Words of Power Discussion


Round 2: Words of Power Discussion

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Paizo Employee Director of Game Design

Welcome to the second part of the Ultimate Magic playtest. In this round, we are going to be looking at the Words of Power alternate spellcasting system. This messageboard is general discussion of the system.

The purpose of this messageboard is to give playtesters a place to discuss their observations, concerns, and ideas concerning the system. While not as valuable to the process as actual playtest data, this board will ensure that everyone’s ideas are heard. While we expect many playtesters to be passionate about their ideas, please be mindful that not everyone shares the same view point and that we are all working toward the same goal. Be respectful and be civil.

If you have any questions or comments about this process, you can ask them here or in the Ultimate Magic general discussion forum. Thank you for participating. I look forward to seeing your ideas.

Jason Bulmahn
Lead Designer
Paizo Publishing

The Exchange

Ah. Love the specifically separated threads. Getting the PDF now. :D

Also...:
First!


Second?


Woot!

Enjoy folks, but realize that the Words of Power playtest is not PFS legal.

Hyrum.


Hooray! I'm downloading it now. :)


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Wow. Can't believe I stumbled upon this right at the outset. I just downloaded and skimmed the rules. Looks very interesting. I always liked the idea of breaking down magic into various formulae and building spells on a case-by-case basis.

But my first suggestion would be to replace "words of power spells" with "incantations". I'm not sure if "Incanter" is better than "Wordcaster", however. Maybe go Stephen King's Dark Tower route with "Wordslinger".


Had a quick read through this.

This is absolutely great. I've always wanted a system where I can fiddle with the spells myself and customize them to my own needs, and metamagic never quite got it right.

Excellent stuff, look forward to playtesting.


Reminds a bit Hero System.

Liberty's Edge

Ooo, I like Incanter.

It's looking good so far! I can't wait to try this out!

The Exchange

Just gave it a quick once over. Wow. Looks nice and very flexible.

Not sure if I'll be able to playtest it at all, but I look forward to my next heavy caster character.


Just looked it over and I will be rolling a couple of test characters up to see how they feel. Looking forward to taking one out for a test game.

On a flavor note it would be interesting if it listed out what the words were. So people could have the completed spells given in words and not a large bust acid wave.

Paizo Employee Senior Software Developer

Hargert wrote:
On a flavor note it would be interesting if it listed out what the words were. So people could have the completed spells given in words and not a large bust acid wave.

Those aren't the actual words?? And here I was thinking how cool it was that my dead cat was a Fear word.


My name is a killing word. ;)

Hyrum.


Paizo Charter Superscriber; Pathfinder Companion, Pathfinder Accessories Subscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber
Hyrum Savage wrote:

My name is a killing word. ;)

Hyrum.

Incidentally, how is your name pronounced? Is it more like Hai-rum or rather Hee-rum?

Shadow Lodge

Hmm I wish they would have done away with preparing spells (words) with this. Other than that its pretty good.

RPG Superstar 2011 Top 8

My more or less immediate, stream of consciousness observations:

So are any more 1 Cost words going to be added? Its a bit rough to have to "waste" so many of your point allotments for level 1 spell slots: most of them are only legal at 4 points. The Word Burning feat looks like it should let you get around this to a certain degree from level 5 on, but until then you are gonna be wasting a couple points in Cost a day.

Thats said, with the ability to tack extra spell effects on to Servitor words is pretty awesome. Not unbalanced or anything, just a new, cool option.

Weirdest legal (as far as I can tell) level 1 spell... Small Cone Flame Jet Sense Magic. Burn the bad guys AND know who you want to loot first all in one go!


Hyrum Savage wrote:

Woot!

Enjoy folks, but realize that the Words of Power playtest is not PFS legal.

Hyrum.

Thank you. This would have been a lot more difficult to juggle than the playtest classes were.


Nice very nice.

Several things though-
force shield is worse than mage armor- flat out worse- this is problematic.

Enhance Form is [i]better[i/] than the spells it copies... cool

Glimmering seems to be the same as silent image, but is a third level effect...odd- it's a cheap effect though, no reason to NOT combine it with echo.

Another problem- I don't know what else is in store, will I be able to rebuild mage's magnificent mansion? I don't know, but the utter lack of long-term effects bothers me. There should be words that extend duration. I love all-day duration spells, even if they tend to be less potent than short term spells.


One awesome thing is that it really closes the gap in power between the sorcerer and the wizard, the sorcerer is SO flexible with these rules.


I'm not digging force shield's name, either. At first glance I expected it to be shield AC, not armor AC.

It also seems basically everything took a hit to duration. In fact, the word 'hour' doesn't seem to appear in the PDF at all. I'm sort of curious as to what the rationale is behind that.

Also the rules seem to contradict themselves as regards durations...

Page 3 wrote:

The durations of multiple effects are tracked separately.

See the Effect Word section for more information on
adding multiple effect words to a single spell.
Page 6 wrote:

Duration: This is the duration of the spell. If a spell has

more than one effect word, the shorter duration is used.

I assume it's the latter, partly because the former seems like it opens up shenanigans but mostly because the latter is where the actual rules are enumerated.


This entire mechanic reminds me of epic spellcasting (which, being the oddball that I am, find awesome), as such I'm going to assume that once the first part of the playtest is over, the next set of words will have to do with changing durations, ranges, areas, and other such things.


Just checking it out now... Of the top of my head,
it seems like Eidolons to Animal Companions but for spells.

First thoughts:
-------------------------------------------------------------

Versatile Wordcaster Feat allowing Prepping of Non-WordofPower spells makes one wonder, shouln`t regular Casters have the reverse Feat? (Probably so, it`s just not within scope of the test)

Word Burning looks like Spellpoint fans´ re-allocation of spell levels, but mostly in favor of less high level spells and more low level spells (boosted with effect, but lower DCs... so most effective when not worrying about Save DCs). In effect, it`s like using Spellpoints only for Metamagic, but for actually specific effects rather than the generic Metamagic boosts. Cool.

It would be interesting to look at the costs for a Words of Power Wizard to add a # of Words to their ¨Word Book¨ compared to a similar repertoire of a ´normal´ Wizard´s Spell Book... at various levels, along with other dynamics (e.g. spell versatility would be exponential for Words of Power variant)... I could see variant costs being introduced, depending how this works out. My first concern there was Spell Books, but Scrolls could be looked at to, an obvious option for Word Casters being based on COST not Spell Level solely (allowing for Word Burned spells).

´Target Word´ seems like it could use some more specifics... I.e. each spell can only have one Target Word, but how does that effect each component Effect? If you have Target Word: Mass, do all Effects need to target the SAME creatures, or can you have a Target Word: Mass applying buffs to nearby allies and de-buffs or damage to nearby foes?

Is it really the intent that all of the spells become V/S/M(or F) and Standard Casting (including Summons?)
I don`t see why each Effect doesn`t have associated requirements, and combined Words use any components mentioned by any component...? I´m also surprised there is at least no ´special: Casting Time (1 Round) for the Servitor Words, for example.

Target creature type plays a big deal in regular spells (Person vs. Monster vs. Animal), is there any mechanism to continue this or does condensing everything to personal/single/mass/area just get rid of that aspect (and allow alot more spells to be used on alot more targets)? Would ´Single´ default to Humanoid and ´Single Animal´/´Single Monster´ be other available words (with higher cost)? Or is target type restrictions just dealt with within the Effects?

Some spells` affects can normally be re-shaped and some cannot. Would this be a separate word addable to ANY effect, or would certain effects have ´built in´ that their lines/areas can be manipulated?

I like the ´Only benefits from 1 School / All penalties from schools apply´ dynamic.

RE: Saving Throws, I seriously don`t like the idea that it is trivially easy to create spell combos which can target saving throw of choice. I`m ALMOST OK with the Manifestation/Mind Warp Meta-Word (Will->Fort) because it has a Cost (though normal Casters don`t have anything like this, and even higher level Spells hew very close to what Save they ´should´ have based on effect type), but being able to choose Target Save simply by adding a different Save-targetting effect of equal cost just seems to easy to abuse... Why even bother with the cost for Meta-Words when you can just find another Effect of equal cost and get to choose the Save ON TOP of a 2nd Effect? Saves should be distinct, otherwise there might as well just be ONE Save.

Boosts to allow different targets or other effects seems very unwieldy to track...
I`d rather just have a different word i.e. ¨Enhance Single Form / Enhance Multi Form¨... For such cases, you could say that a Caster learns both ´Variants´ of a Word with the same Known Words slot, e.g. both Single and Multi versions. ...Though that might feel repetitive if you need a Mass Effect Word on top of the Mass Target Word...?

More wording advice on a final product: rather than explaining that a boosted cost is increased by the same difference as the normal X(solo)/Y(multi) costs, it`s much more direct and hassle-free to just use the same format: boostcost(soloeffect)/boostcost(multieffect). If it`s statted out more like a (semi) separate Word (it doesn`t need to repeat all info if presented as a ´variant´ that one learns along with the main version), that would almost be automatic, I`d think.

Enhance Body`s allowance for the Target to prematurely (which should specified such that it can`t be triggered on final round) end the spell effect at will (via Swift Action) to double the enhancement bonus for 1 final round is an interesting improvement on the normal spell. I can see characters getting an ´extra´ casting (or 2, 3...) of Enhance Body cast on them, even if they have permanent magic items which normally equal/surpass it, so that they can ´surge´ at-will. There would be easily fixable wording issues with ´target ends spell´ when boosted to a Mass spell...

Ice Blast`s usage of Caster Level as determinant of the ¨HPs¨ of the effect (vs. Fire) is novel (I like it).

I find it interesting that Duration is not a separate Word...
I guess it`s preferable for different Effects to have their won independent Duration?
And Metamagic Extend Spell would still be the method to change Duration?

What IS the point exactly of the ´typing´ of the Words?
Simply that you cannot combine two words from the same group (e.g. Fire Barrier + Fireball)?
Or would there be ¨Word Name Type¨ specific bonuses/etc?
It seems like there needs to be a more easily referenced NAME for this ¨Word Name type¨ category.
I`m sure something very flavorful could be worked up for the final product.
I notice that while each Word type MOSTLY aligns with a Magic School / Sub-School, some of them don`t, e.g. Barrier and Elemental type Words covering both Evocation and Conjuration... Which also brings up that it`s strange that Ice Barrier (Barrier Word) is not also a Cold Word? Would words classified as multiple types be valid? (which would be extra restricting for multi Effect Word spells, obviously)

The `Fear` word name type seems mis-named, if it includes a word which doesn´t have anything to do with Fear effects, but just does straight (Untyped) damage. I suppose that`s motivated around stacking multi-effect Word Combo´s (which can`t combine Words of same Name Type), but a better name would make including damage within this Name Type seem more appropriate.

Combining effects with Summoned Creatures is very interesting... I got into this earlier, but is there anything stopping you from having a spell Summoning a Creature (Target Word Single) and also applying some de-buff/effect to another Enemy who may or may not be close to where the Summons appears?

I`m slightly confused by the Target line for these (which all read Single, when Summons can of course Summon multiple lower level creatures). Are Summons being restricted to only 1 creature for now? I suppose multi-Summons could be done as ´Variations´ on the main Servitor Words (both variants learned with 1 known word), with the difference being the Target Word (Mass).

-----------------------------------------------------------------

Overall, it just seems like this system would be exploitable to get around action economy, i.e. you make your high level buff spell encompassing haste, various bonuses, enlarge, etc, all in one spell. likewise for generic de-buff vs. enemies - or why not do both in one spell? Obviously, one is still stuck with the same Vancian spell slots, but at high level where most FulL Casters don´t have as big of a problem running out, I think this issue would crop up.

Personally, I don`t think I`m in the market for this rule-set, even if I think it`s interesting to `deconstruct´ Eidolon-style how spells are built... It just seems like way too much work for BOTH prepared and spontaneous casters to use this...

For prepared casters, it would just increase prep time even more and I would just end up using the same ´spells´ almost all the time because re-jigging is too much effort. For sorcerors to custom-jig a spell each casting is also not going to happen, i´m just going to have the same spell/word combos that I always use... If anything, it would be easier for sorcerors if it were a completely point based system, because then I could just look at my words and call out the ones I wanted, but having to fit each Word Combo into the cost of a spell slot (along with variable costs ala Boosts) makes it more complicated, enough that I´d stick with the same Word Combos over and over. I definitely don`t think this is good for speeding up game play...

---------------------------------------------------------------

Good luck, I hope this feedback was helpful!


Quote:
RE: Saving Throws, I seriously don`t like the idea that it is trivially easy to create spell combos which can target saving throw of choice. I`m ALMOST OK with the Manifestation/Mind Warp Meta-Word (Will->Fort) because it has a Cost (though normal Casters don`t have anything like this, and even higher level Spells hew very close to what Save they ´should´ have based on effect type), but being able to choose Target Save simply by adding a different Save-targetting effect of equal cost just seems to easy to abuse...

To expand on this, Rogues (and others) have Evasion.

Obviously, Evocation damage effects are available at low spell level, and scale well with caster level.
Tacking another equivalent cost effect for a spell level or 2 higher (gaining higher DC) allows shifting the Evocation damage to a non-Reflex Save, i.e. completely negating Evasion at zero extra cost for the Caster - Getting off 2 effects should normally be worth the cost of the higher slot, since that what the system presumes even when you aren`t getting extra benefits like Saving Throw Shopping.

If including some sort of ¨Saving Throw Shopping¨ is a big design goal,
I would suggest getting rid of the ´freely choosing Save type between Effects with identical cost´, and instead have a general rule that Effects with different Save Types can`t be combined... Unless you use a Meta Word to do so. That at least ensures there is extra cost to doing this...

Liberty's Edge

I love how the mechanics set up for this new system of wordcasting,it is a simple way to allow players to make up spells that do practically everything they want. I honestly cannot wait to see the cleric or druid list for it, and maybe a few more feats, like... metamagic feats specifically for words of power usage.


Zaister wrote:
Hyrum Savage wrote:

My name is a killing word. ;)

Hyrum.

Incidentally, how is your name pronounced? Is it more like Hai-rum or rather Hee-rum?

The first, or as I like to say, "It's like you get High on Rum." :)

The Exchange

Pathfinder Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

I can't make detect magic with this system... and what I can make is a 1st level slot and inherently worse (as in 20ft cone and 1st Level!)... Also the servitor words... seem... off. It's like admitting that the original summon monster spells weren't quite up to snuff... I mean sure with the summon monster spell you can get either the 1 creature or 1d3 of the previous level or 1d4+1 of any level lower then that... but now I can add an armor bonus or a stat boost (to finish off the trinity augment summon started) to a ninth level summon spell. Neat and I don't think unbalancing... but it does say something about summon monster spells I think.

That being said I do like the concept and I am going to be checking it out, making some spells and maybe posting a few up here.

Edit: Also I want to check through a bit more... I'm kinda worried about the word burning thing... I mean I already figured out a 0th level spell that I could cast that would be an immediate action +1 to AC to yourself or another target in close range... Broken? nah probably not but definitely interesting.


I think the system itself has a great deal of potential, but I'm not really sure what you are expected in terms of a playtest when you've limited - through word choices - people to only a handful of possible effects. You can play a summoner, or a blaster, and that's about it with the current words. These should be two of the easiest things to eyeball balance on to start with - the two that are least in needs of a play test. You can't effectively play a debuffer. You can't effectively play a buffer that doesn't focus on 1 or 2 effects.

A large number of extremely important words just in terms of day to day utility for any caster are missing entirely; everything from teleport, to sending, to haste, to slow, to any kind of effective abjuration. You can't make any buffs that last longer than minutes (a serious cut to some of the basic buffs like mage armor), or do anything about various common and deadly attack methods (like mind control).

Just what kind of playtesting do you expect? I can't see this working in anything but one shot adventures given the missing effects. I think the ideas behind this system are sound, and potentially very interesting in play, but there isn't a single character in any of the games I'm involved in for any player that could make use of this system for the duration of the play test without being a completely different and much less useful creation.

Just a thought. I'm sure you'll get some useful feedback, but if you expanded the list of words a bit you'd probably get far more.

Dark Archive

Truenames.

At least the last 2 incarnations of the game (2nd and 3.X edition) had different flavor and mechanics for using this type of thing (the latest being the stuff from the ToM which isn't OGL), but when I hear "Words of Power" one of the first things that comes to mind is truenames.

How you would find out the truename of a thing or a person isn't something I care to explore in this post, but if you take, say the Power category (since power word spells are the most potent words, hence Words of Power using Power words gives you a lot of power, tee hee) or any of the other categories, and then added the truename of the target or object to the phrase, maybe it could have some sort of penalty to the target or benefit to the caster.

Just a thought. Like to see if it goes anywhere. That being said, I would like to see it go somewhere new that hasn't really been done before but has the same flavor and dire consequences that truenames have had in past incarnations.


Quandary wrote:


If including some sort of ¨Saving Throw Shopping¨ is a big design goal,
I would suggest getting rid of the ´freely choosing Save type between Effects with identical cost´, and instead have a general rule that Effects with different Save Types can`t be combined... Unless you use a Meta Word to do so. That at least ensures there is extra cost to doing this...

Or, simply, "allow all saving throws that the effects combined allow". So if you've got a ref half effect and a fort negates effect, they get to make both saves; reflex halves all effects and fortitude negates all effects.

Liberty's Edge

Pathfinder Companion, Pawns Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber

I'm having trouble finding an answer to one specific question, and it seems like the answer I do have is not the one that most of the other people on the board are using.

What is the effective "level" of a word-based spell: the highest level of the words it contains, or the spell slot used to cast it (and generate its word cost)?


I'm going to ask the question, as I think the emperor's not wearing any clothes:

Why bother with the Words of Power system at all?

I mean, we all love Vancian spellcasting, right?

The Ultimate Magic book only has 100 new spells - not very ultimate given that the 3.5 Spell Compendium had what, 1000?

I'd rather trade in what could be argued to be an unnecessary new spellcasting system and get the extra spells.

Am I alone in wondering why on earth precious Paizo time is being spent on this?


Pathfinder Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Shisumo wrote:

I'm having trouble finding an answer to one specific question, and it seems like the answer I do have is not the one that most of the other people on the board are using.

What is the effective "level" of a word-based spell: the highest level of the words it contains, or the spell slot used to cast it (and generate its word cost)?

A spell cannot have a word with a higher level, so the spell slot you use caps the word level. Effective 'level' for things like saves and for other effects that use spell level is the spell slot.

Liberty's Edge

Pathfinder Companion, Pawns Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber
Kolokotroni wrote:
Shisumo wrote:

I'm having trouble finding an answer to one specific question, and it seems like the answer I do have is not the one that most of the other people on the board are using.

What is the effective "level" of a word-based spell: the highest level of the words it contains, or the spell slot used to cast it (and generate its word cost)?

A spell cannot have a word with a higher level, so the spell slot you use caps the word level. Effective 'level' for things like saves and for other effects that use spell level is the spell slot.

Can you show me in the PDF where this is explicitly laid out?


Pathfinder Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Shisumo wrote:
Kolokotroni wrote:
Shisumo wrote:

I'm having trouble finding an answer to one specific question, and it seems like the answer I do have is not the one that most of the other people on the board are using.

What is the effective "level" of a word-based spell: the highest level of the words it contains, or the spell slot used to cast it (and generate its word cost)?

A spell cannot have a word with a higher level, so the spell slot you use caps the word level. Effective 'level' for things like saves and for other effects that use spell level is the spell slot.
Can you show me in the PDF where this is explicitly laid out?

Page 4: "Level: This lists the class (in the case of target words,

all spellcasting classes) and level of the target word. A
spell cannot contain a target word higher than its level"

Page 6: "Level: This lists the classes that can learn the word and
the word’s level for members of that class. Note that an
individual spell can contain no words of a level higher
than the spell."

Edit, hit submit too early:
The spell level Has to be set by the spell slot, in addition:
Also from Page 4:
"The DC for any saving throw called for by the spell is
calculated the same way as for any other spell of that level.
Wordcasters use the same ability score to determine their
DC as do ordinary spellcasters of their class."

Liberty's Edge

Pathfinder Companion, Pawns Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber
Kolokotroni wrote:
Shisumo wrote:
Kolokotroni wrote:
Shisumo wrote:

I'm having trouble finding an answer to one specific question, and it seems like the answer I do have is not the one that most of the other people on the board are using.

What is the effective "level" of a word-based spell: the highest level of the words it contains, or the spell slot used to cast it (and generate its word cost)?

A spell cannot have a word with a higher level, so the spell slot you use caps the word level. Effective 'level' for things like saves and for other effects that use spell level is the spell slot.
Can you show me in the PDF where this is explicitly laid out?

Page 4: "Level: This lists the class (in the case of target words,all spellcasting classes) and level of the target word. A spell cannot contain a target word higher than its level"

Page 6: "Level: This lists the classes that can learn the word and the word’s level for members of that class. Note that an individual spell can contain no words of a level higher than the spell."

Edit, hit submit too early:
The spell level Has to be set by the spell slot, in addition:
Also from Page 4:
"The DC for any saving throw called for by the spell is calculated the same way as for any other spell of that level. Wordcasters use the same ability score to determine their DC as do ordinary spellcasters of their class."

None of that seems to add up to what you said. In traditional spellcasting, a spell's level and the slot used to cast it are extremely distinct; I'm not seeing how that is different here, particularly since it seems to completely obviate the need for Heighten Spell. It is just as possible to read the rules as saying that a given spell slot stipulates the maximum cost of a spell, but that the words themselves are the source of the spell's level; indeed, that latter option seems closer to standard spellcasting.

Is there something more explicit, something that actually says something to the effect of, "The spell slot used to generate the spell's cost is used to calculate the spell's level?" If there isn't, and it is indeed intended that we use the spell slot to calculate the spell level, I strongly recommend including wording that clarifies the matter.


Pathfinder Card Game Subscriber

From the saving throw section, page 6:

The save DC is equal to 10 + the spell’s level (not
the word’s level) + the wordcaster’s spellcasting ability
score modif ier (Intelligence for wizards, Wisdom for
clerics, druids, and rangers, and Charisma for bards,
paladins, and sorcerers).

It then goes on and gives a good example. I think this is rather explicit.


Pathfinder Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Shisumo wrote:

None of that seems to add up to what you said. In traditional spellcasting, a spell's level and the slot used to cast it are extremely distinct; I'm not seeing how that is different here, particularly since it seems to completely obviate the need for Heighten Spell. It is just as possible to read the rules as saying that a given spell slot stipulates the maximum cost of a spell, but that the words themselves are the source of the spell's level; indeed, that latter option seems closer to standard spellcasting.

Is there something more explicit, something that actually says something to the effect of, "The spell slot used to generate the spell's cost is used to calculate the spell's level?" If there isn't, and it is indeed intended that we use the spell slot to calculate the spell level, I strongly recommend including wording that clarifies the matter.

The rules explicately say "Note that an individual spell can contain no words of a level higher than the spell."

How can the spell level be determined by the words, and then the words be restricted by the spell level? Maybe they want to lay it out a little more explicately so people dont have to notice that restriction, but a rational person cannot believe based on the quoted lines that they intended word level to set the level of the spell.


The Far Wanderer wrote:

I'm going to ask the question, as I think the emperor's not wearing any clothes:

Why bother with the Words of Power system at all?

I mean, we all love Vancian spellcasting, right?

The Ultimate Magic book only has 100 new spells - not very ultimate given that the 3.5 Spell Compendium had what, 1000?

I'd rather trade in what could be argued to be an unnecessary new spellcasting system and get the extra spells.

Am I alone in wondering why on earth precious Paizo time is being spent on this?

Well the 3.5 spell compendium compiled a large portion of it's spells from other published books and merely put them all under 1 roof. So as far as totally new spells it did not have nearly 1000.

And secondly Paizo is all about Choices. I will probably never use this new magic system. I think it looks like a lot of work for not a lot of payoff. But to have it as an option for players is nice. They are trying to make players have to make fun and interesting choices in every aspect of the game that is why they are spending time on it. IMO.

RPG Superstar 2012 Top 32

In my case, Words of Power are going to be a godsend. No, literally. Some of my players want a more freeform, adaptable magic system that let's them build spells ala carte. This lets them do so and I, for one, am looking forward to testing this out over the weekend.


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
-Anvil- wrote:
The Far Wanderer wrote:

I'm going to ask the question, as I think the emperor's not wearing any clothes:

Why bother with the Words of Power system at all?

I mean, we all love Vancian spellcasting, right?

The Ultimate Magic book only has 100 new spells - not very ultimate given that the 3.5 Spell Compendium had what, 1000?

I'd rather trade in what could be argued to be an unnecessary new spellcasting system and get the extra spells.

Am I alone in wondering why on earth precious Paizo time is being spent on this?

Well the 3.5 spell compendium compiled a large portion of it's spells from other published books and merely put them all under 1 roof. So as far as totally new spells it did not have nearly 1000.

And secondly Paizo is all about Choices. I will probably never use this new magic system. I think it looks like a lot of work for not a lot of payoff. But to have it as an option for players is nice. They are trying to make players have to make fun and interesting choices in every aspect of the game that is why they are spending time on it. IMO.

To add to this, it's called Ultimate Magic, not Ultimate Spells. The Spell Compendium was a book for nothing but spells, this is a book for adding options to magic. Some of those options will be new spells. At least one of those options will be a new class. One of the options will be a new spellcasting system.

Many of us do not in fact "love Vancian spellcasting." Some people I know hate it. I'm ok with it, but prefer other variants. In fact, I'd rather have a second alternate spellcasting system rather than those new spells. I have the spell compendium already, and I rarely find myself wishing for more spells that are in the core rulebook (I play Wizards almost exclusively).

So while you are probably not alone in wishing Paizo would focus on something else, there are a lot of us that are very happy to see this new option. Not every option is for everyone (I doubt I'll ever play a Magus, for example), but that doesn't mean they should spend time on a variety of things.


As written, the restrictions are the dealbreaker for me. The goal of this system is flexibility, which is almost immediately undermined by imposing targeting and rules restrictions on most of the words that it would be fun to combine and try. Personal only? Single only? Can't combine with other effect words? What's the purpose of even having "words" that are as constrained as spells?

Paizo Employee Director of Game Design

Hey there folks,

I want to come out and state something here. We are putting out a fair amount of rules content and I think its safe to say that not every piece is going to suit every player or GM. That is only natural. To say that we should not spend time on a system that you don't like though is a bit short sighted.

We need to explore the rules, to push boundaries and to look in new directions. If you just want more of what you already have, you will not be disappointed. You are going to get new spells and feats and class options. As Lead Designer, I have decided that a part of each of our books is going to be spent exploring new ground. This is important for the game to grow and evolve. You are not going to fall in love with every one of these expansions, but its your game and that's ok. You can choose not to use it.

Lets just not get upset about a system that not taking up a huge footprint in this book.

Jason Bulmahn
Lead Designer
Paizo Publishing


Mass Wrack seems like a spell that might be a little broken. It just keeps scaling longer and affecting more targets while still debuffing and it is a first level spell.

Also I see building spells you like from this and writing down what the effects are. Servitor could get crazy with more low level body spells and still summoning an effective monster of that level. Right now I see casting servitor I and force block as better than summon monster I and is still a first level spell.


Jason Bulmahn wrote:

Hey there folks,

I want to come out and state something here. We are putting out a fair amount of rules content and I think its safe to say that not every piece is going to suit every player or GM. That is only natural. To say that we should not spend time on a system that you don't like though is a bit short sighted.

We need to explore the rules, to push boundaries and to look in new directions. If you just want more of what you already have, you will not be disappointed. You are going to get new spells and feats and class options. As Lead Designer, I have decided that a part of each of our books is going to be spent exploring new ground. This is important for the game to grow and evolve. You are not going to fall in love with every one of these expansions, but its your game and that's ok. You can choose not to use it.

Lets just not get upset about a system that not taking up a huge footprint in this book.

Jason Bulmahn
Lead Designer
Paizo Publishing

It's kind of sad how often Jason has to repeat this.


Jason Bulmahn wrote:

Hey there folks,

I want to come out and state something here. We are putting out a fair amount of rules content and I think its safe to say that not every piece is going to suit every player or GM. That is only natural. To say that we should not spend time on a system that you don't like though is a bit short sighted.

We need to explore the rules, to push boundaries and to look in new directions. If you just want more of what you already have, you will not be disappointed. You are going to get new spells and feats and class options. As Lead Designer, I have decided that a part of each of our books is going to be spent exploring new ground. This is important for the game to grow and evolve. You are not going to fall in love with every one of these expansions, but its your game and that's ok. You can choose not to use it.

Lets just not get upset about a system that not taking up a huge footprint in this book.

Jason Bulmahn
Lead Designer
Paizo Publishing

I think this system will be awesome and I will be using it when it comes out. The system does need some more work before it is great though.

I will be playtesting it in the next few weeks.

Liberty's Edge

Seems like unnecessary bloat to me and I don't want to mess with it.

Then don't mess with it, right? Yeah, except now when you look for a game it will either be a wordcasting game or a spellcasting game, or both, and you better know how it all works. This game doesn't lack for rules as it is, and this "new ground" just seems like more bureaucracy.


Jason Bulmahn wrote:

Hey there folks,

I want to come out and state something here. We are putting out a fair amount of rules content and I think its safe to say that not every piece is going to suit every player or GM. That is only natural. To say that we should not spend time on a system that you don't like though is a bit short sighted.

We need to explore the rules, to push boundaries and to look in new directions. If you just want more of what you already have, you will not be disappointed. You are going to get new spells and feats and class options. As Lead Designer, I have decided that a part of each of our books is going to be spent exploring new ground. This is important for the game to grow and evolve. You are not going to fall in love with every one of these expansions, but its your game and that's ok. You can choose not to use it.

Lets just not get upset about a system that not taking up a huge footprint in this book.

Jason Bulmahn
Lead Designer
Paizo Publishing

I totally agree, either you like it and use it or don't - don't hate on the designers for trying something new-ish with the system. You guys put a LOT of work into Pathfinder, and I for one am thankful. The d20 system has really come a long way with Paizo, and it's never looked or run better, IMO.

On the flip side, I personally would have preferred to see a Spell Point system come into play, because mechanically it fits the system better. GURPS has used a 'word based' magic system for about 20 years now (GURPS Magic book has exensive rules on it) and it fit REALLY well...in GURPS. I think it's ballsy to try this in what is really a fairly rigid system (d20) and I'm interested in seeing how well it pulls off. So far, the rules seem really kludgy, which I would expect when trying to fit such levels of customization into the d20 template, but this egg ain't done cooking yet, ;)

Kudos on your good work guys, keep it up.

Paizo Employee Creative Director

I don't want to see this playtest devolve into bickering and snide comments. Please keep focused on the playtest and don't use them as a way to snipe at other games, other play styles, or other posters.

I've removed a post already that crossed this boundary.

EDIT: Make that two posts.

Please be good to each other.

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