- Casting Spells
- Combining Magic Effects
- Duplicate Effects
- Different Strengths
- Multiple Mental Control Effects
- Countering and Negating
- Multiple Effects
- Natural Attacks
- Special Abilities
- Type and Subtype
- Ability Scores
- Hit Points and Stamina Points
- Resolve Points
- Special Abilities
- Spell Description Format
Although technology and magic are almost inextricably entwined, magic nonetheless works according to specific rules that have little to do with machinery. This section lays out the process of casting a spell, details how to counter and combine magical effects, describes how special abilities work, defines each mechanical element listed in a spell description, and includes those spell descriptions.
When your character casts a spell, she is harnessing the latent magical energy that permeates the universe to achieve specific, measured effects. Whether you’re playing a mystic or a technomancer, or a character who has gained the ability to manipulate magical energies through some other more unusual means, casting a spell follows one basic process, as described below. A cast spell always has obvious effects that are noticeable by nearby creatures; it is not possible to clandestinely cast a spell. For information about casting a spell as a spell-like ability, see Spell-Like Abilities.
Choosing a spell
The first step in casting a spell is to choose which spell to cast. Your class’s spells section describes which class’s spell list you can choose from, how to determine the number of spells you know, and at which levels you can learn new spells. You also might know spells from a different source, in which case that source provides the details you need to know.
When you cast a spell, you can select any spell you know, provided you are capable of casting spells of that level or higher. Casting a spell counts against your daily limit for spells you cast of that spell level (your “spell slots”), but you can cast the same spell again if you haven’t reached your limit. For more information on how to choose which spells your character can access, see your class’s information on spells.
Spell Level, Caster Level, and Spell Slots
Once you’ve chosen a spell to cast, take note of its spell level, and then determine the caster level at which you cast it. A spell’s spell level (also referred to as simply “a spell’s level”) defines at what class level you can cast the spell. In the case of variable-level spells, the spell’s level determines the spell’s exact effects (see Variable-Level spells below). On the other hand, the caster level at which you cast a spell governs many aspects of how the spell works, often including its range and duration. The following sections further describe and differentiate spell level and caster level.
Some of the rules in this section make reference to spell slots. The number of spell slots of any given level that you have is equal to the number of spells of that level that you can cast each day (for details about exactly when you regain your daily spell slots, see Regaining Daily-Use Abilities and Spells).
When the rules say you must have an available spell slot, it means that you can’t have cast all of your spells per day of that level. When the rules say that you lose a spell slot or the spell fails, that means that you have expended one of the total number of spells of that level that you can cast per day.
A spell level expresses a spell’s relative power. A spell’s level is listed in its spell description, and it may vary by class. For example, it is possible for a spell to be a 2nd-level spell for a mystic but a 3rd-level spell for a technomancer. In some cases, a spell’s level is listed in its description as “—”. This means you must gain access to the spell through a class feature and can’t add it as a spell known through the normal progression of learning spells.
Unlike your caster level, which you can always choose to lower, a spell’s level is static unless it is a variable-level spell.
A variable-level spell is a spell that has different effects depending on the level of the spell slot you use to cast it. The spell description of a variable-level spell lists the spell level as a range (“1–6” for example) and notes how the spell’s effects change when cast at different spell levels.
When you learn a spell that can be cast at variable spell levels, you gain the ability to cast it at the spell level you know and at every level below that. For example, let’s say a PC is a 9th-level mystic who has mystic cure (which is a variable-level spell that can be cast at spell levels ranging from 1st–6th) as a 2nd-level spell known. When the PC chooses to cast mystic cure, he can cast it as a 1st-level or 2nd-level spell. His caster level is still 9th, regardless of the spell level at which he casts the spell. The PC can’t cast mystic cure as a 0-level spell (since mystic cure doesn’t have a 0-level version) or as a 3rd-level spell (since he doesn’t know mystic cure as a 3rd-level spell). The effect of mystic cure when the PC casts it is detailed in the spell’s description and depends on the spell level at which he chose to cast it.
If you know a variable-level spell and later select it again as a higher-level spell known, you can immediately select a new spell known to replace the lower-level version of the variable-level spell. For example, when a PC becomes a 10th-level mystic, he selects mystic cure as a 4th-level spell known. He also immediately selects a new 2nd-level spell known to replace the 2nd-level version of mystic cure. He can now cast mystic cure as a 1st-, 2nd-, 3rd-, or 4th-level spell.
Your caster level (or CL) represents your aptitude for casting the spells you know, and it is equal to the total number of levels you have in spellcasting classes. For characters with a single spellcasting class, this is equal to your class level in that class. 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. If you wish to cast a spell at a lower caster level than normal, you must decide this before you make any other decisions about the spell’s effects. Once a spell has been cast, the spell effect has a caster level that is equal to the caster level at which you cast the spell. Many of a spell’s effects are based on the spell’s caster level.
In the event that a class feature or 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 any caster level checks you attempt (see below) and DCs based on caster level (such as the DC to dispel your spells).
Caster Level Checks
Concentration and Interrupted Spells
To successfully cast a spell, you must concentrate. The length of time you must concentrate to cast a spell is specified in the Casting Time entry in the spell’s description. Your foes can interrupt your spellcasting in a few ways, as described below.
The concentration required to cast a spell is sufficient to cause you to briefly lower your defenses. If a foe threatens the space you are in, casting a spell provokes an attack of opportunity unless the spell specifies otherwise. For more on attacks of opportunity.
Normally, you can concentrate even in a distracting situation, but if you’re casting a spell and you take damage from either a successful attack that targeted your AC or from an effect that you failed a saving throw against, the spell fails.
You are most at risk of taking damage while casting when a spell’s casting time is 1 round or longer, you have provoked an attack of opportunity, or a foe readied an action to attack you when you began to cast. However, if you are taking ongoing damage (such as if you are bleeding or on fire), your spells are not disrupted in this way.
If you ever try to cast a spell in conditions where the characteristics of the spell can’t be made to conform, the spell fails. For example, if you try to cast a spell that targets a humanoid on a non-humanoid, the spell fails.
Concentrating in Harsh Environments
If you attempt to cast a spell in environmental conditions that make spellcasting impossible, the spell fails. You can typically cast spells in bad weather or when your ship is making tricky maneuvers, but at the GM’s discretion, if you are subject to extremely violent motion (such as an earthquake) or extremely violent weather (such as a hurricane), you can’t concentrate to cast spells.
The Spell’s Result
For details about a spell’s range, targets, and other mechanical details, see the spell descriptions, where the details of spells are presented. Once you know which creatures (or objects or areas) are affected, and whether they have succeeded at their saving throws (if any were allowed), you can apply whatever results a spell entails.~Spell effects tend to vary by school, which are also described in School and Descriptor.
Some spell descriptions refer to attacking. All offensive combat actions, even those that don’t damage opponents, are considered attacks. Anytime you would need to make an attack roll to determine whether your spell hits a target, you are considered to be making an attack.
Even an effect that is inoffensive or beneficial to some affected creatures still counts as an attack if it would be considered offensive to any affected creature.~Spells that deal damage, spells that opponents can resist with saving throws (and that are not harmless), and spells that otherwise harm or hamper subjects are attacks.
Bringing Back the Dead
Magic and technology can restore slain characters to life. Bringing someone back from the dead involves magically retrieving his soul and returning it to his body.
Negative Levels: Any creature brought back to life by raise dead usually gains 2 permanent negative levels. These levels apply a penalty to most rolls until removed through spells such as restoration. There is an exception to this rule, though. If the character was 1st or 2nd level (or CR 2 or less for a monster) at the time of death, instead of gaining negative levels, the character’s Constitution score is permanently reduced by 2 (or its Constitution modifier is permanently reduced by 1 for a monster).
Preventing Revivification: Enemies can take steps to make it more difficult for a character to be returned from the dead using normal magical means. Keeping the body of a deceased individual, for instance, prevents others from using raise dead to restore the slain character to life. Additionally, finding a way to capture the slain creature’s soul prevents any sort of revivification unless the soul is first released, since raise dead and similar magic works by returning the deceased individual’s soul to his body.
Revivification Against One’s Will: A soul can’t be returned to life if it doesn’t wish to be. A soul automatically knows the alignment and patron deity (if any) of the character attempting to revive it, which may be a reason it refuses to return.
Combining Magic Effects
Spells or magical effects usually work as their descriptions state, 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 specific 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.
Spells and effects that provide bonuses or penalties to attributes such as attack rolls, damage rolls, and saving throws usually do not stack with themselves if multiple effects would apply to the same attribute. More generally, two bonuses of the same type do not stack even if they come from different spells or from effects other than spells (see Bonuses).
However, damage from multiple spells that deal damage is always cumulative.
In cases when two or more spells produce identical effects in the same area or on the same target, but at different strengths (such as one spell granting fire resistance 5 and another granting fire resistance 10), only the one with the highest strength applies. If a previously cast spell lasts longer than a more recently cast spell producing the same effect, and the most recent version expires, the previously cast spell resumes its effect for the remainder of its duration.
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. For example, a creature under the effect of a hold person spell cannot be compelled to move using a dominate spell, because the hold person effect prevents the creature from moving.
Mental controls that don’t remove the target’s ability to act don’t usually 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 attempt opposed Charisma checks to determine which one the creature obeys.
Countering and Negating
Some spells can be used to counter other specific spells, as noted in their spell descriptions. For instance, you can use slow to counter a casting of haste. This works exactly like the counter effect of the dispel magic spell, except you don’t need to attempt a caster level check; if the target is in range, the spell is automatically countered and fails.
Many times, these same spells note that they negate one another as well. This means that a successful casting of one spell on a target under the effects of the second spell undoes those effects, and the effects of the first spell don’t occur.
Possibly one of the mightiest forms of transmutation magic, polymorphing allows you to change your shape (or the shape of a foe or ally) to that of another creature. You might polymorph into a different creature because you want to gain a measure of its power, or use a new shape to disguise yourself or just to place a foe at a disadvantage. All the galaxy’s creatures can serve as templates and starting points for a polymorphing spellcaster, but they aren’t the limit. Only your imagination and preparation limit the extent of your shapechanging powers.
Polymorph is a descriptor that applies to transmutation spells and effects that allow you to change the physical shape of yourself or another creature. A spell or effect with the polymorph descriptor has the following general parameters, unless the spell or effect specifies otherwise. As a rule, a polymorph spell or effect doesn’t change any attribute about its target unless it says it does.
A polymorph form has the shape and appearance of one base creature within limitations. A form grants other capabilities with limitations set by the version of polymorph spell you cast. A polymorph spell can rarely give the target all the capabilities of another creature. It can impart only traits of a physical nature, including changes in movement types, natural weapons, resistances, senses, and some other features.
When the target takes the form of a specific individual, its capabilities are likely to be similar, but the magic can’t always grant the full extent of a creature’s power.
When you change your own or another creature’s form using a spell with the polymorph descriptor, the target’s original form (referred to as its true form) is used to determine anything that is not explicitly changed by the spell.
When you learn a spell with the polymorph descriptor, you design a number of specific forms (as determined by the spell) known as polymorph forms. Each of these could be based on an extant creature, or they might be a product purely of your imagination. You can thereafter cast the spell to change yourself or another creature into one of your predetermined forms. These forms might be specific to you, each having a unique look that remains the same from one casting to the next (potentially even mimicking a specific individual), or they might be generic (so you use that form when you change into a creature, but the target’s appearance is different each time within the norms for that creature). You cannot, however, transform a target to have multiple forms at one time (so you couldn’t, for example, transform a single creature into a creature with the swarm subtype).
Only one spell or effect with the polymorph descriptor can affect a creature at a time. If you’re the willing target of a polymorph effect while you’re polymorphed, the new effect changes your form and ends the older effect. While you are polymorphed, if you fail the saving throw against a polymorph effect for which you are an unwilling target, the new effect changes your form and ends the older effect. The same rules apply to a shapechanger currently in a shape provided by the change shape ability. A shapechanger can end a polymorph effect on itself by using its change shape ability to transform into another form allowed by that ability.
When a polymorph form is that of another creature, the target appears to be that creature. You decide at the time of designing a polymorph form if its appearance is generic (allowing the target to look like any general example of that type of creature, but never a specific creature) or specific (causing the target to always look like one specific individual that does not change between castings).
As a disguise, this change in appearance is perfect, granting the target a +10 bonus to Disguise checks (either to appear to be a typical version of a generic form or a specific individual when using a unique form). In addition, the DC of the target’s Disguise checks isn’t modified due to altering major features or disguising itself as a different race or creature type. The DC increase for disguising itself as a different size applies only if an observer knows its size is incongruous with the form (see Size). The GM can alter or eliminate the bonus to Disguise checks based on the target’s behavior, such as talking in animal form or other conduct outside the norm for a shape.
If the polymorph form granted by a spell is of the same creature type as the target’s true form, the armor, weapons, and other equipment the target had at the time of casting remain visible and accessible and are changed by the magic to be usable in the new form. If any item is out of the target’s possession for more than 1 round, it reverts to its normal form.
If the polymorph form is of a different creature type than the target’s true form, the spell causes the target’s armor (including any armor upgrades and the abilities of powered armor) to continue to function and be able to be activated by the target regardless of the character’s form. However, the armor isn’t visible in polymorph form, and it can’t be targeted or accessed (such as to change batteries) by either the target or other creatures. All other equipment is unavailable in a polymorph form of a different type and cannot be used, activated, targeted, or modified by either the target or other creatures.
When you design a polymorph form, you can give it a natural attack. A creature in this form has an attack bonus for the natural attack equal to 1-1/2 times its character level or Challenge Rating (CR), to a maximum of three times the level of spell that grants the form. No ability modifiers, class features, feats, items, racial abilities, or spells modify this attack bonus (though it is affected normally by penalties).
The natural attack deals damage equal to the standard melee damage for an expert NPC of a CR equal to the creature’s level or CR, to a maximum character level or CR equal to three times the level of spell that grants the form. No equipment modifies this damage except for Strength bonuses from personal upgrades (though it is affected normally by penalties).
Each version of a polymorph spell has a maximum CR. When you design a polymorph form, the target can gain the same maximum number of special abilities as an expert NPC of a CR equal to the spell’s maximum CR. Alternatively, if you base your form on a specific creature (which must be of a CR no higher than the spell’s maximum CR), you can select only abilities that the base form has, but you can select one ability more than the normal maximum.
All of these are in addition to any abilities gained from the polymorph form’s type or subtype (which are limited— see Type and Subtype), and they must be selected from the following list: amphibious, breath weapon, breathing, compression, defensive abilities, limited telepathy, racial traits, senses, and trample.
Breath Weapon: A breath weapon deals damage of one energy type of your choice, deals 1d4 damage of that type per character level or CR of the polymorphed target (to a maximum equal to the polymorph effect’s maximum CR), must be a line or cone (following the guidelines for the breath weapon universal creature rule), can be used only once every 4 rounds, and does one less d4 of damage each time it is used. When the damage reaches 0d4, the breath weapon no longer functions. A target can attempt a Reflex save (DC = 10 + half the polymorphed creature’s character level or CR or 10 + half the maximum CR of the polymorph effect, whichever is lower) to reduce the damage by half.
Breathing: When selecting breathing as a special ability, you can select one environment in which you are aware that living creatures can natively exist, and grant your polymorph form the ability to breathe in that specific environment. This can be underwater, in a specific toxic environment, or even in the void of space if you have first-hand knowledge of living creatures that successfully operate in a vacuum without needing to breathe. The target retains the ability to breathe as it normally does in addition to this benefit. Breathing can be an unimportant feature if the target retains its armor’s environmental protections (see Equipment above).
Defensive Abilities: The limits of which defensive abilities you can select are outlined in each polymorph spell. You can select only one of the defensive options listed for the level at which you cast the spell, and it counts toward the maximum number of special abilities the form can grant.
Movement: Each polymorph spell or ability details what changes to movement, if any, your polymorph form can grant. Your polymorph form can grant one form of movement without it counting against its maximum number of special abilities, but any additional forms of movement must be selected as special abilities.
Racial Traits: When selecting a racial trait for a polymorph form, you can select any one player character racial trait of a race that grants such rules and that does not refer to or require any equipment, armor, armor upgrade, or drone upgrade to function. For example, you could select the exceptional vision trait of an android (gaining both low-light vision and darkvision), but not the upgrade slot ability (since it refers to armor upgrades). Additionally, the target can never gain racial ability adjustments, racial Hit Points, feats, or skill ranks from a polymorph spell’s effects. Each level of the polymorph spell has specific restrictions regarding spell-like abilities.
Senses: The limits of what senses you can select are outlined in each polymorph spell. Each of the sense options a given polymorph spell can grant the target counts as a single special ability that counts toward the maximum number of special abilities a polymorph form can grant.
Other Abilities: If you’re designing a polymorph form based on a specific creature, the GM may allow you to select one of that creature’s special abilities or traits so long as the creature has a CR no higher than the spell’s maximum CR. If a polymorph spell grants a trait that uses a base creature’s CR for a calculation, instead use the spell’s maximum CR or the polymorphed creature’s character level or CR, whichever is lower.
Some abilities should not be permitted by a GM.
The target can’t gain an aura from a polymorph form. An ability can’t be gained if it requires more time to use than the polymorph spell’s duration. The target can’t gain any ability that makes it part of a communal mind or body, such as the barathu combine ability or the swarm mind ability that swarms have. In addition, the target can’t gain any special ability that allows it to summon or otherwise spawn other creatures. Because of how polymorph effects interact (per the Multiple Effects section), a polymorph spell can’t grant the target the change shape special ability, since the polymorph spell that granted the ability would end when the target used it. If an ability is supernatural or could harm the target in its use, the GM should be very cautious before allowing access to it in a polymorph form.
The weird magic of polymorph spells might grant the target the ability to cause other effects that should last longer than its transformation. If an effect the target creates while in a polymorph form has an ongoing duration when the target returns to normal form, the effect ends unless the GM decides otherwise. However, changes the target made that are not ongoing effects, such as the death of enemies the target fought, are permanent.
Some polymorph spells allow you to design a polymorph form of a specific size. If you change the target’s size, it gains the space and reach of the new size. Decide if the new form is tall or long and then use the space and reach rules from Table 8-1: Creature Size. If you try to polymorph the target into a size that the physical space it’s in can’t accommodate, the spell begins to take hold but then fails. You should also select a weight within the range indicated for that size on that table.
A target of a polymorph spell gains a minor bonus based on the size its new form provides, regardless of the target’s original size. Table 1 below shows these bonuses, which are enhancement bonuses to ability checks and skill checks based on the indicated ability score.
Type and Subtype
Polymorph spells allow their target to appear to be a creature of a different type and subtype and grant the target some benefits related to the base creature’s capabilities. Despite these changes, the target’s type and subtype remain the same.
More powerful spells grant the target extra benefits based on the chosen type or subtype, as noted in the spell description.
Those benefits follow. Taking the appearance of a type or subtype not listed below doesn’t grant the target any related abilities.
Changing a target that isn’t a construct into a constructed form grants it a +2 enhancement bonus to saving throws against disease, mind-affecting effects, necromancy effects, paralysis, poison, sleep, and stunning.
Changing a target that doesn’t have the elemental subtype into an elemental form grants it a +2 enhancement bonus to saving throws against paralysis, poison, sleep, and stunning. The target is unflankable while in elemental form. A fire elemental form is immune to fire, vulnerable to cold, and cannot grant cold resistance.
Changing a target that isn’t a plant into a plant form grants it a +2 enhancement bonus to saving throws against mind-affecting effects, paralysis, poison, sleep, and stunning.
The target keeps its modifier to initiative. A polymorph form never changes this modifier.
A polymorph spell can alter the target’s speed and movement types, as noted in the spell description. If the spell doesn’t, the target retains its normal speed and movement types.
The target retains its speech capabilities while polymorphed unless you decide against that. The languages it speaks and understands don’t change with its shape.
Hit Points and Stamina Points
The target retains its normal Hit Points and Stamina Points in your new form. A new form can’t grant it Hit Points or Stamina Points. Further, a form can provide no means for the target to regain Hit Points or Stamina Points or cause others to do so.
The target’s features from classes, themes, and so on still work in its new form. However, its form could limit the usage of features it has. Rely on common sense and GM guidance in such situations. Additionally, the target can’t gain class features, theme features, class grafts, and similar mechanical elements from a polymorph form. For instance, you can’t polymorph a target into an Aeon Guard to grant a target the benefits of that creature’s class graft, but you can transform a target to look like a specific human ethnicity.
When in a polymorph form, the target retains its skills and its ranks in them. A form might grant the target modifiers to its skills or new ways to use them, but a form can’t grant the target new skills or skill ranks.
A number of classes and creatures gain the use of special abilities, many of which function like spells. A special ability is either a spell-Like ability, a Supernatural ability, or an Extraordinary ability. See Special Abilities for more information.
Spell Description Format
Spell descriptions are presented in a standard format, as shown in the sample spell description. Each category of information found in the spell descriptions is explained and defined in the appropriate sections that follow the sample (along with references for further information). Not all spells contain each boldfaced entry heading listed in the sample, but for purposes of completeness, all entry headings used in the various spell descriptions are included. The sample also includes either typical language found in most spell entries or a summary of what the entry typically contains.
Spell Name M0–6 T0–6
School magic type [descriptor]
Casting Time action or time
Range personal, touch, or a specified distance
Area affected space (S)
Effect the spell’s mechanical effect (if it doesn’t have an area or targets)
Targets one creature or multiple creatures
Duration rounds, minutes, or hours (D)
Saving Throw none, partial, or negates; Spell Resistance yes or no
The spell’s effects are described here.
The first line of every spell description gives the name by which the spell is commonly known. A spell’s name generally indicates what effects it creates or how it manipulates its area or targets.
The spell level for each class that can cast the spell (typically a number between 0 and 6 that indicates the spell’s relative power) is listed directly to the right of each spell name. Variable-level spells express their levels in a range. See Spell Level and Variable-Level Spells for more details.
School and Descriptor
Beneath the spell’s name is an entry listing the spell’s school of magic. Nearly 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. In rare cases, a spell harnesses the power of all of the magic schools. In this case, the spell’s school is listed as “universal.”
Many spells have one or more descriptors. These can affect how the spells interact with other magic and effects, and some descriptors have specific rules associated with them. See Descriptors for more information.
Abjurations are protective spells. If an abjuration creates a barrier that keeps certain types of creatures at bay, that barrier cannot be used to push away those creatures. If you force the barrier against such a creature, you feel a discernible pressure against the barrier. If you continue to apply pressure, the spell ends, even if the spell would normally work or its normal duration has not yet elapsed.
Conjuration spells bring creatures, objects, or energy (potentially including healing energy) into being or transport them to new locations. A conjured creature or object must arrive in an open location on a surface capable of supporting it. It can’t appear inside another creature or object. The conjured creature or object must appear within the spell’s range, but once conjured it does not have to remain within the range.
Divination spells enable you to learn long-forgotten secrets, predict the future, find hidden things, and pierce deceptive spells.
Enchantment spells affect the minds of others, influencing or controlling their behavior. All enchantments are mind-affecting spells and have that descriptor. Most enchantments are either charms or compulsions and have those descriptors. See Descriptors for more information.
Evocation spells manipulate magical energy or tap an unseen source of power to produce a desired result created entirely with magic. Many of these spells produce spectacular effects, and evocation spells can deal large amounts of damage. Evocation spells often produce effects that manifest as various kinds of energy, or as an energy type of the caster’s choice, as noted in an individual spell’s description.
Illusion spells deceive the senses or minds of others. They cause people to see things that aren’t there, not see things that are actually there, hear phantom noises, or remember things that never really happened. By default, illusions create actual sensory stimuli in much the same manner as a hologram might.
Disbelieving Illusions: Creatures encountering an illusion usually don’t receive saving throws to recognize it as illusory until they study it carefully or interact with it in some fashion, which typically requires spending at least a move action Focusing specifically on the illusion.
A creature that succeeds at its saving throw to disbelieve can tell the illusion is false (but still sees a visual illusion as a translucent outline). A failed saving throw indicates that a character fails to notice something is amiss. A character faced with proof that an illusion isn’t real needs no saving throw to disbelieve it. If any observer successfully disbelieves an illusion and communicates this fact to others, each such observer can attempt a saving throw to disbelieve with a +4 bonus.
Necromancy spells manipulate the power of death, unlife, and life force, including spells involving creating undead creatures.
Transmutation spells change the properties of some creature, thing, or condition.
Most spells have a casting time of one standard action. Others take 1 round or more, while a few powerful special abilities allow a character to cast a spell as a move action. A few reactive spells can be cast as reactions, but they are generally limited in nature, such as the 1st-level casting of flight.
When you begin casting a spell that takes 1 round or longer to cast, you must maintain your concentration from the current round to just before your turn in the next round (at least). If you lose concentration or take another action (even a reaction) before the casting is complete, the spell fails.
You make all pertinent decisions about a spell (range, target, area, effect, and so forth) when the spell comes into effect.
1 round: Casting a spell with a casting time of 1 round is a full action. The spell 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.
1 minute: 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 considered to be casting a spell as a full action, just as noted above for 1-round casting times). These actions must be consecutive and uninterrupted; otherwise the spell automatically fails.
A spell’s range indicates how far from you it can reach. For more information on how ranges work, see Range.
Area, Effect, and Targets
When a spell you cast comes into effect, you must make choices about what the spell is to affect or where an effect is to originate, depending on the spell’s type. A spell’s description defines the spell’s area, its effect, or its target (or targets), as appropriate.
Some spells have one or more targets. You cast these spells on creatures or objects, as defined in the spell’s description. You must be able to see or touch the target (unless the spell has an attack roll; see spells with Attack Rolls below), and you must specifically choose that target. You do not have to select your target until you have finished casting the spell.
If the target of a spell is yourself (which is the case for all personal range spells), you don’t receive a saving throw and spell resistance doesn’t apply. The Saving Throw and Spell Resistance entries are omitted from the descriptions of such spells.
Some spells restrict you to willing or unconscious targets. A creature can declare itself a willing target at any time (even if it’s flat-footed or it isn’t that creature’s turn). Characters who are conscious but immobile or helpless can still choose to be unwilling.
Many spells affect “living creatures,” which means all creatures other than constructs and undead (Artificially created beings that are not undead or constructs are considered living for this purpose). Creatures in the spell’s area that are not of the appropriate type don’t count against the number of creatures affected.
Other spells allow you to target other categories of creatures or items, such as construct, corpse, or object. This works like targeting a creature, and the target’s spell resistance, if any, applies.
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 doesn’t provoke attacks of opportunity.
Spells with Attack Rolls: Some spells require an attack roll to hit. For these spells, you don’t need line of sight to the target, but you still need line of effect. These spells can score a critical hit just as a weapon can, and deal double damage on a successful critical hit. If one of these spells has a duration, it refers to the duration of the effect that the attack causes, not the length of time that the attack itself persists.
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. The spell’s 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. For clarity, some spells specify the type or size of effect created in a separate Effect entry.
Some spells affect an area. Sometimes a spell description specifies a specially defined area, but usually a spell’s area is described as a burst, emanation, or spread, and as a cone, cylinder, line, or sphere. A spell’s area may also be shapable, which is indicated with “(S)” after the listed area.
Regardless of the shape of the area, you select the point where the spell originates. You don’t otherwise control which creatures or objects the spell affects; it affects all valid targets in the area. When determining whether a given creature is within a spell’s area, count out the distance from the point of origin in squares, just as you do when moving a character or 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 touches only the near edge of a square, however, creatures or objects within that square are unaffected by the spell.
Other: A spell can have a unique area, as defined in its spell description.
A spell’s Duration entry tells you how long the magical energy of the spell lasts. A spell may also be dismissible, which is indicated with “(D)” after the listed duration. For more information, see Duration.
Areas, Effects, and Targets: If a spell affects creatures directly, the result travels with the target 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 the expiration of its duration. If the spell affects an area, then the spell stays within 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.
Usually a harmful spell allows a target to attempt a saving throw to avoid some or all of the effect. The Saving Throw entry in a spell’s description defines which type of saving throw the spell allows (a Fortitude, Reflex, or Will saving throw) and describes how saving throws against the spell work, including for objects and harmless effects. Most often, a successful saving throw negates a spell’s effects, halves the damage it causes, allows the creature to suffer only partial effects of the spell, or allows the disbelief of an illusion effect (see Illusion). Your class’s spells section describes how to calculate your spells’ saving throws.
Spell resistance, often abbreviated as SR, is a special defensive ability of many creatures that functions much like an Armor Class against magical attacks. If your spell targets a creature with spell resistance, you must attempt a caster level check (1d20 + your caster level); only if the result equals or exceeds the creature’s spell resistance can the spell affect that creature.
A spell’s 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 attempt a caster level check.
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.