbrella of necromancy.

Sure some of the new schools are fine that way, like how mentalism is basically enchantment and illusion mixed together, and that's fine. But "civic wizardry" is so narrow as to be practically unusable.


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Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

I think the fact that the new schools are kinda limiting is the point on a small scale, but also not true in larger picture. Like, “Let’s make sure that none of our schools feel like they result in the exact same type of archetypical character as D&D wizards” was an intentional design choice to create space between the two systems. There is no reason that vampiric blood mage and skull chucking lich need to be the same school of wizardry. It the schools are only giving you a focus spell or two and a small selection of free spells for your book it is probably better that blood magic and dead-raising fall into two different schools, and that there could even be 3 or 4 different schools that do a little bit with both, but in a very particular narrative combination rooted int the systems game world. A player and a GM working together to make a new school that best fits the campaign and game world is now trivially easy compared to before the remastery. For PFS, “rooted in the lore of Golarion” is the foundational underpinning of the style of play, so for PFS’s sake, I hope we get some interesting new schools soon too, but the ones that have been previewed so far are not nearly as bad as people are making them out to be. When is the last time anyone has seen a transmuter in play? For example.

Almost none of the Enchanters or Enchantresses you mention Calliope would be wizards in Golarion. Sorcerers and witches, but not wizards. I think the mentalist school will work better for incapsulating a character like Jafar than either the illusionist or the enchanter school did previously.


3-Body Problem wrote:
If you disliked the old schools you must loathe the spellcasting traditions for being just as arbitrary and poorly defined. What exactly is the logic behind where the cut between Arcane and Occult ended up again? Why is Arcane still mostly just the old Wizard spell list if there are supposed to be rules to these things?

I'm not a big fan of traditions, no. I much prefer bespoke spell lists. I understand why they made the choice they did (primarily expandability), but it's not one I agree with.

Quote:
The old schools were 128 crayon boxes and the new ones are 16 crayon boxes, and you're praising them for making you buy more to get less.

Yes. I want there to be dozens of different types of wizards with different schools. That wasn't possible with eight schools covering the totality of wizardry.


Pathfinder Rulebook Subscriber

This way of doing things makes more narrow focused themes but there are many more kinds of themes can be made now. This can enable the making of wizards that do things you actually want to do and not the things you don't care to do. The current curriculum might just not be the packages you like.


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Unicore wrote:

I think the fact that the new schools are kinda limiting is the point on a small scale, but also not true in larger picture. Like, “Let’s make sure that none of our schools feel like they result in the exact same type of archetypical character as D&D wizards” was an intentional design choice to create space between the two systems. There is no reason that vampiric blood mage and skull chucking lich need to be the same school of wizardry. It the schools are only giving you a focus spell or two and a small selection of free spells for your book it is probably better that blood magic and dead-raising fall into two different schools, and that there could even be 3 or 4 different schools that do a little bit with both, but in a very particular narrative combination rooted int the systems game world. A player and a GM working together to make a new school that best fits the campaign and game world is now trivially easy compared to before the remastery. For PFS, “rooted in the lore of Golarion” is the foundational underpinning of the style of play, so for PFS’s sake, I hope we get some interesting new schools soon too, but the ones that have been previewed so far are not nearly as bad as people are making them out to be. When is the last time anyone has seen a transmuter in play? For example.

Almost none of the Enchanters or Enchantresses you mention Calliope would be wizards in Golarion. Sorcerers and witches, but not wizards. I think the mentalist school will work better for incapsulating a character like Jafar than either the illusionist or the enchanter school did previously.

Not sure if Jafar actually used illusions, but I take your point about the enchanters probably being sorcerers or witches.

I still do think they're a little too narrow - especially because the core schools have to do a lot of work, since some GMs might not allow anything non core. In this regard they have to be considered a downgrade from the thematic breadth of the 8 schools from before.


To me the school change reads as an effort to simplify and streamline, just like a lot of what happened in the transition from 1e to 2e.

Basically it's probably how they would have made 2e Wizards in the first place if they hadn't been bound by the 8 schools of the OGL.

So yes, experienced players get nothing, because the change wasn't for them, it was for someone looking to play their first Wizard, or to start playing PF2 as a whole.

What little reduction in power this causes, while unpleasant, is in no way enough to tilt the class from viable to non-viable.


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Calliope5431 wrote:
PossibleCabbage wrote:
FWIW, I thought the old schools were really boring. More powerful than the new schools, for sure (just because there's more stuff in there) but really no interesting thematic links.

Honestly, may just be my personal affection for the original schools speaking but I thought most of them did a decent job of balancing thematics with breadth.

"Enchantress" is nicely themed, with a rich tradition in mythology with Calypso, Morgan le Fay, and countless other (generally female) characters. So is "necromancer" (do I even need to list examples?) or "conjurer" (Faust, etc)

The problem with the old schools is that they neither really supported nor enforced a theme like this. You could make an "Enchantress" as a Universalist who prepared a lot of a lot of enchantment spells, but you could make a Conjurer who only prepares one conjuration spell in their bonus slot and just uses the rest for fireballs and slow and fly and stuff.

IF you want a class for "I specialize in one kind of magic" you're going to need a class other than the Wizard since "my toolkit is versatile" is supposed to be part of the Wizard's whole deal. Which is why I think it's better to have these small schools since it represents "what you majored in at Wizard college" which represents a small portion of the things you learned there and subsequently.


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Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

So one interesting thing about the new schools vs the old:

The old D&D system for dividing up schools of magic was about fundamental building blocks of magic itself. You could potentially have a self-taught evoker who just sat studying the "natural" processes of pulling and creating energy and mater from the cosmos without ever meeting another person or reading about any theories in a book, because that kind of interaction was an observable distinct category in the cosmos that could be simultaneously discovered and the connection between spells like magic missile and levitate, for example, was something that could be repeatedly demonstrated in experimentation. Both of these spells fit into Golarion's category of "evocation."

The new remastered schools are entirely socially constructed. The followers of these schools might have theories and even experimental data to justify their claims, but a school that offers force barrage and levitate together in the same school is now doing so because the community of people who make up this school of magic have decided that these two spells serve a purpose together, not because the cosmos makes it so.

This is a massive narrative shift that isn't getting any kind of formal explanation in world, because it is almost impossible to not talk about the way things used to be when explaining how they have changed, and talking about how the old schools worked is just not ORC material. So, "the old wizards were just wrong, and different groups of them combined different spells together into purposes they thought were fundamental to the universe but weren't," is pretty much the best we are going to get.

I know there are people who will rail against everything I say because they see me as some kind of Paizo (p)sycophant, but actually I get absolutely nothing from my efforts to try to understand the design choices made in PF2's development except better enjoyment of the game for myself and my tables. Once I understand fully what the intention of a rule is, it is much easier to modify it at my own table, which I do for very many aspects of this game, like down time, battle maps and character motivations for encounters in APs. With schools, you can bet your bottom sock drawer that I will be modifying schools anytime I run a game, and probably thinking about doing so with wizards I play, once I can get the rulebook tomorrow. But understanding that the schools are now in world social constructions and not trying to represent real fundamental ways that magic works in the world is very liberating from this perspective of "make it work for your game."

For all the folks irate about lack of representation for specific ideas for wizards that you want to play, I suggest considering keeping pressure on Paizo to make sure that we get a Lost Omens supplement book sooner than later, or at least that adding more schools, possibly in APs backmatter or player's guides, becomes a trivially easy way to solve a lot of remastered wizard discontent about lack of options for wizard ideas connected to the campaigns players want to run. Just be aware that "I want to play this exact specialist mage from D&D" is going to be a very difficult order to fulfill, especially for a while, because making the new system functionally the same as the old is a dangerous legal path to set upon. The magic system of D&D is probably one of the touchier IPs to potentially risk the whole ORC license on. Same reason why chromatic and metalic dragons are not coming back anytime soon in bestiaries, especially not as 2 categories that collectively represent the largest swaths of dragons that will be used in published material.


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
Calliope5431 wrote:
Unicore wrote:

I think the fact that the new schools are kinda limiting is the point on a small scale, but also not true in larger picture. Like, “Let’s make sure that none of our schools feel like they result in the exact same type of archetypical character as D&D wizards” was an intentional design choice to create space between the two systems. There is no reason that vampiric blood mage and skull chucking lich need to be the same school of wizardry. It the schools are only giving you a focus spell or two and a small selection of free spells for your book it is probably better that blood magic and dead-raising fall into two different schools, and that there could even be 3 or 4 different schools that do a little bit with both, but in a very particular narrative combination rooted int the systems game world. A player and a GM working together to make a new school that best fits the campaign and game world is now trivially easy compared to before the remastery. For PFS, “rooted in the lore of Golarion” is the foundational underpinning of the style of play, so for PFS’s sake, I hope we get some interesting new schools soon too, but the ones that have been previewed so far are not nearly as bad as people are making them out to be. When is the last time anyone has seen a transmuter in play? For example.

Almost none of the Enchanters or Enchantresses you mention Calliope would be wizards in Golarion. Sorcerers and witches, but not wizards. I think the mentalist school will work better for incapsulating a character like Jafar than either the illusionist or the enchanter school did previously.

Not sure if Jafar actually used illusions, but I take your point about the enchanters probably being sorcerers or witches.

I still do think they're a little too narrow - especially because the core schools have to do a lot of work, since some GMs might not allow anything non core. In this regard they have to be considered a downgrade from the thematic breadth of the 8 schools from before.

My memory is hazy but I think he used a disguise self style of spell fairly often and really the distinction between enchanted hallucination and illusory image does not need to be seen as two separate kinds of magic at all.


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Generally the omniscient perspective a la "this is exactly the way it works" is something Paizo has tried to get away from in PF2. "How magic works" is probably the place it was most apparent, and we haven't excised it completely since the four traditions being based on 4 sets of opposed essences is sort of asserted to be "true".

Like it was always possible to argue that Fireball should be a conjuration spell (since you're drawing fire from the plane of fire) or a transmutation spell (since you're changing not-fire to fire). We saw how healing moved from necromancy to conjuration back to necromancy, after all. It's best to just not have these categories so a player can theme their fireballs to look however they want.


Staffan Johansson wrote:
3-Body Problem wrote:
If you disliked the old schools you must loathe the spellcasting traditions for being just as arbitrary and poorly defined. What exactly is the logic behind where the cut between Arcane and Occult ended up again? Why is Arcane still mostly just the old Wizard spell list if there are supposed to be rules to these things?
I'm not a big fan of traditions, no. I much prefer bespoke spell lists. I understand why they made the choice they did (primarily expandability), but it's not one I agree with.

I agree with you here.

Quote:
Quote:
The old schools were 128 crayon boxes and the new ones are 16 crayon boxes, and you're praising them for making you buy more to get less.

Yes. I want there to be dozens of different types of wizards with different schools. That wasn't possible with eight schools covering the totality of wizardry.

I don't think schools ever prevented that from happening. There could always be archetypes or class archetypes that narrowed spell lists in exchange for bonuses. The issue is that Paizo doesn't print class Archetypes and they've erred low on the power side of things when narrowing spell options and made them unattractive.


PossibleCabbage wrote:
Calliope5431 wrote:
PossibleCabbage wrote:
FWIW, I thought the old schools were really boring. More powerful than the new schools, for sure (just because there's more stuff in there) but really no interesting thematic links.

Honestly, may just be my personal affection for the original schools speaking but I thought most of them did a decent job of balancing thematics with breadth.

"Enchantress" is nicely themed, with a rich tradition in mythology with Calypso, Morgan le Fay, and countless other (generally female) characters. So is "necromancer" (do I even need to list examples?) or "conjurer" (Faust, etc)

The problem with the old schools is that they neither really supported nor enforced a theme like this. You could make an "Enchantress" as a Universalist who prepared a lot of a lot of enchantment spells, but you could make a Conjurer who only prepares one conjuration spell in their bonus slot and just uses the rest for fireballs and slow and fly and stuff.

IF you want a class for "I specialize in one kind of magic" you're going to need a class other than the Wizard since "my toolkit is versatile" is supposed to be part of the Wizard's whole deal. Which is why I think it's better to have these small schools since it represents "what you majored in at Wizard college" which represents a small portion of the things you learned there and subsequently.

In fairness that's exactly how the new schools play too. That's a general "casters don't do theming well" issue, not an issue of the original 8 schools.

There currently ISN'T a class in the vein of the 3.5 beguiler or the PF 1E mesmerist, which would be the "pure enchanter" you mentioned above.

But anyway, back to the remastered schools. I do have to disagree - mostly because I have a bone to pick with Civic Wizardry (battle magic and mentalism are fine if somewhat limited and sad mechanically), which is that it's just SUCH a narrow theme.

Yes, civil engineering is a major people can actually take at real-life post-secondary schools, I am aware. But generally only at those with specialized engineering programs. NOT as a core option. Making Civic Wizardry a core school is the equivalent of a secondary (not post-secondary) school teaching math, literature, history, and quantum chromodynamics. One of these things is not like the others...


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Unicore wrote:
"the old wizards were just wrong, and different groups of them combined different spells together into purposes they thought were fundamental to the universe but weren't," is pretty much the best we are going to get.

I have to say there is something deeply satisfying about the implication that the Runelords unknowingly founded their entire power and empires on a completely socially constructed understanding of magic.

You have Sorshen in the current day teaching initiates "Remember, only the Enchantment spells, which is this specific list here" and her students are like "yes grandma, sure, of course."


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Sy Kerraduess wrote:
Unicore wrote:
"the old wizards were just wrong, and different groups of them combined different spells together into purposes they thought were fundamental to the universe but weren't," is pretty much the best we are going to get.

I have to say there is something deeply satisfying about the implication that the Runelords unknowingly founded their entire power and empires on a completely socially constructed understanding of magic.

You have Sorshen somewhere teaching initiates "Remember, only the Enchantment spells, which is this specific list here" and her students are like "yes grandma, sure, of course."

And yet somehow despite misunderstanding the fundamental principles of magic, which EVERYONE knows are the four traditions, she's still CR 27, able to wield godlike magic beyond the dreams of modern wizardry. And your wise-beyond-the-dreams-of-the-ancients PC is level 2.

I admit that just seems implausibly silly. It'd be like if Aristotle had founded a galactic civilization yet still thought the sun went around the earth. Or if Galen had invented the key to immortality and the cure for all diseases using the made-up medical foundation of the Four Bodily Humors. Or if in ancient Greece Empedocles was building fusion reactors using the chemical principles of the Four Elements. "Ancient scientists invent technology modern people haven't yet achieved using boneheaded theories" is a bizarre concept.

Basically, I don't think that's how scientific progress works...of course, the ideas of "ancient empires with the power to touch the face of God" and "long-lost civilizations with secrets far beyond modern understanding" both are Renaissance concepts that are anathema to a modern world with vastly superior technology, science, and knowledge to that of antiquity. Ancient Rome looks a whole lot cooler when you cannot replicate all of their achievements trivially.


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Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

I am still waiting to see the schools in the book, and getting to look at every spell listed to see if anything about the spells have changed before making up my mind about any of the schools specifically.

However, it seems to me like "civic wizardry" would be a foundational school that is probably taught in every nation where wizards exist. Perhaps it is slightly more likely to be an NPC school than a PC school...maybe. Again, I am waiting to see it, because I am guessing it will be my favorite, but to not include it would be to leave out the school of wizardry that probably most people who want to be wizards in the world (and not super adventurers) would be inclined to study.


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Calliope5431 wrote:
I admit that just seems implausibly silly.

The concept of Sin and Virtue magic can be true without being tied in any way to a fundamental categorization of magic itself.

If NASA painted their spaceships red because Red Goes Faster, they would still be the best at space travel.


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Unicore wrote:

I am still waiting to see the schools in the book, and getting to look at every spell listed to see if anything about the spells have changed before making up my mind about any of the schools specifically.

However, it seems to me like "civic wizardry" would be a foundational school that is probably taught in every nation where wizards exist. Perhaps it is slightly more likely to be an NPC school than a PC school...maybe. Again, I am waiting to see it, because I am guessing it will be my favorite, but to not include it would be to leave out the school of wizardry that probably most people who want to be wizards in the world (and not super adventurers) would be inclined to study.

The big thing I think is that they each give some number of uncommon spells. Something unaccessible without GM permission before. I think they did this as a way to soften the blow, but now players can just get teleport by choosing boundary, which was a bad idea imo

My stance is that we should just get four slots for anything, and that school spells are just extra known spells or something you can cast like 1e clerics could cast cure wounds spells in place of their prepared spells


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Sy Kerraduess wrote:
Calliope5431 wrote:
I admit that just seems implausibly silly.

The concept of Sin and Virtue magic can be true without being tied in any way to a fundamental categorization of magic itself.

If NASA painted their spaceships red because Red Goes Faster, they would still be the best at space travel.

This is true, but we're not exactly talking about paint jobs here. It's more analogous to NASA successfully going to the moon without understanding General Relativity. It's sort of a critical element in getting to the moon in the first place.

Or here's another way to put it. We are not exactly concerned about the return of Genghis Khan and his armies in the modern era, even if it were possible. Because if Genghis Khan and his entire army suddenly appeared in modern Mongolia, they'd be cut to pieces by the (somewhat feeble, all things considered) Mongolian military, never mind China and Russia. Quite apart from the fact that "ancient slumbering empires" do not exist in real life, even if you did transplant Alexander the Great or Napoleon to the present day, they'd be hopelessly outgunned by the modern world's superior technology. The Runelords or Tar-Baphon cannot EXIST as viable epic threats in that sort of paradigm.

But as Tar-Baphon, the Runelords, Old Mage Jatembe, ancient Azlant, and goodness-knows-how-many other ancient powers show, that that's not how Golarion works. The ancients are BETTER at magic than modern wizards. Apart from Areelu Vorlesh, there isn't a mage in the past thousand years who equals, let alone eclipses, their skill and knowledge of magic.

So the idea that the fundamental principle of Sorshen's power was made-up superstition that only the ignorant believe in is contradicted by the available evidence. Namely, the available evidence that it can't be that flawed, because she's vastly more powerful than you are.


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Calliope5431 wrote:
Basically, I don't think that's how scientific progress works...

I have bad news for you about what models are, the replication crisis and many other things. Science isn't a truth telling machine, scientists understand this. To think it is, is ironically religious thinking. Science creates categories to approximate and make sense of things, but these categories are literally socially constructed and aren't actually "the thing in itself". There is a divide between noumena and phenomena, and the noumenal is something that anything within a subjective frame can never truly come into contact with and observe. All scientists exist within a subjective frame. All practitioners of magic are in a subjective frame. The categorization of magic is always going to be an approximation of reality, not a full proper real description of reality and I think this intent is shown in how there are many interpretations of the four traditions and the four essences, the people in Golarion assume these categories are true and have wildly different ideas about what they mean. A magical tradition will also bring with it ontological baggage(a thing impossible to avoid) that will make their interpretation of things narrow. Much like how science has to assume methodological naturalism to even function


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

One thing I may eventually homebrew, and I think would be a good addition for each school is a rare tagged level 1 spell that is a unique spin on another spell that intentionally heightens very well, that is only available to members of that school. This would be a tiny little bit like amped cantrips for the psychic, except they are a spell slot spell, since that is the wizard's whole thing. I think just one (probably, but I may play with 2) unique spell per school would be enough to make the starting school spellbook for each school a big deal. The nice thing about this idea too is that it could easily be added later to the schools in a splatbook if any of these preliminary jitters about the new schools continue to be real problems for players once they start building new characters that are members of these schools and not just trying to reimagine old characters into them.


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Calliope5431 wrote:
This is true, but we're not exactly talking about paint jobs here. It's more analogous to NASA successfully going to the moon without understanding General Relativity. It's sort of a critical element in getting to the moon in the first place.

What I'm saying is the 8 schools are not equivalent to General Relativity and never were. Whatever reason you can cite why an ancient was unrivaled, you never need to include "and because they mastered one of the 8 distinct fundamental building blocks of magic".

The categorization of magic is irrelevant to them being unmatched since then, as there is no reason why someone couldn't have devoted themselves to those categories the same way they did.

If anything, the wrong focus on 8 arbitrary categories might be part of why no one has reproduced their success, missing the forest for the trees if you will.

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