Early level caster experience and the remaster


Pathfinder Second Edition General Discussion

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AestheticDialectic wrote:
Deriven Firelion wrote:

I addressed that in my post.

Magus and casters have expert proficiency from level 9 to 14.

They share master proficiency from level 17 to 18.

So the only levels Magus and casters don't share the same proficiency are:

Level 7 and 8: casters have expert.

Level 15 and 16: casters have Master.

So there are roughly four levels where the Magus and casters don't share proficiency.

Magus primarily focus on attack roll spells where they use their weapon proficiency which they obtain master in at level 13, before casters, applying an item bonus to hit with attack roll spells. They even combine a weapon attack and an attack roll spell into a 2 action spellstrike.

So we have a lot of data on how item bonuses affect attack roll spells. Casters can't even combine them with a weapon attack for a two action activity.

So, have people running Magus in their games notice attack roll spells being overpowered with item bonuses? This data should exist given the Magus uses attack roll spells combined with a weapon attack with a scaling proficiency similar to casters at most levels.

I would say that if I could spellstrike every round I would absolutely overshadow the fighter in my party

Have the magus in your groups overshadowed your fighters?

I have run multiple Magus in groups. They do not overshadow the other martials. They have some spectacular moments critting. Their normal hits are decent. When they miss, their rounds feel terrible.

A caster with item bonuses to attack roll spells would not even hit as hard as a spellstriking magus. So there is no concern there.

From the data we have or even anecdotal evidence showing the magus is overshadowing all other martials with item bonuses adding to attack roll spells?


Magus is different enough that it may be a bad reference point. It's a good idea to bring it up but it's just so different in its attack pattern and action economy.


Deriven Firelion wrote:

Have the magus in your groups overshadowed your fighters?

I have run multiple Magus in groups. They do not overshadow the other martials. They have some spectacular moments critting. Their normal hits are decent. When they miss, their rounds feel terrible.

A caster with item bonuses to attack roll spells would not even hit as hard as a spellstriking magus. So there is no concern there.

From the data we have or even anecdotal evidence showing the magus is overshadowing all other martials with item bonuses adding to attack roll spells?

I am playing a magus right now, and when I hit with spellstrike, a normal one with a cantrips it is way above the martial baseline and above what a fighter can do. It's held in check by the recharge mechanic making it more often an every other round activity. I do agree missing a spellstrike feels pretty bad though. I just wish I could spellstrike with actions like tripping and shoving


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Calliope5431 wrote:
Magus is different enough that it may be a bad reference point. It's a good idea to bring it up but it's just so different in its attack pattern and action economy.

I don't think so. It is a class that uses item bonus with the equivalent of a spell attack roll.

What you have to remove is the weapon attack damage.

It clearly shows what spell damage with attack roll spells would be like if item bonuses existed for attack roll spells. There is no outcry to my knowledge right now with the magus.

I have watched the magus in operation and it isn't making item bonuses with attack roll spells overpowered.

Attack roll spells are 2 action spells. They are single target mostly. Allowing item bonuses in my games has done nothing to break the game or make them overpowered as some argue.

It's one of those statements that isn't back up by math or data because it can't be backed up by math and data. Item bonuses to attack roll spells would only make casting attack roll spells more fun for those that want to use them without harming the game in any way.

Why people keep arguing otherwise is beyond me. They have no data to back up their claim. Item bonuses to attack roll spells should be added to the game. The magus clearly proves that item bonuses to attack roll spells doesn't break PF2. They use attack roll spells even more efficiently than a normal caster would that wouldn't even be able to combine it with a weapon strike with specialization and a fully built out weapon.


Deriven Firelion wrote:
Calliope5431 wrote:
Magus is different enough that it may be a bad reference point. It's a good idea to bring it up but it's just so different in its attack pattern and action economy.

I don't think so. It is a class that uses item bonus with the equivalent of a spell attack roll.

What you have to remove is the weapon attack damage.

It clearly shows what spell damage with attack roll spells would be like if item bonuses existed for attack roll spells. There is no outcry to my knowledge right now with the magus.

I have watched the magus in operation and it isn't making item bonuses with attack roll spells overpowered.

Attack roll spells are 2 action spells. They are single target mostly. Allowing item bonuses in my games has done nothing to break the game or make them overpowered as some argue.

It's one of those statements that isn't back up by math or data because it can't be backed up by math and data. Item bonuses to attack roll spells would only make casting attack roll spells more fun for those that want to use them without harming the game in any way.

Why people keep arguing otherwise is beyond me. They have no data to back up their claim. Item bonuses to attack roll spells should be added to the game. The magus clearly proves that item bonuses to attack roll spells doesn't break PF2. They use attack roll spells even more efficiently than a normal caster would that wouldn't even be able to combine it with a weapon strike with specialization and a fully built out weapon.

I agree it's a reasonable starting point but there are major differences.

It has four whole spells. Casters have more than that. And don't add the damage of weapon strikes to them. And don't have the same attack bonus scaling.

I do think item bonuses are a better fix than shadow signet though.


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

And item bonuses to spell attack roll spells has little to no relationship with low level play.


Unicore wrote:
And item bonuses to spell attack roll spells has little to no relationship with low level play.

Like I've said before already in this thread, the struggle point for casters is somewhere in the mid levels. I think most players have complained about caster math in the mid levels, which is where runes would apply. Levels 1 and 2 are where cantrips are strongest, and level 3 nearly doubles your slotted spells and cantrips are still alright. I would say getting to level 5 and a bit after are pretty groovy. The problem with low level casters is the same for everyone in this game. Levels 1 and 2 are the deadliest by design, and this doesn't get remedied until levels 3+, which again you go from four spells to seven on wizards are sorcerers. Which is just an absolutely nutty jump in your capabilities


AestheticDialectic wrote:
Unicore wrote:
And item bonuses to spell attack roll spells has little to no relationship with low level play.
Like I've said before already in this thread, the struggle point for casters is somewhere in the mid levels. I think most players have complained about caster math in the mid levels, which is where runes would apply. Levels 1 and 2 are where cantrips are strongest, and level 3 nearly doubles your slotted spells and cantrips are still alright. I would say getting to level 5 and a bit after are pretty groovy. The problem with low level casters is the same for everyone in this game. Levels 1 and 2 are the deadliest by design, and this doesn't get remedied until levels 3+, which again you go from four spells to seven on wizards are sorcerers. Which is just an absolutely nutty jump in your capabilities

Well, the thread is technically about LOW level casters...

So your objection is in the 6-10 range?


Calliope5431 wrote:
AestheticDialectic wrote:
Unicore wrote:
And item bonuses to spell attack roll spells has little to no relationship with low level play.
Like I've said before already in this thread, the struggle point for casters is somewhere in the mid levels. I think most players have complained about caster math in the mid levels, which is where runes would apply. Levels 1 and 2 are where cantrips are strongest, and level 3 nearly doubles your slotted spells and cantrips are still alright. I would say getting to level 5 and a bit after are pretty groovy. The problem with low level casters is the same for everyone in this game. Levels 1 and 2 are the deadliest by design, and this doesn't get remedied until levels 3+, which again you go from four spells to seven on wizards are sorcerers. Which is just an absolutely nutty jump in your capabilities

Well, the thread is technically about LOW level casters...

So your objection is in the 6-10 range?

Not my objection, as I've said when people talk about the roughest levels as a caster they typically talk about a period after they get expert and before they get master. Low level are typically not complained about because it's when cantrips like electric arc over perform, where magic weapon is the most potent and so on

I don't think there is quite as much of a problem at any stage but I can see why the mid levels are rough. I fundamentally don't agree with the premise of this thread that low level caster experience is rough at all. I think it's actually quite good

Liberty's Edge

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Me I just want a magically flavored way to attack instead of using a weapon.

That's it.

It can even deal less average damage than the weapon for all I care. It's really about the flavor to me.


So essentially casters should be able to get a Gate Attuner like item? That seems fine to me. If True Strike is a problem, then remove True Strike or make it a two action spell that applies on your next Strike (for up to a minute).

Honestly - is it not possible the Remaster will have Gate Attuners for caster classes? Have Paizo stated that won't happen or revealed enough items for us to believe it won't happen?

Dark Archive

Calliope5431 wrote:
Dark_Schneider wrote:
Angwa wrote:

Another possibility is to make a new weapon category which uses your main spell attack bonus (wands, staves, symbols, etc) and give those a one-action attack.

These could take runes of course, and its potency rune would carry over to all spell attack rolls and finally be treated the same way as everything else which targets AC.

That sounds good, integrating a base attack to casters item.
That definitely could work, assuming we mean "nonmagical item" (so basically a vanilla staff, wand, whatever with no enchantment) since otherwise you run into the same problem with low level. It's sort of a novel idea. Generally casters don't need items in the same way martials do.

You know, I like this concept overall. You could do something like:

Quote:

Magical Capacitor

A magical capacitor is the result of experimentation by mad Arcanists to create a permanent Spellgun by combining it with a Spellheart. The resulting efforts had nearly none of the desirable properties of either, but did allow for the stable, permanent, retention of magic energy which could be acted upon by external forces.

When either held by a caster or affixed to a stave, a magical capacitor allows the wielder to produce bolts of magical energy in a stable and predictable manner.

You Activate the Magical Capacitor by aiming it at one creature and making a spell attack roll, with a range increment of 30 feet. Attacks from the capacitor gain the trait of the spellcasting tradition from the caster who activates the item.

A Magical Capacitor is capable of being inscribed with Fundamental potency runes, and property runes suitable for its affixed item, but not striking runes. When affixed to a staff, the Magical Capacitor shares any fundamental runes inscribed on it with staff and any spells cast from the staff, not but any property runes so inscribed.

- Lesser Magical Capacitor, 2nd:
1d6 + Spellcasting Ability modifier

- Moderate Magical Capacitor, 6th:
2d6 + Spellcasting Ability modifier

- Greater Magical Capacitor, 10th:
3d6 + Spellcasting Ability modifier

- Major Magical Capacitor, 14th:
4d6 + Spellcasting Ability modifier

- True Magical Capacitor, 18th:
5d6 + Spellcasting Ability modifier

Damage scaling is probably too high, but you get the concept.

Liberty's Edge

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MadamReshi wrote:

So essentially casters should be able to get a Gate Attuner like item? That seems fine to me. If True Strike is a problem, then remove True Strike or make it a two action spell that applies on your next Strike (for up to a minute).

Honestly - is it not possible the Remaster will have Gate Attuners for caster classes? Have Paizo stated that won't happen or revealed enough items for us to believe it won't happen?

Personally, I am not asking for a bonus to all spell attacks at all. That is another topic entirely.

I'm just asking for a magical alternative to casters using a weapon to Strike.

And not one that is better than the weapon Strike by the same caster, as opposed to many solutions already proposed.


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Exactly, is the alternative of holding a weapon but your staff or wand only instead, allowing to strike or casting with all the components (free hand for material) on demand. Currently there is no alternative.

Could also be the chance to banish another classical, the caster with the crossbow in hands for rounds not casting spells. The at-will cantrips changed this but probably many use a weapon at the same time, as you could just have only 1 action in the round for any reason or maybe you prefer to attack the AC.

Change it by a wand, i.e. Currently the wand you equip it, cast its single spell, and unequip. How about wearing it actively instead? You can use it to cast its spell, or as device for your basic spell attack, if required, instead using a hand crossbow or any other.

It can be the worst attack thing, as if you are more into spell casting, you could prefer to have a free hand for material component but having the chance to make an attack if required, but not as preference, while having access to the magical device capabilities (the spell/s into the wand or staff).

Liberty's Edge

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Dark_Schneider wrote:

Exactly, is the alternative of holding a weapon but your staff or wand only instead, allowing to strike or casting with all the components (free hand for material) on demand. Currently there is no alternative.

Could also be the chance to banish another classical, the caster with the crossbow in hands for rounds not casting spells. The at-will cantrips changed this but probably many use a weapon at the same time, as you could just have only 1 action in the round for any reason or maybe you prefer to attack the AC.

Change it by a wand, i.e. Currently the wand you equip it, cast its single spell, and unequip. How about wearing it actively instead? You can use it to cast its spell, or as device for your basic spell attack, if required, instead using a hand crossbow or any other.

It can be the worst attack thing, as if you are more into spell casting, you could prefer to have a free hand for material component but having the chance to make an attack if required, but not as preference, while having access to the magical device capabilities (the spell/s into the wand or staff).

In the meantime, I guess I will just pretend that my sling or crossbow or dagger or whatever is actually a ball of magical energy in my hand that I use to attack. And that might in time function as special material to account for bolts of silver or cold iron.


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Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber; Pathfinder Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

I remember that in D&D 4e many casters could have an orb, book, wand, staff, ring, amulet, or some other token of power to facilitate magical attacks or empower those abilities.

Could we do something like that? Have a magical token that takes up a hand and can be activated as an action to add an extra die of damage to attack spells' damage rolls?

It could be described as projecting it's own Spell energy (such as an arcane bolt that streaks to its target) or ele empowering a standard soell to greater effect.

Unlike 4e though, there would be no penalties for losing one, outside not being able to use it.

This could replace the crossbow and similar options and could be molded to fit the theme of any caster class.

Liberty's Edge

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Ravingdork wrote:

I remember that in D&D 4e many casters could have an orb, book, wand, staff, ring, amulet, or some other token of power to facilitate magical attacks or empower those abilities.

Could we do something like that? Have a magical token that takes up a hand and can be activated as an action to add an extra die of damage to attack spells' damage rolls?

It could be described as projecting it's own Spell energy (such as an arcane bolt that streaks to its target) or ele empowering a standard soell to greater effect.

Unlike 4e though, there would be no penalties for losing one, outside not being able to use it.

This could replace the crossbow and similar options and could be molded to fit the theme of any caster class.

TBH I would prefer something that is useful even if you do not cast another spell.


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Pathfinder Lost Omens, Rulebook, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

I'd be wary of anything that boosts spell attack damage specifically because it will likely funnel even more players into the high risk high reward spells like acid arrow that struggle to hit at higher levels. Best to have that kind of thing maybe boost cantrips or this alternate 1-action zap attack. My players tend to have to learn the "high risk" part of attack spells the hard way, unfortunately.

I'm pretty sure Shadow Signet is typically better than Gate Attenuators overall, I'll have to test that out vs. the AoN bestiary. But it does require still engaging with the defense targeting stuff between AC, Reflex, and Fortitude. So I have offered players who are less about that the option of a gate attenuator equivalent as long as it's incompatible with the Shadow Signet.


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Shadow signet can be much better than Gate attenuators, but it can also cause you to target a save that might be higher than AC if you really badly misread the situation. This is part of why I like the Shadow signet as the "caster's fix," because it really pushes what I think is a fundamental game conceit, which is that the casting game is designed to be a cagey chess match of wits. There are no simple or easy answers with casting in PF2 and getting into routines of trying to defeat every enemy the same way is what gets the whole party killed. That is a strength of the system to me, but I do understand how it can frustrate some players who are looking to turn the tactical game play difficulty nob way down, especially if they are players playing with a GM that is trying to turn that dial up on them by making information too difficult to gather or process.

As far as "Ray" the weapon goes, I do think that a mechanical solution could exist, and would probably be worth a group trying to homebrew for players and tables that really want to support the idea of casters running around and just blasting all the time like a harry potter movie or marvel movie. I know that that fantasy is popular and there is nothing inherently wrong with it.

But it really is not the fantasy that fits in Golarion lore very well. I think I would be disappointed to see these options become common or even uncommon and equal to what casters can do by picking up weapons, because I think it has become pretty intrinsic to Golarion that anyone engaged in war or constant fighting uses weapons eventually, and there is just too much already invested into picking up a weapon to fight as a legitimate build path for something to come along and even equal that without require any investment of class feats or features. I think Star finder might be the better place for such a thing that can be back applied to Pathfinder if it needs to be official material and not homebrew, because it really would change the meta of the game if the option is seriously competitive with casters picking up weapons, and if it is not competitive, I think you'll have rebellions and anger at its inclusion as an obviously inferior option...ie "the devs hate casters" talk


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

At the same time, "ray guns" as a developing, new, add on technology, that feels new in world could be a way to starting bringing this additional fantasy into Golarion without making it a question of "why would wizards ever waste their time try to use polearms?"


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Unicore wrote:
At the same time, "ray guns" as a developing, new, add on technology, that feels new in world could be a way to starting bringing this additional fantasy into Golarion without making it a question of "why would wizards ever waste their time try to use polearms?"

Mmm. Maybe? But warlock vigilante existed in 1e. Kineticist exists now. I think you might be conflating Paizo publishing lots of classes with spell slots with how the setting actually works.

After all, looking at monsters, they have plenty of at will 1 action energy bursts. From ice yai to fire elementals to ankhrav (acid spit) there are loads of monsters with energy blasts. They're quite common on Golarion.

Liberty's Edge

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Unicore wrote:

Shadow signet can be much better than Gate attenuators, but it can also cause you to target a save that might be higher than AC if you really badly misread the situation. This is part of why I like the Shadow signet as the "caster's fix," because it really pushes what I think is a fundamental game conceit, which is that the casting game is designed to be a cagey chess match of wits. There are no simple or easy answers with casting in PF2 and getting into routines of trying to defeat every enemy the same way is what gets the whole party killed. That is a strength of the system to me, but I do understand how it can frustrate some players who are looking to turn the tactical game play difficulty nob way down, especially if they are players playing with a GM that is trying to turn that dial up on them by making information too difficult to gather or process.

As far as "Ray" the weapon goes, I do think that a mechanical solution could exist, and would probably be worth a group trying to homebrew for players and tables that really want to support the idea of casters running around and just blasting all the time like a harry potter movie or marvel movie. I know that that fantasy is popular and there is nothing inherently wrong with it.

But it really is not the fantasy that fits in Golarion lore very well. I think I would be disappointed to see these options become common or even uncommon and equal to what casters can do by picking up weapons, because I think it has become pretty intrinsic to Golarion that anyone engaged in war or constant fighting uses weapons eventually, and there is just too much already invested into picking up a weapon to fight as a legitimate build path for something to come along and even equal that without require any investment of class feats or features. I think Star finder might be the better place for such a thing that can be back applied to Pathfinder if it needs to be official material and not homebrew, because it really would change the meta of the game if the option is seriously...

Using weapons as a caster at higher level means sinking as much money as a Martial does in an ability that will always be subpar.

I do not see how it makes much sense actually.

Except for NPCs that are not built as PCs obviously.


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Well, new wizard stuff is up. Civic wizardry is roughly as expected. Lots of old evocation spells.

Secondary detonation array is fine, though it's high level so not enough to help the loss of versatility from spell schools. And unfortunately there aren't any new low level wizard feats.

So TBD - I'll be interested to see what happens with the new spells on Thursday.


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The idea that you have to use weapons to deal damage flies in the face of 10 years of Golarion magic users not needing weapons to deal damage.

If anything the fact that PF2 magic users have so much trouble landing touch spells is entirely the opposite of how Golarion setting has had magic be the easiest way to land a hit.


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Temperans wrote:

The idea that you have to use weapons to deal damage flies in the face of 10 years of Golarion magic users not needing weapons to deal damage.

If anything the fact that PF2 magic users have so much trouble landing touch spells is entirely the opposite of how Golarion setting has had magic be the easiest way to land a hit.

Btw, this is incorrect. Crossbows were a staple item of low level wizards in PF1, the transition to good cantrips lost this flavor. More over until higher level touch spells missed a lot of you didn't get the feat which removed the -4 penalty to using ranged attacks on enemies in combat. A feat which becomes unnecessary at higher levels mind you. By default spellcasters had a very hard time dealing damage with attack roll spells until much later on. The fact we can now easily at level one attack with spells using the same bonus to hit as everyone else and not require a bow "flies in the face of how the golarion setting has had magic". Before we needed dexterity to hit with spells too, btw, now it uses your casting stat. A huge buff


AestheticDialectic wrote:
Temperans wrote:

The idea that you have to use weapons to deal damage flies in the face of 10 years of Golarion magic users not needing weapons to deal damage.

If anything the fact that PF2 magic users have so much trouble landing touch spells is entirely the opposite of how Golarion setting has had magic be the easiest way to land a hit.

Btw, this is incorrect. Crossbows were a staple item of low level wizards in PF1, the transition to good cantrips lost this flavor. More over until higher level touch spells missed a lot of you didn't get the feat which removed the -4 penalty to using ranged attacks on enemies in combat. A feat which becomes unnecessary at higher levels mind you. By default spellcasters had a very hard time dealing damage with attack roll spells until much later on. The fact we can now easily at level one attack with spells using the same bonus to hit as everyone else and not require a bow "flies in the face of how the golarion setting has had magic". Before we needed dexterity to hit with spells too, btw, now it uses your casting stat. A huge buff

Idk what game you were playing but the only time it was hard to hit a touch spell was versus dodge tanks. Most creatures were not dodge tanks, and getting precise shot was trivial.

Some did use crossbows, but it wasn't "required" as many people in PF2 want it to be.


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Temperans wrote:

Idk what game you were playing but the only time it was hard to hit a touch spell was versus dodge tanks. Most creatures were not dodge tanks, and getting precise shot was trivial.

Some did use crossbows, but it wasn't "required" as many people in PF2 want it to be.

No one wants a crossbow to be required in PF2, by comparison a crossbow for a low level caster is significantly less necessary in PF2 than PF1. You must not have played many games at low level or didn't have a GM enforce the -4 penalty to hit you were supposed to have, but spellcasters used a crossbow to hit, and were very bad at it, and on top of that also had the worst level 1 chassis in the game being borderline useless to the party. Spellcasters eventually got ridiculously powerful, but I will never forget how awful it is to play a level 1 wizard in PF1. PF2 has an incredible level 1 experience by comparison. Also do not discount how many feats any given class wants. Grabbing precise shot is less of a big deal on a sorcerer or a wizard because of bonus feats, but it is a feat tax nonetheless

And another reminder that PF1 cantrips did 1d3 damage and didn't scale, class abilities like acid dart were limited use and only did 1d6 with no modifier until level 2 where it got a measly +1 damage. More over as I already said touch AC at low levels is very close to normal AC. The disparity doesn't show up until you reach higher levels, which is where the disparity is then so big that having 1/2 bab and -4 to hit doesn't stop you from always hitting everything making the precise shot feat you are stuck with extremely useless


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Tell me again what level a PF1 wizard could cast 3 spells in a turn or make an attack with a weapon and cast an offensive damaging spell? Or use a swift action to cast a magic missile?

The way PF1 casters used all their actions to attack was by using full action spells. It is more like players are saying oh, wow! Now every action is supposed to be like a standard action, but PF2 has been very intentional about not letting casting universally work this way.


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To me it is clear that 1 action is equivalent to a move action or swift action, and that two actions is equivalent to a standard action and that three actions is closer to a full round action


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Pathfinder Adventure, Adventure Path, Lost Omens, Rulebook, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Unicore wrote:
Shadow signet can be much better than Gate attenuators, but it can also cause you to target a save that might be higher than AC if you really badly misread the situation. This is part of why I like the Shadow signet as the "caster's fix," because it really pushes what I think is a fundamental game conceit, which is that the casting game is designed to be a cagey chess match of wits. There are no simple or easy answers with casting in PF2 and getting into routines of trying to defeat every enemy the same way is what gets the whole party killed.

'Conceit' is the right word... you are proposing a kind of elitism being part of the fundamental design but with no pay off for it.

I see this as a weakness and bad design. That a class has to play better and needs a higher skilled player where the reward is to perform maybe as equal as another class without needing that skill is unrewarding. If I need a higher level of skill to get the class to perform well it should be rewarded with better outcomes than the class that doesn't need it. PF2e doesn't have this as a design principle though, its design principle is to balance (wizards but I assume casters in general) around the optimum player with the optimum circumstances might achieve. Its a poor experience for players new to the game.


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Pathfinder Adventure, Adventure Path, Lost Omens, Rulebook, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

To me this fix (which wont happen) is to rework damage cantrips to be support variable action casting.

Ignition would have been much more interesting to me if it was:

1 action - touch range
2 action - ranged attack
3 action - cone or AoE blast (lower damage than 2 action)

Building that into a dozen or so attack cantrips would probably shore up a lot of caster issues with flexibility. They did it for Heal and could easily follow some similar design principles albeit with lower damage outcomes.


Cyder wrote:

To me this fix (which wont happen) is to rework damage cantrips to be support variable action casting.

Ignition would have been much more interesting to me if it was:

1 action - touch range
2 action - ranged attack
3 action - cone or AoE blast (lower damage than 2 action)

Building that into a dozen or so attack cantrips would probably shore up a lot of caster issues with flexibility. They did it for Heal and could easily follow some similar design principles albeit with lower damage outcomes.

So, I think it should actually follow the scorching ray pattern where AoE is more damage than single target. It's a deliberate design decision that casters are worse at single target but excellent at AoE. I get that what you said follows the Heal spell paradigm, and I think that is reasonable, it just seems to me the design philosophy should have it follow the scorching ray paradigm

Edit for links:
scorching ray
heal


Pathfinder Adventure, Adventure Path, Lost Omens, Rulebook, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

Really I am happy for it to work whichever way. Scorching Ray works because it is 3 rays needing attack rolls. A blast hits automatically (crit success aside).

But it doesn't need to be the same for each cantrip, 1 could work like Sorching Ray, another like heal, another like blasts from Kineticist where if they spend an extra action they add their primary attribute modifier to damage.

Something that allows casters to engage in the 3 action system in a satisfying way while still leaving room for skill checks, movement or a weapon attack if that is there thing would be nice. Cantrips are a good place to do it as we can reasonably expect most casters to have 1 or 2 damage cantrips so there is high reuse in terms of book space and applicability and there is a limited number of them.


You have to be prepared for these to become borderline useless as you level up though, like all cantrips. I said before but what I really want are one action spells, whether they be cantrips or focus spells, that do a combat maneuver using your spell attack or spell DC and that this be the way casters get to use the three action economy. Or at least wizards and arcane casters can do this, maybe primal too, and occult/divine get something else appropriate to what they do such as the witch's evil eye hex


AestheticDialectic wrote:
You have to be prepared for these to become borderline useless as you level up though, like all cantrips. I said before but what I really want are one action spells, whether they be cantrips or focus spells, that do a combat maneuver using your spell attack or spell DC and that this be the way casters get to use the three action economy. Or at least wizards and arcane casters can do this, maybe primal too, and occult/divine get something else appropriate to what they do such as the witch's evil eye hex

That's totally the province of martials. So deeply. Much more than the nebulous realm of 1 action attacks.


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Calliope5431 wrote:
AestheticDialectic wrote:
You have to be prepared for these to become borderline useless as you level up though, like all cantrips. I said before but what I really want are one action spells, whether they be cantrips or focus spells, that do a combat maneuver using your spell attack or spell DC and that this be the way casters get to use the three action economy. Or at least wizards and arcane casters can do this, maybe primal too, and occult/divine get something else appropriate to what they do such as the witch's evil eye hex
That's totally the province of martials. So deeply. Much more than the nebulous realm of 1 action attacks.

Actions like trip, shove and demoralize are weakened versions of what spells do. Demoralize is a worse version of the fear spell, and is identical in function to the hex Evil Eye. Knocking enemies prone is a component of or rider on a myriad of two action spells and many of them target multiple opponents, for instance telekinetic ram has it as a rider on the two action variant and can shove for one action at range, likewise hydraulic push shoves enemies and does damage. Shape stone trips all enemies atop of a ten foot cube's worth of stone. Spells like web and black tentacles can impose the immobilized conditions much like a grabbing or grappling. For black tentacles it is literally grabbed. The upside martials have is item bonuses to skill checks for these maneuvers, and the downside is being in melee and single target. The down side for casters is no item bonus and the upside is range and AoE. A single target ranged maneuver for one action I think is the perfect supplement to the play style of a class like the wizard by giving flat footed to your martial allies


AestheticDialectic wrote:
Calliope5431 wrote:
AestheticDialectic wrote:
You have to be prepared for these to become borderline useless as you level up though, like all cantrips. I said before but what I really want are one action spells, whether they be cantrips or focus spells, that do a combat maneuver using your spell attack or spell DC and that this be the way casters get to use the three action economy. Or at least wizards and arcane casters can do this, maybe primal too, and occult/divine get something else appropriate to what they do such as the witch's evil eye hex
That's totally the province of martials. So deeply. Much more than the nebulous realm of 1 action attacks.
Actions like trip, shove and demoralize are weakened versions of what spells do. Demoralize is a worse version of the fear spell, and is identical in function to the hex Evil Eye. Knocking enemies prone is a component of or rider on a myriad of two action spells and many of them target multiple opponents, for instance telekinetic ram has it as a rider on the two action variant and can shove for one action at range, likewise hydraulic push shoves enemies and does damage. Shape stone trips all enemies atop of a ten foot cube's worth of stone. Spells like web and black tentacles can impose the immobilized conditions much like a grabbing or grappling. For black tentacles it is literally grabbed. The upside martials have is item bonuses to skill checks for these maneuvers, and the downside is being in melee and single target. The down side for casters is no item bonus and the upside is range and AoE. A single target ranged maneuver for one action I think is the perfect supplement to the play style of a class like the wizard by giving flat footed to your martial allies

They are indeed. Which is why casters shouldn't have them. The entire point is for them to be something unique and special that martials get as control.


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Calliope5431 wrote:
They are indeed. Which is why casters shouldn't have them. The entire point is for them to be something unique and special that martials get as control.

This argument feels disingenuous. Casters already trip, shove, disarm, grab and grapple, sometimes literally in the case of clerics with athletic rush (and wrestler dedication) where they are often better at it than martials. These minor control effects have never been the exclusive domain of martials and are in fact weak versions of caster abilities because these kinds of effects are the caster domain that martials are poaching


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AestheticDialectic wrote:
Crossbows were a staple item of low level wizards in PF1, the transition to good cantrips lost this flavor.

But more importantly weapons aren't typical in literature and media in general for wizards. Several of my players don't like it at all. To the extent that they just won't take them on their wizards.


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I love how the argument for why casters should not be fixed is that it would make martials feel sad; As if it was an either or situation.

Don't want the martial to feel sad? Then make them better. Stop with making other classes feel bad to justify bad design under the guise of "balance". If it were balanced then people wouldn't be complaining about it consistently for 4 years.

Also before anyone says it, no it does not matter that martials were worse before. That just means you are being vindictive and don't actually want balance.


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Temperans wrote:

I love how the argument for why casters should not be fixed is that it would make martials feel sad; As if it was an either or situation.

Don't want the martial to feel sad? Then make them better. Stop with making other classes feel bad to justify bad design under the guise of "balance". If it were balanced then people wouldn't be complaining about it consistently for 4 years.

Also before anyone says it, no it does not matter that martials were worse before. That just means you are being vindictive and don't actually want balance.

If you're referring to calliope, this isn't what they are doing, if you're referring to me, same thing. This is about a matter of perspective on where the line is drawn on these things. I agree with the hard-line stance of the designers that martials are primary in single target damage and that is prettyuch exclusively their domain. I also think that martials are secondary in these sort of "action denial" control effects that combat maneuvers do. It's just that I think that this is what casters are primary in, and thus I see no issue with a spell that does a trip or shove, and nothing else with the same critical failure clause, for one action. Perhaps it's like hydraulic push or gale blast where you're sending winds, or water, or shifting the earth to shive or trip enemies. I think calliope is just baffled I would argued against them so strongly about not giving a damagimg one action spell to casters but would do this. It's just in terms of priorities damage is more sacred to martials than control effects are


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Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
Cyder wrote:
Unicore wrote:
Shadow signet can be much better than Gate attenuators, but it can also cause you to target a save that might be higher than AC if you really badly misread the situation. This is part of why I like the Shadow signet as the "caster's fix," because it really pushes what I think is a fundamental game conceit, which is that the casting game is designed to be a cagey chess match of wits. There are no simple or easy answers with casting in PF2 and getting into routines of trying to defeat every enemy the same way is what gets the whole party killed.

'Conceit' is the right word... you are proposing a kind of elitism being part of the fundamental design but with no pay off for it.

I see this as a weakness and bad design. That a class has to play better and needs a higher skilled player where the reward is to perform maybe as equal as another class without needing that skill is unrewarding. If I need a higher level of skill to get the class to perform well it should be rewarded with better outcomes than the class that doesn't need it. PF2e doesn't have this as a design principle though, its design principle is to balance (wizards but I assume casters in general) around the optimum player with the optimum circumstances might achieve. Its a poor experience for players new to the game.

Wizards targeting the correct saves and doing the right damage types against weaknesses can outpace the damage output of martials in some circumstances already. It is ok for the complexity meter of different classes to slide without the overall power meter sliding that much. There are plenty of magical class options that are not that tactically complex once they are built: the bard, the cleric, the psychic, the Oracle, the kineticist.

It is ok for there to be some that are tactically complex and that is not elitism, it is just letting classes be good at different things. What would be elitism is if wizards played well just massively out performed every other class, so that every party either had a player playing a wizard well, or was completely struggling with the game. From the wizard blog preview, it is pretty clear that the development team agree that it would be better for players to choose wizards because they just like playing with tactical challenges and situations, rather than suggesting that playing the game that way always resulted in a more powerful party.


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Pathfinder Lost Omens, Rulebook, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Temperans wrote:
If it were balanced then people wouldn't be complaining about it consistently for 4 years.

I mean, a large part of it is that people are complaining *because* it is balanced. There have been a lot of complaints for a lot of different reasons over the years, including "casters are too balanced so they're not fun".

Even in this thread, it's "elitism"(?) that a more skilled player isn't able to do *enough* better with a class that offers a higher skill ceiling than a less skilled player playing other classes that offer low skill floors. Rather than just having an interesting way to play the game where you aren't just nearly exclusively targeting AC and get to adapt and adjust and get rewards like weak saves typically being more vulnerable than off-guard AC.

My sorcerer player complains about the fighter class being too good continuously, even immediately after real fights where the fighter had to switch off their legendary weapon to bow and really struggled to contribute much, even though she's largely a support fighter who sets up everyone else.

Even when the sorcerer spends 3 rounds doing support and only 3 rounds doing damage and still did 2nd most damage in a party of 5 (swashbuckler only winning because of an early bleeding finisher that never stopped bleeding), against a single target boss.

Consistently one of our strongest damage contributors in fights even when straight blasting with focus spells and still complaining because it wasn't even more. Shining in AoE and in boss fights with damage, still complains cause 15d6 came up 5 points below the average or whatever.

Complaints just... aren't really evidence that something is imbalanced. It's just evidence someone doesn't like how something feels. Which is totally okay.


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Frankly, my favorite wizards are ones who never cast any blast spells at all. Which is why I also like the occult list a lot... it's a shame the lamest class to ever exist is the poster child for it

I will always admit my bias that I want the wizard class to cater to my play style of "do little to no damage, control the battlefield, set up the martials, do cool utility stuff, be a knowledge guy"

I want a wizard who doesn't blast to be and remain a viable option. It's how I played them in 1e, it's who I have played them in 5e. It's how I try to play them in BG3 and the owlcat pathfinder games... with... less success but still some success. It's also something the other players at my tables like because they get to do their damage role thing and crush enemies and bosses


AestheticDialectic wrote:
... It's just that I think that this is what casters are primary in, and thus I see no issue with a spell that does a trip or shove, and nothing else ...

Like Telekinetic Manuever... ... ... but that's two actions.


Pixel Popper wrote:
AestheticDialectic wrote:
... It's just that I think that this is what casters are primary in, and thus I see no issue with a spell that does a trip or shove, and nothing else ...
Like Telekinetic Manuever... ... ... but that's two actions.

It should be one action :)

And potentially a focus spell, but I'm also happy with this being one action but I buy a lot of scrolls of it so it's two actions again


AidAnotherBattleHerald wrote:
Temperans wrote:
If it were balanced then people wouldn't be complaining about it consistently for 4 years.

I mean, a large part of it is that people are complaining *because* it is balanced. There have been a lot of complaints for a lot of different reasons over the years, including "casters are too balanced so they're not fun".

Even in this thread, it's "elitism"(?) that a more skilled player isn't able to do *enough* better with a class that offers a higher skill ceiling than a less skilled player playing other classes that offer low skill floors. Rather than just having an interesting way to play the game where you aren't just nearly exclusively targeting AC and get to adapt and adjust and get rewards like weak saves typically being more vulnerable than off-guard AC.

I mean the annoying thing about a lot of the casters discussions is that most of the complaints are mostly about wizard which does feel like a lot of the difficulty is there for the sake of making wizard hard to play (being the only core prepared caster to not just have their entire list by default for example) rather than feeling hard because of how they play.


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MEATSHED wrote:
AidAnotherBattleHerald wrote:
Temperans wrote:
If it were balanced then people wouldn't be complaining about it consistently for 4 years.

I mean, a large part of it is that people are complaining *because* it is balanced. There have been a lot of complaints for a lot of different reasons over the years, including "casters are too balanced so they're not fun".

Even in this thread, it's "elitism"(?) that a more skilled player isn't able to do *enough* better with a class that offers a higher skill ceiling than a less skilled player playing other classes that offer low skill floors. Rather than just having an interesting way to play the game where you aren't just nearly exclusively targeting AC and get to adapt and adjust and get rewards like weak saves typically being more vulnerable than off-guard AC.

I mean the annoying thing about a lot of the casters discussions is that most of the complaints are mostly about wizard which does feel like a lot of the difficulty is there for the sake of making wizard hard to play (being the only core prepared caster to not just have their entire list by default for example) rather than feeling hard because of how they play.

Has there been an edition of Pathfinder or d&d (barring 4e D&D as it doesn't have spell slots at all) where it wasn't the case that the wizard was the only prepared caster in the first rulebook who didn't automatically get every spell?


AestheticDialectic wrote:
MEATSHED wrote:
AidAnotherBattleHerald wrote:
Temperans wrote:
If it were balanced then people wouldn't be complaining about it consistently for 4 years.

I mean, a large part of it is that people are complaining *because* it is balanced. There have been a lot of complaints for a lot of different reasons over the years, including "casters are too balanced so they're not fun".

Even in this thread, it's "elitism"(?) that a more skilled player isn't able to do *enough* better with a class that offers a higher skill ceiling than a less skilled player playing other classes that offer low skill floors. Rather than just having an interesting way to play the game where you aren't just nearly exclusively targeting AC and get to adapt and adjust and get rewards like weak saves typically being more vulnerable than off-guard AC.

I mean the annoying thing about a lot of the casters discussions is that most of the complaints are mostly about wizard which does feel like a lot of the difficulty is there for the sake of making wizard hard to play (being the only core prepared caster to not just have their entire list by default for example) rather than feeling hard because of how they play.
Has there been an edition of Pathfinder or d&d (barring 4e D&D as it doesn't have spell slots at all) where it wasn't the case that the wizard was the only prepared caster in the first rulebook who didn't automatically get every spell?

Probably, I thought I put legacy reasons in my comment to account for that but I might have got rid of it while rewording some stuff, but it is a mechanic that I feel could probably be improved a bit, even just upping it to 3 per level would help a lot with picking up weird spells along with workhorses. (They did technically get a spellbook in 4e but it just let them swap daily powers).

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