The Case for Wisdom Thaumaturge


Thaumaturge Class


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Among the other discussion about the Key Ability Score, it seems that people who do not like Charisma as the Key Ability Score tend to point to Intelligence as the alternative, but I believe there is a potentially stronger case for Wisdom over both Intelligence and Charisma.

To preface, this is operating under the assumption that the Investigator will receive a similar occult-themed subclass/class archetype in Dark Archives, and thus the niche of "Occult Investigator" is thoroughly filled.

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First, let's look at the flavor text of the class as presented within the class itself. Not any promotional materials, not any preconceptions one might have about the class, but what is explicitly in the written material contained within the class.

Keywords that show up in the flavor text:
- Exploit
- Connections
- Assess
- Manipulate
- Understand
- Investigate
- Research
- Look
- See

Many of these keywords refer to tasks typically associated with INT and WIS, but all of these focus on the same category of tasks: Discovery. This shares a parallel with another class, namely, the Investigator. However, while the Investigator focuses on material connections and drawing on the physical, the Thaumaturge draws on the spiritual and metaphysical, which is a strong representation of the dichotomy between the more rigid Intelligence and the more ethereal Wisdom.

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Second, let's look at the actual mechanics of Charisma in the class. What actually uses Charisma? Currently, it's Find Flaws (notably not Esoteric Antithesis), Binding Oath's bonuses, Counteracting with Chalice/Lantern/Sever Magic, and Save DC for Wand/Scrolls/Warding Circle. There's not a lot, and the latter two are necessitated by the current Key Ability Score, and would work with any other Key Ability Score. Binding Oath is the only ability that naturally uses Charisma, but Find Flaws is still worth looking at.

Now what is Find Flaws, exactly?

Quote:
You determine a creature’s weaknesses, whether a literal weakness or a metaphysical one. Recall Knowledge about a creature, using your Charisma modifier instead of the usual ability modifier for the skill you’re using to Recall Knowledge. The creature must be either one you can see or one you’re specifically Investigating in advance during exploration. The result depends on your Recall Knowledge check, which has the following additional effects as well as the usual effects of Recall Knowledge.

Note that the effect which actually uses Charisma is about learning and finding the weakness that you then use your training to exploit. Then, it specifically mentions Recall Knowledge, a typically Wisdom/Intelligence-based action.

Compare this again to the Investigator, which examines a creature to determine the best, physical location to strike from. Instead of using existing knowledge to formulate an ideal plan, the Thaumaturge observes the creature and perceives the hidden connections to divine a weakness where there might not be a traditional one. Another example of the material vs spiritual dichotomy provided by Intelligence vs Wisdom.

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Third, what does Wisdom do for the class right now? It's involved in every ability that uses Recall Knowledge Skills (Lantern Bonuses, Esoteric Lore, Rituals, Know-It-All, etc.) as well as a few Perception-based abilities (Lantern Bonuses again and Haunt Cunning). Compared to the one, singular ability that naturally uses Charisma (instead of an ability score replacement), Wisdom is far ahead. Even Intelligence falls behind, simply due to lacking in Perception.

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Fourth, why is it worth changing? Since flavor reasons are rather subjective, let's focus on the mechanical advantages.

1) The Thaumaturge simply has more abilities that interact with Wisdom. Between Perception and Recall Knowledge abilities, it simply does more for the class naturally than Charisma does. This allows it to be better at more abilities that it tries to support.

2) It provides a clear, concise fix for Find Flaws. Wisdom has the perfect replacement for Recall Knowledge when it comes to Find Flaws. Right now, Find Flaws runs into issues where it requires you to pump four different skills (five if you count Society for humanoids) just to keep up to par, struggles against creatures of higher rarity (which should be the Thaumaturge's specialty), interacts poorly with Recall Knowledge Skill Feats, and runs into a nasty clause where you can't actually try Find Flaws against a creature you've critically failed it against by RAW due to the way Recall Knowledge is written.

The fix for this is for Find Flaws to use Perception. That way, it actually *Finds* the Flaws. This allows it to scale from the class itself, gives it an edge against higher rarity creatures relative to Recall Knowledge users, gets around awkward Skill Feat interactions, and doesn't fall into the other issues with Recall Knowledge.

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Fifth and finally, what does it do relative to other classes?

This is the primary reason why I can see Charisma for the class at all. After all, it's already rather similar to the Ranger, and changing to Wisdom would make them even more similar. However, there are other avenues for differentiation, such as changing Esoteric Antithesis from a damage booster to a strong utility feature, such as a debuff mechanism.

Now, this can create even more interesting synergies. If players want a more "Monster Slayer" character like the current damage focus, multiclass Ranger/Thaumaturge would do that incredibly well.

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Overall, I believe this is a convincing argument as to why Wisdom makes perfect sense as the Key Ability Score for the Thaumaturge.


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I obviously agree. The find flaws change to perception solves a lot of problems at once and is pretty uninvasive as far as changes go.


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Pathfinder Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber

This is ultimately a strong argument for wisdom. If the class does go in this direction I will ultimately be okay with it but not thrilled. Instead of making the case for charisma as I feel the other posts have done so and I know many of the proponents of wisdom are not necessarily fond of those arguments anyways, I will try to ask some questions in good faith.

1)What would you set as the DC for the perception check of find flaws. Perception often goes up against either deception or stealth dcs of creatures which doesn't quite fit right and would lead to an issue where some monsters are easier to find flaws and others would be quite difficult. So instead my guess is you would be in favor of using a standard level dc based on the monsters level I guess?

2) How does "finding things' relate to implements and their powers. I will briefly mention charisma here. Charisma has ties to implements via use magic device in 1e and incredible investiture in 2e. A point in favor of wisdom for this is that their was the Inquisitor archetype that gave implements in 1e but those were very much keeping in a religious relic type theme, a theme that the Thaumaturge currently lacks.

3)Part of the current theming of the Thaumaturge abilities and examples include a metaphor like element. The chain to a broken tyrant is anathema enough. Is simply perceiving the connection enough to make it happen. If they are imbuing some sort of magic why should that magic be wisdom based? Anyone can perceive and make those connections, how does the Wisdom thaumaturge connections work there?

4) Thaumaturge both from its inspirations, the class it somewhat borrows upon from 1e, and its feats often is involved in making pacts and deals of sorts. Now wisdom would help in you not getting screwed over but how does it help you make your case. Would you try and scrape these mechanics because they don' fir in your new theme/you don't like them, would you try and make wisdom more relevant?


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pixierose wrote:

This is ultimately a strong argument for wisdom. If the class does go in this direction I will ultimately be okay with it but not thrilled. Instead of making the case for charisma as I feel the other posts have done so and I know many of the proponents of wisdom are not necessarily fond of those arguments anyways, I will try to ask some questions in good faith.

1)What would you set as the DC for the perception check of find flaws. Perception often goes up against either deception or stealth dcs of creatures which doesn't quite fit right and would lead to an issue where some monsters are easier to find flaws and others would be quite difficult. So instead my guess is you would be in favor of using a standard level dc based on the monsters level I guess?

2) How does "finding things' relate to implements and their powers. I will briefly mention charisma here. Charisma has ties to implements via use magic device in 1e and incredible investiture in 2e. A point in favor of wisdom for this is that their was the Inquisitor archetype that gave implements in 1e but those were very much keeping in a religious relic type theme, a theme that the Thaumaturge currently lacks.

3)Part of the current theming of the Thaumaturge abilities and examples include a metaphor like element. The chain to a broken tyrant is anathema enough. Is simply perceiving the connection enough to make it happen. If they are imbuing some sort of magic why should that magic be wisdom based? Anyone can perceive and make those connections, how does the Wisdom thaumaturge connections work there?

4) Thaumaturge both from its inspirations, the class it somewhat borrows upon from 1e, and its feats often is involved in making pacts and deals of sorts. Now wisdom would help in you not getting screwed over but how does it help you make your case. Would you try and scrape these mechanics because they don' fir in your new theme/you don't like them, would you try and make wisdom more relevant?

1) Standard DC by level, or possibly a Will DC.

2) Implements are part of their training, and it's the same as how a Druid draws magic from nature. It not only perceives the connection, but understands how to pull the connections together. They can work with any mental stat, really. The Thaumaturge isn't exerting their will on existing magical items, but instead using the subtle connections it perceives to empower them with it's training. In addition, Use Magic Device, while relevant to 1e, is not relevant to 2e which instead has Trick Magic Item, which uses INT/WIS.

3) Understanding metaphors is more Wisdom than anything else. Perceiving how those metaphors manifest themselves in Esoterica, seeing the "invisible thread" is even more Wisdom. There's nothing in the text of the Thaumaturge itself that has it "convince" the universe to behave nicely. It finds a connection (where the actual roll is) and then uses their training to make use of it.

4) Actual deals are just as much about the other two mental stats as they are Charisma. You can't just charm the other side into agreeing with you, but you need to bring information, knowledge, and understanding to the table as well as to be able to sense the other side's intention. These sorts of stories are more about these characters figuring out how to subvert the deals to get more out of them, such as pitting two different contracts against each other. In addition, Pacts just don't belong as feats. They're there for RP flavor rather than to perform a function that connects with the rest of the character mechanics, are weirdly similar to an existing system (Contracts), and are no more connected to these sorts of characters than to other magic users in fiction in general. Heck, the classes that do use a relationship for magical empowerment (Witch, Cleric, and Paladin) cover all three mental stats.


Pathfinder Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber

THose are solid enough responses. I would be satisfied if the end result looked like this, but would still feel slightly off but it would be good enough imo. It would also allow me to more easily recreate my Dhampir Relic Inquiistor of Saranrae, which is a character I would like to return to some day. So yeah I could see it. It would be fine.

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