Identifying a Spells with Spellcraft


Rules Questions

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I like how Exalted does it. Any charms that you can tell are supernatural at a glance are actually tagged with an "obvious" keyword. Otherwise there's nothing to see unless you're spending a lot of essence, in which case you light up like a signal flare regardless.


Same in Mage the Awakening

Spell with tag "vulgar" are obvious for mundane people
Spell with tag "covert" nope without "Arcane Sight"

Silver Crusade

I'd like to see the adoption of a descriptor similar to one used in one of the above two mentioned systems.


Captain Temπ Ænaut Fugit wrote:
I'd like to see the adoption of a descriptor similar to one used in one of the above two mentioned systems.

What's the point, every spell would have [vulgar]/[overt]

Grand Lodge

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They do.

vulgar = overt = [SP] = [SLA]
covert = [SU]

:)

Liberty's Edge

Pathfinder Companion Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber

Because if there was a sidebar like:
"Every use of a spell or supernatural power is perceptible with at least 3 of the following senses: sight, hearing, smell, taste, touch, other. As an example when cast a fireball can Smell of sulfur, make the Noise of a crackling bonfire and even people outside the AoE will feel a Heat wave. perceiving those effect is a Perception -10 DC check. These effects are in addition to the spell components. The perception check is subject to all other normal perception modifiers."
it would be possible to have:
"Metamagic Feat. Subtle casting: you can remove the telltale sign of casting a spell. With an increase of 1 spell level you can remove 2 telltale sign of casting a spell, increasing the DC of detecting it by 15. With a increase of 2 spell levels you can remove all 3 signs and increase the perception check by 30 and the DC of using spellcraft to identify the spell by 10."


Diego Rossi wrote:

Because if there was a sidebar like:

"Every use of a spell or supernatural power is perceptible with at least 3 of the following senses: sight, hearing, smell, taste, touch, other. As an example when cast a fireball can Smell of sulfur, make the Noise of a crackling bonfire and even people outside the AoE will feel a Heat wave. perceiving those effect is a Perception -10 DC check. These effects are in addition to the spell components. The perception check is subject to all other normal perception modifiers."
it would be possible to have:
"Metamagic Feat. Subtle casting: you can remove the telltale sign of casting a spell. With an increase of 1 spell level you can remove 2 telltale sign of casting a spell, increasing the DC of detecting it by 15. With a increase of 2 spell levels you can remove all 3 signs and increase the perception check by 30 and the DC of using spellcraft to identify the spell by 10."

Well, considering they can do "Metamagic Feat. Subtle casting: you can remove the telltale sign of casting a spell. With an increase of 1 spell level you can diminish the manifestion that occurs when you cast the spell, increasing the DC of detecting it by 15. With a increase of 2 spell levels you can increase the perception check by 30 and the DC of using spellcraft to identify the spell by 10." I don't really understand your point.

Grand Lodge

Except you could just take Canny Caster, (Hero of the Streets) and with a decent bluff score not have anyone know that you are casting at all (never mind be able to make a spell craft check.)


Quandary wrote:
I guess that depends on one's definition of useless.

I guess useless is exaggerated. Nerffed is more appropriate.

Quandary wrote:

Funnily enough it was dead obvious from the very beginning that Pathfinder had CHANGED the rules here from 3.x,

so why anybody could still be "fighting" or disputing this issue at this stage is pretty bizarre.
PRD wrote:
Action: Identifying a spell as it is being cast requires no action, but you must be able to clearly see the spell as it is being cast.

If that were clear, this thread wouldn't be so lengthy. Everyone's already explained their point of view on that. Magical affects can't logically take place until the moment the spells casting is complete, which means using spell like abilities, psychic magic, casting while invisible, or a combination of still, silent, and echew should all allow you to avoid identification.

I'm not pointing this out to respark the debate, I'm just saying that's why people were fighting or disputing. Its not obvious at all.


Well, with "but you must be able to clearly see the spell as it is being cast." there has to be a way to see the spell before it's finished being cast simply because it says "as it is being cast.".

Sovereign Court

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Is it so hard to accept that before this FAQ, the situation was actually ambiguous, and both interpretations (spells are/aren't noticeable themselves) were possible? The text in Spellcraft, feats like Secret Signs (way back) and Subtle Casting (recent) all gave us clues that casting might be noticeable. Then again, the lack of explicit language stating casting was noticeable was a counterargument. So the whole thing was just undecided.

And I'm not "jumping on the Support Paizo Bandwagon". I was there all along and Paizo decided to pick the interpretation I was also in favor of.

I think that's good: it's good to have as a baseline that spellcasting is noticeable, but that you can learn stuff to make it less so. That gives you the possibility of making a caster that's special because he's more subtle than others. It also means that most of the time "mundanes" have a clue stuff is going down.

If that means invisible casters have it a bit harder, I'm fine with that, they still have it pretty good, just not perfect anymore. You can do a lot of mischief by casting and then moving, and watching everyone focus on the spot you just left. You can also create the illusion of an invisible caster and get people to worry about that.

I think this is a good time for this ruling. Noticeability of casting has always been important (illusionists, enchanters, court intrigue), but psychic casters basically don't use any visible components so with their coming, the question really HAD to be answered. And APs like Hell's Rebels are also about hiding from the authorities, so knowing whether your casting will be noticeable is really important.

Also, by making it clear whether casting is noticeable, you also make room to design feats/stuff to change that for a character. If there was no clear rule on noticeability, you can't write feats to change noticeability. And that's fine for campaigns where people thought magic wasn't necessarily noticeable. But for players in campaigns with noticeable magic, they wouldn't be getting a chance to do something about it.

---

All that said, I do think it would've been better to build this in from the start and tag spells as being obvious or not, so that you can do a custom job for enchantment and illusion.


1 person marked this as FAQ candidate.
Pathfinder Design Team wrote:

FAQ is back!

FAQ wrote:

What exactly do I identify when I’m using Spellcraft to identify a spell? Is it the components, since spell-like abilities, for instance, don’t have any? If I can only identify components, would that mean that I can’t take an attack of opportunity against someone using a spell-like ability (or spell with no verbal, somatic, or material components) or ready an action to shoot an arrow to disrupt a spell-like ability? If there’s something else, how do I know what it is?

Although this isn’t directly stated in the Core Rulebook, many elements of the game system work assuming that all spells have their own manifestations, regardless of whether or not they also produce an obvious visual effect, like fireball. You can see some examples to give you ideas of how to describe a spell’s manifestation in various pieces of art from Pathfinder products, but ultimately, the choice is up to your group, or perhaps even to the aesthetics of an individual spellcaster, to decide the exact details. Whatever the case, these manifestations are obviously magic of some kind, even to the uninitiated; this prevents spellcasters that use spell-like abilities, psychic magic, and the like from running completely amok against non-spellcasters in a non-combat situation. Special abilities exist (and more are likely to appear in Ultimate Intrigue) that specifically facilitate a spellcaster using chicanery to misdirect people from those manifestations and allow them to go unnoticed, but they will always provide an onlooker some sort of chance to detect the ruse.

Can Still Spell/Silent Spell/Eschew Materials result in a non-detectable spell (are they the alluded to 'special abilities'?)

Also, any chance of example numbers/situations using Spellcraft to identify a spell like Charm Person that has been silenced and stilled?

Interesting to see this clarified, but more info needed. :D


alexd1976 wrote:


Can Still Spell/Silent Spell/Eschew Materials result in a non-detectable spell (are they the alluded to 'special abilities'?)

Also, any chance of example numbers/situations using Spellcraft to identify a spell like Charm Person that has been silenced and stilled?

Interesting to see this clarified, but more info needed. :D

The point of the FAQ is that components don't matter, you can notice the casting. Even if the spell has no components from being an SLA or being metamagic'd, you can identify the spell because there is a magical manifestation of the spell during casting. The Spellcraft DC to identify a silent still charm person is the same DC to identify a non-metamagic'd charm person.

Sovereign Court

alexd1976 wrote:
Pathfinder Design Team wrote:

FAQ is back!

FAQ wrote:

What exactly do I identify when I’m using Spellcraft to identify a spell? Is it the components, since spell-like abilities, for instance, don’t have any? If I can only identify components, would that mean that I can’t take an attack of opportunity against someone using a spell-like ability (or spell with no verbal, somatic, or material components) or ready an action to shoot an arrow to disrupt a spell-like ability? If there’s something else, how do I know what it is?

Although this isn’t directly stated in the Core Rulebook, many elements of the game system work assuming that all spells have their own manifestations, regardless of whether or not they also produce an obvious visual effect, like fireball. You can see some examples to give you ideas of how to describe a spell’s manifestation in various pieces of art from Pathfinder products, but ultimately, the choice is up to your group, or perhaps even to the aesthetics of an individual spellcaster, to decide the exact details. Whatever the case, these manifestations are obviously magic of some kind, even to the uninitiated; this prevents spellcasters that use spell-like abilities, psychic magic, and the like from running completely amok against non-spellcasters in a non-combat situation. Special abilities exist (and more are likely to appear in Ultimate Intrigue) that specifically facilitate a spellcaster using chicanery to misdirect people from those manifestations and allow them to go unnoticed, but they will always provide an onlooker some sort of chance to detect the ruse.

Can Still Spell/Silent Spell/Eschew Materials result in a non-detectable spell (are they the alluded to 'special abilities'?)

Also, any chance of example numbers/situations using Spellcraft to identify a spell like Charm Person that has been silenced and stilled?

Interesting to see this clarified, but more info needed. :D

I believe the "special abilities" are feats like Spellsong, Secret Signs and the newer Subtle Caster/Cunning Devices feats from Heroes of the Streets. Those all explicitly say they hide spellcasting; Still/Silent/Eschew only remove components.


Milo v3 wrote:
alexd1976 wrote:


Can Still Spell/Silent Spell/Eschew Materials result in a non-detectable spell (are they the alluded to 'special abilities'?)

Also, any chance of example numbers/situations using Spellcraft to identify a spell like Charm Person that has been silenced and stilled?

Interesting to see this clarified, but more info needed. :D

The point of the FAQ is that components don't matter, you can notice the casting. Even if the spell has no components from being an SLA or being metamagic'd, you can identify the spell because there is a magical manifestation of the spell during casting. The Spellcraft DC to identify a silent still charm person is the same DC to identify a non-metamagic'd charm person.

Indeed.

But my questions are still relevant to me, if not to you.


alexd1976 wrote:

Indeed.

But my questions are still relevant to me, if not to you.

... but they were answered.


Not even remotely.


alexd1976 wrote:
Not even remotely.

-.-

Quote:
Can Still Spell/Silent Spell/Eschew Materials result in a non-detectable spell

No.

Quote:
Also, any chance of example numbers/situations using Spellcraft to identify a spell like Charm Person that has been silenced and stilled?

Unnecessary since there would be no difference in Spellcraft between those two examples.


Milo v3 wrote:
alexd1976 wrote:
Not even remotely.

-.-

Quote:
Can Still Spell/Silent Spell/Eschew Materials result in a non-detectable spell

No.

Quote:
Also, any chance of example numbers/situations using Spellcraft to identify a spell like Charm Person that has been silenced and stilled?
Unnecessary since there would be no difference in Spellcraft between those two examples.

No more sneaky Enchanters or Illusionists... that's gonna make a lot of people happy.

It's also gonna make a lot of people angry.

Options for subtlety have been reduced, hack and slash options are clearly encouraged.

*shrugs*

I will continue to use the same houserules I have always used, but it is interesting to see this FAQ saying what it does.


Pathfinder Maps, Pawns Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber
FLite wrote:
Except you could just take Canny Caster, (Hero of the Streets) and with a decent bluff score not have anyone know that you are casting at all (never mind be able to make a spell craft check.)

It's Cunning Caster, not Canny Caster. Also, good luck beating the Perception checks (the most common skill in the game) of the dozen or so people in the room when most of your spells apply a -16 penalty on that Bluff check.

alexd1976 wrote:

Can Still Spell/Silent Spell/Eschew Materials result in a non-detectable spell (are they the alluded to 'special abilities'?)

Also, any chance of example numbers/situations using Spellcraft to identify a spell like Charm Person that has been silenced and stilled?

Interesting to see this clarified, but more info needed. :D

The game developers felt that, that wasn't enough investment. Only with Cunning Caster and a successful Bluff check can you have a discreet spell. Even then, a spell with an obvious visual effect (such as fireball) will be obviously present (if not obviously originating from you).

Ascalaphus wrote:
I believe the "special abilities" are feats like Spellsong, Secret Signs and the newer Subtle Caster/Cunning Devices feats from Heroes of the Streets. Those all explicitly say they hide spellcasting; Still/Silent/Eschew only remove components.

It's Cunning Caster.

I just love how Paizo has gotten into the habit of creating new rules that limit game options prior to releasing new products that expand said options again at the expenditure of more character resources. /sarcasm

Now, to truly have a discreet spell, you ONLY need the following:
- Cunning Caster
- Deceitful
- Eschew Materials
- Silent Spell
- Still Spell
- Min/maxed Bluff skill
- Spell slots 2 higher than the spell you likely want to cast discreetly

Simple, right?

Not even Spell Perfection has that many bloody prerequisites.


Meh, RAW in this case is wildly unfair.

don't get me wrong, I'm all for limiting casters power, but this seems excessive.

like... I'm not gonna use it. At all.

*shrugs* It's nice being able to use houserules, I feel bad for anyone trying to play an enchantment or illusion based caster.

I mean, illusions are now basically useless unless you cast them before your target shows up.


I don´t think you still need Silent Spell or Still Spell.


... or you could just stealth then cast....


Draco Bahamut wrote:
I don´t think you still need Silent Spell or Still Spell.

Good point, it has been established that seeing the caster and/or components has NO BEARING on whether or not you can identify the spell.

Yell FIREBALL and throw batcrap at someone... doesn't matter.

You don't use that to identify spells.

You use the visual component of the spell itself. Because _reasons_.

Liberty's Edge

Pathfinder Companion Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber
Milo v3 wrote:
Well, with "but you must be able to clearly see the spell as it is being cast." there has to be a way to see the spell before it's finished being cast simply because it says "as it is being cast.".

Without something defining what is the basic DC?


Here is an example of what I mentioned in another thread about it being annoying that people say a feat(or spell) restricted in any way are now 'useless'

Under no possible definition of useless would invisibility, even with this ruling and being used by a summoner or other faster than takes a full round or more, could this make invisibility 'useless' to that caster. Even if attackers now know where to target, they still have a fifty percent miss chance, which immediately moves it right out of the useless category. And once the casting is done, you can still move again and the invisibility is not gone ...


RDM42 wrote:

Here is an example of what I mentioned in another thread about it being annoying that people say a feat(or spell) restricted in any way are now 'useless'

Under no possible definition of useless would invisibility, even with this ruling and being used by a summoner or other faster than takes a full round or more, could this make invisibility 'useless' to that caster. Even if attackers now know where to target, they still have a fifty percent miss chance, which immediately moves it right out of the useless category. And once the casting is done, you can still move again and the invisibility is not gone ...

And that's even taking the worst implication of this ruling, that's not at all clear, which is that casting actually gives away your location at all.

It's equally possible that spellcasting is only obvious if they can already see you.

Dark Archive

Paizo did a lot of things right in regards to changes they made to 3.5. but this ID spell casting thing just over complicated and made things less clear and not intuitive.

3.5 ruling was super simple and easy and made sense. if you can see the components of the spell you can attempt to ID the spell during its casting.

The other change was the fly mechanics, basically accomplished the same thing that was previously there but it now takes more steps to get there, wasn't really needed.... /tangent

I am going to run my house games with the old 3.5 spell casting and ID rulings, makes it easier and is clear.


Some thoughts:

Non-humanoid creatures can cast spells. An Aboleth might gesture with its tentacles, for example, yet its spells can still be identified. From this, I think we can reasonably conclude that you don't need to memorize somatic components in order to identify a spell, because they'd be different between species.

People can cast in different languages. Someone who only speaks Elven can cast just as easily as someone who only speaks Dwarven. Nothing I've seen suggests there is a universal "language of magic" that all people speak to cast in. If it's possible for verbal components to differ between casters for any reason, then you can't really explain how spells can be identified by listening to the caster talk.

Basically, I'm not sure it makes any sense for identifying components to be necessary, especially if the system has the goal of generally having spells be recognizable when cast.

Of course, a GM could certainly rule otherwise in their own games, and that wouldn't necessarily be bad either - nudging people to learn about the area and receive a mechanical benefit (being able to identify spells in a given tradition/region/whatever) can be nice for worldbuilding.

For now, however, I suppose it's best to think of spells as having essentially two separate effects - a manifestation while being cast (which is recognizable and identifiable), and then its main effect when completed.


Shadowlords wrote:

Paizo did a lot of things right in regards to changes they made to 3.5. but this ID spell casting thing just over complicated and made things less clear and not intuitive.

3.5 ruling was super simple and easy and made sense. if you can see the components of the spell you can attempt to ID the spell during its casting

The PF version is only unclear and unintuitive if you overthink it.

We looked at the rules and said if you can see him casting, you can make a Spellcraft check - with Perception modifiers as needed. That's it. Simple. Obvious. No more worries about what actually let you do that than about what hit points actually are. It's an abstraction.

It's only when you start overthinking the effects that you start running into issues. If you care about how it looks, pick a manifestation that matches how you think it works, then all the assumption clashes go away.

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Adventure, Rulebook Subscriber; Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber
RDM42 wrote:
Even if attackers now know where to target, they still have a fifty percent miss chance, which immediately moves it right out of the useless category. And once the casting is done, you can still move again and the invisibility is not gone ...

I avoid that problem by having my characters use area affects on the invisible casters location. Varies in effectiveness based on resistances, but very useful for characters with low attack bonuses.

Dark Archive

Rednal wrote:

Some thoughts:

Non-humanoid creatures can cast spells. An Aboleth might gesture with its tentacles, for example, yet its spells can still be identified. From this, I think we can reasonably conclude that you don't need to memorize somatic components in order to identify a spell, because they'd be different between species.

People can cast in different languages. Someone who only speaks Elven can cast just as easily as someone who only speaks Dwarven. Nothing I've seen suggests there is a universal "language of magic" that all people speak to cast in. If it's possible for somatic components to differ between casters for any reason, then you can't really explain how spells can be identified by listening to the caster talk.

Basically, I'm not sure it makes any sense for identifying components to be necessary, especially if the system has the goal of generally having spells be recognizable when cast.

Of course, a GM could certainly rule otherwise in their own games, and that wouldn't necessarily be bad either - nudging people to learn about the area and receive a mechanical benefit (being able to identify spells in a given tradition/region/whatever) can be nice for worldbuilding.

For now, however, I suppose it's best to think of spells as having essentially two separate effects - a manifestation while being cast (which is recognizable and identifiable), and then its main effect when completed.

Great points,

Had not really thought of the language barrier thing, i grew up reading dragonlance and magic had its own "language" so by listening to another caster you could figure out the spell he was casting through key phrases even if it was prepared differently, or with a heavy accent.

The somatic or gestures would change based on appendage availability, but for humanoid creatures, spells state that the gestures are specific and precise, so then we can still use that to try to ID a spell.

All in all i really don't mind that spells generate a magical visual effect during the casting, or that that effect can be used to ID the spell, but it feels very slapped on without much thought or clarity of what can and cant be seen or done, with the mindset behind it being "we changed it so we can be different". The change as it stand feels extremely limiting and a combination of the old 3.5 rules and this one might be best and make the most sense.


Pathfinder Maps, Pawns Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber
Draco Bahamut wrote:
I don´t think you still need Silent Spell or Still Spell.

You do if you want to avoid a -8 penalty on your Bluff check to use Cunning Caster.

Dark Archive

thejeff wrote:
Shadowlords wrote:

Paizo did a lot of things right in regards to changes they made to 3.5. but this ID spell casting thing just over complicated and made things less clear and not intuitive.

3.5 ruling was super simple and easy and made sense. if you can see the components of the spell you can attempt to ID the spell during its casting

The PF version is only unclear and unintuitive if you overthink it.

We looked at the rules and said if you can see him casting, you can make a Spellcraft check - with Perception modifiers as needed. That's it. Simple. Obvious. No more worries about what actually let you do that than about what hit points actually are. It's an abstraction.

It's only when you start overthinking the effects that you start running into issues. If you care about how it looks, pick a manifestation that matches how you think it works, then all the assumption clashes go away.

I don't care what the effect looks like, that is up for the DM to decide. The issue arises when spell casters are trying to be sneaky about their casting.

I can see the person, Oh look floating runes or glowing stuff is around that guy, he must be casting a spell. paints a huge target on him.

ALSO oh look waving hands, some clear and precise speech that densest make sense to me he must be casting a spell, (or could be pretending to cast a spell)
There is also, the ability (language barrier excluded) you hear chanting coming from the other room, you recognize it as a spell chant, you do a spell craft check and figure out the spell. (you cant do this anymore with pathfinders ruling, but this is a fun thing to have available to you)

one of these scenarios is concealable and can be used sneakily in more then one way, the other one is not.


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

The PF version is only unclear and unintuitive if you overthink it.

How is your interpretation clear and intuitive pray tell? First, you need to assume that the rules for spell identification apply ALL THE TIME including weird corner cases like componentless spells. Then you need to make the mental leap to assume that there must be some observable phenomena, other than components, even though nothing in the rulebooks supports it outside of the rare artwork showing a spell prior to its casting.

That's not intuitive at all.

I would have thought the rule as written simply didn't cover that particular corner case, as is the case with hundreds of other rules throughout the game.

Sovereign Court

Shadowlords wrote:


There is also, the ability (language barrier excluded) you hear chanting coming from the other room, you recognize it as a spell chant, you do a spell craft check and figure out the spell. (you cant do this anymore with pathfinders ruling, but this is a fun thing to have available to you)

This wasn't possible by RAW either previously, because spellcraft says you have to SEE the spell being cast. It wasn't possible to spellcraft an invisible caster doing Verbal components.

Dark Archive

Simply put, i want options.
I want the option to ID the spell through the components.
I can clearly see the casters hands and I am a studied spell caster, i recognize those gestures as components to this spell.

I can see the caster is using this specific item and these strange materials, those are used in combination for this spell.

I clearly hear the spell caster even though he is not in sight (maybe he is invisible or in another room) but i recognize those words as arcane speech for this spell.

New visual component.
I see the magical energies building around him and recognize them for this spell.

having all 4 is a great option, the first 3 each have either a single feat or meta-magic way to hide or conceal them, the last one does not, or requires heavy feat investment for you have to conceal it. make the 4th one have a single feat or meta-magic way to conceal it, also add a line to the spell description to say which spells generate the effect. not all spells have the same "components" or effects.

also as it stands, the new visual component is the only method used to ID a spell, doesn't matter that i can clearly hear the caster saying the same words i say everyday to cast the same spell, i cant even make the assumption that he is casting a spell without being able to see him


Ravingdork wrote:
thejeff wrote:

The PF version is only unclear and unintuitive if you overthink it.

How is your interpretation clear and intuitive pray tell? First, you need to assume that the rules for spell identification apply ALL THE TIME including weird corner cases like componentless spells. Then you need to make the mental leap to assume that there must be something other than components, even though nothing in the rulebooks supports it outside of the rare artwork.

That's not intuitive at all.

I would have thought the rule as written simply didn't cover that particular corner case, as is the case with hundreds of other rules throughout the game.

I don't need to assume anything other than that the rule does what the rule says. You can use Spellcraft to id spells when someone casts them.

Honestly, we didn't assume anything about componentless spells or decide that there were flashy effects or anything like that. Just that you could id spells when you saw someone cast them. Which what the rule says.

It doesn't say "You can id spells when they're cast, except for the following cases or with the following penalties" Other than the perception ones, which fall neatly under the "if you see them" part.

I agree, once you start overthinking it and trying to figure out the precise inworld implications of this rule, questions start to come up. But they do that with every part of the game.

Dark Archive

Ascalaphus wrote:
Shadowlords wrote:


There is also, the ability (language barrier excluded) you hear chanting coming from the other room, you recognize it as a spell chant, you do a spell craft check and figure out the spell. (you cant do this anymore with pathfinders ruling, but this is a fun thing to have available to you)
This wasn't possible by RAW either previously, because spellcraft says you have to SEE the spell being cast. It wasn't possible to spellcraft an invisible caster doing Verbal components.

It actually says in the spellcraft section of 3.5 "Identify a spell being cast. (You must see or hear the spell’s verbal or somatic components.) No action required. No retry"


Pathfinder Maps, Pawns Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber

Sorry, but spell identification was something that Wizards of the Coast did better in D&D v3.5. Paizo dropped the ball on this one; making the game far less intuitive, raising far more questions and corner cases, and generally restricting player options--all in the name of pushing their new products and bringing casters to heel.

Shadow Lodge

Ravingdork wrote:
...and bringing casters to heel.

Too little, too late.


Ravingdork wrote:
Sorry, but spell identification was something that Wizards of the Coast did better in D&D v3.5. Paizo dropped the ball on this one; making the game far less intuitive, raising far more questions and corner cases, and generally restricting player options--all in the name of pushing their new products and bringing casters to heel.

So because you don't like it, it's bad? Got it.


Rednal wrote:

Some thoughts:

Non-humanoid creatures can cast spells. An Aboleth might gesture with its tentacles, for example, yet its spells can still be identified. From this, I think we can reasonably conclude that you don't need to memorize somatic components in order to identify a spell, because they'd be different between species.

People can cast in different languages. Someone who only speaks Elven can cast just as easily as someone who only speaks Dwarven. Nothing I've seen suggests there is a universal "language of magic" that all people speak to cast in. If it's possible for verbal components to differ between casters for any reason, then you can't really explain how spells can be identified by listening to the caster talk.

Basically, I'm not sure it makes any sense for identifying components to be necessary, especially if the system has the goal of generally having spells be recognizable when cast.

Of course, a GM could certainly rule otherwise in their own games, and that wouldn't necessarily be bad either - nudging people to learn about the area and receive a mechanical benefit (being able to identify spells in a given tradition/region/whatever) can be nice for worldbuilding.

For now, however, I suppose it's best to think of spells as having essentially two separate effects - a manifestation while being cast (which is recognizable and identifiable), and then its main effect when completed.

I wasn't aware that the book tells us that spells are cast in the persons native tongue... I did assume it was all 'magical language' (essentially gibberish, which is why Spellcraft is used, instead of a linguistic skill)...

Where did you see that?


Shadowlords wrote:

Simply put, i want options.

I want the option to ID the spell through the components.
I can clearly see the casters hands and I am a studied spell caster, i recognize those gestures as components to this spell.

I can see the caster is using this specific item and these strange materials, those are used in combination for this spell.

I clearly hear the spell caster even though he is not in sight (maybe he is invisible or in another room) but i recognize those words as arcane speech for this spell.

New visual component.
I see the magical energies building around him and recognize them for this spell.

having all 4 is a great option, the first 3 each have either a single feat or meta-magic way to hide or conceal them, the last one does not, or requires heavy feat investment for you have to conceal it. make the 4th one have a single feat or meta-magic way to conceal it, also add a line to the spell description to say which spells generate the effect. not all spells have the same "components" or effects.

also as it stands, the new visual component is the only method used to ID a spell, doesn't matter that i can clearly hear the caster saying the same words i say everyday to cast the same spell, i cant even make the assumption that he is casting a spell without being able to see him

Luckily, this only affects you as much as you want it to. Assuming you aren't playing PFS that is.


Well, assumptions about rules can be problems.

To put it another way, there's nothing saying you do cast in a magical language.

(This is probably left open for individual preference, actually. Maybe some people want to cast in planar tongues, geniekin might use the appropriate elemental language, human casters have gibberish... etc.)

And Spellcraft only requires sight anyway, so language is basically flavor for identification.


What is exactly the worst case scenario that caster fears ? I am having trouble imagining what is so wrong about this FAQ.

What people with silent/stilled spells are doing that the GMs are trying to shut down ?


Pathfinder Maps, Pawns Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber
Claxon wrote:
Ravingdork wrote:
Sorry, but spell identification was something that Wizards of the Coast did better in D&D v3.5. Paizo dropped the ball on this one; making the game far less intuitive, raising far more questions and corner cases, and generally restricting player options--all in the name of pushing their new products and bringing casters to heel.
So because you don't like it, it's bad? Got it.

It's bad because...

...it makes the game far less intuitive.
...raises far more questions and corner cases.
...restricts player options.
...is a clear political move to push their new products, such as Heroes of the Streets with its Cunning Caster feat.
...has only served to divide the Paizo roleplaying community.

THAT is why it was a bad move. It has nothing to do with my personal preferences.


There is no assumed language for spellcasting. It can be anything from complete nonsense to growls to OOTS shouting the name of the spell.

I disagree Ravingdork, on all points but the last. It makes the game far more intuitive and I think their wording was fantastic. I am still appealed that an answer of "table variance" had made you so upset. Is that because you want every corner case defined? That's not how the rules work. You must use intuitive reasoning to apply the rules to specific situations.


Draco Bahamut wrote:

What is exactly the worst case scenario that caster fears ? I am having trouble imagining what is so wrong about this FAQ.

What people with silent/stilled spells are doing that the GMs are trying to shut down ?

20th level caster, has Still Spell and Silent Spell...

Memorizes Charm Person with these, has to use 3rd level slot to cast it... (could have memorized Fly or Fireball instead)-0% chance of success in using this clever non-combat approach to bypass a threat.

I mean seriously... if I saw someone cast a spell on me, and then suddenly became their friend... I would obviously know that they had Charmed me, and although I would be friendly, I certainly wouldn't lose my dedication to my job/whatever I was guarding...

I would be obligated to tell the first person I saw that I had been charmed, by my buddy over there, that guy, the caster.

I mean, what wins, new friend, or old friend?

Durh.

Now, pre-FAQ, where casters weren't automatically outed by casting even a first level spell with ZERO components... you could go for the subtle approach.

Now, if we accept the FAQ as cannon, Charm Person simply isn't viable anymore. For the reasons I showed above.

You aren't dominated, so you aren't compelled to keep quiet about your having been Charmed. The spell is literally without value IMO.


But the DC to sense a enchantment isn´t a fixed 25 of sense motive ? Can´t the target sense motive himself ?

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