Article with Analysis on Casters vs Martials:


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Temperans wrote:

I wonder why everyone is comparing the melee fighter/barbarian, when a ranged fighter/ranger does about the same damage and has equal or better range, although yeah it maybe doesn't have the feats.

Just something I noticed.

A bow ranger does 3d8+2+3 = 18.5 damage.

Vs the barbs 3d10+5+3+8 = 32.5.

A fair bit less damage.

100' range is still very good though.


Well I wasn't comparing damage more an observation that most comparisons (including those from the charts) have been with melee martials.

Also yeah, bow ranger does less damage than the barbarian, but they are more consistent largely because of lower MAP. Still again I was commenting on how the math is (mostly) done vs melee martials not ranged martials.

Dark Archive

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Michael Alves wrote:
...

Just to confirm, I did read your article. I thought it was moderately biased and suffered from systemic hand-waives for all of the actual gaps between martials and casters that you identified. Many of the points I raised are ones you did, you just decided to make a qualitative judgement as to how much it matters. I don't find many of those qualitative assessments convincing based on the way you presented the information and most of your analysis is hung on one single chart that doesn't account for everything as you have suggested. As well, most people don't read these long 'cross-referenced' posts, so I try to avoid making them initially. Since you have asked for more evidence of my reading your post, lets start with a few of the examples from your article where your bias/hand-waiving is evident:

EXAMPLE 1:

Michael Alves wrote:

The thing is, Jason Bulmahn[ii], one of the lead game designers for PF2E, calls cantrips “viable but behind the curve option...

So cantrips are not something really important or exclusive to the casting classes, and are more like side dishes that the class offer as complement to their real kit, the 1 to 10 level spells...”

Just because the game designer said they did something on purpose doesn't make it balanced or a good thing (this is an 'appeal to authority' fallacy). The fact that they are readily available to non-casters actually makes this worse for casters as it removes the exclusivity of their main class feature (i.e., spells) and gives it to everyone. This means that spells that use a slot form an even larger part of their identity as a class chassis. This sets up having impotent spells from slots as a serious issue for the overall fun of the class.

EXAMPLE 2:

Michael Alves wrote:

It is a significant nerf with loss of 1 to 2 spells per day per slot, but on the other hand, when you gain access to a new circle in PF2E you receive 2+1 spells per day of that circle, which was not true for PF1E, where it depended on your intellect and the items you had to boost it, meaning that for high level spells you ended with 1 or 2 slots when you got a new circle of magic.

...

From Reply Above:
This proves that you had not read the article.
And it is a ~25% less spells, because you often will have more spells on your higher slots them on PF1.

It only reaches 33%-40% if on PF1 you had broken values in your main ability score. (most probably because of house rules)

Let’s compare a 1e wiz/sorc caster with a 26 caster stat (starting 18 + 2 race + 2 from boosts + 4 from headband) to a 2e caster equivalent then at your L11 comparison point:

1e(prep.) - 1x8, 2x8, 3x7, 4x6, 5x5, 6x4 - Total = 38 Spell slots
2e(prep.) - 1x4, 2x4, 3x4, 4x4, 5x4, 6x3 - Total = 23 Spell Slots (39% reduction in spells)

1e(spon.) - 1x8, 2x8, 3x8 ,4x8, 5x5, 6x0 - Total = 37 Spell slots
2e(spon.) - 1x4, 2x4, 3x4, 4x4, 5x3, 6x3 - Total = 23 Spell Slots (38% reduction in spells)

The statement in the article is factually wrong and your response shows your bias is readily available to explain away that I must have a homebrew broken character. The fact is that between 1e to 2e you're losing a ballpark of 25-40% of your spells at various levels.

EXAMPLE 3:

Michael Alves wrote:

The most powerful utility, buff and debuff spells of PF1E got nerfed, even Rope Trick got a huge nerf, from second circle to fourth, and making it so that destroying the rope can end the spell, and yet if you look at the lists now, they feel much more balanced.

They nerfed the outliers that everyone always used, and gave small buffs to underused ones. In the end most of the spells are pretty spot on, with some minor outliers for better or worse. But they made they keep being useful at higher levels by not becoming less likely to work as you progress.

This isn't a factually based statement and universally stating that things that people used were over powered outliers belies the fact that they published a lot of extremely under-powered situationally relevant spells. That is an opinion and we fall on opposite sides of the fence. I value consistency and agency over my character's abilities. I don't want an all or nothing swingy play style or to prep an irrelevant spell. People picked spells in 1e to use because they had a good chance of being impactful and not wasting your resources. This is especially important in 2e where you have 25-40% less spells. To constantly hear that the enemy made that save because statistically that is what is going to happen due to Monster's much higher saves vs. 1e, is frustrating in play.

EXAMPLE 4:

Michael Alves wrote:

If we take into account a level 11 Wizard...

This mean that he has around 7 “big guns”, and 16 “utility/debuff” slots.

What if we look at the poor L1-L5 caster where people spend the most amount of play time instead of going right to L5+ spells? You even allude to this in the article, but change your combats per day for low level play to 'make it okay' to suit the input data. You've presented an inconsistent argument with bias. The truth is losing one of your big '3' spells because a boss or minion made a save is 1/3 of your goods for the day and feels awful. What if you have 7 combats at L1-L5 in a day (that's 1 spell per combat and 3-5 rounds of cantrips excluding wanting to have any utility/out of combat spells).

EXAMPLE 5:

Michael Alves wrote:
Yet again if we look back at citricking tables, the normalized damage comparison still places 2d6/level damaging spells at equal or better them most martial classes.

You just spent 22 paragraphs and 3 images in the same section of your article explaining how casters are not doing well. Yet, you have gone and hung up your entire argument one image/statistic. So, lets evaluate the true value of that chart as it is the main underpinning of your article.

The statistic you've quoted does not account for the following key items which help you to minimize the actual differences seen in game:

1.) Comparison is only between 'martial' and caster and does not account for fighters who are clearly above the rest in accuracy.

2.) It doesn't account for the third action in many cases which increases turn by turn damage (and which isn't expressly available to a caster for use in the same manner without spending another spell slot on true strike).

3.) It doesn't account for any actual meta of the game or builds that use various feat combinations. The only build on your 'table' using a feat is a double shot ranged combatant. Everything else is just plain strikes. You are missing true strike swipe builds, pick/fatal builds, certain strike, double strike, rouge MCs for sneak attack, fighter MC monk for flurry/certain strike/certain strike, etc. You're comparing 2nd tier martials who didn't spec into damage or necessarily take an optimal turn of 3 action attacks against a caster who has little or no agency to increase the efficacy of their spells.

4.) It doesn't account for reactions that cause damage (especially Opportunity Attacks, Champion Reactions, stand still, etc.). These are often another strike and don't suffer MAP. It also doesn't account for additional reactions at higher levels (e.g., fighters get a second AoO, champions get a second reaction, etc.).

5.) It doesn't account for flat footed on the DPR calculations for martials. Getting this condition applied has almost no opportunity cost for a martial who is already moving into position for one round and thus freely increases expected average damage.

6.) Doesn't include the critical specialization abilities of various weapons (something you're counting as a boon for spells that strip actions). Three of the weapon specialization effects essentially mimic all of the 'lose an action' spells (i.e., brawling, flail, and hammer groups) and in some cases are better. Note the big difference is most martials gain access at L3 or L5, except you can crit on attacks every turn all day (even on the second strike or on a reaction attack).

7.) It isn't evident to me that various damage property runes are included in the damage calculations, which may skew results in favour of martials.

8.) It doesn't account for ranged penalties, which are most likely to be experienced by spell attack rolls (dropping their already bad spell attack roll further).

I think one of the largest elements of bias in your article and thinking is the comparison of high-level spells/high level PCs (e.g., disintegrate/polar ray/L11 wizards). The main part of the game that everyone suffers through is L1-L10, but you keep referencing L10+ PCs/L5+ spells. People simply won't make it that far in a campaign/PFS2e if playing the first half of the game isn't fun or balanced.

In one part of your article you talk about low level spells but even the spells you suggest aren't that great (most of the good ones being L4 spells). You overvalue the 'fail on a save' condition as there is a 70-45% chance of a monster to succeed. Most if not all of those spells boil down to my two actions for the monster's 1 action, which in my opinion isn't actually a good spell effect:

Hideous Laughter: Only single target, mind affecting, requires I lose 1 action sustaining to make target lose reactions (not a great affect).

Silence: Level 4 spell for 10ft radius affect, mitigated by 1 action to move (not a great affect)

Grease: mitigated by a one action step or a one action leap to go through/over it with no save. (not a great affect).

Invisibility: hostile actions now include direct/indirect so you can't go invisible and summon something or help and ally harm something else (this is indirect). 1st addition was only directly hostile and this is a big key difference (its why you could do shenanigans while invisible). Running it another way is absolutely not RAW and your prerogative, but you're the homebrewer at that point. 4th level version is a high-level slot and much better.

Mirror Image: less images/more susceptible to popping. One round of monster attacks ends this spell (so far this is the best action economy remover of your list).

Slow: single target only, again the most likely affect is one lost action.

Dimensional Door: this only affects you, no more getting key party members past hazards or across dungeon floors (i.e., nerfed into oblivion). This is a 'run away spell' at best.

Freedom of Movement: one target, 10 minutes, so a reactionary 1 combat buff (not great). Hope you don't get stuck in the thing you prepped this spell to combat.

Globe of Invulnerability: only 10 minutes long, focused on an area so enemy can negate by moving into the sphere, turning a corner from line of sight to move the battlefield, or use a higher level spell slot (i.e., what all enemy casters will do since they only get a 4-5 rounds to use their best spells before being killed). Also, uncommon so the GM may not let you have it.

Stoneskin: A worthwhile spell, but it's 4th level, so not exactly a low-level spell.

Haste: Great spell to buff your fighter. Made less great by the fact that fighters/barbarians can do this all day every day with Sudden Charge as a low-level feat.

Confusion: Level 4, if the target succeeds, he is stunned 1 (i.e., 1 action loss for 1 turn).

Fear: Frightened 1 is easily replicated by the one action demoralize (not great).

Goblin Pox: sickened 1, single target (not great), and a touch spell (hope you had full hp before your ran up to use this).

Ray of Enfeeblement: A spell attack roll AND a save makes this awful.

Wall of Wind: If the enemy moves closer, they waste 1-3 actions, or they could move back and wait for the wind to die down? It can be situationally good, but I wouldn't suggest it is powerful enough to prep when you have no idea if you're going to even face ranged combatants.

When it comes to your discussion on high level spells you are qualitatively making assumptions that you can consistently get 4+ enemies into an AOE blast. Most of the time you're hard pressed to get 2 things in an AOE blast without a friendly suffering (or without you having to expose get closer). This assumption of 1 spell per combat vs. 4 combatants is a theory craft argument and rarely reflects actual gameplay.

This argument also glosses over a huge elephant in the room. The only way a caster can stay on the curve (if I temporarily agree that the curve you picked is correct) is to always spend their top spells on blasting spells. It does absolutely nothing for the critique that many casters don't want to blast. Instead they want to do battlefield control, debuffing, utility, etc. Those are a huge cross section of the spell lists that don't necessarily get to be applied across 2-4 enemies in one casting and will face the full 45-70% average save issue against a level equivalent threat (even worse for a level +1 or +2 boss). It means you can be wasting huge slots with little return. You've got to rethink hanging your conclusions on a single 2d6/lvl 2 action chart as it simply isn't a convincing argument or applicable to the bulk of spells people want to cast

Many of your other comments to my post show your bias:

Michael Alves wrote:

False. Look at the creature, does it appears to be agile in its movements? Is it very intelligent or is it casting spells? Does it looks very strong and tough?

This is claimed by some people but makes absolutely no sense. Your character is there, it is looking at how the enemy moves, what he does, and everything else.

If your DM refuses to give you information you would obtain by looking at the creature in front of you, then he is the metagaming one and not you, change DM/Table.

This isn't RAW and is subject to heavy table variation. That isn't great for PFS play. I GM that they can ask for what they want but that is my own desire to give PCs more agency and is against RAW.

Michael Alves wrote:
False, the damage on the tables are already taking saving throws into consideration.

The math you pointed to in your article says they have an average of 45-70% save chance. As identified above, the comparison chart you've used is flawed for multiple reasons.

Michael Alves wrote:
Did you read the article or you just seen the name of the topic and come here to rant? =(

Something identified in your article, but hand waived using a fallacious argument in your article as stated above.

Michael Alves wrote:
Again all taken into account in the dpr calculations. Wizards are still doing well with top two higher slots.

Again, this isn't true because of the underlying assumptions built into the comparison chart being used. It also doesn't address PCs who don't want to spend all of their top two slots on damage spells (especially spontaneous ones who'll have a harder time retraining out low level blast spells).

Michael Alves wrote:
It is called choices, and is what makes interesting gameplay

You just hand-waived of another significant nerf/change in the game. The requirement to sustain spells is a big balance chance that makes many of those spells very difficult to use.

Michael Alves wrote:

Great change. Have you ever read Elminster books? He mostly uses foot or horse to traverse distances, or teleportation when very necessary, but he does not go around flying to places like a Dragon Ball character.

It is cool that a flying focused character can fly and bring his group with him to cross greate distances.
It is strange that every wizard could do the same. The skies would be crowded on some of Toril areas.
...
That was both overpowered on prior editions, and was in favor of martials and not casters, so what is your point?

And what it has to do with world interaction?

A huge biased hand-waive. PCs interact with the world so that they can prepare for things. You ask around town about the threat, investigate the surrounding area, find out there is a fire breathing dragon, etc. But now you can't properly prepare because the resist energy spell doesn't last long enough. If you cast it before you go into the cave, one single encounter, trap, etc. will kill the spell (thanks to the game time increment shifting from 1 minute to 10 minutes - i.e., fighter applying medicine, searching the area,identifying items, regaining focus, etc.). You would have lost 1-6 spell slots buffing PCs and had no effect with a good chunk of your spells. The only alternative is to be reactive and hope you go first. Even then you cant target multiple PCs without serious heightening, which means you’ll be lucky to even get yourself some resistance before a big red dragon breath weapon.

This isn't OP, it is rewarding players for actually engaging in the world. It also significantly reduces a wasted spell slot which, thanks to having 25-40% less are even more valuable.

Michael Alves wrote:
Better chassis then prior editions.

Another hand-waive. Why does a caster deserve a worse relative chassis to all other 2e martial classes if they are so incredibly balanced against them? By your own admission in the article the only boon they have here is an arbitrary legendary spellcasting at very late game, yet they spend the rest of the game with highly delayed proficiency bumps/no magic items to improve their spell attack roll/save dc.

Overall, the reason I posted all of the nerfs collectively wasn't to rant, but to show the overall cumulative changes between editions. There are a lot of fundamental solid reasons that people think casters are weaker than martials in 2e. It is for many individual reasons, but also the cumulative impact of each of those individual reasons. Your article tries to tackle a subset of those reasons, which is good. However, for me it misses key topics and dismisses others as inconsequential or change for the best. This leads you too concluding that the game is balanced. For me I don't find it as easy to dismiss some of these items individually and especially not taken on the collective whole.


Red Griffyn wrote:


The statistic you've quoted does not account for the following key items which help you to minimize the actual differences seen in game:

1.) Comparison is only between 'martial' and caster and does not account for fighters who are clearly above the rest in accuracy.

2.) It doesn't account for the third action in many cases which increases turn by turn damage (and which isn't expressly available to a caster for use in the same manner without spending another spell slot on true strike).

3.) It doesn't account for any actual meta of the game or builds that use various feat combinations. The only build on your 'table' using a feat is a double shot ranged combatant. Everything else is just plain strikes. You are missing true strike swipe builds, pick/fatal builds, certain strike, double strike, rouge MCs for sneak attack, fighter MC monk for flurry/certain strike/certain strike, etc. You're comparing 2nd tier martials who didn't spec into damage or necessarily take an optimal turn of 3 action attacks against a caster who has little or no agency to increase the efficacy of their spells.

4.) It doesn't account for reactions that cause damage (especially Opportunity Attacks, Champion Reactions, stand still, etc.). These are often another strike and don't suffer MAP. It also doesn't account for additional reactions at higher levels (e.g., fighters get a second AoO, champions get a second reaction, etc.).

5.) It doesn't account for flat footed on the DPR calculations for martials. Getting this condition applied has almost no opportunity cost for a martial who is already moving into position for one round and thus freely increases expected average damage.

6.) Doesn't include the critical specialization abilities of various weapons (something you're counting as a boon for spells that strip actions). Three of the weapon specialization effects essentially mimic all of the 'lose an action' spells (i.e., brawling, flail, and hammer groups) and in some cases are better. Note the big difference is most martials gain access at L3 or L5, except you can crit on attacks every turn all day (even on the second strike or on a reaction attack).

7.) It isn't evident to me that various damage property runes are included in the damage calculations, which may skew results in favour of martials.

8.) It doesn't account for ranged penalties, which are most likely to be experienced by spell attack rolls (dropping their already bad spell attack roll further).

Really good points. I noticed the same reading the article!


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Playing a Wizard I've found you'd better hope your DM rolls bad on saves and does not fudge crit fails (IME alot of DMs do this) - this way your few non-cantrip spells can have a worthwhile effect (e.g. lvl1 losing 1 of your 2 daily slots is IMO not a good trade for the boss losing 1 of his 3 actions for 1 round). Don't get me started on Incapacitate ;)

I can confirm you can't assume 4 foes in a fireball in the 'real world', all too often it's just 1. You usually don't know what you will face when memorizing that morning, and the tactical layout of terrain/cover & friendlies. I'd say my average is at best 3 foes/FB.

Wizard is good at mook-cleanup, which from a team perspective means the Wizard is very useful to the team if the DM uses mooks a lot (some prefer 'one big monster'); but mook-handling is not the most appealing role IMO.

I worry about how this wizard will do in marathon sessions - they (IMO) roughly keep up in the 3-4 encounter/day model, how will they do in marathons? Cantrips are fine but boring and weak. I've been lucky so far usually only facing 1 final encounter with just cantrips left, but yeah it's abundantly clear how weak cantrips are in those fights and super boring for me personally.

Sovereign Court

My key question for class balance is: would you rather have a party with all-casters, no casters at all, or a mix? If the marginal gain from adding a fourth fighter is lower than that from adding a wizard, then I think we're on to something.

Sovereign Court

Also, I'm sorry, but I'm not really inclined to go read anything on a site that I can't even read without disabling adblock.

Liberty's Edge

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mcintma wrote:
Playing a Wizard I've found you'd better hope your DM rolls bad on saves and does not fudge crit fails (IME alot of DMs do this)

Then you're playing with s~!+ty GMs. Fudging to take away crits from the PCs is pretty much the definition of a bad GM, and not something wrong with the system.

Fudging can be fine if the whole group is on board with it, but doing so to take away PC successes? Absolutely not okay at all.


If you want to "fudge" as the GM, just add an extra creatures to replace the one that crit-failed.


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Mellored wrote:

Assuming 4 rounds * 3 encounters per day....

Dragon Barbarian 13, using swipe with a Guisarme to help normalize multi-target damage.
Using the chart, 50% chance to hit, 10% chance to crit.
(.5 + .1*2) = 0.7
3d10+5+3(specialization)+8(dragon rage) =
32.5 * 0.7 = 22.75 (2 targets)

Level 13 arcane caster using a level 7/6/5/4 multi-target spell. Which they can do 3 times per day (likely hitting more than 2 targets).
Eclipse Burst (7th, 8d10+8d4) + Chain Lighting (6th, 8d12) + Cone of Cold (5th, 12d6) + Fireball (4th, 8d6)
(64+52+42+28)*.25 = 46.5
45% chance to hit, 45% chance for half, 5% chance for double, 5% none.
(.45 + .45 * .5 + .05 * 2) = 0.775
46.5 * 0.775 = 36.0375 (2+ targets)

So yea. Blaster does 58.4% more damage than a barb. And still has the level 3/2/1 spells for utility. Casters easily win.

Let's try 5 round * 3 encounters (15 rounds of combat) a day.
So if I assume 1 cast of electric arc (7d4+5).
(64+52+42+28+22.5)*.20 = 41.7 * 0.775
= 32.317

So at 15 rounds a day, blasters still win with 42% more damage.

S2 Mellored. =D

I was busy fighting with problems on WIX on Mobile so I ended not doing the math here, but your post is a good example of what I was talking about.

If you take AOE into account Casters are still pretty scary.


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Ascalaphus wrote:
Also, I'm sorry, but I'm not really inclined to go read anything on a site that I can't even read without disabling adblock.

Sorry for that man, but it takes many, and I mean MANY, hours to put up a good article.

I cannot do that, and pay all site costs without help from ads. =(

We can still discuss it here anyway.

mcintma wrote:
Playing a Wizard I've found you'd better hope your DM rolls bad on saves and does not fudge crit fails (IME alot of DMs do this)

If your DM is cheating you, change DM.

mcintma wrote:


I can confirm you can't assume 4 foes in a fireball in the 'real world', all too often it's just 1. You usually don't know what you will face when memorizing that morning, and the tactical layout of terrain/cover & friendlies. I'd say my average is at best 3 foes/FB.

The math here shows that even in single target situations casters will not fall behind in average damage.

The math i did for AOE was for two targets not four, and Mellored did for 3 targets, by his numbers a barbarian and a Wizard would be tied for 2 targets more or less.

mcintma wrote:


Wizard is good at mook-cleanup, which from a team perspective means the Wizard is very useful to the team if the DM uses mooks a lot (some prefer 'one big monster'); but mook-handling is not the most appealing role IMO.

False. Wizards are the king of mook-cleaup, and as good as the other classes against 2-3 enemies.

And they are descent against bosses both on damage department and on debuff/buff department. They may not be the best there, but they provide a lot of utility, are still very useful and bring competitive average damage, and they are better on non-boss combats, and they totally dominate AOE scenarios, so it seems a fair and balanced. Or you wanted them to be king on AoE/Mook-Cleaning, good against normal encounters, and top damage on boss fights too?!

mcintma wrote:


I worry about how this wizard will do in marathon sessions - they (IMO) roughly keep up in the 3-4 encounter/day model, how will they do in marathons? Cantrips are fine but boring and weak. I've been lucky so far usually only facing 1 final encounter with just cantrips left, but yeah it's abundantly clear how weak cantrips are in those fights and super boring for me personally.

Cantrips are not good, as proved by citriking, they worth half-damage of an Archer.

The thing is, there is no more 3-4 encounter/day model as shown in the article by Paizo developer's own words.

So it is up for the kind of game you are playing.

If you DM uses 1-3 encounters per day casters become even stronger.
If he uses 3-5 encounters per day, they are as balanced as we are showing here.
If he uses 6-7 encounters they are ok but will need to take care with resources.
If he uses 8+ encounters, then casters fall behind.

That is called game balance and choices, you gain on one side, you lose on the other. Remove the consequences of choice and they become meaningless.


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Mellored wrote:
If you want to "fudge" as the GM, just add an extra creatures to replace the one that crit-failed.

First rule of fudging is if your players noticed you are fudging you are wrong already.


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First, I'd like to apologize for any moment on any prior post that might have been seen as disrespectful, it is not my intent in the least.

I enjoy heated discussions, and I think we need them to improve on our theories about things.

I will answer your last post, but because of some of your answers, I will be a bit harsh at some points, please excuse me for that.

Red Griffyn wrote:


Just because the game designer said they did something on purpose doesn't make it balanced or a good thing (this is an 'appeal to authority' fallacy). The fact that they are readily available to non-casters actually makes this worse for casters as it removes the exclusivity of their main class feature (i.e., spells) and gives it to everyone. This means that spells that use a slot form an even larger part of their identity as a class chassis. This sets up having impotent spells from slots as a serious issue for the overall fun of the class.

No, it is not an appeal to authority, you are using the term incorrectly. An appeal to authority only happens when you appeal to someone that has prestige but no specialty on a given topic of expertise, and I am using the words of a very knowledgeable game designer that has the most knowledge about PF2E. Also, I used it as one of the arguments not as the proof, so again you are incorrect.

And you are distorting the argument about cantrips. I agree with you, they removed the exclusivity of cantrips as a main class feature, this left the level 1 to 10 actual SPELLS as the main class feature of spellcasting classes.

Let's be frank here, PF1E cantrips were useless too, so what you are talking about? The main core mechanic of spellcasters always was 1-9, and now 1-10 spells. Just because they gave cantrips a progression does not mean they are now important part of the kit.

If you pick unwisely your spell list, on PF1 or on PF2 you were throwing away spell slots, this is not a serious issue, it is called choice, and it must have consequences. You want to pick niche spells? You will take the risk of they not being useful that they, but generally they are pretty powerful in that specific context, and that is why often they are better picks in that context then other spells, hence why you want to maybe have them on your prepared list. This is basic of choice and designing interesting choices on game design, the contrary to what you said here.

Red Griffyn wrote:


Let’s compare a 1e wiz/sorc caster with a 26 caster stat (starting 18 + 2 race + 2 from boosts + 4 from headband) to a 2e caster equivalent then at your L11 comparison point:

1e(prep.) - 1x8, 2x8, 3x7, 4x6, 5x5, 6x4 - Total = 38 Spell slots
2e(prep.) - 1x4, 2x4, 3x4, 4x4, 5x4, 6x3 - Total = 23 Spell Slots (39% reduction in spells)
1e(spon.) - 1x8, 2x8, 3x8 ,4x8, 5x5, 6x0 - Total = 37 Spell slots
2e(spon.) - 1x4, 2x4, 3x4, 4x4, 5x3, 6x3 - Total = 23 Spell Slots (38% reduction in spells)

The statement in the article is factually wrong and your response shows your bias is readily available to explain away that I must have a homebrew broken character. The fact is that between 1e to 2e you're losing a ballpark of 25-40% of your spells at various levels.

Are you optimizing for number of slots per day?

Because basic for wizard on PF1 is:
1o - 4
2o - 4
3o - 4
4o - 3
5o - 2
6o - 1

26 of intellect gives you:
1o - +2
2o - +2
3o - +2
4o - +2
5o - +1
6o - +1
7o - +1
8o - +1
9o - +0

With this a generalist Wizard will have:
1o - 6
2o - 6
3o - 6
4o - 5
5o - 2
6o - 2

A total of 27 spells per day and not the 38 you pointed. So who is using wrong numbers here?

If you take a Specialist Wizard, just to buff spells per day, you will need to select opposed schools, which is a small nerf overall, and you will only have 33 and not 38.

This will be counting against PF2E 23 spells per day from the Wizard.

We are talking about a 30% reduction here, that I did not dismiss.
I said "It is a significant nerf with loss of 1 to 2 spells per day..."

It is a roughly 30% nerf to the number of spells per day, YES!
But on the other hand our 11 level wizard have:
4o - 5 +1 if specialized
5o - 4 +1 if specialized
6o - 2 +1 if specialized

4o - 4
5o - 4
6o - 3

A non-school specialized Wizard has fewer spells of 6o by level 11 than on PF2E.

The difference is very small on the big gun spells, and happens mostly on lower level slots, and this happened because they made lower-level spells save scale automatically, making them more useful then PF1 that would mostly be used for buff and utility because targets would not fail against them if you were not using a very save optimized build.

You made a strawman argument here since you attacked a proposition I never defended in first place. In my article, I presented all arguments in favor and against casters, so that people could reach their own conclusion, and then I presented MY conclusion, that you can agree or not, and that we can discuss.

You should take more responsibility before talking the way you did here. Even more when you will do bad math and show faulty data.

Red Griffyn wrote:


This isn't a factually based statement and universally stating that things that people used were over powered outliers belies the fact that they published a lot of extremely under-powered situationally relevant spells. That is an opinion and we fall on opposite sides of the fence. I value consistency and agency over my character's abilities. I don't want an all or nothing swingy play style or to prep an irrelevant spell. People picked spells in 1e to use because they had a good chance of being impactful and not wasting your resources. This is especially important in 2e where you have 25-40% less spells. To constantly hear that the enemy made that save because statistically that is what is going to happen due to Monster's much higher saves vs. 1e, is frustrating in play.

Purely your opinion against my opinion on this.

An article is supposed to bring both raw data and my views on the topic I am talking about. You can criticize it freely, and I can defend my points.

Show incorrect data and I will promptly fix the article.
I want to learn as much as I want to teach here.

What you are calling frustrating is what most of the time make good game design. If you read books like Rules of Play: Game Design Fundamentals from Eric Zimmerman and Katie Salen, or The Art of Game Design: A Book of Lens by Jesse Schell, you will understand what I am talking about.

You can discuss other aspects of the spell design, but saying that you prefer a version where you could pick all the same spells every day and that everyone used mostly the same spells because they were top tier in strength, even when competing against more specific spells, and were generical, then a system where specific use spells are more powerful, and more generalistic spells are less, then you are technically wrong by all that i, and many other game designers know and theorize about interesting choices.

You can discuss about how they did it, and point other methods that could have been better on your opinion, but what you said is far from that, and is plain wrong.

Red Griffyn wrote:


What if we look at the poor L1-L5 caster where people spend the most amount of play time instead of going right to L5+ spells? You even allude to this in the article, but change your combats per day for low level play to 'make it okay' to suit the input data. You've presented an inconsistent argument with bias. The truth is losing one of your big '3' spells because a boss or minion made a save is 1/3 of your goods for the day and feels awful. What if you have 7 combats at L1-L5 in a day (that's 1 spell per combat and 3-5 rounds of cantrips excluding wanting to have any utility/out of combat spells).

Yes, I said that lower-level casters were at a bigger problem.

I used one set of combats per day, a EXTREME ONE, to prove that even on multiple combats a day a high-level wizard is very fine.

On extreme conditions, low-level wizards are worse? YES! The article points out that!

You are just trying to read the article on the wrong way on purpose by now.

Oh, and you forgot two important aspects:
1- The length of combat and the number of combats per day are usually lower on low level as the party has low recovering resources.

2- Cantrips are closer to the damage of the other classes in lower levels as the tables on the article shows and as the discussion here on this topic also proved. (Thanks to Citricking.)

So again your argument is just baseless attacks.

Red Griffyn wrote:


1.) Comparison is only between 'martial' and caster and does not account for fighters who are clearly above the rest in accuracy.

False the DPR comparisons are against a Fighter. The Hit comparison is done against Barbarian because fighters are the outliers on that aspect.

Red Griffyn wrote:


2.) It doesn't account for the third action in many cases which increases turn by turn damage (and which isn't expressly available to a caster for use in the same manner without spending another spell slot on true strike).

False, for non-[Attack] spells, the third round of a caster is to shot a short bow and if you look at the dpr comparisons they do almost the same damage as a cantrip and is hitting at full accuracy.

In fact, they may do more average damage than a Barbarian attacking at -10.
And for [Attack] spells, True Strike is king.

So again your point is null.

Red Griffyn wrote:

3.) It doesn't account for any actual meta of the game or builds that use various feat combinations. The only build on your 'table' using a feat is a double shot ranged combatant. Everything else is just plain strikes. You are missing true strike swipe builds, pick/fatal builds, certain strike, double strike, rouge MCs for sneak attack, fighter MC monk for flurry/certain strike/certain strike, etc. You're comparing 2nd tier martials who didn't spec into damage or necessarily take an optimal turn of 3 action attacks against a caster who has little or no agency to increase the efficacy of their spells.

Simply false.

And you need to present the data yourself if you wish to prove something by saying this.

Remember to fully optimize the Wizard with proper gear for his level, and fully optimize the Barbarian if you want to make this point.

I can say that I did it, and the math scaled properly by Citricking tables and calculations, so i just used his basic tables to show a bigger picture.

The burden of proof that this is wrong is YOURS.

Red Griffyn wrote:

4.) It doesn't account for reactions that cause damage (especially Opportunity Attacks, Champion Reactions, stand still, etc.). These are often another strike and don't suffer MAP. It also doesn't account for additional reactions at higher levels (e.g., fighters get a second AoO, champions get a second reaction, etc.).

True, and also was taking only 1 target for all AOES. =D

AOO vary ALOT by table, so it becomes really hard to model on DPR calculations. You may argue that this brings an advantage to the fighter, but it is still covered by the differences in table of AOE damage, so not a valid point.

Take all adventures by PAIZO, make an average number of AOE'able mobs per combat, and then go to many different streams and watch plays to see the average number of AoO and then you can come here with actual that to prove your point.

With your baseless arguments, I stand where I am.

Red Griffyn wrote:


6.) Doesn't include the critical specialization abilities of various weapons (something you're counting as a boon for spells that strip actions). Three of the weapon specialization effects essentially mimic all of the 'lose an action' spells (i.e., brawling, flail, and hammer groups) and in some cases are better. Note the big difference is most martials gain access at L3 or L5, except you can crit on attacks every turn all day (even on the second strike or on a reaction attack).

Good point, but most of those are even minor than what first level spells can do, and they only happen on a critical strike.

They are good against minions, that wizards are better on AOE, they are nice against normal encounters, and they hardly happen against bosses.

It is hard to model, it is an advantage of weapon uses, and I give you that. I should have touched this on the article, as it is a good argument in pro of Weapon Users.

But it is hard enough to tip the balance lets be clear here.

Red Griffyn wrote:


7.) It isn't evident to me that various damage property runes are included in the damage calculations, which may skew results in favour of martials.

They are.

Red Griffyn wrote:


It doesn't account for ranged penalties, which are most likely to be experienced by spell attack rolls (dropping their already bad spell attack roll further).

And don't take into account the actions lost moving by melee characters. Guess what? We cant model for everything.

Yet we expect ranged characters to sometimes also need to move for a better position, and melees to have to move way more losing more actions during the fight. Even with class feats to mitigate this, they still lose more than ranged characters does because of movement.

Red Griffyn wrote:


In one part of your article you talk about low level spells but even the spells you suggest aren't that great (most of the good ones being L4 spells). You overvalue the 'fail on a save' condition as there is a 70-45% chance of a monster to succeed. Most if not all of those spells boil down to my two actions for the monster's 1 action, which in my opinion isn't actually a good spell effect:

Yes on a successful save. And against a boss encounter 2 of your actions worth way less than 1 action from the enemy.

You need to take into account how the action economy works, a party of four have 12 actions, a boss monsters have 3.

Again your point is not valid, and my argument is backed by the game designers AND by game design theory AND by math.

I will not comment on your spell by spell analysis because they were mostly all flat wrong or just your personal opinion. You forgot that Silence on your fighter means he Grab the enemy caster or that getting away from him takes AoO. You failed to take into consideration the action economy on a lot of spells, like on Hideous Laughter where 1 of party 12 actions can DENY enemy of ALL REACTIONS! Overall not much useful info.

Red Griffyn wrote:

When it comes to your discussion on high level spells you are qualitatively making assumptions that you can consistently get 4+ enemies into an AOE blast. Most of the time you're hard pressed to get 2 things in an AOE blast without a friendly suffering (or without you having to expose get closer). This assumption of 1 spell per combat vs. 4 combatants is a theory craft argument and rarely reflects actual gameplay.

No, I based all on 1 target and said that if we get TWO targets we are great, and three targets we are amazing, and at four or mor targets we are just flat out broken.

You are implying that I said things and presented things that i didn't and that is very aggravating. You should apologize as this is very disrespectful.

Red Griffyn wrote:

This isn't RAW and is subject to heavy table variation. That isn't great for PFS play. I GM that they can ask for what they want but that is my own desire to give PCs more agency and is against RAW.

False, by RAW the DM needs to describe the creatures and how they are acting.

You are taking this from nothing.

All streams that PAIZO themselves made shows this. All big streamers out there plays this way. You are using a false argument.

Red Griffyn wrote:

The math you pointed to in your article says they have an average of 45-70% save chance. As identified above, the comparison chart you've used is flawed for multiple reasons.

False the math takes into account the half damage.

You provide no data and claim others data is wrong without proving it mathematically, this is dishonesty at its finest.

Red Griffyn wrote:

Again, this isn't true because of the underlying assumptions built into the comparison chart being used. It also doesn't address PCs who don't want to spend all of their top two slots on damage spells (especially spontaneous ones who'll have a harder time retraining out low level blast spells).

AND HERE WE FOUND YOUR PROBLEM!

You just don't like how the game is balanced right now and how is the optimal play for a Spellcaster.

No problem, you can dislike a game because of how the creators wanted the theme and the concepts behind the game to work.

But you can't mix that with a game being technically unbalanced.
You might not like the game, but you can't say something that is not true. Just speak what bothers you about it, what decisions of design you don't like, but don't try to attack others for claiming technical things just because you want some aspects of the game to be different.

Either play a different game or play non-casters if you don't like their current design.

Red Griffyn wrote:


You just hand-waived of another significant nerf/change in the game. The requirement to sustain spells is a big balance chance that makes many of those spells very difficult to use.

Not a "hand-waive" just a technical argument. I suggest you look into the theory of game design to better understand where this argument came from.

Red Griffyn wrote:


A huge biased hand-waive. PCs interact with the world so that they can prepare for things. (...) You would have lost 1-6 spell slots buffing PCs and had no effect with a good chunk of your spells. The only alternative is to be reactive and hope you go first. Even then you cant target multiple PCs without serious heightening, which means you’ll be lucky to even get yourself some resistance before a big red dragon breath weapon.

That is why you scout ahead!

This makes for a much more interesting gameplay, since now action economy on buffs matter, and they can be properly balanced.

Just let your best stealth guy go, see trap, back, everyone goes that, disarm, he goes, see trolls, back, everyone kil trolls, he goes, see dragon, back, everyone buff up.

This makes spells like invisibility, and divinations even stronger btw.

Red Griffyn wrote:


Overall, the reason I posted all of the nerfs collectively wasn't to rant, but to show the overall cumulative changes between editions. There are a lot of fundamental solid reasons that people think casters are weaker than martials in 2e. It is for many individual reasons, but also the cumulative impact of each of those individual reasons. Your article tries to tackle a subset of those reasons, which is good. However, for me it misses key topics and dismisses others as inconsequential or change for the best. This leads you too concluding that the game is balanced. For me I don't find it as easy to dismiss some of these items individually and especially not taken on the collective whole.

You are wrong on one thing, I never picked arguments to prove my point.

At one point I was under the impression that casters were underpowered.

Then I studied, tried builds, read many sources of info, seen developers and fellow gamers watched streams, DM'ed some times, and then read many posts on this forum, then I placed all solid info I could find, presented it in an article, and my personal opinion was different by that point, as all data I could find pointed for a balanced gameplay.

Look at all that you posted, you gave no proofs, no data, no hard work. You only claim things, discredit data without showing math proving the contrary, and you act in a disrespectful manner while doing that.

I ask you, what is your contribution to the community here?

Besides trying to deny something just because you don't want it to be true because you don't like how Paizo designed the spell casters mechanically, what you did here of useful?

I again apologize for being somewhat harsh here, but it is hard to not feel attacked when words are placed in your mouth and you are accused of manipulating data. (Even more, when all data presented was the entirety of data that exist at the moment about the object of study, and are all referenced.)

If anything sounded personal or offensive, please excuse me for that, sincerely, it is really not my objective, as I very much enjoy discussion and even heated debates, as I see them as the best way to improve on any given subject of study. ( This is sciency my friends, it only grows as people present data and arguments and others try to attack it, and rounds of discussing arise. =D )

But since some of your commentaries were pretty offensive and borderline trolling at some points, I will refrain from answering if the tone does not change to a more peaceful construction of knowledge on the topic.

If we as a community reach new conclusions, if new data arises with good conformability, then for sure I will either change my old article or create a new one talking about the new discoveries.

But I did all with proper research and the data we have so far.


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We interrupt this regularly scheduled thread for an off-topic on-topic observation:

Quote:
most of the time make good game design. If you read books like Rules of Play: Game Design Fundamentals from Eric Zimmerman and Katie Salen, or The Art of Game Design: A Book of Lens by Jesse Schell

Ahhh, so *that* explains what's been going on in the unfolding trends in gaming over the last generation or so.

Let me guess: these books use quantitative psychometrics to help game designers see what keeps people clicking for the pellet like a grandmother spending down her fortune at the slot machine.

The same design principle behind those ftp games with microtransactions and rng enhancing that gets people to plunk down time and or money trying to get the pellet. It *does* work (and none of those games are loathed or if they are it's never for any good reason, and certainly no one who plays those games have feelings of frustration that they then take out via in-game aggression in likewise carefully designed contexts).

I don't mean to knock these - I'm sure they're invaluable for game developers, from the pov of a game developer. But I'm not sure these are the sort of game design principles behind the success of the hobby Gary & Dave launched. It comes from a orthogonal perspective.

If the game was made based on the sort outlook I'm sure it will make the devs a fortune (by tabletop RPG standards). Okay, just one more since I'm hooked...like a good gamer.


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Porphyrogenitus wrote:
We interrupt this regularly scheduled thread for an off-topic on-topic observation:
Quote:
most of the time make good game design. If you read books like Rules of Play: Game Design Fundamentals from Eric Zimmerman and Katie Salen, or The Art of Game Design: A Book of Lens by Jesse Schell

Ahhh, so *that* explains what's been going on in the unfolding trends in gaming over the last generation or so.

Let me guess: these books use quantitative psychometrics to help game designers see what keeps people clicking for the pellet like a grandmother spending down her fortune at the slot machine.

The same design principle behind those ftp games with microtransactions and rng enhancing that gets people to plunk down time and or money trying to get the pellet. It *does* work (and none of those games are loathed or if they are it's never for any good reason, and certainly no one who plays those games have feelings of frustration that they then take out via in-game aggression in likewise carefully designed contexts).

I don't mean to knock these - I'm sure they're invaluable for game developers, from the pov of a game developer. But I'm not sure these are the sort of game design principles behind the success of the hobby Gary & Dave launched. It comes from a orthogonal perspective.

If the game was made based on the sort outlook I'm sure it will make the devs a fortune (by tabletop RPG standards).

You should read the books before saying such blatant accusatory and defamatory things about it.

Both are very well recognized both by game designers and academics in the area.

They are the exact opposite of what you said here. They talk about creating good and engaging games, about player experience, game rules, balancing, and all the encompass good game designing.

They have NOTHING supporting microtransactions, money sinks, or that would suggest causing frustration as a good thing for a game.

They are not books made for greedy corporation executives, they are books about GAME DESIGN.

Seriously, i would suggest you to delete your post, as you have NO IDEA of what you are talking about, seriously.


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Michael Alves wrote:
Porphyrogenitus wrote:
We interrupt this regularly scheduled thread for an off-topic on-topic observation:
Quote:
most of the time make good game design. If you read books like Rules of Play: Game Design Fundamentals from Eric Zimmerman and Katie Salen, or The Art of Game Design: A Book of Lens by Jesse Schell

Ahhh, so *that* explains what's been going on in the unfolding trends in gaming over the last generation or so.

Let me guess: these books use quantitative psychometrics to help game designers see what keeps people clicking for the pellet like a grandmother spending down her fortune at the slot machine.

The same design principle behind those ftp games with microtransactions and rng enhancing that gets people to plunk down time and or money trying to get the pellet. It *does* work (and none of those games are loathed or if they are it's never for any good reason, and certainly no one who plays those games have feelings of frustration that they then take out via in-game aggression in likewise carefully designed contexts).

I don't mean to knock these - I'm sure they're invaluable for game developers, from the pov of a game developer. But I'm not sure these are the sort of game design principles behind the success of the hobby Gary & Dave launched. It comes from a orthogonal perspective.

If the game was made based on the sort outlook I'm sure it will make the devs a fortune (by tabletop RPG standards).

You should read the books before saying such blatant accusatory and defamatory things about it.

Both are very well recognized both by game designers and academics in the area.

They are the exact opposite of what you said here. They talk about creating good and engaging games, about player experience, game rules, balancing, and all the encompass good game designing.

They have NOTHING supporting...

Look, I didn't like the prebuffing, nor the martial/caster disparity in pf1, and I felt that save and suck mechanics in that 1e were bad game design (since those spells were impossible to balance around without making them useless or instant win buttons), but rather than telling people to buy and read 500-700 page books to get your point, why not quote specific lessons and theories from the book so we can get a pick at what you are referring to when you mention game design. Just saying "read the books" doesn't give much weight to your argument regarding game design (and no, I'm not trying to downplay the graphs).


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Porphyrogenitus wrote:


I'm sure they are and that plus $41.40 will get you a copy of the PF2 core rulebook on Amazon.

What? o_O

Is this even an argument?

Porphyrogenitus wrote:


But invoking them and then getting defensive about them is not really any sort of supporting for your post. It's just you bloviating. So I don't think I'll delete my post: it's deserved here.

I did not got defensive, I was making a citation of a well known and respected source of information about the topic. You know that is what science is about, for example.

Citing credible people on their field of expertise is a must on any serious discussion.

Porphyrogenitus wrote:


Telling people they need to go read a dry-as-dust textbook and that does invoke psychology before they can comment on your article credibly is discrediting.

You don't know the books, how can you call them dry-as-dust and how can you claim what they invoke?

And how invoking psychology does even mean something bad? It is a very important scientific field you know? A very diverse field, with many excellent and important published articles.

The way you talk here either you are anti-science, and if that is your stance, then I really don't have much more to talk with you as our very concepts about reality are so apart that we will never reach anything useful by keeping arguing with each other.

Porphyrogenitus wrote:


In addition, your sophistic response is inapt: nowhere did I say they specifically and explicitly argued for things like mictortransactions and the like. But the designers of the games that have such things are *game designers* "in the area." They read the "very well recognized" books too and design their games based on what they learn from such things and "academics in the area."

No, they are great guys, that do great games but are forced to make things that they disagree with because of corporate decisions coming from people up in the executive part of the business, and those guys do not understand about game design.

Please, you are offending hundreds, maybe thousands of people with what you are saying here. This is absurd!

Porphyrogenitus wrote:


So get off your high horse. You're really just down here at our level too. Stop being a snob.

Me a snob? You are offending hundreds of people, discrediting books you have not read before!!!

This is pure madness!

Porphyrogenitus wrote:
Persuasion via ad-homenem and "read these textbooks" is the tactic you and Michael have taken, I see.

adjective

(of an argument or reaction) directed against a person rather than the position they are maintaining.
"vicious ad hominem attacks"

Do you even know what you are talking about?
We never attacked people, only their position. I presented game design theory, he contexted it, I gave him sources of high credibility about it. There is no ad hominem.

You are using the concepts completely wrong.

Porphyrogenitus wrote:


Next you'll try to tell me the people who design the games that have pellet-clicking RNG aren't game designers and also don't know what they're doing.

Bad game designers exist, game designers that are willing to make bad games because they are paid for it also exists.

And there are good game designers.
Theory about game design is based on what makes good games, and not what makes money for corporations.

You don't even understand how offensive you are being right now.


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BluLion wrote:


Look, I didn't like the prebuffing, nor the martial/caster disparity in pf1, and I felt that save and suck mechanics in that 1e were bad game design (since those spells were impossible to balance around without making them useless or instant win buttons), but rather than telling people to buy and read 500-700 page books to get your point, why not quote specific lessons and theories from the book so we can get a pick at what you are referring to when you mention game design. Just saying "read the books" doesn't give much weight to your argument regarding game design (and no, I'm not trying to downplay the graphs).

Again, you not contributing and are just making attacks.

I cited each and every theory, in very simple ways, because explaining them would require many pages, and they are much better explained by the books them by me.

You just discredited everything I said, so I cited the source of some of my thoughts on game design.

You need to understand that just trying to disprove others without showing any proof, any data, or contributing to further the discussion by doing work yourself to help us further and better understand the topic is useless.

Want to help the community?
Let's make optimized characters of different classes, on different levels, test the damage, make improvements on our testing and reach better results.

That is useful. The way you are acting is not.


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* Huge side note, and this is not a point for anyone, just a simple truth:
.

Everything is designed to sell even if it's just to 1 person. Any information on "how to make a better [insert product]" will include methods to make people like/buy the product. The only thing a corporation does differently, is that they dont just use techniques for one type of product, they use every tool available to try and out sell everyone else.

A book on game design while stating how to make a game more interesting. Is simultaneously saying how to make a game sell more. Which a corporation can use to make their games more successful.

The microtransaction thing, is a result of companies using game design and finding out you can put gambling in mobile games (and now computer games) while calling it something else and they will make huge amounts of money with minimal effort.


You guys are getting quite a bit off topic.


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Pathfinder Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber

Both sides have some valid points.

I do agree that wizards feel less satisfying, they have little to no way to really buff their damage/accuracy through feats and this takes away build options.

I am less about the numbers and math, I do think that comparing a limited resource against an all day every day resource is bad. I especially hate the if I use another action to buff to use another spell slot to buff my spell (true strike argument) is a bad argument and disengenuous, fighters can achieve almost the same through positioning. Given a second d20 roll is approximately equiv to a +4 bonus (IIRC).

My issues with the design aspects (if we want to go to design) is that multiple rolls for one outcome. I am fine with having to roll to hit, or a saving throw but requiring 2 rolls to go your way puts a greater burden on the action to succeed. There are 2 chances for the action to be sub optimal or not full effect.

While it is nice there is some small affect on a successful save, its still a 'my ability didn't work to its 'normal' effect 45 -70% of the time, again that feels like a bad outcome (math aside). The argument is not just about the pure numbers, though I do agree that logic underpinning your math handwaives a lot of issues away. Not comparing optimal damage builds for a fighter vs the optimal damage build of a caster is bad because fighters/martials have a ton of ways to buff their damage, one of the issues right now is casters do no (in feat choices).

Btw the onus of proof is on you as you made the original assertion that they were equal.

I also agree that the focus for pathfinder should be levels 3 - 12 where most play actually happens. There is very little support for high level play and few campaigns. Having to grind 16 to 18 levels to get to equal numbers on my biggest abilities again is a poor play experience.

The real problem with casters vs martials is not just math, its agency. Less spell slots mean less choices, means less choice for utility or harder choices in a build of utility vs damage. A lot of the utility was nerfed and now feels underwhelming this is the feedback, whether the blaster maths backs it feeling of player choice, agency and power are probably more important than pure math.

Debuffs are great but martials were handed quite a few of those as well so its not really unique to casters anymore. The question then becomes why caster when most of the utility can be replaced with some good potion choices (for buffs) and paying an NPC to do the utility scrying for you before leaving town? I think this is the fundamental that is missing, caster choices don't feel great, what a lot of people are feeling is 'my spells do less (they needed nerfing and save or suck was toxic no argument there), I am less survivable, my spell choice is reduced and no I have to blow everything just to keep up.' It doesn't feel like they have much of an impact for the glass trade off. Whats worse is they don't get many item choices or feat choices to buff damage options or really a lot to buff utility options. Read the wizard feat selection, its bland and limited.

TLDR - its not just the math and putting the focus at high level play for balance which many games will never get to is not a great argument for things are ok even with math.


On the lesser effect on a success, in play it can definitely feel to some like they aren't good enough, if the rest keep getting larger values. Not sure, but it definitely could feel like a consolation prize, Ex: "at least that wasnt totally useless" vs "man that monster resisted".


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Lachlan McGill wrote:


I do agree that wizards feel less satisfying, they have little to no way to really buff their damage/accuracy through feats and this takes away build options.

If you look at other classes, damage buffing Class Feats are in fact pretty rare, it is not just a Spell Casters thing but it was a game design choice to keep numbers from increasing too much exponentially.

The fact that spellcasters damage scale by level causes the need to make them scale less on other sources. If you look at the damage progress tables, Wizards are scaling well in comparison with martials, even when they are correctly built by picking all damage increasing feats possible. (You will see that are pretty few, most are situational or actions, so you can't combo them like prior edition feats enabled most of the time.)

But I understand that some people might not feel satisfied by the new class design. This is partially because it is very different from them before for spellcasters, they changed a lot, and people are still getting around to understand how to play with them, and what to enjoy in them. Others just dislike the way the designers choose to take the game.

But this doesn't mean unbalanced. My article does not conclude that everyone should like casters, not in the lest, they changed a lot and i presented bad points for them, like lower hit chances, that even if still end up with good DRP might not be to the liking of some players as you pointed.

Lachlan McGill wrote:


I am less about the numbers and math, I do think that comparing a limited resource against an all day every day resource is bad. I especially hate the if I use another action to buff to use another spell slot to buff my spell (true strike argument) is a bad argument and disengenuous, fighters can achieve almost the same through positioning. Given a second d20 roll is approximately equiv to a +4 bonus (IIRC).

Two dices double chances for 20's, and avoid 1's. It is a bit better, but not much. Fighter can gain flat-footed, but that is just a +2, not a +4. So it is far from a bad argument, math wise.

The idea is that by 5 to 7 level, your level 1 spells are mostly useless for damage, so you will use them to debuff, buff, utility or to True Strike single-target spells if you even have one of them worthy of it at all.

Else you can just shot your shortbow, it is pretty decent extra damage, similar to a Cantrip, and you are hitting at 0 penalty.

Lachlan McGill wrote:


My issues with the design aspects (if we want to go to design) is that multiple rolls for one outcome. I am fine with having to roll to hit, or a saving throw but requiring 2 rolls to go your way puts a greater burden on the action to succeed. There are 2 chances for the action to be sub optimal or not full effect.

This only happens for very specific spells. And generally they compensate it for having effects more powerful them similar ones of the same circle, so I believe it is fair.

Disintegrate is a good example. It has hit and save, but with true strike, it is not hard to hit, has a double chance for 20's and even if the target save is successful it does very good damage for 3 the use of 3 rounds, compared to a martial average damage, taking into account miss chance and crit chance for them too, and with the use of proper talents by that level.

Lachlan McGill wrote:


While it is nice there is some small affect on a successful save, its still a 'my ability didn't work to its 'normal' effect 45 -70% of the time, again that feels like a bad outcome (math aside). The argument is not just about the pure numbers, though I do agree that logic underpinning your math handwaives a lot of issues away.

This I can surely agree with you. As a designer, I understand that the guys at Paizo took a risk choosing this path.

Even a change of nomenclature would improve this feeling, but they needed to keep the names that are more natural to d20 players, for many other reasons.

Yet game design is a short blanket, they wanted to improve the game design of the save system, and they did it, the system of saves is technically much better but in the end, it had the effect of causing spells to fail a lot, and be balanced by effects on miss chance. They might be balanced maths, but might not feel great to play for some, or even most players. And here you have a good and solid base for an argument.

In my personal opinion, I felt it was very fun to play spellcasters, but then it is just me. I was very worried when I started to play, as I had impression since getting the books that they would maybe be a bit underpowered, but when I started to study the system, watch games, play and DM my mind changed greatly, and I would play casters over martials most of the time.

Lachlan McGill wrote:


Not comparing optimal damage builds for a fighter vs the optimal damage build of a caster is bad because fighters/martials have a ton of ways to buff their damage, one of the issues right now is casters do no (in feat choices).

This is unfair because it is not true.

I used Citriking data, and he compared a simply build fighter vs a simply build caster. I did rough math with optimized builds and reached similar numbers. Please remember that we were using a fighter with magical weapons and proper runes, and we were not using a Wizard with that much of his budget used to improve his damage, and there is pretty good gear for casters on PF2E.

Lachlan McGill wrote:


Btw the onus of proof is on you as you made the original assertion that they were equal.

I did, and I gave proof, taken from diverse sources.

It is on the burden of the ones that claim the data is wrong to prove otherwise.

That is how science works. You make theory based on the best data the research could give you so far. If better data arises proving it wrong, the theory falls and new theory arises about the topic.

There is no burden on the one making a claim to prove that all of his arguments are perfect, his data is unquestionable or something like that. Asking for it to accept an argument is fallacious, and I know that it is not what you are trying to do here. But please cut me some slack, the system is new, there is much to discuss an alot of data to appear. And i did not even conclude what you pointed, i said that:

"In the end, this discussion is pretty complex, and involves a lot of math variables. The system is still new, and more data crunch and more work needs to be done to better understand it’s fine details, but we can conclude with a reasonable decree of certain that Caters and Martial characters are both pretty viable[b/], [b]being more or less efficient based on specific situations and contexts like number of enemies, number of encounters per day, number of rounds per encounter, vulnerabilities that can be exploited, how hard or easy is in a given table for players to find the good or bad saves of the enemies, and many other variables"

So please don't take my article out of context. =(

Lachlan McGill wrote:


I also agree that the focus for pathfinder should be levels 3 - 12 where most play actually happens. There is very little support for high level play and few campaigns. Having to grind 16 to 18 levels to get to equal numbers on my biggest abilities again is a poor play experience.

I agree with you on this, but I believe Paizo is trying to change that a little. Things were never done for a high level because it was so broken in the past that it barely worked, let's be sincere, it was more on the realm of home tables them official campaigns, and much more roleplay fun than game mechanics.

But the numbers are not that bad for casters at low level because cantrips are not that bad on lower levels, because their scaling is the real issue, and they can cantrip+shortbow for descent rounds on low levels. By mid-levels, from 5-8 casters start to depend more on spells, and this 3 levels seems to be somewhat hard, cantrips by this time are not that good anymore and they don't have that many spells for utility/buff/debuff on lower levels to have really long workdays. By level 9 onwards, things are improving well, and spell diversity is pretty good, so by your metrics we would have 2 ok levels, 4 bad levels, 4 good levels. Not amazing, but the overall experience seems to be on average with other classes, as they also have good and not so good points before they get important abilities.

Lachlan McGill wrote:


The real problem with casters vs martials is not just math, its agency. Less spell slots mean less choices, means less choice for utility or harder choices in a build...

Sometimes less choice means more agency.

Agency comes from meaningful choice, and that is a choice that does not have a simple best answer, that needs to be weighted by the player, may have risks, has some uncertainty, and is not easy to make.

If you have a clear answer of what is best, then there is no choice, you just do that and you are done. This happened a lot with PF1 Spell selection, as there were spells so powerful and generalistic that others on the same circle could be totally ignored.

By having fewer slots you need to think well on what spells of utility, combat, or spells that are only useful in specific conditions you will have on your list for the day.

Having more spell lots might seem like more choice, but in fact, it is LESS choice, as you don't need to weigh the pros and cons, and your risk is mitigated.

Yes, you can have so few choices that it reduces your agency, that is true. For example, so little number of slots that you CANNOT ever avoid picking generalistic spells because you have so few slots that the risk of having a specific or utility spell on the list is far too great.

But creating meaningful choice is not simple, you need to give players both a good set of options, with good variation, some more generalistic, some more niche, others more defensive, and etc.. But you need to limit how many the player can chose if not there is no choice at all.

The problem is that people keep comparing spell casters to PF1 spell casters, when in fact the game is totally different.

The spells should not work the same, neither the number per day, or their effects.

Look at PF1 Fighter or Ranger, and look at PF2E Fighter and Ranger, they are very different. Their flavor is the same, but their mechanics are built from scratch!

Why would the spells be comparable?
But people keep comparing to what they could do in PF1 with spell casters, and that is why they feel like they are restricted and everything else.

I am not saying that people can't do that, or can't feel that PF1 had a game design that appealed more to their tastes, they can!

Pathfinder 1E was not a bad game, I run it till this day, as some of my tables games are running for a long time, and changing edition is not really possible at this point. And it is still very fun to play.

You can make critiques to PF2E design, and you should if you dislike it, but to claim that it is unbalanced you need to provide data an proof, and that is my argument here in this thread. (Ar argument that is not on the article, because it would make no sense there.)

You can disagree with the amount of choices the spellcasters have now, you can dislike how they play, but you can't claim it is unbalanced or that the game is not well designed, or that the system does not work. You can say that it is not to your preference or point how you feel about it, but to make conclusions like "there is too few options" or "the game is unbalanced" you need to provide proof. The first would require a statistical research with players to feel is they are feeling empowered and with agency, or if they are feeling a lack of agency over their characters and the combat, and the latter would require you to do mathematical proof showing that there is a correct choice, that is correct for most cases, of what classes you should play to have the most success against the average encounters of a given level.

You can provide not perfect data, make estimations, and present a theory with not a complete and perfect description of the game or the community, but you still need some data, not just 2 or 3 people personal opinions without evidence.

That is my stance on this.

Hope you understand, as I felt that your post was not an attack but your sincere opinion, and I tried my best to answer alike.


Temperans wrote:
On the lesser effect on a success, in play it can definitely feel to some like they aren't good enough, if the rest keep getting larger values. Not sure, but it definitely could feel like a consolation prize, Ex: "at least that wasnt totally useless" vs "man that monster resisted".

Good point.

The effects of the damaging spells on failed saves are impressive enough to warrant more damage than a martial class average damage if you hit 2 or 3 targets for example. (Depending on level, items, fighter items, many factors, etc...)

For save or suck spells it depends heavily on the spell, there is some, on higher levels with pretty nasty failure effects.

On the lower level, ones it is more "I had the 30-40% chance of making the target suffer a really bad effect, but if he doesnt he still takes this debuff.". I agree that success against your slow feels way worse than a failed one, but depending on the situation it is still great.

Yet I believe this spell design serves to emphasize the higher-level effects, as a progression must be felt, and they couldn't add too broken effects to the end spells and are all consequence of the design choice of making low-level spells have the same save DC of higher-level ones.

This is what many do not take into consideration.

The game design concept for casters changed drastically partially because they made spells DC independent of spell level.

So a spell on level 1 has the same DC of your level 10 spell.

On PF1 you could have very similar or comparable debuffs on spells of different levels, and the high-level spell would still feel like a progress. Maybe they just increased range or gave it a wider area to make it more impressive, but what made you pick the new level spell was the increased Save DC.

Now they need to make spells of lower level feel lower level in comparison with higher level spells because they are as effective on DC as the higher-level ones.

On the other hand, now the low-level spells are way more useful, and those slots are not just for utility spells.

Again, game design is a short blanket, you cover one thing, you lose on the other side. You just need to look for what you bring the best game, and the guys at Paizo made their choice, they can be right or wrong, only time, and our effort on studying the system will prove if they were right or wrong.


Quote:
he compare 2-action spell with a barbarian doing 1 actions

You do know Swipe is a two action ability, right?


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People around here should try to calm a bit. This is a complex affair, and all this heat on the conversation really don't help it.


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Michael Alves wrote:
Just let your best stealth guy go, see trap, back, everyone goes that, disarm, he goes, see trolls, back, everyone kil trolls, he goes, see dragon, back, everyone buff up.

Fun fact: the system doesn't allow that.

If the scout is stealthy, he won't see the trap. This is how exploration mode works: either you're stealthy, either you look at traps. Do you know how the rules work?

This is the same for save: RAW you don't know the weak save of a creature. You can usually see what's his strong save, but not his weak save. eg: why is the weak save of a bear Ref instead of Will? Why is the weakest save of a lich fort instead of Ref? Etc. Usually, to guess the strong save is easy (bears are strong, liches are wise), but you can't guess what's the lowest one.

... And this is the same for a lot of your points: yes, using houserules favoring the casters, and using a very specific wizard build as your definition of "casters" (how can a cleric prepare blast in his highest slot?), while discarding fighters "because they are outliers" and every martial build, and considering the blasts always hit every opponents, and... Then yes: at some point, you've created enough biases and casters = martial.

In actual play, casters < martials.


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Squiggit wrote:
Quote:
he compare 2-action spell with a barbarian doing 1 actions
You do know Swipe is a two action ability, right?

I LOL'ed in real life. xD

He probably don't know Mellored.

Mellored has plenty of credit in my book, and I would be very careful to disagree with him because he usually knows what he is talking about.

Alaryth wrote:
People around here should try to calm a bit. This is a complex affair, and all this heat on the conversation really don't help it.

I'm trying to get the thread back on track, but people are so defensive about this discussion that they keep attacking me for doing research and placing the results I found so far in an article. They feel personally offended that I am not saying that the designers are stupid and that spell casters now suck. =X

But let's hope we can gather a group of people more inclined to help doing hard work, gathering data, making calculations, and discussing results so we can improve on this topic and on the overall theory behind PF2E system.


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Michael Alves wrote:
Squiggit wrote:
Quote:
he compare 2-action spell with a barbarian doing 1 actions
You do know Swipe is a two action ability, right?

I LOL'ed in real life. xD

He probably don't know Mellored.

Mellored has plenty of credit in my book, and I would be very careful to disagree with him because he usually knows what he is talking about.

Alaryth wrote:
People around here should try to calm a bit. This is a complex affair, and all this heat on the conversation really don't help it.

I'm trying to get the thread back on track, but people are so defensive about this discussion that they keep attacking me for doing research and placing the results I found so far in an article. They feel personally offended that I am not saying that the designers are stupid and that spell casters now suck. =X

But let's hope we can gather a group of people more inclined to help doing hard work, gathering data, making calculations, and discussing results so we can improve on this topic and on the overall theory behind PF2E system.

Dude, you really should learn how to handle discussions,when you want to public articles.


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To address the actual topic:

To me casters feel fine after they reach level 7. They have enough spells, and 7 of them are generally worth using (level 1 and 2 spells just seem too weak outside of magic weapon and heal, which don't scale well). The scaling of the damage spells also makes them a lot better at this point (since they scale linearly they get better relative to weapon damage which scales more slowly, but they start off a lot worse).

Unfortunately those things aren't true at low levels, wizards and sorcerers really don't have much going for them. Damage spells aren't too good at these levels. Debuff spells are also very bad because they are balanced for higher level use being possible.

They only ones that seem worth using are color spray, magic weapon, heal, and magic missile. So you have maybe 4 of those, and other than that you just have cantrips. You really are so much worse than a fighter it's crazy. Even when you use those spells you aren't contributing more than a fighter would. And after that you're just contributing less than half the fighters expected damage with cantrips. The only saving grace is that electric arc is vastly over powered, giving them at least a decent contribution at low levels.

Clerics and bards have other things going for them, and the druids animal companion is nice at low levels, but sorcerers and wizards are very behind at very low levels.


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Gaterie wrote:


Fun fact: the system doesn't allow that.

If the scout is stealthy, he won't see the trap. This is how exploration mode works: either you're stealthy, either you look at traps. Do you know how the rules work?

TRAP FINDER FEAT ROGUE 1

"Even if you aren’t Searching, you get a check to find traps
that normally require you to be Searching."

Also, do you know that you can: Avoid Notice, go ahead, see if there are enemies, go back if you find them, if a room is clear from enemies, your group comes with you, you change to Search, see if there are traps, if not, you again go to Avoid Notice and scout ahead again.

Do I really need to explain simple details like that?

Gaterie wrote:


This is the same for save: RAW you don't know the weak save of a creature. You can usually see what's his strong save, but not his weak save. eg: why is the weak save of a bear Ref instead of Will? Why is the weakest save of a lich fort instead of Ref? Etc. Usually, to guess the strong save is easy (bears are strong, liches are wise), but you can't guess what's the lowest one.

RAW there is no clear rule against metagaming and no punishment for doing so. Just metagame and say you choose randomly.

Don't take this argument seriously, it is just to point out how absurd your is.

All the streams from Paizo developers playing include descriptions for monsters and their actions, and all of them can be used in-game for characters to take their choices of actions.

This argument of yours just shows that you are trolling.

Gaterie wrote:

yes, using houserules favoring the casters [/Qupte]

No house rules used. Your argument is pointless and not relevant even for PFS or Paizo own devs playing. By your "RAW" the player can buy the monster handbook and the adventures and use all knowledge there because nothing prevents it.

Gaterie wrote:
and using a very specific wizard build as your definition of "casters" (how can a cleric prepare blast in his highest slot?)

I need to make arguments for each one of the classes now? Do some work yourself please?

Clerics their own list of spells, with their own particularities, like healing for example. Healing spells are very powerful in PF2E.

Gaterie wrote:
while discarding fighters "because they are outliers" and every martial build,

They are outliers when talking about hit chance. All the damage comparisons was against a fighter, your argument is invalid again.

Gaterie wrote:


and considering the blasts always hit every opponents,

False the entire math is for 1 or 2 targets. Again you fail.

Gaterie wrote:


Then yes: at some point, you've created enough biases and casters = martial.

In actual play, casters < martials.

Again you have only your opinion on that.

Most tables on streams are showing otherwise, that casters are really good.

The devs think casters are on good spot, and they know more about the system them both of us.

The data so far presented shows that spell casters are certainly viable.

You bring no data, no mathematical analysis, and only your rant again.

Please go away troll... I want a real useful discussion here, so we can improve the data we have and can run better calculations to better understand the system.


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citricking wrote:

To address the actual topic:

To me casters feel fine after they reach level 7. They have enough spells, and 7 of them are generally worth using (level 1 and 2 spells just seem too weak outside of magic weapon and heal, which don't scale well). The scaling of the damage spells also makes them a lot better at this point (since they scale linearly they get better relative to weapon damage which scales more slowly, but they start off a lot worse).

Unfortunately those things aren't true at low levels, wizards and sorcerers really don't have much going for them. Damage spells aren't too good at these levels. Debuff spells are also very bad because they are balanced for higher level use being possible.

They only ones that seem worth using are color spray, magic weapon, heal, and magic missile. So you have maybe 4 of those, and other than that you just have cantrips. You really are so much worse than a fighter it's crazy. Even when you use those spells you aren't contributing more than a fighter would. And after that you're just contributing less than half the fighters expected damage with cantrips. The only saving grace is that electric arc is vastly over powered, giving them at least a decent contribution at low levels.

Clerics and bards have other things going for them, and the druids animal companion is nice at low levels, but sorcerers and wizards are very behind at very low levels.

I agree with you.

But the cantrips DPR are much more closer to martial damage at lower levels than on higher ones.

Doesn't Cantrip+Shotbow plus the use of spells make it viable?
Some spells like Burning hands can also be useful at low level, damage spells are not that weak.

Burning Hands, Magic Missles, Magic Weapon, and Shocking Grasp are all useful at level 1 and 2. (At 3+ Magic Weapon is still great)

On level 3 and 4, Flaming Sphere doing 3d6 + a Sustain of 3d6 per round seems ok too, even without the half-damage. Acid Arrow is good because at a low level your hit is not yet lower than martials. Second Circle spells feels dry at its level, I agree, but Summon Elemental is not a bad choice too, as you will summon level-2 or level-3 to fight for you. Not that bad against minions. Enlarge is not great, but increases fighter reach and gives a damage bonus.

At level 5 you have good spells, the problem is that you still have a low number of them, and depends on second circle ones too much yet. Here we have Fireball, Lightning Bolt, levitate, Slow, Haste and Wall of Wind.

And level 7 onward we agree so I can ignore those for now.

I just feel we might need 3 or 4 new spells for the second circle to improve it a bit, as it feels lacking on damage spells with save and half damage.

I am not sure if I agree with you on level 1 and 2. But I agree that level 3-4 feels weaker, but I feel that level 5 and 6 is ok, and 7+ wizard starts to be very good.

(Btw, that was a trend on PF1 too let's be honest here... I didn't like that it was like that, and you can argue that level 3 and 4 were better on bf1 comparatively, but still wizards were good on 5+, and shined on 7+, and by 9+ they were entering demigod realms.)

I feel like we need to make some optmized level 1, 3, 5 and 7 Wizard, Melee Barbarian, and Ranged Ranger, and compare their DPR by different number of encounters and rounds per encounter to better understand this.


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puksone wrote:
Dude, you really should learn how to handle discussions,when you want to public articles.

I am sorry for that.

I am not new to criticism, as I work as a game designer, and you learn to grow some thick skin.

I was thorn in this case, because either I just ignored people offering critiques because they were not being respectful, or I answered trying to incite them into showing what they really disliked, or if they could bring me real data that I was wrong so I could improve on my view about the game, and even maybe improve the article or write a new one.

If I ignore them, I would have no chance of gathering discordant data. But by engaging with them, I ended up being so personally attacked that I ended defending myself, which was not the right move to do and I agree.

The problem is that just accepting assaults also causes a loss of credibility for the article. I mean, if I answer, but act like I don't know what I am talking about, this testifies against me.

Yeah, not a simple case. That is why most designers do not often go to the internet to talk about their works, outside of a more controlled environment. The public tends to eat them alive.

I will try to improve on this.
I accept suggestions, but I will think clearly about how I can better talk in a forum in the future.

Thank you for the tip.

Dark Archive

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On complete side note, I'm really annoyed by random insulting of The Art of Game Design: A Book of Lens by Jesse Schell because its genuinely really great book and really useful for game developers :P (also sad I don't have my own copy of it and can't loan it from school's library anymore due to graduating)

Its really comprehensive books about all topics related to game design, you can see that from just reading amazon preview's table of contents for the book. I mostly focused on reading the theory about story's effect on game experience and such stuff during time I had book loaned... But I digress, just please avoid taking shots at great books just because yo want to argue with writer of article :P


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Pathfinder Starfinder Society Subscriber
citricking wrote:
They only ones that seem worth using are color spray, magic weapon, heal, and magic missile. So you have maybe 4 of those, and other than that you just have cantrips. You really are so much worse than a fighter it's crazy. Even when you use those spells you aren't contributing more than a fighter would. And after that you're just contributing less than half the fighters expected damage with cantrips. The only saving grace is that electric arc is vastly over powered, giving them at least a decent contribution at low levels.

Interestingly, I consider spellcasters from levels 1-3 ish to be the star contributors to the party. Magic Weapon almost doubles the damage of your highest output martial pal - effectively for 2 actions and a spell slot, your contribution for the fight is already as much as your fighter friend. Everything else after that contributed via cantrips is gravy. You cast one level 1 spell per fight and then toss cantrips around.


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Cellion wrote:
Interestingly, I consider spellcasters from levels 1-3 ish to be the star contributors to the party. Magic Weapon almost doubles the damage of your highest output martial pal - effectively for 2 actions and a spell slot, your contribution for the fight is already as much as your fighter friend. Everything else after that contributed via cantrips is gravy. You cast one level 1 spell per fight and then toss cantrips around.

Can't argue the effectiveness of that, just a boring role for some. Magic Weapon is a bit OP relative to other Lvl1 spells, and makes the fighter shine even more. It conjures the image of if, in PF1, the fighter's best 3/day power had been to grant casters +4 to their Spell DCs or somesuch ;)


Deadmanwalking wrote:

Then you're playing with s&*#ty GMs. Fudging to take away crits from the PCs is pretty much the definition of a bad GM, and not something wrong with the system.

Fudging can be fine if the whole group is on board with it, but doing so to take away PC successes? Absolutely not okay at all.

No disagreement here. But unlike the fighter critting, this roll happens behind a screen (usually), and it *will* happen that some DM will not want their set-piece encounter shut-down by a 5%-chance horrid crit fail roll on a good spell. Heck, fudging it might even make the overall adventure more challenging/fun for the group, at the expense of the caster's 'moment'.

Not saying it's happening everywhere or even frequently, just food for thought in this new edition where casters are hoping for crit-failed saves for the really good effects.


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Pathfinder Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber

Yeah, OP's analysis is actually quite good, and the detractors from it are using a lot of bad faith arguments to try and discredit the conclusion that casters aren't underpowered.

Porphyrogenitus especially is using some bad argumentation, their entire point involves taking for granted that all formally recognized principles of modern game design are in line with monetization schemes in the triple-A video game industry, rather than written by academics and designers in the field away from the pressures of corporate overlords.

That's like a-grade slander and tinfoil hat dismissal right there, meanwhile Red Gryffth is trying to obfuscate Michael's points by drowning them in accusations of bias and supposed unaccounted for factors, without the self awareness to question why none of the unaccounted for factors they're weighting heavily actually benefit casters (the fact that the game rewards AOE so heavily, and that magical damage dealers specialize in it, probably being the biggest smoking gun example.)


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Michael Alves wrote:
The math i did for AOE was for two targets not four, and Mellored did for 3 targets, by his numbers a barbarian and a Wizard would be tied for 2 targets more or less.

I assumed 2 targets for the barbarian (sweep + reach weapon), and 2 targets for the wizard. Seems like a good middle ground between blowing up 10 mooks, vs chopping down a boss.

That said, I did not factor in flat-footed, which is much easier to get in melee. So I should probably give the barb +1 more to hit.

And since everyone is saying the issue is at low level, I'll eventually run the numbers again at level 5....


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I also forgot focus spells...
Ok, so level 5
2 targets (swipe+reach for barb)
+1 to the barb to assume flat-footed half the time.
And 4 force bolts (/2 targets = 2).

Dragon Barbarian 5, using swipe with a Guisarme, 2 targets.
Using the chart, 50% chance to hit, 15% chance to crit.
(.5 + .15*2) = 0.8
2d10+4+4(dragon rage) = 19
19 * 0.8 = 15.2

Level 5 arcane caster using a level 3/2/1 multi-target spell. Which they can do 3 times per day.
45% chance to hit, 45% chance for half, 5% chance for double, 5% none.
(.45 + .45 * .5 + .05 * 2) = 0.775
Fireball (3th, 6d6) + Burning hands (2nd, 4d6) + Burning Hands (1st, 2d6)
(21 + 14 + 7... not worth using the level 1 spell for damage...
21 * .775 = 16.275
14 * .775 = 10.85 ... level 2 spells behind the barb..
Electric Arc = 3d4+4 = 11.5 * .775 = 8.9125
+7 * 2 = 14 damage focus points.

(16.275 + 10.85)*3 + 14 + 8.9 * R = 15.2 * R
95.375 + 8.9 R = 15.2 * R
95.375/R + 8.9 = 15.2
95.375/R = 6.1
15.63524590163934 = R

So casters deal more damage if there are only 15 rounds of combat in a day (and 4 rests). And will still have level 1 spells.

Compared to 30 for higher levels.. Are low level days shorter than high level days?

Side discovery, spell slots scale faster than weapons, focus spells scale slower than weapons (maybe?)


Gaterie wrote:
Michael Alves wrote:
Just let your best stealth guy go, see trap, back, everyone goes that, disarm, he goes, see trolls, back, everyone kil trolls, he goes, see dragon, back, everyone buff up.

Fun fact: the system doesn't allow that.

If the scout is stealthy, he won't see the trap. This is how exploration mode works: either you're stealthy, either you look at traps. Do you know how the rules work?

This is the same for save: RAW you don't know the weak save of a creature. You can usually see what's his strong save, but not his weak save. eg: why is the weak save of a bear Ref instead of Will? Why is the weakest save of a lich fort instead of Ref? Etc. Usually, to guess the strong save is easy (bears are strong, liches are wise), but you can't guess what's the lowest one.

... And this is the same for a lot of your points: yes, using houserules favoring the casters, and using a very specific wizard build as your definition of "casters" (how can a cleric prepare blast in his highest slot?), while discarding fighters "because they are outliers" and every martial build, and considering the blasts always hit every opponents, and... Then yes: at some point, you've created enough biases and casters = martial.

In actual play, casters < martials.

well technically thats not fully correct. At level 15 you can get legendary sneak in which you are always considered sneaking unless you choose not to be. So in exploration mode you gain the benefits of stealthy when doing other stuff.

Dark Archive

BTW, you CAN do other stuff in exploration mode than your main tactic, its just that your tactic is what you do all the time automatically without gm asking for rolls. So like, you can still search the room with perception even if you have the tactic about using recall knowledge all the time, but difference is that you need to tell the room you want to roll perception instead of gm rolling it for you secretly. Unless I remember it wrong?

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