How does spell caster level work?


Rules Questions

The Exchange

Yup, pretty forward!
So, any help?

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Adventure, Rulebook Subscriber; Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber

Caster level is usually equal to levels in a spellcasting class. This can be modified in the class description (Rangers and Paladins have no caster level until level 4, and from then on have a CL equal to their class level -3.) Feats and other abilities may add a bonus to caster level when casting certain spells.

Grand Lodge RPG Superstar 2015 Top 32, RPG Superstar 2012 Top 32

1 person marked this as a favorite.

If something refers to your caster level, it means the number of levels you have in a relevant spellcasting class.

So if you're a fighter2/wizard3/cleric5, and you cast magic missile (as a wizard spell), it says you get one missile plus one more for every two caster levels beyond 1st. Your wizard caster level is 3, so you get two missiles.

If you then cast a cleric spell with a duration of 1 minute per level, it will last 5 minutes because your cleric caster level is 5th.

If an effect tells you to make a caster level check or concentration check, you use your caster level in the class you're using to cast (or do whatever it is that the check is for).

Grand Lodge

Can you be more specific? Is there something about it you don't understand?

In general, for full-casting classes (get spells at 1st level), assuming you have only one class, your caster level is equal to your level.

If you multi-class, generally, your caster level is equal to the number of levels you have taken in that class (ignore the other classes).

If you have a class that is a "late-entry" caster like a paladin, the class description will tell you how to calculate the caster level. Usually something like the number of levels you have in that class minus four.

There are some class combos and prestige classes that can complicate the calculation somewhat, so if you're confused about a specific combination, posting the details will get you a better answer.

BTW, welcome to Pathfinder and the PFS!

The Exchange

See, I'm creating a wizard, and I can see the table of the casting spells per day and I think that somehow means that (for example) in level 2 I'm caster level 1, in level 4 I'm caster level 2, in level 5 I'm caster level 3, cause it only lets me learn or prepare spells from those levels. Is this true, or am I reading it wrong?

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Adventure, Rulebook Subscriber; Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber

You are reading it wrong. Spell level, those listed on the chart, determine what spells you can cast. Caster level determines how strong those spells are when cast, based off of the calculations listed in the spell.

A level 2 Wizard can cast 1st level spells, and has a caster level of 2.
A level 4 Wizard can cast 2nd level spells, and has a caster level of 4.
A level 5 Wizard can cast 3rd level spells, and has a caster level of 5.

Grand Lodge

Nope...that references the maximum level of spells that you have access to and is a different (albeit related) mechanic than caster level.

For a straight wizard, you will gain access to a new level of spells at each odd level.

You caster level is determined by the number of levels in the class.

So, when you are a wizard level five, you will have gain access to third level spells and your caster level will be five. Make sense?

Liberty's Edge

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Primarily the difference is:

Caster Level = Level of whatever class that grants spells based on that classes spell progression or description. Wizards would be Wizard Level, Paladin would be Paladin level -3.

Spell Level = Level of Spell.

The fact that the word level is used in both of those terms can be confusing, but as long as you don't get the level of the spell confused with your caster level, you should be ok.

Grand Lodge RPG Superstar 2015 Top 32, RPG Superstar 2012 Top 32

3 people marked this as a favorite.
Andrew Christian wrote:
The fact that the word level is used in both of those terms can be confusing

Obligatory OOTS reference.


+1 for what everyone said.

Is this for your Wizard/witch multi-class idea?
If so, remember to keep your caster levels separate for each class.
Example: Your a wizard 3/witch 2
So for your wizard spells you are 3rd level and have access to 0-2nd level spells. Your caster level for these spells is 3rd.
For your witch spells you have access to 0-1 level spells and your caster level for those spells is 2nd.

Even though you have 5 total levels, your caster level for any spell is based on the levels you have in that particular class your using to cast it.

Liberty's Edge

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

that was funny

Grand Lodge RPG Superstar 2015 Top 32, RPG Superstar 2012 Top 32

Lab_Rat wrote:
Is this for your Wizard/witch multi-class idea?

He mentioned in the other thread that his concept ended up going a different direction.

The Exchange

You know, this must be the most helpful community I've ever been a part of! =D thanx a ton!


Hi,

My question is about prestige class and caster level: my example is a wizard who takes a level in arcane savant. From the second arcane savant level, the prestige class gives level ups for the base class spell levels (spells per day) and "and an increased effective level of spellcasting" Does this mean, when I have to take a caster level check or I have to take a concentration check with the casting, I can count into it the prestige class leveles too?


I'm not familiar with that prc but here goes. I assume you are refering to the +1 level of existing spellcasting class?

Basically this only affects your spellcastijg classnfeature and nothing else. So a wizard 5/spellcasting prc 1 would have the same spells per day as a lvl 6 wizard any effects related to spells are asnif he were lvl 6. However any other class features such as familiar he is lvl 5. As an asside wizards adding prc levels do not add new spells when they level. Normally they get two new spells but that is from a wizard class feature.


Mojorat wrote:

I'm not familiar with that prc but here goes. I assume you are refering to the +1 level of existing spellcasting class?

Basically this only affects your spellcastijg classnfeature and nothing else. So a wizard 5/spellcasting prc 1 would have the same spells per day as a lvl 6 wizard any effects related to spells are asnif he were lvl 6. However any other class features such as familiar he is lvl 5. As an asside wizards adding prc levels do not add new spells when they level. Normally they get two new spells but that is from a wizard class feature.

to add to the confusion, there are feats and items that add to your "caster level." These only affect how powerful the spells you cast are (damage, duration, range), but do not give you extra spells.

Example; a level 4 wizard with a Varisian Spell Tatoo (Evocation). The number of spells he gets per day is as a level 4 wizard (3 level 1 and 2 level 2). For effect, if he casts a magic missile or burning hands, he counts as level 5 (3 missiles or 5d4 fire damage). When casting Snowball (conjuration), it still counts as level 4 (4d6 damage).

For bypassing spell resistance, he counts as 5 for evocation spells, 4 for others.

I believe this would also allow the level 4 wizard to count as level 5 when casting evocation spells of scrolls, without requiring a caster level check. If so, he could cast a fireball (spell level 3, caster level 5) without a check, but would still need a check for a Fly spell (spell level 3, caster level 5).


Yes, I meant the +1 level of existing spellcasting class.

Thank you all :) Now it's clear to me.


Hello. I'm running a game and since the wording on how this works was somewhat vague does this mean that at the minimum level for casting resurrection the team's cleric can resurrect corpses as old as 130 years old or does it start calculating after the minimum?


Pathfinder Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber

Yes, a 13th level cleric can cast resurrection on a 130 years dead creature because his caster level is 13 or higher. You do not begin counting for effects based on caster level from the minimum level to cast the spell, you just count them all.


Lab_Rat wrote:

+1 for what everyone said.

Is this for your Wizard/witch multi-class idea?
If so, remember to keep your caster levels separate for each class.
Example: Your a wizard 3/witch 2
So for your wizard spells you are 3rd level and have access to 0-2nd level spells. Your caster level for these spells is 3rd.
For your witch spells you have access to 0-1 level spells and your caster level for those spells is 2nd.

Even though you have 5 total levels, your caster level for any spell is based on the levels you have in that particular class your using to cast it.

This actually helped me! I'm a white haired witch 2/Magus 1 and I just took my first level as Magus. I wanted to be a solid spellcaster, but in the campaign I joined I needed something with spells AND melee since the DM is a ruthless bastard and I saw Magus did a little of both. Although my hair has resulted in my last 5 kills. (Thank you constrict)I'm gonna try to use level them both still for the spells. Witch for buffs/debuffs and Magus for offensive, if that would be a good idea....not sure yet.


What about with spells that are on multiple spell lists? For example, a Bard 4 / Druid 2 character and Cure Light Wounds.


Heather 540 wrote:
What about with spells that are on multiple spell lists? For example, a Bard 4 / Druid 2 character and Cure Light Wounds.

It depends on what spell slot you are preparing the spell in. IF you prepare the spell in one of the slots granted by your bard levels, then your caster level would be 4. If you prepared it in a slot granted by your druid levels, than it would be caster level 2.


Bards are spontaneous casters, they don't need to prepare their spells.


Heather 540 wrote:
Bards are spontaneous casters, they don't need to prepare their spells.

Well, true. The same still applies. Class spellcasting is totally separate from each other. A Bard 4/Druid 2 casts spells as a Bard 4, and completely separately also casts spells as a Druid 2. In no way, shape, or form do classes combine their spellcasting. (Unless specifically stated to do so).


Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber; Pathfinder Companion Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber

Necroing this thread.

So....with Simulacrum, can you use a bead of Karma to bump your level to create a more powerful clone? Spell says HD or character level.....and bead of Karma bumps caster level. Is caster level a subset of character level or is it its own thing?

I feel like it wouldn't - but I thought I would check. Go!

The Exchange

1 person marked this as a favorite.

I am by no means an authority, but ....

Where the Simulacrum spell says: "...but it has only half of the real creature's levels or HD...", be sure to use the actual HD... now where it says "You can't create a simulacrum of a creature whose HD or levels exceed twice your caster level..." that CL could be boosted.

so... yeah, it would boost CL (Caster Level) but not "...creature's levels or HD...". So the simulacrum you get wouldn't be any stronger (a sim of a 20th level guy would still only be 10th level), but you could use the Karma to boost your CL above 10th to be able to create that sim...

did that opinion help?

and for some weird reason, I think it's cool that this thread seems to be Necro'd every year or two...


Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber; Pathfinder Companion Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber

Got it, I think that makes sense. I guess what I was trying to do was squeeze an extra level or two out of the Sim. I'm 17th level and wanted to boost my CL to 21 to get a 10th level Sim versus an 8th level Sim.

I don't think I can based on the CL and HD point in the spell, but I thought I would check. Caster level really doesn't matter because it's an instantaneous spell and thus can't be dispelled.

Thanks!

Community / Forums / Pathfinder / Pathfinder First Edition / Rules Questions / How does spell caster level work? All Messageboards

Want to post a reply? Sign in.