Arcane Spellcasters in PF2E – quo vadis?


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shroudb wrote:


i like that when one of the main issues casters bring up is that they want more damage, to reach the martials

I don't recall ever asking for that but sure, if you want to believe so, nothing will stop you.

I went so far as to say that the only way to play an effective arcane spellcaster right now is to go gish for melee damage...which I am not a fan of to begin with.

I like magic for utility, illusion, control. None of that deals direct damage.

shroudb wrote:
but when they confront the narrative issue their defense is: "but martials do more damage.!!!11!"

Because they do more damage, it's not an opinion, it's a fact.

Martial characters are built for damage, that's how the game has always been.
Spellcasters are supposed to build for utility, buff and control.
That's how it was before gish became a common thing, at least.

shroudb wrote:

also, you can buy wands and staves and fling fireballs every round.

"i don't get why casters don't want to have to use magical items to solve their problems?"

/end sarcasm

I like using magical items on my spellcasters, thank you very much.

I always have wands, staves, scrolls, potions and a ton of other consumables on any character I play, spellcaster or martial.

I don't want every single problem solved by class features.

Having the right spell for the job on a scroll because I know that I might not have it always prepared when the time comes is part of playing my class effectively and I love that.

Some folk here apparently would like their martial characters to be able to solve specific problems just like a Wizard would, except without having to spend the time and money to acquire the scroll, let alone thinking about getting it ahead of time in the first place.

I always have a scroll of Touch of the Sea. Sometimes, I buy it at level 1 and won't using before level 6.
You won't see me complain that my class features should have made me able to not need the scroll in the first place at level 6.


Lausth wrote:
Soo instead of casting that power once which will be the case due to less spell slots most of the time.Now I have a choice to cast it more than once and be useless rest of the encounters so i will be casting it once per encounter?

Can I ask you to take another pass at explaining this one, as I really have not idea what you are trying to say.

_
glass.

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glass wrote:
Lausth wrote:
Soo instead of casting that power once which will be the case due to less spell slots most of the time.Now I have a choice to cast it more than once and be useless rest of the encounters so i will be casting it once per encounter?

Can I ask you to take another pass at explaining this one, as I really have not idea what you are trying to say.

_
glass.

Sure.

So you said these spells are not once per encounter powers because i can cast them again.Right?
Now because of less spell slots per day now i am sayin that i cant cast them again.Because they become a very scarce resource.So if i were to cast that again which would take my second highest slot probably that would put me in a wierd place.I cant cast the same spell over and over again.Spell slots are a lot fewer in this edition.So in realty even though i can actually cast that spell again i will never do that unless there is a very dire situation which calls for the same spell.So basicly this spell even though it is not labeled as once per encounter it actually is %95 of the time.Difference is almost non existant.


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Lyee wrote:
A character is not a bag of class features.

No, these days they are a bag o' feats. :P


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Lausth wrote:
I dont get something.What exactly martials are having problems with that cant be solved by magical items?

Because they have a gear limit (wbl in pf1). And they need to buy all their basic equipment like +x weapon, get their AC up etc.

Then yeah, they can buy a ring that gives them fire protection to adventure on the plane of fire (if they are lucky enough to be able to find one, since the rules for finding specific magic items can make that quite tricky), but then they probably won't be able to fit a helm of underwater breathing in their budget for the other part of the adventure.

Or whatever other problem pops up. Not to mention if they actually want to spend their money on pure background RP things, like building a castle etc.

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So wait.I thought your main problems were RP ones.What you are talking about is caster territory.BTW your gm can handle the loot if a specific adventure needs specific things.That is not a problem.You can solve many normal problems.I had a fighter that has crafting feats.You can earn money if you want.Well your gm might not like crafters but there can be ways.Paying for RP things are always costly.That is same for everyone.

EDİT:I think i should mention something about martials.People who play PF looks for certain realism when they look at martials.That is not the case for casters.An axample would be diplomacy skill unlock.As far as i know many gms banned its use due to being too op while geas apperently isnt.Many of the complaints of those gms were something like '' this is not a spell''.Which is i am afraid why you will never get something like spells.Even if you get them many gms will ban it.Not because you dont deserve it or anything.It is just many people calls for something like this.Power has to be spells and that is because pazio is a company and many of its customers would crucify them if you suddenly get anime powers.


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graystone wrote:
Lyee wrote:
A character is not a bag of class features.
No, these days they are a bag o' feats. :P

Yeah, throwing in different/separate words like Talent, etc, might help some of us.


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Starfox wrote:
To me, that was dead in every edition past 2E. A solo creature of any sort is always in dire straits, and a caster more so than others. Too many combat maneuvers, too many effects that bypass your defenses, too few actions.

Yeah, in my experience you got to go a bit MMO on the whole thing, by adding in extra conditions the party has to deal with. Waves of minions, they have to disable some sort of effect, the boss has multiple lives/phases. It has worked pretty well on a few of my final bosses in adventure paths.

Starfox wrote:
If cloaks of flying and pegasi steeds are commonly available, flying is not a problem for martials. But many GMs think magic items should be something the GM hands out and the players just have to accept what they get. In such a game, casters will shine, not because they are powerful, but because they are the only ones with access to all the candy. The other PCs have to beg them for handouts. Not cool.

I don't know, that kinda sounds like the reaction to this is resentment-driven game design. To me the answer should be "make the martials able to do cool stuff! (i.e. Tome of Battle), instead of "make casters less cool!".

John Mechalas wrote:

I dunno about that. In high level play, the biggest problem is that monsters always hit with their primary attack because a PC's AC doesn't scale linearly while monster BAB's do, unless you spend like 3/4 of your cash on defense (+5 heavy armor, +5 amulet or natural armor, etc.). It's just not worth boosting AC because other things (like Fort saves) have a greater impact on your survival.

When the GM starts asking questions like "does a 40 hit?" you're just going to have to accept that you'll get hit every round, losing 1/4 to 1/2 of your max hp at a time. That's where you need a cleric or similar class healing you almost every round just to stay in the fight, and battlefield control to divide enemies up so you aren't being swarmed.

Funnily, I have had almost always the complete opposite situation at my tables, where I need to apply advanced templates left and right, because the players always took care of their AC and knew the buffing game well enough to always get Haste and Blessing of Fervor going as soon as possible.

John Mechalas wrote:
Cutting caster spells/day, spell durations, and spell effectiveness mixed with the contention for high-level slots through forced heightening really has me nervous. We haven't playtested a high level scenario yet, but my instincts tell me it's going to be rough and that we're headed for the 15-minute adventuring day.

That's pretty much my estimation as well.

Lausth wrote:
Most of the spells having 1 minute duration is just an another way of saying that these powers are once per encounter right?Did i get this wrong?

Yup, it's pretty 4E-ish in that design at the moment.

John Mechalas wrote:

Oh, no one has brought this up yet (I think?) so I just wanted to clarify it. As with PF1, in the Playtest rules magical darkness can only be counteracted by a light spell of a higher level. The heightened versions of Continual Flame allow for that.

Obviously, this is only circumstantially useful.

I think Light is so useful as a cantrip that at least one guy will always bring it. It's even one of the few spells which got an actually increased duration!

Lausth wrote:
So basicly they want anime powers while they hate anime?

That seems to be an apt description of some of the positions here.

Lausth wrote:
EDIT:Only once mind you.Me sucking more means you suck even more as we level up.Because Caster martial dispartiy as people like you claim still seems to be a thing.Me having less slots means one less spell that can make you fly,cure or solve anyother problems and martial purists hate anime so you dont get those powers per encounters.

This. So much. A good arcane caster in PF1E makes his martials shine, while weakening their enemies and, at some times, blasting a whole room of guys. In PF2E, everything we can do is less good at those tasks. I don't think the people celebrating this really understand what this means for their favorite classes. You're used to getting Haste? Well, you better hope there is no Fighter in the group, because he needs it more than your Barbarian or Monk.

Inconnu73 wrote:

HI all

For starters my applause to you magnuskn for a splendid analysis that you have done, and the general civility of this thread.

Thanks, much appreciated!

Inconnu73 wrote:

My driving point here is, PF when it first appeared did something brilliant, it kept the "soul" of the D&D game while solving many issues that were made apparent along the years. Now for the sake of some nebulous and ambiguous concept of "Game Balance" they, again in my opinion, neglected completely what I consider to be the soul, the most basic concept of the tradition, High Magic.

Grudgingly I admit that looking exclusively at 2nd Ed. it is balanced... ish. But has a consequence it stopped being the evolution of D&D, for better or worse, it became something else.
Something that has it stands I don't want to play, I'm comfortable with that, has by my accounting (and the frequency my life lets me indulge in my favorite hobby) I have enough AP for the next decade or so.

That's pretty much where I'm as well at this moment. Let's hope the devs still turn this ship around, before it hits the iceberg I see looming at the horizon. Or maybe I'm totally wrong altogether. We'll see.


First off, tremendous "holy crap" applause to magnuskn for the very detailed analysis. Even though his estimate of the time it took to complete it came in well under what I would have anticipated such an analysis to take, that was an incredible amount of time spent pouring through things.

Second, while such an extensive analysis is greatly appreciated, I fall in the camp of play-trumps-theory, which I don't say intending to be dismissive but because that's been my personal experience. Theorycrafting is important but it can't replace actual gameplay experience. My most recent encounter with that is Starfinder. My analysis of the Starfinder RPG based on my readthrough firmly established me in the "Not for me" camp. Then my son decided to run it and I got to really work at developing characters and experience the game in play. It's freaking fantastic. Things that I felt would be problematic weren't. Things that I thought would "pull me out of the game" didn't. So while on paper it seems that the nerf-bat was heavy-handed with the PF Playtest, I want to see more actual play reports and experience gameplay myself before throwing the Playtest rules under the bus.

Third, as others have pointed out, the power level of casters has to come down to bring some balance in line and maintain some relevance to the primary sources of inspiration. As someone else pointed out, that's swords and sorcery, not Anime or God of War. It's much easier to add to than take away (as evidenced by the resistance to casters being reigned in somewaht). Amping the power level can be handled in a PF2-style "mythic" (I'm using the term loosely, here) supplement. Stripping out stuff from the CRB usually results in arguments and cries of "GM is preventing fun" for those who want the affected content.

I personally like the way casters have been shaping up in the PF Playtest but I haven't had the chance to experience it in play yet. Using Starfinder as a comparison point, Starfinder's use of Themes and broader caster classes actually makes magic seem more rare/mystical than PF1! And that's despite having only 2 caster classes and spell levels capping out at 6. I'm playing a mystic and it's still incredibly fun. My mystic feels more capable than any wizard or sorcerer in PF1 even though it has less magical firepower -- primarily because the core class is more well-rounded. I get the same vibe when I make PF playtest characters (though I haven't had the chance to play one yet).

Almost all of the blogs, podcasts, and videos that I've seen say that the PF Playtest is fun and FEELS like PF1. I'm reserving judgment until I get to experience the playtest rules myself, but the doom-and-gloom predictions seem to be more than a little exaggerated from actual playtest feedback I've seen thus far. And with apologies to those that want to drive the power curve even higher than PF1, I respectfully hope that won't be the case. Overall, I like the power level Paizo seems to be striving for in PF2.

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So it is only me that feels like that this edition will be PF 2e:Martials will die edition.


Rikkan wrote:
Lausth wrote:
I dont get something.What exactly martials are having problems with that cant be solved by magical items?

Because they have a gear limit (wbl in pf1). And they need to buy all their basic equipment like +x weapon, get their AC up etc.

Then yeah, they can buy a ring that gives them fire protection to adventure on the plane of fire (if they are lucky enough to be able to find one, since the rules for finding specific magic items can make that quite tricky), but then they probably won't be able to fit a helm of underwater breathing in their budget for the other part of the adventure.

Just a quick note : from what I have seen in the few Paizo scenarios I GMed/played, they use to give the players a way to acquire magic items so that characters can continue the scenario without needing of spellcasters. One of those scenarios gives ghost-killing arrows before a ghost dungeon, water-breathing helm before an underwater encounter, and a Bane dagger before encountering the Bane's ennemy. I take it as a baseline that a scenario should always allow you to gear up on your ennemies when possible.

Except Emerald Spire. Where you changed settings too often to prepare yourself even with the kindest GM. But this scenario shows martials NEED spellcasters to be good at what they are doing. They can give you resistance to fire, make you fly, break a spell, etc etc. When you can't have good gear, you better hope your spellcaster will buff you enough.

In my opinion, a good spellcaster starts by helping their party before trying to win at "Who kills the more Orcs". Even with blasting-focused spellcasters, a good spellcaster always take some utilitary spells like Fly, to be sure that their martials, who deal damage more constently than them and tank wayyy better, actually kills the ennemy before it's too late. A rule of thumb I apply when I play a spellcaster : always make sure your martial is the best you can make it, that will be less damages you will take yourself once the martial is down.

Note : Even for defeating swarms, spellcasters are not obligatory. There's an Amulet of Mighty Fists that lets you deal damages to swarms. An unlimited number of times. Unlike casting Burning Hands.

Everything a spellcaster can do, a martial can do it with a magic item, which makes sense since it's a medieval fantastic setting. Spellcasters are only usefull to save money, or if your GM is mean enough to make you go to an unusual place like underwater without helping you in the process.

And to help you, spellcasters need to be good at their job.


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Almarane wrote:
Everything a spellcaster can do, a martial can do it with a magic item, which makes sense since it's a medieval fantastic setting. Spellcasters are only usefull to save money, or if your GM is mean enough to make you go to an unusual place like underwater without helping you in the process.

I agree wholeheartedly with your post.

I played a blaster character once and you can be sure my first few rounds were spent casting Enlarge Person/Haste/Fly if needed, before moving on to damage spells.
I would also never fire a blast spell if other party members could potentially be hurt from it.

The issue at hand with the part of your post that I quoted is that, while what you are saying is quite sensible, it seems absolutely inacceptable to some people that they should acquire magical items that render having a spellcaster optional if they don't want to/can't have one in the first place.

Apparently, spellcasters should be made obsolete without requiring some money be spent on magical items.


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Rikkan wrote:
Not to mention if they actually want to spend their money on pure background RP things, like building a castle etc.

This is sadly a victim in all editions since 2E, because 3E introduced "money as xp". You gain two kinds of xp that improve different aspects of your character: xp to to gain class abilities and gp to top off class abilities and get cross-class magical abilities. It works as long as your party stays in the dungeon, but investing seriously in things like a castle cramps your adventuring abilities. hence all the mini-games introduced in Ultimate Campaign, where you don't spend actual gp to get an inn, business, or castle - you spend some new kind of resource instead.


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Lausth wrote:

So it is only me that feels like that this edition will be PF 2e:Martials will die edition.

LOL From my experience, this is Pathfinder: TPK edition. I dont think Martials are singled out for death.


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Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
BPorter wrote:
First off, tremendous "holy crap" applause to magnuskn for the very detailed analysis. Even though his estimate of the time it took to complete it came in well under what I would have anticipated such an analysis to take, that was an incredible amount of time spent pouring through things.

Thank you. I got a bit obsessive when doing the work for this and didn't take much of a break.

BPorter wrote:
Third, as others have pointed out, the power level of casters has to come down to bring some balance in line and maintain some relevance to the primary sources of inspiration. As someone else pointed out, that's swords and sorcery, not Anime or God of War. It's much easier to add to than take away (as evidenced by the resistance to casters being reigned in somewaht). Amping the power level can be handled in a PF2-style "mythic" (I'm using the term loosely, here) supplement. Stripping out stuff from the CRB usually results in arguments and cries of "GM is preventing fun" for those who want the affected content.

See, I think that misrepresents the entire situation somewhat. I think casters need a nerf for the game-breaking stuff, but otherwise are fine in PF1E. For me, it's martial which need to be brought up, instead of casters being brought down. There already is a game which has a much reduced power level from PF1E but the same roots, and that is D&D 5E. I don't think there is a good place for a second version of it on the market.

If martials were brought up to a closer level to casters in PF2E, we still would not have something even near mythic levels (which I've GM'ed for, the entire Wrath of the Righteous AP. It... was not a pleasant experience.), it would just make them more equal to their caster colleagues. The Tome of Battle from 3.5 would be a good goal in terms of design. You just have to compensate with the monster design a bit.

BPorter wrote:
Almost all of the blogs, podcasts, and videos that I've seen say that the PF Playtest is fun and FEELS like PF1. I'm reserving judgment until I get to experience the playtest rules myself, but the doom-and-gloom predictions seem to be more than a little exaggerated from actual playtest feedback I've seen thus far. And with apologies to those that want to drive the power curve even higher than PF1, I respectfully hope that won't be the case. Overall, I like the power level Paizo seems to be striving for in PF2.

I respectfully disagree. I see little which endears me to the new design, in terms of spellcasters at least.

Lausth wrote:
So it is only me that feels like that this edition will be PF 2e:Martials will die edition.

Actually, yeah. I think this is one of the unintended consequences which will surprise a lot of "I want martials to be as powerful as casters, so NERF CASTERS!" faction when it keeps happening. If you bring down your friendly group members who previously were able to make all you sword swingers better... well, now they can't do that anymore. Or at least only do it for one of you.


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Lausth wrote:
glass wrote:
Lausth wrote:
Most of the spells having 1 minute duration is just an another way of saying that these powers are once per encounter right?Did i get this wrong?

Yes, you got it wrong. Duration is completely orthogonal to usage restrictions.

You are probably not going to want to to cast a 1 minute spell on the same target more than once per encounter (unless it gets dispelled), but if you did want to there is nothing stopping you if you have the slots/prepared spells (which are a daily resource) available. And unless the spell in question is self only, there are probably other targets.

_
glass.

Soo instead of casting that power once which will be the case due to less spell slots most of the time.Now I have a choice to cast it more than once and be useless rest of the encounters so i will be casting it once per encounter?

_
Lausth

that's one way to see it.

the exact opposite way is that with /encounter powers you can't reserve strength for later on.

regardless the difficulty, your set on x/encounter usage.

now, you can use something if it's needed, or not at all if it's not needed, or use it a lot more when you need it.


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Quote:
If martials were brought up to a closer level to casters in PF2E, we still would not have something even near mythic levels (which I've GM'ed for, the entire Wrath of the Righteous AP. It... was not a pleasant experience.), it would just make them more equal to their caster colleagues. The Tome of Battle from 3.5 would be a good goal in terms of design. You just have to compensate with the monster design a bit.

I played a goliath swordsage (spiked chain tripper), gnome swordsage (shadow line, if I remember right) and a human crusader (my fave was the Divine Bard/Crusader modeled after the singing knights from Monty Python and the Quest for the Holy Grail). I liked Tome of Battle but, ultimately, it was real gamey. I felt it kinda took me out of the fiction and it felt very much "not martial." Alot of the criticism folks level at 4E (mmo design, overly gamist, etc) could pretty easily be leveled against ToB (though, it wasnt nearly as bad).

Frankly, I like Paizo's approach. Toning down casters a bit, giving them some solid cantrips and then boosting martials slightly. Its a good approach. This is especially true with all the neat weapon abilities they have right now. Martials feel good right now. Adding a bunch of ToB funkiness and wacky special powas would foul that up, IMO.

If Paizo implements something like Stamina, the Sword and Sorcery/Dark Fantasy vibe will be even stronger. I will absolutely get to go full Black Company with this game.


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magnuskn wrote:

See, I think that misrepresents the entire situation somewhat. I think casters need a nerf for the game-breaking stuff, but otherwise are fine in PF1E. For me, it's martial which need to be brought up, instead of casters being brought down. There already is a game which has a much reduced power level from PF1E but the same roots, and that is D&D 5E. I don't think there is a good place for a second version of it on the market.

If martials were brought up to a closer level to casters in PF2E, we still would not have something even near mythic levels (which I've GM'ed for, the entire Wrath of the Righteous AP. It... was not a pleasant experience.), it would just make them more equal to their caster colleagues. The Tome of Battle from 3.5 would be a good goal in terms of design. You just have to compensate with the monster design a bit.

So, just to get it out of the way, I loathed Tome of Battle. You like it. No problem.

With respect to the "there's already a lower-powered game, it's 5E", respectfully, I disagree.

A few months back, I got torched by vocal forum posters of the "pro-power" camp that effectively said to take my preferences and go play 5e.

So, despite swearing off D&D and WotC when I switched to PF1, I broke down and bought the 5e Player's Handbook. Perhaps there was something to the argument, even if it was offered in spite rather than in a desire to help. Aside from bounded accuracy, I don't really see the "low power" argument that was being made. EVERY class has a magic-themed background (archetype in PF language), only full casters etc.

However, that's not the reason I will, forever more, automatically dismiss the "5e is the answer" argument to differing tastes in PC power level.

5e is a much more shallow game.

I'm not saying it's a bad game, but for everyone decrying a lack of options in the PF2 Playtest doc, please go read a 5e PHB and then come back and talk about lack of options. 5e is a perfectly functional game. But it is nowhere near as tactically satisfying as Pathfinder and that has little-to-nothing to do with the power level of the game, story, or setting.

So, realistically, it's Pathfinder or nothing for my FRPG needs. And while those who want another edition of the game with yet another power boost are certainly entitled to advocate for such a game, I, too, am entitled to advocate for the kind of Pathfinder game that I want. (And while it galls me that I may need to spell this out: I am in NO WAY suggesting that magnuskn or anyone else in THIS particular thread was suggesting that I wasn't entitled to my opinion/preferences.)

I want to be able to run campaigns and games that hew more closely to the stories of video games like the Witcher, Dragon Age, Thief, Pillars of Eternity and movies/TV shows like Lord of the Rings & Game of Thrones, or novels like the Ryria Revelations, Fafhrd and the Gray Mouser, the Kingdoms of Thorn and Bone, the Gentleman Bastards, and yes - Conan, etc. I want to run those campaigns using Pathfinder. Hell, even Harry Potter isn't as reality breaking as high-level PF1, despite magic being so commonplace it's trivial.

And I'm completely ok with leaving the door open for Paizo to release more powerful content for those who want to get their Riftwar Saga power-game on for the Pug & Thomas fans or for the God of War fans, as well.


Lausth wrote:


Sure.
So you said these spells are not once per encounter powers because i can cast them again.Right?
Now because of less spell slots per day now i am sayin that i cant cast them again.Because they become a very scarce resource.So if i were to cast that again which would take my second highest slot probably that would put me in a wierd place.I cant cast the same spell over and over again.Spell slots are a lot fewer in this edition.So in realty even though i can actually cast that spell again i will never do that unless there is a very dire situation which calls for the same spell.So basicly this spell even though it is not labeled as once per encounter it actually is %95 of the time.Difference is almost non existant.

Spells are a scarece resource, but as you freely admit they are a scarece daily resource. If you cannot cast a spelll because you are out of appropriate spell slots/prepared spells, then you will not be able to cast it in a later encounter of the day either. Conversely, if you are frugal and cast no spells in the first two encounters, you will have more avaiable in the third and so on.

If they were a per encunter resource, then niether of these things would be true.

_
glass.

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You know.I played starfinder for a while both as a gm and as a player.Like for 100 hours.It gave me the dissatifaction that 4e did to older players.Now they are doing the same things to pathfinder.I am seeing very similar design and i dont like it.It is not just the power level.I am seeing the meaningfull choices from developers and designers all the time.None of this feels meaningfull.Are they saying that because most of the choices in starfinder are meaningless?That was certainly my experience.Right now when i look at starfinder i am not seeing a game.I am seeing a a very big advertisment project for shadowrun.Now they are doing the same thing to pathfinder and i am thinking about trying out 5e.

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


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

And that is the point why nerfing spells per day is just stupid. You play a wizard? What do you want to do? Casting freaking spells!

I don't want to hold back all the time the good spells for a potential huge fight. It's just boring. I don't understand the design choice behind it. It's obvious that the old spells per day system has some flaws. Even in PF1 it could be boring to play a low level wizard doing most fights absolutely nothing.

Now high level spells don't even have a huge impact. I don't want the overpowered wizard of PF1 back. I just want a wizard that is fun to play.


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Lausth wrote:

So it is only me that feels like that this edition will be PF 2e:Martials will die edition.

I was thinking more about Pathfinder of the Exile, but SoulsFinder: Prepare to Die comes as close second.


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
BPorter wrote:

So, just to get it out of the way, I loathed Tome of Battle. You like it. No problem.

With respect to the "there's already a lower-powered game, it's 5E", respectfully, I disagree.

A few months back, I got torched by vocal forum posters of the "pro-power" camp that effectively said to take my preferences and go play 5e.

So, despite swearing off D&D and WotC when I switched to PF1, I broke down and bought the 5e Player's Handbook. Perhaps there was something to the argument, even if it was offered in spite rather than in a desire to help. Aside from bounded accuracy, I don't really see the "low power" argument that was being made. EVERY class has a magic-themed background (archetype in PF language), only full casters etc.

However, that's not the reason I will, forever more, automatically dismiss the "5e is the answer" argument to differing tastes in PC power level.

5e is a much more shallow game.

I'm not saying it's a bad game, but for everyone decrying a lack of options in the PF2 Playtest doc, please go read a 5e PHB and then come back and talk about lack of options. 5e is a perfectly functional...

And I'd never suggest that you don't have a right to your voice. I guess we get to fight with arguments to try to win over the developers to our side. Although your side is starting out in the better position, because the developers started there as well. ^^


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BPorter wrote:


5e is a much more shallow game.

I'm not saying it's a bad game, but for everyone decrying a lack of options in the PF2 Playtest doc, please go read a 5e PHB and then come back and talk about lack of options. 5e is a perfectly functional...

5e has you making very few choices, that is true. But every single one of them is way more impactfull that the whole 10 class feat your PF2 class gets. In 5e you can chose the skill you are good at, you can chose witch talent you want, or even if you want them at all.

Right now PF2 let's you make 20 choices every time you level up, but aside from the class none of them is meaningfull.

My hope for PF2 was for a system where mastery was rewarded instead of cookie-cutter build. If you like cookie-cutter, at least 5e let's you spice it at your leisure.


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BPorter wrote:
I want to be able to run campaigns and games that hew more closely to the stories of video games like the Witcher, Dragon Age, Thief, Pillars of Eternity and movies/TV shows like Lord of the Rings & Game of Thrones, or novels like the Ryria Revelations, Fafhrd and the Gray Mouser, the Kingdoms of Thorn and Bone, the Gentleman Bastards, and yes - Conan, etc. I want to run those campaigns using Pathfinder. Hell, even Harry Potter isn't as reality breaking as high-level PF1, despite magic being so commonplace it's trivial.

Problem is, you already can, it's called playing the low levels of the game. Or you can ban casters or offending spells and abilities. Or play E6 or E8. Not cut out an existing part of the game so you can play your favorite levels for 20 instead of 5-10.

BPorter wrote:
And I'm completely ok with leaving the door open for Paizo to release more powerful content for those who want to get their Riftwar Saga power-game on for the Pug & Thomas fans or for the God of War fans, as well.

If it's made like Mythic, than it's crap. I like high level play and wouldn't touch mythic without serious editing. I wouldn't mind anime martial supplement not being the core but I am seriously concerned about scope of the game when I cannot play a caster I could play in PF1 CRB.


Dekalinder wrote:
My hope for PF2 was for a system where mastery was rewarded instead of cookie-cutter build. If you like cookie-cutter, at least 5e let's you spice it at your leisure.

Yeah, I use 3rd Ed/PF1 material as the secret sauce/spice for 5th Ed, best thing 5th Ed has going for it is how easily hackable it is.


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BPorter wrote:
I want to be able to run campaigns and games that hew more closely to the stories of video games like the Witcher

I had to say something about this, just couldn't let it slide: in the world of the Witcher, magic users can be tremendously powerful.

Yennefer casts Teleport on a whim and without restrictions. It's not a super uncommon thing in that universe to have a magic user be able to travel through vast distances in the blink of an eye.

Ciri is arguably a different matter because of her lineage but her powers of destruction are unmatched and she will planeshift like it's just walking through the streets.

The Witcher is not a low-power setting for magic.
Fewer individuals might have access to magic but it remains just as powerful as you would expect from the old rules of D&D.

necromental wrote:
Problem is, you already can, it's called playing the low levels of the game. Or you can ban casters or offending spells and abilities. Or play E6 or E8. Not cut out an existing part of the game so you can play your favorite levels for 20 instead of 5-10.

And here we go. It seems we can't have a game in which spellcasters are relevant because some folk want grittier, more realistic settings in which magic simply doesn't exist at any level.

They're fine accomodating us with the ability to wash clothing and spread light from our staff but it stops right there.

The truth is, Pathfinder was never about that: you had martial characters, you had spellcaster characters in a high-magic setting and it worked just fine, pleasing all sides and giving them the ability to play as they damn like.

I see people ask for a low-magic game and I can't help but feel that they don't want Pathfinder 2.0.
They want a whole other game that goes away with the high-magic setting of D&D and 1st edition.

It really saddens me that developers seem to think the same now.
This is NOT Pathfinder 2.0, this is a new RPG setting that might cater to the needs of some but it has nothing to do with the game I know.

Although I keep posting here in the hopes that Paizo staff will realize that a good amount of people truly feel let down with their new take on magic, I don't have high hopes that it will change anything.

It is obvious judging by the current playtest that the devs are firmly in the no-magic camp...for some reason.
And I don't see how to improve anything without first changing their minds which I am not stupid enough to believe I or anyone will achieve here.

I asked my players if they wanted to run an AP or module once the 2nd edition goes live.

One of them who loves spellcasters and is currently playing a Wizard told me: "I'll come, but I'll play as a Rogue or Fighter. Otherwise, I'll end up twiddling my thumbs 90% of the time and I'll probably drop out of the game".

It doesn't sound right to me at all that the part of the playerbase that used to love spellcasters will now only play martial characters or not play at all.

I'm sure there'll be some people to answer my post with: "Yes, finally, we're getting rid of all the whiners, please leave, let me have my low-fantasy setting!".
To which I say: "Have fun, see you around in two years when the game has lost half the people who used to support it and is not doing so great after all".

Dark Archive

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graystone wrote:
Lausth wrote:

So it is only me that feels like that this edition will be PF 2e:Martials will die edition.

LOL From my experience, this is Pathfinder: TPK edition. I dont think Martials are singled out for death.

At low levels?Sure.But at high levels seems like a different story.

Lets imagine a likely scenario.
-Our party barbarian is effected by conan or other fantasy barbarians and charges in without a care in the world.
-The place he charges is in turns out to be filled with level 8-9 goblins.
-Barbarian dies.
-Now the same goblin horde is after your party.
-You have a party of barbarian,rogue,fighter and the wizard.

-Now due to lower spell slots per day you just prepared one fly spell.
-There is no where to run.
-Wizard has to chose who to save.
-Guess who is gonna die.

EDİT:Teleport is no longer an option.Sorry.


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Even if spellcasters need to be toned down, I don't see the point in nerfing, say, Prestidigitation =P

As Magnus said, yes, there are some overpowered options that need to be toned down (mainly divination, and maybe Teleport, even though you have 1/4 chances of not teleporting correctly if you went to somewhere you have never been). But some nerfs were unnecessary, even when you want to bring down casters to martials' level.

As for the "per encounter spells" debate :

Lausth was wrong. Those new 1 minute spells are not per encounter powers.

They are per day powers, which only last for one encounter. Which is worse.

After 3 encounters, your wizard has spent all their 2nd-level spell slots to cast Blur. And that's if they only used in on one ally, and if they only caster Blur. So it's a "best case scenario" estimate. Deduce the mandatory 2nd-level Mage Armor, and a probable casting of False life to not be killed by any monster, since your allies can no longer protect you with AoOs. Even with their Arcane Focus and if they have a specialization, such a caster would only get 5 spell slots per level at level 20, and would need at least 6 spell slots if they want to cast an utilitary spell for their companions, such as Water Walk or Fly and two personal buffs in a 4-members party (4 spells if this spell-level is used only for buffing the entire party). So if you want to go to this neighboring island from where the Cyclop is throwing you rocks, you ultimately consumed a whole spell level. Sometimes, you can't even cast your spell on everyone.

You are in the end as "magical" as a martial class with Spell Points, but with less martial options.

And I agree with dnoisette (even though your tone seems a bit harsh there, friend =P). I play Pathfinder for playing a high-fantasy game, where Wizards can make Balrogs quiver in fear, and where even Monks can become gods with the power of their, if they want to. In my opinion, Pathfinder is the RPG I played so far who has achieved it better than anything else (with the exception of D&D3.5's necromancy).

And now for something a bit out topic : please don't tell to anyone to go play another game. If people come in these forums, it's because they want to play Pathfinder, not D&D. This behaviour only destroys our community, instead of making it a good place to be.

Am I the only one here loving Mythic ?...


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Lausth wrote:
graystone wrote:
Lausth wrote:

So it is only me that feels like that this edition will be PF 2e:Martials will die edition.

LOL From my experience, this is Pathfinder: TPK edition. I dont think Martials are singled out for death.

At low levels?Sure.But at high levels seems like a different story.

Lets imagine a likely scenario.
-Our party barbarian is effected by conan or other fantasy barbarians and charges in without a care in the world.
-The place he charges is in turns out to be filled with level 8-9 goblins.
-Barbarian dies.
-Now the same goblin horde is after your party.
-You have a party of barbarian,rogue,fighter and the wizard.

-Now due to lower spell slots per day you just prepared one fly spell.
-There is no where to run.
-Wizard has to chose who to save.
-Guess who is gonna die.

EDİT:Teleport is no longer an option.Sorry.

Monster with spells : *casts Acid Arrow on the flying wizard*

Monster with a bow or a crossbow : *shoots arrows on the flying wizard*
Wizard : Nethys damn it :|

Edit : Also, Fly only lasts 1 minute now. So unless you have prepared it at 7th level (which would be weird if you are fighting 8-9 level goblins, but that's a nitpick) to make it last 1 hour, you won't flee far.

And if your barbarian runs in without a care, either his player is bad, or he plays him as a suicidal man and the barbarian should have died levels ago without a good amount of luck. The only time I saw a martial play like that, it was an INT 4 barbarian who only charged because it was part of the plan the more intellectual members of the group had made, and he was supposed to be helped by another martial who failed his climb check, thus the barbarian ending up alone without realizing his comrade was not here.

Dark Archive

Wizard did let rogue and fighter to die for something.Come on.I thought our disparity was closed.

EDİT:Well it is one of the many scenarios i think is possible.Barbarians and other martials can and will die in many different ways in this edition.It's just that caster are looking at better chances for survival.So PF 2E:Martials will die edition.
I am sure casters will die a lot too.


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
Lausth wrote:

At low levels?Sure.But at high levels seems like a different story.

Lets imagine a likely scenario.
-Our party barbarian is effected by conan or other fantasy barbarians and charges in without a care in the world.
-The place he charges is in turns out to be filled with level 8-9 goblins.
-Barbarian dies.
-Now the same goblin horde is after your party.
-You have a party of barbarian,rogue,fighter and the wizard.

-Now due to lower spell slots per day you just prepared one fly spell.
-There is no where to run.
-Wizard has to chose who to save.
-Guess who is gonna die.

EDİT:Teleport is no longer an option.Sorry.

Yep. It's the law of unintended consequences. If the playtest spells go through in this way, the obituary threads for the new PF2E AP's will be very interesting to watch.

Also, Fly has only a one minute duration, as Almarane already pointed out. AND only a speed of 30 feet, so good luck getting away from those goblin shortbows.

Dark Archive

Well i guess i now know the importance of invisibility and letting the fighter and the rogue to die has to count for something.Right?


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Almarane wrote:
If people come in these forums, it's because they want to play Pathfinder, not D&D.

A slight quibble:

I play P1 because I like D&D. Despite my love for BECMI and AD&D 2e, P1 is my preferred system. Is it perfect? No, but it is better than pretty much anything else. 4e does not deserve the D&D name, and 5e is a disappointment.
P2 is trying very hard to not be D&D, which is why I dislike it.


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magnuskn wrote:
Also, Fly has only a one minute duration, as Almarane already pointed out. AND only a speed of 30 feet, so good luck getting away from those goblin shortbows.

You also have to spend at least 1 of your actions each round on a Fly action or you tumble to the ground (p309). Because hovering in place is hard.

Edited to add: Also, since there's no Fly skill anymore, flight maneuvers (p315) and flying in difficult conditions like wind (p310) are now Acrobatics checks (p145). Which isn't a signature skill for any of the classes that can cast Fly. And flight maneuvers require training in Acrobatics (p145,315), but the spell doesn't grant the proficiency (in PF1, the spell granted skill ranks based on CL).

Edited again to add: And also the rules governing flight are spread across pages 145, 309, 310, and 315.

Edited a third time to add: And I literally mean "spread". Each of these pages has necessary information not found on the other pages.


Almarane wrote:
Am I the only one here loving Mythic ?...

I think Mythic is fantastic for a solo PC


2 people marked this as a favorite.
edduardco wrote:
Almarane wrote:
Am I the only one here loving Mythic ?...
I think Mythic is fantastic for a solo PC

Mythic Solo Playtest. It's too bad the player had to drop this (due to other commitments) because it was fun to read.


Can someone explain why anyone would cast Haste? All it grants is another attack at max MAP. Not even an attack with one of the nice enhancement the Fighter can get: just a vanilla attack with a -10 penalty. Even a maximized fighter needs a 19 to hit with that extra attack, who cares?

Oh, and it doesn't even increase your speed. It allows for another Stride if you want, but when it comes to jump, you're still limited by your speed. When you have to pursue someone for a few minutes, several Stride per round still makes you Fatigued. Etc. i probably forget a lot of effects it doesn't allow because it doesn't increase your speed.

Bless uses more actions than Inspire courage, gives weaker bonus, and isn't at will. Just play a bard instead.

Fly is slower than many flying creatures, going up is difficult terrain, and the duration is 1 minute. The creature can just fly away during 1 minute - and you don't want a 2-minute-fight since it probably makes you Fatigued. Just stay on the ground with your bow.

Seriously, apart from Inspire courage, what are the buffs you're supposed to cast on the Fighter?

Attack cantrips are plain worse than a +1 returning javelin; the magic javelin deals the same damages for 1 action, can be thrown at 40 feet, and everyone is trained with the javelin except the Wizard (but maybe you shouldn't play a wizard?). Not to mention, the returning property is free when you create a level 5+ character: a +1 returning javelin is a level 4 item as the vanilla +1 javelin.

So you can spam some fancy spell to feel magic, but you probably shouldn't.

glass wrote:
Dasrak wrote:
You've actually missed the worst part of this spell: there's a catch-22 that makes it impossible to cast! The spell can only be cast as a reaction after you're submerged, but requires a verbal action as part of the casting. To cast a spell with a verbal action underwater, you'd need to be under the effect of a spell like air bubble... oops?

Reaction can happen before the things that triggered them, so the spell should work fine.

Actually, that does not appear to be directly stated anywhere, so arguably no Reaction actually work. But if you are fine with the Shield Block reaction working, then Air Bubble does too.

This is not how reactions work.

Read Retributive Strike from the Paladin: it has to state explicitly it reduce the triggering damage to 0 if it kills the target. And it doesn't even cancels the attack, just the damage part (and everything that requires at least 1 damage, like enhancements): if the triggering attack is a critical Chill touch, the spell deals no damages but has its weakening effect.

This is how reactions work in Path 2: if it isn't stated they disrupt the trigger before it is resolved, they don't.


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dnoisette wrote:
BPorter wrote:
I want to be able to run campaigns and games that hew more closely to the stories of video games like the Witcher

I had to say something about this, just couldn't let it slide: in the world of the Witcher, magic users can be tremendously powerful.

Yennefer casts Teleport on a whim and without restrictions. It's not a super uncommon thing in that universe to have a magic user be able to travel through vast distances in the blink of an eye.

Ciri is arguably a different matter because of her lineage but her powers of destruction are unmatched and she will planeshift like it's just walking through the streets.

The Witcher is not a low-power setting for magic.
Fewer individuals might have access to magic but it remains just as powerful as you would expect from the old rules of D&D.

In the world of the witcher, a martial character like Geralt can gain super-powers by drinking a potion that would outright kill anyone else. That's how you handle caster/martial disparity in a satisfying way: by giving super-powers to the martial in a credible manner. And the game doesn't even care about balance between martials and casters.

Dark Archive

Wait.Yennefer can kick geralts ass within a second.Well atleast that was my experience with witcher 3.Remember that lake scene where yennefer teleport geralt on to a lake?

EDİT:İs that how you would deal with caster martial disparity?


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Gaterie wrote:


In the world of the witcher, a martial character like Geralt can gain super-powers by drinking a potion that would outright kill anyone else. That's how you handle caster/martial disparity in a satisfying way: by giving super-powers to the martial in a credible manner. And the game doesn't even care about balance between martials and casters.

And that same potion you just mentioned is basically just that: a potion.

Or, more likely considering what you're saying it should do, it's a mutagen, which is also the name for that decoction in the Witcher universe.

It's a magical item you can buy. A shortcut if you have no Mage handy.
You can already buy potions and other magical items in game and use them without too much trouble.

You're not required to be a Wizard to use a scroll of Fly: Trick Magic Item and investment in whichever you prefer between Arcana, Occultism and Nature will do the trick.

These options are already in the game, I don't understand what people want when they say they're not happy about it.
Every single utility and convenience spell in the game, you can get from a consumable.

Wizards would not be OP or necessary to have in a party even without the nerfs to magic.

I played 1.0 in a party without any spellcaster.
I was a Half-Elf Swashbuckler with Arcane Training and heavy investment in UMD.
As a result, I could use wands of Shield or Mirror Image for defense, have a Fly scroll handy when needed and I carried lots of potions and other consumables (such as smokestick for pseudo Obscuring Mist and the like...).
One of the newer players in our group was shocked that I could basically do everything a mage can.
It then became a habit for him to buy multiple scrolls and potions, no matter what character he would play, so that he never had to rely on a spellcaster.

It just takes a bit of planning and a lot of gold to cover all possible situations that might call for a specific consumable.

I would hope it does cost a good amount of money because it basically does the same job as another full class.

I don't think I can buy a sword right now that will make me hit like a Fighter by applying modifiers to my proficiencies and ability scores.

Conversely, a Fighter can buy a scroll of Fly that will do the exact same thing for them than if another PC had actually cast the spell.

That's how it should be and I'm not complaining about it at all.
I just don't see why people claim that's not enough and martial characters are ill-suited for high-level play.
I also don't see how making spellcasters irrelevant is going to make martials better for high-level play...

If your DM won't let you buy any consumables at all, then bringing a caster is indeed your only choice.
I've never met such a DM though.
Even if you did, you could point out to them that many of these items are labelled as common and should be easily accessible in the world.

Lausth wrote:

Wait.Yennefer can kick geralts ass within a second.Well atleast that was my experience with witcher 3.Remember that lake scene where yennefer teleport geralt on to a lake?

EDİT:İs that how you would deal with caster martial disparity?

Of course not, my point was that the Witcher universe is just not a low-magic one.


Lausth wrote:
graystone wrote:
Lausth wrote:

So it is only me that feels like that this edition will be PF 2e:Martials will die edition.

LOL From my experience, this is Pathfinder: TPK edition. I dont think Martials are singled out for death.
At low levels?Sure.But at high levels seems like a different story.

That seems unlikely as the party has to survive long enough to get to a level high enough to cast fly... From my experience so for t=in the playtest adventure, you'll get a TPK a long time before that happens.

Gaterie wrote:
Attack cantrips are plain worse than a +1 returning javelin; the magic javelin deals the same damages for 1 action

2 actions. Javelins have a reload of - and that means "An item with an entry of “—” must be drawn to be thrown, which usually takes an Interact action just like drawing any other weapon." Returning doesn't say anything about negating reloading.

Dark Archive

That was a response to gaterie not you dnoisette


Lausth wrote:

That was a response to gaterie not you dnoisette

That makes sense, I guess I just need some rest, my reading skills are not what they should be right now. ^^


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dnoisette wrote:


You're not required to be a Wizard to use a scroll of Fly: Trick Magic Item and investment in whichever you prefer between Arcana, Occultism and Nature will do the trick.

These options are already in the game, I don't understand what people want when they say they're not happy about it.
Every single utility and convenience spell in the game, you can get from a consumable.

Based on the chart on page 347, a character is supposed to receive 180 gp over the course of leveling from 7 to 8. That's supposed to be for consumables and any additional permanent magic items he wants to spend it on.

A single scroll of Fly costs 45 gp, 25% of that amount. At 10th level it's still 9% of your total earnings for that level.

Consumables, beyond the very lowest level, are not a cost effective replacement for PC abilities that are expected be used routinely.


dnoisette wrote:
Gaterie wrote:


In the world of the witcher, a martial character like Geralt can gain super-powers by drinking a potion that would outright kill anyone else. That's how you handle caster/martial disparity in a satisfying way: by giving super-powers to the martial in a credible manner. And the game doesn't even care about balance between martials and casters.

And that same potion you just mentioned is basically just that: a potion.

Or, more likely considering what you're saying it should do, it's a mutagen, which is also the name for that decoction in the Witcher universe.

It's a magical item you can buy. A shortcut if you have no Mage handy.
You can already buy potions and other magical items in game and use them without too much trouble.

You're not required to be a Wizard to use a scroll of Fly: Trick Magic Item and investment in whichever you prefer between Arcana, Occultism and Nature will do the trick.

These options are already in the game, I don't understand what people want when they say they're not happy about it.
Every single utility and convenience spell in the game, you can get from a consumable.

Wizards would not be OP or necessary to have in a party even without the nerfs to magic.

I played 1.0 in a party without any spellcaster.
I was a Half-Elf Swashbuckler with Arcane Training and heavy investment in UMD.
As a result, I could use wands of Shield or Mirror Image for defense, have a Fly scroll handy when needed and I carried lots of potions and other consumables (such as smokestick for pseudo Obscuring Mist and the like...).
One of the newer players in our group was shocked that I could basically do everything a mage can.
It then became a habit for him to buy multiple scrolls and potions, no matter what character he would play, so that he never had to rely on a spellcaster.

It just takes a bit of planning and a lot of gold to cover all possible situations that might call for a specific consumable.

I would hope it does cost a good amount...

if exorbitant consumables are the answer for martial problems, they are also the answer to caster problems:

get wands of heightned spells and cast as many heightened spells as you want per day.

now you outdamage martials because each round you're spamming 8d6 fireballs.

now you have all 1-4 utility spells without preparing them, or even having them in your spellbook and etc (all at 4th level ofc)

best part, since consumables are so accessible, you are always using 4th level wands as well, because why not?

later on, you can also get a couple of staffs as well, and attune each day the one you like for even more free spells, now without a spell level limit!

Quote:
These options are already in the game, I don't understand what people want when they say they're not happy about it.


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

Bring those goalposts back here!

The question was not whether PF2P's low number of spell slots and short durations are fun, which is a subjective matter (for me personally, I lean towards "a few more slots would be more fun, especially at low levels"). The question was whether they were encounter powers, which they objectively are not.

John Mechalas wrote:
Edited to add: Also, since there's no Fly skill anymore, flight maneuvers (p315) and flying in difficult conditions like wind (p310) are now Acrobatics checks (p145). Which isn't a signature skill for any of the classes that can cast Fly. And flight maneuvers require training in Acrobatics (p145,315), but the spell doesn't grant the proficiency (in PF1, the spell granted skill ranks based on CL).

The PF1 Fly spell granted a bonus on the fly skill not ranks in it, not that really matters.

Speaking of not mattering, why is not being a signature skill a big concern if all you need is trained?

Gaterie wrote:

This is not how reactions work.

Read Retributive Strike from the Paladin: it has to state explicitly it reduce the triggering damage to 0 if it kills the target. And it doesn't even cancels the attack, just the damage part (and everything that requires at least 1 damage, like enhancements): if the triggering attack is a critical Chill touch, the spell deals no damages but has its weakening effect.

You say "this is not how reaction work", and then you give an example of a reaction working...exactly how I described. If it did not interupt the thing that triggered it, then it could not reduce the damage to zero as the damage would have already happened. QED.

_
glass.


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Gaterie wrote:


Attack cantrips are plain worse than a +1 returning javelin; the magic javelin deals the same damages for 1 action, can be thrown at 40 feet, and everyone is trained with the javelin except the Wizard (but maybe you shouldn't play a wizard?). Not to mention, the returning property is free when you create a level 5+ character: a +1 returning javelin is a level 4 item as the vanilla +1 javelin.

So you can spam some fancy spell to feel magic, but you probably shouldn't.

nope it isn't.

a +1 potency rune is a 4th level treasure.
a returning property rune is a level 4 item

a +1 returning javelin is NOT a 4th level item, it's 2 4th level items.

it's probably better to get a +1ac, +1 saves, and a lesser fire staff and rely on your cantrip (and still have "money" left, than get a +1 returning javelin for a tiny bit extra damage.


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shroudb wrote:
Gaterie wrote:


Attack cantrips are plain worse than a +1 returning javelin; the magic javelin deals the same damages for 1 action, can be thrown at 40 feet, and everyone is trained with the javelin except the Wizard (but maybe you shouldn't play a wizard?). Not to mention, the returning property is free when you create a level 5+ character: a +1 returning javelin is a level 4 item as the vanilla +1 javelin.

So you can spam some fancy spell to feel magic, but you probably shouldn't.

nope it isn't.

a +1 potency rune is a 4th level treasure.
a returning property rune is a level 4 item

a +1 returning javelin is NOT a 4th level item, it's 2 4th level items.

it's probably better to get a +1ac, +1 saves, and a lesser fire staff and rely on your cantrip (and still have "money" left, than get a +1 returning javelin for a tiny bit extra damage.

I was under the impression that such a weapon would constitute a single item.

"The level of an item with runes etched on it is equal to the highest level among the base item and all runes etched on it; therefore, a +1 mace (4th level) with a disrupting rune (5th level) would be a 5th-level item."

Notice how it says 'a' 5th level item, not one 5th level item and one 4th level item.

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