Spell heightening (Auto)


General Discussion

1 to 50 of 53 << first < prev | 1 | 2 | next > last >>

6 people marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Adventure Path, Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber

It is one of the few things that I'm seeing as a problem in the 2nd Edition. The creators reduced the number castings per day, AND they reduced the power at the same time. (Except they front loaded a tiny bit)

I'm pushing for having spells -auto- heighten based on the maximum caster level, while using their base level slots. Either that, or give the ability to use spell points, or magic implements, to pump the spell level up to that maximum level.

While we are at it, can we not call spell points by that name? I'm looking towards a more generic Power Point name. Not every class that has 'spell points' has spells. (Such as the paladin)


2 people marked this as a favorite.

Unless they vastly reduced the power of spells even more, this would be quite literally the definition of quadratic-wizard, linear-fighter, given that spell slots are roughly linear with level and spell power is roughly linear with level, you get level^2, when you combine the two.

Maybe I could see a broadening of the design around stuff like the wizard's arcane focus, where they can assume 4 spells per level per day, but 1 more at your highest level spell, so that this is more assumed into the system, but that's mostly as far as I'd go.

Also, by definition, every class that has spell points has spells. Just not every class that has spell points has spell slots. I'm fine with the name.


6 people marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Adventure Path, Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber
Tholomyes wrote:

Unless they vastly reduced the power of spells even more, this would be quite literally the definition of quadratic-wizard, linear-fighter, given that spell slots are roughly linear with level and spell power is roughly linear with level, you get level^2, when you combine the two.

Maybe I could see a broadening of the design around stuff like the wizard's arcane focus, where they can assume 4 spells per level per day, but 1 more at your highest level spell, so that this is more assumed into the system, but that's mostly as far as I'd go.

Also, by definition, every class that has spell points has spells. Just not every class that has spell points has spell slots. I'm fine with the name.

Fighters get to use their attack all day, and often more the one attack per round. Wizards at first level get only a couple of uses, then gain about a spell use per level. Wizards SHOULD be powerhouses based on limited use per day, and generally since they only one spell per round.


5 people marked this as a favorite.
Shain Edge wrote:


Fighters get to use their attack all day. Wizards at first level get only a couple of uses, then gain about a spell use per level. Wizards SHOULD be powerhouses based on limited use per day.

Cantrips, Cantrips, Cantrips, Cantrips.

Not only can the caster use a strike action or concentrate on a spell (say a summon), but they can cast a cantrip as well in one round. These cantrips auto heighten and often have a critical effect as well (even marital characters have a hard time blocking weapon critical effects... wizards get this at lvl 1).

I agree it's sad to see spells get nerfed, but if we are trying to level the playing field and lessen the gap between the old tiers of PF 1 then I feel the changes are pretty balanced considering the action economy. Also, seeing as even on a saved spell there is usually an immediate effect and that means your cast is rarely ever completely wasted.

Auto Heightening all spells is interesting, but I would say probably swings us way out of balance. Effectively eliminating all lower level spell slots and converting them to free higher level slots.


5 people marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Adventure Path, Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber
Nelroy wrote:


Cantrips, Cantrips, Cantrips, Cantrips.

Not only can the caster use a strike action or concentrate on a spell (say a summon), but they can cast a cantrip as well in one round. These cantrips auto heighten and often have a critical effect as well (even marital characters have a hard time blocking weapon critical effects... wizards get this at lvl 1).

I agree it's sad to see spells get nerfed, but if we are trying to level the playing field and lessen the gap between the old tiers of PF 1 then I feel the changes are pretty balanced considering the action economy. Also, seeing as even on a saved spell there is usually an immediate effect and that means your cast is rarely ever completely wasted.

Auto Heightening all spells is interesting, but I would say probably swings us way out of balance. Effectively eliminating all lower level spell slots and converting them to free higher level slots.

Yes, cantrips are better now then they were, but they are not on par with fighter weapons + Feats. Also you generally only get one attack cantrip per round, vs a Fighter's two to three (maybe even 4 with their (near) exclusive attack of opportunity) attacks per round.

Spells of lower level are almost always inferior heightened compared to spells that you get at the heightened level. Example: Burning hands vs Fireball.


1 person marked this as a favorite.

Out of curiosity, what would a 9th level fighter do to compare, say, to 4 Burning Hands and 4 Fireball/day? We're not even getting into level 4 slots, and each spell is still doing 10d6 to an area. Or if we wanted single target, 9 magic missiles that get fired off 4/day for 9d4+9 unstoppable force damage.


8 people marked this as a favorite.

Well, a ninth level fighter would be expected to have at least a +2 magic weapon, with which they can be expected to have master proficiency with. Assuming 18 STR and a non-agile weapon, they make one attack at +17, one at +12, one at +7. Assuming a longsword, they'll deal 3d8+4 per hit.

The heightened burning hands and fireball will both deal 10d6 damage when cast with a fifth level slot with trained proficiency at level 9 (they don't become expert until level 12). The DC of this spell will likely be 23.

Some sample Reflex saves and ACs at level 9:

Wrath demon: Ref +14; AC 26
Bone devil: Ref +15; AC 26
Young blue dragon: Ref +14; AC 26

So it looks like AC 26 and reflex 14 are pretty representative.

This means on a 9 the monster takes half damage against the spells, while the fighter connects on a nine (crit on 19), then a 14 (crit on 20), then a 19 (crit on 20).

So chances are that the mage's spells likely deal 5d6 damage (average 17.5) whereas any blow from the fighter's +2 longsword is dealing 3d8+4 (average 17.5).

The monster has to roll low in order for the mage to deal superior damage to a fighter, whereas the fighter need only roll low to deal damage comparable to a mage.

Mages... aren't good at burst damage anymore, TBH.


3 people marked this as a favorite.
Sanmei wrote:

Well, a ninth level fighter would be expected to have at least a +2 magic weapon, with which they can be expected to have master proficiency with. Assuming 18 STR and a non-agile weapon, they make one attack at +17, one at +12, one at +7. Assuming a longsword, they'll deal 3d8+4 per hit.

The heightened burning hands and fireball will both deal 10d6 damage when cast with a fifth level slot with trained proficiency at level 9 (they don't become expert until level 12). The DC of this spell will likely be 23.

Some sample Reflex saves and ACs at level 9:

Wrath demon: Ref +14; AC 26
Bone devil: Ref +15; AC 26
Young blue dragon: Ref +14; AC 26

So it looks like AC 26 and reflex 14 are pretty representative.

This means on a 9 the monster takes half damage against the spells, while the fighter connects on a nine (crit on 19), then a 14 (crit on 20), then a 19 (crit on 20).

So chances are that the mage's spells likely deal 5d6 damage (average 17.5) whereas any blow from the fighter's +2 longsword is dealing 3d8+4 (average 17.5).

The monster has to roll low in order for the mage to deal superior damage to a fighter, whereas the fighter need only roll low to deal damage comparable to a mage.

Mages... aren't good at burst damage anymore, TBH.

yes, now multiply the mage's damage for each target hit, since both fireball and burning hands are aoe, and fighter is single target.

for single target, we could look at shocking grasp, at 5d12+4+ (1d4+4) persistent (36.5 damage and 6.5 persistent damage) without a save but with a touch attack

we could also add in another 6d6 with a reflex saving throw for each round after the first due to a Flaming sphere moving each round in addition to your spell of the round

we could use acid arrow for another 2d6 persistent after the first cast (and a respectable 2d8+4 no saving throw initial damage)

and etc


2 people marked this as a favorite.

Persistent damage is pretty broken given it's a pretty hard flat check at the best of times, heh. Even on ranged touch attacks, though, the wizard has slight odds to miss:

Wrath demon: 23 TAC
Bone devil: 24 TAC
Young blue dragon: TAC 23

Looks like 23 is standard at that level. Assuming 16 DEX (not sure if this number is likely to be that high, but going to assume it anyway), the wizard's looking at +12 to their ranged touch roll and so needs 11 to connect with a crit on 20.

As for AOE versus single target, that's a fair point. The value of dealing small amounts of damage to a group of enemies is going to depend on your DM, though. Ours would typically then have a monster say "Get the mage!" and suddenly the wizard is swamped in vengeful critters.

Also notable, HP totals at those levels:

Wrath demon: 183 HP
Bone devil: 120 HP
Young blue dragon: 155 HP

With an average of about 153 HP, those critters are sporting trivial flesh wounds even if you're connecting or they're failing saves.


Sanmei wrote:

Persistent damage is pretty broken given it's a pretty hard flat check at the best of times, heh. Even on ranged touch attacks, though, the wizard has slight odds to miss:

Wrath demon: 23 TAC
Bone devil: 24 TAC
Young blue dragon: TAC 23

Looks like 23 is standard at that level. Assuming 16 DEX (not sure if this number is likely to be that high, but going to assume it anyway), the wizard's looking at +12 to their ranged touch roll and so needs 11 to connect with a crit on 20.

As for AOE versus single target, that's a fair point. The value of dealing small amounts of damage to a group of enemies is going to depend on your DM, though. Ours would typically then have a monster say "Get the mage!" and suddenly the wizard is swamped in vengeful critters.

Also notable, HP totals at those levels:

Wrath demon: 183 HP
Bone devil: 120 HP
Young blue dragon: 155 HP

With an average of about 153 HP, those critters are sporting trivial flesh wounds even if you're connecting or they're failing saves.

i see no reason for a wizard to NOT start with a 16 dex, which will be 18 at level 9.

also, a +1 wand/gloves (both level 8 items), and you're already at +14 to attack vs TAC 23 is exactly the same as the fighter's +17 vs AC 26

edit:
for the focus fire issue, don't forget, that with "autoheightneing" casters will have 2nd level Improved invisibility as well.


9 people marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
Nelroy wrote:
Cantrips, Cantrips, Cantrips, Cantrips.

Aren't very good, if we're being completely honest. If they get dropped down to 1-action then that's another story, but at their current 2-action status they're pretty niche options (especially the ones that incur MAP)

Right now spells that naturally scale (like True Strike) overwhelmingly fill lower-level slots, while stuff that doesn't keep pace just falls into obscurity. At a certain point it's no longer worth the actions to cast them, much less the slot. I'd agree that we need auto-heightening to keep diversity in the spell list.

At very minimum spontaneous casters need to get rid of their stupid spontaneous heightening rules. It's ridiculous that universalist wizards are better spontaneous casters than sorcerers are -_-

shroudb wrote:
i see no reason for a wizard to NOT start with a 16 dex, which will be 18 at level 9.

The only reason not to put your 16 into Dex is if you're putting it into Str instead to go for str-based melee. I'm strongly of the opinion that all characters regardless of class need at least a 16 in one of Str or Dex at 1st level.


I do think they should add more more ranged Cantrip spells as well as make them do more than 1 effect at higher levels. Like a level 5 Chill Touch should now be usable with both hands,so you can make two touch attacks. And Telekinetic Projectile should throw more than 1 object at 5th level and so on.


shroudb wrote:
i see no reason for a wizard to NOT start with a 16 dex, which will be 18 at level 9.

Oh, you're right! For some reason I was thinking they wouldn't have their first ability boost yet (probably because it's irrelevant for the class's main stat for the purposes of this discussion - 19 and 18 having the same bonus mod after all).

Quote:
also, a +1 wand/gloves (both level 8 items), and you're already at +14 to attack vs TAC 23 is exactly the same as the fighter's +17 vs AC 26

Also a good point. I keep forgetting the spell duelist items exist. They're must-haves.

Quote:

edit:

for the focus fire issue, don't forget, that with "autoheightneing" casters will have 2nd level Improved invisibility as well.

Sure. I was referring to the current state of affairs where access to defensive magics is limited by slot competition (especially where you need heightening to get level-appropriate damage or bonuses, such as with Mage Armor or blasting spells).

Would casters still be able to use higher level slots to cast/prepare lower level spells, though? If you didn't have to use your highest level slots to get the best version of effects, I could see people dedicate lots of mid level slots for things like Invisibility so they could be assured of being invisible in every single battle. I gather the goal of the rules is to limit spellcasting, so I could see restricting spells to their base spell slot (so Burning Hands is always cast using a level 1 slot, for example).


2 people marked this as a favorite.

The first example of Fireball vs. the Fighter’s Attack doesn’t quite capture the whole nuance of the situation.

Monsters save on a 9, which means they have 50% success rate and 10% critical success rate. They have 35% failure rate and 5% critical failure rate.

This means they take:
5d6 damage 50% of the time
10d6 damage 35% of the time
20d6 damage 5% of the time
0 damage 10% of the time

In total they’re expected to take: (2.5 + 3.5 + 1)d6 = 7d6 damage per Fireball. That’s 7d6 per target in the burst. Average 24.5 damage.

The Fighter gets to attack up to 3 times, with the following damage:

3d8+4 dmg 50% of the time
6d8+8 dmg 10% of the time
3d8+4 dmg 30% of the time
6d8+8 dmg 5% of the time
3d8+4 dmg 5% of the time
6d8+8 dmg 5% of the time

In the best case scenario, the Fighter is dealing about...
50+30+5 = 85% of 3d8+4 AND
10+5+5 = 20% of 6d8+8

Which is equivalent to 85+40 = 125% of 3d8+4
Aka 1.25 * 17.5 = 21.875 totals expected damage.

Therefore, the Wizard’s Fireball, even if it only hits 1 target, should do more damage than a Fighter attacking 3 times in a round. The Fighter can keep it up all day, but the Wizard still has the potential for much more burst damage.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber
Pramxnim wrote:

The first example of Fireball vs. the Fighter’s Attack doesn’t quite capture the whole nuance of the situation.

Monsters save on a 9, which means they have 50% success rate and 10% critical success rate. They have 35% failure rate and 5% critical failure rate.

This means they take:
5d6 damage 50% of the time
10d6 damage 35% of the time
20d6 damage 5% of the time
0 damage 10% of the time

In total they’re expected to take: (2.5 + 3.5 + 1)d6 = 7d6 damage per Fireball. That’s 7d6 per target in the burst. Average 24.5 damage.

The Fighter gets to attack up to 3 times, with the following damage:

3d8+4 dmg 50% of the time
6d8+8 dmg 10% of the time
3d8+4 dmg 30% of the time
6d8+8 dmg 5% of the time
3d8+4 dmg 5% of the time
6d8+8 dmg 5% of the time

In the best case scenario, the Fighter is dealing about...
50+30+5 = 85% of 3d8+4 AND
10+5+5 = 20% of 6d8+8

Which is equivalent to 85+40 = 125% of 3d8+4
Aka 1.25 * 17.5 = 21.875 totals expected damage.

Therefore, the Wizard’s Fireball, even if it only hits 1 target, should do more damage than a Fighter attacking 3 times in a round. The Fighter can keep it up all day, but the Wizard still has the potential for much more burst damage.

You are not taking into account some early feats that the Fighter gets. Power Attack, which uses 2 attacks, but doubles damage, so uses the base attack. Then there is A feat that lets you attack the next time, if you missed the first time, without the penalty for the miss.)


Other than with a mundane weapon, Power Attack is always worse than just making 2 attacks. Furious Focus does increase the Fighter’s damage, but not by a significant amount (certainly not by the 2.7~ difference outlined above).

Besides, the original comparison was between a Wizard using a baseline fireball and a Fighter making baseline Strikes, no fancy stuff involved. If we were to try and optimize the Fighter’s turn, I think a more fruitful sequence of actions would be for the Fighter to move into flanking position or attempt to demoralize the enemy before making his attacks.


6 people marked this as a favorite.
Nelroy wrote:
Shain Edge wrote:


Fighters get to use their attack all day. Wizards at first level get only a couple of uses, then gain about a spell use per level. Wizards SHOULD be powerhouses based on limited use per day.

Cantrips, Cantrips, Cantrips, Cantrips.

Not only can the caster use a strike action or concentrate on a spell (say a summon), but they can cast a cantrip as well in one round. These cantrips auto heighten and often have a critical effect as well (even marital characters have a hard time blocking weapon critical effects... wizards get this at lvl 1).

I agree it's sad to see spells get nerfed, but if we are trying to level the playing field and lessen the gap between the old tiers of PF 1 then I feel the changes are pretty balanced considering the action economy. Also, seeing as even on a saved spell there is usually an immediate effect and that means your cast is rarely ever completely wasted.

Auto Heightening all spells is interesting, but I would say probably swings us way out of balance. Effectively eliminating all lower level spell slots and converting them to free higher level slots.

I am a mighty wizard. I have given up access to all armor and most weapons for arcane might the likes of which you can never image......

Casts my 15 cantrip of the day for less damage than the fighter using a +1 weapon.....


1 person marked this as a favorite.
Shain Edge wrote:
Pramxnim wrote:

The first example of Fireball vs. the Fighter’s Attack doesn’t quite capture the whole nuance of the situation.

Monsters save on a 9, which means they have 50% success rate and 10% critical success rate. They have 35% failure rate and 5% critical failure rate.

This means they take:
5d6 damage 50% of the time
10d6 damage 35% of the time
20d6 damage 5% of the time
0 damage 10% of the time

In total they’re expected to take: (2.5 + 3.5 + 1)d6 = 7d6 damage per Fireball. That’s 7d6 per target in the burst. Average 24.5 damage.

The Fighter gets to attack up to 3 times, with the following damage:

3d8+4 dmg 50% of the time
6d8+8 dmg 10% of the time
3d8+4 dmg 30% of the time
6d8+8 dmg 5% of the time
3d8+4 dmg 5% of the time
6d8+8 dmg 5% of the time

In the best case scenario, the Fighter is dealing about...
50+30+5 = 85% of 3d8+4 AND
10+5+5 = 20% of 6d8+8

Which is equivalent to 85+40 = 125% of 3d8+4
Aka 1.25 * 17.5 = 21.875 totals expected damage.

Therefore, the Wizard’s Fireball, even if it only hits 1 target, should do more damage than a Fighter attacking 3 times in a round. The Fighter can keep it up all day, but the Wizard still has the potential for much more burst damage.

You are not taking into account some early feats that the Fighter gets. Power Attack, which uses 2 attacks, but doubles damage, so uses the base attack. Then there is A feat that lets you attack the next time, if you missed the first time, without the penalty for the miss.)

power attack is almost universally a damage loss atm, also Furious focus is itself a Press attack. Which means you can only use it on your second attack, and if the second attack misses, then the 3rd attack doesn't get a -10 but gets a -5 instead.

It's really not that big of a deal and usually a waste of a feat. There are a lot better press feats than that.

Keep in mind, that due to the way criticals work atm, Fighter is the highest DPR class from all (theorycrafted) martials I've seen. A wizard keeping up with him is no small feat.


2 people marked this as a favorite.

I think it's fairly covered here that a Wizard's top spell level or two can exceed Fighter attacks by a bit, which I think is about where it should be. Casters should be better with their best because it's pretty limited. While cantrips I think are about right too being a touch behind weapon scaling. A caster's at-will shouldn't be as strong as a Fighter's at-will. Though I certainly think there's credence to the argument of cantrips dropping to 1 action.

But something that seems to be overlooked is that while damage spells drop off fast when prepared in lower level spell slots, other spells don't necessarily.

True Strike is an excellent buff for a level 1 spell slot, Ray of Enfeeblement is a solid debuff with it's 1-minute duration. Invisibility in a level 2 slot is still an effective tool for screwing off, and Fear in a level 3 spell slot is an excellent group debuff, especially now that Frightened penalizes AC and DCs too! These are all examples off the top of my head of spells that I'd use happily in these slots even when I have level 5 or 6 spell slots. Some spells are more scaling-dependent than others and I think that's fine, because there are other spells that are fitting to take up the low slots when attack spells have moved on.

But auto-heightening spells just doesn't seem a viable solution to me. It shoots us right back to the 1E problem where mid-plus level mages could just throw out loads of spells daily that fully kept up with the damage curve and it was VERY difficult to tax their resources enough to prompt any kind of conservation.


4 people marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Adventure, Adventure Path, Companion, Lost Omens, Rulebook, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber; Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber
Pramxnim wrote:

The first example of Fireball vs. the Fighter’s Attack doesn’t quite capture the whole nuance of the situation.

Monsters save on a 9, which means they have 50% success rate and 10% critical success rate. They have 35% failure rate and 5% critical failure rate.

This means they take:
5d6 damage 50% of the time
10d6 damage 35% of the time
20d6 damage 5% of the time
0 damage 10% of the time

In total they’re expected to take: (2.5 + 3.5 + 1)d6 = 7d6 damage per Fireball. That’s 7d6 per target in the burst. Average 24.5 damage.

The Fighter gets to attack up to 3 times, with the following damage:

3d8+4 dmg 50% of the time
6d8+8 dmg 10% of the time
3d8+4 dmg 30% of the time
6d8+8 dmg 5% of the time
3d8+4 dmg 5% of the time
6d8+8 dmg 5% of the time

In the best case scenario, the Fighter is dealing about...
50+30+5 = 85% of 3d8+4 AND
10+5+5 = 20% of 6d8+8

Which is equivalent to 85+40 = 125% of 3d8+4
Aka 1.25 * 17.5 = 21.875 totals expected damage.

Therefore, the Wizard’s Fireball, even if it only hits 1 target, should do more damage than a Fighter attacking 3 times in a round. The Fighter can keep it up all day, but the Wizard still has the potential for much more burst damage.

So with this example, the evoker or universalist wizard (or sorcerer) can do slightly more damage than the fighter up to three times per day, if they only prepared fireballs in the 5th level slots. Meanwhile, the fighter outpaces them in damage on the 4th round of combat. This is quite possibly intentional, so that mages don't outshine martials, but it can certainly make mage players feel useless, which can (at least anecdotally) be seen in the various playtest posts saying that a group's mage character either dropped out or abandoned their character in favor of a martial.


4 people marked this as a favorite.

I agree that cantrip damage seems a bit low atm. The scaling for cantrips in PF2 is similar to the scaling in 5e. PF2 scales to 4dX + modifier while 5e scales to 5dX, and both systems only allow casting 1 cantrip per turn usually.

1/ 5e round by round damage comparison:

The difference is that in 5e, the martials are attacking 2 to 4 times, dealing 1dX + modifier damage, with no MAP, so the damage between the at-will capabilities of these classes are a bit closer at higher levels.

If we look at a level 5 PC in 5e, a martial character is attacking twice with Extra Attack, their attack bonus is Proficiency + Str = 3+4 = +7, and a mage is using a cantrip with the same attack bonus (Prof + Spellcasting modifier).

The average AC for that level is... hard to say actually. The 5e monster manual has a wide range for Challenge 5 creatures, going from 13 to 19, with a fair amount of 15s. I'll make the comparison easier and say the average AC is 16, so that each class hits 60% of the time.

A vanilla Fighter with a longsword is attacking twice at 60%, dealing 1d8+4 (avg 8.5 dmg) on each swing. Crits in 5e only double the damage dice, not the modifier. His expected damage is:

(0.55 * 8.5 + 0.05 * 13) * 2 = 10.65

A Wizard using Ray of Frost is dealing 2d8 damage. His expected damage is:

0.55 * 9 + 0.05 * 18 = 5.85

The difference is pretty big, but cantrips in 5e also come with bigger damage dice. The standard, Fire Bolt, does 1d10, and Eldritch Bolt is a whopping 1d12. Also, martial damage doesn't scale up as much at higher levels (they only get to 1dX + 5 without magic weapons, and magic items are not assumed in 5e).

So the same characters at level 20 are gonna deal damage pretty differently. The Wizard will be dealing 5d8 damage per Ray of Frost, for an expected damage of:

0.55 * 22.5 + 0.05 * 45 = 14.625

While the martial character only improves his expected damage to 11.85.

Does this mean that in 5e spellcasters eventually catch up in terms of round by round damage to martials?

The answer to that is no, because each martial class gets a different mechanic that lets them deal extra damage. Barbarians have Rage and Reckless Attack, Fighters have 4 attacks/round, Monks have Flurry, Paladins have Divine Smite, Rogues have Sneak Attack and Rangers have... ugh, favoured enemy.

Regardless, these extra features still put martials ahead of Spellcasters in 5e, letting them do quite a bit more damage from round to round.

For example, the Fighter will be doing 4 attacks at 1d8+5 each:

4 * (0.55 * 9 + 0.05 * 14) = 22.6, which is 1.54 times the Wizard's damage.

2/ PF2 round by round damage comparison:

Look at the same level 5 characters in PF2. The caster damage is very similar between editions (1d8+4 vs. 2d8), but the martial damage is different (3 hits with MAP at 2d8+4 per hit).

A level 5 Wizard in PF2 can have 18 Dex, for a total attack bonus of 5+4 = +9. His target is 18, the average TAC for a level 5 creature. His accuracy is 60%.

A level 5 Fighter in PF2 has an attack bonus of 5 + 1 (expert) + 1 (item) + 4 (Str) = +11. His target is 20, the average AC for a level 5 creature. His accuracy is 60%.

Now let's look at per round damage from the two:

Wizard:

0.5 * 8.5 + 0.1 * 17 = 5.95

Fighter:

1st attack: 0.5 * 13 + 0.1 * 26 = 9.1
2nd attack: 0.3 * 13 + 0.05 * 26 = 5.2
3rd attack: 0.05 * 13 + 0.05 * 26 = 1.95

Total = 16.25

The Fighter in PF2 can do about 50% more damage than his 5e counterpart, while his Wizard friend is doing almost the same damage.

What about level 20?

Wizard: (4d8+7 for Ray of Frost)

0.5 * 25 + 0.1 * 50 = 17.5

Fighter (6d8+7 per hit)

1st attack: 0.5 * 34 + 0.1 * 68 = 23.8
2nd attack: 0.3 * 34 + 0.05 * 68 = 13.6
3rd attack: 0.05 * 34 + 0.05 * 68 = 5.1

Total = 42.5

The PF2 Fighter is dealing 2.42 times the Wizard's damage, and almost twice the damage a 5e Fighter is doing.

So, in PF2, spellcasters are dealing MUCH less at-will damage than martials, leading to them feeling rightfully frustrated, on top of the lower power level of spells in general.

I knew that spellcaster at-will damage was lower, but I did not expect the difference to be this stark.

I am fully on board with buffing caster cantrips, perhaps by reducing them to 1 action, or by otherwise buffing their damage. I prefer the first option, as it lets casters have more flexibility in combat with their actions. The 2nd one runs the risk of allowing bigger spike damage, which may not be preferable.

If Paizo decides to reduce cantrip action cost to 1 action each, the Wizard's damage at levels 5 and 20 are as follows:

Level 5:

1st Cantrip: 0.5 * 8.5 + 0.1 * 17 = 5.95
2nd Cantrip: 0.3 * 8.5 + 0.05 * 17 = 3.4
3rd Cantrip: 0.05 * 8.5 + 0.05 * 17 = 1.275

Total = 10.625

Level 20:

1st Cantrip: 0.5 * 25 + 0.1 * 50 = 17.5
2nd Cantrip: 0.3 * 25 + 0.05 * 50 = 10
3rd Cantrip: 0.05 * 25 + 0.05 * 50 = 3.75

Total = 31.25

Looking a lot more reasonable, no? Spellcasters have the option of using different elemental cantrips to take advantage of Weakness, so them having slightly lower damage is no problem.

One potential downside I can see is cantrips requiring saving throws don't suffer MAP and may deal undue damage with this change. It's a small problem with an easy solution, though, just convert those cantrips to ones that require an attack roll instead.


Sanmei wrote:

Well, a ninth level fighter would be expected to have at least a +2 magic weapon, with which they can be expected to have master proficiency with. Assuming 18 STR and a non-agile weapon, they make one attack at +17, one at +12, one at +7. Assuming a longsword, they'll deal 3d8+4 per hit.

The heightened burning hands and fireball will both deal 10d6 damage when cast with a fifth level slot with trained proficiency at level 9 (they don't become expert until level 12). The DC of this spell will likely be 23.

Now, that may be true now, but part of the point I was making was that under the system OP wants, you'd get all that before we even touch 2nd, 4th, or 5th level spells.


4 people marked this as a favorite.

I think there's been a massive overcorrection on spells and if Paizo want to avoid competing with 5e I don't understand why they be gone this route. If spells have to be nerfed to stop wizards from being overpowered why not reduce the amount of damage cantrips deal and give spells more oomf?


I think adding in a class feat that allows Cantrips to be used as a single action would probably be the best bet.


2 people marked this as a favorite.

Such a feat would be mandatory because cantrips already scale to be the bread and butter for casters and such a feat triples how powerful they are. A feat that allows you to cast and move up to your speed as a 2 action action would be more likely.

But of course any opinions I might have ought to be dismissed due to a lack of playtestkng done by me.


Bluescale wrote:
Pramxnim wrote:

The first example of Fireball vs. the Fighter’s Attack doesn’t quite capture the whole nuance of the situation.

Monsters save on a 9, which means they have 50% success rate and 10% critical success rate. They have 35% failure rate and 5% critical failure rate.

This means they take:
5d6 damage 50% of the time
10d6 damage 35% of the time
20d6 damage 5% of the time
0 damage 10% of the time

In total they’re expected to take: (2.5 + 3.5 + 1)d6 = 7d6 damage per Fireball. That’s 7d6 per target in the burst. Average 24.5 damage.

The Fighter gets to attack up to 3 times, with the following damage:

3d8+4 dmg 50% of the time
6d8+8 dmg 10% of the time
3d8+4 dmg 30% of the time
6d8+8 dmg 5% of the time
3d8+4 dmg 5% of the time
6d8+8 dmg 5% of the time

In the best case scenario, the Fighter is dealing about...
50+30+5 = 85% of 3d8+4 AND
10+5+5 = 20% of 6d8+8

Which is equivalent to 85+40 = 125% of 3d8+4
Aka 1.25 * 17.5 = 21.875 totals expected damage.

Therefore, the Wizard’s Fireball, even if it only hits 1 target, should do more damage than a Fighter attacking 3 times in a round. The Fighter can keep it up all day, but the Wizard still has the potential for much more burst damage.

So with this example, the evoker or universalist wizard (or sorcerer) can do slightly more damage than the fighter up to three times per day, if they only prepared fireballs in the 5th level slots. Meanwhile, the fighter outpaces them in damage on the 4th round of combat. This is quite possibly intentional, so that mages don't outshine martials, but it can certainly make mage players feel useless, which can (at least anecdotally) be seen in the various playtest posts saying that a group's mage character either dropped out or abandoned their character in favor of a martial.

The thread is about casters getting all their spells at max heightening for free.

That's why everyone is pointing that if you fire everything at max spell level always, it's broken.


3 people marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
shroudb wrote:
That's why everyone is pointing that if you fire everything at max spell level always, it's broken.

I'm not convinced it is broken in every case, or even most cases. There certainly are some spells that would be a bit much if given free heightening, but others that would perfectly fine.

Let's consider a 1-action magic missile versus a true strike (for a move-cast-attack turn). For the purposes of this comparison, I'll presume a 5th level wizard with a +1 longsword using magical striker attacking AC 20

To hit = +11 (5 + 4 str + 2 potency)
With true strike this gives a 19% chance to crit and 75% chance to hit for 113% baseline damage
Without true strike this gives 10% chance to crit and 50% chance to hit for 70% baseline damage

Damage = 3d8+4 (avg 17.5)
This is 19.775 average with true strike, 12.25 without, for an increase in your expected damage of 7.5

A heightened 1 action magic missile deals 2d4+2 damage for an average of about 7 damage, almost exactly the same as what true strike is doing. This suggests that auto-heightening magic missile is roughly balanced with true strike. I haven't done the math at every level, but I suspect they stay roughly in a similar range of values since magic missile's heightening schedule is very similar to the potency improvement schedule.

Of course there are other interpretations here; you could very well argue that magic missile is underpowered in terms of its heightening effect (which is true; no one is investing a higher level slot on something that weak), or that true strike is an overpowered spell (also true; no other 1st level spell is anywhere nearly as good as it is). Personally I'm of the opinion that true strike is the only 1st level spell that's about right currently, and everything else needs to be brought up to its level. Making magic missile auto-scale would be a perfect fix for that spell.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber
Dasrak wrote:


I'm not convinced it is broken in every case, or even most cases. There certainly are some spells that would be a bit much if given free heightening, but others that would perfectly fine.

Let's consider a 1-action magic missile versus a true strike (for a move-cast-attack turn). For the purposes of this comparison, I'll presume a 5th level wizard with a +1 longsword using magical striker attacking AC 20

To hit = +11 (5 + 4 str + 2 potency)
With true strike this gives a 19% chance to crit and 75% chance to hit for 113% baseline damage
Without true strike this gives 10% chance to crit and 50% chance to hit for 70% baseline damage

Damage = 3d8+4 (avg 17.5)
This is 19.775 average with true strike, 12.25 without, for an increase in your expected damage of 7.5

A heightened 1 action magic missile deals 2d4+2 damage for an average of about 7 damage, almost exactly the same as what true strike is doing. This suggests that auto-heightening magic missile is roughly balanced with true strike. I haven't done the math at every level, but I suspect they stay roughly in a similar range of values since magic missile's heightening schedule is very similar to the potency improvement schedule.

Of course there are other interpretations here; you could very well argue that magic missile is underpowered in terms of its heightening effect (which is true; no one is investing a higher level slot on something that weak), or that true strike is an overpowered spell (also true; no other 1st level spell is anywhere nearly as good as it is). Personally I'm of the opinion that true strike is the only 1st level spell that's about right currently, and everything else needs to be brought up to its level. Making magic missile auto-scale would be a perfect fix for that spell.

Wouldn't you Use the 2 action version of Magic Missile? Since True Strike costs an action on top of the attack you are buffing?


2 people marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
Shain Edge wrote:
Wouldn't you Use the 2 action version of Magic Missile? Since True Strike costs an action on top of the attack you are buffing?

Because 1-action magic missile plus an attack deals more damage on average than 2-action magical missile, so that's the better comparison.


Dasrak wrote:
shroudb wrote:
That's why everyone is pointing that if you fire everything at max spell level always, it's broken.

I'm not convinced it is broken in every case, or even most cases. There certainly are some spells that would be a bit much if given free heightening, but others that would perfectly fine.

Let's consider a 1-action magic missile versus a true strike (for a move-cast-attack turn). For the purposes of this comparison, I'll presume a 5th level wizard with a +1 longsword using magical striker attacking AC 20

To hit = +11 (5 + 4 str + 2 potency)
With true strike this gives a 19% chance to crit and 75% chance to hit for 113% baseline damage
Without true strike this gives 10% chance to crit and 50% chance to hit for 70% baseline damage

Damage = 3d8+4 (avg 17.5)
This is 19.775 average with true strike, 12.25 without, for an increase in your expected damage of 7.5

A heightened 1 action magic missile deals 2d4+2 damage for an average of about 7 damage, almost exactly the same as what true strike is doing. This suggests that auto-heightening magic missile is roughly balanced with true strike. I haven't done the math at every level, but I suspect they stay roughly in a similar range of values since magic missile's heightening schedule is very similar to the potency improvement schedule.

Of course there are other interpretations here; you could very well argue that magic missile is underpowered in terms of its heightening effect (which is true; no one is investing a higher level slot on something that weak), or that true strike is an overpowered spell (also true; no other 1st level spell is anywhere nearly as good as it is). Personally I'm of the opinion that true strike is the only 1st level spell that's about right currently, and everything else needs to be brought up to its level. Making magic missile auto-scale would be a perfect fix for that spell.

a)Your comparisson is inherently flawed. Magical striker, which is a weapon enhancement feat, will naturally favor a weapon based spell like true strike.

It's like me trying to say that Ancestral surge-Fireball is better than Ancestral surge-heroism. Well, duh. One does nothing for one of the options.

about the same math, without any outside factors like feats is using the same math for a +2 longsword, not a +1.

you would have a +2 weapon at level 9.

at level 9, the single action heightened magic missile would do 3d4+3, or 10,5 damage. which is 40% more than the true strike.

Also, you could always go for a full round cast of magic missiles instead of move-magic missile-attack and that would result in 9d4+9 or 31.5 damage.

So, a heightened magic missile will easily outdps an equal action intensive (3) move-> true strike->strike by almost 80% even!


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber
Dasrak wrote:
Shain Edge wrote:
Wouldn't you Use the 2 action version of Magic Missile? Since True Strike costs an action on top of the attack you are buffing?
Because 1-action magic missile plus an attack deals more damage on average than 2-action magical missile, so that's the better comparison.

Yea but True Strike takes an action, and does no damage. That's why I'm thinking you need to apply it as a 2 action Magic Missile attack, vs the True Strike + Strike.


2 people marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
shroudb wrote:
a)Your comparisson is inherently flawed. Magical striker, which is a weapon enhancement feat, will naturally favor a weapon based spell like true strike.

My thoughts on that are: "There are wizards and/or sorcerers who don't take the magical striker feat?"

Less facetiously, if you're some uninvested 10 strength weakling who is trying to hit people with a quarterstaff, then magic missile should be hitting harder. Such a character doesn't really have any business preparing true strike in the first place, and the comparison is about as relevant as talking about true strike on a typical PF1 wizard.

Shain Edge wrote:
Yea but True Strike takes an action, and does no damage. That's why I'm thinking you need to apply it as a 2 action Magic Missile attack, vs the True Strike + Strike

Then the comparison is 19.775 average from the true strike+attack, and 14 damage from the 2-action heightened magic missile. So true strike is even better by that metric.


Dasrak wrote:
shroudb wrote:
a)Your comparisson is inherently flawed. Magical striker, which is a weapon enhancement feat, will naturally favor a weapon based spell like true strike.

My thoughts on that are: "There are wizards and/or sorcerers who don't take the magical striker feat?"

Less facetiously, if you're some uninvested 10 strength weakling who is trying to hit people with a quarterstaff, then magic missile should be hitting harder. Such a character doesn't really have any business preparing true strike in the first place, and the comparison is about as relevant as talking about true strike on a typical PF1 wizard.

Shain Edge wrote:
Yea but True Strike takes an action, and does no damage. That's why I'm thinking you need to apply it as a 2 action Magic Missile attack, vs the True Strike + Strike
Then the comparison is 19.775 average from the true strike+attack, and 14 damage from the 2-action heightened magic missile. So true strike is even better by that metric.

not really.

if you say that your build shouldn't prepare true strike (false btw, evenpure casters need to crit with rays) then i can say
"a character focusing on magical striker wouldn't prepare magic missiles."

also, even IF you have magic striker, there's absolutely no reason to use magic missile-move-strike as opposed to 3 action magic missile.

so, we're going to compare 2 casters:

1 has true strike and magical striker
the other has dangerous sorcery and magic missile.

equal stuff is equal.

even with magic missile just as a 3rd level spell, that's still 6d4+6+3 or 24 damage.
your 18 strength 5th level wizard does 17.5 on average.

which is higher than the truestrike-arcane strike-hit AND doesn't require a +1 weapon to boot. AND didn't have to waste 8 stat points on strength. So, he could easily have waaaaay more defence/hp/anything actually useful for a pure caster.

so, again, auto-heightneing outperforms one of the best spells in 1st level for wizard (true strike) by a large margin, that will only get larger as levels start pilling up and the +1 die isn't 200% of the weapon dices but a lot less.


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
shroudb wrote:
also, even IF you have magic striker, there's absolutely no reason to use magic missile-move-strike as opposed to 3 action magic missile.

3-action magic missile would average 21 damage

1-action magic missile plus move strike would average 19.25 damage

So the question is, would you prefer slightly higher damage while remaining stationary, or would you prefer to move and and deal slightly less damage? Both would be perfectly viable actions in this situation.

It's also worth noting that even though their damage is similar, the exact probably skew is not. Magic Missile is fairly reliable, and will not deviate much up or down. True Strike attack is more volatile, with the potential to miss but also a chance to crit for much higher return.

shroudb wrote:

1 has true strike and magical striker

the other has dangerous sorcery and magic missile.
even with magic missile just as a 3rd level spell, that's still 6d4+6+3 or 24 damage.
your 18 strength 5th level wizard does 17.5 on average.

It's actually 19.775 after accounting for the chance to crit or miss, and you cannot discount that the 3-action MM caster must remain stationary while the true strike-move-attack character is moving to a more advantageous position.

Finally, this is the average case for true strike, not the best case. True strike is verbal casting only, so it can be cast while using a two-handed weapon (or more likely two-handing a bastard sword, which is the flexibility str-based casters want). Upgrading to a two-handed weapon takes the true strike damage up to an average of 26.55.

As for requiring the item, the big difference is that the sword is still completely usable on its own without expending spellcasting resources. That can't be looked at in isolation, and only in respect to the entire build and how it operates. And as of right now, variants of magical striker builds are pretty much the only wizard and sorcerer builds. That needs to change, and auto-heightening is a possible way that change could be made.

It is quite possible that a magic missile focused build would be slightly better than the magical striker build, but on paper they look pretty competitive with each other with similar numbers. That's a huge improvement from the current situation where magical striker is in a class of its own.

(to clarify my thoughts on wizards, sorcerers, and magical striker: I feel wizard and sorcerer are underpowered classes being propped up by an overpowered feat)


1 person marked this as a favorite.

I am still convinced that pf2 is trying to solve an issue that 5e has... Single monsters suck. Limiting support classes in the amount of damage they so increases durations of combats. I think that paizo made a mistake in that they have vastly given monsters a greater chance to critical that PC's ...but they are trying to deal with the boss monster issue.


1 person marked this as a favorite.

I'm in favor of spontaneous spell heightening getting fixed to a more workable and less restrictive situation, situational feats allowing cantrips to be only 1 action, and a lot more spells in general having multi-action options. A lot of the issues mentioned in this thread are sorted with those three things.


Dasrak wrote:
shroudb wrote:
also, even IF you have magic striker, there's absolutely no reason to use magic missile-move-strike as opposed to 3 action magic missile.

3-action magic missile would average 21 damage

1-action magic missile plus move strike would average 19.25 damage

So the question is, would you prefer slightly higher damage while remaining stationary, or would you prefer to move and and deal slightly less damage? Both would be perfectly viable actions in this situation.

It's also worth noting that even though their damage is similar, the exact probably skew is not. Magic Missile is fairly reliable, and will not deviate much up or down. True Strike attack is more volatile, with the potential to miss but also a chance to crit for much higher return.

shroudb wrote:

1 has true strike and magical striker

the other has dangerous sorcery and magic missile.
even with magic missile just as a 3rd level spell, that's still 6d4+6+3 or 24 damage.
your 18 strength 5th level wizard does 17.5 on average.

It's actually 19.775 after accounting for the chance to crit or miss, and you cannot discount that the 3-action MM caster must remain stationary while the true strike-move-attack character is moving to a more advantageous position.

Finally, this is the average case for true strike, not the best case. True strike is verbal casting only, so it can be cast while using a two-handed weapon (or more likely two-handing a bastard sword, which is the flexibility str-based casters want). Upgrading to a two-handed weapon takes the true strike damage up to an average of 26.55.

As for requiring the item, the big difference is that the sword is still completely usable on its own without expending spellcasting resources. That can't be looked at in isolation, and only in respect to the entire build and how it operates. And as of right now, variants of magical striker builds are pretty much the only wizard and sorcerer builds. That needs to change, and auto-heightening is a possible way that...

It's 24 not 21 due to dangerous sorcery.

If your caster has a feat, mine has one as well.

Also, it's SAFER to stay stationary and away rather than move NEXT TO THE TARGET to hit him.

In every single occasion, true strike is heaps worse. Even WITH you picking the very best and optimal level to compare it. (raising 1d8 to 2d8 is 100% increase. Raising 5d8 to 6d8 is like, 15% increase)

Again, you have, at level 5, only 1 level 4 item, that you HAD to spend on your sword.
You had only ONE stat secondary at 18 and you had to pick strength. Making, at level 5, both your Con and your Dex a 14. While the pure caster:

Has about 3-4 spells/day more due to being able to pick up a Staff instead of your sword.

Has higher AC since he has 18 dex instead of your 14. Has higher initiative, perception and Will since you have 10 wisdom as opposed to the 14 of the pure caster, and etc.

Basically, no way you're spinning it, true strike is way WAY worse than a heightened magic missile (which makes sense, since heightened mm is indeed worth about a 2.5 spell level. Even if true strike is excellent for a level 1,it's still not worth more than about a 2nd level spell)

Lastly, magical striker, while really strong for Gishes, is absolutely worthless for a caster build. So, no. Not all casters pick it.

Now, think that you're comparing to "autoheigheting to level 3" and you're still below. The OP propose to "autoheighten to 10th level"

Care to do an analysis on a 10th level mm vs true strike? I wouldn't think so.


1 person marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
shroudb wrote:
Also, it's SAFER to stay stationary and away rather than move NEXT TO THE TARGET to hit him.

That's completely untrue! Enemies are very mobile in PF2 so they are very likely moving into flanking positions against you. You will very often be moving out of flanked positions, or into flanking positions, which is massively advantageous. Actually, I forgot to include flanking in my previous numbers, but I think they stand well enough even without it.

shroudb wrote:
In every single occasion, true strike is heaps worse. Even WITH you picking the very best and optimal level to compare it. (raising 1d8 to 2d8 is 100% increase. Raising 5d8 to 6d8 is like, 15% increase)

I think you're really underestimating that +1 to hit. So let's do 9th level then:

The 3-action magic missile is now 9d4+14 (avg 36.5)

For the bastard sword the to-hit is 9 + 4 str + 3 item + and you probably have a +2 from another source at this point. That gives +18 to hit. Against AC 25, that gives a 20% chance to crit and a 50% chance to hit for an average of 90% of base damage. With true strike that improves to 55% chance to hit and 31% chance to crit for an average of 116% base damage.

Given these numbers, the +2 bastard sword with true strike magical striker averages 25.52 damage when one-handed and 34 damage when two-handed. So magic missile has pulled slightly ahead unless you put a little bit more investment in that attack, but it's still very close. These numbers could easily be tweaked by making dangerous sorcerery not improve with auto-heightening (only actual spell slot increases) which would bring the numbers back to almost exactly the same proportions as they had at 5th level.

shroudb wrote:

Again, you have, at level 5, only 1 level 4 item, that you HAD to spend on your sword.

...
Lastly, magical striker, while really strong for Gishes, is absolutely worthless for a caster build. So, no. Not all casters pick it.

I want to address these points together, because I feel that not having a magical weapon attack is a massive sacrifice to your build, and can potentially leave you an outright liability to the party in situations where you can't expend spell slots. A 2-action cantrip + 1-action attack routine is roughly double the average DPR of the cantrip alone, allowing you to make vastly superior contributions on turns where you do not wish to expend spellcasting resources. For this reason I believe that staffs are poor equipment choices, and wizards and sorcerers should go for weapon with potency instead. And if you're going for the weapon anyways, then magical striker is better than any other feat out there.

In that respect, I feel that the entire concept of a gish is pretty much gone in PF2. Being able to deal weapon damage is just something that's generally expected of any build regardless of class, and a build that trades away the ability to do that competently is taking a very severe downside in doing so.

shroudb wrote:
Has higher AC since he has 18 dex instead of your 14.

If you're running Str-based wizard or sorcerer you should really be dropping your Int to 16 to start with more dex. So at 5th level that should be 16 dex for humans and 18 dex for goblins and elves. Note that at 5th level you'll have 18 intelligence to a more conventional array's 19, so you literally take no downside for doing this from 5th-9th level, and again from 15th-19th (which is half your career you reap benefits without consequences).

shroudb wrote:
The OP propose to "autoheighten to 10th level"

I'm not familiar with 20th level play (yet), and exactly what kind of modifiers may be applicable there. But you know what, I'll give it my best shot.

MM at maximum heightening caps out 5 missiles per action, for 62.5 damage with 3 actions and 10th level dangerous sorcerery.

At 20th level you should have a +5 weapon with three properties. Greater Shock is probably the best, adding 1d6 plus 2d6 persistant, and on a critical hit it shocks up to two nearby creatures for that amount. For the others we'll just presume they're an extra 1d6 damage. With magical striker that's 7d8+6+3d6, which is 48 damage before counting the persistant damage. On a crit this increases to 92.5 damage before counting persistant damage.

For to-hit, we have 20 + 6 str + 6 item + 1 expert + 2 buffs = +35 to hit. Presuming you're up against a Balor (AC 44) that means you have 50% chance to hit and 10% chance to crit. With true strike this improves to 65% chance to hit and 14% chance to crit, which averages 44.15 before counting persistant damage. If we presume the persistant damage lasts for only one turn that brings the total up to an average of 51.64 damage. If we increase that two-handed for d12's, the damage increases to 64 damage.

So yes, it continues to keep pace right up to 20th.


Dasrak wrote:
shroudb wrote:
Also, it's SAFER to stay stationary and away rather than move NEXT TO THE TARGET to hit him.

That's completely untrue! Enemies are very mobile in PF2 so they are very likely moving into flanking positions against you. You will very often be moving out of flanked positions, or into flanking positions, which is massively advantageous. Actually, I forgot to include flanking in my previous numbers, but I think they stand well enough even without it.

shroudb wrote:
In every single occasion, true strike is heaps worse. Even WITH you picking the very best and optimal level to compare it. (raising 1d8 to 2d8 is 100% increase. Raising 5d8 to 6d8 is like, 15% increase)

I think you're really underestimating that +1 to hit. So let's do 9th level then:

The 3-action magic missile is now 9d4+14 (avg 36.5)

For the bastard sword the to-hit is 9 + 4 str + 3 item + and you probably have a +2 from another source at this point. That gives +18 to hit. Against AC 25, that gives a 20% chance to crit and a 50% chance to hit for an average of 90% of base damage. With true strike that improves to 55% chance to hit and 31% chance to crit for an average of 116% base damage.

Given these numbers, the +2 bastard sword with true strike magical striker averages 25.52 damage when one-handed and 34 damage when two-handed. So magic missile has pulled slightly ahead unless you put a little bit more investment in that attack, but it's still very close. These numbers could easily be tweaked by making dangerous sorcerery not improve with auto-heightening (only actual spell slot increases) which would bring the numbers back to almost exactly the same proportions as they had at 5th level.

shroudb wrote:

Again, you have, at level 5, only 1 level 4 item, that you HAD to spend on your sword.

...
Lastly, magical striker, while really strong for Gishes, is absolutely worthless for a caster build. So, no. Not all casters pick it.
I want to address these points together, because I feel that...

You do understand that "+2 buff" is a 3rd level equivalent spell right?

So yeah.

If you keep assuming your guy has 3rd level spells permanently on him, and still be way lower to dpr, I can assume I'm permanently flying over the enemies and thus immune to melee.

And melee is ALWAYS more threatening than ranged. Even WITH increased mobility on everyone. That's extra attacks you get pelted with every round.

Also, by going for a +2 weapon, you now have on average 5-6 less spells/day.

Finally, by dropping your casting stat, and going for pure melee you are in fact, making the very definition of Gish. That permanent - 1 to your DC is going to hurt like hell for a caster.

Gish vs Caster isn't what the thread is about.


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
shroudb wrote:
You do understand that "+2 buff" is a 3rd level equivalent spell right?

Either that or flanking.

shroudb wrote:
Also, by going for a +2 weapon, you now have on average 5-6 less spells/day.

They're 1st level spells; they're not significantly better than cantrips, and inferior to a cantrip+attack routine with a magical weapon. That might change if auto-heightening becomes a thing, but I'd expect staffs to be rebalanced if that were the case.

shroudb wrote:
Finally, by dropping your casting stat, and going for pure melee you are in fact, making the very definition of Gish. That permanent - 1 to your DC is going to hurt like hell for a caster.

It's not a permanent -1 to your DC's. It's a -1 at 1st-4th, 10th-14th, and 20th level. It's only half your career you're taking a penalty; the other half you're at parity.

shroudb wrote:
Gish vs Caster isn't what the thread is about.

I disagree, it's the very crux of the issue. Right now the traditional caster is being completely outclassed by gish, to the point at which "gish" is just the default and the "dedicated caster" is now the exception in my view. Auto-heightening would go a long way towards closing that gap.


Dasrak wrote:
shroudb wrote:
You do understand that "+2 buff" is a 3rd level equivalent spell right?

Either that or flanking.

shroudb wrote:
Also, by going for a +2 weapon, you now have on average 5-6 less spells/day.

They're 1st level spells; they're not significantly better than cantrips, and inferior to a cantrip+attack routine with a magical weapon. That might change if auto-heightening becomes a thing, but I'd expect staffs to be rebalanced if that were the case.

shroudb wrote:
Finally, by dropping your casting stat, and going for pure melee you are in fact, making the very definition of Gish. That permanent - 1 to your DC is going to hurt like hell for a caster.

It's not a permanent -1 to your DC's. It's a -1 at 1st-4th, 10th-14th, and 20th level. It's only half your career you're taking a penalty; the other half you're at parity.

shroudb wrote:
Gish vs Caster isn't what the thread is about.
I disagree, it's the very crux of the issue. Right now the traditional caster is being completely outclassed by gish, to the point at which "gish" is just the default and the "dedicated caster" is now the exception in my view. Auto-heightening would go a long way towards closing that gap.

flanking assumes a second melee character, which i give you isn't that hard to do, but also a second character intimidating stuff isn't hard to do either, making you way easier to actually land a hard control sepll, especially, since in HALF of your career you're much muych better than the Gish in actually landing those.

Secondly, if you want damage, go Gish. If you want anything else, don't? I see absolutely no reason a pure caster should do equal to more damage than a melee caster Gish, considering how much more dangerous is to be at melee range, how much more resources you need to sink to that and etc.

So yeah, Gish vs Caster, isn't even the same "class" so your comparison is 100% irrelevant. And even with it being irrelevant, one of the eweakest spells dide trample upon your precious true strike when you face autoheightening, so you lose even with the most favorable (for you) conditions.

you want melee? Then compare it to a melee spell, not magic missile. And tell me, how 3d12+7+(1d4+2) persistent, as a TOUCH attack, (shocking grasp) compare to your true strike 3d8+4. While STILL requiring not even half the resources of the true strike build. Want to go at 10th level? 5d12+10+1d4+4 persistent vs your 4d8+4. 20th level? 10d12+17+1d4+9 persistent vs 7d8+5. Keep in mind, that your touch attakcs get a "free" +1/2/3 to hit with your levels because they use your spellcasting proficiency, while your longsowrd is stuck at "trained" or expert if you spend another 2, high level feats (14th) in a dedication.

math have spoken.


1 person marked this as a favorite.
shroudb wrote:


Secondly, if you want damage, go Gish. If you want anything else, don't? I see absolutely no reason a pure caster should do equal to more damage than a melee caster Gish, considering how much more dangerous is to be at melee range, how much more resources you need to sink to that and etc.

This might have been true in 1st edition.

There are no more AoO tough.
You're not ranged or melee anymore, you're just one of many targets and I can, as a DM, focus your ranged Wizard just as easily as I can focus a melee character.
Being "ranged" does not make you safer in this edition because there are no more frontlines and backlines.
If anything, my playtesting has proven the opposite is true and the PCs I have killed (one melee, three ranged) would tell you the same if they could.

shroudb wrote:

And tell me, how 3d12+7+(1d4+2) persistent, as a TOUCH attack, (shocking grasp)

Two things here.

First, you say the spell targets TAC like it's a huge boon. Breaking news: it's actually required for casters to have a decent chance to hit.
You don't get magic weapons to boost your proficiency with spell attack rolls and your built-in class bonuses appear very late, past level 12.
You can't max out your STR or DEX at character creation, even if you wanted to.
As a result, a Fighter with a magic weapon of appropriate level has better chance to hit AC than you do hitting TAC.

Second, you keep bringing up the spell's persistent damage.
You realize this only comes up in very specific encounters right?
Fighting an animal, undead, dryad, construct, flesh golem, dragon, ooze, etc.?
Not likely to happen.


dnoisette wrote:
shroudb wrote:


Secondly, if you want damage, go Gish. If you want anything else, don't? I see absolutely no reason a pure caster should do equal to more damage than a melee caster Gish, considering how much more dangerous is to be at melee range, how much more resources you need to sink to that and etc.

This might have been true in 1st edition.

There are no more AoO tough.
You're not ranged or melee anymore, you're just one of many targets and I can, as a DM, focus your ranged Wizard just as easily as I can focus a melee character.
Being "ranged" does not make you safer in this edition because there are no more frontlines and backlines.
If anything, my playtesting has proven the opposite is true and the PCs I have killed (one melee, three ranged) would tell you the same if they could.

shroudb wrote:

And tell me, how 3d12+7+(1d4+2) persistent, as a TOUCH attack, (shocking grasp)

Two things here.

First, you say the spell targets TAC like it's a huge boon. Breaking news: it's actually required for casters to have a decent chance to hit.
You don't get magic weapons to boost your proficiency with spell attack rolls and your built-in class bonuses appear very late, past level 12.
You can't max out your STR or DEX at character creation, even if you wanted to.
As a result, a Fighter with a magic weapon of appropriate level has better chance to hit AC than you do hitting TAC.

Second, you keep bringing up the spell's persistent damage.
You realize this only comes up in very specific encounters right?
Fighting an animal, undead, dryad, construct, flesh golem, dragon, ooze, etc.?
Not likely to happen.

the persistent is against a good chunk of your enemies, most humanoids in fact. Sure, not always, but it's not a useless feature either. Even without the persistent, the shocking grasp still far outdamages the true strike.

secondly, you're flat out wrong about item bonuses, since spell duelist item exist that will add the level appropriate +item bonus to hit. Targeting TAC is not the game breaking deal that was in PF1, but wizards have full bab in pf2. That ~2-3 difference between TAC and normal AC is quite noticable. End game, you're looking at an effective +6-7 bonus from +item and targeting TAC as opposed to +5 from a +5 weapon.

+6-7 +legendary weapon proficiency that you get from legendary caster will in fact put you as the 2nd highest attack bonus in the game. 2nd highest.

You hit more easily than a ranger, than a paladin, than a barbarian, than a rogue, than everyone else except the fighter, with whom you're either equal OR 1 point behind (fighter being +5+legendary but having +7 str as opposed to your +5 dex)

lastly, melee vs ranged is still a very valid concern due to #actions. You can fire MM from more than 2 strides away (Especially since usually the strides can't even be done in straight lines due to terain obstacles, allies, etc) meaning that you're facing 1 attack vs 3 attacks which is a HUGE damage mitigration.

Don;t know how you playtested, but in all our playtests so far, the melee classes were pummeled much more than the ragned classes.


shroudb wrote:
Don;t know how you playtested, but in all our playtests so far, the melee classes were pummeled much more than the ragned classes.

Here's how I playtested: I went after the casters instead of leaving them do their own thing from a safe distance.

Monsters walked by melee characters, who no longer had AoO to try and stop them, and got to the casters in 1 Stride, most of the time.
Pathfinder's rooms and dungeons are notoriously small and cramped areas. Unless you're playing Kingmaker, you usually won't be standing 2 Strides away from your enemies.

It doesn't take more than 2-3 attacks to put heavy pressure on a low HP spellcaster and they subsequently were forced into either:
1/ Retreat and use healing potions (no Cleric in the party)
2/ Try to keep fighting and die

The melee characters ended up without buff spells because the casters were too busy keeping themselves alive. The Wizard did have Acid Arrow prepared and quickly made his choice when it came to using this spell or picking up a potion and drinking it.
Meanwhile, the rest of the foes kept attacking the melee characters. I needed just one monster to disrupt the casting "backline".
The rest of them could happily focus on taking down the "frontline".

If you've been playtesting by focusing on melee characters only and letting casters do their things in the back without much fear of having monsters get in their face, then I get why you think that "ranged is safe".

Dark Archive

dnoisette wrote:
shroudb wrote:
Don;t know how you playtested, but in all our playtests so far, the melee classes were pummeled much more than the ragned classes.

Here's how I playtested: I went after the casters instead of leaving them do their own thing from a safe distance.

Monsters walked by melee characters, who no longer had AoO to try and stop them, and got to the casters in 1 Stride, most of the time.
Pathfinder's rooms and dungeons are notoriously small and cramped areas. Unless you're playing Kingmaker, you usually won't be standing 2 Strides away from your enemies.

It doesn't take more than 2-3 attacks to put heavy pressure on a low HP spellcaster and they subsequently were forced into either:
1/ Retreat and use healing potions (no Cleric in the party)
2/ Try to keep fighting and die

The melee characters ended up without buff spells because the casters were too busy keeping themselves alive. The Wizard did have Acid Arrow prepared and quickly made his choice when it came to using this spell or picking up a potion and drinking it.
Meanwhile, the rest of the foes kept attacking the melee characters. I needed just one monster to disrupt the casting "backline".
The rest of them could happily focus on taking down the "frontline".

If you've been playtesting by focusing on melee characters only and letting casters do their things in the back without much fear of having monsters get in their face, then I get why you think that "ranged is safe".

This sounds like things are working as intended, reminding me of the the first two editions of D&D rather than the surreal conga-line combats of 3x. Enemies breaching a shield wall or exploiting an opening cause havoc.


dnoisette wrote:
shroudb wrote:
Don;t know how you playtested, but in all our playtests so far, the melee classes were pummeled much more than the ragned classes.

Here's how I playtested: I went after the casters instead of leaving them do their own thing from a safe distance.

Monsters walked by melee characters, who no longer had AoO to try and stop them, and got to the casters in 1 Stride, most of the time.
Pathfinder's rooms and dungeons are notoriously small and cramped areas. Unless you're playing Kingmaker, you usually won't be standing 2 Strides away from your enemies.

It doesn't take more than 2-3 attacks to put heavy pressure on a low HP spellcaster and they subsequently were forced into either:
1/ Retreat and use healing potions (no Cleric in the party)
2/ Try to keep fighting and die

The melee characters ended up without buff spells because the casters were too busy keeping themselves alive. The Wizard did have Acid Arrow prepared and quickly made his choice when it came to using this spell or picking up a potion and drinking it.
Meanwhile, the rest of the foes kept attacking the melee characters. I needed just one monster to disrupt the casting "backline".
The rest of them could happily focus on taking down the "frontline".

If you've been playtesting by focusing on melee characters only and letting casters do their things in the back without much fear of having monsters get in their face, then I get why you think that "ranged is safe".

then you had a very different experience than most of the groups i played with.

walking past 2 melees usually required 2 strides for us, meaning that most enemies wouldn't waste 2 actions to just try and land 1 attack. Most of our casters also had around 30-35 speed and that allowed them to stride-cast and be again at 2 stride distance from enemies once more afterwards.

No AoO may make it easier to approach casters, but it also makes it hella lot easier to walk away and/or cast. It's certainly a BOON for casters according to both my groups rather than a hindrance.


Ikos wrote:


This sounds like things are working as intended, reminding me of the the first two editions of D&D rather than the surreal conga-line combats of 3x. Enemies breaching a shield wall or exploiting an opening cause havoc.

Oh, I wasn't complaining about it at all.

I was merely stating the fact that the "conga-line" is gone and, for this reason, ranged characters are no longer as safe as they used to be.
I have no issue whatsoever with the current system.


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
shroudb wrote:
Secondly, if you want damage, go Gish. If you want anything else, don't? I see absolutely no reason a pure caster should do equal to more damage than a melee caster Gish, considering how much more dangerous is to be at melee range, how much more resources you need to sink to that and etc.

I strongly believe that DPR is something that is expected of everyone in the party in addition to whatever their specialty is. A party that has a character that lacks appreciable DPR capabilities is a party that is weaker for it. Being a gish means your party has more damage and ends combat sooner, which means you don't need to land as many spells in the first place.

I also agree with dnoisette; being at melee range is irrelevant. If something wants to get into melee range with you in this edition, it will.

shroudb wrote:
So yeah, Gish vs Caster, isn't even the same "class" so your comparison is 100% irrelevant. And even with it being irrelevant, one of the eweakest spells dide trample upon your precious true strike when you face autoheightening, so you lose even with the most favorable (for you) conditions.

That was average-case conditions; the presumption that you will have flanking bonus if you chose to move on your turn is a very conservative one, and I also presumed that the persistent damage would only last one turn (also conservative), and I presumed a relatively high-AC foe with no debuffs. There will be worse situations, but there will also be better ones. The fact is that magic missile and true strike were reasonably similar in the average-case scenario, which means true strike will outperform it in some situations and magic missile will outperform true strike in others. That strikes me as something that is reasonably balanced. And again, if you feel that's scaling a bit fast it could easily be nerfed by making dangerous sorcery scale based on actual spell slot, which would give true strike the edge in the average case.

shroudb wrote:
you want melee? Then compare it to a melee spell, not magic missile.

The problem isn't that we want melee, it's that we need damage. Casters need a way to reliably deliver DPR regardless of what kind of build they are pursuing. And right now, magical weapons are the only good answer to that, which leads us inevitably down the magical striker path and often towards melee (which offers the best damage). Much like armor, which is necessary for basic survival, the underlying game mechanics are what are pushing casters in this direction. Until dedicated casters get competitive non-weapon attack options they will remain marginal and niche picks compared to gish builds, which are quickly becoming the default.

dnoisette wrote:
First, you say the spell targets TAC like it's a huge boon. Breaking news: it's actually required for casters to have a decent chance to hit.

The difference between AC and TAC is very minor in most cases. You need a spell duelist's wand of appropriate level just to keep parity with magical weapons.


Dasrak wrote:
shroudb wrote:
Secondly, if you want damage, go Gish. If you want anything else, don't? I see absolutely no reason a pure caster should do equal to more damage than a melee caster Gish, considering how much more dangerous is to be at melee range, how much more resources you need to sink to that and etc.

I strongly believe that DPR is something that is expected of everyone in the party in addition to whatever their specialty is. A party that has a character that lacks appreciable DPR capabilities is a party that is weaker for it. Being a gish means your party has more damage and ends combat sooner, which means you don't need to land as many spells in the first place.

I also agree with dnoisette; being at melee range is irrelevant. If something wants to get into melee range with you in this edition, it will.

Augment Summoning with Summon Monster. "Pure caster" means for being "in melee," can physically block a doorway or hallway choke point with a single melee team member, gives increase in DPR whether using cantrips or spell slots while having zero requirement of physical weapon.

This is actual playtest feedback, not a theoretical. Test summoning, profit thereby.


Freagarthach wrote:


"Pure caster" means for being "in melee," can physically block a doorway or hallway choke point with a single melee team member,

Physically block a doorway?

At level 9 (which I chose arbitrarily, no specific reason for that), a given monster has, on average, +17/18 to either one of their Athletics or Acrobatics skill checks.

Shoving a PC out of the way requires them to beat a DC based on the PC's Fortitude DC.
Tumbling Through a PC's square will instead require them to beat a DC based on the PC's Reflex DC.
Right off the bat, they get to choose which action they want to try, based on their specific strengths.

A PC is level 9. Assuming they're expert in their corresponding saves and have an average of 16 in either Constitution or Dexterity (which is most PCs apart from Barbarians, Rogues and Fighters), then the DC a monster has to beat is 25 (I'm assuming magic armor +2 for increased saves).

Summons are much worse. At level 9, the best you can get for these specific saves is a Lesser Elemental (Fire) with a 19 Fortitude DC and 22 Reflex DC - on average.

Now compare that with monsters' average bonuses to Athletics and Acrobatics.
That's right, they need to roll 1-5 on the dice (depending on the exact situation) to fail at walking right by your summon and ignoring it altogether.

Yeah, it's not going to physically block the doorway anytime soon, unless you spam three summons in a row and have they stand in a line in a no-larger-than-5 ft.-corridor.

Note: sure, you can roll more favorably than that but I'm assuming an average of 11 on a d20 -doesn't seem utterly unreasonable.

1 to 50 of 53 << first < prev | 1 | 2 | next > last >>
Community / Forums / Archive / Pathfinder / Playtests & Prerelease Discussions / Pathfinder Playtest / Pathfinder Playtest General Discussion / Spell heightening (Auto) All Messageboards

Want to post a reply? Sign in.