Hey guys - I've been brainstorming the best way to represent the various occult classes in PF2, as I'm sure many of us have. Many of them fit neatly into a new role (at least in my opinion), but I'm struggling significantly with the Mesmerist. Their PF1 incarnation is far too casting focused for them to be a Focus caster in PF2, and their spell list in PF1 is pretty perfect for the Occult list in PF2. That leads to an obvious role as a full-casting Occult caster; they don't seem to fit a prepared Occult caster too well (I'm in good agreement with the rest of the board that Witch fits that pretty damn well), but this puts them in the unfortunate position of clashing strongly with the bard - they could go for a more sorc/wiz niche of being very focused on their casting, but I definitely don't think that fits. To me at least, the Mesmerist's key niche is altering the way magic normally works to make up for a less-than-powerful casting ability (i.e. stare + spells, bold stares to effect things that they shouldn't, etc).
Which left me with a few conclusions:
1: Mesmerists shouldn't be shunted over to an exclusively arcane/divine/primal caster
2: Mesmerists shouldn't be 4 spells/level equivalent casters
3: Mesmerists clash too much with bards as 3 spells/level, spontaneous, CHA-based occult casters
4: Mesmerists definitely shouldn't be Focus casters
There aren't many ways to go from there - I considered trying to make them a bard-specific archetype, or a sorcerer one, but they don't fit too well there. Which leaves one option that I'd been reticent to consider - mesmerists as an archetype. Now that I've considered it, I think it might actually work pretty well - an archetype that anyone who casts spells can take that's designed around making enchantment (or similar) spells more subtle + effective, with feats giving you the classic stare + bold stare equivalents. One would have to worry about someone like a wizard or sorcerer taking the archetype and boosting their casting dramatically - but without seeing the final set of sorc/wiz feats, I'd have to imagine they'll be keeping a fair few of their feats that are very much worthwhile for casting.
What do you guys think? Am I missing something? It seems like it would make for a good archetype, and would be an interesting way to port across mesmerist. Bard-mesermists would be the classic, but something like a wizard/sorc mesmerist would be interesting both thematically and mechanically to me as well :)