Make psychic into a ranged wave caster


Psychic Class

Sczarni

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Pathfinder Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber

Suggestion - Make psychic into a ranged wave caster.

Give them access to 10 level spells still and heavily focus on greatly improving cantrips as a sort of Warlock build where they can cast almost all day, with some few stronger spells during tight situations.


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Not that I'm opposed to the idea of wave casting, but seeing as our two most recent wave casters ended up Master/Master in proficiencies, do you think the increased focus on cantrips is enough to carry them, and -more importantly, I feel- is that interesting enough to carry them?

Dataphiles

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Pathfinder Rulebook Subscriber

They should remain legendary even if they move to wavecasting - master spellcasting is definitely going to be janky with their focus cantrips, meaning the ones that don't require a check or DC are much better than the ones that do due to reduced accuracy at certain levels. Expert at 7, Master at 15 is the baseline requirement to keep up with the expectations of the game. Legendary at 19 is a bonus, and isn't necessary (though you do need a +1 there).

If they decide to go with the no-slot caster approach, I would prefer instead they give it some wave casting just to get some daily power that they can use when they want just a bit more juice than their focus amps, but I'm not sure how much of the budget it would eat up from the focus amps/cantrips.


We'll never see a legendary spellcasting + master weapon proficiency.

Wavecasters are already more than we would have deserved in terms of hybrids.

Sczarni

Pathfinder Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber
Ruzza wrote:
Not that I'm opposed to the idea of wave casting, but seeing as our two most recent wave casters ended up Master/Master in proficiencies, do you think the increased focus on cantrips is enough to carry them, and -more importantly, I feel- is that interesting enough to carry them?

I think with the lack of melee, we can justify legendary casting.

Both magus and summoner have a melee focus.


Verzen wrote:
Ruzza wrote:
Not that I'm opposed to the idea of wave casting, but seeing as our two most recent wave casters ended up Master/Master in proficiencies, do you think the increased focus on cantrips is enough to carry them, and -more importantly, I feel- is that interesting enough to carry them?

I think with the lack of melee, we can justify legendary casting.

Both magus and summoner have a melee focus.

Right, which helps balance out their lack of spell slots. Moving psychic over to wave casting leaves them with mostly amping cantrips. Is this style of gameplay varied enough to be interesting? I think you could give some power to the cantrips through feats and amps, for sure, but I'm curious if that's a playstyle that people want.


I'm also not against the idea of psychic wavecaster in flavor also make sense. Is a good alternative.

But it need to be even more stronger than we already asks. Maybe changing some mostly psi cantrips to 1-action (ex.: the current Telekinetic Projectile as 1-action) the currently amped version would be still used with focus points or with currently unleash rules but both with 1-action too (but unleash still limiting 1 amped use per round). Probably having 8HP per level and light maybe even medium armor mastery because of wavecaster is more closely to martial than any other spellcaster.

I think this way isn't necessary to improve any martial weapon training more keeping the legendary progression in spellcasting this avoids strange flavors to psychic to trust more in weapon than their powers. Also reduce a cantrip to 1-action isn't a new solucion is already used by Fiery Body spell.


I presumed the magic wavecaster would be the kineticist, presumably coming out in an elemental planes themed book.


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The cantrips just need to be much stronger. They’ve already given up enough spells, they don’t need to give up more.


rayous brightblade wrote:
I presumed the magic wavecaster would be the kineticist, presumably coming out in an elemental planes themed book.

I constantly see someone expecting the kineticist with anxious. Beware that PF2 classes are far different from PF1. I expect many frustrations if we really have a new kineticist in near future.

Sczarni

Pathfinder Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber
YuriP wrote:

I'm also not against the idea of psychic wavecaster in flavor also make sense. Is a good alternative.

But it need to be even more stronger than we already asks. Maybe changing some mostly psi cantrips to 1-action (ex.: the current Telekinetic Projectile as 1-action) the currently amped version would be still used with focus points or with currently unleash rules but both with 1-action too (but unleash still limiting 1 amped use per round). Probably having 8HP per level and light maybe even medium armor mastery because of wavecaster is more closely to martial than any other spellcaster.

I think this way isn't necessary to improve any martial weapon training more keeping the legendary progression in spellcasting this avoids strange flavors to psychic to trust more in weapon than their powers. Also reduce a cantrip to 1-action isn't a new solucion is already used by Fiery Body spell.

I wouldn't be against making them both be a wave caster and making their amped spells cost one action rather than two. That would be pretty awesome imo.


What I would like to see if they became a wave caster is some way to improve their incapacitation spells to affect higher level targets. Maybe continue to cap it at half their level rounded up, but seeing how psychics should be the best at mental spells, i could see this being how they achieve that fantasy

Another idea to enforce that they are spellcaster focus while being a wave caster, perhaps when they enter a psyche they get to cast one spell for free? Basically it guarantees that they get at least one spell every combat despite having even less spells per day.

Also, there's no way around it, psychic NEEDS to be legendary casting


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Frozencaveman wrote:
What I would like to see if they became a wave caster is some way to improve their incapacitation spells to affect higher level targets. Maybe continue to cap it at half their level rounded up, but seeing how psychics should be the best at mental spells, i could see this being how they achieve that fantasy

This I couldn't disagree with more. Having spells that are just more powerful than other classes, but getting less of them isn't a good balancing point in my mind. It just leads to the psychic having to be the class to go to for those spells and shortening the adventuring day because of it. Why would a wizard bother with incap spells if the psychic does it better?


Ruzza wrote:
Frozencaveman wrote:
What I would like to see if they became a wave caster is some way to improve their incapacitation spells to affect higher level targets. Maybe continue to cap it at half their level rounded up, but seeing how psychics should be the best at mental spells, i could see this being how they achieve that fantasy
This I couldn't disagree with more. Having spells that are just more powerful than other classes, but getting less of them isn't a good balancing point in my mind. It just leads to the psychic having to be the class to go to for those spells and shortening the adventuring day because of it. Why would a wizard bother with incap spells if the psychic does it better?

The wizard can be just as good with incapacitation spells, as long as they cast them from their highest spell level slots. The only difference I'm suggesting is that a psychic could have an option to treat their lower level spells from wave casting as a higher level slot


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Pathfinder Adventure Path, Rulebook Subscriber

Wave casting would be terribly unbalancing on the psychic and run counter to their slow build up approach to encounters. With 4 top level slots, all their spells become offensive in nature. Psychics now play really well at mid to high levels having a bunch of sustained Spells and defensive options to build up with into their unleash. 1 offensive spell slot per combat is more than enough for the design of the class.


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Unicore wrote:
Wave casting would be terribly unbalancing on the psychic and run counter to their slow build up approach to encounters. With 4 top level slots, all their spells become offensive in nature. Psychics now play really well at mid to high levels having a bunch of sustained Spells and defensive options to build up with into their unleash. 1 offensive spell slot per combat is more than enough for the design of the class.

How does having even less spells be unbalancing? Right now they have two high level slots and two of every level before it. The growing power is still there, because psi cantrips and unleash mechanics, but now they only have four spells total, albeit each one would be impactful. Sure, you can blow them all early, but then you have nothing but the cantrips left

Although I do see your point, maybe a free spell on unleash would be unbalancing, but I still like the wave casting idea with nice powerful spells but super limited


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I'm pretty sure the point of wave/bounded casters is to make martial/spellcaster combinations possible. There are serious problems with applying this design to a pure spellcaster. And while the exact form is not finalized, the psychic is absolutely a spellcaster in both lore concept and mechanics.

If you took the magus' full martial progression in all martial weapons, light/medium armour and weapon specialisation and put the vast majority of the power equivalent into amps and related mechanics, the result would need to be too good to be balanced. Concentrating the power of 18 spell slots into what is essentially one feature is already hard enough - doing the same for 28 or more doesn't sound like a good idea.


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I currently just am not seeing any reason why a move to wave casting would be good for psychics. It doesn't open up more interesting design elements, and you've just proposed increaaing the power of the amps - and I'm not a big fan of "you get less of something, so that thing you get is therefore more powerful" in PF2.

Sczarni

Pathfinder Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber
Ruzza wrote:
I currently just am not seeing any reason why a move to wave casting would be good for psychics. It doesn't open up more interesting design elements, and you've just proposed increaaing the power of the amps - and I'm not a big fan of "you get less of something, so that thing you get is therefore more powerful" in PF2.

Changing the cantrips to cost 1 action with create a unique twist for psychic. Imo.


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Verzen wrote:
Ruzza wrote:
I currently just am not seeing any reason why a move to wave casting would be good for psychics. It doesn't open up more interesting design elements, and you've just proposed increaaing the power of the amps - and I'm not a big fan of "you get less of something, so that thing you get is therefore more powerful" in PF2.
Changing the cantrips to cost 1 action with create a unique twist for psychic. Imo.

I can see all psychics get "adapted cantrip" using telekinetic projektile + electric arc ( for example ) as a 2 action standard routine.

by lvl 9 it would be 5d6+4 on a single target + 5d4+4 on two target, resulting into: 5d6+10d4+12.

No thanks.

Sczarni

Pathfinder Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber
HumbleGamer wrote:
Verzen wrote:
Ruzza wrote:
I currently just am not seeing any reason why a move to wave casting would be good for psychics. It doesn't open up more interesting design elements, and you've just proposed increaaing the power of the amps - and I'm not a big fan of "you get less of something, so that thing you get is therefore more powerful" in PF2.
Changing the cantrips to cost 1 action with create a unique twist for psychic. Imo.

I can see all psychics get "adapted cantrip" using telekinetic projektile + electric arc ( for example ) as a 2 action standard routine.

by lvl 9 it would be 5d6+4 on a single target + 5d4+4 on two target, resulting into: 5d6+10d4+12.

No thanks.

5d6 = 5-30 dmg with an avg of 17.5+ 22-52 with an avg of 37 = an avg dmg of 17+37 = 54 dmg... vs a barbarian with 2d12+12 at least per strike which is 25 damage per strike. Might be missing some bonuses. Can attack 2 more times.

They can do it all day.

Psychics could only do it a limited amount of times per day.


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You should be comparing those numbers not to a barbarian's melee Strike, but a ranged attack. Outside of spells, ranged damage is quite flat without taking extra actions (like Hunt Prey or rogue getting Sneak Attack).

It seems like a much worse suggestion and still doesn't justify taking away more interesting options and choices, in my mind.


Maybe it's just me, but arent amps good enought to be considered within the "average" when it comes to damage comparison?

The major issue I am seeing here ( and I see I am not the only one ), is that some cantrips/amps scale damage with heightened +2 rather than +1, which negatively affects the psychic

But, to be honest, this could be said about any other spellcaster, or at least I guess so.

Being able to have a heightnened +1 on daze, rather than heightenend +2 for example, would result into a more reliable and pratical cantrip.


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Frozencaveman wrote:
Unicore wrote:
Wave casting would be terribly unbalancing on the psychic and run counter to their slow build up approach to encounters. With 4 top level slots, all their spells become offensive in nature. Psychics now play really well at mid to high levels having a bunch of sustained Spells and defensive options to build up with into their unleash. 1 offensive spell slot per combat is more than enough for the design of the class.

How does having even less spells be unbalancing? Right now they have two high level slots and two of every level before it. The growing power is still there, because psi cantrips and unleash mechanics, but now they only have four spells total, albeit each one would be impactful. Sure, you can blow them all early, but then you have nothing but the cantrips left

Although I do see your point, maybe a free spell on unleash would be unbalancing, but I still like the wave casting idea with nice powerful spells but super limited

Because the point of wave casting is maximizing top level aggressive spell slots (summoning in combat counts as aggro here), but limiting how many spells are cast from slots in combat overall. The 1/2 method is giving the psychic quite a few slots by the mid game, but discouraging aggressive spell slot casting because that is what wizards and sorcerers do. Having a bunch of top level slots and super cantrips is just making other casters cry


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HumbleGamer wrote:
Maybe it's just me, but arent amps good enought to be considered within the "average" when it comes to damage comparison?

They are completely outdamaged. To compete with a ranged attack you'd need to increase TKP to d12. That would be a bare minimum.


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I'm going to have to say that I disagree with the wave-caster psychic idea on thematics. It's not because "wave-casters are supposed to be half martial". I absolutely have faith in Paizo's ability to tweak amped cantrips to the point that they effectively do the work of the standard wave caster's half martial. It's not because it would somehow be overpowered. I have faith in their ability to balance things appropriately, if that's what they set out to do. It's because of what Wave Caster is for, and what the Psychic is for. Wave caster gives you a small number of combat spells, while denying you the lower-level utility abilities. It makes lots of sense for the Magus, because the Magus is all about stabbing you with extra lightning bolts. They're not supposed to be great at utility casting (unless they archetype for it). It makes sense for the Summoner because summoners are thematically people who throw around Big Splashy Effects (like major summons) and they needed to cash in the rest to make the Eidolon as cool as it deserved to be.

Making the Psychic a wave caster, though, would be saying, in essence, that high-level Psychics weren't supposed to have a bunch of interesting, flavorful lower-level spells to throw around in useful ways in noncombat situations. Honestly, that seems downright silly to me. Psychics int eh fiction are all about those wacky-but-useful divinations, apportations, and so forth. Half the time they show up and get to be awesome doing their awesome thing in stories that don't have any direct violent conflict at all. If anythign, I feel like the lower-level slots are more important to the character than the higher-level slots.

And no. Kineticist is not supposed to be a wave caster. Kineticist is supposed to be the point where we finally get a character who's entirely built around slotless magic. We've been waiting. We're willing to wait patiently - however long it takes to get this right... but don't try to take this from us.


SuperBidi wrote:
HumbleGamer wrote:
Maybe it's just me, but arent amps good enought to be considered within the "average" when it comes to damage comparison?
They are completely outdamaged. To compete with a ranged attack you'd need to increase TKP to d12. That would be a bare minimum.

I meant amplified cantrips compared to non amplified cantrips.

To understand whether the issue lied upon the heightened stuff or just the amp mechanics.

I consider obvious a telekinetic projektile has to be way under any martial ranged build, because casters have infinite versatility, burst damage, and limited resources allowing them to literally do "anything" ( and I do no expect casters to have a 1d12 cannon cantrip ).


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HumbleGamer wrote:
SuperBidi wrote:
HumbleGamer wrote:
Maybe it's just me, but arent amps good enought to be considered within the "average" when it comes to damage comparison?
They are completely outdamaged. To compete with a ranged attack you'd need to increase TKP to d12. That would be a bare minimum.

I meant amplified cantrips compared to non amplified cantrips.

To understand whether the issue lied upon the heightened stuff or just the amp mechanics.

I consider obvious a telekinetic projektile has to be way under any martial ranged build, because casters have infinite versatility, burst damage, and limited resources allowing them to literally do "anything" ( and I do no expect casters to have a 1d12 cannon cantrip ).

Well, Electric Arc is still at least equivalent to the amped cantrips. So, nothing interesting.

Casters also have lower hit points, no armor and lower saves. So, I don't find a d12 cannon cantrip to be completely out of bounds. And also, TKP has very low range, which is quite a big issue.
As a side note, an amped cantrip is not a cantrip. It's still a certain number of times per day and should in my opinion compete with a Focus Spell. And there's already Fire Ray which is a 2d6 per level Focus Spell + extra critical hit effects.

So, I think that current state of amped TKP is ridiculous and way undertuned. When I speak of a d12, it's not to compete with martials, it's just to be competitive. At a d8 you can just ignore TPK past first levels.


Ruzza wrote:
Verzen wrote:
Ruzza wrote:
Not that I'm opposed to the idea of wave casting, but seeing as our two most recent wave casters ended up Master/Master in proficiencies, do you think the increased focus on cantrips is enough to carry them, and -more importantly, I feel- is that interesting enough to carry them?

I think with the lack of melee, we can justify legendary casting.

Both magus and summoner have a melee focus.

Right, which helps balance out their lack of spell slots. Moving psychic over to wave casting leaves them with mostly amping cantrips. Is this style of gameplay varied enough to be interesting? I think you could give some power to the cantrips through feats and amps, for sure, but I'm curious if that's a playstyle that people want.

I'd say it is, based on Kineticist being very well received, and this class seeming to play more like a Kineticist than any other existing class.


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SuperBidi wrote:


Well, Electric Arc is still at least equivalent to the amped cantrips. So, nothing interesting.
Casters also have lower hit points, no armor and lower saves. So, I don't find a d12 cannon cantrip to be completely out of bounds. And also, TKP has very low range, which is quite a big issue.
As a side note, an amped cantrip is not a cantrip. It's still a certain number of times per day and should in my opinion compete with a Focus Spell. And there's already Fire Ray which is a 2d6 per level Focus Spell + extra critical hit effects.

So, I think that current state of amped TKP is ridiculous and way undertuned. When I speak of a d12, it's not to compete with martials, it's just to be competitive. At a d8 you can just ignore TPK past first levels.

I was wondering when someone would bring up Fire Ray.

I agree completely, although I think it should be amped 2d6 not 1d12. Don't ask me why, cuz I don't know. Just feels better.

Sczarni

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Pathfinder Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber
Sagiam wrote:
SuperBidi wrote:


Well, Electric Arc is still at least equivalent to the amped cantrips. So, nothing interesting.
Casters also have lower hit points, no armor and lower saves. So, I don't find a d12 cannon cantrip to be completely out of bounds. And also, TKP has very low range, which is quite a big issue.
As a side note, an amped cantrip is not a cantrip. It's still a certain number of times per day and should in my opinion compete with a Focus Spell. And there's already Fire Ray which is a 2d6 per level Focus Spell + extra critical hit effects.

So, I think that current state of amped TKP is ridiculous and way undertuned. When I speak of a d12, it's not to compete with martials, it's just to be competitive. At a d8 you can just ignore TPK past first levels.

I was wondering when someone would bring up Fire Ray.

I agree completely, although I think it should be amped 2d6 not 1d12. Don't ask me why, cuz I don't know. Just feels better.

2d6 is more stabilized while 1d12 is more bursty, less consistent. With 1d12, you deal more damage more often and less damage more often. With 2d6, you deal middle (average) damage more often than either min or max.

The reason for this is, is 1/6 * 1/6 = 1/36

You have a 1 in 36 chance of getting either a 2 or a 12.

There are 2 combinations to get a 3 which is 2 - 1 or 1 - 2. To get 4, there is 1-3, 2-2, 3-1. 5 = 1-4, 2-3, 3-2, 4-1, 6 = 1-5, 2-4, 3-3, 4-2, 5-1. 7 = 1-6, 2-5, 3-4, 4-3, 5-2, 6-1.

There is a 1/6 chance to get a 7. 7 is the most common roll for 2d6.

While 1d12, each chance has an equal opportunity rather than focused on the average.

So essentially, more bursty, less consistent (1d12) vs less bursty, more consistent (2d6)


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Pathfinder Adventure Path, Rulebook Subscriber

Amped cantrips are not focus spells.
Focus spells are 1x per encounter for most classes until level 10 or later AND require a feat to be recharged more often.
Amped cantrips are 5x per encounter at level 1.

If they were as good as other focus spells, I don’t think the class could have any other spellcasting at all.


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Unicore wrote:

Amped cantrips are not focus spells.

Focus spells are 1x per encounter for most classes until level 10 or later AND require a feat to be recharged more often.
Amped cantrips are 5x per encounter at level 1.

If they were as good as other focus spells, I don’t think the class could have any other spellcasting at all.

the vast majority of focus spells arent even especially good though, there are exceptions of course, like wildshape but I would argue that having something in line with the average focus spell as an at will ability is probobly still not worth what the psychic is paying for it in spells, proficiencies and hit dice.


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Unicore wrote:
Amped cantrips are 5x per encounter at level 1.

That's only true if each and every combat you have at 1st lasts 5 rounds. For myself, I see quite a few fights that would end before I would even Unleash. And this also presumes that you NEVER cast a normal spell during that time, especially when you could do so with x2 spell level bonus. IMO, looking at 2-3 per combat is much more likely an average amount use, and should be what we look as for a balancing point: 5 is just way overselling it IMO.


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Plus it’s zero in the next fight if you don’t have time to refocus.


I think bound casting or a different more limited casting schtick is a good idea.

We have a class that is designed around build up to a pay off concept.

Bound casting is a good way to do this, and incentive for
1st round - amp cantrip
2nd round - amp cantrip
3rd round - spellslot with unleashed buff

It would allow psychics to be less of the support role as a caster (we have enough support oriented casters, seriously we don't need more support casters) and more of a blaster for those that want that.

Psychic is a great model for that. It could also leverage off of something like the wellspring mechanic but spellslots only unlock after unleashed comes online.

This does mean a lot more varied amps that work with a lot more cantrips but I kind of feel like that is the cool part of the class, not the just another spellcaster with a few ways to make a limited pool of cantrips slightly better.

Psychic needs a point of differentiation in role to sorcerer and bard else it will be likely outshined by those. To do that is needs a focus other than utility and support. The Unleashed mechanic leans into a build up risk/reward playstyle. I feel really leaning into that concept would be good and not just making another spellcaster of a slightly different flavour.


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With the overall lose in versatility that Wave Casting brings to moment-to-moment gameplay, I'd rather it remain a full caster. There's too many different tricks for this type of character to pull off, especially since the class lacks a single defining feature such as the Eidolon or Spellstrike.

And I think all Wave Casters will probably end up needing a similar defining feature in order to not feel underdeveloped.

Sczarni

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Pathfinder Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber
Golurkcanfly wrote:

With the overall lose in versatility that Wave Casting brings to moment-to-moment gameplay, I'd rather it remain a full caster. There's too many different tricks for this type of character to pull off, especially since the class lacks a single defining feature such as the Eidolon or Spellstrike.

And I think all Wave Casters will probably end up needing a similar defining feature in order to not feel underdeveloped.

Their schtick should lean into the focus point idea.

Start them out with 3 focus points per combat instead of 2.

Focus on customization of cantrips...

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