If Spellcasting got partial rollback...?


General Discussion


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The playtest nerfed spellcasting by three elements;

A) Lower number of slots per day
B) No automatic scaling
C) Individual effects weakened

...which critically shrunk its old cubic power.
If they decide to give back one or two of those elements back, what is your order of preference?


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Best, partial C. It doesn't have to be all the way back (& probably shouldn't!), just some.
Next best, A. If the individual spells are weak and their chance of success is so-so then some ability to spam is required IMO.
Least, B. As A but it would encourage blasting too much IMO.

Liberty's Edge

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Sort of C?

The main changes I'd like to see in magic are more of the multi-action casting options (like Heal) and more effects on successful saves. Making spells more reliable does a lot to compensate for their other issues, and a lot of spells don't need to scale to be good.


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Honestly, strange though it is to admit it, the number of spellslots is probably the least important, as long as the actual power of the effects and their scaling remains more or less the same.

Strictly speaking I'm generally happy with P1. Some minor issues of course (SoD should be SoD, not SoTonsofdamage, not a fan of how metamagic rods work, etc.), but nothing much I can be arsed to houserule.


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Let's start with the obvious...

Item A is a lie.

Yes, you have fewer spells at each spell slot. This would APPEAR like you're getting your spell slots cut down overall. This is numerically true, but the statement "I have fewer spell options available to me" is untrue. Why so? All spells have the same, maximal DC. This means that 1st level spells can still be used (to some effect) at higher level. In PF1, your lower level spells either had to be chosen and used carefully (like how Create Pit was a fantastically good spell at any level) or would need to be buff-type spells (and even then might become either outclassed or too minor to matter). In PF2, the automatically rising DCs means that spells are always going to remain an option for a caster through their career; spells won't fall off in terms of usefulness. So, while you get fewer spells at each slot, as you reach higher level, you do end up with many, many more spells at your disposal.

PF2, in fact, buffed the number of spell slots a caster would have after the lowest of levels are surpassed.

Item B is a bad thing for the game and shouldn't be returned. By having a spell like Fireball continue to grow in power up to 10d6 damage, the spell effectively gets better and better as you level. This was one of the major things that created the martial-caster disparity. Spells growing in power and duration became quite the problem.

Item C, though, is where I would say there needs to be a shift. Do I want save-or-suck and save-or-die to return? No. Not at all. BUT... It would be nice to see the numbers shifted so that smartly using your spells to debuff or hinder your enemies would be more effective. Right now, level differential prevents casters from landing any effect and makes Heightened Magic Missile the best spell in the game. If spells used more of the 4 degrees of success to apply their debuff even on a successful save, or otherwise had effects on save, this would be better.

Additionally, spells have had their duration reduced to 1-minute. I do like this move; however, many of these should have an option to Heighten the spell and allow for 10-minute or 1-hour duration. Count to my own likes here, one major problem, which I addressed above, is that duration being tied to level meant that you could apply multiple minute/level buffs and get multiple quick fights out of them. It seems like the goal was to make low-level spells last for 1 encounter. This is a good metric.


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I would say A first. Spell Point-fueled class features are supposed to offset diminished number of spells, and sprouting claws and wading unarmored into combat certainly is an interesting option, in a getting-to-use-the-death-and-dying-rules sort of way. And I get cantrips are supposed to fill in the gap, but they don't seem to scale nearly well enough, and with such a low max number (and with Shield & Detect Magic almost certain must-haves) I don't think they're quite filling the role.

Next would be C - if i'm carefully conserving my spells through the whole game, give me some payoff when I do get to let loose.

Dark Archive

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Definitely B, then C, then A
Without B all of the low level spell slots are pointless, and making useful partial casters is impossible.
Without C it is impossible to build a useful wizard, regardless if he is a buffer, a conjurer, a debuffer, a blaster or anything. The wizard in playtest who tried to be a fullcaster found himself useless, because his best damaging option deals as much damage as the twohanded weapon of anyone else (he was baffled from the fact that it is better to attack the enemy with a knife than with a cantrip).
Without A you cannot do it all day (which I am sort of okay with).


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I don't think any of those are the actual problems with spellcasters- I think the slow scaling of Proficiency is the main issue, combined with Feat choices that don't really affect spellcasting.

At level one a Caster is generally 16 Dex, meaning they are +4 to hit with a ranged spell, generally versus TAC, compared to a Martial character's +5. As TAC is usually a 2 point difference, this makes the Caster relatively accurate.

By level 5 most Martial characters are at +11 to hit due to weapon quality, whilst casters are at +9. Due to the TAC difference, they effectively now are at the same chance of hitting.

By level 10 Martials are likely to be +18, whilst Casters are +15 (with a Duelist Wand). At this point they are less accurate than Martial characters against many targets.

Normally 1 point is noticeable but not significant- a Barbarian is about as accurate as the Caster, whilst the Fighter is further ahead. However, if the Barbarian misses he just tries again a couple of times this turn, and again next turn. If a Caster misses with their big damage spell they have wasted an important resource.

The math for save based effects is even worse, especially if you ever face something of higher level.

I'm of the opinion that casters should get their Expert Spellcasting at 5th level, and Master at 15th, a similar rate to Paladins. I would also like to see some more Class Feats that improve actual spell casting- options to buff Cantrips, some form of Spell Focus. I'd also really like a metamagic Feat that gives you back the spell if you miss- it sounds powerful, but in reality spending a whole turn to do nothing is a massive cost and blaster mages have never been the scary build of casters.


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Lucas Yew wrote:

The playtest nerfed spellcasting by three elements;

A) Lower number of slots per day
B) No automatic scaling
C) Individual effects weakened

...which critically shrunk its old cubic power.

I'd add a couple more nerfs.

D) Action Economy
E) Higher Chance of Success (e.g. Tight Math led to Monsters succeeding on saves more often)

It also added a couple of buffs.
1) Four Degrees of Success (Partial effects even on a Save are nice)
2) One Spell DC for all Spells

To answer the question...

I'd target A and E.
A) Give all casters more spells per day. Especially Sorcerers and Bards.
E) Revamp the Bestiary so that most creatures have at least one exploitable saving throw.

I'm also interested in B)...but not necessarily as a buff. I'm interested in B as a simplification. As it is spells have a lot to track and simplifying heightening would help. I'd also like to see some heightened effects come from investing more actions (ala magic missile) even though that's not a simplification.


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Greg.Everham wrote:

Let's start with the obvious...

Item A is a lie.

Yes, you have fewer spells at each spell slot. This would APPEAR like you're getting your spell slots cut down overall. This is numerically true, but the statement "I have fewer spell options available to me" is untrue. Why so? All spells have the same, maximal DC. This means that 1st level spells can still be used (to some effect) at higher level. In PF1, your lower level spells either had to be chosen and used carefully (like how Create Pit was a fantastically good spell at any level) or would need to be buff-type spells (and even then might become either outclassed or too minor to matter). In PF2, the automatically rising DCs means that spells are always going to remain an option for a caster through their career; spells won't fall off in terms of usefulness. So, while you get fewer spells at each slot, as you reach higher level, you do end up with many, many more spells at your disposal.

PF2, in fact, buffed the number of spell slots a caster would have after the lowest of levels are surpassed.

Assuming you ignore all the spells for which save DC is irrelevant, sure. But those were fairly common in 1e, and were also nerfed into oblivion in 2e. Looking at you, buff and utility spells.

So no, this is not a lie. Coming to this conclusion requires ignoring an entire branch of spells and just focusing entirely on offensive casting. And even then, it doesn't matter if the save DC is the same for a lot of the spells when the things they do are trivial or don't scale without using a higher level slot (which would have raised the DC in 1e anyway).

It's really only debuffs that are truly benefiting from this.

Quote:
Item B is a bad thing for the game and shouldn't be returned. By having a spell like Fireball continue to grow in power up to 10d6 damage, the spell effectively gets better and better as you level. This was one of the major things that created the martial-caster disparity. Spells growing in power and duration became quite the problem.

Not really. When spells don't scale, the only ones that keep up with the damage martials are doing are near the top of your avialable slots. The lower ones simply fall behind and are left behind.

The guy with the +4 2h can swing it all day long for 5d12. 6d6 attacks from 3rd level slots are in no way even remotely competitive with that, and they're a limited resource on top of it. At that point, the caster might as well just use their own +4 weapon.

What this really does is banish the lower level slots entirely to things that don't need to scale to be effective, which removes blasting from them outright.

Quote:
Item C, though, is where I would say there needs to be a shift. Do I want save-or-suck and save-or-die to return? No. Not at all. BUT... It would be nice to see the numbers shifted so that smartly using your spells to debuff or hinder your enemies would be more effective. Right now, level differential prevents casters from landing any effect and makes Heightened Magic Missile the best spell in the game. If spells used more of the 4 degrees of success to apply their debuff even on a successful save, or otherwise had effects on save, this would be better.

Yes, this is the biggest issue. It's okay if spells are limited if they are effective when they do get used. But even that is pretty questionable right now, between the difficulty casters have hitting things as you level up (and the need for a duelist wand specifically for that purpose) and the save problems.

Quote:
Additionally, spells have had their duration reduced to 1-minute. I do like this move; however, many of these should have an option to Heighten the spell and allow for 10-minute or 1-hour duration. Count to my own likes here, one major problem, which I addressed above, is that duration being tied to level meant that you could apply multiple minute/level buffs and get multiple quick fights out of them. It seems like the goal was to make low-level spells last for 1 encounter. This is a good metric.

This is another way in which spells were effectively taken away. In the past, one buff could last multiple encounters. Now, I've had cases where a buff doesn't last through ONE encounter. That's with fewer slots to cast them from.

Aside from scaling DCs, every other aspect of casting was nerfed. This was less a focused attempt to reign it in and more "drop a tactical nuclear nerfstrike on it and see if the wreckage forms a functional system."


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avr wrote:

Best, partial C. It doesn't have to be all the way back (& probably shouldn't!), just some.

Next best, A. If the individual spells are weak and their chance of success is so-so then some ability to spam is required IMO.
Least, B. As A but it would encourage blasting too much IMO.

Not sure I'm seeing the problem with encouraging blasting.


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Spell durations.


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Pathfinder Adventure, Adventure Path Subscriber

I could stand behind everything else that's happened if A were rolled back such that spells were at-will.

Effects are reduced, odds of success are reduced, duration is reduced, scaling is reduced... if you could spam the spells like a martial can spam their hammer, then magic would be an interesting option.

Buffs that only last a minute... fine... re-casting them in combat becomes an action-cost, and a reasonable design choice. Enemies that are going to waste ~50% of the spells you cast... fine... trying again becomes a reasonable design choice.

I get it that some spells are better than a basic martial attack. Area-effect spells being the most obvious. But really, that's easily-enough adjusted for, and really, I think the auto-scaling cantrips experiment has probably shown that at-will abilities that aren't utterly pointless can be fun.


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Pathfinder Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

First, C needs to be rolled back pretty far. What I find particularly unsatisfying is the 1 minute buffs. If you want something to be locked to an encounter, say so, and then I'll argue against encounter locked spells. If you just want cool magical effects to fizzle out in less time than you can hold your breath, I want to know why.

The power of spells by and large needs to be boosted, and critical failure effects need to be extreme, not the PF1e intended function of the spell.

Skill boosts likewise need to be more consequential. A boost to a skill check is fine, but it needs to be a HUGE boost and last for multiple checks.

We need to be in a position where a primary caster doesn't constantly feel overshadowed by someone's all day basic attack.

Once that is sorted out, then the number of spells per day and the need for heightening can be re-evaluated.


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B really didn't help blasting nearly as much as it helped buffs. There's a reason Resist Energy/Heroism/Barkskin and the like were practically always on at upper levels so long as you had any preparation time, though this was also partially on A.

I'd prefer C, with a look at reducing enemies' saves first. I found that casters (at least at low levels) were perfectly fine when they could get enemies to fail their saves, with Drakus, especially, being heavily affected by the party's sorcerer. From reports, I think it's more that the failure effect doesn't have the chance to happen as much as it should at medium levels and up, and fixing that would help a lot more than just a blanket power increase.


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Without better durations, better utility, and more dramatic tactical effects, I could care less about the amount of spells or their numeric potency. I guess C is at the top since it seems to be closest to addressing my concerns.


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Greg.Everham wrote:

Let's start with the obvious...

Item A is a lie.

Yes, you have fewer spells at each spell slot. This would APPEAR like you're getting your spell slots cut down overall. This is numerically true, but the statement "I have fewer spell options available to me" is untrue. Why so? All spells have the same, maximal DC. This means that 1st level spells can still be used (to some effect) at higher level. In PF1, your lower level spells either had to be chosen and used carefully (like how Create Pit was a fantastically good spell at any level) or would need to be buff-type spells (and even then might become either outclassed or too minor to matter). In PF2, the automatically rising DCs means that spells are always going to remain an option for a caster through their career; spells won't fall off in terms of usefulness. So, while you get fewer spells at each slot, as you reach higher level, you do end up with many, many more spells at your disposal.

PF2, in fact, buffed the number of spell slots a caster would have after the lowest of levels are surpassed.

Item B is a bad thing for the game and shouldn't be returned. By having a spell like Fireball continue to grow in power up to 10d6 damage, the spell effectively gets better and better as you level. This was one of the major things that created the martial-caster disparity. Spells growing in power and duration became quite the problem.

Item C, though, is where I would say there needs to be a shift. Do I want save-or-suck and save-or-die to return? No. Not at all. BUT... It would be nice to see the numbers shifted so that smartly using your spells to debuff or hinder your enemies would be more effective. Right now, level differential prevents casters from landing any effect and makes Heightened Magic Missile the best spell in the game. If spells used more of the 4 degrees of success to apply their debuff even on a successful save, or otherwise had effects on save, this would be better.

Additionally, spells have had their duration reduced to 1-minute. I...

I'm sorta in this boat. I think there are many individual spells that require tuning but I don't have a problem with the systematic stuff.

I kind of want a "moderate spell revision thread," because I feel like a lot of the current threads are dominated with people advocating for more extreme, systematic changes. This drowns out specific spells that we can all agree need some work, like Fear.


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A thing to consider: the big problem with save-or-lose spells is, and was, that they bypass the game's primary defense mechanic: hit points. A fight that starts and ends with the wizard casting hold person on the boss is not particularly satisfying.

The obvious solution here is to steal from 13th Age, and add hit point maxima to such spells. This would place them in the "finisher" rather than "opener" category. This would also create an opportunity for how to scale them to higher levels. However, it would pretty much require that PCs be aware of their opponents' hit points (because being told "No, your spell that paralyzes an opponent with 30 hp or less failed because he had 33 hp" sucks), which I personally don't mind but some GMs might have a problem with.


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B and then C. Less spell slots dont matter to me as long as the slots I do have actually do something. I am one of those people who much prefer to Blast and Debuff than to Buff. Not big on Control either. So I would like to be able to keep up with Martials in the damage. I tried to build a Sorcerer and the best damage option was to be a Dragon Sorc and go into melee with Fighter Dedication and Double Slice. Thats not what I was looking for.


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Personally, I'd rather have the so-called Vancian system terminated and replaced by a reversed "charge up and fire (on a earth-shattering-kaboom scale)" type magic system, cast at-will. Spells should take up more time to chant either by being a higher level or potentially able to break niche protection more widely, with proficiency reducing up required actions per casting (up to a minimum of 1 action).

That way, you no longer need to track slot usage, and promoting actual teamwork with martial classes by giving them a definite purpose during combat in protecting the big guns until they successfully bake up a relevant problem solver (which is hopefully not that spotlight-stealing).


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A. I would not add more slots to target nerf A. Coming from 5E (which has FEWER slots), I think the number of slots are sufficient but the flexibility in PF2 is way too low. This is due to the strict Vancian casting. This can be addressed with 5E or PF1 Arcanist style casting. This may also be addressed through 3.5 style specific spontaneous conversion.

B. I would leave this nerfed. Auto-Heightening is no bueno. I would change spontaneous heightening for bards and sorcerers so they could heighten into higher slots with less limits though.

C. This is a spell by spell issue. A few spells, like Fear, should be dramatically improved. Some, like Ray of Enfeeblement, are fine. Many just need small tweaks. I would make it so more spells have substantive effects even when the target saves. Overall, this is probably a slightly bigger issue than A.


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Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

A, B and C, then target individual spells for necessary nerfs. The entire super-nerf to casters killed this edition, IMO. Then bring martials up.


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Pathfinder Adventure Path, Rulebook Subscriber

To be honest, I used to believe the number of spells lost was significant. But after looking into things, I realized the spell chart is in fact deceptive and hides the fact that Wizards and Sorcerers in fact have 25% more spells (approximately).

For instance, let's take the Sorcerer. You look at the spell chart and it says "two 1st level spells" but that hides the fact all Sorcerers in fact gain a bonus 1st level spell because of their Bloodline and this doesn't change because all Sorcerers get that bonus spell. So the spell selection chart is more 3/4 for each level.

Specialist Wizards actually get the most spells. They start out with two 1st level spells, a specialist school spell, and a floating spell from the Focus that ALL WIZARDS GET. Universalist Wizards get the same number of spells... but are at -1 spell overall compared to the Specialist Wizard. And as has been pointed out elsewhere, these spells scale upward so that a Wizard of 20th level can have a 1st level spell have the same chance at dealing damage as the 1st level spell against an equivalent foe. (In fact, it might be a slightly better chance seeing they would be Legendary in Spell Skill.)

The primary thing that happened was that casters lost their bonus spells for their primary attribute. Yet if you look at Classic AD&D, the only class that had bonus spells was the Cleric and Druid for their Wisdom stat. Wizards now have essentially the same number of spells that they did in the old days. And when you look at the Class Feats, you can increase the number of spells memorized further - Familiars can now allow a bonus spell and Wizards can even create a temporary Wand with 3 charges to cast any one spell they have... meaning they can on a daily basis have a Wand pumping out more spells. There are also two Focus enhancing abilities that also give Wizards a couple more lower level spells - spells which may deal less damage but still have the same chance to affect foes as higher level spells.

Clerics essentially gain 2+ Heal spells each day in addition to any spells they memorize. If someone chooses to maximize Charisma and isn't playing a Dwarf, then it's likely they have 5 Heal spells a day, and these are effectively the highest level spell that can be cast... meaning if the Cleric is level 17 with a maximized Charisma, they're casting ten 9th level spells (eight of which are Heal).

Druids that take a Leshy Familiar will also gain the capacity of casting a bonus spell of two levels lower... meaning they've not been left out of the festivities either, though essentially it's only one spell compared to the other classes.

This also ignores one other detail: Cantrips and Orisons remain useful for the life of the caster. They put out a damage equivalent similar to melee weapons and can be cast constantly. They also scale in difficulty in saving against or in the chance of a critical if they require a to-hit roll.

So while I protested initially over the "nerfing" of casters... it's much ado about not-so-much. Casters STILL have a huge selection of spells. Their lower level spells remain valid in combat, especially as weakened higher level foes will, after being softened up, be vulnerable to these lower level spells. And Cantrips will allow Casters to provide significantly greater support than a crossbow or the like, as do Wands and Staves.


I don't like save or suck/die spells, because from my experience, they tend to be the cause of rocket-tag as a fight is pretty much over the moment the first side successfully lands their key battlefield control or lockdown spell before the other side, but I am unsure of how you could possibly balance them and have them be satisfying. With high damage, you could always balance around it by adding more enemies to start with, or increase hp totals so they don't instantly die, but with save or suck/die spells in pf1, it's either they're taken out of the fight or not, and most of the good ones don't even allow retries (as those would be frustrating for the caster when a few dudes would break out of it in one turn).


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Tangent101 wrote:
So while I protested initially over the "nerfing" of casters... it's much ado about not-so-much. Casters STILL have a huge selection of spells. Their lower level spells remain valid in combat, especially as weakened higher level foes will, after being softened up, be vulnerable to these lower level spells. And Cantrips will allow Casters to provide significantly greater support than a crossbow or the like, as do Wands and Staves.

SO now casters just wait until the enemies are really weak and then have them make the save anyway? Spellcasting in this edition is stupid. Just get a sword cast your 1 minute buffs and hit stuff with a sword.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Rulebook Subscriber
Gallyck wrote:
Tangent101 wrote:
So while I protested initially over the "nerfing" of casters... it's much ado about not-so-much. Casters STILL have a huge selection of spells. Their lower level spells remain valid in combat, especially as weakened higher level foes will, after being softened up, be vulnerable to these lower level spells. And Cantrips will allow Casters to provide significantly greater support than a crossbow or the like, as do Wands and Staves.
SO now casters just wait until the enemies are really weak and then have them make the save anyway? Spellcasting in this edition is stupid. Just get a sword cast your 1 minute buffs and hit stuff with a sword.

You assume they'd make their save. You assume they GET a save. And there are plenty of spells that influence your party instead and enhance their own abilities... increasing the chance of criticals and the like.

Here is the fun thing. A level one Fear spell cast at 1st level has a greater chance of having someone make their save than cast at 20th level... because a 20th level caster has Legendary spell casting and a higher primary statistic and other Class Feats that may very well enhance the spell further. That Fear spell IS STILL USEFUL at higher level. Back with 1st edition Pathfinder, low level spell slots are useless unless you are using them for buffs or effects that allow no saves at all.


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Tangent101 wrote:
Gallyck wrote:
Tangent101 wrote:
So while I protested initially over the "nerfing" of casters... it's much ado about not-so-much. Casters STILL have a huge selection of spells. Their lower level spells remain valid in combat, especially as weakened higher level foes will, after being softened up, be vulnerable to these lower level spells. And Cantrips will allow Casters to provide significantly greater support than a crossbow or the like, as do Wands and Staves.
SO now casters just wait until the enemies are really weak and then have them make the save anyway? Spellcasting in this edition is stupid. Just get a sword cast your 1 minute buffs and hit stuff with a sword.

You assume they'd make their save. You assume they GET a save. And there are plenty of spells that influence your party instead and enhance their own abilities... increasing the chance of criticals and the like.

Here is the fun thing. A level one Fear spell cast at 1st level has a greater chance of having someone make their save than cast at 20th level... because a 20th level caster has Legendary spell casting and a higher primary statistic and other Class Feats that may very well enhance the spell further. That Fear spell IS STILL USEFUL at higher level. Back with 1st edition Pathfinder, low level spell slots are useless unless you are using them for buffs or effects that allow no saves at all.

as someone who primarily plays wizards i find all sorts of uses for my low level slots in 1e. So that argument is pretty moot. Yes you can cast buffs all day and contribute in 1e and 2e. Is that fun? For someone it is, im sure.


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I'm sort of on the fence with regard to spells at this point. I think I could get used to the fewer slots and overall reduced effects if monsters were less prone to making their saves. Since there's no real way to buff up spell DCs beyond spell duelist items (and classes such as Bard and Cleric don't necessarily make it obvious that you really, really want to max out your spellcasting ability score even if it means neglecting other abilities), monsters always have a pretty good chance of making their save and taking reduced effects or half damage.

I think that combined with most of the save-or-suck spells getting nerfed into only really sucking on a critical fail (which is now a minuscule chance even against opponents you can mop up with regular attacks) is too much. There's kind of a quadratic nerf going on there. :p


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Tridus wrote:
The guy with the +4 2h can swing it all day long for 5d12. 6d6 attacks from 3rd level slots are in no way even remotely competitive with that, and they're a limited resource on top of it. At that point, the caster might as well just use their own +4 weapon.

I'd just like to address the obvious failure in noting that the level 16 or so fighter is being compared, roughly, to a specialist wizard who has burned through all 5 of his 8th level slots, all 4 of his 7th level slots, all 4 of his 6th level slots, all 4 of his 5th level slots, and all 4 of his 4th level slots, for having already tossed out 21 leveled spells today, so we're probably in encounter 5 or 6 by now (assuming you cast 3 to 4 leveled spells per encouter today), is not holding an advantageous position when it comes to doing damage. Oh my the wizard isn't that strong after he's used more than half of his spell slots today. What a shocker. Well, unless he remembers that his 6d6 fireballs can hit more than 1 person. And that he might even be able to catch more than 4 people in the AoE...

Just to illustrate why the whole multi-target thing matters...If the fighter hits with two attacks in a round, he does roughly the equivalent of 20d6 with the dice end of his attacks. That's nice, but what do you think happens if a wizard tosses 6d6 on 4 enemies and one of them saves? 21d6 total distributed amongst the enemies. But since people focus so hard in on single target damage, it seems that people forget that wizards get to walk around doing AoE damage.
And just as a reminder, this is the wizard tossing out his 22nd leveled spell of the day.

Meanwhile, the wizard was tossing out 9d12/8d12 chain lightnings earlier that hit an arbitrary number of targets and don't hit allies, but I don't see anyone on the martial end complaining about that.

It's just kind of infuriating every time someone compares a weapon attack to an AoE spell...using the spell's single target damage as the mark of how much damage it does. It's absurd that this is the metric people fall into using, because if AoE spells did as much single target damage in a round as a swordfighter, then nobody would have any reason to play the fighter. It's extra ridiculous when people feel the need to use spell slots 5 levels down from their max to make this point. As if by the point the playtest wizard is pulling out those spells because he ran out of everything higher, the PF1 wizard was doing just fine for slots.

As for the proposals
A. Most casters don't really need more slots, with the fact that DCs no longer scale down and AoE spells are relevant as long as you use them in sane and intelligent ways, they don't need the extra 1 or 2 slots of their next-to-highest spell levels, because all of their spells can actually hit now.
B. You do have automatic scaling. It's automatic scaling of hit chance though, and not of effects. If you got back automatic scaling of effects, you'd have to remove the free DC scaling, and welcome back to 1st level spells can't even be used to hit or debuff things. And welcome back to spells 2 levels lower than your max being pretty bad when used offensively too, honestly, thanks to the -10% chance of it sticking.
C. Some things need to be buffed up for their level. That much I can see. I particularly see this as a problem with single-target damage spells, which have always suffered due to their damage scales being typically linked to that of AoE spells. Polar Ray is bad and was always bad, we could make it not bad now. Durations could totally be stretched out, for the most part.


I am happy with lowering the amount of slots, in my 3rd Ed/PF1 campaigns we omitted extra spells per day for high ability scores, and spell DCs = 10 + 1/2 Hit Dice + spellcasting modifier.

I am also okay with some of the lower durations, just the spell effects feel a bit flat, not much wow-factor, not necessarily powerful, just interesting, some pizzaz.

For some reason, to me, the Playtest CRB comes across a bit like a Sci-Fi RPG, converted to the Fantasy genre.


BluLion wrote:
I don't like save or suck/die spells, because from my experience, they tend to be the cause of rocket-tag as a fight is pretty much over the moment the first side successfully lands their key battlefield control or lockdown spell before the other side, but I am unsure of how you could possibly balance them and have them be satisfying. With high damage, you could always balance around it by adding more enemies to start with, or increase hp totals so they don't instantly die, but with save or suck/die spells in pf1, it's either they're taken out of the fight or not, and most of the good ones don't even allow retries (as those would be frustrating for the caster when a few dudes would break out of it in one turn).

There's a number of ways to approach this, none of them easy to work into a game mid development though.

The easiest is to give spells multiple functions. You'd have something like "Flesh to Stone" broken up into multiple smaller effects spread across levels. Activating the spell would alter your attacks to increase the progress of the "flesh to stone" spell's severity. At lower levels it would be a slowing strike unlocking a petrifying strike when you gain access to 6th level spells. With long enough combats, the spell would succeed provided you could hit frequently enough to add stacks. Something like disintegrate would give you a damaging at will attack for some duration that would disintegrate your target with enough successive hits. Same odds would be something like 4 hits with a failed saving throw. Or my math is bad, probably the math thing.

Another option is to be very generous with incrementing conditions. The problem with this option, is that it relies on metagame knowledge to function. The players need to have both a general idea of the creatures base saves and how they are effected by conditions, and keep track of stacks. It's a very video game like solution and I think would strain most narratives.

But these are pretty outside the realm of what could be done. Collecting powers, making cantrip like attacks for all the spells, making sure they feel like spells and not super powers. Lots of work.


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Tangent101 wrote:
Gallyck wrote:
Tangent101 wrote:
So while I protested initially over the "nerfing" of casters... it's much ado about not-so-much. Casters STILL have a huge selection of spells. Their lower level spells remain valid in combat, especially as weakened higher level foes will, after being softened up, be vulnerable to these lower level spells. And Cantrips will allow Casters to provide significantly greater support than a crossbow or the like, as do Wands and Staves.
SO now casters just wait until the enemies are really weak and then have them make the save anyway? Spellcasting in this edition is stupid. Just get a sword cast your 1 minute buffs and hit stuff with a sword.

You assume they'd make their save. You assume they GET a save. And there are plenty of spells that influence your party instead and enhance their own abilities... increasing the chance of criticals and the like.

Here is the fun thing. A level one Fear spell cast at 1st level has a greater chance of having someone make their save than cast at 20th level... because a 20th level caster has Legendary spell casting and a higher primary statistic and other Class Feats that may very well enhance the spell further. That Fear spell IS STILL USEFUL at higher level. Back with 1st edition Pathfinder, low level spell slots are useless unless you are using them for buffs or effects that allow no saves at all.

The vast majority of playgroups never get past level 12, or at least that’s the case in 1E so saying it gets better at high levels is a pretty poor argument, especially when your spell proficiency doesn’t go up till 15th level, if you think casters being garbage until right at the end of a campaign is ‘balanced and fun’ then I can’t agree with that, either spells need to be overhauled or monster saves need to be knocked down a peg because right now if you roll a caster that isn’t a Cleric you did your party a disservice, honestly 1E was high fantasy the playtest is not, one of their goals was players being able to tell the same stories they did before too bad anything that requires a save is automatically worse than magic missile.


C definitely. Mostly for specific utility/buff stuff.

Also, can we get a better spell selection? Especially for the Divine list?

Just hit level 3 with my Cleric and discovered that there are no good 2nd level utility spells. Mostly because Silence has been nerfed to hell. I went with Soundburst for some AoE and See Invisible because honestly that's really my only decent option (maybe Remove Fear as my other one at 4 as Frightened is irritating?).

The others are all 'Fix it' spells that are better suited to Scrolls or resting and praying for it. Or very specific utility like Endure Elements or Water Breathing.

Please give Clerics back the ability to Comprehend Languages, or make Silence a usable spell again, or give them something else useful to cast at that level.

And fix the other levels as well. I'd prefer to prep 1 damage and some combination of an important 'Fix it', a buff, or a universal utility and then occasionally give up one of those for more situational spells. Right now most of the levels only have damage and one of the buff/heal/utility spell.


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Pathfinder Adventure Path, Rulebook Subscriber
Tezmick wrote:
Tangent101 wrote:
Gallyck wrote:
Tangent101 wrote:
So while I protested initially over the "nerfing" of casters... it's much ado about not-so-much. Casters STILL have a huge selection of spells. Their lower level spells remain valid in combat, especially as weakened higher level foes will, after being softened up, be vulnerable to these lower level spells. And Cantrips will allow Casters to provide significantly greater support than a crossbow or the like, as do Wands and Staves.
SO now casters just wait until the enemies are really weak and then have them make the save anyway? Spellcasting in this edition is stupid. Just get a sword cast your 1 minute buffs and hit stuff with a sword.

You assume they'd make their save. You assume they GET a save. And there are plenty of spells that influence your party instead and enhance their own abilities... increasing the chance of criticals and the like.

Here is the fun thing. A level one Fear spell cast at 1st level has a greater chance of having someone make their save than cast at 20th level... because a 20th level caster has Legendary spell casting and a higher primary statistic and other Class Feats that may very well enhance the spell further. That Fear spell IS STILL USEFUL at higher level. Back with 1st edition Pathfinder, low level spell slots are useless unless you are using them for buffs or effects that allow no saves at all.

The vast majority of playgroups never get past level 12, or at least that’s the case in 1E so saying it gets better at high levels is a pretty poor argument, especially when your spell proficiency doesn’t go up till 15th level, if you think casters being garbage until right at the end of a campaign is ‘balanced and fun’ then I can’t agree with that, either spells need to be overhauled or monster saves need to be knocked down a peg because right now if you roll a caster that isn’t a Cleric you did your party a disservice, honestly 1E was high fantasy the playtest is not, one of their goals was...

It took five years of monthly games, but my Runelords campaign reached the end. The higher level fights took hours to complete and I'm an experienced GM. I ended up using a lot of tools like Hero Labs to help expedite things. Even so, it was problematic.

We're not the only group to reach the end of an AP. In fact, you said "the vast majority of playgroups never get past level 12" - well, why is that? Because once you reached level 12 in Pathfinder 1 the game either became a cakewalk or a TPK because the GM overcompensated in trying to give you a decent fight. I did a lot of fudging to keep the game fun. I would beef up hit points sometimes. I would ignore bad die rolls sometimes. My goal, and it was a goal I succeeded in, was to make the game enjoyable for my players who might be stressed out because of real life problems.

If they wanted a cakewalk or a uber-hard experience they could play a computer game and set the difficulty to whatever they wanted. They weren't playing the AP because they wanted a by-the-book no-holds-barred adventure. They wanted to have fun. And this is why we were able to finish the campaign.

If Pathfinder 2 is able to fix the rocket tag problem and keep characters so that each retains their ability to be useful and have an impact on the campaign (rather than having everyone play a Wizard or Cleric because High Level Casters Ruled) then that is a good thing.

BTW, you don't quite realize what Low Fantasy is. Low Fantasy is very few magic items which tend to be quite potent, very few Casters, and death being commonplace. Lord of the Rings is a Low Fantasy Setting, when you get down to it. Pathfinder 2 is very much High Fantasy even if they have some constraints in place.


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All of them, in order C, A, B. This from a GM perspective.

C, in particular duration of things like polymorph.

A. Its a little tricky, because what fewer spell slots do is shorten the day for everyone. When the caster says they are out of spell slots, the rest of the party better go for a rest. If this is not true, if casters are so insignificant that it makes no difference if they have their spell slots at all, why have casters in the game?

B. Was casters doing damage ever a thing? Not seen that in my PF1 games. Damage is the martial's thing, so why even try to compete? Hence, why not let the fool casters that focus on damage have [i]some[/1] usefulness?


Starfox wrote:

...

B. Was casters doing damage ever a thing? Not seen that in my PF1 games. Damage is the martial's thing, so why even try to compete? Hence, why not let the fool casters that focus on damage have [i]some[/1] usefulness?

"B. Was casters doing damage ever a thing? Not seen that in my PF1 games. Damage is the martial's thing, so why even try to compete? Hence, why not let the fool casters that focus on damage have [i]some[/1] usefulness?"

In PF1, yes, yes it was. The effectiveness depended on the ruleset, and you have to be careful how you did it (since it was easy to get into low-damage traps), but PF1 casters using the "correct" items and rules (Mythic is a particularly strong spellcaster boost, though it isn't the only one) can easily out-damage martials by mid levels. By high levels, my Bloodrager (which I'm taking as an example because, while they're a pretty good Barbarian, they're a horrible spellcaster) stopped using their measily 100 or so damage/strike on their main weapon for damage spells in non-trivial fights against 2+ opponents.

Even at low levels, assuming no particular ruleset or items, the simplest answer is to make certain that your areas of effect (AOE) hit many opponents. My guideline in 1E was that I'd rarely use AOE without being able to hit at least 3 opponents. I'm guessing that in 2E, I'll adjust that upwards to 4, because it looks like it's harder to manipulate save DCs in the caster's favor, and the damage scaling is less favorable.


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C is my biggest complaint all in all. Blasters were never really that great an idea for casters, and even when it was a good idea it was only for very specific circumstances. A wizard who knows exactly what's coming should be nigh unstoppable. If he's unprepared he pays the price by losing a lot of use. That's inherent in the vancian casting system. I don't have a problem with that.

Losing so much to our spell durations though is, let's say spiritually taxing. There's a lot going on that is a reasonable shift to help bring martial classes a little more in line with what they honestly should be, but not being able to use magic to properly supplement out of combat is the biggest issue.

"Let's transform our scout into a creature native to the region and have him use his incredible skill aided by my magic to practically guarantee that he isn't discovered... for the first minute of his trip... you know, until he gets to where he needs to be and is immediately seen because it's kind of hard to ignore a person suddenly popping into existence."


Lucas Yew wrote:

The playtest nerfed spellcasting by three elements;

A) Lower number of slots per day
B) No automatic scaling
C) Individual effects weakened

...which critically shrunk its old cubic power.
If they decide to give back one or two of those elements back, what is your order of preference?

C) Honestly, it depends on the effect. Some of this weakening was needed - fireball has done way too much damage in Pathfinder and its predecessors. The main thing I'd do is increase durations on most buffs. I think de-auto scaling them is enough of a nerf on all but the strongest buffs. Alternatively, have duration scaling for buffs (ex: base 1 minute. +2 Spell levels for duration of 10 minutes. +3 for duration 1 hour).

A) Specifically, I'd give 1-2 additional LV 1 slots at LVs 1-2, and probably keep them in (so a LV 20 caster would have an extra LV 1 spell or two over the current table). The problem that would address is that it's really easy to run out of spell power before getting LV 2 spells. Other than that, the slots/day seems fine, since the lower-level slots are still somewhat (or in some cases very) effective at higher levels.

I like the absence of auto-scaling, if I may quibble about the exact scaling for some spells. It was a cause of problems (in 1E) for at least: most damage spells (otherwise known as all the ones I'd consider using), Greater Magic Weapon, Resist Energy, Protection from Energy, Barkskin and Mirror Image.


Lucas Yew wrote:

The playtest nerfed spellcasting by three elements;

A) Lower number of slots per day
B) No automatic scaling
C) Individual effects weakened

...which critically shrunk its old cubic power.
If they decide to give back one or two of those elements back, what is your order of preference?

B and C. If PF2 will keep +lvl to everything (which most certainly will be) spells should Auto Scale in order to keep the pace. As for the weakened effects, other posters have already elaborated on this topic better than I could do.


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edduardco wrote:
Lucas Yew wrote:

The playtest nerfed spellcasting by three elements;

A) Lower number of slots per day
B) No automatic scaling
C) Individual effects weakened

...which critically shrunk its old cubic power.
If they decide to give back one or two of those elements back, what is your order of preference?

B and C. If PF2 will keep +lvl to everything (which most certainly will be) spells should Auto Scale in order to keep the pace. As for the weakened effects, other posters have already elaborated on this topic better than I could do.

Spell DC and to-hit does scale in that way, which keeps the pace.

Getting something on top of that would be scaling an increased relative pace. It's not like a fighters get +level to the damage of any weapon they pick up, for instance. Only the to-hit.

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