Spellcasting after Remaster [resolved]


Pathfinder Second Edition General Discussion


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I'm upset with the remaster… they had a perfectly reasonable, viable spellcasting system… and they broke it! Spells which were previously verbal no longer seem to officially require any actual words or even sounds now, unless they actually have the auditory trait, (which most don't) they just need the ability to concentrate…

Spells that previously required somatic, material, or focus components now just have the manipulate tag, which just seems to require you have applicable limbs and maybe gesticulate a little… so all the various flavor methods various classes had to forgo non-costly material components are out the window…

(noncostly) Material components and focus components seem to just be gone, in it’s place there is mention of spells sometimes need a locus or loci, which seems to be related to a location, the only spell thqt seems to need one is Interplaner Teleport which uses a “planar key” as the locus… costly material components are now just costs and they don't officially seem to need a free hand to retrieve, so presumably they're just consumed now…

The silence spell specifically stops all spellcasting now, unless the spell has the subtle tag evidently… Before, binding and gagging a spellcaster would usually stop basically all spellcasting… not now… The only non-magical, non-lethal means of subduing spellcasters now seems to be a blindfold to stop line of sight/effect, except they can prolly cast some personal things still and free themselves… so… blind them permanently I guess, but even then, paralyze or maim all limbs and render them basically braindead or somehow torture them constantly to render them incapable of concentrating. It makes capturing enemy spellcasters peacefully near impossible and it makes being captured as a spellcaster absolutely terrifying unless the enemies have no idea how broken spellcasting now is.

Am I just missing something, or can all spells basically just be silent and (mostly) still now?


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I'm pretty sure that binding someone's hands prevents them from taking actions with the manipulate tag.


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Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

The restrained condition explicitly stops someone from completing an action with the manipulate trait. So it fully stops casting, even subtle casting.


Yeah, I decided to ask in the Pathfinder discord and got a quick answer. The traits don't cover it, but evidently the rules for Casting a Spell mention all spells basically now require you to shout and gesticulate, so they basically all have verbal and somatic components now unless they're subtle... but material and focus components are really just gone. But binding and gagging a spellcaster does still stop their casting.


Wolfswift wrote:
Yeah, I decided to ask in the Pathfinder discord and got a quick answer. The traits don't cover it, but evidently the rules for Casting a Spell mention all spells basically now require you to shout and gesticulate, so they basically all have verbal and somatic components now unless they're subtle... but material and focus components are really just gone. But binding and gagging a spellcaster does still stop their casting.

A Locus is a Focus. Foci were renamed to Loci to avoid confusion with with Focus spells, according to the Rage of Elements Remaster Preview Web Supplement.

"A locus is an object that funnels or directs the magical energy of the spell but is not consumed in its casting. As part of Casting the Spell, you retrieve the locus (if necessary, and if you have a free hand), and you can put it away again if you so choose. Loci tend to be expensive, and you need to acquire them in advance to cast the spell, but they aren’t expended like costs are. Unless noted otherwise, a locus has negligible Bulk."

"A focus is an object that funnels the magical energy of the spell. The spell gains the manipulate trait and requires you to either have a free hand to retrieve the focus listed in the spell or already be holding the focus in your hand. As part of Casting the Spell, you retrieve the focus (if necessary), manipulate it, and can put it away again if you so choose. Foci tend to be expensive, and you need to acquire them in advance to Cast the Spell."


Unicore wrote:
The restrained condition explicitly stops someone from completing an action with the manipulate trait. So it fully stops casting, even subtle casting.

Two exceptions I can think of to that - the handful of spells that aren't Manipulate (Shield being the most common), and Sorcerer's Blood Component Substitution (which explicitly removes the manipulate trait from all spells cast that way)


Wolfswift wrote:
... focus components seem to just be gone, in it’s place there is mention of spells sometimes need a locus or loci, which seems to be related to a location, the only spell thqt seems to need one is Interplaner Teleport which uses a “planar key” as the locus…
moosher12 wrote:
A Locus is a Focus. Foci were renamed to Loci to avoid confusion with with Focus spells, according to the Rage of Elements Remaster Preview Web Supplement.

I did basically say locus replaced focus, but it is sort of different, it seems like they use it as a sort of location focus. Again, in the only spell that actually seems to call for it so far, that seems to be it's purpose.


Wolfswift wrote:
I did basically say locus replaced focus, but it is sort of different, it seems like they use it as a sort of location focus. Again, in the only spell that actually seems to call for it so far, that seems to be it's purpose.

I would bear in mind the Core Rulebook only had 2 Focus/Locus spells, Alarm and Plane shift. Alarm losing it's locus might be less of a redefinition of what a Focus/Locus is and more a balance pass as Alarm isn't that great. Additionally, spells with a Focus/Locus requirement are very few and far between in general. I'd wait and see if any more Loci become available in future books As we only have 2 Core ORC books so far.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Lost Omens, Rulebook, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Wolfswift wrote:
Yeah, I decided to ask in the Pathfinder discord and got a quick answer. The traits don't cover it, but evidently the rules for Casting a Spell mention all spells basically now require you to shout and gesticulate, so they basically all have verbal and somatic components now unless they're subtle... but material and focus components are really just gone. But binding and gagging a spellcaster does still stop their casting.

RAW no verbal components are necessary anymore. If they were necessary, that should have been written into the rules.


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magnuskn wrote:
Wolfswift wrote:
Yeah, I decided to ask in the Pathfinder discord and got a quick answer. The traits don't cover it, but evidently the rules for Casting a Spell mention all spells basically now require you to shout and gesticulate, so they basically all have verbal and somatic components now unless they're subtle... but material and focus components are really just gone. But binding and gagging a spellcaster does still stop their casting.
RAW no verbal components are necessary anymore. If they were necessary, that should have been written into the rules.

I'm not sure what you mean, but this is written into the rules:

"Casting a spell requires the caster to make gestures and utter incantations, so being unable to speak prevents spellcasting for most casters. "
So, yes, 'verbal component' doesn't exist now. Also yes, you must speak in a loud voice for all non-subtle spells and can't cast them if you don't.


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Pathfinder Adventure Path, Lost Omens, Rulebook, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Errenor wrote:
magnuskn wrote:
Wolfswift wrote:
Yeah, I decided to ask in the Pathfinder discord and got a quick answer. The traits don't cover it, but evidently the rules for Casting a Spell mention all spells basically now require you to shout and gesticulate, so they basically all have verbal and somatic components now unless they're subtle... but material and focus components are really just gone. But binding and gagging a spellcaster does still stop their casting.
RAW no verbal components are necessary anymore. If they were necessary, that should have been written into the rules.

I'm not sure what you mean, but this is written into the rules:

"Casting a spell requires the caster to make gestures and utter incantations, so being unable to speak prevents spellcasting for most casters. "
So, yes, 'verbal component' doesn't exist now. Also yes, you must speak in a loud voice for all non-subtle spells and can't cast them if you don't.

Well, I guess I'm completely wrong there, then. Sorry, I should have actually checked the relevant rule rather than working from memory. Dang.


magnuskn wrote:
Well, I guess I'm completely wrong there, then. Sorry, I should have actually checked the relevant rule rather than working from memory. Dang.

Yeah, it turns out that in the rules under Casting Spells it defines you must be able to speak, but it also defines "Spellcasting creates obvious sensory manifestations, such as bright lights, crackling sounds, and sharp smells from the gathering magic.

Nearly all spells manifest a spell signature—a colorful, glowing ring of magical runes that appears in midair, typically around your hands" so now, in addition to all spells requiring a spellcaster to "make gestures and utter incantations" they're all flashy and dramatic now, unless they have the Subtle trait, which some do by default, like Charm. Otherwise, adding the Subtle trait to a spell requires something like the feat Conceal Spell.

On top of all this, Subtle only removes the requirement for incantations and the flashy obvious effects, so they would still have the Manipulate trait, meaning the Restrained condition does in fact still render a spellcaster incapable of casting even Subtle spells.

So in conclusion, it turns out spellcasting is still much as it was before, though it is much flashier and dramatic and all spells seem to require what were previously known as verbal and somatic components now, although it's possible some won't, evidently Shield has no Manipulate tag anc therefore probably no gesturing required. And Locus is the new Focus, even though merriam-webster defines locus as "the place where something is situated or occurs : SITE, LOCATION" so how it's a thing and not a place is beyond me, unless perhaps it's something used to define a place.


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Wolfswift wrote:

Yeah, it turns out that in the rules under Casting Spells it defines you must be able to speak, but it also defines "Spellcasting creates obvious sensory manifestations, such as bright lights, crackling sounds, and sharp smells from the gathering magic.

Nearly all spells manifest a spell signature—a colorful, glowing ring of magical runes that appears in midair, typically around your hands" so now, in addition to all spells requiring a spellcaster to "make gestures and utter incantations" they're all flashy and dramatic now

They always were from the start. At least 'obvious sensory manifestations'. But 'spell signature — a colorful, glowing ring of magical runes' was only supposed to be there implicitly and described in Secrets of Magic before (and more detailed in Travel Guide). Now they are explicitly there in Player Core. That's not an actual change, but a shift and refocusing of description and attention of readers.


In practice the remaster changes to define the form of how do you cast to the classes:

Bard wrote:
As a bard, when you cast spells, your incantations might be musical riffs or clever limericks, your gestures might incorporate dance and dramatic pantomiming, and you might accompany your spellcasting by playing a musical instrument.
Cleric wrote:
As a cleric, your chants generally invoke your deity and their powerful servants by name or title, while your gestures are followed by sacred symbols or other representations of your deity
Druid wrote:
As a druid, your spellcasting incantations might be pleas to the environment around you or the invocation of ancient vows; your hands might sway like willows or curl into clawlike shapes as your gestures direct your magic.
Witch wrote:
As a witch, when you cast spells, your incantations might rhyme, your gestures might be as simple as an ominous pointing finger or a complex folk sign, and your familiar might even echo your words or movements slightly as your patron's magic surges.
Wizard wrote:
As a wizard, when you cast spells, your incantations likely specify exactly what forces you call on and how to shape them, and your gestures precisely shape and direct your magic while circles of arcane runes flare to life.

As all these casters uses verbal incantations or maybe an instrument (in the case of bards) except for subtle spells and Silence prevents all spells that aren't subtle.

Probably the only exception would be an errata/remastered Psychic once that it "Instead of speaking, you substitute any verbal components with a special mental component determined by your subconscious mind class feature" with probably all its spells becoming invalid to Silence like as they was Subtle and making any non-manipulate spell practically subtle or simply will just auto-add subtle to all psychic spells once that "cast without incantations and doesn't have obvious manifestations" what perfectly fits the psychic casting concept (we don't know until we got a Psychic errata/remaster).


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YuriP wrote:
or simply will just auto-add subtle to all psychic spells once that "cast without incantations and doesn't have obvious manifestations" what perfectly fits the psychic casting concept

No, it does not at all. Psychics' spells were without incantations, but they were still intentionally very noisy. Not subtle in the least.


I know but I don't doubt that they may just simplify it to just be subtle in a compatibility review.


YuriP wrote:
I know but I don't doubt that they may just simplify it to just be subtle in a compatibility review.

No chance. Subtle for all spells of a whole class? In a game which values visibility of magic (or at least makes chars to pay for subtlety) and some measure of balance between classes? No chance at all.


Errenor wrote:
YuriP wrote:
I know but I don't doubt that they may just simplify it to just be subtle in a compatibility review.
No chance. Subtle for all spells of a whole class? In a game which values visibility of magic (or at least makes chars to pay for subtlety) and some measure of balance between classes? No chance at all.

Psychic isn't going to be in PC2, so to add on to Errenor, I don't expect there will be any update to Psychic spellcasting happening any time soon.

Aside: does anyone have a page # in PC1 where they discuss one/two free hands for spellcasting? It didn't seem to be explicitly laid out in p299-300.


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Easl wrote:
Errenor wrote:
YuriP wrote:
I know but I don't doubt that they may just simplify it to just be subtle in a compatibility review.
No chance. Subtle for all spells of a whole class? In a game which values visibility of magic (or at least makes chars to pay for subtlety) and some measure of balance between classes? No chance at all.

Psychic isn't going to be in PC2, so to add on to Errenor, I don't expect there will be any update to Psychic spellcasting happening any time soon.

Aside: does anyone have a page # in PC1 where they discuss one/two free hands for spellcasting? It didn't seem to be explicitly laid out in p299-300.

Closest clarification I can find would probably be the Manipulate trait on page 458, which specifies that any Manipulate spells would require gestures to make. Even then, not all spells have that trait.

The only spell aspect that seems to require a free hand is to use a Locus. A search of "Hand" or "free" does not really turn up anything else.

I think they removed the requirement for having a free hand to cast spells. Given how the chapter states it wants the user to be able to freely reflavor their magic, and even gives space to allow for non hand-signal and speaking-style spellcasting with GM input. I'm gonna take an assumption that they removed the free hand requirement, and that gestures can probably be approximated with either arm movements, or with finger movements around a held item. (For example, you can probably gesture with a sword in hand by performing a sword dance, or drawing rune-like symbols with the tip of the blade.)

But a GM can always step in and re-tighten the definitions if they wish I suppose.


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Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber; Pathfinder Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber
moosher12 wrote:
Easl wrote:
Errenor wrote:
YuriP wrote:
I know but I don't doubt that they may just simplify it to just be subtle in a compatibility review.
No chance. Subtle for all spells of a whole class? In a game which values visibility of magic (or at least makes chars to pay for subtlety) and some measure of balance between classes? No chance at all.

Psychic isn't going to be in PC2, so to add on to Errenor, I don't expect there will be any update to Psychic spellcasting happening any time soon.

Aside: does anyone have a page # in PC1 where they discuss one/two free hands for spellcasting? It didn't seem to be explicitly laid out in p299-300.

Closest clarification I can find would probably be the Manipulate trait on page 458, which specifies that any Manipulate spells would require gestures to make. Even then, not all spells have that trait.

The only spell aspect that seems to require a free hand is to use a Locus. A search of "Hand" or "free" does not really turn up anything else.

I think they removed the requirement for having a free hand to cast spells. Given how the chapter states it wants the user to be able to freely reflavor their magic, and even gives space to allow for non hand-signal and speaking-style spellcasting with GM input. I'm gonna take an assumption that they removed the free hand requirement, and that gestures can probably be approximated with either arm movements, or with finger movements around a held item. (For example, you can probably gesture with a sword in hand by performing a sword dance, or drawing rune-like symbols with the tip of the blade.)

But a GM can always step in and re-tighten the definitions if they wish I suppose.

What do you mean "removed the free hand requirement"? There was only ever a free hand requirement on Material component spells.


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moosher12 wrote:
I think they removed the requirement for having a free hand to cast spells. Given how the chapter states it wants the user to be able to freely reflavor their magic, and even gives space to allow for non hand-signal and speaking-style spellcasting with GM input. I'm gonna take an assumption that they removed the free hand requirement, and that gestures can probably be approximated with either arm movements, or with finger movements around a held item. (For example, you can probably gesture with a sword in hand by performing a sword dance, or drawing rune-like symbols with the tip of the blade.)

Yes and no. You seem to mix up games. Somatic components didn't require free hands from the start of PF2, without any remaster. They explicitly allowed to have your hands full. Material components did require free hand. Now all of this is gone, only manipulate trait remains. And as nothing is said about free hands, none are required, only the ability to make manipulate actions (if the trait is present).

moosher12 wrote:
But a GM can always step in and re-tighten the definitions if they wish I suppose.

Bad. Don't do that. Nobody needs that.


HammerJack wrote:


What do you mean "removed the free hand requirement"? There was only ever a free hand requirement on Material component spells.

My apologies, I hadn't looked at the Core Rulebook in quite some time as the Player Core has been on the mind, so I misremembered that it applied only to material components, not both material and somatic components. Just checked and you are absolutely right. Even then, Material Components were indeed removed. (though it was still good practice to keep a hand free to accommodate those spells anyway.) So a sizeable amount of spells that did require a free hand no longer do either way.


Errenor wrote:
Bad. Don't do that. Nobody needs that.

I would never! Heck, I'd allow my players to cast magic by playing a banjo as a wizard if they wanted. I'm just saying that some other GMs might choose to.

Errenor wrote:
You seem to mix up games.

In my defense I just read 5 Remaster books in a row, (Plus the Starfinder 1E Core Rulebook midway through those), and am currently going through a 6th 2E Remaster. Legacy rules are not as fresh as they could be.


moosher12 wrote:
Closest clarification I can find would probably be the Manipulate trait on page 458, which specifies that any Manipulate spells would require gestures to make. Even then, not all spells have that trait.

Yeah, searching for 'manipulate' and 'manipulate action' doesn't even bring up an entry in the Basic Actions list. Ah well I guess the lack of rules is good for different caster concepts. Though it woulda been nice IMO if the spellcasting section covered it explicitly [grumble grumble].


Easl wrote:
Errenor wrote:
YuriP wrote:
I know but I don't doubt that they may just simplify it to just be subtle in a compatibility review.
No chance. Subtle for all spells of a whole class? In a game which values visibility of magic (or at least makes chars to pay for subtlety) and some measure of balance between classes? No chance at all.
Psychic isn't going to be in PC2, so to add on to Errenor, I don't expect there will be any update to Psychic spellcasting happening any time soon.

That's why I write "errata/remaster" because even if not remastered it will need a compatibility errata once that verbal components doesn't exists anymore.


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moosher12 wrote:
Errenor wrote:
Bad. Don't do that. Nobody needs that.
I would never! Heck, I'd allow my players to cast magic by playing a banjo as a wizard if they wanted. I'm just saying that some other GMs might choose to.

I'm just kind of allergic to GMs which invent arbitrary restrictions outside of rules for no reason besides 'I feel like it' :)

(Unless I do it myself because I think the rule is broken, lol. Well, it almost never happens at least.)
And nothing prevents wizards to cast magic playing banjo even now btw :) As we established, they don't need free hands. And they still need to say the words, but nobody said they can't 'sing-song' them. And being wizards and not bards, I guess they can't play an instrument with magic gestures, so they would need to pause momentarily. Actually nobody has said how wizards' gestures should look like and that they must have only one set of them. So some unconventional wizards or even a whole school of them very well could be casting magic with instruments (and without them too if they want). If we won't give them any further real mechanical advantages here bards would still be ok.

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