Did wizards get nerfed?


Pathfinder Second Edition General Discussion

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Liberty's Edge

I really am starting to see the other side of things the more I read and I think perhaps allowing for something like an "Essence" Rune which can be put on a Spell Focus, Wand, Staff, or Bonded Item to provide a +1 Item Bonus at level 4 could smooth over these issues. If it's priced affordably like a Striking Rune at about 50-75 gp then I honestly think it might be fair to work as a gap-closer for Spellcasters who struggle to hit as reliably as they would hope for Spell Attacks. The Paizo team has already mentioned multiple times that they think there is still plenty of room in the system for implementing things like "useful wands" that function ... well more like the wands from modern fantasy settings such as Harry Potter and the like, as a way to channel your magic more effectively.

It would require the caster to have the item in hand so that itself would help by imposing a mild limitation to when it could be used but it's not particularly punishing as most spellcasters will certainly have a free hand and won't often be relying on 2 handed items. Sure, stowing the item if you need to search your bags for something might be a bit of a headache but that's all part of the tradeoff for getting additional accuracy.

Even a Greater version of this at level 12 which comes with a Reaction 1/day which triggers when a Spell Attack would miss so as to restore the Spell Slot would be great too. A level 19 Major version could even probably allow this to function 1/day per Spell Level without being TOO unbalanced.

It might feel like a "tax" but really this is just an optional benefit that's aimed at blaster type characters who want to focus on magic that uses the Spell Attack function heavily.

Does any of our resident math-folks see any glaring problems with this type of approach?


Donovan Du Bois wrote:
Henro wrote:
Temperans wrote:
Btw I am kind of getting tired of hearing, "wizards are fine because its a party". There is 0 reasons why a party with an attsck wizard should be inferior to a party with a buff/debuff wizard. Those are 2 different parties and should both be viable.

I keep getting weirded out by people treating spell selection like a build. It's not a build when you can change it at a moment's notice.

Any wizard can prepare from a large selection of spells. It's inevitable that a Wizard who only prepares direct damage spells will be weaker as a result. Refusing to prepare a certain type of spell when the situation calls for it isn't a build, it's a tactical mistake. The same is true if you only ever prepare mental debuffs - eventually you'll run into someone with a high will.

You say "any wizard can prepare from a large selection of spell", and that's true, but you only get three spells per level. Even if you use one of each level to prepare a damage, control, utility trio, your actual list at any given time is really limited.

And let's not forget that you may not even get a spell you want because you flub your 'learn-a-spell' roll. Twice. Friend of mine has the darndest of luck with dice...


People complain about not wanting to have any more "Math Fixer" mandatory items. I dislike them as much as the next person but remember that, during the playtest, we had a chance to get rid of +X weapons too, and there was overwhelming support towards keeping them (Which is why we got them today). They're a lot more popular than we thought, might as well even the playing field a bit with them.


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Unicore wrote:
The sorcerer is a dragon sorcerer themed around cold spells and chose hydraulic push as a thematic feeling spell. The four other times she tried to cast it, she missed. Everyone in the party was questioning whether that was really a sensible spell to have, especially because she always seems to need to be able to move before casting it, making it so that she never uses true strike on it, until she crit the bear for for 32 points of damage and moved it back through spaces it had to squeeze through to get to me, saving my character's life. No other character in the party is coming close to 32 points of damage on a single attack. The barbarian traded his bastard sword for a flail and a shield because he got too tired of ending up on the floor by the end of almost every battle

How could you possibly think that spending 10 actions to do 32 damage was a good thing? I don't even need to do the math for you, you KNOW this is terrible.

This person used ALL of their highest level resources to do LESS than than they could have using no resources, and you want to pretend that this is some wonderful system of high risk high reward.


Cyder wrote:
Why can't an intelligent bookish type want to maximise their damage and be a blaster? Why should they be forced into the sorcerer magic is in my blood trope rather than I have spent years dedicating and researching myself to doing damage. If anything wizard to me screams it should allow the nerd that wants to make the bigger nuke, or make their nuke more powerful. To use the IT guy comparison, many IT goes spend a lot of time learning how to optimise their system components and then overclock their machines to get more out of it than normal users. Wizards should be able to be that.

I don't think it's wrong to like that, but that kind of intelligence is an one-and-done process. You build your PC to do something away from the game, and hope your options will work at the table. Damage is a good universal solution for violent opposition, but it lacks the options that other spells afford. Casting Summon Construct at level 1 instead of Burning Hands gives you the choice of an Animated Broom or a Homonculus. Creating a flying spy with a poison sting, or a creature with hardness that can deny enemies actions, allows the Wizard to be more creative in how they solve a problem.

Quote:
Meticulously planning their daily load is actually less studious than meticulously preparing what spells I am going to be able access for the rest of my adventuring career that spontaneous casters deal with. Sorcerers choices matter for longer than a day and need to be better, wizards can fix yesterday's mistakes today. That is far less of a risk requiring less meticulous study as it were.

I think we might be using different terms to describe the same thing. Yes, the Wizard can change things up more than Spontaneous Casters, but there's also the chance of making the wrong choices and hobbling themselves for a whole day (IE. Going to a banquet loaded up with social spells and being useless when bandits crash the party).

Quote:
For me meticulously working out ways I can be better at some kind of magic than those who stumble on magic feels far more on theme for a wizard. Their studies should allow them to exceed what others can do with specialisation.

I mean, it depends on what you mean by 'better'. The ability to change their prepared spells during the day can be considered 'better' than anyone else. If the Wizard needs to be straight-up a better full spellcaster than the other full spellcasters, then those other spellcasters shouldn't be PC classes.

Liberty's Edge

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For the record and to reiterate, I'm entirely on board with an item that adds +1 to +3 to spell attack rolls specifically, because I'm pretty convinced that just ups attack roll spells into the same power bracket as Save spells. Which seems fine to me, and makes them less of a potential trap and True Strike less mandatory (though obviously still potentially very good), but doesn't really power up casters that much (since it just makes some of their worse spells as good as some of their better ones, not ups their power level in general).

Other buffs to casters seem pretty unnecessary to me. The math all says they do fine, as does my actual play experience with them (the actual play stuff was mostly in the playtest, I'll grant, but they've gotten better since then, not worse).


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The feel bad part is the most important part.

And I want to make it clear, I dont want spells to 1-shot bosses. Its why I am not suggesting increases to damage.

Hitting 1 out of 5 times for really bad damage and 5-10 ft knockback does not feel good to cast at all, and in 90% of the cases has no actual effect on the battlefield. The fact it saved you is the only reason you think its okay, as you yourself said you were questioning why even bother until that point. Imagine how the caster must feel that all the spells they want to use keep failing. Heck imagine how a Barbarian would feel if he could only hit 1 out 5 turns with their best ability.

*************
* P.S. Hydraulic Push used to only be a combat maneuver, effectively the equivalent of shove. But 2 actions for maybe shoving is even worse than the current version.


Hbitte wrote:
Unicore wrote:
Hbitte wrote:

32 damage in 5 rounds using 5 limited resources is very bad damage.

The fact that you are telling this as a success story makes me understand how you think the wizard is not so bad.

This is exactly my point. Until that 5th casting of this spell, I was firmly in the camp of "this is a terrible spell and our caster should not be using it, or at least, since she has true strike, should not use it without it."

Then she saved my life with it, and I realized that some players like having a real powerhouse Hail Mary in their back pocket, because it can be pretty legendary when it all works at exactly the right time.

A smart player can even have their back pocket Hail Mary, and still have very reliable spells for leaning on most of the rest of the time ( as the rest of the story indicated.)

considering that these spells only had an high impact on the highest slot, on your average 5 to 1 hit. No, there is literally no room for the hailmary to work.

To be completely fair, that hit rate is well below the average.

As in that's the hit rate vs a level 8 monster.


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Donovan Du Bois wrote:
Unicore wrote:
The sorcerer is a dragon sorcerer themed around cold spells and chose hydraulic push as a thematic feeling spell. The four other times she tried to cast it, she missed. Everyone in the party was questioning whether that was really a sensible spell to have, especially because she always seems to need to be able to move before casting it, making it so that she never uses true strike on it, until she crit the bear for for 32 points of damage and moved it back through spaces it had to squeeze through to get to me, saving my character's life. No other character in the party is coming close to 32 points of damage on a single attack. The barbarian traded his bastard sword for a flail and a shield because he got too tired of ending up on the floor by the end of almost every battle

How could you possibly think that spending 10 actions to do 32 damage was a good thing? I don't even need to do the math for you, you KNOW this is terrible.

This person used ALL of their highest level resources to do LESS than than they could have using no resources, and you want to pretend that this is some wonderful system of high risk high reward.

I think there might be a bit of a miscommunication here. I don't think Unicore's party members spent all of their resources in a single adventuring day. The implication seems to be that it was cast five times over the course of an adventure, not a single day.


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Pathfinder Adventure Path, Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber

Our caster had had incredibly bad luck. It happens all the time. It will happen to players even if casters get a +3 item bonus to their spell attack rolls. A sample size of 5 attempts at casting the spell is not enough to create any sense of the spells overall accuracy, and there are certainly more effective spells for doing damage over time.

But none of that mattered in this instance, because the only other arcane spell that could have possibly been cast and saved my character's life in that situation was possibly sleep, but that would have been a level 1 spell vs a lvl 3 creature so the incapacitation trait would have made a positive result even more unlikely.

People say that the "feel bad" aspect of spell casting is important and I understand and agree.

However, really powerful "saves the day" magic is also an important element of the game to keep around and 3.x versions of D&D killed that by allowing casters to turn those Hail Mary passes into every down plays through specialization and allowing casters to nickel and dime their way into very large bonuses.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber
Salamileg wrote:
Donovan Du Bois wrote:
Unicore wrote:
The sorcerer is a dragon sorcerer themed around cold spells and chose hydraulic push as a thematic feeling spell. The four other times she tried to cast it, she missed. Everyone in the party was questioning whether that was really a sensible spell to have, especially because she always seems to need to be able to move before casting it, making it so that she never uses true strike on it, until she crit the bear for for 32 points of damage and moved it back through spaces it had to squeeze through to get to me, saving my character's life. No other character in the party is coming close to 32 points of damage on a single attack. The barbarian traded his bastard sword for a flail and a shield because he got too tired of ending up on the floor by the end of almost every battle

How could you possibly think that spending 10 actions to do 32 damage was a good thing? I don't even need to do the math for you, you KNOW this is terrible.

This person used ALL of their highest level resources to do LESS than than they could have using no resources, and you want to pretend that this is some wonderful system of high risk high reward.

I think there might be a bit of a miscommunication here. I don't think Unicore's party members spent all of their resources in a single adventuring day. The implication seems to be that it was cast five times over the course of an adventure, not a single day.

This was our 9th or 10 session. She had cast the spell 4 other times over the course of all of our sessions, and missed every time, until she critically hit, saved my characters life and knocked the stuffing out of a Bear that our party was not prepared to fight (because we were trying to be too clever).


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Unicore wrote:
However, really powerful "saves the day" magic is also an important element of the game to keep around and 3.x versions of D&D killed that by allowing casters to turn those Hail Mary passes into every down plays through specialization and allowing casters to nickel and dime their way into very large bonuses.

Is slightly more damage than burning hands really something to categorize as "super powerful save the day" magic, though?

The scenario you describe is nice, but the story seems more about a lucky crit that rolled nearly max damage under very specific circumstances more than it seems like a commentary on the usefulness of the spell itself, or of spell attacks as a format in general.

I feel like you're putting way too much emphasis on this highly specific and argumentatively convenient anecdote.


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Squiggit wrote:
Unicore wrote:
However, really powerful "saves the day" magic is also an important element of the game to keep around and 3.x versions of D&D killed that by allowing casters to turn those Hail Mary passes into every down plays through specialization and allowing casters to nickel and dime their way into very large bonuses.

Is slightly more damage than burning hands really something to categorize as "super powerful save the day" magic, though?

The scenario you describe is nice, but the story seems more about a lucky crit that rolled nearly max damage under very specific circumstances more than it seems like a commentary on the usefulness of the spell itself, or of spell attacks as a format in general.

I feel like you're putting way too much emphasis on this highly specific and argumentatively convenient anecdote.

I agree that it feels almost too convenient. I only brought it up because it happened last night and it did make me eat my own arguments against spell attack roll spells being a waste of space on her spell list if she wasn't going to be setting them up with true strike. These spells do have a place, and when they work, they can make their casters the heroes of the day.

Spells critical effects do happen. I am glad that they tend to the more spectacular and I believe the decision to boost damages and spell effects instead of spell accuracy in the playtest was a deliberate choice to keep magic magical.


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Unicore wrote:
Squiggit wrote:
Unicore wrote:
However, really powerful "saves the day" magic is also an important element of the game to keep around and 3.x versions of D&D killed that by allowing casters to turn those Hail Mary passes into every down plays through specialization and allowing casters to nickel and dime their way into very large bonuses.

Is slightly more damage than burning hands really something to categorize as "super powerful save the day" magic, though?

The scenario you describe is nice, but the story seems more about a lucky crit that rolled nearly max damage under very specific circumstances more than it seems like a commentary on the usefulness of the spell itself, or of spell attacks as a format in general.

I feel like you're putting way too much emphasis on this highly specific and argumentatively convenient anecdote.

I agree that it feels almost too convenient. I only brought it up because it happened last night and it did make me eat my own arguments against spell attack roll spells being a waste of space on her spell list if she wasn't going to be setting them up with true strike. These spells do have a place, and when they work, they can make their casters the heroes of the day.

Spells critical effects do happen. I am glad that they tend to the more spectacular and I believe the decision to boost damages and spell effects instead of spell accuracy in the playtest was a deliberate choice to keep magic magical.

Because nothing is more magical than wasting all your resources and never hitting anything.


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Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber
Squiggit wrote:


Is slightly more damage than burning hands really something to categorize as "super powerful save the day" magic, though?

Of course not, but I think a spell-like burning hands has the chance to really turn the tide of battle with some bad luck from the enemies. A fighter is clearly more consistent, but doing a crit against one guy is less crucial, I think.

Using Produce Flame as an example, the crit effect can lead to burning, helping even more the party, doing damage that is really hard to get rid off- Maybe the bad guy dies after knocking everyone but 1 guy.

I don't know, not everything in the game is doing consistent math perfect damage per round, dice/luck matter a lot, and that's part of the fun of the class, I believe.


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Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber
Donovan Du Bois wrote:


Because nothing is more magical than wasting all your resources and never hitting anything.

But statistically, that is a very unlikely situation, if we follow the math calculation we all agreed upon (60% chance)

You could say the same against a Barbarian missing everything all night (But I'm a warrior legendary for its feats in battle, how do I miss everything)


TSRodriguez wrote:
Donovan Du Bois wrote:


Because nothing is more magical than wasting all your resources and never hitting anything.

But statistically, that is a very unlikely situation, if we follow the math calculation we all agreed upon (60% chance)

You could say the same against a Barbarian missing everything all night (But I'm a warrior legendary for its feats in battle, how do I miss everything)

A barbarian doesn't have a limited number of times they can swing their big metal stick. They can do that all day. A wizard gets a very limited amount of magic. I guess the wizard can just cantip the rest of the day, while everyone else gets to continue using all their fun abilities that don't have a daily limit.

Silver Crusade

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They can cantrip inbetween their bigger spells, which is a lot more than in P1.


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Rysky wrote:
They can cantrip inbetween their bigger spells, which is a lot more than in P1.

And a lot less than non-casting classes.


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Rysky wrote:
They can cantrip inbetween their bigger spells, which is a lot more than in P1.

*Gets his old dart set out* Come at me, bro! ;)

Silver Crusade

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Donovan Du Bois wrote:
Rysky wrote:
They can cantrip inbetween their bigger spells, which is a lot more than in P1.
And a lot less than non-casting classes.

No? Since non-casting classes don't have spells to begin with. Can't get less than 0.


Let's define one thing.

the greater the risk, the greater the expected return must be.

So with the same investment, an ability with a 50% chance, could have 50 damage on hit. With expected damage of 25.

in the case of an ability with a 40% chance of success, there would have to be damage in case of success by 80, with expected damage of 32.

Nobody will bet for more risk and with the same percentage return.

Ps.this is an example, I am not stipulating that this would be the proportion, but that with greater risk, greater return. And greater expected damage from ability.


Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber
Donovan Du Bois wrote:


I guess the wizard can just cantrip the rest of the day, while everyone else gets to continue using all their fun abilities that don't have a daily limit.

But that wasn't the point you were making, you said "Nothing more magical than missing everything all day"

And the FACT is that, is extremely unlikely that you miss everything.

And swinging his metal stick (Wow, some fun ability)

The most basic cantrip is a lot more interesting than any basic attack. Produce Flame has burning, Ray of Frost hampers movement, Acid Splash has splash and persistent damage (If you encounter creatures with some weaknesses; Trolls) You are the MVP using your "boring" cantrips

Even using Feats; Cleave or Power Attack or Whatever... You can have 3 Fireballs/Lightning Bolt, Acid Arrow... even more, if you craft scrolls or have wands (As wizards usually do)

The only thing that the wizard dont have with his toys, is more damage per hit. And apparently, is the only thing that matters (With to hit chance)


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

Let's define one thing.

the greater the risk, the greater the expected return must be.

So with the same investment, an ability with a 50% chance, could have 50 damage on hit. With expected damage of 25.

in the case of an ability with a 40% chance of success, there would have to be damage in case of success by 80, with expected damage of 32.

Nobody will bet for more risk and with the same percentage return.

Ps.this is an example, I am not stipulating that this would be the proportion, but that with greater risk, greater return. And greater expected damage from ability.

Hbitte, I don't remember if you were around during the play test or not, but the developers took a very close look at this exact issue that you are bringing up. The finalized PF2 numbers are based upon making sure that spells were worth it, mathematically, to cast. They invested a lot of time and attention to user feedback to dial those numbers in.

It seems like the bigger issue for a lot of people is that the numbers are going to have to skew past the point of balance to have the right "feel," because some people are just not having fun playing casters who's spells have a credible chance of failing to go off as intended.

This is a tricky problem because it is the failure chance that allows spells to have such powerful critical effects so early in the game., and have their spells continue to get increasingly powerful effects at higher levels.

Earlier in this thread everyone was trashing Force Bolt as a focus power because the damage output of "guaranteed hit" turns out to be pretty low on a single action investment.

Having access to wildly swingy spells (like spell attack rolls) can be fun if you enjoy high risk/high reward kinds of turns.
Having access to effects on 3 out of 4 d20s is a good way to make sure that your character is always doing something.

The amazing thing about wizards, is they actually get a pretty wide selection of both types of spells , meaning they don't have to build towards one direction or the other. The only problem with that is that so much freedom in spell selection can make it easy to pick spells that are not the right solution for the days problems. But again, here the wizard has an advantage over the sorcerer and the bard, because they are not locked into their selections for more than a day. They don't have to be as concerned with picking spells that are usually going to be adequate in a vacuum. They can diversify their lists with spells that work really well in fewer situations.

Clerics spell list is a great offensive list against undead and outsiders, and pretty terrible against everything else.

The primal spell list is in a bit of weird space because it does offer a lot of blasty spells, but the druid class feats don't really support blast casting nearly as well as the wizard does and I have seen a number of people complaining about how unfun storm druids are to play without careful planning.

PF2 casting is the best attempt at having magic feel interesting, magical and not overpoweringly powerful of any version of D&D I have ever played.

It takes the best advantage of the 4 tiers of success out of any other subsystem of the game, made illusion magic interesting and functional (finally!), and has constantly provided memorable and engaging moments in encounters, without dominating those encounters or making everyone else feel like window dressing.


Unicore wrote:
Hbitte, I don't remember if you were around during the play test or not, but the developers took a very close look at this exact issue that you are bringing up. The finalized PF2 numbers are based upon making sure that spells were worth it, mathematically, to cast. They invested a lot of time and attention to user feedback to dial those numbers in.

You say this, but I don't think they hit their target on non-truestriked spell attack roll spells.

The problem is, with truestrike and debuffs, they might, maybe be better than a save or half spell that might also benefit from debuffs.

Some are only marginally better with true strike.

That said, I reserve my judgement until the APG comes out and we see if the wizards gets a few more exciting feats besides the handful we have now.


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when the greatest probability is the failure you will aim for the failure

making META for the wizard simply choose spells that give the wizard the best consolation prize when you fail.

Nobody looks at critical effect. no effect in the game is worth 40 actions and 20 spells.

nobody even cares about incapacitation spells because spending a max sloth on a normal mob seems like a bad idea right off the bat.

Just as they made mistakes with the alchemist they made mistakes in other areas of the game.

The magic in this game is far from the best attempt at anything. The level of satisfaction of casters is regularly low.

wizard simply doesn't have enough sloths to do all of this preparation. Better to just play socerer and take the money left over for scroll and wands. I'm sure that more glitterdust will be cast by scroll that someone will bother to learn and then prepare a spell like that.


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Except the greatest probability is failure only when you aim for the strong save on an equal level monster, or the middle save on a higher level monster.

Basically if you're aiming to be the strongest vs higher level enemies, you're looking for PF1, where CR/level means basically nothing. The whole design of PF2 is that level is actually a relevant factor.

Which is why critical fails are common among enemies lower level than you. And why incapacitate exists ("normal mobs" being enemies up to one level higher than you is 100% a PF1 reaction - they're literally the same threat level as you or higher).


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Unicore wrote:
Spells critical effects do happen. I am glad that they tend to the more spectacular and I believe the decision to boost damages and spell effects instead of spell accuracy in the playtest was a deliberate choice to keep magic magical.

I guess, but that assumes Hydraulic Push's extra die of damage is a result of it being unreliable rather than it being a result of it being single target.

Obviously purely speculative, but I feel like if it was a save-granting spell it'd probably do about the same damage. You can look ahead a spell level at Acid Arrow vs Sudden Bolt and it seems like Paizo doesn't really draw that distinction (Acid Arrow is comparable at four rounds, which is a reasonable life expectancy for the boss-like enemy you'd probably use it on).

The two spells are comparable if they hit, but the mathematical average when you start looking at accuracy skews noticeably in favor of the one that forces a saving throw (with a couple exceptions).

TSRodriguez wrote:
Of course not, but I think a spell-like burning hands has the chance to really turn the tide of battle with some bad luck from the enemies.

Oh don't get me wrong, I really like burning hands. It's a very nice spell.


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Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber
Hbitte wrote:


Nobody looks at critical effect. no effect in the game is worth 40 actions and 20 spells.
nobody even cares about incapacitation spells because spending a max slot on a normal mob seems like a bad idea right off the bat.
The magic in this game is far from the best attempt at anything. The level of satisfaction of casters is regularly low.

We are playing a different game it seems, I dont agree with anything you said xD, and my player group neither.


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Pathfinder Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber

As a principle I'm very suspicious of the feel bad argument, because people tend to be really good at convincing themselves of it when they've been shown they're mathematically wrong as fallback to be able to insist they aren't actually wrong, and 1e having ridiculously overpowered casters biases us against a balanced model in the first place, so maybe we would feel differently if we got use to the balance we do have.

I'd also appreciate it if we can start making arguments based off the actual math and show our work if we're going to make assertions about the math:

Saving Throws:

A random Wizard I just whipped up in Pathbuilder has a Save DC of 21 at Level 5 (18 Intelligence), while the GMG tells us that a Moderate Save Bonus for a Level 5 Creature is a +12, meaning a 9 is the lowest it can roll and still pass its save.

That is a 45% chance that the creature will fail its saving throw, but to critically succeed (and therefore avoid all effects) an at level creature would have to roll a 19 or higher (10% chance.) It has only a 5% chance of failing critically on the check. if we subtract both criticals, there's an 85% chance it will take the failure or success effect (45% chance of Failure, 40% chance of Success- if something looks fishy about the higher chance to fail, its because critical success was a greater percentage of die rolls than critical failure for this input)

Against a standard at-level enemy, that is an 85% chance that when you cast your spell it will have an effect, in the case of basic saves, that ranges from half damage to full damage.

Its worth noting that the value of this balloons with each additional target, and that Spellcasters have exclusive access to easy AOE, AOE blasting with saving throw spells is very strong, and by my observations of relative damage totals in my game, can very easily balloon straight past martials who are forced at most levels to attack far fewer targets per two actions, regardless of how many foes are in the encounter.

Spell Attacks:

Meanwhile my spell attack is at +11 and the standard AC for an at-level foe is 21 (and 22 for High AC), I would land a hit on a 10 (11 for High AC) giving me a 50% hit chance exactly (45% for High AC). Incidentally if the target is flat footed that jumps up to 60% (and 55% for High AC.) This isn't inspiring from a character optimization standpoint, especially on a single target.

My analysis demonstrates that a wizard interested in dealing damage personally unquestionably wants to be AOE blasting, but within that context can do excellent damage if they choose to spend their spell slots doing so, also the amount of damage a Wizard can actually *do* when an enemy falls into that 85% range of (Success Effect AND Failure Effect) is actually really, really good given how likely it is and how many targets can be affected by those two actions. As far as I can tell, this state of affairs is an intentional design decision to avoid overpowering Wizards relative to Martials by making them way less reliable against single targets, as bringing them up to Martial levels against single targets, would probably make them unquestionably better, matching Martials in single target damage, but with the option to surpass them on command in AOE situations, and with buffs/debuffs and other utilities. People in the thread might suggest spell slots as a mitigating factor, but we know from Michael Sayre's comment in the other thread, that 2e was *not* designed around attrition as the source of difficulty, probably because everyone I've ever talked to seems to hate that design and prefers the flexibility of being able to have single encounters be meaningful, without having to preface them with a gauntlet.

Dark Archive

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The “feels bad” argument seems to want less interaction with the tiers of success, having creatures succeed or fail checks with no inbetween. In that case, I could see a 50% success rate no matter the check, but that seems very boring and antithetical to the process of the model of the game. Saves to the game are there as interaction with the system in a way that martial characters are incapable of doing unless they use skills that magic users also have access to. Nearly every spell cast with a saving throw has an effect nearly 90% of the time, which is not nearly the case with martial characters. I much prefer how spells work in the current system.

I also don’t think that casters need a numbers boost. Though I think it would be more fun to have greater interaction with the action system. That said, as it stands, I think spellcaster actions have more to do with balancing against necessary martial actions, whether the martial is melee or ranged. As for the numbers, my assumption is that casters’ (specifically blasters) are balanced through several factors: range, resistances, and weaknesses.

Currently, the spells seem to be measured against a ranged character’s attacks and actions. Sure, it takes two actions to cast a spell, but it also costs a Ranger two actions to hunt prey and twin shot (if the ranger’s weapon is out). And that is using a bow instead of a crossbow. As for resistances and weaknesses, wizards are better able to avoid resistances that creatures have as well as target the weaknesses of those creatures, which is much more difficult for martial players. The weaknesses and resistances also account for the wizards’ damage, which can be greater than equal leveled martials.

Also when has the definition of blaster been relegated to a caster who solely uses attack spells? I agree with Unicore that attack spells should be trump cards. I just think that they should actually be used when most feasible for a trump card: when it’s use will trump an opponent, when it is most likely to land (when an enemy is debilitated or the caster is buffed). It makes more sense that blasters would use save spells, and when reflex is high, that probably means AC is lower and, therefore, a better target. The beauty of playing a blaster, like all wizards, is choosing when to use certain spells to get the best effect as the situation demands, and blasting allows targeting two different defenses if blasting is what a wizard wishes to focus on. And then there is the choice between single target and multi-target damage, which wizards can easily have answers for.


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Pathfinder Rulebook Subscriber
Narxiso wrote:
The “feels bad” argument seems to want less interaction with the tiers of success, having creatures succeed or fail checks with no inbetween.

The opposite, at least for me.

Of the two scenarios Magic Sword described. A spell that does something 85% of the time seems vastly preferable to what's functionally a 50/50 chance to just lose your turn and a spell slot.

Obviously it depends in large part on what the effects of those spells are, but I can't see failing to do anything almost half the time being the 'good' option here.


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Pathfinder Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber
Squiggit wrote:
Narxiso wrote:
The “feels bad” argument seems to want less interaction with the tiers of success, having creatures succeed or fail checks with no inbetween.

The opposite, at least for me.

Of the two scenarios Magic Sword described. A spell that does something 85% of the time seems vastly preferable to what's functionally a 50/50 chance to just lose your turn and a spell slot.

Obviously it depends in large part on what the effects of those spells are, but I can't see failing to do anything almost half the time being the 'good' option here.

The one saving grace, looking it all over again is that casting true strike before your attack spell, will sharply increase the accuracy of your spell attack, by 25% (ignoring crits, I don't know how to add that element, especially with fortune effects) and since true strike scales so absurdly well and only costs a first level slot that makes it very convenient for a Wizard focusing attack spells to consistently leverage for their big single target spell attack rolls.

I wonder if it would be overpowered to just offer a one action metamagic "accurate spell" that only benefitted spell attacks, but had the same effect, as a class feats somewhere north of level 5.


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Casters cant have that amount of versatility you described Narxiso because at most they get 3/4 of their highest level. Choosing to prepare a spell of one type will decrease the number of other spells you can get.

Assuming you pick half saves and half spell attack. There is a 1 in 6 chance (1/3 per spell) to target the right save. While the attack spells will always have that 50% (60% at best) chance of just nothing happening.

Then the fact you "have to" use True Strike, meaning spending more spell slots, which means even less options when preparing spell attack rolls. And then you are spending 3 actions which means you are effectively standing still with a high chance to not do nothing.

*****************
Hail Mary's are characterized by being very unlikely but incredibly rewarding if successful. They are by definition something you only do when nothing else would work. The key part is that the effect must be worth the trouble of even attempting it. Spell attacks are not rewarding enough when you can have another spell with a much higher chance to hit and just as much damage.

Trump cards would work, except that by definition a trump card is an advantage. Aka something that gives you a benefit. Spell attacks give no benefits and in fact have a large chance of actually being a penalty (no effect, lost resources, and lost actions.


TSRodriguez wrote:
Hbitte wrote:


Nobody looks at critical effect. no effect in the game is worth 40 actions and 20 spells. Nobody even cares about incapacitation spells because spending a max slot on a normal mob seems like a bad idea right off the bat. The magic in this game is far from the best attempt at anything. The level of satisfaction of casters is regularly low.
We are playing a different game it seems, I dont agree with anything you said xD, and my player group neither.

Yes we do, and I will point out why using the math that @The-Magic-Sword provided.

The-Magic-Sword wrote:

...I'd also appreciate it if we can start making arguments based off the actual math and show our work if we're going to make assertions about the math:

Saving Throws:

Spell Attacks:

My analysis demonstrates that a wizard interested in dealing damage personally unquestionably wants to be AOE blasting...

The thing is, when selecting and using spells / resources, nobody* actually cares for the 4 grades of success system, simply because you always want to cast spells for their 85% effect, not for you rolling a natural 20 on your spell attack or the enemy rolling a natural 1 on their saving throw (though I agree True Strike can make a difference for attack spells it expends additional ressources / actions and is only available to two of four traditions). As such I at least deem it utter nonesense to try to balance spells around their crit hit / crit fail results. Nobody picks up Acid Splash or Ray of Frost because of their crit effects, those are a nice bonus if you happen to be lucky, but for the type of energy damage they deal in order to circumvent / exploit resistances and weaknesses.

The only "caster" that I can see aiming for crit effects is the Fighter when choosing weapon groups, being a full +2 to +5 to-hit and to-crit (!) in front of any spell attacks. Once the Fighter successfully casts "Hammer" things will go down. And chances for that happening usually are far above 5%.

*nobody that does not have an at least somewhat gambler-like mindset


Pathfinder Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber
Temperans wrote:

Casters cant have that amount of versatility you described Narxiso because at most they get 3/4 of their highest level. Choosing to prepare a spell of one type will decrease the number of other spells you can get.

Assuming you pick half saves and half spell attack. There is a 1 in 6 chance (1/3 per spell) to target the right save. While the attack spells will always have that 50% (60% at best) chance of just nothing happening.

Then the fact you "have to" use True Strike, meaning spending more spell slots, which means even less options when preparing spell attack rolls. And then you are spending 3 actions which means you are effectively standing still with a high chance to not do nothing.

*****************
Hail Mary's are characterized by being very unlikely but incredibly rewarding if successful. They are by definition something you only do when nothing else would work. The key part is that the effect must be worth the trouble of even attempting it. Spell attacks are not rewarding enough when you can have another spell with a much higher chance to hit and just as much damage.

Trump cards would work, except that by definition a trump card is an advantage. Aka something that gives you a benefit. Spell attacks give no benefits and in fact have a large chance of actually being a penalty (no effect, lost resources, and lost actions.

You absolutely do not pick saves randomly, you pay attention to how your DM describes the creature, maybe even recall knowledge to find out, regardless you still have a good chance of hitting even without targeting the lowest save- the numbers I stated were utilizing the middle of the save range (their lowest save would be even better odds) so its less about picking the right save, and more about not picking the high save- if it even has any.

True Strike meanwhile is only a first level slot, which means that once you're past the point where first level slots are anything resembling valuable damage (lets say, when you get third level spells, and certainly by your second fourth level spell) its not that crazy to devote them almost entirely to true strikes if you want to build heavy on Spell Attacks, since in terms of combat casting, they have no value at all beyond this. The real drain would be if you were specifically hoping to use them for utility, and then its up to how many accuracy boosts you expect to need in a day (probably based on the total number of Spell Attacks you want to use) balanced again the number of utility spells you specifically want in high level slots.

Wizards do have ways of helping this though, between Drain Bonded Item, feats like Scroll Savant (because you can displace your utility into the 'free' scrolls, or vice versa) the crafting of wands and staves, and the spell substitution thesis (so you can sub out True Strikes when opportunities to utility cast come up.)

For the moment all it means is that the devoted Spell Attacker build currently utilizes True Strike to enable it, its just a current build meta, other options might come along in the future to better enable these kinds of casters, whether that's feats, something like a new thesis, archetypes, spell potency runes (I worry the last one would imbalance the game) who knows. But it does mean that casters are just fine, while the most you could say is that spell attacks are a little too inaccurate.


Ubertron_X wrote:


The thing is, when selecting and using spells / resources, nobody* actually cares for the 4 grades of success system, simply because you always want to cast spells for their 85% effect, not for you rolling a natural 20 on your spell attack or the enemy rolling a natural 1 on their saving throw (though I agree True Strike can make a difference for attack spells it expends additional ressources / actions and is only available to two of four traditions).

Let's talk numbers. A level 5 wizard has a DC of 21, assuming Int 18. A level 3 enemy has a moderate save of +9, or a low save of +6.

Throwing an AoE spell at them, a moderate enemy will crit fail on a 2, and a low enemy will crit fail on a 5. Enemies of level-2 also are likely to come in groups. So hitting a group of 5 enemies with 3rd level fear, at least one has a good chance of critically failing if it's their bad save, and that's not too far off from being a Severe difficulty encounter.


Cyouni wrote:

Let's talk numbers. A level 5 wizard has a DC of 21, assuming Int 18. A level 3 enemy has a moderate save of +9, or a low save of +6.

Throwing an AoE spell at them, a moderate enemy will crit fail on a 2, and a low enemy will crit fail on a 5. Enemies of level-2 also are likely to come in groups. So hitting a group of 5 enemies with 3rd level fear, at least one has a good chance of critically failing if it's their bad save, and that's not too far off from being a Severe difficulty encounter.

Now try a single target spell attack vs. an not debuffed even level enemy. As discussed above AoE spells are not the ones in a bad place anyway.


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Spells prepared are effectively random, because 80% of the time a player has no idea what they are fighting when preparing. The wizard cant change his spells in the middle of of the encounter after finding out what save the creature has. And Recall Knowledge isnt even guaranteed to be of use.

So tell me how are you getting the "not high save" without preparing one of each spell? How many are left to do what you want?

Also that we have argued for is that they are in a bad spot specially for spell attack spells, both in accuracy and "fun" options. Again its not a matter of Wizards needing to become broken, just not feel terrible when doing this.


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Cyouni wrote:

Except the greatest probability is failure only when you aim for the strong save on an equal level monster, or the middle save on a higher level monster.

Basically if you're aiming to be the strongest vs higher level enemies, you're looking for PF1, where CR/level means basically nothing. The whole design of PF2 is that level is actually a relevant factor.

Which is why critical fails are common among enemies lower level than you. And why incapacitate exists ("normal mobs" being enemies up to one level higher than you is 100% a PF1 reaction - they're literally the same threat level as you or higher).

globinslayer is a great anime but it is not the character that most people want to play.

Most people want to be a dragonslayer.

Yes, if you want to be an efficient support with competence to kill weak enemies, you will be very happy playing as a wizard.

Yes, this is the version that level counts more, is correct. This also means that low level enemies never mattered less.

Ps.Usually people who want to play caster and support play bard or cleric.

So people are unhappy.


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Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber

And the arguments keep going in a circle.
>The spells don't hit enough (Here is some math)
>The spells are fine (here is the same math)
>They "feel" terrible to play (Here is some proof)
>They "feel" good to play and that is what matters (Here is the same proof)

So, the attack spells are the ones that are bad? But some of them are good, or its all bad?
A wizard doing Shocking Grasp at level 5 has +11 attack (+12 vs armor), +13/14 flat-footed vs AC21 (That's 25,3 +4,5 persistent DPR from 30ft, and 35,8 +4,5 persistent from melee with true strike. Note; A little more against armored targets)
vs a Fighter doing double slice (24,7 moving, or 27,3 with an additional attack)

25,3 +4,5/round (Wizard) vs 24,7 (Fighter)
35,8 +4,5/round (Wizard) vs 27,3 (Fighter)

Is that decent enough for a 5 level spell? Or is it bad? By how much the damage for the wizard should increase to make it worth it? (If needed)


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Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber
Hbitte wrote:


Yes, this is the version that level counts more, is correct. This also means that low-level enemies never mattered less.

So people are unhappy.

1- False in actual play, low-level enemies now have a chance to hit, therefore they are more dangerous than those on PF1 (Mid to high levels)

2- You are unhappy, and some others are unhappy


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The idea that lower-level enemies are not a threat just isn't reflected in actual play. A group of three or more level -1 foes can be quite dangerous.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber

You don't pick your spells assuming that you will get critical results. But if you aren't factoring in the possibility that you might get your critical result when you cast a spell in a combat situation, you are deliberately taking away the magic of being a spell caster from yourself. This is especially true for your highest level attack spells, but is true even down to cantrips.

For example, are you fighting a single powerful slow (movement 20) monster that your party is trying to kite? Your choice of cantrips here is pretty important. You don't want to waste a spell slot on a creature that you can beat without ever letting it get within range. Luckily Pathfinder has mostly removed your bad options for this situation by only having two cantrips with a range of more than 30ft, both of which are good choices against an enemy like this (ray of frost and Daze). And luckily most spells have more advantages than just what they do on a critical effect. But it is important for casters not to cast spells where the critical effect feels like it does nothing special or else you will feel like you have wasted a moment when you could critically shine.

Spells are very good for "hoping for the best and preparing for the worst" types of situations.

Also, not knowing what you could possibly be fighting in the day, 80% of the time feels hyperbolic or centered around a game where you enter a magical dungeon with random rooms and encounters. I can't think of any AP where you don't start to hone down on the basic types of enemies you will be facing enough to make sure that you should be able to be picking a couple of spells that will be particularly effective. At the very least, consider taking more time before heading out into the wilderness to talk to locals about the kinds of problems they have been having and listen for rumors in the local pubs.


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Pathfinder Adventure Path, Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber
Henro wrote:
The idea that lower-level enemies are not a threat just isn't reflected in actual play. A group of three or more level -1 foes can be quite dangerous.

People underestimating the frequency of critical hits can easily underestimate level -1 or even level -2 foes. This is also why the party tank is not the same role that it used to be in PF1 either. Anyone exposing themselves to lots of attack rolls is going to get knocked senseless sooner than later.


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Pathfinder Adventure Path, Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber

Another thing I have noticed in this thread is that the most productive conversations (on both sides of the debate about whether wizards have been over nerfed, or whether they have been put in a fair and valuable place) is when people have focused on actual play situations or at least hypothetical situations that are fleshed out enough for everyone to see what choices a player has made more than just a comparison of numbers that feels arbitrarily pulled out of thin air to prove a point.

I get some people here are saying, "wizards look so un-fun that I will never play one" and I think that is a totally fair position to have. There are 12 basic classes and more on the way so you definitely should not play one that looks un-fun. It is totally fair to express why they look so un-fun, but it is probably important to remember that the fun scale is always going to be a subjective sliding range, and you probably have as much to learn from listening to folks that are playing casters and having fun with the class as other folks have to learn from what base perceptions about the class are chasing you away .

Others have said, "I tried playing this type of wizard in actual play and didn't have a fun time." This is a very valuable kind of feed back and many times it seems like the fun one has playing a caster is shaped by how the rest of the party interacts with the things you wanted to get out a caster. This doesn't invalidate your experience in anyway, but it shows that there are a lot of knobs and dials on the system and some of them players might need help finding, especially because some of them might not be where you expect them. For one, oft repeated example: "Fighters get accuracy bonuses through the weapons they wield. Shouldn't casters do the same? Oh, there is an assumption that learning what saves to target will play a major role in caster accuracy, far superior to a +3 potential difference? How do I get better at that?"

Whatever your reason for continuing to participate in this extended conversation, I hope everyone feels like their voice is being listened to and that you have things you are trying to learn from everyone else's voice, as much as you are trying to prove your own point.


Unicore wrote:


Also, not knowing what you could possibly be fighting in the day, 80% of the time feels hyperbolic or centered around a game where you enter a magical dungeon with random rooms and encounters. I can't think of any AP where you don't start to hone down on the basic types of enemies you will be facing enough to make sure that you should be able to be picking a couple of spells that will be particularly effective. At the very least, consider taking more time before heading out into the wilderness to talk to locals about the kinds of problems they have been having and listen for rumors in the local pubs.

From my experience playing Pathfinder, a lot of the AP dungeons are small or divided into sections that you're supposed to do in 1 visit. Whatever spells you came in first with will have to suffice for the mooks + boss of this "dungeon level". And then the next one will just be something totally different.

Gotta know before you set 1 foot in most of the time. This is easier in some than others (Can probably know not to take Reflex save spells most of Second Darkness, for example)

My Caster players just try to prepare a bit of everything unless they already know who the boss is gonna be and have seen them before.


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TSRodriguez wrote:

A wizard doing Shocking Grasp at level 5 has +11 attack (+12 vs armor), +13/14 flat-footed vs AC21 (That's 25,3 +4,5 persistent DPR from 30ft, and 35,8 +4,5 persistent from melee with true strike. Note; A little more against armored targets)

vs a Fighter doing double slice (24,7 moving, or 27,3 with an additional attack)

25,3 +4,5/round (Wizard) vs 24,7 (Fighter)
35,8 +4,5/round (Wizard) vs 27,3 (Fighter)

Is that decent enough for a 5 level spell? Or is it bad? By how much the damage for the wizard should increase to make it worth it? (If needed)

Your math seems off. Using the following parameters:

* Wizard casting 5th level Shocking Grasp 3-action because of Reach Spell: 4d12 (average 26) + 1d4+2 (average 4.5) using either +12 or +14 to-hit vs AC21

and

* Fighter with strength 18 moving and attacking with double slice using Longsword of Striking +1 (13 average) and Shortword of Striking +1 (11 average) and either +16 or +18 to-hit vs AC21

I come up with:

Wizard +12: 18.2 and 2.7 persistent
Wizard +14: 23.4 and 3.15 persistent

Fighter +16: 26.4
Fighter +18: 31.2

So considering you just used one of your top tier slots, need an enemy that actually wears metal armor and the fighter more or less auto-attacked, still weak.


Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber
Ubertron_X wrote:


Your math seems off. Using the following parameters:

I was not taking into account that fighters get Master at level 5

How is double slice with its penalty doing +18? (4Str,11prof,1weapon,-2doubleslice,+2ffooted)

And yes, its 23,4+3.15 for the far Shocking Grasp
But 42,3+Persistent using true strike
So its 26,4 vs 42,3+persistent. And yeah, top slots... still needs more? how much more?


TSRodriguez wrote:
Ubertron_X wrote:


Your math seems off. Using the following parameters:

I was not taking into account that fighters get Master at level 5

How is double slice with its penalty doing +18? (4Str,11prof,1weapon,-2doubleslice,+2ffooted)

And yes, its 23,4+3.15 for the far Shocking Grasp
But 42,3+Persistent using true strike
So its 26,4 vs 42,3+persistent. And yeah, top slots... still needs more? how much more?

Well, the wizard can cast shocking grasp five times per day at most, and the fighter can double slice all day everyday for the rest of time, so shocking grasp should probably be a little better than spending a limited resource to get -4 to hit and +3 to damage.

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