Spell lists in 2E


Prerelease Discussion


In a different thread, people were arguing about the number of spell lists that can exist in the game.
So from what I know, spell lists are built up from 2 of the 4 essences.

Material
Mental
Spiritual
Vital

This gives us 6 different spell lists.
Material-Mental
Material-Spiritual
Material-Vital
Mental-Spiritual
Mental-Vital
Spiritual-Vital

They could easily add classes/archetypes that are super specialized in one essence.

That would give us 4 more spell lists.

So 10 in total and they only need to write the essences that have access to the spells. This can save a lot of pages in books


I think folks are a little too focused on the essences as mechanical element of the game instead of narrative. I think the two essences focus of the spell list thus far are more about giving players an idea about what kinds of spells that caster may have access to, then saying these X spells belong exclusively to this essence.

Silver Crusade

The way Mark was talking about essences on the recent Know Direction podcast about the Bard was interesting. Definitely more of a narrative element and background design principle.

To your thought he mentioned that some spells are shared between lists because of the idea that different essences could produce the same effect. (I think Dispel Magic may have been an example?) This sort of thing, and the design flexibility it suggests about not sticking too rigidly to an essence categorization, seems like a good reason to keep the essences more in the background to me.

He also spoke, I believe, about essences being "opposed", which made it sound like a four-point setup, with each essence having two adjacent and one opposed. That would give the 4 spell lists, for the 4 possible complementary pairs and leaving out the 2 opposed pairs.

Scarab Sages

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I actually think having their current codification of 4 total spell lists makes their job so much easier. In a future "Arcane Anthology", they don't have to add multiple spells to every individual arcane spellcaster's spell list. There is just a list of new arcane spells that each arcane spellcaster gets access to. DONE. Some for Primal, Occult, and Divine Anthologies. Makes it nice and clean. Adding more spell lists makes so much more work for them.

Silver Crusade

I get what some people are saying about opposed opposites and wanting to have as few spell lists as possible, but I really think that material spiritual would be fitting for the witch.

Now, that's not what I hope they do. I hope that they have Patron dictate spell list for her. I hope that they do that with Oracle Mysteries as well. I hope that they do that as often as possible.


I really don't like this, because I always liked the idea that Pathfinder was a generic system that gives you the rules and bothers with minimum lore/fluff so you can fit it to any home campaign world you're using. It's still that in general, sure, but this for essences things goes a bit against that, and I don't want it. First because I hate the idea that a wizard, for instance, is limited only to mental and material essences. I mean, why can't we have wizards who practice spiritual magic?? Or clerics that lean more into the mental essence, and so on... This essences fluff reinforces that boring trope where wizards are "scientists of magic", they use "rational" magic. No, I want wizards to be esoteric and occult and weird. Book magic doesn't have to be scientific, magic shouldn't be science-like, magic should magical, mystic. Also, why is there even a difference between arcane and occult magic? Those words mean the same thing! Why cast out arcane magic as more mundane and always have divine and occult magic be more esoteric (hence cooler, IMHO)? Tired of that trope, and the essences fluff just reinforce it. I would even prefer a system where there's no divisions between arcane/divine/occult magic. Second, I much prefer a system where most spellcasters have their own lists, or two, max. three of them share a list, than a system of standardized four (or six in the future) lists. It maybe less unwieldy design-wise, but it has much more benefits. You can differentiate between the casting classes way more with it. Instead of having the Inquisitor just share the divine list with clerics and oracles, make his own list like in 1st ed.! Way better to show how specialized in infiltration, detecting, hunting down and interrogating heretics than the more general (and powerful) divine list. And the 1st ed. list system is also good to show not just differentiation, but where same casters meet each other as well. Because while I think that every divine caster getting the same list is super bland, having some of the casters share the same list is still a feature in a system where most classes would have their own list.

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