Arcanist: Spontaneous? Prepared? Neither? Both?


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I'm just wondering if there's a definitive answer anywhere about whether arcanists are spontaneous casters, prepared casters, neither, or both. In particular, I'm worried about two things:

1) Can an arcanist use a Runestone of Power, which is for spontaneous casters? There has been some discussion about using Runestones of Power but not for Consume Spells, and Jason Buhlman agreed, but there is no mention of the arcanist being a spontaneous caster, other than when it comes to metamagic, so my GM at home has ruled against this. However, since the item was re-released in the Advanced Class Guide, I have feel like the Runestone of Power is supposed to work with the arcanist. Does anyone have any text that suggests yes or no?

2) Does an arcanist suffer an increased casting time when using a metamagic rod? Prepared casters don't suffer from this increased casting time, while spontaneous casters do. The arcanist spell casting text states that an arcanist can spontaneously add metamagic feats to their spells with an increased casting time like a sorcerer, but can also prepare spells with metamagic beforehand and cast them at no penalty like a wizard. I couldn't find much text about it--again, does anyone have any text that suggests either argument?

Thanks!


This is the closest thing I can find to a definition of the terms in the core rulebook:
"Most spellcasters prepare spells in advance-whether from a spellbook or through prayers-while some cast spells spontaneously without preparation."

So apparently,
prepared caster = caster who prepares spells
spontaneous caster = caster who does not prepare spells

Under this definition, it seems that arcanists are prepared casters, not spontaneous casters.

But some more clarification would be very helpful.


I have the opposite view to Avoron. I find it more likely that you treat Arcanists as spontaneous casters who can alter their spells known list each day. Whether that proves to be the actual case in the final reckoning (assuming we get an FAQ), it does more accurately reflects what they actually do, and is therefore less likely to throw up rules 'hiccups'.


I feel by RAW it's more of a prepared class, but RAI seem to lean more toward spontaneous.


I agree with the defintion of spontaneous that avoron suggested, and come to the opposite conclusion he did.

Arcansits prepare spells known, not spell slots. He casts spontaneously. He is a sorcerer with a better repetoire. The distinction is preparing individual spell slots, versus preparing what spells you "know" for that day.

In regards to the metamagic issue, he can only cast the spell as a metamagic spell at its normal casting time if he prepares it as a spell known that way. If he tries to add metamagic after the fact he increases the casting time. The drawback is that the arcanist cannot cast the regular version of the spell without the metamagic (because it isn't prepared as a spell known) and so it requires a higher spell slot to cast it at all.

Liberty's Edge

I always viewed them as prepared casters,

I'm not sure where it was said but I've heard it mentioned that the Paizo staff once commented they were neither. But don't take that for much, I've never been able to find the actual comment saying so.


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Being a hybrid of wizard and sorcerer it isn't surprising that it's basically both. Allowing it to qualify as both seems a bit overpowered though.

Dark Archive

They're definitely prepared. The only sticking point is whether they can use spontaneous toys or not. After all, it is possible to be both (hi there cleric and druid.)


Haha, well it seems like we have votes for all options. How about the subquestions? Regardless of their status, would they be able to use Pearls of Power? Would they be able to cast using a metamagic rod as a standard action or a full-round action?


HSalgo wrote:
Haha, well it seems like we have votes for all options. How about the subquestions? Regardless of their status, would they be able to use Pearls of Power? Would they be able to cast using a metamagic rod as a standard action or a full-round action?

It would depend on whether they count as spontaneous or prepared.


HSalgo wrote:
Haha, well it seems like we have votes for all options. How about the subquestions? Regardless of their status, would they be able to use Pearls of Power? Would they be able to cast using a metamagic rod as a standard action or a full-round action?

They never expend the prepared spell, so no because there's nothing to recover.


The prepared/spontaneous paradigm is centered on how you treat the ability of what to cast when you refresh your daily allotment and not how you actually go about casting. For prepared casters, you have to select which spells you want to cast. Spontaneous casters can cast all their spells. The arcanist is a prepared caster.

Liberty's Edge

Yeah, the Pearls vs Ruenstones (and Prepared vs Spontaneous) debate has happened in a few other threads. After much debating, lots of well made arguments, nothing never came of them. It's ambiguous and really needs an FAQ.

Grand Lodge RPG Superstar 2012 Top 32

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The whole design goal of the arcanist's spellcasting mechanics was to blend the wizard and sorcerer. Trying to pin the result into the category of one of its ingredients is like mixing red and blue paint, then looking at the resulting purple and saying "Wait, is that blue or red? It's ambiguous!"

The arcanist is not everything that you associate with the term "prepared caster", and it is not everything you associate with the term "spontaneous caster", so you shouldn't really call them either of those.

Looking more closely, though, they do perform spell preparation, and they ALSO cast their spells spontaneously. With that in mind, it seems clear that an item which lets a was-prepared-but-then-got-expended spell slot become prepared again is not going to help a class whose spells remain prepared after being cast.

Also, read the class: some of these questions are explicitly answered (like the increased casting time for metamagic).


@NikolaiJuno, @Jiggy: Sorry, I misspoke. My question was about using Runestones of Power; I know that arcanists can't use Pearls of Power based on the incompatibility of the text.

@DinosaursonIce: Do you have any helpful links for some of the discussions? The little I was able to find was hard to work through and buried within lots of unrelated questions.

@Jiggy: The text regarding the increased casting time for metamagic is for the spontaneous addition of a metamagic feat to a spell. I can see why one could then infer that this applied to metamagic rods as well, but if the arcanist is considered at least somewhat of a prepared caster (as suggested by the fact that the arcanist can prepare metamagic spells and then cast them at no penalty), then it should be possible for the arcanist to use a metamagic rod at no casting penalty.

I agree that, with the lack of other information, it seems reasonable for the increased casting time penalty to apply. However, it makes the Metamixing exploit (which allows you to spontaneously apply a metamagic feat without increasing casting time) far less useful if the penalty still applies while using a metamagic rod. Does that make sense?


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The Arcanist should benefit from the Runestone of Power because he casts as a spontaneous caster. The Pearl and Rune are essentially the same thing for different types of casters. It should benefit from one of them at least. Because the Peal obviously doesn't work, and the Rune mechanically does the Rune is the winner.

The class seems to be both, just not necessarily for all purposes.

Liberty's Edge

I'm at work aright now but I'll dig for some links when I get home, specifically the other discussions on the Arcanist and casting?

As far as Metamagic Rods I would think it would take a full round action. The classes casting mechanic for applying metamagic to spells acts like the sorcerer. Plus, if you look at things like Preferred Spell which lets a class spontaneously cast a spell, it specifically calls out that adding metamagic doesn't increase the casting time. On the other hand, the other feat it (Greater Spell Focus?) that lets you do the same thing has no such clause.

Is there any clause about how applying a metamagic feat to a spontaneously cast spell from a Cleric or Druid would work? I would think it would work similarly.


@DinosaursOnIce: Thanks! I appreciate you sharing what you know. (There's no rush at the moment on my end, so don't sweat it too much.)

You bring up some good points though. Preferred Spell and Greater Spell Specialization both call out casting time when allowing you to sacrifice a prepared slot to spontaneously your chosen spell. (Preferred Spell does not increase casting time, while Greater Spell Specialization does.) Given that they both specifically refer to increased casting time, I more strongly would consider the arcanist having an increased casting time when using a metamagic rod too, though again, this falls into the "if the arcanist really IS a spontaneous caster" category.

As for spontaneous casting by Clerics and Druids, you again bring up a good point. The metamagic feats page (under "Spontaneous Casting and Metamagic Feats") specifically states that casting time is increased for spontaneous conversion of prepared spells, except for the Quickened Spell metamagic feat.


So yeah, another semi-related question: if arcanists do end up having an increased casting time when using a metamagic rod, does the use of the metamixing arcanist exploit also negate this increased casting time penalty, as the exploit does with the spontaneous application of a metamagic feat?


This really needs a FAQ.
My opinion is that arcanists are spontaneous casters that have a different way to select their spells known, with that in mind they can use runestones of power and not pearls of power and they do have increased casting times when they use a metamagic rod.


HSalgo wrote:
So yeah, another semi-related question: if arcanists do end up having an increased casting time when using a metamagic rod, does the use of the metamixing arcanist exploit also negate this increased casting time penalty, as the exploit does with the spontaneous application of a metamagic feat?

RAW I think no. It doesn't seem unreasonable to allow you to activate it to use with the rod though. It would in that case receive the increased spell slot and cost a point.


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Pathfinder Adventure, Rulebook Subscriber

Rereading the Arcanist section here are a few sections that stand out.

ACG-Arcanist:spells wrote:

An arcanist must prepare her spells ahead of time, but unlike a wizard, her spells are not expended when they’re cast. Instead, she can cast any spell that she has prepared consuming a spell slot of the appropriate level, assuming she hasn’t yet used up her spell slots per day for that level....

Feats and other effects that modify the number of spells known by a spellcaster instead affect the number of spells an arcanist can prepare...
Like a sorcerer, an arcanist can choose to apply any metamagic feats she knows to a prepared spell as she casts it, with the same increase in casting time (see Spontaneous Casting and Metamagic Feats on page 113 of the Core Rulebook).

It seems to me that other than when an Arcanist is preparing their spells an Arcanist counts as a spontaneous caster for everything else.


NikolaiJuno wrote:
HSalgo wrote:
So yeah, another semi-related question: if arcanists do end up having an increased casting time when using a metamagic rod, does the use of the metamixing arcanist exploit also negate this increased casting time penalty, as the exploit does with the spontaneous application of a metamagic feat?
RAW I think no. It doesn't seem unreasonable to allow you to activate it to use with the rod though. It would in that case receive the increased spell slot and cost a point.

Why the increased spell slot? You mean that you'd apply the metamagic rod's increased spell slot even though you normally wouldn't?


HSalgo wrote:
NikolaiJuno wrote:
HSalgo wrote:
So yeah, another semi-related question: if arcanists do end up having an increased casting time when using a metamagic rod, does the use of the metamixing arcanist exploit also negate this increased casting time penalty, as the exploit does with the spontaneous application of a metamagic feat?
RAW I think no. It doesn't seem unreasonable to allow you to activate it to use with the rod though. It would in that case receive the increased spell slot and cost a point.
Why the increased spell slot? You mean that you'd apply the metamagic rod's increased spell slot even though you normally wouldn't?

Metamixing (Su): The arcanist can expend 1 point from her arcane reservoir to add a metamagic feat that she knows to a spell as she casts it without affecting the casting time (though using a higher-level spell slot as normal). She can use this ability to add a metamagic feat to a spell that she prepared using a metamagic feat, although she cannot add the same metamagic feat to a given spell more than once.

On second thought (though using a higher-level spell slot as normal) seems to be more reminder/clarification text, so it probably wouldn't.


Thanks for your input so far, everyone.

I also just noticed: the Expanded Preparation feat which helps add spell slots for arcanists (compared to the Expanded Arcana feat, which adds to spells known for spontaneous casters with a limited # of spells known) has some interesting text that still suggests prepared casting (emphasis mine):

Expanded Arcana wrote:
Benefit: You gain an extra spell slot of the highest level you can cast. This is in addition to the number of spell slots you can normally prepare from your spellbook. You can instead add two spell slots, but both of these spells must be at least 1 level lower than the highest-level spell you can cast as an arcanist. You must choose which benefit you gain when you take this feat.

It looks like this text suggests that these spell slots, though used in a spontaneous style similar to sorcerers, are nonetheless "prepared"? I'm not sure if this choice of wording was a flavor thing (since arcanists are still about "preparation", and "Expanded Arcana" was used already), or if the text was chosen purposefully.


I've always assumed they were prepared casters that simply mimicked spontaneous casting in regards only to the spells prepared?


Barachiel Shina wrote:
I've always assumed they were prepared casters that simply mimicked spontaneous casting in regards only to the spells prepared?

Spells cast, you mean?


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Both.

HSalgo wrote:
Haha, well it seems like we have votes for all options. How about the subquestions? Regardless of their status, would they be able to use Pearls of Power? Would they be able to cast using a metamagic rod as a standard action or a full-round action?

Pearls: They never expend a prepared spell. They have Sorcerer-style spell slots, so they need Runestones.

Rods: Arcanist class explicitly states that it's possible to add metamagic to their spells on the fly, but doing so increases casting time. Ergo, rods increase casting time for them.

Really, when in doubt look at the item and how it interacts with Sorcerer vs. Wizard, then look at that particular aspect of how the Arcanist casts and decide which is a closer fit. Metamagic rods? Well, as noted they cast as a Sorcerer with regard to spontaneously-added metamagic. Blessed Book? They prepare spells with a spellbook, go for it. Pearls of Power? No go, nothing to recover.

Etc., etc. Break the Arcanist's casting down into components and it gets fairly simple.


Thanks for your input, kestral287. Your sentiment is the one I am leaning towards for simplicity.

However, the only thing I'm sort of worried about (and I think my GM might be too?) is the balance issue--except for the penalty of having an increased casting time when spontaneously using metamagic feats or metamagic rods, the arcanist sort of gets the "best of both worlds."

While I'm all for a case-by-case interpretation of the rules, it'd be easier if we could get a ruling of "both" or "use discretion" or something, given that a lot of items/rules reference "spontaneous casters" or "prepared spells" specifically.


Is that really the best of both worlds? I mean... rods are an obvious disadvantage for the Arcanist, but when you think about it so are Runestones. Pearls are half-price, after all. Where are they strictly advantaged by being a combination, insofar as interaction with items and the like goes?

I think my view of the Arcanist is wildly off than others, because honestly I think their actual casting is weaker than either Sorcerer or Wizard casting, and the only reason the class is so powerful is its better class abilities.


Pathfinder Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

Since Runestones and Pearls were mentioned, I will note that the Spell Lattice (ACG pg. 235) is apparently what an Arcanist wants to use.


@kestral287: Right, I forgot that Runestones are double price. (I've never played a spontaneous caster before, sadly.) You bring up a good point. I also agree that the arcanist has limited spellcasting--though the ability to flexibly prepare spells to cast spontaneously is pretty cool, their spell progression is delayed like a sorcerer's, but their spellcasting (# of spell slots/level per day) is comparable to a universalist wizard's.

@BretI: Spell Lattices are meant to serve the same purpose as Pages of Spell Knowledge by adding to spells known for spontaneous casters or, in the arcanist's case, spells prepared. They don't "restore" spell slots or expended spells like Runestones of Power (which were re-released in the Advanced Class Guide) or Pearls of Power.

Liberty's Edge

Pathfinder Companion Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber
Uwotm8 wrote:
The prepared/spontaneous paradigm is centered on how you treat the ability of what to cast when you refresh your daily allotment and not how you actually go about casting. For prepared casters, you have to select which spells you want to cast. Spontaneous casters can cast all their spells. The arcanist is a prepared caster.

He can cast all his know spell any number of times (up to his daily limit) so it is a spontaneous caster. He don't select beforehand what spell he has prepared, he select what spell he know.

As you see the same argument could work in both direction. I consider them spontaneous casters.


Interesting note on the Spell Lattice is that it's strictly inferior to a Page of Spell Knowledge. The Page confers its benefits to the bearer (meaning, whoever happens to be carrying it), while the Lattice specifically must be held. And they're the same price.


Hm, I never noticed that with Spell Lattices. On the plus side, they can also be copied into a spellbook but are then destroyed; it's unclear whether one copy a spell from a Page of Spell Knowledge, and if so, leave it intact.

(Note: The spell Memorize Page is REALLY good for learning spells from scrolls without destroying them. I can imagine that you might be able to do so with a Page of Spell Knowledge, but I'm not convinced that you could do the same with a Spell Lattice.)

I asked my GM about Runestones of Power and Pearls of Power, and he said that they don't need to be held in hand, which I think is RAW.

Do you think that Spell Lattices were meant to be held in hand (RAI)?


HSalgo wrote:

Hm, I never noticed that with Spell Lattices. On the plus side, they can also be copied into a spellbook but are then destroyed; it's unclear whether one copy a spell from a Page of Spell Knowledge, and if so, leave it intact.

(Note: The spell Memorize Page is REALLY good for learning spells from scrolls without destroying them. I can imagine that you might be able to do so with a Page of Spell Knowledge, but I'm not convinced that you could do the same with a Spell Lattice.)

I asked my GM about Runestones of Power and Pearls of Power, and he said that they don't need to be held in hand, which I think is RAW.

Do you think that Spell Lattices were meant to be held in hand (RAI)?

On the latter: I think it's more likely that Pages were meant to be held, but that's me.

Personally I think I'd probably let a Wizard/Arcanist use that spell to copy a Page of Spell Knowledge but I'm not sure that that's RAW. The look-and-copy method though... probably not.


HSalgo wrote:

Thanks for your input, kestral287. Your sentiment is the one I am leaning towards for simplicity.

However, the only thing I'm sort of worried about (and I think my GM might be too?) is the balance issue--except for the penalty of having an increased casting time when spontaneously using metamagic feats or metamagic rods, the arcanist sort of gets the "best of both worlds."

While I'm all for a case-by-case interpretation of the rules, it'd be easier if we could get a ruling of "both" or "use discretion" or something, given that a lot of items/rules reference "spontaneous casters" or "prepared spells" specifically.

Well they have the lower spells/day of a Wizard and the slow spell levels of a Sorcerer, so in some aspects they have the worst of both worlds. I think there negatives and positives cancel out quite well.

They managed to combine the Sorcerer and Wizard without invalidating either.


I definitely agree that they did a pretty good job of mixing the wizard and sorcerer classes, and that the arcanist's class abilities make up for a lot of the spellcasting "deficiencies."

I put "deficiencies" in quotes because the ability to still be able to choose what spells to prepare each day and then cast them as many times as are necessary (like that moment when you need a second Dimension Door or additional Haste) is a pretty awesome benefit in return. I can't say that I know from experience (I'm asking these questions in preparation for a home campaign that's going to start in a few weeks), but that's what it seems like, at least.

(I also appreciate the civility that everyone's shared in discussing this topic, given that it seems to be a topic that has no concrete and satisfactory answer.)


kestral287 wrote:
Interesting note on the Spell Lattice is that it's strictly inferior to a Page of Spell Knowledge. The Page confers its benefits to the bearer (meaning, whoever happens to be carrying it), while the Lattice specifically must be held. And they're the same price.

First of all, bearer can also mean he who holds and secondly the bearer isn't a system term, the system terms are carried and held/weilded.

Most likely the writer of page of spell knowledge used real world language instead of system language, and pages of spell knowledge are intented to be held.


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What I see them as: Spontaneous Spellcasters that can change what they "know" every day (or even on the fly).

A Page of Spell Knowledge should benefit them like it would a Sorcerer (give them another spell "known").

A Pearl of Power should not work for them since they can cast any spell they "know" (have memorized) from any spell slot. However, a Runestone of Power should work for the same reason.

Of course, RAW is muddy as all heck.


Well, I had hoped that an arcanist with the counterspell exploit would be able to use any Spell Lattices on his body, rather than needing to hold them in hand, since that makes the versatility of a Spell Lattice that much better.

Needing to hold Spell Lattices or Pages of Spell Knowledge in hand would be a tragedy for counterspellers indeed!


HSalgo wrote:

I definitely agree that they did a pretty good job of mixing the wizard and sorcerer classes, and that the arcanist's class abilities make up for a lot of the spellcasting "deficiencies."

I put "deficiencies" in quotes because the ability to still be able to choose what spells to prepare each day and then cast them as many times as are necessary (like that moment when you need a second Dimension Door or additional Haste) is a pretty awesome benefit in return. I can't say that I know from experience (I'm asking these questions in preparation for a home campaign that's going to start in a few weeks), but that's what it seems like, at least.

(I also appreciate the civility that everyone's shared in discussing this topic, given that it seems to be a topic that has no concrete and satisfactory answer.)

Aside from the Wizard and Sorcerer's own form of raw power advantage they each get there own form of versatility one being able to cast any spell available wile the other gets a wider access to spells. The Arcainist gets the versatility advantage of both.

So yeah, some advantages, some disadvantages. All around well balanced, well built, has it's own place, but still doesn't really step on toes.

I don't really think it is at all broken for it to have access to Prepared specific thing and Spontaneous specific things because the way it's built it simply can't even use half of them.


HSalgo wrote:

Well, I had hoped that an arcanist with the counterspell exploit would be able to use any Spell Lattices on his body, rather than needing to hold them in hand, since that makes the versatility of a Spell Lattice that much better.

Needing to hold Spell Lattices or Pages of Spell Knowledge in hand would be a tragedy for counterspellers indeed!

One option that you could look at is taking the Inscribe Magic Tattoos feat and just writing the Spell Lattices directly onto your body. It's a crafting feat, but one of the more balanced ones; you can create almost any wondrous item, but they're all treated as slotless and you only get twelve or so spaces to put them on (which don't overlap with your actual item slots, so that's nice). Also, I at least think the idea of a Sorcerer or Arcanist covering their body with Runestones of Power and Pages of Spell Knowledge/Spell Lattices is pretty awesome.

Really though, if you want to go Counterspelling just nab Dispel Magic/Greater Dispel Magic and go from there.


@NikolaiJuno: Totally agreed!

@kestral287: I was actually thinking about that! I didn't know that Inscribe Magic Tattoos was so versatile though; I only looked into it today. I'm hoping to play a wayang, and the description describes how they frequently go through ritual scarification or tattoing, so it came to mind. I'll look into it some more; thanks for the suggestion.

Also: I was hoping to have some more common spells, including Dispel Magic and Greater Dispel Magic, on Spell Lattices, that's all! I can take them as spells prepared though, as you pointed out.


@kestral287: Just reread the Inscribe Magical Tattoos feat, and it seems pretty cool. I'm not sure whether you can only inscribe wondrous items into their appropriate slot though, and if so, whether you can inscribe slotless items. That seems like a question for another time (or for my GM separately).

It seems like a pretty tough topic, with everyone saying different things. It seems like, for the time being, that the most responsible thing is to leave it up to you and your GM's discretion, as per kestral287's comment here.

Keep hitting FAQ if you guys want to pester Paizo for a definitive answer!


Tell that to the dice progression FAQ thread. It's at around 550 clicks with no response yet. :'(


Uwotm8 wrote:
Tell that to the dice progression FAQ thread. It's at around 550 clicks with no response yet. :'(

That is a very complicated question that if they are actually working on it's not unlikely to be that they don't yet have a proper answer to give us.


NikolaiJuno wrote:
Uwotm8 wrote:
Tell that to the dice progression FAQ thread. It's at around 550 clicks with no response yet. :'(
That is a very complicated question that if they are actually working on it's not unlikely to be that they don't yet have a proper answer to give us.

I think that this question is a similar one that has no fixed answer yet either.

@Uwotm8: I feel your pain! I totally FAQ'ed the damage dice progression thread about a year back. I had a plant companion with a houseruled plant version of Animal Growth, Improved Natural Attack, and Strong Jaw. It was a nightmare then, and I'm sure it's no better now.


HSalgo wrote:
I'm just wondering if there's a definitive answer anywhere about whether arcanists are spontaneous casters, prepared casters, neither, or both. In particular, I'm worried about two things:

Both. They prepare spells and then cast them spontaneously.

Quote:


1) Can an arcanist use a Runestone of Power, which is for spontaneous casters? There has been some discussion about using Runestones of Power but not for Consume Spells, and Jason Buhlman agreed, but there is no mention of the arcanist being a spontaneous caster, other than when it comes to metamagic, so my GM at home has ruled against this. However, since the item was re-released in the Advanced Class Guide, I have feel like the Runestone of Power is supposed to work with the arcanist. Does anyone have any text that suggests yes or no?

Runestone lets you regain expended spell slots, so I see no reason it wouldn't work for an Arcanist. (Pearl of Power let's you regain prepared spells, but an Arcanist never expends their prepared spells.

Quote:


2) Does an arcanist suffer an increased casting time when using a metamagic rod? Prepared casters don't suffer from this increased casting time, while spontaneous casters do. The arcanist spell casting text states that an arcanist can spontaneously add metamagic feats to their spells with an increased casting time like a sorcerer, but can also prepare spells with metamagic beforehand and cast them at no penalty like a wizard. I couldn't find much text about it--again, does anyone have any text that suggests either argument?

He casts his spells spontaneously,and incurs the increased casting time of a spontaneous caster when applying metamagic feats on the fly.

I don't see anything to suggest this wouldn't apply to spontaneously added metamagic from Rods, but on the other hand I don't see anything that definitively says it would apply.

Until we get clarification from Paizo, I'd assume that the increased casting time applies when using a metamagic Rod.


Sorry for the "thread necromancy" (doesn't seem to be a rule against it) but did this ever get answered by Paizo?

(I'm surprised this didn't get clarified when they printed the book, because the question appears to have been asked plenty of times during the playtest...)

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