Can you unheighten a sorcerer spell?


Rules Discussion


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

If I were to add fireball as a 7th-level spell to my spell repertoire (instead of making it a signature spell), can I cast it as a 3rd, 4th, 5th, and 6th-level spell as well? Or only ever as a 7th-level spell?


For your specific scenario? Only ever as a 7th-level spell.


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

Wow. Is it just me or did the sorcerer class go from being one of the more versatile spellcasting classes of 1st Edition to one of the most restricted spellcasting classes of 2nd Edition?


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Ravingdork wrote:
Wow. Is it just me or did the sorcerer class go from being one of the more versatile spellcasting classes of 1st Edition to one of the most restricted spellcasting classes of 2nd Edition?

I think it's just you.


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Ravingdork wrote:
Wow. Is it just me or did the sorcerer class go from being one of the more versatile spellcasting classes of 1st Edition to one of the most restricted spellcasting classes of 2nd Edition?

It's not just you. Prep casters by default have a specific load out of spells that they can change the next day. Spont casters by default can only change theirs upon retraining or when leveling up. That that is further cut down to "you can only spont cast off of a few spells known per given spell level with only the signature spells breaking out" is just salt in the wound.


I heard long ago that one of the 3 devs of the d20 engine other than Monte Cook (surprise) had some serious hate of Sorcerers, for reasons not clearly known. As I heard he hated Fighters too, I personally think it was some sort of an "intellectual preparation play" snobbism.

Now it seems that his poisonous grudge somehow managed to contaminate both 5E and PF2 by placing unexplainable and unnecessary nerfs to Sorcs...


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Ravingdork wrote:
Wow. Is it just me or did the sorcerer class go from being one of the more versatile spellcasting classes of 1st Edition to one of the most restricted spellcasting classes of 2nd Edition?

If you really want to make yourself sad, think about a multiclass sorcerer once vs a wizard, cleric or druid once...


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Tectorman wrote:
Ravingdork wrote:
Wow. Is it just me or did the sorcerer class go from being one of the more versatile spellcasting classes of 1st Edition to one of the most restricted spellcasting classes of 2nd Edition?
It's not just you. Prep casters by default have a specific load out of spells that they can change the next day. Spont casters by default can only change theirs upon retraining or when leveling up. That that is further cut down to "you can only spont cast off of a few spells known per given spell level with only the signature spells breaking out" is just salt in the wound.

And that's just considering the basic prepared caster. I'm working on a Universalist Wizard with the Spell Substitution thesis. Between being able to replace any uncast spell in any spell slot any time I have 10 minutes free and being able to recall one cast spell per spell level each day, I'm pretty sure I'll have more versatility than any Sorcerer.

I don't even play Sorcerers, and this situation makes me sad.


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I honestly can't see how Sorcerors WERE "one of the more versatile classes" in 1E but now became "one of the most restricted classes" in 2E. They didn't really lose any versatility, but actually gained alot.

It was true in 1E that Sorcerors could "only spont cast off a few spells known per given spell level". Now in 2E, they can designate one Signature Spell per level. So with 9th level spells, they have 4 spells known per level (base and bloodline) + all gained from Signature Spell which can theoretically grant a "version" for each level, totalling 4+8=12 spell known per level. It's plausible not every designated Signature Spell is that granular re: level versions, but even if only half of designated Signature Spells are relevant at given level, that is still 4+4=8 which seems significant to me. Signature Spell certainly is "some form of undercasting" since it no longer cares about which "direction" a spell is modified from it's known version. This mechanic was one I specifically critiqued during playtest (then "Spontaneous Heighten"), and it not only lost Heighten-only restriction, but was massively increased in number from 2 to (max Spell Levels). Then it was practically assumed you wanted to designate spells of minimum possible level, but now every spell level is equally relevant for base spell designation.

In terms of Wizard Drain Bond recasting, that is IMHO generally LESS versatile than 1E Arcane Bond which was ANYTHING in their spellbook even if they have NEVER EVER prepared it. Universalist Bond/Level is improvement in quantity, but extending "already-cast" dependency across multiple levels makes it less likely real benefit scales 1:1 with spell levels, a dynamic also applicable to Bond Conservation. The latter's additional action does impede quite a bit of stuff, as does even base Drain Bond's requirement of "before other actions", while all this value is predicated on expending resources which are "committed" to specific spells to be able to re-cast them later. Spell Substitution is a specific Wizard Thesis that grants more versatility, but it isn't so different from 1E Wizards "leaving a slot open" to prepare later, the advantage certainly isn't "versatility" since the only difference is being able to cast ONE specific spell which they prepared in that slot... So if a Wizard is benefitting from all this, it's harder to also benefit from Wizard-style strategic flexibility given the constrained number of base slots.

Sorceror now also gets versatility advantage of Crossblooded opening up ANY off-list spells they want, not just traditional bloodline spells. Arcane Evolution grants per/day Spell Known and Signature Spell preparation flexibility, while Occult Evolution grants 1 MINUTE spell known preparation faster than Spell Substitution Thesis. I am curious what APG does with Sorcerors, just considering assymetry of Arcane/Divine/Occult/Primal Evolution Feat VS GREATER Mental/Vital Evolution Feat, I easily imagine GREATER Arcane/Divine/Occult/Primal Evolution, (non-Greate) Mental/Vital Evolution, and (Greater and non-Greater) Material/Spiritual Evolution Feats.

IMHO Sorceror remains "tactically" more versatile, while Wizard retains advantage in "strategic" versatility when they can prepare ahead of time (each day, or with Spell Substitution Thesis), with each having limited options to delve into the others' advantage which Paizo also did in 1E.

I do think Sorceror Multiclass is in a weird place that seems derived from fundamentalist/formulaic application of 'generic caster multiclassing' rule (re: slots/repertoire), but that's hardly a problem with base class itself. I feel Bard MC is in somewhat better position just because of variety of composition cantrips, but could also probably benefit from something addressing slots/repertoire/signaturespells.


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I now see other thread started by you, where people are complaining of the horror of dedicating their high level slots to Heightened Dispel, which Sorceror obviously doesn't care about with Signature Spell. So maybe Sorceror is doing OK in versatility department.

I do think there is one issue that isn't actually clear by RAW, that relates to your desire to undercast spell without using Signature Spell. The issue is whether you can cast a spell in higher level slots without Heightening it, for zero additional benefit and it would count as low level spell for anything that cares about that. This revolves on what is "appropriate" to cast with slot of specific spell level. My personal take is this is entirely appropriate, and does help Sorceror in versatility department, albeit at trade-off of less theoretical power per spell slot... That is open FAQ topic AFAIK.


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While I am hard-pressed to play a Sorcerer instead of Wizard, I don't think they are that bad. You pick one spell per spell level that you want to heighten, while you pick your other spells to make sure they are useable even without heightening. Grease is as good at level 18 as it was at level 1, as your DC scales up without heightening (in fact, you might argue Grease will be better than it was, because many foes - dragons included - will be large, so easier to walk into a space containing the oil, and have more dangerous multi-action activations). This is true for so many spells that if it wasn't my unhealthy desire for having all the spells all the time, I would probably totally do with just a bunch of useful signature spells and then a bunch of ever-green universally spells that do not require heightening to remain viable.

Spell Substitution Wizards are silver-bullet seeking casters that want to have THE best spell for specific situation. Sorcerers are all about maximum efficiency spell picks that will reward you for versatility, not weakness exploitation.
Of course, this might make some people unhappy, because your first priority to make a good sorcerer spell-list is to pick for maximum utility and always having an applicable tool to use with your slots, and if you go for thematic spell picks that overlap and do not provide anything new compared to heightened version of similar spell from before, you will often find yourself "gimped".


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From my perspective... it looks like sorcerer went from one of the middle-of-the-road on the versatility scale casters in PF1 to debatebly the most versatile caster in PF2.

...but then I've never been privy to one of these allegedly supremely common campaigns in which a prepared caster didn't ever not prepare the exact right load out of spells for a particular day of adventure, so maybe I'm not properly equipped to judge?


Quandary wrote:

I honestly can't see how Sorcerors WERE "one of the more versatile classes" in 1E but now became "one of the most restricted classes" in 2E. They didn't really lose any versatility, but actually gained alot.

It was true in 1E that Sorcerors could "only spont cast off a few spells known per given spell level". Now in 2E, they can designate one Signature Spell per level. So with 9th level spells, they have 4 spells known per level (base and bloodline) + all gained from Signature Spell which can theoretically grant a "version" for each level, totalling 4+8=12 spell known per level. It's plausible not every designated Signature Spell is that granular re: level versions, but even if only half of designated Signature Spells are relevant at given level, that is still 4+4=8 which seems significant to me. Signature Spell certainly is "some form of undercasting" since it no longer cares about which "direction" a spell is modified from it's known version. This mechanic was one I specifically critiqued during playtest (then "Spontaneous Heighten"), and it not only lost Heighten-only restriction, but was massively increased in number from 2 to (max Spell Levels). Then it was practically assumed you wanted to designate spells of minimum possible level, but now every spell level is equally relevant for base spell designation.

In terms of Wizard Drain Bond recasting, that is IMHO generally LESS versatile than 1E Arcane Bond which was ANYTHING in their spellbook even if they have NEVER EVER prepared it. Universalist Bond/Level is improvement in quantity, but extending "already-cast" dependency across multiple levels makes it less likely real benefit scales 1:1 with spell levels, a dynamic also applicable to Bond Conservation. The latter's additional action does impede quite a bit of stuff, as does even base Drain Bond's requirement of "before other actions", while all this value is predicated on expending resources which are "committed" to specific spells to be able to re-cast them later. Spell Substitution is a...

Yeah. The sorcerer lost one thing (overcasting,if you will) which was suboptimal to begin with. And it gained a whole freaking lot before you even touch the feats.


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Staves also offer a nice chunk of versatility for Spontaneous casters.

You can substitute any of your spells for an equivalent spell+1 charge.

So, as an example, a 9th level sorc has for free 5 charges in his staff. That gives him essentially 5 spells/day that aren't from his spell repertoire if he so wishes.

A prepared caster on the other hand can just substitute a higher level slot for few lower slots. Really good with stuff like True strike, but outside of such cases, not as powerful imo.


Pathfinder Maps, Pawns Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber
shroudb wrote:

Staves also offer a nice chunk of versatility for Spontaneous casters.

You can substitute any of your spells for an equivalent spell+1 charge.

So, as an example, a 9th level sorc has for free 5 charges in his staff. That gives him essentially 5 spells/day that aren't from his spell repertoire if he so wishes.

I did see that, and it is very cool.

Honestly, if it's officially ruled that spontaneous casters can cast lower level spells in higher level slots without the need for heightening them first, I think I will be quite happy with sorcerers as they are.


Pathfinder Adventure, Adventure Path, Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber

I don't see any balance issues with sorcerers casting a high level slot using a lower spell slot, with lower level results.


Lucas Yew wrote:

I heard long ago that one of the 3 devs of the d20 engine other than Monte Cook (surprise) had some serious hate of Sorcerers, for reasons not clearly known. As I heard he hated Fighters too, I personally think it was some sort of an "intellectual preparation play" snobbism.

Now it seems that his poisonous grudge somehow managed to contaminate both 5E and PF2 by placing unexplainable and unnecessary nerfs to Sorcs...

Assuming malice on the part of a game developer because you don't like the class is entirely uncalled for.


Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber; Pathfinder Companion, Maps, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Maps, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber
Shain Edge wrote:
I don't see any balance issues with sorcerers casting a high level slot using a lower spell slot, with lower level results.

It is not a balance issue -- it is one of clarity. The trick is to say that doing this is legal in a way that won't be too easily misinterpreted.

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