Spells Not Scaling Automatically per Caster Level


Prerelease Discussion

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ChibiNyan wrote:
gustavo iglesias wrote:
thflame wrote:
For example, if Fireball, a level 3 spell, cast at level 9, is similar in power to, say, Meteor Swarm, a level 9 spell, then everything is alright.

I disagree. Fireball would make then Meteor Swarm (and every blast spell in every spell slot) obsolete then.

In order to have Meteor Swarm, you pay an opportunity cost. If you learn Meteor Swarm, then you miss Time Stop. Or Wail of the Banshee, or Gate, or whatever. If you just slot the old, trusty Fireball you have been using 15 levels and get the same result, then what is the point to pick Meteor Swarm? Just pick Disjunction, or Summon Monster IX, or Prismatic Sphere, or ANYTHING. That way you can slot Fireball if you feel you need a blast, and whatever else you picked instead of meteor swarm if you don't.

A 3rd lvl spell making all other blasts obsolete is a bad idea. A blaster should invest in blasting spells, not just pick Fireball as 3rd level and forget every other blast

I think this just compounds the weakness of blasters, rather than balance them. Allow me to explain.

The Grease spell has the same power at level 1 than 20, the save scales to keep it relevant on the 1st level slot.

Blasters need to put their blasts on the higher level slots they can afford. Any damage spell on a 1st level slot is useless, and fireball on the 3rd level slot has a short shelf life. So what they gotta do is upcast to keep up, right? So we just put the fireball on the 9th lev- OH, it's still useless. I guess Blasters just gotta both max out their high level slots with blasts AND constantly learn new spells to put in those slots as well. This is just to maintain the power level theyve had since probably level 5. (killing enemies at the same rate that fireball was killing them at level 5). Double whammy here.

Meanwhile the Grease guy, if he decides he wants to be able to blast a bit, can just learn 1 high-level blast and be better since he didn't waste spellbook space on the low-level ones....

This isn't necessarily true though, at least for all spells in these categories. If I can make a couple of assumptions for a minute.... Weakness values look like they will scale with level, as Weakness 25 has been thrown out by Mark as a possible elemental weakness. We also know spells are stronger at the level you get them and don't scale sans heighten, which is similar to the 5e model.

Let's assume Scorching Ray works like it does in 5e, and gives you 3 rays as a second level spell when you unlock it which each do 2d6. Let's assume a big ol' White Dragon has Weakness Fire 25. Grease is pretty useless against a flying creature with no manufactured weapons, but doing up to 6d6+75 for a second level spell slot against a big ol' White Dragon? That's pretty sweet.

Also, we know Cantrips will scale and Powers will be better than cantrips. Assuming most or even some of them do direct damage the blaster isn't actually in a bad way.


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Another way to see it:

If a lvl 9 fireball should be just as good as a meteor swarm... Then a 9th lvl dispel magic should be as good as a disjuction? A 9th lvl slow as good as time stop? A 9th lvl charm person as good as dominate monster?

Then what is the point of 9th lvl spells?


To be fair, a system where you don't have 9th level spells, just heightened versions of basic spells, could be pretty cool. But we have then moved pretty far from Pathfinder or d&d. Sounds more like spheres of power.


Higher level spells will likely have "riders" in addition to other effects. Meteor Swarm would have that high damage, but it would also cause secondary effects in addition to that damage. Which means it would be better to have meteor swarm in that 9th level slot, but what about the 8th level slots? Or a cleric with the fire domain? Those would use fireball.

So, you could slot fireball into a 9th level slot and have more damage from it being in a higher slot, but you could take a true 9th level spell and get those extra perks in addition to the damage.


Captain Morgan wrote:
To be fair, a system where you don't have 9th level spells, just heightened versions of basic spells, could be pretty cool. But we have then moved pretty far from Pathfinder or d&d. Sounds more like spheres of power.

That's exactly what it's like to be an evenly multiclassed caster in 5e.

A 10/10 Wizard/Cleric gets a lot more spells, but max spell level is 5th. Still have 9th level slots, so using those slots is entirely for up casting. And in terms of power it's fairly on par with a flat 20th level wizard or 20th level cleric. Neither of them have the same breadth of spells you do, but both of them have more powerful spells. In the end, it evens out fairly decently.


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Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber; Pathfinder Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
bookrat wrote:
Captain Morgan wrote:
To be fair, a system where you don't have 9th level spells, just heightened versions of basic spells, could be pretty cool. But we have then moved pretty far from Pathfinder or d&d. Sounds more like spheres of power.

That's exactly what it's like to be an evenly multiclassed caster in 5e.

A 10/10 Wizard/Cleric gets a lot more spells, but max spell level is 5th. Still have 9th level slots, so using those slots is entirely for up casting. And in terms of power it's fairly on par with a flat 20th level wizard or 20th level cleric. Neither of them have the same breadth of spells you do, but both of them have more powerful spells. In the end, it evens out fairly decently.

I play a fair amount of 5e, and I'm going to have to disagree on the "fairly on par" bit there. Even being a single max spell level behind due to dipping a level or two is generally considered to be a significant cost, being 4 levels behind is a huge deal unless you've got some use for those high level spell slots other than upcasting (for example a Paladin who wants to use them for smiting). Yes, that character would have significantly more flexibility, but they're enormously far behind on sheer power.


A 9th level fireball which is weaker than meteor swarm is still a good option for a non blaster than suddenly needs to prepare a blasting option. A wizard that, say, learned Dominate monster and know will face an horde of mindless high level monsters. A 9th lvl fireball is a better option there, so he slots the third level spell he has been using 15 lvls and is essentially free, slot it in 9th slot, and get the job adequately done.

It should NEVER be the go to option for a dedicated 17th lvl blaster. That dedicated blaster should pick 9th lvl blasting spells


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Cuup wrote:
I know that in PF1, a mechanic that let you deal 7 less damage with a spell while increasing its save DC by 2 would have been worth its weight in gold.

The tradeoff isn't actually that good (It's actually 7 damage for every 1 point of DC, and the PF1 caster will often have a 1.5x damage multiplier or better). I've already done that comparison for caster level 10 using 3rd-5th level slots, and it's a decisive downgrade in overall power.

Cat-thulhu wrote:
Since DC now scales with level for all spells those low level spells will have have higher DCs when used later in the wizards career. This means more save fails, or more importantly critical fails. That critical fail is double damage remember.

I think people are putting way too much weight on this factor. Even setting aside the question of whether such weak monsters are even credible threats worthy of expending spell slots to defeat, the actual benefit of critical spell damage isn't nearly as substantial as people seem to think it is.

Let's presume that the upper range of what we might reasonably see in terms of critical failure chance is a 40% chance to critically fail, a 50% chance to fail the save, a 5% chance to succeed, and a 5% chance to critically succeed. That works out to give you on average 132.5% of your pre-save damage. The PF1 number in a similar situation might be a 70% chance to fail the save and a 30% chance to succeed, so on average you deliver 85% of your pre-save damage. 132.5/85 = 1.56, so a 56% advantage for PF2 due to its favorable saving throw rules. However, PF1 fireball caps at 10d6 instead of PF2's static 6d6, which is 66% more baseline damage. In other words, even with these favorable numbers it's not closing the gap in raw number of damage dice.

And honestly, I don't think you can push the critical failure rate much higher than that. Any higher, and we're talking about monsters so weak that PF1 damage is probably save-or-die anyways. And I'm not talking blood havoc sorcerer save-or-die, I'm talking unoptimized evoker save-or-die. That's a very low bar.

ChibiNyan wrote:

I think this just compounds the weakness of blasters, rather than balance them. Allow me to explain.

...

Hasn't retraining already been confirmed? Blaster will almost certainly have a means remove old blast spells as they proceed. Still, the concern is that spell slots below your highest and second-highest level will be useless for blasting. And if you only get 6-7 blasts per day tops... how are you going to make that your primary combat strategy on days where you fight through 15 or 20 rounds of combat?

PF1 blasts had a whole host of problems, but they scaled very well such that your lower-level spell slots remained relevant.

gustavo iglesias wrote:
A 9th level fireball which is weaker than meteor swarm is still a good option for a non blaster than suddenly needs to prepare a blasting option.

This presumes that fireball actually deals enough damage to actually be worth expending the spell slot. It's all well and good to say that a heightened fireball shouldn't be as good as meteor swarm, but the numbers we're looking at aren't even in the same league! We know that a 9th level fireball is 18d6 damage for 63 damage. By PF1 standards, that would be considered barely adequate for a 3rd level spell slot at those levels.

By all means, PF1 had a problem with requiring feat investment and total specializing in a single spell slot, but the root cause of that problem was that the spells were underpowered to begin with. All indication is that PF2 spells have an even worse baseline, and thus blasting will (once again) be one of those things you either specialize in or don't bother with.

The Exchange

This is a bad idea. The only way to balance spells not scaling is to significantly front load them and saddle them with poor saves to balance out the damage boost. Its very bad game design. I play 5E and upcasting is a bad option for multiple reasons in 5E.
1) Not enough spell slots. To make upcasting work you need lots of spell slots to keep the utility of upcasting available. 5E does a terrible job of this as they have very few high level slots. 6th-9th is one slot per level.

2) Their damage is bad. PF2 previews are slightly better but they fail at this too. And for people making the argument that its ok for upcasting spells to be weaker than regular spells cast at that level I heartily disagree with you. If you expect a fighter/rogue or martial/non caster multiclass to hit within the expected ballpark range of a straight martial character (and they do!) then you cannot argue that upcasting spells should not match spells of a higher level for damage output. Its a higher level spell slot so those spells should fall into the expected parameters of a spell of that level. The upcast spells sampled here DO NOT meet that threshold.

3) 5E upcasting DOES NOT use the Vancian spell system. Every caster has poached the sorcerer's spontaneous casting ability. The only differences between the classes are types & number of spells available for memorization each day.

Stop trying to force feed blasters that they need to memorize a variety of utlitiy and control spells and other magicks and that blaster spells are no big deal. 4E made that mistake and paid dearly for it. There were big time revolts over 4E designers breaking iconic spells such as fireball and magic missile as they had to go back and errata those spells heavily since people were up in arms about it. Evern to the point of slightly overpowering fireball and lightning bolt in 5E to make up for it. Don't go down that road Paizo. You will pay dearly for it if you do

The Exchange

gustavo iglesias wrote:

A 9th level fireball which is weaker than meteor swarm is still a good option for a non blaster than suddenly needs to prepare a blasting option. A wizard that, say, learned Dominate monster and know will face an horde of mindless high level monsters. A 9th lvl fireball is a better option there, so he slots the third level spell he has been using 15 lvls and is essentially free, slot it in 9th slot, and get the job adequately done.

It should NEVER be the go to option for a dedicated 17th lvl blaster. That dedicated blaster should pick 9th lvl blasting spells

Yes it should. It just cannot do what meteor swarm does but the damage should be comparable. Its a 9th level spell! You wouldn't expect a fighter rogue who acheived a higher enough base attack to miss out on excess iterative attacks because she has rogue levels in addition to fighter levels and therefore should be weaker because she is not a 'true' fighter.

The Exchange

bookrat wrote:
Captain Morgan wrote:
To be fair, a system where you don't have 9th level spells, just heightened versions of basic spells, could be pretty cool. But we have then moved pretty far from Pathfinder or d&d. Sounds more like spheres of power.

That's exactly what it's like to be an evenly multiclassed caster in 5e.

A 10/10 Wizard/Cleric gets a lot more spells, but max spell level is 5th. Still have 9th level slots, so using those slots is entirely for up casting. And in terms of power it's fairly on par with a flat 20th level wizard or 20th level cleric. Neither of them have the same breadth of spells you do, but both of them have more powerful spells. In the end, it evens out fairly decently.

Its not even close with the way spells are written for upcasting. A 15D4+15 magic missile does not equal a no save power word kill that slays someone with 80 hit points or less instantly. If magic missile did 80 points of damage or more at 9th level then it would be a fair comparison

Shadow Lodge

Spontaneous is Vancian. The term has evolved to mean 'spells per day' as far as I can tell.


Dragonborn3 wrote:
Spontaneous is Vancian. The term has evolved to mean 'spells per day' as far as I can tell.

Spells broken into specific levels and having a certain number of each level per day.


Talek & Luna wrote:
bookrat wrote:
Captain Morgan wrote:
To be fair, a system where you don't have 9th level spells, just heightened versions of basic spells, could be pretty cool. But we have then moved pretty far from Pathfinder or d&d. Sounds more like spheres of power.

That's exactly what it's like to be an evenly multiclassed caster in 5e.

A 10/10 Wizard/Cleric gets a lot more spells, but max spell level is 5th. Still have 9th level slots, so using those slots is entirely for up casting. And in terms of power it's fairly on par with a flat 20th level wizard or 20th level cleric. Neither of them have the same breadth of spells you do, but both of them have more powerful spells. In the end, it evens out fairly decently.

Its not even close with the way spells are written for upcasting. A 15D4+15 magic missile does not equal a no save power word kill that slays someone with 80 hit points or less instantly. If magic missile did 80 points of damage or more at 9th level then it would be a fair comparison

I think it is fair to note that power word kill would be worthless when the enemy has more than 80 hit points and magic missile would still do its damage automatically. There have also been many creatures that are immune to death effects and almost none that are immune to force.

Magic missile also has some utility in automatically killing/damaging multiple weakened enemies that are very far from eachother.

I agree that those things are more niche than the utility of power word kill but I think magic missile is reasonably balanced against it (if power word kill is even in the game under this incarnation).

The Exchange

Gregg Reece wrote:
Dragonborn3 wrote:
Spontaneous is Vancian. The term has evolved to mean 'spells per day' as far as I can tell.
Spells broken into specific levels and having a certain number of each level per day.

I disagree with both of your assessments. Spell memorization is key issue. Vancian magic is taken from the Jack Vance dying earth series where spells are forgotten as soon as they are cast. If you memorized fireball and cast it you could not recast it again unless you had a second fireball memorized. Spontaneous casters do not have this restriction. You might say they are pseudo-Vancian casters because they have the spells per level restriction but they are not Vancian casters in the true sense of the term.

The Exchange

Excaliburproxy wrote:
Talek & Luna wrote:
bookrat wrote:
Captain Morgan wrote:
To be fair, a system where you don't have 9th level spells, just heightened versions of basic spells, could be pretty cool. But we have then moved pretty far from Pathfinder or d&d. Sounds more like spheres of power.

That's exactly what it's like to be an evenly multiclassed caster in 5e.

A 10/10 Wizard/Cleric gets a lot more spells, but max spell level is 5th. Still have 9th level slots, so using those slots is entirely for up casting. And in terms of power it's fairly on par with a flat 20th level wizard or 20th level cleric. Neither of them have the same breadth of spells you do, but both of them have more powerful spells. In the end, it evens out fairly decently.

Its not even close with the way spells are written for upcasting. A 15D4+15 magic missile does not equal a no save power word kill that slays someone with 80 hit points or less instantly. If magic missile did 80 points of damage or more at 9th level then it would be a fair comparison

I think it is fair to note that power word kill would be worthless when the enemy has more than 80 hit points and magic missile would still do its damage automatically. There have also been many creatures that are immune to death effects and almost none that are immune to force.

Magic missile also has some utility in automatically killing/damaging multiple weakened enemies that are very far from eachother.

I agree that those things are more niche than the utility of power word kill but I think magic missile is reasonably balanced against it (if power word kill is even in the game under this incarnation).

Here are advantages to Power Word Kill that I see over a 9th level magic missile.

1) Higher Damage cap
2) Single action casting vs 3 action casting to achieve maximum effect.
All I have to do is say "Die!" and I can still move or cast other
spells. To acheive 15 magic missiles. I have to avoid movement and
cannot use my 2 remaining actions for anything else.

3) Magic Missile is probably still blocked by shield and also fails
against minor globe & globe of invulnerability plus the brooch of
shielding. Power Word Kill is only restricted by hit point total

4) Almost impossible to interrupt. Saying Die! is pretty fast. I don't
feel anyone not trained at legendary level of arcana could even see
the spell coming as all the spell ecompasses is a single verbal
component.

5) Spell Preparation - Who in their right mind would bother to prepare a
9th level version of magic missile? Its seems preposterous compared
to other 9th level spells available. It doesn't hold up to a single
true 9th level spell in terms of effect & action economy.

The Exchange

gustavo iglesias wrote:

A 9th level fireball which is weaker than meteor swarm is still a good option for a non blaster than suddenly needs to prepare a blasting option. A wizard that, say, learned Dominate monster and know will face an horde of mindless high level monsters. A 9th lvl fireball is a better option there, so he slots the third level spell he has been using 15 lvls and is essentially free, slot it in 9th slot, and get the job adequately done.

It should NEVER be the go to option for a dedicated 17th lvl blaster. That dedicated blaster should pick 9th lvl blasting spells

Fighters don't lose optimal fighting ability because they have to use a dagger instead of a longsword. Casters shouldn't suffer from upcasting either. The spell should do as much damage as a 9th level spell. Its other effects such as aoe radius should not be as good as a meteor swarm and it should not have the same riders but its damage should be within the ball park and upcasting does not allow this.

To put it in perspective of a fighter, it would be like a fighter suddenly losing half his attack bonus because the dagger is not his primary weapon.


Talek & Luna wrote:
Gregg Reece wrote:
Dragonborn3 wrote:
Spontaneous is Vancian. The term has evolved to mean 'spells per day' as far as I can tell.
Spells broken into specific levels and having a certain number of each level per day.
I disagree with both of your assessments. Spell memorization is key issue. Vancian magic is taken from the Jack Vance dying earth series where spells are forgotten as soon as they are cast. If you memorized fireball and cast it you could not recast it again unless you had a second fireball memorized. Spontaneous casters do not have this restriction. You might say they are pseudo-Vancian casters because they have the spells per level restriction but they are not Vancian casters in the true sense of the term.

It's also taken from the Jack Vance Dying Earth series where there are a limited number of distinct spells, of which you can only prepare a bare handful (I think the main character could do something like 4?). I don't believe there was any mention of preparing spells twice.

IOW, even basic AD&D wizards aren't really that close to Vance's Vancian magic. And PF spontaneous casters are much closer than a spell points system or a more on-the-fly system like Words of Power or something the old World of Darkness Mage system.

The Exchange

Captain Morgan wrote:
ChibiNyan wrote:
gustavo iglesias wrote:
thflame wrote:
For example, if Fireball, a level 3 spell, cast at level 9, is similar in power to, say, Meteor Swarm, a level 9 spell, then everything is alright.

I disagree. Fireball would make then Meteor Swarm (and every blast spell in every spell slot) obsolete then.

In order to have Meteor Swarm, you pay an opportunity cost. If you learn Meteor Swarm, then you miss Time Stop. Or Wail of the Banshee, or Gate, or whatever. If you just slot the old, trusty Fireball you have been using 15 levels and get the same result, then what is the point to pick Meteor Swarm? Just pick Disjunction, or Summon Monster IX, or Prismatic Sphere, or ANYTHING. That way you can slot Fireball if you feel you need a blast, and whatever else you picked instead of meteor swarm if you don't.

A 3rd lvl spell making all other blasts obsolete is a bad idea. A blaster should invest in blasting spells, not just pick Fireball as 3rd level and forget every other blast

I think this just compounds the weakness of blasters, rather than balance them. Allow me to explain.

The Grease spell has the same power at level 1 than 20, the save scales to keep it relevant on the 1st level slot.

Blasters need to put their blasts on the higher level slots they can afford. Any damage spell on a 1st level slot is useless, and fireball on the 3rd level slot has a short shelf life. So what they gotta do is upcast to keep up, right? So we just put the fireball on the 9th lev- OH, it's still useless. I guess Blasters just gotta both max out their high level slots with blasts AND constantly learn new spells to put in those slots as well. This is just to maintain the power level theyve had since probably level 5. (killing enemies at the same rate that fireball was killing them at level 5). Double whammy here.

Meanwhile the Grease guy, if he decides he wants to be able to blast a bit, can just learn 1 high-level blast and be better since he didn't waste spellbook space

...

That's the most annoying part. Cantrips ARE quadratic but normal spells are not. Its a really bad idea that creates a lot of dissonance for me. The difference from a master casting a cantrip and an apprentice is readily apparent if both cast a cantrip. If they both cast a magic missile with a level 1 spell slot you cannot tell the difference between the two. I think that is really immersion breaking.

The Exchange

thejeff wrote:
Talek & Luna wrote:
Gregg Reece wrote:
Dragonborn3 wrote:
Spontaneous is Vancian. The term has evolved to mean 'spells per day' as far as I can tell.
Spells broken into specific levels and having a certain number of each level per day.
I disagree with both of your assessments. Spell memorization is key issue. Vancian magic is taken from the Jack Vance dying earth series where spells are forgotten as soon as they are cast. If you memorized fireball and cast it you could not recast it again unless you had a second fireball memorized. Spontaneous casters do not have this restriction. You might say they are pseudo-Vancian casters because they have the spells per level restriction but they are not Vancian casters in the true sense of the term.

It's also taken from the Jack Vance Dying Earth series where there are a limited number of distinct spells, of which you can only prepare a bare handful (I think the main character could do something like 4?). I don't believe there was any mention of preparing spells twice.

IOW, even basic AD&D wizards aren't really that close to Vance's Vancian magic. And PF spontaneous casters are much closer than a spell points system or a more on-the-fly system like Words of Power or something the old World of Darkness Mage system.

Low level wizards, especially from Basic Edition perfectly mimic the Jack Vance casting system, except for the fact that their spells start off MUCH weaker than the spells in Jack Vance's dying earth series.


Talek & Luna wrote:
Excaliburproxy wrote:
Talek & Luna wrote:
bookrat wrote:
Captain Morgan wrote:
To be fair, a system where you don't have 9th level spells, just heightened versions of basic spells, could be pretty cool. But we have then moved pretty far from Pathfinder or d&d. Sounds more like spheres of power.

That's exactly what it's like to be an evenly multiclassed caster in 5e.

A 10/10 Wizard/Cleric gets a lot more spells, but max spell level is 5th. Still have 9th level slots, so using those slots is entirely for up casting. And in terms of power it's fairly on par with a flat 20th level wizard or 20th level cleric. Neither of them have the same breadth of spells you do, but both of them have more powerful spells. In the end, it evens out fairly decently.

Its not even close with the way spells are written for upcasting. A 15D4+15 magic missile does not equal a no save power word kill that slays someone with 80 hit points or less instantly. If magic missile did 80 points of damage or more at 9th level then it would be a fair comparison

I think it is fair to note that power word kill would be worthless when the enemy has more than 80 hit points and magic missile would still do its damage automatically. There have also been many creatures that are immune to death effects and almost none that are immune to force.

Magic missile also has some utility in automatically killing/damaging multiple weakened enemies that are very far from eachother.

I agree that those things are more niche than the utility of power word kill but I think magic missile is reasonably balanced against it (if power word kill is even in the game under this incarnation).

Here are advantages to Power Word Kill that I see over a 9th level magic missile.

1) Higher Damage cap
2) Single action casting vs 3 action casting to achieve maximum effect.
All I have to do is say "Die!" and I can still move or cast other
spells. To acheive 15 magic missiles. I have to avoid...

Was Power Word Kill posted somewhere or is this all conjecture?


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Talek & Luna wrote:
gustavo iglesias wrote:

A 9th level fireball which is weaker than meteor swarm is still a good option for a non blaster than suddenly needs to prepare a blasting option. A wizard that, say, learned Dominate monster and know will face an horde of mindless high level monsters. A 9th lvl fireball is a better option there, so he slots the third level spell he has been using 15 lvls and is essentially free, slot it in 9th slot, and get the job adequately done.

It should NEVER be the go to option for a dedicated 17th lvl blaster. That dedicated blaster should pick 9th lvl blasting spells

Fighters don't lose optimal fighting ability because they have to use a dagger instead of a longsword. Casters shouldn't suffer from upcasting either. The spell should do as much damage as a 9th level spell. Its other effects such as aoe radius should not be as good as a meteor swarm and it should not have the same riders but its damage should be within the ball park and upcasting does not allow this.

To put it in perspective of a fighter, it would be like a fighter suddenly losing half his attack bonus because the dagger is not his primary weapon.

Fighters do in fact lose optimal fighting ability when they are forced to use a backup weapon.


I'm okay with spells in general requiring scaling, however I am worried about evocation *specifically* where blaster wizards have usually fallen short to utility ones.

Now, blaster wizards get less spells that scale with enemies, which can be a bit of a problem. Utility will always find a use no matter what spell level, but damage quickly becomes irrelevant if it's too inefficient action-to-damage wise.

Cantrip that are automatically highest level helps, but it sort of destroys flexibility in that wizards can't specialize as much and get more out of breadth and covering everything since it's as simple as picking a single cantrip. The peaceful enchantment wizard and purely primal elemental destruction wizard are both just shooting themselves in the foot (as opposed to slightly cutting themselves in the foot but getting 20 bucks as part of a dare or something) because in PF1e you had to put in spell slots and learn the spells, and while it wasn't perfect, many spells scaled up automatically so there'd be plenty of options in combat. In PF2e it seems the go to strategy is that you take a cantrip, sometimes learn the spells and sometimes just cast a higher level version of a spell you already have, and have a ton of free slots and spells to learn for utility. Your higher level spells will deal tons of damage, your lower level spells will never have damaging spells unless you specifically know you're going to have very very weak minions all bunching together (assuming DM is trying to make the encounter CR appropriate, he'll need a tonnn of enemies since in this game it's easier to kill a lot of weak enemies than in 5e)

I guess if they make the damage higher in general it helps slow down this problem, but it doesn't fix it.

If cantrips are going to be sort of comparable (maybe a bit weaker) to weapon attacks, spells should rarely go too far below that damage, and use it as a minimum. Possibly as a feat in the evocation school, all damage evocation spells have a minimum spell level equal to 1/3 of their highest level spell slot even when cast with first level spell slots.

Or the damage scales with level, but the secondary effect goes up with spell slot. Or add a spell that increases the damage of your next spell (add 1d6 damage per level of spell slot or something, can be casted with an action or while doing a spell component).

I don't play damage wizards though, so take my comment with a grain of salt.


I really feel this system is designed to make blaster casters think more about taking more interesting choices with their low level spells. You can do big damage with your highest spell slots, regular damage with your cantrips which frees up your low level spell slots for some variety since fhere’s point taking low level damaging spells other then maybe a few magic missles for a guaranteed hit to finish a low HP foe.

If I was making a blasting wizard with these rules I think it would have been a more interesting wizard I made when I first started playing 3.5/PF.


Talek & Luna wrote:


That's the most annoying part. Cantrips ARE quadratic but normal spells are not. Its a really bad idea that creates a lot of dissonance for me. The difference from a master casting a cantrip and an apprentice is readily apparent if both cast a cantrip. If they both cast a magic missile with a level 1 spell slot you cannot tell the difference between the two. I think that is really immersion breaking.

I know we don't have much else to go on, but picking magic missile for this example is a mistake. It is an outlier spell. It has no save and does not require an attack roll. the 1st level and 20th level caster will look significantly different on almost every other first level spell, especially attack ones. Anything that gives an attack roll will see the 20th level caster hitting critically while the 1st level one will be like to miss.


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Isn't damage potentially lower across the board? My biggest gripe about PF1 is that most combats only last 2-3 turns. Comparing the damage numbers to PF1 seems a bit pointless if all the other classes are also doing less damage, right?


Mechalibur wrote:
Isn't damage potentially lower across the board? My biggest gripe about PF1 is that most combats only last 2-3 turns. Comparing the damage numbers to PF1 seems a bit pointless if all the other classes are also doing less damage, right?

We don't know that other classes are doing less damage. In fact, it feels to me like martial classes will be doing as much or more damage. Sure, at the high levels they get less attacks per round, but there seems to be a lot of damage on the table for them--especially the extra damage dice for each +1 pf a weapon.


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Ultrace wrote:
Mechalibur wrote:
Isn't damage potentially lower across the board? My biggest gripe about PF1 is that most combats only last 2-3 turns. Comparing the damage numbers to PF1 seems a bit pointless if all the other classes are also doing less damage, right?
We don't know that other classes are doing less damage. In fact, it feels to me like martial classes will be doing as much or more damage. Sure, at the high levels they get less attacks per round, but there seems to be a lot of damage on the table for them--especially the extra damage dice for each +1 pf a weapon.

All signs point to static modifiers going down though. 1.5 strength doesn't seem to be a thing, and we won't get scaling static power attack/deadly aim. Also, I don't think weapon enhancement adds to static damage anymore? I'd imagine if you combine those 3 factors the damage will look a lot closer than you'd think. A raging power attack greatsword from a lv 6 PF1 barbarian can easily hit for 22 damage before magic items. That's 44 if both hit on a full attack. In PF2, power attack and a secondary hit will only do 31.5 assuming rage still increasess strength up to a 22. Adding a +1 weapon only brings the damage to 43.5, which is less than the PF1 barbarian with a +1 weapon by a few points.

A big part of the stated design goal has been evening out the experience across all levels of play. Part of that seems to be not having the game become increasingly rocket tag based. In general they seem to be reining in damage increases. Now you usually one shot low level threats because you crit them more, as opposed to just having an absurdly high damage modifier.


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In 3.5 Psionics allowed to augment blasting powers by the same amount, practically dealing the same damage at the same cost of 1 PP = 1d6, and what differences them and gives a higher level is the target, area, and range. Psionics is probably still the best system I have seen so far.


edduardco wrote:
In 3.5 Psionics allowed to augment blasting powers by the same amount, practically dealing the same damage at the same cost of 1 PP = 1d6, and what differences them and gives a higher level is the target, area, and range. Psionics is probably still the best system I have seen so far.

Weren’t psionics riddled with weird corner cases that didn’t work well? In practice, your best options were to either blow all of your juice on a few world ending powers each day or do things that only cost 1 or 2 pp.


gustavo iglesias wrote:

Another way to see it:

If a lvl 9 fireball should be just as good as a meteor swarm... Then a 9th lvl dispel magic should be as good as a disjuction? A 9th lvl slow as good as time stop? A 9th lvl charm person as good as dominate monster?

Then what is the point of 9th lvl spells?

Fireball dealing the same damage as Meteor Swarm doesn't make it as good as Meteor Swarm, high level spells should differentiate from their low level counterparts in more than just damage, like range, area, targets, secondary effects, etc.

Your other examples are just apples to oranges.


Excaliburproxy wrote:
edduardco wrote:
In 3.5 Psionics allowed to augment blasting powers by the same amount, practically dealing the same damage at the same cost of 1 PP = 1d6, and what differences them and gives a higher level is the target, area, and range. Psionics is probably still the best system I have seen so far.

Weren’t psionics riddled with weird corner cases that didn’t work well? In practice, your best options were to either blow all of your juice on a few world ending powers each day or do things that only cost 1 or 2 pp.

Maybe, but I still prefer that to spell slots and the heightening presented for PF2


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edduardco wrote:
Excaliburproxy wrote:
edduardco wrote:
In 3.5 Psionics allowed to augment blasting powers by the same amount, practically dealing the same damage at the same cost of 1 PP = 1d6, and what differences them and gives a higher level is the target, area, and range. Psionics is probably still the best system I have seen so far.

Weren’t psionics riddled with weird corner cases that didn’t work well? In practice, your best options were to either blow all of your juice on a few world ending powers each day or do things that only cost 1 or 2 pp.

Maybe, but I still prefer that to spell slots and the heightening presented for PF2

It was worse than that; there was never a reason to cast anything but effectively the highest level spell you could cast until you were just out of points.

At 18th level you could cast like 9 9th level spells and then you were just done.


Nathanael Love wrote:
edduardco wrote:
Excaliburproxy wrote:
edduardco wrote:
In 3.5 Psionics allowed to augment blasting powers by the same amount, practically dealing the same damage at the same cost of 1 PP = 1d6, and what differences them and gives a higher level is the target, area, and range. Psionics is probably still the best system I have seen so far.

Weren’t psionics riddled with weird corner cases that didn’t work well? In practice, your best options were to either blow all of your juice on a few world ending powers each day or do things that only cost 1 or 2 pp.

Maybe, but I still prefer that to spell slots and the heightening presented for PF2

It was worse than that; there was never a reason to cast anything but effectively the highest level spell you could cast until you were just out of points.

At 18th level you could cast like 9 9th level spells and then you were just done.

I liked how 4e handled that, fewer power points but were replenished per encounter

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Talek & Luna wrote:
That's the most annoying part. Cantrips ARE quadratic but normal spells are not. Its a really bad idea that creates a lot of dissonance for me. The difference from a master casting a cantrip and an apprentice is readily apparent if both cast a cantrip. If they both cast a magic missile with a level 1 spell slot you cannot tell the difference between the two. I think that is really immersion breaking.

Why would a spell act differently when both casters expend the same amount of power for the spell? Same actions, same energy, same result. If the master wants to show off, they can use metamagic, or spend a higher slot for more power in the spell.


KingOfAnything wrote:
Talek & Luna wrote:
That's the most annoying part. Cantrips ARE quadratic but normal spells are not. Its a really bad idea that creates a lot of dissonance for me. The difference from a master casting a cantrip and an apprentice is readily apparent if both cast a cantrip. If they both cast a magic missile with a level 1 spell slot you cannot tell the difference between the two. I think that is really immersion breaking.
Why would a spell act differently when both casters expend the same amount of power for the spell? Same actions, same energy, same result. If the master wants to show off, they can use metamagic, or spend a higher slot for more power in the spell.

Well that is a design decision of how much do you want level to impact the game, for example, should a higher level caster be more efficient and get greater effect expending fewer resources than a lower level caster?


gustavo iglesias wrote:

Another way to see it:

If a lvl 9 fireball should be just as good as a meteor swarm... Then a 9th lvl dispel magic should be as good as a disjuction? A 9th lvl slow as good as time stop? A 9th lvl charm person as good as dominate monster?

A Dispel Magic cast with a 9th level slot should be the PF2e version Disjunction.

Many older spell chains(i.e. charm person -> charm monster -> dominate person -> dominate monster) were added because older editions lacked a heightening system.

Quote:
Then what is the point of 9th lvl spells?

9th level spells should have effects that are not available from just heightening other spells.

A 9th level Fireball could be a really big and damaging fireball (they you might delay the explosion on) while a 9th level Meteor Swarm could drop a series of smaller fireballs over multiple rounds.

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edduardco wrote:
KingOfAnything wrote:
Talek & Luna wrote:
That's the most annoying part. Cantrips ARE quadratic but normal spells are not. Its a really bad idea that creates a lot of dissonance for me. The difference from a master casting a cantrip and an apprentice is readily apparent if both cast a cantrip. If they both cast a magic missile with a level 1 spell slot you cannot tell the difference between the two. I think that is really immersion breaking.
Why would a spell act differently when both casters expend the same amount of power for the spell? Same actions, same energy, same result. If the master wants to show off, they can use metamagic, or spend a higher slot for more power in the spell.
Well that is a design decision of how much do you want level to impact the game, for example, should a higher level caster be more efficient and get greater effect expending fewer resources than a lower level caster?

In my mental model of magic, higher efficiency is gained with higher level spells. You get more out of the same resource if you use a spell designed for that level of resource.

I don't have a good analogue for why a master caster can wiggle their fingers and say magic words the same way as an apprentice and somehow do it more efficiently. It just doesn't make much sense to me.


KingOfAnything wrote:

In my mental model of magic, higher efficiency is gained with higher level spells. You get more out of the same resource if you use a spell designed for that level of resource.

I don't have a good analogue for why a master caster can wiggle their fingers and say magic words the same way as an apprentice and somehow do it more efficiently. It just doesn't make much sense to me.

In that case caster level doesn't influence spells and it seems that for better or worse that is what PF2 is aiming, but in 3.X and PF1 that wasn't the case, a Fireball casted by a 10 level caster was more powerful than one casted from a level 5 caster using the same 3rd level slot. And caster level not only affected dice damage it also influenced things like range, area, or duration.

Like I said that depends on how do you want to design the system, if you want caster level to influence the spells or not.

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edduardco wrote:
KingOfAnything wrote:

In my mental model of magic, higher efficiency is gained with higher level spells. You get more out of the same resource if you use a spell designed for that level of resource.

I don't have a good analogue for why a master caster can wiggle their fingers and say magic words the same way as an apprentice and somehow do it more efficiently. It just doesn't make much sense to me.

In that case caster level doesn't influence spells and it seems that for better or worse that is what PF2 is aiming, but in 3.X and PF1 that wasn't the case, a Fireball casted by a 10 level caster was more powerful than one casted from a level 5 caster using the same 3rd level slot. And caster level not only affected dice damage it also influenced things like range, area, or duration.

Like I said that depends on how do you want to design the system, if you want caster level to influence the spells or not.

Yes. The PF1 system doesn't make much sense to me, I just didn't have an alternative to compare it to, and tried not to think about it. I'm just saying that PF2 satisfies my magical "verisimilitude" requirements better than PF1 did.

The Exchange

Excaliburproxy wrote:
Talek & Luna wrote:
Excaliburproxy wrote:
Talek & Luna wrote:
bookrat wrote:
Captain Morgan wrote:
To be fair, a system where you don't have 9th level spells, just heightened versions of basic spells, could be pretty cool. But we have then moved pretty far from Pathfinder or d&d. Sounds more like spheres of power.

That's exactly what it's like to be an evenly multiclassed caster in 5e.

A 10/10 Wizard/Cleric gets a lot more spells, but max spell level is 5th. Still have 9th level slots, so using those slots is entirely for up casting. And in terms of power it's fairly on par with a flat 20th level wizard or 20th level cleric. Neither of them have the same breadth of spells you do, but both of them have more powerful spells. In the end, it evens out fairly decently.

Its not even close with the way spells are written for upcasting. A 15D4+15 magic missile does not equal a no save power word kill that slays someone with 80 hit points or less instantly. If magic missile did 80 points of damage or more at 9th level then it would be a fair comparison

I think it is fair to note that power word kill would be worthless when the enemy has more than 80 hit points and magic missile would still do its damage automatically. There have also been many creatures that are immune to death effects and almost none that are immune to force.

Magic missile also has some utility in automatically killing/damaging multiple weakened enemies that are very far from eachother.

I agree that those things are more niche than the utility of power word kill but I think magic missile is reasonably balanced against it (if power word kill is even in the game under this incarnation).

Here are advantages to Power Word Kill that I see over a 9th level magic missile.

1) Higher Damage cap
2) Single action casting vs 3 action casting to achieve maximum effect.
All I have to do is say "Die!" and I can still move or cast other
spells. To acheive 15 magic

...

Totally based upon conjecture given the history of how Power Words have worked in the past. Power Word in PF1 works at the 80 hit point threshold if I remember correctly.

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KingOfAnything wrote:
edduardco wrote:
KingOfAnything wrote:
Talek & Luna wrote:
That's the most annoying part. Cantrips ARE quadratic but normal spells are not. Its a really bad idea that creates a lot of dissonance for me. The difference from a master casting a cantrip and an apprentice is readily apparent if both cast a cantrip. If they both cast a magic missile with a level 1 spell slot you cannot tell the difference between the two. I think that is really immersion breaking.
Why would a spell act differently when both casters expend the same amount of power for the spell? Same actions, same energy, same result. If the master wants to show off, they can use metamagic, or spend a higher slot for more power in the spell.
Well that is a design decision of how much do you want level to impact the game, for example, should a higher level caster be more efficient and get greater effect expending fewer resources than a lower level caster?

In my mental model of magic, higher efficiency is gained with higher level spells. You get more out of the same resource if you use a spell designed for that level of resource.

I don't have a good analogue for why a master caster can wiggle their fingers and say magic words the same way as an apprentice and somehow do it more efficiently. It just doesn't make much sense to me.

So by your reasoning a martial's second and third swings should do less damage because he cannot swing as accurately as he could on his first swing? AMIRITE :) ?

The Exchange

Hey if sneak attack does not scale then I am completely fine with spells not scaling. Just give rogues 2D6 extra damage on a sneak attack hit and call it a day.

The Exchange

KingOfAnything wrote:
Talek & Luna wrote:
That's the most annoying part. Cantrips ARE quadratic but normal spells are not. Its a really bad idea that creates a lot of dissonance for me. The difference from a master casting a cantrip and an apprentice is readily apparent if both cast a cantrip. If they both cast a magic missile with a level 1 spell slot you cannot tell the difference between the two. I think that is really immersion breaking.
Why would a spell act differently when both casters expend the same amount of power for the spell? Same actions, same energy, same result. If the master wants to show off, they can use metamagic, or spend a higher slot for more power in the spell.

For the same reason that a high level fighter hits for more accuracy then a low level fighter. Being a higher level gives you greater mastery over your chosen profession. Now if fighters never increased in attack bonuses and only differentiated from each other via feats I could understand your point about there being no difference between Talek the apprentice casting fireball vs Raistlin the Arch Mage casting a fireball

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Unicore wrote:
Talek & Luna wrote:


That's the most annoying part. Cantrips ARE quadratic but normal spells are not. Its a really bad idea that creates a lot of dissonance for me. The difference from a master casting a cantrip and an apprentice is readily apparent if both cast a cantrip. If they both cast a magic missile with a level 1 spell slot you cannot tell the difference between the two. I think that is really immersion breaking.
I know we don't have much else to go on, but picking magic missile for this example is a mistake. It is an outlier spell. It has no save and does not require an attack roll. the 1st level and 20th level caster will look significantly different on almost every other first level spell, especially attack ones. Anything that gives an attack roll will see the 20th level caster hitting critically while the 1st level one will be like to miss.

magic missile is not a mistake as an example. Its a classic spell and the canary in the coal mine. As written I see the spell disappearing after 3rd level and that is bad because it is an iconic spell.

The part about critical fails on saves is no big deal either. Lets put it this way. Lets say fireball does 5D6. A critical is a 100% increase in damage. A +5 sword is a 500% increase in damage and 1000% increase in damage if you crit. Blast spells need to increase in damage to be viable and I don't accept the argument that they are ineffective. I don't lobby to make dual wielding ineffective. Evocation spells should be treated better than they seem to be by playtest rules

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Rek Rollington wrote:

I really feel this system is designed to make blaster casters think more about taking more interesting choices with their low level spells. You can do big damage with your highest spell slots, regular damage with your cantrips which frees up your low level spell slots for some variety since fhere’s point taking low level damaging spells other then maybe a few magic missles for a guaranteed hit to finish a low HP foe.

If I was making a blasting wizard with these rules I think it would have been a more interesting wizard I made when I first started playing 3.5/PF.

Why should I be forced to take more "Interesting choices"? What if I don't care about buffing my party or utility and just want to blast stuff. Stop saying that my fun is badwrongfun

The Exchange

Bardarok wrote:
Talek & Luna wrote:
gustavo iglesias wrote:

A 9th level fireball which is weaker than meteor swarm is still a good option for a non blaster than suddenly needs to prepare a blasting option. A wizard that, say, learned Dominate monster and know will face an horde of mindless high level monsters. A 9th lvl fireball is a better option there, so he slots the third level spell he has been using 15 lvls and is essentially free, slot it in 9th slot, and get the job adequately done.

It should NEVER be the go to option for a dedicated 17th lvl blaster. That dedicated blaster should pick 9th lvl blasting spells

Fighters don't lose optimal fighting ability because they have to use a dagger instead of a longsword. Casters shouldn't suffer from upcasting either. The spell should do as much damage as a 9th level spell. Its other effects such as aoe radius should not be as good as a meteor swarm and it should not have the same riders but its damage should be within the ball park and upcasting does not allow this.

To put it in perspective of a fighter, it would be like a fighter suddenly losing half his attack bonus because the dagger is not his primary weapon.

Fighters do in fact lose optimal fighting ability when they are forced to use a backup weapon.

In the old PF rules yes, because a lot was tied up in specialization and expertise. In this edition, it does not seem to be the case so far. You don't suffer a reduction to your attack number because you switched weapons unless you switched from a magical to a non magical one.


Talek & Luna wrote:
Bardarok wrote:
Talek & Luna wrote:
gustavo iglesias wrote:

A 9th level fireball which is weaker than meteor swarm is still a good option for a non blaster than suddenly needs to prepare a blasting option. A wizard that, say, learned Dominate monster and know will face an horde of mindless high level monsters. A 9th lvl fireball is a better option there, so he slots the third level spell he has been using 15 lvls and is essentially free, slot it in 9th slot, and get the job adequately done.

It should NEVER be the go to option for a dedicated 17th lvl blaster. That dedicated blaster should pick 9th lvl blasting spells

Fighters don't lose optimal fighting ability because they have to use a dagger instead of a longsword. Casters shouldn't suffer from upcasting either. The spell should do as much damage as a 9th level spell. Its other effects such as aoe radius should not be as good as a meteor swarm and it should not have the same riders but its damage should be within the ball park and upcasting does not allow this.

To put it in perspective of a fighter, it would be like a fighter suddenly losing half his attack bonus because the dagger is not his primary weapon.

Fighters do in fact lose optimal fighting ability when they are forced to use a backup weapon.

In the old PF rules yes, because a lot was tied up in specialization and expertise. In this edition, it does not seem to be the case so far. You don't suffer a reduction to your attack number because you switched weapons unless you switched from a magical to a non magical one.

False. From the Fighter blog:

"Next up, at 3rd level, you gain weapon mastery, which increases your proficiency rank with one group of weapons to master."

It looks like you gain legendary proficiency with this weapon group at 13th, but don't get it for all weapons until 19th. Also, item quality matters in addition to magic, and frankly either way your backup weapon is unlikely to be as competitive as your main weapon from simple economics.

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Talek & Luna wrote:


Here are advantages to Power Word Kill that I see over a 9th level magic missile.

1) Higher Damage cap
2) Single action casting vs 3 action casting to achieve maximum effect.
All I have to do is say "Die!" and I can still move or cast other

...

comparing pf2 spells with pf1 spells is fairly meaningless dont you think? We know nothing about PW:kill in 2e, not. How PW in general work, not the level they may be. These AE efficient spells may even be relegated to higher levels than before?

Talek & Luna wrote:
So by your reasoning a martial's second and third swings should do less damage because he cannot swing as accurately as he could on his first swing? AMIRITE :) ?

Statistically speaking this is what happens, lower accuracy on the iteritive attacks means lower chances to hit so overall a lower damage output. Consider an AC 26 vs attack +15 martial. My first hit is effective 50% of the time so If my damage is 20 points and i hit only half the time my average damage is 10 points per round. My second attack at -5 is 25% chance to hit per round so 5 damage per round, less damage.

Talek & Luna wrote:
. The part about critical fails on saves is no big deal either. Lets put it this way. Lets say fireball does 5D6. A critical is a 100% increase in damage. A +5 sword is a 500% increase in damage and 1000% increase in damage if you crit. Blast spells need to increase in damage to be viable and I don't accept the argument that they are ineffective. I don't lobby to make dual wielding ineffective. Evocation spells should be treated better than they seem to be by playtest rules

That +5 sword represents what is probably a large investiment of wealth by that fighter. If pf2 has nothing that a spellcasting blaster can invest money in to improve his abilities I would see this as an issue, Isuspect there will be things though.

I woyld agree that a 1000% increase on a crit is a litle over the top and would like yo see how criticals pan out in the playtest at higher levels. I suspect it will be less problematic in terms of damage output than the +5 keen falchion with high STR PA

As for the treatment of evocation spells? How many have we seen?


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Talek & Luna wrote:
KingOfAnything wrote:
edduardco wrote:
KingOfAnything wrote:
Talek & Luna wrote:
That's the most annoying part. Cantrips ARE quadratic but normal spells are not. Its a really bad idea that creates a lot of dissonance for me. The difference from a master casting a cantrip and an apprentice is readily apparent if both cast a cantrip. If they both cast a magic missile with a level 1 spell slot you cannot tell the difference between the two. I think that is really immersion breaking.
Why would a spell act differently when both casters expend the same amount of power for the spell? Same actions, same energy, same result. If the master wants to show off, they can use metamagic, or spend a higher slot for more power in the spell.
Well that is a design decision of how much do you want level to impact the game, for example, should a higher level caster be more efficient and get greater effect expending fewer resources than a lower level caster?

In my mental model of magic, higher efficiency is gained with higher level spells. You get more out of the same resource if you use a spell designed for that level of resource.

I don't have a good analogue for why a master caster can wiggle their fingers and say magic words the same way as an apprentice and somehow do it more efficiently. It just doesn't make much sense to me.

So by your reasoning a martial's second and third swings should do less damage because he cannot swing as accurately as he could on his first swing? AMIRITE :) ?

Attack rolls don't model single swings in any way. And they're already getting a penalty in the lower attack bonus. If they'd used to get higher damage from using a greatsword solely because they were higher level and each attack was deadlier then removing that would make for a comparable analogy with a lack of automatic scaling for spells.

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