Are spellcaster tactics basically stuck in 1st Edition?


Advice

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Yes, I know there are a few exceptions of spells that cast with one action (Magic Missile, Cure Wounds, etc) but it seems like the vast majority of spells require two actions to cast, leaving you with one action a turn.
Mechanically, one action a turn is *very* similar to the old "Move Action" of edition(s) past; you can move, you can stow/retrieve an item, etc.

It reminds me of the Age of Conan MMO's release: There's this new and interesting chassis for non-magical characters in combat where you queue up your combo and then have to execute directional attacks to complete the combo - essentially very much more interactive than most MMOs where you just auto-attack and hit 1, 2, 3, repeat or whatever. Meanwhile, if you're a caster, you just press the button to cast your spells just like in every other game.
PF2 is looking like this to me. Non-magical characters have this new 3-action chassis to play with where maybe you want to attack more than once or twice, or maybe you want to move multiple times, and the mini-game of combat is just a lot more interesting and interactive than it was in 3.5 or PF1... but the casters are still just casting a spell and moving, etc.

Am I underestimating the number of single-action spell options?
If not, how do you make spellcaster tactics as new and enjoyable as non-caster tactics? Or is it just a matter of dealing with it being the same as before?


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Well, consider every spell that needs concentration. Consider Recall Knowledge, or Demoralize, or any of the 3-action spells like Black Tentacles. Consider metamagic. (Also Shield is a cantrip.)

A decent number of focus spells are 1-action as well, so that's also a spot to look into.

Spellcasters have a lot more options for the third action than it appears at first glance.


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Cyouni wrote:

Well, consider every spell that needs concentration. Consider Recall Knowledge, or Demoralize, or any of the 3-action spells like Black Tentacles. Consider metamagic. (Also Shield is a cantrip.)

A decent number of focus spells are 1-action as well, so that's also a spot to look into.

Spellcasters have a lot more options for the third action than it appears at first glance.

This, a move action was always a move action. That spare action in PF2e allows for a heck of a lot more and thanks to haste functioning differently it opens up even more options.

There will be more spells that come out, more focus spells, more metamagic options, racial options, skill feat actions, skill uses, magic item uses and so on.

Casters are more limited in their actions if they are casting leveled spells for sure compared to the martials, but that is the point. But they are by no means using the same action economy as they did in PF1e.


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Technically yes, very frequently the following dynamic plays out:

Casters = Spell + 1 Action
Martials = Attack + 2 Actions

However, I would add, if the Caster's Spell uses a Slot (a finite resource), that the Spell is often of greater "value" than the Attack is, and so, I find that in play, the two dynamics are actually different but well balanced.

Dunno if that helps.


It really depends on the class bards or druids with animal companions have more options for their third action.

With a wizard it feels like pf1.


puksone wrote:

It really depends on the class bards or druids with animal companions have more options for their third action.

With a wizard it feels like pf1.

Not entirely, but close, wizards have some things to do. Warped terrain is variable action and eats up enemy movement. Magic missile is variable action. Iirc evokers get a force dart that's basically a 1 action missile.

But none of those quite compare to a single action composition cantrip that's pretty much always useful.


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I don't remember any good ways to attack or cast spells with a move action in PF1, personally.


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Spellcasters have been severely nerved by the new action economy. Last time I played my 1st edition Cleric could move, use my shield for AC, make a knowledge check, maintain a spell (e.g. Bless) and cast a new spell all in one round. Now I would need 6 actions / round to do so.

I concur with the OP that the current spellcasters dilemma is not so much about what mundane things to do when you have already cast a 2-action spell as there are plenty of simple actions for that but about what spells to cast when you already did two mundane things, e.g. after you moved and raised your shield.

All the while melees that could either move and attack or do a full attack can now do all the fancy stuff.


That extra actions from haste can't be used for spell casting...


Levi wrote:
That extra actions from haste can't be used for spell casting...

But it can be used for a stride action, in PF1e it didn't give you an extra move action.

So a spellcaster with haste on is even more versatile with that third action.

Sovereign Court

Ubertron_X wrote:

Spellcasters have been severely nerved by the new action economy. Last time I played my 1st edition Cleric could move, use my shield for AC, make a knowledge check, maintain a spell (e.g. Bless) and cast a new spell all in one round. Now I would need 6 actions / round to do so.

I concur with the OP that the current spellcasters dilemma is not so much about what mundane things to do when you have already cast a 2-action spell as there are plenty of simple actions for that but about what spells to cast when you already did two mundane things, e.g. after you moved and raised your shield.

All the while melees that could either move and attack or do a full attack can now do all the fancy stuff.

In my house rules, I said that the first Sustain a Spell each round is a free action, and it only becomes an action for your second and third Sustain. That certainly doesn't solve the whole caster action economy problem, but it goes to the heart of the caster's problem of trying to sustain a spell makes him slower at everything else afterwards.


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Ubertron_X wrote:

Spellcasters have been severely nerved by the new action economy. Last time I played my 1st edition Cleric could move, use my shield for AC, make a knowledge check, maintain a spell (e.g. Bless) and cast a new spell all in one round. Now I would need 6 actions / round to do so.

I concur with the OP that the current spellcasters dilemma is not so much about what mundane things to do when you have already cast a 2-action spell as there are plenty of simple actions for that but about what spells to cast when you already did two mundane things, e.g. after you moved and raised your shield.

All the while melees that could either move and attack or do a full attack can now do all the fancy stuff.

I agree, though I'd like to point out that the "Raise a Shield" action gimped martials as well. It was an absolutely terrible idea to make using a shield an action.

Lesson learned, my next character will be using a two-handed weapon instead of a shield.


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HeHateMe wrote:


I agree, though I'd like to point out that the "Raise a Shield" action gimped martials as well. It was an absolutely terrible idea to make using a shield an action.

Lesson learned, my next character will be using a two-handed weapon instead of a shield.

Justify your saying it has "gimped" either martials or spellcasters.

Shields and raising a shield is still a good option.


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HeHateMe wrote:
Ubertron_X wrote:

Spellcasters have been severely nerved by the new action economy. Last time I played my 1st edition Cleric could move, use my shield for AC, make a knowledge check, maintain a spell (e.g. Bless) and cast a new spell all in one round. Now I would need 6 actions / round to do so.

I concur with the OP that the current spellcasters dilemma is not so much about what mundane things to do when you have already cast a 2-action spell as there are plenty of simple actions for that but about what spells to cast when you already did two mundane things, e.g. after you moved and raised your shield.

All the while melees that could either move and attack or do a full attack can now do all the fancy stuff.

I agree, though I'd like to point out that the "Raise a Shield" action gimped martials as well. It was an absolutely terrible idea to make using a shield an action.

Lesson learned, my next character will be using a two-handed weapon instead of a shield.

If shields didn't cost an action to use, then all attack bonuses would probably also have to be 1 or 2 higher. As the game stands, allowing anyone wielding a shield to have a permanent +2 or more to AC would be horribly unbalanced.


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Tbh making shields provide an HP buffer is a very strange way to nerf them.

Shield block has been one of the most successful house rules I’ve seen in ten years - now it’s core...


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Grab some 1-action spells and if you don't have to move after your big 2-actions casting you can use one of those. 2 spells/round. They're not super-powerful but for instance shield protects you from an awful lot of damage and auto-heightens, the druid in my group, who has it via Arcane Tattoos, always makes sure to cast it after she unleashes all her primal goodness.

And yes, with 1 action left after most spells you can really do a lot of stuff, like recall knowledge, taking cover, identify magic, demoralize, feint, even strike, really depends on your build.


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Ubertron_X wrote:

Spellcasters have been severely nerved by the new action economy. Last time I played my 1st edition Cleric could move, use my shield for AC, make a knowledge check, maintain a spell (e.g. Bless) and cast a new spell all in one round. Now I would need 6 actions / round to do so.

I concur with the OP that the current spellcasters dilemma is not so much about what mundane things to do when you have already cast a 2-action spell as there are plenty of simple actions for that but about what spells to cast when you already did two mundane things, e.g. after you moved and raised your shield.

All the while melees that could either move and attack or do a full attack can now do all the fancy stuff.

In PF1, your Cleric had:

- 1 Move Action
- 1 Standard Action
OR
- 1 Full Round Action
PLUS
- 1 Swift/Immediate Action

With this, and the fact that rules were different e.g. knowledge check being free in combat, yes, what you pointed out could happen (though I do feel obliged to point out that Bless, in both PF1 and PF2, simply has a duration, with PF2 offering the option of concentrating each round to increase the range; that is, it does not require concentration under ordinary circumstances).

But let's take a look at your assertions:

- Move: In PF1, you get a Move action that, by and large, can only be used to move. In PF2, however, you have the freedom to use that action for anything you need to use it for. That is, your Move action is no longer guaranteed to be wasted in situations where it is no longer tactically advantageous to move.

- Shield for AC: As was pointed out upthread, the game math is now balanced around *not* everyone having AC from a shield and requiring effort to use it for such via the Raise Shield action. So while you are correct that you could do that in PF1 and cannot do it in PF2 (i.e. AC from shield without an action), the game developers have made an effort to not make that a requirement.

- Make a Knowledge Check: This is a flat out decrease in capability, absolutely. It's a pity that I need to literally stop for 2 seconds in the middle of combat to rack my brains to recall a Troll's vulnerability to fire, but here we are.

- Maintain a spell: As I mentioned, Bless actually doesnt' require sustaining in either edition. It is optional in PF2 though, for increasing the range. That said, there are spells in PF1 that require some sort of sustaining. For example, Hypnotic Pattern has a duration of 'Concentration + 2 rounds'. In PF1, Concentration to continue a spell (i.e. PF2 Sustain) requires your Standard action. So in PF1, if you are having to concentrate to continue the first spell you cast, you will generally be unable to cast another spell. This contrasts from PF2 where Sustain is typically a single action, leaving you with two additional actions.

- Cast a Spell: In PF1, this typically requires your Standard action, meaning you won't normally be able to cast another spell nor even concentrate to continue an existing spell requiring concentration to sustain. In PF2, most spells require 2 actions, but some only require 1 action. As a result, there are several activities you can perform by default in PF2 that you cannot in PF1:
- Cast two spells: In PF1 this would require use of 1 Standard action plus something like Quicken metamagic or an Immediate action spell. In PF2, you could cast a 2 action spell plus a 1 action spell (e.g. many focus spells).
- Cast three spells: In PF1, this is even more difficult; I'd have to rely on someone else to tell me how to do it. In PF2, there are a number of 1 action spells, even non-focus spells, to choose from. As a result, you have the option to cast 3 such spells if no other actions are tactically useful.
- Sustain a spell and cast a spell: In PF1, both make use of the Standard action and therefore will not normally be available. In PF2, this just uses your 3 actions.

So, I agree that the change to Knowledge checks in combat is at least a nuisance, and the change to require an action to use the shield's AC definitely feels like a reduction. That said, and granted this is my opinion, I don't think the Knowledge check change is a significant reduction in capability and I believe the shield AC rule change has been balanced against the math for this edition. Movement and spellcasting, however, has I think actually been improved for casters in terms of tactical flexibility.


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If using a shield should have no action cost, then the first attack each round shouldn't either.
And what about feats like Twin Parry, which basically do the same thing as raising a shield? Should they just give free AC?

You are not spending two seconds to raise your shield, you are dedicating part of your attention at deflecting blows instead of doing other things.


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Quintessentially Me wrote:

But let's take a look at your assertions:

- Move: In PF1, you get a Move action that, by and large, can only be used to move. In PF2, however, you have the freedom to use that action for anything you need to use it for. That is, your Move action is no longer guaranteed to be wasted in situations where it is no longer tactically advantageous to move.

You mean I can use it for skills that I simply don't have (e.g. Intimidate) or which might potentially provide wrong information (e.g. knowledge checks) or for actions that once where free, like raise a shield or sustain a spell? Yes you are right, those options are as useless as a move that I don't require.

Quintessentially Me wrote:
- Shield for AC: As was pointed out upthread, the game math is now balanced around *not* everyone having AC from a shield and requiring effort to use it for such via the Raise Shield action. So while you are correct that you could do that in PF1 and cannot do it in PF2 (i.e. AC from shield without an action), the game developers have made an effort to not make that a requirement.

I can agree to that reasoning from a design point of view, however you could have also balanced it around the shield. Also by design this makes defensive characters even more ineffective as they have to "waste" actions to raise their shield every round. Would an intelligent mob try to hit the shield raised Warrior or the Rogue in melee? Even in our party our sword and board Warrior is not using his shield anymore unless he does not need to move. Shields are only somewhat effective if every possible target has a shield up which indeed is a rare occurance.

Quintessentially Me wrote:
- Make a Knowledge Check: This is a flat outThis is a flat out decrease in capability, absolutely. It's a pity that I need to literally stop for 2 seconds in the middle of combat to rack my brains to recall a Troll's vulnerability to fire, but here we are.

Noted.

Quintessentially Me wrote:
- Maintain a spell: As I mentioned, Bless actually doesnt' require sustaining in either edition. It is optional in PF2 though, for increasing the range. That said, there are spells in PF1 that require some sort of sustaining. For example, Hypnotic Pattern has a duration of 'Concentration + 2 rounds'. In PF1, Concentration to continue a spell (i.e. PF2 Sustain) requires your Standard action. So in PF1, if you are having to concentrate to continue the first spell you cast, you will generally be unable to cast another spell. This contrasts from PF2 where Sustain is typically a single action, leaving you with two additional actions.

Just tell me how Spiritual Weapon required concentration and I could not cast another spell and how it requires suitaining now. I understand that this is necessary to not create extra actions and thus break the action economy, however this also "castrates" my caster to 2 actions per round. And I even need to cancel any sustain I no longer require costing another action. And who the hell would use concentration spells in the first place if spells with a duration were readily available?

Quintessentially Me wrote:

- Cast a Spell: In PF1, this typically requires your Standard action, meaning you won't normally be able to cast another spell nor even concentrate to continue an existing spell requiring concentration to sustain. In PF2, most spells require 2 actions, but some only require 1 action. As a result, there are several activities you can perform by default in PF2 that you cannot in PF1:

- Cast two spells: In PF1 this would require use of 1 Standard action plus something like Quicken metamagic or an Immediate action spell. In PF2, you could cast a 2 action spell plus a 1 action spell (e.g. many focus spells).
- Cast three spells: In PF1, this is even more difficult; I'd have to rely on someone else to tell me how to do it. In PF2, there are a number of 1 action spells, even non-focus spells, to choose from. As a result, you have the option to cast 3 such spells if no other actions are tactically useful.
- Sustain a spell and cast a spell: In PF1, both make use of the Standard action and therefore will not normally be available. In PF2, this just uses your 3 actions.

Sorry to not have chosen the right goddess and domains, but my focus spells all cost 2 actions to activate. Apart from that, yes from the divine list I can spam Guidance 3x per round for exactly one round because after this round this brutal buff spell will be on a silly cool-down. And yes I can also burn through 3 heals a single round only to tell the rest of the party that it is now resting time, even if we just started our day.

Quintessentially Me wrote:
So, I agree that the change to Knowledge checks in combat is at least a nuisance, and the change to require an action to use the shield's AC definitely feels like a reduction. That said, and granted this is my opinion, I don't think the Knowledge check change is a significant reduction in capability and I believe the shield AC rule change has been balanced against the math for this edition. Movement and spellcasting, however, has I think actually been improved for casters in terms of tactical flexibility.

And I think that the tactical flexibility for the type of caster I am usually playing (melee caster tank healer) has more or less been rendered ineffective because it simply requires too many actions. Usually I want to move, either to provide flanking and/or to deliver a touch spell (ally or enemy), raise the shield for additional protection and cast a single spell (one-action heal/harm still possible of course, especially the harm does not lose out vs the two-action version). Thats 4 actions/turn even when not sustaining a spell or making knowledge checks. Once I cast a 2-action spell I am limited to either move or raise shield and that is the crux.


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Ubertron_X wrote:
Quintessentially Me wrote:

But let's take a look at your assertions:

- Move: In PF1, you get a Move action that, by and large, can only be used to move. In PF2, however, you have the freedom to use that action for anything you need to use it for. That is, your Move action is no longer guaranteed to be wasted in situations where it is no longer tactically advantageous to move.

You mean I can use it for skills that I simply don't have (e.g. Intimidate) or which might potentially provide wrong information (e.g. knowledge checks) or for actions that once where free, like raise a shield or sustain a spell? Yes you are right, those options are as useless as a move that I don't require.

Quintessentially Me wrote:
- Shield for AC: As was pointed out upthread, the game math is now balanced around *not* everyone having AC from a shield and requiring effort to use it for such via the Raise Shield action. So while you are correct that you could do that in PF1 and cannot do it in PF2 (i.e. AC from shield without an action), the game developers have made an effort to not make that a requirement.

I can agree to that reasoning from a design point of view, however you could have also balanced it around the shield. Also by design this makes defensive characters even more ineffective as they have to "waste" actions to raise their shield every round. Would an intelligent mob try to hit the shield raised Warrior or the Rogue in melee? Even in our party our sword and board Warrior is not using his shield anymore unless he does not need to move. Shields are only somewhat effective if every possible target has a shield up which indeed is a rare occurance.

Quintessentially Me wrote:
- Make a Knowledge Check: This is a flat outThis is a flat out decrease in capability, absolutely. It's a pity that I need to literally stop for 2 seconds in the middle of combat to rack my brains to recall a Troll's vulnerability to fire, but here we are.

Noted.

Quintessentially Me wrote:
-
...

@Ubertron_X:

I should start by agreeing that there definitely are differences between PF1 and PF2, and some things have been added and some removed in terms of capability. I don't think any character play will carry over identically from one edition to the next. My point in adding to the discussion here is to suggest that while individual contributions to your combat ability might change, the overall effectiveness hasn't, and that there may be some things that ameliorate the concerns you have.

===
Re the Move action: I may be misinterpreting you, but it appears as though you feel that that third action, aside from being used to Move, will categorically be worthless??? You mention several activities that you would either not take (Intimidate) or which you are concerned would be unreliable (Knowledge Check) or that you lament are no longer free (e.g. Raise Shield). Point of note, in PF1, sustaining a spell was not generally free. In PF1, concentration to continue a spell consumes your Standard action.

That all said, are you suggesting that, in lieu of Move, none of the following would be useful to you:
- Deception/Create a Diversion
- Deception/Feint
- Religion/Identify Magic
- Stealth/Hide
- Activate a magic item
- Consume a potion
- Use a ranged weapon
- Cast a 1 action spell
- Sustain a spell (again, not free in PF1)

These all seem like potentially valuable options. I understand you may disagree, but I believe this flexibility to be a strict upgrade over PF1.

===
Re the Shield for AC: Balancing around the shield would mean everyone in melee should have a shield. Balancing without the shield means Raise a Shield is *one* way to increase your defenses, but not the only way nor the way everyone shares and therefore everyone should use. In combat AC boosts appear to now be intended to be very short term and therefore presumably very situational. Witness the Shield cantrip, also 1 action, counts as Raise a Shield action, and grants an AC bonus for a round. You even get Shield Block reaction while it is up. The point here being that the math is now balanced around *not* having a shield, and if you *want* a shield, whether for appeal or effect, you can have one, it has use, but requires an action. Same with the Shield cantrip.

Also, don't forget that Fighters qualify for the Reactive Shield feat, letting them Raise a Shield as a reaction to an attack. Feat tax, but it is the new math. Additionally, if the Opponent wants to pass up the Fighter for the softer targets, they will have to eat an AoO.

===
Re Maintain a Spell: In PF1, Spiritual Weapon has a duration of 1 round/level. It does not require Concentration to continue, but if left unattended, will simply keep attacking the target for the duration. To switch targets, you require a Move action. In PF2, Spiritual Weapon performs the attack in the first round but requires Sustaining to persist beyond the round you cast the spell. It also uses and contributes to MAP.

I've read a number of posts about feeling dismayed at some spell changes, and it sounds like Spiritual Weapon has changed in ways you dislike. To that I would point out that Spiritual Weapon is now able to be Heightened, granting an additional 1d8 per 2 levels heightened, increase the overall damage the spell can do and making it useful into higher levels.

Still, the point I made originally still stands... PF1 sustaining a spell (i.e. via concentration) required a Move action and was not free. Specific spells might have wording to the contrary, but that's the general rule. In PF1, this means to continue a spell via concentration, you were firmly planted in place and unable to move for tactical purposes. In PF2, it requires 1 action among many. As an additional point, in PF2, if you were to cast two spells, both able to be sustained, you are now capable of not only Sustaining both, but you can also move with your third action as the cherry on top.

===
Re What to do in addition to Sustain a Spell: It appears you are specifically looking for what to do with 1 action, not the two you would normally have after you spent the first action Sustaining a Spell; I assume this goes back to your original goal, to be able to, in one round, Move, use your Shield for AC, make a Knowledge Check, Sustain a Spell, and cast a new spell. As I've mentioned above, I personally discount the concern over Shield for AC because I believe that it's a) universally an issue for all characters in PF2 and b) the math is centered around the presumption of *not* having that AC normally. I also agree that Recall Knowledge requiring an action is annoying, but mitigated by only 1 person technically needing to get it right and then sharing that information.

With all of that, to Move and Sustain a Spell in 1 round, yes, you are then limited to casting only 1 action spells. And yes, there are not many 1 action non-focus spells. But again, I'm going to point out you could not even Move and "Sustain a Spell" in PF1 because the Concentration necessary to do so eats your Move action. Aside from specific spells, situations, metamagic or the like, I don't even know how you were doing those two actions generally (again, barring specific situations), much less casting a third spell.

Looking at the focus spells, 24 of the 38 currently available domains have a Focus 1 spell requiring either 1 action, a reaction, or in any case, able to be cast even if you have used 2 of your 3 actions already. That's ignoring the Focus 4 spells. Yes, this does mean that if you pick the *wrong* domain/deity, you will simply not have any 1 action Focus 1 spell to cast. Not all options are equally attractive and having almost 2/3 coverage still leaves me feeling that the Cleric is in a good place in this regard.

Also, where you mention spamming Guidance 3x or Heal 3x, that's not even something you could even consider in PF1; the ability to cast even 2 spells in a round is pretty strictly controlled. Casting 3 spells is really very unlikely to happen. In PF2, casting 2 spells in one round is something you can do starting at level 1. I'm also not sure what the relevance of casting 3 spells in a round has to "what you can do once you have Sustained a Spell" nor to "In PF1, I could Move, Sustain, and Cast in one round (which, you actually can't); in PF2 I can't".

===
The summary:

Ubertron_X wrote:
Usually I want to move, either to provide flanking and/or to deliver a touch spell (ally or enemy), raise the shield for additional protection and cast a single spell (one-action heal/harm still possible of course, especially the harm does not lose out vs the two-action version). Thats 4 actions/turn even when not sustaining a spell or making knowledge checks. Once I cast a 2-action spell I am limited to either move or raise shield and that is the crux.

You are correct that Move, Raise a Shield, Cast a Spell (2 action) does require 4 actions per turn, disregarding Recall Knowledge. Regarding Raise a Shield, that's a tactical choice now, and it's baked into the math. In that context, you can still Move and Cast a (2 action) spell.

I also lament the change to Recall Knowledge for tactical benefit, but I would also point out that is a) likely going to be something the group only has to do once in a fight and b) it affects everyone equally, not just tankcasters.

And here is where I will just venture out into my opinion; for me, stacked against the additional flexibility of the 3 action system, the availability of a number of 1 action spells, as well as the change to Sustain a Spell (PF1 Concentration) from a strict Move action to just one of three actions, means I feel much more flexible and see these changes as a net positive. Naturally, your opinion may differ.


I would like to point out that 1 action spells are effectively Quickened spells (spells cast as a swift action). PF1 allowed you to make any spell into a quickened spell by increasing the spell slot, PF2 limits quickened spells to 1/day but offers more dedicated 1 action spells.

PF1 concentration was indeed 1 standard action and there where ways to change the action it required. Ex Gnome Illusionist wizard could concentrate on 2 illusion spells and still cast a standard action spell). However the number of spells that required concentration was relatively low and some also had a scaling duration. PF2 added more concentration spells lowered the duration (when not concentrating), it's also easier to get a free action sustain (even if it's late game).

Metamagic in PF1 was an option between adding levels (prepared) and increase action (spontaneous). So Prepared casters in PF2 have been nerfed in that regard. (I also dont believe metamagic rods are a thing anymore).

****************
So a PF1 Cleric could: move, cast a spell, cast a quickened spell (1 action), recall knowledge, and have any familiar move and do stuff (2-3 actions).

A PF2 Cleric could only do 2 or 3 of those at any 1 time.

So just to be clear: A PF1 Cleric can cast a spell, move, and cast a Quickened spell. A PF2 Cleric can cast a spell and either cast a 1 action spell or move.


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Quintessentially Me wrote:
...

First of all let me thank you for your meaningful, elaborate and nicely worded response. It sometimes is not easy to express one's considerations, especially if English is not your first language and because all writing can easily be subject to interpretation. In these times of instant "offendedness" is quite refreshing to discuss with a person that at least tries to understand the others point of view.

To explain my point of view about casters action economy let me explain my observations a litte more in detail. First I have to admit that I have not played P2E overly much as our current campaign is at level 4 only.

However within this 4 levels combat as a caster mostly looked dull, especially in comparison with the excitement of our melees. Note that this has absolutely nothing to do with the power or effects of the spells the party wizard or my warpriest have been using but is just the result of the 2-cast action economy. Cast a spell (mostly cantrips for the wizard; often heals for my warpriest) and then do a negligible 3rd action (move, raise shield even if in 2nd line, take out or store an item etc). The most exiting thing is to wait how many damage our melees receive and if you will be able to heal them properly and waiting for any GM saves (which unfortunately he is exceptionally good at rolling openly). And this continues almost any single round.

I can't use Deception to create a diversion or to feint or Intimidate because I took Diplomacy as my "social skill". Using Religion to make knowledge checks or identify magic only works if there are appropriate enemies or magic involved. Likewise I can't Stealth because I don't have the skill. I could potentially activate a magic item (we found a healing wand I usually use as a last ditch effort) provided I have readied it already. The rare potions that we have are mostly still used as a even more last ditch effort. Can't use a "regular" ranged weapon because I carry a shield (could theoretically throw a dagger every other round if I carried some but with a Dexterity of 10 hit chances are like nat20 only). The only 1 action spell I can cast is Guidance and even that is limited by the restrictions of the spell itself. Heal could be cast as an 1 action spell but the 2-action HP bonus is to good to be passed, especially in combat. I can and have used sustain spells in the past, however they usually end your round even quicker and more boring.

Generally I think that the issue would be less prominent if I were are a true second line caster (though our wizard is also mildly complaining about being able to do "nothing" per round and he even has access to spammable cantrips like electric arc) aka a cloistered cleric or a melee warpriest using weapon attacks bolstered by Harm like any of the other melees. However the current action economy is not at all supporting a passive aggressive hybrid caster that is participating in melee (as a flanker and tanky HP sponge) while still casting his buff and support spells (with an occasional attack spell thrown in for good meassure). However as soon as I start using "normal" 2-action spells supporting in melee is mostly out of question because with only 1 action left I usually can not follow the flow of battle, respectively if I do I would lose a lot of tankiness because the shield stays down (-2 AC and can not block damage). Which means my fully armed, amoured and battle ready warpriest usually stays 2nd line with all the other "soft" targets, occasionally using Divine Lance in between buffs and heals, which to be honest is quite frustating.


You mention passive aggressive.

Spoiler:

Have you considered Fighter Dedication and Opportunist feat?

AA > Cast a Spell
A > Move or Raise Shield
R > Attack of Opportunity or Shield Block


Sorry for slight derail. Cheers!


rainzax wrote:
** spoiler omitted **

Thx but unlikely to happen as with a starting Dexterity of 10 it would take at least until level 10 before I could pick that up.

Apart from that with a little hindsight and better understanding of the new systems inner workings (and probably also a little more on the powergaming side) a cloistered cleric with champion dedication would probably have been the better approach to what I was trying to achieve. Not that it would have solved the problem of action starvation, however having maxed out spellpower could possibly make being relegated to 2nd line duty as a caster more bearable.


Ubertron_X wrote:
... some kind words and further explanation ...

Very kind of you to say. And if you are not a native English speaker, I couldn't tell, but regardless, I also appreciate your keeping the thread cordial. :)

I noticed you mentioned going Champion as your dedication to improve your defenses and running as a Cloistered Cleric in order to be more capable as a second line caster.

Perhaps you could consider the Fighter dedication instead. As a Champion, you will of course gain Trained in Heavy Armor at level 2 as soon as you take your dedication, but you wouldn't achieve Expert until 14th level, and assuming you use your 14th level feat on Diverse Armor Expert. Meanwhile, the Warpriest doctrine would have granted you Trained in Medium Armor and you would gain Expert by level 13. Then with the Fighter dedication, at level 4, take the Basic Maneuver feat to grab the Reactive Shield Fighter class feat. This would allow you to Raise Shield as a reaction, leaving your 3 normal actions untouched. Granted, if you already had a plan for that Reaction, there would now be competition.


Part of the issue is simply you being new to the system and having a thematic idea that didn't get supported mechanically. I agree with the other poster about a fighter dedication.

Maybe ask your GM to let you redesign your character to fit your thematic concept


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Ubertron_X wrote:
rainzax wrote:
** spoiler omitted **

Thx but unlikely to happen as with a starting Dexterity of 10 it would take at least until level 10 before I could pick that up.

Apart from that with a little hindsight and better understanding of the new systems inner workings (and probably also a little more on the powergaming side) a cloistered cleric with champion dedication would probably have been the better approach to what I was trying to achieve. Not that it would have solved the problem of action starvation, however having maxed out spellpower could possibly make being relegated to 2nd line duty as a caster more bearable.

I thought that for Multiclass archetypes you only needed one of the two ability scores, your choice. It would make some of them more difficult to qualify for than others - the Rogue Dedication only lists Dexterity 14 in the prerequisites, and I don't think that should be any more difficult than Fighter Dedication. Since you are a Melee-oriented support caster, I suspect you have at least a 14 Strength.


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Phntm888 wrote:

I thought that for Multiclass archetypes you only needed one of the two ability scores, your choice.

There's no 'or' clause, unfortunately. So you need both.

Does that make it inordinately annoying to qualify for certain multiclass archetypes for no reason? Yep, but that's what Paizo wanted so it is what it is.


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Hmm...I feel like I read that in a Paizo Blog post or something somewhere, but I can't find any relevant rules text to back that up.

I dislike that decision, especially since Fighters can choose whether or not they want Strength or Dexterity to be their primary stat, but it is not something I can get around. I might house-rule it if I ever run a game. Thank you for the clarification, Squiggit.


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It's definitely strange. You can go Dex or Str pretty easily on fighters. Monks even have a stance designed to make low-dex functional, but you still need that 14. Many paladin builds might ignore Charisma altogether too, but in all those cases you still need both stats.

Then on the other hand, Rangers and Rogues can be built around Str or Dex just like a Fighter or Monk but both of them only require one stat like the various casters. It's weird.


Aren't all those archtypes those that can easily get AOO like attacks? Maybe it is not as unintentional as you might think...


I don't think it is unintentional at all, even if it seems like an unusual choice. The Ranger dedication, for example, is pretty exclusively designed around making you a better archer. Yes you can still get the non-archer feats, but you can't use any of the hunt prey features useful in melee.

And I think the Champion attribute requirements are a call back to older versions of the game where gods only selected fairly charismatic people to be their paladins. Hopeful we will get a lot of new archetypes in the advanced player's guide and the choices won't feel so restrictive.


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Martialmasters wrote:

Part of the issue is simply you being new to the system and having a thematic idea that didn't get supported mechanically. I agree with the other poster about a fighter dedication.

Maybe ask your GM to let you redesign your character to fit your thematic concept

I feel this in my soul. I never thought a blaster Storm Druid playstyle wouldn't be mechanically supported, but each combat is just half damage electric arcs/rays of frost and me deciding if its better to raise my shield or move 25 feet away from a monster and risk an AoO. It's incredibly dull. Sometimes I get to give my animal companion an extra action but most of the time he's just playing catch up anyways.


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Pathfinder Adventure Path, Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber
Relic123 wrote:
Martialmasters wrote:

Part of the issue is simply you being new to the system and having a thematic idea that didn't get supported mechanically. I agree with the other poster about a fighter dedication.

Maybe ask your GM to let you redesign your character to fit your thematic concept

I feel this in my soul. I never thought a blaster Storm Druid playstyle wouldn't be mechanically supported, but each combat is just half damage electric arcs/rays of frost and me deciding if its better to raise my shield or move 25 feet away from a monster and risk an AoO. It's incredibly dull. Sometimes I get to give my animal companion an extra action but most of the time he's just playing catch up anyways.

Why do you not use actual spells and why do you have an animal companion as a Storm Druid? Why are you spending "each combat" only casting cantrips?


Vlorax wrote:
Relic123 wrote:
Martialmasters wrote:

Part of the issue is simply you being new to the system and having a thematic idea that didn't get supported mechanically. I agree with the other poster about a fighter dedication.

Maybe ask your GM to let you redesign your character to fit your thematic concept

I feel this in my soul. I never thought a blaster Storm Druid playstyle wouldn't be mechanically supported, but each combat is just half damage electric arcs/rays of frost and me deciding if its better to raise my shield or move 25 feet away from a monster and risk an AoO. It's incredibly dull. Sometimes I get to give my animal companion an extra action but most of the time he's just playing catch up anyways.
Why do you not use actual spells and why do you have an animal companion as a Storm Druid? Why are you spending "each combat" only casting cantrips?

well if its low level, you dont have the spell slots to do much per day.

higher level? i can only assume he feels they will just be resisted/saved/missed etc.


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Vlorax wrote:
Relic123 wrote:
Martialmasters wrote:

Part of the issue is simply you being new to the system and having a thematic idea that didn't get supported mechanically. I agree with the other poster about a fighter dedication.

Maybe ask your GM to let you redesign your character to fit your thematic concept

I feel this in my soul. I never thought a blaster Storm Druid playstyle wouldn't be mechanically supported, but each combat is just half damage electric arcs/rays of frost and me deciding if its better to raise my shield or move 25 feet away from a monster and risk an AoO. It's incredibly dull. Sometimes I get to give my animal companion an extra action but most of the time he's just playing catch up anyways.
Why do you not use actual spells and why do you have an animal companion as a Storm Druid? Why are you spending "each combat" only casting cantrips?

Plus the storm druid's first focus spell is my current favorite. A save instead of attack roll, d12 damage die, and persistent damage on a failed save? yes please.


Vlorax wrote:
Why do you not use actual spells ... Why are you spending "each combat" only casting cantrips?

Because you don't have actual spells to cast? Given a total daily allocation of 6 spells per day at level 4, and 4 fights lasting for a total of 20 rounds you will be casting 50% cantrips even if you can pull off a focus spell in every battle. And even if you had enough spells, the sequence of "use a 2 action cast, then do a 3rd action for the sake of doing something (move/raise shield/knowledge etc)" is extremely repetitive and dull.


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Low level fights are far faster. Some don't even last a round (from my Fall of Plaguestone experience).


SuperBidi wrote:
Low level fights are far faster. Some don't even last a round (from my Fall of Plaguestone experience).

Experience may of course differ. My AoA experiences are either a couple of long, drawn out fights or a lot more but easier fights in a row, both of which is not helping low level casters. Both our party wizard and my cleric often had to chose in between conserving spells (means flinging cantrips en masse) or to stop the otherwise 100% operational non-casters from continuing our adventure because "sorry, out of spells, adventuring day is over".

Shadow Lodge

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Spellcasting is pretty awful in pf2. Playing a martial I get 3 actions to try to do 3 different things. This gives the feeling of limitless possibilities, even if most people are just performing the same few actions. By contrast, as a spellcaster I feel like a lump shooting magic. I feel like all I get to do is pick an option off of a short list. Frankly, it doesn't matter if spellcasters and martials are balanced or not, spellcasters just don't feel as fun.

That to me is the huge flaw of pf2. Pf2 is an edition where the developers spent too much time worrying about perfect game balance and forgot that the most important thing is that it needs to be fun. (Balance is highly overrated and only really matters for a pvp game, which this is not, but that's another topic entirely)

Yeah, the problem is very similar to that Conan mmo. When you make new toys, but only give them to half the kids, the others are going to feel left out.


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Playing a cloistered Cleric, I feel like I have a ton of fun things to do every round, and very rarely is shooting magic every round one of them. Often I spend my first round moving into cover, giving myself guidance and making a useful knowledge check. Usually I try to move where I am mostly protected, but a tempting target for an enemy to move twice to and then attack, hoping that they do come after me, but putting myself in a good position if they don't. If they do, I usually trip them, or attack with my weapon, and then hit them with a one action harm spell. Then I either move away, or hit them with a second harm spell if they seem close to death, or myself with a heal spell and then move away if I get truly clobbered.

If they don't come after me, I might hit them with a debuff, or my party with a buff, or throw out a 2 action heal if necessary, and try to move into a place where they want to try to attack me next turn. Not every caster class has the harm spell, but choosing a variety of spells includes picking a couple of one action or reaction spells that will let you have stuff to do every round of combat.


So you have tons of stuff to do, by spending 2 out of your 4-6 spells? So in 3 fights you cant do anything but cantrips. Also you are using trip as a caster with trained proficiency, a tactic that for non martials quickly becomes less then stellar and useless even faster.


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Temperans wrote:
So you have tons of stuff to do, by spending 2 out of your 4-6 spells? So in 3 fights you cant do anything but cantrips. Also you are using trip as a caster with trained proficiency, a tactic that quickly becomes less then stellar and useless even faster.

My players at level 2, fought everything in a dungeon layer of age of ashes book 1, got all the experience to level to 3, only taking 10 or so minute breaks to heal a bit, and only ran out of spell slots for the two casters just before the last two fight.

They did this by not spamming spell slots, maybe using a spell slot or two in each fight to turn the tide, rather than moving and having to sleep for 8 hours.

They contributed as much as the martials by way of cantrips, focus spells, being pretty good with a bow or rapier, and recognizing that using spell slots on basic minions is a waste of resources.

Party is two flurry rangers (bow and twf), a druid and a bard.


Garretmander wrote:
a druid and a bard.

Ah, that's why. Bards almost never need to spend actual spell slot spells. Wizards and Sorcerers on the other hand, do.

Druids can vary widely, but if they went animal companion route, then spells are less important.


Draco18s wrote:
Garretmander wrote:
a druid and a bard.

Ah, that's why. Bards almost never need to spend actual spell slot spells. Wizards and Sorcerers on the other hand, do.

Druids can vary widely, but if they went animal companion route, then spells are less important.

It's a good point on the bard. The druid is a storm druid, and that focus spell is a pretty good opening move in combat. Some of the sorcerer's and wizards have a halfway decent focus spell to help them out combat by combat.

The bow ranger has an animal companion to flank with the TWF ranger who needs his action economy.


1st) I was talking about Unicore's character which is a Cloistered Cleric. Aka a pure spellcaster with little in the ways of martial abilities.

2nd) Up until like lv 4-5 Trained is fine. But afterwards, there is a spike in monster defenses and the trained becomes less useful. Things start getting worse from there as monsters become stronger and by level 10-13 trained doesnt cut it. The enemies just have too much AC on average.

3rd) Its not a matter of contribution, but of fun and style. A martial gets 3 action to do as they please, with their standard action (strikes) being 1 action. Meanwhile, casters need to spend 2 actions to cast their standard action (cantrips), functionaly giving them 2 "actions" per turn.

4th) Lets see how you casters feel after lv 6, 10, 15 and see if they are still having the same amount of fun. Obviously as they level they will sling more spells, but the usefulness is debatable.

5th) You have a Bard, which is currently the best spellcaster in the game being the only one with AoE single action cantrips.


Currently, all my characters are either casters or gishes. Pure martials are boring to me, with their very limited set of actions. So, I think the boredom depends on what you like to play and how you like to play.
Also, there are tons of one action abilities you can intertwine with spells. My Sorcerer has far too many of them, I even think not raising Intimidation as I rarely have the action left to use it...

So, my feeling is quite opposed to yours. There is really a question of playstyle involved, as I've never seen a player complaining about his caster character (besides gishes characters).


Ubertron_X wrote:
Quintessentially Me wrote:
...

However within this 4 levels combat as a caster mostly looked dull, especially in comparison with the excitement of our melees. Note that this has absolutely nothing to do with the power or effects of the spells the party wizard or my warpriest have been using but is just the result of the 2-cast action economy. Cast a spell (mostly cantrips for the wizard; often heals for my warpriest) and then do a negligible 3rd action (move, raise shield even if in 2nd line, take out or store an item etc). The most exiting thing is to wait how many damage our melees receive and if you will be able to heal them properly and waiting for any GM saves (which unfortunately he is exceptionally good at rolling openly). And this continues almost any single round.

Yeah it can be a bit all the same. I would recommend that you take more variety in your spells.

Take a second attack cantrip with something seriously different like Daze or Forbidding Ward. Think about the different saving throws the enemy will be using. To have a chance of being spectacular as a caster, you need to have a chance at getting a critical hit or inflict a critical fail on a saving throw. A lot of monsters have 2 good saving throws. If its only going to critical on a 20 or 1 then you should be doing something else.
Its fairly easy to pick up a cantrip out of tradition with an ancestry feat.

I do agree that monster saving throws seem to be too high in general, and that can feed into this perception.

There are a lot more new spells and focus spells in PF2, check them out. Get away from your old favourites.


In my experience even just spamming a cantrip can be fun. It's so much better than P1 where you live and die by your spell slots and once you're past 2nd level those cantrip slots are relegated to detect magic and.... nothing.


Vlorax wrote:
Relic123 wrote:
Martialmasters wrote:

Part of the issue is simply you being new to the system and having a thematic idea that didn't get supported mechanically. I agree with the other poster about a fighter dedication.

Maybe ask your GM to let you redesign your character to fit your thematic concept

I feel this in my soul. I never thought a blaster Storm Druid playstyle wouldn't be mechanically supported, but each combat is just half damage electric arcs/rays of frost and me deciding if its better to raise my shield or move 25 feet away from a monster and risk an AoO. It's incredibly dull. Sometimes I get to give my animal companion an extra action but most of the time he's just playing catch up anyways.
Why do you not use actual spells and why do you have an animal companion as a Storm Druid? Why are you spending "each combat" only casting cantrips?

Sorry I totally forgot about this post until today, but other people have touched on most of it. I'll use Tempest Surge once a fight to be efficient with my focus points, but it's damage is meh and is often resisted. I have 6 spells a day right now, and I have to take a few utility/buff spells but that's just playing roulette, since they might not actually be needed that day.

As an example, I've taken Dispel Magic every session since getting level 2 spell slots and haven't had an opportunity to use it once. I've had multiple sessions go by where I took Feather Fall or Spider Climb and never actually needed them.

So yeah in one combat I'll try and cast a Shocking Grasp or Gust of Wind, but again, often resisted and have minimal impact. I picked up Order Explorer in to Animal Order because I knew I'd have a lack of options so at least having another chunk of HP on the field is useful. Plus when I do use him to attack, he does more damage than I do anyways.

I'm glad Kelseus is enjoying cantrip spam, because I can't feel the same. I'm level 5, so doing on average half of 2d4 every round feels pretty lame, especially when our Barbarian is hitting for 20+ damage a round.

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