Evocation School - Page 48: Is the sonic energy type going / gone?


Combat & Magic


Pathfinder Companion Subscriber

I know it’s not the most culturally supported magic type but I always liked that energy type.
The « horn of blasting » is an old favorite among my groups and I remember the scimitar in the D&D TV series. It also rings nice with the Dune mythology and the various Kiai stories.

So, tell me doctor please, will/should it live?


I doubt that just because the school powers don't allow you to choose sonic as an energy type, that its an indication that Paizo is getting rid of it. The Energy Substitution feat doesn't allow you to substitute sonic energy in 3.5, for example. So few creatures are immune to sonic damage that its almost an easy "fix" to use sonic as an energy type all of the time.

Also, Sonic damage works differently with structures than other energy types do, and often has a secondary effect, so it doesn't match up one for one the way other energy types do. Its pretty much the same reason you don't see many feats or abilities that let you substitute force damage either.

Then again, I could be wrong, and Golarion could have some sort of massive sound dampening field I haven't heard about yet. ;)


I'm all in favor of sonic effects, but I do very much hope that they're never again lumped in with the fire/ice/acid/electricity "classics", and can't be used with energy substitution.


I wouldnt mind see sonic go. I mean its really rare, force and lightning already kind of cover what the element of air most things in the sonic damage type can be converted to force.


himwhoscallediam wrote:
I wouldnt mind see sonic go. I mean its really rare, force and lightning already kind of cover what the element of air most things in the sonic damage type can be converted to force.

I have to rather strongly disagree with this. Sonic effects are just as transparent to the incorporeal as swords, and I have no idea how any association between electricity and concussion can be forged, unless you want to say "lightning makes thunder". If that's the case I'd point out that injuries from lightning are burns, and so should be lumped in with fire.

Concussion damage was toned down because "comparitively few" creatures had resistance to it. I have some disagreement with this, but it may have been true at the time it was said. They added special effects to a lot of sound powers in order to make them match pace without inflicting actual damage.


I believe they eliminated sonic from the list in the Evocation school not because they are going to get rid of it in totality, but because it doesn't really fit with the idea of having that morphic ability. The point of being able to switch between the others is that you can cater to an enemy's weakness, but name one thing that's weak to sonic?


Pathfinder Companion Subscriber
Gnome Ninja wrote:
... name one thing that's weak to sonic?

Counter argument: Name one thing that's resistant to it (without an SRD search!).

But I don't really think they would eliminate sonic (backward compatibility weights in it's favor) but I was curious about what other people tought.

I don't think that a rigid linking of energy-elements is necessary, I personally feel it would be limiting. I like to think that sources for energy can vary and cross-over each other. Only Fire energy is strongly tied to Fire element but I think that just about using the same word for thing that aren’t necesseraly the same. Ex.: Lightning could come from the sky (air element) or from a mineral source (earth element).

I would prefer they keept it open and adaptable, don’t hardwire it in the elemental type definition.

Dark Archive

Slime wrote:
I don't think that a rigid linking of energy-elements is necessary, I personally feel it would be limiting. I like to think that sources for energy can vary and cross-over each other. Only Fire energy is strongly tied to Fire element but I think that just about using the same word for thing that aren’t necesseraly the same. Ex.: Lightning could come from the sky (air element) or from a mineral source (earth element).

This I totally agree with. Acid as Earth damage and Cold as Water damage and Lightning as Air damage didn't work for me at all.

Fire is fire, yeah, but the other links were kinda dodgey.


Pathfinder Companion Subscriber
Set wrote:

... Acid as Earth damage and Cold as Water damage and Lightning as Air damage didn't work for me at all.

Fire is fire, yeah, but the other links were kinda dodgey.

I don't mind these being "default" for simplicity but not mendatory.

Fire and "Heat" are default but cold flames elementals are a nice variant (You don't even need a template, just change fire to cold subtype and damage and surprise! Your players will just love you to death!).

Blue Dragons have the earth sub-type and breath lightning, I don't fell there's anything broken about it. Not that anybody said that ...


Slime wrote:
Gnome Ninja wrote:
... name one thing that's weak to sonic?
Counter argument: Name one thing that's resistant to it (without an SRD search!).

Slaadi are immune. (couldn't resist)


Pathfinder Companion Subscriber
Majuba wrote:
Slaadi are immune. (couldn't resist)

I stand "slaped-down" ;P

I've really neglected these guy over the years. I'll give'em a shot soon my players should love that too ...


Set wrote:
Slime wrote:
I don't think that a rigid linking of energy-elements is necessary, I personally feel it would be limiting. I like to think that sources for energy can vary and cross-over each other. Only Fire energy is strongly tied to Fire element but I think that just about using the same word for thing that aren’t necesseraly the same. Ex.: Lightning could come from the sky (air element) or from a mineral source (earth element).

This I totally agree with. Acid as Earth damage and Cold as Water damage and Lightning as Air damage didn't work for me at all.

Fire is fire, yeah, but the other links were kinda dodgey.

Really? Cause I like lightning for air, lightning is only a side effect of winds rubbing against eachother. Lightning simply comes from wind like acid from earth, cold from water (stretch i know) and fire from... fire.


himwhoscallediam wrote:


Really? Cause I like lightning for air, lightning is only a side effect of winds rubbing against eachother. Lightning simply comes from wind like acid from earth, cold from water (stretch i know) and fire from... fire.

Uh, yeah. None of those things actually 'come from' the classic elements.

Not in myth, and not in science.


Gnome Ninja wrote:


The point of being able to switch between the others is that you can cater to an enemy's weakness, but name one thing that's weak to sonic?

THE YRTHAK!

**Succeeds Knowledge(goofy monster) check without consulting the book**

Seriously though, the lack of creatures resistance to sonic is probably why it's not offered up and most likely the only reason. You could simply guess that the creature doesn't have resistance to sonic and be right the vast majority of the time.

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