Making a close combat caster in pf2e?


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Malk_Content wrote:

I think people have it the wrong way round. True Strike isn't limiting martial caster design. It's an exception to caster accuracy rules that the designers consider to be acceptably costly.

Without true strike being in the game you likely still wouldn't have greater martial accuracy options for casters (at least without class archetypes stripping alot of casting away for it.)

True Strike is a get around the limitation (with clear trade offs), not the reason such limitations exist.

Do you have a citation from a developer for this? If there's one spell that breaks the stacks with everything rule and has to be considered for everything, it's an outlier and the mistake imo. It should have followed the other standard design goals, if it was intended to be universally available and the primary solution to this, then it should have been on all spell lists.


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I remember the early days when the wizard's are bad now threads were still plenty. There were a lot of people saying that balancing around true strike was bad and that they should add more spell bonuses. But there were also plenty just saying "oh just use a staff of divination casters are not supposed to be good at hitting anyway" (I am being hyperbolic). At that time you could still enchant magic staffs with runes.

Paizo since then has made it so you cannot apply property runes to staffs because they are unique. They have not released any way to increase spell attack to hit specifically (just shift it to another save). They errata the only way for pure casters to get master in strikes before it came out. The magus whose whole stick is striking and delivering spells was left with only 4 actual spell slots and a bunch of ways to trigger AoO.

So yeah, I am convinced that they balance around spell strike being an action and spell sink so that casters always have to use 2 actions to stay relevant.


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wegrata wrote:
Malk_Content wrote:

I think people have it the wrong way round. True Strike isn't limiting martial caster design. It's an exception to caster accuracy rules that the designers consider to be acceptably costly.

Without true strike being in the game you likely still wouldn't have greater martial accuracy options for casters (at least without class archetypes stripping alot of casting away for it.)

True Strike is a get around the limitation (with clear trade offs), not the reason such limitations exist.

Do you have a citation from a developer for this? If there's one spell that breaks the stacks with everything rule and has to be considered for everything, it's an outlier and the mistake imo. It should have followed the other standard design goals, if it was intended to be universally available and the primary solution to this, then it should have been on all spell lists.

Solution to what exactly? Casters generally are less accurate with weapon attacks than martials by design. They are not supposed to have easy options to get additional accuracy bonuses, because the difference is only a +2 or 3 most of the time anyway. Enough to be noticeable, but still largely dice roll dependent on first attacks, with the biggest statistical shifts happening in critical effects.

True strike is an interesting spell to have in a tool box, and can increase the likelihood of nova attacks with attack rolls working, but good teamwork and support will still more often have practical results. A party that is all focusing individually on nova striking is a party that will experience regular character deaths for sure. I am ok with support classes really having to seek it out.

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Unicore wrote:

True strike is an interesting spell to have in a tool box, and can increase the likelihood of nova attacks with attack rolls working, but good teamwork and support will still more often have practical results. A party that is all focusing individually on nova striking is a party that will experience regular character deaths for sure. I am ok with support classes really having to seek it out.

From a math PoV, it certainly is interesting. While its easy to say its worth roughly a +4.5 bonus, its actually a bit more complicated than that. Because of the way success and failure gradients work in PF2, and the scaling of AC generally against level, it would be inaccurate to say that True Strike makes you succeed more, it actually just makes you fail less.

Where it falls down is long-odds rolls. If you're unlikely to succeed, it only makes you marginally more likely to do so.

For example, if you need a roll of 17 to hit an enemies AC, True Strike only marginally improves the chances of getting that. It means its dramatically less likely for you to crit fail.


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Old_Man_Robot wrote:
Unicore wrote:

True strike is an interesting spell to have in a tool box, and can increase the likelihood of nova attacks with attack rolls working, but good teamwork and support will still more often have practical results. A party that is all focusing individually on nova striking is a party that will experience regular character deaths for sure. I am ok with support classes really having to seek it out.

From a math PoV, it certainly is interesting. While its easy to say its worth roughly a +4.5 bonus, its actually a bit more complicated than that. Because of the way success and failure gradients work in PF2, and the scaling of AC generally against level, it would be inaccurate to say that True Strike makes you succeed more, it actually just makes you fail less.

Where it falls down is long-odds rolls. If you're unlikely to succeed, it only makes you marginally more likely to do so.

For example, if you need a roll of 17 to hit an enemies AC, True Strike only marginally improves the chances of getting that. It means its dramatically less likely for you to crit fail.

I agree completely. True strike plays with the attack roll math in very different ways than static bonuses. It does increase the likelihood of a success for rolls right around the 50/50 mark pretty heavily, but it also massively reduces the likelihood of critical failure, which can be pretty important in some encounters, but not usually. It can also often massively swing the chances of critical success, often above 25% with only managing attacking a flatfooted foe and picking up a +1 from aid or a spell. Casters generally do much cooler stuff than martials on critical hits with spell attack rolls, which is why I think it is cool that there is a first level spell that can help them play with that.

If I was curious about anything, I would want to know why there are so many divine spells that utilize spell attack rolls instead of saves when the true strike spell is not on their list. Divine casters generally (excluding sorcerers) are usually a little lite on spell slots anyway. I mean, there still is hero points for getting an even better effect than true strike if you only want to cast them once or twice a session, and having more than 3 spell attack roll spells memorized as a divine caster is a curious choice to begin with, but it does seem like some newer players might be tricked into thinking these spells are a good spell to load up on when their class is probably not well built for it.


Would an abjuration runelord be a choice for that purpose?

Pure spellcaster with competitive edge and polearm proficiency ( armor proficiency can easily come general training and from the sentinel by at some point).

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HumbleGamer wrote:

Would an abjuration runelord be a choice for that purpose?

Pure spellcaster with competitive edge and polearm proficiency ( armor proficiency can easily come general training and from the sentinel by at some point).

For maximising True Strikes? I guess, but not by much and you limit the payout options if you go Abjuration. A Staff Nexus Wizard can have all the True strikes you’ll ever need, eventual having access to around 40 True Strikes a day if they want (10 native from staff, 10+9+8 from slot sacrifice, +3 1st level slots).

For my Runelord money, I’d rather go Evo and get access to weapon surge while I’m at it.


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I think attack rolls for a spellcaster have to be considered in the same way as saving throws.

It's an additional defense to target if you think you have good odds of affecting it more positively.

Some monsters have very low AC and high saves or straight up immunities in a lot of other defenses (oozes for exemple) and in those cases it's better to target AC. But if you're playing a spellcaster that only does spell attack rolls all of the time you fail to play to the strength of your class (versatility in defense targeting) and thus your odds of failure are overall stronger.

True strike is just a cherry on top of that core truth.

This is also an argument against item bonuses to spell attack rolls.

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AlastarOG wrote:

I think attack rolls for a spellcaster have to be considered in the same way as saving throws.

It's an additional defense to target if you think you have good odds of affecting it more positively.

Some monsters have very low AC and high saves or straight up immunities in a lot of other defenses (oozes for exemple) and in those cases it's better to target AC. But if you're playing a spellcaster that only does spell attack rolls all of the time you fail to play to the strength of your class (versatility in defense targeting) and thus your odds of failure are overall stronger.

True strike is just a cherry on top of that core truth.

This is also an argument against item bonuses to spell attack rolls.

I would be much more sympathetic to this view if attack spells were structured like other spells, and had failure riders/conditions. Almost all attack spells lack these, making them generally under performing spells.

What’s more, the games design takes into account AC scaling both on the assumption of access to proficiencies at martial levels and access to fundamental runes.

Without access to runes, greatly delayed proficiency bonuses, and no failure conditions, attack spells are a uniquely poor category of spell.

It would be one thing, however, if the damage payoff broke the level curve, and they worked as “high risk-high reward” thing. Sadly their damage, while usually good, doesn’t break any level expectations.

Let’s not put lipstick on a pig here.


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The fact even the highest level spell attack deals less damage than a standard rotation of a fighter while costing a 10th level spell slot just makes the whole thing feel so much worse.

You would expect that a single target ability that you can only use once a day at lv 19, and maybe twice if you spend a feat at level 20 would be super impactful. But nope its just the same as if a martial did a few attacks, that they can do all day.


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Well as a comparison, agaisnt a level 20 enemy, polar ray does 85 damage if you include the drained value and leaves them with a -2 to fort DC and saves.

Sure, it's not as potent as 3 attacks criting but it opens up the creature to grabs and shoves, as well as further fort targeting spells.

Like a 10th level true strike searing light with a shadow signet to target the fort dc, giving you good odds of a Crit on your 38d6 of damage.


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Also usually done from range.

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AlastarOG wrote:

Well as a comparison, agaisnt a level 20 enemy, polar ray does 85 damage if you include the drained value and leaves them with a -2 to fort DC and saves.

Sure, it's not as potent as 3 attacks criting but it opens up the creature to grabs and shoves, as well as further fort targeting spells.

Like a 10th level true strike searing light with a shadow signet to target the fort dc, giving you good odds of a Crit on your 38d6 of damage.

Now now, you are starting to fudge to validate your argument. You’ve laid out a specific example which uses two spells and an item to overcome a vague, notional, martial damage.

Let’s also not neglect that spells are limited resources. Especially 10th level slots, which most casters will have at the very most 2 of a day.

Also, bow damage can get pretty damn high, and I’ve seen some great throwing builds. We can’t pretend range is the domain of casters.


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No definitely not.

Ranged attack spells have their use but they definitely do not compete with ranged builds. (My exemple above was just for funsies, not aiming to be that factual)

I usually save them for when I've adequately debuffed the ennemy (something like FF+frightened/sickened/clumsy 1-3)

That's when they hit the most and make the most sense, because FF is a penalty that you can't put on saves, and true strike is a bonus that saving throw spells don't have.

Otherwise if they're just frightened 1-2 and no FF you're better off casting saving throw spells like slow or hideous laughter.

If they're not debuffed in any way you have no business making a ranged attack spell really, depending on situation.

Also some ranged attack spells double as utility, like disintegrate.

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Temperans wrote:

The fact even the highest level spell attack deals less damage than a standard rotation of a fighter while costing a 10th level spell slot just makes the whole thing feel so much worse.

You would expect that a single target ability that you can only use once a day at lv 19, and maybe twice if you spend a feat at level 20 would be super impactful. But nope its just the same as if a martial did a few attacks, that they can do all day.

That would hold true if spell attacks were the only thing available to a caster.


The Raven Black wrote:
Temperans wrote:

The fact even the highest level spell attack deals less damage than a standard rotation of a fighter while costing a 10th level spell slot just makes the whole thing feel so much worse.

You would expect that a single target ability that you can only use once a day at lv 19, and maybe twice if you spend a feat at level 20 would be super impactful. But nope its just the same as if a martial did a few attacks, that they can do all day.

That would hold true if spell attacks were the only thing available to a caster.

When talking about attack spells it holds true. When talking about anything that is not AoE vs a bunch of mooks it holds true; When talking about buff/debuffs it holds true; When talking about doing at your best more than twice a day it holds true.


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Temperans wrote:
The Raven Black wrote:
Temperans wrote:

The fact even the highest level spell attack deals less damage than a standard rotation of a fighter while costing a 10th level spell slot just makes the whole thing feel so much worse.

You would expect that a single target ability that you can only use once a day at lv 19, and maybe twice if you spend a feat at level 20 would be super impactful. But nope its just the same as if a martial did a few attacks, that they can do all day.

That would hold true if spell attacks were the only thing available to a caster.
When talking about attack spells it holds true. When talking about anything that is not AoE vs a bunch of mooks it holds true; When talking about buff/debuffs it holds true; When talking about doing at your best more than twice a day it holds true.

I am curious what encounters you have had a character with level 10 spells in, and felt like those spells were not impactful on the encounter?

There are not that many 10th level spells, but a spell like cataclysm does such a number on enemy resistances and does so many different types of damage, that even on successful save it is pretty encounter changing. Certainly something more than any single martial attack at that level.

Most of the rest of arcane level 10 spells are about unbelievable flexibility, utility and world changing narrative power. Or kinda just playing into wizards thing. If you are talking about heightening a different spell, well everyone should be cautioned off of comparing the effect of a level 10 spell by looking at lower level spells heightened. Heightened spells are usually good in specific situations, if your party is built to do a specific thing, but otherwise they fall behind the higher level spells by design.

Maybe you are feeling like there are not enough level 10 single target attack spells to be able to compare to a maximum level martial attack? I can see why some players are still waiting for that, but, in my opinion, it doesn't feel like single target striking was a focused design space for the wizard, or caster's generally, so it makes sense not to have invested much time in providing a spell at that level yet. When/if they do, they will have to be careful to make sure that even in a nova capacity the wizard is not capable of just doing any other class' thing better then they do with a top level spell and a first level spell.


As an exemple: time stop is a game changer for me when players get to a level where as a GM I can have my caster opponents start casting time stop.

It's amazing ! They can reposition, buff, leverage tactical advantage, I never have them prepare any other level 10 spell.

From the player side... I don't know how good it would be ? My lead caster right now is a druid so I won't even have the option... I guess it would be pretty damn good ?

What I know is despite my above exemple, I would probably never prepare a level 10 searing light....


to be honest, I don't it can work in Pathfinder 2. I envision what you are

talking about as someone like Sypha from Castlevania anime on Netflix.

You could however pull the concept off in in Shadowrun 5.


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Malk_Content wrote:
True Strike is a get around the limitation (with clear trade offs), not the reason such limitations exist.

I mean, that sort of sounds like a six of one, half a dozen of the other argument.

Either way the end result is that spell attacks are balanced around access to true strike, which generally just feels terrible (especially for divine and primal casters).

Maybe it was a Really Clever Idea by the devs at the time, but the end result just sort of sucks and means spell attacks are uniquely annoying to use and that everyone interested in making spell attacks just buys a staff of divination and a shadow signet at some point to mostly trivialize the issue.

AlastarOG wrote:
I think attack rolls for a spellcaster have to be considered in the same way as saving throws.

Spells that target saves tend to have half value on a failure or some other rider effect though, specifically to make them more reliable. That spell attacks don't makes this comparison not hold well.

And while you're right that some monsters have very low AC, for the most part AC is significantly more standardized across monsters than saves are, because martial attacks are the main avenue of dealing single target damage.

You can tell Paizo figured this out too: NPC spellcasters use martial or fighter numbers to hit things, not caster numbers, because if they used caster numbers the encounters wouldn't function well.

The Raven Black wrote:
That would hold true if spell attacks were the only thing available to a caster.

"Just do something else" is not an argument for something being well designed though. Pretty much the opposite, really.

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Unicore wrote:
When/if they do, they will have to be careful to make sure that even in a nova capacity the wizard is not capable of just doing any other class' thing better then they do with a top level spell and a first level spell.

It would be nice though if the Wizard actually had its own, dedicated, "thing" to begin with.


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Old_Man_Robot wrote:
Unicore wrote:
When/if they do, they will have to be careful to make sure that even in a nova capacity the wizard is not capable of just doing any other class' thing better then they do with a top level spell and a first level spell.

It would be nice though if the Wizard actually had its own, dedicated, "thing" to begin with.

I'd argue their thesis is their own thing ?

I know I always agonize over which I'll take and each of my wizards feels different because of that !

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My apologies, I wasn't talking in terms of class features, more in terms of their Unique Selling Point, their shtick, the thing that buys their place at the table.

Its different than having builds, or specific abilties, its the value proposition of the class.


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Well the Wizards thing is that they are the best at casting.

They have the same number of spell slots as sorcerer's (and arguably just as good focus spells aside from the occasional outlier like dragon/elemental bloodlines) but on top of that have the added versatility of their thesis and of being prepared casters.

I would say their shtick is as well defined as fighters, whereas fighters Crit more often, Wizards have more spell slots and are thus the best at outputting arcane magic.

Yes I'm aware arcane bloodline sorcerers can have a small spellbook but it's definitely not the same as a wizard with spell blending or spell substitution, although they will both perform very well at what they do.


AlastarOG wrote:
Quote:


It would be nice though if the Wizard actually had its own, dedicated, "thing" to begin with.

I'd argue their thesis is their own thing ?

Sure! For 'who's written the most tangled book' contest :)


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The idea that Wizard focus spells are even arguably as good as Sorcerer focus spells is not one I ever thought I’d see.


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Xenocrat wrote:
The idea that Wizard focus spells are even arguably as good as Sorcerer focus spells is not one I ever thought I’d see.

Sorcerers have an additional ''tier'' of bloodline spells which makes them overall better, and a lot of them are much better than what wizards have.

But if we compare, let's say, nymph's token to physical boost, physical boost is better. Same thing with, let's say, spirit veil vs dimensional steps or dread aura.

But if we compare blinding beauty or dragon's breath to (looks at level 4 focus spells for wizards....) ok no they're kinda all solid ! There is less of them though, and sorcerers do have that level 6 focus spell that is overall much better than any wizard focus spells.

But at level 1, some sorcerer focus spells are MUCH better than some wizard focus spells, but the inverse is also true.


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To bring this conversation back to the OP:

The wizard casts spells. That is their schtick. They cast the most spells and the most different kinds of spells. What other 2nd level caster is ever going to see a specific situation before them and going to be able to cast Invisible item, negate aroma, Magic Aura and feather fall one day (+1 of those spells again) when those 4 1st level spells are exactly the right spells to pull off a derring heist, perhaps combined with Conceal spell as metamagic to do so in front of commoners without raising attention?

No one goes into a random day with those spells memorized, but there are wizards who can have that load out ready in less than an hour of finding out it would be useful, not even having to take a night to be ready.

A rogue might be able to accomplish all 4 of those things pretty effectively (although not well at level 2), but they are committing static character resources to it, and when it is a one off heist adventure in an otherwise narrow corridor dungeon crawling campaign, lots of those abilities might very well never get used again.

Flip this to the situation where you realize that the upcoming boss is a caster that is accustomed to trying to fight from range with area of effect blasts and spells to control the battlefield, but not really great melee attacks or AC. Suddenly the ability to get up in the enemy's face and surround them, grab them or steal one action so they cannot move and cast spells, and suddenly having jump and tether together for first level spells becomes a spell combo that could win the day by getting across an elaborately constructed defensive position and preventing the caster from getting away while your allies have to spend a round getting through it.

I think Wizards are harder to visualize having their moments to shine in white room simulations than they are to have fun with in play if you have a supportive relationship with your GM and can talk to them about the kind of caster you want to play and are willing to listen if they advise against certain builds for their specific campaign.

A close up wizard is possible entirely with spells and no static character choices sunk into the build for certain situations and in some campaigns...and will completely flop in others if they have to sustain being up close through 4 or 5 encounters in the day, especially without warning about what kinds of encounters those will be.

The biggest issue that wizard's face is that many of their best spells can be campaign breaking for a GM that doesn't prepare for them, which can lead some GMs to deny access to uncommon options for wizards and for some wizard players to feel like their GM is acting hostilely towards them. It is a class that requires close communication and understanding with the GM to neither let the wizard steal the show and turn the campaign into the adventures of Wizard + friends, nor to be relegated to feeling like they might as well just memorize 4 fear spells everyday and have been a sorcerer because they never know what is coming up next and so they just spam the same 2 or 3 spells for the entire campaign.


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Unicore wrote:
The biggest issue that wizard's face is that many of their best spells can be campaign breaking for a GM that doesn't prepare for them, which can lead some GMs to deny access to uncommon options for wizards and for some wizard players to feel like their GM is acting hostilely towards them. It is a class that requires close communication and understanding with the GM to neither let the wizard steal the show and turn the campaign into the adventures of Wizard + friends, nor to be relegated to feeling like they might as well just memorize 4 fear spells everyday and have been a sorcerer because they never know what is coming up next and so they just spam the same 2 or 3 spells for the entire campaign.

This is a big issue. During all my adventuring days I rarely felt like, I am glad we have a Wizard with a full spellbook in our party and we are thus prepared for the mostly known challenge ahead of us. On the contary it most often was like: Damn, another jump attack Tyrannosaurus Rex and our Wizard already used up his compliment of top slot combat spells for today...

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Squiggit wrote:
The Raven Black wrote:
That would hold true if spell attacks were the only thing available to a caster.
"Just do something else" is not an argument for something being well designed though. Pretty much the opposite, really.

I guess someone should tell that to the martials that would like AoE attacks, attacks that do something on a failure, attacks that target saves without requiring investing in specific skills or skill feats. Not to mention buffing allies.

You know. All those things casters take for granted because they actually are.


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Ubertron_X wrote:
Unicore wrote:
The biggest issue that wizard's face is that many of their best spells can be campaign breaking for a GM that doesn't prepare for them, which can lead some GMs to deny access to uncommon options for wizards and for some wizard players to feel like their GM is acting hostilely towards them. It is a class that requires close communication and understanding with the GM to neither let the wizard steal the show and turn the campaign into the adventures of Wizard + friends, nor to be relegated to feeling like they might as well just memorize 4 fear spells everyday and have been a sorcerer because they never know what is coming up next and so they just spam the same 2 or 3 spells for the entire campaign.
This is a big issue. During all my adventuring days I rarely felt like, I am glad we have a Wizard with a full spellbook in our party and we are thus prepared for the mostly known challenge ahead of us. On the contary it most often was like: Damn, another jump attack Tyrannosaurus Rex and our Wizard already used up his compliment of top slot combat spells for today...

I would argue that the Melee fighter actually has the same problem, it is just very, very common for GMs and adventure writers to build the entire world around assumptions that work very well for melee fighters.

Assumptions like: Combats will not involve fighting continuously for an hour against waves and waves of lower level enemies; Powerful enemies will not generally start out 500ft away or more, flying and with the tools to exploit that range, at least not that often and not until the fighter is higher level; Generally speaking, fighting your way out of a problem, risking killing people, often over property disputes and to avoid long winded negotiations are acceptable approaches to conflict resolution.

I don't think there is anything wrong with tables having these kinds of assumptions about game play. I think there is something wrong with assuming the game should require every class to be built to deal with one specific (and common set of assumptions) or else the class is bad, and that tables talking about these kinds of assumptions is an important part of making sure everyone has fun and avoids frustrations with the build of their character.


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The Raven Black wrote:


I guess someone should tell that to the martials that would like AoE attacks, attacks that do something on a failure, attacks that target saves without requiring investing in specific skills or skill feats. Not to mention buffing allies.

You know. All those things casters take for granted because they actually are.

Yes, casters have other spells. No, that doesn't magically make true strike less of a poorly designed balancing tool for badly tuned attack spells.

Talk about a non-sequitur.


great discussion here! I did not think people were still talking on this thread till I just checked.

The gif was not helpful on my prompt in hindsight. My real question was: how viable is it to play a character that looks and acts like your traditional full caster, but stays in the frontline alongside the melee fighters.

I love playing casters, and I like the classic unarmed appearance of mage characters, but I dislike being a backline character.

I would prefer not to do any melee attacking at all, but if some is needed to have a reason to stay in that range, I would prefer to use a staff over any other weapon.

What I was looking for was a character wearing a robe, holding a staff, and casting spells, but who also had a reason to not hide in the back.


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Rfkannen wrote:

great discussion here! I did not think people were still talking on this thread till I just checked.

The gif was not helpful on my prompt in hindsight. My real question was: how viable is it to play a character that looks and acts like your traditional full caster, but stays in the frontline alongside the melee fighters.

I love playing casters, and I like the classic unarmed appearance of mage characters, but I dislike being a backline character.

I would prefer not to do any melee attacking at all, but if some is needed to have a reason to stay in that range, I would prefer to use a staff over any other weapon.

What I was looking for was a character wearing a robe, holding a staff, and casting spells, but who also had a reason to not hide in the back.

Good news then, it is often advantageous for a caster to draw the occasional attack in PF2. Some parties love having a tempting target for enemies that can then be retaliated on with reactions and abilities, but even without those, encounters where every character ends up with 10% hp left usually have much better outcomes than encounters where 1 character draws all the fire until they are down.

Wizards have a number of great spells for making enemies regret attacking them too, so that can be fun. Just be aware that PF2 is a game where no one strategy is always a good one. There are enemies that full plate and shield champions don't really want to stand around on the front line and get pummeled, much less a squishy caster. A whole party that is prepared to handle threats at different range increments, be mobile and dynamic on the battlefield will generally do very well. I think you will really enjoy playing a wizard in PF2.


Overall in my first plays in pf2e as a gnome bard I'd stay in the back a lot, like 50ft behind the front, and then I'd often get dropped by ambush adds that were invisible or stealthed.

I then started chilling around the fighter and champion (but 10-15ft away from enemy) and I was much better protected because they could heavily punish anyone trying to hit me.


Rfkannen wrote:

great discussion here! I did not think people were still talking on this thread till I just checked.

The gif was not helpful on my prompt in hindsight. My real question was: how viable is it to play a character that looks and acts like your traditional full caster, but stays in the frontline alongside the melee fighters.

I love playing casters, and I like the classic unarmed appearance of mage characters, but I dislike being a backline character.

I would prefer not to do any melee attacking at all, but if some is needed to have a reason to stay in that range, I would prefer to use a staff over any other weapon.

What I was looking for was a character wearing a robe, holding a staff, and casting spells, but who also had a reason to not hide in the back.

My current campaign is level 13, and my wife plays a cloistered cleric that, while not seeking the front, doesn't get super scared of it either. She tends to stay about 10-20 ft away from wnemies becaise that puts her in healing range for the frint and back lines. She doesn't optimize either; I think she's only 16 dex, made up somewhat by having a similar con. She can usually handle a few hits well enough, though prolonged focused targeting can grt her knocked down.

If you wish to be a caster that stays up front, I think it can be done easily enough with mild investment. Unfortunately, unless you are willing to don medium or heavy armor, hitting with a staff isn't going to be very easy while keeping up survivability, although being able to swing a finesse weapon in times of danger is pretty easy to do (in fact, I tend to favor having my mages pack a bow or thrown weapon like a dagger; strikes are pretty solid filler actions for a caster!)

The biggest bang for your buck is pretty easy though; Bastion Dedication opens up with a solid reaction that gives you +2 AC, and quick shield block gives you an extra reaction for shield blocks. With a sturdy shield, this helps boost your bulk quite a bit with minimal investment


Pathfinder Rulebook Subscriber
Rfkannen wrote:

great discussion here! I did not think people were still talking on this thread till I just checked.

The gif was not helpful on my prompt in hindsight. My real question was: how viable is it to play a character that looks and acts like your traditional full caster, but stays in the frontline alongside the melee fighters.

I love playing casters, and I like the classic unarmed appearance of mage characters, but I dislike being a backline character.

I would prefer not to do any melee attacking at all, but if some is needed to have a reason to stay in that range, I would prefer to use a staff over any other weapon.

What I was looking for was a character wearing a robe, holding a staff, and casting spells, but who also had a reason to not hide in the back.

Great news then. If you're not looking to swing weapons this is perfectly viable. There are plenty of touch range spells. Things like vampiric touch which damage and heal will be great for you.


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It occurs to me that the best class for casting Imaginary Weapon as your main routine might actually be Bard. You start off with 8HP and light armor so archetyping for defenses isn't as necessary, you get legendary scaling on occult spells so it's hit rate will be good, and you come pre-packaged with the best third action in the game.

Dark Archive

Unicore wrote:


I agree completely. True strike plays with the attack roll math in very different ways than static bonuses. It does increase the likelihood of a success for rolls right around the 50/50 mark pretty heavily, but it also massively reduces the likelihood of critical failure, which can be pretty important in some encounters, but not usually. It can also often massively swing the chances of critical success, often above 25% with only managing attacking a flatfooted foe and picking up a +1 from aid or a spell.

I wasn't happy with how I vague I actually left this, so I sat down with a pen and paper and worked out the formula for determining the result of rolling two identifical dice and taking the highest value, averaged out.

I came up with:

Quote:
1/6n (n+1)(4n-1), where n is the number of sides of the dice, in this case, 20

Then I smacked myself in the head because what I realised when I looked at the numbers is that this always 2/3rds of the max value of the dice type. So for a d20 its just 13.x (with x really being anywhere from .3 to .8 depending on your iterations), and since we always round down we can just say 13.

Taking that as a starting point, it might be a fun project to start scaling True Strike rolls with average enemy AC, then scale in the flat modifiers and what bonuses can generally be applied.

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