Paizo, please send True Strike to the boneyard...


Pathfinder Second Edition General Discussion

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The issue is the optimization tactics don't feel like tactics but feel like a tax on what you want to do


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Losing True Strike would also be a nerf to gishes though. Not just the Magus either. My battle oracle regularly spams with his bastard sword. I don't really want to lose that just so Divine Lance can land a few more times.


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As a lover of war priest

I'd rather the overall game be in a healthier state than worry about the design issue where certain classes are currently incentivized to spam one spell over and over to feel relevant

That's a bigger point of discussion


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
Martialmasters wrote:

The issue is the optimization tactics don't feel like tactics but feel like a tax on what you want to do

For what type of spells? Cantrips or spell slot spells? Either items with bonuses or true strike only become “a tax” if the caster is trying to always cast spell with spell attack rolls, or only cast spells with attack rolls. Otherwise, “optimization” is often just casting a different spell that targets a weak save rather than trying to debuff AC first.

And non fighter martials have to do the accuracy optimization too, even with item bonuses, because they never can target a different defense with a damaging attack and are more likely limited to one damage type.


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My hot take is that it could be a second rank spell. Half as many castings from a staff means it never becomes effectively at-will. That gives a bit of balance room for other improvements to exist, without any drastic alterations. It's easily one of the most valuable first rank spells, so maybe it should get bumped to second.

That's almost certainly not the fix, of course.

Grand Lodge

Just spitballin' here 'cos I'm not as mathematically adept as you all: What would the effect be if "True Strike" had heightened effects, such as +4 True strike can be cast as a reaction. +8 True Strike lasts until the end of your turn.

Grand Archive

Pathfinder Rulebook Subscriber
Unicore wrote:

...Remember that hero points also exist and will be used by optimizing players to land their big spell attack roll spells the same as true strike, except it doesn’t cost an action. So all taking away truestrike does for the balance of spells is make the player dependent on the GM feeding them enough hero points, instead of giving the player a tool they can choose for themselves. ...

I have felt the pain of games with very few hero points, so in my own games I just let everyone know ahead of time (so I don't forget) you get one every hour so it's not dependent on me remembering or thinking something was "cool" enough to warrant one.

While I've never liked the hero point system, likely due to wild differences in distribution from table to table, it is too integral to 2e to be anything but quite liberal with them. For the sake of fun.

A game with many versus few just feels much more fun in general, even as the GM. Since, if you sandbag you hero point you either have another soon or another one banked to try again. As GM there isn't as big of a "low" felt from the players on a bad reroll if they know hero points are raining down like mana from heaven every hour on the hour.

Circling back to spell attack, they are MUCH more used when this is the case and no one is annoyed with the caster because they think they might be doing something 'sub-optimal' or too risky.

So my personal take would be to codify when to give hero points so you get them on a regular basis and it's not in the GM's hands save for the potential to hand one out for something "cool". Removing truestrike isn't necessary in this case, as it's just becomes a hero point at the cost of an action.


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In my experience

Repeatedly and fairly consistently.

Blowing your hero points often results in character death.

This said I still do it and accept the character death. But ymmv

Regardless, true strike 5e advantage should have never been a lever to be installed. It needs to either exist for every single spell school (or whatever they do in the remaster) or done away with

My group preferred cutting out the 5e advantage option and we have 2 magus across 2 campaigns

Scarab Sages

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Aristophanes wrote:
Just spitballin' here 'cos I'm not as mathematically adept as you all: What would the effect be if "True Strike" had heightened effects, such as +4 True strike can be cast as a reaction. +8 True Strike lasts until the end of your turn.

I think the magus would benefit most of all classes, since they get high-rank slots natively and they benefit from action-economy enhancers.

If I were playing a caster, though, then I still wouldn't use the spell because I already need to burn highest-rank slots if I want to make attack spells worthwhile. A L5 true strike or a L9 version would worsen that dynamic. Especially since so many casters are not action-starved.

OTOH, it fixes the issue is too accessible to martials and best used by casters as staff spam, the way L1 true strike is. Being higher-level means that it would be less likely to be too powerful (synesthesia it is not).

I'd say it's weaker than it is strong. True target should be your point of comparison for higher-rank true strike homebrew spells.


There's a solution to some of the protests (such as the Magus thing) that seems relatively obvious to me, and that's making True Strike apply only to Strikes, while the item bonus to attack is given a specific exemption not to work when Shadow Signet is used (if the extra accuracy is indeed too much applied to Fortitude or Reflex).

The lower potency of an item bonus compared to a spell might be made up for by not needing to shove an action and slot/charge at it, though I'm aware losing the option would bite for some, and a similar "doesn't apply when making the attack roll with those accuracy-boost metamagics" clause could be made for True Strike instead. Thus you'd get the consistent boost that helps with keeping you on par and could also pull out the funny spell/item that gives a limited or situational buff which is less potent than it otherwise would be.

(True Target is a much bigger cost and helps the whole party by design, so I doubt it would have to be tinkered with much, applying to spell attacks even in the first option.)

Liberty's Edge

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I think having a spell that boosts your attacks (and yours only) is very flavorful.

So, yes for True Strike staying.


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I'll never agree with caster attack proficiency and a whole subset of spells having their balance point hinge on one specific spell (resulting in double resource consumption on top of whole turn usage). Id rather the game be balanced without it. Ultimately, it's not a big deal, but I agree with others saying to either give true strike to all traditions or do away with it completely


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Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Another thing that some younger, newer players might not realize about the design decision not to have spell proficiency exactly mirror martial proficiencies, and have the same item bonuses apply at approximately the same level is that that was pretty much exactly how things were done in D&D 4e, and all defenses and attack proficiencies pretty much felt like you were doing the same thing, leading to people feeling like spells really were no different than weapons and that all classes felt the same.

I don't know how much that would be the case if item bonuses were added to spell attack roll spells (even though I suspect most of the complaints about this are related to people attacking with cantrips, mostly at lower levels when item bonuses would barely apply), but if you add that idea to making cantrips take one action, and adjusting the proficiency scaling for spells and weapons to be more in line, you are really closing the gap between D&D 4e and Pathfinder 2e in ways that the developers of Pathfinder were trying to avoid.

The biggest difference, and the thing that complicates trying to take many peoples house rules (which are perfectly fine for their own tables), and apply them to the game generally, is that PF2 has a lot of space reserved in its encounter design for tactical choices to matter, far more than there ever was in various versions of D&D or PF1. Raising the floor with static number boosts raises the ceiling just as far and the ceiling on spell damage is very high in PF2. Spells were designed to be swingy in encounters much more than weapon attacks. We will see how much changes in the remastery, but if spell ceilings were nerfed, than a lot of players would just not want to use the new spells


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
WWHsmackdown wrote:
I'll never agree with caster attack proficiency and a whole subset of spells having their balance point hinge on one specific spell (resulting in double resource consumption on top of whole turn usage). Id rather the game be balanced without it. Ultimately, it's not a big deal, but I agree with others saying to either give true strike to all traditions or do away with it completely

I still think it is a big mistake to say that all spell attack roll spells hinge on Truestrike. Hero points exist and are the much better "advantage" resource for pairing with spell attack roll spells, especially since you could spend that last action on a force bolt/heightened magic missile and usually exceed what any martial can do in a single 3 action round of attacks. True strike is a big balancer for the Magus, and for casting those heightened spell slot spells that missing on is wasting more than just actions in a round. Very frequently with cantrips, you'll get more milage spending an action making sure you are attacking a flat-footed, frightened opponent than you would true striking your cantrip spell attack. True strike doesn't really help you get critical hits with spell attack spells unless the enemy is really debuffed. Debuffing to cross the crit threashold (ie, criting on a 19 and 20 instead of just 20) is a slightly higher critical chance (a full 5% instead of 4.75%), and debuffing 2 points past that threshold really starts to tip those scales.

Truestrike is much better at just making sure you don't miss, but with cantrips getting crits is a much bigger deal than not missing.

Scarab Sages

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Unicore wrote:
I still think it is a big mistake to say that all spell attack roll spells hinge on Truestrike. Hero points exist and are the much better "advantage" resource for pairing with spell attack roll spells, especially since you could spend that last action on a force bolt/heightened magic missile and usually exceed what any martial can do in a single 3 action round of attacks.

No, hero points are not what makes attack spells viable, true strike is. Most players will get one or two hero points per session, and most players will preserve them to avoid a critical failure or character death. Also, burning a spell slot on a one-action heightened magic missile is a waste of high-level spell slots.

If spellcasters want to deal decent damage against single targets (which the game discourages IMO), then they need true strike, either by preparing it multiple times in their lower-ranked spell slots or by using a staff of divination.


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True Strike should definitely go away, since it's both based from the OGL and because it interferes with apparent balance implications significantly. People saying it should stick around are too scared of attack roll spells innately overshadowing martials, and it simply can't because of action economy alone. True Strike + Spell Attack Roll is worse action economy than even a Reload 1 martial, like Gunslinger or Crossbow Ranger, and honestly, the latter can go all day long, whereas the former is significantly limited by spell slots or equipment.


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I'm pretty sure the name is going to change, but there's going to be a "first rank spell, that costs 1 action, that gives you a fortune effect on your next attack" in the remastered core since they're not going to be changing any of the mathematical assumptions of the game.


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Regarding the cantrips vs spell slot spells question, I currently have a level 9 wizard and I still routinely use cantrips for several reasons: I usually don't know how long an adventuring day will be so I tend to play conservatively. Sometimes its just not practical to use a spell slot spell - maybe it's over kill for the situation or maybe it risks harming party members (I really envy negative font clerics with the Selective Energy feat). And sometimes I want to try out something unconventional like Organsight which (on paper at least) would pair well with Telekinetic Projectile.

I would love to use Acid Arrow, but I just don't see it as viable without True Strike and I just don't see the point in that - again because of the spell slots but also because it prevents me from using meta-magic or casting shield or any number of other things I might need that third action for.

And while Hero Points could theoretically be used, in my experience there are just too many things that can go wrong for a squishy caster in battle to risk using that last hero point on anything other than stabilizing.

Also, regarding AC debuffs, yes it is pretty easy for melee folks to exploit this via flanking but not so much for a ranged caster. Clumsy would be very helpful, but I have yet to see anyone I've gamed with carry a spear or bring another means of causing it.


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PossibleCabbage wrote:
...they're not going to be changing any of the mathematical assumptions of the game.

Sounds like a missed opportunity, given that there is plenty of bad mathematical assumptions in the game that should be rectified, and it's also debunked given that they are making at least some slight concessions (such as Warpriest being Master at 19th).


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Darksol the Painbringer wrote:
PossibleCabbage wrote:
...they're not going to be changing any of the mathematical assumptions of the game.
Sounds like a missed opportunity, given that there is plenty of bad mathematical assumptions in the game that should be rectified, and it's also debunked given that they are making at least some slight concessions (such as Warpriest being Master at 19th).

The remaster is "big errata, and different collation" not a new edition.

Specifically every already printed Pathfinder 2nd edition book is supposed to be 100% compatible with the remaster (with a few nomenclature changes), so even if they didn't have a "True Strike" ability in the Player Core, you could still use the one from the CRB. The thing about fixing the Warpriest is "nobody is going to want to play the worse version of the Warpriest" even if they technically could.


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Knocking an enemy prone is something martials often do and it leaves the target flat footed,or off guard. Grappling is another. Status bonuses to attack also pair well with spell attacks, but not saving throw spells. To effectively target a save instead of AC, it needs to be 3 to 4 points lower than their AC. This isn’t true with spells that can catch multiple enemies, but for single targets saving throw spells who’s main purpose is doing damage, they really need to be targeting the lowest save to be more worth the actions than debuffing the enemy and targeting with a spell attack roll spell, especially if you have a hero point (which you might not even burn if you hit with the first roll, while true strike is costing an action and a resource.

I do think 2 true strikes are about enough for a 9th wizard to memorize in a day, because you don’t really want more than 1 or 2 top slots going to spell attack roll spells on most adventuring days. It is one part of the arsenal, not the whole character build and you shouldn’t be fighting multiple boss encounters every day without your GM having made it clear that big monster hunting was going to be the focus of the campaign.

I do understand why some players are frustrated by the accuracy of spell casters, which is why I have no problem with people implementing small changes at their table around them, but trying to massively change the math of the game to make spell casting just work more like martial attacks is a massive step in the wrong direction for PF2 having a magic system that is useful, interesting, and doesn’t make casters just feel like laser archers, or falling into the trap of 4e and too much homogeneity. I hope a lot of players waiting for the all day blaster caster have fun playing with the kineticist. It seems like it is built to do that within the math of the game.


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I feel it is kind of hyperbolic to say giving casters a wee bit more accuracy on spell attacks will have the game descend into laser archers and homogeneity when you know all it will probably do is just make it so casters might hit with their spells a bit more often


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Pathfinder Rulebook Subscriber

I would be fine with the game removing all spell attack rolls.

On true strike-If true strike is meant to be part of the balancing of spell attack rolls then druids and all clerics need to have access to the spell without wasting racial feats.


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This idea that True Strike exists to compensate for attack spells is completely wrong.
True Strike is a spell to improve your next attack, nothing more, nothing less.

The fact that attack spells in general are bad because they spend the same number of actions, suffer and affect MAP, and cause similar damage as save spells is what creates the problem. This makes many people consider True Strike as the salvation or justification for these spells, when it is not!

So much so that a spellcaster with Fiery Body active doesn't use True Strike to enhance Produce Flame, because once the attack spell reduces to 1-action, it becomes viable and the spellcaster starts to prefer using a save spell in conjunction with it because True Strike isn't worth it anymore for this situation.

That's why for me the problem is not in True Strike, it's in the inefficiency of 2-action attack spells, True Strike is one more option to improve attacks in several cases but it ended up being chosen as a fix for attack spells when it never was.


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PossibleCabbage wrote:
Darksol the Painbringer wrote:
PossibleCabbage wrote:
...they're not going to be changing any of the mathematical assumptions of the game.
Sounds like a missed opportunity, given that there is plenty of bad mathematical assumptions in the game that should be rectified, and it's also debunked given that they are making at least some slight concessions (such as Warpriest being Master at 19th).

The remaster is "big errata, and different collation" not a new edition.

Specifically every already printed Pathfinder 2nd edition book is supposed to be 100% compatible with the remaster (with a few nomenclature changes), so even if they didn't have a "True Strike" ability in the Player Core, you could still use the one from the CRB. The thing about fixing the Warpriest is "nobody is going to want to play the worse version of the Warpriest" even if they technically could.

Good thing that adjusting bad mathematical assumptions like proficiencies isn't changing an edition, then. Like making it to where Champions start out at Expert defense along with armor specialization, and then scale to Master at like 9th, with Legendary at 15th doesn't require a new edition like you seem to think it does.

That's ultimately a problem with table variation though. Some tables may want to do away with the OGL content entirely, other tables may not even want to play with the Remastered rules, or have some sort of in-between with what version of the rules they're using. They're basically two different versions of the game that simply use the same basic design principles of proficiencies, which means we are introducing a significant increase of table variation. And who knows how PF2S is going to handle this hodge-podge of rules inclusions/exclusions.

Warpriest is still getting pretty shafted by being worse than other martials for the entirety of the game (since they can't take Strength or Dexterity as a primary attribute and have reduced martial capability to compensate for having full slot spellcasting), and being worse than other casters for the entirety of the game (since they are disincentivized to boost Wisdom as a primary attribute and have reduced proficiencies to compensate for their limited martial capability); the only thing getting Master proficiency at 19th does is make them not completely useless as a martial at the endgame (which was definitely noticed in our Age of Ashes playthrough, since our Warpriest refused to make any attempt to attack enemies without True Strike since they are only as effective as a Fighter's second attack with it due to their Expert proficiency limitation). It's otherwise as superficial as getting Legendary casting at 19th.


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Pieces-Kai wrote:
I feel it is kind of hyperbolic to say giving casters a wee bit more accuracy on spell attacks will have the game descend into laser archers and homogeneity when you know all it will probably do is just make it so casters might hit with their spells a bit more often

I have said from the beginning, individual tables should feel free to add special items to their game to provide item bonuses to spell attack rolls if those tables feel like caster accuracy is a problem.

That has nothing to do with truestrike though. The issue with baking more accuracy into the game for casters generally is that spell attack roll spells tend to have brutal critical effects (by design) and that true strike is a better mechanic than static item bonuses for keeping optimized casters able to hit reliably with their high level spell slot spell attack roll spells, but not get to 40%+ chances of getting critical hits against solo bosses, which is where an extra 2 to 3 item bonus can get optimizing full casters with legendary proficiency, like the game already does with fighters.

The game math assumes that if one side of a combat is consistently rolling more 5s and 6s than 15s and 16s on d20s, that side is going to lose the encounter. The same if the side that out numbers the other isn’t utilizing their numbers and action economy to control the encounter. As a GM, if those assumptions are causing frustration at your table, you can easily modify the game, but playtesting and transparent discussions from developers about keeping the game feeling dangerous have made it clear why these are the baked in assumptions.

It is important to understand the design intention if you want to hack the game to change it for your table. PF2 is designed for spells to be better than martial attacks when exploiting weaknesses, when carefully set up, or when the dice favor you and the crit effect can feel magical. That is not going to be every round of combat or even every encounter, but it is very noticeable when it happens. This makes casting feel like something uniquely different than martial attacking and prevents every caster class feel like it is competing with martials to be the party striker as well as being able to fulfill the party controller or party healer role.

Getting rid of truestrike so you can add in more static accuracy bonuses without rebalancing spells to be so critical effect heavy will only increase the optimization problem, not alleviate it.


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Mark Seifter himself said that decoupling spell attacks from DCs is a good solution with all the woes echoing over and over in the system.

"In retrospect, I think it would have been ideal to decouple spell attack rolls from spell DCs and have them advance at a different rate. I'm trying that out right now in the elemental avatar playtest: attack roll scales to master at 5/13, while DC scales at 7/15/19. No one thought of it at the time (least of all me) because it seemed so clear that the two proficiencies were kind of one and the same, but they are iterated separately and could be split. Tying that together to spell attack items and having true strike work on Strikes and not spell attacks would have had some benefits."

Really the issue with the 'bad feels' of the spell attack needing 2 actions and being so low accuracy is that it trains players to just straight up avoid those spells, missing 'and' losing a slot just feels horrid.

Like this is the same reason why 3rd Attacks are adviced to not be done, you'll just incredibly likely to miss. With spell attacks it's that you're just likely to miss and waste a slot

Dark Archive

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Unicore wrote:


It is important to understand the design intention if you want to hack the game to change it for your table. PF2 is designed for spells to be better than martial attacks when exploiting weaknesses, when carefully set up, or when the dice favor you and the crit effect can feel magical. That is not going to be every round of combat or even every encounter, but it is very noticeable when it...

I know you advance this theory a lot, but it really isn’t there as an actionable play style.

You’re basically just describing Setup & Payoff style combos. But the resource spend inherent in spellcasting makes this overly prohibitive for vast majority of gameplay. Plus, there is a real lack of effective “setup” spells in the game as well.

It would be different if cantrips threw out debuffs or penalties on a reliable basis to enable the style of game play you are advancing, but generally they don’t. At least not to any extent where it can impact a play style.


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YuriP wrote:

This idea that True Strike exists to compensate for attack spells is completely wrong.

True Strike is a spell to improve your next attack, nothing more, nothing less.

Factually untrue according to the developers words


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

There is meta advice floating around tha spell attack roll spells are unusable, but the math does not support that advice and following it rigidly leads players to assume that casters are useless against higher level enemies outside of acting as pure debuffers.

It is true that slow is a brutal debuffer against higher level solo monsters, but if the creature has a high fort save, it is not uncommon for those kind of monsters to critically succeed on a 12 or 13. There is no “always the best spell” in PF2 and understanding how different spells can be incredibly effective against the right opposition is definitely the caster skill that takes time to develop.

Of course different choices could have been made with game design from the beginning of the first play test. Would the game be better with a divided out spell attack roll proficiency than saving throw DC? Maybe? The game is still hesitant about having a lot of single target damage spells, much less ones divided up between defenses. Reflex and AC are pretty much the damage saves, with damage being a debuff rider mostly on single target fort and will saves. More spells is always a player pleaser so that is an easier direction to go than, let’s completely change and rebalance the existing game


Making cantrips 1 action, and maybe some casters getting to put agile on them, would actually make cantrips usable for crit praying yeah.

I mean the common way to do it right now isn't for the caster to get payoffs but have them buffing and debuffing, since debuffs usually don't need to fill up the highest level spot during mid-level and higher so it's less opportunity cost while also being easier on the mind, and buffs always work


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
Old_Man_Robot wrote:
Unicore wrote:


It is important to understand the design intention if you want to hack the game to change it for your table. PF2 is designed for spells to be better than martial attacks when exploiting weaknesses, when carefully set up, or when the dice favor you and the crit effect can feel magical. That is not going to be every round of combat or even every encounter, but it is very noticeable when it...

I know you advance this theory a lot, but it really isn’t there as an actionable play style.

You’re basically just describing Setup & Payoff style combos. But the resource spend inherent in spellcasting makes this overly prohibitive for vast majority of gameplay. Plus, there is a real lack of effective “setup” spells in the game as well.

It would be different if cantrips threw out debuffs or penalties on a reliable basis to enable the style of game play you are advancing, but generally they don’t. At least not to any extent where it can impact a play style.

Singular set up actions for casters include, recalling knowledge to learn weaknesses, intimidating, bon Mott, moving to flank or remove cover, tripping an adjacent foe, or using an aid action to help an ally and maybe getting them to do the same. Many ancestries also have options like goblin song. It doesn’t feel like the design was for anyone to do that stuff with spelks as much as with skill actions

Dark Archive

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Unicore wrote:
Old_Man_Robot wrote:
Unicore wrote:


It is important to understand the design intention if you want to hack the game to change it for your table. PF2 is designed for spells to be better than martial attacks when exploiting weaknesses, when carefully set up, or when the dice favor you and the crit effect can feel magical. That is not going to be every round of combat or even every encounter, but it is very noticeable when it...

I know you advance this theory a lot, but it really isn’t there as an actionable play style.

You’re basically just describing Setup & Payoff style combos. But the resource spend inherent in spellcasting makes this overly prohibitive for vast majority of gameplay. Plus, there is a real lack of effective “setup” spells in the game as well.

It would be different if cantrips threw out debuffs or penalties on a reliable basis to enable the style of game play you are advancing, but generally they don’t. At least not to any extent where it can impact a play style.

Singular set up actions for casters include, recalling knowledge to learn weaknesses, intimidating, bon Mott, moving to flank or remove cover, tripping an adjacent foe, or using an aid action to help an ally and maybe getting them to do the same. Many ancestries also have options like goblin song. It doesn’t feel like the design was for anyone to do that stuff with spelks as much as with skill actions

Look at this though and you’ll see the problem.

Casters are not designed to be in melee. Your HP, AC, and Saves in addition to concentration, all punish you for getting in the mix. Any athletics based debuff also uses a stat you generally aren’t advancing, so your effectiveness at using them is greatly diminished. Pushing you to accept greater risk, to enable a setup you are unlikely to succeed at, just to enable you to use your primary abilities for easily. This says nothing of the additional actions required to move in and out of combat.

Most melee-positioning or strength based actions are realistically off the table for most casters. It especially isn’t any form of go-to strategy by any means.

The charisma based actions are definitely much better. Charisma based casters generally don’t have as much of a problem overall, especially since they are largely spontaneous casters and so don’t suffer as much in terms of resource allocation.

Knowing weaknesses is fine…. But you still need to be able to action things based on that information.

The overall issue hits some classes harder than others, this is true. Sorcerers and Bards are rewarded a lot more by the current system, whereas non-charisma prepared casters are worse effected.


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Unicore wrote:

There is meta advice floating around tha spell attack roll spells are unusable, but the math does not support that advice and following it rigidly leads players to assume that casters are useless against higher level enemies outside of acting as pure debuffers.

It is true that slow is a brutal debuffer against higher level solo monsters, but if the creature has a high fort save, it is not uncommon for those kind of monsters to critically succeed on a 12 or 13. There is no “always the best spell” in PF2 and understanding how different spells can be incredibly effective against the right opposition is definitely the caster skill that takes time to develop.

The thing about this is that if a high level monster is crit succeeding on a 12 or 13 you're probably missing on those numbers as well, in which case the attack roll spell also does nothing. As an example a adult black dragon has to roll a 13 to get a crit success on a fort spell from a 9th level caster but said spell caster needs to get a 14 to actually hit with an attack roll spell anyway.


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I don't think "get rid of spell attack rolls" is a good plan, since the Magus and people with the Eldritch Archer archetype really want to have those around.

You are free to not take them on your Wizard or Druid though.

People who want to spam one action cantrips are encouraged to try out the Kineticist Class, from Rage of Elements.


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That stuff from Mark is really interesting. I hadn't considered having different proficiencies for spell attacks and DCs. Could be the ticket.


I mean one action cantrips don't sound like the worse maybe give them a bit of a damage rebalance and I think that kind of fits better with the idea of cantrip


Pathfinder Rulebook Subscriber
Old_Man_Robot wrote:
Unicore wrote:
Old_Man_Robot wrote:
Unicore wrote:


It is important to understand the design intention if you want to hack the game to change it for your table. PF2 is designed for spells to be better than martial attacks when exploiting weaknesses, when carefully set up, or when the dice favor you and the crit effect can feel magical. That is not going to be every round of combat or even every encounter, but it is very noticeable when it...

I know you advance this theory a lot, but it really isn’t there as an actionable play style.

You’re basically just describing Setup & Payoff style combos. But the resource spend inherent in spellcasting makes this overly prohibitive for vast majority of gameplay. Plus, there is a real lack of effective “setup” spells in the game as well.

It would be different if cantrips threw out debuffs or penalties on a reliable basis to enable the style of game play you are advancing, but generally they don’t. At least not to any extent where it can impact a play style.

Singular set up actions for casters include, recalling knowledge to learn weaknesses, intimidating, bon Mott, moving to flank or remove cover, tripping an adjacent foe, or using an aid action to help an ally and maybe getting them to do the same. Many ancestries also have options like goblin song. It doesn’t feel like the design was for anyone to do that stuff with spelks as much as with skill actions

Look at this though and you’ll see the problem.

Casters are not designed to be in melee. Your HP, AC, and Saves in addition to concentration, all punish you for getting in the mix. Any athletics based debuff also uses a stat you generally aren’t advancing, so your effectiveness at using them is greatly diminished. Pushing you to accept greater risk, to enable a setup you are unlikely to succeed at, just to enable you to use your primary abilities for easily. This says nothing of the additional actions required to move in and out of combat.

Most...

I don't really see why casters need to be the only one applying debuffs? Martials can trip and grapple things just fine and should be for certain party compositions. I'm considering retaining into moonlight ray on my battle oracle because we have a melee character spamming combat grab and a gunslinger with fake out, which is already a +5 shift. True Strike, or vision of Weakness + shadow Signet, can be essentially another +5 on top of that.

Dark Archive

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I mean, they don’t, but being able to self-generate your own advantages is important.

It’s a team game, but you can’t always expect people to lay it up for you. Especially if you are subscribing to Unicorns argument that is the intended and required way to improve caster accuracy.


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Pathfinder Rulebook Subscriber
Old_Man_Robot wrote:

I mean, they don’t, but being able to self-generate your own advantages is important.

It’s a team game, but you can’t always expect people to lay it up for you. Especially if you are subscribing to Unicorns argument that is the intended and required way to improve caster accuracy.

Unless you're playing PFS I don't see why you shouldn't expect people to lay it up for you. A lot of folks think buffs and debuffs are the best way to play a caster and that's just laying it up for people. Teamwork is just how you optimize in PF2.

And I guess regardless of whether you can rely on your team for the lay up every time, I think the point Unicore was making is that no spell is the best solution every time. Having spell attacks be a tool in the box is hella handy. There are times you can push through DPR way higher than a save spell would get.

Liberty's Edge

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A caster using True Strike hits better than a caster that does not. Works as intended IMO.

A martial that invests feats to be able to use True Strike will be on par with martials who use other ways to boost their damage expectancy. Also seems to work as intended.

So, what is the problem with True Strike ?


I think it is pretty interesting how some peoples take away from Kineticist is if you want to attack with spells play the Kineticist because a casters main role is more to be a tool box and others people just see the Kineticist as a class with good ideas that could be ported over to other casters


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The Raven Black wrote:
So, what is the problem with True Strike?

Spellcasters have less to-hit than martials to compensate for True Strike. If we remove True Strike, we can give them equal to-hit and spellcasters won't feel like they are punished for being a spellcaster.


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Giving spellcasters the same accuracy as martials would be an absolutely terrible, unbalancing decision. Since unlike martials spellcasters can attack any defense they want (armor/reflex/will/fort), and get a beneficial outcome on 3/4 of the possible outcomes of most spells.

If anything needs to be changed about attack spells, is that they should get half damage on a miss (and zero damage on a critical miss.)

Liberty's Edge

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Darksol the Painbringer wrote:
The Raven Black wrote:
So, what is the problem with True Strike?
Spellcasters have less to-hit than martials to compensate for True Strike. If we remove True Strike, we can give them equal to-hit and spellcasters won't feel like they are punished for being a spellcaster.

So, the idea is to have casters hit as easily as martials in addition to all they can bring to the table that martials cannot.

No thanks. I like martials being able to do a few things casters cannot.


PossibleCabbage wrote:

Giving spellcasters the same accuracy as martials would be an absolutely terrible, unbalancing decision. Since unlike martials spellcasters can attack any defense they want (armor/reflex/will/fort), and get a beneficial outcome on 3/4 of the possible outcomes of most spells.

If anything needs to be changed about attack spells, is that they should get half damage on a miss (and zero damage on a critical miss.)

Isn't the game designed in a way where you actually supposed to target only one of those defenses to get the best use out of your daily resource where as martials don't need to figure out what defense is best to target and even if they whiff they have no daily resource to waste.

Also failures will always tend to create a bad feeling even if they do something compared to hitting/critting because you are failing


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Gobhaggo wrote:

Mark Seifter himself said that decoupling spell attacks from DCs is a good solution with all the woes echoing over and over in the system.

"In retrospect, I think it would have been ideal to decouple spell attack rolls from spell DCs and have them advance at a different rate. I'm trying that out right now in the elemental avatar playtest: attack roll scales to master at 5/13, while DC scales at 7/15/19. No one thought of it at the time (least of all me) because it seemed so clear that the two proficiencies were kind of one and the same, but they are iterated separately and could be split. Tying that together to spell attack items and having true strike work on Strikes and not spell attacks would have had some benefits."

Really the issue with the 'bad feels' of the spell attack needing 2 actions and being so low accuracy is that it trains players to just straight up avoid those spells, missing 'and' losing a slot just feels horrid.

Like this is the same reason why 3rd Attacks are adviced to not be done, you'll just incredibly likely to miss. With spell attacks it's that you're just likely to miss and waste a slot

Thanks for posting this commentary from Mark, BTW. I googled it and found some other interesting stuff..

A few things I would like to note:

1. There's a bit more to that post:

Spoiler:
In the playtest, back when spell attacks did not use your casting stat and proficiency was lower, I added some wands that raised spell attack rolls with an item bonus (but to a lesser bonus than weapons), but they weren't especially popular with either the staff or the playtesters. So when things were all shifted around, they were removed. In retrospect, I think that people would have preferred to have those items and master proficiency because of the feeling of non-parallelism, the fact that they might be used to those items from 5e, and the way it makes the progression a bit smoother for attack rolls.

Another option would be to have casters not go up to legendary in anything, have items add to attack rolls and DCs both, and remove the option to use NPCs built as PCs, thus allowing a slightly different saving throw progression for creatures, but I think it would probably feel weird if casters didn't ever go up to legendary in something related to casting."

2. He also notes that the Shadow Signet was not intended to be a stealth patch and that people overvalue it because flatfooted is extremely common in real play at that level:

Spoiler:
PF2 doesn't really engage in the idea of stealth patch fixes via forcing you to buy a new book and then ivory tower figure out what thing to do to adjust your paradigm; the design paradigm is that if there's a mistake or issue, to fix it for everyone.

I've said it before, but I think people likely overvalue the benefit of shadow signet across various situations that come up in real play by virtue of whiteroom calculations. For one example, I've found that it was more likely for a creature that was being attacked to have two sources of being flat-footed on it by level 9 than it was to have zero sources, and when you compare it to flat-footed AC, it's a fun item that has great use cases, but isn't nearly as much a must-have as when compared to full AC.

3. The change Mark is referencing here is actually two buffs: proficiency and items. That is a much bigger buff than just items alone, and could justify killing True Strike.

4. This change would impact certain classes (and likely traditions) differently. Aside from levels 13 and 14 when your gap with martials is widest, you'd be looking at something like a 5% buff at level 4, a 15% buff at 5 and 6, then back to 5% until level 10 at which point it becomes 10%... So normally it is way less strong than True Strike, but it wouldn't cost an action or resource. Which means that while a psychic spamming amped cantrips all day would likely be better off, a wizard utilizing their top tier slot would likely have been better off with True Strike.

5. This post was from 4 days ago; he's still playing testing the idea but will likely keep it for his latest class. A class which I do not have any frame of reference for, so depending on where it falls between a kineticist, psychic, and wizard, it may be better suited to this change than other casters.


Captain Morgan wrote:
Gobhaggo wrote:

Mark Seifter himself said that decoupling spell attacks from DCs is a good solution with all the woes echoing over and over in the system.

"In retrospect, I think it would have been ideal to decouple spell attack rolls from spell DCs and have them advance at a different rate. I'm trying that out right now in the elemental avatar playtest: attack roll scales to master at 5/13, while DC scales at 7/15/19. No one thought of it at the time (least of all me) because it seemed so clear that the two proficiencies were kind of one and the same, but they are iterated separately and could be split. Tying that together to spell attack items and having true strike work on Strikes and not spell attacks would have had some benefits."

Really the issue with the 'bad feels' of the spell attack needing 2 actions and being so low accuracy is that it trains players to just straight up avoid those spells, missing 'and' losing a slot just feels horrid.

Like this is the same reason why 3rd Attacks are adviced to not be done, you'll just incredibly likely to miss. With spell attacks it's that you're just likely to miss and waste a slot

Thanks for posting this commentary from Mark, BTW. I googled it and found some other interesting stuff..

A few things I would like to note:

1. There's a bit more to that post: ** spoiler omitted **...

If you are interested in more ideas from Mark that are similar to this I recommend checking out "What if... Five Ideas That Aren't in Pathfinder 2nd Edition" on youtube is something you check out not all of it is related to caster stuff but I do find it interesting


Idea: change true strike into a focus spell and it reads as such. "One action cast. If your next action is to cast a spell with an attack roll add +1 circumstance bonus to the attack roll."

Every caster gets this focus spell for free at X level.

You can even heighten this at certain levels to balance it.

Yes this will have some major issues, but I am trying to come up with a solution.


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Pathfinder Rulebook Subscriber
Dragonhearthx wrote:

Idea: change true strike into a focus spell and it reads as such. "One action cast. If your next action is to cast a spell with an attack roll add +1 circumstance bonus to the attack roll."

Every caster gets this focus spell for free at X level.

You can even heighten this at certain levels to balance it.

Yes this will have some major issues, but I am trying to come up with a solution.

+1 to hit for one attack does not feel like a very fun use of a focus point. It strikes me as pretty weak-- compare it to Ki Strike which gives +1 status, 1d6 damage across two strikes which can trigger various weaknesses, and it doesn't cost you any extra actions to flurry.

But mostly it just doesn't feel interesting or evocative.

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