Identifying a Spells with Spellcraft


Rules Questions

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_Ozy_ wrote:

I'm not really sure what the consensus is here, is casting a spell routine enough that nobody would look twice if you were casting in a bar, a shop, a market, a church, a palace?

Would people just assume you were casting some utility cantrip or other harmless spell?

My take on this is that casting spells in Golarion is like firing guns in our real world.

In many places, it's perfectly legal to walk around with guns on your hip. Just like in Golarion you can walk around with swords on your hip. But actually FIRING your gun in city limits is illegal pretty much everywhere I know about. Swinging your sword in city limits in Golarion is usually also illegal.

But at least guns are well understood by everyone. So are swords.

Magic, on the other hand, is much more unpredictable (the average person cannot predict what will happen when a spellcaster starts casting a spell) and simultaneously much more dangerous (even a gun only makes a hole - it rarely tears down buildings or kills a whole city block, for example - but magic can do this and more).

Based on that, I think people in Golarion react nonchalantly to seeing you walk around with a sword, maybe even an obviously magical one. They are much less nonchalant when you start swinging it around near them. And they are much more panicky when you start casting a spell.

I make this clear to all my players in advance, including the fact that everyone knows when characters near them are casting spells. I make it clear that casting a spell near ANYBODY will automatically result in a fight or flight response from them. This can be offset by first explaining what you're doing ("Hey, my beer isn't cool enough, I'm gonna hit it with a Ray of Frost"), or building trust (nobody really questions a trusted priest in his own temple casting a healing spell on a worshiper who came to him to be healed). It can even be offset by just being far enough away - you start casting Detect Magic in a marketplace and the nearest NPCs are 30 or 40 feet away, by the time they decide to run, they will see that nothing bad has happened - but they'll still grumble about that caster making everyone so nervous).


So, in that case the line in Hypnosis is useless because they will remember that you cast a spell even if they don't remember being enspelled, and that will be a huge red flag.


Pathfinder Maps, Pawns Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber
_Ozy_ wrote:
thejeff wrote:
_Ozy_ wrote:
Saldiven wrote:
Crai wrote:

Has anyone compiled a list of Pathfinder spells that have specific game-mechanics text that reference "exception clauses" (for lack of a better term) in regards to the recent FAQ Update's take on visibility/noticeability of a spell's casting and/or manifestation of effects?

Sorry for the run-on sentence! I wanted to be careful in the legal accuracy of how I parsed my RAW..

Hrm. Can't think of anything specifically, if I understand what you're trying to ask.

Hypnotism specifically states that those that fail their save have no memory of being enspelled.

"Nope, no sir, don't recall being hypnotized."

"But now that you mention it, there was this guy casting a magic spell right in front of me...wonder what that was about..."

So, in other words, they might as well strike that specific statement. ;)

If questioned and pressed, they might realize what happened.

Otherwise, no.

That's the point of saying that in the spell description. Otherwise, you know instantly when the mental effect wears off what happened.

Well, yeah, that's my point. They don't remember being 'enspelled', but they remember that a spell was cast.

It makes me wonder if an uninitiated victim could describe what the pre-cast spell looked like to an initiated spellcaster, who could then identify the spell based off description alone.

"Oh my, my good sir! It would appear you were duped by a hypnotism spell!"


_Ozy_ wrote:
So, in that case the line in Hypnosis is useless because they will remember that you cast a spell even if they don't remember being enspelled, and that will be a huge red flag.

Indeed, it's as if the FAQ added clarity to something that didn't require any clarification... creating problems that didn't exist before.

Hrm.


_Ozy_ wrote:
So, in that case the line in Hypnosis is useless because they will remember that you cast a spell even if they don't remember being enspelled, and that will be a huge red flag.

I answered this just a few posts ago.

Convince them you're casting something harmless and that they have nothing to fear.

It's the equivalent of marching up to them with your sword held high and anger on your face - will they see it coming? Yes. But walk up to them calmly with sword at your side and they won't likely suspect that you're about to attack.

Convince them it's OK before you actually appear threatening and fool them into thinking the spell you're casting is benign. Actually try roleplaying the encounter instead of just bopping them on the head with your spell. It's even more fun that way.


DM_Blake wrote:
_Ozy_ wrote:
So, in that case the line in Hypnosis is useless because they will remember that you cast a spell even if they don't remember being enspelled, and that will be a huge red flag.

I answered this just a few posts ago.

Convince them you're casting something harmless and that they have nothing to fear.

It's the equivalent of marching up to them with your sword held high and anger on your face - will they see it coming? Yes. But walk up to them calmly with sword at your side and they won't likely suspect that you're about to attack.

Convince them it's OK before you actually appear threatening and fool them into thinking the spell you're casting is benign. Actually try roleplaying the encounter instead of just bopping them on the head with your spell. It's even more fun that way.

So if an NPC tried that on you, it would be okay with you? If you came to, minutes later, naked, in a ditch?


Pathfinder Maps, Pawns Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber
alexd1976 wrote:
DM_Blake wrote:
_Ozy_ wrote:
So, in that case the line in Hypnosis is useless because they will remember that you cast a spell even if they don't remember being enspelled, and that will be a huge red flag.

I answered this just a few posts ago.

Convince them you're casting something harmless and that they have nothing to fear.

It's the equivalent of marching up to them with your sword held high and anger on your face - will they see it coming? Yes. But walk up to them calmly with sword at your side and they won't likely suspect that you're about to attack.

Convince them it's OK before you actually appear threatening and fool them into thinking the spell you're casting is benign. Actually try roleplaying the encounter instead of just bopping them on the head with your spell. It's even more fun that way.

So if an NPC tried that on you, it would be okay with you? If you came to, minutes later, naked, in a ditch?

Yeah, I'd file that under "automatic suspicion."


alexd1976 wrote:
DM_Blake wrote:
_Ozy_ wrote:
So, in that case the line in Hypnosis is useless because they will remember that you cast a spell even if they don't remember being enspelled, and that will be a huge red flag.

I answered this just a few posts ago.

Convince them you're casting something harmless and that they have nothing to fear.

It's the equivalent of marching up to them with your sword held high and anger on your face - will they see it coming? Yes. But walk up to them calmly with sword at your side and they won't likely suspect that you're about to attack.

Convince them it's OK before you actually appear threatening and fool them into thinking the spell you're casting is benign. Actually try roleplaying the encounter instead of just bopping them on the head with your spell. It's even more fun that way.

So if an NPC tried that on you, it would be okay with you? If you came to, minutes later, naked, in a ditch?

You don't remember what happened. The caster very well could have just cast prestidigitation and an assassin behind him knocked the shopkeep out. might you be a suspect? Probably. But with a good bluff you're good.


Chess Pwn wrote:
alexd1976 wrote:
DM_Blake wrote:
_Ozy_ wrote:
So, in that case the line in Hypnosis is useless because they will remember that you cast a spell even if they don't remember being enspelled, and that will be a huge red flag.

I answered this just a few posts ago.

Convince them you're casting something harmless and that they have nothing to fear.

It's the equivalent of marching up to them with your sword held high and anger on your face - will they see it coming? Yes. But walk up to them calmly with sword at your side and they won't likely suspect that you're about to attack.

Convince them it's OK before you actually appear threatening and fool them into thinking the spell you're casting is benign. Actually try roleplaying the encounter instead of just bopping them on the head with your spell. It's even more fun that way.

So if an NPC tried that on you, it would be okay with you? If you came to, minutes later, naked, in a ditch?
You don't remember what happened. The caster very well could have just cast prestidigitation and an assassin behind him knocked the shopkeep out. might you be a suspect? Probably. But with a good bluff you're good.

Yup, anything could have led to your nakedness and ditch dwelling, but it started with someone casting a spell.

I wouldn't just let that slide, I would track down the caster to find out what happened.


alexd1976 wrote:
DM_Blake wrote:
_Ozy_ wrote:
So, in that case the line in Hypnosis is useless because they will remember that you cast a spell even if they don't remember being enspelled, and that will be a huge red flag.

I answered this just a few posts ago.

Convince them you're casting something harmless and that they have nothing to fear.

It's the equivalent of marching up to them with your sword held high and anger on your face - will they see it coming? Yes. But walk up to them calmly with sword at your side and they won't likely suspect that you're about to attack.

Convince them it's OK before you actually appear threatening and fool them into thinking the spell you're casting is benign. Actually try roleplaying the encounter instead of just bopping them on the head with your spell. It's even more fun that way.

So if an NPC tried that on you, it would be okay with you? If you came to, minutes later, naked, in a ditch?

Is this deliberately pedantic?

If I'm a storekeep and the customer is using Prestidigitation to clean his boots and the next thing I know is that I'm naked in a ditch with no explanation, I'm going to bet some magic was used on me, even though I don't remember it. But I do remember the guy cleaning his boots with magic; that's the LAST thing I remember. So I'm sure I suspect him of foul play and I certainly want to find him and question him.

Of course, that caster was an idiot. He could have used his spell on me and then NOT left me naked in a ditch, in which case, I might not have had any suspicions at all.


If, probably, most likely, if, the way I would do it...

Every single argument here is circumstantial. Nothing is being proven.


DM_Blake wrote:
_Ozy_ wrote:
So, in that case the line in Hypnosis is useless because they will remember that you cast a spell even if they don't remember being enspelled, and that will be a huge red flag.

I answered this just a few posts ago.

Convince them you're casting something harmless and that they have nothing to fear.

It's the equivalent of marching up to them with your sword held high and anger on your face - will they see it coming? Yes. But walk up to them calmly with sword at your side and they won't likely suspect that you're about to attack.

Convince them it's OK before you actually appear threatening and fool them into thinking the spell you're casting is benign. Actually try roleplaying the encounter instead of just bopping them on the head with your spell. It's even more fun that way.

Only if you play NPCs like idiots. As someone said, it wouldn't trick you so why would it trick them. If they are robbed, or do something they can't explain right after a mage 'casually' casts a few spells in front of them, that mage will be suspect #1, found, and jailed pronto.

If casting a spell is like 'shooting off a gun' as you said earlier, it's going to be pretty hard for people to accept that you're just trying to harmlessly ventilate the windows by pulling out your glock.


Of course, under that interpretation, Hypnotism has always been nearly useless:

Quote:

Your gestures and droning incantation fascinate nearby creatures, causing them to stop and stare blankly at you.

Even after the spell ends, the creature retains its new attitude toward you, but only with respect to that particular request.

A creature that fails its saving throw does not remember that you enspelled it.

It doesn't remember you enspelled it, but it does remember the gestures and droning incantation, so it knows something was up and thus immediately becomes suspicious and hostile enough to ignore the request - despite the spell text clearly intending that it would carry out the request even after the duration expires.

I'd also be tempted to say you couldn't do a Silent, Still Hypnotism. The gestures and incantation are too integral to the effect.

What I'd actually rule is that the spell works the way it's obviously intended to: If you fail the save you don't remember the spell happening at all and you're likely to continue carrying out the request. Because that's what the spell is for.
If your interpretation of a corner case of the rules means that things just don't work, assume it's your interpretation that's wrong.

And yes, I'd be perfectly happy with that as the player.
The " came to, minutes later, naked, in a ditch" would be a huge red flag, but it doesn't seem to have anything to do with anything else under discussion. Certainly not Hypnotism.


Yes, yes, it's always a 'corner case' when you find some rules that don't play nice with a FAQ. Like stealth, invisibility, you know...things that you almost never see in a Pathfinder game. ;)


_Ozy_ wrote:
DM_Blake wrote:
_Ozy_ wrote:
So, in that case the line in Hypnosis is useless because they will remember that you cast a spell even if they don't remember being enspelled, and that will be a huge red flag.

I answered this just a few posts ago.

Convince them you're casting something harmless and that they have nothing to fear.

It's the equivalent of marching up to them with your sword held high and anger on your face - will they see it coming? Yes. But walk up to them calmly with sword at your side and they won't likely suspect that you're about to attack.

Convince them it's OK before you actually appear threatening and fool them into thinking the spell you're casting is benign. Actually try roleplaying the encounter instead of just bopping them on the head with your spell. It's even more fun that way.

Only if you play NPCs like idiots. As someone said, it wouldn't trick you so why would it trick them. If they are robbed, or do something they can't explain right after a mage 'casually' casts a few spells in front of them, that mage will be suspect #1, found, and jailed pronto.

Okay, so you're in jail now cause you were framed. Have fun!


Chess Pwn wrote:


Okay, so you're in jail now cause you were framed. Have fun!

Guess you shouldn't have been shooting off your gun, er, I mean, casting a spell in public.


thejeff wrote:

Of course, under that interpretation, Hypnotism has always been nearly useless:

Quote:

Your gestures and droning incantation fascinate nearby creatures, causing them to stop and stare blankly at you.

Even after the spell ends, the creature retains its new attitude toward you, but only with respect to that particular request.

A creature that fails its saving throw does not remember that you enspelled it.

It doesn't remember you enspelled it, but it does remember the gestures and droning incantation, so it knows something was up and thus immediately becomes suspicious and hostile enough to ignore the request - despite the spell text clearly intending that it would carry out the request even after the duration expires.

I'd also be tempted to say you couldn't do a Silent, Still Hypnotism. The gestures and incantation are too integral to the effect.

What I'd actually rule is that the spell works the way it's obviously intended to: If you fail the save you don't remember the spell happening at all and you're likely to continue carrying out the request. Because that's what the spell is for.
If your interpretation of a corner case of the rules means that things just don't work, assume it's your interpretation that's wrong.

And yes, I'd be perfectly happy with that as the player.
The " came to, minutes later, naked, in a ditch" would be a huge red flag, but it doesn't seem to have anything to do with anything else under discussion. Certainly not Hypnotism.

The droning and arm waving takes place after the casting of the spell, it is not a description of the casting itself (which takes 0 initiative counts, and involves a now enforced visual effect of some sort unrelated to any text listed in the spell itself.

You would remember this previously nonexistant visual effect that denoted magic happening, but the text of the spell is describing the effect that takes place after having been cast, so you would not remember that.


People are trying to establish that the FAQ is ruling that covertly casting spells is either always possible or never possible.

There is no absolute. It depends on the circumstances.


Chess Pwn wrote:
_Ozy_ wrote:
DM_Blake wrote:
_Ozy_ wrote:
So, in that case the line in Hypnosis is useless because they will remember that you cast a spell even if they don't remember being enspelled, and that will be a huge red flag.

I answered this just a few posts ago.

Convince them you're casting something harmless and that they have nothing to fear.

It's the equivalent of marching up to them with your sword held high and anger on your face - will they see it coming? Yes. But walk up to them calmly with sword at your side and they won't likely suspect that you're about to attack.

Convince them it's OK before you actually appear threatening and fool them into thinking the spell you're casting is benign. Actually try roleplaying the encounter instead of just bopping them on the head with your spell. It's even more fun that way.

Only if you play NPCs like idiots. As someone said, it wouldn't trick you so why would it trick them. If they are robbed, or do something they can't explain right after a mage 'casually' casts a few spells in front of them, that mage will be suspect #1, found, and jailed pronto.
Okay, so you're in jail now cause you were framed. Have fun!

I would say this may be the caster nerf we have been hoping for. :D


CampinCarl9127 wrote:

People are trying to establish that the FAQ is ruling that covertly casting spells is either always possible or never possible.

There is no absolute. It depends on the circumstances.

Indeed it does.

As long as you abide by the fact that all spells have a detectable visual effect during casting, that has no listed DC to notice, I might add...


alexd1976 wrote:
thejeff wrote:

Of course, under that interpretation, Hypnotism has always been nearly useless:

Quote:

Your gestures and droning incantation fascinate nearby creatures, causing them to stop and stare blankly at you.

Even after the spell ends, the creature retains its new attitude toward you, but only with respect to that particular request.

A creature that fails its saving throw does not remember that you enspelled it.

It doesn't remember you enspelled it, but it does remember the gestures and droning incantation, so it knows something was up and thus immediately becomes suspicious and hostile enough to ignore the request - despite the spell text clearly intending that it would carry out the request even after the duration expires.

I'd also be tempted to say you couldn't do a Silent, Still Hypnotism. The gestures and incantation are too integral to the effect.

What I'd actually rule is that the spell works the way it's obviously intended to: If you fail the save you don't remember the spell happening at all and you're likely to continue carrying out the request. Because that's what the spell is for.
If your interpretation of a corner case of the rules means that things just don't work, assume it's your interpretation that's wrong.

And yes, I'd be perfectly happy with that as the player.
The " came to, minutes later, naked, in a ditch" would be a huge red flag, but it doesn't seem to have anything to do with anything else under discussion. Certainly not Hypnotism.

The droning and arm waving takes place after the casting of the spell, it is not a description of the casting itself (which takes 0 initiative counts, and involves a now enforced visual effect of some sort unrelated to any text listed in the spell itself.

You would remember this previously nonexistant visual effect that denoted magic happening, but the text of the spell is describing the effect that takes place after having been cast, so you would not remember that.

I disagree.

You've found an interpretation that means the spell doesn't work as written. This makes you happy because it means you get to bash the FAQ you don't like.

I've found an interpretation that lets the spell work as written. This makes me happy because it means I can get on with the game.


You go off of the DC to notice moving your arms and speaking in a strong voice.

Which depends on the circumstances.

If you cast a spell right in front of somebody, the DC is probably going to be in the negatives.

If you try to nuke somebody 1000 feet away with a reach fireball, the DC is probably going to be impossible.

Use your own judgement, and don't tell other people how they must play it in their own games.


CampinCarl9127 wrote:

You go off of the DC to notice moving your arms and speaking in a strong voice.

Which depends on the circumstances.

If you cast a spell right in front of somebody, the DC is probably going to be in the negatives.

If you try to nuke somebody 1000 feet away with a reach fireball, the DC is probably going to be impossible.

Use your own judgement, and don't tell other people how they must play it in their own games.

You mean like a normal perception roll?

Suggesting that you might not notice it if he's invisible or hidden?

But if that's true, what is there to be upset about?


CampinCarl9127 wrote:

People are trying to establish that the FAQ is ruling that covertly casting spells is either always possible or never possible.

There is no absolute. It depends on the circumstances.

Seriously.

I can think of plenty of ways to make it work, and even presented a couple earlier on that were largely ignored.

Here's one off the cuff. Need to cast some sort of spell with a non-obvious effect in a city without being detected? Hire an enclosed coach to take you from point A to point B passing by the intended target area. Cast the spell while peaking through a slit in the interior curtains of the coach window. People inside the coach will see you casting, but people outside would require a pretty stout Perception roll to notice.

I swear. It's like some people want their RPGs on permanent Easy Mode.

Edit: BTW, this is the way that I always played my spellcasters. I didn't want to cast such spells out in the open in case the subject made it's save and had a way to identify it came from me.


CampinCarl9127 wrote:

You go off of the DC to notice moving your arms and speaking in a strong voice.

Which depends on the circumstances.

If you cast a spell right in front of somebody, the DC is probably going to be in the negatives.

If you try to nuke somebody 1000 feet away with a reach fireball, the DC is probably going to be impossible.

Use your own judgement, and don't tell other people how they must play it in their own games.

This effect is something completely different. What is it, and how can it be reduced other than distance? How fast does it fall off with distance? Low light/darkness? Invisibility? Loud noises covering it up? Strong smells covering it up?

How is PFS going to tell people that they 'must' play it?


Saldiven wrote:
CampinCarl9127 wrote:

People are trying to establish that the FAQ is ruling that covertly casting spells is either always possible or never possible.

There is no absolute. It depends on the circumstances.

Seriously.

I can think of plenty of ways to make it work, and even presented a couple earlier on that were largely ignored.

Here's one off the cuff. Need to cast some sort of spell with a non-obvious effect in a city without being detected? Hire an enclosed coach to take you from point A to point B passing by the intended target area. Cast the spell while peaking through a slit in the interior curtains of the coach window. People inside the coach will see you casting, but people outside would require a pretty stout Perception roll to notice.

I swear. It's like some people want their RPGs on permanent Easy Mode.

Edit: BTW, this is the way that I always played my spellcasters. I didn't want to cast such spells out in the open in case the subject made it's save and had a way to identify it came from me.

There are people saying that even invisibility doesn't reduce the perception check, why are you so sure that cover does? What if the effect is a large magical rune that spreads out from your body, ala anime magic circles?

I swear, it's like people assume they know how to defeat an effect that is completely undefined.


thejeff wrote:

You mean like a normal perception roll?

Suggesting that you might not notice it if he's invisible or hidden?

But if that's true, what is there to be upset about?

Yup. I still don't understand why people are this upset.

Saldiven wrote:

Seriously.

I can think of plenty of ways to make it work, and even presented a couple earlier on that were largely ignored.

Here's one off the cuff. Need to cast some sort of spell with a non-obvious effect in a city without being detected? Hire an enclosed coach to take you from point A to point B passing by the intended target area. Cast the spell while peaking through a slit in the interior curtains of the coach window. People inside the coach will see you casting, but people outside would require a pretty stout Perception roll to notice.

I swear. It's like some people want their RPGs on permanent Easy Mode.

Yup, that is certainly one creative way to make it work. Perception check to notice, DC based off of GM interpretation.


CampinCarl9127 wrote:

You go off of the DC to notice moving your arms and speaking in a strong voice.

Which depends on the circumstances.

If you cast a spell right in front of somebody, the DC is probably going to be in the negatives.

If you try to nuke somebody 1000 feet away with a reach fireball, the DC is probably going to be impossible.

Use your own judgement, and don't tell other people how they must play it in their own games.

Just my players when I GM... :D That's how it works.


_Ozy_ wrote:

This effect is something completely different. What is it, and how can it be reduced other than distance? How fast does it fall off with distance? Low light/darkness? Invisibility? Loud noises covering it up? Strong smells covering it up?

How is PFS going to tell people that they 'must' play it?

Left up to GM interpretation.

You're really shooting for the peanut gallery here Ozy. There is not, nor ever will be, a specific "if;then" clause for every single situation that could possibly come up. Use your own judgement and interpretation. I'm sorry if that answer doesn't satisfy you, but it's the answer.


thejeff wrote:
alexd1976 wrote:
thejeff wrote:

Of course, under that interpretation, Hypnotism has always been nearly useless:

Quote:

Your gestures and droning incantation fascinate nearby creatures, causing them to stop and stare blankly at you.

Even after the spell ends, the creature retains its new attitude toward you, but only with respect to that particular request.

A creature that fails its saving throw does not remember that you enspelled it.

It doesn't remember you enspelled it, but it does remember the gestures and droning incantation, so it knows something was up and thus immediately becomes suspicious and hostile enough to ignore the request - despite the spell text clearly intending that it would carry out the request even after the duration expires.

I'd also be tempted to say you couldn't do a Silent, Still Hypnotism. The gestures and incantation are too integral to the effect.

What I'd actually rule is that the spell works the way it's obviously intended to: If you fail the save you don't remember the spell happening at all and you're likely to continue carrying out the request. Because that's what the spell is for.
If your interpretation of a corner case of the rules means that things just don't work, assume it's your interpretation that's wrong.

And yes, I'd be perfectly happy with that as the player.
The " came to, minutes later, naked, in a ditch" would be a huge red flag, but it doesn't seem to have anything to do with anything else under discussion. Certainly not Hypnotism.

The droning and arm waving takes place after the casting of the spell, it is not a description of the casting itself (which takes 0 initiative counts, and involves a now enforced visual effect of some sort unrelated to any text listed in the spell itself.

You would remember this previously nonexistant visual effect that denoted magic happening, but the text of the spell is describing the effect that takes place after having been cast, so you would not remember that.

I disagree....

You are entitled to disagree all you like. I'm not using the FAQ as a ruling in my games either.

:D

I have no emotional response to the FAQ, it doesn't affect me in any way because I don't play PFS.

I _do_ feel sorry for anyone who previously played a subtle character that occasionally pushed things in their favor with the occasional use of concealed casting that, now, can no longer do so due to the introduction of what some people consider a new rule.

Clearly the 'visual effect' existing on all spells is going to cause a lot of people problems.

Thank goodness it won't affect my game. :D


_Ozy_ wrote:
Saldiven wrote:
CampinCarl9127 wrote:

People are trying to establish that the FAQ is ruling that covertly casting spells is either always possible or never possible.

There is no absolute. It depends on the circumstances.

Seriously.

I can think of plenty of ways to make it work, and even presented a couple earlier on that were largely ignored.

Here's one off the cuff. Need to cast some sort of spell with a non-obvious effect in a city without being detected? Hire an enclosed coach to take you from point A to point B passing by the intended target area. Cast the spell while peaking through a slit in the interior curtains of the coach window. People inside the coach will see you casting, but people outside would require a pretty stout Perception roll to notice.

I swear. It's like some people want their RPGs on permanent Easy Mode.

Edit: BTW, this is the way that I always played my spellcasters. I didn't want to cast such spells out in the open in case the subject made it's save and had a way to identify it came from me.

There are people saying that even invisibility doesn't reduce the perception check, why are you so sure that cover does? What if the effect is a large magical rune that spreads out from your body, ala anime magic circles?

I swear, it's like people assume they know how to defeat an effect that is completely undefined.

Just because people are saying something doesn't make it a fact.

Spellcraft DC is modified by Perception modifiers. So if you can't perceive the caster you can't see the spell casting. If you're invisible whatever makes people aware that you're casting is also invisible because it would get modified the same penalty.


CampinCarl9127 wrote:
_Ozy_ wrote:

This effect is something completely different. What is it, and how can it be reduced other than distance? How fast does it fall off with distance? Low light/darkness? Invisibility? Loud noises covering it up? Strong smells covering it up?

How is PFS going to tell people that they 'must' play it?

Left up to GM interpretation.

You're really shooting for the peanut gallery here Ozy. There is not, nor ever will be, a specific "if;then" clause for every single situation that could possibly come up. Use your own judgement and interpretation. I'm sorry if that answer doesn't satisfy you, but it's the answer.

I don't play PFS, so it doesn't matter much to me, but if one PFS GM allows invisibility to hide spellcasting, and another does not, that's a pretty huge 'up to GM interpretation' that will screw over characters.

And for what?

This is a significant change to how many people have been playing Pathfinder. People can say it's how you're supposed to play it and always have been, but even if that were true, this 'up to the GM' actually significantly changes important casting mechanics.

This really is a situation where there needs to be a standard if:then so that people know whether or not they can count on invisibility to hide their summonings, for example.


Chess Pwn wrote:

Just because people are saying something doesn't make it a fact.

Spellcraft DC is modified by Perception modifiers. So if you can't perceive the caster you can't see the spell casting. If you're invisible whatever makes people aware that you're casting is also invisible because it would get modified the same penalty.

Depending on the GM's interpretation, that's not even close to true.

Invisibility hides you and your gear. If spellcasting brings up a visible magic rune circle, why would that be invisible? It's not you, it's not your gear.

If casting creates a identifiable musical buzzing sound, that certainly won't be hidden by concealment.

If it's your assumption that this is a visible effect, able to be hidden by invisibility, thus you don't see a problem. Then I suggest that we're arguing about the wrong thing.


_Ozy_ wrote:
CampinCarl9127 wrote:
_Ozy_ wrote:

This effect is something completely different. What is it, and how can it be reduced other than distance? How fast does it fall off with distance? Low light/darkness? Invisibility? Loud noises covering it up? Strong smells covering it up?

How is PFS going to tell people that they 'must' play it?

Left up to GM interpretation.

You're really shooting for the peanut gallery here Ozy. There is not, nor ever will be, a specific "if;then" clause for every single situation that could possibly come up. Use your own judgement and interpretation. I'm sorry if that answer doesn't satisfy you, but it's the answer.

I don't play PFS, so it doesn't matter much to me, but if one PFS GM allows invisibility to hide spellcasting, and another does not, that's a pretty huge 'up to GM interpretation' that will screw over characters.

And for what?

This is a significant change to how many people have been playing Pathfinder. People can say it's how you're supposed to play it and always have been, but even if that were true, this 'up to the GM' actually significantly changes important casting mechanics.

This really is a situation where there needs to be a standard if:then so that people know whether or not they can count on invisibility to hide their summonings, for example.

Invisible casting is what I would seek further clarification on, if I were to play PFS...

As far as I can tell, this FAQ basically results in a)outing casters for what they are every time they use a spell b)reducing effectiveness of certain spells (Charm Person etc) and c)potentially reducing effectiveness of Invisibility (and similar)-GM decides/not clearly defined.


Saldiven wrote:
@Otherwhere: For a very short thread derailment

Yeah - I was trying to avoid derailing it. I'm not looking for a discussion of it here, but would love to read other people's experiences and approaches in a separate thread.

@DM_BLake: I appreciate the input. Pathfinder has been a huge shift. One that I still have trouble adapting to because of the real lack of people thinking these things through to such an extent.

Identifying spells with no components is one such example where I struggle, and just have to accept it as so because - well, it's a rule, a mechanic. It doesn't make sense to me but still have to abide by it or house rule it. I've done the latter.


Pathfinder Maps Subscriber
_Ozy_ wrote:
If it's your assumption that this is a visible effect, able to be hidden by invisibility, thus you don't see a problem.

This is what I assume, because it does the least damage to the status-quo.


Oh, I agree, but it is not mandated in any way by the FAQ, thus further clarification would be welcome.


Are you saying that you don't think certain things should be left up to GM interpretation? If so, I can see where we disagree, because if that is your standpoint then I disagree with you on a fundamental level about how the game should be played.


CampinCarl9127 wrote:
Are you saying that you don't think certain things should be left up to GM interpretation? If so, I can see where we disagree, because if that is your standpoint then I disagree with you on a fundamental level about how the game should be played.

Certain things affect characters more than others.

Just because a GM can invoke rule 0 to state that crossbows now inflict ten times more damage doesn't mean that you should expect to see that happen.

Especially in PFS.


CampinCarl9127 wrote:
Are you saying that you don't think certain things should be left up to GM interpretation? If so, I can see where we disagree, because if that is your standpoint then I disagree with you on a fundamental level about how the game should be played.

You mean beyond rule 0 where a GM can declare that invisibility doesn't exist in his game, or longswords do 1d12 damage?

Yes, that's exactly what I'm saying. It's fundamentally a different mechanical game if in one GM's game, invisibility hides spellcasting and in another's it does not. The GM is always free to house rule, just as they are free to disregard this FAQ in its entirety.

That doesn't mean that the PDT should not try to put out a set of rules that encourages a consistent set of mechanics.


All GMs, including PFS GMs, must use their own interpretation and judgement during every single session. PFS GMs must use RAW until a situation is not covered, which happens frequently in my experience.

GMs are not rule robots. If we didn't need a person in charge to use their own judgement and settle disputes, we wouldn't need GMs at all.

Does that mean every judgement call will be good? Of course not. We're all human. But to go the opposite direction and attempt to classify every situation with a specific response would not only be monotonous and tedious, IMHO it would be boring.


Er, I'm not sure you understood my point about consistent mechanics.

Why wouldn't you want to encourage this from the PDT? It sounds like you don't really care if they have rules or not, because certainly casting while invisible is something that should be adjudicated consistently by the ruleset considering how common it is.

This isn't classifying 'every specific response', it's classifying something that happens in nearly every campaign, and in a large number of games during each campaign, either from the PCs, the NPCs or both. I've personally encountered it in the last 4 games I've played in, again on both sides, and in 3 different campaigns.

Btw, how much do alchemists rule now, eh? ;)


This situation is covered in the mechanics. It's just not covered to a point where you can read a single sentence and say "Yup, DC 25 perception to notice invisible spellcasting" or some other conclusion. You must extrapolate on other rules to reach a conclusion. Different GMs will reach different conclusions. That's simply part of the game.

But I can see now that we disagree about the game on a basic, fundamental level, and that I'm not going to be changing your mind on the matter. Play it how you like in your own games (which everybody will do, including PFS GMs who will interpret this FAQ as they see fit).


Er, no, it's not covered in the mechanics, that's the whole point, that's what I'm actually asking for, and that's what you criticized.

A DC0 is just as justifiable as a DC20 or DC40.


If I play with someone using the FAQ ruling, I expect them to abide by it.

Spells are simply visible.

No roll required, because none is listed.

Makes noticing casters a LOT easier.

People wanted an FAQ answer, we got one. Use it or don't.


alexd1976 wrote:

If I play with someone using the FAQ ruling, I expect them to abide by it.

Spells are simply visible.

No roll required, because none is listed.

Makes noticing casters a LOT easier.

People wanted an FAQ answer, we got one. Use it or don't.

All spells? Everywhere?

No concealment? Behind walls. Inside rooms. Inside buildings.
No distance? Miles away?

That doesn't fit the way seeing anything is handled anywhere in the game.


Something being visible does not mean it is automatically noticed.


thejeff wrote:
alexd1976 wrote:

If I play with someone using the FAQ ruling, I expect them to abide by it.

Spells are simply visible.

No roll required, because none is listed.

Makes noticing casters a LOT easier.

People wanted an FAQ answer, we got one. Use it or don't.

All spells? Everywhere?

No concealment? Behind walls. Inside rooms. Inside buildings.
No distance? Miles away?

That doesn't fit the way seeing anything is handled anywhere in the game.

So would it be safe to say that perhaps the FAQ did not, in fact, really clarify things as much as people hoped it would? :D


alexd1976 wrote:
thejeff wrote:
alexd1976 wrote:

If I play with someone using the FAQ ruling, I expect them to abide by it.

Spells are simply visible.

No roll required, because none is listed.

Makes noticing casters a LOT easier.

People wanted an FAQ answer, we got one. Use it or don't.

All spells? Everywhere?

No concealment? Behind walls. Inside rooms. Inside buildings.
No distance? Miles away?

That doesn't fit the way seeing anything is handled anywhere in the game.

So would it be safe to say that perhaps the FAQ did not, in fact, really clarify things as much as people hoped it would? :D

Not if one refuses to apply common sense.


thejeff wrote:
alexd1976 wrote:
thejeff wrote:
alexd1976 wrote:

If I play with someone using the FAQ ruling, I expect them to abide by it.

Spells are simply visible.

No roll required, because none is listed.

Makes noticing casters a LOT easier.

People wanted an FAQ answer, we got one. Use it or don't.

All spells? Everywhere?

No concealment? Behind walls. Inside rooms. Inside buildings.
No distance? Miles away?

That doesn't fit the way seeing anything is handled anywhere in the game.

So would it be safe to say that perhaps the FAQ did not, in fact, really clarify things as much as people hoped it would? :D
Not if one refuses to apply common sense.

So, using your common sense, whats the base DC to notice a casting of Charm Person, from fifteen feet away, clear line of sight?

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