Pathfinder 2E PF2 house-rules / variant rules

payn

I don't believe in the no-win scenario
At 5th, I think my main "spam" debuff was fear. I can't recall if I had gotten slow yet, but it's really good against individually powerful monsters. Giving up two of my actions for slow that will cost the enemy one of their actions is a good trade, considering I have about three allies who also get three actions each per round. Level 5-6 is also rough for casters, because you're really feeling your proficiency lagging (martials get weapon proficiency increase at 5th and casters get casting proficiency increase at level 7).

This is, however, one area where spontaneous casting is better than prepared casting. If the situation calls for it, I can cast slow round after round, but if I were a wizard I'd probably only prep one. And if we're fighting mooks, well, that's when the fireballs start flying (well, waterballs in my case. And now at higher levels, cones of cold.).

Another meta thing I've noticed is that when you're fighting "bosses", it's fairly common that they're fiends. Fiends often have magic resistance, giving them +2 or so to their already beefy saves, so even spells with decent effects on a successful save often fizzle. But do you know what's good against fiends and undead? Holy water. While holy water only deals 1d6 damage, it also triggers weaknesses against Good damage in fiends which can be substantial. And even a miss deals splash damage.
I think that's the issue. After finding out most spells sucked against tough foes, we just started prepping a bunch of slows or whatever spells had the rider. It feels like most of the spell book is invalidated and boils options down to a few tricks. That doesn't feel very spellcaster to me.
 

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Thomas Shey

Legend
I think that's the issue. After finding out most spells sucked against tough foes, we just started prepping a bunch of slows or whatever spells had the rider. It feels like most of the spell book is invalidated and boils options down to a few tricks. That doesn't feel very spellcaster to me.

That doesn't seem entirely fair from my point of view; I ran a bard/champion hybrid, and plenty of his spells were worth throwing. They weren't always a better choice than other things I had to do, but we also had two other spellcasters in the group.

The spell list doesn't begin and end with debuffs after all.
 

payn

I don't believe in the no-win scenario
That doesn't seem entirely fair from my point of view; I ran a bard/champion hybrid, and plenty of his spells were worth throwing. They weren't always a better choice than other things I had to do, but we also had two other spellcasters in the group.

The spell list doesn't begin and end with debuffs after all.
I dont think its fair either, but it was entirely my experience.
 

Thomas Shey

Legend
I dont think its fair either, but it was entirely my experience.

Please don't take this wrong if you were one of the people involved, but this seems like people carrying over the expectation that debuffs and takeout spells are the primary thing arcanists are there for. People being stuck in a prior version of a game isn't a problem limited only to designers.

(Frankly, I came up through the hobby when being group damage doers was a big part of wizard's gig, so the fact that can be true again seems pretty naturalistic to me).
 

payn

I don't believe in the no-win scenario
Please don't take this wrong if you were one of the people involved, but this seems like people carrying over the expectation that debuffs and takeout spells are the primary thing arcanists are there for. People being stuck in a prior version of a game isn't a problem limited only to designers.

(Frankly, I came up through the hobby when being group damage doers was a big part of wizard's gig, so the fact that can be true again seems pretty naturalistic to me).
The damage spells didnt work for me either. The enemies defense just made most spells moot. Cantrips actually had a fair chance against AC. Though, I think its largely the encounters we faced and it isn't, or shouldn't, be the usual experience.
 

Staffan

Legend
One of the issues with PF2 is that casters generally feel pretty weak against bosses, because there are a number of things that conspire against them:
  • Bosses will have a very good chance of saving against any spells cast, which means that your most likely scenario is a successful save or even a crit. So if you're going for a debuff, you're getting the weak version of it. And forget about using anything with the Incapacitation trait.
  • AOE damage spells feel like a waste against single creatures. They can also be problematic to use if your allies are trying to exploit numerical advantage in order to flank.
  • Single-target attack spells will likely miss, because monster AC is calibrated against martial attack bonuses, and for most of their careers casters are 2-4 points behind those (on account of proficiency lagging and no item bonuses).
  • There are very few single-target save spells. I think Secrets of Magic added some, but they're still pretty rare.
That doesn't mean they're useless, but it's not where they feel strong. Which is a bit of a shame, because by their nature boss fights tend to be climactic.
 

Thomas Shey

Legend
The damage spells didnt work for me either. The enemies defense just made most spells moot. Cantrips actually had a fair chance against AC. Though, I think its largely the encounters we faced and it isn't, or shouldn't, be the usual experience.

Then that's a distinctly "everything is a small number of uphill opponents" problem; I've watched our sorcerer cook up any number of opponents with her lightning bolt, doing as much net damage in one round as I did in the whole fight--and LB isn't the most efficient spell at doing that. But you do have to have enough opponents around for it to be useful, as there's only a limited number of spells that are good single target damage causers, and if you're only fighting things that are going to critical save most of the time, you won't even see those.
 

Thomas Shey

Legend
One of the issues with PF2 is that casters generally feel pretty weak against bosses, because there are a number of things that conspire against them:
  • Bosses will have a very good chance of saving against any spells cast, which means that your most likely scenario is a successful save or even a crit. So if you're going for a debuff, you're getting the weak version of it. And forget about using anything with the Incapacitation trait.

Yup.

  • AOE damage spells feel like a waste against single creatures. They can also be problematic to use if your allies are trying to exploit numerical advantage in order to flank.

Well, honestly, we've just agreed to take the hit; if she ends up making the opponents go away a round earlier that's less damage I'm likely to take than the spell will probably do to me, and if one of the people out there is a rogue or someone else with Evasion, that's even more true.

  • Single-target attack spells will likely miss, because monster AC is calibrated against martial attack bonuses, and for most of their careers casters are 2-4 points behind those (on account of proficiency lagging and no item bonuses).

Well, there's a few save-based single target ones, but I'm more familiar with the Occult list than the Arcane list, so I wouldn't want to say how many there are.

  • There are very few single-target save spells. I think Secrets of Magic added some, but they're still pretty rare.

I'd look at the Occult list again. Some of the sexier ones are upper level, but they're not nonexistant.

That doesn't mean they're useless, but it's not where they feel strong. Which is a bit of a shame, because by their nature boss fights tend to be climactic.

Yeah, in those its honestly often more useful for the magi to augment the other types in various ways. I'm not sure how good the Arcane list is at that, though.
 

MaskedGuy

Explorer
...Did Capp Zapn return and immediately start with "And nobody has any genuinely criticism of my criticism besides 'do not touch my system'"? Seriously?

Why does anyone even bother debating anymore if that is their take away :'D

(that is the point where I stopped reading thread again and you'll probably see me next time few months later :p )
 

Staffan

Legend
I'd look at the Occult list again. Some of the sexier ones are upper level, but they're not nonexistant.
Could be. I remember actively looking for single-target damage spells with saves and not finding any other than the Uncommon sudden bolt (from The Show Must Go On/Extinction Curse 1), but I was looking specifically at the Primal list at the time, and I was likely limiting myself to level 4-5 or below.

Yeah, in those its honestly often more useful for the magi to augment the other types in various ways. I'm not sure how good the Arcane list is at that, though.
It's certainly not a strength of the Primal list. Primal's buffs tend to be battle forms, which are generally mostly useful for elevating a bad warrior to a good warrior, but won't turn a good warrior into a better one. There are some others who add capabilities (e.g. fly), but you don't get things like heroism.
 

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