Should Casters Scale Differently Than Martials?


General Discussion

1 to 50 of 67 << first < prev | 1 | 2 | next > last >>

1 person marked this as a favorite.

So it's long been an RPG tradition that Wizards and other magic users start out very weak compared to fighters, but as they level up they get more powerful faster than the fighter. This is often called "Linear Fighter Quadratic Wizard".

Do people like this and feel this is an important part of keeping Pathfinder Pathfinder?

Personally I'd prefer if each level meant an equivalent level of power. That way if people wanted weaker casters compared martials at low levels, they could just have the magic users be lower level. Like having a level 1 Sorcerer with a level 3 Barbarian. And if they want magic users to be stronger at higher levels they could just have them be higher level. Like a level 10 Fighter with a level 14 Wizard. This way people could still have their changes in power between spell casters and martials while still keeping level as a good balance metric for determining somethings power.

Currently the play test has difference in power scaling situation:
Currently both magic users and weapon users gain power as they level from getting +1 to everything each level and increases to damage/hp. Weapon user damage compared to equal level creature HP goes down as they level, but with new class features and better magic items they should stay about even. But in addition to this each new level of spells is generally more powerful than the last: a level 6 slow is clearly more powerful than a level 3 slow, a fireball is clearly more powerful than a burning hands even if the damage was the same. This leads to spell casters gaining power more quickly than weapon users. To compensate, spells generally start very weak. This is "Linear Fighter Quadratic Wizard".

Now I can't say for certain how the difference in power between a Fighter and Wizard feels in play at each level, or if it is even unbalancing. Personally I feel low level casters are not fun, but high level casters are.

Some solutions to this would be:

Front load more class features:
Have all spell casters have features like channel energy, so more of the classes power comes from things which aren't spell slots.

All spell slots be max level, and reduce spell power scaling with spell level:
This problem is because each spell level is supposed to be stronger than the last. If this was reduced, so new spell levels didn't mean a large increase in power then there wouldn't be a power scaling difference. New levels could introduce new effects with equivalent power, like gaining access to mass Slow at level 6, which reduces its save DC compared to Slow in exchange for affecting more targets. Instead of Fireball being just better than heightened Burning hands, it could do less damage in exchange for a better area.


3 people marked this as a favorite.

To my knowledge the only people who called linear fighter, quadratic wizard a feature and not a bug were wizard players who were also equally aware that spellcasters haven't been "weak" at low levels since 3.0.

This really shouldn't be that complicated an issue. Scale back magic to be at more normalized levels compared to the competition, adjust skills/mundane features, or just throw up your hands and say everything is Earthdawn where mundanes are useless clowns and all PCs are Adepts even if they're of the martial bend.


5 people marked this as a favorite.

As has been said on multiple occasions, if you are going to have casters in a setting with mundane martial characters, and the goal is for both to be similarly effective, magic must be one of three things:

1) Trivial - Magic does things that can be done by mundane means.

The main advantage of magic is that it can be convenient, but nobody is afraid of a caster. The problem with this solution is that trivial magic isn't fun for most people.

To be fair, this can be accomplished by making martials exceptional, instead of making magic weak, but many people don't like the idea of martials accomplishing things outside the realm of realistic possibility.

2) Rare - Magic is awesome, but very few have access to it.

This doesn't really solve C/MD because you either have magic be so rare that the PCs can't have it (thus no casters), the PCs are some of the few casters in the world (thus no martials), or some mix of the two where the PCs lucky enough to be casters are just plain better than the martial PCs.

3) Costly - Magic exists and it is awesome, but not many use it, either because it is dangerous/harmful/expensive to/for the user, or it takes so much effort to learn magic that you probably have to give up on being good at anything else.

This would be my preferred solution. Magic either takes a toll on the user (physically or economically) or requires a HUGE investment to pull off.

Unfortunately, players want to be able to spam spells all day long and not ever have to deal with gimping their character to do so.

What's funny, is that, in the D&D books(and I believe the Pathfinder lore as well), this IS the narrative solution to why magic isn't dominant in the world. It is implied that it takes YEARS of practice by gifted individuals to learn how to use magic safely, and that many of them don't survive the journey.

If only this was reflected in the spellcasting mechanics and caster progression....

Level 1 - You know ONE cantrip, and it works 95% of the time. You can attempt to cast other cantrips from your spell book, but they only have a 75% success rate and a 5% chance of causing some sort of backlash if you really screw them up. You can muster one Magic Missile per day, but it fails half the time, and when it fails, half the time is hits YOU.

Level 5 - You can finally cast cantrips risk free. Level 1 spells are pretty reliable and level 2 spells are reliable enough in a pinch. Level 3 spells are a risky endeavor that you only attempt when you are in dire straights.

Level 10 - You are a formidable foe on the battlefield. Your level 3 spells rarely fail and level 4s are practically reliable. Level 5 spells are risky, but manageable. Level 6 spells are a last resort.

Level 15 - You have ascended beyond what most casters could ever hope to achieve. Via heavy doses of luck or patience, you have made it this far. Level 5 spells are easily usable, save for extenuating circumstances, and you have been know to throw out a level 8 or two when stuff goes wrong, but everyone ducks when you start chanting. You have a nasty scar from that one time a level 8 failed, rendering you bed-ridden for a few months.

Level 20 - You are practically a god. Level 9s require effort and concentration to cast, but they work about 75% of the time and rarely result in self harm. You can cast the coveted level 10 spell, but doing so will likely permanently disfigure you and you will never be able to accomplish such a feat again, without the aid of a REAL god.


thflame wrote:

As has been said on multiple occasions, if you are going to have casters in a setting with mundane martial characters, and the goal is for both to be similarly effective, magic must be one of three things:

1) Trivial - Magic does things that can be done by mundane means.

The main advantage of magic is that it can be convenient, but nobody is afraid of a caster. The problem with this solution is that trivial magic isn't fun for most people.

To be fair, this can be accomplished by making martials exceptional, instead of making magic weak, but many people don't like the idea of martials accomplishing things outside the realm of realistic possibility.

2) Rare - Magic is awesome, but very few have access to it.

This doesn't really solve C/MD because you either have magic be so rare that the PCs can't have it (thus no casters), the PCs are some of the few casters in the world (thus no martials), or some mix of the two where the PCs lucky enough to be casters are just plain better than the martial PCs.

3) Costly - Magic exists and it is awesome, but not many use it, either because it is dangerous/harmful/expensive to/for the user, or it takes so much effort to learn magic that you probably have to give up on being good at anything else.

This would be my preferred solution. Magic either takes a toll on the user (physically or economically) or requires a HUGE investment to pull off.

Unfortunately, players want to be able to spam spells all day long and not ever have to deal with gimping their character to do so.

What's funny, is that, in the D&D books(and I believe the Pathfinder lore as well), this IS the narrative solution to why magic isn't dominant in the world. It is implied that it takes YEARS of practice by gifted individuals to learn how to use magic safely, and that many of them don't survive the journey.

If only this was reflected in the spellcasting mechanics and caster progression....

Level 1 - You know ONE cantrip, and it works 95% of the time. You can...

If you do that then casters are even worse at low levels. Do you think caster at low level is currently stronger/more powerful than an equal level martial?

If not, but you think that magical power should be harder to have, then why not have casters be lower level in your games? And keep equal level characters equal in power.


1 person marked this as a favorite.

I'd rather they scale the same, I'd just rather the strength in general be higher. I think most people would want them to scale about the same, otherwise at high levels the fighters are twiddling their thumbs while the clerics are casting save or dies and the wizards are mazing and walling every encounter to death. The issue seems to be some people want pcs fairly weak so every encounter has to be a struggle that requires fantastical teamwork, while others want pcs to be the big damn heroes that mainly work on teams to cover areas of weakness rather than a need for teamwork tactics. I'm pretty firmly in the second camp.

And yeah low level casters aren't really weak in pf1, color spray wrecks encounters with anything not immune to mind affecting and grease can flip them in the party's favor pretty easily. Ray of enfeeblement and Ray of sickening together can make a tough enemy into pretty weak one. The only weakness is in having to ration your spells so you don't turn into a really lousy Archer before the boss fight.


1 person marked this as a favorite.

They must scale roughly similar whether the basis is on the martials or the casters.
What's the meaning of a metric (character Level, actually XP total) if it jumps wildly between mere playstyles?
For me, this is the greatest boon 3.X and beyond editions has compared to before; the Level/XP metric actually means something coherent.


2 people marked this as a favorite.

In my ideal system it goes something like this.

Mana is toxic. Spells require mana. You are either channeling (gaining mana) or not (so no resting mana storage outside of special abilities.) Casting easy spells is fine, you mana doesn't go above your "Tolerance" and you suffer no issues and such small amounts of mana don't take that long to channel (magic missile every 3 turns say.) Bigger/harder spells cost more mana, thus take longer to charge and unless you spend options (feats, equipment etc) likely to take you over your Tolerance and thus taking some sort of penalty (if we still had damage delineations I'd say non-lethal damage.) Thus a caster might need to be protected for 5 or 6 rounds before letting off a fireball all the while suffering nose bleeds/cramps/headaches.

Non Magic stuff has an opposite mechanic. Things cost Stamina (sprinting, power attack etc) and you start with a decent pool (more or less dependent on character choices like Con) that quickly recovers with resting but doesn't recouperate (or doesn't do so quickly) during exertive periods.

Thus we have Martials who are ready for action at the drop of a hat but start to flag as events wear on versus casters who have to build up more slowly for awesome spells and can continue to use them for as long as they are able/willing to push their bodies.

Of course that is a radical departure so not going to happen.


2 people marked this as a favorite.

I think the difference in scaling is warranted due the heavy emphases put on magic and its effects by the setting of Pathfinder world. To be coherent with it, casters ought be able to do god-like things if they are experienced enough. Would be odd if players could only hear about the runelords deeds and never be even close to be able to emulate such feats. PFPT Martial classes (fighters, rogues and rangers) on the other hand are more related to real world expectations due their in general lack of super natural features. Again, to be coherent with its setting, martials would be only able to attain god-like power if infused with exterior forces like magic itens, buffs, etc.

What is not clear to me is that the difference in gameplay experience provide by playing with an unbalanced array of options is guaranteed. New players are prone to play and enjoy easy classes, less moving parts and risks/rewards trade-offs involved, therefore the need for such options. Veteran players on the other hand contend with optimization and curiosity drives when deciding what to play with. For only they, I would guess, the difference in scaling is relevant.

In sum, keeping classes equally balanced may have adverse consequences due the cohesion of the setting and on the way the game presents itself to new and veteran players.


1 person marked this as a favorite.
adresseno wrote:

I think the difference in scaling is warranted due the heavy emphases put on magic and its effects by the setting of Pathfinder world. To be coherent with it, casters ought be able to do god-like things if they are experienced enough. Would be odd if players could only hear about the runelords deeds and never be even close to be able to emulate such feats. PFPT Martial classes (fighters, rogues and rangers) on the other hand are more related to real world expectations due their in general lack of super natural features. Again, to be coherent with its setting, martials would be only able to attain god-like power if infused with exterior forces like magic itens, buffs, etc.

What is not clear to me is that the difference in gameplay experience provide by playing with an unbalanced array of options is guaranteed. New players are prone to play and enjoy easy classes, less moving parts and risks/rewards trade-offs involved, therefore the need for such options. Veteran players on the other hand contend with optimization and curiosity drives when deciding what to play with. For only they, I would guess, the difference in scaling is relevant.

In sum, keeping classes equally balanced may have adverse consequences due the cohesion of the setting and on the way the game presents itself to new and veteran players.

I see your point about the setting, but couldn't that be explained with having lots more high level casters in the setting, and not having high level matials in the setting?

About balance I see the need for classes with less moving parts, but I'm sure how that would relate to the difference in scaling? I see how that might come from a difference between at will and limited resources, but that shouldn't change with level. Having casters be bad at low levels just seems frustrating for new players, and having them be too powerful at high levels seems frustrating for the people playing with them.


4 people marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion, Modules, Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber; Pathfinder Deluxe Comics Subscriber

No, they should not. Having martial characters who overwhelm casters at the start of a game and casters that completely overwhelm martial characters at the end of a game is a horrible dynamic.

The only people I ever see trying to make an argument for this are people that love stupidly overpowered casters and think it's a good trade off to be weak for the first half of a game to simply dwarf everyone else later on.


5 people marked this as a favorite.

Wow. There's a lot of association of "people who don't like the direction" with powergamers. It's easy to dismiss opposing views in this manner.

I think that classes in general should scale differently. It promotes diversity, highlights differences between classes, and incentivises characters to play to their strengths. And the diversity should increase as levels increase.

Designing such a system, while maintaining balance, is possible, but difficult. Designing for such a system is difficult too. But I think that it is worth the effort.

But I understand the temptation to take the easy way out and use uniform scaling across the board. But I don't like it.


1 person marked this as a favorite.

Offhand I think martials and casters should, so-to-speak, be apples and oranges of equivalent sizes. Martials should be superior in combat, but casters should be able to break the rules of reality within combat (weakly) and outside of combat (strongly). Their breaking of reality should ideally not be imitations of existing skills, but even so should be story building and problem solving in nature.


1 person marked this as a favorite.

They should scale at similar levels of power, just in different ways. A fight vs a crX rogue should be just as difficult as against a crX cleric.


10 people marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
Hugolinus wrote:
Martials should be superior in combat, but casters should be able to break the rules of reality within combat (weakly) and outside of combat (strongly). Their breaking of reality should ideally not be imitations of existing skills, but even so should be story building and problem solving in nature.

This is more or less how it is in PF1. A well-built martial in PF1 will absolutely wreck your combat encounters. Where caster/martial disparity is applicable to combat, it's more to do with things like flight and invisibility and teleportation. The fighter is really dependent on the wizard either locking down the targets or giving him the support to make the kill, since he can only cover so many bases on his own. By and large if the team's working together and is reasonably well-built, then everyone can contribute and make an impact in combat. I feel that PF1 is surprisingly well-balanced in combat situation, in a "broken things keep other broken things in check" sort of way.

Where the caster/martial disparity starts to feel problematic is when we leave the combat encounter. Because that PF1 fighter, for all his combat prowess, is little more than a commoner when it comes to tasks that do not involve hitting things with sharp (or blunt or pointy) instruments. Now you could round out your fighter, pick up a few skills you were good at, maybe a magical item that lets you cover some other circumstances, but even with good optimization you'll still be losing ground over the course of your career compared to what spellcasters get for free. A little divination here, a little illusion there, maybe a bit of enchantment on the side, and the wizard has a resume bigger than the rest of the party combined. He's probably not as good as a dedicated specialist that has actual class features to back it up, but he's competent at everything.

This is what we mean when we say linear fighter / quadratic wizard. Both the fighter and wizard are growing in terms of power, but in terms of the breadth of their options the fighter's competencies barely budge over the course of his 20 level career while the wizard constantly is expanding his repertoire of world-changing abilities. The wizard is growing in two dimensions (power and versatility) while the fighter is growing in only one. This means that the fighter is much more easily put outside of his element, while the wizard is unlikely to ever be left completely unable to contribute. That's where the caster/martial disparity arises; it's not the power of the options, but the disparity in how many options each character receives.

Many people, myself included, actually like what the wizard becomes at high levels. The slow progression from tricks and light shows to fantastic reality-bending feats is exactly what I want to see. Nerfing the wizard and his magic does bring him closer to the martials, but it takes away the very kinds of fantastic characters I want in my games. That doesn't mean that I want that to be exclusive to the wizard. Quite the opposite, I want fantastic fighters and rogues who are every bit the equal of a wizard. I want that same feeling of growth as a fighter grows into a legendary character who is capable of feats every bit as amazing as the wizard.


9 people marked this as a favorite.

I've never had a problem as a player or as a GM with casters being "more powerful" than martials.

This isn't WOW. My martial doesn't need to be able to beat your caster in the Battlegrounds before you melt my face.

It's a team game.

This complaint is like a Navy SEAL complaining "I'm only a medic specialist, I don't get to kill as many bad guys as the team sniper..."

Work together, be a team, solve the challenges, overcome the foes, loot the dungeon. Have fun. Who cares if some other character at the table can cast spells that do more damage than my sword? I'm glad he's there; he makes the team stronger.

Oddly enough, when the caster melts the monster's face, everybody gets an equal share of XP and an equal share of the loot. Further, there is more martial loot than caster loot so, in most groups I've seen, martials get more stuff. For doing less work.

I sure wish my boss let me do less work for extra pay...

If I would change any one thing (turns out it's lots of things) it's that I'd make casters' spell lists more team-friendly. Make it easier to cast buffs that enhance the team's combat abilities or make the martials more mobile, etc. This would incentivize the casters to expand their martial teammates more often and to single-handedly defeat an encounter less often.

That isn't really needed, but maybe if the players who are running a martial get more immediate personal benefit from having a caster around and maybe if the players running a caster are more motivated to hand out benefits to the martials, then maybe everyone would finally be able to stop worrying about this and can function as a team.

Finally, since that was an indirect answer, I'll answer the thread's title question with "Sure, why not? It doesn't really matter very much if you're playing the game the way it's obviously been designed to be played." Or even with "Probably not, nobody SHOULD scale better or worse, but it doesn't matter enough to make any changes."


5 people marked this as a favorite.
Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Starfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

One problem with the linear/quadratic is that not all of us play 1-20 campaigns. I personally enjoy the game at lot at around levels 4-7 and then enjoy it less and less above that. If classes are designed so that they are not very fun to play until level 8, that really doesn't work for me. My spouse likes to play at 12-15; classes that are not very fun to play after 8 are not fun for him. The whole idea that you'll rapidly level a character from 1-20 is not really a good match for either of our preferences.

I'd let the martials do more flashy stuff, personally. I agree that if you rein the magicians in too much they no longer feel very magical. But I'd like a legendary feel for high-level martials as well, or there hardly seems much point to having them.


9 people marked this as a favorite.

I usually try to be very open-minded about stuff, but this is the biggest dealbreaker for me by far. If they go back to the "linear fighters quadratic wizards" thing I'm probably not going to play this game.

However, I don't think nerfing spellcasters a ton is the solution. Just make the other characters more awesome without needing magic. If skills have better and cooler uses at higher levels and martials are able to do supernatural stuff with just their non-magical abilities, having powerful magic is not an issue. I know some people don't like Fighters and Rogues being able to do supernatural stuff at high levels, but let's be real, having both spellcasters and martials be equally amazing (and not equally boring) without letting martials do supernatural things is... not really possible.

DM_Blake, I've seen some people point out very similar arguments, and they are not invalid, but I think that maybe you are not reading the other side of the discussion correctly. All, or at least most, of the people that want spellcasters and martials to be more equal in power don't want this because they don't see the game as a team game. It's because feeling that you are contributing to the team 10% of what the other guy is doesn't feel really good for a lot of us. Playing a team-based TTRPG isn't just about completing your objectives, is about the fun you have while you complete them. What fun is there when you jut sit down and stare while the Wizard solves everything by himself, and then you maybe get a chance of smacking someone in the face if he didn't already disintegrate the bad guy as well?


1 person marked this as a favorite.

I am fond of the concept of Casters being inherently weaker (at least needing more careful protection and planning) for the first 5 levels, even for the middle 10, and then stronger than a standard martial the last 5 (in some regards, not necessary straight power).

This conceptually fits with a lot of Fantasy themes. The bumbling apprentice, but then the untouchable arch mage.

Now, I think at those respective intervals where the power levels differ they should be marginal.

Not sure if others feel that way, but that's just how my conceptual view of magic users tends to be.

Even in the case of the last 5 being stronger, I don't think that has to come in the form of direct power. It could simply be more narrative power, endurance, etc.

Now I know the above was never really the case in 3.0-Pathfinder, as level 1 spells included Color Spray, Sleep, and various other bombshells that made level 1 amazing, and then at about level 7/9 Casters start to take the upper hand power wise (narrative or otherwise). But I do think the curve should be adjusted so that some semblance of the above happens.

If everyone scales exactly the same, I'd be fine with that, I just would prefer it to be the above case.


3 people marked this as a favorite.

I’ve been watching this thread and debating whether to get involved because I’m not a number crunching guy but I’ll at least say that they should scale relatively similarly and I’m happy to see the steps PF2 is making in these regards. As someone who thematically prefers martial classes I hated the number of hoops I had to jump to stay relevant at higher levels. I often gave in and just played a caster and I feel that That is a problem and apparently others did too or PF2 wouldn’t be making those steps so “Yay!”


Malk_Content wrote:

In my ideal system it goes something like this.

Mana is toxic. Spells require mana. You are either channeling (gaining mana) or not (so no resting mana storage outside of special abilities.) Casting easy spells is fine, you mana doesn't go above your "Tolerance" and you suffer no issues and such small amounts of mana don't take that long to channel (magic missile every 3 turns say.) Bigger/harder spells cost more mana, thus take longer to charge and unless you spend options (feats, equipment etc) likely to take you over your Tolerance and thus taking some sort of penalty (if we still had damage delineations I'd say non-lethal damage.) Thus a caster might need to be protected for 5 or 6 rounds before letting off a fireball all the while suffering nose bleeds/cramps/headaches.

Non Magic stuff has an opposite mechanic. Things cost Stamina (sprinting, power attack etc) and you start with a decent pool (more or less dependent on character choices like Con) that quickly recovers with resting but doesn't recouperate (or doesn't do so quickly) during exertive periods.

Thus we have Martials who are ready for action at the drop of a hat but start to flag as events wear on versus casters who have to build up more slowly for awesome spells and can continue to use them for as long as they are able/willing to push their bodies.

Of course that is a radical departure so not going to happen.

In general, this is the way of many computer games and when I have seen it tried in PnP RPG's the players often get tired of bookkeeping.

But I have not seen it tried recently with computer aided support so maybe it is an idea ready for the PnP set.
MDC

Dark Archive

1 person marked this as a favorite.
Midnightoker wrote:

I am fond of the concept of Casters being inherently weaker (at least needing more careful protection and planning) for the first 5 levels, even for the middle 10, and then stronger than a standard martial the last 5 (in some regards, not necessary straight power).

This conceptually fits with a lot of Fantasy themes. The bumbling apprentice, but then the untouchable arch mage.

Now, I think at those respective intervals where the power levels differ they should be marginal.

Not sure if others feel that way, but that's just how my conceptual view of magic users tends to be.

Even in the case of the last 5 being stronger, I don't think that has to come in the form of direct power. It could simply be more narrative power, endurance, etc.

Now I know the above was never really the case in 3.0-Pathfinder, as level 1 spells included Color Spray, Sleep, and various other bombshells that made level 1 amazing, and then at about level 7/9 Casters start to take the upper hand power wise (narrative or otherwise). But I do think the curve should be adjusted so that some semblance of the above happens.

If everyone scales exactly the same, I'd be fine with that, I just would prefer it to be the above case.

I really hope this is not the way the game goes, as I have seen the opposite within narratives as well. Usually, however, the swordmaster martial and the archmage are in two different narratives, so these character types don't meet. I would instead prefer that there is some semblance of balance between the classes so there is no longer a martial/mage disparity. In this way, anyone can play any class and be equally useful to the party.

Raylyeh wrote:
I’ve been watching this thread and debating whether to get involved because I’m not a number crunching guy but I’ll at least say that they should scale relatively similarly and I’m happy to see the steps PF2 is making in these regards. As someone who thematically prefers martial classes I hated the number of hoops I had to jump to stay relevant at higher levels. I often gave in and just played a caster and I feel that That is a problem and apparently others did too or PF2 wouldn’t be making those steps so “Yay!”

I prefer rogues, and I hated feeling useless in PF1, so I am really hoping that PF2, when it is released, stays on the same path, or rather, increase martials' power at higher levels so that they can fight as equals with mages.


I've always felt the biggest reason for the quadratic growth of casters comes down to the daily refresh.

At low levels you have few spells/day and expending them all renders you useless.

At high levels you have more spells/day than you could possibly want and so you can just throw out powerful effects one after the other and do it all again the next day. It's usually not a matter of IF you're going to use your resources - just WHEN.

Meanwhile, martials are just... consistent.

/theorycrafting tangent

I've always been interested in a system where your spell pool doesn't reset each day, but rather it recharges at a certain rate, and spells all draw from the same pool.

Say you have a spell pool = to your level + casting stat. You recharge your pool every day by an amount, lets just say half your level for now.

A level 6 Sorcerer with 14 Cha = Pool of 8, recovering 3 each day.

Each day you could cast a total spell level up to your pool. Two level 3s and two level 2s, 8 level 1s, 4 level 2s, whatever. But if you expend your pool, then the next day you only have 2.

I find this more immersive having an energy capacity and more powerful spells drain more than having arbitrary limits per level.

It also allows mages to go full nova if they want, but it comes at a cost. It allows more powerful options, but these arent just added to a growing list of resources.

I don't know, maybe a bit late now, but I wonder if this is a way to mechanically distinguish sorcerers

Now obviously there are other balancing concerns here, but personally I think this would allow for more interesting choices and opportunity costs. It adds in the IF of using the resources, as well as the WHEN.


Frames Janco wrote:

/theorycrafting tangent

I've always been interested in a system where your spell pool doesn't reset each day, but rather it recharges at a certain rate, and spells all draw from the same pool.

Say you have a spell pool = to your level + casting stat. You recharge your pool every day by an amount, lets just say half your level for now.

A level 6 Sorcerer with 14 Cha = Pool of 8, recovering 3 each day.

Each day you could cast a total spell level up to your pool. Two level 3s and two level 2s, 8 level 1s, 4 level 2s, whatever. But if you expend your pool, then the next day you only have 2.

I find this more immersive having an energy capacity and more powerful spells drain more than having arbitrary limits per level.

It also allows mages to go full nova if they want, but it comes at a cost. It allows more powerful options, but these arent just added to a growing list of resources.

I don't know, maybe a bit late now, but I wonder if this is a way to mechanically distinguish sorcerers

Now obviously there are other balancing concerns here, but personally I think this would allow for more interesting choices and opportunity costs. It adds in the IF of using the resources, as well as the WHEN.

You might find Runequest an interesting read. The three main types of magic that involve casting spells do something like that. There's a good reason why priests in Runequest want a congregation as well.


1 person marked this as a favorite.
Narxiso wrote:
I really hope this is not the way the game goes, as I have seen the opposite within narratives as well. Usually, however, the swordmaster martial and the archmage are in two different narratives, so these character types don't meet. I would instead prefer that there is some semblance of balance between the classes so there is no longer a martial/mage disparity. In this way, anyone can play any class and be equally useful to the party.

I mean I didn't ask for "no semblance of balance", I just said that they don't have to be dead-even in all aspects at all levels to retain a good feeling.

The original proposed curve for 3.0 powers was supposed to be the curve I mentioned (1-5 weaker, 6-15 dead even, 16-20 casters pull ahead a bit) but it wasn't executed well.

As for not seeing it in narratives, I would argue that the "evil archmage" is a steroetypical trope for a reason.

That doesn't mean martials get the shaft 16-20, nor would they lose in a fight to a Wizard/Caster at those levels, but that a Wizard/Caster has near absolute narrative power while a Martial would only have a significant pull.

That's just the nature of magic to me. A Fighter can't create a demi-plane, or wish things in to existence, and that's never going to be the case in a setting that accommodates standard fantasy tropes.

By extension, that would lend itself to the curve I'm talking about.

I think maybe I'm being misunderstood as asking that Martial/Caster retain the current status quo, which is pretty far from the case of my argument.

With respect to PF2, they're pretty close to that curve now, especially with 10th level spells and Skills getting a boost, but I don't have a lot of experience with high level play so it's hard for me to weigh in on how things look past 10.


Midnightoker wrote:


As for not seeing it in narratives, I would argue that the "evil archmage" is a steroetypical trope for a reason.

So is the "evil warlord" just saying.


2 people marked this as a favorite.
Tarik Blackhands wrote:
Midnightoker wrote:


As for not seeing it in narratives, I would argue that the "evil archmage" is a steroetypical trope for a reason.

So is the "evil warlord" just saying.

I don't disagree, and they don't exist in separate narratives.

The Evil Warlord, however, isn't trying to open a portal to the nether realm or create a demi-plane or various other magical by nature things.

In fact, "Warlord" isn't really exclusive to non-magic users. Saron, Fire Lord Ozai, Grazz't, Thanos, etc. are all Warlords with significant magical powers.

I'm not really sure what this has to do with my post, as I wasn't saying Warlords can't have narrative power, just that they can't create new planes of existence, snap and destroy the universe, or mind control enslave whole races with magic.

So really, when people say they don't want that type of curve, they are saying that Casters should never be able to achieve these powers under any circumstances (despite gaining Wish at 10th level spells) because almost all of them subsequently don't want Martials to be walking on clouds like Wukong the Monkey King. At least, that's the general grievances I've heard when it comes to the Legendary Skill Feats (such as stealing armor someone is wearing).

Personally, I think a fantasy game that lacks an "Arch-Sorcerer" trope with power behind it is a miss step. I also think one that lacks a "Warlord" (martial or otherwise) would also be a problem.

But the two don't have to be exactly the same to be powerful in their own aspects. Warlords might not create planes of existence or mind control races, but they might inspire such courage/fear that they effectively control their entire army/people without question.

As long as functionally in combat there is still parity, I'm not sure why defining strong narrative controls (of distinctly different magnitudes and flavors) for each that do not overlap is a problem.

To each their own.


I'm okay with high level fighters just having narrative power from being powerful/threatening and skills. Skills are obvious enough. Having being powerful/threatening have narrative power is mostly dependent on the GM, but it also relies on having high level fighters be powerful.

For encounter building guidelines to work well with different party compositions means classes should all have about the same effectiveness at all levels. Fights shouldn't be easier at low levels because everyone is a martial class, and they shouldn't be easier at high levels because there are more spell casters, or the reverse.

Power now for power later in terms of levels doesn't work. There's too large of a time difference. And playing a concept at low level doesn't mean it will be played at high level and vice versa. Even if all campaigns were 1 to 20 it's not fun to be worse at one point for the sake of being better way earlier/later.


5 people marked this as a favorite.
Midnightoker wrote:
Tarik Blackhands wrote:
Midnightoker wrote:


As for not seeing it in narratives, I would argue that the "evil archmage" is a steroetypical trope for a reason.

So is the "evil warlord" just saying.

I don't disagree, and they don't exist in separate narratives.

The Evil Warlord, however, isn't trying to open a portal to the nether realm or create a demi-plane or various other magical by nature things.

In fact, "Warlord" isn't really exclusive to non-magic users. Saron, Fire Lord Ozai, Grazz't, Thanos, etc. are all Warlords with significant magical powers.

I'm not really sure what this has to do with my post, as I wasn't saying Warlords can't have narrative power, just that they can't create new planes of existence, snap and destroy the universe, or mind control enslave whole races with magic.

So really, when people say they don't want that type of curve, they are saying that Casters should never be able to achieve these powers under any circumstances (despite gaining Wish at 10th level spells) because almost all of them subsequently don't want Martials to be walking on clouds like Wukong the Monkey King. At least, that's the general grievances I've heard when it comes to the Legendary Skill Feats (such as stealing armor someone is wearing).

Personally, I think a fantasy game that lacks an "Arch-Sorcerer" trope with power behind it is a miss step. I also think one that lacks a "Warlord" (martial or otherwise) would also be a problem.

But the two don't have to be exactly the same to be powerful in their own aspects. Warlords might not create planes of existence or mind control races, but they might inspire such courage/fear that they effectively control their entire army/people without question.

As long as functionally in combat there is still parity, I'm not sure why defining strong narrative controls (of distinctly different magnitudes and flavors) for each that do not overlap is a problem.

To each their own.

My point was the Dark Warlord is just as common a BBEG trope as the Evil Archmage and should be equally valid end of campaign baddies as each other even if they're taking different but equivalent routes and using different but equivalent to perform different but equivalent schemes of evilness.

Pathfinder isn't doing Earthdawn where there's Adepts on the important side of things and Not-Adepts on the other and that's clearly established. In PF a Fighter 20 ~= a Wizard 20 because Paizo says they are and that's the expectation for their combat and narrative prowess. If people don't want Sun Wukong to adventure with the Plane Maker wizard well that's tough cookies for them because something has to give for Paizo's design goal to hold. A player has to eithersuck up to eventually playing Sun Wukong or accept that Plane Maker wizard is getting dragged to lower overall power levels to adventure with Conan.

You can't have it both ways. Well, actually you can, it's just not worth the effort or design space.


1 person marked this as a favorite.

Just as a heads up, they were called quadric wizards because each level up simultaneously gave new more powerful spells AND made their previous spells stronger (level scaling on spells).

Now, spells no longer scale by level.

So, now we're much closer to having both casters and martial being linear.

The only balance to be taken atm in perspective is that the new things that a caster gains with each level up is equal in value with what a martial would get with the same level up.

And that's far easier to do compared to somehow balancing the new things of the martial with the new things of the caster AND the old things getting stronger.


citricking wrote:

I'm okay with high level fighters just having narrative power from being powerful/threatening and skills. Skills are obvious enough. Having being powerful/threatening have narrative power is mostly dependent on the GM, but it also relies on having high level fighters be powerful.

For encounter building guidelines to work well with different party compositions means classes should all have about the same effectiveness at all levels. Fights shouldn't be easier at low levels because everyone is a martial class, and they shouldn't be easier at high levels because there are more spell casters, or the reverse.

Power now for power later in terms of levels doesn't work. There's too large of a time difference. And playing a concept at low level doesn't mean it will be played at high level and vice versa. Even if all campaigns were 1 to 20 it's not fun to be worse at one point for the sake of being better way earlier/later.

Ease of play is not really something I have concern for. There are easy Casters too, they just weren't as effective as SoS/Battlefield control casters so they never got played.

On your latter points, the differing power levels already happens anyways. Builds naturally have high points and low points, and that can still be true with a slightly curved linear power level.

Casters needing to play it smart/safe the first 5 levels to me doesn't mean they are "weak" just that they are glass cannons in some regards.

In the same regard, legendary level casters shouldn't be absolutely dead or defenseless against a melee assault.

I want Melees to get buffed, have much stronger narrative power than PF1, and I want casters to stop scaling on all fronts (which has already been done with the reduction of caster level impact on spells).

Provided Skill Feats get adjusted as they've alluded, and Spells get corrected to be reasonable in power (the ones still untouched due to not being damage spells) then the curve I more or less would have hoped for is what is going to be a reality.

Circumstances should govern combat victories (and occasionally counter builds) but narrative wise the two are probably best occupying separate spaces.

Rituals were meant to scratch a few of the narrative itches, but currently haven't seen it actually happen.


3 people marked this as a favorite.
DM_Blake wrote:

It's a team game.

...

Work together, be a team, solve the challenges, overcome the foes, loot the dungeon. Have fun. Who cares if some other character at the table can cast spells that do more damage than my sword? I'm glad he's there; he makes the team stronger.

This would be fine if the game had different chances to let different people shine. The issue arises when the Wizard (or other caster) has the right tools to dominate every part of the game. Not much point to the team when one player is solving every challenge.

DM_Blake wrote:

Oddly enough, when the caster melts the monster's face, everybody gets an equal share of XP and an equal share of the loot. Further, there is more martial loot than caster loot so, in most groups I've seen, martials get more stuff. For doing less work.

I sure wish my boss let me do less work for extra pay...

For a job being able to get more pay for less work is great. For a game, getting to sit there and be told "it's fine, you're getting all the loot you don't really get to use anyways" is, well, to me it seems rather boring.

Ideally everyone should be able to have at least a roughly equivalent amount of time in the spotlight. The thing is, even if martials absolutely dominate the battlefield and put casters to shame, which many claim is the current state of the Playtest, that's still not even assured. In the grand scheme of things combat is relatively minor, and quite possibly the most easily bypassed part of the game. Heck, there are players and GMs who go out of their way to minimize the amount of time spent in combat (I know, there's a few of them in my group) which makes it really hard to feel involved when combat is the one thing you're allowed to be good at with your class. Add on to that the fact that unfortunately often casters tend to get more skills than martials do on top of their magic, means martials can frequently get forcibly shoved out of and barred from the spotlight.


1 person marked this as a favorite.
shroudb wrote:

Just as a heads up, they were called quadric wizards because each level up simultaneously gave new more powerful spells AND made their previous spells stronger (level scaling on spells).

Now, spells no longer scale by level.

So, now we're much closer to having both casters and martial being linear.

The only balance to be taken atm in perspective is that the new things that a caster gains with each level up is equal in value with what a martial would get with the same level up.

And that's far easier to do compared to somehow balancing the new things of the martial with the new things of the caster AND the old things getting stronger.

Maybe that's the origin of it, but I feel it still applies here.

Spell casters power relative to creatures of their level increases as they gain levels. This is caused by then gaining access to new spell levels with stronger spells. This is most clearly seen with spells that go from single target to multi target, a clear huge increase in power.

Higher level spells being stronger may seem obvious, but it's something martials don't have, their damage decreases relative to equal level targets HP as the level. They have class features that increase their power, but just enough to keep up with increasing monster HP, so they aren't really increasing their power like spell casters are.

So what to call this but linear fighter quadratic wizard? Fighters increase their power in one dimension (to hit bonus), while casters increase their power in two dimensions (spell DC and spell power).


citricking wrote:

Spell casters power relative to creatures of their level increases as they gain levels. This is caused by then gaining access to new spell levels with stronger spells. This is most clearly seen with spells that go from single target to multi target, a clear huge increase in power.

Higher level spells being stronger may seem obvious, but it's something martials don't have, their damage decreases relative to equal level targets HP as the level. They have class features that increase their power, but just enough to keep up with increasing monster HP, so they aren't really increasing their power like spell casters are.

So what to call this but linear fighter quadratic wizard? Fighters increase their power in one dimension (to hit bonus), while casters increase their power in two dimensions (spell DC and spell power).

That might be true, except your older spells don't really keep up at higher levels. Some of them, yes, but take for example damage spells - 3d6 burning hands isn't going to do nearly as much to a level 5 monster as a level 1 monster. Dispel magic isn't going to be as useful at higher levels as a level 3 spell, because it's much harder to dispel higher level effects.


1 person marked this as a favorite.
Cyouni wrote:
citricking wrote:

Spell casters power relative to creatures of their level increases as they gain levels. This is caused by then gaining access to new spell levels with stronger spells. This is most clearly seen with spells that go from single target to multi target, a clear huge increase in power.

Higher level spells being stronger may seem obvious, but it's something martials don't have, their damage decreases relative to equal level targets HP as the level. They have class features that increase their power, but just enough to keep up with increasing monster HP, so they aren't really increasing their power like spell casters are.

So what to call this but linear fighter quadratic wizard? Fighters increase their power in one dimension (to hit bonus), while casters increase their power in two dimensions (spell DC and spell power).

That might be true, except your older spells don't really keep up at higher levels. Some of them, yes, but take for example damage spells - 3d6 burning hands isn't going to do nearly as much to a level 5 monster as a level 1 monster. Dispel magic isn't going to be as useful at higher levels as a level 3 spell, because it's much harder to dispel higher level effects.

That's true of the vast majority of spells, with only a few exceptions (true strike being the big one).

It is true some spells lose their usefulness as you level: damage spells, healing spells, summoning, polymorph, resistance. But most buff and debuff spells like haste and slow and fear and displacement and confusion and many others have the same power at level 1 as level 20.

But even if that were true, that isn't related to my point. Even if a caster just had access to highest level spells their power would be increasing quadratically, because the spell power and spell DCs both increase as they level. The lower level spells being useful is just a bonus.

That isn't to say they are too powerful, just that their power increases way more as they level from 1 to 20 than a martial's does.


citricking wrote:
shroudb wrote:

Just as a heads up, they were called quadric wizards because each level up simultaneously gave new more powerful spells AND made their previous spells stronger (level scaling on spells).

Now, spells no longer scale by level.

So, now we're much closer to having both casters and martial being linear.

The only balance to be taken atm in perspective is that the new things that a caster gains with each level up is equal in value with what a martial would get with the same level up.

And that's far easier to do compared to somehow balancing the new things of the martial with the new things of the caster AND the old things getting stronger.

Maybe that's the origin of it, but I feel it still applies here.

Spell casters power relative to creatures of their level increases as they gain levels. This is caused by then gaining access to new spell levels with stronger spells. This is most clearly seen with spells that go from single target to multi target, a clear huge increase in power.

Higher level spells being stronger may seem obvious, but it's something martials don't have, their damage decreases relative to equal level targets HP as the level. They have class features that increase their power, but just enough to keep up with increasing monster HP, so they aren't really increasing their power like spell casters are.

So what to call this but linear fighter quadratic wizard? Fighters increase their power in one dimension (to hit bonus), while casters increase their power in two dimensions (spell DC and spell power).

That still is a linear increase:

You did x (level 1 spells)
Now you do x+1 (level 1+2 spells)
Then you do x+2 (level 1, 2,3)
And etc

Before it was:
X (level 1)
X+2 (boosted level 1 +level 2)
X+4 (double boosted level 1, boosted 2, 3)
X+16
And etc

Yes, level 2 is stronger than level 1,but so is (should) be the martial abilities of the same level.

Simple example, since you mentioned aoe, is martials getting access to multi hit abilities like cleave and whirlwind.


citricking wrote:
Cyouni wrote:
citricking wrote:

Spell casters power relative to creatures of their level increases as they gain levels. This is caused by then gaining access to new spell levels with stronger spells. This is most clearly seen with spells that go from single target to multi target, a clear huge increase in power.

Higher level spells being stronger may seem obvious, but it's something martials don't have, their damage decreases relative to equal level targets HP as the level. They have class features that increase their power, but just enough to keep up with increasing monster HP, so they aren't really increasing their power like spell casters are.

So what to call this but linear fighter quadratic wizard? Fighters increase their power in one dimension (to hit bonus), while casters increase their power in two dimensions (spell DC and spell power).

That might be true, except your older spells don't really keep up at higher levels. Some of them, yes, but take for example damage spells - 3d6 burning hands isn't going to do nearly as much to a level 5 monster as a level 1 monster. Dispel magic isn't going to be as useful at higher levels as a level 3 spell, because it's much harder to dispel higher level effects.

That's true of the vast majority of spells, with only a few exceptions (true strike being the big one).

It is true some spells lose their usefulness as you level: damage spells, healing spells, summoning, polymorph, resistance. But most buff and debuff spells like haste and slow and fear and displacement and confusion and many others have the same power at level 1 as level 20.

But even if that were true, that isn't related to my point. Even if a caster just had access to highest level spells their power would be increasing quadratically, because the spell power and spell DCs both increase as they level. The lower level spells being useful is just a bonus.

That isn't to say they are too powerful, just that their power increases way more as they level from 1 to...

Quadric has nothing to do with what you're saying.

It literally means something completely different.

Their level 1 spells will always be equal in value at level 1 or at level 20,be that either "50% chance to give -1 for 1 minute with conc", "deal 15 damage to 2 targets" or whatever.

Their power rises absolutely linearly with the power of their new spells. If level 3 spells gave a "+100 damage/ day" then that's exactly how much they overall power rises when they level up to 5.


1 person marked this as a favorite.
shroudb wrote:
citricking wrote:
shroudb wrote:

Just as a heads up, they were called quadric wizards because each level up simultaneously gave new more powerful spells AND made their previous spells stronger (level scaling on spells).

Now, spells no longer scale by level.

So, now we're much closer to having both casters and martial being linear.

The only balance to be taken atm in perspective is that the new things that a caster gains with each level up is equal in value with what a martial would get with the same level up.

And that's far easier to do compared to somehow balancing the new things of the martial with the new things of the caster AND the old things getting stronger.

Maybe that's the origin of it, but I feel it still applies here.

Spell casters power relative to creatures of their level increases as they gain levels. This is caused by then gaining access to new spell levels with stronger spells. This is most clearly seen with spells that go from single target to multi target, a clear huge increase in power.

Higher level spells being stronger may seem obvious, but it's something martials don't have, their damage decreases relative to equal level targets HP as the level. They have class features that increase their power, but just enough to keep up with increasing monster HP, so they aren't really increasing their power like spell casters are.

So what to call this but linear fighter quadratic wizard? Fighters increase their power in one dimension (to hit bonus), while casters increase their power in two dimensions (spell DC and spell power).

That still is a linear increase:

You did x (level 1 spells)
Now you do x+1 (level 1+2 spells)
Then you do x+2 (level 1, 2,3)
And etc

Before it was:
X (level 1)
X+2 (boosted level 1 +level 2)
X+4 (double boosted level 1, boosted 2, 3)
X+16
And etc

Yes, level 2 is stronger than level 1,but so is (should) be the martial abilities of the same level.

Simple example, since you mentioned aoe, is...

Martials do not have an increase in power like that with their abilities, since their damage decreases as a portion of enemy health abilities like cleave and whirlwind (which take extra extra actions) or certain strike just allow them to keep up with at level enemies.

Spells get more powerful much more significantly, if you can't see that I don't know what more can be said.

And then you're ignoring the increase to to hit and DCs that martials and casters both get. So martials increase power in one dimension, spell casters in two.


citricking wrote:
shroudb wrote:
citricking wrote:
shroudb wrote:

Just as a heads up, they were called quadric wizards because each level up simultaneously gave new more powerful spells AND made their previous spells stronger (level scaling on spells).

Now, spells no longer scale by level.

So, now we're much closer to having both casters and martial being linear.

The only balance to be taken atm in perspective is that the new things that a caster gains with each level up is equal in value with what a martial would get with the same level up.

And that's far easier to do compared to somehow balancing the new things of the martial with the new things of the caster AND the old things getting stronger.

Maybe that's the origin of it, but I feel it still applies here.

Spell casters power relative to creatures of their level increases as they gain levels. This is caused by then gaining access to new spell levels with stronger spells. This is most clearly seen with spells that go from single target to multi target, a clear huge increase in power.

Higher level spells being stronger may seem obvious, but it's something martials don't have, their damage decreases relative to equal level targets HP as the level. They have class features that increase their power, but just enough to keep up with increasing monster HP, so they aren't really increasing their power like spell casters are.

So what to call this but linear fighter quadratic wizard? Fighters increase their power in one dimension (to hit bonus), while casters increase their power in two dimensions (spell DC and spell power).

That still is a linear increase:

You did x (level 1 spells)
Now you do x+1 (level 1+2 spells)
Then you do x+2 (level 1, 2,3)
And etc

Before it was:
X (level 1)
X+2 (boosted level 1 +level 2)
X+4 (double boosted level 1, boosted 2, 3)
X+16
And etc

Yes, level 2 is stronger than level 1,but so is (should) be the martial abilities of the same level.

Simple example, since

...

Martials rise much faster in to hit compared to DCs

In fact, only the +1/level is constant, while martials get much faster proficiency rank and item bonuses to attack.

Secondly, magic weapons offer a multiplicative bonus to martial damage while staves give a linear bonus to casters.

But regardless of balance, you try to use a "catchy phrase" that has nothing to do with what you're saying.

"quadric wizard" is literally DEAD in this edition.

His scaling is 100% linear.

The 2 sentences above have NOTHING to do with if he is stronger or weaker than a martial.

A y(x)= x
And a y (x) = 2x
Are both linear yet clearly different in how powerful one grows.


1 person marked this as a favorite.

So power = accuracy * effect
For both accuracy = x * level
For martials effect = y
For casters effect = y * level

So for martials power = x * y * level
Linear scaling with level

And for casters power = x * y * level * level
Quadratic scaling with level

(All this is ignoring that power increases from accuracy are not linear…)


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Modules Subscriber; Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber

You know a simple rule that might've changed how I see the playtest magic?

What if every time you target a creature with the same spell in a single day, they get -4 to saves against it? Sure, your first attempt to incapacitate or destroy a foe might fail because of the math paradigm, but your odds of success increase in subsequent rounds. This is very similar to a martial ablating hit points until suddenly they are successful.

Obviously something would have to be done about spell slot counts, but the current "I'm a mage! Well, only for a couple precious moments of the day, while Conan over here can swing his sword every two seconds for 16 hours a day and nobody finds that odd" situation should be revisited anyway.


Anguish wrote:

You know a simple rule that might've changed how I see the playtest magic?

What if every time you target a creature with the same spell in a single day, they get -4 to saves against it? Sure, your first attempt to incapacitate or destroy a foe might fail because of the math paradigm, but your odds of success increase in subsequent rounds. This is very similar to a martial ablating hit points until suddenly they are successful.

Obviously something would have to be done about spell slot counts, but the current "I'm a mage! Well, only for a couple precious moments of the day, while Conan over here can swing his sword every two seconds for 16 hours a day and nobody finds that odd" situation should be revisited anyway.

I think that would be an exceptional meta magic feat but probably too much for just in general.

It gives SoS specialists a better more balanced outlet to specialize without giving the generalists that power too, probably could do it by school or by some other trait like a sub school (compulsions or creation etc).


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Modules Subscriber; Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber
Midnightoker wrote:
It gives SoS specialists a better more balanced outlet to specialize without giving the generalists that power too, probably could do it by school or by some other trait like a sub school (compulsions or creation etc).

Good. <Grin>

But really, I hear you. I'm just not a fan of magic damage.


citricking wrote:

So power = accuracy * effect

For both accuracy = x * level
For martials effect = y
For casters effect = y * level

So for martials power = x * y * level
Linear scaling with level

And for casters power = x * y * level * level
Quadratic scaling with level

(All this is ignoring that power increases from accuracy are not linear…)

you're 100% wrong with the "For casters effect = y * level"

that's what i'm saying.

at level 5, fireball does the exact same thing as a fireball at level 20

fear at level 1 and fear at level 20 is the exact same thing.

and etc.

so, in effect, using YOUR formula, both have effect as Y

so both have the exact same scaling type (linear)


1 person marked this as a favorite.
shroudb wrote:
citricking wrote:

So power = accuracy * effect

For both accuracy = x * level
For martials effect = y
For casters effect = y * level

So for martials power = x * y * level
Linear scaling with level

And for casters power = x * y * level * level
Quadratic scaling with level

(All this is ignoring that power increases from accuracy are not linear…)

you're 100% wrong with the "For casters effect = y * level"

that's what i'm saying.

at level 5, fireball does the exact same thing as a fireball at level 20

fear at level 1 and fear at level 20 is the exact same thing.

and etc.

so, in effect, using YOUR formula, both have effect as Y

so both have the exact same scaling type (linear)

I've been talking about higher level spells.

A burning hands is hard to hit targets with, a fireball is easier, a chain lightning is very easy = an increase in power with level.

A level 1 fear hits 1 target, a level 3 fear hits many targets = an increase of power with level.

As a caster levels up they get access to higher level spells, so their power increases.


Quote:

For martials effect = y

For casters effect = y * level

Well for martials effects are boosted mostly by things like class features and magic weapons (extra attacks through bab in PF1).

So you could say:
For martials effect = y * magic weapons

Martials scale quadratically too.

But honestly, that is just playing with words and maths that doesn't mean anything.

In my experience, Martials in PF1 could keep up fine in damage with monsters as they leveled.

Casters couldn't. Spells that did damage were a poor life-choice. That led to a huge amount of options being printed in supplements that greatly boosted spell damage, so you could do something like quadruple the amount of spelldamage a core caster could throw out (which is an insane amount of power-creep). That power creep is probably the reason why they nerfed damage dealing casters for PF2 from their core counterparts, which is a little silly.

In my experience in PF1 it is different when it comes to effects that are not dealing damage (like utility / SoDs etc).
As you go up in CR, monsters tend to become a lot more flexible and gain more utility/SoD, can for example teleport at will etc.

Martials couldn't keep up with the monsters, because martials usually didn't gain many new effects as the levels increased (mostly things boosting their in-combat damage).

Casters could keep up with the monsters in this respect and even had some spells that felt plain broken with how powerful they were.


1 person marked this as a favorite.

I don't think the linear/quadratic thing was ever intentional, at least in 3.5/PF. It just kind of happened, because it was an incredibly complex system that hadn't been subjected to two decades of intense scrutiny. A lot of the ways that casters became so oppressive aren't immediately visible if you're not intimately familiar with the math and metagame of 3.5/PF, while the things that make martials competent are very easily measured in terms of DPR, AC, et cetera.

Martials were then also balanced around fairly realistic numbers; you have to remember that 3.5 was the birth of the D20 system and it was meant to simulate the world. If you rolled 1d20 + your Atheletics for a long jump, the resulting distance you'd get on a would roughly represent the capabilities of humans, with an 18 being Olympian and 10 being average. So the sorts of things martials could do were shaped around being real, because that's neato. Obviously, the same wouldn't apply to magic.

And the end result is what we know 3.5/PF for, being extremely broken and kind of running roughly on duct tape and a prayer. Low level casters barely function, which makes doing low level campaigns just not fun because your wizards and sorcerers can cast like two spells that are worth a damn and then they kind of zone out. High level martials who envisioned being this cool asskicker are kind of just doing what the caster tells them to at this point because they lost all their agency the second full attacking removed their mobility. And since martials run on math while casters run on spell descriptions, that meant a lot of the character options for martials revolves around making those numbers bigger while casters got more interesting stuff that instead let them do entirely new things.

Honestly I don't think this conversation would even exist if PF never had a history of such extremely disparate tier lists that new GM's were being told to disallow characters more than 1 tier apart. If the linear warriors, quadratic wizards growth didn't exist in Pathfinder, would anyone be arguing to include it? How would that argument go, and who would be convinced by stuff like "oh well it makes you appreciate wizards more if you have to spend three months phoning it in every session before you get enough magic to actually do wizard things"?

Iunno, status quo arguments don't really hold any particular weight for me. I've spent about ten years playing 3.5/PF and becoming intimately familiar with how the systems fail and articulating what I wanted changed. Linear/quadratic is probably the thing at the very top of that list and there's at least a good attempt at addressing it. It takes hardly any effort to recreate PF1 jank if that's what you really want, lemme have my crunchy but mostly fixed PF edition.


Rikkan wrote:
Quote:

For martials effect = y

For casters effect = y * level

Well for martials effects are boosted mostly by things like class features and magic weapons (extra attacks through bab in PF1).

So you could say:
For martials effect = y * magic weapons

I'm talking about the playtest, not pf1.

Magic weapons do not increase damage enough to keep proportional with monster hp. Their class features just keep them proportional with monster HP increases, not increasing their power compared to at level opponents.

So in the playtest spell casters scale in power more than weapon users.


citricking wrote:
shroudb wrote:
citricking wrote:

So power = accuracy * effect

For both accuracy = x * level
For martials effect = y
For casters effect = y * level

So for martials power = x * y * level
Linear scaling with level

And for casters power = x * y * level * level
Quadratic scaling with level

(All this is ignoring that power increases from accuracy are not linear…)

you're 100% wrong with the "For casters effect = y * level"

that's what i'm saying.

at level 5, fireball does the exact same thing as a fireball at level 20

fear at level 1 and fear at level 20 is the exact same thing.

and etc.

so, in effect, using YOUR formula, both have effect as Y

so both have the exact same scaling type (linear)

I've been talking about higher level spells.

A burning hands is hard to hit targets with, a fireball is easier, a chain lightning is very easy = an increase in power with level.

A level 1 fear hits 1 target, a level 3 fear hits many targets = an increase of power with level.

As a caster levels up they get access to higher level spells, so their power increases.

You still don't get it.

Yes, fireball will hit more targets.

That's an increase in power when you get it.

That increase will Never scale further.

It is 100% static increase. Once you get it, it's done. It will never be lower or higher power. It is not bound to your caster level at all.

Calling this static increase as +A gives us

Y=x+A

that's the definition of linear increase


1 person marked this as a favorite.
shroudb wrote:

You still don't get it.

Yes, fireball will hit more targets.

That's an increase in power when you get it.

That increase will Never scale further.

It is 100% static increase. Once you get it, it's done. It will never be lower or higher power. It is not bound to your caster level at all.

Calling this static increase as +A gives us

Y=x+A

that's the definition of linear increase

Forenote: All of this is as of 1.6

You get fireball at level 5, spell level 3. It deals 8d6 damage and hits Y targets. Two levels later you get level 4 spells. Casting a Fireball with at spell level 4 now deals 10d6 damage. Two levels later you have level 5 spells so that Fireball will now do 12d6 damage. And at all of these levels it's still hitting Y many targets. That sure seems like scaling to me. And of course, if you actually use spells of that spell level rather than raising a lower one, the higher level spell's damage is generally stronger.

But oh, I know what you'll say, that Martials get the same scaling. Except... how? Through magic items? Casters have (or at least are supposed to have) the same amount of gold, so whatever the Martial's spending on magic weapons to keep up, the caster can spend on their own magic items to do other things. Seems a wash to me. Feats? Well Casters get 80% of the same feat slots, so again, basically a wash. Numbers... everyone gets level, and casters eventually gain Legendary in their spells (better than anyone save the Fighter gets in their weapons), still seems a wash.

About the only thing I can think of is those odd-level class features that non-casters get.... Class features that they rarely have control over I might add, compared to the flexibility of spell-casting. But hey, let's compare the options:

Level 5: Casters get 3rd level spells, stuff on the power level of that 8d6 Fireball (which can mass-clear mooks or deal a good chunk of damage to a boss.
- Barbarians get the ability to not be Flat-Footed from flanking, stealthed, or invisible mooks (the level restriction makes it basically useless against bosses, and of course any of the various other ways of flat-footing someone still work).
- Fighters get to remove the "Success" tier from the four tiers of success for Fear, reduce the severity by 1, and a bonus against getting spammed with Fear effects (does that ever happen? I don't think I've ever seen it happen in the 4 years I've done PF1e. Fear effects just aren't *that* common in my experience.)
- Paladins get a +1 to weapon attacks.
- Rangers get to be harder to track (just them. Does that ever come up?)
- Bomber Alchemists get a +1 to attacks (others get stuff that I'd assume is supposed to be equivalent to that.)

Level 7: Casters get stuff on par with (or more likely greater than) 10d6 damage with a massive AoE.
- Barbarians get +1 to Fort Saves and remove the Success tier.
- Fighters get a +1 to Perception (that becomes +2 when it's use for Initiative).
- Paladins get +1 AC in Heavy Armor (the worst armor arguably, but that's a side issue,) +1 Fortitude, and remove the Success tier on Fort saves when wearing Heavy Armor.
- Rangers get +1 to Reflex Saves an Perception, and remove the Success tier on Reflex.
- Bomber Alchemists get the equivalent of a level 1 Cantrip, level 5 if they have the Int-to-Splash-Damage feat (again, I'd assume others are supposed to be equivalent.)

Level 9: Casters get stuff on par with (or much more likely greater than) 12d6 damage with a massive AoE.
- Barbarians get up to 4 points of Resistance against 2 damage types (3 for Fury Totem) with varying usefulness depending on totem.
- Fighters get 1 class feat of up to level 8 (this level cap doesn't scale for another 6 levels) they can swap out each day. You still need all prerequisites for it so unless you specifically planned around this feature chances are this means a level 1 feat.
- Paladins get an ability to add up to 4 persistent damage off their Reaction.
- Rangers get to flat-foot enemies in natural terrain (not very common IME) or Snares (expensive).
- Alchemists get to double their output from Quick Alchemy at the cost of double the input, basically an action economy enhancement.

So how do these non-caster options compare to caster options? Well, YMMV. To me, they often don't even compare to each other very well.

1 to 50 of 67 << first < prev | 1 | 2 | next > last >>
Community / Forums / Pathfinder / Pathfinder Playtest / Pathfinder Playtest General Discussion / Should Casters Scale Differently Than Martials? All Messageboards

Want to post a reply? Sign in.