Scorching Ray, Mirror Image, Spell Resistance


Rules Questions


If a spellcaster casts Scorching Ray at level 7 (so two rays) at a target with Mirror Image active and the target also has spell resistance...how exactly is that resolved?


Page(CRB)565: Spell Resistance prevents a spell from disrupting another spell.
I'd view that as if the Spell Resistance isn't bypassed, then the Mirror Image isn't effected as any normal targeted spell would have a chance to disrupt an image.

Liberty's Edge

You should determine whether the target or images are hit first, roll to hit, and destroy an image for each ray that missed by the target by 5 or less or hit an image, roll SR for any ray that hit the target to negate that ray.

I looked at spell resistance in the PRD Universal Monster Rules, the PRD Magic Section, and PRD Glossary. The Glossary had the most extensive rule set on Spell Resistance. There is also an FAQ on Mirror Image and Miss Chance that seems applicable.

I said first determine if the target or images are hit because spell resistance only applies to portions of a spell that actually target a creature with SR.

PRD Glossary Spell Resistance:
/Spell Resistance/When Spell Resistance Applies wrote:
Targeted Spells: Spell resistance applies if the spell is targeted at the creature. Some individually targeted spells can be directed at several creatures simultaneously. In such cases, a creature's spell resistance applies only to the portion of the spell actually targeted at that creature. If several different resistant creatures are subjected to such a spell, each checks its spell resistance separately.

I then have you check to see if the SR target is missed by 5 or less because "Spell resistance has no effect unless the energy created or released by the spell actually goes to work on the resistant creature's mind or body." and a ray that missed you is not acting on your body. (quote from PRD Glossary/Spell Resistance/When Spell resistance Applies, 7th paragraph.)

Finally a hit from a ray that hits the target but is negated by SR would not affect the target because of both the previously quoted " Spell resistance prevents a spell from disrupting another spell." and is backed up by FAQ on Mirror Image and Miss Chance which has an example of a spell that protects the target from the targeted effect not losing an image when the hit becomes a miss. As opposed to effects protect the target by changing the hit to a miss.

FAQ on Mirror Image and Miss Chance:
Paizo FAQ wrote:

Mirror Image and Miss Chance: If I have a miss chance and a mirror image, how do I combine them?

Miss chances generally only apply when an attack hits. For most miss chances, such as blur, there’s no need to roll them if an attack would hit a mirror image because a hit and a miss by 5 or less would both pop the image. The only exception to this rule is blink and similar effects, which already have some other exceptions from normal miss chances due to moving you to another plane (for instance, unlike other miss chances, blink protects you from targeted effects). The 50% chance to be on the Ethereal Plane protects both the caster and the images.


It seems as if you answer is correct, but the rules you quoted were not correct with regard to the question.

"Targeted spells" are spells such as hold person that have allow you to just choose the target without worrying about attack rolls so the "targeted spells" section does not apply in this case.

When you read them they will say things such as "target: living creature" because they are target based spells.

Readn further down in the glossary under Spell Resistance and you will notice that other methods of aiming a spell are listed.

These methods are also described under "Aiming a spell" in the magic chapter because there is more than one way to aim a spell.

Scorching Ray is not a "targeted spell". It is an effect because it uses a ray and rays are effects.

This is the section explaining how effects work with SR.

prd and Spell Resistance wrote:


Effect Spells: Most effect spells summon or create something and are not subject to spell resistance. Sometimes, however, spell resistance applies to effect spells, usually to those that act upon a creature more or less directly, such as web.

Spell resistance can protect a creature from a spell that's already been cast. Check spell resistance when the creature is first affected by the spell.

Check spell resistance only once for any particular casting of a spell or use of a spell-like ability. If spell resistance fails the first time, it fails each time the creature encounters that same casting of the spell. Likewise, if the spell resistance succeeds the first time, it always succeeds. If the creature has voluntarily lowered its spell resistance and is then subjected to a spell, the creature still has a single chance to resist that spell later, when its spell resistance is back up.

Spell resistance has no effect unless the energy created or released by the spell actually goes to work on the resistant creature's mind or body. If the spell acts on anything else and the creature is affected as a consequence, no roll is required. Spell-resistant creatures can be harmed by a spell when they are not being directly affected.

Spell resistance does not apply if an effect fools the creature's senses or reveals something about the creature.

Magic actually has to be working for spell resistance to apply. Spells that have instantaneous durations but lasting results aren't subject to spell resistance unless the resistant creature is exposed to the spell the instant it is cast.

That part I bolded about SR succeeding every time it encounters the same casting of the spell is important because that means SR doesn't get checked for every ray that scorching ray can produce from any one casting since each ray could have been seen as encoutering the spell a different time. Now the intended victim only needs to have his SR work once to avoid every ray from one casting of the spell.

As for rays being an effect.

The following list things that are effects such as rays, and area of attack spells. Fireball is a spread based effect.

prd and magic chapter wrote:


Effect: Some spells create or summon things rather than affecting things that are already present.

You must designate the location where these things are to appear, either by seeing it or defining it. Range determines how far away an effect can appear, but if the effect is mobile, after it appears it can move regardless of the spell's range.

Ray: Some effects are rays. You aim a ray as if using a ranged weapon, though typically you make a ranged touch attack rather than a normal ranged attack. As with a ranged weapon, you can fire into the dark or at an invisible creature and hope you hit something. You don't have to see the creature you're trying to hit, as you do with a targeted spell. Intervening creatures and obstacles, however, can block your line of sight or provide cover for the creature at which you're aiming.

If a ray spell has a duration, it's the duration of the effect that the ray causes, not the length of time the ray itself persists.

If a ray spell deals damage, you can score a critical hit just as if it were a weapon. A ray spell threatens a critical hit on a natural roll of 20 and deals double damage on a successful critical hit.

Rays are a subcategory of effects. It shows up more cleary in the PRD since my bolding them both doesn't show the hierarchy like it does in the book.

scorching ray wrote:


SCORCHING RAY

School evocation [fire]; Level sorcerer/wizard 2

Casting Time 1 standard action

Components V, S

Range close (25 ft. + 5 ft./2 levels)

Effect one or more rays

PS: Until your comment I would have had SR apply first so I am grateful.

edit: I just found the line that says:
Spell resistance prevents a spell from disrupting another spell.
I am going back to my original thought that SR protects mirror image since it protects other spells.

However if you have a reason as to why mirror image would not benefit, but another spell would then I'm interested in hearing your ideals on it.

Liberty's Edge

You are correct Wraithstrike that the targets area is the wrong place to point out. I did not see how you would run, I think it may look like the revised method below.
Revised Method:
1:Determine what the rays hit.
2:Roll to Hit.
3:If a ray hits target make SR check.
4:If SR check fails no effect target or mirror image, skip step 5.
5:Resolve Scorching ray as normal in relation to mirror image and target.

Let me include the original method in the same format.
Original Method:
1:Determine what the rays hit.
2:Roll to Hit.
3:Resolve Scorching ray as normal in relation to mirror image.
4:Roll SR for any ray that hit the target to negate that ray. (Ray is not converted to a miss, it is negated and does not remove an image)

I wanted to argue that both methods were valid, but it appears the revised method is the way the rules call for it to be run. I think this situation of a spell with multiple effects hitting a spell that is both a target and a spell cast on someone is an outlier that was not considered of when writing the SR section.


The only mentions I can find in the rules of Disrupting Spells are in reference to disspelling spells.

So I think the sentence regarding "disrupting a spell" applies to things like Dispell magic, or Slow disrupting Haste.
The damage from scorching ray might destroy an image but it's not actually disrupting the spell.


Stephen Ede wrote:

The only mentions I can find in the rules of Disrupting Spells are in reference to disspelling spells.

So I think the sentence regarding "disrupting a spell" applies to things like Dispell magic, or Slow disrupting Haste.
The damage from scorching ray might destroy an image but it's not actually disrupting the spell.

Dispel magic bypasses SR, and spells such as slow and haste automatically cancel each other out per an FAQ, and it even mentions that it bypasses SR.

FAQ wrote:


Dispel Example: You are a 5th-level wizard, your opponent is a 6th-level sorcerer. On her turn, the sorcerer casts slow and targets 6 of your allies; all 6 of them fail their saves and are slowed. On your turn, you cast haste and target 5 of your allies; this automatically dispels (no caster level check needed) the slow spell on those allies, leaving them without the effect of slow or haste (your 6th ally is still affected by slow). Note that this does not merely suppress the slow effect for the duration of your haste—the effect is completely dispelled on those 5 allies. Note that it doesn't matter if the target would normally get a saving throw or spell resistance to negate or avoid the spell used to dispel (such as casting slow to dispel an already-caste haste); to speed up gameplay and prevent lopsided applications of this sort of dispelling, the "diametrically opposed" spell automatically dispels its opposite, regardless of the desires of the creature affected by the opposite.


So...it sounds like SR will prevent an image from being destroyed? That seems to be the consensus?

Liberty's Edge

I think SR prevents an image being destroyed, but the target needs to be hit to activate SR.


Balkoth wrote:
So...it sounds like SR will prevent an image from being destroyed? That seems to be the consensus?

Yes, at least for now.

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