Identifying a Spells with Spellcraft


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

This has come up a lot in other threads and has clearly created a schism in the gaming community, so I'm starting this thread for FAQing purposes.

The Spellcraft skill clearly states the following:
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, and this incurs the same penalties as a Perception skill check due to distance, poor conditions, and other factors.

Does the act of spellcasting even have an observable stimuli, such as magical energies or floating runes? If so, what are they precisely? Or is it the intent that the above passage actually refer to the spell's material, somatic, and verbal components, or perhaps the casters themselves?


This doesn't seem like a rules question as there are no rules for it. Maybe a General Discussion instead?


What do you mean by before they are cast? The way you are asking it sounds like "before the caster begins casting the spell". Which the answer would obviously be no.

But I think what you meant to ask is "before the spell affects a target or the effect is brought into being" does the spell have some sort of manifestation.

The answer to that is yes, it 100% does. You have all the material, verbal, focus, somatic, etc components that are required to cast it on top of "magical energies" that appear around the caster.

That is why it's impossible to conceal spell casting even if you remove all of the normally required spell components, because there is magical energy present around the caster as he begins casting the spell, regardless of what components he needs to supply for the spell.


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DM_Blake wrote:
This doesn't seem like a rules question as there are no rules for it. Maybe a General Discussion instead?

It effects the way people play their games. I'd say that's pretty heavily set in rules territory.

Claxon wrote:
What do you mean by before they are cast? The way you are asking it sounds like "before the caster begins casting the spell". Which the answer would obviously be no.

Thanks for pointing that out, Claxon. I have edited the original post so as to be more clear.

Claxon wrote:

But I think what you meant to ask is "before the spell affects a target or the effect is brought into being" does the spell have some sort of manifestation.

The answer to that is yes, it 100% does. You have all the material, verbal, focus, somatic, etc components that are required to cast it on top of "magical energies" that appear around the caster.

This is the Rules Forum. If you are going to assert that spellcasting generates "magical energies" or some other observable stimuli, you may want to provide a rules reference of some kind to back it up.

To my knowledge, there is no such rule. Hence why it is unclear to a great many people and in need of a FAQ.


Three and a half hours and falling off the front page, so giving it a BUMP!!!


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Ravingdork wrote:
Claxon wrote:
The answer to that is yes, it 100% does. You have all the material, verbal, focus, somatic, etc components that are required to cast it on top of "magical energies" that appear around the caster.

This is the Rules Forum. If you are going to assert that spellcasting generates "magical energies" or some other observable stimuli, you may want to provide a rules reference of some kind to back it up.

To my knowledge, there is no such rule. Hence why it is unclear to a great many people and in need of a FAQ.

It's been discussed in the rules forum with developers attesting that it is the case, though I agree it is not plainly stated in the rules at all. But there has been enough discussion that there is some obvious manifestations of spells beyond the components for the spell that make it clearly observable. This is why feats like Spellsong exist, because they hide what cannot normally be hidden.

The flavor of "magical energies" is my wording, but the answer to the question "can you observe something of a spell that has no components" the answer is yes.

It goes back to the thread where it was discussed that removing spell components doesn't even technically change the DC of spellcraft to identify what spell is being cast.


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Pathfinder Maps Subscriber

Bumping with my opinion.

Ravingdork wrote:
Does the act of spellcasting even have an observable stimuli, such as magical energies or floating runes?

Yes, as there is no change in the DC of the Spellcraft check to identify.

Ravingdork wrote:
If so, what are they precisely?

Intentionally unspecified to allow each setting to have a different 'flavor'. May even vary from caster to caster.


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SlimGauge wrote:

Bumping with my opinion.

Ravingdork wrote:
Does the act of spellcasting even have an observable stimuli, such as magical energies or floating runes?

Yes, as there is no change in the DC of the Spellcraft check to identify.

Ravingdork wrote:
If so, what are they precisely?
Intentionally unspecified to allow each setting to have a different 'flavor'. May even vary from caster to caster.

Noooooo! Don't say that! Stop the insanity before it begins...

Nevermind, you said it. Too late.

Goes to get popcorn.

Who am kidding? I'm colossal. I don't eat popcorn.

Goes to get a village full of halflings.

Sovereign Court

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I think originally the idea was not to define what magic looks like too closely, partly just because it didn't seem necessary, party to leave some room for GMs to flavor it to their setting.

Which is fine. I remember reading an article in Dragon about 15 years back about allowing your players to choose the color of their Magic Missile bolts themselves and it seemed like a big thing then.

But you can see from things like Spellsong and Secret Signs, or the suggestion in Occult Adventures that "there may be psychic casters hidden among us", that by now nobody's sure of whether magic is visible or not.

Is that bad? I think it is. Because it's so vague, there's design space lying unused. If magic is visible, there's room for feats/powers to hide magic. Which would be nice for "undercover caster" concepts, which fits with the themes of Ultimate Intrigue, Hell's Rebels, Dirty Tactics Toolbox and Heroes of the Streets.

If magic is not visible, getting that out clearly as a rule would make Charm Person and Illusion magic much more viable.

So the design/rules challenge is to clarify how visible magic is, without describing what it looks like.

Also, it should provide a satisfying answer to questions like:
- If I use Silent Still spell, is my spell harder to identify than normal?
- Is a spell with only a Verbal component easier to identify than a V/S spell that was Stilled?

Basically, penalties based on the number of hidden components should not compare oddly with spells that naturally have fewer components to start with.


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This entire issue comes up because Paizo decided to change the rules from 3.5. 3.5 clearly stated you needed to see the components of the spell to identify it as it was cast. Pathfinder changes it so it says you need to see the spell as it is cast.

3.5 implies spells have no visual indication, as it is the components that matter for identification.
Pathfinder implies spells do have some sort of visual indication, as the components used (or lack there of) have no bearing on identification.


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

Ascalaphus and Jeraa have it exactly right, in my humble estimation.


Clearly the edit from 3.5 is the reason for the ambiguity. But knowing that doesn't provide an answer to the ambiguity.

Quote:
Pathfinder implies spells do have some sort of visual indication, as the components used (or lack there of) have no bearing on identification.

Yes, it implies that at least some spells have this. And some spells clearly do. Burning hands for instance has a very visible cone of fire. Which we have no reason to believe doesn't start expanding during the casting action. This is something you might see.

Is the spellcraft phrase limited to spells like this that do actively describe visible manifestations? Or do all spells have unstated visible manifestations? This is a straightforward ambiguity and a very simple, short FAQ would be easy and effective in dealing with it. Excellent candidate for such.

The other spaghetti-like intricacies explored in the other thread(s) are well and good in the meantime, but GMs and players should not be expected to go through those mental acrobatics to answer this question. It would be much better to have an even one sentence FAQ to look to and save who knows how long of time and frustration, regardless of whether there is technically some answer hidden deep in the logic.


I've always been one of the opinion that spells do have some sort of visual stimuli as they are cast. Probably just my long term exposure to video games, movies, television shows, descriptions in fantasy literature, and nearly everything else relating to "Magic."

While I'd like to see something FAQ'd regarding spells having visual stimuli, I'd prefer they not be defined - that seems to kind of trample on character creation for no reason (Aesthetic vs. Functional), and also kind of creates the same situation as monsters - Where you read the description, and everyone immediately knows what it is and what it does, even though their characters don't... Most of my groups, fortunately, don't immediately turn to fire and acid every time they freshly come across a troll, but it does momentarily break immersion when it happens.

Silver Crusade

Seems to me everyone's in agreement because of past discussions on this--give us a FAQ that says:

"Spells can be noticed being cast, and thus identified with Spellcraft, even if the spell has no somatic, verbal, material, or other components."

You can let the reasons be up to our imaginations, just put the rule somewhere official. Please and thank you~!


Dazz wrote:

Seems to me everyone's in agreement because of past discussions on this--give us a FAQ that says:

"Spells can be noticed being cast, and thus identified with Spellcraft, even if the spell has no somatic, verbal, material, or other components."

You can let the reasons be up to our imaginations, just put the rule somewhere official. Please and thank you~!

That being said, I agree - but I would expect penalties to the roll based on the lack of normal components. It should be harder to identify a spell that normally contains somatic components affected by the Still Spell feat, because you are expecting components that do not exist.


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Quote:
"Spells can be noticed being cast, and thus identified with Spellcraft, even if the spell has no somatic, verbal, material, or other components."

Not a fantastic wording. If your goal is clarifying things definitively, don't try to answer the narrowest aspect of it possible. Why not just put the whole thing completely to bed, without any cryptic implications about what's going on?

Come right out and say exactly what's happening, such as: "All spells have visual manifestations during their casting, such as floating runes or swirling visible energies during casting separate from their somatic, verbal, material, or other components, allowing any spell to be identified with spellcraft if the caster is visible."

Or alternatively "Spells have no inherent visual manifestations, unless the spell mentions some effect in its description that would be visible, such as the fire cone from burning hands. If a spell does mention a visible effect, assume that some visible preview or first portion of this is visible during casting time, allowing for identificaton by spellcraft."

or "When spellcraft says 'see the spell' it is referring to seeing the somatic, verbal (if lips are moving or similar), or material preparation components. If some but not all of these are eliminated by abilities or metamagic, add +5 to the spellcraft check per missing component. If none of these components is present, spellcraft identification during casting is impossible."

Or whatever. Anything short of crystal clarity is rather silly.

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Ravingdork wrote:


Does the act of spellcasting even have an observable stimuli, such as magical energies or floating runes? If so, what are they precisely? Or is it the intent that the above passage actually refer to the spell's material, somatic, and verbal components, or perhaps the casters themselves?

You want a rules answer as to what the stimuli is. There isn't any. the only guidelines we have are the repeated statements that silent and still metamagics impose no penalties to spell identification.

Going by Paizo art, it would seem that when casters, including psychics cast.. there are various minor effect such as swrilies or glowing glyphs revolving around hands, or various other minor visual effects that show off spellcasting. But there is no rule stating so. The only rules guidance we have is what I've mentioned above.

Grand Lodge

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Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Starfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
Ravingdork wrote:
Does the act of spellcasting even have an observable stimuli, such as magical energies or floating runes? If so, what are they precisely?

I am steadfastly against this question being codified in the rules. The is exactly the kind of thing that should be determined by the setting, group, Gm, and/or players. The rules don't specify what you see, so it doesn't matter.

-Skeld


Crimeo wrote:
Yes, it implies that at least some spells have this. And some spells clearly do. Burning hands for instance has a very visible cone of fire. Which we have no reason to believe doesn't start expanding during the casting action. This is something you might see.

As a cone spell, Burning Hands goes out to fill its targeted area. Per the rules on magic, you do not select the targeting (i.e. what direction the cone goes) until the spell comes into effect. Spells do not come into effect until the caster is done casting.

As a GM, I would totally permit flavoring things like "fire rushes down your lower arms and hands as you cast and spews out in a cone when you're done" because that's a cool image, but I don't think the rules specifically allow for any kind of effect before the casting is done.

Liberty's Edge

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Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber; Pathfinder Companion, Maps, Pawns Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber

Wouldn't the ability to 'see the spell being cast' depend as much on the 'sight' of the perceiver as the visibility of the casting?

That is, even if there were no VMS components at all, wouldn't a person using Arcane Sight or a similar effect still be able to see the 'flow of magic' itself and potentially identify the spell based on that information? Invisibility could hide what material component(s) were used... but the scent ability might detect that by smell or True Sight could pierce the invisibility. Detect Thoughts could give direct access to magical formulae running through the caster's mind. Et cetera.

In short, this isn't a two-dimensional question. There are all kinds of ways that the casting can be hidden... and observed.


Quote:
As a cone spell, Burning Hands goes out to fill its targeted area. Per the rules on magic, you do not select the targeting (i.e. what direction the cone goes) until the spell comes into effect. Spells do not come into effect until the caster is done casting.

Would prefer not to have the same debate in two different threads, here I'll just say "I'd like a FAQ" and leave it at that. But see other thread for a response to this.


Pathfinder Maps, Pawns Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber
Crimeo wrote:
Quote:
"Spells can be noticed being cast, and thus identified with Spellcraft, even if the spell has no somatic, verbal, material, or other components."

Not a fantastic wording. If your goal is clarifying things definitively, don't try to answer the narrowest aspect of it possible. Why not just put the whole thing completely to bed, without any cryptic implications about what's going on?

Come right out and say exactly what's happening, such as: "All spells have visual manifestations during their casting, such as floating runes or swirling visible energies during casting separate from their somatic, verbal, material, or other components, allowing any spell to be identified with spellcraft if the caster is visible."

Or alternatively "Spells have no inherent visual manifestations, unless the spell mentions some effect in its description that would be visible, such as the fire cone from burning hands. If a spell does mention a visible effect, assume that some visible preview or first portion of this is visible during casting time, allowing for identificaton by spellcraft."

or "When spellcraft says 'see the spell' it is referring to seeing the somatic, verbal (if lips are moving or similar), or material preparation components. If some but not all of these are eliminated by abilities or metamagic, add +5 to the spellcraft check per missing component. If none of these components is present, spellcraft identification during casting is impossible."

Or whatever. Anything short of crystal clarity is rather silly.

I definitely agree with Crimeo here in that we should have the whole thing put to bed, rather than a narrow clarification which would likely just raise more questions. I'm personally hoping for the second or third interpretation.

Skeld wrote:
Ravingdork wrote:
Does the act of spellcasting even have an observable stimuli, such as magical energies or floating runes? If so, what are they precisely?

I am steadfastly against this question being codified in the rules. The is exactly the kind of thing that should be determined by the setting, group, Gm, and/or players. The rules don't specify what you see, so it doesn't matter.

-Skeld

I totally think the same way, but there are SO many people on the forums pushing to have the situation clarified, and whether we like it or not, it does have an effect on gameplay. It's not so flavorful as the style of clothes our characters wear. Whether or not our enemies can tell what we're doing can have a dramatic mechanical effect on the outcome of a given encounter.


I think this scenario has been mentioned before but the thing that comes to me is, an invisible wizard uses a silent, still spell and everyone with line of sight to the wizard's square gets a check against a set DC to tell exactly what spell is going on. It does make magic a little more difficult to use with subterfuge... and it is kind of weird that it isnt stated more clearly in the rules that casting spells have these big obvious signs to them.


In regards to Spellcraft, I dislike that everyone and their grandmother can know what is being cast, regardless whether you can or cant cast spells, if you are arcane or divine, and that the DC is so low.


Pathfinder Maps, Pawns Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber
Errant Mercenary wrote:
In regards to Spellcraft, I dislike that everyone and their grandmother can know what is being cast, regardless whether you can or cant cast spells, if you are arcane or divine, and that the DC is so low.

Same here. Even some of the house rules suggested by developers (such as -4 penalty to identify for every spell component missing) are absolutely laughable, since the base DC is so low.


Pathfinder Maps Subscriber
Errant Mercenary wrote:
In regards to Spellcraft, I dislike that everyone and their grandmother can know what is being cast, regardless whether you can or cant cast spells, if you are arcane or divine, and that the DC is so low.

I don't have to be a nuclear physicist to recognize Cherenkov_radiation when I see it depicted, but I do need a rank in Knowledge(science and engineering).

Arguing that the DC is too low is a matter of opinion. Maybe even THAT should vary from setting to setting.

Torbyne wrote:
I think this scenario has been mentioned before but the thing that comes to me is, an invisible wizard uses a silent, still spell and everyone with line of sight to the wizard's square gets a check against a set DC to tell exactly what spell is going on. It does make magic a little more difficult to use with subterfuge... and it is kind of weird that it isnt stated more clearly in the rules that casting spells have these big obvious signs to them.

I rather thought that if the wizard is invisible, then whatever manifestation in-progress spellcasting has is also invisible.

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Torbyne wrote:
I think this scenario has been mentioned before but the thing that comes to me is, an invisible wizard uses a silent, still spell and everyone with line of sight to the wizard's square gets a check against a set DC to tell exactly what spell is going on. It does make magic a little more difficult to use with subterfuge... and it is kind of weird that it isnt stated more clearly in the rules that casting spells have these big obvious signs to them.

Spellcasting still has to be perceived to be identified. So yes an invisible wizard casting a silent spell is probably in the clear.

Unless he's casting in the view of a dragon.


But if the act of casting has some kind of overt signal, the flaring runes or gathering of power, would those effects be covered by the invisibility?

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Torbyne wrote:
But if the act of casting has some kind of overt signal, the flaring runes or gathering of power, would those effects be covered by the invisibility?

GM's call. you want hidden casting... the Dirty Tricks book has what's available barring extreme measures.

Or learn the subtle arts of misdirection.


Errant Mercenary wrote:
In regards to Spellcraft, I dislike that everyone and their grandmother can know what is being cast, regardless whether you can or cant cast spells, if you are arcane or divine, and that the DC is so low.

Everyone can't know what is being cast - you have to have ranks in Spellcraft to use it. So only those people trained to identify spells can identify spells.


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DM_Blake wrote:
SlimGauge wrote:

Bumping with my opinion.

Ravingdork wrote:
Does the act of spellcasting even have an observable stimuli, such as magical energies or floating runes?

Yes, as there is no change in the DC of the Spellcraft check to identify.

Ravingdork wrote:
If so, what are they precisely?
Intentionally unspecified to allow each setting to have a different 'flavor'. May even vary from caster to caster.

Noooooo! Don't say that! Stop the insanity before it begins...

Nevermind, you said it. Too late.

Goes to get popcorn.

Who am kidding? I'm colossal. I don't eat popcorn.

Goes to get a village full of halflings.

Or maybe cook up a village full of these guys?

Sovereign Court

I think it's good that Spellcraft is about the difficulty it is right now. That is, a L1 character has a hard time consistently identifying, but by L5 someone with maxed Spellcraft will do it most of the time and by L10 it's a sure thing.

This is important because passing that check is a requirement for even being able to counterspell.

---

I would like clarity about whether spells themselves are visible. Without specifying exactly what they look like, just that they are.

If spells "glow", then they'd give away an invisible caster's position just like a held torch would.

I would also prefer a single modifier for hidden components, not a cumulative one; I think a VSM spell with Eschew, Silent and Still (thus becoming V only) should not be harder to identify than a V spell with Silent. A simple +5 DC is at least one component is obscured would be a good compromise I think.


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Ascalaphus wrote:
I would also prefer a single modifier for hidden components, not a cumulative one; I think a VSM spell with Eschew, Silent and Still (thus becoming V only) should not be harder to identify than a V spell with Silent. A simple +5 DC is at least one component is obscured would be a good compromise I think.

You might have worded that wrong. "a VSM spell with Eschew, Silent and Still (thus becoming V only)" would not actually be a "V only" spell because Silent Spell takes away the "V".

But I get your point and I agree.

The ideal way to do this would be to set a specific DC for NO components and SUBTRACT for every existing component. Something like this:

DC to identify a spell with NO components: 30 + 1 per Spell Level.
-5 for each existing component.

This way, a spell like Fireball would have a DC of 18 (just like it does now).

But if that were a Stilled, Silent, and Eschewed Fireball, the DC would be 33.

Charm Person would have a DC of 21 normally (30 + 1 - 5 - 5) and would NORMALLY be harder to identify than Fireball because it has no material component.

Etc.


I think the whole thing is that ultimately if its possible to identify spells that have no verbal, somatic, or material components then it makes a very strong case that there is some manifestation that exist that indicates spell casting. Now losing those normally associated components and thereby making it harder to identify the spell cast does make sense. But it would remain obvious that a spell is being cast regardless.

And based on statements made by developers on the board, it seems like the most likely conclusion we would reach, since they have definitely stated that by the rules removing components doesn't make it more difficult to identify. They did also suggest that it would be a good house rule, but would require changing the rules to make happen.

Of course, if we going to address this topic more directly, it would make sense to account for the difference in a manner such as DM_Blake suggested above.

As long as spell casting remains very obvious I could care less about spells being identified.


Pathfinder Maps, Pawns Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber
Jeraa wrote:
Errant Mercenary wrote:
In regards to Spellcraft, I dislike that everyone and their grandmother can know what is being cast, regardless whether you can or cant cast spells, if you are arcane or divine, and that the DC is so low.
Everyone can't know what is being cast - you have to have ranks in Spellcraft to use it. So only those people trained to identify spells can identify spells.

No, but they do know that a spell is being cast, which can be bad enough in many situations.

Casting something as innocuous as comprehend languages to better communicate with a lizardfolk chieftain might well end with his guard putting a spear through your neck for using "dark magic" while in the presence of their chieftain.


Sadly, this makes much of the enchantment school useless, except for bards.


Pathfinder Maps Subscriber
Philo Pharynx wrote:
Sadly, this makes much of the enchantment school useless, except for bards.

I don't understand this claim. Charm Person still does what it says it does.


Yes, but everybody knows you cast a spell. If the subject has any spellcraft they know they were charmed. If I feel good toward somebody, but I know they cast a spell on me, I'm not going to trust my feelings. Even if they don't, you know some magic went off.


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

Exactly. If they make a ruling, it may well make or break the "conniving caster" trope.


Not really, the just need to include a clause that spells such as Charm Person include a magical persuasion which makes the target overlook the fact that a spell was just cast on them for the duration of the effect of the spell.


Pathfinder Maps, Pawns Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber
Claxon wrote:
Not really, the just need to include a clause that spells such as Charm Person include a magical persuasion which makes the target overlook the fact that a spell was just cast on them for the duration of the effect of the spell.

That would be alright I guess, though something about a clarification that requires additional errata doesn't really sit well with me.


Jeraa wrote:

This entire issue comes up because Paizo decided to change the rules from 3.5. 3.5 clearly stated you needed to see the components of the spell to identify it as it was cast. Pathfinder changes it so it says you need to see the spell as it is cast.

3.5 implies spells have no visual indication, as it is the components that matter for identification.
Pathfinder implies spells do have some sort of visual indication, as the components used (or lack there of) have no bearing on identification.

Actually, that phrase lists a requirement that must be met, it is not a declaration about how spells work.

Assuming intent that deviates from written text is wandering into houserule territory, whereas treating the text as written, you must then look at each spell on a case by case basis and decide whether or not the spell itself is visible (as it says).

Thankfully, this work is not a burden that is overly difficult, merely time consuming.

Any spell that has a visual aspect to it will say so (fireball, for example, creates a massive ball of fire, magic missile creates missiles that hit the target without error).

Any spell that doesn't include text like this clearly doesn't have a visual aspect. Otherwise it would have that written in.

Adding extra material to the game (and claiming it is 'fluff') is a disservice to the hardworking designers.

Many of us houserule to say that identifying the spell as it is being cast requires seeing the caster/components.

Some of us houserule to say that ALL spells are visible.

Neither is rules compliant.

I will draw attention to the fact that the wording for spellcraft does talk about first having to meet the requirement of being able to see the spell before rolling to identify it.

There is no text in there saying that you automatically meet this requirement.

Additionally, this roll can be modified by anything that modifies Perception rolls (such as distance) and also "other factors".

Applying penalties to the roll to identify spells that have been affected by Still, Silence or Eschew falls SOLIDLY within the already described rules. CHOOSING the penalty is something the GM picks.

No additional rules are required. The system works fine as-is in this respect.

If we simply add the word 'casting' (so that you must witness the spell casting, rather than the SPELL), everything suddenly makes perfect sense.

If you folks want to introduce extra rules that make every spell everywhere (including personal spells researched explicitly to be stealthy) visible... things get weird.

Example:

Level 8 spell.
Name: Undetectable Prestidigitation
Range: Close
Casting Time: Standard Action
Components: S

This spell duplicates the cantrip Prestidigitation in every way, with the one exception that if the Silent Spell feat is applied to it, then there is no way to identify the caster as the source of the spell.

If we adhere to the idea that every spell everwhere MUST have a visual aspect (once again, a made up rule, not part of the printed game) then this 8th level spell (cast from a 9th level slot if Stilled) will still reveal a caster attempting to spice his food discreetly in the local tavern.

Whether it's a neon arrow pointing at his head or 'gathing energies making distortions similar to waves of heat coming off the road', it is an affect that basically paints a target on the chest of the person casting a spell.

Lastly, I don't agree with the idea that ALL spells must have a visual component because it shatters the idea of specific trumping general.

People are trying to apply a general rule (which is made up) that can't ever be worked around.

There exists NO precedent for this in the game. None.

This is a game of exceptions, and trying to apply this non-existent rule without exception violates not only written text, but also the spirit of the game itself.

It puts casters in a prison, when they are supposed to be on par with Gods.

(for the record, I recognize and hate the martial/caster disparity, but I still feel chaining casting in this way is unfair and totally immersion breaking).


*Glances back in*

Some of my players ARE gods, and I can assure you, normal casters are not on par with them. XD Magic is fun, but even a Wish spell is less powerful than being a living plot device.

Grand Lodge

alexd1976 wrote:

Example:

Level 8 spell.
Name: Undetectable Prestidigitation
Range: Close
Casting Time: Standard Action
Components: S

This spell duplicates the cantrip Prestidigitation in every way, with the one exception that if the Silent Spell feat is applied to it, then there is no way to identify the caster as the source of the spell.

If we adhere to the idea that every spell everwhere MUST have a visual aspect (once again, a made up rule, not part of the printed game) then this 8th level spell (cast from a 9th level slot if Stilled) will still reveal a caster attempting to spice his food discreetly in the local tavern.

Whether it's a neon arrow pointing at his head or 'gathing energies making distortions similar to waves of heat coming off the road', it is an affect that basically paints a target on the chest of the person casting a spell.

Lastly, I don't agree with the idea that ALL spells must have a visual component because it shatters the idea of specific trumping general.

People are trying to apply a general rule (which is made up) that can't ever be worked around.

All I get from this is that you clearly don't understand the concept of specific trumps general

If the rules for a spell state something that contradicts a general rule (in this case the spell states that if cast with silent spell that the caster cannot be identified) then the general rules are ignored in favor of the more specific rules.

Here is the thing, the rules don't state that there is a visual manifestation of the spell, they just lead us to that conclusion by the way that all the rules for spellcasting and spellcraft work. SO we also don't know exactly where the visual manifestation of the spellcasting happens.

Currently this is up to the GM do decide (or the GM and players depending on how democratic a table is) so even with the rules currently the group playing can decide that in the case of a spell like silent still charm person, the manifestation might happen around the individual targeted by the spell, or they might decide that it happens between them and the caster, or just where the caster is.

We are far better off letting each group decide this for themselves than having some rule made up that can't hope to be as nuanced as is required for a rule that governs the thousand spells that already exist for the game. Asking for a FAQ or an errata about this is asking to be dissapointed.


dwayne germaine wrote:
alexd1976 wrote:

Example:

Level 8 spell.
Name: Undetectable Prestidigitation
Range: Close
Casting Time: Standard Action
Components: S

This spell duplicates the cantrip Prestidigitation in every way, with the one exception that if the Silent Spell feat is applied to it, then there is no way to identify the caster as the source of the spell.

If we adhere to the idea that every spell everwhere MUST have a visual aspect (once again, a made up rule, not part of the printed game) then this 8th level spell (cast from a 9th level slot if Stilled) will still reveal a caster attempting to spice his food discreetly in the local tavern.

Whether it's a neon arrow pointing at his head or 'gathing energies making distortions similar to waves of heat coming off the road', it is an affect that basically paints a target on the chest of the person casting a spell.

Lastly, I don't agree with the idea that ALL spells must have a visual component because it shatters the idea of specific trumping general.

People are trying to apply a general rule (which is made up) that can't ever be worked around.

All I get from this is that you clearly don't understand the concept of specific trumps general

If the rules for a spell state something that contradicts a general rule (in this case the spell states that if cast with silent spell that the caster cannot be identified) then the general rules are ignored in favor of the more specific rules.

Here is the thing, the rules don't state that there is a visual manifestation of the spell, they just lead us to that conclusion by the way that all the rules for spellcasting and spellcraft work. SO we also don't know exactly where the visual manifestation of the spellcasting happens.

Currently this is up to the GM do decide (or the GM and players depending on how democratic a table is) so even with the rules currently the group playing can decide that in the case of a spell like silent still charm person, the manifestation might happen around the...

Please don't try to call me stupid.

The Exchange

DM_Blake wrote:
Ascalaphus wrote:
I would also prefer a single modifier for hidden components, not a cumulative one; I think a VSM spell with Eschew, Silent and Still (thus becoming V only) should not be harder to identify than a V spell with Silent. A simple +5 DC is at least one component is obscured would be a good compromise I think.

You might have worded that wrong. "a VSM spell with Eschew, Silent and Still (thus becoming V only)" would not actually be a "V only" spell because Silent Spell takes away the "V".

But I get your point and I agree.

The ideal way to do this would be to set a specific DC for NO components and SUBTRACT for every existing component. Something like this:

DC to identify a spell with NO components: 30 + 1 per Spell Level.
-5 for each existing component.

This way, a spell like Fireball would have a DC of 18 (just like it does now).

But if that were a Stilled, Silent, and Eschewed Fireball, the DC would be 33.

Charm Person would have a DC of 21 normally (30 + 1 - 5 - 5) and would NORMALLY be harder to identify than Fireball because it has no material component.

Etc.

I like this. It would even work with spell like.

Grand Lodge

alexd1976 wrote:
Please don't try to call me stupid.

I did no such thing. I saw you were clearly making a mistake about how specific>general works and tried to enlighten. perhaps I did a poor job of it.


Food for Thought: Psychic Magic has thought and emotion components, and I think most of us can agree those are not particularly visible (given that they are outright stated to be purely mental, and no physical component - even changing your expression - is required). How would that impact this alternate DC system? That is, how would the presence or lack of, say, a thought component make a spell easier or harder to identify?

Grand Lodge

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Pathfinder Companion Subscriber
Rednal wrote:
Food for Thought: Psychic Magic has thought and emotion components, and I think most of us can agree those are not particularly visible (given that they are outright stated to be purely mental, and no physical component - even changing your expression - is required). How would that impact this alternate DC system? That is, how would the presence or lack of, say, a thought component make a spell easier or harder to identify?

Depends on the Psychic's "I'M POOPING" face.


Quote:
Quote:
I am steadfastly against this question being codified in the rules. The is exactly the kind of thing that should be determined by the setting, group, Gm, and/or players. The rules don't specify what you see, so it doesn't matter.
I totally think the same way, but there are SO many people on the forums pushing to have the situation clarified...

That's fine too -- Paizo could still put it to bed without committing by simply saying "Paizo has chosen not to specify whether or not anything is inherently visible during spellcasting. It is explicitly up to the GM of a particular game to decide whether spells have visible floating runes, nothing visible at all unless described by the spell, or whether spell components are used for identification [blah blah]"

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