Casting on the Defensive and Detect Magic - Playtest report - 2008 / 04 / 14


Combat & Magic


My wife is training herself to becoming a DM by running the Freeport Trilogy as a solo campaign for me. She started with Dead Man's Quest which appeared in Dungeon Magazine #107 (I think).

I am playing a rogue with a 32 point build. She has a DMNPC, a priest of Osprem (we are playing in Greyhawk) with also a 32 point build.

In the last two sessions, a couple of questions creeped up that we could not answer based on the Alpha 1.1 release.

Question one: How does Casting on the Defensive work in Pathfinder?
An important part of the mechanics in d20 were described in the Concentration description under the Special heading. Specifically :

"from the SRD wrote:


Special

You can use Concentration to cast a spell, use a spell-like ability, or use a skill defensively, so as to avoid attacks of opportunity altogether. This doesn’t apply to other actions that might provoke attacks of opportunity.

The DC of the check is 15 (plus the spell’s level, if casting a spell or using a spell-like ability defensively). If the Concentration check succeeds, you may attempt the action normally without provoking any attacks of opportunity. A successful Concentration check still doesn’t allow you to take 10 on another check if you are in a stressful situation; you must make the check normally. If the Concentration check fails, the related action also automatically fails (with any appropriate ramifications), and the action is wasted, just as if your concentration had been disrupted by a distraction.

A character with the Combat Casting feat gets a +4 bonus on Concentration checks made to cast a spell or use a spell-like ability while on the defensive or while grappling or pinned.

Now according to Table 5-3: Altered Skills Concentration has been merged into Spellcraft. If one reads the entry describing Spellcraft on pages 29 and 30, there is no such reference, although the DC table does give DCs for casting a spell when sustaining damage. Does this mean that Casting on the Defensive was removed and replaced with only a mechanic of remaining concentrated while sustaining damage?

Question two : Has detect magic been modified?

This question stems from two elements found in the Alpha 1.1 release. First, the description of Appraise on page 23 states that those trained in Appraise can use it in conjunction with detect magic or identify to determine the properties of magic items. Now if one reads the entry of identifyon pages 58-59, it states that the spell works just like detect magic except that it gives a +10 bonus on Appraise checks. Unfortunately, there is no entry on the detect magic.
If one reads the SRD entry, the detect magic spell calls for a Spellcraft check to identify auras. However, it is under the entry of Knowledge (arcana) that one finds the DC for identifying auras in Pathfinder. Which is it then, Spellcraft or Knowledge (arcana)? I would assume the later, but as we do not have a write up we are uncertain.
I would also assume that the player using a detect magic must make two roles : one to identify the aura and another to identify the properties of the magic item. If one fails the first role, how does that affect the second? Is the player even allowed to attempt an Appraise if he is unable to identify the aura? If so, what would be the use of identifying the aura if one can just skip ahead to the propreties themselves?

Edit:

Oh, I forgot, question three: Are the limits to the use of 1st level Domain powers?
As written on pages 49-57, most 2nd-20th level powers have daily use limits. Some do not and none of the 1st levels powers do not either. Does this mean that the Osprem priest can cast icicle at will? Even with the ranged touch attack, being able to deal 1d6 of cold damage at will seems a bit strong for 1st levels.

Sovereign Court

Actually I don't think 1d6 at will is a bit powerful at all, after all a short sword is 1d6 which is all day damage, what bugs me is that it is a ranged touch attack, the cleric isn't a warlock and this isn't eldritch blast, an icile just touching someone isn't enough to hurt them, which is what a touch attack represents, it needs to be a normal attack roll. now if they call it arctic blast or something, I can see it being a ranged touch. But if we are keeping to D&D flavor we have to make it match.

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