Idea: Have proficiencies for spell schools.


Skills, Feats, Equipment & Spells


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So it would seem that casters are a bit overnerfed right now because everyone and their pet make their saving throws all the damn time /hyperbole.

I was thinking, Fighters get ahead of the curve by becoming Experts, Masters and Legends earlier then other melee types. But only in ONE category of weapon.

Rogues get to get ahead of the curve in skills. By getting lots of skill feats.

So... casters are worried about the anemic save DCs of their spells, and they currently only ever become Experts at spellcasting.

So how about casters get bonus Metamagic Feats like Fighters and Rogues, and they use them to become Experts, Masters and eventually Legends... in their respective spell schools.

A dedicated Evoker for example might get a progression like a Fighter, but must keep all non-evocation spells at the usual progression. A generalist would get no special bonus. There is a price for 'sitting on the fence' after all.

Thoughts?


....I'm not opposed to the idea. If only the idea of School based Wizards/Casters has always kinda been around.


This is a great idea to give specialist Wizards another balance against Universalists, which people have been providing feedback as very strong.

Provide this as an option to Arcane Sorcerers as well, as differentiation of that type. That is as far as I would apply the idea, but I really like it for those aspects.


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I like it as it goes back to the old days of Specialists. I would however want to be a Master in a Second School and an Expert in a 3rd. That really goes back to Old School where your School and the 1 on each side of you gelled well with each other and then you had Opposing Schools.


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How do the different schools compare as far as a balanced spread of options to? I haven't checked, but I suspect the answer is "pretty unevenly". We don't want a situation where two thirds of the schools don't benefit much from increased proficiency or aren't competitive with those schools that do.


Well... in 3.X, it was usually a matter of dumping the Enchantment school, due to these spells being mostly useless vs. mindless enemies etc.

But does it not fall on the devs to create either attractive spells, or maybe attractive feat options to make every school desirable in their own way?

But yes, players will gravitate towards schools that benefit most from having higher spell DCs. Which would kinda be the point of being a specialist vs. a generalist.

Also consider that things like 'Weapon Focus/Specialization' in PF1 apply to 1 single weapon, whereas 'Spell Penetration' works for everything. Making the caster types pay the same equivalent feat price as martials helps close the gap.

As for non-wizard casters... Sorcerors lack the versatility of wizards, so maybe toss them a bone by having them advance to legendary spellcasting eventually... for ALL schools?

And since someone who merely multiclasses as a Wizard would not get those bonuses, welp, I would say that is no different from PF1. You want the utility spells and self-buffs, nothing that has a DC.

Furthermore, giving out those +1 as Metamagic feats gives Wizards a choice between 'casting good' in general, or in giving up some power in exchange for being able to modify their spells with actual metamagic. If the metamagic feats, which do apply to ALL spell schools after all, also had varying effects depending on your spell school proficiency level...

Sovereign Court

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Well, spell proficiency does more than just save DC: it also factors into (ranged) touch attacks with spells, and what used to be caster level checks (spell resistance, dispelling magic, removing afflictions). So any kind of opposed magic benefits from more proficiency.

I suspect it's important for just about every school:

Abjuration: can you counter/remove that thing?
Conjuration: save DCs, ranged touch
Divination: can you penetrate the anti-scrying field, how accurate is the information you get, save DC against mind reading etc.

Well I could go on but you get the point.

I would go with, wizards start with 6 schools Trained, and can improve their training in a school every other level (just like skills); taking some up to Expert, Master at about level 7, and Legendary at 15; making you more like a specialist wizard. Or you could patch over your weaknesses and train up those two missing schools, acting more like a universalist wizard.

If we did this, then schools would become really visible as a defining feature of wizards. Your choice of schools would also really make you different from other wizards (assuming each school gets desirable spells).

Importantly, it would make wizards very different from sorcerers, and make it a bit more possible to move towards Arcanist style spellcasting instead of strict Vancian, without wizards ending up too similar to sorcerers.

Sorcerers would get a more egalitarian progression, not picking one school over the other. But they could get better proficiency with specific bloodline spells. And they could get spontaneous heightening for all their spells.

So then the big difference would be that a wizard is good at particular schools of magic (and everything in those schools), while a sorcerer is really good at particular spells, but not hedged into only using specific schools.


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I feel spell schools should be a major thing for Wizards, more than currently, but for other casts it doesn't feel as thematic.


Eh I don't know about it being proficiency I want it to be mostly wizard feats that differentiate the specialists.


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

The advantage of having spell school proficiency is that is gives you a gradient between specialist and generalist. You can be totally about one school, or about a bunch of schools, or completely even.

Quote:
I would go with, wizards start with 6 schools Trained, and can improve their training in a school every other level (just like skills)

That sounds like too much to me. It lets wizards have their cake and eat it.


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Before the playtest rules even came out, I was one of the people hoping that "spell proficiency" would be broken up by school rather than being an all-encompassing thing (after all, martials don't just get "all weapon/armor proficiency.")

Now seeing how the rules are, I'd say that this could be applied in one of two ways. 1) Specialist Wizards get faster proficiency in their specialty school similar to how fighters get faster proficiency in their chosen weapon group. 2) All casters have to advance spell proficiency by school and spell proficiency is significantly reworked.

Personally, I dislike the idea of spell schools being something only wizards care about, since it makes wizards feel worse at magic if they have to deal with a school restriction while ever other caster effectively ignores the existence of spell schools (at which point, why even have them if they just waste printing space?)

As a benefit, if everyone cares about spell schools, then you open up theming for all casters (more specialized vs more general), and potentially help drop the martial/caster disparity even if spells got a bit more powerful (since every caster wouldn't be assumed equal access/effectiveness of every spell printed now & in the future). One of the reason casters were gods before was the amount of options after all. Even if you spent your entire career casting nothing but evocation and necromancy, the moment the plot would be solved by a divination or illusion spell you could grab a scroll/learn it and then immediately cast it just as well as a specialist. A martial by contrast can't just swap out their heavily invested +5 weapon to a more effective backup and expect to use it nearly as well (in fact, they now use it even worse than PF1 due to losing damage dice).

Which is part of the reason why I'd be in favor of not just having all casters advance spell proficiency by school (perhaps in a similar way to skill proficiency increases), but having school proficiency determine what levels of spells you can prepare. Multiclass archetypes already sort of do this, since they tie proficiency increases to spell levels within the same feat. Currently, each multiclass archetype's Basic Spellcasting feat grants access to 1st-3rd level spells. The Expert Spellcasting feat grants expert proficiency and access to 4th-6th level spells. And finally, the Master Spellcasting feat grants master proficiency and access to 7th-8th level spells (which presumably leaves legendary proficiency linked to 9th-10th level spells).

While this isn't necessarily the ideal breakdown, it would at least provide a template for how school proficiency could work and would make proficiency matter for more than just +1s, since it would allow you to prepare/learn higher level spells of that school. Which also means that it couldn't just be ignored for schools which didn't have many spells that need a +1 to keep up with enemy stats.


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I'm in the camp of those who had been hoping for this.


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sadie wrote:

The advantage of having spell school proficiency is that is gives you a gradient between specialist and generalist. You can be totally about one school, or about a bunch of schools, or completely even.

Quote:
I would go with, wizards start with 6 schools Trained, and can improve their training in a school every other level (just like skills)
That sounds like too much to me. It lets wizards have their cake and eat it.

I dunno. Every other level means 10 raises until lv. 20. We have 6 spell schools. Getting one to legendary takes 3 raises. So... if we combine this with Charon Onozuka's idea of limiting spell levels to your school proficiency... Wizards would face some tough choices.

Heck, even without limiting spell levels, as long as your proficiency matters somehow, the choices are still very relevant. For example, some feats requiring a certain proficiency would then only work for spells from those schools you have proper training in.

But yes, that leaves the question how to deal with non-wizard casters. Clerics for example. But here I dare say, the choice is mostly made by the god they worship. After all, it is the gods that provide the spells, right? So they would favour certain schools over others. Domains and such.

Sorcerors could probably work well with reaching legendary with their bloodline spells at Fighter speeds and the others at the normal progression. Since they lack the versatility of Wizards, at least they won't have to worry about prioritizing schools.

Bards are traditionally good with Illusions and Enchantments. Fast-track them there and leave other schools at the normal pace, or even cut them off at Expert level. They may get 9th level casting, but they are just not primary casters.

Druids... well, they are big on Conjuration spells, right?

But yeah, while this adds a new complication to the game, it might be worth it, if it gives casters the chance to specialize, and thus get ahead of the curve in certain areas. The problem with prepared casters in PF1 is that they can potentially do everything. That way, they would at least not be perfect at everything. Plus the whole RP aspect.

And wasn't there a book like ... 'Ultimate Magic' or something, where Wizards had the option to specialize in elements rather then spell schools... I mean, Paizo lives on selling books, soo...

Paizo Employee Director of Game Design

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We played around with this for a bit in alpha, but it was just to fiddly. Wizards seemed to care about it conceptually, but no one else did, and to make matters worse it made spellcasting bog down the table quite a bit, as we had to look up schools and the DCs for them on a regular basis.

I am not saying its a dead concept, but it would probably take a dramatic shift in how the game is played for this to be viable.


Soo... maybe an alternative system in a future supplement? 'Ultimate Wizardry'?

But yeah, I suppose casters switch schools more often then fighting types switch their weapon category. I further suppose that also rules out feats that only apply to certain schools too.

Oh well, at least I know it was considered at some point. That is nice to know.


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Jason Bulmahn wrote:

We played around with this for a bit in alpha, but it was just to fiddly. Wizards seemed to care about it conceptually, but no one else did, and to make matters worse it made spellcasting bog down the table quite a bit, as we had to look up schools and the DCs for them on a regular basis.

I am not saying its a dead concept, but it would probably take a dramatic shift in how the game is played for this to be viable.

Now I'm curious to know what the alpha character sheet looked like.

I know the sheet my group primarily used in PF1 had a space to record spell school next to any spells known, and I ended up adopting that aspect into my own custom PF2 Sheet.

If Spell Schools then had their own proficiency table with included DCs (similar to how skills are listed out), it seems like it wouldn't be too hard to look at the school next to the spell on your sheet & then look up to the proficiency table to see the DC being used. I know players in my games still have to always check the sheet anyway to remember their DC whenever it comes up, even if it doesn't change by spell level like PF1 did. So at least for my group, I'd imagine that specific problem could be solved by the character sheet (after solving the problem of how to format/space things on the character sheet to keep things looking neat/usable of course).

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