Spell-Like Ability Woes


Rules Questions


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

-Summary for the tldr crowd: how do you know what level spell certain spell-like abilities duplicate?

-Problem 1: Cleric domains, sorcerer bloodlines, and wizard school specializations (evocation, illusion, etc.) all grant spell-like abilities at 1st level. The problem is, these spell-like abilities are not given a level. For example, the air domain lets you use a spell-like ability called "lightning arc" 3 + Wis modifier per day, but what level spell is "lightning arc" treated as? This is important when it comes to questions like "what is the concentration check to see if I can use lightning arc?" or "can lightning arc penetrate a globe of invulnerability?"
-Possible answer: treat all those minor abilities as 1st-level spells.

-Problem 2: The Advanced Player's Guide infinitely complicates this matter. There seems to be no rhyme or reason for whether the ability granted by a cleric's domain/sorcerer's bloodline/wizard's school is spell-like or supernatural. For example, many of the 1st-level abilities granted by domains/bloodlines/schools are supernatural, while the abilities they replace are spell-like, despite both being useable 3 + (ability modifier) per day and having relatively minor effects. Furthermore, many high-end abilities are spell-like: for example, the starsoul's "breaching the gulf" ability sends a target into outer space, but again, what level spell should that be treated as?
-Possible answer: arbitrarily assign spell-levels to these abilities when the issue arises OR just say that all cleric/sorcerer/wizard abilities are supernatural, not spell-like.

So has anyone else had this problem? What solutions did you use? I'm looking for a simple and elegant answer here, but haven't come up with one myself.


1. I originally treat the spell level as the highest possible at the level gained.
Example: If the ability is gained at level 4 I would assume it is equal to a 2nd level spell.
What I do now is treat it as supernatural even though I know it is not until they decide to make an official decision.

2. I have the book, but I have not really looked at it yet so I can't say anything about the APG.


2 people marked this as FAQ candidate.

More spell-like ability woes in my question:

If you are grappled, do you need concentration checks (10+grappler's CMB + spellevel) to use spell-like abilities?

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Companion, Lost Omens, Rulebook, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Funkytrip wrote:
If you are grappled, do you need concentration checks (10+grappler's CMB + spellevel) to use spell-like abilities?

Yes. On the plus side you can use any spell-like ability while grappled since being a spell-like ability gets rid of any components the spell would otherwise have.


Another random question I have come across. When dealing with a touch SLA that does not duplicate any known spell(Like the Knowledge domain level 1 ability), can you activate the ability and hold it as a charge like you can with other touch spells?


1 person marked this as a favorite.

I love that SLA's are completely mental, requiring no components, yet still you must make checks while being grappled and provoke attacks of opportunity.

Makes me think of situations like...

Fighter: Charging a Rakshasa... "Don't think about lightning bolts! Don't think about lightning bolts!"
Rakshasa: "What? Thinks about lightning bolts. ... Wait, why am I provoking an attack---"
Pow!


Gjorbjond wrote:
Funkytrip wrote:
If you are grappled, do you need concentration checks (10+grappler's CMB + spellevel) to use spell-like abilities?

Yes. On the plus side you can use any spell-like ability while grappled since being a spell-like ability gets rid of any components the spell would otherwise have.

But on the down side, it is generally impossible to make that check without some kind of help. At higher levels you will need a check of 40+, which is virtually impossible to make.

Tip in that case: permanent anti-grapple magic like ring of freedom of movement ;-)


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
wraithstrike wrote:

1. I originally treat the spell level as the highest possible at the level gained.

Example: If the ability is gained at level 4 I would assume it is equal to a 2nd level spell.

Ah, I like that. I may go with it.

It just bugs me how it seems totally random whether an ability is supernatural or spell-like. And again, it's far worse in the Advanced Player's Guide than the Core Rulebook.


Generic Villain wrote:

-Summary for the tldr crowd: how do you know what level spell certain spell-like abilities duplicate?

-Problem 1: Cleric domains, sorcerer bloodlines, and wizard school specializations (evocation, illusion, etc.) all grant spell-like abilities at 1st level. The problem is, these spell-like abilities are not given a level. For example, the air domain lets you use a spell-like ability called "lightning arc" 3 + Wis modifier per day, but what level spell is "lightning arc" treated as? This is important when it comes to questions like "what is the concentration check to see if I can use lightning arc?" or "can lightning arc penetrate a globe of invulnerability?"
-Possible answer: treat all those minor abilities as 1st-level spells.

-Problem 2: The Advanced Player's Guide infinitely complicates this matter. There seems to be no rhyme or reason for whether the ability granted by a cleric's domain/sorcerer's bloodline/wizard's school is spell-like or supernatural. For example, many of the 1st-level abilities granted by domains/bloodlines/schools are supernatural, while the abilities they replace are spell-like, despite both being useable 3 + (ability modifier) per day and having relatively minor effects. Furthermore, many high-end abilities are spell-like: for example, the starsoul's "breaching the gulf" ability sends a target into outer space, but again, what level spell should that be treated as?
-Possible answer: arbitrarily assign spell-levels to these abilities when the issue arises OR just say that all cleric/sorcerer/wizard abilities are supernatural, not spell-like.

So has anyone else had this problem? What solutions did you use? I'm looking for a simple and elegant answer here, but haven't come up with one myself.

Bump. FAQ the OP's post please.


Pathfinder Maps, Pawns Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber

FAQ'd.

This has been brought up a number of times before and I'm amazed it has yet to be officially addressed.


Ice Titan wrote:

I love that SLA's are completely mental, requiring no components, yet still you must make checks while being grappled and provoke attacks of opportunity.

Makes me think of situations like...

Fighter: Charging a Rakshasa... "Don't think about lightning bolts! Don't think about lightning bolts!"
Rakshasa: "What? Thinks about lightning bolts. ... Wait, why am I provoking an attack---"
Pow!

Just because it requires no components (V,S,M) doesnt mean that they user doesnt have to stop and focus his thoughts. It that focusing of its mind that provokes the AoO. The user is focus on channeling the power of the ability and not focused on dodging, weaving and parrying.


Pathfinder Maps, Pawns Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber
Kalyth wrote:
Ice Titan wrote:

I love that SLA's are completely mental, requiring no components, yet still you must make checks while being grappled and provoke attacks of opportunity.

Makes me think of situations like...

Fighter: Charging a Rakshasa... "Don't think about lightning bolts! Don't think about lightning bolts!"
Rakshasa: "What? Thinks about lightning bolts. ... Wait, why am I provoking an attack---"
Pow!

Just because it requires no components (V,S,M) doesnt mean that they user doesnt have to stop and focus his thoughts. It that focusing of its mind that provokes the AoO. The user is focus on channeling the power of the ability and not focused on dodging, weaving and parrying.

More specifically, it's the distraction that such focus causes that causes it to provoke. If you are focusing on a spell, you aren't focusing on avoiding getting hit.


Quick question:

A grimspawn tiefling wizard has death knell (as a spell-like ability) instead of Fiendish sorcery; does he use his Int modifier when casting? Or since death knell is normally a cleric spell does he use his Wis modifier?

The Exchange

Pathfinder Rulebook Subscriber

spell like abilities typically use Charisma , regardless of the spell they gain as a spell like ability.

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