Pathfinder 2E PF2E Gurus teach me! +

payn

I don't believe in the no-win scenario
Not every mage needs to be a "support character".

There needs to be options for the hero.

In the mythic of Merlin and King Arthur. I am uninterested in the "mentor". This is a combat game. I am interested in Merlin outright defeating King Arthur in combat.

Nerds rule!



Think of "mages" like modern "superheroes" who defeat opponents by means of magic.
Well, I dont conflate what is heroic with power, I equate it with deed, but I understand what you are saying. PF2 is designed to be a team tactical effort. If you want that anybody can crush their enemies single handedly, you have to go lower level which I totally understand doesn't sit well with some folks.
 

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I scrutinize gaming balance, and care about the fairness for players who prefer mages and for players who prefer martials.

At the same time, heh, stroking the ... ego ... of a martial isnt my concept of magic.

I expect there to be mage options that are viable in single combat, with a 50-50 chance of a successful outcome versus a martial.

There are ways to balance options. It is important to cover such narrative concepts that go beyond a "supporting role" to the "hero" role itself.
It isn't really about stroking anyone's ego, so much as it is a balance of versatility and preparation vs. specialization and availability.

Spellcasting in general leads to broader versatility and rewards preparation. Martials in PF2e have many more options than in 5e, but they mostly do not have access to a spell list and spell slots. What they have is consistent baseline potence.

There are "casters" who are "deadlier" in single combat (e.g. the Magus), and this has been balanced by making them less versatile (fewer spell slots/spells known).

I think this is a reasonable gamut along which to balance classes from a mechanical perspective, and is at least one cromulent result from a worldbuilding perspective.

Nerds do rule. Combat nerds rule at combat. Magic nerds rule at magic stuff.
 

Thomas Shey

Legend
I scrutinize gaming balance, and care about the fairness for players who prefer mages and for players who prefer martials.

At the same time, heh, stroking the ... ego ... of a martial isnt my concept of magic.

I expect there to be mage options that are viable in single combat, with a 50-50 chance of a successful outcome versus a martial.

There are ways to balance options. It is important to cover such narrative concepts that go beyond a "supporting role" to the "hero" role itself.

You're going to be disappointed in PF2e then. Bluntly, I don't think "mages can be as good on single target attacks while being much better on group attacks" and "mages and martials approximately even" are pieces of rope that meet in the middle. I think people have been trying to tell themselves that since at least the 3e era, and I've never seen any sign its true, short of magic offshoots that crippled the multi-target capability of casters.
 

Thomas Shey

Legend
In a "white room" fight between an equal-level martial and wizard, and if the martial starts at their preferred range, the wizard will almost certainly lose. It's not a foregone conclusion, but the odds are stacked that way. Blade beats paper, so to speak. The wizard, however, has some opportunities to "cheat", and if they can land a successful strong spell they stand a chance. But the wizard is much better suited to fighting off lots of weaker opponents.

They seem to be better even at fighting off lots of equal opponents in my observation, as long as they aren't in tight quarters and make sure to keep on the move. Up-rev opponents are just not their gig, other than providing buffs and mild debuffs (well, there's one exception; they're the cup of choice for a lot of golems if they have the right cantrips).
 

Thomas Shey

Legend
Well, I dont conflate what is heroic with power, I equate it with deed, but I understand what you are saying. PF2 is designed to be a team tactical effort. If you want that anybody can crush their enemies single handedly, you have to go lower level which I totally understand doesn't sit well with some folks.

More pointedly, you need to peel off a lot of mage's anti-group options (and probably some of their mobility ones). Otherwise you're right back to "Mages do as well in one-on-one combat as martials, so what are martials for?" This is even more true given that spellcasters are not nearly as defensively crippled as they sometimes have been in others; they're a little lower on hit points, but the AC difference isn't usually vast (unless you're comparing them to a Champion or similar defense focused Archetype).
 

payn

I don't believe in the no-win scenario
You're going to be disappointed in PF2e then. Bluntly, I don't think "mages can be as good on single target attacks while being much better on group attacks" and "mages and martials approximately even" are pieces of rope that meet in the middle. I think people have been trying to tell themselves that since at least the 3e era, and I've never seen any sign its true, short of magic offshoots that crippled the multi-target capability of casters.
I think a big part of it is the challenge band has been greatly reduced from the 3E/PF1 and 5E paradigm in PF2. An at level or even +1-2 level target is quite faceable. You don't even need to be all that tactical. Get into the level 3+ range for that to start happening (likely even higher). In PF2 that is not the case. However, Im curious if you can expand it a little with the proficiency without level variant?
 

More pointedly, you need to peel off a lot of mage's anti-group options (and probably some of their mobility ones). Otherwise you're right back to "Mages do as well in one-on-one combat as martials, so what are martials for?" This is even more true given that spellcasters are not nearly as defensively crippled as they sometimes have been in others; they're a little lower on hit points, but the AC difference isn't usually vast (unless you're comparing them to a Champion or similar defense focused Archetype).
It's likely also worth pointing out that casters have many potent battlefield manipulation options, a veritable host of walls, and pits, and glues, and slicks, and clouds, etc. that can limit visibility and/or mobility often with no save associated.

They may not be able to point at a boss and say "die" particularly well, but they sure can make it tough for that boss to get around.
 

Staffan

Legend
It's likely also worth pointing out that casters have many potent battlefield manipulation options, a veritable host of walls, and pits, and glues, and slicks, and clouds, etc. that can limit visibility and/or mobility often with no save associated.

They may not be able to point at a boss and say "die" particularly well, but they sure can make it tough for that boss to get around.
We had a fight against an enemy archer and a small number of minions where the archer activated a thing that was pumping water into a pit of hostages. I used wall of stone to both cut the archer off from the rest of the fight (turning a big fight into two smaller ones) and blocking the water, thereby removing the time element from the fight. I was quite proud of that one.
 

Yaarel

🇮🇱He-Mage
You're going to be disappointed in PF2e then. Bluntly, I don't think "mages can be as good on single target attacks while being much better on group attacks"
Consider the Rogue class. It "spends" design space to get its heavy damage Sneak Attack.

Likewise, a fullcaster class can spend design space to gain magical combat features.

For example, an "Elf Shot" invisible arrow cantrip that deals psychic (pain) damage instead of piercing damage, and the paralysis (stroke) condition at zero hit points instead of the dying condition. Or a sword attack that is a cantrip like Shillelagh. And so on, for higher level combat spells. The mage might regenerate hit points rather than start off with high hit points. Have Mage Armor instead of platemail.

It is combat − by means of magic.

A warrior mage is a choice between options.
 

Thomas Shey

Legend
I think a big part of it is the challenge band has been greatly reduced from the 3E/PF1 and 5E paradigm in PF2. An at level or even +1-2 level target is quite faceable. You don't even need to be all that tactical. Get into the level 3+ range for that to start happening (likely even higher). In PF2 that is not the case. However, Im curious if you can expand it a little with the proficiency without level variant?

I don't have any experience with it, so I wouldn't feel really comfortable speculating. My own sense is that it doesn't overly change much here, but--see my first sentence.
 

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