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Witches & Blood Transcription in Society play

Roleplaying Guild General Discussion

Dark Archive ***

First the spell: Blood Transcription

School divination [evil]; Level alchemist 2, magus 2, wizard 2, witch 2

Casting Time 1 standard action

Components V, S

Range touch

Target one dead spellcaster

Duration 24 hours

Saving Throw none; Spell Resistance no

By consuming 1 pint of blood from a spellcaster killed within the last 24 hours, you can attempt to learn a spell that spellcaster knew. Select one spell available to the dead spellcaster (this must be a spell on your spell list); you gain the knowledge of this spell for 24 hours. During this time, you may write it down (or teach it to your familiar, if you are a witch) using the normal rules for copying a spell from another source. Once you have learned it, you may prepare the spell normally.

This spell makes specific reference to Witches using it to teach new spells to their familiars but there is a vagueness on HOW they actually do it. I used to be a firm believer that the witch would need to drink the blood and then scribe the scroll and THEN feed the scroll to their familiar to be able to cast it. Since there is no Scribe Scroll allowed in Society play it pretty much made this spell useless for Witches in organized play.

HOWEVER, in a recent game a new way of using the spell was presented to me that has made me re-think the use of this spell.
They simply cast this spell and then, with share Spell, applied it to the familiar and had it drink the blood instead. This way the familiar learned the spell not the witch. The knowledge of the spell will fade from the FAMILIAR in 24 hours but the spell itself will still be stored in the familiar since it did learn the spell.
(The familiar no longer knows how the spell works but the witch can still memorize it from the spellbook part of the familiar).

It feels right to me and I'll use it in my home games but wanted to see if this was a PFS Legal option to make use of this spell.

Whoops, I'd always read the spell as putting the caster into the transcription process after full comprehension. I see now it's pretty clear that it still considers the knowledge given to be "another source" from your personalized sources (book, familiar).

I think the best interpretation is that for both wizards and witches, the "other source" is the caster's knowledge, and it is copied as if from another "personalized source". A wizard "reads" the knowledge like another spellbook, whereas the witch's familiar communes with the witch to access the knowledge.

Why? (Includes critiques of your suggestion in no particular order.)

* I see no reason for the process to be more complicated for a witch. Generally, the requirements to "learn" a spell are similar for a witch and a wizard, with the cost of transcription being the major difference that I see. (And it being always present, it is presumably factored in elsewhere?)
* If the scroll method was the required method for a witch, it would not be necessary to teach the familiar within the 24 hours as the wording implies. As the ONLY option would be to scribe a scroll, after which teaching your familiar is completely at your leisure, the text would not benefit from mentioning the familiar except in this context.
* The witch and familiar already share a psychic bond. I cannot think of a reason that this psychic bond could not be analogous or even superior to familiar-to-familiar communion.
* Familiar text wording frequently refers to "adding" spells to a witch's familiar. While wording also frequently refers to "teaching" or a familiar "learning", I believe that in truth a familiar is (at least when it comes to spells) functionally intended to be a vessel, like a spellbook, rather than a sentient entity which understands and safeguards comprehension for you. It stores the spells but you understand them. I believe therein lies indication that a familiar simply learning the spell once would be insufficient.
* The range of the spell is touch. In order to share a touch spell with a familiar, you must have touched yourself, whereas this spell's target is the corpse (or the blood).
* Even If the spell is shared with the familiar it would, if nothing else, need to commune with itself to store the spell. Otherwise the balance would be against wizards, and the extra complication of transcription would only be upon them.

Sovereign Court *****

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber, Card Game, Class Deck Subscriber

Could you feed it to your familiar, then have the familiar teach it to a stone familiar, then have the stone familiar teach it to your familiar again?

Grand Lodge ****

You cast a second level spell, you get to skip the BS of writing it down on a scroll and feeding it to your familiar. Thats how it works.

You can't share the spell with the familiar (to my knowledge), as it's not a Target: You. The target is the corpse.

You can't skip the BS of writing it down, as the text specifically says: "During this time, you may write it down (or teach it to your familiar, if you are a witch) using the normal rules for copying a spell from another source.


Way to ignore the part of the sentence in between your bolded selections. It says "or teach it". It does not say "then teach it". If you are a witch you don't write the spell down because you don't have to screw around with written spells to prepare your spells.

Shadow Lodge ****

Write it down OR teach it to your familiar. Familiars have at least three methods of learning spells, they don't all have to be from a scroll smoothie. This simply lets the witch teach the familiar the spell while she temporarily has the spell in her head.

Shadow Lodge ****

Doh.. too late to edit.

if the other source is say, another familiar, then you don't need to make the scroll smoothie to copy the spell from another source. There's nothing indicating that thats the copying method used. Quite the contrary , the familiar learning it from the witch seems a lot more like learning it from another familiar.

Saint Caleth wrote:
BigNorseWolf wrote:

I understand the confusion, as my response was a little ambiguous. My larger post above shows that I believe it would be unreasonable for the Witch to have to have Scribe Scroll to teach it to her familiar, and that teaching the spell to the familiar is analogous to learning from another familiar.

The spell that you cannot share (as in "Share Spells") is Blood Transcription.

The person to whom I was replying was the one to refer to "skip writing it down" which is not actually a requirement for witches at any point. That step arises from misinterpreting this spell as requiring a witch also have Scribe Scroll, so the spell cannot then solve its own misinterpretation...

My response was to show that it does not skip the transcription/teaching part (for Wizard or Witch) though I bolded the part more appropriate for a wizard, because of the confusion.



Other questions on transcription:

Can you learn more than one spell from the same dead spellcaster.

Arguments against--the target is "one dead spellcaster" with a duration of 24 hours, and usually multiple copies of the same spell do not stack. Strangely enough, this also means, the dead spellcaster would have an aura of magic on them for 24 hours, not the drinking witch.

Arguments for--the 24 hour duration seems like it is intended to remind you of the 24 hours you have to add the spell and not be a duration of a spell on the corpse, even though it is strictly speaking true.

The other (much weirder) question is--

Given that witches and wizards normally can't trade spells together whatsoever, is it legal in Society play to kill and then immediately breath of life a willing fellow PC. This seems like it would allow, in the presence of a 9th level cleric, a wizard PC to donate her entire spellbook to a witch PC for free (and a witch PC to do the same for the wizard, though the wizard must pay ink costs) over the course of enough downtime, such as during the between-adventures downtime. This is, of course, more relevant in PFS than in typical home play because of the ban on learning spells from NPC spellcasters without scrolls.

It seems the answer to this second one is "yes", since it wouldn't be PvP if it was a willing exchange between the two characters.

Dark Archive *****

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber, Class Deck, Maps, Modules Subscriber

Rogue: you're missing a couple things in the hackery here.

One casting + one pint = one spell learned.

You're going to need to do a LOT of support casting to get more than a few pints of blood out of a corpse killed in melee...

Breath of Life gives a temp negative level, so the downtime would be longish.


TetsujinOni wrote:

Rogue: you're missing a couple things in the hackery here.

One casting + one pint = one spell learned.

You're going to need to do a LOT of support casting to get more than a few pints of blood out of a corpse killed in melee...

Breath of Life gives a temp negative level, so the downtime would be longish.

This is all on the BoL question, right? I'm assuming you only get one spell for each death, due to the one round limit on BoL. All those neg levels go away automatically in one day, so the true limit is the number of BoLs the cleric can prepare in a day.

It doesn't matter for me, as all my only spellbook caster worships Shelyn and would never conceive of such a horror, but we do have a BT-happy witch around who asked to get five pints from the last BBEG, so I figured it was worth knowing the answer to the first question at least.

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