Concentration Checks and Magic Missile.


Rules Questions


11 people marked this as FAQ candidate. Answered in the FAQ.

Quick question. If you're playing a spell-caster, and an enemy hits you with a Magic Missile spell while casting a spell, how many concentration checks does the defending spell-caster need to make?

Case in point. A wizard starts casting casting Summon Monster III on his turn. Next up is the enemy NPC sorcerer. The sorcerer casts Magic Missile and targets the wizard. The sorcerer is level 6, so that means 3 missiles. Imagine the sorcerer rolls 2, 3, and 4 damage (total) for the three missiles. How many concentration checks does the wizard have to make, and what is the DC for that/those check(s)?

There are 3 scenarios I can see for this situation.

Scenario A: Wizard is hit for 9 damage total for all the missiles that targeted him. He has to make a DC 22 Concentration check. (10 Base, 3rd Level spell, 9 Damage. 10 + 3 + 9 )

Scenario B: The Wizard must make 3 concentration checks. DC 15, DC 16 and then DC 17. Each one for each Missile that hit.

Scenario C: (Very unlikely) Wizard makes one concentration check. DC is for the damage of the first missile only. DC 15.

So which is it?


Its 3 separate attacks, and 3 separate totals of damage. You don't total up the damage from each sword strike or arrow that hits you when you are casting - every one of those gets its own concentration check. I don't see the spell as any different.

If there was a resistance to apply (like if Scorching Ray was used instead and you had fire resistance), the resistance would apply to each ray individually.

So I say it would be Scenario B: 3 separate concentration checks.

Each attack is calculated separately when trying to overcome hardness or damage reduction. Each would require its own attack roll (Magic Missile wouldn't, but other spells like Scorching ray, which also fires multiple attacks, would.) That all says to me that each individual ray or missile is seperate, and each would require a concentration check.


Each would likely require a concentration check.

Personally, I'd rather roll multiple concentration checks versus a lower DC (since the DC is based on the damage dealt) than one against a DC raised by the total damage dealt by all missiles.


Is there any official ruling on this? Is there a way I could get some explicit clarification on the subject? I need strong proof to present to my DM.


I would say one concentration check, cause a spell cause only one concentration check, even if it cause multiple attacks on the same turn.

My source :

PRD paizo, Magic, Concentration wrote:
Spell: If you are affected by a spell while attempting to cast a spell of your own, you must make a concentration check or lose the spell you are casting. If the spell affecting you deals damage, the DC is 10 + the damage taken + the level of the spell you're casting.


You are unlikely to find an official ruling on this. It will be up to how the GM rules it. If he rules that multiple hits add to the concentration DC, then it works against his NPCs too. Whenever I am up against spellcasters, I always ready actions for when they start casting a spell. Keep a shield spell handy as well when you go up against a Sorcerer.

Edit: Ah, I missed that part of concentration

Quote:


Spell: If you are affected by a spell while attempting to cast a spell of your own, you must make a concentration check or lose the spell you are casting. If the spell affecting you deals damage, the DC is 10 + the damage taken + the level of the spell you're casting.

So looks like it does use the total of all the magic missiles to determine the DC. Scenario A is correct.


How do you ready an action against a spell caster when the readied action happens just before the condition that triggers it? You are using your readied action before they start casting therefore there is no concentration check because they are not taking damage while casting ... they are taking it before.


with a readied action you can stipulate you are gonna range/melee/spell if the caster starts to cast. Then its his turn and whammo, you hit him.


gourry187 wrote:
How do you ready an action against a spell caster when the readied action happens just before the condition that triggers it? You are using your readied action before they start casting therefore there is no concentration check because they are not taking damage while casting ... they are taking it before.

Normally you would be right. Readied actions happen before the action that triggers them. However, there is an exception for readied actions in this case.

Quote:
Injury: If you take damage while trying to cast a spell, you must make a concentration check with a DC equal to 10 + the damage taken + the level of the spell you're casting. If you fail the check, you lose the spell without effect. The interrupting event strikes during spellcasting if it comes between the time you started and the time you complete a spell (for a spell with a casting time of 1 full round or more) or if it comes in response to your casting the spell (such as an attack of opportunity provoked by the spell or a contingent attack, such as a readied action).


Okay so I don't see any consistency in terms of people's answers, so I think this question should get flagged up for an FAQ. Could people please mark this thread for FAQ so we can get an official answer from the developers on this subject?


Sentack wrote:

Quick question. If you're playing a spell-caster, and an enemy hits you with a Magic Missile spell while casting a spell, how many concentration checks does the defending spell-caster need to make?

Case in point. A wizard starts casting casting Summon Monster III on his turn. Next up is the enemy NPC sorcerer. The sorcerer casts Magic Missile and targets the wizard. The sorcerer is level 6, so that means 3 missiles. Imagine the sorcerer rolls 2, 3, and 4 damage (total) for the three missiles. How many concentration checks does the wizard have to make, and what is the DC for that/those check(s)?

There are 3 scenarios I can see for this situation.

Scenario A: Wizard is hit for 9 damage total for all the missiles that targeted him. He has to make a DC 22 Concentration check. (10 Base, 3rd Level spell, 9 Damage. 10 + 3 + 9 )

Scenario B: The Wizard must make 3 concentration checks. DC 15, DC 16 and then DC 17. Each one for each Missile that hit.

Scenario C: (Very unlikely) Wizard makes one concentration check. DC is for the damage of the first missile only. DC 15.

So which is it?

This *might* require an FAQ, but Scenario A makes the most sense by far. It will slow down the game less, make interrupting a spell more effective (because seriously, five 15 + spell level concentration checks at higher levels are almost impossible to fail), and it meshes best with how spells like this work with Spell Resistance, namely that you only roll to penetrate it once despite hitting them with 5 missiles.


@Sentack : you're kidding, right ?

Robert A matthews and myself have given every rules that applies to it.

You may be disappointed with the answer, but its the official rules. No need for FAQ here.


@Avh No, I'm not convinced. I rather have a clear answer from the developers on this because it seems to me that you can argue for the spell doing multiple attacks and thus multiple checks. This is an unusual spell for how spells normally work.

Side question. What if a wizard is attacked by a target doing melee attacks and gets hit multiple times. Say from a full round action. Do they make multiple concentration checks then or just one?


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Magic Missile doesn't do multiple attacks, though. It's one spell. If it were multiple attacks, each one would need to defeat spell resistance separately. Most importantly, the language for the relevant concentration check states the DC is based upon damage taken from the spell that is affecting you. It doesn't say make a check for each effect of the spell which damages you or make a check for each damage roll from a spell that affects you or something along those lines.

It's a good question. I don't think the answer is readily apparent just thinking about it. However, when you see the text for the appropriate rule, the answer follows pretty fluidly. Plus, everything Cerberus mentioned regarding streamlining play and spell resistance supports that interpretation.

As for melee attacks, the language is the same so it ought to work the same, in my opinion. For readied actions it shouldn't be an issue. But for full round casting times, it could be a problem. The language is "If you take damage while trying to cast a spell, you must make a concentration check with a DC equal to 10 + the damage taken + the level of the spell you're casting." Note that it doesn't say "if you are attacked ...". To me, that means if you take damage while casting, all of it is added up before you make your check to complete the spell. So, if four people attack you and hit you 8 total times during your full round casting time, you add up all 8 hits to determine DC because that all constitutes damaged taken while casting the spell.

The way the text seems to work is:

*start casting* [take damage] *end casting*

It doesn't seem to matter what happens during [take damage]. If it's one big attack that deals 30 damage or five separate attacks that each deal 6, you still took 30 points of damage and have to concentrate just as hard to maintain the spell.

I think I've always thought you just resolve after each attack, because I never really looked at the rule that hard. Looking at the rule though, I think I've been doing it wrong. Of course, there could be some other rulings or answers that already exist which would handle the situation that I'm not aware of. If so, please somebody inform me.


After reading the section regarding damage causing concentration checks (prompted by fretgod99's comment), I have to revamp my earlier statement: You would only roll one concentration check per spell, regardless of how many separate 'sources' of damage that spell included.

As an example, even though Ice Storm has both a physical and a cold damage component rolled separately, the damage all stems from a single spell, and so only one concentration check would be needed.


Sentack wrote:

@Avh No, I'm not convinced. I rather have a clear answer from the developers on this because it seems to me that you can argue for the spell doing multiple attacks and thus multiple checks. This is an unusual spell for how spells normally work.

Side question. What if a wizard is attacked by a target doing melee attacks and gets hit multiple times. Say from a full round action. Do they make multiple concentration checks then or just one?

To sum up for everyone with doubts to understand it quickly.

You need to do 1 concentration check for each ATTACK you've been hit (DC = 10 + damage dealt + level of spell to cast).

You need to do 1 concentration check for each SPELL you've been hit (DC = 10 + total damage dealt + level of spell to cast). It doesn't matter if a spell hit you 1 or 1000 times, you have to do one concentration check per spell.

You need to do 1 concentration check for each SPELL that hinders you but doesn't cause damage (DC = DC of spell + level of spell to cast).

If you're been dealt damage several rounds for the same spell (acid arrow, for example), you need to do 1 concentration check for each of those source of damage (DC = 10 + 1/2 damage dealt + level of spell to cast).

That's all there is to it.


1 person marked this as FAQ candidate.

So basically if you were hit by an acid Spell in round 1

And it did damage the following round you cast Magic Missile

You would roll 1 for each Spell Source correct?


There is no official ruling on this, but the dev team has been doing really good lately. If we FAQ it they might give us an official answer. :)


@Reecy : One for the acid spell (at the relative DC), and one for Magic missile (at the relative DC), yes.


FAQed

Silver Crusade

Looking for a precedent on something similar, I remember that Toppling Magic Missile only gets one roll to try and trip a target, even if you hit that target with more than one missile. But that's not in the FAQ, so I don't remember where I saw that.


I dunno when you look at the rule every spell usually targets a person once.

Scorching Ray
Magic Missile

have multiple attacks heck you even roll for each ray I believe so why wouldn't you roll the check each time?


Avh wrote:
Sentack wrote:

@Avh No, I'm not convinced. I rather have a clear answer from the developers on this because it seems to me that you can argue for the spell doing multiple attacks and thus multiple checks. This is an unusual spell for how spells normally work.

Side question. What if a wizard is attacked by a target doing melee attacks and gets hit multiple times. Say from a full round action. Do they make multiple concentration checks then or just one?

To sum up for everyone with doubts to understand it quickly.

You need to do 1 concentration check for each ATTACK you've been hit (DC = 10 + damage dealt + level of spell to cast).

This is the only part I would disagree with, unless I failed my Understand Internet Post check. I don't think it's a check for each attack. I think it's a check for all damage accumulated during the time you're actually casting. But again, I could be reading too much into the text.

Silver Crusade

1 person marked this as FAQ candidate.

This is an interesting question. Dot.

Some lists.

Types of damage in question:

  • Magic Missile etc: spells with multiple sources of damage, no attack roll required

  • Scorching Ray etc: spells with multiple attack rolls

  • Full Attack: multiple physical attacks from the same enemy

  • Multiple Enemies: multiple physical attacks from different enemies

A high level Wizard begins casting summon monster. While casting, she's hit by magic missile (multiple missiles) from an enemy wizard, scorching ray (multiple rays) from an enemy sorcerer, a full attack from an enemy fighter (multiple attacks), and a single attack from an enemy rogue.

What concentration checks does she have to roll?

  • One Check v. All Damage Make a single concentration check, totaling damage sustained from all sources and rolling against the result

  • One Check v. Each Enemy Make a concentration check for each enemy who hits you, totaling damage from that enemy before rolling

  • One Check v. Each Impact Make a concentration check for each "impact" (once per missile, once per ray, once per physical attack)

  • One Check v. Each Attack Make a concentration check against each attack that hits, i.e. against each source of damage that involved an attack roll: so, roll against each scorching ray and each physical attack, but only roll once against magic missile

  • Physical Damage and Spells are Different Make a single concentration check against each physical "impact"; make a single concentration check against each spell, totaling damage before rolling (total the rays from scorching ray and roll, total the missiles from magic missile and roll)

I don't have a strong opinion on the matter except against the last. IMHO, it's unnecessarily complicated. I see the argument for it but would never run it that way at my table. I'm curious what PDT will say if we get it FAQd.

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