Uminpressive spells


Skills, Feats, Equipment & Spells


There are a number of unimpressive spells from what I can see. For example Fire Ray does 1d6 + ability modifer but a cantrip does much the same. Not sure what the point of that is for the expenditure of a spell slot ?


Fire Ray is a Power. It costs power points rather than spell slots and is available to fire clerics who I imagine don't have damaging cantrip options. It's automatically heightened like a cantrip as well.


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They also gimped magic mistle, and that spell was already kinda pathetic later in lvl anyway... Loads of arcane spells got chopped down. Divine seems to have gotten more Bada$$...


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Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Yeah, looking at my favorite spells from PF1E I was really struck at how bad they all have gotten.

A lot of that seems to be a desire to prevent players from going into each combat decked out with ten buff spells per character, so the duration of most spells has been nerfed to a fixed one minute. Heroism has ten minutes, though, which encourages a "go go go!" playstyle if it is up, where people rush through several rooms to get the maximum out of it. It feels a bit schizophrenic for the new paradigm.

Overall, it seems combat spells are mostly intended now as more versatile encounter powers. While I had my own problems with overbuffed characters, I found a hard limit of three buffs from other characters, with no limit of self-cast buffs, solved most of the problems I had with that in my own games.

Sovereign Court

I don't see how magic missle got nerfed. 3, 6, 9, 12, 15 missles is pretty good. Now I'd probably not dump a 9th level spell into it but still. No chance of failure it always nice.


To be fair, Magic Missile has very strange wording that is hard to understand. Can it be heightened multiple times, or only once? If only once it becomes a 3rd level spell capable of firing 6 missiles for 2-5 damage per missile or 12-30 per spell, average damage of 3 per hit or 18 for the spell.

The poster might be reading it so that the base spell fires 1 missile and then gains 1 missile per action for 3 total, and then heighten only applies to the base spell for a total of 7 missiles at 9th level.

Either way, the spell only yields 3 missiles if you spend all your actions when memorized into a 1st level spell slot. This is indeed a nerf, since 1e automatically scaled to 5 missiles and only required a standard action and remained in your 1st level slot, instead of competing with your 3rd level spells. Magic missile heightened to a 3rd level spell is "on-par" with Fireball in that same slot. Fireball's average damage (6d6=18) is equal to MM's max damage, but MM auto-hits, can target 1 or multiple enemies, and is force, where as FB is a 20' burst, has higher damage potential with base dice and chance of double damage on crit-fail, but is fire damage.

If it can be heightened multiple times, it can be heightened all the way to 9th level in +2 increments, yielding 15 missiles for 30- 75 damage spread. If you roll high, your not quite at the damage yield of most other 9th level spells, but your really close, and for being force damage and always hitting might be just what you need.

That being said, the wording on the heighten effect is redundant unless the heighten effect is meant to keep iterating missiles each time it's heightened, meaning missile iterations might go 1(3), 3(5), 5(7), 7(9), 9(11 ), yielding 35 missiles in total for 70-175 damage in which case it becomes the best damage spell in the game bar none. This is unlikely to be the intent of the wording but I don't understand why the Heighten effect is worded like that unless it was meant to be iterative. The +1missile/action spent is already built into the base spell, so it's redundant to repeat it in the Heighten effect.

And of course, if option three above works, than we need to know if iterations back-wards apply to previous spell levels heightened through, so that all of your heightened spell levels are 11 missiles, yielding 55 missiles. In which case all my spell slots will be Magic Missile.

Might as well dump your 9th level spells, if you bother playing long enough to get there. Gate isn't available till L19 and is nerfed into the ground as it seems to only be a teleport spell now and doesn't have the calling feature attached. Time Stop isn't available till L19 now, although it is more reliable once you get it. Meteor Swarm seems buffed but probably still suffers from most enemies in that high tier play being immune to fire (*). I was super psyched when I saw Arcane had gained access to Implosion in their spell list, until I read it. Nerfed into the ground, now it only deals 75 damage once per target rather than the 180-200 it did. Wail of the Banshee is nerfed. Mage's Disjunction is nerfed. Shapechange is nerfed where it matters. Power Word:Kill was always a garbage spell, yet still it's been nerfed. Prismatic spells now only transport victims on critical failure, rather than just failed saving throws, so most high level creatures are probably going to effectively make their saves. In all, I'm super depressed about 9th level spells and 10th level spells, which had me really excited, are a sever disappointment.

* Making this post I discovered that monster are no longer written with Resistance/Immunities in their statblock; it has been replaced by Weakness. I can't find where the explanation for this is, does anyone know? Are all demons now able to be affected by fire damage?!


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All spell damage is utterly unimpressive. We just got a first round of playtest, and we found the blaster cleric and the druid stuck with 1d6 damage cantrips against a dragon totem barbarian that, while going tank with a shield, where still doing 1d8+7 damage per hit while in rage (infinite). Even when expending first level slots (2 times a day) the caster where utterly depressed by doing on average 7-8 point of damage per spell, having to spend double the actions and a very limited resource compared to the fully ACed barbarian sporting 25 HP.
Now, I don't know if the problem is just the barbarian. I'm waiting to see the other melee classes. But spell in general seems utterly unimpressive.


AshVandal wrote:

To be fair, Magic Missile has very strange wording that is hard to understand. Can it be heightened multiple times, or only once? If only once it becomes a 3rd level spell capable of firing 6 missiles for 2-5 damage per missile or 12-30 per spell, average damage of 3 per hit or 18 for the spell...

Huh. I read it as: Memorize as 1st level spell- you get one missile per casting action, 1-3. Memorize as FI 3rd level spell you get 2 missiles per action, 2-6. Memorize as 5th you get 3, 3-9, and so on. Based on what Memorized Heightening says in the beginning of the spell chapter anything that says +Level is cumulative and can be done multiple times. Don't see how you got to 35 missiles later in your post, I'm thinking it maxes as 5 per action for 15 as a 9th level spell.

Heightening in general seems to be quite limiting in some circumstances, even moreso for Spontaneous types, given that you have to learn a spell multiple times at different levels or rely on the spontaneous heightening features.


I think we are going to see more stuff or different stuff in the actual 2nd edition when it releases next year. I think they are testing certain aspects to see how they work (streamline, function or enhance the game) to then incorporate them in the things that they have already tested and like but I could be wrong.


Beast Weener wrote:
AshVandal wrote:

To be fair, Magic Missile has very strange wording that is hard to understand. Can it be heightened multiple times, or only once? If only once it becomes a 3rd level spell capable of firing 6 missiles for 2-5 damage per missile or 12-30 per spell, average damage of 3 per hit or 18 for the spell...

Huh. I read it as: Memorize as 1st level spell- you get one missile per casting action, 1-3. Memorize as FI 3rd level spell you get 2 missiles per action, 2-6. Memorize as 5th you get 3, 3-9, and so on. Based on what Memorized Heightening says in the beginning of the spell chapter anything that says +Level is cumulative and can be done multiple times. Don't see how you got to 35 missiles later in your post, I'm thinking it maxes as 5 per action for 15 as a 9th level spell.

Heightening in general seems to be quite limiting in some circumstances, even moreso for Spontaneous types, given that you have to learn a spell multiple times at different levels or rely on the spontaneous heightening features.

I fully believe and expect my interpretation of the wording to be incorrect, but that's why I pointed out that the wording is a little hard to understand. In 1e, spells that have variables like MM does has the iterations spelled out in the wording of the spell, so there is no confusion. It seems that 2e does not benefit from this, probably in interest of saving space. This should be rectified in later printings, or thousands of tables who don't regularly visit forums for rulings will likely be playing these spells very differently.

None of that however, rectifies that MM is nerfed in 2e. It has an optional buff at 1-6th level of play that carries a cost the spell didn't have in 1e, but beyond that the spell is straight nerfed.


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Blast damage was never very high, unless you built specifically for it (and usually only for a precise selection of spells).

What changed so far is that spell damage is buffed when you first get the spell (like Shocking Grasp doing 1d12 instead of 1d6, or Lightning Bolt doing 4d12 instead of 5d6), but doesn't auto-scale with level.
Still, a Lightning Bolt only went up to 10d6, 35 damage on average; now if you cast it from its basic lvl 3 slot you are dealing 26 on average, that is about 25% less, but you have the option to upcast it.


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Blasting is going to be better for the enemies due to persistent damage. Shocking grasp has 1d4 persistent damage when used against foes in metal armor.

Players will probably get a 2 couple rounds of persistent damage on enemy before the enemy is killed by the group. While a PC hit with the spell is going to cook until cured or killed.

Reach is a level 1 Wizard feat that can be used at will. Anyone wearing metal armor should be afraid whenever they see a wizard standing behind a bunch of mooks. Ranged shocking grasp will be the death of many PC tank builds.


AshVandal wrote:
Beast Weener wrote:
AshVandal wrote:

To be fair, Magic Missile has very strange wording that is hard to understand. Can it be heightened multiple times, or only once? If only once it becomes a 3rd level spell capable of firing 6 missiles for 2-5 damage per missile or 12-30 per spell, average damage of 3 per hit or 18 for the spell...

Huh. I read it as: Memorize as 1st level spell- you get one missile per casting action, 1-3. Memorize as FI 3rd level spell you get 2 missiles per action, 2-6. Memorize as 5th you get 3, 3-9, and so on. Based on what Memorized Heightening says in the beginning of the spell chapter anything that says +Level is cumulative and can be done multiple times. Don't see how you got to 35 missiles later in your post, I'm thinking it maxes as 5 per action for 15 as a 9th level spell.

Heightening in general seems to be quite limiting in some circumstances, even moreso for Spontaneous types, given that you have to learn a spell multiple times at different levels or rely on the spontaneous heightening features.

I fully believe and expect my interpretation of the wording to be incorrect, but that's why I pointed out that the wording is a little hard to understand. In 1e, spells that have variables like MM does has the iterations spelled out in the wording of the spell, so there is no confusion. It seems that 2e does not benefit from this, probably in interest of saving space. This should be rectified in later printings, or thousands of tables who don't regularly visit forums for rulings will likely be playing these spells very differently.

None of that however, rectifies that MM is nerfed in 2e. It has an optional buff at 1-6th level of play that carries a cost the spell didn't have in 1e, but beyond that the spell is straight nerfed.

Agreed. It's quite hindered by the new action economy as well. A caster can no longer move and then cast MM in one round and get the full benefit of the spell.


Since the new magic missile is a theme of this thread, how do people think the feat Dangerous Sorcery combines with a heightened magic missile?

Cast over a full 3 actions would you add it x3 or just the once?

Quote:

DANGEROUS SORCERY - feat 1 (sorcerer)

When you cast a non-cantrip spell that deals damage and that doesn’t have a duration, you gain a conditional bonus to that spell’s damage equal to the spell’s level.


Yossarian wrote:

Since the new magic missile is a theme of this thread, how do people think the feat Dangerous Sorcery combines with a heightened magic missile?

Cast over a full 3 actions would you add it x3 or just the once?

Quote:

DANGEROUS SORCERY - feat 1 (sorcerer)

When you cast a non-cantrip spell that deals damage and that doesn’t have a duration, you gain a conditional bonus to that spell’s damage equal to the spell’s level.

Probably just once per casting, you only cast the spell once.


Yossarian wrote:

Since the new magic missile is a theme of this thread, how do people think the feat Dangerous Sorcery combines with a heightened magic missile?

Cast over a full 3 actions would you add it x3 or just the once?

Quote:

DANGEROUS SORCERY - feat 1 (sorcerer)

When you cast a non-cantrip spell that deals damage and that doesn’t have a duration, you gain a conditional bonus to that spell’s damage equal to the spell’s level.

Mark mentioned a while back that it was ambiguous enough to possibly need further clarification. I responded with how I'd rule it and he implied that's what he'd been running with (I can try and look for the comment later if it's still a thing). TL;DR 1/target because same target missiles are the same damage source. If you go with this it's good for multipinging but doesn't get same target silly.


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I may be a minority here, but i am liking the new spells so far. Mostly I am looking at from the fact that enchament/illusions spells are now more viable. Yeah blasting may be bit weak at low levels but I also at least in my mind it is more viable at higher levels as resitance/immunity took a major nerf as far as monster are concenred.

Dark Archive

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orphias wrote:
There are a number of unimpressive spells from what I can see. For example Fire Ray does 1d6 + ability modifer but a cantrip does much the same. Not sure what the point of that is for the expenditure of a spell slot ?

Fire Ray deals 1d6+MOD, while cantrips at Level 1 deal around 1d4 to 1d8. With an 18 starting stat Fire Ray averages to 7.5 damage, 3 higher than the best damage cantrip. Fire Ray also scales better, adding +1d6 per spell level up to 9d6+MOD at Level 17 (or 10d6+MOD at Level 20 with the right class feat) while the cantrips add your spellcasting modifier at Spell Level 3 and add a die every odd spell level after that, capping at 4d8+MOD for the highest-damage cantrip. Fire Ray is stronger at every level, and it's only ever close at Level 1 and 2. Even then it's almost double the damage on average.

Now, if you want to talk about unimpressive spells, check out Barkskin. Oh how the mighty have fallen.


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Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
Megistone wrote:
Blast damage was never very high, unless you built specifically for it (and usually only for a precise selection of spells).

Tell that to my lvl 11 Sorcerer with Spell Specialization (Fireball) and Intensified Spell. Sure, the Tyrant Anti-Paladin can do more single target damage, but the smile I get on my face when I cause 200 damage against four Legion Archons is worth a lot. And it will get better now that I can do an Intensified Empowered Fireball at level 12. And I don't even have the Draconic bloodline to get that extra oomph.

Doing the same in PF2E will be much more costly on the spell level and Empower Spell is out completely.

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber

This seems a good way to reduce LFQW, with Fighters still just basically getting more feats. The spells are not so amazing now, and layering is harder. Sleep is non combat, fly only 1 PC and short duration etc etc. Seems like a good thing to me, spells are still cool but they're not the answer to every higher level question.


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mach1.9pants wrote:
spells are still cool

No, they're not. I love playing casters but the play test spells section left me cold. Rolled a barbarian instead. Do not think I could commit to a long campaign using the current ruleset.


A lot of domain powers seem to be rather unimpressive. When building a cleric it feels like I'm trying to find the least disappointing domain spells, rather than finding the most exciting or fun. The worst I've seen so far though was Waking Nightmare.

It's a single action touch spell, so you must succeed on a touch attack against an enemy to even get it to work after spending your spell points. After that, the target makes a flat check on its next skill check, attack roll, or saving throw within 1 minute. This has the following chances per effect:

5%: -2 to check
45%: -1 to check
45%: +1 to check
5%: +2 to check

So after spending your spell points and succeeding on an attack roll, the target has as equal of a chance to be buffed as debuffed. I can only see this getting use outside of battle on allies attempting skill checks without that bad of a penalty of failure, but even then there are much better spells that aren't such a big gamble.

Is there something about this that makes it useful that I'm missing? It seems to be a high risk low reward power.


Zeiza wrote:

A lot of domain powers seem to be rather unimpressive. When building a cleric it feels like I'm trying to find the least disappointing domain spells, rather than finding the most exciting or fun. The worst I've seen so far though was Waking Nightmare.

Is there something about this that makes it useful that I'm missing? It seems to be a high risk low reward power.

It's only one action. That's a valuable factor. If you start adjacent to an enemy, you could hit him with waking nightmare and follow up with any 2 action spell, hoping to lower his save. Sure, it's a gamble and can totally backfire but it's nothing I'd never ever use.

But in general, I agree. Domain powers (and many spells) are underwhelming.

My biggest problem with spells is the fact that almost everything is a non-stacking conditional bonus/penalty.
Got a bard in your party? Better not waste a feat on Ki Strike with your monk!

A 5th level heroism invalidates about 80% of all buffs in the game! At 8th level it's probably the best buff you can have.


At least, I kinda like what they did with spell durations. Cantrips seem okay too.


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Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
Almarane wrote:
At least, I kinda like what they did with spell durations. Cantrips seem okay too.

The super short spell durations have other (probably unintended) consequences. The flexibility the Sorcerer had over the Wizard has become pretty irrelevant, since there is no pressing need to hurry (outside of story reasons, which a very good number of AP's don't give) and parties with a Wizard can solve problems more efficiently waiting the necessary time a Wizard with Quick Preparation needs to just learn the necessary spells.

Given that Wizards also can just Heighten all spells on the fly, this given Wizards now a clear advantage in flexibility over the Sorcerer.


magnuskn wrote:
Given that Wizards also can just Heighten all spells on the fly, this given Wizards now a clear advantage in flexibility over the Sorcerer.

How would a Wizard do that? The closest I can think of is Quick Preperation, which takes 10 minutes. It's way better than a rest, but I wouldn't call it "on the fly".


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Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
Blave wrote:
magnuskn wrote:
Given that Wizards also can just Heighten all spells on the fly, this given Wizards now a clear advantage in flexibility over the Sorcerer.
How would a Wizard do that? The closest I can think of is Quick Preperation, which takes 10 minutes. It's way better than a rest, but I wouldn't call it "on the fly".

That's what I've been talking about, if you read my post above. Short spell durations = no incentives to rush = more flexibility with Quick Preparation for Wizards = Sorcerers become objectively worse than Wizards.


Ok, fair enough. Did read the post but somehow missed that you mentioned Quick Preperation.

Still not sure I'd call one spell swap per 10 minutes "on the fly", but that's probably a matter of perspective :)


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Blave wrote:

Ok, fair enough. Did read the post but somehow missed that you mentioned Quick Preperation.

Still not sure I'd call one spell swap per 10 minutes "on the fly", but that's probably a matter of perspective :)

Well, it is compared to having to retrain it. But for a situation like "well, we got to get across that chasm, guys", you better hope the Sorcerer took Fly as one of his four spells at that level, while the Wizard now just goes "Hold my beer". In PF1E the Wizards answer would have been "ask me again tomorrow?".


magnuskn wrote:
Blave wrote:

Ok, fair enough. Did read the post but somehow missed that you mentioned Quick Preperation.

Still not sure I'd call one spell swap per 10 minutes "on the fly", but that's probably a matter of perspective :)

Well, it is compared to having to retrain it. But for a situation like "well, we got to get across that chasm, guys", you better hope the Sorcerer took Fly as one of his four spells at that level, while the Wizard now just goes "Hold my beer". In PF1E the Wizards answer would have been "ask me again tomorrow?".

No, it wouldn't. It would have been "wait for me to fill this empty spell slot" or "let me use one of my much more numerous slots where of course I prepared this common utility spell" or "excuse my while I whip this relatively inexpensive and sure to be needed at some point scroll out."


The number of people who don't leave empty spell slots in 1E is shocking.


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Yeah, I pretty much have almost never seen someone do that in the last 18 years since 3.0 came out. YMMV, of course. Consumables also have not really that big a thing in most of my campaigns for the players.

But if your groups Wizard players always left three level three spell slots open, Xenocrat, sure, why not?


Xenocrat wrote:
magnuskn wrote:
Blave wrote:

Ok, fair enough. Did read the post but somehow missed that you mentioned Quick Preperation.

Still not sure I'd call one spell swap per 10 minutes "on the fly", but that's probably a matter of perspective :)

Well, it is compared to having to retrain it. But for a situation like "well, we got to get across that chasm, guys", you better hope the Sorcerer took Fly as one of his four spells at that level, while the Wizard now just goes "Hold my beer". In PF1E the Wizards answer would have been "ask me again tomorrow?".
No, it wouldn't. It would have been "wait for me to fill this empty spell slot" or "let me use one of my much more numerous slots where of course I prepared this common utility spell" or "excuse my while I whip this relatively inexpensive and sure to be needed at some point scroll out."

what wizards have you been playing with?

a PROPER wizard of pf1 would simply go:

"What chasm? Let me alter reality a bit" *poof*

I just like to think that one of them made the mistake of altering the reality in a way that godwizards got extinct while switching editions.

Or they all ascended to godhood.

one or the other.

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