Upcoming Magics

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We are not quite ready to release the latest additions to Pathfinder just yet, so we continue our work on that for the time being. Our current cycle includes several major expansions to the Pathfinder system, including support for equipment as described last week as well as support for both spellcasting and psionics.

The expansion to the sheet is designed to be fully configurable, allowing you to add classes from most sources or even make your own, and the system is being built with more advanced future improvements in mind. For now though, it is important to lay a solid foundation, so we are taking a bit more time than originally planned before releasing it. Even though it is as of yet unfinished, I wanted to give some insights into the work we were doing, and since we showcased equipment last week, let me cover spellcasting today.

Part of implementing the system is trying to find the exact commonalities and differences between the different kinds of spellcasting. Discounting psionics, spellcasting is remarkably similar between most core classes, but there are some subtle differences that can really affect the data model.

One example is the way in which Wizards handle specialty slots. For those that don’t know, in Pathfinder, the Wizard class can choose to specialize in a school, granting them additional spell slots per day which can only be used for spells of that particular school. This differs subtly from the way Clerics choose their domains. Clerics too get additional spell slots per day which can only be used for domain spells - in fact, at the exact same levels as the Wizard does, so it seems almost identical. But unlike Wizards, who could choose not to specialize, Clerics always get those bonus spells per day.

Though both of these are mostly similar, the subtle differences require they be handled differently, so players can either select whether or not to apply the option or get them automatically. But adding that as an option comes with its own trade-off: the more exceptions like that we support, the more complicated it becomes to configure your campaign. There is not much use in having the option to add your own classes if it becomes too much hassle to do so.

One way to keep things as simple as possible is to separate out the exceptional. Psionics for instance are so different from regular magic that there really is no way to configure the system to support it. Instead, we decided to implement this as a separate system, visually similar on the sheet, but handled entirely differently behind the scenes.

Overall, we believe we are decently balanced in our current designs, but some of the details require a little bit extra work before it is done. As a result, this weeks changelog remains empty. Even so, we’d still love to hear your views on what we have now - are there any features you are missing or think would improve your game? Be sure to tell us in the forums!