Archives of Nethys

Pathfinder | Starfinder

<- Return to All Rules

All Rules in Magic

+ An entry marked with this has additional sections within it.

Magic Basics

Source PRPG Core Rulebook pg. 206
From creating a wisp of light to causing the ground itself to shatter and break, spells are a source of immense power. A spell is a one-time magical effect. Spells come in two types: arcane (cast by bards, sorcerers, and wizards) and divine (cast by clerics, druids, and experienced paladins and rangers). Some spellcasters select their spells from a limited list of spells known, while others have access to a wide variety of options.

Most spellcasters prepare spells in advance—whether from a spellbook or through prayers—while some cast spells spontaneously without preparation. Despite these different ways characters use to learn or prepare their spells, when it comes to casting them, the spells are very much alike.

Casting Spells

Source PRPG Core Rulebook pg. 206
Whether a spell is arcane or divine, and whether a character prepares spells in advance or chooses them on the spot, casting a spell works the same way.

Choosing a Spell

Source PRPG Core Rulebook pg. 206
First you must choose which spell to cast. If you’re a cleric, druid, experienced paladin, experienced ranger, or wizard, you select from among spells prepared earlier in the day and not yet cast (see Preparing Wizard Spells and Preparing Divine Spells).

If you’re a bard or sorcerer, you can select any spell you know, provided you are capable of casting spells of that level or higher.

To cast a spell, you must be able to speak (if the spell has a verbal component), gesture (if it has a somatic component), and manipulate the material components or focus (if any). Additionally, you must concentrate to cast a spell.

If a spell has multiple versions, you choose which version to use when you cast it. You don’t have to prepare (or learn, in the case of a bard or sorcerer) a specific version of the spell.

Once you’ve cast a prepared spell, you can’t cast it again until you prepare it again. (If you’ve prepared multiple copies of a single spell, you can cast each copy once.) If you’re a bard or sorcerer, casting a spell counts against your daily limit for spells of that spell level, but you can cast the same spell again if you haven’t reached your limit.

Concentration

Source PRPG Core Rulebook pg. 206
To cast a spell, you must concentrate. If something interrupts your concentration while you’re casting, you must make a concentration check or lose the spell. When you make a concentration check, you roll d20 and add your caster level and the ability score modifier used to determine bonus spells of the same type. Clerics, druids, and rangers add their Wisdom modifier. Bards, paladins, and sorcerers add their Charisma modifier. Finally, wizards add their Intelligence modifier. The more distracting the interruption and the higher the level of the spell you are trying to cast, the higher the DC (see Table 9–1). If you fail the check, you lose the spell just as if you had cast it to no effect.

Injury: If you take damage while trying to cast a spell, you must make a concentration check with a DC equal to 10 + the damage taken + the level of the spell you’re casting. If you fail the check, you lose the spell without effect. The interrupting event strikes during spellcasting if it comes between the time you started and the time you complete a spell (for a spell with a casting time of 1 full round or more) or if it comes in response to your casting the spell (such as an attack of opportunity provoked by the spell or a contingent attack, such as a readied action).

If you are taking continuous damage, such as from an acid arrow or by standing in a lake of lava, half the damage is considered to take place while you are casting a spell. You must make a concentration check with a DC equal to 10 + 1/2 the damage that the continuous source last dealt + the level of the spell you’re casting. If the last damage dealt was the last damage that the effect could deal, then the damage is over and does not distract you.

Spell: If you are affected by a spell while attempting to cast a spell of your own, you must make a concentration check or lose the spell you are casting. If the spell affecting you deals damage, the DC is 10 + the damage taken + the level of the spell you’re casting.

If the spell interferes with you or distracts you in some other way, the DC is the spell’s saving throw DC + the level of the spell you’re casting. For a spell with no saving throw, it’s the DC that the spell’s saving throw would have if a save were allowed (10 + spell level + caster’s ability score). Grappled or Pinned: Casting a spell while you have the grappled or pinned condition is difficult and requires a concentration check (DC 10 + the grappler’s CMB + the level of the spell you’re casting). Pinned creatures can only cast spells that do not have somatic components.

Vigorous Motion: If you are riding on a moving mount, taking a bouncy ride in a wagon, on a small boat in rough water, belowdecks in a storm-tossed ship, or simply being jostled in a similar fashion, you must make a concentration check (DC 10 + the level of the spell you’re casting) or lose the spell.

Violent Motion: If you are on a galloping horse, taking a very rough ride in a wagon, on a small boat in rapids or in a storm, on deck in a storm-tossed ship, or being pitched roughly about in a similar fashion, you must make a concentration check (DC 15 + the level of the spell you’re casting) or lose the spell. If the motion is extremely violent, such as that caused by an earthquake, the DC is equal to 20 + the level of the spell you’re casting. Violent Weather: You must make a concentration check if you try to cast a spell in violent weather. If you are in a high wind carrying blinding rain or sleet, the DC is 5 + the level of the spell you’re casting. If you are in wind-driven hail, dust, or debris, the DC is 10 + the level of the spell you’re casting. In either case, you lose the spell if you fail the concentration check. If the weather is caused by a spell, use the rules as described in the spell’s description.

Casting Defensively: If you want to cast a spell without provoking any attacks of opportunity, you must make a concentration check (DC 15 + double the level of the spell you’re casting) to succeed. You lose the spell if you fail.

Entangled: If you want to cast a spell while entangled in a net or by a tanglefoot bag or while you’re affected by a spell with similar effects, you must make a concentration check to cast the spell (DC 15 + the level of the spell you’re casting). You lose the spell if you fail.

Table 9-1: Concentration Check DCs

SituationConcentration Check DC
Cast defensively15 + double spell level
Injured while casting10 + damage dealt + spell level
Continuous damage while casting10 + 1/2 damage dealt + spell level
Affected by a non-damaging spell while castingDC of the spell + spell level
Grappled or pinned while casting10 + grappler's CMB + spell level
Vigorous motion while casting10 + spell level
Violent motion while casting15 + spell level
Extremely violent motion while casting20 + spell level
Wind with rain or sleet while casting5 + spell level
Wind with hail and debris while casting10 + spell level
Weather caused by spellsee spell
Entangled while casting15 + spell level

Counterspells

Source PRPG Core Rulebook pg. 207
It is possible to cast any spell as a counterspell. By doing so, you are using the spell’s energy to disrupt the casting of the same spell by another character. Counterspelling works even if one spell is divine and the other arcane.

How Counterspells Work: To use a counterspell, you must select an opponent as the target of the counterspell. You do this by choosing to ready an action (see Combat on page 203). In doing so, you elect to wait to complete your action until your opponent tries to cast a spell. You may still move at your normal speed, since ready is a standard action.

If the target of your counterspell tries to cast a spell, make a Spellcraft check (DC 15 + the spell’s level). This check is a free action. If the check succeeds, you correctly identify the opponent’s spell and can attempt to counter it. If the check fails, you can’t do either of these things.

To complete the action, you must then cast an appropriate spell. As a general rule, a spell can only counter itself. If you are able to cast the same spell and you have it prepared (or have a slot of the appropriate level available), you cast it, creating a counterspell effect. If the target is within range, both spells automatically negate each other with no other results.

Counterspelling Metamagic Spells: Metamagic feats are not taken into account when determining whether a spell can be countered.

Specific Exceptions: Some spells can counter other specific spells, often those with diametrically opposed effects.

Dispel Magic as a Counterspell: You can usually use dispel magic to counterspell another spell being cast without needing to identify the spell being cast. Dispel magic doesn’t always work as a counterspell (see the spell description).

Caster Level

Source PRPG Core Rulebook pg. 208
A spell’s power often depends on its caster level, which for most spellcasting characters is equal to her class level in the class she’s using to cast the spell.

You can cast a spell at a lower caster level than normal, but the caster level you choose must be high enough for you to cast the spell in question, and all level-dependent features must be based on the same caster level.

In the event that a class feature or other special ability provides an adjustment to your caster level, that adjustment applies not only to effects based on caster level (such as range, duration, and damage dealt), but also to your caster level check to overcome your target’s spell resistance and to the caster level used in dispel checks (both the dispel check and the DC of the check).

Spell Failure

Source PRPG Core Rulebook pg. 208
If you ever try to cast a spell in conditions where the characteristics of the spell cannot be made to conform, the casting fails and the spell is wasted.

Spells also fail if your concentration is broken and might fail if you’re wearing armor while casting a spell with somatic components.

The Spell's Results

Source PRPG Core Rulebook pg. 208
Once you know which creatures (or objects or areas) are affected, and whether those creatures have made successful saving throws (if any were allowed), you can apply whatever results a spell entails.

Special Spell Effects

Source PRPG Core Rulebook pg. 208
Many special spell effects are handled according to the school of the spells in question. Certain other special spell features are found across spell schools.

Attacks: Some spell descriptions refer to attacking. All offensive combat actions, even those that don’t damage opponents, are considered attacks. Attempts to channel energy count as attacks if it would harm any creatures in the area. All spells that opponents resist with saving throws, that deal damage, or that otherwise harm or hamper subjects are attacks. Spells that summon monsters or other allies are not attacks because the spells themselves don’t harm anyone.

Bonus Types: Usually, a bonus has a type that indicates how the spell grants the bonus. The important aspect of bonus types is that two bonuses of the same type don’t generally stack. With the exception of dodge bonuses, most circumstance bonuses, and racial bonuses, only the better bonus of a given type works (see Combining Magical Effects). The same principle applies to penalties—a character taking two or more penalties of the same type applies only the worst one, although most penalties have no type and thus always stack. Bonuses without a type always stack, unless they are from the same source.

Bringing Back the Dead: Several spells have the power to restore slain characters to life.

When a living creature dies, its soul departs its body, leaves the Material Plane, travels through the Astral Plane, and goes to abide on the plane where the creature’s deity resides. If the creature did not worship a deity, its soul departs to the plane corresponding to its alignment. Bringing someone back from the dead involves magically retrieving his soul and returning it to his body. For more information on the planes, see Chapter 13.

Negative Levels: Any creature brought back to life usually gains one or more permanent negative levels (see Appendix 1). These levels apply a penalty to most rolls until removed through spells such as restoration. If the character was 1st level at the time of death, he loses 2 points of Constitution instead of gaining a negative level.

Preventing Revivification: Enemies can take steps to make it more difficult for a character to be returned from the dead. Keeping the body prevents others from using raise dead or resurrection to restore the slain character to life. Casting trap the soul prevents any sort of revivification unless the soul is first released.

Revivification against One’s Will: A soul can’t be returned to life if it doesn’t wish to be. A soul knows the name, alignment, and patron deity (if any) of the character attempting to revive it and may refuse to return on that basis.

Combining Magic Effects

Source PRPG Core Rulebook pg. 208
Spells or magical effects usually work as described, no matter how many other spells or magical effects happen to be operating in the same area or on the same recipient. Except in special cases, a spell does not affect the way another spell operates. Whenever a spell has a specif ic effect on other spells, the spell description explains that effect. Several other general rules apply when spells or magical effects operate in the same place:

Stacking Effects: Spells that provide bonuses or penalties on attack rolls, damage rolls, saving throws, and other attributes usually do not stack with themselves. More generally, two bonuses of the same type don’t stack even if they come from different spells (or from effects other than spells; see Bonus Types, above).

Different Bonus Types: The bonuses or penalties from two different spells stack if the modifiers are of different types. A bonus that doesn’t have a type stacks with any bonus.

Same Effect More than Once in Different Strengths: In cases when two or more identical spells are operating in the same area or on the same target, but at different strengths, only the one with the highest strength applies.

Same Effect with Differing Results: The same spell can sometimes produce varying effects if applied to the same recipient more than once. Usually the last spell in the series trumps the others. None of the previous spells are actually removed or dispelled, but their effects become irrelevant while the final spell in the series lasts.

One Effect Makes Another Irrelevant: Sometimes, one spell can render a later spell irrelevant. Both spells are still active, but one has rendered the other useless in some fashion.

Multiple Mental Control Effects: Sometimes magical effects that establish mental control render each other irrelevant, such as spells that remove the subject’s ability to act. Mental controls that don’t remove the recipient’s ability to act usually do not interfere with each other. If a creature is under the mental control of two or more creatures, it tends to obey each to the best of its ability, and to the extent of the control each effect allows. If the controlled creature receives conflicting orders simultaneously, the competing controllers must make opposed Charisma checks to determine which one the creature obeys.

Spells with Opposite Effects: Spells with opposite effects apply normally, with all bonuses, penalties, or changes accruing in the order that they apply. Some spells negate or counter each other. This is a special effect that is noted in a spell’s description.

Instantaneous Effects: Two or more spells with instantaneous durations work cumulatively when they affect the same target.

Spell Descriptions

Source PRPG Core Rulebook pg. 209
The description of each spell is presented in a standard format. Each category of information is explained and defined below.

Name

Source PRPG Core Rulebook pg. 209
The first line of every spell description gives the name by which the spell is generally known.

School (Subschool)

Source PRPG Core Rulebook pg. 209
Beneath the spell name is a line giving the school of magic (and the subschool, if any) to which the spell belongs.

Almost every spell belongs to one of eight schools of magic. A school of magic is a group of related spells that work in similar ways. A small number of spells (arcane mark, limited wish, permanency, prestidigitation, and wish) are universal, belonging to no school.

Descriptor

Source PRPG Core Rulebook pg. 212
Appearing on the same line as the school and subschool, when applicable, is a descriptor that further categorizes the spell in some way. Some spells have more than one descriptor.

The descriptors are acid, air, chaotic, cold, darkness, death, earth, electricity, evil, fear, fire, force, good, language-dependent, lawful, light, mind-affecting, sonic, and water.

Most of these descriptors have no game effect by themselves, but they govern how the spell interacts with other spells, with special abilities, with unusual creatures, with alignment, and so on.

A language-dependent spell uses intelligible language as a medium for communication. If the target cannot understand or cannot hear what the caster of a language- dependant spell says, the spell fails.

A mind-affecting spell works only against creatures with an Intelligence score of 1 or higher.

Level

Source PRPG Core Rulebook pg. 212
The next line of a spell description gives the spell’s level, a number between 0 and 9 that defines the spell’s relative power. This number is preceded by a list of classes whose members can cast the spell. A spell’s level affects the DC for any save allowed against its effects.

Components

Source PRPG Core Rulebook pg. 212
A spell’s components explain what you must do or possess to cast the spell. The components entry in a spell description includes abbreviations that tell you what type of components it requires. Specifics for material and focus components are given at the end of the descriptive text. Usually you don’t need to worry about components, but when you can’t use a component for some reason or when a material or focus component is expensive, then the components are important.

Verbal (V): A verbal component is a spoken incantation. To provide a verbal component, you must be able to speak in a strong voice. A silence spell or a gag spoils the incantation (and thus the spell). A spellcaster who has been deafened has a 20% chance of spoiling any spell with a verbal component that he tries to cast.

Somatic (S): A somatic component is a measured and precise movement of the hand. You must have at least one hand free to provide a somatic component.

Material (M): A material component consists of one or more physical substances or objects that are annihilated by the spell energies in the casting process. Unless a cost is given for a material component, the cost is negligible. Don’t bother to keep track of material components with negligible cost. Assume you have all you need as long as you have your spell component pouch.

Focus (F): A focus component is a prop of some sort. Unlike a material component, a focus is not consumed when the spell is cast and can be reused. As with material components, the cost for a focus is negligible unless a price is given. Assume that focus components of negligible cost are in your spell component pouch.

Divine Focus (DF): A divine focus component is an item of spiritual signif icance. The divine focus for a cleric or a paladin is a holy symbol appropriate to the character’s faith. The divine focus for a druid or a ranger is a sprig of holly, or some other sacred plant.

If the Components line includes F/DF or M/DF, the arcane version of the spell has a focus component or a material component (the abbreviation before the slash) and the divine version has a divine focus component (the abbreviation after the slash).

Casting Time

Source PRPG Core Rulebook pg. 213
Most spells have a casting time of 1 standard action. Others take 1 round or more, while a few require only a swift action.

A spell that takes 1 round to cast is a full-round action. It comes into effect just before the beginning of your turn in the round after you began casting the spell. You then act normally after the spell is completed.

A spell that takes 1 minute to cast comes into effect just before your turn 1 minute later (and for each of those 10 rounds, you are casting a spell as a full-round action, just as noted above for 1-round casting times). These actions must be consecutive and uninterrupted, or the spell automatically fails.

When you begin a spell that takes 1 round or longer to cast, you must continue the concentration from the current round to just before your turn in the next round (at least). If you lose concentration before the casting is complete, you lose the spell.

A spell with a casting time of 1 swift action doesn’t count against your normal limit of one spell per round. However, you may cast such a spell only once per round. Casting a spell with a casting time of 1 swift action doesn’t provoke attacks of opportunity.

You make all pertinent decisions about a spell (range, target, area, effect, version, and so forth) when the spell comes into effect.

Range

Source PRPG Core Rulebook pg. 213
A spell’s range indicates how far from you it can reach, as defined in the range entry of the spell description. A spell’s range is the maximum distance from you that the spell’s effect can occur, as well as the maximum distance at which you can designate the spell’s point of origin. If any portion of the spell’s area would extend beyond this range, that area is wasted. Standard ranges include the following.

Personal: The spell affects only you.

Touch: You must touch a creature or object to affect it. A touch spell that deals damage can score a critical hit just as a weapon can. A touch spell threatens a critical hit on a natural roll of 20 and deals double damage on a successful critical hit. Some touch spells allow you to touch multiple targets. You can touch up to 6 willing targets as part of the casting, but all targets of the spell must be touched in the same round that you finish casting the spell. If the spell allows you to touch targets over multiple rounds, touching 6 creatures is a fullround action.

Close: The spell reaches as far as 25 feet away from you. The maximum range increases by 5 feet for every two full caster levels.

Medium: The spell reaches as far as 100 feet + 10 feet per caster level.

Long: The spell reaches as far as 400 feet + 40 feet per caster level.

Unlimited: The spell reaches anywhere on the same plane of existence.

Range Expressed in Feet: Some spells have no standard range category, just a range expressed in feet.

Aiming a Spell

Source PRPG Core Rulebook pg. 213
You must make choices about whom a spell is to affect or where an effect is to originate, depending on a spell’s type. The next entry in a spell description defines the spell’s target (or targets), its effect, or its area, as appropriate.

Target or Targets: Some spells have a target or targets. You cast these spells on creatures or objects, as defined by the spell itself. You must be able to see or touch the target, and you must specifically choose that target. You do not have to select your target until you finish casting the spell.

If the target of a spell is yourself (the Target line of the spell description includes “You”), you do not receive a saving throw, and spell resistance does not apply. The saving throw and spell resistance lines are omitted from such spells.

Some spells restrict you to willing targets only. Declaring yourself as a willing target is something that can be done at any time (even if you’re f lat-footed or it isn’t your turn). Unconscious creatures are automatically considered willing, but a character who is conscious but immobile or helpless (such as one who is bound, cowering, grappling, paralyzed, pinned, or stunned) is not automatically willing.

Some spells allow you to redirect the effect to new targets or areas after you cast the spell. Redirecting a spell is a move action that does not provoke attacks of opportunity.

Effect: Some spells create or summon things rather than affecting things that are already present.

You must designate the location where these things are to appear, either by seeing it or defining it. Range determines how far away an effect can appear, but if the effect is mobile, after it appears it can move regardless of the spell’s range.

Ray: Some effects are rays. You aim a ray as if using a ranged weapon, though typically you make a ranged touch attack rather than a normal ranged attack. As with a ranged weapon, you can fire into the dark or at an invisible creature and hope you hit something. You don’t have to see the creature you’re trying to hit, as you do with a targeted spell. Intervening creatures and obstacles, however, can block your line of sight or provide cover for the creature at which you’re aiming.

If a ray spell has a duration, it’s the duration of the effect that the ray causes, not the length of time the ray itself persists.

If a ray spell deals damage, you can score a critical hit just as if it were a weapon. A ray spell threatens a critical hit on a natural roll of 20 and deals double damage on a successful critical hit.

Spread: Some effects, notably clouds and fogs, spread out from a point of origin, which must be a grid intersection. The effect can extend around corners and into areas that you can’t see. Figure distance by actual distance traveled, taking into account turns the spell effect takes. When determining distance for spread effects, count around walls, not through them. As with movement, do not trace diagonals across corners. You must designate the point of origin for such an effect, but you need not have line of effect (see below) to all portions of the effect.

Area: Some spells affect an area. Sometimes a spell description specifies a specially defined area, but usually an area falls into one of the categories defined below.

Regardless of the shape of the area, you select the point where the spell originates, but otherwise you don’t control which creatures or objects the spell affects. The point of origin of a spell is always a grid intersection. When determining whether a given creature is within the area of a spell, count out the distance from the point of origin in squares just as you do when moving a character or when determining the range for a ranged attack. The only difference is that instead of counting from the center of one square to the center of the next, you count from intersection to intersection.

You can count diagonally across a square, but remember that every second diagonal counts as 2 squares of distance. If the far edge of a square is within the spell’s area, anything within that square is within the spell’s area. If the spell’s area only touches the near edge of a square, however, anything within that square is unaffected by the spell.

Burst, Emanation, or Spread: Most spells that affect an area function as a burst, an emanation, or a spread. In each case, you select the spell’s point of origin and measure its effect from that point.

A burst spell affects whatever it catches in its area, including creatures that you can’t see. It can’t affect creatures with total cover from its point of origin (in other words, its effects don’t extend around corners). The default shape for a burst effect is a sphere, but some burst spells are specifically described as cone-shaped. A burst’s area defines how far from the point of origin the spell’s effect extends.

An emanation spell functions like a burst spell, except that the effect continues to radiate from the point of origin for the duration of the spell. Most emanations are cones or spheres.

A spread spell extends out like a burst but can turn corners. You select the point of origin, and the spell spreads out a given distance in all directions. Figure the area the spell effect fills by taking into account any turns the spell effect takes.

Cone, Cylinder, Line, or Sphere: Most spells that affect an area have a particular shape.

A cone-shaped spell shoots away from you in a quarter-circle in the direction you designate. It starts from any corner of your square and widens out as it goes. Most cones are either bursts or emanations (see above), and thus won’t go around corners.

When casting a cylinder-shaped spell, you select the spell’s point of origin. This point is the center of a horizontal circle, and the spell shoots down from the circle, filling a cylinder. A cylinder-shaped spell ignores any obstructions within its area.

A line-shaped spell shoots away from you in a line in the direction you designate. It starts from any corner of your square and extends to the limit of its range or until it strikes a barrier that blocks line of effect. A line-shaped spell affects all creatures in squares through which the line passes.

A sphere-shaped spell expands from its point of origin to fill a spherical area. Spheres may be bursts, emanations, or spreads.

Creatures: A spell with this kind of area affects creatures directly (like a targeted spell), but it affects all creatures in an area of some kind rather than individual creatures you select. The area might be a spherical burst, a cone-shaped burst, or some other shape.

Many spells affect “living creatures,” which means all creatures other than constructs and undead. Creatures in the spell’s area that are not of the appropriate type do not count against the creatures affected.

Objects: A spell with this kind of area affects objects within an area you select (as Creatures, but affecting objects instead).

Other: A spell can have a unique area, as defined in its description.

(S) Shapeable: If an area or effect entry ends with “(S),” you can shape the spell. A shaped effect or area can have no dimension smaller than 10 feet. Many effects or areas are given as cubes to make it easy to model irregular shapes. Three-dimensional volumes are most often needed to define aerial or underwater effects and areas.

Line of Effect: A line of effect is a straight, unblocked path that indicates what a spell can affect. A line of effect is canceled by a solid barrier. It’s like line of sight for ranged weapons, except that it’s not blocked by fog, darkness, and other factors that limit normal sight.

You must have a clear line of effect to any target that you cast a spell on or to any space in which you wish to create an effect. You must have a clear line of effect to the point of origin of any spell you cast.

A burst, cone, cylinder, or emanation spell affects only an area, creature, or object to which it has line of effect from its origin (a spherical burst’s center point, a coneshaped burst’s starting point, a cylinder’s circle, or an emanation’s point of origin).

An otherwise solid barrier with a hole of at least 1 square foot through it does not block a spell’s line of effect. Such an opening means that the 5-foot length of wall containing the hole is no longer considered a barrier for purposes of a spell’s line of effect.

Duration

Source PRPG Core Rulebook pg. 215
A spell’s duration entry tells you how long the magical energy of the spell lasts.

Timed Durations: Many durations are measured in rounds, minutes, hours, or other increments. When the time is up, the magic goes away and the spell ends. If a spell’s duration is variable, the duration is rolled secretly so the caster doesn’t know how long the spell will last.

Instantaneous: The spell energy comes and goes the instant the spell is cast, though the consequences might be long-lasting.

Permanent: The energy remains as long as the effect does. This means the spell is vulnerable to dispel magic.

Concentration: The spell lasts as long as you concentrate on it. Concentrating to maintain a spell is a standard action that does not provoke attacks of opportunity. Anything that could break your concentration when casting a spell can also break your concentration while you’re maintaining one, causing the spell to end. See concentration on page 206.

You can’t cast a spell while concentrating on another one. Some spells last for a short time after you cease concentrating.

Subjects, Effects, and Areas: If the spell affects creatures directly, the result travels with the subjects for the spell’s duration. If the spell creates an effect, the effect lasts for the duration. The effect might move or remain still. Such an effect can be destroyed prior to when its duration ends. If the spell affects an area, then the spell stays with that area for its duration.

Creatures become subject to the spell when they enter the area and are no longer subject to it when they leave.

Touch Spells and Holding the Charge: In most cases, if you don’t discharge a touch spell on the round you cast it, you can hold the charge (postpone the discharge of the spell) indefinitely. You can make touch attacks round after round until the spell is discharged. If you cast another spell, the touch spell dissipates.

Some touch spells allow you to touch multiple targets as part of the spell. You can’t hold the charge of such a spell; you must touch all targets of the spell in the same round that you finish casting the spell. Discharge: Occasionally a spells lasts for a set duration or until triggered or discharged.

(D) Dismissible: If the duration line ends with “(D),” you can dismiss the spell at will. You must be within range of the spell’s effect and must speak words of dismissal, which are usually a modified form of the spell’s verbal component. If the spell has no verbal component, you can dismiss the effect with a gesture. Dismissing a spell is a standard action that does not provoke attacks of opportunity.

A spell that depends on concentration is dismissible by its very nature, and dismissing it does not take an action, since all you have to do to end the spell is to stop concentrating on your turn.

Saving Throw

Source PRPG Core Rulebook pg. 216
Usually a harmful spell allows a target to make a saving throw to avoid some or all of the effect. The saving throw entry in a spell description defines which type of saving throw the spell allows and describes how saving throws against the spell work.

Negates: The spell has no effect on a subject that makes a successful saving throw.

Partial: The spell has an effect on its subject. A successful saving throw means that some lesser effect occurs.

Half: The spell deals damage, and a successful saving throw halves the damage taken (round down).

None: No saving throw is allowed.

Disbelief: A successful save lets the subject ignore the spell’s effect.

(object): The spell can be cast on objects, which receive saving throws only if they are magical or if they are attended (held, worn, grasped, or the like) by a creature resisting the spell, in which case the object uses the creature’s saving throw bonus unless its own bonus is greater. This notation does not mean that a spell can be cast only on objects. Some spells of this sort can be cast on creatures or objects. A magic item’s saving throw bonuses are each equal to 2 + 1/2 the item’s caster level.

(harmless): The spell is usually benef icial, not harmful, but a targeted creature can attempt a saving throw if it desires.

Saving Throw Difficulty Class: A saving throw against your spell has a DC of 10 + the level of the spell + your bonus for the relevant ability (Intelligence for a wizard, Charisma for a bard, paladin, or sorcerer, or Wisdom for a cleric, druid, or ranger). A spell’s level can vary depending on your class. Always use the spell level applicable to your class.

Succeeding on a Saving Throw: A creature that successfully saves against a spell that has no obvious physical effects feels a hostile force or a tingle, but cannot deduce the exact nature of the attack. Likewise, if a creature’s saving throw succeeds against a targeted spell, you sense that the spell has failed. You do not sense when creatures succeed on saves against effect and area spells.

Automatic Failures and Successes: A natural 1 (the d20 comes up 1) on a saving throw is always a failure, and the spell may cause damage to exposed items (see Items Surviving after a Saving Throw, below). A natural 20 (the d20 comes up 20) is always a success. Voluntarily Giving up a Saving Throw: A creature can voluntarily forego a saving throw and willingly accept a spell’s result. Even a character with a special resistance to magic can suppress this quality.

Items Surviving after a Saving Throw: Unless the descriptive text for the spell specif ies otherwise, all items carried or worn by a creature are assumed to survive a magical attack. If a creature rolls a natural 1 on its saving throw against the effect, however, an exposed item is harmed (if the attack can harm objects). Refer to Table 9–2: Items Affected by Magical Attacks. Determine which four objects carried or worn by the creature are most likely to be affected and roll randomly among them. The randomly determined item must make a saving throw against the attack form and take whatever damage the attack dealt. If the selected item is not carried or worn and is not magical, it does not get a saving throw. It simply is dealt the appropriate damage.

Table 9-2: Items Affected by Magical Attacks

Order*Item
<1st/td>Shield
2ndArmor
3rdMagic helmet, hat, or headband
4thItem in hand (including weapon, wand, or the like)
5thMagic cloak
6thStowed or sheathed weapon
7thMagic bracers
8thMagic clothing
9thMagic jewelry (including rings)
10thAnything else

Spell Resistance

Source PRPG Core Rulebook pg. 217
Spell resistance is a special defensive ability. If your spell is being resisted by a creature with spell resistance, you must make a caster level check (1d20 + caster level) at least equal to the creature’s spell resistance for the spell to affect that creature. The defender’s spell resistance is like an Armor Class against magical attacks. Include any adjustments to your caster level to this caster level check.

The Spell Resistance entry and the descriptive text of a spell description tell you whether spell resistance protects creatures from the spell. In many cases, spell resistance applies only when a resistant creature is targeted by the spell, not when a resistant creature encounters a spell that is already in place.

The terms “object” and “harmless” mean the same thing for spell resistance as they do for saving throws. A creature with spell resistance must voluntarily lower the resistance (a standard action) in order to be affected by such spells without forcing the caster to make a caster level check.

Descriptive Text

Source PRPG Core Rulebook pg. 218
This portion of a spell description details what the spell does and how it works. If one of the previous entries in the description includes “see text,” this is where the explanation is found.

Arcane Spells

Source PRPG Core Rulebook pg. 218
Wizards, sorcerers, and bards cast arcane spells. Compared to divine spells, arcane spells are more likely to produce dramatic results.

Spell Slots: The various character class tables show how many spells of each level a character can cast per day. These openings for daily spells are called spell slots. A spellcaster always has the option to fill a higher-level spell slot with a lower-level spell. A spellcaster who lacks a high enough ability score to cast spells that would otherwise be his due still gets the slots but must fill them with spells of lower levels.

Preparing Wizard Spells

Source PRPG Core Rulebook pg. 218
A wizard’s level limits the number of spells he can prepare and cast. His high Intelligence score might allow him to prepare a few extra spells. He can prepare the same spell more than once, but each preparation counts as one spell toward his daily limit. To prepare a spell, the wizard must have an Intelligence score of at least 10 + the spell’s level.

Rest: To prepare his daily spells, a wizard must first sleep for 8 hours. The wizard does not have to slumber for every minute of the time, but he must refrain from movement, combat, spellcasting, skill use, conversation, or any other fairly demanding physical or mental task during the rest period. If his rest is interrupted, each interruption adds 1 hour to the total amount of time he has to rest in order to clear his mind, and he must have at least 1 hour of uninterrupted rest immediately prior to preparing his spells. If the character does not need to sleep for some reason, he still must have 8 hours of restful calm before preparing any spells.

Recent Casting Limit/Rest Interruptions: If a wizard has cast spells recently, the drain on his resources reduces his capacity to prepare new spells. When he prepares spells for the coming day, all the spells he has cast within the last 8 hours count against his daily limit.

Preparation Environment: To prepare any spell, a wizard must have enough peace, quiet, and comfort to allow for proper concentration. The wizard’s surroundings need not be luxurious, but they must be free from distractions. Exposure to inclement weather prevents the necessary concentration, as does any injury or failed saving throw the character might experience while studying. Wizards also must have access to their spellbooks to study from and sufficient light to read them. There is one major exception: a wizard can prepare a read magic spell even without a spellbook.

Spell Preparation Time: After resting, a wizard must study his spellbook to prepare any spells that day. If he wants to prepare all his spells, the process takes 1 hour. Preparing some smaller portion of his daily capacity takes a proportionally smaller amount of time, but always at least 15 minutes, the minimum time required to achieve the proper mental state.

Spell Selection and Preparation: Until he prepares spells from his spellbook, the only spells a wizard has available to cast are the ones that he already had prepared from the previous day and has not yet used. During the study period, he chooses which spells to prepare. If a wizard already has spells prepared (from the previous day) that he has not cast, she can abandon some or all of them to make room for new spells.

When preparing spells for the day, a wizard can leave some of these spell slots open. Later during that day, he can repeat the preparation process as often as he likes, time and circumstances permitting. During these extra sessions of preparation, the wizard can fill these unused spell slots. He cannot, however, abandon a previously prepared spell to replace it with another one or fill a slot that is empty because he has cast a spell in the meantime. That sort of preparation requires a mind fresh from rest. Like the first session of the day, this preparation takes at least 15 minutes, and it takes longer if the wizard prepares more than one-quarter of his spells.

Prepared Spell Retention: Once a wizard prepares a spell, it remains in his mind as a nearly cast spell until he uses the prescribed components to complete and trigger it or until he abandons it. Certain other events, such as the effects of magic items or special attacks from monsters, can wipe a prepared spell from a character’s mind.

Death and Prepared Spell Retention: If a spellcaster dies, all prepared spells stored in his mind are wiped away. Potent magic (such as raise dead, resurrection, or true resurrection) can recover the lost energy when it recovers the character.

Arcane Magical Writing

Source PRPG Core Rulebook pg. 218
To record an arcane spell in written form, a character uses complex notation that describes the magical forces involved in the spell. The writer uses the same system no matter what her native language or culture. However, each character uses the system in his own way. Another person’s magical writing remains incomprehensible to even the most powerful wizard until he takes time to study and decipher it.

To decipher an arcane magical writing (such as a single spell in another’s spellbook or on a scroll), a character must make a Spellcraft check (DC 20 + the spell’s level). If the skill check fails, the character cannot attempt to read that particular spell again until the next day. A read magic spell automatically deciphers magical writing without a skill check. If the person who created the magical writing is on hand to help the reader, success is also automatic.

Once a character deciphers a particular piece of magical writing, he does not need to decipher it again. Deciphering magical writing allows the reader to identify the spell and gives some idea of its effects (as explained in the spell description). If the magical writing is a scroll and the reader can cast arcane spells, he can attempt to use the scroll.

Sorcerers and Bards

Source PRPG Core Rulebook pg. 220
Sorcerers and bards cast arcane spells, but they do not use spellbooks or prepare spells. Their class level limits the number of spells she can cast (see these class descriptions). Her high Charisma score might allow her to cast a few extra spells. A member of either class must have a Charisma score of at least 10 + the spell’s level to cast the spell.

Daily Readying of Spells: Each day, sorcerers and bards must focus their minds on the task of casting their spells. A sorcerer or bard needs 8 hours of rest ( just like a wizard), after which she spends 15 minutes concentrating. (A bard must sing, recite, or play an instrument of some kind while concentrating.) During this period, the sorcerer or bard readies her mind to cast her daily allotment of spells. Without such a period to refresh herself, the character does not regain the spell slots she used up the day before.

Recent Casting Limit: Any spells cast within the last 8 hours count against the sorcerer’s or bard’s daily limit.

Adding Spells to a Sorcerer’s or Bard’s Repertoire: A sorcerer or bard gains spells each time she attains a new level in her class and never gains spells any other way. When your sorcerer or bard gains a new level, consult Table 3–4 or Table 3–15 to learn how many spells from the appropriate spell list she now knows. With permission from the GM, sorcerers and bards can also select the spells they gain from new and unusual spells that they come across while adventuring.

Divine Spells

Source PRPG Core Rulebook pg. 220
Clerics, druids, experienced paladins, and experienced rangers can cast divine spells. Unlike arcane spells, divine spells draw power from a divine source. Clerics gain spell power from deities or from divine forces. The divine force of nature powers druid and ranger spells, and the divine forces of law and good power paladin spells. Divine spells tend to focus on healing and protection and are less f lashy, destructive, and disruptive than arcane spells.

Preparing Divine Spells

Source PRPG Core Rulebook pg. 220
Divine spellcasters prepare their spells in largely the same manner as wizards do, but with a few differences. The relevant ability for most divine spells is Wisdom (Charisma for paladins). To prepare a divine spell, a character must have a Wisdom score (or Charisma score for paladins) of 10 + the spell’s level. Likewise, bonus spells are based on Wisdom.

Time of Day: A divine spellcaster chooses and prepares spells ahead of time, but unlike a wizard, does not require a period of rest to prepare spells. Instead, the character chooses a particular time of day to pray and receive spells. The time is usually associated with some daily event. If some event prevents a character from praying at the proper time, she must do so as soon as possible. If the character does not stop to pray for spells at the first opportunity, she must wait until the next day to prepare spells.

Spell Selection and Preparation: A divine spellcaster selects and prepares spells ahead of time through prayer and meditation at a particular time of day. The time required to prepare spells is the same as it is for a wizard (1 hour), as is the requirement for a relatively peaceful environment. When preparing spells for the day, a divine spellcaster can leave some of her spell slots open. Later during that day, she can repeat the preparation process as often as she likes. During these extra sessions of preparation, she can fill these unused spell slots. She cannot, however, abandon a previously prepared spell to replace it with another one or fill a slot that is empty because she has cast a spell in the meantime. Like the first session of the day, this preparation takes at least 15 minutes, and it takes longer if she prepares more than one-quarter of her spells.

Divine spellcasters do not require spellbooks. However, a divine spellcaster’s spell selection is limited to the spells on the list for her class. Clerics, druids, paladins, and rangers have separate spell lists. A cleric also has access to two domains determined during character creation. Each domain gives her access to a number of special abilities and bonus spells.

Spell Slots: The character class tables show how many spells of each level each can cast per day. These openings for daily spells are called spell slots. A spellcaster always has the option to fill a higher-level spell slot with a lowerlevel spell. A spellcaster who lacks a high enough ability score to cast spells that would otherwise be her due still gets the slots but must fill them with spells of lower levels.

Recent Casting Limit: As with arcane spells, at the time of preparation any spells cast within the previous 8 hours count against the number of spells that can be prepared.

Spontaneous Casting of Cure and Inflict Spells: A good cleric (or a cleric of a good deity) can spontaneously cast a cure spell in place of a prepared spell of the same level or higher, but not in place of a bonus domain spell. An evil cleric (or a cleric of an evil deity) can spontaneously cast an inflict spell in place of a prepared spell (that is not a domain spell) of the same level or higher. Each neutral cleric of a neutral deity spontaneously casts either cure spells like a good cleric or inflict spells like an evil one, depending on which option the player chooses when creating the character. The divine energy of the spell that the cure or inflict spell substitutes for is converted into the cure or inflict spell as if that spell had been prepared all along.

Spontaneous Casting of Summon Nature’s Ally Spells: A druid can spontaneously cast summon nature’s ally in place of a prepared spell of the same level or higher. The divine energy of the spell that the summon spell substitutes for is converted as if that spell had been prepared all along.

Divine Magical Writing

Source PRPG Core Rulebook pg. 221
Divine spells can be written and deciphered like arcane spells (see Arcane Magical Writings). A Spellcraft check can decipher divine magical writing and identify it. Only characters who have the spell (in its divine form) on their class spell list can cast a divine spell from a scroll.

New Divine Spells

Source PRPG Core Rulebook pg. 221
Divine spellcasters gain new spells as follows.

Spells Gained at a New Level: Characters who can cast divine spells undertake a certain amount of study between adventures. Each time such a character receives a new level of divine spells, she learns all of the spells from that level automatically.

Independent Research: A divine spellcaster can also research a spell independently, much as an arcane spellcaster can. Only the creator of such a spell can prepare and cast it, unless she decides to share it with others.

Special Abilities

Source PRPG Core Rulebook pg. 221
A number of classes and creatures gain the use of special abilities, many of which function like spells.

Spell-Like Abilities: Usually, a spell-like ability works just like the spell of that name. A spell-like ability has no verbal, somatic, or material component, nor does it require a focus. The user activates it mentally. Armor never affects a spell-like ability’s use, even if the ability resembles an arcane spell with a somatic component.

A spell-like ability has a casting time of 1 standard action unless noted otherwise in the ability or spell description. In all other ways, a spell-like ability functions just like a spell.

Spell-like abilities are subject to spell resistance and dispel magic. They do not function in areas where magic is suppressed or negated. Spell-like abilities cannot be used to counterspell, nor can they be counterspelled.

If a character class grants a spell-like ability that is not based on an actual spell, the ability’s effective spell level is equal to the highest-level class spell the character can cast, and is cast at the class level the ability is gained.

Supernatural Abilities: These can’t be disrupted in combat and generally don’t provoke attacks of opportunity. They aren’t subject to spell resistance, counterspells, or dispel magic, and don’t function in antimagic areas.

Extraordinary Abilities: These abilities cannot be disrupted in combat, as spells can, and they generally do not provoke attacks of opportunity. Effects or areas that negate or disrupt magic have no effect on extraordinary abilities. They are not subject to dispelling, and they function normally in an antimagic field. Indeed, extraordinary abilities do not qualify as magical, though they may break the laws of physics.

Natural Abilities: This category includes abilities a creature has because of its physical nature. Natural abilities are those not otherwise designated as extraordinary, supernatural, or spell-like.

Ability Score Bonuses

Source PRPG Core Rulebook pg. 554
Some spells and abilities increase your ability scores. Ability score increases with a duration of 1 day or less give only temporary bonuses. For every two points of increase to a single ability, apply a +1 bonus to the skills and statistics listed with the relevant ability.

Strength: Temporary increases to your Strength score give you a bonus on Strength-based skill checks, melee attack rolls, and weapon damage rolls (if they rely on Strength). The bonus also applies to your Combat Maneuver Bonus (if you are Small or larger) and to your Combat Maneuver Defense.

Dexterity: Temporary increases to your Dexterity score give you a bonus on Dexterity-based skill checks, ranged attack rolls, initiative checks, and Ref lex saving throws. The bonus also applies to your Armor Class, your Combat Maneuver Bonus (if you are Tiny or smaller), and your Combat Maneuver Defense.

Constitution: Temporary increases to your Constitution score give you a bonus on your Fortitude saving throws. In addition, multiply your total Hit Dice by this bonus and add that amount to your current and total hit points. When the bonus ends, remove this total from your current and total hit points.

Intelligence: Temporary increases to your Intelligence score give you a bonus on Intelligence-based skill checks. This bonus also applies to any spell DCs based on Intelligence.

Wisdom: Temporary increases to your Wisdom score give you a bonus on Wisdom-based skill checks and Will saving throws. This bonus also applies to any spell DCs based on Wisdom.

Charisma: Temporary increases to your Charisma score give you a bonus on Charisma-based skill checks. This bonus also applies to any spell DCs based on Charisma and the DC to resist your channeled energy.

Permanent Bonuses: Ability bonuses with a duration greater than 1 day actually increase the relevant ability score after 24 hours. Modify all skills and statistics related to that ability. This might cause you to gain skill points, hit points, and other bonuses. These bonuses should be noted separately in case they are removed.

Ability Score Damage, Penalty, and Drain

Source PRPG Core Rulebook pg. 555
Diseases, poisons, spells, and other abilities can all deal damage directly to your ability scores. This damage does not actually reduce an ability, but it does apply a penalty to the skills and statistics that are based on that ability.

For every 2 points of damage you take to a single ability, apply a –1 penalty to skills and statistics listed with the relevant ability. If the amount of ability damage you have taken equals or exceeds your ability score, you immediately fall unconscious until the damage is less than your ability score. The only exception to this is your Constitution score. If the damage to your Constitution is equal to or greater than your Constitution score, you die. Unless otherwise noted, damage to your ability scores is healed at the rate of 1 per day to each ability score that has been damaged. Ability damage can be healed through the use of spells, such as lesser restoration.

Some spells and abilities cause you to take an ability penalty for a limited amount of time. While in effect, these penalties function just like ability damage, but they cannot cause you to fall unconscious or die. In essence, penalties cannot decrease your ability score to less than 1.

Strength: Damage to your Strength score causes you to take penalties on Strength-based skill checks, melee attack rolls, and weapon damage rolls (if they rely on Strength). The penalty also applies to your Combat Maneuver Bonus (if you are Small or larger) and your Combat Maneuver Defense.

Dexterity: Damage to your Dexterity score causes you to take penalties on Dexterity-based skill checks, ranged attack rolls, initiative checks, and Ref lex saving throws. The penalty also applies to your Armor Class, your Combat Maneuver Bonus (if you are Tiny or smaller), and to your Combat Maneuver Defense.

Constitution: Damage to your Constitution score causes you to take penalties on your Fortitude saving throws. In addition, multiply your total Hit Dice by this penalty and subtract that amount from your current and total hit points. Lost hit points are restored when the damage to your Constitution is healed.

Intelligence: Damage to your Intelligence score causes you to take penalties on Intelligence-based skill checks. This penalty also applies to any spell DCs based on Intelligence.

Wisdom: Damage to your Wisdom score causes you to take penalties on Wisdom-based skill checks and Will saving throws. This penalty also applies to any spell DCs based on Wisdom.

Charisma: Damage to your Charisma score causes you to take penalties on Charisma-based skill checks. This penalty also applies to any spell DCs based off Charisma and the DC to resist your channeled energy.

Ability Drain: Ability drain actually reduces the relevant ability score. Modify all skills and statistics related to that ability. This might cause you to lose skill points, hit points, and other bonuses. Ability drain can be healed through the use of spells such as restoration.

Afflictions

Source PRPG Core Rulebook pg. 555
From curses to poisons to diseases, there are a number of afflictions that can affect a creature. While each of these afflictions has a different effect, they all function using the same basic system. All afflictions grant a saving throw when they are contracted. If successful, the creature does not suffer from the affliction and does not need to make any further rolls. If the saving throw is Table must deal with its effects.

Afflictions require a creature to make a saving throw after a period of time to avoid taking certain penalties. With most afflictions, if a number of saving throws are made consecutively, the affliction is removed and no further saves are necessary. Some afflictions, usually supernatural ones, cannot be cured through saving throws alone and require the aid of powerful magic to remove.

Each affliction is presented as a short block of information to help you better adjudicate its results.

Name: This is the name of the affliction.

Type: This is the type of the affliction, such as curse, disease, or poison. It might also include the means by which it is contracted, such as contact, ingestion, inhalation, injury, spell, or trap.

Save: This gives the type of save necessary to avoid contracting the affliction, as well as the DC of that save. Unless otherwise noted, this is also the save to avoid the affliction’s effects once it is contracted, as well as the DC of any caster level checks needed to end the affliction through magic, such as remove curse or neutralize poison.

Onset: Some afflictions have a variable amount of time before they set in. Creatures that come in contact with an affliction with an onset time must make a saving throw immediately. Success means that the affliction is avoided and no further saving throws must be made. Failure means that the creature has contracted the affliction and must begin making additional saves after the onset period has elapsed. The affliction’s effect does not occur until after the onset period has elapsed and then only if further saving throws are failed.

Frequency: This is how often the periodic saving throw must be attempted after the affliction has been contracted (after the onset time, if the affliction has any). While some afflictions last until they are cured, others end prematurely, even if the character is not cured through other means. If an affliction ends after a set amount of time, it will be noted in the frequency. For example, a disease with a frequency of “1/ day” lasts until cured, but a poison with a frequency of “1/ round for 6 rounds” ends after 6 rounds have passed.

Afflictions without a frequency occur only once, immediately upon contraction (or after the onset time if one is listed).

Effect: This is the effect that the character suffers each time if he fails his saving throw against the affliction. Most afflictions cause ability damage or hit point damage. These effects are cumulative, but they can be cured normally. Other afflictions cause the creature to take penalties or other effects. These effects are sometimes cumulative, with the rest only affecting the creature if it failed its most recent save. Some afflictions have different effects after the first save is failed. These afflictions have an initial effect, which occurs when the first save is failed, and a secondary effect, when additional saves are failed, as noted in the text. Hit point and ability score damage caused by an affliction cannot be healed naturally while the affliction persists.

Cure: This tells you how the affliction is cured. Commonly, this is a number of saving throws that must be made consecutively. Even if the affliction has a limited frequency, it might be cured prematurely if enough saving throws are made. Hit point damage and ability score damage is not removed when an affliction is cured. Such damage must be healed normally. Afflictions without a cure entry can only be cured through powerful spells, such as neutralize poison and remove curse. No matter how many saving throws are made, these afflictions continue to affect the target.

Example: Valeros has been exposed to the red ache disease. He failed a DC 15 Fortitude save to avoid contracting it, so after the onset period of 1d3 days has passed, he must make another DC 15 Fortitude save to avoid taking 1d6 points of Strength damage. From this point onward, he must make a DC 15 Fortitude save each day (according to the disease’s frequency) to avoid further Strength damage. If, on two consecutive days, he makes his Fortitude saves, he is cured of the disease and any damage it caused begins to heal as normal.

Blindsight and Blindsense

Source PRPG Core Rulebook pg. 560
Some creatures possess blindsight, the extraordinary ability to use a nonvisual sense (or a combination of senses) to operate effectively without vision. Such senses may include sensitivity to vibrations, acute scent, keen hearing, or echolocation. This makes invisibility and concealment (even magical darkness) irrelevant to the creature (though it still can’t see ethereal creatures). This ability operates out to a range specified in the creature description.
  • Blindsight never allows a creature to distinguish color or visual contrast. A creature cannot read with blindsight.
  • Blindsight does not subject a creature to gaze attacks (even though darkvision does).
  • Blinding attacks do not penalize creatures that use blindsight.
  • Deafening attacks thwart blindsight if it relies on hearing.
  • Blindsight works underwater but not in a vacuum.
  • Blindsight negates displacement and blur effects.
Blindsense: Other creatures have blindsense, a lesser ability that lets the creature notice things it cannot see, but without the precision of blindsight. The creature with blindsense usually does not need to make Perception checks to notice and locate creatures within range of its blindsense ability, provided that it has line of effect to that creature. Any opponent that cannot be seen has total concealment (50% miss chance) against a creature with blindsense, and the blindsensing creature still has the normal miss chance when attacking foes that have concealment. Visibility still affects the movement of a creature with blindsense. A creature with blindsense is still denied its Dexterity bonus to Armor Class against attacks from creatures it cannot see.

Channel Resistance

Source PRPG Core Rulebook pg. 561
Creatures with channel resistance gain a bonus on Will saves made against channeled energy. They add their bonus to any Will saves made to halve the damage and resist the effect.

Charm and Compulsion

Source PRPG Core Rulebook pg. 561
Many abilities and spells can cloud the minds of characters and monsters, leaving them unable to tell friend from foe—or worse yet, deceiving them into thinking that their former friends are now their worst enemies. Two general types of enchantments affect characters and creatures: charms and compulsions.

Charming another creature gives the charming character the ability to befriend and suggest courses of action to his minion, but the servitude is not absolute or mindless. Charms of this type include the various charm spells and some monster abilities. Essentially, a charmed character retains free will but makes choices according to a skewed view of the world.
  • A charmed creature doesn’t gain any magical ability to understand his new friend’s language.
  • A charmed character retains his original alignment and allegiances, generally with the exception that he now regards the charming creature as a dear friend and will give great weight to his suggestions and directions.
  • A charmed character fights his former allies only if they threaten his new friend, and even then he uses the least lethal means at his disposal as long as these tactics show any possibility of success ( just as he would in a fight with an actual friend).
  • A charmed character is entitled to an opposed Charisma check against his master in order to resist instructions or commands that would make him do something he wouldn’t normally do even for a close friend. If he succeeds, he decides not to go along with that order but remains charmed.
  • A charmed character never obeys a command that is obviously suicidal or grievously harmful to him.
  • If the charming creature commands his minion to do something that the inf luenced character would be violently opposed to, the subject may attempt a new saving throw to break free of the inf luence altogether.
  • A charmed character who is openly attacked by the creature who charmed him or by that creature’s apparent allies is automatically freed of the spell or effect.
Compulsion is a different matter altogether. A compulsion overrides the subject’s free will in some way or simply changes the way the subject’s mind works. A charm makes the subject a friend of the caster; a compulsion makes the subject obey the caster.

Regardless of whether a character is charmed or compelled, he does not volunteer information or tactics that his master doesn’t ask for.

Damage Reduction

Source PRPG Core Rulebook pg. 561
Some magic creatures have the supernatural ability to instantly heal damage from weapons or ignore blows altogether as though they were invulnerable.

The numerical part of a creature’s damage reduction (or DR) is the amount of damage the creature ignores from normal attacks. Usually, a certain type of weapon can overcome this reduction (see Overcoming DR). This information is separated from the damage reduction number by a slash. For example, DR 5/magic means that a creature takes 5 less points of damage from all weapons that are not magic. If a dash follows the slash, then the damage reduction is effective against any attack that does not ignore damage reduction.

Whenever damage reduction completely negates the damage from an attack, it also negates most special effects that accompany the attack, such as injury poison, a monk’s stunning, and injury-based disease. Damage reduction does not negate touch attacks, energy damage dealt along with an attack, or energy drains. Nor does it affect poisons or diseases delivered by inhalation, ingestion, or contact.

Attacks that deal no damage because of the target’s damage reduction do not disrupt spells.

Spells, spell-like abilities, and energy attacks (even nonmagical fire) ignore damage reduction.

Sometimes damage reduction represents instant healing. Sometimes it represents the creature’s tough hide or body. In either case, other characters can see that conventional attacks won’t work.

If a creature has damage reduction from more than one source, the two forms of damage reduction do not stack. Instead, the creature gets the benefit of the best damage reduction in a given situation.

Overcoming DR: Damage reduction may be overcome by special materials, magic weapons (any weapon with a +1 or higher enhancement bonus, not counting the enhancement from masterwork quality), certain types of weapons (such as slashing or bludgeoning), and weapons imbued with an alignment.

Ammunition fired from a projectile weapon with an enhancement bonus of +1 or higher is treated as a magic weapon for the purpose of overcoming damage reduction. Similarly, ammunition fired from a projectile weapon with an alignment gains the alignment of that projectile weapon (in addition to any alignment it may already have).

Weapons with an enhancement bonus of +3 or greater can ignore some types of damage reduction, regardless of their actual material or alignment. The following table shows what type of enhancement bonus is needed to overcome some common types of damage reduction.
DR TypeWeapon Enhancement Bonus Equivalent
Cold Iron/Silver+3
Adamantine*+4
Alignment-based+5
* Note that this does not give the ability to ignore hardness, like an actual adamantine weapon does

Darkvision

Source PRPG Core Rulebook pg. 562
Darkvision is the extraordinary ability to see with no light source at all, out to a range specified for the creature. Darkvision is black-and-white only (colors cannot be discerned). It does not allow characters to see anything that they could not see otherwise—invisible objects are still invisible, and illusions are still visible as what they seem to be. Likewise, darkvision subjects a creature to gaze attacks normally. The presence of light does not spoil darkvision.

Death Attacks

Source PRPG Core Rulebook pg. 562
In most cases, a death attack allows the victim a Fortitude save to avoid the effect, but if the save fails, the creature takes a large amount of damage, which might cause it to die instantly.
  • Raise dead doesn’t work on someone killed by a death attack or effect.
  • Death attacks slay instantly. A victim cannot be made stable and thereby kept alive.
  • In case it matters, a dead character, no matter how he died, has hit points equal to or less than his negative Constitution score.
  • The spell death ward protects against these attacks.

Energy Drain and Negative Levels

Source PRPG Core Rulebook pg. 562
Some spells and a number of undead creatures have the ability to drain away life and energy; this dreadful attack results in “negative levels.” These cause a character to take a number of penalties.

For each negative level a creature has, it takes a cumulative –1 penalty on all ability checks, attack rolls, combat maneuver checks, Combat Maneuver Defense, saving throws, and skill checks. In addition, the creature reduces its current and total hit points by 5 for each negative level it possesses. The creature is also treated as one level lower for the purpose of level-dependent variables (such as spellcasting) for each negative level possessed. Spellcasters do not lose any prepared spells or slots as a result of negative levels. If a creature’s negative levels equal or exceed its total Hit Dice, it dies.

A creature with temporary negative levels receives a new saving throw to remove the negative level each day. The DC of this save is the same as the effect that caused the negative levels.

Some abilities and spells (such as raise dead) bestow permanent level drain on a creature. These are treated just like temporary negative levels, but they do not allow a new save each day to remove them. Level drain can be removed through spells like restoration. Permanent negative levels remain after a dead creature is restored to life. A creature whose permanent negative levels equal its Hit Dice cannot be brought back to life through spells like raise dead and resurrection without also receiving a restoration spell, cast the round after it is restored to life.

Energy Immunity and Vulnerability

Source PRPG Core Rulebook pg. 563
A creature with energy immunity never takes damage from that energy type. Vulnerability means the creature takes half again as much (+50%) damage as normal from that energy type, regardless of whether a saving throw is allowed or if the save is a success or failure.

Energy Resistance

Source PRPG Core Rulebook pg. 563
A creature with resistance to energy has the ability (usually extraordinary) to ignore some damage of a certain type per attack, but it does not have total immunity.

Each resistance ability is defined by what energy type it resists and how many points of damage are resisted. It doesn’t matter whether the damage has a mundane or magical source.

When resistance completely negates the damage from an energy attack, the attack does not disrupt a spell. This resistance does not stack with the resistance that a spell might provide.

Fear

Source PRPG Core Rulebook pg. 564
Spells, magic items, and certain monsters can affect characters with fear. In most cases, the character makes a Will saving throw to resist this effect, and a failed roll means that the character is shaken, frightened, or panicked.

Shaken: Characters who are shaken take a –2 penalty on attack rolls, saving throws, skill checks, and ability checks.

Frightened: Characters who are frightened are shaken, and in addition they f lee from the source of their fear as quickly as they can. They can choose the paths of their flight. Other than that stipulation, once they are out of sight (or hearing) of the source of their fear, they can act as they want. If the duration of their fear continues, however, characters can be forced to flee if the source of their fear presents itself again. Characters unable to flee can fight (though they are still shaken).

Panicked: Characters who are panicked are shaken, and they run away from the source of their fear as quickly as they can, dropping whatever they are holding. Other than running away from the source, their paths are random. They flee from all other dangers that confront them rather than facing those dangers. Once they are out of sight (or hearing) of any source of danger, they can act as they want. Panicked characters cower if they are prevented from fleeing.

Becoming Even More Fearful: Fear effects are cumulative. A shaken character who is made shaken again becomes frightened, and a shaken character who is made frightened becomes panicked instead. A frightened character who is made shaken or frightened becomes panicked instead.

Invisibility

Source PRPG Core Rulebook pg. 564
The ability to move about unseen is not foolproof. While they can’t be seen, invisible creatures can be heard, smelled, or felt.

Invisibility makes a creature undetectable by vision, including darkvision.

Invisibility does not, by itself, make a creature immune to critical hits, but it does make the creature immune to extra damage from being a ranger’s favored enemy and from sneak attacks.

A creature can generally notice the presence of an active invisible creature within 30 feet with a DC 20 Perception check. The observer gains a hunch that “something’s there” but can’t see it or target it accurately with an attack. It’s practically impossible (+20 DC) to pinpoint an invisible creature’s location with a Perception check. Even once a character has pinpointed the square that contains an invisible creature, the creature still benefits from total concealment (50% miss chance). There are a number of modifiers that can be applied to this DC if the invisible creature is moving or engaged in a noisy activity.

Invisible Creature is...Perception DC Modifier
In combat or speaking-20
Moving at half speed-5
Moving at full speed-10
Running or charging-20
Not moving+20
Using StealthStealth Check +20
Some distance away+1 per 10 feet
Behind an obstacle (door)+5
Behind an obstacle (stone wall)+15
A creature can grope about to find an invisible creature. A character can make a touch attack with his hands or a weapon into two adjacent 5-foot squares using a standard action. If an invisible target is in the designated area, there is a 50% miss chance on the touch attack. If successful, the groping character deals no damage but has successfully pinpointed the invisible creature’s current location. If the invisible creature moves, its location, obviously, is once again unknown.

If an invisible creature strikes a character, the character struck knows the location of the creature that struck him (until, of course, the invisible creature moves). The only exception is if the invisible creature has a reach greater than 5 feet. In this case, the struck character knows the general location of the creature but has not pinpointed the exact location.

If a character tries to attack an invisible creature whose location he has pinpointed, he attacks normally, but the invisible creature still benefits from full concealment (and thus a 50% miss chance). A particularly large and slow invisible creature might get a smaller miss chance.

If a character tries to attack an invisible creature whose location he has not pinpointed, have the player choose the space where the character will direct the attack. If the invisible creature is there, conduct the attack normally. If the enemy’s not there, roll the miss chance as if it were there and tell him that the character has missed, regardless of the result. That way the player doesn’t know whether the attack missed because the enemy’s not there or because you successfully rolled the miss chance.

If an invisible character picks up a visible object, the object remains visible. An invisible creature can pick up a small visible item and hide it on his person (tucked in a pocket or behind a cloak) and render it effectively invisible. One could coat an invisible object with flour to at least keep track of its position (until the flour falls off or blows away).

Invisible creatures leave tracks. They can be tracked normally. Footprints in sand, mud, or other soft surfaces can give enemies clues to an invisible creature’s location.

An invisible creature in the water displaces water, revealing its location. The invisible creature, however, is still hard to see and benefits from concealment.

A creature with the scent ability can detect an invisible creature as it would a visible one.

A creature with the Blind-Fight feat has a better chance to hit an invisible creature. Roll the miss chance twice, and he misses only if both rolls indicate a miss. (Alternatively, make one 25% miss chance roll rather than two 50% miss chance rolls.)

A creature with blindsight can attack (and otherwise interact with) creatures regardless of invisibility.

An invisible burning torch still gives off light, as does an invisible object with a light or similar spell cast upon it.

Ethereal creatures (such as ghosts from the Pathfinder RPG Bestiary) are invisible. Since ethereal creatures are not materially present, Perception checks, scent, Blind- Fight, and blindsight don’t help locate them. Incorporeal creatures are often invisible. Scent, Blind-Fight, and blindsight don’t help creatures find or attack invisible, incorporeal creatures, but Perception checks can help.

Invisible creatures cannot use gaze attacks.

Invisibility does not thwart divination spells.

Since some creatures can detect or even see invisible creatures, it is helpful to be able to hide even when invisible.

Low-Light Vision

Source PRPG Core Rulebook pg. 565
Characters with low-light vision have eyes that are so sensitive to light that they can see twice as far as normal in dim light. Low-light vision is color vision. A spellcaster with low-light vision can read a scroll as long as even the tiniest candle flame is next to him as a source of light. Characters with low-light vision can see outdoors on a moonlit night as well as they can during the day.

Paralysis

Source PRPG Core Rulebook pg. 565
Some monsters and spells have the supernatural or spell-like ability to paralyze their victims, immobilizing them through magical means. Paralysis from poison is discussed in the Afflictions section.

A paralyzed character cannot move, speak, or take any physical action. He is rooted to the spot, frozen and helpless. Not even friends can move his limbs. He may take purely mental actions, such as casting a spell with no components.

A winged creature f lying in the air at the time that it becomes paralyzed cannot flap its wings and falls. A swimmer can’t swim and may drown.

Scent

Source PRPG Core Rulebook pg. 565
This extraordinary ability lets a creature detect approaching enemies, sniff out hidden foes, and track by sense of smell.

A creature with the scent ability can detect opponents by sense of smell, generally within 30 feet. If the opponent is upwind, the range is 60 feet. If it is downwind, the range is 15 feet. Strong scents, such as smoke or rotting garbage, can be detected at twice the ranges noted above. Overpowering scents, such as skunk musk or troglodyte stench, can be detected at three times these ranges.

The creature detects another creature’s presence but not its specific location. Noting the direction of the scent is a move action. If the creature moves within 5 feet (1 square) of the scent’s source, the creature can pinpoint the area that the source occupies, even if it cannot be seen.

A creature with the Survival skill and the scent ability can follow tracks by smell, making a Survival check to find or follow a track. A creature with the scent ability can attempt to follow tracks using Survival untrained. The typical DC for a fresh trail is 10. The DC increases or decreases depending on how strong the quarry’s odor is, the number of creatures, and the age of the trail. For each hour that the trail is cold, the DC increases by 2. The ability otherwise follows the rules for the Survival skill in regards to tracking. Creatures tracking by scent ignore the effects of surface conditions and poor visibility.

Creatures with the scent ability can identify familiar odors just as humans do familiar sights.

Water, particularly running water, ruins a trail for air-breathing creatures. Water-breathing creatures that have the scent ability, however, can use it in the water easily.

False, powerful odors can easily mask other scents. The presence of such an odor completely spoils the ability to properly detect or identify creatures, and the base Survival DC to track becomes 20 rather than 10.

Spell Resistance

Source PRPG Core Rulebook pg. 565
Spell resistance is the extraordinary ability to avoid being affected by spells. Some spells also grant spell resistance.

To affect a creature that has spell resistance, a spellcaster must make a caster level check (1d20 + caster level) at least equal to the creature’s spell resistance. The defender’s spell resistance is like an Armor Class against magical attacks. If the caster fails the check, the spell doesn’t affect the creature. The possessor does not have to do anything special to use spell resistance. The creature need not even be aware of the threat for its spell resistance to operate.

Only spells and spell-like abilities are subject to spell resistance. Extraordinary and supernatural abilities (including enhancement bonuses on magic weapons) are not. A creature can have some abilities that are subject to spell resistance and some that are not. Even some spells ignore spell resistance; see When Spell Resistance Applies, below.

A creature can voluntarily lower its spell resistance. Doing so is a standard action that does not provoke an attack of opportunity. Once a creature lowers its resistance, it remains down until the creature’s next turn. At the beginning of the creature’s next turn, the creature’s spell resistance automatically returns unless the creature intentionally keeps it down (also a standard action that does not provoke an attack of opportunity).

A creature’s spell resistance never interferes with its own spells, items, or abilities.

A creature with spell resistance cannot impart this power to others by touching them or standing in their midst. Only the rarest of creatures and a few magic items have the ability to bestow spell resistance upon another.

Spell resistance does not stack, but rather overlaps.