Spells Not Scaling Automatically per Caster Level


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gustavo iglesias wrote:
Zi Mishkal wrote:
gustavo iglesias wrote:


The problem here is that you want Wizard's turn to be THE most relevant turn in every single round in every single combat for the entire duration of the adventure day. Just being "average" some rounds and "awesome" some others isn't enough for you. And that defeats the very idea of "expendable but more powerful resources", if "expendable" means "I have enough of them to really not caring".

Not true... the caster's resources are finite for a reason. A martial doesn't run out of sword as the day wears on. The caster runs out of spells. Which means with every turn the caster has to weigh the relative merits of hitting with his hardest spell or holding back. Its a completely different playstyle than a martial.

You are advocating for spells being relevant at all levels. That means a lvl 19 wizard should cast relevant spells for 40 rounds or so. With average combat lasting for 3-4 rounds at best, that's 10-13 encounters. By the time the "expendable wizard spells" run out, he litteraly has leveled up. That's not counting Wands, scrolls, etc.

Quote:
However, when the caster's lesser spells are so weak they do almost no damage (we can assume that most higher level monsters will either make their save and turn those 32 points of damage into 16 or evade it completely turning it into 0 points of damage)
Why are you assuming that? Why don't you assume the guy with the gun misses?

We are yes advocating for all abilities, be they spells or not, to be relevant at all levels, yes, because it doesn't make sense to posses an ability/spell known/spell slot that will just sit back on the character sheet without being used. But you assume we are saying they should be as relevant as our higher level spells. And that's simply not true. We just don't want them to be useless, and that's what this system does to them. Also, what do I assume the guy with the guy misses? Well because you seem to forget that saves are a thing.


Dasrak wrote:
bookrat wrote:
Except that fighter mcbigsword is likely doing 2d6+6 while your one big spell does 8d8 or something.

2d6+6 would be extremely low damage for an 8th level PF1E fighter.

He is talking about 5e fighters and comparing them to 5e spells.


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*Glances over things*

You know... my understanding was that most people didn't prepare/learn a bunch of combat spells every level. Rather, it was usually their top levels that're most focused on combat (plus some lower-level things that are always nice, like Haste), and the majority of lower spells are changed to be utility powers that are useful at most/all levels. I could be wrong, of course, but I agree that having 30+ full-power combat spells every day is more than most games really need.


Also, there's something else, even if lower level spells are kept somehow useful in this "not-scaling" system, they'll still be forcing a mechanic of spell cannibalization upon us. I for one want nothing to do with it.


NetoD20 wrote:
I'll be forced to spend high level slots for my lower level spells to be relevant at all, but I would never do that, because there'll always be a better higher level spell. Why on earth would I cast magic missile as a 4th level spell if enervation and Evard's black tentacles exist? Also, lower level slots will be useless.

Lower level slots will have far less value than in 3P this is true

As to why you would use Maggic Missile as a forth level spell?

Its because Magic Missile never misses and never suffers from saving throws or elemental resistance, and presumably 4th level Magic Missile has damage appropriate to the spell level (to use 3P as an example, lets say 8 missiles distributed to chosen targets, each of which deals 2d4 damage, +1 for every missile beyond the first on a given target, for a max single target damage of 16d4+7, average 47 damage)

Frankly I am far more concerned about the muggles in 2nd P. There is no full attack to stick at the end of a charge, multiple attacks incur staggering penalties and this 'we want to invalidate lower level abilities with higher level ones' philosophy all smells really bad for characters that don't use some form of spellcasting.


NetoD20 wrote:
Also, what do I assume the guy with the guy misses? Well because you seem to forget that...

Fly is not useless, ever. By the time you cast Chain Surge, replace your lvl 3 Explosion burst with things like Fly.

You assumed everybody made the save, giving them half damage, but then assumed the martial gun always hit, instead of assuming some hit and some didn't. Either assume everybody did max damage (as I did), or asume both roll poorly.

At lvl 16 a techmage will cast Chain Surge with DC 28. A lvl 16 creature like the Oma has +16 Ref save. If fighting multiple lvl 14 creatures (which is where AOE spells shine), a pack of Deh-Nolo have +12 Ref Save.


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
gustavo iglesias wrote:


He is talking about 5e fighters and comparing them to 5e spells.

And yet, 8d8 looks all too right for a Pathfinder blast spell <_<

Paizo Employee Designer

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Hey gang! Here's an interesting thought exercise to think about. Suppose I was running a home game of PF1 and decided that blasting spells weren't doing enough damage, so I made a new rule that fireball started at 10d6 damage at 5th level and cone of cold started at 15d6 at 9th level. The spells are now non-scaling, but I've also buffed those spells. Now I'm not saying we did exactly that (in fact, we did something similar for the new math, but it doesn't work out to exactly the old cast cap, but the spell damage of a fireball is still usually looking at ~1.5x a martial attack to a big area). Not only that, there's actually one thing that does scale in the new game but not in the original, and I think maybe the interview gave the wrong idea by saying spells don't scale at all: spell DC! Having a low DC spell that the enemy is super likely to succeed (or critically succeed in the new game) is really really bad. It's potentially worse than having fewer damage dice, depending on the starting dice and the save bonus (for example say you're 13th level and have cone of cold; doing 10d6 that the enemy needs a 13 to save for no damage is actually better than 13d6 that the enemy needs an 11 to save, due to not only the increased fail chance but also the chance to critically fail and take double damage). So spells have a fixed effect that is appropriate for their level, and their DC scales to be equal to your highest level spell.

As a second aside, Logan and Erik were correct that the spell system's genesis came without reading 5e. This is because we actually had that part in place before 5e came out (we've really been working on this a long time!)


GM Rednal wrote:

*Glances over things*

You know... my understanding was that most people didn't prepare/learn a bunch of combat spells every level. Rather, it was usually their top levels that're most focused on combat (plus some lower-level things that are always nice, like Haste), and the majority of lower spells are changed to be utility powers that are useful at most/all levels. I could be wrong, of course, but I agree that having 30+ full-power combat spells every day is more than most games really need.

It depends - one of the reasons I switched from wizard to arcanist is that I can prep more combat spells and switch out on the fly to non-combat spells when we are exploring (burning arcanist points).

As a wizard you're expected to have certain spells memorized at least once - Dispel Magic at 3rd Level, Greater Dispel Magic at 6th, Teleport at 5th, some kind of Wall spell (stone, force, bunnies) around 4th-5th. Dimensional Anchor at 4th, Spell Turning at 7th, Aroden's Spellbane at 9th. Arcane Sight at 7th. Greater invisibilty at 4th. Mind Blank at 8th, Freedom at 9th. Do you really want me to go on?

When I played a wizard it was next to impossible to guess what we'd encounter on a daily basis, but that didn't stop the martials from complaining that I was unable to forsee the future. After all, they did their part and stabbed with the pointy stick. How hard could being a caster be? I drew the line at 50% of my spell slots being team-centric and the other 50% being ones that I wanted to pick. And yeah, it's no fun when you're sitting at the table justifying your spell selection because you need to bail out the fighter and can't.

People think that being a caster is all about me. Nothing could be further from the truth. Casters back everybody up and as a result, the whole party takes a chunk out of the caster. What Paizo is effectively doing is saying "hey, your caster can deal damage or it can buff and watch the fighter be the star of the show." Every round, every combat, every day. You're basically playing the role of a pet to a fighter. Sorry, I'm all for helping out the team, but half my character is already being utilized as a team resource. You're not taking the other half.


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Pretty much what Mark said.

The equivalent of Starfinder's lightning bolt does 10d6, right of the bat. Instead of 5d6 at lvl 5, then scaling up to 10d6 at lvl 10. Why is that bad? Yeah, at higher levels, it will get outshined by newer, stronger spells. But it's better right of the bat, and also gives casters a real feeling of "expendable strong resources". A magus being able to cast 10d6 shocking grasp literally every combat round until he levels up is not "expendable resources".


Mark Seifter wrote:

Hey gang! Here's an interesting thought exercise to think about. Suppose I was running a home game of PF1 and decided that blasting spells weren't doing enough damage, so I made a new rule that fireball started at 10d6 damage at 5th level and cone of cold started at 15d6 at 9th level. The spells are now non-scaling, but I've also buffed those spells. Now I'm not saying we did exactly that (in fact, we did something similar for the new math, but it doesn't work out to exactly the old cast cap, but the spell damage of a fireball is still usually looking at ~1.5x a martial attack to a big area). Not only that, there's actually one thing that does scale in the new game but not in the original, and I think maybe the interview gave the wrong idea by saying spells don't scale at all: spell DC! Having a low DC spell that the enemy is super likely to succeed (or critically succeed in the new game) is really really bad. It's potentially worse than having fewer damage dice, depending on the starting dice and the save bonus (for example say you're 13th level and have cone of cold; doing 10d6 that the enemy needs a 13 to save for no damage is actually better than 13d6 that the enemy needs an 11 to save, due to not only the increased fail chance but also the chance to critically fail and take double damage). So spells have a fixed effect that is appropriate for their level, and their DC scales to be equal to your highest level spell.

As a second aside, Logan and Erik were correct that the spell system's genesis came without reading 5e. This is because we actually had that part in place before 5e came out (we've really been working on this a long time!)

I can get behind that. Granted, it does take out some of the progression thatnkight come as a caster (“Oh, back when I was an apprentice, I could cast maybe three of these a day. Now, I can throw around ten and they’re twice as powerful!”) but I’m just happy it’s not a nerf of blasting casters. Would duration still scalE?


Mark Seifter wrote:

Hey gang! Here's an interesting thought exercise to think about. Suppose I was running a home game of PF1 and decided that blasting spells weren't doing enough damage, so I made a new rule that fireball started at 10d6 damage at 5th level and cone of cold started at 15d6 at 9th level. The spells are now non-scaling, but I've also buffed those spells. Now I'm not saying we did exactly that (in fact, we did something similar for the new math, but it doesn't work out to exactly the old cast cap, but the spell damage of a fireball is still usually looking at ~1.5x a martial attack to a big area). Not only that, there's actually one thing that does scale in the new game but not in the original, and I think maybe the interview gave the wrong idea by saying spells don't scale at all: spell DC! Having a low DC spell that the enemy is super likely to succeed (or critically succeed in the new game) is really really bad. It's potentially worse than having fewer damage dice, depending on the starting dice and the save bonus (for example say you're 13th level and have cone of cold; doing 10d6 that the enemy needs a 13 to save for no damage is actually better than 13d6 that the enemy needs an 11 to save, due to not only the increased fail chance but also the chance to critically fail and take double damage). So spells have a fixed effect that is appropriate for their level, and their DC scales to be equal to your highest level spell.

Having the spell DC scale is certainly a step in the right direction. But it doesn't solve the problem. In some ways, it makes it worse. Now you have a caster being OPed for a couple levels (as a 5th level caster casting fireball does 8d6 damage) and then underpowered for a lot of the higher levels. I'm not sure that works.

What if instead we scaled it so that spells damage increased every other level? then your spellcaster would hit 8d6 at 11th level? Damage spells tend to follow patterns (d6, d8, etc..). It would be easy to make a table for that. Then you could say fireball does Column A damage, Cone of cold does column B damage? You'd probably save on printing space because you could include it in the spell stat-box.

Also, glad to know that you didn't crib it off 5e. Apologies for being someone who jumped to that conclusion. *bows*

I'm still excited for the game. I think that this rule isn't the end of the world, but with some playtesting, we could find a happier medium. Knowing how Metamagic works with this as well as knowing how many spells/day will help us figure this all out.

For example, if metamagic just removed an action component, then you could conceivably cast fireball 2x/round. You'd blow through 2 3rd level spells, but at least your damage would scale. then it'd be a question of how many spells you got a day. That, however, would be really tricky to balance (and I was speaking off the cuff here, haven't thought that through at all)


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
Mark Seifter wrote:
so I made a new rule that fireball started at 10d6 damage at 5th level

Sure, let's do the thought experiment and compare that to where you would have been without the houserule given a PF1E blaster. I'm going to presume sorcerers get 3rd level spell slots at 5th level (kinda suspecting that's the case now ;-) and that intensified spell is off the table so we don't have to worry about its interactions with the damage dice cap.

I'm going to take a PF1E blaster Sorcerer with Primal Fire bloodline, blood havoc, and spell specialization as my baseline. That gives 7d6+14 (avg 38.5) damage as my baseline before houserule, and 10d6+20 damage (avg 55) after. That's a 43% increase in damage output, and importantly 55 damage is exactly the guidelines for a CR 5 monster's hit points, meaning the Sorcerer is pushing into save-or-die territory against challenging foes with an AoE attack.

So yeah, that's pretty wickedly strong. I'm not sure what you're getting at here, because this thought experiment reaffirms to me that having spells like fireball ease into their damage cap is desirable.

Mark Seifter wrote:
Having a low DC spell that the enemy is super likely to succeed (or critically succeed in the new game) is really really bad.

This has always been the bane of blaster builds, since they're dependent on low-level spells bolstered by metamagic. There's a reason Greater Spell Focus almost always finds its way onto those builds. So having the damage remain stagnant on top of that would make matters even worse, which only aggravates the concerns expressed in this thread.


Mark Seifter wrote:

Hey gang! Here's an interesting thought exercise to think about. Suppose I was running a home game of PF1 and decided that blasting spells weren't doing enough damage, so I made a new rule that fireball started at 10d6 damage at 5th level and cone of cold started at 15d6 at 9th level. The spells are now non-scaling, but I've also buffed those spells. Now I'm not saying we did exactly that (in fact, we did something similar for the new math, but it doesn't work out to exactly the old cast cap, but the spell damage of a fireball is still usually looking at ~1.5x a martial attack to a big area). Not only that, there's actually one thing that does scale in the new game but not in the original, and I think maybe the interview gave the wrong idea by saying spells don't scale at all: spell DC! Having a low DC spell that the enemy is super likely to succeed (or critically succeed in the new game) is really really bad. It's potentially worse than having fewer damage dice, depending on the starting dice and the save bonus (for example say you're 13th level and have cone of cold; doing 10d6 that the enemy needs a 13 to save for no damage is actually better than 13d6 that the enemy needs an 11 to save, due to not only the increased fail chance but also the chance to critically fail and take double damage). So spells have a fixed effect that is appropriate for their level, and their DC scales to be equal to your highest level spell.

As a second aside, Logan and Erik were correct that the spell system's genesis came without reading 5e. This is because we actually had that part in place before 5e came out (we've really been working on this a long time!)

I'm still not sold on the system until I playstest it, it seems not necessarily to be a nerf now, but I'm not a big fan of canniblizing higher level spells, even if the lower level ones are effective. I'll have to wait and see.

But wait Wait, I didn't understand something exactly. Mark are you saying that all spells will have the same DC or are you saying that everytime I spend a higher spell slot to cast a lower level spell, the lower level will get the DC of the higher slot? (as opposed to metamagic in PF 1st ed, where you spend a higher level slot but the DC stays the same)


Mark Seifter wrote:
Having a low DC spell that the enemy is super likely to succeed (or critically succeed in the new game) is really really bad. It's potentially worse than having fewer damage dice, depending on the starting dice and the save bonus (for example say you're 13th level and have cone of cold; doing 10d6 that the enemy needs a 13 to save for no damage is actually better than 13d6 that the enemy needs an 11 to save, due to not only the increased fail chance but also the chance to critically fail and take double damage)

This needs further clarification. Are you saying that a regular save vs my cone of cold will result in zero damage? Or is that a critical save (to correspond with the critical fail doing double damage)?


Zi Mishkal wrote:
So, 5th level. Cast Magic Missile or Cone of Cold.. or Firesnake? Magic Missile is only useful if it scales AND is 1st level. Otherwise, it might as well not exist at higher levels. And thus, the caster is saddled with numerous "abilities" that are completely useless at higher levels.

So, you feel it's reasonable that at 20th level, a Wizard with, let's say, a decidedly average intelligence of 30 should have the following spells available each day -- without even touching level 6 and up spells?

7 x Magic Missile (5d4+5 damage total each)
7 x Scorching Ray (12d6 damage total each)
(also consider Acid Arrow, with up to 14d4 per cast)
6 x Lightning Bolt (10d6 total each)
6 x Pyrotechnic Eruption (26d6 damage total each)
6 x Acid Spray (15d6 damage total each, possibly 22d6)

That's just levels one through five, and gives the Wizard 25 rounds of combat every day where they are casting a spell capable of at least 10d6 points of damage each. Let's assume they use their level 6 through 9 spells for utility and other cool effects. Saving throws and spell Resistance at level 20? Well, sure, you're not going to hit with all of these, but a fighter has to close in on their enemy and make a successful attack roll, too.

I get that your un-scaled Magic Missile is useless at level 20. I also get that the "quadratic wizard" as others have described it is over the top past a certain point. Surely there can be a middle ground.

Paizo Employee Designer

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NetoD20 wrote:

But wait Wait, I didn't understand something exactly. Mark are you saying that all spells will have...

Zi Mishkal is asking the same question. I am saying that your lower level spells get your full spell DC, period. Even in their low level slots!


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NetoD20 wrote:
Mark Seifter wrote:

Hey gang! Here's an interesting thought exercise to think about. Suppose I was running a home game of PF1 and decided that blasting spells weren't doing enough damage, so I made a new rule that fireball started at 10d6 damage at 5th level and cone of cold started at 15d6 at 9th level. The spells are now non-scaling, but I've also buffed those spells. Now I'm not saying we did exactly that (in fact, we did something similar for the new math, but it doesn't work out to exactly the old cast cap, but the spell damage of a fireball is still usually looking at ~1.5x a martial attack to a big area). Not only that, there's actually one thing that does scale in the new game but not in the original, and I think maybe the interview gave the wrong idea by saying spells don't scale at all: spell DC! Having a low DC spell that the enemy is super likely to succeed (or critically succeed in the new game) is really really bad. It's potentially worse than having fewer damage dice, depending on the starting dice and the save bonus (for example say you're 13th level and have cone of cold; doing 10d6 that the enemy needs a 13 to save for no damage is actually better than 13d6 that the enemy needs an 11 to save, due to not only the increased fail chance but also the chance to critically fail and take double damage). So spells have a fixed effect that is appropriate for their level, and their DC scales to be equal to your highest level spell.

As a second aside, Logan and Erik were correct that the spell system's genesis came without reading 5e. This is because we actually had that part in place before 5e came out (we've really been working on this a long time!)

I'm still not sold on the system until I playstest it, it seems not necessarily to be a nerf now, but I'm not a big fan of canniblizing higher level spells, even if the lower level ones are effective. I'll have to wait and see.

But wait Wait, I didn't understand something exactly. Mark are you saying that all spells will have...

Most probably spell DCs are going to be independent of spell level, but is going to scale up with your level, like supernatural ability DCs. 10 + half your level + your relevant ability modifier. I will like that approach.


Ultrace wrote:
I also get that the "quadratic wizard" as others have described it is over the top past a certain point. Surely there can be a middle ground.

3P is designed around the Quadratic Wizard. It works fantastically for the classes that get to play the game.

Removing/reducing that element is a drastic change which makes it easier to balance the muggles with less fantastic abilities, but it does mean you aren't playing the same game anymore.


Ultrace wrote:

[

So, you feel it's reasonable that at 20th level, a Wizard with, let's say, a decidedly average intelligence of 30 should have the following spells available each day?

7 x Magic Missile (5d4+5 damage total each)
7 x Scorching Ray (12d6 damage total each)
(also consider Acid Arrow, with up to 14d4 per cast)
6 x Lightning Bolt (10d6 total each)
6 x Pyrotechnic Eruption (26d6 damage total each)
6 x Acid Spray (15d6 damage total each, possibly 22d6)

You're missing the point. First, that would be for an arcanist not a wizard. And it would never be that extreme. it would be more like 2/3rds combat spells and 1/3 out of combat spells. So 5 combat spells at 1st and 2nd level, 4 at third, 4th and 5th.

But it never works out like that. Lets say that of the six combat spells, the arcanist has 2 fireball, 2 lightning bolt, 1 dispel magic, 1 haste.

They fight a troll. the arcanist blows a fireball. then the fighter steps into a trap and the arcanist has to dispel some effect on him. Would he use the dispel magic? Of course not. he'd convert a lightning bolt to it because he has multiples of it.

which is a good thing because the next thing they face is an evil wizard with a ton of buffs. The arcanist casts dispel magic on the bad wizard. If he'd blown the memorized dispel magic before, he'd be screwed now. So he used a combat spell in a non-combat situation.

Rinse, repeat. Yeah, i prep a bunch of combat spells - but i never expect to use them all because I'm always wary that I might need the non-combat spells in combat. the role of the caster doesn't change, but his ability to do his job is improved. Meanwhile the stabby fighter gets to hit things to his heart's content. All is well in the world.


Issues like the one Zi Mishkal and Ultrace are discussing are why I prefer the Spheres approach of "almost everything scales up, martial or magical". It's an elegant system for supporting concepts, whether that's "I want to throw a bunch of fireballs" or "I want to protect all of my allies with double shields". It's kind of awkward to be in the position where you're all "I want to do X, but none of the options at this level are very good at that, and my group expects me to be contributing more than the weaker stuff I like can provide". As a general rule, I prefer systems that support what people want to do, rather than limiting it.


Mark Seifter wrote:
NetoD20 wrote:

But wait Wait, I didn't understand something exactly. Mark are you saying that all spells will have...

Zi Mishkal is asking the same question. I am saying that your lower level spells get your full spell DC, period. Even in their low level slots!

Yeah, ouch. So low level blasting spells are worthless, but low level control spells are just as good as high level ones. RIP everyone but the Wizard, for he reigns supreme from his eternal throne never to be unseated.


If lower level spell DCs scale then I have no problem. The only potential issue I have with casting spells at higher slots to scale is that the lower level slots do nothing because it cant affect the things you're fighting now that you're at a higher level so the slots just sit there.

Paizo Employee Designer

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Bloodrealm wrote:
Mark Seifter wrote:
NetoD20 wrote:

But wait Wait, I didn't understand something exactly. Mark are you saying that all spells will have...

Zi Mishkal is asking the same question. I am saying that your lower level spells get your full spell DC, period. Even in their low level slots!
Yeah, ouch. So low level blasting spells are worthless, but low level control spells are just as good as high level ones. RIP everyone but the Wizard, for he reigns supreme from his eternal throne never to be unseated.

I mean, that would be true if we just made all the control spells the same as each other, yes. Admittedly, in PF1, there were "you have lost the fight already if you fail" spells as low as 1st-level on some of the lists, so I do see why you might get that impression. But I don't think you're going to find charm as useful as dominate, or color spray as useful as scintillating pattern in the new game. You'll just have a legitimate chance to use any of those choices without wasting your turn.

It is true that my personal tactics shift a bit with the new system, which is something of a feature: since blasting spells can devastate a fight against numbers at your highest level slots if used appropriately, I'm more likely to pack them in those top levels, and since utility spells are just doing what they're doing, I like to prepare those at my lower levels.

EDIT: Gustavo iglesias put it really well in a post he was clearly typing at the same time as mine!


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Bloodrealm wrote:
Mark Seifter wrote:
NetoD20 wrote:

But wait Wait, I didn't understand something exactly. Mark are you saying that all spells will have...

Zi Mishkal is asking the same question. I am saying that your lower level spells get your full spell DC, period. Even in their low level slots!
Yeah, ouch. So low level blasting spells are worthless, but low level control spells are just as good as high level ones. RIP everyone but the Wizard, for he reigns supreme from his eternal throne never to be unseated.

Not really.

He also said that lower level spells have a lower level effect.

Totally spitballing, but let's say Color Spray DC now scales with level, and is not capped by Hit dice. But the effect, instead of stun, is one round of blindness. Or one round of flatfooted. Or whatever (stronger of weaker, whatever the Playtest find as a sweet spot).

On the other hand, lvl 3 "hold person" have the same Dc, but paralyze you.

The lvl 1 color spray is still useful. At all levels, as many people like (such as NetoD20). That's nice. HOWEVER, it's still worse than lvl 3 Hold person, or lvl 5 polymorph, or lvl 7 finger of death, for example.
That way, you don't have totally worthless spells (such as lvl 1 sleep at lvl 10), but your top spells are still the TOP spells, while lower spells are not really that powerful later on.


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Lausth wrote:
Why do we have to bring up 5e all the time.İs it not obvious that most of us dont like 5e.

I mean, it's annoying to me because I don't know anything about 5E except that I won't play it (for reasons unrelated to game mechanics).

So, to me "wizards are linear now, like everybody else" seems like a good change. Just spreading out the power so Wizards are as good at levels 1-5 as they are 10-15 instead of "unbelievably weak" at 1-5 and "unreasonably powerful" at 10-15 is going to make a lot of people more inclined to play them.


Pathfinder Rulebook, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

Have we heard anything about spell durations in the new system? I think one issue with Pathfinder 1e is that the difference between 1 min/level spells and 10 min/level spells blur as levels go up. Spells that are balanced as one encounter can eventually force players to hurry between rooms to try and maximize the spell for multiple encounters. I think, ideally, there are four durations for spells:

1 encounter (1 round per level, ish. Or 1 minute total)
1 "dungeon" or string of closely packed encounters (10 minutes or 1 hour)
1 full day (1 hour per level or 8 to 24 hours)
Permanent

I do like the novelty of those low level buff spells becoming more and more reliable as you both level up and specialize your character with metamagics like Extend Spell, but I can't help but think that maybe durations should be fixed and broken down more like close/medium/long range spells, with metamagic that lets you upgrade the duration (or some other benefit while also downgrading the duration!)


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
Mark Seifter wrote:
I am saying that your lower level spells get your full spell DC, period. Even in their low level slots!

I... um... wow. That's quite a change. So damage no longer scales, but DC does scale. That certainly does change things. The Bard and his 6-level caster brethren (or are they 7-level now to keep up the with the newly-minted 10-level casters?) will definitely appreciate that!

With that said, I'm wondering how this relates in to spells like Charm Person. They'll scale better than ever if their DC increases with both level and casting stat now. It would make blasting spells stick out like a thumb if they're the only type of spell that doesn't scale so generously.

35 damage will knock off about 64% of a CR 5 monster's hit points, but only 27% of a CR 10 monster's hit points. Its efficacy has more than halved over that five level interval.


Xethik wrote:

Have we heard anything about spell durations in the new system? I think one issue with Pathfinder 1e is that the difference between 1 min/level spells and 10 min/level spells blur as levels go up. Spells that are balanced as one encounter can eventually force players to hurry between rooms to try and maximize the spell for multiple encounters. I think, ideally, there are four durations for spells:

1 encounter (1 round per level, ish. Or 1 minute total)
1 "dungeon" or string of closely packed encounters (10 minutes or 1 hour)
1 full day (1 hour per level or 8 to 24 hours)
Permanent

Agree, 10 min/level duration should gone, between rounds, minutes, hours, and maybe days is more than enough.


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Personally, it feels terrible in starfinder. Going from level 1 to level 3, my spell damage stays exactly the same, and I don't have any better spell slots to prepare better spells, yet enemies have a lot more hit points.
At lvl 1 the damage feels slightly too good, but as I level I start feeling like my character becomes worse instead of better, 'till you get the new spell levels at least.


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Xethik wrote:

Have we heard anything about spell durations in the new system? I think one issue with Pathfinder 1e is that the difference between 1 min/level spells and 10 min/level spells blur as levels go up. Spells that are balanced as one encounter can eventually force players to hurry between rooms to try and maximize the spell for multiple encounters. I think, ideally, there are four durations for spells:

1 encounter (1 round per level, ish. Or 1 minute total)
1 "dungeon" or string of closely packed encounters (10 minutes or 1 hour)
1 full day (1 hour per level or 8 to 24 hours)
Permanent

I do like the novelty of those low level buff spells becoming more and more reliable as you both level up and specialize your character with metamagics like Extend Spell, but I can't help but think that maybe durations should be fixed and broken down more like close/medium/long range spells, with metamagic that lets you upgrade the duration (or some other benefit while also downgrading the duration!)

I'd actually argue for fixed duration spells. There's a lot of stuff that's practically useless* at low levels, because it never lasts long enough to be worth casting and other things that by high level are just always on.

Ditch the per level and set them to something like 5 rounds, 5 minutes, etc.


I'm taking a break from this thread. I've been at it most of the day and I have to catch up on RL.
Mark, the changes sound like they are worth giving at least a look at. It's impossible to say anything else for certain without looking at the playtest rules. Yes, this *could* all work out. Or it could be the hot mess that 5e is.

It's your guys' game. All we can do is suggest changes. But if you're saying that you can keep your low level spells as non-damage spells (charms, etc) and reserve your higher level spells for damage spells, then you can just as easily reverse it so that the damage spells scale and you use the high level spells for charms. The PC is still using both in combat. Damage spells are the easiest to create anyway - its basically d#*level of a descriptor type with an area effect. Heck, you could just get rid of those spells entirely and let arcane casters throw damage spells like they were arcane strike and convert them like heal spells. They'd do x damage based on spell slot used and caster level. Problem solved and something like 10 pages shaved off the ruleset.

Shadow Lodge

Mark Seifter wrote:
NetoD20 wrote:

But wait Wait, I didn't understand something exactly. Mark are you saying that all spells will have...

Zi Mishkal is asking the same question. I am saying that your lower level spells get your full spell DC, period. Even in their low level slots!

Mark, can you write the bloods for the playtest? We'd actually get to learn more, I believe, if you did.


Pathfinder Rulebook, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
thejeff wrote:
Xethik wrote:

Have we heard anything about spell durations in the new system? I think one issue with Pathfinder 1e is that the difference between 1 min/level spells and 10 min/level spells blur as levels go up. Spells that are balanced as one encounter can eventually force players to hurry between rooms to try and maximize the spell for multiple encounters. I think, ideally, there are four durations for spells:

1 encounter (1 round per level, ish. Or 1 minute total)
1 "dungeon" or string of closely packed encounters (10 minutes or 1 hour)
1 full day (1 hour per level or 8 to 24 hours)
Permanent

I do like the novelty of those low level buff spells becoming more and more reliable as you both level up and specialize your character with metamagics like Extend Spell, but I can't help but think that maybe durations should be fixed and broken down more like close/medium/long range spells, with metamagic that lets you upgrade the duration (or some other benefit while also downgrading the duration!)

I'd actually argue for fixed duration spells. There's a lot of stuff that's practically useless* at low levels, because it never lasts long enough to be worth casting and other things that by high level are just always on.

Ditch the per level and set them to something like 5 rounds, 5 minutes, etc.

Yup, agreed. I'd personally do 1 round (low level CC), 1 minute, 10 minutes, 8 hours. I could see swapping out 10 minutes to 1 hour, too.

A "timewarped" Metamagic to take a 1 hour spell and make it last one minute but cost 1 fewer action to cast could be interesting, for example.


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I loved the idea! The Vancian system is not the problem: Linear Fighter, Quadratic Wizard dynamics are the problem. I hope it's not just limited to damage spells.

Now, I think that damage-dealing spells should get a big buff after this. They need to become as relevant as debilitating/"shut-down monsters" spells. I want my blaster to be as good as the mezzer!


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ericthecleric wrote:
What does "LFQW" mean?

LFQW means linear fighter, quadratic wizard. It is a mathematical way of refering to the martial/caster disparity. The hit points, base attack bonus, and armor class of a fighter, which are a simple but reasonable measure of the effectiveness of the fighter, go up linearly with the level of the fighter. The number of spells a wizard can cast, which is also a simple but reasonable measure of the effectiveness of a wizard, go up relative to a quadratic formula for the level of the wizard. Since quadratics eventually grow faster than linears, the reasoning is that wizards become more powerful than fighters at higher levels.

This reasoning is wrong.

The power of every class goes up exponentially, which is even faster than quadratic. The experience point (xp) and challenge rating (CR) demonstrate that. A CR 3 hazard (800 xp), such as a 4th-level barbarian, offers the same challenge as two CR 1 hazards (800 xp total), such as two 2nd-level barbarians. A CR 5 challenge (1600 xp), such as a 6th-level barbarian, offers the same challenge as two CR 3 hazards or four CR 1 hazards. A CR 7 hazard (3200 xp), such as an 8th-level barbarian, offers the same challenge as two CR 5 hazards, four CR 3 hazards, or eight CR 1 hazards. And so on.

Making a wizard's power exponential is easy. A 1st-level wizard has access to 1st-level spells. A 3rd-level wizard as access to 2nd-level spells. A 5th-level wizard has access to 3rd-level spells. And so on. Furthermore, each of those wizards can prepare 2 spells of their highest level, 3 spells of their second-highest level, and 4 spells of their third-highest level, assuming a sufficiently high Intelligence bonus and ignoring that 0-level cantrips act differently. Therefore, to make a wizard exponential, make a 2nd-level spell cast at caster level 3 twice as strong as a 1st-level spell cast at caster level 1. Make a 3rd-level spell cast at caster level 5 twice as strong as a 2nd-level spell cast at caster level 3. And so on.

Making a fighter's power exponential requires about a page of math to explain. I'll write it up someday.

If all spells scale at an appropriately slow rate, so that they do not overshadow the highest-level spells that the wizard can cast, then the wizard' power is exponential as we want. Linear scale is appropriate. Zero scaling would also be appropriate.

The reasons that spells scale in damage or duration with caster level is the waste factor. A 7th-level wizard still prepares 1st-level spells. If those spells were as weak as 1st-level spells cast at caster level 1, then they would be 1/8 as powerful as his 4th-level spells cast at caster level 7. They would be pitiful compared to the challenges the wizard faces and viewed as a waste. Though they are counted in the wizard's quadratic number of spells, they would not be worth counting. Instead, if the spell scales linearly, the wizard would sometimes have a reason to occasionally cast that 1st-level spell and not feel that he has dead weight in his spellbook.

Note that some buff spells do not need explicit scaling, because their effect innately scales with the initial strength of the character buffed. A +2 to hit is as valuable at 7th level as it is at 1st level. Thus, a clever wizard can find spells that scale innately when no spells scale explicitly. Recognizing such spells would become an aspect of system mastery for Pathfinder 2nd Edition.


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Thanks for the explanation, Mathmuse! :)

Dark Archive

NetoD20 wrote:

I'm with Dragonborn3, 5th edition is a nice game, but its spellcasting system drove me immediatly away from it.

JRutterbush wrote:
Personally, I love it. You still get more powerful as a spellcaster, you just don't outstrip everybody who's not a spellcaster just by levelling up. One of the biggest problems in previous editions was the "quadratic Wizard, linear Fighter" issue, where a Fighter levels up and only gains a single increase in power, while a Wizard that levels up not only gets new, more powerful spells, but every single other spell they have also gets more powerful. Fighters go 1, 2, 3, 4, while Wizards go 1, 4, 9, 16. This is a problem, and removing automatic spell power scaling fixes that in a big way. In practice, what this likely means is that mages will use their highest level spell slots for their show-stopping, battle-ending magic that can be used a few times a day, and then focus on using their lower level slots for more utility effects and the like. I'm a big fan of this approach.
Then instead of making spellcasters less powerful, give non-casters abilities that scale too. Otherwise I'll be forced to spend high level slots for my lower level spells to be relevant at all, but I would never do that, because there'll always be a better higher level spell. Why on earth would I cast magic missile as a 4th level spell if enervation and Evard's black tentacles exist? Also, lower level slots will be useless.

We always come to this argument. SOmeone wants to tone down game-breakingly powerful casters. THen someone who likes casters says "NO! Bring all the characters up to that level!"

I'm sorry, but making EVERY character in the game game-breakingly powerful isn't a solution...it's making a problem worse. The problem isn't just the C/MD...it's the fact that the casters are too powerful REGARDLESS of how they stack up against the martials. The problem is that every time Paizo bumps up the wizards power level yet again, it becomes more and more difficult for a GM to devise a scenario that the wizard can't just take a steaming dump all over. You can't even look to the Paizo modules or AP's for hints on how to do it, because they don't know how to do it either.


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Shadow Kosh wrote:
NetoD20 wrote:

I'm with Dragonborn3, 5th edition is a nice game, but its spellcasting system drove me immediatly away from it.

JRutterbush wrote:
Personally, I love it. You still get more powerful as a spellcaster, you just don't outstrip everybody who's not a spellcaster just by levelling up. One of the biggest problems in previous editions was the "quadratic Wizard, linear Fighter" issue, where a Fighter levels up and only gains a single increase in power, while a Wizard that levels up not only gets new, more powerful spells, but every single other spell they have also gets more powerful. Fighters go 1, 2, 3, 4, while Wizards go 1, 4, 9, 16. This is a problem, and removing automatic spell power scaling fixes that in a big way. In practice, what this likely means is that mages will use their highest level spell slots for their show-stopping, battle-ending magic that can be used a few times a day, and then focus on using their lower level slots for more utility effects and the like. I'm a big fan of this approach.
Then instead of making spellcasters less powerful, give non-casters abilities that scale too. Otherwise I'll be forced to spend high level slots for my lower level spells to be relevant at all, but I would never do that, because there'll always be a better higher level spell. Why on earth would I cast magic missile as a 4th level spell if enervation and Evard's black tentacles exist? Also, lower level slots will be useless.

We always come to this argument. SOmeone wants to tone down game-breakingly powerful casters. THen someone who likes casters says "NO! Bring all the characters up to that level!"

I'm sorry, but making EVERY character in the game game-breakingly powerful isn't a solution...it's making a problem worse. The problem isn't just the C/MD...it's the fact that the casters are too powerful REGARDLESS of how they stack up against the martials. The problem is that every time Paizo bumps up the wizards power level yet again, it becomes more and more...

The only reason Fullcasters are 'gamebreakingly powerful' is because they break the game in comparison to the classes that don't get to play the game... which is to say the muggles/martial characters.

Couple that with a tendency to design adventures to the weakest playstyles, and you get very low power scenarios that don't flex the system's potential at all, and are easily 'broken' by casters playing the game they were written for.

Speaking from personal experience as a GM who always 'raises the bar to the Full Caster level for all classes' doing so does not break the game. Rather it would be more accurate to say that it finally brings all characters into the game rather than allowing the progression of levels to eventually turn the martials into the bag carrier for the 'real characters.'

Dark Archive

edduardco wrote:
Xethik wrote:

Have we heard anything about spell durations in the new system? I think one issue with Pathfinder 1e is that the difference between 1 min/level spells and 10 min/level spells blur as levels go up. Spells that are balanced as one encounter can eventually force players to hurry between rooms to try and maximize the spell for multiple encounters. I think, ideally, there are four durations for spells:

1 encounter (1 round per level, ish. Or 1 minute total)
1 "dungeon" or string of closely packed encounters (10 minutes or 1 hour)
1 full day (1 hour per level or 8 to 24 hours)
Permanent

Agree, 10 min/level duration should gone, between rounds, minutes, hours, and maybe days is more than enough.

Ironically, one of the most powerful bumps that spellcasters have ever gotten between editions was due to lazy editing. In the editions prior to 3rd edition, the combat round was equal to one minute. Some spells had their durations listed in minutes instead of rounds....because why not? However, in 3rd edition and it's spawn, i combat round equaled 6 seconds (IE, 1 minute = 10 combat rounds). Because of the lazy conversion from 2E to 3.0, a lot of spells basically just got copy-pasted with only the minimum changes made in order for them to conform to the basic outline for what a spell looked like in 3rd edition. As such, many spells essentially had their durations multiplied tenfold.


Great post from Mathmuse! This is the type of thinking we need to ensure balance without "taking stuff away".

Would you say the Barbarian is technically like the spellcasters in this aspect? Each time the class levels up, they are able to use Rage more often, but this is also compounded by the fact that Rage buff gets better (With powers or improved rage thing) and each round is more valuable than it was before. So the ability scales better than one would initially think.


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Making martial characters more powerful can, and should, be pursued - but raising to them of the power level of existing full casters would be very, very difficult without breaking the narrative/conceptual limits of "martial character." You can bring the damage and skill numbers up all you like, but the advantage of existing full casters is in the incredible qualitative options they have - summoning, teleporting, scrying, flying... Hercules and Cu Cullain absolutely exceed what an Olympic athlete can do, as well any high-level martial should, and they can do anything for love, but they won't do that.

In tier terms, it's conceptually possible to bring martials up from T4/5 to T3, and magic is completely made up so you can put it anywhere you like. But it's much more difficult to raise martials up to T1/2 territory, so balance probably has to come from both ends unless it's just a band-aid.

(As I've whined elsewhere, though, making most casters narrower would actually feel a bit more flavorful for them. Most mighty necromancers of fiction, especially that not directly derived from D&D, can't teleport, and wizards who are more strongly distinguished from each other makes each of them feel cooler, even if each is less game-breaking.)


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Matthias W wrote:
Making martial characters more powerful can, and should, be pursued - but raising to them of the power level of existing full casters would be very, very difficult without breaking the narrative/conceptual limits of "martial character."

That's a function of level. In 3P you should be completely leaving behind the mundane precepts of "martial character" by level 13 at the latest.

Quote:
You can bring the damage and skill numbers up all you like, but the advantage of existing full casters is in the incredible qualitative options they have - summoning, teleporting, scrying, flying... Hercules and Cu Cullain absolutely exceed what an Olympic athlete can do, as well any high-level martial should, and they can do anything for love, but they won't do that.

A martial shouldn't have all those options no, but within 3P they damn well deserve to have the ability to obtain similar powers within a more narrow scope, and be able to keep being badass all day long.

Quote:
In tier terms, it's conceptually possible to bring martials up from T4/5 to T3, and magic is completely made up so you can put it anywhere you like. But it's much more difficult to raise martials up to T1/2 territory, so balance probably has to come from both ends unless it's just a band-aid.

Tier 2 is completely feasible.

I will agree approaching it from both ends will create a game that's a bit more appealing to certain markets, but disturbs others.

Quote:
(As I've whined elsewhere, though, making most casters narrower would actually feel a bit more flavorful for them. Most mighty necromancers of fiction, especially that not directly derived from D&D, can't teleport, and wizards who are more strongly distinguished from each other makes each of them feel cooler, even if each is less game-breaking.)

No arguments with narrowing down casters to a theme. Far greater narrative interest and makes it easier on the GM to have... say... beguilers and dread necromancers and warmages and such.

Dark Archive

This system could work but I don't think it would work well with the current prepared caster classes. Something more like choosing the spells from your memorized list to cast at what level you want to cast to would work better for this system.

With the current system it limits your character more then anything especially since they have said that they want to make it so that casters don't tread on other classes which IMO means that they have to be making the utility spells worse then they are or giving us less of them.


ChibiNyan wrote:

Great post from Mathmuse! This is the type of thinking we need to ensure balance without "taking stuff away".

Would you say the Barbarian is technically like the spellcasters in this aspect? Each time the class levels up, they are able to use Rage more often, but this is also compounded by the fact that Rage buff gets better (With powers or improved rage thing) and each round is more valuable than it was before. So the ability scales better than one would initially think.

I consider barbarian the best design for a non-caster class. The Rage Powers are a good mechanic for exponential growth of power, because they often have barbarian levels as a prerequisite. For example, in the Beast Totem line, Lesser Beast Totem (two claw attacks, nice at 1st level) can be taken at any level, Beast Totem (a scaling natural armor bonus) requires 6th level, and Greater Beast Totem (pounce) requires 10th level. Pounce is a powerful ability once a character gains two attacks at BAB +6. If it could be obtained at 6th level, almost every barbarian would take it. But the rage powers resticted it to 10th level, when that power level better matches the exponentially increasing power of the barbarian.

Matthias W wrote:
Making martial characters more powerful can, and should, be pursued - but raising to them of the power level of existing full casters would be very, very difficult without breaking the narrative/conceptual limits of "martial character." You can bring the damage and skill numbers up all you like, but the advantage of existing full casters is in the incredible qualitative options they have - summoning, teleporting, scrying, flying... Hercules and Cu Cullain absolutely exceed what an Olympic athlete can do, as well any high-level martial should, and they can do anything for love, but they won't do that.

This is also a key to why barbarians have good abilities. Rage is treated as a mystical power. People can't grow claws without magic. But a simple "(Su)" tag on Lesser Beast Totem makes it magic. A monk should have similar mystic powers, but the Core Rulebook monk didn't give them a truly magical ability until the feeble 7th-level Wholeness of Body ability. The 4th-level supernatural ki pool let their unarmed strikes count as magical, but that does not feel magical.

And I played a wilderness-survival barbarian with Raging Leaper, Raging Swimmer, Raging Climber, and Night Vision, qualitative options not readily given to martial characters. The mostly-martial ranger class uses spellcasting for a lot of those options.


Mathmuse wrote:
This is also a key to why barbarians have good abilities. Rage is treated as a mystical power. People can't grow claws without magic. But a simple "(Su)" tag on Lesser Beast Totem makes it magic.

This raises the critically important question of 'what is magic.'

Temporarily growing natural weapon claws in an instant, that's something that would require explanation of some sort but isn't necessarily magic. Take Wolverine from the X-men for example. Ignore the metal added to his skeleton, those claws pop out when needed and recede when they're not. [Now in the absence of fast healing there might be a small bleed effect when retracted.]

A more practical approach would be some form of ritual to permanently grow claw weapons that don't interfere with daily tasks. Keeping up the X-men analogy, claws like those of Sabertooth could easily become a permanent fixture of a character who applies their resources to acquire them.

Especially things related to movement, Skills [balance, acrobatics, athletics, etc etc etc] and massive physical power should not be gated behind magic but rather Martial Prowess.

Paizo Employee Designer

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kyrt-ryder wrote:
Especially things related to movement, Skills [balance, acrobatics, athletics, etc etc etc] and massive physical power should not be gated behind magic but rather Martial Prowess.

It's a fundamental design goal that someone with enough martial prowess, especially if they're legendary (but not precluding those who are not) can do unbelievable and completely unrealistic-in-the-real-world things. So much so that down the line we've gotten questions back about some of the more powerful skill feats "Can you really do Extreme-Thing-X just because you're that good at the skill?" Yes. Yes you can.


This is progress Mark. I'm looking forward to seeing the details.


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Every single post Mark writes gives us a pearl.

Every.single.one.

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