Spellcasters and their problems ...


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Dark Archive

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Pathfinder Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber
KrispyXIV wrote:

The Wizard still maintains an advantage in spell slots, and the gap between 9th and 10th is not so steep as to erase that advantage.

By 1, maybe 2 if they are willing to cut their lower spell slots in half.

And good luck if you didn’t prepare a relevant spell.

You overstate the importance of a single spell slot in the classes overall balance.


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RPGnoremac wrote:

Well I think the Dinosaur was technically the boss in the battle. The spell was level 4 so incapication only applies level 9+ as far as I know. I have no idea what level the monster actually was.

I do have to explain the rules a lot to everyone which is kind of odd as a player, but no one else is anywhere near as "invested/excited" as I am.

I never said it was a big boss it was just a caster on top of a dinosaur. It definitely is possible the monster was 9+ but as a player I have no way of knowing.

Incapicitation spells are good since you can "take out decently leveled enemies in one spell". I dislike them for one reason though as a player you 100% have no idea when they will be effective unless your GM is nice. Recall Knowledge kind of works but honestly that is also GM dependendent and not all characters are great at it, also it takes an action.

Fear on the other hand does not have the trait and really is great for a level 1 spell.

This does bring another question... does anyone else have a really hard time explaining incapicitation to people? I told the GM players multiple times to always check for incapicitation trait and how it works.

Even still the GM cast blindness and didnt use it correctly on a player. I dont have monster sheets so of course I have no idea what spell/level it is being cast. I love Pathfinder 2e but when things like this keep happening it drives me a little crazy.

I agree that the frustrating thing about Incapacitation is that it can be difficult for some players and GMs to remember to use it on the fly and it involves a needless multiplicative computation for the GM to make. Its not a difficult one, but if a GM doesn't notice the incapacitation trait until casting the spell, it is an easy one to get wrong.

That feels more connected to the weirdness of having spell level and that scaling differently than character level, which is a long standing D&D problem, and it has some interesting side effects which are not always annoying or bad for players.

Color Spray without incapacitation would wreck parties when you encountered lower level casters or multiple casters who had it memorized in lower level spell slots.

On a different, another aspect of casting that is still getting under-valued is how much battlefield control can directly lead to tactical superiority in PF2, which everyone agrees is where the power level of the game is most flexible.

Players will scoff at taking actions that give everyone in a melee concealment, and thus give everyone a flat check to miss with attacks, but when you are facing off against a powerful solo enemy, especially a spell caster or other character that spends 2 or more actions to make one attack, a 20% threat of wasting a big attack can have both a huge psychological effect, and provide you much better defense than almost anything else you can do, even with it hurting your allies too, because you will have many more attempts to connect than the solo boss will.

Greater darkness + the martials in the party taking Blind-Fight is an absolute wrecker of battlefield control. At low levels obscuring mist is just as good, but the fact it can get blown away gives it a serious weakness.

Level 4 silence on a martial who can trip is pretty much lights out for an enemy spell caster.

Neither one of these strategies require the caster to make a roll to be effective.


Old_Man_Robot wrote:
KrispyXIV wrote:

The Wizard still maintains an advantage in spell slots, and the gap between 9th and 10th is not so steep as to erase that advantage.

By 1, maybe 2 if they are willing to cut their lower spell slots in half.

And good luck if you didn’t prepare a relevant spell.

You overstate the importance of a single spell slot in the classes overall balance.

In encounters, excepting debuffs without the Incapacitate trait (exceptional spells like Fear and Slow), generally only the top few spell tiers matter.

An extra spell slot there - or three over a non-sorcerer - is a big deal.

A Spell Blender isn't trading valuable in-combat resources for an extra two spells of this quality, either. They're trading utility or secondary spells for more encounter relevant ones.

Reducing the advantage of the Wizard to 'a single slot' is understating, by far, the relevance of which 'single slot' that is.

Also, preparing the right spells is the fun of a Wizard. If the thought of preparing incorrect one is an obstacle to you, I recommend avoiding the class regardless of other factors - there's no way we're returning to the previous edition where they were so powerful it didn't matter what you ran.


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Someone mention 5e solved martial/caster disparity for low level but IMO that isnt really true.

I really feel casters feel great in 2e compare to other systems by quite a bit. Yes 5 is when they get "great" but that is true in every system.

What most casters gain is a fun focus spell that can be used every encounter and players can actually use skills in combat.

Only thing I can say in 5e my experience all the campaigns level up characters quicker at the early levels so it isnt that noticable.

I have been playing PFS and I love casters in the 1-3 range because there are normally no more than 4 encounters. I REALLY feel like I contribute a lot.

Also there is one reason I love casters 100% better in 2e, 5e imo concentration was the least fun way to limit casting. I admit if there are 4+ encounters low level casters just feel bad. Also undead make me cry :(

PF1 any non min/maxed caster felt really weak early on. They do get quite absurd later though.

The only time I feel casters have an awkward feeling is the time where their accuracy is lower 5-6 etc... they still feel fine but their offensive spells are just in a weird place but in practice it never felt like a huge deal.

Incapicitation trait isnt my favorite "nerf" but it is better than the alternative "legendary resistance" or PF1 where spells "one shot bosses".


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Pathfinder Adventure Path, Rulebook Subscriber

Electric Arc + sustaining a flaming sphere is a very high damage round. Few Martials are likely to keep up at third level. You will make yourself a target pullling it off, but if you are drawing all the enemy fire, than the rest of your party is doing some thing wrong as well.

Low level casters are not that bad in PF2.

Liberty's Edge

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I would like to formally request that we start the process of retiring this thread.

It has outlived its usefulness in that all of these arguments have been made and in fact were established with evidence and anecdotes before the end of page 5 and the thread has exceeded this nearly 5 times over now. Nobody is having the opinions changed and nothing more of value can be derived from continuing this pissing contest, our boots are already full and our toes are wrinkly and stained.

/signed TMS

Liberty's Edge

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KrispyXIV wrote:
Deadmanwalking wrote:
Hbitte wrote:
color spray is very far from autowin even in critical fail and have incapacitation tag

I said debuffs rarely had Incapacitation, not never had it. How many other exceptions have you got?

Color Spray is also sort of grandfathered in, since it had an HD limit in PF1 and Incapacitation is the PF2 equivalent of that.

I dont know, I wouldn't want to see Color Spray without Incapacitation. Dazzled isn't a bad result on a successful save, and the stack of debuffs (including Dazzled for a minute!) on a failed save are pretty darned crippling.

If it didn't have Incapacitation, it'd be an insane debuff from a first level slot for a characters entire career, significantly better than other first level debuffs and many higher level ones IMO.

And its AOE!

I'm just saying, I think its fully intentional its Incapacitation, and not just grandfathered in.

Oh, I wasn't saying it wasn't powerful enough to warrant Incapacitation, but I bet they decided to make it an Incapacitation spell for legacy reasons, then worked out the power level based on that, rather than working out power level then adding Incapacitation as a balancing factor due to its power.

It's a question of which was decided first, not whether the spell is balanced.

Dark Archive

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KrispyXIV wrote:
Old_Man_Robot wrote:
KrispyXIV wrote:

The Wizard still maintains an advantage in spell slots, and the gap between 9th and 10th is not so steep as to erase that advantage.

By 1, maybe 2 if they are willing to cut their lower spell slots in half.

And good luck if you didn’t prepare a relevant spell.

You overstate the importance of a single spell slot in the classes overall balance.

In encounters, excepting debuffs without the Incapacitate trait (exceptional spells like Fear and Slow), generally only the top few spell tiers matter.

An extra spell slot there - or three over a non-sorcerer - is a big deal.

A Spell Blender isn't trading valuable in-combat resources for an extra two spells of this quality, either. They're trading utility or secondary spells for more encounter relevant ones.

This is 100% untrue and I feel is at the heart of your entire misunderstanding of the problem.

This isn’t PF1 anymore: “only top slots matter” is a straight up misunderstanding of the current casting system. A first level spell, while lacking in scope compared to higher level spells, can be just as impactful as a higher level one. This only really stops being true with damage spells, but those are the minority of the spell list.

But, even if your premise was true, it would be awful! It would mean a Wizard would be relevant in 1 or maybe 2 encounters per day before they would be out of their “in-combat resources” as you’ve termed them.

______

Wizards needs a boost, plain and simple. It is just not as interesting or engaging as other classes, it’s “core” mechanic of apparently having the most spell slots means they are impacted the most by the more curtailed casting of PF2. Unlike other classes they don’t have enough interesting or powerful focus spells to compensate.

- the existence of the Sorcerer and their 4 base slots, utterly undercuts the whole “spell slot man” argument, because the difference can be single spell. If you entire classes headline feature is a single spell slot, it’s just not good enough.

So either we nerf sorcerers to 3 slots - something no one wants - or we buff the wizard in some way to make their chassis feel more impactful and distinct. The Wizard is just undertuned.

Also, while I’ll ranting a bit, just give Wizards normal weapon proficiencies - whenever it comes up as an obstacle to a build, it just feels unjustified- it’s just a “feels bad” mechanic.


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Old_Man_Robot wrote:
Also, while I’ll ranting a bit, just give Wizards normal weapon proficiencies - whenever it comes up as an obstacle to a build, it just feels unjustified- it’s just a “feels bad” mechanic.

This bugs me all out of proportion to its offense. Simple weapon proficiency is just tidier, not really any more powerful, and eliminates a feat fax to certain builds.


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All focus spells scale to half your level. So Hexes are extremely strong. While Sorcerer focus spells continue to remain relevant.

Unlike the Wizard focus spells. Most of which dont have any heightening, and those that do are still kind of meh.

I also agree Wizarda need a buff, the class right now is not interesting, engaging, and incredibly niche for a this game. Also I never liked the spell slot argument because Sorcerers were supposed to be the ones with the most spell slots, not Wizards. Previously one of the biggest strengths of Wizards was their ability to prepare spells with metamagic, even if it costed a few spell level increase. It would be great if they could get that ability back. Then Wizards could have their 3rd action to do other stuff.

Dark Archive

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Pathfinder Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber
AnimatedPaper wrote:
Old_Man_Robot wrote:
Also, while I’ll ranting a bit, just give Wizards normal weapon proficiencies - whenever it comes up as an obstacle to a build, it just feels unjustified- it’s just a “feels bad” mechanic.
This bugs me all out of proportion to its offense. Simple weapon proficiency is just tidier, not really any more powerful, and eliminates a feat fax to certain builds.

Its just such a weird and needless penalty (NO, it doesn't add "flavor", it just hurts). Even the Witch, the other int-based, prepared, potentially Arcane caster gets simple weapon proficiency.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Rulebook Subscriber

Wizard weapon proficiencies are 100% only a nod to tradition. You can hate it, you can think it is appropriate, it doesn't really matter, because it was a very clear and intention decision to respect the history of the wizard class in D&D and have a distinction between standard simple weapon proficiencies and an even lower floor that exists just for the wizard. Clearly, they decided not to saddle any other class with that, but if you are picking the wizard, AND weapon proficiencies matter to you, you have a ton of ways to make that fit in the game. It is not like it is impossible to start as a wizard with a bow, if that is the fantasy you want to play to.

If you really don't like it, and it is not a part of your fantasy world that wizards are just flat out atrocious with weapons unless you MC, then just house rule it. It is an incredibly minor thing to change that really won't affect the class balance in any way.

It is also clear that the developers intended wizard focus powers to be secondary/minor features, not big class defining ones. Specialization is much more about getting an extra spell per spell level to cast from that school than the focus power. I will respect the desire not to rehash old arguments about how minor different school powers are, but I think that the feature is working exactly as the developers intended, with a couple of specific examples of focus powers that are more minor than perhaps intended. I don't think there was a big vision of wizards being awesome based upon their focus powers that has accidentally been unrealized in play.

Again, as a GM, this feels like an easy thing to homebrew around if your vision is different. Pick a couple of 1st level divine domains to offer your wizard player that thematically fit the school type and you will have a slight boost in focus power without completely unbalancing everything. Your wizard will be more powerful than a default RAW wizard, but chances are, that is boon rather than a problem if you feel that the wizard is too under powered.

Just be careful. Wizards get a lot of power as the game goes on from gaining system mastery, paying attention to the spell list and getting a feel for what spells do what the player wants, and which spells don't live up to their potential. Your player will get a lot madder at the prospect of you taking powers away when they are using them to destroy enemies whole sale, than they will with you not giving them game destroying powers in the first place.

If you really want to see a scary caster party pair a flame oracle with a evoker or a fire elemental sorcerer, or a scoundrel rogue, with a bard and an enchanter or illusionist.

There are many, very powerful spell casting combinations in PF2, and we are probably less than a year away from getting a boat load more of them. I promise that there is a lot of space still in PF2 to have a lot of fun playing a caster if you are willing to be patient and learn the system, and if you are a GM with players who might not be so patient, homebrewing special uncommon, rare and unique items and reward feats to make them feel even more special and potential guide them towards better options will help them figure the system out.


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Pathfinder Rulebook Subscriber
Unicore wrote:
It is an incredibly minor thing to change that really won't affect the class balance in any way.

That's what makes it disappointing that Paizo decided to put it in the game. It basically does nothing except serve as a nuisance speedbump to what's already probably the worst possible way to play the Wizard.

Which makes it come across as kind of spiteful, along with a handful of other design choices PF2 made.


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Squiggit wrote:
Unicore wrote:
It is an incredibly minor thing to change that really won't affect the class balance in any way.

That's what makes it disappointing that Paizo decided to put it in the game. It basically does nothing except serve as a nuisance speedbump to what's already probably the worst possible way to play the Wizard.

Which makes it come across as kind of spiteful, along with a handful of other design choices PF2 made.

Not sure I'd go as far as spiteful, but it is needless and disappointing. And like I said, untidy in its interaction with Weapon proficiency.

If the other classes with random proficiencies had kept theirs, I'd have been a lot more sympathetic to the view that it helped carry flavor, but given that none of them did, I wish they'd have made a clean sweep.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Rulebook Subscriber
Squiggit wrote:
Unicore wrote:
It is an incredibly minor thing to change that really won't affect the class balance in any way.

That's what makes it disappointing that Paizo decided to put it in the game. It basically does nothing except serve as a nuisance speedbump to what's already probably the worst possible way to play the Wizard.

Which makes it come across as kind of spiteful, along with a handful of other design choices PF2 made.

For me, it is such a minor thing that is seems really weird to pin on the wizard as some kind of massive design flaw. I mean I hate that the champion is the heavy armor class and that is tied to purely narrative restrictions of alignment and religion, but I recognize that it was an intentional flavor decision, not a power balance decision, and the game is still one hundred percent playable with that restriction. A dwarven fighter can still be an armored hulk, even without having the absolute best armor proficiency.

The wizard being worse than worst with weapons is absolutely a narrative flavor decision that makes the game fit the world of the designers. Saying that it was not a flavor choice, as argued by Old_Man_Robot, just makes no sense to me and feels pedantically critical of the fact that the developers built the game to fit the world the way they wanted it to be. They also gave us such easy ways to change it that holding a grudge enough to even still keep bringing it up as a problem with the wizard class. The gish is not dead as a result of this lore decision, not even the wizard/martial gish.


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Pathfinder Adventure, Adventure Path Subscriber

I'm not calling it a massive design flaw. I'm saying it annoys me.

I'd really appreciate it if you didn't put words in my mouth.


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Unicore wrote:
For me, it is such a minor thing that is seems really weird to pin on the wizard as some kind of massive design flaw.

You have to look no further than the druid to see the difference: club, dagger, dart, quarterstaff, scimitar, scythe, sickle, shortspear, sling, and spear vs simple weapons. Why make it just plain easier for one but leave one the same? Seems odd to go with tradition for one but go with a simplicity upgrade for the other. Or we could look at the monk with similar changes. I'm not sure why wizards HAVE to be worse than witches or sorcerers when it comes to weapon categories. It just seems an unnecessary 'kick em when they are down' sort of thing.

Dark Archive

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Pathfinder Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber

Its obviously not a massive issue but certainly a Red Flag for me.

After the Alchemist, which didn't really work right mechanically on release, the Wizard certainly feels like it had the least amount of care and attention paid to it. To me, things like the weapon proficiency are indicative of that. Its a cute idea, but, when taken against everything else, is just a straight-up penalty.

I hope there is a second-pass at the class at some point. It needs some of the development love the Alchemist has got.


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Old_Man_Robot wrote:


This is 100% untrue and I feel is at the heart of your entire misunderstanding of the problem.

This isn’t PF1 anymore: “only top slots matter” is a straight up misunderstanding of the current casting system. A first level spell, while lacking in scope compared to higher level spells, can be just as impactful as a higher level one. This only really stops being true with damage spells, but those are the minority of the spell list.

But, even if your premise was true, it would be awful! It would mean a Wizard would be relevant in 1 or maybe 2 encounters per day before they would be out of their “in-combat resources” as you’ve termed them.

______

Wizards needs a boost, plain and simple. It is just not as interesting or engaging as other classes, it’s “core” mechanic of apparently having the most spell slots means they are impacted the most by the more curtailed casting of PF2. Unlike other classes they don’t have enough interesting or powerful focus spells to compensate.

- the existence of the Sorcerer and their 4 base slots, utterly undercuts the whole “spell slot man” argument, because the difference can be single spell. If you...

I really don't understand how you cannot see the many advantages of a wizard. Of course he won't be the best at everything, else it would make every other class moot, but it still can be either the most powerful or the most flexible caster in the game.

Let's assume a player will choose one of the two interesting thesis, Spell Blending or Spell Substitution. You have a point in that the other ones are weaker but then that's the same with every class: Maestro is often seen as much better than Enigma for bard, Draconic better than Undead for Sorcerer and so on.

So, what do you get there ?

1) SPELL SUBSTITUTION WIZARD
Holy s+##, you're Batman. I kid you not. You're THE Batman. You have an answer to every problem, always, everytime.

You need water or food ? Create water. Or food.
You need to go underwater ? Water Breathing/feet to fins
You're about to walk on a narrow moutain path ? Feather fall
You have to escape notice ? Invisibility
Can't access a ledge ? Jump or levitate or fly
Close to a dragon's lair ? Resist Energy
Need a break ? Cozy cabin/Rope trick
About to interrogate a suspect ? Charm/Mind reading/Discern Lies
Traps ahead ? Safe passage
Need a specific form for travel or scouting? Aerial form/Pest form/whatever
Difficult terrain ahead ? Webs ? Paralyze monsters ? Freedom of movement
Planning a heist ? Veil.
Next to a bridge ? Control water
Wow, this wall is annoying ? Pass wall
Let's do some scouting ? Prying eye
What does this mean ? Tongues

Meanwhile, the bard has three spell known per level. A standard bard spell list might look like this:
1 - Soothe*, Liberating command, true strike
2 - Calm emotions*, Hideous Laughter, Invisibility
3 - Haste*, Slow, Circle of protection
4 - Confusion, Enervation, Fly
5 - Black Tentacles, Synaptic Pulse, Synesthesia

...and so on, and so forth. It's just an example of course, other players will pick other spells, but it still means that the bard, while strong in combat, has a severe lack of utility spells.

Of course, you might say that a bard will double as the party face, but the wizard will double as the party nerd, and Recall Knowledge/Crafting is just as powerful in my book as Diplomacy/Intimidation.

So, will a bard or a druid or a sorcerer be more powerful than a spell substitution wizard IN COMBAT ? Probably (unless the wizard had time to prep specifically for the encounter, like cone of cold against fire opponents). But the tradeoff is that the wizard will shine much more out of combat, and the other members of the group will rely on him to have all the answers. It's a very Gandalf-y way to play a wizard, and it's appealing to a lot of people.

I, for one, would rather contribute a little less in a fight (a little, mind you, a wizard is still no slouch) and be the one everybody in the group turns to whenever there's trouble.

That, my friend, was the spell substitution wizard.

Now, let's go to the second viable thesis: spell blending.

2) SPELL SUBSTITUTION WIZARD

Holy s+%*, you're Dark Schneider (from Bastard)(I know)(sorry). You have the most stamina of any caster, ever, and you never seem to run out of meaningful spells.
By the way, those who say that all wizard feats are crappy can just dream to touch the insane power of Scroll Savant. At legendary, that's 4 more spells per day.
Sooo, a level 15 spell substitution wizard with scroll savant has:
2 level 1 spells, 2 level 2 spells, 4 level 3 spells, 4 level 4 spells, 4 level 5 spells, 4 level 6 spells, 5 level 7 spells, 6 level 8 spells

What does that mean ? Well, in comparison to a druid, a witch, an oracle or a bard, I have TWICE the number of highest level slots. Or, numerically speaking, 5 more spells from the top two slots.
On a regular, 3-fight day, this means I can throw two more top level spells PER ENCOUNTER. On a long slugfest dungeon, that's still one more per encounter.
This means that while another caster will resort to either a low level spell, or a cantrip, or a focus spell, the Spell Substitution Wizard will cast an extra Maze, Horrid Wilting or Power Word Stun or Uncontrollable dance. Or Mass slow, or mass haste. Those are all game changers and encounter wreakers.
And, you know, you still have more slots for spells level 3-6 in order to shine out of a fight, too, because that's how you roll.

3) FEATS

We already talked about Scroll Savant. But there's more.
- Spell penetration is almost always active at high level. And that's a +1 accuracy on all your save spells. You're the only one in the whole game with this. Everybody's acknowledging how powerful accuracy is for a fighter, but this +1 means you'll get more success, more crits and less failure than every-f@++ing-body.
- Clever counterspell, wait, what ? You don't need to have the spell prepped to counterspell ? What does it mean ? Well, every caster is SOL against you. Good thing you don't need your reaction for something else. Good thing you have more slots than they do. They won't cast a spell on your team - ever. This, my friend, is probably the most broken feat in the whole book.

So, yeah, other feats are pretty bland. And yeah, focus spells are pretty crappy.
But you're either Batman or the most powerful caster ever. That's a tradeoff I'm happy to do. Let the bard use lingering performance, let the druid use tempest surge, I'm perfectly happy to maze the boss or incinerate the minions while protecting my group from opponent spellcasters.

The only thing the wizard doesn't have is synesthesia. But that's more a question of a spell being overpowered/more powerful than any other than a specific wizard problem.

Dark Archive

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Pathfinder Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber

Honestly, i’m not being mean, but you have missed literally every point made about the wizard and just listed some class features. You could make a post like this for every class in the game and it would read almost exactly the same.

No one said the class was unplayable or didn’t have some good stuff in there, it just suffers under an undue number structural inequalities that effect overall play quality.

Also, can we cut the Scroll Savant hype?

They’re scrolls, not spell slots. They have an action tax just to use and don’t interact with lots of feats and abilities and require spell slot use (also, seriously, independent & valet don’t interact, just to head that one off.) It’s a damn solid 10th level feat, but doesn’t live up to the hyperbole. I use it to prep some niche spells that would be a waste of slots to constantly prepare.

You also might be the only person to ever call Clever Counterspell broken. Don’t forget it needs to be in your spell book, not spell list, in addition to its other limitations and penalties. An actual, in play Wizard, will not have an infinite number of spells in their spell book - that’s some white room nonsense.


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Old_Man_Robot wrote:
Honestly, i’m not being mean, but you have missed literally every point made about the wizard and just listed some class features. You could make a post like this for every class in the game and it would read almost exactly the same.

My bad, it seems I should have been more blunt, so here's the TLDR.

1 - A spell substitution wizard is the best utility caster bar none.
2 - A spell blending wizard has more powerful slots than anyone.

Pick one, profit.

Dark Archive

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Pathfinder Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber

Thank you for your contribution.


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Pathfinder Adventure Path, Rulebook Subscriber
Old_Man_Robot wrote:

H

Also, can we cut the Scroll Savant hype?

They’re scrolls, not spell slots. They have an action tax just to use and don’t interact with lots of feats and abilities and require spell slot use (also, seriously, independent & valet don’t interact, just to head that one off.) It’s a damn solid 10th level feat, but doesn’t live up to the hyperbole. I use it to prep some niche spells that would be a waste of slots to constantly prepare.

A wizard who wants to use scrolls effectively can have a scroll in each hand at the start of a combat, which pretty much negates the action cost of using them. Alternatively, the wizard could have a staff and a scroll in hand at the start of each combat and use the scrolls to have one extra 2nd highest level spell slot spell per combat, pretty much for the whole day. By the time you get the feat, that could easily be an extra free slow spell every combat.

And the "not cast from your spell slot" limitation is not that big a deal. Spell penetration works fine with scrolls, most metamagic enhancement works fine as well, including quickened casting. Convincing illusion works fine, Spell tinker works fine, I am struggling to find the big limitation here.

It doesn't work for universalist Drain Bonded Item spell chaining I guess? But that just highlights that most of the other features it doesn't work with seem to have more to do with casting more spells from spell slots, which is something that you can still do with a scroll in your hand, you just can count your scroll spells as spells you can cast with them.


Old_Man_Robot wrote:
Thank you for your contribution.

You're very welcome. Knowledge, that's what us wizards are all about ^^

Dark Archive

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Pathfinder Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber

Its tiring that these conversations always seem to devolve to the point of "The class isn't mechanically non-functional, ergo its fine." as if just working is the be-all-end-all.


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Old_Man_Robot wrote:

Its tiring that these conversations always seem to devolve to the point of "The class isn't mechanically non-functional, ergo its fine." as if just working is the be-all-end-all.

I really do appreciate how frustrating it can be when you feel like something is a problem that needs changing and others don't, but I also really do feel like a lot of the hype about wizards in particular being a bad class, is much more of a "I have a specific vision of a wizard I would like to build that doesn't feel possible," or "I made a wizard, and even played it for a couple of sessions and didn't have fun with it."

Both of which are totally legitimate experiences and things to voice on the forums, but feel disingenuous when presented as "the class is broken and bad."

This gets especially frustrating when it is clear that some of the accusations made against the class are really more tied to fundamental system mechanic choices the developers made instead of actual issues with the class itself: Issues like people not liking the accuracy balance of the game as a whole, people not liking the spell design and the incapacitation trait.

There is definitely room for positive new additions, and I think that for homebrewing, there are a lot of small changes that can be made to make the class fit your world better, but a big class errata, adding simple weapons and maybe a will saving throw boost? Maybe. I just don't think the developers feel like either of those choices are necessary and I think the will save thing in particular is stepping on the design space of the cleric. I think those were deliberate choices not accidental ones, like is what definitely happened with the alchemist in the big changes that were made from the play test to the final rule set. I could definitely be wrong though.

A new set of optional specialist wizard focus spells could definitely happen and would probably make a lot of folks happy, although I doubt we we'll see a power level boost. Just options for ones that people feel particularly bad about now.


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Old_Man_Robot wrote:

Its tiring that these conversations always seem to devolve to the point of "The class isn't mechanically non-functional, ergo its fine." as if just working is the be-all-end-all.

Except that this isn't a competition, Wizard doesn't have to be "The Best", and being a viable choice is in fact the standard to aspire to.

Could the Wizard use some more cool stuff, and would it benefit from some balance oriented errata? Sure. Absolutely.

But Wizard isn't desperately in need of it, and given that errata just hit and it didn't have any power-increasing errata for Wizards at all, I'm presuming that Paizo mostly agrees.

Hopefully Secrets of Magic has cool stuff for all casters, Wizard included.

And I still think Wizard is objectively superior as an Arcane caster to Witches and Sorcerers in most scenarios you actually find in published (ie, baseline expectations) adventures. Significantly more spell slots than a Witch, with the potential for either superior flexibility to a Sorcerer, or an extra spell slot at the spell levels that matter most.


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Unicore wrote:
This gets especially frustrating when it is clear that some of the accusations made against the class are really more tied to fundamental system mechanic choices the developers made instead of actual issues with the class itself: Issues like people not liking the accuracy balance of the game as a whole, people not liking the spell design and the incapacitation trait.

I find it hard to blame people for this one, honestly. The Wizard's core design is "cast a lot of spells" with almost nothing else left (which I do find very bland and uninspired, but I digress), so any perceived issues with the spellcasting mechanics will feel twice as harsh when playing a Wizard compared to the other classes.


dmerceless wrote:
Unicore wrote:
This gets especially frustrating when it is clear that some of the accusations made against the class are really more tied to fundamental system mechanic choices the developers made instead of actual issues with the class itself: Issues like people not liking the accuracy balance of the game as a whole, people not liking the spell design and the incapacitation trait.
I find it hard to blame people for this one, honestly. The Wizard's core design is "cast a lot of spells" with almost nothing else left (which I do find very bland and uninspired, but I digress), so any perceived issues with the spellcasting mechanics will feel twice as harsh when playing a Wizard compared to the other classes.

This is a pretty fair point. I assume there's probably a strong correlation between folks who like Spellcasting in general in 2E, and people who think the Wizard is acceptable.

If you aren't happy with the balance of Spellcasting in general, as you noted, Wizard doubling down on Spellcasting isn't going to help your view on it.


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Pathfinder Pawns, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber
Blue_frog wrote:
Old_Man_Robot wrote:
Thank you for your contribution.
You're very welcome. Knowledge, that's what us wizards are all about ^^

Careful Blue_frog. If you hype up the wizard class any more, Paizo just might drop the nerf hammer! XD

I agree with Unicore about the disconnect there seems to be in the discussion. A wizard being mechanically viable is not necessarily the same thing as being mechanically interesting or fun. Please try not to conflate the two.


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Themetricsystem wrote:
Old_Man_Robot wrote:

Its tiring that these conversations always seem to devolve to the point of "The class isn't mechanically non-functional, ergo its fine." as if just working is the be-all-end-all.

You don't get to make hot takes until you change your profile picture to that of a braindead zombie after offering a wager you lost.

To others - As I said, this thread is just a pissing match at this point and needs to die, the only purpose it serves is to rile everyoone up by vehemently disagreeing with each other in a circular manner.

I agree. Theres a fundamental difference in opinion on the mechanics of spellcasting, and nobody is willing to be convinced of the other sides opinion.


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Pathfinder Adventure Path, Rulebook Subscriber

Wizards have some of the most powerful and complete options for shutting down spells cast against them in the game. When it comes to stoping magic, the wizard is not supposed to be dependent on untouchable saving throws.

When it comes to fear-based and other non-magical emotional effects, there is nothing inherent about being a wizard that needs to translate into having nearly unshakeable resolve at level 9, which is what happens when you get to master proficiency in a save and the corresponding evasion like power. Why did Bards get greater resolve? Is it just because the Bard is a particular love child of PF2? Maybe, but it seems like there has been an effort to make occult casters have more of a connection to the deeply mind disturbing magics of the universe in PF2 so bards got dragged narratively into a space that has traditionally been the realm of the wizard as far as exploring the sanity-shattering esoteric mysteries that target will saves pretty exclusively.

It is definitely possible that the shift in the essences and magic in general that has happened in PF2 has a lot of people confused because a full and rich tradition of wizardly knowledge seeking has been moved to occultism, and it is a little non-traditional space for the bard to be floating in, but not really for the witch. It is good that the occult witch and the wizard have meaningful differences. I am not really a big fan of witched getting access to other lists personally, but they really were building for a very broad "deal with a X" class there.

Dark Archive

Pathfinder Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber
Themetricsystem wrote:


You're still spitting hot takes that are fundamentally wrong huh? Neat, when are you changing your profile picture to a braindead zombie for a month for losing our wager?

I maintain that I was right at the time, but wrong now! But I'll take the penalty.


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Ravingdork wrote:
Blue_frog wrote:
Old_Man_Robot wrote:
Thank you for your contribution.
You're very welcome. Knowledge, that's what us wizards are all about ^^

Careful Blue_frog. If you hype up the wizard class any more, Paizo just might drop the nerf hammer! XD

I agree with Unicore about the disconnect there seems to be in the discussion. A wizard being mechanically viable is not necessarily the same thing as being mechanically interesting or fun. Please try not to conflate the two.

Exactly. I'm all for giving a wizard shiny new toys so they're less bland... but there's a balance to consider, so as not to overpower it in the process.

Also, I'm a bit confused as to all this wizard hate when, from what I see (but I'm ready to admit my experience is lacking there), the witch is in a wayyyy worse place than the wizard ever was or will be. For me, the witch needs a huge buff (and I mean a huge one), what with being a prepared spellcaster with few slots, weak feats, weak wizard chassis and so-so focus spells.


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KrispyXIV wrote:
And I still think Wizard is objectively superior as an Arcane caster to Witches and Sorcerers in most scenarios you actually find in published (ie, baseline expectations) adventures. Significantly more spell slots than a Witch, with the potential for either superior flexibility to a Sorcerer, or an extra spell slot at the spell levels that matter most.

I am very confused about your comment. I don't think Wizard's are particularly bad but I wouldn't ever say they are objectively superior. For the most part that is true for pretty much every class since they all have pros and cons.

I still have no idea how much you are supposed to rest in PF1/PF2 adventures. Our group definitely rests after 3/4 encounters in 2e so far. Both systems there are easily dungeons with 8+ encounters that are awkward to rest between the encounters but we normally do anyway.

Sorcerer
-Spontaneous casting: IMO for combat it is hard to argue prepared casting is better unless you 100% know what you will be fighting. Even ignoring every Sorcerer class feature signature spells are quite powerful.
-Also bloodline vs thesis is just WAY too hard to say one is better than the other. One thing is for certain Sorcerer Focus Spells > Wizard Focus Spells for the most part.
-So I feel they are different and one is not really any worse than the other.

Witch
-Is basically a Wizard with a familiar thesis but instead of 1 extra spell and a "bad' focus spell they get an "okay" hex.
-I personally "don't see much power" in familiars so I would agree Wizard Thesis > Familiar Thesis / Witch Familiar. I would trade my Witch familiar for a different thesis in a heartbeat.
-1 extra spell per level vs a "okay" hex is hard to compare too. From quick glance I would say Wizard wins in 4 or less encounter days and Witch should win in 6+ encounter days. So overall yes I would say Wizards is generally better if they take a non familiar thesis. Big encounter days Wizards would probably want to cry :(

I didn't mention feats because IMO they are way too subjective and personally I love taking dedications with a "few" class feats thrown.

I personally feel Witch and Sorcerer are super thematic and Wizard can just never touch that imo. Thematic doesn't mean they more powerful. Of course if you want to be the versatile arcane caster it is hard to argue Wizard is not the class for you.

Even being a "specialist in a school" I would say Sorcerers probably do that better, this was kind of true in PF1 too.

Overall I haven't played a Witch much but when reading through everything nothing really screams out "powerful". It is fun to be able to spam hexes but I feel they really were scared of making them too powerful.


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Old_Man_Robot wrote:


That said, your own argument cuts both ways - if it's not a competition and intra-class balance doesn't matter, then why not them the best! It doesn't matter apparently, lets go nuts!

Intra-class balance doesn't matter, but overall game balance does.

The Bard is an example of what happens when a class is too powerful - having a Bard in an party distorts party balance significantly, making otherwise challenging encounters trivial or easy, independent of other factors.

Personal experience running AoA for two parties tells me that a 4 person party with a Bard and an Alchemist (as a detractor) exceeds the capabilities, significantly, of a five character party that lacks a Bard in the exact same content.

So when I'm saying Wizards are fine, my intent isn't to "keep Wizards down" or imply they're perfect so much as it to say they're well within the general power range for the game to be healthy. They're strong enough to not be a party detractor (like Alchemists can be if you dont play them just so), and a long way from being disruptive powerful.

Just in comparison to other casters, I'd say Wizards are less potent than Bards, Clerics, and Druids but significantly ahead of the other pure caster options.

What I dont want is more classes on the same power tier as Bard, which is where some people have explicitly or implicitly suggested they want Wizards to be - generally by comparing Wizard class features or focus spells unfavorably to Bard, such as Protective Ward, where the Wizard ability is probably what the balanced version of that ability looks like.

I'm not saying you're suggesting that level of a power increase, but I do feel like you're asking for more power "just because" the Wizard isn't "powerful enough", and that "powerful enough" standard certainly isn't based on the expectations of encounter design set out in the rules. Wizards are fine by that standard.


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RPGnoremac wrote:
KrispyXIV wrote:
And I still think Wizard is objectively superior as an Arcane caster to Witches and Sorcerers in most scenarios you actually find in published (ie, baseline expectations) adventures. Significantly more spell slots than a Witch, with the potential for either superior flexibility to a Sorcerer, or an extra spell slot at the spell levels that matter most.

I am very confused about your comment. I don't think Wizard's are particularly bad but I wouldn't ever say they are objectively superior. For the most part that is true for pretty much every class since they all have pros and cons.

I generally rate Prepared Spellcasting as somewhat better than Spontaneous, as in most cases a bad day for a Prepared Spellcaster is not significantly worse than a bad day for a Spontaneous caster (both had to make prior choices for their spells, and a Spontaneous caster can mess just like a prepared caster - and both can take steps to mitigate this). On the other hand, with a bit of forewarning or simply time to look ahead, a Prepare caster can ensure he'll have a good day coming up.

Yeah, you can totally mess up prepared casting and have a terrible day - but this is mostly an issue for new players, whom I'd heartily reccomend Sorcerer to, or reccomend Spell Substitution to for a Wizard as it functionally removes this issue.

Wizards also get their Bonded Object, which lets them double dip on any spell choice they need to, when they need to.

Beyond that, extra spell slots are generally better than focus spells until you run out of spell slots. Wizards can generally cast 2 top level or top -1 spells an encounter in most days, while others will likely be at 1 and a focus spell - more importantly though, in many of these cases a Wizard can be throwing two spells and a focus spell, which Sorcerers generally can't (because their better focus spells tend to cost 2 actions).

Witches get good action efficiency with their Hex cantrips, but they also pay more dearly by losing out on a spell per level vs a Wizard.

As you've observed, Wizards tend to lose out over longer adventuring days when the enhanced endurance of Focus spells becomes a factor - though a Wizard can also pace themselves, and be casting at least one high level spell slot an encounter longer than anyone else.

Add to that that I'm not reluctant to use items or consumables to supplement a characters capabilities, and my conclusion is more or less that the advantages of a Wizard are in play more often than their competitions advantages.

I'm not saying Sorcerers or Witches are bad or unplayable - but if I'm playing one with an Arcane list, it'll be because there's some thematic element im really into. Not because I think they're a superior arcane caster.


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Pathfinder Pawns, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber
Blue_frog wrote:
Ravingdork wrote:
Blue_frog wrote:
Old_Man_Robot wrote:
Thank you for your contribution.
You're very welcome. Knowledge, that's what us wizards are all about ^^

Careful Blue_frog. If you hype up the wizard class any more, Paizo just might drop the nerf hammer! XD

I agree with Unicore about the disconnect there seems to be in the discussion. A wizard being mechanically viable is not necessarily the same thing as being mechanically interesting or fun. Please try not to conflate the two.

Exactly. I'm all for giving a wizard shiny new toys so they're less bland... but there's a balance to consider, so as not to overpower it in the process.

Also, I'm a bit confused as to all this wizard hate when, from what I see (but I'm ready to admit my experience is lacking there), the witch is in a wayyyy worse place than the wizard ever was or will be. For me, the witch needs a huge buff (and I mean a huge one), what with being a prepared spellcaster with few slots, weak feats, weak wizard chassis and so-so focus spells.

I just realized that my second paragraph looks as though it was still directed at you. That was not my intent. The second paragraph was meant as a general statement to the community.


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Pathfinder Adventure, Adventure Path Subscriber
KrispyXIV wrote:
Add to that that I'm not reluctant to use items or consumables to supplement a characters capabilities, and my conclusion is more or less that the advantages of a Wizard are in play more often than their competitions advantages.

This might be another data point in whether or not someone enjoys the wizard class. If you think consumables are funny shaped gold pieces, like I do, rather than power projectors, then your likelihood of enjoying wizards in particular and casters in general is lower.


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AnimatedPaper wrote:
If you think consumables are funny shaped gold pieces

"Scrolls" is just what you call paper money in PF2... ;)


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AnimatedPaper wrote:
KrispyXIV wrote:
Add to that that I'm not reluctant to use items or consumables to supplement a characters capabilities, and my conclusion is more or less that the advantages of a Wizard are in play more often than their competitions advantages.
This might be another data point in whether or not someone enjoys the wizard class. If you think consumables are funny shaped gold pieces, like I do, rather than power projectors, then your likelihood of enjoying wizards in particular and casters in general is lower.

The problem here is resolving this. You cant balance any spellcaster assuming that consumables dont exist, because the fact is they do exist.

And they do significantly affect what characters are capable of.


For the record (not that I know if it really matters), I would consider Wizard stronger than most or all brands of arcane Witch, and about on par with an arcane Sorcerer. I also consider Witch to be a pretty lackluster class - I don't think it's unplayable, just pretty far down as far as casters are concerned.


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So, since Wizards and other Spellcasters are "just fine" and Bards are so OP that parties lose out on them so much in place of any 4th member, should we nerf the Bard?

I won't say yes or no. But I will suggest that if people are saying Bard is bonkers OP that they trivialize encounters, it's not such an insane idea to propose.


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Pathfinder Adventure, Adventure Path Subscriber
KrispyXIV wrote:
AnimatedPaper wrote:
KrispyXIV wrote:
Add to that that I'm not reluctant to use items or consumables to supplement a characters capabilities, and my conclusion is more or less that the advantages of a Wizard are in play more often than their competitions advantages.
This might be another data point in whether or not someone enjoys the wizard class. If you think consumables are funny shaped gold pieces, like I do, rather than power projectors, then your likelihood of enjoying wizards in particular and casters in general is lower.

The problem here is resolving this. You cant balance any spellcaster assuming that consumables dont exist, because the fact is they do exist.

And they do significantly affect what characters are capable of.

I'm not talking about balance, but enjoyment.

And, in fact, access is not universal or should be assumed. Some games make heavy use of them, some do not. The game does assume that they will be available, but tables that do not have a lot of them are not playing the game wrong.


Darksol the Painbringer wrote:

So, since Wizards and other Spellcasters are "just fine" and Bards are so OP that parties lose out on them so much in place of any 4th member, should we nerf the Bard?

I won't say yes or no. But I will suggest that if people are saying Bard is bonkers OP that they trivialize encounters, it's not such an insane idea to propose.

I think the main thing that may be keeping Bards in maybe-it-all-works-out territory is diminishing returns. A Bard is an extremely strong addition to a party, but adding a second out does not give that same spike in party power (well, the second one is probably about as good as adding an average or slightly below average caster, so it's not exactly terrible either).

I do think that Bard may have come out quite a bit stronger than Paizo intended, though maybe not in ways that dominate to the point of needing a nerf. Beyond that, issuing nerfs tend to generate a lot more discontent than issuing buffs; and this is even more true in the realm of homebrew than it is in errata.

AnimatedPaper wrote:

I'm not talking about balance, but enjoyment.

And, in fact, access is not universal or should be assumed. Some games make heavy use of them, some do not. The game does assume that they will be available, but tables that do not have a lot of them are not playing the game wrong.

I love scrolls, but I 100% agree with this.

Scrolls are ostensibly a part of the overall power level of casters. I don't think it's unreasonable for a non-scroll-using table to decide to buff casters as a whole or certain casters somewhat as a result.

Dark Archive

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Pathfinder Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber
KrispyXIV wrote:
Old_Man_Robot wrote:


That said, your own argument cuts both ways - if it's not a competition and intra-class balance doesn't matter, then why not them the best! It doesn't matter apparently, lets go nuts!

Intra-class balance doesn't matter, but overall game balance does.

Well yes, that's why I was being facetious about the comment. Intra-class balance and over all game balance are intertwined, you can't measure one without the other because the class (read class chassis) is the primary way the player engages with the game in terms of power balance.

KrispyXIV wrote:

So when I'm saying Wizards are fine, my intent isn't to "keep Wizards down" or imply they're perfect so much as it to say they're well within the general power range for the game to be healthy. They're strong enough to not be a party detractor (like Alchemists can be if you dont play them just so), and a long way from being disruptive powerful.

Maybe it's not your intention, but it really really feels like it. The bar for a good class shouldn't be "they aren't an active hindrance".

Personally, and I didn't think this would be a controversial point, I feel that there should be no weak(er) classes. While this will probably always be the case in some fashion, the gulf between classes doesn't need to be anywhere near as big as it, and it's a failing of the game that it exists.

I am advocating for the class that I feel needs more attention paid to it in order to execute on its class concept.

This doesn't mean other classes don't need attention as well, but there is room in the game to raise the power-floor across the board to reduce aforementioned gulf, I just happen to champion the Wizard over the other classes that also need it.

KrispyXIV wrote:


Just in comparison to other casters, I'd say Wizards are less potent than Bards, Clerics, and Druids but significantly ahead of the other pure caster options.

Well lets buff them all.

Chances are many of the structural weakness of the Wizard effect other casters as well, there is just room to hide it better with various focus powers / playstyles.

There is no need for the game to live within the current balance envelop it has.

Also,

When focus on power we also tend to get about player experience. You could make a class that is super amazing at everything just by the numbers, but dull as dishwater to play. No one wants that.

A Wizard, as a class, is more than just the spells they cast. Its a bigger concept than that, just like almost every class is a bigger concept than their "one thing".

There is room enough to expand and empower any and all underserved classes.

KrispyXIV wrote:


but I do feel like you're asking for more power "just because" the Wizard isn't "powerful enough", and that "powerful enough" standard certainly isn't based on the expectations of encounter design set out in the rules. Wizards are fine by that standard.

This feels unfair. Over numerous threads I've pointed out many structural and experiential problems feel affect the Wizard disportionately.

After nearly 2 years and 19 levels of Wizard play, various adventure paths and home-brew scenarios, "encounter design" and adventure" really aren't as rigorously defined as you make them out to be.

______

TL;DR: We don't need to have bad or under-served classes.

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