Rangers, Paladins and Spells


Alpha Release 1 General Discussion

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Liberty's Edge

I commented on Paladins and spells in another thread, but thought it was important enough in a wider way to create a new thread ...

I would REALLY like to see the Paladin and Ranger in the Pathfinder RPG NOT be spell casters. Neither class ever really made sense to me as a spell caster. In fact, I'm sure many of my fellow veteran D&D players can remember a time when they did not cast spells. (I also don't quite dig the Rogue getting a few spells at high levels, but that's another thread ...)

A Paladin is a holy warrior, not a priest. A paladin should certainly have special abilities that help reinforce this holy warrior archetype but actual spells make little sense. Lancelot did not cast spells ...

A Ranger is a nature warrior / tracker / woodsman, not a priest. Again, give the Ranger special abilities that help reinforce this woodsman archetype but spells? Aragorn did not cast spells ...

One other argument for removing spell casting from these classes is that it no longer makes it necessary that they have a patron deity (though many certainly still would choose to have one). Perhaps let them choose one Cleric domain if they do choose to follow a patron deity, at least in the Paladin's case.

The variants given in Complete Warrior might be a good place to look for an example of a better direction for these classes, though certainly not the best way.

Spell casting is too specific a thing to give away freely to many classes. If a Ranger or Paladin wants to cast spells, multiclass as a Cleric or Druid. In fact, this might make Paladin/Clerics and Ranger/Druids a much cooler option with more flavor.

I'm interested in what everyone else thinks of this, but I'm PARTICULARLY interested in hearing Jason's and his fellow Paizoians' thoughts.

Thanks!

Liberty's Edge

I've always thought of the spells for rangers and paladins as being less like casting traditional spells and more like special magical abilities that evolve from their deep connection to their craft.

That being said, non-caster variants that don't suck for Paladins and Rangers is a pretty good idea.

I'd like to see bow rangers pick up special bow-specific abilities, and dual-weapon rangers get special abilities in line with, say, the Tempest from Complete Adventurer.

Paladins could do well with a similar path choice, between ground melee fighters or mounted combatants, so that they can get the feats they need to succeed at either task.

Liberty's Edge

Interesting thoughts. In fact, I think you actually echoed my points. If we are going to think of Ranger and Paladin spells as more special abilities than actual spells ... why not actually make that the case?

Although not strictly a spell casting issue, I really like the idea of letting the Paladin choose from two different feat paths like the Ranger does now. Give them the mounted option and a hand melee option of some kind. That actually allows players to still have the mounted knight kind of Paladin if they want or to opt for a more hand to hand combat type of Paladin. Maybe the one that chooses the mounted path gets the special mount ability, while the one choosing the melee option gets something else? I actually REALLY like that!

Jason, PLEASE consider these ideas when you work on the Ranger and Paladin.

Liberty's Edge

Marc Radle 81 wrote:

Interesting thoughts. In fact, I think you actually echoed my points. If we are going to think of Ranger and Paladin spells as more special abilities than actual spells ... why not actually make that the case?

Although not strictly a spell casting issue, I really like the idea of letting the Paladin choose from two different feat paths like the Ranger does now. Give them the mounted option and a hand melee option of some kind. That actually allows players to still have the mounted knight kind of Paladin if they want or to opt for a more hand to hand combat type of Paladin. Maybe the one that chooses the mounted path gets the special mount ability, while the one choosing the melee option gets something else? I actually REALLY like that!

Jason, PLEASE consider these ideas when you work on the Ranger and Paladin.

Yes! Please!

I've tried playing a paladin before, even trying to focus on mounted combat, and the feat-sink you need to do anything good is painful at best.

Obviously a Fighter who really focuses on bow combat or mounted combat should be better than either a ranger or paladin at those respective combat styles, but Rangers and paladins should get a little more juice for their chosen combat stylings. Rangers probably need less, but I'd still like to see some class specific features for them.

Paladins need to at least get a few free progression based feats for mounted or melee combat.


why to give them choice of 1 cleric domain

Pal:Community,Glory,Good,Healing,Law,Liberation,Nobility,Protection,Sun

Rag:Animal,Healing,Knowledge,Luck,Plant,Protection,Strength,Travel,

now the 3.5 class start at 4 so lets say
4th
5th
7th
10th
14th
18th

now this means they never get the 20th level ability's but I'm good with that.


I have always found their spells to be a bit of a waste, most of the players I talk with, often want to use the PHB2 version or other versions where the spells are traded for other abilities and powers.

I really like the thieves abilities and think this would be a cool way of allowing players to have religious spell casting Paladins or Rangers if they wanted. A list of abilities they can buy each level would be more fun in my opinion.

Does anyone remember the 2nd edition book that broke all of the characters abilities into a points system, so you could customise you character as you want? I loved that book, the rogue version in the Alpha book reminds me of that.


It would be nice to get away from spell-casting outside of spell-casters. Giving the Ranger or Paladin special talents like the rogue or monk makes much more sense. I would worry about those characters that use their spell-casting ability to qualify for a prestige class.

Liberty's Edge

Russell Akred wrote:
It would be nice to get away from spell-casting outside of spell-casters. Giving the Ranger or Paladin special talents like the rogue or monk makes much more sense.

Yep.

Russell Akred wrote:
I would worry about those characters that use their spell-casting ability to qualify for a prestige class.

So far that's the best argument I've seen to keep some sort of spellcasting for them.

I wonder if there's some sort of mechanic, like the Rogue's spell-like abilities, that could compensate?

Liberty's Edge

I started working on a paladin variant a while back inspired by all sorts of other paladin fixes I'd seen elsewhere. I kind of ran out of steam pretty quickly, though. The central conceit was that the Special Mount became one of a selectable range of options, much like has been discussed above. I pulled out spellcasting, and remove disease (bleck, the most useless class feature ever!) and mixed in a bonus feats from a fairly limited list. My overall points was to make paladin worth taking to level 20, and also roughly comparable to a warblade, powerwise.

The point of my post is to say that the selectable paths I settled on were Cavalier (get a special mount, more or less as normal), Defender (get a suit of magic armour), Hunter (pick up ranger-esque abilities against enemies of your god), Soldier (get a magic weapon), and Mystic (get spellcasting). Each of these options also expanded the list of available bonus feats. Didn't make it past a first stab at most of this though.

Ukos


Marc said:

I would REALLY like to see the Paladin and Ranger in the Pathfinder RPG NOT be spell casters. Neither class ever really made sense to me as a spell caster. In fact, I'm sure many of my fellow veteran D&D players can remember a time when they did not cast spells. (I also don't quite dig the Rogue getting a few spells at high levels, but that's another thread ...)

I don't understand. In the AD&D PHB page 25 the second table shows that Rangers get a limited selection of Druid Spells and Magic User spells.

Second edition PHB page 28 table 18 shows that rangers get a limited selection of Priest spells, and on page 29 second column third paragraph states "A ranger can learn clerical spells but only those of the plant or animal spheres..."

I do not remember an edition where rangers could not cast spells, and Gary Gygax wrote a variant Ranger(3.0)in the S&S book Necropolis page 265 that had an expanded spell casting variant by the ranger class.

The Paladin has had spell casting in each edition in a similar fashion to the Ranger.

Shadow Lodge

Kirwyn wrote:

I don't understand. In the AD&D PHB page 25 the second table shows that Rangers get a limited selection of Druid Spells and Magic User spells.

...
The Paladin has had spell casting in each edition in a similar fashion to the Ranger.

I have the AD&D book at home, Rangers have had spells for quite a long time. Since they were first a distinct class as far as I know.

I like ranger spell casting, in particular I like it since the release of ranger specific spells which came later in 3.5. One of the big problems with it has been that historically they had access to low level druid or cleric spells which made them weak choices.

Spells that directly tie to the rangers core abilities rather than being cast off from other classes would be great.

-- Dennis

Liberty's Edge

It is true that Third Edition introduced a few Ranger specific spells. I would suggest that those would be a good place to start looking for ideas for Ranger abilities. The same would hold true for Paladins (I don't have my books near me ... there are now Paladin specific spells as well, right?)

My point is that the few spells that actually make the Ranger and Paladin more interesting do not justify making them actual spell casters. Make some of those spells into abilities that they get at the appropriate level instead.

Dark Archive

I don't like Rangers with spells, and am kinda neutral on the idea of Paladins with spells, but to be backwards-compatible with 3.5, the *default* Ranger and Paladin should have limited spellcasting.

Ideally, IMO, these spellcasting options should be swappable for other class features instead (significant ones, since even the 'weak' spellcasting is a big deal when it includes curative spells, spells that allow for charging smites or spells like Arrow Mind!).


The problem with 3.5 rangers' and paladins' spells is that at their level, they're often not powerful enough to warrant using an action for. Most of the time, their time is better spent attacking.

I solved this by speeding up their spellcasting: If it was a standard action, it's a swift action now. There's a feat for that somewhere (Complete Crusader?), but I just granted it to all of them. So now paladins and rangers get to smite and shoot enemies and still cast their (small amount of) magic.


The third- and fourth-level paladin spells in the Spell Compendium are the only real reasons to take more than six levels in paladin. Speaking in terms of core only, I think a paladin would be better off taking levels in fighter after his sixth paladin level. So, you can kill paladin spells, but for god's sake you better have some other compelling toys to replace them... and even then you're putting another bullet in backwards compatibility.

I can't speak for ranger spells, because I've always felt that the ranger class is probably the worst-designed class in core; the spells don't make sense, but neither do any of the other design elements for the class, so spells are perfectly in line with the rest of the class.

A good barometer for paladin and ranger revisions is this: If a multiclassed fighter/cleric is more effective than a paladin, or if a multiclassed fighter/druid is more effective than a ranger, you're doing something wrong.


0gre wrote:
I have the AD&D book at home, Rangers have had spells for quite a long time. Since they were first a distinct class as far as I know.

Correct. Rangers, which first appeared in The Strategic Review #2, have always had spells. In the original article, they had cleric and magic-user (i.e. wizard) spells, but this was changed in AD&D to druid and magic-user spells. Paladins, on the other hand, did not originally have spells per se. The class first appears in Supplement I to OD&D and, while it has many "magical" abilities, like curing disease and laying on hands, it does not have spells.

All this aside, I think it reasonable to make spellcasting an option for both classes, as this will ensure backward compatibility with v.3.5. However, if other ability/talent choices exist, some players may decide to forgo spells entirely for them. This seems the simplest and most elegant solution and would go a long way toward making these classes more flexible.

Liberty's Edge

I would just like to see more variety in the weapn styles for the Ranger. Right now are choices are Legolas or Drizzt!

Liberty's Edge

Maybe offering spells as one option is the way to go, as suggested. That way, the class remains compatible with 3.5 AND it allows players who don't want spells to choose other abilities instead.

I'm anxious to hear if Jason and Co. will weigh in on this topic Monday ...


Marc Radle 81 wrote:

It is true that Third Edition introduced a few Ranger specific spells. I would suggest that those would be a good place to start looking for ideas for Ranger abilities. The same would hold true for Paladins (I don't have my books near me ... there are now Paladin specific spells as well, right?)

My point is that the few spells that actually make the Ranger and Paladin more interesting do not justify making them actual spell casters. Make some of those spells into abilities that they get at the appropriate level instead.

Bless Weapon and Holy Sword are both paladin only spells, and abilities that I would assume would become spell like effects if paladins moved away from spellcasting.

At this point I think that it might be best to just work up a spell-less version of both classes and see how they go over. If they don't feel right, or if there are too many PrCs that don't work or special abilities, then we've got a while to change the classes back.


I personally think paladin and ranger spells are fine as they are, and I never understood the objection to them casting (it's high fantasy, most everything can access magic somehow). If you don't want your ranger or paladin to cast, just save 4 ability points on an otherwise useless ability for the class and boost another stat instead. I don't really think they need something "in trade" for giving up spells given that they are rather weak (being at 1/2 caster level, gained slower, and going no higher than 4) anyway. If one really felt they needed something to make up for no spells besides not having to dump 4 points into Wisdom perhaps a bonus fighter feat at every level a new spell level is gained would work.


The Hedgewizard wrote:
I personally think paladin and ranger spells are fine as they are, and I never understood the objection to them casting (it's high fantasy, most everything can access magic somehow). If you don't want your ranger or paladin to cast, just save 4 ability points on an otherwise useless ability for the class and boost another stat instead. I don't really think they need something "in trade" for giving up spells given that they are rather weak (being at 1/2 caster level, gained slower, and going no higher than 4) anyway. If one really felt they needed something to make up for no spells besides not having to dump 4 points into Wisdom perhaps a bonus fighter feat at every level a new spell level is gained would work.

I don't object to them casting, but to what purpose? By the time they get to cast spells, their spells aren't that useful. Sure, you can say that the paladin or ranger can serve as back up casters, but at the same time, they only get cure light wounds by the time characters are needing much more powerful healing, and if they want to be backup healers, they have to prepare all of their spells as healing, since they can't convert spells like clerics or cast spontaneously like bards.

The point of needing something in trade is that if spellcasting is of little use, then the paladin, especially, might as well multiclass into fighter for all of the useful abilities that he gains at higher levels.

While some of the Spell Compendium spells were handy, and the swift casting for paladins from Complete Champion might help out some, the fact that fixes are needed makes you wonder if the class really needs spellcasting, or do they need to just have other abilities that evoke a similar feeling?


Marc Radle 81 wrote:

I commented on Paladins and spells in another thread, but thought it was important enough in a wider way to create a new thread ...

I would REALLY like to see the Paladin and Ranger in the Pathfinder RPG NOT be spell casters. Neither class ever really made sense to me as a spell caster. In fact, I'm sure many of my fellow veteran D&D players can remember a time when they did not cast spells. (I also don't quite dig the Rogue getting a few spells at high levels, but that's another thread ...)

... Lancelot did not cast spells ...

James M. Ward with Robert J. Kuntz take on Launcelot from AD&D:

This mighty knight was the best of the best in the circle of the Round Table and was able to use all the powers of a Paladin, until he fell from grace by being tricked into loving King Pelles' daughter, the lovely Elaine (who bore him a son, the knight Sir Galahad). While he was forced to leave the side of King Arthur, who had until then treated Launcelot as the king's champion, he would never fail to aid the king in time of need. He went on all of the most important quests for the king and it was his weapons skills that defended the King's side in major battles.
My take on it: only Galahad and possibly Percivale count as Paladins, Launcelot was a Lawful Good Fighter.... but that really has nothing to do with which way Paizo should go with Paladin/Ranger spellcasting. It just seems I keep going back to the old stuff more and more 'cause of Gygax's passing. Too bad Xagyg isn't OGL.

Paizo said they will be maintaining backward compatability...ergo spellcasting needs to stay in for those two classes. However, a sidebar with variants that gain abilities at the expense of spellcasting should be included IMHO. I'm also in favor of variant Paladin/Bard/Rangers that are prestige classes rather than base classes.

In our current, my character started out as a rogue, took 2 levels of ranger and two levels of wizard(enchanter) before graduating to Bard..(of course it helps that my party has 5 players so I could be suboptimal for a few levels). BTW, all my rogue skills are mainly the CHA and Int based ones as I am the Face of the party. And Our cleric switched to Paladin at 7th lvl.


I wouldn't be suprised to see the Pathfinder Paladin and Ranger have non-spellcasting options when they are presented.
Based on the Rogue and Wizard write-ups, it looks like they are trying to give us in-class options that will allow us to simulate multi-classing without having to dip into another class.


OPTIONS:

Give both classes REAL spellcasting, or none at all. Allow them to progress to 6th level spells, or get rid of it entirely. At higher levels, they are fairly useless anyways. The "variant" approach is cool, but I feel this is the first step down the path of splatbook hell. I feel the fix for both of them is simple...bonus feats.

Prune useless abilities from their trees. Cure disease can be rolled into lay on hands without a balancing issue. Trackless step? Anybody actually played in or ran a game where the party ranger was tracked? Woodland stride? Does anyone even use terrain modifiers anymore?

The 3.5 ranger was a big step in the right direction, but they, and their holier than thou cousin are still bastards in their own right. They fight, but have way fewer feats than the fighter. They cast spells, but have tiny spell lists that rapidly become irrelevant to anyone playing one over the long haul.

I too, loved the point buy system. We used a hybrid traits/drawbacks system on top of that. You could technically create a LA +2 or 3 character at first level, but you were deathly afraid of snakes, the dark, and involntarily wet yourself in the presence of teeth longer than 6".

Liberty's Edge

Pathfinder Companion, Pawns, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Charter Superscriber

Except that there are literally dozen of 3E magic books with tones of ranger and paladin spells that would become trash should they get rid of the casting ability. Doesn't sound very backwards compatible to me.

I'm all for adding more to the classes, rewriting other abilities to be more powerful/useful, however all the features of all the class have to remain represented including spellcasting if they are going to remain compatible with 3E supplements.


I'm with Plognark; if you don't like the idea of them casting spells, rename them "Maneuvers," "Divine Abilities," or "1/day class abilities." Think of it this way: mechanically, letting them cast "spells" is an easy way of providing them with a LOT of character-selected optional minor class abilities. Replacing spells with default class abilities actually reduces the players' ability to customize their characters (an advantage to the people on these boards who expect everyone to play "their way," but a huge turn-off for everyone else).

That said, being able to trade their spells for feat chains as an option makes a lot of sense to me (maybe 1 bonus feat per spell level). This option would appeal strongly to those who feel the spells are useless, who have Wis of 11 or less, or who just want more feats.

Finally, let me echo Donovan's point about pruning the chaff. Remove disease is a spell. If my paladin character wants to be able to do this, I'll prepare that spell (if the level at which they can do it is an issue, change the spell level on the paladin list). I do NOT want to be stuck with this in place of some more useful ability. I like trackless step, but really, if I want to avoid being tracked, there's always the pass without trace spell -- essentially turning trackless step into an option, rather than a required ability.


I really like the idea of Options and Varient classes for the Paladins and Rangers
I think there should be spell casting and non spell casting versions of these classes

I also think there should be more fighting styles for the Rangers Two handed weapon, Weapon and Shield, all kinds of fighting styles (there are a couple 3.5 books with a bunch of differnt styles)

I wouldnt mind seeing there spell casting advanced to 6th level spells like the Bards (for the spell casting varient)


Kirth Gersen wrote:

I'm with Plognark; if you don't like the idea of them casting spells, rename them "Maneuvers," "Divine Abilities," or "1/day class abilities." Think of it this way: mechanically, letting them cast "spells" is an easy way of providing them with a LOT of character-selected optional minor class abilities. Replacing spells with default class abilities actually reduces the players' ability to customize their characters (an advantage to the people on these boards who expect everyone to play "their way," but a huge turn-off for everyone else).

That said, being able to trade their spells for feat chains as an option makes a lot of sense to me (maybe 1 bonus feat per spell level). This option would appeal strongly to those who feel the spells are useless, who have Wis of 11 or less, or who just want more feats.

Finally, let me echo Donovan's point about pruning the chaff. Remove disease is a spell. If my paladin character wants to be able to do this, I'll prepare that spell (if the level at which they can do it is an issue, change the spell level on the paladin list). I do NOT want to be stuck with this in place of some more useful ability. I like trackless step, but really, if I want to avoid being tracked, there's always the pass without trace spell -- essentially turning trackless step into an option, rather than a required ability.

I hadnt even thought about that! The sub 11 wisdom score. THAT is a whole other can of worms in terms of class balance! As to backwards compatibility. Where's the problem? The spell list is awful to begin with. It can be boiled down to a SMALL group of minor buffs that any dedicated spellcaster can trump by 5th level. These are handy for the "sweet spot" but are worse than useless for epic or even high level play.

3 "options" for both classes.

Ranger - Melee, ranged, spellcasting
IMO spellcasting isn't even an option. If you want that particular schtick, you SHOULD be playing a druid or Fighter/druid.

Paladin - Melee, mounted combat, spellcasting, (conceivably) ranged
Same problem here. Spells feel tacked on as an afterthought. Can get more bouce to the ouce with a Fighter/Cleric

As mentioned way up above, if the F/C and F/D combos have more power than the class they are "emulating" there is an issue.

I agree that there needs to be a compatibility nod, but the Paladin in particular could at the very least use a 3.5 Ranger makeover. The flavor is why these classes get played, but "smart" gamers will usually go for a multiclassed fighter type. More feats, less stereotypical fluff.


SirUrza wrote:

Except that there are literally dozen of 3E magic books with tones of ranger and paladin spells that would become trash should they get rid of the casting ability. Doesn't sound very backwards compatible to me.

I'm all for adding more to the classes, rewriting other abilities to be more powerful/useful, however all the features of all the class have to remain represented including spellcasting if they are going to remain compatible with 3E supplements.

You actually make a really good point. While none of my current players are really too concerned about spells and these classes per se, there is a good argument to be made that whatever they get to do might be an alternative to spells (and not like the puny alternatives in Complete Warrior).


Donovan Vig wrote:
IMO spellcasting isn't even an option. If you want that particular schtick, you SHOULD be playing a druid or Fighter/druid.
Kirth Gersen wrote:
I'm with Plognark; if you don't like the idea of them casting spells, rename them "Maneuvers," "Divine Abilities," or "1/day class abilities." Think of it this way: mechanically, letting them cast "spells" is an easy way of providing them with a LOT of character-selected optional minor class abilities. Replacing spells with default class abilities actually reduces the players' ability to customize their characters (an advantage to the people on these boards who expect everyone to play "their way," but a huge turn-off for everyone else).

In brief: I like to have the option, it's already supported in the OGL, and most importantly, I dislike being told what I ought to be playing, instead of being allowed to play what I want. (That said, in our homebrew campaign we've switched over to the SRD prestige paladin and ranger, so a spell-less base version wouldn't hurt; it would just supplement what we already have.)

Liberty's Edge

Pathfinder Companion, Pawns, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Charter Superscriber
KnightErrantJR wrote:
You actually make a really good point. While none of my current players are really too concerned about spells and these classes per se, there is a good argument to be made that whatever they get to do might be an alternative to spells (and not like the puny alternatives in Complete Warrior).

I know. I keep shaking my head every time I see people suggest radical changes to the core classes, they forget that a large part of the reason they don't want to use it is because they had to trash all their 3E stuff... yet all their suggestions do just that, trash 3E books.


I loved the alternate takes on the ranger and paladin in the Complete Warrior book, and I look forward to other takes on these two classes sans magic. The Ranger variant is an option in my homebrew for those who hail from a certain area, in fact. I'd like more options, splatbooks be damned. There was an issue of Dragon that had a plethora of Paladin spells and another with a lot of Ranger spells- the latter were okay, but the former were truly amazing.


One simple boost to the Ranger and Paladin that will help negate some long-term weakness: make their caster level = class level -3, instead of 1/2 class level. Not a big difference, only worse for a single level, but at much higher level it can make quite a difference.

For the record, I'm well in favor of ranger and paladin spells, and have absolutely no problem with the current, SRD only, spell lists. Those complaining that the spells are useless are simultaneously saying they should be replaced by something of significant strength. They're *supposed* to be fairly weak - no problem in that. They've never supposed to have been anything but a minor supplement.


SirUrza wrote:
KnightErrantJR wrote:
You actually make a really good point. While none of my current players are really too concerned about spells and these classes per se, there is a good argument to be made that whatever they get to do might be an alternative to spells (and not like the puny alternatives in Complete Warrior).
I know. I keep shaking my head every time I see people suggest radical changes to the core classes, they forget that a large part of the reason they don't want to use it is because they had to trash all their 3E stuff... yet all their suggestions do just that, trash 3E books.

well don't, it's bad for your neck ; )

You have a good point, but I think what you are seeing is people finally being ASKED about what they would like to see. I agree there are a lot of silly things that make little sense here. The problem with 4E s it goes too far. It is barely recognizeable to anyone who has been playing D&D for the last oh, 30 years or so. I would liken it to moving the stick shift from the right hand console to the left hand door panel...it just doesn't feel right. Inevitably you question the wisdom of such thing, and can't understand folks who LIKE the change.

We've already blown 100% parity with 3.X by all that has already come. Aside from that, 4E does have a few things that actually are cool, I really like the new book layouts - alphabetical instead of chaptered. Sorry, that is one of the very few things : )

Erik and Jason aren't fools. They can pick through the dross. Besides, EVERYONE here already has at least a dozen houserules, after this R&D thing is over I think there will be another dozen.


Donovan Vig wrote:
Besides, EVERYONE here already has at least a dozen houserules, after this R&D thing is over I think there will be another dozen.

Heh, heh. Truer words have never been written. It's one of the things I love the most about this game, in fact.


Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Rulebook, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber
Majuba wrote:
For the record, I'm well in favor of ranger and paladin spells, and have absolutely no problem with the current, SRD only, spell lists. Those complaining that the spells are useless are simultaneously saying they should be replaced by something of significant strength. They're *supposed* to be fairly weak - no problem in that. They've never supposed to have been anything but a minor supplement.

For those who want paladins and rangers with more powerful spellcasting, use the rules for prestige paladins and prestige rangers in the SRD.


I personally like the paladin and rangers getting spells. Truthfully, I wouldn't mind seeing some of this overlap to the fighter and rogue as well.

The paladin and rangers abilities are magical in nature, so if the two classes having access to one or two minor spells is not somthing you like, why do you bother with the class in the first place?

At the end of the day, they don't get these spells to 4th level+ anyway, by then they are more than capable of doing things outwith the normal laws of physics. I don't think alot of people seem to realize that a high level character is capable of taking several direct hits in combat and shrugging them off like they're nothing, or stand inside a blazing building for a solid minute taking only a few insubstancial burns.


There is a good point that could be expressed in all the class arguments. Revamping the Core Classes is pulling away from 3.5 a little too much. Even though I don't approve of spell casting Rangers and Paladins maybe new non magical classes should be created instead. Two new classes that carry the abilities of the 3.5 core but loose the spells. Why recreate something and keep the name???

Sovereign Court

I don't fully understand the concern about backward compatibility.

As a DM, if I come across an NPC paladin with spells, I'll keep it as-is, treating that NPC as a "variant" paladin. No conversion is necessary and no disruption occurs to the adventure's design. Personally, I'm not going to convert any encounters in modules anyway for Pathfinder. It's just too much work. Yes the PCs are slightly stronger, but that just means I'll add one harder encounter somewhere to "soften up" the PCs.

As a player, if I have a current paladin PC with spells, then losing those spells will be a change, albeit a minor one since the spells are minor. I could take a prestige class to get them, and/or if I really want a few of them, I can use one or two of the extra feats I'm getting to replace some of the spells. Complete Arcane gives nice examples of 1 feat = two 0-level spells + one 1st-level spell (or alternatively, just one 2nd-level spell), each usable 1/day. And since this is purely as a player, this is a one-time change.

All this said, I would vote to keep the classes as close as possible to their 3.5 incarnation, and have one "variant" sidebar with each class. As a DM, I suspect that the more options players see in the Pathfinder RPG book, the less likely they will feel the need to crack open a splat book to locate the archetype / build they are looking for.


As I primarily play a ranger, I must admit that some form of special abilities would be better than the spells... by the time that you cast the spells they are so weak in comparison to the rest of the party... and most of your opponents... that you never really use them... well, not for most combative reasons anyways.
Of course, I'd rather not have any more multiple additional attacks with the bow... I know that there is such a thing as speed shooting but the ability to consistantly pop off half a dozen twin sets of arrows every six seconds is a bit over the top... even for D&D
(of course, my DM and I were playing around with a rule that if you had multiple attacks with any weapon you could sacrifice a number of additional attacks to provide a more focused attack bonus (+2 I think it was for each sacrificed added attack) and possibly I think a +1 damage bonus for each sacrifice... to basically make your first one or two attacks really count instead of half a dozen progressively weaker ones)

But, again, back to the main subject... I could see spells being easily removed from the ranger (I don't play paladins so I'm staying out of that discussion), and replaced with abilities, and the whole effect still being backwards compat (you would just be approaching the game with a new breed of ranger... and the old NPC rangers from products you use would simply be the old breed of ranger)


at the very least, you can allow a free feat in lieu of each level of spelcasting. Does 4 bonus feats (stretched out across several levels) balance out?


I agree with Marc R 81, in that as a player and DM, I have never seen a reason or need for a paladin or ranger to have spells. My group and I are planning to start play testing a 10th level game next month and if the ranger and paladin are out by that time two of my players have expressed intrest in those classes. I say this because I am going to try something new when it comes to spell casting for these two classes. My idea is to not allow the Paladin and Ranger any spells, but instead let them chose domain powers from the diety the worship.

At 4th level(when 1st level spell casting can begin for each class) I will let the Paladin and Ranger chose one of the domains from their diety's potfolio and let them have the power that that domain offers, in lieu of spell casting abilities.
At 6th (when they get 2nd level spells) I will let them chose a second domain. And so forth at 8th(3rd level spells) and 10th(4th level spells).

I'm hoping that this allows for the Paladin to exhibit abilities of his chosen diety while not taking away from the class itself. Same for the Ranger.

I also think that this will allow for more variety in paladins and rangers. One paladin might have the domains of War, Protection, Lawful and Good while another paladin might have Healing, Sun, Protection and Community. Variety within character classes in my opinion is never a bad thing.

This idea hasn't been tested yet, but my players and I are going to see if having spells or not really effects the fun of the class. I will keep every one updated on how it turns out. Also if you like the idea and will be playtesting higher level characters please test this out with your group. I would love to hear about it. And it might be something the game designers find interesting.


I'm also down with the idea of stripping the spells from ranger and paladin in trade for some additional abilities.

Transparency would obviously be a big issue though. For these two in specific, I guess I wouldn't mind paying a few bucks extra in the book for a real variant to the two. I would have no problem ripping those two classes out of high level stuff and putting in the variant. More than worth the time.

Two in comparison to what the ranger could be without the spells are a progression more similar to the deepwoods sniper and dervish.

Dark Archive

I'm perfectly happy with paladin and ranger spells as they are.

They work best as "utility" spellcasters, and their ability to use wands of cure x wounds can reduce the dependence on having a cleric.


One of the reason I play rangers is for that spellcasting ability. But I play my rangers as druidic warriors.


To reiterate what I said in another thread:

I love paladin/ranger spell-casting, for some of my characters. I hate it for other characters. But I think it should be 'easy' enough to accommodate both sides of the debate. Just go for options.

DO NOT get rid of spell-casting for these classes, but DO provide viable and interesting alternatives.


I think that they should have alternatives to spellcasting, but also they're spellcasting ability should actually be enhanced from 3.5. It should be worthwhile to make a spellcasting Paladin or Ranger. Also I've seen it suggested that Monks get a spellcasting or psionic alternative. This is a good idea. I'd also want the Ranger to have an Arcane variant, though not necessarily in the core book.


Syltorian wrote:
I think it should be 'easy' enough to accommodate both sides of the debate. Just go for options. DO NOT get rid of spell-casting for these classes, but DO provide viable and interesting alternatives.
Dario Nardi wrote:
All this said, I would vote to keep the classes as close as possible to their 3.5 incarnation, and have one "variant" sidebar with each class. As a DM, I suspect that the more options players see in the Pathfinder RPG book, the less likely they will feel the need to crack open a splat book to locate the archetype / build they are looking for.

Hear, hear! There are some abilities that need reworking (e.g., smite); no one will argue that. But keeping spells as the baseline, and offering variants in a sidebar, seems like an optimum way to go. This would provide all kinds of character-building choices, but would take up minimal space -- just a paragraph or two. For example: "If you choose not to have the ability to cast spells, you may select one of the following options instead:"

1. Bonus Feats: You gain one bonus feat at each of the following class levels: 4th, 8th, 11th, 14th, and 19th. [Thanks, Donovan]

2. Domain Powers: At each of the following class levels, you gain the domain power of one of your deity's domains: 4th, 8th, 11th, and 14th. [This one is Threeblood's: another cool idea]


Rangers & Paladins have had spell access from 1E, so as far as I'm concerned, they've always had it.

That said, their spell lists suck. That's been affirmed by my players as far back as 1E. If these two classes had their own distinct lists of spells that were useful to them (such as spells like Arrow Mind and Holy Weapon), that would be much better.

I am also not against allowing these two classes to swap out spellcasting for other abilities, but I would rather it be an option instead of the default.


Stephen Klauk wrote:

Rangers & Paladins have had spell access from 1E, so as far as I'm concerned, they've always had it.

That said, their spell lists suck. That's been affirmed by my players as far back as 1E. If these two classes had their own distinct lists of spells that were useful to them (such as spells like Arrow Mind and Holy Weapon), that would be much better.

I am also not against allowing these two classes to swap out spellcasting for other abilities, but I would rather it be an option instead of the default.

Amen :-)

Absolutely. I like rangers and paladins with access to some spells, but give them something useful omg. Curse of Impeding Blades of Ranger is a good example, nice spell.

For some suggestions above, I really like the fighting-style-line of paladin. For example, my brother always hated paladin's mount. When he got the possibility to use paladin's holy weapon (some alternative class feature, not sure from which book - will give you a personal weapon instead of personal mount) his problems were solved. So a paladin which would be able to choose between mounted combat and normal combat (probably with two-handed weapons) could be nice. Plus, always good if your warrior character has not to spend all these feats to make himself a bit more effective (and still be worse than fighter).

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