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PF2: Spells!


Maybe P2 can end the D&D tradition of using the technical term ‘level’ for ‘spell levels’.

For example, gaining ‘level 3’ spells at wizard ‘level 5’ is always awkward and sometimes confusing.

An innocuous way to avoid the term ‘spell levels’ is instead using the word ‘slot’ as the new technical term. So, a level 5 wizard gains access to ‘slot 3’ spells.

But the best solution is to simply divide spells across twenty levels instead of across 9 (or 10) levels. This works out naturally, because whenever one seriates spells according to their character optimization, spells in the same level always have certain ones that are much more powerful, and certain ones that are much weaker. Some belong in a lower level and some in a higher level. So spells naturally form a continuum across all 20 levels.

So, a level 12 Wizard gains access to level 12 spells.

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First Post
Yaerel in PF1 at high levels martials get four attacks to full casters two. Or at medium high levels three to casters one. So one action for attacks in that light is pretty much the same. However I wouldn’t worry about exponential martials that much here. There are a few things released so far that doesn’t leave it clear to closing the gap from PF1.

1. Casters can cast two spells in a turn if one of them was just a verbal, something they’ve never been able to do before.
2. While everyone does start out with the ability to do three attacks at level one there is a couple things here which actually seems to favor full casters compared to PF1.
2a. Many of the previewed feats like power attack add an additional action to the attack.
2b. The spread between casters and martials for attack bonus is much tighter. This makes something like a Magus available to play right from the core rule book. Similarly gish sorcerers and wizards should be much more possible due to having better attack bonuses.

Now in regards to martials competing the magic item boost does help because now they can do lightning bolt like damage on each swing. Similarly since sneak attack doubles on criticals and martials will have a much higher chance to crit and roll double damage should give them a spikeyness that they currently lack.

Whether that combined with legendary martial feats actually closes the gap with high level casters is yet to be seen. But posts by Paizo devs have shown they’re aware of it and I presume the gap will be much smaller than in PF1. We already know the skill gap will be much closer, allowing a fighter to do a skill check at high levels similar to the deficit they did at low levels. So that’s a definite boon for outside of combat, just need to see how it balances inside of combat. Right now we’re seeing boosts for both sides of the equation. Although it does seem casters are going to lose a bit on the save or die spells but gain on the martial side of battle. So perhaps legendary martial feats can compete with spells in that world. I hope so.

The skill system to me has some really strong things so far (spread between classes, spread between trained/untrained) as well as some things I’m concerned about (having to recall which skills and level of skills do each thing. It’s already hard enough to remember what skills do what) That’s why I’m really looking forward to the skills blog and getting more info on it. Like will higher level just expose one thing in the feat you took to unlock it, or will it unlock a variety of things and this we need to know what four levels of proficiency for each skill does.
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Ah! Here it is. The foursome division of spells by theme: mental, material, vital, and spiritual.

Paizo Playtest: All About Spells (Monday, April 16, 2018)

Magical Traditions

For example, arcane magic blends material essence (the fundamental building blocks of all physical things) and mental essence (the building block of rational thoughts, logic, and memories). This means that arcane traditions share a lot in common with science, as arcane spellcasters tend to use logic and rational methods to categorize the magic inherent in the physical world around them. Divine magic is the exact opposite; it blends spiritual essence (the otherworldly building block of the immortal self) and vital essence (the universal life force that gives us instincts and intuition). This means that divine traditions are steeped in faith, the unseen, and belief in a power source from beyond the Material Plane. These ideas have led to some exciting new additions of spells into each tradition's repertoire.


These four themes − mental, vital, material, and spiritual − are extremely powerful for organizing mechanics and narratives.

Every spell needs to have at least one of these four terms as a keyword descriptor.

The ‘mental’ spells mean the exact same thing as ‘psionic’. Consider using the term ‘psionic’ instead of ‘mental’ to tag these spells. Psionic spells include effects like charm, fear, dominate, suggest, but also all forms of divination along with luck and fate. Additionally psionic/mental includes all forms of force magic, including Telekinesis − Fly is nothing except telekinesing oneself − Magic Missile force damage, force constructs made out of force, and so on. Shapeshifting (aka psychometabolism) is really vital, but certain concepts will dabble into vital. Likewise, a pyrokineticist is really material/elemental. Teleportation (psychoportation) is spiritual spells.

Please, please, please, redefine Telekinesis as a mental/psionic *cantrip* whose strength heightens while advancing.

In the context of D&D spells, ‘material’ spells mostly means ‘elemental’ magic − earth (metal, crystal, etcetera), fire, air and water (together, air and water are weather magic). The flavor of lightning depends on whether one defines it as fire or air, or even an aspect of light (electromagnetic thus an aspect spiritual ether). The flavor of acid is difficult to decide − maybe fire (burn injury), water (corrosion), earth (chemicals). Probably make acid an aspect of fire to help fire diversify. Most forms of inorganic creations and animation is a material spell. Transmuting into elemental forms, like Gaseousform, Stoneskin, Ironbody, and so on, are material spells.

The ‘vital’ spells emphasize the living body, healing, regeneration, enhancement of the body, lifeforce, soul, animistic nature spirits, plants and animals, creation of items made from organic materials, like wood and leather, also poison. Vital especially includes organic lifeforms and substances, and ‘shapeshifting’ into animals and plants. (By contrast, ‘transmuting’ into inorganic elemental forms, like Stoneskin is a material spell.) The darkside of ‘vital’ is necromancy involving undead, vampirism, ghosts, and so on.

The ‘spiritual’ spells essentially involve the fifth element called Spirit (also called ether, quintessence, etcetera). Spirit is the stuff that the eternal soul and consciousness is made out of. As an element, it is identical with both light and void, space-time, and gravity. It extends to planar travel including both ethereal and astral destinations, as well as teleportation. As light, Spirit can include electromagnetism, and similar subatomic phenomena. Some tropes that arguably belong in the spiritual theme are assigned to one of the other three themes for the sake of flavor, such as divination and telekinesis belonging to psionic/mental. Essentially, the vital soul is made out of material ether which is psionic conscious. Spirit is a kind of magic that transcends, encompasses, and unifies the other three.

Certain spells describe more than one theme. For example, Wild Shape might specifically refer to taking on the mentality of a fierce animal, with such strong mindforce that body changes shape into the mental self identity. This (mythologically accurate) concept would cause the spell to get both tags, psionic/mental and vital. In this way, certain psion archetypes would access shapeshifting (psychometabolism) by means of such spells. Similarly, a spell like Control Sound normally relates to thunder, thus air-water elemental magic. But this specific spell might be understood as telekinetically manipulating vibrations according mental artistic esthetics and ambiance. In this way, the spell gains both the psionic/mental tag and elemental/material tag, thus certain bard archetypes would be able to access to dabble in this kind of sonic magic.

So arcane wizard normally accesses psionic/mental and material spells.
Bard accesses psionic/mental and vital spells.
Druid accesses vital and material spells.
Cleric accesses vital and spiritual spells.
Psion accesses psionic/mental spells but also spiritual.
Alchemist accesses material and spiritual spells.

And so on.

wizard opposite cleric
bard opposite alchemist
psion opposite druid

The spiritual classes: cleric, psion, and alchemist
The elemental/material classes: alchemist, druid, and wizard
The psionic/mental classes: psion, bard, and wizard
The vital/healing classes: druid, cleric, and bard
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For the love all things good and holy, Yareel, please stop post spamming this thread with your every incessant thought.

Heh, I was considering apologizing in advance. But magic is important to me. I would love to love P2.

If it is any consolation, all things I want to say so far, I have pretty much said in these few posts.

Kobold Boots

First Post
On the spell points thing, why not call them Mana points or something more neutral?

Of course, I have no real answer. My guess would be:

1. Points that are used to power spells are most clearly called spell points.
2. We'll likely get a better idea of why it makes sense when we see the rest of the language used in the magic system
3. Resonance - this last item makes no sense to include in my answer - but since everyone else seems to blame resonance for the death of Kennedy and Elvis, I'll include it here so we can fit this in to every other question post about magic

:) KB