PF2 Low-level Wizards in PF2 - are they still underpowered?

MerricB

Eternal Optimist
I mean, every single time you gain a new spell level, most cantrips go up an extra die in damage value. That 1d4+mod cantrip is 2d4+mod at level 3 and 3d4+mod at level 5. And keep in mind, you can crit on Ray of Frost for double damage.

That doesn't seem that bad.
I think that eventually cantrips get better. They're not horrible at the start (though under where a fighter is), but because they're less effective than a fighter's regular attacks, I want the first-level spells to bring up the effectiveness of the wizard. If a first-level spell is on par with what the fighter can do normally, that's not impactful enough.

Remember: Vancian casting! You've got two spell slots (plus you can reuse one spell with Drain Bonded Item), which you prepare with EXACTLY the spells you'll cast.

I can't see any magic items to increase the effectiveness of cantrips, btw, nor wizard abilities.

Trying to work out how the fighter scales is an interesting matter. It's no longer "you get extra attacks at high levels", so we have to look at other abilities.

Cheers!
 

Zardnaar

Hero
I forget the name but its basically the old inspire competences. +1 to a skill check or attack roll.
 
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mewzard

Explorer
I forget the name but its basically the old inspire competences. +1 to a kill check or attack roll.
I mean, not all of them are that. One is literally a single action Haste Cantrip called Allegro, which is really potent for a Cantrip.
 

MerricB

Eternal Optimist
I mean, not all of them are that. One is literally a single action Haste Cantrip called Allegro, which is really potent for a Cantrip.
Interesting - it's a 7th level cantrip! (That is, the bard can't take it until 7th level).

It grants the recipient "quickened" which allows an additional action on their turn to stride, step or strike. That's not quite as good as you might first assume (as the multiple attack penalty kicks in), but it's still a cantrip I can see using - especially to move into position quickly.

Cheers!
 

Zardnaar

Hero
From memory allegro was level 14 in the playtest, IDK. My wife spotted it and like it a lot and she loves bards. The 5E bard is a great class but it doesn't feel very bardy more of a 3.5 Beguiler at least for the lore bard and the Valor Bard is a bit meh.
 

mewzard

Explorer
Interesting - it's a 7th level cantrip! (That is, the bard can't take it until 7th level).

It grants the recipient "quickened" which allows an additional action on their turn to stride, step or strike. That's not quite as good as you might first assume (as the multiple attack penalty kicks in), but it's still a cantrip I can see using - especially to move into position quickly.

Cheers!
Fun note, it's almost functionally the same as Haste at any level below 7th. It adds the step option for an action, is only one action to use, specifies ally vs creature, and is one round vs a minute, but is otherwise the same. 7th level is when Haste lets you buff up to 6 creatures, so it's never quite as valuable, but you can keep it going for a full combat with little effort (especially if you take the feat to give yourself a dedicated action to do a Composition Cantrip).

There are also a few Metamagic Feats to grab for Composition Cantrips, like Lingering Composition (increased duration) and Inspire Heroics (buffs Inspire Courage and Inspire Defense).

Two other different Composition Cantrips are House of Imaginary Walls (Mime Cantrip! There are certainly ways one could use this) and Triple Time (+10 to all movement speeds for all allies within 60 feet, let's make it that much harder for a fleeing foe, or to reduce needed actions for movement).

I like having the additional special Cantrips on top of the usual ones and full Tenth Level Casting.

Super tempted to make Bard my first class.
 

gargoyleking

Explorer
This is taking it a bit off topic, but then again, a human wizard could easily take that bard cantrip at 1st level to give them an easy buff their options early on.
 

MerricB

Eternal Optimist
This is taking it a bit off topic, but then again, a human wizard could easily take that bard cantrip at 1st level to give them an easy buff their options early on.
That's the +1 to kill checks one? ;) That'd be an interesting way of doing it. I think it's a great option for that third action of the turn, after you use the other two in attacks/attack cantrips.

It should be interesting to see all of this in play. :)

Good luck to anyone playing a wizard this month!

Cheers!
 

Puggins

Explorer
Cantrips cost two actions to cast.
They do indeed, apologies for the error.

That said, fury barbarians do not get the +6 bonus until 6th level, when they receive their specialization. Dragon barbarians do get a +4 bonus at 1st, but they miss out on that nice physical weapon resistance. Your point remains mostly valid, though.

Looks like eleven weapon familiarity would work well for wizards... fire off a non-attack cantrip like electric arc then follow up with a bow shot at no penalty.
 

MerricB

Eternal Optimist
They do indeed, apologies for the error.

That said, fury barbarians do not get the +6 bonus until 6th level, when they receive their specialization. Dragon barbarians do get a +4 bonus at 1st, but they miss out on that nice physical weapon resistance. Your point remains mostly valid, though.
Huh... that's not well laid out in the rules!

Amiri, the pregen barbarian in the PFS character sheets, deals 1d8+10 damage while raging, btw. I'm not exactly sure how.

Cheers!
 

Puggins

Explorer
Huh... that's not well laid out in the rules!

Amiri, the pregen barbarian in the PFS character sheets, deals 1d8+10 damage while raging, btw. I'm not exactly sure how.

Cheers!
Definitely not well laid out in this case. Made a mistake, btw- it’s actually 7th, and listed under “Weapon Specialization”: “you gain your instinct’s specialization ability.”
 

Campbell

Relaxed Intensity
It's perfectly legal actually. Amiri has the Giant instinct which grants the ability to wield an over-sized weapon and makes rage grant +6 instead of +2. While wielding the weapon you are Clumsy 1 which means Amiri is AC 16 while raging and wielding the weapon and takes -1 to Reflex when wielding the weapon.
 
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CapnZapp

Adventurer
One of the biggest problems I had with the PF2 playtest was how poor wizards were (especially at first level).

...

Or am I missing something?

Cheers!
You are most definitely not missing something.

However, I can't believe the low performance of spells is by accident. Not when it it so obvious.

You mention the Barbarian. Another contender for "the most dust the Wizard is left in" :) would be the Ranger - who can make four(!) attacks in a round, at no or very low penalties, already at first level.

Of course no 1st level spell can compare to that. (When you consider the Barbarian can do it every round all day long)

Also consider how everybody has more hit points now. Monsters are not likely to go down in one hit. For a martial, not a problem, since you now have triple the amount of attacks you would have in most other D&D.

A spell will also not bring them down, but you still have only one spell per round. Even worse, you have maybe three spells in total! Spending your spell to wound but not kill maybe three critters is a poor use in this light (=you only being able to do this once or twice again).

To me, the systemic changes to the core rules is what brings this about. This would (should?) be obvious to the devs from day one. Still, they haven't massively boosted first level spells.

So it's time to completely change our perception of what it means to be a low-level spellcaster. At first level, simply forget about offensive spells. You are much better off using cantrips... (or, dare I say it, actual physical violence? After all, the differences between classes at level 1 are minimal, so picking up a stick isn't that much worse than any other level 1 character with a stick...) to deal damage.



PS. It's worth thinking about how the ability to kill monsters by magic is not a given right in many fantasy games. In WFRP, for instance, you're not even allowed real spells until you graduate from being a Wizard's Apprentice.
 

Campbell

Relaxed Intensity
In general I think a significant portion of class balance is going to come down to encounter design and how the GM plays the adversaries. If you let melee specialists stand there and whack things ranged classes and rogues are going to have trouble competing. However if the GM utilizes things like Feint, Demoralize, Grapple, Trip, and Shove things get more interesting.

Diversity in encounter design helps. Have sneaky kobolds and goblins actually be sneaky. Utilize things like ranged weapons. Go after casters and archers so melee needs help drag them away. Rangers are not nearly as effective when they need to switch targets. An encounter with a couple ghouls with corpses strewn about where the leap away to feast gives ranged classes a time to shine.

In general terms melee does the most damage when they can have a high amount of up time. Generally melee is a dangerous place to be which should affect their ability to be optimal. You can see this directly in the abilities of several of the abilities in higher level monsters, but is not necessarily apparent on lower level creatures like the Orc Warrior unless you look more closely at their skills and ranged weapons.

As far as I can tell a wizard is never really competitive in single target damage, but they do get fairly potent area damage and have the ability to target monster weaknesses extremely well. Electric Arc is actually pretty nice against lower level enemies. The area on burning hands is a little meager, but can be effective with Widen Spell. A central part of the problem is that because monsters only go down to -1 you are missing part of the range of encounter design where area damage is extremely effective. There are also some pretty potent debuffs and buffs for higher level combats. Magic Weapon will turn that Barbarian into a wrecking crew. I would not scoff at fear. Frightened is an extremely potent condition that effects every interaction with an elite or boss monster.
 

CapnZapp

Adventurer
In general I think a significant portion of class balance is going to come down to encounter design and how the GM plays the adversaries.
Well, in general I prefer games where classes are balanced for the sort of games I already run... ;)

That is, just like I don't go through hoops to change my scenarios to conform to some "6-8 encounter adventuring day" in 5E, I likely won't go through hoops here.

Besides, I don't see how I can counteract Paizo's design decision anyway. A first level spell (like Burning Hands) simply is the equivalent of giving three goblins that happen to stand close to each other a whack each.

This is equivalent to what any fighter can do. Every round all day long. You, however, can do it three times a day.

So, no, the idea that it's on the games master to make the first level experience acceptable to the Wizard player might be a commendable one, but no thanks :)

Instead, a much more useful approach would be for Pathfinder 2 players to adjust their expectations, and to tell the player "at level 1, you're still very much a trainee, and should not consider your spell slots to be very valuable. Instead, you're a level 1 character much like everybody else, so use your other abilities - none of which is appreciably worse than those of any other level 1 character! Fearsome magicks comes later!"

Cheers
 

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