Paizo - Please consider converting Rangers to spontaneous casters in 2e


Prerelease Discussion

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Meophist wrote:
Favoured enemy feels like it can do better as maybe an archetype feat.

Paizo has to be careful. Making all the iconic abilities of iconic class all optional threatens to undermine the class. At that point, you might as well just get rid of classes.


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I actually would like a completly spell-less ranger myself. Give them the option of spells or no spells.


N N 959 wrote:
Captain Morgan wrote:
Or: you can make all these arguments for the cleric and their spell list too. The cleric has more spell slots to allocate around (although far less in PF2) but has tons of spells that are too situational to prep without advance warning and is far more reliant on their spells to do their core job than the ranger is. I don't really see a need to give a cleric spontaneous access to their entire list, despite this.

What now?

Clerics GET spontaneous conversion to Cure spells, so they can always provide healing if necessary, on top of channeling. What's more, the vast majority of Cleric spells are generally useful: Protection from X, Lessor Restoration, Bless, Bull's Strength, Daylight. There are tons of Cleric spells that you can pick and expect them to be useful in combat or out of it.

And getting back on point, you're actually proving mine. Clerics could actually make use of open spell slots, and I've never seen PC's make use of it. Why? Because something about taking 15 minutes to prep a spell doesn't seem to be an attractive option compared to the downside of not having a spell on demand.

According to you, the Ranger also has plenty of spells that are generally useful and safe picks.

And just because PCs don't use a feature (which isn't universally true, as I have seen it happen) doesn't actually mean that those players need a buff. It can also mean they should learn to use the tools at their disposal. I'm not saying there isn't a better way of handling Ranger casting so it feels less tacked on, just that you haven't provided a great argument for giving the class Spell Kenning.


Captain Morgan wrote:


According to you, the Ranger also has plenty of spells that are generally useful and safe picks.

Incorrect. I said the Ranger has a lot of spells that are not generally useful and are very situational. These spells could find use, but almost no one who plays a Ranger is going to risk wasting their one or two spells by preping cloak of shade.

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And just because PCs don't use a feature (which isn't universally true, as I have seen it happen) doesn't actually mean that those players need a buff.

1) I've heard of people winning the lottery, that doesn't make it a career path. Just because you know of a guy who knew a guy who read on a forum that someone may have kept a spell slot open, doesn't mean the mechanic provides the benefit that was intended or solves any problem. More to the point, it was a system that was designed for Clerics and Druids who have enough spells to cover the basics.

2) Calling it a "buff" is a misrepresentation. In actual use, it's more likely to diminish the combat effectiveness of Rangers should they decide to blow their wad (READ: 1 spell) on something out of combat. Giving the class more situational usefulness is a net positive for both players and GMs.

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It can also mean they should learn to use the tools at their disposal.

You're blaming the people and not the process. That's what bad managers do. A player community will naturally and consistently gravitate to things that work. If open slots was some major advantage for game play, you know, like carrying around wands of CLW, then we'd see players employ it. In five years of PFS, I've never seen a Divine caster keep a slot open. And if they did, they never got around to using it as I've never experienced a player at a table take the 15 minutes of IC time out to choose the spell. That fact that it has happened in the combined history of 3.5 and PF, doesn't undermine the validity of this argument.

In fact, I also play Investigators, and I do have them keep an extract slot open, but that's because I can prep a new one in 1 minute.

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I'm not saying there isn't a better way of handling Ranger casting so it feels less tacked on, just that you haven't provided a great argument for giving the class Spell Kenning.

1) I'm not advocating the Rangers get Spell Kenning. I'm asking that they get to cast anything on their spell list instead of having to prep the spell in advance. That isn't Spell Kenning.

2) I have provided a great argument, it's the fact that no one (except the few lottery winners) bothers to prepare anything but combat spells when they finally get spell use as a Ranger. Instead, they just buy a scroll, if even that.. Rangers walking around with packs of scrolls is not what I think Paizo wants to promote as the default Ranger mode.

3) The fact that several people are talking about a spell-less Ranger is proof positive that Ranger spell use mechanics are underwhelming. It's proof that many people don't see any real value in the spell use because they are either just dipping, or, they get so few spells and such limited access, it seems pointless. It isn't, but I can see why players feel that way. Allowing a Ranger access to their spell list would change that perception without actually increasing the combat effectiveness of the Ranger.

4) You've got an entire axis of game play for Rangers that is essentially unused. The ability for Rangers to make use of a large list of interesting spells is wasted and worse, compels scroll hoarding, which is not, imo, a trope that should be pushed on Rangers.


N N 959 wrote:
QuidEst wrote:

I'm over here, hoping that Ranger loses their mandatory-metagaming favored enemy feature. "Guess what creatures the GM will throw at you, or waste your signature ability" is terrible.

Ahem.

Carry on.

I will admit that 3.5's version of the Ranger's bonus vs Giant class bonus has never seemed well executed. In PFS, one is penalized for not taking Human at level 2. And you're right, if the campaign doesn't feature our FE, then the feature is a total waste.

What's more, it's precisely the set up that encourages people to meta-game dip. I would be interested to see the concept reworked so it's a little more useful and less exploitable.

Martial flexibility /retraining for favored enemies baked into the class maybe?


N N 959 wrote:
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And just because PCs don't use a feature (which isn't universally true, as I have seen it happen) doesn't actually mean that those players need a buff.
1) I've heard of people winning the lottery, that doesn't make it a career path. Just because you know of a guy who knew a guy who read on a forum that someone may have kept a spell slot open, doesn't mean the mechanic provides the benefit that was intended or solves any problem.

My group has a good 15-20 people playing in a PbP environment. EVERY single one of us who ever plays prepared casters (except for stuff like Magus that really tends to focus on one or two spells) once we get past the first few levels where you do only have, like, 2 spells, will always leave a few slots open, specifically because there are so many spells that *might* be useful if a certain situation comes up. Heck, it's generally one of the first mechanics we teach players new to prepped casting. And it has saved our butts more than a few times.

Also, I told them about this proposed idea of yours, and most of them responded in horror. No class should be able to spontaneously pick from its entire spell list. If you want to load up on situational spells, either keep the slots open and take the 15 minutes in-game or spend the gold to acquire scrolls. That's a large part of why those mechanics are there.


The Beguiler, Dread Necromancer, Warmage and other fixed-list casters would disagree.


Shinigami02 wrote:
Also, I told them about this proposed idea of yours, and most of them responded in horror.

I sense a wee bit of over-exaggeration. Do me a favor. Why don't you house rule that this is how it works for a couple of adventures and let me know how "horrible' it worked out for the players and GMs. No doubt everyone's campaign will crumble the next time a Ranger casts cloak of shade without having prepared it. I'll expect to hear how all the other casters were made trivial and the Ranger one-shotted the BBEG on account of an impromptu ant haul. Yes, I expect hair-pulling and teeth grinding will likely result.

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No class should be able to spontaneously pick from its entire spell list. If you want to load up on situational spells, either keep the slots open and take the 15 minutes in-game or spend the gold to acquire scrolls.

You can't "load" up on situational spells when you're getting 1-3 spells until level 10. That's entirely the point. Look, maybe 2e will give Rangers a lot more spells to cast and they can spare a few. But it's unlikely. Spell use should be an aspect of what a Ranger does, it should not be a dominant part. Allowing a Ranger to cast any spell from his/her list would preserve that flavor aspect, but open a door into the usefulness quality of a Ranger. And since you're getting ONE spell up until about level 8, it's hardly going to break the game.

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That's a large part of why those mechanics are there.

No, that's not why they are there for Rangers. Those mechanics were developed for Druids and Clerics and Rangers and Paladins got stuck with it just because at the time, they used the same spells. The game has evolved. So should Rangers.


Well for starters I can't houserule anything, I am a horrible GM with a slew of personal issues that keep me from running games, but let me address the rest of it.

N N 959 wrote:
No doubt everyone's campaign will crumble the next time a Ranger casts cloak of shade without having prepared it. I'll expect to hear how all the other casters were made trivial and the Ranger one-shotted the BBEG on account of a impromptu ant haul.

Oh look at this massive pit. We're going to have to really think about how to cross this! Oh wait no, the ranger just pulled a "Handy Grapnel" out of nowhere.

Oh hey, this random encounter has a natural-attacking pouncemonster that can easily kill someone- oh wait no, the ranger just cut it's DPR massively with a Hollow Blades.

Oh, this is a normal encounter and none of those niche situations have come up. So the ranger just used the Gravity Bow or Lead Blades he would have had anyways, because there is no opportunity cost anymore.

Oh, and let's not forget the Paladin, Magus, and Witch who now feel short-shafted because the Ranger gets to pull whatever situational-or-not spell they want out of their rear, but they don't.

N N 959 wrote:

You can't "load" up on situational spells when you're getting 1-3 spells until level 10.

No, that's not why they are there for Rangers. Those mechanics were developed for Druids and Clerics and Rangers and Paladins got stuck with it just because at the time, they use the same spells. The game has evolved. So should Rangers.

With scrolls you can load up on whatever situational spells you want whenever you want, at the cost of a feat and a pitiful amount of gold. Literally the point of scrolls. Which is a mechanic that exists for all casters and is arguably more useful for those with few slots or a lot of situational spells which... by your own arguments both apply to Rangers.


I agree with Shinigami02, that the scroll mechanic really handles what you are asking for very elegantly. If it is a lore issue of scrolls feeling too stogy, I would consider reskinning your scrolls as fetishes or other little charms that hold spells, and then you get the flexibility you are asking for + the ability for using your spell slots for the spells you expect to cast in a day.

Now this new edition might have a fairly different mechanic, but I am willing to bet that scrolls are still items and you could have several in reserve and they can be used with resonance. This is great, in my opinion because it cuts down on the endless spammability of scrolls without losing their versatility.


Shinigami02 wrote:


Oh look at this massive pit. We're going to have to really think about how to cross this! Oh wait no, the ranger just pulled a "Handy Grapnel" out of nowhere.

Oh hey, this random encounter has a natural-attacking pouncemonster that can easily kill someone- oh wait no, the ranger just cut it's DPR massively with a Hollow Blades.

And now the Ranger is done casting. No more lead blades, no gravity bow, no resist anergy.

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Oh, this is a normal encounter and none of those niche situations have come up. So the ranger just used the Gravity Bow or Lead Blades he would have had anyways, because there is no opportunity cost anymore.

Not sure what point you thought you were making, but Ranger's, ime, only prep combat spells, so if they could have used a spell for handy grapnel they would have fewer combat spells.

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Oh, and let's not forget the Paladin, Magus, and Witch who now feel short-shafted because the Ranger gets to pull whatever situational-or-not spell they want out of their rear, but they don't.

Sorry, the Ranger ran out of spells about two hours ago...five minutes into the adventure. What's more, a Magus is only going combat and a Paladin's spells have few overlapping non-combat spells. A Witch? Witches Hex. And what paltry few spells a Ranger has are hardly going to invalidate a full caster.

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With scrolls you can load up on whatever situational spells you want whenever you want, at the cost of a feat and a pitiful amount of gold. Literally the point of scrolls.

So you're admitting that Rangers and every other caster already has this ability available and you think allowing an extra 2-3 spells is going to change things?

Seriously, the idea that unfettering the few spells a Ranger gets is going to unbalance a campaign or the fabric of party dynamics is pretty ridiculous. Again, why don't you ask your group to try this out and get back to me.


Unicore wrote:
I agree with Shinigami02, that the scroll mechanic really handles what you are asking for very elegantly. If it is a lore issue of scrolls feeling too stogy, I would consider reskinning your scrolls as fetishes or other little charms that hold spells, and then you get the flexibility you are asking for + the ability for using your spell slots for the spells you expect to cast in a day.

No, scrolls don't handle it "elegantly" or otherwise. A Ranger carrying around 50 scrolls isn't even in the same universe as elegant.

What's more, you're missing the entire point of the change. It's about making the limited spell use a meaningful decision. It's not about allowing Rangers to have an answer to every situation. Rangers get very few spells. I'm not advocating that this change. I'm advocating that now the Ranger actually has to put some thought in to whether or not to use his/her spell. Carrying around a scroll for every spell, invalidates the consequence of decision and boils it down to a straight money proposition. That isn't improving the game.

Why don't you actually try it out in a campaign before you criticize it out of hand?


N N 959 wrote:


Why don't you actually try it out in a campaign before you criticize it out of hand?

I am not criticizing, I am suggesting that the mechanical thing you are asking for is possible in PF1 and likely will be in the next version too. If house ruling it your way makes it conceptually fit better for you, great! It sounds like it could be modeled off of the skald ability.

I don't think your rule is necessary, given that spell casting flexibility through scrolls is already an existing mechanic.


Unicore wrote:


I am not criticizing, I am suggesting that the mechanical thing you are asking for is possible in PF1 and likely will be in the next version too.

No, it's not possible in PF1. You're not understanding the nature of what changes. This isn't about Rangers always solving a problem.

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I don't think your rule is necessary, given that spell casting flexibility through scrolls is already an existing mechanic.

Yeah, you totally don't get it.

Let me put this way, I would give up scroll use for this change.


Pathfinder Adventure, Adventure Path, Starfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
N N 959 wrote:
Unicore wrote:


I am not criticizing, I am suggesting that the mechanical thing you are asking for is possible in PF1 and likely will be in the next version too.

No, it's not possible in PF1. You're not understanding the nature of what changes. This isn't about Rangers always solving a problem.

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I don't think your rule is necessary, given that spell casting flexibility through scrolls is already an existing mechanic.

Yeah, you totally don't get it.

Let me put this way, I would give up scroll use for this change.

I'm pretty sure they do get it. You want to not have to make a choice between preparing spells you might need instantly in combat, or leaving the slots open for potential utility use later.

You say you want to be able to make more interesting choices with your spells, but if that was true, you'd simply not prepare any spells in the morning, and pick the utility spell you need as you need it (taking 15 minutes to do so each time). Or not bother, and prepare combat spells that you'll probably need.
If the ranger spell list was WAY smaller, or you had to pick a few spells of each level that you could spontaneously cast between, then maybe this would work. Beguilers and Warmages made do with their focused lists, so it can be done.


AnimatedPaper wrote:


I'm pretty sure they do get it. You want to not have to make a choice between preparing spells you might need instantly in combat, or leaving the slots open for potential utility use later.

First off, this is based on my having played these classes and observed and GM'd people playing these classes. The point being it's about improving the class with a 2e. Ranger spell use is a broken mechanic.

Second, there is no choice. Every single Ranger I've played with, at least in PFS and homebrew games, goes with combat spells. While I'm sure it's happened at least once in recorded history, I've never seen a Ranger leave an open slot Why, because the likelihood you'll have 15 minutes to prepare a spell that might be useful is slim to none. But guess what? You're guaranteed to get into combat at least once.

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You say you want to be able to make more interesting choices with your spells, but if that was true, you'd simply not prepare any spells in the morning, and pick the utility spell you need as you need it (taking 15 minutes to do so each time). Or not bother, and prepare combat spells that you'll probably need.

As I said, in five years of GMing and playing PFS, I've never seen a Ranger risk the lack of a having a combat spell for the possibility that some of the extremely situational spells might be useful. And the naked truth is that author's can't expect any certain class/spells/feats to be required for an encounter, so nothing a Ranger has got is going to be actually necessary to get past anything.

The point, which you are not getting, is that the current system doesn't really foster any decision making. You tell player that the one or two spells you get, you can cast anything on your list, that's going to make them think more about when and what to cast. It will make the class feature feel more impactful (though it really won't be) and meaningful. It's about the player experience, not about the actual outcome.

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If the ranger spell list was WAY smaller, or you had to pick a few spells of each level that you could spontaneously cast between, then maybe this would work.

No, that wouldn't work because it would be just like the Hunter. I don't want the Ranger to turn into a Hunter-clone.


By level 20 the Ranger is casting 14 spells a day. Your house rule might work well for campaigns that don't go past level 10, and many don't because high level mechanics of PF1 are pretty rough. Fixing that probably means paying attention to how abilities that feel like they make sense at a lower level interact with higher level play.

Scrolls do this well, because higher level scrolls cost more to make. It makes sense for a ranger to spend money on a bunch of level one scrolls to see what comes up, but they will think twice about having every 3rd level spell committed to a scroll.

It seems like you feel like scrolls are a bad option and are thus advocating for a house rule that makes them unnecessary to accomplish the effect you desire, at the levels of play that you most often encounter. House rules are great for that. Opening up a big can of worms by having a class get spontaneous access to their entire list doesn't feel necessary for your house rule to still work well for your games.


Unicore wrote:
By level 20 the Ranger is casting 14 spells a day.

I was waiting for you to go there. By level 20, you're worried about 14 spells, none above level 4, from a Ranger? Really?

And you think given that all the stuff that is going on at 20th level, those 14 spells, only 3 of which are 4th level, are going to jeopardize or trivialize some part of the campaign?

Sorry, not buying it, not by a long shot. Not even if they fix the M/C disparity problem.

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Your house rule might work well for campaigns that don't go past level 10, and many don't because high level mechanics of PF1 are pretty rough. Fixing that probably means paying attention to how abilities that feel like they make sense at a lower level interact with higher level play.

Well, I encourage Paizo to let us try it out during the playtest.

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Scrolls do this well, because higher level scrolls cost more to make. It makes sense for a ranger to spend money on a bunch of level one scrolls to see what comes up, but they will think twice about having every 3rd level spell committed to a scroll.

I'm not sure what point it is you're trying to make and how this relates to what I'm advocating.

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It seems like you feel like scrolls are a bad option and are thus advocating for a house rule that makes them unnecessary to accomplish the effect you desire

You're totally wrong because you don't understand the effect I desire. You're focused on this idea that I think Rangers should always have a spell for any situation. That's not what this is about.

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Opening up a big can of worms by having a class get spontaneous access to their entire list doesn't feel necessary for your house rule to still work well for your games.

How do you know, have you tried it? You keep talking about entire list as if this means the Ranger now can cast every spell at least once. It can't. It can cast one, maybe two or three spells for the vast majority of the PCs that play the class. By the time the Ranger gets a game shattering four spells, at 1st level, the PC is 17th level.

It's mind blowing that propensity of posters to act like this is some game-breaking change. Let's pretend that Ranger has a 26 Wisdom (how, I don't know) but now he's got a whopping SIX spells at 1st level! You might as well just fold up the GM screen because there's nothing that's going to slow down a 17th level Ranger with any six 1st level spells at his disposal. GM should just give up.


I'm going to have to agree with the sentiment that when swapping a prepared caster to a spontaneous one, they shouldn't get the whole list.(I don't like Druids and Clerics getting the whole list anyway. It's WAY to complicated for new players.) They should also get the +50% extra casts per day that other spontaneous casters get.

That being said, my "Ranger main" in my group has dumped the Ranger class entirely for the Hunter, solely because the Ranger's casting mechanic is borked beyond reasonable and rational use and they get a weaker animal companion. I know I don't want to play one, and nobody else in any of my groups has ever wanted to play one, so I can see the need for a buff.


thflame wrote:
I'm going to have to agree with the sentiment that when swapping a prepared caster to a spontaneous one, they shouldn't get the whole list.(I don't like Druids and Clerics getting the whole list anyway. It's WAY to complicated for new players.)

Too complicated? Then we shouldn't be allowing new players to play Wizards. It's hardly more complicated than having to sort through god knows how many archetypes and bloodlines and everything else that is pushed on new players.

The Core rule book has nineteen 1st level spells for a Ranger. I think a new player can easily handle that, especially since they won't be a new player when they finally get spells.

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They should also get the +50% extra casts per day that other spontaneous casters get.

No. If you want more spells, play a Hunter. If you don't want spells, play a Slayer.

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That being said, my "Ranger main" in my group has dumped the Ranger class entirely for the Hunter, solely because the Ranger's casting mechanic is borked beyond reasonable and rational use and they get a weaker animal companion. I know I don't want to play one, and nobody else in any of my groups has ever wanted to play one, so I can see the need for a buff.

Yup. Hardly much incentive for players to go past level 2 with a Ranger these days.

The animal companion is a whole other topic. One, I'm reserving until they announce info on how it will work for Rangers.


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N N 959 wrote:
thflame wrote:
I'm going to have to agree with the sentiment that when swapping a prepared caster to a spontaneous one, they shouldn't get the whole list.(I don't like Druids and Clerics getting the whole list anyway. It's WAY to complicated for new players.)
Too complicated? Then we shouldn't be allowing new players to play Wizards. It's hardly more complicated than having to sort through god knows how many archetypes and bloodlines and everything else that is pushed on new players.

Funnily enough, I HIGHLY recommend against new players playing casters in general.

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They should also get the +50% extra casts per day that other spontaneous casters get.
No. If you want more spells, play a Hunter. If you don't want spells, play a Slayer.

Fine, if you want spontaneous casting, don't play a Ranger. Play a Bard, Sorcerer, or Oracle instead.

Two can play at this game. You don't have to be rude about it.


N N 959 wrote:
Shinigami02 wrote:
Oh, this is a normal encounter and none of those niche situations have come up. So the ranger just used the Gravity Bow or Lead Blades he would have had anyways, because there is no opportunity cost anymore.

Not sure what point you thought you were making, but Ranger's, ime, only prep combat spells, so if they could have used a spell for handy grapnel they would have fewer combat spells.

Since you apparently don't know what it means and don't seem interested in looking it up, let me explain what an Opportunity Cost is. The definition, quite simply, is "the loss of potential gain from other alternatives when one alternative is chosen." This is an important balancing factor. Especially for Divine Prepared Casters, who *can* on any given day access their entire spell list, compared to a Spont Caster (or even Arcane Casters really) who have a more limited pool to pull from. You either take the potentially situational spells and risk they don't come up, or you (like most people) take the combat spells because they're more likely to come up and risk not having the perfect solution if one of those situational spells comes up first. If you don't want to take that risk, you invest some gold and gets scrolls. In this game flexibility is power, and power *must* for balance reasons come at a cost.

N N 959 wrote:
Shinigami02 wrote:
With scrolls you can load up on whatever situational spells you want whenever you want, at the cost of a feat and a pitiful amount of gold. Literally the point of scrolls.

So you're admitting that Rangers and every other caster already has this ability available and you think allowing an extra 2-3 spells is going to change things?

Seriously, the idea that unfettering the few spells a Ranger gets is going to unbalance a campaign or the fabric of party dynamics is pretty ridiculous. Again, why don't you ask your group to try this out and get back to me.

Yes they have the ability. The key difference here is that it also comes at a cost. You see, there's that idea again, power comes at a cost. For low level spells it's a small cost, but it is still costing something to get that kind of flexibility that can absolutely trivialize situations if used well.


thflame wrote:
Fine, if you want spontaneous casting, don't play a Ranger. Play a Bard, Sorcerer, or Oracle instead.

Those classes are essentially full casters. That's not what a Ranger is. I'm not advocating for more spells. Yes, I say spontaneous caster in the title, but I'm referring to the ability to not have to prepare their one spell.

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Two can play at this game. You don't have to be rude about it.

No one is being rude. You don't want access to the spell list and I don't want to turn the Ranger into a Hunter-Lite.


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I will say that I actually would be okay with allowing Rangers to be spont casters. Give them the spell slots/known tables from Bloodragers, and let them go to town. It really is the "whole spell list" thing that is my sticking point, because that is too much.


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Shinigami02 wrote:
This is an important balancing factor. Especially for Divine Prepared Casters, who *can* on any given day access their entire spell list, compared to a Spont Caster (or even Arcane Casters really) who have a more limited pool to pull from. You either take the potentially situational spells and risk they don't come up, or you (like most people) take the combat spells because they're more likely to come up and risk not having the perfect solution if one of those situational spells comes up first.

I'm glad you understand the philosophy for how Cleric spell casting was balanced against Wizard spell casting. Except, Rangers/Paladins, aren't given the same number of spells. So a mechanic that makes sense for Clerics/Druids, doesn't work when you dramatically undercut the number of spells available to be prepared.

What's more, BOTH Cleric and Druid were given the ability spontaneously convert their Prepared spells so as to dramatically minimize the "opportunity cost" of having to prepare spells in advance. No such concession was given to Rangers/Paladins.

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If you don't want to take that risk, you invest some gold and gets scrolls. In this game flexibility is power, and power *must* for balance reasons come at a cost.

You really don't get it? Scrolls eliminate the opportunity cost and they completely change the game play and feel. Scrolls undermine meaningful casting choices and reduce the game to a money grab, which is counterproductive and largely anti-thetical to the Ranger ethos. Telling players who play Rangers that they need to go buy scrolls is decidedly a ill-conceived game play mechanic to espouse. I seriously hope Paizo isn't that daft.

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You see, there's that idea again, power comes at a cost

It's not about "power." This change is going to have little or no appreciable effect on the power dynamic of a Ranger. It's about the player experience, but you're not getting that, which is fine. My hope is that Paizo does.


Shinigami02 wrote:
It really is the "whole spell list" thing that is my sticking point, because that is too much.

Why?


The ability to spontaneously cast freedom of movement at a moment's notice without dedicating any resources (like a spontaneous caster's spells known, or having it prepared) to it is a pretty big deal. That starts at level 13. Oh no! your companion died, you can have it raised in one minute. Sure it costs 1000 gp to cast, but at that point, maybe you should have a back up scroll of it anyway for that bad day.

At 10th level the ranger gets access to Life bubble, Remove disease, Resist energy communal, soothing word, insect spies. The ability to instantly have any of these spells with no opportunity cost is a big deal.

Why does leaving a slot open at each level once you have more than 1 spell seem like such an inconceivable limitation. 15 minutes in game time is often not that big a deal, but it means you don't just get to instantly have the best combat spell ready at the drop of a hat, based upon the situation you are in.

Having played pretty far into the mythic rule set, I cannot stress how much it slows down the game when casters have full instant access to 30+ spells that might be exactly the right spell for this situation.

When casters have actively made scrolls for specific situations, they usually know what scrolls they have and it comes to mind pretty quickly. That is why I keep pointing out that between leaving a spell slot open and having your ranger pick up scrolls and wands, the choice to not have useful utility spells ready when needed is a tactical choice on the part of the player, or something being forced on them by a game master that thinks that access to all these spells is too much anyway, and they are never going to go for a rule like you are suggesting.

That is why your rule doesn't seem necessary to me or to others. Like I said, I can see it being a fine house rule for people that want to have rangers operate in a low magic item setting without being restricted to a very narrow set of useful spells, but in a standard pathfinder campaign, it is giving away something that is designed to be a purchasable option.


N N 959 wrote:
Shinigami02 wrote:
If you don't want to take that risk, you invest some gold and gets scrolls. In this game flexibility is power, and power *must* for balance reasons come at a cost.
You really don't get it? Scrolls eliminate the opportunity cost and they completely change the game play and feel. Scrolls undermine meaningful casting choices and reduce the game to a money grab, which is counterproductive and largely anti-thetical to the Ranger ethos. Telling players who play Rangers that they need to go buy scrolls is decidedly a ill-conceived game play mechanic to espouse. I seriously hope Paizo isn't that daft.

Scrolls eliminate the opportunity cost by introducing their own cost. Which is the entire point I'm making, power (again, flexibility *IS* power in this game) comes at a cost. You can prepare from your entire spell list, but it comes at the opportunity cost of you have to pick ahead of time. You can get around this opportunity cost by introducing a separate Gold cost to take it's place.

As for Clerics and Druids converting their prepared spells... yes they can do that. To very specific other spells (though I will admit that Druid's Summon is a powerful specific other spell. Then again I kinda think Druid is a bit too powerful in general, between full animal companion, wild shape, 9-level prepared casting off their full list, and sponting into summons.) Meanwhile, comparing Rangers to Druids, they get full BAB, Favored Enemy (a very powerful ability if used to the right effect), and most notably (at least in my group) their Styles giving them prereq-ignoring feats. This is, at least in my group, their most sought-after and powerful ability.


Jester David wrote:
I think I'd prefer rangers without spells as the default with options that let you opt into spells, such as archetypes.

Rangers without spells are going to be extremely similar to fighters.

Without spells, rangers just have some situational numerical bonuses and possibly a pet.


Unicore wrote:
Having played pretty far into the mythic rule set, I cannot stress how much it slows down the game when casters have full instant access to 30+ spells that might be exactly the right spell for this situation.

At mythic levels, I'm sure it slows down the game to some extent. Though I'd like to see to what extent compared to all the other things that slow down the game at that level.

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When casters have actively made scrolls for specific situations, they usually know what scrolls they have and it comes to mind pretty quickly.

Not in my experience. If you're talking about level 14+, a Wizard is going to have so many scrolls they literally need a book to keep track of them. And, IME, spell use slows down the game. The higher the level, the more it slows things down because the more ambitious the spells are and the more adjudication is necessary when you have multiple spells going on.

Conversely, if what you say is true on balance, then I'll argue that players who go through three levels of knowing that at 4th level, they get all nineteen 1st level spells to cast ONCE, I'm pretty sure they'll have just as much system mastery and have a darn good idea of what spells they have at their disposal.

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At 10th level the ranger gets access to Life bubble, Remove disease, Resist energy communal, soothing word, insect spies. The ability to instantly have any of these spells with no opportunity cost is a big deal.

It is a big deal, but not for the reasons you cite.

1) To get a 3rd level spell at 10th level, a Ranger has to have a 16 Wisdom. In PFS, that's extremely rare to the point I've never seen it. Yup, if they've got a 14 Wisdom they'll probably spend the gold on a tiara, but that's if they have a 14. Wisdom, is at at best, the third stat of choice, perhaps the fourth. Do you know why so many people are coming in to this thread and saying they want a spell-less Ranger?

2) The Ranger gets ONE 3rd level spell. One, if they have a 16 Wisdom. So total spells is three 1st, two 2nd, and ONE 3rd level spell. Please don't pretend this is game breaking, even if they could cast any spell on their list.

3) You know what's competing with Life Bubble, Remove Disease, Resist Energy Communical, Soothing Word, and Instect Spies? Those same spells are all competing with each other. They are also competing with Burst of Speed, DarkVision, Feather Step-mass, and Instand Enemy to name just a few.

All of those spells aree seriously beneficial combat spells and would be unusable if you elected to cast Life Bubble. And THAT is entirely the point. Now, it's truly a decision. Now I have to really think about do I want to save my ONE spell for Life Bubble or Instant Enemy.

You tell a player they have to prepare that spell? They are going combat all the way. How is that much of a decision? You've given Rangers this nice list of a situational spells and no one is going to give up a chance to use Speed Burst on the fluke that Life Bubble is needed.

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That is why I keep pointing out that between leaving a spell slot open and having your ranger pick up scrolls and wands, the choice to not have useful utility spells ready when needed is a tactical choice on the part of the player

No, that's a straight up misrepresentation. It's not a tactical choice, it's a money choice. I hope Paizo is listening:

The idea that the game wants players to solve their problems by throwing money at them is decidedly uninspiring and unimaginative. It is a trite mechanic. The answer to improving the Ranger's game play experience and exploring the usefulness of its spell list cannot be: buy scrolls and wands. And if Paizo goes that route, then they've missed a golden opportunity at some low-hanging fruit.

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game master that thinks that access to all these spells is too much anyway, and they are never going to go for a rule like you are suggesting.

I disagree. Too much what? it's one freakin spell. You act like the Ranger has unlimited spell casting. You act like a Ranger has Win Scenario on the spell list and the only reason they don't buy it as a scroll is because they don't want to spend the 25gp at 4th level.


scrolls.... ohboy.....

I don't like carrying around scrolls on my ranger, not enough space in my back pack...


Pathfinder Adventure, Adventure Path, Starfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Look either it makes a difference to the player, or it doesn't. Pick one, and stop arguing both at once.
If the spells are so individually powerful that they are worth casting even more than that combat spell you might need later, then yes, limiting access to how many spells you potentially can cast is needed. Or if they're never powerful enough to take priority over a combat spell, then no player will ever pick the flavorful spell even if it would trivialize an encounter, and this entire debate is pointless.

We get your view. I won't speak for others, but in my opinion, your solution to the problem sucks. Also, EVERY class throws money at problems. That's why adventures get so much of it. It's there to be spent.


AnimatedPaper wrote:
Or if they're never powerful enough to take priority over a combat spell, then no player will ever pick the flavorful spell even if it would trivialize an encounter, and this entire debate is pointless.

Uh...no. You're forcing a player to risk preparing a spell that most likely will not be needed vs a combat spell which most likely will be useful, even if not entirely needed.

History shows it's a no-brainer. People go with combat. So you have 95% of the spell table being relegated to scroll/wand use. That's totally stupid. But more importantly, it's solvable.

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We get your view. I won't speak for others, but in my opinion, your solution to the problem sucks.

Based on what? Nobody has shown how it actually negatively impacts the game beyond possibly taking more time. What I'm getting is that allowing access to the whole spell list is some line we cannot cross. Based on what? Have you actually tried it?

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Also, EVERY class throws money at problems..

No, they don't. Barbarians aren't required to resort to magic items to make use of their abilities. Neither are Rogues, Assassins, Slayers, Fighters... so on and so on. Rangers are not full casters. They are martials, Fighter sub-types. The spell mechanic is broken and the answer is not buy scrolls.


In the vast majority of games, martials will resort to the use of magic items, you just have specific ideas about which ones are best, and for some reason that excludes Scrolls and wands. That is a fine personal choice but the designers don’t have an obligation to change the game to accomodate your play style, especially when it seems like you have a house use that you find satisfactory.


use of use magic device skill wasnt it


Unicore wrote:
In the vast majority of games, martials will resort to the use of magic items, you just have specific ideas about which ones are best, and for some reason that excludes Scrolls and wands. That is a fine personal choice but the designers don’t have an obligation to change the game to accomodate your play style, especially when it seems like you have a house use that you find satisfactory.

Lol. It's not about having to use magic items. My Rangers make liberal use of wands and scrolls if necessary. The fact that you keep bringing up using magic items means you're still not getting it. Part of that is probably my fault. Perhaps my opening post puts too much emphasis on Ranger utility and being able to use any given spells. You seems to be tunnel-vision processing that as solved by using magic items.

Even if that was my main concern, it would be a brain-dead response by the developers to decide that the Ranger class needs to use more scrolls and wands to actually experience its full spell list. If you can't understand that on its face, then I'll just have to accept I lack the literary skills to explain it to you.

This has nothing to do with personal play-style and everything to do with crafting the experience each class engenders. This is a really really really easy way for Paizo to give Rangers something unique that fits the concept of the class, without substantially tilting the power dynamic.


Pathfinder Adventure, Adventure Path, Starfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
N N 959 wrote:
AnimatedPaper wrote:
Or if they're never powerful enough to take priority over a combat spell, then no player will ever pick the flavorful spell even if it would trivialize an encounter, and this entire debate is pointless.

Uh...no. You're forcing a player to risk preparing a spell that most likely will not be needed vs a combat spell which most likely will be useful, even if not entirely needed.

I'm actually not talking about prepared spells here, I'm talking about your idea. That thing you said I never demonstrated why it was foolish? That was me, demonstrating it.

If the spells aren't powerful enough to be prioritized over a combat spell you might need later, that is, even if you had access to the spell at the time you needed it, and it would still be worth more to cast a combat spell later, then you're always going to choose the combat spell. If they ARE powerful enough that people would choose the one over a combat spell, then they need to be limited in some way, or Rangers will be wildly unbalanced.

Versatility is equated to power. The entire class tier structure is based on how versatile classes are, and you want to jack ranger versiitlity through the roof.


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Rangers really shouldn't have magic in the first place. It would be better if they just stripped the feature off them entirely rather than let them have whatever it would be called that you're proposing (the thing you're asking for is the exact opposite of what a spontaneous caster is). I'd prefer they not ever have access to spells through any means; feat, archetype, etc. It's always felt tacked on and is frankly a waste of design space. Rather than pushing the things that make a Ranger, like Traps, terrain use, Tactics, they instead burn page space writing Druid-lite spells that do the opposite.


AnimatedPaper wrote:


If the spells aren't powerful enough to be prioritized over a combat spell you might need later, that is, even if you had access to the spell at the time you needed it, and it would still be worth more to cast a combat spell later, then you're always going to choose the combat spell.

Misrepresenting what someone says isn't a valid method of debate. I never said non-combat spells aren't worth casting over combat spells. You're ignoring the actual decision: choosing a very situational spell that might not get used versus one that will get used. That equates to spell casting involving little or no meaningful decision making.

Residual Tracking might take days off of tracking down a killer. But if you don't know you'll be tracking down a killer, you sure as hell aren't going to prep at the start of a day. In fact, my Ranger has had that spell on a scroll since about 4th level and I still haven't used it.

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If they ARE powerful enough that people would choose the one over a combat spell, then they need to be limited in some way, or Rangers will be wildly unbalanced.

They are limited, by the fact that Rangers get so few spells and they get them at Caster Level -3. In fact, a Ranger doesn't automatically get a 1st level spell until level 5, when Wizards are already getting 3rd level spells and casting them as a 5th level caster.

Trying to pretend or suggest that a Ranger getting full access to what few spells they have on their list is "wildly unbalancing" is pretty far farfetched and pretty obviously an ad hominem. Why? Because by the time a Ranger gets to 4th level, they can easily afford the 475 gp it cost to get one of every Core spell on a scroll. If full access was so "wildly unbalancing" then every Ranger would be doing it.

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The entire class tier structure is based on how versatile classes are, and you want to jack ranger versiitlity through the roof.

That's incorrect. Tier structure isn't based on versatility it's base on the ability to trivialize a campaign. I've actually exchanged emails with the guy who invented the tier system on Brilliant Gameologist. Rangers with this "wildly unbalancing" versatility you're claiming, aren't even in the same universe as full casters.

I counted forty-five 4th level spells on Archives of Nethys (which goes way beyond core) Do you think a 20th level Ranger can't afford the 45k to buy one of every spell? And yet, this still doesn't put Ranger's anywhere near Druids, Clerics, Sorcerers, Wizards, etc.

Versatility is not equated to power in D&D/PF. That's simply a fabrication on your part to try and win an argument. What Paizo should value is classes that provide unique play experiences. No two classes should feel the same. The more differentiation between how even similar classes play, the more people 2e will appeal to. Paizo has an opportunity to reexamine everything. To question everything.

Given how few low level spells Rangers have, Paizo needs to let Rangers have a unique casting mechanic, one that gives meaning to a player's decision on what and when to cast, and that emphasis the Ranger as being a survivor and able to think on his/her feet.


I don't want them to have spells at all... (or have it be an option but not forced.)


Vidmaster7 wrote:
I don't want them to have spells at all... (or have it be an option but not forced.)

Then you don't want to play a Ranger.

EDIT: And it's also because the spell casting is poorly implemented for Rangers.


N N 959 wrote:
You're also forgetting that a Ranger could not be Lawful.

That's not right, at least for the 1st Ed AD&D Ranger, you were stripped of all benefits from the class if you became any non-good alignment. They also could not operate with more than 2 other rangers in the group.

As for the OP, in 5th Ed they made the Ranger a spells known class, instead of spells prepared (like the paladin), so they could go a similar way in PF1, but still don't know enough about the magic system to properly speculate.

Even though it made no sense, thematically, it was fun blapping things with magic missiles as a 1st Ed/AD&D ranger.


N N 959 wrote:
And it's also because the spell casting is poorly implemented for Rangers.

Spells scaling better should help this.


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I don't want to play the ranger? eh You kidding my first character was a ranger back in 1st edition. I didn't have a high enough wisdom score for spells which honestly you got so late anyways who cares. A ranger being a ranger has very little to do with spells heck ask Aragorn.


Vidmaster 1st edition wrote:
I didn't have a high enough wisdom score for spells which honestly you got so late anyways who cares.

Yup. But watch out, if you get access to any spell on your spell list, it would be "wildly unbalancing."

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A ranger being a ranger has very little to do with spells heck ask Aragorn.

I will, but first, I'm trying to find a healing Cleric from any non D&D fantasy novel/movie/cartoon.


N N 959 wrote:
Vidmaster 1st edition wrote:
I didn't have a high enough wisdom score for spells which honestly you got so late anyways who cares.

Yup. But watch out, if you get access to any spell on your spell list, it would be "wildly unbalancing."

Quote:
A ranger being a ranger has very little to do with spells heck ask Aragorn.

I will, but first, I'm trying to find a healing Cleric from any non D&D fantasy novel/movie/cartoon.

1.I'm sorry but have you seen the low level ranger spells in 1st they weren't that helpful.

2.What does that have to do with anything? but since you don't know the original Clerics in original D&D were partly inspired by the medieval chivalric orders such as the Templars and Hospitallers. These were effectively warrior monks. Their spells are heavily taken from the bible.

incidentally ranger was literally originally made with Aragorn as the original example hence why favored enemy used to be just bonuses vrs orcs and goblinoids


Vidmaster 1st edition wrote:


1.I'm sorry but have you seen the low level ranger spells in 1st they weren't that helpful.

Vidmaster, you must be wrong. You have to be. Several posters in this thread told me that if we let a Ranger cast any spell from that list, it will be the end of times!

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2.What does that have to do with anything?

About as much as Aragorn does in telling us what abilities who should expect from a Ranger in Pathfinder. Last I checked Elven was not a free language for Rangers.

All kidding aside, I totally get where you're coming from. The investment, wait, and benefit, are underwhelming. Wand use is the only thing that somewhat salvages this class from archery fighters.

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ncidentally ranger was literally originally made with Aragorn as the original example ...

Yes, and a 2nd level Ranger was called a Strider. Aragorn was an inspiration for the class, the character was not the exact template, not even for AD&D as the class got spells despite Aragorn never employing any magic in Tolkien's works.


N N 959 wrote:
Yes, and a 2nd level Ranger was called a Strider. Aragorn was an inspiration for the class, the character was not the exact template, not even for AD&D as the class got spells despite Aragorn never employing any magic in Tolkien's works.

Apparently the druid and magic-user spells were there to reflect Aragorn's special skills/powers, though, of course those were due to his bloodline (Dunedain and all that), not being a ranger.


N N 959 wrote:
Given how few low level spells Rangers have, Paizo needs to let Rangers have a unique casting mechanic, one that gives meaning to a player's decision on what and when to cast, and that emphasis the Ranger as being a survivor and able to think on his/her feet.

Seeing how the ranger spell list isn't even going to be a thing anymore, I think the developers are already committed to doing something different with this class, and at this point we have no idea what it is.

I appreciate that you feel very passionate about the class and have a very specific vision of the ranger that doesn't apparently feel quite satiated by being a full BAB martial that also gets access to spells and magic items without having to use the skill use magic device or multi-class for a level to get self-access to some of the best combat buffs in the game. I tend to play 18 CHA Paladins and 16 wis rangers because I feel like the spell list is a part of the character class and considering it a toss away is a mistake. It works for me. What you are calling for doesn't feel necessary because the things you are asking for are already possible.


Pathfinder Adventure, Adventure Path, Starfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
N N 959 wrote:
Versatility is not equated to power in D&D/PF. That's simply a fabrication on your part to try and win an argument.

I'm not even the first person to say that in this thread, let alone anywhere else.

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