Can you detected a spell being cast when there is nothing to see, nothing to hear, no components, and you aren't being targetted?


Rules Questions

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roguerouge wrote:
mdt wrote:
Will needs to cast ghost sound to confuse Greg. Fortunately, he happens to have memorized it Silent/Still this morning. Now he makes a bluff check to fool Greg. Will has a bluff of 4, but gets the usual +15 for his bluff for having a silent/still/eschewed spell. Greg has a perception of 10 (he's a city guard after all). Will rolls a 16, maybe it is his lucky day, so he has a 35. Greg rolls a 20 (it is his lucky day), but even a 30 isn't enough to overcome the 35 Will has. So, Greg hears the ghost sound behind him. If he had spellcraft, he could even make a roll to identify it as a spell, and the type, but he would not believe Will had cast it since he failed his perception check. Greg now makes a will save (no pun intended), if he succeeds, he doesn't turn to look for the sound. If he fails, he turns to look for the sound, negating his held action and Will can run again.
So far as I can determine, this is a house rule. There's nothing in the feat or Bluff skill descriptions requiring Will to make a bluff check to use his feats. And he would have to use Knowledge Arcana to identify the ghost sound, as spellcraft only allows you to ID a spell AS it is being cast. Identifying an ongoing spell effect after it's been cast is Knowledge: Arcana. (Why they didn't combine these two skills, I'll never know.)

I would file it under "convincing proof". Look, I am not casting a spell, no finger wiggling, or chanting, really...

These are judgement calls left up to the DM by the PF RAW, but there are plenty of 3.5 suppliments that make very adequate suggestions on how to handle it.


roguerouge wrote:


This is irrelevant for this thread: the spells being discussed have no VSM components.

Actually it is relevant to the comment that being able to spellcraft a stilled silent illusion makes the illusion school useless.

A normal illusion spell can be spellcrafted and doesn't make the school useless, so the fact that you bump it up 2 levels so you can do so in a silence spell while tied up doesn't change anything.

Likewise the DC to identify a dimension door is no harder that identifying a greater invisibility spell, despite the former being essentially a stilled spell (it has no S component) and both not needing any material components. Furthermore an immediate/swift action spell is just as easy to identify as a full round casting spell as a multi-minute casting spell.

Bottom line it's simple: a caster casts a spell, the spellcraft check lets someone who can perceive the caster identify the spell that they are in the process of casting.

-James


Pathfinder Rulebook Subscriber
roguerouge wrote:
mdt wrote:
Will needs to cast ghost sound to confuse Greg. Fortunately, he happens to have memorized it Silent/Still this morning. Now he makes a bluff check to fool Greg. Will has a bluff of 4, but gets the usual +15 for his bluff for having a silent/still/eschewed spell. Greg has a perception of 10 (he's a city guard after all). Will rolls a 16, maybe it is his lucky day, so he has a 35. Greg rolls a 20 (it is his lucky day), but even a 30 isn't enough to overcome the 35 Will has. So, Greg hears the ghost sound behind him. If he had spellcraft, he could even make a roll to identify it as a spell, and the type, but he would not believe Will had cast it since he failed his perception check. Greg now makes a will save (no pun intended), if he succeeds, he doesn't turn to look for the sound. If he fails, he turns to look for the sound, negating his held action and Will can run again.
So far as I can determine, this is a house rule. There's nothing in the feat or Bluff skill descriptions requiring Will to make a bluff check to use his feats. And he would have to use Knowledge Arcana to identify the ghost sound, as spellcraft only allows you to ID a spell AS it is being cast. Identifying an ongoing spell effect after it's been cast is Knowledge: Arcana. (Why they didn't combine these two skills, I'll never know.)

He's not making a bluff check to use his feats. He's using a bluff check to convince Greg he's not casting the spell. The point is, Will still has to provoke an attack of opportunity to cast, because he's concentrating on the spell. That means Greg knows he's doing something. So he has to convince Greg it's not casting a spell.

Greg would get a spellcraft check against the spell since it's being cast in his line of sight, if he had the skill. I don't agree with that, as it goes against the use of the feats and common sense, but it is the rules. He just doesn't necessarily know that Will cast it.


Pathfinder Rulebook Subscriber
Charender wrote:


I believe this would be a Knowledge(Arcana) check. Yes, she was present when the spell was cast, but she is IDing the spell by its effect not by its casting.

I would agree, logically. However, the rules under spellcraft specifically say 'clearly observe the spell as it's being cast', not the caster. So, you get a spellcraft if you can see the spell as it's being cast (not the caster). I wish they'd errata that.

Charender wrote:


Seeing or hearing an illusion does not automatically grant a will save. Observing =/= Interacting. Greg will hear a sound behind him no matter what.

The will save in this case is not to disbelieve, it's to avoid looking away toward the sound (and thus losing his declared action). So it's not a will save vs an illusion to see (hear) through the illusion. It's a will save to avoid looking away from the guy he's covering with the pike and thus allowing the wizard a chance to run.


mdt wrote:
Charender wrote:


I believe this would be a Knowledge(Arcana) check. Yes, she was present when the spell was cast, but she is IDing the spell by its effect not by its casting.

I would agree, logically. However, the rules under spellcraft specifically say 'clearly observe the spell as it's being cast', not the caster. So, you get a spellcraft if you can see the spell as it's being cast (not the caster). I wish they'd errata that.

To me "spell being cast" = "spellcasting". You have to observe the spellcasting. Observing the actual effects of the spell is a Knowledge(Arcana) check.

Quote:

Charender wrote:


Seeing or hearing an illusion does not automatically grant a will save. Observing =/= Interacting. Greg will hear a sound behind him no matter what.
The will save in this case is not to disbelieve, it's to avoid looking away toward the sound (and thus losing his declared action). So it's not a will save vs an illusion to see (hear) through the illusion. It's a will save to avoid looking away from the guy he's covering with the pike and thus allowing the wizard a chance to run.

Fair enough then.

Although, Will would need to cast the ghost sound on the defensive to avoid the AoO. The bluff check only lets him avoid the readied attack.


Pathfinder Rulebook Subscriber
Charender wrote:


To me "spell being cast" = "spellcasting". You have to observe the spellcasting. Observing the actual effects of the spell is a Knowledge(Arcana) check.

I'd be fine with that ruling too. However, in that case, the trio of Silent/Still/Eschewed should negate the Spellcraft roll entirely, as there is nothing to observe in the spell casting. One way allows some knowledge, the other way it's basically 'boom' spell cast. Either works and is, I think, balanced.

Charender wrote:


Fair enough then.

Although, Will would need to cast the ghost sound on the defensive to avoid the AoO. The bluff check lets him avoid the readied attack.

He could cast it defensively, or he could choose not to so as to not invoke a penalty on his bluff check (defensive casting is more noticable than just standing there and crossing your eyes so you leave an opponent open to attack you).


mdt wrote:
Charender wrote:


To me "spell being cast" = "spellcasting". You have to observe the spellcasting. Observing the actual effects of the spell is a Knowledge(Arcana) check.

I'd be fine with that ruling too. However, in that case, the trio of Silent/Still/Eschewed should negate the Spellcraft roll entirely, as there is nothing to observe in the spell casting. One way allows some knowledge, the other way it's basically 'boom' spell cast. Either works and is, I think, balanced.

Charender wrote:


Fair enough then.

Although, Will would need to cast the ghost sound on the defensive to avoid the AoO. The bluff check lets him avoid the readied attack.

He could cast it defensively, or he could choose not to so as to not invoke a penalty on his bluff check (defensive casting is more noticable than just standing there and crossing your eyes so you leave an opponent open to attack you).

Defensive casting is just being careful to not take your eyes off your opponent or lower your guard while you cast the spell. If anything I would think it would help the bluff check, because you are keeping your concentration on your opponent.


This talk about illusions being nerfed is nonsense. You just have to be clever and sneaky in their use, which is really the whole point-to fool someone.

If I walk into a bar and wave my arms around and say abracadabra then suddenly in the middle of the room there's an ogre. Common sense says I conjured him...or something, right? Say the bartender is a wizard academy alumni and says "hey guys he just cast an illusion, that ogre isn't real" he may convince some of his patrons that will ignore it. Some might not be convinced until they put their hand through him, etc.

The smart thing to do is cast Silent Image BEFORE you enter the bar, and have the ogre enter behind you, intimidating everyone with his icy stare. Remember we're talking about silent image here, a great spell it may be but it's not a wish. The thing doesn't make any sound or smell and can't touch anything, and the DC is pretty low, you won't be fooling anyone for long.


Pathfinder Rulebook Subscriber
Charender wrote:
mdt wrote:
Charender wrote:


To me "spell being cast" = "spellcasting". You have to observe the spellcasting. Observing the actual effects of the spell is a Knowledge(Arcana) check.

I'd be fine with that ruling too. However, in that case, the trio of Silent/Still/Eschewed should negate the Spellcraft roll entirely, as there is nothing to observe in the spell casting. One way allows some knowledge, the other way it's basically 'boom' spell cast. Either works and is, I think, balanced.

Charender wrote:


Fair enough then.

Although, Will would need to cast the ghost sound on the defensive to avoid the AoO. The bluff check lets him avoid the readied attack.

He could cast it defensively, or he could choose not to so as to not invoke a penalty on his bluff check (defensive casting is more noticable than just standing there and crossing your eyes so you leave an opponent open to attack you).
Defensive casting is just being careful to not take your eyes off your opponent or lower your guard while you cast the spell. If anything I would think it would help the bluff check, because you are keeping your concentration on your opponent.

Hmm, could be argued both ways I guess. To me, giving an attack of opportunity when he's already got you covered would look more like giving up (that whole, 'aww man' as you slump your body and avoid his eyes (looking behind him from lidded eyes)). But I guess the active eyes on his and moving away from his pike could also work for the bluff.


We agree: how long it takes to cast a silent/stilled/eschewed spell is irrelevant to this debate, as is the spell level of the spells cast as is whether Heighten Spell or any other metamagic feat has been used. But...

james maissen wrote:
Likewise the DC to identify a dimension door is no harder that identifying a greater invisibility spell, despite the former being essentially a stilled spell (it has no S component) and both not needing any material components. Furthermore an immediate/swift action spell is just as easy to identify as a full round casting spell as a multi-minute casting spell.

Greater invisibility has a somatic component, while dimension door does not. The two spells presumably have different verbal components as well. Knowing that is what goes into the spellcraft skill ranks. If you roll well on your Spellcraft skill check, you remember the different characteristics of each spell.

More importantly, both spells have observable qualities: VS for greater invisibility, V for dimension door. A silent, stilled, eschewed materials Greater Invisibility, however, is identical to a stilled Dimension Door. There is no basis for you to determine whether the caster is still here or not, absent a spell like See Invisibility or later physical evidence, such as someone invisible leaving footprints in the dusty room.

Bottom line it's simple: Spellcraft is not perma-detect magic. You do not see spell auras and if a spell doesn't have verbal, somatic or material components, there's nothing for you to base your spellcraft judgment off of.

And if you can't see spell auras but can still use spellcraft against silent/stilled/eschewed spells, please explain how someone would identify the difference between silent/stilled/eschewed Greater Invisibility and silent/stilled/eschewed Invisibility by RAW of Pathfinder.

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
james maissen wrote:
roguerouge wrote:


This is irrelevant for this thread: the spells being discussed have no VSM components.

Actually it is relevant to the comment that being able to spellcraft a stilled silent illusion makes the illusion school useless.

-James

Not useless it means you need to be strategic. If you're going to be an illusionist you're going to try several things to make sure you are at the most effective.

1. Remember that there are illusion spells which do not fall under the disbelief mechanic.

2. Don't cast your spells in front of the people you're trying to fool. Or at the very least try to make sure that the person you cast isn't as clever or as grounded asyou are. The last person a stage magician would try to fool is another stage magician.

3. Cast from cover when you can. No one says you've got to be in front of a person that you're going to throw shadow monsters at.

4. Make your past history a benefit. If a person has successfully disbelieved your spells before... Throw something real at them. If they opt to disbelieve... that means no saving throw.


LazarX wrote:


2. Don't cast your spells in front of the people you're trying to fool. Or at the very least try to make sure that the person you cast isn't as clever or as grounded asyou are. The last person a stage magician would try to fool is another stage magician.

A classic gambit is nerfed by the way some people are interpreting the spellcraft skill. Consider a 10th level sorcerer with the Still Spell, Silent Spell, and Eschew Materials feats who knows both Monster Summoning III and Major Image.

Round 1: Stilled/Silent/Eschewed Monster summoning III
Round 2: Stilled/Silent/Eschewed Major Image of the same type of creatures just summoned

And that's not even being all that clever. But it is a way to use #4 on your list.

Shadow Lodge Contributor, RPG Superstar 2010 Top 8

WWWW wrote:

Well I suppose then that being a discussion about making things up without a sell I have nothing more to say.

So back to the original subject then.

I tend to ramble nonsensically when I stay up too late. Sorry for that.

I wasn't trying to sell you on using that houserule, I don't care what rules you use, but I did take issue with the idea that james maissen originally brought up and you restated for him:

If dropping components from a spell makes it more difficult to identify, wouldn't spells that normally don't have those components be just as hard to identify?

No, because it's not the amount of information you're receiving that increases the difficulty. It's the amount of information that's being withheld from you. Dimension Door is not the same as a stilled Greater Invisibility.

To butcher another analogy, one is like a full 50 piece puzzle, the other is like a 100 piece puzzle that's lost half it's pieces. It doesn't matter that they now have the same amount of pieces, the latter is going to be harder to put together.


roguerouge wrote:
LazarX wrote:


2. Don't cast your spells in front of the people you're trying to fool. Or at the very least try to make sure that the person you cast isn't as clever or as grounded asyou are. The last person a stage magician would try to fool is another stage magician.

A classic gambit is nerfed by the way some people are interpreting the spellcraft skill. Consider a 10th level sorcerer with the Still Spell, Silent Spell, and Eschew Materials feats who knows both Monster Summoning III and Major Image.

Round 1: Stilled/Silent/Eschewed Monster summoning III
Round 2: Stilled/Silent/Eschewed Major Image of the same type of creatures just summoned

And that's not even being all that clever. But it is a way to use #4 on your list.

Spellcrafting is not hard though, and if I were a betting man I would bet that the caster using the skill gets it right a lot more than he gets it wrong, so the misdirection won't work barring a really bad dice roll, which is not something I want to put my faith in. Actually in this case it may be a knowledge(arcana) check, but you get my point.


Benchak the Nightstalker wrote:
WWWW wrote:

Well I suppose then that being a discussion about making things up without a sell I have nothing more to say.

So back to the original subject then.

I tend to ramble nonsensically when I stay up too late. Sorry for that.

I wasn't trying to sell you on using that houserule, I don't care what rules you use, but I did take issue with the idea that james maissen originally brought up and you restated for him:

If dropping components from a spell makes it more difficult to identify, wouldn't spells that normally don't have those components be just as hard to identify?

No, because it's not the amount of information you're receiving that increases the difficulty. It's the amount of information that's being withheld from you. Dimension Door is not the same as a stilled Greater Invisibility.

To butcher another analogy, one is like a full 50 piece puzzle, the other is like a 100 piece puzzle that's lost half it's pieces. It doesn't matter that they now have the same amount of pieces, the latter is going to be harder to put together.

Well like I said this is a matter of personal opinion as it is a choice of houserule and so discussion after presenting views is rather pointless in this case if no one is trying to convince others.


Spellcraft only works while the spell is being cast. Once it's cast and in effect, Knowledge(Arcana) takes over.

Let's take the exact steps to cast a Silent, Stilled, Eschewed spell...

Verbal - none
Somatic - none
Material - none
Concentration - the only thing left to indicate a spell is being cast

So, anyone watching the caster (and I'd say they have to be watching pretty closely) would see he concentrates on something for a few seconds but there would be no indication at all what it is he's concentrating on. Heck, maybe he's passing a kidney stone.

My 10th level arcane trickster could be sitting in a bar staring into his beer and suddenly a celestial bison appears. Where is the opportunity for someone to identify his summoning spell as it is being cast? Anyone with Knowledge(Arcana) would be able to tell someone cast the summoning spell, but only after the fact, and they wouldn't know who did it.

I'd say spellcraft cannot be used to identify any spell being cast that has no VSM components.

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