Caster-Martial Disparity in 2e


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Nathanael Love wrote:

Ideas like making casters not get a first level spell till second level, and forcing them to take pre-reqs final fantasy style are essentially the equivalent to removing casters from the game,and you all know that.

Everyone of these ideas is aimed at making casters unplayable.

No one wants to keep casters awesome, it's all "how can we make it so that martial are better in every way and laugh at the people dumb enough to still roll casters"

No, we don't know that, because that's one of the most absurd assertions to be made outside of "martials are trying to take all the fun toys from the poor persecuted spellcasters." You could cut the power of a 3.x/PF Wizard in half and it would still eclipse almost all mages from fiction and mythology. You are either deliberately misconstruing the points here or truly do not understand how the rules actually work, and in either case should educate yourself before lashing out with factually incorrect assumptions.


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With the way 3.P casters scale quantifying 'half' of their actual Power is harder than it sounds.


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I kinda hope they have low level casters rely on cantrips, but also have those cantrips be pretty good options. Since the issue with the 1/2 BAB, 9-level casters in PF1 is both "unreasonable at high levels" and "unappealing to play at low levels." Fix both those problems please.

Scarab Sages

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kyrt-ryder wrote:
Volkard Abendroth wrote:
bookrat wrote:

To me, the culture of C/MD was exemplified the strongest when a new ability was released that allowed a PC to dash in a straight line attacking everyone along that line.

Sounds pretty cool, huh? Except it wasn't an ability any martial class could do, because it was a spell. :/

Said spell was not on the wizard spell list.

It was given exclusively to two 3/4 BAB classes, one of which was heavily focused on martial abilities.

That's not the problem.

The problem is the great martial abilities were gated behind a spell.

Bladed Dash is better Spring Attack with no prerequisites. Greater Bladed Dash is better Springing Whirlwind Attack (which doesn't even exist and would cost more than half a dozen feats if it did) with no prerequisites.

They later added a swashbuckler archetype (Whirling Dervish) that gets a similar ability:

Advanced Class Origins wrote:
Whirlwind Dance (Ex): At 7th level, a whirling dervish can sweep through her opponents’ lines like a cyclone. As a fullround action, she can spend 1 panache point to move up to her speed. She can make attacks against creatures with her reach during this movement, up to the number of attacks she’s entitled to with a full attack. Each attack is made at her highest attack bonus, and must target a different creature. This movement provokes attacks of opportunity as normal. This deed replaces superior feint and targeted strike.

Liberty's Edge

Pathfinder Rulebook Subscriber

I'm of the classic opinion on this- make the fighters fighters, and subject to real world limitations, make magic break those limits, and run the game such that a balanced party has everyone able to contribute well.

If the disparity in capability- especially the things discussed in this thread, such as destroying core elements of Vancian casting- make it through the playtest, then this will just be D&D 4th edition for me- absolutely hard pass. But hey, maybe the people who can't stand casters will have a game for them. It already sounds like this is what the designers have in mind, with high level characters blowing past real world limits for things like running, etc., achieving impossible feats without magic. That's never gonna work for a simulationist like me, but it will work for the manga-style players or whatever.


PossibleCabbage wrote:
I kinda hope they have low level casters rely on cantrips, but also have those cantrips be pretty good options. Since the issue with the 1/2 BAB, 9-level casters in PF1 is both "unreasonable at high levels" and "unappealing to play at low levels." Fix both those problems please.

While uttering the name of Mordor4E here probably isn't the best idea, the addition of fun at-will powers (sadly, mostly attacks) for all classes was a good start. Thus it would be with good cantrips here, so everyone always has something cool to do.


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cfalcon wrote:

I'm of the classic opinion on this- make the fighters fighters, and subject to real world limitations, make magic break those limits, and run the game such that a balanced party has everyone able to contribute well.

If the disparity in capability- especially the things discussed in this thread, such as destroying core elements of Vancian casting- make it through the playtest, then this will just be D&D 4th edition for me- absolutely hard pass. But hey, maybe the people who can't stand casters will have a game for them. It already sounds like this is what the designers have in mind, with high level characters blowing past real world limits for things like running, etc., achieving impossible feats without magic. That's never gonna work for a simulationist like me, but it will work for the manga-style players or whatever.

Yeah, sure, it'll definitely appeal to us manga-loving wee—oh, wait, simulationist, you say? It's funny how that term very quickly breaks down in a non-simulationist game. Let's see: magic destroys simulationism. Your high-level Wizard can fall 100 feet and not die without ever using magic, or survive getting bitten by a dragon. Simulationism gone again. Every spell or magical item flies in the face of simulationism.

Heck, the rules don't govern exactly how often you need to use the facilities to go with the deprivation rules, do they? That's another strike. Do they govern proper levels of fatigue, or can your Wizard force march all day without having to track stuff like that?

The rules must surely track time in real-time, though, right? Rather than narrative measurements, certainly. Otherwise it's not much of a simulation.

Or there's the possibility that "simulationist" is code for "I like this particular style of high-powered play but not yours, so I will dimiss it as them fancy Japanese cartoon superheroics or whatever" (ignoring that this sort of thing crops up in Western and Near Eastern stories all the time, of course). And that your argument falls completely apart because the logic you choose to use for it ... isn't logic.


cfalcon wrote:

I'm of the classic opinion on this- make the fighters fighters, and subject to real world limitations, make magic break those limits, and run the game such that a balanced party has everyone able to contribute well.

If the disparity in capability- especially the things discussed in this thread, such as destroying core elements of Vancian casting- make it through the playtest, then this will just be D&D 4th edition for me- absolutely hard pass. But hey, maybe the people who can't stand casters will have a game for them. It already sounds like this is what the designers have in mind, with high level characters blowing past real world limits for things like running, etc., achieving impossible feats without magic. That's never gonna work for a simulationist like me, but it will work for the manga-style players or whatever.

I love casters. I hate vancian magic. I will play with the playtest as written to help give feedback but once the official version comes out I'll probably homebrew a Spheres of Power port to replace all vancian magic within a month.


There really isn't a lack of non-Vancian RPG systems in the world you know.
Just ones produced by Paizo. Why expect Volvo Trucks to produce a Harley motorcycle?


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How does an extreme realist deal with high level hit points?


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kyrt-ryder wrote:
How does an extreme realist deal with high level hit points?

They can't, of course, logically reconcile it with their so-called "simulationism" that somehow also includes magic. Not with it retaining any sense of internal logic, of course. But hey. Nothing's more realistic and simulationist than people having very specific numbers attached to them to describe some but not all of the basic components of a living character. Everyone acting exactly in order during combat is especially good at simulating the chaos of real combat.

Liberty's Edge

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Pathfinder Rulebook Subscriber
Lady Firebird wrote:
Let's see: magic destroys simulationism.

No it doesn't. You're simulating a magical reality, where everything obeys real world stuff except magic.

Lady Firebird wrote:
Your high-level Wizard can fall 100 feet and not die without ever using magic

I mean, this guy fell straight out of an airplane at like 20,000 feet and lived: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ivan_Chisov

Falling from high heights could be made a bit more deadly, and already involves a chance to die from death from massive damage (DC 15, but at least failable), but the idea that a high level character has more luck to spare is inherent to the hit point idea.

Lady Firebird wrote:
or survive getting bitten by a dragon.

You're surviving an attack roll, not literally being cleft in twain by a tooth the size of your leg. All of these points were well answered in the 80s, and probably the 70s.

Lady Firebird wrote:
Every spell or magical item flies in the face of simulationism.

You are simulating a reality that has magic in it. By definition, magic doesn't break simulationism. Magic is the thing that is allowed to break the rules of reality.

Lady Firebird wrote:
Heck, the rules don't govern exactly how often you need to use the facilities to go with the deprivation rules, do they?

No, but generally something like this could deal attribute damage. A DM faced with the unhappy reality of running this has plenty of rules to use as templates.

Lady Firebird wrote:
Do they govern proper levels of fatigue, or can your Wizard force march all day without having to track stuff like that?

I'm not sure of your point here. The rules for forced march are in the core rulebook, and barring a spell, fatigue can happen.

Lady Firebird wrote:
The rules must surely track time in real-time, though, right?

This has never been part of simulationism. You track in real-time when you must, and usually when the party is together, this is not necessary.

Lady Firebird wrote:
Rather than narrative measurements, certainly. Otherwise it's not much of a simulation.

Simulation of a magical reality is not injured by pace of play being the same as it has for decades, and you know this.

Lady Firebird wrote:
Or there's the possibility that "simulationist" is code for "I like this particular style of high-powered play but not yours, so I will dimiss it as them fancy Japanese superheroics or whatever."

I'm surprised you got this far without relying on ad hominem. I'm sorry you have no other arguments besides attacking me for having a different playstyle.


Lady Firebird wrote:
Everyone acting exactly in order during combat is especially good at simulating the chaos of real combat.

I do have an experimental tick-based initiative system where characters get an initial initiative order, but their next chance to act is based on the amount of time their chosen action takes, initiative never 'starts over'


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cfalcon wrote:
rebuttal to Lady Firebird

So... How do you justify the lava rules?

Liberty's Edge

Pathfinder Rulebook Subscriber
kyrt-ryder wrote:
How does an extreme realist deal with high level hit points?

Hit points have always been an abstraction representing a physical reality. A character with twice as many hit points is obviously not twice as sturdy. A character with 100 hit points who takes 10 points of damage from a series of sword attacks has had a very different physical reality happen to him than one who has 8 hit points and who has taken 10 points of damage from a series of sword attacks. This was less of a problem back in the day, before hit point disparities grew so high between levels, but it was the only way to run with the hit point system back then either. You can also ditch hitpoints entirely for something more realistic.

Lady Firebird" wrote:
They can't, of course

what

Lady Firebird" wrote:
Everyone acting exactly in order during combat is especially good at simulating the chaos of real combat.

The combat round plays out simultaneously, regardless of the imitative order. Earlier versions were much better at this, but it is still true in Pathfinder. This abstraction still annoys me to this day, but I don't see anyone trying to solve it in a way that AD&D did.


cfalcon wrote:
kyrt-ryder wrote:
How does an extreme realist deal with high level hit points?
Hit points have always been an abstraction representing a physical reality. A character with twice as many hit points is obviously not twice as sturdy. A character with 100 hit points who takes 10 points of damage from a series of sword attacks has had a very different physical reality happen to him than one who has 8 hit points and who has taken 10 points of damage from a series of sword attacks. This was less of a problem back in the day, before hit point disparities grew so high between levels, but it was the only way to run with the hit point system back then either.

Not the only way.

I run a 'hit' as a hit. Now yes there is a big difference in 10 points of damage at the different hit point totals but in my games both have received some degree of actual damage.

Twice the hitpoints very much is twice as durable in my games.

Liberty's Edge

Pathfinder Rulebook Subscriber
kyrt-ryder wrote:
So... How do you justify the lava rules?

In my games characters without fire immunity completely immersed in lava are dead. I can't justify someone just bathing in lava for like 20 seconds or whatever, so I have to houserule it.

This comes up like super rarely though.


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cfalcon wrote:
No it doesn't. You're simulating a magical reality, where everything obeys real world stuff except magic.

As we'll see below, this isn't even remotely true. And magic itself does not follow any predictable laws except insofar as spellcasters gaining and using spells, so it's not simulating anything coherent. I mean, simulationism breaks down the moment hit points come into play, which is immediately.

cfalcon wrote:
You're surviving an attack roll, not literally being cleft in twain by a tooth the size of your leg. All of these points were well answered in the 80s, and probably the 70s.

Except that "hit points =/= meat points" hasn't been true for, what, decades now? Simulationism takes another backbreaking hit right out of the gate.

cfalcon wrote:
You are simulating a reality that has magic in it. By definition, magic doesn't break simulationism. Magic is the thing that is allowed to break the rules of reality.

Except that it doesn't have any consistency or observable scientific process by which it does this, which means it breaks simulationism yet again.

cfalcon wrote:
No, but generally something like this could deal attribute damage. A DM faced with the unhappy reality of running this has plenty of rules to use as templates.

But simulationism covers everything else, right? Except for all this stuff it doesn't.

cfalcon wrote:
I'm not sure of your point here. The rules for forced march are in the core rulebook, and barring a spell, fatigue can happen.

How long can your Wizard hike or exercise before lactic acids build up and cause fatigue? How does the character's metabolism change with age (and how does that interact with rising Constitution scores)?

cfalcon wrote:
This has never been part of simulationism. You track in real-time when you must, and usually when the party is together, this is not necessary.

Ah! So simulationism is "everything obeys real world stuff except magic. And time. And any time dice are involved. And..." Gotcha. Rock-solid internal logic there.

cfalcon wrote:
Simulation of a magical reality is not injured by pace of play being the same as it has for decades, and you know this.

By definition it must be. It's not simulating much at all, or with very much accuracy, if the passage of time can't even be said to be congruent to our own.

cfalcon wrote:
I'm surprised you got this far without relying on ad hominem. I'm sorry you have no other arguments besides attacking me for having a different playstyle.

Sorry, but I quite literally attacked your argument. Not you or your quality as a person. That flies in the very face of "ad hominem," much like your arguments themselves fly in the face of "simulationism." So, nice try, but please try to discuss things like an adult, or otherwise I'll just ignore you.

You were literally the one who compared those of us who dared to want high-powered martial abilities to "manga-style or whatever." A very loaded term that very specifically targets a subset of gamers and disparages their preferred style. That this ignores that these powers and things show up as much in non-Asian stories as anything else is just icing on the cake. Don't pretend like we don't know what you're doing with the comparison, though.


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Lady Firebird wrote:
cfalcon wrote:

I'm of the classic opinion on this- make the fighters fighters, and subject to real world limitations, make magic break those limits, and run the game such that a balanced party has everyone able to contribute well.

If the disparity in capability- especially the things discussed in this thread, such as destroying core elements of Vancian casting- make it through the playtest, then this will just be D&D 4th edition for me- absolutely hard pass. But hey, maybe the people who can't stand casters will have a game for them. It already sounds like this is what the designers have in mind, with high level characters blowing past real world limits for things like running, etc., achieving impossible feats without magic. That's never gonna work for a simulationist like me, but it will work for the manga-style players or whatever.

Yeah, sure, it'll definitely appeal to us manga-loving wee—oh, wait, simulationist, you say? -Cut out discussion of simulationist play.- Or there's the possibility that "simulationist" is code for "I like this particular style of high-powered play but not yours, so I will dimiss it as them fancy Japanese cartoon superheroics or whatever" (ignoring that this sort of thing crops up in Western and Near Eastern stories all the time, of course). And that your argument falls completely apart because the logic you choose to use for it ... isn't logic.

While I sure do dislike the notion that Fighters have to be bound to reality so Wizards look better in comparison, the mentioning of manga and Japanese cartoon superheroics does bring up a different point about Caster/Martial disparity.

In a Jade Regent game I play in, I have a Samurai that I built using rules from Path of War. I flat out told my GM "I am basing this off Street Fighter. I am going to Hadoken the crap out of the Oni." and my GM was onboard. And even though there are full casters in that game, and I fully recognize that spellcasting is better than martial maneuvers (the mechanics from the Path of War book for those unfamiliar), I do not care at all. Because my Street Fighter Samurai is SO COOL!!!

He does, indeed, Hadoken the crap out of Oni. Through using various abilities from Path of War he handles his own flying/teleporting/incorporeality/underwater breathing/burrowing underground and more. He gets to also have plenty of abilities that are just about being a totally amazing sword master. Its just fun to play him, because he can always do something to be part of things, and its not "Ask my GM to take pity on me because I picked the wrong class." as the simulationist prefers.

Again, that Samurai is not as good as a spellcaster. I know, because I made Magi and Inquisitors in other games to whoop up on initiators that get big heads because their damage goes so high. Spells are better. But everyone in my group still loves those Initiators, because they're COOL. They also still play Casters of all stripes, because spells are still cool. Strangely enough, bringing up martial characters in our game didn't make Casters look bad. I'm stumped why people not only don't spit on Casters now, but still enjoy them...

Though given that the current showing for abilities from Paizo are "Try to hit the other guy when you're flanked." and "Your shield will help to block fire. Some day." I really, really doubt that Fighters will feel as cool.

I don't really need absolute balance, and I do accept that lots of people don't enjoy characters based off Street Fighter. I just need martial characters that actually feel awesome. Like they're doing something cool, something beyond "I am less incompetent in basic functions of combat." And yes, holding your shield between you and the bad things is something I consider a basic function of combat. Its... mind boggling, how that's considered so high level an idea...

Maybe they'll put it all in the Monk, and I'll just have to yell really loudly "LET THE MONK USE OTHER WEAPONS! I WANT A SWORD WITH MY COOL POWERS MAN!"


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Xerres wrote:

I don't really need absolute balance, and I do accept that lots of people don't enjoy characters based off Street Fighter. I just need martial characters that actually feel awesome. Like they're doing something cool, something beyond "I am less incompetent in basic functions of combat." And yes, holding your shield between you and the bad things is something I consider a basic function of combat. Its... mind boggling, how that's considered so high level an idea...

Maybe they'll put it all in the Monk, and I'll just have to yell really loudly "LET THE MONK USE OTHER WEAPONS! I WANT A SWORD WITH MY COOL POWERS MAN!"

Yeah, I agree. The Monk is my favorite class, in large part because you get cool fighty abilities but also these really fun esoteric mystical abilities.

The thing is, I like spellcasters. Many of my characters would be, if not Monks, Sorcerers and Druids. I just don't like completely overshadowing the martial characters, and I like to be able to play some of those without being overshadowed. Sometimes it'd be cool to be a warrior who took up her grandfather's rusty heirloom sword and rose from a simple life to battling dragons and gods, becoming a demigod through epic feats of legend.

Also, Street Fighter/manga-inspired heroics would always be cool, in my book.


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All I ask for is so that the CR system is no longer a disgusting LIE.

Quote:
CR 20 Fighter ≒ CR 20 Wizard

...Really? In experience, either the former was easy for its CR, or the latter was hard for its CR, or both in unison.

----

P.S. And just in case, I'm not pro-4E, despite it being my first roleplaying game rulebook (actually the slightly more manageable Essentials though). Because I was a "simulationist (in the sense of every rules in game should work consistently, PC or NPC; it might better be described as a "verisimilitude-ist")" at heart, I switched to 3.X the moment I learned about it, AND immediately started to moan about the total UNFAIRNESS (...or extremist magocracy...) of this Disparity.

P.P.S. Not all "simulationists" are anti-Martials; for an example, look at me, a pro-Martial player! Maybe though, I might be an exception due to growing up where Wuxia (pronoucned differently) is a prevalent pulp fantasy genre, so it was natural for me to accept mountain smashing martials as the norm in a fantasy world.

Silver Crusade

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Remember when during the Pathfinder Beta it was called the "Melee Edition", heheh, good times.

Dark Archive

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kyrt-ryder wrote:
Nathanael Love wrote:
No one wants to keep casters awesome, it's all "how can we make it so that martial are better in every way and laugh at the people dumb enough to still roll casters"
I want casters to be awesome.

Casters can be SUBSTANTIALLY nerfed, and they would still be awesome.


I think casters will be nerfed simply because the initial spell list will be much smaller than is currently available in pf1e. I expect some spells to be removed and never made available.

If you look at the spell lists in starfinder, casters in that game are weaker, not because they are only L6 casters, but because the spell lists are weak.


Shadow Kosh wrote:
kyrt-ryder wrote:
Nathanael Love wrote:
No one wants to keep casters awesome, it's all "how can we make it so that martial are better in every way and laugh at the people dumb enough to still roll casters"
I want casters to be awesome.
Casters can be SUBSTANTIALLY nerfed, and they would still be awesome.

I never claimed there wasn't design space to nerf them and keep them awesome [although I merely boost martials up to par and the game works splendidly], merely addressing Nathanael's fears that all of us are clamoring for caster castration.


Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber
kyrt-ryder wrote:
Shadow Kosh wrote:
kyrt-ryder wrote:
Nathanael Love wrote:
No one wants to keep casters awesome, it's all "how can we make it so that martial are better in every way and laugh at the people dumb enough to still roll casters"
I want casters to be awesome.
Casters can be SUBSTANTIALLY nerfed, and they would still be awesome.
I never claimed there wasn't design space to nerf them and keep them awesome [although I merely boost martials up to par and the game works splendidly], merely addressing Nathanael's fears that all of us are clamoring for caster castration.

There's design space to nerf casters.

Not at 1st level.

Any nerf to casters at first level is essentially "you have to sit at the table but not play".

They already have to burn their stats into Int or Wis or Cha, and have one or two first level spells and maybe one useful cantrip.

Extending that experience to 2nd or 3d level is the worst idea there is- it is effectively eliminating them from the game, or as I said, giving them a massive tax of utterly wasted time to grow into being a character at all.

Sure, if you were designing a magic system from Zero you might build in pre-reqs that make sense and give them enough but not too many slots to choose them, but PF2 isn't designing a system from zero- it's adapting PF1 magic to a new system, which means it's adapting DnD magic.

No, you can't make the Wizard have to learn 0th level spark, 1st level burning hands, 2nd level flaming sphere to earn the right to learn 3rd level fireball-- there are many spells there would be no similar chain that isn't non-sensical.

This isn't remotely the same thing is feats, unless you get to use your feat one time per day.

Like I said, all these ideas are just about making someone who wants to play a caster suffer, and reducing fun out of spite.


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What they were discussing isn't as much a nerf as it sounds like Nathanael. They're talking about upgrading Cantrips to valuable at-wills, such that the low level Wizard is actually better able to sustain an adventuring day without that all-too-treasured 20 Int and Specialization Bonus SPell [albeit perhaps a bit less swingy without spells like color spray at their disposal]

Say for example imagine Acid Splash/Ray of Frost dealt 1d6+level damage, or Light had a single target save vs one round of blindness [limit 5Hit Dice] function in addition to its 'magical torch' function. Etc.

By doing this the sheer power of high level magic gets kicked a level or two down the line, and Wizards have more things they can do at levels one and two. When first level spells come online [with any level-based caps like Sleep or Color Spray adjusted accordingly], the Wizard still has these valuable [of dwindling value perhaps, but still valuable] cantrips to fall back on.

Not saying I support this option- in fact it would require an entire reworking of the game's expectations (because the game expects the party to have certain magic by certain levels)- but it doesn't have to actually be a nerf at low levels.


I think bumping spells up a level is a good idea, but also that the sensible place to do that is by probably by puffing out 2-3-4 into 2-3-4-5. Wizards at the lowest levels can probably use some buffing, especially in combat; it would be nice if, as in 4e, they had multiple tactically distinct cantrips they started out with. (I'm playing a 1st level wizard in a 5e game right now, and it's kind of lame how often I just throw ray of frost around. Though I guess this is another one of those situations where the worst thing for a caster is having to deal with what martials have to put up with the whole game.)


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Nathanael Love wrote:
This isn't remotely the same thing is feats

Yes, true. Spells are already way more versatile, way more plentiful, and way more powerful than feats. And you get two free ones at every level. And you can buy more of them with gold pieces. And you don't have to learn them in chains. Oh, and casters will get ~14 feats over 20 levels.

Fighters only get feats. And of the ~22 feats they get over 20 levels of gameplay the get doozies like, "if you are being flanked and miss then you can try to hit the other guy." Vs like, you know, wish.

But the real rub is junk like people have been talking about up thread. Bladed dash is a slap in the face to martial characters.

Making wizards wait until 3rd level to grab 1st level spells actually sounds better and better every time I think about it. They still get at-will cantrips, (unsure if this is the case in PF2, but for PF1 this would make an interesting house rule) and their school power. Then they would have to rely on crossbows and acid splash. But pushing fly back to 7th level, and invisibility back to 5th level, and dimension door back to 9th? Yeah man, sign me up.

kyrt-ryder wrote:
Say for example imagine Acid Splash/Ray of Frost dealt 1d6+level damage, or Light had a single target save vs one round of blindness [limit 5Hit Dice] function in addition to its 'magical torch' function. Etc.

I would be completely on board with bumping the power of at-will cantrips like this in conjunction with pushing back access to the entire rest of the spell list 2 levels. That game would be SOOOOOO much better. I can't believe this hasn't been a thing before.


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Also worth noting is that the 'crossbow backup' is a bit better in PF2 than it was in PF1 in terms of accuracy. Same dex value for Wizards [I imagine] but Wizards add level to-hit just like everyone else.


Nathanael Love wrote:
kyrt-ryder wrote:
Shadow Kosh wrote:
kyrt-ryder wrote:
Nathanael Love wrote:
No one wants to keep casters awesome, it's all "how can we make it so that martial are better in every way and laugh at the people dumb enough to still roll casters"
I want casters to be awesome.
Casters can be SUBSTANTIALLY nerfed, and they would still be awesome.
I never claimed there wasn't design space to nerf them and keep them awesome [although I merely boost martials up to par and the game works splendidly], merely addressing Nathanael's fears that all of us are clamoring for caster castration.

There's design space to nerf casters.

Not at 1st level.

Any nerf to casters at first level is essentially "you have to sit at the table but not play".

They already have to burn their stats into Int or Wis or Cha, and have one or two first level spells and maybe one useful cantrip.

Extending that experience to 2nd or 3d level is the worst idea there is- it is effectively eliminating them from the game, or as I said, giving them a massive tax of utterly wasted time to grow into being a character at all.

Sure, if you were designing a magic system from Zero you might build in pre-reqs that make sense and give them enough but not too many slots to choose them, but PF2 isn't designing a system from zero- it's adapting PF1 magic to a new system, which means it's adapting DnD magic.

No, you can't make the Wizard have to learn 0th level spark, 1st level burning hands, 2nd level flaming sphere to earn the right to learn 3rd level fireball-- there are many spells there would be no similar chain that isn't non-sensical.

This isn't remotely the same thing is feats, unless you get to use your feat one time per day.

Like I said, all these ideas are just about making someone who wants to play a caster suffer, and reducing fun out of spite.

Casters are 99.9% certain to get buffed at low levels, with 4E/5E-style at-will cantrips that are actually useful instead of crappy feats of magic-farting like 1d3 damage. That will vastly extend a caster's ability to contribute when they don't have much in the way of spells per day / mana pool.

Also, since spells no longer scale with caster level, they are basically certain to buff the "effective caster level" of most spells as compared to their PF1 counterparts. It's already known you can get 3 magic missiles at 1st level, for instance.

Grand Lodge

Real talk: has anyone played a PF game where you stopped playing because the wizard ruined when they cast spells? This is always a theory/forum/mental gymnastics problem but I've never played a game where a caster ruined the day for materials.


Jader7777 wrote:
Real talk: has anyone played a PF game where you stopped playing because the wizard ruined when they cast spells? This is always a theory/forum/mental gymnastics problem but I've never played a game where a caster ruined the day for materials.

I don't know about Martial vs Caster, but I rerolled Caster vs Caster. Sorcerer took over my role/space with a simple bloodline and some healing items and the enemies were immune/resistant to my Shaman tricks.

Rerolled to Alchemist. Having more fun.


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Jader7777 wrote:
Real talk: has anyone played a PF game where you stopped playing because the wizard ruined when they cast spells? This is always a theory/forum/mental gymnastics problem but I've never played a game where a caster ruined the day for materials.

Yes, and from both sides of the screen. I’ve had players choose options for their wizard which completely outclassed me as a martial character and made combat a foregone conclusion where I was a mere spectator. And I’ve had players in games that I have run completely trivialize campaigns for the party. And I have played casters which completely ROFL-stomped encounters that actually made me feel bad after. None of those wound up in a complete game shut down; mostly because we are all adults and can talk about that sort of thing. But in each instance it did include significant overhauls of at least one PC to fix the problem.


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Jader7777 wrote:
Real talk: has anyone played a PF game where you stopped playing because the wizard ruined when they cast spells? This is always a theory/forum/mental gymnastics problem but I've never played a game where a caster ruined the day for materials.

I have discarded useless characters for new ones that get to play the game at high levels and seen a player leave because, and I quote 'my guy doesn't even matter. He just hits stuff if the other guys boost him or mess with the bad guys'


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Jader7777 wrote:
Real talk: has anyone played a PF game where you stopped playing because the wizard ruined when they cast spells? This is always a theory/forum/mental gymnastics problem but I've never played a game where a caster ruined the day for materials.

In my longest campaign in recent years, I ended up having to add Mythic to the game around 10th level, mostly to help the martials. The party, which was mostly martial and had only had a couple half casters to that point, ended up with a super powerful pure caster when one of the players rerolled after dying. This caster pretty much automatically MVPed every session and the other players were in their shadow.


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A few times I've had party members become sufficiently powerful that we pretty much eliminated dice from the game and the course of play was mostly the party deciding amongst themselves what should be done, and then explaining to me how they would do it, then me explaining what others did in response.

Like nation-building and that sort of thing. It wouldn't have been interesting to send these people into a dungeon to fight a dragon.


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Pathfinder Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber

I have, on multiple occassions, had players willingly make new characters because their ones got too op. They weren't even really trying.


Nathanael Love wrote:

Ideas like making casters not get a first level spell till second level, and forcing them to take pre-reqs final fantasy style are essentially the equivalent to removing casters from the game,and you all know that.

Everyone of these ideas is aimed at making casters unplayable.

No one wants to keep casters awesome, it's all "how can we make it so that martial are better in every way and laugh at the people dumb enough to still roll casters"

Balance isn't important to my players.

It's a team game.
You can try anything if you just use your imagination.
Role playing deals with the problem.
Insert all the other arguments for why the Caster-Martial Disparity isn't a problem.

There, all better now.


Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber
kyrt-ryder wrote:
Jader7777 wrote:
Real talk: has anyone played a PF game where you stopped playing because the wizard ruined when they cast spells? This is always a theory/forum/mental gymnastics problem but I've never played a game where a caster ruined the day for materials.
I have discarded useless characters for new ones that get to play the game at high levels and seen a player leave because, and I quote 'my guy doesn't even matter. He just hits stuff if the other guys boost him or mess with the bad guys'

As a 17th level Wizard I went through an entire dungeon and never got to act in combat because the Fighter killed every single monster in his first round and went before me every time.

If a player doesn't like that they "just hit stuff" they shouldn't be playing that character class, because there are plenty of players who just want to hit stuff and that's who martial are for.


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Nathanael Love wrote:
As a 17th level Wizard I went through an entire dungeon and never got to act in combat because the Fighter killed every single monster in his first round and went before me every time.

That sounds like a pretty poorly made dungeon for a level 17 party if every encounter is weak enough to die to one round of combat from one character.

It's fairly easy for a GM to double or triple the number of monsters if that's what's making things less fun for the players. It's a bit harder to fix the problem when it goes in the other direction.


Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber
Matthew Downie wrote:
Nathanael Love wrote:
As a 17th level Wizard I went through an entire dungeon and never got to act in combat because the Fighter killed every single monster in his first round and went before me every time.

That sounds like a pretty poorly made dungeon for a level 17 party if every encounter is weak enough to die to one round of combat from one character.

It's fairly easy for a GM to double or triple the number of monsters if that's what's making things less fun for the players. It's a bit harder to fix the problem when it goes in the other direction.

No its not.

Spell resistance, ect, ect.

Real talk- yah, that was a poorly made dungeon, but if casters are destroying your game you're making poor scenarios as well.

Let's be honest, there are 6-10 spellS that are problems, and we all know what they are- wish, simulacrum, gate, planar ally.

Past that stuff, there is no meaningful caster martial disparity, because just as if the Fighter can one round all the monsters hit points it's poorly designed, if the Wizard can cast one spell and consistently end combat it's poorly designed- use things with resistances, sr, and saves high enough to matter.


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For me, combat was never really the area where I had the biggest issue with C/MD. In combat, our casters usually just buffed the martials. Outside of combat, the casters pretty much ruled the game. Trivialized every challenge. Solved every problem.

I remember one pbp game of Skulls and Shackles that I ended up quitting because I just wasn't having fun. The wizard literally had a near perfect spell for every scenario. I joined the group at Level 7, and every time we'd come across a challenge, before I could even start to think of how to solve it, the wizard had a spell or scroll starting to cast which would either solve or bypass the problem.

I think was sold it for me was my four wizards challenge. I ran four wizards through Rise of the Runelords to see if they could handle the first book. The hypothesis went that wizards are dependent on martials at low levels and the reverse is true at high levels. Well, my experiment showed that wizards don't need martials. They could handle it perfectly fine on their own. Level 1 was a bit hariy, level 2 a bit easier, and after level 3 it became a breeze.

It was after that that I left PF entirely. Moved on to 5e, where the C/MD is almost non-existent, and only really reared its ugly head with simulacrum cheese. Any easy fix (don't allow simulacrum chaining).

I'm back with PF2 to see what Paizo does with it. Not because I like or dislike PF1, but because I respect Paizo as a company and I want to see them do well.


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Nathanael Love wrote:
If a player doesn't like that they "just hit stuff" they shouldn't be playing that character class, because there are plenty of players who just want to hit stuff and that's who martial are for.

No, the game should offer them a better option.

Lots of people want to play great warriors as characters, and many of those people don't want their great warrior to be known as "The Wizard's Trusty Sidekick."

I think that it probably is important to have a class that just hits things. Because lots and lots of people enjoy that. That isn't wrong and isn't bad.

But saying that all martial characters need to be that, and all the people unsatisfied with that should play casters, is no better than telling all the "I just want to hit stuff" people to screw off. I want to play a warrior, that is not waiting on the Wizard to let him contribute.

Jader7777 wrote:
Real talk: has anyone played a PF game where you stopped playing because the wizard ruined when they cast spells? This is always a theory/forum/mental gymnastics problem but I've never played a game where a caster ruined the day for materials.

Just last month actually. Guy re-trained to get spells because my Magus and a Druid could handle the many challenges of the game with ease thanks to our magic, while he had to rely on us every time or just watch. Doing high damage didn't matter, Magus and the Druid both did that fine, and the Magus was tougher than his martial character because Protector Familiar.

With no real niche, because Magic is always better, he felt very irrelevant and wanted to change.


Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber

Newsflash: the non-combat challenges in Adventure Paths aren't difficult for any party, except one who skipped the requisite skills.

The game isn't focused on that part, and it never has, and it never will be.

Six editions have tried to make it- 2nd Ed added proficiencies, 3rd ed added skills, 3.5 upgraded skills, PF added skill challenges and chase rules and skill unlocks, and fifth ed combined skills into a small number to make them all really useful and standardized the rolls.

None of that changed the fact that the game is fundamentally a combat game, and that if you are writing for publication (i.e. not designing the out of combat challenges specifically to the skill sets your player's have) then there is no way to make it challenging but not allow versatile characters to be able to overcome it, or leaving parties who forgot to train a given skill simply completely incapable.

If casters were following the rules, there is virtually no chance they actually have the right spell memorized for every situation, and many times those spell solutions are much less useful than people make them out to be- charm can spoof you a diplomacy check if you're lucky, sure, and find traps can find you some traps for a handful of minutes, but it doesn't let you disarm them.

Most likely, the out of combat challenges in the AP just aren't that difficult. This is like the PFS scenarios where every character gets to roll on the check and the party blows past the DC by 15 or 20 nearly every time- it's not actually meant to be that challenging, just to build the story.


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Nathanael Love wrote:

Newsflash: the non-combat challenges in Adventure Paths aren't difficult for any party, except one who skipped the requisite skills.

The game isn't focused on that part, and it never has, and it never will be.

Six editions have tried to make it- 2nd Ed added proficiencies, 3rd ed added skills, 3.5 upgraded skills, PF added skill challenges and chase rules and skill unlocks, and fifth ed combined skills into a small number to make them all really useful and standardized the rolls.

None of that changed the fact that the game is fundamentally a combat game, and that if you are writing for publication (i.e. not designing the out of combat challenges specifically to the skill sets your player's have) then there is no way to make it challenging but not allow versatile characters to be able to overcome it, or leaving parties who forgot to train a given skill simply completely incapable.

If casters were following the rules, there is virtually no chance they actually have the right spell memorized for every situation, and many times those spell solutions are much less useful than people make them out to be- charm can spoof you a diplomacy check if you're lucky, sure, and find traps can find you some traps for a handful of minutes, but it doesn't let you disarm them.

Most likely, the out of combat challenges in the AP just aren't that difficult. This is like the PFS scenarios where every character gets to roll on the check and the party blows past the DC by 15 or 20 nearly every time- it's not actually meant to be that challenging, just to build the story.

Oh, now it makes sense why you are afraid of trimming casters. You aren’t playing 2/3rds of the game.


Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber
BigDTBone wrote:
Nathanael Love wrote:

Newsflash: the non-combat challenges in Adventure Paths aren't difficult for any party, except one who skipped the requisite skills.

The game isn't focused on that part, and it never has, and it never will be.

Six editions have tried to make it- 2nd Ed added proficiencies, 3rd ed added skills, 3.5 upgraded skills, PF added skill challenges and chase rules and skill unlocks, and fifth ed combined skills into a small number to make them all really useful and standardized the rolls.

None of that changed the fact that the game is fundamentally a combat game, and that if you are writing for publication (i.e. not designing the out of combat challenges specifically to the skill sets your player's have) then there is no way to make it challenging but not allow versatile characters to be able to overcome it, or leaving parties who forgot to train a given skill simply completely incapable.

If casters were following the rules, there is virtually no chance they actually have the right spell memorized for every situation, and many times those spell solutions are much less useful than people make them out to be- charm can spoof you a diplomacy check if you're lucky, sure, and find traps can find you some traps for a handful of minutes, but it doesn't let you disarm them.

Most likely, the out of combat challenges in the AP just aren't that difficult. This is like the PFS scenarios where every character gets to roll on the check and the party blows past the DC by 15 or 20 nearly every time- it's not actually meant to be that challenging, just to build the story.

Oh, now it makes sense why you are afraid of trimming casters. You aren’t playing 2/3rds of the game.

Ah yes, now it makes sense why you want to gimp casters, you think that 2-3rds of the game should be focused on things that this framework has not been able to simulate in any meaningful sense across 6 editions and 30+ years.


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Nathanael Love wrote:
BigDTBone wrote:
Nathanael Love wrote:

Newsflash: the non-combat challenges in Adventure Paths aren't difficult for any party, except one who skipped the requisite skills.

The game isn't focused on that part, and it never has, and it never will be.

Six editions have tried to make it- 2nd Ed added proficiencies, 3rd ed added skills, 3.5 upgraded skills, PF added skill challenges and chase rules and skill unlocks, and fifth ed combined skills into a small number to make them all really useful and standardized the rolls.

None of that changed the fact that the game is fundamentally a combat game, and that if you are writing for publication (i.e. not designing the out of combat challenges specifically to the skill sets your player's have) then there is no way to make it challenging but not allow versatile characters to be able to overcome it, or leaving parties who forgot to train a given skill simply completely incapable.

If casters were following the rules, there is virtually no chance they actually have the right spell memorized for every situation, and many times those spell solutions are much less useful than people make them out to be- charm can spoof you a diplomacy check if you're lucky, sure, and find traps can find you some traps for a handful of minutes, but it doesn't let you disarm them.

Most likely, the out of combat challenges in the AP just aren't that difficult. This is like the PFS scenarios where every character gets to roll on the check and the party blows past the DC by 15 or 20 nearly every time- it's not actually meant to be that challenging, just to build the story.

Oh, now it makes sense why you are afraid of trimming casters. You aren’t playing 2/3rds of the game.
Ah yes, now it makes sense why you want to gimp casters, you think that 2-3rds of the game should be focused on things that this framework has not been able to simulate in any meaningful sense across 6 editions and 30+ years.

No, it does, and it does well. When it isn’t trivialized by casters. Ranks in climb or cast spider climb? Ranks in stealth or cast invisibility?

You ever notice how APs don’t actually give you enough XP to level? And how they skip an entire character level between books? It’s because they are a shell, and the entire rest of the game is there for a group of characters to tell their story, collaboratively.

Basically it’s not a war game. It’s a role playing game.


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BigDTBone wrote:
Oh, now it makes sense why you are afraid of trimming casters. You aren’t playing 2/3rds of the game.

I've never heard of a party failing at the non-combat bits. Adventures usually say things like, "If the party still can't find the secret enemy base, have them be attacked by assassins. On the body of the chief assassin is the address of the secret base. If they miss this clue, have an NPC go up to them and offer to take them there."

Because if the party gets stuck, that's not fun for anyone.


Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber

If you think D and D based systems do non-combat well, I wonder if you've ever tried, literally any other system.

Even with skills d20 is terrible at the non-combat bits compared to something like OneRoll, or World of Darkness' d10 system, or Shadowrun, or the old West End Games d6 system, or percentile systems like Iron Crown, or (continues to list any other system you could think of).

This is because, despite your insistence that it's not a war game, it is a war game that has had role playing rules retrofitted onto it.

Like it or not, we are still just playing ChainMail with some extra bits tacked on.

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