Michael Sayre on Casters, Balance and Wizards, from Twitter


Pathfinder Second Edition General Discussion

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Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
3-Body Problem wrote:
Easl wrote:

I disagree. Having different classes/archetypes where some are good at 'one big foe' and others are good at 'lots of little foes' is just fine...as long as the game is one in which both expertises are useful and come into play regularly. As long as APs and GMs create opportunities for both to shine. If your play preference is to always take a class that specializes in bosskilling, you be you. But the inclusion of classes that specialize in other things isn't "bad design", because not every player wants to focus on bosskiller.

But since players will also want to play their favorite class/archetype IN their favorite role - for all combinations of class and role - maybe one way designers can build classes in the future is around these requirements. It's a bit meta, but they could start with wizard and make subclasses where one is designed to be a bosskiller, one is mobkiller, one is utility/debuffer, one is noncombat. Or something like that. That way the community can have its wizard bosskilling cake and eat its uberadaptable wizard too. (Then the complaints will shift to: but what if I want to be an uberadaptable bosskiller...)

I want to be a boss-killing caster. Show me the PF2 class that accomplishes this.

You want to play a video game. The mechanics of a good TTRPG make sure no one is stealing the show all the time and any good GM that sees one player stealing the show all the time should make sure there are opportunities for other characters to do amazing things too.


Boss Killing Magic sounds rather power gamer-ish so i will choose to understand it as "Very impactful Magic".

One way to archive and balance that is to having to invest a certain amount of actions over a few rounds. So lets say a 6 Action "Chain of Light" that is a guranteed success or something in that direction.
Using up time for bigger and grander magic. It would just a improvised Idea.


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3-Body Problem wrote:
Cori Marie wrote:
If you want to solo a boss then PF2 is not a system that will work for that. Not for any class. PF2 is a team game. But if you want to be part of killing a boss, then any caster will work. My Reign of Winter's party witch killed a boss with a Hideous Laughter because the boss didn't realize he didn't have reactions and jumped out a window expecting to feather fall.
So casters need GM fiat to work. Noted.

My guy, if your benchmark for 'functional' is soloing what should be a challenging boss encounter, your expectations are entirely at odds with this game.


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Arachnofiend wrote:
Fundamentally misunderstanding the situation there. I assume escaping a losing fight with feather fall is how it's ran in the AP. The alternative to the boss splatting like that would be the boss just... not being able to escape and being cornered by the party due to the on-successful-save effect of Hideous Laughter. That's a powerful solution to the problem no matter which way the GM decides to run the enemy.

Then the spell had no impact on that fight. The boss was already primed to flee and the threat was already ended. All that splatting the boss did was make him look like an idiot while forcing yourself to find ways to fix his being absent in later parts of the AP.


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3-Body Problem wrote:
Arachnofiend wrote:
There's a pretty funny Fervor Witch build that spams magic missile. Level+3 enemies are, as always, the best use case for that spell and thus focusing hard on it will make you extremely good at dealing with them.
Yeah, spamming a single spell across all your slots is really excellent caster design. Perhaps we should focus on ensuring that there are a few spells at each level that are as good in that niche as magic missiles are instead of recreating the 5e Warlock but worse.

Paizo is not in the habit of reprinting spells that do the exact same thing across multiple spell levels, not having to do that is basically why heightening exists. I recommend magic missile because your posts have shown an allergy to thinking about unique solutions to problems.


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Captain Morgan wrote:
2. Paizo does generally answer the sorts of questions you pose where they become relevant. Ex: high hazard DCs are explained in the hazard creation rules.

The hazard creation rules explain that most hazards should have one "extreme" value and the rest at "high". But I can't see anything explaining why even the High values are 2-8 points above the values on the DC by level table (which are already too high, see below). The effect is that only an ultra-specialist is able to deal with hazards. This is reinforced by requiring a minimum skill rank to deal with a hazard, although that's mostly redundant because unless your skill is maxed out your chance of success is so low you're probably better off just hitting it until it stops.

Quote:
The only thing I think you won't see is "why aren't PCs assumed to be broadly competent," probably because I am not sure what you mean but don't entirely think that is true. Paizo wanted proficiency to advance even in untrained skills in the playtest but people hated it. But you can get that back with the untrained improvisation feat.

What I mean is that the game rewards skill specialization, which means that people will put their skill increases into pushing their good skills higher. So you will generally get an Expert skill at 3rd level, and a second at 5th. Then at 7th you'll increase one of those to Master and the other one at 9th. At that point you probably have like 3-5 skills at Trained in addition to the two at Master, and those Trained skills fall behind expected DCs (particularly if they're in secondary or tertiary stats, and if you don't push them with skill-increasing items). So instead of the 5-7 decent skills you had at level 1, you have 2 skills you're reasonably competent in and 3-5 skills in which you're more likely to fail than succeed when used in a level-appropriate context. You are losing breadth. This is even more noticeable when playing a class that starts out with more skills than usual, like the bard or ranger.

This process continues at higher levels, where you're likely to get a third Expert at level 11 and increase that to Master at level 13, followed by increasing these three skills to Legendary at level 15, 17, and 19. The effect is that a 20th level character is great at three things (plus killing, in most cases) but feels like they're bad at everything else. I mean, objectively a 20th level character with Arcana +23 (Trained, Int +1) is significantly better than they were at 5th level (+8), but the 5th level character "only" needs to roll a 12 to ID a 5th level creature while the 20th level character needs a 17 to ID a 20th level creature. That certainly doesn't feel like I'm getting better.

I'd rather see a skill pyramid than a tower, where a non-rogue 20th level character would have 2-3 skills each at Master and Expert in addition to the three Legendary. Either that or recalibrate the DC-by-level table to not assume you keep increasing skill ranks and stats (which would basically change it to DC 14+level).

Silver Crusade

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Pathfinder Pathfinder Accessories Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber
3-Body Problem wrote:
Cori Marie wrote:
If you want to solo a boss then PF2 is not a system that will work for that. Not for any class. PF2 is a team game. But if you want to be part of killing a boss, then any caster will work. My Reign of Winter's party witch killed a boss with a Hideous Laughter because the boss didn't realize he didn't have reactions and jumped out a window expecting to feather fall.
So casters need GM fiat to work. Noted.

That is not what I said at all. I said that PF2 is a team game. Nobody is soloing a boss. Not the fighter, not the wizard, not the champion. The boss in my anecdote did not die by GM fiat, he died because the GM flat out forgot he didn't have reactions and rules as written the boss would not have known that he didn't have the reactions because he did not identify the spell. That's not fiat, that's playing the game as intended.


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Unicore wrote:
3-Body Problem wrote:
Easl wrote:

I disagree. Having different classes/archetypes where some are good at 'one big foe' and others are good at 'lots of little foes' is just fine...as long as the game is one in which both expertises are useful and come into play regularly. As long as APs and GMs create opportunities for both to shine. If your play preference is to always take a class that specializes in bosskilling, you be you. But the inclusion of classes that specialize in other things isn't "bad design", because not every player wants to focus on bosskiller.

But since players will also want to play their favorite class/archetype IN their favorite role - for all combinations of class and role - maybe one way designers can build classes in the future is around these requirements. It's a bit meta, but they could start with wizard and make subclasses where one is designed to be a bosskiller, one is mobkiller, one is utility/debuffer, one is noncombat. Or something like that. That way the community can have its wizard bosskilling cake and eat its uberadaptable wizard too. (Then the complaints will shift to: but what if I want to be an uberadaptable bosskiller...)

I want to be a boss-killing caster. Show me the PF2 class that accomplishes this.
You want to play a video game. The mechanics of a good TTRPG make sure no one is stealing the show all the time and any good GM that sees one player stealing the show all the time should make sure there are opportunities for other characters to do amazing things too.

Very much this. Show me the "boss killer" martial, and I'll show you a flotilla of flying pigs. It's not really something the system is designed for. I challenge someone to show me a martial build that is capable of soloing a level + 4 encounter. It simply can't be done.

My solutions acknowledge this, and they instead focus on solutions that allow casters to deal meaningful damage against bosses. Which I would hope is what the question was, rather than asking for a caster who can single-handedly solo the boss fight.

Oh, and people - remember that this is what gets threads locked! Not directed at you, Unicore, just at the way the conversation is going in general.


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3-Body Problem wrote:
Yeah, spamming a single spell across all your slots is really excellent caster design. Perhaps we should focus on ensuring that there are a few spells at each level that are as good in that niche as magic missiles are instead of recreating the 5e Warlock but worse.

You just need 2 Wands of Manifold Missiles. You can keep your whole spell list for other fights.


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Captain Morgan wrote:
I get the feeling that people are overly obsessed with "pure" damage at times. There is always going to be a spell for each level that does it best, or at least one for a particular save or damage type. But there are also a lot of spells which deal damage plus riders. I just don't have a huge amount of sympathy for someone being so opposed to debuffing that a solid single target damage being paired with frightened 2 on a failure ruins the spell for them.

If they nerfed great swords and you told people who wanted to use the great sword "just use a crushing earth breaker". Do you also think they shouldn't complain and be angry?

People want to do something and are told "well you should be happy because something totally different exists". Then get told that they are just power gamers and hate the game when they complain. Then you are saying that you don't have little sympathy for people who don't like the options they are being given.


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Sanityfaerie wrote:
3-Body Problem wrote:
I have a pretty high bar for what counts as satisfactory.
Okay. Have you ever found a TTRPG that you considered to be entirely satisfactory?

Rules light TTRPGs generally do exactly what they set out to do.

FATE does what it aims to if you can find the right group for it.
Eclipse Phase is a rules-heavy system that looks to do a lot of things I find attractive but which I haven't had enough chances to run to see if that holds up.
My Cyberpunk 2020/Cyberpunk RED Homebrew with a lot of borrowed CP2020 house rules and additional systems meets my needs excellently.

Out of the box, very few TTRPGs do everything they set out to do. I generally like ambitious messes like D&D 3.5 more than constrained messes like PF2e and tend to grade games that claim to solve some fundamental flaw in TTRPG design more harshly than those that don't make such claims.

PF2 claims to do balance and tight well written rules well and when it fails at either of those things I'll judge it harshly for not living up to its own claims.


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Master Han Del of the Web wrote:
3-Body Problem wrote:
Cori Marie wrote:
If you want to solo a boss then PF2 is not a system that will work for that. Not for any class. PF2 is a team game. But if you want to be part of killing a boss, then any caster will work. My Reign of Winter's party witch killed a boss with a Hideous Laughter because the boss didn't realize he didn't have reactions and jumped out a window expecting to feather fall.
So casters need GM fiat to work. Noted.
My guy, if your benchmark for 'functional' is soloing what should be a challenging boss encounter, your expectations are entirely at odds with this game.

Where exactly did I say I wanted to solo a boss? I just want to be as impactful against single-target fights with discrete single-burst damage spells as a Fighter is. I'm happy even if that means I don't get access to certain spells. Sadly for me, Paizo gave all casters full access to entire traditions and made it so PF2 can't and doesn't support narrowly focused casters that still cast slotted spells.


3-Body Problem wrote:
Sanityfaerie wrote:
3-Body Problem wrote:
I have a pretty high bar for what counts as satisfactory.
Okay. Have you ever found a TTRPG that you considered to be entirely satisfactory?

Rules light TTRPGs generally do exactly what they set out to do.

FATE does what it aims to if you can find the right group for it.
Eclipse Phase is a rules-heavy system that looks to do a lot of things I find attractive but which I haven't had enough chances to run to see if that holds up.
My Cyberpunk 2020/Cyberpunk RED Homebrew with a lot of borrowed CP2020 house rules and additional systems meets my needs excellently.

Out of the box, very few TTRPGs do everything they set out to do. I generally like ambitious messes like D&D 3.5 more than constrained messes like PF2e and tend to grade games that claim to solve some fundamental flaw in TTRPG design more harshly than those that don't make such claims.

PF2 claims to do balance and tight well written rules well and when it fails at either of those things I'll judge it harshly for not living up to its own claims.

Your expectations are off base with what a rules heavy is like.

You cannot expect a rules heavy game to behave like a rules light game, its just not possible. Regardless of specific issues a game might have.


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Arachnofiend wrote:
Paizo is not in the habit of reprinting spells that do the exact same thing across multiple spell levels, not having to do that is basically why heightening exists. I recommend magic missile because your posts have shown an allergy to thinking about unique solutions to problems.

Where did I ask for there to be an exact magic missile clone at each level? I want there to be good single-target blasting spells at each level that are as, or close to, as effective as spamming magic missiles would be against level +3 foes.


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3-Body Problem wrote:
Master Han Del of the Web wrote:
3-Body Problem wrote:
Cori Marie wrote:
If you want to solo a boss then PF2 is not a system that will work for that. Not for any class. PF2 is a team game. But if you want to be part of killing a boss, then any caster will work. My Reign of Winter's party witch killed a boss with a Hideous Laughter because the boss didn't realize he didn't have reactions and jumped out a window expecting to feather fall.
So casters need GM fiat to work. Noted.
My guy, if your benchmark for 'functional' is soloing what should be a challenging boss encounter, your expectations are entirely at odds with this game.
Where exactly did I say I wanted to solo a boss? I just want to be as impactful against single-target fights with discrete single-burst damage spells as a Fighter is. I'm happy even if that means I don't get access to certain spells. Sadly for me, Paizo gave all casters full access to entire traditions and made it so PF2 can't and doesn't support narrowly focused casters that still cast slotted spells.

Wait. Didn't you just say that narrowly focused casters who still cast slotted spells are boring and terrible when someone brought up magic missiles as a solid way to deal with bosses? I am confused.

There are absolutely ways to damage a boss in pf 2e though. Again, chromatic ray + true strike + shadow signet will outdamage a fighter most of the time against a boss, as will that combo but replacing chromatic ray with another spell attack roll.

Edit: you may want to just read over spells, really. I think it's a lack of system knowledge that is really making you annoyed, no offense.

Liberty's Edge

3-Body Problem wrote:
Easl wrote:

I disagree. Having different classes/archetypes where some are good at 'one big foe' and others are good at 'lots of little foes' is just fine...as long as the game is one in which both expertises are useful and come into play regularly. As long as APs and GMs create opportunities for both to shine. If your play preference is to always take a class that specializes in bosskilling, you be you. But the inclusion of classes that specialize in other things isn't "bad design", because not every player wants to focus on bosskiller.

But since players will also want to play their favorite class/archetype IN their favorite role - for all combinations of class and role - maybe one way designers can build classes in the future is around these requirements. It's a bit meta, but they could start with wizard and make subclasses where one is designed to be a bosskiller, one is mobkiller, one is utility/debuffer, one is noncombat. Or something like that. That way the community can have its wizard bosskilling cake and eat its uberadaptable wizard too. (Then the complaints will shift to: but what if I want to be an uberadaptable bosskiller...)

I want to be a boss-killing caster. Show me the PF2 class that accomplishes this.

Does Magus MC Psychic counts ?


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SuperBidi wrote:
Teridax wrote:
Who says casters have to blow spell slots every encounter, no matter how trivial?
No one. The issue is when you say that casters have to only rely on cantrips and focus spells for some type of encounters.

Do you not see the contradiction here? If casters don't have to blow spell slots every encounter, this means that they can coast by some encounters using only cantrips and focus spells. This does not appear to be a fact you're willing to accept.

SuperBidi wrote:
Also, as a side note, if you consider the 2 top level slots (which are in general considered the high efficiency slots), you have 6 to 8 of them so you can cast at least one per fight and last long enough to handle a Severe encounter asking for a couple of spells. Now, when we speak of 11-encounter adventuring days, no one can last that long. And ordering encounters is no solution, the solution is to cut on useless low difficulty fights no one cares about. 11 low difficulty encounter in a row is just a chore, or a strawman in the current situation as that can't be considered a situation you are normally supposed to handle.

As per the above, low-difficulty encounters can be resolved without resource expenditure. You are, once again, completely missing the point, and getting way too bogged down in irrelevant details: 12 encounters was just a number picked at random, the fact is that even with a reasonable number of encounters, as a GM you will want to account for the ordering of your encounters in the day, as encounters are likely to become more dangerous over time as casters spend resources. It doesn't matter that you believe low-difficulty encounters or a certain number of encounters to be boring; the point is that attrition inherently affects the difficulty of encounters in subtle ways that aren't all listed in the PHB or GMG, such that you'll want to make sure to order your encounters properly as a GM to avoid making an encounter too deadly by accident.


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The Raven Black wrote:
3-Body Problem wrote:
Easl wrote:

I disagree. Having different classes/archetypes where some are good at 'one big foe' and others are good at 'lots of little foes' is just fine...as long as the game is one in which both expertises are useful and come into play regularly. As long as APs and GMs create opportunities for both to shine. If your play preference is to always take a class that specializes in bosskilling, you be you. But the inclusion of classes that specialize in other things isn't "bad design", because not every player wants to focus on bosskiller.

But since players will also want to play their favorite class/archetype IN their favorite role - for all combinations of class and role - maybe one way designers can build classes in the future is around these requirements. It's a bit meta, but they could start with wizard and make subclasses where one is designed to be a bosskiller, one is mobkiller, one is utility/debuffer, one is noncombat. Or something like that. That way the community can have its wizard bosskilling cake and eat its uberadaptable wizard too. (Then the complaints will shift to: but what if I want to be an uberadaptable bosskiller...)

I want to be a boss-killing caster. Show me the PF2 class that accomplishes this.
Does Magus MC Psychic counts ?

Oh God that's a horrifying mental image I did not need. It's even possible pre-remaster isn't it?

Gaaaaah


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Temperans wrote:

Your expectations are off base with what a rules heavy is like.

You cannot expect a rules heavy game to behave like a rules light game, its just not possible. Regardless of specific issues a game might have.

Then why do I like games like my homebrew Cyberpunk, Eclipse Phase, Ars Magica, and purely as an exercise in character building these days D&D 3.5?


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Calliope5431 wrote:
Wait. Didn't you just say that narrowly focused casters who still cast slotted spells are boring and terrible when someone brought up magic missiles as a solid way to deal with bosses? I am confused.

Going with a single spell just makes you into a less interesting version of what 5e has done with the Warlock. If I wanted to play a Warlock I wouldn't sit down to play PF2.

Quote:
There are absolutely ways to damage a boss in pf 2e though. Again, chromatic ray + true strike + shadow signet will outdamage a fighter most of the time against a boss, as will that combo but replacing chromatic ray with another spell attack roll.

Two spells and and item that doesn't come online until 9th level at the earliest. What a great combination!

The other combos suggest don't really fit a blaster. Wall of Fire + Wall of Force is cool but doesn't meet the requirement of doing chunky bursts of damage. True Strike + Disintegrate uses all your actions and can still whiff.

If 5e had a proper class setup for blasting that would be ideal.


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Kineticist is right there.


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Ruzza wrote:
What's with the influx of new posters with a chip on their shoulders about casters? I understand we have this same conversation once a week, but a lot of new faces with no prior history this time around.

I don't see it changing until the wizard is put into a state that makes it enjoyable within the PF2 spectrum.

Wizard was probably one of the most popular D&D classes of all time across all editions. When a class as popular as the wizards gets its legs taken out, you're going to hear about it again and again and again until it can stand strong again.

These threads are not about casters no matter if that word is used every time. You don't see bard, druid, and cleric players in here complaining. They're having a good time.

These threads might as well be casters=wizards vs. martials and every other class. Wizards are not accustomed to martials being so much stronger than them for like four decades. Imagine playing this class that was so powerful for almost all of the existence of a given game and suddenly you play this edition where "You're just some guy."

Imagine that what feels like: four decades of dominance taken way and replaced with the PF2 version of the wizard who is just some ok, lower tier class.

To me it feels pretty bad. I'm very disappointed in the PF2 wizard. Even the 5E wizard still feels way better than the PF2 wizard. It's a real bad feeling.


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GameDesignerDM wrote:
Kineticist is right there.

Not a spell caster.


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It is essentially a caster, it's just a different paradigm for using abilities that are more or less spells.


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3-Body Problem wrote:
GameDesignerDM wrote:
Kineticist is right there.
Not a spell caster.

Sure it is. It creates magical effects, it applies conditions, it heals, it crowd controls, it does single target and aoe damage, it even has utility such as flying and the like. Everything the kineticist does is a magical effect but called something other than spells and operates off a different magic system than vancian spellcasting. The difference between a kineticist being a spellcaster and not a spellcaster is whether you call their impulses spells. It has strict themes, it is not a generalist like the wizard. It is everything you claim to want on these forums. Sometimes I get the impression you don't actually know what you want. You have strong negative feelings, but haven't introspected super hard on this whole thing. Obviously I can't read the contents of your soul, but this is how it appears to me


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Cori Marie wrote:
The wizard benefits from the barbarian's demoralize and the swashbuckler's bon mot. Every class helps every other class. It's a TEAM game.

So we have Schrodinger's party where the caster always has the right martial characters and those characters always use their 3rd action to help the Wizard. I don't generally see it playing out that way at actual tables. Any help casters get in most parties is an after thought.

Quote:
And that reading of RAW is accurate. Hideous Laughter did not prevent him from casting any other spells, why would he think that Feather Fall would be any different?

I would not run it that way at my table. The character would have either attempted to cast the spell and not have jumped when it didn't work (sane and intelligent) or been allowed to cast Feather Fall with a normal action as a means of escape (I would also allow my players to do the same). Either is a better solution than what happened.


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Here are some solid blasts at different spell ranks for you to use with true strike , a shadow signet, and maybe the bard's synesthesia . Enjoy:

Rank 1: magic missile (autohits), horizon thunder sphere (higher damage on hit), briny bolt (decent damage and forces them to interact or get blinded, thus triggering opp attacks)
Rank 2: acid arrow (solid persistent damage)
Rank 3: searing light (nukes undead and fiends), chilling darkness (nukes celestials)
Rank 4: chromatic ray (damage way above horizon thunder sphere)
Rank 5: not much here
Rank 6: disintegrate (mostly against things with low fort, admittedly)
Rank 7: volcanic eruption (autodamage which arguably double-taps dangerous sorcery)
Rank 8: polar ray (decent damage, drained on hit with no save), sunburst (against undead, because 16d10 is freaking absurd)
Rank 9: prismatic sphere (forces them to walk out), weapon of judgment (they take a stupid amount of damage if they use attacks. Boss monsters tend to attack a lot)

And of course, anything to do with psychic, because that thing hits like a bus. Most of these are also capable of being heightened, so you have a plethora of solid options at high level.


Pathfinder Rulebook Subscriber
Staffan Johansson wrote:


The hazard creation rules explain that most hazards should have one "extreme" value and the rest at "high". But I can't see anything explaining why even the High values are 2-8 points above the values on the DC by level table (which are already too high, see below). The effect is that only an ultra-specialist is able to deal with hazards. This is reinforced by requiring a minimum skill rank to deal with a hazard, although that's mostly redundant because unless your skill is maxed out your chance of success is so low you're probably better off just hitting it until it stops.

It's the same answer, though: "Almost all hazards have one extreme statistic because hazards normally activate only if they have gone unnoticed or if someone critically failed to disable them."

I guess what isn't explicitly said but feels rather obvious to me is that hazards are encounters in their own right, and one character soloing an entire encounter should not be an easy thing to do. There's a lot of thought that goes into making interesting hazards. They exist to be triggered. It is like the reverse of "why does this secret door or hidden treasure have such a low DC." It is because those things exist to be found.

Also, combat oriented values are just generally higher than the DCs by level because overcoming a one-off skill challenge is not the same as one-shotting an encounter opponent of the same level. It is the same thing for AC.

Quote:


What I mean is that the game rewards skill specialization, which means that people will put their skill increases into pushing their good skills higher. So you will generally get an Expert skill at 3rd level, and a second at 5th. Then at 7th you'll increase one of those to Master and the other one at 9th. At that point you probably have like 3-5 skills at Trained in addition to the two at Master, and those Trained skills fall behind expected DCs (particularly if they're in secondary or tertiary stats, and if you don't push them with skill-increasing items). So instead of the 5-7 decent skills you had at level 1, you have 2 skills you're reasonably competent in and 3-5 skills in which you're more likely to fail than succeed when used in a level-appropriate context. You are losing breadth. This is even more noticeable when playing a class that starts out with more skills than usual, like the bard or ranger....

OK, the old "trained skills become pointless" chestnut. It ignores that high level characters have a lot more options to apply to checks than low level characters, who just have initial ability boosts and proficiency. Items, spells, and aid can make it much easier to succeed at on level-DCs at high levels. Plus, you've probably continued to boost your ability scores for those skills. (If not, you hopefully rely on Assurance.)

Beyond that, though... You character is still more broadly competent based on proficiency alone. They just might need to rely on additional tools or their teammates to overcome challenges at the pinnacle of the field. A 20th level wizard doesn't get worse at climbing with trained athletics, and they can overcome climbing Mount Doom by following the expert of the Legendary Barbarian, drinking a mutagen from their alchemist bro, can afford to invest in a cheap athletics boosting items and spells, and has probably been able to afford some Strength boosts they couldn't at level 1.

Niche protection IS a thing, and it is pretty obvious that the game rewards a degree of specialization. But when you look at the game as it is meant to be played (about a team of people working together to overcome challenges) it is pretty obvious the group has a broader competency at high levels.

Also, this is just further into the weeds of abstract game design than feels appropriate for a rules book. Feels more like a blog post, or perhaps a tweet like MS did. It answers a why but not a meaningful how. Compare it to "here's how to set a DC" or "keep in mind your party can handle this many challenging fights per day using their top level resources."


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Pathfinder Rulebook Subscriber
Calliope5431 wrote:

Here are some solid blasts at different spell ranks for you to use with true strike , a shadow signet, and maybe the bard's synesthesia . Enjoy:

Rank 1: magic missile (autohits), horizon thunder sphere (higher damage on hit), briny bolt (decent damage and forces them to interact or get blinded, thus triggering opp attacks)
Rank 2: acid arrow (solid persistent damage)
Rank 3: searing light (nukes undead and fiends), chilling darkness (nukes celestials)
Rank 4: chromatic ray (damage way above horizon thunder sphere)
Rank 5: not much here
Rank 6: disintegrate (mostly against things with low fort, admittedly)
Rank 7: volcanic eruption (autodamage which arguably double-taps dangerous sorcery)
Rank 8: polar ray (decent damage, drained on hit with no save), sunburst (against undead, because 16d10 is freaking absurd)
Rank 9: prismatic sphere (forces them to walk out), weapon of judgment (they take a stupid amount of damage if they use attacks. Boss monsters tend to attack a lot)

And of course, anything to do with psychic, because that thing hits like a bus. Most of these are also capable of being heightened, so you have a plethora of solid options at high level.

Yeah, I don't totally get the "casters can't do single target damage" thing when the psychic is right there.


Calliope5431 wrote:
Here are some solid blasts at different spell ranks for you to use with true strike , a shadow signet, and maybe the bard's synesthesia . Enjoy:

Its not ment for me and i would be more of a Utility Caster Fan anyway but thanks for the efford to present these combos for them :)


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3-Body Problem wrote:
Master Han Del of the Web wrote:
3-Body Problem wrote:
Cori Marie wrote:
If you want to solo a boss then PF2 is not a system that will work for that. Not for any class. PF2 is a team game. But if you want to be part of killing a boss, then any caster will work. My Reign of Winter's party witch killed a boss with a Hideous Laughter because the boss didn't realize he didn't have reactions and jumped out a window expecting to feather fall.
So casters need GM fiat to work. Noted.
My guy, if your benchmark for 'functional' is soloing what should be a challenging boss encounter, your expectations are entirely at odds with this game.
Where exactly did I say I wanted to solo a boss? I just want to be as impactful against single-target fights with discrete single-burst damage spells as a Fighter is. I'm happy even if that means I don't get access to certain spells. Sadly for me, Paizo gave all casters full access to entire traditions and made it so PF2 can't and doesn't support narrowly focused casters that still cast slotted spells.

'I want to be a boss-killing caster'. That was your leading statement.

Even taking into account your somewhat more reasonable stated intent, you seem to strictly be at odds with what the system is designed for and balanced around. What you want is something that leads to a paradigm of a 5-minute adventuring day because the caster has blown all their spells nova-ing a single target and now needs to go rest.

Liberty's Edge

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3-Body Problem wrote:
Calliope5431 wrote:
Wait. Didn't you just say that narrowly focused casters who still cast slotted spells are boring and terrible when someone brought up magic missiles as a solid way to deal with bosses? I am confused.

Going with a single spell just makes you into a less interesting version of what 5e has done with the Warlock. If I wanted to play a Warlock I wouldn't sit down to play PF2.

Quote:
There are absolutely ways to damage a boss in pf 2e though. Again, chromatic ray + true strike + shadow signet will outdamage a fighter most of the time against a boss, as will that combo but replacing chromatic ray with another spell attack roll.

Two spells and and item that doesn't come online until 9th level at the earliest. What a great combination!

The other combos suggest don't really fit a blaster. Wall of Fire + Wall of Force is cool but doesn't meet the requirement of doing chunky bursts of damage. True Strike + Disintegrate uses all your actions and can still whiff.

If 5e had a proper class setup for blasting that would be ideal.

So, you want to play a caster who is as effective as a Fighter using their favorite weapon but who also benefit from variety in their casting ?


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3-Body Problem wrote:
Calliope5431 wrote:
Wait. Didn't you just say that narrowly focused casters who still cast slotted spells are boring and terrible when someone brought up magic missiles as a solid way to deal with bosses? I am confused.

Going with a single spell just makes you into a less interesting version of what 5e has done with the Warlock. If I wanted to play a Warlock I wouldn't sit down to play PF2.

Quote:
There are absolutely ways to damage a boss in pf 2e though. Again, chromatic ray + true strike + shadow signet will outdamage a fighter most of the time against a boss, as will that combo but replacing chromatic ray with another spell attack roll.

Two spells and and item that doesn't come online until 9th level at the earliest. What a great combination!

The other combos suggest don't really fit a blaster. Wall of Fire + Wall of Force is cool but doesn't meet the requirement of doing chunky bursts of damage. True Strike + Disintegrate uses all your actions and can still whiff.

If 5e had a proper class setup for blasting that would be ideal.

The shadow signet isn't necessary, it's just nice to have. Ditto true strike, actually, but that one is cheap with a staff of divination . And just listed off a pile of alternative options for you.

(I'll also point out that nobody looks at a good two-weapon fighter build and then goes "but I want to do that damage with an ARCHER and with sword-and-board, this isn't enough VARIETY for me" but, well, that's another thread entirely)

So yeah, if you want to play low level, play a caster, and deal damage to bosses, I suggest using any of those spells. Or playing a psychic. Or a magus. Or a summoner. Really, that should be gracious plenty variety for anyone.

Liberty's Edge

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Deriven Firelion wrote:
Ruzza wrote:
What's with the influx of new posters with a chip on their shoulders about casters? I understand we have this same conversation once a week, but a lot of new faces with no prior history this time around.

I don't see it changing until the wizard is put into a state that makes it enjoyable within the PF2 spectrum.

Wizard was probably one of the most popular D&D classes of all time across all editions. When a class as popular as the wizards gets its legs taken out, you're going to hear about it again and again and again until it can stand strong again.

These threads are not about casters no matter if that word is used every time. You don't see bard, druid, and cleric players in here complaining. They're having a good time.

These threads might as well be casters=wizards vs. martials and every other class. Wizards are not accustomed to martials being so much stronger than them for like four decades. Imagine playing this class that was so powerful for almost all of the existence of a given game and suddenly you play this edition where "You're just some guy."

Imagine that what feels like: four decades of dominance taken way and replaced with the PF2 version of the wizard who is just some ok, lower tier class.

To me it feels pretty bad. I'm very disappointed in the PF2 wizard. Even the 5E wizard still feels way better than the PF2 wizard. It's a real bad feeling.

PF1 Wizard was too powerful. People who want that level of power in PF2 Wizard will indeed be disappointed.

TBT they will be disappointed in any PF2 class, since this level of game-breaking power is thankfully a thing of the past.


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Calliope5431 wrote:
Show me the "boss killer" martial, and I'll show you a flotilla of flying pigs.

2h Fighter, Giant Barbarian, and Flurry Ranger are a few examples of classes that can brute force most boss fights (think APL+2 or APL+3).

Barbarian is probably the lowest of the three by nature of garbage Reflex and AC, being a bag of HP and that's it, but it makes up by doing more raw damage per hit than any of them. Flurry Ranger has practically few penalties with so many attacks that it's almost as accurate as a full round of Fighter attacks, and 2h Fighter is so accurate and has the best amalgamation of defenses in the game that they could go toe-to-toe with most any enemy because they can Evasion a lot of the damage, Juggernaut a lot of diseases/poisons, and Bravery any Will Saves thrown at them. Combine that with Knockdown feats and Disruptive Stance, and it shuts down many enemies.

All they need is a Speed weapon (for Haste effect) with some Winged Boots (or other Flying item/ability), and they can literally chase/kill everything in the game.

I'll take those pork wings to go, by the way.


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AestheticDialectic wrote:
Sure it is. It creates magical effects, it applies conditions, it heals, it crowd controls, it does single target and aoe damage, it even has utility such as flying and the like. Everything the kineticist does is a magical effect but called something other than spells and operates off a different magic system than vancian spellcasting. The difference between a kineticist being a spellcaster and not a spellcaster is whether you call their impulses spells. It has strict themes, it is not a generalist like the wizard. It is everything you claim to want on these forums. Sometimes I get the impression you don't actually know what you want. You have strong negative feelings, but haven't introspected super hard on this whole thing. Obviously I can't read the contents of your soul, but this is how it appears to me

If every caster in PF2 worked like they did I would accept the Kineticist as a spellcaster. However, that is not what Paizo went with.

What I want, at least within what is reasonable for PF2, is what Paizo had down in PF1 which is a spell caster that casts slotted spells from a narrow list in exchange for boosts to those spells and other interesting class features. Such a class does not currently exist in PF2.

Silver Crusade

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Pathfinder Pathfinder Accessories Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber
3-Body Problem wrote:
Cori Marie wrote:
The wizard benefits from the barbarian's demoralize and the swashbuckler's bon mot. Every class helps every other class. It's a TEAM game.
So we have Schrodinger's party where the caster always has the right martial characters and those characters always use their 3rd action to help the Wizard. I don't generally see it playing out that way at actual tables. Any help casters get in most parties is an after thought.

Than you're in pretty bad tables. Every single game I'm in shows synergy for the casters and the martials. I'm sorry you're in groups that don't value the teamwork that the system is built for.

Quote:
Quote:
And that reading of RAW is accurate. Hideous Laughter did not prevent him from casting any other spells, why would he think that Feather Fall would be any different?
I would not run it that way at my table. The character would have either attempted to cast the spell and not have jumped when it didn't work (sane and intelligent) or been allowed to cast Feather Fall with a normal action as a means of escape (I would also allow my players to do the same). Either is a better solution than what happened.

Thankfully, you can run your table how you want, and I don't ever have to play at your table. I'm fine with how my GM ran this, you don't have to be.


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Pathfinder Rulebook Subscriber
Darksol the Painbringer wrote:
Calliope5431 wrote:
Show me the "boss killer" martial, and I'll show you a flotilla of flying pigs.

2h Fighter, Giant Barbarian, and Flurry Ranger are a few examples of classes that can brute force most boss fights (think APL+2 or APL+3).

Barbarian is probably the lowest of the three by nature of garbage Reflex and AC, being a bag of HP and that's it, but it makes up by doing more raw damage per hit than any of them. Flurry Ranger has practically few penalties with so many attacks that it's almost as accurate as a full round of Fighter attacks, and 2h Fighter is so accurate and has the best amalgamation of defenses in the game that they could go toe-to-toe with most any enemy because they can Evasion a lot of the damage, Juggernaut a lot of diseases/poisons, and Bravery any Will Saves thrown at them. Combine that with Knockdown feats and Disruptive Stance, and it shuts down many enemies.

All they need is a Speed weapon (for Haste effect) with some Winged Boots (or other Flying item/ability), and they can literally chase/kill everything in the game.

I'll take those pork wings to go, by the way.

Oh Darksoul. Read the next sentence Caliipope wrote:

"I challenge someone to show me a martial build that is capable of soloing a level + 4 encounter."

I mean, without even going that far... At what level do you expect those things to be soloing a creature 2 or 3 levels above them? Because I really doubt the math bears it out.


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The Raven Black wrote:
So, you want to play a caster who is as effective as a Fighter using their favorite weapon but who also benefit from variety in their casting ?

No. I want Paizo to go back to making each caster have their own distinct list of spells because traditions are a mess. Then we could have a caster that gets limited to no utility in exchange for blasting spells and other interesting class features that enable the desired gameplay. Killing bespoke per-class spell lists was a mistake and it makes good game design harder than it needs to be.

Silver Crusade

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Pathfinder Pathfinder Accessories Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber
Darksol the Painbringer wrote:
Calliope5431 wrote:
Show me the "boss killer" martial, and I'll show you a flotilla of flying pigs.

2h Fighter, Giant Barbarian, and Flurry Ranger are a few examples of classes that can brute force most boss fights (think APL+2 or APL+3).

Barbarian is probably the lowest of the three by nature of garbage Reflex and AC, being a bag of HP and that's it, but it makes up by doing more raw damage per hit than any of them. Flurry Ranger has practically few penalties with so many attacks that it's almost as accurate as a full round of Fighter attacks, and 2h Fighter is so accurate and has the best amalgamation of defenses in the game that they could go toe-to-toe with most any enemy because they can Evasion a lot of the damage, Juggernaut a lot of diseases/poisons, and Bravery any Will Saves thrown at them. Combine that with Knockdown feats and Disruptive Stance, and it shuts down many enemies.

All they need is a Speed weapon (for Haste effect) with some Winged Boots (or other Flying item/ability), and they can literally chase/kill everything in the game.

I'll take those pork wings to go, by the way.

Without a healer my Barbarian is going down in a boss fight that they're alone in. My friend's fighter would go down without the healer. They're still not going to solo a boss.

Liberty's Edge

3-Body Problem wrote:
AestheticDialectic wrote:
Sure it is. It creates magical effects, it applies conditions, it heals, it crowd controls, it does single target and aoe damage, it even has utility such as flying and the like. Everything the kineticist does is a magical effect but called something other than spells and operates off a different magic system than vancian spellcasting. The difference between a kineticist being a spellcaster and not a spellcaster is whether you call their impulses spells. It has strict themes, it is not a generalist like the wizard. It is everything you claim to want on these forums. Sometimes I get the impression you don't actually know what you want. You have strong negative feelings, but haven't introspected super hard on this whole thing. Obviously I can't read the contents of your soul, but this is how it appears to me

If every caster in PF2 worked like they did I would accept the Kineticist as a spellcaster. However, that is not what Paizo went with.

What I want, at least within what is reasonable for PF2, is what Paizo had down in PF1 which is a spell caster that casts slotted spells from a narrow list in exchange for boosts to those spells and other interesting class features. Such a class does not currently exist in PF2.

You want a game that is not PF2. And that will never be PF2. I'm not even sure you play PF2 or intend to.

Why do you waste time (yours and others) by posting here ?


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3-Body Problem wrote:
The Raven Black wrote:
So, you want to play a caster who is as effective as a Fighter using their favorite weapon but who also benefit from variety in their casting ?
No. I want Paizo to go back to making each caster have their own distinct list of spells because traditions are a mess. Then we could have a caster that gets limited to no utility in exchange for blasting spells and other interesting class features that enable the desired gameplay. Killing bespoke per-class spell lists was a mistake and it makes good game design harder than it needs to be.

So a kineticists? and you want to remove how other spell casters work because otherwise a kineticist isn't a caster? am I getting that right?

Liberty's Edge

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3-Body Problem wrote:
The Raven Black wrote:
So, you want to play a caster who is as effective as a Fighter using their favorite weapon but who also benefit from variety in their casting ?
No. I want Paizo to go back to making each caster have their own distinct list of spells because traditions are a mess. Then we could have a caster that gets limited to no utility in exchange for blasting spells and other interesting class features that enable the desired gameplay. Killing bespoke per-class spell lists was a mistake and it makes good game design harder than it needs to be.

Class-specific spell lists are a nightmare to create and to maintain.


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3-Body Problem wrote:
The Raven Black wrote:
So, you want to play a caster who is as effective as a Fighter using their favorite weapon but who also benefit from variety in their casting ?
No. I want Paizo to go back to making each caster have their own distinct list of spells because traditions are a mess. Then we could have a caster that gets limited to no utility in exchange for blasting spells and other interesting class features that enable the desired gameplay. Killing bespoke per-class spell lists was a mistake and it makes good game design harder than it needs to be.

Profoundly unlikely to ever happen. Sorry.


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Captain Morgan wrote:

Oh Darksoul. Read the next sentence Caliipope wrote:

"I challenge someone to show me a martial build that is capable of soloing a level + 4 encounter."

I mean, without even going that far... At what level do you expect those things to be soloing a creature 2 or 3 levels above them? Because I really doubt the math bears it out.

Unlike Calliope5431, Darksoul actually understood the conversation. I was indeed looking for a caster that is specialized at doing to bosses the same damage that those martial builds can do.


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3-Body Problem wrote:


I would not run it that way at my table. The character would have either attempted to cast the spell and not have jumped when it didn't work (sane and intelligent) or been allowed to cast Feather Fall with a normal action as a means of escape (I would also allow my players to do the same). Either is a better solution than what happened.

Feather Fall is a reaction spell that has the trigger that it has to be cast on a creature within range that is falling. Unless the creature is falling, it can't attempt to Cast the Spell before jumping. Changing the spells action economy to be a full Action to avoid the effect is also bizarre. If a creature jumps out, they could use Grab an Edge instead to attempt to hold on.

Whatever about players*, the second solution particularly strikes me as essentially denying the player's successful spell** against the boss, which would feel pretty bad. How could a player ever expect that a GM would rule that the spell essentially works anyway, especially in a context whether the loss of an action - out of three - isn't going to matter? I'd be gutted as a player.

Isn't that what we're trying to avoid here? You seem to be arguing against yourself in this case - or at the least, rewarding players for good play and being somewhat adversarial against them?

(* generally, I think players knowing metaknowledge is a lot more allowable than bosses knowing metaknowledge due to the power dynamics - but I think that's something to talk about at the table for spell effects that aren't obvious)

(** and the first one strikes me a little about it as well, because how does the boss know? But less egregious since it still blocks the boss from doing an escape, and forces them to engage).


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The Raven Black wrote:
Why do you waste time (yours and others) by posting here ?

It's hardly a waste of time to post at work and, by your own logic, anybody here could choose not to waste time replying to me.


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Ruzza wrote:
What's with the influx of new posters with a chip on their shoulders about casters? I understand we have this same conversation once a week, but a lot of new faces with no prior history this time around.

I thought you had taken the smart option and were not reading a thread that was clearly a rehash?

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