Did wizards get nerfed?


Pathfinder Second Edition General Discussion

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Mabtik wrote:
The largest problem with all of this is that martial characters have the ability to apply many (possibly all?- I haven't exhaustively catalogued all of them yet) of the diminished spell effects built into their existing abilities.

1. They get those at later levels (if at all). Compare for example Debilitating Shot at 10 to Slow at 5. Rogue's Debilitating Strikes at 9 to Ray of Enfeeblement at 1. Exception for certain debuffs listed later, caused by skills or maneuvers.

2. Most are melee abilities.
3. They are mostly one target (except some AoE Intimidates and knockdowns).
4. They are spread out across many different builds. You can't apply all of them from one character (maybe you can with some multiclassing munchkin build. That sounds like an interesting theorycraft build).
5. None of them (that I know of?) have a rider effect on a miss/successful save. Which to you is a bad thing that you can reliably debuff the enemy 95% of the time when you cast a spell, but is still an advantage if your goal is debuffing the enemy.
6. The vast majority only ever apply for one round, even on crit fail save or crit hit.
7. Most suffer from and contribute to MAP (though those that do usually include attack damage).

Martials certainly get plenty of ways to apply flat footed, prone, grabbed, and frightened, which are all very good debuffs. But they do not have nearly the amount of versatility of debuff abilities or strength of debuffs. They of course make up for it by usually doing damage along with the debuff, and being able to spam the debuff all day long.

EDIT:

Usually with a spell there's like a 10% chance it does nothing, a 50% chance it debuffed as well as the much higher level martial equivalent, a 35% chance it debuffs better than the martial equivalent, and a 5% chance it removes the enemy as a threat (chances may vary according to circumstance). If a martial is focused on debuffing and not damage output, they can spend their first attack for a 65% chance of the caster's minor effect and a 35% chance nothing happens (and they get a bunch of damage on hit too, but we're taking about martials debuffing).


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That just sounds like casters are the Martial's sidekick. Where their entire purpose is to help martials feel awesome.

Also 90% of the problem builds in PF1 where martials. The most problem casters had was Diviner Wizard's nat 20 initiative, save or suck, and Druids being way over built.


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Temperans wrote:
That just sounds like casters are the Martial's sidekick. Where their entire purpose is to help martials feel awesome.

Not really. In fact not at all, but I mean if that's how you want to view it (because at this point that seems like what this really is).


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Temperans wrote:
That just sounds like casters are the Martial's sidekick. Where their entire purpose is to help martials feel awesome.

It's funny because, for me, most martials are just hirelings. They are one trick poneys. The Fighter wields his sword like crazy and that's all. You bring him when you need him, the rest of the time you make him guard your chickens.


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Temperans wrote:
That just sounds like casters are the Martial's sidekick. Where their entire purpose is to help martials feel awesome.

Then you probably won't like being a primary buffer or debuffer, since they are generally perceived that way. The way I see it, they are just as integral, as the lone martial cannot accomplish nearly as much as both combined.

In other words, in an MMO you would probably like playing DPS more than healer or tank.


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I have mixed feelings towards Wizards in this Edition. When i first read through them I was seriously disappointed, because it really feels you loose a lot compared to 1st edition.

Now that my group has play some sessions and I do not think that wizard is per se underpowered, but I do think it lacks flavor. What I really don't like is how the different schools have really low impact - they focus spells don't seem very powerful, nor do they add unique abilities.

Thats one problem of a modular feat system - it is really hard to provide exclusive abilities when you already have 9 different kinds of wizard to start with. Maybe future books will fix this, but right now I don't see how playing a conjurer really makes me feel like a conjurer - I can swap out my spells and say I'm an Illusionist now and that would work quite well too.


BellyBeard wrote:
Temperans wrote:
That just sounds like casters are the Martial's sidekick. Where their entire purpose is to help martials feel awesome.

Then you probably won't like being a primary buffer or debuffer, since they are generally perceived that way. The way I see it, they are just as integral, as the lone martial cannot accomplish nearly as much as both combined.

In other words, in an MMO you would probably like playing DPS more than healer or tank.

I like for there to be different types of characters. For martials you have: Tank, Archer, Thrown, Gunner (hope the eventually release a good gunslinger), 2 weapon, great weapon, reach, Sword and Board, Dual Shield, Switch Hitter, Unarmed, etc. Each with multiple options and ways to do them and can be used all day.

For casters the only meaningful options given are: Battlefield control, minor Debuffs and Buff. Slightly more variation in options, but extremely limited usage by comparison. Everything else, as stated by many people as support for how casters currently are, requires that you spend resources doing one of the 3 things I mentioned. You want to damage? Debuff them, You want to apply a cool condition? Debuff them, you want to make certain trap spells work? Debuff the targets.

As for MMOs last time I played Blade & Soul the Summoner (Jack of all trades with access to tanking, CC and healing). When I play league I prefer to play support (Nami, Karma, Janna, etc.) or top fighters; as for ADC, I'm incapable of playing it, I always end up being the support in the end.


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BellyBeard wrote:
stuff

Thank you for explaining the rulebook to me. None of this changes my perception. Have a nice day.

Dark Archive

Mabtik wrote:
Narxiso wrote:
My stuff
I've talked to you about this in another thread, but honestly as I said there I'm not talking about the mechanics of the abilities so much as how they make me feel... (and several other subsequent posts)

Yeah, we did, and you brought up really good points that I hadn’t thought about before. Unfortunately, the thread dissolved into something else and the conversation didn’t continue. I’m glad to see you’re back though.

Anyway, after our conversation, I thought about the many tools wizards have at their disposal and that a narrowed focus on wizards’ individual spells (and even individual schools) is probably not the best way to look at them (or even play them) after seeing how the caster in our group plays (a primal sorcerer, who has only used spells that are also on the arcane spell list aside from heal). In every combat, our sorcerer uses the most effective spell for that situation, and he has been a main reason we haven’t wiped so far. From what I’ve gathered, over specialization and over-reliance on one tactic is not going to serve a Wizard (or any character for that matter) well.

Instead, wizard characters must be adaptable, using their available spells and abilities to make the best of their situations (this may be easier for a spell substitution theorist). By this, I mean to adjust not only to the terrain and enemies, but allies as well. If all your allies rush into combat so that you can’t use any AoE damaging spell, try single target spells after demoralizing. Or try something like goblin pox and move away plinking enemies with reach spells. That’s the thing about wizards, their lower health is balanced by their ability to do battle from afar. And if creature(s) break off to attack you, you’re free to use those AoE spells. Wizards shouldn’t passively wait for the best conditions to use the spells or abilities they want, they should make those conditions, just like every other combatant should.

As for the perception that spells are meant to fail, all I can say is that spell success comes down to how you’re able to work the system for better outcomes, just as rogues need to make enemies flat-footed or two-handed barbarians need to first get into melee range and rage to make full use of their abilities. And you probably shouldn’t think of save success as a consolation, those lower effects are tactical incentives of using limited daily resources that have opportunity costs. Wizards are able to select a variety of tools for a variety of situations (even if specifically combat focused), while the martial build has to be more tailored by feat choice, as Bellybeard pointed out. However, there aren’t as many debuffs that martial characters can use throughout their careers, not to mention in a single day. I think not trying to make changes and making excuses (blaming the system? I can’t think of the correct word or phrase here right now) when there has been math done (by players and presumably the designers) as well as extensive playtest to check balance is insanity: doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results. Maybe trying out different spells, working to create better situations, or combining different actions would give you better results and change your perception.


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Temperans wrote:
BellyBeard wrote:
Temperans wrote:
That just sounds like casters are the Martial's sidekick. Where their entire purpose is to help martials feel awesome.

Then you probably won't like being a primary buffer or debuffer, since they are generally perceived that way. The way I see it, they are just as integral, as the lone martial cannot accomplish nearly as much as both combined.

In other words, in an MMO you would probably like playing DPS more than healer or tank.

I like for there to be different types of characters. For martials you have: Tank, Archer, Thrown, Gunner (hope the eventually release a good gunslinger), 2 weapon, great weapon, reach, Sword and Board, Dual Shield, Switch Hitter, Unarmed, etc. Each with multiple options and ways to do them and can be used all day.

For casters the only meaningful options given are: Battlefield control, minor Debuffs and Buff. Slightly more variation in options, but extremely limited usage by comparison. Everything else, as stated by many people as support for how casters currently are, requires that you spend resources doing one of the 3 things I mentioned. You want to damage? Debuff them, You want to apply a cool condition? Debuff them, you want to make certain trap spells work? Debuff the targets.

As for MMOs last time I played Blade & Soul the Summoner (Jack of all trades with access to tanking, CC and healing). When I play league I prefer to play support (Nami, Karma, Janna, etc.) or top fighters; as for ADC, I'm incapable of playing it, I always end up being the support in the end.

A lot of those different categories you have for martial aren’t more different in play than a cleric debuffer vs a wizard debuffer. It is a bit of a false equivalency to suggest a two weapon striker is more different from a two handed striker than different types of casters. I am not arguing that there are not great and nuanced differences between each, but an illusionist controller is different than a Leaf Druid battlefield control Druid.

I also agree that certain options are currently underwhelming: ie: arcane conjurer and necromancer feel off with the shift to magic focusing on the essences, but if options are lacking now. Talking about those options as specific examples to potentially fix seems like a better idea than saying this example currently isn’t up to par, the whole system is broken.


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Mabtik wrote:
None of this changes my perception.

If that's ultimately what this is about, there's nothing anyone can say or do. Choosing to frame things in the most negative way possible and then feeling bad about it is only a problem you can solve.


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Unicore wrote:
A lot of those different categories you have for martial aren’t more different in play than a cleric debuffer vs a wizard debuffer. It is a bit of a false equivalency to suggest a two weapon striker is more different from a two handed striker than different types of casters. I am not arguing that there are not great and nuanced differences between each, but an illusionist controller is different than a Leaf Druid...

But a 2-weapon striker is different from a 2-handed striker and that doesnt even include class differences. 2-weapon striker usually has smaller damage dice but can have multiple damage types and typically better to hit due to agile: Meanwhile, a 2-handed striker tends to have a larger damage dice but slightly weaker to hit.

Also noticed how you said a Cleric debuffer has little difference to a Wizard debuffer, two different classes with supposedly different spells. Meanwhile, the way a Ranger uses 2 weapons is different than how a Fighter does it which is different to how a Rogue does it, and they are all different to how a 2-handed weapon plays for each of them.

Yes 2 different school of magic will go about battle field control differently, but the fact remain it's still battlefield control. My point was that there is no real diversity in casting, the only okayish options are: Battlefield control, debuffs, and buffs.

**************
I agree talking about the problem areas would be very helpful. But it's also difficult when some of the responses are "everything is fine you just want a broken system" or "I like the way it is because you can't do X broken thing that no decent GM would even allow without support from other players."


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Wizard and Cleric buffers already inherently play vastly different from each other because Clerics have Bless as their bread and butter and have to stay close to the people they're trying to buff.


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Temperans wrote:


But a 2-weapon striker is different from a 2-handed striker.

2-weapon striker is as different from 2-handed striker than the same wizard with a slightly different list of memorized spells.

Same tactics, same moves, you just change the type of dice you roll.

Stating that a 2-handed striker is different than a 2-weapon one but that a Cleric debuffer is not much different from a Wizard debuffer is clearly a partial opinion. There are far more differences between the Cleric and the Wizard than between the 2 strikers.


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Ckorik wrote:


Yes - the 'internet builds' that no GM would allow at a table really are ridiculous.

The real world where people who try to play those get told no, encounters work just fine.

It's funny how the 'internet builds' also show PF2 wizards as sucking - because in the real world they don't. That's exactly my point. The game wasn't balanced around Ravingdork's character emporium, and off the wall examples rarely survive actual group play beyond level 7 when the GM would show up in the forums for advice on how to tone things down.

Similarly - despite being a 'thing' for several editions - I've never once seen or heard of an actual Snocone wish machine, or the 'portable hole/bag of holding' arrowhead - outside of theorycrafting.

Skill bonuses that went wonky too fast... yes that was a real problem - the skill system was totally abusable. Feats and traits picked from a shopping list - yep - but even using the 'guide to guides' to make a character I've yet to pull one that made a broken character (using example builds).

Heck - I'll even go on record as saying personally, many of the complaints I saw *about kineticists* were from GM's that thought they did absurd damage per round - DESPITE THAT DAMAGE BEING "NORMALIZED" based on math DPR - because in the real world few players could ever achieve the 'normalized dpr' that everyone here on the forums assumed were a *given* due to playing the game rather than making a math character - and the fact that in a real battle the GM only has to tweak the battlefield slightly to make half the cheese tactics unfair.

You don't need RD's character's to make these things happen, and you don't need mythic rules, and you don't need 3pp material. You not playing like that doesn't mean that it can't happen, or it doesn't happen.

I've been on the Paizo forums for at least 10 years, and before that I was on the 3.5/Gleemax forums. These things happen in real games. I've also seen them in my own games.

Too many times people assume that the way they play the game is the way the entire world plays the game, and as many times as people have made "broken build" post because a character is doing too much in their real life(not theory based) games I'm kinda surprised you're not aware that this happens.

PS: Yes, I understand that it doesn't happen a lot, but you're coming across as saying it never happens and/or the rules don't allow it, even if it's not your intent.


wraithstrike wrote:
PS: Yes, I understand that it doesn't happen a lot, but you're coming across as saying it never happens and/or the rules don't allow it, even if it's not your intent.

Not my intent - I know some groups play that way intentionally - Mageskun (I may have that spelled wrong) and his group do for example. Some do it by accident - (which is really where you can make a case that PF1 was broken) but the rules don't go out of their way to encourage broken builds.

For someone who lived through the 'complete X handbook' series and what that did to 2nd ed. for example - there is no single book Paizo put out that breaks characters (Mythic excluded please) - it is in fact much easier to make a broken character than one that is stupid OP - which again - makes a much stronger case for why PF2 is a better system.

The hyperbole of 'whoever wins init wins' is my point - even using a party of zen archers I could create encounters - using the CR system as intended - that would survive a total loss of init and have a chance at winning. A case could be made that published adventures couldn't compensate for the wide gap of player abilities and skill at high levels - and also that many GM's were not ready for, or could adjust the to power explosion that happens after level 12. Those things are all true - but it wasn't unplayable, and the rules work.


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Narxiso wrote:
Mabtik wrote:
Narxiso wrote:
My stuff
I've talked to you about this in another thread, but honestly as I said there I'm not talking about the mechanics of the abilities so much as how they make me feel... (and several other subsequent posts)

Yeah, we did, and you brought up really good points that I hadn’t thought about before. Unfortunately, the thread dissolved into something else and the conversation didn’t continue. I’m glad to see you’re back though.

Anyway, after our conversation, I thought about the many tools wizards have at their disposal and that a narrowed focus on wizards’ individual spells (and even individual schools) is probably not the best way to look at them (or even play them) after seeing how the caster in our group plays (a primal sorcerer, who has only used spells that are also on the arcane spell list aside from heal). In every combat, our sorcerer uses the most effective spell for that situation, and he has been a main reason we haven’t wiped so far. From what I’ve gathered, over specialization and over-reliance on one tactic is not going to serve a Wizard (or any character for that matter) well.

Instead, wizard characters must be adaptable, using their available spells and abilities to make the best of their situations (this may be easier for a spell substitution theorist). By this, I mean to adjust not only to the terrain and enemies, but allies as well. If all your allies rush into combat so that you can’t use any AoE damaging spell, try single target spells after demoralizing. Or try something like goblin pox and move away plinking enemies with reach spells. That’s the thing about wizards, their lower health is balanced by their ability to do battle from afar. And if creature(s) break off to attack you, you’re free to use those AoE spells. Wizards shouldn’t passively wait for the best conditions to use the spells or abilities they want, they should make those conditions, just like every other combatant should.

As for the perception that spells...

Yes, I talked to the party about consistently clogging up the field and it was clear that while it wasn't intentional it wasn't going to change. I've picked up Acid Arrow for single target damage, and snagged Magical Shorthand to start researching spells that will round out options. I think I'll look at using hydraulic push to try and help the barbarian avoid flanks. Over specialization may be a problem, probably a hold over from most other games where occupying a narrow focus on a team of specialists works out better than trying to make a very broadly focused character. Perhaps a mental readjustment is in order.

I do feel that wizard ranges are somewhat deceptive though. Many spells have a 30' range, at least the ones I've been looking at, which leaves me within a single stride of most enemies and that makes me exceptionally nervous given the high amount of movement and lack of clear battle lines at my personal table.

I was originally planning to go for crafting feats at the start, but it looks like I'll be picking up a fair number of social feats instead, potentially. The only question is stepping on players' toes as 3/5 party members are already fairly invested in social skills already and I don't want to try and elbow into their space.

As for the spell failure perception I don't know if that's going to change for me personally. I'm not a huge fan of an expected fail rate in the range of 50%. I don't find that an acceptable rate of failure in...well, anything I'm making a serious attempt at, but I acknowledge that's a personal foible that's making this system difficult for me to grasp in a positive manner.

@Squiggit-

At no point have I intentionally tried to frame my issues as ones that are more than a perception issue with the way the rules work. Mechanically they work very well and seem to mesh with a minimal internal conflict. I do, however, feel that I'm not choosing to view everything in the most negative light possible. Martial builds look very interesting and flexible, Bard options are honestly very exciting for the type of spell casters I like to play, and the entire world setting is my second favorite RPG to play in. Those things haven't come up because this is ostensibly a thread about wizards which happen to be both my favorite class to play in games, and the character I'm currently playing so I contributed my point of view as it currently stands.

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Mabtik wrote:
Quotes within quotes within quotes within quotes

I honestly wouldn’t think of it as stepping on anyone’s toes. Every character should be able to interact in the different modes of play. Also, if you choose intimidation, demoralize makes an enemy immune to that character’s attempt again for a certain amount of time, so more people having it helps the team. I would probably only pick up one or two social feats if your idea was to have a character who crafts, and using intimidation was just the simplest solution I could think of, not exactly the end-all-be-all for spell success.

In the combats you’ve experienced, have the enemies ignored your melee party members to move and attack you? If so, I’d use that against enemies or make liberal use of reach metamagic (I did wonder why most spells have such low range compared to bows as well). In my games while playing a spell caster, I took most damage from unoccupied ranged attackers and AOEs; the only time a melee combatant moved to engage me was after stepping over the melees’ unconscious bodies. I haven’t experienced your fear regarding this, but I think you’ll just have to act and react as the situation demands, and remember that although wizards have fewer health (especially elves, but not so much for low level dwarves comparatively), their ACs are comparable to non-heavy armored martials at equal level (maybe 1 lower with the right stats).

And my main point about perception wasn’t that it’s okay for wizards to fail 50% of the time because of a lesser effect on a successful save; it is that wizards should use whatever is available to them to get the best result. My perception is that a 50% success is only the starting line; it’s the teams duty to make success 100%, applying to wizard spells, attacks, and abilities.


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Ckorik wrote:


Yes - the 'internet builds' that no GM would allow at a table really are ridiculous.

The real world where people who try to play those get told no, encounters work just fine.

It's funny how the 'internet builds' also show PF2 wizards as sucking - because in the real world they don't. That's exactly my point. The game wasn't balanced around Ravingdork's character emporium, and off the wall examples rarely survive actual group play beyond level 7 when the GM would show up in the forums for advice on how to tone things down.

Is this really how you see the Emporium? Just a bunch of power builds the GM needs to say no to? And to think that for years and years I thought I was making interesting and fun CHARACTERS for people to enjoy however they wanted, to provide a community service of sorts.

*Gestures exageratedly in mock despair*

Oh what a fool I've been!

Ckorik wrote:
The hyperbole of 'whoever wins init wins' is my point

It's not hyperbole at high levels of play in First Edition. Ive been around for as long as wraithstrike has, and I've seen quite a bit over the years. Unless encounters are seriously mismatched or someone is hopeless in their understanding of the game, whoever won initiative generally won the fight.

Time and time again I saw player characters (newbs and veterans both) win initiative and accidentally break encounters with a single spell or full attack (in home games and published adventures). It most definitely happened more often than not. And this occurred without super builds, just run of the mill characters using Core Rulebook options.


Ravingdork wrote:

Is this really how you see the Emporium? Just a bunch of power builds the GM needs to say no to? And to think that for years and years I thought I was making interesting and fun CHARACTERS for people to enjoy however they wanted, to provide a community service of sorts.

*Gestures exageratedly in mock despair*

Oh what a fool I've been!

I actually love your builds - I've even handed some of them out for use in one shots :)

I'll always call the druid hippo one of the most hilariously overpowered things I've ever encountered though :)


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Ckorik wrote:
I'll always call the druid hippo one of the most hilariously overpowered things I've ever encountered though :)

It really was beastly wasn't it?


Anecdotal and perhaps a little off topic, but I've found the difference in perception between here on the Paizo forums and the PF2 subreddit. Over there, I've seen numerous threads where people see Sorcerer as the worst caster, with no reason to play an arcane sorcerer over a wizard. And obviously the opposite is the case here.


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Ravingdork wrote:


Time and time again I saw player characters (newbs and veterans both) win initiative and accidentally break encounters with a single spell or full attack (in home games and published adventures). It most definitely happened more often than not. And this occurred without super builds, just run of the mill characters using Core Rulebook options.

I had a group of characters who trivialized the whole 2nd level of Thistletop because they had a witch with the Sleeping Hex. The witch successfully slept every one of the named NPCs and the Dwarf Ranger coup de graced them to pools of bile with his Earthbreaker.


Salamileg wrote:
Anecdotal and perhaps a little off topic, but I've found the difference in perception between here on the Paizo forums and the PF2 subreddit. Over there, I've seen numerous threads where people see Sorcerer as the worst caster, with no reason to play an arcane sorcerer over a wizard. And obviously the opposite is the case here.

I've noticed the same thing. I figure that probably means they're pretty balanced.


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AnCap Dawg wrote:
Salamileg wrote:
Anecdotal and perhaps a little off topic, but I've found the difference in perception between here on the Paizo forums and the PF2 subreddit. Over there, I've seen numerous threads where people see Sorcerer as the worst caster, with no reason to play an arcane sorcerer over a wizard. And obviously the opposite is the case here.
I've noticed the same thing. I figure that probably means they're pretty balanced.

I think so too. I suspect people just enjoy being contrary, or else naturally gravitate towards those communities with like minds.


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It could also mean that they're both bad. Saying Sorcerers are worse than Wizards doesn't make Wizards good. Saying Wizards are worse than Sorcerers doesn't mean you think Sorcerers are good either. Especially since 'Wizard' is often used as shorthand for spellcasters in general in a lot of these discussions for whatever reason.

It could also be one group or another is misunderstanding something. This non-qualitative "two contradicting opinions automatically cancel each other out" thing is kind of an odd assertion to begin with.


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Salamileg wrote:
Anecdotal and perhaps a little off topic, but I've found the difference in perception between here on the Paizo forums and the PF2 subreddit. Over there, I've seen numerous threads where people see Sorcerer as the worst caster, with no reason to play an arcane sorcerer over a wizard. And obviously the opposite is the case here.

They do seem a bit worse than wizards, divine sorcerers especially. I think the idea here is that they're both much worse than martials (and somewhat worse than the rest of the classes), not that wizards are worse than sorcerers (though maybe you're responding to someone who said that?). As Squiggit offered, I kind of use wizard as a shorthand for both of them, unless contrasting the two specifically.

Clerics are mostly good for the font, and that's pretty boring (no font + reaction heal would maybe be more interesting). War priests should get mastery in their weapon, since they don't get legendary in spells.

Druids can be useful maybe with a good pet (partial martial).

This is just my opinion from running/playing levels 1-5. I don't think it gets better from there, since the accuracy (or spell save DC) gap between wizards and martials increases until 19 (well, I only plotted it out for fighter, but I looked at champion, and at a glance, it seems to increase as well).

Wand/Staff +3 to hit/dc items would bridge the gap, but I think they intentionally left them out to make casters miss (or be saved against) most of the time?

While my biggest issue with wizards (and sorcerers) is the reduction of utility (durations, effects, level bump, uncommon list), as an example of this low-accuracy being unfun, my level 4 party went up against a greater barghest in a game recently (solo boss). It was set up such that there was no real warning as to what it was ahead of time (no spoilers, but I didn't come up with this fight). The wizard used a flaming sphere. With a ref save of +15, the barghest has a 20% chance to fail. Now, it turns out, he's fire resistant 10, but even if it was a different spell, it's very likely to save. The sorcerer used Ray of Enfeeblement, but didn't manage to hit his AC 25, so the barghest never rolled his +17 fort save against it (2 chances to defend against that spell). Or with attack spells, like the shocking grasp the wizard used, it would be a 30% chance to hit.

Meanwhile, a fighter would have a 45% chance to hit, 55% with flanking, and deal (LS and board) 13 dmg on average (as much as shocking grasp, more than flaming sphere without resist, no spell slots). That's just the one swing too.

I could hear the futility in the voices of my caster players. Having 1 action per turn, at low accuracy, is just not fun. Especially when the martials have multiple actions at a higher chance of success, and also have reactions to use, and they don't use a daily resource to take that action.

It kind of reminds me of Shadowrun, where my decker was in a combat, and the combat specialists got 4 actions to his 1. It's pretty boring, and you feel useless. Also, the group/gm never lets you deck really, because then everyone else is bored :) In PF2, the "never lets you deck" is built into the reduction of duration and effects from utility spells.

I'm curious, has there been any clarification on whether you can sustain the same spell multiple times in a round? I don't see it in the errata, and at first I said "I don't think it's intended, so no," but now I'm just allowing it, unless it breaks something (imagining flaming sphere sustained 3 times, still mostly useless against greater barghest, but could be useful against others).


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Generally if Reddit disagrees with any other online community, and there is no strong reason to assume the members of the other online community are mentally deficient, Reddit can be safely ruled to be wrong. It's the lowest common denominator catch basin of the internet. Good for obtaining a critical mass of participants for niche topics, bad for quality.


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Bast L. wrote:
While my biggest issue with wizards (and sorcerers) is the reduction of utility (durations, effects, level bump, uncommon list), as an example of this low-accuracy being unfun, my level 4 party went up against a greater barghest in a game recently (solo boss). It was set up such that there was no real warning as to what it was ahead of time (no spoilers, but I didn't come up with this fight). The wizard used a flaming sphere. With a ref save of +15, the barghest has a 20% chance to fail. Now, it turns out, he's fire resistant 10, but even if it was a different spell, it's very likely to save. The sorcerer used Ray of Enfeeblement, but didn't manage to hit his AC 25, so the barghest never rolled his +17 fort save against it (2 chances to defend against that spell). Or with attack spells, like the shocking grasp the wizard used, it would be a 30% chance to hit.

I heard greater barghest and instantly assumed Will would be the lowest save. Lo and behold, it's the lowest by a good margin at +12.

Trained level 4, 18 Int, is DC 20. That's a 35% chance for him to fail (even though he's 3 levels higher), and even higher if you do things like frighten him. Following up a strong Intimidate check with something like Hideous Laughter is pretty ruinous with a 40% chance to slow 1 and take away his reaction (which in this case is a very strong thing). That'll also help people navigate around him and set up for those strong flanks.
I was also going to say Glitterdust isn't amazing for this, but he apparently has invisibility, so it's a lot better than I thought.

Trying to measure against a fighter's chance to hit is a horrid plan, because they're always going to be the best at it.
As well, unlike before, you can't spike your DCs so high that things are basically guaranteed to fail, so you actually have to figure out weaknesses now, especially against a thing that much stronger than you.


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Cyouni wrote:
Bast L. wrote:
While my biggest issue with wizards (and sorcerers) is the reduction of utility (durations, effects, level bump, uncommon list), as an example of this low-accuracy being unfun, my level 4 party went up against a greater barghest in a game recently (solo boss). It was set up such that there was no real warning as to what it was ahead of time (no spoilers, but I didn't come up with this fight). The wizard used a flaming sphere. With a ref save of +15, the barghest has a 20% chance to fail. Now, it turns out, he's fire resistant 10, but even if it was a different spell, it's very likely to save. The sorcerer used Ray of Enfeeblement, but didn't manage to hit his AC 25, so the barghest never rolled his +17 fort save against it (2 chances to defend against that spell). Or with attack spells, like the shocking grasp the wizard used, it would be a 30% chance to hit.

I heard greater barghest and instantly assumed Will would be the lowest save. Lo and behold, it's the lowest by a good margin at +12.

Trained level 4, 18 Int, is DC 20. That's a 35% chance for him to fail (even though he's 3 levels higher), and even higher if you do things like frighten him. Following up a strong Intimidate check with something like Hideous Laughter is pretty ruinous with a 40% chance to slow 1 and take away his reaction (which in this case is a very strong thing). That'll also help people navigate around him and set up for those strong flanks.
I was also going to say Glitterdust isn't amazing for this, but he apparently has invisibility, so it's a lot better than I thought.

Trying to measure against a fighter's chance to hit is a horrid plan, because they're always going to be the best at it.
As well, unlike before, you can't spike your DCs so high that things are basically guaranteed to fail, so you actually have to figure out weaknesses now, especially against a thing that much stronger than you.

Oh, I should have specified, my players didn't read the bestiary ahead of time.

Edit: Though, to be sure, even if they had, they had no kind of clue as to what the fight was ahead of time, so the wizard, at least, didn't have the opportunity to swap spells.

Edit further: Also, the wizard did use automatic knowledge, and learned of some ability (I think it was weaknesses and resistances, since they already saw the shapeshift), but I didn't consider "lower will save" as one of its "best known attributes" (example is a troll's regeneration being stopped by fire or acid).


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Cyouni wrote:
Trained level 4, 18 Int, is DC 20. That's a 35% chance for him to fail (even though he's 3 levels higher)

35%!!! WOOOOOOOW! SO GOOD! This of course makes it clear Wizard is clearly the bestest and most OP class!

Bast L. wrote:

Oh, I should have specified, my players didn't read the bestiary ahead of time.

Edit: Though, to be sure, even if they had, they had no kind of clue as to what the fight was ahead of time, so the wizard, at least, didn't have the opportunity to swap spells.

Edit further: Also, the wizard did use automatic knowledge, and learned of some ability (I think it was weaknesses and resistances, since they already saw the shapeshift), but I didn't consider "lower will save" as one of its "best known abilities".

No, no, NO! This is impossible! How can the Wizard not have the exact perfect anti-Barghest spells prepared?! In all the slots?! You must be lying!


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Bast L. wrote:

Oh, I should have specified, my players didn't read the bestiary ahead of time.

Edit: Though, to be sure, even if they had, they had no kind of clue as to what the fight was ahead of time, so the wizard, at least, didn't have the opportunity to swap spells.

Edit further: Also, the wizard did use automatic knowledge, and learned of some ability (I think it was weaknesses and resistances, since they already saw the shapeshift), but I didn't consider "lower will save" as one of its "best known abilities".

Assuming you're talking about the particular example I think you might, you know they can just walk out of the room, right?

Figuring out the weakest (or second weakest) save is really not as challenging as you seem to portray it. Throwing things at the best two saves of something 3 levels higher is generally equivalent to throwing fire at a fire elemental and then having issues when it doesn't work. What other spells did the two casters have? They should both have four level 1s and four level 2s.

For example, if they were up against a rogue 3 levels higher, this would have been the exact same problem.


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I agree that knowing the ST of the enemies seems too required to use spells. Of course knowing details of the enemy must be a great help, but should not be required to do anything on changeling encounters.

On the other hand, is true that Level+3 encounters should be quite less usual on PF2 than on PF1. That's a good thing, magic has too many cons on those situations.

Edit: on general, the required information to use magic is excessive. Do you think that enemy was level +1? Too bad, it is level +3, you wasted your spell with Incapacitation. You used a spell of the wrong ST? Now you need a little miracle to do anything useful. Do you like thematic casters (enchanters, one-element-focused, necromancers, etc...)? too bad, you need varied spells to be useful on hard situations.


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Cyouni wrote:
Assuming you're talking about the particular example I think you might, you know they can just walk out of the room, right?

Leaving their melee friends to die? Also, he's faster than most characters, and can d-door. Can shapechange to goblin if needed for 5-ft wide corridors.

I see nothing about him not chasing down characters who run, or being stuck in his room. Am I missing something? Remember, they don't know what he is before the fight begins.


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Pathfinder Rulebook Subscriber
Cyouni wrote:


Figuring out the weakest (or second weakest) save is really not as challenging as you seem to portray it.

I mean, it's more than that. Because it's figuring out the weakest save and then hoping you happen to have right spell prepared in the right spell slot in the right quantity too.

Knowing it has a weak will save doesn't mean anything if you prepared Fireball today instead. Or if you prepared Will saving spells but used them on the previous fight.

The whole 'just target the weakest save' supposes a certain foreknowledge about what encounters the wizard is going to face.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber
Cyouni wrote:
Bast L. wrote:

Oh, I should have specified, my players didn't read the bestiary ahead of time.

Edit: Though, to be sure, even if they had, they had no kind of clue as to what the fight was ahead of time, so the wizard, at least, didn't have the opportunity to swap spells.

Edit further: Also, the wizard did use automatic knowledge, and learned of some ability (I think it was weaknesses and resistances, since they already saw the shapeshift), but I didn't consider "lower will save" as one of its "best known abilities".

Assuming you're talking about the particular example I think you might, you know they can just walk out of the room, right?

Figuring out the weakest (or second weakest) save is really not as challenging as you seem to portray it. Throwing things at the best two saves of something 3 levels higher is generally equivalent to throwing fire at a fire elemental and then having issues when it doesn't work. What other spells did the two casters have? They should both have four level 1s and four level 2s.

For example, if they were up against a rogue 3 levels higher, this would have been the exact same problem.

I strongly agree that, if this is the situation I believe it is, the party has no reason to attempt to finish this fight after first realizing what is in this room and would not suffer at all by coming back after re-preparing their spells, or even avoiding the encounter.

You have correctly identified that solo boss fights at level +3 or more are very difficult to win, and can be the spell caster's worst situation when caught unprepared, although every martial except the fighter is going to be dealing with some serious accuracy issues at level 4 as well. However, choosing to come back later with spells that debuff on a successful save, or even better in this situation, buff the fighter and increase her survivability like blur, or even just 4 magic missiles that wont miss are things the caster can do that the martial cannot.


Bast L. wrote:
Cyouni wrote:
Assuming you're talking about the particular example I think you might, you know they can just walk out of the room, right?

Leaving their melee friends to die? Also, he's faster than most characters, and can d-door. Can shapechange to goblin if needed for 5-ft wide corridors.

I see nothing about him not chasing down characters who run, or being stuck in his room. Am I missing something? Remember, they don't know what he is before the fight begins.

Is...there another greater barghest fight at level 4 in Paizo material? The one I'm thinking of has

Spoiler:
a binding spell used on him to lock him into the room
.
Squiggit wrote:
Cyouni wrote:


Figuring out the weakest (or second weakest) save is really not as challenging as you seem to portray it.

I mean, it's more than that. Because it's figuring out the weakest save and then hoping you happen to have right spell prepared in the right spell slot in the right quantity too.

Knowing it has a weak will save doesn't mean anything if you prepared Fireball today instead. Or if you prepared Will saving spells but used them on the previous fight.

The whole 'just target the weakest save' supposes a certain foreknowledge about what encounters the wizard is going to face.

While true, you do have 3-4 spells of each level, and can afford to spread out your options a bit. On things closer to your level, the weakest/middle save is generally fine, and you shouldn't be facing too many things of level+3 each day.

At least I hope you aren't.


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Pathfinder Adventure Path, Lost Omens, Pathfinder Accessories, Rulebook Subscriber
Squiggit wrote:
Cyouni wrote:


Figuring out the weakest (or second weakest) save is really not as challenging as you seem to portray it.

I mean, it's more than that. Because it's figuring out the weakest save and then hoping you happen to have right spell prepared in the right spell slot in the right quantity too.

Knowing it has a weak will save doesn't mean anything if you prepared Fireball today instead. Or if you prepared Will saving spells but used them on the previous fight.

The whole 'just target the weakest save' supposes a certain foreknowledge about what encounters the wizard is going to face.

If we assume the wizard targets the lowest save always, and always has a spell of the appropriate save prepared and uncast on something else, that adventuring day is either really short or the party has a really good idea of what they're facing. And the wizard is still only shooting for a 35% success rate (in this example). I know you feel that I'm looking for only the bad in things, but that really doesn't...feel like a great potential experience. That's what my posts are trying to point out- while the mechanics are solid the way they can make players feel about the game is really negative.


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I don't really know about that scenario with the barghest, so as an honest question...the players know the detail on the spoiler tag? because if they don't know, it does not make much difference.


Probably not? My familiarity with that particular section isn't that great, but they'll definitely realize it if (when?) they have to retreat.

I will also note that if players charge into everything assuming they never will have to retreat, that's also going to get them killed in a different way.


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Mabtik wrote:
If we assume the wizard targets the lowest save always, and always has a spell of the appropriate save prepared and uncast on something else, that adventuring day is either really short or the party has a really good idea of what they're facing. And the wizard is still only shooting for a 35% success rate (in this example). I know you feel that I'm looking for only the bad in things, but that really doesn't...feel like a great potential experience. That's what my posts are trying to point out- while the mechanics are solid the way they can make players feel about the game is really negative.

Well, part of the thing is that in this case, the enemy is 3 levels higher, and its AC is kinda average for its level (with dullahan's extreme being 28). Its mainly due to the fact that it's 3 levels higher that's providing the majority of that difficulty.

In this case, the factor you also want to take into account is that the barghest saving (45% chance) still gives you a solid result - it loses its reaction. And in this case, that's a massive benefit, as any extra attack it gets is potentially devastating. So you have, realistically, a 35+45% chance of a good result, or a 80% of favourable. That's not too bad. (It should also be noted that even a flanking fighter only has 40% chance to hit on the second swing.)

As a note, a martial non-fighter would also have a 35% hit chance, and basically the party will only have one striking weapon at this level. The high AC on the party will also be 21, meaning the barghest hits on a 4, crits on a 14. Even a shield will mean it hits on 6, crits on 16. This level disparity is the real reason the numbers are so hard.
If the wizard were level 7 like the barghest, the DC would be 25. That means the barghest needs a 7/10/13 on the die to succeed, completely inverting the previous numbers.

Basically, blame the fact that the enemy is level+3 for this difficulty.


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Paizo Superscriber; Pathfinder Companion, LO Special Edition, Pathfinder Accessories, PF Special Edition Subscriber; Starfinder Superscriber
Bast L. wrote:
I'm curious, has there been any clarification on whether you can sustain the same spell multiple times in a round? I don't see it in the errata, and at first I said "I don't think it's intended, so no," but now I'm just allowing it, unless it breaks something (imagining flaming sphere sustained 3 times, still mostly useless against greater barghest, but could be useful against others).

Neither the wording of the paragraph on sustaining a spell on page 304 of the CRB nor the description of the Sustain a Spell action immediately following that paragraph leads me to believe that you can sustain a spell multiple times on the same turn. What would be the point? All the action does is make the spell last longer. And that paragraph says that if you sustain a spell on round N that would normally end at the end of your turn in that round, then it ends at the end of round N+1 unless you sustain it again. As GM, I would rule that if you want to use all three of your actions on one turn to sustain a single spell, that's up to you — but the spell is still going to end at the end of your next turn unless you sustain it again on that turn.


Ed Reppert wrote:
Bast L. wrote:
I'm curious, has there been any clarification on whether you can sustain the same spell multiple times in a round? I don't see it in the errata, and at first I said "I don't think it's intended, so no," but now I'm just allowing it, unless it breaks something (imagining flaming sphere sustained 3 times, still mostly useless against greater barghest, but could be useful against others).
Neither the wording of the paragraph on sustaining a spell on page 304 of the CRB nor the description of the Sustain a Spell action immediately following that paragraph leads me to believe that you can sustain a spell multiple times on the same turn. What would be the point? All the action does is make the spell last longer. And that paragraph says that if you sustain a spell on round N that would normally end at the end of your turn in that round, then it ends at the end of round N+1 unless you sustain it again. As GM, I would rule that if you want to use all three of your actions on one turn to sustain a single spell, that's up to you - but the spell is still going to end at the end of your next turn unless you sustain it again on that turn.

There are a number of spells that have specific additional effects when you sustain them, which is what the question is aimed at - if the effects will trigger multiple times per turn if you sustain multiple times.


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Pathfinder Pawns, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber

Yeah, if you can sustain flaming sphere multiple times in a round it easily becomes one of the most powerful evocation spells. A single casting would be able to deal anywhere from 9d6 damage at 3rd level to 33d6 damage at 19th level, every round, for at least 9 rounds. It also completely ignores balancing mechanics like the multiple attack penalty.


Paizo Superscriber; Pathfinder Companion, LO Special Edition, Pathfinder Accessories, PF Special Edition Subscriber; Starfinder Superscriber
FowlJ wrote:
There are a number of spells that have specific additional effects when you sustain them, which is what the question is aimed at - if the effects will trigger multiple times per turn if you sustain multiple times.

I see. Doesn't sound like something the devs would have intended.


Cyouni wrote:

Is...there another greater barghest fight at level 4 in Paizo material? The one I'm thinking of has ** spoiler omitted **.

Are you thinking of

PF1 Product:
Rise of the Runelords
Cause I know of one in there with that. But the one I'm referring to is in
Newer Product:
Hellknight Hill
Dark Archive

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Bast L. wrote:
While my biggest issue with wizards (and sorcerers) is the reduction of utility (durations, effects, level bump, uncommon list), as an example of this low-accuracy being unfun, my level 4 party went up against a greater barghest in a game recently (solo boss). It was set up such that there was no real warning as to what it was ahead of time (no spoilers, but I didn't come up with this fight). The wizard used a flaming sphere. With a ref save of +15, the barghest has a 20% chance to fail. Now, it turns out, he's fire resistant 10, but even if it was a different spell, it's very likely to save. The sorcerer used Ray of Enfeeblement, but didn't manage to hit his AC 25, so the barghest never rolled his +17 fort save against it (2 chances to defend against that spell). Or with attack spells, like the shocking grasp the wizard used, it would be a 30% chance to hit.

My party played through that fight at level 4 as well, and we did not know what we were up against until it ended. As it was a singular encounter and the barghest being large, we figured it was a boss encounter. We just didn’t know that it was three levels higher (I didn’t find out until a week later). Anyway, I used mostly damaging spells in that encounter: phantom pain (which was succeeded against), grim tendrils (a lucky failed save), and telekinetic projectile (before errata changed the wording to spell attack so I was using dexterity). The party consisted of a barbarian, a rogue scoundrel, a cleric, and a bard. On most turns, the rogue and barbarian missed, leaving me as the highest or second highest damage dealer throughout the whole fight. Better yet, I did not take a single point of damage, while the rogue’s and barbarian’s hp drop would have left my character dead many times over. Even during the other fights, my character was comparable to both martials while I tried to fulfill any roles that were lacking.


Pathfinder Lost Omens Subscriber
Bast L. wrote:
Cyouni wrote:

Is...there another greater barghest fight at level 4 in Paizo material? The one I'm thinking of has ** spoiler omitted **.

Are you thinking of ** spoiler omitted ** Cause I know of one in there with that. But the one I'm referring to is in ** spoiler omitted **

Spoiler:
yeah, the one in hellkngiht hill isn't bound, he's just kind of fat and lazy from being worshipped and the text explains the specific reason he hasn't left the area is because, well, he liked being worshipped more than going back to hell or whatever.

I mean, i can see that there's a decent way of RPing him where he doesn't give chase, but he isn't bound as far as i'm aware.


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Pathfinder Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber

I think one of the massive issues in this thread is simply that people are taking for granted a high chance of spell success against creatures much more powerful than their spell casters out of some misguided notion that such encounters are the bulk of play, and the true arena in which their abilities are being put to the test.

In reality, a Level + 3 such as the barghest encounter example is described in the book as a "Severe or Extreme Threat Boss" and for a standard party of four is a "Severe Encounter" which the book describes in this way:

"Severe-threat encounters are the hardest encounters most groups of characters can consistently defeat. These encounters are most appropriate for important moments in your story, such as confronting a final boss. Bad luck, poor tactics, or a lack of resources due to prior encounters can easily turn a severe-threat encounter against the characters, and a wise group keeps the option to disengage open."

The text heavily suggests that such moments should be on the rare side and that luck should play a significant role in encounters with such creatures- which is true,the game is designed such that a spell caster is going to fling a lot of resources at such creatures, praying for some of it to stick in small ways (failure effects) and big ways (success effects, and the very occasional critical success.) This is very much in line with what martials do in the same encounter, which is to do their best to pile up the damage before the foes crushing blows do them in, and scramble for any small situational advantage they can.

That's how a powerful boss monster should feel: like your abilities are barely fazing it, and you're frantically trying not to die as you pull out all the stops. If your GM is exclusively throwing such encounters at you, and as such you feel consistently unsuccessful, then they need to take another look at the encounter guidelines, especially the segment about what standard creatures are and the role of a moderate encounter as being the meat and potatoes of your adventures.


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Except one of the key reasons given for why spellcasting is good is, "2 actions for 1 vs a solo boss is a good use of actions."

And given how solo bosses by nature tend to be lv+2 or higher then they are effectively saying, "spellcasting is fine because sometimes it's a boss who will lose 1 action, meanwhile ignore it's a regular oppoenent."

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