Explain 2e to an idiot (and some other discussion on 2e)


Pathfinder Second Edition General Discussion

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I haven't really kept up with what was going on with pathfinder, and I decided to recently read through the 2e material that's available and.. to be completely blunt I don't get any of it. Granted I know I'm reading the Playtest rather than anything that's been released, but.. So far all I seem to understand is..

1: Classes have unique 'feats' in place of nailed down class features for the most part, and these 'feats' might use different actions.
2: the action economy seems to have been streamlined, although I don't understand exactly how it works so far.
3: I wouldn't accuse it of "Stealing" anything, but Bards are now full casters like in 5e (and they can get a miniature version of Colleges with Lore, Maestro, and Polymath.), it uses the Proficiency stat in place of BaB and Skill Ranks
3: The new style of character creation by using your character background to increase stats is pretty cool.
4: Apparently doomsday dawn WASN'T SUPPOSED TO BE AN ACUTAL CAMPAIGN OR SOMETHING? (Caps because I am very, Very confused on this fact and am kinda glad I didn't actually play doomsday if it's not actually supposed to be fun)
5: Archetypes are now... feats?

Feel free to kinda treat me like an idiot (like the title says) since.. I understand some general things, but really don't get like 95% of what is actually going on.

1: is something like Magus making a return? I get the idea that you can just multi class into the opposite class (casters going into fighting and fighters going into casting) but I thought it was worth asking.
2: I heard somewhere else in forums that apparently heavy armor is actually really bad now?
3: Less a discussion point and more something that interests me. Apparently Shields are finally good, and My Boy Valeros has a shield now.
4: Kinda along the magus line, will a Witch or Warlock class be a thing?
5: Will Multiclass choices have their own archetype feats? (Example like a Wizard Fighter getting their own 'magus' feats)


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1) as of now, unless I'm missing something, we haven't heard anything about classes outside the core other than the cavalier archetype. Multiclass archetype is presently the closest to that.

2) News to me, but I think people say that all the time lol

3) yes! Shields have to be raised as an action, but if you do so, you can use it to deflect part (or all) of an attack as a reaction. Its neat

4) see 1

5) see 1. Though I'm hoping that that is a thing, because that would be awesome


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First section -

1. In many ways, Class Feats is a more general way to do things like Rogue talents/Witch hexes/Alchemist discoveries - basically, lots of classes in PF1 had "every other level, choose an ability from this list". Class feats sort of tap into that space. "Feat" in general is now used for "Any ability you select from a list that isn't a spell" so you have class feats, skill feats, general feats, and probably some other ones.

2. You have three actions each turn, plus a reaction in between turns. Some things take more than one action, these are called "activities". For example, spells often take two actions. There is no longer any split between standard action, move action, full-round action, or swift action - it's just actions.

3. Yes.

4. Doomsday Dawn was a bit weird. Three of the adventures in it were sequels where you played the same characters at different levels (the first, the last, and one in the middle). The other adventures were more designed to stress-test various aspects of the system, such as "given a party of all healers, how far can they go in the face of escalating waves of undead?", albeit with a plot that fit into the overall narrative.

5. Yes, though the details will probably change in the final release (which will only have multiclass archetypes). An archetype is represented by a core feat that gives you some abilities, and then opens up some other feats. Some of those feats might be General, others might be Skill or Class feats. This lets Paizo make general archetypes (e.g. Pirate) rather than a whole bunch of archetypes for different classes (Pirate Wizard, Pirate Fighter, Pirate Rogue, etc.), and let the player choose what aspects to swap out.

Second round -
1. Reply hazy, ask again later. It's possible that the multi-class archetypes may make hybrid classes redundant. We'll see. We'll likely not see the Magus return as is though, since PF2 has done away with less-than-full casters.

2. Don't know.

3. Yes.

4. The Witch is one of the more popular PF-specific classes, and will likely return in some form. A popular theory is that the Witch will be a prepared Occult caster, to differentiate it more from the Wizard.

5. In the playtest, the multi-class feats were all about incorporating aspects of the other class. It would be a pretty cool idea though to have some feats that play off the hybridization, so a fighter with a wizard multiclass (or the other way around) could do some things that neither a fighter nor a wizard could do.


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First for your points:

1 - Yes, that's basically it.
2 - Yes it is streamlined and IMO a lot more fun. Staffan explained it pretty well.
3 - Worded kind of weirdly, but yes, Bards are full casters and we have a unified math for almost everything with proficiency, just like 5e.
3 again - I don't personally like it but I can see the appeal.
4 - Doomsday Dawn was a stress test. It was not supposed to be a fun adventure indeed. Although some groups (mine included) managed to have fun with it, the adventure was created with testing mechanics and math as its main purpose.
5 - The main way to get Archetypes now is via feats, yes. You pick a dedication feat that gives you some basic features and then you can use more feats to get more features from that archetype. Multiclassing works this way as well. However, Paizo has confirmed that PF1-Style Archetypes (replacing features) will be a thing in PF2 eventually.

Now the questions:

1 - No news on that one.
2 - It was really bad in the Playtest, too many downsides for very little benefit. However, Jason has confirmed that heavy armor is getting buffed, you will be able to reduce the movement penalty from armor by having high Strength and possibly other things as well.
3 - Shields were pretty good in the Playtest and they seem even better from what we know about the final version.
4 - No news on that one either, but I feel it's very likely.
5 - On the Playtest they didn't. They could have in the final version, we don't know yet, but I don't feel this one is very likely.


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Pathfinder Rulebook Subscriber

1. Class feats replace talents/discoveries/etc. Only now, every class gets them.
2. Three actions, one reaction. Multiple attacks take iterative penalties, and spells are one action per component.
3. Yeah, but proficiency is different, and there are some other changes (Sorcerer is no longer strictly an arcane caster, for instance).
3. Character creation’s stat gen is nice, yeah.
4. Doomsday Dawn was to playtest with. It was designed to get useful data first and foremost.
5. Archetypes are class feats. It like archetypes trading talents/discoveries, but now you trade the ones you want. We will eventually get class archetypes (PF1-style archetypes that trade fixed features out)- the core rule book includes the rules for them to come later.

1. Wizard includes some feats to support Magus-like play to tide you over. Magus is a pretty fundamental idea, so I’d expect us to get it at some point.
2. We have learned that the final version will have high strength reduce some armor drawbacks (movement speed at least).
3. Yep!
4. Very likely to be getting Witch eventually because it was one of the most popular non-core classes. Warlock was not a Pathfinder class; the closest was Kineticist.
5. No. This is just math; if you did one feat for each pairing of two classes, it would be 66 feats for core classes alone.

Liberty's Edge

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1. As others note, Class Feats are basically a unified term for Rogue Talents/Alchemist Discoveries/Rage Powers, etc. All Classes now get them.

I feel it's also worth noting that Classes do also get Class Features, and not necessarily even a lot fewer than First Edition. Rogues still get Sneak Attack, Evasion, and most of their other features, for example.

2. You get three actions, and almost everything costs 1 to 3 actions to do, with 1 action by far the most common. There are also Reactions, which are basically Immediate Actions (and you get one of per turn...there are no Swift Actions), and Free Actions, which work mostly the same as they always have.

3. Agreed, more or less. Paizo's Proficiency system is a lot more fine grained than 5E's and I quite prefer it, and level matters several orders of magnitude more, but there's some definite structural similarities.

4. It was primarily a test of the stress points of the system. They tried to make it fun, too, but that was always secondary to it being a good test, and it showed.

5. Archetypes are modular, with the ability to spend Feats to get each feature of them individually. So if you just want one or two things from the Archetype, you just take one or two Feats in it.
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1. Unclear. They may make it an Archetype rather than a Class, or just add some Class Feats to Wizard to make it work better. Or they might make it a Class again.

2. It wasn't great in the playtest, since Armor Bonus + Max Dex Mod was the same for Light armor as Heavy and Heavy continued to have movement reduction and Armor Check Penalties. They've noted that the movement penalties, at least, will be removed or reduced by high Str in the final version. So it's better in the final version, possibly much better.

3. Yep. Shields are solid. You do less damage than the two-handed weapon user, but the defensive advantages are really excellent. You can also still TWF with a shield, if you so desire.

4. Warlock was never really a thing in Pathfinder. As the two most popular Classes not in the core rules, it's extremely likely Oracle and Witch will be making a comeback as full Classes. Other Classes are iffier, and many may not be back (or not as full Classes, anyway), but I'd be deeply shocked if those two didn't return, and probably quite soon.

5. Probably not exactly (that would get really niche to have for every Class combo), but it's very possible for a Fighter Multiclass Feat to have a prerequisite like 'ability to cast 3rd level spells' or the like which would serve much the same purpose.


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Pathfinder Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber

I wouldn't say 3 is particularily fair on closer examination. Bards didn't become full casters explicitly, its that there are no longer partial casters at all. While Proficiency shares the same name as 5th Ed's System, it is utterly different in practice. 5th Ed you are either proficient or not and then everything you are proficient in scales at the same rate, in PF2E Proficiency comes on a 5 rank spread.

RPG Superstar Season 9 Top 16

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Doomsday Doom was meant to test the game. It also resolved a story line that started way back during the 3.5e days but never got finished.

There has yet to be any announcement regarding future classes. However, some classes will likely become archetypes.

You can easily create a gish character thanks to the action economy and proficiency system. You can attack and cast a spell on the same turn as long as the spell doesn't take up all your actions. I made a very effective combat sorcerer that could buff herself using one-action spells and claw people to death using her dragon claws power.

5E's proficiency system is binary while PF2's system has multiple degrees of training.


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Good to see that I got some confirmation on what I knew, though I'm still kinda confused about other aspects of it, but from my skimming I wouldn't be sure where to start asking.

About the whole "Multiclass archetype feats" since it seems some were shocked by it. I mostly thought ask since that seems like the way one would avoid needing to make things like Magus at all

Magus: Make Spellstrike or Spell Combat or other such abilities into multi class feats
Battle Herald: If Cavalier becomes a class, just add in some abilities from it as multi class feats (stuff like inspiring command or voice of authority)
Warpriest: give a few warrior-ish class feats for cleric fighter mixes.
Brawler: Fighter Monks, maybe give them the ability to retain some of their monk abilities whilst wearing some forms of armor.
Bloodrager: Just be a Barbarian Sorcerer cross with some unique abilities...

Also. reading through more classes can we PLEASE stop making classes with temporary natural attacks? I was excited to be one part draconic sorcerer one part fighter (or barbarian) but then found out that it's just a 'power' that costs an action to activate and then has a duration. Like... No one wants temporary natural attacks, any character using natural attacks wants them to be on all day.


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Warriorking9001 wrote:

Good to see that I got some confirmation on what I knew, though I'm still kinda confused about other aspects of it, but from my skimming I wouldn't be sure where to start asking.

About the whole "Multiclass archetype feats" since it seems some were shocked by it. I mostly thought ask since that seems like the way one would avoid needing to make things like Magus at all

Magus: Make Spellstrike or Spell Combat or other such abilities into multi class feats
Battle Herald: If Cavalier becomes a class, just add in some abilities from it as multi class feats (stuff like inspiring command or voice of authority)
Warpriest: give a few warrior-ish class feats for cleric fighter mixes.
Brawler: Fighter Monks, maybe give them the ability to retain some of their monk abilities whilst wearing some forms of armor.
Bloodrager: Just be a Barbarian Sorcerer cross with some unique abilities...

Also. reading through more classes can we PLEASE stop making classes with temporary natural attacks? I was excited to be one part draconic sorcerer one part fighter (or barbarian) but then found out that it's just a 'power' that costs an action to activate and then has a duration. Like... No one wants temporary natural attacks, any character using natural attacks wants them to be on all day.

Well, there are options for permanent natural attacks, like the Razortooth goblins. And at level 11 barbarians can grow the claws as a free action when they enter rage. Philosophically though I'm not sure you're correct. Transforming into a beast like creature from rage or magic is a different story than someone who is permanently beast like, and there is certainly room for both to exist. Mechanically, requiring an action to grow claws or whatever is generally balanced against needing to draw a weapon or enter a monk stance. (You could walk around out of combat holding a weapon, but that has trade offs with actually having a hand free.)

I think adding some more options to get permanent natural attacks would be cool. I think an advanced bloodline power feat that actually permanently transforms your body would be cool. But I pretty strongly disagree all natural attack options should be permanent.


On a separate exam, bards are still not full casters.
The difference between full casters, partial casters and low casters now is the number of spell slots / spell known.
Specialist Wizards and Sorcerers are full casters (4 slots/lv).
Clerics, Druids, Universalist Wizards are basically full casters (3 slots/lv, but ways to make up for that, such as slot recovery, wild shapes, powers, and channel).
Bards are partial casters (3 slots/lv).
Monks and Paladins are low casters (powers only).

There are going to be some changes to this, such as Ranger gaining spell powers (low casting) and Clerics getting a fullcasting subclass, but the idea here is that it's not about what level you gain access to, but how many spells you have.
This also affects spells known and versatility.


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Ediwir wrote:

On a separate exam, bards are still not full casters.

The difference between full casters, partial casters and low casters now is the number of spell slots / spell known.
Specialist Wizards and Sorcerers are full casters (4 slots/lv).
Clerics, Druids, Universalist Wizards are basically full casters (3 slots/lv, but ways to make up for that, such as slot recovery, wild shapes, powers, and channel).
Bards are partial casters (3 slots/lv).
Monks and Paladins are low casters (powers only).

There are going to be some changes to this, such as Ranger gaining spell powers (low casting) and Clerics getting a fullcasting subclass, but the idea here is that it's not about what level you gain access to, but how many spells you have.
This also affects spells known and versatility.

I dunno, bards feel pretty full caster-y. Compositions are very powerful. Inspire Courage is literally a cantrip that is stronger than bless (1st level spell) in like 4 different ways.

I'd say using your line of logic for distinction, sorcerers and wizards are the only "full casters." d6 hit points, 4 spells slots, no armor. Their main focus is entirely on casting their spells with just a smidge of focus spells to help round them out. Even the most defining new class feature for wizards, Quick Preparation, is dedicated to giving them more flexibility with those slots. (Which is part of why I like the idea of giving sorcerers an equivalent ability to change their spontaneous heightening with 10 minutes downtime.)

Clerics and druids feel much closer to bards than wizards/sorcerer, IMO.

Liberty's Edge

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Companion, Lost Omens, Pawns, Rulebook Subscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber

Seifter noted recently in a different thread that spont heightening has been either heavily modified or outright replaced, depending on viewpoint.


Captain Morgan wrote:
(Which is part of why I like the idea of giving sorcerers an equivalent ability to change their spontaneous heightening with 10 minutes downtime.)

WARNING: you made this up. Mark never elaborated on what the change actually entails.

It could look confusing to people mining for informations.


Ediwir wrote:
Captain Morgan wrote:
(Which is part of why I like the idea of giving sorcerers an equivalent ability to change their spontaneous heightening with 10 minutes downtime.)

WARNING: you made this up. Mark never elaborated on what the change actually entails.

It could look confusing to people mining for informations.

Yeah, well, technically Doctor Merciless made it up. But you're right, I don't want to give people the impression it is what Mark promised.


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Captain Morgan wrote:


I think adding some more options to get permanent natural attacks would be cool. I think an advanced bloodline power feat that actually permanently transforms your body would be cool. But I pretty strongly disagree all natural attack options should be permanent.

Sorry if I sounded overly angry about it, My annoyance at it is more a mechanical issue than a "I think all natural attack options in the game should be permanent", In the original pathfinder the claw abilities were pretty much entirely useless on these classes for the mostpart since you're a half-bab AND only gained them as temporary abilities with a number of uses per day. Looking at it from the gish's perspective... Assuming we want to keep Finesse and the Fire Damage.

Short Swords: Grab 2 flaming short swords to gain 1d6S+1d6F damage that you can use all day long, and still gain the agile and finesse bonuses, and you can probably spend some feats or fighter feats to become particularly good at using them. and probably buy some +4 swords down the line to use all day.
Dragon Claws: for 1 spell point each you gain exactly 10 rounds of use for 1d4S+1d4F and eventually spend your 9th level spell slots just to make them +4 (Granted I confess I don't know how common magic items are in PF2 but I could spend the same spell slot on a Wish that could probably do more than anything that those claws could (Hell, technically I could just wish my claws to be permanent by that level, or even use the permanence spell which I'm assuming is still here)

Also generally I think that abilities given by your bloodline should probably be better than a spell.


Just so you know: Powers, including the ones that grant natural attacks, auto heighten. No spell slots spent.

At the moment most powers are weaker than spells of their equivalent level but as stated they auto heighten and it’s also very easy to have more spell points than spell slots of any particular level, so more castings. Spell slots and spell points are completely separate resources and currently all casters except bards have access to both (bards instead get extra, really powerful cantrips.)

And this isn’t a sure thing but there were a lot of complaints about powers being too weak during the playtest so I’d be surprised if a lot of them don’t get a power boost.

EDIT: scratch that. I think bards do get a pool. I don’t have the playtest in front of me but I think extend performance (or whatever it’s called) and maybe one or two others run on it. Someone can correct me or extrapolate if they want. I didn’t play a bard during the playtest.


Pathfinder Pathfinder Accessories Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber

I'd also add that now Wish is a 10th level spell. (Or was it just true wish? Was there still the "limited wish" one?)


Yes. Wish and it’s equivalents on the other spell lists are10th level spells and there are no limited or true versions anymore.


Pathfinder Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber

Dragon Claws also synergizes really well with Magical Striker. Cast it then attack? Extra to hit and dice. Casting spells and attacking on other turns? Extra to hit and dice.


Captain Morgan wrote:
Ediwir wrote:
Captain Morgan wrote:
(Which is part of why I like the idea of giving sorcerers an equivalent ability to change their spontaneous heightening with 10 minutes downtime.)

WARNING: you made this up. Mark never elaborated on what the change actually entails.

It could look confusing to people mining for informations.
Yeah, well, technically Doctor Merciless made it up. But you're right, I don't want to give people the impression it is what Mark promised.

Actually, that's not what I was talking about. I was talking about giving all prepared casters Quick Preparation, similarly to how you can leave spell slots open in PF1 (this is not confirmed by any means, just an idea of mine). This idea about changing spontaneous heightening is cool though, but apparently by what Mark said, spontaneous heightening itself is not going to exist anymore, I guess?


Raylyeh wrote:

Just so you know: Powers, including the ones that grant natural attacks, auto heighten. No spell slots spent.

And this isn’t a sure thing but there were a lot of complaints about powers being too weak during the playtest so I’d be surprised if a lot of them don’t get a power boost.

Malk_Content wrote:
Dragon Claws also synergizes really well with Magical Striker. Cast it then attack? Extra to hit and dice. Casting spells and attacking on other turns? Extra to hit and dice.

Welp pardon being kind of an idiot and missing the fact that it auto heightens. (Although I'd note that the wording isn't great on that then, I'd just say it scales with caster level if I was writing it.)

And perhaps complaining about them being weak is somewhat idiotic in general... Also I think that just increasing the duration some would help.. although I'd note just one thing on complaining
Dragon Wings. it gains gets to be 60 feet for 1 minute or 10 minutes when it heightens, compared to the Fly spell which heightens to 1 hour... and in PF1 the dragon wings were permanent so I might be slightly salty.


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Pathfinder Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber
Warriorking9001 wrote:
Raylyeh wrote:

Just so you know: Powers, including the ones that grant natural attacks, auto heighten. No spell slots spent.

And this isn’t a sure thing but there were a lot of complaints about powers being too weak during the playtest so I’d be surprised if a lot of them don’t get a power boost.

Malk_Content wrote:
Dragon Claws also synergizes really well with Magical Striker. Cast it then attack? Extra to hit and dice. Casting spells and attacking on other turns? Extra to hit and dice.

Welp pardon being kind of an idiot and missing the fact that it auto heightens. (Although I'd note that the wording isn't great on that then, I'd just say it scales with caster level if I was writing it.)

That language only appears simpler because it is what you are used to. For newer players that problem doesn't exist. Their chosen language also doesn't lead to the problems with the rest of the system, such as Caster Level not existing and how much that language made multi classing suck in PF1 (and how it wouldn't work at all with PF2 multiclassing.)

For strength. They've noted that the playtest spells (especially utility ones) felt weak, and that they are seeking to improve things such as duration. On the other hand reducing the power of spells as a whole was a design goal given how dominant magic has been in previous editions.


Malk_Content wrote:


That language only appears simpler because it is what you are used to. For newer players that problem doesn't exist. Their chosen language also doesn't lead to the problems with the rest of the system, such as Caster Level not existing and how much that language made multi classing suck in PF1 (and how it wouldn't work at all with PF2 multiclassing.)

For strength. They've noted that the playtest spells (especially utility ones) felt weak, and that they are seeking to improve things such as duration. On the other hand reducing the power of spells as a whole was a design goal given how dominant magic has been in previous editions.

Touche on the first section. (Also I didn't really think about how that language made multi classing suck mostly because I basically abandoned vancian casting as soon as I found spheres of power)

I decided to put this into a spoiler because it kinda turned into a rant on how much I hate vancian magic. TLDR is that Vancian casting has a problem that you can warp reality but only so long as you have slots, and then you can't do anything:
Second I didn't really get to view firsthand how "Dominant" magic has been myself, mostly due to my lack of practical experience in playing the game (and again dropping vancian casting meant I didn't have to really think about it in hypotheticals either), but.. I think that generally the Vancian casting system is generally just somewhat imbalanced as is since they can be the most powerful characters in the entire game and warp reality, with the counterbalance being that they can only do that so long as they have spell slots left over. That just doesn't seem like good game design from my layman's perspective, and the way to balance it out would be to reduce the sheer amount of things they get to do with magic and the sheer power of those effects whilst giving them more to do when they run out of points or slots (which goes back into the whole idea of some bloodline or school powers being At Will abilities, where your evoker can't necessarily blow up entire encounters with a meteor swarm, but you can throw a somewhat useful projectile every round even if they're out of slots. The sorcerer might not be able to use every spell he has but he can still try to go in with his bloodline's first level power.)


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Warriorking9001 wrote:
Malk_Content wrote:


That language only appears simpler because it is what you are used to. For newer players that problem doesn't exist. Their chosen language also doesn't lead to the problems with the rest of the system, such as Caster Level not existing and how much that language made multi classing suck in PF1 (and how it wouldn't work at all with PF2 multiclassing.)

For strength. They've noted that the playtest spells (especially utility ones) felt weak, and that they are seeking to improve things such as duration. On the other hand reducing the power of spells as a whole was a design goal given how dominant magic has been in previous editions.

Touche on the first section. (Also I didn't really think about how that language made multi classing suck mostly because I basically abandoned vancian casting as soon as I found spheres of power)

** spoiler omitted **...

I agree with a lot of those thoughts on how magic works but at this point it might just be too baked into the system and the golarion setting. They are already buffing cantrips significantly to help make mages feel magical even when out of slots. Maybe there will be a Spheres of Power like product for 2e in a few years and that will help.


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Bardarok wrote:
I agree with a lot of those thoughts on how magic works but at this point it might just be too baked into the system and the golarion setting. They are already buffing cantrips significantly to help make mages feel magical even when out of slots. Maybe there will be a Spheres of Power like product for 2e in a few years and that will help.

Maybe in less than a few years - Mark was saying how he's happy that we'll get an Unchained equivalent towards the beginning of the edition, or to better describe what he was referring to, a product that helps you modify the rules by letting you know exactly what they do, and design new content yourself. At least this is my takeaway, if you guys have a clearer recollection please do correct me.


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Roswynn wrote:
Bardarok wrote:
I agree with a lot of those thoughts on how magic works but at this point it might just be too baked into the system and the golarion setting. They are already buffing cantrips significantly to help make mages feel magical even when out of slots. Maybe there will be a Spheres of Power like product for 2e in a few years and that will help.
Maybe in less than a few years - Mark was saying how he's happy that we'll get an Unchained equivalent towards the beginning of the edition, or to better describe what he was referring to, a product that helps you modify the rules by letting you know exactly what they do, and design new content yourself. At least this is my takeaway, if you guys have a clearer recollection please do correct me.

Ooooh! a Homebrewery guide! that would be fun. Unchained is one of my favorite PF1 books.

Liberty's Edge

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Bardarok wrote:
Roswynn wrote:
Bardarok wrote:
I agree with a lot of those thoughts on how magic works but at this point it might just be too baked into the system and the golarion setting. They are already buffing cantrips significantly to help make mages feel magical even when out of slots. Maybe there will be a Spheres of Power like product for 2e in a few years and that will help.
Maybe in less than a few years - Mark was saying how he's happy that we'll get an Unchained equivalent towards the beginning of the edition, or to better describe what he was referring to, a product that helps you modify the rules by letting you know exactly what they do, and design new content yourself. At least this is my takeaway, if you guys have a clearer recollection please do correct me.
Ooooh! a Homebrewery guide! that would be fun. Unchained is one of my favorite PF1 books.

This is correct. I'm personally pretty convinced it's gonna be one of the first couple of books out that they haven't announced yet, based on them saying that the rules for making your own monsters will be out very soon, and my suspicion that this would be the book to put those in.

But everything beyond 'soon' is personal speculation from me.


Warriorking9001: you mentioned “Vancian casting” which is a bit of a trigger word around here so I will beat others to the punch. Plus it may help someone like yourself who isn’t super familiar with the new system.

Despite the fits some people have over Vancian casting and the reduced number of spell slots I feel that as long as the overhaul Paizo promised isn’t completely botched, casters will be fine. (Other than a handful of duration increases I was actually one of the few that didn’t want the overhaul in the first place.)
The primary way to work around Vancian casting is staves which are way better in this edition. You can cover a number of contingencies with them now. As to reduced spell slots most casters can significantly extend their adventuring day by using cantrips. The attack ones are pretty competitive with magic weapons of their level. Yes a weapon is still better but they should be since they are a gold investment. They aren’t available right away but there are also magic gloves and a wand that improve your spell attacks, including cantrips, and give you some free uses of a pretty solid spell per day.

Ultimately from what I’v gathered over the last 6 months on the forums is that people are mad because despite wanting things like Vancian casting to go away, they want casters to work exactly how they did in the past. If you step back and look at the system as a whole and reevaluate things it is pretty clear that if you change your playing style a bit casters are just fine and my playtest group’s experiences bore that out. I know that you didn’t play the playtest AP but in many chapters our MVP was a caster. Most notably chapter 5, the notorious intended TPK chapter were we actually survived and a huge part of that was our wizard pretty much soloing 2 of the bosses.

I guess people just don’t like change or maybe it’s because my group plays a number of systems (only about 1 in 4 is PF) so we don’t get mentally stuck in any one. So we are able to step back and look at the whole thing without judgment and figure out different strategies. Meh, who knows.


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Personally, I think the way 5E does wizards (and PF1 did arcanists), while not strictly Vancian, represented a wonderful balance between cool fiction and play-ability without overly disrupting any setting elements. Really the best of both worlds.

Forgetting memorized (sorry...expending prepared) spells is an idea that is gone from 5E (and imo really needs to be gone from PF2 if it isn't already).


I’m not completely against removing Vancian casting. If it was to be done I agree that arcanist style would be the way to go but it would seriously mess with spontaneous casters and they’d have to be completely rebuilt. I know 5e gave the sorcerer sole access to metamagic but I don’t think that will fly in PF. There isn’t a class built entirely from spell powers (5e warlock?) but as it stands the majority of classes dip into them and they have more of a side benefit feel than a core “this is the class” feel. If they did manage it it will be a problem that will have to be fixed for every future spontaneous casting class...

As I said above, Vancian casting isn’t that bad. Hell the lower number of spell slots and condensation of the spell list makes it less of a chore as well (I admit heightening potentially complicates it a bit in return.) Add the whole it being part of the genre thing and it’s more than likely not going anywhere. I’m over it though I know others aren’t. I’ll let them die on that hill.

It’s just another thing I find pretty humorous. The general consensus that PF needs to be more complex than 5e but Vancian casting is too complex and needs to go.

Paizo Employee Designer

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Raylyeh wrote:

I’m not completely against removing Vancian casting. If it was to be done I agree that arcanist style would be the way to go but it would seriously mess with spontaneous casters and they’d have to be completely rebuilt. I know 5e gave the sorcerer sole access to metamagic but I don’t think that will fly in PF. There isn’t a class built entirely from spell powers (5e warlock?) but as it stands the majority of classes dip into them and they have more of a side benefit feel than a core “this is the class” feel. If they did manage it it will be a problem that will have to be fixed for every future spontaneous casting class...

As I said above, Vancian casting isn’t that bad. Hell the lower number of spell slots and condensation of the spell list makes it less of a chore as well (I admit heightening potentially complicates it a bit in return.) Add the whole it being part of the genre thing and it’s more than likely not going anywhere. I’m over it though I know others aren’t. I’ll let them die on that hill.

It’s just another thing I find pretty humorous. The general consensus that PF needs to be more complex than 5e but Vancian casting is too complex and needs to go.

What you have to understand, and what I learned from carefully reading and considering people's opinions online, is that the community is extremely diverse, and you're going to hear what each individual person doesn't like (and sometimes if you're lucky, what they like too). It gets easy to conflate them and think there's a contradiction, but really usually there isn't. There's just some people who want it one way and other people who want another way. And ultimately you pick a way, and you will hear from the people who didn't want that way, and that's kind of why I've seen some people talk about a no-win situation. But that's not because any individual participant is Catch-22ing you, but rather because there are many diverse groups with diverse interests and needs. That's part of why it's so important to me that the final system be much easier to modify to suit your group's preferences than PF1 (which often had many unintended side effects to any given modification). That way even if we don't go one way in the main rules, the people who like that way can have it too without too much work!


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Raylyeh wrote:

I’m not completely against removing Vancian casting. If it was to be done I agree that arcanist style would be the way to go but it would seriously mess with spontaneous casters and they’d have to be completely rebuilt. I know 5e gave the sorcerer sole access to metamagic but I don’t think that will fly in PF. There isn’t a class built entirely from spell powers (5e warlock?) but as it stands the majority of classes dip into them and they have more of a side benefit feel than a core “this is the class” feel. If they did manage it it will be a problem that will have to be fixed for every future spontaneous casting class...

As I said above, Vancian casting isn’t that bad. Hell the lower number of spell slots and condensation of the spell list makes it less of a chore as well (I admit heightening potentially complicates it a bit in return.) Add the whole it being part of the genre thing and it’s more than likely not going anywhere. I’m over it though I know others aren’t. I’ll let them die on that hill.

It’s just another thing I find pretty humorous. The general consensus that PF needs to be more complex than 5e but Vancian casting is too complex and needs to go.

I don't find Vancian casting complex; just overly specific...and as a result not a good match for the casting-as-physical-and/or-mental-energy-depletion model common to most fantasy fiction. For example, it is rather odd when a character can throw another fireball, but can't cast another magic missile because he or she has "forgotten" or "ran out of" (the vaster simpler) magic missile spell. Unless you're accustomed to the Vancian model, that sort of thing is just counter-intuitive (and dare I say jarring).

Meanwhile, the more open slot model of 5E or the Arcanist is just as easy to use, and if balanced properly preserves the need to plan ahead for non-spontaneous casters without any of the weirdness inherent in Vancian. If there is a downside, I have yet to see it.

Vancian casting is one sacred cow whose time has come.


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As I said, staves work great in this edition. A staff of evocation in particular for that situation fits the bill and I suspect will be a very common item for many casters. That’s my last word on Vancian casting. I just wanted to get it out there from the start hopefully for the OP’s benefit.


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Raylyeh wrote:
As I said, staves work great in this edition. A staff of evocation in particular for that situation fits the bill and I suspect will be a very common item for many casters. That’s my last word on Vancian casting. I just wanted to get it out there from the start hopefully for the OP’s benefit.

I don't know exactly how staves work in the final version of PF2, but I personally prefer a model where the magic comes from the caster, not a the item. Items should make one's spells better, ala Dresden Files, not do the heavy lifting. In other words, good equipment should provide an edge, not replace the caster's own ability.

Think of it this way: LeBron James needs good court shoes to compete at his very best, but no pair of shoes is going to allow me to compete with LeBron James. That's one of my main beefs with 5E (and something I think 4E -- dare I say it -- got right).


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Mark Seifter wrote:
What you have to understand, and what I learned from carefully reading and considering people's opinions online, is that the community is extremely diverse, and you're going to hear what each individual person doesn't like (and sometimes if you're lucky, what they like too). It gets easy to conflate them and think there's a contradiction, but really usually there isn't. There's just some people who want it one way and other people who want another way. And ultimately you pick a way, and you will hear from the people who didn't want that way, and that's kind of why I've seen some people talk about a no-win situation. But that's not because any individual participant is Catch-22ing you, but rather because there are many diverse groups with diverse interests and needs. That's part of why it's so important to me that the final system be much easier to modify to suit your group's preferences than PF1 (which often had many unintended side effects to any given modification). That way even if we don't go one way in the main rules, the people who like that way can have it too without too much work!

As one of the people that "fought" against Vancian Casting since I discovered the boards existed, I appreciate the way you communicate with the community, even though things didn't end up going my way in this case. Although I have been slightly disappointed by the complete lack of any questions related to this topic in the surveys, I have accepted that this is the way you and the other designers ended up wanting to go, and definitely good reasons for that.

With that said, I would like to ask you two things, Mark, if you are able to answer them, of course:

The first one is if you think houseruling this one away will be any easier than in the Playtest. I've tried to do it with the Playtest rules, but a major rework was necessary, not only in prepared casters but spontaneous casters as well. The second one is if there is going to be any mechanic in the final game that makes vancian casting a little bit less punishing. Quick Preparation was a step in the right direction but it was Wizard-exclusive in the Playtest, and probably a little bit too powerful of a mechanic to be class-exclusive. Depending on what changes, I might not even need to houserule that to make my group enjoy casters, honestly.


Bugleyman: FYI in the playtest staves allowed you to sacrifice a prepared spell or slot to cast a spell that the staff has. It also started with a number of charges each day equal to the highest level spell you can cast to cast the spells as well (so a couple extra castings.) It effectively added the staves spells to your spells prepared for prepared casters. There was some use of resonance points involved with staves and now that those don’t exist that may have changed staves a bit so this could be moot. What I’m getting at is that the staff doesn’t do anything on its own. “You” are powering it.
FYI#2 people attacking something that they admit they don’t know, looks very bad when the info is easily accessible. In the future look it up yourself before saying something. Knowledge is always a good thing!

You may continue with the raging if you’d like.

Paizo Employee Designer

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dmerceless wrote:
Mark Seifter wrote:
What you have to understand, and what I learned from carefully reading and considering people's opinions online, is that the community is extremely diverse, and you're going to hear what each individual person doesn't like (and sometimes if you're lucky, what they like too). It gets easy to conflate them and think there's a contradiction, but really usually there isn't. There's just some people who want it one way and other people who want another way. And ultimately you pick a way, and you will hear from the people who didn't want that way, and that's kind of why I've seen some people talk about a no-win situation. But that's not because any individual participant is Catch-22ing you, but rather because there are many diverse groups with diverse interests and needs. That's part of why it's so important to me that the final system be much easier to modify to suit your group's preferences than PF1 (which often had many unintended side effects to any given modification). That way even if we don't go one way in the main rules, the people who like that way can have it too without too much work!

As one of the people that "fought" against Vancian Casting since I discovered the boards existed, I appreciate the way you communicate with the community, even though things didn't end up going my way in this case. Although I have been slightly disappointed by the complete lack of any questions related to this topic in the surveys, I have accepted that this is the way you and the other designers ended up wanting to go, and definitely good reasons for that.

With that said, I would like to ask you two things, Mark, if you are able to answer them, of course:

The first one is if you think houseruling this one away will be any easier than in the Playtest. I've tried to do it with the Playtest rules, but a major rework was necessary, not only in prepared casters but spontaneous casters as well. The second one is if there is going to be any mechanic in the final game that makes vancian...

I'd say instituting the change itself is pretty easy, but keeping the new "arcanist" style caster from just being a better option than spontaneous takes a bit more work (probably either do like the actual arcanist did and ding the arcanist-style's spells per day, to keep close to baseline power level, or do the opposite and boost spells for spontaneous casters if the goal is an overall inflation in spellcaster power). But I also think that the ease-of-houserule situation was similar in the playtest.

Liberty's Edge

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Pathfinder Adventure Path, Companion, Lost Omens, Pawns, Rulebook Subscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber
Raylyeh wrote:
It effectively added the staves spells to your spells prepared for prepared casters. There was some use of resonance points involved with staves and now that those don’t exist that may have changed staves a bit so this could be moot. What I’m getting at is that the staff doesn’t do anything on its own. “You” are powering it.

As I recall, the Twitch stream included a note that most of the surveys about the Resonance Test were very positive on how staves were handled there, so I would expect to see something similar in the final.


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Personally, I like Vancian. There is something I find very Full Metal Alchemist about it. You need to prepare your spell, but it usually takes some time to do so you do a lot of it in advance. Then, when you trigger the spell, it burns itself out so you need another preparation of it. Too me, it feels like the natural, practical evolution of "Magic as rituals". I'm hoping more of the specific flavor is spelled out in 2e.

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

I like the approach of just offering all the options via different classes so everyone can be happy... And as someone who actually likes vancian, spontaneous and arcanist style for different reasons I can enjoy all the different styles on different characters (Or if I'm feeling really insane use the new multiclass to do it on one).

I'm glad Vancian didn't get removed, I just wish arcanist style also made the core (Whether on an arcanist or any other caster). Hopefully the first arcanist-style caster won't be too many books down the line.

Liberty's Edge

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Pathfinder Companion, Pathfinder Accessories Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber

I feel it is easier to put required complex systems such as Vancian magic in the CRB but as modules in the whole game rather than as required loadbearing walls. And then publish the GMG to Homebrewing with all the instructions required to remove them safely


The Raven Black wrote:
I feel it is easier to put required complex systems such as Vancian magic in the CRB but as modules in the whole game rather than as required loadbearing walls. And then publish the GMG to Homebrewing with all the instructions required to remove them safely

Tbh as I previously noted, I like vancian, but it's not a dealbreaker for me.

What IS a dealbreaker is the situation of spontaneous casters under arcanist casting.
5e tried and failed, badly. Let's learn from it.
I'll keep Vancian rather than delegating Sorcerer to the role of "sucks to be you". And if a variant ruleset shows up, I sincerely hope it will take spontaneous casters into account.

No houserule is an island. Always mind the consequences of what you change.

ps.
Yes, I am writing a homebrewed arcanist-style 2e class. DMerceless dared me. Shush. It's easier to fit a third-type caster between two than to replace a standard.


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Shisumo wrote:
Raylyeh wrote:
It effectively added the staves spells to your spells prepared for prepared casters. There was some use of resonance points involved with staves and now that those don’t exist that may have changed staves a bit so this could be moot. What I’m getting at is that the staff doesn’t do anything on its own. “You” are powering it.
As I recall, the Twitch stream included a note that most of the surveys about the Resonance Test were very positive on how staves were handled there, so I would expect to see something similar in the final.

Staves were one of the very few good parts of the Resonance Test, so hopefully they'll do things that way instead of the terrible way they were handled in the base playtest with the requirement to use a number of charges equal to spell level (along with heightening this basically meant for any spell of high enough level to be useful, it was simply one spell per day and maybe enough charges left over for a weak spell too), and the overly complex and limiting rules about only having one invested staff at a time. I'm not the biggest fan of having to share the resource with Focus Powers, but if you get more Focus points than in the Resonance Test (and they're not always Cha based for no good reason) then it might work. Especially since it's no longer shared with making all of your other magic items actually useful. Some higher level spells might need more than one focus points (possibly equal to spell level divided by 3, rounded down), but this would depend on how many you get.


I think the way to solve Vancian Arcanist thing is to give Arcanists more prepared/known spells, and sorcerers more slots. Flexibility vs. sheer firepower. As to OP's initial inquiry, that's been answered a few times over, but if you have any lingering questions after the initial wave, let me know, I'm my groups go-to rule lawyer :P It seems to me like the Magus is going to be rolled into the Eldritch Knight prestige class (and Prestige Classes are [still?] confirmed to work like the feat based Multiclasses) or something of the like, since the Grey Maiden is our only working example of that system currently, so it might have been gutted.


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Pathfinder Adventure, Rulebook Subscriber

An easy houserule for prepared casters is not requiring them to determine their very low level spells for the day. Like once you can cast 4th level spells, you don't have to predetermine your 1st level ones, they are hand-waved as open until needed.


j b 200 wrote:
An easy houserule for prepared casters is not requiring them to determine their very low level spells for the day. Like once you can cast 4th level spells, you don't have to predetermine your 1st level ones, they are hand-waved as open until needed.

I rather like this sort of thing. I'd add an action or two to have to consult the spellbook, but the basic idea is pretty sound.


Stone Dog wrote:
j b 200 wrote:
An easy houserule for prepared casters is not requiring them to determine their very low level spells for the day. Like once you can cast 4th level spells, you don't have to predetermine your 1st level ones, they are hand-waved as open until needed.
I rather like this sort of thing. I'd add an action or two to have to consult the spellbook, but the basic idea is pretty sound.

I read something like this in Unchained. It seemed a good way to avoid choosing tons of little spells you might not even use.


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Deadmanwalking wrote:
I feel it's also worth noting that Classes do also get Class Features, and not necessarily even a lot fewer than First Edition. Rogues still get Sneak Attack, Evasion, and most of their other features, for example.

I'd argue that most of those class features are just math fixing. For example, I looked at the playtest barbarian, and if you drop feats, ability boosts, and skill increases from their advancement table, it looks like this after 1st level:

3 - Critical Brutality (critical specialization while raging)
5 - Deny advantage (not flat-footed by flanking or unseen attacks by same or lower-level foes)
7 - Juggernaut (Master at Fort saves, treat success as crit)
9 - Raging Resistance (Resistance to two sorts of damage)
11 - Mighty rage (use a Rage action while raging)
13 - Improved juggernaut (legendary Fort saves, crit fail becomes fail, fail for full damage becomes half damage), Weapon fury (expert at simple and martial weapons)
15 - Indomitable will (master at Will saves, treat success as crit)
17 - Tireless rage (no fatigue after rage)
19 - Devastating strikes (reduce opponent resistance)

Out of these, I'd argue that Juggernaut, Improved Juggernaut, Weapon Fury, and Indomitable Will are "math fixers", leaving an effective 6 class features after 1st level.

Looking at the bard and other casters, there's pretty much nothing that isn't part of the basic level progression (which in their case of course includes spellcasting) or proficiency increases. For fighters, the only non-standard/non-math features are Bravery, Combat Flexibility, and Improved Flexibility.

That's all from the playtest, of course, and might have changed in the final version. But my distinct impression is that the class itself is for providing a mathematical "skeleton", and the feats are about how you apply that math.


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Pathfinder Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber
Staffan Johansson wrote:
Deadmanwalking wrote:
I feel it's also worth noting that Classes do also get Class Features, and not necessarily even a lot fewer than First Edition. Rogues still get Sneak Attack, Evasion, and most of their other features, for example.

I'd argue that most of those class features are just math fixing. For example, I looked at the playtest barbarian, and if you drop feats, ability boosts, and skill increases from their advancement table, it looks like this after 1st level:

3 - Critical Brutality (critical specialization while raging)
5 - Deny advantage (not flat-footed by flanking or unseen attacks by same or lower-level foes)
7 - Juggernaut (Master at Fort saves, treat success as crit)
9 - Raging Resistance (Resistance to two sorts of damage)
11 - Mighty rage (use a Rage action while raging)
13 - Improved juggernaut (legendary Fort saves, crit fail becomes fail, fail for full damage becomes half damage), Weapon fury (expert at simple and martial weapons)
15 - Indomitable will (master at Will saves, treat success as crit)
17 - Tireless rage (no fatigue after rage)
19 - Devastating strikes (reduce opponent resistance)

Out of these, I'd argue that Juggernaut, Improved Juggernaut, Weapon Fury, and Indomitable Will are "math fixers", leaving an effective 6 class features after 1st level.

Looking at the bard and other casters, there's pretty much nothing that isn't part of the basic level progression (which in their case of course includes spellcasting) or proficiency increases. For fighters, the only non-standard/non-math features are Bravery, Combat Flexibility, and Improved Flexibility.

That's all from the playtest, of course, and might have changed in the final version. But my distinct impression is that the class itself is for providing a mathematical "skeleton", and the feats are about how you apply that math.

By that measure I wouldn't say 1st Edition [Core] classes are any different. I mean if we take out the feat equivalent (Rage powers) I'd say the 1st edition barb is mostly math fixers as well, with maybe only Uncanny Dodge, Damage Reduction and Tireless Rage being the only non-math fixer features.

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