Spontaneous Multiclassers seem to have a problem.


Rules Discussion


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Signature spells is an important mechanic for spontaneous casters, helping their small Known lists not feel like quite so much of an oppressive force... However, it's technically a Class Feature, so Multiclassing Sorcerers and Bards, who would struggle under the burden of an even smaller Known list, not to mention not having the focus spells which also help alleviate the burden of the core classes on the spells known segment of their lists...

They don't get it.

So, they're left without what is basically a core mechanic of spontaneous spellcasting, since it's consistently given to both Sorc and Bard the instant they can actually make use of them at 3.

This seems like an accidental oversight, since elsewhere in the book, discussions of spontaneous casting just assume Signature Spells are present when discussing heightening. If there were cases where you were supposed to have spontaneous casting without that feature, I feel like that would have also been worded to reflect it...


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I dunno. Honestly the archetypes all leave out core elements of the classes. Its there to give you some of the benefits, in this case spells and a spell DC, while not giving you the full enchilada. I like that I can go fighter, MC sorcerer, or Sorcerer MC fighter and them play similar but very different strengths and weaknesses. I mean, a fighter 10 sorcerer 10 in PF1 was considerably weaker in both areas then Sorc/Fighter Figher/Sorc in PF2


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But, like, Compare this to the Wizard Multiclass, who has exactly the same *list access* mechanics as his full caster bretheren, just slightly delayed and diminished in number.

These weaknesses are there, and still push for a different playstyle to the reverse combo, but ON TOP OF THAT you don't have enough spells known to even properly establish your character's flavour until level 8 because you keep needing to go back for crap you've already learned just to make it keep up with the game.

Like, adding Signature spells would just mean they can actually make use of their spell slots in a similar way to their original class, rather than more akin to a Wizard multiclass but you only get to change your preparations when you level up.

They're so utterly weak compared to OTHER Multiclass archetypes due to the mechanics of spontaneous casting.


It's a problem, but it's a problem that you are aware of when choosing it, and comes with some compensation (extra feat vs. wizard, better class feats IMO if you're looking past spellcasting).


Except it really doesn't because in the day-to-day of actually playing the character, the first time you really have a free level to breathe in terms of feats anyway is 10th level, and until you take Breadth at 8th level the Sorcerer is literally just a wizard multiclass, but instead of preparing their spells daily they only get to do it when they level up. (Because they have to Know every spell in every slot they want to use it in, until they have Breadth adding a spell known (and at that point, only a first-level one.) they can't even utilise the spontaneous-caster-ness of the class.)

Additionally... Just being aware that some flavours of character get screwed over arbitrarily because their mechanics are poorly written is the kind of thing that makes me leave entire systems. That's what happened with 5e and PF1e.

The Exchange

It appears to be the design philosophy that you pick a class and choose a single specialty of that class (via class feats). The MC archetypes allow you to pick up a smattering of abilities at the cost of your class specialization especially at the sub Level 13 where the vast majority of play occurs.

You are not supposed to pick up the "signature" or core mechanics of a class via MC archetypes. Given this philosophy, MC archetypes which do grant access to the core mechanics might be considered broken by that philosophy

I would agree that some MC archetypes are markedly sub par compared to others (e.g. sorcerer)


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Hsui I've already explained this, the fact that they don't have a core function of, not the specific class, but spontaneous spellcasting as a whole, is what makes the spontaneous duo weaker COMPARED TO OTHER MULTICLASS ARCHETYPES.

EDIT (to better respond to your edit): The comparison to make would be most akin to a Wizard's spellbook, which the multiclasss archetype does indeed give full free access to as if they were a pure wizard/

The Exchange

So should the question be given the design philosophy: Are the other MC archetypes "broken" and need to be nerfed (:)) rather than the spontaneous casters need to be buffed ?


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Signature Spells is a nice class feature, but I feel like the MC sorcerer can just pick their spells known to work around not having it.


I have related questions that may help with his (maybe).

Can a MC spontaneous caster get additional spells ? Other than breadth or the feat giving extra cantrips, is there any other way?

With wizard you can find spells and scrolls and put them in your spellbook. But with a sorcerer or bard, I am only seeing 2 cantrips and 1 spell per level known without Breadth and the 2 extra Cantrip feat.

The Dedication says you can learn or discover more. Is this done during Downtime then? Would this allow me to get more spells known and add them to my repertoire?

Also, do you get the benefit of the 'Spells per Day' as the same type of caster or not? Meaning if I get 2 cantrips and a 1st level spell with the Basic Spellcasting Feat, can I cast the 1st level spell once per day or is it based on the 'Spells per Day' as a regular caster? If the latter, is my level my current level?


Do the bard and sorc archetypes suggest you can learn spells outside their tradition? "two common cantrips from the occult spell list, or any other cantrips you learn or discover" and "add a common occult spell or another spell you learned or discovered to your repertoire".

They also get an extra skill training.

Is that comparable to the spell book's flexibility? Seems like a valid trade-off.


@valdis Oh HELL no, one extra skill is not comparable.

(The other stuff is just to let the Spontaneous Casters also benefit the same way from finding uncommon or rarer spells as loot the same way a wizard or cleric might, and it still takes up spells known..)

And, nope, multi-Sorcs are stuck. Arcane Sorcerers can spend a feat to get ONE signature spell, which helps them out slightly, but the rest are screwed.

As for Hsui: Gods no, if anything a few other minor proficiency related buffs need to come in, stopping one rank lower than the core class leaves you at basically a general feat level, trained is, which kinda defeats the purpose since you end up so far behind the curve when people start getting Experts by default at level 13.

@GMofAnything they don't have enough of those to do that. They have one per spell level before Breadth, that's literally just like the wizard but they get to change on level up, not daily..


Elvenoob wrote:

@valdis Oh HELL no, one extra skill is not comparable.

(The other stuff is just to let the Spontaneous Casters also benefit the same way from finding uncommon or rarer spells as loot the same way a wizard or cleric might, and it still takes up spells known..)

And, nope, multi-Sorcs are stuck. Arcane Sorcerers can spend a feat to get ONE signature spell, which helps them out slightly, but the rest are screwed.

As for Hsui: Gods no, if anything a few other minor proficiency related buffs need to come in, stopping one rank lower than the core class leaves you at basically a general feat level, trained is, which kinda defeats the purpose since you end up so far behind the curve when people start getting Experts by default at level 13.

@GMofAnything they don't have enough of those to do that. They have one per spell level before Breadth, that's literally just like the wizard but they get to change on level up, not daily..

The Dedication says you can learn or discover more. Is this done during Downtime then? Would this allow me to get more spells known and add them to my repertoire? Or would this be simply to swap out the one I know at each level?

The Exchange

Currently, you cannot get more spells known any way other than feats in addition to class features. The dedication concept of "discovering" spells may be for future expansions or it could just be a cut and paste error

*EDIT* The Arcane evolution feat allows an arcane sorcerer to get a spellbook but that is a L4 class feat


Hsui wrote:

Currently, you cannot get more spells known any way other than feats in addition to class features. The dedication concept of "discovering" spells may be for future expansions or it could just be a cut and paste error

*EDIT* The Arcane evolution feat allows an arcane sorcerer to get a spellbook but that is a L4 class feat

That is how I am reading it now as well. Not much versatility as noted by the OP. Can only retrain the 1 spell per level to something else as part of a retraining effort.

Also, do you get the benefit of the 'Spells per Day' as the same type of caster or not? Meaning if I get 2 cantrips and a 1st level spell with the Basic Spellcasting Feat, can I cast the 1st level spell once per day or is it based on the 'Spells per Day' as a regular caster? If the latter, is my level my current level?

The Exchange

My reading is that the quantity of spellcasting slots NEVER increase. You will ONLY get 1 slot (or 1 spell per day for spontaneous) for each spell level absent feats outside of Basic/Expert/Master spellcasting.

That is why I said that you get a smattering of abilities by giving up your class's specialization


The feat explains, you have one slot and one spell known, and you gain more at certain points described within the feat itself (Essentially you gain one higher level slot and spell known every 2 levels, provided you keep taking the feats at 12 and 18, you're just a bit late having started at four.)

From there the main way to get more, really, is to get (Something, in sorc's base bloodline?) breadth, which will, at the level 8 you first get access to it, only affect level 1 spells (Two lower than your highest level slot), but as you get higher slots it starts to really make an impact.

However, the Prepared multiclassers can make a much better use out of that than the spontaneous ones too.

The Exchange

A MC sorcerer cannot get more spell slots EXCEPT very limited evolution feats. The only sorcerer feats thaat give more slots like breadth are level 16 and thus not available


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Pathfinder Rulebook Subscriber

Signature spell isn't really a special feature of the sorcerer, it's not even unique to them. Bards get it too. Presumably every spontaneous caster will get something similar because it's kind of a fundamental feature of spontaneous casting and what makes them work in this system.

This is more basic mechanic territory than wanting to poach some super-special sorcerer feature like some people are suggesting the OP wants to do. It'd be more comparable to wizard MC not letting you use a spellbook.

Separate issue, but the spells known is a bit of an odd one too. Thematically one of the main draws of the Sorcerer over the Wizard is they have moment to moment flexibility by not locking down their spell slots ahead of time (while the wizard has more day to day flexibility by being able to learn more spells). Having one spell known for only one spell slot completely takes that flavor away, not a huge fan of that either.


Precisely what I was getting at, Squiggit.

Heck, adding Signature Spell would resolve the issue in your last paragraph somewhat too, but also weirdly enough only for your higher level slots, not for your first level slots.

And then you take Breadth at 8th level and that starts fleshing out your lower level slots, I guess.


Pathfinder Rulebook Subscriber

Yeah I'm sort of wondering if I should just make the each spell they choose signature to solve this. At least before the breadth feats come into play. Giving flexibility of spontaneous heightening would nicely offset the prepared caster advantages.


I mean, that'd basically just be adding the Spontaneous Casting feature to the Basic Spellcasting feat; "At level 6", but otherwise the same as the level 3 feature (Which is also only one spell known per slot level.)

That said, I'm all for it, looking at the design of the classes it just looks like a core mechanic they put into the class features section so that new players wouldn't be overwhelmed with having to learn that system straight away.


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

Somebody multiclassing into wizard must prepare his spells, and then he's stuck with what he prepared.

A person multiclassing into sorcerer can mix and match their spells as needed.

For example my character, Shiso Dafoe, can cast the following spells:

Arcane Spontaneous Spells DC 32, attack +22; 6th (1 slot) teleport; 5th (1 slot) wall of ice; 4th (2 slots) gaseous form, solid fog; 3rd (2 slots) haste, paralyze; 2nd (2 slots) invisibility, water walk; 1st (2 slots) fleet step, true strike; Cantrips (8th) chill touch, ray of frost

He also has a major staff of evocation.

If he had need of it, he could cast invisibility 8 times in one day. Or perhaps haste 6 times. Or whatever combination of spells he wanted, limited only by his spell slots.

For a prepared caster to do that, he'd have to wake up and say "I think I'll prepare 8 invisibility spells today. And then he's stuck with it, whether he needs them or not.

And remember that staff? That allows my champion/sorcerer to substitute his known spells for those in the staff for just one charge. That means up to six times a day, my character can also cast acid arrow, chain lightning, cone of cold, fireball, glitterdust, lightning bolt, magic missile (1st, 3rd, 5th), ray of frost, shocking grasp, wall of force, and weapon storm, effectively doubling his spell repertoire (and his versatility).

I'd say it's the wizard who is weak here, and the sorcerer who is more powerful. Though I suppose if you wanted a spellbook with lots of spells in it, or had a higher Intelligence than Charisma, then the wizard might be more desirable.


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Ravingdork, 2e doesn’t have a rule allowing you to cast lower level spells with higher slots unless they’re heightened.


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

Well, s#$@.

I assumed you could, they just wouldn't get the increased level benefits.


Xenocrat wrote:
Ravingdork, 2e doesn’t have a rule allowing you to cast lower level spells with higher slots unless they’re heightened.

I do believe it does.

Quote:
You can cast any spell in your spell repertoire by using a spell slot of an appropriate spell level.

This does not say you need to use a spell slot of the same spell level. From how heightening is explained in the text, it seems to assume that you can spend a 2nd level slot on a 1st level spell. You just don't get the 2nd level benefits unless the 2nd level version is also in your repertoire.


GM OfAnything wrote:
Xenocrat wrote:
Ravingdork, 2e doesn’t have a rule allowing you to cast lower level spells with higher slots unless they’re heightened.

I do believe it does.

Quote:
You can cast any spell in your spell repertoire by using a spell slot of an appropriate spell level.
This does not say you need to use a spell slot of the same spell level. From how heightening is explained in the text, it seems to assume that you can spend a 2nd level slot on a 1st level spell. You just don't get the 2nd level benefits unless the 2nd level version is also in your repertoire.

Alas, no.


Xenocrat wrote:
GM OfAnything wrote:
Xenocrat wrote:
Ravingdork, 2e doesn’t have a rule allowing you to cast lower level spells with higher slots unless they’re heightened.

I do believe it does.

Quote:
You can cast any spell in your spell repertoire by using a spell slot of an appropriate spell level.
This does not say you need to use a spell slot of the same spell level. From how heightening is explained in the text, it seems to assume that you can spend a 2nd level slot on a 1st level spell. You just don't get the 2nd level benefits unless the 2nd level version is also in your repertoire.
Alas, no.

Alas, you are incorrect


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Alas, "appropriate" is not a defined term.


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

Seems FAQ worthy to me.


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Pathfinder Rulebook Subscriber

It might be FAQ worthy, but as it stands right now I don't think it works. People assume it does because that's how it was in PF1e but looking at the rules of PF2 on their own, nothing anywhere in the book mentions casting spells in a different spell slot outside the rules for heightening.

Sorcerers and Bards being able to burn higher level spell slots to cast lower level spells without heightening them feels like something that you'd define somewhere if it were true, not something you'd vaguely imply, because it's kind of a big deal.

That said, it could definitely be an oversight on Paizo's part. Even if it is I'm not sure it's really the thing that saves MC sorcerer here.


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What I don't understand is why spontaneous casters aren't able to undercast.

Spontaneous heightening is extremely powerful and I can understand the restriction thereof to signature spells. But undercasting would really just increase lateral flexibility without boosting much power.

I struggle to imagine a scenario where being able to undercast would make a spontaneous caster either more powerful, or more strategically versatile than a prepared caster with the same spell list.


How did this get so far off topic whilst I was sleeeping? Guys, focus on the issue at hand, we were talking specifically about how Signature Spells being a class feature screws over the multiclass Spontaneous Casters.

The issue is scaling and needing to waste spells known on the same spell repeatedly, when you only have a verry limited repertoire of 1 spell per level for the majority of your time as a multiclassed caster.

Whether or not you can waste higher level slots on non-scaled spells is completely irrelevant.

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