Spellcasters Underwhelming ?


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Malk_Content wrote:


I mean I don't think anyone can turn invisible in reality, and thus any effect that does that breaks reality. I don't see how that is subjective. It isn't about scale its a fairly simple binary of "is this achievable naturally."

Now of course this isn't a slight to the idea that magic should be even MORE reality bending. A desire for a higher magnitude of magic is totally legit (and something I agree with to a certain extent.)

I mean there's a difference between say "Harry Potter" and "Dr. Strange". Sure both magics bend reality, but they're vastly different levels.

When I hear "Bend Reality" I think Dr Strange levels of insane.


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Malk_Content wrote:


I mean I don't think anyone can turn invisible in reality, and thus any effect that does that breaks reality. I don't see how that is subjective. It isn't about scale its a fairly simple binary of "is this achievable naturally."

Now of course this isn't a slight to the idea that magic should be even MORE reality bending. A desire for a higher magnitude of magic is totally legit (and something I agree with to a certain extent.)

Yeah, "Reality Bending" just isn't really a useful gauge for game balance or anything. It's reality bending for someone with a dagger to be able to do significant harm to a 100 foot tall monster. (I guess they have very sensitive toes.) There's a lot of things that can't be done in reality, that just aren't really all that impressive in game, or very fun. So it seems like a bit of a dead end to spend much time talking about it in regards to game balance.

Much more important is game balance, the ability to tell the kind of stories we can in PF1 and most importantly, fun. In that regard, I think casters are falling behind in the playtest. Invisibility lasting 1 minute is pretty bad compared to what it is in PF1, where the absolute lowest duration it can have is 3 minutes and goes on up to 20+. It's also not really usable for infiltration or exploration. Although maybe Invisibility Sphere was supposed to take that role now, because it can take the whole party and lasts a more reasonable 10 minutes (extendable to an hour as a 5th level spell)?

Regarding number of spell slots, it seems that part of the sticking point is the power of higher level spells compared to the lower ones, heightening exaggerates this. So perhaps what needs to be done is to not have a unified number of spells per Spell Level, but instead have more of the lower ones and fewer of the higher ones. That's trickier to set a formula for, but I'm sure it can be done. It would give high level casters more low-level utility.


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An alternate solution, which I am rather a fan of, would be to balance casters around a fairly static level of relative utility. For example, say casters of all levels 3+ got a total of ten spell slots, four of which could be their highest level, and that never changed (or maybe changed very slowly, adding one new slot every four or five levels).

Then you could balance the magic system around that assumption - low level spells becoming useless would be fine because no caster past a certain level would typically bother to prepare them, and instead of wizards having an ever increasing level of versatility with each new spell level simply because of increasing total number of spells, the versatility would come from the new types of spells they can prepare. You wouldn't have to worry about weird cases where first level spells eclipse higher level spells in utility, because it would still cost the caster the same amount of resources to prepare those spells.

Unfortunately strict Vancian casting seems to be a sacred cow that refuses to die, so I don't see anything like that happening.


MaxAstro wrote:

An alternate solution, which I am rather a fan of, would be to balance casters around a fairly static level of relative utility. For example, say casters of all levels 3+ got a total of ten spell slots, four of which could be their highest level, and that never changed (or maybe changed very slowly, adding one new slot every four or five levels).

Then you could balance the magic system around that assumption - low level spells becoming useless would be fine because no caster past a certain level would typically bother to prepare them, and instead of wizards having an ever increasing level of versatility with each new spell level simply because of increasing total number of spells, the versatility would come from the new types of spells they can prepare. You wouldn't have to worry about weird cases where first level spells eclipse higher level spells in utility, because it would still cost the caster the same amount of resources to prepare those spells.

Unfortunately strict Vancian casting seems to be a sacred cow that refuses to die, so I don't see anything like that happening.

Yup, if only paizo dared to innovate a little with the core classes, i just hope some other casters come with different mechanics.


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Have to admit I'll miss some of the players guide and class guide classes. Several were far better implemented and had more identity than the core ones. They were also Paizo signatures in a way the core aren't, so it's tough to see them go.

Though after the alchemist treatment for PF2, maybe it's a blessing


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Voss wrote:

Have to admit I'll miss some of the players guide and class guide classes. Several were far better implemented and had more identity than the core ones. They were also Paizo signatures in a way the core aren't, so it's tough to see them go.

Though after the alchemist treatment for PF2, maybe it's a blessing

Yeah, I hear this. I appreciate though how some of them are easily emulated with multiclassing. Like a Wizard with Fighter MC or a Fighter with Wizard MC makes a rightly solid Magus, and multiclassing even means you can make Magus equivalents of other casting types as well. Cleric or Paladin with something probably makes a decent Inquisitor.

And similarly some classic PF prestige classes come out better here too. Arcane Trickster no longer requires you to be an altogether middling character in everything but touch spell damage until you so much as even enter the class at 7th level (And even then it takes time for the deficit of splitting levels to catch up), while also not being grossly overpowered for touch spell damage but sucking at all non-touch attack rolls.

The aforementioned Fighter/Wizard stuff makes a MUCH better Eldritch Knight than in PF1. Of course for the most part the Magus made for a much better Eldritch Knight too but not in QUITE every way.

Not arguing your point per se, just saying that while some concepts are harder to build now some others are much easier or work much better and I enjoy that.

And I expect Alchemist will look MUCH better in the final book as we have more refinement and more items. Though even as it stands now my Goblin Alchemist was very useful in 1, 4, and 7 of Doomsday Dawn. So a further improved Alchemist sounds awesome. Decoupling from Resonance alone while still having their created items not cost others Resonance either was a HUGE boon.


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The only question that matters is:

Will casters be able to make martial characters obsolete AGAIN?

Because that is what we kinda want to get away from, isn't it. So if we want casters NEEDING martials around, what exactly DO they need from them?

Right now, THE ONLY THING martials can do is damage. Ergo, casters CAN NOT have a damage potential that allows them to ditch the beatsticks. And limited spell slots mean that you will want all those utility and battlefield control spells, ESPECIALLY when blasting is underwhelming and you inflict more damage upon the enemy by helping out your sword guys.

If you want casters to be able to emancipate themselves from needing bodyguards, then you must also enable the non-casters to be able to function WITHOUT CASTERS.

I would really like to hear how any of you think that is supposed to work...


Lycar wrote:


I would really like to hear how any of you think that is supposed to work...

For me it would need to be two things. Skill Feats need to be way more useful and epic. Legendary Athletics should let you do Oblivion style stupid jumping. Then I would give most no casters an extra skill feat when you first move up a proficiency tier (so when you can first take Expert, Master and Legendary you gain an extra skill feat) call it something like "self reliance."


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Lycar wrote:

The only question that matters is:

Will casters be able to make martial characters obsolete AGAIN?

Because that is what we kinda want to get away from, isn't it. So if we want casters NEEDING martials around, what exactly DO they need from them?

Right now, THE ONLY THING martials can do is damage. Ergo, casters CAN NOT have a damage potential that allows them to ditch the beatsticks. And limited spell slots mean that you will want all those utility and battlefield control spells, ESPECIALLY when blasting is underwhelming and you inflict more damage upon the enemy by helping out your sword guys.

If you want casters to be able to emancipate themselves from needing bodyguards, then you must also enable the non-casters to be able to function WITHOUT CASTERS.

I would really like to hear how any of you think that is supposed to work...

Path of War, Spheres of Might, Kirthfinder are things that come of the top of my head where non-casters could do something more than damage and use a skill or two. I was hoping that PF2 will embrace those kind of solutions, instead we got super-mega-extra-nerf to casters. Yes, they said they are rolling some of it back, but I'm not holding my breath for it.


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Lycar wrote:
Will casters be able to make martial characters obsolete AGAIN?

TBH, they already can. As I always put it, if martials continue to be strictly held to the precepts of our reality (e.g. weapon cords), while casters are allowed to flagrantly break them, they'll never be even. This isn't saying that martials need magic. Low-level spells, for example, are about as impressive on Golarion as being able to pick a lock. It's that they never get any sort of legendary abilities- just bigger numbers.

Quote:
Right now, THE ONLY THING martials can do is damage.

And even then, at least 2/3 of a well-built martial's damage output can be attributed to magic items.

necromental wrote:
Path of War, Spheres of Might, Kirthfinder are things that come of the top of my head where non-casters could do something more than damage and use a skill or two. I was hoping that PF2 will embrace those kind of solutions, instead we got super-mega-extra-nerf to casters. Yes, they said they are rolling some of it back, but I'm not holding my breath for it.

SoM legendary talents are amazing and a good model for what legendary skill feats should have looked like. As an example, you can become so good at swimming that you get a burrow speed. Also, even the combat-oriented talents are amazing. For example, I theorycrafted a Conscript who, eventually, can fire off 6 arrows in a standard action with as high as a 100% hit rate. (As in getting to ignore the rule that natural 1s automatically miss)


RazarTuk wrote:
Lycar wrote:
Will casters be able to make martial characters obsolete AGAIN?
TBH, they already can. As I always put it, if martials continue to be strictly held to the precepts of our reality (e.g. weapon cords), while casters are allowed to flagrantly break them, they'll never be even.

It wouldn't be so bad if they were bound by reality, instead of actually achieving less. It's not, after all, impossible to break someone's arm with a warhammer, slice their leg open with an axe, or take an eye out with a sword slash. If you make hit point damage totally irrelevant until 'dying' happens, then it's a huge disadvantage for people who could achieve more with weapons than reducing hit points.

Liberty's Edge

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For the record, and slightly off topic, the weapon cords thing was entirely a game balance thing. The 'realism' reference was a joke that people took way too seriously.

That said, I do agree with the general point that martials are bound to reality in weird and inconsistent ways in PF1. They can outwrestle rhinos and survive immersion in lava, but somehow duplicating magical effects with skills is a bridge too far.

PF2's Master and, especially Legendary, Skill Feats are a step in the right direction, but could stand to go a bit further, and Martials could also definitely benefit from having more Skill Feats than Casters.


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Basically, it should be two dimensional- Magic/Martial and Low/High-level.

Low-level martial: Vaguely possible in the real world. For example, favored enemy and favored terrain seem realistic enough.

Low-level magic: Impossible in our world, but perfectly ordinary in a fantasy setting. For example, no one would bat an eye at the local priest being able to cast Cure Light Wounds if you need it.

High-level martial: Things that would make Austin Hourigan scream. (Angry science guy from Shoddy Cast and Game Theory) The ideas all make enough sense, like you know what swimming and stealing are. It just breaks all logic to do something like swim through dirt or steal someone's pants without them noticing.

High-level magic: Magic feats that even sound impossible to low-level casters, like a high-ranking member of the clergy even being able to bring back the dead.

The problem is that since both low-level and high-level magic are impossible in our world, the equally impossible high-level martial abilities get lumped in with that. As long as martials are limited to what I've called low-level abilities, while casters can have relatively unlimited power, casters will always overpower martials.


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Full agreement. I've said it a hundred times - I want more Catfall in the game. I want rogues that can stealth past dragon-sight, rangers that know herblore as good as magical healing, and archers that can quick-climb a wall by shooting arrows as footholds.

Basically, if a martial character in one of the LotR movies can do it, it should be an absolute minimum for what martials in PF2e can achieve.


MaxAstro wrote:

Full agreement. I've said it a hundred times - I want more Catfall in the game. I want rogues that can stealth past dragon-sight, rangers that know herblore as good as magical healing, and archers that can quick-climb a wall by shooting arrows as footholds.

Basically, if a martial character in one of the LotR movies can do it, it should be an absolute minimum for what martials in PF2e can achieve.

Right on the ball


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MaxAstro wrote:

Full agreement. I've said it a hundred times - I want more Catfall in the game. I want rogues that can stealth past dragon-sight, rangers that know herblore as good as magical healing, and archers that can quick-climb a wall by shooting arrows as footholds.

Basically, if a martial character in one of the LotR movies can do it, it should be an absolute minimum for what martials in PF2e can achieve.

I really hope Paizo talks more about Skill Feats as soon as they start revealing stuff. It is a topic that I'm sure MANY people are unsatisfied with, and I don't think it was even touched during the entire Playtest. 100% agree with you here as well.

Liberty's Edge

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MaxAstro wrote:

Full agreement. I've said it a hundred times - I want more Catfall in the game. I want rogues that can stealth past dragon-sight, rangers that know herblore as good as magical healing, and archers that can quick-climb a wall by shooting arrows as footholds.

Basically, if a martial character in one of the LotR movies can do it, it should be an absolute minimum for what martials in PF2e can achieve.

Addign my agreement. Skill feats, especially scaling feats, have the most potential for martial awesomeness but were underwhelming in practice.


orphias wrote:
Does anyone else feel that spellcasters in general are rather blah when in comes to comparity of damage output?

I'm not sure. In our playtesting so far, the king of damage was a Wizard who multiclassed into Fighter, wore armor and used a greatsword. Spells gave him AOE and ranged options that outshined the other Warriors. In melee the Wiz/Ftr hit just as often and as hard, though had fewer hitpoints.

I would still say Wizards are kind of blah, but mostly because they have so few spells they cannot afford to memorize non-combat spells, plus buffs and those non-combat spells seem underwhelming in PF2.


Actually, going with the topic of prof {and avoiding it being just a +1) and martials, I was kinda hoping they were going to be a little bit more with weapon prof. The criticization effects are kinda cool, I'd say at the level of what an expert with the weapon would be able to do, which is the level of Prof most characters get the effects. But it just kind of stops there, every improvement just adds up to another +1.

To kinda of close the gap between casters and martials,--- {my personal opinion is 1) Magic got rolled back one notch to much. I definitely don't want it to go back to PF1 levels where out of 10 an it was an 11, but here it feels like a 4 when it should be a 5. 2) Martial still lack the power of options there casting brothers have)--- is to use Mastery and Legendary prof in weapons to close the gap and lack of choice. In a fantasy world, I could see Masters of there weapon start touching upon the realm of magic with them. For example, perhaps someone that is a master of the bow could fire an arrow in the air while picturing what they want to find, and the arrow veers in the direction of that. So, it may not be as good as a spell {it would only give you a rough direction}, but its both something the Bow master as access to all the time, and something the Bow master can do without limit {well as long as they have arrows to fire.). Now within the weapon prof system as it is right now, this could be a bit too powerful depending on the class {ie a fighter would be carrying every single weapon type in the game if you were to just get this as soon as mastery.) but maybe there would be a way of limiting it {ie you need to be a master and get a auto class ability to unlock a weapons group mastery effects, with certain classes unlocking more of these then others, and none martials unlocking none.)

Sovereign Court

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If you are wanting an obvious superhero... go play a superhero RPG. (And yes, I have played many superhero RPGs.) Almost none of the players I have played with have any interest in seeing martials turned into superheros, and that is what a lot of you seem to be asking for, or think 'needs' to be done. Back in 1st / 2nd edition D&D, it was actually fairly well balanced. Yes, a high level wizard was more powerful than a high level martial, but they spent a -long- time working up to that power level. 3rd edition started a trend of seeing D&D as an exercise in powergaming for, in my opinion, to many people. This continued into pathfinder 1st edition, and people are trying to push it into 2nd edition as well. Even the playtest character creation rules push people towards not building a good, viable character... but building an optimal one.

Now, the game is all about having fun. And everyone has fun in different ways. But at least, in my (decently wide) experience of D&D / Pathfinder, people wanting martials powered up is an extremely small minority. We'd rather see spellcasters pulled back in power. So most of the people I've spoken to are happy with the reduction in spellcasting power.

As a side note, I play both martials, and casters. And hybrids. And multiclassed. I've also played (as in long term played) dozens of other games, as well.

You want that guy who can do superheroics? Play Champions. Or GURPS. or any of a dozen decent superhero games. Not D&D and derivatives.

Liberty's Edge

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As someone who's also played dozens of different games over a pretty long period of time (approaching 20 years now), I'll note that my experience is precisely the opposite of The King In Yellow's.

IME, people absolutely want high level characters in Pathfinder or other D&D type games to be epicly powerful mythic heroes. The 'fantasy superheroes' thing is very much what they are looking for, the genre that 3.0, 3.5, and PF1 cater to best.


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Deadmanwalking wrote:

As someone who's also played dozens of different games over a pretty long period of time (approaching 20 years now), I'll note that my experience is precisely the opposite of The King In Yellow's.

IME, people absolutely want high level characters in Pathfinder or other D&D type games to be epicly powerful mythic heroes. The 'fantasy superheroes' thing is very much what they are looking for, the genre that 3.0, 3.5, and PF1 cater to best.

My experience mimics your own. But I'll add that aside from personal preferences and experience, fantasy superheroes I'd clearly the type of game Paizo is interested in making. This is glaringly obvious and always has been. Which is basically all there is to say on the matter. If you want lower powered fantasy, you just aren't the target audience. (Which makes the "Go play Champions" comments quite ironic.)


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Captain Morgan wrote:
If you want lower powered fantasy, you just aren't the target audience. (Which makes the "Go play Champions" comments quite ironic.)

Or rather, you are the target market for levels 1-10.

Liberty's Edge

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Malk_Content wrote:
Captain Morgan wrote:
If you want lower powered fantasy, you just aren't the target audience. (Which makes the "Go play Champions" comments quite ironic.)
Or rather, you are the target market for levels 1-10.

Pathfinder goes into fantasy superheroes by level 7, IMO. That's always been the case (hence E6 existing), but it's even more explicit in PF2 with Master level skills and other stuff having a level 7 breakpoint.

But yes, levels 1 to 6 are a bit more grounded.


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I love levels ~3 to ~11 for this reason. Transitioning from a scrappy, run of the mill adventurer to a renowned champion. You get the rags to riches story really well without having to always worry about saving the entire world or universe.

I'm fine with levels 15+ being targeted at people who want to play on world-wide or cosmic power scales, and I wouldn't try to extend my sweet spot to exclude what other people enjoy.

I think this is part of the reason I've always loved D&D and Pathfinder, because those different power levels exist on the same 1-20 scale, you get a sense that there's a wide world out there when you're low level, and a sense that you're something exceptional when you're high level. Trying to say you can't be a super hero in this system is like saying you can't get past level 10. It's not the way the system has ever worked as a whole, but if that's your thing you can play with custom rules like E6.


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WatersLethe wrote:

I love levels ~3 to ~11 for this reason. Transitioning from a scrappy, run of the mill adventurer to a renowned champion. You get the rags to riches story really well without having to always worry about saving the entire world or universe.

I'm fine with levels 15+ being targeted at people who want to play on world-wide or cosmic power scales, and I wouldn't try to extend my sweet spot to exclude what other people enjoy.

I think this is part of the reason I've always loved D&D and Pathfinder, because those different power levels exist on the same 1-20 scale, you get a sense that there's a wide world out there when you're low level, and a sense that you're something exceptional when you're high level. Trying to say you can't be a super hero in this system is like saying you can't get past level 10. It's not the way the system has ever worked as a whole, but if that's your thing you can play with custom rules like E6.

Here here.


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Yeah what’s that common example? That in PF1 an 8th level fighter can reliably win a grapple with a rhinoceros. That’s in the realm of superhero power level by any reasonable standard. Not top tier but Hell, that’s stronger than many famous bricks.


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The King In Yellow wrote:
Yes, a high level wizard was more powerful than a high level martial, but they spent a -long- time working up to that power level.

Other people have tackled other aspects of your quote, and I wanted to highlight this as something that seems strange to me.

Didn't that high level martial spend just as long working up to their power level as the high level wizard did? Why should they be weaker than the wizard for the same amount of effort?


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MaxAstro wrote:
The King In Yellow wrote:
Yes, a high level wizard was more powerful than a high level martial, but they spent a -long- time working up to that power level.

Other people have tackled other aspects of your quote, and I wanted to highlight this as something that seems strange to me.

Didn't that high level martial spend just as long working up to their power level as the high level wizard did? Why should they be weaker than the wizard for the same amount of effort?

Old school D&D had a different progression table for every class. By the time the Fighter was hitting 15-16 the Wizard of the party was getting closer to 12 while the Thief/Bard was closer to 18.

Honestly I'm glad they moved away from those distinctions because they really had a vastly different top end power among the different classes.

Simply saying that the Wizard had a higher ceiling than everyone else wasn't enough.


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You can see an example of that progression here.

http://www.sisterworlds.com/olde/2e/xp.htm

Also, while the numbers may look similar each of the classes got XP for various things that really pushed their personal XP around. Those rewards were typically greater than what you could get simply by defeating enemies in combat.

Warrior

  • Per Hit Die of creature Defeated 10 XP/Level

    Priest

  • Per successful use of a granted power 100 XP
  • Spells cast to further ethos 100 XP/Spell Level

    Wizard

  • Spells cast to overcome foes or problems 50 XP/Spell Level
  • Spells Successfully Researched 500 XP/Spell Level

    Rogue

  • Per successful use of a special ability 200 XP
  • Per gold piece value of treasure obtained 2 XP
  • Per Hit Die of creatures defeated (Bard) 5 XP

    There were also individual XP Rewards for coming up with good ideas, depending on how creative and impactful those ideas were.

    All in all I MUCH prefer switching to a 1000 XP / Level system and moving to rewards that are much more controlled around the level of the group earning them.


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    Gloom wrote:

    Honestly I'm glad they moved away from those distinctions because they really had a vastly different top end power among the different classes.

    Simply saying that the Wizard had a higher ceiling than everyone else wasn't enough.

    The underlying issue is about what should the game experience be on a philosophical level. Specific to this class is the question of power and how each class experiences its comparative (PvP) and objective (PvE) growth in agency and effectiveness.

    AD&D was far more focused on being internally consistent and true to genre. AD&D was less focused on the combat-to-combat game-play and more on the narrative and overall experience. Part of that paradigm is that magic was truly arcane i.e hard to learn and understand. That meant that magic users were extremely vulnerable at the beginning of the game, but became nearly all-powerful at higher levels. Whether or not you ever achieved this as a caster, the idea itself was powerful. The struggle to stay alive throwing darts and wearing robes was part of the experience.

    Monte Cook and company (WoTC) came along and decided this was a broken paradigm. Cook felt that the struggle for casters was too intense and their low level viability was a detriment to the game. So he convinced WotC to make changes that dramatically improved the caster at low level (and its popularity). The problem is he clearly did not understand the long term implications of what WotC changed.

    You make the comment that you're glad "they" moved away from the AD&D model because the power levels were "vastly different" at the top end. But PF1 has the same ultimate problem. Only thing is that caster power dominance starts at around 10th level and just gets worse. So Cook didn't fix that problem at all, he made it worse.

    The other problem is that you can't really balance the game. The best the designers can do is provide a fair experience in a nominal context. Unfortunately, as the variable increase (feats, spells, skill points, magic items) that context becomes smaller and the range of out comes increases. Paizo will sit there and tell us they can balance the game at level 20, but they can't. Primarily because the word and concept of balance=equality, is inapplicable to this game. And balance=fairness is subjective.

    What's disappointing about the discussion of casters is that the mentality that casters should be equal to martials in damage keeps coming up as a criticism, but very few people are willing to demand martials should be equal to casters in versatility and utility. Why is it one-sided?

    I believe the problem is inherent in the game concept of giving "magic" to some classes and not others in a class based system. As DMW and others have noted, martial characters have consistently been held to a level of restriction that TSR, WoTC, and now Paizo, will not hold casters too. "Magic" gets to do whatever it wants. But a guy wielding a sword has to conform to a higher bar of realism. The entire point of magic is to defy physics/science. This inherently means fewer rules are going to apply to casters than to those who cannot cast.

    I think TSR recognized this when they made the magic-user an epic struggle to play at low levels. But as the years progressed, game designers lost sight of that and focused on "balancing" the game at low level without recognizing they had no ability correct for that at high level.

    For a brief moment, I thought Paizo was going to correct this. But alas, it seems they are insisting on making casters as viable as martial at doing damage...and now are going to give them back much of the utility the spells lost. This is going to end up in the same place as PF1. Back before any of the updates, I played some PFS scenarios and the casters dominated the encounters. They had comparable damage at low levels and they had far more utility at all levels and far more game altering spells.

    I don't think Paizo can fix the problem, or rather I don't think they have the will to fix the problem because it would require that the vast majority of people who played casters and understood how to use that power were going to be unhappy (as we saw) and Paizo doesn't seem willing to alienate those players, despite what it means for the game. I give them credit for trying. But as a little green guy once said, "There is do and do not, there is no try."


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    N N 959 wrote:
    The underlying issue is about what should the game experience be on a philosophical level...

    That's a lot of big words to say that the build in imbalance was less of a bug and more of a feature.

    My biggest issue with this is that the two things are not inherently separate sides of the same coin. They encroach on each others territory when it comes to their toolkits and often times gives a huge amount of favor toward casters.

    Pathfinder is pretty bad about it, especially with some archetypes and spells but 3.5 was worse. You could easily have a caster perform the role of any other character in the party in addition to the role of a caster.

    This was most apparent when looking at Clerics and Druids.

    It's also MUCH easier for some people to justify it with:

    *shrug* "It's magic, reality breaks down when it comes to magic so there really isn't any guidance of what can or can't be done."

    When you try to do similar feats using mundane options there is a HELL of a lot more mental gymnastics DM's tend to go through to explain why you can't do something.

    The parity isn't really there in those cases and purely martial / mundane characters end up losing out there.


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    My opinion is that Martials should be able to accomplish nearly the same things as a Magic Users when it comes to utility.

    They should be able to do it through the use of magical components, focuses, and time in the form of rituals.

    Additionally, they should be able to craft magical equipment without huge requirements on personal spellcasting ability provided they invest their skills and feats accordingly and can supply the necessarily magical components.

    Pathfinder Second Edition has moved a great bit forward toward these ideals and I'm really excited for that!

    Because of this I do think that everyone should be able to bring similar utility and damage to the group albeit using different sources and styles.


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    Gloom wrote:
    N N 959 wrote:
    The underlying issue is about what should the game experience be on a philosophical level...
    That's a lot of big words to say that the build in imbalance was less of a bug and more of a feature.

    That's not quite what I'm saying. I'm trying to point out that what AD&D thought was a part and parcel to the game experience, WotC and seemingly Paizo, feel is detrimental to the game experience.

    For me, I prefer games where the balance of power ebs, flows, and shifts from class to class based on level. Paizo seems to believe the power balance should be a straight line and all classes should be on the same line. Nevertheless, I think they are headed down the same path as PF1. Sure, they've nerfed casters a little, but let's take a party of lvl 10 casters and lvl 10 martials and see which one is more robust. And besides, they nerfed everyone, not just casters.

    Quote:
    My biggest issue with this is that the two things are not inherently separate sides of the same coin. They encroach on each others territory when it comes to their toolkits and often times gives a huge amount of favor toward casters.

    100% agree. I find that the designers who talk about the classes on the forums are far more invested in the casting classes than the martial classes. Far more attention has been given to the sorcerer/wizard debate than any other class than say the Ranger/Rogue or Ranger/Barbarian or Ranger/Fighter or Fighter/Barbarian. Granted, the Paladin got a lot of air time, but that had little to do with balance.

    Quote:

    Pathfinder is pretty bad about it, especially with some archetypes and spells but 3.5 was worse. You could easily have a caster perform the role of any other character in the party in addition to the role of a caster.

    This was most apparent when looking at Clerics and Druids.

    Agreed. And Paizo admitted this was a problem. Yet, I got the same experience in my first to playtest games...and that was before any of the updates for casters.

    We had a Cleric of Nethys in our part that just dominated damage.

    Quote:

    It's also MUCH easier for some people to justify it with:

    *shrug* "It's magic, reality breaks down when it comes to magic so there really isn't any guidance of what can or can't be done."

    When you try to do similar feats using mundane options there is a HELL of a lot more mental gymnastics DM's tend to go through to explain why you can't do something.

    100% agree.

    Quote:
    The parity isn't really there in those cases and purely martial / mundane characters end up losing out there.

    There is no parity. As soon as you have a class that can use "magic" and one that can't, you have to go out of your way to keep the magic using class (no pun intended) in check. The problem is the players have come from a system that the magic using classes were totally dominant, so there is no way to make them happy.

    What complicates this problem even more is that the game can't really have a class be totally ineffectual in terms of damage. Regardless of whether that is "balanced" or not, it doesn't sell and you have players who refuse the bargain and demand that they be good at damage. This thread starts out with the OP complaining that despite being able to 12d6 umpteen NPCs with fireball, the casters aren't getting Barbarian level damage on every round of the fight and that is a problem. Why is there such an expectation to begin with?


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    Single Target and Multi Target damage are two entirely different beasts as well. You can say that Fireball can't do the same amount of damage to one or two targets that a Barbarian can do in a single round... But while that may be a factual statement it doesn't really have any implications. There is no comparison.

    If someone is arguing that they want the flexibility to be able to do a large amount of damage to a single target with a spell with less investment then I'm all for that. Having a single target damage spell that takes one or two actions and does comparable damage would definitely be welcome.

    It should be scaled to comparable ranged damage as well unless it's made as a touch attack.


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    Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber

    We may not agree about the Ranger but we sure do agree here, N N.

    There need to be feats that martials can achieve that casters struggle to replicate, because the reverse will always be true.

    I have perhaps a little more faith that Paizo will find a happy medium, but I do agree that I would have liked to see a more sweeping paradigm shift.


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    Gloom wrote:
    My opinion is that Martials should be able to accomplish nearly the same things as a Magic Users when it comes to utility.

    This gets brought up a lot. IMO, you can't do this and have a robust class system. There has to be box in which each class operates. Giving magic to martials makes the problem worse not better if you want the benefits of having classes.

    Quote:

    They should be able to do it through the use of magical components, focuses, and time in the form of rituals.

    Additionally, they should be able to craft magical equipment without huge requirements on personal spellcasting ability provided they invest their skills and feats accordingly and can supply the necessarily magical components.

    Think about how that impacts a player's desire to play other classes? If I can do all the crafting and combat and magic and utility I want from one class...any class, then the kills the replayability of the game. What motivation do I have to play another class if any class gives me access to all the same bells and whistles?

    If you are going to have a class based system, then restrictions are an inherent part of that design scheme. There absolutely has to be things that are unaccessible. This is why I think multi-classing undermines the game and why Paizo tried hard to make it more reasonable in PF2.

    Quote:
    Because of this I do think that everyone should be able to bring similar utility and damage to the group albeit using different sources and styles.

    I think this is what 4e tried to do and it didn't' work out so well. There has to be a substantive difference between playing a Fighter and Wizard. And no Fighter/Wizard should be better at a being a Fighter or a Wizard.


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    MaxAstro wrote:
    I have perhaps a little more faith that Paizo will find a happy medium, but I do agree that I would have liked to see a more sweeping paradigm shift.

    I have less faith because I think the problems are beyond Paizo. There is simply no way to bring casters in check without upsetting a vocal contingent of players. I compare it to a car race. Casters have been driving BMW M3s while martials drive around in Nissan Maximas. You can't put an experienced driver who has been driving an M3 into a Maxima and have them continue to enjoy the experience. Especially when drivers are looking at lap times, top speed, and braking and handling. The Maxima is no M3 and there is no hiding it.

    Paizo needs to put the caster class into a Maxima and there's no way that is going to meet with general approval from the casters. It doesn't matter how many USB chargers they include or electronic seat adjusters, if the car doesn't accelerate like they're use to, they aren't going to buy it.

    At best, Paizo can try and chip away. Maybe take a few HP off of the engine at max HP, a half second off of the 1/4 mile. They inherited the problem and it's not reasonable to expect them to solve it in one iteration.


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    Gloom wrote:
    Single Target and Multi Target damage are two entirely different beasts as well. You can say that Fireball can't do the same amount of damage to one or two targets that a Barbarian can do in a single round... But while that may be a factual statement it doesn't really have any implications. There is no comparison.

    There is a comparison and it has to do with context. If one class can do an AoE and one cannot, then the classes are intended to be effective under different circumstances. The problem is that if players of one class or one category of classes expect to be effective in all circumstances and the other class is only effective in one circumstance, then you have an inherent design problem.

    The problem is that the opening post discounts the ability to do 12d6 as not being relevant to the single target damage discussion. But it is. It tells us that the class is not/should not be as effective at single target damage if it has this massive AoE the other classes do not. But players don't care. They don't care about what advantage they have that the other classes don't have, they only care about what advantage they don't have.


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    N N 959 wrote:
    This gets brought up a lot. IMO, you can't do this and have a robust class system. There has to be box in which each class operates. Giving magic to martials makes the problem worse not better if you want the benefits of having classes.

    If you utilize systems that make it time consuming and resource intensive such as through the use of rituals then it's pretty much the same as giving a caster the ability to spend their own class resources ala spell slots to accomplish things that Martials are known for. It keeps people within their own box while allowing them to step out of it infrequently with effort.

    N N 959 wrote:

    Think about how that impacts a player's desire to play other classes? If I can do all the crafting and combat and magic and utility I want from one class...any class, then the kills the replayability of the game. What motivation do I have to play another class if any class gives me access to all the same bells and whistles?

    If you are going to have a class based system, then restrictions are an inherent part of that design scheme. There absolutely has to be things that are unaccessible. This is why I think multi-classing undermines the game and why Paizo tried hard to make it more reasonable in PF2.

    Crafting is still something that should need some investment, the fact that Second Edition requires you to gain enough proficiency in the skill, and pick up the necessary skill feats is more than enough of a burden on the player to allow for crafting magical items.

    It's not something that every player is going to invest in but saying that it's not an option simply because they're not a caster is a poor excuse.

    N N 959 wrote:
    I think this is what 4e tried to do and it didn't' work out so well. There has to be a substantive difference between playing a Fighter and Wizard. And no Fighter/Wizard should be better at a being a Fighter or a Wizard.

    You may be misunderstanding what I'm saying here. I'm not fighting for a bland classless system, but allowing each class to bring their own form of utility and damage to a group dynamic is an important feature of a game.

    Saying that one class doesn't really have much utility or flexibility while the other is capable of filling any other such role is silly.

    When it comes to the Fighter/Wizard multiclass conversation I actually think that Second Edition did that pretty well with the Multiclass Dedication feats. They're able to pick up a decent number of spells to bring some magic to their toolkit but end up sacrificing a decent number of class feats to do so. That's a pretty reasonable cost if you ask me.


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    Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber
    N N 959 wrote:

    I have less faith because I think the problems are beyond Paizo. There is simply no way to bring casters in check without upsetting a vocal contingent of players. I compare it to a car race. Casters have been driving BMW M3s while martials drive around in Nissan Maximas. You can't put an experienced driver who has been driving an M3 into a Maxima and have them continue to enjoy the experience. Especially when drivers are looking at lap times, top speed, and braking and handling. The Maxima is no M3 and there is no hiding it.

    Paizo needs to put the caster class into a Maxima and there's no way that is going to meet with general approval from the casters. It doesn't matter how many USB chargers they include or electronic seat adjusters, if the car doesn't accelerate like they're use to, they aren't going to buy it.

    At best, Paizo can try and chip away. Maybe take a few HP off of the engine at max HP, a half second off of the 1/4 mile. They inherited the problem and it's not reasonable to expect them to solve it in one iteration.

    I have been fairly vocal for a while that the solution I want is to put martials into M3s. I want my martial characters to have just as much flagrant disregard for the laws of physics as my casters do. Path of War (and later, Spheres of Might) was a revelation in what martials could be.

    The problem, though, is that parallel to the caster players who don't want to give up their M3s you have the martial players who have been driving Maximas since 1983 and they like it, and you kids with your fancy sports cars are trying to kill the inherent nobility of suffering with a Maxima's crap turning radius.


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    N N 959 wrote:
    Paizo needs to put the caster class into a Maxima and there's no way that is going to meet with general approval from the casters.

    Kind of hate that I'm letting myself participate in another of these threads, especially that this is all water under the bridge, but the conversation is civil and interesting.

    I've thought about this for a while and I'm not sure I agree with the fundamental assumption. I think you're close, but that there was an opportunity here.

    What I think I might've done to spellcasters would be to adjust the assumption...

    First, I'd nerf damage-dealing spells significantly. That's just not what casters should be doing. That inherently would let martial's contribution be more significant.

    Second, I'd do away with most or all of the per-day limited spell slots. Kill that trope with fire. A fighter gets to swing their axe an unlimited number of times per day to do what they do: damage. A wizard's baseline should also be unlimited times per day.

    Third, because of the above two changes, I'd have the ability to scale my non-damage-dealing spells such that their efficacy would be roughly in line with a fighter. Meaning... something like hold monster would take - on average - four rounds to succeed. This could be done by either setting DCs so that odds of a fight-ending spell succeeding would be low per-casting (and with unlimited slots it wouldn't be so damned infuriating as was the playtest). Or, it could be done by introducing a new pool of mental resilience "brain hit points". I don't have this idea fully fleshed out, but basically failed saves against (non-damage) spells would ablate BHP until a creature succumbs.

    In the end, the idea would be to give martials their niche, while preserving the ability for spellcasters to have high-impact spells... that wouldn't simply be fight-enders in the first round. Indirect things like wall of stone is battlefield control, and it would be offset by a rich set of non-stabbing actions for martials, such as combat maneuvers. Tripping, grappling, dirty tricks, reposition and so on should be as useful as silent image. And the final category of spell, utility, such as teleport could be left the heck alone as those - like healing - are there to benefit the entire party and it really doesn't matter who causes them to happen. Heck, shift those into rituals anyone can perform for all I care.

    So, I believe that the assumption that spellcasting couldn't retain its basic form while being rebalanced isn't accurate... it just would've required some effort, mostly centering on killing of Vancian slot limitations.

    Liberty's Edge

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    Personally, I don't think Martials need to have the swiss army toolbox of casters to be as good, nor would it entirely make sense for them to be able to do everything casters should be able to. Some specialties (ie: being the one who can transport the party across continents or to other planes), should remain caster only.

    What I hope, and we seem well on the way to achieving, is for martials to be as good within their areas of specialty as casters can be using spells, and for their actual stats (ie: to-hit, AC, HP, probably even Saves) to be notably better.

    The combination of not being overshadowed in their area (and, indeed, being able to do better than someone relying on spells in it due to repeatability) and being flat-out better statistically seems pretty achievable to me, and makes for a good balance point with the wider range of tricks a caster will have.

    Now, we aren't there yet. In order to meet the first goal we really need better and more epic Skill Feats, and for even Fighters to get more of them than Casters do. The second we seem well on our way to achieving, though a bit of finessing the numbers might well still be useful.

    And even if we don't get the above changes, casters and martials remain notably closer in PF2 than they ever were in PF1, which is at least a solid improvement even if not a solution.


    Pathfinder Rulebook Subscriber
    Anguish wrote:
    N N 959 wrote:
    Paizo needs to put the caster class into a Maxima and there's no way that is going to meet with general approval from the casters.

    Kind of hate that I'm letting myself participate in another of these threads, especially that this is all water under the bridge, but the conversation is civil and interesting.

    I've thought about this for a while and I'm not sure I agree with the fundamental assumption. I think you're close, but that there was an opportunity here.

    What I think I might've done to spellcasters would be to adjust the assumption...

    First, I'd nerf damage-dealing spells significantly. That's just not what casters should be doing. That inherently would let martial's contribution be more significant.

    Second, I'd do away with most or all of the per-day limited spell slots. Kill that trope with fire. A fighter gets to swing their axe an unlimited number of times per day to do what they do: damage. A wizard's baseline should also be unlimited times per day.

    Third, because of the above two changes, I'd have the ability to scale my non-damage-dealing spells such that their efficacy would be roughly in line with a fighter. Meaning... something like hold monster would take - on average - four rounds to succeed. This could be done by either setting DCs so that odds of a fight-ending spell succeeding would be low per-casting (and with unlimited slots it wouldn't be so damned infuriating as was the playtest). Or, it could be done by introducing a new pool of mental resilience "brain hit points". I don't have this idea fully fleshed out, but basically failed saves against (non-damage) spells would ablate BHP until a creature succumbs.

    In the end, the idea would be to give martials their niche, while preserving the ability for spellcasters to have high-impact spells... that wouldn't simply be fight-enders in the first round. Indirect things like wall of stone is battlefield control, and it would be offset by a rich set of non-stabbing...

    Definitely some interesting ideas in here. The Green Lantern fan in me likes the idea of chipping away at a pool of resolve and will power with save or suck spells. I worry it would be a little complex for tracking purposes, and I think this plus ditching spell slots would probably take Pathfinder too far from its D&D roots for the taste of most people. But it certainly sounds like a system that could be worth trying.


    Anguish wrote:
    Kind of hate that I'm letting myself participate in another of these threads, especially that this is all water under the bridge..

    I know...I know. Essentially all of what we are saying has been said before. I can imagine Paizo and WotC have had these conversations, or versions of them, every work day for the last ten years. But the problem remains. I suppose the conceit is that maybe one of us will frame the problem in a way that triggers insight for Paizo.

    Anguish wrote:
    N N 959 wrote:
    Paizo needs to put the caster class into a Maxima and there's no way that is going to meet with general approval from the casters.
    I've thought about this for a while and I'm not sure I agree with the fundamental assumption. I think you're close, but that there was an opportunity here.***So, I believe that the assumption that spellcasting couldn't retain its basic form while being rebalanced isn't accurate.

    That isn't what I am saying. Spell casting can be rebalanced...under any system. The issue is not that it can't be rebalanced, the issue is that if you rebalance it, casters won't be telling the "same stories" as they did in PF1.

    Paizo problems is not that they can't "balance" casters on the fairness spectrum, it's that the people who play casters won't enjoy a "fair" system that's based on reduction of their power. And if the goal of PF2 was to eliminate/reduce rocket-tag, then there is only one direction you can take full casters. You can't please everyone and believing that you can is only going to result in no one being truly happy.

    Quote:
    What I think I might've done to spellcasters would be to adjust the assumption..

    There are lots of approaches and possible ways to make the game more fair. All of them involve some substantive change for some number of classes and the players who are emotionally invested in them. The question is who are you going to prioritize?

    Quote:
    In the end, the idea would be to give martials their niche, while preserving the ability for spellcasters to have high-impact spells... that wouldn't simply be fight-enders in the first round. Indirect things like wall of stone is battlefield control, and it would be offset by a rich set of non-stabbing...

    I can imagine Paizo thinks that's what they are doing, giving martials their niche, but allowing casters to still have powerful spells and impact the game. But I'll repeat the problem: Casters have been doing it all. So the second you start taking things away from them, they start complaining. Look at this very thread. It results from a player upset that the casters aren't competing with martials in DPS.

    I'm going to ask anyone again: Why does the OP have the expectation that the casters should be doing comparable damage to the martials? Is there an expectation that martials should be doing comparable AoE damage as casters? Do Barbarians expect to impact social interactions the same way as Bards? Do Fighters expect to channel heal like Clerics?

    There is an asymmetric set of expectations as to what should be achievable by casters and it's a direct result of what happened in 3.5/PF1.


    N N 959 wrote:
    Gloom wrote:
    My opinion is that Martials should be able to accomplish nearly the same things as a Magic Users when it comes to utility.
    This gets brought up a lot. IMO, you can't do this and have a robust class system. There has to be box in which each class operates. Giving magic to martials makes the problem worse not better if you want the benefits of having classes.

    Then you probably need to define the box the casters operates in, and saying 'casting spells' isn't good enough because that's the tools they use rather than an actual limitation on what it's possible for a caster to do. It might be that what's needed is narrower caster classes which are more like the Warmage, Beguiler and/or Dread Necromancer. Clerics could be like the specialty priests from 2e, with significantly limited spell lists so a cleric of a god of war and death doesn't cast healing spells and improve fertility the way the priests of an agricultural god would. No being Merlin one day, Koschei the Undying the next, and Doctor Strange a few days later - unless fighters get to be Guan Yu one day and Hou Yi the next.


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    Bluenose wrote:
    Then you probably need to define the box the casters operates in, and saying 'casting spells' isn't good enough because that's the tools they use rather than an actual limitation on what it's possible for a caster to do. It might be that what's needed is narrower caster classes which are more like the Warmage, Beguiler and/or Dread Necromancer. Clerics could be like the specialty priests from 2e, with significantly limited spell lists so a cleric of a god of war and death doesn't cast healing spells and improve fertility the way the priests of an agricultural god would. No being Merlin one day, Koschei the Undying the next, and Doctor Strange a few days later - unless fighters get to be Guan Yu one day and Hou Yi the next.

    This is exactly what I think Paizo should have done. Rather than nerf spells, they should have forced casters to pick schools of magic. Every level you pick a school of magic you want to advance in and that is the only school of magic you advance in. You only get some fixed number of spell levels, like fourteen. So you can be a 10th level caster in Evocation, but then you'll only get 4th level spells in Divination.

    This way, spells can continue to be really powerful, but as a player you have to pick your area of focus. You don't get access to the entire toolbox of spells. This way players continue to feel powerful and game changing, but the circumstances under which they can do that are now very narrow.


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    Eh, no thanks. Narrowing stuff down to limited schools results in a lot of samey casters because one category is better than another. It’s a substantially worse experience for the caster, and a slightly worse experience for everyone who has to keep seeing the same three schools with similar spell loadouts.


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    It's not a terrible idea, but I'd rather tackle it in a more narrow sense - also, it's an idea that really only should apply to Wizards, since they are the casters that care about schools as their thing.

    Basically I would like to see the Arcane spell list massively stripped back so that it has less overlap with the other lists, and the core of the list just be spells that really fit the theme of the list - much like how the Primal list is for the most part just in-theme spells. Then, allow specialist Wizards to cherry pick spells of their school from other lists, either from a limited list or just anything from that school.


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    I think P2 keeping Vancian spellcasting is a marketing choice to try to help them keep a significant niche. I think it and the choice to have a 10th level individual be so naturally more significant than a 1st level is a core aspect of catering to their perceived niche.

    I don't hate Vancian, but admit it is something I've seen so many variants that move away from it, that all feel at least as good, if not better from a game play perspective for me. But I'm also fine with it. It is a little non-intuitive, but is something you get used to. It is also something very easy to house-rule to a variety of other options.

    I would be really sad to see spellcasters become all, at-will unlimited use abilities. That just isn't the nature of such spellcasters in DnD like genre for me. Not that I'm not open to some sort of class that might be able to have something reminiscent, but it wouldn't be the iconic wizard, sorcerer or mage. On the other hand, I'm perfectly fine with cantrips, and even the idea of cantrips doing a better job of scaling as they level. As long as their bigger more significant spells are limited use.

    I also however remember the days of spellcasters, especially the mage, being a bit of a glass cannon. They had powerful abilities that were otherwise far more limited, and they didn't want to be in the mix of the really nasty things, as they didn't generally fare well there. This was a big concern at low levels, and became less problematic at higher levels, but never completely irrelevant, as they do get significant defenses at higher levels, most all of them depended on magic, so if they somehow lost the enchantment, items, or entered a non-magic zone, they were in deep trouble. I have to admit having a bit of nostalgia for this concept, and the idea of spellcasters being less distanced from armor and weak HP without some significant other investment is a bit of a disappointment for me personally.

    One thing I do worry about, is the idea that it sort of seems like spellcasters' cantrips are scaled to replace a figher's ranged weapons and do comparable damage right out of the gate. In some cases in games, they even seem to be more powerful than a starting fighter's natural weapons. This seems plain wrong. The fighter has to have their weapon, they have to have their ammunition, and they have to keep replacing their ammunition, and they have to have their skill with the weapon in order to achieve a proper hit and do their damage. In a lot of cases, they also have to move in and engage in melee to get the better damage.

    But a wizard simply (if they even bother thinking about it) buys a spell component pouch once for a price less than a pouch of bandages, and they can cast spells up to 9th level an unlimited time for free... zero ammunition cost.

    Now lets look at a gunslinger in 1st edition. They get the benefit of hitting touch AC in short ranges, but end up having to have a class feature to give them a functional but broken weapon, and the ability to make ammunition at 1/10 cost, that is still at that price anywhere from 10x to 100x the cost of most ammunition. Basically, every shot costing you 1gp or more accurately 1.1gp per shot. Crossbowmen pay some .1gp per shot, and archers some .05gp per shot. Slingers, don't do much damage, but pay some .01gp per shot. However, wizards (and for that matter even other spellcasters for that matter) however do their damage for free.

    However, at least for me, most wizards seem the generally be purveyors of rare and magical ingredients that are often costly and are generally seen as wealthy movers and shakers in their community. Why does a gunslinger have to pay lots for their 'gunpowder' magic, and magic users simply spawn magic out of nowhere. Would it make sense for magic users to be more dependent on material components and that could even be more of an explanation for the nature of having prepared spells. Where casting 1st level spells typically cost 1gp in materials, and maybe 2nd level spells could cost more, say 4gp, 3rd level spells could be 9gp, and so on. Cantrips are an interesting question, maybe they wouldn't expend materials, or maybe make them traditionally around 1sp in cost instead. Making the cost a factor in their limitations. [fighters are after all limited by their materials, at least for ranged abilities] Ok, I'm not sure if my suggested costs are set in P2 silver standard, or the old P1 Gold Standard, I realized that I started off looking at the firearms pricing from P1 as a bit of a start. So you might change GP to SP and SP to CP instead, although 1GP, was high, it also was still less than the list cost of spellcasting services.

    You know, this would also make it more significant for a priestess of Sarenrae giving out free healing. It might not actually be 'free' to her. But for divine prepared casters, you could allow them to pray and produce divine components by spending extra time in prayer. Basically, using a form of downtime to produce, raw divine materials. In fact, they could lead themselves and potentially other followers in a ceremony that might allow the followers to increase the quantity of materials produced. Wizards or other prepared casters would have the ability to spend time in downtime, producing raw spell-casting materials from things that are otherwise available.

    Sorcerers, of course are often not supposed to be tied to such component requirements, but perhaps that is part of why they are limited in the number of spells they can know, as their body can only attune to being the material component of a certain number of spells.

    These might make sense in world, might explain how many wizards are seen as wealthy power brokers, or reclusive seldom seen hermits. Those tied into the economy are probably buying components, and turning them around and selling services to get money to turn around and gain more resources. The hermits spend time away from people, casting spells when needed, but then going back and replenishing their resources. This actually seems to bring in another layer of balance back. It would mean that it wouldn't be as bad to imagine a fighter needing to spend on a material, magic sword, a big ticket item, because the wizard is either spending money on their spells, and/or boosting their spellcasting even more, by buying staves or wands, or even getting scrolls or potions to get extra slots.

    This might mean that Alchemist, instead of having free reagents, instead might get reagents that are priced somewhat like spells, and provide them with a quick but limited creation of their daily supplies. This would also work potentially for gunslingers who might have a quick cheap way of making personal gunpowder that only they or potentially another gunslinger could use.

    Anyway, yes, all the classes got a little nerfed in certain aspects going to second edition. Things like scaling skill feats have really good potential to allow marshals to feel awesome about things they have invested in. Class feats will hopefully also provide this option. I hope some of the class feats will offer some spectacular things, while other may provide less over-the-top bonus, but that are still something that can be rewarding for someone to pick. Allowing someone who doesn't want a more 'super' feel can choose a feat that isn't magic feeling, but is none the less still feels valuable to the character.

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