Did wizards get nerfed?


Pathfinder Second Edition General Discussion

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I agree that scrolls are good, and that they are another, often underutilized, resource in the wizards handbook. It is still expensive in PF2 to make scrolls for offensive damage-based combat, but by 10th level, there are a number of 2nd and third level spells worth having a scroll or 4. I have a hard time believing that scroll use was an expected mechanic of all casters, but I think it is expected of wizards and they can be used with your metamagic feats which is pretty cool.

But I don't really believe that the number of spells per day for casters was made lower because of the changes to scrolls or that the two are really tied together any more than they were in PF1.
The decision to reduce the overall number of spells per day was done deliberately to reduce the amount of decision paralysis associated with playing casters and to slightly lessen the impact of universal utility that wizards and clerics in particular brought to PF1. That they didn't also fundamentally change the way scrolls work should be seen as a hand out to the folks that miss the universal utility a bit, but I guess people won't be happy if they can't have it for free again.

Regardless, that decision is clearly based on design decisions (ones I agree with).

Issue 1 (how spell attack rolls work) is a little less clear, and feels like it changed from the playtest to the final rule set. It is much harder to identify why some spells require a spell attack roll and others don't, except that it mostly just makes the spells it applies to less powerful, without players necessarily understanding that. Why does electric arc not require an attack roll, but produce flame does? Why does harm not require an attack roll but chill touch does? The answer to these questions is probably related to game balance and wanting to make sure certain spells did something on a bad roll for the caster, but it does end up feeling a bit arbitrary in play.


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Temperans wrote:

No one wants to spend money on something that is going to break in one use (with a few exceptions). That's why fragile weapons are so underused, why thrown weapon users go for anything that let's them either get back or create more weapons, and why enchanted arrows are relegated to Bane and other situational encounters.

Magic shields being disposable from my point of view are a horrible mechanic. Because shields are something whose are made specifically for taking hits, even the weakest IRL shields can take multiple hits without breaking, yet in PF2e even the strongest shields can barely take 2.

Also no one is saying casters shouldn't buy things or have things to buy. Just that there should be more than just "buy scrolls".

First, real shields don't typically take hits from creatures like trolls, giants, and dragons; so it's not really a fair comparison.

Second, the developers have stated that they will be looking into the shield problem.


Golarion however does have fighting against trolls, giants, and dragons so why wouldnt they make stronger shields (specially magical ones) if they can make weapons deal more damage or armor give more protection? We made better swords and so we developed better shields, we made guns and so we developed bullet proof/resistant shields, they are fighting giants so they would develop giant resistant shields.

Not to mention our best shields irl are probably on the level of lesser sturdy shields, and our shields arent even magic.

But it's good they are taking a look at it.


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Temperans wrote:

Golarion however does have fighting against trolls, giants, and dragons so why wouldnt they make stronger shields (specially magical ones) if they can make weapons deal more damage or armor give more protection? We made better swords and so we developed better shields, we made guns and so we developed bullet proof/resistant shields, they are fighting giants so they would develop giant resistant shields.

Not to mention our best shields irl are probably on the level of lesser sturdy shields, and our shields arent even magic.

But it's good they are taking a look at it.

Responding with a sensible in-game-world rebuttal would be moot. The developers have already acknowledged that the mechanics are flawed, not performing as intended, and will likely take action to fix it.

In-world, the shields probably work fine. The flawed mechanics just haven't been fixed to reflect that yet.

Sovereign Court

My personal fix is that each time a shield blocks damage, it reduces the damage by it's Hardness and it passes anything left on to the wielder (or person being protected). Each time any damage is passed on, the shield suffers 1 point of damage itself.

That fix is simple and easy to use and remember, and doesn't need a lot of math or stat changes.


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Even though I think caster are in a good place right now, I still think there are some pretty notable kinks to be ironed out. Here are the two main issues I've seen with casters/wizards so far.

1) Spell attacks are not fun. Especially single-target spell attacks (which is basically all of them?). One of my players missed an Acid Arrow for their first 2nd level spell, and it was awful. I could just see the light leave their eyes in that moment. I'm basically telling my players to mostly avoid spell attacks and focus on saves for offensive spells. I'm not sure what the best course of action here is - some spells like Polar Ray feel like outright trap options which is something 2E seems to be moving away from entirely. Maybe caster runes is the solution here but I almost feel like you need something more than that.

2) Wizard schools. Right now I don't think the difference between wizard schools is large enough. It's focus spells and bonus spell slots and that's essentially it. Wizards of different schools don't feel notably different unless one of them got a really good focus spell they can spam. Luckily, this one will probably be remedied in the near future. This problem is very easy to solve with future feat support (special feats for each school) or even homebrew (as I have done for my table).


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Henro wrote:
1) Spell attacks are not fun. Especially single-target spell attacks (which is basically all of them?). One of my players missed an Acid Arrow for their first 2nd level spell, and it was awful. I could just see the light leave their eyes in that moment. I'm basically telling my players to mostly avoid spell attacks and focus on saves for offensive spells. I'm not sure what the best course of action here is - some spells like Polar Ray feel like outright trap options which is something 2E seems to be moving away from entirely. Maybe caster runes is the solution here but I almost feel like you need something more than that.

I suspect that's another reason Hero Points are part of the system design. They're really good for highly increasing the chances of that high-level spell attack without being forced to cast True Strike.

Polar Ray is actually quite strong if you can land it, just landing it is the problem. Averaging out at 1.5x the damage of a Horrid Wilting, plus -2 to their Fort is pretty good.


Everyone has hero points so that doesnt seems like a valid reason. It's not like casters get more of them just so that they can use spells.


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Temperans wrote:
Everyone has hero points so that doesnt seems like a valid reason. It's not like casters get more of them just so that they can use spells.

Spending hero points to land spells is far more useful than spending them to land hits as a martial, though.


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Unicore wrote:
I agree that scrolls are good, and that they are another, often underutilized, resource in the wizards handbook. It is still expensive in PF2 to make scrolls for offensive damage-based combat

That is a common misconception. You don't need scrolls that often. Having all your highest level spell slots used is a rare occurence (even if you cast more when you have the proper stack of scrolls).

And scrolls allow you to sustainly cast beyond that. For now on, my Mystic has never been in a situation where she was unable to cast highest level spells, even after an 18 round fight when I used 13 level 3 spells. So, out of spell gems (the equivalent of scrolls) I get roughly infinite spell slots. There is no permanent item that will give you such level of power.
Also, Wands and Staves are consumables. They are no use consumables, they are time consumables. At some point, your Wand of Manifold Missiles (1st level) is useless, you get more damage out of your cantrips.

Anyway, I don't have any interest in selling scrolls and I'll obviously not be convinced to get rid of them, which makes the discussion kind of moot. I just encourage you to give it a go, but I'll warn you, there's no turning back :)


Yeah, the main benefit of scrolls isn't actually using them frequently, it's having them as backup which means you can use your spell slots more liberally.


Henro wrote:
Yeah, the main benefit of scrolls isn't actually using them frequently, it's having them as backup which means you can use your spell slots more liberally.

Second benefit.

The main benefit is to be able, in case of dire need (potential character death or potential TPK), to go spell frenzy and cast 3 times your spell list in one single fight. It doesn't happen often, but when it happens, it is so satisfying (for everyone involved).
Third benefit is to "know all the spells of your spell list" as you can choose all the spells you want for your scrolls. It's better for spontaneous casters, but it's really nice to always have the proper tool for the job.


Scrolls absolutely can be big game changers in the power level of a caster. Offensively they do suffer a little from needing to be kept in an organize, accessible filing system, but also a water proof one which can be expensive to organize at low levels. Even then you are having to use an interact action to draw the scroll that is not a part of your casting actions and still provokes. They can be stolen, usually pretty easily because you have them placed to be as accessible as possible. If you draw the scroll as a third action of a previous turn, you are committing a round in advance to a specific action, and broadcasting to any creature with a AoO, stand next to me. All of this applies to wands as well, except for the waterproofing.

Now, this is not to say “don’t do it.” Just that it is sub-optimal to being able to cast your attacking spells from memory.

And you absolutely do not want to hang on to damage dealing scrolls for an emergency because they will become increasingly less effective use of 3 actions the more you level up.


Also, I have never played starfinder, but I have read the rules enough to know that the action economies of the two systems are pretty different. I think that does change the opportunity cost of having to free up a hand.

In PF1 my wizard absolutely kelts scrolls, and then wands at higher level, in a bandolier, but would cover all of it with an overcloak in settlements, meaning I couldn’t access them and they couldn’t easily be stolen. But my GM rules that the scrolls could not be in waterproof scroll cases and be readily accessible for drawing from a bandolier. Having 13 or more of them accessible and in a specific order would have probably prompted an intelligence check. I usually kept it to 4 or 5 scrolls or wands ready to use with the rest in the pack.


I also think that making attack roll spells only be lost from your spell slot on a hit would probably be the best balance fix. Maybe as a default option, or class feat. If that is too powerful, maybe as a 1xday item,

The issue with item bonuses to attack, is that it is not really addressing the fundamental “feel issue” because you will still miss a fair amount with these spells and you will have lost resources for doing nothing. Having the knowledge that you will only lose the spell when it works will be appealing to some people who are feeling deflated when their spells are being saved against for half effect. It gives attack roll spells cast from slots a new and interesting niche.


If your DM doesn't like scrolls, there's nothing you can do about it. When I commit to a long Starfinder game (AP, campaign) I always ask the DM if he understands that spell gems are like ammunitions to my casters. If he answers anything but yes, I don't play a caster. There's no pleasure to play a dump downed caster to me.
Drawing a spell gem is an action, all enemies have AoO and all attacks interrupt spellcasting in Starfinder. I agree that the rules are different, but they are not that nice in Starfinder.

Anyway, if you don't want to try it, there's no much reason for this discussion :)
Even if I'm pretty sure you'll think twice before buying a wand in the future.


I am saying that in PF1, even with these restrictions, I still made frequent use of scrolls, just not spamming dozens+ in combat with ease. PF1 combats also never lasted 19 rounds. My wizard had the whole party out of there by the end of 5 rounds if the paladin hadn’t dropped our primary target by then.


You were using offensive spells through scrolls? Because that's something I've started to do in Starfinder, they were too bad in PF1.


My wizard was a diviner and my diviner's touch was a better boost to the paladin than many other actions I could take after teleporting everyone into perfect position to attack the boss on the first turn inside an aura of silence. I wasn't really an offensive caster in the first place. I had some powerful anti-undead necromancy spells I used to keep us from getting swarmed (carrion crown AP), but against the bosses I just dispelled, provided all intelligence, and counter scried.


Yeah basic PF1 scrolls weren't that good. But someone who wanted to focus on scrolls had some options to do so.

I'm sure that eventually PF2 will release more scroll focused options. But that is still a different matter than how basic spellcasting feels.


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Henro wrote:

1) Spell attacks are not fun.

2) Wizard schools. Right now I don't think the difference between wizard schools is large enough...

During the playtest, discussing the TEML skill system, I asked if they could not treat Magic Schools (conjuration, abjuration etc.) like weapon groups for the martial classes. So that, for example, an Evoker would always be one skill level ahead of his non- or differently specialised brethren. That way, only a specialist would ever become legendary in his chosen specialisation, and a generalist would never become a legend in any single magic school, but would presumably get something in return.

That way, specialist Wizards (and maybe Sorcerors of the right bloodline) would be in the same place as Fighters are amongst their martial cousins. Get that sweet +10% accuracy ahead of everybody else, but would be limited by being specialists and not as versatile outside their chosen school.

One of the devs chimed in and explained, while they had considered the idea, they ultimately decided against it because it would be too complicated rules for too little gain.

Now, with all those arguments about 'spells are too easily saved against', I wonder if that is a missed opportunity.


From the sound of it you wanted every caster to only get Master in spell casting but for specialist wizards to get Legendary in their chosen school. Is this correct?

Because, the entire spellcasting design appears to be "make every spell progression as close as possible, but make spell lists different". Its why Bards and Warpriests are now 9th level casters. Part of why spell slots dont get a bonus for stats. And part of why base spell slots themselves are so few.

Aka spellcasting is treated as weapon/armor tiers, which is why Warpriest lost a tier of Spellcasting for 1 tier better/faster weapon/armor progression.

Sovereign Court

Lycar wrote:
Henro wrote:

1) Spell attacks are not fun.

2) Wizard schools. Right now I don't think the difference between wizard schools is large enough...

During the playtest, discussing the TEML skill system, I asked if they could not treat Magic Schools (conjuration, abjuration etc.) like weapon groups for the martial classes. So that, for example, an Evoker would always be one skill level ahead of his non- or differently specialised brethren. That way, only a specialist would ever become legendary in his chosen specialisation, and a generalist would never become a legend in any single magic school, but would presumably get something in return.

That way, specialist Wizards (and maybe Sorcerors of the right bloodline) would be in the same place as Fighters are amongst their martial cousins. Get that sweet +10% accuracy ahead of everybody else, but would be limited by being specialists and not as versatile outside their chosen school.

One of the devs chimed in and explained, while they had considered the idea, they ultimately decided against it because it would be too complicated rules for too little gain.

Now, with all those arguments about 'spells are too easily saved against', I wonder if that is a missed opportunity.

I love that idea! Fighters get to specialize in 1 weapon group, so Wizards should be able to specialize in 1 magic school! I just added that to my house rules!

And Temperans, Universalists are the only Wizards that get Legendary in all the schools, but they have to wait till 19th level, while a specialist, with their +1 proficiency step in their school gets it at 15th when they get Master Spellcaster in every other school. Arcane School Specialists now get a free feat at 19th level instead, which balances against the one the Universalist got at 1st, but this can now be used on any Wizard class feat they qualify for (so, 18th level or lower.)


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Samurai wrote:
And Temperans, Universalists are the only Wizards that get Legendary in all the schools, but they have to wait till 19th level, while a specialist, with their +1 proficiency step in their school gets it at 15th when they get Master Spellcaster in every other school. Arcane School Specialists now get a free feat at 19th level instead, which balances against the one the Universalist got at 1st, but this can now be used on any Wizard class feat they qualify for (so, 18th level or lower.)

Is this a house rule? If not, where's it coming from? Not the CRB or errata, as far as I can see.


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Ed Reppert wrote:
Is this a house rule? If not, where's it coming from? Not the CRB or errata, as far as I can see.

Samurai literally said: "I just added that to my house rules!"

So I just wonder how that will work in actual play. Unfortunately, my real life group isn't keen on playing PF2 until a few more books are out, so I'm stuck with theorising for the time being.


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I'd prefer it if school differences weren't a simple proficiency difference. I don't think you should be penalized for casting spells of different schools, I much prefer it if there were more cool options to enhance your school magic. Which is good I guess, because that is the sort of thing that will definitely, probably appear in future books.


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Lycar wrote:
Henro wrote:

1) Spell attacks are not fun.

2) Wizard schools. Right now I don't think the difference between wizard schools is large enough...

During the playtest, discussing the TEML skill system, I asked if they could not treat Magic Schools (conjuration, abjuration etc.) like weapon groups for the martial classes. So that, for example, an Evoker would always be one skill level ahead of his non- or differently specialised brethren. That way, only a specialist would ever become legendary in his chosen specialisation, and a generalist would never become a legend in any single magic school, but would presumably get something in return.

As Henro suggests, this could very easily still happen. Perhaps in Ultimate Magic 2.0?

With an Evoker archetype, as well as the other seven (Abjurer, Conjurer, Diviner, Enchanter, Illusionist, Necromancer, Transmuter), who are open for a spellcaster of any tradition to enjoy, if not increased proficiency, then metamagic and/or "focused" benefits that increase the power of their chosen school specialty.

Wizards, and even moreso Wizards who are already Specialists, would potentially benefit from this proportionally more, as many of the Theses allow Slot Flexibility, and as Specialists already gain additional Slots of the appropriate type.

The fact that I could come up with that in 15 minutes is a testament to how easy it would be to utilize the system's inherent modularity to make that happen.

Cheers.

Silver Crusade

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And would really only benefit the specialized Wizards (in an all Wizard party this would be neat), not so much every other caster, who has to keep up with 7 new proficiencies.


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A house rule like that shouldn't be mandatory, if you are thinking about including it at all. It would really penalize wizards who's school doesn't haven't much available as attack options like diviners and transmuters. And having Univeralists be a proficiency level behind until 19th level?!? No thank you.

I think there is a place in RPGs for that style of proficiency system, but I don't think PF2 is that place. Spells are much more than what weapon you are holding when you make an attack. You are not choosing between making your Fire spells or you Ice spells do more damage. Both of which fundamentally work the same way. You are saying the only spells that should matter to your specialist are the ones that attack your enemies. Your character might as well not bother memorizing spells from schools other than your specialization, or else cast spells from schools that are garbage schools to specialize.

The truth is (from someone that abused it heavily in PF1) that spell focus was a bad idea to begin with. Wider rather than Taller is a core PF2 design principle, and wizards will benefit better from more interesting spells and feats to choose from, rather than forcing less on them.


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Lycar wrote:
Ed Reppert wrote:
Is this a house rule? If not, where's it coming from? Not the CRB or errata, as far as I can see.
Samurai literally said: "I just added that to my house rules!"

Generally speaking, a new paragraph denotes a change in subject. So forgive me if I didn't think a statement he made in his first paragraph, about one specific thing, applies to a bunch of different things he spoke of in his second paragraph.

Sovereign Court

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Rysky wrote:
And would really only benefit the specialized Wizards (in an all Wizard party this would be neat), not so much every other caster, who has to keep up with 7 new proficiencies.

Don't think of it as new proficiencies. The Fighter has the ability to specialize in a single weapon group, starting at 5th level with the Fighter Weapon Mastery ability. Did that create a bunch of new weapon proficiencies? No, it improves his ability with Simple and Martial Weapons in that group to Master, and Advanced Weapons in that group to Expert. Weapon Legend at 13th level increases them again. But other classes don't buy their weapon prophecies that way. The Cleric has his deity's favorite weapon and the Champion has the Deific Weapon ability, but in general, it's just Simple, Martial, and Advanced. That break down is mostly to give the fighter away to specialize in a limited group of weapons and give the groups different weapon critical effects by group.

Think of the magic schools in the same way. Most people, including Universalist Wizards, just use their Arcane proficiency for Arcane spell attacks and DCs. This is just a specialization in 1 School that some Wizards can get. For them, it would say, for example, Arcane spell proficiency: Trained ("School" Expert). No need to track a bunch of new proficiencies, any more than you have to figure out "What is my proficiency with Axes?" if you are not a Fighter specialized in fighting with Axes.

Sovereign Court

Ed Reppert wrote:
Lycar wrote:


Samurai literally said: "I just added that to my house rules!"
Generally speaking, a new paragraph denotes a change in subject. So forgive me if I didn't think a statement he made in his first paragraph, about one specific thing, applies to a bunch of different things he spoke of in his second paragraph.

I have a thread in the Homebrews and House Rules forum. Here's a link to it, there is a link to the latest changes in my latest post at the moment:

Homebrews and House Rules


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I've read that thread. I have version 1.55 of your rules, I think. I haven't memorized them.

Silver Crusade

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Samurai wrote:
Rysky wrote:
And would really only benefit the specialized Wizards (in an all Wizard party this would be neat), not so much every other caster, who has to keep up with 7 new proficiencies.

Don't think of it as new proficiencies. The Fighter has the ability to specialize in a single weapon group, starting at 5th level with the Fighter Weapon Mastery ability. Did that create a bunch of new weapon proficiencies? No, it improves his ability with Simple and Martial Weapons in that group to Master, and Advanced Weapons in that group to Expert. Weapon Legend at 13th level increases them again. But other classes don't buy their weapon prophecies that way. The Cleric has his deity's favorite weapon and the Champion has the Deific Weapon ability, but in general, it's just Simple, Martial, and Advanced. That break down is mostly to give the fighter away to specialize in a limited group of weapons and give the groups different weapon critical effects by group.

Think of the magic schools in the same way. Most people, including Universalist Wizards, just use their Arcane proficiency for Arcane spell attacks and DCs. This is just a specialization in 1 School that some Wizards can get. For them, it would say, for example, Arcane spell proficiency: Trained ("School" Expert). No need to track a bunch of new proficiencies, any more than you have to figure out "What is my proficiency with Axes?" if you are not a Fighter specialized in fighting with Axes.

Ah okay, that’s much more manageable, I misread the earlier conversation.

Sovereign Court

Ed Reppert wrote:
I've read that thread. I have version 1.55 of your rules, I think. I haven't memorized them.

I only tend to increase the version number after several changes, or one very large change. It increased to 1.55 on Dec 29, 2019. The version is still 1.55, but you can check to see if the one you have has the above change listed under Wizard (and mentioned for 1/12/20 in the change log at the end). Many of the changes can be taken piecemeal, use the ones you like and drop the rest. This one change to Arcane School specialists, for example, is self-contained and doesn't depend on the rest of the changes.

Sovereign Court

Oh, I also wanted to note that the specialty bonus can only be gotten by being a Wizard class. You don't specialize in a weapon group as a Fighter Dedication, and while there is a feat in the Wizard Dedication that says "Arcane School Spell", it only gives you the Focus spell from that school, not the rest of that school's abilities, like a bonus slot per spell level, or the +1 bonus to proficiency in that school's spells.


I would say folks interested in giving casters more ways to focus on their specialization follow Henro’s Idea about creating new specialized metamagic feats for each specialization characters can choose to take if being more specialized is your goal. I don’t think we’ll see it in the gods and magic book, but probably by the advanced players guide. Pushing proficiencies up faster is going to unbalance a select few specialization wizards pretty heavily against other casters.

Sovereign Court

I downloaded Henro's suggestions. A few of them are ok, but I think I'll do my own version of school feats. In 5e, each specialty school gets 5 different things for the school specialization. I think I'll see about adapting some of those.


PF1e and D&D5e were really good about focus schools both granting multiple special actions and effects related to their schools. It's really kind of sad that PF2e Wizards only get a focus spell. But I think the reason they lost power from their specializations was due to the Arcane Thesis ability, devs probably though it would be too much to grant both scaling thesis and really good specializations; specially given there are no opposition schools.

Heck even in PF1 going for full Sin Magic, where you absolutely cannot cast from 2 predetermined schools, only gave you an extra spell slot. I really wouldn't expect Paizo to give wizards more at no penalty.


Since it's being talked about, I figure it's alright if I go ahead and link my homebrewed metamagic feats.

Linky link

Without more drastic overhauls to Wizards (such as class archetypes which could offer sin magic, or even alternate casting rulesets), I think this is what the future holds for school specialization. Obviously, they are designers and I am not, so what I created will be more hit-or-miss than what Paizo ends up making. But I think future school specialization will come in the form of feats and archetypes, allowing players to specialize as much or as little as they want.

Sovereign Court

Henro, given that they have already said the APG will contain Archetypes to specialize in 1 thing, like Archery, I think you are right. I would not be surprised if in addition to Archer and Cavalier we also go Illusionist, Necromancer, and Evoker archetypes, for example. 1 for each school of magic.


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Another thing, other than specialization feats, that could restore the sense of uniqueness of wizard specialization, would be a set of uncommon or rare spells that specialized wizards get access to as common. Other casters would have to find these spells in game but special wizards could pick them up as they level up.


Sorry if this has been asked already. A player at our table is wondering why spell casters don't have access to items that raise their casting DC the way martials get potency runes. Would such items break the math?


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Sapient wrote:
Sorry if this has been asked already. A player at our table is wondering why spell casters don't have access to items that raise their casting DC the way martials get potency runes. Would such items break the math?

Items that raise their Casting DC, yes. Items that raise their Spell Attack rolls, no. At least, that seems to be the general consensus.


Sapient wrote:
Sorry if this has been asked already. A player at our table is wondering why spell casters don't have access to items that raise their casting DC the way martials get potency runes. Would such items break the math?

Short answer, Yes. Long answer is buried some where in this thread, but basically, the math is very tight around saves and spells that target saves already have a big advantage in that most of them do something even when the enemy succeeds on their saving throw


Some people think it would break things because "functions on a success". Others think it doesnt break the math if its just a +1. Very few (if any) think it's a good idea if such an item gave +3.


Temperans wrote:
Some people think it would break things because "functions on a success". Others think it doesnt break the math if its just a +1. Very few (if any) think it's a good idea if such an item gave +3.

Some of us who do feel strongly about it don't necessarily think that a single +1 item would be massively unbalancing, so much as a waste of design space that won't really address the issues that people are having with the feel of spells not succeeding as often as they would like. What level would it even be introduced? how much would it cost? It would probably end up being a 10th or 11th level item and it is kind of weird to have a single must have item that you get half way through the game that doesn't go anywhere after that.

Bland bonus numbers items are pretty boring and become must have items that might as well just be built into the overall math of the system. At least with weapons and armor, the raw numbers runes are made somewhat interesting by being the gateway item to more interesting effects. It is pretty important in that instance that there is more than just +1 or not.


Unicore wrote:
Another thing, other than specialization feats, that could restore the sense of uniqueness of wizard specialization, would be a set of uncommon or rare spells that specialized wizards get access to as common. Other casters would have to find these spells in game but special wizards could pick them up as they level up.

This is a superb idea.

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