Spell Questions: Magic Missile, Phantom Steed, Shield, and Spectral Hand


Rules Questions


A few questions that have popped up recently. I'd appreciate some help if anyone knows the answer to any or all of the below.

The Phantom Steed spell creates a "quasi-real, horselike creature". It is given an AC (including a natural armor score and a dexterity modifier). It is also given HP. However I don't see any other statistics besides speed listed. No constitution, wisdom, base saving throws, and so on. As a creature it can be targeted by spells, as well as being able to be attacked and take damage, yet has no saving throws listed for spells that would be lessened or negated with a successful save (for example no reflex save to potentially survive a Burning Hands spell - though it clearly has a dexterity score of 20 or 21). It also has no qualities listed as to its creature type or immunities (whether or not it can be targeted by mind-affecting, or spells which target specific creature types, ect). Has it ever been listed anywhere as to what these statistics are, specifically how it makes saving throws? We've been having it save as an attended object for the time being.

Shield applies to touch attacks from incorporeal sources as a force effect. Does it grant the AC bonus to spells delivered by a Spectral Hand? I believe it should, since the hand is incorporeal, but a player is continually defying my ruling by stating that the wizard isn't incorporeal and he is the one casting the spell and only using the Spectral Hand to deliver it, and thus the spell is from him, and not an incorporeal source. I'm pretty sure he is wrong, but I told I'm I'd look into it.

And finally: Is the Spectral Hand considered a creature for the purpose of being targeted by spells? It is not a summoning or calling spell, nor does the spell specifically state that the hand is a creature in the spell, that I can see anyway. But the hand is given AC and HP and even tells how it saves. I ask because it has become a common solution to enemy touch spell casters to Magic Missile and send one of the missiles toward the Spectral Hand. The d4+1 is almost guaranteed to take out the hand, and a second one can't fail, especially because as force effect they don't care the hand is incorporeal. However Magic Missile doesn't damage objects and can only be targeted at creatures.

Quick reference for spells:
Magic Missile
Phantom Steed
Shield
Spectral Hand


You pose some interesting questions!

Ringtail wrote:
The Phantom Steed spell creates a "quasi-real, horselike creature". It is given an AC (including a natural armor score and a dexterity modifier). It is also given HP. However I don't see any other statistics besides speed listed. No constitution, wisdom, base saving throws, and so on. As a creature it can be targeted by spells, as well as being able to be attacked and take damage, yet has no saving throws listed for spells that would be lessened or negated with a successful save (for example no reflex save to potentially survive a Burning Hands spell - though it clearly has a dexterity score of 20 or 21). It also has no qualities listed as to its creature type or immunities (whether or not it can be targeted by mind-affecting, or spells which target specific creature types, ect). Has it ever been listed anywhere as to what these statistics are, specifically how it makes saving throws? We've been having it save as an attended object for the time being.

There is a necromancer in my game who uses phantom steed, and a question came up in the last adventure about it stats. The Conjuration section in the Magic chapter only says, "create objects or effects on the spot (creation)," which makes it seem like only objects or effects are created by this school of magic, but this particular spell says that it creates a creature. Though, it doesn't say anything about the creature's type or subtype. I suppose the case could be made that it can be targeted by spells that can affect any creature but not by spells that target specific creature types, so magic missile would work but not command undead. Also, you could cast hide from undead on the phantom steed to hide it from zombies, but casting hide from undead on yourself would not hide you from the phantom steed. Although, it seems like a phantom steed would not react to another creature in any way (aside from the rider), so there is no need to hide from it anyway. And this is all speculation / DM discretion on my part.

As for ability scores, it only lists +5 Dex, so I assume it has no other ability scores, so the other modifiers (Str, Wis, etc) are treated as +0. I'm pretty sure this part is RAW and would give Fort +0, Ref +5, Will +0 for saves.

Ringtail wrote:
Shield applies to touch attacks from incorporeal sources as a force effect. Does it grant the AC bonus to spells delivered by a Spectral Hand? I believe it should, since the hand is incorporeal, but a player is continually defying my ruling by stating that the wizard isn't incorporeal and he is the one casting the spell and only using the Spectral Hand to deliver it, and thus the spell is from him, and not an incorporeal source. I'm pretty sure he is wrong, but I told I'm I'd look into it.

The spectral hand is incorporeal (and delivering the spell), so any defenses against incorporeal creatures apply to the spectral hand. If a wizard had a familiar deliver a spell, or a druid had an animal companion deliver a spell...and I don't even know if either of these methods of spell delivery are possible...any defenses against the creature type of the familiar or animal companion would apply. For example, an evil familiar would have to deal with protection from evil even if the wizard is neutral.

Ringtail wrote:
And finally: Is the Spectral Hand considered a creature for the purpose of being targeted by spells? It is not a summoning or calling spell, nor does the spell specifically state that the hand is a creature in the spell, that I can see anyway. But the hand is given AC and HP and even tells how it saves. I ask because it has become a common solution to enemy touch spell casters to Magic Missile and send one of the missiles toward the Spectral Hand....

This is a bit fuzzier because unlike the phantom steed, this spell description does not identify the spectral hand as a creature or object. However, it does have an AC and hit points and can be destroyed, so it must be possible to target it with an attack. It also gets the bonuses of being incorporeal (which for balance, makes sense that it should also suffer the penalties of being incorporeal, such as having to deal with the shield spell). You know what...I just noticed something...the spell description starts out by saying the spectral hand is shaped from the life force of the caster...so, I'd say to treat it as the same creature type as the caster in addition to being incorporeal.


Sounds good. Thank you.


1 person marked this as a favorite.
Ringtail wrote:
Shield applies to touch attacks from incorporeal sources as a force effect. Does it grant the AC bonus to spells delivered by a Spectral Hand?

No. The hand is incorporeal, yes- but it is making a touch attack, NOT an incorporeal touch attack. In case you don't know the difference, allow me to explain:

A touch attack ignores armor because all you're trying to do is touch the target. If you touch the target's armor, you're still touching the target, and thus armor provides no benefit. Even bearing a shield wouldn't provide a benefit, because you could simply touch the target's shield. If the target has an armor or shield bonus from a force effect, it still provides no benefit, because, again, touching the armor/shield counts as touching the target.

An incorporeal touch attack is exactly like a normal attack, except that it passes through armor, and thus armor provides no benefit (it's as if the armor wasn't there, including a shield). If the target has an armor or shield bonus from a force effect, the armor/shield bonus still applies, because the incorporeal touch is no longer able to pass through the armor/shield, and therefore must aim for a weak point like any other attack.

If an incorporeal source is making a touch attack (a touch, not an incorporeal touch), it would still use the rules for touch attacks, even if the attacker is incorporeal. A touch attack, like from a spell, can still grab onto the target's armor or shield, because it's a touch attack. It doesn't need to pass through anything because it's just trying to touch the target.

Therefore, a Shield spell would provide no benefit against a Spectral Hand, because you can only use it to cast touch spells.


"reefwood wrote:
As for ability scores, it only lists +5 Dex, so I assume it has no other ability scores, so the other modifiers (Str, Wis, etc) are treated as +0. I'm pretty sure this part is RAW and would give Fort +0, Ref +5, Will +0 for saves.

Not sure about this... I'd probably give it the basic Horse template as far as saves go.. if you look at a horse with a +5 dex modifier and +4 natural armor, the AC evens out to 18, just like phantom steed. As well as being large and being horselike. 6 Fort, 8 Reflex, 1 Will.

I might just be a nice guy though...


UltimaGabe wrote:
No. The hand is incorporeal, yes- but it is making a touch attack, NOT an incorporeal touch attack.

Excellent point. A Shocking Grasp spell cast by a ghost wouldn't be warded off by a Shield spell any more than a Shocking Grasp cast by a human would be.


I agree with what was said about Shield above

.........

About Phantom Steed =

Be careful, about adding stuff to the spell. The spell does not summon a Horse.... but a Horselike creature.

The creature is only quasi-real, which means if you get knocked off... your allies would not be able to hop and ride it (( only real to you or the person you create the animal for)). To anyone else, it is more like a force effect.

Also, the spell can be used for other things: Like spider creatures, dog creatures, etc... when used as a domain spells. (As listed in past books).

Lastly, i would still treat this as a magic spell.. as that it grants magic ability's like water walk, air walk, and fly at high levels.

...........

The Spectral Hand spell=

Is incorporeal (mage armor & shield AC are effective vs this spell.... but not the spell effects of the spell that it delivers). This is a hold over of multi-rule edition.

[edit]
This makes for a fuzzy gray area. On one hand, Mage Armor and Shield spell are effective vs incorporeal creatures. On the other hand they are treated as ordinary armor and shield vs spells, and there effects. In this case, since the main use of the hand is to deliver the spell effect, i would think that the spell would not count Mage Armor or Shield AC bonus. ((although i could see a GM ruling it the other way, to give magic user more protection vs spells themselves.... ask your local GM.)).
[edit]

The Hand incorporeal = page 567 (Incorporeal):""Creature with the incorporeal condition do not have a physical body. Incorporeal creatures are immune to all nonmagical attack forms. Incorporeal creatures take half damage (50%) from magic weapons, spells, spell-like effects, and supernatural effects. Incorporeal creatures take full damage from other incorporeal creatures and effects, as well as all force effects. ""

So what happens when you use a Spectral Hand + Shocking Grasp vs a Spectral Hand + Shocking Grasp.... would the Shocking grasp do 50% damage or Full damage. ((Ask your GM, i could see it ruled either way)).

....................

Did you have a question about Magic Missile ??


UltimaGabe wrote:
Ringtail wrote:
Shield applies to touch attacks from incorporeal sources as a force effect. Does it grant the AC bonus to spells delivered by a Spectral Hand?

No. The hand is incorporeal, yes- but it is making a touch attack, NOT an incorporeal touch attack. In case you don't know the difference, allow me to explain:

A touch attack ignores armor because all you're trying to do is touch the target. If you touch the target's armor, you're still touching the target, and thus armor provides no benefit. Even bearing a shield wouldn't provide a benefit, because you could simply touch the target's shield. If the target has an armor or shield bonus from a force effect, it still provides no benefit, because, again, touching the armor/shield counts as touching the target.

An incorporeal touch attack is exactly like a normal attack, except that it passes through armor, and thus armor provides no benefit (it's as if the armor wasn't there, including a shield). If the target has an armor or shield bonus from a force effect, the armor/shield bonus still applies, because the incorporeal touch is no longer able to pass through the armor/shield, and therefore must aim for a weak point like any other attack.

If an incorporeal source is making a touch attack (a touch, not an incorporeal touch), it would still use the rules for touch attacks, even if the attacker is incorporeal. A touch attack, like from a spell, can still grab onto the target's armor or shield, because it's a touch attack. It doesn't need to pass through anything because it's just trying to touch the target.

Therefore, a Shield spell would provide no benefit against a Spectral Hand, because you can only use it to cast touch spells.

I'm somewhat convinced to reverse my thoughts on this one. I hadn't taken into account that the spectral hand can only make touch attacks, as opposed to a regular attack, and armor/shield bonuses don't apply to touch attacks. Although, force effects like mage armor and shield aren't attached to your body like an actual suit of armor or shield...they surround or hover around you, so it may be that these effects do not touch the target, and therefore, touching them does not touch the target.

In all honesty, I'm not sure if these thoughts fall into RAI (rules as interpreted) or part of RAW that is left unsaid because it is expected that gamers will figure it out... since it does make sense that effects that defend incorporeal attacks would defend against all attacks by any incorporeal creature.

I guess another way to ask this kind of question...if a ghost casts a touch spell, does it not have to worry about mage armor or shield when attempting to touch the target?


A better question is... Would the touch spell the ghost cast... Have full effect or (50%)Half-effect, since it is from a incorporeal source.

Why ?
And why is this Fair ?


1 person marked this as a favorite.
reefwood wrote:
Although, force effects like mage armor and shield aren't attached to your body like an actual suit of armor or shield...they surround or hover around you, so it may be that these effects do not touch the target, and therefore, touching them does not touch the target.

Nah, that's just fluff. Mage Armor surrounds your body just like physical armor does. (Physical armor is no more connected to your body than a plane of magical force.) A physical shield isn't connected to your body, and it's held out in front of you, yet a shield bonus doesn't apply to touch attacks. Mechanically-speaking, Shield provides a Shield bonus and Mage Armor provides an Armor bonus. Touch attacks ignore both. Their description is fluff and should be treated as such.


Oliver McShade wrote:
Did you have a question about Magic Missile ??

Whether or not Magic Missile could legally target a spectral hand.


Ringtail wrote:
Oliver McShade wrote:
Did you have a question about Magic Missile ??
Whether or not Magic Missile could legally target a spectral hand.

can the phantom steed benefit from haste?


thenovalord wrote:
can the phantom steed benefit from haste?

By RAW yes, phantom steed conjures creature and haste affects creatures. Nothing in both spells suggest otherwise.

When it comes to magic missile targeting spectral hand the matter is more uncertain. Magic missile specifically targets creatures and the spectral hand is not described as creature.


Drejk wrote:
When it comes to magic missile targeting spectral hand the matter is more uncertain. Magic missile specifically targets creatures and the spectral hand is not described as creature.

Seeing as how spectral hand has HP, AC, Incorporeal and can be targeted by "normal weapons", I'd go with yes you can target it with a magic missile spell.

However, because it's incorporeal it will only take half damage from any magic spell cast on it.


Stynkk wrote:
Drejk wrote:
When it comes to magic missile targeting spectral hand the matter is more uncertain. Magic missile specifically targets creatures and the spectral hand is not described as creature.

Seeing as how spectral hand has HP, AC, Incorporeal and can be targeted by "normal weapons", I'd go with yes you can target it with a magic missile spell.

However, because it's incorporeal it will only take half damage from any magic spell cast on it.

Not correct -- incorporeals take full damage from force effects.


Abraham spalding wrote:
Not correct -- incorporeals take full damage from force effects.

Curses! Magic missile is a force effect.


Stynkk wrote:
Abraham spalding wrote:
Not correct -- incorporeals take full damage from force effects.
Curses! Magic missile is a force effect.

And it's what my sorcerer did to the last spectral hand he fought. POOF! Didn't need all those missiles, after all! XD

Good times...


Benicio Del Espada wrote:
Stynkk wrote:
Abraham spalding wrote:
Not correct -- incorporeals take full damage from force effects.
Curses! Magic missile is a force effect.

And it's what my sorcerer did to the last spectral hand he fought. POOF! Didn't need all those missiles, after all! XD

Good times...

True, magic missile is a force effect and incorporeal creatures take full damage from force effects. However, magic missile specifically states that it only damages creatures. Having HP and an AC doesn't make you a creature. Weapons, armor, walls, pretty much everything has HP. You can sunder a sword, but you you cant damage it with magic missiles.

Community / Forums / Pathfinder / Pathfinder First Edition / Rules Questions / Spell Questions: Magic Missile, Phantom Steed, Shield, and Spectral Hand All Messageboards

Want to post a reply? Sign in.