Casting: Vancian vs Arcanist / 5e style


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Shadow Lodge

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Vancian is confirmed at this stage, but what kind of casting did you want? Why did you want that type of casting, why not the other kind?

I'm seeing a lot of people wanting Arcanist / 5e style casting so I'm wondering if there are people that are quietly contempt with the Vancian style casting or do the people just want Arcanist / 5e style casting.

I would have liked to see the Arcanist / 5e style casting but I'm not sure what would happen in regards to the Bard's and Sorcerer's spell casting if this were the case.


Not sure what the Arcanist is like, but for me, the ideal would be CRPG-style Magic Points. Maybe you prep spells for the day as usual, but you spend MPs on them in whatever combination you can manage.


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That's almost what an arcanist is, but you get spell slots like a sorcerer.

If be happy for arcanist to be default and Vanciam casting to be an archetype.


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I really prefer Spheres of Power, but of the Pathfinder spell systems I prefer Arcanist style.

I'd actually be happy if all casters used Arcanist style preparation and the difference between them was emphasized in other mechanics. Sorcorrerers get bonus spell points, wizards get bonuses with rituals. Something like that.


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With the reduction in spell slots, I'm not sure I'm really seeing a place for the arcanist casting in PF2. Part of the problem I always had with Vancian casting was keeping track of all the spells, especially when you had a huge number of lower level spells. At 3 slots per spell level and reliable at-will spells, I don't think really see a major appeal in arcanist casting.


arcanist

vancian spell slots just weaken the character.....

Liberty's Edge

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Pathfinder Rulebook Subscriber

Why does this question even need to be asked?

I think the Arcanist style casting is the go to for the future of this game, even if PF2 is still Vancian in nature.

But let's step back a moment before we go completely crazy. The Arcanist does have his own problems with his pool of points and how hampered he is with limited slots of Known preparations and spells per day. The class itself is still balanced with the Wizard just as the Sorcerer is, and has exploits he uses with a very limited arcane pool that runs out far to quickly at low levels, and is likely used to fuel spells later on.

The thing to remember is that the Wizard and the Sorcerer need to be on an even playing field. The only way to do that is for both to have the same casting mechanic, one that is shared by all casters in the game. Then the differentiating factors for the Sorcerer can be expanded on and Bloodlines can shine without having to wait a level for higher level spells.

Shadow Lodge

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thaX wrote:
The Arcanist does have his own problems with his pool of points and how hampered he is with limited slots of Known preparations and spells per day. The class itself is still balanced with the Wizard just as the Sorcerer is, and has exploits he uses with a very limited arcane pool that runs out far to quickly at low levels, and is likely used to fuel spells later on.

This was more of a question on which casting/preping style to use for prepared casters due to the large number of requests for it, not a critique of the Arcanist class.

thaX wrote:
The thing to remember is that the Wizard and the Sorcerer need to be on an even playing field. The only way to do that is for both to have the same casting mechanic, one that is shared by all casters in the game. Then the differentiating factors for the Sorcerer can be expanded on and Bloodlines can shine without having to wait a level for higher level spells.

If the Sorcerer and Wizard are sharing spell lists and casting mechanic why bother having them as separate classes? You could roll them into the one class then at first level let the character choose between school powers and bloodline powers


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Albatoonoe wrote:
With the reduction in spell slots, I'm not sure I'm really seeing a place for the arcanist casting in PF2. Part of the problem I always had with Vancian casting was keeping track of all the spells, especially when you had a huge number of lower level spells. At 3 slots per spell level and reliable at-will spells, I don't think really see a major appeal in arcanist casting.

I feel the opposite, actually. Less spell slots per day makes Arcanist style more important, so you're more likely to make the few spells you can prepare count depending on what comes up. Having only three slots is already going to press people toward only picking the most optimal spells, but it'd be nice to be able to at least pick three and then cast in a combination that suits the day's needs instead of having to memorize all three slots with the same important spell.

As for the Sorcerer, I'm just going to link back to my wall of text in the other Arcanist thread. :)


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I would love for "prepared" casters to cast like Arcanists. As it stands, I won't play a prepared caster, because I don't want to do all the bookkeeping required to play one.

As far as PF2 goes, the main reason why I want Arcanist style casting for prepared casters is so that there is design space for the Sorcerer to be able to upcast their spells without being broken.

As I understand it, Sorcerers will only be able to upcast "bloodline spells" (not sure that's the right term) and they have to learn every level of every other spell they want individually. This feels REALLY bad. I don't think I could bring myself to play one as it stands. (I'd probably just skip PF2 and stick to PF1 or finish my own system.)

I really like the idea of consolidating the spell list down to their basic effects and then allowing characters to upcast them. I think it is one of the strongest aspects of 5e and PF2 (so far). I think all spellcasters should be able to upcast any of their spells.

One balancing aspect that needs to be addressed is how much this is going to increase caster power. Allowing casters to upcast freely is going to grant a TON of versatility. I don't know if Paizo could come up with an idea to balance this in time for the playtest if the decide to change it. It may already be too late.

Another balancing aspect that needs to be addressed according to Mark was how Dispel Magic works. The way I understand it, Dispel Magic is an auto success vs any spell effect of its level or lower, which makes Dispel Magic REALLY powerful if you can freely upcast it. I think there should be a check of something like d20 + proficiency + Dispel Magic level vs 10 + proficiency + target spell effect level. This means that just because you cast a level 9 Dispel Magic, doesn't mean you are automatically going to succeed.


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Having to choose my spells exactly, to the point of preparing multiple copies of the same spell if I want to cast it multiple times, for each day, is a hassle I don't want to deal with. Arcanists still have some choice after selecting their daily spells.

Shadow Lodge

thflame wrote:
As I understand it, Sorcerers will only be able to upcast "bloodline spells"

Where are you finding this information? the blog from 16/4 seems to indicate otherwise.

blog wrote:
Heightening a spell works much like it did previously, where you prepare a spell in a higher-level slot (or cast it using a higher-level slot if you're a spontaneous caster)

Liberty's Edge

Skerek wrote:
thflame wrote:
As I understand it, Sorcerers will only be able to upcast "bloodline spells"

Where are you finding this information? the blog from 16/4 seems to indicate otherwise.

blog wrote:
Heightening a spell works much like it did previously, where you prepare a spell in a higher-level slot (or cast it using a higher-level slot if you're a spontaneous caster)

It was mentioned by Mark Seifter in a Twitch interview that they will only get a certain number of spells (or spell lineages, which is apparently not a game term) separate from their 'spells known' that they can cast at any level.

These are not, however, 'bloodline spells' in the sense of being pre-chosen.


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thaX wrote:
Why does this question even need to be asked?

Because your preferences are your preferences, and not a universal truth of objective quality.

Personally, I prefer vancian. I am fine with Arcanist-style* casting being present as well (assuming they can find a way to balance the various options, which is admittedly non-trivial), but not instead.

_
glass.

(* Specifically, I think the 5e implementation where you just ready X spells is better, rather than the PFArcanist (I think) and Arcana Evolved model where you have two separate pools of levelled slots which strike me as rather fiddly.)


Actually without having knowledge of the whole games context I can't say. For example though pure Vancian casting is kinda of a hassle if you only have max 3 spells per level, it kinda isn't.


Skerek wrote:


Vancian is confirmed at this stage,

Is it? Where?


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Pathfinder Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber

No, just no to arcanist style casting. Vancian-style magic is one of the original core features of D&D (and to my mind, that's what Pathfinder is, D&D). I started playing PF because it was the most D&D-like game available when I returned to RP gaming. I hope, with some nervousness, that PF2e will continue in this tradition.

Shadow Lodge

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John John wrote:
Skerek wrote:
Vancian is confirmed at this stage,
Is it? Where?

This is from the Eminent Domains comment section

Mark Seifter wrote:
Charlaquin wrote:

This is awesome and I can’t wait to start converting deities from my favorite non-Golarion settings to PF2! Couple of questions:

1: by “you can cast (your domain spells) as few or as many times as you want” ...that’s still limited by spell preparation rules, right? A Cleric of Sarenrae can only cast as many Fireballs as she has spell slots of an appropriate level to prepare fireball in, right? She can’t just cast it at-will, can she?
Correct.

and this from the All About Spells blog

blog wrote:
prepare a spell in a higher-level slot (or cast it using a higher-level slot if you're a spontaneous caster)


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glass wrote:
thaX wrote:
Why does this question even need to be asked?

Because your preferences are your preferences, and not a universal truth of objective quality.

Personally, I prefer vancian. I am fine with Arcanist-style* casting being present as well (assuming they can find a way to balance the various options, which is admittedly non-trivial), but not instead.

_
glass.

(* Specifically, I think the 5e implementation where you just ready X spells is better, rather than the PFArcanist (I think) and Arcana Evolved model where you have two separate pools of levelled slots which strike me as rather fiddly.)

To point the first: even if they were to include Arcanist or 5E style neo!Vancian, they could include og!Vancian as a casting style you can choose and still have it balance. Say, if you go og style, you get to prepare an extra spell per day at each spell level. You lose one kind of versatility and get another kind of versatility in its place. And then people who prefer the old style can still use it without feeling underpowered, and they have their traditional 4 spells per spell level. :)

For point the second, I actually agree that 5E style is even better than the PF Arcanist style. But I don't think they could use it without getting sued. Arcanist though is fair game, since they came up with it before 5E existed.


Personally im fine with Vancian. Having the carefully plan what you need the next day, leave open slots for maybe a thing or two you could need and have time to prepare and so on is something some enjoy.

With this said, one cant deny the Arcanist style of play is just plain stronger. Even more considering most likely wizard spell slots have been nerfed already like the clerics to make them be forced into cantrip spam. So it is unlikely they would lose spell slots to end up in less than 3.

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Adventure, Adventure Path Subscriber
Fuzzypaws wrote:
For point the second, I actually agree that 5E style is even better than the PF Arcanist style. But I don't think they could use it without getting sued. Arcanist though is fair game, since they came up with it before 5E existed.

You can't copyright game mechanics, only the text used to explain those mechanics.

Grand Lodge

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Pathfinder Adventure, Adventure Path Subscriber
John John wrote:
Actually without having knowledge of the whole games context I can't say. For example though pure Vancian casting is kinda of a hassle if you only have max 3 spells per level, it kinda isn't.

Having only three spells per level makes the problem with Vancian casting worse, not better.


Ampersandrew wrote:
John John wrote:
Actually without having knowledge of the whole games context I can't say. For example though pure Vancian casting is kinda of a hassle if you only have max 3 spells per level, it kinda isn't.
Having only three spells per level makes the problem with Vancian casting worse, not better.

I think folks are forgetting the unlimited cantrip and spell point pool. Add those on top and 3 spells per level isnt so bad particularly since DC will scale making all spell levels have an impact at higher levels.

My vote is vancian core and then arcanist revival along with witch magus etc in a future splat.


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Arcanist/5e style for sure. Less bookkeeping, and more fun as the wizard don't have to worry about choosing the wrong amount of various spells and being useless. Also Vancian spellcasting never made sense to me (how the f#*@ do you just forget a spell after you've cast it?).
always hated it and never played a Wizard more than once in 3.5 because of it.

"Open" spellcasting also opens things up more for variant rules such as "Mana".
Example of Mana ruleset: You have a certain number of points to cast spells equal to the number of spell slots you have (with the spell level of the slots being how many points they are worth, so a Spell Level 3 slot is worth 3 points). Spells then cost as many points to cast as their spell level. And you can cast the spells you got as many times as you want until you use up your mana points


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As for the Sorcerers niche. I personally think a bigger focus should be put on their bloodlines, the source of their power, and give them access to more unique and powerful abilities. Of course with some choices so two Sorcerers can grab the same bloodline and still have variety.
In short, they should focus more on using their Spell Points than their Spell slots


Ampersandrew wrote:
Fuzzypaws wrote:
For point the second, I actually agree that 5E style is even better than the PF Arcanist style. But I don't think they could use it without getting sued. Arcanist though is fair game, since they came up with it before 5E existed.
You can't copyright game mechanics, only the text used to explain those mechanics.

And even if you could, 5e style is open content.

_
glass.


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Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

I quite like Vancian casting, and strongly feel it should remain the default. I hate to pull the "tradition" card, but we are talking about literally one of the most iconic game mechanics of D&D and Pathfinder. While I have no problems with Arcanist-style pseudo-spontaneous casting or Psionics-style power point based systems, and hope to see them both come to PF2 sooner rather than later, keeping the default as Vancian feels right to me. I don't have any problems with it; I feel wizards are enjoyable to play, and have a unique feel. Maybe you don't like the bookkeeping, but the fine tuning of spell preparation to me is central to the entire concept of a Pathfinder Wizard.


I honestly prefer the arcanist style casting, but feel that as the wizard/sorc/cleric/oracle sit at the top of the mechanical and narrative power heap as of PF1, until the classes sitting on the mechanical lower end of the scale get a fair bit better adding options that increase the ability of the traditional powerhouses should backburner.


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Dasrak wrote:
I quite like Vancian casting, and strongly feel it should remain the default. I hate to pull the "tradition" card, but we are talking about literally one of the most iconic game mechanics of D&D and Pathfinder. While I have no problems with Arcanist-style pseudo-spontaneous casting or Psionics-style power point based systems, and hope to see them both come to PF2 sooner rather than later, keeping the default as Vancian feels right to me. I don't have any problems with it; I feel wizards are enjoyable to play, and have a unique feel. Maybe you don't like the bookkeeping, but the fine tuning of spell preparation to me is central to the entire concept of a Pathfinder Wizard.

But DnD doesn't even use it anymore.

I think there should be a variant rule to allow pure Vancian style casting for people that want it, but I think that the new standard should be the Arcanist. It's so much easier, especially for new players, and it makes a whole lot more sense intuitively.

The biggest issues I had with Vancian magic stem from a old group. The party wizard was accused of "cheating" by essentially preparing spells on the fly (He was REALLY good at always having the right spell prepared. I can only remember 2 instances in a 40 level epic game where he uttered the words, "I didn't prepare that spell today."), so we had to make him write out a prepared list. The list was so big at later levels that he ended up using a computer (which opened up an avenue for distractions) and we quickly realized that he could easily modify his list at any time if he wanted to cheat and the effort required to make sure he didn't cheat wasn't worth the time it would cost. As a DM trying to run all of my stuff, I didn't (and still don't) want to keep track of a wizard's spell list just to make sure they don't cheat.


The Ascanist/5e style isn't really prepared casting, nor classic-Vancian magic.
One of my big letdowns of 5e was their magic system. I much prefer Vancian over "spontaneous" spellcasters. Right now Vancian is one of my favorite spellcasting systems of all!
But sure, there should be options for those wanting to play 5e-style.


So if Jack VAnce walks in PAizo's doors and tell them that they have to change the spellcasting systema s he doesn't want his name attached to the spellcasting system used in another setting outside his own.....


Steelfiredragon wrote:
So if Jack VAnce walks in PAizo's doors and tell them that they have to change the spellcasting systema s he doesn't want his name attached to the spellcasting system used in another setting outside his own.....

What...? I literally do not understand what is your argument here.


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it isn't one, it is a pop shot at the vancian spellcasting system....
laugh, ya live longer....


Steelfiredragon wrote:

it isn't one, it is a pop shot at the vancian spellcasting system....

laugh, ya live longer....

Hahaha, I'm sorry. Typed words are not the best at expressing this sort of tone.

Let's just hope Jack Vance doesn't come back from the dead.


Igwilly wrote:
Steelfiredragon wrote:

it isn't one, it is a pop shot at the vancian spellcasting system....

laugh, ya live longer....

Hahaha, I'm sorry. Typed words are not the best at expressing this sort of tone.

Let's just hope Jack Vance doesn't come back from the dead.

his descendants could go in the office doors though.... but if any I doubt would care about it...

but

RUN! ITS THE ZOMBIE APOCOLYPSE !!!!! long dead and recently dead authors are rising from the grave

Liberty's Edge

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Pathfinder Rulebook Subscriber
Skerek wrote:
thaX wrote:
The Arcanist does have his own problems with his pool of points and how hampered he is with limited slots of Known preparations and spells per day. The class itself is still balanced with the Wizard just as the Sorcerer is, and has exploits he uses with a very limited arcane pool that runs out far to quickly at low levels, and is likely used to fuel spells later on.

This was more of a question on which casting/preping style to use for prepared casters due to the large number of requests for it, not a critique of the Arcanist class.

thaX wrote:
The thing to remember is that the Wizard and the Sorcerer need to be on an even playing field. The only way to do that is for both to have the same casting mechanic, one that is shared by all casters in the game. Then the differentiating factors for the Sorcerer can be expanded on and Bloodlines can shine without having to wait a level for higher level spells.
If the Sorcerer and Wizard are sharing spell lists and casting mechanic why bother having them as separate classes? You could roll them into the one class then at first level let the character choose between school powers and bloodline powers

First point. It isn't a critique, it is recognizing that the class has some problems because of the limitations put on it by the balancing act that props up the Wizard to make the old man more viable.

Second point. The differentiation of the two classes can be something more than a few spells and how they are cast. The Sorcerer can have more physical attributes in a bloodline, have a specialization with the Elements that do not focus on a single element, and have some abilities akin to those used by the 3.5 Warlock. The possibilities with bloodlines are endless.

See, the separation of the Mage into "Wizard" and "Sorcerer" should have never been done in this particular way (Memorize/Prepare vs. Spontaneous casting) back in 3.0, and the Vancian sacred Cow should have been slain then instead of in 5th edition.


I'm down for either or. I'm just worried that if arcanist spell-casting becomes the new norm for prepared casters, sorcerers could end up becoming irrelevant for having an inferior spell-casting system, kind of like what happened in 5e


Giving wizards the preparation and sorcs the exploits could be a thing.

Scarab Sages

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That's how we always did it is a horrible justification for continuing to do something stupid. Vancian casting is stupid. Let's not continue doing it just because that's how we always did it.

If this takes away the Sorcerer's original raison d'être, let's give them a new thing to live for. Give them flexible, adaptable, powerful at-will blasting in the style of the PF1 Kineticist, and reduce the amount of actual spellcasting compared to the Wizard. I actually wouldn't mind not getting 1st-tier spells at 1st level if the blasting were good enough. Everybody loves playing Kineticists; merging the theme with the Sorcerer in PF2 would allow this great thing to be part of core.

Be not the cretin, as Barzillai would say. Progress over tradition!


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Ampersandrew wrote:
John John wrote:
Actually without having knowledge of the whole games context I can't say. For example though pure Vancian casting is kinda of a hassle if you only have max 3 spells per level, it kinda isn't.
Having only three spells per level makes the problem with Vancian casting worse, not better.

It seems we have different ideas of what the "problem" is.

I think the problem is the bookkeeping of managing the spellslots and writing down what spell you have memorized for each slot. Spontaneous casters just need to know the spells they know and the slots, so there is much less bookkeeping. Having less slots mitigates that.

My guess is you think the problem is, vancian spellcasting not being effective because you memorized spells that ended up being useless or spent all the same slots memorizing a spell you believe will most likely be useful, but that ends up being repetitive.

The thing is your problem is also a feature since it promotes resource management and making/guessing the right choice.


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Pathfinder Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber
Catharsis wrote:
That's how we always did it is a horrible justification for continuing to do something stupid. Vancian casting is stupid. Let's not continue doing it just because that's how we always did it.

And where do we stop? Strict character classes are stupid, levels are stupid, alignment is stupid, armor class as reducing the chance to hit is stupid, and so on and so on.

If folks don't like D&D-style game mechanics, that's fine. Play another game, don't damage the one that I want to play.


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There is really no reason to limit the game to only one way to access magic. The fact that Wizards, Sorcerers and Arcanists play so differently despite the fact that they share the same spell list is a strength of the system and not a weakness. Allowing players the opportunity to make hard choices (Prepared vs. Spontaneous or a hybrid system) is part of the fun of the meta-game of character building. It also allows different types of players the opportunity to find a style of play that suits them best.

Grand Lodge

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Pathfinder Adventure, Adventure Path Subscriber
Igwilly wrote:
But sure, there should be options for those wanting to play 5e-style.

I don't want 5e style, I want PF1 arcanist style.

Scarab Sages

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pjrogers wrote:
And where do we stop? Strict character classes are stupid, levels are stupid, alignment is stupid, armor class as reducing the chance to hit is stupid, and so on and so on.

None of those things are remotely as stupid as keeping a spell memorized for a whole day and then instantly forgetting about it once it is cast (unless you happen to have memorized the same entire spell twice).

Character classes and levels are actually great tools at making effective characters that can work together at all stages of advancement. I've played in class-less and level-less systems before (such as Das Schwarze Auge), and it's a nightmare. Have two players build what they think of as a combat-oriented character, and depending on the level of system mastery, one of them is going to utterly eclipse the other in combat (or any other chosen specialty, for that matter). Good luck to the DM trying to challenge that guy without wiping the floor with the other characters!

Sure, DSA is more of a simulationist RPG than D&D; it's intentional that you can play a merchant whose skills are mainly useful outside of combat. In D&D, combat occupies the lion's share of the game mechanics at the table, so you simply cannot afford to have characters be useless in combat.

Similarly, armor class is an efficient way of streamlining combat. In DSA, the attacker rolls to hit, the defender then rolls to parry if necessary, and armor is treated as DR. This makes combat very tedious, especially between two higher-level combattants who succeed at parrying 90% of the time, and it makes highly armored enemies nigh well invincible. D&D makes for much, much, much more satisfying combat.

Now, Vancian casting does not simplify anything, it's just a huge hassle and a source of frustration. As 5e has shown, the game works perfectly well without it. It's obsolete technology, and it has already lived way longer than it deserves. Time to drain the swamp, as it were.


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Pathfinder Adventure Path, Rulebook Subscriber

Personally I like as a player the arcanist casting more than straight Vancian. But I am fine with Vancian and didn't actually expect to see it disappear.


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Thematically, I like the idea that casting spells is so taxing it removes your ability to cast that spell again.

Don't like vancian casting, play a sorceror - problem solved.

I like wizards the way they are.
I like arcanist casting.
I like sorceror style casting too, when I want something more straightforward.

There is no need to change anything - the options are there (well, you might have to wait a bit for arcanist...)

Scarab Sages

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Thing is, I like both the concept of a Wizard and that of a Sorcerer. I want both of them to be fun to play. As it is, I've played a Wizard in PF1 and found it taxing and often frustrating. I won't play one again, which I find a pity.


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

I've given up on playing prepared casters in PF1, because I could never get the knack of preparing the right thing each day. Too many game sessions would end up with:

"Hey, Cleric! Why don't you just cast X?"
"Because I didn't know I'd need it today. Ask me again tomorrow."
"Dude, it was obvious we'd need an X. How rubbish a Cleric are you?"

That kept happening all the way through that AP, even at high levels. So now Wizard, Cleric and other prepared casters are off my list. Arcanist-style casting doesn't eliminate that, of course, but it does cut down on it.

I'm open to counter-arguments, but the argument to nostalgia and tradition doesn't sway me. PF2 is our once-a-decade chance to actually fix things, so don't just hang onto the crusty old bits of D&D 3rd edition by default.


Pathfinder Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber
sadie wrote:
I'm open to counter-arguments, but the argument to nostalgia and tradition doesn't sway me. PF2 is our once-a-decade chance to actually fix things, so don't just hang onto the crusty old bits of D&D 3rd edition by default.

You kids with your D&D 3x. I like the "crusty" ancient bits of my AD&D1. And as someone who cooked a fine breakfast of corned beef hash and fried eggs yesterday, I'm a big fan of "crusty bits."

With that out of the way, it's my understanding that Pathfinder was created to "preserve" D&D in the wake of the 4th edition fiasco. I hope that Paizo continues to view its mission in this manner.

Once again, if you don't want to play a game which is as much as possible based on D&D, then play something other than PF. Please don't damage the game that I want to play through "progress" or idiosyncratic "fixes."


The thing with prepared casters is the ability to leave spell slots open, so you can have whatever spell you need available in 10-15 minutes.

I have a bigger problem with limited spells known type casting, if you get your spell selection wrong, you can't fix the next day.

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