Paizo Top Nav Branding
  • Hello, Guest! |
  • Sign In |
  • My Account |
  • Shopping Cart |
  • Help/FAQ
About Paizo Messageboards News Paizo Blog Help/FAQ
Pathfinder Roleplaying Game

Starfinder


Pathfinder Society


Pathfinder Adventure Card Game


Pathfinder Adventure Card Game

Cantrips and Metamagic Feats


Rules Questions

Lantern Lodge

It appears that Metamagic feats can be applied to cantrips, since cantrips are a type of spell that can be cast at will. The question is, if a wizard heightens a cantrip (and it takes up a higher level spell slot), is it still cast at will? Or would it take up the one spell slot, and once cast, it is gone? Does the cantrip stop being a cantrip once it occupies a higher than 0-level 'spell slot'? Is the nature of being able to cast the spells at will because they're 0 level, or because they're 'cantrips'?

Example: A wizard memorizes a maximized Acid Splash spell, which would take up a 3rd level slot. Once he's cast it, is it gone from memory? Or being a cantrip, can it be cast again and again?

Note: Yes, I know that a maximized Acid Splash seems like a waste...but the question is how the rules work on Metamagic Feats and cantrips.

Grand Lodge RPG Superstar 2015 Top 32, RPG Superstar 2012 Top 32

I'm looking for the citation, but if metamagic raises the spell level, it uses up the appropriate slot. I'll edit when I find it.


evilaustintom wrote:

It appears that Metamagic feats can be applied to cantrips, since cantrips are a type of spell that can be cast at will. The question is, if a wizard heightens a cantrip (and it takes up a higher level spell slot), is it still cast at will? Or would it take up the one spell slot, and once cast, it is gone? Does the cantrip stop being a cantrip once it occupies a higher than 0-level 'spell slot'? Is the nature of being able to cast the spells at will because they're 0 level, or because they're 'cantrips'?

Example: A wizard memorizes a maximized Acid Splash spell, which would take up a 3rd level slot. Once he's cast it, is it gone from memory? Or being a cantrip, can it be cast again and again?

Note: Yes, I know that a maximized Acid Splash seems like a waste...but the question is how the rules work on Metamagic Feats and cantrips.

No matter what level the metamagic takes it to, it's still a cantrip and doesn't vanish once cast. You're casting it as a 3rd level spell, but it's still a 0 level cantrip. The 3rd level slot that you used to cast it is indeed gone, but you can cast the cantrip again.

Grand Lodge RPG Superstar 2015 Top 32, RPG Superstar 2012 Top 32

That's what I meant, though you phrased it better.

Lantern Lodge

Doggan wrote:


No matter what level the metamagic takes it to, it's still a cantrip and doesn't vanish once cast. You're casting it as a 3rd level spell, but it's still a 0 level cantrip. The 3rd level slot that you used to cast it is indeed gone, but you can cast the cantrip again.

Wait, that's a bit confusing. You appear to be answering the question as if I am talking about a sorcerer casting the spell (ie: he has the cantrip as a known spell, then chooses to maximize the spell, which burns a 3rd level slot).

However, if a wizard didn't memorize the particular cantrip as one of his 0-level spell slot, but DID memorize it maximized as one of his 3rd level slots...and then casts it, is it still there, available to cast maximized again?

Grand Lodge RPG Superstar 2015 Top 32, RPG Superstar 2012 Top 32

evilaustintom wrote:
Doggan wrote:


No matter what level the metamagic takes it to, it's still a cantrip and doesn't vanish once cast. You're casting it as a 3rd level spell, but it's still a 0 level cantrip. The 3rd level slot that you used to cast it is indeed gone, but you can cast the cantrip again.

Wait, that's a bit confusing. You appear to be answering the question as if I am talking about a sorcerer casting the spell (ie: he has the cantrip as a known spell, then chooses to maximize the spell, which burns a 3rd level slot).

However, if a wizard didn't memorize the particular cantrip as one of his 0-level spell slot, but DID memorize it maximized as one of his 3rd level slots...and then casts it, is it still there, available to cast maximized again?

No. The prepared spell is gone.

Sorry, but I can't seem to find the citation I'm looking for. My search-fu is weak today. :(


If you prepare a cantrip using metamagic feats it takes up a spells slot of the appropriate level. Maximized Acid Splash would take a 3rd level slot. When cast the slot is expended. You can no longer cast Acid splash that day unless you also prepared it in one of your cantrip slots. This is found in the section on metamagic feats.

That is rules as written, I however house rule that even a metamagiced cantrip can be used at will. Even metamagic'd cantrips really arn't game breaking but it does add a bit of fun and utility to a caster.

Reach Touch of Fatigue gives a wizard an nice fallback attack, for example.


evilaustintom wrote:


However, if a wizard didn't memorize the particular cantrip as one of his 0-level spell slot, but DID memorize it maximized as one of his 3rd level slots...and then casts it, is it still there, available to cast maximized again?

If a Wizard prepares a Maximized Acid Splash it uses up a 3rd-level spell slot. When he casts it, it's gone.

If a Sorcerer knows Acid Splash, and chooses to Maximize it on the fly, he expends one of his 3rd-level spells per day. Afterwards, he could continue to cast Acid Splash for free, but if he maximizes it again it will require one more of his 3rd-level spells per day.

The Exchange

There are a couple big recent threads on the subject that I'll link here and here

If you'd like to avoid creating numerous opportunities for abuse (especially with reach, heighten, or many of the APG metamagic feats), you're best off going with applying any metamagic to a cantrip makes it a one-off deal.

You might make an exception for merciful spell, since it's +0 (odd, I know), but if you want to keep things simple and straightforward, just make plain vanilla cantrips available at will, and any modified ones work like regular level 1-9 spells (ie. one-off casts).


2 people marked this as a favorite.

devs covered this. Basically you're getting caught up on the word "cantrip." Replace that with "level 0 spell slot." Level 0 spell slots are at will. all others are expended normally.

Lantern Lodge

Tiny Coffee Golem wrote:
devs covered this. Basically you're getting caught up on the word "cantrip." Replace that with "level 0 spell slot." Level 0 spell slots are at will. all others are expended normally.

I wouldn't say 'getting caught up on the word 'Cantrip'' per se...but you're probably right. However, with a current rules combination I am working on, this was one issue I thought about.

The above posts were generally my opinion as well, but I thought I'd make sure (in case I was missing something). I appreciate the feedback.


evilaustintom wrote:
Tiny Coffee Golem wrote:
devs covered this. Basically you're getting caught up on the word "cantrip." Replace that with "level 0 spell slot." Level 0 spell slots are at will. all others are expended normally.

I wouldn't say 'getting caught up on the word 'Cantrip'' per se...but you're probably right. However, with a current rules combination I am working on, this was one issue I thought about.

The above posts were generally my opinion as well, but I thought I'd make sure (in case I was missing something). I appreciate the feedback.

Frankly I don't see it as a big deal either way. Even metamagicked to hell and back cantrips aren't going to be game breaking. Frankly even at will they're significantly less powered than a spell of the same level. As a DM i'd allow it.


evilaustintom wrote:
Doggan wrote:


No matter what level the metamagic takes it to, it's still a cantrip and doesn't vanish once cast. You're casting it as a 3rd level spell, but it's still a 0 level cantrip. The 3rd level slot that you used to cast it is indeed gone, but you can cast the cantrip again.

Wait, that's a bit confusing. You appear to be answering the question as if I am talking about a sorcerer casting the spell (ie: he has the cantrip as a known spell, then chooses to maximize the spell, which burns a 3rd level slot).

However, if a wizard didn't memorize the particular cantrip as one of his 0-level spell slot, but DID memorize it maximized as one of his 3rd level slots...and then casts it, is it still there, available to cast maximized again?

Ah, I misunderstood what you were going for there. You're correct in thinking that the spell is indeed gone. You can only continue to cast 0 level spells if you have them prepared in a 0 level spot.


i am not sure, the rules changed since this thread started but rules as written:

from section 'magic': '... Once you've cast a prepared spell, you can't cast it again until you prepare it again. ...'

from section 'wizard': '... These spells (cantrips) are cast like any other spell, but they are not expended when cast and may be used again. ...'

there is no rule like 'a spell from a level slot greater than 0 can't be cast again'!

that is, if you put a cantrip via quicken in a 4th-level slot it is still a cantrip. rules as written, you can cast a quickend cantrip again and again and again ... not the spell slots expends, the spells does.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion, Maps, Pawns, Roleplaying Game Subscriber

What about 0-level spells with 0-adjustment metamagic feats applied?


-> last sentence: '... that is, if you put a cantrip via quicken in a 4th-level slot it is still a cantrip ...'

from section 'metamagic': ' ... 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. ...'

don't ask me about heighten :) that is another problem


See Relevant FAQ

Relevant FAQ wrote:

The spell counts as the level of the spell slot necessary to cast it.

For example, an empowered burning hands uses a 3rd-level spell slot, counts as a 3rd-level spell for making concentration checks, counts as a 3rd-level spell for a magus's spell recall or a pearl of power.

Therefore, an Empowered Ray of Frost would use a 2nd level spell slot, and count as a 2nd level spell for the purposes of determining whether or not the slot was expended when the spell was cast.

Only 0th Level Spell Slots are not expended when cast. So a Merciful Ray of Frost is still a 0th level spell, and therefore the slot is not consumed when the spell is cast.

There is also a FAQ specifically for Heighten Spell Here


malcolm666 wrote:

...

that is, if you put a cantrip via quicken in a 4th-level slot it is still a cantrip. rules as written, you can cast a quickend cantrip again and again and again ... not the spell slots expends, the spells does.

That isn't correct.

Jason Bulmahn wrote:

Folks, James is right on here.

If you use a higher level slot, for any reason, be it because it is modified with metamagic, or you just prepared it in a higher slot, it is consumed when cast, just like any other spell. Only when it uses a 0-level slot, it is not consumed.

There is some poor wording there that I am going to correct the next time I am able.

And please folks.. play nice.

Jason Bulmahn
Lead Designer
Paizo Publishing


**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.

an Empowered Ray of Frost would use a 2nd level spell slot, and count as a **0th** level spell.

rules as written :)


Jason's statement clearly says the Empowered Ray of Frost would be consumed.


... seems it took a little bit long since 2009 to 'correct it the next time [he is able]'

ok, rules as written i am correct till he adjust the rules himself. i can life with that :D


That is an official post. It is as much rules as written as FAQ's and Errata are.


Pathfinder Companion Subscriber

malcolm666 good luck with your view. And may you find the few other like minded people and play with them.


then there is another problem ... if the Empowered Ray of Frost is 2nd level why should i get the metamagic feat heighten ... it is not necessary ... i can put the ray without a metamagic feat in a 2nd level slot (that is allowed) and voilà it is a 2nd level spell - new spell level, new DC ...


malcolm666 wrote:

**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.

an Empowered Ray of Frost would use a 2nd level spell slot, and count as a **0th** level spell.

rules as written :)

Nope. See the linked FAQ (which is as much RAW as the Text of the book (much to my chagrin)

Relevant FAQ wrote:
"In general, use the (normal, lower) spell level or the (higher) spell slot level, whichever is more of a disadvantage for the caster. The advantages of the metamagic feat are spelled out in the Benefits section of the feat, and the increased spell slot level is a disadvantage."

The relevant disadvantage of being a higher level spell in this case being that the slot is consumed when the spell is cast.


malcolm666 wrote:
then there is another problem ... if the Empowered Ray of Frost is 2nd level why should i get the metamagic feat heighten ... it is not necessary ... i can put the ray without a metamagic feat in a 2nd level slot (that is allowed) and voilà it is a 2nd level spell - new spell level, new DC ...

Heighten does more than just make a spell use a higher slot.

...

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.
...

Merely memorizing a spell in a higher slot doesn't actually make it a higher level spell, but Heighten Spell does.


malcolm666 wrote:
then there is another problem ... if the Empowered Ray of Frost is 2nd level why should i get the metamagic feat heighten ... it is not necessary ... i can put the ray without a metamagic feat in a 2nd level slot (that is allowed) and voilà it is a 2nd level spell - new spell level, new DC ...

Again nope. Per the Relevant FAQ, you use the more disadvantageous original level of the spell to determine saving throw DCs. Except in the case of Heighten Spell, as it explicitly states otherwise in the benefits of the feat.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion, Maps, Pawns, Roleplaying Game Subscriber

Yeah, a 1st-level spell put into a 9th-level slot is still a 1st-level spell IN ALL RESPECTS.

Unless you use Heighten Spell to do it, then it is considered a 9th-level spell, with 9th-level spell DCs, ability to bypass globes of invulnerability, better counter various spells (such as light vs deeper darkness), etc.


Actually per the relevant FAQ linked above, you use the higher slot if it would be disadvantageous for that particular calculation, and explicitly list Concentration checks as an example.
So the Concentration Check for an Empowered Ray of Frost is based on the 2nd level slot used to cast it, while the saving throw DC for a Quickened Touch of Fatigue is based on the spell's original 0th level (since in each case those are the least advantageous values to use).

Paizo / Messageboards / Paizo / Pathfinder® / Pathfinder RPG / Rules Questions / Cantrips and Metamagic Feats All Messageboards

Want to post a reply? Sign in.

©2002-2017 Paizo Inc.® | Privacy Policy | Contact Us
Need help? Email customer.service@paizo.com or call 425-250-0800 during our business hours, Monday through Friday, 10:00 AM to 5:00 PM Pacific time.

Paizo Inc., Paizo, the Paizo golem logo, Pathfinder, the Pathfinder logo, Pathfinder Society, Starfinder, the Starfinder logo, GameMastery, and Planet Stories are registered trademarks of Paizo Inc. The Pathfinder Roleplaying Game, Pathfinder Campaign Setting, Pathfinder Adventure Path, Pathfinder Adventure Card Game, Pathfinder Player Companion, Pathfinder Modules, Pathfinder Tales, Pathfinder Battles, Pathfinder Legends, Pathfinder Online, Starfinder Adventure Path, PaizoCon, RPG Superstar, The Golem's Got It, Titanic Games, the Titanic logo, and the Planet Stories planet logo are trademarks of Paizo Inc. Dungeons & Dragons, Dragon, Dungeon, and Polyhedron are registered trademarks of Wizards of the Coast, Inc., a subsidiary of Hasbro, Inc., and have been used by Paizo Inc. under license. Most product names are trademarks owned or used under license by the companies that publish those products; use of such names without mention of trademark status should not be construed as a challenge to such status.