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Bonus 0 Level Spells


Rules Questions

Grand Lodge

Throughout the many iterations of D&D and now Pathfinder, I've been perplexed by the lack of bonuses to 0 level spells for casters with a high primary attribute (int, wis, cha). I first started running D&D with 2nd edition, when every DM I knew had a list of house rules as long as your arm, so I just ruled that you got a number of bonus 0 level spells equal to the number of bonus 1st level spells you got. Never seemed to really matter one way or the other.

When 3.0 came out, and then 3.5, I found the system tight enough that I didn't find any real need to have any house rules, except for the bonus 0 level spells. I kept them in because I didn't see any real reason NOT to. They're 0 level spells, it's not like they're going to unbalance the game.

Now I'm getting ready to run Pathfinder, and I see the same thing--no 0 level bonus spells. I really like that in pathfinder a wizard, for instance, can cast each 0 level spell prepared as many times per day as she wants. That's great. But I find myself wondering why casters still don't get bonus 0 level spells per day for their high ability score.

I've never seen a player use a 0 level spell to any effect in a combat situation. Most of my wizards in the past have merely used them to light camp fires. So it doesn't seem like giving them a bonus spell for their 18 intelligence will make any difference.

And yet, for all these, years, there have been no 0 level bonus spells. It occurs to me there must be a reason. Otherwise, why would the writers and developers not just give those bonus spells, if only for chart symmetry?

What am I missing here? What is the reasoning behind not giving bonus spells at 0 level?

(sorry this is rambling, I'm on my 3rd Belgian tripel...)


are you kidding? you even spelled it out yourself...

Quote:
I really like that in pathfinder a wizard, for instance, can cast each 0 level spell prepared as many times per day as she wants. That's great. But I find myself wondering why casters still don't get bonus 0 level spells per day for their high ability score.

what is infinity + 1?

a bonus spell slot is useful when you are limited to spell slots. that isn't the case for cantrips.

beer please.


Well you can cast those 4 prepared spells infinite times, but no matter if you have int 10 or int 30 you only get to prepare 4 spells, never more (or however much your class allows you).


Lex Starwalker wrote:
What am I missing here? What is the reasoning behind not giving bonus spells at 0 level?

Probably to make the actual process of picking 0th level spells matter. In regular 3rd edition lack of bonus 0th level spells was a real pain.

There is a problem of delicate balance that needs to be be found between not enough or too many 0th level spells available: give too many and the character will get access to all 0th level spells, meaning there is no process of choosing the spells, give not enough and the characters will only use the same four cantrips all the time again rendering the matter of picking 0th level spells moot.

IIRC there is a trait that grants bonus 0th level spell but some additional way of gaining more (but not too much) 0th level spells would be good.

Andoran

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

It would not be a good houserule in Pathfinder.
You must remember that in pathfinder every cantrip can be cast an unlimited number of times every day.

Casting acid orb three times in combat at level 1 is mediocre (3.x edition), having a ranged touch attack that do 1d3 points of damage and stop a troll regeneration always available is another matter, especially as you will have 2 other cantrips with an unlimited number of castings.

Getting 1-2 extra cantrips will practically remove he need to chose what you prepare if you are a caster that memorize spells and almost neutralize the small perk that spontaneous casters get in that department with the larger number of cantrips which they can use.

Grand Lodge

In 3rd edition is was a bit of a problem, but in Pathfinder it's a joke, unlimited cantrips means you don't need bonus spells.

I'm not sure what the logic behind this restriction was in previous editions, I always made the assumption that level 0 spells are so basic that those with even a hint of intelligence can cast them.

Just do what I do if you want more low level spells, but scrolls and copy them into your spellbook (spontaneous casters need not apply!)

Qadira

I think his house rule would change in pathfinder to a bonus 0th level slot, not bonus 0th level spells / day b/c infinity +1 really doesn't matter.

1st level: 18 int. 4 0th / 1 1st. ne?

Grand Lodge

I think something is confused here. Being able to cast 0 level spells unlimited times per day doesn't mean you have infinite access to 0 level spells. You still have to pick 3 (as a 1st level wizard), and then you can cast those 3 as many times as you want.

Even with a 20 intelligence, this would only raise your number of 0 level spells you can prepare per day to 5. This is nowhere near all the 0-level spells out there, not even just in the Core book. It's not even half.

I don't really see a by-the-book character having higher than a 20 in their primary attribute. After the first few levels, the number of 0 level spells seems to me to be irrelevant.

It seems to me that if anything is going to "break the game" it would be giving casters the ability to cast a 0 level spell they've prepared as many times as they want. Next to that, allowing casters with exceptionally high attributes the ability to prepare one or two more 0 level spells seems marginal.

Andoran

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

level 1 the difference between
- Daze
- Acid splash
- Detect magic

And
- Daze
- Acid splash
- Detect magic
- Detect poison
- Light

is noticeable

Level 10.
Selecting:
- Light or Dancing light
- Detect magic
- Acid splash (stopping most creatures regeneration a 0 magic cost is always good)
- Mage hand

or
- Light
- Dancing light
- Detect magic
- Acid splash
- Mage hand
- Detect poison
- Message

is still meaningful (spell selection can vary, it is only an example).

As an example you remove the need to chose between Light and Dancing lights, to depend on the cleric for Detect poison and so on.
For a higher level wizard it mean he ill almost double the number of cantrips he can freely cast.

Overpowering? No.
Convenient? Yes.

Sczarni

Convenience is bad? Since when?

This is one of the things that has always seemed a bit illogical to me. A wizard with high intelligence score can remember several 1st and higher level spell more than simple cantrips? Sure, the way the rules are now she can cast those cantrips freely, yet I fail to see that as a problem. Cantrips are the very basics of magic - stuff that each wizard can grasp almost as intuitively as sorcerers.

Never mind the remembering, a wizard of the caliber that would actually gain those extra spell slots from her high intelligence could deduce the cantrips from the "rules" of magic she knows. I always sort of thought this was why they were available freely. It is basically impossible to forget them - the wizard would have to forget how magic works altogether.


I give a bonus number of spells known/prepared equal to the casting stat minus 1. Not been a problem, and allows a bit more utility.

I also give clerics 0-level domain spells (taking 1 of the normal slots). I've always wondered why 3e and PF didn't.

And while we're on the subject, why don't rangers and paladins get cantrips? As things stand, they get some 0-level spells in a 1st level slot. Unsurprisingly, these are almost never used (and most were excised in PF). When did your paladin last take Virtue?


You know...I've honestly never thought about this before...but I think the additional-0-level-spells will see its appearance as a house rule in my games. If nothing else I'll playtest it to see how well it balances out.

Unlimited times per day, but still pretty low-key effects, remember. Sure, it makes a huge difference in the short run, but not necessarily in the long run.

Of course, Sorcerers would still get shafted as-written. Maybe they can learn additional level 0 spells based on how many they'd cast in a day...I dunno. But I like the basic concept.

EDIT: @Mudfoot:

Wait, the casting STAT? That's...that's pretty overpowered. Unless you mean the casting MODIFIER.


Machaeus wrote:
Wait, the casting STAT? That's...that's pretty overpowered. Unless you mean the casting MODIFIER.

Certainly not overpowered, at least not beyond 3rd level. Still, with such house rule it would change little if casters were allowed to access any of 0th level spells available to their class at will.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Maps, Modules, Pawns, Roleplaying Game Subscriber

I prefer for casters to 'feel' a bit more magical so I've houseruled the bonus spell progression to include 0th level spells. For anyone who wants to use it, I have a table with the progression here.


...wait, was he talking purely 0-level spells?

If so, then I derp'd. I thought he meant spell levels. Like, at 1st level you have (as a Wizard) 1 + Int modifier spells/day, but at 9th level you could divide those spell levels up (say, if it's 20 Int you could have 1 + 4 5th-level spells).

Aaaaaaaand now I want to see what would happen if you did that. WTF brain.


Laithoron wrote:
I prefer for casters to 'feel' a bit more magical so I've houseruled the bonus spell progression to include 0th level spells. For anyone who wants to use it, I have a table with the progression here.

I'd have made it keyed to 1 at 11 Int and +1 every additional 8 (but that doesn't fit nicely on the table)


If you want to make ability score matter but don't want to overpower, what about this house rule?
Number of cantrips prepared are equal to the number on the sheet + half casting stat mod.
Each cantrip can be cast 3 + stat times per preparation.

So 1st level wizard with 16 int can prepare 4 cantrips and cast each 6 times. With 20 int it can prepare 5 cantrips and cast each 8 times.


stringburka wrote:

If you want to make ability score matter but don't want to overpower, what about this house rule?

Number of cantrips prepared are equal to the number on the sheet + half casting stat mod.
Each cantrip can be cast 3 + stat times per preparation.

So 1st level wizard with 16 int can prepare 4 cantrips and cast each 6 times. With 20 int it can prepare 5 cantrips and cast each 8 times.

That would be a horrible nerf in my opinion.

Don't touch the unlimited casting.

If you want to give them more options give them 1 or 2 bonus 0-level slots (or for spontanous casters 0-level spells known). Because let's face it there are a couple of "must have" cantrips already that take up 2 or 3 of your slots, so there's not much variaty in the cantrips anyway.

Andoran

Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

I think I will have cantrips prepared equal to casting mod rather than the few on the table. Starts out small, but can grow later in the game.


Quatar wrote:

That would be a horrible nerf in my opinion.

Don't touch the unlimited casting.

If you want to give them more options give them 1 or 2 bonus 0-level slots (or for spontanous casters 0-level spells known). Because let's face it there are a couple of "must have" cantrips already that take up 2 or 3 of your slots, so there's not much variaty in the cantrips anyway.

Different tastes. I don't see any must-haves, apart from detect magic possibly. I rarely want to cast more than 6-7 of a single one of my cantrip throughout the day - unless trying to abuse something (not saying you do). If I think I'll use a cantrip heavily, I can just prepare it in two slots - and still have extra slots compared to a vanilla caster.

At the worst, it'll stop the constant detect magic issues some people have when using RAW (personally we use detect magic at range of touch with the regular one as a level one spell).

Personally, I think it's a fair choice. I'd probably take it for most of my casters, though maybe not all. Kinda depends on flavor, I guess. Do I want a total of 40 castings of 5 spells or unlimited castings of 3? It might be a hard choice. It's still 37 more castings than the 3.5 rule, regardless.

I don't like just adding power to classes that don't need it, though.


Pathfinder Modules Subscriber

We discussed this when our current campaign started and decided "C'mon. They're cantrips." So we extrapolated the table backward to determine how many bonus 0th-level spells you could prepare at a time.

To absolutely nobody's surprise, it didn't break anything.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Maps, Modules, Pawns, Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Archaeik wrote:
Laithoron wrote:
I prefer for casters to 'feel' a bit more magical so I've houseruled the bonus spell progression to include 0th level spells. For anyone who wants to use it, I have a table with the progression here.
I'd have made it keyed to 1 at 11 Int and +1 every additional 8 (but that doesn't fit nicely on the table)

I simply looked at the pattern used for spell levels 1-9 and then extended that pattern backwards to include 0th level. Sounds like blahpers did the same thing.

Sczarni RPG Superstar 2014 Top 16

1 person marked this as a favorite.

Yeah, I've always had exactly the same house rule, just extrapolating the table backwards to include 0th level bonus spells. Even Hero Lab does it; there is an option under House Rules for "Bonus 0-level spells"!

I can only guess that this was some kind of oversight in the initial implementation of 0th-level spells, and no one ever decided to go back and fix it. Probably because it's not that important. But still, the fact that it's an extra exception in the rules system bugs me.

I guess we can always hope that when Pathfinder 2nd Edition finally rolls around 10 years from now, it will fix this.

Grand Lodge

I just make the number of 0 level bonus spells equal to the number of 1st level bonus spells.


For those who went nito shock when I wrote casting Stat, yes I did mean the modifier. Sorry for the trauma.

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