PFS Ruling: Spiritual Weapon and Spiritual Ally


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4 people marked this as FAQ candidate.

Question:

Does PFS rule that only the wisdom casting stat affects Spiritual Weapon and Spiritual Ally, or is Charisma used for Oracles?

Thanks!


Pathfinder Maps Subscriber

Hello. It currently uses Wisdom only. Here's the comment from Creative Director James Jacobs about it using Wisdom only, and that changing it to Charisma would be a houserule not legal for PFS:

LINK

My oracle shed a tear over this.


David Montgomery wrote:

Hello. It currently uses Wisdom only. Here's the comment from Creative Director James Jacobs about it using Wisdom only, and that changing it to Charisma would be a houserule not legal for PFS:

LINK

Thanks!

Spiritual Weapon and Spiritual Ally seems like a neat "Haunted" curse theme. My oracle too shall shed a tear over this.

Liberty's Edge

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Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber; Pathfinder Companion, Maps, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Maps, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Charter Superscriber

There isn't (and shouldn't be) a separate PFS ruling, this is a straight-up Pathfinder RPG rule question. JJ's insights into the Why this is a Wis-based modifier are quite interesting.

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

Not every wizard spell works well for sorcerers. It's appropriate that the same thing may come up with cleric spells as well.

Liberty's Edge

8 people marked this as a favorite.

Heretical scum such as Oracles don't worship a deity so I don't see why a deity should bother listening to their pleas.

Shadow Lodge

LazarX wrote:
Not every wizard spell works well for sorcerers. It's appropriate that the same thing may come up with cleric spells as well.

But that doesn't have to do with the spell itself, more the mechanics of the sorcerer vs wizard. There are spells that are better for the wizard than the sorcerer because they are situational spells. I can't think of a Wizard/Sorcerer spell that calls out int and not char.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Society Subscriber
Peter Galdr wrote:
Heretical scum such as Oracles don't worship a deity so I don't see why a deity should bother listening to their pleas.

The oracle in my home game is a Shoanti tribesman with the ancestors mystery. His spiritual weapon is fluffed as actually summoning the spirit of one of his ancestors to fight on his behalf.

Shadow Lodge

Matt Haddix wrote:
Peter Galdr wrote:
Heretical scum such as Oracles don't worship a deity so I don't see why a deity should bother listening to their pleas.
The oracle in my home game is a Shoanti tribesman with the ancestors mystery. His spiritual weapon is fluffed as actually summoning the spirit of one of his ancestors to fight on his behalf.

. . . But doesn't have the Jedi traing to use it properly. :)


1 person marked this as FAQ candidate.

The FAQ to the Spiritual Weapon spell states that the spell says wisdom because oracles didn't exist when the Core Book was written. SKR went on in another thread in the rules forum, to imply (in part) and outright say (the rest) that the errata would not be made because the core book cannot refer to books that came after it.

The problem with the FAQ response on this question is that it doesn't clarify spells like Chain of Perdition or Telekinesis (which the Haunted curse grants). These spells also don't refer to the Oracle, but do not say wisdom is used straight out but gives options for if the caster is a wizard, sorcerer, or (in the case of Chain of Perdition) cleric. None of these cases apply to Oracle, so there's no default for them to fall to. Would it be charisma because that's their casting stat? Well that'd make sense, but the failure to errata Spiritual Weapon implies that this isn't the case? Does Chain of Perdition default to Wisdom because oracles are using the cleric list? Perhaps, but that doesn't help for Telekinesis.

The easiest and cleanest way to deal with all of these problems is to make such spells based on the casting stat of the class using the spell. Else RAW (which PFS defaults to) totally fails to let telekinesis, a granted spell, useable. The FAQ for spiritual weapon mentions that this could be a house rule, and the very mention of that along with SKRs reason for why it is not being errata'd, suggests to me that even the developers feel using a casting stat is the intention (although I suppose JJ may disagree), but that their hands are tied on the issue.

I am a big by-the-rules guy, and I'm all for PFS' general RAW interpretations, but I do believe that in this particular case, those in charge may want to consider an exception.

Dark Archive

While you logic may be sound, I wouldn't hold your breath on this one. Some spell work better for clerics, and some work better for oracles.

Liberty's Edge

Skerek wrote:
LazarX wrote:
Not every wizard spell works well for sorcerers. It's appropriate that the same thing may come up with cleric spells as well.
But that doesn't have to do with the spell itself, more the mechanics of the sorcerer vs wizard. There are spells that are better for the wizard than the sorcerer because they are situational spells. I can't think of a Wizard/Sorcerer spell that calls out int and not char.

How about Charm Person/Monster line, any spell that requires a Charisma Check within its description certainly does the reverse favoring all but the oddest sorcerers over wizards.

Paizo Employee Developer

6 people marked this as FAQ candidate. 40 people marked this as a favorite.

Good afternoon,

This question is one I’ve considered for some time, and following my discussions with Mike Brock and Sean K Reynolds about a FAQ post earlier this year, I’ve made a decision. A character who receives spiritual weapon and/or spiritual ally as a bonus spell (such as an oracle mystery spell or witch patron spell) may use her primary spellcasting ability score in place of her Wisdom score when calculating the spell’s attack bonus. In this way a select set of characters that would otherwise have no choice but to learn the spell (e.g. spirits patron witches, ancestors mystery oracles, and sacred servant paladins with the war domain) can still make effective use of a character feature.

This ruling only applies to the two spells mentioned above and does not modify any other spells that may have similar circumstances. This ruling does not alter how the above spells function for characters who do not receive those spells as bonus spells.

This is a clarification that we are using for Pathfinder Society Organized Play. We plan on updating this in future update of the Pathfinder Society FAQ.

If there are other spells that also experience the “spiritual weapon conundrum,” please endeavor to go first to the rules forum to bring it to the design team’s attention. Let’s keep this thread just to discussing these two spells.

Dark Archive

To clarify then, an oracle who chooses spiritual weapon or ally as a spell known must use his or her wisdom modifier, but an oracle that learns it from the mystery class feature can use his or her charisma modifier instead?

While I do like the direction you are taking with this decision, I worry that there is now more room for confusion than there was before.

Paizo Employee Developer

Adam Mogyorodi wrote:
To clarify then, an oracle who chooses spiritual weapon or ally as a spell known must use his or her wisdom modifier, but an oracle that learns it from the mystery class feature can use his or her charisma modifier instead?

This is the case. The intention is not to create a blanket rule of "spiritual ally uses whatever stat you want." Rather, it's to allow select characters make use of class features that they had no direct choice over. Otherwise an ancestors mystery oracle has "wasted" her 2nd- and 4th-level bonus spells.


Although I can see where it may create some confusion, I think this is a good compromise for oracles like the ancestors mystery.

Paizo Employee Developer

If there any wording changes that you can see that might make the meaning and intentions clearer, I can revise the ruling for clarity.

Sovereign Court RPG Superstar 2014 Top 32

John: As a player who has went to the rules forum first for a clarification before, I can say that it isn't exactly an ideal solution. A substantial number of posters will bring up houserules or third-party publishers, neither of which are relevant for PFS. More importantly, my question wasn't answered definitively and has sat at 40+ FAQ requests for about a month now.

This isn't as much a problem in normal Pathfinder play, as the GM can make a ruling and go with it without having to be concerned about table variation. However, given that PFS is a RAW campaign that tries to minimize rules differences between tables, I feel that our GMs require something a bit more effective than the act of shouting into the void that posting in the Rules forum feels like. Therefore, I would ask either that there be some sort of more effective way to get official rulings there or a way to get an off-the cuff, non-binding opinion to guide PFS GMs.

Paizo Employee Developer

Valid points, Netopalis.

The ruling's request at the end of that post is more to direct forum-goers to go through the proper channels whenever possible. It's also to avoid turning this thread into a request that I also look at X, Y, or Z; those should be their own threads.

Mike and I prefer to minimize the times that we give 100% official answers to non-PFS rules questions because that's the domain of the design team. One of the trends you'll see with most of the rules updates I've provided over the past month is that the relevant hardcover's FAQ notes the answer is open to house rules; I'm just providing the information that people can use as RAW as an extension of this invitation for house rules.

I'm often open to providing off-the-cuff answers to rules-related questions, but I like to be able to discuss those in the interest of developing a more long term solution—as you note, the earlier remarks would be non-binding.

That said, a more in-depth discussion about what might be done to improve how players seek clarifications and related ideas would be better included in a thread dedicated to that topic.

Sovereign Court RPG Superstar 2014 Top 32

As a matter of fairness, I should note that after posting the above post, I looked back to find that a clarification WAS issued, I just missed it. Sorry about that. The system works better than the above indicates, but there is still a significant delay.

Shadow Lodge

Not wanting to errata the Core book seems like a cop-out. Why can't the designers errara the Oracle class itself? "Whenever an Oracle spell makes reference to the 'Cleric's wisdom modifier', instead use the oracle's charisma modifier."

Or just change all references in the core rules from specifying a modifier to referencing the caster's primary casting stat. It just seems like it can be done without having to refer outside the core book.

Paizo Employee Developer

Mystic Lemur wrote:

Not wanting to errata the Core book seems like a cop-out. Why can't the designers errara the Oracle class itself? "Whenever an Oracle spell makes reference to the 'Cleric's wisdom modifier', instead use the oracle's charisma modifier."

Or just change all references in the core rules from specifying a modifier to referencing the caster's primary casting stat. It just seems like it can be done without having to refer outside the core book.

What you ask is probably something better asked of the rules designers, then. I am primarily interpreting the FAQ posts for Pathfinder Society Organized Play, and I trust the design team to make rulings, decisions, and mechanics for the game system as a whole.

Shadow Lodge

Oh, I agree. And I may do just that when I get to a real computer, instead of pecking away on my phone.

Thanks for being so active on these boards, John. Try not to get burnt out. ;)


Very good compromise John.

The Exchange

Pathfinder Rulebook Subscriber

would this also apply to Rage Prophets who choose spiritual weapon as one of their Mystery spells?


I'm glad this ruling was made for PFS to counteract the "house-rule" type of FAQ that was issued on this question. Thanks, John.

...And now I have more oracles I want to make...

Paizo Employee Developer

Vincent Colon-Roine wrote:
would this also apply to Rage Prophets who choose spiritual weapon as one of their Mystery spells?

I'm on the fence about this one. On one hand it's a bonus spell that the oracle cannot later retrain. On the other hand, it's one spell option out of fourteen options. The above ruling is primarily aimed to protect those who have no choice about spell they gain.


Yiroep wrote:
..And now I have more oracles I want to make...

How is this different from every day?

Dark Archive

I think if there is a choice given (other than the choice of mystery, which seems too broad), that it should default to the core rules. It would be good to keep this as cut and dry as possible.

Paizo Employee Developer

CRobledo wrote:
Yiroep wrote:
..And now I have more oracles I want to make...
How is this different from every day?

I feel sorry I couldn't do more for his other dozen oracles. Have at it, Yiroep.

Yiroep:Oracles::
John:Bards

Not a bad thing.


John Compton wrote:

I feel sorry I couldn't do more for his other dozen oracles. Have at it, Yiroep.

Yiroep:Oracles::
John: Bards

Not a bad thing.

You have no idea what can of worms you unleashed down here by making the Lunar Mystery from Blood of the Moon legal. I don't think Paizo has ever made a faster sale than Yiroep's copy.


John Compton wrote:
I feel sorry I couldn't do more for his other dozen oracles. Have at it, Yiroep.

No, no. This is amazing news and a welcome change (for me at least). I actually once pondered a 20 wisdom 12 charisma oracle that was spiritual weapon spec rather than make a cleric. Can you imagine the absurdity? (Aside: I almost did it, too...)

CRobledo wrote:
You have no idea what can of worms you unleashed down here by making the Lunar Mystery from Blood of the Moon legal. I don't think Paizo has ever made a faster sale than Yiroep's copy.

Yes, yes, I know I couldn't stop talking about it for days, but that's because the Lunar Mystery is full of awesome. Unfortunately, I'm almost out of unique curses to give my oracles and I'll have to cycle them.

But...this isn't a bad thing! Wolfscarred is very flavorful for the Lunar mystery! Right? That's why I'm making another oracle, right?


John Compton wrote:

A character who receives spiritual weapon and/or spiritual ally as a bonus spell (such as an oracle mystery spell or witch patron spell) may use her primary spellcasting ability score in place of her Wisdom score when calculating the spell’s attack bonus. In this way a select set of characters that would otherwise have no choice but to learn the spell (e.g. spirits patron witches, ancestors mystery oracles, and sacred servant paladins with the war domain) can still make effective use of a character feature.

Pardon the thread necro, but this is the first time I've seen this official response from Mr. Compton (someone just pointed me to it). Thank you Mr. Compton (belatedly) for looking into the Spiritual Weapon and oracles issue for PFS.

If an oracle is forced to take Spiritual Weapon, they can use CHA. However, if an oracle wants to take Spiritual Weapon, they MUST use WIS. Think about that for a moment.

The reasoning for this is because it prevents an oracle from having an otherwise wasted spell thrust upon them without an inkling of choice.

Story Time!

I have a level 10.0 life oracle. I have since level 1 wanted to effectively use Spiritual Weapon with the character. And here are the bonus spells that I "have no choice but to learn" and how often I've used them in PFS.

detect undead - never
lesser restoration - countless
neutralize poison - never
restoration - once (after an adventure where someone died)

Okay, it's a sad and tragic and spilled-milk story. Yeah, yeah...

Again, and I do mean this sincerely, thank you Mr. Compton for addressing this from a PFS viewpoint. I may not agree with the ruling, but that does not mean I don't appreciate it.

Sczarni

Aside from the ability score dependance, does anyone know if there are ways to affect the attack bonus for rolls for spiritual weapons?

I know true strike, for example, gives a bonus to 'the next attack roll' and would therefore affect spiritual weapon.

But what about other stuff? Can you take weapon focus: spiritual weapon? What about bless etc?


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Carla the Profane wrote:

Aside from the ability score dependance, does anyone know if there are ways to affect the attack bonus for rolls for spiritual weapons?

I know true strike, for example, gives a bonus to 'the next attack roll' and would therefore affect spiritual weapon.

But what about other stuff? Can you take weapon focus: spiritual weapon? What about bless etc?

You can't gain any bonuses to hit or damage for the (spiritual) weapon due to feats. Weapon feats don't help at all. You can use Empower and Maximize because it alters the spell and not the weapon.

Morale Bonus:
- +1 Bless spell
- +2 yes Banner of the Ancient Kings
- +0 not Flagbearer feat (because the effect comes from a feat)
- +2 Heroism spell

Luck Bonus:
- +1 Prayer Spell
- +0 not Divine Favor (does not apply to spells)
- +X yes Divine Power (has no spell restriction)
- +1 Fate's Favored trait doubles luck bonuses

Competence Bonus:
- +X Inspire Courage
- +1 Pale Green Ioun Stone

Miscellaneous Bonus:
- +1 Haste
- +2 Blessing of Fervor (doesn't stack with haste)

Penalties: (don't forget the bad)
- -2 Sickened condition gives -2 to damage too
- -1 Doom spell
etc.

It's not a complete list, and some would view it as controversial, but these are the basics.

Grand Lodge

Was this supposed to not make it into the FAQ?

Sovereign Court

According to this I don't see why Flagbearer or Divine Favor (might not apply to damage, but should apply to the attack roll at least, depending on interpretation, I think it means more like the fireball example in the faq linked rather than not applying to weapon like spells) would not apply:

http://paizo.com/products/btpy88yj/faq?Pathfinder-Roleplaying-Game-Core-Rul ebook#v5748eaic9oag


Kigvan wrote:

According to this I don't see why Flagbearer or Divine Favor (might not apply to damage, but should apply to the attack roll at least, depending on interpretation, I think it means more like the fireball example in the faq linked rather than not applying to weapon like spells) would not apply:

Spritual Weapon negates feats.

Spiritual Weapon: "Your feats or combat actions do not affect the weapon."

Divine Favor is not applied to the damage portion, and says nothing about not applying to the attack roll. Thanks for that correction.

Divine Favor: "The bonus doesn't apply to spell damage."

Silver Crusade

kigvan wrote:

According to this I don't see why Flagbearer or Divine Favor (might not apply to damage, but should apply to the attack roll at least, depending on interpretation, I think it means more like the fireball example in the faq linked rather than not applying to weapon like spells) would not apply:

Linkified

Sovereign Court

Thanks for making that a link DesolateHarmony

As for your feats not affecting the weapon, does that mean someone else with flagbearer would work but not if the caster is using the feat. That seems kinda silly. Again I think that is mainly to clarify that things like Weapon Focus, Improved Critical ect do not apply to the spiritual weapon.

Sczarni

Would haste grant your spiritual weapons extra attacks?


Hi John,

Can I ask whether or not this ruling would also apply to Telekinesis granted to Oracles with the Haunted Curse at level 10?

Sczarni

Starfinder Charter Superscriber
andreww wrote:

Hi John,

Can I ask whether or not this ruling would also apply to Telekinesis granted to Oracles with the Haunted Curse at level 10?

Telekinesis

The relevant portions of the spell in question wrote:
Combat Maneuver: Alternatively, once per round, you can use telekinesis to perform a bull rush, disarm, grapple (including pin), or trip. Resolve these attempts as normal, except that they don't provoke attacks of opportunity, you use your caster level in place of your Combat Maneuver Bonus, and you add your Intelligence modifier (if a wizard) or Charisma modifier (if a sorcerer) in place of your Strength or Dexterity modifier. No save is allowed against these attempts, but spell resistance applies normally. This version of the spell can last 1 round per caster level, but it ends if you cease concentration.
John's quote from earlier wrote:
This ruling only applies to the two spells mentioned above and does not modify any other spells that may have similar circumstances.

I'd say for the moment that you're out of luck, but at least now John and Mike are aware of this issue, and may address it again in the future.


Kigvan wrote:
As for your feats not affecting the weapon, does that mean someone else with flagbearer would work but not if the caster is using the feat. That seems kinda silly. Again I think that is mainly to clarify that things like Weapon Focus, Improved Critical ect do not apply to the spiritual weapon.

That's the way I interpret Flagbearer. I agree that it seems kind of silly. It's a weird feat case for certain.

Carla the Profane wrote:
Would haste grant your spiritual weapons extra attacks?

Haste gives +1 attack when the character makes a fullround attack action with the weapon. You don't take the fullround attack action with a Spiritual Weapon to attack with it. Therefore, no +1 attack.

That's the way I play and GM it at least.

Grand Lodge

However, you should be able to get the +1 to attack rolls that Haste gives you.

One could also argue that, based on the wording of Haste, if they had a Spiritual Weapon spell going on a round they made a full attack action that they could make the one extra attack they get from Haste with the Spiritual Weapon rather than as part of their regular full attack.


John Compton wrote:
Adam Mogyorodi wrote:
To clarify then, an oracle who chooses spiritual weapon or ally as a spell known must use his or her wisdom modifier, but an oracle that learns it from the mystery class feature can use his or her charisma modifier instead?
This is the case. The intention is not to create a blanket rule of "spiritual ally uses whatever stat you want." Rather, it's to allow select characters make use of class features that they had no direct choice over. Otherwise an ancestors mystery oracle has "wasted" her 2nd- and 4th-level bonus spells.

Two things stand out at me.

The first is that this ruling never made it into the PFS FAQ, Clarifications Document, or another compiled rules reference.

It is understandable you do not want to make a blanket PFS houserule allowing these spells to use the spellcaster's spellcasting ability score modifier, while still allowing characters that have 'no choice' in the matter of taking this spell not lose out. However this creatures problems with the consistency and immersion of your campaign setting when having a choice means using WIS, and not having a choice means using the caster's spellcasting ability score modifier. This leads to situations where an Ancestor oracle with Spiritual Weapon uses their CHA modifier, whereas another oracle with Spiritual Weapon uses their WIS modifier. I find it difficult to think of an in-universe justification for this.

Sczarni

Starfinder Charter Superscriber
General Spoon wrote:
This leads to situations where an Ancestor oracle with Spiritual Weapon uses their CHA modifier, whereas another oracle with Spiritual Weapon uses their WIS modifier. I find it difficult to think of an in-universe justification for this.

Makes sense to me. Just like a Specialist Wizard is better at using their chosen school than a Universalist.

Hopefully this decision will be included in the Campaign Clarifications document. It's still a work in progress, so it may not be updated entirely for some time.

Grand Lodge

Nefreet wrote:
General Spoon wrote:
This leads to situations where an Ancestor oracle with Spiritual Weapon uses their CHA modifier, whereas another oracle with Spiritual Weapon uses their WIS modifier. I find it difficult to think of an in-universe justification for this.

Makes sense to me. Just like a Specialist Wizard is better at using their chosen school than a Universalist.

Hopefully this decision will be included in the Campaign Clarifications document. It's still a work in progress, so it may not be updated entirely for some time.

I don't have the post on hand but I saw a post somewhere that said they intended to update it when they update the Additional Resources doc.


John Compton wrote:

Good afternoon,

This question is one I’ve considered for some time, and following my discussions with Mike Brock and Sean K Reynolds about a FAQ post earlier this year, I’ve made a decision. A character who receives spiritual weapon and/or spiritual ally as a bonus spell (such as an oracle mystery spell or witch patron spell) may use her primary spellcasting ability score in place of her Wisdom score when calculating the spell’s attack bonus. In this way a select set of characters that would otherwise have no choice but to learn the spell (e.g. spirits patron witches, ancestors mystery oracles, and sacred servant paladins with the war domain) can still make effective use of a character feature.

This ruling only applies to the two spells mentioned above and does not modify any other spells that may have similar circumstances. This ruling does not alter how the above spells function for characters who do not receive those spells as bonus spells.

This is a clarification that we are using for Pathfinder Society Organized Play. We plan on updating this in future update of the Pathfinder Society FAQ.

If there are other spells that also experience the “spiritual weapon conundrum,” please endeavor to go first to the rules forum to bring it to the design team’s attention. Let’s keep this thread just to discussing these two spells.

currently I show 3 people have marked the original as an FAQ candidate (since Nov 5, 2013). It's a PFS only ruling that should be on the PFS FAQ.

Yall's current posting should help bring some attention, but clicking on the FAQ button brings it to paizo's attention (and they pay the light bill and assign tasks).
Currently the general rule is OBE(overcome by events) and wholly in the designer's or home game GMs court.


1 person marked this as a favorite.
Nefreet wrote:
andreww wrote:

Hi John,

Can I ask whether or not this ruling would also apply to Telekinesis granted to Oracles with the Haunted Curse at level 10?

Telekinesis

The relevant portions of the spell in question wrote:
Combat Maneuver: Alternatively, once per round, you can use telekinesis to perform a bull rush, disarm, grapple (including pin), or trip. Resolve these attempts as normal, except that they don't provoke attacks of opportunity, you use your caster level in place of your Combat Maneuver Bonus, and you add your Intelligence modifier (if a wizard) or Charisma modifier (if a sorcerer) in place of your Strength or Dexterity modifier. No save is allowed against these attempts, but spell resistance applies normally. This version of the spell can last 1 round per caster level, but it ends if you cease concentration.
John's quote from earlier wrote:
This ruling only applies to the two spells mentioned above and does not modify any other spells that may have similar circumstances.
I'd say for the moment that you're out of luck, but at least now John and Mike are aware of this issue, and may address it again in the future.

I don't think the same logic can apply. Spiritual weapon just says wisdom; telekinesis gives 2 possible stats for 2 different classes (neither of which you are). IMO if the spell lists different stats, then the 'must use wisdom' logic from the Spiritual Weapon ruling no longer applies. Chains of Perdition is another good example of this spell type.

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