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PF2E Martials > Casters

CapnZapp

Legend
I do not know very much about Extinction Curse. Are there monsters with frontal cone AOE or nasty auras at all? There is a significant amount of that in PFS.
Let's first remember I'm only discussing low level. I started this thread at maybe level 5 and they're level 8 now.

By that I only mean to ask: are your monsters higher or lower level than that?

(I don't know which features you're referring to)

If your answer is "at all levels" then yes that's a difference, since I can't remember any monster with either of those. (Xulgath mages have Fireball prepared but that doesn't seem to fall into either of your categories)

If your answer isn't, maybe those features are inherently tied to higher levelled foes?
 

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CapnZapp

Legend
I found the 5E wizard to be subpar with feats, magic items, and multiclassing. It was probably adequate without feats and multiclassing. Though it did have some nice utility spells. Just not much of a great damage dealer. I only played a wizard to 16th level. At least 5E had magic items to improve spell attack rolls. Pretty lame that PF2 did not include them considering they no longer allow targeting of touch of flat-footed AC absent dex.

Concentration made life pretty terrible for casters in 5E. Might not be as bad as incapacitation, but it's close.
We found spells and spellcasting to be very good in 5E, and we enabled every option there is. Forcecage in particular comes to mind. Damage spells were seldom brokenly good, but they were decidedly more potent than the anemic options available to low level wizards in PF2.

Concentration isn't a problem you can't minmax your way out of. It feels much more fair than Incapacitation as limitations go, since you can mitigate the issue (by staying out of the monsters' targeting sights).

A bigger concern is legendary saves. It's just not worth your while to cast save or suck spells against legendary foes. Just deal damage, since even half damage contributes far more to the martials' effort than "no effect" (In many cases the BBEG won't even use a legendary save on "mere" damage spells)

Still, you'll face far fewer legendary monsters in 5E than Incapacitation-resistant monsters in PF2, so lots of spells are still very useful.

What's stupidly good in 5E, however, is the lack of restrictions on ranged fire. (That, and summons)
 

FrozenNorth

Adventurer
I found the 5E wizard to be subpar with feats, magic items, and multiclassing. It was probably adequate without feats and multiclassing. Though it did have some nice utility spells. Just not much of a great damage dealer. I only played a wizard to 16th level. At least 5E had magic items to improve spell attack rolls. Pretty lame that PF2 did not include them considering they no longer allow targeting of touch of flat-footed AC absent dex.

Concentration made life pretty terrible for casters in 5E. Might not be as bad as incapacitation, but it's close.
In my experience the PF2 wizard is considerably weaker than the 5e wizard. So if you found the 5e wizard weak...
 

Celtavian

Dragon Lord
We found spells and spellcasting to be very good in 5E, and we enabled every option there is. Forcecage in particular comes to mind. Damage spells were seldom brokenly good, but they were decidedly more potent than the anemic options available to low level wizards in PF2.

Concentration isn't a problem you can't minmax your way out of. It feels much more fair than Incapacitation as limitations go, since you can mitigate the issue (by staying out of the monsters' targeting sights).

A bigger concern is legendary saves. It's just not worth your while to cast save or suck spells against legendary foes. Just deal damage, since even half damage contributes far more to the martials' effort than "no effect" (In many cases the BBEG won't even use a legendary save on "mere" damage spells)

Still, you'll face far fewer legendary monsters in 5E than Incapacitation-resistant monsters in PF2, so lots of spells are still very useful.

What's stupidly good in 5E, however, is the lack of restrictions on ranged fire. (That, and summons)
Legendary saves and concentration made life very hard for casters in 5E. Not sure how you min-max out of concentration.

Forcecage was one of the few spells that was very nice in 5E, thought not always applicable and certainly didn't kill anything. Shapechanging in 5E was much better than PF2.

Wizard cantrips about the same. Damaging spells were better at low level? Maybe because creatures were weaker. The damage was the same.

Were summons that good in 5E? I don't recall them being great. Did they add some?

And yes, ranged fire with Sharpshooter and bless was the best combo in the game besides maybe sorlock and smites. Most of the casters in our groups ended up as multiclass casters with paladin using lots of spell slots to smite with as that was a better use of spell slots than casting spells.

Some of the higher end damage spells in PF2 seem good. Phantasmal calamity, Vampiric Exsangination, and Chain Lightning. I don't recall damage spells in the 5E wizard being great. I remember feeling exactly the same as I do in 5E as I do in PF2 as far as dealing damage goes compared to martials, like shooting with a beebee gun. Maybe there have been changes since the game released as I haven't played 5E in 2 or 3 years now.
 
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Celtavian

Dragon Lord
In my experience the PF2 wizard is considerably weaker than the 5e wizard. So if you found the 5e wizard weak...
I found them both weak for different reasons. Though 5E did have some better elements than PF2 like shapechanging at high level.
 
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Campbell

Legend
Individual summoned creatures are not that impressive. The ability to summon lots of weak little annoying things with special abilities can be effective because of bounded accuracy. The Druid in the 5e game I am a player in does this a lot.
 

Celtavian

Dragon Lord
5E vs. PF2 comparison:

Cantrips at max level: 5E damage: 4d8 PF2 damage: 10d4+5. Mixed ranges between 30 feet and 120 feet.

Fireball: 5E: 3rd level 8d6. 1d6 Heightening. PF2: 3rd level: 6d6. 2d6 Heightening.

Shapechange: 5E: So much better than PF2 that I won't even bother listing it. PF2 Shapechange sucks compared to 5E.

I see. They improved on Summon spells from release. 1 hour summons that look much better than PF2.

Hmm. Seems they made some improvements on 5E. I think I might steal some of these from 5E. We'll see if additional books make arcane casters better as time goes on. My experience with the 5E wizard is strictly from the 5E Core Rulebook upon release. It was an underwhelming experience much like the PF2 wizard is an underwhelming experience.
 
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Celtavian

Dragon Lord
Individual summoned creatures are not that impressive. The ability to summon lots of weak little annoying things with special abilities can be effective because of bounded accuracy. The Druid in the 5e game I am a player in does this a lot.
What spell lets you summon lots of little things?
 

Campbell

Legend
What spell lets you summon lots of little things?
Conjure Woodland Beings, Conjure Animals, and Conjure Minor Elementals all bring maximum annoyance. When our Druid gets all summon happy it can honestly be a little annoying. Low level fey in particular tend to have annoying spells. Sometimes our Druid has used this tactic to apply pressure for creatures to use their Legendary Resistance.
 

Celtavian

Dragon Lord
Conjure Woodland Beings, Conjure Animals, and Conjure Minor Elementals all bring maximum annoyance. When our Druid gets all summon happy it can honestly be a little annoying. Low level fey in particular tend to have annoying spells. Sometimes our Druid has used this tactic to apply pressure for creatures to use their Legendary Resistance.
I remember those. Never seemed to do much in our games. Things died too fast to the archer and smiting martials. Those spells were definitely more effective than than PF2 summons, which are pretty terrible in battles, especially so against BBEGs. PF2 did a terrible job balancing the effectiveness of summons and shapechanging as options for arcane casters.
 

CapnZapp

Legend
My experience with the 5E wizard is strictly from the 5E Core Rulebook upon release. It was an underwhelming experience much like the PF2 wizard is an underwhelming experience.
I'm not interested in debating the details, and I'm not here to deny you your opinion.

My only goal here is to hotly contest one possible implication a reader might draw from your characterization - that 5E is about the same as PF2, that both games fail the arcane caster to about the same degree.

I'm not saying you're claiming this, but let me make it clear it's absolutely not the case. Only someone with his or her d20/PF1 goggles on could group the games together like that.

The 3E spellcaster was a horribly broken construct that needed to die. Both games realized that. In my opinion, 5E does the better job, by far.

The 5E Wizard can absolutely feel underwhelming. Compared to Sorlocks or Paladins. But the spell structure is fundamentally sound. It allows you to do stuff. PF2 comes across as positively hamstrung in comparison. Limit the caster, not his toys.

The PF2 Wizard, on the other hand, is a failed class. It brings nothing to the table someone else can't do better. (Given the parameters of the thread)

To me, that's a profound difference that I don't want to get lost in a message such as "[The 5E Wizard is] an underwhelming experience much like the PF2 wizard is an underwhelming experience".

Thanks for reading.
 

Celtavian

Dragon Lord
I'm not interested in debating the details, and I'm not here to deny you your opinion.

My only goal here is to hotly contest one possible implication a reader might draw from your characterization - that 5E is about the same as PF2, that both games fail the arcane caster to about the same degree.

I'm not saying you're claiming this, but let me make it clear it's absolutely not the case. Only someone with his or her d20/PF1 goggles on could group the games together like that.

The 3E spellcaster was a horribly broken construct that needed to die. Both games realized that. In my opinion, 5E does the better job, by far.

The 5E Wizard can absolutely feel underwhelming. Compared to Sorlocks or Paladins. But the spell structure is fundamentally sound. It allows you to do stuff. PF2 comes across as positively hamstrung in comparison. Limit the caster, not his toys.

The PF2 Wizard, on the other hand, is a failed class. It brings nothing to the table someone else can't do better. (Given the parameters of the thread)

To me, that's a profound difference that I don't want to get lost in a message such as "[The 5E Wizard is] an underwhelming experience much like the PF2 wizard is an underwhelming experience".

Thanks for reading.
Having reviewed the 5E spells, I have to agree to a point. I felt the 5E wizard was an underwhelming class that did not compete with optimized builds using other classes. We never ran with a single class wizard after the very first adventure because they were not necessary. You did not need a wizard in 5E and there were other more effective classes. A 5E wizard was a bottom tier class with limited customization in the 5E Core Rulebook. Not sure about now with other books. But I have to admit the PF2 wizard is worse insofar as the gap between every other classes' effectiveness and wizard effectiveness is wider, especially so at low levels where most people play.

In PF2 summons, shapechanging, and incapacitation spells are terrible compared to 5E. The main place you will shine is higher level AoE damage spells where your damage can reach obscene levels, especially so on a critically failed save. I have seen first hand an arcane caster lich able to blow off his high level damage spells obliterate a party in a way a martial monster cannot. It was painful. But this is with high level DCs and blowing his high level slots without having to worry about them for later fights. But they were spells an arcane caster has access to.

And I have heard action limiting spells are effective, though I haven't tried them. And there are still wall spells which can be effective.

The biggest problem is getting to that high level because the low level wizard is much less fun to play than a 5E wizard. He is very, very ineffective in the most important fights, which is extremely frustrating. It makes you want to give up. I cannot even say at what level this changes some. I would say maybe 9th to 11th as the 5th and 6th level and above damage spells can be quite nasty, especially given the saving throw success/failure levels.

I am hoping some of this is fixed after feedback from the terrible experience of wizard players. Future magic books will hopefully add spell and magic item options that don't make a wizard player feel like such a pathetic weakling. It is sad to see such an iconic class turned into such a pathetic class that isn't particularly fun to play. I would say that is the most egregious failing is that the PF2 wizard isn't fun. Most people could tolerate the power reduction if the wizard had been turned into something fun to play to replace the lost power.

Even the sorcerer has interesting ways to build. My undead bloodline sorcerer managing the forces of life and death is more fun than a wizard. I have 1 action damage dealers that are interesting and effective. I can heal when needed. Last combat I was able to heal up the martials with spell slots while using spiritual weapon to attack. The wizard doesn't have options of this kind that are of equivalent effectiveness.

The final PF2 wizard seems to suffer for a lack of testing. It seems like Paizo made every effort to ensure the wizard was not the problem it was in PF1 to the point of ruining the class. It is truly the only class in the book I can't see much of a reason to play. The wizard lacks unique and effective abilities that work well within the 3 action PF2 framework. Not sure how the wizard class as is made it past the Paizo testing process in the form it has taken.
 

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