Spells Not Scaling Automatically per Caster Level


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I'd like to discuss something that was revealed yesterday in the Know Direction twitch stream. It has been confirmed that in 2ed playtest spells won't scale automatically according to your caster level. Based on what they said we can assume that, for instance, a fireball would only deal its base damage, no matter your actual caster level and, if you wanted it to scale, you'd have to cast it as a higher level spell. Similar to metamagic in 1st edition, similar to 5th edition's casting, and similar to the way in which you have to spend more power points in the psionics system in order to get greater effects for your powers. So your spells power won't increase while you become a more experienced spellcaster unless you make an effort and keep spending the resource of magic everytime you want them to match your actual power. I want to know the general opinion about this and discuss it in-depth. I, for one, absolutely hate it, pardon for the use of the strong word "hate" in here, I do not mean to be rude or antagonistic, but it is how I feel. I like virtually all the changes hinted at so far, combat streamlining, new magic item philosophy, new monster creation philosophy, backgrounds etc. but spellcasting has been disappointing me at every turn. They explicitly said from the announcement that they wanted lower level abilities to get less relevant as you level up and chose new higher level abilities, and it seems that they meant spells for the most part. I love my lower level spells even when I have more powerful ones, I don't want them to become useless unless I have to make them take the slot of a higher level spell. In my opinion it's an unnecessary nerf on casters, if they want to address the so called caster-martial gap then they should make non-casters cooler instead of making magic weaker.


This is how it is in 5e. I have never played high-level 5e so maybe someone else can chip in.

It does make one think that all those billion lower level slots you keep gaining become kinda redundant if the spells in them are so weak. I guess they can still have utility (Unless you're a Sorc).


It would make the leveling process feel worse overall. Like I'm on a treadmill to stay relevant.

Liberty's Edge

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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.


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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.

It does contribute towards the 20 minute adventuring issue. If I can only cast my good blast like 2-3 times a day then I'm always a lv1 wizard.

Shadow Lodge

Well if this is true I know what I'm going to be looking very closely at. I hated this about 5E because it made no sense.


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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.

Liberty's Edge

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ChibiNyan wrote:
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.
It does contribute towards the 20 minute adventuring issue. If I can only cast my good blast like 2-3 times a day then I'm always a lv1 wizard.

I'm not talking about "good blast", I'm talking about the single spell that can end a battle. There are two things I expect to help mitigate the issue of having more than a few rounds of stuff to do in combat:

1. Cantrips. I'm getting the feeling that cantrips might become more relevant, giving you that all day attack option that a lot of people like to have instead of "fire my crossbow".

2. Low level spells. Again, your lower levels spells might not be able to end combats instantly, but even at higher levels, a 6d6 fireball against a large group is pretty solid... and that's even assuming that fireball is still only 6d6 damage. Beyond that, I think the trend will be away from constant blasting spells, and more toward using utility and control spells to shape the battle without ending it instantly. Throw out some difficult terrain, raise barriers for your Fighter to duck behind, slow some enemies. The fact that your spells don't all increase in direct power each level doesn't mean you can't still use them to good effect, you just won't be able to immediately end every single fight you get into.

The idea is that you increase in power, but not exponentially, you go up in a fairly linear fashion, just like other classes. You don't get to do your "good blasts" all day long, you get a few really powerful ones in, then spend the rest of the day contributing to part of each battle with well placed lower level spells.

Dark Archive

So basicly blaster Sorc/Wizard days are over?

Liberty's Edge

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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.

This is a problem I've seen a lot with the PF2 discussion so far. Why are you assuming that spells will be the same as in PF1? Why do you think they won't change the way these spells work to make the choice a more nuanced one, to tie in with the new mechanics? People keep seeing one tidbit of the new rules, then complaining about how that tidbit wouldn't work with the way the old rules work, but they won't be used with the old rules, it's a whole new edition.

Try this on for size: instead of assuming the worst, assume the best for a while. Assume that Paizo will rework the spells so that an upleveled magic missile is on par with black tentacles. How is that not awesome? You get more choices per spell level because you don't have to wait to learn a bunch of new spells, you can just power up your old ones.

And if you can't do that, that's fine. But at the very least, don't complain about something you haven't seen yet. Don't just assume that the only changes are going to be what we've been told, because we already know that that's not the case, obviously they haven't revealed everything about the new edition. Wait and see how the rest of the system will change to adapt to this one new rule before you decide it's awful.


Yeah, that is something that I feel very strongly needs to be changed (and will, whether through PF or another split of the fanbase through a 3rd party). The reason is not because casters become overpowered or underpowered, but rather because, as we understand the rules so far, this would render a large portion of arcane casters' abilities useless.

This is a huge problem that doesn't happen for Martials. After all, a martial character doesn't lose attacks or weapon proficiencies as they increase in level. A very fundamental theme in RPGs is this:

At level X my character has these (y) abilities. At level X+1, my character still has these (y) abilities, but adds more (a) abilities. Games that take away character abilities as they increase in power tend to not do well. And spellcasters, more than anything else, are defined by their available number of spells a day.

Now, Pathfinder APs may have a "two encounter per day" rule or some such light workload, but that's the exception and not the norm. As it stands now there is synergy between martials and casters. The martials wade in to every combat, eliminating the weaker ones and drawing aggro on the stronger ones. The casters tend to hang back during the weaker combats and tip the scales in the stronger ones. Neither type is better or worse than the other, but both, working in tandem, are key to a good party.

Weakening spellcasters further takes away that edge the party has when it needs it the most. Now sure, you could weaken all the encounters to compensate, but then you wind up with further reducing the casters' role even more. Soon you're at a point where the caster is just baggage in the party (kinda like how many perceive the core Rogue) At that point, you're a step away from playing Chainmail in 1974.

So I agree. The goal should be to give martials more interesting and yet not too rules crunchy ways to contribute to combat as well as giving them more skill points to make them more useful outside of combat. I've said it before, and I'll say it again. PF would do well to adopt some variation of the BECMI weapon mastery tables for their martials. The Weapon Mastery tables would eliminate a crap ton of redundant feats as well as streamline character management.

But the overall message we need to send to Paizo is that they don't help their case for a Second Edition by taking away fundamental abilities of core classes. That's not going to endear their product to the fanbase.

If we say that loud enough and long enough they will listen and make the necessary changes. This is a collaborative effort, after all.


JRutterbush wrote:
ChibiNyan wrote:
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.
It does contribute towards the 20 minute adventuring issue. If I can only cast my good blast like 2-3 times a day then I'm always a lv1 wizard.

I'm not talking about "good blast", I'm talking about the single spell that can end a battle. There are two things I expect to help mitigate the issue of having more than a few rounds of stuff to do in combat:

1. Cantrips. I'm getting the feeling that cantrips might become more relevant, giving you that all day attack option that a lot of people like to have instead of "fire my crossbow".

2. Low level spells. Again, your lower levels spells might not be able to end combats instantly, but even at higher levels, a 6d6 fireball against a large group is pretty solid... and that's even assuming that fireball is still only 6d6 damage. Beyond that, I think the trend will be away from constant blasting spells, and more toward using utility and control spells to shape the battle without ending it instantly. Throw out some difficult terrain, raise barriers for your Fighter to duck behind, slow some enemies. The fact that your spells don't all...

You talk as if blasting spells in 1st edition were capable of ending relevant combats instantly, they don't, they might work against a bunch crappy critters, but damaging spells are horrible in Pathfinder 1st edition unless you build everything towards it, and still they are subpar compared to the damage of any fighter in the same levels.

Again, make non-casters cooler instead of nerfing magic. This has a huge impact on my decision to move over to the new edition or not. I don't really care that much about balance, in a roleplaying game balance should not be the first concern, not should it be perfect, that's what killed any desire I could have had in experimenting with 4th or 5th edition. And it's what made me stay with Pathfinder 1st edition.


ChibiNyan wrote:

This is how it is in 5e. I have never played high-level 5e so maybe someone else can chip in.

It does make one think that all those billion lower level slots you keep gaining become kinda redundant if the spells in them are so weak. I guess they can still have utility (Unless you're a Sorc).

They mentioned they’re being much more generous with Sorc swapping spells out. Additionally, retraining will be part of the core rules.


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ChibiNyan wrote:

This is how it is in 5e. I have never played high-level 5e so maybe someone else can chip in.

It does make one think that all those billion lower level slots you keep gaining become kinda redundant if the spells in them are so weak. I guess they can still have utility (Unless you're a Sorc).

It's like this in Starfinder too.

It does not mean spells aren't useful, it just mean Wizards aren't quadratic.

On the other hand, spells are useful as soon as you get them, which is not true in PF. A first level character casting 1d4+1 magic missile is not really helping much. In Starfinder magic missile does 3d4+3, which is significant damage at lvl 1. It still does 3d4+3 at lvl 9, but then, at lvl 9 you have other, better spells of higher levels, which are inmediately useful too.

Liberty's Edge

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Lausth wrote:
So basically blaster Sorc/Wizard days are over?

Honestly as it stands, blasting Sorc/Wizards are already hurting. Even with free scaling, their damage is too easy to mitigate and most encounters (at least those in published materials) are not against multiple threats, so the AOE aspect doesn't help and is often even an hindrance thanks to your own team in the way.

We'll have to see how the new presentation treats it.


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A small change but a welcome one. This and the increased cost of maintaining sustained effects definitely helped 5e address (if certainly not eliminate) LFQW issues.

Lausth wrote:
So basicly blaster Sorc/Wizard days are over?

Blaster casters have never been optimal in any 3e derivative (though balancing wizards around the assumption that they were was something that hampered 3e from the beginning all the way to PF1, and hopefully PF2 playtesting won't make parallel mistakes.) Save-or-suck is the main target here.

That said, it would take a lot more than anything like this to really tamper down on some of the fundamental balance issues, so if you're worried about your high-level wizard feeling useless, I'm pretty sure you can rest easy.

(The big thing this doesn't address at all is umost tility spells, unless those are keyed to things that scale - e.g. if teleportation lets you move some HD worth of creatures, or the like. Huh, actually that's probably a good idea.)


Lausth wrote:
So basicly blaster Sorc/Wizard days are over?

That depends on how it all fits together.

D&D 5e has martials typically doing less damage (1d8+5 damage per round (if they even hit) is acceptable for a level 4 martial).

Meanwhile, a 5e caster can do 1d10 damage with a cantrip, 3d4+3 autohit damage with Magic Missile from level 1, and when you get Fireball, it starts out at 8d6, compared to 5d6 for a non-specialist Pathfinder wizard.

It really depends on whether Pf2e casters get any boosts to compensate for the loss of auto-scaling spells.

Dark Archive

Uctually they were optimal in their own way.Even though they cant do the damage of martials they still could one shot people with the right build.They save action economy.Fireball isnt the only blasting spell either.

Liberty's Edge

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NetoD20 wrote:
Re: Blasters

I have absolutely built blasters that ended combats in one turn. I guess part of it depends on if your GM prefers single, ultra-powerful enemies or large groups of lesser enemies. But even against single powerful foes, a well built blaster can deal tons of damage and end things very quickly.

And to everybody saying to buff martials instead: every single time we try to do that, we have hordes of people whining about how that's unrealistic, and how the game is turning into anime. Somebody needs to make up their mind here.

Shadow Lodge

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Perram wrote:
Lausth wrote:
So basically blaster Sorc/Wizard days are over?

Honestly as it stands, blasting Sorc/Wizards are already hurting. Even with free scaling, their damage is too easy to mitigate and most encounters (at least those in published materials) are not against multiple threats, so the AOE aspect doesn't help and is often even an hindrance thanks to your own team in the way.

We'll have to see how the new presentation treats it.

I don't know. I haven't had any problems thanks to the guide to the Blockbuster Wizard. You can also blast with single target effects too, or debuff.


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Personally, I enjoyed the way the Spheres system twisted this around. Instead of only allowing casters to have their abilities grow, Spheres of Might gave this to martial characters as well, directly improving many of their abilities as their BAB goes up. That helps early choices continue to feel relevant and like a real part of the character's build, even fairly late in the game.

Fundamentally, the idea there is "if there's a type of character you want to play, it should be viable for as much of the game as possible". You can blast. You can do combat maneuvers. You can wrestle foes, toss out traps, guide allies with tactics, create illusions, buff your friends, shape the battlefield... all in balanced ways. I really like systems that encourage you to play what you want to play.


JRutterbush wrote:


I'm not talking about "good blast", I'm talking about the single spell that can end a battle. There are two things I expect to help mitigate the issue of having more than a few rounds of stuff to do in combat:

1. Cantrips. I'm getting the feeling that cantrips might become more relevant, giving you that all day attack option that a lot of people like to have instead of "fire my crossbow".

2. Low level spells. Again, your lower levels spells might not be able to end combats instantly, but even at higher levels, a 6d6 fireball against a large group is pretty solid... and that's even assuming that fireball is still only 6d6 damage. Beyond that, I think the trend will be away from constant blasting spells, and more toward using utility and control spells to shape the battle without ending it instantly. Throw out some difficult terrain, raise barriers for your Fighter to duck behind, slow some enemies. The fact that your spells don't all...

TBH the "good blast that ends the battle" is a myth at Lvl 10+. This is because the BBEG (if played with any competence) has either HP, saves or SR that mitigates whichever spell a caster uses. Moreover a caster is like playing the lottery. In many cases you making guesses as to what will be the most effective spell to eliminate the enemy as quickly as possible.And if you guess wrong, well... frequently you're fighting an enemy who could one-shot a caster. So, its a risky proposition without a martial to cover you.

in the last AP I played, I ended up with an optimized L20 mythic 4 arcanist. And there were still very few challenge-appropriate encounters I could end with one spell (and those only because of my mythic tiers).

Spellcasters can turn the tide of a battle, just like a great quarterback can win football games or a slugger can hit home runs. But the quarterback is useless without his linemen and good receivers and the slugger is impotent without other hitters to prevent opposing pitchers from walking him each time up to bat.

Again - teamwork and synergy. If you gut one part of the game, it affects the whole game resulting in a game that is less interesting, less deep and less fun.


gustavo iglesias wrote:
ChibiNyan wrote:

This is how it is in 5e. I have never played high-level 5e so maybe someone else can chip in.

It does make one think that all those billion lower level slots you keep gaining become kinda redundant if the spells in them are so weak. I guess they can still have utility (Unless you're a Sorc).

It's like this in Starfinder too.

It does not mean spells aren't useful, it just mean Wizards aren't quadratic.

On the other hand, spells are useful as soon as you get them, which is not true in PF. A first level character casting 1d4+1 magic missile is not really helping much. In Starfinder magic missile does 3d4+3, which is significant damage at lvl 1. It still does 3d4+3 at lvl 9, but then, at lvl 9 you have other, better spells of higher levels, which are inmediately useful too.

That might be that you have more powerful spells by 9th level, and that's exactly the point, what do I need lower level spells for then? They become useless, and I wouldn't dream of using a higher level slot to cast them if I have spells that are already appopriate for that level.

And what if I do wanna be quadratic? Many people liked 3rd edition and Pathfinder 1st edition because casters are powerful. This straight nerfing is just taking our fun away instead of giving more fun to non-casters and making them more powerful.

I disagree that spells in Pathfinder 1st edition aren't useful as soon as you get them. They always are, 1st level spells at 1st level might not seem so, but that doesn't apply to 2nd level spells and up. And I say "seem" because there are a lot of useful 1st level spells and you can immediately get at 1st level, like Grease, Colour Spray, and Sleep. Granted, these same spells become irrelevant at higher levels while Magic Missile does not. But all this new casting system would do is augmenting that effect.

This new casting system works like metamagic in 1st edition, and that's exactly what I wanted to change about metamagic in 2nd edition. In 1st edition I already think that metamagicking lower level spells into higher slots isn't worth it, other than in very specific circumstances. This new system takes the metamagic problem of 1st edition and makes it a problem for all spells.


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As long as you have some way to increase the power of the spell I'm fine with it. It's just built in heighten or power points, but with spell slots.


Well that is lame.

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On first blush, I like the idea, though I think I prefer the idea of spending more actions to increase a spell's power rather than casting it at a higher level.

For one thing, it makes keeping track of spells at high level easier. One player in a campaign I just wrapped up found tracking the spells of her 17th-level sorcerer to be quite a pain because she had to keep remembering which spells scaled to her level, which ones she had hit her limit at (i.e. 10d6 fireballs), and so on. She made notations on her sheet as to how much damage her spells did, and she had to comb through the whole spell list each time she leveled up.

Secondly, it keeps low-level spells from being game-changers long after they should be relevant. I love charm person, but I don't love its ability to effectively end certain encounters 14 levels after the wizard learned it.

Thirdly, I'm hoping that the mythic rules get a revision at some point during this edition. Having spells that taper off in effectiveness as the numbers get bigger might make it easier to swap out certain lower-level things for the higher-end mythic stuff. I like the mythic rules, but the laundry list of powers becomes cumbersome.


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wraithstrike wrote:
As long as you have some way to increase the power of the spell I'm fine with it. It's just built in heighten or power points, but with spell slots.

but at that point, it's more like a 3/day ability, rather than a core ability. And then there's the other valid point that higher level spells tend to have other attributes (larger area, higher DC, secondary effects) that make them a better choice than lower level spells.

the end result is the same. your low level spell slots never get used. They sit in the back of your character sheet like that 15' pole and 5x iron rations you've been hiding in your pack since 1st level.

Btw cast "purify food and water" on those rations before eating them...


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Matthias W wrote:
A small change but a welcome one. This and the increased cost of maintaining sustained effects definitely helped 5e address (if certainly not eliminate) LFQW issues.

That's exactly what made me detest 5th edition casting. Now I have to maintain concentration on Fly and Summon X Creature spells?? No thank you, sir, but no! But that's beside the point, because they haven't said anything about concentrating on spells, and I hope they don't go the 5th edition way about that too.

I'm certainly either leaving 2nd edition or homebrewing spellcasting if this system stands. And I don't wanna homebrew, because as a DM I can do that, but it doesn't apply if I wanna play in another table.


NetoD20 wrote:
gustavo iglesias wrote:
ChibiNyan wrote:

This is how it is in 5e. I have never played high-level 5e so maybe someone else can chip in.

It does make one think that all those billion lower level slots you keep gaining become kinda redundant if the spells in them are so weak. I guess they can still have utility (Unless you're a Sorc).

It's like this in Starfinder too.

It does not mean spells aren't useful, it just mean Wizards aren't quadratic.

On the other hand, spells are useful as soon as you get them, which is not true in PF. A first level character casting 1d4+1 magic missile is not really helping much. In Starfinder magic missile does 3d4+3, which is significant damage at lvl 1. It still does 3d4+3 at lvl 9, but then, at lvl 9 you have other, better spells of higher levels, which are inmediately useful too.

That might be that you have more powerful spells by 9th level, and that's exactly the point, what do I need lower level spells for then? They become useless, and I wouldn't dream of using a higher level slot to cast them if I have spells that are already appopriate for that level.

Endure Elements still protect you from weather at lvl 10. Identify Spell still tells you what a magic item does. Alarm still protects your camp. Vanish still makes you invisible.

What you are asking for is not "low level spells are still relevant". What you are asking for, is quadratic wizards.

I disagree that spells in Pathfinder 1st edition aren't useful as soon as you get them [/quote wrote:

2hour alarm is pretty bad. 8h alarm on the other hand, it's not. I'd rather have spells that are useful (like 8h alarm), than useless spells that later on become more powerful (like a 24h Alarm)


NetoD20 wrote:
That might be that you have more powerful spells by 9th level, and that's exactly the point, what do I need lower level spells for then?

You need lower level spell slots to conserve your high level spell slots for when you need them most.

You need lower level spells-known to allow you to use your high level spell slots for increased functionality when it turns out the high level spells-known you chose aren't appropriate for the situation. You're immune to the fireballs I planned to cast? Well, I can at least fire 5d4+5 magic missiles from the same slot.

There are quite a lot of cool things you can do with spells that get better by being cast from a higher level slot. For example, Fly could affect one person if cast from a level 3 slot, two people if cast from a level 4 slot, and so on.

Dark Archive

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


Charlie Brooks wrote:

On first blush, I like the idea, though I think I prefer the idea of spending more actions to increase a spell's power rather than casting it at a higher level.

For one thing, it makes keeping track of spells at high level easier. One player in a campaign I just wrapped up found tracking the spells of her 17th-level sorcerer to be quite a pain because she had to keep remembering which spells scaled to her level, which ones she had hit her limit at (i.e. 10d6 fireballs), and so on. She made notations on her sheet as to how much damage her spells did, and she had to comb through the whole spell list each time she leveled up.

Secondly, it keeps low-level spells from being game-changers long after they should be relevant. I love charm person, but I don't love its ability to effectively end certain encounters 14 levels after the wizard learned it.

Thirdly, I'm hoping that the mythic rules get a revision at some point during this edition. Having spells that taper off in effectiveness as the numbers get bigger might make it easier to swap out certain lower-level things for the higher-end mythic stuff. I like the mythic rules, but the laundry list of powers becomes cumbersome.

I never heard of anyone having difficult tracking how lower level spells scale. Everybody knows that Fireball stops at 10d6. But then, I cannot invalidate your play experience.

Second I never heard of charm person ending encounters, much less at that high a level. And also, why should lower level spells, and any lower level feature really, stop being relevant at higher levels? I completely agree with @Zi Mishkal, why do they have to sit there on your character sheet without being used? I already know and love them, I want to be able to use them effectively without having to sacrifice better options. Pathfinder is the game about options and customization, why should I be punished and forced to spend valuable resources to use spells I like just because I got more powerful ones that I wanna use too?


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Part of fixing the C/MD is boosting martials while scaling back casters.

They've already said they're boosting martial abilities by a significant amount. This is just the other half of the equation.

It is absolutely necessary and it is wonderful that they've listened to the community and paid attention to the analysis the prooved the disparity existed.


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Lausth wrote:
Why do we have to bring up 5e all the time

Because a number of the proposed changes are things we've already seen in 5e.

Sovereign Court RPG Superstar 2011 Top 32

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Before we declare that the sky is falling over this, let's think about what spells in PF1e actually scale.

There are:
Damaging spells. These very often add missiles/rays/damage dice as the caster levels, up to a point. Builds based around damage are hit hard by this change.
Buffs/debuffs. Some of these scale with level, like barkskin or greater magic weapon. Some only scale duration with level, like bull's strength or mage armor. I'm not sure there's much of a change here, even with the ones that scale. Would you use a wand of it in PF1e? Then it's probably worth using even without free scaling.
Utility/adventuring spells. Most of these scale AoE and range and that's it. A few like knock and neutralize poison have level dependent effects, but they didn't in D&D editions so it's easy to take that back out. For most the level scaling barely matters - who cares if water breathing's duration scales - either it lasts long enough for the adventure or it doesn't. So if they set the duration correctly it will be ok.
SoS/SoD spells: These mostly don't level scale anyway. These might actually be improved by adding in free "heighten" so the caster can pump spell DCs if they like. We all know the duration of hold person is often "the rest of the target's life," not "1 round/level."

Honestly, I could imagine playing PF1e with level scaling turned off and it would barely impact most casters. Sure, magic missile would obsolete quickly, but in general you'd use your high level slots for fighting and slowly turn your lower level stuff into utility and buffs.

Obviously YMMV, these are just my thoughts on the matter.


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

Because this particular mechanic already exist in 5e, and Paizo copied that into Starfinder, and it seems it's going to enter the playtest.

A lot of the guys who don't want PF2e exist do not like 5e, that's true. Not sure how that helps Paizo to build a 2e, something they seem to be determined to do.


gustavo iglesias wrote:


Endure Elements still protect you from weather at lvl 10. Identify Spell still tells you what a magic item does. Alarm still protects your camp. Vanish still makes you invisible.

What you are asking for is not "low level spells are still relevant". What you are asking for, is quadratic wizards.

By 10th level there's any number of trinkets and potions to protect you from the elements. Spellcraft is good enough to identify most magic items, alarm doesn't work against ethereal, incorporeal, astral and teleport (it'll wake you in your first round of combat. yaay?) And by 10th level the enemy can either see invisible or buy a scroll / potion to see invisible.

Moreover, all those spells increase duration with casting level. So, that's scaling. Will PF2e have that or will they also be static?

but lets consider magic missile. MM is still used by L20 casters because at 10th level because for a first level spell you get to 5x 1d4+1. Of course, according to PF 2e, this would be "quadratic" and "overpowered" unless I used a 5th level spell (I believe they said that it was 1 spell level per extra missile) to cast it.

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.


ryric wrote:

Buffs/debuffs. Some of these scale with level, like barkskin or greater magic weapon. Some only scale duration with level, like bull's strength or mage armor. I'm not sure there's much of a change here, even with the ones that scale. Would you use a wand of it in PF1e? Then it's probably worth using even without free scaling.

You use a lvl1 wand for it because level 1 wands are incredibly cheap. You probably won't use a lvl 3 wand for a lvl 3 buff spell.

Duration scale is still really useful. A 1h magic armor is not even close to a 12h magic armor, for example. 2h of ant haul is not as good as 24h of ant haul. And so on.

Many of those buffs are not good at all when you receive them at lvl 1. I personally think an 8h Mage armor is a better spell than 1h/lvl mage armor. It's more useful first time you get it, but it does not increase in power.


Matthew Downie wrote:
NetoD20 wrote:
That might be that you have more powerful spells by 9th level, and that's exactly the point, what do I need lower level spells for then?

You need lower level spell slots to conserve your high level spell slots for when you need them most.

You need lower level spells-known to allow you to use your high level spell slots for increased functionality when it turns out the high level spells-known you chose aren't appropriate for the situation. You're immune to the fireballs I planned to cast? Well, I can at least fire 5d4+5 magic missiles from the same slot.

There are quite a lot of cool things you can do with spells that get better by being cast from a higher level slot. For example, Fly could affect one person if cast from a level 3 slot, two people if cast from a level 4 slot, and so on.

I completely agree, the difference is you're in favor of me having to spend extra resources for that logic to work, as opposed to the current edition, in which I don't need to spend resources for that to work. Then you said I need lower level spells known for it to work, however that makes the lower level spell slots useless.

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

We bring it up because this new system is exactly like the 5ed system we don't like. I don't critisize it because it is like 5ed, I criticize it because of the thing itself.


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Free scaling for spells gone here too? Good riddance.
They were never FAIR, considering those unrealistic to-hit penalties for iterative attacks + casters getting more spells AND more slots at the same time, not even considering individual spell powers improving without any investment.


JRutterbush wrote:
Try this on for size: instead of assuming the worst, assume the best for a while. Assume that Paizo will rework the spells so that an upleveled magic missile is on par with black tentacles. How is that not awesome? You get more choices per spell level because you don't have to wait to learn a bunch of new spells, you can just power up your old ones.

If we look at everything through rose-colored glasses and assume the best, the development will assume every is happy with everything and that there is no need for any adjustments.

If we voice our opinions on which parts we like, which parts we dislike, where we want to see things going and where we don't want things going the developers can act on that information.

Waiting until after the book is published to voice a negative opinion is too late. By then everything is set in stone.


NetoD20 wrote:
I completely agree, the difference is you're in favor of me having to spend extra resources for that logic to work, as opposed to the current edition, in which I don't need to spend resources for that to work.

Yeah, that's part of the disparity that people have been complaining about for years.

But if spells start out a bit more powerful, it balances out, more or less.

NetoD20 wrote:
Then you said I need lower level spells known for it to work, however that makes the lower level spell slots useless.

Let's say you're a level 4 Pathfinder Sorcerer.

You know Magic Missile and Invisibility (and some other level 1 spells).

You can use your low level spell slots to cast Magic Missile, and you can use your high level slots to cast Invisibility or Magic Missile. All your Magic Missiles are the same, no matter what slot you use: they do 2d4+2.

Under the alternative system, your Magic Missile does 3d4+3 from Level 1 slots, and 4d4+4 from Level 2 slots. Your level 1 slots are still useful, and your Level 2 slots are still better, even in situations where Invisibility won't help.

Neither your slots nor your spells known are useless.

Liberty's Edge

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Volkard Abendroth wrote:
If we voice our opinions on which parts we like, which parts we dislike, where we want to see things going and where we don't want things going the developers can act on that information.

The problem is that people are complaining about things they haven't seen yet. You can't dislike something you haven't even experienced yet.

Quote:
Waiting until after the book is published to voice a negative opinion is too late. By then everything is set in stone.

What? You understand that there's a full playtest coming, right? The book we're gonna get in August is not at all set in stone, that's the whole point of a playtest.


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gustavo iglesias wrote:
NetoD20 wrote:
gustavo iglesias wrote:
ChibiNyan wrote:

This is how it is in 5e. I have never played high-level 5e so maybe someone else can chip in.

It does make one think that all those billion lower level slots you keep gaining become kinda redundant if the spells in them are so weak. I guess they can still have utility (Unless you're a Sorc).

It's like this in Starfinder too.

It does not mean spells aren't useful, it just mean Wizards aren't quadratic.

On the other hand, spells are useful as soon as you get them, which is not true in PF. A first level character casting 1d4+1 magic missile is not really helping much. In Starfinder magic missile does 3d4+3, which is significant damage at lvl 1. It still does 3d4+3 at lvl 9, but then, at lvl 9 you have other, better spells of higher levels, which are inmediately useful too.

That might be that you have more powerful spells by 9th level, and that's exactly the point, what do I need lower level spells for then? They become useless, and I wouldn't dream of using a higher level slot to cast them if I have spells that are already appopriate for that level.

Endure Elements still protect you from weather at lvl 10. Identify Spell still tells you what a magic item does. Alarm still protects your camp. Vanish still makes you invisible.

What you are asking for is not "low level spells are still relevant". What you are asking for, is quadratic wizards.

I disagree that spells in Pathfinder 1st edition aren't useful as soon as you get them [/quote wrote:
2hour alarm is pretty bad. 8h alarm on the other hand, it's not. I'd rather have spells that are useful (like 8h alarm), than useless spells that later on become more powerful (like a 24h Alarm)

If you are okay with limiting casters to only 3-5 spells per day that are meaningful in combat, does that mean you are also okay with limiting martials to 3-5 attacks per day at their highest values?

Sorry, you've used up all your level 10 attacks for the day, you'll have to attack using your 8th level weapons and values. Until you run out of those.


Lucas Yew wrote:

Free scaling for spells gone here too? Good riddance.

They were never FAIR, considering those unrealistic to-hit penalties for iterative attacks + casters getting more spells AND more slots at the same time, not even considering individual spell powers improving without any investment.

The scaling was never "free". It was the direct expression of a fundamental ability of our character class. Tweaking it (maybe increasing damage every other CL) in one thing. Removing it entirely is something completely different and as a fundamental difference between 5e will likely drive away an alarming portion of PF's fan base.

5e, it is already acknowledged, is doing better than PF, putting Paizo in a precarious position. From a business standpoint, it is a terrible move to reduce the individuality of your brand because it gives people even less incentive to buy your product. Starfinder has already fractured the PF base and the only reason there hasn't been a mass exodus is because there was PF to fall back on.

Now that it is becoming clear that PF will follow SF as a 5e clone I fear that the trickle will become a torrent.

All along, Paizo should have been promoting "yes, our ruleset requires a bit more investment, but the versatility far outstrips the added time. IMHO they've made a grave error in judgement.

the answer, all along, should have been "how can we innovate here? What can we do to make this stand out?" Not "how can we make this indistinguishable from our competitor?" Paizo will never win that battle against Hasbro and will ruin itself in the process.


JRutterbush wrote:


What? You understand that there's a full playtest coming, right? The book we're gonna get in August is not at all set in stone, that's the whole point of a playtest.

In my experience, playtesting at this late date (with 2.0 set for 2019, with tie in materials already announced) means that fundamental rule concepts are already set in stone. This does not bode well for spell scaling, btw.

People know this, which is why they are making so much noise now.


Volkard Abendroth wrote:
If you are okay with limiting casters to only 3-5 spells per day that are meaningful in combat, does that mean you are also okay with limiting martials to 3-5 attacks per day at their highest values?

That sounds like level 1 Pathfinder with a Wizard and a Barbarian. The Barbarian gets 5 rounds of rage, the Wizard gets three to five Level 1 spells.

And I would be surprised if lower level spells (Invisibility, Haste, Fly, Fireball...) ever cease to be meaningful by, say, level 10.


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Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

This is very concerning to me, because a lot of the best spells in PF1E were ones that didn't scale with CL anyways (or if they did only scaled by duration). Consider the Haste vs Fireball, for example. Even if Haste never improved beyond 5 round duration it would still be very usable at 20th, while Fireball would go obsolete almost immediately if its damage didn't scale. Fireball scales because it needs to scale to be competitive with other 3rd level spell options that have strong static effects, and even then needs feat and class feature support to be more than a niche option.

Psionics was mentioned, and my experience with the psionic system is that powers that need to scale to remain effective tend to get retrained and replaced by powers that do as you level up. No point in knowing a 1st level blasting power when you've got a 3rd level blasting power that's just better in every way. However, there's always something that remains useful even at the 1 PP cost point.

JRutterbush wrote:
a 6d6 fireball against a large group is pretty solid...

Not with the save for half it isn't. Currently in Pathfinder, a good 10th level blast build will get about 12d6+24 (avg 66) out of a 3rd level spell slot. That isn't anywhere near as high as it sounds. An average CR 5 monster - which is already rather low for inclusion in a CR 10+ encounter - will survive this on a successful save, meaning if you blast a big swarm of them you'll probably knock out most but not all. This is good, this is the kind of resource expenditure we'd expect from a dedicated blaster against very weak foes.

However, with 6d6 damage (avg 21) you'd need to shoot four fireballs to get the same effect (the damage is about 1/3rd, but you now have three saves rather than one so there's less chance of any particular enemy taking the full brunt). Wasting that many resources and taking that long to neutralize enemies that are extremely weak is just bad. This wouldn't be terrible for an at-will ability for a 10th level character, but consuming a limited resource that could be put to other uses makes it close to unusable.

JRutterbush wrote:
Beyond that, I think the trend will be away from constant blasting spells, and more toward using utility and control spells to shape the battle without ending it instantly.

The problem is that this is already the case for the vast majority of spellcasters. With the exception of completely specialized blast builds, direct damage is already a very niche option. This change primarily hurts options that were already narrow specialties to begin with, while the strongest spells were never reliant on any scaling to begin with.

JRutterBrush wrote:
Why are you assuming that spells will be the same as in PF1?

That's actually besides the point. Does it even matter how Haste is tweaked? The fact is that the benefits it gives (faster speed, more attacks) remain generally useful at all levels. Does it matter how Create Pit is tweaked? A hole in the ground is a hole in the ground, and has the same tactical utility against any non-airborne foe. Does it matter how wall of ice works? It's a barrier that at very least will force an enemy to spend an action breaking through it.

Fireball, on the other hand, will just get worse and worse as hit points inflate and it does less and less to the target. The important thing to remember about hit point damage is that it doesn't matter until the target is dead. A monster at 1 hit point is just as dangerous as a monster with 200 hit points. Thus the utility of blast spells is measured by one thing alone: how well they can reduce monsters to 0 hit points. If damage does not scale, they won't be useful.


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Matthias W wrote:
A small change but a welcome one. This and the increased cost of maintaining sustained effects definitely helped 5e address (if certainly not eliminate) LFQW issues.

What does "LFQW" mean?

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