Actual Play Report: Level 5


Secrets of Magic Playtest General Discussion

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Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

I recently ran a four player group through a quick adventure using both the magus and summoner. Since I figured many people would be doing L1 builds I went a bit higher and had people make L5 characters. The magus player made a human Sustaining Steel magus, and used her spell slots for Longstrider, Mirror Image, Haste, and Shockwave. The summoner made an angel summoner, supplementing his limited magical healing with the Medic archetype. To fill out the table, one player made an L5 rogue, and the other just used the L5 Valeros pregen.

I used what I believe to be a pretty robust test of the party - four encounters, one rated Low, two rated Moderate, and one rated Severe. For an excuse plot, I had them tracking down the Son Of Freezemaw, and all of the encounters were wintry.

Combat 1 was against two frost trolls (Low 5). Though they're rated at L4 monsters, they punch above their weight class, as I got off a Rend on Valeros. By the end of this first fight, the summoner had already used half of his spells just keeping people up. Valeros did 65 damage over three rounds (DPR 21.6), the eidolon did 110 due to two crits on the final round but missed entirely during round 3 (DPR 27.5), and the magus did 0, as her first round was buffing and she missed with her Striking Spell and ranged attacks in rounds 2 and 3 respectively. I don't have data on the rogue's numbers, but considering the rogue is not being tested this seems less of an issue. I can say that his rogue also had the alchemist dedication and brought alchemist fire to the party, which did off the trolls once they were down.

Combat 2 was against two winter wolves (Moderate 5), which proved less of a problem for the party. The wolves were trying to flank the party, but only one succeeded. Valeros did 49 damage during this fight (DPR 16.3), the magus did 26 damage (DPR 8.6), and the eidolon did 55 (DPR 18.3). It should be mentioned that the magus also tripped one of the wolves during round 1 rather than attack, so they were more effective in the combat than their numbers should suggest. By this point, the summoner was down to a single spell.

Combat 3 was against two ice golems (Moderate 5). This was somewhere between the prior two encounters in difficulty, but this was the magus' moment to shine. Valeros did 48 damage (DPR 16), the magus did 85 (DPR 21.25), and the eidolon only did 27 (DPR 9). The magus did miss with her first Striking Spell, but critically hit on the next two rounds, creating the damage spike that 1e magi are known for. By this time, the summoner was out of spells, and they still hadn't faced the dragon.

Combat 4 was against the Son of Freezemaw - or, as the players would find out, the SONS of Freezemaw! They fought two young white dragons, one straight out of the book, and the other a spellcaster. Tactics were simple - brawly dragon would let them come to him and fight, while casty dragon waited for them to go into the cave from above and invisible, dropping down at the start of round 2. By a stroke of luck, the dice were with the party this fight - I couldn't really cause much damage to them, as they were rolling quite well and I was missing something fierce. I believe I missed Valeros with a full Draconic Frenzy suite twice on two consecutive rounds! Valeros did 125 damage (DPR 25), the magus did 57 (DPR 14.25), and the eidolon did 90 (DPR 22.5).

I'll be tagging the magus and summoner players to chime in here with their experiences, but they reported that they enjoyed playing the classes. The Sustaining Steel magus does look weak on paper, but being able to get temp HP does help with the longevity of the class in a fight. Eidolons are strong, but the summoner themself doesn't have many ways to participate built into the class, so you might need to look outside for ways to shore up needs in the party. The side effect of the exceptionally limited spell slots for both meant that the summoner makes for a poor main healer in game, and the magus is likely to choose spells that buff them rather than lose spells due to the way Striking Spell currently works.

We do hope to have one more playtest before the window closes, this time at a much higher level, somewhere in the 12-13 range. I'll report back if we sneak that in.


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I played the Magus in this game. Gotta say, those crits felt GOOD. One saved a spell from failing and the other made the spell a critical hit. I'm not sure that rate will continue (2 spellstrikes modified by a crit, out of six total), but it would be nice if it did. Honestly I think it's a great reason to try out different skill based debuffs. I didn't have the ability points for a charisma that would make feint, demoralize, or bon mot as effective as I'd like. Right now, this class benefits greatly from more advanced tactics and teamwork. Note please that even with a completely normal lack of a chain of command or detailed discussion of tactics, my character both contributed positively and survived, all while being fun enough to play.

Sczarni

Pathfinder Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber
Tokageko wrote:

I played the Magus in this game. Gotta say, those crits felt GOOD. One saved a spell from failing and the other made the spell a critical hit. I'm not sure that rate will continue (2 spellstrikes modified by a crit, out of six total), but it would be nice if it did. Honestly I think it's a great reason to try out different skill based debuffs. I didn't have the ability points for a charisma that would make feint, demoralize, or bon mot as effective as I'd like. Right now, this class benefits greatly from more advanced tactics and teamwork. Note please that even with a completely normal lack of a chain of command or detailed discussion of tactics, my character both contributed positively and survived, all while being fun enough to play.

So from reading it myself, how did those crits feel good compared to a normal crit? The class ability doesn't feel any different than a fighter/wizard combo to me. Just that spell attack doesn't increase for that attack.


Oh, mostly that they were technically on single attacks. The fact that the melee attack being a critical hit changed the degree of success for the spell was really cool. I actually like the whole setup for an attack, then deliver. It's one of my favorite things about playing a rogue- or a swashbuckler during the last playtest. Even the flurry ranger I play in Age of Ashes is most fun there's movement or a maneuver before the attack. Like, tripping so I can attack them flatfooted, then disrupt prey when they try to stand. It's a different method, but the same principle.

Edit: the damage totals were higher then most weapon only crits I've gotten.


Sad that the more interesting round to round potential class (Magus) sucks so hard in both consistency and due to this overall DPR meanwhile the binary and boring to play summoner outshined you to a silly degree *while healing the party*

Liberty's Edge

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Martialmasters wrote:

Sad that the more interesting round to round potential class (Magus) sucks so hard in both consistency and due to this overall DPR meanwhile the binary and boring to play summoner outshined you to a silly degree *while healing the party*

Who said it was boring to play? I sure didn't, and since it's my PC we're talking about, I feel like I would know.


Shisumo wrote:
Martialmasters wrote:

Sad that the more interesting round to round potential class (Magus) sucks so hard in both consistency and due to this overall DPR meanwhile the binary and boring to play summoner outshined you to a silly degree *while healing the party*

Who said it was boring to play? I sure didn't, and since it's my PC we're talking about, I feel like I would know.

Did you have fun using boost eidolon every round?

Or did you not do that and still out damage the Magus? Lol

Liberty's Edge

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Martialmasters wrote:
Shisumo wrote:
Martialmasters wrote:

Sad that the more interesting round to round potential class (Magus) sucks so hard in both consistency and due to this overall DPR meanwhile the binary and boring to play summoner outshined you to a silly degree *while healing the party*

Who said it was boring to play? I sure didn't, and since it's my PC we're talking about, I feel like I would know.

Did you have fun using boost eidolon every round?

Or did you not do that and still out damage the Magus? Lol

Well, for one thing, I did not in fact use boost eidolon every round, no. Most of them, yes, but not all of them. For another, I was doing a lot more than that, so just using or not using boost doesn't really mean much for whether the character was boring to play.

Have you actually played a summoner yet, MM?


Shisumo wrote:
Martialmasters wrote:
Shisumo wrote:
Martialmasters wrote:

Sad that the more interesting round to round potential class (Magus) sucks so hard in both consistency and due to this overall DPR meanwhile the binary and boring to play summoner outshined you to a silly degree *while healing the party*

Who said it was boring to play? I sure didn't, and since it's my PC we're talking about, I feel like I would know.

Did you have fun using boost eidolon every round?

Or did you not do that and still out damage the Magus? Lol

Well, for one thing, I did not in fact use boost eidolon every round, no. Most of them, yes, but not all of them. For another, I was doing a lot more than that, so just using or not using boost doesn't really mean much for whether the character was boring to play.

Have you actually played a summoner yet, MM?

I played a beast summoner and a slide casting Magus both.

Summoner was boring, the correct answer 99% of the time was to boost your eidolon. Making it feel constrained and without choice similar to a bard and inspire courage. Except a bard is a strong class.

I played an orc Magus using a necksplitter. I felt my time was better served attacking with my weapon rather than using spell strike. And when I did try to leverage it for a burst with a spell, it more often than not didn't pan out in favor due to the in accuracy of spells.

Summoner was just move, boost, attack. Reinforce when I could.

Magus became energized strikes and attack, gambling and often failing with spell strike

Magus I took voluntary flaw's and managed 18str,14dex,16int.

Summoner I saw no good reason to invest into Cha. So went 16con/dex.

The most amusing things I could do with the summoner involved using the eidolon to climb something, then transpose myself up. Or using summoner's recall after the eidolon grabbed a enemy and ran off a cliff, he lets go as a free action and I teleport him to my side.

Basically all the *fun* I've had with summoner has involved those two feats.

Magus? I had more fun with creation and concept, the round to round attempts were more interesting, but you fail way more.

Both classes have a ways to go to be on par with any of the core classes.


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Martialmasters wrote:
Shisumo wrote:
Martialmasters wrote:
Shisumo wrote:
Martialmasters wrote:

Sad that the more interesting round to round potential class (Magus) sucks so hard in both consistency and due to this overall DPR meanwhile the binary and boring to play summoner outshined you to a silly degree *while healing the party*

Who said it was boring to play? I sure didn't, and since it's my PC we're talking about, I feel like I would know.

Did you have fun using boost eidolon every round?

Or did you not do that and still out damage the Magus? Lol

Well, for one thing, I did not in fact use boost eidolon every round, no. Most of them, yes, but not all of them. For another, I was doing a lot more than that, so just using or not using boost doesn't really mean much for whether the character was boring to play.

Have you actually played a summoner yet, MM?

I played a beast summoner and a slide casting Magus both.

Summoner was boring, the correct answer 99% of the time was to boost your eidolon. Making it feel constrained and without choice similar to a bard and inspire courage. Except a bard is a strong class.

I played an orc Magus using a necksplitter. I felt my time was better served attacking with my weapon rather than using spell strike. And when I did try to leverage it for a burst with a spell, it more often than not didn't pan out in favor due to the in accuracy of spells.

Summoner was just move, boost, attack. Reinforce when I could.

Magus became energized strikes and attack, gambling and often failing with spell strike

Magus I took voluntary flaw's and managed 18str,14dex,16int.

Summoner I saw no good reason to invest into Cha. So went 16con/dex.

The most amusing things I could do with the summoner involved using the eidolon to climb something, then transpose myself up. Or using summoner's recall after the eidolon grabbed a enemy and ran off a cliff, he lets go as a free action and I teleport him to my side....

I can't even imagine having to rely on spell attack rolls against monster AC while also rolling a regular attack roll and expecting that to lead to an effective outcome. It's like having disadvantage on the overall attack.

Dark Archive

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Deriven Firelion wrote:
Martialmasters wrote:
Shisumo wrote:
Martialmasters wrote:
Shisumo wrote:
Martialmasters wrote:

Sad that the more interesting round to round potential class (Magus) sucks so hard in both consistency and due to this overall DPR meanwhile the binary and boring to play summoner outshined you to a silly degree *while healing the party*

Who said it was boring to play? I sure didn't, and since it's my PC we're talking about, I feel like I would know.

Did you have fun using boost eidolon every round?

Or did you not do that and still out damage the Magus? Lol

Well, for one thing, I did not in fact use boost eidolon every round, no. Most of them, yes, but not all of them. For another, I was doing a lot more than that, so just using or not using boost doesn't really mean much for whether the character was boring to play.

Have you actually played a summoner yet, MM?

I played a beast summoner and a slide casting Magus both.

Summoner was boring, the correct answer 99% of the time was to boost your eidolon. Making it feel constrained and without choice similar to a bard and inspire courage. Except a bard is a strong class.

Summoner I saw no good reason to invest into Cha. So went 16con/dex.

The most amusing things I could do with the summoner involved using the eidolon to climb something, then transpose myself up. Or using summoner's recall after the eidolon grabbed a enemy and ran off a cliff, he lets go as a free action and I

...

These are the same observations my play testing showed.

- No reason to invest in CHA: with few slots and being behind on spellcasting proficiency half of their career, using attack spells is not optimal. There are some great utility and buffing to do, but they don't care what your CHA is. There needs to be better incentive for this stat being the primary.

- Boost (and to a lesser extent, reinforce) seem required to make the Eidolon viable, leaving little room for interesting combat actions.

- My favorite experience so far was when my group came upon an unknown NPC camp. The Eidolon used stealth to sneak up to the back of the small camp while the Summoner walked up to them to use diplomacy. Had the diplomacy failed, a dragon Eidolon would have came at them from behind. That was interesting for a single character to pull off.


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Invictus Novo wrote:
My favorite experience so far was when my group came upon an unknown NPC camp. The Eidolon used stealth to sneak up to the back of the small camp while the Summoner walked up to them to use diplomacy. Had the diplomacy failed, a dragon Eidolon would have came at them from behind. That was interesting for a single character to pull off.

I had a situation where plan B was to have my eidolon strike up a conversation with some guards via Diplomacy, and while the Eidolon was making nice (or not) the rest of the party was going to sneak past, into the dungeon.

Once we were in, the eidolon excuses ththemself, walks around a corner and poofs - then i summon her back at the party on the far side of the guards.

Scarab Sages

I’m curious on Combat 3 how much the Magus crit damage mattered. The three numbers you have listed add up to 160 damage, which equals the 160 hitpoints two ice golems would have combined. Is that damage before or after resistances? What spells did the Magus use? And did the Rogue do any damage during that fight?

I’m mainly curious, if the Magus crit twice, how much of that damage was in excess of the hitpoints the golem had remaining. Also whether it was boosted by being a fire spell. One issue I see with Magus DPR calculations in general is that they depend on that crit damage, but in a lot of cases, the extra damage isn’t going to matter, because the creature would die from much less.

Liberty's Edge

I know the damage did include the fire weakness damage. And I'd need to go back and double check to be sure, but it's entirely possible the rogue did not, in fact, do any damage at all in that fight. The rogue's player was having an absurdly bad day, dice-wise.


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For the record, it was produced flame both times. Remember, golem immunities are weird. They're vulnerable to one type of energy and it does the same amount no matter the spell being used. 4d6 in this case. I had enough energy damage types covered to exploit weaknesses on a lot of creatures. Granted, that's not as reliable as I'd like, but the versatility is good.

The magus gets a few benefits for spell striking. Mostly, level of success increase for the spell on a melee attack critical hit. For the slide caster, there's also movement. For the sustaining steel magus, there are temporary hit points. I don't think that's quite enough, but it's close.

Scarab Sages

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Yeah, being able to switch up damage types is a strength of the Magus, and something that helps make using a cantrip worthwhile in a situation like that. What I’m mainly curious about is if that second crit where the spell also crit happened when the golem was at like 10 hitpoints or something. My feeling is one of the reasons the crit mechanic isn’t as good as it looks is that it takes so long to set up, that when you actually do crit, you’re just doing a bunch of extra damage. Where if you had just hit the thing in round 1, it might not have even been there in round 3 when the crit spell finally happened. It’s why I feel lower but consistent damage is better than taking several rounds to get an incredibly high crit.

Golems have a lot of resistances, so it’s entirely possible in this situation that you needed every bit of damage to bring it down. In that case, then the vulnerability made a huge difference, as that was on average 28 extra points of damage from two hits, without which the Magus’s overall damage is much closer to Valeros’ even with two crits (doing only about 9 points more before the weakness was applied). Actual numbers might be different as the weakness roll could have been lower or higher. On the surface, though, that seems to account for the big damage jump more than critting did.

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