Arcane Spellcasters in PF2E – quo vadis?


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shroudb wrote:


Actually, martials have it way worse than casters, since magical weapons being mandatory is much more prominent than spell duelist items (one affects damage and tohit, the other only tohit) AND casters at least only have 3 tiers of spell duelist (+1/+2/+3) as opposed to 5 tiers for martials (+1/+2/+3/+4/+5 weapon)

Martials are welcome to stick with +1/+2/+3 and have their attacks fail as frequently as spells do. I don't think that will make their situation better.

You're right about mage armor being nowhere near as valuable as a spell of its level is meant to be. And caster feats are nowhere near as valuable as picking up better armor and weapon options. This change will just tip the scales a bit more toward casters starting out as fighters and multiclassing to casters rather than the other way around.

If non-proficiency hadn't been bumped up to -4, casters would just do without the proficiency and wear armor with a rune regardless.


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John Lynch 106 wrote:

Why shouldn't a mage have to invest in an item for A.C.?

...
Do these items actually exist at a comparable level to braces? Or are mages being pigeon holed into taking braces?

The AC is important, but don't forget that it's also saving throws. You are assumed to have a +X item bonus at higher levels, and magic armor/equivalent is how you get it.

There are no pearls in the playtest. A 4th level bracers (and 8th level on the treasure charts) is a 475 gp and a +2 to saves, a +2 armor rune is 300 gp (and 7th level on the treasure charts). It appears like mages are paying a premium for something not as good - expert leather armor is only 38gp, and is better than the bracers with the +2 sigil (assuming proficiency and not a really [+7] high dex ).


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pad300 wrote:
not a really [+7] high dex

That's the highest dex possible, requiring level 20 and a magic item.

In fact, since levels 15-19 will have so much more play than level 20, even in a game with some level 20 action, I assume no optimizing player will boost their main skill a third time at 15, making +5 the practical ability score cap without a magic item (which makes it +6).


ErichAD wrote:
shroudb wrote:


Actually, martials have it way worse than casters, since magical weapons being mandatory is much more prominent than spell duelist items (one affects damage and tohit, the other only tohit) AND casters at least only have 3 tiers of spell duelist (+1/+2/+3) as opposed to 5 tiers for martials (+1/+2/+3/+4/+5 weapon)

Martials are welcome to stick with +1/+2/+3 and have their attacks fail as frequently as spells do. I don't think that will make their situation better.

You're right about mage armor being nowhere near as valuable as a spell of its level is meant to be. And caster feats are nowhere near as valuable as picking up better armor and weapon options. This change will just tip the scales a bit more toward casters starting out as fighters and multiclassing to casters rather than the other way around.

If non-proficiency hadn't been bumped up to -4, casters would just do without the proficiency and wear armor with a rune regardless.

That's a completely erroneous comparison.

The +3 to touch ends up as a +5 equivalent vs normal AC.

To put it simply :

Spell dueling attack bonus +1/+2/+3 is equivalent to magic weapon attack bonus of +1/+3/+5

And I have 0 problems of martial damage scales by level and magic weapons come only as a +1/+3/+5 variant (with equal adjustment to monster AC not scaling up when you were getting the +2/+4 weapon progression)

P. S.

Also stop putting words into my mouth.

Btw:

I agree with your conclusion that martial to hit needs help. And caster AC is fine when compared to martials

(Not very nice is it?)

Pps :

At the end of the line, the end conclusion indeed is martials have exactly the same itemization issues, if not worse. "Bracers of Armor" are NOT a caster issue, they are a Pf2 edition issue


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Lyee wrote:
pad300 wrote:
not a really [+7] high dex

That's the highest dex possible, requiring level 20 and a magic item.

In fact, since levels 15-19 will have so much more play than level 20, even in a game with some level 20 action, I assume no optimizing player will boost their main skill a third time at 15, making +5 the practical ability score cap without a magic item (which makes it +6).

Yes, exactly, armor is better than bracers unless you have a crazy high dex score...


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pad300 wrote:
John Lynch 106 wrote:

Why shouldn't a mage have to invest in an item for A.C.?

...
Do these items actually exist at a comparable level to braces? Or are mages being pigeon holed into taking braces?

The AC is important, but don't forget that it's also saving throws. You are assumed to have a +X item bonus at higher levels, and magic armor/equivalent is how you get it.

There are no pearls in the playtest. A 4th level bracers (and 8th level on the treasure charts) is a 475 gp and a +2 to saves, a +2 armor rune is 300 gp (and 7th level on the treasure charts). It appears like mages are paying a premium for something not as good - expert leather armor is only 38gp, and is better than the bracers with the +2 sigil (assuming proficiency and not a really [+7] high dex ).

While I have only been mangled in melee once in four sessiins of 4th / 7th Wizard playing so far, using the somewhat requisite Bracers of Armor, my friend Bill framed this as a Martial (not caster) problem - Martial frontliners need ways to protect allies from monsters charging through them to hit less AC building casters.

With two frontliners and a Wolf (tripping Quasit) "guarding" the front lines with positioning, the GM specifically said, "time to take out the caster threats" and ran around them (for a successful critical hit.

Martials, in my playtest group, want more melee control, as part of the synergy they bring to the group that precludes ranged / buff / debuff / utility oriented characters from having to build as though they intend to face tank.

While these issues touch on Arcane casters, I think the bigger issues are monster accuracy and non-caster mechanics needed.


Freagarthach wrote:
pad300 wrote:
John Lynch 106 wrote:

Why shouldn't a mage have to invest in an item for A.C.?

...
Do these items actually exist at a comparable level to braces? Or are mages being pigeon holed into taking braces?

The AC is important, but don't forget that it's also saving throws. You are assumed to have a +X item bonus at higher levels, and magic armor/equivalent is how you get it.

...

...

While these issues touch on Arcane casters, I think the bigger issues are monster accuracy and non-caster mechanics needed.

Freagarthach, All I'm speaking too is the bit I quoted. Yeah, you are expected to have/need to have a +X item bonus to saves and the associated AC bonus at higher levels. Further, the best way (in the playtest) to get this is armor rather than bracers (never mind spending a max spell slot on mage armor...).


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Hmm. Now that I'm thinking about it, PF2 could be a fantastic rules system for running Spheres of Power. It has scaling already built into the core class mechanics, and the class feats look a LOT like the sphere talents. Maybe that's the direction the magic should go. It was pretty popular in 1e, and now that Pathfinder is completely breaking away from DnD; we could convert pretty cleanly.
Can someone from Drop Dead confirm that they're doing this?


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Spheres of power is a great magic system. It doesn't feel... disconnected like the current system. None of that being able to be an evocation specialist who mostly prepares conjuration and illusion spells silliness. No never taking a single fire spell till level 20. If they did something like spheres of power and did it well, I'd be all for it.


shroudb wrote:


That's a completely erroneous comparison.

The +3 to touch ends up as a +5 equivalent vs normal AC.

Fair enough, I'll take your word on that for now. Though it's a bit different from the math I've seen elsewhere. Also, it looks like there are 4 levels of spell duelist gloves/wands. I thought there were only 3 as well, so I'm sure whatever I looked at before is suspect.

I'm sorry if I took your words incorrectly. When you compared bracers of armor to a flexible one use magic items after also noting that your casters have never spent a spell on mage armor, I took it to mean that you saw mage armor as a poor spell regardless of its origin from either an item or a spell slot. If your intent was just to point out that a spell slot is always better than a set spell, then I guess I took it a step too far.


Starfox wrote:
dnoisette wrote:
However, I also did not expect for Jason Bulmahn to state that the devs would promptly nerf the only good option that Bards, Sorcerers and Wizards currently have: multiclassing Fighter.

Listening to the podcast, I felt that Bulmahn was missing the whys of multiclassing as fighter - that lightly armored classes are way behind in AC, and that in this edition this is lethal.

Where does all this lead to? In my case, I think the monsters are just too accurate, which players MUST to adjust to. This is an adage for me; if you increase the pressure on the players by maging things harder, players will make gamist choices instead of role-playing choices.

But I haven't seen anything to say that he thinks monster numbers are ideal, or that they won't be dialed back. That is the problem as you say, and over-milking Archetype for best AC to mitigate doesn't actually give best data on system. It doesn't help to quantify & fix the real problem when people optimize around the system's problems, playtesting needs the real results. I don't think enough people can discern the difference between their normal personal gaming proclivities and what a playtest needs.


Freagarthach wrote:


My Wizard, so far, has not even thought of being other than a pure caster (I just remembered my weapon, it is a Staff of Healing). That has led to one tough spot where a critical hit would have taken off over half my hit points (but took less because Shield spell). Otherwise, all I have done is utility cast (Continual Light rings for the party using starting gold), Heal, Shield, Summon Monster, and Cantrips. Yes the cantrips do feel underwhelming at times, however they have never been a wasted action - and that is a big improvement in some situations. A tiny positive contribution still feels different, to me, than a whiff.

What is your wizard doing with a staff of healing and how is he casting the heal spell?

The Playtest Rulebook wrote (p379)

Quote:
To cast a spell from a staff, you must have the spell on your spell list and be able to use the spellcasting actions listed in the spell’s entry

Did he take a cleric archetype?


Snickersnax wrote:
Freagarthach wrote:


My Wizard, so far, has not even thought of being other than a pure caster (I just remembered my weapon, it is a Staff of Healing). That has led to one tough spot where a critical hit would have taken off over half my hit points (but took less because Shield spell). Otherwise, all I have done is utility cast (Continual Light rings for the party using starting gold), Heal, Shield, Summon Monster, and Cantrips. Yes the cantrips do feel underwhelming at times, however they have never been a wasted action - and that is a big improvement in some situations. A tiny positive contribution still feels different, to me, than a whiff.

What is your wizard doing with a staff of healing and how is he casting the heal spell?

The Playtest Rulebook wrote (p379)

Quote:
To cast a spell from a staff, you must have the spell on your spell list and be able to use the spellcasting actions listed in the spell’s entry
Did he take a cleric archetype?

Yep. I mention that earlier, though it is a big thread.


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dnoisette wrote:

It looks like us complaining about having to go down the gish path to make our spellcasters work somehow made the staff aware that they might not suck as much as they should.

So we're going to nerf that.

The developers, at times, seem to miss the forest for the trees. They didn't like people using a Wand of Cure Light Wounds to heal, so they nerfed wand charges and limited how much a person could use wands each day. The real problem was that healing magic and most items were too inefficient, especially at high levels, so healing between battles either took most of a spellcaster's repertoire or a prolonged rest period.

The other day I looked at three monsters at a given level and each of them only needed to roll a 9 to make their saves against spells. This means that odds are for monsters to take reduced damage and nullify status ailments. With no way to improve spell DCs without going out of one's way in battle to inflict Frighten or other conditions, that takes the oomph out of a lot of spells.

Ranged touch attack spells seem to hold up better with spell duelist items, but I'd like battlefield control to be easier.

shroudb wrote:
Equally pigeonholed as martials taking magic armor.

I'm not fond of this as a comparison because magic armor and bracers occupy different slots, and those slots do not have equal value. A fighter who wears magic armor has their wrist slot open for Bracers of Missile Deflection, while a wizard who wears Bracers of Armor has their armor slot open for... nothing at all.

I really dislike when a slot is effectively occupied by default by a particular item so that certain classes can't really use other items of the same slot (especially because items need to be invested, so it's harder to swap between them on the fly). It seemed like we were getting away from that by having the Cloak of Resistance effect folded into runes of potency and most stat-backing equipment being late-game and possibly optional, but mages still tend to get backed into giving up their bracer slot, and monks, while now benefiting from getting simple weapons and being able to use a feat to get martial weapons, still generally have to give up their glove slot for Handwraps of Mighty Fists.

If it were up to me, I'd prefer to see something like the Automatic Bonus Progression rules and let players use all their slots for whatever neat items they find.

Freagarthach wrote:
With two frontliners and a Wolf (tripping Quasit) "guarding" the front lines with positioning, the GM specifically said, "time to take out the caster threats" and ran around them (for a successful critical hit.

This is a major part of why I dislike Attack of Opportunity being gated away to fighters and mid-level paladins -- it's that much harder to protect allies. Plus it's another one-way game changer, since Attack of Opportunity shows up pretty frequently on monsters. I feel like it makes players have to be strategic while monsters are allowed to be reckless.


Sanmei wrote:
dnoisette wrote:

It looks like us complaining about having to go down the gish path to make our spellcasters work somehow made the staff aware that they might not suck as much as they should.

So we're going to nerf that.

The developers, at times, seem to miss the forest for the trees. They didn't like people using a Wand of Cure Light Wounds to heal, so they nerfed wand charges and limited how much a person could use wands each day. The real problem was that healing magic and most items were too inefficient, especially at high levels, so healing between battles either took most of a spellcaster's repertoire or a prolonged rest period.

The other day I looked at three monsters at a given level and each of them only needed to roll a 9 to make their saves against spells. This means that odds are for monsters to take reduced damage and nullify status ailments. With no way to improve spell DCs without going out of one's way in battle to inflict Frighten or other conditions, that takes the oomph out of a lot of spells.

Ranged touch attack spells seem to hold up better with spell duelist items, but I'd like battlefield control to be easier.

I'm going to assume that this is against equal-level enemies.

One thing you should also consider is that the level assessment is much more reliable, and you're approximately equal in power to an enemy wizard of the same level (which was very much not the case in PF1). As such, an equal-level enemy wizard would theoretically be able to do the exact same thing to you, i.e. debilitate you when you require an extremely high die roll to save against it.


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You know what I think would really help, no pure bonuses.

First off, automatic bonus progression was needed in pf1 because were designed witn the expectation of certain bonuses, however, in a new system, you can simply design monsters with the expectation of no bonuses and therefore there would be no need for abp.

Second, I think they should not include the major bonuses in a pure form, but rather the only such bonuses should be conditional and limited. For example, instead of a +2 leather armor, it is Sheltering Leather Armor with a +2 bonus to AC only when taking total defensive, or have Windy Leather Armor with a +2 against arrows and darts. This way, bonuses are actually interesting and helpful yet never universal in a way that makes them must-haves.


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Sanmei wrote:
I'd like battlefield control to be easier.

So would anyone who's ever had to manage a battle. :-)


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Cyouni wrote:
Last I checked, they have far more data than you do. If they had data which states that the vast majority of arcane spellcasters (or primal spellcasters, etc) find combat to be more difficult, or play to be unsatisfying, then I would assume they'd do something about it, or at the very least say something about it.

I am not sure how they would have such data. The surveys only ask what, they don't ask why.


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John Mechalas wrote:
Cyouni wrote:
Last I checked, they have far more data than you do. If they had data which states that the vast majority of arcane spellcasters (or primal spellcasters, etc) find combat to be more difficult, or play to be unsatisfying, then I would assume they'd do something about it, or at the very least say something about it.
I am not sure how they would have such data. The surveys only ask what, they don't ask why.

It does ask satisfaction and how much you feel you contributed to combats... So yeah they have better data than you do.


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Dire Ursus wrote:
John Mechalas wrote:
I am not sure how they would have such data. The surveys only ask what, they don't ask why.
It does ask satisfaction and how much you feel you contributed to combats... So yeah they have better data than you do.

They have vague data. "How satisfied were you..." and "Rate your satisfaction with..." are not "Why?" questions. The closest they have is "How did you prioritize your options?"

If you want to know why people were taking Fighter Dedication, then you have to ask the question. Right now, it just looks like they assume "everyone's taking it, so it must be too good". But maybe the real real is, "everyone's taking it, because without it their character sucks". How would you be able to tell the difference between the two from the survey responses?


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I find it funny that some weeks ago I was argueing with people who really thought that Fighter dedication wasn't worth all that much. Seems the devs caught on what a good option it is for almost everybody.

Gah, I got to catch up to the 1.3 update, but no time, too much RL stuff going on....


^ Indeed, and I think there is honing in on what Multiclassing can actually accomplish, although clearly that needs to be tweaked on individual Dedication chain basis. All in all, expecting MC to do everything 3.x/P1E multiclassing could do if only you take enough Feats doesn't seem in the cards. Which is fine, it just is new.


Quandary wrote:
^ Indeed, and I think there is honing in on what Multiclassing can actually accomplish, although clearly that needs to be tweaked on individual Dedication chain basis. All in all, expecting MC to do everything 3.x/P1E multiclassing could do if only you take enough Feats doesn't seem in the cards. Which is fine, it just is new.

nah, instead of multiclassing, it's like the old archetypes.

only now everyone has access to 12 archetypes that are much more customizable each (you choose what "class feature not to get" and choose what "class feature to get instead")

A wizard/fighter is no less a wizard than a wizard/rogue or a wizard/druid for all that really matters, what changes is individual class features getting swapped in and out.


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I note that if you compare a fighter with the wizard archetype (just for example) to a fighter with no archetype or a wizard with no archetype, the multiclass character will be worse at fighting than the fighter, and worse at wizarding than the wizard. The question then seems to be whether that downside is worth the upside of having access to two (or more) classes' feats, while not gaining any additional feat slots.


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Ed Reppert wrote:
I note that if you compare a fighter with the wizard archetype (just for example) to a fighter with no archetype or a wizard with no archetype, the multiclass character will be worse at fighting than the fighter, and worse at wizarding than the wizard. The question then seems to be whether that downside is worth the upside of having access to two (or more) classes' feats, while not gaining any additional feat slots.

i'll swap "worse" for different.

you lost some fighty things for some wizardy things. The sum of which may well be above the "average" no multiclass fighter in fighting ability.


shroudb wrote:
Quandary wrote:
^ Indeed, and I think there is honing in on what Multiclassing can actually accomplish, although clearly that needs to be tweaked on individual Dedication chain basis. All in all, expecting MC to do everything 3.x/P1E multiclassing could do if only you take enough Feats doesn't seem in the cards. Which is fine, it just is new.

nah, instead of multiclassing, it's like the old archetypes.

only now everyone has access to 12 archetypes that are much more customizable each (you choose what "class feature not to get" and choose what "class feature to get instead")
A wizard/fighter is no less a wizard than a wizard/rogue or a wizard/druid for all that really matters, what changes is individual class features getting swapped in and out.

OK, but my comment was more about how much of a fighter a Wiz/FighterMC can be.

(Wizard/Fighter may not even be best example, but you get the point)


Quandary wrote:
shroudb wrote:
Quandary wrote:
^ Indeed, and I think there is honing in on what Multiclassing can actually accomplish, although clearly that needs to be tweaked on individual Dedication chain basis. All in all, expecting MC to do everything 3.x/P1E multiclassing could do if only you take enough Feats doesn't seem in the cards. Which is fine, it just is new.

nah, instead of multiclassing, it's like the old archetypes.

only now everyone has access to 12 archetypes that are much more customizable each (you choose what "class feature not to get" and choose what "class feature to get instead")
A wizard/fighter is no less a wizard than a wizard/rogue or a wizard/druid for all that really matters, what changes is individual class features getting swapped in and out.

OK, but my comment was more about how much of a fighter a Wiz/FighterMC can be.

(Wizard/Fighter may not even be best example, but you get the point)

well, the answer is again, as much as he can push by sacrifing every single of his class feats.

a thing to note though, is, that a Wizard, regardless his "archetype" will always be much more a Wizard than the stuff he multiclasses as.

Using your example, even if you trade off every single of your class feats for fighter feats, you'll never reach his base attack bonus, you'll never get his high level stuff, you'll never get his flexibility. BUT you'll always have full 10th level spellcasting to fall back.

Switching sides, and comparing to a fighter/wizard. He'll never be a "main wizard" he'll have too few spells, lack the better metamagics/effects/etc, will never have a higher than trained Spell roll/dc/touch attack modifier. But he'll still be the best at attacking stuff with a weapon, he'll still be able to pick at least something fighter-y with his flexibility.

and etc.

in short, from my point of view, a Wizard/fighter will always be a Wizard (with some martial toys), and a Fighter/wizard will always be a Fighter (with some arcane toys).


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Then why bother, I wonder? Are the toys worth the downside (you're going to lose at least *some* of the abilities of your primary class).


Ed Reppert wrote:
Then why bother, I wonder? Are the toys worth the downside (you're going to lose at least *some* of the abilities of your primary class).

again, like old archetypes, a class usually has "more" things than it needs. A specific fighter doesn't need to be master in ALL weapons and ALL weapon styles.

So, you pick up what you want from your base class, and then trade what you don't need for stuff that will compliment your character.

Again, lets look at fighter: he can use double weapons, shields, freehand, twohanders, etc. He certainly doesn't need all of them, and there isn't a feat for his prefered stype in every single feat tier. So, he can use those tiers to pick up things for the style he wants.

If he plays a shield fighter, he could pick up shield righteous ally from paladin, to effectively double his shield's strength.

If he plays a pure damage dealing twohanded wielder, he may opt to go for sorc, and pick up Arcane striker for higher initial burst.

If he playe with bow, he may want to go Ranger for that new feat

and etc.

In all those occasions, he's still a fighter, but he loses things he doesn't need/want, for things to compliment his build.

ps:let's stop with archetypes/multiclass comparisons in this thread though. I think we derailed it enough already...


John Mechalas wrote:
Dire Ursus wrote:
John Mechalas wrote:
I am not sure how they would have such data. The surveys only ask what, they don't ask why.
It does ask satisfaction and how much you feel you contributed to combats... So yeah they have better data than you do.

They have vague data. "How satisfied were you..." and "Rate your satisfaction with..." are not "Why?" questions. The closest they have is "How did you prioritize your options?"

If you want to know why people were taking Fighter Dedication, then you have to ask the question. Right now, it just looks like they assume "everyone's taking it, so it must be too good". But maybe the real real is, "everyone's taking it, because without it their character sucks". How would you be able to tell the difference between the two from the survey responses?

It's actually really easy.

So let's say we have a set of Wizards, some of which have taken Fighter Dedication. What sort of survey results would represent the ideas you've stated?

"everyone's taking it, so it must be too good" - For this, I'd generally expect to see a high usage of Fighter Dedication in comparison to other options (especially other Dedications), but with similar satisfaction. People take it because they feel it's the strongest option, but overall it doesn't seem to improve their experience.
You can also see this trend if you have a lot of characters take Fighter Dedication, and no other multiclass feats beyond that. That would suggest that they're taking it solely for something related to the Dedication.

"everyone's taking it, because without it their character sucks" - This one's an easy representation. If this were true on a large scale, you'd expect to see Wizards without Fighter Dedication having low satisfaction, and Wizards with Fighter Dedication having a higher overall satisfaction.

Now, what sort of results would you expect to prove the general idea of the thread, i.e. "arcane casters suck, with or without Fighter Dedication"? For results like that, I'd expect to see low overall satisfaction from Wizard players, and I also would expect to see low satisfaction from Wizards who took Fighter Dedication.

Given actual data, I could suss out more information, but as is, these are merely hypotheticals.


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Cyouni wrote:


"everyone's taking it, because without it their character sucks" - This one's an easy representation. If this were true on a large scale, you'd expect to see Wizards without Fighter Dedication having low satisfaction, and Wizards with Fighter Dedication having a higher overall satisfaction...Now, what sort of results would you expect to prove the general idea of the thread, i.e. "arcane casters suck, with or without Fighter Dedication"? For results like that, I'd expect to see low overall satisfaction from Wizard players, and I also would expect to see low satisfaction from Wizards who took Fighter Dedication.

Unless of course many of those wizard players didn't want to take fighter dedication in the first place and reported dissatisfaction because they were dissatisfied at the fact that it seemed necessary to them to take fighter dedication to not suck.


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Corwin Icewolf wrote:
Cyouni wrote:


"everyone's taking it, because without it their character sucks" - This one's an easy representation. If this were true on a large scale, you'd expect to see Wizards without Fighter Dedication having low satisfaction, and Wizards with Fighter Dedication having a higher overall satisfaction...Now, what sort of results would you expect to prove the general idea of the thread, i.e. "arcane casters suck, with or without Fighter Dedication"? For results like that, I'd expect to see low overall satisfaction from Wizard players, and I also would expect to see low satisfaction from Wizards who took Fighter Dedication.

Unless of course many of those wizard players didn't want to take fighter dedication in the first place and reported dissatisfaction because they were dissatisfied at the fact that it seemed necessary to them to take fighter dedication to not suck.

well they should have actually tried playing a non-fighter dedication wizard and then gave their feedback on that if they thought it was weak just from a reading but still wanted to play it. In game survey data is much better than just opinions based on reading the book. I can't count the number of time in 1e where I read a feat or ability and thought it was weak or strong but was proven wrong in actual gameplay.


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Cyouni wrote:
It's actually really easy.

It's actually not.

You're presupposing what correlations would be present for a particular outcome, which is massively flawed thinking in and of itself, but more importantly: correlation is not causation. You have to be very, very careful about drawing conclusions based on correlating data. Strong correlations are useful, but generally only for identifying areas for deeper investigation. If you see a strong correlation, you would typically follow up to get at why that correlation exists, as the answer doesn't always line up with what you think is obvious.

I don't want to continue to derail this thread. The short of it is: if you want to know why, you have to ask why.


Dire Ursus wrote:
Corwin Icewolf wrote:
Cyouni wrote:


"everyone's taking it, because without it their character sucks" - This one's an easy representation. If this were true on a large scale, you'd expect to see Wizards without Fighter Dedication having low satisfaction, and Wizards with Fighter Dedication having a higher overall satisfaction...Now, what sort of results would you expect to prove the general idea of the thread, i.e. "arcane casters suck, with or without Fighter Dedication"? For results like that, I'd expect to see low overall satisfaction from Wizard players, and I also would expect to see low satisfaction from Wizards who took Fighter Dedication.

Unless of course many of those wizard players didn't want to take fighter dedication in the first place and reported dissatisfaction because they were dissatisfied at the fact that it seemed necessary to them to take fighter dedication to not suck.
well they should have actually tried playing a non-fighter dedication wizard and then gave their feedback on that if they thought it was weak just from a reading but still wanted to play it.

Why yes they should have. However I find that people rarely do what they should. Ymmv of course.


Corwin Icewolf wrote:
Cyouni wrote:


"everyone's taking it, because without it their character sucks" - This one's an easy representation. If this were true on a large scale, you'd expect to see Wizards without Fighter Dedication having low satisfaction, and Wizards with Fighter Dedication having a higher overall satisfaction...Now, what sort of results would you expect to prove the general idea of the thread, i.e. "arcane casters suck, with or without Fighter Dedication"? For results like that, I'd expect to see low overall satisfaction from Wizard players, and I also would expect to see low satisfaction from Wizards who took Fighter Dedication.

Unless of course many of those wizard players didn't want to take fighter dedication in the first place and reported dissatisfaction because they were dissatisfied at the fact that it seemed necessary to them to take fighter dedication to not suck.

Then that's another one where you get "low satisfaction" but "felt effective in encounters".

John Mechalas wrote:
Cyouni wrote:
It's actually really easy.

It's actually not.

You're presupposing what correlations would be present for a particular outcome, which is massively flawed thinking in and of itself, but more importantly: correlation is not causation. You have to be very, very careful about drawing conclusions based on correlating data. Strong correlations are useful, but generally only for identifying areas for deeper investigation. If you see a strong correlation, you would typically follow up to get at why that correlation exists, as the answer doesn't always line up with what you think is obvious.

I don't want to continue to derail this thread. The short of it is: if you want to know why, you have to ask why.

You assume that people know the actual reason why they dislike something, and that would be a blessing for the world if it were actually the case. If people were actually able to perfectly and accurately describe the reasons why they like/dislike things, then the world would be a much simpler place.

For an easy example: ask someone what their favourite flavour of ice cream is, and why. Then imagine you polled a few thousand people, and tried to collate the data on why people like their particular flavours of ice cream. How likely do you think it would be that you'd get even a coherent result, let alone a consensus for any one flavour?

Another important thing is: how long does it take to read though paragraphs of reasoning for every single person in the playtest?


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Cyouni wrote:
You assume that people know the actual reason why they dislike something, and that would be a blessing for the world if it were actually the case.

Now you're getting deep into survey design theory, where you attempt to uncover information that people aren't aware of, or aren't clearly aware of. This is akin to psychological personality surveys/tests (the real ones, administered by professionals, not the entertainment-oriented ones found on the internet), where there are dozens of questions, and the questions don't directly ask what you are looking for because people can easily game those surveys. So instead, they research questions that correlate strongly with the questions they really want, and then ask the correlating questions instead, and also include questions that correlate with earlier questions so as to eliminate participants that are answering in bad faith (lying on the survey or otherwise providing false information).

I can tell you with 100% certainty that Paizo's surveys are not anywhere near that sophisticated. Nor do I expect them to be.

The best they are going to get, short of building the kind of survey I describe above, is to just ask the question, and make sure that everyone is using the same definition for terms like "powerful" (which is a term their surveys do throw around a lot, and for which many of us probably have very different definitions).

I am done talking about this.


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Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
John Mechalas wrote:
The best they are going to get, short of building the kind of survey I describe above, is to just ask the question, and make sure that everyone is using the same definition for terms like "powerful" (which is a term their surveys do throw around a lot, and for which many of us probably have very different definitions).

Yeah, I noticed that as well. I'm pretty sure that my personal impressions what constitutes a powerful spell differ a lot from other people's impression. The surveys are okay (I took the class surveys a few days ago), but they pretty clearly don't exactly conform to standards of objectivity.

I wonder if there will be a "magic and spells" survey.


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magnuskn wrote:
John Mechalas wrote:
The best they are going to get, short of building the kind of survey I describe above, is to just ask the question, and make sure that everyone is using the same definition for terms like "powerful" (which is a term their surveys do throw around a lot, and for which many of us probably have very different definitions).

Yeah, I noticed that as well. I'm pretty sure that my personal impressions what constitutes a powerful spell differ a lot from other people's impression. The surveys are okay (I took the class surveys a few days ago), but they pretty clearly don't exactly conform to standards of objectivity.

I wonder if there will be a "magic and spells" survey.

Doubtful; all of this now seems cyclical: 3rd Ed to 4th Ed to 5th Ed to PF2, not the right cycle, for me.

Liberty's Edge

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Companion, Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber
magnuskn wrote:
John Mechalas wrote:
The best they are going to get, short of building the kind of survey I describe above, is to just ask the question, and make sure that everyone is using the same definition for terms like "powerful" (which is a term their surveys do throw around a lot, and for which many of us probably have very different definitions).

Yeah, I noticed that as well. I'm pretty sure that my personal impressions what constitutes a powerful spell differ a lot from other people's impression. The surveys are okay (I took the class surveys a few days ago), but they pretty clearly don't exactly conform to standards of objectivity.

I wonder if there will be a "magic and spells" survey.

The Twitch stream yesterday said that there was a "rules-specific" survey coming, and that questions specifically about magic would be a part of it.


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In merit of what OP said i would like to say that the Path paizo took regarding spell success based on enemy save is ideal.

A thing i never liked was the hit or miss chance of so many type of spells in 1E. This led to a bad play pattern: save-or-lose spells from the caster are working= everyone else is not having fun, save-or-lose spells are not working=the caster player is not having fun.

The fact that there are 4 degrees of success now and that many spells hinder the opponent even on a success is amazing imo. Yes they got nerfed but basically in 1st edition i was banning a whole lot of things. Or better i used to say "yes, you can play an enchanter if you want to be unpleaseant to all other players"


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A while ago, I posted in this thread some of the feedback that I received from one of my players who rolled a Wizard character in Doomsday Dawn Chapter 2.
He ended up quite unhappy with his choice and thus, his feedback was mostly negative.

Some people dismissed parts of it on account of the player being fairly new to TTRPGs and lacking the necessary system mastery to make the most of an arcane spellcaster.

I initially thought that might very well be true but I had no means of effectively testing this theory.

While my regular group (I am DMing) will only be starting Chapter 3 tomorrow evening, I had the opportunity to roll a character for Chapter 4 of Doomsday Dawn.
I jumped at it because I would finally be able to determine for myself how arcane spellcasters feel in actual play.

I decided that I wanted to make a blaster character.

Disclaimer: I love blasting and I don't care that some people think it's wrong for spellcasters to do anything other than provide utility for the rest of the party.
When I cast a spell that does direct HP damage, I want it to have a meaningful impact.
That is, I want it to do more damage than an optimized martial damage-dealer.
I can see some people already sharpening their pitchforks: that's just my opinion and I'm not interested in debating whether I'm right or wrong.
I have a limited number of spells per day, martials can swing their weapons all day long. When I cast a blast spell, I expect it will do at least 150% of a martial character's full damage potential on that turn.

Why the initial disclaimer?
So you know what I was going for, whether it can be done and what exactly I was testing the character for.

Now, obviously, my feedback is going to have lots of Chapter 4 spoilers.
For this reason, you'll find the rest of my post under the spoiler tag.
Warning: HWOT (Huge Wall Of Text) ahead. Be prepared and read at your own risk!

Spoilers for Doomsday Dawn Chapter 4:

My first issue was determining whether my character would be a Sorcerer or a Wizard.

I had a specific concept in mind for roleplay but, first and foremost, I was concerned with optimizing a blaster and seeing if it worked.

I set out to compare what both classes would bring to the table for a blaster character.
I ended up with the following:

* Sorcerers have better damage and more "nova" potential - courtesy of Dangerous Sorcery. Imperial Sorcerers can use Overwhelming Spell with Metamagician's Shortcut and cut through electricity resistance. Sorcerers have more flexibility with their spells when blasting is not an option.

* Wizards have more spells per day. Yes, a specialized Wizard and a Sorcerer have the same number of spells - on paper. Wizards have their Arcane Focus and Makeshift Wand though, so they end up with more spells: more blasting potential.

It's worth noting that this debate would not have happened at level 20: Spell Combination makes the Wizard your best option, since you can effectively prepare 2 heightened-to-level-8 blast spells in a single 9th level spell slot and have them go out both at the same time.

But, we're level 9 at the moment and so I decide to go with the Sorcerer.

First, it fits my concept (more on that latter). But really, it seems to me like a superior option for blasting.

Wizards are decent skillmonkeys and textbooks. Now that not all skills rely on Intelligence to identify monsters, they have lost some of their oomph factor.

Sorcerers make a great party face and they have more Resonance points.

I'm still going with Sorcerer.

What about my ancestry?
I go with Human. Yes, I'm that dull player who only ever plays Human characters.
I wanted my character to be of the Ulfen ethnicity and have a Viking seeress/sorceress feel.

Slight digression: I had a dream just last night that I held 2nd edition CRB in my hands. Most of the magic nerfs had been rolled back and the Witch made it to the core rulebook. You chose a curse and associated patron (just like a Bard's muse) to determine how you got your powers. Here's to hoping I have precognition powers!

Had the Witch been available (and able to build like a blaster) I would have gone for that but Sorcerer was a good fit for the time being.

Incidentally, Human was also the best ancestry for this build, period.

Here's a breakdown of my character.

Ability scores at level 1: STR 10, DEX 16, CON 12, INT 10, WIS 12, CHA 18.
After the boost at level 5: STR 10, DEX 18, CON 14, INT 12, WIS 14, CHA 18.
There was no reason to boost Charisma since we were only going to play at level 9. I boosted Intelligence instead.

Ancestry feats: General Training at 1st, 5th and 9th level.

General feats: Armor Training (Light) at 1st level, Armor Training (Medium) at 3rd level, Alertness at 5th level, Incredible Initiative at 7th level, Great Fortitude at 9th level.

Class feats: Dangerous Sorcery at 2nd level, Arcane Evolution at 4th level, Advanced Bloodline at 6th level and Overwhelming Energy at 8th level.
The last two are used in a combo (Metamagician's Shortcut into Overwhelming Spell) when necessary.
My bloodline is, of course, Imperial.
It's worth noting that Arcane Evolution will let you add a spell yo your spell repertoire that isn't arcane, at the moment. You could have an occult, divine or primal spell if you like.
Nerf incoming!

I feel it's important to mention: this isn't the most optimized route.
The most optimized option is to take Natural Ambition for Dangerous Sorcery at 1st level and trade your 2nd level class feat for Paladin Dedication. This is two general feats rolled into one, whith cherry on top (weapon proficiency, Retributive Strike 1/day and 2 extra skills trained).
If you do this, you can even go for heavy armor and focus on Strength rather than Dexterity.

I'm a min-maxer but I'm also a roleplayer.
I have huge issues with Lawful characters, probably because I'm a libertarian at heart.
I certainly was not going to roleplay a Sorcerer/Paladin, no Sir, thank you very much.

If you feel like doing this, more power to you, this is the optimized route right now.
You can even get Toughness and Great Fortitude with the general feats you just saved.

Why did I want armor in the first place? Mage Armor provides laughable protection when you're going melee and this is exactly where I'm going.

No, not the gish way. The melee touch attack blaster way. I still need good AC though, especially with low HP.

You see, I sat down and took a long time to consider how to approach the blaster character in PF 2.0.

The sad truth is, there's only one good blasting spell and it's Shocking Grasp. Why? Because it requires an attack roll instead of requiring that the monster saves against your spell.

While building my character, I compared spell DC at every level with a random monster from the bestiary. The chance that the monster would save ranged from 60 to 85%!

This doesn't work, this is utterly wrong and it made me really angry. Assuming monsters are off by a margin of 2 right now, this is still stupidly high saves.

Anyway...Shocking Grasp it is.
I want to cast it from range but it's not gonna work. I'm going to need Reach Spell and I can't use that.
Why? Because the only way to achieve good DPR requires that you cast this spell after casting True Strike.
With True Strike, average hit chance is 70-75% at each level.
This is how you match -and exceed- a martial character's damage in a specific single round.

So, I would not be slinging forks of lightning at my foes, I would be unloading it right in their face.
Works for me, conceptually. Might not work for the general fantasy blaster wannabe.

At level 9, I had 4 spells of 1st, 2nd, 3rd and 4th level and 3 spells of 5th level.

I would cast my main damage combo, True Strike + Hightened Shocking Grasp, up to 4 times per day (3 Shocking Grasp were heightened to level 5, one was hightened to level 4).

Sometimes, blasting is not an option. Sometimes, the party requires utility from an arcane spellcaster. For this reason, I loaded up on buff spells.

Why not control spells? See the rant about monsters' saves and spell DCs above.
At least, with buff spells, you now you are going to contribute meaningfully to the party, always. That you'll probably just stand in the back afterwards and watch is another matter.

So, quick look at my spell repertoire:

Cantrips: Detect Magic (B), Electric Arc, Light, Prestidigitation and Shield
1st level spells: Fear (B), Feather Fall, Shocking Grasp and True Strike
2nd level spells: Enlarge, Glitterdust, Invisibility (B) and Mirror Image
3rd level spells: Dispel Magic (B), Fireball, Haste and Wall of Wind
4th level spells: Dimension Door (B), Fly, Freedom of Movement and Stoneskin
5th level spells: Arcane Eye (B), Cone of Cold and Tongues

Of course, Shocking Grasp was a standard for my Spontaneous Heightening class feature. The other was Invisibility.

At level 9, my character was trained in Acrobatics, Arcana (bloodline), Athletics, Deception, Intimidation, Society (bloodline) and Stealth.
She was a master in Diplomacy.

Skill feats: 2nd) Steady Balance (falling disrupts my damage combo), 4th) Scribe Scroll (was told lots of downtime in this chapter, thought I would make the most of it), 6th) Multilingual (so I had Common, Skald, Sylvan and Draconic) and 8th) Intimidating Glare (because sometimes you really don't speak the language you need).

I tested my average DPR with True Strike+Shocking Grasp combo against a friend's Fighter/Barbarian (optimized Fighter with Barbarian archetype, rage all day long and dragon totem).

I was very happy that, on paper, my average DPR was about 150% of that of the Fighter/Barbarian in a round where both have full buffs on and I cast my main damaging combo.

Again, some people will say it's unacceptable for spellcasters to dish out huge damage, for me it's how it should be when you go with blasts.

This was all theorycrafting, however.

So, how did it go in truth?

Well, let's consider each encounter individually.

The party runs afoul of a very deadly monster near a lake. Monster follows a party member to the banks of the lake. Heightened Invisibility means the Fighter/Barbarian is attacking unseen then sensed and takes less damage than he would have from the monster's attacks that miss. I cast Fly and Mirror Image on myself afterwards. I unload with heightened comboed Shocking Graps. I miss a lot, my chances to hit feel like a coin-flip. The Fighter/Barbarian is even worse. Monster still not dead, two party members down, retreat!

The fey encounter resolves peacefully. Glad I'm a master in Diplomacy with innately strong Charisma, that makes me very useful in these situations.

Same thing goes for the gnome village.

It's off to fighting rocs now. Fly spells let the party's main melee damage dealers reach the creatures. That includes myself. These things hit really hard and they fly down to the others. I fly down too, after 3 rounds of casting Fly on me, someone else, and moving upwards. I finally manage to land a Shocking Grasp. Some good damage there, these things finally stop moving around and they're soon dead.

Much like the first encounter, I provided the party with critical buffs that helped improved the survivability of other party members or made them able to reach our foes.
I usually buff for 1/2 rounds. Then I go for the Shocking Grasp combo. If the enemy dies before that, no problem, it wasn't worth my time anyway.
When I go blaster, I go nova. And I'm ok saving my novas for the BBEG and letting others take the spotlight in less difficult encounters.

So far, so good.

Next encounter is a dragon.
First thought: not a Blue Dragon, does not have electricity resistance, yeah! Second thought, OMG, a dragon, this is gonna hurt.
First thing, that beast wins initiative and unleashes its dragon breath. I haven't played yet and I'm close to 50% HP.
Ok, time to play selfishly.
My turn comes, I cast Mirror Image and Shield.
Next turn is Fly and Shield.
Third turn is Fly on the Fighter/Barbarian and start moving upwards because well, there's a Fire Giant on the way too!
Fighter stays nearby, tag him with Highetened Invisibility. Keep moving upwards.
Fifth round, I finally cast my first damage combo. The Fighter has been at it already. I suddenly remember I know Cone of Cold. Two of them combined with the dragon's weaknesses and it goes down easily.

Unfortunately, one party member dies from the Fire Giant below. Very tough fight in the end: can't be in two places at once, you know?

Cyclops: the party attacks on sight so I support them with Enlarge on the main frontliner then Heightened Invisibility.
I'm saving for the BBEG but there's just more cyclops coming and their pet.
Time to unleash those Shocking Grasp. I take a lot of damage from a flank and I'm grateful for potions and having lots of Resonance points!
No way I would have made that Fortitude DC otherwise.

As for the final encounter well, the party has enough ally and research points. We skip giant, trolls and whatnot and see the fight with our allies from afar.

We rush in to face a mummy, two clerics and a brain collector.
I decide to live the cultists alone and focus on the two big baddies.
I'm not ashamed to say, I have Mirror Image and Heightened Invisibility on when I get into the fight.
Yes, I saved those buffs and these two rounds for myself.
No, I'm not ashamed.
I get into flanking position and a crit from a Shocking Grasp combo does very short work of the brain collector.

The mummy in a real pain in the a**. It has AoO and I'm learning this the hard way. The mummy crits, I have no more Mirror Image, spell lost and I'm at 20% HP from one hit. :/
I have to retreat, take some healing potion.
Buff up again with Mirror Image, go back into the fray.
The cultists are dragging the fight, which is not coming to an end.
This time I play tactically: that is, I let the Fighter trigger AoO before I cast.
I feel bad about this because I purposefully delay so as to not lose another spell.
It works out in the end.

So what do I get from this playtest?

Positives:

*Blaster Sorcerer works and I'm pretty sure Blaster Wizard does too.

It feels rewarding casting a combo of True Strike + heightened Shocking Grasp. The damage is really good and I don't feel like a subpar martial character.
Of course, I get a limited number of spells per day and I'm losing the DPR race over multiple rounds.
However, when I'm not blasting, I'm handing out strong buffs for the party - and myself.
I'm not invincible but I feel that I have a very strong defense, although it takes time to set up.
I feel like I'm playing a Magus character but without a weapon and it's working.

Wizards will do good as well: they have slightly less damage but they get more spells per day. A familiar and Makeshift Wand is 4 more True Strike per day, ready for combo. Works great with an Evoker Wizard - on paper, did not try that one in play.
An experienced Wizard player knows to prepare spells that will serve in every situation, when not blasting.
The Sorcerer's flexibility is appreciated but not absolutely necessary.

*High Charisma character pays off: makes for a great party face and I never ran out of RP

Negatives:

*The only good blaster build I could come up with requires True Strike and Shocking Grasp

Nothing else comes close if you don't want to use a weapon at all.
This is because...

*Monsters' saves are absurd

Disintegrate looks good on paper until you do the math and realize that the Fortitude save the monster gets makes it so that it doesn't do more damage in the end than a same level Shocking Grasp. :/

*Wizards and Sorcerers can play gish, blasters or buffers but NOT controllers or enchanters

You can't play as a controller, enchanter or summoner anymore.
Summons are subpar, though they still have some utility and battlefield control is DEAD.
No way one can get way with a control or enchanting build with the current monsters' saves and spell DCs.
Either adjust monsters' saves dramatically or give us means to boost our own spell DCs.
It's worth noting that the only good blaster is no longer AoE based and plays more like an unarmed srike Magus than a fireball Wizard.

*Mage Armor REALLY needs a buff

Paladin Dedication feels cheesy as hell but it's just the best bang for your buck. You need a good AC for this build. You won't have Mirror Image until level 5 if you want to use your main damage combo early on and Mage Armor will not save you. Thus, my Sorcerer had to settle for a Breastplate.
I hate it, personally.
Please, Paizo, if you've been reading all of this (which I'm doubting anyone at all will but anyway): BUFF MAGE ARMOR!

I should have as much AC with Mage Armor and maxed out Dexterity than I do with medium armor, otherwise, what's the point of spending a high level spell slot?
Bracers of armor similarly suck. I pity Monks.

*Spellcasters need more spells!

This Chapter played in a very weird manner. We would generally have no more than one fight per day so, of course, I never truly ran out of ammo. Two fights per day and I'm good for sitting on my hands though.
With the new Treat Wounds, your party will get in a lot more fights than that.
If you're going to do out of combat healing, you need to give spellcasters more spell slots!

TLDR:
- having fun with an arcane spellcaster is indeed about system mastery, in part
- blasting works and is effective but requires building your character a very specific way - see True Strike + Shocking Grasp combo
- all other blast spells and control spells suck because of monsters' stupidly high saves
- all spellcasters still have too few spells per level
- Mage Armor sucks, you need real armor and Paladin Dedication is cheesy as hell

I really need to emphasize this: buffing works and blasting works.

Buffing works because buff spells, although they have been nerfed in duration and the like, still provide the party with strong defense and utility.

Blasting works because, thankfully, we have a spell that emulates fighting with a weapon: it requires an attack roll and goes against TAC (so your low proficiency doesn't have too much impact).
All other spells which would allow you to cast from range will NOT work. They will fail most of the time and deal only 50% of their poor damage because the monster will saves - or worse, the monster has a decent chance to critically save!

Illusionists, summoners and controllers are dead.
Until the spell DCs and monsters' saves conundrum is solved, I'm not touching that with a 10-foot pole.
Glitterdust was the only spell akin to control that I used but it doesn't take much playtesting to realize all spells are going to be as bad because of the monsters' high saves.

So, in the end, these are the issues that I have confirmed after playtesting:

1) Monsters' saves need to be lowered. Spell DCs need to go up, give us feats for that!

2) Spellcasters need more spell slots per day. I feel one for every spell level would be balanced.

3) Mage Armor needs a buff, it doesn't hold the comparison with regular armor.

4) I guess rolling back the nerfs on some of the control spells is needed. Casting a second level spell to negate invisibility for ONE round is bad (looking at you Glitterdust).
I am aware that See Invisibility works better for that purpose.
You know why?
Because See Invisibility is a buff spell while Glitterdust is supposed to be a control spell!

Final word: I'm also testing a theory with this feedback.

If the True Strike + Shocking Grasp combo suddenly gets nerfed in the next errata, I'll have indisputable evidence that Paizo does not want arcane spellcasters doing anything meaningful by themselves! :P

EDIT: given the opportunity, I will try a pure enchant/illusion/control spells-based arcane spellcaster in Chapter 5.
I'll be sure to post some feedback about it as well, in the spirit of fairness.
I did not expect I would find a way to make a blaster character work so, who knows what might happen with this new character?


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dnoisette wrote:


When I cast a spell that does direct HP damage, I want it to have a meaningful impact.
That is, I want it to do more damage than an optimized martial damage-dealer.
I can see some people already sharpening their pitchforks: that's just my opinion and I'm not interested in debating whether I'm right or wrong.
I have a limited number of spells per day, martials can swing their weapons all day long. When I cast a blast spell, I expect it will do at least 150% of a martial character's full damage potential on that turn.

I appreciate that you specified precisely what your expectation was for testing direct spell damage. No debate on my part whether to agree with that aim or disagree, just thanks for including the target you were aiming at.

Where I have to disagree with your analysis, hidden in the spoilers, is that there is only one way to be effective with Evocation (the combo you mention), and relatedly that Summoning is awful. My experience has been thoroughly divergent on both counts.

Burning Hands has been noted by others as an excellent low level spell in the playtest so far, and despite not having cast it myself, I have to agree for two reasons. It was effective in the hands of my Druid and Sorcerer teammates at level 4, and it comes attached to my favorite summon so far - the Hell Hound.

Last night, my second Hell Hound cast of the module opened with a roll of 22 damage (three 6s and a 4) on its breath weapon, which is functionally a 4d6 Burning Hands. Two opponents failed their save, one made it, for 55 total damage. One of the opponents that failed was downed by the 22 points of damage it took, allowing a teammate to get into a more advantageous position on his next turn, completing a frontline box of defense to prevent things running past.

That was an exceptionally good probability, and yet it reflects entirely my experience with Summoning to this point - it is powerfully functional (I still miss AoOs, granted) and also an excellent "blasting" opportunity in different ways. As mentioned previously, I had experiences with a Quasit missing attacks for an entire fight, followed by it successfully using Knockdown and Poison abilities to good effect. While its direct damage was usually not great, there were fights where it was over several rounds. Hell Hound has, to this point, never disappointed between its AoE "blasting" and fire added bite (which has crit to good effect - I want to be clear that I have felt lucky with the summons, in several fights).

While I have focused my playtesting mostly on action economy testing, whether Druid animal companion or Wizard summoning, I have seen enough to know that one combo is not all there is to be a contributor for direct spell damage. And if Summoning is a bad option, then casters are either in an amazing place using anything else or your and my expectations of performance are radically divergent (which would be just fine).


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Freagarthach wrote:
I have seen enough to know that one combo is not all there is to be a contributor for direct spell damage

There is more than one combo for direct spell damage, I agree.

This one is simply the best that I could go for with my playstyle.

I like to go nova, have that one big burst of damage on one or multiple foes.
That means I want better damage than a martial character when I do, not just comparable damage.
I used to be able to do that with Fireball in 1st edition.
True Strike + Shocking Grasp was the only way I found to replicate that experience in 2nd edition, although it's single target only.

Casting a summon means losing the chance to cast a defensive buff on myself or allies in the 1st round of combat.
That Fighter/Barbarian with heightened Invisibility does way more damage than a Hell Hound.
He takes less damage from heightened Invisibility as well: the summon will not tank any damage if your DM is not playing nice because...no more AoO.
On the other hand, Heightened Invisibility prevents your ally from getting hit with about 50% of attacks.

Burning Hands and the like are good if you get to use them on a pack of lower level mooks.
I acknowledged that and went with Fireball and Cone of Cold for that reason (have a bit of every energy type + AoE when needed).

If I can manage to tag two enemies with Burning Hands then it means they're standing really close to one another and chances are the party's Barbarian could have cleaved through them more effectively than I did.

That's just my thinking, of course.
In the end, I think we just have different expectations when it comes to performing "well".

It's fine but I still believe I'm not the only one who thinks the way I do and thus my feedback is at least representative of how part of the community will react.
This is the reason why I felt like sharing in the first place. :)


dnoisette wrote:


It's fine but I still believe I'm not the only one who thinks the way I do and thus my feedback is at least representative of how part of the community will react.
This is the reason why I felt like sharing in the first place. :)

I agree completely, and have appreciated your feedback!


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Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
Vic Ferrari wrote:
Doubtful; all of this now seems cyclical: 3rd Ed to 4th Ed to 5th Ed to PF2, not the right cycle, for me.

I totally get it. It's very possible I'm in the same boat, although so far I don't see another 3.X upgrade cycling in.

Shisumo wrote:
The Twitch stream yesterday said that there was a "rules-specific" survey coming, and that questions specifically about magic would be a part of it.

Good, I'll be looking forward to that.

Excaliburrover wrote:

In merit of what OP said i would like to say that the Path paizo took regarding spell success based on enemy save is ideal.

A thing i never liked was the hit or miss chance of so many type of spells in 1E. This led to a bad play pattern: save-or-lose spells from the caster are working= everyone else is not having fun, save-or-lose spells are not working=the caster player is not having fun.

The fact that there are 4 degrees of success now and that many spells hinder the opponent even on a success is amazing imo. Yes they got nerfed but basically in 1st edition i was banning a whole lot of things. Or better i used to say "yes, you can play an enchanter if you want to be unpleaseant to all other players"

Okay, that's wrong on several levels, at least in my opinion.

1.) "Save or lose" spells are so far and between in PF1E that they are mostly irrelevant. Most of the old "save or die" spells were converted into "save or take damage" spells, with outliers like Phantasmal Killer (which needs to failed saves to succeed) or Baleful Polymorph, which at least targets Fortitude, generally the best save for monsters. The real champions are "save or suck" spells, which weaken opponents and allow your party to clear them out easier. Meaning as a caster you normally are helping others shine.

2.) The weakened effects you get with PF2E spells on a succesful save by the enemy are mostly not very good. The only exceptions I found were Blindness and Enervation, IIRC. That doesn't make up at all for the nerfs to duration, effect, range, number of spells per day and success chance you have to suffer through between PF1E and PF2E.

3.) If you are fighting same-level opponents, the 4 degrees of success become more "2 degrees and a miniscule chance at the other 2 degrees" of success. Casters got it much worse than melee in that regard, anyway, since they don't have many ways to lower and enemies chance to save as melee/ranged characters have.


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Dire Ursus wrote:
well they should have actually tried playing a non-fighter dedication wizard

Well, a class being appealing and making it's narrative style mechanically obvious is an important thing too.

A great class that no one plays because no one can see how great it is to play, is a class with a major problem.

Playing a wizard like a stereotypical wizard needs to not only be possible, but also obvious, especially to those who are new or don't know much.

Liberty's Edge

magnuskn wrote:
1.) "Save or lose" spells are so far and between in PF1E that they are mostly irrelevant.

Possession, Magic Jar, and Plane Shift come to mind, and are certainly go-to spells in the tables I've played at. Adapting those to fit the new "four categories of outcome" system could serve as a method of nerfing the spells a bit without dropping them into the "useless" category, though Paizo's track record thus far doesn't inspire much confidence.


DrSwordopolis wrote:
magnuskn wrote:
1.) "Save or lose" spells are so far and between in PF1E that they are mostly irrelevant.
Possession, Magic Jar, and Plane Shift come to mind, and are certainly go-to spells in the tables I've played at. Adapting those to fit the new "four categories of outcome" system could serve as a method of nerfing the spells a bit without dropping them into the "useless" category...

Have to agree here - Holy Word, Flesh to Stone, Prismatic Spray, Baleful Polymorph, all are spells that we designed around maximizing in PF1.

If PF2 does not turn out the same way, I have no problem with that. It would be a significant shift though, and an opportunity to adjust how they work that retains a satisfactory feeling for the successful caster.


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Personally, I find that in many (but not all) cases, the power of spells, abilities, etc has a maximum determined by gm (via their creative ability to deal with it), and a minimum determined by the player's creativity.

Much like how the 15 minute workday depends entirely on the gm letting players get by with it.

I don't think many players/gms/designers give enough credit to the impact of the narrative situation on a character's options and overall power. For example, in world of invisibility spells, who in their right mind woukdn't have protections in place to handle assassins or theives that would use invisibility? Sure, the poorer folks might not be able to afford such things, but the wealthy and powerful are not going to ignore such things in their defensive planning.


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Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
DrSwordopolis wrote:
magnuskn wrote:
1.) "Save or lose" spells are so far and between in PF1E that they are mostly irrelevant.
Possession, Magic Jar, and Plane Shift come to mind, and are certainly go-to spells in the tables I've played at. Adapting those to fit the new "four categories of outcome" system could serve as a method of nerfing the spells a bit without dropping them into the "useless" category, though Paizo's track record thus far doesn't inspire much confidence.

I'm totally okay with putting away the last "Save or die" spells and nerfing them to be "save or damage" or "save or suck". But, yeah, overnerfing them into uselessness definitely isn't the way to go.

Freagarthach wrote:

Have to agree here - Holy Word, Flesh to Stone, Prismatic Spray, Baleful Polymorph, all are spells that we designed around maximizing in PF1.

If PF2 does not turn out the same way, I have no problem with that. It would be a significant shift though, and an opportunity to adjust how they work that retains a satisfactory feeling for the successful caster.

Almost all of those spells you mentioned , though, either are not exactly "save or die" or have significant drawbacks. Holy Word only works on weak enemies (so not really a threat), Flesh to Stone petrifies your loot, Prismatic Spray has a 50% chance to only inflict damage and Baleful Polymorph also transforms your loot into fuzzy animals. Though Baleful Polymorph definitely is the best of the bunch, since you can safely kill said fuzzy animal and the opponent transforms back, IIRC.

GM DarkLightHitomi wrote:

Personally, I find that in many (but not all) cases, the power of spells, abilities, etc has a maximum determined by gm (via their creative ability to deal with it), and a minimum determined by the player's creativity.

Much like how the 15 minute workday depends entirely on the gm letting players get by with it.

I don't think many players/gms/designers give enough credit to the impact of the narrative situation on a character's options and overall power. For example, in world of invisibility spells, who in their right mind woukdn't have protections in place to handle assassins or theives that would use invisibility? Sure, the poorer folks might not be able to afford such things, but the wealthy and powerful are not going to ignore such things in their defensive planning.

Yeah, I know some people boo and hiss at this suggestion, but it definitely is the task of the GM to counter power tactics by their players in some way. It's a bit of work, but that's part of your job as GM, anyway. The real time problem with all that prep time is not coming up with interesting countertactics, but (at least for me) statting up NPC's when needed. That takes a ton of time, especially when they are casters. And PF2E doesn't seem to alleviate that one bit.

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