Speculation: Will school specialist wizards go away?


Second Edition

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Hmm. . . I’ll have to look for the source that i’m thinking of. I can see the schools as they are in the PT being treated this way, and i think it’s a good direction to go. If that ends up being the case, would that mean there would only be as many Theses as there are Schools of Arcane? Would there only be one choice for ‘Thesis of Evocation’?


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There was a pretty extensive and esoteric list of subschools in PF1. And since schools were one of the few things wizards had available to trade out, class archetypes typically wound up replacing them. So a Thesis could wind up using the design space that both schools and archetypes worked in for PF1. Pairing each thesis with a "bonus spells known" doesn't seem any harder than doing the same for each new sorcerer bloodline. Or heck, don't give each Thesis bonus spells known if it doesn't make sense, I'm sure the wizard list will still have plenty to choose from.

Again, I want to throw out there that we don't actually know if they are pruning the wizard spell list. It was identified as an issue they ran into, but I don't think they claimed to have fixed it, and they could have fixed it in other ways. Making the other lists more robust, for example. (That would take away from the essence idea though.)

Liberty's Edge

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MaxAstro wrote:

OMG Nick I think you just hit the nail on the head!

Prediction: Thesis works like Bloodline, including granting spells, and the various school specializations are among the choices of Thesis.

This is very possible. I suggested something like this as a possibility earlier in the thread.

It does bring up the question of what additional spells a Universalist would get, though.


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Pumpkinhead11 wrote:
If that ends up being the case, would that mean there would only be as many Theses as there are Schools of Arcane? Would there only be one choice for ‘Thesis of Evocation’?

I could just say 'this' to the Captains reply, but I'll agree a bit more.

A Thesis could be any focus of magic. School specializations, familiar focus, metamagic mastery, and possibly even specific training. Magaambya initiation, Harrowed Society students, Twilight Sages and others could all be filling the same design space.


I do sort think thesis is separate from school, as stuff like familiars and metamagic were first-level feats, unlike school specialization.


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Meophist wrote:
I do sort think thesis is separate from school, as stuff like familiars and metamagic were first-level feats, unlike school specialization.

I wouldn't at all be surprised to see certain Thesis choices grant free first level feats.


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The road bump on this being,
Mykah is a Universalist Wizard with a thesis on familiars.

Meaning that probably one could be a specialist and still write their thesis on familiars...


Captain Morgan wrote:


There was a pretty extensive and esoteric list of subschools in PF1. And since schools were one of the few things wizards had available to trade out, class archetypes typically wound up replacing them. So a Thesis could wind up using the design space that both schools and archetypes worked in for PF1. Pairing each thesis with a "bonus spells known" doesn't seem any harder than doing the same for each new sorcerer bloodline. Or heck, don't give each Thesis bonus spells known if it doesn't make sense, I'm sure the wizard list will still have plenty to choose from.

Then i’d say that would take care of my nitpick rather well. Wizard was one of my least favorite classes in 1e just from how barren it usually felt on class features; which leads me to not be the most familiar with what they have going for them.

Captain Morgan wrote:
Again, I want to throw out there that we don't actually know if they are pruning the wizard spell list. It was identified as an issue they ran into, but I don't think they claimed to have fixed it, and they could have fixed it in other ways. Making the other lists more robust, for example. (That would take away from the essence idea though.)

I don’t feel they will have pruned the Arcane spell list in such a short time, personally speaking. The discussion on School specialization and outside spells was more meant as a thought experiment rather than a prediction. I agree with making the other spell lists more robust, or have more focus on them; at least with future publications.


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Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Where's Mark Seifter when you need him to unofficially confirm our thoughts.

*hopes that the mere mention of his name will summon him*


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Strachan Fireblade wrote:

Where's Mark Seifter when you need him to unofficially confirm our thoughts.

*hopes that the mere mention of his name will summon him*

You didn't say his name 3 times. ;)


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I could sell you this old brass oil lamp, but we're all too afraid a blue Will Smith will emerge from it.


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Pathfinder Campaign Setting, Companion Subscriber

I'd very much like my Enchanter to be able to get a familiar right off the bat without that determining his human ancestry feat. If not, I'm glad he's human so I can still get a familiar at first level.


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graystone wrote:
Strachan Fireblade wrote:

Where's Mark Seifter when you need him to unofficially confirm our thoughts.

*hopes that the mere mention of his name will summon him*

You didn't say his name 3 times. ;)

Mark Seifter!

Mark Seifter!
MARK SEIFTER!


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Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
Roswynn wrote:
I could sell you this old brass oil lamp, but we're all too afraid a blue Will Smith will emerge from it.

Quoted for truth!


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Strachan Fireblade wrote:
graystone wrote:
Strachan Fireblade wrote:

Where's Mark Seifter when you need him to unofficially confirm our thoughts.

*hopes that the mere mention of his name will summon him*

You didn't say his name 3 times. ;)

Mark Seifter!

Mark Seifter!
MARK SEIFTER!

Nooo! Saying his name 4 times reverses the effect!


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
graystone wrote:
Strachan Fireblade wrote:
graystone wrote:
Strachan Fireblade wrote:

Where's Mark Seifter when you need him to unofficially confirm our thoughts.

*hopes that the mere mention of his name will summon him*

You didn't say his name 3 times. ;)

Mark Seifter!

Mark Seifter!
MARK SEIFTER!
Nooo! Saying his name 4 times reverses the effect!

Dammit!


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^ . . . Then shalt thou say his name three times -- no more, no less. Three shall be the number of sayings of his name, and the number of sayings of his name shall be three. Four times shall thou not say his name, neither say his name twice except that then thou shalt then say his name thrice. Five is right out.


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Pumpkinhead11 wrote:
Captain Morgan wrote:
Again, I want to throw out there that we don't actually know if they are pruning the wizard spell list. It was identified as an issue they ran into, but I don't think they claimed to have fixed it, and they could have fixed it in other ways. Making the other lists more robust, for example. (That would take away from the essence idea though.)
I don’t feel they will have pruned the Arcane spell list in such a short time, personally speaking. The discussion on School specialization and outside spells was more meant as a thought experiment rather than a prediction. I agree with making the other spell lists more robust, or have more focus on them; at least with future publications.

It wasn't a short time. They identified the problem during the playtest, because it was extremely obvious Arcane sorcerers were the superior pick out of the four spell lists. What they did next is another question, as Captain points out. Shrugging and doing nothing is certainly one approach. They could have beefed up the other lists (primal especially could have used the boost), but to be honest that seems like more work than simply pruning back the Arcane list.

Ideally, and this would have been the MOST work, they'd have started from scratch. From what Mark has said, the essences of magic were something they came up with relatively late. They were able to finalize the lists using that idea, but it wasn't there initially. So, one way to rebalance the spell lists would be to start over completely, and choose the lists with that in mind from the beginning this time. They'd have had to look at the each spell again and decide what essence(s) that spell would represent. They'd then pick 30-40 spells to really represent what each essence is, and build the four lists around those, adding flavor and thematically appropriate spells on top of those as needed.

But I kind of doubt they went that far.


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AnimatedPaper wrote:
Pumpkinhead11 wrote:
Captain Morgan wrote:
Again, I want to throw out there that we don't actually know if they are pruning the wizard spell list. It was identified as an issue they ran into, but I don't think they claimed to have fixed it, and they could have fixed it in other ways. Making the other lists more robust, for example. (That would take away from the essence idea though.)
I don’t feel they will have pruned the Arcane spell list in such a short time, personally speaking. The discussion on School specialization and outside spells was more meant as a thought experiment rather than a prediction. I agree with making the other spell lists more robust, or have more focus on them; at least with future publications.

It wasn't a short time. They identified the problem during the playtest, because it was extremely obvious Arcane sorcerers were the superior pick out of the four spell lists. What they did next is another question, as Captain points out. Shrugging and doing nothing is certainly one approach. They could have beefed up the other lists (primal especially could have used the boost), but to be honest that seems like more work than simply pruning back the Arcane list.

Ideally, and this would have been the MOST work, they'd have started from scratch. From what Mark has said, the essences of magic were something they came up with relatively late. They were able to finalize the lists using that idea, but it wasn't there initially. So, one way to rebalance the spell lists would be to start over completely, and choose the lists with that in mind from the beginning this time. They'd have had to look at the each spell again and decide what essence(s) that spell would represent. They'd then pick 30-40 spells to really represent what each essence is, and build the four lists around those, adding flavor and thematically appropriate spells on top of those as needed.

But I kind of doubt they went that far.

Given that the lists mostly came from existing lists, that would probably upset more people than anything else.

Also, it's not clear that balanced spell lists are actually what's wanted. It's the obvious approach for fixing sorcerers, but the other main caster classes can have their lists balanced with their other class features. Bards, Clerics and Druids all are better fighters than wizards. Bards get their compositions, druids get wild shape, etc. Their spell lists have long been balanced with those other abilities in mind.

In my mind, that's what made balancing the new sorcerers hard.


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thejeff wrote:
AnimatedPaper wrote:


It wasn't a short time. They identified the problem during the playtest, because it was extremely obvious Arcane sorcerers were the superior pick out of the four spell lists. What they did next is another question, as Captain points out. Shrugging and doing nothing is certainly one approach. They could have beefed up the other lists (primal especially could have used the boost), but to be honest that seems like more work than simply pruning back the Arcane list.

Ideally, and this would have been the MOST work, they'd have started from scratch. From what Mark has said, the essences of magic were something they came up with relatively late. They were able to finalize the lists using that idea, but it wasn't there initially. So, one way to rebalance the spell lists would be to start over completely, and choose the lists with that in mind from the beginning this time. They'd have had to look at the each spell again and decide what essence(s) that spell would represent. They'd then pick 30-40 spells to really represent what each essence is, and build the four lists around those, adding flavor and thematically appropriate spells on top of those as needed.

But I kind of doubt they went that far.

Given that the lists mostly came from existing lists, that would probably upset more people than anything else.

Also, it's not clear that balanced spell lists are actually what's wanted. It's the obvious approach for fixing sorcerers, but the other main caster classes can have their lists balanced with their other class features. Bards, Clerics and Druids all are better fighters than wizards. Bards get their compositions, druids get wild shape, etc. Their spell lists have long been balanced with those other abilities in mind.

In my mind, that's what made balancing the new sorcerers hard.

It’s interesting to reread this after remembering that the devs considered new sorcerer to be one of the riskier proposals and did not expect people to react this positively. Occult bard, flexible sorcerer and resonance were on the chopping block since day one.

Now that two out of three turned out to be amazingly popular... more attention might be required.


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~pours one out on the street for Resonance~

Sweet prince, you were taken before your time...

Controversial as it would be, I do hope they prune back the arcane list, though. I feel it's really the only way to have flexible sorcerers work right.


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MaxAstro wrote:

~pours one out on the street for Resonance~

Sweet prince, you were taken before your time...

Controversial as it would be, I do hope they prune back the arcane list, though. I feel it's really the only way to have flexible sorcerers work right.

I also hope that the base spell lists are small, with the arcane pruned back.

That will help create flavored variety with different class paths/abilities/blood lines/thesises...es and prevents a given caster from being able to do everything. Let the additions of different caster classes and specializations have more spotlight.


masda_gib wrote:
MaxAstro wrote:

~pours one out on the street for Resonance~

Sweet prince, you were taken before your time...

Controversial as it would be, I do hope they prune back the arcane list, though. I feel it's really the only way to have flexible sorcerers work right.

I also hope that the base spell lists are small, with the arcane pruned back.

That will help create flavored variety with different class paths/abilities/blood lines/thesises...es and prevents a given caster from being able to do everything. Let the additions of different caster classes and specializations have more spotlight.

I feel the opposite, I think the Arcane list is fine, I want the other lists to get buffed up, I want unique spells for each list that cements what that list is about. I know it was talked about somewhere about each list getting a very special and unique healing spell (save arcane, that's it's main weakness), and I want more of THAT line of thinking. Yes, Arcane has the most spells listed, but if you pad the others, it turns out about the same, except with more content for the players to enjoy.


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Designing a bunch of new spells - especially unique spells - is a lot harder than pruning, though.

And doesn't address the issue with how thematically broad arcane is. I'd much prefer "each spell list does different things" instead of "each spell list does the same things but in different ways", because I think the former gives more value to class features that let you poach other lists.


AnimatedPaper wrote:

Ideally, and this would have been the MOST work, they'd have started from scratch. From what Mark has said, the essences of magic were something they came up with relatively late. They were able to finalize the lists using that idea, but it wasn't there initially. So, one way to rebalance the spell lists would be to start over completely, and choose the lists with that in mind from the beginning this time. They'd have had to look at the each spell again and decide what essence(s) that spell would represent. They'd then pick 30-40 spells to really represent what each essence is, and build the four lists around those, adding flavor and thematically appropriate spells on top of those as needed.

But I kind of doubt they went that far.

The last update, 1.6, is dated at November 5th which makes 4 months of public play and updates. When you consider the scope of the entire Playtest and the scope of pruning and rearranging 1/4th of the spell lists, that would seem like a very short amount of time. To clarify i’m not assuming to know what Paizo is and is not capable of doing in this regard, but i have no reason to believe the spell lists will be changed drastically from the Playtest with what information we currently have.

Liberty's Edge

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion, Modules, Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Deadmanwalking wrote:
MaxAstro wrote:

OMG Nick I think you just hit the nail on the head!

Prediction: Thesis works like Bloodline, including granting spells, and the various school specializations are among the choices of Thesis.

This is very possible. I suggested something like this as a possibility earlier in the thread.

It does bring up the question of what additional spells a Universalist would get, though.

Quick Preparation for any spell while Specialists would also get it but for their school only ?


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Modules, Starfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
Pumpkinhead11 wrote:
AnimatedPaper wrote:

Ideally, and this would have been the MOST work, they'd have started from scratch. From what Mark has said, the essences of magic were something they came up with relatively late. They were able to finalize the lists using that idea, but it wasn't there initially. So, one way to rebalance the spell lists would be to start over completely, and choose the lists with that in mind from the beginning this time. They'd have had to look at the each spell again and decide what essence(s) that spell would represent. They'd then pick 30-40 spells to really represent what each essence is, and build the four lists around those, adding flavor and thematically appropriate spells on top of those as needed.

But I kind of doubt they went that far.

The last update, 1.6, is dated at November 5th which makes 4 months of public play and updates. When you consider the scope of the entire Playtest and the scope of pruning and rearranging 1/4th of the spell lists, that would seem like a very short amount of time. To clarify i’m not assuming to know what Paizo is and is not capable of doing in this regard, but i have no reason to believe the spell lists will be changed drastically from the Playtest with what information we currently have.

Technically speaking, I was considering the task of reevaluating the entire spell list, all 350+ entries. Although we should probably assume the spell-list has expanded, focus powers became spells or the reverse (I don't know that happened, but it's a reasonable thing to have occurred). So assuming there would be something like 400 spells to re-sort wouldn't be far off.

So...yes. It's a big task. I did say that. I do still think it would be worth the couple of days it would take to do it.

I think, if the wizard class needs a bloated spell list to function properly (which seems to be the consensus), then there probably needs to be a bigger divide between the arcane spell list and the spells wizards have access to. Or every other class which accesses the arcane spell list will be just as bloated. Or simply dispense with the essences and consolidated lists and just give each class their own spell list, with sorcerers freely picking between them all. I imagine that would prove to be the most popular option in the end anyways, if not necessarily with the designers.


AnimatedPaper wrote:
So...yes. It's a big task. I did say that. I do still think it would be worth the couple of days it would take to do it.

On this particular point i’ll agree to disagree, and feel a couple of days would be much too short a time frame; but that’s just in my personal opinion. Otherwise i feel we agree on most other parts.


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Pumpkinhead11 wrote:
On this particular point i’ll agree to disagree, and feel a couple of days would be much too short a time frame

It depends how familiar they are with the spells. If they have been playing with the game and know the spells well enough that they don't have to look up what they do, it wouldn't be hard to spreadsheet the spells by level and add a quick mark to each spell for it's spell list as you go down the sheet. Now if you just grabbed someone that's never looked at the spells before, yeah it'll take a long time reading up on each spell. So depending who did it, either one of you could be right. ;)


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graystone wrote:
Pumpkinhead11 wrote:
On this particular point i’ll agree to disagree, and feel a couple of days would be much too short a time frame
It depends how familiar they are with the spells. If they have been playing with the game and know the spells well enough that they don't have to look up what they do, it wouldn't be hard to spreadsheet the spells by level and add a quick mark to each spell for it's spell list as you go down the sheet. Now if you just grabbed someone that's never looked at the spells before, yeah it'll take a long time reading up on each spell. So depending who did it, either one of you could be right. ;)

I mean, doing that is one thing, but in terms of game design, it's difficult to simply make changes like that. You can make the four lists, sure, but are they fun, balanced, contain enough variety within them? A lot of this stuff needs testing. Pathfinder is a large, interconnected system, making changes in one part has ripple effects throughout the whole system.

I don't really see it as being something that can simply be done in a few days, regardless of their familiarity with the spells.


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They absolutely need to do that, but...they already have. They just did a playtest, and the finding was that the arcane list is too good when compared to the other three. Whether or not they can realistically fix that is another question. My approach would be how I would go about fixing it; there's others I'm sure.

I feel I should point out that "a couple of days" isn't just a number I made up. I literally did the same analysis I am advocating out of my own curiosity. Like, I have a spreadsheet and everything.

But realistically, they might not even have those couple of days given everything else on their plate.


Following with interest.


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AnimatedPaper wrote:

I feel I should point out that "a couple of days" isn't just a number I made up. I literally did the same analysis I am advocating out of my own curiosity. Like, I have a spreadsheet and everything.

But realistically, they might not even have those couple of days given everything else on their plate.

I absolutely believe you could rewrite the Arcane spell list in a couple days.

I don't believe, however, that you could do enough playtesting to be sure you had done it right in that time.


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Terevalis Unctio of House Mysti wrote:
Following with interest.

Not sure why. It's just the same thing said over and over.


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AnimatedPaper wrote:
Terevalis Unctio of House Mysti wrote:
Following with interest.
Not sure why. It's just the same thing said over and over.

Counting your posts too?

And please feel free to descend amidst us poor mortals on beams of sunlight and elevate the level of the debate.

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