Pathfinder Martial vs Caster Balance - is this right?


Pathfinder Second Edition General Discussion

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Slacker 2.0 wrote:
Farien wrote:
Well, it sounds like you already know exactly how to fix it all. So why are you wasting time arguing with people here. Being a 3rd party publisher couldn't possibly be that hard for someone as expert at writing as you are.
The issue isn't writing a good system. It's marketing and distributing said system in a crowded indy scene with no unified storefront and very low, lower than Steam or the Apple Store, levels of discoverability. It's not worth the time to write a better system unless you have a load of funds to ensure people actually see it.

If you thought PF2 ever had a chance of outselling 5e, it's good you didn't do this. You clearly have absolutely no understanding of branding and market penetration.

Don't quit your day job, is what I'm saying.


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Cyouni wrote:

If you thought PF2 ever had a chance of outselling 5e, it's good you didn't do this. You clearly have absolutely no understanding of branding and market penetration.

Don't quit your day job, is what I'm saying.

I never said it did. Only that Paizo failed to capitalize on its growth as well as it could have and continue to miss chances to grow into the digital realm with the line that they "aren't a tech company."

Grand Archive

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I daresay that Paizo isn't interested in growing just for the sake of growing. Maybe, just maybe, It is possible that people can be motivated by something other than money?


Squiggit wrote:
Lollerabe wrote:


It's feels a bit archaic. Most games and media manages to have casters that plays/seem awesome, without a huge barrier to entry.

I mean it kind of is. The PF Wizard is rooted in a design from the 70s based on a very specific and obscure set of source material that has wrapped in on itself so many times it's only really become a reference to itself. It's why basically no spellcaster in any form of modern fiction can be properly emulated with the Wizard.

Martialmasters wrote:


Elementalist is about theme and flavor over options
Elementalist is also garbo tho.

I house ruled to 5E casting. Vancian I never enjoyed. In the books, wizards know spells and can use them when needed at the power level needed. That is the feel I want.


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Slacker 2.0 wrote:
Cyouni wrote:

If you thought PF2 ever had a chance of outselling 5e, it's good you didn't do this. You clearly have absolutely no understanding of branding and market penetration.

Don't quit your day job, is what I'm saying.

I never said it did. Only that Paizo failed to capitalize on its growth as well as it could have and continue to miss chances to grow into the digital realm with the line that they "aren't a tech company."

This you?

Slacker 2.0 wrote:
I'd like it if that changed so I could stop supporting WoTC but the Paizo team seems to want to carve out a small niche rather than aiming for the top.

Especially since PF2 is doing perfectly fine by anyone's measure. They're already sitting pretty in a spot above everyone else, and also managing to stay above the tide of "5e 3pp products", a claim no one else can match.

I don't see why they should have to rewrite their perfectly successful game to satisfy some random person on the internet.


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Slacker 2.0 wrote:
Kasoh wrote:
Paizo doesn't really compete with D&D. Not really. No one competes with D&D.
PF1 did. PF1 was ahead of D&D 4e for the majority of its lifespan and had strong sales until 5e came along and killed it. Paizo could have grown its market instead it chose to retreat.

PF2 has grown on me.

5E I grew away from. Just a boring game. Not sure what you think One D&D will do. Paizo and D&D are competing for different shares of the market from what I've seen. D&D has gone mainstream with celebs and Critical Role, while PF2 is appealing for those that like a game with more depth and challenge.

Not sure why Paizo would want to compete against D&D when they're going after different segments of the market.


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Cyouni wrote:
Slacker 2.0 wrote:
Cyouni wrote:

If you thought PF2 ever had a chance of outselling 5e, it's good you didn't do this. You clearly have absolutely no understanding of branding and market penetration.

Don't quit your day job, is what I'm saying.

I never said it did. Only that Paizo failed to capitalize on its growth as well as it could have and continue to miss chances to grow into the digital realm with the line that they "aren't a tech company."

This you?

Slacker 2.0 wrote:
I'd like it if that changed so I could stop supporting WoTC but the Paizo team seems to want to carve out a small niche rather than aiming for the top.

Especially since PF2 is doing perfectly fine by anyone's measure. They're already sitting pretty in a spot above everyone else, and also managing to stay above the tide of "5e 3pp products", a claim no one else can match.

I don't see why they should have to rewrite their perfectly successful game to satisfy some random person on the internet.

Perhaps so they can pay their staff a living wage and hire somebody in HR to keep the management from abusing members of the team. Have we all forgotten about those issues already?

Grand Archive

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I have not forgotten. It is a good thing then that there is an influx of 5e players to help with that.


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I'm a little confused to what is even the topic of this thread at this point. A shame. I was enjoying the convo.

Grand Archive

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On the surface it does not appear as though martials and casters are balanced. But in actuality they are.

Some people don't like how the balance is achieved.

That is the summary.


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Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

For folks trying to "hack" the system (Jason's words) this video might be really useful. The first thing Bulmahn goes over is the 4 pillars of the game, and talks about the interplay of proficiencies and 4 degrees of success and why it is the way it is, and how you could play with it/change it for your own hacks.

It is interesting how he points out that the game is meant to make you struggle with checks at lower level and to develop the ability to shift your odds as you level up. Part of the trickery that happens under the hood with the spells is that you mostly accomplish this with spells through debuffing and learning about your enemy. Blaster casters really can dominate encounters if the rest of the party does as much set up work as the casters usually end up doing for martials in the paradigm that leads to these "Caster vs Martial = no blasting conversations."

This was the system design and it wasn't arrived at accidentally.


Slacker 2.0 wrote:
Cyouni wrote:
Slacker 2.0 wrote:
Cyouni wrote:

If you thought PF2 ever had a chance of outselling 5e, it's good you didn't do this. You clearly have absolutely no understanding of branding and market penetration.

Don't quit your day job, is what I'm saying.

I never said it did. Only that Paizo failed to capitalize on its growth as well as it could have and continue to miss chances to grow into the digital realm with the line that they "aren't a tech company."

This you?

Slacker 2.0 wrote:
I'd like it if that changed so I could stop supporting WoTC but the Paizo team seems to want to carve out a small niche rather than aiming for the top.

Especially since PF2 is doing perfectly fine by anyone's measure. They're already sitting pretty in a spot above everyone else, and also managing to stay above the tide of "5e 3pp products", a claim no one else can match.

I don't see why they should have to rewrite their perfectly successful game to satisfy some random person on the internet.

Perhaps so they can pay their staff a living wage and hire somebody in HR to keep the management from abusing members of the team. Have we all forgotten about those issues already?

I have not heard this is a problem for them. My entire group tried 5E and found it lacking. Then we moved to PF2 and weren't sure we liked it, but it has grown on us. It's easy to run and still allows a lot of customization and interesting character builds.

Main problem we have still is magic items are not the greatest. But 5E's "we didn't balance the game with magic items" in mind is far worse.


I would be cool if we dropped off-topic wbout DnD vs PF financials or "I do hombrew to 5e, though topic is not about that, notice me" etc. and get back to topic please.

Anyway, going back to casters vs martials I think the only thing in my opinion that Paizo missed in PF2e was getting rid of Vancian system. As someone who optimizes/crunch/theorycrafts etc. I perfectly know that it's just... chore to deal with preparing, chosing slots, remembering slots, trying to predict every day with your slots and spells etc for average person. This is for example the reason why my friends really prefer to just play Sorcerer/Bard becasue they don't have to deal with that. And with Sorc/Bard you still need to chose right spells, you still need to do research and learn how to be good caster etc... But you can just cast same 2 spells 20 times if so happened that they are the best for todays adventure.

I think Vancian is one of those things that it's just frustrating mechanic to deal with, to remember. Feels very "manual", unrealistic (yeah, I already deleted file "fireball" from my head) and I think PF2e should have gone into new dirrection. Maybe even spell points/mana or rolling d20 if spell is "going-off" like some systems, anything else.

Imo many new players that don't remember dinosaur ancient times of Vancian spell slots just don't feel it's good mechanic. For many of us it's nostalgic or we are used to it. But for new people... dang, it feels archaic. That's my opinion.


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Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

I mean, we do have very different classes of casters for that reason, right? Like I love wizards. I love having a spell book with everything and the kitchen sink in it and trying to puzzle out what I want memorized each and every day. To me, it feels great, it makes the class very powerful, and it has an academic tone to it that resonates with me.

But sorcerers are cool, and powerful too, and still get a ton of spells. Meanwhile psychics don't get a whole lot of spells, but they do get some powerful options for what to do with their cantrips and can really specialize around doing a specific thing about as often as I imagine any caster class is going to reasonably get. Then there are a bunch between there, with Magus and summoner as one type, and oracle/druid/witch/bard as another type that still have lots of spells, but not as many and other things than casting spells from spell slots that become their main thing. They definitely all have their own feel to them.


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Deriven Firelion wrote:
Squiggit wrote:
Lollerabe wrote:


It's feels a bit archaic. Most games and media manages to have casters that plays/seem awesome, without a huge barrier to entry.

I mean it kind of is. The PF Wizard is rooted in a design from the 70s based on a very specific and obscure set of source material that has wrapped in on itself so many times it's only really become a reference to itself. It's why basically no spellcaster in any form of modern fiction can be properly emulated with the Wizard.

Martialmasters wrote:


Elementalist is about theme and flavor over options
Elementalist is also garbo tho.
I house ruled to 5E casting. Vancian I never enjoyed. In the books, wizards know spells and can use them when needed at the power level needed. That is the feel I want.

So would you say your opinions on casters are as valid in this topic if discussion if they don't even play how you are supposed to in your games?


Kyle_TheBuilder wrote:
Feels very "manual", unrealistic (yeah, I already deleted file "fireball" from my head)

While I don't necessarily disagree, I will comment that Vancian is like preparing mental scrolls that you trigger off. I'd definitely say it's very different from a lot of the modern-style things.

That said, I mentally view Vancian in some way like an isekai magic system, and personally don't have an issue. Weird, but not really something that I'm going to revolt against the system for.

Liberty's Edge

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Slacker 2.0 wrote:
Arachnofiend wrote:
Paizo got away from this for very good logistical reasons. Can't even imagine how much page space is being saved by just listing a spell as being "arcane, occult, divine" rather than having to list every non-druid spellcaster that has been created, and also back adding existing spells to the list of every new spellcaster.
Oh noes, think of all the electrons that might be wasted on the PDF and AoN versions of the rules if we dared to make custom spell lists again! It might even take up a whole text column per new caster class!

One of the last big books for PF1, Planar Adventures, had 12 pages of spells. I just went and double-checked, and 4 of those 12 pages were spent listing which spells went on which spell list. Given physical books do still have page limits, Planar Adventures could have had 50% more spells in it if they didn't have the very inefficient way of assigning spells to a class' list.


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By the end of PF1 we had very silly stuff like

Quote:

Detect Magic

School Divination;
Level adept 0, arcanist 0, bard 0, cleric 0, druid 0, hunter 0, inquisitor 0, magus 0, medium 0, mesmerist 0, occultist 0, oracle 0, psychic 0, shaman 0, skald 0, sorcerer 0, spiritualist 0, summoner 0, summoner (unchained) 0, warpriest 0, witch 0, wizard 0


Cyouni wrote:
Kyle_TheBuilder wrote:
Feels very "manual", unrealistic (yeah, I already deleted file "fireball" from my head)

While I don't necessarily disagree, I will comment that Vancian is like preparing mental scrolls that you trigger off. I'd definitely say it's very different from a lot of the modern-style things.

That said, I mentally view Vancian in some way like an isekai magic system, and personally don't have an issue. Weird, but not really something that I'm going to revolt against the system for.

Of course, but that's my point. You, me and many are used to that system. We created (as you said) "mental view" of Vancian to justify how it looks like. But my point was new players. In last few years TTRPG saw HUGE surge in new players, and their starting point was mostly 5e, which already heavy modified classic Vancian and introduced "Spell Points" variant rule, which many (including my group when we played 5e) used because "mana" was easier to follow and justify in head. It's like magical stamina, once it's gone, you are so magicaly/mentally tired you can't cast anymore like you can't swing sword anymore. It's easy to follow and understand, it more "modern". And it was much more simple, you have X spell points per X level and every spell cost X points. 1st level 2 points, 2nd level 3 points, 3rd level 5 points etc. You spell level progression is the same. And let's say you have 30 points, you can cast 6x 3rd level spell, or 15x 2nd level spell. It was just easier for new players, even if you still had to "prepare" spells from list or chose spells as Sorcerer. Easy to calculate, no slots restriction, straight into game and action.

I just think for someone who is new in D&D and PF, someone young who never even played video games with Vancian like BG, ICW, NVN etc. but played games like Divinity Original Sin 2, Elden Ring, Skyrim etc. Vancian system is just (I reapeat myself but I lack better word) archaic, like trying to work on Microsoft Excel 90 after working only in life with Excel 2010+. That's what I feel turns NEW players off from casters and why Sorc is so popular.


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Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Sorcerer is a caster though. PF2 has that. Spell points across levels is a ship that sailed from the get go though because in PF2 all the points would go to highest level spells...which we already have classes for too, as far as Pf2 is probably going in that direction: Magus and Summoner. Wizard has a feature close to that with spell blending, but even then there are limits and you still have some lower level spell slots. Going any further in that direction would really require a very different underlying structure for spells that PF2 has built.


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Spell points went to staves

Tell me I'm wrong


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Kyle_TheBuilder wrote:
and their starting point was mostly 5e, which already heavy modified classic Vancian and introduced "Spell Points" variant rule, which many (including my group when we played 5e) used because "mana" was easier to follow and justify in head.

I'm not sure that number is really that high. I have never been in a game with spell points. I have never seen a game add for spell points. I have hear multiple times that the spell points variant rule was not balanced at all.

Kyle_TheBuilder wrote:
That's what I feel turns NEW players off from casters and why Sorc is so popular.

Never in all my time playing 5e and Pf2 with over 30 completely new players, has this ever been a complain. Some minor confusion, but that also exists in about equal amounts with non Vancian casting systems. MP = magic has never been ubiquitous, and players can adapt. Otherwise video games with unique magic systems wouldn't be popular. MP exists because it is easier to design for and because it is tradition at this point. Is Vancian casting ideal? probably not, but it works and if it is going to be replaced, I would much rather it be with something more interesting than mana.


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I feel that the casting system was something 5e got right. Well the way you prepare and could freely upcast part. Not casting in general.

Realizing that pf2 had decided to stick to vancian was a bit of a letdown, and has confused a few of my friends greatly. As their main ttrpg experience was 5e.

Having to prepare multiple versions of the same spell dosent feel intuitive imo.

'im a conduit for magical energy. Throwing out stronger versions of a spell, drains me faster' makes more sense to me than 'I can't because I didn't memorize the stronger version' in fiction.

While SoM did introduce a way to get 5e casting, it's just way to expensive.

My understanding is that they did try to get rid of vancian in the playtest tho ?


It was a question on the playtest survey, yes.

The results were pretty strongly against.


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Cyouni wrote:

It was a question on the playtest survey, yes.

The results were pretty strongly against.

That is because people on the forum and who participate in playtests are not a good sample of the general player base. We are more invested and have different wants. They are a good test group but they don't really represent new players well. As Jeremy Crawford pointed out recently.

Lollerabe wrote:
Realizing that pf2 had decided to stick to vancian was a bit of a letdown, and has confused a few of my friends greatly. As their main ttrpg experience was 5e.

Yes this mass of ex D&D5 players may be enough that PF3 will have Vancian as the optional rule rather than the default. Time will tell.

It is certainly a bugbear for the D&D5 players I know. Just as long as we get to keep Sorcerers and Wizards I'm OK.

Until then house rule it if it is a major factor.


there are many consider vancian to be ancient and outdated when 2e core rulebook come out

it is not a new sentiment

would much rather see spell slot per encounter design of pillar of eternity

but that was a balancing nightmare even for video game


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"Spell slots per encounter" is basically what focus spells are... Which might be part of the problem really, a ton of the focus spells (especially the wizard/sorcerer/cleric options) range from niche to borderline unusable. You are supposed to have a reliable, rechargeable top level spell, but if that happens to be Veil of Confidence then you aren't gonna feel amazing about it. Meanwhile, Druids get Tempest Surge.


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Lollerabe wrote:

I feel that the casting system was something 5e got right. Well the way you prepare and could freely upcast part. Not casting in general.

Realizing that pf2 had decided to stick to vancian was a bit of a letdown, and has confused a few of my friends greatly. As their main ttrpg experience was 5e.

Having to prepare multiple versions of the same spell dosent feel intuitive imo.

'im a conduit for magical energy. Throwing out stronger versions of a spell, drains me faster' makes more sense to me than 'I can't because I didn't memorize the stronger version' in fiction.

While SoM did introduce a way to get 5e casting, it's just way to expensive.

My understanding is that they did try to get rid of vancian in the playtest tho ?

5E casting was a big step in the right direction I wish PF2 had adopted more of.

I do like that PF2 made cantrips powerful or at least usable at all levels. Casters having to rely on wands or bad weapons wasn't fun in PF1.


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Deriven Firelion wrote:

5E casting was a big step in the right direction I wish PF2 had adopted more of.

I do like that PF2 made cantrips powerful or at least usable at all levels. Casters having to rely on wands or bad weapons wasn't fun in PF1.

5e casting makes casters more powerful, though - it gives the day-to-day flexibility benefits of the wizard while also giving the round-to-round flexibility of the Sorceror.

So... based on what I've heard there isn't a problem with casters overall. At the same time, if you're saying "casters are doing fine, look at my game", and you have this houserule, then you aren't really saying that baseline PF2 casters are doing fine, are you?

Also, if casters in your game tend to be somewhat stronger than martials, then perhaps this is why.


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Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

There was always going to be a vancian wizard. If you know Jason Bulmahn, you know he loves the tradition of D&D wizards and was going to make a PF2 wizard that could represent wizards from the games lore. It would have taken a tidal wave of resistance to change that. Just look at wizard weapon proficiencies. Vancian wizard casting, memorizing specific spells from your spell book at the exact level you need them, in the exact quantity you need them is definitely the absolute casting ceiling of power in PF2. I also do not thing the game defaults to that as the baseline assumption of what casters have prepared, so that is why casters can situationally use spells to get ahead of the power curve, especially once they have a lot of spells in their book. But all casters can use scrolls, which is a very good strategy, but usually a level behind your top slots, at least as far as having lots of different ones and not just more of your favorite.

Saying you have to be the perfect wizard to stay ahead of the game as a caster is like saying you have to be the perfect fighter to be ahead of the game as a martial. There are some encounters in APs where things got too far out of tune and those are encounters that players should really be encouraged to avoid rather than fight, but baseline. A caster who gets even one or two topish-level (out of 5 to 7) spell slots right for the encounter is usually in very good shape.

Vigilant Seal

I was introduced to D&D through 3.5e in 2005 and I found the Sorcerer at the time more accessible than the Wizard, and Sorcerer has forever been my favorite caster to this day because of that.

Even now, although I understand how it works, I am intimidated by Vancian magic and have never played a prepared spell caster.


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Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

And that to me is an indicator of the system working as intended. Wizard is not an interesting class to you because the basic narrative conceit of the class is about using magic in a way that you don't want to use. But there are other caster classes that allow for a smaller pool of spells with more immediate flexiblity on casting them, and that is your jam. Then there are casters much more focused on focus spells and a lot of players really like that because it means figuring out how to get the maximum use out of one to three spells that change as you level up.

The one caster class that is not in the game is the fighter of casters, that uses one spell, or one very small subset of spells to overwhelm single targets from great range. It seems like the developers are not interested in making that class, as evidenced by the way spells work and classes keep getting released. If you don't like the narrative niches of Pathfinder 2E though, it is a very "hackable" game.


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Pathfinder LO Special Edition, Maps, Pathfinder Accessories, PF Special Edition Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber; Starfinder Superscriber

My favorite way to handle spellcasting is the way Harnmaster does it. Casting a spell causes fatigue. Being tired reduces your chance of successfully casting the spell. How much fatigue depends on the power of the spell. Eventually, you get to the point where your spell *will* critically fail -- which can have dire consequences.

In fact, fatigue affects everything you do, as does physical injury. The system fits together well, IMO.

There's another aspect: each spell is, in effect, a skill, with its own "Mastery Level", which is pretty much the chance of successfully casting the spell. If you successfully cast it, you get a chance to improve your Mastery Level, though that becomes harder as you get better at it -- the last possible increase will have a 1% chance of success. So you start out with say a 35% chance of successfully casting, and a 65% chance of improving Mastery Level to 36 if you do successfully cast it. There are ways to improve your chance of successfully casting, but not of improving your mastery level. Also, there is theoretically no limit to the complexity (power) level of a spell, though I've never seen a spell of higher than 8th level, nor a mage capable of casting more than maybe 10th level in theory.


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I'm very doubtful people would be actually happy with having spells be worse in exchange for you hearing the words "success" ten percent more often


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Martialmasters wrote:
I'm very doubtful people would be actually happy with having spells be worse in exchange for you hearing the words "success" ten percent more often

Unfortunately human beings are naturally Loss Averse. It isn't valid from a logic and emotionless game balance standpoint. But for the emotional feel of things, I do at least understand the complaint that it doesn't feel good having spellcaster's best spells be balanced around them having an effect when the enemy succeeds at the save.


breithauptclan wrote:
Martialmasters wrote:
I'm very doubtful people would be actually happy with having spells be worse in exchange for you hearing the words "success" ten percent more often
Unfortunately human beings are naturally Loss Averse. It isn't valid from a logic and emotionless game balance standpoint. But for the emotional feel of things, I do at least understand the complaint that it doesn't feel good having spellcaster's best spells be balanced around them having an effect when the enemy succeeds at the save.

I will home brew

Critical failure is"you got a sad face"

Failure becomes "here is a smiling sticker"

Success becomes "here is a cookie" note: avoid allergies

Critical success becomes "I fall to the ground in sobbing tears with complete adoration at the foot of the player"

Rough work in progress


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Human loss adversion is fundamental to how we think. Its why we focus on nerf ls rather then buffs. Why we worry about having to pay more, not about having to pay less. Etc. Even the best games are designed around players winning and hitting more often than failing.

The story of the person who constantly fails is great as the 3rd party looking in. But actually playing or being that chatacter is straight up miserable for anyone that isn't actively looking for it.


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Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

It is a good thing that you don't actually lose that often in PF2 then. When the enemy makes their save but dies anyway, I don't see any players feeling like their spells are no good and don't accomplish anything.

Vigilant Seal

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Martialmasters wrote:
breithauptclan wrote:
Martialmasters wrote:
I'm very doubtful people would be actually happy with having spells be worse in exchange for you hearing the words "success" ten percent more often
Unfortunately human beings are naturally Loss Averse. It isn't valid from a logic and emotionless game balance standpoint. But for the emotional feel of things, I do at least understand the complaint that it doesn't feel good having spellcaster's best spells be balanced around them having an effect when the enemy succeeds at the save.

I will home brew

Critical failure is"you got a sad face"

Failure becomes "here is a smiling sticker"

Success becomes "here is a cookie" note: avoid allergies

Critical success becomes "I fall to the ground in sobbing tears with complete adoration at the foot of the player"

Rough work in progress

You joke but for me making Failure into a smiling sticker does feel better. I wouldn't mind a smiling sticker on my lightning bolt or fireball or icestorm.

Purely psychologically. I am still daunted at the idea of playing a spellcaster in 2e due to the reputation early on (been playing since it came out roughly) that you can't blast which is my favorite form of mage. I have never been much of a support/healer/buffer or even debuffer class. I liked Mages and Warlock in WoW, specifically the direct damage kind. I refused to play Affliction Warlock.

I like being a DPS Caster. I mained Black Mage in FFXIV and I like the massive bombs playstyle. When I played a Druid in WoW it was either a feral druid or a moonkin, although for one raid tier I did tank as a bear. I like Elemental Shaman, and I love Enhancement Shaman.

I can tank and I am good at it, so I made a Hobgoblin Sword and Shield Fighter with a lot of shield feats and Marshall to take control of the battlefield and direct allies.

I can heal and I am good at it. If I wanted to be a healer I think in this game I would probably pick some kind of Druid and pick healing spells and classics like Faerie Fire, Entangle, Barkskin and other buffs/heals/enemy debuffs.

Most of all though I'd love an Elemental Shaman/Black Mage/Frostfire Mage/Destruction Warlock/Moon Druid/etc.. and it seems after reading this thread it is actually pretty playable, but I don't know how I would go about building one or which spells to pick.

So far I have only managed to real life play a Barbarian, a Rogue, a Ranger and a Fighter. I enjoy all of the martials I have played and I have a hard time picking a favorite.


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Unicore wrote:
It is a good thing that you don't actually lose that often in PF2 then. When the enemy makes their save but dies anyway, I don't see any players feeling like their spells are no good and don't accomplish anything.

If the enemy succeeds but immediately dies because they were at low HP? Yeah, probably not. If they succeed against your spells 3 times in a row and then die on round 4 with a dubious amount of contribution of your own? Not hard to seen why someone would be frustrated, even if by pure statistical analysis they helped quite a bit.


I'll be honest, maybe I am a bit broken, outside of basic necessities I don't experience loss aversion and attributed people that do to cultural/societal grooming.

I guess

Critical success=success

Success=failure

Failure=critical failure

Critical failure= devastating failure

I thought about minor failure, again might be a new thing, but it seems insulting


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Pathfinder Rulebook Subscriber
Unicore wrote:
Saying you have to be the perfect wizard to stay ahead of the game as a caster is like saying you have to be the perfect fighter to be ahead of the game as a martial.

It doesn't, though.

For better or for worse, the standards of optimization for martials tend to be lower than the standards of optimization expected for spellcasters, both in terms of how the community approaches them and in terms of how adventures are designed.


Sanityfaerie wrote:
Deriven Firelion wrote:

5E casting was a big step in the right direction I wish PF2 had adopted more of.

I do like that PF2 made cantrips powerful or at least usable at all levels. Casters having to rely on wands or bad weapons wasn't fun in PF1.

5e casting makes casters more powerful, though - it gives the day-to-day flexibility benefits of the wizard while also giving the round-to-round flexibility of the Sorceror.

So... based on what I've heard there isn't a problem with casters overall. At the same time, if you're saying "casters are doing fine, look at my game", and you have this houserule, then you aren't really saying that baseline PF2 casters are doing fine, are you?

Also, if casters in your game tend to be somewhat stronger than martials, then perhaps this is why.

We played both ways. Casters were fine the original way, though the wizard is far weaker and likely the witch. Sorcerers were more powerful. It did not matter much for the druid as what makes them powerful are their focus spells with an occasional power up from their base spells. Cleric was the cleric.

I did not bring up my house rule as an argument because it makes casters clearly more powerful than martials. But most of us like casters more powerful than martials because they are in most books.

I have quite a few power up house rules that I don't use in arguments like allowing casting while polymorphed with certain spells and allowing Weapon Specialization to add damage to attack spells and cantrips.

The wizard very much sucks without my house rule and I would think the witch would suck as well given they are a prepared intelligence caster, but their focus spells are better. Every other caster class is still fine and powerful.

I've played a bard, druid, and wizard to high level without the house rule change, only the wizard suffered the most.


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Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
dmerceless wrote:
Unicore wrote:
It is a good thing that you don't actually lose that often in PF2 then. When the enemy makes their save but dies anyway, I don't see any players feeling like their spells are no good and don't accomplish anything.
If the enemy succeeds but immediately dies because they were at low HP? Yeah, probably not. If they succeed against your spells 3 times in a row and then die on round 4 with a dubious amount of contribution of your own? Not hard to seen why someone would be frustrated, even if by pure statistical analysis they helped quite a bit.

Yeah but the investigator, Barbarian or rogue that missed 3 rounds in a row is also going to feel really terrible as well, only the party is probably dead against that enemy that only the caster is capable of doing anything against reliably.

Sovereign Court

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I have seen it go both ways actually. I have seen some APs and Scenarios where the casters are on fire. I have played the 1st book of Ruby Phoenix where the caster was basically made ineffective against foes in combat almost the entire book. Of course, I don't know if this was as much of the case of the caster almost always losing the DC game or if it was the GM thinking it was fun to shut down the caster as much as possible.

I will say for certain though, that others in our local groups who play casters more often than I do say they don't see much issue with running a caster. The biggest problem seems to be that there are not nearly as many items to benefit the caster as there are items to benefit a martial.


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Unicore wrote:


Yeah but the investigator, Barbarian or rogue that missed 3 rounds in a row is also going to feel really terrible as well, only the party is probably dead against that enemy that only the caster is capable of doing anything against reliably.

I don’t think that is a fair comparison. When anyone misses or fails on their action/activity, it is disappointing for them. However, when a martial misses, they do not expend their daily uses of swinging a sword.


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Pathfinder Rulebook Subscriber
Unicore wrote:
Yeah but the investigator, Barbarian or rogue that missed 3 rounds in a row is also going to feel really terrible as well

Agreed, which is another mark against the way Paizo has chosen to accuracy gate PF2.

But at the same time, Barbarians and Rogues tend to have multiple opportunities (rip investigators) to try. Two attacks per round mitigates some of that point of failure. So does the fact that barbarians and rogues aren't resource limited.

Conversely, our Wizard casting Acid Arrow is simultaneously less likely to succeed, while also having only a single point of failure, while also running on a strict resource budget.

We can't ignore the way all those circumstances compound in a potentially very frustrating way.


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And of course then we have the Swashbuckler that instead of having two opportunities to succeed, or even a single point of failure, it has a double opportunity to fail.

But hey, if you succeed at the skill check, you can - if using Confident Finisher - still get the consolation prize damage. *smiley face sticker*


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And doesn't it sting quite a bit that the Ranger keeps having to spend an action on Hunt Prey when they are fighting larger numbers of low level enemies?

How about the Giant Barbarian's miserable AC?

If we are going to bash classes for their inherent drawbacks, shouldn't we at least be fair about it and apply that attitude to all of the classes?


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Swashbucklers have just as much of an issue as casters. Casters are just much more affected compared to 3 martial post CRB classes (which have been noted as being undertuned).

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