# Empower Spell and the Healing domain

### Rules Questions

In one of the preview threads, I saw Jason (I think) say that Empower Spell was only supposed to affect the actual random part of whatever you empowered. So an Empowered ray of enfeeblement would inflict a Str penalty of 1.5x1d6, plus level - not 1.5x(1d6+level).

This is not clear when reading the Empower spell description, which just says "All variable, numeric effects of an empowered spell are increased by half.", which is the same wording as in 3.5. In addition, there's the Healing domain power, which says "At 6th level, all of your cure spells are treated as if they were empowered, increasing the amount of damage healed by half (+50%)." Since all cure spells work on the "Xd8+level" principle, you'd think it would be called out if it wasn't actually +50% healing, but only +50% on a part of the heal.

So, I see a number of possibilities here:
1. Empower multiplies the whole effect, so ray of enfeeblement is 1.5x(1d6+level) and cure serious wounds with Healer's Blessing is 1.5x(3d8+level).
2. Empower only affects the random portion, so ray of enfeeblement is /1.5x1d6)+level and cure serious wounds with Healer's Blessing is (1.5x3d8)+level.
3. Empower only affects the random portion, but Healer's Blessing affects the whole spell despite being "treated as if they were empowered." So ray of enfeeblement is (1.5x1d6)+level and cure serious wounds with Healer's Blessing is 1.5x(3d8+level).

I'd say it works just like empower and just increases the dice roll. Wikipedia defines a variable as

Quote:

A variable is a symbol that stands for a value that may vary; the term usually occurs in opposition to constant, which is a symbol for a non-varying value, i.e. completely fixed or fixed in the context of use.

So the die is the variable and the added value is a constant that's fixed in the context of use. That bonus is always the same value for all casters of the same caster level. If you could empower the caster level bonus in ray of enfeeblement you should also be able to empower the bonus received from spells such as magic vestment.

I'd say the writer simply expected everyone to understand how it worked by adding the word empowered to the description. He failed to realize that players are evil beings who want to send their DM's to an early grave with loophole rule bending.

I have always read it as if the spell damage/cure amount is variable the entire thing gets empowered. I think magic missile was the worst example to use because either way you got the same number in the end. They should actually have the formula in the book or state it in such a way that there is not doubt as to how it is supposed to work. This is one of those neverending debates that WoTC never ended. If Paizo is going to redo the game they should make a decision on questions about the core rules.

That's very true. I had this arguement about heal (and harm). It is variable in all but the mathmatic definition, and I asked WotC and they said yes it could be done. I've seen it since officially agreed with and contradicted since then.

I tend with the yes, any "not set number" is x150% (1d8+1) rather than (1d8) x150 +1.

concerro wrote:
I have always read it as if the spell damage/cure amount is variable the entire thing gets empowered. I think magic missile was the worst example to use because either way you got the same number in the end. They should actually have the formula in the book or state it in such a way that there is not doubt as to how it is supposed to work. This is one of those neverending debates that WoTC never ended. If Paizo is going to redo the game they should make a decision on questions about the core rules.

Damage with a Magic Missile:

Empower 1d4*1,5+1 = 2-6
Empower (1d4+1) * 1,5 = 3-6
If you roll 1, when you multiply by 1,5 it's still 1, as you have to round down.
If you roll 3: 3*1,5 = 4; 4+1 = 5
The other way: (3+1)*1,5 = 6

Beckett wrote:

That's very true. I had this arguement about heal (and harm). It is variable in all but the mathmatic definition, and I asked WotC and they said yes it could be done. I've seen it since officially agreed with and contradicted since then.

I tend with the yes, any "not set number" is x150% (1d8+1) rather than (1d8) x150 +1.

I did not consider Heal and Harm as variable because you do 10 x caster level not 1d10 x caster level, but if you have to roll the dice to determine damage I figured the spell was fair game.

angelroble wrote:
concerro wrote:
I have always read it as if the spell damage/cure amount is variable the entire thing gets empowered. I think magic missile was the worst example to use because either way you got the same number in the end. They should actually have the formula in the book or state it in such a way that there is not doubt as to how it is supposed to work. This is one of those neverending debates that WoTC never ended. If Paizo is going to redo the game they should make a decision on questions about the core rules.

Damage with a Magic Missile:

Empower 1d4*1,5+1 = 2-6
Empower (1d4+1) * 1,5 = 3-6
If you roll 1, when you multiply by 1,5 it's still 1, as you have to round down.
If you roll 3: 3*1,5 = 4; 4+1 = 5
The other way: (3+1)*1,5 = 6

Simply have the formula as (1d4+Y)x 1.5 or as (1d4x1.5)+Y would have been the way to do it.

PS:The above formula is just an example and not meant to be exact.

Thats the problem though. Harm and Heal both deal a variable number. If it isn't what they mean, than they need to change the feat, (which I think they have), not complain that players are wrong, just because it's not the variable they intended.

Beckett wrote:
Thats the problem though. Harm and Heal both deal a variable number. If it isn't what they mean, than they need to change the feat, (which I think they have), not complain that players are wrong, just because it's not the variable they intended.

It isn't a variable number. It's a level-dependent number. The two are very different things. The deflection bonus from shield of faith is a level-dependent number. The damage dealt by harm is a level-dependent number. The damage dealt by a fireball or a scorching ray is a variable number. The difference is obvious.

Well, it's clear based on reflection and discussion. But it's not necessarily OBVIOUS,
or you wouldn't have people quoting the rules to support the opposite reading.

This is a pet peeve of mine, that Pathfinder didn't make the effort to edit rules for maximum clarity, especially as most changes like this WOULDN'T result in signifigantly longer word-count. Many areas I see crying out for editing, could in fact be SHORTER.

Quandary wrote:

Well, it's clear based on reflection and discussion. But it's not necessarily OBVIOUS,

or you wouldn't have people quoting the rules to support the opposite reading.

This is a pet peeve of mine, that Pathfinder didn't make the effort to edit rules for maximum clarity, especially as most changes like this WOULDN'T result in signifigantly longer word-count. Many areas I see crying out for editing, could in fact be SHORTER.

Well, ok, perhaps I should have said 'As far as I can see, the difference is obvious.' I've always found it to be so, but I may be in the minority there. And as you say, if you think about it for a minute, the difference does become obvious. I do agree that the wording could have been tightened up on this sort of thing. I'm not sure how much this concern was raised during the playtest, though. It's possible that it wasn't changed because people were focusing in on bigger concerns as they saw them.

Björninn wrote:
So the die is the variable and the added value is a constant that's fixed in the context of use.

Which results in a variable.

So if i use a die with the numbers 6-11 instead of 1d6 + 5 i could use empower for the whole thing?
It is the same.

Teydyn wrote:
Björninn wrote:
So the die is the variable and the added value is a constant that's fixed in the context of use.

Which results in a variable.

So if i use a die with the numbers 6-11 instead of 1d6 + 5 i could use empower for the whole thing?
It is the same.

This discussion will go nowhere fast, trust me. There simply isn't a right answer on the variable question. The only thing that you can say for certain is that if the spell doesn't roll any dice, you can't empower it. That much is fact. After that, the conjecture goes both ways. Over the years, I have seen thread upon thread arguing the (1d8+5)x1.5 vs the (1d8)x1.5+5, and the text simply offers no support for either side over the other. The only thing that can be done in this situation is to wait for the official word from Paizo on how it should be done under Pathfinder, because that's the only way this can be resolved. Or house rule it, of course.

Ninjaiguana wrote:
I do agree that the wording could have been tightened up on this sort of thing. I'm not sure how much this concern was raised during the playtest, though. It's possible that it wasn't changed because people were focusing in on bigger concerns as they saw them.

I don't know if I personally commented on this case's wording, but I know it was debated,

and I know I did comment on specific cases of bad wording/phrasing/editing that were not revisited in the Final.
/shrug

Ninjaiguana wrote:
This discussion will go nowhere fast, trust me. There simply isn't a right answer on the variable question. The only thing that you can say for certain is that if the spell doesn't roll any dice, you can't empower it. That much is fact. After that, the conjecture goes both ways.

Fortunately, the Healing Domain expounds on this, saying: "all of your cure spells are treated as if they were empowered, increasing the amount of damage healed by half (+50%)." Why the precise functioning of Empower is only clearly described in what should be a superfluous tangent in the Healing Domain, is beyond me.

Quandary wrote:
Fortunately, the Healing Domain expounds on this, saying: "all of your cure spells are treated as if they were empowered, increasing the amount of damage healed by half (+50%)." Why the precise functioning of Empower is only clearly described in what should be a superfluous tangent in the Healing Domain, is beyond me.

Well, the OP doesn't see the example of the Healing domain as necessarily convincing for general use of Empower Spell, and I would say that there isn't any other evidence that can be offered to support one reading over the other. I admit, the Healing domain power would probably be good enough for me, but without that being enough - and I can see how it might not be - all we can do is wait on official Word of Paizo.

 1 person marked this as a favorite.
Ninjaiguana wrote:
Beckett wrote:
Thats the problem though. Harm and Heal both deal a variable number. If it isn't what they mean, than they need to change the feat, (which I think they have), not complain that players are wrong, just because it's not the variable they intended.
It isn't a variable number. It's a level-dependent number. The two are very different things. The deflection bonus from shield of faith is a level-dependent number. The damage dealt by harm is a level-dependent number. The damage dealt by a fireball or a scorching ray is a variable number. The difference is obvious.

I understand the difference, and I'm not trying to say that in PF, officially . . . blah blah blah.

What I am saying is, that level dependant, by definition is a variable. Let me say it a different way. It is variable based on caster level. Yes or no? a Cleric that casts a cure light wounds is variable comparred to any oter Cleric casing tht sae spell. The result, is not a constant number, but varies depending on the roll and th caster level.

The idea is that variable means for the same caster in the exact same circumstances.
If I really wanted, I could say that a spell that "heals 50 dmg" is variable,
because if the target is only 10hp under their max, that's all it will heal.
Or a spell doing 50 dmg: well, if the targets spell resistance roll means it doesn't work, it does 0 dmg. :-)

I agree there's no good reason not to explicitly define "variable" as meaning variable for same caster/same scenario (aka dice-roll based variability) EDIT: but that has to be worded carefully or else people might think ONLY the dice component is effect, rather than IF there is a dice component, the whole amount is affected. Which appears to be the Pathfinder reading judging by the Healing domain. Again: Very wierd to rely on a specific Domain power to clarify a much broader rules question.

That's all I mean. I also don't think most cases, like heal/harm are in any way broken. You are paying extra for extra affect. Especially when your at that level, you really ought to be able to do such things, I mean magic should be "magical". But I also understand going through each and every spell would be a pain.

If you can empower static numbers which are based on CL then alot of spells become unbalanced or wierd. Greater Magic Weapon will then be able to give a weapon a +7 enhancement bonus. Also duration is a number that's variable in that sense.

An empowered magic missile will then do (1d4+1)x1,5 = 5,25 on average which is higher than the maximized version. It's opening a box of hurt to allow the empowerment of constants...

I see what your saying with Magic Weapon, and do think that would be a problem. But that's also an easy one to specifically just say no to. On the other hand, you are spending a higher level spell slot for it, and we are talking about a +7 max at like 20th level. Is that really so bad? It's a difference of 2.

I'm lost on the Magic Missile though. Are you saying that Magic Missile can't be Empowered? I know it could in 3.5, and I haven't looked into it in PF yet, but I'm pretty sure it can be.

The difference between a variable number and a level-dependent number is easy to define. A level-dependent number is identical for all characters of that class and level, regardless of anything they do. It allows no random element. Every 11th level cleric heals 110 hit points with the heal spell. There is no possibility that a level 11 cleric does not heal 110 hit points with the heal spell. Whether the target uses all 110 points of that healing is irrelevant; if they can't, the cleric healed 110 hit points and the target couldn't fully benefit.

A variable number is one that is not identical for all characters of that class and level. The fireball from a 10th level wizard does 10d6 damage, not 30 damage or 60 damage. 10d6 is a variable amount. It produces a number between 10 and 60, which is not consistent amongst 10th level wizards.

With those definitions in mind, it is obvious what spells can and cannot benefit from Empower Spell. If the spell rolls dice to determine its effectiveness, it can benefit. If it doesn't, it can't. The sticking point is how much some spells can benefit from Empower Spell; and, if the evidence offered by the Healing Domain is judged insufficient, there is no way to answer that question without input from Paizo staff.