sorcerer problems with free heightening and a possible solution


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Lockewood wrote:
thflame wrote:

I'll second Lockewood.

The wizard may not have the "perfect" list of prepared spells each day, but he will 99% of the time have an adequate list prepared.

The sorcerer, on the other hand, has to sacrifice a bunch of his character options to even come close to that level of preparedness. The only way he ever has the "perfect" combination of spells is when the GM throws him a bone.

Well... The Sorcerer isn't completely helpless in the first edition. I would even go so far as to say he's stronger than the Wizard in certain situations. Even without factoring in stuff like Paragon Surge.

Sorcerer's tended to pick very versatile spells like Shadow Conjuration/Evocation or very potent spells like Battering Blast and Dominate Person.
Unlike the Wizard, the Sorcerer would then build upon those few spells until they could solve any problem using their small list of specialized tools. Quality over quantity.

True, but nobody in their right mind would state that the sorcerer is the better class overall. We have had effectively over a decade of experience with these two classes, and sheer access to spells known has ALWAYS been better than being able to cast spontaneously.

The sorcerer, built right, will usually have an adequate spell available, as will the wizard, but given prep time, the wizard will completely outshine the sorcerer and, as you stated, that prep time is usually available.

Then we come to the fact that it is nothing for the wizard to have access to a spell he wants(assuming the GM doesn't restrict their ability to learn new spells), but the sorcerer is stuck with a limited list, and can't change it until they level up again.

Now, you CAN retrain in PF2, but in the time a sorcerer spends retraining, the wizard could be scribing scrolls for backup spells.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Card Game Subscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber
thflame wrote:
Scenario 1: The wizard prepares about half his slots, all for instances he perceives he will need in a timely fashion, then spends 15 minutes every time he needs a specific spell.

So, is this something we know we can do in the new edition?


First World Bard wrote:
thflame wrote:
Scenario 1: The wizard prepares about half his slots, all for instances he perceives he will need in a timely fashion, then spends 15 minutes every time he needs a specific spell.
So, is this something we know we can do in the new edition?

Yes. In fact, with a feat, Quick Preparedness, you don't even have to leave slots open anymore.


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@Mark Seifter

How often do you expect sorcerers to learn a spell multiple times, without swapping out older versions, on average?

In other words, how many of my spells known are going to be spells I have already learned at a different level?

Paizo Employee Designer

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thflame wrote:

@Mark Seifter

How often do you expect sorcerers to learn a spell multiple times, without swapping out older versions, on average?

In other words, how many of my spells known are going to be spells I have already learned at a different level?

My guess (at least for myself anyway) is just a few and extremely targeted, in similar situations to when you would want to have a mass and normal version or a regular and greater version in PF1 (like a sorcerer might conceivably learn both invisibility and greater invisibility in PF1, and might want 2nd and 4th level invis in PF2, or might learn mass hold monster and hold monster in PF1, and might learn two levels of paralyze in PF2).


thflame wrote:
Lockewood wrote:
thflame wrote:

I'll second Lockewood.

The wizard may not have the "perfect" list of prepared spells each day, but he will 99% of the time have an adequate list prepared.

The sorcerer, on the other hand, has to sacrifice a bunch of his character options to even come close to that level of preparedness. The only way he ever has the "perfect" combination of spells is when the GM throws him a bone.

Unlike the Wizard, the Sorcerer would then build upon those few spells until they could solve any problem using their small list of specialized tools. Quality over quantity.

True, but nobody in their right mind would state that the sorcerer is the better class overall. We have had effectively over a decade of experience with these two classes, and sheer access to spells known has ALWAYS been better than being able to cast spontaneously.

The sorcerer, built right, will usually have an adequate spell available, as will the wizard, but given prep time, the wizard will completely outshine the sorcerer and, as you stated, that prep time is usually available.

Now, you CAN retrain in PF2, but in the time a sorcerer spends retraining, the wizard could be scribing scrolls for backup spells.

Well, as far as blasting and other specialized forms Sorcerer's rule. As far as utility is concerned, most Sorcerer's end up taking Paragon Surge

In PFS Wizards still tend to pull ahead.
In a First Edition home game, I find Sorcerer's 'far' more powerful than Wizards. In part this is because they have Charisma as their base stat.

You may think that's absurd but Charisma can be applied to most things.

Through feats you can apply Cha to your Will save, Attack, Damage, Armor Class, and Initiative.
Have you ever killed yourself with the Life Leech Wordspell? Have you ever preformed the Occult ritual that turns you into a Lich? Have you ever summoned a Vampire?
Undeath turns you Cha into your Con and Ghosts have Cha to AC.

This is just scratching the surface of what a sorcerer can do, that's completely withing the rules, outside of PFS.


I would also like to take the liberty of bringing this conversation back to it's point.

Finding possible solutions for heightening.

The two problems with free heightening as far as I can tell are these.

1. It is too strong/versatile in comparison to the prepared casters.

2. Too many option invokes Decision Paralysis.

From what I understand:
Many players disagree with problem 1 so they are unhappy with Spontaneous Heightening.
Problem 2 is why the developers are using Spontaneous Heightening.

We can argue whether number 1 is true or not all day, but first we should probably find a solution for number 2.

For some people, myself included, number 2 is not a problem because we have prepared ourselves before the game to quickly respond to situations with the best possible spell.
To give you an idea of what I'm talking about, I can solve almost any problem presented by the Sacred Geometry feat in under twelve seconds because I practiced.

However, that is not true of everyone and the good people at Paizo are trying to throw the less hardcore of us a bone.

So lets see if we can come up with some constructive ideas!


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Lockewood wrote:

I would also like to take the liberty of bringing this conversation back to it's point.

Finding possible solutions for heightening.

The two problems with free heightening as far as I can tell are these.

1. It is too strong/versatile in comparison to the prepared casters.

2. Too many option invokes Decision Paralysis.

From what I understand:
Many players disagree with problem 1 so they are unhappy with Spontaneous Heightening.
Problem 2 is why the developers are using Spontaneous Heightening.

We can argue whether number 1 is true or not all day, but first we should probably find a solution for number 2.

For some people, myself included, number 2 is not a problem because we have prepared ourselves before the game to quickly respond to situations with the best possible spell.
To give you an idea of what I'm talking about, I can solve almost any problem presented by the Sacred Geometry feat in under twelve seconds because I practiced.

However, that is not true of everyone and the good people at Paizo are trying to throw the less hardcore of us a bone.

So lets see if we can come up with some constructive ideas!

My solution, for both problems, is to reign back the number of spells a sorcerer knows and let them spontaneously heighten them as they see fit. If that's too weak, give them some extra casts per day.


thflame wrote:
Lockewood wrote:

I would also like to take the liberty of bringing this conversation back to it's point.

However, that is not true of everyone and the good people at Paizo are trying to throw the less hardcore of us a bone.

So lets see if we can come up with some constructive ideas!

My solution, for both problems, is to reign back the number of spells a sorcerer knows and let them spontaneously heighten them as they see fit. If that's too weak, give them some extra casts per day.

Hmm, so similar to the Quality vs Quantity thought process.

Wizards have more spells and so can find the best tool for the job.
Sorcerer's have very few spells but are the best at using them.

How far would you take this? A good portion of a current Sorcerer's known spells comes from his bloodline which means if he has even less choices his bloodline would, in part, decide how he spellcasts.


Lockewood wrote:
thflame wrote:
Lockewood wrote:

I would also like to take the liberty of bringing this conversation back to it's point.

However, that is not true of everyone and the good people at Paizo are trying to throw the less hardcore of us a bone.

So lets see if we can come up with some constructive ideas!

My solution, for both problems, is to reign back the number of spells a sorcerer knows and let them spontaneously heighten them as they see fit. If that's too weak, give them some extra casts per day.

Hmm, so similar to the Quality vs Quantity thought process.

Wizards have more spells and so can find the best tool for the job.
Sorcerer's have very few spells but are the best at using them.

How far would you take this? A good portion of a current Sorcerer's known spells comes from his bloodline which means if he has even less choices his bloodline would, in part, decide how he spellcasts.

Instead of a bloodline being a fixed list of spells, I'd have the bloodline spells follow a "theme".

My earlier example was a Fire Elemental Bloodline that required one spell known of each level to have the "Fire" descriptor.

This opens up options for the sorcerer, but is still thematic for the bloodline.

As far as how far I would take it, I would say to the point that they know about 2/3rds of the spells a wizard does, but can cast maybe 50% more per day.


thflame wrote:
Lockewood wrote:
thflame wrote:
Lockewood wrote:

I would also like to take the liberty of bringing this conversation back to it's point.

However, that is not true of everyone and the good people at Paizo are trying to throw the less hardcore of us a bone.

So lets see if we can come up with some constructive ideas!

My solution, for both problems, is to reign back the number of spells a sorcerer knows and let them spontaneously heighten them as they see fit. If that's too weak, give them some extra casts per day.
How far would you take this? A good portion of a current Sorcerer's known spells comes from his bloodline which means if he has even less choices his bloodline would, in part, decide how he spellcasts.
As far as how far I would take it, I would say to the point that they know about 2/3rds of the spells a wizard does, but can cast maybe 50% more per day.

How would that work for something like the Draconic or Arcane bloodlines?


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thflame wrote:


My solution, for both problems, is to reign back the number of spells a sorcerer knows and let them spontaneously heighten them as they see fit. If that's too weak, give them some extra casts per day.

However, do that too strongly, and the only things that are viable choices for sorcerers are spells that can heighten, and chances are there will still be quite a few that don't.

Three more weeks...


Lockewood wrote:
thflame wrote:
Lockewood wrote:
thflame wrote:
Lockewood wrote:

I would also like to take the liberty of bringing this conversation back to it's point.

However, that is not true of everyone and the good people at Paizo are trying to throw the less hardcore of us a bone.

So lets see if we can come up with some constructive ideas!

My solution, for both problems, is to reign back the number of spells a sorcerer knows and let them spontaneously heighten them as they see fit. If that's too weak, give them some extra casts per day.
How far would you take this? A good portion of a current Sorcerer's known spells comes from his bloodline which means if he has even less choices his bloodline would, in part, decide how he spellcasts.
As far as how far I would take it, I would say to the point that they know about 2/3rds of the spells a wizard does, but can cast maybe 50% more per day.
How would that work for something like the Draconic or Arcane bloodlines?

Draconic Bloodlines could run off of the element of your chosen Dragon type. While that would give them the same list as the respective elemental bloodline, their bloodline powers would be different.

The Arcane bloodline could either give them access to the whole Arcane spell list for their bloodline, but grant them extremely weak Bloodline powers, or even downsides, OR it could grant them no bloodline spells, but they get exceptionally good Bloodline Powers.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Card Game Subscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber
thflame wrote:
First World Bard wrote:
thflame wrote:
Scenario 1: The wizard prepares about half his slots, all for instances he perceives he will need in a timely fashion, then spends 15 minutes every time he needs a specific spell.
So, is this something we know we can do in the new edition?
Yes. In fact, with a feat, Quick Preparedness, you don't even have to leave slots open anymore.

That paragraph is prefaced with "As a wizard rises to the highest levels of power", so it sounds like Quick Preparation doesn't come online until the teens. And it may be that you can no longer leave slots open. I mean, if you could in the same way as you can in PF1, would Quick Preparation be a worthwhile spell for a high level wizard to take? Maybe; i'm not sure. I guess we'll find out in a smidge over 3 weeks.


So way back when I was convinced "spontaneous heightening" was "lineage spells" and these choices were made in a semi-permanent way (subject to retraining, but that still takes time), but now it seems you make the choice of what spells you can cast all versions of during breakfast.

So how viable is it a sorcerer to take just one version of every spell which has a whole bunch of versions, and deciding each day which things (dispelling, summons, illusions, etc.) are going to be most useful, I wonder.


First World Bard wrote:
thflame wrote:
First World Bard wrote:
thflame wrote:
Scenario 1: The wizard prepares about half his slots, all for instances he perceives he will need in a timely fashion, then spends 15 minutes every time he needs a specific spell.
So, is this something we know we can do in the new edition?
Yes. In fact, with a feat, Quick Preparedness, you don't even have to leave slots open anymore.
That paragraph is prefaced with "As a wizard rises to the highest levels of power", so it sounds like Quick Preparation doesn't come online until the teens. And it may be that you can no longer leave slots open. I mean, if you could in the same way as you can in PF1, would Quick Preparation be a worthwhile spell for a high level wizard to take? Maybe; i'm not sure. I guess we'll find out in a smidge over 3 weeks.

I'm quite certain that it was mentioned somewhere in the wizard blog comments that normally you need 15 minutes to prepare a spell and the slot has to be open to do so.


PossibleCabbage wrote:

So way back when I was convinced "spontaneous heightening" was "lineage spells" and these choices were made in a semi-permanent way (subject to retraining, but that still takes time), but now it seems you make the choice of what spells you can cast all versions of during breakfast.

So how viable is it a sorcerer to take just one version of every spell which has a whole bunch of versions, and deciding each day which things (dispelling, summons, illusions, etc.) are going to be most useful, I wonder.

You probably choose the ones that you choose every day anyways unless you have specific additional foreknowledge about the day's challenges. As you alluded to, I am guessing summon monster, disspell magic, and/or heal are all going to be popular options on a day to day basis.

As I mentioned in the full Sorceror thread, I am hoping there is a feat to gain certain permanent free-heightened spells or perhaps to trade out variable spontaneous heighten similar to what the OP suggests.


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Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Card Game Subscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber

Yeah, if the Wizard has Quick Preparation as a class feat, I think a Class feat for the Sorcerer to e.g. gain extra daily heighten pick(s) seems reasonable.


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Just spit-balling ideas...
What if instead of designating 2 Spontaneously Heighten-able spells on a daily basis,
Sorcerors could designate 2 bonus spells known for every spell level... but they must be Heightened version of spell they already know.

This basically lets them choose whether they really need Summon 1-9, or would rather have Greater Invisibility instead of one Summon.
But it isn't adding more 'potential spells known' it's just swapping one for another.
And in terms of in-combat indecision, it's still just adding 2 spells known/spell level, same as "2 SpontHeighten slots".

Seems like it would add more variety, since the underlying logic of the current system (also used to reject alternatives)
was that players would always choose the spells with max number of Heighten tiers to gain max 'spells known' gain.
Which IMHO results in boring dynamic of choosing Summons, Dispel, etc, when there is alot more spells out there.
It just seems like the system as-is will push Sorcerors strongly into "they are the Summons/Dispel/Heal guy".
Like it's pretty clear the assumption is they won't be using it for spells with just 2/3 Heighten tiers,
but will be forced to learn those as distinct Spells Known, which feels tedious to me.
Since Heighten tiers are at certain levels, I can even see some choosing to learn one at higher than necessary level,
that doesn't do anything else for them (and thus is inefficient use of those slots) but they do so for variety.


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I get the power issues with having automatic heighten, but I think they aren’t as drastic as the confusion from having a spell but not being able to cast it at all levels. I’m not talking about things like invisibility, that basically have a greater version, but about things like fireball or heal, that just have an “add this many dice when cast at this slot”. It also feels wrong to have heal at level 1, being able to cast it using a level 5 slot, but still getting the level 1 benefit.
The only solution I can think of that doesn’t give too much of a power boost but avoids this confusion is splitting up some of the spells back to regular and greater versions, while leaving the spells that only change the strength of their effects as one spell and giving them auto-heighten.


Quandary wrote:

Just spit-balling ideas...

What if instead of designating 2 Spontaneously Heighten-able spells on a daily basis,
Sorcerors could designate 2 bonus spells known for every spell level... but they must be Heightened version of spell they already know.

This basically lets them choose whether they really need Summon 1-9, or would rather have Greater Invisibility instead of one Summon.
But it isn't adding more 'potential spells known' it's just swapping one for another.
And in terms of in-combat indecision, it's still just adding 2 spells known/spell level, same as "2 SpontHeighten slots".

Seems like it would add more variety, since the underlying logic of the current system (also used to reject alternatives)
was that players would always choose the spells with max number of Heighten tiers to gain max 'spells known' gain.
Which IMHO results in boring dynamic of choosing Summons, Dispel, etc, when there is alot more spells out there.
It just seems like the system as-is will push Sorcerors strongly into "they are the Summons/Dispel/etc guy".

Well, we don't exactly know how many spells will be viable options for spell heightening. Maybe there is a "chromatic orb" spell that is just a bomb-ass single target dps spell that has 9 levels of options. Hell, perhaps the same can be said of Harm. I don't really know one way or the other. So there may indeed be some good competition for free-heightened slots and it may indeed be an interesting choice each day. Even if that is not true in the playtest or on release, I imagine enough spells will be added down the line that it will be true one day.

I would like to be able to choose to play a specialist, however.


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PossibleCabbage wrote:

So way back when I was convinced "spontaneous heightening" was "lineage spells" and these choices were made in a semi-permanent way (subject to retraining, but that still takes time), but now it seems you make the choice of what spells you can cast all versions of during breakfast.

So how viable is it a sorcerer to take just one version of every spell which has a whole bunch of versions, and deciding each day which things (dispelling, summons, illusions, etc.) are going to be most useful, I wonder.

Unless you have some idea of what you are going to face, you probably won't change your spontaneous heighten spells. Even then, it depends on whether you could get away with using your existing known spells.

e.g. The party is planning an expedition into the Fire Caverns of Farbad. The sorcerer may consider picking a low level ice spell and spont. heightening it, but if he could make do with a known heightened version and a known lesser version, that would probably be better. (Or even just a known heightened version)

The Wizard, however, would have no problem with preparing a few ice spells.

At all times a sorcerer is limited to those spells chosen at the last level up; this is why traditionally they would pick generally useful spells on the basis that they would find something applicable in nearly every situation. Now they have spont. heighten, from 3rd level onwards they would also be thinking about low level heightenables.

What this means in practice is that there would be a limited pool of spells that would be worth heightening, one that gets smaller as you go up in level.

Let's take damage spells. Now you would think they would be a good candidate since a 1st level spell such as magic missile is heightenable all the way up to 30th level, but in reality how many times is a sorcerer of high level going to want to cast it as a 1st level spell? Most likely he will want to cast it at or close to his highest level spell slot, so he is probably better taking it as a spell known and dropping the 1st level version. Better yet, replace it with Fireball or Cone of Cold.

Similarly Mage Armour, which is a 1st level spell you can heighten. Why would you want a level 1 version if you are already using the level 5 version? You need only cast it 1/day (it lasts 24 hours) unless dispelled, so spont. heighten is wasted on it. Better yet, get Bracers and save yourself a spell known slot; these are precious to the sorcerer so don't waste any.

and so it goes on. In fact the only spell I can think of that may be cast as a level 1 version by a high level sorcerer is summon, when he wants something cheap to trigger any traps, act as a scout or use as a diversion.

So in reality, your best bet is to stick to spells that you don't want to have in your top slot but are very useful to have (such as Dispel Magic) or which have some utility at all levels (such as summon).

In fact, Summon was touted as one of the best spells in the game since it enabled you to summon many different kinds of creature. Summon VI enabled you to summon 1 creature from the VI list, 1d3 creatures from the V list or 1d4+1 creatures from a lower list. If each list has 10 creatures, that's 60 different types of creature, many (from the higher lists) having spells of their own or special abilities that are situationally useful. Now you can get all that from heightening summon (1), and you only cast it the level you need it at to get what you want (as opposed to Summon VI which was a bit of a waste if you wanted creatures from the summon II list).

So, in answer to your question, beyond a certain level I can't see much point in having anything heightened except these 2 spells. Anything else you would have at or near your Top level, or would use for utility. Except cantrips.


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^ Agreed, and the thing is the "daily" choice is dictated by your level-designated spells known. If you plan on choosing max-tier spectrum, broadly useful spells like Dispel, Summons as your 2-SponHeightens then you have those as low level spells for best pay-off... Which creates perverse incentive against ever NOT designating those as 2-daily SpontHeighten selections, since if you do you won't have the High level versions at all. If you do choose high level spells known at Level-Up, that reduces value of ever choosing them as 2-SpontHeightens. So the level/daily choices are not as 'free' as presented at all, unless you want to reduce your own power.


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The only time it is really worth changing you spont. heightens is in downtime, if you want to craft a specific item that uses a heightened version of one of your spells, or if there is some kind of skill boost spell that can be heightened to give you extra skill boost for use during downtime.
Otherwise, as Quandary says, there would be no point getting higher level versions of your spont. Heighten spells, reinforcing your need to take them as your standard spont. heighten or lose them altogether (except as a near worthless level 1 version).


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You can retrain your duplicate focus spells out for useful replacements.

For example, every few levels a Sorcerer might learn the next level of their favorite spell (lets say Magic Missile), and trade out the lower level version for a different spell. If they always select it for spontaneous heightening it doesn't matter what level they know it at, but if you might sometimes select something else, you'll probably want your favorite spell occupying the most (or second most) powerful/useful slot it can. So that your Magic Missile can still shoot loads of missiles even if Divinations reveal you'll need to cram Summon Monster tomarrow instead.


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Cantriped wrote:

You can retrain your duplicate focus spells out for useful replacements.

For example, every few levels a Sorcerer might learn the next level of their favorite spell (lets say Magic Missile), and trade out the lower level version for a different spell. If they always select it for spontaneous heightening it doesn't matter what level they know it at, but if you might sometimes select something else, you'll probably want your favorite spell occupying the most (or second most) powerful/useful slot it can. So that your Magic Missile can still shoot loads of missiles even if Divinations reveal you'll need to cram Summon Monster tomarrow instead.

Loading your favorite spell on just the highest (or second highest) slot just means you get to cast it less often.

It's a whole lot less confusing for players to just let them cast all of their spells at whatever applicable levels are available.

9/10 times, players are going to have a decent idea of what they want to do on their turn. I don't buy the analysis paralysis argument and I don't think being able to freely up/down cast a limited number of spells is going to be more powerful than knowing all the spells you care to know(barring GM restrictions), and being able to prepare them however you like. (And change them on the fly later)

What upsets me the most is that if I want to spend downtime to get access to a new spell as a sorcerer, I have to trade out an old spell. A wizard just spends some gold and adds it to his book. After the downtime, the wizard has a bit less gold and a new option to toss around as they see fit and the sorcerer has a single level of a single spell and lost the ability to cast their last spell.


thflame wrote:
Cantriped wrote:

You can retrain your duplicate focus spells out for useful replacements.

For example, every few levels a Sorcerer might learn the next level of their favorite spell (lets say Magic Missile), and trade out the lower level version for a different spell. If they always select it for spontaneous heightening it doesn't matter what level they know it at, but if you might sometimes select something else, you'll probably want your favorite spell occupying the most (or second most) powerful/useful slot it can. So that your Magic Missile can still shoot loads of missiles even if Divinations reveal you'll need to cram Summon Monster tomarrow instead.

Loading your favorite spell on just the highest (or second highest) slot just means you get to cast it less often.

It's a whole lot less confusing for players to just let them cast all of their spells at whatever applicable levels are available.

9/10 times, players are going to have a decent idea of what they want to do on their turn. I don't buy the analysis paralysis argument and I don't think being able to freely up/down cast a limited number of spells is going to be more powerful than knowing all the spells you care to know(barring GM restrictions), and being able to prepare them however you like. (And change them on the fly later)

What upsets me the most is that if I want to spend downtime to get access to a new spell as a sorcerer, I have to trade out an old spell. A wizard just spends some gold and adds it to his book. After the downtime, the wizard has a bit less gold and a new option to toss around as they see fit and the sorcerer has a single level of a single spell and lost the ability to cast their last spell.

It is a lot easier to let a sorceror heighten all their spells to any level but it is harder to balance and it incentivizes Sorcerors to all be built more or less the same: only taking spells that can be heightened at various levels.

It also doesn't matter if you buy the analysis paralysis argument or not because I know for a fact that it is a very real thing even without universal spell heightening. It is super frustrating when it comes to the Sorceror or arcanist or whatever in a fight and he hems and haws for 10 minutes. I have never been that player and I am not even saying that happens on the average turn for a lot of people but I have seen it happen many times at my tables and it is a worthy design aspect to consider.


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Excaliburproxy wrote:


It is a lot easier to let a sorceror heighten all their spells to any level but it is harder to balance and it incentivizes Sorcerors to all be built more or less the same: only taking spells that can be heightened at various levels.

I don't buy this either. If you want a spell that can only be cast at a single level, your going to pick that spell.

If this WAS true, then the reverse is currently true: All sorcerers are going to want to pick spells that CAN'T be heightened (except for the 2 they get to heighten).

Quote:
It also doesn't matter if you buy the analysis paralysis argument or not because I know for a fact that it is a very real thing even without universal spell heightening. It is super frustrating when it comes to the Sorceror or arcanist or whatever in a fight and he hems and haws for 10 minutes. I have never been that player and I am not even saying that happens on the average turn for a lot of people but I have seen it happen many times at my tables and it is a worthy design aspect to consider.

I have played with a player who took 10+ minutes to make a choice for combat. He was new to the system and playing a wizard, but we had a cleric, druid, AND a sorcerer in the game as well (all new players) and all of them were able to make timely decisions. He did it because he thought 3.5 (at the time) was a strategy game like chess and wanted to make the optimal move every turn. We imposed a 6 second time limit on deciding your course of action (to represent the 6 seconds in a round that the character has to do something) and the problem fixed itself in a week. (The 6 seconds was usually more like 15-30 seconds.)

I have played with many different people of many different experience and intelligence levels and I have never seen anyone else do what he did. (Aside from one person who I gave a Wish spell to bring someone back from the dead and they spent a long time trying to word the wish so I couldn't "monkey's paw" them.)


thflame wrote:
Cantriped wrote:

You can retrain your duplicate focus spells out for useful replacements.

For example, every few levels a Sorcerer might learn the next level of their favorite spell (lets say Magic Missile), and trade out the lower level version for a different spell. If they always select it for spontaneous heightening it doesn't matter what level they know it at, but if you might sometimes select something else, you'll probably want your favorite spell occupying the most (or second most) powerful/useful slot it can. So that your Magic Missile can still shoot loads of missiles even if Divinations reveal you'll need to cram Summon Monster tomarrow instead.

Loading your favorite spell on just the highest (or second highest) slot just means you get to cast it less often.

Not for the sorcerer. Once he knows a spell, he can cast it as many times as he has spell slots (up to 4). The wizard may also know it, but unless he has it prepared in those slots he can't use it. If he prepares it in those slots, he may discover that he only needs it 3 times, wasting a slot; or he may discover that another spell he's got that he didn't prepare is much needed and he's out of luck.

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It's a whole lot less confusing for players to just let them cast all of their spells at whatever applicable levels are available.

maybe, but it makes the sorcerer OP. Anything he knows, he can cast. The wizard is still limited by what he prepares, no matter how much he knows

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9/10 times, players are going to have a decent idea of what they want to do on their turn. I don't buy the analysis paralysis argument and I don't think being able to freely up/down cast a limited number of spells is going to be more powerful than knowing all the spells you care to know(barring GM restrictions), and being able to prepare them however you like. (And change them on the fly later)

I agree that analysis paralysis is a little spurious. There are people that suffer from it, but they will still suffer from it if they only have 2 choices. I don't think it's an argument for avoiding too many spells.

Regarding spont. heighten vs. autoheighten, you are partly right; knowing all the spells and changing them on the fly gives the wizard a utility sorcerers will never match, even with spont. heighten (though summoning a creature who can cast a spell for you might come close). On the other hand, for a sorcerer knowing a spell and being able to cast a spell are one and the same, so spontaneously heightening the right spell gives them a huge advantage.

Take for example dispel magic. The wizard, knowing he is going to be facing some spellcasters, might take say a dispel (10) and a dispel (7). If, in the heat of combat, the opponent casts an 8th level spell, that uses up his dispel (10), costing him a 10th level slot for an 8th level spell. If he lets it slide, hoping for a better match, he runs the risk of not getting to use it at all, wasting his 10th level slot. If no lower level spells are cast, he wastes his 7th level slot too.
The sorcerer just takes 1 1st level spell known and spontaneously heightens it. Whatever his opponent casts, he casts a dispel of the same level ensuring there is no wastage, he can decide on the fly without prior preparation which of his spells known he casts, so he can pick the best spell he knows for the situation straight away. The wizard should be thankful that the sorcerer can't autoheighten everything because otherwise he would be obsolete. Why wait 10 min for the wizard to reshuffle his spells when you could play a sorcerer that already knows it (and therefore can cast it)?

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What upsets me the most is that if I want to spend downtime to get access to a new spell as a sorcerer, I have to trade out an old spell. A wizard just spends some gold and adds it to his book. After the downtime, the wizard has a bit less gold and a new option to toss around as they see fit and the sorcerer has a single level of a single spell and lost the ability to cast their last spell.

Yeah, pretty much as in pf1. Except now of course the sorcerer has the same spells at the same level as the wizard. Oh, and he has spontaneous heighten.

Remember, for a wizard, knowing a spell is different to having it prepared. For a sorcerer there is no such difference. a spell known to a sorcerer is much more powerful than a spell known to a wizard. Given time, the wizard can swap around his spells to different ones from his repertoire, but not in combat.


thflame wrote:
Excaliburproxy wrote:


It is a lot easier to let a sorceror heighten all their spells to any level but it is harder to balance and it incentivizes Sorcerors to all be built more or less the same: only taking spells that can be heightened at various levels.

I don't buy this either. If you want a spell that can only be cast at a single level, your going to pick that spell.

If this WAS true, then the reverse is currently true: All sorcerers are going to want to pick spells that CAN'T be heightened (except for the 2 they get to heighten).

A sorceror is limited by spells known and if they can heighten all their spells for free then they will get more utility out of spells that can be heightened. As such, if a level 1 spell that can be heightened is equally valuable to a wizard as another level 1 spell that cannot be heightened then the spell that CAN be heightened will always be more valuable to the Sorceror. Does it make sense now?

thflame wrote:
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It also doesn't matter if you buy the analysis paralysis argument or not because I know for a fact that it is a very real thing even without universal spell heightening. It is super frustrating when it comes to the Sorceror or arcanist or whatever in a fight and he hems and haws for 10 minutes. I have never been that player and I am not even saying that happens on the average turn for a lot of people but I have seen it happen many times at my tables and it is a worthy design aspect to consider.

I have played with a player who took 10+ minutes to make a choice for combat. He was new to the system and playing a wizard, but we had a cleric, druid, AND a sorcerer in the game as well (all new players) and all of them were able to make timely decisions. He did it because he thought 3.5 (at the time) was a strategy game like chess and wanted to make the optimal move every turn. We imposed a 6 second time limit on deciding your course of action (to represent the 6 seconds in a round that the character has to do something) and the problem fixed itself in a week. (The 6 seconds was usually more like 15-30 seconds.)

I have played with many different people of many different experience and intelligence levels and I have never seen anyone else do what he did. (Aside from one person who I gave a Wish spell to bring someone back from the dead and they spent a long time trying to word the wish so I couldn't "monkey's paw" them.)

So you also recognized that analysis paralysis was a problem and you solved it with a house rule.


thflame wrote:
Loading your favorite spell on just the highest (or second highest) slot just means you get to cast it less often.

I'm given to understand that spell-slot distribution is more even than in PF1 (with more of your highest level slots, but fewer of your lowest). However I could be wrong.

Anyway my point is that if my specialty is clouds of magic missiles, I'll probably always use a spontaneous heightening slot on it, and if for some reason I need to do otherwise one day it would suck for my favorite spell to suddenly be locked in at 1st level for the day. Instead I can fill that 1st level slot with a niche spell that scales well (like Fly).
I'd rather have just the best or second best castings of my favorite spell over castings of it I wouldn't normally use anyway (bearing in mind, the original magic missile's primary benefit as a 1st level spell was how well it scaled... 1st level magic missiles will be worthless by CL 9 now).

If you are wealthy enough or lucky enough to acquire them, a collection of staves could be used as a limited method of expanding your pool of heightenable spells (accepting that the staff will rarely have more than a half-dozen charges at a time even which are used in addition to either Resonance or Spell slots).
The evolutions seem awesome... but the spells gained will most likely be fixed-level as opposed to heightenable, which will encourage evolutions to pick up niche spells.

I still plan to playtest before I adjust the rules, but I've made clear many times my fanatical preference for an Undercasting based-solution.

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Cantriped wrote:


If you are wealthy enough or lucky enough to acquire them, a collection of staves could be used as a limited method of expanding your pool of heightenable spells (accepting that the staff will rarely have more than a half-dozen charges at a time even which are used in addition to either Resonance or Spell slots).
The evolutions seem awesome... but the spells gained will most likely be fixed-level as opposed to heightenable, which will encourage evolutions to pick up niche spells.

Ignore the charges for a moment (even though they are awesome when you have them!): Even without them, if you're a sorcerer and you're out of charges, the staff is still letting you spend resonance to essentially have access to more spells known.


Mark Seifter wrote:
Ignore the charges for a moment (even though they are awesome when you have them!): Even without them, if you're a sorcerer and you're out of charges, the staff is still letting you spend resonance to essentially have access to more spells known.

Are you refering to the cantrip (such as Stabalize for the Staff of Healing)?

I was under the impression that if a Sorcerer wanted to cast a spell through the staff (Heal for example) using either their own Spell Slots or their Resonance points, doing so cost the staff one charge. Meaning that a depleted staff would be giving you the spell known in name only. You wouldn't actually be able to cast it even if you had the Resonance/Spell Slots to do so.

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Cantriped wrote:
Mark Seifter wrote:
Ignore the charges for a moment (even though they are awesome when you have them!): Even without them, if you're a sorcerer and you're out of charges, the staff is still letting you spend resonance to essentially have access to more spells known.

Are you refering to the cantrip (such as Stabalize for the Staff of Healing)?

I was under the impression that if a Sorcerer wanted to cast a spell through the staff (Heal for example) using either their own Spell Slots or their Resonance points, doing so cost the staff one charge. Meaning that a depleted staff would be giving you the spell known in name only. You wouldn't actually be able to cast it even if you had the Resonance/Spell Slots to do so.

Nope, each use for a non-cantrip costs:

*1 RP (as you are activating, which costs 1 RP)
*Either charges or a spell slot

So the sorcerer can use her RP to basically have more potential spells known for her spells slot. IT works great for those spells you sometimes really need but usually not a lot of castings, since it costs RP.


So if I understand correctly:

The sorcerer pays 1 RP to Attune a staff (it gains a number of charges, up to a maximum).

While attuned they can cast the cantrip(s) it grants truely at-will, and said cantrips will autoheighten.

While attuned, they can activate the staff to cast a spell it contains, spending another RP in addition to either a charge or a spell-slot.

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Cantriped wrote:

So if I understand correctly:

The sorcerer pays 1 RP to Attune a staff (it gains a number of charges, up to a maximum).

While attuned they can cast the cantrip(s) it grants truely at-will, and said cantrips will autoheighten.

While attuned, they can activate the staff to cast a spell it contains, spending another RP in addition to either a charge or a spell-slot.

I would say "Appropriate charges" but yes. You also usually get some other built-in benefit, like in the staff of healing a little extra healing each time (more for the more powerful staves of healing).


The extra spell known from a staff is more powerful for a sorcerer since that's one less spell chain he needs to add to his spells known, and he has the resonance to cast spells from the staff. The wizard probably already knows the spell, it just means he doesn't have to prepare it. Both would gain from the built-in benefit though the sorcerer (who can use it more) gains more (although I suppose the wizard could still prepare it in a slot or 2 and gain it that way, but he runs the risk of investing too much in a spell he won't need).


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Thank you for the clarification!
Even if it was very disappointing... are there any other (less grossly inefficient) methods for a sorcerer to expand their repertoire of spontaneously heightenable spells?
A Class Feat or Invested Item for example?


Divine sorcerers can use a Feat o get channel. That's like spontaneously heightened heal, 3+CHA times per day. Primal get summon natures ally spontaneously heightened for a feat.


Gavmania wrote:
Divine sorcerers can use a Feat o get channel. That's like spontaneously heightened heal, 3+CHA times per day. Primal get summon natures ally spontaneously heightened for a feat.

I guess I should have specified "a chosen spell". Lets just say I really like magic missile, and want to cast it all day long... clouds and clouds of magic missiles. However, spending ¼ of my entire spell repertoire, or ½ of my spontaneous heightening slots forever to do so sounds a little... excessive (even if it is for neigh infinite magic missiles). Moreover a staff apparantly just won't let me do that either (by design).

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Gavmania wrote:
Divine sorcerers can use a Feat o get channel. That's like spontaneously heightened heal, 3+CHA times per day.

I kept seeing things similar to this and wondering why, then checked the blog and see it doesn't specify the use number. It's 1/day, not tons of times per day. And you get more spells per day than the cleric not counting the cleric's channel. No wonder people thought the primal option wasn't as good as divine.

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Cantriped wrote:
Gavmania wrote:
Divine sorcerers can use a Feat o get channel. That's like spontaneously heightened heal, 3+CHA times per day. Primal get summon natures ally spontaneously heightened for a feat.
I guess I should have specified "a chosen spell". Lets just say I really like magic missile, and want to cast it all day long... clouds and clouds of magic missiles. However, spending ¼ of my entire spell repertoire, or ½ of my spontaneous heightening slots forever to do so sounds a little... excessive (even if it is for neigh infinite magic missiles). Moreover a staff apparantly just won't let me do that either (by design).

I imagine the kind of PC who wants to cast a single spell over and over that much with all their slots should probably have it as a spont heightened spell, since otherwise they're kind of wasting their spont heightened spell picks on spells they won't be casting.


Mark Seifter wrote:
Gavmania wrote:
Divine sorcerers can use a Feat o get channel. That's like spontaneously heightened heal, 3+CHA times per day.
I kept seeing things similar to this and wondering why, then checked the blog and see it doesn't specify the use number. It's 1/day, not tons of times per day. And you get more spells per day than the cleric not counting the cleric's channel. No wonder people thought the primal option wasn't as good as divine.

Thats good to know. I assumed it was that because I saw others saying it was that. I assumed that someone, somewhere had revelaed it to be that way. Just goes to show how easy it is to get led astray by rumour and hearsay.


Mark Seifter wrote:


I imagine the kind of PC who wants to cast a single spell over and over that much with all their slots should probably have it as a spont heightened spell, since otherwise they're kind of wasting their spont heightened spell picks on spells they won't be casting.

And in practice that is exactly what will happen, but at the same time it seems like a 'waste' to just assign those slots to my signature spells when they are a pool that changes daily; and could have been used to adapt to campaign circumstances instead. Ergo my search for less ephemeral alternatives.

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Cantriped wrote:
Mark Seifter wrote:


I imagine the kind of PC who wants to cast a single spell over and over that much with all their slots should probably have it as a spont heightened spell, since otherwise they're kind of wasting their spont heightened spell picks on spells they won't be casting.
And in practice that is exactly what will happen, but at the same time it seems like a 'waste' to just assign those slots to my signature spells when they are a pool that changes daily; and could have been used to adapt to campaign circumstances instead. Ergo my search for less ephemeral alternatives.

So like a feat for an extra spont heighten spell but one that doesn't change daily?


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Yes! Exactly so. "Spell Mastery" if you will (I also like Signature Spell if you can only take it once).

The feat could even be more limited. I would happily take a feat that only let me undercast my 'mastered' spell rather than heighten it (thus spending one 9th level spell known and a feat instead of nine spells known at end-game).


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Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Card Game Subscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber
Mark Seifter wrote:
So like a feat for an extra spont heighten spell but one that doesn't change daily?

That's a capital idea! You should make sure it ends up in a rulebook some time.


Mark Seifter wrote:

Nope, each use for a non-cantrip costs:

*1 RP (as you are activating, which costs 1 RP)
*Either charges or a spell slot

So the sorcerer can use her RP to basically have more potential spells known for her spells slot. IT works great for those spells you sometimes really need but usually not a lot of castings, since it costs RP.

I've got a question about staves, can you cast the spells in them using your spell slots to heighten it higher than the staff casts it at?

Ex: can a 5th level sorcerer use a staff of healing (level 1) to cast heal (level 3) for the cost of an RP and 3rd level spell slot?
Or no because the staff only has heal (level 1)?


willuwontu wrote:
Mark Seifter wrote:

Nope, each use for a non-cantrip costs:

*1 RP (as you are activating, which costs 1 RP)
*Either charges or a spell slot

So the sorcerer can use her RP to basically have more potential spells known for her spells slot. IT works great for those spells you sometimes really need but usually not a lot of castings, since it costs RP.

I've got a question about staves, can you cast the spells in them using your spell slots to heighten it higher than the staff casts it at?

Ex: can a 5th level sorcerer use a staff of healing (level 1) to cast heal (level 3) for the cost of an RP and 3rd level spell slot?
Or no because the staff only has heal (level 1)?

Good question.

Also, can prepared casters convert spell slots on the fly with a staff? Like how the PF1 cleric could turn spells into Cure X Wounds? It occurred to me this might not necessarily be the case, as only sorcerers have the flexibility for just spending a generic spell slot on the fly. That would actually be a pretty interesting advantage and would be a nice loot edge compared to wizards finding spell books, assuming sorcerers can't benefit from spellbooks still.

Dark Archive

Captain Morgan wrote:
willuwontu wrote:


I've got a question about staves, can you cast the spells in them using your spell slots to heighten it higher than the staff casts it at?

Ex: can a 5th level sorcerer use a staff of healing (level 1) to cast heal (level 3) for the cost of an RP and 3rd level spell slot?
Or no because the staff only has heal (level 1)?

Good question.

Also, can prepared casters convert spell slots on the fly with a staff? Like how the PF1 cleric could turn spells into Cure X Wounds? It occurred to me this might not necessarily be the case, as only sorcerers have the flexibility for just spending a generic spell slot on the fly. That would actually be a pretty interesting advantage and would be a nice loot edge compared to wizards finding spell books, assuming sorcerers can't benefit from spellbooks still.

This might answer willuwontu's question

Trinkets and Treasures Blog wrote:
Then you have two options: You can either expend charges from the staff equal to the spell's level (1 charge for heal here) or expend one of your own spells of that level or higher. Yeah, your staff essentially lets you spontaneously cast the spells in it!

It does not confirm about wizards being able to use the staffs for spontaneous casting, but I would assume so.

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