This flexibility demonstrates why I like the playtest Cleric and the playtest multiclassing a lot.
16 starting stat for Strength, Cleric of Iomedae taking the Might Domain for damage absorption via Enduring Might, and you can still have a 16 stat in something with which you can multiclass and broaden out your character further from the healing that you retain as Cleric and the frontline melee presence you have from Strength and domain power.
I can report from experience with the level 7 module that this is a strong option in actual practice.
My experiences as an Animal Order Druid at levels 1 and 9 have been positive with a Velociraptor Nimble Companion, however our group does need to know:
Do animal companions use PC dying rules or die at 0? Our Ranger lost his bear to focused Cyclopes attention, though I can save it post-combat if it functions like a PC (with Heal Animal at 9d8+4 at 9th level).
If devs could answer that aspect, it will impact our time-sensitive playtest exploration due to week downtime possibly needed for replacement.
The only way for Evocation to keep up with binary "target neutralized" Transmutation spells like Baleful Polymorph and Flesh to Stone, in which the caster raises the DCs to win, is to become Holy Word, where you raise your CL for the binary win. "Doing part of the job" is always going to seem weaker than "I win" in the long view.
That dichotomy, between binary encounter ending and "some damage," is part of the tricky balance the Devs are working to find with the playtest.
If "I can do all right naked and without any gear" builds in Pathfinder First Edition existed for any class at any level restricting to only the CRB, it was only because the arcane spell list was unreasonable at higher levels.
...unreasonably Awesome! It had to be said :)
More to your point, PF2 still gives some great options for non-geared casters. At 9th you have things like Elemental Form and Shadow Walk as options, 11th is Dragon Form and Disintegrate, 13th is Fiery Body and (Mordenkainen's) Magnificent Mansion (I cannot not give a shout out to 2nd edition Greyhawk).
Not playing martial classes myself much outside heavily magical and/or multiclassed into fantastic abilities versions, I do not have an opinion on whether the martial classes should be able to match things like those spells 'from scratch, without items available.' I can and will say that I really like the ability of casters to do those kinds of things apart from items, in both PF1 and the playtest.
Normal Pathetic Caster wrote:
As a playtester of the Wizard, Druid, and Cleric classes, this is false. Unconstructive generalizations and hyperbole risk derailing the thread and creating an unnecessarily negative environment.
* As a combination of two earlier concepts, spell modularity and increasing the Targets line to "One or two creatures" for spells such as Earthbind, Echoing Nightmare, Flesh to Stone, and Spellwrack, have either 1) those spells have an optional third action that increases the number of targets to two, or 2) have a class feat (Bouncing Spell?) that allows the addition of a Somatic action to a spell with a single target so that it makes the aforementioned change, frequency 1 minute.
This is a great idea to give specialist Wizards another balance against Universalists, which people have been providing feedback as very strong.
Provide this as an option to Arcane Sorcerers as well, as differentiation of that type. That is as far as I would apply the idea, but I really like it for those aspects.
Charisma will still be important to many Paladins and most Clerics, along with the aforementioned characters of any class who want to focus on spell point use.
There are also the classic skill uses such as Diplomacy, Intimidate, and Performance.
Charisma has the same role as Strength or Intelligence in relation to characters both in and out of combat. Some will have a central focus on it, some will be average members of the populace. That kind of variety is a good thing.
Per page 284, it can only use its land speed and does not get to use its Work Together ability. Not being familiar with Paladins or mount use in any edition, I can't speak to how detrimental that is from the player perspective. So its definitely a workable RP angle, but maybe not where the player wanted the combat ability?
While I agree with your analysis re: niche protection, I think that the new multi-class system is where Paizo is reintroducing the character variety and build choice back in after establishing it.
I have really enjoyed the multiclass system so far, and feel like that dynamic of building a base of niche protection with options to expand and diversify through multi-class is really working well, something I truly look forward to exploring more through character building. YMMV of course, but an angle on the topic to consider.
Edit: On reading more closely, it seems to me that Steed Ally lets you have a dog riding Halfling Paladin at level 1 "at the GMs discretion," given that it would be "appropriate to your ancestry and culture." Same with Goblin Paladin riding a wolf. So your example is either already core in the playtest, or I missed something that causes it not to work.
My thought for a potential solution here, offered in another thread, is to make traditionally single target spells - I am going to use Flesh to Stone as an example here, because I have been working on using its playtest iteration - into "one or two creatures" targeting spells.
Combined with situational ways to get that 70% down closer to 50% like Empowered Focus and Quickened Dread Aura (and facing level -1 or -2 monsters a reasonable amount of the time), doubling the potential targets means a broader range of successes for the spellcaster using the same power level of result that the spells have already been written for. Not always having a second target, and the face palm of two things making their coin flip, means that there are still both random and situational elements that keep the power level of spells and casters from being overly empowered by this change beyond the fun factor (which I feel could be huge, but would need testing for me or anyone to really know).
Presuming the core mechanics stay similar to how they are now, please consider endorsing that idea if it seems like a good solution to you.
I played a Wizard multiclass Cleric for the level 4 module and enjoyed it so much that I kept the character for Sombrefell, as the one story link for the group going into the level 7 module.
My mystic theurge experience for Sombrefell convinced the table that "casters still get the nice things over martials." I have had a blast with it, even though I see casters as way more balanced than the above (historically biased) light grumbling suggests.
Dnoisette and I both represent perspectives that appreciated PF1 casters. Paizo has provided me with a fun new system to explore, and I am hoping that some refinement will get people who are closer to dnoisette, magnuskn, and the original poster in perspective toward enjoying PF2 as much as I have so far.
*As an alternate way to balance spells such as Earthbind, Echoing Nightmare, Flesh to Stone, and Spellwrack, change their Targets line to "One or two creatures."
Adding a second target will not always be relevant yet will situationally allow more success on the part of the caster without changing the overall dynamic of how spells are balanced at this point in the playtest. Having more non-Evocation spells with multiple target profiles enhances the flavor of schools like Enchantment and Transmutation at the practical battlefield level.
*Prepared Synergy, Wizard Feat, frequency once per minute - When you cast a prepared spell, you may reset the duration of one ongoing lower level spell you have cast as though you cast it this round.
*Passionate Focus, Bard and Sorcerer Feat, frequency once per minute - when you Heighten a spell using your action + spell point ability, increase the DC for that spell by 1.
*Summon Nature / Summon Divinity, Druid and Cleric feat, can use a spell point to use Augment Summoning (as per Conjuration school Wizard)
With the intention of providing feedback on ways in which players and GMs would like the systems involving spellcasting changed from where they are at the 1.3-1.4 update point, using a few guidelines. Make each entry a specific requested change, with necessary details rather than broad concepts. When giving feedback, use the favorites tag to show support, and leave off critiques and argument. If you want to request a change that is a direct contradiction of someone elses request, no problem, however please do not quote them - make your post self-contained with your singularly delineated ideas.
Things that I would like to see:
*An Earthsea inspired Namer archetype for the Bard class.
*More Transmutation spells in the core rules for lower levels, for instance Windy Escape, Lesser Angelic Aspect, and Revenant Armor.
Things that others have mentioned:
*Give Bards and Sorcerers (add other classes as response if you like) a class feat or ability to spend an action and spell point together to Heighten the casting of their spells.
*Have Cantrips follow the Magic Missile model of casting for a single action (spell mod damage), two actions (dice + spell mod damage), or three actions (as two actions but with small effect such as Enfeebled 1 or similar, flavored to the specific Cantrip)
*Provide a way for spellcasting classes to increase the DCs for their spells more often, similarly to the way Empowering Focus works for the Wizard class at level 4 but with greater frequency.
*Condense some of the conditions that magic creates into fewer categories - for example, conditions that give a -1 penalty across the board and no other effects can have a single name such as "Impaired 1" that stacks with other instances of "Impaired."
Please be considerate and polite, keeping any context for specific ideas and requests limited to you and your groups playtest experiences.
Vic Ferrari wrote:
What are you perceiving to be the motive behind "shilling" for an unfinished and unreleased product?
Vic Ferrari wrote:
I believe that there are real concerns with casters in the playtest, and that it is necessary to address those concerns to have the best final product.
My favorite parts of PF1 are maximizing the potential of spells like Shadow Form, Holy Word, and the various Polymorphs along with prestige classes like Noble Scion that allow picking up a second powerful caster to play. If those elements got added back into PF2 I would be very pleased.
On the other hand, we have other material right now, and both myself and others are enjoying it, which is valid feedback from experience. As much as we need to listen and respond to negative feedback, we need to do the same with positive. My aim is synthesis (and I loved playing a Synthesist, to add to the "powerful caster things I enjoyed about PF1 that I would personally love to see in PF2").
It might be just me but i couldnt find anyone. Michael Sayre's cleric friend seems like a fun one.
Beyond my own experiences, which you have read, a one per person sampling just from things I have favorited:
"I've had a couple of players field non-offensive casters* with 16s in their primary stats and they've been fine in low level playtest sessions."
"Summoning spells are really good and interesting at the mid levels. Specifically, when the druid in my Pale Mountain game dropped a fire mephit between the enemy's front and back lines and it set half of them on fire before soaking up a bunch of attacks and then exploding for even more damage. It was pretty awesome."
"The classes that have magic are still more powerful than the classes that don't."
"Spellcasters can cast two spells in a round pretty regularly. I've already seen it plenty of times in my play test sessions.
"So 1st and 2nd level blast slots are better than they were in PF1 because of how weaknesses work. Odds are you don't have enough cantrips to cover every elemental base, so your low level blasts can help with your coverage like you're playing Pokemon. And that is on top of their other advantages-- AoE, range, persistence, reliability."
"And to echo something I said on another thread there are a lot of spells that are very good in lower level slots, just not damage spells. True Strike is an amazing buff and Ray of Enfeeblement is a solid debufff, both level 1 spells that don't heighten. Level 2 invisibility and mirror image are both great defensives, and Haste and level 3 Fear are an amazing buff and excellent group debuff respectively (Especially now that Frightened penalizes AC and DCs!)."
"From my play experience, it seems increasingly clear that, whatever it says on paper, casters only feel a bit weaker at lower levels (first couple parts of Doomsday Dawn). Sure, they may not be gods from level 7+ like in PF1, but they still feel competent and impactful once they get some additional spell slots and higher level spells...Whatever it says on paper, *actual play* does not suggest casters uniformly suck."
"When I've playtested casters I didn't feel bad or mediocre. And the people I've seen who have made those complaints have framed them as not being as overpowered as they were. To borrow a phrase "a loss of privilege is not discrimination". Casters were too good. Lowering their power level is not inherently over-nerfing them."
Search my posts and my favorites. There are plenty of positive experiences with "pure" casters dealing damage and contributing in other ways that have been expressed on the boards.
My group has a satirical saying in PF1, "Caster superiority!", which gets used any time a non-caster feels overshadowed or outclassed. The last few sessions have found people saying it about my caster in the PF2 playtest.
What is important about that is not that my group (outside myself) feel that non-casters still lag behind casters for the PF2 playtest, in terms of "cool stuff" and what they are allowed to do - the reason I note it is that I understand that my groups experience is not the same, and may differ greatly, from the experiences of others.
What is important is that I can recognize the perspectives of others even when I have reason to have a perspective that differs and disagrees at points. Playtest feedback is about all of our feedback, not one subset or one group.
d - I have enjoyed our back and forth, and believe I understand your frustration at lowered power levels. That said, magic in playtest is more than damage and debuffs, for every type of spellcaster.
If you feel damage, debuffs, and DCs need work, show where and how as you and others have helpfully done. Saying spellcasters "can never...contribute meaningfully with your limited spells" is to refute the positive aspects of the playtest that others have directly experienced and posted about, which severely undermines your stance.
Things can need improvement without being a binary waste of character or table presence. Respecting that is a part of respecting that other people have enjoyed what they felt was "meaningfully contributing."
Given a high enough level, Might Domain Cleric tricking out Righteous Might spell and Enduring Might reactions.
Transformed mode smashes, human mode heals, buffs, debuffs, et cetera.
Sorcerers are not defined by one school of magic, even if the situation for that one school were as dire as your narrative suggests.
To your other points, I too <3 PF1 Druids as a class. The playtest Druid, while different, is also fun. My pet velociraptor and flying cat familiar say hi.
The discussion, as I understood it, was about the differences between "save or lose" spells in PF1 as compared to the playtest.
I have not looked extensively at higher level playtest spells outside wanting to maximize Flesh to Stone casts for the level 14 module (Empowering Focus and Quickened Dread Aura are what I have as starting points, using a Staff of Transmutation for an additional cast).
What I suspect is that I wont be doing the sorts of things I did in PF1 (maybe Flesh to Stone?), which will be a significant change for me. Not a bad change necessarily, in my view, but significant.
Holy Word is used at considerably above character level using feats and items. In a recent PF1 game, a single equal to party level 13 NPC Cleric assassin paralyzed all but one of the party members successfully using Dictum. As a group they overcame and forced his retreat, but not before a character death (Raised immediately after, but costly).
As to loot loss, I have traditionally been the only member of my group not to particularly care about loot, as well as usually the caster. In playtest anecdote, they are each starting with 330 gold for the level 9 module splitting my share, enabling the purchase of things like Necklace of Fireballs Type III.
On the one hand, my group knows they will get more loot with higher quality by getting to split my share. On the other hand, they know I might blast a foe with glowing plate armor and gold plated greataxe straight into a random plane, frustrating their desire for fat loots.
They have let me stay around to this point, so it must not be too rough a tradeoff.
Have to agree here - Holy Word, Flesh to Stone, Prismatic Spray, Baleful Polymorph, all are spells that we designed around maximizing in PF1.
If PF2 does not turn out the same way, I have no problem with that. It would be a significant shift though, and an opportunity to adjust how they work that retains a satisfactory feeling for the successful caster.
The Once and Future Kai wrote:
If you are asking, "have the players been more negatively impacted or positively impacted by that house rule?" then I have to say that, outside the in-the-moment frustration of losing a character, we have mightily enjoyed it as players.
As a GM, it gives you a tiny window of hope for the kind of monsters that fight to the death..."I could always triple 20..." while giving players a similarly tiny concern, even when they seemingly have things in hand.
If you are asking whether we as players have lost more characters than the GMs have monsters, it is heavily skewed toward character loss so far. My two characters lost is the amusing record, but there are three or four other players who have lost a character from triple 1s or 20s one time or another over that decade span.
Our group has had a house rule for about a decade, that if you roll a 1 or a 20 you keep rolling (whether GM or player). If the GM rolls three 20s in a row, the target is killed outright. I have had two characters die to this phenomenon, one of which was a 4e character that vanished when not acting in combat - the DM readied an action for when she reappeared, rolled triple 20s, dead character.
Another players character died failing a Religion check by rolling three 1s in a row...brain aneurysm on the spot. On the flip side, we once one shot a Bebilith by a player (not me) rolling triple 20s.
Long story short, my group really likes the outliers that critical hits represent, and we definitely build stories around them. Our experience may not be typical, but offered as a true anecdote.
Having played Sombrefell, what I would like to see face that module is four Clerics of Sarenrae with Holy Castigation, Wizard Dedication, and Arcane School (Evocation) taking Magic Missile. Between AoE Heal, Fireball, Wall of Fire, and the unerring single target force based MM, that is a lot of magical firepower to augment swinging a Scimitar.
First thought is, "it isn't a competition - use both (cantrips and summons after the first round casting) for synergy."
Second thought is to note that summons are not just their to hit chance. My Quasit summon was used for invisible scouting as much as it was a combat element, where it did have success with both poisoning and tripping despite a lot of miss rounds. Hell Hound gets a single action 4d6 Burning Hands as an opening attack, that can be reused every 1d4+1 rounds in addition to a solid bite attack that deals fire damage.
If you don't like cantrips, no argument with that - fair opinion. I would just note that they can easily be supplemental and synergistic with other options, whether a Strike or a concentrate or something else.
While this seems like a massive rework of the Vancian foundations, I definitely like this concept. How would you group the spells as they currently exist in 1st through 10th level form?
My initial thought would be Trained 1-2, Expert 3-5, Master 6-7, Legendary 8-10. It feels like you could adjust most things that exist in those regions into a 4 tier system...it would just take a massive amount of work, testing, revision, and more testing.
Not sure if the granularity that currently exists or the simplicity of the proficiency system as you propose would be the better system for most players.
Our next play session will test level 9, so I am looking at some numbers using what will be in play then. I have a Barbarian and Fighter as teammates, and plan to use a Redcap and my pet Nimble Velociraptor (named Dioltach) as frontliners. I am what the forums have been referring to as a "pure caster," and the primary healing resource for the party, so it does make some sense for monsters to come after me.
Presuming that the above four figures can make a cordon between casters and frontline, and that it makes more sense for a monster to go after pet or summon than my melee teammates when attempting to break the line, here is some analysis.
First thing I learned, looking at this, is that Shove is an action. Pointing again to my earlier post, I feel like a summon forcing a monster to Shove, then Stride, then single attack, rather than attacking possibly at +0/-4/-8 (as is the case with my own Redcap) is a utility win all by itself. Even if they succeed, they spent two actions not attacking to do it. That said, the numbers, using level 9 even level bestiary opponents - which is a limited view of the entire context yet may tell us something:
Redcap has Fortitude DC 19, Reflex DC 19. Velociraptor has Fortitude DC 20, Reflex DC 21, which means a monster preferentially always wants to target the summon over teammates and pets.
Wrath Demon needs a 3+ Acrobatics. However it can fly, bypassing the question in a most (if not nearly all) cases.
So of the 15 monsters currently available to test that are even level to the PCs at 9th level, 8 (53%) have abilities that can usually render ground lines irrelevant in any edition, 1 is a shark, and 1 is of the caster type that we agree is generally not going to function as a melee linebreaker. While I find the Night Hag and Mummy Pharaoh questionable, we will add them as linebreakers to find that 33% of the time, the lower DCs of a summon may come into play in the context we have outlined.
Overall, I think that your concerns would have higher percentage relevance at lower levels...which is exactly where I have not experienced a problem with them to this point in practice. You are right that I do not know what the future modules have in store though, so tell me if you disagree or have another angle on this question that makes summons look less desirable as frontliners than these numbers have further convinced me they are (will be).
Augment Summoning gives +1 to saves. A monster not trained in the skill being considered, or not being a Str or Dex based monster, or being part of a lower level group of attackers, takes 4 off those numbers.
That means for many situations, a monster has a coin flip chance of losing an action and still not breaking the line, which in my book means the summon just turned out to have a huge utility payoff.
Combine those odds with the truism that not all monsters are going to have either the tactical puissance or motivation to use Athletics or Acrobatics as a bypass, and the concern that "things just run by" seems situational at best.
I have only playtested to level 7 so far, but when a doorway or choke point could be used, it was held. Which is only one facet of how summons are awesome (I know you have had to read more of my larger opinion on the matter than you reasonably should, so I wont repeat here) :)
Edit: Also consider that at level 9 in PF1, there are monsters that can bypass lines and AoOs with abilities like teleporting / shadow walking / et cetera as a move action. In no edition is melee control an absolute. While lack of AoOs reduce melee control in the playtest outside certain classes and levels (which deserves consideration and debate), the plight of casters as targets is not so divergent between editions at level 9 as some impressions read (with the difference, granted, that casters in PF1 can seriously warp the magic system for some incredible defensive options at level 9) :)
Augment Summoning with Summon Monster. "Pure caster" means for being "in melee," can physically block a doorway or hallway choke point with a single melee team member, gives increase in DPR whether using cantrips or spell slots while having zero requirement of physical weapon.
This is actual playtest feedback, not a theoretical. Test summoning, profit thereby.
My group moved to 4e when in first came out, and I strongly disliked it on the grounds of homogeneity. Once more material was released and every class had more options and more differentiation, 4e became my favorite system outside PF1 (Avenger class especially).
In my view and experience, PF2 playtest is already better than 4e as first released. I fully expect that it will improve over time after release, which gives me every reason to believe that it will be among my favorite systems as it matures.
Having playtested a Conjuration focused Wizard at levels 4 and 7, I do not mind if Universalists have a bit more power. I wanted Augment Summoning for theme primarily, and have appreciated it in mechanics (two successful hits over the course of those modules and two fewer hits taken over those modules on summons, if my tracking was accurate).
I am very much looking forward to Dimensional Steps as a thematic and combat augmenting action choice. While Universalists may outpower me in other ways, my feeling is that I got plenty in the specialist tradeoff. Would be interested to hear the thoughts of other specialist types, and whether they liked the bonuses and tradeoffs.
@Mulgar - If you don't like the PF2 Magic Missile that is 20% better at PF2 level 5 than the PF1 version at level 9, and you don't enjoy spells like True Strike and Shocking Grasp that are comparatively improved from PF1, try out Summon Monster that is also comparatively improved from PF1 for duration and impact at lower levels.
Or explore other options to make work - it is a playtest, after all.
I agree completely, and have appreciated your feedback!
I look forward to it. In the interim, let us look at a simplified version using a different spell choice, Electric Arc.
An advantage for Electric Arc - Range 30 rather than melee. A situational difference, which could be advantageous or disadvantageous depending - it optimally deals damage to two targets rather than a single target.
Because of how spell saves work against even level opponents, and the two target nature of Electric Arc, we can presume that on average one will succeed and one will fail. That leaves us with average damage for Electric Arc at 6d6+7 (rounding down for the save success), 28 damage across two targets at level 17 through 20...which is strictly better in applied damage numbers terms than the attack of the Fighter as you have listed it.
To add a dimension of inquiry to the analysis, Ray of Frost is going to deal the same damage as Chill Touch but can be used against any target within 60 feet. How does that advantage of considerably better than melee range get accounted for when comparing possible application of damage numbers in a practical context?
I appreciate that you specified precisely what your expectation was for testing direct spell damage. No debate on my part whether to agree with that aim or disagree, just thanks for including the target you were aiming at.
Where I have to disagree with your analysis, hidden in the spoilers, is that there is only one way to be effective with Evocation (the combo you mention), and relatedly that Summoning is awful. My experience has been thoroughly divergent on both counts.
Burning Hands has been noted by others as an excellent low level spell in the playtest so far, and despite not having cast it myself, I have to agree for two reasons. It was effective in the hands of my Druid and Sorcerer teammates at level 4, and it comes attached to my favorite summon so far - the Hell Hound.
Last night, my second Hell Hound cast of the module opened with a roll of 22 damage (three 6s and a 4) on its breath weapon, which is functionally a 4d6 Burning Hands. Two opponents failed their save, one made it, for 55 total damage. One of the opponents that failed was downed by the 22 points of damage it took, allowing a teammate to get into a more advantageous position on his next turn, completing a frontline box of defense to prevent things running past.
That was an exceptionally good probability, and yet it reflects entirely my experience with Summoning to this point - it is powerfully functional (I still miss AoOs, granted) and also an excellent "blasting" opportunity in different ways. As mentioned previously, I had experiences with a Quasit missing attacks for an entire fight, followed by it successfully using Knockdown and Poison abilities to good effect. While its direct damage was usually not great, there were fights where it was over several rounds. Hell Hound has, to this point, never disappointed between its AoE "blasting" and fire added bite (which has crit to good effect - I want to be clear that I have felt lucky with the summons, in several fights).
While I have focused my playtesting mostly on action economy testing, whether Druid animal companion or Wizard summoning, I have seen enough to know that one combo is not all there is to be a contributor for direct spell damage. And if Summoning is a bad option, then casters are either in an amazing place using anything else or your and my expectations of performance are radically divergent (which would be just fine).
Playtest example from last session, Cleric of Iomedae at level 7 against an incorporeal undead:
Disrupt Undead, two actions, 1d10+4 (average 9, rounding down). Third action, +1 Ghost Touch Longsword, 2d8+4 (average 13).
22 points damage on average, more with a critical failure on opponent part or critical hit for Cleric. In actual anecdote, enemy critically failed the save and the Cleric rolled well on the Longsword hit, but that is only one path things could take, thus we look at that 22 damage - which is better than a 6d6 Lightning Bolt presuming failed save, on average, with abilities the Cleric can use every round indefinitely.
This particular Cleric was built for melee tanking, using Enduring Might domain power, and we were particularly glad to have that side of things. The damage never felt weaker than other classes, despite not having a damage focus.
Part of my rambling here is to point out that Cantrips do not exist in a vacuum and have many ways to synergize with other class abilities and concepts. Exploration of the rules set and testing ideas will discover some solid options for using them.
At level 1, Electric Arc deals 2d6 over two targets compared to 1d6 to single target. Disrupt Undead deals 1d10 compared to 1d6 (average 2 points better). Ray of Frost deals 1d8 (average 1 point better) against an easier defense target (TAC rather than AC).
At level 20, those numbers get better for Cantrips in comparison.
My playtest experience is that Cantrips are where they need to be in some cases, could use slight positive adjustments in others (that is for Cleric, Druid, and Wizard testing). What seems false to me is that Cantrips need large adjustments from where they are to be competitive options in most situations against default ranged weaponry, as seems to be the standard for comparison.
That people want them to be something other than what they are is understandable. Wanting something different does not change the fact that they are eminently useful, and workable, as currently implemented (for the most part).
PF1 has a name based optional magic system, reminiscent of the Earthsea series, however I am thinking here more of the roleplaying side rather than a mechanical separation / distinction of spellcasting (without ruling that out).
A Bard type that is focused on magic and casting but also people and storytelling, with abilities and flavor tied to Verbal components, Persuasion, Diplomacy, et cetera. More generally an Orator type would fit this idea as well, though my favorite would be to have a subtle homage to the classic feel of Earthsea as a storyverse.
Cleric in PF1 could go Leadership or Noble Scion to get a pet Ranger or Druid along with the animal companion. True for any class, but Cleric already had a lot of base power to recommend it.
As to Evocation, in PF1 I only went that way twice, and both times it was straight Cleric. The Fire / Ash / Destruction (sub)domains allowed all the things that Clerics are good at while also providing extra AoE and tricked out Disintegrate shenanigans. Wizard / Sorcerer / Arcanist offered so many powerful paths that went beyond straight hit point damage that it felt like a waste using their immense potential in so linear a manner.
Also, for me, the ultimate Blast / Evocation / truly old school Invocation is a level+10(+) Holy Word, preparing all those levels ahead of time for the moment you finally reach that spell level and become a true "blaster."
Does all that fly in the face of expected fantasy tropes? I do not know - but if it does, I still had an awful lot of fun that way.
Wanted to reiterate, from that other thread, that I really like John's idea to have a +1 action spend 1 Spell Point to heighten class ability. I like this idea best as applied to Bard and Sorcerer, and my Druid definitely doesnt feel like it needs more help / power given the current standards, but I second an excitement for seeing this tested in whatever way.
Dire Ursus wrote:
Blasting was pretty bad in 1e. Control was always the best option by far.
While true in some regards, Evocation could be optimized like most magic in PF1 in some interesting ways - Cleric Theologians tossing out 10d6+6 (or more) Fireballs once per encounter at 6th level is not terrible (as one PF1 example I happen to have experience with).
More pertinently, the premise "Evocation as a focus for casters is too weak in the playtest" is, by now, a well known platform. What is needed is contextual feedback not only about how some GMs and players feel this way, but examples of how Evocation actually performed in playtest experience. Was a particular spell selection weak against a particular encounter, or particular module, and if so exactly what data made it seem that way? Are Evocation casters actually doing less damage than other classes across a module, and if so specifically what approach, spell use, tactical context produced the specific numbers being cited?
Playtest feedback for improvement needs playtest data (not impressions) to analyze and discuss beyond the back and forth opinions. I am sympathetic to the concept that Evokers (Invokers for the truly old school) could use positive adjustments - I need data to discuss for me to provide any help agreeing to how or why.
John Mechalas wrote:
Wanted to add that I really like this idea for Bard as well as Sorcerer, using the extra action + spell point version.
I like leaving it off Wizard, differentiating the prepare-ahead flavor that separates that class, but would definitely welcome some testing of this for any or all of these classes.
John Mechalas wrote:
That especially makes sense, to me, for the Sorcerer class. I like it.
perception check wrote:
The quoted part being responded to here has an important continuation of the context omitted, which was, "...after he exhausts his attack spells of higher levels. Like a 30-foot cone that can do 20 to 50 damage, lay on serious debuffs, or completely remove creatures from a fight. Or you can do the thing I suggested earlier and combine true strike and disintegrate so you make an attack that does at least half of 12d10 but can do as much as double and have two rolls to try and get a crit with to make the result worse than the save normally indicates.
And that's repeatable a few times per day."
What the omitted section points to is that while Fighter can Shield and attack thrice at higher levels, and the caster can Shield with a single cantrip (of your choice), the caster has other offensive, defensive, and utility options that are different than what a Fighter is capable of achieving through class skills and feats. Some of those caster options may even eclipse the Fighter in damage output, particular in a multi-target environment where Evocation oriented casters can shine.
Doing a comparison of classes should not be a matter of omissions one way or another, whether that is noting that Fighters can get more attacks per round or that casters (whichever flavor you happen to favor) very often (if not nearly always) have options outside a single target damaging cantrip. Even using Electric Arc changes this equation somewhat, at 13th level - 3d6+5 to two targets, with a Shield or move, is less distant from 3d10+5 to three targets and move or Shield, particularly when accounting for the -8 penalty or so on that third martial strike. There are lots of variables one could play with here - weapon choice, spell choice, what if tactical scenarios. None of it seems more, to me, than getting bogged down by a corner case that won't help resolve the larger perspective on how to adjust each class optimally.
John Mechalas wrote:
As a 1e Wizard player, who so far enjoys the playtest and wants the final product to be as great as possible, we need those 70 voices to make that happen.
In the thread being mentioned, there was a lot of back and forth with no synthesis created from disagreement - which is going to require acknowledging the strengths of what exists currently while also being willing to discuss weaknesses that need improvement. More actual playtest experience in specific details, testing readily communicable concepts - Summoning, Transmutation, Evocation (or Blasting if you prefer), Buffer (concept and execution), Debuffer (same), curses, spontaneous vs prepared...actual testing results with specific contexts in relation to specific expectations. That is what is going to bring us a synthesis that benefits everyone.
Discussing the mathematics without playtest context or experience (we lost a spell slot, the actions of minions are lower level theoretically than the caster which has this theoretic impact on the economy), being unwilling to acknowledge other players successes with avenues that do not personally appeal to one person or group, and similar negativity that is not focused on the specifics of how to provide data and ideas for improvement is a waste for everyone.
We need those disapproving voices, so long as they are willing to do the playtest work of not only providing feedback and what they feel needs changing but the context experience of why, with at least a consideration of suggesting a way to make those changes that is not, "throw it out and start over" or "make it 1e again."