On Vancian casting


Skills, Feats, Equipment & Spells

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This is probably going to be a pretty long ramble. I usually don't do this, because I am liking the way the Playtest is going in general, but this topic is pretty important for me. Well, here we go:

I'm trying to understand why Paizo didn't even leave a question on the surveys about this, classic Vancian x other systems (Arcanist, most probably). I mean, is it so set in stone that they aren't willing to get feedback on this? If so... why? I'm gonna talk a little bit about my experiences with it but this one single thing has been the biggest roadblock for new people to get into PF2 from what I've seen. By pretty far, actually. Well, here are some of the reasons I think Vancian casting is bad and should be replaced by Arcanist or other more modern spellcasting system:

- As I've said, it really turns new players down from trying the game. I have commented about this in other threads, but almost every person I pitched PF2 to and didn't want to try it was because of this. And, also, from the 20 or so people that I've DMed to, this was a dealbreaker for like... half of them?

- It doesn't make any sense. People call it "revolver spells" for a reason, I mean, do you get Neuralyzed by MIB every time you cast a spell? I had multiple people that didn't understand the logic behind this even after playing 5 or 6 sessions as a prepared caster, they just kind of accepted it.

- It makes prepared spellcaster's power level fluctuate very hard between adventuring days. If you prepared the correct spells you are going to contribute a lot or even auto-win the encounter (although the latter was reduced a lot in PF2). If you prepared the wrong spells you can sit down and pull your popcorn, because you aren't going to contribute at all.

- A little bit of an extension of the last point, but this makes people afraid of preparing cool and different stuff. You could prepare some castings of Bind Undead to enter the Necromancer's tower, but what if he has non-undead minions first, or his minions are already binded by him? Well, guess it's better to just prepare 3 Fireballs then. People end up just preparing their generic spells over and over again because any other thing could go to complete waste.

- It even hurts spontaneous casters as well. How? Because now their advantage is just not using this terrible system. If prepared casters used Arcanist-style casting, Bloodline Powers and Compositions could be a lot stronger without making Sorcerers and Bards too powerful in relation to the rest of the casters.

Paizo, I'm here to sincerely ask: You don't need to just go and change the entire spellcasting system with no data, but please, at least consider letting people give feedback on this in the surveys. I've seen so much people both in the forums and IRL manifesting that they want this system gone. Even some diehard PF1 fans have said that if one thing should actually change, it's this.


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Pathfinder Adventure Path, Lost Omens, Pathfinder Accessories, Rulebook Subscriber

I just want to echo what's been said here. Every single one of my players who played a prepared vancian spellcaster (who hadn't previously played one) in any of my games has been extremely confused and usually misused the system unintentionally. I think this is an unnecessary holdover from the older days of tabletop and it doesn't really have a place in modern tabletop.


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Seeing one player at my table playing a Wizard, it's her first character ever. She didn't have any experience with any RPGs whatsoever prior to that and since she wanted to be a "mage", her choice was playing the wizard (not 100% well informed but). It was already her second session and she still didn't knew why she couldn't cast something she already prepared that day. She's actually quite diligent in her reading of the class, but it's very weird to play a spellcaster that way, specially for someone that don't know what to expect.

In fact, I even had this problem myself, since my first RPG character ever was an Arcanist, but a while later I started playing a cleric and had to prepare spells, I thought it was the same as the Arcanist, but only after my 4th session was when I realized that I was supposed to be preparing the amount I was supposed to cast.

I'll say this: Paizo is going all out in making this game mechanically different from 3.x/PF1, they also already started to bend their own setting to allow Goblins as a Core Race, they also stated that "not ever ancestry was made equal". So, with all that said, why they are not actively making an effort to change their setting regarding these new aspects? Make the feature races their own, as such, balance them. The same goes for spells, design a new system that can be well realized in-setting and mechanically, preferably that takes into account consistency, this can also unshackle a lot of expected potential or drawbacks a caster can have.

This is a big thing to change, we all know that, but Goblins already set the precedent. The mechanics themselves show the willingness to actually bring something new and different, not just PF1.5. So why not create Golarion 2.0 as well?

But you know... That's just my opinion, man.


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On the other side of the issue, having played a few arcane spellcasters in 5e where everyone is an Arcanist...
What would Spontaneous Casters do?

Back in 5e, it very much felt like Sorcerers were royally screwed. Sure, they might've had the exclusive on metamagics, but all they were was basically more restricted Wizards (despite our Wizard having very much a static list anyways, he COULD have changed it and he very rarely did from time to time - Sorcerer could not). One class's simplicity is another class's ruin.

I think settling on a handful of best spells isn't a casting-dependant issue, but a dnd-dependant issue. As long as we have this casting concept, some spells are better, or more versatile, than others. Whether or not you have to prepare them twice isn't the point.


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Ediwir wrote:

On the other side of the issue, having played a few arcane spellcasters in 5e where everyone is an Arcanist...

What would Spontaneous Casters do?

Back in 5e, it very much felt like Sorcerers were royally screwed. Sure, they might've had the exclusive on metamagics, but all they were was basically more restricted Wizards (despite our Wizard having very much a static list anyways, he COULD have changed it and he very rarely did from time to time - Sorcerer could not). One class's simplicity is another class's ruin.

I think settling on a handful of best spells isn't a casting-dependant issue, but a dnd-dependant issue. As long as we have this casting concept, some spells are better, or more versatile, than others. Whether or not you have to prepare them twice isn't the point.

I always felt like the bolded was supposed to be the key difference. It functionally isn't so much, due to limited spells known and limited metamagic effects being worth using, but I feel the idea of a spontaneous caster, since they permanently (well, more permanently than a prep caster, anyway) know their spells, being able to make their spells sing and dance and do things that a prep caster never ever could (since they only ever "get acquainted" with their spells, even if they stick with the same roster of prepped spells) is design space worth exploring.

I.e., a Sorcerer and a Wizard both know, say, Invisibility, and can spontaneously or "arcanistly" cast it as many times as they want so long as they have the spell slots to do so. The Wizard has bragging rights due to being able to swap that spell for something else, something the Sorcerer has to level up or retrain to accomplish. The Sorcerer, on the other hand, has bragging rights due to being able to extend Invisibility's duration or how many people it can effect or otherwise make Invisibility do something completely outside the Wizard's abilities.


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That's an interesting point of view Ediwir, but as a 4-year 5e player and 2-year DM, I disagree with some stuff.

Ediwir wrote:
Back in 5e, it very much felt like Sorcerers were royally screwed. Sure, they might've had the exclusive on metamagics, but all they were was basically more restricted Wizards (despite our Wizard having very much a static list anyways, he COULD have changed it and he very rarely did from time to time - Sorcerer could not). One class's simplicity is another class's ruin

Yes, Sorcerers in 5e are basically worse Wizards if you know what you're doing, but I don't think that's the origin of this problem. The thing is, 5e tried to keep the paradigm of "Wizards are more versatile, Sorcerers are more about brute magic power", except that they exagerated so much that Sorcerers became less versatile and weaker. They have an abysmal amount of spells known (a 9th level PF2 Sorcerer knows the same amount of spells as a 20th level 5e Sorcerer) and for some reason your Origin doesn't give you bonus spells known. Metamagic in 5e is too niche to compensate for that, and for some reason most Schools of Magic have more powerful features than Sorcerer Origins, like... What?

Ediwir wrote:

On the other side of the issue, having played a few arcane spellcasters in 5e where everyone is an Arcanist...

What would Spontaneous Casters do?

Have different abilities that actuay reflect on the flavor difference between the classes, and are actually powerful. I'd be a lot happier if the mechanical concept of Sorcerers were "like Wizards, but a little bit less versatile and with cool AND POWERFUL abilities that reflect their bloodline" and not "like Wizards, but with less bookkeeping and versatility".

Ediwir wrote:
I think settling on a handful of best spells isn't a casting-dependant issue, but a dnd-dependant issue. As long as we have this casting concept, some spells are better, or more versatile, than others. Whether or not you have to prepare them twice isn't the point.

Actually there is a huge difference there. Let's say I can prepare 3 3rd level spells to be avaliable for me during that day. I prepare Fireball because it's Fireball, and there are 2 other spells I can prepare, maybe one that's pretty situational but could shine in the right conditions. If I have to prepare each casting, now if I want to have a good amount of blasting I need to give up on doing anything else with those spell slots.

That's the big difference: In an Arcanist system, each spell I prepare that doesn't come up means I lost some versatility for that day, but no resources were lost, I can still cast 3 3rd level spells during that day, I just get to cast them from a smaller pool of options. In a pure Vancian system, every spell that I prepare and doesn't come up means I effectively lost a spell slot for nothing. You don't just lose versatility, you lose power, you lose one of your most important -and limited - resources because you missed a question in the guessing game.


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Ediwir wrote:

On the other side of the issue, having played a few arcane spellcasters in 5e where everyone is an Arcanist...

What would Spontaneous Casters do?

Back in 5e, it very much felt like Sorcerers were royally screwed. Sure, they might've had the exclusive on metamagics, but all they were was basically more restricted Wizards (despite our Wizard having very much a static list anyways, he COULD have changed it and he very rarely did from time to time - Sorcerer could not). One class's simplicity is another class's ruin.

I think settling on a handful of best spells isn't a casting-dependant issue, but a dnd-dependant issue. As long as we have this casting concept, some spells are better, or more versatile, than others. Whether or not you have to prepare them twice isn't the point.

I understand the apprehension regarding that, but honestly, there are various routes to approach that, but we well never know a sweet spot of balance a Sorcerer should have as long as there is vancian casting. Off the top of my head, without mentioning the obvious route of significantly increasing the usage of spells per day and known, Sorcere's could gain a lot of abilities to warp their spells and it could be tied to bloodlines, types of spells focused,etc. They could come online way earlier than metamagic feats and spend class resources. Another way would be to do something like Pillars of Eternity, high-level spell casters get to choose some low level spells to use as cantrips (in the game's case, per-encounter abilities), this could lead to high-level sorcerers having a lot of useful spells at will, this can be controlled by making them choose from an available set of spells, of couse. There's plenty more that can either improve the Sorcerer in raw power or simply add new ways to represent their innate and wild magical nature mechanically.


I understand and fully support the idea of spontaneous casting having mastery of their magics (this is after all what my own Sorcerer suggestion amounted to, despite never mentioning removing Vancian - I was especially underwhelmed at how the Evolution feats have more to do with replicating other class features than with the magical tradition itself), but I am doubtful this is going to happen - or that it can happen in a way that is actually satisfying without being overpowered. 5E tried it and failed hard. P2 seems to be staying well away from attempting it.


I believe the vancian method should be kept in the book as one of the possibles options available for clerics, druids and wizards. I say that because I actually enjoy playing this way and would miss the added layer of complexity, as I miss in the 5ed, if were not present. Removing it entirely would reduce the pool of options available for designers and players to work and play with. Negative consequences for sorcerers, or any other spontaneous caster for that matter, should be tackled case by case, giving strengths or edges in specific portions of the archetype to balance things.


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Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber

Yeah, I used to really love Vancian casting but the more I examine it closely the more it is just... so bad.

I don't think there is any chance of PF2e losing it, but boy do I wish they would.


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If you've read Dresden Files, The Kingkille Chronicle and any of Sanderson's books (which I didn't, but I will not mention world-building and magic systems without mentioning him), then there's plenty of systems that can work with a good set of rules while still maintaining the magical and unruly aspect of spellcasting.


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I'd love to ditch Vancian casting. It's always been a sore spot with D&D and Pathfinder. When I first started playing D&D with the Red Box, it took me quite a while to wrap my brain around, because it's just so nonsensical. "I can do this, but I forget how every time I do it. Because... reasons. I can remember it multiple times though, even though that's not how memory works. Ever." It's absurd, but we're stuck with it because of Gygax's odd tastes have become tradition. And then there's all the usage problems of having to predict how often you'll need a given spell a day, which makes all of those obscure, situational spells just waste space in your spellbook. A large number of spells printed, are probably never used, because they're so situational that it's not worth memorizing them. There are a lot of rules created just trying to get around the problems of Vancian casting. That's why the sorcerer came about in the first place.

Finding a niche for spontaneous casters is really the biggest obstacle to removing Vancian casting. That and tradition. Arcanist style seems to be the best way of keeping much of the tradition, while removing the absurdity.


As far as "fire-and-forget" goes with the Vancian system, I've always seen it more as "each spell requires a specific preparation that is then activated upon the completion of it's casting (i.e. the two casting actions you take to 'cast the spell')."

I think because of that particular mindset towards it I've never really had a problem with it, though I do think that Arcanist style casting would help in a lot of ways and hurt in others since it does essentially ruin the concept of spontaneous casters on the whole.


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cithis wrote:
As far as "fire-and-forget" goes with the Vancian system, I've always seen it more as "each spell requires a specific preparation that is then activated upon the completion of it's casting (i.e. the two casting actions you take to 'cast the spell')."

And in fact, that's exactly how it's described in the rules. That's how it's been explicitly described in the rules since 2E and if you squint a little bit, even in AD&D. 2E does use "memorize" and "forget", but describes the process of forming magical patterns in the mind that discharge when the spell is cast clearly enough that it's obviously not talking about just memorizing the words and gestures.


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dmerceless wrote:
I'm trying to understand why Paizo didn't even leave a question on the surveys about this, classic Vancian x other systems (Arcanist, most probably). I mean, is it so set in stone that they aren't willing to get feedback on this? If so... why? I'm gonna talk a little bit about my experiences with it but this one single thing has been the biggest roadblock for new people to get into PF2 from what I've seen. By pretty far, actually. Well, here are some of the reasons I think Vancian casting is bad and should be replaced by Arcanist or other more modern spellcasting system:

Can I like this like 50 times? I don't know why it didn't come up, but surely they must see how well it's worked out for that other game to abandon a system that said game itself made iconic.

Vancian casting is not a sacred cow. It absolutely can be improved and/or banished.

Quote:
- As I've said, it really turns new players down from trying the game. I have commented about this in other threads, but almost every person I pitched PF2 to and didn't want to try it was because of this. And, also, from the 20 or so people that I've DMed to, this was a dealbreaker for like... half of them?

Saw something similar. The people who played spellcasters in 1e were good playing it. The people who don't didn't show a whole lot of interest in starting aside from the spontaneous casters.

Quote:
- It makes prepared spellcaster's power level fluctuate very hard between adventuring days. If you prepared the correct spells you are going to contribute a lot or even auto-win the encounter (although the latter was reduced a lot in PF2). If you prepared the wrong spells you can sit down and pull your popcorn, because you aren't going to contribute at all.

So much this. I play support casters in D&D and PF1 all the time. This turned me off PF2 Clerics so much.

It's a problem in PF1 as it is, but you get so many spells and they're generally so strong that a couple of bad decisions don't cripple you past very low level. PF2 took away half the spells per day Clerics had, made the non-Heal ones much weaker, but kept the preparation limitations in place. A bad choice was utterly awful.

It strongly reinforced "skip stuff that might be interesting and might be garbage, take what you know will work" because you simply can't afford to have dead slots with so few of them. It also reinforced "focus as much as you can on Channel, because that is always awesome without fail."

It would help a lot to take some of the other, potentially wasted spells if I know I can turn them into a second cast of something else should it not come up, and would make casters in general much more player friendly to play.

Quote:
- A little bit of an extension of the last point, but this makes people afraid of preparing cool and different stuff. You could prepare some castings of Bind Undead to enter the Necromancer's tower, but what if he has non-undead minions first, or his minions are already binded by him? Well, guess it's better to just prepare 3 Fireballs then. People end up just preparing their generic spells over and over again because any other thing could go to complete waste.

Yup. Exactly. It's worse than it was in PF1, both due to fewer slots making each incorrect one that much more punishing, but also becuase in PF1 a Cleric could turn an otherwise wasted slot into healing. Which while not a super awesome thing to do a lot of the time, did turn an otherwise dead slot into something that would help the party continue on for the day.

Quote:
- It even hurts spontaneous casters as well. How? Because now their advantage is just not using this terrible system. If prepared casters used Arcanist-style casting, Bloodline Powers and Compositions could be a lot stronger without making Sorcerers and Bards too powerful in relation to the rest of the casters.

Agreed. This is the main reason my wife wanted to play a Sorcerer (although the dragon claws didn't hurt). Vancian casting is simply too much bookkeeping and work than she wants to put into the game.

Quote:
Paizo, I'm here to sincerely ask: You don't need to just go and change the entire spellcasting system with no data, but please, at least consider letting people give feedback on this in the surveys. I've seen so much people both in the forums and IRL manifesting that they want this system gone. Even some diehard PF1 fans have said that if one thing should actually change, it's this.

At this point it seems too late for surveys in the playtest cycle, unless they plan to do a post playtest one. But yeah. They could always ask about it on FB and Twitch and see what the feedback looks like. They could look at the reaction to 5e removing it and seeing how positively that was received.

I'm not sure it even needs a survey to come to the conclusion that it's something that can be removed.


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Yeah, Vanician casting needs to go. I've already identified it as the root of many of the problems of magic feeling underpowered - everyone across the board now gets fewer spells, but the casting system hasn't be adapted to work with fewer spell slots. And it only gets worse at low levels, where you only have two level 1 spells to work with.

Prepare one combat spell and one utility spell? Cast your one combat spell? Oh, it missed. I guess I'm just not going to do combat today, then.

Removing it buffs magic without making the spells themselves stronger, it makes blasting a viable playstyle, it makes blasting fun since you can afford to have different blast spells that do different things prepared, utility spells can be even weaker than a specialized skill feat of the appropriate level and they'll still be super useful because you can use that spell to fill in gaps in the party's skillset without sacrificing your ability to participate in combat.

I don't see a single reason to stick with Vanician casting other than pure tradition and fear of backlash from PF1 players. It adds no depth, it encourages boring playstyles, it encourages boring classes (sorcerers should not just be wizards for dummies, they should be spell artists!), it makes the game less accessible. It's less of a change in the lore than many of the other class changes (Paladins and Rangers don't cast magic anymore, for example) and is such and easy thing to sweep under the rug.

Just do it, Paizo. Just do it, don't bother doing a playtest for it 'cause you don't have time. Just do it, don't worry about accusations about it dumbing down the game or whatever, we needed to get the gatekeepers out of the hobby anyways and a good chunk of the ones that want the game to be inaccessible are the same ones giving you s#$~ for including underrepresented groups in your stories. That everyone here can just say "Arcanist" and everyone automatically knows what that means without asking means you should know it's safe to just do it. Look at all these favorites being thrown around, you can just do it and you know that RPG podcasts are gonna be like "about damn time."

Do it.


I started playing D&D when 3.0 was out. When Vancian Casting was presented to me back then, it was different to any other system I'd dealt with. But then I realised that other systems for limiting a mage's spellcasting were harder to track and balance.

I've seen various other attempts to structure magic differently, from point-based psionics, to 'prepared spontaneous' (3.5e Spirit Sharmen/PF Arcanist/5e wizard), to Pool-based (One ring/SP), to Limited Daily Use (4e style). Of these, none seem to offer the balance and reward offered by Vancian.

While the call for Vancian Casting to be removed is loud, I think it's important to consider what it is to be replaced with.

I think that the Requirements for a Replacement would be as follows:
- Allow spells of different levels
- Provide a widely different play experience between a prepared caster and a spontaneous caster.
- Be balanced, between both spontaneous and prepared (and non-caster, but that's more a Class Design requirement).

I have yet to see such a system. Maybe the fact that after the years of PF2 design we are being presented with Vancian Casting indicates that the Designers have also been unable to come up with one.


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Richard Crawford wrote:
I think that the Requirements for a Replacement would be as follows:

Alright, I'm listenin'.

Richard Crawford wrote:
- Allow spells of different levels

Arcanist casting does this.

Richard Crawford wrote:
- Provide a widely different play experience between a prepared caster and a spontaneous caster.

It also does this. It's piss easy to make one casting class feel different from another even if they have access to the same spell lists. 5e not quite getting it right does not mean it's impossible, it just means WotC didn't iterate on it, much as they still haven't iterated on Beastmaster Rangers.

Richard Crawford wrote:
- Be balanced, between both spontaneous and prepared (and non-caster, but that's more a Class Design requirement).

Same as above.

Richard Crawford wrote:
I have yet to see such a system.

Yes you have, it's Arcanist casting.

I'd go a step further and question why "spontaneous" casters need to be such significantly different things to begin with. Bards would not stop being bards if cast exactly like wizards, they still do everything through their music and they get all sorts of unique benefits for buffing, they only reason they aren't is because bards don't study and it'd be a massive pain in the ass for no reason. Sorcerer is the only other one that's core, and there's so much that can be done to make them feel special, trading versatility for all sorts of magical shenanigans or bloodline powers. In 5e, Warlocks have unique access to some spells and have all sorts of mechanics that are tied to them getting their magic through some dark patron, turning them into the go-to blaster caster. d20pfsrd contains an absolute cacophony of ideas for caster classes with unique hooks and mechanics and spell lists, you would have to plug your ears to not hear all the differences between an Oracle and a Cleric or Sorcerer. Interesting differences.

In fact, outside of D&D, barely anyone seems to think there's a distinction between sorcerers and wizards. Used to be sorcerers weren't a thing, they were literally just made because wizards were such a massive pain in the ass to run. Conceptually they're a blank slate, you could literally give them a class feature called Nova and let them cast UNLIMITED MAGIC AT THE HIGHEST LEVEL once per day for a few rounds where they just f@+#ing go super saiyan. There is no shortage of ways to make a class distinct without gating class identity behind accessibility.

I don't want to harp on you too much, but for a thread proposing Arcanist casting as a solution, you'd need to actually address why Arcanist casting isn't a solution in a way that's convincing. You'd need to explain why the criteria you gave are important to the game and why Arcanist casting doesn't meet that criteria. I'm not sure anyone else really feels spontaneous casting itself has to feel different from prepared casting so long the classes themselves that use those two methods feel distinct, so I'd have to hear something that explains why that specifically needs to be the defining feature of sorcerers.


Doktor Weasel wrote:
When I first started playing D&D with the Red Box, it took me quite a while to wrap my brain around, because it's just so nonsensical. "I can do this, but I forget how every time I do it. Because... reasons.

Would be easier to accept if in place of using memory, wizards used speelbook pages? For example, after reading the only page containing a fireball spell and casting it, this specific page loses its magical power and cannot be used again. And, what about bullets in a revolver's chamber, ignoring order, loaded with three armor piercing, 2 incendiary and one regular type? My point is that the way the method is described resembles the influences that shaped early versions of the game and can be easily be replaced for new ones, while preserving the mechanic.

Speaking of which, what other mechanic can result in such close relationship between resource tracking and planning? Arcanists, 5ed wizard, etc, do not provide the same degree of challenge for the player as the vancian method does. A good wizard player is expected to know which spells, and what quantity of those, are most likely to be used in a given situation and learning this skill is part of the experience of playing wizards. And lets not forget the myriad of options like scrolls, wands, staffs and quick preparations, available to provide on the spot diversity.

Another advantage of preserving this method, as others mentioned, is that it allows the existence of spontaneous casting as an whole different mechanic. This time the compromise happens much earlier than for prep casters, as the choices must be made while leveling up your character, and the consequences last indefinitely. A new set of skills must be employed to make the right, or less wrong, choices this time. Again more opportunities for players to experience the game in a different way.

One could argue that players should be the ones making the choice of which method they want to employ for their characters, as this would represent the ultimate player driven characters making process. For this to be true, classes should not be defined by the way the cast spells or whatever, but for other attributes, specially narrative ones, and casting mechanics should be available in a different manner (feats, class features, etc).

To clarify, I am not arguing against the semi prep method, but in favor of preserving whatever diversity is present in the game at moment. For me there are other methods like cool down based classes, point based exclusively, etc, that should have been present in the core classes.


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Seeing you talking about going "Nova" already give me ideas for making Sorcerer's awesome. Imagine the possibilities of giving them powerful metamagics very early with the drawback of getting exhausted? Almost like a Barbarian rage (but way harsher, I know) where the casters have a burst of power and suffer afterwards. Imagine casting a spell level 1 with access to some metamagic feats and the next round(s) getting a penalty for exerting themselves or maybe even risking their physical well-being to cast yet another spell (virtually limitless slots). Mental penalties, physical penalties all of that being the drawbacks of doing insane stuff and creating a dynamic like the Oracle have with their curses and revelations. Combine that with access with all spell lists and you can have sorcerers doing stuff no other class can in the class chassis itself, without requiring different spell lists.


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Helmic wrote:
I'd go a step further and question why "spontaneous" casters need to be such significantly different things to begin with. Bards would not stop being bards if cast exactly like wizards, they still do everything through their music and they get all sorts of unique benefits for buffing, they only reason they aren't is because bards don't study and it'd be a massive pain in the ass for no reason.

Expanding on this a little, this is actually within the lore. There's a Pathfinder novel set in Taldor, and the main character is a spy who disguises his activities under the cover of being a performer. He casts his spells using music-derived mnemonics. I remember one scene where it's morning and he's going through the process of trying to decide what spells he wants available that day. I don't recall a spellbook in the scene, but he does describe the process as getting most of the spell complete and awaiting the final musical ditty to resolve casting the spell.

Totally a Bard with totally-Wizard casting. Except it could also be Arcanist-casting (because while he goes through the process of picking one spell over another, he never mentions how many of one spell); it would also fit the lore and be less punishing on a player trying to play such a character in a game


The Lore is barely a factor, though. There's already hefty changes made to it in various aspects. Goblins, Rangers, Paladins and even the late resonance itself all had deep ramifications within the lore and world-consistency, even though they probably wouldn't have been addressed.


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Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber
Helmic wrote:
Just do it, Paizo. Just do it, don't bother doing a playtest for it 'cause you don't have time. Just do it, don't worry about accusations about it dumbing down the game or whatever, we needed to get the gatekeepers out of the hobby anyways and a good chunk of the ones that want the game to be inaccessible are the same ones giving you s%@% for including underrepresented groups in your stories.

I desperately, desperately wish I could post the Shia Labeouf "just do it" video here right now, because I read this entire post in that voice. :P

Also please have like a thousand upvotes.


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Completely anectdotal evidence here, I know, but I just want to point out that I made a pretty popular post in D&D 5e's subreddit asking for what's the best and worst change 5e made from previous editions, and I had multiple people saying that ditching Vancian for Arcanist (they just don't call it that name) was the best change and then some explicitly saying that they were pretty into the PF2 Playtest but they can't believe this wasn't changed, which shows that:

A) Yes, there are people willing to switch from 5e to PF2

and

B) Vancian casting has been a gatekeeper for a lot of them. It almost feels like a step back considering that this system is being released after 5e.

Funnily enough I had one of my players (who is a 3.5 veteran) recently saying "really, after 5e was so praised for removing this they really want to go back to those dark ages of spellcasting?".


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Vancian is one of the last holdovers from the days of wargaming. There are other bits like "armor class", "hit dice", and even just "character class" which are carried over, like how floppies survive as the save icon, but Vancian is the last place where it's really obvious. Basically, the attractiveness of Vancian casting was that it made casters the artillery. Your wizard-class unit was no more able to cast the same fireball twice as your artillery-class unit could fire the same cannonball twice.

Character classes are called classes for that reason I just illustrated. Wizard-class and fighter-class were the equivalent of infantry-class or cavalry-class in war games. Armor class is called as such and was descending at first because your battleship might have 1st class armor, 2nd class armor, 3rd class armor, etc. And hit dice have something to do with hitting as hard as X normal humans, but I don't remember that one as well.

Personally, I prefer spell points to spell slots, with Spheres of Power style casting as my personal favorite. (Most things are scaling cantrip level, where you can use them as often as you want, but you have a limited pool of spell points for more powerful effects) Although Arcanist casting is definitely a good compromise. My issue with traditional prepared casting, which I'm sure is what turns many people off to it, is the effort of having to think ahead about what spells you want to cast. At least with Arcanist casting, you don't need to worry about the exact number of any given spell per day.

On a related note, the psionic Wilder and the spherecasting Thaumaturge both provide good examples of what niche the sorcerer could fill. In psionics, you normally can't spend more power points at once than your manifester level, but they can break that rule and go a few points over, at risk of psionic backlash. And similarly, the Thaumaturge can attempt to increase their caster level by a few points at risk of backlash. In other words, where the wizard studies magic and carefully uses it, the sorcerer could just flippantly disregard silly concepts like "safety" and tap into raw magical energy to buff themselves at risk of injury.


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One thing I always notice is the argument of "Thinking ahead". Does this really happen? Think about it. I argue that this is not happening the majority of the time, there is no much forethought given to the spells, simply because you can't afford it. There is a very narrow list of spells that you should always prepare because they're good for any occasion and there's even more spells that will never be prepared, among these are those that aren't quite good enough to warrant a slot, the outright terrible ones and those that are incredibly but highly situational. But here's the thing, there's a lot of scrolls and other means of circumventing this part of vancian casting that supposedly every advocate for it like.

Vancian casting actually is not providing what is supposed to be providing, which is rewarding forethought, because the thinking ahead part is very minimal and those situations were you would prepare the perfect situational spell mostly come from information gathered by scouts or forewarning.

In a not so short way, what i'm trying to really say is: There really is a reasonable amount of "thinking ahead" element that actually provides choices? Or this just boils down to lack of system mastery, in which experienced players will know which spells are the best at every level and will be prepared with stacks of scrolls and wands of situational ones, while newcomers will barely know how to weigh one spell against the other due to a lack of basis for what makes a spell good or not?


Lightning Raven wrote:

One thing I always notice is the argument of "Thinking ahead". Does this really happen? Think about it. I argue that this is not happening the majority of the time, there is no much forethought given to the spells, simply because you can't afford it. There is a very narrow list of spells that you should always prepare because they're good for any occasion and there's even more spells that will never be prepared, among these are those that aren't quite good enough to warrant a slot, the outright terrible ones and those that are incredibly but highly situational. But here's the thing, there's a lot of scrolls and other means of circumventing this part of vancian casting that supposedly every advocate for it like.

Vancian casting actually is not providing what is supposed to be providing, which is rewarding forethought, because the thinking ahead part is very minimal and those situations were you would prepare the perfect situational spell mostly come from information gathered by scouts or forewarning.

I think it does happen in PF1. I know it does in my game. When we know what we're going to face (which does happen, for example if we ran away from it already or we had good scouting), I'll customize my spell list appropriately. PF1 gives you enough spell slots to have the "you must always take this" spells and also have room to do it.

Additionally, PF1 lets you leave slots empty and fill them by taking some time during the day. So you can stealth up and scout, take a spell to solve the problem, and move on.

And yes, you can also fill this with scrolls and such if you don't know what you're going to face but plan ahead for stuff that's likely to come up at some point. But you don't need Vancian casting to do that.

PF2 gives you far, far fewer spells per day and also removes the option to leave a slot empty and fill it later (although Wizards got something similar in an update). The combination made Vancian casting even more punishing.

Quote:
In a not so short way, what i'm trying to really say is: There really is a reasonable amount of "thinking ahead" element that actually provides choices? Or this just boils down to lack of system mastery, in which experienced players will know which spells are the best at every level and will be prepared with stacks of scrolls and wands of situational ones, while newcomers will barely know how to weigh one spell against the other due to a lack of basis for what makes a spell good or not?

There's definite system mastery in playing a Vancian caster. Getting it right rewards you, and getting it wrong punishes you. The playtest features a lot more "punish" and a lot less "reward" than PF1 did, IMO.


I understand the OP and others points on this subject but... I would suggest caution in any replacement.

Yes Vancian casting is a huge gate, probably the biggest in the system. It seriously punishes the “unworthy” which is unfair but the handful of people I’ve known who have mastered it easily make wizard the most OP class in the game. A good (and hilarious) example is the story of the wizard who broke psionics. Easily found if you look up the Henderson scale of plot derailment. Look it up if you haven’t. Wizard has always been the “expert” class, should it be that way? No it shouldn’t but finding a good solution to were it is accessible and not game breaking is one hell of a balancing act. The 2 easiest solutions that come to mind the playtest implemented. Lowering the number of spell slots and lowering the power of most spells but there was widespread outrage and at least the power of spells is being increased again and honestly I wouldn’t be surprised if more spell slots are added by the time the CRB is released.

I wish I had a good answer but I’m no game designer. So again my only real advice is a big red CAUTION! sign.

I was on a gaming hiatus when the arcanist came out and when I rejoined my group the general consensus was that it was OP and just crushed the other arcane casters, I looked into it myself and agreed so that might also be weighing my opinion. “Shrug”


I’d also like to add that the spell slot thing isn’t always a big deal especially once you get to mid levels. I know people don’t seem to like consumables but a good caster always makes use of them and now that resonance is gone you will definitely see the return of the scroll slinger.


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Raylyeh wrote:
I was on a gaming hiatus when the arcanist came out and when I rejoined my group the general consensus was that it was OP and just crushed the other arcane casters, I looked into it myself and agreed so that might also be weighing my opinion. “Shrug”

I don't think the Arcanist is that overpowered because of the 1-level delay in spell slots, but of course a spellcaster with normal spell progression and Arcanist casting would be overpowered in a game where the other casters are Vancian... but that's not what we are suggesting. We are suggesting balancing the game around every prepared caster being Arcanist-like, and buffing other areas of spontaneous casters. They probably wouldn't even need to buff spells that much if that was the case, really (except for the Divine list).

I think the biggest challenge here would be making spontaneous casters more interesting in other ways, to be honest, because when you balance the game around everyone having Arcanist casting, it's not very hard balance-wise.


Okay, maybe I was being too vague in my post. Removing Vancian casting would not only cause problems for spontaneous casters like others have mentioned but could also easily destroy the efforts Paizo has made to lessen/negate the caster vs. martial disparity if done wrong.


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You could also give spontaenous casters, the spell-point/mana system. And prepared casters the Arcanist. Given that spellcasters are greatly weakened already I fail to see the issue. Is it really that bad a suggestion ?

Also I think the caster vs martial disparity is something that can be partially fixed by giving martials something else to do or contribute.


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Except 5e doesn't have extreme caster disparity anymore and it has Arcanist casting by default. Yes, Arcanist casting is a buff, but casters need a buff, and making better use of existing spells is better than going back to Wizards potentially being gamebreaking if used correctly. It's a significant enough QoL change that it's worth doing the work to rebalance stuff for it.

And honestly, I don't see Arcanist casting being what makes casters OP again. Martials themselves have fundamentally changed, they get some amount of skills now and can keep them relevant, they have way more involved combat options that enable them to do things other than just straight damage if the situation calls for it, the math of the system doesn't make it so HP damage is a dumb thing to target in the first place (the lack of powerful save or sucks, save or dies, or action economy breaking spells like unlimited summon monsters or casting many powerful spells in the same turn). Divination in particular has a lot of its spells gated behind rarity, and that's where most of the truly broken, "guess we can't do this type of adventure anymore unless the wizard can't cast it for whatever reason" spells resided.

PF2 already goes further than 5e in addressing the disparity between casters and martials, and most folk still find that game to at least be functional. If a game that put less systemic effort into fixing casters did fine with Arcanist casting, I think PF2 will do fine with Arcanist casting as well.


Okay... Cool your jets. I didn’t say I’m against it outright just that things have a balance and throwing it off can effect things you might not have thought about at first. I knew I shouldn’t have stuck my head out but whatever.


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Yeah. Those against getting rid of changing Vancian casting need to realize that this will not be change for the sake of change, neither this will be made in a vacuum.

I think getting rid of it will open up a lot of doors. Buffs, nerfs and balance in general. It will close some, that's true, but I think if the system is changed for real, it will be for the best

But the issue is, folks at Paizo actually like Vancian casting, which I think it's why this wasn't something even put to debate in the playtest period, it wasn't addressed in surveys even when magic was the focal point of the questions.


Lightning Raven wrote:
But the issue is, folks at Paizo actually like Vancian casting, which I think it's why this wasn't something even put to debate in the playtest period, it wasn't addressed in surveys even when magic was the focal point of the questions.

I mean, I was kind of disapointed by the complete lack of official discussioln on that topic, but the folks on Paizo certainly have a reason for that. It's wrong to assume that they kept something they think it's bad for the game just because "yeah we like it so whatever". If this isn't changed I'm probably going to homebrew it though, I'm currently using Level + Spellcasting modifier prepared spells with Arcanist casting like 5e in my homebrew post-playtest game and it's been working... reasonably well.


adresseno wrote:
Doktor Weasel wrote:
When I first started playing D&D with the Red Box, it took me quite a while to wrap my brain around, because it's just so nonsensical. "I can do this, but I forget how every time I do it. Because... reasons.

Would be easier to accept if in place of using memory, wizards used speelbook pages? For example, after reading the only page containing a fireball spell and casting it, this specific page loses its magical power and cannot be used again. And, what about bullets in a revolver's chamber, ignoring order, loaded with three armor piercing, 2 incendiary and one regular type? My point is that the way the method is described resembles the influences that shaped early versions of the game and can be easily be replaced for new ones, while preserving the mechanic.

Speaking of which, what other mechanic can result in such close relationship between resource tracking and planning? Arcanists, 5ed wizard, etc, do not provide the same degree of challenge for the player as the vancian method does. A good wizard player is expected to know which spells, and what quantity of those, are most likely to be used in a given situation and learning this skill is part of the experience of playing wizards. And lets not forget the myriad of options like scrolls, wands, staffs and quick preparations, available to provide on the spot diversity.

Another advantage of preserving this method, as others mentioned, is that it allows the existence of spontaneous casting as an whole different mechanic. This time the compromise happens much earlier than for prep casters, as the choices must be made while leveling up your character, and the consequences last indefinitely. A new set of skills must be employed to make the right, or less wrong, choices this time. Again more opportunities for players to experience the game in a different way.

One could argue that players should be the ones making the choice of which method they want to employ for their characters, as this would represent the ultimate...

Speaking of spellbooks; what about letting them prepare up to their int mod as spontaneous casting, and any other spells require their spellbook open. It gives them variety and the spellbook becomes more important.

They caked in the 10min spell swap; and this would narrow abuse with Gish builds as well. It ends up clunky with heightening mechanics and i’m not sure how it would work with Druid and Cleric sadly.


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dmerceless wrote:
Lightning Raven wrote:
But the issue is, folks at Paizo actually like Vancian casting, which I think it's why this wasn't something even put to debate in the playtest period, it wasn't addressed in surveys even when magic was the focal point of the questions.
I mean, I was kind of disapointed by the complete lack of official discussioln on that topic, but the folks on Paizo certainly have a reason for that. It's wrong to assume that they kept something they think it's bad for the game just because "yeah we like it so whatever". If this isn't changed I'm probably going to homebrew it though, I'm currently using Level + Spellcasting modifier prepared spells with Arcanist casting like 5e in my homebrew post-playtest game and it's been working... reasonably well.

It was mentioned, in one of the streams I think, that it was something they seriously considered, but decided not to do. It is strange that they didn't ask about it in the surveys though. My suspicion is that there would be overwhelming support. While Vancian casting does have some support, I don't think it's the majority of players.


Doktor Weasel wrote:
dmerceless wrote:
Lightning Raven wrote:
But the issue is, folks at Paizo actually like Vancian casting, which I think it's why this wasn't something even put to debate in the playtest period, it wasn't addressed in surveys even when magic was the focal point of the questions.
I mean, I was kind of disapointed by the complete lack of official discussioln on that topic, but the folks on Paizo certainly have a reason for that. It's wrong to assume that they kept something they think it's bad for the game just because "yeah we like it so whatever". If this isn't changed I'm probably going to homebrew it though, I'm currently using Level + Spellcasting modifier prepared spells with Arcanist casting like 5e in my homebrew post-playtest game and it's been working... reasonably well.
It was mentioned, in one of the streams I think, that it was something they seriously considered, but decided not to do. It is strange that they didn't ask about it in the surveys though. My suspicion is that there would be overwhelming support. While Vancian casting does have some support, I don't think it's the majority of players.

Ok now that's... weird. I mean, all of my theories don't make sense anymore. I always thought they were completely set in stone with that for it not to be asked in the surveys, but if that's not the case... I really don't know. They've asked for some stuff that was much more contentious, I remember a question in one of the first surveys that had an answerd like "I'd prefer if PF2 used bounded accuracy like 5e", which would basically mean a complete rework of half the system.


dmerceless wrote:
Doktor Weasel wrote:
It was mentioned, in one of the streams I think, that it was something they seriously considered, but decided not to do. It is strange that they didn't ask about it in the surveys though. My suspicion is that there would be overwhelming support. While Vancian casting does have some support, I don't think it's the majority of players.
Ok now that's... weird. I mean, all of my theories don't make sense anymore. I always thought they were completely set in stone with that for it not to be asked in the surveys, but if that's not the case... I really don't know. They've asked for some stuff that was much more contentious, I remember a question in one of the first surveys that had an answerd like "I'd prefer if PF2 used bounded accuracy like 5e", which would basically mean a complete rework of half the system.

Here's the link. The original idea was to ditch the Sorcerer entirely and just roll it into wizard and have all casters work like arcanists. They decided against it for limiting design space. But I think it wouldn't be so limiting if they found a different niche for the sorcerer instead of unifying all spell casting into the new arcanist style system. Maybe they figured there wasn't a point in asking about something they already rejected, but it seems to me that the problem was the particular implementation they were looking at and not the concept as a whole.


Wow, that's really unfortunate. This would be a huge improvement to the system, shame to see it off the table like that.


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I am curious about a possible compromise on Vancian casting.

The Magus has a Spell Recall ability that lets the class reuse prepared spells:

Ultimate Magic, Magus wrote:

Spell Recall

At 4th level, the magus learns to use his arcane pool to recall spells he has already cast. With a swift action he can recall any single magus spell that he has already prepared and cast that day by expending a number of points from his arcane pool equal to the spell’s level (minimum 1). The spell is prepared again, just as if it had not been cast.

What if the PF2 spellcasters all were given Spell Recall? They don't have arcane pools, but they have spell point pools, so the PF2 Spell Recall would use spell points instead.

In addition, to keep further distance between prepared casters and spontaneous casters, Spell Recall for a spontaneous caster would restore a spell slot rather than a cast spell. Thus, the spontaneous caster would still be spontaneous.

Finally, Spell Recall would take two (or three) actions, so that the spellcaster would not be able to cast a standard two-action spell on the same turn that he or she spell recalled. That means that a prepared caster had best not wait for combat before deciding which spell to recall. He ought to recall in advance, deciding which spell to recall before combat.

Would that be close enough to Arcanist casting? It would require fewer changes in Pathfinder 2nd Edition as currently written.


Mathmuse wrote:

I am curious about a possible compromise on Vancian casting.

The Magus has a Spell Recall ability that lets the class reuse prepared spells:

Ultimate Magic, Magus wrote:

Spell Recall

At 4th level, the magus learns to use his arcane pool to recall spells he has already cast. With a swift action he can recall any single magus spell that he has already prepared and cast that day by expending a number of points from his arcane pool equal to the spell’s level (minimum 1). The spell is prepared again, just as if it had not been cast.

What if the PF2 spellcasters all were given Spell Recall? They don't have arcane pools, but they have spell point pools, so the PF2 Spell Recall would use spell points instead.

In addition, to keep further distance between prepared casters and spontaneous casters, Spell Recall for a spontaneous caster would restore a spell slot rather than a cast spell. Thus, the spontaneous caster would still be spontaneous.

Finally, Spell Recall would take two (or three) actions, so that the spellcaster would not be able to cast a standard two-action spell on the same turn that he or she spell recalled. That means that a prepared caster had best not wait for combat before deciding which spell to recall. He ought to recall in advance, deciding which spell to recall before combat.

Would that be close enough to Arcanist casting? It would require fewer changes in Pathfinder 2nd Edition as currently written.

If they were to keep the Vancian system (they probably will, unfortunately), that's a pretty neat idea. The Drain Spell Focus feature from the Wizard would probably need to be reworked because everyone would have something that's basically the same as it, but apart from that, it would mitigate a lot of issues with the current system.


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Mathmuse wrote:

I am curious about a possible compromise on Vancian casting.

The Magus has a Spell Recall ability that lets the class reuse prepared spells:

Ultimate Magic, Magus wrote:

Spell Recall

At 4th level, the magus learns to use his arcane pool to recall spells he has already cast. With a swift action he can recall any single magus spell that he has already prepared and cast that day by expending a number of points from his arcane pool equal to the spell’s level (minimum 1). The spell is prepared again, just as if it had not been cast.

What if the PF2 spellcasters all were given Spell Recall? They don't have arcane pools, but they have spell point pools, so the PF2 Spell Recall would use spell points instead.

In addition, to keep further distance between prepared casters and spontaneous casters, Spell Recall for a spontaneous caster would restore a spell slot rather than a cast spell. Thus, the spontaneous caster would still be spontaneous.

Finally, Spell Recall would take two (or three) actions, so that the spellcaster would not be able to cast a standard two-action spell on the same turn that he or she spell recalled. That means that a prepared caster had best not wait for combat before deciding which spell to recall. He ought to recall in advance, deciding which spell to recall before combat.

Would that be close enough to Arcanist casting? It would require fewer changes in Pathfinder 2nd Edition as currently written.

I'm still having to, at the beginning of the day, prep not just my spells but also how many of each I'll need, which is still pure guesswork and still leads to the potential outcome of having remaining spell slots that didn't get used because I decided not to be omniscient (idiot me).

This Spell Recall, since it's designed to be action-expensive, can't be used mid-combat which is when it would need to be useful to approach Arcanist casting. So all it really does is the same thing as preparing your spells anew the following day. Tomorrow, you will know exactly what spells you needed today and how many of each, but that doesn't solve the problem for today and doesn't help with tomorrow, either. Spell Recall lets you uselessly implement this knowledge only minutes later rather than the next day, but it's still inapplicable when you needed it.

It is still the frustration expressed in this clip. And sure, it's technically an improvement on Vancian casting, but it doesn't even remotely approach Arcanist casting for me.


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I have never found wizards confusing to play. I have been playing them since 1st edition. The people who talk about how confusing it is to play a wizard... I don't know what it is they don't get.


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Barnabas Eckleworth III wrote:
I have never found wizards confusing to play. I have been playing them since 1st edition. The people who talk about how confusing it is to play a wizard... I don't know what it is they don't get.

I can answer for some of my players, since most of them never played 3.5/Pathfinder. It basically comes down to two aspects, a mechanical one and a storytelling one.

The mechanical one is the "analysis paralysis" of having so much options and having to choose some of them. Pure Vancian casting increases this exponentialy because now after choosing a sublist to be avaliable for you for the day from the bigger list, you also have to choose how much you'll use each one before actually being sure of what the situation asks for. I do find however that they get even more confused by Clerics and Druids because they have to choose from... all spells in existance, I don't find Wizards more complicated than those two in that regard.

The storytelling aspect just comes down to the question "why does my character forget a spell after casting it?". Almost no one is familiar with Jack Vance's books nowadays, and apart from his world where there was a reason, although albeit complex, for it to be this way, it doesn't really make much sense. I mean, it's not that hard to explain why you prepare spells from your book, you can't just memorize an entire book for the entire day, but the part about having to prepare each casting... yeah... it's weird. I think you can probably see why people get confused if you try that little challenge: Try to explain to someone who has never played D&D why do Wizards forget their spells after casting them without resorting to tradition ("it's how it works in D&D for a long time") or to anything specific from the Dying Earth series.

If you are talking about it outside of the Vancian vs Arcanist discussion, it's probably just because of the amount of stuff you need to constantly remember and manage. Spellbook, which spells are prepared for the day, spell slots, etc. I've never found this part a big deal but I know a lot of people that do. That's probably not "fixable" though, unless you ditch the prepared spellcasting or the spell slot system entirely.


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dmerceless wrote:


The storytelling aspect just comes down to the question "why does my character forget a spell after casting it?".

I think I remember it being explained that it's not that your wizard forgets the spells. It's that his prep time at the beginning of the day is him preparing a lot of the spells in advance, all but the last few details. So, in essence, every spell is a readied action, in a way. And he does the last few bits to finish the spell.

But then we get into why can't he spend another hour preparing twice as many.
I don't know. It's a game. None of the rules are perfect. Especially since every rule has equal parts on each side saying why they do/don't like it.
I just know it's always been that way with the casting, so it never occurred to me to dislike it.


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Yeah, any solution that still has me explaining what the f&~+ prepared spell slots are isn't really a complete solution. The core of the issue is that it's extremely complex, and even if it didn't have the versatility issues I'd still want it gone. Tacking even more complexity onto it to sort of make it more like Arcanist casting just makes the problem even worse.


Barnabas Eckleworth III wrote:
dmerceless wrote:


The storytelling aspect just comes down to the question "why does my character forget a spell after casting it?".

I think I remember it being explained that it's not that your wizard forgets the spells. It's that his prep time at the beginning of the day is him preparing a lot of the spells in advance, all but the last few details. So, in essence, every spell is a readied action, in a way. And he does the last few bits to finish the spell.

But then we get into why can't he spend another hour preparing twice as many.
I don't know. It's a game. None of the rules are perfect. Especially since every rule has equal parts on each side saying why they do/don't like it.
I just know it's always been that way with the casting, so it never occurred to me to dislike it.

In fact the words "forget" and "memorize" aren't used in the rules to describe prepared casting at all and haven't been since AD&D, but somehow it persists.


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dmerceless wrote:
The mechanical one is the "analysis paralysis" of having so much options and having to choose some of them. Pure Vancian casting increases this exponentialy because now after choosing a sublist to be avaliable for you for the day from the bigger list, you also have to choose how much you'll use each one before actually being sure of what the situation asks for. I do find however that they get even more confused by Clerics and Druids because they have to choose from... all spells in existance, I don't find Wizards more complicated than those two in that regard.

Yep. You can't fix it by just patching the wizard to vaguely resemble the Arcanist, because the problem is that you still have to decide how many times you want to cast each spell per day. There's a reason that 5e shifted over to Arcanist casting, and that potential players coming over from 5e have been turned off by full prepared casting.

Quote:
The storytelling aspect just comes down to the question "why does my character forget a spell after casting it?". Almost no one is familiar with Jack Vance's books nowadays, and apart from his world where there was a reason, although albeit complex, for it to be this way, it doesn't really make much sense. I mean, it's not that hard to explain why you prepare spells from your book, you can't just memorize an entire book for the entire day, but the part about having to prepare each casting... yeah... it's weird. I think you can probably see why people get confused if you try that little challenge: Try to explain to someone who has never played D&D why do Wizards forget their spells after casting them without resorting to tradition ("it's how it works in D&D for a long time") or to anything specific from the Dying Earth series.

Part of the motivation actually was wargaming. If an artillery unit can't fire the same cannonball twice, why should a wizard- the artillery of the fighter/rogue/mage trio- be able to fire the same fireball twice?

On a similar and opposite note, things like Harry Potter are rising to prominence in the place of Jack Vance. It's easy enough to accept spell slots as a means of balance, even if spell slots or spherecasting (roughly kineticist, but without the nonlethal from burn) would be a better fit. But compared to just picking what spells you want to be able to cast in the day, it's significantly more odd to have to decide exactly how many times you want to be able to cast Lumos in the day.

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