Spell Strength

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I'm worried about enchantment. It's a favorite school of mine, but had major issues in first edition with everything being immune to mind affecting spells. The save or suck nature has been resolved with the adding critical affects to these spells, but having major portions of the bestiary immune to an entire school of magic felt like a poor decision to me. Why have such a major option if it's just a trap?

In the playtest, daze causes the same effect as flanking. So why can I flank a slime, but not daze it? Whatever mental taxing the slime is having with being attacked from both sides, I'd like my spell to reproduce that. Otherwise, it should be able to defend both sides equally well. It doesn't attack other slimes, so why can't my charm spell just make it think I'm also a slime? I know they don't have a physical brain, but they obviously have a magical one or they would just follow the chemical reactions affecting their surface.

I don't think all enchantment spells should affect brainless creatures, like verbal ones shouldn't work, but spells that rely on base impulses should work perfectly well. Even constructs and undead consider their surroundings and make decisions. They have a mind of some sort.

I don't think it's too crazy because back in the day, many of these examples were also immune to sneak attacks, but first edition made a great choice making that immunity an exception to the rule. I'd like for the same treatment applied to all character options, but enchantment is the most annoying to me right now.

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Jedi Maester wrote:
I'm worried about enchantment. It's a favorite school of mine, but had major issues in first edition with everything being immune to mind affecting spells. The save or suck nature has been resolved with the adding critical affects to these spells, but having major portions of the bestiary immune to an entire school of magic felt like a poor decision to me. Why have such a major option if it's just a trap?

I saw it as more of a trade off myself as enchantment as it has the most powerful effect: not only does it take something out of a fight but it can make it change sides and fight for the caster. The reason people make sure they don't tank will saves but don't mind ref save being low is other spells might damage you but an enchantment one might have you stabbing your cleric in the back...

So having a decent amount of monsters immune to it is a valuable tool to challenge the party. Secondly, in PF1, there where various means to affect those normally immune creatures. Impossible Bloodline with constructs, Undead Bloodline with undead, Psychic Inception for all mindless, Spirit Walker with undead [and all mindless with feat] and those are just off the top of my head.

Paizo Employee Designer

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There's way fewer monsters immune to mental in PF2 than PF1. If they have a mind, they probably are not immune. Also, in PF2, there's not a 1st level spell (with an AoE longlasting 3rd level version) that grants everyone immunity to a fair swathe of enchantment. Plus a lot of partial effects on successful saves. It all adds up to enchantment as a whole is much less likely to have their spells just fail uselessly than ever before. In exchange, it is also less likely to auto destroy the entire party of PCs or entire group of enemies; seems worth it to me for enchantment-focused characters to not have that spike of all or nothing depending on the encounter.

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Not to derail the thread as it's supposed to be about spell strength, but I'm worried about spell duration. Considering fewer spell slots and that so many spells last so much shorter than pf1, how have people dealt with this? Has there been any indication that it's a problem or being looked at?

I personally like classes that are a bit more reliable and don't need to rest constantly or be stingy all the time. I got around that in pf1 with long duration buffs or classes with a lot of at will abilities. I don't like martials, especially when a lot of their power is tied to wealth. I love the superhero-y feel of magic but I fear that aside from casting weaker cantrips, I'll feel pretty underpowered and with much less utility than pf1.

I totally understand if the demand for nerfing casters was the reason for this, and maybe it is justified. I'm okay with staying with pf1. I do like a lot of the system and I feel like a balancing reset was needed but it couldn't be for everyone!

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I remember hearing durations were increased thanks to the whole 10 minute activity deal that emerged strongly with Treat Wounds, but no specific example so far.

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There was some debate here about the role of weapons among users of magic in 2e, and from my experience as a player in the playtest, I felt a very strong incentive for having them. Most spells are 2 actions, while we are given a (usual) budget of 3 actions. If I want to be as efficient with my turns as possible, I can't help but see a single Strike as one of the best uses for it.


There were some statements above that I don't have the same experience with, such as "-5 penalty". I don't think is a problem because there are plenty of spells that target saves and don't require an attack. So, that single Strike you make should easily be no MAP.

Another was that your attack would be useless compared to a martial, which I also disagreed with. From playing as some martials, when facing any at-level or above (i.e. any meaningful) enemies, those -8/-10 iteratives often felt like wasted actions, mitigated slightly when you get keen. Therefore, anyone who's able to get 1 no-MAP Strike a turn is already getting most of the value of any Strikes from their turn.

Compared to 1e, BAB has been replaced with proficiency, so you'll both scale at the same rate, just a couple steps behind, mainly from the class stat and proficiency. Stats slowing at 18 helps to keep them close. (However, I do think that the final version replacing STR/DEX touch with main stat spell attack does help make the case for weapons a bit weaker.)

For proficiency, I didn't feel it was a very large investment in the playtest to get at least expert by using ancestries. Specifically, Human and Elf were very helpful, such as a free 9th level fighter dedication, or Elves getting longbows. It seems the weapon proficiency story for the final version of 2e is a bit different than the playtest, so it remains to be seen if this is as convenient anymore.


The nature of magic has also generally changed. 2e has heavily reduced "I win" save-or-die spells, so other than debuffs and buffs, I feel like we'll need to rely on HP damage more than in 1e to actually end the encounter. Therefore, by being able to contribute a moderate amount of regular damage, I feel I am more aligned with the contributions of the rest of my party.

To clear what I consider a misconception, magic from slots is not a source of damage that scales in quantity as you level. What I mean is, for any current level of a Wizard character, he will only have 3-4 "at-level" damage options a day from his top slots. You can stretch that with arcane bond, swapping slots, sure. But, heightening to increase damage is an illusion in growth, you are not actually getting more total actions per day to do "at-level" damage as you level up. I don't care if Fireball can heighten and do more damage, it would be heightening into the same slots as other newer spells, doing about the same damage but usually worse in some way (range, targetting, types, etc).

I will admit spells are very efficient for multitarget damage, but single target is just not there. A lot of heightening is +1 spell level = +2d6 damage, which is very similar to 1e 1d6 damage per character level. But as a point of comparison, at least for PCs our hp is full hit dice instead of average roll now. Our late game playtest fights felt very dragged out, however it does sound like this at least will be tweaked in the final version.

Then, there are the existence of spells like Haste, which, seriously, can I not even Step with it?


Every member of the party is allowed to have a similar wealth-per-level. But, as a magic user, what do I spend my money on that will help end more encounters faster? There are no metamagic rods for dmg/dc, gloves/wands also don't give dc, and staffs are very short-lived with limited selection. I feel like there is plenty of room in a magic user's budget to afford the same weapon as a the martial.


Anyway, bringing this back to the original topic of how strong Magic should be in 2e, I'm actually pretty ok with what I've seen in the Playtest and other spoilers. But, given the above statements, I find it hard to feel good about making a "pure" caster that wouldn't want to use a weapon.

For that, I would really like more 1-action cantrip options. Shield does defense well, but I want something offensive or supportive. Damage looks like it's not going to happen. For support, look at 1-action combat grab for flatfooted or 1-action demoralize for frightened. Why can't Daze be like that? Or more concretely, this is what Bard does extremely well in 2e; amazing infinite, no-MAP, meaningful buffs for 1-action every turn.

Concentration spells like Flaming Sphere fit decently, but Haste is severely lacking as a self cast. (Regarding Haste specifically, even using it on other party members feels bad. Can they use any of their 1-action class features that are basically just "do a Strike, but add some other effect" with Haste?) Summoning is completely out of the picture unless the scaling was improved.

Compared to a baseline turn of:
2 action cantrip + 1 action Strike with weapon
Is there any equivalent monetary expenditure instead of that weapon that would make a spell-only turn better? What 2 ancestry feats could I pick to help? How many times can I use the new option a day?

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Imma say this, just in case someone still has doubts.

Ranger dedication is a lv2 feat.
Hunted Shot can be picked up at 4.
Bespell Weapon at 6.

(AA)Cast, Bespell, Hunted Shot. Probably a third Strike as well, because Haste is a thing at 6.
Spell plus three strikes with an extra d6 each isn’t bad.

Arcane Archer lives through.

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Pathfinder Adventure Path, Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber
Draco18s wrote:

It falls under the same general heading of why I never took weapon enhancements like Flaming Burst. Most characters I built didn't build towards automatic critical hits, so 1d10 extra damage 1/20th of the time (0.275 extra dpr) was not worth a +2 equivalent cost.

And that's ignoring the fact that I have abysmal luck when it comes to actually rolling crits. I played a two year long campaign in the World's Largest Dungeon and rolled a nat-20 on an attack roll twice. Once against a thing that was immune to crits and once against a minion that died to my minimum non-crit damage.

Can it be useful in situations like those?

For me, Flaming burst was just a plus 1 with the pre req of flaming. But, I would agree if you need a nat 20 to crit then the burst effect is just a bad one. I only ever considered it in early to mid play games, and only if I have a a crit fishing build. Honestly when you can pick up improved critical you star coming across so much fire/cold/acid resistance I just don't bother with flaming or burst. Its not necessary half the time for those without resistance, and not enough for those that you would need the extra damage.

Last time I used it was simply because my GM gave me a Flame Tongue... Because its a flame tongue I was required to use it beyond where I would normally trade it out. Because come on, it was a flame tongue. That he made as a scimitar. On my crit fisher build.

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