Bounded Spellcasting thoughts?


Pathfinder Second Edition General Discussion

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Bounded spellcasting or "wave casting", is a new type of spell slot allocation to allow a more martial inclined chassis to have spell slots.

Looks like THIS

Magus is a little different as they have 2 extras from a class that can only be used for 8 specific spells and only go to the 4th lvl.

So what you think about it? Like, dislike? Would like class archetypes or class paths for classes like Champion or Ranger (Likely at legendary cost Legendary armor or edge benefit for those two) to have an option like that?


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I think that either ranger and champion are too different from a magus/summoner in terms of mechanics.

Removing the hunter edge benefit would destroy the class, since it works around hunt prey and its benefits from either perks and feats.

As for the champion, the class itself works around a reaction which put the enemy in a situation with 2 outcome ( hit the champion, knowing his defenses are above the average, or hit his ally, knowing that he would shield them with a reaction ).

Removing legendary profession would probably turn into a clownfiesta for the enemies ( let's nuke the champion ), especially if the champion is using a 2handed weapon.

I think there will be other classes with the same spellcasting progression, but I doubt we will ever see a champion or a ranger with that choice.


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HumbleGamer wrote:

I think that either ranger and champion are too different from a magus/summoner in terms of mechanics.

Removing the hunter edge benefit would destroy the class, since it works around hunt prey and its benefits from either perks and feats.

As for the champion, the class itself works around a reaction which put the enemy in a situation with 2 outcome ( hit the champion, knowing his defenses are above the average, or hit his ally, knowing that he would shield them with a reaction ).

Removing legendary profession would probably turn into a clownfiesta for the enemies ( let's nuke the champion ), especially if the champion is using a 2handed weapon.

I think there will be other classes with the same spellcasting progression, but I doubt we will ever see a champion or a ranger with that choice.

I'm not so sure, for champion at least. AC in this edition isn't so good as to prevent you from getting hit so much as it prevents getting crit. I'd drop legendary armor in an instant for bounded casting. If it ever does show up as an archetype though I expect it to replace champion reaction progression (smite, exalt) rather than legendary armor (or maybe in addition to).

For ranger, I'd argue that adding it as a hunter's edge and replacing every other class feature with bounded casting would be fine if I thought there was much value to something like wild stride or trackless step.


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I think it's a given at this point that the Inquisitor will follow this chassis if they do make it in, as a middle ground between a cleric and champion with bane being a signature spell once they reach level...gonna guess 3.

But I'd sooner expect the Hunter to make it back in before they retroactively apply this casting system to the Ranger. That ship has sailed with the release of secrets of magic as far as I'm concerned.


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As a replacement for 6th level casting, I don't care for it. The system, on its own, also feels lackluster. Though I suppose it clarifies what people already knew about the magic system--your top two spell levels are the only good ones for damage.


Does it feels like enough slots for Summoner and Magus?


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Pathfinder Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber

The only reason wave casting works at all is because Cantrips scale, but as a whole it still makes the character feel far less magical than it should, lacking lower level spell slots for the key spells a magic character should have access to in perpetuity.

Wave casting was not my preferred solution, but it will work for my group because we will be using Free Archetype which makes getting low level spell slots far less burdensome.

Silver Crusade

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Kyrone wrote:
Does it feels like enough slots for Summoner and Magus?

I think we need to wait a few months to get actual play experience before we can answer that question.

Its easy to do armchair analysis but real experience over a wide range of levels in a wide variety of campaigns really is necessary before we're going to come to something vaguely approximating consensus


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Pathfinder Rulebook Subscriber

Too soon to tell, although I think that the Magus being able to Spellstrike with cantrips and the Summoner having the Eidolon balances it.

I feel that the Inquisitor would be perfect for a Divine Bound(ed?) caster with bane and (hopefully) solo tactics to complement it.

Maybe the Shifter could work like that as well, complementing its shifting with 4 slot casting.


gesalt wrote:
I'm not so sure, for champion at least. AC in this edition isn't so good as to prevent you from getting hit so much as it prevents getting crit. I'd drop legendary armor in an instant for bounded casting. If it ever does show up as an archetype though I expect it to replace champion reaction progression (smite, exalt) rather than legendary armor (or maybe in addition to).

For Champion: perhaps bounded casting slots of Divine tradition in exchange for Champion focus spells and restriction preventing taking Blessed One archetype.

For Ranger, I have no suggestions.

------

Also, I am fairly sure that spellcasting archetypes are meant to replace the 6th level spellcasting classes of previous editions.


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Kyrone wrote:
Does it feels like enough slots for Summoner and Magus?

As long as you remember that you're a martial with tricks, not a caster and that you only take the good spells, they're fine. If you want to use other spells you'll need a multiclass dedication.


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I like how wave casting works because it gives much different ways to build a char depending if you take an archetype you can easily do a wave caster more caster with a caster multi-class (allowing to keep the low level spells) increasing the diversity or you can focus in martial your own martial skills with a martial archetype or you can keep your default build focus your own feats that usually do something unique to your class like improve the eidolon from summoners or spellstrikes for magus.

In term of other classes I don't think that wave casting work well for champion or ranger without sacrifice some of their main abilities, for those classes the focus spells works well as magical solution for some situations.

The "classes" I could se some benefit of wave casting is:
- The warpriest that this way could have a good option to be a good martial without sacrifice their spellcasting ability and also allows to choose what to focus using archetypes.
- The eldritch trickster that could have a more magical option than currently racket that's basically just a free spellcaster archetype.


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Kyrone wrote:
Like, dislike?

Dislike. Wasn't a fan of it in the playtest.

Kyrone wrote:
Would like class archetypes or class paths for classes like Champion or Ranger (Likely at legendary cost Legendary armor or edge benefit for those two) to have an option like that?

LOL I'd like to see less wave casting, not more.

Kyrone wrote:
Does it feels like enough slots for Summoner and Magus?

Going from the playtest [as I don't even have the book yet], NO.

WatersLethe wrote:
The only reason wave casting works at all is because Cantrips scale, but as a whole it still makes the character feel far less magical than it should, lacking lower level spell slots for the key spells a magic character should have access to in perpetuity.

This is my thinking as well.


YuriP wrote:


- The eldritch trickster that could have a more magical option than currently racket that's basically just a free spellcaster archetype.

An eldritch trickster with a wave spellcasting progression would have been definitely awesome ( eventually, renouncing a ton of stuff in order to have the progression within the class and not by expending class feats ).

Liberty's Edge

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I haven't played my magus yet, but in building her, it feels really tight. Every spell slot has to be squeezed for maximal value. I worry about it dragging me back to a 15 minute work day.


We already know from the playtest survey it was unpopular. Having played summoner to level 18 I think 2 slots isn't enough for AP adventuring, but could easily work for homebrew. Maybe with some more options it might turn out better.

I don't think wave casting would be bad on other martial classes, the three action system is a nice limiter on it.


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OrochiFuror wrote:
We already know from the playtest survey it was unpopular.

If that were actually true, it would have been discussed in the post playtest blog, or changes would be made.

Instead, what you see is that only people who don't like it really feel inclined to comment on it for the most part, which creates the illusion of most/many dislike it.

Actually very unpopular things get changed in pretty much every playtest. I don't think wave casting counts.

I for one think it's an elegant solution to provide the exact thing I felt was missing before these classes, while allowing martial Strike proficiencies.


I like it because it gives me hope to see a 2e Inquisitor under this framework. I also broadly don’t like playing full casters; this gives me enough toys to feel special without all of that, and Archetypes can always get you more if you want.


I'm really curious how playing a Wave Caster with Wellspring Magic would feel like. One spell slot per eligible level, but it recharges sometimes during the day.

Sovereign Court

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I think it might be a reasonable trade to make for a war priest to get bumped up to martial-like proficiencies.

Wave casting gets you fewer spells, but you also don't need to spend as many of them getting your numbers into competitive range. And low-level spells are not great for damaging attacks anyway, just because the amount of damage is not worth the action cost.

Of course, you could use some of the good non-damaging spells, like Calm Emotions and Hideous Laughter. But think about the action economy of your mostly martial character - do you really want to be chained to spending an action to Sustain every round?

I think the sheer value of the slots you lose wasn't quite so high anyway, which makes the loss bearable.


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I love it. The design space it opens is fantastic. You still get your most powerful spells, and they have shown cognizance if some specific spells are needed to make a class shine with the Magus bonus spells. It is always going to look lackluster if you just compare it to Full Casting, because it is designed to be so, you need to look at it as part of an entire class chassis.

It is also good for reducing complexity in an area so you can add more complexity elsewhere without overwhelming a player. If one of my current players PC dies I absolutely will recommend they give Magus a try as they have found the ever expanding range of possibility with a full caster to be cognitively overwhelming.


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I really like it. Magus and summoner have enough going on outside the slots to make it fine. Four big boy magic slots on top a full martial with zero investment is good stuff.

Sovereign Court

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I mean you still have (presumably!) the use of staves, as well as scrolls for things you need rarely and wands for things you need daily.


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I hate it, I find spell scarcity annoying enough as a full caster in this edition already let alone having 4 of the things. Your only a caster for 24 seconds a day.


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Cantrips are still magic. They aren't a full caster. They give up some casting to be better at combat. It's about trying to strike some sort of balance


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Pathfinder Rulebook Subscriber
Kyrone wrote:
Does it feels like enough slots for Summoner and Magus?

From some limited playtime, I find it works okay for the Magus because the Magus gets by better with spellstriking cantrips and etc.

But for the Summoner I haven't been as impressed, just because the "Summoner" half of the Summoner has so little going for it after it runs out of spell slots.

Feel like the extra spell slots at 7 and the martial weapon proficiency are what hold the magus together and it was sort of a mistake not to give the Summoner something similar.

From a purely mechanical perspective, you can just give your whole turn to your eidolon or spam electric arc with Act Together, but that just doesn't feel satisfying in the same way the Magus does.


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I wasn't a fan myself when I read it. I'd have preferred six slots, either three in the top or the top three levels of two, or perhaps two slots in the top levels and one slot for each lower one, but I'll also readily admit I didn't get to play with it much either. When I playtested summoner we were still around level three or so, and running out of spell slots wasn't really a priority.

I will say that now that I am rebuilding my sorcerer as a summoner to compare the two, it's becoming a lot harder to find the level of magical oomph that I would enjoy, trying to find where to squeeze in the feats. Eidolons do get the ability to cast their own spells, which is pretty neat as the second feat in the line grants you a slot each for the two levels below your lower-level slots, but it's still feeling tight.
I may end up staying with sorcerer because I've grown to enjoy the minigame of poking around my spell list and looking for a solution to mostly noncombat problems.


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Personally, I feel that for certain classes, wave casting is a really good and thematic option. For a "master of reality" 20th level wizard, having a massive array of low level spells allows you to respond well to every situation. For a magus who has spent their whole career focussing on massive spells which remove half the Tarrasque's HP in one single Spellstrike, four spell slots plus cantrips and Master weapon proficiency seems enough. After all, a wizard out of spells is very different to someone who could, with a little luck, match other martials with just cantrip+spellstrike and maybe Arcane Cascade.

I am also interested in seeing what the best spells for a wave-caster turn out to be... my money is on Haste, Stoneskin, Resist Energy &c edging out Shocking Grasp and other similar spells; I also feel like a divine or occult Summoner might get a lot of mileage out of buffing their eidolon with spells like Heroism. I am of the opinion that buffs which last the whole fight are an exceedingly efficient use of slots anyway, especially when you only have 3-4 slots to spend on 3-4 fights.

In addition, there's nothing stopping you from picking up wands and staves for low level utility spells.


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Pathfinder Rulebook Subscriber

Summoner does feel pretty tight, especially with a repertoire that caps out at five spells.


Squiggit wrote:
Summoner does feel pretty tight, especially with a repertoire that caps out at five spells.

Yeah that surprised me. For some reason I was thinking that you got to keep all the spells in your repertoire, but only ever got four slots. Some more spells known would have been nice, but I guess that's what the magic eidolon feats are fore.

The thing I enjoy a lot about the bounded casting on magus and summoner is how it really highlights and focuses their playstyle. Most magi will probably go for bigger, flashier spells that cause lots of damage or really nasty effects on crits, since they can use their weapon's higher to hit to land said spells, while most summoners seem to benefit more in the other direction. Evolution feats eventually give eidolons fun, flashy actions to do on their own, so summoners benefit more from sustaining spells or quality of life buffs that can last through a battle.


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I like this 2e balance for what concerns combatant and spellcasters, in addition to the fact they destroyed hybrids ( warpriest and druid ).

Now with these 2 wave spellcasters we are getting many possibilities.

Until now to get spells on a combatant the only possibility was to expend:

-4 class feat ( Dedication, Basic, Expert and Master )
-1 skill to legendary ( the one from a tradition )
-Very slow progression past lvl 8 ( 4 levels behind a true spellcaster )
-Few slots unless arcane tradition ( ring of wizardry ) or expending another class feat to take a breadth feat.

Now we have full combatant classes with the same spellcasting progression ( not in terms of slots, but available high spells ) but 2/2.

They are also the only combatant class which can get effortless concentration ( neither cleric nor oracle get access to it ).

I mean, 4 spells to me is a huge deal everytime I look at what any other class might get with a dedication ( either in terms of slots and cost ).

Magus is tied with arcana tradition, while summoner can get what he wants.


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Just correcting one thing, but Magus don't have Effortless though.


Kyrone wrote:
Just correcting one thing, but Magus don't have Effortless though.

Oh didn't know that ( he had it during the playtest. Kinda sad they removed it ).


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I like it. The class chassis provides cantrips and a handful of high powered magic to work in conjunction with some other core feature of the class e.g. eidolon/martial combat. If players want a little more low to mid level casting you have the option of multiclass archetypes. Seems fair to me.


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I hate bounded casting on Magus and Summoners.

Bounded casting should had been a Champion and Ranger thing. Classes that used to only get 4 spell levels in PF1.

But Magus whose entire schtick was casting many low spells with weapons. Its a slap in the face. Not only was their number of spells reduced to less than a 4th of what they used to get. But they are also now being pushed to cast magic they have no business casting.

Same thing with Summoner. Their entire schtick was being able to cast a lot of support and summon spells. Now they can't do that. Even if they do try, they have no steam to do it for more than 2 fight. Except the Summoner also lost all of what made the eidolon special (including being a summoned creature), cannot summon monsters, and is considerably more pigeonholed.

*****************
Someone mentioned that they like the PF2 balance because it destroyed Hybrids. And like this because it gives "options".

Which is exactly what I hate about the current situation. They have destroyed every single hybrid. Bard, no longer martial. Warpriest effectively non existent. Ranger barely has casting. Champion has no casting outside their 1 heal. Magus was neutered to be a glorified fighter, with a handful of magic tricks. Summoner was reduced to a glorified squire for a monster.


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How much casting should they have gotten in terms of proficiency, max level and frequency? What of their other class features should be given up to achieve this?


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Pathfinder Rulebook Subscriber
Temperans wrote:


But Magus whose entire schtick was casting many low spells with weapons. Its a slap in the face

Don't really agree. Cantrips basically fill the same role shocking grasp did in 1e. Except you don't need to wait until a campaign is half over before it becomes an effectively bottomless resource.

Honestly in our low level games the PF2 Magi are significantly more magic than their PF1 counterparts between cantrips and focus spells.

Dataphiles

Pathfinder Rulebook Subscriber

I don’t think it’s that bad for summoner, who doesn’t seem to need to cast slotted spells to contribute much in combat, as strike-strike-electric arc is actually fairly competitive damage with fighter/barb/ranger/swash.

But magus really needs slotted spells to be competitive in combat. Cantrips aren’t quite enough, only getting you about 90% of the way there and they need to be recharged. On your off turn, you’re about 80% of the way there (just master prof, no booster except the absolute joke of a damage boost that is arcane cascade) so you can average that out to say they’re about 85% as effective as a real martial when they don’t use their slots.

Having played the playtest one from 2-9, and now release at level 1 (just about to hit level 2), you really do fall flat in long(er) days. If you do 1-2 encounters a day, the class will probably feel fine, strong even. But if you’re running non SoT APs with their insane amount of encounters a day, you struggle.

People probably won’t see issues with the class though, because when it works (i.e. crits) it looks super strong due to all the damage being stacked into one attack, and hitting the optimization cap for it is easy (just true strike your spellstrike, using items to get the extra firsts, it’s almost never worth preparing spell attacks in your actual slots last like level 6).


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Pathfinder Rulebook Subscriber
Exocist wrote:
I don’t think it’s that bad for summoner, who doesn’t seem to need to cast slotted spells to contribute much in combat, as strike-strike-electric arc is actually fairly competitive damage with fighter/barb/ranger/swash.

The problem I have with SMN is less whether or not they're functional and more that strike-strike-electric arc is really g&*!+!n boring and kind of overbearing.

It feels like there's a decided lack of knobs for the summoner to deal with and you're mostly just going to have your eidolon make vanilla strikes while you support in a very limited capacity. You sort of play like a fighter who doesn't take any feats at all.


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Squiggit wrote:

Don't really agree. Cantrips basically fill the same role shocking grasp did in 1e. Except you don't need to wait until a campaign is half over before it becomes an effectively bottomless resource.

Honestly in our low level games the PF2 Magi are significantly more magic than their PF1 counterparts between cantrips and focus spells.

This is only the case if all a PF1 Magus did was cast Shocking Grasp.

Which lets both be honest, most people didn't just spam that spell ad nauseam. Most people would set up a handful of Shocking Grasp or some other damage spell (Ex: Chill Touch), and the rest were utility and defense.

Which is maybe where the ball dropped. Too many people just think of the Shocking Grasp Magus and ignore all the rest.


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I haven't gotten to play a wave caster yet (or even barely see one) but I just want to toss in my hope that Bards eventually get a class archetype that trades for wave-casting and better martial proficiencies, possibly with another shtick to make it interesting. Most of the Bards that have appeared in my games have been skilled fencers who use their morale boosting music to bridge the gap between them and the mainline martial while buffing the whole party, then using a little bit of magic to add extra buffs or for niche circumstances.

Don't get me wrong, I love that Bard is an Occult full caster, that was an excellent move over all, I just would like to see more of the arcane duelist style back as an option.

Plus I feel like there's a solid niche for a wave-casting cleric that's a more Warpriest than the current Warpriest. I feel like a true Warpriest should have a solid core focusing on their deity's favoured weapon with spells as a back-up. Champion is not far off (and this is not the least of which reason I've spent so many words arguing for the Tenets of Neutrality), but I still feel like there's a missing niche for a true Warpriest between the code-bound champion defender and the full-casting cleric where their weapon is a solid back-up option, not their main swing. Maybe keftiu's Inquisitor hopes will bring that (perhaps under a different name) to the table.


Squiggit wrote:
Exocist wrote:
I don’t think it’s that bad for summoner, who doesn’t seem to need to cast slotted spells to contribute much in combat, as strike-strike-electric arc is actually fairly competitive damage with fighter/barb/ranger/swash.

The problem I have with SMN is less whether or not they're functional and more that strike-strike-electric arc is really g##&@@n boring and kind of overbearing.

It feels like there's a decided lack of knobs for the summoner to deal with and you're mostly just going to have your eidolon make vanilla strikes while you support in a very limited capacity. You sort of play like a fighter who doesn't take any feats at all.

We start seeing some fun actions to perform around level 10, though that is a bit late. I suppose it also depends on which eidolon you choose, since some have more specific actions than others. Being able to get monster actions like Knockdown and Grab is a nice niche though, and one I hope we see more of later on.


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Yes the problem with Summoner is that they were never about shooting enemies with Cantrips as the sole thing to do on their turn.

Buffs, Crowd controls, Summoning, Flanking, etc. This was what the Summoner did, not cast "electric arc" while twiddling their thumbs. The "Summoner" is no longer the best Summoner, because they physically don't have the spells to even bother.


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Squiggit wrote:
It feels like there's a decided lack of knobs for the summoner to deal with and you're mostly just going to have your eidolon make vanilla strikes while you support in a very limited capacity. You sort of play like a fighter who doesn't take any feats at all.

As I said in the playtest, they really are 'eidolon, the class' where the summoner feels like the minion that cast a few spells here or there but most rounds spams cantrips. I could work with that is the eidolon was exciting enough but it's mostly what flavor of unarmed strike you want... Well in a week I'll see it for myself how it is but it doesn't sound much changed from the playtest.

Sibelius Eos Owm wrote:
I haven't gotten to play a wave caster yet (or even barely see one) but I just want to toss in my hope that Bards eventually get a class archetype that trades for wave-casting and better martial proficiencies, possibly with another shtick to make it interesting.

Bard would have been one of the classes that would have worked the best with wave IMO. They could lean into Composition cantrips that could spice things up as something to switch up for the situation along with cantrips and/or weapon attacks. With a good enough list of Compositions, I don't think you'd miss the spells as much. Much the same, witch could have gone this path with the ability to cast multiple Hex cantrips and the ability to pick up more and that way, you'd miss the spellcasting less.


I've been playing a modified playtest version, I've had very little trouble doing pretty good damage with just spellstrike using cantrips. In fact I only keep 1 slotted single target spell. The other 3 are aoe's of some variety

Dataphiles

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Pathfinder Rulebook Subscriber

I feel one ingredient that is missing from making wave casters solid is having good focus spells. Both Magus and Summoner seem to have more supplementary focus spells which makes it feel like there’s no bridge between your all day cantrips and blowing one of your four slots for the day.

If you had middle ground focus powers, and perhaps enhanced focus recharge (1 at 1, 2 at 7, 3 at 13) it could help sell wave casting a bit more. In this case, focus spells and cantrips are supposed to be your every encounter baseline options, whereas the four slots are your big novas.


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Decimus Drake wrote:
How much casting should they have gotten in terms of proficiency, max level and frequency? What of their other class features should be given up to achieve this?

I was rooting for 2/3 casting like pathfinder


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Riddlyn wrote:
I've been playing a modified playtest version, I've had very little trouble doing pretty good damage with just spellstrike using cantrips. In fact I only keep 1 slotted single target spell. The other 3 are aoe's of some variety

The problem is not damage. Its lack of utility.

Magus even as they were known for damage had a lot of utility spells.


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siegfriedliner wrote:
Decimus Drake wrote:
How much casting should they have gotten in terms of proficiency, max level and frequency? What of their other class features should be given up to achieve this?
I was rooting for 2/3 casting like pathfinder

2/3 can roughly be achieved with a dedication as is.


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Guntermench wrote:
siegfriedliner wrote:
Decimus Drake wrote:
How much casting should they have gotten in terms of proficiency, max level and frequency? What of their other class features should be given up to achieve this?
I was rooting for 2/3 casting like pathfinder
2/3 can roughly be achieved with a dedication as is.

Needing multiple dedication feats to get what they should had gotten by default is not good thou.

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