Speculation Station: Magic is still being refined


Prerelease Discussion


I was expecting a blog post this week about clerics or wizards, and was pretty surprised to see the ancestry system rolled out instead. I like where the ancestry system is heading with increased flexibility and moving "racial characteristics" to feats. So far, I am really loving the mechanics being revealed to us. I think it was a bold choice to reveal the goblin first as an ancestry when the classes have been sticking to the most basic core, and we definitely have seen some of the same blow back with the first ancestry introduction being the goblin that we probably would have seen if the first class reveal was the alchemist.

I don't know if I would call it concern, but it seems like the decision not to unveil a caster this week might stem from some folks reactions to the critical system and the idea that spells will have 4 levels of success. Personally I am very excited to learn more about what spell descriptions will look like and how casters gain access to spells, because that root mechanic is why every D20 system experiences the Martial/Caster power disparity. Spells have always been far more flexible than feats and usually scale more naturally, without the same level of investment. I know the design team has said that this issue will persist, implying that that fundamental system (casters getting x spells per spell level per class level) is unlikely to see any major overhauls, but I was very interested to see what the other class features of a caster class would look like, to see how single class martial characters like fighters and rogues would keep up.
I guess we are waiting for at least another week before we find out anything about caster class design.


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Pathfinder Rulebook Subscriber

Eh.

Do you really think they would preview twelve classes before the first ancestry? And two data points on when class previews happen is a little small to extrapolate from.

Liberty's Edge

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Honestly, I'm assuming magic will be fairly close to previous stuff. What I really want to see is the Alchemist. I'm really hoping they drift away from the "weird half-magic potions" thing, and actually just let them be hyper-skilled Alchemists instead of wannabe mages. What we saw in the Glass Cannon podcast makes me hopeful that that's what they're doing, too.


JRutterbush wrote:
Honestly, I'm assuming magic will be fairly close to previous stuff. What I really want to see is the Alchemist. I'm really hoping they drift away from the "weird half-magic potions" thing, and actually just let them be hyper-skilled Alchemists instead of wannabe mages. What we saw in the Glass Cannon podcast makes me hopeful that that's what they're doing, too.

If starfinder showed me a single thing this weeks friday post might be alchemist since we kinda get get class race or iconic poısts right after each other.


JRutterbush wrote:
Honestly, I'm assuming magic will be fairly close to previous stuff. What I really want to see is the Alchemist. I'm really hoping they drift away from the "weird half-magic potions" thing, and actually just let them be hyper-skilled Alchemists instead of wannabe mages. What we saw in the Glass Cannon podcast makes me hopeful that that's what they're doing, too.

Pretty sure this is almost exactly how alchemist will work in 2e going from everything I've heard. They at least confirmed they wont be wanna be casters at least.


In retrospect, this pretty much was the April fools blog post wasn't it? Not that that means the information was false, but they probably wanted to post something fun and irritating, which the Goblins post has certainly provided. I am also excited to see the alchemist, but I was (quite mistakenly) under the impression that their original intention was to showcase the four most iconic classes in the game (fighter, rogue, cleric and wizard) first, but am perfectly content with them showing off more of the diverse gaming elements than just class.

I just hope we get a blog post soonish that addresses spell magic and how it will fit into the more feat-based, rather than class ability, game mechanic. I understand that old class abilities are mostly all transferring to feats, but spells really don't seem to be and they are the most powerful scaling class feature in every past generation of a roleplaying game I have ever played, so I am probably a little anxious to see how they line up with fighters getting fighting proficiencies a couple of levels early.


Class Cannon confirmed that Alchemists no longer use spells and now specialize in Alchemical items, but sadly Mamalou hasn't really done much yet (mechanically).

We do know, however, that he has acid, alchemist's fire, and lesser elixers of life.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Lost Omens, Rulebook, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

There's something important we need to see from alchemists:

Since their creations are non-magical in nature, they should not require resonance to use.

Liberty's Edge

Pathfinder Rulebook Subscriber

My overall hope was dashed early as Prepared and forget (Vancian) casting is still gonna be a thing.


Pathfinder Companion, Maps Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber
Wheldrake wrote:

There's something important we need to see from alchemists:

Since their creations are non-magical in nature, they should not require resonance to use.

Who said they were non-magical? They aren't spells, but that in itself doesn't make them non-magical. Remember, the Paizo folks already said that everyone would be able to make at least some magic items if they have the right skill proficiencies.


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thaX wrote:
My overall hope was dashed early as Prepared and forget (Vancian) casting is still gonna be a thing.

You mean Prepared and Expended.

Liberty's Edge

Pathfinder Rulebook Subscriber

To-May-to ... To-Mot-to.


More like tomato potato, the name and fruit looks alike but meaningful part is pretty different.

The spell is prepped and then used up, nobody 'forgets' their spells.

Liberty's Edge

Pathfinder Rulebook Subscriber

If you havta mem a spell more than once to cast it more than once, it is Vancian casting. Terms are different, works the same.


It bugs me just a little bit how you keep calling it memorization [I know in some past editions it was defined as such.]

Part of the whole point of Wizard Spellcasting is that the formulae they use to conjure their spells is too complex to fully memorize [barring a few special spells they expend resources like feats or class abilities to memorize] thus they prepare their spells by referencing their spellbooks.

I do think it might be really cool if specialists didn't write down the spells of their specialization into their spellbook when they acquire them, instead writing them into their memory.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Rulebook Subscriber
thaX wrote:
My overall hope was dashed early as Prepared and forget (Vancian) casting is still gonna be a thing.

I know for years you always were the biggest advocate for that, but I never got a general sense that Vancian was a huge concern for most of the Paizo folks, nor the developers.

Although I do hope they get more creative with how magic is used. If they are simplifying basic elements of the game, that potentially means there could be more room for other spell-casting mechanics for some classes.

Liberty's Edge

Pathfinder Rulebook Subscriber

Spellbooks are part and parcel of the Wizard and how they prepare magic, but the mechanics of the game can still use the spellbook without having the "fire and forget" aspect of wizard magic.

It is just disappointing that it will continue into PF2 and we will likely have to wait another ten to fifteen years for PF3 before we finally slay that sacred cow.


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That 'sacred cow' is a pet to some of us.

I really, really like vancian magic [prepared and expended, not memorize and forget] as one option in the setting and the one best suited to the archtrope of an academic wizard.

Now, alternatives very much belong as well. Spontaneous Vancian, Spell Points, At-Wills like 3.5's warlock... maybe even something similar to the Arcanist.


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You keep preparing your argument and ill keep forgetting.


kyrt-ryder wrote:

That 'sacred cow' is a pet to some of us.

I really, really like Vancian magic [prepared and expended, not memorize and forget] as one option in the setting and the one best suited to the archtrope of an academic wizard.

Now, alternatives very much belong as well. Spontaneous Vancian, Spell Points, At-Wills like 3.5's warlock... maybe even something similar to the Arcanist.

Thax I agree, prepare and expend feels clunky. It has never made sense other than as a game mechanic to me.

I would like to see spell points, at-wills or really anything else.

I'm also hoping that spell descriptions encourage and emphasize imagination and creativity, not just a die number for an effect.

We usually only play characters in the levels of 1-6, and martial characters are usually the meat and potatoes of most confrontational / dungeon style adventures. The wizards hide in the back hoping not to die once the few spells for the day have been cast (maybe I'm misunderstanding the imbalance points).


So might wanna slay that "sacred cow", however others like me simply love it. I don't care if clerics and druids shift to other subsystem like, but I'd really like to keep wizards and witches as prepared spellcasters. To tell the truth, although I think the extract list could have received more thought, I actually like the extract system. I much prefer my alchemists as Harry Potter potion masters than proto-scientists or pseudo-chemists, don't need that in my fantasy games.


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I MUCH prefer a system like 5e, where a wizard can memorize X number of spells at a time, then cast them spontaneously as long as he has slots. He can then spend some time studying his spell book to change the spells he has committed to memory. It's MUCH more intuitive than pure Vancian casting, and REALLY cuts down on the bookkeeping.

(I also like the idea that a wizard should be able to cast a spell he doesn't have memorized, by spending extra time to read his book.)

I get that people like Vancian Magic the way it is, and I don't want to tell people they can't have their own kind of fun, but could we please get a simplified system for prepared casters? One that doesn't take an extra sheet of paper to keep track of how many of what spells did you prepare today? Every single player I have had that has played a prepared caster either had to have an external tool to keep track of their current spell list, (like an Excel sheet, a laminated binder with dry erase markers, or a pad of paper that they have to rewrite every in-game day) or they just lied about preparing their spells and cast spontaneously anyway.

Vancian magic is the ONLY reason why I have never played a wizard in 3.P. The only time I played a cleric is when the party needed a healer, and we each had to play two characters anyway. He only prepared stereotypical "white mage" type spells, and dumped them for healing spells 99% of the time. The entire fun factor for that character was role-play. As it stands, if I am GMing a group that needs a healer, I roll up a Bard NPC.

The Vancian system DOES make sense for Alchemists, however, as they are literally preparing spells (potions in this case) for the day.


Wheldrake wrote:

There's something important we need to see from alchemists:

Since their creations are non-magical in nature, they should not require resonance to use.

Pretty sure they confirmed this on Glass Cannon.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Lost Omens, Rulebook, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Captain Morgan wrote:
Wheldrake wrote:

There's something important we need to see from alchemists:

Since their creations are non-magical in nature, they should not require resonance to use.

Pretty sure they confirmed this on Glass Cannon.

Yes, I'm aware. They confirmed that using it on anyone except the alchemist himself cost resonance.

What I'm lobbying for is some flexibility in the resonance system. I can get that every charge from a wand, every worn item and every arcane potion consumed costs resonance to be effective. This is what has been suggested, up to and including alchemical healing. IMHO, this is too strict, and could easily be modified through the playtest.

While I'm not against the resonance mechanic as such, I'd like to see alternate means of healing and some baseline effect even when resonance is no longer available. Alternate means of healing could be using skills to heal, skills to create minor healing items (poultices, goodberries, whatever) and even alchemical healing, depending on what the underlying concept of alchemical preparations is. Baseline effect could be having resonance-less magic still providing some minimal value (say "1" on every die), rather than nothing.


thflame wrote:
The Vancian system DOES make sense for Alchemists, however, as they are literally preparing spells (potions in this case) for the day.

That's literally how the wizard prepares spells in the morning as well. Inscribing magical runes and gathering magical power and arranging the material components he will need in his spell component pouch for quick and easy access.

Let's not rewrite the means by which the academic wizard casts. We have the Sorcerer [who deserves to be on the same spell level track] for spontaneous magic and an archetype recreating the Arcanist [possibly two from different angles, one for the Wizard and one for the Sorcerer] makes a lot of sense as well.

Clerics on the other hand. If their magic is still supposed to be miracles handed down from their gods [as opposed to Faith Magic irrespective of the object of belief] then it makes perfect sense to give them some variation of spontaneous casting.


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Wheldrake wrote:
Captain Morgan wrote:
Wheldrake wrote:

There's something important we need to see from alchemists:

Since their creations are non-magical in nature, they should not require resonance to use.

Pretty sure they confirmed this on Glass Cannon.

Yes, I'm aware. They confirmed that using it on anyone except the alchemist himself cost resonance.

What I'm lobbying for is some flexibility in the resonance system. I can get that every charge from a wand, every worn item and every arcane potion consumed costs resonance to be effective. This is what has been suggested, up to and including alchemical healing. IMHO, this is too strict, and could easily be modified through the playtest.

While I'm not against the resonance mechanic as such, I'd like to see alternate means of healing and some baseline effect even when resonance is no longer available. Alternate means of healing could be using skills to heal, skills to create minor healing items (poultices, goodberries, whatever) and even alchemical healing, depending on what the underlying concept of alchemical preparations is. Baseline effect could be having resonance-less magic still providing some minimal value (say "1" on every die), rather than nothing.

I think the idea is that Paizo wants healing and HP to be a resource that you are supposed to manage, just like spells (and just like virtually every other fantasy game/book/movie out there). Having access to too much healing makes us GMs have to crank up encounters to lethal levels just to have a challenge. Once healing items become so inexpensive that you can have an effectively infinite amount of it, then any encounter below a certain threshold of lethality becomes little more than a time waster.

Having baseline effects even once Resonance runs out just pushes the problem back a few levels.

I do think there should be alternate methods of healing that don't cost Resonance, but those methods should be limited as well.

I don't want to replace rolling UMD checks with rolling Heal checks.

If your ultimate goal is (and I'm NOT accusing you of this), "I want to be able to top off my character after every encounter" I'm pretty sure you are going directly against the design intention.

As far as how Alchemical substances work, I imagine that they are a chemical compound that reacts with Resonance to produce an effect. It's a bridge between "science" and "magic". Alchemists tweak the substance to work for themselves more efficiently.

I also imagine that Wands aren't going to have charges anymore and that they are merely a conduit to turn Resonance into a magical effect.


kyrt-ryder wrote:
thflame wrote:
The Vancian system DOES make sense for Alchemists, however, as they are literally preparing spells (potions in this case) for the day.

That's literally how the wizard prepares spells in the morning as well. Inscribing magical runes and gathering magical power and arranging the material components he will need in his spell component pouch for quick and easy access.

Let's not rewrite the means by which the academic wizard casts. We have the Sorcerer [who deserves to be on the same spell level track] for spontaneous magic and an archetype recreating the Arcanist [possibly two from different angles, one for the Wizard and one for the Sorcerer] makes a lot of sense as well.

Clerics on the other hand. If their magic is still supposed to be miracles handed down from their gods [as opposed to Faith Magic irrespective of the object of belief] then it makes perfect sense to give them some variation of spontaneous casting.

It also makes perfect sense to give wizards the ability to cast spells from memory, since, that's how it works in 99% of fiction. It's MUCH more thematic than Utility Belt magic.

It's also MUCH more intuitive and easier to keep track of, especially for new players.

Liberty's Edge

Pathfinder Rulebook Subscriber
kyrt-ryder wrote:

That 'sacred cow' is a pet to some of us.

I really, really like vancian magic [prepared and expended, not memorize and forget] as one option in the setting and the one best suited to the archtrope of an academic wizard.

Now, alternatives very much belong as well. Spontaneous Vancian, Spell Points, At-Wills like 3.5's warlock... maybe even something similar to the Arcanist.

First thing, Prep and Expend vs. Mem and Forgetful, they are one and the same. Terms get updated, mechanics get cleaned up, but the underlining theme is the same. I, as a Wizard, can't remember anything. The spellbook should be something to reference, not a crutch.

The thing I didn't want and is something I was hoping for PF2 is to not have competing mechanics for Magic dependant on what class you are. Vancian vs Spontaneous, Shadow magic, name magic, pact magic and then Alchemist getting a whole new mechanic. This is something that seems to be more unified in a way, but still using the 3.5 mechanic specific classes that need crutches and level adjustments to make the Superior classes kow toe to the eldritch classic classes that have been gimping along since the red box days.


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I will be glad when a preview of either the wizard or cleric is presented. It should give us some clue of how magic has changed.


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thaX wrote:

First thing, Prep and Expend vs. Mem and Forgetful, they are one and the same. Terms get updated, mechanics get cleaned up, but the underlining theme is the same.

I, as a Wizard, can't remember anything. The spellbook should be something to reference, not a crutch.

The mechanics remain the same but the theme is very different. These aren't the forgetful Wizards you keep talking about.

They know 'know' their spells [a mechanic for rewriting the spellbook over time without having to go back out and buy the spells again is something I would very much approve of] but they still have to set them up in advance. But trying to keep track of all that detail in the midst of preparing the spell is damn difficult. [I did say I could appreciate specialists 'scribing' their specialty school into their mind as a special thing they get.]

A prepared spell isn't short term memorization, it's... wait for it... prepared.

In the morning the wizard draws out the arcane runes and applies the formulae. He's pre-casting the spell essentially.

On that note, I have nothing against the idea of a wizard casting much slower from an empty slot... perhaps one minute per spell or such.

Quote:
The thing I didn't want and is something I was hoping for PF2 is to not have competing mechanics for Magic dependant on what class you are. Vancian vs Spontaneous, Shadow magic, name magic, pact magic and then Alchemist getting a whole new mechanic.

This is something I love about the 3.P system and hope very strongly does not change in PF2.

In fact I'd like to see MORE diversity of casting methods. Mana points, very limited at-wills, theoretically unlimited castings limited by high casting time, or a recharging mechanic and/or some kind of consequence per casting.....

The more diversity the better.

Liberty's Edge

Pathfinder Rulebook Subscriber

The theme is changed, but the overall "fire and forget" aspect didn't.

I also hope that the Familiar is not tied to the Bonded Object class ability and that the Wizard can have both without having to choose between them.


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thaX wrote:

The theme is changed, but the overall "fire and forget" aspect didn't.

I also hope that the Familiar is not tied to the Bonded Object class ability and that the Wizard can have both without having to choose between them.

I want my sorcerers to be able to have familiars again! That was a core aspect to one of my 3.5 characters that got ripped out in Pathfinder.

I want bloodline stuff to be optional too. Just because I have dragon blood in my veins, doesn't mean I become a scaly, winged, and clawed freak at high levels. Ever heard of recessive genes?


thaX wrote:
The theme is changed, but the overall "fire and forget" aspect didn't.

Not forgetting [which I think you know, but the way you keep hammering that term is a little confusing] just using up the spells that were set up previously.

Quote:
I also hope that the Familiar is not tied to the Bonded Object class ability and that the Wizard can have both without having to choose between them.

Agreed. No reason a character shouldn't be able to expend appropriate character resources to take both.

Silver Crusade

James Jacobs does not like the Mana system so it won't be adopted by Pazio.


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I thought it was Erik Mona who had the ultimate say over which mechanics go into the game. Whether you use power points or spell slots is hardly likely to be referenced in-world.

Shadow Lodge

I am not for a mana based system either but I don't think that we need one. I would instead adopt a material component cost to control the number of spells that could be cast. I personally do not mind how many magic missiles a wizard throws out but summon monster might be something that you want to limit by saying that your tiny bag and small candle component costs 5 gold (for example) or is hard to find and would require you to prep before hand (visiting arcane vendors etc.) so you you only have a limited number of casts.


One of my house rules was that a prepared caster could cast any spell up to their max level without spending spell slots. It just took half an hour per spell level to do the casting. In a previous game, the NPC casters (Magicians and Priests, having gotten rid of Adepts) could only cast this way.

When a PC class prepares a spell, what they have learned are special shortcuts that allows them to almost cast the spell, leaving the final details of the spell so that it can go off in just a few seconds. Additional slots represent the ability to hold more and more spells.

I'd love to see something like that in 2E.


Dilvias wrote:

One of my house rules was that a prepared caster could cast any spell up to their max level without spending spell slots. It just took half an hour per spell level to do the casting. In a previous game, the NPC casters (Magicians and Priests, having gotten rid of Adepts) could only cast this way.

When a PC class prepares a spell, what they have learned are special shortcuts that allows them to almost cast the spell, leaving the final details of the spell so that it can go off in just a few seconds. Additional slots represent the ability to hold more and more spells.

I'd love to see something like that in 2E.

So 5E ritual casting? I thought it was a great idea too!

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