Dispelling spell-like abilities


Rules Questions


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The rules state that spell-like abilities can be dispelled like other spells, but not counterspelled (except with a dispel magic).

Will a (greater) dispel magic 'dispel' spell-like abilities from monsters in the sense that it suppresses the ability (just like a targeted dispel on an item)?

Example: casting a greater dispel magic on a demon to suppress some of his annoying abilities like greater teleport or greater dispel. I can roll for every ability from highest to lowest to see if it gets suppressed or not.

The rules are a bit vague to me. It could also be that you can only dispel the effect of a spell-like ability after it has been used. For example, dispelling a Heroism from a monster that can cast heroism as a spell-like ability.

Could someone please clarify?


Funkytrip wrote:

The rules state that spell-like abilities can be dispelled like other spells, but not counterspelled (except with a dispel magic).

Will a (greater) dispel magic 'dispel' spell-like abilities from monsters in the sense that it suppresses the ability (just like a targeted dispel on an item)?

Example: casting a greater dispel magic on a demon to suppress some of his annoying abilities like greater teleport or greater dispel. I can roll for every ability from highest to lowest to see if it gets suppressed or not.

The rules are a bit vague to me. It could also be that you can only dispel the effect of a spell-like ability after it has been used. For example, dispelling a Heroism from a monster that can cast heroism as a spell-like ability.

Could someone please clarify?

To dispel magic (regular or greater), there needs to be actual magic to dispel. You can't suppress spell-like abilities (SLAs) that haven't gone off yet. A demon isn't exactly someone's staff of fire; you can't negate its magic that way. Your effort would be more likely to disrupt the spell that summoned the demon than anything else. Now, if that demon threw unholy aura on itself, you could dispel that. But if you don't want the demon to use its SLAs, break out antimagic field. Or kill it, of course;)

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The only way you can use dispel magic to "dispel" a spell BEFORE it is cast is by using dispel magic as a counterspell.

But you cannot do that to a spell-like ability (SLA); it is explicitly prohibited by the rules:

PRD wrote:


Spell-like abilities cannot be used to counterspell, nor can they be counterspelled.

SLA effects can be dispelled, but as Lathiira notes, only if there is a lasting effect to be dispelled in the first place. If a demon casts unholy aura, you can dispel it after it's been cast, but you cannot stop it from being cast.

Other spellcasting rules do apply to SLAs, including concentration checks, so the best way to prevent an SLA from being cast is to get in the monster's face and hope it fails its caster level check.

Of course, there is a matter of whether you want to be standing next to said SLA-casting creature...


DeathQuaker wrote:

The only way you can use dispel magic to "dispel" a spell BEFORE it is cast is by using dispel magic as a counterspell.

But you cannot do that to a spell-like ability (SLA); it is explicitly prohibited by the rules:

PRD wrote:


Spell-like abilities cannot be used to counterspell, nor can they be counterspelled.

SLA effects can be dispelled, but as Lathiira notes, only if there is a lasting effect to be dispelled in the first place. If a demon casts unholy aura, you can dispel it after it's been cast, but you cannot stop it from being cast.

Other spellcasting rules do apply to SLAs, including concentration checks, so the best way to prevent an SLA from being cast is to get in the monster's face and hope it fails its caster level check.

Of course, there is a matter of whether you want to be standing next to said SLA-casting creature...

That's an inconsistency in the rules. It was addressed in a prior post but I'm too lazy to troll it up.

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knightofstyx wrote:
DeathQuaker wrote:

The only way you can use dispel magic to "dispel" a spell BEFORE it is cast is by using dispel magic as a counterspell.

But you cannot do that to a spell-like ability (SLA); it is explicitly prohibited by the rules:

PRD wrote:


Spell-like abilities cannot be used to counterspell, nor can they be counterspelled.

SLA effects can be dispelled, but as Lathiira notes, only if there is a lasting effect to be dispelled in the first place. If a demon casts unholy aura, you can dispel it after it's been cast, but you cannot stop it from being cast.

Other spellcasting rules do apply to SLAs, including concentration checks, so the best way to prevent an SLA from being cast is to get in the monster's face and hope it fails its caster level check.

Of course, there is a matter of whether you want to be standing next to said SLA-casting creature...

That's an inconsistency in the rules. It was addressed in a prior post but I'm too lazy to troll it up.

How so? Is it inconsistent with the description of SLAs elsewhere? Which part is inconsistent, the dispelling, counterspelling, or the requirement of a concentration check? (I don't mean to sound argumentative here, I'd just like a clarification so I can look up this thread you mentioned. :))

It seems consistent within itself--SLAs are a mental action (they have no material, verbal, or somatic components). Because they are a mental action, they still require concentration, but you would not be able to recognize a "spell being cast" and they do not activate exactly as spells do, so it seems intuitive that you therefore cannot counter spell them.


DeathQuaker wrote:
it seems intuitive that you ... cannot counter spell them.

To me, the rationale for being unable to counter-spell SLAs is in the description of counter-spelling itself. The text talks of "changing around the words of the spell" that is being cast. Basically, I look at it like wave-cancellation, not unlike "noise-cancelling headphones".

Thus, if one person is using a wordless SLA to create an effect it cannot be countered by altering the verbal component of a standard spell any more than NC-headphones can counter the written word. I'd say the same goes for Psionics (assuming the standard "not-different" approach) or any other form of "alternative magic".

That said, if there is a way to figure out that someone is about to use an SLA (detect thoughts or "I Ready for when he scrunches his eyes and begins to Concentrate on using the SLA I know he's got") then I would allow dispel magic to potentially counter it, but that's just me.

FWIW,

Rez

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Rezdave wrote:


That said, if there is a way to figure out that someone is about to use an SLA (detect thoughts or "I Ready for when he scrunches his eyes and begins to Concentrate on using the SLA I know he's got") then I would allow dispel magic to potentially counter it, but that's just me.

That's an interesting idea, Rezdave.

I might still give a +2 or so to the DC to do it, as it's going to be hard to time the dispel-as-counterspell when you don't see a "finishing move" so to speak. Or require some kind of knowledge or perception check before casting the dispel.


PRD wrote:


Spell-like abilities cannot be used to counterspell, nor can they be counterspelled.

What if your spell like ability is Dispel Magic? Can you then use that to counterspell?

I have a Warlock with the lesser 'Dispel' invocation, which is an SLA and he has been using to counterspell. Should I now assume that is not 100% legal (although anything the ref allows is legal of course).

Just curious.

As a response to the OP, you can dispell a SLA just like you can dispel a spell. But you cannot use Dispel Magic to supress a beings ability to USE an SLA, just like you cannot use Dispell Magic to supress a beings ability to USE magic spells.


Thanks for the answers! The rules clearly state that you can use a dispel magic to counterspell a spell-like ability though.

PRD also writes on page 554

Quote:
Spell-like abilities, as the name implies, are magical abilities that are very much like spells. Spell-like abilities are subject to spell resistance and dispel magic. They do not function in areas where magic is suppressed or negated (such as an antimagic field). Spell-like abilities can be dispelled and counterspelled as normal.

and on page 221:

Quote:
Spell-like abilities cannot be used to counterspell, nor can they be counterspelled.

I smell errata coming ;-)


Funkytrip wrote:

Thanks for the answers! The rules clearly state that you can use a dispel magic to counterspell a spell-like ability though.

PRD also writes on page 554

Quote:
Spell-like abilities, as the name implies, are magical abilities that are very much like spells. Spell-like abilities are subject to spell resistance and dispel magic. They do not function in areas where magic is suppressed or negated (such as an antimagic field). Spell-like abilities can be dispelled and counterspelled as normal.

and on page 221:

Quote:
Spell-like abilities cannot be used to counterspell, nor can they be counterspelled.

I smell errata coming ;-)

This.

To the best of my knowledge, it is intended that you can counterspell SLAs. In 3.5, you could not counterspell SLAs, but one place in the PF rules says you can. That smells like an intentional change since it would have been easier to leave it alone. They just missed changing the ability description in another location.

In 3.5 there was nothing stopping your from dispeling SLAs in play via dispel magic. That has not changed in PF, but it only effects SLAs with a duration longer than instant after they have been cast.

finally, SLAs operate just like the spells they mimic, so anything that counters a spell would also effect a similar SLA. For example, dimensional anchor will stop a demon from using their greater teleport SLA.


knightofstyx wrote:
DeathQuaker wrote:

The only way you can use dispel magic to "dispel" a spell BEFORE it is cast is by using dispel magic as a counterspell.

But you cannot do that to a spell-like ability (SLA); it is explicitly prohibited by the rules:

PRD wrote:


Spell-like abilities cannot be used to counterspell, nor can they be counterspelled.

SLA effects can be dispelled, but as Lathiira notes, only if there is a lasting effect to be dispelled in the first place. If a demon casts unholy aura, you can dispel it after it's been cast, but you cannot stop it from being cast.

Other spellcasting rules do apply to SLAs, including concentration checks, so the best way to prevent an SLA from being cast is to get in the monster's face and hope it fails its caster level check.

Of course, there is a matter of whether you want to be standing next to said SLA-casting creature...

That's an inconsistency in the rules. It was addressed in a prior post but I'm too lazy to troll it up.

Myself and others debated the inconsistency, but no developer ever came in with an official answer for the counterspell issue. In the end we submitted it to the errata thread and in the hope that it gets fixed in the next printing.

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Ah ha... I see. I didn't see the other SLA description. TY.

Well Funkytrip, the counterspell issue is up to your GM then (but you still can't dispel a spell before it's cast :) ).

In my mind, it makes more sense that an SLA cannot be counterspelled, for the reasons I illustrated above. That's the ruling I'll use until errata are produced.

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