Spell Mastery for Witches, Magi, and Alchemists in PFS


Pathfinder Society

Liberty's Edge

10 people marked this as FAQ candidate. 2 people marked this as a favorite.

Recently, the design team clarified that the Spell Mastery feat in the Core Rulebook by RAW applies only to wizards, but could easily be expanded to apply to witches, magi, and alchemists.
Link

Sean K. Reynolds then went on to say that the only reason this feat could not be officially changed was because it would then have to reference classes that were not in the core rulebook:

Sean K Reynolds wrote:

We can't errata Spell Mastery in the Core Rulebook to mention three classes that aren't in the Core Rulebook, that'll just confuse people who only have the Core Rulebook.

We can give the green light for anyone to houserule it to affect those classes, and that sets a precedent for the PFS team to make that an official ruling for PFS play.

In light of this, would it be possible to get a "PFS Houserule" allowing witches, magi, and alchemists to take the Spell Mastery feat (and therefore prepare a small number of spells without their familiar/spellbook/formula book)?

Grand Lodge RPG Superstar 2012 Top 32

4 people marked this as a favorite.

I like the idea, but I shudder to imagine years of "Well PFS houseruled Spell Mastery to include classes that aren't written, so I see no reason they couldn't houserule X to do Y instead of what it actually does" showing up on the boards twice a week.

Liberty's Edge

Jiggy wrote:
I like the idea, but I shudder to imagine years of "Well PFS houseruled Spell Mastery to include classes that aren't written, so I see no reason they couldn't houserule X to do Y instead of what it actually does" showing up on the boards twice a week.

In this case, it would be SKR giving the greenlight. :)

And it's not like there aren't hundreds of posts asking for rules changes on the boards every week anyway...

Grand Lodge RPG Superstar 2012 Top 32

Come to think of it, PFS Houserule requests usually come with a tagline of "But PFS already houserules the wizard class to give Spell Focus instead of Scribe Scroll rather than ban the class, so why can't they just houserule [insert obscure splatbook feat] instead of banning it?"

Even so, I'm very leery of the idea of giving them more ammo.


If you read the linked post, I think the interaction with Magaambyan Arcanist PrC is an important part for PFS. I can think of one local person who is building up a witch currently to become one, and this will probably be a downer.

Sczarni 4/5

Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Adventure, Companion, Lost Omens Subscriber
Jiggy wrote:
I like the idea, but I shudder to imagine years of "Well PFS houseruled Spell Mastery to include classes that aren't written, so I see no reason they couldn't houserule X to do Y instead of what it actually does" showing up on the boards twice a week.

shrug there are links for each FAQ, this could be put next to the blogs in the additional resources page if it is deemed worthwhile by PFS leadership... therefore it would be much more based off a clarification than as a houserule.

Lantern Lodge

Opening this feat up to several other classes makes perfect sense, what if a witch loses it's familiar? Or if the magus, or alchemist lost their spellbook or formula book.

This ruling would also allow classes other then the wizard to take the Magaambyan Arcanist prestige class (that actually references the witch in the text).

I agree that this is more of a clarification then a "House Rule"

Sovereign Court

I can agree with the Witch and the Magus. Don't think it should apply to the Alchemist.

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Morgen wrote:
I can agree with the Witch and the Magus. Don't think it should apply to the Alchemist.

I disagree on the witch because the witch doesn't learn spells, her familiar does. She's intended to be dependent on that one creature whereas a wizard can keep as many spare spellbooks as he can afford. On the other hand those books are of definite fixed capacity and bulk as opposed to being self mobile and self aware.

The rule as it is is fine, maybe add magi as an inclusion, but I really can't see a magus spending a feat slot on it.


I'm the OP of the other thread and accidentally started a PFS thread, not noticing this one until now. Here's my duplicated post:

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

I started this thread wondering why the feat Spell Mastery was only available to wizards and not magi, alchemists, and witches. Here's the feat as it is written:

Spell Mastery:

CRB wrote:

Spell Mastery

You have mastered a small handful of spells, and can prepare these spells without referencing your spellbooks at all.
Prerequisite: 1st-level wizard
Benefit: Each time you take this feat, choose a number of spells that you already know equal to your Intelligence modifier. From that point on, you can prepare these spells without referring to a spellbook.
Normal: Without this feat, you must use a spellbook to prepare all your spells, except Read Magic

Several days later I got a response with this update to the FAQ:

FAQ wrote:

Spell Mastery: Can an alchemist, magus, or witch select this feat?

As written, no, as the feat's prerequisite is "1st-level wizard."
However, the feat was written before the existence of the alchemist, magus, and witch classes, and it is a perfectly reasonable house rule to allow those classes to select the feat and apply its benefits to an alchemist's formula book, magus's spellbook, or witch's familiar.

Sean Reynolds responded in my first post linked above with the following:

Quote:
Knowing what we know now, it would have been smart to do the Rapid Reload thing for the APG, printing an updated version of Spell Mastery that allows for alchemists and witches to select it, and hopefully wording it so it would be obvious that the magus (which wasn't published until 8 months later) could select it as well. Or (less efficiently) make feats equivalent to Spell Mastery for the alchemist and witch, and note in Ultimate Magic that magi can select Spell Mastery. But hindsight is 20/20.

Could we possibly get a ruling to make this "perfectly reasonable house rule" PFS legal, thereby opening up Spell Mastery to alchemists, magi, and witches?

Thanks!

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

As for any arguments about alchemists and witches, I think the original purpose of the feat and most useful implementation of the feat is for a wizard to be able to prepare a few spells if his spellbook is lost, destroyed, or stolen.

The same situation can happen if a magus loses his spellbook, an alchemist loses his formula book, or a witch loses her familiar (or the familiar dies). This feat gives those classes the same possibility to prepare a few spells (or extracts) until they can replace their spellbook/formula book/familiar. I think "perfectly reasonable" was a great way to put it and I see no problem with making this spell PFS legal for wizards, magi, alchemists, and witches.

full disclosure:
Yes, I too wanted to make a Witch > Magaambyan Arcanist and that was my original reason for posting about the feat and then pushing for PFS legality of the FAQ ruling. The Magaambyan Arcanist PrC brought the problem to my attention because the way it is written makes it seem like the author intended for the PrC to be available to witches as well. Obviously the author assumed the feat was already available to witches, as I did until I looked it up and saw *jaw drop* the prerequisite of being a "1st-level wizard".

Shadow Lodge

Sean K Reynolds wrote:

We can't errata Spell Mastery in the Core Rulebook to mention three classes that aren't in the Core Rulebook, that'll just confuse people who only have the Core Rulebook.

We can give the green light for anyone to houserule it to affect those classes, and that sets a precedent for the PFS team to make that an official ruling for PFS play.

The core rulebook wouldn't actually need to list out the classes, the prereq would just need to be changed to "Prepared Arcane Spellcaster", that would allow the Wizard, Magus, and Witch to use it and then make some errata that says that the Alchemist counts as a prepared arcane spellcaster for feat purposes.

Just thought I'd throw that out there.

Sovereign Court

LazarX wrote:

I disagree on the witch because the witch doesn't learn spells, her familiar does. She's intended to be dependent on that one creature whereas a wizard can keep as many spare spellbooks as he can afford. On the other hand those books are of definite fixed capacity and bulk as opposed to being self mobile and self aware.

The rule as it is is fine, maybe add magi as an inclusion, but I really can't see a magus spending a feat slot on it.

Hmmm, that's a good point too. Alright, so only Magi should also have access.

5/5 5/55/55/5

Is this a feat tax for a good feat or something? I can't see why anyone would WANT to take it.

Lantern Lodge

BigNorseWolf wrote:
Is this a feat tax for a good feat or something? I can't see why anyone would WANT to take it.

I know a guy that has 2 thumbs and would take it on his Maagambyan Arcanist/Witch...THIS GUY!

Dark Archive

But... if Ultimate Magic results in the Magus being able to take the feat, doesn't that make it PFS legal? Or did I miss something again..


Christopher Fuller wrote:
BigNorseWolf wrote:
Is this a feat tax for a good feat or something? I can't see why anyone would WANT to take it.
I know a guy that has 2 thumbs and would take it on his Maagambyan Arcanist/Witch...THIS GUY!

I've got two thumbs as well. In case you missed my "Full Disclosure" spoiler above, it's a requirement for the Magaambyan PrC. But even without that it's still a useful feat for wizards, magi, alchemists, and witches.


Kyle O'Hara wrote:
But... if Ultimate Magic results in the Magus being able to take the feat, doesn't that make it PFS legal? Or did I miss something again..

The feat is only in the Core Rule Book, it was not reprinted in the APG, UM, or UC. But the argument is (and Sean Reynolds has said as much) that it should have been rewritten (a la Rapid Reload) to include magi, alchemists, and witches.

CRB wrote:

Spell Mastery

You have mastered a small handful of spells, and can prepare these spells without referencing your spellbooks at all.
Prerequisite: 1st-level wizard
Benefit: Each time you take this feat, choose a number of spells that you already know equal to your Intelligence modifier. From that point on, you can prepare these spells without referring to a spellbook.
Normal: Without this feat, you must use a spellbook to prepare all your spells, except Read Magic.

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Kyle O'Hara wrote:
But... if Ultimate Magic results in the Magus being able to take the feat, doesn't that make it PFS legal? Or did I miss something again..

The only things that are PFS legal are those options SPECIFICALLY SPECIFIED in Additional Resources. If it's not there, you can't have it. So you still have to have elf blood to be an Arcane Archer for instance despite what's been said on the forums.

Shadow Lodge

LazarX wrote:
Kyle O'Hara wrote:
But... if Ultimate Magic results in the Magus being able to take the feat, doesn't that make it PFS legal? Or did I miss something again..
The only things that are PFS legal are those options SPECIFICALLY SPECIFIED in Additional Resources. If it's not there, you can't have it. So you still have to have elf blood to be an Arcane Archer for instance despite what's been said on the forums.

No you don't read the errata for the core rule book


To be fair, that errata is still relatively new. I don't have a fifth printing of the CRB either. When in doubt check PRD :)

Shadow Lodge

Robert A Matthews wrote:
To be fair, that errata is still relatively new. I don't have a fifth printing of the CRB either. When in doubt check PRD :)

The errata for making Arcane Archer non-elf required is 5th printing, but the 6th printing errata was just released, the 5th printing dates back a to late 2011 at least.


LazarX wrote:
The only things that are PFS legal are those options SPECIFICALLY SPECIFIED in Additional Resources. If it's not there, you can't have it.

It's a brand-new FAQ. The PFS folks haven't had time to make a ruling on it yet.

Scarab Sages

Bump? Has there been any update on this? I imagine everyone is busy getting ready for GenCon.

Paizo Employee 5/5 Developer

Mike Tuholski wrote:
Bump? Has there been any update on this? I imagine everyone is busy getting ready for GenCon.

Getting ready for PaizoCon and Gen Con, really. I did talk with a few other folks about the possibility of house ruling Spell Mastery in this way, but with plenty of other projects keeping me busy on the home front, I imagine it might be a little while before you hear an official "yea" or "nay" from us (post-PaizoCon at least).

Scarab Sages

With GenCon now over, is there an ETA on this ruling? I know it's not a hot issue and probably at the bottom of the list but it doesn't seem overly controversial.

Scarab Sages

[obligatory monthly bump to check on progress of this]

Paizo Employee 5/5 Developer

2 people marked this as a favorite.

Mike and I spoke about it and other requests for rulings/bans/errata briefly yesterday, and I believe the plan is to discuss all of those further in the near future.


I've been on stand-by as well; can we get an update/ruling on this?

Scarab Sages

It has been a while.

Paizo Employee 5/5 Developer

1 person marked this as FAQ candidate. 19 people marked this as a favorite.

Good afternoon,

Mike and I have discussed this matter and come to a decision. This is based strongly on the FAQ update that allows one to create a house rule allowing an alchemist, magus, or witch (as spellcasters or extract-preparers that use a book or familiar to prepare spells) to take the feat.

In Pathfinder Society Organized Play, treat the prerequisite for Spell Mastery as though it read "able to prepare 1st-level arcane spells or prepare 1st-level extracts." As appropriate, treat any wizard-specific language in the feat as though it referenced the equivalent language for any qualifying class (e.g. "formula book" or "familiar" instead of "spellbook" or "extract" instead of "spell").

This is a clarification that we are using for Pathfinder Society Organized Play. We intend to update this in a future update of the Pathfinder Society FAQ.


John Compton wrote:
In Pathfinder Society Organized Play, treat the prerequisite for Spell Mastery as though it read "able to prepare 1st-level arcane spells or prepare 1st-level extracts." As appropriate, treat any wizard-specific language in the feat as though it referenced the equivalent language for any qualifying class (e.g. "formula book" or "familiar" instead of "spellbook" or "extract" instead of "spell")

Thumbs up.

Grand Lodge RPG Superstar 2012 Top 32

Awesome!

Scarab Sages

Thank you very much!

I'm sure lots of Magaambyan Arcanists out there just gave a big horray; opens up a lot more options for that PrC.

Shadow Lodge

John Compton wrote:

Good afternoon,

Mike and I have discussed this matter and come to a decision. This is based strongly on the FAQ update that allows one to create a house rule allowing an alchemist, magus, or witch (as spellcasters or extract-preparers that use a book or familiar to prepare spells) to take the feat.

In Pathfinder Society Organized Play, treat the prerequisite for Spell Mastery as though it read "able to prepare 1st-level arcane spells or prepare 1st-level extracts." As appropriate, treat any wizard-specific language in the feat as though it referenced the equivalent language for any qualifying class (e.g. "formula book" or "familiar" instead of "spellbook" or "extract" instead of "spell").

This is a clarification that we are using for Pathfinder Society Organized Play. We intend to update this in a future update of the Pathfinder Society FAQ.

Bumping this because it's been quite a while and I don't see this clarification on the Pathfinder Society FAQ yet.

To make sure, is this ruling still valid?

Liberty's Edge 4/5

In general, pronouncements by Mike or John on the forums are official, even if not yet in the FAQ. If necessary, you can use that message to point a GM to who isn't aware.

Shadow Lodge

I'm aware of that, but he said it was going to be added to the FAQ, but it seemingly wasn't, so I want to make sure that I'm not missing something that made it no longer a legal option before I start planning a witch with the feat.

Paizo Employee 5/5 Developer

At the time I made that post, my account was not set up to let me update the FAQ directly, but I now have that capacity. Once I am back in the office next week, I will make a point of adding that.

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