Remastered Wizard reveals and speculation


Pathfinder Second Edition General Discussion

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The Remastered panel at Paizo Con today was really enlightening about SO many things that trying to jam them all in one thread feels impossible. One of the most interesting and exciting changes that the remastery is introducing (by necessity) is the elimination of what I will call the old-schools of magic, replacing them with actual "schools of magic," meaning that your school of magic as a wizard is the actual school you attended to learn your wizardry and it will determine your starting spells in your spell book and possibly some additional elements of the class, probably along the lines of focus spells, if focus spells are still a part of the class at all anymore.

This means that Golarion Wizards really are going to look a lot different than other game's wizards as there are nearly a limitless number of potential schools of magic across Golarion. The one's mentioned in the panel today (that I remember) include a school of battle wizardry that is going to include a lot of evocation options, but also martial battlefield control options like Earthbind, which would be "must learn spells" for any wizard that is going to be casting spells alongside an army. I think this means that you are likely to have some higher level spells in your starting spellbook right from the start, as they are resources your school gives you as you graduate. The other two that I remember being talked about is a school of universal something (which is like the generic wizardy wizard school) and a school with a really cool name that I don't remember that is about bodily transformation and nature magic that i think will respond well to the "this game doesn't support a good transmuter" line of criticism.

I can't imagine we won't get an illusionist school of mirages and misdirection as well as a cheliaxian school of devil summoning. But eventually we could get lots of different options which could include feats as well as spells.

One hypothetical example of how this will let them really break the old molds in the future is something like a Ustalav school of wizardry that combines spirit magic (necromancy type spells) and Electricity for a Frankenstein vibe. We also might see one or more Magaambya schools of wizardry in the future that also break the mold of past "schools of magic."

Personally, I am a huge fan of this decision and can't wait to see how it gets incorporated into the player core. Even as a fan of PF2 wizards, I am excited to see the wizard break away from what feels like a bland and restrictive arcane magic tradition defined by legacy elements that don't fit in Golarion, and see what kinds of stuff we get that will feel centered in the game world around them. I think this will also really help PF2 be a better system for homebrewers because it lets you have schools of wizardry that actually make sense to your game world, whatever that might look like.

The next several months are going to be challenging, just because so much more flavorful options are coming through the pipe line. I have a Magic Warrior Wizard in PFS that I basically want to completely rework once I see what new options are going to be available. I can't wait!


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The schools I recall the names of:
School of Battle Magic
School of Civic [Engineering?]
School of the Protean Form
School of Unified Magical Theory

I partly wonder if any of these schools are going to be tied to actual physical locations in the world, or if for example the Korvosan Academae will have within it several schools of magic taught, while maybe omitting others. It seems like a School of Battle Magic is something that could be taught at any military college around the world since everyone has utility for blowing stuff up, while maybe certain other schools are more unique to certain regions.

--

I used to be so in love with the schools of magic that I can't help but be a little disappointed to see them leave... not the least of which reason being that I finally got my pet peeve immortalized--healing and undeath are both necromancy alike! But even as I reflect on that nostalgia, I've kind of grown away from seeing these categories of magic as hard-coded into the world and more in-universe classifications which don't really apply to most types of magic anymore. Besides, the in-universe explanation for why there were schools of magic in the first place still exists. The Runelords of Thassilon founded schools of magic based on certain powerful arcane runes they discovered/invented and named them after virtues (which became vices). A Thassilonian rune mage might still think of summoning undead as being part of the school of Gluttony but a druid who channels the living energy of the world to heal wounds doesn't really care about a 10,000 year old dead wizard's categories--unless maybe they get training in arcane magical theory.

So, that said, I'm really in love with these new and incredibly more flavourful schools. This is seriously something wizards have been missing to spark my imagination.


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I wonder how/if the new wizard will handle their extra spell slots. If the schools are gone then what will denote what a wizard can and can't put in those slots? And if those slots go away will wizards get some other source of extra spells?


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Perpdepog wrote:
I wonder how/if the new wizard will handle their extra spell slots. If the schools are gone then what will denote what a wizard can and can't put in those slots? And if those slots go away will wizards get some other source of extra spells?

Valid question, and one to which I think we already have part of an answer: For example the school of Battle Magic was said to include such classic evocations as Fireball, but also what would have been a transmutation spell Earthbind for nailing down aerial foes.

... This does leave the worrying possibility that wizard schools will now create bespoke lists, which I think would be a major step backward for backward compatibility.


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Sibelius Eos Owm wrote:
Perpdepog wrote:
I wonder how/if the new wizard will handle their extra spell slots. If the schools are gone then what will denote what a wizard can and can't put in those slots? And if those slots go away will wizards get some other source of extra spells?

Valid question, and one to which I think we already have part of an answer: For example the school of Battle Magic was said to include such classic evocations as Fireball, but also what would have been a transmutation spell Earthbind for nailing down aerial foes.

... This does leave the worrying possibility that wizard schools will now create bespoke lists, which I think would be a major step backward for backward compatibility.

That was my thinking as well. Either backward compatibility will be difficult, or schools will end up feeling much more like sorcerer bloodlines.


Sonwhat happens with all the arcane colleges, bardic colleges, etc. that are already in the setting? What about identifying and categorizing what the different spells do? What about the wizards focusing on a select type of spells?

All of that has been uniquely Golarion, is that not going to be Golarion any more?

Why is deciding that an explosion is evocation "bland and restrictive"?


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
Perpdepog wrote:
I wonder how/if the new wizard will handle their extra spell slots. If the schools are gone then what will denote what a wizard can and can't put in those slots? And if those slots go away will wizards get some other source of extra spells?

I don't know if every wizard will get 4 spells now and it will just be the case that your starting spellbook is a little more curated, (although I think you will still be able to add new arcane tradition spells to it as always), or if you are going to get things like a focus spell option from your school and the ability to cast certain spells everyday that are chosen from your starting spell book list. The Witch has gotten a lot of love too from the sounds of things, but I don't think any class is changing as much narratively as the wizard.

@Sibelius Eos Owm, I too have many a fond character that is clearly a diviner, illusionist or summoner that I will never forget, but they basically hinted at the idea that they will have a much easier time introducing class feats and new spells now that will feel even more connected to specific narrative game elements that feel really exciting to me. They did today talk about how there will probably be schools associated with every single Thassilonian Runelord, although some of them might currently be lost, or highly restricted in who has access to them.


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Perpdepog wrote:
Sibelius Eos Owm wrote:
Perpdepog wrote:
I wonder how/if the new wizard will handle their extra spell slots. If the schools are gone then what will denote what a wizard can and can't put in those slots? And if those slots go away will wizards get some other source of extra spells?

Valid question, and one to which I think we already have part of an answer: For example the school of Battle Magic was said to include such classic evocations as Fireball, but also what would have been a transmutation spell Earthbind for nailing down aerial foes.

... This does leave the worrying possibility that wizard schools will now create bespoke lists, which I think would be a major step backward for backward compatibility.

That was my thinking as well. Either backward compatibility will be difficult, or schools will end up feeling much more like sorcerer bloodlines.

Like Sorcerer Bloodlines? No this spunds like they are removing the schools of magic (evocation, divination, etc) to give the Wizards the Witch's lessons. Not to mention that they already had the power to be from a college of magic. So this is actively removing options and choice.

Also yeah, what happened with you can tell the same stories and "this will be compatible with the regular core". This reads like straight up just abandoning everything that made Pathfinder well Pathfinder.


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Schools of magic in PF2 were already something that only existed for wizards and a smattering of magic items, many of which offered spells that few casters could use all of. Moving towards traditions and away from schools of magic that any caster could specialize in was something that happened in the bones of PF2's framework.

There were already schools of magic that were much worse than others for wizards because the best spells in those schools were not of your tradition. I don't know this for certain, but I think your school might offer you some ability to break past the traditions of magic and gain access to spells that other arcane casters can't access, but it will be on a pretty limited basis.

Thematically, it will be easier to create a specialist wizard because you can pick the spells that make sense to that specialization, not arbitrarily based upon schools of magic that are not inherent to any aspect of the world of Golarion.

But even if you love the traditional schools of magic, I think it was something that was always going to have to go because it was too closely tied to D&D IP. If alignment felt like it was going to be on shaking legal ground, than "an evoker is someone who casts blasty spells of different energy types" was very likely going to invite law suits as well.


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Temperans wrote:


All of that has been uniquely Golarion

I mean, the reason we're getting changes is it's not uniquely Golarion. It's cribbed directly from another system.

Nothing really stops you from having a wizard college or categorizing spells or from focusing on types of spells (in fact the last one is what the change is about anyways??) so... it's fine??


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Think of it this way.

What made making a "transmuter" character not work for so many people in PF2 thus far? Probably because that was never a very unified concept for a character in the first place and included at least 4 or 5 different fantasies of casters that were difficult to really group together. Now any GM can pretty easily throw together a specific school to fit the world their game is set in that can play with polymorphing, or changing the composition of materials and make it much more unique and focused to what that school of magic would teach and not teach.

@Temperans, anything from the pre-remastered game could still work for a table that wants to play it. Any school could be the school of transmutation magic, but it wouldn't cosmically mean anything, just socially mean something to people that train there. It is the adventure designers and GMs who are making decisions about what stories that their game worlds can be used to tell. All it takes to fit any old concept into the new system is talking to your GM about it.


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Unicore wrote:
meaning that your school of magic as a wizard is the actual school you attended to learn your wizardry

I do not know if this is accurate. It could be more like "the Chicago school of economics", where it's more, like, a framework for your magic, whether or not you actually went to that school.

If it is about actual physical schools you have to have attended to have certain spells, that's a bad change. Very limiting.

EDIT: It could also be like backgrounds--just a sort of flavorful "you start with some bonus spells with otherwise minimal effect" mechanic. That wouldn't be so bad.


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Maybe they don’t have to be physical schools, but the way they talked about them in the session definitely implies many will be.


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I imagine that you can still learn new spells from scrolls and spell books so it might only matter for very specialized spells past level 1.


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One thing I hope the change keeps is the feeling that Wizards still care more about how magic functions compared to other casters. The current spell school version, while a little scatterbrained, does help sell the feeling of Wizards being total nerds about how magic works rather than just being thematically focused casters like everyone else.


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I think it's probably going to be more, like, philosophies of magic. There's not going to be a mechanical "Magaambya school of magic" for wizards, but there will be a "Battle Magic school of magic" style of learning based on the belief that magic is best used for combat.

Otherwise, Strength of Thousands would be kind of confusing.


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I, for one, am glad that the Enchantment school of magic is no longer going to be a thing.


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I'm excited to see how the mental/charm magic gets recategorized, personally.


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In some ask the developer chats, it sounds like they will be developing some in world schools of magic though, and I think some of the more famous schools in world might house several schools of magic that will be more philosophically based. I would not be surprised to see schools of magic be AP back matter in the future, once it all gets worked out.


That'd be cool!


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Wizards in varsity jackets arguing over which Alma Mater is the best is such a wizard thing to do


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Kobold Catgirl wrote:

I think it's probably going to be more, like, philosophies of magic. There's not going to be a mechanical "Magaambya school of magic" for wizards, but there will be a "Battle Magic school of magic" style of learning based on the belief that magic is best used for combat.

Otherwise, Strength of Thousands would be kind of confusing.

This remembers me that Magaambya is well now for his Halcyon spells. Maybe Halcyon school of magic?


Nah they did say that there can be ustalavian magic school where its avout spirits and lightning


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These changes sound interesting. But, in many ways this sounds more and more like PF2.5 than just rolling out errata via revisions.

(And one wonders about other classes and features. If clerics doctrine really works like a switch, then one wonders why it can't work as a multi-position or analog switch e.g., a dimmer switch.)


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Jacob Jett wrote:

These changes sound interesting. But, in many ways this sounds more and more like PF2.5 than just rolling out errata via revisions.

(And one wonders about other classes and features. If clerics doctrine really works like a switch, then one wonders why it can't work as a multi-position or analog switch e.g., a dimmer switch.)

I mean, the trick here is that they had to remove some stuff narratively that would have left some aspects of the game very empty. I agree that some of it feels bigger than errata, but it kinda had to be. I think the key is that old stuff is all still narratively possible, it is just not mechanically necessary or even likely optimal.


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I'm excited! My only concern is that the schools will have to list specific spells with no future-proofed ability for additions. But we'll see- I don't really think Paizo is going to mess the class up or fail to adjust for any indirect nerfs that the loss of "all magic is catered to Wizard's subclasses" brings with it. My spells of interest, illusions and enchantments, are also very thoroughly tagged with other relevant traits.

Chelaxian Wizards being able to bind devils was a huge missing thing, and I'm glad we'll have something more elegant available than needing a class archetype to be created.

Most importantly... Finally, you can wield a frying pan competently!


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As a post-apocalyptic setting, it does make sense that modern Golarion would organize magic more on "what it's used for" at an academic level than "the theoretical underpinnings."

Like you sign up to go to school to learn "magic for blowing things up" or "magic for building things" not "evocation" or "conjuration".


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My biggest concern is regarding things that are out of scope of Remaster but reference schools.

Like Captivator and Red Mantis Assassin archetypes specifically learn spells based on their school, and neither of those books are part of the remaster package.

Maybe Paizo will use their special new and improved errata system we've heard about to address this.


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I was hyped for every change until this one. It bummed me out so much so much that I had a hard time paying attention to the the rest of the stream. I liked having a universal, objective, trait-based categorization system for every spell in the universe, independent of tradition. And the infrastructure that went with it (Wizard schools). It felt cool. And the words themselves sounded wizardy. "Battle Magic" sounds like it came from a YA novel. "Evocation" sounds educated, even pretentious. It's just more on brand.

I have no idea how the new system works or if they're going to just change the old traits into new traits or what, so my ire is premature I'm sure. But my initial, involuntary reaction was one of revulsion.

I had a similar reaction to the Dragon change, but at least that's additive - I can still use the old dragons. Maybe it's just that as Pathfinder is forced further and further away from D&D I'm having a harder and harder time pretending that it's not just free, better D&D.

- Jee


How will this impact the Runelords and possible runelord characters?

Will there be elven schools of magic?


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I do kind of like that magic is becoming less objective, less "measured". It doesn't split into tidy objective categories anymore; even wizards can't agree on how magic should work, because it's magic. Every wizard has their ideas about how it works, but nobody fully agrees. Magic has been made more subjective, more mysterious, something to speculate about.

I also think this is going to be great for wizards in terms of just, like, giving each type of wizard a totally distinct vibe. It'll be great for new players, too.


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Terevalis Unctio of House Mysti wrote:
How will this impact the Runelords and possible runelord characters?

Runelords were the inspiration for the change. They've always dealt with magic in a more natural and thematic manner than the eight schools of magic did. They would each have their own schools of magic, even if that's not published in these books.


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I believe the runelords were mentioned as being potentisl inspiration for schools like a school of sloth magic, or school of wrath magic.

I also think we will see a mix of specific schools and more generic options that refrence a "type of schooling." (But im just taken a gues based on how some things were worded.),


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Kobold Catgirl wrote:

I do kind of like that magic is becoming less objective, less "measured". It doesn't split into tidy objective categories anymore; even wizards can't agree on how magic should work, because it's magic. Every wizard has their ideas about how it works, but nobody fully agrees. Magic has been made more subjective, more mysterious, something to speculate about.

I also think this is going to be great for wizards in terms of just, like, giving each type of wizard a totally distinct vibe. It'll be great for new players, too.

I don't know. This sounds rather like the opposite of my academic experiences and academies on the whole. Organizing and categorizing is kind of part and parcel of most education processes. Wizards were kind of convincing when magic sounded like arcane maths. Now it sounds more like guilds and traditions which sounds less like wizards that go to schools and more like wizards that are products of individual apprenticeship.

This radically alters the kinds of stories that can be told. Not that this is a bad thing per se. It will be helpful if one of the new "schools" boils down to "academy-trained wizards" that have an objective theory of magic. That way familiar wizard stories are easily retained and the revision results in added rather than replaced ludonarratives.


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Jacob Jett wrote:
Now it sounds more like guilds and traditions which sounds less like wizards that go to schools and more like wizards that are products of individual apprenticeship.

I mean, to draw a parallel, I can go to university and get a degree in civil engineering, or electrical engineering, or military sciences, or organic chemistry. Having programs organized in such a way doesn't make them guild-like or superstitious.

... If anything from that perspective it seems more practical and academic to be organized in that way, rather than by arbitrary or hyperspecific categorizations.


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Jacob Jett wrote:

I don't know. This sounds rather like the opposite of my academic experiences and academies on the whole. Organizing and categorizing is kind of part and parcel of most education processes. Wizards were kind of convincing when magic sounded like arcane maths. Now it sounds more like guilds and traditions which sounds less like wizards that go to schools and more like wizards that are products of individual apprenticeship.

This radically alters the kinds of stories that can be told. Not that this is a bad thing per se. It will be helpful if one of the new "schools" boils down to "academy-trained wizards" that have an objective theory of magic. That way familiar wizard stories are easily retained and the revision results in added rather than replaced ludonarratives.

I think that, at the very least, the universalist-equivalent still covers this pretty well. Rather than lowering themselves to the prosaic compartmentalization of magic by utility, they study all of the arcane. The class as a whole is getting a little more "engineer", "biologist", etc., with magic studied with a purpose in mind.


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Yeah, like, compare it to economics. You have so many competing schools of thought around economics, and some schools of thought disagree on pretty core mechanics. Just how "inflation" works is and has pretty much always been a massive source of debate.

There is no truly objective and settled science. Even mathematicians bicker. I figure wizards are gonna be the same way.


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Kobold Catgirl wrote:

...

Even mathematicians bicker.
...

Yes, we do. Quite a lot.


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Gisher wrote:
Kobold Catgirl wrote:

...

Even mathematicians bicker.
...
Yes, we do. Quite a lot.

Now, what would you consider the best framework for more formally quantifying how much that "quite a lot" is?


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In my opinion the schools of magic often involved a lot of overlap when it came to the classification of spells.

Barkskin, for example.

Quote:
The target's skin becomes covered in bark.

Sure, it's abjuration because it protects you, but it also sounds like it could fit into Transformation or maybe even Conjuration.

So I don't think it was ever true that spells were objectively assigned to clearly defined schools.


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I'm really glad that we can finally, I hope, have spells cross over across multiple schools. You're right--a lot of spells just didn't fit their categories, and trying to force them to fit just felt messy. Barkskin is a cool, weird, magical spell, and it wasn't suited to a system that expected universal objective truths.


Maybe if they do a Mwangi School it will help to bring spell traditions together.


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Schools of magic used to be the magical equivalent of Physics. Yeah wizards would argue about different stuff, but they would agree "hey magic is made of this and behaves this wave under these conditions". The schools of magic were independent of Wizards, Wizards just specialized in just one type and dedicated their time to their field.

Saying "this is based on Runelords" is then feels kind of like a slap on the face given that the entire point was that they focused on the big 7 schools. Divination being treated as a subset of universal because its just generally useful. So the order is being flipped.

***************

As for "well transmutation didn't have a lot". Yeah its not going to have a lot when half of its effects were handed out to Conjuration and Evocation. Controlling gravity? That used to be transmutation. Moving matter? That used to be transmutation.

The whole thing feels like they are just not interested in the lore and mechanics and are retconning the whole thing.


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Eh. As usual, agree to disagree.


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Gisher wrote:

In my opinion the schools of magic often involved a lot of overlap when it came to the classification of spells.

Barkskin, for example.

Quote:
The target's skin becomes covered in bark.

Sure, it's abjuration because it protects you, but it also sounds like it could fit into Transformation or maybe even Conjuration.

So I don't think it was ever true that spells were objectively assigned to clearly defined schools.

Obviously barkskin is transmutation because it is changing matter.

Abjuration is about creating barrier, negating effects, and repelling intruders. Not just "anything that is defensive". Just like Evocation is about creating energy, not just damage. Or how conjuration is about creating creatures or objects out of nothing, not just making things.


Kobold Catgirl wrote:
Eh. As usual, agree to disagree.

Sure, didn't think you would agree on this anyway given our differences in opinion before.


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Temperans wrote:


Obviously barkskin is transmutation because it is changing matter.

And yet...


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It's Abjuration because it's a protection spell.
It's Transmutation because it's turning my skin into bark.
It's Evocation or Conjuration because it's manifesting bark around me, and wood is an element.
Heck, you could half-ass an argument about it being Necromancy because it's fundamentally manipulating life. Giving someone a disease is Necromancy, why wouldn't giving someone a symbiotic plant growth?

Attempting to objectively categorize these spells under their physical properties was always a fool's errand. I like the idea of a system that acknowledges this impossibility.


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Kobold Catgirl wrote:


Heck, you could half-ass an argument about it being Necromancy

Remind of 3.5/PF1 (and to some extent 5e) where Necromancy is a clearinghouse for any vaguely spooky spell. PF2 is generally a bit better about it but still.


Squiggit wrote:
Temperans wrote:


Obviously barkskin is transmutation because it is changing matter.
And yet...

Like I said they gave away stuff that belonged to transmutation to other schools. That and many more spells used to be Transmutation.

The original description for Transmutation: "Transmutation spells change the properties of some creature, thing, or condition."
The PF2e deacription: "Transmutation spells make alterations to or transform the physical form of a creature or object. The morph and polymorph traits appear primarily in transmutation spells."
PF2 abjuration:"Abjurations protect and ward. They create barriers that keep out attacks, effects, or even certain types of creatures. They also create effects that harm trespassers or banish interlopers."

They specifically changed the spell from turning your skin into a hard bark into creating a shell. Going from, "Barkskin toughens a creature's skin" to "The target's skin becomes covered in bark."

why would they do this...

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