Character creation q: how would you rule?


Pathfinder First Edition General Discussion


Let's say you have a player who wants to create a Samsaran Wizard.

He wants to take the Mystic Past Life alternate racial trait. It reads, in part: "You can add spells from another spellcasting class to the spell list of your current spellcasting class."

He is thinking if he chooses his past life to be a Summoner, would he get access to the spells he chose at the level a Summoner would. For example, a Summoner has Haste as a second level spell on their spell list, Maze as a 6th level spell, etc. In terms of flavor it makes some sense, because Samsarans have all these past lives. Then again there's the question of game balance.

Do you allow this?

What if he wanted to do a Bard, who gets Dominate Person as a 4th level spell, Distracting Cacophony as a 2nd level spell, etc. Would that make a difference in your decision?

J

Lantern Lodge

This is something you get disagreement on. I don't know that there is a "rule" that covers it specifically.

My opinion and the way I would handle it would be that if a spell appears on both the Wizard (his class) and Summoner (his past life class) spell lists, then it is cast (for better or worse) as per the Wizard list (at the Wizard Spell Level).

Accordingly, you probably would have no reason to select any spell from the Summoner's spell list that is already on the Wizard spell list as you get no benefit. What the race ability really does (if you do it my way) is allow you to add spells not otherwise available to your class to your spell list.

ON THE OTHER HAND, if you let his take the spell from his past life class at the lower level shown on that list, I don't think it will generally break the game. I did that a few years ago for a PC of mine and it's nice, but didn't really cause problems. Note that if you do this, the spell level (for DC and other purposes) is the level of the spell from the mystic past life, not the level of spell from the wizard list.


Mystic Past Life wrote:
Mystic Past Life (Su) You can add spells from another spellcasting class to the spell list of your current spellcasting class. You add a number of spells equal to 1 + your spellcasting class’s key ability score bonus (Wisdom for clerics, and so on). The spells must be the same type (arcane or divine) as the spellcasting class you’re adding them to. For example, you could add divine power to your druid class spell list, but not to your wizard class spell list because divine power is a divine spell. These spells do not have to be spells you can cast as a 1st-level character. The number of spells granted by this ability is set at 1st level. Changes to your ability score do not change the number of spells gained. This racial trait replaces shards of the past.

I think the key piece here is that it has to be a spell from the same source (i.e. arcane or divine). Given that information, it seems that it is only logical that the source indicates the spell level, not the current class. However, it seems RAI, based on the example provided here, that you are selecting spells you will not normally have access to on your current spell list. This is reinforced by the strict limit of how many spells can be selected overall. This interpretation would negate the question posed by the OP.


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The summoner was nerfed unchained because these options were overpowered on a 6th level caster. Adding them to a 9th pevel caster would be even more powerful.

So as a general rule my answer to the player would be: "Haha No!"

Having said that, it depends on the kind of game you're playing, if it's a high power game where everyone starts with a magic sword, then sure. If it's a E6 game with low magic items then this would be the worst kind of favouritism.

What is everyone else playing?


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My opinion is that you can't add spells that are already on your list. When you learn a spell from a scroll, it will always be according to your spell list, not the creator's spell list. For a scroll, it doesn't even matter if it is arcane or divine, only that you have the spell on your list.

So I would treat Mystic Past Life the same way. If you already have a spell on your list, trying to learn it again makes no sense to you. Also when you go to learn that spell, you don't learn a different classes version of the spell that is already on your list. You learn your classes version because that is part of your class features.


I don't think it would unbalance things much so long as the spell was balanced in the first place. Would wizards getting animate undead a spell level earlier unbalance things? Probably not. A wizard getting raise dead? Probably not. The cleric could have cast it. Alchemists, bards, and witches get healing spells.

2 spell casters on a team casting fireball might cause imbalances. Keep an eye out for spells that have tactical implications. Though some classes already do this. Both the bard and wizard get haste. Nothing prevents your team from having 2 wizards.

What I would watch out for is classes that get spells at slower rates than focused spellcasters. They don't get higher level spells. They also get their spells later. So some of that is factored in the spell they get. Watch out for rangers and paladins. They get their 1st level spells when focused spell casters are get their 2nd, 2nd when 4th, 3rd when 5th, and 4th when 7th.

The spell lesser restoration is level 2 for clerics, but level 1 for paladins. Break enchantment is a level 5 spell for clerics and wizards, but level 4 for paladins and bards.

All that said, it could really mess with the themes of the setting. Maybe play up this Samsaran thing.


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It sounds like a reasonable answer would be "no, you can't take Haste as a 2nd level spell because that spell is already on your spell list as a wizard. The whole point is to get access to spells that are not already on your spell list."

With this interpretation he could add good hope, freedom of movement or vomit swarm, but not the same spell at an earlier level.

J


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JDawg75 wrote:
Do you allow this?

I don't. Not because the cSummoner spell list was an utterly stupid idea (which it is), but because the player already plays the strongest class in the game, and he's trying to get even more powerful with a purely mechanical application of an overpowered racial trait that should never have been printed in the first place.


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OmniMage wrote:


What I would watch out for is classes that get spells at slower rates than focused spellcasters. They don't get higher level spells. They also get their spells later. So some of that is factored in the spell they get. Watch out for rangers and paladins. They get their 1st level spells when focused spell casters are get their 2nd, 2nd when 4th, 3rd when 5th, and 4th when 7th.

The spell lesser restoration is level 2 for clerics, but level 1 for paladins. Break enchantment is a level 5 spell for clerics and wizards, but level 4 for paladins and bards.

OP's problem child is attempting to take spells from the old Summoner spell list and get them introduced earlier than a Wizard would normally get them. Summoner is a 6 spell level class, not a 9. That means that the spells get introduced at a higher class level than they would for a 9 spell level class, and often are adjusted to a lower level.

With the example of Haste it is summoner 2, unchained summoner 3, wizard/sorcerer 3. The fact that it got bumped to 3rd in unchained should be your first clue that the devs considered it a mistake letting a 6 spell level progression class get it at 2!

And this is particularly broken when you consider that 3rd level spells are in high demand for wizards. Choosing between offensive spells, fly and haste is a huge dilemma for most wizards. Being able to shift an incredibly desirable spell from 3rd to 2nd is way over powered. Especially since 2nd level spells aren't really high demand spells.

So what the OP's Wizard wants to do is abusive. Spells are balanced based on what level the class is suppose to get them. Moving spells between 9 spell level and classes with less spell levels is a problem.


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My bad. I guess I missed the fact the player wanted haste as a 2nd level spell. I can see why it would be unbalanced.


I ban the Summoner, so its spell list is inaccessible.

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