Spontaneous Casters and the Inclusion of Universal Class Feats


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Sorcerers and bards, the two spontaneous casters we will see in this playtest. Bard was previously a "half-caster," with reduced access to spellcasting in return for a plethora of abilities. In PF2e, this is reflected by lower overall spellcasting capability compared to its dedicated caster relative (sorcerer, gaining an additional spell per level), and having several powerful cantrips that interact with its other abilities.

Now, with sorcerer established as the "spellcasting class," it seems odd that bard would be the class to have the 8th level "additional heightening" feat, directly related to having more powerful spellcasting capability as opposed to the typical bard abilities (dealing with powers augmenting their cantrips and so on). I'm not sure if this is an oversight, or simply a quirk written in for an unknown reason.

That leads to a final point, the case for Universal Class feats. I've seen many complaints about certain feats or techniques being gated behind certain classes. Now, take the "Additional Heightening" feat described above. Imagine this was made into a "Universal" class feat, available to any who meet the prerequisites "Spontaneous Heightening class feature." Or Power Attack/Double Slice, "Trained in a martial weapon." Widen Spell, "You are a spellcaster."

You could add a variety of depth to character creation without taking too much away. Fighter could still have access to many open/press feats not available to other classes, with some unique abilities besides. As an added bonus, you might save page space avoiding the extra entries on the classes that would normally gain them. The problem comes in when you look at terms of balance. Martial classes will likely have more to benefit from in variety, since many spellcasters will already have access to a feat that would otherwise be made Universal. Would Double Strike be too powerful in the hands of a Barbarian or Rogue, and how does a Monk's ability to take Power Attack change things? Of course, these are all questions that would have to be asked to address multiclassing balance anyways. A potential solution would be to increase the level requirement, with a special note at the end stating "Fighter and ranger treat -X- as a level 1 feat," as an example. Thoughts on how a universal class feat system might affect balance? Would adding another group of feats make character creation needlessly complicated?

TL;DR for Developers:
1. Sorcerers don't have access to additional heightening. Oversight?
2. A universal class feat system including feats such as additional heightening, power attack, Double Slice, some metamagic, etc.?
3. Would said universal class feat system adversely affect game balance?
4. If yes to 3, does multiclassing adversely affect game balance?
5. Would the cost in game balance be significant compared with the improvement in enjoyment to the players?
6. Would it make the game significantly more complicated?

Sovereign Court

Honestly, I'm totally against Additional Heightening as a feat. It is so powerful and essential to spontaneous caster that it will become a feat tax and those things are never good. I'd much rather have a natural progression of the Spontaneous Heightening class features where you get additional use at certain levels.

About universal class feat: it seems to me that some people still think that some feats are essential in order to have a certain playstyle, as if the pf1 logic and must have feats are still relevant to the new system. On that I'd like to say that I totally agree with what Jason said on the twitch feed on Friday. With the new action economy a lot of thing that were not possible in pf1 are now possible with everyone with no class feat necessary.

What I am afraid about is the fact that currently multiclassing archetype seems almost too god as a feat, rendering multiple general feats completely useless since a multiclass feat can bring you a lot more. I do know that one is a general feat and the other a class feat, but the difference of power between the two is too big.

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