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Levitating Wizards shooting Rays


Rules Questions

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6 people marked this as FAQ candidate. 1 person marked this as a favorite.

We all know wizards love to levitate before they can fly. Levitate states: "A levitating creature that attacks with a melee or ranged weapon finds itself increasingly unstable; the first attack has a –1 penalty on attack rolls, the second –2, and so on, to a maximum penalty of –5. A full round spent stabilizing allows the creature to begin again at –1."

Since rays are treated as ranged weapons, do ray spells add to the penalty for attack rolls for a levitating wizard? Reading levitate I think it is yes, but I am not sure.


Tarantula wrote:

We all know wizards love to levitate before they can fly. Levitate states: "A levitating creature that attacks with a melee or ranged weapon finds itself increasingly unstable; the first attack has a –1 penalty on attack rolls, the second –2, and so on, to a maximum penalty of –5. A full round spent stabilizing allows the creature to begin again at –1."

Since rays are treated as ranged weapons, do ray spells add to the penalty for attack rolls for a levitating wizard? Reading levitate I think it is yes, but I am not sure.

To be honest I would say no, the text specifically states "A levitating creature that attacks with a melee or ranged -weapon-" The reason I state the specific text here is because it is referring to the actions required to use said weapons being the cause of said penalty.

Seeing as a ray is a magical attack and cause no dramatic movement or physical reaction from the player at all to use I do not see this causing the penalty.


3 people marked this as a favorite.

As rays count as weapons I'd say yes.
No cherry picking when your ray counts as a weapon and when not.

Just cast other kinds of spells and you are fine.


I believe that rays do not count as weapons. They count as attack rolls for the purposes of things that effect ranged attack such as point blank shot; however, they are not weapons so they don't benefit from things like a bard's inspire courage which increases weapon damage... though I could be mistaken on this...


1 person marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Modules Subscriber

Considering you can take Weapon Specialization (ray) . . .


Someoneknocking wrote:
however, they are not weapons so they don't benefit from things like a bard's inspire courage which increases weapon damage... though I could be mistaken on this...

To quote from another thread:

Quote:

Core FAQ: "Ray: Do rays count as weapons for the purpose of spells and effects that affect weapons?

Yes. (See also this FAQ item for a similar question about rays and weapon feats.)

For example, a bard's inspire courage says it affects "weapon damage rolls," which is worded that way so don't try to add the bonus to a spell like fireball. However, rays are treated as weapons, whether they're from spells, a monster ability, a class ability, or some other source, so the inspire courage bonus applies to ray attack rolls and ray damage rolls.

The same rule applies to weapon-like spells such as flame blade, mage's sword, and spiritual weapon--effects that affect weapons work on these spells."


Got it, so don't levitate and shoot rays. Levitate and drop fireballs.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Companion, Modules, Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Tarantula wrote:
Got it, so don't levitate and shoot rays. Levitate and drop fireballs.

Yea, silly things like this is why you should just let the wizard cast his ray spells. It makes no sense that one would cause problems just because you have to make attack rolls while the more powerful one (fireball) is fine.


There is no obvious logical equivalency between "rays count as weapons" and "shooting a ray will cause you to be unbalanced while levitating."

The rationale behind weapon use unbalancing a levitating caster is the whole Newton's Law thing (actions/reactions).

There is no indication anywhere I've seen in any RAW note that shooting a ray from your finger provides any sort of recoil or any physical reaction on the caster.

I am generally known as a pretty strict GM. I would not even consider causing a levitating caster to be penalized for shooting rays.


Pathfinder Campaign Setting, Companion, Maps, Roleplaying Game Subscriber

It's the Pete Townsend-like somatic wind-up, not the newtownian reaction, that unbalances a levitating wizard using his weapon(ray). (very small joke).

If rays always count as weapons, they always count as weapons. If they only sometimes count as weapons, the rules now need to say when. Rule zero applies, of course.


SlimGauge wrote:

It's the Pete Townsend-like somatic wind-up, not the newtownian reaction, that unbalances a levitating wizard using his weapon(ray). (very small joke).

If rays always count as weapons, they always count as weapons. If they only sometimes count as weapons, the rules now need to say when. Rule zero applies, of course.

Rays don't "always count as weapons". They are "treated as" weapons for the purposes of a few feats and many GMs have expanded that to include some other weapon-like things (such as allowing the PBS tree to apply to rays). That's not the same thing as "always count as weapons."


1 person marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Modules Subscriber

Hey, you get the benefits of rays being weapons, you get the drawbacks of rays being weapons.

RPG Superstar 2009 Top 32, 2010 Top 8

blahpers wrote:
Hey, you get the benefits of rays being weapons, you get the drawbacks of rays being weapons.

Yup, so sayth the FAQ. Plus, IIRC, they count for sneak attacks too.


blahpers wrote:
Hey, you get the benefits of rays being weapons, you get the drawbacks of rays being weapons.

Sigh... yes, because we all know how overpowered a 1/2 BAB class firing "weapon" rays is compared to, say, a full BAB archer...

It's the GM's call. As a GM I would defer more to verisimilitude than some metagame desire to force some illusory form of "balance" on the world...

But that's just me.

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion, Roleplaying Game, Tales Subscriber
Tarantula wrote:

We all know wizards love to levitate before they can fly. Levitate states: "A levitating creature that attacks with a melee or ranged weapon finds itself increasingly unstable; the first attack has a –1 penalty on attack rolls, the second –2, and so on, to a maximum penalty of –5. A full round spent stabilizing allows the creature to begin again at –1."

Since rays are treated as ranged weapons, do ray spells add to the penalty for attack rolls for a levitating wizard? Reading levitate I think it is yes, but I am not sure.

It's a GM's call. I can see good arguments for either answer. The weapon attack spells certainly require more of an aiming effort, than say a magic missile or lightning bolt which is fire and auto-hit.


Pathfinder Campaign Setting, Companion, Maps, Roleplaying Game Subscriber

Ok, Dragon,

Rays are "treated as" weapons for

<give us your list here>

Rays are NOT "treated as" weapons for

<all other cases>

Let the disputation begin !

Andoran

Rays are weapons so yes they take the penalty.

Yes, it sucks. Yes, it makes no sense. Yes, you can always house rule it. But until you do house rule it RAW is RAW.


1 person marked this as a favorite.

Slim, so you would have levitating wizards take penalties for firing "ray of frost" but not for "acid splash?"


I would not count it. The presumed concept behind attacking causing physical instability is that the large movements that are part-and-parcel with almost all physical attacks when there's nothing to brace against cause the "equal and opposite reaction" to cause movement of the PC. Like zero-g astronauts throwing objects.

The mass of a magic ray is (presumably) zero or near zero, so it seems illogical to me that a ray would impart any movement to the caster.

It seems like a rules kludge to argue about whether or not a ray is a weapon per se for this purpose.

Someone else will now tell me PF is a consistent ruleset and that I shouldn't be overruling what the RAW says is the answer because of thinking or "fluff" and that you can't use thought/logic to resolve a question in a game that includes magic and dragons, so if you like, consider that I've saved you the trouble. ;)

dag, ninjaed. Stupid lunch.


So magic missle also?

So since the missle never misses the penalties applied make no difference! ;)


2 people marked this as a favorite.
Matrixryu wrote:
Tarantula wrote:
Got it, so don't levitate and shoot rays. Levitate and drop fireballs.
Yea, silly things like this is why you should just let the wizard cast his ray spells. It makes no sense that one would cause problems just because you have to make attack rolls while the more powerful one (fireball) is fine.

"The wizard's really powerful, why should we bother to inconvenience him by obeying the same rules everyone else has to?"

Andoran

Chobemaster wrote:

I would not count it. The presumed concept behind attacking causing physical instability is that the large movements that are part-and-parcel with almost all physical attacks when there's nothing to brace against cause the "equal and opposite reaction" to cause movement of the PC. Like zero-g astronauts throwing objects.

The mass of a magic ray is (presumably) zero or near zero, so it seems illogical to me that a ray would impart any movement to the caster.

It seems like a rules kludge to argue about whether or not a ray is a weapon per se for this purpose.

Someone else will now tell me PF is a consistent ruleset and that I shouldn't be overruling what the RAW says is the answer because of thinking or "fluff" and that you can't use thought/logic to resolve a question in a game that includes magic and dragons, so if you like, consider that I've saved you the trouble. ;)

dag, ninjaed. Stupid lunch.

I would have to agree that RAI may be that rays don't count.

HOWEVER, until stated otherwise rays are counted as weapons, and the spell says "weapons", so RAW would be that rays would unbalance you.

RAW is often inconsistent and confusing.


Shooting a ray requires steady aim just as shooting ANYTHING that needs an attack roll would. That actually would include fireball, if you were trying to shoot the bead through the arrow slit in a castle wall or something, too.

At least the wizard HAS a crapton of options that aren't negatively affected by levitating, wish other classes could say the same...


Pathfinder Campaign Setting, Companion, Maps, Roleplaying Game Subscriber

I'd (personally, not RAW) give any spell with a somatic component the penalty. Most spells don't have attack rolls, so there's (usually) no effect. Want to avoid the penalty ? Use the "still" metamagic.

But we're talking RAW here, this is a rules forum (or so I've been told). I've been called out for trying to bring RAI or common sense into the discussion before. Sauce for the goose, etc.

One of three things is true. Either

1) rays are treated as weapons
2) rays are treated as weapons some of the time (perhaps by exception)
3) rays are not ever treated as weapons

3 is not true, as we have RAW stating so, therefore 1 or 2 must be true.

If 2 is true, we need RAW stating when.

Now I'm off to search the core for all occurences of "ray"


I think the question is: is aiming and releasing a ray an activity that tends to have some sort of "recoil" that would make the cummulative penalty necessary?......

spells that are not weapons
burning hands
magic missle

I do not see much difference in the use of a magic missle and the use of a ray,

Imagine that some pointing happens....


Magic Missile flies unerringly to its target, like a homing missile. It is not the same as shooting any other sort of ranged weapon.


No the question on magic missle is does it start accumulating the penalty...

Say I fire magic missles the first four rounds and then a crossbow the fifth round...

is the crossbow at a -5 penalty!

Andoran

Adamantine Dragon wrote:
blahpers wrote:
Hey, you get the benefits of rays being weapons, you get the drawbacks of rays being weapons.
Sigh... yes, because we all know how overpowered a 1/2 BAB class firing "weapon" rays is compared to, say, a full BAB archer...

...1/2 BAB class firing "weapon" rays vs. touch AC is.....

If going for the reductio ad abdurdum, be careful of where it goes. Touch AC differences often offset (or more) the 1/2 BAB penalty, most particularly in the low level ranges where levitation is useful in the way OP asked about.


4 people marked this as FAQ candidate. 1 person marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Campaign Setting, Companion, Maps, Roleplaying Game Subscriber

I've found the quote I was looking for in the FAQ.

FAQ wrote:
For example, a bard's inspire courage says it affects "weapon damage rolls," which is worded that way so don't try to add the bonus to a spell like fireball. However, rays are treated as weapons, whether they're from spells, a monster ability, a class ability, or some other source, so the inspire courage bonus applies to ray attack rolls and ray damage rolls.

I do note that the word "always" is not used. However, if rays are not always treated as weapons, then the question becomes "When are rays NOT treated as weapons ?"

Rays are explicitly treated as weapons when/for

Core pg214 Aiming (treated as if using a ranged weapon)
Core pg214 Firing at targets you cannot see
Core pg214 Scoring a critical hit (if the ray does damage)
FAQ spells that affect weapons
FAQ effects that affect weapons (such as inspire courage)
FAQ Some feats, specifically
Weapon Specialization (ray)
Improved Critical (ray)

Rays would then not be treated as weapons

all other times

I'll be joining whoever hit the FAQ button.


1 person marked this as a favorite.

More food for thought: do rays count as "normal" ranged weapons for the purposes of spells like Wind Wall?


Matrixryu wrote:
It makes no sense that one would cause problems just because you have to make attack rolls while the more powerful one (fireball) is fine.

From what I have read, most people feel "Reflex Save for half" is generally inferior to "ranged touch attack" because while saves are carefully scaled, touch AC isn't.


StreamOfTheSky wrote:
Magic Missile flies unerringly to its target, like a homing missile. It is not the same as shooting any other sort of ranged weapon.

Agree it is not like shooting a bow or throwing a knife. I have no way to know if the physics of casting MM are or are not similar to the physics of firing a magic ray at someone, though my inclination is that they are similar.


SlimGauge wrote:

I'd (personally, not RAW) give any spell with a somatic component the penalty. Most spells don't have attack rolls, so there's (usually) no effect. Want to avoid the penalty ? Use the "still" metamagic.

If any somatic casting causes instability, that would be very important to mention in the description of an ARCANE spell, and it does have effect in increasing your instability wrt what you may do in future rounds.

What other actions involve at least as much movement as somatic casting? drinking a potion?


Pathfinder Campaign Setting, Companion, Maps, Roleplaying Game Subscriber

Chobe, I was asked what I'd do. Not what RAW is.

Again, personally (not RAW). Drinking a potion is not an attack and does not require "measured and precise movement". You can slow down or otherwise modify your drinking motion to account for the fact that you're floating in the air. You can't likewise modify your somatic component. It's got to be the exact motion required for the spell. If that component requires to your point your finger at your intended target who is doing his best to NOT be pointed at (dodge, dex to AC, whatever) your instability is going to affect your attack roll.

Bottom line (again, for me, not RAW): If the spell requires a "to hit" roll and does damage, it's a weaponlike attack spell, will be treated as a weapon, and will cause the caster to be unstable.


Slim:

I think you see my point, and I hit the FAQ too. Rays are never said to be the same as weapons or anything like that. There are specific rules in different parts of the RAW and FAQ that say to treat rays as weapons, but they are always describing a specific, not a general situation.

I would love a ruling on not just rays, but other ranged attack spells.


Pathfinder Campaign Setting, Companion, Maps, Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Adamantine Dragon wrote:
Rays are never said to be the same as weapons or anything like that. There are specific rules in different parts of the RAW and FAQ that say to treat rays as weapons, but they are always describing a specific, not a general situation.

This is the root of our disagreement. The FAQ says "However, rays are treated as weapons, wether they're from <list of sources>". You believe there is an implied "in this specific situation only" added onto that. I believe that it is a broader statement. Only the FAQ writer knows exactly what he meant.

I also believe that each DM should treat the case in this thread (that of the use of weapon-like spells while levitating) anyway they darn well please, just so long as it's ALWAYS that way.


Slim...

Here is the heading of the FAQ you quoted:

"Do rays count as weapons for the purpose of spells and effects that affect weapons?"

That's all the FAQ covers. So for that purpose, rays are treated as weapons.

That's ALL the FAQ says. You can't take that and say "since rays are treated as weapons for the purpose of spells and effects that affect weapons" that therefore ray spells will discombobulate a levitating wizard.

Levitate is not a spell that affects weapons.

The FAQ you quoted doesn't apply. It can be a guide for a GM, but it's not RAW. It's not even FAQ for the discussion at hand.

RPG Superstar 2009 Top 32, 2010 Top 8

Hmm, well it's pretty clear that levitate is a spell affecting a weapon.


The problem is, the FAQ calls out 'spells and effects that affect weapons' anything that interacts with weapons in just about any way, is 'an effects that affects weapon'. Any bonuses, penalties, mitigating factors, that effect weapons, affect rays. 'Spells and effects that affect weapons' is a blanket term that applies to everything in the book. The only exceptions that I can think of, is item creation/enhancement and certain combat maneuvers, like sunder. You can't enhance a magic spell through item creation, likewise, you can't disarm, sunder, or steal a ray.

It is a far easier to make a list where a ray ISN'T treated as a weapon, than it is to make a list where a ray IS treated as a weapon. Weapon Focus, Weapon Specialization, Point Black Shot, Improved Critical, Inspire Courage, Haste, Heroism, Prayer etc. these all apply to rays. Hell, technically, there is nothing stopping a caster from taking Deadly Aim and applying it to his ray attacks that deal damage.


Pathfinder Modules Subscriber

Yup, Deadly Aim should work. Tack on another 2 points to that disintegrate, Lou!


StreamOfTheSky wrote:
Magic Missile flies unerringly to its target, like a homing missile. It is not the same as shooting any other sort of ranged weapon.

acid splash.


blahpers wrote:
Yup, Deadly Aim should work. Tack on another 2 points to that disintegrate, Lou!

This is wrong:

Quote:


Benefit: You can choose to take a –1 penalty on all ranged attack rolls to gain a +2 bonus on all ranged damage rolls. When your base attack bonus reaches +4, and every +4 thereafter, the penalty increases by –1 and the bonus to damage increases by +2. You must choose to use this feat before making an attack roll and its effects last until your next turn. The bonus damage does not apply to touch attacks or effects that do not deal hit point damage.

So you can take the penalty all day long, but you won't get the bonus with a ranged touch attack spell.


Deadly aim doesn't work with touch attacks.


Unless it's a gun, because guns are special snowflakes.

Andoran

StreamOfTheSky wrote:
Unless it's a gun, because guns are special snowflakes.

Don't get me started on guns... exceptions layered on exceptions.


...but would you provoke an attack of opportunity twice while levitating and firing a ray and possibly incurring to hit penalties while falling as a paladin...


Pathfinder Modules Subscriber
Abraham spalding wrote:
blahpers wrote:
Yup, Deadly Aim should work. Tack on another 2 points to that disintegrate, Lou!

This is wrong:

Quote:


Benefit: You can choose to take a –1 penalty on all ranged attack rolls to gain a +2 bonus on all ranged damage rolls. When your base attack bonus reaches +4, and every +4 thereafter, the penalty increases by –1 and the bonus to damage increases by +2. You must choose to use this feat before making an attack roll and its effects last until your next turn. The bonus damage does not apply to touch attacks or effects that do not deal hit point damage.
So you can take the penalty all day long, but you won't get the bonus with a ranged touch attack spell.

Well, that's silly. Might as well have just said "doesn't work for ranged touch". Plus, rays work with sneak attack, so why not a piddly feat?

Cheliax

from the prd

Early Firearms: When firing an early firearm, the attack resolves against the target’s touch AC when the target is within the first range increment of the weapon, but this type of attack is not considered a touch attack for the purposes of feats and abilities such as Deadly Aim. At higher range increments, the attack resolves normally, including taking the normal cumulative –2 penalty for each full range increment. Unlike other projectile weapons, early firearms have a maximum range of five range increments.

we got it now people?

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