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Metamagic: Heighten Spell


Rules Questions


8 people marked this as FAQ candidate. Answered in the errata.
Paizo Charter Superscriber; Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber; Pathfinder Deluxe Comics Subscriber

So it's long been a complaint that spell DCs lag due to metamagic. Consider an Empowered, Maximized Fireball - the caster is burning an 8th-level slot for a base save DC of 13.

But what about Heighten Spell?

PFSRD wrote:
A heightened spell has a higher spell level than normal (up to a maximum of 9th level). Unlike other metamagic feats, Heighten Spell actually increases the effective level of the spell that it modifies. All effects dependent on spell level (such as saving throw DCs and ability to penetrate a lesser globe of invulnerability) are calculated according to the heightened level. The heightened spell is as difficult to prepare and cast as a spell of its effective level.

Important: Note that it does not say "increase the slot by the number of levels you increase the spell." It does say that the effective level is now the level you prepared it at.

So if you now Heighten the fireball of doom, you've now got a base save DC of 18, at the same slot.

There's nothing in the RAW that says in what order you have to apply the metamagic - so I say apply Heighten last. It's not like it's game-breaking - it just means the save DCs for metamagic spells don't lag.

Liberty's Edge

gbonehead wrote:

So it's long been a complaint that spell DCs lag due to metamagic. Consider an Empowered, Maximized Fireball - the caster is burning an 8th-level slot for a base save DC of 13.

But what about Heighten Spell?

PFSRD wrote:
A heightened spell has a higher spell level than normal (up to a maximum of 9th level). Unlike other metamagic feats, Heighten Spell actually increases the effective level of the spell that it modifies. All effects dependent on spell level (such as saving throw DCs and ability to penetrate a lesser globe of invulnerability) are calculated according to the heightened level. The heightened spell is as difficult to prepare and cast as a spell of its effective level.

Important: Note that it does not say "increase the slot by the number of levels you increase the spell." It does say that the effective level is now the level you prepared it at.

So if you now Heighten the fireball of doom, you've now got a base save DC of 18, at the same slot.

There's nothing in the RAW that says in what order you have to apply the metamagic - so I say apply Heighten last. It's not like it's game-breaking - it just means the save DCs for metamagic spells don't lag.

This is in fact an interperetation I had not considered before and fixes many of my issues with the metamagic system in general.

Towards the end of 3.5, if a metamagic feat was a +2 or higher level adjustment and it wasn't Quicken spell, it wasn't worth taking. You'd never land your saves.

Sovereign Court

My high level sorcerer in 3.5 just assumed anyone would make the saves on his spells so he didn't care and enjoyed using metamagic. Couldn't start with a 20 charisma like the gray elf wizards started for intelligence so why bother? Best to focus on having a good time and being prepared for unusual situations. Metamagic helps really get a bang out of fireball or black tentacles so it was alright in the end.

Honestly your much more likely to have monsters fail their saving throws due to them being debuffed and forcing rerolls onto them then raising your save DC's like that.

Liberty's Edge

Morgen wrote:

My high level sorcerer in 3.5 just assumed anyone would make the saves on his spells so he didn't care and enjoyed using metamagic. Couldn't start with a 20 charisma like the gray elf wizards started for intelligence so why bother? Best to focus on having a good time and being prepared for unusual situations. Metamagic helps really get a bang out of fireball or black tentacles so it was alright in the end.

Honestly your much more likely to have monsters fail their saving throws due to them being debuffed and forcing rerolls onto them then raising your save DC's like that.

Yeah, but I think this interperetation makes more intuitive sense to someone who comes in without the baggage of 3.5 behind them.

Wait, why is the archmage's grease spell just as easy to resist as the level 1 character's grease spell? Because he snapped his fingers to make it happen? Even though he burned the same amount of arcane power he would use for a spell that could freeze a small town?


Quelian wrote:
Morgen wrote:

My high level sorcerer in 3.5 just assumed anyone would make the saves on his spells so he didn't care and enjoyed using metamagic. Couldn't start with a 20 charisma like the gray elf wizards started for intelligence so why bother? Best to focus on having a good time and being prepared for unusual situations. Metamagic helps really get a bang out of fireball or black tentacles so it was alright in the end.

Honestly your much more likely to have monsters fail their saving throws due to them being debuffed and forcing rerolls onto them then raising your save DC's like that.

Yeah, but I think this interperetation makes more intuitive sense to someone who comes in without the baggage of 3.5 behind them.

Wait, why is the archmage's grease spell just as easy to resist as the level 1 character's grease spell? Because he snapped his fingers to make it happen? Even though he burned the same amount of arcane power he would use for a spell that could freeze a small town?

This was always the way we have inturpreted Heighten Spell. If I maximize (+3 Lvls) a Fireball (3rd lvl) and have the Heighten spell feat then the DC of the fireball is set at its maximized level (6th). If you have to add spell levels solely to raise the DC, for instance to get the above result about (6th level fireball spell) you would have to use a 9th level slot, its not worth the feat or the higher level spellslot.

I have always understood Height to be like the Meta-Meta-Magic Feat.

Liberty's Edge

Kalyth wrote:

This was always the way we have inturpreted Heighten Spell. If I maximize (+3 Lvls) a Fireball (3rd lvl) and have the Heighten spell feat then the DC of the fireball is set at its maximized level (6th). If you have to add spell levels solely to raise the DC, for instance to get the above result about (6th level fireball spell) you would have to use a 9th level slot, its not worth the feat or the higher level spellslot.

I have always understood Height to be like the Meta-Meta-Magic Feat.

Yeah. I like how this seems like it should play.

In practice, arcane casters have about 10-15 spells per day that can get DCs into the range where they're relevant vs equivalent level monsters. (their top 2 or 3 spell levels) Interpereting the feat in this manner allows a caster to slowly become more exhausted as the day progresses, by chaining the DC to the spell slot level instead of the spell level. This means players have a much more accurate prediction and a much more CONSISTENT prediction of just how much heavy firepower they have left and DM's can also make their own determinations on that front, helping prevent players feeling like they have to rest before they actually do and DM's from misjudging the resources left to the party and hitting them with an encounter during watch rotations because they think the party doesn't need to rest at the moment.

It also make sorcerer casting more flexible as you can use your feats to get the most out of your limited spell selection. A wizard can customize to the exact spell, but that maximized empowered heightened fireball really can macguyver into the meteor storm slot when you need it, freeing up vital high level spell slots as a sorceror for more interesting spells.

The only worry I have is if this might force some readjustment on mob saves. However, I think it makes the arcane caster saves far more predictable over the course of the day and as a DM allows you to better build encounters and be able to predict the outcomes of said encounters. The casters now have X chances to do DC 17 spells, Y chances for DC 16 spells, and so on.

It also allows, from a player perspective, far more customization of your own spells, which is a HUGE PROBLEM I have with the current casting system. Caster feats are boring. The ones that are interesting (metamagic feats) always seem mechanically debilitating to the point that while they're cool, they're ineffective. This allows low level spells that you would never otherwise see at high levels to see play above level 10. And I think that's better for the game overall. Does it require a bit of math adjustment on the DM's part? Maybe. But really is it all THAT big a deal? Nah. The sheer amount of cool stuff that can come of interpereting the feat this way far outweighs the damage it could do to the system in my mind.

What I might end up doing if saves got out of hand under this interpretation is mess with some of the DC boosting effects. Most of those effects are LAME anyway, as +1 feats are basically bad for the system. I probably wouldn't bother, but it's something I would leave open if it got out of hand.


Yep Yep, I've used this tactic myself. Many of my BBEG spellcasters have used this for years.

On the other hand, metmagic is usually not worth the extra levels to begin with. Consider a Maximized Cure Light Wounds or a normal Cure Critical Wounds - which would you put in your 4th level spell slot? Even more poignant is the question of why the Maximized CLW requires a feat to be much worse than a featless CCW in the same slot - shouldn't using feats give you more power rather than less?

Yes, I know, that's an eggregious example. There are many cases where maximizing or empowering a spell gives you something that is at least semi-worthy of the slot it's being stuck in. In which case, using a second feat to elevate the DC almost makes sense.

But I still have a hard time with the idea that an Empowered Heightened Fireball in a 5th level slot cast by a 10th level wizard is still just barely preferable to a Cone of Cold, and then only in some cases, but it took two feats to make it even playable. Awkward at best - and we're talking Fireball here, the quintessential damage spell.

And a Maximized Heightened Magic Missile in a 4th level slot is a waste of time.

All things considered, however, when I play a mage, I almost never prepare a spell that allows a saving throw. Right now, my 8th level wizard has Black Tentacles. That's it, that's the only spell in my regular preparations that allows any kind of save at all. Extend Spell is my friend, but Maximize, Empower, and Heighten are all worthless to me as a player.

Liberty's Edge

DM_Blake wrote:
All things considered, however, when I play a mage, I almost never prepare a spell that allows a saving throw. Right now, my 8th level wizard has Black Tentacles. That's it, that's the only spell in my regular preparations that allows any kind of save at all. Extend Spell is my friend, but Maximize, Empower, and Heighten are all worthless to me as a player.

And this is really the key here. I think this interpretation keeps the save system from entirely breaking down until 17th level or so. The save system is still inherently flawed, but this allows for a much easier time of predicting when and where that occurs and handling it appropriately as a DM.

Sovereign Court

Well save DC's are based off of your casting trait. Maybe you'd enjoy the game more if you raised that up.


Morgen wrote:
Well save DC's are based off of your casting trait. Maybe you'd enjoy the game more if you raised that up.

I'd enjoy the game more if the save DC system were consistent, in the same way that BAB is consistent. The save DC system is the only part of the game that wildly fluctuates and whenever someone brings up that it basically can't pace the save bonus progressions effectively people say "raise your ability scores". Magic items should not patch a flawed mathematical system. Fix the inherent problems in the math.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Pawns, Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Research wrote:
Morgen wrote:
Well save DC's are based off of your casting trait. Maybe you'd enjoy the game more if you raised that up.
I'd enjoy the game more if the save DC system were consistent, in the same way that BAB is consistent. The save DC system is the only part of the game that wildly fluctuates and whenever someone brings up that it basically can't pace the save bonus progressions effectively people say "raise your ability scores". Magic items should not patch a flawed mathematical system. Fix the inherent problems in the math.

Agreed. Magic items aren't the answer as if you have the money for stat boosting items, then you have the money for save boosting items also.

I think this use of Heightened Spell, whether intentional or not, is a good start.

Would be nice to have a paizo clarification on this.


I allow heighten spell to work if the spell level is increased by at least one level (for heighten).

An empowered(+2), heightened(+1) fireball would (effectively) deal 15D6 damage with a base save DC of 16, though I assume the common interpretation would leave it as a 4th level spell with a base save DC of 14, anyway this is acceptable for me.

Adding to the save DC without adding in a cost for heighten seems a bit too much.


An Empowered Fireball has a DC two lower than a Cone of Cold, but the damage is also better for levels 9-14. It is 50% better at 10th level, and I think that's potentially worth a -2 DC. Metamagic like this can also be nice for sorcerers since it conserves spells known. Sure, at 15th level CoC is superior in every way, but Empowered Fireball has served you well for a significant part of your adventuring career by then, and it could still be useful if stuff immune to cold appears or you need more range.

My primary disagreement with this proposed use of Heighten Spell is that it strikes me as odd that it rewards you for using more metamagic on the spell. The fact that Heightened Grease and Quickened Heightened Grease would both get a base DC of 15 out of a 5th level slot seems wrong to me. It also seems at least close to an intentional misreading of the rules though I'll admit that they're a little vague.

stuart haffenden wrote:
Agreed. Magic items aren't the answer as if you have the money for stat boosting items, then you have the money for save boosting items also.

I suppose that it could vary a lot by campaign, but most monsters probably aren't wearing a lot of stat boosters. Also, while you only have to boost one stat to cast spells you'd have to boost 3 to save against them. The caster also can and should go after the target's weakest save. Sure, you won't always know what that is, but you can often come up with a pretty good guess (Knowledge skills can help with this). Monks don't have a weak save, but they're caster killers, so what do you want?


gbonehead wrote:

So it's long been a complaint that spell DCs lag due to metamagic. Consider an Empowered, Maximized Fireball - the caster is burning an 8th-level slot for a base save DC of 13.

But what about Heighten Spell?

PFSRD wrote:
A heightened spell has a higher spell level than normal (up to a maximum of 9th level). Unlike other metamagic feats, Heighten Spell actually increases the effective level of the spell that it modifies. All effects dependent on spell level (such as saving throw DCs and ability to penetrate a lesser globe of invulnerability) are calculated according to the heightened level. The heightened spell is as difficult to prepare and cast as a spell of its effective level.

Important: Note that it does not say "increase the slot by the number of levels you increase the spell." It does say that the effective level is now the level you prepared it at.

So if you now Heighten the fireball of doom, you've now got a base save DC of 18, at the same slot.

There's nothing in the RAW that says in what order you have to apply the metamagic - so I say apply Heighten last. It's not like it's game-breaking - it just means the save DCs for metamagic spells don't lag.

Heighten by RAW and RAI only affects the base level of the spell. The other metamagic feats dont increase the actual level of the spell, which determines saves, ability to be bypass the Globe of Invulnerability spells. They only affect the spell slot used, which is not automatically attached to spell level.

-------------------------------------------------------------------
From the PRD
Metamagic Feats

As a spellcaster's knowledge of magic grows, he can learn to cast spells in ways slightly different from the norm. Preparing and casting a spell in such a way is harder than normal but, thanks to metamagic feats, is at least possible. Spells modified by a metamagic feat use a spell slot higher than normal. This does not change the level of the spell, so the DC for saving throws against it does not go up.
-----------------------------------------------------------------
As you see you can quicken empower etc a fireball, but it is still a 3rd level spell.

I saw the area you bolded, but the effective level you prepare it at, and the slot it uses are not the same. Metamagic feats other than heighten only affect slots, not effective spell levels, that is why you can't empower and maximize a low level spell and expect it to bypass the globe spells.

I know I typed the same thing twice with a slight variation of the words. That was to make sure everyone understood me.

Sovereign Court

Research wrote:
I'd enjoy the game more if the save DC system were consistent, in the same way that BAB is consistent. The save DC system is the only part of the game that wildly fluctuates and whenever someone brings up that it basically can't pace the save bonus progressions effectively people say "raise your ability scores". Magic items should not patch a flawed mathematical system. Fix the inherent problems in the math.

I didn't say magic items. I was thinking more like as you level up and gain attribute boosts you could put them into your casting trait.

I suppose you could cast the 2nd level buff spell on yourself too, that's +2 to your DC's for not a feat.


Morgen wrote:
Well save DC's are based off of your casting trait. Maybe you'd enjoy the game more if you raised that up.

Thanks for the tip. I hadn't considered that. Big dumb old tarrasque here; whatta I know about spells anyway?


stuart haffenden wrote:
Would be nice to have a paizo clarification on this.

I'm not sure why we need a clarification?

Pick a spell slot. Put your Heightened spell in that slot. It is now treated as if it is that spell level. Period.

It doesn't matter whether other metamagic feats are on that spell. If you put your Heightened spell in a slot, then it becomes a spell of that level.

Clear as a bell.

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Comics Subscriber; Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
DM_Blake wrote:
stuart haffenden wrote:
Would be nice to have a paizo clarification on this.

I'm not sure why we need a clarification?

Pick a spell slot. Put your Heightened spell in that slot. It is now treated as if it is that spell level. Period.

It doesn't matter whether other metamagic feats are on that spell. If you put your Heightened spell in a slot, then it becomes a spell of that level.

Clear as a bell.

+1


If I were playing pathfinder society then I'd expect things to work RAW and RAI.

I am not playing PS.

I'm going to allow heighten to work the way people want it to work. Most metamagic feats are largely ignored. Now, maybe they'll see some use in my home games. I'll just have to see how my players feel about it.

RPG Superstar 2012 Top 16

This has been addressed below, and the OP's post is in effect a house rule.

Heighten basically has a variable Level adjustment. When you adjust the level, you raise the save DC of the spell, and let it bypass level-based magical defenses like a Globe of Invulnerability.

Any other metamagic effects are then modified on top of that, not concurrent. A Heighten+2 Empowered Fireball is a 5th level spell in a 7th level slot. That is simply how the effect functions.

Now, I don't have any problems with it working as the OP posts, just be aware it's a house rule.

The primary use of Heighten has always been by sorcerors, allowing them to use low level spells in a high level slot as needed.

And why would you ever bother Heightening a magic missile spell in a normal world, except to bypass a Globe of Inv?

Metamagic is intensely useful if combined with metamagic efficiency that reduces the cost of the meta, the best of which is Arcane Thesis. It's entirely possible to build a caster with damage infliction that can hit everything with a hammer because he deals out so much damage. Scorching Ray and Magic Missile builds can deal humungous damage if set up properly...and neither requires a save.

===Aelryinth


1 person marked this as FAQ candidate.
Aelryinth wrote:

This has been addressed below, and the OP's post is in effect a house rule.

...

Now, I don't have any problems with it working as the OP posts, just be aware it's a house rule.

===Aelryinth

Are you reading the same text I am? It's been quoted here in this thread, so I won't re-post a quote of the exact text.

I see that you are reading the benefit like this:
(Imaginary Heighten Spell wording): "Add x to the level of the spell. Increse the effective level, save DCs, etc., all by x and also increase the slot into which the spell must be prepared by x."

But that is not what the text says, so why read it that way? As others have said on this thread, nobody ever takes this feat because it's almost worthless as it is. Deliberately applying the worst possible interpretation to make it more worthless won't help anyone appreciate this feat any more.

All the RAW says is that the Heightened spell has a higher level than normal, and that it is as difficult to prepare and cast as any other spell of that effective level. Period. Nothing about adding x levels to get x more efficiency.

So, basically, the caster says "Hey, I'm 18th level, I have the ability to cast spells all the way up to 9th level. I want to heighten my Fireball. I could heighten it to 4th, 5th, 6th, 7th, 8th, or 9th level - whatever I want - but I have to use that level slot to prepare it." And then he picks a slot of whatever level he wants and prepares a Fireball at that level with that save DC.

Or he can say "I want to heighten my Empowered Fireball. I could heighten it to 5th 6th, 7th, 8th, or 9th level - whatever I want - but I have to use that level slot to prepare it." And then he picks a slot of whatever level he wants and prepares a Fireball at that level with that save DC.

Or he can say "I want to heighten my Maximized Fireball. I could heighten it to 6h 7th, 8th, or 9th level - whatever I want - but I have to use that level slot to prepare it." And then he picks a slot of whatever level he wants and prepares a Fireball at that level with that save DC.

Or he can say "I want to heighten my Empowered Maximized Fireball. I could heighten it to 8th or 9th level - whatever I want - but I have to use that level slot to prepare it." And then he picks a slot of whatever level he wants and prepares a Fireball at that level with that save DC.

Now, I don't have any problems with it working as the you post, just be aware it's a house rule.


I am not so sure it is intended to work like you say, the heightn spell feat says it operates at it's 'effective level' not : the level of the spell slot it occupies, it seems more likely (to me) it was meant to say heighten a spell to 5th level (fireball) and then add empower to it, treating it as a 5th level spell in a 7th level slot.

Either way works for me, I find it odd to that heighten spell is added for free, while on it's own it plain sucks ofcourse like it always did.


Remco Sommeling wrote:
Either way works for me, I find it odd to that heighten spell is added for free, while on it's own it plain sucks ofcourse like it always did.

Not quite for free.

Don't forget the "opportunity cost" involved in taking the feat in the first place. You could have taken Spell Penetration, or Toughness, or Dodge, or Improved Initiative, or...

But instead you took Heighten Spell. Because you took this feat, you lost the "opportunity" to take something else. That means it's not quite free, and it's reasonable to expect some benefit for paying the opportunity cost. in this case, the benefit is that if you have this feat and at least one other metamagic feat, and apply them both to a spell, you can raise the save DC to match the effective power of the spell. Really, that's not much of a benefit anyway, so I'd still (mostly) say that Heighten Spell "sucks", as you so eloquently put it. ;)


DM_Blake wrote:
Aelryinth wrote:

This has been addressed below, and the OP's post is in effect a house rule.

...

Now, I don't have any problems with it working as the OP posts, just be aware it's a house rule.

===Aelryinth

Are you reading the same text I am? It's been quoted here in this thread, so I won't re-post a quote of the exact text.

I see that you are reading the benefit like this:
(Imaginary Heighten Spell wording): "Add x to the level of the spell. Increse the effective level, save DCs, etc., all by x and also increase the slot into which the spell must be prepared by x."

But that is not what the text says, so why read it that way? As others have said on this thread, nobody ever takes this feat because it's almost worthless as it is. Deliberately applying the worst possible interpretation to make it more worthless won't help anyone appreciate this feat any more.

All the RAW says is that the Heightened spell has a higher level than normal, and that it is as difficult to prepare and cast as any other spell of that effective level. Period. Nothing about adding x levels to get x more efficiency.

So, basically, the caster says "Hey, I'm 18th level, I have the ability to cast spells all the way up to 9th level. I want to heighten my Fireball. I could heighten it to 4th, 5th, 6th, 7th, 8th, or 9th level - whatever I want - but I have to use that level slot to prepare it." And then he picks a slot of whatever level he wants and prepares a Fireball at that level with that save DC.

Or he can say "I want to heighten my Empowered Fireball. I could heighten it to 5th 6th, 7th, 8th, or 9th level - whatever I want - but I have to use that level slot to prepare it." And then he picks a slot of whatever level he wants and prepares a Fireball at that level with that save DC.

Or he can say "I want to heighten my Maximized Fireball. I could heighten it to 6h 7th, 8th, or 9th level - whatever I want - but I have to use that level slot to prepare it." And then he picks a slot of whatever level he...

Blake the feat is garbage. It has always been garbage. Be aware that the OP's ruling is a houserule.

RPG Superstar 2012 Top 16

IT was ruled by WoTC that it works according to how I posted above, i.e. Heighten +2 + Empower = +4 LA, +2 Level of spell. Paizo has done nothing to dispute this. THe language was basically copied over.

If the spell freely modified the spell to be the same level as the slot it was cast out of, including metamagic adjustments, it would say so. It doesn't.

==Aelryinth


Aelryinth wrote:

If the spell freely modified the spell to be the same level as the slot it was cast out of, including metamagic adjustments, it would say so. It doesn't.

==Aelryinth

I agree with you. Rolling metamagic in for free is not in any way implied by the wording and it would be trivially easy to state that intent, if it was in fact the intent.

The intent seems to clearly be that you add a number of levels to the effective spell level to increase the spell effect by the same number of levels.

A heightened (+0) Fireball would be level 3 and a heightened (+0) maximized fireball would be level 3, in a level 6 slot.

Applying it in the reverse order would have the same result. A maximized fireball is level 3 in a level 6 slot and heightening it (+0) would add zero levels to both the level and the slot. So it would remain 3 and 6.

I do agree with DM Blake that the wording could be seen otherwise, BUT, nothing suggests that a virtually free (feat cost aside) synergy with other metamagic feats is intended. Nothing in the wording in any way suggests that the spell is expected to work better with a metamagic-ed spell than a standard spell. It seems pretty obvious to me that somewhat poor wording (and there is plenty of precedent for that) is the issue here.

I also agree that the feat sucks without this ruling. And I'm not so sure it would be a bad rule. I just don't at all agree it is intended that way.

And if someone from Paizo comes in and says DM Blake has it right, then cool. That will mean three things:
1) The feat doesn't suck in PF.
2) PF should have adjusted the wording from 3X.
3) Paizo's ruling for PF is different than WotC's for the feat.


I agree with Aelryinth. I think thats the second time thats ever happened. 8p They could have written it better, but it seems to me that everything in PF that isnt explicitly different than 3.5 works pretty much the same way it did back then. Just an observation and my 2 cp.


Pathfinder Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Comics Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game, Tales Subscriber

It would definitely be a house rule to allow it (nothing wrong with that). And the text does not even mildly support the suggestion. Look again - the only effect of trying to read extra into it is actually a penalty.

PFSRD wrote:
A heightened spell has a higher spell level than normal (up to a maximum of 9th level). Unlike other metamagic feats, Heighten Spell actually increases the effective level of the spell that it modifies. All effects dependent on spell level (such as saving throw DCs and ability to penetrate a lesser globe of invulnerability) are calculated according to the heightened level. The heightened spell is as difficult to prepare and cast as a spell of its effective level.

All *effects* (DC, etc.) are based on the heightened level, and metamagic's specifically do not stack on each other.

The phrase "as difficult to prepare and cast" (note, not save against) is a reference to requiring a high enough ability score (10 + spell level) and the higher concentration check required. It's often forgotten that a caster could possibly have a lower ability score than 10+their highest spell.

An 11th level wizard with a 15 Int can't cast a chain lightning, but he could still cast a maximized lightning bolt. He *can't* however cast a Heightened (+3) lightning bolt.

Very interesting house rule, but decidedly that.

Sovereign Court

DM_Blake wrote:
Thanks for the tip. I hadn't considered that. Big dumb old tarrasque here; whatta I know about spells anyway?

Yeah sorry, that was the nicest way I could figure out to say about this thread's walking away from the main point thing. People going on about 1st level wizards versus Archmages and somehow the difference not being like 15 points or so of intelligence so somehow heighten spell is super required for crappy first level spells when you have the power to practically reshape time and space as you please and any use of tactics or teamwork seems to be ignored... >.>

Personally I don't see heighten spell working to catch up the DC's with all the other meta-magic feats, but that's my opinion. I don't see why someone couldn't research a meta-magic feat or a swift-action spell that specifically does that, so if some groups run it so heighten does what some folks want I'm not going to mind.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Pawns, Roleplaying Game Subscriber

So I still say that it would be nice for some Paizo clarification on this. "This" being the actually RAW and the sugguested one.


1 person marked this as FAQ candidate.

I agree, an official clarification would be nice...

Also, since I do occasionally play 3.5, Aelryinth, could you post a link to the WOTC interpertation that you mentioned.

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion, Roleplaying Game, Tales Subscriber

If you Heighten a Fireball to Fifth Level it takes a Fifth level slot with a save DC based on it's new level.

IF you empower that same spell, it's now a Seventh Level spell with a spell DC based on it's being fifth level.

If you check to see how staves with Heightened spells are priced, you'll see that's how it falls together.

Liberty's Edge

1 person marked this as FAQ candidate.
Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Card Game, Companion, Modules, Pawns, Roleplaying Game Subscriber
gbonehead wrote:

So it's long been a complaint that spell DCs lag due to metamagic. Consider an Empowered, Maximized Fireball - the caster is burning an 8th-level slot for a base save DC of 13.

But what about Heighten Spell?

PFSRD wrote:
A heightened spell has a higher spell level than normal (up to a maximum of 9th level). Unlike other metamagic feats, Heighten Spell actually increases the effective level of the spell that it modifies. All effects dependent on spell level (such as saving throw DCs and ability to penetrate a lesser globe of invulnerability) are calculated according to the heightened level. The heightened spell is as difficult to prepare and cast as a spell of its effective level.

Important: Note that it does not say "increase the slot by the number of levels you increase the spell." It does say that the effective level is now the level you prepared it at.

So if you now Heighten the fireball of doom, you've now got a base save DC of 18, at the same slot.

There's nothing in the RAW that says in what order you have to apply the metamagic - so I say apply Heighten last. It's not like it's game-breaking - it just means the save DCs for metamagic spells don't lag.

Beside the utter ridiculousness of getting the other benefits for free, nothing prohibit it.

Concerro and the other posters against this idea have explained very well how it work.

stuart haffenden wrote:

So I still say that it would be nice for some Paizo clarification on this. "This" being the actually RAW and the sugguested one.

Then hit the FAQ button on the op.


1 person marked this as FAQ candidate.
Pathfinder Adventure Path, Pawns, Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Diego Rossi wrote:

stuart haffenden wrote:

So I still say that it would be nice for some Paizo clarification on this. "This" being the actually RAW and the sugguested one.

Then hit the FAQ button on the op.

I made it so number one...

Liberty's Edge

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Card Game, Companion, Modules, Pawns, Roleplaying Game Subscriber

Ok, I don't think it is really needed, but I think it is at least courteous to do the same, especially at my post was a bit snarky.
Good luck getting enough hits.


1 person marked this as FAQ candidate.
concerro wrote:
gbonehead wrote:

So it's long been a complaint that spell DCs lag due to metamagic. Consider an Empowered, Maximized Fireball - the caster is burning an 8th-level slot for a base save DC of 13.

But what about Heighten Spell?

PFSRD wrote:
A heightened spell has a higher spell level than normal (up to a maximum of 9th level). Unlike other metamagic feats, Heighten Spell actually increases the effective level of the spell that it modifies. All effects dependent on spell level (such as saving throw DCs and ability to penetrate a lesser globe of invulnerability) are calculated according to the heightened level. The heightened spell is as difficult to prepare and cast as a spell of its effective level.

Important: Note that it does not say "increase the slot by the number of levels you increase the spell." It does say that the effective level is now the level you prepared it at.

So if you now Heighten the fireball of doom, you've now got a base save DC of 18, at the same slot.

There's nothing in the RAW that says in what order you have to apply the metamagic - so I say apply Heighten last. It's not like it's game-breaking - it just means the save DCs for metamagic spells don't lag.

Heighten by RAW and RAI only affects the base level of the spell. The other metamagic feats dont increase the actual level of the spell, which determines saves, ability to be bypass the Globe of Invulnerability spells. They only affect the spell slot used, which is not automatically attached to spell level.

-------------------------------------------------------------------
From the PRD
Metamagic Feats

As a spellcaster's knowledge of magic grows, he can learn to cast spells in ways slightly different from the norm. Preparing and casting a spell in such a way is harder than normal but, thanks to metamagic feats, is at least possible. Spells modified by a metamagic feat use a spell slot higher than normal. This does not change the level of the spell, so the DC for...

link to thread being quoted in case it is cut off

Heighten spell changes the effective spell level. It is not tacked on at the end of other metamagic feats to make the effective spell level equal the level of the slot used, and there is no language to suggest that.

As an example a silenced heightened charmed person will vary according to how many levels you boost it with heighten spell

Charm person(2nd level spell) + silent spell(+1 slot)= 3rd level slot, but still a 2nd level spell.

Charm person(2nd level spell) + silent spell(+1 slot)+Heighten(+2)= 5th level slot, but a 4th level spell.
It is a 4th level spell because you decided to use heighten to raise it by 2 levels, and it occupies the 5th level slot due to silent spell.

Now since we know that metamagic feats other than heighten only effect slots used, and heighten affects the effective spell level we know that heighten does not change slot levels to effective levels. Since it is a metamagic feat it can be use for a higher level slot because the rules say that is that metamagic spells do.

I will also add that if heighten did not actually affect slot levels then it would not be a metamagic feat at all which is what my first charm person example would represent, if I had put heighten spell in that sentence.
Heighten does affect slot level however, but it also changes the actual levels by the whatever number you wish to use with it up to the limits of 9th level slots.

How do I know a metamagic feat must* change the slot used?
As quoted in my last post:
[quoted]Effects of Metamagic Feats on a Spell: In all ways, a metamagic spell operates at its original spell level, even though it is prepared and cast using a higher-level spell slot. Saving throw modifications are not changed unless stated otherwise in the feat description.

That means that as a metamagic feat heighten must use a higher level slot, and if it is not using a higher level slot then it is no more of a metamagic feat than Augment Summoning is.

Other poster:"But Concerro the rules also say that the effective level is not changed."

That is true, but heighten spell gets a specific exception overruling the general rules.

*There are some abilities that allow metamagic feats to be ignored or reduced in cost. Those are exceptions to the rules.


1 person marked this as FAQ candidate.
gbonehead wrote:

So it's long been a complaint that spell DCs lag due to metamagic. Consider an Empowered, Maximized Fireball - the caster is burning an 8th-level slot for a base save DC of 13.

But what about Heighten Spell?

PFSRD wrote:
A heightened spell has a higher spell level than normal (up to a maximum of 9th level). Unlike other metamagic feats, Heighten Spell actually increases the effective level of the spell that it modifies. All effects dependent on spell level (such as saving throw DCs and ability to penetrate a lesser globe of invulnerability) are calculated according to the heightened level. The heightened spell is as difficult to prepare and cast as a spell of its effective level.

Important: Note that it does not say "increase the slot by the number of levels you increase the spell." It does say that the effective level is now the level you prepared it at.

So if you now Heighten the fireball of doom, you've now got a base save DC of 18, at the same slot.

There's nothing in the RAW that says in what order you have to apply the metamagic - so I say apply Heighten last. It's not like it's game-breaking - it just means the save DCs for metamagic spells don't lag.

Well, you know the very first line says: A heightened spell has a higher spell level than normal (up to a maximum of 9th level).

so I really don't get the argument


wow...you have necro'd a very old threat and a lot of things have been said since...

go see the FAQ in the heightened spell entry, and it will answers most of your answers....


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Roleplaying Game Subscriber

http://paizo.com/paizo/faq/v5748nruor1fm#v5748eaic9qpo


There's nothing to FAQ or question here. This FAQ covers pretty much everything.

Quote:


Heighten Spell: How does this spell combine with other metamagic feats and using higher-level slots for lower-level spells?

Heighten Spell is worded poorly and can be confusing. It lets you use a higher-level spell slot for a spell, treating the spell as if it were naturally a higher level spell than the standard version. Unlike Still Spell, which always adds +1 to the level of the spell slot used for a spell, Heighten Spell lets you decide increase a spell's level anywhere from +1 to +9, using a spell slot that is that many spell levels higher than the normal spell.

The language implies that the heightened spell uses whatever spell level is used to prepare or cast it, but the rules text was inherited from 3.5 and doesn't take into account (1) the normal rule allowing you to prepare a spell with a higher-level spell slot, and (2) combining it with other metamagic feats.

For (1), having Heighten Spell doesn't mean any spell you cast with a higher-level slot is automatically heightened; you still have to make the decision to prepare or cast the spell an normal or heightened.
If you are a non-spontaneous caster (such as a cleric or wizard) who wants to prepare a lower-level spell in a higher-level slot, there is no reason not to use Heighten Spell on that spell (it doesn't cost you any extra time or any other game "currency").
If you are a spontaneous caster, heightening a spell when using a higher-level spell slot still increases the casting time, just like any other use of metamagic, so you have to weigh the benefits of either
• casting it normally using the higher-level slot
vs.
• increasing the casting time to cast it as a heightened spell and treat the spell as the level of the spell slot you're using.
Example A 10th-level sorcerer could cast fireball using a 3rd-, 4th-, or 5th-level spell slot, it would only be a standard action casting time, would count as a 3rd-level spell, and have a DC of 13 + Charisma bonus. If she had Heighten Spell and wanted to heighten it using a 4th- or 5th-level spell slot, it would have a full-round action casting time, but would count as a 4th- or 5th-level spell and have a DC of 14 + Cha bonus (for a 4th-level spell) or 15 + Cha bonus (for a 5th-level slot).

For (2), you can't apply Heighten Spell to a spell at no cost: any increase to the effective spell level of the spell must be tracked and paid for by using a higher-level spell slot, above and beyond any other spell level increases from the other metamagic feats.
Example: A 15th-level wizard has Quicken Spell. If he prepares a quickened fireball, that requires a 7th-level spell slot (fireball 3rd level + quicken 4 levels). The spell's DC is still 13 + his Int bonus because it's still just a 3rd-level spell, even though it's in a 7th-level spell slot. If he also has Heighten Spell, the spell is not automatically heightened; it still counts as a 3rd-level spell and has the DC of a 3rd-level spell. If he wants to increase the quickened fireball's effective level with Heighten Spell, he needs to use an even higher level spell slot than the adjusted spell level from the Quicken Spell feat. Increasing the fireball's effective spell level by +1 (from 3rd to 4th) requires using a spell slot +1 level higher (in this case, an 8th-level spell slot instead of a 7th-level slot); increasing the fireball's effective spell level by +2 (from 3rd to 5th) requires using a spell slot +2 levels higher (in this case, a 9th-level spell slot instead of a 7th-level slot).

Another way to look at (2) it is to add Heighten Spell first, then other metamagic feats. Continuing the above example, you'd first heighten the fireball to a 4th-level spell, then quicken it, which requires an 8th-level spell slot (fireball 4th level + quicken 4 levels). Or first heighten the fireball to a 5th-level spell, then quicken it, which requires a 9th-level spell slot (fireball 5th level + quicken 4 levels).

(Heighten Spell is a weak metamagic feat and has limited utility when combined with other metamagic feats.)

—Pathfinder Design Team, 06/10/13

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