PFS Quest 08 - Shadows of the Black Sovereign Playtest Report

Secrets of Magic Playtest General Discussion

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Pathfinder Rulebook Subscriber

Since the playtest started, I have been active in the Magus forums, where I have expressed my concerns with the class, mostly based on my own experiences while playing it.

This time, I got to GM a party of two Magi and two Summoners as we went through the PFS Quest – Shadow of the Black Sovereign. I will try to convey how the encounters played out, as well as our experiences. Since my players do not participate in these forums, I will focus on their perceptions of the classes, rather than my own, which can be found in the threads I have participated so far.

The Setup

The players in this group are somewhat experienced with Pathfinder Second Edition to the point where they can create characters without guidance and effectively play them on PFS Scenarios and Oneshots. However, they do not have a very deep understanding of the rules.

The players are big fans of 13th Age and brought some of that experience with them. Due to that, I apologize if I end up mentioning elements from that game in my players` report.

To avoid any preconceptions, I did not mention anything that has been discussed on these forums, the ways people had been playing them or my own concerns regarding the classes. The only resources they had access to were their Core Rulebooks, the playtest doc and Archives of Nethys.
Throughout this report, I`ll refer to the players as Magus 1, Magus 2, Phantom Summoner and Beast Summoner for ease.

I gave told them they had two days to create characters on roll20 and gave them 450 GP each and said they could purchase items up to level 6.

Magus 1
Ancestry: Elf (Ancient, Wizard Dedication)
Background: Royalty
Synthesis: Slide Casting
Weapon of Choice: Longsword
Magus Feats: Cantrip Expansion, Bespell Strikes, Martial Caster
Cantrips. Acid Splash, Daze, Electric Arc, Produce Flame, Ray of Frost, Detect Magic, Mage Hand, Prestidigitation and Light.
Spells Prepared. True Strike (x2 from Martial Caster). 2nd Level: Befuddle (x1), Sudden Bolt (x1). 3rd Level: Haste (x1), Shocking Grasp (x1).
Items (that I recall): +1 Leather Armor, Dueling Cape, Necklace of Fireballs

Magus 2
Ancestry: Hobgoblin (Warrenbed)
Background: Bounty Hunter
Synthesis: Sustaining Steel
Weapon of Choice: Staff of Divination
Magus Feats: Arcane Fists, Bespell Strikes, Energize Strikes.
Cantrips. Chill Touch, Daze, Electric Arc, Produce Flame, Ray of Frost, Tanglefoot
Spells Prepared. 2nd level: Goblin Pox, Shocking Grasp. 3rd level: Vampiric Touch, Haste
Items (that I recall): +1 Scale Mail, Staff of Divination

Summoner 1
Ancestry: Human (Versatile)
Background: Amnesiac
Eidolon: Phantom
Summoner Feats: Synthesis, Reinforce Eidolon, Hulking Evolution
Cantrips. Forbidding Ward, Ghost Sound, Guidance, Shield, Telekinetic Projectile.
Spells Prepared. 2nd level: Hideous Laughter, Phantom Pain. 3rd level: Paralyze, Vampiric Touch
Items (that I recall): +1 Handwraps of Mighty blows with striking rune, wand of magic missiles (1st level)

Summoner 2
Ancestry: Leshy (Leaf)
Background: Scholar
Eidolon: Beast
Summoner Feats: Synthesis, Distracting Summon Spell, Ostentatious Arrival
Cantrips. Acid Splash, Electric Arc, Guidance, Light, Tanglefoot.
Spells Prepared. 2nd level: Acid Arrow, Heat Metal. 3rd level: Summon Animal, Summon Elemental
Items (that I recall): +1 Handwraps of Mighty blows with striking rune, +1 leather armor.

The Encounter
I decided to spice things up a bit and had them fight Zatqualmsh plus four elite technic zombies (120 XP).

Magus 1 spent their first round Hasting and using Magus Potency. Magus 2 used Magus Potency, engaged one of the zombies and swung away. Summoners 1 and 2 manifested their Eidolons (although they did not use synthesis).

Then, the fight played out with the Magi attempting to flank the zombies and Zatqualmsh. Magus 2 kept trying to chase Zatqualmish away (I used their Run away reaction quite often) and resorted to using Striding, casting True Strike from their staff and striking for most of the encounter`s first half.
Summoner 2 ended up using their second round to Summon a Mudwretch and got to use their Distracting Summon Spell on one of the zombies. They also cast Tanglefoot and Heat Metal on ZatQualmish. They also attempted to summon a Shock Lizard, but the summon`s electrical abilities did not do much to the zombies.
Summoner 1 just kept bashing away with their Eidolon.

Magus 1 did attempt to use Striking Spell quite often, but got into a situation in which they hit with their Strike but missed with their spell attack due to mediocre or poor roll. Because they had the slide synthesis, they were usually flanking with one of the Eidolons or with Magus 2. If I recall correctly, they missed one produce Flame, one Shocking Grasp and then crit with Sudden Bolt for a successful save (I got a crit) that damaged one of the zombies.

Magus 2 eventually started to use Striking Spell, but the Goblin Pox slot due to a string of bad rolls in the martial strike (they even asked one of the summoners for Guidance but rolled pretty badly). They then hit with Vampiric Touch to gain quite a few temp hit points.

Summoner 2 eventually forgot to sustain their summoning spell and also got clipped with a failure against Zatqualmish`s Slow.

The whole combat was over after 7 rounds because the party did struggle with some bad rolls. No one went down, although Magus 1 got close.

Overall Impressions The summoners felt strong, particularly due to their Eidolons being strong martial characters. The Magi felt considerably weaker than them and were not very versatile.

Here`s the players` input:

Summoner 1: said that they were not bothered by having few slots, because they thought the Eidolon played very well and, to them, it felt very nice to just sit back, boost the Eidolon and watch them wreak havoc. They said they did not use Synthesis because they did not want to lose the ability to cast spells.

Summoner 2: said that they were expecting more summoning versatility out of their summoner. They liked the eidolon, but felt that there should be more interactions with the Summon spells they took. They also said the Eidolon was vastly superior to the Summoned Elemental and Animal. They also detested that effects like Slow affected both the Summoner and the Eidolon.

Both players said they`d like more options for the Eidolon`s abilities, maybe one or two they could choose from. Summoner 1 said they were considering an Angel Summoner, but felt that that Eidolon type did not have many enticing abilities.

Magus 2 : said they really did not see much of a reason to use Striking Spell. They were mostly bothered by its action economy and said that they felt they were doing more through their Strikes. They did not bother much with the two rolls, but said that they felt intimidated by the action costs on their turns, especially given that they did not cast Haste. They said that their Magus did not have much mobility and that Haste was pretty much a forced choice.

Magus 1: was very bothered by the accuracy and, later, when I mentioned that some had proposed that the two rolls be folded into one, felt that that was more intuitive. They felt that they and the other Magus had been completely outclassed by the Eidolons and pointed that they felt the Summoners had more versatility in that they could either cast or act through their eidolons, whereas the Magi were left with the striking spell routine. I should point out that this player is big fan of gishes (never saw them not play one) and a huge fan of 13th Age`s Swordmage and mentioned that class as a model of a `Magus` that had its magic more integrated to their fighting than PF2`s

Both players Said the class seemed very cool on its presentation, mentioning Magus Potency and the proficiencies as positive elements. However, they said that they would rather play other classes if they had known how Striking Spell worked.

Thanks for sharing ^_^

Did Summoner 1 also feel they had enough spells? It's the Summoning Summoner that I feel probably would be a bit starved.

Also, do you think if you had run more encounters the lack of spells would have been more noticeable across the board?

Thanks for posting!

Pathfinder Rulebook Subscriber

Summoner 1 said they felt the four spells were enough because they felt that the class was built around relying on their Eidolon.

I felt that the Summoning Summoner just did not seem very viable in the class` current iteration (four slots, shared actions, current state of summoning spells).

On the encounters, sure!

The players knew this was a PFS Quest (we`ve played a few before, so they were expecting one or two encounters at most) so I don`t know if they would have been as carefree with their slots as they were this time around.

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Striking Spell is pretty terrible right now. Needing to roll twice to hit with the spell combined with the lower number of slots and over-reliance on consumables to boost casting for accuracy and spell striking, it's a shadow of what the Magus was.

Magus was a really fun class. I made a black blade in PF1. One of the more fun characters to play.

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