Help Fix Magic


Homebrew and House Rules


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Let's be honest here, PF2's magic system is... not good. 5e isn't a great system for customisation, but it got magic right. It took what was great about the PF1 Arcanist and expanded upon it.
How would you fix PF2's magic system to be more in-line with modern game design? Here are some of my ideas:

1) All spells which can be heightened are spontaneously heightenable.
2) Spontaneous casters don't need to re-learn higher level versions of the same spells.
3) Prepared casters are able to use their spell slots to cast whatever spells they've prepared. Not prepare-per-cast like it is now.
4) Spontaneous casters need new abilities to make them more unique and interesting, especially Bard.

The first three are easy enough to implement, but #4 is a bit of a doozy. Does anyone here have any suggestions?

Sovereign Court

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ClanPsi wrote:

Let's be honest here, PF2's magic system is... not good. 5e isn't a great system for customisation, but it got magic right. It took what was great about the PF1 Arcanist and expanded upon it.

How would you fix PF2's magic system to be more in-line with modern game design? Here are some of my ideas:

1) All spells which can be heightened are spontaneously heightenable.
2) Spontaneous casters don't need to re-learn higher level versions of the same spells.
3) Prepared casters are able to use their spell slots to cast whatever spells they've prepared. Not prepare-per-cast like it is now.
4) Spontaneous casters need new abilities to make them more unique and interesting, especially Bard.

The first three are easy enough to implement, but #4 is a bit of a doozy. Does anyone here have any suggestions?

Have you seen my house rules document? It does several of these things.

1)Spontaneous casters can freely heighten all their spells and just use whichever slot they wish.
2)They never need to learn spells at multiple levels, it is included for free.
3)To keep Prepared casters different, they too only need to learn the spell once, but they must prepare it in the level they intend to cast it at. They can prepare the same spell at different levels if they wish, but if they do so, that reduces their spell variety and choices until they prepare spells again. Their total number of choices are much larger (pretty much the full spell list for Cleric and Druid, limited only by alignment restrictions, and I expanded the number of Wizard free spells learned per level to either their Int bonus or 2, whichever is higher. Plus Wizards can learn even more with scrolls and enemy spellbooks found.)
4) I didn't do a whole lot more with the Bards specifically, except tweaking and clarifying their Polymath feats. If you want more variety as a Bard, go with the Polymath muse. It is the only way to eventually be able to use spells from all 4 casting traditions

I'm open to hearing more thoughts!


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I personally wished they would have designed casters that way from the get go, but that ship has sailed. If we are lucky, they will release the Arcanist at some point.

Until then, I have a similar house rule as Samurai for my spontaneous casters and thier archetypes but mine is a bit more succinct. Basically, all thier spells are signature spells. That allows players that don't like strict vancian casting a more palatable option and doesnt require a ton of redesign work.

Sovereign Court

Data Lore wrote:

I personally wished they would have designed casters that way from the get go, but that ship has sailed. If we are lucky, they will release the Arcanist at some point.

Until then, I have a similar house rule as Samurai for my spontaneous casters and thier archetypes but mine is a bit more succinct. Basically, all thier spells are signature spells. That allows players that don't like strict vancian casting a more palatable option and doesnt require a ton of redesign work.

That's pretty much what I did too, which is why I removed the "Signature Spell" ability at 3rd level, because in effect, all of their spells are signature spells by PF2's definition.


That sounds fantastic. I don't really like what you did with prepared casters, but it's small enough change. Could you link to the document, please? <3


Personally my solution would be to make Prepared casters into Spontaneous casters, and give spontaneous casters MP instead of spell slots.


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Strill wrote:
Personally my solution would be to make Prepared casters into Spontaneous casters, and give spontaneous casters MP instead of spell slots.

So, does a Wizard only have a small selection of spells, or does it keep its ample spellbook and cast any spell freely?

And in my opinion, MPs just don't work if you have a vast selection of spells of wildly different power.


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Megistone wrote:
Strill wrote:
Personally my solution would be to make Prepared casters into Spontaneous casters, and give spontaneous casters MP instead of spell slots.
So, does a Wizard only have a small selection of spells, or does it keep its ample spellbook and cast any spell freely?

You'd give them a spellbook, from which they choose some number of spells to prepare. Prepared spells could be cast freely.

Quote:
And in my opinion, MPs just don't work if you have a vast selection of spells of wildly different power.

Which is why they'd still have to choose the most appropriate spells for their repertoire.


Spontaneous Caster ability idea:

Since Spontaneous Heighten is now a useless ability, how about...

After 8 hours rest, choose up to two spells from your spell list whose levels add up to half your level. You can cast those spells as if they were in your repertoire for the day.


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Strill wrote:
Megistone wrote:
Strill wrote:
Personally my solution would be to make Prepared casters into Spontaneous casters, and give spontaneous casters MP instead of spell slots.
So, does a Wizard only have a small selection of spells, or does it keep its ample spellbook and cast any spell freely?
You'd give them a spellbook, from which they choose some number of spells to prepare. Prepared spells could be cast freely.

This is exactly arcanist casting, not really spontaneous from a D&D/PF point of view, and the same as the OP had proposed for prepared casters. It's the way D&D5E has gone.

Strill wrote:
Megistone wrote:
And in my opinion, MPs just don't work if you have a vast selection of spells of wildly different power.
Which is why they'd still have to choose the most appropriate spells for their repertoire.

And they will always choose to use the strongest ones, unless they have really little energy left. I don't think that MPs would work unless the whole magic system is remade from scratch, and to be honest I wouldn't abandon the D&D traditions so completely. But to each its own, I guess.

Sovereign Court

ClanPsi wrote:
That sounds fantastic. I don't really like what you did with prepared casters, but it's small enough change. Could you link to the document, please? <3

Sure, I have my own thread with it as well, but here you go:

Samurai's PF2e changes

There are a lot more than just magic changes, there are a bunch of changes throughout PF2e: some class changes, feat changes, crafting changes, changes to the way shields work, etc. I hope you like them!

Also, I didn't make as many changes to prepared casters as spontaneous casters. What would you suggest as improvements that doesn't take away from or make obsolete Spontaneous casting, and maintains the two different flavors of casting?

In my view, spontaneous casters have a limited number of spells in their repertoire and it is very hard to change them, but they should have full control over how they use them by spending any slot they want on them. By contrast, Prepared casters should have a lot more choices in their spells each day, but how they use them is more limited (thus keeping the need to prepare the spell at the higher level, and losing the spell when it is cast unless you prepared multiples of it.) If "prepared casters" could freely heighten spells the way the spontaneous casters can AND freely change their memorized spell list every day, then what makes them "prepared", and why would anyone ever choose to play a spontaneous caster?

I think those 2 abilities need to be the divider between the 2 casting types: Do you want to freely change your spells every day OR do you want to freely heighten the limited spells you always know? Pick 1.


Samurai wrote:


If "prepared casters" could freely heighten spells the way the spontaneous casters can AND freely change their memorized spell list every day, then what makes them "prepared", and why would anyone ever choose to play a spontaneous caster?

That's why I think Sorcerers and Bards need more unique and interesting abilities. I personally don't think they should ONLY have spontaneous casting to differentiate them. 5e was a step in the right direction for Sorcs, especially the Wild Magic idea. I was really hoping PF2 would expand on that concept and make them even more unique. I was sorely disappointed by Paizo's inconceivable laziness.

Sovereign Court

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ClanPsi wrote:
Samurai wrote:


If "prepared casters" could freely heighten spells the way the spontaneous casters can AND freely change their memorized spell list every day, then what makes them "prepared", and why would anyone ever choose to play a spontaneous caster?

That's why I think Sorcerers and Bards need more unique and interesting abilities. I personally don't think they should ONLY have spontaneous casting to differentiate them. 5e was a step in the right direction for Sorcs, especially the Wild Magic idea. I was really hoping PF2 would expand on that concept and make them even more unique. I was sorely disappointed by Paizo's inconceivable laziness.

So you want all casters to freely heighten, and then, because of the prepared casters changing their spells every day, you want something more for the spontaneous casters (especially the bard)? Just trying to make sure I understand. That sounds pretty much like D&D5e.

One difference, though, is that in 5e you can only prepare a limited number of spells per day (caster level + stat bonus). Spontaneous casters, like sorcerer and bard, just have a limited number of spells known (which is slightly higher for bards than sorcerers, but generally 1 new spell learned per level as well). 5e bolsters the sorcerer with Sorcery points and meta-magic, and the bard with light armor proficiency, better weapons, and more HP. Do you think that is a fair compromise? If you do, rather than boosting their spells more, improve their HP, weapons, and armor.

If PF2 used the same rules, hypothetically speaking


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It's not the same given that 5e spells are more useful in context of their games compared to PF2 spells.

Also an extra for spontaneous casters could be spending focus to empower their spells without using an action. While other casters need to use an action (usually).


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Pathfinder Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber

Here are the changes I've made to my homebrewed campaign, just follow the LINK


ClanPsi wrote:


1) All spells which can be heightened are spontaneously heightenable.

So if a caster has 4 1st levels, 4 2nd level, and 3 3rd level spells the 1st and 2nds automatically heighten to 3rd level giving them an effective 12 lvl 3 spells?


I like Neo Vancian for its ease of use and more verisimilitude for worlds not made by Jack Vance. But I'd make one more adjustment, that spontaneous casters learn more spells in total than their maximum number of spell slots, for they're stuck with the variety for the majority of their career. That 12 spells known for 5E Sorcerers, compared to the 20+INT of Wizards, is a major sin of the designer(s) in my eyes...


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Pathfinder Lost Omens Subscriber

i think any MP type systems should have their own casting tradition, kinda like how kineticists do it.

though i'm fine with vancian casting, i do enjoy spheres of power.

I'm not really a fan of neovancian as it tends to be. I think anything neovancian should have some spells that they permanently have and then a few they can swap out.


Krugus wrote:
Here are the changes I've made to my homebrewed campaign, just follow the LINK

Some of these changes are really good. Paizo should have hired you to help with the CRB.


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Data Lore wrote:
that ship has sailed

This. I really believe Paizo should be held culpable for releasing a game with obsolete Vancian casting in 2019, especially since the competition rightfully got rid of it already in 2015.


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Zapp wrote:
Data Lore wrote:
that ship has sailed
This. I really believe Paizo should be held culpable for releasing a game with obsolete Vancian casting in 2019, especially since the competition rightfully got rid of it already in 2015.

This is a whole package of entitled opinion. There are plenty of people who still appreciate the Vancian-style system, including the people who built the game. Trying to compete directly with their competition by just making the same thing may not be the business plan they are interested in. Maybe they think it better to distinguish themselves.

Ultimately: How would you hold them culpable? Just go play something else if the game's systems aren't right for you.


Pathfinder Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber
ClanPsi wrote:
Krugus wrote:
Here are the changes I've made to my homebrewed campaign, just follow the LINK
Some of these changes are really good. Paizo should have hired you to help with the CRB.

Thanks :)

I've updated the changes how they would affect Archetypes (forgot to add that).

Just follow the LINK


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Zapp wrote:
I really believe Paizo should be held culpable for releasing a game with obsolete Vancian casting in 2019, especially since the competition rightfully got rid of it already in 2015.

Held culpable? They already are, if people hate Vancian casting just that much they won't buy 2E.

I like Vancian casting, anyway. I might have "held Paizo culpable" (whatever that means) if they had gotten rid of it completely.


I mean I believe Paizo's decision to go with cluttery Vancian casting is going to cost them money (lower sales).

Before 5th edition, Vancian casting was "sort of okay:ish" mostly because you couldn't just go out and buy a competing product offering an alternative. (3E offered Sorcerers where you paid a steep price to avoid Vancian)

In 2019, however, the price is not steep. You can go out and buy a competing product without Vancian. It thus no longer measure up. Honestly, Vancian's antiquated. A quaint thing once taken for granted.

But 5E has comprehensively shown millions of gamers that Vancian simply isn't needed (for balance, for story purposes, for character development...). Think that won't impact the Pathfinder community? Think again.


(cont'd)

It's just one more example of where Paizo developed Pathfinder 2 in a bubble, where they come across as behind the times. Paizo needed to (and should have) created a game where no Core classes used Vancian.

For those of you who really want it, they could always add a class using it in a book such as the upcoming APG...

Sorry for not saying what you wanted to hear.

Cheers


I noticed an intense reaction against my 5e style casting homebrew from some folks when I released it on Reddit. Folks were clamoring about how OP it was or how the sorcerer being able to spontaneously heighten was op or whatever. It didn't matter that I stated up front that I didn't want to debate that stuff; I just wanted to release this thing so folks could use it if they wanted it. The plus and minus votes were the same (which is why it ended in +0 on Reddit) but most folks that liked it (and since it wasn't like -50, it was clear that some people did) didn't comment in the thread. Those that did were down voted. Basically, they were downvoted into silence!

Man, if Paizo would have released a more modern take on Vancian, I think some of their old die hards would have rioted. It would have been almost a 4E level of backlash. PF2 was made to keep as much of their fan base as possible and maybe nab a few new fans. So, from that standpoint, I can understand why they kept the strict Vancian system.


Also, I noticed the discussion about sorcerers up top. One thing to remember is that the sorcerer class was made as an alternative to the strict Vancian system. It is less needed in modern Vancian since the problem the sorcerer was designed to fix isn't really there any more.

In fact, during the DnD Next Playtest (5e), their original design had no sorcerer at all. Then they had the sorcerer as a weird half caster who slowly morphed into a melee monster as he spent spells throughout the day (they put it in because people were like, "hey, where is the sorcerer?"). If you Google, you can still find the old DnD Next Playtest files that show this.

The original wizard in the DnD Next playtest had the metamagic of the 5e sorcerer (through feats) with the casting of the 5e wizard. And it was great.

One thing to consider, and this is a bit radical, is if you just make the bard use the more modern take on Vancian, then, with all the Traditions represented, you can just remove the sorcerer. You could then have the prep casters be able to spontaneous heighten since you don't have to worry about saving something nice for the poor sorcerer. You could maybe then take those sorcerer bloodlines and make them caster-only class archetypes. Or maybe just have class feats to access those bloodline powers.

Then, bam, best of both worlds.

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