Balance Concensus


Pathfinder Second Edition General Discussion

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Deriven Firelion wrote:

Hmm. I only make the witch pay for four potions to get six. Maybe that wasn't intended.

I really hope some of the APG rules are written better. Some of them are too vague and not well explained or are not so good as written.

That might've been the intent, but its not what the playtest rules actually say.

Quote:

You can brew a great deal of magic within your cauldron.

When you Craft potions that normally have a batch size of
four (like most potions), your batch size increases from four
to six.

But if we look at what "batch size" actually means:

Quote:

You can Craft items with the consumable trait in batches,

making up to four of the same item at once with a single
check. This requires you to include the raw materials
for all the items in the batch at the start
, and you must
complete the batch all at once. You also Craft non-magical
ammunition in batches, using the quantity listed in Table
6–8: Ranged Weapons (typically 10).

Changing the batch size doesn't do anything to the crafting process except give you a bit of savings in the "minimum 4 days of crafting" duration.

After that we look at the cost of potions (about 3gp per 1 for a first level potion) and the amount of money gained from a level 1 task at trained competency (2sp for a level 1 character) and we can work out how long it takes to reduce the price by half: 30 silver * 6 potions / 2 (half cost) / 2sp (per day) = 45 days.

Even assuming you got 2 potions for free out of this deal, you're still spending OVER A MONTH crafting. Where do you get that kind of time in a campaign?

Math done for a level 1 character because Cauldron is a level 1 feat. If it is "not meant for low level characters" then it shouldn't be a low level feat.


Draco18s wrote:
Deriven Firelion wrote:

Hmm. I only make the witch pay for four potions to get six. Maybe that wasn't intended.

I really hope some of the APG rules are written better. Some of them are too vague and not well explained or are not so good as written.

That might've been the intent, but its not what the playtest rules actually say.

Quote:

You can brew a great deal of magic within your cauldron.

When you Craft potions that normally have a batch size of
four (like most potions), your batch size increases from four
to six.

But if we look at what "batch size" actually means:

Quote:

You can Craft items with the consumable trait in batches,

making up to four of the same item at once with a single
check. This requires you to include the raw materials
for all the items in the batch at the start
, and you must
complete the batch all at once. You also Craft non-magical
ammunition in batches, using the quantity listed in Table
6–8: Ranged Weapons (typically 10).

Changing the batch size doesn't do anything to the crafting process except give you a bit of savings in the "minimum 4 days of crafting" duration.

After that we look at the cost of potions (about 3gp per 1 for a first level potion) and the amount of money gained from a level 1 task at trained competency (2sp for a level 1 character) and we can work out how long it takes to reduce the price by half: 30 silver * 6 potions / 2 (half cost) / 2sp (per day) = 45 days.

Even assuming you got 2 potions for free out of this deal, you're still spending OVER A MONTH crafting. Where do you get that kind of time in a campaign?

Math done for a level 1 character because Cauldron is a level 1 feat. If it is "not meant for low level characters" then it shouldn't be a low level feat.

The witch is higher level. The earn income amount for crafting is based on skill Level and character level, so the higher level you get the faster you can craft lower level items. So she can craft lower level potions much quicker.

So a lvl 6 witch crafting a level 3 lesser healing potion for 6 gold a batch with Expert crafting can earn 1 gold per day. So a batch of 6 gold takes 7 days for 3 gold. The time is per 4 item batch for consumables, not per item.

From the crafting skill:

Each additional day spent Crafting reduces the materials needed to complete the item by an amount based on your level and your proficiency rank.

Hmm. I see. I was charging on a per batch basis as though it was the cost of one potion, whereas you are charging the player for each potion created. So if I went with your calculations, four Lesser Healing Potions would cost 24 gold for four days, then 12 days of additional crafting for 16 days to pay 12 gold for four potions.


Deriven Firelion wrote:
Hmm. I see. I was charging on a per batch basis as though it was the cost of one potion, whereas you are charging the player for each potion created. So if I went with your calculations, four Lesser Healing Potions would cost 24 gold for four days, then 12 days of additional crafting for 16 days to pay 12 gold for four potions.

It would have to be based on the total cost of 4 potions (or 6 in the case of the witch) otherwise potion (or possibly ammunition*) crafting is 4 times more efficient than other sorts of crafting.

And that is definitely unintended.

One of the things they said in the playtest to make consumables more valued by players would be that you bought them in batches (like ammo), but they didn't actually do that.

*Specific magic arrows might fall under this umbrella, if their listed gold price is per-1 or per-10. Which the rules are not super clear on. They appear to be priced similarly to potions, suggesting per-1.

Sovereign Court

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Martialmasters wrote:

Casters need a way to help vs more powerful single target enemies. True strike is an example, but not one all casters can get.

As such my group just runs a NPC caster/buff monkey so we don't have to worry about a player feeling weak and frustrated.

I think this kind of thing will probably become more and more common as caster players get more and more fed up with the system, unless things start to change dramatically very quickly. Depending upon the group, the NPC support character could be a Wizard, Sorcerer, Cleric, Druid, etc. We only have 3 players in our party and the GM decided to do 2 things to help us:

1) He allowed Dual Class characters from the GMG
2) He gave us an NPC Druid tag-a-long.

It makes me think back to BECMI and 1st edition when no one wanted to play the Cleric, so it was often an NPC, or handled with potions. Now it looks like most casters and the Alchemist are falling into a similar boat. Right now I think people are still looking for and hoping for improvements or finding some way to still have fun (and as I said, Dual Classing is definitely 1 way to do it), but after several more years, what's going to happen if players get more frustrated and no real changes have been made?


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Unicore wrote:
Martialmasters wrote:

Casters need a way to help vs more powerful single target enemies. True strike is an example, but not one all casters can get.

As such my group just runs a NPC caster/buff monkey so we don't have to worry about a player feeling weak and frustrated.

I feel like this is a pretty big misconception. Everyone in the party should change their tactics when confronting powerful single target enemies. Caster have exceptionally useful spells that can do useful things with better accuracy than martial characters can in these situations. Goblin Pox, for example, is sickened 1 on a successful save, which is pretty much as useful as a failed save against something likely to make its next save anyway. Sickened is a beast of a condition because it is a penalty to everything, or else the target has to spend an action to make a check to clear it. For a level 1 spell that is a whole lot of bang for your buck that has no incapacitation trait. No it is not useful against all enemies and its range requires placing yourself in danger or using the reach metamagic feat, but those are fine trade offs. Fear is less debilitating, but longer range and stronger effect if the do fail. Grease is great against lumbering creatures, and right there you have 3 level 1 spells that target different saves that are all useful from level 1 to level 20 against powerful solo enemies. They won't kill it, but no one in the party is going to be mad that you used your turn to do one of these things. Things get better as you go up in level with the spells.

Spells don't one shot powerful solo creatures anymore, not even high level ones. It is a big paradigm shift from PF1, but one that was essential to making big solo monsters more worthy opponents. They still struggle to stay alive at higher levels for very long, but they don't get one-shot eliminated by any one player acting on their own.

Appreciate the opinion but nobody in my group wants to my the +1/-1 guy. And I can't blame them.


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"My group refuses to do anything to improve consistency, but consistency needs to be improved. This is a major problem."

And then a group that actually works with the system is suddenly unstoppable because they actually used the tools available to them as well as having this buff.


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Samurai wrote:
Martialmasters wrote:

Casters need a way to help vs more powerful single target enemies. True strike is an example, but not one all casters can get.

As such my group just runs a NPC caster/buff monkey so we don't have to worry about a player feeling weak and frustrated.

I think this kind of thing will probably become more and more common as caster players get more and more fed up with the system, unless things start to change dramatically very quickly. Depending upon the group, the NPC support character could be a Wizard, Sorcerer, Cleric, Druid, etc. We only have 3 players in our party and the GM decided to do 2 things to help us:

1) He allowed Dual Class characters from the GMG
2) He gave us an NPC Druid tag-a-long.

It makes me think back to BECMI and 1st edition when no one wanted to play the Cleric, so it was often an NPC, or handled with potions. Now it looks like most casters and the Alchemist are falling into a similar boat. Right now I think people are still looking for and hoping for improvements or finding some way to still have fun (and as I said, Dual Classing is definitely 1 way to do it), but after several more years, what's going to happen if players get more frustrated and no real changes have been made?

Doubt this will be the case unless you only play low level characters. My druid is very much carrying their end of the load with a combination of damage and healing. Druid damage is quite nice and will only become nicer as they rise in level.

At high level all martials do is damage. All the party does is try to position to swing their single weapons. Rangers have to spend actions marking. Martials have to chase down mobile creatures who can hammer them from range. While casters are protecting them with walls, dealing some crazy AoE damage martials can't dream of, and doing effects that are insane like shifting AC by 6 without needing to flank.

I think as more people play higher level casters and figure out how things work, you will see more casters doing their thing. It's easier now for a caster to pick up a weapon like a bow and or reach weapon and swing while casting spells to boost damage. I think in the long run you'll see more players much better at building casters and doing crazy things.


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Pathfinder Rulebook Subscriber
Cyouni wrote:
"My group refuses to do anything to improve consistency, but consistency needs to be improved. This is a major problem."

You say this to mock the people who disagree with you, but it's arguably a valid point.

PF2 essentially exists in two worlds right now:
There's the relaxed PF2 that's tried to balance the game and make ridiculous options less problematic so players don't feel like they're being shortchanged by playing what they want instead of what they feel like they 'have' to play or what the system 'allows' them to play (by virtue of other options being terrible) and has generally approached the rules from the angle of making the game more accessible and less reliant on esoteric rules or character option interactions to work well.

And then there's PF2 the highly tactical board game with tight math and fairly strict expectations about what a party needs to succeed in meaningful combats that has no problem brutally punishing players for failing to meet those expectations.

What you're describing is just a fundamental clash between those two visions of the game. Right now PF2 is in this awkward sort of space where it advertises itself as the first but plays like the second... and you're getting some people that are experiencing whiplash over it.

You can thumb your nose at those people, but I don't think it's all that unreasonable that someone who goes into the game expecting something like 5e and instead gets something more like Warhammer RPG might be a little frustrated.

Simply telling someone to stop playing the character they wanted to play and play [more optimized thing] instead is just as likely to frustrate them more and, for some people, feel like it defeats the whole point of Pathfinder 2 existing.


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The game functions just fine at "relaxed" without players having to worry about optimal tactics to succeed.

However, going back to stomping through encounters with ease requires tactics. So if you want Option B, you should care about the game structure. If you want Option A, you aren't exactly posting about the game being too hard.


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Pathfinder Rulebook Subscriber

I've been GMimg a converted Kingmaker campaign with a Champion (Paladin, Mounted), Rogue (Arcane Trickster to Imperial Sorcerer), Barbarian (Fury), Witch (Night) and Druid (Leaf, primary healer).

In my experience, low-levels have largely been cantrips, with the extended range on Ray of Frost making it the most-used with Produce Flame and Telekinetic Projectile tied for second. The AP is almost entirely outdoors at this point so there's a lot of space to distance themselves from enemies, and close-up they tend to default to the more damaging options unless an opportunity arises. The party just beat the (new) boss of Book 1 in a long combat where the Druid's Entangle blocked a chokepoint, making it easier to limit how many enemies they had to deal with and effectively giving them some space to fire off spells while two party members were totally immune to the difficult terrain it created. The Witch used a Level 2 Grim Tendrils which isntantly took out half the mooks, then on Round 2 put a key opponent to sleep before he could use his high reach and attack bonus to wreck the front line. He only managed to wake up a minute later on the final round of combat as things were winding down, so it effectively removed him entirely. The druid has also been healing to great effect between Goodberry, Treat Wounds, and Heal spells and has consistently kept the party alive through large amounts of damage.

So far, what I'm seeing is that the casters are not instantly ending combats anymore. That's a great thing. They're also not useless - they're contributing an equal amount to the combats as their teammates, and while sometimes one character will be in the spotlight it's usually a concerted effort by the party.


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Pathfinder Rulebook Subscriber
Ruzza wrote:
If you want Option A, you aren't exactly posting about the game being too hard.

I mean, in this and other threads we've had people complaining about exactly that, so that's clearly not the case.

I'm not sure how pretending those people don't exist helps any.


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Squiggit wrote:


PF2 essentially exists in two worlds right now:
There's the relaxed PF2 that's tried to balance the game and make ridiculous options less problematic so players don't feel like they're being shortchanged by playing what they want instead of what they feel like they 'have' to play or what the system 'allows' them to play (by virtue of other options being terrible) and has generally approached the rules from the angle of making the game more accessible and less reliant on esoteric rules or character option interactions to work well.

And then there's PF2 the highly tactical board game with tight math and fairly strict expectations about what a party needs to succeed in meaningful combats that has no problem brutally punishing players for failing to meet those expectations.

What you're describing is just a fundamental clash between those two visions of the game. Right now PF2 is in this awkward sort of space where it advertises itself as the first but plays like the second... and you're getting some people that are experiencing whiplash over it.

You can thumb your nose at those people, but I don't think it's all that unreasonable that someone who goes into the game expecting something like 5e and instead gets something more like Warhammer RPG might be a little frustrated.

Simply telling someone to stop playing the character they wanted to play and play [more optimized thing] instead is just as likely to frustrate them more and, for some people, feel like it defeats the whole point of Pathfinder 2 existing.

As someone whose group plays super unoptimized and doesn't really teamwork, I'll simply shrug at you. They've survived everything I've thrown at them despite their complete unwillingness to flank, use flat-footed or maneuvers (except in one fight), ever use conditions to their advantage, or any other tactical play. Hell, they make a ton of Strikes at -10.

They're still alive and functioning. Is it harder? Definitely. But is it undoable? Obviously not.

(Granted, this led to some situations like a person at wounded 3, thanks to their propensity of getting crit after getting healed up by the cleric, while also being sickened 2 and flat-footed by the boss. I was a bit surprised he didn't die.)


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Cyouni wrote:
As someone whose group plays super unoptimized and doesn't really teamwork, I'll simply shrug at you. They've survived everything I've thrown at them despite their complete unwillingness to flank, use flat-footed or maneuvers (except in one fight), ever use conditions to their advantage, or any other tactical play. Hell, they make a ton of Strikes at -10.

My own home group ran Age of Ashes through to book 4 this exact way. The number of times that the barbarian with Master Intimidation, Intimidating Glare, Battle Cry, etc actually used the Intimidate skill could be counted on one hand. As well, he went Giant instinct with a reach weapon so that he could "stand still and attack 3 times a round."

Conversely, I ran an Emerald Spire group with an Outwit ranger who constantly used Recall Knowledge, a barbarian and fighter who tripped and flanked, and a cleric with arcane cantrips for damage between heals and they rolled through the place laughing all the way.

Both groups had a good time and got what they wanted from the game. It works at the level of what you want to put into it.


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Unicore wrote:

I feel like this is a pretty big misconception. Everyone in the party should change their tactics when confronting powerful single target enemies. Caster have exceptionally useful spells that can do useful things with better accuracy than martial characters can in these situations. Goblin Pox, for example, is sickened 1 on a successful save, which is pretty much as useful as a failed save against something likely to make its next save anyway. Sickened is a beast of a condition because it is a penalty to everything, or else the target has to spend an action to make a check to clear it. For a level 1 spell that is a whole lot of bang for your buck that has no incapacitation trait. No it is not useful against all enemies and its range requires placing yourself in danger or using the reach metamagic feat, but those are fine trade offs. Fear is less debilitating, but longer range and stronger effect if the do fail. Grease is great against lumbering creatures, and right there you have 3 level 1 spells that target different saves that are all useful from level 1 to level 20 against powerful solo enemies. They won't kill it, but no one in the party is going to be mad that you used your turn to do one of these things. Things get better as you go up in level with the spells.

Spells don't one shot powerful solo creatures anymore, not even high level ones. It is a big paradigm shift from PF1, but one that was essential to making big solo monsters more worthy opponents. They still struggle to stay alive at higher levels for very long, but they don't get one-shot eliminated by any one player acting on their own.

This reads as reasonable.

But it also completely ignores the actual complaint.

What you're saying is that casters are relegated to buffing and debuffing when it comes to solo encounters. But not every caster finds it worthwhile to play a frail hero with limited big attacks just to hand out -1's and +1's. If you no longer can save the day, alternating your regular mediocrity with pure awesomeness hasn't magic lost its allure? Why not simply play a martial warrior and be ensured of great power all day long?

There's nothing reasonable about making whole archetypes of spellcasters impotent. Especially since the tone on these forums is one of not owning up to this! Incapacitation remains a crude suffocating blanket and there needs to be an official variant for those that find it not worth the price.

Especially since 5th edition can claim they too solved the LFQW problem of d20/PF1. Yet they managed to do so without making such invasive restrictions to playing a spellcaster.


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Samurai wrote:
I think this kind of thing will probably become more and more common as caster players get more and more fed up with the system, unless things start to change dramatically very quickly.
Quote:
Now it looks like most casters and the Alchemist are falling into a similar boat.

One good first step would be to wrench the consensus of this forum around, to make the staunch Paizo defenders see and acknowledge the game needs a general power-up for spellcasting.

After all, I firmly believe the devs don't need to confront the truth when it is repeatedly and consistently attacked and questioned. (If you want to know which posters I have in mind, I bet you can just watch who will be replying to this post).

Once the forum agrees the Core Rulebook went a bit too far in reining in casters and spells, we can start constructive healing, that hopefully ends up with errata (and not the WotC approach where you deny anything being wrong for year after year).

Best regards
Zapp


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Martialmasters wrote:
Appreciate the opinion but nobody in my group wants to be the +1/-1 guy. And I can't blame them.

This.


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Regarding the crafting subdiscussion (and Witches):

Since PF2 is so obviously geared towards crafting not giving you any actual benefits, I have a hard time understanding why we're even debating the issue.

Just ignore any ability or feat etc that grants you bonuses to crafting.

In any game with magic shoppes (such as official APs) you're MUCH better off just purchasing what you want.

You can still get Craft as a skill to do field repairs to shields or whatever. Just don't expect crafting to influence your chosen character's actual power - not in a game that explicitly wants crafting to be entirely secondary. You take Craft much like you would take a Lore skill; mostly just to enrich your character's personality.

PS. Obviously there exists campaigns where no magic shoppes are available. And crafting is there a must (to the extent that the GM probably needs to use the Automatic Bonus Progression variant otherwise). But generic optimizing discussions doesn't take campaign variations into account. Hence me saying "just drop the idea there exists a class whose crafting leads to actual power".


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Zapp wrote:


After all, I firmly believe the devs don't need to confront the truth when it is repeatedly and consistently attacked and questioned. (If you want to know which posters I have in mind, I bet you can just watch who will be replying to this post).

I'm most certainly not one of those posters (I lurk), but I find the entire accusation offensive. People who disagree with you are not Paizo apologists trying to subvert the truth. Perhaps balance is a bit subjective and there isn't some universal truth?


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I dont believe Zapp has ever said anyone is silencing him, but maybe I missed it. Alson why all the attacks directly against him? He has strong opinions and voices them, there is no reason to attack him if you are so confident in your own views.

As for the general sentiment in the forums. It seems to me like its very much split between a group that sees absolutely no faults and one that sees some and would like fixes.

The three biggest things people keep complaining about:

1) Shields.
2) Spellcasting.
And, 3) Alchemists.

Out of those 3, the only concensus are: That Alchemist are the worst class except in a very very specific scenario: Illusion and Support casters are in a good/okay spot: Shield Block is only useful if you have Sturdy Shield, a rare shield, or you are a Champion.

Everything else is a minefield.


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Zapp wrote:


What you're saying is that casters are relegated to buffing and debuffing when it comes to solo encounters. But not every caster finds it worthwhile to play a frail hero with limited big attacks just to hand out -1's and +1's. If you no longer can save the day, alternating your regular mediocrity with...

Bold mine.

If YOU can no longer save the day as a spellcaster in PF2, YOU are playing them wrong.

Clerics "save the day" like its their job (which it is) by rendering everything the enemy just did irrelevant with one healing spell.

Bards and other debuffers save the day by shifting the math robbing dangerous foes of actions.

Blasters save the day by quickly and efficiently removing dangerous supporting enemies from fights against dangerous foes, and by dealing mathematically relevant damage to those enemies as well.

You just aren't, you know, Angel Summoner to everyone else's BMX bandit. Everyone is now in "Hero" territory together.

The "entire archetype" of caster you're complaining about being gone is an archetype notorious for defeating foes or entire encounters with one spell, with good reliability. That archetype is gone, hopefully for good, and good riddance. I played an enchanter in PF1 and looking back on it, it was fun for literally no one but me.


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KrispyXIV wrote:
Zapp wrote:


What you're saying is that casters are relegated to buffing and debuffing when it comes to solo encounters. But not every caster finds it worthwhile to play a frail hero with limited big attacks just to hand out -1's and +1's. If you no longer can save the day, alternating your regular mediocrity with...

Bold mine.

If YOU can no longer save the day as a spellcaster in PF2, YOU are playing them wrong.

Clerics "save the day" like its their job (which it is) by rendering everything the enemy just did irrelevant with one healing spell.

Bards and other debuffers save the day by shifting the math robbing dangerous foes of actions.

Blasters save the day by quickly and efficiently removing dangerous supporting enemies from fights against dangerous foes, and by dealing mathematically relevant damage to those enemies as well.

You just aren't, you know, Angel Summoner to everyone else's BMX bandit. Everyone is now in "Hero" territory together.

The "entire archetype" of caster you're complaining about being gone is an archetype notorious for defeating foes or entire encounters with one spell, with good reliability. That archetype is gone, hopefully for good, and good riddance. I played an enchanter in PF1 and looking back on it, it was fun for literally no one but me.

If Spells cant have big fancy effect and only give +/-1 and healing why punish them with the worst stats?

The entire reason why casters traditionally have low stats is to support the idea of a frail but powerful backline. But casters are only frail.

I swear that casters are so frail, that the only reason I see for them not dying more often is the GMs only aiming at martials because "not smart". Creatures usually dont attack just the strongest enemy, they go for the weakest link, aka the casters in the back line.


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Temperans wrote:


As for the general sentiment in the forums. It seems to me like its very much split between a group that sees absolutely no faults and one that sees some and would like fixes.

If there is a single poster who sees absolutely no faults, they should come forward and identify themselves.

I expect that will be absolutely no one.

There are a number of people who believe the core systems of the game are perfectly functional, and that the way forward should be minor fixes and tweaking implemented through new content though. New shields that exist in the middle area people have described, new feats that add breadth or specialization to wizards in a moderated way, etc.

What we don't want to see is a system that by and large fixed the massive imbalance between casters and non-casters changed to suit players who equate caster effectiveness with their ability to dominate encounyers. We don't want to see a usable and valid challenge system, which allows game masters to gage challenge accurately and effectively, changed (when a GM could just add a level to PCs if their game is too hard, or reduce the challenge of encounters). We don't want to see tough player choices that encourage people to choose "do i want x, or do i want y?" Replaced with a system where players simply receive everything they wanted.

I dont speak for anyone but myself, but I suspect that the group you've identified as seeing absolutely no faults does not actually exist.


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Temperans wrote:
KrispyXIV wrote:
Zapp wrote:


What you're saying is that casters are relegated to buffing and debuffing when it comes to solo encounters. But not every caster finds it worthwhile to play a frail hero with limited big attacks just to hand out -1's and +1's. If you no longer can save the day, alternating your regular mediocrity with...

Bold mine.

If YOU can no longer save the day as a spellcaster in PF2, YOU are playing them wrong.

Clerics "save the day" like its their job (which it is) by rendering everything the enemy just did irrelevant with one healing spell.

Bards and other debuffers save the day by shifting the math robbing dangerous foes of actions.

Blasters save the day by quickly and efficiently removing dangerous supporting enemies from fights against dangerous foes, and by dealing mathematically relevant damage to those enemies as well.

You just aren't, you know, Angel Summoner to everyone else's BMX bandit. Everyone is now in "Hero" territory together.

The "entire archetype" of caster you're complaining about being gone is an archetype notorious for defeating foes or entire encounters with one spell, with good reliability. That archetype is gone, hopefully for good, and good riddance. I played an enchanter in PF1 and looking back on it, it was fun for literally no one but me.

If Spells cant have big fancy effect and only give +/-1 and healing why punish them with the worst stats?

The entire reason why casters traditionally have low stats is to support the idea of a frail but powerful backline. But casters are only frail.

I swear that casters are so frail, that the only reason I see for them not dying more often is the GMs only aiming at martials because "not smart". Creatures usually dont attack just the strongest enemy, they go for the weakest link, aka the casters in the back line.

Casters absolutely can have big fancy spells with major effects - the most dangerous of these, however, are now limited in reliability to a point where their effects are reasonable.

My level 3 cleric won a real fight with a single Calm Emotions, instantly. It can still happen. It just required 3 of 4 foes to fail a save they made just under 50% of the time.

Most likely, I knocked out 1 or 2 foes... which would have been a wholly appropriate result for a typical spell in most circumstances.

You just, you know, can't do this to bosses. Because that is not a reasonable outcome for a big climatic battle except in rare (5%) circumstances.


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Zapp wrote:

One good first step would be to wrench the consensus of this forum around, to make the staunch Paizo defenders see and acknowledge the game needs a general power-up for spellcasting.

After all, I firmly believe the devs don't need to confront the truth when it is repeatedly and consistently attacked and questioned. (If you want to know which posters I have in mind, I bet you can just watch who will be replying to this post).

Oh no, I've been exposed! Now everyone will know that every time I defend wizards I get a check in the mail from Paizo!

In seriousness, though, there's no way you can call your view "the truth". I don't call my view the truth. The way I view spellcasters in this edition has been shaped by my experiences in-game, and those experiences just happen to be different to yours. People take incapacitation spells in my games and enjoy using them. Hell, 3/4 of the game I GM is spellcasters, and everyone is enjoying their character. They feel their spells are impactful.

And, in fairness, here's a bunch of flaws I see in the system:

  • Wizards are the weakest spellcasting class. I don't think that makes them weak as a whole, but I can definitely see a power imbalance looking at them compared to other casters. I think this is mainly because of how few feats expand off of their chosen school and thesis, leaving them with core mechanics that fall kind of flat, but that can be fixed with more books.
  • Alchemist is a really flawed class. There are ways to play them well, but those ways aren't really explained well by the system.
  • I like the traits system, but feel like it can be prone to weird quirks like parry weapons triggering AoO.
  • Shields should have had runes in my opinion. Not even just talking about the "Should sturdy have been a rune?" argument, I just think it could have been a really interesting design space.
  • Spellcasters need action economy boosters in the same way martials do. I'm glad quicken spell is once per day, since that's not the interesting kind of action economy saver. I'd rather see stuff like "As part of casting a spell with the air trait, you can Stride up to half your speed without triggering reactions based on movement." or "When you cast a spell that summons a creature, you can teleport to an unoccupied space within 5 feet of the summoned creature."

But none of these are gamebreakers to me, and I'll enjoy the game immensely even if none of these are ever changed.


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Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Occult and Arcane casters also have the single most reliable damage dealer in the game, for martial or caster, especially against difficult to hit opponents, in the form of Magic Missile.

And we have also gotten the sudden bolt spell that is seems like it was specifically introduced to satisfy the single target damage fantasy, that does half of a lot of damage even on a successful save. Seriously it is an incredibly effective single target damage spell that has all of the advantages of casting: Range, targets a saving throw, does half damage on a successful save, and does energy damage, which is useful for damaging those targets martials attacks are often less effective against.

Divine casters also have harm, and if you go sorcerer, or Cleric and MC to pick up spectral hand as a level 2 spell, your nova damage output becomes disgusting.

The blaster caster is viable in PF2. They just run out of spells relatively quickly because it is hard to maintain single target blasting every round with spells that out pace damage centered martial characters, because we like that martial characters have a general purpose in PF2, which gets lost if the caster can reasonably do their thing better than they can.

It is possible to build a spell caster that feels useless in PF2. It is much harder to build a martial character that feels useless in PF2. For some reason these two statements are being conflated into spell casters are useless in PF2.

Things I think that there might be a consensus about as far as caster balance:
- Antagonistic GMs (especially when they are doing so unintentionally) can really make life difficult for casters, by not giving them the information, time and environment to utilize their versatility and resourcefulness.
- Players who expect to be PF1 god-wizards are going to be disappointed.
- New players are going to need some time and flexibility from their GMs to figure out their spell list and how to make it work the way they want it to, or they are going to get frustrated with their characters.
- Current APs, especially at low level play, have built encounters that favor close quarters combat that allows melee combat to shine, and can make casting difficult.

These are useful things to discuss and propose solutions for.


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KrispyXIV wrote:
There are a number of people who believe the core systems of the game are perfectly functional, and that the way forward should be minor fixes and tweaking implemented through new content though.

FWIW I think there are some flaws in the core system, but there are certainly aspects that I like. e.g. making crits more common I think was a mistake, as it makes things swingier, which feels more player-punitive than player-empowering. Master saving throw proficiency also making success -> crit success (i.e. those two things tied together) also feels like a mistake, just due to how strong the conversion effect is. Etcetera.

In general I like the 3-action economy system, but disagree with some of the choices made about how swift actions were converted (they should've been free actions by default) and how casters interacted with it (eg. barely). I also think that the rarity system was a good idea, but implemented poorly ("there's uncommon (get it with a feat) and then there's uncommon (GM whim)"). And I absolutely love the elegance of stat generation, and while I have had thoughts that "maybe it could be better" I haven't found a way to do so (this is mostly my game developer brain searching the nearby solution space and deciding that the existing system is quite solid).

Anyway, it ends up just boiling down to "looks pretty good on paper, but did not actually enjoy." Its not nearly as bland and cookie cutter as D&D 4 was (character customization? What character customization? Pick one of two stats for a given class and I could determine your character choices out to 20th with decent accuracy), but its still...not fun.


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Draco18s wrote:
KrispyXIV wrote:
There are a number of people who believe the core systems of the game are perfectly functional, and that the way forward should be minor fixes and tweaking implemented through new content though.

FWIW I think there are some flaws in the core system, but there are certainly aspects that I like. e.g. making crits more common I think was a mistake, as it makes things swingier, which feels more player-punitive than player-empowering. Master saving throw proficiency also making success -> crit success (i.e. those two things tied together) also feels like a mistake, just due to how strong the conversion effect is. Etcetera.

In general I like the 3-action economy system, but disagree with some of the choices made about how swift actions were converted (they should've been free actions by default) and how casters interacted with it (eg. barely). I also think that the rarity system was a good idea, but implemented poorly ("there's uncommon (get it with a feat) and then there's uncommon (GM whim)"). And I absolutely love the elegance of stat generation, and while I have had thoughts that "maybe it could be better" I haven't found a way to do so (this is mostly my game developer brain searching the nearby solution space and deciding that the existing system is quite solid).

Anyway, it ends up just boiling down to "looks pretty good on paper, but did not actually enjoy." Its not nearly as bland and cookie cutter as D&D 4 was (character customization? What character customization? Pick one of two stats for a given class and I could determine your character choices out to 20th with decent accuracy), but its still...not fun.

I disagree with most of your conclusions, but I think stating them as you have here is the basis for constructive development and growth.

Especially since by listing things out like this helps identify areas where positive changes going forward could be made without revamping the whole system.

The big one you identify is making the action system more involved and interesting - especially for casters. The game has several avenues for doing this, and patching existing issues without huge power jumps.

For instance, I'd love to see future class feats that allow you to, for instance, combine a stride and metamagic, or combine two metamagic into a single action, or be quickened for metamagic actions, or even add single action/reaction metamagic spells.

We could also benefit from some official clarification in genreral for uncommon items. I know AoA 5 and 6 provide GM guidance for players obtaining these items, and maybe that's the place for that sort of thing in general - in published adventures. But that would still make an official statement on intent helpful for other cases.


Pathfinder Rulebook Subscriber
Draco18s wrote:
KrispyXIV wrote:
There are a number of people who believe the core systems of the game are perfectly functional, and that the way forward should be minor fixes and tweaking implemented through new content though.

FWIW I think there are some flaws in the core system, but there are certainly aspects that I like. e.g. making crits more common I think was a mistake, as it makes things swingier, which feels more player-punitive than player-empowering. Master saving throw proficiency also making success -> crit success (i.e. those two things tied together) also feels like a mistake, just due to how strong the conversion effect is. Etcetera.

I just want to check because this may be a rules error that really hurts casters. Master proficiency does not innately upgrade success to critical. Most player proficiency buffs that give it also do that but it isnt something that carries over to enemies. It actually helps even out the fact that players will get hit by more things.


Malk_Content wrote:
I just want to check because this may be a rules error that really hurts casters. Master proficiency does not innately upgrade success to critical. Most player proficiency buffs that give it also do that but it isnt something that carries over to enemies. It actually helps even out the fact that players will get hit by more things.

I was referring to the player rules. And for players, this is always true. Feel free to check every source of master saving throw proficiency (FOR PLAYERS) and find one that does not do both at the same time.

(For reference, almost no creature has the success -> crit success benefit, the only monster in the Bestiary 1 that has Evasion, for example, is the giant eagle)


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Canny Accumen?


Unicore wrote:
Canny Accumen?

Good catch, I hadn't reviewed all of the non class feats for saving throw things.

And Canny Accumen is fine, because PCs will end up with 1 or 2 of the crit-success on their saving throws as it is (a lot of classes get two, but I forget the distribution right now), so a potential third is excessive.


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Pathfinder Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber

Gonna add my voice to say that "casters are weak" isn't a consensus, they seem plenty strong to me, and this has been corroborated by math even in many of the debate threads-- typically people go back to talking in generalities and suppositions that aren't real in like, a page or so.


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Pathfinder Rulebook Subscriber
Draco18s wrote:
Malk_Content wrote:
I just want to check because this may be a rules error that really hurts casters. Master proficiency does not innately upgrade success to critical. Most player proficiency buffs that give it also do that but it isnt something that carries over to enemies. It actually helps even out the fact that players will get hit by more things.

I was referring to the player rules. And for players, this is always true. Feel free to check every source of master saving throw proficiency (FOR PLAYERS) and find one that does not do both at the same time.

(For reference, almost no creature has the success -> crit success benefit, the only monster in the Bestiary 1 that has Evasion, for example, is the giant eagle)

I guess I'm having trouble understanding the complaint then. That trend helps to make players more capable than equivalent adversaries.


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Draco18s wrote:
Unicore wrote:
Canny Accumen?

Good catch, I hadn't reviewed all of the non class feats for saving throw things.

And Canny Accumen is fine, because PCs will end up with 1 or 2 of the crit-success on their saving throws as it is (a lot of classes get two, but I forget the distribution right now), so a potential third is excessive.

Also archetypes. Rogue's Evasiveness doesn't give the upgrade to crit, nor does Barbarian's Juggernaut's Fortitude, nor does Monk's Perfection's Path. I'm not sure if there actually is a Will-only one, but I suspect it'd follow the same pattern.

The only ones that upgrade success to crit are innate to the class.


Cyouni wrote:

Also archetypes. Rogue's Evasiveness doesn't give the upgrade to crit, nor does Barbarian's Juggernaut's Fortitude, nor does Monk's Perfection's Path. I'm not sure if there actually is a Will-only one, but I suspect it'd follow the same pattern.

The only ones that upgrade success to crit are innate to the class.

And for the same reason as Canny Accumen. Anyone could take them and if it boosts a save that their class doesn't get, you could end up with all three.

And like I said, that's clearly undesirable.

Malk_Content wrote:
I guess I'm having trouble understanding the complaint then. That trend helps to make players more capable than equivalent adversaries.

Yes, it does. However, that's not the complaint. The complaint about "crits being too common" is on the attack side of the equation, which for saves, would be the crit-fail.

The complaint about the evasion effect that I think it was a bad idea to pair those two effects because of how strong the conversion is: You either get the worst possible effects or no effect at all. You know, that thing from Pathfinder 1 that was considered "bad" so we moved to a 4 degrees of success system.

4 degrees of success basically gave everyone PF1 evasion already (due to 'failed the save' effects moving to crit-fail and 'made the save' effects moving to 'fail'). By adding in an improved evasion effect that every class is guaranteed to get one of, tied to Master saving throws, there's a massive power jump. Remember that moving up a degree of success is an equivalent +10... In a system where +1 is considered a lot.

I'm not sure what I would have done instead, but the success to crit success really screws with the outcome prediction assessment. i.e. preserving balance at high level play may not be possible.


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The-Magic-Sword wrote:
Gonna add my voice to say that "casters are weak" isn't a consensus, they seem plenty strong to me, and this has been corroborated by math even in many of the debate threads-- typically people go back to talking in generalities and suppositions that aren't real in like, a page or so.

Caster's are going to scale much faster this edition by nature of consolidated spell lists.

At least in terms of versatility, which in PF2, is about as close to "more powerful" as it gets in terms of availability.

With spells like Synesthesia, Calm Emotions, Grease, etc. I don't really see how you can even make the argument that "SoS" is dead.

And when it comes to battlefield control, given how much more prominent maneuvers have become (and general fluidity in taking advantage of terrain/environment), I would say that even though they were nerfed the overall effective value can be matched or even exceeded if your allies assist in limiting movement or moving enemies back into the radius of the supposed spell.

The Feat vs. Spell cost expenditure still wasn't leveled. It was narrowed, but a Caster can still pick up, swap, and adjust spell lists much more effectively than anyone can change out Feats/Skills/etc.

I'm not saying I think it's going to become unbalanced, just that the overall effectiveness of Caster's can climb much quicker due to the variable nature of additional spells.

And that's not even considering Metamagic Feats adjusting spells or Spells that are granted "variable action spending" later. Combos are actually possible in this edition, and that's a huge deal.


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Pathfinder Maps, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber

To those who feel wizards are still a balanced class.

If I want to
1) play an arcane caster
2) not be the +1/-1 guy*

What build should I make and why is it cool?

I admit I'm a tough audience - I saw NO caster-martial disparity in 1E and I need to stress I normally played the martial character there.

* I don't give a damn how epic and awesome a +1 bonus might be in the incredibly miserly maths of 2E - it just does not feel fun and will never be exciting to me. You might as well be playing the fighter's talking magic sword or shield.

Liberty's Edge

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No caster/martial divide in 1e?

Perhaps you never saw it in action but it most certainly did exist. A single witch at level 1 could Limp Lash and Sleep an opponent that was 10x its level as long as it is safe within init order and end pretty much any encounter and that's not even touching on the madness that the Summoner could pull off.


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No one said the caster divide did not exist. You are the first one bringing it up in this discussion.

We are talking about the concensus of PF2. The examples of PF1 exist to show how things have changed.

Also PF1 having broken casters (and many broken martials) does not mean PF2 should mostly have stat stick casters.


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Pathfinder Rulebook Subscriber
Temperans wrote:
No one said the caster divide did not exist. You are the first one bringing it up in this discussion.

The person directly above themetricsystem who they're replying to said exactly that.


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Pathfinder Maps, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber
Squiggit wrote:
Temperans wrote:
No one said the caster divide did not exist. You are the first one bringing it up in this discussion.
The person directly above themetricsystem who they're replying to said exactly that.

Yep

So is it an assumption of 2nd that casters were too powerful and should be punished?

Should those of us who don't see an imbalance skip this edition then?

Dark Archive

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JulianW wrote:

To those who feel wizards are still a balanced class.

If I want to
1) play an arcane caster
2) not be the +1/-1 guy*

What build should I make and why is it cool?

I admit I'm a tough audience - I saw NO caster-martial disparity in 1E and I need to stress I normally played the martial character there.

* I don't give a damn how epic and awesome a +1 bonus might be in the incredibly miserly maths of 2E - it just does not feel fun and will never be exciting to me. You might as well be playing the fighter's talking magic sword or shield.

Wizard, Spell Blending Thesis, Universalist

Cantrips:
Electric Arc, Shield, Daze, Telekinetic Projectile, Prestidigitation
Spells (level character)
1: Burning Hands (1-2) Shocking Grasp (1-2) Mage Armor (1-6) True Strike (3-20)
2: Acid Arrow (3-4), Spider Climb (5-20) Mirror Image (3-20) Blur (3-20) Web (3-20)
3: Fireball (5-8) Lightning Bolt (5-8) Haste (5-20) Wall of Wind (5-20) Paralyze (5-6) Slow (5-20)
4: Mage Armor (7-9) Invisibility (7-20) Dimensional Door (7-20) Fly (7-20) Phantasmal Killer (7-10)
6: Dominate (11-12) Chain Lightning (11-14)
Feats:
Reach Spell (1) Sorcerer Dedication (2) Dangerous Sorcery (4) Spell Penetration (6) Bond Conservation (8) Scroll Savant (10) Overwhelming Energy (12) Superior Bond (14) Effortless Concentration (16) Reprepare Spell (18) Metamagic Mastery (20)

Items:
Ring of Wizardry, Staff of Divination (I)

With this wizard, it is okay to be a little more reckless with your slots to cause as much damage as possible. Each day, the lower level spell slots should be given up for higher level ones. It's also okay to trade in low level slots for more cantrips. This build has damage, some utility, a little battlefield control, and a bunch of spells to cast, especially as levels increase.


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Pathfinder Rulebook Subscriber
JulianW wrote:
So is it an assumption of 2nd that casters were too powerful and should be punished?

Punished is pretty loaded language. Part of PF2's design goals though were to have fewer egregious balance issues than PF1, if that's your question, yes.


Squiggit wrote:
Temperans wrote:
No one said the caster divide did not exist. You are the first one bringing it up in this discussion.
The person directly above themetricsystem who they're replying to said exactly that.

Welp, I misread that post above, that is my bad.

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