Verik Vancaskerkin

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I'm currently playing a Twisted staff magus, and here are some pointers I hope will be useful. This is what I found optimized but there are no universal truths so take everything with a grain of salt ^^

1) At low levels (say 1 to 5), spellstriking is useless.

The best use of your low level slot(s) until you get a striking weapon is to cast magic weapon - and doubly so for an Iron Magus since you're using a weapon with a big dice. That means your guisarme will do 2d10+str (hopefully +4) and no amount of spellstriking will outdamage that. So even with a -5 penalty, it's better to attack twice and not spellstrike until level 5 or so. There are programs made by fans who'll give you the exact breaking point. But yeah, there you have it, our main feature is useless until level 5 which is pretty annoying. On the other hand, you'll deal a hefty amount of damage anyway.

2) Try to get a powerful focus spell. Your slots are valuable, so a way to deal more damage every fight is great. The best ways include going Psychic dedication (for 1d12+1 fire damage/2 lvl) or cleric dedication (for 2d6 fire damage/2 lvl). Going psychic also lets you get the best magus cantrip ever but you'll need 2 feats for that.

3) Since you took a wizard dedication, you should take hand of the apprentice. It works with spellstrike and deals a lot of damage at early levels. It will lose steam, though.

4) All magus focus spells suck big time. Don't use them. The only one that could be worth it is laughing shadows if you take the level 10 feat, but then that would force you to play laughing shadows which is plenty bad.

5) True strike is your friend. Use it, abuse it. That's also why Twisted Tree magus is the best magus by miles. True Strike into Spellstriking a big focus spell is an awesome nova round.

6) Always take a round to prep at the beginning of the fight. Don't rush headlong into battle with your low hp. A good first round could be Greater Invis + Cascade or GI + move depending on whether you want the cascade or not.

7) Don't hesitate to abuse weaknesses. Apart from the thaumaturge, you're the best at this.

8) Since you followed my advice (didn't you ?) and took an offensive focus spell, don't hesitate to fill your slots with something else than touch spells. A big trusty fireball, a mass slow/haste or even a mass fear at low level can do wonders.

9) Don't underestimate electric arc. It's everyone's favorite cantrip for a reason. Electric arc + cascade is a valid first round, and depending on the surroundings it might be better to do strike + Electric Arc instead of Recharge + Spellstrike.

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Also, telling someone that something is an illusion might help, but it won't totally negate the illusion.

Take virtual reality and how hard it is to walk through a chasm with a 3d helmet. You KNOW you're in your living room, you KNOW there's no lava and there's no monster coming to get you, but you still have to fight all your instincts to put your foot in the (fake) chasm.

Now take Pathfinder, where magic does exist and people can make mistakes. Even if your fellow orc tells you "hey, this huge pit is strange, i'm 100% positive it's an illusion", unless he steps on it first, I probably won't try ^^

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Ched Greyfell wrote:
Blue_frog wrote:

It's actually great, because I had a level 10 buffed monk with 50 AC that no mob could ever touch, unless the GM would make monsters with unbelievable mods to hit-

With a +6 Dex and +6 Wis, that's a 22. A +5 ring and +5 amulet makes a 32. Bracers of armor +5 would make a 37. That's 13 points of buffs to get to 50 from there.

A +4 from ki for one round, and total defense would make 45.

Would be interested to see the build on that.


10 base
+6 dex
+6 wis
+ 3 monk AC bonus (monk robe)
+ 4 mage armor
+ 4 shield potion from alchemist
+ 4 ring of protection
+ 4 barkskin Ki power
+ 4 fighting defensively with Crane Style/Riposte
+ 4 crane wing until hit
+ 1 dusty rose ioun stone
= 50 AC

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I love PF1 and played it for more than 10 years. But for me, PF2 is just straight up better.

1) Three action systems.
Take it, love it. So elegant.

2) Tighter Math.
It's actually great, because it makes everything relevant. In PF1, you could specialize your character so that it would totally unbalance the game. I had a level 10 buffed monk with 50 AC that no mob could ever touch, unless the GM would make monsters with unbelievable mods to hit - which in turn would play havoc with our swashbuckler who suddenly couldn't parry anymore. Or a wizard so specialized that even a boss would fail on a 18.

3) Effect on a save.
Most spells (the interesting ones, at least) have an effect on a save. Some of these effects are actually pretty brutal. It changes everything.

4) Shield rules. They're so awesome everybody wants to get a shield in our games.

5) Balanced classes
You can do great dps as a martial with a fighter, a barbarian, a rogue, a ranger or even a LG champion. Most people cannot agree on tier lists on casters and, even if people agree that bards are in a very good place, other spellcasters are no slouch.

6) Elegant solutions
Heal is now a single spell that you can cast at any level. Use one action, it's a range of touch. Two actions, it's more powerful and at range. Three actions, and it's now AOE.

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Harles wrote:
Ruzza wrote:

Sounds fine to me. PF2 combat is a lot less about party comp and builds and more about important decisions in combat.

What was a typical round for your group like? I ran a three caster group (drac sorc, elemental sorc, harm cleric, giant barb) through book 4 until we hit a TPK.

EDIT: Also, were you feeding yourselves to enemies? What I mean is, did you spend actions just to get to enemies only to stop within range of them so they had their full 3 actions and superior bonuses to flatten you? What were your debuffs looking like? Your buffing? My group made it far with primarily frightened, prone (Cast Down still great), and slowed doing the heavy lifting along with vital beacon for combat healing (which seemed to be incredibly suboptimal, but harm cleric gonna harm).

The party was purely reactionary, because they didn't have time for anything else. Fighter would put himself in the way of the priority targets and get smashed. The cleric would spend every action trying to keep the party alive. The champion would move up to use his reaction to get an attack of opportunity on those attacking the fighter (and try to reduce the damage output). The wizard would attempt to widdle away the hp of the monsters. The monk would try to move into position to flank and cause as much damage as possible to the enemies.

They could never get into a flow during combat. Buffs, de-buffs, etc., did not occur, as every available slot was spent trying to keep the party alive. The cleric (who was a new gamer) just did what he was told - e.g., "don't 'waste' spell slots for anything other than heal."

I'm having a hard time understanding how you could get a TPK with a 5-man group including a champion and a heal. Could you perhaps list the opponents in one of those fights so we can see what went wrong ?

Also, at low level, a wizard's job is not to whittle away the hp of the monsters (apart from magic missile on a boss), he's really bad at it. Burning hands is no actually no better than his cantrip. Good spells at first levels include the ever-popular Magic Weapon but, if he doesn't want to be a buffbot, spells like grease or gust of wind give the prone condition to multiple opponents, while fear can debuff a single boss.

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Ravingdork wrote:
Blue_frog wrote:
Remind me again, why are you playing with jerks ?
*sighs* Because they're jerks I've known for over 25 years. Jerks though they sometimes be, more still are they like brothers to me and mine. (And what brotherhood does not traditionally come with some low-level form of abuse?)

Well, the real question, and only you can answer it, is "are you actually having fun playing with them ?". Honestly ?

If you do despite the abuse, that's one thing.
But if you don't (and the fact that you posted not one, but two threads to adress the issue makes me think you're more distressed than you say), then to hell with them. Life is too short to bother with "friends" who make you feel bad.

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Remind me again, why are you playing with jerks ?

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Ravingdork wrote:

What are some tips and tricks, life hacks, or just some good old fashioned advice for keeping players interested, engaged, and in line while roleplaying in VTT?

Just - just don't play with jerks.

You'll find new players quicker than they'll find a new GM.

Any player that throws a fit like you described would be expelled from our games - friend or not.

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I added a very big part about choosing your arcane school.
Don't hesitate to tell me if you disagree on some ratings ;)

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Well, as for me, I'm kind of paranoid and as soon as my level 4 slots become utility (which usually starts at level 11), I load up on heightened invisibility and fly. If I'm being clearly targeted, one or the other gives me a much-needed breather, depending on the situation.

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Here's my Hideously Biased Guide To (Spell Blending) Wizards

And here's the discussion

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After playing a lot of wizards in a lot of campaigns, and after arguing in a lot of threads about a lot of misconceptions (that's what I call opinions that don't go my way) , I thought it was my sacred duty to write a guide about the wizard.

But not any wizard.
The one and only wizard, the master of the arcane arts, the best spellcaster in the game bar none.


The Spell Blending Wizard

I hope you'll enjoy it ;)

Blue Frog's Hideously Biased Guide To Wizards

Disclaimer: english isn't my native, so please don't be too hard on me for spelling mistakes !

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Ched Greyfell wrote:
cavernshark wrote:

I kind of get what you're going for here and I think there are some legitimate points about leaving dexterity based melee in a slightly awkward spot, but there is an option between 18 Str/10 Dex and 10 Str/18 Dex.

I think generally the game wants and encourages you to not dump one third of the physical stat array if you want to mix it up in melee.

I agree with this.

Can't a 16 Str 16 Dex at level 1 work just fine?

Accuracy matters, so 18/14 would be better but yeah,that allows for a painless start.

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The flowing monk ( rchetypes/flowing-monk/) was an attempt to implement aikido in PF1, and it was actually pretty interesting. Not quite powerful, but interesting.

As for the main topic, I really think it's working as intended. Dex fighters start a bit weaker, and end up a bit stronger. I can see that the gap at low level is annoying, but like others said it's a player's decision to ignore STR altogether.

STR is a weak stat in itself, since it affects no saving throws, only one skill (albeit a useful one) and the weight you can carry. PF2 is pretty generous with stat boosts, giving you 4 stats to raise every level when other systems (3.5, PF1, 4e, 5e...) weren't as lenient.

The consensus for min-maxers is to raise always the same stats, i.e:
- CON (because Fort and HP)
- WIS (because Perception/Init and Will)
- STR or DEX (either attack stat, or defensive stat)
- Main stat if different (INT for Wizards, CHA for bards...).

That's... really, really boring.
You're a bard ? CON WIS DEX CHA (or CON WIS STR CHA if for some reason you're in heavy armor).
You're a wizard ? CON WIS DEX INT
You're a Champion ? CON WIS STR CHA
You're a bomber ? CON WIS DEX CHA
You're a cleric ? CON WIS DEX/STR CHA

I mean, unless you're roleplaying a brainiac, nobody will invest in INT if it's not your main stat. And nobody will invest in STR if they get by with DEX.

So, yeah, that's the thing. You CAN build a dex fighter with a reasonable STR. You CAN also invest in STR later to get more damage. Sure, it'll be a lower percentage of your damage but it's still there. Just skip CON or WIS once in a while.

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SuperBidi wrote:

I see. Not crazy bonuses then.

+2 to hit is actually crazy good. My maths might be off, but an alchemist with quicksilver and hunter's aim actually has the best accuracy of the game, 1 more than an equal level fighter (well, till level 13 at least).

Watery Soup wrote:
investigator doesn't work for the reasons others have pointed out.

I don't see where they pointed out it doesn't work. You cannot use INT instead of DEX but that's not the point. It's all about Devise stratagem.

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The Raven Black wrote:

Do we have any example that is not Gandalf of a Wizard using weapons?

Because one is an exception rather than a rule.

Rand Al'Thor (WoT).

Richard Cypher (Sword of Truth).
The temple of the Thirty (Gemmell).
Also Abercrombie, Guy Gavriel Kay, Sanderson, Erikson and basically 90% of the Fantasy best-sellers.

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Unicore wrote:

Even as someone invested in the discussion, I think the question about what constitutes a performance is probably a separate rules focused discussion than a continuation of whether the new errata has nerfed the wizard.

If your GM lets you hum quietly and call that a performance, then silent spell is not going to look like as incredible feat as it is, but if you show up to tables expecting for inconspicuous mime acts and quiet whispered songs to fly as performances, you have a good chance of being disappointed.


Not to nitpick since it has little bearing on the broader topic, but performance specifically says "You are skilled at a form of performance, using your talents to impress a crowd or make a living."

Then, the DC of the task is based on the audience
Untrained audience of commoners
Trained audience of artisans
Expert audience of merchants or minor nobles
Master audience of high nobility or minor royalty
Legendary audience of major royalty or otherworldly beings

This, for most DM, means that performing is trying very hard to get all eyes on you, not the other way round.

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Temperans wrote:

Melodious spell is not about avoiding notice. Its about hiding your spellcasting. To rule that you cannot hide your spellcasting because you are performing just makes the feat a waste of space.

Well, from our interpretation, people see you performing, they just don't see you casting. It allows for flexible shenanigans, just much less so than silent casting.

For instance, you're perfoming in front of a noble lord and you're using charm so that he likes you more. Nobody will ever see you cast the spell, nothing out of the ordinary, and still you'll win the grand prize.

Or you're playing the drums and, while everybody's watching you, you cast invisibility on a friend of yours. Or sleep on those guards in the corner, who will suspect you if they're dozing off ?

But none of our GM will ever allow a performance to be discreet.

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Well, apart from silent spell, what makes imho a wizard better at illusion than a bard is Convincing Illusion. Someone disbelieving an illusion at the wrong time can really wreak your day. Getting a free chance to change that seems crazy powerful to me.

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Deriven Firelion wrote:
I can give you my view as a bard. It's not very fun to be honest with you. Your cantrips are so good that people expect you to use them every round because they make their characters better. When you don't use them, they get unhappy.

Thanks for your candor, that's pretty consistent with what I see in my groups.

The bard is incredibly powerful, but his power relies on very specific action, notably inspire courage/dirge of doom and some broken spells like Synesthesia or True Target whenever there is a single target. It's a balance problem when a 5th level spell is more powerful than almost every 9th level option.

So bards are powerhouses, but also a bit tedious to play, because they won't have the luxury to use their incredible skills and charisma to Demoralize, Bon Mot, Create a Diversion, or look for the best spell in a given situation.

They're still chock-full of goodies and have great flavor, but the fact that some options are way better than others kinda hamstring them in one style of play.

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I would really love to have imput from people actually playing bards, and how much they like their character.

Because we have a bard in two of our tables, and both are ok with their character but nowhere near as "godlike" as the forum make it to be.

Sure, they feel like they contribute a lot through their cantrips, and both inspire courage and dirge of doom are very useful. But the three slots really hurt them, especially in the APs where you can get a lot of fights back to back. They very quickly have to resort to cantrips (one of them took adaptative cantrip for electric arc, but still) or skill feats.

Meanwhile, I'm a wizard (Harry) in one of those games and a draconic sorcerer in the other one, and I feel like I always have something to do with my turn.

I know I may sound tedious because in every thread I contribute, I emphasize the importance of spell slots, not only for spell attrition but also for spell selection (I know the bard can get a grimoire but then so can the sorcerer, and that's still nowhere near 1 more choice per level).

In the first fight of the day, the bard is arguably a beast. He can first turn inspire courage or dirge (with focus to linger) AND throw a top spell to turn the tide of the game. There's little a wizard or sorcerer can do to top that, no 1-action will be as potent as a bard cantrip. My sorcerer usually uses Bon Mot and my wizard Recall Knowledge, and that's powerful in its own way, but nowhere near a flat +1 or -1.

However, as the fights drag on (and i'm not speaking about 5 fights a day, even 3 is enough), their turn starts to get less powerful. While I can still fling a fireball or a heightened slow, they're all out of their top two levels and they have to resort either to cantrips or less powerful spells.

Not only that but lingering composition, though powerful, isn't eternal. If the fight isn't finished in two or three rounds, our bard has to sustain his song throughout the fight, effectively becoming slowed 1, which has its own problems when monsters move around and you have to follow them.

So, TLDR, I'm not saying bard is a bad class, it's an awesome class loaded with a great chassis, great spell list, great cantrips. I'm just wondering how you see them in actual play because, IN MY TABLES and FROM MY EXPERIENCE (which is arguably limited), they lose steam quicker than other characters, and the tradeoff seems ok for me.

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Ravingdork wrote:
Blue_frog wrote:
Old_Man_Robot wrote:
Thank you for your contribution.
You're very welcome. Knowledge, that's what us wizards are all about ^^

Careful Blue_frog. If you hype up the wizard class any more, Paizo just might drop the nerf hammer! XD

I agree with Unicore about the disconnect there seems to be in the discussion. A wizard being mechanically viable is not necessarily the same thing as being mechanically interesting or fun. Please try not to conflate the two.

Exactly. I'm all for giving a wizard shiny new toys so they're less bland... but there's a balance to consider, so as not to overpower it in the process.

Also, I'm a bit confused as to all this wizard hate when, from what I see (but I'm ready to admit my experience is lacking there), the witch is in a wayyyy worse place than the wizard ever was or will be. For me, the witch needs a huge buff (and I mean a huge one), what with being a prepared spellcaster with few slots, weak feats, weak wizard chassis and so-so focus spells.

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Old_Man_Robot wrote:
Honestly, i’m not being mean, but you have missed literally every point made about the wizard and just listed some class features. You could make a post like this for every class in the game and it would read almost exactly the same.

My bad, it seems I should have been more blunt, so here's the TLDR.

1 - A spell substitution wizard is the best utility caster bar none.
2 - A spell blending wizard has more powerful slots than anyone.

Pick one, profit.

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Old_Man_Robot wrote:

This is 100% untrue and I feel is at the heart of your entire misunderstanding of the problem.

This isn’t PF1 anymore: “only top slots matter” is a straight up misunderstanding of the current casting system. A first level spell, while lacking in scope compared to higher level spells, can be just as impactful as a higher level one. This only really stops being true with damage spells, but those are the minority of the spell list.

But, even if your premise was true, it would be awful! It would mean a Wizard would be relevant in 1 or maybe 2 encounters per day before they would be out of their “in-combat resources” as you’ve termed them.


Wizards needs a boost, plain and simple. It is just not as interesting or engaging as other classes, it’s “core” mechanic of apparently having the most spell slots means they are impacted the most by the more curtailed casting of PF2. Unlike other classes they don’t have enough interesting or powerful focus spells to compensate.

- the existence of the Sorcerer and their 4 base slots, utterly undercuts the whole “spell slot man” argument, because the difference can be single spell. If you...

I really don't understand how you cannot see the many advantages of a wizard. Of course he won't be the best at everything, else it would make every other class moot, but it still can be either the most powerful or the most flexible caster in the game.

Let's assume a player will choose one of the two interesting thesis, Spell Blending or Spell Substitution. You have a point in that the other ones are weaker but then that's the same with every class: Maestro is often seen as much better than Enigma for bard, Draconic better than Undead for Sorcerer and so on.

So, what do you get there ?

Holy s+~~, you're Batman. I kid you not. You're THE Batman. You have an answer to every problem, always, everytime.

You need water or food ? Create water. Or food.
You need to go underwater ? Water Breathing/feet to fins
You're about to walk on a narrow moutain path ? Feather fall
You have to escape notice ? Invisibility
Can't access a ledge ? Jump or levitate or fly
Close to a dragon's lair ? Resist Energy
Need a break ? Cozy cabin/Rope trick
About to interrogate a suspect ? Charm/Mind reading/Discern Lies
Traps ahead ? Safe passage
Need a specific form for travel or scouting? Aerial form/Pest form/whatever
Difficult terrain ahead ? Webs ? Paralyze monsters ? Freedom of movement
Planning a heist ? Veil.
Next to a bridge ? Control water
Wow, this wall is annoying ? Pass wall
Let's do some scouting ? Prying eye
What does this mean ? Tongues

Meanwhile, the bard has three spell known per level. A standard bard spell list might look like this:
1 - Soothe*, Liberating command, true strike
2 - Calm emotions*, Hideous Laughter, Invisibility
3 - Haste*, Slow, Circle of protection
4 - Confusion, Enervation, Fly
5 - Black Tentacles, Synaptic Pulse, Synesthesia

...and so on, and so forth. It's just an example of course, other players will pick other spells, but it still means that the bard, while strong in combat, has a severe lack of utility spells.

Of course, you might say that a bard will double as the party face, but the wizard will double as the party nerd, and Recall Knowledge/Crafting is just as powerful in my book as Diplomacy/Intimidation.

So, will a bard or a druid or a sorcerer be more powerful than a spell substitution wizard IN COMBAT ? Probably (unless the wizard had time to prep specifically for the encounter, like cone of cold against fire opponents). But the tradeoff is that the wizard will shine much more out of combat, and the other members of the group will rely on him to have all the answers. It's a very Gandalf-y way to play a wizard, and it's appealing to a lot of people.

I, for one, would rather contribute a little less in a fight (a little, mind you, a wizard is still no slouch) and be the one everybody in the group turns to whenever there's trouble.

That, my friend, was the spell substitution wizard.

Now, let's go to the second viable thesis: spell blending.


Holy s!@#, you're Dark Schneider (from Bastard)(I know)(sorry). You have the most stamina of any caster, ever, and you never seem to run out of meaningful spells.
By the way, those who say that all wizard feats are crappy can just dream to touch the insane power of Scroll Savant. At legendary, that's 4 more spells per day.
Sooo, a level 15 spell substitution wizard with scroll savant has:
2 level 1 spells, 2 level 2 spells, 4 level 3 spells, 4 level 4 spells, 4 level 5 spells, 4 level 6 spells, 5 level 7 spells, 6 level 8 spells

What does that mean ? Well, in comparison to a druid, a witch, an oracle or a bard, I have TWICE the number of highest level slots. Or, numerically speaking, 5 more spells from the top two slots.
On a regular, 3-fight day, this means I can throw two more top level spells PER ENCOUNTER. On a long slugfest dungeon, that's still one more per encounter.
This means that while another caster will resort to either a low level spell, or a cantrip, or a focus spell, the Spell Substitution Wizard will cast an extra Maze, Horrid Wilting or Power Word Stun or Uncontrollable dance. Or Mass slow, or mass haste. Those are all game changers and encounter wreakers.
And, you know, you still have more slots for spells level 3-6 in order to shine out of a fight, too, because that's how you roll.


We already talked about Scroll Savant. But there's more.
- Spell penetration is almost always active at high level. And that's a +1 accuracy on all your save spells. You're the only one in the whole game with this. Everybody's acknowledging how powerful accuracy is for a fighter, but this +1 means you'll get more success, more crits and less failure than every-f~&@ing-body.
- Clever counterspell, wait, what ? You don't need to have the spell prepped to counterspell ? What does it mean ? Well, every caster is SOL against you. Good thing you don't need your reaction for something else. Good thing you have more slots than they do. They won't cast a spell on your team - ever. This, my friend, is probably the most broken feat in the whole book.

So, yeah, other feats are pretty bland. And yeah, focus spells are pretty crappy.
But you're either Batman or the most powerful caster ever. That's a tradeoff I'm happy to do. Let the bard use lingering performance, let the druid use tempest surge, I'm perfectly happy to maze the boss or incinerate the minions while protecting my group from opponent spellcasters.

The only thing the wizard doesn't have is synesthesia. But that's more a question of a spell being overpowered/more powerful than any other than a specific wizard problem.

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Just to point out on the "chain lightning" vs "black tentacule" exemple that chain lightning is an awesome spell...because it's foe only.

That's it. That's its value. In a big melee where two camps are fighting, it's way better than tentacles who will indiscriminately hentai the hell out of everyone.

BUT in the scenario you depicted with the armies apart, chain lightning is NOT a good spell. A simple fireball would have probably dealt more damage since it doesn't stop on a crit. Or, one level later, eclipse burst.

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I think people are really downplaying the strength of the arcane list. Sure, it has less unique spells than other tradition, but boy are those staple.

I mean, contingency. Hello.
Spell turning. Oh boy.
Power Words. No save.

Merely spell turning makes any encounter with a spellcaster from another tradition trivial.

Also, let's not forget that wizards are the brainiac casters, with high INT to power their skills. This makes them arguably the best ritual casters to make clones, golems and the like.

A level 20 wizard isn't more powerful than another caster. But it still fits the theme better.

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Nobody ever mentions the hag sorcerer.
Yet its focus spells make it the best debuffer by far.

Also, cha-based, occult casting, 4 slots per level.

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My main beef with warpriest as it is comes from the way Channel Smite works, i.e. it expends the slot even if you miss.

That's brutal and pretty much requires you to choose a deity with True Strike in order to land those blows.

If it only expended the slot on a success, I feel the warpriest would be much more powerful.

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As for wizard, I would love more interesting feats - not necessarily more powerful but more flavorful, like what the magus has so far. Something to block with your spellbook, to replicate a spell being cast by an opponent, to steal a buff..

Also, it would be nice to have a real gameplay change coming from your school specialization. So far, it's really, really bland.

Abjuration: You get d8hp and permanent free enhanced mage armor.
Conjuration: Your conjuration spells are always considered as one level higher.
Divination: You roll twice for initiative and cannot be flat-footed.
Enchantment: You start every fight under a sanctuary spell
Evocation: You can exclude one target from your AOE spells.
Illusion: You're under permanent blur
Necromancy: You get temp HP for every kill
Transmutation: You can cast while polymorphed.
Universalist: No vacian magic, all spells you prepare can be spontaneously cast.

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Make all cantrips save-based. Electric arc is good because it can have two targets, but the real draw is the save-based part, which makes it so much better than anything else.

Acid Splash - Saving Throw basic Fortitude
You splash a glob of acid that splatters creatures and objects alike. You deal 1d6 acid damage plus 1 splash acid damage. On a critical failure, the target also takes 1d4 persistent acid damage.

Produce Flame - Saving Throw basic reflex
A small ball of flame appears in the palm of your hand, and you lash out with it either in melee or at range. On a success, you deal 1d6 fire damage plus your spellcasting ability modifier. On a critical failure, the target takes double damage and 1d4 persistent fire damage.

Ray of Frost - Saving Throw basic Fortitude
You blast an icy ray. The ray deals cold damage equal to 1d4 + your spellcasting ability modifier and gives a -5foot status penalty to its speed for 1 round. On a critical failure, the target takes double damage and takes a –10-foot status penalty to its Speeds for 1 round.

Telekinetic projectile - Saving Throw basic reflex
You hurl a loose, unattended object that is within range and that has 1 Bulk or less at the target. You deal bludgeoning, piercing, or slashing damage—as appropriate for the object you hurled—equal to 1d6 plus your spellcasting ability modifier. No specific traits or magic properties of the hurled item affect the attack or the damage.

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If I were to play a wizard, I would probably abuse spell blending. He's the only class to get that option and boy does it look good on paper.

I mean, a 8 level specialist wizard could have:
2 lvl 1 spells
2 lvl 2 spells
5 lvl 3 spells
6 lvl 4 spells

How's that for staying power ? Twice as many high level slots as a bard or a druid, half as much as a sorcerer.

In a game where heightened spells are incredibly useful and low level spell tend to lose steam, being able to unload on average two big hitters per fight could be worth way more than a focus spell.

At said level 8, you're using dirge of doom and a cantrip ? Yeah, ok, I'm using hightened fear for probably better results and that's not even a top slot. You're using Tempest surge for 4d12 single target ? Well let me use enervation or heightened fireball.

I agree, it's just theorycrafting, but most people discussing the wizard seem to disregard spell blending, either dismissing thesis altogether or assuming a wizard would take spell substitution or improved familiar.

Hell no. If I were to make a wizard, I'd fling more spells than you can count, baby. And the higher level I get, the bigger an advantage it becomes ^^

Edit: however, I just looked at their feats and I totally agree on how bland they look. Bleh.

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Temperans wrote:

Blue Frog. Bards gets spells from other traditions as well. They in fact have multiple feats based around that.

If its about Occult Sorcer vs Occult Bard when trying to get other traditions. I would 100% use the Bard.

Sorcerers have a few good feats, but again the overall class is meh.

You can indeed... at level 18. I didn't see any other feat allowing you to get spells from other traditions before.

Also, expanding your repertoire usually needs the polymath muse while most will first choose Maestro, which means you'll have to take yet another feat to circumvent this.

I'm not saying bard isn't strong, it is, it really is. But I really don't understand how you could say that you would go with bard to get other traditions:

A bard has Impossible Polymath: You can get spells from other traditions, but you can have ONE AND ONLY ONE prepped every day. At level 18.

A sorcerer has Crossblooded evolution - so one spell from another tradition prepped every day. At level 8. And Greater Crossblooded evolution, three spells from other traditions, at level 18.

So, yeah.

Arakasius wrote:
My wife plays a sorcerer in the game I DM and I don’t necessarily agree with you. There are some fine feats there but I don’t think the evolution powers are that strong. She plays arcane sorcerer and it basically comes down to those feats just give you more uses of powers or more spells known. Spells known is valuable but cross blooded is basically a feat to get one spell. I don’t find that exciting. I like things like interweave dispel or scintillating spell and feel those are worth it. Dangerous Sorcery I agree is just a feat tax. But I’m not a huge fan of the evolution or focus power feat lines. Sure getting more spells makes you act a bit more like a wizard, but I don’t think they’re terribly necessary since 3 spells plus bloodline is usually enough. When she took the greater evolution feat and got one spell for each level there wasn’t that many great options that she had to get. Now as Paizo adds more spells that will get more exciting but for right now it doesn’t seem that great.

I for one found it awesome, playing an arcane sorcerer. I got heal at level 8, which gave me a nice backup option that I didn't have as an arcane caster. Sure, this wasn't probably the best choice, but it fit our group and made me that much more flexible.

If you're lacking a healer, breath of life could be useful as well.
If not, Synesthesia's pretty cool ^^

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Arakasius wrote:

Wizards and Sorcerers issue is not that they’re weak. The two classes are actually quite strong past when they get their 3rd level spells, especially when you get level 4 spells. Their problem is their choices don’t feel exciting. Bloodlines are inconsistent and the Wizard schools feel undertuned and low power. The classes themselves are strong because even with spells being weaker having a ton of them is actually quite powerful.

It’s just that outside of that when you level up one the class feat options don’t seem too exciting (I mean one of the best wizard ones is the spell pen that removes the +1 that over half of higher level monsters get, this the feat often does nothing). School powers don’t seem great, school feats less so and so on. It leads to a very meh feeling about the leveling concept because you’re rarely super excited about any level up to get new class features other than new ranks of spells.

I think if paizo gave them some more exciting class features that brought out the power of traditions/bloodlines it would make the class feel a lot better even if they didn’t make them a lot more powerful.

Well, I'm only speaking for sorcerer here since I never played a wizard, but I really thought every level had really powerful, impactful and meaningful feats.

Level 1 has dangerous sorcery. Nothing fancy, but interesting enough that a lot of other classes try to poach it.

Level 4 has Arcane/Divine/Primal/Occult evolution, which is so incredibly good I wish I could take it more than once.

Level 6 gives you your advanced bloodline focus power, which really changes the way you'll play every encounter from now on, provided you chose a meaningful bloodline (Draconic or Nymph, for instance).

Level 8 gives you one of the best feat of the whole game, period, with crossblooded evolution.

Level 10 has more choices, like a third focus spell or signature expansion. In both cases, it's very powerful.

I could go on and on, but the class feat options of a sorcerer are actually among the most exciting of the spellcasters. Who wouldn't like to get a spell from just about any tradition, or more flexibility in your casting ? I, for one, find this way more exciting than druid ones (my pet gets stronger, yay) or bard ones (apart from dirge of doom, most won't change the way you play), let alone oracle or witch ones.

I agree that wizard feats seem really lackluster. But sorcerer ones are so damn good they suffer from the opposite problem: they're pretty much feat taxes.

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I don't understand why people say sorcerers have crappy focus spells. Sure, some of them are weak, but others are actually quite potent, even on par with tempest surge who's supposed to be the end-all be-all of damage focus spells.

Draconic sorcerer has Dragon Breath, which is basically a free heightened fireball every single fight. Depending on your dragon, you can deal damage in a line or a cone. It's about the same damage as tempest surge on a single target (but without the clumsy rider, I agree) and provided you get two or more targets, it outperforms it by a wide margin. Oh, and you can also sprout wings should you need flight.

Angelic sorcerer has Angelic Halo. Granted, it's niche, but it's the best damn healing mechanism in the whole game. Also, flight later.

Nymph has blinding beauty which can blind everyone in a 30-foot cone for a round (and even on a save, they're dazzled). What's that you say ? Not "everyone" ? Ah, right, only opponents. Hell yeah, it's a FRIENDLY AOE BLIND.

Genie has Heart Desire, which is a guaranteed stupefied 2 unless the opponent crit saves. Or wish-twisted form, a guaranteed hefty debuff, not quite synesthesia but almost as powerful in its own way. Every. Single. Fight. Would you rather give someone clumsy 2, or give him weakness 5 to everything, -10 speed and -1 saving throw... even on a success ? And if the target fails the save, it'll last the whole damn fight. If that isn't broken, I don't know what is.

Hag has horrific visage which is awesome when heightened. But wait, there's more. You can get You're Mine - opponent is stunned even on a save, and on a fail you can control him. And starting at level 7, it becomes ridiculously powerful, even with the incapacitation tag.

Shadow has Steal Shadow (3d4 damage and enfeebled 1 as long as you sustain the spell).

Fey has a free 2-rounds Greater Invisibility with Fey Disappearance starting at heightening 5.

Sure, some options are weak. But a lot of those focus spells, from my perspective, are much better than the much-vaunted Tempest Surge.

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Deriven Firelion wrote:
fanatic66 wrote:
Deriven Firelion wrote:
KrispyXIV wrote:
Deriven Firelion wrote:

The only aspect I'm interested in is combat in a group environment. Non-combat is mostly enabled by DM fiat or role-played. As a DM I would never kill an adventure because we didn't have a guy who could make the skill roll needed to progress or needed a single spell.The game must go on. I'm not going to make adventures where the players have to have a rogue with picks or a caster with knock because they can't go on until they get past the door. I'm going to create a basic narrative that allow the characters to move on regardless of party composition in non-combat aspects of the game. So that part of the game doesn't much matter to me mechanically because I will always create some way for the players to get any downtime or non-combat activities done.

That means the only balance I'm concerned with is how well does your class do in the various aspects of combat in a group environment. So the only competition I'm interested in is how well do you do damage and enable success in combat in a group versus...

I think its good that you shared this, because it helps understand where you're coming from with your criticisms and concerns.

I do think its important to keep in mind though that by limiting your concerns to this area, you may be inherently creating some winners and losers because certain classes are definitely balanced - at least a bit - based on powerful out of combat utility.

Example -

In an environment where the long duration counters to clairvoyance and prying eye have diminished, the Wizard is the King of Scouting. A Sorcerer or Bard can cast these spells, but if you give a Wizard a day to scout he can lean all in to divination one day and come back the next with a spell list custom tailored to what he learned.

As opposed to the Sorcerer or Bard, whom while they can do this, it costs them permanent or hard to change resources and they have less


I agree that a GM won't let their players stumped so they always find a way to push the adventure forward, even if the group is lacking a certain skill or certain spell.

But, for a lot of players, shining out of combat can feel as rewarding as shining in a fight.

The bard who managed to convince the guards, the thief who sneaked into the fort then opened the door from inside, the barbarian who jumped into the river to save the drowning merchant, the druid who detected poison on the food, the wizard who recognized the heraldry, the priest who realized this guy was lying to them, the rogue who discreetly palmed the key, the champion who seduced the waitress, they all get exhilarating feelings from their actions, even though they weren't mandatory.

So, sure, everybody will remember the fighter who downed the dragon with two crits from his picks. But, at least in our games, the memories we cherish the most fondly even years later are those "remember when you tried to disguise yourself as a servant to enter the temple then had to serve food to the evil boss and everybody thought you would be caught but instead you conned them into giving you gold for, quote, "grocery shopping" ?".

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Lycar wrote:
Cyouni wrote:
Deriven Firelion wrote:
Ravingdork wrote:

Sure sounds like the age old wizard class is playing as intended to me! XD

As long as I've been alive (nearly 40 years) the wizard class has really sucked at low levels and really rocked at high levels. It's a time honored tradition.

This is true. Though lower level spells were more effective by advancing due to leveling and plenty of ways to boost DCs versus weak saves via feats an Archmage.

I'm reading the fifth module of Age of Ashes right now. They didn't even bother to include spells for mages below 5th level in the stat block. Not sure if this was a mistake or an acknowledgment that low level spell slots are nearly worthless to higher level characters. I found it kind of telling how worthless lower level spells are to characters.

Well, if all you're concerned with is combat, yes. Higher slots are going to be way more efficient to use if your sole existence is designed around surviving one combat. It also saves GMs from having to check every spell past a certain level, when odds are they won't ever need to use them.

And yet the low-level Wizard is more powerful then ever before. PF 1 went ahead and upped the HD from d4 to d6 and made cantrips at-will. So even a Wizard who has exhausted their spell slots could still be a caster instead of a crappy crossbow shooter.

And PF 2 added to that by making cantrips scale. They remain a viable fallback option straight up until lv. 20.

And no, they do not do damage like the martials do and never shall they be allowed to. Because duh! So get over that already.

And at higher levels, where they before could break games without even trying, they are now 'merely' very powerful. Looks like balance got a lot better.


Also, I don't see why people say low level slots are less efficient than in PF1 since the DC scales - it didn't in PF1.

Some do become useless (those with scaling damage, or incapacitate) but some don't, and provide interesting options even at much higher levels.

Befuddle uses a level 1 slot and gives clumsy 2/stupefied 2 for a round. Even on a save, it's Clumsy 1/Stupefy 1. Great for setting up a nova round.

Fear on a level 1 slot gives Frightened 2 or Frightened 1 on a successful save.

Grease on a level 1 slot gives a ONE MINUTE - 2 attack to any weapon-user who doesn't save against it - or can trip up to four mobs, mixed with area denial (they pretty much have to move or they'll keep making checks and falling).

Illusory object is still as solid as it was at first level, making walls and mazes to annoy your opponents.

True Strike is still a staple, even at higher level.

I could do the list for level 2 spells as well, but the fact remains that you can use a lot of low level spells to create interesting effects, while in PF1 you could only put buff spells in it.

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Well, I think everybody on this thread agrees on the fact that the wizard usually has more spells to play with than other casters. But people disagree on whether those added slots are enough to counterbalance a bland chassis.

In our games, the wizard did just fine, but let's break this per level. Let's take a specialist wizard so as not to go into bond conservation shenanigans and compare it with a bard, since people seem to think bards are much better in this thread.

Let's also assume a day with three big fights. Doesn't seem too little or too much.

Level 1: Wizard has 4 level 1 spells in comparison to a bard's 2. Bard can Inspire Courage and that's a huge deal, but the wizard can throw two more color sprays, effectively making a fight trivial if it works. If it doesn't, it's less useful but still gives the dazzled condition. Also, let's not forget Inspire Courage costs one action unless it's used with a successful lingering composition. That means a bard casting and singing won't be able to move, raise a shield, intimidate, aid or use metamagic (because reach spell can actually be awesome).

Level 3: Wizard has 4 level 1, 4 level 2 spells. Bard has 3 level 1, 2 level 2. Again, the discrepancy is kind of big. Every fight, the wizard can have an illusory creature out, or a heightened color spray or a flaming sphere that will eat your third action, or a Sudden Bolt, or a vomit swarm. All of those can ruin a level 2-3 mob's day. Assuming a fight takes four rounds, those three big fights take twelve rounds, and the wizard can throw a spell two out of three rounds without breaking a sweat while the bard has only two big hitters and can't even use a spell every other round.

Level 5: 4/4/4 for wizard, 3/3/2 for bard. That's two more fireballs if you want to blast, two more Slows if you want to debuff. Now our wizard can cast a spell every round and make it meaningful.

Level 7: 4/4/4/4 vs 3332, you get the drift. Two more enervation or phantasmal killers or Confusion or whatever you like - and also one more fireball/slow to throw in the mix.

Level 9: Two more cones of cold or heightened fireballs if you like to blast. That's pretty brutal as far as minion popping goes.

Basically, depending on what your GM likes to throw at you, the wizard has one spell per encounter of the highest level more than his brethren. That's nothing to scoff at.

I think the problem is not one of actual power discrepancy, but of perception. If you're playing a bard, there's always a composition you can rely on if you have crappy luck with the dice. If you throw your biggest spell at the opponent and he saves, you still feel like you're contributing because maybe the barbarian wouldn't have hit without you. If you're playing a wizard and roll badly (or your opponents roll high), you feel like you've wasted your turn.

Rogue: "I hit, wow, he's dead, I proc "you're next" and intimidate the next target, now I use skirmish strike to step and I'm at range so I attack again, damn a miss, well I raise my shield.

Wizard: "I throw this big spell. Oh, he saved. Well, I'm done".

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Deriven Firelion wrote:

Bards are one of the most powerful combat classes in the game with unmatched supporting abilities and a versatile occult spell list with additional versatility with Polymath.

But they bore me to tears. Most of my rounds I spend Harmonizing and using two composition cantrips. That covers everything I need to do to let the martials hammer the bad guys. If a fight is particularly tough or enemies are set up for good AoE, I drop some hammer spells.

It's not an active enough play-style for me. The bard is easy mode caster whose composition actions are so good they are no brainers to use. Their best feats are obvious.

Very good class. If you can envision performing on a constant basis as mega-rockstar bard with power or classical power house, then it's the class for you. It's just too simple for my tastes.

For me, harmonize is a trap feat, especially since it doesn't work with lingering inspiration. It turns you into a boring buffer, while a bard can be so much more. Every turn you're using harmonize is a turn you're not casting.

It's true that harmonizing between Inspire Courage/Inspire Defense/Dirge of Doom is crazy powerful, but it's not the end-all be-all of bard strategy. I'd much rather use lingering inspiration on one cantrip then have my three actions to do something meaningful.

I posted on this board about a friend wanting to do a melee bard. We had two sessions these last few days and he was having a blast. He's probably not as optimized as your character was, but man is he having fun. He has way more things to do than actions and his rounds are all different - that's at low level, mind you.

He used Lingering composition on Inspire Courage, then moved and hit a mob with his longsword. Next round, he smashed a mob once then used color spray with some effect (three targets, one fail, two successes) . Next round, he went nova with a strike + electric arc that did great damage.

He doesn't plan on taking harmonize and nobody will fault him for that: the martials at the table are already extatic about the +1 bonus of Inspire Courage, and the casters are eagerly waiting his level 6 and Dirge of Doom.

I strongly believe RPGs are designed to have fun. If we don't have fun, then maybe we should adjust our playstyle without getting pigeonholed into a boring role. We expect our cleric to heal in case of emergency, but we also understand when he wants to cast Spiritual Weapon or some big AOE spell instead of a buff. Likewise, we expect our bard to give us some kind of buff, but nobody will cry if he uses a third level slot for something else than haste.

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"Your life expectancy is kind of like your manhood: short and shriveling at my sight".

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Thanks for your posts, a lot of great ideas there.

One thing that wasn't explored was the impact of buff spells. The occult list gets some staple ones, specifically Mirror Image, Blur, Invisibility, Circle of Protection, Haste...

The bard also gets spells that work only at melee range and seem pretty powerful, like Blood Vendetta or Vampiric Touch.

So, while we wait for the magus, the option of going Strike + Spell (while on lingering composition) is nothing to scoff at.

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Temperans wrote:

Also Expert/Master would be really bad.

Well, spell striking as I wrote it would prevent them from getting MAP as well as gain an action, which makes them insanely powerful.

Since cantrips scale in 2e, a magus casting chilling touch through his weapon would get Weapon damage + 1d4 damage per two levels + casting modifier. This is way more than what the rogue gets - and it can be done all day long. And if they use a spell slot, for shocking grasp since it was their signature move, damage goes from incredible to insane.

A swashbuckler using a finisher can deal Weap damage + 4d6 at level 9, provided he has panache. A magus using spell strike with a freaking cantrip can deal weap damage +5d4+mod.

And that's without taking into account a weap damage + 6d12 shocking grasp.

So, yeah, even if spell slots were less than other casting classes, it would be enough to make it a beast. If it were to get master proficiency, it would be way over the top.

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Martialmasters wrote:

that makes me think they are strictly weaker in combat that a barbarian/fighter or rogue while having minimal ooc utility, a investigator meanwhile has great potential for ooc use.

still like the flavor of swashbuckler however

Well, they have more mobility than anyone but the monk. They can dart about the Battlefield with little concern for AOO (vexing tumble) and more speed than a mobility rogue or shield fighter.

Their AC is 1 less than a shield fighter and with buckler dance better than most melee. Their damage with panache is on par with most dps and some options allow them to have insane dps (impaling finisher, dual finisher, bleeding finisher).

Starting at level 10 with derring do, they're the unmatched masters of acrobatics and their respective trade. A gymnast is the best character there is at tripping/grappling, a braggard is the best at intimidating. It's not even close.

Meanwhile, a wit swashbuckler can give every turn +4 to a friend's attack while gaining panache.

Bah, I wasn't convinced at first but now I think they're pretty strong.

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shroudb wrote:

For positioning, unless your party has 2 other melee, which isn't actually that common unless you play in 5-6+ character parties, it's extremely dangerous for rogue to go for it.

On the flipside, someone might play a grappler and suddenly your job is like 100x easier. That's why most people say it's party dependent.

I usually dm a 4 person party, and in my experience with 4 people, rogue is having a really tough time to consistently gain flank without risking himself too much.

That's what Gang Up is for, and it comes up pretty early at level 6.

Unless you're playing with a VERY SPECIFIC PARTY (no other melee, or the only melee is a monk who dashes away after every attack with no concern for the rest of the group), there's no way you cannot get flanking every turn without risking yourself.

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All those points are pretty interesting, but it still looks very clunky to me. Either you keep panache in order to be efficient at demoralizing/tripping/disarming/tumbling/whatever, or you use your finishers and can't guarantee you'll get panache when you want.

The class would look MUCH better to me if you got all those nifty bonuses to tumbling and feinting even without panache. THEN you would have less chance of just miserably failing to gain panache because you didn't roll well enough on your feint.

But this is just me theorycrafting. I would really love to see someone who actually plays a swashbuckler chime in and tell us how his fights go, in a round by round basis. This might help get a feel for the class ^^

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Understand me guys, I really, really want to like the swashbuckler. I think the ideas are awesome. I just find it kind of weak.

Here's an example of how I picture a fight. Feel free to correct me, since I didn't play a swashbuckler yet. I did, however, play a rogue.

Enter Swashy and Roguy, the awesome twin brothers

Here could be their stats, quickly put together at level 11 (since that's where they both get a bump). They'll be human since it can't go more vanilla than that.

Roguy, level 11 rogue (thief)
Relevant equipment: +2 striking shortsword, +2 resilient leather armor

Movement: 25 feet.

STR 10, DEX 20, CON 16, INT 10, WIS 16, CHA 19

Perception: 20
Fortitude Save: 19
Reflex Save: 23
Will Save: 19
AC: 30 (32 with nimble roll on first attack)
Attack: +22 for 2d6+7 (+3d6 when sneak attacking).

Nimble dodge
Overextending feint
Skirmish Strike
Nimble roll
Precise debilitation

Skills: Acrobatics +22, Athletics +13, Deception +21, Diplomacy +17, Intimidation +21, Medicine +16, Stealth +22, Survival +16, Thievery +22
More skill feats than I can count.

Swashy, level 11 swashbuckler (fencer)
Relevant equipment: +2 striking rapier, +2 resilient leather armor

Movement: 25 feet (45 feet with panache)

STR 16, DEX 20, CON 16, INT 10, WIS 10, CHA 19

Perception: 17
Fortitude Save: 19
Reflex Save: 23
Will Save: 16
AC: 30 (32 with buckler)
Attack: +22 for 2d6+5 (+4 with panache, +4d6 when using a finisher).

Buckler expertise
Goading feint
Charmed life
Vexing Tumble
Bleeding finisher
Buckler dance

Skills: Acrobatics +22, Athletics +16, Deception +21, Diplomacy +17, Intimidation +21, Stealth +20
Some skill feats.

Of course, you could choose other feats but those seemed solid enough for this tryout.

Now let's get into action. Both brothers are in a standard group, with say one melee fighter and two ranged (wizard, cleric, archer...).
Oh, no, some barbed devils are attacking the party ! (They're level 11 and thematic, feel free to switch with whatever).

The rogue could actually shoot a bow or something since opponents are flat-footed if he rolled stealth, but let's assume he'll run in so we can compare it to the swashbuckler, who has no incentive to use a bow.

Roguy strides to barbed devil (flat-footed first turn), hits with his shortsword, then SKirmish Strike away. That's two attacks at +22/+18. Barbed devils have AC 30 so that's 28 flat-footed.
First attack will give a debilitation, either enfeebled 1 for extra defense on the whole team, or +2d6 precision damage just because.
Damage on this first round is: (1/2*24 + 1/4*48) + 1/4 (1/2*24+1/20*48) + 3/4 (1/2*31+1/20*62)= around 41 damage. We're also away from the mob now, forcing him to come and get us.

Swashy strides to the barbed devil, then uses a goading feint. That's a +21 against the devil's +34 perception DC. If the Swashbuckler fails the roll, he's SOL - and 60% of failing is really hurting. He can try again, giving himself altogether 64% chance of succeeding - or he can try to hit for a piddly 2d6+5. Since the opponent is not flat-footed, his odds are actually worse than the rogue.
Sure, the swashbuckler could try to tumble through instead. Odds are better there, +22 acrobatics against +30 Ref DC, but that's still 35% chance of failing... and also, that's kind of annoying since feinting is so much better for him.
But hey, let's assume EVERYTHING goes as planned. Swashy succeeeds on his feint despite the odds, and now has panache. In order to land his blow, he'll probably make the opponent flat-footed instead of overextending him. Then he'll be at +22 against 28 AC for 6d6+5.
Average damage would be (1/2*26+1/4*52) so 26 damage. Also, I assume he'll use Bleeding finisher that's kind of awesome, and the monster has now a 4d6 (av 14) bleed on him. Pretty nifty.

So, if EVERYTHING goes in the swashbuckler's way and including his bleed, he'll be averaging the same damage as the rogue.
But wait, you say, a swashbuckler is sturdier, he has buckler dance and stuff.
True, true. But he's also standing next to the mob like a sitting duck. Said mob will rip into him with a vengeance. 2 attacks at 24/19 and a harm are coming the swashbuckler's way. He has 32 AC with his buckler, so the damage from the hits are (1/2*26+3/20*52) + (9/20*26+1/20*52), not even including good damage or bloodletting. That's 35 damage average.
If a single of those hit, the swashbuckler has to succeed at a wisdom save and, even with charmed life, it's not that easy (16 will + 2 charmed life=18 vs DC 27). If a single of those crit, he's now bleeding.
And then there's the harm. 3d8 damage DC 27.

On the other hand, the rogue is safely away. The barbed demon will have to stride/step once to hit. Then the rogue will use nimble roll and roll away, avoiding the third strike or the harm altogether. He's got the same AC as the swashbuckler for this single attack, then he's safe.

"Okay", you say, "what about the other rounds ?".

Well, our melee friend should have come now, so opponent will be perpetually flat-footed thanks to gang up. Rogue can strike, demoralize or run around in circles, now enjoying the full +2d6 from the debilitation - or permanently enfeebling it to alleviate the pressure on the group and himself. Meanwhile, the swashbuckler still has to succeed at pretty hard checks in order to be relevant.

So, yeah, a swashbuckler has a lot of mobility, and can probably run to the backlines to maul the evil mage quicker than everyone but a monk. But is it their only shtick ? When I envision a swashbuckler, I see a daring, witty fighter, not a sprinter.

Feel free to correct me and tell me how to better use the swashbuckler feats and chassis, like I said, I WANT to like it.

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Deriven Firelion wrote:

I used Lingering Composition when I want to cast some attack spells or do something else. Then I need one action to cast the other cantrip while I use attack cantrips or attack spells. Another thing the wizard and sorcerer can't do. Maintain doing something extremely useful while casting attack and/or control spells. Lingering Composition is a better focus spell than any of the wizard focus spells for utility purposes and action economy.

That's my point, it doesn't work this way.

If you use lingering composition, you cannot use another composition or it will stop the previous one.

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I really love the idea of the swashbuckler and I'm always playing dex-fighter daredevils in most games. There's something enthralling about being able to fight your way through with panache and wit.

However, I'm not quite convinced the swashbuckler does this better than the rogue.

They both get about the same weapon skills, though the ruffian can play with a longspear for some reach. They both get expert, master, weapon spe at same level.

They both get the same light armor (though the ruffian can get medium). The swashbuckler has some feat support for the buckler, but then the rogue can use a regular shield.

Without panache, swashbuckler has nothing. With it, he gets +2 damage every attack and, once per round, can use a finisher for +2d6. Those numbers get +1/+1d6 at levels 5, 11, 13, 17. Unless you have a very specific setup (you had panache the previous round and kept it for a burst), you cannot get more than one finisher in a round.

On the other hand, the rogue has +1d6 for every attack if the target is flat footed. As long as you have one other martial in the team, you can get it easily (either through Mobility to get in position, or at level 6 it's free with Gang Up). The progression is the same, but the rogue can potentially attack 3 times and get 3 times the sneak attack. Third attack is less likely to hit, but even if two attacks hit, that's still a big gap in damage.

Also, the thief has dex to damage, while the swashbuckler has to invest in STR if he wants to deal more damage, which means gimping his other stats. I cannot picture a swashbuckler without charisma, so that's a tough act to balance.

Rogue is way better, with way more boosts and skill feats - even if the swashbuckler has some free in acrobatics or his special skill.

Swashbuckler gets great feats, but they come very late - around level 10 - with free buckler rise or bleeding finish. Meanwhile, the rogue has great debilitations to help himself or his team, so it's kind of a wash.

So, why would anyone play a swashbuckler mecanically ? I mean, they're really cool, but I can play a rogue with 18 DEX and 16 CHA out of the box, use a rapier, and buckle my swash better than a swashbuckler.

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