Arcane Spellcasters in PF2E – quo vadis?


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Paizo Superscriber; Pathfinder Companion, Pathfinder Accessories, Starfinder Accessories, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber

Some of this could be avoided by eliminating classes altogether. One way to do this is to make everything a skill, and make every skill accessible to every character. This opens the door to completely ridiculous builds, of course, so maybe you want some way to limit it, or to guide players down a better path.

Thing is, a system without classes is not "D&D" or "Pathfinder" as we know them. Some will object to that. :-)


AndIMustMask wrote:
nobody wants to play a videogame that is released both incomplete and that you have to pay full purchase price multiple times to actually play.

I don't like that either, but I have bad news for you.

this is exactly the way videogames are sold right now.

Main game, then patches, then DLC (that makes more money to the company than the initial Vanilla game.


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Aadgarvven wrote:
AndIMustMask wrote:
nobody wants to play a videogame that is released both incomplete and that you have to pay full purchase price multiple times to actually play.

I don't like that either, but I have bad news for you.

this is exactly the way videogames are sold right now.

Main game, then patches, then DLC (that makes more money to the company than the initial Vanilla game.

i know, and it's the most shameful thing. but i'm referring to the egregious examples:

xcom 2 and DB xenoverse 2 forcing people to pay for basic bugfixes (by baking them into DLC content rather than as a free patch alongside)
crusader kings on a half-off sale still costing $165 in total.
with every book for an average TTRPG being 30+ dollars easy, things NEED to work as intended from the outset. people need a reason to actually be willing to buy those secondary DLC/books.

I've already spoken several times on how wary i am of paizo in this case in particular, and seeing paizo slip from "accidentally backhanded marketing practices" to outright predatory would be a loss for us all.


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AndIMustMask wrote:
Aadgarvven wrote:
AndIMustMask wrote:
nobody wants to play a videogame that is released both incomplete and that you have to pay full purchase price multiple times to actually play.

I don't like that either, but I have bad news for you.

this is exactly the way videogames are sold right now.

Main game, then patches, then DLC (that makes more money to the company than the initial Vanilla game.

i know, and it's the most shameful thing. but i'm referring to the egregious examples:

xcom 2 and DB xenoverse 2 forcing people to pay for basic bugfixes (by baking them into DLC content rather than as a free patch alongside)
crusader kings on a half-off sale still costing $165 in total.
with every book for an average TTRPG being 30+ dollars easy, things NEED to work as intended from the outset. people need a reason to actually be willing to buy those secondary DLC/books.

I've already spoken several times on how wary i am of paizo in this case in particular, and seeing paizo slip from "accidentally backhanded marketing practices" to outright predatory would be a loss for us all.

+1000

especially crusader kings:

paying for having more character portraits!!!

And yes, yes, yes, I don't know what else to say


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Paradox games give away patch fixes and the like for free with every update. Their DLC are always optional and the visual content packs can safely be skipped.

Liberty's Edge

Additionally, the paid DLC is pretty reasonably priced - there may be two or three DLCs for both CK2 and EU4 that may be considered "weaker", but given the amount of hours I've gotten out of both, I'd find it hard to argue I didn't get my money's worth.

There are some examples of DLC being released that should have been in the original game, but Paradox's offerings aren't among them.


Paizo Superscriber; Pathfinder Companion, Pathfinder Accessories, Starfinder Accessories, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber

What's a DLC?


ChibiNyan wrote:

On the "Anime" martials discussion, I think PF1 has lately started making some very awesome martial options that my groups have LOVED. While all this PF2 drama has been going on, we've gotten books like Blood of Ancients and Planar Adventures where you have things like:

- A Fighter with more skills that can at-will create a shadow weapon to use, which automatically scales to all +X and can change the enchantments on it at will while having access to new unique enchants.

- A Brawler that can kill you with any object they pick. This includes sending their enemies flying for free on hit or sunder/disarm them from range with needles.

- Super powerful Tian Xia healers that use only the mundane Heal skil to recover lots of HP and even remove magical debuffs like curses.

- A freakin martial that is supposed to fight Spawns of Rovagug and can wrestle with colossal creatures like it was nothing.

- A flying Fighter with cool aerial maneuvers. They can even create shockwaves that send enemies flying away!

- A shifter that works as everyone originally imagined they should. It can spontaneously transform into different things whenever needed.

- Rogues that can remove alignment with their Sneak Attack, which disable a lot of abilities.

- A turbo Swashbuckler that actually seems interesting. They get pounce and can heal debuffs with kisses.

- A Rogue that can see the dreams of people and even enter them later. They can also remove debuffs and use dreamscape rules.

- A planewalker Ranger that works as advertised.

- Lots of freely accessible magical abilities in Conduit Feats.

So these are just the most notable examples from what was like 1 month worth of books. These martial options are really evocative and cool-sounding. I was really happy when I thought this would be the new design style for Pathfinder! Martials can have a lot of cool things in thematics ways... It just took many years before we got the options.

Wait, we actually have those in pathfinder!? I know there's feat chains that let you replace physical stats with mental stats for martial weapons, but how would you go about building the brawler you mentioned, or the flying fighter? That dream rogue is quite flavorful too.


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Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
Ed Reppert wrote:
What's a DLC?

Oh, you innocent summers child. :)

It's DownLoadable Content, i.e. mini-expansions for computer games. Or better said, it ranges from mini-expansions to just cosmetic enhancements to a game. All paid for extra to the original release price.


1 person marked this as a favorite.

to be fair, not all DLCs are paid--though the majority certainly are.

Liberty's Edge

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BluLion wrote:
ChibiNyan wrote:

On the "Anime" martials discussion, I think PF1 has lately started making some very awesome martial options that my groups have LOVED. While all this PF2 drama has been going on, we've gotten books like Blood of Ancients and Planar Adventures where you have things like:

- A Fighter with more skills that can at-will create a shadow weapon to use, which automatically scales to all +X and can change the enchantments on it at will while having access to new unique enchants.

- A Brawler that can kill you with any object they pick. This includes sending their enemies flying for free on hit or sunder/disarm them from range with needles.

- Super powerful Tian Xia healers that use only the mundane Heal skil to recover lots of HP and even remove magical debuffs like curses.

- A freakin martial that is supposed to fight Spawns of Rovagug and can wrestle with colossal creatures like it was nothing.

- A flying Fighter with cool aerial maneuvers. They can even create shockwaves that send enemies flying away!

- A shifter that works as everyone originally imagined they should. It can spontaneously transform into different things whenever needed.

- Rogues that can remove alignment with their Sneak Attack, which disable a lot of abilities.

- A turbo Swashbuckler that actually seems interesting. They get pounce and can heal debuffs with kisses.

- A Rogue that can see the dreams of people and even enter them later. They can also remove debuffs and use dreamscape rules.

- A planewalker Ranger that works as advertised.

- Lots of freely accessible magical abilities in Conduit Feats.

So these are just the most notable examples from what was like 1 month worth of books. These martial options are really evocative and cool-sounding. I was really happy when I thought this would be the new design style for Pathfinder! Martials can have a lot of cool things in thematics ways... It just took many years before we got the options.

Wait, we actually have those in...

Yep, from the listed books. In order:

ChibiNyan wrote:
- A Fighter with more skills that can at-will create a shadow weapon to use, which automatically scales to all +X and can change the enchantments on it at will while having access to new unique enchants.

That's the Gloomblade.

ChibiNyan wrote:
- A Brawler that can kill you with any object they pick. This includes sending their enemies flying for free on hit or sunder/disarm them from range with needles.

That's the Hinyasi.

ChibiNyan wrote:
- Super powerful Tian Xia healers that use only the mundane Heal skil to recover lots of HP and even remove magical debuffs like curses.

That's the Incredible Healer, and similar feats.

ChibiNyan wrote:
- A freakin martial that is supposed to fight Spawns of Rovagug and can wrestle with colossal creatures like it was nothing.

That's the Spawn Slayer.

ChibiNyan wrote:
- A flying Fighter with cool aerial maneuvers. They can even create shockwaves that send enemies flying away!

That's the Aerial Assaulter I think? Might be missing stuff, as it doesn't actually let you fly.

ChibiNyan wrote:
- A shifter that works as everyone originally imagined they should. It can spontaneously transform into different things whenever needed.

That's the Adaptive Shifter.

ChibiNyan wrote:
- Rogues that can remove alignment with their Sneak Attack, which disable a lot of abilities.

That's the Sever Alignment rogue talent - need to search for it on that page, I'm afraid.

ChibiNyan wrote:
- A turbo Swashbuckler that actually seems interesting. They get pounce and can heal debuffs with kisses.

That's the Azatariel and I love it very much.

ChibiNyan wrote:
- A Rogue that can see the dreams of people and even enter them later. They can also remove debuffs and use dreamscape rules.

That's the Dreamthief, and I also love it very much. Damn, Paizo's content as of late is so good.

ChibiNyan wrote:
- A planewalker Ranger that works as advertised.

I'd imagine that's referring to the Planar Scout, given the other planar themed ranger as of late (the Realm Wanderer) isn't very planewalker-y.

I really am very, very impressed with those three books - Distant Realms, Planar Adventures and Blood of the Ancients. Packed full with just awesome content.


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AndIMustMask wrote:
the end result being that if someone at the table wants to play merlin by the endgame, he should totally be able to--and the guy next to him should be just as able to play beowulf, or cu'chulainn, or diarmuid, or siegfried, or fergus mac roich, or finn mac cumhaill (i'm not even touching japanese/greek/roman or even other european history and mythology, which gets even crazier!), as he likes around the same level.

Well, part of the problem here is that Merlin falls well short in terms of the spells he casts of what a high-level PF caster manages (Polymorph Other, Flesh to Stone, some illusions that aren't higher than 3rd level, and possibly Teleport are the top end of his repertoire except for one particular feat). If he's a model for the caster, he's either a mid-level one or the nerf to magic is quite extreme. And if the top end martials are supposed to be equal to Merlin, and the top end casters exceed his power by as much as they currently do, then you've not really solved anything.


Anguish wrote:
Lausth wrote:
Cast no spells in first two encounters?Right.Definitely the most fun experience i can imagine.

In our playtest, I ran a 7th-level bard. Three encounters. I cast exactly zero non-cantrip spells.

Why? Because none of them were useful, and yes, I designed the character with a wide variety of different ones.

I also didn't have any use for Resonance Points. Or Spell Points.

Amusingly, the player tracking sheet just asks "did you run out"? Um, no. I didn't run out because I didn't use any because there was nothing useful to use them on.

10.5 hours of careful character construction and the end result was spamming two cantrips which a 1st-level bard gets, and neither of which is more powerful than at 1st. I could literally have been replaced with that 1st-level bard because I was never physically attacked and the enemy made their saves frequently enough that the DC change wouldn't have felt any different. That is how tight the numbers are in PF2.

I'm going to assume inspire courage was one of the cantrips, and I suppose forbidding ward was the other? Practically every other spell I can think of heightens at level 5.

What 3rd- and 4th-level spells did you pick that you didn't feel would have been useful? I can see not finding Spell Points to be useful depending on the feats you chose, but every spell should have been better than whatever cantrip wasn't scaling. (Definitely better than forbidding ward.)


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Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
Bluenose wrote:
Well, part of the problem here is that Merlin falls well short in terms of the spells he casts of what a high-level PF caster manages (Polymorph Other, Flesh to Stone, some illusions that aren't higher than 3rd level, and possibly Teleport are the top end of his repertoire except for one particular feat). If he's a model for the caster, he's either a mid-level one or the nerf to magic is quite extreme. And if the top end martials are supposed to be equal to Merlin, and the top end casters exceed his power by as much as they currently do, then you've not really solved anything.

D&D/PF by now has its own pantheon of high-level casters who got actual literature written about them, like Elminster and Raistlin Majere. Looking for inspiration in sources which did not even have the concept of many of the spells D&D/Pathfinder uses really does not make all that much sense.


Pathfinder Adventure, Adventure Path Subscriber
Cyouni wrote:
I'm going to assume inspire courage was one of the cantrips, and I suppose forbidding ward was the other? Practically every other spell I can think of heightens at level 5.

One was inspire courage, and the other was disrupt undead, which yes, heightens.

But let's be real... That extra 1d10 brought my average damage to 2d10+4, or 15. Only the enemy had a 50/50 chance of reducing that to 7.5, which failed to compare favorably to the 20-30 the martials were dishing out each round, ignoring the crits which were exciting (for them), when 50+ was on the table.

Quote:
What 3rd- and 4th-level spells did you pick that you didn't feel would have been useful? I can see not finding Spell Points to be useful depending on the feats you chose, but every spell should have been better than whatever cantrip wasn't scaling. (Definitely better than forbidding ward.)

Yes, I had not chosen feats that are fueled by Spell Points, but that's because the ones that are were... unattractive. If I'm going to have something that's limited-use-per-day, it needs to be better than at-will options.

Also, I grant that the adventure being played turned out to be wave after wave of undead, which isn't typical, but can happen organically regardless.

As for what spells my bard knows?

4th (2 slots) flyH, outcast’s curse
3rd (3 slots) blindness, heroism, paralyzeH
2nd (3 slots) sound burstH, resist energyH, restorationH
1st (3 slots) magic missileH, phantom painH, sootheH, true strike
Cantrips disrupt undeadH, forbidding ward, inspire courage, mage handH, shieldH, telekinetic projectileH, triple time

sound burst might have been useful, but physicality prevented it. magic missile might have played in as well, but disrupt undead had better average damage even halved on a successful save.

As you can see, I chose a balanced array of utility and offense, but... well, in an undead-heavy circumstance that's pretty useless. Also, given the slot count, I still can't compare to a martial in terms of "look, I'm doing things... things that are awesome." Maybe making something blind for a moment isn't really as fun as kicking the living snot out of it.


Paizo Superscriber; Pathfinder Companion, Pathfinder Accessories, Starfinder Accessories, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber
magnuskn wrote:
Ed Reppert wrote:
What's a DLC?

Oh, you innocent summers child. :)

It's DownLoadable Content, i.e. mini-expansions for computer games. Or better said, it ranges from mini-expansions to just cosmetic enhancements to a game. All paid for extra to the original release price.

Child? Odds are I'm older than you are.

Thanks for the definition. :-)


Arcaian wrote:
BluLion wrote:
ChibiNyan wrote:

On the "Anime" martials discussion, I think PF1 has lately started making some very awesome martial options that my groups have LOVED. While all this PF2 drama has been going on, we've gotten books like Blood of Ancients and Planar Adventures where you have things like:

- A Fighter with more skills that can at-will create a shadow weapon to use, which automatically scales to all +X and can change the enchantments on it at will while having access to new unique enchants.

- A Brawler that can kill you with any object they pick. This includes sending their enemies flying for free on hit or sunder/disarm them from range with needles.

- Super powerful Tian Xia healers that use only the mundane Heal skil to recover lots of HP and even remove magical debuffs like curses.

- A freakin martial that is supposed to fight Spawns of Rovagug and can wrestle with colossal creatures like it was nothing.

- A flying Fighter with cool aerial maneuvers. They can even create shockwaves that send enemies flying away!

- A shifter that works as everyone originally imagined they should. It can spontaneously transform into different things whenever needed.

- Rogues that can remove alignment with their Sneak Attack, which disable a lot of abilities.

- A turbo Swashbuckler that actually seems interesting. They get pounce and can heal debuffs with kisses.

- A Rogue that can see the dreams of people and even enter them later. They can also remove debuffs and use dreamscape rules.

- A planewalker Ranger that works as advertised.

- Lots of freely accessible magical abilities in Conduit Feats.

So these are just the most notable examples from what was like 1 month worth of books. These martial options are really evocative and cool-sounding. I was really happy when I thought this would be the new design style for Pathfinder! Martials can have a lot of cool things in thematics ways... It just took many years before we got the options.

Wait, we actually
...

I just checked the dreamthief, and it turns out you had to sacrifice sneak attack for it...

The Azatariel and the Hinyasi looks pretty interesting though


BluLion wrote:
Arcaian wrote:
BluLion wrote:
ChibiNyan wrote:

On the "Anime" martials discussion, I think PF1 has lately started making some very awesome martial options that my groups have LOVED. While all this PF2 drama has been going on, we've gotten books like Blood of Ancients and Planar Adventures where you have things like:

- A Fighter with more skills that can at-will create a shadow weapon to use, which automatically scales to all +X and can change the enchantments on it at will while having access to new unique enchants.

- A Brawler that can kill you with any object they pick. This includes sending their enemies flying for free on hit or sunder/disarm them from range with needles.

- Super powerful Tian Xia healers that use only the mundane Heal skil to recover lots of HP and even remove magical debuffs like curses.

- A freakin martial that is supposed to fight Spawns of Rovagug and can wrestle with colossal creatures like it was nothing.

- A flying Fighter with cool aerial maneuvers. They can even create shockwaves that send enemies flying away!

- A shifter that works as everyone originally imagined they should. It can spontaneously transform into different things whenever needed.

- Rogues that can remove alignment with their Sneak Attack, which disable a lot of abilities.

- A turbo Swashbuckler that actually seems interesting. They get pounce and can heal debuffs with kisses.

- A Rogue that can see the dreams of people and even enter them later. They can also remove debuffs and use dreamscape rules.

- A planewalker Ranger that works as advertised.

- Lots of freely accessible magical abilities in Conduit Feats.

So these are just the most notable examples from what was like 1 month worth of books. These martial options are really evocative and cool-sounding. I was really happy when I thought this would be the new design style for Pathfinder! Martials can have a lot of cool things in thematics ways... It just took many years before we got the

...

the azatariel loses the level to damage Deed, so you need to go all over the place to regain the damage lost (basically, you need to build for twf and rely on counters a lot more as well)

Ofc, there's the shelyn prestige which I think fixes that problem later on (depending on gm ruling, it can be as late as level 11 before you get the deed), but that is another build altogether (glaive swashbuckler)


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
Ed Reppert wrote:
magnuskn wrote:
Ed Reppert wrote:
What's a DLC?

Oh, you innocent summers child. :)

It's DownLoadable Content, i.e. mini-expansions for computer games. Or better said, it ranges from mini-expansions to just cosmetic enhancements to a game. All paid for extra to the original release price.

Child? Odds are I'm older than you are.

Thanks for the definition. :-)

It's a saying. And you're welcome. :)


Wizards got a little love in the latest errata. Skills are now 4+Int bonus.


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Honestly, lack of skills trained at 1st level was pretty low on my Wizards' list of concerns.

I mean, it at least allows the Wizard to play as a textbook/loremaster and that's nice because if you can't do that with the highest INT character in your party, well...

Bards and Rogues are still superior skillmonkeys but that doesn't bother me because Wizards will be better at identifying monsters and items as well as recalling knowledge in their most obvious fields of work: Arcana, Occultism, Society...

However, the main issue with Wizards remains because it is that which all arcane spellcasters share: nerfed spells, nerfed spell slots, nerfed spell DCs.


magnuskn wrote:
Bluenose wrote:
Well, part of the problem here is that Merlin falls well short in terms of the spells he casts of what a high-level PF caster manages (Polymorph Other, Flesh to Stone, some illusions that aren't higher than 3rd level, and possibly Teleport are the top end of his repertoire except for one particular feat). If he's a model for the caster, he's either a mid-level one or the nerf to magic is quite extreme. And if the top end martials are supposed to be equal to Merlin, and the top end casters exceed his power by as much as they currently do, then you've not really solved anything.
D&D/PF by now has its own pantheon of high-level casters who got actual literature written about them, like Elminster and Raistlin Majere. Looking for inspiration in sources which did not even have the concept of many of the spells D&D/Pathfinder uses really does not make all that much sense.

You can look to older books for definitions of magic being awesome though. Merlin could predict the future, which is no small feat...but the really interesting things in Arthurian legend are the items. Someone had to craft them. It's really difficult to imagine that excalibur or the scabbard that contained it were created in a world where 3rd level spells are the cap.

I tend to think of Merlin and Morganna being powerful enough to keep each other in check - similar to dragons with bordering territories.

Magic should be narrative. If it isn't, it isn't magical.


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Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
dnoisette wrote:
However, the main issue with Wizards remains because it is that which all arcane spellcasters share: nerfed spells, nerfed spell slots, nerfed spell DCs.

Well, Mark said that they would have a development cycle where they will do a spell pass, somewhen in the future. Until we know what the results of that are, there's still hope.

AsmoSoulpyre wrote:

You can look to older books for definitions of magic being awesome though. Merlin could predict the future, which is no small feat...but the really interesting things in Arthurian legend are the items. Someone had to craft them. It's really difficult to imagine that excalibur or the scabbard that contained it were created in a world where 3rd level spells are the cap.

I tend to think of Merlin and Morganna being powerful enough to keep each other in check - similar to dragons with bordering territories.

Magic should be narrative. If it isn't, it isn't magical.

Oh, I'm not saying that in the old legends there are no spells and items you can reference for D&D/PF purposes. I was trying to say that you can't define the entire magic system by that alone, since it is after all an evolution of many decades of fantasy literature, myths and actual Dungeons and Dragons/Pathfinder novels.


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magnuskn wrote:
dnoisette wrote:
However, the main issue with Wizards remains because it is that which all arcane spellcasters share: nerfed spells, nerfed spell slots, nerfed spell DCs.

Well, Mark said that they would have a development cycle where they will do a spell pass, somewhen in the future. Until we know what the results of that are, there's still hope.

AsmoSoulpyre wrote:

You can look to older books for definitions of magic being awesome though. Merlin could predict the future, which is no small feat...but the really interesting things in Arthurian legend are the items. Someone had to craft them. It's really difficult to imagine that excalibur or the scabbard that contained it were created in a world where 3rd level spells are the cap.

I tend to think of Merlin and Morganna being powerful enough to keep each other in check - similar to dragons with bordering territories.

Magic should be narrative. If it isn't, it isn't magical.

Oh, I'm not saying that in the old legends there are no spells and items you can reference for D&D/PF purposes. I was trying to say that you can't define the entire magic system by that alone, since it is after all an evolution of many decades of fantasy literature, myths and actual Dungeons and Dragons/Pathfinder novels.

Most certainly. 'Fireball' isn't really something you'll find in ancient literature.


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magnuskn wrote:
Davick wrote:
The point of the game is not to play casters and lord over everyone else. The point is to have fun. Sure lording your miraculous spellcasting over others is fun, for you. But again, the intent is that EVERYONE have fun. That means martials need to be fun. That means martials and casters should ideally be equivalently fun. Otherwise one side syphons fun from the other. So arguments based on how "magic should be super powerful yadda yadda yadda" miss the point of the game even if they fit whatever sort of fantasy narrative you like. It's wrong just because of false premise, no matter how much math you can bring to bear.
The false premise is yours, in that you assume people want to "lord it over everyone else". Players of arcane casters want to feel useful and so far the rules have been overnerfed so much that all the areas where arcane casters excelled are now either bad or mediocre.

I didn't assume. I deduced it from reading this thread and from playing this game.

When I've playtested casters I didn't feel bad or mediocre. And the people I've seen who have made those complaints have framed them as not being as overpowered as they were. To borrow a phrase "a loss of privilege is not discrimination". Casters were too good. Lowering their power level is not inherently over-nerfing them.


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Davick wrote:


When I've playtested casters I didn't feel bad or mediocre. And the people I've seen who have made those complaints have framed them as not being as overpowered as they were. To borrow a phrase "a loss of privilege is not discrimination". Casters were too good. Lowering their power level is not inherently over-nerfing them.

THIS!! A thousand times THIS!


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Davick wrote:

When I've playtested casters I didn't feel bad or mediocre. And the people I've seen who have made those complaints have framed them as not being as overpowered as they were. To borrow a phrase "a loss of privilege is not discrimination". Casters were too good. Lowering their power level is not inherently over-nerfing them.

If you consider caster power, or the power of the 9th level spells how 3.PF scales in level, the scope of the told adventures or pure power of the characters. So if you liked how that goes then, yes casters were overnerfed. Getting bigger numbers is not helping me tell high level stories (PF2 is pure example of this as everyone gets bigger numbers but characters don't feel any more powerful).


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Davick wrote:
When I've playtested casters I didn't feel bad or mediocre. And the people I've seen who have made those complaints have framed them as not being as overpowered as they were. To borrow a phrase "a loss of privilege is not discrimination". Casters were too good. Lowering their power level is not inherently over-nerfing them.

Most people agree that lowering the ceiling was necessary. The disagreement is in how much to lower the floor, and was it really necessary to dig a basement?


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BPorter wrote:
Davick wrote:
When I've playtested casters I didn't feel bad or mediocre. And the people I've seen who have made those complaints have framed them as not being as overpowered as they were. To borrow a phrase "a loss of privilege is not discrimination". Casters were too good. Lowering their power level is not inherently over-nerfing them.

THIS!! A thousand times THIS!

well I don’t think anyone’s arguIng spells shouldn’t be reduced somewhat, but the OP did a thorough job showing the level of nerfing felt extreme, and affected multiple aspects of most spells. I think some of us were hoping for a scalpel rather than an ax. Or, boost martials to cure any sense of imbalance rather than so much nerfing to magic


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Davick wrote:
magnuskn wrote:
Davick wrote:
The point of the game is not to play casters and lord over everyone else. The point is to have fun. Sure lording your miraculous spellcasting over others is fun, for you. But again, the intent is that EVERYONE have fun. That means martials need to be fun. That means martials and casters should ideally be equivalently fun. Otherwise one side syphons fun from the other. So arguments based on how "magic should be super powerful yadda yadda yadda" miss the point of the game even if they fit whatever sort of fantasy narrative you like. It's wrong just because of false premise, no matter how much math you can bring to bear.
The false premise is yours, in that you assume people want to "lord it over everyone else". Players of arcane casters want to feel useful and so far the rules have been overnerfed so much that all the areas where arcane casters excelled are now either bad or mediocre.

I didn't assume. I deduced it from reading this thread and from playing this game.

When I've playtested casters I didn't feel bad or mediocre. And the people I've seen who have made those complaints have framed them as not being as overpowered as they were. To borrow a phrase "a loss of privilege is not discrimination". Casters were too good. Lowering their power level is not inherently over-nerfing them.

"Lowering" can go in many ways. You might think how much they lowered is ok.

Ultimately this is a matter of preference, i wont presume to say what you felt is wrong, but considering i felt quite the opposite, i cant say there is any reason to play this over PF1.

Horrid scaling DCs, many spells where you need to land a critical failure to even matter, short duration to utility spells, summon monster that is barely functional... together are enough to make me lose any interest in this edition.

Hoping the devs do give some thought when it comes to rebalancing this magic system.


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Nox Aeterna wrote:

Horrid scaling DCs, many spells where you need to land a critical failure to even matter, short duration to utility spells, summon monster that is barely functional... together are enough to make me lose any interest in this edition.

Hoping the devs do give some thought when it comes to rebalancing this magic system.

On the other hand, many spells have an effect on failure. Paralyze compared to Hold Monster, for example. If the target passes its save vs Hold Monster, nothing has happened. If the target passes its save against Paralyze, they're slowed for a round. Basically, spells are currently guaranteed to do at least something, but don't have encounter ending effects unless on a critical success, which I think is overall much healthier for the game.

On a different subject, I had a thought recently: Damage spells really should scale with caster level rather than spell slot. I believe this because non-damage spells (buffs & debuffs) scale without requiring higher spell slots. For example, at level 1 the spell Bless represents something along the lines of a 10% damage increase for the party so long as you can keep it up. If the party averages 30odd damage per round normally, that's about 3 points of damage per round. Magic missile, by contrast if cast will all actions, averages 7.5 at level 1. Over the life of bless, it's an expected 30 damage (ideal & unlikely scenario I know). So less upfront damage, more efficiency.

At level 10, the level 1 spell Bless still represents something along the lines of a 10% damage increase. Since the party is now all wielding +2 magic weapons, they're looking at something like 60 damage per round, where bless is now 6 damage per round, and 60 over its life, compared to the (still) 7.5 of magic missile.

Basically, why have one category of spells that scale in power with character level, and another that don't?


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Ronnam wrote:
BPorter wrote:
Davick wrote:
When I've playtested casters I didn't feel bad or mediocre. And the people I've seen who have made those complaints have framed them as not being as overpowered as they were. To borrow a phrase "a loss of privilege is not discrimination". Casters were too good. Lowering their power level is not inherently over-nerfing them.

THIS!! A thousand times THIS!

well I don’t think anyone’s arguIng spells shouldn’t be reduced somewhat, but the OP did a thorough job showing the level of nerfing felt extreme, and affected multiple aspects of most spells. I think some of us were hoping for a scalpel rather than an ax. Or, boost martials to cure any sense of imbalance rather than so much nerfing to magic

I think almost all of us would agree - bringing others up to the power level of the magic users is acceptable. Bringing the magic down to the power level of a martial character is an odd decision.

It is magic. It is implied 3.5 that Elminster has visited Earth. Does that mean we have to have an interplanetary teleport spell in the playtest? No. It doesn't.

But having the system in the playtest feel like the arcane casting classes no longer have a remote chance in fulfilling the same stories as their predecessors on the same world is a little odd.

Compare the Runelords to current casters(I've been reading about them lately), and tell me that something isn't wrong.

Does the fix require that magic be more powerful than everything else? No, it really doesn't. It does, however, require a fix to not render previous narratives obsolete.

Personally, this was my biggest issue with the MMO spellcasters in the edition that caused Pathfinder to exist. The stories about the people in the places that had already been told could no longer be told, without a hand-waving explanation that somewhere along the line magic was suddenly too weak for the exploits that the characters had done 10 years ago to happen again.

This is the same situation, inexplicably, in a matter of a few years, suddenly the entire backbone has been ripped out of magic. It isn't about the 'damage per round' of the spells. It isn't about the distance that a teleport can take you, or how many rounds it takes to cast the spell. It's about the fact that at equal level, an arcane caster has nothing but weakness compared to everyone else. There is no 'shining area' for a sorcerer or wizard in this edition. The class may have been over powered previously, now they are almost useless by comparison to the other classes. Everyone else brings MORE to the table.

Rogue, Bard, Ranger, Alchemist - all will do comparable damage to an arcane caster, even not built optimally and have more skills to use to help the party.

Barbarian, Fighter, Paladin - will outshine the arcane casters in damage even if played with mild skill, given magic weapons at low and mid tiers, to say nothing of high tier. Particularly given the rate of failure of spell casting.

Druid, Cleric - bring more versatile options to the table than the sorcerer or wizard while doing as much casting as the people who supposedly do nothing but studiously attempt to harness their inner power or struggle to learn other things because they're so focused on their spellbooks.


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Also keep in mind that full casters got short-changed by the implementation of the 3-action/reaction system. Martials get to move-move-attack, or move-attack-attack or 3-attack. But for casters, we are still stuck in the PF1E dark age of move-attack because the majority of spells are still two actions to cast.

So the Playtest has nerfed casters' top end of the power, effect scaling, range, area, duration, effects, number of spells per day, and on and on, and also not given them one of the most significant new toys.

But, casters get to spam the battlefield with damage-scaling cantrips, because blasting is apparently how you play casters now.


Paizo Superscriber; Pathfinder Companion, Pathfinder Accessories, Starfinder Accessories, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber

Has anything been said officially to the effect that what's in the Playtest, and no more, will be what's in PF2 when it is released?

I ask because some posters seem to think it has. I view the Playtest as a subset of a full rule set we have yet to see, designed to test specific parts of that rule set.


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Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
Ronnam wrote:
well I don’t think anyone’s arguIng spells shouldn’t be reduced somewhat, but the OP did a thorough job showing the level of nerfing felt extreme, and affected multiple aspects of most spells. I think some of us were hoping for a scalpel rather than an ax. Or, boost martials to cure any sense of imbalance rather than so much nerfing to magic

Yeah, I think I'll choose this polite answer and say "That's what I would have said". :p

John Mechalas wrote:

Also keep in mind that full casters got short-changed by the implementation of the 3-action/reaction system. Martials get to move-move-attack, or move-attack-attack or 3-attack. But for casters, we are still stuck in the PF1E dark age of move-attack because the majority of spells are still two actions to cast.

So the Playtest has nerfed casters' top end of the power, effect scaling, range, area, duration, effects, number of spells per day, and on and on, and also not given them one of the most significant new toys.

But, casters get to spam the battlefield with damage-scaling cantrips, because blasting is apparently how you play casters now.

Also this.

Ed Reppert wrote:

Has anything been said officially to the effect that what's in the Playtest, and no more, will be what's in PF2 when it is released?

I ask because some posters seem to think it has. I view the Playtest as a subset of a full rule set we have yet to see, designed to test specific parts of that rule set.

It's what came out with the playtest document. Until the developers have actually made changes, it's the only thing we've got to work with.


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AsmoSoulpyre wrote:


Druid, Cleric - bring more versatile options to the table than the sorcerer or wizard while doing as much casting as the people who supposedly do nothing but studiously attempt to harness their inner power or struggle to learn other things because they're so focused on their spellbooks

Not counting channel energy which i find a bit powerful of a feature, sorcerers / wizards have 33% more spells per day than druids / clerics (4 of each level in contrast to 3). Is that sufficiently more? Maybe not. But wizards / sorcerers are slinging the most spells.

Quote:

Also keep in mind that full casters got short-changed by the implementation of the 3-action/reaction system.

This I'm also quite disappointed by, especially since metamagic costs extra actions to apply. I'd like more flexibility in spellcaster turns. More spells that only cost 1 action, and more cc / buff / debuff cantrips like Daze.


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Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

As a small and minor note I don't think the action system has completely nerfed casters. In my games both 1st and 4th level casters have cast multiple spells in a round which was not possible before this.

I don't know if its a good idea at times but it is possible.


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Pathfinder Adventure Path, Lost Omens, Pathfinder Accessories, Rulebook, Starfinder Accessories, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Ronnam wrote:
BPorter wrote:
Davick wrote:
When I've playtested casters I didn't feel bad or mediocre. And the people I've seen who have made those complaints have framed them as not being as overpowered as they were. To borrow a phrase "a loss of privilege is not discrimination". Casters were too good. Lowering their power level is not inherently over-nerfing them.

THIS!! A thousand times THIS!

well I don’t think anyone’s arguIng spells shouldn’t be reduced somewhat, but the OP did a thorough job showing the level of nerfing felt extreme, and affected multiple aspects of most spells. I think some of us were hoping for a scalpel rather than an ax. Or, boost martials to cure any sense of imbalance rather than so much nerfing to magic

While some certainly aren't arguing that "reasonable reduction" is a problem, many - or at least a vocal minority are arguing just that. They are arguing that the caster power-level of PF1 is sacrosanct and the only viable "balancing" is to bring all pc-power level up to that level. If not in this thread, then certainly in others.

Dark Archive

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You know i am seeing each side calling others a minority. Please stop. Everyone on these forums are a minority.

EDIT:Just to be clear. All of us on these forum are part of the same minority. A lot of people never visits these forums.

EDIT 2: Calling other people minority doesnt help your arguments. It makes it look biased and makes it look like you are trying a little too hard to support your argument. Which it doesnt btw.


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
Lausth wrote:

You know i am seeing each side calling others a minority. Please stop. Everyone on these forums are a minority.

EDIT:Just to be clear. All of us on these forum are part of the same minority. A lot of people never visits these forums.

EDIT 2: Calling other people minority doesnt help your arguments. It makes it look biased and makes it look like you are trying a little too hard to support your argument. Which it doesnt btw.

Yup. Personally, I simply don't know which side actually has a majority and or how big that majority would turn out to be. But quite a few people naturally assume that the others are just a few people and therefore wrong.


Lausth wrote:

You know i am seeing each side calling others a minority. Please stop. Everyone on these forums are a minority.

EDIT:Just to be clear. All of us on these forum are part of the same minority. A lot of people never visits these forums.

EDIT 2: Calling other people minority doesnt help your arguments. It makes it look biased and makes it look like you are trying a little too hard to support your argument. Which it doesnt btw.

I swear I'm just going to save this post in a text file or something.

I am constantly amazed at how many posters on this forum assume that they are members of the "silent majority" and yet there is never an admitted member of the "vocal minority" to be found.


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

I said "MANY - OR A VOCAL MINORITY". I think the spread was covered.


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magnuskn, your proposed solution would be to:
1) Remove the Uncommon spell list
2) Make buff spells last longer
3) Improve 'fluff' spells like prestigitation and unseen servant
4) Increase spell slots
5) Make damage spells a more viable choice
6) Give Sorcerers endless spontaneous heightening

I love almost all of those proposed changes. The only one I disagree with is increasing spell slots. Honestly, I don't think spellcasters need dozens of spell slots per day. Three to ten powerful spells, that's what matters. I also think that lesser magical tricks should become rote to an advanced mage, in the same way that (hopefully) lesser skill challenges should become rote to an expert or master in their craft. Given that, what would you think about something like the following (tweaked and balanced accordingly of course):

Each day, spellcasters gain two Spell Slots of the highest level they can cast, three of the second-highest level, and five of the third-highest level. A spellcaster may cast a spell four or more levels below their highest spell level at will, as if they had used a slot four below their maximum, but only up to once per minute. Characters affected by such at-will spells are Bolstered against further uses by that character for 24 hours.


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GwynHawk wrote:

magnuskn, your proposed solution would be to:

1) Remove the Uncommon spell list
2) Make buff spells last longer
3) Improve 'fluff' spells like prestigitation and unseen servant
4) Increase spell slots
5) Make damage spells a more viable choice
6) Give Sorcerers endless spontaneous heightening

I love almost all of those proposed changes. The only one I disagree with is increasing spell slots. Honestly, I don't think spellcasters need dozens of spell slots per day. Three to ten powerful spells, that's what matters. I also think that lesser magical tricks should become rote to an advanced mage, in the same way that (hopefully) lesser skill challenges should become rote to an expert or master in their craft. Given that, what would you think about something like the following (tweaked and balanced accordingly of course):

Each day, spellcasters gain two Spell Slots of the highest level they can cast, three of the second-highest level, and five of the third-highest level. A spellcaster may cast a spell four or more levels below their highest spell level at will, as if they had used a slot four below their maximum, but only up to once per minute. Characters affected by such at-will spells are Bolstered against further uses by that character for 24 hours.

the sliiight problem i find with their lowered spells/day is that spells generally MUST be heightened to max level to be even mildly useful (and have their dc have the coinflip everyone works towards), with 3 (and only ever 3) of that slot per day, your spell list becomes a huge bottleneck. those that aren't heightened must either be buffs or DC-less spells, or they're pretty much harmless/useless.


AndIMustMask wrote:
the sliiight problem i find with their lowered spells/day is that spells generally MUST be heightened to max level to be even mildly useful (and have their dc have the coinflip everyone works towards), with 3 (and only ever 3) of that slot per day, your spell list becomes a huge bottleneck. those that aren't heightened must either be buffs or DC-less spells, or they're pretty much harmless/useless.

Well, consider an 11th level spellcaster with this system. They get 2 6th level slots, 3 5th level slots, 5 4th level slots, and the ability to cast any level 1-3 spell they know auto-heightened to a 3rd level slot once per minute. That's a free Fireball to open any fight, or a barrage of up to six magic missiles. Outside of combat, they can cast Locate at will (so long as it's a different target each time), use Invisibility once a day, or remove the diseases of any number of sick people given enough time. If you can cast Heal, you get a free cast heightened to 3rd level on every party member and every stranger you want to meet and lend aid to.

Sure, their once-per-minute free combat spell won't be the hardest hitting spell they can cast... but it's free. It's essentially limitless. It demonstrates the spellcaster's mastery over lesser magic. It reduces the slots you need to track. Finally, and perhaps most importantly, it's a -cool- ability. So what if it's not incredibly powerful? It's the kind of neat power that new players will look at and salivate over. "You're telling me that if I get to a high level... I can Fireball whenever I want? Dude, I totally want to play a Wizard!"


AndIMustMask, spell level no longer influences DC. The DC for every spell is 10 + the caster's proficiency bonus + their casting ability modifier + any relevant item, circumstance and conditional bonuses. Thus, an 11th level Wizard with 20 intelligence and no bonuses would have a DC of 26 (10 + 11 for trained proficiency + 5 for Intelligence) whether he's casting the Level 1 spell Grease or the Level 6 spell Chain Lightning.

Since save or suck spells benefit from the increased DC more than damaging spells, I imagine most casters will use their low-level spell slots on utility spells, buffs or battlefield control spells that have a big enough effect without heightening to be worth using in combat.

GwynHawk, I'm not sure I like the idea of giving casters unlimited spells beyond cantrips. I'm worried that would keep the designers from putting powerful, world-altering spells in the lower levels. For example, you'll notice that they changed Create Water from an unlimited cantrip to a Level 1 spell. Since most of the games I've played in end before level 11, I'd like to get such spells earlier.


Thaliak wrote:
GwynHawk, I'm not sure I like the idea of giving casters unlimited spells beyond cantrips. I'm worried that would keep the designers from putting powerful, world-altering spells in the lower levels. For example, you'll notice that they changed Create Water from an unlimited cantrip to a Level 1 spell. Since most of the games I've played in end before level 11, I'd like to get such spells earlier.

I see your point. I also think that you can flip it around. Take Create Water, with my spellcasting change a 7th level or higher spellcaster could cast Create Water once per minute. That means such a spellcaster could have a job creating water for, say, 8 hours a day and produce about 1,000 gallons. The water evaporates after a day if not drunk, but it'd still be a very useful profession. They could sell it in a desert town, or provide it as a service paid for by the local government. They'd be invaluable on a sailing vessel or as part of an army. Consider a 9th level caster who gets Create Food; with 8 hours of work they can feed about 300 medium creatures, though the food is unappealing and unsatisfying. Consider how that might improve the living conditions of settlements or armies that can afford a 9th level character's retainer fees.

Clearly similar options, tied to either class or skills, should be open to non-spellcasters but this is a thread about fixing magic so I won't go into detail about that here. Regardless, The potential for higher-level adventurers to improve the quality of life of their community should not be rejected, it should be embraced. Instead of fearing for how magic would alter society, it should be explored. I can't think of a better way to make players feel like their characters are well and truly becoming powerful and influential.


Thaliak wrote:

AndIMustMask, spell level no longer influences DC. The DC for every spell is 10 + the caster's proficiency bonus + their casting ability modifier + any relevant item, circumstance and conditional bonuses. Thus, an 11th level Wizard with 20 intelligence and no bonuses would have a DC of 26 (10 + 11 for trained proficiency + 5 for Intelligence) whether he's casting the Level 1 spell Grease or the Level 6 spell Chain Lightning.

Since save or suck spells benefit from the increased DC more than damaging spells, I imagine most casters will use their low-level spell slots on utility spells, buffs or battlefield control spells that have a big enough effect without heightening to be worth using in combat.

GwynHawk, I'm not sure I like the idea of giving casters unlimited spells beyond cantrips. I'm worried that would keep the designers from putting powerful, world-altering spells in the lower levels. For example, you'll notice that they changed Create Water from an unlimited cantrip to a Level 1 spell. Since most of the games I've played in end before level 11, I'd like to get such spells earlier.

that's my mistake, and alleviates a good deal of worry on my part. thanks for letting me know!


AndIMustMask, it was my pleasure. Thanks for giving me an excuse to write.

GwynHawk wrote:
Thaliak wrote:
GwynHawk, I'm not sure I like the idea of giving casters unlimited spells beyond cantrips. I'm worried that would keep the designers from putting powerful, world-altering spells in the lower levels. For example, you'll notice that they changed Create Water from an unlimited cantrip to a Level 1 spell. Since most of the games I've played in end before level 11, I'd like to get such spells earlier.

I see your point. I also think that you can flip it around. Take Create Water, with my spellcasting change a 7th level or higher spellcaster could cast Create Water once per minute. That means such a spellcaster could have a job creating water for, say, 8 hours a day and produce about 1,000 gallons. The water evaporates after a day if not drunk, but it'd still be a very useful profession. They could sell it in a desert town, or provide it as a service paid for by the local government. They'd be invaluable on a sailing vessel or as part of an army. Consider a 9th level caster who gets Create Food; with 8 hours of work they can feed about 300 medium creatures, though the food is unappealing and unsatisfying. Consider how that might improve the living conditions of settlements or armies that can afford a 9th level character's retainer fees.

Clearly similar options, tied to either class or skills, should be open to non-spellcasters but this is a thread about fixing magic so I won't go into detail about that here. Regardless, The potential for higher-level adventurers to improve the quality of life of their community should not be rejected, it should be embraced. Instead of fearing for how magic would alter society, it should be explored. I can't think of a better way to make players feel like their characters are well and truly becoming powerful and influential.

I can see the value in empowering player characters (or the allies they recruit) to use magic and skills to change the world where they're ultimately the stars. Coming up with creative ways to use spells and other abilities can be fun. For example, I love the idea of a 20th-level Elven monk with Nimble, Fleet, Winding Path, Tiger Stance and Enduring Quickness running 21 miles an hour to deliver medicine to the sick or warn towns of the oncoming demon horde.

As a player, I'd also appreciate having fewer slots to track at high levels. However, I'd be worried that non-casters would be overshadowed by spells. The ranger who can find water even in the driest desert will feel far less useful in a party with a wizard who can create it at will.

When I GM, I also generally like to tell stories that focus on conflicts between people in gritty settings. Perhaps there's a war between several tribes over who controls the desert oasis. While I suspect I could come up with reasons for water access to be an issue in a world where a seventh-level caster can generate enough water to sustain 2,000 people a day, such as those casters being rare or distrusted by the populace, that is an extra task. I could also confine my games to low levels, but that would get old.

Having said that, Pathfinder's world already falls apart if it's examined too closely. For example, it does a poor job of exploring the effects magic would have on society. In a world where a 2,000 gold ring can let workaholics survive without stopping for meals or shutting their eyes for more than two hours, I'd expect science to advance at a rapid pace. I can also see an industry built around renting the rings to students who need to cram.

So I think I could live with more powerful, repetitive magic. It'd disrupt the setting, but that setting is a playground, not a simulator. I'd just nod and keep pretending everything except the cool parts works like an idealized version of medieval Europe, because that keeps the focus on the fun.


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
GwynHawk wrote:

magnuskn, your proposed solution would be to:

1) Remove the Uncommon spell list
2) Make buff spells last longer
3) Improve 'fluff' spells like prestigitation and unseen servant
4) Increase spell slots
5) Make damage spells a more viable choice
6) Give Sorcerers endless spontaneous heightening

I love almost all of those proposed changes. The only one I disagree with is increasing spell slots. Honestly, I don't think spellcasters need dozens of spell slots per day. Three to ten powerful spells, that's what matters. I also think that lesser magical tricks should become rote to an advanced mage, in the same way that (hopefully) lesser skill challenges should become rote to an expert or master in their craft. Given that, what would you think about something like the following (tweaked and balanced accordingly of course):

Each day, spellcasters gain two Spell Slots of the highest level they can cast, three of the second-highest level, and five of the third-highest level. A spellcaster may cast a spell four or more levels below their highest spell level at will, as if they had used a slot four below their maximum, but only up to once per minute. Characters affected by such at-will spells are Bolstered against further uses by that character for 24 hours.

It's an interesting proposal and pretty different from what we've had before. I honestly don't know if I'd like it too much, since having the long list of low-level spells available is one of those hallmarks of casters, which elevates their utility for the party. Especially in the sense that, for example, Sorcerers sometimes need to cast Fly four times in a row, which would empty out a lot of high-level slots under your proposal. It would still be possible to use the spell with the spell-like ability slots if you can afford the one minute delay between castings, though. As I said, it's an interesting idea.

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