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Concealing Spellcasting


Advice

51 to 63 of 63 << first < prev | 1 | 2 | next > last >>
Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Ravingdork wrote:

I like the alternative mentioned above: Treat the caster as though invisible if none of the components are available to identify, essentially adding +20 to the DC to identify that a spell is being cast (and which one).

I think this would be an acceptable alternative if my GM, for whatever reason, felt that a three feat/two-level-spell-slot increase/casting-time-increase was not enough to balance "sneaky spellcasting." *rolls eyes*

LazarX wrote:
...That would include a ruling that Still and Silent metamagic feats have any impact on spell identification, since the feats themselves are silent on the issue.

What ruling? The Spellcraft skill, by referencing the Perception skill's penalties, makes it clear: If there is nothing to perceive, then it cannot be identified. That's also common real-world logic. It is absolutely impossible to identify anything you cannot perceive, and are unaware of.

However, if your video-gamer GM wants to say that there are floating runes or whatever, that may change things, but such spell manifestations are not supported anywhere in RAW.

This has been brought up to the Devs as you very well know, and you know what they've said on the issue as well as I have.


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

Yes, I recall. One developer made his opinion very clear on the matter. An opinion which has absolutely no effect on the RAW, and possibly not even RAI.


There is a magical tattoo that gives you the ability to apply silent and still to any spell you cast once per day. so its kind of like a metamagic rod, but a tattoo. I think one those would be useful for sneaky casting.

Its in inner sea magic with the tattooed sorcerer archtype I believe.


I feel like if a player goes so far as to choose 3 feats for a wizard (or other caster) just to make him sneaky that I'd just go along with it. If you really have a need to catch the magic user, then get him other ways rather than everyone just knowing that the person not making any major movements or speaking odd (by way of those metamagic feats) is ccasting a charm spell. You could sense motive once the political target's mood changes. Maybe the court wizard has detect magic up and is scanning the room, so a percentile chance that he notices the area it's coming from. Otherwise, those feats would only be useful when bound and gagged and only worth the picks once or twice an entire campaign. Perhaps grappled happens more often, but if I'm preparing spells for being grappled, it's probably d-door.

Anyways, others already mentioned the ones I know, with illusion of calm and silent spell being my liked ones.

Scarab Sages

This arguement is really about how sneeky do you want magic to be. There are LOTS of tropes where a spell is cast upon a person and they don't know it. There are also lots of tropes that make magic flashy.

As far as I'm concerned, I'll stick with the spell descriptions. No reported visual effect means no visual effect.

The V,S,M components of a spell limit the spell both by their ease of casting (you can teleport when your hands are bound, but you can't cast fireball), and by the subtlety of the act.

Personally I'd rather support creative (i.e. sneaky) uses of spells. Video games HAVE TO create visual effects around magic because visual effects is their medium. Fantasy liturature has much more variablity in it. Pathfinder is a story-telling game, so there is plenty of room for a "subtle magic" interpretation of the rules.


I do allow a degree of minor personalisation with regards to the visual effects of a spell. For example, one female caster's mage armour was expressed a pink 'force shimmer' on those they cast on, whose light and magic missile spells were pink, etc. But these were minor and essentially cosmetic to enhance the role-playing dimension.

When casting a spell as I read it, it potentially has four parts which could give you away prior to completion:
1/ Verbal - made unnecessary by the silent spell metamagic;
2/ Somantic - made unnecessary by the still spell metamagic;
3/ Material - sometimes made unnecessary by the Eschew Materials feat, and
4/ Concentration - not necessary in all cases but is there always at least a moment of apparent intense concentration?

In the case of spell-song there is a mechanism where sleight of hand and performance can be used, the other mentioned cases I haven't used.

With regards to Spellcraft that presumes that the character in question is able to perceive the casting in order to identify the spell, again I would reference the above 'parts' of casting which could give a caster away and take it from there when setting the DC. I might also ask for a perception check too, especially if the other caster was say, invisible.


There are some third party skill tricks, conversions from 3.5 or homemade stuff like this:

PF SRD wrote:

Hidden Spell

You can cast spells unnoticed.

Prerequisite: Sleight of Hand 5 ranks, Spellcraft 1 rank.

Benefit: You can hide the fact that you casting a spell so well that when you make a successful Sleight of Hand check, opposed by enemy Perception checks, enemies can't tell that you're spell-casting. They also cannot counterspell and receive no attacks of opportunity if they'd normally be entitled to one.

PF SRD wrote:

False Spell

You fake one spell to make your enemy think you're casting another.

Prerequisite: Bluff or Sleight of Hand 8 ranks, Spellcraft 8 ranks.

Benefit: You imitate the verbal and somatic components of a spell other than the one you're casting, of the same level. Attempts to identify the spell using Spellcraft are fooled and you enemy believes you're casting the other spell. this ruins any attempt to counterspell, though dispel magic and similar spells still work. All is revealed once the actual spell is cast and a lightning bolt still looks, feels and acts like a lightning bolt, for example.


PSusac wrote:

Forgive me if this has already been covered, but:

Use Ventriloquism to make it sound like the verbal component is coming from across the room. This doesn't get rid of the sound of spell-casting, but it does provide social cover.

Consider you want to cast charm person in a crowded bar. Go to the toilet, cast ventriloquism (lasts 1 min/level), then cast your charm person, and have it sound like your voice is coming from under the table of that crowd of rowdy construction workers over on the far side of the bar. Between the distance penalty (-1/10' distance) AND the muffling from the fact that it's coming from under the table AND the noise, you should get a pretty good chance of "hiding" the somatic component to the spell.

Otherwise you can just make it sound like it's coming from someone else, or even an area of space that might be mistaken for an invisible spell caster.

It's a trick I used against my party as a GM, and they wasted 2-3 rounds before they figured out where the guy was hiding (and he was hiding, NOT invisible, so see invisible didn't work).

And all it costs is a level 1 spell.

By the rules if they see you casting the spell they still get a spellcraft check though, even with ventriloquism up. At best you can say the other noise is a distraction, but then again the sound of combat is not enough to warrant a penalty so that still makes it a hard sell.


PSusac wrote:

This arguement is really about how sneeky do you want magic to be. There are LOTS of tropes where a spell is cast upon a person and they don't know it. There are also lots of tropes that make magic flashy.

As far as I'm concerned, I'll stick with the spell descriptions. No reported visual effect means no visual effect.

The V,S,M components of a spell limit the spell both by their ease of casting (you can teleport when your hands are bound, but you can't cast fireball), and by the subtlety of the act.

Personally I'd rather support creative (i.e. sneaky) uses of spells. Video games HAVE TO create visual effects around magic because visual effects is their medium. Fantasy liturature has much more variablity in it. Pathfinder is a story-telling game, so there is plenty of room for a "subtle magic" interpretation of the rules.

I totally agree with that point about video games vs. tabletop games/literature. If I cast a spell and nothing happens, I might assume that the game is glitched or something. I've had that happen to me sorta with KOTOR. My computer was crappy so I had to downgrade the graphics to the lowest point which made stealth hilarious. With even average graphics your character basically disappears. On low, your character gets covered in a weird, yellow, electricity-looking thing that does not at all look like stealth. It's totally visible but I forgave it because it's better than nothing. I don't want sneak right in front of people like I'm in Skyrim. Pathfinder doesn't ahve that particular problem. The DM says my spell worked therefore it did.

To the larger point of illusions being noticeable, I would say most people have an idea of what spellcasting looks like but not much specific knowledge. Spellcasting is described in the fluff as requiring elaborate hand movement and words of power in a unique language. Still and silent spell remove these requirements but require more power.

My ruling as a GM would be to allow you to hide spells like you'd hide moving your hands and speech. Unless its a spell like Shout or an ability like Cackle that specifically requires to be said loudly and clearly, there's not reason to me why you couldn't mutter it while the party bard is rocking out. You could easily hide your hands under the table at the noble's feast or behind the big, burly barbarian. If charm person required you to stand up, wave your arms frantically, and shout the words of power at the top of your lungs, it'd be ridiculous. So make some realistic effort s to hide your spell casting and it should be fine.

The balancing factor is that a sharp-eyed bodyguard might notice you mutter something strange or moving your hands under the table. Or possibly the court mage could see the effect of the king acting peculiarly. In fact, charm anyone important should be really difficult. I would have two court mages of talent cast dispel magic, break enchantment, etc. on the King and on each other every night before going to sleep. If they are dominated into not wanting resisting these measures it's cause for alarm. The only way around it would be to charm/dominate all three of them and that's difficult given that will is a strong save for every spellcaster save the ranger.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion, Maps, Pawns, Roleplaying Game Subscriber
wraithstrike wrote:
By the rules if they see you casting the spell they still get a spellcraft check though, even with ventriloquism up. At best you can say the other noise is a distraction, but then again the sound of combat is not enough to warrant a penalty so that still makes it a hard sell.

The trick is seeing it in the first place. Nothing to observe, no check.

Scarab Sages

Has using the Bluff skill been mentioned yet?

Some combination of Bluff and Stealth could conceivably be used to cover your spellcasting with some other, innocuous activity without resorting to lots of feats. If you had "still spell" or "silent spell" that would probably make it easier.


Oh look, a spambot! Flag.

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