Why can't casters do more to customize the effects of their spells?

Pathfinder Second Edition General Discussion

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Real-world explanations for why we don't have what you want:
- Difficult to balance. Creating mechanically meaningful choices leaves a lot of room for one of them to be a lot better. We know you don't care about this, but other people do. It is also not the only reason.
- More work. If spells also have customization options, it's going to be more work coming up with each spell. I'd expect that it's actually more work than just coming up with a separate, second spell, since you have to look at the interactions too.
- Fewer spells. Rules for giving fireball a tradeoff between damage and area take space, and we're already spending more time trying to come up with and balance this extra material. Paizo can't just say, "work more!"- PF1's release schedule was unsustainable and got reduced before the end, and even in the PF2 era we've got signs that things are still rough on employees and freelancers.
- Complexity and choice paralysis. Setting a new player up with casting is already going to be a bit of work, and they're going to be a little slow in combat until they get the hang of things. I don't want to think about what it would be like throwing in so many options.
- Low benefits. How many people do you think would find this an important feature? It's certainly not nobody, but surely you can see that a lot of players are going to be happy with fireball. Then, when you look at how many players who want extra customization are going to be satisfied with metamagic and the spell-customization archetype, you really start to get down to "maybe 1%?" numbers.
- They tried it once already. Words of power was a more flexible, customizable casting system. They ran into the issues above.
- It would never be as good as homebrew. When it comes to personalizing your spells to make them different from other casters, that's something where speaking to the GM will always produce a way more personal result.
- It still wouldn't be enough. They included variable-action spells that do the sort of thing you want, and out of all the spells you had to pick from, you still picked one of them to complain about.
- There are also people who would dislike the result. The feeling would be very different from the D&D and Pathfinder that people are used to.

In-world reasons for why we don't have what you want:
- Actually discussed in Secrets of Magic. There are several competing theories in the setting for the broad similarity of spells.
- We do have some differences in spells show up in-setting. You're just not happy with how that is mechanically represented.

What we do have:
- Metamagic.
- Spell customization archetype.
- Variable-action spells and multi-application spells like Grease.
- Signature spells for flexible heightening.
- Secrets of Magic archetypes that modify casting.
- Spell research.
- GMs.

There are systems with more flexible casting. They also tend to have fewer spells, and often require more GM arbitration.

Liberty's Edge

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The Poppet ancestry needs a sock puppet heritage.

It will be Common rather than Rare though.

And they shall worship at Abadar's vaults.

Norade wrote:
That or a skill-based system to modify certain aspects of a spell on the fly because a wizard with maxed arcana should be a better caster than one who skipped it for other skills.

This is Rune Quest's sorcery, pretty much exactly

Arcanis does some similar stuff as well.

Paizo Employee Director of Community

Removed a large number of harassing posts and some replies that had quotes.

That is one of the main problems my group has with Casting not just PF 2 but the D+D based RPGs in generell( The biggest is the Vacanian Casting).
Our first Fantasy RPG introduced spontan modifaction with a new edition among other great things like removing character level and reducing character hit points(no more characters with more hit points than a dragon^^).

We changed both Pathfinder and Starfinder a lot with taking stuff from a lot of other RPGs.

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lowfyr01 wrote:
no more characters with more hit points than a dragon^^

I find HP to be better if not thought of as taking physical hits 99% of the time.

Sure PCs still get to a point where they can out endure something like a dragon... but it isn't because their body can literally take more damage.

That said I am not a system loyalist, and if I want to play a grittier game, I will simply use a system built for it rather than try to force it on a system built for fantasy superheroes.

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